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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

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  • December 16, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Call for Universalisation of Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana(PMMVY)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II –Women & Governance

In News

  • The Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana (PMMVY) was announced on December 31, 2016 which gives a benefit of ₹6,000 to pregnant and lactating mothers for the birth of the first child.
  • ₹5,000 would be disbursed in three installments upon meeting several conditionalities — registration of pregnancy, at least one ante-natal check-up, registration of child birth and vaccinations. 
  • The remaining cash incentive of up to ₹1,000 is to be given under a separate scheme called the Janani Suraksha Yojana so that on an “average” women get a total sum of ₹6,000. 
  • The objective is to compensate women for wage loss due to child birth.
  • Some of the reasons which has led to exclusion of many beneficiaries under PMMVY
    • Only for the first born
    • Proof of address of marital home –  which proves challenging for a newlywed expecting a child and often residing in her natal home during pregnancy. She  is then forced to go from pillar to post to claim benefits.
    • Minimum age of 19 years –  leaves out younger brides, who hesitate in getting their marriages registered as the legal age of marriage is 18 years.
    • Husbands Aadhar Card – Affects single women which include unwed mothers, deserted wives and widows
    • Tedious documentation: Total 6 application forms to be filled, with total of 30 of 32 pages to be filled by the beneficiary
    • As many as 9 IDs to be produced – Aadhaar card, voter ID card; ration card copy of bank passbook and maternal and child protection (MCP) card etc.
  • Activists urge for a need for reviewing the scheme and making it universal by removing restrictions on the number of children as well as including all women, whether they are in the formal or informal sector, engaged in paid or unpaid work. 
  • Also, there is a demand that the sum promised should also be at least on par with minimum wages for women in self-employment, unpaid work, or working for less than minimum wages
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: Click here


Odisha students develop smart water dispenser

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Science & Technology

In News

  • Three students of Odisha’s KendriyaVidyalaya, Berhampur, have developed a ‘smart water dispenser’ to ensure equal distribution of drinking water through pipelines in any urban or rural habitat to combat future water crisis.
  • In August 2019, this project was shortlisted as top 50 innovations under ‘Atal Innovation Mission’ of NitiAyog.
  • The ‘Smart water dispenser’ is an electronic water flow controlling mechanism that can replace the water meter and provide control of amount of water supply to the authorities for equal distribution. These units will be directly connected to a central server of the local governing body by GSM or Wi-Fi.
  • Cost of the prototype was just ₹2,000. Its main components include an easily available microprocessor, a solenoid valve and a flow sensor.

About Atal Innovation Mission

  • It is a flagship initiative set up by the NITI Aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of the country.
  • Long term goals of AIM include establishment and promotion of Small Business Innovation Research & Development at a national scale (AIM SBIR) for the SME/MSME/startups and in rejuvenating Science & Technology innovations in major research institutions of the country

FASTags deadline extended

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Science & Technology

In News

  • The government issued an order extending the deadline for FASTags to become mandatory by 30 days and requiring 25% of lanes at toll plazas to be kept open for cash transactions.
  • FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India, operated by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI).
  • It employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly from the prepaid or savings account linked to it or directly toll owner. 
  • It is affixed on the windscreen of the vehicle and enables to drive through toll plazas without stopping for transactions.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

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Strandhogg

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Cyber Security

In News

  • The Union Home Ministry has sent an alert to all States warning them about the vulnerability of the Android operating system to a bug called ‘StrandHogg.’
  • StrandHogg allows real-time malware applications to pose as genuine applications and access user data of all kind.
  • This malware can then potentially listen to their conversations, access photo album, read/send messages, make calls, record conversations and get login credentials to various accounts.
  • Pop-ups asking for permission to send notifications, messages etc., are one of the main entry points for ‘StrandHogg’ to launch the attack.

About Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) scheme

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has rolled out a scheme ‘Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C)’ which is a 7-Pronged Scheme to combat cyber crime in the country, in a coordinated and effective manner. 
  • Components of The I4C Scheme
    • National Cybercrime Threat Analytics Unit (TAU)
    • National Cybercrime Reporting
    • Platform for Joint Cybercrime Investigation Team
    • National Cybercrime Forensic Laboratory (NCFL) Ecosystem
    • National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC)
    • Cybercrime Ecosystem Management Unit
    • National Cyber Research and Innovation Centre

MattuGulla

Part of: GS Prelims

In News

  • MattuGulla is a variety of brinjal that has Geographical Indication (GI) tag
  • Known for its unique taste, MattuGulla is grown in Mattu, Kaipunjal and Uliyargoli villages of Udupi district inKarnataka
  • About 200 farmers cultivate this rare variety of brinjal on about 120 acres of land from October to June.
  • The speciality of MattuGulla, besides its taste, is that it has less seed and more pulp
  • An export network to UAE is being planned so that MattuGulla gets exported. As a result,the demand for it will increase and farmers will get good price for it. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: Click here


National Ganga Council (NGC)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment Conservation

In News

  • The National Ganga Council (NGC), which is headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi met for the first time at Kanpur since its inception in 2016, with the proposal to save and enhance the population of the Gangetic Dolphin
  • The council also discussed the concept of “River Cities” and an action plan to provide sewer connection to every household in towns along the Ganga and its tributaries.
  • The council consists of chief ministers from five states along the Ganga — Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Bihar and Jharkhand along with nine Union ministers and NITI Aayog vice-chairman.
  • The central objective of the council is to work on the “protection, prevention, control and abatement of environmental pollution in River Ganga and its rejuvenation to its natural and pristine condition and to ensure continuous adequate flow of water”. 

About Gangetic River Dolphins

  • The Gangetic river dolphins were officially discovered in 1801 and are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • In 2009, the Gangetic dolphins were declared India’s National Aquatic animal
  • It is placed under the “endangered” category by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 
  • The Gangetic river dolphins can only live in freshwater and prefer deep waters 
  • They are blind and catch their prey in a unique manner, using ultrasonic sound waves.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: Click here


(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

US and China : ‘Phase One’ agreement

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: CNBC 

Context:

  • United States and China recently   announced a “Phase One” agreement 
  • With this US will reduce some tariffs in exchange for increased Chinese purchases of American farm and energy goods.

Background:

  • Donald Trump in 2018 began setting tariffs and other trade barriers on China with the goal of forcing it to make changes to what the U.S. says are “unfair trade practices” of China
  • Among those trade practices and their effects are the growing trade deficit, the theft of intellectual property, and the forced transfer of American technology to China
  • The trade war has brought struggles for farmers and manufacturers and higher prices for consumers. 
  • It has also caused economic damage In some countries, some countries have benefited from increased manufacturing to fill the gaps. It has also led to stock market instability.

Impact of trade war on India :

  • The US manufacturers are setting up their bases in India. For India, this will be beneficial as it would create more jobs for us.
  • There is a possibility that China could soon start flooding excess steel and aluminium into India’s market after this raised tariffs on Chinese products by US.
  • Mobile phones, refrigerators, washing machines, ACs, water purifiers, and possibly electric vehicles will now see increased investment flow directed towards India.
  • The Indian consumers will get the products at a cheaper rate but the domestic producers of India will have to compete with the Chinese imports or else face loss.
  • Indian producers will get an opportunity to fill this generated gap and penetrate in the US market. This will increase their trade and profit.
  • There will be a short-term impact on the stock markets. 

Features:

  • The US will halve its 15 per cent tariff on about $120 billion in Chinese goods

China has agreed to increase its total purchases of US goods and services by at least $200 billion over the next two years. Also included is a commitment by China to increase its buying of US agricultural products

  • Addresses unfair currency practices by committing to refrain from competitive devaluations and exchange rate targeting. “This approach will help reinforce macroeconomic and exchange rate stability and help ensure that China cannot use currency practices to unfairly compete against U.S. exporters”
  • China have agreed not to pressure foreign companies to transfer their technology to Chinese companies.
  • The agreement also  include a dispute-resolution mechanism that will serve as the enforcement arm.

Critics:

  • It would bring only temporary relief in the over 18-month-old trade war between the US and China.
  • Does little to resolve the United States’ biggest concerns about China’s trade practices, including its use of industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises to dominate global industries like steel and solar panels.
  • The deal would increase Chinese purchases of American agricultural and energy products,
  •  It limits on China’s  ability to weaken its currency and provide greater protection to US companies that are operating in China.

Way forward:

  • China and the United States, the world’s two largest economies, must deal with bilateral economic and trade relations with the big picture in mind. 
  • Reaching the agreement will serve the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries and the world, 
  • It is expected to bring positive influences on areas including economy, trade, investment and the financial market

Conclusion:

  • The economic and political benefits of de-escalation in the trade war have become readily apparent
  • A rollback of tariffs and cancellation of new levies, makes sense for the US economy and for the World economy. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think Phase One” agreement make a positive impact on Indian economy?

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian Diaspora.

What UK poll result means for Brexit?

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: BI

Context:

  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson won UK election 

Takeaways:

  • The likelihood of Brexit being put on the fast track. 
  • the biggest defeat of the Labour Party since 1935, 
  • A sweep of Scotland’s seats by the Scottish National Party, and its implications on the possibility of independence.

What does the result mean?

  • The size of the victory sets the stage for a Britain of Johnson’s ideological vision — nationalism, with tougher laws on immigration. 
  • Britain will also have to deal with Brexit’s effect on its economy. 
  • This includes the long process of new bilateral trade agreements with many other countries.

Brexit:

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th December 2019

Src: NYT

  • Brexit – British exit – refers to the UK leaving the EU.
  • Brexit is the scheduled withdrawal of the United Kingdom (UK) from the European Union (EU). 
  • As the UK parliament thrice voted against the negotiated withdrawal agreement, that deadline has been extended twice, and is currently 31 October 2019.
  • The ‘Benn Act’ that passed in Parliament requires the government to seek a third extension if no agreement is reached before 19 October.

Why is the UK leaving?

  • A public vote – or referendum – was held on Thursday 23 June 2016, to decide whether the UK should leave or remain.
  • Leave won by 52% to 48%. The referendum turnout was very high at 72%, with more than 30 million people voting – 17.4 million people opting for Brexit.

What is the European Union?

  • The EU is an economic and political union involving 28 European countries. It allows free trade and free movement of people to live and work in whichever country they choose.
  • The UK joined in 1973 (when it was known as the European Economic Community). If the UK leaves, it would be the first member

What after Brexit?

  • EU will start carrying out checks on British goods. 
  • This could lead to delays at ports, such as Dover. Some fear that this could lead to traffic bottlenecks, disrupting supply routes and damaging the economy.
  • If the pound falls sharply in response to no deal and there are significant delays at ports, like Dover, it could affect the price and availability of some foods.
  • There are also concerns over potential shortages of medicines.

Advantages and disadvantages for India 

Link :1

Conclusion

  • India should re-negotiate with the UK and EU the World Trade Organization Schedules of Concessions, for both goods and services, should resume its FTA discussions with the EU, and should prepare to launch FTA talks with the UK.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think India will get more opportunities in Britain after BREXIT? 
  • Do you think BREXIT is Detrimental for the global economy ?

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note: 

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Phase One Agreement recently seen in news

  1. It is a trade agreement which is signed recently between USA and China
  2. The deal addresses core US demand that China curb subsidies to its state-owned firms, which has allowed China to dominate global industries like Steel & Solar panels.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana (PMMVY)

  1. It is being implemented by Ministry of Women and Child Development which gives a benefit of ₹6,000 to pregnant and lactating mothers for the birth of the first child.
  2. Its objective is to compensate women for wage loss due to child birth.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Consider the following statements about FASTags :

  1. FASTag is an electronic toll collection system in India.
  2. It is operated by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Private IT company – Infosys Technology Ltd.

Which of the above statement(s) are correct?

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.4) Indian Cybercrime Coordination Centre (I4C) scheme is being implemented by which Union Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  2. Ministry of Home Affairs
  3. Ministry of Defence
  4. None of the above

Q.5) National Ganga Council is headed by ______

  1. Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
  2. Minister of Jal Shakti
  3. Prime Minister
  4. Chief Minister of Ganga States on rotation basis

ANSWERS FOR 14 DEC 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 B
3 C
4 B

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