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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

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  • December 25, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Chief of Defence Staff (CDS): Union Cabinet gives approval

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Security

In News

  • CDS will function as the Principal Military Adviser to the Defence Minister and also as the Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC)
  • The CDS will also head the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), to be created in the Ministry of Defence, and function as its Secretary. The armed forces will be brought under the DMA
  • The CDS will look after the jointness in operations, logistics, transport, training, support services, communications, repairs and maintenance etc of the three Services, within three years of the first CDS assuming office.
  • CDS will be member of Defence Acquisition Council chaired by RakshaMantri and Defence Planning Committee chaired by NSA.
  • CD will also function as the Military Adviser to the Nuclear Command Authoritychaired by the Prime Minister
  • CDS will be a rank of a four-star General, with salary and perquisites equivalent to a service chief.
  • CDS will not exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be able to provide impartial advice to the political leadership. 
  • CDS would come in the ambit of ‘Right to Information Act’, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.
  • CDS would also evaluate plans “for ‘Out of Area Contingencies’, as well other contingencies such as Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

Solar Eclipse

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I- Geography

In News

  • On 26th December, the annular solar eclipse will be visible in places such as India, Australia, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore – when the Moon will eclipses the Sun to form a “ring of fire” in the sky. 

What is annual Solar eclipse?

  • Generally, when the new Moon intersects the light of the Sun, it brings a total solar eclipse on Earth. 
  • But it won’t be the case this time as the Moon is presently quite farther than average from Earth and once it will cross the Sun, a “negative shadow” or what technically called the antumbra will become visible in the form of the ring of fire. This is known as an annular eclipse.
  • Ophthalmologists warn against viewing the phenomenon with the naked eye or taking pictures using mobile phones or cameras.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

Src: Click here


Rohtang Pass: Strategic tunnel under it

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains I- Geography

In News

  • The Union Cabinet has decided to name the Strategic Tunnel under Rohtang Pass after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern PirPanjal Range of the Himalayas. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
  • The 8.8-kilometre long tunnel is the world’s longest tunnel above an altitude of 3,000 metres. It will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 kilometres.
  • It will provide all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh which otherwise remained cut off from the rest of the country for about six months during winters. 
  • The decision to construct tunnel was taken during A.B.Vajpayee’s time and it is nearing completion.

Hypersonic Weapons: Russia becomes the first country to deploy it

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Security, GS-II- International Affairs

In News

  • President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is the only country in the world that has hypersonic weapons- weapons that travel faster than Mach5 (~6174kmph) and have the capability to manoeuvre during the entire flight.
  • The first unit equipped with the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle is set to go on duty by Dec 2019, while that the air-launched Kinzhal hypersonic missiles already have entered service.
  • Avangardhas an intercontinental range and can fly in the atmosphere at a speed 20 times the speed of sound. Its ability to change both its course and its altitude en route to a target makes it immune to interception by the the enemy.
  • The Kinzhal, which is carried by MiG-31 fighter jets, entered service with the Russian air force last year. The missile flies 10 times faster than the speed of sound, has a range of more than 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead. It is capable of hitting both land targets and navy ships.

Do You Know?

  • Mach Number is the ratio of the speed of the body to the speed of sound in the undisturbed medium through which the body is traveling. E.g. If the body is flying at Mach 3, then its speed is thrice the speed of sound in air (which is 332 m/s or 1195 km/hr).
  • It is named in honor of Ernst Mach (1838-1916), a physicist from Austria.
  • Types of Aircrafts/missiles based on Mach Number:
    • Subsonic (M < 1)
    • Transonic (M = 1)
    • Supersonic (1 < M < 3)
    • High Supersonic (3 < M < 5)
    • Hypersonic (M > 5)
    • High Hypersonic (M ~ 25) 

Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS): Railway Board Restructuring

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Infrastructure; GS Mains II- Governance

In News

  • Union Cabinet approved the restructuring of the Railway Board, including a reduction in its strength as well as the merger of the different cadres into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS).
  • The Railway Board started in 1905, and over a period of time, it has divided the management into several silos
  • The Board presently consists of eight members, including the Chairman, from different service departments such as traffic, civil, mechanical, electrical and signal & telecom
  • The newly constitutedBoard will henceforth consist of five members – Chairman, who will act as a CEO, along with four members responsible for infrastructure, operations and business development, rolling stock and finance.
  • There will also be a DG (HR) under the Chairman. The Board will also have some independent members, who will be highly distinguished professionals.
  • Restructuring of the board would help end “departmentalism”, while ensuring smooth functioning of the Railways and expediting the decision-making process.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATONAL 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

Brexit :Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB)

  • Armed with its new majority, the Britain  government has published a revised version of its Withdrawal Agreement Bill (WAB) to ensure that it can take the UK out of the EU on 31 January.
  • The House of Commons voted 358-234 for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. 

Key changes :

  • First, a new clause outlaws an extension to the standstill transition period that would expire on December 31, 2020. Following the announcement, the pound slid 1.1% against the dollar relative to the gains after the election results, reviving market anxiety. Besides the £33 billion settlement contained in the withdrawal deal, any extension after next December would entail additionally about €10 billion a year.
  • The bill dispenses with the need for parliamentary approval, for the government’s negotiating mandate as well as the final agreement on the country’s future relationship with the bloc .The provision risks sidestepping normal democratic channels for industries and trade unions to influence the shape of their future trading relations with the EU, worth an estimated £90 billion.
  • Bill guarantees on labour rights previously included in the withdrawal bill have been removed. This vindicates sceptics’ fears about a drift to a low-tax low-regulation U.K. economy after Brexit. Brussels is wary of granting these concessions to a major economy such as Britain.

Challenges ahead :

  • Northern Ireland will continue to remain within the EU jurisdiction after Brexit. 
  • The government will enforce customs checks for goods traded across the Irish Sea to the rest of the U.K., increasing costs for the bulk of small enterprises. 
  • The regulatory divergence within U.K. territory is the compromise London has conceded to protect the EU’s single market. 
  • The arrangement would maintain the existing soft border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which has underpinned the region’s tenuous peace since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement

Impact on India:

  • Direct impact on currency as it will weaken against dollar
  • Indian-based companies and investments in UK will suffer direct negative impact.
  • Gateway to Europe being closed, huge trade costs to be occurred in dealing with EU separately.
  • Lower commodity prices, crude oil prices may help narrowing CAD
  • More investments done in safe options like gold. This has increased cash outflow and surged prices of gold
  • Decrease in FIIs
  • Not much impact on pharma industry as US is the bigger market

However, India is not expected to be too much impacted due to its deep foreign exchange reserves, a high growth rate, somewhat restrained inflation, a not significant current account deficit and fiscal discipline maintenance.

Connecting the dots:

  • Has Brexit affected India ?
  • How should India view Brexit?

INTERNATONAL RELATIONS

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

National Population Register (NPR) : Census will be conducted in 2021

Context:

  • The Union Cabinet  approved a proposal to conduct Census 2021 and update the National Population Register (NPR). While the Census will be conducted in 2021, the NPR update will take place from April to September 2020 in all the States/UTs except Assam.
  • According to the sources, the Union Cabinet has approved a proposal of the Home Ministry to spend Rs 8,754 crore for the Census 2021 and Rs 3,941 crore for updating the NPR.

NPR

  • The NPR is a register of usual residents of the country.
  •  It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  •  It includes both Indian citizens as well as a foreign citizen.

Objectives:

  • To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country. 
  • The first National Population Register was prepared in 2010 and updating this data was done during 2015 by conducting door to door survey. 
  • The next update of the NPR will take place next year from April to September with the House listing phase of the Census 2021. 
  • It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

Usual resident

  • According to the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, a usual resident is a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.

Census:

  • The Census is the enumeration of the population of the country It is being conducted at an interval of 10 years. 
  • Census 2021 will be 16th census in the country since the first census happened in 1872
  • For the first time, the Census 2021 will use the Mobile App for data collection. It will also provide a facility to the public for self-enumeration.

NPR connected to NRC?

  • The Citizenship Act empowers the government to compulsorily register every citizen and maintain a National Register of Indian Citizens.
  •  A nationwide NRC — if undertaken — would flow out of NPR. 
  • This does not necessarily mean that an NRC must follow NPR — no such register was compiled after the previous NPR in 2010. 
  • After a list of residents is created, a nationwide NRC — if it happens — could go about verifying the citizens from that list.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th December 2019

SRC: IE

Concerns:

  • Another debate has been about privacy. 
  • The NPR intends to collect many details of personal data on residents.
  • The government position is based on two grounds. One is that every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with demographic details.
  • Largely to justify the collection of data such as driving licence, voter ID and PAN, is that it will ease the life of those residing in India by cutting red tape

Concerns in West Bengal and Kerala:

  • These Opposition-ruled states are making a political point. Citizenship, aliens and naturalisation are subject matters listed in List 1 of the Seventh Schedule that fall exclusively under the domain of Parliament. 
  • Legally, the states have no say in implementing or ruling out NPR. However, given that the manpower is drawn from the states, the defiance could potentially result in a showdown.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think NPR and NRC can create panic among the citizens?

(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 with regard Kinzhal missile system

  1. It is developed by India in collaboration with Russia
  2. The missile can fly10times faster than the speed of sound and can carry a nuclear or a conventional warhead

Which of the above 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 Rohtang Pass

  1. It is a high mountain pass on the eastern PirPanjal Range of the Himalayas. 
  2. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.

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 Chief of Defence Staff(CDS)

  1. CDS will exercise any military command, including over the three Service Chiefs, so as to be enable quick decision making
  2. CDS would come in the ambit of ‘Right to Information Act’, in accordance with the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

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.4) Mach Number often seen in news deals with which of the following?

  1. Intensity of earthquakes
  2. Elasticity of material
  3. Speed of an object
  4. None of the above

Q.5) Consider the following statements about Restructuring of Railway Board

  1. It will merge the different cadres within Railways into a central service called the Indian Railway Management Service (IRMS).
  2. The newly constituted Board will also have some independent members, who will be highly distinguished professionals

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

ANSWERS FOR 24 DEC 2019 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 B
4 C

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