IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th January 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Diego, the giant tortoise
Part of: GS Prelims –Environment and GS-III- Conservation
The Galapagos National Park, where Diego lived, called off the captive breeding programme.
Do you Know ?
- Tortoises on the Galápagos Islands served as excellent source of food for seafarers in the 1800s.
- They could survive inside ships for upto a year, and so a large number were picked up from the islands.
From Prelims point of view:
Galapagos National Park
- Established in 1959 is Ecuador’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- In 1979 UNESCO declared the Galápagos Islands Natural Heritage for Humanity
- Classified as “threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature
- A member of the Chelonoidis hoodensis, or the giant tortoise species, Diego has spent much of his long life — he is 100 years old — in saving his kind
Kerala files suit against CAA
Part of: GS Prelims Polity–and GS-II- Citizenship
- Kerala became the first State to join citizens across the country’s spectrum to challenge in the Supreme Court the constitutionality of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)
From Prelims point:
- Article 131 vests the Supreme Court with original jurisdiction over any dispute arising between the states or between the centre and state. The article gives the Supreme Court the power to take up such cases straight instead of going through a lower court or reviewing a lower court’s judgement.
- The first judgment reported in 2012 – State of Madhya Pradesh vs Union of India – held that States cannot challenge a central law under Article 131
Article 256 in The Constitution Of India (Obligation of States and the Union):
- The executive power of every State shall be so exercised as to ensure compliance with the laws made by Parliament and any existing laws which apply in that State, and the executive power of the Union shall extend to the giving of such directions to a State as may appear to the Government of India to be necessary for that purpose.
US President Donald Trump is likely to visit India
Part of: GS Prelims Polity–and GS-II- India’s Foreign Relations
- A Trump Presidential trip to India has long been on the cards (he has visited India before on business trips) with a pending invitation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
From Prelims Point of view:
Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
- It is an umbrella that comprises the bulk of preferential schemes granted by industrialized nations to developing countries.
- It involves reduced Most Favored Nations (MFN) Tariffs or duty-free entry of eligible products exported by beneficiary countries to the markets of donor countries.
Centre eases CRZ rules for ‘Blue Flag’ beaches
Part of: GS Prelims Polity–and GS-II- India’s Foreign Relation
- The Environment Ministry has relaxed Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) rules that restrict construction near beaches to help States construct infrastructure and enable them to receive ‘Blue Flag’ certification.
From Prelims Point of view:
Blue Flag certification:
- It beaches to create certain infrastructure — portable toilet blocks, grey water treatment plants, a solar power plant, seating facilities, CCTV surveillance and the like.
- The certification is accorded by the Denmark-based Foundation for Environment Education, with 33 stringent criteria under four major heads for the beaches, that is, (i) Environmental Education and Information (ii) Bathing Water Quality (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and (iv) Safety and Services.
- The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an ‘eco-tourism model’ and marks out beaches as providing tourists and beachgoers clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and sustainable development of the area.
Coastal Regulation Zones
Coastal stretches of seas, bays, estuaries, creeks, rivers, and backwaters were declared as CRZs under coastal zone regulation notification in 1991.
CRZs have been classified into 4 zones for the purpose of regulation:
- CRZ-I: includes ecologically sensitive areas, where no construction is allowed except activities for atomic power plants, defense.
- CRZ-II: includes designated urban areas that are substantially built up. Construction activities are allowed on the landward side only.
- CRZ-III: includes relatively undisturbed areas, mainly rural areas. No new construction of buildings allowed in this zone except repairing of the existing ones. However, constructions of dwelling units in the plot area lying between 200-500m of the high tide line is allowed.
- CRZ-IV: includes the water area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 nautical miles seaward. Except for fishing and related activities, all actions impugning on the sea and tidal water will be regulated in this zone.
Arunachal to start red-listing of orchids
Part of: GS Prelims –Environment and GS-III- Conservation
- Arunachal has become the first state in the country to initiate the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) ‘red listing’ at the state level
From Prelims point of View:
- The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species is a critical indicator of the health of the world’s biodiversity. A powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change, it is critical in protecting the natural resources.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
- IUCN is a membership union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations.
- Created in 1948, it is the global authority on the status of the natural world and the measures needed to safeguard it.
- It is headquartered in Switzerland.
- The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, is the world’s most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of plant and animal species.
- It uses a set of quantitative criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of species. These criteria are relevant to most species and all regions of the world.
- The IUCN Red List Categories define the extinction risk of species assessed. Nine categories extend from NE (Not Evaluated) to EX (Extinct). Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction.
- It is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity.
- It is also a key indicator for the SDGs and Aichi Targets.
TOPIC:General Studies 3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Consumer price inflation (Retail inflation) has touched a high of 7.35% in December which has set off fears over whether India is entering a period of slow growth accompanied by high inflation, in other words, stagflation.
Inflation is defined as a situation where there is sustained, unchecked increase in the general price level of goods and services in an economy
Indices which measure inflation in an economy
Wholesale Price Index (WPI)
- WPI measures the changes in the prices of goods sold and traded in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses. In other words, WPI tracks prices at the factory gate before the retail level.
- The numbers are released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
- Even as the WPI is used as a key measure of inflation in some economies, the RBI no longer uses it for policy purposes, including setting repo rates.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) – Retail Inflation
- It is an index measuring retail inflation in the economy by collecting the change in prices of most common goods and services used by consumers.
- It is released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) under Ministry of Statistics and Programme implementation
- In April 2014, the RBI had adopted the CPI as its key measure of inflation
What is the difference between WPI & CPI?
- WPI, tracks inflation at the producer level and CPI captures changes in prices levels at the consumer level.
- Both baskets measure inflationary trends (the movement of price signals) within the broader economy, the two indices differ in which weightages are assigned to food, fuel and manufactured items.
- WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, which CPI does.
Headline Retail Inflation vs Core Inflation
- Headline inflation is the raw inflation figure reported through the Consumer Price Index (CPI) that is released by CSO. The headline figure is not adjusted for seasonality or for the often-volatile elements
- Core inflation removes the CPI components that can exhibit large amounts of volatility from month to month, which can cause unwanted distortion to the headline figure. The most commonly removed factors are those relating to the cost of food and energy.
Concern for RBI
- Price stability in an economy is one of the major responsibility of the Central Bank. Untamed inflation will eventually erode confidence in an economy thus derailing economic growth.
- The December inflation is also way above the monetary policy committee’s (MPC) mandated limit of CPI at 6% (4% plus 2%)
- High inflation means RBI is constrained to cut rates (repo rate) further especially when there is pressure on the central bank to cut rates at least one more time to stimulate growth (projected GDP growth for FY-2020 is just 5%)
What is the reason for unexpected inflation in December?
- The headline inflation number is driven mainly by food inflation at 14.12%
- Since the overall retail inflation has 45.86 per cent of food articles, the overall CPI has also shot up.
- Heavy rains from september to November 2019 has caused heavy damage to the standing Kharif crops leading to supply shortage and thus driving up the food prices
- Onion pushed up price inflation in vegetables to a huge 60.50% compared to December 2018, prices of other food items such as meat and fish (up 9.57%), milk (up 4.22%), eggs (up 8.79%) and some pulses were also on the upswing.
- Minus the increase in prices of onion, potato and ginger, headline CPI inflation would be just 4.48%.
- Core inflation, which is the one that should be of concern, has only inched up marginally from 3.5% in November to 3.7% in December.
Is High Food inflation going to continue in near future?
- High prices of vegetables being mostly seasonal and short-duration are expected to fall in the coming months.
- The prices will reverse once the supply shortfall is addressed.
Food price may ease due to same reason it rose
- Heavy rains in recent months have helped to recharge groundwater aquifers, and filled the major irrigation reservoirs to near full capacity, proving beneficial to the rabi crop
- Data shows that there has been 8 per cent more area sown and this coupled with the improved soil moisture conditions and a normal winter, is expected to translate into a bumper harvest, offsetting any Kharif losses and cutting the food prices
- One major factor that can still keep the customers paying more for the food articles is a turbulence in the global prices as the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation’s Food Price Index (base year: 2002-04 = 100) averaged 181.7 points in December 2019, the highest since the 185.8 level of December 2014.
- This reflected a hardening trend in the international prices of food items which makes imports of food articles (like Palm oil, pulses) costlier.
- Climate resilient agriculture which is able to better adapt to frequent climate extremities.
- Better collaboration at international level to ensure that essential food articles are distributed evenly across the globe where at present we have wastage on one hand & hunger/shortage on other hand
Connecting the Dots
- FAO index rise is driven largely by which food components and its bearing on Indian domestic economy
- Is high food prices impact on famers income and thus boosting rural demand ?
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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) The power of the Supreme Court of India to decide disputes between the Centre and the State falls under its:
(a) advisory jurisdiction
(b) appellate jurisdiction
(c) original jurisdiction
(d) constitutional jurisdiction
Q.2) Consider the following statements:
- The Standard Mark of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is mandatory for automotive tyres and tubes.
- AGMARK is a quality Certification Mark issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2
Q 3) The “Red Data Books’’ published by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural resources (IUCN) contain lists of ? [
- Endemic plant and animal species present in the biodiversity hotspots.
- Threatened plant and animal species.
- Protected sites for conservation of nature and natural resources in various countries.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
(a) 1 and 3
(b) 2 only
(c) 2 and 3
(d) 3 only
Q 4) With reference to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), which of the following statements is/are correct?
- IUCN is an organ of the United Nations and CITES is an international agreement between governments.
- IUCN runs thousands of field projects around the world to better manage natural environments
- CITES is legally binding on the States that have joined it, but this Convention does not take the place of national laws.
Select the correct answer using the code given below.
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
ANSWERS FOR 14 JAN 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
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