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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th January 2020

  • IASbaba
  • January 25, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th January 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th January 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Establishment of Chairs named after eminent Women in Universities

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Society, GS-II- Education

In News

  • Union Ministry of Women and Child Development sets up ten Chairs in different fields with an aim to carry out research activities to encourage women.
  • The initiative was launched with the assistance of University Grants Commission on the occasion of National Girl Child Day (January 24).
  • Objective: To highlight and celebrate women achievers of the country to motivate young girls and women towards higher studies.
  • The chairs proposed by UGC and approved by the Ministry are:
    • Administration: Devi Ahilyabai Holkar
    • Literature: Mahadevi Varma
    • Freedom Fighter (North East): Rani Gaidinliu
    • Medicine & Health: Anandibai Gopalrao Joshi
    • Performing Art: Madurai Shanmukhavadivu Subbulakshmi
    • Forest/Wildlife Conservation: Amrita Devi (Beniwal)
    • Mathematics: Lilavati
    • Science: Kamala Sohonie
    • Poetry & Mysticism: Lal Ded
    • Educational Reforms: Hansa Mehta

Archaea

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Science

In News

  • New archaeon was discovered by Indian scientists in Sambhar Salt Lake of Rajasthan
  • Archaea are a primitive group of microorganisms that thrive in extreme habitats such as hot springs, cold deserts and hypersaline lakes.
  • These slow-growing organisms are also present in the human gut, and have a potential relationship with human health.
  • They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment.
  • Archaea are extremely difficult to culture due to challenges in providing natural conditions in a laboratory setting.
  • New archaea is named Natrialba swarupiae, after Dr Renu Swarup, secretary, Department of Biotechnology, for her initiative in supporting microbial diversity studies in the country

Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II- Quasi-Judicial Bodies

In News

  • It is a quasi-judicial institution set up in 1941 under section 5A of the Income Tax Act, 1922.
  • Initially, it had three Benches at Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. But presently ITAT has 63 Benches at 27 different stations
  • It deals with appeals under the Direct Taxes Acts namely, the Income-tax Act, 1961.
  • The orders passed by the ITAT are final, an appeal lies to the High Court only if a substantial question of law arises for determination.

VYOMMITRA

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

In News

  • It is a half-humanoid designed & developed by ISRO Inertial Systems Unit in Thiruvananthapuram
  • The humanoid will simulate the human functions required for space before real astronauts take off before August 2022 (Gaganyaan Mission)
  • Two trial flights without crew will take place with a humanoid — the first around December 2020 and the second around July 2021. 

India Climate Collaborative (ICC)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Environmental Conservation; GS-II- Role of Civil Society

In News

  • It is a partnership of philanthropy arms of top corporates including the Tatas, Mahindras, Godrejs and Premjis to minimise the climate change impact.
  • It will be working to strengthen the climate community locally, build a climate narrative and drive solutions that will ensure both the natural world and people thrive

NATIONAL VOTERS’ DAY (NVD)

Part of: GS Prelims

In News

  • Celebrated on January 25th since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950
  • Objective: To encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrolment, especially for the new voters; To spread awareness among voters for promoting informed participation in the elections. 
  • Theme for NVD-2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for Stronger Democracy

(MAINS FOCUS)


Economy

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, Telecommunications etc.

Adjusted gross revenue (AGR) Crisis 

Context

In Oct 2019, the Supreme Court had directed telecom service providers to pay the pending dues –aggregating to over Rs 1.47 lakh crore – to the government by 23rd January 2020

The decision impacts over 15 telecom firms, both current and defunct, but those with the highest liabilities are Vodafone-Idea Ltd (Rs 53,038 crore), Airtel (Rs 35,586 crore) and Tata Teleservices (Rs 13,823 crore)

Brief History of the issue: 

1994 – Telecom sector was liberalised under the National Telecom Policy under which licenses were issued to companies in return for a fixed license fee. 

1999 – The government gave an option to the licensees to migrate to the revenue sharing fee model, so as to provide relief from high licence fees .

  • Under this, telecos were required to share a percentage of their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) with the government as annual license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC). 
  • The LF and SUC were set at 8 per cent and between 3-5 per cent of AGR respectively, based on the agreement.
Department of Telecom’s(DOT) Stand Telecos Stand
AGR includes all revenues (before discounts) from both telecom and non-telecom services AGR should comprise just the revenue accrued from core services and not dividend, interest income or profit on sale of any investment or fixed assets.

 

2005– Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) challenged the government’s definition for AGR calculation.

2015 – TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) ruled in favour of Telecos

Oct 2019 – Supreme Court set aside TDSAT’s order and upheld DOT’s definition of AGR

Jan 2020 – Supreme Court has accepted petition of Telecos request to extend the deadline fixed at 23rd Jan 2020 to pay up the dues (but not on the definition of AGR)

Why the definition of AGR is important?

Because it has revenue implications for both government & Telecos. 

  • For government – it means increase in its revenue collection which helps maintaining fiscal deficit and undertake welfare measures
  • For Telecom Operators– Added financial burden especially at a time where their assets ae over leveraged and profits are under pressure from severe competition (after Jio’s entry)

Implication of the Supreme Court’s 2019 Order

  • On Telecom companies: Increased liability means losses in their operation in short term. It also erodes the telcos’ net worth impacting retail investors
  • On Telecom Sector: It could potentially lead to Vodafone Idea’s exit due to its weak financial position & its inability to pay its dues. This leads to the creation of a Airtel-Jio duopoly which may not augur well for the competitiveness in the sector and thus the government’s vision of Digital India.
  • On Banking Sector: AGR issue has triggered panic in the banking industry, given that the telecom sector is highly leveraged. Vodafone Idea alone has a debt of Rs 2.2 lakh crore. mutual fund industry having exposure to telecom sector will also see erosion of value.
  • On Consumers: Competition in the sector will always lead to better prices and better technology. Possibility of creation of duopoly will impact the competition in negative manner.

Way ahead

  • Government should realize the consequences of the failure/weakness of the sector on the broader economy & on its long term vision of Digital India. 
  • Therefore, instead of being inflexible on AGR for short term revenue gain, it should accommodate the interests of the telecom operators (like extension of deadline, foregoing interest on dues) so that long term vision is not compromised

Connecting the Dots

  • Twin Balance sheet problem
  • Which other sectors have duopoly or oligopoly structures?

(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

  1. Ministry of Human Resources Development establishes 10 Chairs named after eminent Women in Universities with an aim to carry out research activities to encourage women.
  2. National Girl Child Day is celebrated on January 24th 

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 Archaea

  1. They are known for producing antimicrobial molecules, and for anti-oxidant activity with applications in eco-friendly waste-water treatment 
  2. They are also present in human gut and have a potential relationship with human health.

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 Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT)

  1. It is a quasi-judicial institution set up in 1941 under section 5A of the Income Tax Act, 1922.
  2. The orders of ITAT are final and cannot be appealed only in Supreme Court of India

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) Consider the following statements about Vyommitra

  1. It is a half humanoid designed and developed by ISRO in collaboration with NASA
  2. It will simulate the human functions required for space before real astronauts take off in India’s Gaganyaan mission.

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.5) Consider the following statements about India Climate Collaborative(ICC)

  1. It is partnership between Confederation of Indian Industry, Union Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change and NITI Aayog
  2. It will be working to strengthen the climate community locally, build a climate narrative and drive solutions that will ensure both the natural world and people thrive

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 JAN 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A

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