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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th January 2020

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  • January 6, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th January 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Belum Caves

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Geography

In News

  • Belum Caves in Andhra Pradesh is the second longest cave in the Indian subcontinent open to public. The cave is second natural cave only after Krem Liat Prah caves in Meghalaya.
  • Belum caves are renowned for their speleothem structures, such as stalactite and stalagmite formations.
  • With long passages, narrow galleries, and spacious tanks filled with fresh water, this cave was formed over the course of tens of thousands of years by the constant flow of underground water from the now-disappeared river Chitravathi.
  • The caves hold immense historical significance as there are several indications that these were occupied by Jain and Buddhist monks many centuries ago

Smog Towers: Delhi gets its first tower to tackle pollution

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III- Environment Conservation.

In News

  • Smog towers are structures designed to work as large-scale air purifiers
  • These air filters shall draw in the air through fans installed at the top before passing it through the filters and releasing it near the ground.
  • The filters installed in the tower will use carbon nanofibres as a major component and will focus on reducing particulate matter load.
  • The Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the Delhi government to prepare a plan to install ‘smog towers’ across the capital to deal with air pollution.
  • The 100m Xi’an tower in China which is dubbed the world’s largest has reportedly brought down PM 2.5 by 19% in an area of around 6 sq km in its vicinity.

Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC): To be established in Karnataka

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

In News

  • India’s world-class facility for training astronauts will come up at Challakere, a shrubby, arid oilseeds town in Karnataka. will be the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers.
  • It will be a self-contained facility there so that in future, whatever training and activities India is now doing in Russia for the Gaganyaan crew can all be done here

About Gaganyaan

  • Gaganyaan is the human space flight programme under which 3 Indian astronauts will go into space by 2022.This will be done by using its own capabilities. A GSLV-Mk III launch vehicle will lift them to their orbit.
  • If successful, India would become the fourth nation to conduct a human space flight programme after USSR/Russia, USA and China.

Bibi Ka Maqbara

Part of: GS Prelims

In News

  • It is a tomb located in Aurangabad, Maharashtra. 
  • The structure, known as the ‘Taj of the Deccan’ because of its striking resemblance to the Taj Mahal, was commissioned by Emperor Aurangzeb in 1660 in the memory of his wife Dilras Banu Begum.

Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN): Calls for objective assessment & transparency of scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS II- Governance

In News

  • The Air Passengers Association of India wants UDAN scheme to be fine-tuned and recalibrated with details of the scheme to be made public -money spent by the government in airline subsidies, the number of routes suspended
  • 35 lakh passengers have availed benefit under the scheme since its inception

Value Addition for Prelims

  • Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) was launched in 2016 to make air travel affordable for people through subsidised ticket rates and to provide air connectivity to smaller towns
  • In order to expand UDAN to international circuits, Centre has also unveiled the International Air Connectivity (IAC) scheme.

Saras Mk2

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Security

In News

  • It is a light transport aircraft which is indigenously developed by National Aerospace Laboratory (NAL)
  • The 19-seater aircraft, developed with a target cost of ₹50 crore, is at least 20-25% lower in cost than other aircraft in the similar category.
  • NAL is been pitching Saras Mk-2 for the government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik), since it has the capacity to operate in “ill-equipped”, “semi-prepared” and “unpaved airstrips”.

Scientific Social Responsibility

Part of: GS Prelims 

In News

  • Under this programme, researchers who are working on a science project funded by any of the Ministries under the Central government will have to undertake activities to popularise science and make it more accessible to the public.
  • Centre would draw up a list of activities which could be taken up under the Scientific Social Responsibility programme, that was similar to Corporate Social Responsibility.
  • The activities could range from going to colleges delivering lectures, writing an article in a magazine or doing something beyond the curriculum.
  • The move would not only bridge the gap between research institutes and the civilians, but also help scientists hone their communication skills.

Drosophila conference: To be held in India for first time

Part of: GS Prelims 

In News

  • Drosophila is a genus of two-winged flies commonly known as fruit flies.
  • Pune is set to host the fifth edition of the Asia-Pacific Drosophila Research Conference which is being organised in the country for the first time by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).
  • Its genome is entirely sequenced and there is enormous information available about its biochemistry, physiology and behaviour,
  • Drosophila is one of the most widely-used and preferred model organisms in biological research across the world for the last 100 years. 
  • Approximately 60% of a group of readily identified genes that are mutated, amplified, or deleted in a diverse set of human diseases have a counterpart in Drosophila.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POILTY

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

World Trade Organization: U.S. crippled the functioning of the WTO

Context:

  • Recently  the U.S. chose to spike the Appellate Body of WTO by starving funds for its functioning. 
  • US  stalled the selection process for filling six vacancies at the Appellate Body. Consequently, the Appellate Body is left with only one member, who will not be able to deliver any rulings on pending trade disputes (a minimum of three members is required to adjudicate any dispute)

Why US Chose to spike?

  • Appellate Body has posed hurdles to the U.S. for adopting unilateral measures. Several U.S. 
  • provisions for imposing countervailing and anti-dumping measures were found to be inconsistent with core provisions of the WTO agreements.
  • Finally, the U.S. chose to spike the Appellate Body by resorting to starving funds for its functioning as well as blocking the selection process for filling six vacancies. 
  • Consequently, the Appellate Body is left with only one member, who will not be able to deliver any rulings on the pending trade disputes.
  •  A minimum of three members are required to adjudicate any dispute.

World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body :

  • For proper enforcement of trade rules, a binding, two-stage dispute settlement system was established at the World Trade Organization in the 1990s. 
  • The Appellate Body is the scaffolding of the dispute settlement system, with seven standing members.

Working:

  • In the first stage for adjudicating trade disputes, a panel would decide cases brought before it by the members. Rulings issued by the panels can be appealed at the Appellate Body. 
  • As part of the second-stage of adjudication, the Appellate Body can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions of a panel. 
  • The Appellate Body’s decisions are final and adopted within 30 days by the dispute settlement body. 
  • Sanctions can be imposed on a member in case of its failure to comply with the Appellate Body’s rulings.

Cases dealt:

  • Cases involving trade remedies such as countervailing and anti-dumping measures, and the use of a controversial practice called the zeroing methodology that inflated the anti-dumping duties.

Significance:

  • The establishment of the Appellate Body has given teeth and credibility to the rules-based multilateral trading system. 
  • Moreover, it provided security and predictability in the multilateral trading system.

India’s Stand:

  •  “At the core of a functioning multilateral trading system is an effective dispute resolution mechanism.” Although not perfect, the dispute settlement system has led to meaningful reductions in unfair trade practices and has helped to strengthen the rules-based international trading system.” The U.S. has been one of the bigger users of the dispute settlement system and also a beneficiary “of this public good,” India said, cautioning that “unless the Membership acts in concert … to lift the block on AB vacancies, we are going to lose this public good which has served all of us so well.”

Impact:

  • It is a tremendous loss for the majority of WTO members who are all developing and poor countries. 
  • they “lack the political and economic clout to enforce their rights and protect their interests in a system governed by power and not rules.

Conclusion:

  • The absence of the Appellate Body will create a jungle raj and paves the way for a steep descent into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, 1947 rules.

Connecting the dots:

  • How do you think it impacts India?
  • Do you think US will change its stand?
  • Is the World Trade Organization dying?

HISTORY

TOPIC: General Studies 1:

  • Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country

Inter- state border dispute: Maharashtra-Karnataka Belgaum tension (Part-2)

In news:

  • Recently Bus services between Kolhapur and Belgaum were suspended after the decades-old border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka flared up again.
  • Various Kannada organisations had staged a protest in Belgaum and burnt the effigy of Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Controversy 

  • In 1957, slighted by the implementation of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, Maharashtra demanded readjustment of its border with Karnataka. 
  • It invoked Section 21 (2) (b) of the Act, and submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs stating its objection to Marathi- speaking areas being added to Karnataka. 
  • It claimed an area of 2,806 square miles that involved 814 villages, and three urban settlements of Belagavi, Karwar and Nippani with a total population of about 6.7 lakh, all part of the Mumbai Presidency before independence. 
  • The villages are spread across Belagavi and Uttar Kannada in north-western Karnataka, and Bidar and Gulbarga districts in north-eastern Karnataka — all bordering Maharashtra.
  • when a four-member committee was formed by both States, Maharashtra expressed willingness to transfer predominantly Kannada-speaking 260 villages with a population of about 3.25 lakh and total area of 1,160 square miles in lieu of accepting its demand for 814 villages and three urban settlements, which was turned down by Karnataka.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th January 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th January 2020

SRC:Newsminute 

Remember:

  • Karnataka declared Belagavi its second capital, holds its winter session at the newly constructed Vidhan Soudha, changed the name of Belgaum to Belagavi and also held the World Kannada Summit there — all in the last 15 years. 
  • In 2004, Maharashtra approached the Supreme Court for a settlement under Article 131(b) of the Constitution. 
  • Karnataka has questioned the suit. With one of the judges recusing, the court has to set up a new bench.

Maharashtra’s claim:

  • Maharashtra’s claim to seek the readjustment of its border was on the basis of contiguity, relative linguistic majority and wishes of the people. 
  • If the claim over Belagavi and surrounding areas was based on Marathi-speaking people and linguistic homogeneity, it laid its claim over Karwar and Supa where Konkani is spoken by citing Konkani as a dialect of Marathi. 
  • Its argument was based on the theory of village being the unit for calculation and enumerated linguistic population in each village. 
  • Maharashtra also points out the historical fact that the revenue records in these Marathi-speaking areas are also kept in Marathi.

Karnataka’s position:

  • Karnataka has argued that the settlement of boundaries as per the States Reorganisation Act is final. 
  • The boundary of the State was neither tentative nor flexible. 
  • The State argues that the issue would reopen border issues that have not been contemplated under the Act, and that such a demand should not be permitted. Initially, Karnataka was open to adjusting the border in the 10 mile belt from the drawn boundary.
  • Karnataka also points out that when Congress, which redrew its circles on linguistic basis in 1920, included Belagavi in the Karnataka Provincial Congress Committee. Besides, the States Reorganisation Commission vested Belagavi with Karnataka.

Way forward:

  • In 1960, both States agreed to set up a four-man committee with two representatives from each State. 
  • Except on the issue of contiguity, the committee could not arrive at a unanimous decision, and respective representatives submitted reports to their government. 
  • Between the 1960s and 1980s, chief ministers of Karnataka and Maharashtra have met several times to find a solution to the vexed issue but with no avail.

Central govt’s stand:

  • In 1966, the Centre announced setting up a one-man commission under former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India Meher Chand Mahajan to look into border issues between Karnataka (then Mysore state) and Maharashtra. 
  • The commission was also asked to look into Karnataka’s demand for integration of Kannada-speaking areas in Kasargod in Kerala.
  • Karnataka sought areas in Kolhapur, Sholapur and Sangli districts from Maharashtra, and Kasargod from Kerala.
  • The commission rejected Maharashtra’s claim over Belagavi city while recommending transfer of about 260 villages in the border to Maharashtra and about 250 villages in Maharashtra to Karnataka.
  • Maharashtra said the report was inconsistent and an unfair application of its own principle. It also said the report was not a final word on the issue. Karnataka, however, agreed to the report.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think this dispute is detrimental for the integrity of the country?
  • How do you think the dispute can be resolved?

(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 Smog Towers

  1. These air filters shall draw in the air through fans installed at the top before passing it through the filters and releasing it near the ground.
  2. The filters generally use carbon nanofibres as a major component and will focus on reducing particulate matter load.

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 Saras Mk2

  1. It is a light transport aircraft which is indigenously developed by Hindustan Aeronotics Limited (HAL)
  2. It will be ideal for commuter connectivity under the UDAAN scheme and other applications like aerial search/survey, executive transport, disaster management and border patrol

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) Belum Caves is located in which state of India? 

  1. Kerala
  2. Maharashtra
  3. Andhra Pradesh
  4. Karnataka

Q.4) Consider the following statements about Gaganyaan Mission

  1. It is ISRO’s human space flight programme under which 3 Indian astronauts will go into space by 2022.
  2. Russian launch vehicle will lift Indian astronauts to their orbit.

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 04 JAN 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 D
4 A
5 D

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