Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th April 2020

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  • April 16, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th April 2020



Initiatives of Department of Agriculture to promote farming and allied sectors during lockdown

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Agriculture; Welfare Schemes

In News:

  • Exemptions have been given by Government of India for agricultural operations keeping in view the harvesting and sowing season. 

Key takeaways:

  • The All India Agri Transport Call Centre has been launched. It is set up for coordination between States for inter-state movement of perishable commodities.  
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme  about 8 crores farmers have been benefitted. 
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY) large amount of pulses have been dispatched for delivery to the States/UTs. 
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), around Rs.2000 crores of insurance claims have been disbursed to the beneficiary farmers. 
  • Decision has been taken for providing 2% Interest Subvention (IS) to Banks and 3% Prompt Repayment Incentive (PRI) to farmers for the extended period of the lockdown. 

Important value additions:

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi

  • It is an initiative by the government of India in which all farmers will get up to ₹6,000 per year as minimum income support

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY) 

  • During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic in India, Finance Minister announced a ₹1.70 Lakh Crore ($24 billion) relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor.

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana(PMFBY)

  • It is an insurance service for farmers for their yields.
  • It was formulated in line with One Nation–One Scheme theme by replacing earlier two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS) 
  • It aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers and ensure early settlement of crop assurance claims for the full insured sum.

Interest Subvention

  • The interest subvention scheme for farmers aims at providing short term credit to farmers at subsidised interest rate. 

Integrated geospatial platform launched for better decisions in COVID-19 outbreak

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II –Governance & GS-III – Science and Technology

In News:

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has created an Integrated Geospatial Platform out of available geospatial datasets to help decision making during the current COVID-19 outbreak. 
  • The platform shall aid in devising area-specific strategies to handle the socio-economic impact in the recovery phase.

Key takeaways:

  • The mobile application SAHYOG and the web portal have been launched for the same objective. 
  • It is managed by the Survey of India (SoI). 
  • It is customized to collect COVID-19 specific data through community engagement to augment the response activities by Government of India to the pandemic. 
  • This mobile application will complement the “AAROGYA-SETU” .
  • This integrated geospatial platform will strengthen the Nation’s health emergency management due to the COVID-19 outbreak and support the socio-economic recovery process.

Important value additions:


  • It is a mobile application launched by the Government of India for Contact tracing, Public awareness, and Self-assessment objectives amidst COVID-19 pandemic.

IMF proposes to deploy its full 1 trillion US Dollar lending capacity to support countries

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II –Global Groupings; Role of International Organization

In News:

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) has proposed to deploy its full 1 trillion US Dollar lending capacity to support countries battling COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The IMF Board has already approved debt relief for 25 of its poorest members. 

Important value additions:

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) 

  • It is an organization of 189 countries which has the objectives to: 
    • foster global monetary cooperation
    • secure financial stability
    • facilitate international trade
    • promote high employment and sustainable economic growth
    • reduce poverty around the world.
  • It was created in 1945. 
  • It is governed by and accountable to the 189 member countries. 
  • Its primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system, that is, the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries to transact with each other.
  • The IMF provides broad support to low-income countries (LICs) through surveillance, capacity-building activities and concessional financial support
  • Decisions are made by a majority of votes cast. 
  • The Board of Governors consists of one(1) governor and one alternate governor for each member country. 
  • IMF funds come from two major sources: quotas and loans. 
  • Quotas are pooled funds of member nations. Nations with larger economic importance have larger quotas. 
  • Wealthier countries that provide more money to the IMF have more influence
  • Member’s quota also determines its relative voting power. 



  • The Kerala Tourism has come up with six theme-based microsites, including one on Kalaripayattu for the post-COVID-19 days.
  • Kalaripayattu also known as Kalari, is an Indian martial art and fighting style. 
  • It originated in Kerala.
  • It is considered to be among the oldest martial arts still in existence.  
  • Women in Keralite society also undergo training in Kalaripayattu. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th April 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th April 2020

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalaripayattu

Meru Jatra/ Danda Nata

  • Odisha’s Ganjam district administration recently banned the Meru Jatra festival on the occasion of Mahavishub Sankranti, which is also start of the Odia New Year.
  • Meru Jatra marks the end of 21-day-long festival of penance named ‘Danda Nata’.
  • Only male persons take part in this festival.
  • The participants of Danda are called Danduas (also known as Bhoktas). 
  • Goddess Kali and Shiva are worshipped during this period. 



Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Salient features of Indian Society, Diversity of India. 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 

COVID-19 and challenges of Craftspeople

Context: Craftspeople, artisans, weavers, home-based skilled self-employed was not mentioned in the COVID-19 financial packages announced by the government.

Craftspeople of all categories in India are largely ignored and left to fend for themselves. 

Some of the challenges which they face in the wake of lockdown are:

  • Essential supplies have not reached to majority of daily wage craftspeople.
  • Bulk orders were cancelled impacting their business cycles & meagre incomes
  • Inadequate raw material left at the start of lockdown, which means that kick starting their activities post the lockdown will be difficult
  • Food insecurity: In rural areas only some have enough stocks of rations.
    • Those in towns only buy monthly supplies and have no income now to replenish their ration
  • Presence of police and their brute policing methods impacted their movement even to fetch essential supplies
  • Miseries of weavers:  They have looms in their homes but no yarn and large numbers of very poor weavers working under them are unpaid.
  • e-commerce platforms have not been of much help during the lockdown
  • Depressed demand: Collective activity will remain subdued in the aftermath of lockdown impacting their livelihoods

Way ahead

  • Interest-free loans of Rs 5,000-Rs 10,000 per month per family for two months backed by the government
  • Policy Impetus: Craftspeople are largely dependent on tourism and hence need a composite plan to stimulate demand so they can look forward to the festival season.
  • The corporate sector must support with advance payments to order festive season gifts for clients.
  • Special package for weavers
    • The textile ministry needs to focus on the specific needs for different areas in the country, avoiding one-size-fits-all schemes
    • Multipurpose handloom gamchas provided by weavers can serve as masks 
  • Import Substitution Strategy
    • Indian Potters can provide clay and even cow dung lamps that could replace Chinese lamps lit during Diwali season
    • More than Rs 400 crore worth of roundly cut bamboo sticks are imported from China and Vietnam by agarbatti manufacturers. This can be substituted by bamboo from Northeastern states 
  • Re-energising village industries through change in developmental strategy (that is currently focused on centralisation in metro-capitals)
    • This will reduce carbon footprints and discourage migration

Connecting the dots:

  • Impact on lockdown on Livelihood of Tribals
  • KVIC – it’s possible role in the aftermath of lockdown to kick start crafts industry


Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • The role of NGOs, SHGs and various groups 

COVID-19: Role of Private Sector

Context: COVID-19, has spiralled into a global pandemic in less than 90 days, bringing most of the world to a near standstill.

Do You Know?

  • In India, private hospitals, clinics and nursing homes provide over 70% of healthcare.
  • Over half of all treatments under Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) are availed from private providers, accounting for over 60% of total disbursements.

What has been the strategy to tackle COVID-19 till now?

  • It has been a whole-of-government approach with little role played by private sector
  • Much of COVID-19 testing and treatment is being done in public facilities
  • However, as the pandemic progresses we might need a whole-of-society response

A case for whole-of-society approach

  • Huge Country: Government needs to enlist the support of private players to manage the crisis situation in a vast & diverse country like India 
  • Effective: According to the WHO, a critical lesson from the 2014-16 West African Ebola epidemic was that both the public and private sector need to work in tandem in responding to large-scale epidemics.
  • Creating a large and accessible testing infrastructure as the epidemic spreads means more private sector participation
    • Testing has been included under the AB PM-JAY.
    • India has opened testing up to private labs but need to substantially expand on this.
  • Private sector needed to ramp up production of essential medical products — from testing kits, masks and other PPEs to oxygen and ventilators – as epidemic spreads
  • Augment Public Healthcare Capacity: Private hospitals needs to be converted into COVID-19-only hospitals as government hospitals in India are limited
  • Treatment of non-COVID-19 patients: Private sector can pitch in especially when government hospitals are focused heavily on tackling COVID-19
  • Support for community activities such as night shelters and community kitchens should be strengthened through private sector participation
  • Filling of the knowledge gaps- Government, private and not-for-profit research institutions need to collaborate to understand the nature of virus and develop necessary cure/vaccines

Way Ahead

  • Empanelling additional health facilities under PM-JAY to provide emergency care and treatment for other serious illnesses to all citizens, particularly the poor and vulnerable
  • Direct support from banks to private sector to keep production and supply chains running

Connecting the dots:

  • Gandhiji’s Trusteeship Model
  • Challenges with respect to NGOs in India


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 Consider the following statements:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana aims to reduce the premium burden on farmers.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi initiative provides rupees 10,000 per year to all farmers.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.2 Mobile application Sahyog is launched by which of the following?

  1. Department of Science and Technology 
  2. Niti Aayog 
  3. Ministry of Family, Health and Welfare 
  4. Ministry of Agriculture

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding International Monetary Fund? 

  1. It is governed by and accountable to the 189 member countries 
  2. Its primary purpose is to ensure the stability of the International Monetary system.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.4 Kalaripayattu originated in which of the following state of India?

  1. Kerala 
  2. Andhra Pradesh 
  3. Telangana 
  4. Tamil Nadu

Q.5) Meru Jatra festival is celebrated in which of the following state of India? 

  1. Orissa 
  2. Chhattisgarh 
  3. Jharkhand 
  4. Madhya Pradesh


1 C
2 D
3 D
4 A

Must Read

About US suspending WHO funding:

The Hindu

About farmers distress in the wake of COVID-19:

The Hindu

About need for harmonizing with the nature:

The Hindu

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