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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd April 2020

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  • April 22, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


World economy to contract by 3%: IMF’s report 

 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

 In News: 

Key takeaways: 

  • As per the WEO, India’s growth is expected to dip to 1.9% in 2020 and rebound to 7.4% in 2021. 
  • Similar observation was made by the World bank’s South Asia Economic Focus report. 
  • As countries implement necessary quarantines and social-distancing practices to contain the pandemic, the world has been put in a great lockdown due to which all the economic activities have been affected.  
  • The cumulative loss to global GDP over 2020 and 2021 from the pandemic crisis could be around $9 trillion, greater than the economies of Japan and Germany, combined.  

Important value additions: 

The World Economic Outlook (WEO)  

  • It is an IMF report that provides analysis and forecasts of economic developments and policies in its member countries. 
  • It also projects developments in the global financial markets and economic systems. 
  • The WEO is usually prepared twice a year.  

International Monetary Fund 

  • 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. 

Lithium-rich giant stars discovered in space  

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space 

 In News: 

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have discovered hundreds of Li-rich giant stars in space.  

Key takeaways: 

  • The discovery indicates that Lithium (Li) is being produced in the stars.  
  • The production, thus, accounts for its abundance in the interstellar (situated between stars) medium. 
  • Lithium enhancement is also being associated with central Helium (He) burning stars, also known as red clump giants.  
  • This association could open up new vistas in the evolution of the red giant stars. 
  • This is an important discovery that will help to eliminate many proposed theories such as planet engulfment during the red giant evolution in which helium at the center is not burning. 
  • Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science &Technology.  

Important value additions: 

  • Lithium (Li), is one of the three primordial (from the beginning) elements apart from Hydrogen (H) and Helium (He),  
  • They were produced in the big bang nucleosynthesis (BBN).  
  • In general, stars are considered as Li sinks.  
  • This means that the original Li, with which stars are born, only gets depleted over stars’ life-time.  

 TIFAC explores best methods to revive Indian economy post COVID-19 

 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology 

 In News: 

  • The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) is preparing a white paper to strategize revival of post-COVID 19 Indian economy. 

Key takeaways: 

  • This document would mainly focus on: 
    • strengthening Make in India initiatives,  
    • commercialization of Indigenous technology,  
    • developing a technology-driven transparent Public Distribution System (PDS),  
    • efficient rural health care delivery, 
    • adoption of emerging technology domains like AI, Machine Learning and many more.  

Important value additions: 

TIFAC 

  • It is an autonomous technology think tank under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.  
  • Thinking for the future in important socio-economic sectors is one of its mandates.  
  • It was established in 1986, as per the recommendation of Technology Policy Implementation Committee (TPIC) in 1985.  
  • TIFAC activities comprise of wide array of technology areas and fill a critical gap in the overall S&T system of India.  

Miscellaneous  

COVID India Seva 

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched ‘COVID India Seva’, an interactive platform for citizen engagement on COVID-19.  
  • It provided an interactive platform to establish a direct channel of communication with millions of Indians amid the pandemic.  
  • This initiative is aimed at enabling transparent e-governance delivery and answering citizen queries swiftly, 

Mobile App Saiyam 

  • A mobile App Saiyam, launched by Pune Municipal Corporation, tracks Home Quarantined Citizens.  
  • It is developed to ensure they are actually staying in the home.  
  • It was developed under Smart Cities Mission (SCM). 
  • It has GPS tracking as well.  

Earth Day 

  • The Earth day is observed on April 22 in order to create awareness about pollution and to celebrate the environment of our planet. 
  • This year is a special occasion as it marks the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.  
  • The theme of the day this year is ‘Climate Action’. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Social empowerment
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

Migrants and their significance in India

Context: The COVID-19 crisis has, for the first time, brought migration & their exodus (mass migration) to the centre stage of public health and disaster response in India. 

 Changing Nature of Mass Migration 

  • In the past, a mass migration would take place because of a disaster such as a famine, drought, flood, or regional conflict.  
  • It would be from the area where such a calamity was unfolding. 
  • Though, such types of mass migration continue, now there are new narratives of it caused by demonetisation, violence against migrants, and lockdown. 
  • The decisive role played by the state or the lack of it, is causing such migration 

Significance of Migrant Workers in public health and political economy 

1. The numbers involved are very high 

  • For instance: Bihar which has a population of about 123 million has an estimated inter-state migrant population of 3 million 

 2. India’s economy, particularly of the growth centres, depends on the services of migrant workers.  For Instance:  

  • Agricultural activities during harvest season 
  • Sectors such as construction, garment manufacturing and mining  

3. Economic shock to home States (Ex. UP, Bihar) when migrants return (from Delhi, Mumbai), as there are no compensatory sources of livelihood to be offered 

  • This will impact nutrition, health, education of dependents and the well-being of the older population. 

 4. In the case of epidemics, exodus of seasonal migrants creates danger of the spread of the disease in rural areas 

5. Loss of Livelihoods 

  • Working from home or getting paid leave is largely a middle-class phenomenon 
  • Daily-wage earners do not have the capacity to stay at a destination during lockdown thus causing their exodus 

 6. Low Quality of Life 

  • Due to lack of sanitation, hygiene, safe drinking water, health services, social security measures, and affordable housing 

 7. Vulnerable to infection 

  • The pathetic living conditions of migrants in slum-like colonies, where people simply cannot practise social distancing, are breeding grounds of communicable diseases 

Though, government announced ₹1.7 Lakh crore relief package, there are reasons to believe that it will not benefit seasonal migrants, reasons being 

  • Those migrants who are not ration cardholders in the cities where they are stationed will not benefit from additional free foodgrains under the PDS.  
  • They cannot avail of increased MGNREGA wages until they go back home.  
  • As many seasonal migrants are landless they will not benefit from PM-KISAN component of the package 
  • They will not get benefits under the Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board because of low registration 

Conclusion 

  • The states need to address immediate distress conditions and simultaneously initiate long-term structural changes in the policy towards migrants  

Connecting the dots :

  • Article 19(1)(d) of Indian Constitution 
  • One Nation- One Ration Card 

INTERNATIONAL 

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and India

Context: IOC granted observer status to India on March 6th,2020. 

About IOC 

Founded in 1982, the IOC is an intergovernmental organisation comprising five small-island states in the Western Indian Ocean which are 

  • Comoros 
  • Madagascar 
  • Mauritius 
  • Réunion (a French department) 
  • Seychelles. 

Decisions in the IOC are consensus-based in spite of the presence of major Power-France (Reunion) 

Significance of IOC: For its geographical location, as the islands sit around a “key choke-point” in the Indian Ocean — the Mozambique Channel 

Pic: Source

Achievements of IOC 

  • In 2012, the IOC was one of the four regional organisations to launch the MASE Programme 
  • MASE is an EU-funded programme to promote Maritime Security in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean 
  • Under MASE, the IOC has established a mechanism for surveillance and control of the Western Indian Ocean with two regional centres.  
  • The Regional Maritime Information Fusion Centre (RMIFC), based in Madagascar, monitors maritime activities and promotes information sharing 
  • The Regional Coordination Operations Centre (RCOC), based in Seychelles, will facilitate jointly coordinated interventions at sea based on information gathered through the RMIFC. 

What are the merits of maritime security architecture (RMIFC & RCOC) created by IOC? 

  • These platforms act as deterrent against maritime crime at sea 
  • Supplements the high-level counter-piracy presence of naval forces from the EU and USA 
  • It provides sustainable framework to improve maritime control and surveillance while allowing littoral States to shape their own destiny 

India and IOC 

  • Similar thinking: IOC is not seeking a ‘big brother’ partnership which is aligned with India’s policy of treating all Nations as equals irrespective of their size 
  • Model to be replicated: The IOC style of ‘bottom-up regionalism’ has led to regional definition of maritime security problems and local ownership of workable solutions. Such a strategy can be replicated at South Asian level 
  • Multiplier effect: Local successes at curbing maritime threats, through IOC, will have broader security dividends for the Indian Ocean space. 
  • Potential Partner: India’s SAGAR vision is intended to be “consultative, democratic and equitable”, which syncs with IOC vision of regional security 

Way Ahead: How Indian can help IOC? 

  • Support sub-regional efforts such as those of the IOC. 
  • Building capacity of IOC countries to patrol their EEZs 
  • Linking of India’s information fusion centres with others in the region 
  • Providing Technical expertise in maritime monitoring & surveillance 
  • Providing India’s satellite imagery services to RMIFC 

Connecting the dots 

  • Other regional Organisation in the subcontinent 
  • Importance of Mozambique Channel as the U.S.-Iran tensions threaten the Strait of Hormuz.  

(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 regarding world economic Outlook report: 

  1. It is published by International Monetary Fund  
  2. The report is released twice a year. 

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 Which of the following are the primordial elements?  

  1. Helium and Hydrogen  
  2. Helium Lithium Hydrogen 
  3. Lithium and Helium 
  4. Lithium and hydrogen 

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding The Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC): 

  1. It is a statutory body.
  2. It was established as per the recommendation of Technology policy implementation committee. 

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 COVID-19 India Seva is launched by which of the following ministry?  

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 
  2. Ministry of Agriculture 
  3. Ministry of Defence 
  4. Ministry of Railways 

ANSWERS FOR 21st April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 A
4 C

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