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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th April 2020

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  • April 28, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) survey: Industries struggle amidst the pandemic 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Industries

In News:

  • Companies were surveyed recently regarding the difficulties being faced by them due to the lockdown which was imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Almost half of the industries which have been allowed to reopen still face hurdles in obtaining permits to function and passes for employees.

Key takeaways:

  • Movement: 
    • 60% of surveyed companies faced disruption in the movement of inputs and finished goods.
    • Only 15% of them said that movement of raw materials and finished goods was taking place smoothly.
    • 23% said such movement was not taking place at all.
  • Permits
    • 19% of companies said permits were not available to them. 
    • 27% said they had faced delays. 
    • 67% said the daily commute was problematic
  • Functioning
    • Only 10% of plants were functioning at more than 50% of their full capacity. 
    • Only 9% of firms have more than half their workers back on site.
  • CII demanded that businesses should be allowed to function without need of permits in non-containment areas. 
  • Also, workers should be allowed to commute to work in their own vehicles on the basis of a letter issued by the employer without need of a government pass.

Important value additions:

Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

  • CII is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry-managed organization.
  • Founded in 1895, it works with the Government on policy issues. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th April 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th April 2020

Image source: Click here 


Basava Jayanthi: Birth anniversary of Vishwaguru Basaveshwara

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Ancient Indian history; Socio-cultural reform movements

In News:

  • Recently, The Prime Minister of India greeted the people on Global Basava Jayanthi
  • It is celebrated on April 26 to honour the birth of Vishwaguru Basaveshwara

Important value additions:

Basaveshwara

  • He was born in Bagevadi (of undivided Bijapur district in Karnataka) during 1131 AD. 
  • He was the 12th century philosopher and social reformer who gave a unique spiritual path to mankind.
  • He is the founding saint of the Lingayat sect.
  • His spiritual discipline was based on the principles of:
    • Arivu (true knowledge), 
    • Achara (right conduct), 
    • Anubhava (divine experience) 
  • His practical approach and act of establishment of ‘Kalyana Rajya’ (Welfare state) brought a new status and position for all the citizens of the society, irrespective of class, caste, creed and sex.
  • He established the Anubhava Mantapa, which was a common forum for all to discuss the prevailing problems of socio, economic and political areas. 
  • It was the first and foremost socio-religious Parliament of India. 
  • On 14th November 2015, the Prime Minister of India also inaugurated the statue of Basavanna along the bank of the river Thames at Lambeth in London.

SN 2010kd: a super-luminous supernova that exploded rapidly and decayed slowly

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space

In News:

  • Researchers at the Arayabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital recently carried out study of SN 2010kd
  • ARIES is an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India. 

Key takeaways:

  • SN 2010kd is a super-luminous supernova which ejected huge amounts of mass and Nickel during explosion.
  • The amount of ejection was much more than seen in case of normal core-collapse supernovae, which indicates that the related star evolution might be different
  • It exploded with a larger velocity but decayed slower than other similar supernovae.

Important value additions:

  • Supernovae are types of energetic explosions where the core of massive stars explode, liberating huge amounts of energy.  
  • These events are visible through very far away distances much beyond our own solar system. 
  • Super-luminous supernovae are a special type of explosions having energy output 10 or more times higher than that of standard supernovae. 

Miscellaneous 

Exercise ‘Pitch Black’

  • Pitch Black 2020, Australia’s premier multilateral air combat training exercise has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation.
  • In its last edition in 2018, the Indian Air Force (IAF) deployed fighter aircraft for the first time. 
  • The bilateral naval exercise AUSINDEX (between Australia and India), early last year, saw participation of the largest Australian contingent ever to India with over 1,000 personnel. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Impact of policies and politics of developing & developed world on India
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors 
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

COVID-19: Disruption and a new order

Context: Former National Security Advisor M.K. Narayanan analyses the geopolitical and geo-economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. These are as follows

Institutions under fire

  • UN Security Council is criticised for being slow in dealing with a situation that is far dangerous than any military threat in recent decades.
  • WHO has been alleged of bias towards China and of grossly underestimating the nature of the epidemic.

Economic shock

  • World Bank has already predicted negative growth for most nations. 
  • India’s growth forecast for the current fiscal year has been put at 1.5% to 2.8%. 

Political Management

  • Tools used by Democratic governments to tackle COVID-19 are similar to authoritarian regimes such as China and people have welcomed such measures
  • The role of the state as an enforcer of public good will become greatly enhanced.
  • For instance: Europe has shown a willingness to sacrifice personal liberties in favour of greater state control
  • An omnipotent state could well become a reality i.e. present everywhere and monitoring people through mass surveillance

China in the spotlight

  • China due to its ‘early recovery’ seeks to take advantage of and benefit from the problems faced by the world in the wake of the epidemic. 
  • It wants to use its manufacturing capability to its geo-economic advantage.
  • Hostile Takeover: China intends to acquire stakes in companies across the world, taking advantage of the scaled-down value of their assets
  • It wants to gain soft power by offering medical aid & supplies to other nations
  • China aims to dominate the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), thus enabling it to exploit market access across the S.E. Asia and E. Asia
  • Through pushing its Belt & Road Initiative it is trying to achieve China-centric multilateral globalisation framework.

A faltering West

  • Weakened economically and politically after COVID-19, the U.S.’s capacity to play a critical role in world affairs is certain to diminish.
  • United States is already being pronounced by some as a ‘failing’ state
  • Europe, in the short and medium term, will prove incapable of defining and defending its common interests
  • Germany, which may still retain some of its present strength, is already turning insular
  • Both France and a post-Brexit United Kingdom will be out of the reckoning 

West Asia and India

  • The oil price meltdown will aggravate an already difficult situation across the region
  • Iran is going to face further difficulties due to US sanction
  • Israel may be one country that is in a position to exploit this situation to its advantage.
  • Indian expatriate community in West Asia region may return back home leading to reduced inflow of foreign funds
  • Economic downturn greatly reduces India’s room for manoeuvre in South Asian region while China gains new friends through its economic diplomacy

Conclusion

Pandemics have often changed the world and reshaped human society. We can expect the same with COVID-19.

Connecting the dots:

  • Latin America – Impact of COVID-19
  • Sustainable development goals in the post-COVID-19 world

ECONOMY/GOVERNANCE

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

Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR)

Context: The oil price meltdown provides an opportunity for oil importing country like India to tweak its energy policies to take advantage of the situation

Did You Know?

  • Brent Crude Oil is trading around $25 a barrel (April 2020), the lowest in 18 years.
  • In 2019, the average closing price of a barrel of crude was $57.05. In 2018, it was $64.90, and in 2017, U$50.84. 

Reduced oil price and India

  • Normally, reduced oil prices would translate into surplus oil for the consumers 
  • It also means a fiscal bonus for the government through increased tax collections (when the reduced price is not fully transferred to consumers)
  • However, these gains will not be easy to come by given that the demand for petrol has drastically reduced.

Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) programme

  • Objective is to maintain emergency stockpile of oil reserves
  • India claims to have 87 days of reserves. 
  • Out of this, Oil refiners maintain 65 days of oil storage 
  • The rest of the reserves are held in underground salt caverns maintained by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL). 
  • The existing and planned capacity for the underground reserves is 10 and 12 days of import cover for crude oil respectively.

Issue with SPR 

  • Lack of transparency with refinery holdings.
    • The SPR arrangement between the oil refineries and the Union or state governments is not specified well
    • A breakdown of which refineries hold SPR and in what form (crude or refined) or information about where they are located is not publicly available.
  • Ambiguity surrounding the mobilisation process 
    • SPR are meant to be utilized for emergency purposes, where time is crucial. 
    • However, there is no definite framework delineating roles for various agencies

Way Ahead

  • Policy Framework: ISPRL could fill up the reserves each time the price of Brent crude oil falls below a certain price, say $35 per barrel. 
  • The procedures, protocols and facts about Indian SPR storage require greater public and parliamentary scrutiny
  • Thus, there is a need to introduce transparency and accountability in relation to the SPR
  • SPR mobilisation process could be made more efficient by laying out designated roles for different agencies to avoid duplication of work in times of crisis
  • India should look to diversify its SPR holdings. Diversification can be based on 
    • Geographical location – storing oil either domestically or abroad. For instance: Trincomalee in Sri Lanka, Oman (Ras Markaz) 
    • Storage location – underground or overground 
    • Product type (oil can be held in either crude or refined form). 
    • Form of ownership — either publicly owned through ISPRL or by private oil companies, such as ADNOC of Abu Dhabi, which could fill up the SPR when prices are low

Connecting the dots:

  • Solar Power in the times of reduced Oil Prices
  • 1973 Oil Crisis

(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 With regard to the survey carried out recently by Confederation of Indian Industry, consider the following statements:

  1. 15% of them said that movement of raw materials and finished goods was taking place smoothly.
  2. Only 10% of plants were functioning at more than 50% of their full capacity.

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 SN 2010kd, recently seen in news, is associated with which of the following?

  1. Super- Luminous Supernova 
  2. Discovery of a new Galaxy 
  3. Discovery of a new planet 
  4. A comet which could hit the planet earth

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Basaveshwara:

  1. He is the founding saint of Lingayat sect.
  2. He established Anubhava Mantapa which is considered as the first Socio-religious Parliament of India. 

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 Exercise Pitch Black, recently seen in news, was being conducted by which of the following country?

  1. USA
  2. Japan
  3. Australia
  4. Russia

ANSWERS FOR 27th April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A
3 B
4 A
5 B

Must Read

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