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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th April 2020

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  • April 4, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


‘Hack The Crisis-India’ Hackathon: To find solutions to overcome COVID-19 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In News:

  • Minister of State Human Resource Development (HRD) recently launched Hack the Crisis – India

Key takeaways:

  • It is an Online Hackathon to find working solutions for overcoming COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The winning ideas from few top participating teams, as implementable solutions on corona crisis, are expected to help India and global citizens.  
  • It is a part of global initiative. 
  • It is being organised by ‘Hack A Cause – India’ and ‘FICCI Ladies Organization Pune’. 
  • This hackathon is supported by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) developed by DRDO

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

In News:

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a bio suit to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel, who engaged in combating COVID-19, safe from the deadly virus.
  • It has also developed technologies for sanitising areas of different sizes.

Key takeaways:

  • DRDO has developed this Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) having specific type of fabric with coating
  • It has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape based on the sealant used in submarine applications
  • For sanitising small area, Portable Backpack Area Sanitisation Equipment has been developed. 
  • Trolley Mounted Large Area Sanitisation Equipment is developed for sanitising large areas. 

Important value additions:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)

  • It is an agency of the Government of India, charged with the military’s research and development, headquartered in New Delhi. 

Funds allocated to State Disaster Risk Management Fund

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Disaster management; GS-II – Centre – State Relations

In News:

  • Union Minister of Home Affairs (MHA) approved the release of ₹11,092 crore under the State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRMF) to all the States to take measures for containment of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The funds were allocated to the States on the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission.
  • It was also reiterated to the State Chief Secretaries to ensure that exceptions with regard to farming operations, be allowed under the 21-day lockdown while maintaining Social Distancing. 

Important value additions:

State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRF) 

  • It is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters to meet expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims. 
  • Centre contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States and Union Territories and 90% for special category States (North East States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir). 

Air quality improves due to lockdown 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment 

In News:

  • The ongoing lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic has pushed pollution levels in Delhi to a 5-year low
  • Across India, the number of cities that recorded ‘good’ on the air quality index jumped from 6 to 30 within a fortnight, according to data from the Central Pollution Control Board.

Key takeaways:

  • Level of particulate matter, PM 2.5 – the most dangerous pollutant – also reduced
  • Overall, up to 44% reduction in PM10 levels was observed in Delhi. 

Important value additions:

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • It is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (Mo.E.F.C). 
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974
  • It is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. 
  • It provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them. 
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control. 

Air Quality Index (AQI) 

  • The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. 
  • It tells how clean or polluted the air is. 
  • The higher the AQI value, the greater the level of air pollution and the greater the health Concern. 
  • Research studies have attributed the key sources of PM2.5 in summer to be: dust and construction activities (35%), transport sector (20%) and industry (20%).

Miscellaneous 

‘CARUNA’ initiative formed by Central Civil Services officers

  • Associations representing officers of Central Civil Services, including IAS and  IPS officers, have formed an initiative called ‘Caruna’ to support and supplement the government’s efforts in fighting coronavirus.
  • The acronym ‘Caruna’ stands for Civil Services Associations Reach to Support in Natural Disasters.
  • It represents a collaborative platform by civil servants, industry leaders, NGO professionals and IT professionals and many others. 

Operation Sanjeevani: IAF airlifts essential medicines to Maldives

  • An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft delivered essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives under Operation Sanjeevani.
  • This is the first such assistance by India in fight against COVID.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Post COVID-19 world

With COVID-19 pandemic spreading to nearly 180 countries and impacting the global economy by bringing it to near standstill, the world order post the crisis could see few changes. 

Let us have a look at them.

Political

  • Increasing political and policy uncertainties where Nations start erecting barriers
  • US power would shift from one of assertion to neutrality in global affairs.
  • Acceleration of retreat of US global leadership (reflected in US-Taliban deal)
  • Russia dominance will increase as it is currently more economically and politically stable and an important power broker in West Asia
  • Asymmetric capabilities of China and Russia will be further strengthened
  • Strengthening of China and Russia axis –will have direct impact on the liberal international order
  • Increasing influence of China & Russia will be a boost to authoritarian regimes and authoritarian trends.

Economical

  • China would cease to be the world’s biggest exporter of manufactured goods 
  • With no country in a position to replace China, situation will precipitate a further economic downturn internationally.
  • A global recession would be inevitable with vicious downward cycle of decreased demand, closure of firms and reduced income
  • Industries will face newer challenges such as having to adjust to a shift from cost efficiencies to innovation and policy uncertainties

Social

  • Psychological issues caused due to extended lockdown – ‘epidemic of despair’ – resulting in anxiety, mental problems, depression, alcoholism and suicides
  • Inequality further entrenches – those without high levels of skills could see job losses due to depressed economic activity & increased labour competition
  • Digital authoritarianism – China’s model of AI-powered facial recognition surveillance system could be duplicated in other countries for social management
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) can cause the next big human catastrophe

Do You Know?

  • In terms of GDP in PPPChina is the largest economy with GDP of $25.27 trillion (2019) in comparison to U.S. GDP (PPP) at $21.44 trillion
  • The cost of the lockdown in India is pegged at around $120 billion or 4% of GDP
  • CII has estimated that India would require up to six months – after the COVID-19 epidemic is over – to restore normalcy and business continuity.

Connecting the dots:

  • Multilateralism post COVID-19 pandemic
  • Article 360 of Indian Constitution – Provisions and Utility 

EDUCATION/ TECHNOLOGY

Topic: General Studies 2

  • :Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

COVID-19: Online schooling: Possibilities and concerns

The lockdown imposed by authorities in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the learning curve of millions of children in India (& across world).  This has led to renewal of interest on online learning

Do you know how Technology is aiding the three aspects of schooling? 

  • Information –Google has revolutionised access to information
  • Interaction – free apps (like Google class rooms, Zoom, Skype, Electa) and customised learning management systems has enabled teacher-student interactions to continue even during these times of lockdown
  • Self-study – Students now have access to various sources for self-study Ex: Swayam Prabha by GoI, National Digital Library (even IASBaba for UPSC-CSE preparation)

Concerns w.r.t Online Schooling

  • Job Losses: There is a fear that school managements would use online learning system in downsizing the number of teachers once the Corona-scene is over
  • Digital Infrastructure: Teachers need to be provided with laptops/tablets and a steady internet connection for such exercises
  • Digital Capabilities: Teachers should also be equipped with basic operating skills in computers and good typing speed
  • Integration with Learning: Online schooling process can become ineffective if technological process is not integrated with learning. Thus any online schooling needs to have proper schedule, Lessons, notes, interactions and online tests
  • Digital Access: School children (especially in rural areas) don’t usually have phones, social media accounts or even e-mail IDs and thus require parental guidance.

Way Forward

  • Technology should be used to improve the conversation between teachers and students, not to abandon it altogether
  • Technology has to be seen as an aid to schooling, not a substitute to it

Connecting the dots:


(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. Minister of State Human Resource Development (HRD) recently launched Hack the Crisis – India. 
  2. It is a part of global initiative.

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 Consider the following statements:

  1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) developed by DRDO has specific type of fabric with coating. 
  2. It has prepared a special sealant based on the sealant used in submarine applications. 

Which of the 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 regarding State Disaster Risk Management Fund (SDRF):

  1. It is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters.
  2. Centre contributes 75% of SDRF allocation to general category States and Union Territories.

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 Consider the following statements:

  1. PM 2.5 is the most dangerous pollutant.
  2. Key sources of PM2.5 are dust and construction activities, transport sector and industry.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 4th April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 A
3 B
4 C

Must Read

Another Perspective on Post-COVID World Order:

LiveMint

About impact of lockdown on livelihood:

The Indian Express

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