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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th April 2020

  • IASbaba
  • April 7, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th April 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Non-operation of MPLADS fund approved

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Polity; Health 

In News:

  • The Central government has approved Non-operation of MPLADS for two years (2020-21 and 2021-22) for managing COVID 19. 

Key takeaways:

  • These funds will be used to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of COVID19 in the country. 

Important value additions:

MPLADS fund

  • It is a scheme formulated by the Government of India that enables the members of parliaments (MP) to recommend developmental work in their constituencies. 
  • The emphasis is on creating durable community assets based on locally felt needs.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI) looks into its working.
  • The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.
  • The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.

Legislators’ salary cut by 30%

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Polity

In News:

  • Union Cabinet has approved an Ordinance amending the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 for reducing salary by 30% for one year
  • It will come into effect from 1st April, 2020. 

Key takeaways:

  • President, Vice President, Governors of States have also voluntarily decided to take a pay cut of 30% as a social responsibility for one year. 
  • The money will go to Consolidated Fund of India. 

Important value additions:

Consolidated Fund of India

  • It includes revenues, which are received by the government through taxes and expenses incurred in the form of borrowings and loans
  • All government expenditures are met by consolidated funds except a few. 
  • It was created under Article 266 of the Constitution.  
  • Similar to the Centre, every state has its own Consolidated Fund as well.

Lifeline UDAN flights transport medical cargo

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes; Health; GS-III – Disaster management 

In News:

  • Hundreds of Lifeline UDAN flights are operating these days to transport tons of medical cargo to various parts of the country. 
  • The remote and hilly areas are also getting covered. 

Important value additions:

Lifeline UDAN

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to help India fight against COVID-19.
  • Under this initiative, flights are being  operated in transporting essential equipment and medicines all over the country. 
  • In order to help public in tracking Lifeline Udan flights, the status of the flights were uploaded in a portal. 
  • The portal was developed by National Informatics Centre. 

‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’ initiated 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Disaster management; Defence 

In News:

  • Ministry of Defence (MoD) has allowed temporary employment of NCC cadets under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’
  • These cadets will give a helping hand to state and municipal authorities to augment relief efforts against COVID-19. 

Important value additions: 

National Cadet Corps 

  • It is the youth wing of Armed Forces with its Headquarters at New Delhi. 
  • It t is open to school and college students on voluntary basis. 
  • It engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens. 

Human to animal transmission of coronavirus reported

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; GS-III – Conservation 

In News:

  • A Malayan tiger at New York’s Bronx Zoo has been infected with the COVID 19. 

Key takeaways:

  • Four-year-old Nadia is believed to have caught the virus from a zoo employee, who had not shown symptoms.
  • Till now, humans have been infecting humans.
  • It is theoretically possible for the virus to mutate again to survive in certain species after being transmitted by humans. 

Important value additions: 

Malayan tiger

  • The Malayan tiger is a Panthera tigris tigris population in Peninsular Malaysia. 
  • This population inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula
  • It has been classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2015. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th April 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th April 2020

Image source : https://www.tigers-world.com/malayan-tiger/ 


(MAINS FOCUS)


SOCIETY/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 1 & 2:

  • Effects of globalization on Indian society. 
  • Development processes and the development industry —the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations 

Infodemic: the new challenge of COVID-19 pandemic

Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, has spread to every continent except Antarctica. The crisis has also created the menace of infodemic.

Infodemic is a situation where there is an “overabundance” of information that makes it difficult for people to identify truthful and trustworthy sources from false or misleading one

How has COVID-19 impacted the use of Social Media?

  • Enhanced Usage: Suspension of work during quarantine has left people to increasingly use Social media platforms both for entertainment and information. 
    • Nearly 400 million turn to a single messaging app- WhatsApp- for sharing news and stories
    • More than 240 million are on Facebook and, often, using it as the predominant source of news,
  • Lack of gate-kepers in Social Media: Traditional news had quality assurance, and editorial controls before publication and most of the content was created by professionals – which is lacking in social media
  • Breeding ground for rumours: The above factors have become the perfecting setting for spread of misinformation some of which are-  Bioweapons origins of the coronavirus (false); Bill Gates was behind it (false); UNICEF’s recommendations for warding off infection (unauthorised)

What are the consequences of spread of misinformation?

  • Communalisation of Pandemics: The Tablighi-Jamaat in New Delhi which has emerged as hot spot for the pandemic has made anti-social elements to give the disease communal colour (Corona Jihad)
  • Polarised public sphere: Increasing distrust among the communities
  • Privileging of faith over science: Any news which speaks about a cure is believed.
  • Nativist concerns are prioritised over global anxiety- which has strengthened conservative tendencies
  • Contempt for scientific temper – where wrong behaviours can further propel the pandemic
  • Spurs Panic behaviour in people – causing people to rush to markets for stockpiling their essential supplies
  • Enhances anxiety among public:  For instance, a 23-year-old man, suspected to be a patient of novel coronavirus infection, committed suicide by jumping from the seventh floor of Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi
  • Law and order issues: People have attacked the health inspectors in certain places due to misplaced fears spread through social media

Actions taken by various agencies to fight infodemic

  • Fact checking websites like Boom Live and Alt News, are continuously checking stories and verifying its truth. 
  • WHO has started their own myth busting page – “Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters”, debunking the myths doing rounds in social media and educating the public with authentic and verified information. 
  • Proactive role by Social Media Platforms
    • Google has created an SOS Alert on COVID-19 for the six official UN languages to make sure the first information the public receives is from the WHO website
    • Facebook has promised to ban ads that promise “cures” for the Covid-19 virus.
  • The Press Information Bureau has set up a portal for fact-checking issues related with the pandemic. It will also receive messages by email and send its response.

Way Forward

  • Information Hygiene: Where people need to verify the information before sharing it to others. 
  • Information hygiene can be done by verifying it is from an authentic source, double checking with fact checking website, asking a doctor or an expert etc.
  • Inform relevant authorities of the rumours being spread on social media platforms
  • Investing in training people to understand the concept of information hygiene.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do governments need to regulate the Social Media platforms to prevent the spread of misinformation?
  • Justice B.N. Srikrishna Committee recommendation on data protection framework in India

ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 

Impact of COVID-19: Cash less Indians -the new normal, and survival

At the end of 21-day lockdown imposed in India in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, it is likely that the bottom 47 percentile of India’s population (nearly 500 million) will run out of cash.

Also, the population between the 47th percentile and up to 87th percentile will have only half the cash they had before the lockdown began.

Do You know?

  • World Bank’s poverty line is $3.2/day for a lower middle-income country like India
  • Up to the 77th percentile population, Indians just consume what they earn.
  • The top 1% in India held 62%, whereas the top 0.1% held 33%, of the total currency of ₹17-lakh crore in circulation at the time of demonetisation (Nov 2016).

Inequality of cash in India

  • Various indexes indicate high measures of inequality of cash holding in India: 
    • Gini coefficient of cash holding in India is 0.71
    • Atkinson Index [A(1)=0.624] 
    • Generalised Entropy Index [GE(1)=3.108]
  • Regional Inequality of Cash holding
    • The top 10% districts held 764 times more currency than the bottom 10% districts. 
    • The bottom 60 districts, mostly comprising hill and tribal districts, held only 0.2% of all the cash.
    • Intra-district inequality: 359 out of 607 districts in India, has a Gini ≥ 0.7, which means that even within districts, cash is concentrated very unequally

What are the possible impacts of pandemic vis-à-vis Cash economy?

  • Further entrenchment of the cash inequality due to depletion of cash reserves of poor people.
  • Loss of Freedom: No money to payback to lenders meaning high chances of poor people falling into trap of slavery or forced labour
  • Loss of agency: People engaged in the informal economy (dependent on cash) will also lose their agency to negotiate for fair wages, decent working conditions etc.
  • Forces migration back to Urban areas: 
    • Poor migrants who returned to hometowns in the wake of lockdown will be left with no cash by the end of it, forcing them to migrate back to cash-rich centres again
  • Weakened demand: Nearly one billion Indians will be starting with zero or near zero cash post the end of crisis that is going to impact the corporate sector

Way Forward

  • The ₹1.7-lakh crore stimulus package announced by government is insufficient
  • Remonetise India: A targeted ₹2.5-lakh crore cash transfer that will put money directly in the pockets and purses of the population up to the 87th percentile
  • Government should make cash available through banks, automated teller machines and treasuries.

Connecting the dots:

  • Impact of the crisis on the cashless payments – is remonetising impacting the governments vision of creating a less-cash economy?

(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. The Central government has approved Non-operation of MPLADS for one year
  2. Funds will be used to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing COVID19 in the country. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 onlyBoth 1 and 2
  3. Neither 1 nor 2

Q 2. Consider the following statements:

  1. Union Cabinet has approved an Ordinance for reducing salary by 30% for one year. 
  2. Consolidated Fund of India was created under Article 266 of the Constitution.

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:

  1. Lifeline UDAN was launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. 
  2. The portal to track their flights is developed by National Informatics Centre. 

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. Temporary employment of NCC cadets is being allowed under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’. 
  2. National Cadet Corps is the youth wing of Indian Navy. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q 5. Consider the following statements:

  1. Malayan tiger inhabits the southern and central parts of the Malay Peninsula. 
  2. It has been classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. 

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 6th April 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A
3 B
4 C

Must Read

An article by Vice-President on COVID-19:

The Indian Express

About the importance of safety of Health Worker in fight against COVID-19:

The Hindu

About impact of pandemic on Democratic culture:

The Hindu

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