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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th MAY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • May 15, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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IASBABA’S INTEGRATED LEARNING PROGRAMME (ILP)

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th May 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Money laundering and fugitive offender issue

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Money Laundering

In News:

  • The UK High Court rejected businessman Vijay Mallya’s plea for permission to move the UK Supreme Court (SC). 
  • He wanted to challenge the lower court’s approval of his extradition to India in the IDBI Bank fraud case.

Key takeaways:

  • The UK government may soon issue a directive allowing his extradition. 
  • It is important to bring him back within 28 days after he exhausts all legal avenues. 
  • He may be brought on board a special plane, as international flight operations have been suspended due to the global lockdown.

Important value additions:

  • The case was registered against Vijay Mallya for fraud, misrepresentation to the bank in securing credit facilities, conspiracy and money laundering
  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) of India attached assets worth Rs.13,000 crore in connection with the cases against him. 
  • On its request, a Mumbai court declared him a fugitive under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Enforcement Directorate

  • It is a law enforcement and economic intelligence agency. 
  • It is responsible for enforcing economic laws and fighting economic crime in India.
  • It is part of the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government Of India. 
  • The prime objective of the agency is the enforcement of two key Acts – 
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act 1999 (FEMA)
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA)

The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 

  • It empowers any special court to confiscate all properties and assets of economic offenders who are charged in offences measuring over ₹ 100 crores and are evading prosecution by remaining outside the jurisdiction of Indian courts. 

Second tranche of economic stimulus package announced 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News:

  • Second tranche of economic stimulus package was recently announced. 
  • This package shall benefit migrant workers, street vendors and small farmers.

Key takeaways:

MGNREGS workers 

  • ₹10,000 crore has been spent in the last two months on creating man-days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) to help migrant workers.
  • The work has been offered to 2.33 crore wage seekers till May 13. 
  • About 40-50% more persons have been enrolled as compared to May last year. 
  • Universal right to minimum wages and a national floor wage are reforms which will be considered in the coming future. 

Migrant workers

  • Free foodgrains for an estimated eight crore migrant workers for next two months at a cost of ₹3,500 crore.
  • Migrant workers who do not have either Central or State Public Distribution System (PDS) card would get 5kg grains per person and 1kg of chana for two months.
  • PDS ration cards would be made portable, allowing migrant workers to use their ration cards across States. 
  • This would benefit 83% of PDS beneficiaries, in 23 States by August. 
  • By March 2021, 100% coverage under ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ will be done. 

Interest subvention on MUDRA loans

  • A 2% interest subvention (subsidy offered on interest rates) shall be given under the MUDRA-Shishu loans of up to ₹50,000.

Housing subsidy scheme extended

  • ₹70,000-crore boost to housing sector by extending the subsidy scheme for affordable housing to the middle-income group by one year to 2021.

Street vendors

  • ₹5,000-crore special credit facility for street vendors by providing them with working capital of up to ₹10,000. 

Farmers

  • ₹30,000-crore additional emergency working capital funding through the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). 
  • This loan will cover requirements of rural co-op banks and regional rural banks. This would benefit mostly small and marginal farmers. 

Important value additions:

The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) 

  • It is a benefit under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana under which housing loan EMIs are reduced by over Rs. 2,000 per month by offering an interest subsidy.
  • It focuses on helping
    • Middle Income Groups
    • Economically Weaker Sections
    • Lower Income Groups

Miscellaneous 

Todas

  • They were recently in news for producing thousands of masks with exquisite embroidery for local residents, police, and sanitary workers.
  • Toda people are a Dravidian ethnic group who live in the Nilgiri Mountains of Tamil Nadu
  • They traditionally live in settlements called Mund
  • Their huts, called dogles, are of an oval, pent-shaped construction built of bamboo.
  • The Toda lands are now a part of The Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO-designated International Biosphere Reserve. 
  • Their territory is declared as UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

COVID Kavach ELISA

  • National Institute of Virology, Pune, has developed India’s first indigenous antibody-based ELISA test kit – COVID KAVACH for diagnosis of COVID-19. 
  • The kit has displayed high sensitivity and accuracy in the validation tests at different sites. 
  • ELISA is routinely used for detecting HIV infection.
  • The test will detect antibodies in blood samples that the body develops in response to COVID-19 INFECTION. 
  • The ELISA test gains significance as the rapid antibody tests imported from China were found to be unreliable and hence the States were instructed not to use them. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


HEALTH/ENVIRONMENT

Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
  • Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment.

Ensuring environment sustainability post COVID-19 lockdown 

Context:

  • As we all know, the lockdown imposed to contain COVID-19 pandemic has caused a negative impact on the livelihood of the people. 
  • However, it had a positive impact on the environment.
  • The air and water quality improved dramatically since major industrial activities were brought to halt and material consumption, water usage and waste production were reduced. 
  • The pre-Covid-19 growth was based on blind exploitation of natural resources. 
  • The lockdown has given a rare opportunity to move towards the principles of sustainable development in every human action including public policy making. 

In earlier posts, we have discussed about economy & clean air and also coronavirus impact on Environment. Following on the same lines, this editorial focuses on 

  1. Effects of the lockdown
  2. Ways to maintain the sustainability

Effects of Economic Shutdown on Environment

  • Data from the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) shows that pollution level in the Ganges water has significantly reduced.
  • Its Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) and total coliform concentration has also fallen indicating improved water quality.
  • Similar positive developments have been reported for the Yamuna.
  • There are several reports that reflect the improved air quality:
    • The Delhi/NCR pollution level has significantly reduced.
    • Dhauladhar ranges from Jalandhar, Mt. Kanchenjunga from Siliguri and Mt. Everest from parts of Bihar were recently visible. 
  • Groundwater levels improved with the reduced industrial and commercial activity.
  • Municipal solid waste (MSW) generation got reduced remarkably. 

Ways to Maintain this Sustainability 

Nature-Based Solution (NBS):

  • It refers to the sustainable use of nature for tackling socio-environmental challenges, such as climate change, water security, human health, and disaster risk management.
  • Example of NBS may include:
    • Restoration of mangroves 
    • Green roofs or walls in cities to moderate the impact of high temperatures.
    • Upsloping vegetation to reduce the risks of landslides.
    • Creating lesser concrete areas to help replenish groundwater in regions facing water scarcity.
  • NBS are an essential component of the overall global effort to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

Bio-composites

  • These are structures that have naturally occurring minerals woven together into a matrix of natural fibres, such as cellulose and lignin.
  • Their products are being used as environmentally superior alternatives to traditional raw materials such as wood and plastic due to their strength, lower weight and recyclability.  
  • For example, starch-based clay nanocomposites can be a possible alternative for food packaging. 

Effective Waste Management

  • Waste segregation across urban India at household-level. 
  • Generating organic manure and megawatts of bioenergy through cost-effective means by using bio – recycling methods like vermicomposting. 
  • For the water-heavy industries of pharmaceuticals, paper, food and beverage, adopting best practices in minimising water consumption would progress them towards Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD).
  • Bio-treatment of industrial effluents such as chemicals, detergents and toxic sludge can also be done, but there must be mandatory compliance to keep the rivers clean.

Building Natural Infrastructure

  • It is defined as a strategically planned and managed network of natural lands that conserves or enhances ecosystem values and provides associated benefits to human populations.
  • Establishing interconnected networks of green spaces can be one of the ways of building natural Infrastructure. 
  • Example: Concept of biosphere reserves. It incorporates core protected areas for nature conservation and buffer zones and transition areas where people live and work in a sustainable way.

Conclusion

For long-term sustenance, bringing behavioural changes like sustainable consumption, mindful wastage is of utmost importance. 

Connecting the dots :

  • Lockdown and coronavirus will help achieve sustainable development goals earlier than the targeted years. Analyse. 
  • In what ways has COVID-19 pandemic affected the livelihood of the people and the environment? Examine. 

(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 Enforcement Directorate, consider the following statements: 

  1. It deals with money laundering in India.
  2. it is an autonomous agency.

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 regarding The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018: 

  1. Any special Court can confiscate the properties of the offenders. 
  2. The offences measuring over Rs 100 crores are considered under this act.

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 with regard to the stimulus package announced for street vendors and farmers: 

  1. Rs. 5000 crore special credit facility will be provided for Street vendors.
  2. Emergency working capital funding will be provided to the farmers through NABARD.

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 The Todas are Dravidian ethnic groups belonging to which of the following state of India? 

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

Q.5 ELISA test is used for detecting which of the following disease? 

  1. Tuberculosis 
  2. Malaria 
  3. HIV 
  4. Dengue

ANSWERS FOR 14th May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 A
3 A
4 A

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