DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th MAY 2020

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  • May 16, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th May 2020



Third tranche of the economic stimulus package announced 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Agriculture; Economy

In News:

Key takeaways:

  • A central law to permit barrier-free inter-State trade of farm commodities shall be framed. 
  • A legal framework to facilitate contract farming may also be brought in by the Central government. 
  • Contract farming would provide farmers with assured sale prices and quantities even before the crop is sown and also allow private players to invest in inputs and technology in the agricultural sector.
  • ₹1.5 lakh crore shall be invested to build farm-gate infrastructure and support logistics needs for fishworkers, livestock farmers, vegetable growers, beekeepers and related activities. 
  • The sale of six types of agricultural produce – cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions and potatoes will be deregulated by amending the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. 
  • Stock limits will not be imposed on these commodities except in case of national calamity or famine or an extraordinary surge in prices. These stock limits would not apply to processors and exporters also.

Important value additions:

Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (ECA)

  • The ECA was enacted in 1955. 
  • The act provides for the control of production, supply, distribution, trade and commerce in any farm good deemed “essential” and “in the interest of the general public”.
  • The list of items under the Act includes drugs, fertilisers, pulses and edible oils, and petroleum and petroleum products.
  • The Centre under the Act has the power to include new commodities as and when the need arises, and can take them off the list once the situation improves.
  • It protects consumers against irrational spikes in prices of essential commodities.

Image source: The Hindu 

Global Nutrition Report 2020: India likely to miss nutrition targets

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In News:

  • According to the Global Nutrition Report 2020, India is among 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. 

Key takeaways:

  • India will miss targets for all four nutritional indicators for which there is data available 
    • stunting among under-five children
    • anaemia among women of reproductive age 
    • childhood overweight 
    • exclusive breastfeeding
  • Underweight rates:
    • Between 2000 and 2016, these rates have decreased from 66.0% to 58.1% for boys and 54.2% to 50.1% in girls. 
  • Stunting: 
    • 37.9% of children under five are stunted and 20.8% are wasted
  • Anaemia:
    • One in two women of reproductive age is anaemic. 
  • Overweight and obesity: 
    • They continue to rise, affecting almost one-fifth of the adults, at 21.6% of women and 17.8% of men.
  • India is identified as among the three worst countries, along with Nigeria and Indonesia, for steep within-country disparities on stunting. 

Important value additions:

The Global Nutrition Report 

  • It is a peer-reviewed, independently produced annual publication on the state of the world’s nutrition. 
  • It was conceived following the first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit (N4G) in 2013.
  • The first series was published in 2014. 


  • It is a reduced growth rate in human development. 
  • It is a primary manifestation of malnutrition (or more precisely undernutrition) and recurrent infections, such as diarrhoea and helminthiasis, in early childhood. 


  • A state in which haemoglobin in blood is below the reference range. 

Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) approved 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Defence; Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology.

In News:

  • To give a boost to domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing, Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) was approved recently with an outlay of Rs 400 crore. 
  • State of the art testing infrastructure shall be created for the defence sector under this scheme. 

Key takeaways:

  • Six to eight new test facilities in partnership with private industry shall be set up. 
  • This will facilitate indigenous defence production and reduce imports of military equipment making the country self-reliant.
  • The projects will be provided with up to 75% government funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’.
  • The remaining 25% of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV). 
  • The constituents of SPV will be Indian private entities and State Governments.
  • The SPVs will be registered under Companies Act 2013 and shall also operate and maintain all assets under the Scheme, in a self-sustainable manner by collecting user charges.



  • Union Ministry of MSME has launched CHAMPIONS portal, a technology driven control room-cum-management information system. 
  • The name CHAMPIONS stands here for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
  • It is aimed at assisting Indian MSMEs to emerge as National and Global CHAMPIONS. 

ACE2 Enzyme 

  • ACE2 enzyme responds to the novel coronavirus and enables it to infect the human cell in Covid-19. 
  • The new, large study of several thousand patients found men have higher concentrations of ACE2 in their blood than women.
  • This has suggested reasons for why men seem to be more vulnerable to Covid-19 than women.



Topic: General Studies 2 & 3:

  • Disaster and Disaster Management
  • Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

Cooperative federalism amidst COVID-19


  • India’s success in defeating Covid-19 rests upon Centre-State cooperation . 
  • However, some recent developments have revealed tensions in the Centre-State relationship.
  • States act as first responders to the pandemic. It is important to supply them with adequate funds and autonomy instead of making them dependent upon the Centre. 

This editorial deals with the following:

  1. Nature of Indian federalism reflecting centralising tendency
  2. Causes of tension between Centre & states
  3. Steps to be taken

Nature/features of Indian federalism reflecting centralising tendency

  • Due to the centralising tendency of Indian federalism, K C Wheare referred to it as “Quasi federal”.
  • The Union List contains more numbers and important subjects (like defence, currency, external affairs, citizenship, railways) than the State List.
  • The Centre has overriding authority over the Concurrent List. 
  • The Parliament can by unilateral action change the area, boundaries or name of any state (Article 3 of Indian constitution).
  • The bulk of the Constitution can be amended by the unilateral action of the Parliament. 
  • During an emergency, the Central government becomes all-powerful and the states go into the total control of the Centre.
  • The governor is the head of the state but  holds office during the pleasure of the President.
  • Features like Single Citizenship, Integrated Judiciary and All India Services also signifies centralising tilt. 

Issues between the Centre & states during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Inadequate finances 

  • Due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown, the sources of states’ revenue have collapsed.
  • Their major revenues come from liquor sales, stamp duty from property transactions and the sales tax on petroleum products.
  • However, their expenditure such as on interest payments, social sector schemes, etc. remain unchanged.
  • States’ GST collections have also been severely affected. 
  • Contributions to the ‘Chief Minister’s Relief Fund’ or ‘State Relief Fund for Covid-19’ do not qualify as CSR expenditure while contributions to PM-CARES qualify as CSR. 
  • The suspension of MPLADS has created more differences. 

Managing COVID-19 zones

  • Zone classifications into ‘red’ ,orange’ and ‘green’ have evoked sharp criticisms from several States which demanded more autonomy in making such classifications. 
  • State consultation is a legislative mandate cast upon the centre under the Disaster Management Act of 2005. 

Migrant Crisis

  • The influx of migrant workers into their home states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, which already face financial and medical inadequacy, would worsen matters for the states. 

Measures to be taken

  • The Union government should direct Food Corporation of India to move the grains from the godowns to states.
  • Forming of the Inter-State Council a permanent body should be considered.
  • Management of disasters and emergencies  should be included in the Concurrent List. 


The Centre is required to view the States as equals, and strengthen their capabilities, instead of increasing their dependence upon itself.

The Centre and States must come together to fight this global pandemic. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think the Indian federalism is biased towards the Centre? Analyse. 
  • In what ways can the Centre facilitate the states in fighting the covid-19 pandemic? 


Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation 
  • Indian economy and mobilization of resources; Agriculture Sector  
  • Growth and Development

Reviving agriculture and economy with farm export policies


One of the long term and complex challenge that the country will face would be to get back its economy back on the rails.

Eminent thinkers and experts have suggested for gradual opening up of all agri-produce to exports, so that the country can set an inspiring and exciting new horizon for itself.

Agriculture sector during lockdown

  • Despite severe disruptions in long-distance road transport and shortage of labour, the agri supply chains still kept running, while the industrial and service sectors largely ground to a halt and are now struggling to restart. 
  • However, the closure of local mandi across the majority of states impacted many farmers as it choked off the only real marketing platform available to them.
  • Yet, all major cities across the country continued to receive supplies of fresh vegetables, fruits, and milk throughout the lockdown. Farmers as a community have kept the agri-engine running. 
  • All this has been achieved against a backdrop of institutional credit virtually drying up and informal credit rates shooting up very high.
  • Government procurement is progressing satisfactorily and also beginning to function normally.


  • Agri sector had witnessed sub-4% growth for several years.
  • Prices for most crops are stagnant or falling.
  • No technology breakthrough has been delivered in over a decade.
  • Institutional credit drying up and informal credit rates rising up.
  • Markets remain restricted by APMC-led monopolies.
  • Failure of e-NAM in its promise to deliver an alternate channel to farmers to tap a wider, pan-India market. 
  • States are yet to liberalise direct sourcing of farm produce.
  • There is now an unprecedented reverse migration of lakhs of migrant labourers and this burden have to be shouldered by agriculture for the next couple of years.
  • Country might face downward pressure on demand for basic agri-products in the domestic market, arising from the closure of lakhs of eateries, restaurants, hotels and catering establishments, factory canteens, hostels, etc.
  • Layoffs and pay cuts, and restrictions on the functioning of industrial units as well as construction, transport, etc, will force millions of households to curb consumption and rein in expenditure on food.

Need of the hour:

  • Demand should be restored to pre-Covid levels.
  • Export-led agricultural strategy can offer an inclusive pathway towards growth, income, employment and rural poverty reduction.
  • India is already a major exporter of items like frozen buffalo meat, marine products like shrimp, and basmati rice, besides a varied basket of goods ranging from grapes to spices.
  • We need a proactive agriculture export strategy, covering every category of agri-produce available in India: field crops, horticulture, dairy, livestock, poultry, and fisheries.


India can address both the needs of food security and become reliable suppliers in the international market. 

For which it first needs to align its cropping systems with globally accepted production, storage, packaging, transportation, and handling norms. Its farmers and supply chains will need to reorganise and reorient themselves to address a global market and its attendant challenges.

No other sector offers such an inclusive and pan-India potential for reviving growth, employment, and incomes in the next 18-24 months.

Connecting the dots:

  • By setting a goal to gradually open up all agri-produce to exports, the country can set an inspiring and exciting new horizon for itself. Do you agree? Elucidate.
  • Do you think the health crisis around Corona would offer opportunities to correct the health of Indian agriculture? Elucidate.


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • 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 recently released Global Nutrition Report, 2020, consider the following statements: 

  1. India is identified as among the three worst countries for within-country disparities. 
  2. India shall be unable to reach its nutrition targets by 2025.

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 Global Nutrition Report: 

  1. It is published by World Health Organisation.
  2. It was first published in 2014.

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 about Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme: 

  1. The projects will receive 75% of government funding under the scheme. 
  2. The scheme shall facilitate indigenous defence production.

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 CHAMPIONS portal, recently seen in news, was launched for which of the following sector of economy? 

  1. MSME 
  2. Agriculture 
  3. Bank  
  4. Automobile

Q.5 Consider the following statements regarding ACE2 enzyme: 

  1. It responds to the novel coronavirus. 
  2. The recent study has found that women have higher concentrations of ACE2 enzyme.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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


1 A
2 C
3 C
4 B
5 C

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