fbpx

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th MAY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • May 30, 2020
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

IASBABA’S INTEGRATED LEARNING PROGRAMME (ILP)

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th May 2020

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Charru mussel: An invasive species in Kerala

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In News:

  • An invasive mussel native to the South and Central American coasts is spreading quickly in the backwaters of Kerala.

Key takeaways 

  • It is affecting the growth of other mussel and clam species and 
  • It is also threatening the livelihoods of fishermen engaged in molluscan fisheries.
  • It is speculated that the mussel may have reached the Indian shores attached to ship hulls or as larval forms in ballast water discharges.
  • Then, the rapid spread of the Charru mussel (Mytella strigata) may have been triggered by Cyclone Ockhi which struck the region in 2017. 
  • Ashtamudi Lake, a Ramsar site in Kollam district, Kerala, remains the worst-hit.
  • With a high population, it has replaced the Asian green mussel (Perna viridis) and the edible oyster Magallana bilineata (known locally as muringa).
  • Externally, the Charru mussel resembles the green and brown mussels (kallummekka in Malayalam), but is much smaller in size. 
  • Its colour varies from black to brown, purple or dark green.

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th May 2020

Image source: Click here 


The Competition Commission of India: Google’s anti-trust case probed

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Statutory Bodies & GS-III – Information and Technology; Computers 

In News:

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is looking into allegations that Google is abusing its market position to unfairly promote its mobile payments app in the country. 

Key takeaways 

  • The complaint alleges that Google showcases its Google Pay app inside its Android app store in India more prominently. 
  • Thus, it gives it an unfair advantage over apps of competitors, which hurts consumers. 
  • This is Google’s third major antitrust challenge in India. 
  • In 2018, the CCI fined Google $21 million for “search bias”.  
  • In 2019, the CCI also started probing Google for allegedly misusing its dominant position to reduce the ability of smartphone manufacturers to opt for alternate versions of its Android mobile operating system.

Important value additions 

Competition Commission of India (CCI) 

  • It is a statutory body of the Government of India. 
  • It is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India.
  • It prevents activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India. 
  • It was established on 14 October 2003 and became fully functional in May 2009. 
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government. 
  • It is the duty of the Commission to:
    • eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition, 
    • promote and sustain competition,
    • protect the interests of consumers, 
    • ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India. 

Competition Act, 2002

  • It follows the philosophy of modern competition laws. 
  • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises. 
  • It regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India. 

World Dugong Day 2020

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity

In News:

  • ‘World Dugong Day’ was recently celebrated on May 28, 2020. 
  • The special emphasis was laid down on its fight for survival in Indian waters. 
  • Experts have also expressed fear that unless conserved, it could one day become extinct. 

Important value additions 

Dugong 

  • It is commonly known as the sea cow. 
  • It is an endangered marine species like sea turtles, seahorses, sea cucumbers and others. 
  • They are protected in India under Schedule I of the Wild (Life) Protection Act, 1972.
  • In India, it is found in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Gulf of Kutch and Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 
  • It is an important part of the marine ecosystem. 
  • Its depletion will have effects all the way up the food chain. 
  • It grazes on seagrass, especially young shoots and roots in shallow coastal waters.
  • Main threats to dugongs are human activities such as: 
    • the destruction and modification of habitat, 
    • pollution, 
    • rampant illegal fishing activities,
    • vessel strikes, 
    • unsustainable hunting or poaching 
    • unplanned tourism 
    • loss of seagrass beds due to ocean floor trawling 
  • The Government of India is also a signatory to the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) since 1983 where it has signed non-legally binding Memorandums of Understanding on the conservation and management of Siberian Cranes (1998), Marine Turtles (2007), Dugongs (2008) and Raptors (2016). 
  • Proper conservation is the only way to save dugongs from extinction. 

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th May 2020

Image source: Click here 


Miscellaneous 

  • Recently, the source code of Aarogya Setu Mobile App has been made open source for software developers.
  • It has been uploaded on GitHub which will help in identifying any vulnerabilities or code improvement in order to make Aarogya Setu more robust and secure.

Neutralizing antibodies & Protective immunity

  • Recently, the paper ‘Serologic responses to SARS-CoV-2 infection among hospital staff with mild disease in eastern France’ showed that neutralising antibodies were found in 91% of the individuals of the Strasbourg University Hospitals who participated in the study. 
  • Several lines of evidence also suggested that the presence of neutralising antibodies may be associated with protective immunity for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  • A neutralizing antibody (NAb) is an antibody that defends a cell from a pathogen or infectious particle by neutralizing any effect it has biologically. 
  • They prevent the particle from interacting with its host cells which it might infect and destroy. 
  • Protective immunity develops when the immunity is achieved through immunization, previous infection or by other factors.

(MAINS FOCUS)


JUDICIARY/ POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Structure, organization and functioning of the Judiciary 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

On Supreme Court’s move on migrant workers

Context: The Supreme Court took cognisance of the plight of millions of inter-State workers looking for transport home & relief from the crisis. It has given directives to mitigate the sufferings of these people.

Did you know?

  • The most acute problem during lockdown was faced by migrant labourers as they had no work, no source of income, no access to basic necessities, no quality testing facilities, no protective gear, and no means to reach home
  • Between May 1 and 27 total of 3,700 special trains were arranged by Union government for carrying nearly 50 lakh migrant workers to their home states

Criticism of Supreme Court (SC) during initial period of lockdown

  • Against spirit of PILS: Petitions were filed before SC on behalf of migrant workers so as to provide directives to executive to provide relief to them. However, SC refused to admit these petitions or adjourned them
  • Matter of Policy: SC remarked that the condition of migrant labourers is a matter of policy and thus, does not require judicial interference
  • Not in line with Institutional history: There are numerous judgments where SC has laid out matters of policy. Ex: The Vishaka guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplace; the right to food; and various environmental protection policies.
  • Failure to question Executive: Solicitor-General argued that the exodus of workers was due to fake news. Apex Court accepted this without digging deeper, and advised media houses to report more responsibly.
  • Failure to perform Constitutional Duty: By not acting early, the SC has failed to adequately perform as a constitutional court in safeguarding the rights of people.
  • A former High Court judge recalled ADM Jabalpur case (now overruled) that held that personal liberty was not absolute during a state of emergency.
  • Islands of Hope: When SC failed to act, High Courts (Karnataka, Madras, AP and Gujarat) asked questions to State governments about migrant rights and held these administrations accountable

Recent Developments

  • Three-judge Bench of SC initiated suo motu proceedings based on media reports and representations from senior advocates
  • SC observed that there have been inadequacies and lapses on the part of the Centre and States in dealing with the crisis faced by workers
  • It has provided directives to Centre and states (which could have taken place 7-8 weeks earlier) so as to cater to the miseries faced by migrant workers

What were the Supreme Court’s order on migrant?

  • Responsibility of Railways: As and when the state governments put in a request for trains for transport of migrant workers, railways has to provide them. 
  • Free Service: No fare for train or bus shall be charged from migrant workers. The fare will be shared by the states.
  • Free Food: The originating state shall provide meals and water at the station and during the journey, the Railways would provide the same to the migrant workers. 
  • Information Sharing: The state shall oversee the registration of migrant workers and ensure that after registration, they board the train or bus at an early date. Complete information should be provided to all concerned.
  • Ensure Care: Those migrant workers found walking on the roads, should be immediately taken to shelters and provided food and all facilities.

Way Ahead

  • After registration, migrants should not have to wait for a long time for their turns to come. Hence, the need to increase the number of trains
  • SC must now find out if the Centre, which imposed a stringent lockdown to buy time for preparing the health infrastructure, had discharged its responsibilities.
  • SC may even lay down guidelines for planning, coordination and establishment of a mechanism to address the inter-state issues arising out of pandemic

Conclusion

All three branches of the State must realise that facilitating the movement of the migrants is not an act of charity, it is their duty and responsibility.

Connecting the dots:

  • Judicial Activism vs Judicial Overreach
  • Separation of Powers and Doctrine of Checks & Balances

GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources 

India and Self-reliance – A brief History

Context: In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister emphasised the necessity of a self-reliant India.

India during Early days of Independence – Self-reliance losing way to License Raj

  • Self-reliance in state-run heavy industries and strategic sectors in the decades following independence had placed India ahead of most developing countries.
  • In the 1970s and 80s, however, India did not modernise these industries to climb higher up the technological ladder. 
  • The private sector, which had backed the state-run core sector approach in its Bombay Plan, stayed content in a protected market.
  • Little effort was made to modernise light industries or develop contemporary consumer products.
  • The industrial ecosystem was kept hostage to Licence-Permit-Quota system which stifled innovation. As a result, self-reliance gave way to corruption & import dependence

Consequence of these policy measures

  • India’s industrial ecosystem was thus characterised by low productivity, poor quality and low technology, and was globally uncompetitive.
  • India completely missed out on the ‘third industrial revolution’ comprising electronic goods, micro-processors, personal computer etc.
  • Today, India is the world’s second largest smartphone market. However, it does not make any of these phones itself

India at the turn of 1990s

  • India embarked on liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation, shunning previous restrictive industrial policies
  • The very concept of self-reliance was rubbished; in the belief that advanced technologies could simply be bought from outside at lower costs
  • Two related ideas have prevailed since then, and neither delivered the desired results
  • First is ignoring Public Sector Units
    • PSUs were considered inefficient and sluggish for the competitive globalised scenario. 
    • Hence, no effort was made to engender either real autonomy or a transition to new technological directions.
    • Instead, PSUs were undermined or abandoned, along with many nascent research and development (R&D) efforts
    • On the other hand, the private sector displayed little interest in these heavy industries and showed no appetite for technology upgradation.
    • With entry of foreign corporations, most Indian private companies retreated into technology imports or collaborations. 
  • Second is inviting Foreign Direct Investment
    • This was envisaged to bring new technologies into India’s industrial ecosystem, removing the need for indigenous efforts towards self-reliance.
    • However, mere setting up of foreign manufacturing facilities in India is no guarantee of absorption of technologies (the ability to independently take them to higher levels).

Consequences of above two ideas – Inequitable Growth

  • Meagre technology transfer: Foreign majors jealously guarded commercially significant or strategic technologies in off-shore manufacturing bases.
  • Outlier among Asian Countries:  Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong strengthened their self-reliant capabilities though planned state investments in R&D including basic research (3-5% of GDP), technology and policy support to private corporations, infrastructure, education and skill development (4-6% of GDP).
  • Dwarfed by China: Both India and China were on similar levels during first four decades of Independence. However, China now is self-reliant S&T and industrial capability and has set itself a target of becoming a world leader by 2035 in 5G, supercomputing, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Inactive Private sector in R&D: Most R&D in India is conducted by PSUs, with little efforts from private players as they prioritized short-term profits over innovations
  • Widened Inequality: Privatization and FDI benefits were largely reaped by already wealthy sections of society which led to increased gap between rich & poor

Way Ahead – Self-Reliance requires enhanced R&D

  • State-funded R&D, including in basic research, by PSUs, research institutions and universities needs to be scaled-up significantly, well above the dismal 1% of GDP currently. 
  • Private sector delivery-oriented R&D needs to be supported through policy & fiscal measures
  • India’s meagre public expenditure on education needs to be substantially ramped up (as against current trends of privatisation which would only shrink access)

Connecting the dots:

  • Neoliberalism
  • Globalisation in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic

(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 Ashtamudi lake is found in which of the following state of India? 

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

Q.2 Which of the following is an invasive species which was recently seen in news? 

  1. Charru Mussel 
  2. Asian green mussel 
  3. Magallana bilineata 
  4. Green and Brown mussel

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Competition Commission of India: 

  1. It is a non-statutory body. 
  2. It is responsible for ensuring the interests of consumers by regulating competition throughout 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 Recently World dugong day 2020 was celebrated all over the world. Consider the following statements regarding Dugong: 

  1. It is commonly known as the sea cow. 
  2. It is protected in India under Schedule III of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 in India. 
  3. It is found in the Gulf of Mannar only.

Select the correct code:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. 1,2 and 3

ANSWERS FOR 29th May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 B
4 B

Must Read

About apathy towards poor during COVID-19 crisis:

The Hindu

About India-Australia relations:

The Hindu

About Industrial Disputed Act:

The Indian Express

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Search now.....