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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th MAY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • May 5, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th May 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


J&K Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bench to deal with service matters

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Polity 

In News:

  • The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Bench of J&K will deal with all service matters of the employees of the Central government and the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh 
  • Earlier, Chandigarh Bench of CAT used to deal with these matters..

Important value additions:

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT)

  • It was established under Article 323 – A of the Constitution.
  • Mandate: To adjudicate (formal judgement) disputes and complaints related to recruitment and conditions of service of persons who are appointed to public services and posts.
  • The Tribunal exercises the same jurisdiction and authority in case of contempt of itself as that of a High Court under Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985.
  • The Tribunal is guided by the principles of natural justice in deciding cases. 
  • It is not bound by the procedure prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code.
  • Salaries, allowances and conditions of service:  As specified by the Central Government.

India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations appointed

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International Relations; International Groupings

In News:

  • India has appointed diplomat T S Tirumurti as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Important value additions:

The Permanent Mission 

  • It is the diplomatic mission that every member state appoints to the United Nations
  • It is headed by a Permanent Representative, who is also referred to as the “UN ambassador”.
  • It is also mentioned in the Article 1 (7) of the Vienna Convention.

United Nations

  • It is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations 
  • It is the largest and most powerful organization in the world. 
  • Headquarters: New York City; other main offices: Geneva, Nairobi, Vienna and The Hague.
  • Official languages: 
    • Arabic
    • Chinese
    • French
    • English
    • Russian
    • Spanish
  • India was among the original members of the UN that signed the Declaration by United Nations at Washington, D.C. in 1944. 
  • It also participated in the United Nations Conference on International Organization at San Francisco from 25 April to 26 June 1945. 

1-D Simulation Code to Study Earth’s Magnetosphere

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health  

In News:

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) have developed a generalized one-dimensional fluid simulation code
  • It shall study a wide spectrum of electric field structures in near-earth plasma environments or earth’s magnetosphere.
  • It is expected to help in planning future space missions.

Important value additions:

Formation of Earth’s Magnetosphere

  • Plasma is the most common state of matter in the universe as a whole.
  • It consists of a gas of ions and free electrons.
  • Sun is the major source of plasma deposition in space around the Earth. 
  • It forces some of its plasma towards the earth in the form of the solar wind.
  • The solar wind carries with it a solar magnetic field, called the Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF).
  • The interaction of the IMF with the earth’s magnetic field creates the magnetosphere of the earth.

Significance of magnetosphere

  • It shields Earth from solar and cosmic particle radiation and erosion of the atmosphere by the solar wind. 

Regions of the Earth’s Magnetosphere:

Image Source: Click here

The schematic diagram of Earth’s magnetosphere shown consists of different regions:

  • Bow shock : It occurs when the Earth’s magnetosphere interacts with the nearby flowing  Plasma.
  • Magnetosheath: Region of space between the magnetopause and the bow shock.
  • Magnetopause : It is the boundary between the planet’s magnetic field and the solar wind.
  • Northern tail lobe : Earth’s magnetosphere lobe on the northern side. Magnetic field lines of the lobe point towards the earth.
  • Southern tail lobe: Earth’s magnetosphere lobe on the southern side.
  • Plasmasphere: Earth’s magnetosphere consisting of low energy (cool) plasma.
  • Solar winds: Stream of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun (corona).

Significance of Study of Plasma Processes:

  • The plasma processes may hamper the working of satellites that are in the magnetospheric region. 
  • The changes in plasma processes can be deciphered only through computer simulations.
  • The study will help advance the knowledge of plasma waves, instabilities and effects associated with wave-particle interactions. 

Indian Institute of Geomagnetism

  • It conducts basic and applied research in Geomagnetism (study of dynamics of earth’s magnetic field) and allied fields.
  • The Institute also supports a World Data Centre for Geomagnetism (WDC, Mumbai), which is the only International centre for Geomagnetic data in South Asia.

Miscellaneous

Snakebite

  • Four venomous snakes that cause deaths in India due to snakebites are:
    • Russell’s viper
    • Saw-scaled viper
    • Common krait 
    • Cobra

Covid toe

  • It is a kind of rash being reported in some Covid-19 patients’ toes.
  • The researchers have likened it to pseudo-chilblain lesions.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE 

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
  • Government policies and interventions for development in Health sectors

Cauvery Waters Authority

Context: Central Government through notification on 24th April 2020 brought the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti.

Brief History of Cauvery Waters Authority

  • Central Government, in exercise of the powers under Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, 1956 had constituted the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in 1990.
  • The Tribunal adjudicated upon the water sharing of Cauvery river among the States of Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Union territory of Puducherry.
  • The Tribunal gave its verdict in 2007. However, the party States filed casein the Supreme Court against the said verdict.
  • The Supreme Court delivered its verdict in 2018 modifying the Tribunal’s order. Click here for details
  • SC also directed the Central Government to frame a scheme under section 6A of the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act, to implement the verdict.
  • As a result, the Central Government notified the Cauvery Water Management Scheme on 01st june, 2018, constituting the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and the Cauvery Water Regulation Committee (CWRC)

What is the criticism of the notification?

Farmers groups & political parties are alleging that notification has reduced the Authority to a “puppet” of the Centre. The reason cited for this allegation are

  • CWMA was created on the direction of the Supreme Court in February 2018 and Ministry of Jal Shakti was formed in May 2019 through merging of two ministries. 
  • It is argued that between June 2018-May 2019, there was no public notification on the CWMA being designated as an organisation under then Union Ministry of Water Resources. Hence, the new notification is a move without any precedence.

Is the above Criticism justified?

Not necessarily, this is because

  • CWMA has been working all along under the Water resources Ministry.
  • Even in the case of its predecessor, the Cauvery River Authority (1998-2013) with the Prime Minister as the Chairman and Chief Ministers of the basin States as Members, the Union Ministry of Water Resources had administrative control
  • Besides, eight inter-State river water boards will come under the Jal Shakti Ministry as a result of this notification. Hence, it is not specific to Cauvery river.
  • The notification is just an allocation of business rule which means the authority will have to report to the Jal Shakti Ministry
  • Thus, the notification is just a procedural requirement (after the merger of water ministries) and has no impact on the independent nature of the functioning of the authority.

Is everything fine with CWMA?

No, there are criticisms against Centre vis-à-vis CWMA on the following grounds 

  • Even two years after its formation, the Authority does not have a full-fledged chairman.
  • Centre has been reluctant to act decisively in aspects relating to CWMA, other than under the orders of the Supreme Court, for fear of alienating voters in one of the States involved
  • The body has thus been not fully operational.

Conclusion

  • River Water sharing being a sensitive issue, Centre must ensure that all stakeholders are communicated properly as to avoid confusion.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think that the next World War will be over water? Discuss
  • ‘Rivers as a mechanistic producer of water, not as a dynamic life-giving system that is responsive to local and global triggers of use and abuse’. Comment.

INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE/ ENVIRONMENT

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • Environmental Conservation

Economy vs Clean air

Context: As the lockdown exit strategies are being designed, there is pressure on governments to lower environmental standards to give impetus to growth

Do You Know?

  • According to IMF, crisis caused due to COVID-19 pandemic can trigger the worst recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
  • At the end of March, the US announced a significant reduction in fuel efficiency standards for new cars, which could result in increased gasoline consumption by 80 billion tonnes
  • India is home to 21 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities

Dangers to Environment

  • There is a demand to lower environmental standards, suspend environmental monitoring requirements and reduce environmental enforcement, in the belief that this is necessary to rescue economic growth. 
  • It is assumed that one has to make necessary trade-offs between saving livelihoods and protecting the environment
  • COVID-19 is being used as an excuse to weaken environmental protection. 
  • Overlooking environmental protection is seen as short-term solutions in response to the present crisis

Why it is necessary to resist the temptation to overlook environment protection?

  1. Increased pollution increases vulnerability to Corona Deaths
    • People living in areas with higher levels of air pollution face increased risk of premature death from COVID-19
    • Continued air pollution directly translates to mortality under COVID-19.
  1. Pollution leads to increased mortality
    • The State of Global Air 2019 Report finds air pollution responsible for over 1.2 million deaths India each, based on 2017 data. 
    • Weakening Environmental Standards will further increase the risk to lives
  1. Pollution imposes disproportionate burden on poor
    • There is enormous inequality in the impact of the COVID-19 fallout. 
    • Those who suffer the most from air pollution are the poor, who cannot afford air-purifiers or other mitigating measures
  1. Pollution increases the risk of future epidemics
    • There is good evidence that three-quarters of the emerging infectious diseases migrate from wild or domesticated animals into humans. This includes Ebola, SARS, MERS and now COVID-19. 
    • Deforestation, industrial agriculture, illegal wildlife trade, climate change and other types of environmental degradation increase the risk of future pandemics.
  1. Weakening environmental standards may go against public opinion
    • The dramatic improvement in the quality of air and water in the most polluted cities around the world due to lockdown, has led to wide public approval
    • Weakening environmental standards to kick start economy may again lead to increased pollution levels not acceptable to public
  1. Changed drivers of value
    • Corona crisis has given a clean, healthy and sustainable environment the economic value it deserves
    • This has resulted to urgent call to action for increased focus on healthy lifestyle and sustainable development

Conclusion

Covid must not be used as an excuse to ignore environment protection. Rather there should be enhanced coordination at an international level to continue to work towards reduced emissions under the Paris Agreement. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Paris Climate Deal
  • Sustainable Development Goals and its target of 2030 – will be achievable?

(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 Which of the following article deals with establishment of Central Administrative Tribunal?

  1. Article 212-A
  2. Article 323-A
  3. Article 322-A
  4. Article 300-A

Q.2 Which of the following is not the official language of the United Nations?

  1. Japanese
  2. Spanish
  3. Russian
  4. Arabic

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding United Nations:

  1. The headquarter of the UN is in Washington D.C.
  2. India was among the original members of the UN.

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 regarding one-dimensional fluid simulation code recently developed at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG):

  1. It shall study a wide spectrum of electric field structures Earth’s magnetosphere.
  2. It is expected to help in planning future space missions.

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 May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C
3 D
4 A

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