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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th MAY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • May 6, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 6th May 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


IDEAthon on “The Future of River Management’ 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment 

In News: 

  • Recently, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) had organized an IDEAthon on “The Future of River Management’. 
  • Aim of the event was to explore how the Covid-19 crisis can shape river management strategies for the future. 
  • Namami Gange (implemented by the NMCG) and NIUA plan to bring out a policy paper based on the event.  

Important value additions: 

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)  

  • It is the implementation wing of the National Ganga Council. 
  • It was established in the year 2011 as a registered society.  
  • It is under the Ministry of Jal Shakti. 
  • It has a two-tier management structure. 
  • It comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. 

Objectives 

  • To ensure effective control of pollution and rejuvenation of the river Ganga by adopting a river basin approach.  
  • To maintain minimum ecological flows in the river Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development. 

National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) 

  • It is an institute for researchtraining and information dissemination in urban development and management. 
  • It is located in New Delhi, India. 
  • It was established in 1976 as an autonomous body under the Societies Registration Act.  

Saras Collection launched on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance 

In News: 

  • Recently, the Indian government launched the Saras Collection on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal. 
  • It is a unique initiative by the GeMDeendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) and Ministry of Rural Development. 

Key takeaways: 

  • It shall showcase daily utility products made by rural Self-Help Groups (SHGs).  
  • It aims to provide SHGs with market access to Central and State Government buyers. 
  • The initiative is first launched in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. 
  • It shall cover other states in the upcoming phases. 
  • It will do away with intermediaries in the supply chain and ensure better prices for SHGs.  

Important value additions:  

Government e-Marketplace 

  • It is a National Procurement Portal to facilitate online procurement of common use goods and services required by various central and state government departments/organizations/public sector undertakings (PSUs). 
  • It was launched in 2016 to bring transparency and efficiency in the procurement.  
  • It functions under Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D), Ministry of Commerce and Industry. 

Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana or DAY  

  • It is a Government of India scheme for helping the poor by providing skill training in both rural and urban areas as per requisite international standards. 
  • The Government of India has provisioned ₹500 crore (US$70 million) for the scheme. 

Employment schemes launched by Jharkhand  

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Welfare Schemes 

 In News: 

Recently, Jharkhand launched three employment schemes — Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY), Neelambar Pitambar JAL Sammridhi Yojana (NPJSY) and Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme (VSPHKVS) — to create wage employment for workers in rural areas. 

The schemes are formulated in convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). 

Important value additions: 

Birsa Harit Gram Yojana (BHGY): 

  • It shall bring over two lakh acres of unused government fallow land under the afforestation programme. 
  • About 5 lakh families will be provided 100 fruit-bearing plants 
  • The afforestation will be taken up through MGNREGA. 
  • The ownership of land will remain with the government. 

Neelambar Pitambar Jal Sammridhi Yojna (NPJSY): 

  • Under this, the government is aiming at creating agro-water storage units by arresting rainwater and runaway groundwater. 

Veer Sahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Scheme (VSPHKVS): 

  • Under VSPHKVS, the government is linking sports with rural job schemes for creation of assets in the rural areas in order to give a boost to sports. 

Multiple entry life-long visa facility for OCI holders suspended 

 Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Citizenship 

 In News: 

  • The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has suspended the right of multiple entry life-long visa facility of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders for visiting India .  
  • The order will be valid till the prohibition on international air travel of passengers from/to India is lifted by the Government of India. 

Important value additions: 

Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) 

  • It is an immigration status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in the Republic of India indefinitely.  
  • It was introduced by The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2005.  
  • It was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas convention held in Hyderabad in 2005.  

Miscellaneous 

Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH) 

  • The National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science & Technology (DST) has launched a programme on health and risk communication, ‘Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH)’ with focus on Covid-19.  

UV blaster 

  • Recently, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection Tower for rapid and chemical free disinfection of high infection prone areas. 
  • The equipment is named UV blaster. 

Samudra Setu 

  • Indian Navy has launched Operation Samudra Setu (Sea Bridge) to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas. 
  • Evacuation operations of Phase-1 will begin from Malè, Republic of Maldives. 

Pic: Source

Atal Tunnel 

  • It is being constructed in the Pir Panjal ranges of Himachal Pradesh by Border Roads Organisation (BRO).  
  • It is an important tunnel since Manali-Sarchu-Leh road remains closed for six months every year due to Rohtang Pass being completely snow bound between November and May.  
  • The tunnel will connect Manali to Lahaul Valley throughout the year.  
  • It will also aid the forward connectivity offering the security forces a major strategic advantage. 

(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

Abolition of Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)

Context: 

Recently, Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) was suspended by the Central government for two years.  

  • All Opposition parties have criticised the Government’s move.  
  • However, the government has reasoned that these funds are needed to strengthen the government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of COVID-19 in the country. 

What is MPLADS?  

  • Under the scheme, each Member of Parliament may suggest works to the District Collector amounting ₹5 crores per year which can be taken up in his/her constituency. 

However, the experts feel that the MPLADs scheme should be completely abolished due to following reasons: 

Separation of powers 

  • The scheme gives an executive function to legislators.  
  • hardly any authorities in the district who have the courage to defy the wishes of an MP. 

CAG’s observations 

  • According to Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG)’s report, utilisation of funds is between 49 to 90% of the allotted amount.  
  • Though the scheme envisages that works under the scheme should be limited to asset creation78% of the works that were recommended were for improvement of existing assets.  
  • Lesser quantities of material were used than specified by contractors resulting in excess payments and sub-standard works.  
  • There was no accountability for the expenditure in terms of the quality and quantities executed.  
  • Delays in issuing work orders ranged from 5 to 387 days in 57% of the works. The work order must be issued within 45 days of the receipt of recommendation by the MP.  
  • Without following the correct procedure, extensions of time were granted to the contractors.  
  • Register of assets created were not maintained. Thus, location and existence of assets could not be verified. 

Gaps in utilization 

  • There are wide variations in the utilisation of the MPLAD amount in various constituencies.  
  • According to a report published in IndiaSpend:  
  • 298 of 542 Lok Sabha members had not spent a rupee from the ₹5 crore that is set aside annually for them to develop their constituencies even after a year of their election. 
  • Though ₹1,757 crore had been released for MPLADs, only ₹281 crore had been utilised by all the 543 MPs till May 15, 2015.  
  • This means only 16% of the money had been spent in one year by all the MPs put together.  
  • Since the MPLADS began in 1993, ₹5,000 crore was lying unspent with various district authorities by May 15, 2015. 

Funds being utilised for appeasement  

  • MPLADS funds are also used to appease opinion-makers and favourite contractors.  
  • Often, the contractor is a relative, close friend, or a confidant of the MP.  

Constitutional validity 

  • Constitutional validity of MPLADS was challenged in the Supreme Court of India in 1999, followed by petitions in 2000, 2003, 2004, and 2005.  
  • The combined judgment for all these petitions was delivered in 2010 and the scheme was held constitutional. 
  • It is often pointed out that the judgement was pronounced without an assessment of the situation prevalent in the field.  
  • Audit reports wherein gross irregularities and infirmities in implementation have been pointed out were not considered as evidence .  

Conclusion  

  • Reports of underutilisation and misutilisation of MPLADS funds continue to surface at regular intervals but no serious attempt has been made to do anything about it till now.   
  • It would be in public interest to convert the two-year suspension into the complete abolition of this scheme. 
  • The same fund could be utilised for health and education purposes and in generating employment.  

Connecting the dots  

  • While taking over MPLADS funds to fight the virus, Centre must allocate judiciously.

(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. National Mission for Clean Ganga comes under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  2. National Institute of Urban affairs is an autonomous body. 

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 recently launched Saras collection:  

  1. It is launched all over India.
  2. It will help in providing self-help groups market access which will involve middlemen as well. 

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 regarding Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana:  

  1. Under the scheme, skill training is provided in only rural areas. 
  2. It is managed by Ministry of Finance. 

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 With regard to Overseas Citizenship to India, consider the following statements: 

  1. It was launched during the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas held in Mumbai in 2005.  
  2. A foreign citizen of Indian Origin can live and work in India for 10 years. 

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 5th May 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 A
3 B
4 C

Must Read

About virtual judiciary

The Hindu

About boosting wages

The Hindu

About potential of local government

Indian Express

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