IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th June 2020
(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Welfare Schemes
- PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was announced as part of the first relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The scheme was announced for a three-month period and ends on June 30.
- The scheme covered 80 crore ration card holders. Each household was provided 5 kg of foodgrains (rice or wheat) and 1 kg of pulses (only channa ) free of cost.
The salient features of the scheme are:
- Government of India would not allow anybody, especially any poor family, to suffer on account of non-availability of food grains due to disruption in the three months.
- 80 crore individuals, i.e, roughly two-thirds of India’s population would be covered under this scheme.
- Each one of them would be provided double of their current entitlement over next three months.
- This additionality would be free of cost.
Do you know?
- According to Union Food and Public Distribution Ministry, 116.02 lakh tonnes of foodgrains have been lifted under the scheme.
- Around 21 States have appealed to the Centre to extend the scheme for another three months till September.
- Food Corporation of India has “sufficient stock of foodgrains”.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Welfare Schemes; Govt schemes and initiatives
- Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry launched the portal for a loan scheme for street vendors.
- Name of the loan scheme for street vendors – Pradhan Mantri Street Vendors’ AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme.
- The portal — pmsvanidhi.mohua.gov.in — provides an “integrated end-to-end IT interface to users for availing benefits under the scheme.
About PM SVANidhi scheme
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched the scheme on June 1st.
- The vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000.
- It will be repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.
- On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy at 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on six monthly basis.
- There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.
- Over 50 lakh people, including vendors, hawkers, thelewalas, etc. are likely to benefit from this scheme.
- Street vendors from peri- urban/ rural areas have become beneficiaries of an urban livelihood programme for the first time.
- MFIs/ NBFCs/ SHG Banks have been allowed in a scheme for the urban poor due to their ground level presence for the first time.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt schemes and initiatives; Tourism and Infrastructure
- Ministry of Tourism has considered the revival of the Sivagiri Sree Narayana Guru Ashram-Aruvipuram-Kunnumpara Sree Subrahmania-Chembazhanthi Sree Narayana Gurukulam spiritual circuit.
- Rs. 69.47-crore Sree Narayana Guru spiritual circuit would be retained under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme.
Important Value Additions:
Swadesh Darshan Scheme
- It is a flagship scheme of Ministry of Tourism launched in 2014-15.
- It is for an integrated development of theme based tourist circuits in the country.
- The scheme would result in increased tourist inflow thereby creating employment opportunities for the local community.
The following thematic circuits have been identified, for development namely,
- North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit,
- Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit,
- Desert Circuit, Tirtankar circuit, Tribal Circuit,
- Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit,
- Spiritual Circuit, Sufi circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
About Sree Narayana Guru
- He was a great saint, scholar, philosopher, poet and the forerunner of social renaissance in Kerala.
- He was born in 1856 in a peasant family of then untouchable Ezhava caste, in Thiruvananthapuram.
- He led a reform movement in Kerala, against the injustice in the caste-ridden society in order to promote social equality.
- He also gave the universal message, “One caste, one religion, one God.”
Aravipuram Movement – was launched by Sri Narayana Guru on Shivaratri day of 1888. On that day, Sri Narayana Guru defied the religious restrictions traditionally placed on the Ezhava community, and consecrated an idol of Shiva at Aravipuram. This drew the famous poet Kumaran Asan as a disciple of Narayana Guru.
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and its neighbours; International Relations
- India and Bhutan signed pact for first joint hydel project – Kholongchhu project
- It is the first time an India-Bhutan hydropower project will be constructed as a 50:50 joint venture, not as a government-to-government agreement.
Do you know?
- India had committed in 2008 to help Bhutan create a total 10,000 MW of installed capacity by 2020.
- The Kholongchhu project is one of four additional projects agreed to in 2008.
ReSTART package for MSMEs
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Welfare Schemes
- Recently, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh had launched a new programme ‘ReStart’ to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector in the State.
- AP govt decided to spend ₹1,100 crore on revival of the sector.
- ReSTART scheme is aimed to bail out MSMEs from the vagaries of the market triggered by the pandemic and closure during the lockdown.
- Government has also decided to procure about 360 types of goods and other materials from the MSMEs.
Chinese Apps banned in India
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – India and its neighbourhood; International Relations
- Government of India banned 59 applications (majority are Chinese apps) citing threat to national security and sovereignty.
- The ban comes amid continuing tensions on the border between India and China.
- Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) has also issued instructions to Google and Apple to remove the banned applications from their respective application stores.
India to receive 4 Rafales by July-end
Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains III – Security
- The Dassault Rafale is a French twin-engine, canard delta wing, multirole fighter aircraft designed and built by Dassault Aviation of France.
- The first batch of four Rafale fighter jets is scheduled to arrive in India in the last week of July.
- By February 2021, India will receive 18 Rafale jets and by April 2022, India will get all the 36 Rafale.
- Equipped with a wide range of weapons, the Rafale is intended to perform in-depth strike, anti-ship strike and nuclear deterrence missions.
Do you know?
- In September 2016, India and France signed a €7.87 billion Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for 36 Rafale multi-role fighter jets in fly-away condition following the surprise announcement by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2015.
- The acquisition of the Rafale fighter jets and the S-400 air defence system will go a long way in addressing the depleting squadron strength of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
Topic: General Studies 1,2:
- Social empowerment
- Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes
Context: There were stories of disabled persons facing acute difficulties during the lockdown. As the world continues to re-imagine a new normal for its physical and social spaces, there is a window of opportunity to improve accessibility.
Impact of the crisis on persons with disabilities
- Problems of financial stability
- Difficulty to access to essential items
- Inadequate accommodation
- Social isolation
- Lack of availability of healthcare
- Lack access to critical care takers and domestic help, who play crucial roles in caring for person with disability
- Triple burden on working women: Along with household chores and work from home women also faced added responsibilities due to absence of caregivers
- Decreased access to basic services and rights: Persons with disabilities were already struggling for equitable access to education, healthcare, transportation, and economic opportunities which was exacerbated during this pandemic
How were the above challenges tackled during lockdown period?
- Families & Organisations joined forces with caregivers to collaborate on common challenges to develop innovative solutions for persons with disabilities.
- For Ex: Parent or families delivered interventions and therapies for their disabled member, with telephone support from therapists or other support workers.
Filling the gaps
- Accessibility should be considered in COVID-19 recovery plans to catalyse the vision of an inclusive world
- Governments and Civil Society must engage people to promote education and awareness on including persons with disabilities.
- Implementing accessibility laws and regulations
- Improving physical accessibility and universal design
- Reducing stigma
- Developing the tools for individuals and communities to engage meaningfully with persons with disabilities.
- Including and involving persons with disabilities in decision and policymaking, for COVID-19 recovery and beyond.
Using this crisis to implement universal accessibility should be central to the vision of the post-COVID era.
Connecting the dots:
- Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan
- Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has brought global economic activity to a virtual halt an induced recession.
Did You Know?
- The IMF estimates the global economy to contract by -4.9 per cent in 2020
- With regards to Indian economy, growth has been decelerating for the past eight quarters, and indications by the RBI suggest that growth is contracting for the first time in four decades.
What has been the economic scenario of India in recent years?
- Consumption and investment demand in India have been subdued for the past few quarters, dragging down overall growth.
- These two components were perhaps casualties of a sharp deceleration in credit supply even after an impressive bank cleanup exercise by the government and RBI.
- The IL&FS debacle in September 2018 only made matters worse.
- The NBFC sector, which played an important role in fuelling India’s consumption growth, suffered from funding crunches leading to a further squeeze in credit supply, thereby impacting consumption demand.
- This deceleration was exacerbated in the wake of pandemic & lockdown
Has government taken steps to tackle the economic crisis?
Yes, government has taken steps like
- Economic package – PMGKY – for addressing the short term needs of society particularly weaker sections of society
- RBI actions to provide much-needed near-term liquidity support
- Long-pending structural reforms (Ex: Agriculture, Coal, Textile) aiming towards medium-to-long-term stability
However, government needs to further aid a demand recovery
What Keynesian Theory says about demand recovery?
- Keynesian theory suggests that for aggregate demand to increase, at least one of the components of GDP needs to expand.
- Growth in the Indian economy has been dominated by
- Consumption (PFCE)
- Investments (GFCF)
- Government expenditure (GFCE)
- Net exports (NEX).
Challenges with reviving economy
1. Challenges with increasing Investments:
- Uncertain economic prospects restrict bankers to lend further despite measures taken by government & RBI. A higher rate of investments is essential for sustainable economic growth.
- Increasing levels of debt during this deteriorating economic scenario along with rating downgrades for industries are likely to aggravate existing problems.
2. Challenges with increasing Consumption:
- Industry-wide job/pay-cuts with a growing sense of uncertainty over the future may limit spending to non-discretionary items and force people towards precautionary savings.
- Estimates suggest that PFCE will grow at its slowest pace in 15 years.
3. Challenges with increasing exports
- Disrupted global trade due to heightened trade tensions between the US and China, especially in the wake of pandemic.
- Global trade witnessed its steepest decline since 2009, falling by -4.3 per cent in March over the previous year, with only downside risks from hereon.
- India’s limited share in global trade along with a battered domestic and global outlook provides little room for exports to contribute towards growth.
Solution to revive economy
- With the above challenges we can see that government expenditure is the only exogenously determined element in a Keynesian framework.
- The positive push required to aid a demand recovery has to come through increased government expenditure
- However, given the sparse resources that India has, government must deploy funds that yield a higher return.
- One key area that can provide the necessary support is infrastructure investment.
- Historically, countries have used infrastructure to provide counter-cyclical support to the economy – New Deal in the US, Germany’s expansion post-WWII debt reduction (1953) and more recently with China in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis.
- Infrastructure has strong links to growth and with both supply and demand-side features that help generate employment and long-term assets
- 1 per cent of GDP spend on infrastructure can boost real growth by 2 per cent while creating 1.3 million direct jobs
- Front-loading key projects with greater visibility from the recently announced National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) could aid in a quicker recovery.
- India already has several institutions for infrastructure development purposes from the likes of IIFCL, IRFC to more recently NIIF
- However, over these years, their scale and functioning have remained inadequate. A relook, to restructure these into one large development institution could help reduce inefficiencies and allow for greater leverage
- Taking a cue from China, floating special infrastructure bonds through this organisation to accelerate the funding of the NIP could aid a speedier recovery.
- Development of state government and urban local body bond markets by leveraging the capabilities of this large development institution
Connecting the dots:
- FRBM Act
- 2008 Financial Crisis
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
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.
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Q.1 For which of the following sector has Andhra Pradesh government launched ReStart program?
Q.2 PM SVANidhi scheme was launched recently to support?
- Small businesses and cottage industries
- Silk industry
- Street vendors
Q.3 Which of the following are objectives of ‘Swadesh Darshan Scheme’?
- Promote cultural and heritage value of the country to generate livelihoods in the identified regions
- To create employment through active involvement of local communities
- Enhancing the tourist attractiveness in a sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the circuit /destinations
Select the code from below:
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 3
- 1 and 3
- All of the above
Q.4 Kholongchhu project is a first joint hydel project signed between –
- India and Nepal
- India and Myanmar
- India and Bhutan
- India and Bangladesh
ANSWERS FOR 29th June 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About World Bank’s STAR Project:
About India-China Stand-off:
About Tamil Nadu’s custodial death case:
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