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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th JUNE 2020

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

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Kohala Hydroelectric Power Project finalised between China and Pakistan 

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – International Relations; Effect of Policies and Politics of Developed and Developing Countries on India’s interests

In News:

  • An agreement has been finalised between China and Pakistan to implement the Kohala hydroelectric power project under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Key takeaways 

  • The project will be set up in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
  • It will be built on the Jhelum River
  • Once completed, it will provide more than 5 billion units of clean and low-cost electricity for consumers in Pakistan.
  • Earlier, India had protested Pakistan’s plans to build a dam in Gilgit-Baltistan region. 

Important value additions 

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

  • It is a collection of infrastructure projects that are under construction throughout Pakistan since 2013. 
  • It is intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones. 
  • It is a 3,000-km-long corridor which is aimed at connecting China and Pakistan with rail, road, pipelines and optical cable fiber networks.
  • It connects China’s Xinjiang province with Pakistan Gwadar port, providing access to China to the Arabian Sea. 
  • The CPEC passes through PoK, over which India has conveyed its protests to China. 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th JUNE 2020

Image source: Click here 


SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support) initiative launched

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Welfare Schemes & GS-III – Employment

In News:

  • The Indian Government has launched a new initiative SWADES (Skilled Workers Arrival Database for Employment Support)
  • The scheme will conduct a skill mapping exercise of the returning citizens under the Vande Bharat Mission.

Key takeaways 

  • This is a joint initiative of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Civil Aviation Ministry and External Affairs Ministry.
  • It aims to create a database of qualified citizens based on their skills and experience. 
  • The collected information will be shared with the companies for suitable placement opportunities in the country.
  • The returning citizens are required to fill up an online SWADES Skills Card which will help the citizens with job prospects and bridge the demand-supply gap.

Empowered Group of Secretaries and Project Development Cells to be set up for attracting investments 

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Economy (FDI)

In News:

  • “Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS) and Project Development Cells (PDCs) in Ministries/Departments of Government of India for attracting investments in India” recently received approval for its set up. 

Key takeaways 

Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS)

  • Objective is to provide investment support to global investors by bringing synergies and to ensure timely clearances from different departments and Ministries.
  • Composition:
    • Cabinet Secretary (Chairperson)
    • Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (Member Convenor)
    • CEO, Niti Aayog (Member)
    • Secretary, Department of Commerce (Member) 
    • Secretary, Department of Revenue (Member)
    • Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs (Member)
    • Secretary of Department concerned (to be co-opted)

Project Development Cell (PDC)

  • The cell will be set up for the development of investible projects in coordination between the Central Government and State Governments. 
  • This will lead to increase in the number of investible projects in India and in turn increase FDI inflows.

Pharmacopeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) approved

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Health

In News:

  • Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) recently received approval to be re-established as Subordinate Office under the Ministry of AYUSH.

Key takeaways 

  • Presently, PCIM&H is an autonomous body under AYUSH Ministry since 2010.
  • Pharmacopoeia Laboratory for Indian Medicine (PLIM) and Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia Laboratory (HPL) shall be merged under the Commission. 
  • The merger is aimed at optimising the use of resources for enhancing the standardisation outcomes of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy drugs. 
  • Legal status shall be accorded to the merged structure by making amendments to Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945. 

Fusarium wilt TR4: Banana Covid hits plantations across globe

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

In News:

  • Fusarium wilt TR4, a novel fungus strain, has devastated banana plantations across the globe. 
  • Its new hotspots have been found in India too which is threatening output.

Key takeaways 

  • The strain, Tropical Race 4 (TR4), was first identified in Taiwan. 
  • It cripples plantations by first attacking the leaves, which turn yellow from their trailing edges before wilting away. 
  • There is no effective remedy yet. 
  • According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), TR4 is one of the most destructive of all plant diseases. 
  • It has infected the most commonly sold variety: Grand Nain (musa acuminata), a curvy yellow fruit.
  • Scientists recommend biosecurity measures such as plant quarantine, bio priming to slow its spread.
  • In India, hotspots have been found in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
  • Inability to contain TR4 could jolt farm incomes and push up banana prices. 
  • It has already jeopardised the $26 billion global banana trade. 
  • The Indian Council of Agricultural Research has asked farmers to abandon farms whose plantations have been affected . 
  • They must grow rice for a year or two before returning to growing bananas. That way the chain gets broken.

Important value additions 

Fusarium wilt

  • It is a common vascular wilt fungal disease.
  • It is caused by Fusarium oxysporum.
  • Hosts: Tomato, tobacco, legumes, cucurbits, sweet potatoes and banana
  • It is not new. 
  • It entirely wiped out Gros Michel, the dominant export variety of bananas in 1950s. 
  • It was in response to this that a new resistant variety, Grand Nain, came up.

Bio-priming 

  • It is a new technique of seed treatment that integrates biological (inoculation of seed with beneficial organism to protect seed) and physiological aspects (seed hydration) of disease control. 
  • It is used as an alternative method for controlling many seed-borne and soil-borne pathogens. 

Bananas

  • India is the world’s largest producer of bananas. 
  • It is the world’s most globally exported fruit, according to the FAO. 
  • It is a tropical crop. 

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th JUNE 2020

Image source (Fusarium Oxysporum): Click here


India pays tribute to Vinayak Damodar Savarkar (Veer Savarkar) on his Jayanti 

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-I – The Freedom Struggle — its various stages and important contributors/contributions from different parts of the country. 

In News:

  • Recently, India paid tribute to the freedom fighter, Veer Savarkar on his birth anniversary. 

Important value additions 

Veer Savarkar

  • He was an Indian independence activist, politician, lawyer and writer.
  • He is also known as Swatantryaveer Savarkar.
  • He founded a secret society called Abhinav Bharat Society.
  • The society was associated with several revolutionaries and political activists with branches in various parts of India and London.
  • He was also involved in the formation of Hindu Mahasabha.
  • He was the president of the Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943.
  • Savarkar wrote books, namely:
    • The History of the War of Indian Independence 
    • Hindutva: who is Hindu?

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th JUNE 2020

Image Source: Click here


Miscellaneous 

Global Economic Prospects (GEP)

  • The World Bank recently released its Global Economic Prospects (GEP) June 2020 report.
  • According to the report, the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have “severe” short and long-term effects on economic growth.
  • Current estimates show that 60 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020. These numbers are likely to increase.
  • EMDEs (Emerging Market and Developing Economies) are especially vulnerable.
  • These countries are expected to have a 3-8% output loss in the short term.
  • The report is the semi-annual flagship publication on the state of the world economy. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


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 

Reforms In Civil Aviation Industr

Context: Due to the effects of the Covid contagion the world’s second oldest airline (Avianca) has already filed for bankruptcy protection

Significance of aviation sector in India

  • Contributes to GDP: The Aviation sector in India currently contributes $72 bn to GDP
  • Job creation: Indian aviation sector to employ 4 million by 2035
  • Fast growing: India is now the 3rd largest- and fastest growing- aviation market in terms of domestic tickets sold.
  • Potential for Investment: Government agencies projects requirement of around 250 brownfield and green-field airports by 2020
  • Allied Sector Growth: Before COVID-19, Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul (MRO) industry was forecasted to grow at an expected 5 year CAGR of close to 10% by 2023
  • Regional Connectivity: It boosts connectivity to smaller cities and north-eastern states
  • Relaxed FDI policy: Up to 100% FDI is permitted in Non-scheduled air transport services, MRO, flying training institutes, helicopter services and seaplane services under the automatic route.

Challenges of Indian Aviation Sector

  • Infrastructure deficit: unavailability of land to expand airports at their current sites, particularly in major cities
  • High Fuel Costs: Fuel cost as a percentage of operating charges amounts to 45% in India as compared to the global average of 30 per cent.
  • Procedural Complexities: Taxes and approvals by both Central and States governments increases the transaction costs of the aviation sector
  • Inadequate Human Resource Capabilities: Shortage and gaps in the availability of industry-recognised skills – from airline pilots and crew to maintenance and ground handling personnel – constrains the growth of different segments of the sector.
  • Weak MRO sector: 90% of the Indian MRO work is outsourced to countries like Singapore, Dubai, UAE, Sri Lanka and others.

What are the reforms announced under Atma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan?

  • Efficient Airspace Management: Route dispersal guidelines (RDG), mandates airlines to fly a certain percentage of flights in smaller, unprofitable air routes. The government announced that these restrictions on the utilisation of Indian airspace will be eased.
  • Development of MRO Sector: The convergence between the Defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to bring down the maintenance cost of airlines.
  • Development of more airports under the PPP model with a view to improve the aviation infrastructure without the government having to pump in additional funds
  • Overall Economic reform measures: Beneficial measures like extending moratoriums, reducing interest rates, improving liquidity etc. will provide impetus to the economic recovery process, including for the aviation sector. 

Challenges ahead:

  • Legacy issues: Historically heavy operating costs that cannot be borne in the present situation 
  • Social Distancing norms: Stringent protocols to be put in place for air travel which means added costs for aviation industry
  • Outside GST: Taxation and pricing structure of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) are not aligned to global benchmarks and is still outside the ambit of GST. This prevents the level playing field for the domestic airline industry
  • Inefficient usage of AAI resources: Vacant real estate near Airports Authority of India (AAI) airports in all major centres can be monetised to increase non-aeronautical revenues.
  • Resolving Air India issues: Government owned Air India is surviving on bailout packages and thus requires disinvestment

Connecting the dots:

  • UDAN scheme
  • National Civil Aviation Policy 2016 and National Civil Aviation programme 2018

ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment. 

Man-Animal COnflict: On the killing of an elephant in Kerala

Context: A pregnant wild elephant in Kerala died on May 27 after she ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers. Scores of elephants are killed every year in India which indicates the rising instances of human-animal conflict

Did You Know?

  • Research in Karnataka showed that 60% of elephant distribution was encountered outside protected areas
  • Madhav Gadgil Committee Report called for the entire Western Ghats to be classified as ecologically sensitive that restricted developmental activities. However, this report was adopted due to political opposition

The Indian elephant

  • One of three extant recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia
  • Listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List 
  • The wild population has declined by at least 50% since the 1930s
  • Threatened by loss, degradation and fragmentation of its habitat

Reasons for man-animal conflict:

  • Lost ranges and blocked corridors for elephants have made lelephants look for soft landscapes adjoining forests such as coffee, tea and cardamom estates, and in the absence of these, wander into food-rich farms falling in their movement pathways. 
  • Expansion of human settlements into forests – expansion of cities, industrial areas, railway/road infrastructure, tourism etc.
  • Commercial pressures eat into already diminished habitat.
  • Allowing livestock to graze in forest areas
  • Land use transformations such as change from protected forest patches to agricultural and horticultural lands and monoculture plantations are further destroying the habitats of wildlife.
  • Unscientific structures and practices of forest management in the country
  • Infestation of wildlife habitat by invasive exotic weeds leads to decreased availability of edible grasses for wild herbivores
  • Decreased prey base caused by poaching of herbivores has also resulted in carnivores moving out of forests in search of prey and to indulge in cattle lifting.

About Project Elephant

  • It is a flagship programme of Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF)
  • Launched in 1992 it is a Centrally-sponsored scheme
  • Primarily aimed at protecting elephant, their habitats and corridors
  • It addresses issues of man-animal conflict and welfare of domesticated elephants.

India’s Conservation culture

  • Despite a billion people India still has most of our large wildlife species- India today has the largest population of the tiger, Asian elephant, leopard, sloth bear, gaur and many others
  • Part of Culture: People have accepted coexistence of human & animals, and incorporated it in our culture. All our deities have animals associated with them; it shows the inclusion of these animals in our mind space.
  • The Velip community in Goa worship the tigers and this practice is done even today.

Way Ahead:

  • Inclusion of local community in forest wildlife management
  • To ensure that money which comes in through tourism (of Tiger reserves) should be used for the development of the local villages as has been done in Tadoba tiger reserve, Maharashtra
  • Ensuring that elephant corridors are not razed/neglected due to overzealous developmental approach

Connecting the dots:

  • Kasturirangan Committee report on Western Ghats
  • Project Tiger

(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 Kohala hydroelectric power project was recently finalized between which of the following countries? 

  1. India and China 
  2. India and Afghanistan 
  3. China and Pakistan 
  4. Pakistan and Afghanistan 

Q.2 Consider the statements regarding China Pakistan Economic Corridor: 

  1. It will connect China’s Xinjiang Province with Pakistan’s Gwadar port.
  2. India has raised objections against it because it passes through border areas of Rajasthan.

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 SWADES initiative was recently launched by which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 
  2. Civil Aviation Ministry 
  3. Ministry of External Affairs 
  4. All of the above 

Q.4 Which of the following are diseases of Banana crop? 

  1. Panama wilt 
  2. Sigatoka disease 
  3. Fusarium Wilt TR4 

Select the correct code:

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

Q.5 Fusarium wilt is a fungal disease which is caused by Fusarium oxysporum. It affects which of the following crops? 

  1. Tomato 
  2. Onion 
  3. Tobacco 
  4. Legumes 

Select the correct code:

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

Q.6 Consider the following statements regarding Veer Savarkar: 

  1. He was the founder of Abhinav Bharat Society. 
  2. He was never the president of Hindu Mahasabha despite being involved in its formation.
  3. The History of the War of Indian Independence was written by Veer Savarkar. 

Which of the above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. None of the above

Q.7 Global Economic Prospects, a semi-annual flagship publication of the world economy, is published by which of the following? 

  1. World Bank 
  2. International Monetary Fund 
  3. Asian Development Bank 
  4. World Economic Forum 

ANSWERS FOR 4th June 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 C
4
5 C

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