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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th JUNE 2020

  • IASbaba
  • June 9, 2020
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IASBABA’S INTEGRATED LEARNING PROGRAMME (ILP)

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th June 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) inaugurated for Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Statutory Bodies

In News:

  • Union Minister of Personnel & Public Grievances recently inaugurated the Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.l

Key takeaways 

  • CAT Bench of Jammu shall deal exclusively with service matters of government employees. 
  • It would reduce the burden of various Courts.
  • Jammu (UT of J&K) and Srinagar (UT of Ladakh) shall be seats of these tribunals. 

Important value additions 

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) 

  • It is established under Article 323 – A of the Constitution.
  • Mandate: 
    • To adjudicate disputes and complaints with respect to recruitment and conditions of service of persons appointed to public services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or other authorities under the control of the Government.
  • Under Section 17 of the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985, it has the power to exercise the same jurisdiction and authority in respect of contempt of itself as a High Court.
  • It 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 of the officers and other employees are specified by the Central Government.

Distinct colour band made mandatory for BS-VI four-wheelers 

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

In News:

  • The Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways has issued an order under which distinct colour bands will be compulsory for number plate stickers for BS-VI four-wheel vehicles.
  • A strip of green colour of 1 cm width on top of the existing sticker which carries details of registration for BS-VI vehicles of any fuel type will be mandatory. 

Important value additions 

  • The BS-VI emission standards have been mandated with effect from 1st April, 2020.
  • It provides for stricter and cleaner emission norms and are at par with the emission standards being followed across the world.

Anonymous: hacktivist group accused of carrying out a cyberattack in USA

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Cyber security 

In News:

  • The ‘hacktivist’ group Anonymous has been accused of carrying out a cyberattack on the websites of Minneapolis city and its police department. 
  • The attack made the websites temporarily inaccessible.

Important value additions 

Anonymous 

  • It is a decentralised online collective with no particular political affiliation
  • It protests against causes such as opposing censorship and government control and promoting freedom of speech.
  • It also supported the Occupy movement and Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks.
  • It is believed to include anyone who wants to join. 
  • Its members are referred to as ‘anons’.
  • A signature characteristic of Anonymous is the Guy Fawkes mask, portrayed in the dystopian novel and film ‘V for Vendetta’. 
  • Cyber Attacks tactics used by Anonymous:
    • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks: hackers swamp a website’s server with data that causes it to crash, making the website inaccessible.
    • Defacement: the target website’s pages are replaced with the hacktivists’ messages and graphics
    • Redirection: a change in the chosen website’s address causes its users to be redirected to another page.
    • Doxing: private or sensitive information is stolen, 
    • Destroying data using computer viruses
    • Phishing is used for extracting personal data. 

Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China launched to counter China 

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

In News:

  • A group of senior lawmakers from eight countries including the US have launched the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China
  • These countries are:
    • USA 
    • Germany
    • UK
    • Japan
    • Australia
    • Canada
    • Sweden
    • Norway
    • Members of the European parliament.
  • It is a new cross-parliamentary alliance to help counter the threats posed by China’s growing influence to global trade, security and human rights.
  • The group aims to achieve the following on issues related to China :
    • to construct appropriate and coordinated responses
    • to create a proactive and strategic approach 

Advisories launched on World Environment Day by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs

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

In News:

  • Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs recently launched advisories on the occasion of World Environment Day.

Key takeaways 

  • These advisories are: 
    • Advisory on Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
    • Advisory on Landfill Reclamation 
    • Draft advisory on On-site and Off-site Sewage Management Practices.
  • These advisories have been prepared by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organisation (CPHEEO) under Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).
  • These are part of an effort to find and facilitate sustainable solutions to some of the key problems which prevent holistic sanitation and solid waste management. 
  • A toolkit for a communication campaign on faecal sludge management titled ‘Malasur- The Demon of Defeca’ was also released.
  • It aims at heightening the risk perception of faecal sludge.

Important value additions 

World Environment Day 

  • It is celebrated on 5th June every year.
  • This year’s theme is ‘Biodiversity’.
  • In India, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change held virtual celebrations on this year’s theme with focus on Nagar Van (Urban Forests)
  • It relaunched a scheme (Nagar Van Scheme) for creating urban forest in 200 corporations and cities because all these cities have gardens but not forests. 
  • The forests shall come up either on existing forest land or on any other vacant land offered by urban local bodies.
  • Wajre Urban forest in Pune, Maharashtra has been developed on a 40 acre degraded land area. It sets right model for Nagar Van scheme. 
  • The urban forests will help in reducing pollution in these cities. 

Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) created by RBI

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Economy, E-commerce

In News:

  • The RBI has announced the creation of a Payments Infrastructure Development Fund (PIDF) with an initial contribution of ₹250 crore.
  • It is created to encourage the adoption of Points of Sale (PoS) machines by businesses in tier-3 to Tier-6 centres and Northeastern States. 
  • The POS machines allow businesses to accept e-payments, thereby reducing the need to deal in cash.

Key takeaways 

  • The PIDF will be governed through an Advisory Council
  • It will be managed and administered by RBI.
  • RBI will make an initial contribution of ₹250 crore which will cover half of the fund. 
  • The remaining contribution will be from card-issuing banks and card networks operating in the country.
  • RBI will also contribute to yearly shortfalls, if necessary.
  • It is being set up according to the recommendations of the report of the committee on deepening of digital payments, chaired by Nandan Nilekani.
  • Most of the POS terminals in the country are concentrated in tier-1 and tier-2 cities and towns only.
  • Other regions have been left out. Thus, there was need to create such a kind of fund for such cities. 

Miscellaneous 

Airborne Rescue POD for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT)

  • It is designed, developed and manufactured by The Indian Air Force. 
  • It utilises High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports ventilation using Transport Ventilator. 
  • This pod will be utilised for evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases including COVID-19 from high altitude areas, isolated and remote places.

COVID BEEP (Continuous Oxygenation & Vital Information Detection Biomed ECIL ESIC Pod) 

  • It is India’s first indigenous, cost effective, wireless physiological parameters monitoring system for COVID-19 patients.
  • The latest version of COVID BEEP has incorporated NIBP (non-invasive blood pressure) monitoring, ECG (electrocardiogram) monitoring and the respiratory rate. 

Jaya Jaitly Task Force 

  • It is a task force constituted by The Women and Child Development Ministry
  • The taskforce will be headed by former Samata Party President Jaya Jaitly.
  • Report is expected to be submitted in July. 
  • It shall examine the issues related to: 
    • Infant Mortality Rate
    • Maternal Mortality Rate
    • Total Fertility Rate
    • Sex Ratio at Birth
    • Child Sex Ratio (CSR) 
    • Any other issues related to health and nutrition
  • Objectives:
    • To suggest measures for promoting higher education among women.
    • To suggest suitable legislations and amendments in existing laws. 
    • Chalk out a detailed roll-out plan with timelines to implement these recommendations.

Nasopharyngeal (NP) swab 

  • It is a medical device with stringent specifications of quality, polymer grade, dimensions and sterilization. 
  • It consists of a cylindrical plastic stick with a brush-like tip of synthetic bristles/flocks.

Prevention of Human and Animal Mortality on Highways

  • Union Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways recently launched the UNDP national awareness campaign on ‘Prevention of Human and Animal Mortality on Highways’.
  • It aims at generating awareness and education for the masses towards reducing or eliminating mortality on the roads.

iCommit

  • The Union Ministry of Power recently launched the ‘iCommit’ initiative on the occasion of World Environment Day.
  • The initiative is a call to all stakeholders and individuals to continue moving towards:
    • Energy efficiency
    • Renewable energy
    • Sustainability to create a robust and resilient energy system in the future.
  • The ‘iCommit’ initiative is driven by Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL). 
  • It will also promote key undertakings of Government of India such as National Electric Mobility Mission 2020, FAME 1 and 2, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana etc.

KOI-456.04: new exoplanet-star pair found

  • Scientists have found a new exoplanet-star pair having resemblance to the Sun-Earth system.
  • The Planet candidate, KOI-456.04 is similar to the Earth in size and orbit.
  • It belongs to the system of the Kepler 160, a sun-like star, which is believed to have three planets in its system.

163348 (2002 NN4): Giant asteroid expected to pass Earth

  • NASA has announced that 163348 (2002 NN4), a giant asteroid is expected to pass Earth in June at a safe distance. 
  • The asteroid is a Near-Earth Object (NEO) and is classified as a Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA).
  • It is classified as a PHA which means the asteroid has the potential to make threatening close approaches to the Earth

Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)

  • NEOs are defined as comets and asteroids which are pushed by the gravitational attraction of nearby planets into orbits which allows them to enter the Earth’s neighbourhood.
  • They occasionally approach close to the Earth as they orbit the Sun. 
  • These objects are composed mostly of ice with embedded dust particles.
  • Comets and asteroids are relatively unchanged remnant debris from the solar system formation process over 4.6 billion years ago.

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

The critical role of decentralised responses

Context: The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought home the critical role of local governments and decentralised responses

What are the issues that plague local bodies that needs to be addressed?

  • Health Delivery: The new normal demands a paradigm shifts in the delivery of health care at the local body level. 
  • Prevalence of Parastatal bodies: The parallel bodies (Ex. District Water and Sanitation Committees) that have come up after the 73rd/74th Constitutional Amendments have considerably undermined authority of local bodies.
  • Multiple oversight bodies have distorted the functions-fund flow matrix at the lower level of governance. 
  • Administrative Challenges: There is yet no clarity in the assignment of functions, functionaries and financial responsibilities to local governments. Functional mapping and responsibilities continue to be ambiguous in many States. 
  • Lack of Politico-administrative Will: The critical role of local governments will have to be recognised by all

How resources can be mobilized for Local bodies in the wake of COVID pandemic?

1. Local Finance

  • The Economic Survey 2017-18 points out that urban local governments generate about 44% of their revenue from own sources as against only 5% by rural local governments.
  • Property tax collection with appropriate exemptions should be a compulsory levy and preferably must cover land.
  • Land monetisation and betterment levy may be tried in the context of COVID-19 
  • When they are not taxed, people remain indifferent. All States should take steps to enhance and rationalise property tax regime
  • The share of property tax in GDP has been declining since 2002-03, In India in 2017-18 it is only 0.14% of GDP as against 2.1% in the OECD countries.
  • Municipalities and even suburban panchayats can issue a corona containment bond for a period of say 10 years, on a coupon rate below market rate to increase its funds

2. MP fund scheme

  • MPLADS suspended now and appropriated by Centre must be assigned to local governments, preferably to panchayats on the basis of well-defined criteria.

3. Fifteenth Finance Commission (FFC)

  • The local government grant of ₹90,000 crore for 2020-2021 by the FFC is only 3% higher than that recommended by the 14th FC. For panchayats there is only an increase of ₹63 crore
  • Untied Grants: The ratio of basic to tied grant is fixed at 50:50 by FFC. In the context of the crisis under way, all grants must be untied for freely evolving proper COVID-19 containment strategies locally. 
  • A special COVID-19 containment grant to the local government by the 15th-FC to be distributed on the basis of State Finance Commission-laid criteria is needed now.
  • Further the 13th Finance Commission’s recommendation to tie local grants to the union divisible pool of taxes to ensure a good and predictable source of revenue to LGs (accepted by the then Union government) must be restored by the commission.

Conclusion

COVID-19 has woken us up to the reality that local governments must be equipped and empowered. Relevant action is the critical need.

Connecting the dots:


AGRICULTURE/ ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

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

Land Leasing – Much needed reform

Context: While the slew of reforms announced by government empower the farmers economically, tenancy reform is arguably that ‘last-mile’ intervention that would complement these bold initiatives

Agrarian distress in India is due to reasons like

  • Increased frequency of natural calamities due to Climate Change
  • Shocks in farm income triggered by crash in commodity prices 
  • Increasing input cost
  • Inadequate access to formal credit
  • Bad agronomic practices – preference to water intensive commercial crops
  • Informality of land tenure affecting the tenant farmers

Did You Know?

  • As per NABARD All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey (2016-17), All-India, 12% households leased-in agricultural lands. The incidence of tenancy is under-reported as tenancy in most states is not permissible legally.
  • As per 70th round of NSSO Report (2013), the share of small and marginal farmers in the total leased-in land is 52%

Why tenancy reform is needed?

  • Inclusiveness: Land tenure security is the cornerstone to achieve broader goals of inclusive agriculture growth.
  • Efficiency: Many empirical studies validate the hypothesis that productivity of leased-in land can be comparable to that of owner-operated land if legal recognition is provided to tenancy.
  • Access to services: Legal recognition and formalisation of land leasing would enable tenants to access credit, insurance and high-yielding input
  • It facilitates a paradigm shift in disbursement of fertiliser subsidy: Formalisation of tenancy helps to switchover from product subsidy to delivery of fertiliser subsidy through DBT.
  • To increase the outreach of direct income support schemes: Rs 18,253 crore has been disbursed to 9.13 crore farmers under PM-KISAN during the lockdown (till May 10). However, it excluded tenants in the absence of authentic and credible database of tenant cultivators
  • Migrants welfare in post-COVID times: Migrant labourers who have returned to their villages during the lockdown may not go back to their host states in the near term. They may prefer to work as tenant farmer and legalisation of tenancy will prevent their livelihoods from disaster

Way Ahead – Nudging the States

Even though land is a state subject, Centre can nudge States to undertake various reforms: 

  • Unique Opportunity to push reforms: In the 2020-21Budget, Finance minister proposed to encourage state governments to undertake implementation of model Central laws issued such as 
    • Model Agricultural Land Leasing Act, 2016; 
    • Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2017; 
    • Model Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2018. 
  • Leveraging Technology: Computerisation of land records and their updation in all states is needed to have data bank which helps in evidence based policy making
  • Change in Mindset:  Land leasing should be viewed as an ‘economic necessity’ and not merely as a feature of ‘semi-feudal agrarian structure’
  • Much Needed: Tenancy reform is arguably that ‘last-mile’ intervention that would complement these bold initiatives and enhance the equity and inclusivity of the resultant growth process.

Connecting the dots:

  • Contract Farming
  • Green Revolution 2.0

(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 the Central Administrative Tribunal? 

  1. Article 323-A 
  2. Article 332 
  3. Article 112 
  4. Article 234

Q.2 Anonymous group, recently seen in news, is associated with which of the following? 

  1. Militant group of Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Activist group accused of cyber attacking
  3. Hongkong support for Tiananmen Square protests
  4. A group helping the migrant workers of India during lockdown

Q.3 Which of the following country is not a part of recently launched Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China?

  1. Germany
  2. USA 
  3. Japan
  4. India

Q.4 Which of the following Ministry of India recently launched iCommit initiative? 

  1. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare 
  2. Ministry of Environment
  3. Ministry of Power
  4. Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways 

ANSWERS FOR 8th June 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D
3 A
4 C
5 B
6 C
7 B
8 B

Must Read

About India-China LAC Stand-off:

The Hindu

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The Hindu

About need for bold food security measures:

The Indian Express

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