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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 13th JULY 2020

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  • July 13, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 13th July 2020

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Agriculture; Irrigation technique 

In News:  

  • Punjab farmers planted paddy using the direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique in the kharif season, rather than traditional transplanting. 

Benefits of direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique 

  • Handling crop residue after harvest is easy. 
  • Large scale use of DSR to plant paddy could solve the staggering problem of stubble burning. 
  • Decreases air pollution. 
  • Direct seeding (both wet and dry) avoids nursery raising, seedling uprooting, and transplanting, and thus reduces the labor requirement. 
  • Direct seeded plants tend to have better root growth and are therefore more prepared for climatic extremes 
  • More plants may germinate in the years following sowing 

NATGRID and NCRB

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt schemes; Polity – Statutory and Non-statutory bodies; Security issues

In news: 

  • National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed an MoU with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles. 
  • The MoU will give NATGRID access to  the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) database. 

Important value additions: 

About NATGRID: 

  • NATGRID is a post Mumbai 26/11 attack measure.  
  • It aims to mitigate a vital deficiency — lack of real time information, which was considered to be one of the major hurdles in detecting US terror suspect David Headley’s movement across the country during his multiple visits between 2006 and 2009. 
  • NATGRID is an ambitious counter terrorism programme, which will utilise technologies like Big Data and analytics to study and analyse the huge amounts of data from various intelligence and enforcement agencies to help track suspected terrorists and prevent terrorist attacks. 
  • NATGRID is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information from more than 20 organisations in the field of telecom, tax records, bank, immigration, etc. to enable the generation of intelligence inputs. 
  • At least 10 central agencies like IB, R&AW and others will have access to the data on a secured platform for counter-terror investigations. 

Do you know? 

  • NATGRID is exempted from the Right to Information Act, 2005 under sub-section (2) of Section 24. 
  • The project aims to go live by December 31 and all State police are mandated to file FIRs in the CCTNS. 

About NCRB 

  • NCRB was set-up in 1986 to function as a repository of information on crime and criminals so as to assist the investigators in linking crime to the perpetrators, based on the recommendations of the National Police Commission (1977-1981) 
  • It was set up by merging the Directorate of Coordination and Police Computer (DCPC), Inter State Criminals Data Branch of CBI, Central Finger Print Bureau of CBI, and Statistical Branch of BPR&D. 
  • NCRB was entrusted with the responsibility for monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS) project in the year 2009.  
  • CCTNS connects 15000+ police stations and 6000 higher offices of police in the country. 
  • In 2017, NCRB launched National Digital Police Portal- It allows search for a criminal/suspect on the CCTNS database apart from providing various services to citizens like filing of complaints online and seeking antecedent verification of tenants, domestic helps, drivers. 

Srebrenica massacre

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Affairs; Map-based Geography question 

In news: 

  • On July 11, 25 years on, commemoration services were held at the Srebrenica-Potocari Memorial and Cemetery in remembrance of the victims of the massacre. 
  • In July 1995, approximately 8,000 Muslims, mostly men and boys were killed in Srebrenica, by Bosnian Serb forces led by Commander Ratko Mladić. 
  • These killings were later classified as genocide by international tribunals investigating the massacre. 

Do you know? 

  • Srebrenica is a small town in Bosnia and Herzegovina in south-eastern Europe on Balkan Peninsula. 
  • The Bosnian War that occurred between 1992-1995, witnessed a period of displacement and ethnic cleansing of Bosnian Muslims and Bosnian Croats by the Bosnian Serb army and paramilitary forces. 

Pic: Balkan Peninsula 


International Comparison Program (ICP)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Organization; International Programs 

In news: 

  • World Bank released new PPPs for the reference year 2017, under the International Comparison Program (ICP). 
  • ICP is a partnership of various statistical administrations of up to 199 countries guided by the World Bank. 
  • The Program produces internationally comparable price and volume measures for gross domestic product (GDP).  
  • Its component expenditures are based on purchasing power parities (PPPs). 
  • The ICP tries to make different countries GDPs comparable by calculating them in PPP both currency converters and spatial price deflators. 

Important value additions: 

What Is Purchasing Power Parity (PPP)? 

  • PPP is a popular macroeconomic analysis metric which is used to compare economic productivity and standards of living between countries. 
  • PPP is an economic theory that compares different countries’ currencies through a “basket of goods” approach. 

 Do you know? 

  • ICP is one of the largest statistical initiatives in the world.  It is managed by the World Bank under the auspices of the United Nations Statistical Commission, and relies on a partnership of international, regional, sub-regional, and national agencies working under a robust governance framework and following an established statistical methodology. 
  • India has participated in almost all ICP rounds since its inception in 1970. 
  • India is participating in the current phase of International Comparison Programme (ICP) with reference to 2017. 
  • India is third-largest economy in terms of its PPP-based share in global actual individual consumption and global gross capital formation. 
  • The next ICP comparison will be conducted for the reference year 2021. 

For more details, refer – https://www.worldbank.org/en/programs/icp 


Mizoram quakes

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and III – Physical Geography; Natural Hazards and Disaster

In news: 

  • Mizoram experienced at least eight moderate earthquakes between June 21 and July 9. 
  • The epicentre of most of these quakes was beneath Champhai district bordering Myanmar. 
  • What is important here is – the Mizoram quake zone was caught between two geological faults – Churachandpur Mao Fault and the Mat Fault. 

Do you know? 

  • Faults are discontinuities or cracks that are the result of differential motion within the earth’s crust. 
  • Vertical or lateral slippage of the crust along the faults causes an earthquake. 

Adaptations of Flood Tolerant Plants 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology 

In news: 

  • Farmers in flood-prone areas of Assam have been harvesting the water-resistant Swarna Sub1. 
  • Swarna Sub1 is developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute, since 2009. 

Red Sanders seized in Andhra Pradesh

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains – Environment and ecology; Biodiversity; Conservation 

In news: 

  • Andhra Pradesh Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task Force  seized 1.50 tonnes of red sanders logs in Seshachalam hills, 25 km from Tirupati (Andhra Pradesh) 

Important Value Additions: 

About Red Sanders: 

  • Pterocarpus santalinus or Red Sanders is an endemic tree of South India 
  • They are found in Tropical Dry Deciduous forest of the Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh and also found in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. 
  • Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate. 
  • IUCN has put it under the category of endangered species in the Red List due to the dwindling population because of illegal felling and smuggling. 

Do you know? 

  • Its export is banned in India in accordance with the CITES and Wildlife Protection Act 1972. 
  • It is used for various purposes such as immunity medicine, furniture, radiation absorbent, musical instrument, food dyes and spices, Ayurveda and Siddha medicine, decorative and ornamental purposes etc. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ INFRASTRUCTURE

Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • Infrastructure: Energy
  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

Sure power: On India’s solar strategy

Context: The inauguration of a 750 MW photovoltaic solar project at Rewa, in Madhya Pradesh  

Do You Know? 

  • India’s installed base of this solar power source is about 35 gigawatts 
  • In Paris Agreement on climate, India set the goal of installing 100 GW of solar power by 2022 

Need of Solar energy: 

  • Energy Security: India energy demands is largely fulfilled by non-renewable source of energy 
  • Environmental Sustainability: India’s large part of energy demand is fulfilled by thermal energy largely dependent on fossil fuels which causes pollution. Solar energy is clean form of energy resource, which can be a substitute. 
  • India being Tropical Country, there is abundance of free solar energy in almost all parts of country. 
  • Changed Developmental Strategy: Solar energy is being viewed as a path for self-reliant industrialisation 
  • Green energy in rural area -  This is crucial for agri – business in farms for running irrigation, greenhouses, and crop and hay dryers, making agriculture risk – free. 

Challenges w.r.t developing Solar Energy 

  • Low domestic cell manufacturing capacity at 3.1 GW last year 
  • Heavy reliance on China for importing of photovoltaic cells, modules and associated equipment 
  • Projected addition of capacity in a COVID-19 affected future could fall short of stated goals (100 GW by 2022) 
  • India’s domestic content requirement clause is facing legal challenge at WTO. 
  • Land availability in India for solar plant is less due to high population density. 
  • India’s solar waste is estimated to be around 1.8 million by 2050 also needs to be tackled. 
  • Challenges with respect to importing critical raw materials such as polysilicon 

Way Ahead 

  • Government needs to make solar energy a strategic sector, giving it as much importance as defence. 
  • India needs to show leadership at global level to advance the manufacture and absorption of solar photovoltaic infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries.  
  • There has to integrated policies fully supported by States where Industry gets help to set up facilities and avail low cost financing  
  • India should also be able to invest in intellectual property. 
  • There has to be faster adoption of Innovative technologies- aesthetic photovoltaic window and roof tiles for buildings 
  • A decentralised approach will be suited for Indian landscape and this there has to be greater use of residential and commercial buildings to deploy more panels.  
  • India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy. 

Conclusion 

Rapid progress requires a strategic shift to aid competitive domestic manufacturing. 

Connecting the dots 

  • Impact of COVID-19 on Environmental Protection Standards 
  • Paris Climate Deal – US opting out of it – Critical Analysis 

GOVERNANCE / INFRASTRUCTURE

Topic: General Studies 1 and 2:

  • Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Hardly smart about urban health care

Context: The Smart Cities Mission completed five years, in June 2020 

What is the objective of Smart Cities Mission? 

  • The Mission sought to make 100 selected cities “smart”, primarily through an “Area-Based Development” model under which a small portion of the city would be upgraded by retrofitting or redevelopment 

Coronavirus pandemic has largely been an urban crisis  

  • Most of the Smart Cities are now reeling under the devastation caused by COVID-19 
  • Megacities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai have accounted for most of the COVID-19 positive cases.  
  • Indian cities are not only facing a public health crisis but also a larger emergency of economic issues and livelihoods.  
  • A high percentage of urban residents have lost employment during the lockdown and continue to face an uncertain future 

How Smart Cities mission projects were leveraged during Pandemic? 

  • Some cities have been using the Integrated Command and Control Centres created under the ‘Smart Cities Mission’ as “war rooms” for monitoring real time data regarding the spread of the virus.  

Criticism of Smart Cities mission 

  1. The projects undertaken under the scheme are behind schedule
  • Of the 5,151 smart city projects across the 100 cities, while around 4,700 projects have been tendered, only 1,638 projects have been completed.  
  • In terms of expenditure, of the total investment of ₹2,05,018 crore, only projects worth ₹26,700 crore have been completed 

 

  1. The mission has largely neglected Public Health
  • Only 69 of over 5,000 projects undertaken under the Mission were for health infrastructure 
  • Also, such projects are for an estimated cost of ₹2,112 crore, amounting to just around one per cent of the total mission cost. 

 

  1. It has further weakened local governments
  • The ‘Smart Cities Mission with parallel governance structures of Special Purpose Vehicle have further driven away local bodies from their responsibilities of enhancing Public Health 
  • India’s urban local bodies continue to be financially and administratively weak and heavily understaffed.  

 

Way Ahead- Strengthening local capacities 

  • The relative success of Kerala in containing the pandemic has shown how a decentralised political and administrative system with strong local governments and high investment in local public health care can be effective. 
  • Programmes such as the National Urban Livelihoods Mission and National Urban Health Mission, which have lately received limited focus and resources, need to be strengthened. 
  • Introduction of a national urban employment guarantee programme that assures jobs for urban residents (Kerala has been running such a scheme since 2010) 

Conclusion 

As Indian cities face an unprecedented challenge, it is important to get the priorities of urban development right and invest in programmes that improve the health and livelihoods of its residents. 

Connecting the dots 

  • Environmental impact of Urbanisation and solutions 

(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 about NATGRID

  1. It is an online database for collating scattered pieces of information from more than 20 organisationsto enable the generation of intelligence inputs. 
  2. NATGRID also comes under the ambit of Right to Information Act,2005 

Which of the statement(s) given 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

  1. National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) is a statutory body established under Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 
  2. NCRB data of 2017 shows that crime against women has declined in comparison to 2016

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Recently Red Sanders was in news. Consider the following statements about it.

  1. Red Sanders is an endemic tree of South India.
  2. They are found in Tropical Moist Deciduous forest.
  3. Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and humid climate.
  4. IUCN has put it under the category of endangered species. 

Which of the statements is/are correct? 

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only 
  2. 1 and 3 only 
  3. 1, 3 and 4 only 
  4. All the above 

Q.4) Consider the following statements about ‘Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve’

  1. It includes Sri Venkateswara National Park 
  2. It is home to Red Sanders and Slender Loris 

Choose the appropriate option from code given below: 

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.5) Consider the following statements 

  1. The place in the crust where the movement starts is called the epicentre. 
  2. The place on the surface above the Epicentre is called the focus. 
  3. Focus is also known as Hypocentre 

Select the incorrect statements

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  2. 1 and 3 only 
  3. 2 and 3 only 
  4. All of the above 

ANSWERS FOR 11th July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 A
4 D

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