DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th JULY 2020

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  • July 15, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th July 2020



NGT on Brahmapuram fiasco

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Statutory bodies; Environment issues; Pollution 

In news: 

  • National Green Tribunal (NGT) bench held that the Chairman and Member Secretary of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) will be held liable if they fail to initiate prosecution and recover compensation from those responsible for the unscientific handling of waste at the dumping site of the Kochi Corporation at Brahmapuram. 
  • NGT bench observed that the progress (remediation) appeared to be very slow and was disregardful of the statutory and constitutional obligation of providing a clean environment. 

Important Value Additions: 

Key points to remember: 

  • Non-compliance with Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016 (SWM Rules, 2016) 
  • Unscientific handling of waste at the dumping site resulting in environment pollution and impacting public health 
  • Role of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB 
  • Role of State Level Monitoring Committee on solid waste management 
  • Role of National Green Tribunal (NGT) 

Do you know? 

  • To protect and improve the environment is a constitutional mandate 
  • It is a commitment for a country wedded to the ideas of a welfare State 
  • Indian Constitution contains specific provisions for environment protection under DPSPs and FDs. 

Article 48A (DPSP): ‘Protection and improvement of environment and safeguarding of forests and wildlife. The State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country’. 

Article 51-A (g) FD: “It shall be duty of every citizen of India to protect and improve the natural environment including forests, lakes, rivers and wild life and to have compassion for living creatures.” 

Article 21 FR: Right to wholesome environment is a part of right to life and personal liberty guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. 

“The State is under constitutional obligation to ensure clean environment to all its citizens. In cases of pertaining to environmental matter, the State has to act as facilitator and not as obstructionist.” 

About National Green Tribunal 

  • National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 provides for establishment of NGT for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environment protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources. 
  • NGT to also deal with enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property. 
  • The NGT Act envisages establishment of NGT in order to deal with all environmental laws relating to air and water pollution, the Environment Protection Act, the Forest Conservation Act and the Biodiversity Act as have been set out in Schedule I of the NGT Act. 

NOTE: Wildlife Protection comes under the ambit of Green bench of Supreme Court and not under NGT. 

15th India- European Union (virtual) summit 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and EU ties; International Relations 

In News: 

  • India- European Union (EU) to hold virtual summit 

Focus areas: 

  • India and EU to restart free trade agreement (FTA) negotiations – Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) 
  • To conclude several agreements including – a roadmap for cooperation, an agreement on research sharing for civil nuclear cooperation and launch a maritime security dialogue as well as negotiations between Europol and the CBI. 
  • Medical developments on vaccines and treatment. 

Do you know? 

  • EU is India’s largest trading partner and investor, and accounts for 11% of India’s global trade. 
  • EU had welcomed India’s election to the UN Security Council next year. 
  • EU has reservations about the model “Bilateral Investment Treaty” (BIT) that India has proposed, especially on dispute mechanisms in Indian courts. 
  • Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement is a Free Trade Agreement between India and EU, which was initiated in 2007.


  • Significance of EU to India 

China-Iran ties 

Part of: GS Mains II – International Relations  


  • Iran and China are taking their partnership to a new level through a $400-billion long-term agreement. 
  • Both the countries are in an advanced stage of finalising the agreement that would allow China to expand its presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and several other sectors in the Islamic Republic in return for heavily discounted oil for 25 years. 
  • The above agreement if finalized could be an economic lifeline for sanctions-hit Iran and China could enhance its strategic influence in a region where the U.S. has built a strong presence since the Second World War. 
  • The agreement could also attract punitive measures from the U.S. against China. 

Converging areas: 

  • Both countries are at odds with the U.S. 
  • While China is a huge energy market and is abundant with surplus cash, Iran is a sanctions-hit, cash-strapped energy exporter. 
  • Iran has a very crucial place in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 
  • China and Iran would launch joint training exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing. 
  • China will also offer its GPS to Iran, build infrastructure for 5G rollout and develop free trade zones. 

U.S. rejects Beijing’s claims in S. China Sea

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – International Affairs   

In news: 

  • United States said China’s claims to offshore resources across most of the South China Sea are completely unlawful. 
  • South China Sea has rich source of valuable oil and gas deposits and is a vital waterway for the world’s commerce. 
  • US also said that it would stand with the international community in defence of freedom of the seas and respect for sovereignty and reject any claims in South China Sea. 

Do you know? 

  • China claims most of the South China Sea through a so-called nine-dash line, a vague delineation based on maps from the 1940s. 
  • US rejected claims of China in the waters surrounding Vanguard Bank off Vietnam, Lucania Shoals off Malaysia, waters considered in Brunei’s exclusive economic zone and Natuna Besar off Indonesia.  
  • US also rejected China’s southernmost claim of Malaysian-administered James Shoal, which is 1,800 km (1,150 miles) from the Chinese mainland. 

Britain bans Huawei from future role in 5G network  

Part of: GS Mains II – International Affairs 

In news: 

  • Britain imposed ban on Chinese telecommunications company Huawei, citing concerns that Huawei equipment could allow the Chinese government to infiltrate U.K. networks. 
  • US has threatened to cut off security cooperation unless Britain dumped Huawei. 
  • The decision would delay the 5G rollout and cost millions of pounds. 

Spike-LR (long range) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles 

Part of: GS Prelims – Defence 

In news: 

  • Indian Army is set to place repeat order for Spike-LR (long range) Anti-Tank Guided Missiles from Israel. 
  • Earlier, Army had decided to place repeat order for 72,400 Sig Sauer assault rifles from the U.S. 

Turkey converts Hagia Sophia museum into a mosque 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – International Affairs; World History; Culture 

In news: 

  • Recently, Turkey’s highest court allowed for the conversion of the nearly 1,500 year-old Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque.  
  • The centuries-old structure, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was originally a cathedral in the Byzantine empire before it was turned into a mosque in 1453, when Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces.  
  • In the 1930s, however, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, shut down the mosque and turned it into a museum in an attempt to make the country more secular. 
  • The change in status of the Hagia Sophia comes after repeated warnings from the international community, including UNESCO, to ensure that Turkey did not proceed with these plans. 

History: Hagia Sophia 

  • The construction of this iconic structure in Istanbul started in 532 AD during the reign of Justinian I, the ruler of the Byzantine Empire, when the city was known as Constantinople. The structure was originally built to become the seat of the Patriarch of the Eastern Orthodox Church and remained so for approximately 900 years. 
  • In 1453, when Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces, the Hagia Sophia was ransacked by the invading forces and turned into a mosque shortly after. The structure of the monument was then subjected to several interior and exterior changes where Orthodox symbols were removed or plastered upon and minarets were added to the exterior of the structure. For a long time, the Hagia Sophia was Istanbul’s most important mosque. 
  • In 1934, Atartuk ordered that the Hagia Sophia be converted into a museum. It opened to the public in 1935. 



Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • India and its neighborhood- relations.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

Lost opportunity: On India losing Chabahar project 


Iran decided to proceed with the Chabahar port rail project by itself citing funding delays from India side in beginning and funding the project

Do You Know? 

  • Chabahar port is located on the Gulf of Oman and is only 72 km away from the Gwadar port in Pakistan which has been developed by China. 
  • The distance between Kandla and the Chabahar port is less than the distance between New Delhi and Mumbai. 
  • The Chabahar port, signed in 2003, has been jointly developed by India, Iran, and Afghanistan. 
  • The government sent exports to Afghanistan in 2018, and has moved over half-a-million tonnes of cargo, including grains and food supplies, for Afghanistan again, through the port 

Significance of Chabahar Port 

  • It gives a boost to India’s bilateral ties with Iran which is a major oil supplier for India. 
  • It will give India access to Afghanistan, Russia and Europe, thus circumventing Pakistan 
  • The port and the rail project (Chabahar to Zahedan to Zarang near Afghanistan border) will enhance connectivity, energy supplies and trade 
  • The port is also akey link in the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a multi-modal network of ships, rail and road routes to move freight between India to Russia via Iran. 
  • It willfacilitate India’s role in Afghanistan’s development through infrastructure and education projects. 

Why the recent move by Iran is considered as setback for India? 

  • India and Iran had agreed to construct 628km rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, which will be extended to Zaranj across the border in Afghanistan. 
  • This rail line was considered by India as an alternate trade route to Afghanistan & Central Asia. 
  • The state-owned Indian Railways Construction Ltd. (IRCON) had signed a MoU with the Iranian Rail Ministry in 2016 and promised to provide all services, superstructure work and financing (around USD 1.6 billion). 
  • Iran’s latest action comes in the backdrop of Iran finalising a 25-year strategic partnership deal with China worth $400 billion, negotiated in secrecy. 

Reasons for Iran’s actions 

  • Delay in Indian funding due to fear of US Sanctions: Despite several site visits by IRCON engineers and preparations by Iranian railways, India never began the work, worrying that it could attract sanctions by the USA. 
  • Hiccups in bilateral relations: India has already zeroed out its oil imports from Iran due to USA sanctions. Bilateral ties with Iran took a hit in February 2020 after the riots in Delhi drew condemnation from Iranian 
  • Difficulties in logistics procurement: The USA had provided a sanctions waiver for the Chabahar port and the rail line but it was difficult to find equipment suppliers and partners due to worries of being targeted by the USA 
  • Better Deal with China: The $400 billion deal includes Chinese involvement in Chabahar’s duty-free zone, an oil refinery nearby and possibly a larger role in Chabahar port. 
  • Growing Iran-China relationship: Iran proposed a tie-up between the Chinese-run Pakistani port at Gwadar and Chabahar in 2019 and offered interests to China in the Bandar-e-Jask port 350 km away from Chabahar, as well as in the Chabahar duty-free zone. 


In a world where connectivity is seen as the new currency, India’s loss could well become China’s gain.  

Connecting the dots 

  • String of Pearls Theory 
  • Belt & Road Initiative of China 


Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • Economics of animal-rearing.
  • Government policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Dairy Cooperatives: A model for realisation of Atmanirbhar Bharat

Context: The Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan aimed at making India self-reliant in the post-Covid-19 economic reconstruction. 

Self-reliance is thought to be achieved by giving thrust on two themes: ‘vocal for local’ and ‘local to global’. 

Did You Know? 

  • India has been the largest milk producer country of the world for the last 22 years.  
  • Currently, milk production of India stands at around 188 million metric tonnes (MMT)—in 2018-19, which is around 21% of world milk production. 

Significance of Milk Sector 

  • Contributes to around 4.5% of national GDP 
  • It is primary source of income for about 100 million rural households—mostly landless, small or marginal farmers. 
  • Of the total value of the agricultural economy, around 28% (Rs 8 lakh crore, or $110 billion) is contributed by dairying. 
  •  Milk production in India has been growing at a CAGR of 4.5% over the past 20 years, compared to less than 2% CAGR of the world. This high growth has enabled India to absorb the growing population especially in rural areas 

Milk Sector & Self-reliance 

  • Self-sufficiency in milk production was achieved decades ago. 
  • During the early 1970s, milk production of India was just one-third that of the US and one-eighth of Europe 
  • At present, India’s milk production is double that of the US and 25% more than Europe’s. 

How was this self-reliance achieved? 

  • During the 1970s, most dairy farmers did not receive remunerative returns due to the long chain of middlemen and lack of access to organised markets.  
  • The scenario changed after the adoption of a three-tier cooperative model, popularly referred to as the Amul model with the three-phase implementations of Operation Flood 
  • This not only led to India becoming the largest producer of milk but also largest consumer of milk globally 
  • India’s per capita milk availability is around 400 gm per day per person, which is higher than global average of less than 300 gm per day per person. 

What needs to be done to sustain India’s self-sufficiency in milk production? 

  1. Supporting Private investments
  • Indian dairy cooperatives and private players could create additional milk processing capacity of 4.5-4.8 crore litre per day in the next decade.  
  • To facilitate this growth, a financial package for dairy and fisheries was announced by Union government during lockdown. 
  • This includes the creation of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) worth Rs 15,000 crore to support private investment in dairy processing, value addition and cattle feed infrastructure.  
  • The proposed fund should be channelised through the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). 
  1. Extension of the KisanCredit Card scheme to dairy farmers
  • The government that has announced this extension should implement it effectively at ground level 
  • This will ensure cash flow and meet the working capital requirement of small farmers. 
  1. Holistic Approach
  • A holistic approach is needed to bring unorganised farmers into the fold of the organised sector.  
  • This desires convergence across policies, strengthening Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), common service centres (CSCs), business correspondents (BCs) commodity exchanges and digital markets.  
  • The thrust should be on ensuring that dairy farmers get a reasonable share of the earnings that the private players receive through value addition.  
  • The dairy sector also needs to have its adequate share in the proposed creation of 10,000 farmer producer organisations (FPOs) as part of national policy so that gglomerating FPOs can come up for better convergence. 
  1. Protecting Dairy Farmers from foreign players
  • Allowing cheaper import from milk-surplus economically-developed countries would hit Indian dairy farmers hard. 
  • India withdrew from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations citing apprehensions about cheaper dairy imports impacting the domestic dairy sector. 

Connecting the dots 

  • RCEP 
  • 97th Constitutional Amendment Act 


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. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Which among the below given articles provide that the State shall endeavour to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wildlife of the country?

  1. Article 48A 
  2. Article 49A 
  3. Article 51-A (g) 
  4. Article 50  

Q.2) Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA) is associated with –  

  1. India and China 
  2. India and European Union
  3. India and US 
  4. India and Russia 

Q.3) Consider the following definitions related to different trade agreements:

  1. PTAs are arrangements between two or more countries that primarily agree to reduce or eliminate customs tariff and non tariff barriers on substantial trade between them. 
  2. Custom union is the arrangement in which partner countries may decide to trade at zero duty among themselves; however they maintain common tariffs against rest of the world. 
  3. Economic Union is a common market extended through harmonization of fiscal/monetary policies and shared executive, judicial & legislative institutions. 

Which of the statements is/are correct? 

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

Q.4) Consider the following statements about UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 

  1. United States is not part of this convention.  
  2. International Seabed Authority (ISA) is established under this convention. 

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 with reference to Hagia Sophia

  1. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site 
  2. The construction of this iconic structure started during the Byzantine empire 

Choose the appropriate option from code given below: 

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


1  B
2  A 
3  D 
4  B 
5  A 

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