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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th JULY 2020

  • IASbaba
  • July 30, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


New National Education Policy

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Education; Govt schemes and policies 

In news: 

The New National Education Policy – (Major highlights) 

  • It will introduce four­-year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options 
  • It will abolish the M.Phil. degree 
  • It will establish a common higher education regulator with fee fixation for both private and public institutions 
  • It also envisions universalisation of early childhood education from ages 3 to 6 by 2030 
  • It provides for a new school curriculum with coding and vocational studies from Class 6, and a child’s mother tongue being used as the medium of instruction till Class 5 
  • Class 10 and 12 board examinations will be made easier, to test core competencies rather than memorised facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice 
  • New Education Policy 2020 vs 1986 policy – A major departure is shifting from 10+2 format to a 5+3+3+4 

Do you know? 

  • MHRD will now be called Education Ministry  
  • This is the first new education policy in 34 years 
  • A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft Education Policy in December 2018 
  • Education is a concurrent subject 

Source: The Hindu 

Language formula: 

  • The new Education Policy provides for greater flexibility in the three-language formula, and no language will be imposed on any State 
  • The three languages learned by children will be the choices of States, regions, and of course the students themselves, so long as at least two of the three languages are native to India 
  • Sanskrit will be offered as an option at all levels of school and higher education 
  • Other classical languages will also be available, possibly as online modules, while foreign languages will be offered at the secondary level 

New curricular framework 

  • A new curricular framework is to be introduced, including the pre­school and anganwadi years 
  • A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the Class 3 level by 2025 
  • Students will begin classes on coding as well as vocational activities from Class 6 onwards 
  • Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner 

Governance reforms 

  • School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools 
  • An Academic Bank of Credit will be set up to make it easier to transfer between institutions 
  • The college affiliation system is being phased out over the next 15 years, so that every college develops into either an autonomous degree-­granting institution, or a constituent college of a university. 

Push to digital education 

  • The new NEP has a new section on digital education to ensure “equitable use of technology”. 
  • A dedicated unit to coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building will be created within the Education Ministry to look after the online learning needs of both school and higher education.  

Source: The Hindu 

Enrolment ratio 

  • The NEP emphasises universal access to schools 
  • It aims to bring two crore out-­of­-school children back into the educational mainstream 
  • It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, with an additional 3.5 crore new seats 
  • To achieve this, GDP expenditure to increase from current 4.43% of GDP to 6% 

Gender Inclusion Fund 

  • Centre to set up a ‘Gender ­Inclusion Fund’ to build the country’s capacity to provide equitable quality education to all girls and transgender students. 
  • The fund will be available to States to implement priorities determined by the Central government critical for assisting female and transgender children in gaining access to education (such as the provisions of sanitation and toilets, bicycles, conditional cash transfers, etc) 

To read more: Click here 


Natesa, a rare sandstone idol 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Art and Culture 

In news: 

  • Natesa, a rare sandstone idol which was smuggled to return to India after 22 years 
  • The idol depicts Shiva in the 9th century Prathihara style of Rajasthan 
  • It was originally from the Ghateswara Temple, Baroli, Rajasthan 
  • A beautiful depiction of Nandi is shown behind the right leg of the Natesa icon. 

Link: The Hindu 


Budapest Convention or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – International Conventions; Cyber security 

About: 

  • Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention on Cybercrime or the Budapest Convention is the first international treaty seeking to address Internet and computer crime (cybercrime) by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nations.  
  • It serves as a guideline for any country developing comprehensive national legislation against Cybercrime and as a framework for international cooperation between State Parties to this treaty. 
  • The Budapest Convention is supplemented by a Protocol on Xenophobia and Racism committed through computer systems. 

Protesting is a fundamental right: UN 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – International Conventions  

About: 

  • Demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice, protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right. 
  • Article 21 of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) – guarantees the right to peaceful assembly 

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) 

  • It is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 
  • The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee 
  • The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial 
  • The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) 
  • It became effective in 1976 

India and AIIB

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India and the World; International/Multi-lateral organizations 

About: 

  • The China-­backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to function as an “apolitical” institution and to continue to support projects in India 
  • The latest loan for India was for $750 million, to support vulnerable households impacted by COVID­19 

Key facts: 

  • India has received the most funding of any country from the bank (received $4.35 billion) 
  • India is one among the 57 founding members in 2016 
  • India is its second-­largest shareholder (with 7.62% voting shares) after China (26.06%) 
  • Headquarters of AIIB is in Beijing 

Vidya Varadhi scheme 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Education; Govt schemes and initiatives 

About: 

  • In a bid to reach out students and address challenges of online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Department of School Education proposed the “Vidya Varadhi’ scheme. 
  • Under Vidya Varadhi scheme, mobile classrooms equipped with audio-visual gadgets will reach pockets where students have no access to computers and Internet connectivity. 
  • The vehicles will reach remote areas and impart lessons.

Source: The Hindu 


Antibiotic use in the dairy sector 

Part of: GS Mains II – Health/Social issue 

Context: 

According to Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) report – 

  • Dairy farmers indiscriminately use antibiotics for diseases such as mastitis (infection/inflammation of the udder), a common ailment in dairy animals 
  • Antibiotics residues remaining in milk are a cause for concern (antibiotic resistance) 
  • Milk sold directly to consumers nor processed milk sold in packets are unchecked for antibiotic residues 

Do you know? 

  • India is the world’s largest milk producer 
  • The abused antibiotics, despite a law against it, are easily available without the prescription of a registered veterinarian and stocked at farms. 

Miscellaneous

Indian Rat Snake

About: 

  • Indian Rat Snake  is non-poisonous and will not attack unless cornered 
  • Rat Snakes are also called the farmer’s friend as it helps rid fields of rodents and does the same in urban settlements 
  • Indian Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa), popularly known as Dhaman,  is widely distributed across South and Southeast Asia 
  • It can adapt quickly to a variety of habits: arid land, open fields, farmland, coastal regions, freshwater or brackish water wetlands. 

India-Australia diaspora 

About: 

  • More than 38,000 Indians became Australian citizens in 2019­-2020, a 60% increase from the previous year 
  • Indians are the largest diaspora group to be granted the Australian citizenship 
  • According to Australia’s 2016 census, 6,19,164 people in Australia declared that they were of ethnic Indian ancestry 
  • 2.8% of the Australian population are Indians 

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL/ CYBER SECURITY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • Basics of cyber security
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.

A quest for order amid cyber insecurity

Context: Cyberinsecurity of individuals, organisations and states is expanding amidst COVID-19. 

Do you know? 

  • Between them, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft have added more than a trillion dollars in market value, since the start of 2020.  
  • In one week in April 2020, reportedly, there were over 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to COVID-19 

Increased instances of Cyber Attacks around world 

  • Twitter hackers collected $120,000 in full public gaze 
  • A “ransomware” target in California quietly paid 116.4 bitcoins or $1.14 million. 
  • China has been accused of hacking health-care institutions in US working on novel coronavirus treatment.  
  • United Kingdom has warned of hackers backed by the Russian state targeting pharmaceutical companies conducting COVID-19 vaccine research. 

Issues 

  • Inadequate Focus on Cyber Security: More of our critical infrastructure is going digital with increased digital interactions but it has not been matched with adequate safeguards for the cyber space 
  • No Global Commons: Borderless cyberspace, as a part of the “global commons” does not existThe Internet depends on physical infrastructure that is under national control, and hence is subject to border controls too. 
  • Multiple Players: Cyberspace has multiple stakeholders, not all of which are states. Non-state actors play key roles — some benign, some malignant.  
  • Difficulties in regulationThe infrastructure on which the Internet rests falls within jurisdictions of many states with differing approaches. Also, many networks are private, with objectives differing from those of states.  
  • Competing Interests & Unframed Norms: World is at an incipient stage of looking for “cyber norms” that can balance the competing demands of national sovereignty and transnational connectivity 
  • Agenda at UN: In 1998 that Russia inscribed the issue of ICTs in international security on the UN agenda. Despite various committees working on this subject, issues such as Internet governance, espionage, and digital privacy are kept out 
  • Domain of Experts: Generally the growth of technology is way ahead of the development of associated norms and institutions. As a result, cybersecurity is a niche area whose regulation has been largely left to experts. 

Way Ahead for India 

  • Globally, India needs to partake in shaping cybernorms.  
  • Acceding to the Budapest Convention, or Convention on Cybercrime of the Council of Europe (CETS No.185), is an option that India should examine.  
  • India also needs to encourage private sector to get involved more in industry-focused processes such as the Microsoft-initiated Cybersecurity Tech Accord and the Siemens-led Charter of Trust.  

Conclusion 

In preparation for the larger role that cyberspace will inevitably play in Indian lives, we need a deeper public understanding of its various dimensions. Cyberspace is too important to be left only to the experts. 

Value Addition 

The Christchurch Call 

  • The Christchurch Call to Action Summit (also called the Christchurch Call), was a political summit initiated by New Zealand Prime Minister in the aftermath of Mosque shooting in March 2019 in Chirstchurch, New Zealand 
  • The Call aimed to bring together countries and tech companies in an attempt to bring to an end the ability to use social media to organise and promote terrorism and violent extremism. 
  • India has also signed the non-binding agreement 

ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE/ HEALTH 

Topic: General Studies 2 and 3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Fewer species, more disease

Context: COVID-19 induced lockdowns have kept people indoors and provided opportunities for wild animals to roam around spaces they otherwise don’t venture into. 

Do you know? 

  • It is not yet fully understood which species have contributed to the transmission of COVID-19 and how.  
  • However, according to experts, there is strong evidence that it spread from a wildlife market in Wuhan, China. Two hypothesis have been discussed:  
  • (a) the virus jumped from bats directly to humans;  
  • (b) from bats to pangolins and then to humans 

It is the time to rethink human actions on nature 

  • Scientists believe that emergence of epidemics have strong linkages with the loss of biodiversity, and increase in wildlife trade. 
  • In order to clear land for development and agriculture, forests & habitats have been destroyed. In the process, ecosystems are being damaged, fragmented or destroyed and as a result, world has lost several species.  
  • Trafficking in wild plants and animals has become one of the largest forms of organised crime that has become a threat to wildlife & ecosystems 
  • Species are being wiped out by organised trade networks, with new poaching techniques, for manufacturing traditional Chinese medicines. 
  • Human-induced environmental changes reduce biodiversity resulting in new conditions that host vectors and/or pathogens 
  • By disturbing the delicate balance of nature, we have created ideal conditions for the spread of viruses from animals to humans. 

Way Ahead 

  • Mainstreaming of biodiversity is needed in our post-COVID-19 development programme. 
  • Long term Vision: Nations should work towards realising the 2050 vision for biodiversity, ‘Living in Harmony with Nature’.  
  • Integrated approach: Societies must follow a ‘one health’ approach which considers the health of people, wild and domesticated animals, and the environment. 
  • Strict Monitoring: International Community need to strictly regulate high-risk wildlife markets that threaten biodiversity. 
  • Promoting Green Economy: Governments should promote green jobs and work towards achieving carbon-neutral economies. 
  • Executive actionIndia should strictly enforce  
  • The Wildlife (Protection) Act of 1972, which prohibits the trade of 1,800 species of wild animals/plants and their derivatives;  
  • The Biological Diversity Act of 2002;  
  • Strategies and action plans including the National Biodiversity Targets;  
  • The National Biodiversity Mission 
  • Mass biodiversity literacy: People should realise that we live in a world where biodiversity is our common heritage and natural capital. 

Conclusion 

Ecosystem integrity will regulate diseases and restrict the transmission of pathogens from one species to another. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Sustainable Developmental Goals 
  • Zoonosis 

(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: 

  1. Natesa is made up of redstone
  2. It depicts Shiva in the 9th century Prathihara style of Gujarat
  3. It was originally from the Ghateswara Temple 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

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

Q.2)  Consider the following statements about Budapest Convention

  1. It seeks to address internet and computer crime by harmonizing national laws, improving investigative techniques, and increasing cooperation among nation.
  2. India is party to the convention

Select the correct statements 

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

Q.3) Consider the following statement about International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)

  1. It is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly
  2. It is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee 

Select the correct answer using the codes below 

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

Q.4) Consider the following:

  1. Adjutant stork
  2. Two horned rhino
  3. Rattle snake 

Which of the above is/are naturally found in India? 

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

Q.5) Great Prophet 14 exercise is associated with –

  1. Iran 
  2. Israel 
  3. UK
  4. Turkey

Q.6) With regard to Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), consider the following statements

  1. India and Japan are the founding members of AIIB
  2. It is headquartered is in Beijing, China
  3. All members of AIIB have equal voting rights unlike IMF

Select the correct answer using code below  

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

ANSWERS FOR 29th July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1  C 
2  C 
3  C 
4  A 
5  A 
6  C 

Must Read

About shaping the digital world

The Hindu

About analyzing the Pandemic Crisis in India, US & Brazil

The Hindu

About reputation of Scientists during Pandemic

The Indian Express

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