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

  • IASbaba
  • August 15, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


President’s address on 74th Independence Day

Context:

  • President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to the nation on the eve of 74th Independence Day 
  • The below are some of the important excerpts from his address, important for various stages of the exam –
  1. Self-reliance or ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative
    • India’s self-reliance means being self-sufficient without alienating or creating distance from the world. 
    • India will continue to engage with the world economy while maintaining its identity.
    • It has been the tradition of India that we do not just live for ourselves, but work for the well-being of the entire world.
  1. Vasudhaiv kutumbakam : : the global community is but one family
  2. When India won freedom, many predicted that our experiment with democracy will not last long. They saw our ancient traditions and rich diversity as hurdles in democratisation of our polity. But we have always nurtured them as our strengths that make the largest democracy in the world so vibrant. India has to continue playing its leading role for the betterment of humanity.
  3. The ethos of our freedom struggle forms the foundation of modern India. Our visionary leaders brought together a diversity of world views to forge a common national spirit. They were committed to the cause of liberating Bharat Mata from oppressive foreign rule and securing the future of her children. Their thoughts and actions shaped the identity of India as a modern nation.
  4. Gandhiji’s teachings answer to present day problems: Troubled by social strife, economic problems, and climate change, the world should seek relief in Gandhiji’s teachings. His quest for equality and justice is the mantra for our Republic.
  5. The nation is indebted to doctors, nurses and other health workers who have been continuously on the forefront of our fight against this virus.
  6. Look at the current crisis as an opportunity to initiate reforms to revitalise the economy for the benefit of all, specially farmers and small entrepreneurs. 
  7. The invisible virus has demolished the illusion that human being is the master of nature. It is still not too late for humanity to correct its course and live in harmony with nature. ‘Human-centric collaboration’ is more important than ‘economy-centric inclusion’, in the present context.
  8. Compassion and mutual help have been adopted as basic values by the people in India. We need to further strengthen this virtue in our conduct, for better future. 
  9. Adoption of science and technology, in harmony with nature, will help sustain our survival and growth. 
  10. Prayer for the well-being

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः,सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः। सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु, मा कश्चिद् दु:खभाग् भवेत्॥

It means:

May all be happy,

May all be free from illness,

May all see what is auspicious,

May no one come to grief.

The message of this prayer for universal well-being is India’s unique gift to humanity.


Endangered Species: ‘Fishing Cat’

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Conservation; Endangered Species; Biodiversity

Context:

  • Efforts are being made to begin the country’s maiden exercise of collaring 10 fishing cats in the Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary, situated in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Experts to study the species’ ecology, home range, behaviour in different seasons, feeding habits, threats, movements and use of space.

Important Value Additions:

Fishing cat

  • Fish cat (Prionailurus viverrinus) is mammal double the size of domestic cat which is a native to wetlands, swamps and marshy areas.
  • Rapid depletion of wetland is posing a threat to the animal on a global scale and India is no exception. 
  • Fish cat has been designated as ‘vulnerable’ in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • It is a wildlife sanctuary and estuary situated in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The sanctuary is a part of the Godavari estuary and has extensive mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest.
  • It is the second largest stretch of mangrove forests in India (after Sundarbans).
  • It is home to the critically endangered white-backed vulture and the long-billed vulture.
  • Its main wildlife attractions are Golden Jackal, Sea turtle, Fishing cat, Estuarine Crocodile, Small Blue Kingfisher, Cattle Egret.
  • Hope Island and Sacramento Island located in the mangrove region are two important nesting sites for the endangered Olive Ridley turtles.

Do you know?

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has begun the process to get UNESCO world heritage status for Godavari Mangroves at Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.

COVID-19 impact on MSMEs

Part of: GS Mains III – Indian Economy and issues related to it; Growth and Development

About:

According to a report from a group of experts on the post-COVID-19 economic and industrial revival –

  • Around 20-40% MSMEs facing closure
  • Smaller units in the MSME sector suffered from the effects of demonetisation in 2016 and also from the introduction of GST in 2017
  • MSMEs have been hit again by the three-month lockdown and due to the uncertainty about the pace of recovery 

Do you know?

  • Closure of MSMEs could create a serious employment problem, which could further lead into a social crisis.

Measures:

  • National report for MSMEs by Global Alliance for Mass Entrepreneurship (GAME) outlines a three-stage approach consisting of ‘survive, revive and thrive’
  • Survival is the first priority and the aim should be to ensure that large numbers of MSMEs are not immediately wiped out.
  • However, those that survive will need to be helped to revive as the economy gets back to normal.
  • There is a need to address the long-term objective of how MSMEs can actually thrive and support a faster growth rate for industry.

Ban of use and sale of nine agro-chemicals

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Pollution

  • Punjab government ordered a ban on the sale and use of nine agro-chemicals, after the agriculture department found that these were still being used by farmers though they adversely impacted the quality of rice.
  • The ban is aimed at protecting the paddy quality, which is critical to its export and remunerative pricing in the international market.

Agro-chemicals which are banned include – Acephate, Triazophos, Thiamethoxam, Carbendazim, Tricyclazole, Buprofezin, Carbofuron, Propiconazole and Thiophinate Methyl.

Insecticides Act, 1968

  • It was brought into force with effect from August 1971 
  • The Act regulates the import, manufacture, sale, transport, distribution and use of insecticides in order to prevent risk to human beings and animals. 
  • Central Insecticides Board was established under Section 4 of the Act and it works under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • The board advises the central government and state governments on technical matters arising out of the administration of the act and to carry out the other functions assigned to it.

Miscellaneous:

Wagah border

  • It is located on the historic Grand Trunk Road
  • It was established nearly two months after Partition by Brigadier Mohindar Singh Chopra on October 11, 1947.

Money lost from fraudulent transactions can be recovered

  • According to the Interpol (international criminal police organisation) –
  • Money lost to online scams can be intercepted and recovered, provided the victims react in time and alert the banks involved in the transactions.
  • It is possible to intercept the funds and recover it.

Cobotics

About:

  • Department of Science of Technology has sanctioned ₹170 crore under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber Physical Systems to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Cobotics at the institute.
  • The focus will be the technologies where robots should be able to work together with humans for maximising the benefit of human intelligence with robots’ precision and ability to work tirelessly in an environment where the humans cannot work.

Cobotics 

  • Cobots, or collaborative robots, are robots intended for direct human robot interaction within a shared space, or where humans and robots are in close proximity. 
  • Cobot applications contrast with traditional industrial robot applications in which robots are isolated from human contact.

(MAINS FOCUS)


FEDERALISM/ INDIAN POLITY

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure

Talking tough: On the Naga issue

Context: The National Socialist Council of Nagaland- Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) has for the first time released the details of the 2015 framework agreement (given in interpretation of agreement part of article)

Do You Know?

  • Nagas belong to Indo-Mongoloid Family.
  • The Nagas are not a single tribe, but an ethnic community that comprises several tribes who live in the state of Nagaland and its neighbourhood.

Origin of Naga Issue and the timeline of the events

The assertion of Naga Nationalism began during Colonial period and continued in Independent India. Below is the pictorial representation of the timeline

What are the key demands of the Naga groups? 

  • Greater Nagalim (sovereign statehood) i.e redrawing of boundaries to bring all Naga-inhabited areas in the Northeast under one administrative umbrella.
    • It includes various parts of Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Assam and Myanmar as well.
  • Naga Yezabo (Naga Constitution) 
  • Naga national flag.

What was the Ceasefire Agreement which was signed in 2015?

  • Signatories: Interlocutor R.N. Ravi signed the agreement on behalf of the Centre in presence of PM Modi. The other two signatories were leader of NSCN(IM) i.e. Isak Chishi Swu, who died in 2016 and Thuingaleng Muivah (86) who is leading the talks.
  • Takeaway of the Agreement: The Government of India recognised the unique history, culture and position of the Nagas and their sentiments and aspirations. The NSCN(IM) also appreciated the Indian political system and governance.
  • Significance: It shows the governments strong intent to resolve the long standing issue and adoption of diplomatic peaceful approach by Naga Society to fulfil their aspirations.
  • Objective: Both sides agreed that October 2019 for concluding an accord, which would settle all Naga issues
  • Shrouded in Secrecy: The details of the agreement have not been made public by the government citing security reasons

What has happened in the year’s post signing the agreement?

  • Enlarged Peace Talks: Talks were expanded in 2017 by including other Naga groups under the banner, the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs)
  • Bilateral to Multilateral Negotiations: The Framework Agreement envisaged a bilateral truce between two entities, but today it is seen to be a multilateral one with involvement of seven prominent Naga groups
  • Deadlock in Talks Since October 2019: The deadlock was on the insistence for a separate flag and constitution by the NSCN(IM) to make way for India and Nagaland to be independent allies in a shared-sovereignty federal relationship
  • Differences within Naga Groups:  The NSCN (I-M) still insists on a “Greater Nagalim”. However, most of the NNPGs based in Nagaland have sought to settle the issue without disturbing the State boundaries while keeping the “Greater Nagalim” question in abeyance

What are the present grievances of NSCN-IM?

  1. Interpretation of Agreement
  • The agreement released by the NSCN-IM in August 2020 stated “sharing the sovereign power” and provide for an “enduring inclusive new relationship of peaceful co-existence of the two entities”.
  • The NSCN-IM claims that the word ‘new’ is politically sensitive as it goes to define the meaning of peaceful co-existence of the two entities (two sovereign powers) and it strongly indicates outside the purview of the Constitution
  • The position of NSCN(IM) has been “with India, not within India”.
  • Conceding to this demand, especially after the abrogation of Article 370, seems improbable for the Government. 
  1. Grievances against Mr. Ravi (Interlocutor & also Nagaland Governor)
  • The NSCN-IM has claimed that Mr. Ravi, “craftily deleted the word new from the original” to justify his own narrative and circulated to the other Naga groups including NNGPs
  • NSCN-IM is also angered by Mr. Ravi’s letter to Nagaland CM, alleging the collapse of law and order and that armed gangs who question the sovereignty and integrity of the nation” were engaging in “blatant extortion”. 
  • This has touched a sore spot for the NSCN (I-M) as the group defended the practice by terming it “tax collection”.
  • The NSCN (I-M) has demanded that Nagaland Governor R.N. Ravi should be removed as the interlocutor for talks on the Naga accord

Way Ahead

  • Any moves to alter boundaries will intensify ethnic conflicts and insurgencies beyond Nagaland.
  • The accord can be concluded after consultations with Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, all States which have a stake in the matter. 
  • The Central government needs reiterate its commitment to finalising the Naga accord while seeking to re-engage with the NSCN (I-M) without giving in to its arbitrary demands.

Connecting the dots;

  • Article 371
  • Divide & Rule Policy of British

SCIENCE & TECH/ ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life 
  • Cyber Security and Challenges to internal security through communication networks  

Democracy needs an Internet ombudsman

Context: The increasing interplay between government, companies and citizens for big data.

What are some of the Criticism of the present day Internet Structure?

  • Information asymmetry has become so huge that it has eroded the very spirit of democracy by limiting the unbiased communication of ideas
  • Data is used as means of control and surveillance, whereby powers of government for National Security and fraud detection is being misused for political surveillance
  • Increased Uncertainty: Citizens receive a flood of unfiltered information which is re-circulated into the network of social media causing much greater chaos 
  • Increasing Conservatism: Information Superhighways in democracy are leading to “re-tribalisation” of politics as Politicians are able to misuse internet for arousing passions & fragmenting society for political gains
  • Increasing Private Players in Political Messaging: While the customisation of political messaging is not per se illegal, it certainly is unlawful to indulge in unauthorised data mining and collection by the industry
  • New Interests to be balanced: There is a Triangular interplay between data protection, privacy and a flow of information, which are 21st century public policy concerns, where governments don’t have much experience in dealing with them
  • Reactive Government Policies: Indian Government banned 59 Chinese apps in the backdrop of border tensions. However, its stance on Facebook & Amazon is unclear where they are facing scrutiny on their own soil for their data mining policies
  • Governance tools under Criticism: The Aadhar Act is alleged as dilution of ‘privacy’ and the standard of proportionality test set up by the Supreme Court. Similar concerns are also raised by Arogya Setu App
  • A national policy on data privacy of individuals is still a non-starter. The Personal Data Protection Bill, struggling to be born in Parliament despite conception in 2018
  • Increasing Data Theft: India’s cybersecurity watchdog, CERT-In, last year reported huge data theft of Facebook and Twitter users by malicious third party apps
    • Reportedly, more than 1.3 million credit and debit card details from Indian banks and the data of 6.8 million users from an Indian health-care website were stolen in the same year.
  • New Form of War: There are dedicated IT cells  of organisations, governments which carry out a digital form of warfare with propaganda and fake news

Way Ahead – Should there be Regulation of Internet?

  • There should be a gatekeeper(regulator) to balance appetites for technology, security and privacy. The gate keeper is for regulation, not surveillance
  • Such a regulator has to be completely and genuinely independent. Otherwise it will perform an unacceptable legitimation function. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Justice K.S. Puttaswamy (Retd.) vs Union Of India case
  • Justice B N Srikrishna Committee report of data protection

(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 statement about ‘Fishing Cat’

  1. It is listed as ‘critically endangered’ under the IUCN Red List
  2. It is the state animal of West Bengal and Odisha

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.2) Hope Island is a part of which of the following sanctuaries?

  1. Pulicat Wildlife Sanctuary
  2. Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary
  3. Krishna Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Chilika Wildlife Sanctuary

Q.3) Consider the following statements with respect to ‘Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary’

  1. The sanctuary is a part of the Cauvery estuary
  2. It has extensive mangrove and dry deciduous tropical forest
  3. It is home to the critically endangered white-backed vulture and the long billed vulture

Select the correct statements

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

ANSWERS FOR 14th August 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 A
3 B
4 A
5 A

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