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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st AUGUST 2020

  • IASbaba
  • August 1, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Core sector output shrank further

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Economics – Growth and Development 

Context: 

  • The output of eight core sector industries shrank further. 
  • Economists expect the negative trend to continue for at least two more months. 
  • During April-­June 2020­21, the sector’s output dipped by 24.6% as compared to a positive growth of 3.4% in the same period previous year.  

Do you know? 

  • Of the eight core sectors, the fertilizer industry was the only one which saw actual growth. 
  • It reflects the positive outlook in the agriculture sector where a normal monsoon is leading to expectations of a bumper kharif crop. 
  • The remaining industries showed contraction, with the steel sector continuing to remain the worst performer. 

Pic: The Hindu 


NEP 2020: KVs unlikely to change medium of instruction 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Education reforms 

Context: 

  • The new NEP contained a clause which provides for the mother tongue or local language to be used as the medium of instruction “wherever possible” at least until Class 5, but preferably till Class 8 and beyond.  
  • Kendriya Vidyalayas and schools affiliated to the CBSE cater to the needs of people in transferable jobs. It would not be practical to use students’ mother tongue or regional languages as the medium of instruction for such schools. 

Do you know? 

  • Kendriya Vidyalayas cater to the needs of Central government employees posted anywhere and it contains students from all over India from Jammu and Kashmir to Kanniyakumari 
  • Therefore, it becomes practically difficult to teach in their mother tongue or different medium of instructions in one class. 
  • KVs are directly controlled by the Education Ministry. 
  • Most of the CBSE schools are also catering to the requirement of people in transferable jobs.  

A.P. Governor clears Bill which provides for three capitals 

Part of: GS Mains II – Government policies and interventions for development 

In news: 

  • In a major turning point in the history of Andhra Pradesh, Governor gave his assent to the A.P. Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions and A.P. Capital Region Development Authority Repeal Bills ­ 2020. 
  • The clearance of the decentralisation Bill facilitates the development of Amaravati, Kurnool and Visakhapatnam as the Legislative, Judicial and Executive Capitals respectively. 

Pic: Multiple State Capitals  

Do you know? 

  • The repeal of the Capital Region Development Authority Act (CRDA) paves the way for the formation of the Amaravati Metropolitan Region Development Authority.  
  • The government is free now to give the ‘three capitals’ proposal a tangible shape 

Menstrual Hygiene Management National Guidelines, 2015 

Part of: GS Mains II and III – Children/Women welfare; Health/Social issue 

Context: 

  • National Guidelines on Menstrual Hygiene Management was released by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in 2015 
  • It seeks to address every component of menstrual hygiene ranging from, raising awareness, addressing behaviour change, creating a demand for better hygiene products, capacity building of frontline community cadre, sensitization of key stakeholders, convergence needed for effective outreach and intervention, creation of WASH facilities including safe disposal options, etc. 

Measures needed 

  • The Guidelines should recognise sanitary napkins as an essential commodity, and to add it to the schedule of the Essential Commodity Act. 
  • Maharashtra’s Rural Development department had initiated ASMITA scheme – to ensure that women and young adolescent girls in rural areas have access to quality and affordable sanitary napkins through a network of women SHGs. (Such schemes need effective implementation) 
  • Vending machines for sanitary napkins should be set up across schools, colleges and other locations. 

Pic: Menstrual Hygiene Management 


1947 agreement Tripartite agreement

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – India-Nepal relations; International relations 

About: 

  • Tripartite agreement between the United Kingdom, India and Nepal was a treaty signed in 1947 concerning the rights of Gurkhas in military service. 
  • In 1947, India became independent from the United Kingdom, and it was decided between the two governments to split the Gurkha regiments between the British and Indian armies — six Gurkha units became part of the new Indian Army, while four were transferred to the British Army. 
  • As a part of this arrangement, it was agreed that Gurkhas in British and Indian service should enjoy broadly the same conditions of service, to ensure that there was no unfair advantage to serving in one or other, thus maintaining economic stability and social harmony in the Gurkha recruiting areas.  
  • Thus, the governments of the United Kingdom, India and Nepal came to sign the Tripartite Agreement (TPA). 

Why in news? 

  • Nepal Minister said 1947 pact on Gurkha soldiers have become redundant. 
  • Gurkha veterans have been alleging that the U.K. has been discriminating against them. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY 

Topic: General Studies 2:

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

War and talks: On Taliban ceasefire

Context: The Taliban’s decision to cease fire for three days during Id-ul-Adha 

Significance of the ceasefire: It has come as a relief for Afghans who have seen unabated violence despite a peace agreement between the insurgents and the U.S 

For a brief background on US-Taliban Deal: Click Here (Part I) and Here (Part-II) 

A Bad Precedent w.r.t Taliban Ceasefires 

  • In June 2018 and May 2020, the Taliban had briefly ended hostilities to mark the end of the holy month of Ramzan.  
  • On both occasions, it refused to extend the ceasefire, returning to war as soon as the celebrations were over. 

Is there a renewed hope that ceasefire will extend beyond festivities? 

  • This time, however, hopes are high that the truce could be extended as Kabul and the insurgents are preparing to launch the intra-Afghan talks that were promised in the U.S.-Taliban deal (supposed to start in March 2020). 

What Stalled the Intra-Afghan Talks which were to begin in March 2020? 

  • Preconditions not met: Both sides failed to reach an agreement on prisoner exchange, that was considered necessary for peace talks to begin as per US-Taliban deal 
  • Infighting in Afghan Government 
  • 2019 election results were contested by the main Opposition candidate, Abdullah Abdullah, who formed a parallel administration –resulting in divided Afghan govt. 
  • Abdulla Abdullah came back with Afghan govt. only after being appointed the head of the High Council for National Reconciliation that will lead talks with the Taliban.  
  • Slow Progress of Deal: Finally, President Ghani decided to release 5,000 Taliban prisoners, which was followed by the Taliban’s ceasefire announcement. 

Challenges Ahead for Intra-Afghan Talks 

There are various loopholes in the US-Taliban deal which makes it harder for various stakeholders to reconcile 

  • When the U.S. entered into talks with the insurgent group, it did not insist on a ceasefire 
  • So the Taliban continues to engage in war and talks simultaneously.  
  • The Americans, badly looking for a way out of the conflict, kept the Afghan government out of the peace process, thus weakening their position 
  • The onus was on a weakened Afghan government to start talks even as the Taliban continued attacks.  

Conclusion 

The Taliban’s ceasefire is an opportunity to kick-start intra-Afghan peace talks 

Connecting the dots:

  • Heart of Asia 
  • Consequences of US-Taliban Deal on India’s security interests 

GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY/ SECURITY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources  

Covid and food security

Context: Covid-19 and the ensuing global economic crisis have demonstrated that the world is unprepared for food security. 

Do you know? 

  • The UN’s recent report ‘The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020’ projected that the SDG of Zero Hunger by 2030 will not be met.  
  • Almost 194.4 million people in India are undernourished, according to the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 report by the FAO. 

What are the four pillar of food security? 

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) states that the four pillars of food security are  

  • Availability 
  • Access 
  • Stability  
  • Utilisation 

What actions were taken by government to tackle the food insecurity in future? 

  • The Union government announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) will be extended till November.  
  • Free grain is being distributed under the scheme to ensure the poorest of the poor are not left hungry.  
  • The scheme is supposed to cost Rs 1.7 lakh crore to the exchequer.  

Challenges w.r.t PMGKAY 

  • Poor Distribution by States: Almost 8 lakh tonnes of foodgrains had been allocated for distribution under the scheme in March, but the states were able to distribute only 1.07 lakh tonnes of that till May. 
  • Inadequate focus on all four pillars of Food Security: While the government is ensuring availability, access to foodgrains and utilisation are the areas that government has underperformed and needs immediate attention. 

What will be the consequences if drawbacks in distribution is not addressed? 

  • Bad Governance: It will lead to wastage of resources primarily due to human & administrative inefficiency. This will further put people into stress during pandemic 
  • Disproportionate impact on weak: The food security and nutritional status of the most vulnerable population groups like SC/STs/poor is likely to deteriorate further 
  • Gains will be lost: A disruption in accessing foodgrains might also mean that the gains India has had in its fight against malnutrition among vulnerable groups like women and children might be lost 

Way Ahead 

  • The FAO recommends improved information systems and collaborating with the private sector to solve distribution problems.  
  • Nutrition-centric programmes like the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and mid-day meals need to keep going strong even though Anganwadi Centres and schools (nodal agencies for the schemes) might not open soon 
  • Inter-state collaboration and learning can be a viable solution in India’s case. For ex: States like Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Odisha have responded well even during lockdown times by providing dry ration, under these schemes, from door-to-door. 
  • Direct cash transfers into the accounts of eligible beneficiaries have worked in states like Rajasthan to reduce stunting, wasting and underweight among children and can be launched at the national level. 

Conclusion 

For ensuring zero hunger – resilient and strong systems are needed 

Connecting the dots:

  • National Food Security Act 
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan 

(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 among the following are a part of core industries? 

  1. Fertilizers 
  2. Refinery Products 
  3. Natural Gas 
  4. Cement 
  5. Iron 
  6. Electricity 

Select the correct statements

  1. 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6
  2. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 6
  3. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

  1. NFSA marks a shift from rights based approach to welfare based approach. 
  2. The act legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of urban population to receive subsidized food grain under TPDS. 
  3. NFSA is established as per the explicit provision of right to food under the Constitution of India.

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

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

Q.3) The provision which says – “to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women” in Indian Constitution is provided in

  1. Preamble
  2. Fundamental Rights
  3. Fundamental Duties
  4. DPSPs

Q.4) On World Food Day India initiated its ambitious program – ‘Zero Hunger’. Consider the following statements regarding the program?

  1. The program has been launched in all North Eastern States. 
  2. This is a dedicated farm based program in sync with India’s SDG to end hunger by 2030. 
  3. The program includes setting up of genetic gardens for biofortified plants/crops. 

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 31st July 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 D
3 C
4 B
5 C

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