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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th AUGUST 2020

  • IASbaba
  • August 26, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Brahmaputra Ropeway

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-I – Physical Geography; GS-III – Infrastructure

In News:

  • The Assam government has inaugurated a 1.8-km ropeway across the Brahmaputra River. 
  • It is being described as India’s longest river ropeway.

Image source: Indian Express

Key takeaways 

  • It Connects Kachari Ghat (Guwahati) to Dol Govinda Temple on the northern bank. 
  • It passes the famous Umananda temple on a small island.
  • The ropeway uses a “twin-track, single-haul, bi-cable double reversible jig back” system. 
  • Benefits:
    • It cuts travel time between the two banks to 8 minutes. Presently it takes 30 minutes or more (ferry) and over an hour (road). 
    • It promotes tourism in the State.

Important value additions 

The Brahmaputra

  • It is also called Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibet, Siang/Dihang River in Arunachal Pradesh and Luit, Dilao in Assam. 
  • It is a trans-boundary river which flows through Tibet, India and Bangladesh.

Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Programme to NBFC-MFIs launched 

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

In News:

  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has introduced ‘Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Programme to NBFC-MFIs.’
  • The programme is for Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) and Microfinance Institutions (MFIs). 

Key takeaways 

  • It is a dedicated debt and credit guarantee programme. 
  • Objective: To ensure uninterrupted flow of credit to the last mile in COVID-19-affected rural areas.
  • NABARD will provide partial guarantee on loans given to small and mid-sized MFIs. 
  • It will help facilitate ₹2,500 crore funding in the initial phase. 
  • NABARD has recently signed agreements with Vivriti Capital and Ujjivan Small Finance Bank to roll out the initiative. 

Tata Group plans to launch Super App

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Technology

In News:

  • Tata Group is planning to launch an all-in-one super app by early 2021. 

Key takeaways 

  • The digital platform is expected to bring together all the consumer-facing businesses of the group. 
  • It is likely to be developed by the newly formed entity Tata Digital.

Important value additions 

Super app 

  • It is a platform developed by a company offering various services under one umbrella.
  • For example, China’s WeChat. It started as a messaging app and later expanded into payments, cabs, shopping, food ordering, and cab services to become a super app.
  • Super app can be compared to a mall in the physical world. 

Bondas tribal community

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-I – Society; GS-II – Health

In News:

  • Bondas, a tribal community, was recently in news, when four of its members tested positive for COVID-19.

Key takeaways 

  • The community resides in the hill ranges of Malkangiri district in Odisha. 
  • It belongs to a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG). 
  • It lives in settlements comprising small hutments in the hills of the Khairaput block. 
  • Odisha is home to 62 tribal communities — the largest diverse groups of tribal population in India.
  • 13 of them are PVTGs. 
  • Tribal populations are found in the entire seven districts of Kandhamal, Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkanagiri and Rayagada.

Study in India – Stay in India scheme to come up

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Schemes

In News:

  • The Central Government would soon come up with a programme called “Study in India – Stay in India”. 
  • Objective: 
    • To prevent students from leaving the country seeking higher education abroad and also
    • To bring back Indian students studying abroad.

RBI’s Annual Report for 2019-20 released

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In News:

  • RBI annual report for 2019-20 was recently released. 

Key takeaways of the report

  • Economic contraction triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic would extend into the second quarter. 
  • The shock to consumption has been severe. 
  • The government consumption would be key to the revival of demand. 
  • High frequency indicators point to a reduction in spending that was never observed till now. 
  • RBI’s survey for July month indicated that consumer confidence fell to an all-time low. 
  • Majority of respondents reported pessimism relating to the general economic situation, employment, inflation and income.

Miscellaneous

2018VP1

  • It an asteroid that is on a collision course with Earth according NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
  • It was first discovered at the Palomar Observatory in California’s San Diego County two years ago. 
  • NASA has said there is a 0.41 per cent, or 1 in 240 chance that 2018VP1 would impact the Earth.
  • If the asteroid does enter our planet’s atmosphere, it is unlikely to cause any harm. 
  • It is likely to burn up into an impressive fireball after entering the Earth’s atmosphere before reaching the ground. 
  • Such an event happens about once every year.
  • Asteroids that are 140 metres or larger are of “the greatest concern” due to the level of devastation their impact may cause.

(MAINS FOCUS)


SOCIETY/ POLITY/ JUSTICE

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure. 

The marginalisation of justice in public discourse

Context: The pursuit of greed and narrow self-interest leads to severe inequalities, to an unequal division of social benefits. This has made us to look at what Justice entails.

Ethical Challenges with Development

  • The burden of realising national goals such as development is not equally shared by all. This leads to unfair division of social labour
  • The burden is easily passed on to those who are powerless to desist it. Some people sacrifice virtually everything they have and others benefit without forgoing anything at all.
  • The least paid workers and peasants in our society are expected to offer the greatest sacrifices for building the nation
  • Also, concern for a fair distribution of benefits and burdens — the core issue of justice — is rare in mainstream public discourse.

What is Justice?

  • The basic idea of justice is that ‘each person gets what is properly due to him or her’, that the benefits and burdens of society be distributed in a manner that gives each person his or her due.

What is David Hume’s ‘circumstances of justice’?

  • The idea of distributive justice presupposes not only a social condition marked by an absence of love or familiarity, but also others which the Scottish philosopher, David Hume, termed ‘the circumstances of justice’.
  • For instance, a society where everything is abundantly available would not need justice. 
  • Each of us will have as much of everything we want. Without the necessity of sharing, justice becomes redundant.
  • Equally, in a society with massive scarcity, justice is impossible. In order to survive, each person is compelled to grab whatever happens to be available. 
  • Justice, therefore, is possible and necessary in societies with moderate scarcity.
  • Justice also presupposes that people are neither totally alone nor organically united with others
  • If one was totally fused with others, with no distinction between self and other, then again, sharing will be unnecessary. 
  • Justice therefore presupposes a moral psychology in which humans are neither wholly selfish nor entirely benevolent.
  • Since most societies share these conditions, we can say that justice is a necessary social virtue and has great moral value.

What are the challenges with achieving Justice?

  • Our society is afflicted by deep material, cultural and knowledge-related inequalities. 
  • While dealing with resource/burden sharing, prominence given to hierarchical notions of Justice rather than egalitarian Justice
  • In hierarchical notions, what is due to a person (Justice) is established by her or his place within a hierarchical system. For instance, by rank determined at birth (Caste System)
  • In societies still infested with live hierarchies, people must first struggle for recognition as equals, for what might be called basic social justice
  • Then, they must decide how to share all social benefits and burdens among equal persons — the essence of egalitarian distributive justice.

Challenges with Egalitarian Justice

Two main contenders exist for interpreting what is due to persons of equal moral worth. 

  • First, the need-based principle for which, what is due to a person is what she really needs, i.e., whatever is necessary for general human well-being (basic needs)
  • Second, the principle of desert for which, what is due to a person is what he or she deserves determined by her own qualities and hard work
  • Most reasonable egalitarian conceptions of justice try to find a balance between need and desert.
  • They try to ensure a distribution of goods and abilities (benefits) that satisfies everyone’s needs. After this, rewards are permissible to those who by virtue of natural gift, social learning and personal effort, deserve more.

Conclusion

Putting justice back into public discourse should be our priority. Or else, the dreams of our nation will never turn into reality.

Connecting the dots:

  • Amartya Sen’s Theory of Justice (Freedom is futile without Capabilities, hence one needs to build capacities of people)

ECONOMY / GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment 

Magnets for manufacturing

Context: In the aftermath of the pandemic, several manufacturing companies operating from China are predicted to relocate their businesses to other destinations

Many American, Japanese, and South Korean companies based in China have initiated discussions with the Indian government to relocate their plants to India.

Why are companies expected to exit China?

  • The first is the realisation that relying heavily on China for building capacities and sourcing manufacturing goods is not an ideal business strategy due to supply chain disruptions in the country caused by COVID-19. 
  • The second is the fear of Chinese dominance over the supply of essential industrial goods. 
  • The third is the growing risk and uncertainty involved in operating from or dealing with China in the light of geopolitical and trade conflicts between China & USA

India’s Position in Manufacturing Sector

India lags far behind China in manufacturing prowess. 

  • Ranking: China ranks first in contribution to world manufacturing output, while India ranks sixth. 
  • Possibility of missing Target: Against India’s target of pulling up the share of manufacturing in GDP to 25% by 2022, its share stood at 15% in 2018, only half of China’s figure.
  • Slow Growth Rate: Industry value added grew at an average annual rate of 10.68% since China opened up its economy in 1978. In contrast, against the target of 12%, the manufacturing sector has grown at 7% after India opened up its economy. 
  • Share in World market: Next to the European Union, China was the largest exporter of manufactured goods in 2018, with an 18% world share. India is not part of the top 10 exporters who accounted for 83% of world manufacturing exports in 2018.

What are the constraints that India faces while promoting manufacturing sector?

  • Infrastructure constraints leading to high logistical costs
  • A disadvantageous tax policy environment 
  • A non-conducive regulatory environment
  • High cost of industrial credit
  • Poor quality of the workforce
  • Rigid labour laws
  • Restrictive trade policies
  • Low R&D expenditure 
  • Delays and constraints in land acquisition
  • Inability to attract large-scale foreign direct investment into the manufacturing sector. 

Way Ahead

  • A lasting solution to these constraints cannot be possible without the active participation of State governments and effective policy coordination between the Centre and the States.
  • State-specific industrialisation strategies need to be devised and implemented in a mission mode with active hand-holding by the Central government
  • To promote electronic manufacturing, Minister of Electronics & IT suggested forming a Strategy Group consisting of representatives from the Central and State governments along with top industry executives. 
  • The purpose of this strategy group is to instil teamwork and leverage ideas through sharing the best practices of the Centre and States.
  •  A similar approach is needed for developing the whole manufacturing sector.

Connecting the dots:


(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 Bondas tribal community, recently seen in news, belongs to which of the following state of India? 

  1. Odisha 
  2. West Bengal 
  3. Chhattisgarh 
  4. Jharkhand

Q.2) Recently NABARD has introduced Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Programme to NBFC-MFIs. Consider the following statements regarding the same: 

  1. It is a dedicated debt guarantee programme only. 
  2. NABARD will provide complete guarantee on loans.

Which of the above is/are correct? 

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

Q.3 Recently the longest river ropeway was constructed on which of the following rivers?

  1. Indus 
  2. Brahmaputra 
  3. Ganga 
  4. Narmada

ANSWERS FOR 25th August 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D
3 C
4 D

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