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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th AUGUST 2020

  • IASbaba
  • August 29, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Development of Synthetic Flavonoids

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology; Achievements of Indians in Science and Technology

In News:

  • Recently, scientists from Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune have found the first synthetic route for producing flavonoids molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis and chikungunya.

Key takeaways 

  • It is for the first time that the flavonoid molecules such as rugosa flavonoids, podocare flavone and isoflavone have been synthesised in a lab.
  • These three molecules have so far been isolated from plants only.

Important value additions 

Flavonoids

  • These are part of the polyphenol class of phytonutrients (plant chemicals) found in almost all fruits and vegetables. 
  • They are responsible for organic pigments and the vivid colours in fruits and vegetables.
  • These are powerful antioxidants with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. 
  • A diet rich in flavonoids can protect from diseases related to heart, liver, kidney, brain and other infectious diseases.

Increased Investments through P-notes

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

In News:

  • According to SEBI data, the value of participatory note (P-note) investments in Indian capital markets increased to Rs. 63,288 crore till July 2020-end.
  • This is the fourth consecutive monthly rise in investments through P-notes.

Important value additions 

Participatory Notes (P-notes) 

  • P-notes are Offshore Derivative Instruments (ODIs) 
  • They are issued by brokers and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) registered with SEBI. 
  • The investment is made on behalf of foreign investors by the already registered brokers in India who wish to be a part of the Indian stock markets without registering themselves directly.
  • P-notes have Indian shares as their underlying assets.
  • These instruments are used for making investments in the stock markets. 

Do you know?

  • P-notes are not used within the country. 
  • They are used outside India for making investments in shares listed in the Indian stock market. 
  • That is why they are called offshore derivative instruments.
  • For example, Indian-based brokerages buy India-based securities and then issue participatory notes to foreign investors. 
  • Any dividends or capital gains collected from the underlying securities go back to the investors.

Behrupiya: Folk Artists

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-I – Art & Culture

In News:

  • ‘Behrupiyas’ were recently in news due to their livelihoods being affected due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Behrupiyas are impersonators, mostly known to perform in villages and markets all over India.
  • The behrupiya festival is a traditional Indian style of street theatre.
  • It takes place every year in different locations- Delhi, Ahmedabad, Udaipur and others.
  • In the past, they assisted in circulating, transmitting and publicising the various knowledge forms among the people. 
  • The vibrant tradition of Ramleela can also be seen as an extension of this practice which continues even today.

Inclusion of the Disabled in National Food Security Act, 2013

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes

In News:

  • State Governments/UTs have been asked to include all eligible disabled persons under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
  • Ministry: The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

Key takeaways 

  • Fresh ration cards should be issued for those who are not covered as per the eligibility criteria.
  • The disabled person should also be covered by States/UTs under the priority households.

Important value additions 

  • PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19.
  • Section 10 of the NFSA: Identification and coverage of persons under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). Disability is one of the criteria for inclusion of beneficiaries under AAY households.
  • Section 38 of the NFSA: The Central Government may from time to time give directions to the State Governments for effective implementation of the provisions of the Act.
  • Hence, the disabled persons without ration cards are also eligible for getting benefits under Atmanirbhar Bharat package.

Assessment of Economic Impact of Covid-19 by DSGE Model

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

In News:

  • RBI is using Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DSGE) model to assess the impact of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdown on the Indian economy.
  • DSGE modelling is a method in macroeconomics that attempts to explain economic phenomena (economic growth and business cycles) and the effects of economic policy, through econometric models based on applied general equilibrium theory and economic principles.
  • RBI has considered three main economic agents, viz., households, firms and the government for the assessment.

States can have sub-groups among SC/ST

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Welfare schemes

In News:

  • Recently, the Supreme Court held that States can sub-classify Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the Central List.

Key takeaways from Justice Arun Mishra’s judgement:

  • Reservation has created inequalities within the reserved castes itself. 
  • Benefits of reservation are being used by a few.
  • Caste, occupation, and poverty are interwoven. 
  • The State cannot be deprived of the power to take care of the qualitative and quantitative differences between different classes.
  • ST and SC in the Central List do not constitute a homogenous group.

Do you know?

  • The judgment is significant as it will provide the push to extend the creamy layer concept to the SC and ST.
  • In 2004, the Chinnaiah judgment had held that allowing the States to unilaterally make a class within a class of members of the SC would lead to changes in the Presidential list.
  • The issue has now been referred to a seven-judge Bench of the court.

Important value additions 

  • The Central List of SC and ST are notified by the President under Articles 341 and 342 of the Constitution. 
  • The consent of the Parliament is required to exclude or include castes in the List. 
  • Thus, States cannot unilaterally add or pull out castes from the List.
  • The Supreme Court has reasoned that sub-classifications within the Presidential/Central List do not amount to changing it. No caste is excluded from the list.

Mahatma Ayyankali: Birth anniversary celebrated

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-I – Modern History; Important hisrotical personalities

In News:

  • Indian Prime Minister recently remembered Mahatma Ayyankali on his birth anniversary.

Image source: Click here

Important value additions 

Ayyankali (1863 – 1941) 

  • He was a social reformer.
  • He worked for the advancement of deprived untouchable people in the princely state of Travancore, British India. 
  • He belonged to the Pulayar community of untouchable people.
  • He founded the Sadhu Jana Paripalana Sangham (SJPS) (Association for the Protection of the Poor) 
  • The Association campaigned for access to schools and raised funds to set up Pulayar-operated schools in the interim.

Bamboo Clusters to come up in Jammu and Kashmir

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Economy; Employment; Industrial Parks

In News:

  • Three Bamboo Clusters will be developed in Jammu, Katra and Samba areas of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Ministry: Ministry of  Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) 
  • Objective: To make Bamboo basketry, Agarbatti and Bamboo Charcol.
  • A Mega Bamboo Industrial Park at Ghati near Jammu and Bamboo Technology Training Centre will also come up in the region.
  • It will provide direct employment to nearly 25 thousand people.

Miscellaneous

Chunauti

  • “Chunauti”- Next Generation Start-up Challenge Contest has been launched.
  • Ministry: Ministry for Electronics and Information Technology.
  • Aim: To identify around 300 start-ups working in identified areas and providing them seed funds of up to 25 lakh rupees.
  • Objective: To further boost start-ups and software products with special focus on Tier-II towns in India.
  • A budget of over 95 crore rupees has been earmarked over a period of three years for this programme.

(MAINS FOCUS)


INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countrieson India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Vaccine Nationalism

  • Even before the end of final stage human trials or regulatory approval, several wealthier countries like Britain, France, Germany and the US have entered into pre-purchase agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers
  • When a country manages to secure doses of vaccines for its own citizens or residents and prioritises its own domestic markets before they are made available in other countries it is known as ‘vaccine nationalism’
  • The reason countries are going for pre-purchase agreements is because of the longer duration for companies to manufacture such vaccines. It is predicted that worldwide supply may not reach 1 billion doses until the first quarter of 2022

Ethical Conundrum: Vaccine nationalism runs against global public health principles, there are no provisions in international laws that prevent pre-purchase agreements.

Impact of such actions

  • Inequitable Access: Such advance agreements will make the initial few vaccines unaffordable and inaccessible to everyone apart from the rich countries
  • Deepens the Crisis: Nations hoarding possible Covid-19 vaccines while excluding others would deepen the pandemic.
  • Slows Global Economic Recovery:If countries with a large number of cases lag in obtaining the vaccine, the disease will continue to disrupt global supply chains and, as a result, economies around the world.

Is Vaccine Nationalism New?

  • A similar situation happened in 2009 during the H1N1 flu pandemic. 
  • Australia, the first country to come up with a vaccine, blocked exports while some of the wealthiest countries entered into pre-purchase agreements with several pharmaceutical companies. 
  • The US alone obtained the right to buy 600,000 doses.
  • It was only when the H1N1 pandemic began to recede that developed countries offered to donate vaccine doses to poorer economies. 
  • However, it must be noted that H1N1 was a milder disease and its impact was far lesser than Covid-19

Alternative Path: Global CollaborationSharing finite supplies strategically & globally.

  • WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi have come up with an initiative known as “Covax Facility”. 
  • The facility aims to procure at least two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next year for deployment and distribution mainly in the low- and middle-income countries.
  • So far, more than 170 countries have expressed interest: about 90 low- and middle-income countries and 80 fully self-financing countries.
  • The countries who join the initiative are assured supply of vaccines whenever they become successful. 
  • Moreover, the countries will get assured supplies to protect at least 20 per cent of their populations.

(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. Recently flavonoid molecules related to the treatment of tuberculosis were synthesized in India. 
  2. Flavonoids are found in almost all fruits and vegetables. 
  3. They provide vivid colours to fruits and vegetables. 

Which of the above is or are correct?

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

Q.2 According to SEBI data, the value of participatory note (P-note) investments in Indian capital markets increased till July-2020 end. Consider the following statements regarding P notes: 

  1. P-notes are instruments issued by FIIs to Overseas investors.
  2. These instruments are used for making investments in the Indian stock markets.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Behrupiyas which were recently seen in news: 

  1. They are impersonators who perform in villages and markets all over India.
  2. Behrupiya festival is a traditional Indian style of street theatre. 

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.4 Dynamic Stochastic General Equilibrium (DGSE) model recently seen in news is related to which of the following:

  1. Assessment of the economic impact of covid-19 by RBI
  2. To study the phenomenon of magnetic field in Earth’s magnetosphere
  3. To study the star formation of dwarf galaxies 
  4. To assess the causes Migration within India 

ANSWERS FOR 28th August 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C
3 B
4 D

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