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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd AUGUST 2020

  • IASbaba
  • August 3, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


UK to Issue Coin in Honour of Mahatma Gandhi

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – History

Context:

  • Britain is considering minting a coin to commemorate Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The consideration is seen as part of efforts to celebrate achievements of people from the Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities.
  • As part of a global reassessment of history, colonialism and racism triggered by the death in May of a Black man, George Floyd, in the United States, some British institutions have begun re-examining their past

Do You Know?

  • Gandhiji’s birthday, October 2, is observed as the International Day of Non-Violence. 
  • Black Lives Matter Protest is a movement in USA, against systemic violence meted out to the African American community 

Dhole (Asiatic Wild Dog)

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment

In News: Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of dhole in India, according to a new study.

Dhole

  • The dhole is a canid native to Central, South, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  • India perhaps supports the largest number of dholes, with key populations found in three landscapes — Western Ghats, Central India and Northeast India.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered 
  • Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.
  • Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category.
  • Factors contributing to this decline include habitat loss, loss of prey, competition with other species, persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic dogs.

Do You Know?

  • In 2014, the Indian government sanctioned its first dhole conservation breeding centre at the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park (IGZP) in Visakhapatnam.
  • In India, the dhole is protected under Schedule 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.

Bharat Air Fibre Services: BSNL Launches service in Maharashtra

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Economy

Context:

  • The Bharat Air Fibre services are introduced by BSNL as part of Digital India initiates by the GoI.
  • The aim of these services is to provide wireless connectivity in the range of 20 km from the BSNL locations, which will benefit citizens residing in remote areas.
  • It provides high-speed broadband to subscribers of remote areas by bridging the gap of last-mile connectivity through radio waves.
  • The state-run telco will also offer free voice calling along with Bharat Air Fibre connectivity with data speeds of upto 100 Mbps.
  • BSNL will provide the Bharat Air Fibre Services through local business partners. 
  • The service thus aims at giving a push to ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ Abhiyan as BSNL will provide monthly income of Rs 1 lakh to the local residents who enroll as Telecom Infrastructure Partners.

Galapagos Islands

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I – Geography

In News: Chinese fishing fleet entered the Galapagos region and Ecuador has officially expressed its “discomfort” to China over the fishing vessels.

About

  • The Galapagos Islands, spread over almost 60,000 sq km, are a part of Ecuador, and are located in the Pacific Ocean around 1,000 km away from the South American continent.
  • The giant tortoises found here – ‘Galápagos’ in old Spanish– give the islands its name.
  • Ecuador made a part of the Galapagos a wildlife sanctuary in 1935, and the sanctuary became the Galapagos National Park in 1959. In 1978, the islands became UNESCO’s first World Heritage Site.
  • The Galapagos Islands host a wide array of aquatic wildlife, including marine iguanas, fur seals, and waved albatrosses.

(MAINS FOCUS)


ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Environment Conservation
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

EIA Notification 2020: What are the key changes?

Context: The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has published the draft EIA Notification 2020, with the intention of replacing the existing 2006 EIA Notification, under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

What is significance of EIA?

  • Sustainable Development: An EIA makes a scientific estimate of the likely impacts of a project, such as a mine, irrigation dam, industrial unit or waste treatment plant. 
  • Public Participation: There is also a provision for a public hearing at which the local community and interested persons can give opinions and raise objections, based on the draft EIA report prepared by experts for the project.

How does the draft EIA Notification differ from the one now in force?

  1. Removal of several activities from the purview of public consultation
  • A list of projects has been included under Category B2, expressly exempted from the requirement of an EIA 
  • The projects under this category include offshore and onshore oil, gas and shale exploration, hydroelectric projects up to 25 MW, irrigation projects between 2,000 and 10,000 hectares of command area, small and medium mineral beneficiation units, MSMEs in dye industry etc.
  • Also, coal and non-coal mineral prospecting and solar photovoltaic projects do not need prior environmental clearance or permission in the new scheme.
  1. Subverts Public Consultation: The notice period for public hearing has been cut from 30 days to 20 days. This will make it difficult to study the draft EIA report, more so when it is not widely available or provided in the regional language.
  2. New provision for post-facto environmental clearance: It means that the clearances for projects can be awarded even if they have started construction without securing environmental clearances.
  3. Promotes Expansion: For project modernisation and expansion, the norms in Notification 2020 are liberal, with only those involving more than 25% increase requiring EIA, and over 50% attracting public consultation.
  4. Diluted Compliance Mechanism: Project proponents need to submit only one annual report on compliance with conditions, compared to the existing two

What are the apprehensions?

  • Exemptions will seriously affect the environment, since these will be carried out without oversight
  • The move is seen as retrograde, because the CAG found in 2016 that the deficiency in semi-annual compliance reporting was between 43% and 78%, while failure to comply with conditions ranged from 5% to 57%
  • After the gas leak at LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam in May 2020, the Environment Ministry told the National Green Tribunal that the unit lacked environment clearance, exposing the low effectiveness of rules.

How does the draft notification compare with global norms?

  • The EU Directive on EIA includes climate change and biodiversity concerns.
  • EU has also modified its processes in accordance with the Aarhus Convention, 1998, which stipulates that 
    • Environmental rights and human rights are linked 
    • The present generation owes an obligation to future generations
    • Sustainable development can be achieved only through the involvement of all stakeholders
    • Government accountability and environmental protection are connected
    • Interactions between the public and public authorities must take place in a democratic context. 

Conclusion

  • The EIA rules in India privileges the interests of the project proponents over that of safeguarding environment

Connecting the dots:

  • Polluter Pay principle
  • Sustainable Development Goals

SOCIETY/ POLITY / GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Salient features of Indian Society & Secularism
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States; Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

The significance of the Char Dham board verdict

Context: The Uttarakhand High Court on July 21 upheld the constitutionality of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board Act, 2019

Uttarakhand Char Dham Devasthanam Management Act,2019.

  • The Act entrusted management of Char Dham temples to a Board whose Chairman and members are, by and large, nominated by the State Government.
  • Two of the Chardham temples in Uttarakhand, Shri Badrinath and Shri Kedarnath temples, were, prior to the 2019 Act coming into force, under the control and management of a managing committee constituted under the U.P. Shri Badrinath and Shri Kedarnath Temples Act, 1939. 
  • This 1939 Act was repealed by the 2019 Act. 
  • The 2019 Act brings within its ambit the Gangotri and Yamunotri Dhams also.

Challenged in Court of Law

  • The act was challenged on the ground that it violates Articles 14, 25, 26 and 31-A of the Constitution of India
  • It was alleged that the 2019 Act divests ownership of its properties from the temple, and vests it in the Board controlled by government

What were the major Issues which was highlighted in this Judgement?

  • Precedence of upholding similar laws:
    • Such laws are in place for a number of temples such as Jagannath Puri (1955), Vaishno Devi(1988), Shrinathji at Nathdwara (1959), Mahakal at Ujjain (1982), Kashi Vishwanath (1983), and Tirupati Balaji temple (1987). 
    • All these acts were upheld by the Courts of India
  • Distinction between religious and Secular activities
    • Offerings (of money, fruits, flowers or any other thing) are given to the deity, religious practice ends with these offerings. 
    • The collection and distribution of these offerings for the maintenance and upkeep of temple are secular activities
  • Char dhams Doesn’t belong to any religious denomination
    • The Supreme Court in Nar Hari Sastri And Others vs Shri Badrinath Temple Committee (1952) had already held Badrinath to be a public temple of Hindus and not confined to any family or denomination.
    • Also, SC held that secular activities of these temples can be regulated by the state. 
    • The Court explicitly said that legislature is not bound to demonstrate mismanagement of temples while enacting such laws.
  • Regulation of religious practices/administration is not specific to Hinduism
    • There are as many as 27 waqf laws and the Shiromani Gurudwara Parbandhak Committee Act too was enacted in 1925.
    • In the latest judgment, Chief Justice Ranganathan observed that it is not necessary that the legislature should make a law uniformly applicable to all religious institutions 
  • Article 26 is not absolute
    • The court clarified that ‘in matters of religion’, right to management is a guaranteed fundamental right under Article 26(b) 
    • But in respect of properties, the right to administer properties under Article 26(c) is to be exercised in ‘accordance with law’. 
    • Thus, the state is entitled to regulate administration of religious or temple properties by means of validly enacted law.

Connecting the dots:

  • Article 31 of Indian Constitution

(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”.

Q1. Which of the following is/are the aim/aims of “Digital India” plan of the Government of India?

  1. Formation of India’s own Internet companies like china did.
  2. Established a policy framework to encourage overseas multinational corporations that collect big data to build their large data centres within our national geographical boundaries.
  3. Connect many of our villages to the internet and bring WiFi to many of our schools, public places and major tourist centres.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Q2. Which one of the following can one comes across if one travels through the Strait of Malacca?

  1. Bali
  2. Brunei
  3. Java
  4. Singapore

Q3. Consider the following Statements about Dhole

  1. In India, they are primarily found in Western Ghats, Central India and Northeast India 
  2. Besides the tiger, the dhole is the only large carnivore in India that is under IUCN’s ‘endangered’ category.

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

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

Q4. Consider the following Statements about Bharat Air Fibre Services

  1. The aim is to provide BSNL fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) wireless connectivity up to a range of 20 km from the BSNL points of presence.
  2. It is introduced by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) as a part of the Digital India programme

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

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

ANSWERS FOR 1st AUG 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 A
3 C
4 B

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