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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 4th AUGUST 2020

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  • August 4, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Social Security Code

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – Govt policies and schemes;  

Key facts: 

  • Even 73 years after Independence, only 9.3% of India’s 466 million-strong workforce has social security.  
  • This means the remaining 90.7% still cannot aspire to protections that civil servants, employees of most registered private sector enterprises, banks and public sector employees, legislators and judges take for granted. 
  • No other G20 country has such a high share of informal workers.  

About: 

Report on Social Security Code by Parliamentary Committee on Labour – 

  • Recommended the eligibility period for gratuity payable to an employee on termination of his employment should be reduced to one year from the present provision of five years.  
  • Also recommended that this facility be extended to all kinds of employees, including contract labourers, seasonal workers, piece rate workers, fixed term employees and daily/monthly wage workers. 
  • Stressed that there should be a robust redressal mechanism in case an employer does not pay up the dues. 
  • Highlighted that the draft social security code does not state any goal of providing social security to all its citizens. 
  • Recommended that the Social Security Code should have provisions to hold the employer liable for payment of gratuity to the employees within a stipulated time frame. 

Imparting education to Tribals in their languages

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Education reforms; Govt policies and initiatives 

About: 

  • The new National Education Policy lays emphasis on mother tongue-based instructions up to Class 5. 
  • Tribal communities and Odisha state will be at advantage if above provision is implemented effectively. 
  • Although it is easy to prescribe local language as medium of instructions up to Class 5, it is very difficult to implement it. 

Unique position 

  • Odisha occupies a unique position in the tribal map of India. 
  • Odisha has most diverse tribal communities. It is home to 62 different tribal communities including 13 particularly vulnerable tribal groups (PVTGs). 
  • Tribes in Odisha speak around 21 languages and 74 dialects. 

Do you know? 

  • Odisha has been working on multilingual education (MLE) for more than past two decades. 
  • Academy of Tribal Language and Culture in collaborate with Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Research and Training Institute (SCSTRTI) is probably the only institute in entire country which has prepared supplementary readers in 21 tribal languages for Class 1 to 3.  
  • Santhali, a tribal language, has been included in Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. 

Draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020 

Part of: GS Mains II and III – Govt policies and schemes; Defence 

About: 

  • In order to provide impetus to self-reliance in defence manufacturing, multiple announcements were made under ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Package’. 
  • In implementing such framework and to position India amongst the leading countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors, Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formulated a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020).  

 The policy has laid out following goals and objectives: 

  • To achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 Crores (US$ 25Bn) including export of Rs 35,000 Crore (US$ 5 Billion) in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025. 
  • To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products. 
  • To reduce dependence on imports and take forward “Make in India” initiatives through domestic design and development. 
  • To promote export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains. 
  • To create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian IP ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry. 
  • The Policy brings out multiple strategies under the following focus areas: 

Procurement Reforms 

  • Indigenization & Support to MSMEs/Startups 
  • Optimize Resource Allocation 
  • Investment Promotion, FDI & Ease of Doing Business 
  • Innovation and R&D 
  • DPSUs and OFB 
  • Quality Assurance & Testing Infrastructure 
  • Export Promotion 

MGNREGS running out of funds 

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Government policies and interventions for development; Welfare/Social schemes 

About MGNREGA 

  • It stands for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 
  • It guarantees 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members (at least 18 years of age) volunteer to do unskilled work. 
  • It has unique legal architecture of being demand-driven, and not budget constrained. 
  • It is social security and labour law that aims to enforce the ‘right to work’. 
  • It has provision for unemployment allowance, when the state cannot provide work 
  • Agriculture and allied activities constitute more than 65% of the works taken up under the programme. 
  • MGNREGA has helped build rural infrastructure through approximately 10 crore families. 

Problems facing MGNREGA 

  • Governments capping its financial resources and turning it into supply-based programme 
  • Workers had begun to lose interest in working under it because of the inordinate delays in wage payments. 
  • With very little autonomy, gram panchayats found its implementation cumbersome 
  • As a result, over the last few years, MGNREGA had begun to face an existential crisis. 

New concerns: 

  • The Scheme has already used up almost half its allocated funds. 
  • It spent more than ₹48,500 crore out of the expanded ₹1 lakh crore allocation announced (during COVID outbreak) 
  • In several Gram Panchayats, the approved projects have already been exhausted. 
  • A number of gram panchayats in vulnerable areas have already exhausted their funds for the scheme. 

Measures needed: 

  • Centre should allocate another ₹1 lakh crore to the scheme 
  • It has to double the permitted work limit to 200 days per household. 

SpaceX with NASA crew is back home  

Part of: GS Prelims – Science and Technology – Space missions 

In news: 

  • Two NASA astronauts returned to Earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour after successful two-month mission. 
  • It was the first splashdown by U.S. astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit.  

Do you know? 

  • SpaceX’s Crew Dragon craft had delivered Nasa astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) and became the first human spaceflight with private collaboration. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


POLITY/ FEDERALISM/ GOVERNANCE 

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
  • Indian Constitution—historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions 

Time to unlock: On a year after the removal of J&K’s statehood 

Context: A year has passed since Jammu & Kashmir was stripped of its special status (Article 370) as well as Statehood. 

Why was Constitutional Status of Jammu & Kashmir changed? 

  • Article 370 was a considered stumbling block in bringing Kashmir closer to the rest of India, a source of extremism and separatism in the Kashmir Valley, and an avenue for Pakistan to gain a foothold in the Valley. 
  • The reorganisation of the erstwhile J&K State (abrogating Article 370, Converting from State to Union Territory, making Ladakh as separate UT) was defended on the ground that it leads to greater integration of J&K with the rest of the country. 

Issues that needs to be addressed 

  • Vacuum in Political Activity: Mainstream politics in J&K has become impossible with leaders in detention and those released reportedly undertaking to stay away from any public discussion on J&K’s future 
  • Against Transparency: Neither the J&K government nor the Centre has released a list or number of leaders who were detained last year 
  • Democratic Process Undermined: The legislative route that the Centre took (without consultation with State) and the communication restrictions on the population that followed, casts a shadow on India’s standing as a constitutional democracy 
  • Spirit on Indian Federalism Weakened: J&K’s special status within the Indian Union represented asymmetry, which is integral to the Indian federal experience. For ex: Several of North Eastern States enjoy varying degree of asymmetric Federalism 
  • Judicial Activism Lacking: The judiciary — the J&K High Court and Supreme Court — has not shown any urgency to settle the constitutional & legal questions raised by reorganisation of J&K 
  • Links to Chinese aggression: Some scholars have linked the continuing Chinese aggression in Ladakh to the change in J&K’s status 
  • India’s Global reputation in upholding Human Rights: At least two dozen politicians in J&K, including former CM Mehbooba Mufti, remain in detention, some not notified, which is against Democratic Credentials of India. 

Way Ahead  

  • Constitutional Change is not enough: The Kashmir conflict is a function of complex historical grievances, politico-ethnic demands, increasing religious radicalisation, and Pakistan’s interference in the Kashmir Valley. Any solution needs to be holistic 
  • Human Rights based Policy: Respect for human rights should be a key component of the Kashmir policy, as this and upholding national interest go hand in hand. 
  • Centre needs to start a conversation with the people of J&K: This can be achieved by release all political prisoners and holding elections with participation from all sections of society (including mainstream regional political parties) 

Connecting the dots:

  • State Reorganisation Act, 1956 
  • Article 371 of Indian Constitution 

SECURITY / FOREIGN POLICY 

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Security challenges and their management in border areas
  • India and its neighborhood- relations

Militarising Andamans: The costs and the benefits 

Context: The Ladakh stand-off with China has catalysed India’s efforts to strengthen its military presence at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI)

  • The idea of militarising the Andaman Islands isn’t new.  
  • Since the 1980s, Indian commentators & policy makers have advocated building strategic muscle at the ANI to fully exploit the strategic position of ANI 

Recent Steps taken by India in ANI 

  • New Delhi has moved to expedite plans for basing additional military forces, including facilities for additional warships, aircraft, and infantry soldiers at the strategically-located Andaman Islands.  
  • Naval air stations INS Kohassa in Shibpur and INS Baaz in Campbell Bay are having their runways extended to support operations by large aircrafts 
  • A 10-year infrastructure development “roll-on” plan — pegged at Rs 5,000 crores — is on the fast-track.  

What is the Strategic significance of ANI? 

  • Close to Malacca Strait: ANI spans 450 nautical miles in a roughly north-south configuration and is adjacent to the western entrance to the Malacca Strait, which is a major Indian Ocean choke point 
  • Links Two Subcontinents: Geopolitically, the ANI connects South Asia with South-East Asia. While the northernmost point of the archipelago is only 22 nautical miles from Myanmar, the southernmost point, Indira Point, is a mere 90 nautical miles from Indonesia. 
  • Dominating Position: The islands dominate the Bay of Bengal, the Six Degree and the Ten Degree Channels that more than sixty thousand commercial vessels traverse each year. 
  • Access to EEZ: ANI constitute just 0.2% of India’s landmass but provide near 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). 
  • Important Pillar of Foreign Polcy: ANI could also become an important element of India’s “Act East Policy” of engaging with countries in the region east of India. 
  • Commercial Potential: The trans-shipment hub at Car Nicobar, could potentially be a strategic game-changer, rivalling the ports of Singapore or Colombo. 
  • Tri-Service Security Strategy: As Andaman and Nicobar is the only Tri-Command structure in India, development of military infrastructure at ANI is a key requirement in India’s security strategy 
  • Tackling China: With China’s growing presence in Indian Ocean region, militarising the islands will provide India a first mover advantage in dominating the region 

What are the Challenges in Militarising ANI? 

1. Fear of antagonise India’s neighbours

  • A section of India’s diplomatic community has opposed militarising the ANI would disrupt Indian Ocean as zone of peace. 
  • They argued that militarising A&N islands would in turn militarise the littorals — an outcome that would not sit well with countries in South and Southeast Asia. 
  • When India first began developing the ANI in the mid-1980s, observers say Malaysia and Indonesia feared that India would use its military facilities in the ANI to dominate its region, and project power east of Malacca 

 2. Ecological aspect to militarising the ANI

  • The flurry of recent infrastructure projects (including any military projects), environmentalists warn, could devastate the fragile ecology of islands. 
  • Many islands are facing significant damage from the climate crisis, which will get exacerbated due to military activities 

 3. Lack of reciprocity in India’s bilateral logistics agreements

  • The Indian navy’s plans to offer logistical support to partner navies does not include its ANI facilities.  
  • Four years after signing a logistics pact with the US its navy ships still have no access the ANI. France, Singapore and Australia — India’s other logistics partners — too haven’t had their warships repaired or replenished at Indian island facilities 
  • As a result, there hasn’t been much enthusiasm from friendly foreign countries to build strategic capabilities at the ANI. 

 5. Counterproductive to tackle China

  • While China’s presence in the Indian Ocean is growing, it hasn’t so far militarised key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) outposts in the Bay of Bengal (Hambantota, Chittagong and Kyaukpyu). 
  • If India pushes for greater military presence in the ANI, China could well seek military access in its friendly countries in Indian ocean. 

Way Ahead 

  • Militarising ANI will aid India’s strategic capabilities, but such development should not come at the cost the ruthless exploitation of Biodiversity hotspot 
  • In order to counter China’s expanding footprint in Indian Ocean region, India may consider permitting friendly foreign navies (QUAD members, France etc.) access to the ANI’s military bases. 

Connecting the dots:

  • String of Pearl Strategy 
  • South China Sea Dispute 

(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. Dragon capsule was developed by 

  1. Space X 
  2. Mishaal Aerospace 
  3. Virgin Galactic 
  4. PLD Space 

Q2.  Indian planning has shifted from Allocation based schemes to demand driven Right based schemes like MGNREGA, Food Security Act etc. Which of the following statements are correct regarding Demand Driven Schemes?

  1. The implementation of schemes is highly centralized. 
  2. States do not have the flexibility to develop their own perspective plans. 
  3. It is a bottom – top approach. 

Select the code from following: 

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

Q3. Which of the following are the typical characteristics of the unorganized sector of the Indian economy?

  1. Higher productivity than the organized sector. 
  2. Contractual jobs. 
  3. Little or no social security. 

Choose the correct answer using the codes below: 

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

ANSWERS FOR 3rd AUG 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 C
4 C

Must Read

About increase in liquor tragedies:

The Hindu

About profiteering from Pandemic: 

The Hindu

About New Education Policy: 

The Indian Express

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