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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th SEPTEMBER 2020

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  • September 11, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th SEPTEMBER 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Wireless fibre: Need of the hour

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Technology; IT

In news

  • To bridge digital divide, such technologies such as wireless fibre need to be tapped into.
  • Wireless fibre uses a combination of fixed wireless, high speed microwave and fibre optic technology to deliver broadband directly to homes or businesses.
  • A small satellite is installed on a poll or your roof and a cable is connected to a router where you need internet connection
  • It bypasses miles of common underground fibre, copper, and cable infrastructure that often fail due to construction, flooding, or manhole accidents.

Key takeaways

  • Most residential broadband today runs over cables that are laid in the ground or strung on telephone poles, that then branch off and tunnel directly into our houses.
  • Laying these cables is costly,
  • That is why many Internet providers expand slowly if they’re worried the returns won’t justify the expansion.
  • Cell (mobile) towers are expensive, too, but they create a one-to-many connection that serves thousands of mobile devices wirelessly.
  • The speeds aren’t quite fast on mobile data but for basic Web browsing and video, it’s good enough.

Advantages of wireless fibre

  • Wireless fibre provides a fixed location such as a home or business with all the capacity of a mobile connection but without the need to plug a cable directly into the building.
  • It is a much cheaper way for Internet providers to extend their networks.
  • Wireless is also the most cost-effective as there is no need to alter surrounding infrastructure.
  • It allows multiple devices to connect from anywhere you need them to.
  • Wireless networks can potentially accommodate more users as they are not limited by a specific number of connection ports.

Pandemic may force the government to borrow more

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy

In news

  • Revenue shortfalls in India due to COVID-19 are likely to force the government to borrow more but it will only consider monetizing its deficit as a last resort.
  • Borrowing plans for the second half of the financial year will be reviewed by government and RBI officials letter September.
  • The possibility of monetizing the debt has already been discussed but not yet decided.

Key takeaways

  • Earlier Government used to ‘Monetize the deficit’.
  • This practise was stopped in 1997 by signing an agreement between RBI and Govt. of India.
  • This was also included in the FRBM Act 2003.
  • Right now Government does not prefer deficit monetization but it can consider it as the last resort.

Do you know?

  • Deficit monetization leads to extra money reaching into the economy which leads to inflation and it also may lead to ‘Sovereign Ratings’ downgrade which then hurts investments in the country.
  • RBI can pump liquidity in economy through open market operation.
  • This will lead to decrease in interest rate (more money supply means less interest rate), which will basically help government in raising money from the market (‘deficit financing’ rather that ‘monetisation of deficit’) at lesser interest rate.

Important value additions

Monetising the Deficit/Monetizing the Debt/Deficit Monetization

  • It means that if Government has deficit, then it will ask RBI to print notes and give it to Government and in return Government will give its Bonds to RBI.
  • So, it will be basically debt on Government.
  • Actually the word ‘monetize’ has relation with currency/notes/cash.

Deficit Financing

  • It generally means that Government is having deficit (expenses are more than receipts) and it will arrange for its financing of the deficit.
  • This deficit can be financed from market borrowing or borrowing from abroad or Government may ask RBI to finance its deficit by printing more money.
  • So, in deficit financing there can be various options to finance and one of the options could be from RBI by printing money.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and Interventions & GS-III- Fisheries

In news

  • Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana scheme was launched to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India was recently launched.
  • This scheme was first announced in Budget 2019-20 and then in Aatma Nirbhar Bharat.
  • The PMMSY is an umbrella scheme with two separate Components: (a) Central Sector Scheme (CS) and (b) Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).

Key takeaways

  • Total estimated investment will be of Rs. 20,050 crores to be implemented over a period of 5 years from FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
  • Goal: To double the fish exports in the next 3 to 4 years i.e. by 2024-25.
  • Objective: (1) To address critical gaps in fish production and productivity; quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare; (2) Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner; (3) enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports; (4) Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers; (5) Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

Do you know?

Fisheries constitute 1.24% of National GDP and 7.28% of Agriculture GDP.


Swabhiman Anchal set to enjoy uninterrupted cellular service for the first time

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions & GS-III- Technology; Telecommunication

In news

  • Thousands of villagers in Odisha’s Malkangiri district are set to enjoy uninterrupted cellular service for the first time in their lives.

Important value additions

  • Due to threats from left wing extremists, mobile towers could not be installed until now in Swabhiman Anchal (formerly known as Cut-off area).
  • Swabhiman Anchal comprises 151 villages.
  • The area is surrounded by water on three sides and by inhospitable terrain on another.
  • It also became less remote after the construction of Gurupriya Bridge, which connected the zone with the rest of the State in 2018.

Do you know?

  • Odisha accounts for the highest number of villages that do not have mobile phone service in India.

August rainfall in 2020 has been the highest since 1926

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Geography

In news

  • According the India Meteorological Department (IMD), August rainfall in 2020 has been the highest since 1926 with about 27% more than what is normal for the month.

Key takeaways

  • Causes of heavy rainfall: Several long-lasting low-pressure systems or rain-bearing winds that formed in the Bay of Bengal. They were vigorous enough to travel all the way from the south-eastern coast up to north-west India.
  • The surplus rain was primarily in Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Telangana, Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • Though August rainfall was in excess, the figure for this year’s monsoon as a whole were likely to be within the department’s June forecast of a normal (96 to 104% of the long period average) rainfall.
  • In the normal course, the monsoon begins its retreat from September 15 and this can go on for nearly a month.

NITI Aayog at an advanced stage for preparation of a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Poverty and related issues & GS-III- Economy

In news

  • NITI Aayog is at an advanced stage for preparation of a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) parameter dashboard to rank states and Union Territories, along with a State Reform Action Plan (SRAP).

Key takeaways

  • As the Nodal agency for the MPI, NITI Aayog has constituted a Multidimensional Poverty Index Coordination Committee (MPICC).
  • The MPICC, chaired by Ms Sanyukta Samaddar, Adviser (SDG) has members from relevant Line Ministries and Departments.
  • The committee held its first meeting on September 2, 2020.

Important value additions

The Global MPI

  • The Global MPI is part of the government’s decision to monitor the performance of the country on 29 select global indices.
  • It is an international measure of multidimensional poverty covering 107 developing countries.
  • It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and United Nations Development Programme.
  • It is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July, every year.
  • The dimensions of poverty range from deprivations of health facilities, education and living standards.
  • It is computed by scoring each surveyed household on 10 parameters based on -nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing and household assets.


Supreme Court stays reservation for the Maratha community

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I- Society & GS-II – Judiciary

In news

  • The Supreme Court has stayed reservation for the Maratha community in government jobs and educational institutions in Maharashtra.

Key takeaways

Do you know?

  • Maharashtra State Reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Act originally provided 16% reservation for Maratha community in educational institutions and government jobs.
  • The law was challenged before Bombay High Court which in June 2019 upheld its validity but reduced the quota to 12% in educational institutions and 13% in jobs.
  • Appeals were filed before the SC stating that the reservation would lead to breach of the 50% cap laid down by the Apex Court in its 1992 judgment of Indra Sawhney versus Union of India.
  • Maharashtra government had on August 26, 2020, asked the SC to place the matter before a larger bench considering the fact that it involves determination of substantial legal questions.

Miscellaneous

e-GOPALA app

It provides platform to farmers in the country for:

  • managing livestock including buying and selling of disease free germplasm in all forms (semen, embryos, etc);
  • availability of quality breeding services (Artificial Insemination, veterinary first aid, vaccination, treatment etc);
  • guiding farmers for animal nutrition, treatment of animals using appropriate ayurvedic medicine/ethno veterinary medicine.
  • There is a mechanism to send alert (on due date for vaccination, pregnancy diagnosis, calving etc) and inform farmers about various government schemes.
  • It also enables cattle owners to buy and sell animals through this app.
  • It will give farmers the freedom from middlemen and provide all information related to productivity, health and diet for the cattle.

(MAINS FOCUS)


AGRICULTURE / ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

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

An agriculture-led revival as flawed claim

Context: In the midst of India’s COVID-19-induced economic slowdown there is claim that Agriculture will lead India’s economic revival.

What are the arguments to support the above claim?

  1. Rabi Procurement: The procurement of rabi wheat in 2020-21 was 12.6% higher than in 2019-20. India’s food grain production in 2019-20 was 3.7% higher than in 2018-19.
  2. Inflation and Prices: Food inflation in the Q1 of 2020-21, at 9.2%, was higher than in the previous year due to sustained demand for food. This shows a shift of terms of trade in favour of agriculture.
  3. Higher Kharif Sowing: the area under kharif sowing in 2020-21 was 14% higher than in 2019-20. Higher kharif sowing was accompanied by higher tractor and fertilizer sales, which bodes well for economic recovery.
  4. Trickle From Package: Government’s economic package for agriculture — as part of the ₹20-lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat package — will further position agriculture as the engine of revival.

Critical Analysis of Each Claim

  1. Rabi Procurement – Need to look at market Arrivals
  • The higher procurement claim hides more than it reveals.
  • As per official data, only 13.5% of paddy farmers and 16.2% of wheat farmers in India sell their harvest to a procurement agency at an assured Minimum Support Price (MSP). The rest sell their output to private traders at prices lower than MSP.
  • One should, therefore, be looking not at procurement but market arrivals
    • The market arrivals of major 15 crops were lower in 2020 than in 2019.
    • In wheat, barley, potato, cauliflower, cabbage and lady’s finger, market arrivals in 2020 were between 50% and 75% of market arrivals in 2019.
    • It was only in paddy, lentil, tomato and banana that market arrivals in 2020 constituted more than 75% of market arrivals in 2019.
  • In addition, there were major losses in the milk, meat and poultry sectors; industry associations estimate the total loss for the poultry industry at ₹25,000 crore.
  • Thus, the most important problem faced by farmers during the lockdown was the loss of markets, stemming from the disruption in supply chains, closure of mandis and a fall in consumer food demand.
  • Higher procurement was hardly alleviating the loss faced by farmers
  1. Inflation and Prices – Misplaced notion that it benefitted farmers
  • Inflation rates estimated using consumer price indices are not representative of farmer’s prices.
  • Inflation was largely due to disruptions in supply chains and rise in trader margins
  • The dark side of higher rural inflation in India is that small and marginal farmers are not net sellers, but net buyers of food. So, it was not just that farmer’s prices fell; most were also forced to pay more for food purchases.
  1. Higher kharif sowing – Rise in Rural Unemployment
  • Given that rabi incomes fell during the lockdown, many rural households may have returned to farming or intensified farming for food- and income-security.
  • Lakhs of migrant workers returned to their villages from urban areas. They may have taken up agriculture in previously fallow or uncultivated lands.
  • It is no cause for celebration because the rural unemployment rates rose sharply in 2020, to 22.8% (April), 21.1% (May) and 9.5% (June).
  1. Trickle from Package – Fresh Spending is meagre
  • Agriculture contributes only about 15% to India’s Gross Value Added (GVA). Thus, even if agriculture grows by 4%, it is likely to contribute only 0.6 percentage points to GVA growth.
  • To contribute a full one percentage point to GVA growth, agriculture will have to grow by 6%, which is unlikely in 2020-21.
  • Total fresh spending for agriculture in the package is a trickle: less than ₹5,000 crore. The rest are schemes already included in the past Budgets, announcements with no financial outgo or liquidity/loan measures routed through banks.

Way Ahead

  • Doubling Income Transfer: Instead of frontloading the instalments of PM-KISAN, the government should have doubled the payments to farmers from ₹6,000 a year to ₹12,000 a year.
  • MSPs at Comprehensive Cost: Instead of raising the MSP for kharif paddy by ₹53 per, or cotton by ₹260 per quintal, the government should have set all MSPs at 150% of the C2 cost (comprehensive cost) of production.
  • Waiver of Interest: Instead of a moratorium on loan repayments, the government should have waived the interest on loans taken by farmers in 2019 and 2020.
  • Special Package for Animal Husbandry Sector: Instead of vague loan-based schemes in animal husbandry, the government should have announced a package of direct assistance for the crisis-ridden poultry and meat sectors amounting to at least ₹20,000 crore.

Conclusion

  • The government should discard its role as a passive observer, and decisively intervene in rural India with a substantial fiscal stimulus.

Connecting the dots:

  • PM Kisan Samman Nidhi
  • Ashok Dalwai Committee on Doubling Farmer’s Income

(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 regarding Global Multidimensional Poverty Index:

  1. It was first developed in 2010 by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and United Nations Development Programme.
  2. It is released at the High-Level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development of the United Nations in July, every year.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY):

  1. The PMMSY is an umbrella scheme with two- Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS).
  2. Goal is to double the fish exports by 2024-25.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 10th September 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 D (Only Greece and Turkey)
3 D

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