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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th SEPTEMBER 2020

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  • September 25, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th SEPTEMBER 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Standards for Safety Evaluation 0f Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Energy Resources

In news

  • The Standards for Safety Evaluation of Hydrogen Fuel Cells vehicles were recently notified.
  • Ministry: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.

Key takeaways

  • The motor vehicles of Category M and Category N, running on compressed gaseous hydrogen fuel cell, shall be in accordance with AIS 157:2020, as amended from time to time, till the corresponding Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 2016, specification is notified.
  • Also, the hydrogen fuel specification for fuel cell vehicles will be in accordance with ISO 14687.
  • They were notified through an amendment to Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989.
  • These standards are also at par with the available international standards.
  • This would facilitate the promotion of Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles in India.
  • Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles are energy efficient and environment friendly.

World Rhino Day

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment; Biodiversity; Conservation

In news

  • World Rhino Day was celebrated on September 22.
  • Objective: Generating awareness about the threats faced by Rhinoceroses all over the world.

Important value additions

  • World Rhino Day was first announced by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – South Africa in 2010.
  • It celebrates all five species of rhino – Black, white, greater one-horned, Sumatran and Javan rhinos.
  • It also generates awareness of issues regarding their well-being.
  • Threats: Poaching, urbanization and pollution.
  • It is the only large mammal species in Asia to be down-listed from endangered to vulnerable in the IUCN Red list in 2008.

Do you know?

  • Indian Environment Ministry has launched the National Rhino Conservation Strategy in 2019 to conserve the greater one-horned rhinoceros.
  • This is a first of its kind for the species in India which aims to work for the conservation of the species.
  • Objectives: (1) Strengthening protection; (2) Expanding the distribution range; (3) Research and monitoring; (4) Adequate and sustained funding.
  • India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world
  • Its population is in the range of 3000 animals in Assam, West Bengal and UP.

MPs Suspended for unruly behaviour

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Parliament

In news

  • Eight Rajya Sabha MPs were recently suspended for unruly behaviour in the House.

Important value additions

  • Rule Number 373 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business: It deals with the Power of the Speaker who, under his discretion, may direct MP to withdraw immediately from the House for the remainder of the day’s sitting.
  • Rule 374: The Speaker may name a Member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
  • Rule 374A: It is invoked by Speaker for automatic suspension of member of the House – for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a Member
  • Unlike the Speaker, the Rajya Sabha Chairman does not have the power to suspend a Member.

Special Report on Sustainable Recovery released

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news

  • Special Report on Sustainable Recovery’ was recently released.
  • Presented by: International Energy Agency (IEA) and NITI Aayog

Key takeaways

  • It is a part of IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook series.
  • It proposes a number of actions that could be taken over the next three years to revitalize economies and boost employment while making energy systems cleaner and more resilient.
  • According to report, Post the 2008–09 financial crisis, green measures accounted for around 16% of the total stimulus measures.
  • To recover from the pandemic, it is important to be more ambitious and decisive towards clean investments.
  • Key sectors for creating jobs: Electricity, transportation, buildings, industry and sustainable biofuels and innovations.

Do you know?

  • The International Energy Agency is an intergovernmental organisation established in the framework of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in 1974 in the wake of the 1973 oil crisis.
  • It is Headquartered in Paris, France.

Queen Elizabeth II to be dropped as monarch by Barbados

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International Relations

In news

  • Queen Elizabeth II, who is the head of state in the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms will be dropped as monarch by Barbados in 2021.

Key takeaways

  • Barbados aims to complete the process of becoming a republic before its 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, in November 2021.
  • With this, it will become the first country in almost three decades to sever ties with the British royal family and become a republic.

Do you know?

  • Barbados, a former British colony, gained its independence in 1966.
  • Although it is an independent state, Queen Elizabeth remains its constitutional head.
  • It shall remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Commonwealth of Nations is the 54-nation club of mostly former British colonies which is led by the Queen, and includes India.


World Risk Index 2020 released

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Climate Change

In news

  • According to the World Risk Index (WRI) 2020, India is ‘poorly prepared’ to deal with ‘climate reality’, due to which it is vulnerable to extreme natural disasters.
  • Among continents, Oceania is at the highest risk, followed by Africa and the Americas.

Important value additions

World Risk Index

  • It is part of the World Risk Report 2020 released by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS), Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft and the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
  • It is calculated on a country-by-country basis, through the multiplication of exposure and vulnerability.
  • It describes the disaster risk for various countries and regions.
  • It is released annually since 2011.
  • It indicates which countries are in the greatest need to strengthen measures for coping with and adapting to extreme natural events.


New Brucellosis Vaccine by ICAR

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health; Policies & GS-III – Achievements of Indians in Science and technology

In news

  • Brucella abortus S19Δ per vaccine is developed recently by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s -Indian Veterinary Research Institute (ICAR-IVRI) for brucellosis prevention in the dairy sector.

Important value additions

Brucellosis

  • It is a bacterial zoonotic disease caused by various Brucella species.
  • It mainly infect cattle, swine, goats, sheep and dogs.
  • It is also known as Malta fever or Mediterranean fever.
  • It is endemic in India causing huge economic losses to dairy industry due to: (1) Infertility; (2) Abortion; (3) Birth of weak off springs; (4) Reduced productivity

Hundreds of long-finned pilot whales die

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Conservation

In news

  • Over 450 long-finned pilot whales have died in Australia’s largest recorded mass-stranding event.
  • The whales were beached at a remote beach in Tasmania’s west coast.

Important value additions

Beaching

  • It refers to the phenomenon of dolphins and whales stranding themselves on beaches.
  • There are around 2,000 strandings each year worldwide, with most resulting in the death of the animal.
  • Whales strand themselves on beaches either singularly or in groups.
  • While individual strandings are mostly attributed to injury or sickness, it is not clear why exactly whales beach themselves in groups.

Long-finned pilot whales

  • Scientific Name: Globicephala melas
  • These are one of two species of pilot whale, along with short-finned pilot whales.
  • These prefer deep temperate to subpolar oceanic waters.
  • They have been known to occur in coastal waters in some areas.
  • They have been documented near the Antarctic sea ice and associated with the colder Benguela and Humboldt Currents, which may extend their normal range.
  • Protection Status: (1) CITES: Appendix II; (2) IUCN: Least Concern

CAG Survey Report on School Toilets

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education

In news

  • Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has flagged irregularities in the construction of toilets in schools by Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) in an audit report tabled before Parliament.

Key takeaways

  • The CAG audit conducted a physical survey of a sample of 2,695 toilets built by CPSEs in 15 States.
  • Out of the 1,967 schools surveyed, 99 schools had no functional toilets while 436 had only one functional toilet.
  • Thus, the objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in 27% of the schools.
  • Norm for daily cleaning (at least once a day) not followed: 75% of toilets
  • No running water facilities inside: 72% of constructed toilets
  • No hand washing facilities: 55% of the toilets
  • Almost 40% of toilets were non-existent, partially completed or unused.

Do you know?

There are 10.8 lakh government schools in the country. Overall, more than 1.4 lakh toilets have been built by 53 CPSEs, with significant support coming from power, coal and oil companies as part of the Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan.

Important value additions

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan:

  • Launched by: Ministry of Education in September 2014.
  • Aim: To have separate toilets for boys and girls in all schools all over India.
  • The programme norms required the CPSEs to build toilets with running water and hand washing facilities.

Science & Technology Indicators, 2019-20

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – IPR; Science & Technology

In news

  • According to the latest Science & Technology Indicators (STI) report for 2019-20, India performs very dismally in the field science & technology innovation.
  • Released by: Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • In these 13 years, just 24% of patent claims came from Indians.

Reasons for Dismal Performance

  • Poor investment in research and development (R&D)
  • The poor state of higher education.
  • Lack of employable personnel, who lack skills and the aptitude in a variety of fields.
  • Lack of conducive environment for start-ups.

Non-utilisation of Cesses & Levies

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Taxes

In news

  • Recently, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) told Parliament that the Centre has only transferred 60% of the proceeds from cess/levies in Fiscal Year 2018-19 to the relevant Reserve Funds and retained the balance in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).

Do you know?

  • Cesses and levies collected are required to be first transferred to designated Reserve Funds and utilised for the specific purposes intended by Parliament.
  • Funds collected through Central taxes along with cesses and other levies go to the CFI.
    Taxes and surcharges in CFI are parked in a divisible pool and 42% of the total is given to States as devolution.

Important value additions

Consolidated Fund of India

  • It was constituted under Article 266 (1) of the Constitution of India.
  • Composition:
  • All revenues received by the Centre by way of taxes (Income Tax, Central Excise, Customs and other receipts) and all non-tax revenues.
  • All loans raised by the Centre by issue of Public notifications, treasury bills (internal debt) and from foreign governments and international institutions (external debt).
  • All government expenditures are incurred from this fund except exceptional items which are met from the Contingency Fund or the Public Account.
  • No amount can be withdrawn from the Fund without authorization from the Parliament.
  • The CAG audits the fund and reports to the relevant legislatures on the management.

Cess

  • Cess is a form of tax levied over and above the base tax liability of a taxpayer.

Surcharge

  • A surcharge is an extra fee, charge, or tax that is added on to the cost of a good or service, beyond the initially quoted price.

Miscellaneous

Women Officers as Observers

  • In a first, two women officers have been selected to join as ‘Observers’ (Airborne Tacticians) in the Indian Navy’s helicopter stream.

  • Sub Lieutenant (SLt) Kumudini Tyagi and SLt Riti Singh would be the first set of women airborne tacticians in India who would operate from the deck of warships.
  • Earlier, entry of women was restricted to the fixed wing aircraft that took off and landed ashore.

Yamin Hazarika Award

  • Historian-author Rana Safvi has been conferred Yamin Hazarika award.
  • It is an award instituted in memory of Yamin Hazarika.
  • She was the first woman from the Northeast to join the central police service.
  • Rana Safvi, who has published several books on culture, history, and monuments of India, was chosen for her “contribution to the syncretic culture of India”.
  • The award is given every year by a collective of women professionals since 2015.

G4 Foreign Ministers Meeting

  • Recently, Foreign Ministers from the Group of 4 (G4), consisting of India, Brazil, Japan and Germany, participated in a virtual meeting.
  • G4 is a group of countries that are seeking permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

(MAINS FOCUS)


GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY / ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2:

  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections (STs)
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Tribal welfare: GI tag can help ST entrepreneurs thrive

Context: In the era of Inclusive development the empowerment of scheduled tribes (ST), which are largely economically and socially backward, has assumed special significance.

A sustainable way to empower Schedule Tribes is help them become self-employed entrepreneurs.

Self-employment is already high amongst STs

  • According to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2018-19 report, a large proportion of scheduled tribe workers (57%) are self- employed, basically in the agriculture & allied activities and handicrafts.
  • Around 30% are casual and agricultural labour and only around 13% are engaged in salaried employment.
  • Hence, it is essential to explore skilling avenues which would help them earn more in the same occupation.

Would the GI tag help the tribes to become entrepreneurs?

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin
  • GI holds the potential for increasing the value and market price of a wide variety of potential GI forest products for local ST communities.
  • Many communities have benefited enormously economically from the GI recognition granted to their traditional products.
  • For instance, post the GI tag, the price of Kadaknath Chicken, a native breed of the Dhar and Jhabua districts in Madhya Pradesh and primarily nurtured by the Bhil tribals, has gone up significantly.
  • The GI tagged aromatic Araku Valley Coffee, originally produced by the tribal population of Andhra Pradesh, is now being exported as a premium lifestyle and health product

Will getting the GI tag be enough to economically upstage the tribal population?

There are various challenges associated post giving GI Tag to traditional products of STs, some of which are:

  • Challenges of Middlemen: The benefit of the GI registered tribal product, in many cases, accrues not to the artist but to traders or middlemen.
  • Issue of duplicate and fake products: Traditional hand-woven designs are often duplicated and sold at a lower price through mass production, which deprives the tribes of their legitimate income
  • A case in point is the GI registered unique hand-woven embroidery and textile designs made by the Toda tribe of the Nilgiris.
  • Challenges of Marketing and brand promotion: The GI tag enhances the value—in terms of sales and profits—of only those products which are known, are already profitable

Way Ahead

  • Proactive State Governments: States should try to identify traditional products, which incorporate the knowledge and skills of the scheduled tribes, and strive to get GI tag for such products
  • Effective Implementation of GI Provisions: Any infringement of GI provisions, such as cases of proliferation of duplicate and fake products, should be dealt severely.
  • Inclusive GI Tag recognition: There is a need to upgrade the GI Act, 1999, and make it more inclusive and responsive to ground realities so that more products are GI registered.
  • Civil Society Support: It is also critical that NGOs and corporates support the branding and marketing of GI products. In fact, the credit for establishing Araku Valley coffee as an international brand owes essentially to the marketing efforts of an NGO and select corporates.
  • Enterprise-facilitating platform such as a chamber of commerce, governmental help desk or a voluntary organisation dedicated to GI must be constituted. This would help connect the buyer with the original seller/tribal, thereby helping in reducing the exploitative gap between owner and seller within the GI ecosystem
  • Legal Support: The inclusion of legal support services within the chamber of commerce and voluntary organisations also helps protect the rights of tribes.

Conclusion

At a time when the government is working on the ‘One District, One Product’ plan and considers the use of GI tag for better results, the experience of scheduled tribes could hel


ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE / ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation.
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development

Environmentalism: A Green Supply Chain

Context: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals and the World Bank Group’s global practices have recognised environment sustainability as an essential issue of global importance.

Environmental sustainability is understood as

  • Buying greener products
  • Avoiding hazardous materials
  • Energy optimisation
  • Waste reduction.

Present Challenges of achieving Environment Sustainability

  • Fear of losing Profits: Some firms are still reluctant to engage in environmentally beneficial activities as they are afraid to compromise on the economic benefits
  • Adoption by Force: Some firms have positioned environmental practices at the forefront due to legislation and government commitments but not on voluntary basis.
  • Short term green practices: Manufacturing sector, get so serious about the low-hanging fruits of waste reduction and energy efficiency improvements that they fail to recognise the need for restructuring their learning imperatives and see the big picture of environmentalism

Way Ahead – Green supply chain

  • These include green procurement, green manufacturing, green distribution, and reverse logistics.
  • With practices starting from acquisition of eco-friendly raw material to disposal/ reuse/ recycle of used products,employees, suppliers, distributors, retailers and customers will be able to integrate environmental concerns in the daily operations of a firm
  • This ensures that environmental sustainability is from the source (willingness) and not through force (regulations).

Benefits of Green Supply chain

  • Enables Restructuring of Firms & ecosystem: Green supply chain practices enable organisational learning in environmental sustainability. This further promotes environmentalism across all players in manufacturing supply chains.
  • Helps firms Better Strategize to future needs: The resultant learning system smoothens the knowledge flow in the organisation and help firms to strategise for better performance, bearing in mind the environmental aspects.
  • Leads to Higher Economic performance in long run: Research shows that green Supply Chain not only lead to a long-lasting natural drive towards environmental performance, but also to higher economic performance
  • Society will be prioritised over Profits: Understanding environmental links will enable managers and experts to shape their organisational values, work practices, and performances for the greater good of society.

Conclusion

Policymakers should support this thinking (Green Supply Chain) by not merely imposing environmental practices as regulatory norms but by emphasising on the creation of green supply chain-based learning systems in manufacturing.


(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 India is home to the largest number of which of the following Rhinos?

  1. Black Rhino
  2. Sumatran rhino
  3. Greater One-Horned

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.2 Special Report on Sustainable Recovery was recently released. Consider the following statements:

  1. It was presented by Ministry of Finance.
  2. It is a part of World Energy Outlook series.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding International Energy Agency:

  1. It was established in the framework of the International Monetary Framework in 1974.
  2. Its headquarter is in Washington.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.4 World Risk Index was recently released. Consider the following statements:

  1. According to the report, India is well prepared to deal with climate reality.
  2. It is part of the World Risk Report 2020 released by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS).

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 24th September 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D
3 B

Must Read

About FCRA Amendments:

The Hindu

About farm bills and whether it will benefit farmers:

The Hindu

About MSP and how it is fixed:

The Indian Express

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