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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd SEPTEMBER 2020

  • IASbaba
  • September 2, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


AIIB Loan for Mumbai Urban Transport Project -3

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – International Relations; Global Groupings 

In News:

  • A loan agreement for a USD 500 million for Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III) was signed recently..
  • Signatories: Central Government, Maharashtra Government, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) 

Important value additions

Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III (MUTP-III)

  • It is a project supervised and implemented by the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA).
  • Objective: To enhance the network capacity, service quality and safety of Mumbai’s suburban railway system. 
  • Deadline for completion: 2022.
  • Major Objectives: (1) Improve traffic and transportation situation in MMR. (2) Institutional development and strengthening.
  • Network capacity in the region will increase.
  • Mobility will increase.
  • Journey time and fatal accidents of commuters will reduce.
  • Carbon emissions will reduce since passengers will shift away from higher-carbon road transport.

Do you know?

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank 

  • It is a multilateral development bank that aims to improve economic and social outcomes in Asia. 
  • The bank currently has 103 members as well as 21 prospective members from around the world
  • India is the largest beneficiary of AIIB financing for infrastructure projects. Some major AIIB-approved projects in India:
    1. Bangalore Metro Rail Project (USD 335 million).
    2. Gujarat Rural Roads (MMGSY) Project (USD 329 million).
    3. India Infrastructure Fund.
    4. Andhra Pradesh 24×7 – Power For All Project.
    5. USD 750 Million for Covid-19 support for India.

Early Galaxy Detected by AstroSat

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

In News:

  • One of the earliest galaxies called AUDFs01 has been discovered using AstroSat.
  • Discovered by: A team of Scientists from the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA), Pune.
  • The team comprises scientists from India, Switzerland, France, USA, Japan and Netherlands.

Key takeaways

  • The galaxy is located in the Hubble Extreme Deep field, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.
  • The galaxy was discovered using UltraViolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) on Astrosat.
  • AstroSat detected Extreme Ultraviolet light from the galaxy.

Important value additions

AstroSat

  • It is a multi-wavelength astronomy mission on an IRS-class (Indian Remote Sensing-Class) satellite in a 650-km, near-equatorial orbit.
  • Launched by: Indian launch vehicle PSLV by ISRO.
  • It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission. 
  • Aim: To study celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously with its five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem.
  • AstroSat mission enables the simultaneous multi-wavelength observations of various astronomical objects with a single satellite.

17th India-Vietnam Meeting held

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

In News:

  • Recently, the 17th meeting of India-Vietnam Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation was held.
  • Recent developments in India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (since 2016) were reviewed.

Key takeaways

  • Both countries agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
  • Both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral  and regional forums like the UN Security Council (UNSC) and ASEAN.
  • They agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as civil nuclear energy, space, marine sciences and new technologies.
  • India also invited Vietnam to take advantage of India’s new economic capacities and demands

Important value additions

Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

  • Launched by: Indian Prime Minister at the East Asia Summit (2019).
  • Focus: Maritime Security, Maritime Ecology, Maritime Resources, Disaster Risk Reduction and Management, Maritime Transport, etc.

Do you know?

  • Both India and Vietnam will serve concurrently as non-permanent members of UNSC in 2021.

Image source: Click here


UN’s guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities 

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Global Groupings; Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections

In News:

  • The first-ever guidelines on access to social justice for people with disabilities have been released.
  • Released by: United Nations
  • Objective: To make it easier for them to access justice systems around the world.

Key takeaways

  • The guidelines outline a set of 10 principles
  • Principle 1: All persons with disabilities have legal capacity. No one shall be denied access to justice on the basis of disability.
  • Principle 2: Facilities and services must be universally accessible to ensure equal access to justice without discrimination.
  • Principle 3: They have the right to appropriate procedural accommodations.
  • Principle 4: They have the right to access legal notices and information in a timely and accessible manner on an equal basis with others.
  • Principle 5: They are entitled to all substantive and procedural safeguards recognized in international law on an equal basis with others, and States must provide the necessary accommodations to guarantee due process.
  • Principle 6: They have the right to free or affordable legal assistance.
  • Principle 7: They have the right to participate in the administration of justice on an equal basis with others.
  • Principle 8: They have the rights to report complaints and initiate legal proceedings concerning human rights violations and crimes, have their complaints investigated and be afforded effective remedies.
  • Principle 9: Effective and robust monitoring mechanisms play a critical role in supporting access to justice for them.
  • Principle 10: All those working in the justice system must be provided with awareness-raising and training programmes addressing the rights of persons with disabilities, in particular in the context of access to justice.

Quantum State Interferography found

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

In News:

  • Indian Scientists have found a new way of inferring the state of a system (both 2-D qubits and higher-dimensional qubits) from an interference pattern.
  • It has been termed as ‘Quantum State Interferography’ (QSI).
  • New ways are being experimented with to manipulate quantum states so that they can be harnessed for computing, communication, and metrology.
  • QSI can help make manipulations simpler so that several crucial operations in quantum technologies become less cumbersome.
  • The setup requires only two interferometers from which many interferograms can be obtained to reconstruct the state.

Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) launched

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

In News:

  • Pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity was recently launched. 
  • Launched by: The Union Minister of State (IC) Power and New & Renewable Energy 
  • Objective: Greening the Indian short term power Market. 

Key takeaways 

  • The market is the first Exclusive product for the renewable energy sector in the world.
  • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature. 
  • Clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers shall be available. 
  • There will not be any difficulty in accounting for Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).
  • GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO. 
  • Further, within the two segments GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts. 
  • Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis. 
  • Looking at the market conditions, open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.

Nod to 27 projects under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III – Cold chain Industries; Supply chain management

In News:

  • Recently, 27 projects under the PMKSY were approved. 
  • Objective: For development of integrated cold chains and value addition infrastructure in India.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Food Processing Industries 

Key takeaways 

  • The new integrated cold chain projects will generate direct and indirect employment and benefit nearly lakhs of farmers.
  • Cold chain facilities shall be created for the food processing sector across various states. 
  • States included: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.

Important value additions 

Central Sector Scheme of Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure

  • It is a component scheme under PMKSY.
  • The government provides financial assistance in the form of grant-in-aid at the rate of 35% for general areas and the rate of 50% for North-Eastern States, Himalayan States, ITDP Areas, and Islands for storage and transport infrastructure.
  • The assistance at 50% and 75% respectively are also given for value addition and processing infrastructure subject to a maximum grant-in-aid of Rs 10 crores per project. 

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY)

  • The objective of PMKSY is to supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.
  • The PMKSY has seven component schemes:
  • Mega Food Parks
  • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure
  • Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters
  • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages
  • Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities
  • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure
  • Human Resources and Institutions
  • Under PMKSY, capital subsidy in the form of grants-in-aid ranging from 35% to 75% of the eligible project cost subject to a maximum specified limit is provided to investors.

Coal India Ltd. (CIL) to invest in 500 coal-related projects

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

In News:

  • Coal India Ltd (CIL) will invest over 1.22 lakh crore rupees on development of nearly 500 projects.
  • Projects will be related to coal evacuation, infrastructure, project development, exploration and clean coal technologies in India.

Key takeaways 

  • The investment aims at making India self-reliant in terms of coal and at achieving the production target of 1 billion tonnes by 2023-2024.
  • The investment will be in two phases for 49 First Mile Connectivity projects.
  • First Mile Connectivity is the transportation of coal from pitheads to dispatch points. 
  • Computer-aided loading technology of coal is being developed to replace the existing methodology of transportation via road.
  • CIL has also identified 15 Greenfield projects which will be operated under the Mine Developer and Operator (MDO) model. 
  • It also announced measures for relaxations and exemptions for greater participation of its stakeholders. 
  • The experience criteria is reduced from 65% to 50% for mining tenders. 
  • Work experience criteria are relaxed by 50%. 

Miscellaneous

RORO train

  • Karnataka CM flagged off the first ‘Roll On Roll Off’ (RORO) train from Bengaluru to Solapur (Maharashtra).
  • It consists of an open flat wagon on which trucks with goods are loaded.
  • It will be operated by the South Western Railway (SWR).
  • Time taken: 17 hours 
  • Distance: About 682 kms.
  • As many as 42 trucks with goods can be carried at time in this train. 
  • It shall reduce accidents on the road, improves safety, saves fuel, and foreign exchange.
  • It ensures faster transport of essential goods, perishables, food items and smaller cargo.
  • The cost of transport is lesser than transport by road.

Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana 

  • ‘Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana’ was recently launched.
  •  Launched by: The Ministry of Defence
  • It is a group life insurance scheme to be implemented through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
  • It will cover more than 10,000 employees in all 62 Cantonment Boards in event of any unfortunate fatal calamity with an insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs each. 
  • It will benefit permanent and contractual employees including doctors, paramedics and sanitation staff.

Hurricane Laura

  • Hurricane Laura recently made landfall in southwestern Louisiana (South Central United States) 
  • Depending on where they occur, hurricanes are given many names in different regions of the world
  • Typhoons: China Sea and Pacific Ocean.
  • Hurricanes: In the West Indian islands in the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean.
  • Tornados: In the Guinea lands of West Africa and southern USA.
  • Willy-willies: In north-western Australia

Tropical Cyclones: In the Indian Ocean Region


(MAINS FOCUS)


SCIENCE & TECH / ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Awareness in field of IT

Treating data as commons

Context: The Gopalakrishnan Committee set up by the government on developing a governance framework for non-personal data recently put out its draft report for public consultation

Data as Infrastructure

  • Industrial age infrastructure — roads, electricity, etc. — were often publicly owned. Even if there was some private role, these were run as closely regulated public utilities. 
  • The idea was to ensure widespread availability of such infrastructural elements to all, and avoid wasteful duplications.
  • Society’s data have a similar nature for a digital economy.
  • There are two key infrastructural components of a digital economy: data and cloud computing (analysis of data).

Why regulation of data infrastructure is needed?

  • Infrastructures are to be equitably provided for all businesses. Data have similar characteristics
  • Very few corporations have vertically integrated all the digital components involved in delivery of any digital service thus leading to creation of monopolies
  • Dominant digital corporations are building exclusive control over any sector’s data as their key business advantage.
  • What is needed, however, is to treat data as infrastructure, or ‘commons’, so that data are widely available for all businesses. 
  • Impact of data infrastructure regulation: The digital businesses then shift their key business advantage from exclusive access to data to employing available data for devising digital services for consumers’ benefit.

How does Gopalkrishnan Committee view data?

  • The Gopalakrishnan committee takes such an infrastructural view of data. 
  • Data collected from various communities are considered to be ‘owned’ by the relevant community.
  • Community ownership means that the data should be shared back with all those who need it in society, whether to develop domestic digital businesses or for producing important digital public goods.
  • Only the data collected from non-privately owned sources, from society or community sources, have to be shared when requested for. Data from privately owned sources remain private. 
  • Significance: Community ownership will help create a robust domestic data/AI industry, thus reducing the dependence on U.S. and Chinese companies.

What institutional mechanisms does the committee recommend?

  • Community Trustees: Since a community requires a legally recognisable body to articulate its data ownership claim, the committee introduces the concept of community trustees that could be various bodies representative of the community.
  • Data collectors are considered as data custodians that will use and secure data as per the best interests of the community concerned. 
  • Data trusts are data infrastructures that will enable data sharing, sector-wise, or across sectors, and which can be run by various kinds of third-party bodies.
  • A Non-Personal Data Authority is envisaged to enable and regulate all the envisaged data-sharing activities.
  • A new legislation is also recommended by committee because ensuring and enforcing data sharing will require sufficient legal backing.

Conclusion

  • India is the first country to come up with a comprehensive framework in this area. 
  • Starting early in this important digital policy and governance area may just provide a formidable first mover advantage for India to acquire its rightful place in the digital world.

Connecting the dots:

  • K.S. Puttaswamy Case & Right to Privacy 
  • Justice BN Srikrishna committee report on data protection law

SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1,2:

  • Social empowerment 
  • Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections 

Pandemic and Older People

Context: The most vulnerable persons during the COVID pandemic are the elderly

Do You Know?

  • Globally, the population aged 65 and over is growing faster than other age groups. 
  • In 2018, for the first time in history, people aged 65 (680.94 million) or above outnumbered children under 5 years (678.87 million)
  • The number of persons aged 80 years or over is projected to triple, from 143 million in 2019 to 426 million in 2050.

Difficulties faced by Older people due to COVID-19 Pandemic

  • High Vulnerability to COVID-19 mortality: If infected, the odds of survival for older people are the lowest. 
  • Danger of being neglected: When isolated to save them from infection, they are likely to suffer from neglect — from lack of care and loneliness. 
  • Denied healthcare for other diseases: Outpatient treatment of nearly all major non-communicable diseases has been severely affected due to COVID care. Older people seem to be missing out on treatment for illnesses. 
  • Vulnerable to Mental ill-health problems: Lack of access to healthcare services could aggravate physical disabilities, hinder the effective management of communicable diseases and lead to mental ill-health problems amongst the elderly.
  • Dependence on Children/ others: The precarious nature of economic work of older persons and inadequate salaries means that more than 80% of such people in the workforce are either partially or fully dependent on others, who are anyway facing difficult circumstances
  • Technology Challenges: Internet play an important role in maintaining access to essential care, services etc. In India, only 7% of older people have smartphones. The literacy rate among this segment is also low, further limiting access to technology and important information.
  • Inadequate Government Support:  In its first relief package, the government announced a one-off payment of Rs 1,000 and an increase in the pension for 30 million widows and senior citizens. But this will reach only to about 20% of the older people. There was no support for senior citizens in the second relief package.

Way Ahead

  • Healthcare schemes like the Ayushman Bharat Yojana should have special provisions for the elderly. 
  • Tele-health and mobile home-based health care check-ups should be conducted for them. 
  • Direct subsidies to pensioners, especially in healthcare matters, can also help them tide over these difficult times.
  • Older people have an invaluable role to play in our collective future. We must keep older people engaged, not shut them out to protect their bodies from the virus. 

(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 Recently, one of the earliest galaxies called AUDFs01 has been discovered using AstroSat. Consider the following statements regarding AstroSat: 

  1. It is an astronomical mission launched by ISRO. 
  2. It aims to study celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral band simultaneously. 

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: 

  1. India-Pacific oceans initiative was launched by Indian Prime Minister at G20 summit. 
  2. Maritime security and Maritime ecology are some of the focuses of the initiative. 

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 Which of the following are principles recently released by the United Nations for people with disabilities? 

  1. People with disabilities have the right to appropriate procedural accommodations.
  2. Facilities and services must be universally accessible for them without any discrimination.
  3. They have the right to report complaints and initiate legal proceedings concerning human rights violations. 
  4. They have the right to free legal assistance.

Select the correct code: 

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

Q.4 Consider the following statements regarding Quantum State Interferography: 

  1. It is the way of inferring the state of a system in both 2-D qubits and higher dimensional qubits.
  2. It can help make manipulation simpler which can be harnessed for computing, communication and Metrology. 

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 1st September 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D
3 C
4 A
5 A

Must Read

About Challenges of Education sector due to Pandemic:

The Hindu

An article by former NSA about Kashmir:

The Hindu

About Food Security challenges in the aftermath of Pandemic:

The Indian Express

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