(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Technology
- 16 eligible applicants under the PLI Scheme were approved recently.
- Ministry: Ministry of Electronics and Information and Technology (MeitY)
Important value additions
Production Linked Incentive Scheme (PLI) for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing
- It was notified on 1st April, 2020.
- It extends an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods under target segments that are manufactured in India to eligible companies, for a period of five years (base year- FY2019-20.
- Over the next 5 years, the approved companies under the PLI Scheme are expected to lead to total production of more than INR 10.5 lakh crore.
- The companies approved under the scheme are expected to promote exports significantly.
- The companies approved under the scheme will bring additional investment in electronics manufacturing to the tune of INR 11,000 crore.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Medicine
- The National Clinical Management Protocol based on Ayurveda and Yoga for the management of Covid-19 was released.
- Ministry: Jointly by Ministry for Health and Ministry for AYUSH.
- Prepared by: Experts and other national research organizations
- According to: Report & Recommendations of the Interdisciplinary Committee
- The protocol contains the details self-care guidelines for preventive health measures to help protect against COVID-19 pandemic.
- Clinical studies have established some Ayurveda interventions like Ashwagandha, Laung & Giloy as anti-inflammatory, antiviral & immunity-modulating which help protect against COVID-19.
- Measures: Drinking herb-infused warm water or turmeric milk, steam inhalation, gargling, moderate exercise and a set of medicines to be used for prophylaxis and treatment.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Agricultural crops
- The 2nd World Cotton Day was observed on 7th October, 2020.
- World Cotton Day was launched at the initiative of the Cotton-4 (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali) by the World Trade hosted on 7th October 2019.
- It was launched in collaboration with the secretariats of the UN, FAO, UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).
- Objective: (1) To recognize the importance of cotton as a global commodity grown in over 75 countries across 5 continents; (2) To highlight its central role in job creation and maintaining economic stability in several least-developed countries.
Important value additions
- Cotton is discussed at the WTO for: (1) the trade reforms needed to address subsidies and high trade barriers for cotton; (2) the assistance provided to the cotton sector in developing countries.
- These various tracks of discussion have been developed over the years as a response to a series of proposals to address the cotton sector tabled by four African countries — Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad and Mali — known as the Cotton Four or C4.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Pollution
- The Union Cabinet has approved the ratification of seven chemicals listed under Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
- These are: (1) Chlordecone; (2) Hexabromobiphenyl; (3) Hexabromodiphenyl ether and Heptabromodiphenylether; (4) Tetrabromodiphenyl ether and Pentabromodiphenyl ether, (5) Pentachlorobenzene; (6) Hexabromocyclododecane; (7) Hexachlorobutadiene.
- The ratification process would enable India to access Global Environment Facility (GEF) financial resources in updating the National Implementation Plan (NIP).
Important value additions
- It is a global treaty to protect human health and environment from POPs.
- POPs are chemical substances that persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in living organisms and have the property of long-range environmental transport.
- Exposure to POPs can lead to cancer, damage to nervous systems, diseases of immune system, reproductive disorders etc.
- India had ratified the Stockholm Convention in 2006.
- The Ministry of Environment had notified the ‘Regulation of Persistent Organic Pollutants Rules in 2018 under the provisions of Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
- Examples of persistent organic pollutants include: (1) Aldrin; (2) Chlordane; (3) DDT; (4) Dieldrin; (5) Endrin; (6) Heptachlor; (7) Hexachlorobenzene; (8) Mirex
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Fundamental Rights; Judiciary
- The Supreme Court has recently highlighted that occupying public places for protests is not acceptable and such a space cannot be occupied indefinitely.
Key highlights of the judgement
- The verdict came after a plea was filed against the Anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests which had led to blocking of a road in Shaheen Bagh in Delhi last December.
- The judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law
- It also made clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, especially indefinitely.
- The rights to free speech and peaceful protest were “treasures” but also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interests of sovereignty, integrity and public order.
- The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter. They have to co-exist in mutual respect.
- The bench also said that it was entirely the responsibility of the administration to prevent encroachments in public spaces.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and Technology
- Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors” tool.
- It is the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team.
- Using the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors” tool, researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision.
- The CRISPR-Cas9 tool has already contributed to significant gains in crop resilience, altering their genetic code to better withstand drought and pests.
- The technology has also led to innovative cancer treatments.
- Many experts hope it could one day make inherited diseases curable through gene manipulation.
- CRISPR’s relative simplicity and widespread applicability has, however, triggered the imaginations of rogue practitioners.
- In 2018 in China, scientist He Jiankui caused an international scandal when he used CRISPR to create what he called the first gene-edited humans.
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Agricultural Crops
- The 1st ever Brand & Logo for Indian Cotton was launched on 2nd World Cotton Day.
- Launched by: Ministry of Textiles
- Now India’s premium Cotton would be known as ‘Kasturi Cotton’ in the world cotton Trade.
- The Kasturi Cotton brand will represent Whiteness, Brightness, Softness, Purity, Luster, Uniqueness and Indianness.
Important value additions
- Cotton is one of the principal commercial crops of India.
- It provides livelihood to about 6 million cotton farmers.
- India is the 2nd largest cotton producer.
- It is the largest consumer of cotton in the world.
- A mobile app, “Cott-Ally” has been developed by Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) for providing latest news regarding weather condition, Crop situation and best farm practices.
RIGHTS/ JUDICIARY / GOVERNANCE
Topic: General Studies 2:
- Social empowerment and Fundamental Rights
- Judiciary and their role
Context: The Supreme Court has found the indefinite “occupation” of a public road by the Shaheen Bagh protestors unacceptable.
Brief Background of the issue
- The Shaheen Bagh (New Delhi) protest was a sit-in peaceful protest and an iconic dissent mounted by mothers, children and senior citizens against the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)
- Mainly consisting of Muslim women, the protesters at Shaheen Bagh, since 14 December 2019, blocked major road in New Delhi using non-violent resistance
- It became the longest protest against CAA-NRC-NPR.
- However, the protest became inconvenient to commuters. Petitions were filed in High Court and Supreme Court to stop the blockade caused by the protests and to shift the site of protest.
- Later, they were removed by the police from the site on March 24th on the wake of lockdown imposed on Pandemic
What were the judgements of Supreme Court?
- Judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, and that too indefinitely.
- Protests cannot be held at any places: The demonstrations expressing dissent have to be in designated places alone.
- Dissent in Self-Ruled Democracy: The seeds of protest and dissent were sown deep during the Freedom struggle. But dissent against the colonial rule cannot be equated with dissent in a self-ruled democracy.
- Reasonable restrictions: In a democracy, the rights of free speech and peaceful protest were indeed “treasured”. But these rights were also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and public order. Police regulations also weighed in.
- Right of commuter: Fundamental rights do not live in isolation. The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter. They have to co-exist in mutual respect
- Intervention by High Court was needed: The judgment said the Delhi High Court should have intervened positively and not left the situation fluid. The administration too should have talked to the protesters.
- Responsibility of the administration: The court held it was entirely the responsibility of the administration to prevent encroachments in public spaces. They should do so without waiting for courts to pass suitable orders.
- Significance of Digital Media: SC noted that Shaheen Bagh seemed typical of the many digitally-fuelled “leaderless” dissent seen in modern times. Technology and social media could both empower and weaken mass movements.
Indian democracy is best served when citizens freely express their views, mobilise and protest, but do so without undermining the rights of fellow-citizens. This will help keep the trust between differing constituencies and enhance the legitimacy of dissent
Connecting the dots:
- Children’s Right to Protest and Safeguards for Child Witness: Click here
- Procedural reforms needed in Judiciary: Click here
ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE/ RIGHTS
Topic: General Studies 2,3:
- Fundamental Rights
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Context: The new Code on Social Security allows a platform worker to be defined by their vulnerability — not their labour, nor the vulnerabilities of platform work.
What is Gig Economy?
- A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements
- Examples of gig employees in the workforce could include freelancers, independent contractors, project-based workers and temporary or part-time hires.
Do You Know?
- Global Gig Economy Index report has ranked India among the top 10 countries.
- The report says there has been an increase in freelancers in India from 11% in 2018 to 52% in 2019, thanks to various initiatives including Startup India and Skill India.
Issues of Gig Workers – Example of Swiggy (Food Delivery platform)
- Swiggy workers have been essential during the pandemic.
- They have faced a continuous dip in pay, where base pay was reduced from ₹35 to ₹10 per delivery order, despite braving against the odds of delivering during Pandemic
- Stable terms of earning have been a key demand of delivery-persons
Does new version of labour code offer any relief to Gig workers?
- The three new labour codes passed by Parliament recently acknowledge platform and gig workers as new occupational categories in the making
- Defining gig workers is done in a bid to keep India’s young workforce secure as it embraces ‘new kinds of work’, like delivery, in the digital economy.
- In the Code on Social Security, 2020, platform workers are now eligible for benefits like maternity benefits, life and disability cover, old age protection, provident fund, employment injury benefits, and so on.
Issues with new labour codes for gig workers
- Platform delivery people can claim benefits, but not labour rights.
- This distinction makes them beneficiaries of State programmes but does not allow them to go to court to demand better and stable pay, or regulate the algorithms that assign the tasks.
- This also means that the government or courts cannot pull up platform companies for their choice of pay, or how long they ask people to work.
- The laws do not see them as future industrial workers.
- They are now eligible for government benefits but eligibility does not mean that the benefits are guaranteed. Actualising these benefits will depend on the political will at the Central and State government-levels.
- The language in the Code is open enough to imply that platform companies can be called upon tso contribute either solely or with the government to some of these schemes. But it does not force the companies to contribute towards benefits or be responsible for workplace issues.
- There are no guarantees for better and more stable days for platform workers, even though they are meant to be ‘the future of work’.
Connecting the Dots:
- Impact of AI on jobs
- Skill India program
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 useful applications of CRISPR-Cas9 tool:
- Crop resilience
- Treatment of AIDS
- Treatment of cancer
- Gene-editing of humans
Which of the above are true?
- 1 and 2 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 3 and 4 only
- 2 and 4 only
Q.2 Kasturi Cotton was recently launched by which of the following Ministry?
- Ministry of Agriculture
- Ministry of Textiles
- Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
- Ministry of Consumer Affairs
Q.3 Which of the following is not a Fundamental Right?
- Freedom of Speech and expression
- Right to Equality
- Freedom of assembly with arms
- Right to Pollution-free water and air
Q.4 Which of the following is not a persistent organic pollutants?
ANSWERS FOR 7th October 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
About flood forecasting technology:
About Nobel Prize in Physics:
About Schools being reopened amidst Pandemic: