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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 21st November 2020

  • IASbaba
  • November 21, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Willow Warbler sighted for the first time in India

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Biodiversity

In news

  • Recently, Willow Warbler has been sighted for the first time in India at Vellayani-Punchakkari paddy fields, Kerala.

Important value additions 

Willow Warbler

  • Scientific Name: Phylloscopus trochilus.
  • They breed throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic.
  • They migrate to sub-Saharan Africa during early winter.
  • It is one of the longest migrating small birds.
  • It weighs only around 10 grams and its long wing feathers help it fly long distances.
  • Warblers are generally difficult to identify due to the small size and change in plumage twice a year. 
  • Threats: (1) Drought conditions in its wintering quarters; (2) Habitat alterations due to human population expansion.
  • IUCN Red List status: Least Concern.

Do you know?

  • Palearctic ecozone is one the Earth’s 8 ecozones and covers Asia north of the Himalayas, with parts of western Asia and most of East Asia and Africa north of the Sahara.


Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC) and the New Development Bank (NDB) signed a loan agreement for lending $500 million for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’.

Key takeaways

  • It is an 82.15 km long, under-construction, semi-high speed rail corridor connecting Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut.
  • It is one of the three rapid-rail corridors planned under Phase-I of Regional Rapid Transport System (RRTS) project of National Capital Region Transport Corporation (NCRTC).
  • The Rapid Transit System will provide a fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the National Capital Region.
  • High-speed connectivity will result in balanced economic development across the region, leading to economic benefits to all strata of society and many nodes of development rather than all economic activity happening at one place.
  • It will help in reducing traffic congestion and total emissions from the transport sector in NCR.

Important value additions 

New Development Bank

  • It is a multilateral development bank. 
  • Jointly founded by: BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) at the 6th BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil in 2014.
  • Objective: To support infrastructure and sustainable development efforts in BRICS and other underserved, emerging economies for faster development through innovation and cutting-edge technology.
  • Headquarter: Shanghai, China.
  • In 2018, the NDB received observer status in the United Nations General Assembly.

LNG Fuelling Stations across the golden quadrilateral

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

In news

  • Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel recently laid the foundation stone for the first 50 LNG fuelling stations, across the golden quadrilateral and major National Highways.

Key takeaways

  • Government will set up LNG stations at the distance of 200-300 km on golden quadrilateral, and within 3 years, 1000 LNG stations on all major roads, industrial hubs and mining areas shall be commissioned.
  • These fifty LNG stations will be set up and commissioned in partnership by country’s Oil & Gas majors such as IOCL, BPCL, HPCL, GAIL, etc.

Important value additions 

  • Liquefied natural gas (LNG) is natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4, with some mixture of ethane, C2H6) that has been cooled down to liquid form for ease and safety of non-pressurized storage or transport.
  • LNG is almost 40% cheaper than diesel. 
  • It also causes very less pollution. 
  • LNG use in trucks can reduce Sulphur oxide emissions by 100% and Nitrous oxides emissions by 85%.

Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) accepted as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Achievements of Indians in Sci & Tech

In news

  • The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been accepted as a component of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region by the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
  • This will enable merchant vessels to use IRNSS for obtaining position information similar to GPS and GLONASS to assist in the navigation of ships in ocean waters within the area covered by 50°N latitude, 55°E longitude, 5°S latitude and 110°E longitude.

Important value additions 

  • IRNSS is an independent regional navigation satellite system developed by India. 
  • It is designed to provide accurate position information service to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian Ocean waters.
  • India has become the fourth country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognised by the IMO as a part of the WWRNS. 
  • The other three countries that have its navigation systems recognised by the IMO are the US, Russia and China.

Miscellaneous

Lilavati Award-2020

  • Recently, the Union Minister of Education virtually launched the Lilavati Award-2020.

  • It is AICTE’s (All India Council for Technical Education) Innovative education program to empower women.
  • Theme: Women Empowerment
  • Objective: To create awareness about issues like sanitation, hygiene, health, nutrition, literacy, employment, rights among women, etc.

(MAINS FOCUS)


GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • E-governance and its challenges
  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Digital nation: On delivery of citizen services

Context: Bengaluru Tech Summit 2020 where PM Modi delivered the speech about the potential of Digitalisation and the how government schemes are leveraging Technology to deliver services efficiently.

Key Highlights of PM Modi’s Speech

  • Digital as a way of life in India: Digital platforms providing goods and services, including online education and telemedicine, have grown vigorously over past few years due to increase in smartphone and internet access with an estimated 750 million connections and a thriving financial technology sector.
  • India at cusp of Digital Revolution: A beginning has been made through government-to-citizen services using Common Service Centres, advice to agriculturists, digital payments of welfare benefits through bank accounts and, even legal advice online to four lakh people under the Tele-Law scheme
  • Digital India mission, launched five years ago, was not being seen as any regular government initiative and had now become a way of life, especially for the poor and marginalised and those in the government
  • India is uniquely positioned to leap ahead in the information era as the Country has the best minds as well as the biggest market. Also, India’s local tech solutions have the potential to go global (example UPI)
  • Ayushman Bharat which is the world’s largest healthcare scheme has been able to see progress and success due to vital role played by Technology 
  • Swamitva scheme is ambitious scheme to give land titles to millions of people in rural areas and would be achieved through technology like drones.
  • Need for innovative Cyber Security Solutions: With rapid increase of tech use, data protection as well as cybersecurity became very important. Indian youth needs to devise innovative solutions could effectively “vaccinate digital products against cyber attacks and viruses”.
  • Differences between the industrial age and the information age: PM Modi said that in the information era, the first mover did not matter; the best mover did, and “anyone can make a product any time that disrupts all existing equations of the market.”
  • Global Market:  In the industrial era, boundaries mattered but the information era was “all about going beyond boundaries.” 
  • Climate Change: Technology held the key to new science, reduction of carbon emission and tackling of global climate change.

Challenges ahead

  • Trust worthiness: The true measure of digital nations is the readiness of governments to use technology to create open, participatory public systems that citizens consider trustworthy. Governance must achieve a reliable system of digital welfare.
  • Need to apply to other sectors: If digital methods can be applied to other sectors, such as road safety, the results could be dramatic — potentially reducing the accident mortality rate of about 1,50,000 deaths a year.
  • Internal Changes required: At a broader level, efficient digital government depends on transforming internal processes, and fixing deadlines for service delivery.
  • Lacks Legislative framework: The UPA government could not see its electronic delivery of services legislation through, and it remains forgotten.

Conclusion

If digital has to become a way of life, redefining the labyrinthine functioning of citizen-centric services would be a good place to start, with deadlines for government departments.

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 3:

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

Amended liquidation regulations under IBC

Context: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has amended the regulations for liquidation under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC).

What are the new regulations announced by the IBBI?

  • Speed up Liquidation Process: In order to ensure quick liquidation of companies which are unable to find bidders under IBC, the liquidator can “assign or transfer a not readily realisable asset” to any person.
  • Consultation with Stakeholders: The said transfer or assignment of the asset must be done in consultation with the stakeholders committee.
  • The definition of “a not readily realisable asset” would include any assets of the corporate debtor, which could not be sold through the available options. Any or all assets of the company under liquidation, which is facing some dispute or is involved in some fraudulent transaction, can be sold by the liquidator.
  • Ease of Liquidation: The liquidator for a company would not have to wait for the entire assets of the company to be sold in one go under liquidation, and can be disposed of to different bidders as and when they come.
  • Ease of Proving Default: The IBBI has also said that financial creditors can, for the purpose of furnishing a record of default, submit their own book which establishes lapse of payment of debt by the corporate debtor.
  • The financial creditors can also attach a copy of any court or tribunal’s order which has, through an order, established that the company had defaulted on debt payments.
  • Flexibility in IBC Process for Creditors: The insolvency regulator has also amended the regulation to allow certain creditors, who do not want to wait for the liquidation process to be over, to exit the process by assigning or transferring the debt due to them, to other creditors of the company.
  • Helps Small Finance Creditors: Suppose a small financial creditor does not see value in waiting for the liquidation of the company to get completed because they do not have that risk appetite. Now, they can choose to sell these assets to a bigger player and exit the process

What are the likely challenges for the new amended regulations?

  • The new regulations will have to be tested in a court of law or an appropriate forum as its definition of “a not readily realisable asset” is contentious.
  • The question is, can IBBI, under a delegated legislation, by way of amending a regulation, affect anybody’s substantive rights.
  • Another amended regulation that is likely to be challenged is about the IBBI allowing the liquidator to distribute the un-disposed of assets among stakeholders, with the approval of the adjudicating authority.
  • This will lead to creditors, be they financial or operational, challenging the distribution of the assets, and claiming that one or the other party has been favoured by the liquidator

Conclusion

In the wake of pandemic induced slowdown, easing the liquidation process helps is quick exit of bankrupt companies and putting back the capital assets back in circulation economy.


(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 Willow Warbler: 

  1. It is one of the longest migrating small birds. 
  2. IUCN red list status is least concern.

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 The headquarters of New Development Bank is situated in which of the following country? 

  1. Brazil 
  2. Russia 
  3. China 
  4. South Africa

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Liquefied Natural Gas: 

  1. It is predominantly Ethane with some mixture of Methane. 
  2. It is 50% costlier than diesel. 
  3. It causes very less pollution. 

Which of the above is/are correct? 

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

Q.4 Which of the following countries have its Navigation systems recognised by international Maritime organisation? 

  1. Japan 
  2. USA 
  3. Russia 
  4. China 
  5. India 

Select the correct code: 

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only 
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only 
  3. 2, 3, 4 and 5 only 
  4. 1 and 3 only

ANSWERS FOR 20th November 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B

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About India choosing nuclear deal over UNSC push during 2004:

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