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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th November 2020

  • IASbaba
  • November 7, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Global Groupings

In news

  • United Nations Industrial Development Organisations (UNIDO) Representative in New Delhi has said that Regional Cluster concept of economic development is playing an important role in Indian success story.

Important value additions 

  • UNIDO is the specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • 170 States are Members of UNIDO as of 1 April 2019 
  • Mandate: To promote and accelerate Inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States.
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.
  • It was established in 1966 by the UN General Assembly.

‘International ‘Satavadhanam’’ program launched virtually

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Culture

In news

  • The ‘International ‘Satavadhanam’’ program, launched virtually by the Vice President recently. 
  • He observed that ‘avadhanam’ as a literary feat has greatly contributed to the Telugu language’s glorious tradition.
  • The program was organized by Dr. Medasani Mohan under the auspices of Sri Krishnadevaraya Satsang in Tirupati.

Important value additions 

  • Avadhānaṃ is a literary performance popular from the very ancient days in India.
  • It originated as a Sanskrit literary process. 
  • It was revived by poets in Telugu and Kannada in modern times.
  • It involves the partial improvisation of poems using specific themes, metres, forms, or words.

WhatsApp officially announces Ephemeral Messaging feature 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Science and technology

In news

  • The WhatsApp app has officially announced a new feature of Ephemeral Messaging (disappearing messages) to the platform. 
  • It will be available to all users globally by November 2020.

Important value additions 

Ephemeral messaging 

  • It is the mobile-to-mobile transmission of multimedia messages that automatically disappear from the recipient’s screen after the message has been viewed. 
  • The word “ephemeral” describes something that only lasts for a short period of time.
  • Other encrypted messaging apps like Telegram, Signal, Wire already offer such an option.
  • By turning on disappearing messages, users will get some more control over which chats are getting saved.
  • It has decided the time limit of all users is fixed at seven days.

Hazira-Ghogha Ro-Pax Ferry Service to be inaugurated

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister will inaugurate the Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flag off Ro-Pax service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat on Sunday.

Key takeaways 

  • Hazira-Ghogha Ro-Pax ferry service will work as a Gateway to South Gujarat and Saurashtra region. 
  • It will reduce the distance between Ghogha and Hazira from 370 Kilometres to 90 Kilometres.
  • The reduced cargo travel time will result in huge savings of fuel approximately 9000 litres per day and will lead to reduction in CO2 emission by approximately 24 million tonnes per day.
  • With the onset of Ferry services, the port sector, furniture and fertilizer industries in Saurashtra and Kutch region will get a big boost.

Virtual Summit between India and Italy held

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

In news

  • A Virtual Bilateral Summit between Indian Prime Minister and Italian Prime Minister was held recently. 

Key takeaways 

  • The rapid growth in India-Italy relationship in recent past was appreciated.
  • On regional and international issues, both sides agreed to coordinate closely at multilateral fora especially G-20. 
  • Italy will assume the Presidency of G-20 in December 2021 followed by India in 2022. 
  • Together, India and Italy will be part of the G20 Troika from December 2020.
  • India welcomed Italy’s decision to join ISA as soon as the ratification process is completed.
  • 15 MoUs/Agreements in various sectors such as energy, fisheries, ship building, design etc. were signed coinciding with the Summit.
  • Both countries are keen to firmly put behind the 2012 killing of two Indian crew members of a fishing boat off the coast of Kerala by Italian marines 

Do you know? 

  • Italy is currently India’s fifth largest trading partner in the EU. 
  • Bilateral trade was worth 9.52 billion Euros in 2019. 
  • India ranks 16th as country of origin for Italian imports. 


India ranks amongst the bottom in Body Mass Index (BMI) ranking

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Health

In news

  • According to a study in The Lancet, India ranks third and fifth from the bottom respectively among countries where 19-year-old girls and boys have a low Body Mass Index (BMI), 

Key takeaways 

  • The study provides new estimates for height and BMI trends in 2019 across 200 countries after analysing data from 2,181 studies.
  • The mean BMI of 19-year-old boys is 20.1 in India, compared to a high of 29.6 in the Cook Islands and a low of 19.2 in Ethiopia. 
  • For Indian girls, the mean BMI is again 20.1, compared to a high of 29.0 in Tonga and a low of 19.6 in Timor-Leste.
  • The mean height of Indian 19-year-olds is 166.5 cm for boys and 155.2 cm for girls, well below the high of Netherlands boys (183.8 cm) and girls (170 cm).

Do you know? 

  • BMI is measured as the weight in kg divided by the square of the height in metres. 
  • WHO guidelines define a normal BMI range as 18.5 to 24.9, overweight as 25 or higher, and obesity as 30 or higher.

Mix of X-ray and radio signals observed for the first time

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space

In news

  • NASA has observed a mix of X-ray and radio signals never observed before in the Milky Way in April 2020. 
  • Significantly, the flare-up it observed included the first fast radio burst (FRB) seen within the galaxy.

Key takeaways 

  • The source of the FRB detected is a very powerful magnetic neutron star, referred to as a magnetar, called SGR 1935+2154 or SGR 1935. 
  • It is located in the constellation Vulpecula. 
  • It is estimated to be between 14,000-41,000 light-years away.

Important value additions 

Magnetar

  • As per NASA, a magnetar is a neutron star, the crushed, city-size remains of a star many times more massive than our Sun.
  • The magnetic field of such a star is very powerful, which can be over 10 trillion times stronger than a refrigerator magnet and up to a thousand times stronger than a typical neutron star’s.
  • Neutron stars are formed when the core of a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse when it reaches the end of its life.

Do you know? 

  • Essentially, FRBs are bright bursts of radio waves whose durations lie in the millisecond-scale, because of which it is difficult to detect them and determine their position in the sky.
  • Radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields. 

(MAINS FOCUS)


WOMEN/ JUDICIARY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1,2:

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

Alimony guidelines: On maintenance laws

Context: Women deserted by husbands are often left in dire straits and reduced to destitution, for lack of means to sustain themselves and their children.

Usually maintenance cases have to be settled in 60 days, but they take years in reality owing to legal loopholes.

Recent Supreme Court Judgement on alimony guidelines

1. Alimony entitled from the date of application:

  • The Supreme Court on November 4 held that deserted wives and children are entitled to alimony/maintenance from the husbands from the date they apply for it in a court of law. 
  • This was based on the rationale that the primary object of maintenance laws is to protect a deserted wife and dependent children from destitution and vagrancy.

2. Educational Expenses of Children:

  • The expenses of the children, including their education, basic needs and other vocational activities, should be factored in by courts while calculating the alimony. Education expenses of the children must be normally borne by the father. 
  • If the wife is working and earning sufficiently, the expenses may be shared proportionately between the parties

3. Permanent Alimony: 

  • The court opined it would not be equitable to order a husband to pay his wife permanent alimony for the rest of her life, considering the fact that in contemporary society marriages do not last for a reasonable length of time. 
  • The Court thus said that the duration of a marriage should be accounted for while determining the permanent alimony.

4. Moral Duty of Husband:

  • The plea of the husband that he does not possess any source of income ipso facto does not absolve him of his moral duty to maintain his wife, if he is able-bodied and has educational qualifications.

5. Penal Provisions:

  • To ensure that judicial orders for grant of maintenance are duly enforced by husbands, The court said a violation would lead to punishments such as civil detention and even attachment of the property of the latter.

6. Transparency: Both the applicant wife and the respondent husband have to disclose their assets and liabilities in a maintenance case.

7. Acknowledges Women’s sufferings: The court said despite a plethora of maintenance laws, women were left empty-handed for years, struggling to make ends meet after a bad marriage.

8. Recognises long duration for resolution: If maintenance is not paid from the date of application, the party seeking maintenance would be deprived of sustenance, owing to the time taken for disposal of the application, which often runs into several years.

9. Equality for Live-in Couples: The judgment reiterated that Section 125 of the CrPC would include couples living together for years within its ambit. Strict proof of marriage should not be a pre-condition for grant of maintenance under Section 125 of the CrPC.

10. Guidelines for other courts: SC has laid down uniform and comprehensive guidelines for family courts, magistrates and lower courts to follow while hearing the applications filed by women seeking maintenance from their estranged husbands.

11. Inequitable for husband to pay alimony under multiple Legislations

  • The Court observed that women can make a claim for alimony under different laws, including the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 and Section 125 of the CrPC, or under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  • Thus, the court said that it “would be inequitable to direct the husband to pay maintenance under each of the proceedings”, urging civil and family courts to take note of previous settlements. 

Conclusion

  • Given the large and growing percentage of matrimonial litigation, some clarity was necessary.

Connecting the dots:

  • Assisted Reproduction Technology Bill: Provisions and Analysis
  • Surrogacy Regulation Bill

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • 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. 

The End of Inspector Raj in India’s IT Sector

Context: The Centre did away with the onerous Other Service Provider (OSP) regulations and issued new guidelines for the IT/ITeS industry. For an industry that employs close to 50 lakh people, this is a significant development.

What are Other Service Provider (OSP)?

  • OSPs are entities providing applications, IT-enabled or any kind of outsourcing services using telecom resources. The term refers to BPOs, KPOs (knowledge process outsourcing), ITES, call centres, among others.
  • In other words, OSPs are companies using telecom resources for its operations like tele-banking, tele-medicine, tele-trading, e-commerce, call-centre operations etc
  • OSP regulations was introduced in the 1990s when business process outsourcing (BPO) started in India and the Indian telecom industry was going beyond BSNL.
  • The government then introduced OSP terms and conditions to help the industry grow and ensure that they don’t suffer due to lack of resources. 

What was the earlier regulatory regime for OSPs?

  • The conditions included registrations for OSP licence, frequent reporting obligation to track the BPO firms and bank guarantees.
  • What started as a facilitator became a burden as the industry grew over years.
  • For instance, a company applying for a licence should pay a bank guarantee of Rs 1 crore per office. So, if the company has 76 offices, it should pay Rs 76 crore as bank guarantee. While a large firm can afford this, it is a burden on smaller companies.
  • For companies that were evaluating whether or not to use India as a base for new operations, these regulations imposed high level of constraints for their operations and thus discouraged them to establish their businesses in India.

New guidelines

  • Requirements such as bank guarantees, frequent reporting obligations, penal provisions, the obligation to ensure that each additional site obtains a separate registration etc. have been removed.
  • The registration requirement for OSPs has been done away with altogether.
  • Narrow definition: The BPO industry engaged in data-related work have been taken out of the ambit of OSP regulations.
  • Those few entities to whom OSP regulations now apply only need to comply with a few security obligations.
  • In addition, restrictions such as the need for a network diagram and using static IP addresses for all agents working from home, have all been done away with.

Merits of the new regulations

  • End of Inspector Raj: The regulatory regime for OSPs has now been liberalised thus effectively put an end to the inspector raj that these outdated regulations had perpetuated for so long.
  • Ease of doing business enhanced: Doing away with frequent reporting obligations will tremendously reduce the compliance burden of the business process management (BPM) industry.
  • Prevents Corruption: The previous broad definition was the reason for random acts of harassment by department of telecommunications (DoT) officials who were free to use the ambiguity inherent in the language of rules & regulations.
  • Makes India IT Sector Globally Competitive: It is aimed at providing a strong impetus to the industry and positioning India as one of the most competitive IT jurisdictions in the world.
  • Flexibility to companies: With the concept of remote working picking up and OSP relaxed, it gives a company a choice on how they want their delivery model to be.
  • Boost to Startups: Smaller firms and startups, for whom the bank guarantee were an additional strain, are relaxed now. This makes it easier for entrepreneur to start his business operations in this field without much financial contraints
  • Adaptation of work models to new normal: The new regulations will facilitate WFH or ‘work from anywhere’, which is likely to stay at the back of the pandemic. For instance, companies can have their employee in the North-East or in any remote corner in India and still take advantage of the remote working set up
  • Decongesting Urban Metropolis: It is expected that close to 25-30 percent of the IT workforce could move to smaller cities and towns in the next five years, which will help reduce the Urban load and move towards regionally balanced development.
  • Attract Foreign Investment: With OSP regulations no longer a constraint, and offshoring (moving talents to low-cost countries like India) picking up, global companies can expand their India operations quickly.
  • Boost to Women Employment: One of the advantage is that companies can tap into a new talent pool such as the young female workforce in tier-2 & tier-3 cities who, due to social compulsions, find it suitable to work remotely from their native place.

Conclusion

  • The cadres of bureaucrats whose business was to manage this obscure corner of the regulatory landscape will have to be disbanded and put to better use elsewhere
  • These reforms combined with labour and agriculture reforms all point towards Liberalisation 2.0 of Indian Economy.

Connecting the dots:

  • Labour Reforms: Click here
  • Agricultural Reforms: Click here

(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 Where is the headquarters of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation situated? 

  1. Austria 
  2. Australia 
  3. Norway 
  4. Denmark

Q.2 Avadhanam is associated with which of the following? 

  1. Poems 
  2. Dance 
  3. Drama 
  4. Architecture

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Ephemeral Messaging: 

  1. It is the mobile to mobile transmission of multimedia messages that disappears after a certain period.
  2. It is being launched by the app WhatsApp for the first time globally.

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 Body Mass Index is measured as which of the following? 

  1. The weight in kg divided by height in metres 
  2. The weight in kg divided by the square of the height in in centimetres 
  3. Weight in kg divided by height in centimetres 
  4. Weight in kg divided by square of the height in metres

ANSWERS FOR 6th November 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A

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