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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 10th December 2020

  • IASbaba
  • December 10, 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Gwalior and Orchha included in World Heritage City

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Society; Culture; History

In news

  • Gwalior and Orchha of Madhya Pradesh have been included in the list of World Heritage City by UNESCO.

Important value addition

Orchha

  • Orchha located in the Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Orchha is popular for its temples and palaces.
  • It was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.
  • The famous spots in the town are Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir.
  • After inclusion in the World Heritage City list, chemical treatment of historic spots like Mansingh Palace, Gujri Mahal and Sahastrabahu Temple will be done so that art inscribed on them will become more visible.

Gwalior

  • Gwalior was established in 9th century.
  • It was ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.
  • The memorabilia left by them is found in abundance in memorials, forts and palaces in the area.
  • It is known for its palaces and temples, including the intricately carved Sas Bahu Ka Mandir temple.
  • The Gwalior Fort occupies a sandstone plateau overlooking the city and is accessed via a winding road lined with sacred Jain statues. 
  • Within the forts high walls is the 15th-century Gujari Mahal Palace, now an archaeological museum.

Related articles:


First eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals in Uttarakhand

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In news

  • Uttarakhand, recently built its first eco-bridge for reptiles and smaller mammals in Nainital district.

Important value addition

  • Eco-ducts or eco-bridges aim to enhance wildlife connectivity that can be disrupted because of highways or logging.
  • Eco-bridges include: (1) Canopy bridges usually for monkeys, squirrels and other arboreal species); (2) Concrete underpasses or overpass tunnels or viaducts usually for larger animals; (3) Amphibian tunnels or culverts.
  • Usually these bridges are overlaid with planting from the area to give it a contiguous look with the landscape.

Related article:


India in top 10 in Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In news

  • India remains in the top 10 for the second year in a row in the latest global Climate Change Performance Index (CCPI) released in Germany.

Key takeaways

  • China which is also the biggest current emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG) figures at 33rd rank.
  • While the USA appears at the bottom of the list.
  • Though India slid one position down from 9th in 2019 to 10th this year, its journey towards climate protection has been consistent with it improving its ranking from 31st in 2014.
  • Globally none of the countries assessed for the annual CCPI report are on the path to meet their Paris Agreement commitment of keeping global warming increase below 2 degree Celsius by the end of the century and restrict it to 1.5 degree Celsius rise.
  • The report shows that only two G20 countries – the UK and India – are among the high rankers.
  • While six other G20 countries – the USA, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, South Korea and Russia (52nd) – are at the bottom of the index.

Do you know?

  • The CCPI is developed by not-for-profit organisations Germanwatch and NewClimate Institute (Germany) together with the Climate Action Network (CAN International).
  • It is an important tool to enhance transparency in international climate politics and enables comparison of climate protection efforts and progress made by individual countries.
  • The latest list is prepared by assessing performances of 57 countries and European Union (as a whole) in four categories – GHG emissions (40%), renewable energy (20%), energy use (20%) and climate policy (20%). 
  • These 57 countries and the EU collectively are responsible for about 90% of global GHG emissions.

Related article:

  • More about Climate Change Performance Index: Click here

Pakistan and China designated among countries of Particular Concern by the USA

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

In news

  • Recently, the US State Department has designated Pakistan and China among eight other countries that are of particular concern for violation of religious freedom.

Key takeaways

  • Designation of the CPC is the top tier recommendation by the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) when it comes to violation of international religious freedom. 
  • It is followed by Special Watch List Countries for severe violations.
  • Nations on the CPC list: Pakistan, China, Myanmar, Eritrea, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
  • USCIRF recommendation that India, Russia, Syria and Vietnam be also designated CPCs was not accepted by the US State Department.
  • Governments that have engaged in or tolerated severe violations of religious freedom are included in Special Watch List list.
  • Comoros, Cuba, Nicaragua and Russia are on the list.

Lakshadweep Declared an Organic Union Territory

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

In news

  • Entire Lakshadweep group of islands has been declared as an organic agricultural area under the Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) of India.
  • Lakshadweep is the first Union Territory to become 100% organic as all farming is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides.

Important value addition

Lakshadweep

  • It is India’s smallest Union Territory.
  • It is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands.
  • There are three main group of islands: (1) Amindivi Islands; (2) Laccadive Islands; (3) Minicoy Island.
  • All are tiny islands of coral origin (Atoll) and are surrounded by fringing reefs.

Participatory Guarantee System

  • PGS is a process of certifying organic products, which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • The certification is in the form of a documented logo or a statement.
  • Implemented by: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare.
  • It is only for farmers or communities that can organise and perform as a group within a village or a cluster of contiguous villages.
  • It is applicable only to farm activities such as crop production, processing, and livestock rearing, and off-farm processing by PGS farmers of their direct products.

Do you know?

  • Organic farming is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilisers, pesticides, etc.

Miscellaneous

CO-WIN

  • The Indian Government has introduced a new digital platform called ‘CO-WIN’ for COVID-19 vaccine delivery.
  • There will be a new mobile app as well with the same name that will allow people to register for the vaccine. 
  • The CO-WIN app is expected to be publicly available soon.
  • The platform will be used for recording vaccine data and will form a database of healthcare workers too. 
  • All COVID-19 related data necessary for the delivery of the vaccine is presently being uploaded on the CO-WIN platform.
  • The app will have separate modules for administrator, registration, vaccination, beneficiary acknowledgement and reports. 
  • Once people start to register for the app, the platform will upload bulk data on co-morbidity provided by local authorities.


(Mains Focus)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic: General Studies 1, 2:

  • Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Interfaith marriages: Controversy surrounding “Love Jihad”

Context: With Uttar Pradesh leading the way, a set of states now plan to pass laws to end what they call “love jihad”.

What is “Love Jihad”?

  • Love Jihad, also called Romeo Jihad, is an alleged activity under which young Muslim boys and men are said to reportedly target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love.
  • There is no legal sanction to political terms such as ‘love jihad’.
  • Even though individual reports have spread, all official investigations in India launched in 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2014 have found no evidence of the activity

About The Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Religious Conversion Law, 2020 

  • Immediate Context: The immediate context for such a law is a recent Allahabad High Court judgment which in a recent ruling declared that the conversion for the sole purpose of marriage as “null and void”.
  • Prohibition on forceful or fraudulent Conversion: The proposed law says that those found guilty of conversion done though “misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means” in contravention of the law would face jail term of one to 5 years, and a minimum fine of Rs 15,000.
  • Marriage for the sole purpose of unlawful conversion: The law also says that a marriage will be declared “shunya” (null and void) if the “sole intention” of the same is to “change a girl’s religion”.
  • Cognizable and non-bailable offences: Notwithstanding anything mentioned in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; all the offences under this law shall be cognizable and non-bailable and triable by the Court of Sessions. 
  • Approval for Conversions: Anyone wanting to convert into another religion would have to give it in writing to the District Magistrate at least two months in advance. Upon receiving the information, the said officer will conduct an enquiry to real intention, purpose and cause of the proposed religious conversion. If the proposed conversion contradicts the provisions of this law, it would be illegal and void
  • Burden of Proof: It would be the responsibility of the one going for the religious conversion to prove that it is not taking place forcefully or with any fraudulent means. In case, any violation is found under this provision, then one faces a jail term from 6 months to 3 years and fine of minimum Rs 10,000.

What are the criticism of UP Law

  • Interference with Personal Liberty:  The law plans to outlaw religious conversion which may take place for marriage purposes. This interferes with personal liberty.
  • Curtails Freedom of Religion: Based on Articles 25 to 28, an Indian citizen is guaranteed the freedom to practise any religion of his or her choice. The above UP law curtails this freedom. The State wants to intervene not only in the citizens’ private relationship with God, but also in the choice of their spouse.
  • Against Article 21 (Right to Life): The right to marry a person of one’s choice is integral to Article 21 of the Constitution. Intimacies of marriage lie within a core zone of privacy, which is inviolable and the choice of a life partner, whether by marriage or outside it, is part of an individual’s ‘personhood and identity’.
  • Against Right to Privacy: In SC’s K.S. Puttaswamy v UOI (2017) judgment, it read the “right of choice of a family life” as a fundamental right. The regressive law limits the choice of a prospective spouse such that this spouse would only be one approved by the State.
  • Laws exist to deal with Inter-Faith Marriages: The domain of matrimony is occupied by separate laws governing weddings that take place under religious traditions, and the Special Marriage Act that enables a secular marriage.

Conclusion

India is a ‘free and democratic country’ and any interference by the State in an adult’s right to love and marry has a ‘chilling effect’ on freedoms

Connecting the dots:


AGRICULTURE / GOVERNANCE/ FEDERALISM

Topic: General Studies 2,3:

  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Farmer’s Protest: Failed Negotiations

Context: The farmers’ protest against the new farm laws has been continuing without any signs of abatement. 

International Reaction to Farmer Protest

  • Initially, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed sympathy with the Punjab farmers
  • Comment by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the Secretary General of the United Nations that “people have a right to demonstrate peacefully, and authorities need to let them do so”.

What are the major concerns of farmers and how is government negotiating it?

  1. Fear of erosion of MSP
  • The core demand of farmer groups protesting is to safeguard the mechanism of MSP which they fear will be weakened by new farm bills. They are demanding for a legal right to MSP
  • The government has repeatedly assured that the laws would make no changes to the MSP system, but the farmers fear these will effectively lead to abolition of the prevailing arrangement, which offers them a modicum of security.
  • Government Offer: The Central government has agreed to give a written assurance regarding the existing MSP-based procurement system. However, it is not clear whether the written assurance will be provided through an amendment or an executive order.
  1. Taxation in Trade Areas
  • Presently, all purchases of paddy and wheat undertaken through government-regulated mandis in Punjab currently attract 3 per cent APMC market fee and 3 per cent rural development cess. In Haryana, the same levies amount to 2 per cent each. 
  • Section 6 of the FPTC Act, 2020, prohibits State governments from collecting market fee, cess or levy for trade outside the APMC market
  • The farmers have been saying that the absence of such a fee would encourage trade outside mandis, eventually rendering APMC Mandis insignificant.
  • Government Offer: By amending the new Act, it can be provided that the state government can implement the system of registration of private mandis. Also, the state government can fix the rate of cess / fee, to be collected from such trade areas, up to the rate of cess / fee applicable to the existing APMC mandis
  1. Court process
  • The new Farm Acts put a bar on jurisdiction of civil courts and say disputes have to be referred to conciliation boards and appellate authorities, appointed by the local sub-divisional magistrates and district collectors.
  • Government Offer: If any dispute arises under the new farm laws, farmers can be allowed to approach civil court
  1. Other Issues
  • Farmers also withdrawal of the Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020; withdrawal of cases registered against activists and protesters; and implementation of Swaminathan Commission report to fix MSP with C2+50 percent formulae.
  • Other assurances made by the Centre include resolution of grievances related to a new air quality management ordinance, which calls for steep penalty in case of stubble burning. Union Government has also said that the existing arrangement on subsidy on electricity usage by farmers will not be modified.

Have the farmers accepted government offer?

  • No. Protesting Farmer groups have rejected the offers made by Union Government and has stuck to their demand of complete repeal of new Farm Acts.

(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 Gwalior and Orchha were recently added in the World Heritage City list by UNESCO. Consider the following statements regarding the same:

  1. Orchha was ruled by Bundela dynasty.
  2. Gwalior was ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh.

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 Which of the following Union Territory was recently announced completely organic?

  1. Lakshadweep
  2. Dadra and Nagar Haveli
  3. Delhi
  4. Daman and Diu

ANSWERS FOR 9th December 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 A

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