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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th December 2020

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  • December 9, 2020
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th December 2020
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


UP government launches scheme for Tharu Tribals

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Society

In news

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has recently launched a scheme to take the unique culture of its ethnic Tharu tribe across the world.

Key takeaways

  • The state government is working to connect Tharu villages in the districts of Balrampur, Bahraich, Lakhimpur and Pilibhit bordering Nepal, with the home stay scheme of the UP Forest Department.
  • The idea is to offer tourists an experience of living in the natural Tharu habitat, in traditional huts made of grass collected mainly from the forests.

Important value addition

Tharu tribe

  • The community of Tharu people belongs to the Terai lowlands.
  • Most of them are forest dwellers, and some practice agriculture.
  • Tharus worship Lord Shiva as Mahadev, and call their supreme being “Narayan”, who they believe is the provider of sunshine, rain, and harvests.
  • The Tharus live in both India and Nepal. 
  • In the Indian terai, they live mostly in Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Bihar.
  • A majority still lives off the forest.

Do you know?

  • They speak various dialects of Tharu which is a language of the Indo-Aryan subgroup, and variants of Hindi, Urdu, and Awadhi. 
  • In central Nepal, they speak a variant of Bhojpuri, while in eastern Nepal, they speak a variant of Maithili.
  • Tharu women have stronger property rights than is allowed to women in mainstream North Indian Hindu custom.

Two New Zoos Granted Recognition by Central Government

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Environment

In news

  • Two new zoos were granted recognition recently.
  • These are – Rajgir Zoo Safari in Nalanda, Bihar and Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Prani Udyaan in Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh

Important value addition

Rajgir Zoo Safari, Nalanda, Bihar

  • The zoo is established exclusively comprising on only safari enclosures which offer larger space for captive animals.
  • The animals are not in cages but they are free to roam over a forest area. 
  • The zoo is located close to the historically important Nalanda.

Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Prani Udyaan, Gorakhpur, U.P.

  • With the establishment of this zoo, the state of Uttar Pradesh has a total of 9 zoos.
  • It is the second biggest zoo in Uttar Pradesh after Kanpur Zoological Park. 

Vanchit Ikai Samooh Aur Vargon Ki Aarthik Sahayta (VISVAS) Yojana

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – SCs and STs

In news

  • Recently, National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC) entered in to MoA With Central Bank of India for implementation of Vanchit Ikai Samooh aur Vargon ki Aarthik Sahayta (VISVAS) Yojana.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment

Key takeaways

  • It is an Interest subvention Scheme for financial empowerment of economically marginalized OBC/SC Self Help Groups (SHGs) & Individuals.
  • The scheme will benefit OBC/SC SHGs with loans up to Rs.4 Lakh and OBC/SC individuals with loan up to Rs.2 Lakh with a quick interest subvention benefit of 5% directly into the standard accounts of borrowing beneficiaries.

Invest India wins UN Investment Promotion Award

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy; Investment

In news

  • The United Nations (UNCTAD) has declared Invest India- the National Investment Promotion Agency of India- as a winner of the 2020 United Nations Investment Promotion Award.

Key takeaways

  • The award recognizes and celebrates the outstanding achievements and best practices of Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) across the globe.
  • This United Nations Investment Promotion Award is the most coveted award for Investment Promotion Agencies.
  • UNCTAD is a central agency that monitors performance of IPAs and identifies global best practices. 
  • Germany, South Korea and Singapore have been some of the past winners of the award.

Important value addition

Invest India

  • It is the national investment promotion and facilitation agency
  • Set up in: 2009
  • It is a non-profit venture 
  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Focus: Sector-specific investor targeting and development of new partnerships to enable sustainable investments in India. 
  • It also partners with substantial investment promotion agencies and multilateral organizations. 
  • It actively works with several Indian states to build capacity and bring in global best practices in investment targeting, promotion and facilitation areas.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) 

  • It was established in 1964 as a permanent intergovernmental body.
  • It deals with trade, investment, and development issues. 
  • Goal: Maximize the trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts to integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis. 
  • Established by: United Nations General Assembly in 1964 
  • It reports to the UN General Assembly and United Nations Economic and Social Council.
  • Primary objective: To formulate policies relating to all aspects of development including trade, aid, transport, finance and technology. 
  • The permanent secretariat is in Geneva, Switzerland

Draft Guidelines Of Technical Specifications Of Floating Structures

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has issued the draft guidelines for technical specifications of floating structures for public consultation, with a vision to deploy world-class floating infrastructure all along the coastline.

Key takeaways

  • Floating structure because of its inherent advantages, is attractive solution and is being encouraged by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
  • Deployment of floating jetties, especially in locations having a large tidal range, where conventional quay poses problems during low tide periods, is very convenient.
  • Floating jetties are cost-effective and much cheaper than conventional structures.
  • Setting up of floating structures is much faster as compared to conventional jetties.
  • Its environmental impact is minimal.
  • Expansions are easily feasible due to modular construction techniques.
  • It is easily transportable in case of reconfiguring of the port.
  •  It provides constant freeboard between jetties and boats.

Bangladesh Signs First Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Bangladesh signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan allowing duty free access to a range of goods between the two countries.

Key takeaways

  • This is the first PTA Bangladesh has signed with any country in the world.
  • The agreement was signed on the occasion marking the 50 years of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
  • Under the PTA 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan. 
  • At the same time, 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh.
  • Bangladesh is expected to sign 11 more PTAs and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with countries like Indonesia and Nepal by June next year.

Do you know?

  • In 1971, Bhutan was the first country in the world, followed by India as the second, to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.

Miscellaneous

Mount Everest reported to be 86cm higher

  • The Foreign Ministers of Nepal and China jointly certified the elevation of Mount Everest at 8,848.86 metres above sea level — 86 cm higher than what was recognised since 1954. 

  • The earlier height was determined by the Survey of India in 1954, using instruments like theodolites and chains.
  • The devastating earthquake of April 2015 triggered a debate among scientists on whether it had affected the height of the mountain.
  • Mount Everest is Earth’s highest mountain above sea level, located in the Mahalangur Himal sub-range of the Himalayas. 
  • The China–Nepal border runs across its summit point. 

Global Teacher Prize 2020

  • A primary school teacher from Maharashtra’s Solapur district has won the one-million US dollar Global Teacher Prize 2020 for promoting girls’ education.
  • Ranjitsinh Disale from Paritewadi village, was awarded in recognition of his efforts to promote girls’ education and initiating a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India.
  • He has announced that he will share half of the one million dollar award money with the nine other finalists so that they too may continue their good work.
  • The award was established by the London-based Varkey Foundation and is given in partnership with UNESCO.
  • In the past, Disale had been named as the Innovative Researcher of the Year 2016 and has featured in the Satya Nadella’s book ‘Hit Refresh’.

(Mains Focus)


MODERN HISTORY/ FEDERALISM / SECURITY

Topic: General Studies 1, 2,3:

  • Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, 
  • Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 
  • Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security. 

Khalistan threat: Need for Constant vigilance

Context: The arrest of five terror suspects in Delhi — two of whom were allegedly involved in the murder of Shaurya Chakra awardee Balwinder Singh in Punjab in October — has turned the spotlight on the embers of the long dead and buried Khalistan movement

What is Khalistan movement?

  • The Khalistan movement is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state, called Khalistān in the Punjab Region. Such a state existed in Punjab from 1709 to 1849.

What are the historical events responsible for Khalistan?

  • 1947 Partition of India –Independence of India was not a joyful event for Sikhs, partition left Sikhs in a lot of discontentment with regard to their traditional lands being lost to Pakistan.
  • The fight for a separate Sikh state owes its origins to the Punjabi Suba Movement. The Akali Dal – a Sikh-dominated political party – sought to create a separate Sikh Suba or Province. 
  • When the States Reorganization Commission, constituted to assess the demand for separate states by linguistic groups, made its recommendations, it rejected the Akali Dal’s demand.
  • But after a series of violent protests, the Indira Gandhi government relented in 1966.
  • The state was trifurcated into Punjabi-majority Punjab, Hindi-majority Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Some hilly regions of the state were merged into Himachal Pradesh.
  • However, the Anadpur Sahib resolution reignited the passion of Sikhs and sowed the seeds of Khalistan movement

What was the Anandpur Sahib Resolution?

  • The Punjab Suba movement galvanised considerable political support for the Akali Dal and after a brief split, the party came together under Parkash Singh Badal’s leadership, giving the Congress a tough fight in the 1967 and 1969 assembly elections.
  • The 1972 election, however, proved to be blip in the Akalis’ rising political graph. The Congress swept to power, prompting the Akali Dal to introspect.
  • The venue for this introspection was the Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara, where the party adopted a resolution that would serve as a blueprint for the party’s future agenda. 
  • The resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state, and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution. This was the Anandpur Sahib Resolution.

Who Was Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale?

  • While its original authors may have abandoned its stated aims, the Anandpur Sahib resolution found an admirer in Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale – a religious scholar who’d been travelling across Punjab advocating a return to the Khalsa or a more orthodox form of Sikhism. 
  • He targeted Hindus and ‘modernised’ Sikhs, who cut their hair and consumed alcohol in equal measure.
  • If the Akalis were a moderate faction espousing Sikh pride and politics, Bhindranwale represented the extremist view that among other things called for a separate state. 
  • Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale inspired by the Khalistan ideology led the Khalistan as an extremist movement and turned against Indian government
  • Demands for separate nation-hood for Punjab was carried out through violent protests and killings of high profile persons in Indian government.

What are the events which intensified Khalistan movement?

  • Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale took up residence inside the Golden temple, directing demonstrations and police clashes. 
  • Operation Blue star was conducted to capture Bhindrawale in Golden Temple Complex, but the operation resulted in a strong anti-India sentiment.
  • The then PM Indira Gandhi was seen as an enemy of the Sikhs and two Sikh guards of her assassinated her in 1984. 
  • Her killing was followed by wide-spread riots against the Sikhs in Delhi & other parts, the genocide of Sikhs across India fuelled more anti-India sentiment.
  • From early 1980s to early 1990s, Punjab went through a phase of wide-spread terrorism, where Pakistan’s ISI tried to forment the violence by providing support to extremist groups (it was also the same time that Pakistan began to use terrorism as its strategy to defeat India in Kashmir)
  • Manifold extremist groups like the Khalistan Liberation Force, Khalistan Commando Force, Babbar Khalsa and umpteen others gained prominence and roamed around freely across Punjab. 
  • On 31 August 1995, a suicide bomber took out Punjab CM Beant Singh inside the Punjab civil secretariat in Chandigarh. Singh was credited with wiping out terrorism, which had spiked in the aftermath of Operation Bluestar.
  • Sikhs being a patriotic group started to act against the protracted terrorist struggle and chose to side with the Indian nation, the then Punjab Police department succeeded in defeating the movement in 1990s.

What is present status of the movement?

  • At the present, Khalistan movement is a dormant movement in India.
  • It does not hold much traction in the urban or local populace of Punjab. .
  • But the movement gets ideological support from Sikhs living in Canada, UK or USA. 
  • They pump money, ideological support to the struggle, ISI of Pakistan is still pumping money and effort in reviving the movement.

Challenges Ahead

  • The Delhi police have claimed that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is seeking yet again to link up terror outfits in Kashmir with pro-Khalistan activists.
  • The irrelevance of the Khalistan movement notwithstanding, agencies such as the Pakistan’s ISI have not stopped trying to foment violence, either directly by funding fringe sections or by linking them with terror groups in Kashmir. 
  • Even if the Khalistan movement has been interred, the threat of terror in Kashmir remains well and truly active.

Conclusion

The Khalistan movement is non-existent, but security agencies must watch fringe sections


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: Remunerative Cropping Patterns needed

Context: The Farmers’ protests have erupted once again in north India primarily in opposition to the new farm acts, who have been demanding the complete repeal of the laws.

The flashpoint between the agitating farmers and the central government is essentially rooted in the mismatch between the supply and demand for the wheat crop in India.

Genesis of the problem

  • Food Insecurity during Independence: The genesis of the current state of affairs stems from policies initiated over half a century ago when India was critically short in foodgrains and had to rely upon imports under PL-480 as aid from the US.
  • Setting of PDS to ensure food grain availability: India set up a massive Public Distribution System (PDS) for supplying wheat (and later rice) to people by issuing ration cards that entitled them to a fixed quantum at controlled prices. 
  • Green Revolution mainly in Punjab & Haryana: Concurrently, high yielding varieties of seeds were produced and popularised by the state agencies along with pushing the use of tube wells and fertilisers with subsidies for electricity and some fertilisers.
  • Disproportionate buying from Punjab & Haryana: To feed the PDS, potential surplus producing states (notably, Punjab and Haryana) were cordoned off from the rest of the country under a quasi monopolistic buying by the central government through the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at a farmer remunerative price, labelled as the minimum support price (MSP). 
  • The result was a resounding success for the production and procurement of rice (common varieties) and wheat. India has become consistently surplus in their production, which was the focus of the PDS and government policy.
  • Fear of Private Players: Currently, the so-called support price is politically influenced. With the advent of large corporate players, farmers apprehend that the corporate players will influence the government not to raise the MSPs adequately in their own interest. 
  • Fear of reduced bargaining power of Farmers: The farmer-state government-central government power equation is likely to be polarised into a farmer/state government versus corporate sector tussle, wherein the peasants’ lobby will be hopelessly powerless.

What is the scenario on the supply side?

  • On the supply side, crop rotations have changed in the surplus growing regions. Punjab and Haryana, for example, are now geared for a rice-wheat cycle with the wheat acreage in the former being well above 90 per cent of the total cultivable land in the rabi season.
  • Correspondingly, rice accounts for 80 per cent of the total cultivable land in the kharif season, approximately one-fourth of this being under basmati rice. 
  • Controlled irrigation and general improvements in farming practices along with investments have made this rice-wheat rotation by far the most value creating crop cycle.
  • Better varieties of rice (that is, superior basmati etc) in the kharif season that have lower yield, lower water and nutrient requirement but are exportable and highly priced, could possibly be better crop options in the region. 

Present Procurement Policy impaired the growth of exports

  • Under the current procurement policy, the advantages of producing high-quality grains have been ignored. 
  • Since the origin of the policy was to feed the PDS system in periods of shortages, the considerations of maximising yield and lowering cost of production dictated the production and procurement decisions. 
  • These, unfortunately, were not the best products for export. 
  • The critical concern about keeping prices low for the middle classes in India has, thus, impaired the healthy growth of the agriculture sector.
  • Physical quotas and controls on exports came in the way of increasing production of basmati and higher quality of rice. 
  • Also, there was no initiative for identifying high-quality wheat strains for increasing their production for local and foreign markets

Way Forward

  • The only way forward is to shift production from normal rice to basmati and other exportable varieties and to give a boost to wheat for substituting rice via sooji, rava and noodles.
  • A boost for infrastructure to increase the production of vegetables in the wheat belt and its transport to southern India, the Middle East and the Far East are the other options for the healthy growth of agriculture. 
  • The government needs to reduce the institutional costs and move towards a more remunerative cropping pattern. 
  • The central government needs to be seen as the agency that will ensure stable and remunerative MSP for rice, wheat as also for the prices of their superior variants along with the alternate crops. 
  • Government must make transparent efforts to push exports consistently and not follow the stop-go policy emanating from price controls for the Indian consumer market.

(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 The Tharu tribe is native to which of the following states of India?

  1. Uttarakhand
  2. Uttar Pradesh
  3. Bihar
  4. Jharkhand
  5. Chhattisgarh

Select the correct code:

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

Q.2 Match the following:

Zoo Location
1. Rajgir Zoo Safari                             A. Chennai
2. Shaheed Ashfaque Ullah Khan Prani Udyaan B. Bhubaneshwar
3. Nandankanan Zoological Park C. Gorakhpur
4. Arignar Anna Zoological Park D. Nalanda


Select the correct code: 

  1. 1-C;2-D;3-B;4-A
  2. 1-A;2-B;3-C;4-D
  3. 1-D;2-C;3-B;4-A
  4. 1-B;2-A;3-C;4-D

Q.3 Vanchit Ikai Samooh aur Vargon ki Aarthik Sahayta (VISVAS) Yojana is launched under which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
  2. Ministry of Agriculture
  3. Ministry of Finance
  4. Ministry of MSME

ANSWERS FOR 8th December 2020 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 A

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