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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th January 2021

  • IASbaba
  • January 16, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th January 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Hisar Airport inaugurated under RCS-UDAN

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Hisar Airport was inaugurated under RCS-UDAN recently.

Key takeaways 

  • First flight to the newly constructed Hisar airport in Haryana from Chandigarh was also flagged off under the Regional Connectivity Scheme – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (RCS-UDAN) of the Government of India.
  • Hisar airport is a public licensed airport that is suitable for 18 seat type aircraft.
  • The airline Aviation Connectivity & Infrastructure Developers Pvt. Ltd (Air Taxi) was awarded the Hisar – Chandigarh – Hisar route under the UDAN 4 bidding process. 
  • The airline has become the first start-up airline of the country to assist the nation with Air Taxi services.
  • Thus, the Inauguration Marks Commencement of India’s First Air Taxi Services from Chandigarh to Hisar.

Related articles:

  • First direct flight between Kalaburagi to Tirupati flagged off under UDAN: Click here
  • Objective assessment & transparency of UDAN scheme: Click here
  • UDAN Mindmap: Click here

National Innovation Portal (NIP) launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Innovation; Sci & Tech

In news 

  • National innovation portal was recently launched. 
  • Ministry:  Ministry of Science & Technology 
  • Developed by: National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India 

Key takeaways 

  • The National Innovation Portal (NIP) is currently home to about 1.15 lakh innovations scouted from common people of the country, covering Engineering, Agriculture, Veterinary and Human Health.
  • The innovations cover Energy, mechanical, automobile, electrical, electronics, household, chemical, civil, textiles, etc.
  • Innovation Portal is a step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat and an excellent resource for students, entrepreneurs, MSME’s, Technology Business Incubators (TBI’s) and common people engaged in a variety of occupations.

Do you know? 

  • National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.

Related articles:

  • Calibrated Economic Package (Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0) – Part 1: Click here
  • Calibrated Economic Package (Atmanirbhar Bharat 3.0) – Part 2: Click here
  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat & Small Entrepreneurs: Click here

Third Phase Of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Skill Development

In news 

  • The third phase of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY 3.0) launched recently in 600 districts across all states of India. 
  • Ministry: Ministry of  Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

Key takeaways 

  • Spearheaded by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE), this phase will focus on new-age and COVID-related skills.
  • Skill India Mission PMKVY 3.0 envisages training of eight lakh candidates over a scheme period of 2020-2021 with an outlay of Rs. 948.90 crore.
  • The 729 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras (PMKKs), empanelled non-PMKK training centres and more than 200 ITIs under Skill India will be rolling out PMKVY 3.0 training to build a robust pool of skilled professionals.

Important value additions 

Skill India Mission

  • Skill India Mission is an initiative of the Government of India, launched by the Prime Minister on the 16th of July 2015 with an aim to train over 40 crore people in India in different skills by 2022.
  • It includes various initiatives of the government like 
    • National Skill Development Mission, 
    • National Policy for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, 2015, 
    • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) 
    • Skill Loan scheme

Publication Of Notice Of Marriage Not Mandatory

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Society & GS-II – Judiciary

In news 

  • The Allahabad High Court has ruled that the provision of publication of notice of intended marriage under the Special Marriage Act, 1954, is not mandatory.

Key takeaways 

  • The court said making such publication mandatory “would invade the fundamental rights of liberty and privacy, including within its sphere the freedom to choose for marriage without interference from state and non-state actors, of the persons concerned”.
  • While giving notice under Section 5 of the Act, it shall be optional for the parties to the intended marriage to make a request in writing to the marriage officer to publish or not to publish a notice under Section 6 and follow the procedure of objections as prescribed under the Act.
  • In case the parties do not make such a request, the officer “shall not publish any such notice or entertain objections to the intended marriage and proceed with the solemnisation of the marriage”.

8 trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya railway Station to be flagged off

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Prime Minister will flag off eight trains connecting different regions of the country to Kevadiya, Gujarat, on 17th January, 2021.

Key takeaways 

  • These trains will facilitate seamless connectivity to the Statue of Unity, located on the Narmada River in the Kevadiya, Gujarat.
  • Prime Minister will inaugurate the Dabhoi – Chandod Gauge converted Broad Gauge railway line, Chandod – Kevadiya new Broad Gauge railway line, newly electrified Pratapnagar – Kevadiya section and the new station buildings of Dabhoi, Chandod and Kevadiya.
  • Kevadiya station is India’s first railway station with a Green Building Certification.

India’s First Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Car

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news 

  • Defence Minister unveiled India’s First Indigenously Designed & Developed Driverless Metro Car recently.

Key takeaways 

  • State-of-the-art ‘Driverless Metro Car’ for Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) was unveiled at a function held at BEML’s Bangalore Complex.
  • MMRDA project has 63% indigenous content which will enhance to 75% in next two to three years.
  • The Aerospace Assembly Hangar and first indigenously manufactured Tatra Cabin by BEML were also unveiled.
  • Indigenously designed & developed state-of-the-art Driverless Metro trains are being manufactured at BEML Bangaluru Complex.

Related articles:

  • India’s First Driverless Metro To Be Inaugurated: Click here

Miscellaneous

Dzukou Valley

  • The wildfire at Dzukou Valley has been doused after it raged for two weeks.
  • The Dzüko Valley is located at the borders of the states of Nagaland and Manipur.
  • The valley is famous for its wide range of flowers in every season but the most famous one is the Dzüko Lily and it is found only in this valley.

Dharashiv Caves

  • DharaShiv caves were in news recently when Maharashtra CM referred to Osmanabad as Dharashiv (named after 6th century caves). 
  • Osmanabad is named after the last ruler of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, while Dharashiv is derived from the name for the sixth-century caves near the city.
  • Dharashiv caves are the nexus of 7 caves in Balaghat mountains in Maharashtra.
  • These have been declared as Protected area by Government of Maharashtra.
  • They are believed to be built around 5th-7th century.
  • There have been debates over caves whether they are Buddhist or Jain creations. 
  • It is believed that these caves were originally Buddhist, but later some caves were converted to Jain caves.


(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ AGRICULTURE/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • GS-2: Policies and politics of developed and developing countries 

Lessons from Kenya’s agri experiment

Context: In the debate on new farm laws, emotions are running high with concerns that small farmers are being pitted against large agri-businesses.

Why farmers are protesting against farm laws: Click here and here

Why earlier government negotiations have failed: Click here

What is the long term solution advocated by experts: Click here

Shortcomings in the debates

  • Predictability Factor: The new laws contain mostly untried policies and it is difficult to gauge what might happen when they are implemented
  • International Models: Surprisingly, little of the discussion has drawn on lessons learned from countries that have implemented large-scale policies to encourage agri-businesses.
  • Lack of data: Since the advent of market-oriented policies in the 1980s and 1990s, many governments in developing economies moved away from controlling agricultural markets to encouraging participation by private-sector firms. Evaluation of those policies have been difficult because of a lack of data on farmer-buyer relationships and the complexity of quantifying the many clauses that go into farm policies.

Recent research at the London School of Economics (LSE) overcomes these hurdles by examining a decade of high-quality farmer-buyer data from Kenya during a period when it introduced radical farm laws to encourage agri-businesses. 

Kenya’s agri-Experiment

  • Much in the same way as India is doing now, the Kenyan government introduced new laws with the expectation that the rise of such businesses would transform smallholder agriculture for the better. 
  • Over 20 pieces of legislation were repealed to encourage agri-business participation in crop markets that made up over 70% of small farm incomes.
  • It had its expected impact on the rise of agri-businesses. Their (Private players) overall market share as buyers of farm produce almost doubled, reaching 38% by 2010.

Was Kenya’s experiment without any flaws?

Within the crops that were “liberalised”, the story was not as straightforward. 

  • Long run experience was bitter: Soon after the policy was implemented, small farmers became more likely to sell these crops to agri-businesses, especially in areas that were more reliant on these crops due to agro-ecological conditions. But, five years on, many had stopped selling to these businesses. 
  • Farm incomes from these crops had fallen. Farmers who were reliant on agri-businesses saw their incomes fall by an average 6%. They sold household assets to maintain their day-to-day consumption

Why agri-businesses in Kenya didn’t yield expected results in long run?

  • Initial Gain of market share at expense of others: Kenyan farmers expected to see productivity gains from selling to agri-businesses, which initially gained market share at the expense of other buyers. The ease of doing business increased in buying and marketing. However, in the long run, the productivity didn’t see much increase and consequently farmers’ incomes also fell.
  • Agri-businesses needed more Profits: As agri-businesses moved into these new activities, greater investment outlays and hence greater profitability was needed to finance them. This impacted the payments made to small farmers and thus their incomes.
  • Fewer Buyers over time: Farmers began facing bigger agri-businesses which, on average, saw their profit margins rise by 5%. While some farmers were able to leave their agri-business relationships, many were facing bigger and fewer buyers in crop markets.
  • Key lesson learnt by Kenyan government: In its revised agricultural strategy in 2010, Kenyan policymakers reflected on how small farmers can suffer when ease of doing business is prioritised in markets where there is “no critical mass and enough capacity for the private sector to grow”.

Conclusion

  • The Kenyan experience illustrates what can go wrong with large-scale untried policies and what provisions need to be in place to avoid hardship. 
  • Of course, this is not to say India will have the same experience. India is certainly in a better economic position in terms of per capita income, about a third higher than Kenya. 
  • But there are many common problems in smallholder agriculture, such as low productivity, investments and market access, which keep farm incomes low across India.

CULTURE/ SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-1: Indian culture 
  • GS-2: Fundamental Rights; Judicial activism and Judicial Overreach

Jallikattu: Pride & Politics

Context: With Assembly polls round the corner in Tamil Nadu, the Pongal festival and Jallikattu, the traditional bull-taming sport, have caught the attention of the Political Parties.

In their present efforts to celebrate these cultural symbols ahead of elections, the two national parties have attacked each other over their past stands.

What is Jallikattu?

  • A tradition over 2,000 years old, Jallikattu is a competitive sport as well as an event to honour bull owners who rear them for mating. 
  • It is a violent sport in which contestants try to tame a bull for a prize; if they fail, the bull owner wins the prize.
  • In an age when the farm sector is largely mechanised, there are no major monetary benefits for bull owners in breeding Jallikattu bulls other than the prizes they get during the Jallikattu events. 
  • Traditionally, these used to be a dhoti, a towel, betel leaves, bananas and a cash prize of Rs 101. Over the last two decades, the prizes have included grinders, a fridge and small furniture.
  • The bull-taming sport is popular in Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Theni, Pudukkottai and Dindigul districts — known as the Jallikattu belt. 
  • Jallikattu is celebrated in the second week of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.
  • It is a controversial sport which has faced long legal battles over cruelty to animals, and which at the same time is a symbol of Tamil culture

Why is Jallikattu important in Tamil culture?

  • Preservation of Native Breeds: Jallikattu is considered a traditional way for the peasant community to preserve their pure-breed native bulls. 
  • Prevents Slaughtering: At a time when cattle breeding is often an artificial process, conservationists and peasants argue that Jallikattu is a way to protect these male animals which are otherwise used only for meat if not for ploughing.
  • Pride associated with rearing premium breeds: Kangayam, Pulikulam, Umbalachery, Barugur and Malai Maadu are among the popular native cattle breeds used for Jallikattu. The owners of these premium breeds command respect locally.

Why has Jallikattu been the subject of legal battles?

  • In India, legal battles surrounding animal rights issues emerged in the early 1990s. 
  • A notification from the Environment Ministry in 1991 banned the training and exhibition of bears, monkeys, tigers, panthers and dogs, which was challenged by the Indian Circus Organisation in the Delhi High Court. 
  • In 1998, dogs were excluded from the notification.
  • Jallikattu first came under legal scrutiny in 2007 when the Animal Welfare Board of India and the animal rights group PETA moved petitions in the Supreme Court against Jallikattu as well as bullock cart races.
  • The Tamil Nadu government, however, worked its way out of the ban by passing a law in 2009, which was signed by the Governor.
  • In 2011, the UPA regime at the Centre added bulls to the list of animals whose training and exhibition is prohibited. 
  • In May 2014, days before the BJP was elected to power, the Supreme Court banned the bull-taming sport, ruling on a petition that cited the 2011 notification

So, is it legal or banned now?

  • That is the subject of a case pending in the Supreme Court. The state government has legalised these events, which has been challenged in the court.
  • In January 2017, months after the death of Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, massive protests erupted across Tamil Nadu against the ban, with Chennai city witnessing a 15-day-long Jallikattu uprising.
  • The same year, the Tamil Nadu government released an ordinance amending the central Act and allowing Jallikattu in the state; this was later ratified by the President. PETA challenged the state move, arguing it was unconstitutional.
  • The main question to be resolved is whether the Jallikattu tradition can be protected as a cultural right of the people of Tamil Nadu which is a fundamental right. 
  • Article 29 (1) mandates that “any section of the citizens residing in the territory of India or any part thereof having a distinct language, script or culture of its own shall have the right to conserve the same”.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court referred the Jallikattu case to a Constitution Bench, where it is pending now.

Value Addition

  • Like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka too passed a law to save a similar sport, called Kambala. A similar attempt by Maharashtra, too, was challenged in court, before it was passed as a law.
  • Except in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, where bull-taming and racing continue to be organised, these sports remain banned in all other states including Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra due to the 2014 ban order from the Supreme Court.

Connecting the dots:

Do you think banning the age old tradition of Jallikattu is interference in religious matters of a particular community and hence violative of the Constitution? Critically examine.


(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 India’s first air taxi services shall commence from which of the following? 

  1. Chandigarh to Hisar 
  2. Mumbai to Nagpur 
  3. Delhi to to Lucknow 
  4. Shimla to Mussoorie

Q.2 National Innovation Portal has been developed by which of the following?

  1. NITI Aayog 
  2. CSIR 
  3. National Innovation Foundation – India 
  4. Ministry of Science and Technology

Q.3 Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana comes under which of the following ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Finance 
  2. Ministry of Commerce and Industry 
  3. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises 
  4. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship

Q.4 Dharashiv caves, recently seen in news, are located in which of the following state of India? 

  1. Maharashtra 
  2. Madhya Pradesh 
  3. Rajasthan 
  4. Chhattisgarh

ANSWERS FOR 15th January 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 B
3 D
4 D

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