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

  • IASbaba
  • February 16, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Malware in news: Netwire

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Cyber security

In news

  • Activist Rona Wilson has filed a petition in the Bombay HC to seek a stay on proceedings against him.
  • He is in prison in connection with the Bhima Koregaon violence case.

Key takeaways 

  • A digital forensics consulting company, Arsenal Consulting, was hired by Mr. Wilson’s defence team.
  • Its report states that for 22 months, Mr. Wilson’s computer was controlled by an attacker
  • His goal was to deliver incriminating documents onto Wilson’s computer, which formed the basis of the case against him.

Important value additions 

NetWire

  • It is a well-known malware.
  • It is also one of the most active ones.
  • It is a remote access trojan (RAT) which gives control of the infected system to an attacker.
  • Such malware can log keystrokes and compromise passwords.
  • Malware essentially does two things: (1) Data exfiltration (stealing data); (2) Infiltrating a system

Related articles:


Schemes related to skill development

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Skill development

In news

  • Rajya Sabha was informed about the Status of Skilled Youths in India.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE)

Key takeaways 

  • Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY): For imparting short duration skill development training through Short-Term Training (STT) and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to youth across all States/UTs.
  • Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) Scheme: Providing vocational skills to non-literates, neo-literates and school dropouts by identifying skills that have a market in the region of their establishment.
  • National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme (NAPS): For promoting apprenticeship training and increasing the engagement of apprentices by providing financial support to industrial establishments undertaking apprenticeship programme under The Apprentices Act, 1961.
  • Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS): Long term training programme in 137 trades are provided through 14,788 ITIs in India.

Sagarika: First full-fledged international cruise terminal

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Indian Prime Minister inaugurated various projects in Kochi, Kerala recently.

Key takeaways 

  • Sagarika, the International Cruise Terminal in Kochi was inaugurated.
  • It is India’s first full-fledged international cruise terminal.
  • Inauguration of the Marine Engineering Training Institute of Cochin Shipyard Ltd. will help those wanting to study marine engineering.
  • South Coal Berth would bring down logistics costs and improve cargo capacities.
  • Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) will help strengthen India’s journey towards being Aatmanirbhar as it will save foreign exchange.
  • With Ro-Ro Vessels, a distance of almost 30 km on road will become 3.5 km through waterways leading to less congestion and more convenience, commerce and capacity-building.

All kinds of Steel allowed In Highway Construction

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Orders were issued recently that all steel – whether produced from ore, billets, pellets or melting of scrap – would be allowed to be used for National Highway construction.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways
  • The steel must meet the standards required for specific grades of steel.

Key takeaways 

  • The steel proposed to be used would be tested in NABL-accredited laboratories before approval.
  • The decision was taken in view of the increase in steel prices, which could impact the cost of building national highways.
  • With this step, the supplier base for steel would increase, leading to more competition and better price discovery by the markets.

Arjun Main Battle Tank (Mk-1A)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Defence and Security

In news

  • India Prime Minister handed over the indigenously developed Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) to the Indian Army at a ceremony in Chennai.

Key takeaways 

  • The army will get 118 units of the Tank.
  • These are indigenously designed.
  • The Arjun tanks stand out for their ‘Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)’ ammunition and 120-mm calibre rifled gun.
  • It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions.
  • The secondary weapons include machine guns for anti-personnel and anti-aircraft and ground targets.
  • The Mk-1A version has 14 major upgrades on the earlier version.
  • However, the biggest achievement with the latest version is 54.3% indigenous content against the 41% in the earlier model.

Do you know? 

  • The MK-1A project was initiated by DRDO in 1972.
  • Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) was its lead laboratory.
  • Mass production began in 1996 at the Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi, Tamil Nadu.

Mandarin Duck

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Biodiversity

In news

  • Mandarin duck was recently spotted in the Maguri-Motapung beel (wetland) in Assam.

Important value additions 

  • It is considered the most beautiful duck in the world.
  • It is a small-exotic looking bird native to East Asia.
  • The migratory duck breeds in Russia, Korea, Japan and north-eastern parts of China.
  • It now has established populations in Western Europe and America too.
  • The duck, however, rarely visits India as it does not fall in its usual migratory route.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern.

Maguri beel

  • The Maguri Motapung wetland is located close to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Upper Assam.
  • It is an Important Bird Area.

(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY/ INTERNATIONAL

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • GS-3: Indian Economy

Agri-market freedom: Lessons from China & Israel

Context: The farmers protest against newly enacted farm laws provides us an opportunity to compare India’s agricultural system with those present in other countries which have done exceptionally well.

Do You Know?

  • All the three countries — India, China and Israel — started off their new political journey in late 1940s, but today China’s per capita income in dollar terms is almost five times that of India, and Israel’s almost 20 times higher than India.
  • absolute poverty head count ratio at $1.9 per day (2011 purchasing power parity) definition was only 0.7 per cent in China as against 13.4 per cent in India in 2015

Problems with Indian Agri-Policies

  • Indian agri-food policies remained more consumer-oriented with a view to “protect the poor”. In the process, they never allowed farmers to enjoy the best prices they could get from free markets within India or abroad.
  • Export controls, stocking limits on traders, movement restrictions, etc all continued at the hint of any price rise.
  • The net result of all this was farmers’ incomes remained low and so did those of landless agri-labourers.
  • Today, Indian agriculture is saddled with more agri-labourers (55 per cent) than cultivators and are supported by huge subsidies, are in a low-level equilibrium trap of poverty.

Case Study of China

  • Agri-output: China produces three times more agri-output than India from a smaller arable area.
  • Similar case of fragmented landholding: The average holding size in China was just 0.9 ha in 2016-18, smaller than India’s 1.08 ha in 2015-16. Therefore, landholding size is not that big a hindrance for agri-growth.
  • Early start of Reforms: China started off its economic reforms in 1978 by taking up agriculture first. It dismantled its commune system of land holdings and liberated agri-markets that allowed farmers to get much higher prices for their produce.
  • Agri-growth: As a result of early reforms, in 1978-84, farmers’ incomes in China increased by almost 14 per cent per annum, more than doubling in six years. In India, the 1991 reforms bypassed agriculture. There was only some indirect effect when tariffs on manufactured goods were reduced.
  • Foundation for manufacturing growth: Success of early agri-reform gave political legitimacy for further reforms as masses gained, and also generated demand for industrial goods, sowing the seeds of a manufacturing revolution in China
  • Economic Contribution: Agriculture contributes just 8 per cent of overall GDP in China compared to about 17 per cent in India.
  • Employment: About 26 per cent of China’s workforce is in agriculture, while India is still stuck with 42 per cent.

Case Study of Israel

  • Water accounting: This has made it turn a desert into cultivating high-value crops for exports (citrus fruits, dates, olives) by using every drop of water and recycling urban waste water for agriculture, by de-salinisation of sea waters
  • Depleting Groundwater table in India: It is so alarming in a state like Punjab where almost 80 per cent of blocks are over-exploited or critical, meaning the withdrawal of water is much more than the recharge.
  • Until India breaks away from the policy of free power for agriculture, there would be no incentive for farmers to save water.

Way Forward:

Indian agriculture has the potential to double or even triple its output in the next 15-20 years. Many countries have done it and we can do it, too, provided our agri-food policy framework takes a dramatic turn,

  • From being subsidy-led to investment-driven
  • From being consumer-oriented to producer-oriented,
  • From being supply-oriented to demand-driven by linking farms with factories and foreign markets
  • From being business as usual to an innovations-centred system.

Connecting the dots:

  • 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

GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic:

  • GS-1: Indian Society, Urbanisation and problems
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment; Government Budgeting

Internal Migration in India

Context: The distress migration of internal migrants during the lockdown times was most enduring memory of that period that even moved Supreme Court to take cognisance of their plight.

Eleven months since the March 2020 lockdowns, the situation is considerably different.

India’s Internal Migration

  • Huge Numbers: India has an estimated 600 million migrants. In other words, roughly half of India is living in a place where it wasn’t born.
  • Intra-State Migration: An estimated 400 million Indians “migrate” within the district they live in. The next 140 million migrate from one district to another but within the same state.
  • Inter-State Migration: And only about 60 million — that is, just 10% of all internal migrants — move from one state to another.
  • Rural Migration: The most dominant form of migration is from rural to rural areas. Only about 20% of the total migration (600 million) is from rural to urban areas.
  • Urban Migration: 20% of the total migration is from one urban area to another urban area. As such, urban migration (rural to urban as well as urban to urban) accounts for 40% of the total migration.
  • Potential for increase in future: As India adopts a strategy of rapid urbanisation — for example, by building so-called smart cities and essentially using cities as centres of economic growth — levels of internal migration will increase further.
  • COVID-19 induced Shock: It is estimated that close to 60 million moved back to their “source” rural areas in the wake of pandemic-induced lockdowns. That number is roughly six-times the official estimates. That estimate also gives a measure of the sense of labour shock that India’s economy faced as migrants moved back.

The concern of “vulnerable circular migrants”

  • 200 million were broadly affected by the Covid disruption.
  • The worst-hit were “vulnerable circular migrants”. These are people who are “vulnerable” because of their weak position in the job market and “circular” migrants because even though they work in urban settings, they continue to have a foothold in the rural areas.
  • Such migrants work in construction sites or small factories or as rickshaw pullers in the city but when such employment avenues dwindle, they go back to their rural setting
  • They constitute 75% of the informal economy outside agriculture — most shocks, be it demonetisation or GST or the pandemic disruption, tend to rob them of their livelihood.

Conclusion

  • India’s proportion of internal migrants (as a percentage of the overall population) is much lower than some of the comparable countries such as Russia, China, South Africa and Brazil — all have much higher urbanisation ratios, which is a proxy for migration level.
  • In-depth understanding of labour class is needed to avoid the repeat of distress witnessed during COVID-19 lockdown period.

Connecting the dots

  • New Version of Labour Codes: 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 Consider the following statements:

  1. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY) imparts short duration skill development training to youth across all States/UTs.
  2. Craftsmen Training Scheme (CTS) gives Long term training programme in 137 trades are provided through ITIs in India.

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 Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) Scheme is launched by which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship
  2. Ministry of Education
  3. Ministry of MSMEs
  4. Ministry of Textiles

Q.3 Sagarika, the International Cruise Terminal, which is India’s first full-fledged international cruise terminal, was inaugurated in which of the following State?

  1. Kerala
  2. Tamil Nadu
  3. Maharashtra
  4. Gujarat

Q.4 Dibru Saikhowa National Park is situated in:

  1. Meghalaya
  2. Manipur
  3. Tripura
  4. Assam

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

1 C
2 B
3 A

Must Read

On Indian investments and BITs: 

The Hindu

On “toolkit Conspiracy” case related to Farm Laws & support from abroad:

The Hindu

About new digital questions and answers: 

Indian Express

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