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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 20th February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 20, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Proposal to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 approved

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

In news

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal to amend the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 to introduce measures for strengthening Child Protection set-up to ensure best interest of children.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Key takeaways 

  • The amendments include authorizing District Magistrate (DM) to issue adoption orders under Section 61 of the JJ Act, in order to ensure speedy disposal of cases. 
  • The DMs have been further empowered to ensure its smooth implementation. 
  • Eligibility parameters for appointment of CWC members have been defined. 
  • Previously undefined offences have been categorised as ‘serious offence’. 
  • Several difficulties faced in implementation of various provisions of the Act have also been addressed.

UK to conduct first Human Challenge Trials for COVID-19

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II Health & GS – III – Biotechnology

In news

  • The UK is set to conduct the first COVID-19 human challenge trials (HCT) within a month from now.
  • Conducted by: UK government’s Vaccines Taskforce, Imperial College London, the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and the clinical company called hVIVO.

Key takeaways 

  • The trial was first announced in October 2020.
  • In this study, over 90 healthy volunteers between the ages of 18-30 will be deliberately exposed to small amounts of the virus in controlled settings, 
  • Objective: To test treatments and vaccines.
  • In this way, the participants are “challenged” by the virus.
  • This is not the same as standard vaccine clinical trials.
  • Significance: HCTs are able to give more precise information about the disease and its effects on humans, and also give results about the efficacy of vaccines on infected humans.

Process of delimitation in respect of UT of J&K

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Governance; Election; Constitution

In news

  • Delimitation Commission held a meeting recently with the Associate Members from UT of J&K. 
  • Objective: To seek their suggestion on the process of delimitation in respect of the UT. 

Important value additions 

  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of Lok Sabha and state Assembly seats. 
  • Objective of delimitation: To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population; fair division of geographical areas so that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • Constitutional provisions: Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census. 
  • Delimitation is carried out by an independent Delimitation Commission. 
  • Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 
  • There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.


WCCB wins Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment

In news

  • The Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) has received the Asia Environmental Enforcement Award-2020. 
  • Awarded by: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Key takeaways 

  • WCCB got the award twice in three years. 
  • It has been awarded this year under the Innovation category.

Important value additions :

Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB)

  • It is a statutory body constituted under the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Environment and Forests.
  • Mandate: To combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
  • Headquarter: New Delhi
  • Regional offices: Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur
  • WCCB has developed an online Wildlife Crime Database Management System to get real time data to analyse trends in wildlife crimes across India.
  • This system has been successfully used for carrying out operations such as Operation Save Kurma, Thunderbird, Wildnet, Lesknow, Birbil, Thunderstorm, Lesknow-II etc resulting in huge seizures of Tiger/Leopard Skin/bones, Rhino Horn, Elephant Ivory etc.

Hyderabad emerges as Tree Cities Of The World

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment

In news

  • Hyderabad has won a green contest among cities in India, and emerged one of the ‘Tree Cities of the World’.

Key takeaways 

  • Awarded by: Arbor Day Foundation and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • Hyderabad has maintained urban forestry under its Haritha Haram programme and its Urban Forest Parks plan.
  • The city was evaluated on five metrics: ‘Establish Responsibility’, ‘Set the Rules’, ‘Know What You Have’, ‘Allocate the Resources’, and ‘Celebrate the Achievements’.

(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

Topic:

  • GS-2: India and its neighbourhood
  • GS-3: Indian Economy

CECPA between India and Mauritius

Context: Cabinet approved the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) between India and Mauritius which is aimed at liberalising trade between the two countries.

About the agreement

  • Kind of a free trade agreement: CECPA, similar to FTA, will cover 310 export items for India, including foodstuff and beverages, agricultural products, textile, base metals, electricals and electronic items, plastics and chemicals, etc.
  • Includes Trade and Services: In such agreements, the two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on a host of products besides liberalising norms to promote services trade.  
  • Covers all aspects: It will cover trade in goods, rules of origin, trade in services, Technical Barriers to Trade like Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, dispute settlement, movement of natural persons, telecom, financial services, customs procedures and cooperation in other areas.
  • Mauritius will benefit from preferential market access into India for 615 products, including frozen fish, speciality sugar, biscuits, fresh fruits, juices, mineral water, beer, alcoholic drinks, soaps, bags, medical and surgical equipment, and apparel. 
  • This instance will be India’s first such trade pact with an African nation.

Economic Relationship between India and Mauritius

  • Bilateral trade between the countries had dipped to $690 million in 2019-20 from $1.2 billion in 2018-19. 
  • While India’s exports in 2019-20 aggregated to $662 million, imports stood at just $27.89 million.  
  • Mauritius imports petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, cereals, cotton, electrical machinery, apparel and clothing accessories, while India’s imports include iron and steel, pearls, precious/semi-precious stones, etc. 
  • Mauritius was also the second largest source of foreign direct investment into India in 2019-20, accounting for around $8.24 billion (about Rs 57,785 crore) for the year.

INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
  • 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

Australia Vs Facebook: News Media Bargaining Code

Context: Australian PM Morrison has launched a global diplomatic offensive to drum up support for Australia’s proposed law (News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code Bill 2020). 

The bill mandates a bargaining code that aims to force Google and Facebook to compensate media companies for using their content

Australian PM has reached out to Indian and Canadian PM to discuss on such type of regulations.

Australia’s legislation – Voluntary Mechanism was not the solution

  • Back in 2017, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recommended a voluntary code with an aim to address the negotiating skew between major digital platforms and media businesses
  • Based on these recommendations, the Australian government in 2019 asked various stakeholders and the ACCC to develop this voluntary code.
  • The ACCC, however, pointed out in April 2020 that the businesses were not likely to reach an agreement voluntarily. This paved way for drafting a mandatory code.
  • The provision of mandatory code requiring Google & FB to enter into payment negotiations with media companies — with an arbiter mandated to adjudicate if no agreement is reached — or face heavy fines, has met with resistance. 
  • The arbiter is deemed important mainly for smaller publishers who may face a negotiation skew with the platforms.
  • European authorities have specifically linked payments to copyright, without putting a forcing device into the agreements. 
  • Australia’s code, on the other hand, is almost entirely focused on the bargaining power of news outlets vis-à-vis the tech majors, and has some coercive features as well.

What is the core issue between Tech Giants and Regulators?

  • While links to news may not be direct advertising money-spinners for Facebook or Google, both see the presence of news as an important aspect of audience engagement with their products.
  • Google and Facebook are two of the largest and most profitable companies in history – and each holds far more bargaining power than any news publisher. The news media bargaining code sets out to undo this imbalance.
  • The fight in Australia is in fact, centred on how much control these companies would be able to retain on their payout process — operational aspects such as deciding the quantum of payments for news feed sources, and having to reveal changes in their algorithm

Response by Tech Giants

  • Threatens: In January 2021 when bill was being introduced, Google threatened to remove its search engine from Australia, and Facebook warned it could block Australian users from posting or sharing news links.
  • Arguments of Google & FB: They say that the media industry was already benefiting from traffic routed to them by the digital platforms, and that the proposed rules would expose the Internet companies to “unmanageable levels of financial and operational risk”.
  • Conciliatory position of Google: Google has backtracked and has moved ahead to sign a deal with one of the News Corporation
  • Retaliation by FB: However, Facebook— which has 17 million users in Australia — retaliated with a news blackout, blocking all news links on its platform.
  • Consequences of FB’s actions: In the process, FB also ended up silencing some emergency services, and reportedly removed posts from Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, state health departments, fire and rescue services, charities, and emergency and crisis services.

The Debate in India

  • According to a FICCI-EY report for 2020, there are 300 million users of online news sites, portals and aggregators in the country — making up approximately 46% of Internet users and 77% of smartphone users in India at the end of 2019.
  • With 282 million unique visitors, India is the second largest online news consuming nation after China. 
  • In India, digital advertising spends in 2019 grew 24% year-on-year to Rs 27,900 crore and are expected to grow to Rs 51,340 crore by 2022.
  • A substantial discussion on the impact of intermediary platforms on the health of news media outlets is yet to begin in any meaningful way.

Conclusion

  • Australia’s legislation sets a precedent in regulating social media across geographies, and is being closely watched the world over.

Connecting the dots:

  • Dominance of Big Tech: Click here
  • Google Search Monopoly: 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 Which of the following city has been awarded the ‘Tree Cities of the World’? 

  1. Hyderabad 
  2. Surat
  3. Indore
  4. Mumbai

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):

  1. It is a statutory body. 
  2. Wildlife Crime Database Management System analyses trends in wildlife crimes. 

Which of the above is or are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

ANSWERS FOR 19th February 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 A
3 A
4 C

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