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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 22, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Greenpeace Analysis Of Cost To The Economy Due To Air Pollution

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment; Economy

In news

  • Greenpeace Southeast Asia recently carried out analysis of cost to the economy due to air pollution.
  • According to the report, Air pollution claimed approximately 54,000 lives in Delhi in 2020. 

Key takeaways 

  • Six Indian cities — Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad and Lucknow — feature in the global analysis.
  • Globally, approximately 1,60,000 deaths have been attributed to PM (particulate matter) 2.5 air pollution. 
  • These deaths have occurred in the five most populous cities — Delhi, Mexico City, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.
  • The ‘Cost Estimator’ tool was used for the study. 
  • It is an online tool that estimates the real-time health impact and economic cost from fine PM 2.5 air pollution in major world cities. 

Agriculture granted conditional exemption for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) usage 

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

In news

  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has granted conditional exemption for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) usage to the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare (MoAFW).

Key takeaways 

  • RPAS can now be used for remote sensing data collection in agricultural areas under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY).
  • The exemption shall be valid from the one year from the date of issue of the permission

Tirals for Helina & Dhruvastra carried out

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

In news

  • Joint User Trials for the ‘Helina’, and ‘Dhruvastra’ have been carried out from Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) platform in desert ranges.
  • Helina is helicopter-launched version of the Nag anti-tank guided missile. 
  • ‘Dhruvastra’ is its Air Force variant. 

Key takeaways 

Helina 

  • Helina is a third-generation, Lock on Before Launch (LOBL) fire and forget class anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) system. 
  • It has all- weather day and night operational capabilities. 
  • It can defeat battle tanks with conventional and explosive reactive armour (ERA). 
  • It can engage targets both in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
  • Dhruvastra has similar properties as well. 
  • However, it is developed by the DRDO 

‘Go Electric’ Campaign launched

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment

In news

  • “Go Electric” Campaign was launched recently. 
  • Ministry: Union Ministry for Road Transport & Highways
  • Objective: To spread awareness on the benefits of e-mobility and EV Charging Infrastructure and electric cooking in India.

Key takeaways 

  • The campaign would help in reducing the import dependence. 
  • It would be an important step towards a cleaner and greener future.
  • It will also boost the confidence of Electric Vehicle manufacturers.

Do you know? 

  • Electric fuel is a major alternative for fossil fuels. 
  • These fuels have an import bill of Rs. 8 lakh Crore.
  • The electric fuel has low cost, reduced emissions. 
  • It is also indigenous.

Miscellaneous

TROPEX 21

  • TROPEX-21 (Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise) is being held at Kochi.

  • The exercise involvs all three Commands of the Indian Navy, the Tri-Services Command at Port Blair, and elements of Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Coast Guard.
  • It is held every two years. 
  • It is the largest exercise conducted by Indian Navy. 

INS Pralaya

  • Indian Naval Ship Pralaya arrived at Abu Dhabi, UAE. 
  • It shall participate in the NAVDEX 21 (Naval Defence Exhibition) and IDEX 21 (International Defence Exhibition), scheduled from 20 to 25 February 2021.

  • INS Pralaya is the second ship of the indigenously built Prabal Class Missile Vessels. 
  • The ship was built indigenously Important Info :
  • Inaugural edition of Indian Navy – UAE Navy bilateral exercise GULF STAR – 1 was conducted in March 2018.

(Mains Focus)


WOMEN/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 
  • GS-2:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Sexual harassment at workplace: Acquittal of Priya Ramani

Brief Background of the issue:

  • In October 2018, journalist Priya Ramani shared her story on social media about being sexually harassed in 1993 by BJP leader and minister M.J. Akbar, back in the day when he was editor of Asian Age
  • Subsequently, nearly 20 other women also shared accounts of sexual harassment at Akbar’s hands and supported the claim made by her.
  • Following Priya Ramani’s charges, MJ Akbar filed a criminal defamation complaint against her in Delhi Court denying all the charges. Under pressure, MJ Akbar resigned in 2018.
  • In Feb 2021, the Court accepted the defence presented by Ramani and acquitted her of the charge of criminal defamation under Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code. 
  • The Court observed that the accused had spoken the ‘truth in furtherance of public interest’ which is an exception to criminal defamation under Section 499, IPC.

Issues

  • Disbelief and Fear of Job Loss: Women speaking up against sexual harassment are often disbelieved. Calling out their boss as a perpetrator means an instant loss of job and pay.
  • Institutional Failure: Sexual harassment is a problem of institutions rather than of individuals alone. Institutional mechanisms have systemically failed to protect women or provide justice.
  • Tool of Patriarchy: The world over, employers deploy sexual harassment as a means to discipline and control women workers.
  • Poor Implementation: For factory workers, domestic workers, street vendors, sanitation and waste workers, construction workers, sex workers, labour laws or laws against sexual harassment exist only on paper. 
  • Failure to Unionise: Women who spoke were unanimous that individual complaints were not an option: They needed unions to fight collectively. The Labour Codes passed by the central government make it all but impossible for workers to unionise. 

The SC Verdict

  • Time not a constraint in Right to Speak: The verdict urged society to “understand that sometimes a victim may for years not speak up due to mental trauma,” and underlined that a woman has a right to speak up about the abuse, even after decades.
  • Private Matter and issue of evidence: It pointed out that since sexual harassment typically takes place in private, women’s testimonies cannot be dismissed as untrue or defamatory simply because they are unable to provide other witnesses to back their allegations.
  • Social Media: Survivors are justified in sharing their testimonies on media or social media platforms as a form of self-defence.
  • Against Fundamental Rights: Sexual abuse violates the constitutionally recognised rights to dignity (Article 21) and equality (Articles 14 and 15), and that (a man’s) right to reputation cannot be protected at the cost of (a woman’s) right to dignity.

Connecting the dots:

  • The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act 2013.
  • Disha Act of Andhra Pradesh: Click here
  • Don’t you think acts of sexual violence are deeply traumatic for survivors, and that it takes great courage and faith in the system to report them?

FEDERALISM/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2:  Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-2: Issues of Federalism

Conclusive Land Titling

Context: In 2020, even as laws for farm reform and labour code reform were being enacted, the government’s think tank, NITI Aayog, took steps to initiate land reforms by drafting Model Bill on Conclusive Land Titling. This was sent to States and UTs seeking their comments.

How does the current system work?

  • India currently follows a system of presumptive land titling. This means that land records are maintained, with information on possession, which is determined through details of past transactions. 
  • Ownership, then, is established on the basis of current possession. 
  • Registration of land is actually a registration of transactions, such as sale deeds, records of inheritance, mortgage and lease.
  • Holding registration papers does not actually involve the government or the legal framework guaranteeing the ownership title of the land.

What will change in the new system of Conclusive Land Titling?

  • On the other hand, under a conclusive land titling system, land records designate actual ownership. 
  • The title is granted by the government, which takes the responsibility for accuracy. 
  • Once a title is granted, any other claimant will have to settle disputes with the government, not the title holder.
  • Further, under conclusive land titling, the government may provide compensation to claimants in case of disputes, but the title holder is not in any danger of losing ownership.
  • The Bill circulated by the NITI Aayog in 2020 calls for Land Authorities to be set up by each State government, which will appoint a Title Registration Officer (TRO) to prepare and publish a draft list of land titles based on existing records and documents

Why is conclusive land titling needed?

  • Reduced Litigation: It will drastically lower litigation related to land. According to World Bank Study, land-related disputes accounted for two-thirds of all pending court cases in India.
  • Quick resolution of land disputes: It will also reduce the time taken for resolving land related litigation. A NITI Aayog study shows that disputes on land or real estate take an average time of 20 years in the courts to be resolved.
  • Eases Documentation for owners & reduces ambiguity: Right now, because land titles are based on transactions, people have to keep the entire chain of transaction records, and a dispute on any link in that chain causes ambiguity in ownership,
  • Ease of Doing Business: Once conclusive titling is in place, investors who want to purchase land for business activities will be able to do so without facing the constant risk that their ownership may be questioned and their entire investment may go to waste
  • Faster Infrastructural Development: Land disputes and unclear titling also create hurdles for infrastructure development and housing construction, leading to costly delays and inefficiency. Conclusive titling will help overcome these challenges.
  • Attracts Investment: The delay in acquiring land due to ambiguity in land ownership reduces the appetite for investment in many sectors of the economy. Conclusive land titling will remove such ambiguities attracting foreign investment and promoting active land market.
  • Enhances Government Revenue:  In cities, urban local bodies depend on property taxes that can be levied properly only if there is clear ownership data available.  Ambiguity in ownership also results in a black market for land transactions, which deprives the government of taxes.
  • Enhances access to cheaper institutional credit: Access to agricultural credit is dependent on the ability to use land as collateral. Without being able to prove their ownership of land, rural people often get trapped in private money lenders debt trap. Proper ownership will enable people to access cheaper institutional credit.

Challenges Ahead

  • Lack of Updation: Land records have not been updated for decades, especially in rural and semi-urban areas
  • Issue of Inheritance: Land records are often in the name of the grandparents of the current owner, with no proof of inheritance. 
  • Can create more problems: Unless they are based on updated records, conclusive land titles could create even more problems.
  • Federal Set up: There is also the challenge of Federalism in a multi-party set up like ours. Here, States have to enact the laws and implement with full spirit to make it a success
  • Weak Local Bodies: Survey needs to be conducted at local level for conclusively proving ownership with involvement of community. However, local governments have not been provided with the resources or manpower to conduct such surveys.

Way Ahead

Comprehensive village-level surveys with community involvement are a necessary precursor to the land titling process. Relying on current records or even satellite imagery will not provide the same accuracy as actual, on-the-ground, local surveys


(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 is the largest exercise conducted by Indian Navy?

  1. TROPEX 
  2. NAVDEX 
  3. AMPHEX
  4. IDEX 

Q.2 “Go Electric” Campaign had been launched by which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Power 
  2. Ministry of Environment 
  3. Ministry of Road Transport & Highways
  4. Ministry of Agriculture 

ANSWERS FOR 20th February 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C

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