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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd February 2021

  • IASbaba
  • February 23, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


‘Population Versus Planet’ Conference held

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Society

In news

  • ‘Population versus Planet’ Conference was held recently.
  • It is a part of WION and Zee Media’s year-long campaign called ‘Mission Sustainability: Population Vs. Planet’.

Key takeaways 

  • World population has witnessed an increase from 1 billion in the year 1800 to 7.8 billion today.
  • India’s population has increased from 36 crore in 1951 to 121.02 crore in 2011. 
  • It has witnessed significant decline in both fertility and mortality rates. 
  • The birth rate has reduced from 40.8/1000 in 1951 to 20.0 in 2018. 
  • Total Fertility Rate (TFR) has declined from 6.0 in 1951 to 2.2 in 2015-16. 
  • Death rate in India has declined from 7 in 2012 to 6.2 in 2018.
  • According to Population projection for India and States 2011-2036, the TFR is expected to decline further. 
  • The youth population in the age group of 15-24 years is projected to decline from 233 million in 2011 to 227 million in 2036.
  • The proportion of the working age population is expected to increase from 61% in 2011 to 65% in 2036. 

Uber drivers to be considered workers and not freelance contractors: UK Supreme Court 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Internationa relations; & GS- III – Economy

In news

  • The UK Supreme Court ruled that Uber drivers were to be considered workers and not freelance contractors. 
  • This order shall make them eligible for all employment related benefits such as minimum wage, annual leaves, and insurance.

Key takeaways 

  • With this ruling, Uber and other service providing platforms could also potentially face legal and regulatory challenges in India. 
  • Besides, Indian budget 2021-22 has mandated that the law on minimum wages would now apply to workers of all categories including those associated with platforms such as Uber.
  • Such workers would now be covered by the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). 

Important value additions 

  • In November 2020, the government had come out with specific norms for apps such as Uber and Ola.
  • Under them, these apps could charge a maximum of 20% commission per ride from driver partners, while also capping the total number of working hours per day at 12.
  • Maximum fare is also provided that these platforms could charge customers even during high demand peak hours. 
  • They would have to provide drivers with insurance. 

Do you know? 

  • A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations hire independent workers for short-term commitments. 

Related articles:


Governing Council of NITI Aayog 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

In news

  • The sixth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog was held recently. 

Key takeaways 

  • Governing Council consists of Chief Ministers of all states and Lt. Governors of Union Territories.
  • The Agenda for the Sixth Council Meeting comprised the following items:
    1. Making India a Manufacturing Powerhouse
    2. Reimagining Agriculture
    3. Improving Physical Infrastructure
    4. Accelerating Human Resources Development
    5. Improving Service Delivery at Grassroots Level
    6. Health and Nutrition

‘Shri Guru Ravidas Vishva Mahapeeth Rashtriya Adhiveshan’ held 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture

In news

  • Indian President recently addressed ‘Shri Guru Ravidas Vishva Mahapeeth Rashtriya Adhiveshan’ in New Delhi.

Important value additions 

  • He was a Dalit-poet saint. 
  • He belonged to the Bhakti movement era. 
  • He probably lived during the 14th to 16th century. 
  • He belonged to a leather-working Chamar community. 
  • The 41 hymns of Guru Ravidas have been included in the Guru Granth Sahib.
  • The famous saint poetess, Mirabai was a disciple of Guru Ravidas.

His teachings

  • Everybody is equal in all respects, irrespective of caste, color or a belief in any form of God; Emphasised on universal brotherhood and tolerance.
  • God created man and not man created God;
  • He abandoned saguna (with attributes, image) forms of supreme beings, and focussed on the nirguna (without attributes, abstract) form of supreme beings.

Vertical Launch Short Range Surface To Air Missile (VL-SRSAM)

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

In news

  • Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted two successful launches of Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM).
  • It is developed for Indian Navy. 
  • Indigenously designed and developed by: DRDO

Key takeaways

  • It is meant for neutralizing various aerial threats at close ranges including sea-skimming targets.
  • These launches were carried out for demonstration of vertical launch capability. 

(Mains Focus)


FEDERALISM/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
  • GS-3: Internal Security

Call for ‘Greater Tipraland’

Context: Three months before elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), the state’s royal scion and former state Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma has given a call for a ‘Greater Tipraland’ (through his organisation TIPRA) , covering Tripuris in and outside of the district council and even the Tripuri diaspora.

Map: showing Autonomous Administrative Councils in North East India

What is the demand for Greater Tipraland?

  • Greater Tipraland’ has been a political demand on the lines of ‘Greater Nagalim’
  • It seeks to – in a democratic manner – cater to the aspirations of Tripuris in Mamit of Mizoram, Kachar and Hailakandi in Assam, and even in Khagrachari, Bandarban, and Chittagong of Bangladesh.
  • Tripuris are 19 indigenous clans, most of whom live in the TTAADC areas which make up two-thirds of the state’s geographical area but comprise only one-third of the state’s population of 37 lakh people. 70 percent land under the TTAADC is covered by hills and forests and most inhabitants are prone to ‘jhum’ (slash and burn) cultivation. 

What are ‘Tipraland’ and ‘Greater Tipraland’?

  • ‘Tipraland’ was a demand of the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is now in power in Tripura in alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. It was a political call for the creation of a separate state for indigenous groups.
  • Greater Tipraland demands that every indigenous area or village which is today outside the TTAADC be included
  • Pradyut Kishore who is now spearheading the demand for Greater Tipraland has claimed the demand arose due to unfulfilled demands of revising NRC in Tripura and opposition to CAA in the past.

Critical Analysis of the issue:

  • Vote Bank Politics: In the wake of impending elections to TTAADC, this is seen an effort by Pradyot to consolidate the tribal vote bank for his party, Tipraha Indigenous Peoples Regional Alliance (TIPRA).
  • Changed Political Scenario: With Pradyot’s new political maneuvering, TIPRA has emerged as the single-largest tribal political party of Tripura. The royal scion has announced a mega merger and alliance with all major tribal political parties.This may alter the power balance in State (dominated by CPIM and ruling BJP-IPFT govt.)
  • New-age ethnic politics: Tripura saw turbulent violent struggles by different outlawed insurgent outfits for past three decades-  all demanding self-determination and sovereignty on different community lines. This new demand is to unite people from both tribal and non-tribal behind ethnic identity.
  • Challenge to Federal Spirit: Even though the demand for Greater Tipraland is on democratic lines, such ethnicity based redrawing of boundaries will hamper the delicate balance in North East. It may also further embolden the demand of Nagas thus putting the entire region under contestations.
  • Impacts Relations with Bangladesh: With the passage of 100th Constitutional Amendment Act of 2015, the land boundary between India and Bangladesh has been settled. However, such demands that includes areas falling in Bangladesh will negatively impact the cooperative bilateral relationship between both countries.
  • Can create Insurgency: This being a political sensitive issue where ethnicity, development and federalism are involved, Union government has to watch closely the developments & engage with stakeholders to address their grievances. If left unattended the pent up grievances can turn into insurgency in long run.

Way Ahead

Even though at this stage, the demand appears to be aimed at consolidating vote bank for the Council elections, Governments (both Union and State) should not take light of these developments.

Connecting the dots:

  • Bru Refugees Agreement and the role of Pradyut Kishore: Click here

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

India’s Unemployment Problem

Context: Twitter trend whereby government was asked to provide jobs for unemployed youth of our Country.

Just before the Covid crisis at the end of 2019-20 financial year, India had around 403.5 million employed people and around 35 million (or 3.5 crore) openly unemployed people (those who are seeking work and not finding it) in the country.

Issues

  • Addition of Job Seekers Every Year: Given India’s population growth, each year there are close to 20 million (or 2 crore) people who enter the working-age population of 15 to 59 years.
  • Recovery Post Pandemic: As of January 2021, India had only about 400 million employed (pre-COVID it was 403.5 million). At one level this is good news because far more had lost jobs and many seem to have regained employment as the economy has started recovering. 
  • Steady Decline in number of Employed People: As per CMIE data since 2016, the total number of employed people in India has been steadily coming down. It was 407.3 million in 2016-17 and then fell to 405.9 million in 2017-18, and to 400.9 million at the end of 2018-19.
  • Unemployment has larger Impact on Society: Each unemployed person is part of a larger family — implying millions of families suffering from the lack of employment opportunities.
  • Falling Labour Force Participation rate: Even though people have skills they may not be in position to enter labour market for variety of reasons. For instance, if law and order is poor or if cultural mores can prevent women to seek work. Also, men can give up looking for work after repeated failed attempts. As a result, India’s labour force participation rate (LFPR) falls. India’s LFPR is about 40% (in most developed countries it is 60%)
  • Jobless Growth: Typically, fast economic growth takes care of unemployment worries. However, due to distorted economic structure (service led growth) India’s growth has not translated into jobs. What was required is labour intensive manufacturing led growth providing jobs for millions
  • Technological Advancement & Unemployment: The GDP can continue to go up as more and more companies become more productive by replacing labour with capital (machinery) but that will only deepen India’s unemployment problem.
  • Criticism of Government’s role in Creating Jobs: The mantra of “minimum government” espoused in Union Budget for 2021-22 essentially undercuts the government’s role in directly creating new jobs. While on paper this makes sense, the timing is questionable. That’s because the Indian economy is quite weak and the private sector has already shown its preference by choosing to cut jobs and boost its profits

Conclusion

Typically, fast economic growth takes care of unemployment worries. However, in India’s case, one cannot assume that.

Connecting the dots:

  • Historic Recession: On India’s GDP slump: Click Here
  • Banking Health: NPAs and COVID-19: 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 regarding Guru Ravidas:

  1. He belonged to the Bhakti movement era. 
  2. Hymns of Guru Ravidas have been included in the Guru Granth Sahib.

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 Which of the following is a constitutional body?

  1. NITI Aayog
  2. National Commission on SCs
  3. National Human Rights Commission
  4. Central Bureau of Investigation

Q.3 What is gig economy?

  1. Agricultural economy
  2. Public sector economy
  3. Services sector economy
  4. A labour market characterized by the prevalence of short term contract and freelance work.

ANSWERS FOR 22nd February 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 C

Must Read

On dealing with China by former Foreign Secretary:

The Hindu

On Diplomacy and Science:

The Hindu

About rights of migrants:

The Indian Express

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