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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th March 2021

  • IASbaba
  • March 12, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Mobilising electric Vehicle financing in India 

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

In news

  • A new report ‘Mobilising Electric Vehicle Financing in India’ was recently released.
  • Released by: NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) India 

Key takeaways 

  • It highlights the role of finance in India’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs). 
  • It has also analysed that the transition will require a capital investment of USD 266 billion in EVs, charging infrastructure, and batteries over the next decade.
  • Consumers currently face several challenges, such as high interest rates, high insurance rates, and low loan-to-value ratios.
  • 10 solutions have been identified to address these challenges.
  • Financial institutions such as banks and NBFCs, and the industry and government will be able to adopt solutions. 

Related articles:


Fuel cell-based Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System 

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

In news

  • Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System was recently developed by DRDO
  • It is an important milestone. 

Key takeaways 

  • The system is being developed by Naval Materials Research Laboratory (NMRL) of DRDO.
  • AIP has a force multiplier effect on lethality of a diesel electric submarine. 
  • It enhances the submerged endurance of the boat. 
  • AIP also has merits in performance compared to other technologies.
  • AIP of NMRL is unique as the hydrogen is generated onboard.

Agriculture Voltage Technology by Agricultural Ministry 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions & GS – III – Technology; Agriculture 

In news

  • Union Minister of Agriculture informed Lok Sabha about the Agriculture Voltage Technology.

Key takeaways 

  • Agri-voltaic system of 105 KW capacity was developed by ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute, Jodhpur.
  • This technology can increase the income of farmers by generation of electricity and growing of cash crops simultaneously.
  • Under component-I of KUSUM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Utthan Mahabhiyan) scheme, there is a provision for installation of agri-voltaic system in farmers’ fields with a capacity ranging from 500 KW to 2 MW.
  • National Solar Energy Federation of India (NSEFI) has also documented 13 operational agri-voltaic systems in India. 

Failure to set up Independent Environment Regulator 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Environment 

In news

  • The Supreme Court has asked the government to explain why it had not set up an “independent environment regulator” to oversee green clearances.

Key takeaways 

  • In ‘Lafarge mining case’, the SC had ordered the setting up of a national environment regulatory body to ensure independent oversight of green clearances. 
  • Such a regulator should appraise projects, enforce environmental conditions for approvals and to impose penalties on polluters.
  • SC had made it clear that till such mechanism was put in place, the Environment Ministry (MoEF) should prepare a panel of accredited institutions from which alone the project proponent should obtain the Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) on the Terms of Reference to be formulated by the MoEF.

Maitri Setu between India and Bangladesh 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations

In news

  • Constructed by: National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd 

Key takeaways 

  • The bridge ‘Maitri Setu’ has been built over Feni river. 
  • The river flows between Tripura and Bangladesh.
  • The bridge joins Sabroom (in Tripura) with Ramgarh (in Bangladesh).
  • With this bridge, Tripura is set to become the ‘Gateway of North East’ with access to Chittagong Port of Bangladesh, which is 80 km from Sabroom.

National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions; Welfare schemes 

In news

  • The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Rural Development recently submitted its report to the Lok Sabha. 
  • According to the report, the Centre must increase the “meagre” pensions provided for poor senior citizens, widows and disabled people. 

Key takeaways 

  • The Committee observed that under National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), amount of assistance ranging from ₹200 to ₹500 per month is provided under its different components. 
  • The panel had also previously urged the increase in these pensions in its reports on the Department of Rural Development’s (DoRD) demand for grants in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Important value additions 

The National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) 

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. 
  • It provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • Administered by: Ministry of Rural Development 
  • It consists of five sub-schemes:
    • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
    • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
    • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
    • National Family Benefit Scheme (NFBS)
    • Annapurna Scheme

(Mains Focus)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-1: Women and their problems; Social Empowerment
  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

Mensturation Taboo

Context: In a PIL Case Nirjhari Mukul Sinha v. Union Of India, the Gujarat High Court has  passed an order proposing nine guidelines that the state should follow to end menstruation taboo and discriminatory practices pertaining to it.

About the Unfortunate Incident

  • In February 2020, 66 girls of Shree Sahjanand Girls Institute (SSGI) in Bhuj Town of Gujarat were made to undress, by the college and hostel authorities, to check if they were menstruating. Two others who said that they were menstruating, were not stripped.
  • After the initial probe, Darshana Dholakia, in-charge vice-chancellor of the university to which the college is affiliated, had justified the action, saying the girls were checked because the hostel has a rule that girls on their menstrual cycle are not supposed to take meals with other inmates.
  • This soon led to a widespread public outrage leading to the arrest of four and filing of FIR in Gujarat High Court, seeking direction for a law to specifically deal with the exclusionary practice against women on the basis of their menstrual status.

The Court proposed to issue the following directions for the State Government to follow;

  • Prohibit social exclusion of women on the basis of their menstrual status at all places, be it private or public, religious or educational
  • The State Government should spread awareness among its citizens regarding the social exclusion of women on the basis of their menstrual status through various mediums 
  • Empowerment of women through education and increasing their role in decision-making can also aid in this regard;
  • Sensitization of health workers, ASHA and Anganwadi Workers regarding menstruation biology must also be done so that they can further disseminate this knowledge in the community and mobilize social support against busting menstruation-related myths.
  • The State Government should hold campaigns, drives, involve NGOs and other private organizations to spread such awareness;
  • The State Government should prohibit all educational institutions, hostels, and living spaces for women-studying working and others, private or public, by whatever name called, from following social exclusion of women on the basis of their menstrual status in any manner; 
  • The State Government should undertake surprise checks, create an appropriate mechanism and take such other actions, steps as may be necessary to ensure its compliance including the imposition of an appropriate penalty against the erring institution.

Analysis of the issue

  • Form of Untouchability: It has been argued that treating menstruating women differently amounts to a practice of untouchability.
  • Violation of Fundamental Rights: The practice which is being followed and encouraged of exclusion of women on the basis of their menstrual status is violative of human, legal and fundamental rights of women, more particularly, those as enshrined under Articles 14, 15, 17, 19, and 21 respectively of the Constitution.
  • Stigmatisation of Menstruation: Menstruation has been stigmatized in our society. This stigma has built up due to the traditional beliefs in impurity of menstruating women and our unwillingness to discuss it normally
  • Daily restrictions faced by women: Not entering the “puja” room is the major restriction among the urban girls whereas, not entering the kitchen is the main restriction among the rural girls during menstruation. Menstruating girls and women are also restricted from offering prayers and touching holy books
  • Patriarchal beliefs: The underlying basis for this myth is also the cultural beliefs of impurity associated with menstruation and that it is believed that menstruating women are unhygienic and unclean and hence the food they prepare or handle can get contaminated.
  • Impact on Education: Large number of girls in many less economically developed countries drop out of school when they begin menstruating (over 23% of girls in India)
  • Impact on Health: Such taboos about menstruation present in many societies impact on girls’ and women’s emotional state, mentality and lifestyle and most importantly, health. 88% of women in India sometimes resort to using ashes, newspapers, dried leaves and husk sand to aid absorption. Poor protection and inadequate washing facilities may increase susceptibility to infection.
  • Lacks Awareness and Public debate: Young girls often grow up with limited knowledge of menstruation because their mothers and other women shy away from discussing the issues with them. 
  • Against Right to Privacy: Exclusion on the basis of menstruation status is not only an infringement of women’s bodily autonomy but also an infringement of right to privacy
  • Against Judicial Precedence in Sabarimala Verdict: The petitioners have relied on the Supreme Court’s Sabarimala temple entry judgment where a 4:1 majority bench had held that the temple’s practice of excluding women’s entry is unconstitutional
  • Gender–unfriendly school culture and infrastructure and the lack of adequate menstrual protection alternatives and/or clean, safe and private sanitation facilities for female teachers and girls undermine their right to privacy.

Conclusion

However, before issuing appropriate directions, as referred to above, the Court has sought the response of the State Government as well as the Union of India.

Connecting the dots:


GOVERNANCE/ POLITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure 
  • GS-2: Parliament and State legislatures—structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these

Uttarakhand ILP System

Context: The Uttarakhand government, in a recent meeting with Union Home Minister, had sought withdrawal of “inner-line permit” (ILP) system in Niti Valley of Chamoli district and Nelang Valley of Uttarkashi district of the State.

What is ILP System?

  • Uttarakhand shares a 350-km border with China and a 275-km boundary with Nepal. 
  • The ILP system restricts movement in areas close to the border for everyone other than those with a formal permission. 
  • In Uttarakhand, tourists have to obtain ILP for locations near China border, at least in the three districts of Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh and Chamoli.
  • ITBP allows a minimum possible number of tourists in these areas as there is a risk of getting trapped and going missing in snowfalls in that area

Reasons why Government and People are asking for removal of ILP system

  • Relaxation on movement will increase tourist activities in the area. Presently, foreign tourists are prohibited in this area while domestic tourists are allowed entry with ILP. The maximum number of people allowed are 24 in a day and they cannot stay there at night.
  • Removal of restriction also means increase in overall economic activities of the region.
  • Villages will be rehabilitated so that locals could also act as ‘eyes’ and ‘ears’ at border for surveillance.
  • It will also stop outward migration. This is because most of the border villages see outward migration owing to lack of livelihood opportunities

Connecting the dots:


(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 challenges faced by consumers of electric vehicles:

  1. High interest rates
  2. High insurance rates 
  3. Low loan-to-value ratios.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System:

  1. It is developed by DRDO. 
  2. Hydrogen generated onboard makes AIP unique. 

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 Which of the following Ministry is responsible for KUSUM scheme? 

  1. Ministry of Environment 
  2. Ministry of Finance 
  3. Ministry of Agriculture 
  4. Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Q.4 Maitri Setu bridge has been built between which of the following countries? 

  1. India and nepal
  2. India and Myanmar
  3. Bhutan and Nepal 
  4. India and Bangladesh 

Q.5 Feni river flows between which of the following? 

  1. Tripura and Mizoram
  2. Tripura and Bangladesh 
  3. Tripura and Nagaland 
  4. Tripura and Meghalaya 

ANSWERS FOR 11th March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 A
2 D

Must Read

On court orders restraining media:

The Hindu

On working towards Climate Justice:

The Hindu

On rape and Judiciary:

Indian Express

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