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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th March 2021

  • IASbaba
  • March 17, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Bhaona: A traditional form of entertainment

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture In news

  • Bhaona was in news recently. 

Important value additions 

  • Bhaona is a traditional form of entertainment, with religious messages, prevalent in Assam.
  • It is a creation of Sankardeva, written in the early 16th century.
  • The plays of bhaona are popularly known as Ankiya Nats and their staging is known as bhaona.
  • The bhaonas are written in the Assamese and Brajavali languages.

National Institutes of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education & GS-III – Sci & Tech

In news

  • The Rajya Sabha passed the National Institutes of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Bill, 2019.

Key takeaways 

  • The Bill declares certain institutes of food technology, entrepreneurship, and management as institutions of national importance.
  • These institutes are: (1) National Institute of Food Technology Entrepreneurship and Management Kundli, in Haryana; (2) Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology, Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.
  • The Bill declares these institutes as National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management.

Launch of Project Re-HAB

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

In news

  • Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) was recently launched in Kodagu, Karnataka. 
  • Objective: To prevent elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.

Key takeaways 

  • It entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages. 
  • These spots are located on the periphery of the Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve, known conflict zone. 
  • It is believed that elephants’ fear of the bees will prevent them from transgressing into human landscape. 
  • Project Re-HAB is a sub-mission of the KVIC’s National Honey Mission.

SC intervenes for Great Indian Bustard 

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

In news

  • The Supreme Court intervened on behalf of the Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.

Key takeaways 

  • A Bench led by Chief Justice of India will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones to save the bird. 
  • The court also noted that an alternative mechanism — to install flight bird divertors — to guide the birds away from the power lines would be expensive.

Important value additions 

Great Indian Bustard 

  • Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps.
  • Physical description: Black crown on the forehead contrasting with the pale neck and head. 
  • They feed on grass seeds, insects like grasshoppers and beetles, and sometimes even small rodents and reptiles.
  • Distribution: India, effectively the only home of the bustards, now harbours less than 150 individuals in five States.
  • Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population also occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
  • Conservation status: Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972; (2)  Appendix I of CITES; (3) Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List.

Related article

Firefly bird diverters for Great Indian Bustards


(Mains Focus)


SOCIETY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

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

Population Stabilization

Context: The National Population Policy 2000 affirmed a commitment to achieve replacement levels of fertility (total fertility rate of 2.1) by 2010. 

  • Ten states — Karnataka, Punjab, Gujarat, Assam, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Kerala — and Jammu and Kashmir, have achieved this goal, albeit much delayed.
  • Kerala and Tamil Nadu had accomplished it decades earlier.
  • Secular Decline: This fertility decline over half of India has cut across all sections of society — the privileged and the poor, those educated or not, and the high and low caste. 

Key Takeaways from Success of Southern States

  • Question over Prerequisites: When fertility reduction in the five southern states succeeded, irrespective of literacy and education levels and could permeate all sections, it overturns the conventional wisdom that literacy, education and development are prerequisites for populations to stabilise. 
  • Proactiveness of State Governments: Fertility decline was achieved because southern governments proactively urged families to have only two children, followed by female sterilisation immediately thereafter. Almost the entire state apparatus was marshalled to achieve this objective.

Issue of UP and Bihar 

  • Populous States with High Population Growth: UP and Bihar are 23 per cent of India’s population and are projected to grow by over 12 per cent and 20 per cent in the next 15 years. Their high TFR pervades all religious groups.
  • High Fertility: Women in rural UP are still giving birth to four or more children.
  • Low Contraceptive Usage: the contraceptive prevalence rate is less than 10 per cent. UP’s has an over-reliance on traditional methods of contraception which is one of the factors for low contraceptive rate
  • Migration Factor: Bihar has the highest fertility rate in the country and also the highest outmigration. Almost half the women in some districts have a migrant husband and empirical evidence shows women’s unwillingness to seek contraception in the absence of the husband, resulting in unprotected sex when he returns.
  • Reliance on female sterilisation: No other country in the world uses female sterilisation as excessively as India. After the 2014 Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh) outrage, when more than 80 sterilisations were conducted in less than six hours and several women died, one expected that states would go slow on compulsory female sterilisation but has in fact not slowed down.

Issues with Population Control (at National Level)

  • Late Adoption of Modern Methods: Indonesia and Bangladesh introduced injectables right from the late 1980s but India only did so in 2016. Executed properly, one jab renders protection from pregnancy for three months
  • Lack of Political Will: While national and state policies emphasise male vasectomy, politicians never champion its adoption.
  • Failure of Constitutional Motivation: The freeze on the state-wise allocation of seats in Parliament until 2026 was extended through the Constitutional (84th Amendment) Act, 2002, to serve “as a motivational measure to pursue population stabilisation” — a goal which has not been achieved. In the absence of further extension, it will be politically destabilising.
  • Impact on Economic Growth: Demographics will eclipse economic growth and destroy the gains from a young populace. 
  • Patriarchy & Sex Ratio: Son preference, falling sex ratios, and an abhorrence towards begetting a second or third female child are negative developments that hampers population stabilizations
  • Emergence of Son of Soil Narrative: Southern states that have achieved population stabilization now face the issue of the elderly outstripping the working-age population. As a result, there will be increasing emergence of resistance to people from northern states working in southern states.

Way Ahead

  • Incentivise later marriages and child births
  • Make contraception easy for women: over-reliance on traditional methods of contraception needs to be swiftly replaced with reliable and easy alternatives
  • Promote women’s labour force participation
  • Stabilisation isn’t only about controlling population growth. A balanced sex ratio is essential to secure social cohesion. 

Conclusion

The population momentum, if managed properly in the Hindi belt, will remain India’s biggest asset until 2055. By 2040, India will be the undisputed king of human capital.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: India and its neighbourhood.

Sri Lanka’s War on Terror

Context: Srilankan government would soon ban the burqa.

Proposals of the government

  • COVID-19 and Burials: A government rule that Muslims who died of Covid-19 could not be buried saw community leaders go to court. The outrage it caused among Muslim countries and UNHRC led the Sri Lankan government to a rethink
  • Inquiry Committee Report: A Presidential commission of Inquiry set up to investigate the six suicide attacks at churches and hotels in Colombo and in two other places in the country killing 260 people, has submitted its report to President but has not been made public.
  • Burqa Ban: In the aftermath of 2018 Easter bombings, the Sri Lankan government had temporarily banned the niqab, a face covering worn by some Muslim women, although it had worded that in ambiguous terms as a ban on all face coverings. The burqa ban has been officially linked to national security and Islamist extremism
  • Closure of Madrasas: Along with Burqa ban, the government has also proposed to shut down 1,000 madrasas. 
  • Draconian Terrorism Law: The government has also armed itself with new regulations under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act to detain for up to two years for the purpose of “deradicalisation” of anyone suspected of harbouring extremist ideas, or for spreading religious, communal or ethnic hatred.

Critical analysis of the proposals

  • Large Section of Minority Population Impacted: In Sri Lanka, where Muslims comprise less than 10% of the 21 million population — they are mostly Tamil speaking and are mainly engaged in trade and commerce.
  • Collective Punishment: The ban is likely to increase the feeling among Sri Lankan Muslims that they are being collectively punished for the actions of a few in the community.
  • Invasive restriction of fundamental freedoms: There is no community edict in Sri Lanka demanding that Muslim women must wear a burqa. But for those who do wear it, as in many other places in the world, it is a matter of personal choice based on identity, or just modesty. Imposing restriction through laws is considered as assault on fundamental freedoms.
  • New widening fault line in Sri Lankan Society: The Easter attacks and the “othering” of Muslims that followed have set on edge a minority community that was once seen as better integrated in the national and political mainstream than the Tamils. The new proposals by government will further increase the acrimony & distrust between two communities.
  • Switzerland Model: Sri Lanka’s burqa ban announcement came close on the heels of the March 8 Swiss ban on the garment, which came after a national referendum. In a sharply worded statement, UN Human Rights Council criticised the Swiss ban as “discriminatory” and “deeply regrettable”. Other countries that have banned the burqa include the Netherlands, Denmark and France.

Connecting the dots:

  • Article 25-30 of Indian Constitution

(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 Bhaona is a traditional form of entertainment, with religious messages. It is prevalent in which of the following state of India? 

  1. Odisha 
  2. Tamil Nadu 
  3. Assam 
  4. Gujarat 

Q.2 Project Re-HAB is launched by which of the following? 

  1. Ministry of Environment 
  2. NITI Aayog 
  3. Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
  4. ISRO  

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Great Indian Bustard:

  1. Its population is mostly confined to Gujarat and Maharashtra. 
  2. It is listed in critically endangered category of IUCN

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 16th March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 A
3 B

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