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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th March 2021

  • IASbaba
  • March 8, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (IMPCL)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health; Governance

In news

  • Indian Medicines Pharmaceutical Corporation Limited (IMPCL) has tied up with the Government e-Market (GeM) portal for selling its products online.

Key takeaways

  • GeM has created 31 categories under which IMPCL can upload medicines on the Portal.
  • Now, the Ayurvedic and Unani medicines will figure on the portal to hundreds of government sector buyers.
  • The prices are finalised by Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure.

Do you know?

Related articles:


First Counter-Terrorism Dialogue Between India-Nigeria

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

In news

  • The First Strategic and Counter-Terrorism Dialogue was held between India and Nigeria.

 

Key takeaways

  • Discussions were held on the threats and challenges faced by democratic societies from terrorism, extremism, and radicalization.
  • Specific areas of cooperation were identified to enhance fight against terrorism.

Do you know?

  • Nigeria is a country in West Africa bordering Niger in the north, Chad in the northeast, Cameroon in the east, and Benin in the west. 
  • Its southern coast is on the Gulf of Guinea in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • It’s capital is Abuja.

Related articles:


India – Sweden Virtual Summit

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

In news

  • Bilateral issues and other regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest were discussed.

Key takeaways

  • The two countries expressed satisfaction at the implementation of the Joint Action Plan and Joint Innovation Partnership 
  • Sweden’s decision to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was also welcomed.
  • The growing membership the Leadership Group on Industry Transition (LeadIT) was appreciated.
  • LeadIT was launched during the UN Climate Action Summit in September 2019 in New York.

Do you know?

  • The Nordic Region consists of Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland, as well as the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and Åland.

Transgender Community Desk at Cyberabad

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Social issues & GS-II – Policies and interventions

In news

  • A ‘Transgender Community Desk’ was inaugurated at Gachibowli Police Station, Telangana.
  • It is India’s first-of-its-kind gender inclusive community policing initiative.

Key takeaways

  • The desk will be managed by a police liaison officer and a transgender person who is designated as community coordinator.
  • It will be the focal point for all grievance redressal (violence, discrimination, etc.) among the transgender community of the district. 
  • It will also provide counselling, legal aid, soft skills training, job placements, etc. in partnership with the Department of Women and Child Welfare, and District Legal Services Authority.

Related articles:


NRI quota seats in educational institutions for OCI cardholders 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Education; Policies and interventions

In news

  • According to a recent gazetted notification, OCI (Overseas Citizens of India) cardholders can lay claim to “only NRI quota seats” in educational institutions based on tests such as NEET, JEE (Mains and Advanced), etc.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA)

Key takeaways

  • OCIs are not entitled to undertake any “missionary, mountaineering, journalism and tabligh activities” without prior permission of the Government of India.
  • The notification replaces three previous notifications which did not specify the special permission required for these activities.

Do you know?

  • OCI citizens are of Indian origin. 
  • They are foreign passport holders and are not citizens of India. 
  • India does not allow dual citizenship but provides certain benefits through Citizenship Act, 1955 to the OCIs.

Related articles:


Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary

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

In news

  • A three-member panel constituted by the Orissa High Court made a field trip to the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary to assess the measures taken for the conservation of endangered olive ridley sea turtles.

Key takeaways

  • According to an environment magazine’s report, 800 olive ridley turtles died since January due to negligence of the States Forest and Fisheries department.
  • The olive ridley turtles turn up in millions for mass nesting along the Odisha coast every year.
  • Gahirmatha beach off Bay of Bengal coast in Odisha is acclaimed as the world’s largest nesting ground of these turtles.

Chinese Dam On Brahmaputra

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

In news

  • According to a draft of China’s Five-Year Plan (2021-2025), first dams are to be built on the lower reaches of Yarlung Zangbo river 
  • Yarlung Zangbo river is the Brahmaputra known in Tibet before it flows into India.

Key takeaways

  • The Plan specifically mentions the building of hydropower bases which will be the priority energy projects.
  • This marks a new chapter in the hydropower exploitation of the river.
  • Other major projects include the construction of coastal nuclear power plants and power transmission channels.

The project is also listed along with the Sichuan-Tibet railway and the national water network.


(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic:

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

Police & Prison Reform

Context: Uttarakhand government recently issued a notification to post IPS officers as superintendents of prisons.

Analysis

  • Appointment of Police against Correctional Administration: The decision to appoint police officers as heads of the prison department, a practice that goes against the philosophy of correctional administration, was started in the 1980s, on grounds of strengthening security and to control corruption.
  • Difference in Training: Police personnel are recruited and trained to detect crime and maintain law and order, while prison officers are recruited and trained to reform and rehabilitate offenders.
  • Against Principle of Separation of powers: Appointing police officers in prisons either as superintendents or as jailors amounts to a violation of the principle of separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution. 
  • Purview of Judicial System: The meaning of judicial custody is that the police investigation is over and the accused is now taken out of police custody and handed over to the prison custody under the supervision of the judiciary.
  • Systemic Pressure on Prison Officials: Prison officers are a demotivated lot, often at the receiving end of a criminal justice system and the media, which is quick to highlight their misdemeanours and violations without going into the systemic reasons for the same.
  • Specialised Force recommended: Various prison reform committee reports like the Justice Mulla Committee on Prison Reforms Report (1983) and the Justice Krishna Iyer Committee on Women Prisoners Report (1987) have advocated that prisons should be houses of reformation and rehabilitation of prisoners and their families, and have recommended the creation of a specialised All India Prison Service along the lines of the IPS or IAS

Way Ahead

  • Increased Investment: We do not invest in the prison system in terms of resources and staff. In order to improve prison administration, increased investment has to go into infrastructure and training of prison officials
  • Involve Civil Society: We need to appoint social workers and counsellors in sufficient numbers. 
  • Training: We need to conduct regular training in human rights and social reintegration for prison staff. 
  • Filling up vacancies: We need to fill vacancies, which are as high as 30 to 40 per cent as per the India Justice Report 2020. 
  • Professional Rewards: We need to create sufficient scope for upward mobility for prison officers, so that good work can be rewarded with promotions.

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • GS-3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, Telecommunications etc.

Spectrum Auctions

Context: Recently, government concluded its first auction of telecommunications spectrum in five years generating a revenue of ₹77,815 crore from the exercise.

Key Outcomes of the auction

  • Reliance Jio accounted for close to 60% of the spectrum bought, followed by Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea. 
  • On offer was over 2,308 megahertz (MHz) of spectrum valued for the auction by the government at ₹3.92 lakh crore, and bids were successfully received for 37% or 855.6 MHz. 

How has the industry been since the last auction?

  • More Competitors in 2016: During 2016 auctions participants then included Tata Teleservices, Idea Cellular, Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India, Reliance Communications and Aircel.
  • Consolidation of Sector: In the last few years, there has been a consolidation in the industry, as a result of which there are only three major players now — Reliance Jio, Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea.
  • Moving towards Duopoly: Jio and Bharti Airtel are, by increasing their market share, shaping the industry toward “a near two-player structure”. On the other hand, Vodafone Idea is struggling financially.
  • Financial Stress in Sector: In recent years, while the user base has grown, the industry itself has witnessed unforeseen financial stress in the form of an important court case against it i.e. Supreme Court verdict on AGR issue

Why was an auction needed now?

  • All three players needed to renew some of their spectrum as the validity was set to expire later this year.

Wasn’t this for the 5G rollout?

  • No. The auction for that is likely to happen later. In the auction that was held on March 1 and 2, the government offered spectrum for 4G in the following bands: 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, 2,300 MHz and 2,500 MHz.

What do these bands stand for?

  • To explain this, we have to begin with the term ‘spectrum’, which, in this context, stands for the portion of the electromagnetic wave range that is suitable for communication purposes. As this is a huge economic resource, which also provides unimaginable benefits to any population, it is controlled by the government.
  • Spectrum bands have different characteristics, and this makes them suitable for different purposes. 
  • In general, low-frequency transmissions can travel greater distances before losing their integrity, and they can pass through dense objects more easily. Less data can be transmitted over these radio waves, however. 
  • Higher-frequency transmissions carry more data, but are poorer at penetrating obstacles.
  • In this context, hertz is a measure of the number of cycles per second, and 1 megahertz stands for 1 million hertz. Telecom providers cover their bases by using both low and high-frequency bands.

Why did the 700 MHz band have no takers?

  • The 700 MHz band, as also 1,800 MHz, 2,100 MHz, and 2,300 MHz bands, are seen playing an important role in the 5G rollout (the fifth generation of mobile networks that promises to connect everybody as also everything much faster and at much lower latency). 
  • The 700 MHz band was not expected to find any takers given its prohibitive floor price
  • Some see this as an opening for the government to scale down the reserve price when it comes up for bidding in future. Also, the “king” in 5G, the C-band, which is the band between 3,300 MHz and 4,200 MHz, was not on offer in this round of auctions.

How did this auction compare to the last round?

  • In 2016, about 40% of the 2,355 MHz of spectrum (at a reserve price of ₹5.6 lakh crore) was sold, giving the government ₹65,789 crore in revenue. This time, the Centre has managed to get more.
  • The government said the revenue generated by the auction has exceeded its expectations, which was about ₹45,000 crore.
  • The expectations were low because of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that the top three telecom players were looking to renew expiring spectrum and consolidate holdings in select bands.

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 Which of the following is/are covered under Ministry of AYUSH?

  1. Ayurveda
  2. Yoga & Naturopathy
  3. Unani
  4. Siddha 
  5. Homoeopathy
  6. Allopathy

Select the correct code:

  1. 2,3,4 and 5 only
  2. 2, 3, 5 and 6 only
  3. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3 only

Q.2 Which of the following does not fall into Nordic region?

  1. Denmark
  2. Norway
  3. Sweden
  4. None of the above

Q.3 India’s first Transgender community desk was inaugurated in which of the following state of India?

  1. Madhya Pradesh
  2. Telangana
  3. Maharashtra
  4. Gujarat 

ANSWERS FOR 6th March 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C

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