DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th March 2021

  • IASbaba
  • March 9, 2021
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IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
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Agroforestry In The Silk Sector

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

In news

  • It is about a convergence model for the implementation of Agroforestry in the silk sector under the Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme.
  • Objective: Augmentation of sericulture host plants (Mulberry, Asan, Arjuna, Som, Soalu, Kesseru, BadaKesseru, Phanat) to be cultivated both as block plantations and border plantations on farmlands.

Important value additions

The Central Silk Board (CSB) 

  • It is a Statutory Body.
  • Established: 1948
  • Ministry: Ministry of Textiles 
  • Headquarter: Bengaluru

Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme

  • Implemented by: The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DAC & FW) since 2016-17 
  • This scheme is a part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.
  • India is the first country to have such a comprehensive policy 
  • It was launched at the World Agroforestry Congress held in Delhi in February 2014.
  • At present, the scheme is being implemented in 20 States and 2 UTs.
  • Aim: To encourage farmers to plant multi-purpose trees together with the agriculture crops for climate resilience and an additional source of income to the farmers.

Mandatory provision of Airbags

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Disaster Management

In news

  • A Gazette notification has been issued regarding mandatory provision of an airbag for passengers seated on the front seat of a vehicle, next to the driver.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Road Transport and Highways

Key takeaways

  • Vehicles manufactured on and after the April 1, 2021 (new models) and August 31, 2021 (existing models) shall be fitted with airbags.
  • This safety feature is based on suggestions of the Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety.
  • It is compulsory for all existing models in the M1 category — passenger motor vehicles having not more than eight seats in addition to the driver’s.

Important value additions


  • An airbag pops up as a protective cushion between the passenger and the car’s dashboard during a collision.
  • In moderate to severe frontal crashes, front airbags are designed to inflate in order to prevent a person’s head and chest from contacting hard structures in the vehicle.

Do you know?

  • As per a recent World Bank report, India accounts for 10% of all road crash victims in the world. 
  • Some of the other safety features in automobiles are:
    1. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
    2. Speed Alert System
    3. Reverse Parking Sensors
    4. Driver and passenger seat belt reminder
    5. Manual override for central locking system

Air strikes on Sanaʽa

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

In news

  • A Saudi-led military coalition mounted air strikes on Yemen’s capital Sana’a.
  • Saudi had intercepted 10 drones launched by Houthis before the strikes.

Key takeaways

  • Sanaʽa is the largest city in Yemen.
  • Constitutionally, Sanaʽa is the capital of Yemen. 
  • In the aftermath of the Houthi occupation, the capital moved to Aden – the former capital of South Yemen.
  • Aden is located next to the Sarawat Mountains of Jabal An-Nabi Shu’ayb and Jabal Tiyal, considered to be the highest mountains in the country and amongst the highest in the region.
  • Sanaʽa is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • It has a distinctive architectural character, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns.

Conservation works of Singorgarh Fort

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture

In news

  • Foundation stone for the conservation works of Singorgarh Fort was laid down in Madhya Pradesh by the President of India. 

Important value additions

Singorgarh Fort

  • Location: Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is a hill-fort of Gondwana Kingdom
  • Gond ruler Sangram shah conquered the Singorgarh fort from Chandel rulers in early 16th century.
  • It is presently in a ruined condition.

CALM2 mutations

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

In news

  • In Australia, Leading scientists and medical experts are calling for the pardon of convicted child killer Kathleen Folbigg after a recent study showed that her victims
    (her own children) may have died of natural causes.

Key takeaways

  • Medical experts have argued that her children died due to a rare genetic defect.
  • They inherited a genetic mutation from their mother called CALM2.
  • CALM-2 mutations are known to cause sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
  • Calmodulin 2 is a protein that is encoded by the CALM2 gene in humans. 
  • Mutations in CALM2 are associated to cardiac arrhythmias.


Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav

  • National Committee has been formed to commemorate 75 years of India’s independence
  • The committee is called Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav.
  • 5 pillars have been decided for the celebration of the 75 years.
  • 5 Pillars: Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolve at 75.
  • Members of the National Committee: Governors, Union Ministers, Chief Ministers, political leaders, scientists, officials, media personalities, spiritual Leaders and eminent persons from other walks of life.

(Mains Focus)



  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

New Umbrella Entities (NUE)

Context: The RBI has set a deadline of March 31 for firms to submit their applications for setting up new umbrella entities (NUEs)

What are NUEs?

  • As envisaged by the RBI, an NUE will be a non-profit entity that will set-up, manage and operate new payment systems, especially in the retail space such as ATMs, white-label PoS; Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services.
  • NUE should take care of developmental objectives like enhancement of awareness about the payment systems. 
  • NUE should operate in clearing and settlement systems, identify and manage relevant risks such as settlement, credit, liquidity and operational and preserve the integrity of the systems.
  • In addition to this, they will develop new payment methods, standards and technologies as well as operate clearing and settlement systems.
  • NUE can carry on any other business as suitable to further strengthen the retail payments ecosystem in the country.
  • It is an idea floated by the Reserve Bank of India to create an alternate mechanism to the existing National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

Which players are planning to set up NUEs?

  • Only those entities that are owned and controlled by Indian citizens with at least three years of experience in the payments segment can become promoters of NUEs. 
  • Also, foreign investment is allowed in NUEs as long as they comply with the existing guidelines. 
  • Several companies have either tied up banks or major tech players to apply for NUEs.

What is the need for NUEs?

  • Currently, the umbrella entity for providing retail payments system is NPCI, which is a non-profit entity, owned by banks. 
  • NPCI operates settlement systems such as UPI, AEPS, RuPay, Fastag, etc. 
  • Players in the payments space have indicated the various pitfalls of NPCI being the only entity managing all of retail payments systems in India. 
  • RBI’s plan to allow other organisations to set up umbrella entities for payments systems aims to expand the competitive landscape in this area. 
  • For the players planning to establish these NUEs, the aim is to get an even bigger share in the digital payments sector.

Connecting the dots:



  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation 
  • GS-3: Awareness in the field of IT

Lateral Surveillance: Cyber Crime Volunteers Program


  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), launched the Cyber Crime Volunteers Program with the aim to allow citizens to register themselves as “Cyber Crime Volunteers’’ in the role of “Unlawful Content Flaggers”.
  • The programme targets to rope in around 500 persons to flag unlawful content on the Internet.
  • It will help law enforcement agencies in identifying, reporting and in the removal of illegal/unlawful online content.
  • The State Nodal Officer of States/UTs also reserves the right to take legal action against the Volunteer, in case of violation of terms and conditions of the Program.

Lateral Surveillance

  • This form of surveillance, which enables citizens to “watch over” one another is called lateral surveillance.
  • While surveillance of any kind shows an imbalance of power between the person who surveils, and the one under surveillance, lateral surveillance specifically ensures that the imbalance of power no longer exists.


  • Cause for Lateral Surveillance: Wherever the state identifies that it “cannot be everywhere”, it deploys this mechanism. The problem arises when it is organised and state-sponsored.
  • Hurts Privacy: Lateral surveillance is used to further emotional objectives such as community building and strengthening relationships with neighbours where emotional and social factors act as a driving force, thus creating a situation where privacy may be undermined for the betterment of the community.
  • Social Discriminatory: Surveillance technologies not only act as a tool for social control but also as a tool for social exclusion. Lateral surveillance thus makes it easier to discriminate between those who conform to the social norms of the majority.
  • Culture of Distrust: State-sponsored lateral surveillance is harmful as it creates a culture of ‘hate’, ‘fear’ and ‘constant suspicion’ against an ‘enemy’. This culture places a duty on people to ‘keep an eye out’ for ‘their own safety’ and this heightens the fear of crime in society.
  • Widen Faultlines in Society: Such perceived threats have a tendency to increase intolerance, prejudice, xenophobia and casteism in our society, while also violating the fundamental right to privacy, and, consequently, the expression of free speech and behaviour.

Connecting the dots:


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • 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 Sub-Mission on Agroforestry (SMAF) Scheme

  1. This scheme is a part of the recommendation of the National Agroforestry Policy 2014.
  2. India is the first country to have such a comprehensive policy 

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 Consider the following statements regarding Central Silk Board (CSB) 

  1. It is an autonomous body.
  2. It functions under Ministry of Agriculture.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

Q.3 Consider the following safety features:

  1. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
  2. Speed Alert System
  3. Reverse Parking Sensors
  4. Manual override for central locking system

These are associated with which of the following?

  1. Aircrafts
  2. Seaplanes
  3. Automobiles
  4. Ships

Q.4 Singorgarh Fort was recently in news. It is situated in?

  1. Rajasthan
  2. Gujarat
  3. Uttar Pradesh
  4. Madhya Pradesh


1 C
2 D
3 B

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