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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th April 2021

  • IASbaba
  • April 15, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) Galaxy

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Space; Achievements of Indians in Sci & tech

In news

  • Scientists from ARIES, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST) studied around 25,000 luminous Active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), a major optical imaging and spectroscopic survey of astronomical objects in-operation for the last 20 years.
  • They found a unique object that emits high-energy gamma rays located at a high redshift. 
  • They identified it as a gamma-ray emitting NLS1 galaxy, which is a rare entity in space.
  • It is identified as the farthest gamma-ray emitting galaxy that has so far been stumbled upon.
  • This active galaxy is called the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy. 
  • It is about 31 billion light-years away. 
  • The new gamma-ray emitting NLS1 was formed when the Universe was only about 4.7 billion years old as compared to its current age of about 13.8 billion years 

Infant Toddler and Caregiver-Friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Policies and interventions 

In news

  • The ‘Infant Toddler and Caregiver-friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme’ was launched recently. 
  • Launched by: National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation (BvLF).

Key takeaways 

  • The Programme is designed to help build capacities of city officials and young professionals for developing young children and family-friendly neighbourhoods within cities in India.
  • Under the programme, city officials and young professionals are proposed to be skilled through certified training and capacity building modules.
  • The training is proposed to be delivered through well-structured training modules, provided online through National Urban Learning Platform (NULP), 
  • NULP is the platform developed for knowledge dissemination by MoHUA and NIUA.

Important value additions 

  • The National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA), is a premier Institute of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, for research and capacity building for the urban sector in India. 
  • It was established in 1976.
  • The National Urban Learning Platform (NULP) is envisioned as a means of digitally consolidating key skills and knowledge required by urban stakeholders and making these available to all actors on a channel of their choice

Launch of e-SANTA

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy 

In news

  • e-SANTA was inaugurated recently. 
  • It is an electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and the buyers.
  • Launched by: Ministry of Commerce and Industry 

Key takeaways 

  • It will enable the farmers to get a better price. 
  • It will enable the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers enhancing traceability. 
  • The term e-SANTA was coined for the web portal, meaning Electronic Solution for Augmenting NaCSA farmers’ Trade in Aquaculture.
  • National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) is an extension arm of Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA), Govt. of India, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • e-SANTA will ‘RAISE’ the lives & income of farmers by:
  1. Reducing Risk
  2. Awareness of Products & Markets
  3. Increase in Income
  4. Shielding Against Wrong Practice
  5. Ease of Processes 

Launch of MANAS

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Society

In news

  • The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India launched the “MANAS” App to promote wellbeing across age groups.

Key takeaways 

  • It was jointly executed by NIMHANS Bengaluru, AFMC Pune and C-DAC Bengaluru.
  • MANAS which stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System was endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
  • It is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform. 
  • It is an app developed to augment mental well-being of Indian citizens.
  • It integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces developed/researched by various national bodies and research institutions.

Launch of Poshan Gyan

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Health 

In news

  • Poshan Gyan was launched recently. 
  • It is a national digital repository on health and nutrition.
  • Launched by: NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University,

Key takeaways 

  • The Poshan Gyan repository is conceptualized as a resource. 
  • It shall enable search of communication materials on 14 thematic areas of health and nutrition across diverse languages, media types, target audiences and sources
  • Content for the repository was sourced from the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Women and Child Development and developmental organizations
  • It introduces a unique crowdsourcing feature that allows anyone to submit communication material for inclusion on the website, followed by a review by a designated committee.

(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 
  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 

BIMSTEC

About

  • Bangkok Declaration of 1997: Established as a grouping of four nations — India, Thailand, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka — through the Bangkok Declaration of 1997 to promote rapid economic development, BIMSTEC was expanded later to include three more countries — Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan.
  • Alternative to SAARC: New Delhi chose to treat it as a more practical instrument for regional cooperation over a faltering SAARC.
  • The shared goal now is to head towards “a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region”.

Hurdles

  • Bilateral Issues: A strong BIMSTEC presupposes cordial and tension-free bilateral relations among all its member-states. This has not been the case, given the trajectory of India-Nepal, India-Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh-Myanmar ties in recent years.
  • Uncertainties over SAARC complicating matters: Both Kathmandu and Colombo want the SAARC summit revived, even as they cooperate within BIMSTEC, with diluted zeal.
  • China’s increasing footprint in subcontinent: China’s decisive intrusion in the South-Southeast Asian space has cast dark shadows about the cohesiveness of the grouping on issues like trade pacts, investments & security.
  • Rohingya Refugee Crisis: The military coup in Myanmar, brutal crackdown of protesters and continuation of popular resistance have produced a new set of challenges.
  • Untapped potential of Business cooperation: It lacks an effort to enthuse and engage the vibrant business communities of these seven countries, and expand their dialogue, interactions and transactions.
  • Poor implementation of FTA: BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement, signed in 2004, are yet to bear fruit. In contrast, much has been achieved in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and security, including counterterrorism, cyber security, and coastal security cooperation.

Way Ahead

  • Reinvent: The grouping needs to reinvent itself, possibly even rename itself as ‘The Bay of Bengal Community’. 
  • Comprehensive Economic Agreement: BIMSTEC urgently needs a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement to be a real game changer. Ideally it should cover trade in goods, services and investment; promote regulatory harmonisation; adopt policies that develop regional value chains; and eliminate non-tariff barriers.
  • Political will & Regular Meetings: It should consider holding regular annual summits. Only then will its leaders convince the region about their strong commitment to the new vision they have for this unique platform linking South Asia and Southeast Asia.

Connecting the dots:

  • SAARC 
  • Do you think BIMSTEC has the real potential to transform the collective future of South Asia? Examine. What are the challenges therein? Discuss. 

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues relating to poverty and hunger.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

India’s Food Wastage Problem

Context: Food wastage has been a problem for decades, and is worsening with time.  It has now acquired environmental dimension where by excess food waste usually ends up in landfills, creating potent greenhouse gases which have dire environmental implications.

Data on Food Wastage in India

  • According to the Food Waste Index Report 2021 published by the United Nations Environment Programme, 50 kg of food is thrown away per person every year in Indian homes.
  • Nearly 40% of the food produced in India is wasted every year due to fragmented food systems and inefficient supply chains — a figure estimated by FAO. This is the loss that occurs even before the food reaches the consumer.

Pandemic induced lockdown and food wastage

  • Rotting in godowns: In the wake of the lockdown imposed last year, surplus stocks of grain — pegged at 65 lakh tonnes in the first four months of 2020 — continued to rot in godowns across India
  • Farmers access to market affected during lockdown causing wastage: Although essential commodities were exempt from movement restrictions, farmers across the country struggled to access markets, resulting in tonnes of food waste. Meanwhile, instinctive hoarding by the middle class disrupted the value chain, further aggravating the situation.

Way Ahead- Steps to minimize food wastage

  • Irresponsible consumption patterns by household members means that change needs to begin in our own homes.
  • Calculated purchasing when buying groceries to avoid amassing more products than we actually need
  • Minimising single-use packaging wherever possible
  • Ordering consciously from restaurants
  • Reconsidering extravagant buffet spreads at weddings 
  • At the community level, one can identify and get involved with organisations such as Coimbatore-based No Food Waste which aim to redistribute excess food to feed the needy and hungry
  • We must attempt to change our “food abundance” mindset to a “food scarcity” one, working our way towards a zero-waste end goal. 
  • For the food that is left behind, one has to feed someone else or, at the very least, compost it so it doesn’t end up in landfills
  • One must be open to incorporating nose-to-tail cooking when it comes to meat and seafood so as to avoid wastage arising from meat industry
  • One has to start influencing simple decisions about own food consumption, and then get people in your immediate community to join.

(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 Poshan Gyan, a national digital repository on health and nutrition, was launched by which of the following?

  1. Ministry of health and family welfare
  2. NITI Aayog
  3. Ministry of Elctronics and Information technology
  4. Infosys

Q.2 MANAS was launched for which of the following?

  1. To promote COVID-19 vaccination awareness
  2. To promote wellbeing across age groups
  3. To provide assistance to school going children amidst lockdown
  4. To provide mental health assistance to recovered Covid-19 patients

ANSWERS FOR 14th April 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 D

Must Read

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The Hindu

On India-China relations:

The Hindu

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