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

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


Strategy for Pulses Cultivation in Kharif 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

In news

  • In order to attain self-sufficiency in the production of pulses, the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has formulated a special Kharif strategy for implementation during the Kharif 2021 season.

Key takeaways 

  • A detailed plan for both area expansion and productivity enhancement for Tur, Moong and Urad has been formulated.
  • Under the strategy, the high yielding varieties (HYVs) of seeds will be distributed free of cost to increase area through intercropping and sole crop.
  • It is proposed to distribute almost 10 times more seed mini kits than 2020-21 amounting to Rs. 82.01 crores. 
  • The total cost for these mini-kits will be borne by the Central Government
  • The Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs) and Krishi Vigyan Kendras will also be roped in for effective implementation and training to the farmers.

Stress Resolution Framework 2.0 for Individuals, Small Businesses and MSMEs

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy 

In news

  • RBI has announced following set of measures to relieve stress faced by most vulnerable categories of borrowers – individuals, borrowers and MSMEs.

Key takeaways 

  • Individuals, borrowers and MSMEs with aggregate exposure up to Rs. 25 crore, who have not availed restructuring under any previous frameworks, but classified as standard on 31 March, 2021, will be eligible to be considered under Resolution Framework 2.0.
  • This can be invoked till September 30, 2021 and will have to be implemented within 90 days after invocation.
  • For individuals and small businesses who have availed restructuring of loans under Resolution Framework 1.0, where moratorium of less than 2 years was permitted, lending institutions can now increase the period and/or extend residual tenure up to a total period of 2 years.
  • In respect of small businesses and MSMEs restructured earlier, lending institutions are now permitted to review working capital sanction limits, as a one-time measure.

Section 142 of the Social Security Code – 2020

Part of: GS Prelims GS-II – Policies and Interventions 

In news

  • Section 142 of the Social Security Code, 2020 has been notified by Ministry of Labour & Employment covering applicability of Aaadhar.

Key takeaways 

  • The notification of section will enable the Ministry to collect Aaadhar details for the database of beneficiaries under various social security schemes.
  • National Data Base for unorganised workers (NDUW) is at an advanced stage of development by National Informatics Centre
  • The portal is aimed at collection of data for unorganised workers including migrant workers for the purpose of giving benefits of the various schemes of the Government.
  • An inter-state migrant worker can register himself on the portal on the basis of submission of Aaadhar alone.

Exports of Organic Millets Grown in Himalayas to Denmark 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – International Relations & GS-III – Economy 

In news

  • In a major boost to organic products exports from India, first consignment of millets grown in Himalayas from snow-melt water of Ganges in Dev, Uttarakhand would be exported to Denmark.

Key takeaways 

  • APEDA, in collaboration with Uttarakhand Agriculture Produce Marketing Board (UKAPMB) & Just Organik, an exporter, has sourced & processed ragi (finger millet), and jhingora (barnyard millet) from farmers in Uttarakhand for exports, which meets the organic certification standards of the European Union.
  • Millets are gaining a lot of popularity globally because of high nutritive values and being gluten free also.

Do you know? 

  • Oil cake meal is a major commodity of the organic product exports from the country followed by oil seeds, fruit pulps and purees, cereals & millets, spices, tea, medicinal plant products etc.
  • At present, organic products are exported provided they are produced, processed, packed and labelled as per the requirements of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
  • The NPOP has been implemented by APEDA since its inception in 2001 as notified under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulations) Act, 1992.
  • NPOP has also been recognized by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for trade of organic products in the domestic market.
  • Organic products covered under the bilateral agreement with NPOP need not be recertified for import in India.

India – UK MoU on Migration and Mobility Partnership

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

In news

  • Cabinet approves MoU between India and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on Migration and Mobility Partnership.

Key takeaways 

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of MoU on Migration and Mobility Partnership between India and Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • Aim: (1) Liberalising issuance of visas promoting mobility of students, researchers and skilled professionals; (2) Strengthen cooperation on issues related to irregular migration and human trafficking between the two sides.
  • This MoU can support the innovation ecosystem in both countries by facilitating free flow of talent.
  • Ministry of External Affairs would closely monitor the effective implementation of the MoU through Joint Working Group mechanism.

(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

COVID Second Wave Crisis and Indo-US

Context: US had put a ban on exports of raw materials for vaccine production by arguing that it was “in the interests of the rest of the world to see Americans vaccinated”. 

A storm of protests and criticism erupted in India; influential members of the US political and corporate establishment implored their government to change its position. 

As a result, US acknowledged India’s assistance to the US in the early phase of the pandemic and announced package of assistance that had several elements:

  1. Reconsider Export Ban: First, the US Defence Production Act’s provisions are being reconsidered (that forms the basis of ban on export of raw materials used in Vaccine production). The authorities have agreed to approve the supply of filters needed for the manufacture of the Covishield vaccine.
  2. Surplus Vaccine doses: Second, it is estimated that the US will have 60 million surplus doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by June, which it will not use at home. Subject to clearance by the FDA, this will be released for use by other countries that may include India.
  3. Augmenting Oxygen Production: Third, a comprehensive plan has been prepared for the supply of oxygen-related equipment, including generation systems, cylinders and setting up of field hospitals with oxygen beds.
  4. Supply of Medicines: Four, a special focus is on stepping up commercial supplies of therapeutics, especially remdesivir. Immediate shipment of 1,00,000 vials by Gilead Sciences has been arranged, with another 2,00,000 vials to be made available by end-May.
  5. QUAD’s Vax Partnership: Five, the US Development Corporation will fund the Indian vaccine firm BioE to expand its manufacturing capacity. This is covered under the Quad’s Vax Partnership, enabling India and the other three partners (US, Japan, Australia) to produce and distribute at least 1 billion doses by end-2022.
  6. Support from Business Community: Google, Microsoft and Apple — as well as others — Amazon, Proctor & Gamble and more — are coming forward to commit their resources in India’s fight against COVID second wave.

Analysis

  • Pragmatism: Support offered by US Business Community a mix of altruism and pragmatism: US tech has large valuable investments in India which need protection. Negative public sentiment could hurt their investment protection prospects
  • Role by Diaspora: America’s turn around was due to the efforts of the Indian diaspora, backed by friendly American public figures and proactive diplomacy by India
  • Fear of backlash: US realised that the anti-American sentiment in India (which has a long legacy), can grow and trouble the bilateral relationship if it didn’t offer help at this juncture.
  • Changed Leadership: President Joe Biden’s “America is back” mantra —contrasted with Trump’s “America First”— re-assumed a liberal and humanitarian approach, thus indicating US eagerness for global leadership. Helping India at this need of hour shows leadership aspects of US.

Conclusion

When it comes to health-related cooperation, the US needs to internalise that helping India is really helping the world

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • 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.

Time for 5th generation banking reforms

Context: The government recently announced new banking reforms, involving the establishment of a Development Finance Institution (DFI) for infrastructure, creation of a Bad Bank to address the problem of chronic non-performing assets (NPAs), and privatisation of public sector banks (PSBs) to ease its burden in terms of mobilising additional capital.

The Indian banking sector has been evolving on a continuous basis, 

Reforms Outcomes
First Generation During the pre-Independence period (till 1947), the Swadeshi Movement saw the birth of many small and local banks Most failed mainly due to internal frauds, interconnected lending, and the combining of trading and banking books.
Second generation (1947-1967) Indian banks facilitated resource mobilisation through retail deposits)  Banking sector got concentrated in a few business families or groups 

Neglected credit flow to agriculture.

Third generation (1967-1991) The government was successful in breaking the nexus between industry and banks through the nationalisation of 20 major private banks in two phases (1969 and 1980) and introduction of priority sector lending (1972).  These initiatives resulted in the shift from ‘class banking’ to ‘mass banking’ and had a positive impact on the expansion of branch network across (rural) India, massive mobilisation of public deposits and incremental credit flow to agriculture and allied sectors. 

However, the banking industry experienced a decline in asset quality, financial soundness, and efficiency during this period as a result of relaxation in credit standards to meet the priority sector targets.

Fourth generation (1991-2014) Indian banking saw landmark reforms such as 

  • Issue of fresh licences to private and foreign banks
  • Introduction of prudential norms
  • Providing operational flexibility coupled with functional autonomy
  • Focus on implementation of best corporate governance practices
  • Strengthening of capital base as per the Basel norms.
  • Since 2014, the banking sector has witnessed the adoption of the JAM (Jan-Dhan, Aadhaar, and Mobile) trinity, and issuance of licences to Payments Banks and Small Finance Banks (SFBs) 
Reforms infused competition, thereby enhancing productivity as well as efficiency by leveraging technology.

SFBs has helped to achieve last-mile connectivity in the financial inclusion drive. 

Fifth Generation Reforms – Promoting Niche/Differentiated Banking 

  • Niche Banking caters to the specific and varied requirements of different customers and borrowers. 
  • Essentially, these specialised banks would ease the access to finance in areas such as RAM (retail, agriculture, MSMEs), infrastructure financing, wholesale banking (mid and large corporates) and investment banking (merchant banking and financial advisory services).
  • The proposed DFI/niche banks may be established as specialised banks to have access to low-cost public deposits and for better asset-liability management. 
  • Further, the existing strong local area banks and urban cooperative banks may be converted into RAM banks and be freed from dual control.
  • They also may be encouraged to get listed on a recognised stock exchange and adhere to ESG (Environment, Social Responsibility, and Governance) framework to create value for their stakeholders in the long run.
  • Government should establish sector-wise regulators and bestow them with more powers to deal effectively with wilful defaulters.

Conclusion

Given the current challenges of a burgeoning population, the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, and the West’s intention to shift its manufacturing base to India and elsewhere, it is essential to say ‘yes’ to fifth generation banking reforms.


(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 statements regarding National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP):

  1. It is implemented by APEDA
  2. It is not recognized by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for trade of organic products in the domestic market

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 APEDA comes under which of the following Ministry? 

  1. Ministry of Environment 
  2. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs 
  3. Ministry of Finance 
  4. Ministry of Agriculture 

Q.3 Section 142 of the Social Security Code, 2020 has been notified for which of the following? 

  1. For increasing minimum wage of unorganised workers 
  2. For increasing minimum wage of organised workers 
  3. For collecting Aaadhar details for the database of beneficiaries under various social security schemes.
  4. For collecting Aaadhar details for the database of women only who are unemployed 

Q.4 Which of the following are Kharif crops:

  1. Tur
  2. Urad
  3. Cotton
  4. Wheat

Select the correct code:

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

ANSWERS FOR 7th May 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D

Must Read

On patent protection:

The Hindu

On WTO revival and India:

ORF

About ramping up medical oxygen production:

The Indian Express

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