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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th June 2021

  • IASbaba
  • June 29, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Govt. unveils ₹6.28 lakh cr stimulus post second COVID wave

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Economy

In news

  • The Indian Finance Minister announced some fresh relief measures for the economy, after the second COVID-19 wave.
    • It  focuses largely on extending loan guarantees and concessional credit for pandemic-hit sectors and investments to ramp up healthcare capacities.

Key takeaways

  • Health
    • Government will provide guarantee and the interest rate will also be capped at 7.95%, 
    • This will be the maximum rate which the banks can charge while lending.
    • A separate ₹23,220 crore has been allocated for public health with a focus on paediatric care, which will also be utilised for increasing ICU beds, oxygen supply and augmenting medical care professionals for the short term by recruiting final year students and interns.
  • Expansion of the existing Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) 
    • It is extended by ₹1.5 lakh crore. 
    • A new ₹7,500 crore scheme announced to guarantee loans upto ₹1.25 lakh to small borrowers through micro-finance institutions.
  • Tourism: 
    • Free one-month visas for five lakh tourists, 
    • Plan to support over 11,000 registered tourist guides and travel agencies
    • Working capital or personal loans to be provided 
    • Loans will be provided with a 100% guarantee under the scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • New seed varieties for farmers and additional outlays over the next two years to expand broadband to all Gram Panchayats.

Indian Initiatives Shaping Energy Transition

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Energy Sector

In news

  • Recently, the Minister of State for New & Renewable Energy launched ‘The India Story’ booklet. 
  • It is a compilation of Indian initiatives that are shaping India’s energy transition.
  • It was launched at the event on Accelerating Citizen Centric Energy Transition. 
  • The Minister also launched a website which will act as a repository of energy transition related knowledge resources from around the world.

Key Points of the booklet

  • In the last 6 years, India’s installed Renewable Energy (RE) capacity has increased by over two and a half times and stands at more than 141 Giga Watts (including large Hydro).
  • The installed solar energy capacity has increased by over 15 times, and stands at 41.09 GW.
  • During the last 7 years, over USD 70 billion investments has been made in RE in India.
    • India allows 100% FDI through the automatic route in energy sector.
  • Renewable Energy Investment Promotion and Facilitation Board (REIPFB) Portal has also been developed to provide one-stop assistance and facilitation to the Industry and Investors for development of projects and bringing new investment to the Renewable Energy sector in India.
  • Several members from the Industry have voluntarily declared RE goals and committed to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), Renewable 100% (RE100) and Science based targets (SBTs).
  • Rules are being framed for a ‘green tariff’ policy that will help electricity Distribution Companies (Discoms) supply electricity generated from clean energy projects at a cheaper rate as compared to power from conventional fuel sources.
  • The government is promoting Green Hydrogen with obligations for Fertilizers and Refining industries (Green Hydrogen Purchase obligations).

Recent initiatives in renewable energy sector 

  • Viability Gap Funding options for Offshore Wind Energy
  • Green Term Ahead Market and Green Day Ahead Market. 
  • Rules for facilitating RE through Open Access and RE procurement through exchanges will also be notified to promote non – conventional resources of energy.

International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

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

In news

  • Launched by:  UN General Assembly in December 1987 
  • Objective: To strengthen action and cooperation in achieving the goal of a world free of drug abuse, 
  • 2021 Theme:
    • Share Drug Facts to Save Lives.

Related Initiatives to drug free world:

  • Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, 1961.
  • The Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971.
  • The UN Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
    • India is a signatory to all three and has enacted the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985

Initiatives by India

  • Nasha Mukt Bharat Abhiyaan/Drugs-Free India Campaign:
    • Focal points: Preventive, mass education and sensitization, capacity building of service providers, positive partnership with educational institutions, and augmentation of treatment, rehabilitation and counselling facilities.
  • National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction:
  • Aims: Reduction of adverse consequences of drug abuse through a multi-pronged strategy involving education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.

MoU signed between the Ministry of Agriculture and Microsoft

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

In news

  • Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Microsoft to run a pilot programme for 100 villages in 6 states.
  • The MoU requires Microsoft to create a ‘Unified Farmer Service Interface’ through its cloud computing services.
    • It involves creating ‘AgriStack’ on which everything else will be built.

About AgriStack

  • It is a collection of technologies and digital databases that focuses on farmers and the agricultural sector.
  • AgriStack will create a unified platform for farmers to provide them end to end services across the agriculture food value chain.
  • It is in line with the Centre’s Digital India programme, aimed at providing a broader push to digitise data in India, from land titles to medical records.
  • Each farmer will have a unique digital identification (farmers’ ID) that contains personal details, 
    • Each ID will be linked to the individual’s digital national ID Aadhaar.

Need of the MoU

  • At present, the majority of farmers across India are small and marginal farmers with limited access to advanced technologies or formal credit that can help improve output and fetch better prices.

Benefits

  • Problems such as inadequate access to credit and information, pest infestation, crop wastage, can be addressed by use of digital technology.
  • It will increase innovation and investment towards the agricultural sector

Agni – Prime : New-generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Defence and Security

In news 

  • A new-generation nuclear-capable ballistic missile, Agni-P (Prime) was successfully test-fired by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). 

About Agni-P (Prime)

  • The ‘Agni Prime’ is the advanced version of the ‘Agni-1’ missile.
  • It is a short-range ballistic missile that will have a range of 1000 km to 1500 km. 
  • It will have advanced features in agility and road mobility. 
  • It is a surface to a surface missile that can carry a payload of around 1,000 Kg or a nuclear warhead. 
  • The double stage missile will be lighter and much sleeker than its predecessor ‘Agni-1’.
  • It is a canisterised missile.
    • Canisterisation of missiles reduces the time required to launch the missile while improving its storage and mobility.

About Agni class of missiles

  • The Agni class of missiles are the mainstay of India’s nuclear launch capability which also includes the Prithvi short-range ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles and fighter aircraft. 

Important value additions 

Submarine missiles

  • In the past few years, India has also operationalised its submarine-based nuclear launch capability, completing the nuclear triad.
  • The DRDO successfully test-fired a 3,500-km range submarine-launched ballistic missile, K-4. 
  • Once inducted, these missiles will be the mainstay of the Arihant class of indigenous ballistic missile nuclear submarines (SSBN). 
    • It will give India the stand-off capability to launch nuclear weapons submerged in Indian waters.
  • INS Arihant, the only SSBN in service, is armed with K-15 missiles with a range of 750 km.

Miscellaneous

Project Seabird and INS Kadamba

  • INS Kadamba is an Indian Navy base located near Karwar in Karnataka. 
  • The first phase of construction of the base was code-named Project Seabird which was completed in 2005. Development of Phase II commenced in 2011.
  • Project Seabird involves construction of a naval base over an area of 11,169 acres.
  • Phase I comprised construction of a deep-sea harbour, a township, a naval hospital, a dockyard uplift centre and a ship lift. It was completed in 2005.
  • Phase-II (2012) envisages expanding facilities to house additional warships and set up a new Naval Air Station.
  • INS Kadamba is currently the third-largest Indian naval base.
    • It is expected to become the largest naval base in the eastern hemisphere after completion of expansion Phase II.
  • However, the project involves several technical and environmental challenges.

(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

E-Commerce Regulation

Context: Recently, government published draft e-commerce rules under Consumer Protection Act.

Contributions of E-commerce Sector

  • Empowered Consumers: Over the past 10 years, e-commerce has empowered consumers probably more than any other intervention. Through its network, it has reached every corner of the country and enabled consumers to get goods at the click of button.
  • Brought Parity amongst Consumers: E-commerce companies has created a parity between consumers from all sections, social and geographical strata. Consumers across the country have more and equal choice, increased accessibility, and convenience.
  • Empowered sellers: The emergence of pan-India e-commerce companies has helped products/brands to reach even the remotest corners of the country at the most affordable price. Sellers have more access and ease of selling with reduced inventory and logistics costs.
  • Saviour during Pandemic Times: E-commerce emerged as the hero in keeping the economic engine running by supporting MSME sellers to replenish inventories as well as catering to consumer demand during lockdown

Concerns 

  • Increasing Government Intervention: The past few years have witnessed numerous regulations (draft e-commerce policy, FDI norms, Personal Data Protection Bill) that have been proposed to streamline/regulate the e-commerce sector. 
  • Small segment in large market: Streamlining the growth of the sector is important given its market potential, but government has to be mindful that this is a nascent sector and accounts for only four per cent of the total retail market in India
  • Can become Counter-productive: Over-regulation tends to curb competition and create monopolies instead of ensuring its holistic growth dovetailed with fair competition. 
  • Increased complexity of Doing Business: The new draft e-commerce rules would make the operating framework for e-commerce entities in India much more complex due to the compliance requirements that it requires to be followed.
  • Overlapping regulation: The proposed amendments seem to have an overlap with existing regulations under FDI norms and Competition Law. Clauses about related party transactions and exercising control over sellers, in case of marketplaces, have been addressed through existing FDI press regulations.
  • Going back to control era: The new e-commerce rules has the potential of creating a licensing regime for the sector given the powers of regulators, which may again limit competition and become detrimental for consumers.
  • Discourages investment: When the time is ripe to open up the economy to encourage investments, these amendments will act as a disincentive for e-commerce companies and sellers.

Conclusion

While the intent behind enacting these regulations is noble – to protect consumer interests – these complex regulations may have unintended effects on the sector that has thrived and expanded to empower both consumers and sellers over the past few years.

Connecting the dots:


RIGHTS/ GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Social empowerment and Fundamental Rights
  • GS-2: Judiciary and their role

Right to be Forgotten

Context: The Delhi high court recently granted relief to a petitioner seeking to exercise his “right to be forgotten”.

  • The petitioner, who was earlier acquitted in a narcotics case, appealed for the removal of the judgment of his acquittal from online platforms such as Google and Indian Kanoon.
  • This is not the first case of this kind in India and it will not be the last dealing with such issues.

The right to be forgotten

  • It is a right to have one’s personal information removed from publicly available sources on certain grounds.
  • It has its roots in the French right of oblivion which allows for individuals who have been convicted of a crime to prevent the publication of facts about the crime.
  • However, RTBF gained currency after the 2014 decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) in the Google Spain case
  • RTBF went on to be incorporated in Article 17 of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation which came into effect in 2018.

RTBF in India

  • In India, RTBF has not attained legislative sanction yet. 
  • So far, the Supreme Court has not dealt with a case directly on the RTBF issue. 
  • Different high courts have adjudicated upon such requests. The Gujarat high court refused the application by an accused in 2014 while the high courts of Karnataka (2017) and Orissa (2020) have allowed masking the name of victims in criminal proceedings, recognising their right to privacy.

Arguments for RTGF

  • Information on adverse judgments against an individual or an entity might be harmful to their reputation, hence they have the right to be forgotten
  • RTBF is also considered as integral part of the individual’s right to privacy. 

Arguments against

  • RTBF is clashing against the society’s right to know
  • It may not be suitable to be applied for judicial proceedings as RTBF may harm the transparency/openness of judicial process.
  • Open courts promote transparency and help make the judiciary more accountable.

Way Ahead 

  • There is a need for clear directives on how the RTBF can be applied in specific situations. 
  • The Supreme Court is best placed to come up with a policy on the implementation of RTBF by courts.
  • At a time when the judiciary is entering Phase III of its ambitious eCourts project, rights such as RTBF will have to be coded into any technology solution that is developed for judicial data storage and management

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 Consider the following statements:

  1. INS Kadamba is an Indian Navy base located near Karwar in Karnataka. 
  2. INS Kadamba is currently the third-largest Indian naval base.

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 About Agni-P (Prime)

  1. The ‘Agni Prime’ is the advanced version of the ‘Agni-1’ missile.
  2. It is a short-range ballistic missile that will have a range of 1000 km to 1500 km.

Which of the above is/are correct?

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

ANSWERS FOR 28th June 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 A

Must Read

On Privatization:

The Hindu

On India’s nutritional crisis:

Deccan Herald

On Anti-defection:

Deccan Herald

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