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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 17th July 2021

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  • July 17, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Digital Platform Kisan Sarathi

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

In news In order to facilitate farmers to get ‘right information at right time’ in their desired language, a digital platform ‘Kisan Sarathi’ was recently launched. 

  • Launched by: Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology

What are the features of the platform?

  • It shall empower farmers with technological interventions to reach farmers in remote areas. 
  • The farmers can interact and avail personalised advisories on agriculture and allied areas directly from the respective scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVKs).
  • It will be highly valuable not only in addressing the location specific information needs of the farmers but also in Agricultural Extension, Education and Research activities of ICAR.

About The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)

  • Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) recently celebrated its 93rd Foundation Day.
  • It is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India. 
  • The Council is the apex body for coordinating, guiding and managing research and education in agriculture including horticulture, fisheries and animal sciences in the entire country. 
  • With 101 ICAR institutes and 71 agricultural universities spread across the country this is one of the largest national agricultural systems in the world.

Some initiatives in Agriculture sector

Name Year Type Objective
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) 2017 Central sector To supplement agriculture, modernize processing and decrease Agri-Waste.
Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana 2016 Central sector To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana 2015-16 Central sector To ensure access to some means of protective irrigation to all agricultural farms in the country, to produce ‘per drop more crop’, thus bringing much desired rural prosperity.
National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) 2016 Central sector Pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana 2015 Central sector Encourages the farmers to adopt eco-friendly concept of cultivation and reduce their dependence on fertilizers and agricultural chemicals to improve yields.
National Livestock Mission 2014-15 Central sector To ensure quantitative and qualitative improvement in livestock production systems and capacity building of all stakeholders
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY) 2019 Central sector To provide the social security net for the Small and Marginal Farmers (who own cultivable land up to 2 hectares).
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) 2019 Central sector Provides for transfer of an amount of Rs. 6000/- per year in three equal instalments each of Rs. 2000/- directly into the bank account of beneficiary farmer families.

News Source: PIB


China Starts Carbon Trading Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – International relations and GS – III – Climate change

In news China recently introduced its long-awaited emissions trading system.

  • It is a system that would create the world’s largest carbon market and double the share of global emissions covered under such programs.

What are the features of the carbon trading scheme?

  • The carbon market will help the country lower greenhouse-gas emissions.
  • It will help China achieve its goal of reaching peak emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality, or net zero emissions, by 2060. 
  • The program will initially involve such 2,225 companies in the power sector which  are responsible for a seventh of global carbon emissions from fossil-fuel combustion
  • Under the trading program, emitters such as power plants and factories are given a fixed amount of carbon they are allowed to release a year. They can in turn buy or sell those allowances. That pushes emitters to think of controlling and reducing emissions in terms of a market.
  • Over the next three to five years, the market is set to expand to seven additional high-emissions industries: petrochemicals, chemicals, building materials, iron and steel, nonferrous metals, paper, and domestic aviation.
  • Rather than be subject to the absolute caps on emissions in other trading programs, Chinese companies will start off with allowances that use benchmarks based on previous years’ performances which can be traded by negotiation or auction.

What are India’s Initiatives to Reduce Emissions?

News Source: TH 


New Initiatives in Building Energy Efficiency 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Climate change

In news Minister for Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy inaugurated “Aiming for Sustainable Habitat: New Initiatives in Building Energy Efficiency 2021”

Significance of the inauguration

  • Building sector is the second largest consumer of electricity after industry but it is expected to become the largest energy consuming sector by 2030. 
  • Realizing its importance, the Government of India is focusing on improving energy efficiency across residential as well as commercial building establishments.
  • These initiatives will help enhance the energy-efficiency levels in residential buildings thereby leading to sustainable habitation. 
  • With future-driven initiatives like smart home ecosystems, optimizing energy-efficiency in any given structure will surely be the need in the coming years.
  • More energy-efficiency means less energy consumption in household and reduced carbon emissions. 

The initiatives launched included:

  • Specifying code compliance approaches and minimum energy performance requirements for building services, and verification framework with Eco Niwas Samhita 2021.
  • The web-based platform ‘The Handbook of Replicable Designs for Energy Efficient Residential Buildings’ as a learning tool, which can be used to create a pool of ready-to-use resources of replicable designs to construct energy-efficient homes in India.
  • Creating an Online Directory of Building Materials that would envisage the process of establishing Standards for energy efficient building materials.
  • Announcement of NEERMAN Awards, (National Energy Efficiency Roadmap for Movement towards Affordable & Natural Habitat), with the goal of encouraging exceptionally efficient building designs complying with BEE’s Energy Conservation Building Codes.
  • Online Star Rating tool for Energy Efficient Homes created to improve energy-efficiency and reduce energy consumption in individual homes. 
  • Training of over 15,000 Architects, Engineers and Government officials on Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) 2017 and Eco Niwas Samhita (ENS) 2021.

What is BEE?

  • The Government of India has set up the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) on 1st March 2002 under the provision of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. 
  • Mission: To assist in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles 
  • Primary objective: Reducing energy intensity of the Indian economy within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001. 
  • This will be achieved with active participation of all stakeholders, resulting in accelerated and sustained adoption of energy efficiency in all sectors.

Delhi Water Crisis

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Inter-State Relations

In news Haryana releases 16,000 cusecs water for Delhi amidst the water shortage in the capital. 

  • Delhi Jal Board (DJB) blamed the Haryana government for triggering a “severe water crisis” in the national capital, and exhorted the neighbouring state to adhere to orders by the Supreme court on water sharing.

What is the water Crisis in India?

  • India constitutes 16% of the world’s population, but it has only 4% of the world’s freshwater resources. 
  • With the changing weather patterns and recurring droughts, India is water stressed.
  • According to the latest data from the Central Ground Water Board (2017), almost 256 of 700 districts have reported ‘critical’ or ‘over-exploited’ groundwater levels. 
  • Water scarcity in India is expected to worsen as the overall population is expected to increase to 1.6 billion by year 2050.
  • Causes: Traditional techniques of water irrigation, excess use of groundwater, Rapid urbanization, industrialization, population growth, demand for domestic use 
  • Also, during the monsoon season the desilting operations of the water bodies, dams, etc. are not done at the time affecting the water storage capacity of India.

Solutions to mitigate water crisis

  • Rain water harvesting
  • Micro irrigation (MI) systems (sprinkler, drip) 
  • Robust long-term planning and preparation for droughts and other contingencies.
  • Agricultural universities should take a lead in advising farmers on suitable cropping patterns to save water.
  • The practice of providing free or subsidised water and power to farmers must be stopped. Small and marginal farmers can be compensated for their loss by increasing the MSP for their produce.

Violence in South Africa

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

In news Recently, Riots and looting in South Africa have left more than 70 people dead, hurt thousands of businesses and damaged major infrastructure.

  • It is the worst civil unrest since the end of white minority rule in 1994.

Reason for Recent Violence

  • Protests began over calls for release of former president Jacob Zuma, who served the country from 2009-18 and is facing corruption charges.
  • While the violence may have been spurred on by the imprisonment of Jacob Zuma, it’s being fanned by underlying problems of unemployment and poverty amid a raging pandemic and failing economy.

India- South Africa Relations

  • India and South Africa have a long history of working together in institutions of global governance/multilateral fora such as BRICS, G20 , Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) and World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • India is South Africa’s fifth-largest export destination, fourth-largest import origin and second-largest trading partner in Asia.
  • The Department of Science and Technology of both countries have collaborated, especially in the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) project.
  • With the help of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an intensive programme of cultural exchanges is organised throughout South Africa including scholarships for South African nationals.
  • South Africa is home to the highest number of Indian Diaspora in the African continent, constituting 3% of South Africa’s total population.

News Source: IE


India’s Textile Sector

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Manufacturing sector

In news Recently, the Union Minister of Textiles held an in-depth review of initiatives undertaken by the Ministry of Textiles for giving a boost to the textiles sector.

  • Textiles & garments industry is labour intensive sector that employs 45 million people in India. 
  • It is second only to the agriculture sector in terms of employment.

Significance of the Textiles Sector

  • It contributes 2.3% to Indian GDP, 7% of Industrial Output, 12% to the export earnings of India and employs more than 21% of total employment.
  • India is the 6th largest producer of Technical Textiles with 6% Global Share, largest producer of cotton & jute in the world.
    • Technical textiles are functional fabrics that have applications in industries such as automobiles, civil engineering and construction, 
  • India is also the second largest producer of silk in the world and 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.

What are Major Initiatives by India in textile sector?

  • Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS): For technology upgradation of the textiles industry (2015)
  • Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP): To assist small and medium entrepreneurs in the textile industry to clusterize investments in textile parks by providing financial support for world class infrastructure in the parks.
  • SAMARTH (Scheme For Capacity Building In Textile Sector): To address the shortage of skilled workers. 
  • North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS): This is a scheme for promoting textiles industry in the NER by providing infrastructure, capacity building and marketing support to all segments of the textile industry.
  • Power-Tex India: It comprises new research and development in power loom textiles, new markets, branding, subsidies and welfare schemes for the workers.
  • Silk Samagra Scheme: It focuses on improving the quality and productivity of domestic silk thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported silk.
  • Jute ICARE: This pilot project launched in 2015 is aimed at addressing the difficulties faced by the jute cultivators by providing them certified seeds at subsidized rates, and by popularizing several newly developed retting technologies under water limiting conditions.
  • National Technical Textile Mission: It aims to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market. It aims to take the domestic market size to USD 40 billion to USD 50 billion by 2024.

News Source: PIB


Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Judiciary

In news The Union Government has approved continuation of the Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary for further five years to 2026.

  • The entire cost of the scheme will be Rs 9000 crore out of which the Centre will contribute Rs 5357 crore including Rs 50 crore for the implementation of the Gram Nyayalayas Scheme as a part of the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms.

 About the CSS for Development of Infrastructure Facilities for Judiciary:

  • It has been in operation since 1993-94.
  • The Central Government through this scheme augments the resources of the State Governments for construction of court buildings and residential quarters for Judicial Officers (JO) in all the States / UTs.

Significance/benefits of the scheme:

  • This will help in improving the overall functioning and performance of the Judiciary.
  • Continued assistance to the Gram Nyayalayas will also give impetus to providing speedy, substantial and affordable justice to the common man at his door step.

What are Gram Nyayalayas?

  • Gram Nyayalayas or village courts are established under the Gram Nyayalayas Act, 2008 for speedy and easy access to the justice system in the rural areas of India.
  • The Act came into force from 2nd October 2009.
  • A Gram Nyayalaya has jurisdiction over an area specified by a notification by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.
  • The Court can function as a mobile court at any place within the jurisdiction of such Gram Nyayalaya, after giving wide publicity to that regard.
  • They have both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the offences.
  • Gram Nyayalayas has been given power to accept certain evidences which would otherwise not be acceptable under Indian Evidence Act
  • Composition:
    • The Gram Nyayalayas are presided over by a Nyayadhikari, who will have the same power, enjoy same salary and benefits of a Judicial Magistrate of First Class.
    • Such Nyayadhikari are to be appointed by the State Government in consultation with the respective High Court.

 (Mains Focus)


GEOGRAPHY/ SCIENCE

Topic:

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

India needs a renewed health-care system

Context: For any population, the availability of functional public health systems is literally a question of life and death.

Comparison of Kerala & Maharashtra

  • COVID-19 case fatality rates are 0.48% for Kerala and 2.04% for Maharashtra, despite both states having similar per capita gross State domestic product (GSDP).
  • This implies that on average, a COVID-19 patient in Maharashtra has been over four times more likely to die when compared to one in Kerala.
  • Kerala has per capita two and a half times more government doctors, and an equally higher proportion of government hospital beds when compared to Maharashtra, 
  • Kerala fund allocation on public health per capita is over one and half times higher than that of Maharashtra.
  • Despite Maharashtra having a large private health-care sector, its weak public health system has proved to be a critical deficiency.

Way Ahead

  • Arrest Decline in Funding: Since 2017-18, Union government allocations for the National Health Mission have declined in real terms. Central allocation for the National Urban Health Mission is ₹1,000 crore, which amounts to less than ₹2 per month per urban Indian. This situation must change.
  • Preventing further privatisation of the health sector: Proposals for handing over public hospitals to private operators under the ‘Viability Gap Funding’ would lead to steep increase in healthcare costs.
  • Regulation of private hospitals: Learning from stark market failures during the COVID-19 pandemic, comprehensive regulation of private health care in public interest now must be a critical agenda of government
  • Effective implementation of CEA: Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act is not effectively implemented due to a major delay in notification of central minimum standards, and failure to develop the central framework for regulation of rates. 

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE/ WOMEN

Topic:

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

COVID Impact on Women Workforce

Context: COVID-19 Pandemic has severely exacerbated existing gendered barriers, widened India’s gender gap in the workforce, and affected (overwhelmingly female) caregivers and frontline workers.

Recent Survey Findings of Impact of Pandemic on Women

  • Economic Impact: Women made up just 24% of those working before the pandemic, yet accounted for 28% of all those who lost their jobs. Women also constitute 43% of those who are yet to recover their paid work. 
  • Impact on food intake: Due to low income, more than one in ten women limited their food intake or ran out of food in the week they were surveyed.
    • Impact on Health: About 16% of women had to stop using menstrual pads, and more than one in three married women were unable to access contraceptives.
  • Increased Unpaid work: Indian women already do almost three times more unpaid work than Indian men (nearly 6.5 hours a day). During Pandemic, there is 47% increase in unpaid labour for women, and a 41% increase in unpaid care work for women.
  • Government Support: One in three women said that government welfare schemes and SHGs had played an important role in helping them navigate the pandemic, comparable to the commonly cited family support. 
    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, and the public distribution system (PDS) supported 12 million, 100 million, and 180 million women respectively during the crisis. 

While the government’s role in entitlements has been invaluable to women, there is a need for broader conversations around universalising, deepening, and extending them support. 

Following are three proposals

  • Bundling free menstrual hygiene products with PDS would relax women’s dependence on income for these essentials.
  • Launching drives to enlist women on MGNREGS job cards and increase the total number of person-days to meet women’s demand for job opportunities.
  • Focusing on the inclusion of single, divorced/separated women in the One Nation One Ration Card rollout, and building social assistance programmes for informal workers, specifically domestic workers and casual labourers

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.

Q.1 Kisan Sarathi digital platform was launcedlaunched by which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare 
  2. Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology
  3. Ministry of Tribal Affairs
  4. Both (a) and (b) 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Textile industry initiatives:

  1. Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP) is launched to assist small and medium entrepreneurs in the textile industry to clusterize investments in textile parks by providing financial support for world class infrastructure in the parks.
  2. SAMARTH (Scheme For Capacity Building In Textile Sector) is launched To address the shortage of skilled workers. 

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3 Which of the following country has introduced its long-awaited emissions trading system that would create the world’s largest carbon market? 

  1. USA
  2. India
  3. China
  4. Russia

ANSWERS FOR 16th July 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C
3 B

Must Read

On China’s Belt & Road Initiative:

Indian Express

On Social Security for Informal Workers:

Indian Express

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