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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 1st July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 1, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


NTPC Limited first energy company to declare its Energy Compact Goals 

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

In news

  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited has become the first energy company in the Indian energy domain to declare its Energy Compact Goals as part of UN High-level Dialogue on Energy (HLDE).
    • NTPC is India’s largest power generating company which is under the Ministry of Power.
  • The United Nations is set to convene a high-level dialogue (HLD) in September, 2021 to promote the implementation of the energy-related goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

About Energy Compacts 

  • It is a platform to unite and connect commitments and actions.
  • They are being mobilized by UN-Energy throughout the current Decade of Action.
  • They form part of commitments that will advance progress on one or more of SDG7’s three core targets.
    • SDG7 calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all” by 2030.
    • SDG 7 three core targets: Access to energy, Renewable energy, Energy efficiency.
  • These are voluntary commitments from Member States and non-state actors

About NTPC Energy Compact Goals

  • It has set a target to install 60 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2032. 
  • It is also aiming at 10% reduction in net energy intensity by 2032.
  • NTPC has declared that it will form at least 2 international alliances/groups to facilitate clean energy research and promote sustainability in the energy value chain by 2025.

PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Economy; Food processing

In news

  • The Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme completed its one year on 29th June.
  • It was launched under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan
  • It is currently being implemented in 35 States and Union Territories (UTs).
  • Ministry: Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).

Features of the PMFME

  • One District One Product (ODOP) Approach:
    • The States would identify food products for districts keeping in view the existing clusters and availability of raw material.
  • Other Focus Areas:
    • Waste to wealth products, minor forest products and Aspirational Districts.
  • Financial Support:
    • Existing individual micro food processing units desirous of upgrading their units can avail credit-linked capital subsidy at 35% of the eligible project cost with a maximum ceiling of Rs.10 lakh per unit.
    • Initial funding of Rs. 40,000- per Self Help Group (SHG) member would be provided for working capital and purchase of small tools.
  • Duration: 2020-21 to 2024-25.
  • It is a centrally sponsored scheme with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore.
    • It would be shared in 60:40 ratio between Central and State Governments, in 90:10 ratio with North Eastern and Himalayan States, 60:40 ratio with UTs with legislature and 100% by Centre for other UTs.

Other Schemes Related to Food Processing


Supreme Court’s Ruling on ONORC System for Migrant Workers

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

In news

  • Recently, the Supreme Court directed all states and Union Territories (UT) to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) system by 31st July 2021.
  • Introducing ONORC aims at reforming the PDS, which faces challenges like inefficiency and leakages.
  • ONORC was launched in August, 2019.
  • Aim:
    • Enabling migrant labourers covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) to access food at any fair price shop with his or her ration card in any part of the country.
  • Technology Used:
    • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on electronic Point of Sale devices at fair price shops.
    • The system runs with the support of two portals – Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and Annavitran.
    • The Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions and the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.

About ONORC Progress

  • Till date, 32 states and UTs have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries.
  • Four states yet to join the scheme – Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal.

Benefits of ONORC

  • The beneficiaries from one state can get their share of rations in other states 
  • The beneficiaries will have the opportunity to opt for the dealer of their choice.
  • It will be particularly beneficial for women and other disadvantaged groups
  • This will help achieve the target set under SDG 2 – Ending hunger by 2030

Not-for-Profit Hospital Model Study: NITI Aayog

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Health

In news

  • Recently, the NITI Aayog released a comprehensive study on the Not-for-Profit Hospital Model in the country.

Major Findings

  • Most of the not-for-profit hospitals charge lower than the for profit hospitals.
  • Most of the Not-for-profit Hospitals are empaneled with State or Central Government Healthcare schemes.
  • They use various levers, such as multitasking of workforce, In-house manufacturing of equipment, to facilitate their low cost of clinical care. 
  • They have lower operating costs as compared to For-Profit Hospitals.
  • There is a strong focus on quality care 
  • Challenges:
    • Most of the hospitals find it difficult to recruit and retain doctors and staff.
    • Delayed reimbursements and long-pending amounts
  • Funding:
    • External funding in the form of philanthropy and grants 

About Not-for-profit hospitals

  • Not-for-profit does not make profits for its owners from the funds collected for patient services. 
  • The owners of these hospitals are often charitable organizations or non-profit corporations.
  • These hospitals are a potential remedy to the challenges of unavailability and unaffordability of healthcare in India.

Recent Initiatives in Health Sector by India


Pyrostria laljii: New Species from Andaman

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III – Biodiversity

In news 

  • Recently, Pyrostria laljii, a new species which belongs to the genus of the coffee family has recently been discovered from the Andaman Islands.

About Pyrostria laljii

  • It is the first record of the genus Pyrostria in India. 
    • It is a 15-meter-tall tree.
    • This genus are usually found in Madagascar 
  • IUCN status given: Critically Endangered 
  • It can be distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk
  • Its umbellate inflorescence with eight to 12 flowers is also a distinct feature.
  • Place of discovery
    • South Andaman’s Wandoor forest. 
    • It could also be located in the Tirur forest near the Jarawa Reserve Forest and the Chidiya Tapu (Munda Pahar) forest in A&N Islands

About pokeweed 

  • Another new species of pokeweed named Rivina andamanensis was also discovered.
  • It was found growing under large trees, shaded and rocky areas, along with herbs and shrubby plants.
  • Pokeweed is a strong-smelling plant with a poisonous root. 
  • The berries contain a red dye used to colour wine, candies, cloth, and paper.

About Botanical Survey of India

  • It is the apex research organization under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) 
  • It carries out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of the country.
  • It was established in 1890 
  • It has nine regional circles 
  • Headquarter: Kolkata, West Bengal.

Related articles

Portulaca Laljii: A new species of wild sun rose

Pic courtesy: Noida News India


Miscellaneous

Zen Garden – Kaizen Academy

  • Recently, Indian Prime MInister virtually inaugurated a Japanese ‘Zen Garden – Kaizen Academy’ at the Ahmedabad Management Association (AMA) in Gujarat.
  • It is a joint endeavour of the Japan Information and Study Centre at the AMA and the Indo-Japan Friendship Association (IJFA), Gujarat. It is supported by the Hyogo International Association (HIA) Japan.
  • It will propagate Japan’s work culture in India and increase business interactions between Japan and India.
    • Zen is a Japanese school of Mahayana Buddhism emphasizing the value of meditation and intuition rather than ritual worship or study of scriptures.
    • Kaizen translates to ‘change for the better’ or ‘continuous improvement’. It is a Japanese business philosophy that focuses on gradually improving productivity by involving all employees and by making the work environment more efficient.

(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Reimagining Examinations

Context: In the wake of Pandemic, constructive strategies, particularly in the online mode, should be employed, rather than calling for the cancellation of exams.

Issues with Examination in the wake of Pandemic

  • Authorities can’t abdicate responsibility: It is the responsibility of every academician and authority to find the ways and means to conduct online examinations with reliable standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Importance of exams should not be diluted: For students, empowerment and acquisition of knowledge begin when they are properly evaluated in an appropriate examination system through a process that provides immediate results and success. Thus exams must be held either in online and/or offline mode.
  • Objective of Online Exams: The online pattern of examination should not only judge intellectual development, but it must also test the holistic development of students. 
  • Issue of Federalism: States, under Disaster Management Act, 2005, has power to post pone exams but they did not have the power to direct universities to promote students based on prior performance, as students’ assessment was the prerogative of the UGC. 

It is now mandatory that final-year semester examinations should be conducted either online, offline, or a combination of both methods. Therefore, a new examination pattern should be crafted.

  • Inclusive evaluation: A revised examination system should assess analytical and application skills, rather than mere knowledge in a given time slot. This would enhance the quality and competence of students.
  • Leveraging Technology: To restrict copying, answer scripts may be assessed using plagiarism software. With technological tools, monitoring and supervision of students during online examinations is not a difficult task.
  • Alternative of Open-book examination: This model allows students to refer to textbooks or other source material while answering questions. This will help counter rote learning, which pervades the current examination system, while also sensitising students to real learning and analytical and application skills.

Conclusion

  • Testing the knowledge gained and the presentation of that is the essence of education
  • It is the foremost responsibility of policymakers and educationists to tackle the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 
  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Rise of Taliban

Context: Pakistan PM Imran Khan has told western media that Pakistan’s leverage on Taliban has diminished after the US announced the date of withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, resulting in a de-facto victory of Taliban (Pashtun insurgent group).

Should the above statement be taken at face value?

  • PM Imran Khan’s virtual disavowing of past links with them is classic doublespeak which the West has been duped for the past two decades
  • Every intelligence agency that has operated in the Af-Pak region knows that the Taliban leadership lives under protection of Pakistan’s deep state in cantonments of Quetta and Karachi
  • The drug-funded weapon and cadre supply lines to Taliban run through Khyber and Spin Boldak pass on Afghan-Pakistan border.
  • Pakistan-based India specific terrorist groups like Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba act as force multipliers for Pakistan’s influence on Taliban as well as provide terror training camps to the Punjabi groups in Afghanistan.

Concerns with Rise of Taliban

  • Democracy under danger: Now that the US has begun withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan, the democratic institutions raised in the country in the past two decades will now be in peril as taliba’s objective is to establish emirate based on Sharia laws.
  • Moral Boost for other Terror Groups: The return of the insurgent group Taliban in Kabul will be seen as victory of jihad by Islamists and have long standing ramifications on an already unstable world.
  • Fault lines within Taliban:  With the present Taliban leader being more of a cleric, the contest is between his deputies, which may lead to internal fighting that can spill over in public sphere causing several casualties.
  • Not an easy road for Taliban: Neighbours of Kabul like India, Russia, Iran and Central Asia understand the security ramifications of emirate, as it will give rise to Sunni fundamentalism & have wider ramifications in the region. Their collective & individual responses can make false the prediction of imminent sweep of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
  • Possibility of Civil War: The past experience of Taliban rule for the Afghan population particularly the women, Tajik, Hazara and other minorities will lead to a serious armed struggle and the country will again slip into civil war.
  • Security Concerns for India: The Pakistani deep state will ensure that India will be impacted on the security front by the rise of Taliban at least in UT of Jammu and Kashmir with eastern Afghanistan providing strategic depth to terrorist groups like JeM and LeT.

Conclusion

Rather than putting all eggs in western basket, India will have to take pro-active steps to ensure that the present regime challenges the Taliban insurgents and the Afghan army does not give a walkover to the insurgent group. 

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 regarding National Digital Health Mission

  1. Every Indian under the mission would get an ID card containing all relevant information about his/her medical conditions and treatments, tests etc
  2. Ranging from doctor appointment to the medication prescribed, medical tests, every bit of detail will be available in the health profile of an individual across public and private healthcare.

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 One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC)

  1. The system runs with the support of two portals – Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and Annavitran.
  2. The Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions – inter-district and intra-district – the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.

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 30th June 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 B

Must Read

On India’s 1991 liberalisation leap and lessons for today:

The Hindu

On Police Reforms:

Indian Express

On MSMEs:

Financial Express

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