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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 23, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Govt. Portal for Children Orphaned by COVID-19

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

In news The government has introduced a portal to all the States and Union Territories for children orphaned by COVID-19

  • Any citizen can inform the administration regarding a child eligible for support under this scheme through the portal

About PM-CARES for Children

  • The Central government has announced the “PM-CARES for Children” scheme for all those children orphaned due to Covid-19.

What are the features of the Scheme?

  • Corpus of Rs. 10 Lakh:
    • A corpus of Rs. 10 lakh will be allocated to each of these children from the PM CARES fund.
    • It will provide a monthly stipend from 18 years of age. 
    • On attaining 23 years, he/she will get the corpus amount.
  • Education to the Children (under 10 years):
    • Ensure admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas/ private schools.
    • PM CARES will pay for the uniform textbooks and notebooks
    • If the child is admitted in a private school the fees as per the RTE norms will be provided
  • Education to the Children (11-18 years):
    • The child will be given admission in any Central Government Residential School
    • In case the child is to be continued under the care of guardian, he/she will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya/private school
  • Higher education:
    • Provision of either a scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees/ educational loans. 
    • Interest on the loan will be paid by the PM-CARES fund.
  • Health Insurance:
    • All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme 
    • The premium amount will be paid by PM-CARES till a child turns 18.

News Source: TH


Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC): RBI 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – III – Economy

In news The Reserve Bank of India is likely to soon start pilot projects to assess the viability of using digital currency to make wholesale and retail payments.

  • The projects shall help adjust RBI’s strategy for introducing a full-scale central bank digital currency (CBDC).
  • A high-level inter-ministerial committee set up by the Finance Ministry had recommended the introduction of a CBDC with changes in the legal framework including the RBI Act, which currently empowers the RBI to regulate issuance of bank notes.

What is The Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)?

  • It is a legal tender and liability of a nation’s central bank in the digital form. 
  • It is denominated in a sovereign currency and appears on the balance sheet of a nation’s central bank.  
  • CBDC is a digital currency which can be converted/exchanged at par with similarly denominated cash and traditional central bank deposits of a nation. 
  • At present, central banks of various nations are currently examining the positive implications that a digital currency contributes to financial inclusion, economic growth,  technology, innovation and increased transaction efficiencies. 

What are the Benefits of CBDC?

  • Alternative to physical cash
  • Instantaneous process: Transacting with CBDC would be an instantaneous process. The need for inter-bank settlement would disappear as it would be a central bank liability handed over from one person to another. 
  • Reduces cost of currency management: India’s fairly high currency-to-GDP ratio holds out another benefit of CBDC. Large cash usage can be replaced by CBDC. Also, the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency can be substantially reduced.
  • Need of the hour: If the private currencies gain recognition, national currencies with limited convertibility are likely to come under some kind of threat. CBDCs thus become the need of the hour.
  • Volatility: CBDCs, being the legal tender by Central Bank, will not witness any volatility as in the case of cryptocurrencies. 
  • Easy tracking of currency: With the introduction of CBDC in a nation, its central bank would be able to keep a track of the exact location of every unit of the currency. 
  • Curbing Crime: Criminal activities can be easily spotted and ended such as terror funding, money laundering, and so forth
  • Scope in Trade:  Foreign trade transactions could be speeded up between countries adopting a CBDC.

What is the difference between CBDCs and cryptocurrency?

  • Cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are digital tokens created by a distributed network or blockchain using cryptographic tools. CBDC are legal tenders by Central Bank.
  • While cryptocurrencies are decentralized, CBDCs are centralized
  • Cryptocurrencies offer anonymity, CBDCs would allow central banks to know exactly who holds what. 
  • CBDCs are also not stablecoins, which are a form of cryptocurrency that is pegged to another asset, for example, Tether. A CBDC would not be pegged to any fiat currency; it would be the fiat currency. A CBDC version of a dollar would be the same as a dollar bill.

News Source: TH


Honey Mission Programme launched by KVIC

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

In news The Honey Mission programme was launched by Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), under the Ministry of MSME, during 2017-18. 

Features of the Programme

  • It is being implemented to promote Bee Keeping activities and provide self-sustaining employment opportunities among farmers, Adivasies and unemployed youth in rural India. 
  • Under the programme, beneficiaries are provided with Bee Boxes, live bee colonies, tool kits and training.  
  • Also, Under Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries’ (SFURTI) implemented by the Ministry of MSME, traditional beekeepers are provided with sustainable employment by organizing them into clusters, and supporting them with new machinery and training.  
  • 29 Honey clusters have been approved under the scheme which will benefit 13388 beekeepers with Government of India financial assistance of Rs.68.65 crore.
  • It is also proposed to form 08 Self Help Groups benefitting 80 beekeepers in the Bundelkhand Region in the financial year 2021-22.

About National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) scheme 

  • Under the National Beekeeping & Honey Mission (NBHM) scheme under the Ministry of Agriculture, scientific beekeeping is promoted for holistic growth of the sector, leading to income and employment generation, livelihood support to farm and non-farm households.

News Source: PIB


Adarsh Smarak Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -I – Culture

In news Monuments at Nagarjunakonda, Budhhist remains at Salihundam and Veerabhadra Temple at Lepakshi are identified as ‘Adarsh Smarak’ in Andhra Pradesh for providing additional facilities.

About the Adarsh Smarak scheme

  • Launched in 2014 for providing improved visitor amenities, especially for the physically challenged.
  • Implemented by the Ministry of Culture.
  • The civic amenities are being augmented at the protected sites under the scheme.
  • Archaeological Survey of India had identified 100 monuments as “Adarsh Smarak” for upgradation 

What are the Objectives of the Scheme?

  • To make the monument visitor friendly.
  • To provide interpretation and audio-video centers.
  • To make the monument accessible to differently-abled people.
  • To implement Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

News Source: TH


Historic Urban Landscape Project

Part of: GS Prelims and GS I – Culture

In news Madhya Pradesh has launched UNESCO’s ‘Historic Urban Landscape’ project for Gwalior and Orchha cities of State.

  • The development and management plan of these cities will be prepared by UNESCO.
  • All aspects including history, culture, food, lifestyle, economic development, community development will be included in it.
  • These places will now be jointly developed by UNESCO, Government of India and Madhya Pradesh by focusing on their historical and cultural improvement.

What is the Background?

  • Gwalior and Orchha in Madhya Pradesh were included in the list of UNESCOs world heritage cities under its urban landscape city programme in December 2020.
  • Gwalior: It was established in the 9th century and ruled by Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.
  • Orchha: It is popular for its temples and palaces and was the capital of the Bundela kingdom in the 16th century.
  • The famous spots in the town are Raj Mahal, Jehangir Mahal, Ramraja Temple, Rai Praveen Mahal, and Laxminarayan Mandir 

About the ‘Historic Urban Landscape’ Approach:

  • It was adopted in 2011 at UNESCO’s General Conference.
  • UNESCO defines HUL approach as an integrated approach towards managing heritage resources found within dynamic and evolving environments.
  • HUL acknowledges the interconnections within a city, which occur between the built and natural environments, the tangible and intangible values, as well as within the cultural and social practices of a community.
  • The approach addresses the policy, governance and management concerns involving a variety of stakeholders, including local, national, regional, international, public and private actors in the urban development process.

News Source: News On Air


China-led South Asian Initiative

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

In news Recently, Bangladesh has invited India to join the China-led South Asian initiative for Covid-19 vaccines and poverty alleviation.

  • It includes the creation of the China-South Asian Countries Emergency Supplies Reserve, and a Poverty Alleviation and Cooperative Development Centre set up in China.

About China-South Asian Initiative

  • Members: China, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
    • India, Bhutan and the Maldives are the other SAARC countries that are not part of this initiative.
  • China’s game plan: China has different kinds of strategic, maritime, political and ideological interests with different South Asian nations so it is increasing its engagements with each country on equal footing to counterbalance India. China is also building ports, roads and power stations as part of its Belt and Road Initiative.
  • India’s Stand: Given continuing tensions over Chinese PLA aggression at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, India’s stand is that other bilateral relations cannot move ahead without a resolution of the boundary stand-off.

Some of the India’s Initiatives for South Asia

  • In early 2021, India – driven by its ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy and in its understanding of its role as the ‘net security provider’ of the region began providing Covid-19 vaccines on a priority basis to its immediate neighbours (Vaccine Diplomacy).
  • India is also helping with the training of health workers in some of these countries and the setting up of the infrastructure to administer the shots.
  • Recently, India, Japan and Australia have formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)

News Source: TH


(Mains Focus)


EDUCATION/ 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.

The direction that the National Curriculum Framework needs to take

NCERT has tasked the State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) to develop four State Curriculum Frameworks (SCFs). They pertain to 

  • School Education
  • Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE)
  • Teacher Education (TE) 
  • Adult Education (AE)

The draft SCFs will feed into formulating the National Curriculum Frameworks, or NCFs, and the final version of the NCFs will be used as guiding documents to finalise the SCFs. 

  • NCERT will provide support to the SCERTs in terms of guidance, training of personnel, and technology platforms to develop these documents.
  • NCERTs will also provide e-templates & survey questionnaires to conduct surveys among various stakeholders. This ensures that board views from all sections of the population are taken in consideration while drafting SCFs & NCFs

NCERT has to be cautious of the following while deliberating & drafting on NCF 

  • The purpose of surveys on public opinion is to create a consensus on basic values, and the vision and the direction our education system should take. 
  • The data collected by NCERT should be analysed in a rigorous manner to make proper sense of gathered public opinion. 
  • Data needs to be analysed and organised in the light of the vision of the individual, society, and education inherent in the democratic ideal
  • There has to be logical derivation of educational aims from the vision of society, curricular objectives from the aims, and content from the objectives are starkly clear. 
  • Final NCF should be aligned with overall framework of values and future direction, current issues and problems of the education system, and public opinion. 

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ SOCIETY

Topic:

  • GS-2: International Events

In search of gold: On Tokyo Olympics

Context: Olympics is set to begin, after a year’s delay imposed by the pandemic’s shadow. 

  • ‘Tokyo 2020’, as the Olympics is branded for the latest edition, will commence at Japan’s capital on 23rd July while COVID-19 protocols are in place.

Uniqueness of Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • These are also the greenest of Games — medals are made from discarded mobile phones and the cardboard beds for athletes will get recycled into paper products after the event. 
  • The unique two flag-bearers rule — male and female — is a move towards gender parity.
  • The inclusion of new sports like skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing at Tokyo is a watershed decision with the potential to change the way Olympians look forever.
  • This id first global gathering since the pandemic. As many as 15,000 athletes and 5,000 plus support staff and officials from 200 countries will fly in and out of Tokyo. 

Games held despite many challenges

  • Further Postponement is unviable. International Olympic Committee fears missing out on the billions plus the scrapping of this edition might escalate the existential fear of the Olympic movement.
  • Local approval ratings for the Games now stand at the half-way mark, a considerable improvement especially after an 83% opposition as recent as May. 
    • The protesters are worried that with so many people coming in from different parts of the world it will increase the risk of spreading the virus further.
  • Dangers of Coronavirus: Even two days before the start, there were whispers of cancellation as the coronavirus graph linked to the Games and to Japan revealed an upward climb. 
    • Within the Olympics Village ecosystem of athletes, coaches, officials and volunteers, around 70 have tested positive for COVID-19. 
  • Even if Tokyo 2020 remains secure inside the bio-bubble, the virus will remain the all-pervading protagonist of this Summer Games.

India and Olympics

  • India has a mere 28 medals to show despite turning up since 1900. 
  • India’s initial share came from hockey but even that tap has run dry since the gold at Moscow in 1980. 
  • Over the years and through diverse sports such as shooting, tennis, badminton, wrestling, boxing and weight-lifting, India has earned a few medals. 
  • This time around, the pursuit to better the best-ever tally of six, gained at London in 2012, continues. 
  • A sobering truth is that the demographic-dividend of being the second most populous nation, does not really convert into a better yield in multi-event.

Conclusion

For a weary world forced indoors, a successful Games will touch off hopes of a future of normalcy and the outdoors.

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 Consider the following historical places:

  1. Ajanta Caves
  2. Lepakshi Temple
  3. Sanchi Stupa

Which of the above places is/are also known for mural paintings?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 1, 2 and 3
  4. None 

Q.2 Consider the following statements:

  1. Gwalior was established in the 9th century and ruled by Bundela Kingdom in 16th century 
  2. Orchha is popular for its temples and palaces and was the capital of the Gurjar Pratihar Rajvansh, Tomar, Baghel Kachvaho and Scindias.

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding Central Bank Digital Currency and Cryptocurrency:

  1. While cryptocurrencies are decentralized, CBDCs are centralized
  2. Cryptocurrencies offer anonymity, CBDCs would allow central banks to know exactly who holds what. 

Select the correct statements

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

ANSWERS FOR 22nd July 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 C

Must Read

On new e-commerce rules:

The Hindu

On Hong Kong Political suppression by China’s authorities:

Indian Express

On India’s Role in the Indo-Pacific:

ORF

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