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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 7, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Matsya Setu

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

In news: Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying recently launched the Online Course Mobile App “Matsya Setu” for Fish Farmers.

About Matsya Setu App

  • Developed by: ICAR-Central Institute of Freshwater Aquaculture (ICAR-CIFA), Bhubaneswar, with the funding support of the National Fisheries Development Board (NFDB), Hyderabad. 
  • Aim: To disseminate the latest freshwater aquaculture technologies to the aqua farmers that will enhance their productivity and in turn, their incomes.
  • Species-wise/ subject-wise self-learning online course modules will be provided through the app
  • e-Certificate will be issues upon completion of the course 

Do You Know? 

  • India is the second-largest fish producer (7.7% of global fish production) and 4th largest exporter of fish in the world. (China is the largest producer)
  • Fish constituted about 10% of total exports from India and almost 20% of agriculture exports in 2017-18.
  • The fisheries and aquaculture production contribute around 1% to India’s GDP and over 5% to the agricultural GDP.
  • Around 28 million people are employed in the fisheries sector in India.
  • NFDB was established in 2006 as an autonomous organization under the administrative control of Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying to enhance fish production and productivity in the country and to coordinate fishery development in an integrated and holistic manner

What are the other Steps taken to improve the fisheries sector?

  • Constitution of the separate Ministry of Fisheries in February 2019.
  • Blue Revolution: Integrated Development & Management of Fisheries: Focuses on creating an enabling environment for holistic development and management of fisheries 
  • Fisheries & Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) was approved with a total fund size of Rs 7522.48 crore.
  • Kisan credit cards for Fishermen
  • Development of Inland Fisheries & Aquaculture

Ministry of Cooperation

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Governance

In news

  • The Indian Central government has recently created a new Ministry of Cooperation for strengthening cooperative movement

What are the features of the new Ministry?

  • Ministry created to realise the vision of ‘sahkar se samriddhi’ (through cooperation to prosperity).
  • It will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country.
  • It will work to streamline processes for ‘ease of doing business’ for cooperatives and enable development of multi-state cooperatives (MSCS),

What is a cooperative?

  • Cooperatives are people-centred enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realise their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.

Provisions of Indian Constitution related to Cooperatives

The Constitution (97th Amendment) Act, 2011 made following changes in Constitution

  • New Part IXB regarding the cooperatives working in India added. (Part IXA deals with Municipals)
  • In Art. 19(1)(c) the word “cooperatives” was added after “unions and associations”.  This enables all the citizens to form cooperatives by giving it the status of fundamental right of citizens.
  • A new Article 43B was added in the Directive Principles of State Policy (Part IV) regarding the “promotion of cooperative societies”

Source: TH


Polavaram Dam

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geography

In news: Increased inflows and stagnated backwaters caused a breach in the Godavari bund located upstream of the Polavaram dam  in Andhra Pradesh.

What is Polavaram Irrigation Project?

  • It is a multi-purpose irrigation project 
  • Location: Andhra Pradesh on the river Godavari, near Polavaram village.
  • Once completed, it will provide Irrigation benefits and will generate Hydro Electric Power and supply drinking water.
  • It will facilitate an inter-basin transfer to the Krishna river basin through its Right canal.
  • Indirect benefits include development of Pisciculture (breeding and rearing of fish), tourism and urbanisation.
  • The Project has been accorded national project status by the union government in 2014 (under Section-90 of Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014).

Where is Godavari River?

  • Source: Godavari river rises from Trimbakeshwar near Nasik in Maharashtra and drains into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Drainage Basin: Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha and smaller parts in Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Puducherry.
  • Tributaries: Pravara, Purna, Manjra, Penganga, Wardha, Wainganga, Pranhita, Indravati, Maner and the Sabri.

Source: TH


NIPUN Bharat Program

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Education

In news: Recently National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy program (NIPUN) was launched. 

What are the features of the programme? 

  • Mission has been launched under centrally sponsored scheme of Samagra Shiksha.
  • Objective of NIPUN: To ensure Universal acquisition of foundational literacy and numeracy (FLN) so that by 2026-27 every child achieve the desired learning competencies in reading, writing and numeracy at the end of grade 3 and not later than grade 5. 
    • Foundational language and literacy includes oral language, development, deciphering written words, reading fluency, reading comprehension and writing 
    • Foundational numeracy means the ability to reason and apply simple numerical concept in daily life problem solving
  • NIPUN lays down priorities and actionable agendas for States and UTs to achieve the goal of proficiency in foundational literacy and numeracy. 
  • Learning outcomes have been divided into three developmental goals: 
    • Goal I: Health and well-being 
    • Goal II: Effective communicators 
    • Goal III: Involved learners 
  • Five tier-implementation mechanism will be set up at National-state-district-block- school level 
  • Implementing agency at National level: Department of school education and literacy, Ministry of Education 
  • Attaining FLN for all children has been focused in national education policy 2020.

What will NIPUN focus on? 

  • Providing access and retaining children in foundational years of schooling. 
  • Teacher capacity building
  • Development of high quality and diverse student and teacher resources. 
  • Tracking the progress of each child in achieving learning outcomes. 

Flex Fuel Vehicles

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

In news: Government may issue guidelines for flex fuel vehicles by October. 

What is Flex fuel vehicle?

  • An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and blended petrol with different levels of Ethanol blends. 
    • These are currently being used successfully in Brazil giving people the option to switch fuel.
  • Such flexible fuel vehicles provide opportunity for increased use of biofuels for running vehicles. 
  • Earlier, Ministry of road transport and Highways had issued a Draft notification for mass emission standards for E 12 (Blend of 12% ethanol in gasoline) and E 15 fuels, thereby facilitating their use as Automotive fuels 

What are the advantages of FFV? 

  • Reduced dependence on petrol/diesel & thus reduced dependence on oil imports. 
  • Environment friendly because of less pollution. 
  • Aligned with Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan
  • Help in addressing the problems of surplus food grains (can be used in making Ethanol)
  • Provides employment opportunities for setting up bio-ethanol plants across India.

Challenges 

  • Require additional investment from auto companies in production lines and Technology transfers. 
  • Ethanol can also cause corrosion and damage to the engine.
  • Ethanol is also not as economical as gasoline as it does not provide the same level of fuel efficiency. 
  • Diversion of food crops (like sugarcane) to ethanol production.

Discrete Auroras of Mars

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Geographical phenomenon and GS III – Space; Sci and tech

In news

  • Recently, the UAE’s Hope spacecraft has captured images of glowing atmospheric lights in the Mars night sky, known as discrete auroras.
  • The Hope Probe, the Arab world’s first mission to Mars, took off from Earth in July 2020, and has been orbiting the Red Planet (Mars) since February 2021. It is expected to create the first complete portrait of the planet’s atmosphere.

What are Auroras?

  • An Aurora is a display of light in the sky predominantly seen in the high latitude regions (Arctic and Antarctic). It is also known as a Polar light.
  • They commonly occur at high northern and southern latitudes, less frequent at mid-latitudes, and seldom seen near the equator.
  • While usually a milky greenish color, auroras can also show red, blue, violet, pink, and white. These colors appear in a variety of continuously changing shapes.
  • Auroras are not just something that happens on Earth. If a planet has an atmosphere and magnetic field, they probably have auroras.

What are Discrete Auroras of Mars?

  • Unlike auroras on Earth, which are seen only near the north and south poles, Discrete Auroras (DA) on Mars are seen all around the planet at night time.
  • These DAs are traced out where energetic particles excite the atmosphere after being funneled down by a patchy network of crustal magnetic fields (originating from minerals on the surface of Mars)
  • Unlike Earth, which has a strong magnetic field, the Martian magnetic field has largely died out. This is because the molten iron at the interior of the planet – which produces magnetism – has cooled.
  • However, the Martian crust, which hardened billions of years ago when the magnetic field still existed, retains some magnetism.

What is its Significance?

  • Studying Martian auroras is important for scientists, for it can offer clues as to why the Red Planet lost its magnetic field and thick atmosphere– among the essential requirements for sustaining life.
  • With the information gathered during the UAE’s Mars mission, scientists will have a better understanding of the climate dynamics of different layers of Mars’ atmosphere.

Other Mars Missions

  • NASA’s Mars 2020 Mission (Perseverance Rover): The mission is designed to better understand the geology of Mars and seek signs of ancient life.
  • Tianwen-1: China’s Mars Mission: It was launched in 2019 to conduct scientific investigations into the planet’s soil, geological structure, environment, atmosphere and water.
  • India’s Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM) or Mangalyaan: It was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Andhra Pradesh by Indian Space Research Organisation in November 2013.

Miscellaneous

King Cobra

In news: Recently, a king cobra (Ophiophagus hannah), was sighted in the recently declared conservation reserve, Tillari, in Maharashtra.

About King Cobra

  • They are one of the most venomous snakes on the planet and the longest of all venomous snakes.
  • Their venom is not the most potent among venomous snakes, but the amount of neurotoxin they can deliver in a single bite—up to two-tenths of a fluid ounce—is enough to kill 20 people, or even an elephant.
  • They are the only snakes in the world that build nests for their eggs, which they guard ferociously until the hatchlings emerge.
  • They live mainly in the rain forests and plains of India, southern China, and Southeast Asia.
  • They are comfortable in a variety of habitats, including forests, bamboo thickets, mangrove swamps, high-altitude grasslands, and in rivers.
  • They face a variety of threats stemming from human activities such as:
    • Deforestation.
    • International pet trade.
    • Persecution by humans.
    • Used for skin, food, and medicinal purposes.
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
    • CITES: Appendix II.
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule II.

(Mains Focus)


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein. 

Fresh Stirrings on Federalism as a New Politics

Context: Tamil Nadu State re-introducing the term Union into the public discourse and other States pushing back against increased fiscal centralisation.

Issues with Indian Federalism

  • Coalition Politics yielded little results for federalism: Fiscal and administrative centralisation persisted despite nearly two decades of coalition governments. Ex: Aadhar, NFSA, GST, MGNREGA.
  • Electoral Pragmatism undermining Federalism: The contingencies of electoral politics have created significant impediments to creating a political consensus for genuine federalism. Ex: Toppling coalition government by misusing Governor & Central agencies
  • Federalism diluted under garb of Nationalism: Union governments have diluted with federalism in the grammar of development and nationalism. Ex: One nation – one market, one ration card, one grid’.
  • Misreading Federalism: In present context, federalism risks being equated with regionalism and a narrow parochialism that is anti-development and anti-national.
  • Centralisation at State Level: Also, most regional parties have failed to uphold principles of decentralisation in their own backyard. This shows that States themselves are not following the spirit of Federalism.
  • Silence of States on other State’s Federal issues: For ex: downgrading J&K status, NCT of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021 that undermined Federalism hardly witnessed protest by parties that were not directly affected by these. 
  • Divergence among States: Growing divergence between richer (Southern & Western) and poorer States (Northern & Eastern), remains an important source of tension in inter-State relations that has become a real impediment to collective action amongst States.
  • Dilution of Fiscal Federalism: The Union’s response, in the wake of fiscal crisis unleased by Pandemic, has been to squeeze revenue from States by increasing cesses (not shareable with States) that is against federal spirit.

Conclusion

Beyond principles, a renewed politics of federalism is an electoral necessity. No coalition has succeeded, in the long term, without a glue that binds it. Forging a political consensus on federalism can be that glue. 

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

RBI’s Financial Stability Report

Context: Recently, RBI released its latest Financial Stability Report (or FSR). 

  • Published twice each year, the FSR is one of the most crucial documents on the Indian economy as it presents an assessment of the health of the financial system.

What is the utility of Financial Stability Report?

  • The data in FSR helps assess the state of the domestic economy, especially in a fast-changing global economy.
  • The FSR also allows the RBI to assess the macro-financial risks in the economy.
    • Ripple Effect of Crisis: RBI tries to understand how a shock in one part of the financial system — say the banks — is affecting another part of the system — say the companies that finance housing loans.
    • Health of Banking System: As part of the FSR, the RBI also conducts “stress tests” to figure out what might happen to the health of the banking system if the broader economy worsens. 
    • External Risks: Similarly, it also tries to assess how factors outside India — say the crude oil prices or the interest rates prevailing in other countries — might affect the domestic economy.

Key Concerns highlighted in the recently released FSR Report

  1. Non-Performing Assets (NPA) of Banks
  • The actual level of bad loans as of March 2021 is just 7.5% but RBI had cautioned that GNPA ratio of Scheduled Commercial Banks may increase between 9.80% to 11.22% by March 2022 
  • In other words, while relief provided by the RBI in the past year — cheap credit, moratoriums and facilities to restructure existing loans — has contained NPA problem and things could get worse once relief measures starts to be withdrawn.
  1. Credit Growth Rate

Source: Indian Express

  • At less than 6%, the overall rate of credit growth (blue line) is quite dismal.
  • What is particularly worrisome is the negligible growth rate in wholesale credit (grey line). Wholesale credit refers to loans worth Rs 5 crore or more.
  • Looking at the blue line, it is obvious how the sharp fall in credit growth happened much before the Covid pandemic hit India. 
    • This points to a considerable weakness in demand even before the pandemic and, in turn, suggests that recovery in credit growth may take longer than usual.
  1. Sectors with the bleakest prospects in the first half of this year are given in the below table

Conclusion

  • Not everyone or every sector will recover at the same pace. most experts expect a K-shaped recovery from the second Covid wave.

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 Polavaram irrigation Project is located in which of the following state of India?

  1. Andhra Pradesh
  2. Karnataka
  3. Telangana
  4. Kerala

Q.2 Matsya Setu App was launched by which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Agriculture
  2. Ministry of Finance
  3. Ministry of Fisheries
  4. Ministry of Commerce

Q.3 Tillari Conservation Reserve is located in which of the following state of India?

  1. Karnataka
  2. Andhra Pradesh
  3. Madhya Pradesh
  4. Maharashtra

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

1 C
2 C
3 D

Must Read

On Mental Health Care:

The Hindu

On draft e-commerce rules:

Indian Express

On Indian Armed Services Reform:

Hindustan Times

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