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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th July 2021

  • IASbaba
  • July 9, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Competition Commission of India (CCI)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Statutory Bodies

In news: The Union Cabinet has approved the Memorandum on Cooperation (MoC) between Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC). 

  • It will promote and strengthen cooperation in the matter of Competition Law and Policy and will enable CCI to emulate and learn from the experiences of its counterpart in Japan

About Competition Commission of India (CCI) 

  • It is a statutory body established in 2003 and became fully functional in 2009
  • It is responsible for enforcing The Competition Act, 2002 throughout India.
    • The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises. 
    • The Act regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and Merger and acquisition), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India. 
  • CCI consists of a Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government. 
    • Eligibility: Person should be qualified to be a judge of a High Court, or, has special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, commerce, law, finance. 
  • It is the duty of the Commission to:
    • eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition
    • promote and sustain competition.
    • protect the interests of consumers.
    • ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India. 

Recent Judgements of CCI

  • Cement companies: CCI imposed a fine of ₹63.07 billion (US$910 million) on 11 cement companies for cartelisation in June 2012. 
  • BCCI: CCI imposed a penalty of ₹522 million (US$7.6 million) on the BCCI in 2013 for misusing its dominant position.
  • Telecos: CCI ordered a probe into the functioning of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) following a complaint filed by Reliance Jio against the cartelization by its rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea cellular.
  • Google: The commission ordered an antitrust probe against Google for abusing its dominant position with Android to block market rivals.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

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

In news: Some modifications were approved by the Union Cabinet in Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.

  • The modifications in the Scheme will help to achieve a multiplier effect in generating investments while ensuring that the benefits reach small and marginal farmers.  

What is Agriculture Infrastructure Fund?

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme under Union Ministry of Agriculture to inject formal credit into farm and farm-processing based activities.
  • It is a part of the over Rs. 20 lakh crore stimulus package announced in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Aim: To provide medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets.
    • The funds will be provided for setting up of cold stores and chains, warehousing, silos, assaying, grading and packaging units, e-marketing points linked to e-trading platforms and ripening chambers, besides PPP projects for crop aggregation sponsored by central/state/local bodies.
  • Duration: Financial Year 2020 to 2029.
  • Target Beneficiaries: 
    • Farmers, PACS, Marketing Cooperative Societies, FPOs, SHGs, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Startups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects. 
  • Features:
    • Financial Support: Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans to be provided for Agriculture Infrastructure projects.
    • Interest Subvention: Loans will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.
    • CGTMSE Scheme: A credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from the scheme under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore.
  • Management: The fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform.
    • The National, State and District level monitoring committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feed-back.

Madurai Malli

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Intellectual Property Rights

In news: GI certified Madurai Malli and other flowers exported to USA & Dubai from Tamil Nadu.

About Madurai Malli 

  • It is the Jasmine flower, known for its strong and powerful, mysteriously attractive & seductive fragrance. 
  • Because of its place of origin, it is known as Madurai Malli. 
  • It is mainly cultivated in the district of Madurai and the neighboring places of Madurai like Theni, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar and Dindigul.  
  • It was given GI recognition in 2013. 
  • GI protection prevents producers of similar flowers in other regions from using the specific tag and helps growers in the specific region preserve their identity in the local and global market
  • Madurai has emerged as a major market for the malligai grown in its neighbourhood, and has evolved into the ‘jasmine capital’ of India.

What is Geographical Indication (GI)?

  • It is a sign on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regard to its special quality or reputed attributes.
  • It is a mark of authenticity and ensures that registered authorized users or at least those residing inside the geographic territory are allowed to use the popular product names.
  • GI tag in India is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999
  • It is issued by the Geographical Indications Registry (Chennai).

What are the Benefits of GI Tag?

  • It provides legal protection to Indian Geographical Indications thus preventing unauthorized use of the registered GIs by others.
  • It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
  • It leads to recognition of the product in other countries thus boosting exports.

‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’

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

In news: A webinar on ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ was organized by Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

What is the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ programme?

  • The initiative ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ was announced by Indian Prime Minister on 31st October 2015 on the occasion of the 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • It is implemented under the overall guidance of Ministry of Education.
  • The scheme was launched to celebrate the cultural vibrancy of India while establishing a strong mechanism to inculcate nationalism and cultural awareness among the citizens of our nation
  • It aims to enhance interaction & promote mutual understanding between people of different states/UTs through the concept of state/UT pairing. 
    • Under it rich culture, heritage, customs and traditions of paired states will be showcased in each other’s states
    • This cultural exchange amongst states enables people to learn about the culture of different states and regions, promoting the spirit of national integration.
  • Multiple initiatives have been taken up under the Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat program some of which are:
    • Award-winning books and poetry, popular folk songs have been translated from one language to the language of the partner state
    • Culinary events have been organised to learn culinary practices of partner states
    • Homestay for visitors coming from partner states
    • Rajya Darshan for Tourists
    • Accepting the traditional attire of other states and Union Territories
    • Exchange of information like traditional agricultural practices with partner states
  • The scheme thus bolsters sentimental bonds among the people of different states and build the feeling of ‘One Nation’ among all the citizens of the country

What is Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav?

  • It is a series of events to be organised by the Government of India to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of India’s Independence.
  • It will be celebrated as a Jan-Utsav in the spirit of Jan-Bhagidari.
  • It is based on five pillars i.e. Freedom Struggle, Ideas at 75, Achievements at 75, Actions at 75 and Resolves at 75 as guiding force for moving forward keeping dreams and duties as inspiration.
  • The Azadi Amrit Mahotsav means elixir of inspirations of the warriors of freedom struggle and also elixir of new ideas and pledges and nectar of Aatmanirbharta.

Kappa and Lambda- Newest Sars-CoV-2 Variants

Part of: GS Prelims and GS II – health

In news

  • Kappa and Lambda variants have been labelled as Variants of Interest (VoI) by WHO.
  • This means that the genetic changes involved are predicted or known to affect transmissibility, disease severity, or immune escape.
  • It is also an acknowledgement of the fact that the variant has caused significant community transmission in multiple countries and population groups

What are the concerns for India?

  • Kappa was first detected in India. 
  • More than 3,500 of the close to 30,000 cumulative samples submitted by India to the GISAID initiative are of this variant.
  • GISAID is a public platform started by the WHO in 2008 for countries to share genome sequences

What is Lambda?

  • Lambda is the newest VoI identified by the WHO.
  • It was first identified in Peru in December 2020. It is the dominant variant in the South American country with 81% samples found to be carrying it.
  • LV has at least seven significant mutations in the spike protein (the Delta variant has three)
  • The LV has greater infectivity than the Alpha and Gamma variants (known to have originated in the UK and Brazil respectively).
  • India has not yet reported any case of LV
  • A study also reported decreased effectiveness of the Chinese Sinovac vaccine (Coronavac) against the Lambda variant.

What is a Variant of Concern?

  • A variant for which there is evidence of an increase in transmissibility, more severe disease (e.g., increased hospitalizations or deaths), significant reduction in neutralization by antibodies generated during previous infection or vaccination, reduced effectiveness of treatments or vaccines, or diagnostic detection failures.
  • There are four – Alpha, Beta, Gamma and Delta – which have been designated as “variants of concern”, and are considered a bigger threat.
    • These were all recently named after letters of the Greek alphabet to avoid linkage with the country of their origin that had been happening until then.

ICDS Survey in Jharkhand

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Issues related to children

In news: According to a recent survey, more than 55% did not receive Supplementary Nutrition under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in Jharkhand even once in the first six months of 2021.

Vulnerability of Jharkhand

  • As per National Family Health Survey-4 data, every second child in the state is stunted and underweight and every third child is affected by stunting and every 10th child is affected from severe wasting and around 70% children are anemic.

What is Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)?

  • It is centrally sponsored scheme launched in 1975.
  • Implemented by: Ministry of Women and Child Development. 
  • It is an umbrella scheme under which Six Schemes operate
Anganwadi Services Scheme:
  • Programme for early childhood care and development.
  • Beneficiaries: Children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and lactating mothers
  • It provides a package of six services namely supplementary nutrition, pre-school non-formal education, nutrition & health education, immunization, health check-up and referral services.
  • Supplementary Nutrition includes Take Home Ration (THR), Hot Cooked Meal and morning snacks
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:
  • It is a centrally sponsored conditional cash transfer 
  • Rs.5,000/- is paid in three installments directly to the Bank/Post Office Account of Pregnant Women and Lactating Mother in DBT (Direct Benefit Transfer) Mode upon fulfilling certain conditions
National Creche Scheme:
  • It provides day care facilities to children of age group of 6 months to 6 years of working women.
  • The facilities are provided for seven and half hours a day for 26 days in a month.
  • Children are provided with supplementary nutrition, early childcare education, and health and sleeping facilities.
Scheme for Adolescent Girls:
  • It aims at out of school girls in the age group 11-14, to empower and improve their social status through nutrition, life skills and home skills.
  • The scheme has nutritional and non nutritional components which include nutrition; iron and folic acid supplementation; health check up and referral service; skill training; life skill education, home management etc,; counselling/ guidance on accessing public services.
Child Protection Scheme:
  • It aims to contribute to the improvement and well-being of children in difficult circumstances, as well as, reduction of vulnerabilities to situations and actions that lead to abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment and separation of children from parents.
POSHAN Abhiyaan:
  • It targets to reduce the level of stunting, under-nutrition, anemia and low birth weight babies by reducing mal-nutrition/undernutrition, anemia among young children as also, focus on adolescent girls, pregnant women and lactating mothers.

What are the Objectives of ICDS?

  • To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years.
  • To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child.
  • To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout.
  • To achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development.
  • To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child.
  • To facilitate, educate and empower Adolescent Girls (AGs) so as to enable them to become self-reliant and aware citizens.

(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ SECURITY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive; Issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Tracking Fugitives Everywhere

Context: The number of cases where coordinated efforts are made to pursue fugitives – domestically or internationally – are hardly documented. 

  • If the number of Red Corner Notices issued are of any indication, only about 750 such criminals are wanted by Indian agencies. The number of Blue Corner Notices issued is about 300.

Issues

  • Lack of Domestic Tracking System: Theoretically there exists a system of tracking criminals worldwide – through Interpol Notices and the sharing of immigration databases of different countries – but there is no coordinated system or database for tracking criminals or wanted persons domestically.
  • Criminals remain underground exploiting Indian Police system: In the absence of such domestic tracking system, it is relatively easy for criminals from one police station/jurisdiction to melt into the population in any other area, almost undetected.

Way Ahead

  • Nationwide Database: The creation of a nationwide database of wanted persons, which could be accessible for police agencies, the public and others (like passport and immigration authorities).
  • National Notice System: A nation-wide system of ‘Wanted Persons Notices’, similar to Interpol Notices, is required, to help track fugitives domestically. 
  • Dedicated Units: Countries like the U.S. have functional inter-State extradition and fugitive tracking systems; India needs to set up such dedicated ‘fugitive tracking units’.
  • Greater Coordination: There needs to be enhanced integration between immigration agencies, State police agencies, Interpol-New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry and Home Ministry and central investigation agencies. Intelligence agencies also need to pool in.
  • Bilateral Agreements for Sharing Database: India can plug its loophole by sharing its ‘wanted’ database or providing access to it to foreign embassies on a reciprocal basis or through treaties or arrangements. All this will help detect possible plans of criminals to abscond abroad.
  • Specialised set up for International Collaboration: The entire gamut of activities pertaining to fugitives, from investigation to extradition, needs to be incorporated into a specialised set-up with an Integrated International Cooperation Division (IICD) at the top. 
    • The IICD should have linkages with proposed fugitive tracking units at the State level.
    • This would ensure that requisite expertise and forward-and-backward linkages are created.

Conclusion 

Making systems watertight would deter criminals from hoodwinking the law.

Connecting the dots:


HEALTH/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

India Out campaign in Maldives

Context: The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has sought government action and greater security following what it calls “recurring articles and social media posts attacking the dignity of the High Commission” and diplomats posted in the country. 

‘India Out’ campaign in Maldives had started sometime last year as on-ground protests in the Maldives and later widely spread across social media platforms under the same hashtag.

  • It is not related to people-to-people conflict (Indian diaspora) but is discontent on close relationship between Maldivian government & India.

What factors have led to such anti-India sentiments in Maldives?

1. Domestic Politics 

  • The anti-India sentiment didn’t just sprout overnight last year, but is nearly a decade old and can be traced back to when Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom became president in 2013. 
  • He used anti-India sentiments for his political mobilization and started tilting China.
  • India-Maldives relations deteriorated during Yameen’s rule from 2013-18.
  • Ibrahim Mohamed Solih who became President in 2018 has restored Maldives close ties with India.

2. Controversy over India’s helicopter gift

  • Two Dhruv Advanced Light Helicopters (ALF) that were given by India to the Maldives in 2010 and in 2015, 
  • Both of these were used for ocean search-and-rescue operations, maritime weather surveillance and for airlifting patients between islands.
  • Yameen’s party PPM tried to portray that by gifting these helicopters, India was creating military presence in the country because they were military choppers. 
  • This twisting of situation by political party further whipped up anti-India sentiments as Madives Citizens considered it as affront to their Sovereignty.
  • However, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih after he assumed office in 2018 extended the stay and use of these choppers in the country. 

3.Opaqueness in India-Maldives relationship

  • A recurring complaint in Social Media is the lack of transparency in agreements being signed between the Ibrahim Solih government and India.
  • Most of the ‘India Out’ campaign wouldn’t have arisen had these bilateral agreements been publicly discussed in the Maldives Parliament. 
  • But the ruling government and the defence ministry saying that these agreements are confidential has further led to suspicions fuelling India Out Campaign

4. Perception of interference in Domestic Affairs

  • India being a big neighbour, there are unsubstantiated perceptions & allegations on Indian Diplomats stationed in Maldives interfering in Domestic affairs. 
  • Such misinformation is also one of the factor for anti-India campaigns

Conclusion

  • The mobilising of ordinary citizens through the ‘India Out’ campaign doesn’t bode well for India.
  • So India has to work on perception management in the Maldives and need to earn the good will of the people.

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 Competition Commission of India (CCI) 

  1. It is a statutory body established by Law of  Parliament
  2. The chairperson and other members are appointed by the President of India

Select the correct statements

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

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS)

  1. It is implemented by Ministry of Health. 
  2. It was launched in 2001.

Select the correct statements

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

Q.3 Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ programme was announced on the 140th birth anniversary of which of the following Freedom fighter?

  1. Mahatma Gandhi
  2. Jawaharlal Nehru
  3. Maulana Abul kalam
  4. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel

ANSWERS FOR 9th July 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 A

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