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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th August 2021

  • IASbaba
  • August 26, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Cabinet clears Rs. 15,000 cr. NMP-linked FDI proposal

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- III –  Infrastructure 

In news The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) cleared a foreign direct investment (FDI) proposal entailing an investment of up to Rs. 15,000 crore in Anchorage Infrastructure Investment Holding (AIIH) Ltd.

  • It is a company incorporated to invest in the infrastructure and construction development sectors.
  • The government said the investment would prove to be a “significant boost to the recently announced National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)” as AIIH had proposed downstream investments in some of the sectors covered under the NMP.

What is National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP)?

  • The government aims to raise $81 billion by leasing out state-owned infrastructure assets over the next four years (from FY22 to FY25) through National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP).
  • Key features of the National Monetisation Plan:
    • The NMP’s roadmap has been formulated by NITI Aayog in consultation with infrastructure line ministries, under the ‘Asset Monetisation’ mandate of the Union Budget 2021-22.
    • NITI Aayog has a Public Private Partnership Cell and has engaged transaction advisors to handhold any ministry for any support it needs in pursuing the monetisation roadmap.
    • The sectors in which assets are being identified to monetise include roads, ports, airports, railways, power generation and transmission, telecom, warehousing, gas & product pipeline, mining, stadium, hospitality and housing.
    • For now, the government has only included the assets of infrastructure line ministries and Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) working in the infrastructure sectors. 
    • Monetisation through disinvestment and monetisation of non-core assets have not been included in the NMP.

News Source: TH


100 days ‘SUJALAM’ Campaign begins

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

In news The Ministry of Jal Shakti began ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations.

About the initiative

  • Objective: To create more and more ODF (Open Defecation Free) Plus villages by undertaking waste water management at village level particularly through creation of 1 million Soak-pits and also other Grey water management activities. 
    • Waste water from baths, sinks, washing machines, and other kitchen appliances is known as grey water.
  • The effort of the campaign would be directed towards achieving the ODF plus status for villages across the country in an accelerated manner in a short time.
    • ODF: At any point of the day, not even a single person is found defecating in the open.
    • ODF+: At any point of the day, not a single person is found defecating and/or urinating in the open, and all community and public toilets are functional and well maintained.
    • ODF++: If the area is already ODF+ and the faecal sludge/septage and sewage are safely managed and treated
  • The campaign will also aid in sustainable management of water bodies. 
  • Significance and benefits: The disposal of waste water and clogging of waterbodies in the villages or on the outskirts of the villages remain one of the major problems. 
    • The Campaign would help in management of the wastewater and in turn would help to revive the water bodies.
    • Furthermore, the campaign would boost the momentum of SBMG (Swachh Bharat Mission – Gramin) phase II activities through community participation and it will increase awareness about ODF-plus activities. Hence ensuring long term maintenance and sustainability of built infrastructure.
  • The key activities that will be organised in the villages under this campaign include:
    • Organizing Community consultations, Khuli Baithaks and Gram Sabha meetings to analyze the current situation
    • Pass resolution to maintain ODF sustainability and achieve needed number of soak pits to manage the grey water
    • Develop a 100 days’ plan to undertake sustainability and soak pit construction related activities
    • Construct requisite number of soak pits
    • Retrofit toilets where needed through IEC and community mobilization and
    • Ensure all newly emerging Households in the village have access to toilets.

News Source: PIB


(News from PIB)


Indo-Kazakhstan joint training exercise to commence on 30 august 2021

Part of: GS Prelims 

In News:   As part of military diplomacy and to strengthen the growing strategic relation with Kazakhstan, the 5th edition of Indo- Kazakhstan Joint Training Exercise, “KAZIND-21” will be conducted at Training Node, Aisha Bibi, Kazakhstan, from 30 August to 11 September 2021. The exercise is a joint training between both the Armies, which will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan.

About “KAZIND-21” 

  • The KAZIND-21 exercise is a joint training between both the Armies, which will boost the bilateral relations between India and Kazakhstan.
  • In this exercise, the Indian Army contingent is represented by a battalion of the Bihar Regiment (consisting of a total of 90 personnel) led by a Contingent Commander and the Kazakhstan Army will be represented by a company group.
  • The Exercise will provide an opportunity to the Armed Forces of India & Kazakhstan to train for Counter Insurgency/ Counter-Terrorism operations in the mountainous, rural scenarios under UN mandate. 
  • Its scope includes professional exchange, planning & execution of the operation in Counterterrorism environment at sub-unit level and sharing expertise on skills at arms, combat shooting, and experiences in Counter Insurgency/ Counter-Terrorism operations. 
  • The exercise will culminate after a 48 hours long validation exercise which will involve a scenario of neutralization of terrorists in a semi-rural hideout. It will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices between the Armed Forces of India and Kazakhstan.

News Source: PIB


AICTE and BPR&D to launch MANTHAN-2021 tomorrow

Part of: GS Prelims 

In news: Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) will be launching MANTHAN 2021 on 26th August 2021 at National Media Centre.

About MANTHAN 2021 

  • Hackathon “MANTHAN 2021” is a unique national initiative (36-hour online hackathon with Prize money worth Rs. 40 Lakh and with two phases) to identify innovative concepts and technology solutions for addressing the security challenges of the 21st century faced by our intelligence agencies.
  • During this hackathon, selected youths from education institutions across the country and registered start-ups will participate to offer strong, safe and effective technology solutions using their technical expertise and innovative skills. 
  • Participants are expected to develop digital solutions under 6 themes for 20 different challenge statements released today using new technologies like Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Augmented reality, Machine Learning, etc. for ever-changing security related challenges, which include photo/video analysis, Fake Content Identification along with the information of creator, predictive Cyber Crime data analytics, etc.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Indian Economy & its development
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

It’s time for Industry 4.0

In news: The term ‘Industry 4.0’ was coined by the German government in 2011. It integrates ‘data’ with manufacturing and Information Technology. 

  • Additive manufacturing, Internet of Things, Cyber Physical Systems, Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality and data analytics are some of the technologies associated with Industry 4.0

Potential of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) 

  • MSMEs form more than 95% of the industries in India, produce more than 45% of the total manufacturing output and employ more than 40% of the workforce
  • According to the Economic Survey 2020-21, over 6 crore MSMEs employ more than 11 crore people and contribute roughly 30% to the GDP and half of the country’s export.
  • MSMEs are also ancillaries to larger enterprises, leading to a seamless supply chain integration.

However, MSMEs face challenges when it comes to adopting new technologies such as Industry 4.0. 

Reasons are: 

  • They lack awareness regarding Industry 4.0 and its benefits. 
  • They consider such technologies disruptive and having the potential to demolish their existing system. 
  • MSMEs will need to make major financial investments to adopt Industry 4.0. Investing in the right set of technologies will need experts and consultants as well.
  • Policy frameworks and steps that can assist MSMEs in adopting Industry 4.0 technologies have been missing.
  • For any new technology to be adopted, positive organisational culture and the support of people is required, which is lacking in many MSMEs

Conclusion

Though adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies by MSMEs requires overcoming many obstacles (as listed above), it will make them more competitive as they will be able to offer world-class quality products to customers.

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/SECURITY

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 
  • GS-3: Security challenges and their management in border areas

China’s Missile Silos

Context: Satellite images have revealed that China is building at least three missile silo fields in Gansu province, in Xinjiang province, and at Hanggin Banner, Ordos City, in Inner Mongolia.

  • Some of the silos have dome shelters
  • Earlier this year, missile silos were detected in the People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force’s (PLARF) Jilantai training area, also in Inner Mongolia.
  • These missile silos have been identified by US satellite images obtained by the Federation of American Scientists.
  • For several decades before these discoveries in 2021, China operated only 20 missile silos for its DF-5 liquid-fuel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). 
  • On completion of the ongoing work, China could have 250-270 new missile silos, more than 10 times the number it had maintained for several decades.

Why is China building missile silos?

There could be three explanations.

FIRST, some believe this could be China’s attempt to move towards a launch-on-warning (LOW) nuclear posture. 

  • LOW refers to a launch at an adversary on detection of an incoming missile before the adversary’s missile hits its target.
  •  It is based on achieving deterrence through assured retaliation. 
  • In order to move to the LOW posture, China would have to mate a few warheads with missiles, and keep them in alert status for a quick response.
  • Currently, China stores its warheads and missiles in a de-alerted status separately under different commands.
  • However, silos alone, at such an early stage of construction, are not conclusive evidence of China’s move to LOW.

SECOND, it enables China to achieve its goal of increasing its nuclear warhead stockpile.

  • China currently has around 350 nuclear warheads.
  •  272 of these 350 warheads are assigned to operational forces; the remaining 78 have been produced for China’s new DF-41 solid-fuel road-mobile ICBM.
  • China has around 150 land-based missiles that can deliver between 180-190 nuclear warheads to some parts of the United States. 
  • If all the new silos are loaded with a single-warhead missile, the count would increase to 410-440.
  • If the silos on completion are loaded with the DF-41s, which can carry up to two-three warheads per missile, this count would rise to 930-940 warheads.

The THIRD guess is that China could use these silos as decoys.

  • The recently discovered silos could be an initiative to enhance deterrence by keeping the adversary guessing. 
  • This could be China’s shell game — where one, some, or all silos could have missiles, forcing the aggressor to target all of them during an escalation. 
  • The aggressor would have to waste more warheads or precision-guided weapons to destroy only a few missiles, or perhaps target empty silos.
  • This would be a cost-effective strategy for China, and could also bolster its image as serious nuclear power and an equal to the US.

How has the US reacted to the discovery of the silos?

  • US has noted that the PRC’s nuclear arsenal will grow more quickly, and to a higher level than perhaps previously anticipated.
  • US noted that this buildup is concerning which raises questions about the PRC’s intent.
  • China’s reaction to US
    • Neither the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs nor the Ministry of National Defence has reacted. 
    • Some Chinese media have said the silos are wind farms, and accused American academics and journalists of spreading a “China threat theory”.

So should India be concerned?

  • Seen in isolation, these silos appear to be built specifically to enhance deterrence against the US.
  • But broadly, India should be watchful about China’s nuclear ambiguity and its latest DF-26 intermediate-range road-mobile dual-use missiles — of which 16 launchers were deployed in Korla, Xinjiang, during the ongoing standoff.
  • India could be a potential target given the strike ranges of these missiles and the timing of deployment.
  • Although both China and India have pledged nuclear ‘no first use’ doctrines, India’s modest ballistic missile defence capabilities and China’s nuclear ambiguity are matters of concern for India.

What should the world do about these developments?

  • There isn’t an obvious option for the US or world. 
  • China has stated that it will not join the NEW START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty). China has said that the US and Russia have almost 20 times more nuclear warheads than China, and that “It is unrealistic to expect China to join the two countries in a negotiation aimed at nuclear arms reduction.”
  • Several American arms control scholars have argued for a renewal of the US government-funded US-China track 1.5 nuclear dialogue that was suspended after 15 years in 2019 due to growing friction, “declining value”, and the failure to launch track 1 dialogue. 
  • Others have said that the US’s newer missile defence capabilities disturb strategic stability and complicate arms control.

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 Public Sector Bank (PSB) Reforms Agenda ‘EASE 4.0 was unveiled by  which of the following Ministry?

  1. NITI Aayog 
  2. Ministry of Finance
  3. RBI
  4. All of the above

Q.2 ‘SUJALAM’, a ‘100 days campaign’ as part of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ celebrations was launched by which of the following Ministry?

  1. Ministry of Agriculture 
  2. Ministry of education 
  3. Ministry of Jal Shakti
  4. Ministry of Rural Development 

ANSWERS FOR 25th August 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 B
3 A

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