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

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


The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021

Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Education

In news Recently, the Lok Sabha has passed the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021 without any discussion.

About the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021

  • The Bill intends to establish a new Central University in Ladakh to ensure an increase in accessibility and quality of higher education and research for the people of Ladakh.
  • At present, there is no Central University in Ladakh 
  • The new University will be named as Sindhu Central University.
  • The government has allocated 750 crore rupees for the development of this University in which 2500 students will be benefited.

News Source: TH


India, Sri Lanka and Maldives to collaborate on security

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

In news The first Deputy National Security Adviser (DNSA) level Meeting of the Colombo Security Conclave was hosted virtually by Sri Lanka.

  • Its Secretariat is located in Colombo.
  • Their meeting marked the revival of NSA-level trilateral talks on maritime security in the Indian Ocean Region after a gap of six years.

 What is Colombo Security Conclave?

  • The decision to establish Colombo Security Conclave was taken in November 2020 at the NSA-level meeting of India, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives to forge closer cooperation on maritime and security matters among the three Indian Ocean countries.
  • The Deputy NSA level meeting was a follow-up to the decisions taken at the NSA level meeting.
  • The idea of ‘Colombo Security Conclave’ was initiated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in 2011.

 Key address points from the meeting

  • The DNSA level meeting identified four pillars of cooperation under the Colombo Security Conclave – Marine Safety and Security, Terrorism and Radicalization, Trafficking and Organised Crime and Cybersecurity.
  • It discussed specific proposals for each of these pillars including holding regular interaction, joint exercises, capacity building and training activities.
  • All members expressed keen desire to cooperate in the areas of maritime safety and security through joint exercises of navies and Coast Guards.
  • They held focussed discussion on combating marine pollution.
  • The three Observer states – Bangladesh, Mauritius and Seychelles – have been invited to join the conclave as full members at the next NSA level meeting which is expected to be organized later this year in Maldives.

 Significance:

  • The coming together of the 6 Indian Ocean region countries in India’s immediate neighbourhood on a common maritime and security platform is significant in wider global context as well.
  • The initiative, grounded in military and security collaboration, assumes significance in the region, due to the geostrategic relationship that India shares with Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
    • Earlier this year, India aired security concerns over China being awarded development projects in an island off Sri Lanka’s northern province, close to India’s southern border.

News Source: TH


Bailey Trail & Gorichen Trek: Arunachal Pradesh

Part of: Prelims and GS -I- Geography, Culture

In news Ministry of Tourism organises webinar on “Bailey Trail & Gorichen Trek in Arunachal Pradesh” under Dekho Apna Desh series.

 What were important places discussed in the webinar?

  • The Bailey Trail in the Himalayan State of Arunachal Pradesh traces the historic route taken by Lt. Col. F.M. Bailey, British Political officer who explored this area while trekking from Tawang to Bomdila.
  • The Bailey Trail covers a wide variety of terrain, from lowland pastures and serene villages to powerful glaciers and stunning mountain views.
  • Along the way, one will come across hot water spring at Mago, thundering waterfalls at Jang and cross icy rivers and high mountain passes.
  • Another beautiful trek is Seven Lakes Trek of Anini, Dibang Valley.
  • Dibang Valley is the largest district of Arunachal Pradesh with the lowest density of population in India. One can experience lush-green mountains, heavy rainfall, rivers, sparkling waterfalls etc. Seven Lakes Trek is one of Arunachal Pradesh’s best kept secrets.
  • The Gorichen massif comprises five peaks with Gorichen Main also known as the ‘White Giant’ at 21,410 feet above sea level.
  • In local language the peak is known as ‘Sa-Nga-Phu’ which means Ábode of the Guardian Deity’.

News Source: PIB


PM-DAKSH’ Portal and ‘PM-DAKSH’ Mobile App

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

In news Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment will launch ‘PM-DAKSH’ Portal and ‘PM-DAKSH’ Mobile App on 7th August, 2021.

 About the Portal and App

  • Developed by: Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in collaboration with NeGD (National E-Governance Division), 
  • Objective: To make the skill development schemes accessible to the target groups of Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Safai Karamcharis.
  • The youth of the target groups will now be able to avail the benefits of skill development training programmes more easily.

 What is PM-DAKSH Yojana?

  • The Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.
  • Under this Yojana, eligible target groups are being provided skill development training programmes on
    • Up-skilling/Reskilling
    • Short Term Training Programme
    • Long Term Training Programme
    • Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP).

News Source: PIB


Retreat of Glaciers in Zanskar Valley

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III –  Environment

In news According to a recent study, the Pensilungpa Glacier (PG), in Zanskar, Ladakh, is retreating.

  • The study was being carried out by the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, GoI, since 2015.

 Key findings of the study

  • The study has attributed the retreat to an increase in the temperature and decrease in precipitation during winters.
  • The study also points at the significant influence of debris cover on the mass balance and retreat of the glacier’s endpoint, especially in summer.
  • Furthermore, the mass balance data for the last 3 years (2016–2019) showed a negative trend.
  • The study also suggests that due to continuous rise in the air temperature in line with the global trend, the melting would increase, and it is possible that the precipitation of summer periods at higher altitudes will change from snow to rain, and that may influence the summer and winter pattern.

News Source: PIB


India’s First Bio-Bank for Heart Failure Research 

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II –  Health

In news The first National Heart Failure Biobank (NHFB) in the country was inaugurated at the Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Kerala.

 About the Bio-bank

  • Biobanks are important resources containing collections of high-quality biological samples of human body parts that can be used to understand molecular pathways and to improve the diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment of heart failure.
  • The biosamples include the blood, serum, tissue samples obtained during open-heart surgery and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) and genomic DNA collected from heart failure patients.
  • The biobank activity is supervised by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with a member from ICMR.
  • With heart failure emerging as a major health problem in India, ICMR had initiated the National Centre for Advanced Research and Excellence in Heart Failure (CARE-HF) at SCTIMST for scaling up research in the field.
  • The Heart Failure Biobank is one of the major components of the project, with a fund allocation of 85 Lakhs for developing state-of-the-art storage facilities.

 Benefits

  • This would greatly help in guiding future therapies and technologies and would benefit the heart failure patients significantly,
  • The biobank will provide insights into heart diseases and heart failure among Indian children and adults, which are very different from that seen in the West.
  • The facility will be useful for the research and treatment of post-covid heart failure.
  • Through the NHFB, researchers can get access to well-annotated biological specimens linked to clinical data while maintaining appropriate standards of quality and security.
  • NHFB will facilitate research both in India and abroad, helping clinicians and scientists to work together to understand and find solutions to heart failure-related morbidity and mortality.

News Source: PIB


Miscellaneous

Khel Ratna named after Dhyan Chand

  • The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna has been renamed as the “Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna”.

Who was Major Dhyan Chand?

  • Major Dhyan Chand (29 August 1905 – 3 December 1979) was an Indian field hockey player widely regarded as one of the greatest in the history of the sport.
  • He was known for his extraordinary goal-scoring feats, in addition to earning three Olympic gold medals, in 1928, 1932 and 1936, during an era where India dominated field hockey.
  • His influence extended beyond these victories, as India won the field hockey event in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964.
  • He was popularly known as The Wizard or The Magician of hockey for his superb ball control.
  • The Government of India awarded Chand India’s third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956.
  • His birthday, 29 August, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year.

News Source: TH


(Mains Focus)


EDUCATION/GOVERNANCE

  • 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.

India’s schoolchildren need their childhood back

Context: Indian schools have been closed for 16 months and counting apart from sporadically opening for the higher-grade students.

Impact of School Closures.

  • In-person school education teaches children to share, wait for their turn, negotiate, and compromise; by depriving them of social contact, children are deprived of essential learning and development.
  • For children from economically weak backgrounds, schools are a key source of nutrition (mid-day meals scheme). Closure of schools means adverse impact on the access to nutrition.
  • For some, schools serve as safe spaces from the chaos of their homes. Without schools they are more vulnerable to abuse from others & getting trapped into anti-social activities
  • For many children, particularly those who do not have educated parents or cannot afford home tutors, the denial of education results in learning losses and, ultimately, denial of a chance to earn a livelihood.
  • Continuation of school closure is not required because Sero surveillance among children (<18 years) shows that more than 50% of children from both urban and rural areas had antibodies. This means they were already infected and developed antibodies.

 It is possible to think about starting schools in areas where the community level of infection is low. A one-size-fits-all approach across India will not work.

As immediate measures, governments should:

  • Vaccinate: Call for lists of school staff and procure full vaccination for them.
  • Reduce vaccine gap: Scientists should confirm if the gap between doses can be made shorter to school staff akin to health-care workers
  • Awareness Campaign: Engage relevant experts to undertake public campaigns to make school staff and parents aware of the low risk of transmission in schools and low severity in children
  • Issue guidance for staggered re-opening of primary schools — e.g., 50% attendance or smaller groups of students on alternate days or weeks;
  • Hybrid System: Upgrade school infrastructure to facilitate a hybrid system of learning where parents who do not wish to send their children to school have the choice to continue with online learning.
  • Formulate and issue guidance on COVID-19 protocols to be adopted by schools — distancing to the extent possible, outdoor classes weather-permitting, masking, hand hygiene, and proper ventilation
  • Greater investment in paediatric facilities, and implementation of systems to track local level of infections

Conclusion

Director of Education for UNICEF, said, “There are many countries in which parents can go out and have a nice steak dinner, but their seven-year-old is not going to school. “We need to come together to fix that problem and give our young children their childhood back.

Connecting the dots


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

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

India-Nepal Flood Management

Context: Chronic flooding in north Bihar (the Mithilanchal region) and Tarai region in Nepal

 Geological Reasons for Floods

  • A large part of north Bihar, adjoining Nepal, is drained by a number of rivers that have their catchments in the steep and geologically nascent Himalayas.
  • Originating in Nepal, the high discharge and sediment load in the Kosi, Gandak, Burhi Gandak, Bagmati, Kamla Balan, Mahananda and Adhwara Group wreak havoc in the plains of Nepal’s Tarai and Bihar.
  • The deposition of stones, sand, silt and sediment has led to river beds rising, changing course and causing unimaginable losses. Between the mid-18th and mid-20th centuries, the Kosi is said to have shifted over 100 kilometres westward, resulting in large-scale human displacements.

 Political Reasons

  • The Kosi Treaty of 1954, under which the embankments in Nepal were established and maintained, was not futuristic and did not make enough provisions for the maintenance of embankments and the rivers changing their course.
  • Also, the indifference shown by Nepal on matters of floods and water management in recent years has further complicated the situation.
  • Consequently, not much has happened barring the use of water resources for hydroelectric generation.

 Way Ahead

  • Bilateral Agreement: A dedicated intergovernmental panel needs to be formed through a bilateral mechanism between India and Nepal, that in turn can study, assess and offer solutions to this shared crisis.
  • Climate Conscious Development: There is a need for greater sensitization on climatic imbalances and sustainable development. Ironically, the same flood-affected regions also face the issue of drought and a sinking water table.

Connecting the dots:


(AIR – SPOTLIGHT)


Spotlight 24 (July): AIR NEWS EXCLUSIVE- Interview with Union Steel Minister RCP Singh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6OUn0WkXbg

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: India Economy & Neighbourhood
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Production Linked Incentives for Speciality Steel Sector and benefits

  • Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for specialty steel.
  • The duration of the scheme will be five years, from 2023-24 to 2027-28.
  • The Production-linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Specialty Steel will prove to be a game-changer for the steel sector in the country and will make India Aatmanirbhar in producing specialty steel.

Benefits of the scheme:

  • With a budgetary outlay of ₹6322 crores, the scheme is expected to bring in investment of approximately ₹40,000 crores and capacity addition of 25 MT for speciality steel.
  • The scheme will give employment to about 5,25,000 people of which 68,000 will be direct employment.
  • It is expected that the speciality steel production will become 42 million tonnes by the end of 2026-27.
  • With this scheme, India’s export of specialty steel will become around 5.5 million tonnes as against the current 1.7 million tonnes of specialty steel getting FOREX of Rs 33,000 crore and production will touch 42 million tonnes by the end of 2026-27.

What is specialty steel?

  • Specialty steels are composed of the additional alloyed materials that results into special properties of the final product hence they are also are called as alloy steels.
  • The steels are engineered wherein normal finished steel is worked upon by way of coating, plating, heat treatment, etc. to convert it into high-value-added steel to provide a superior performance under specific conditions.
  • The resultant high value-added steel which can be used in various strategic applications like Defense, Space, Power, apart from automobile sector, specialized capital goods etc.

Significance of the choosing the specialty steel

  • Speciality steel has been chosen as the target segment because out of the production of 102 million tonnes steel in India in 2020-21, only 18 million tonnes value added steel/speciality steel was produced in the country.
  • Apart from this out of 6.7 million tonnes of imports in the same year, approx. 4 million tonnes import was of specialty steel alone resulting in FOREX outgo of Approx. Rs. 30,000 crores.
  • By becoming Aatmanirbhar in producing speciality steel, India will move up the steel value chain and come at par with advanced steel making countries like Korea and Japan.
  • This will ensure that approximately 2.5 lakh crores worth of speciality steel will be produced and consumed in the country which would otherwise have been imported.

Can you attempt this question now?

  • “Production Linked Incentives Scheme for Specialty Steel will prove to be a game-changer for steel sector”. Discuss.

 (TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in the 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 The Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2021 aims to establish the First Central University in which of the following Union Territory?

a) Dadra and Nagar Haveli

b) Daman and Diu

c) Jammu and kashmir

d) Ladakh


Q.2 Colombo Security Conclave is a maritime and security cooperation between which of the following countries?

a) India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar

b) Sri Lanka, China and Indonesia

c) Sri Lanka, India and Maldives

d) Sri Lanka, Mauritius and Seychelles


Q.3  Pradhan Mantri Dakshta Aur Kushalta Sampann Hitgrahi (PM-DAKSH) Yojana comes under which of the following Ministry?

a) Ministry of Power

b) Ministry of Finance

c) Ministry of Rural Development

d) Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment


ANSWERS FOR 6th August 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 D

 Must Read

On South Asia’s emerging digital transformation:

The Hindu

On Maritime Security:

Indian Express

On Criticism of Parliament:

Indian Express

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