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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th October 2021

  • IASbaba
  • October 19, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Keravan Kerala project

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Tourism

Context Kerala has recently launched its tourism project on Caravans – Keravan Kerala.

  • It is an unique initiative to promote stakeholder-friendly Caravan Tourism.

 Features of the project

  • The caravan parks will be located in natural settings.
  • Emphasis on the safety and security of tourists.
  • Sustainable use of local resources in creating caravan parks.
  • Each caravan park will have a sewage treatment plant. 
  • The basic theme of the project is to club the luxury of caravan with the natural look of the park.
  • Attractive incentives, including investment subsidy for purchase of caravan vehicles.
  • Caravan parks can be developed in the private, public or joint sector.
  • Operational 24×7 during the tourist season.
  • Connected with fair-weather roads from the main road.

Trade talks between India, Israel to resume

Part of: Prelims and GS II – International Relations 

Context India and Israel agreed to resume long-pending negotiations on a free trade agreement.

  • The FTA talks would begin in November and concluded by June 2022

Key takeaways 

  • During the last round of talks, both sides had explored the possibility of a limited trade deal or a Preferential Trade Agreement for about 200 goods, which could not be concluded. 
  • The Indian government is also working to resume a number of trade negotiations.
    • The government has thus far committed to resumed talks with the U.K., Australia and the European Union.
  • India and Israel also agreed to mutually recognise each other’s vaccination process “in principle”.
  • Israel also announced it would join the India-France led International Solar Alliance (ISA), ahead of the next U.N. Climate Change COP26 summit in Glasgow in November 2021.

Do you know?

  • Both also joined a virtual quadrilateral meeting with U.S. Secretary of State and UAE Foreign Minister.
  • The quadrilateral meeting can be seen as an outcome of last year’s Abraham Accords brokered by the U.S. that saw the UAE and Israel establish diplomatic relations.

Part-time employees not entitled to regularisation: SC

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Judiciary 

Context: The Supreme Court has held that part-time employees are not entitled to seek regularisation as they are not working against any sanctioned post in the Government.

  • It said that Regularisation could be only as per the policy declared by the State/Government and “nobody can claim the regularisation as a matter of right”.
  • The status of permanency cannot be granted when there is no post. 
  • Mere continuance every year of seasonal work during the period when work was available does not constitute a permanent status.

Kushinagar International Airport

Part of: Prelims and GS I- History; and GS III – Infrastructure 

Context Kushinagar International Airport in Uttar Pradesh shall be inaugurated on 20th October by the Indian Prime Minister.

  • The airport is expected to provide seamless connectivity to tourists from Sri Lanka, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and so on. 
  • The Sri Lankan contingent, led by a member of the first family, will also be present, owing to the historical importance of the place.

Mural painting as a token of gift

  • To mark the occasion, Sri Lanka will present to India photographs of two murals painted by renowned Sri Lankan artist Solias Mendis at the Kelaniya Rajamaha Vihara, a popular Buddhist temple near Colombo
  • One of the murals depicts ‘Arahat Bhikkhu’ Mahinda, son of Emperor Ashoka delivering the message of the Buddha to King Devanampiyatissa of Sri Lanka. 
  • The other shows the arrival of ‘Theri Bhikkhuni’ Sanghamitta, the daughter of the Emperor Ashoka, in Sri Lanka, bearing a sapling of the ‘sacred Bodhi tree’ under which Siddhārtha Gautama is believed to have attained enlightenment.

Importance of Kushinagar

  • Kushinagar is the centre of the Buddhist circuit, which consists of pilgrimage sites at Lumbini, Sarnath and Gaya
  • Buddhist pilgrims consider Kushinagar a sacred site where, they believe, Gautama Buddha delivered his last sermon and attained ‘Mahaparinirvana’ or salvation.

Miscellaneous

Integrated Unmanned Road Map for Indian Navy

Context Defence Minister recently launched the Integrated Unmanned Road Map for Indian Navy at the second edition of the Naval Commanders’ Conference.

  • This will outline all the unmanned aerial and underwater platforms and efforts of the Navy as part of its force modernisation.
  • It will also help in maintaining peace and stability within the Indian maritime zones

Flower scorpionfish

  • Hoplosebastes Armatus, also known as the flower scorpionfish, belongs to the order of ray-finned fish that are also known Scorpaeniforme.
  • This unique, lesser-known fish species that was till now thought to be found only in the Pacific Ocean has been found in the Indian Ocean too.
  • The length of the species ranged from 75-127 mm, while its body width was from 14-22 mm. The head of the species was comparatively large and greater than the body.


(News from PIB)


eSanjeevani

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-II- Governance

In News: eSanjeevani, India’s leading telemedicine service, under the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, clocked 1.4 crore consultations.

Operating in two variants i.e., eSanjeevaniAB-HWC and eSanjeevaniOPD, this initiative has over the time gained immense popularity in being able to deliver healthcare services through digital platforms.

eSanjeevani AB-HWC, a Doctor-to-Doctor teleconsultation system

  • Launched with an intent to alleviate the Urban-Rural divide in terms of health services
  • Works on Hub-and-Spoke Model
  • The ‘Ayushman Bharat-Health and Wellness Centres’ (HWCs) set up at State Level, act as Spokes, which are mapped with the HUB (comprising MBBS/ Specialty/Super-Specialty doctors) at Zonal level. This enables a patient residing in rural areas to avail quality health services. 

eSanjeevani OPD

  • Launched in 2021
  • Aims to provide safe Doctor-to-Patient consultations
  • Has continued to grow in demand as it allows citizens to consult doctors from the comfort and in the confines of their homes, bypassing wait time, travel, risks of infection etc. 

Significance

  • Addressing the shortage of doctors and specialists at the ground levels
  • Reducing the burden on secondary and tertiary level hospitals
  • Aims to constantly improve the digital health infrastructure of the country

News Source: PIB


Geospatial Energy Map of India

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-II- Governance

In News: NITI Aayog in collaboration with Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed a comprehensive Geographic Information System (GIS) Energy Map of India with the support of Energy Ministries of Government of India.

Provides a holistic picture of all energy resources of the country which enables visualisation of energy installations through 27 thematic layers

  • Attempts to identify and locate all primary and secondary sources of energy and their transportation/transmission networks to provide a comprehensive view of energy production and distribution in a country
  • A unique effort aimed at integrating energy data scattered across multiple organizations and to present it in a consolidated, visually appealing graphical manner
  • Leverages latest advancements in web-GIS technology and open-source software to make it interactive and user friendly. 
  • Will be useful in planning and making investment decisions. 
  • Will also aid in disaster management using available energy assets.

News Source: PIB


Fourth International Solar Alliance General Assembly

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-II- Global Groupings & GS-III – Energy 

In News: The Fourth Assembly of the ISA will deliberate on 

  • The key initiatives around the operationalisation of the OSOWOG initiative,
  • The $1 trillion Solar Investment Roadmap for 2030
  • Approval of a Blended Financial Risk Mitigation Facility
  • Discuss the strategic plan of the ISA for the next five years encompassing a Country Partnership Framework, Strategy for Private Sector Engagement, and initiatives such as Viability Gap Financing scheme to facilitate affordable finance for solar energy projects across ISA’s membership. 
  • Discuss the partnership with Global Energy Alliance (GEA) to scale up technical and financial support to LDCs and SIDS.

‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) initiative proposed by India 

Proposed by India to set up a framework for facilitating global cooperation which aims at building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources that can be easily shared

  • Envisions building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe, leveraging the differences of time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions
  • Help decarbonise energy production, which is today the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • With India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the World Bank and the ISA signing a tripartite agreement on OSOWOG, the initiative could be the world’s most important renewables catalyst. It can unlock unprecedented economies of scale in energy generation and transmission. 
  • Rigorous assessments and modelling have confirmed the initiative’s technical and economic viability, building a strong business case. 
  • Its commercial feasibility has been further augmented by multilateral development banks such as World Bank, which are helping create markets by driving down costs of solar power.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Agriculture & Allied Sectors
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Improving Livestock Breeding 

Context: Approximately 200 million Indians are involved in livestock farming, including around 100 million dairy farmers. 

Major issues with Livestock in India

  • Livestock breeding in India has been largely unorganised because of which there have been gaps in forward and backward integration across the value chain.
  • Roughly 80% bovines in the country are low on productivity and are reared by small and marginal farmers. 
  • Such a scenario negatively impacts the return on investment for livestock farmers. 

Government Initiative to promote Livestock Sector

  • To enhance the productivity of cattle, the Rashtriya Gokul Mission was initiated in 2014 with a focus on the genetic upgradation of the bovine population through widespread initiatives on artificial insemination, sex-sorted semen, and in vitro fertilization. 
  • The revised version of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission focuses on entrepreneurship development and breed improvement in livestock by providing incentives to individual entrepreneurs, farmer producer organisations, farmer cooperatives, self-help groups, Section 8 companies for entrepreneurship development and State governments for breed improvement infrastructure.
  • The breed multiplication farm component of the Rashtriya Gokul Mission is going to provide for capital subsidy up to ₹200 lakh for setting up breeding farm with at least 200 milch cows/ buffalo using latest breeding technology. 
  • The strategy of incentivising breed multiplication farm will result in the employment of 1 lakh farmers
  • This initiative will be further amplified by web applications like e-Gopala that provide real-time information to livestock farmers on the availability of disease-free germplasm in relevant centres, veterinary care, etc. 
  • The poultry entrepreneurship programme of the National Livestock Mission (NLM) will provide for capital subsidy up to ₹25 lakh for setting up of a parent farm with a capacity to rear 1,000 chicks. This is expected to provide employment to at least 14 lakh people.
  • In the context of sheep and goat entrepreneurship, there is a provision of capital subsidy of 50% up to 50 lakh. An entrepreneur under this model shall set up a breeder farm, develop the whole chain will eventually sell the animals to the farmers or in the open market.
  • For piggery, the NLM will provide 50% capital subsidy of up to ₹30 lakh. Each entrepreneur will be aided with establishment of breeder farms.

Conclusion

  • The revised scheme of NLM coupled with the Rashtriya Gokul Mission and the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund has the potential to dramatically enhance the productivity and traceability standards of our livestock.

Connecting the dots:


GEOGRAPHY

  • GS-1: Indian geography & Monsoons

Unusual Heavy Rains in October

Context: The monsoon is over but several parts of the country are still receiving rainfall. Delhi, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Uttarakhand, for example, have received very high rainfall, resulting in loss of life and property in some places.

Scientists say a combination of factors — delayed monsoon and development of low-pressure areas at multiple places — have resulted in these rainfall events at several places.

Are October rains unusual?

  • Rain in October is not unusual. 
  • October is considered a month for transition, during which the southwest monsoon withdraws and gives way to the northeast monsoon that largely affects southern peninsular India, mainly on the eastern side.
  • Western disturbances, which begin to have significant interference in local weather over the extreme northern parts of India, commonly cause either rain or snowfall. 
  • Since second week of October, Ladakh, the higher reaches of Kashmir and Uttarakhand have reported the season’s first snowfall.
  • However, two low-pressure systems were active simultaneously, one each over the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal regions. Collectively, these triggered severe weather events over Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha and West Bengal.

Delayed monsoon withdrawal 

  • The four-month southwest monsoon season normally withdraws completely by early October. During the withdrawal phase, it causes thunderstorms and localised heavy rainfall.
  • This year, however, the withdrawal began only on October 6 against a normal of September 17. 
  • So far, the monsoon has withdrawn completely from the Western, Northern, Central and Eastern India regions. But it remains active over the southern peninsula. Thus, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have had significant rainfall during the last 10 days.
  • Normally, by mid-October, the monsoon winds reverse their direction of flow from the southwest to the northeast.
  • “Even though the easterlies are beginning to replace the westerlies, the former is yet strengthen and fully establish. The easterly winds indicate the arrival of the northeast monsoon.
  • This year, conditions for the onset of the northeast monsoon are expected to develop around October 25.
  • Due to climate change, there is definitely a rising frequency in the extreme weather events round the year. But these specific occurrences of heavy to very heavy rains that we are seeing right now can be attributed to the formation of low-pressure systems.
  • Whenever there is a low-pressure system, depending on its strength, it results in heavy to very heavy rainfall activity. In addition, when a low-pressure system interacts with western disturbance, further intense rainfall occurs,

Conclusion:


(Down to Earth)


Oct 18: Has Kerala learnt anything from extreme weather? Apparently not, say experts – https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/climate-change/has-kerala-learnt-anything-from-extreme-weather-apparently-not-say-experts-79741 

TOPIC:

  • GS 3: Climate change
  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

Kerala & Extreme Weather Events

In news: At least 20 people have lost their lives and several others are missing as heavy rains led to flash floods and landslides in several parts of Kerala. 

Cited reasons: 

  • The heavy rainfall was caused by two low pressure weather systems which evolved over peninsular India.  
  • But other climate experts have cited cloudbursts as the cause.
  • Lack of climate change literacy leading to higher economic activities like rock quarrying, construction of new buildings and roads and destruction of natural forest in the highly economic zones.
  • The sorry state of Kerala’s rivers, backwaters and wetlands also contributes to the situation as they fail to absorb the excess amounts of water being discharged from dams and other storage.

Floods and Kerala

  • The situation, which may turn out to be a repeat of the 2018 floods if rain continues, has also led to widespread criticism from environmentalists calling it an “invited disaster” by the region. 
  • In the floods that occurred in August 2016, around 341 major landslides were reported from 10 districts, while Idukki, considered as a highly sensitive zone by Gadgil, was ravaged by 143 landslides. The 2018 floods had claimed close to 500 lives.
  • In August 2011, the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel chaired by Madhav Gadgil had submitted its report. 
  • Even after 10 years and appointment of another committee led by K Kasturirangan, the highly ecologically sensitive region in Kerala continued to be an epi-centre of construction activities. No action was taken on these reports after widespread protests from farmers, the church and political parties.

The Way Forward – What should Kerala do?

The situation demands long-term mitigating actions from Kerala rather than short-term rehabilitation and rescue activities during every calamity. Kerala should follow a development model taking note of the change in monsoon behaviour.

  • A renewed focus on illegal constructions. There is a need for soil study and examining possibilities of soil piping phenomena while undertaking more significant construction works.
  • Change in land use patterns in the sensitive Western Ghats that have occurred in last 25 years
  • Climate-resilient construction and agricultural practices
  • Improve the water management system of Kerala
  • Work through the limitations in forecasting rain, especially extreme rainfall events
  • Prioritise fair and transparent environmental impact assessments when it takes up larger development projects requiring massive infrastructure and changes in land-use patterns.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. Cloudbursts and extreme rainfall events leading to flash floods are the new normal for Kerala. Discuss.
  2. Kasturirangan Report
  3. Madhav Gadgil Report
  4. Flood protection to flood governance

 (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 Abraham accords is associated with which of the following?

  1. Secret ceasefire agreement  between Palestine and Israel
  2. Five- point strategy for de-escalating tension in Afghanistan
  3. New terrorist strategy to target migrants in J&K
  4. Diplomatic relations between UAE and Israel

Q.2 consider the following statements:

  1. Gautama Buddha is believed to have delivered his last sermon and attained ‘Mahaparinirvana’ or salvation in Kushinagara
  2. Gautama Buddha propounded the philosophy of Ashtangika Marga (eightfold path).
  3. Lumbini in Bihar is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.

Which of the above is or are correct 

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. None of the above 

Q.3 The octopus shaped lake in Kerala is? 

  1. Kayamkulam 
  2. Akkulam
  3. Ashtamudi
  4. Vembanad

ANSWERS FOR 18th Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 D
3 A

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