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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 23rd October 2021

  • IASbaba
  • October 23, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Pinaka and Smerch rocket systems

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Defence and Security 

Context The Indian Army has deployed Pinaka and Smerch long-range, multi-barrel rocket launch systems as well as BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles in the Tawang sector of Arunachal Pradesh closer to the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Key takeaways 

  • Smerch, procured from Russia, is the longest range conventional rocket system in the Army’s inventory with a maximum range of 90 km.
  • Pinaka, indigenously designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, has a range of 38 km.

About BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles

  • Carried out by: Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Balasore in Odisha.
  • BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile features indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ sub-systems.
  • The BrahMos Land-Attack Cruise Missile was cruising at a top speed of Mach 2.8.

Uyghur rights

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Human rights; International Relations 

Context 43 countries have called on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” for the Muslim Uyghur community in Xinjiang, in a statement read at the United Nations.

  • The declaration was signed by the USA and several European and Asian member states and others.
  • They accused China of a list of human rights violations against the Uyghurs, including torture, forced sterilisation and forced disappearances.

Who are Uyghur Muslims?

  • Uyghurs, are a minority Turkic ethnic group originating from and culturally affiliated with the general region of Central and East Asia.
  • The Uyghurs are recognized as native to the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China.
  • China rejects the idea of them being an indigenous group
  • Since 2016, it is estimated that over a million Uyghurs have been detained in Xinjiang re-education camps.(UN)
  • International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the main feature of the camps is to ensure adherence to Chinese Communist Party ideology.

Global Food Security Index, 2021

Part of: Prelims and GS II – Policies and interventions  

Context India is ranked at 71st position in the Global Food Security Index which was released recently.

Top  ranking countries

  • Ireland, Australia, the UK, Finland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, Japan, France and the US shared the top rank with the overall GFS score in the range of 77.8 and 80 points on the index.

Bottom five countries are

  • Malawi(109th), Sudan(110), Mozambique(111), Yemen(112) and Burundi(113).

Performance of  India and its neighbours

  • India held 71st position with an overall score of 57.2 points on the GFS Index.
    • It fared better than Pakistan (75th), Sri Lanka (77th), Nepal (79th) and Bangladesh (84th). 
    • But the country is way behind China (34th position).
  • Pakistan (52.6 points) and Sri Lanka (62.9 points) scored better than India (50.2 points) in the category of food affordability.
  • Over the past 10 years, India’s incremental gains in overall food security score were lagging behind that of Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh.

About Global Food Security (GFS) Index

  • The GFS Index was designed and constructed by London-based Economist Impact and is sponsored by Corteva Agriscience.
  • It measures the underlying drivers of food security in 113 countries, based on the factors of affordability, availability, quality and safety, and natural resources and resilience.

India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF)

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Information Technology 

Context India Internet Governance Forum (IIGF) event will be conducted jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and IT, NIXI and Multistakeholder Group from 8th to 11th of November, 2021.

Key takeaways 

  • The theme of IIGF 2021 is ‘Empower India through Power of Internet’. The event will witness discussions on the road to Digitization in India.
  • It is an initiative associated with the UN Internet Governance Forum (UN-IGF).
  • It has been constituted in conformance to IGF-Paragraph 72 of the Tunis Agenda of the UN-based Internet Governance forum (IGF).
  • It is a multi-stakeholder platform bringing representatives together from various groups to discuss public policy issues related to the Internet.
  • Through an open and inclusive process, IIGF brings together all stakeholders in the Global Internet governance ecosystem, including government, industry, civil society, academia – as equal participants of the larger Internet Governance discourse.

UN Fund for ‘People’s Economy’ in Afghanistan

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – International Relations 

Context The United Nations has set up a special trust fund to provide urgently-needed cash directly to Afghans through a system tapping into donor funds frozen since the Taliban takeover last August.

Key takeaways 

  • With the local economy “imploding”, the aim is to inject liquidity into Afghan households to permit them to survive this winter and remain in their homeland despite turmoil.
  • Cash will be provided to Afghan workers in public works programmes, such as drought and flood control programmes, and grants given to micro-enterprises.
  • Temporary basic income would be paid to the vulnerable elderly and disabled.
  • Germany, a first contributor, had pledged €50 million ($58 million) to the fund.

What is the Need of this Fund?

  • The International Monetary Fund said that Afghanistan’s economy is set to contract up to 30% this year and this is likely to further fuel a refugee crisis that will affect its neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe.
  • The Islamists’ takeover saw billions in central bank assets frozen and international financial institutions suspended access to funds, although humanitarian aid has continued.
  • Banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared.
  • The challenge is to repurpose donor funds already earmarked for Afghanistan.
  • The UNDP had cost activities to be covered over the first 12 months at approximately $667 million.

(News from PIB)


PM MITRA

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II- Government Schemes; GS-III- Food Processing

Context: The Ministry of Textiles has issued the Notification on 21 October 2021 for setting up of 7 PM MITRA  Parks as announced in Union Budget for 2021-22 and approved by the Central Government. 

  • PM MITRA Parks is envisaged to help India in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 9 (“Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation”).
  • The scheme aims to position India strongly on the Global textiles map.
  • PM MITRA is inspired by the 5F vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister. The ‘5F’ Formula encompasses – 
    • Farm to fibre; 
    • fibre to factory; 
    • factory to fashion; 
    • fashion to foreign. 
  • The scheme is to develop integrated large scale and modern industrial infrastructure facility for entire value-chain of the textile industry. It will reduce logistics costs and improve competitiveness of Indian Textiles. 
  • The scheme will help India in attracting investments, boosting employment generation and position itself strongly in the global textile market. 
  • These parks are envisaged to be located at sites which have inherent strength for Textile Industry to flourish and have necessary linkages to succeed.
  • The 7 PM Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks will be setup at Greenfield / Brownfield sites located in different willing States. 
  • Proposals of State Governments having ready availability of contiguous and encumbrance-free land parcel of 1,000+ acres along with other textiles related facilities & ecosystem are welcome.  
  • For a Greenfield PM MITRA park, the GOI Development Capital Support will be 30% of the Project Cost, with a cap of ₹500 Cr. 
  • For Brownfield sites, after assessment, Development Capital Support @30% of project cost of balance infrastructure and other support facilities to be developed and restricted to a limit of Rs. 200 Crore. State Government supports will include provision of 1,000 Acre land for development of a world class industrial estate.
  • Competitiveness Incentive Support (CIS) of ₹300 Crore will also be provided to each PM MITRA park for early establishment of textiles manufacturing units in PM MITRA Park. 
  • PM MITRA park will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle which will be owned by State Government and Government of India in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) Mode. 
  • The Master Developer will not only develop the Industrial Park but also maintain it during the concession period. Selection of this Master Developer will happen based on objective criteria developed jointly by State and Central Governments.

SAKSHAM Centres

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-II- Education

Context: As part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, a total of 152 Centre for Financial Literacy & Service Delivery (SAKSHAM Centres) across 77 districts of 13 states launched under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) of the Ministry of Rural Development during 4-8th October, 2021.

  • Centre for Financial Literacy & Service Delivery (CFL&SD) would act as one stop solution/single window system for basic financial needs of Self-Help Group (SHG) households in rural areas. 
  • The main objective of the center is to provide financial literacy & facilitate delivery of financial services (savings, credit, insurance, pensions etc.) to SHG members and rural poor.  
  • These Centers will be managed by SHG network, largely at the level of the Cluster Level Federations (CLFs), with the help of trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs).
  • These trained CRPs are provided six days residential training at Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs) established by the Lead Bank of the district. 
  • All of these resources persons, popularly known as Financial Literacy Community Resource person (FL CRPs) also provided a training tool kit in vernacular languages.
  • Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) has also developed a mobile & web-based application called “SAKSHAM”.
    • This will be used by the community resource person of the Centre to know the penetration of various financial services for each SHG & village, identify major gaps and accordingly provide training and deliver the required financial services. 
    • This application will also measure the impact of the programme on regular interval for mid-course correction in strategy, if any.

International Solar Alliance

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III- Economy & Environment

Context: The fourth general assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), was held virtually between October 18th and October 21st, 2021. 

  • A total of 108 countries participated in the Assembly, including 74 Member Countries and 34 Observer & Prospective Countries, 23 Partner Organizations and 33 Special Invitee Organisations also participated.

Key Takeaways from the conference:

  • Fourth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance closes with a promise to achieve $1 trillion global in solar investments by 2030,including a blended finance risk mitigation facility.
  • ISA Assembly gives a green light to the “One Sun”political declaration for the launch of Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) at COP26
  • ISA forges partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet
  • New ISA programmes launched on management of solar PV panels & battery usage, waste and solar hydrogen programme

What is ISA?

  • The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of 121 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
  • The alliance is a treaty-based inter-governmental organization. Countries that do not fall within the Tropics can join the alliance and enjoy all benefits as other members, with the exception of voting rights.
  • The initiative was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Paris Climate Summit, and a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.
  • The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, and 200 countries have joined.
  • The ISA is headquartered in Gurugram.
  • The focus is on solar power utilization. The launching of such an alliance in Paris also sends a strong signal to the global communities about the sincerity of the developing nations towards their concern about climate change and to switch to a low-carbon growth path.

(Mains  Focus)


INTERNATIONAL

  • GS-2: Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and agreements involving India

Need for an international development cooperation agency

Context Enhancing the efficacy of India’s development cooperation endeavours has been a challenging issue for the past several decades. The country, therefore, needs to expedite work on a specialised agency for efficient delivery of outcomes.

Development assistance and lack of institutional foundation

  • In the last two years, India’s assistance to other developing countries has multiplied several times.
  • India’s development cooperation has five modalities — capacity building, concessional finance, technology sharing, grant and trade wherein duty-free and quota-free access to the Indian market is provided.
  • India’s helpful image yields goodwill globally, but quality project delivery is yet to become the country’s USP.
  • On average, India provides development assistance of $6.48 billion and receives assistance of $6.09 billion annually from key partners .
  • Under Indian Cooperation Mission (ICM) — India partners for development cooperation and does not give aid like OECD members.
  • India has been supporting the developmental endeavours of several partner countries in Africa and Asia, even before Independence.
  • However, this process lacks a firm institutional foundation.

Efforts to form an institutional framework

  • The first effort by India to shape a framework was in 2003 with the announcement of the India Development Initiative (IDI).
  • Subsequently, the Indian Development and Economic Assistance Scheme (IDEAS) was launched in 2005 for managing credit lines.
  • The IDI was suspended in 2007 and the setting up of the India International Development Cooperation Agency (IIDCA) never took off.
  • Meanwhile, in 2018, China founded its international development cooperation agency.

Changes in concessional financing

  • At this point, concessional financing in India’s development cooperation portfolio is close to 70%.
  • In 2015, the government made efforts to bring in operational changes in the way credit lines work.

 Way forward

  • Countries have sovereign and non-sovereign windows for promoting infrastructure financing abroad — both have their own place.
  • A non-sovereign window would provide greater flexibility and bandwidth.
  • To become a leading strategic investor in commercially viable and financially attractive public-private partnership infrastructure projects, the fund may build an investment ecosystem in Africa with support from leading Indian firms.
  • The proposed new entity may also provide handholding to select performing Indian social enterprises to operate in other countries as well.
  • Besides making an immediate economic impact, these enterprises can facilitate development partnerships between India and other countries.

Conclusion

  • It is high time India restructures its development finance apparatus for deeper and effective engagement and to address the rapidly evolving newer competitive development financing landscape.

(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 Pinaka and Smerch are associated with Which of the following?

  1. New Islands discovered off Maldives 
  2. Rocket launch systems 
  3. Biofuels
  4. Indigenous tribes 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Uyghurs: 

  1. Uyghurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group.
  2. China recognises the community only as a regional minority and an indigenous group.
  3. They are culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations 

Which of the above statements is or are incorrect? 

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. 1, 2, and 3 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

Q.3 Tunis Agenda is associated with Which of the following? 

  1. UN-based Internet Governance forum (IGF)
  2. Paris Climate 2015 
  3. Ramsar convention
  4. Conservation of Biological diversity

ANSWERS FOR 22nd Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D
3 B

Must Read

On faulty land-use pattern in Kerala:

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On clean energy transition plan for India:

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