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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th October 2021

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  • October 8, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


India’s Newest Tiger Reserve in Chhattisgarh

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Environment; Conservation 

Context The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved Chhattisgarh’s proposal to declare the combined areas of the Tamor Pingla Wildlife Sanctuary and the Guru Ghasidas National Park as a Tiger Reserve.

  • Part of Sanjay Dubri National Park originally, Guru Ghasidas Park was set up as a separate entity in Sarguja region of Chhattisgarh after the state came into being in 2001.

Key takeaways 

  • The new Reserve also borders Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh. 
  • This will be Chhattisgarh’s fourth Tiger Reserve after the Udanti-Sitanadi, Achanakmar, and Indravati Reserves.
  • the proposal was approved under Section 38V(1) of The Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Significance
    • Guru Ghasidas National Park is significant as the Asiatic cheetah’s last-known habitat in India. 
    • Wildlife activists and experts believe that converting Guru Ghasidas into a Tiger Reserve is an important step as it connects Madhya Pradesh and Jharkhand and provides the tigers with a corridor to move between the Palamau and Bandhavgarh reserves.
    • On the other hand, Bhoramdeo connects Chhattisgarh’s Indravati Tiger Reserve with Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha Tiger Reserve.

National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • It was established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force which was constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
  • The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for its constitution. 
  • It is responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger to protect endangered tigers.

IIT-M study finds contaminants in Cauvery 

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Pollution 

Context A study done by researchers of the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras(IIT-M) has found that contaminants, including pharmaceutically active compounds, personal care products, plastics, flame retardants, heavy metals and pesticides, pollute the Cauvery.

Key takeaways 

  • This highlights the need to regularly monitor the river and its tributaries for pharmaceutical contamination.
  • The contamination is particularly serious because India is the second largest pharmaceutical manufacturer.
  • Harmful effects: Drug compounds, when released into water bodies even in minuscule amounts, can harm human beings and the ecosystem in the long term.
  • The study also highlighted the need to assess the long-term impact of such contamination on human health and the ecosystem.

About Cauvery River

  • The Cauvery River (Kaveri) is designated as the ‘Dakshin Bharat ki Ganga’ or ‘the Ganga of the South’.
  • The Cauvery River rises at Talakaveri on the Brahmagiri range near Cherangala village, Kodagu (Coorg), Karnataka.
  • It flows through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls.
  • Before emptying into the Bay of Bengal south of Cuddalore, Tamil Nadu the river breaks into a large number of distributaries forming a wide delta called the “garden of southern India”
  • It is bounded by the Western Ghats on the west, by the Eastern Ghats on the east and the south, and by the ridges separating it from the Krishna basin and Pennar basin on the north.


Supreme Court allows girls to appear for RIMC test

Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Education

Context Supreme Court has allowed girls to appear in the entrance examination scheduled for December 2021 for admission to the Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC).

  • Recently, SC had asked the armed forces to allow women to write the National Defence Academy (NDA) entrance exam in November 2021 as well.

About RIMC

  • Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC) is a military school for boys situated in Doon Valley, Dehradun in India.
  • It was established in 1922.
  • The RIMC is a feeder institution for the National Defence Academy, Indian Naval Academy and subsequently the Indian Armed Forces.

Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit

Part of: Prelims and GS I – Art and culture and GS-III – Tourism

Context Chhattisgarh Chief Minister inaugurated the redeveloped ancient Mata Kaushalya temple, part of the “Ram Van Gaman” Tourism Circuit.

  • He inaugurated the first phase of the project in Chandrakhuri village of Raipur district. Chandkhuri is believed to be the maternal home of Lord Ram.

About Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit

  • The State government is developing the tourism circuit at a cost of Rs. 137.45 crore. 
  • Nine sites are being developed to attract tourists to the circuit,
  • The circuit shall cover the route believed to be taken by Lord Ram during his 14-year exile.
  • The nine sites are Sitamarhi-Harchaika (Koriya), Ramgarh (Ambikapur), Shivrinarayan (Janjgir-Champa), Turturiya (Baloda Bazaar), Chandkhuri, Rajim (Gariaband), Sihawa-Saptarishi Ashram (Dhamtari), Jagdalpur (Bastar) and Ramaram (Sukma).

About Mata Kaushalya temple

  • Mata Kaushalya temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Mata Kaushalya, mother of Lord Ram. 
  • It is the only temple in the world dedicated to Mata Kaushalya. 
  • It is located on Chandkhuri village 27 km away from the Raipur in Chhattisgarh
  • The temple is believed to have been constructed in the 8th century

Indian forces to carry out exercise with U.K.

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Defence and security 

Context India’s armed forces are scheduled to carry out an exercise with the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group later this month (October).

  • As part of training, both the Armies would familiarise with each other’s weapons, equipment, tactics, techniques and procedures for carrying out joint military operations.

Other developments between India and UK

  • The second meeting of the India-U.K. Joint Working Group (JWG) on cyber capacity-building was held recently through videoconferencing.
  • The Army also said that the sixth edition of the India-U.K. joint company-level military training, Exercise Ajeya Warrior, had commenced at Chaubatia, Uttarakhand, and would culminate on October 20.
  • India and the U.K. are also in talks for a bilateral logistics support agreement.

Do you know?

  • In July, India and the U.K. participated in a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with the Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG-21), led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, in the Bay of Bengal as the carrier was passing through.

Nobel Prize in Literature

Part of: Prelims

  • Tanzanian novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, 72, won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Literature “for his uncompromising and compassionate penetration of the effects of colonialism and the fate of the refugee.
  • Mr. Gurnah is the first African writer to win the award since the Zimbabwean Doris Lessing in 2007, and only the second writer of colour from sub-Saharan Africa, after Nigeria’s Wole Soyinka, who won in 1986.
  • His novels include Paradise, which is set in colonial East Africa during the First World War and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, and Desertion .

(News from PIB)


India Joins High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People

Part of: GS-Prelims and Mains GS-III: Climate change

In News: India has joined the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People, a group of more than 70 countries encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect 30×30.

  • Initiated at the “One Planet Summit” in Paris in January 2021, this coalition aims to promote an international agreement to protect at least 30 % the of world’s land and ocean by 2030.
  • HAC members currently include a mix of countries in the global north and south; European, Latin American, Africa and Asia countries are among the members. 
  • India is the first of the BRICS bloc of major emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) to join the HAC.

News Source: PIB


Sources of aerosols in the central Himalayan region 

Part of: GS-Prelims and Mains GS-III: Climate change

Sources: Mineral dust, biomass burning, secondary sulfate, secondary nitrate from northwest India and Pakistan, polluted cities like Delhi, the Thar Desert, and the Arabian Sea area, and long-range transported marine mixed aerosols.

  • This dust transport and forest fires are the main sources of total suspended particles (TSP), particularly in pre-monsoon period (March-May) when TSP concentration peaks in the region.
  • There was predominance of mineral dust in spring and summer and biomass burning and secondary sulfate in winter. 
  • The transported marine mixed aerosol source was mainly associated with SW monsoon air masses during the summer season.
  • Carbonaceous aerosols (Organic Carbon (OC) and Elemental Carbon (EC) were the maximum in winter due to the intensification of biomass burning over the Indo Gangetic Plains and the Himalayas because of domestic heating and shallower mixing layer.

Background

With a unique role in the Asian climate, the Himalayan region is considered a vulnerable environment. Several chemical speciation studies have been performed for carbonaceous aerosols and inorganic species over the western and central Himalayan regions during the last decade, reporting the dominance of transported aerosol plumes from the Indo-Gangetic Plains. 

News Source: PIB


PM Cares For Children Scheme

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

In News: The Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued the detailed guidelines for PM CARES for Children Scheme.

Corpus of Rs. 10 Lakh:

  • A corpus of Rs. 10 lakh will be allocated to each of these children from the PM CARES fund.
  • It will provide monthly stipend from 18 years of age. 
  • On attaining 23 years, he/she will get the corpus amount.

Education to the Children (under 10 years):

  • Ensure admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas/ private schools.
  • PM CARES will pay for the uniform text books and notebooks
  • If the child is admitted in a private school the fees as per the RTE norms will be provided

Education to the Children (11-18 years):

  • The child will be given admission in any Central Government Residential School
  • In case the child is to be continued under the care of guardian, he/she will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya/private school

Higher education:

  • Provision of either a scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees/ educational loans. 
  • Interest on the loan will be paid by the PM-CARES fund.

Health Insurance:

  • All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme 
  • The premium amount will be paid by PM-CARES till a child turns 18.

MOU: Ministry of Textiles and GIZ

Part of: GS-Prelims and Mains GS-II: International Relations

In News: An MOU was signed between Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the Ministry of Textiles Govt. of India  on Implementation Agreement of Indo German Technical Cooperation Project on ‘Sustainability and Value Added  in the Cotton Economy’. 

  • The objective of the project is `to increase the value addition from sustainable cotton production in India by focusing on sustainable cotton, and strengthening of downstream processing’. 
  • It is focussing on 4 majorly cotton producing states- Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu 
  • Follows “From shelf to field” approach, with the strategy to link consumers to the cotton growers in India and work along the entire supply chain. 
  • To create the “pull” factor for improved market access by the farmers for their sustainably grown cotton – promotion of sustainable cotton cultivation methods emphasizing on implementation of good agriculture practices.
  • Focusing on creation and promotion of transparency about the prevalence and application of internationally recognized/accepted sustainability standards and promoting measures that reduce the water footprint in cotton production. This will help reduce vulnerability of cotton sector to ever-increasing water-stress worsened by climate vagaries.

GIZ project is aimed at  

  • Increasing volume of cotton production at least on 90,000 hac 
  • Participation of 1.50 lakh cotton farmers with yield increase by 10%
  • This will enable capacity building of the 1.50 lakh farmers& entrepreneurs of which about 30% will be women beneficiaries.

India is the largest cotton producer in the world and also the 2nd largest consumer of cotton in the world with estimated consumption of 303 lakh bales (5.15 Million Metric Tones i.e. 20% of world cotton consumption of 1505 lakh bales (25.59 Million Metric Tones). It plays a major role in sustaining the livelihood of an estimated 6 Million cotton farmers and about 50 Million people engaged in related activity such as cotton processing & trade.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


AGRICULTURE/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to it.
  • GS-3: Agriculture

Data Revolution in Indian agriculture

Context: Recently, a document on “Indian Agriculture: Ripe for Disruption” was released by a private organisation Bain and Company.

Key Takeaways of the report

  • The Bain report is a data-based prediction on agri-business scenarios 
  • It includes targeting the production of alternative proteins, and food cell-based food/ingredients and initiating ocean farming, etc. 
  • The agriculture sector (currently worth $370 billion), is estimated to receive an additional $35 billion investment. 
  • The two enabling conditions for such investment opportunities are 
  • The Indian agriculture sector in future will encompass farm to fork and pave the way for a single national market with a national platform with better connection between producer and consumers. 
    • The report has convincingly demonstrated the business opportunity available in supply chains between farm to Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandi and mandi to the customer, which can be realised with the support of digital disruption and the latest agriculture reforms. 
  • The report argues that benefiting from the huge investments into the agri-ecosystem, doubling farmers’ income targets can be achieved in near future. 

Concerns or Challenges

  • The IT industry has opposition to IDEA mainly due to the ethics of creating a Unique Farmer ID based on one’s Aadhaar number and also the potential for data misuse. 
  • There is a general assumption that more investments into the agriculture sector will benefit farmers; ‘but how’ has not been convincingly answered in the report.
  •  Majority of small and marginal farmers are under-educated and not technology-savvy. However, capacity building of farmers is ignored amidst these ambitious developments. 
  • Protest of farmers against the reforms can act as a barrier or risk factor resulting in a repealing of these new farm laws. 

Way Forward

  • While agreeing on the fact that a data revolution is inevitable in the agriculture sector, given its socio-political complexities, we cannot just count on technology fixes and agri-business investments for improving farmers’ livelihoods. 
  • There need to be immense efforts to improve the capacities of the farmers, by establishing support systems, through FPOs and other farmers associations.
  • Considering the size of the agriculture sector of the country this is not going to be an easy task but would need a separate programme across the country with considerable investment. 

Connecting the dots:


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Federalism and challenges
  • GS-3: Disaster Management

PRIs and Disaster Management

Context: The Panchayati Raj, first adopted by Nagaur in Rajasthan on October 2, 1959, has expanded vastly. There are now 2,60,512 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) represented by about 31 lakh elected members across India. 

The People’s Plan Campaign and Vibrant Gram Sabha Dashboard, rolled out this year, aspire to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system by making gram sabhas more vibrant.

  • People Plan campaign or “Sabki Yojana Sabka Vikas” aims to draw up Gram Panchayat Development Plans (GPDPs) in the country and place them on a website where anyone can see the status of the various government’s flagship schemes.
  • Vibrant Gram Sabha Dashboard will help in increasing maximum participation from Panchayats through the meeting of Gram Sabha, the Standing Committee meeting of Gram Panchayat, meeting of elected Panchayat public representatives throughout the year.

Crucial Panchayat Raj Institutions(PRI) during Pandemic

  • When the traditional top-down disaster response system was compromised during the bad months of the pandemic, it was PRIs that played a remarkable role. 
  • They helped reduce risks, responded swiftly and thus helped people recover quickly. The PRIs provided essential leadership at the local level. 
  • They performed both regulatory and welfare functions
  • For instance, during the nationwide lockdown, PRIs set up containment zones, arranged transport, identified buildings for quarantining people and provisioned food for the incoming migrants. 
  • Moreover, effective implementation of welfare schemes like MGNREGA quickened the pace of recovery while ensuring support to the vulnerable population.
  • Regular engagement with frontline workers like ASHA workers and Anganwadi workers through committees bridged the trust gap between the community and the officials.
  • More recently, PRI’s role in mobilising citizens for COVID-19 vaccination is exemplary helping India move towards universal vaccination by end of the year.

What measures can be taken to further improve PRIs role during disasters (like Pandemic)?

The Yokohama strategy,1994 emphasised that it is important to focus on disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness rather than disaster response alone, to reduce vulnerability. In this respect, certain initiatives can be taken to build the capacity of PRIs.

  • Legal Recognition: It is crucial to include disaster management chapters in Panchayat Raj Acts and make disaster planning and spending part of Panchayati Raj development plans and local-level committees. This will ensure citizen-centric mapping and planning of resources. 
  • Strengthening Capacities: Conducting regular location-specific training programmes for the community will strengthen individual and institutional capacities. Sharing of best practices, assigning roles to individual members and providing them with the necessary skills can make such programmes more meaningful.
  • Disaster Management Plans: Since the community is usually the first responder in case of a disaster, community-based disaster management plans would help. 
    • These would provide a strategy for resource utilisation and maintenance during a disaster. 
    • Such plans should tap the traditional wisdom of local communities which will complement modern practices. 
  • Mobilising Funds: Financial contributions from the community should be encouraged through the establishment of community disaster funds in all gram panchayats. 

Conclusion

It is imperative to make disaster resilience an inherent part of the community culture now more than ever.

Connecting the dots:

  • 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act
  • Hanumantha Rao Committee (1983), G.V.K. Rao Committee (1985), L.M.Singhvi Committee (1986) and the Sarkaria Commission on Centre-State relations (1988), P.K. Thungan Committee (1989) and Harlal Singh Kharra Committee (1990).

(AIR – Perspective)


Oct 6 – Cooperative and Competitive Federalism – https://youtu.be/NuyINLiSby0 

ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Indian Constitution, Issues and Challenges Pertaining to the Federal Structure

Cooperative and Competitive Federalism

Context: Federalism is a system of government in which states or provinces share power with a national government. The quasi-federal structure of the Indian nation was settled in after the country became free of colonialism and gained independence from the British. This style of federalism is responsible for the introduction of its cooperative as well as competitive variants in the country.

The Constitution of India has created a strong Central government, but at the same time, it has not made the state governments weak and has not reduced them to the level of administrative agencies for the execution of policies of the Central government. Rather, the states have an independent constitutional existence. 

Cooperative federalism

The concept of cooperative federalism professes a horizontal relationship between the Central as well as the State governments. This essentially means that the legislature at the Union as well as the State levels cooperate to serve the larger public interest. 

Such an arrangement, if executed successfully, would be a significant leap in enabling the participation of States in determining national policies.

Usually cooperative federalism is seen in socialist economies where most of the resources are controlled by the government. It is being promoted in India through steps like the formation of NITI aayog, passing of GST etc.

  • The essence of co-operative federalism is that the Centre and the State Governments should be guided by the broader national concerns of using the available resources for the benefit of the people. 
  • Co-operative federalism encourages the Government at different levels to take advantage of a large national market, diverse and rich natural resources and the potential of human capabilities in all parts of the country and from all sections of the society for building a prosperous nation. 
  • Co-operative federalism makes it possible to raise all the available resources by the Government at different levels in a co-ordinated way and channel them for use for the common good of the people. This requires a harmonious relationship and co-operative spirit between the Centre and the States and among the States themselves. 
  • Co-operative federalism is intended to ensure a minimum bundle of basic services and a nationally acceptable level of living for all the people of the country.

Must Read: Cooperative federalism amidst COVID-19

Competitive federalism

In competitive federalism, the States share a vertical relationship with the Central government while competing amongst themselves. Essentially, States individually work towards attracting funds and investment to aid their developmental activities. This leads to the formation of a free market scenario amongst the States wherein they play the role of the sellers and the investors become the buyers.

A type of Competitive federalism is seen in India where states want more funds and perks from the state government for growth. Also states can be involved in International treaties and business deals. They are also trying to woo MNCs to get more FDI.

  • Competitive federalism follows the concept bottom-up approach as it will bring the change from the states. It ensures inclusive development in the country.
  • It instill a spirit of positive competition and help utilization of successful models of development across many states. Thus, it helps in reducing inter-states and intra-states inequalities through development.
  • It ensures that every limb of the whole country is developing. E.g. there are many disparities between various cities in terms of development, competitive sub-federalism reduces such disparities. It helps in instilling sense of responsibility in city administrations, ensuring no one have been left out.
  • The policy of one-size-fit-all is replaced with different policies of various states based on the own priorities with in the state. Each state will design their own policies for development of the cities with self-fund. The concept also promotes discipline among the states.

Conclusion:

  • Cooperation as well as Competition on a national level is not a small feat to achieve and thus it requires a mutual understanding between the Central and State governments. 
  • While prosperous States may be able to execute both policies effectively but economically backward States would require the Centre’s support to achieve their goals.
  • Hence, there is a need for more cooperative federalism than competitive federalism in present times where states come together to help each other develop.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Cooperative federalism is the only democratic way for the smooth functioning of Centre-State interactions. Illustrate.
  2. What is competitive federalism? Is it good for a developing country like India? Substantiate by taking suitable examples

(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 Guru Ghasidas National Park was recently in news. Where is it located?

  1. Chhattisgarh 
  2. Jharkhand 
  3. Gujarat 
  4. Madhya Pradesh 

Q.2 Which of the following peninsular rivers is westward flowing?

  1. Mahanadi
  2. Godavari
  3. Tapi
  4. Cauvery

Q.3 Ram Van Gaman Tourism Circuit is launched by which of the following states?

  1. Karnataka
  2. Uttar Pradesh 
  3. Madhya Pradesh 
  4. Chhattisgarh

ANSWERS FOR 7th Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 B
3 A

Must Read

On water scarcity:

Deccan Herald

On Caste Politics:

Deccan Herald

On evictions and development:

Indian Express

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