(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS II – Policies and interventions
Context The Union Government is considering increasing the unit cost of deep-sea fishing vessels under the Palk Bay scheme to make it more attractive to fisherfolk.
- The original unit cost of Rs. 80 lakh was “inadequate” [to meet the requirements of the fisherfolk].
About Palk Bay scheme
- It was Launched by the Prime Minister in July 2017.
- It is being financed by the Union and the State Governments with beneficiary participation.
- It envisages the provision of 2,000 vessels in three years to the fishermen of the State to motivate them to abandon bottom trawling.
What is bottom trawling?
- Bottom trawling, an ecologically destructive practice, involves trawlers dragging weighted nets along the sea-floor, causing great depletion of aquatic resources.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Pollution
Context The Centre-constituted Commission for Air Quality Management said in a statement that a reduction in the area under paddy cultivation in Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, and a shift away from paddy varieties that take long to mature, could see a reduction in stubble burning this year.
- Both Central and State Governments of Haryana, Punjab and U.P. have been taking measures to diversify crops as well as to reduce the use of PUSA-44 variety of paddy.
- Crop diversification and moving away from PUSA-44 variety with short duration High Yielding Varieties are part of the framework and action plan for control of stubble burning.
- The total paddy area in Haryana, Punjab and the eight NCR (National Capital Region) districts of UP has reduced by 7.72%.
- Similarly, total paddy straw generation from the non-basmati variety of rice is likely to be reduced by 12.42%.
- It’s the non-basmati variety of rice, whose stalk remains, that is usually burnt off by farmers ahead of sowing wheat.
What is Stubble Burning?
- Stubble burning is the act of setting fire to crop residue to remove them from the field to sow the next crop
- It is a traditional practice in Punjab and Haryana to clean off the rice chaff to prepare the fields for winter sowing
- It begins around October and peaks in November, coinciding with the withdrawal of southwest monsoon.
- On December 10, 2015, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) had banned crop residue burning in the states of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab
Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Health
Context The Ministry of Ayush’s advisory on the use of Guduchi, also known as Giloy, confirms that Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is safe to use but some similar looking plants like Tinospora crispa may be harmful.
What is Guduchi?
- Guduchi is a popularly known herb and has been used in therapeutics since long in AYUSH systems.
- It is a large, glabrous, perennial, deciduous, climbing shrub of weak and fleshy stem found throughout India.
- It is a widely used plant in folk and Ayurvedic systems of medicine.
- Potential medicinal properties include anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antioxidant, anti-allergic, anti-stress, antimalarial, etc.
Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Climate change; Environment
- The restrictions will prohibit ads for content that contradicts well-established scientific consensus around climate change.
- It will help in limiting revenue for climate change deniers and stop the spread of misinformation on its platforms.
- The new policy will also apply to YouTube, which last week announced a sweeping crackdown of vaccine misinformation.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – Economy
Context The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday said it was halting its bond buying under the G-Sec Acquisition Programme (GSAP).
- GSAP had succeeded in ensuring adequate liquidity and stabilising financial markets.
What is Government Securities Acquisition Programme (G-SAP)
- The G-Sec Acquisition Programme (G-SAP) is basically an unconditional and a structured Open Market Operation (OMO), of a much larger scale and size.
- Objective: To achieve a stable and orderly evolution of the yield curve along with management of liquidity in the economy.
- A yield curve is a line that plots yields (interest rates) of bonds having equal credit quality but differing maturity dates.
- The slope of the yield curve gives an idea of future interest rate changes and economic activity.
- By purchasing G-secs, the RBI infuses money supply into the economy which inturn keeps the yield down and lower the borrowing cost of the Government.
What are Government Securities?
- A G-Sec is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments.
- Such securities are short term or long term.
- G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.
Part of: Prelims and GS III – conservation
Context Indonesia is taking steps to protect the habitat of Javan Gibbon (Hylobates moloch), which is endangered by climate change and human encroachment.
- The species is also hunted for both meat and pet trade.
About Javan Gibbon
- The silvery gibbon or Javan gibbon, is a primate. They are found in groups only, usually in a pair of two.
- It is endemic to the Indonesian island of Java, where it inhabits undisturbed rainforests
- It helps in regenerating forest vegetation by dispersing seeds.
- There are around 4,000 Javan gibbons left.
- It was declared Critically Endangered in 2004 but since has recovered to status of Endangered as per IUCN criterion. However, the latest IUCN estimate shows that their population is decreasing.
- Habitat: Java, Indonesia.
- Protection Status:
- IUCN: Endangered (EN)
- CITES: Appendix I
Part of: Prelims and GS II – International relations and GS-III – Defence and security
Context In the first such signal to New Delhi, visiting US Deputy Secretary of State has indicated that Washington might reconsider slapping sanctions on the Indian government when India takes delivery of five Russian-built S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems in a US$5.5 billion deal later this year.
What is CAATSA?
- Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
- Enacted in 2017.
- Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.
What is S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems?
- The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.
- It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).
Part of: Prelims
- Journalists Maria Ressa of the Philippines and Dmitry Muratov of Russia won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their fight for freedom of expression in countries where reporters have faced persistent attacks, harassment and even murder.
- Ms. Ressa in 2012 co-founded Rappler , a news website that has focused critical attention on President Rodrigo Duterte’s “controversial, murderous anti-drug campaign” in the Philippines.
- Mr. Muratov was one of the founders in 1993 of the independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta , which the Nobel committee called “the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power”.
(News from PIB)
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions
In News: National Mission of Clean Ganga (NMCG) has signed an MoU with Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Institute (WASH Institute) to conduct a series of trainings to enhance the quality of service of officials in Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
- Aim: To efficiently address and improve preparedness towards FSSM (faecal sludge and septage management) and Wastewater Management in Indian towns and cities.
- The project will be funded by USAID and supported by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In India, untreated faecal sludge and urban sewage are the primary source of water pollution, particularly in the cities around Ganges. Under Prime Minister’s visionary initiative, the Swachh Bharat Mission, more than 62 lakh toilets are built. Half of these toilets rely on on-site sanitation system (OSS). Managing the waste collected from these toilets is the next big challenge for India. Considering these challenges, systematic capacity building initiatives need to be undertaken to build the skill and knowledge of the Government, Urban Local Body (ULB) officials, STP/FSTP Operators, Sanitary workers, entrepreneurs, NGO professionals and other stakeholders involved in the FSSM sector across India.
Do you know?
- Considering the importance of FSSM solutions, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs came up with the national policy on FSSM in 2017.
- More than 24 states have adopted it and 12 of them have come up with their own policies.
- Universal access to toilets was achieved in urban India with the construction of 66 lakh household toilets and more than 6 lakh community and public toilets.
- After achieving the target of ‘Open-Defecation-Free’ (ODF), India has now moved towards becoming ODF+ and ODF++.
- These targets go beyond the concept of access to sanitation and aim for safely managed sanitation systems, with adequate treatment and safe disposal of toilet waste.
News Source: PIB
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions
In News: More than 3 crore unorganized workers are now registered on E-shram portal.
- By Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE)
- It is the web portal for creating a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW), which will be seeded with Aadhaar.
- It seeks to register an estimated 398-400 million unorganised workers and to issue an E-Shram card containing a 12-digit unique number.
- Registered workers will be eligible for Rs 2 Lakh on death or permanent disability and Rs 1 lakh on partial disability.
Significance of e-Shram portal – National Database on Unorganized Workers (NDUW)
- Targeted identification of the unorganized workers was a much-needed step and the portal which will be the national database of our nation builders will help take welfare schemes to their doorstep, who are the builders of our Nation.
- Targeted delivery and last mile delivery, has been a major focus of the schemes of government of India and the National Database of Unorganised workers (E-Shram portal) is another key step towards that.
- Tedious Process: Given the gigantic nature of registering each worker, it will be a long-drawn process.
- Data Security issues: Given the mega-size of the database, there is potential for its misuses especially in the absence of Data Protection legislation. The Union government would have to share data with State governments whose data security capacities vary.
- Definitional issues: By excluding workers covered by EPF and ESI, lakhs of contract and fixed-term contract workers will be excluded from the universe of UW.
- Ever-changing identities: Unorganised may have complex and ever-changing identities where they move between formal and informal sectors.
- Gig workers – Gig workers are included by the Labour ministry while they are excluded by the other three Labour Codes creating legal confusions over the classification of gig/platform workers.
- Federal Challenges: Union chalks out the plan but states have to implement it. Differences in state capacities can create hurdles in the implementation.
- Corruption – Middle service agencies such as Internet providers might charge exorbitant charges to register and print the E-Shram cards.
- Involvement of surveillance agencies is crucial to address the issues of corruption.
- Government must publish statistics at the national and regional levels of the registrations to assess the registration system’s efficiency.
- Triple linkage of One-Nation-One-Ration Card , E-Shram Card (especially bank account seeded) and the Election Commission Card can be done, for efficient and leakage-less delivery,
News Source: PIB
Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-II – International Relations
In News: Paving the way for academic collaboration in India’s traditional medicine systems, especially in the field of Ayurveda, between the two countries, the Ministry of Ayush has entered into an agreement with Croatia.
- The two sides will undertake academic activities in the field of Ayurveda in collaboration with the identified institutions.
- There will be close cooperation and collaboration on research, including study design and execution, developing evidence-based guidelines for integrating Ayurvedic principles and practices with modern medicine, conducting lectures, workshops, seminars and conferences, and other such activities on Ayurveda.
- Both sides will also develop academic standards and courses in accordance with the needs of the institution, end users and stakeholders and develop Ayurvedic medical education guidelines for Ayurveda education in Croatia.
- This will promote academic research, clinical and educational activities, medical education, training, and competency building
News Source: PIB
- GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Context: The federal structure of India’s Constitution is a democratic need of multi-cultural India, where the constituent units (states) are based on language, against competing identities such as caste, tribe or religion.
- The democratic structure and national integrity are therefore intrinsically interlinked.
- However, operational faults of Democracy are increasingly hurting liberal institutions, undermining the federal democratic structure as recent events have underscored.
Some fault lines
- In Parliament session, the Rajya Sabha Chairperson broke down (in August 2021), unable to conduct proceedings; yet, the House passed a record number of Bills amidst a record number of adjournments.
- Recently, cross-border police firing by one constituent State against another, inflicting fatalities & putting strain on federalism.
- Greater criminalisation in India’s democracy, which includes over 30% legislators with criminal records,
- Democratic federalism presupposes institutions to ensure equality between and among the units and the Centre so that they coordinate with each other, subordinate to the Constitution and their disputes adjudicated by an independent judiciary with impeccable professional and moral credibility. But India’s federal structure is constitutionally impacted by deficits on all these counts.
- There is also issue of popular voting behaviour, institutional preferences are based either on ethnic or kinship network, which emerge as fault lines in India’s Federal Structure.
- With ‘nation-building” as priority, the constitutional division of power and resources remains heavily skewed in favour of the Centre.
- India’s Constitution has nothing about States’ rights, not even their territorial boundaries. This has enabled the Centre to unilaterally alter State boundaries and create new States.
- The judiciary is empowered to adjudicate on the conflicts between Federal Units, however with higher judicial appointments (an estimated 41% lying vacant), promotion and transfers becoming a central right, their operations are becoming increasingly controversial.
- The “all India services” and the role of Governors is distorted – transforming these constitutional authorities of a federal “link” to one of a central “agent” in the States.
- The Rajya Sabha indirectly represents the States whose legislators elect it, but is overpowered by priorities of political parties at the cost of the state’s interests.
- Thus, the critical instruments of national governance have been either assigned or appropriated by the Centre, with the States left with politically controversial subjects such as law and order and land reforms.
- Thus, most of India’s federal conflicts are structural, reinforced by operational abuses.
- India’s national security deserves a functional democratic federal alternative to its dysfunctional “quasi-federal” structure, which is neither federal nor democratic but a constitutional “basic structure”.
Connecting the dots:
- Cooperative & Competitive Federalism
- Upcoming Crisis in Indian Federalism
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- GS-2: Rights and Freedom
Context: According to the UN, over 82.4 million people were forced to leave their homes in 2020 and more than 20 million of them are refugees. Over 200,000 of these refugees are currently in India.
India and Refugees
- Through its history, India has hosted people fleeing war, conflict and persecution many times — Zoroastrians from Iran, Bengalis during 1971 Bangladesh liberation, Sri Lankans in the 1980s or Afghans during varied waves of displacement.
- Welcoming refugees lies at the core of India’s secular, spiritual and cultural values.
- India has taken part in 49 peacekeeping missions, in which more than 195,000 troops and a significant number of police personnel assisted the UN and international NGOs in conflict-ridden lands.
- Whatever be the considerations of refugees seeking a sanctuary — economic, demographic, security, or political — India has been adept in managing complications that result from such situations.
- Lacks Refugee Framework: Despite being a welcoming country, India does not have a national refugee framework.
- Ad-Hoc Measures: Interventions on refugee assistance in India have largely depended on interim policies and administrative decisions. As a result, some groups of refugees have benefitted from holistic support and solutions, others have fallen behind.
- Missing on Soft Power: India has not codified our interventions in asylum management, so that they can be showcased globally.
- Not a bureaucratic Exercise: Treatment of refugees is an important national security consideration that cannot be relegated to a bureaucratic exercise as it is currently.
Need for Refugee Law
- A sustainable refugee policy is a necessary step to intelligently manage population movements and ensure transparency and predictability in our administrative actions.
- A national refugee management law will be in keeping with India’s leadership role in the region and amongst developing nations.
- The legislation will clarify the roles of different agencies — governmental, judicial, UN — involved in refugee protection and lay down the procedures of coordination amongst them.
- It would also help avoid friction between the host country and the country of origin.
- Other states would recognise the move to grant asylum as a peaceful, humanitarian and legal act, and not an arbitrary political gesture.
- It will also provide a platform for dialogue on sharing responsibility and aid the search for durable solutions to the root causes of a refugee problem.
- Some countries provide initial help to refugees, after which they are expected to fend for themselves. A few countries have treated refugees like charity cases. Finding the right balance between the two is what a national refugee law can help achieve.
- Progressive states and economic powerhouses like India, with traditional experience and values, can serve as catalysts for global humanitarian action and asylum management.
- The current global refugee and economic crises present an opportunity for India to better calibrate its asylum management by enacting a national refugee law.
Connecting the dots:
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 Indonesia is taking steps to protect the habitat of Javan Gibbon, which is endangered by climate change and human encroachment. What is its IUCN status?
- Near threatened
- Least concern
Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding S-400 Triumf anti-aircraft missile systems:
- The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM)
- It is designed by Israel.
Which of the above is or are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.3 Guduchi, recently seen in news, is associated with which of the following?
- Jharkhand Handicraft which recently received GI tag
- An Ayurveda Herb
- Painting belonging to Chhattisgarh tribal
- Gujarat tribal dance
ANSWERS FOR 8th Oct 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On World Bank & IMF:
On Terror attacks in Kashmir: