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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 10th December 2021

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  • December 10, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Main Bhi Digital 3.0

Part of: Prelims and GS-IIl – Economy

Context Main Bhi Digital 3.0″ campaign launched which is aimed at digital onboarding of Street Vendors who are provided loans under PM SVANidhi Scheme.

Key takeaways 

  • Digital onboarding and training of Street Vendors (SVs) is an integral part of PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme.
  • Lending Institutions (LIs) have been instructed to issue a durable QR Code & UPI ID at the time of disbursement and train the beneficiaries in conduct of digital transactions.
  • Jointly launched by: Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) 
  • PM SVANidhi Scheme is available to all street vendors across the country.

What is the scheme all about?

  • It is a micro-credit facility that provides street vendors a collateral-free loan of Rs 10,000 with low rates of interest for a period of one year.
  • The scheme is a part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat package.

National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education And Research (Amendment) Bill , 2021

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Education 

Context The Parliament has passed the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

Key takeaways 

  • The Bill seeks to amend the original act of 1998 to declare six additional National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPERs) as Institutions of National Importance.
  • These institutes are located in Ahmedabad, Hajipur, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Guwahati and Raebareli.
  • The Bill also provides for a Council to coordinate the activities among the institutes to ensure development of pharmaceutical education and research.
  • The NIPERs are for strengthening and enhancing research in the Pharma sector, in the country.

What is the Meaning of the Institute of National Importance?

  • The Central Government grants the status of ‘Institute of National Importance’ to premier higher educational institutions in India through an act of the Parliament.
  • Such an institute “serves as a pivotal player in developing highly skilled personnel within the specified region of the country/state”.
  • Such institutes get special funding and recognition from the Government of India.
  • It is observed that generally, such INIs operate outside the University Grants Commission’s ambit and enjoy certain advantages related to taxes.
  • Ministry: Ministry of Education
  • Some of the benefits that INIs enjoy are listed below:
    • Functional autonomy
    • Increased funding.
    • Better quality of education.
    • Faster decision-making capabilities.
    • Minimal interference from the political executive.

More cyclones in Arabian Sea

Part of: Prelims and GS-I – Geography 

Context The frequency of “very severe cyclonic storms” has increased in recent years over the Arabian Sea. 

  • However, this has not measurably increased the threat to India’s western coast, as most of these cyclones were making landfall in Oman and Yemen.
  • A very severe cyclone is defined as one with wind speeds touching 220 kmph. It is the fourth highest category of cyclones
  • The eastern coast remained far more vulnerable to “extremely severe cyclones” than the western coast
  • On an average, 60%-80% of the cyclones developing over the North Indian Ocean (NIO), comprising the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, made landfall causing loss of life and property. 
  • Low-lying coastal belts of West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were more prone to the impact of these systems

Cyclones:

  • Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans, in tropical areas and move over to coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction caused by violent winds very heavy rainfall and storm surges.
  • A cyclone consists of a low-pressure area with high pressure all around.
  • Tropical cyclones are generated in regions of near zero horizontal temperature gradient. Tropical cyclones require very low values of tropospheric vertical shear in order to form and grow.
  • They have large diameters.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA)

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Citizenship 

Context Two years after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was passed by Parliament, the Union Home Ministry is yet to notify the rules governing the Act. 

  • The legislation cannot be implemented without notifying the rules.

What is the Citizenship (Amendment) Act?

  • Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India on 11 December 2019. 
  • It amended the Citizenship Act, 1955 by providing a pathway to Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis or Christians, and arrived in India before the end of December 2014.
  • The law does not grant such eligibility to Muslims from these Muslim-majority countries.
  • The act was the first time that religion had been overtly used as a criterion for citizenship under Indian law and attracted global criticism

(News from PIB)


Federal Chancellor of Germany: H. E. Olaf Scholz

9th December: 75 years of the historic sitting of our Constituent Assembly

  • The first sitting of the Constituent Assembly was Presided over by Dr. Sachchidananda Sinha, who was the eldest member of the Assembly. 
  • He was introduced and conducted to the Chair by Acharya Kripalani.

SAMPANN project

Part of: Prelims, Mains GS-II: Government schemes and policies

In News: Over 1 lakh people getting pension directly into their bank accounts through SAMPANN project

SAMPANN – ‘System for Accounting and Management of Pension’ is an ambitious project of Government of India being implemented by Controller General of Communication Accounts, Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications.

  • A seamless online pension processing and payment system for Department of Telecommunications pensioners
  • Provides direct credit of pension into the bank accounts of pensioners
  • Helped the Department in faster settlement of pension cases, improved reconciliation/auditing and ease of accounting.
  • Instrumental in settling close to 76000 BSNL Voluntary Retirement Scheme 2019 cases in a short span of 6 months.
  • A system with a flexible design which enables it to accommodate ever expanding requirements
  • Has improved the service delivery to pensioners by providing a single window setup ensuring the following benefits:
    • Timely settlement of pension cases
    • Provision of e-Pension Payment Order
    • Login for each pensioner enables access to key information like payment history
    • Online submission of grievances and timely SMS alerts 

News Source: PIB


Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Promotion of Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III – Science and Technology

In News: The Medical Device Sector in India suffers from a considerable cost of manufacturing disability vis-à-vis competing economies, inter alia, on account of lack of adequate infrastructure, domestic supply chain and logistics, high cost of finance, inadequate availability of power, limited design capabilities, low focus on research & development (R&D) and skill development, etc.

With an objective to boost domestic manufacturing, attract large investment in the Medical Device Sector, the Department of Pharmaceuticals had launched a Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Promotion of Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices to ensure a level playing field for the domestic manufacturers of medical devices with a total financial outlay of Rs.3,420 cr. for the period 2020-21 to 2027-28.

  • In the revised guidelines, the ‘Minimum Threshold’ investment requirement has been replaced by ‘committed investment’ taking into account availability of technology choices which varies from product to product.
  • The change has been made to encourage efficient use of productive capital.
  • The Department of Pharmaceuticals earlier come out with the two Production Linked Incentive Schemes: (1) Production Linked Incentive scheme for promotion of domestic manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials, Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients in India; (2) Production Linked Incentive Scheme for Promoting Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices.

Do you know? 

  • Globally, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is the third largest in terms of volume.

News Source: PIB 


Model Tenancy Act

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-II: Government schemes and policies 

Model Tenancy Act aims to promote rental housing by balancing and protecting the rights and interests of both the tenants and landlords by regulating renting of premises in an efficient and transparent manner. 

Why this Act?

  • Restrictive Laws: As per Census 2011, more than 1 crore houses were lying vacant in urban areas. The existing rent control laws are restricting the growth of rental housing and discourage owners from renting out their vacant houses due to fear of repossession. 
  • Large scale informalisation in sector: One of the potential measures to unlock the vacant house is to bringing transparency and accountability in the existing system of renting of premises and to balance the interests of both the property owner and tenant in a judicious manner.
  • Lack of Uniformity: Since it is a state subject, states have enacted their laws and it differs from one state to another.
  • Housing Poverty: 2013 report by a Task Force for Rental Housing held that affordable rental housing “addresses the issues of the underprivileged and inclusive growth, in an even more direct manner than affordable ownership housing”. Model Tenancy Act helps bring investment in the sector as the sector provides better safeguards.

Where it applies

  • After enforcement of this Act, no person can let or take on rent any premises except by an agreement in writing. 
  • The new Act will be applicable prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.
  • The Act seeks to cover urban and as well as rural areas.

What’s new in Model Tenancy Act?

  • Dedicated Institutions: States will set up a grievance redressal mechanism comprising of Rent Authority, Rent Court and Rent Tribunal to provide fast-track resolution of disputes. 
  • Time Bound Resolution: Disposal of a complaint/appeal by the Rent Court and the Rent Tribunal will be mandatory within 60 days.
  • No monetary ceiling on rents: At present, in many old properties let out under archaic rent-control Acts, such ceilings have left landlords stuck with outdated rent amounts. This will be done away with in new model act.
  • A digital platform will be set up in the local vernacular language or the language of the State/Union Territory for submitting tenancy agreement and other documents. Rent Authority will keep a tab on these agreements.
  • Proper Documentation: Verbal agreements will be out of the picture, as the MTA mandates written agreement for all new tenancies (prospective) which is to be submitted to Rent Authority. 
  • Clarity on Subletting: Subletting of premises can only be done with the prior consent of the landlord, and no structural change can be done by the tenant without the written consent of the landlord.
  • Guidelines on Security Deposit: The security deposit to be paid by the tenant should not exceed two months’ rent for residential property (six months’ rent in case of non-residential property)
  • Provision for eviction: The Rent Court can allow repossession by the landlord if the tenant misuses the premises, after being served a notice by the landowner. Misuse of the premises, as defined, includes public nuisance, damage, or its use for “immoral or illegal purposes”.

Merits of MTA

  • Formalise the shadow market of rental housing
  • Protects interests of both tenant and owner
  • Faster resolution of disputes
  • Unlock vacant properties
  • Increase rental yields
  • Ease/remove exploitative practices
  • Reduce procedural barriers in registration
  • Increase transparency and discipline.
  • Attracts private investment into the sector.

Note: Land and Colonization are State subjects

News Source: PIB


Government has set a target to raise the share of natural gas in energy mix to 15% in 2030 

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Energy

In News: The Government has set a target to raise the share of natural gas in energy mix to 15% in 2030 from about 6.7% now. 

  • To achieve the target, following initiatives have been taken: –
  • Expansion of National Gas Grid to about 35,000 Km from current 20,000 Km.
  • Expansion of CGD network -11th CGD round launched on 17.09.2021. After completion of 11th city gas distribution (CGD) round, 96% of India’s population and 86% of its geographic area would be covered under CGD network.
  • Setting up of LNG Terminals.
  • Allocation of domestic gas to CNG (T) / PNG (D) in no cut category.
  • Allowing marketing and pricing freedom to gas produced from high pressure/high temperature areas, deep water & ultra-deep water and from coal seams.
  • SATAT initiatives to promote Bio-CNG.

Considering the demand of natural gas across sectors and the possibility of price of LNG coming down in future, current high prices do not threaten India’s goal to boost the use of gas in its energy mix.

News Source: PIB 


(Mains Focus)


POLITY/ MODERN HISTORY

  • GS-1: Modern History
  • GS-2: Historical Background of Indian Polity

Citizenship Debate in the Constituent Assembly

Context: With the contentious farm laws repealed, the discussions turn to the second most politically and legally resisted legislation of recent times, The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.

Citizenship in Constituent Assembly

  • The citizenship question had been one of the most gruelling tasks confronted by the drafting committee as admitted by Dr B.R.Ambedkar who said that multiple drafts were prepared and destroyed before arriving at a consensus, which may satisfy most people, if not all.
  • The secular and liberal provisions of the proposed draft and the official amendments were fiercely contested on the floor of the Constituent Assembly on religious, ethnic and hyper-nationalistic considerations.
  • Article 5 of the Constitution of India was criticised for its lack of exclusive and preferential provisions on religious lines regarding the declaration as to who shall be the citizen of India (as on the date of commencement of the Constitution). 
    • Dr P.S.Deshmukh from the Central Provinces and Berar proposed changes to Article 5 of the draft by proposing to replace the universally honoured “jus soli” principle by qualifying it with a religious appendage that “every person who is a Hindu or a Sikh by religion and is not a citizen of any other State, wherever he resides shall be entitled to be a citizen of India.”
  • Article 5A of the draft (Article 7 of the Constitution of India), was removed on the ground that its proviso sought to grant citizenship rights to the migrants of Pakistan who had returned to India under a permit for resettlement granted by Indian authorities.

The defenders

  • R.K.Sidhva from C.P. and Berar retorted that mentioning the name of some communities will make other communities feel that they were being ignored.
  • Jawaharalal Nehru supported the draft definition of citizenship on Universal (non-religious) basis and secularism in unequivocal terms.
  • Nehru did not mince words when he stated that “you cannot have rules for Hindus, for Muslims and for Christians only. It is absurd on the face of it”. 
  • With regard to Article 5A drafted, Nehru also impressed upon the possibility of the second wave of migration including non-Hindus and non-Sikhs who were part of the first wave influx. Hence, in his view, foreclosing the doors fearing the influx of some may deprive others of exercising their choice.
  • Brajeshwar Prasad, a member from Bihar, went further in stating that “I see no reason why a Muslim who is a citizen of this country should be deprived of his citizenship at the commencement of this Constitution, especially when we are inviting Hindus who have come to India from Pakistan to become citizens of this country. why cannot a Muhammadan of the frontier be so when we have always said that we are one?”
  • Mahboob Ali Baig went one step ahead by calling the proposition of Dr.Deshmukh as “ ridiculous” as it contemplated giving citizenship rights only to persons who are Hindus and Sikhs. 
  • Alladi Krishnaswamy Ayyar said “we cannot on any racial or religious or other grounds make a distinction between one kind of persons and another, or one sect of persons and another sect of persons having regard to our commitments and the formulation of our policy on various occasions.”

Challenge now

  • The assertion of Dr.Deshmukh that “by the mere fact that he is a Hindu or a Sikh, he should get Indian citizenship” finds its resonance today in the 2019 Citizenship Amendment Act that only people belonging to some faiths are victims of persecution and violence and the doors of the country can be legitimately shut to any other instance of persecution and ethnic violence.

The final outcome of Citizenship debate 

  • The amendment No. 164 proposed by Dr. Deshmukh modifying Article 5 to make citizenship as a matter of right to Hindus and Sikhs irrespective of the place of residence was rejected.
  • The Constituent Assembly debates on citizenship showed that utilising the sentiments of ethnicity and distrust, sagacity & maturity had an upper hand, leading to toleration & establishment of Secular state.

Connecting the dots:


EDUCATION/ SOCIETY/ ETHICS

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

Education & Nation Building

In News: Mahatma Gandhi, once remarked, “Youth are agents for transformation”. The history of modern India would be incomplete without acknowledging the role played by students and youth of this country.

Role of Students in Nation Building

  • Many social revolutions and changes were brought about through politically conscious and socially responsible students, who raised their voices against existing inequities. 
  • Students have been the face of the Indian independence movement. In fact, the youth have often taken up certain causes and inspired many political parties to take up the same subsequently.
  • Students are guardians of freedom, justice, equality, ethics, and social equilibrium.
  • The importance of students’ participation in a modern democracy ensures active & deliberative Democracy that sustains for longer time period.
  • After all, political consciousness and well-informed debates can steer the nation into a glorious future as envisioned by our Constitution. A responsive youth is vital for strengthening democracy.
  • When the youth become socially and politically conscious, the basic issues of education, food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, etc. would come into focus in the national discourse. 

Role of Education & Youth

  • Education has a social agenda. The agenda is to develop our human resources, which meet the requirements of society. 
  • An educated citizenry is the greatest asset for any democratic society. Students are known for their readiness to fight for all the right causes because their thoughts are pure and honest. They are always at the forefront, questioning injustice.

Present day Challenges with Youth vis-à-vis Education 

  • Only about 27% of those in the age group of university students are enrolling for university education. 
  • While most of them leave these institutes with degrees and titles, they remain self-centred.
  • The focus nowadays is on professional courses to the total neglect of equally important subjects such as humanities and natural sciences. 
  • The harsh reality is that even after the students enter professional universities, the focus is on classroom learning, and not on the world beyond the classroom.
  • There is diminished participation of students in social causes after liberalisation. 
  • Students are no more realising the importance of their relationship with society. The educated youth have remained aloof from social reality and their energies are not properly streamlined to enhance their social & political consciousness.
  • As a result, no big leader has emerged from the student community.
  • Lack of student participation has allowed narrow and partisan issues to dominate the nation’s thought process.

Way Forward

  • The youth of today is driven by idealism and ambition. Idealism without ambition may not achieve any positive results. Ambition without idealism can be dangerous.
  • While it is not wrong to choose a life of convenience, students should also choose a life of service, for the future of this nation.
  • Students should be aware of prevailing inequities and ask themselves how they can be a part of the solution. Particularly, in a country like India, students need to be social architects.
  • Every student should remember the quote of US President John F Kennedy “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.”

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: Perspective)


Dec 9- Defining EWS – https://youtu.be/hxuhux2zeFU 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2 – Governance

Defining EWS

In News: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has recently appointed a three-member committee to revisit the criteria for 10% reservation for economically weaker sections (EWS) in educational institutions and government jobs. The committee will comprise Former Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Member Secretary ICSSR Prof VK Malhotra and Principal Economic Advisor to the Indian government Sanjeev Sanyal.

Background

This came after Supreme Court’s observations while hearing petitions challenging the government notice issued in July which provides for 10% EWS quota in NEET admissions.

According to a memorandum issued by the union government on EWS quota –

  • Only those persons who are not covered under the scheme of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs and whose family has gross annual income below 8.00 lakh rupees are to be identified as EWSs for benefit of reservation. This Income shall also include income from all sources i.e. salary, agriculture, business, profession, etc. 
  • Persons whose families own landholdings of a certain size such as at least five acres of agricultural land, or a residential flat of at least 1,000 sq. feet are excluded from the purview of this reservation.

The Committee

  • The committee will examine various approaches followed in the country so far for identifying the economically weaker sections. It will also send its recommendations to the Centre in the next three weeks.
  • The office memorandum issued by the ministry, signed by joint secretary RP Meena, states that the committee is being set up “in accordance with the commitment” given to the Supreme Court to “revisit the criteria for determining the economically weaker sections in terms of the provisions of the explanation to Article 15 of the Constitution”.
  • Last week, the government had submitted to the Supreme Court that it would revisit the Rs 8 lakh annual income criteria for EWS to be eligible for reservation benefits. 

Do You Know?

  • It was 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act that introduced provide 10 per cent reservation in government jobs and education (except in minority educational institutions) to economically backward section in the general category
  • The act inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution that provided for these reservations.
  • Article 46 of the Constitution (DPSP) enjoins that the State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1 The calm area at the centre of the cyclone is referred to as?

  1. Epicentre 
  2. Focus
  3. Landfall
  4. Eye

Q.2 Which of the following benefits are enjoyed by the Institute of National Importance??

  1. Functional autonomy
  2. Increased funding.
  3. Minimal interference from the political executive.
  4. All of the above

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme: 

  1. It is a micro-credit facility that provides street vendors a collateral-free loan of Rs 10,000 with low rates of interest for a period of one year.
  2. The scheme is a part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat package.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

ANSWERS FOR 10th Dec 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 D
3 C

Must Read

On the death of Gen Bipin Rawat:  

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The Hindu

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Indian Express

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