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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 27th December 2021

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  • December 27, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Mission SAGAR

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -International relations

Context As part of deployment undertaken by the Indian Navy since May 2020 under Mission SAGAR, Indian Naval Ship Kesari entered the Port of Maputo, Mozambique recently.

Key takeaways 

  • 500 Tons of food aid has been shipped by INS Kesari to support Mozambique to cope with ongoing drought and concurrent challenges of pandemic.
  • INS Kesari is carrying two Fast Interceptor Craft and self defence equipment to be handed over to the Armed Forces of Mozambique.

About mission SAGAR:

  • Mission Sagar was a COVID-19 relief mission launched by India in May 2020 as a part of its efforts to provide essential aid to the Indian Ocean countries. 
  • This was followed up by Mission Sagar II in November and Mission Sagar III in December 2020.
  • Mission SAGAR 1– India sent INS Kesari in May 2020 with food items, medicines and medical assistance teams to Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros and La Reunion.
  • Mission SAGAR 2– In November 2020, INS Airavat was delivering food to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • Mission SAGAR 3– In December 2020, INS Kiltan made its way towards Cambodia and Vietnam carrying 15 tons of Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) for disaster relief following catastrophic floods in Vietnam and Cambodia.
  • Mission SAGAR 4– In March 2021, INS Jalashwa reached Port Anjouan, Comoros to deliver 1000 metric tonnes of rice to the island nation. 

Do you know?

  • INS Kesari, a Landing Ship Tank (Large) had undertaken a similar mission in May – June 2020 to provide humanitarian and medical assistance to Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, including deployment of Medical Assistance Teams of the Indian Navy in multiple locations.
  • Since May 2020, the Indian Navy has deployed ships to 15 Friendly Foreign Countries under SAGAR missions.

World Economy

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Economy

Context India looks set to overtake France next year and then Britain in 2023 to regain its place as the world’s sixth biggest economy.

Key takeaways 

  • In a report released, the British consultancy CEBR said the world’s economic output will exceed 100 trillion dollars for the first time next year and it will take China a little longer than previously thought to overtake the United States as the No.1 economy.
  • CEBR predicted China will become the world’s top economy in dollar terms in 2030.
  • The report showed Germany was on track to overtake Japan in terms of economic output in 2033. 
  • Russia could become a Top 10 economy by 2036 and Indonesia looks on track for ninth place in 2034.

Right to Be Forgotten

Part of: Prelims and GS-II Fundamental rights 

Context  The Centre told the Delhi High Court that the “right to be forgotten” is part of the fundamental right to privacy, but added it has no significant role to play in the matter.

Key takeaways 

  • The right to be forgotten allows a person to seek deletion of private information from the Internet.
  • The concept has found recognition in some jurisdictions abroad, particularly the European Union. 
  • The EU in 2018 adopted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), Article 17 of which provides for the right to erasure of certain categories of personal data.
  • While the right is not recognised by law in India, courts in recent months have held it to be an intrinsic part of the right to privacy. 
  • Petitions across courts have been seeking its enforcement.
  • In May 2019, Justice Pratibha M Singh of the Delhi High Court, said the “right to be forgotten” and “right to be left alone” are inherent aspects of the right to privacy, and restrained republication of these news reports.

Anti-dumping duty

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Economy

Context India has imposed anti-dumping duty on five Chinese products for five years to protect local manufacturers from cheap imports from the neighbouring country.

About Anti-dumping Duty

  • An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are dumped.
  • The imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organization regime. 
  • It is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for local producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.
  • These tariffs can also lead to higher prices for domestic consumers.

Desmond Tutu

Part of: Prelims and GS I – Society

Context Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who helped end apartheid in South Africa, has died aged 90.

Key takeaways 

  • A contemporary of anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela, he was one of the driving forces behind the movement to end the policy of racial segregation and discrimination enforced by the white minority government against the black majority in South Africa from 1948 until 1991.
  • He was awarded the Nobel prize in 1984 for his role in the struggle to abolish the apartheid system.

(News from PIB)


Good Governance Index 2021

Part of: Prelims

  • Gujarat tops the composite ranking in the 58 indicator index followed by Maharashtra and Goa 
  • Uttar Pradesh registers 8.9 percent improvement in GGI indicators in the period 2019 to 2021
  • Jammu and Kashmir registers 3.7 percent improvement in GGI indicators in the period 2019 to 2021
  • Delhi tops the Union Territories category composite ranking Good Governance Index, GGI 2021 framework covered ten sectors and 58 indicators.
  • Gujarat has performed strongly in 5 of the 10 sectors including economic governance, human resource development, public infrastructure and utilities, social welfare and development, judiciary and public safety, according to the statement.
  • Maharashtra has performed strongly in agriculture and allied sector, human resource development, public infrastructure and utilities, social welfare and development. 
  • Goa has performed strongly in agriculture and allied sector, commerce and industry, public infrastructure and utilities, economic governance, social welfare and development and environment.
  • Twenty states have improved their composite GGI scores over the GGI 2019 index scores.

Good Governance Index:

  • GGI is a uniform tool that will help in assessing the status of governance and the impact of interventions undertaken by governments across all states and UTs.
  • GGI had been “scientifically designed” to reflect various parameters of governance.

Objective of Good Governance Index:

  • To provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs, 
  • Enable states and UTs to formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result oriented approaches and administration

News Source: PIB


Launch of Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission Overdraft facility for women SHG members

Part of: Prelims

  • The facility for overdraft (OD of Rs. 5,000/- to verified SHG members under DAY – NRLM having accounts under the prime Minister Jan Dhan Yojana with Banks was launched
  • This facility has been initiated in pursuance of the announcement made by the Finance Minister in her budget speech of 2019-20.  
  • Six Women SHG members from three States i.e., Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh (Two from each State) were provided with a cheque of Rs. 5,000 to mark the start of the scheme
  • It is estimated that about 5 crore women SHG members under DAY-NRLM would be benefitted from this facility eventually.      

News Source: PIB


Pt. Madan Mohan Malaviya’s Jayanti

Part of: Prelims and GS-I: Modern Indian History and important personalities

  • An Indian educationist and politician notable for his role in the Indian Independence movement
  • Became president of the Indian National Congress four times.
  • He was respectfully addressed by the title Pandit and also addressed as ‘Mahamana’.
  • His multifaceted personality made him, at the same time, a great patriot, an educationist with a vision, a social reformer, an ardent journalist, reluctant but effective lawyer, a successful parliamentarian and an outstanding statesman.
  • One of the founders of Scouting in India
  • Remembered for his role in ending the Indian indenture system, especially in the Caribbean.
  • He also founded a highly influential, English-newspaper, The Leader published from Allahabad in 1909
  • Pandit ji was posthumously conferred with Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, on 24 December 2014, a day before his 153rd Birth Anniversary

Establishment of Banaras Hindu University

  • Among Malaviyaji’s many achievements, the most monumental was the establishment of the Banaras Hindu University or Kashi Hindu Vishvavidyalaya. In the course of his lifetime Banaras Hindu University came to be known as a Capital of Knowledge, acknowledged across India and the World.
  • The Nizam of Hyderabad was renowned to be tight-fisted. Getting him to make a donation was perceived next to impossible. Armed with a steely determination, Malaviya managed to extract such a large donation from the Nizam that even today there is a Nizam Hyderabad Colony in Banaras Hindu University (BHU) where dozens of teachers and their families reside. 

Indian Independence Movement

  • Mahatma Gandhi considered him to be his conscience-keeper and called him his elder brother on public platforms. Still, Malaviya didn’t hesitate in disagreeing with the Mahatma when it came to principles. 
  • During the Quit India Movement of 1942, when Bapu asked students to boycott schools, Malaviya publicly expressed his displeasure.
  • Boycotting educational institutes was something Malaviya considered antithetical to the nation’s interests. “If children don’t study, how can they prepare for running the country,” was Malaviya’s reasoning.
  • He was one of the signatories of Poona pact. Had this not been signed, the British would have sowed some more seeds of conflict in the name of Dalits. 
  • Very few people are aware that 172 people were sentenced to be hung in the Chauri Chaura case. By then, Malaviya had left legal practice owing to politics and social work. Still, he fought the case on their behalf and managed to get 153 people acquitted.
  • He popularized the term ‘Satyamev Jayate’. However, the phrase originally belongs to the Mundaka Upanishad. The term now is the national motto of India.

Note:

  • Rabindranath Tagore honoured him with the encomium ‘Mahamana’ (a luminous mind and magnanimous heart).
  • The second President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan gave him the status of a ‘Karmayogi’.
  • Devnagri was introduced in the British-Indian courts because of Malviya’s efforts with the British government.
  • He helped establish the Hindu Mahasabha (“Great Society of Hindus”) in 1906, which brought diverse local Hindu nationalist movements together.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


HEALTH/ GOVERNANCE

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

India’s Vaccination Programme for Minors

Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that beginning January 3, vaccines would be available for those who are 15 years of age. Boosters would also be available for health-care workers, frontline workers and those over 60 with co-morbidities on a doctor’s prescription.

What is the significance of Prime Minister Modi’s announcement? 

  • Mr. Modi’s announcement came minutes after an approval by the Drugs Controller General of India for Covaxin to be used by those over 12 years. 
  • This makes it the second Indian vaccine after ZyCoV-D, a DNA plasmid vaccine, to be approved for those above 12. 
  • ZyCoV-D, by Zydus Cadilla, is a three-dose combination whereas Covaxin by Bharat Biotech is a two-dose vaccine to be administered four weeks apart. 
  • A major difference is that ZyCoV-D inspite of being cleared in late August is not available in the market whereas Covaxin has been around for nearly a year. The company also says that being an inactivated whole virion vaccine, the dosage for children is the same as those for adults.

What tests have been done on the vaccine for children?

  • According to information on the clinical trials registry of the Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR), Bharat Biotech was testing Covaxin on 525 volunteers from 2-18 years of age. 
    • Vaccines would be administered four weeks apart and they would be evaluated on the quantum of antibodies produced, whether they manifested severe reactions, whether there were adverse events following immunisation. 
    • The trial does not set out to measure efficacy, or whether the vaccine measurably protected a vaccinated group compared to an unvaccinated group.
    • The participants are meant to be followed up for up to 208 days. Bharat Biotech began recruitment on May 26 and the study, on paper, was expected to be completed on January 26, 2022. 
    • However, it has been routine during the pandemic for companies to rush to the regulator with early data (based on four weeks of evaluation) in the hope of an approval. 
    • Bharat Biotech submitted data first week of October though there has been no research paper or public information on the vaccine’s performance.
  • ZyCoV-D conducted phase 3 clinical trial involving 28,000 participants and claimed an efficacy of 66.6% against symptomatic COVID-19 as well as 100% efficacy both against moderate disease following three doses of the vaccine and against severe disease or death after two doses. 
    • However, this was announced via a company press release and there is no public information on how effective and safe the vaccine was when broken by age groups. 
    • While Bharat Biotech ostensibly submitted data that included children over 2 years and Zydus Cadilla in those over 12, it is unclear what rationale guided Mr. Modi’s announcement to restrict vaccination in those 15-18.

Are vaccines necessary for children?

Few issues have stirred up as much debate. 

  • The World Health Organization’s most updated position on this, as of December 22, is this: “WHO is currently not recommending the general vaccination of children and adolescents as the burden of severe disease in these age groups is low and high coverage has not yet been achieved in all countries among those groups who are at highest risk of severe disease.” This however is a statement made in the context of supply. 
  • In the US and UK — two countries that significantly influence India’s COVID response — vaccines have been approved in those over 12 and in the U.S., those 5 and above are eligible. However, these are countries with virtually unlimited supplies.
  • However, constraints on supply are among the factors guiding decisions by expert groups in India to approve vaccines because nearly 40% of India’s adults are still to be fully vaccinated and the extreme infectiousness of the Omicron variant and the continuing threat from the Delta variant mean that they are at far greater risk than those under 18.

Which are the countries that have approved vaccines for children?

  • Several countries within Europe as well as Canada, Bahrain, Israel, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China are among those that have approved vaccines in those even younger than 12. 

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

  • GS-2: India and its neighborhood- relations. 

India Out’ campaign in the Maldives

Context: Over the last three years since Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was elected to office, an ‘India Out’ [#IndiaOut] campaign has cropped up every now and then within the Indian Ocean island nation, mostly on social media. 

  • The campaign is led by government critics who accuse the Solih government of “allowing Indian boots on the ground”, and thereby “compromising the sovereignty” of the island nation.
  • The ruling administration has denied there is any Indian military presence in the country, or a threat to Maldives’s sovereignty.
  • More recently, the campaign has gained momentum with former President Abdulla Yameen leading it, after the Supreme Court on November 30 set him free, overturning his conviction in a case of alleged money-laundering. 

What is it in response to? 

  • The campaign has got louder around key bilateral developments such as the signing of the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) harbour development deal with India in February 2021. 
  • New Delhi is helping Male develop the Maldives National Defence Force Coast Guard Harbour. 
  • At the time of the signing, Maldivian Defence Minister said the developed dockyard and harbour would give Maldives the opportunity “to protect our maritime interests on its own thereby enhancing our sovereignty”. 
  • The recent ‘India Out’ campaign has renewed the opposition to the initiative, seeing it as a way of allowing Indian military presence in the island nation.
  • Similar resistance emerged in June 2021, when India announced the opening of a consulate in the southern Addu Atoll. 

Why is President Yameen joining the campaign significant?

  • During former strongman Yameen’s term as President from 2013 to 2018, New Delhi-Male relations deteriorated drastically
  • Mr. Yameen’s ultimatum then to New Delhi to withdraw two Indian helicopters from the strategically important Laamu and Addu atolls escalated tensions. 
  • The former President is widely perceived as a friend of China, and his frequent confrontation with India, on economy and security matters, left bilateral ties rather strained at the end of his tenure. 
  • On the other hand, the Solih administration has opted for an ‘India first’ foreign policy. It makes no secret of its preference for India as its first choice, be it on security partnership, development assistance or COVID response, including vaccines.
  • India, on its part, has committed $1.4 billion towards the Maldives’s “socio-economic development needs”, engaged through high-level visits, and lobbied extensively to help the Maldives clinch Presidency at the United Nations General Assembly.
  • Mr. Yameen’s defeat in the 2018 polls, and the antagonistic dynamic that continues between New Delhi and him, do not bode well for India’s prospects for developing bipartisan ties in an important country in the neighbourhood. 
  • Further, the next presidential election is scheduled in 2023, and Mr. Yameen is trying to make a political comeback, tapping on both the anti-incumbency, and the anti-India sentiments among sections loyal to him. 

What is the government’s response? 

  • The government has rejected the ‘India Out’ campaign, and issued at least two statements in recent weeks, expressing concern at attempts to spread “misguided and unsubstantiated information to propagate hatred towards India”. 
  • The Solih administration holds a “small group of individuals and a few political personalities” responsible for the campaign.
  • In its most recent statement issued on December 19, the government said it “reaffirms that the country’s long-standing ties with all its international partners are based on principles of mutual respect and understanding, and in accordance with respective national and international law”.

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: News & Current Affairs)


Dec 25: PM Modi pays tributes to former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary on 25 Dec,2021

https://youtu.be/k6VK8OqYyD4 

TOPIC:

  • GS-1: Modern Indian History and important personalities

Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the first Prime Minister in the non-Congress era to complete his full term, is a visionary, one of India’s most celebrated statesman, an outstanding orator and a staunch Nationalist.

The tenure of this three-time Prime Minister of India took India towards the road for multi-dimensional development. From giving a major boost to the Infrastructure of India, to making India nuclear capable, improving India’s foreign relations, strengthening internal security of India to a serious attempt to solve the Kashmir problem- India has achieved a lot during his era.

  • Prime Minister thrice: 1996, 1998-1999 and 1999-2004
  • Awarded India’s highest civilian honor Bharat Ratna in 2015
  • His birthday, December 25, is observed as the Good Governance Day 
  • Awarded Padma Vibhushan in 1992

Poitical Reforms

  • His reign lead to advent of Multi-party rule in India.
  • A Coalition Government completing the complete tenure was new experiment in India’s democratic history.
  • Schedule 10 related to Anti Defection law was strengthened.

Economic Reforms

  • GDP growth remained high of about 6-7%.
  • The speed of FDIs took off to great extent.
  • The Fiscal Responsibility Act was introduced during his tenure, which aimed to reduce fiscal deficit.
  • The public sector savings were boosted to a great extent.
  • The involvement of Governments involvement in starting a private business was reduced in India.
  • Separate entities were established for disinvestment.

Infrastructural Development

  • He initiated Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana.
  • Laid the foundation of “The Golden Quadrilateral” project.
  • Sanction of “Delhi Metro Rail Corporation”.
  • Introduced the New Telecom Policy, which later lead to Telecom Revolution in India.

Defense

  • He effectively lead India through the Kargil War.
  • Carried out Nuclear Tests in Pokhran, which lead to India being a responsible Nuclear power.
  • India’s deterrence increased to a great extent.

Kashmir Issue

  • He looked positively at the Kashmir issue.
  • The Sensitivities with respect to Kashmir were increased.
  • He gave the slogan of “Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat and Jamuriyat”.
  • He was considered to be a Peace Maker, he even started Bus Service to Lahore.

Foreign Policy 

  • He was known for his Pragmatism.
  • He took India out from the Hesitations of History.
  • He shifted India’s focus from Russia to United States of America.
  • He strengthened India’s relations with Israel, by calling it India’s natural ally.

Cooperative Federalism

  • He strengthened good relations with all the states.
  • Being a Statesman, he had good relations with all the state governments.
  • He taught Indians the way of looking above politics of the day and have a common Nationalistic agenda.
  • He said that government were just part of the process of evolution and development of India.

Note: World’s longest Highway tunnel – Atal Tunnel

  • Location: Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh
  • Constructed by: Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
  • The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year.
  • Earlier the valley was cut off for about 6 months each year owing to heavy snowfall.
  • The tunnel reduces the road distance by 46 Kms between Manali and Leh and the time by about 4 to 5 hours.
  • It will provide all weather connectivity to remote border areas of Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh.
  • It would also reduce the distance between Manali and Keylong by 3-4 hours.
  • Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee laid the foundation of the approach road for this tunnel in 2002.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 The World’s longest Highway tunnel – Atal Tunnel is located in?

  1. Himachal Pradesh
  2. Ladakh
  3. Shimla
  4. Both (a) and (b)

Q.2 Which of the following is incorrect about Anti-dumping Duty?

  1. An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are dumped.
  2. The imposition of anti-dumping duty is impermissible under the World Trade Organization regime. 
  3. It is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices 
  4. These tariffs can also lead to higher prices for domestic consumers.

Q.3 Mission SAGAR is associated with which of the following?

  1. withdrawal of AFSPA
  2. Indian assistance to Indian Ocean nations
  3. Killing off insurgents in J&K
  4. All women naval fleet

ANSWERS FOR 27th Dec 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 B
3 B

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