fbpx

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th December 2021

  • IASbaba
  • December 9, 2021
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Chief of defence staff

Part of: Prelims and GS-IIl – Defence and Security

Context India’s first Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), General Bipin Rawat, and 12 others were killed when an Indian Air Force helicopter carrying them crashed into the Coonoor ghat, Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. 

Who is Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)?

  • The CDS is a high military office that oversees and coordinates the working of the three Services. 
  • He offers seamless tri-service views and single-point advice to the Executive on long-term defence planning and management. 

‘Dual-hatted role’

  • CDS is a ‘dual-hatted role’ which refers to the two hats the CDS wears: 
    • One of the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee which has the three service chiefs as members
    • The other is the head of the newly created Department of Military Affairs (DMA) in the ministry.
  • The former is a military role while the latter is a role in the government

Law commission of India

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Judiciary

Context The Government has informed the Supreme Court that appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the 22nd Law Commission of India is under consideration.

Law Commission of India

  • It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. 
  • It is usually headed by a former Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court.
  • Composition: Chairman, 1 Permanent Member, 1 Member Secretary, 2 Part-time Members, 2 ex-officio
  • members.
  • Tenure: 3 Years
  • Function: Advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice for “Legal Reforms in India”
  • Recommendations: NOT binding

ART and surrogacy

Part of: Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions and GS-III – Sci and tech

Context Parliament has passed two bills that aim to regulate in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics and prohibit commercial surrogacy in India.

Key Takeaways 

  • Most of the recommendations of the select committee have been incorporated in the surrogacy bill. 
  • Objective of the bills: To curb unethical practices pertaining to issues ranging from sex selection to exploitation of surrogate mothers at the hands of prospective parents and agencies. 
    • Eensuring safe and ethical practice of assisted reproductive technology services for addressing the issues of reproductive health
  • The provisions include both monetary penalty as well as jail terms for violations
  • The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, proposes to regulate surrogacy in India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in states and Union territories.
  • The Assisted Reproductive Technology (Regulation) Bill, 2021, aims to regulate and supervise assisted reproductive technology clinics and assisted reproductive technology banks, and prevent misuse. 

Boom of ART services in India

  • In past few years, India has become a centre of the global fertility industry, with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity. 
  • Clinics in India offer nearly all Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) services—gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), gestational surrogacy, etc. 
  • However, There is still no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.

World Inequality report, 2022

Part of: Prelims and GS-III – Economy 

Context World Inequality Report (WIR), 2022 has been released recently.

  • Published by: The World Inequality Lab at the Paris School of Economics.
  • It provides estimates of global income and wealth inequality based on the most recent findings compiled by the World Inequality Database (WID). 

Major findings of the report

  • Most unequal region: MENA (Middle East and North Africa).
    • MENA consists of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
  • Europe has the lowest inequality levels.
  • Nations have become richer, but governments have become poor.
  • Wealth inequalities have increased at the very top of the distribution. 
  • The top 1% took 38% of all additional wealth accumulated since the mid-1990s, whereas the bottom 50% captured just 2% of it.
  • Gender inequalities remain considerable at the global level, and progress within countries is too slow
  • These inequalities are not just a rich vs. poor country issue, but rather a high emitters vs low emitters issue within all countries.

India’s performance

  • India is among the most unequal countries in the world, with rising poverty and an ‘affluent elite.’
  • The top 10% and top 1% in India hold 57% and 22% of the total national income respectively while the bottom 50% share has gone down to 13%.
  • The average national income of the Indian adult population is Rs 2,04,200. 
  • The share of female labour income share in India is equal to 18% which is significantly lower than the average in Asia (21%, excluding China) & is among the lowest in the world.

(News from PIB)


Police” and “Public Order: State subjects under the Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India.  

Cabinet approves continuation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G

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

In News: The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Department of Rural Development for continuation of Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) beyond March 2021. 

  • Financial assistance is to be provided for the construction of the remaining 155.75 lakh houses, as on 31st March, 2021 under the scheme within total target of 2.95 crore houses, for construction of Pucca houses with basic amenities to achieve the objective of “Housing for All” in rural areas.

News Source: PIB 


Water Quality in lower stretches of the River Ganga found to be alarming: Study

Part of: Prelims, Mains GS-II: Government schemes and policies and Mains GS-III: Water Pollution, Wastewater management

In News: Water Quality in the lower stretches of the River Ganga was found to be in an alarming situation by a team of scientists who developed the much-needed baseline of Water Quality Index (WQI) of the place. They reported a continuous deterioration of water quality.  

  • Rapid human pressure and anthropogenic activities has resulted in release of untreated municipal and industrial sewages along with other forms of pollutants in the River Ganga. 
  • In particular, the lower stretches of the River Ganga, close to the megapolis Kolkata, are heavily influenced by anthropogenic factors, mainly due to intense population pressure on both sides of the river banks. 
  • As a result, there has been marked increase in discharge of untreated municipal and industrial sewages in the lower stretch of River Ganges with consequences for many unique and biodiversity ecosystems such as the Sundarbans mangrove and endangered charismatic species such as the Gangetic Dolphin.

News Source: PIB


Cabinet approves Ken-Betwa Interlinking of Rivers Project

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

The project will pave the way for more interlinking of river projects in India and also showcase to the world our ingenuity and vision. 

  • This project involves transfer of water from the Ken to the Betwa River through the construction of Daudhan Dam and a canal linking the two rivers, the Lower Orr Project, Kotha Barrage -and Bina Complex Multipurpose Project. 
  • The project will provide an annual irrigation of 10.62 lakh ha, drinking water supply to a population of about 62 lakhs and also generate 103 MW of hydropower and 27 MW solar power. 
  • The Project is proposed to be implemented in 8 years with state of the art technology. 

Significance

  • The Project will be of immense benefit to the water starved Bundelkhand region, spread across the states of MP and UP.
  • Expected to boost socio-economic prosperity in the backward Bundelkhand region on account of increased agricultural activities and employment generation. It would also help in arresting distress migration from this region. 
  • This project also comprehensively provides for environment management and safeguards. For this purpose a comprehensive landscape management plan is under finalization by Wildlife Institute of India.

News Source: PIB 


Sri Guru Teg Bahadur Ji (1621–1675)

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-I: Personalities

The period of history in India in the last four centuries cannot be imagined without the influence of Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth Sikh Guru.

  • Guru Tegh Bahadur was the ninth of ten Gurus of the Sikh religion. Born at Amritsar in 1621, was the youngest son of Guru Hargobind.
  • One hundred and fifteen of his hymns are in Guru Granth Sahib.
  • There are several accounts explaining the motive behind the assassination of Guru Tegh Bahadur on Aurangzeb’s orders. He stood up for the rights of Kashmiri Pandits who approached him against religious persecution by Aurangzeb.
  • He was publicly killed in 1675 on the orders of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb in Delhi for himself refusing Mughal rulers and defying them.
  • Gurudwara Sis Ganj Sahib and Gurdwara Rakab Ganj Sahib in Delhi mark the places of execution and cremation of his body.

Impact of his martyrdom: The execution hardened the resolve of Sikhs against religious oppression and persecution. His martyrdom helped all Sikh Panths consolidate to make the protection of human rights central to its Sikh identity. Inspired by him, his nine-year-old son, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, eventually organized the Sikh group into a distinct, formal, symbol-patterned community came to be known as Khalsa (Martial) identity.


(Mains Focus)


FEDERALISM/ SECURITY

  • GS-2: Federalism and Challenges
  • GS-3: Internal Security

AFSPA and the Northeast

Context: The Nagaland Cabinet recently recommended that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 be repealed from the state after the incident in the Mon district of the state in which security forces gunned down 13 civilians.

  • This has been a long-standing demand in the North eastern states. After the firing, Nagaland CM and Meghalaya CM have both called for repeal of AFSPA

What is AFSPA?

  • Colonial Legacy continued: The Act in its original form was promulgated by the British in response to the Quit India movement in 1942. After Independence, government decided to retain the Act, which was first brought in as an ordnance and then notified as an Act in 1958.
  • Power of imposition: AFSPA can be imposed by the Centre or the Governor of a state, on the state or parts of it, after it is declared “disturbed’’ under Section 3. The Act defines these as areas that are “disturbed or dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary’’. 
  • Special Power to Armed Forces: The Act, which has been called draconian, gives sweeping powers to the armed forces. It allows them to open fire’, even causing death, against any person in contravention to the law or carrying arms and ammunition. It gives them powers to arrest individuals without warrants, on the basis of “reasonable suspicion”, and also search premises without warrants.
  • Immunity to Armed Personnel: The Act further provides blanket impunity to security personnel involved in such operations: There can be no prosecution or legal proceedings against them without the prior approval of the Centre.
  • Areas of Operation: AFSPA has been imposed on the Northeast states, Jammu & Kashmir, and Punjab during the militancy years. Punjab was the first state from where it was repealed, followed by Tripura and Meghalaya. It remains in force in Mizoram, Nagaland, Manipur, Assam, J&K, and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Are there safety nets?

  • Prior Warning: While the Act gives powers to security forces to open fire, this cannot be done without prior warning given to the suspect. 
    • In the recent firing in Nagaland, it has been an issue of discussion whether the security forces gave prior warning before opening fire at the vehicle carrying coal miners, and then later at a violent mob.
  • Handing over to Local Police: The Act further says that after any suspects apprehended by security forces should be handed over to the local police station within 24 hours.
  • Coordination with District administration: It says armed forces must act in cooperation with the district administration and not as an independent body. In the recent Nagaland operation, local law-enforcement agencies have said they were unaware of the operation.

What are the criticisms of AFSPA?

  • Social Fallout: Nagaland and Mizoram faced the brunt of AFSPA in the 1950s, including air raids and bombings by the Indian military. Allegations have been made against security forces of mass killings and rape.
    • The Malom massacre in 2000, and the killing and alleged rape of Thangjam Manorama led to the subsequent repeal of AFSPA from the Imphal municipal area.
    • In 2012, the Extrajudicial Execution Victim Families Association of Manipur filed a case in the Supreme Court alleging 1,528 fake encounters between 1979 and 2012. 
  • Culture of Impunity: Activists note that AFSPA creates an atmosphere of impunity among even state agencies such as the Manipur Police and their Manipur Commandos, believed to be responsible for most encounters in the state, some of them jointly with Assam Rifles.
  • Proliferation of militant groups despite act: Manipur had two groups when the State was brought under the Act. Today, Manipur has more than twenty such groups, Assam has not less than fifteen, Meghalaya has five of them and other States have more groups. 
  • Misuse of Act: Human rights activists have said the Act has often been used to settle private scores, such as property disputes, with false tip-offs provided by local informants to security forces.
  • Federal Issues: The Centre had also imposed AFSPA in Tripura in 1972 despite opposition from the then state government. The Centre can take a decision to repeal AFSPA after getting a recommendation from the state government. However, Nagaland, which has freshly recommended a repeal, had raised the demand earlier too, without success.
  • Creates Hurdles in Peace Process: Mr R. N. Ravi, former head of the Intelligence Bureau for the North East is on record that AFSPA is the biggest obstacle to peace in the region. Former Home Secretary Mr G. K. Pillai has come out openly against the Act. These statements come from persons who have worked in the system and know the dynamics of the Act and of running the Government.

What attempts have been made to repeal AFSPA in the past?

  • In 2000, Manipur activist Irom Sharmila began a hunger-strike, which would continue for 16 years, against AFSPA. 
  • In 2004, the UPA government set up a five-member committee under a former Supreme Court Judge. The Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission submitted its report in 2005, saying AFSPA had become a symbol of oppression and recommending its repeal. 
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, headed by Veeerapa Moily, endorsed Jeevan Reddy Commission recommendations.
  • Former Home Secretary G K Pillai too supported the repeal of AFSPA, and former Home Minister P Chidambaram once said the Act, if not repealed, should at least be amended. But opposition from the Defence Ministry stalled any possible decision.

Conclusion

The problems in the North East and in Kashmir should be solved through a political process and not through a law that violates people’s right to life and dignity with impunity. 

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

  • GS-3: Economy & Challenges
  • GS-2: International events

Turkey’s currency crisis

In News: Turkey’s official currency, the lira, has been in a free fall recently, losing about a quarter of its value against the U.S. dollar in November.

  • It took two liras to buy a U.S. dollar in 2014. Today, it takes more than 13 liras to buy a U.S. dollar. 
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unconventional economic policies have been blamed for the country’s currency crisis.

Why is the lira losing value so rapidly?

  • The value of any currency or any good for that matter depends on, among other factors, how scarce it is compared to other things.
  • For example, if there is an unlimited supply of liras in the market but only a limited supply of food, each lira will buy you very little food. 
  • The same logic applies when we compare currencies. The supply of Turkish liras in the market has been rising rapidly when compared to relatively harder currencies like the U.S. dollar. 
  • According to World Bank data, Turkey’s broad money supply rose by about three and a half times between 2014 and 2020 while broad money supply in the U.S. rose by around 50% during the same period. Not surprisingly, this has caused the value of the Turkish lira to drop against the U.S. dollar.
  • The demand for a currency too can affect its value. Turkey has one of the largest current account deficits in the world, which means that the value of its imports is much larger than the value of its exports. 
  • As the Turkish central bank becomes erratic in how it regulates the supply of liras, the exchange value of the lira has become increasingly unpredictable. So, foreign investors have become reluctant to purchase liras to invest in Turkey, which in turn has led to a drop in the demand for the currency.

What has caused the rapid rise in the supply of liras?

  • Mr. Erdogan’s unconventional monetary policy beliefs have been the main culprit behind the rising supply of the lira. 
  • The Turkish President has been an ardent advocate of low interest rates, which he thinks is crucial to boosting economic growth and bringing down inflation. 
  • It should be noted that the central bank influences interest rates by regulating the money supply. To lower interest rates, it flushes the loan market with fresh money which in turn causes inflation. 
  • However, Erdogan has argued that high interest rates are the reason prices in the economy rise as they add to costs. His regime also believes that low interest rates will bring down inflation by boosting growth which increases the supply of goods. 
  • So, according to Mr. Erdogan’s logic, a central bank can print unlimited amounts of currency and still avoid hyperinflation by sufficiently boosting growth.
  • Mr. Erdogan believes so much in the power of low interest rates that he has removed three central bank chiefs since 2019 because they tried to raise interest rates to boost the value of the lira. 
  • The current central bank chief has cut interest rates and has even gone on record to defend his decision to cut interest rates despite high inflation. 
  • Turkey’s official data suggest that the country’s inflation rate is at around 20% while unofficial estimates peg the inflation rate at 40%. This has led to serious doubts about the independence of the Turkish central bank and caused people to lose confidence in the lira.

Why does it matter?

  • The rising supply of liras matters for at least two reasons. 
  • One, the creation of fresh currency usually leads to significant redistribution of wealth among citizens. This is because the fresh currency that is created by the central bank generally gets distributed among citizens in an arbitrary manner. So, some people may end up with greater purchasing power than before while others are left worse off. 
  • Secondly, a currency that is rapidly losing value can debilitate economic activity. People have very little incentive to produce new stuff when they are unsure about the stability of the real value of the currency.
  • A lira might buy five loafs of bread today but only one loaf of bread tomorrow. This is why people tend to move towards accepting alternative currencies such as gold and silver which better maintain value or resort to some form of barter when high inflation has rendered the official currency worthless. 
  • Turkish citizens have been converting their liras into gold, the U.S. dollar, and other assets to prevent further erosion of their wealth. Many have also begun to flee the country.

What lies ahead?

  • The Turkish President is expected to continue pushing for lower interest rates as he prepares to fight elections next year. 
  • It is generally believed that low interest rates boost the economy and make voters happy, although some economists do raise concerns about the sustainability of such artificial debt-fuelled growth. 
  • Lower interest rates are likely to lead to a further rise in the supply of liras in the market and cause a further drop in the currency’s value. 

Connecting the dots:


(Down to Earth: Health)


Dec 7- World Malaria Report 2021-  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/health/global-malaria-response-suffered-due-to-covid-19-world-malaria-report-2021-80585 

TOPIC:

  • GS-II – Poverty and related issues
  • GS-3: Indian Economy

World Malaria Report 2021

In News: Each year, WHO’s World malaria report provides a comprehensive and up-to-date assessment of trends in malaria control and elimination across the globe. It tracks investments in malaria programmes and research as well as progress across all intervention areas: prevention, diagnosis, treatment, elimination and surveillance.

Global efforts to tackle malaria suffered due to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in 2020, according to the World Malaria Report 2021 released.

  • If expeditious action is not taken, the world is in the danger of seeing an immediate resurgence of the disease, particularly in Africa
  • Crucial milestones of the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 have been missed in 2020. The 2030 targets will not be met without immediate attention.
  • India accounted for 83 per cent of cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region. Sri Lanka was certified malaria-free in 2016 and remains malaria-free.

Some alarming numbers

  • There were an estimated 627,000 malaria deaths in 2020, an increase of 12 per cent over 2019. 
  • Some 47,000 (68 per cent) of the additional 69,000 deaths were linked to disruptions in the provision of malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • An estimated 241 million malaria cases were reported in 2020 in 85 malaria-endemic countries, increasing from 227 million in 2019.

Achievements

  • The WHO classified China and El Salvador to be ‘malaria-free’ in 2020. These countries reported zero cases in three consecutive years to get their certification. Together with them, 23 countries in the world have this status.
  • In the world’s decades-long fight against malaria, WHO has approved the first vaccine against the disease in October this year, after 30 years of study and tests. ‘Mosquirix’ is the first vaccine against any parasite, and saves one life for every 200 children vaccinated. Many children also suffer from repeated episodes of malaria in a single year, and Mosquirix promises to reduce such recurrence by 40%.

Emerging challenges

  • Rapid tests to diagnose malaria will be rendered useless if two genes are deleted from the genome from the mutating malaria parasite – and there aren’t many feasible alternatives to these tests. The WHO has already asked countries reporting false negative tests to conduct representative baseline surveys first, to understand the extent of the problem. The emergence of resistance to artemisinin and partner drugs is a significant risk for the global effort to reduce the malaria burden.
  • In India, a combination of artesunate plus sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine is usually prescribed to treat malaria – but in Chhattisgarh – one of the country’s high-malaria-burden states – studies have shown resistance to the latter compound. Insecticide resistance is a similar cause for worry.

The Way Forward

  • Even before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, global gains against malaria had levelled off. With the hard work of public health agencies in malaria-affected countries, the worst projections of COVID’s impact have not come to pass. Now, we need to harness that same energy and commitment to reverse the setbacks caused by the pandemic and step up the pace of progress against this disease.
  • The new strategy should call for tailoring malaria responses to local settings, harnessing innovation, strengthening health systems and ensuring robust global malaria funding.
  • There is a need to recognize the need to ensure better and more equitable access to all health services – including malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment – by strengthening primary health care and stepping up both domestic and international investments.
  • Innovation in new tools is also a critical strategy for accelerating progress.
  • Meeting global targets will also require robust funding. According to the report, current funding levels (estimated at US$3.3 billion in 2020) will need to more than triple, reaching US$ 10.3 billion per year by 2030.
  • Countries and global partners should contribute their share every year to make Mosquirix better and more widely available.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1.  Is the battle against malaria going downhill? Discuss.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Ken river flows through which of the following states of India?  

  1. Madhya pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Uttar pradesh 
  2. Madhya pradesh and Uttar pradesh 
  3. Madhya pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan 
  4. Madhya pradesh and Maharashtra 

Q.2 Which of the following is not true regarding the Law Commission of India?

  1. It is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India. 
  2. It is usually headed by a former Supreme Court judge or a former Chief Justice of a High Court.
  3. Its Tenure is  3 Years
  4. Recommendations are binding on the government 

Q.3 Consider the following statements regarding the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS)

  1. CDS is the permanent Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee which has the three service chiefs as members
  2. He is also the head of the Department of Military Affairs (DMA).

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 9th Dec 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 C

Must Read

On High LPG prices :

The Hindu

On  Low tobacco tax:

The Hindu

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Search now.....