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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 22nd January 2022

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  • January 22, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


LS Privileges Committee

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Polity

Context: Recently, one MP from Karimnagar, Hyderabad appeared before the 15-member Privileges Committee of Lok Sabha.

Committee of privileges

  • This Committee consists of 15 members (10 members in case of Rajya Sabha) nominated by the Speaker (Chairman in case of Rajya Sabha).
  • Its function is to examine every question involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.
  • It determines with reference to the facts of each case whether a breach of privilege is involved and makes suitable recommendations in its report.
  • It also states the procedure to be followed by the House in giving effect to the recommendations made by it. 
  • The Speaker/ Chairman may refer to the Committee any petition regarding disqualification of a member on ground of defection for making a preliminary inquiry and submitting a report to him.

News Source: TH


Living root bridges of Meghalaya

Part of: Prelims and GS-I – Geography

Context: The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has underlined some green rules for the living root bridges of Meghalaya to get the UNESCO World Heritage Site tag.

About living roots

  • A living root bridge is like a suspension bridge formed by guiding the pliable roots of the rubber fig tree ( Ficus elastica ) across a stream or river and allowing the roots to grow and strengthen over time. 
  • There are no records to suggest when the Khasi community started the living root bridge tradition.
  • Ecologists say it highlights the symbiotic relationship between people and nature. 
  • Such a bridge is locally called jingkieng jri .

About UNESCO World Heritage Site 

  • A World Heritage Site is a place that is listed by UNESCO for its special cultural or physical significance. 
  • The list of World Heritage Sites is maintained by the international ‘World Heritage Programme’, administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee.
  • UNESCO seeks to encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.
  • This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.
  • India now has 39 world heritage sites

News Source: TH


Amar Jawan Jyoti, War Memorial merged

Part of: Prelims 

Context: The iconic Amar Jawan Jyoti, which was inaugurated after the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was removed recently.

  • It was merged with National War Memorial.
  • Indian Prime Minister also announced the construction of a statue of Subhas Chandra Bose, restructuring the symbolism around the India Gate.

Do you know?

  • The National War Memorial in India is a national monument built to honour and remember soldiers of the Indian military who fought in armed conflicts of post-independent India. 
  • It is located at India Gate, New Delhi.

News Source: TH


(News from PIB)


Solar Roof Top Scheme

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Energy

Context: There is a need to simplifying the Roof Top Scheme, so that the people are able to access it easily.

Change: The households may also install the roof top by themselves or get the roof top installed by any vendor of their choice, and inform the distribution company about the installation along with a photograph of the system which has been installed.

About Rooftop Solar Programme: 

  • The aim is to achieve a cumulative capacity of 40,000 MW from Rooftop Solar Projects by the year 2022.
  • In a grid-connected rooftop or small Solar Voltaic Panel system, the DC power generated from the Solar Voltaic panel is converted to AC power using the power conditioning unit and is fed to the grid.
  • This scheme is being implemented in the states by distribution companies (DISCOMs).
  • The MNRE is providing a 40% subsidy for the first 3 kW and 20% subsidy beyond 3 kW and upto 10 kW of solar panel capacity.

Objectives of the Rooftop Solar Programme

  • To promote the grid-connected SPV rooftop and small SPV power generating plants among the residential, community, institutional, industrial and commercial establishments.
  • To mitigate the dependence on fossil fuel based electricity generation and encourage environment-friendly Solar electricity generation.
  • To create an enabling environment for investment in the solar energy sector by the private sector, state government and the individuals.
  • To create an enabling environment for the supply of solar power from rooftop and small plants to the grid.

News Source: PIB


Fourth Asia Ministerial Conference on Tiger Conservation

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Conservation

Context: India participated in the 4th Asia Ministerial Conference on tiger conservation, an important event for reviewing progress towards the Global Tiger Recovery Programme and commitments to tiger conservation.

  • India will facilitate Tiger Range Countries towards finalisation of New Delhi declaration for the Global Tiger Summit to be held at Vladivostok, Russia later this year. 
  • India is one of the Founding members of the intergovernmental platform of Tiger Range Countries – Global Tiger Forum, and over the years, GTF has expanded its programme on multiple thematic areas, while working closely with the Government of India, tiger states in India and tiger range countries.

India’s Progress

  • Stating that India has achieved the remarkable feat of doubling the tiger population in 2018 itself, 4 years ahead of the targeted year 2022, Shri Yadav informed that the model of success of India’s tiger governance is now being replicated for other wildlife like the Lion, Dolphin, Leopard, Snow Leopard and other small wild cats, while the country is on the threshold of introducing Cheetah in its historical range.
  • The budgetary allocation for tiger conservation has increased from Rs 185 crore in 2014 to Rs 300 crore in 2022
  • 14 Tiger Reserves in India have been awarded with international CA|TS accreditation and efforts are on to bring in more Tiger Reserves under CA|TS accreditation.
  • Extended Rs 2 lakh life cover to each Frontline worker i.e., contractual/temporary worker under e-Sharm, a recent initiative of Ministry of Labour and Employment  and Rs 5 lakh health cover under Ayushman Yojana.
  • Approximately 4.3 million man-days of employment are being generated by 51 Tiger Reserves in India and funds from Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) are being utilized for promoting voluntary village resettlement from core areas of the Tiger Reserves.

Note: Must Read Article – Saving the Tiger

Tiger’s Protection Status

  • Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
  • IUCN Red List: Endangered.
  • CITES: Appendix I

News Source: PIB


Release of ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’ Report 

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-III: Indian Economy; Infrastructure

In News: A report titled ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’ was released.

By: NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and RMI India

Objective: 

  • Outlines the importance of priority-sector recognition for retail lending in the electric mobility ecosystem
  • Provides considerations and recommendations to inform the inclusion of EVs in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI’s) priority-sector lending (PSL) guidelines.

Retail finance for EVs

Banks and non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) in India have the potential to achieve an electric vehicle (EV) financing market size of Rs 40,000 crore (USD 5 billion) by 2025 and Rs 3.7 lakh crore (USD 50 billion) by 2030. However, retail finance for EVs has been slow to pick up.

  • RBI’s PSL mandate has a proven track record of improving the supply of formal credit towards areas of national priority. It can provide a strong regulatory incentive for banks and NBFCs to scale their financing to EVs.
  • Buyers are unable to access low-interest rates and long loan tenures for EVs as banks are concerned about resale value and product quality. Priority-sector lending can encourage banks to fast-track India’s transition to EVs and help achieve our 2070 climate goals
  • RBI may consider various EV segments and use cases based on five parameters: socio-economic potential, livelihood generation potential, scalability, techno-economic viability, and stakeholder acceptability.
  • Recommends a clear sub-target and penalty mechanism for priority sector lending to renewable energy and EVs
  • Suggests recognition of EVs as an infrastructure sub-sector by the Ministry of Finance and the incorporation of EVs as a separate reporting category under the RBI. 
  • Multiprong solutions such as these will also help India achieve its 2070 net-zero target.

News Source: PIB


125th birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose – Parakram Diwas

Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-1: Modern Indian History, Indian National Movement, Important personalities

In News: A ‘grand statue’ of Subhas Chandra Bose will be installed at India Gate. The statue, made of granite, shall be a fitting tribute to the immense contribution of Netaji in our freedom struggle, and would be a symbol of the country’s indebtedness to him. Till the work for the statue is completed, a hologram statue of Netaji will be present at the same place.

Life of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose

  • Twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).
  • Actively participated in the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 and vehemently opposed the suspension of Civil Disobedience Movement and signing of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact in 1931.
  • Owing to political differences, he resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.
    • Stood for unqualified swaraj (independence), and opposed Motilal Nehru Report which spoke for dominion status for India.
  • In Calcutta, Bose organised mass protests and was arrested. He was later put under house arrest from where he escaped. 
  • Organized youth and promoted trade union movements. In 1930, he was elected Mayor of Calcutta, the same year he was elected the President of AITUC.

Azad Hind Fauj

  • Leader of Azad Hind Government
  • Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile

Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. He had been a leader of the radical wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress president in 1938 and 1939 but was ousted following differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress leadership.

  • Subhas Chandra Bose had escaped from India in 1941 and gone to Germany to work for India’s Independence. In 1943, he came to Singapore to lead the Indian Independence league and rebuild the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to make it an effective instrument for the freedom of India.
  • Netaji went to the Andaman which had been occupied by the Japanese and hoisted there the flag of India. In early 1944, three units of the Azad Hind Fauj (INA) took part in the attack on the north-eastern parts of India to oust the British from India.
  • The Azad Hind Fauj, with the slogan of ‘Delhi Chalo’ and the salutation Jai Hind was a source of inspiration to Indians, inside and outside the country. Netaji rallied together the Indians of all religions and regions, living in south-east Asia, for the cause of India’s freedom.
  • A women’s regiment of Azad Hind Fauj was formed, which was under the command of Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan. It was called the Rani Jhansi regiment. The Azad Hind Fauj became the symbol of unity and heroism to the people of India.

Bose’s death was seen as the end to the Azad Hind movement.

Note:

  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep: Ross Island of Andaman & Nicobar Island
  • Bose is among the most misunderstood icons of modern India because much information about his work and his ideas have either remained unutilised or inaccessible.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

India-Germany relations

Context: Against all COVID odds and with due health precautions in place, the German Navy frigate Bayern landed in Mumbai on January 20, 2022.

  • After having visited Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Singapore and other countries in the region, Mumbai is the last station before the Bayern sets course to return to Germany
  • This is a concrete outcome of the Indo-Pacific Policy Guidelines that Germany adopted in autumn 2020 and the European Union’s Indo-Pacific Strategy published in 2021.

Importance of India for Germany

  • Free and inclusive trade: For Germany it is vital that trade routes through Indo-Pacific stay open and that disputes are resolved peacefully on the basis of international law. India is a maritime powerhouse and a strong advocate for free and inclusive trade — and, therefore, a primary partner on that mission.
  • Footprint in Indo-Pacific: Germany has realised that the world’s political and economic centre of gravity is shifting to the Indo-Pacific region. Hence, it wants to have its presence with India as a strategic partner and long-standing democratic friend.

Why is Indo-Pacific region important for Germany & Europe?

  • Population: The Indo-Pacific region is home to around 65% of the global population and 20 of the world’s 33 megacities. 
  • Economy: The region accounts for 62% of global GDP and 46% of the world’s merchandise trade. More than 20% of German trade is conducted in the Indo-Pacific neighbourhood. 
  • Climate Cooperation: Indo-Pacific region is also the source of more than half of all global carbon emissions. This makes the region’s countries like India key partners in tackling global challenges such as climate change and sustainable energy production and consumption.
  • Germany is supporting the construction of a huge solar plant in Maharashtra’s Dhule (Sakri). With a capacity of 125 Megawatt, it serves 2,20,000 households and generates annual CO2 savings of 155,000 tons.

Connecting the dots:


HEALTH/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health.

The challenge of antimicrobial resistance

Context: Global Research on Antimicrobial Resistance (GRAM) report recently published provides the most comprehensive estimate of the global impact of Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) so far.

What is Antimicrobial resistance?

Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major public health threat where antibiotics are becoming ineffective because pathogens such as viruses, fungi and bacteria become resistant to them.

Do You know?

  • Between 1980 and 2000, 63 new antibiotics were approved for clinical use. Between 2000 and 2018, just 15 additional antibiotics were approved. 
  • Out of the seven deadliest drug-resistant bacteria, vaccines are only available for two (Streptococcus pneumoniae and Mycobacterium tuberculosis). 

What did the GRAM report find?

  • As many as 4.95 million deaths may be associated with bacterial AMR in 2019. 
  • AMR is a leading cause of death globally, higher than HIV/AIDS or malaria. 
  • In South Asia, over 389,000 people died as a direct result of AMR in 2019. 
  • The death rate was the highest in Western sub-Saharan Africa, at 27.3 deaths per 100,000 and lowest in Australasia, at 6.5 deaths per 100,000. 
  • Lower respiratory-tract infections accounted for more than 1.5 million deaths associated with resistance in 2019, making it the most common infectious syndrome. 

What are the implications of this study?

  • Increased mortality: Common infections are now killing hundreds of thousands of people every year because bacteria have become resistant to treatment. This includes historically treatable illnesses, such as pneumonia, hospital-acquired infections, and foodborne ailments. 
  • Children at risk: Everyone is at risk from AMR, but the data shows that young children are particularly affected. In 2019, one in five global deaths attributable to AMR occurred in children under the age of five – often from previously treatable infections. 
  • Challenging Healthcare services: AMR is threatening the ability of hospitals to keep patients safe from infections and undermining the ability of doctors to carry out essential medical practice safely, including surgery, childbirth and cancer treatment since infection is a risk following these procedures.

What is the way forward?

  • Better Monitoring: They recommend greater action to monitor and control infections, globally, nationally and within individual hospitals. 
  • Better access to basic necessities: Access to vaccines, clean water and sanitation ought to be expanded to be able to effectively tackle AMR.
  • Optimising usage of antibiotics: The use of antibiotics unrelated to treating human disease, such as in food and animal production must be “optimised”
  • It is recommended to be “more thoughtful” about the use of antimicrobial treatments – expanding access to lifesaving antibiotics where needed, minimising use where they are not necessary to improve human health 
  • Enhanced Funding: It is also recommend to increase funding for developing new antimicrobials and targeting priority pathogens such as K. pneumoniae and E. coli and ensuring that they are affordable to accessible to most of the world.

Connecting the dots:


(AIR OFFICIAL: Spotlight/News Analysis)


Dec 30: Year Ender Series: Special Discussion on Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – https://youtu.be/5uMIQd9Riyg 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2 Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

Year Ender Series: Special Discussion on Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Context: The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) was launched in May 2016 with the objective of providing free LPG connections to 50 million (subsequently 8 Crores) women belonging to below poverty line (BPL) households over a period of three years. LPG distributors, local NGOs, and self-help groups were involved to make it an inclusive social movement.

Impact on the lives of poor women in India 

  • Health: Research showed that people using solid biomass frequently suffer from headaches, nausea, chronic bronchitis and many skin diseases. Indoor air pollution and the acute respiratory illnesses caused by it were observed in most rural women. Ujjwala has empowered women and protected them and their families through the use of clean burning fuel by helping prevent a significant number of acute respiratory illnesses and other ailments. PMUY implementation has been appreciated by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a decisive intervention to check the indoor health pollution being faced by the women of the country.
  • Safety: Women going to the forests for collecting firewood are also often exposed to health and safety issues, even sexual harassment at times. This is considerably decreased as a result of the LPG connections.
  • Economic empowerment: Release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family enabling the subsidy provision in the women’s account. Also, using LPG saves time for women as they do not have to collect solid fuel and then use it for cooking, with this cooking time can be effectively used in other economic activities. Women in many villages formed self-help groups to indulge in community economic activities in their free time. 

Other benefits of the PMUY:

  • Environment: There is a definite positive impact on forest cover and the environment from stopping the use of firewood.
  • Youth employment:  It will also provide employment for rural youth in the supply chain of cooking gas. Employment in the logistics and maintenance services are an additional benefit.
  • Climate and air pollution measures: Significantly helps in control of particulate matter and indoor air pollution, giving way to a clean energy cooking process.
  • Female financial empowerment: To get an LPG gas connection under Ujjwala scheme, it is compulsory to have a bank account in the name of a female member of a family. Many Jan Dhan accounts were opened for women
  • Development of children: Women can now engage in socialisation of children and take care of their nutrition and education, thus building a robust future.
  • Recognition from International Agencies: Developed countries and International agencies like WHO and IEA have hailed the scheme as clean, convenient and energy-efficient source provision and also serving as an inspiration for developing countries.

The journey from Ujjwala 1.0 to Ujjwala 2.0

Ujjwala 1.0 

  • It is implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
  • Ujjwala 1.0 was launched in 2016, during which a target was set to provide deposit-free LPG connections to 5 crore women members of BPL households. 
  • Subsequently, the scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories (SC/ST, PMAY, AAY, most backward classes, tea garden, forest dwellers etc). 
  • EMI facilities will be given for stove and refill cost (Interest-free loan).
  • The scheme is complementary to the Prime Minister’s ‘Give It Up Campaign’ through which a huge number of middle-class families have voluntarily surrendered their cooking gas subsidy.
  • The target was revised to 8 Crore LPG connections and this target was achieved in August 2019, seven months ahead of the target date. 

Ujjwala 2.0

  • In the Union budget for FY 21-22, provision for an additional one crore LPG connection under the PMUY scheme was announced. 
  • This one crore additional PMUY connections (under Ujjwala 2.0) aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
  • Along with a deposit free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide first refill and hotplate (stove) free of cost to the beneficiaries. 
  • Also, the enrolment procedure will require minimum paperwork. 
  • In Ujjwala 2.0, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof. 
  • A self-declaration for both ‘family declaration’ and as a ‘proof of address’ will suffice. Ujjwala 2.0 will help achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of universal access to LPG.

Some concerns

  • Issue of refill and affordability: Several complaints of affordability was raised as a reluctance of adoption was shown. Many rural consumers have access to freely available biomass, making it difficult for LPG to displace it.
  • Behavioural Limitations: It requires behavioural changes as it is difficult to give up on age old practices of using traditional chulhas with a lack of awareness among people regarding benefits of use of LPG gases.
  • Inactive and corrupt uses: Many inactive accounts were identified, with some accounts bearing false beneficiaries using LPG for commercial and profitable purposes.
  • Economic impact: To meet the requirements, LPG imports may cost the exchequer significantly.

The Way Forward:

  • Encourage behavioural campaigns: ‘Give it up’ campaign, LPG Panchayat etc., have been remarkable in bringing in behavioural changes. Every LPG panchayat is expected to share the experience of early local adopters of clean fuel, an exercise on comparing the costs of alternative biomass fuels, safety demonstration and feedback on services.
  • Regulate DBT and beneficiary identification: Target beneficiary expansion and identification must be carried out carefully to eliminate fake accounts and corrupt use of the scheme. Provide households exhibiting low consumption or a decline in LPG consumption over time with greater subsidy per cylinder to sustain health gains.

Note:

BPL is a person/ household who suffers from at least one deprivation under the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) – 2011 Database.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. The Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has proved to be a boon for the poor women in India. Discuss. 
  2. The PM Ujjwala Yojana lays the basis for a fundamental material transformation at the bottom of the pyramid. Elucidate.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Which of the following is/are true regarding Privilege Committee of Lok Sabha?

  1. This Committee consists of 10 members nominated by the Speaker .
  2. Its function is to examine every question involving breach of privilege of the House or of the members of any Committee thereof referred to it by the House or by the Speaker.

Select the correct answer:

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

Q.2 Living roots of bridges is popular in which of the following state of India?

  1. Karnataka
  2. Assam
  3. Meghalaya
  4. Gujarat

Q.3 ‘Banking on Electric Vehicles in India’ was recently released by which of following?

  1. Tata Motors
  2. NITI Aayog, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), and RMI India
  3. Ministry of Roadways
  4. All of the above

ANSWERS FOR 22nd Jan 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C
3 B

Must Read

On IAS, IPS deputation rule changes:

The Hindu

On Constitutionalism:

The Hindu

On loopholes in Tenth Schedule & fixing them:

Indian Express

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