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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 12th February 2022

  • IASbaba
  • February 12, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Milan exercise

Part of: Prelims and GS-III -Defence and security

Context: The Navy is set to hold the 12th President’s Fleet Review (PFR) at Visakhapatnam and few days from that it will host the largest multilateral exercise in this region, Milan 2022.

Key takeaways 

  • Milan 2022 will see participation of all major Navies including Quad countries, Russia and from West Asia. 46 countries have been invited for the exercise.
  • It has several themes such as ant-submarine warfare among others along with deliberations, including by subject matter experts.
  • During the exercise, the Navy will also be showcasing its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) capabilities meant to rescue submarines in distress. 
  • India is one of the few countries in the region which possesses this capability. 
  • Milanbegan in 1995 and is held biennially.

News Source: TH


Fourth Quad Ministerial meeting

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations 

Context: Fourth Quad Ministerial meeting was held recently in Melbourne, Australia.

Key takeaways from the meeting

  • The Foreign Ministers of Australia, India, Japan and the U.S. said the Quad was already cooperating on sharing intelligence on threats in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • They called for justice for the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai (2008) and the Pathankot airbase attack (2016) for the first time since the group was formed.
  • They resolved to speed up delivery of more than a billion COVID-19 vaccines to be manufactured in India.
  • Efforts to ensure maritime security in the region will be enhanced. 
  • They also reaffirmed a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific

QUAD

  • Full form: Quadrilateral Security Dialogue 
  • Countries: USA, Japan, Australia and India 
  • Aims: The main aim is to enable a regional security architecture for the maintenance of a rules- based order. 
  • It seeks to contain a ‘rising China’ and work against its predatory trade and economic policies.

News Source: TH


Habeas corpus

Part of: Prelims and GS-II Polity

Context: The Supreme Court recently decided to examine a habeas corpus plea made by the children of a Pakistan national who they believe has been unlawfully detained for seven years.

Important value additions 

  • The Indian Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to issue writs for enforcement of any of the fundamental rights conferred by Part III of Indian Constitution under Article 32. 
  • Thus the power to issue writs is primarily a provision made to make available the Right to Constitutional Remedies to every citizen.
  • There are five types of Writs: Habeas Corpus, Mandamus, Prohibition, Certiorari and Quo warranto.
  • Habeas Corpus: It literally means “you may have the body.” The writ is issued to produce a person who has been detained, whether in prison or in private custody, before a court and to release him if such detention is found illegal.
  • Mandamus: A judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty.
  • Prohibition: A writ of prohibition is a writ directing a subordinate to stop doing something the law prohibits. This writ is often issued by a superior court to the lower court directing it not to proceed with a case which does not fall under its jurisdiction.
  • Certiorari: In law, certiorari is a court process to seek judicial review of a decision of a lower court or government agency.
  • Quo warranto: Quo warranto is a prerogative writ requiring the person to whom it is directed to show what authority they have for exercising some right, power, or franchise they claim to hold.

News Source: TH


IIP growth slowed to 0.4% in December

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Economy

Context: As per official estimates for the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), India’s industrial recovery slowed sharply in December, with output growing just 0.4% year-on-year, and manufacturing activity contracting 0.1%.

About IIP

  • IIP is a composite indicator measuring changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products over a period of time, with respect to a chosen base period.
  • The base year used for IIP calculations is 2011-12.
  • It is compiled and published on a monthly basis by the Central Statistical Office with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month.
  • Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Product, Steel, Cement and Electricity are known as Core Industries. 
  • The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products > Electricity > Steel > Coal >  Crude Oil > Natural Gas > Cement > Fertilizers.
  • The eight Core Industries comprise nearly 40.27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP). 

News source: TH


(News from PIB)


SMILE: Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise 

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

In News: SMILE is being launched for the Welfare of Transgender community and the Beggars

By: The Department of Social Justice & Empowerment

  • Designed to provide welfare measures to the Transgender community and the people engaged in the act of begging. 
  • Under this includes two sub-schemes – 
    • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons
    • Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging
  • The scheme strengthens and expands the reach of the Rights that give the targeted group the necessary legal protection and a promise to a secured life. 
  • It keeps in mind the social security that is needed through multiple dimensions of identity, medical care, education, occupational opportunities and shelter. 
  • The Ministry has allocated Rs. 365 Crore for the scheme from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

Central Sector Scheme for Comprehensive Rehabilitation for Welfare of Transgender Persons

  • Scholarships for Transgender Students: Scholarships for students studying in IX and till post-graduation to enable them to complete their education.
  • Skill Development and Livelihood: Skill Development and Livelihood under PM-DAKSH scheme of the Department
  • Composite Medical Health: A comprehensive package in convergence with PM-JAY supporting Gender-Reaffirmation surgeries through selected hospitals
  • Housing in the form of ‘GarimaGreh’: Shelter Homes ‘Garima Greh’ where food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, recreational activities, medical support etc. will be provided
  • Provision of Transgender Protection Cell: Setting up of Transgender Protection in each state to monitor cases of offences and to ensure timely registration, investigation and prosecution of offences.
  • E-Services (National Portal & Helpline and Advertisement) and other Welfare Measures

Comprehensive Rehabilitation of persons engaged in the act of Begging

  • Survey and identification: Survey and Identification of beneficiaries shall be carried out by the Implementing Agencies.
  • Mobilisation: Outreach work will be done to mobilise the persons engaged in begging to avail the services available in the Shelter Homes.
  • Rescue/ Shelter Home: The shelter homes will facilitate education for children engaged in the act of Begging and children of persons engaged in the act of Begging.
  • Comprehensive resettlement.
  • Skill development/vocational training will be provided to attain capacity, capability and desirability so that they can sustain and live a life of dignity by engaging in self-employment.
  • Pilot projects initiated on Comprehensive Rehabilitation in ten cities namely Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Indore, Lucknow, Mumbai, Nagpur, Patna and Ahmedabad.

News Source: PIB


Indian scientists develop a next-generation probiotic 

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

In News: A team of Indian Scientists has recently identified the next-generation probiotic bacterium Lactobacillus Plantarum JBC5 from a dairy product that showed great promise in promoting healthy aging. 

  • Scientists searched for healthy bacteria to promote healthy living in fermented dairy products following proposal of Nobel laureate Dr. Elie Metchnikoff
  • It is a model organism called Caenorhabditis Elegans — a free-living, transparent nematode living temperate soil environments.
    • Lactobacillus Plantarum JBC5 improves longevity and healthy aging by modulating antioxidative, innate immunity and serotonin-signaling pathways in Caenorhabditis elegans
    • The bacterium demonstrated a 27.81% increase in the life span of the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans accompanied by the hallmarks of healthy aging by providing improved immunity against pathogenic infections increased learning ability and memory, gut integrity, and oxidative stress tolerance. In contrast, it significantly reduced the accumulation of body fat and inflammation.
  • Yogurt developed using the probiotic bacterium can promote healthy aging in elderly population & improve longevity

Ageing

  • The United Nations forecasts that one in every eleven people will be older than 65 by 2050. 
  • However, aging is generally associated with a higher risk of age-related health issues, such as obesity, neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s), cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers, autoimmune diseases, and inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Therefore, it raises concerns in highly populated countries like India and flags the need for scientific ways to promote healthy aging.

News Source: PIB


MISCELLANEOUS

Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana (PMKSY): To support creation of modern infrastructure projects, setting/upgrading the food manufacturing units, value chain development in perishables, backward and forward linkages etc.

PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme: For providing financial, technical and business support for upgradation/setting up of 2 lakh micro food processing units in a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 with an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore. The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODOP) approach to reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.

Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)- A scheme to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector with a highest ever investment of Rs. 20,050 crore for a period of 5 years with effect from 2020-21 to 2024-25 in all the States/Union Territories. PMMSY inter-alia has also provision for welfare related activity namely

  • Livelihood and nutritional support for socio-economically backward active traditional fishers’ families during fishing ban/lean period. Under this component assistance is provided @ Rs. 4500/- per fishers which includes Rs. 3000/- per fishers to be provided by the Governmental and Rs. 1500/- to be contributed by the beneficiary for three months consisting of fishing ban/lean periods
  • Insurance to Fishers. The insurance coverage for fishers includes
  1. Rs.5,00,000/- against accidental death or permanent total disability,
  2. Rs.2,50,000/- for permanent partial disability
  3. Insurance coverage for hospitalization expenses in the event of accident for a sum of Rs. 25,000.

(Mains Focus)


SECURITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Cyber Security and its challenges
  • GS-3: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Cyber Threats

Context: Estimates of the cost to the world in 2020 from cyber-attacks/ cyber crimes is believed to be more than $1 trillion and in 2021 it is likely to range between $3trillion-$4 trillion. 

  • US defence secretary warned that the world had to prepare for a kind of ‘cyber Pearl Harbour’, highlighting a new era of potential vulnerabilities.
  • However, the West seemed to lose its way on how to deal with the emerging cyber threat. Each succeeding year witnessed no change in the method of response despite an increase in cyber threats.

Sectors that are vulnerable

  • According to experts, among the most targeted sectors in the coming period are likely to be: health care, education and research, communications and governments.
  • In the Information age, data is gold. Credential threats and the threat of data breaches, phishing, and ransomware attacks, apart from major IT outages, are expected to be among the main concerns
  • Vast majority of cyber attacks are directed at small and medium sized businesses, and it is likely that this trend will grow.
  • Ransomware is increasing in intensity and is tending to become a near destructive threat, because there are many available soft targets. Statistics in this regard are also telling, viz., that new attacks are taking place every 10 seconds.
  • The huge security impact of working from home (accelerated by Pandemic) is likely to further accelerate the pace of cyber attacks. A rash of attacks is almost certain to occur on home computers and networks
  • According to experts, a tendency seen more recently to put everything on the Cloud could backfire, causing many security holes, challenges, misconfigurations and outages. 

Issue of low clarity

  • Despite evidence, cyber security experts appear to be floundering in finding proper solutions to the ever widening cyber threat
  • Devising standard methodologies may not ensure protection from all-encompassing cyber attacks. Some of the standard methodologies suggested are:
    • Technology geeks are insisting on every enterprise incorporating SASE — Secure Access Service Edge — to reduce the risk of cyber attacks. 
    • Additional solutions are being proposed such as CASB — Cloud Access Security Broker — and SWG — Secure Web Gateway — aimed at limiting the risks to users from web-based threats.
    • Zero Trust Model that puts the onus on strict identity verification ‘allowing only authorized and authenticated users to access data applications may not be effective in the face of the current wave of cyber attacks. 
  • While the West focused on ‘militarization’ of the cyber threat, and how best it could win with its superior capabilities, valuable time was lost that led to misplaced ideas and erroneous generalisations.

Way Ahead

  • A detailed study of the series of low- and medium-level proactive cyber attacks that have occurred during the past decade is needed.
  • Individual companies need to be prevented from tradeoffs — between investing in security and maximising short-term profits. One needs to make aware that inadequate corporate protection could have huge costs for company and thus persuade & support these companies to adopt cyber security in their operations.
  • Nations and institutions, instead of waiting for the ‘Big Bang cyber attack’, should actively prepare for a rash of cyber attacks — essentially ransomware — mainly directed at available data. 
  • Consequently, law enforcement agencies would need to play a vital role in providing effective defence against cyber attacks.
  • While solving the technical side is ‘one part of the solution, networks and data structures need at the same time to prioritise resilience through decentralised and dense networks, hybrid cloud structures, redundant applications and backup processes’.
  • This implies ‘planning and training for network failures so that individuals could adapt and continue to provide service even in the midst of an offensive cyber campaign’.

Connecting the dots:


ECONOMY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Economy & its challenges

Credit Rating agencies

Context: Recently, Credit ratings agencies’ termed India as the most indebted emerging market and the claimed that the latest budget did not provide clarity on fiscal consolidation plans.

  • In response, Finance Secretary accused ratings agencies of “double standards” when assessing emerging markets and developing economies.

What did the rating agencies say?

  • Fitch, a rating agency, had stated that higher deficits and continued lack of clarity on medium-term consolidation plans in the recent Union Budget was its rationale for projecting of a downward trajectory in the country’s debt/GDP
  • The report concluded saying, “The government has little fiscal headroom at its current level to respond to possible shocks to growth.” 
  • Another agency, Moody’s, said the Union Budget was growth-oriented, credit positive for many issuers but the budgetary provisions posed fiscal challenges. Focus on capital expenditure, it said, supported near-term growth but challenged long-term fiscal consolidation. Additionally, the budget projected only a slight narrowing in the central government deficit. 

What is a rating agency? 

  • Ratings agencies assess the credit worthiness or potential of an equity, debt or country. 
  • Their reports are read by investors to make an informed decision on whether or not to invest in a particular country or companies in that geography. 
  • They assess if a country, equity or debt is financially stable and whether it at a low/high risk. In simpler terms, these reports help investors gauge if they would get a return on their investment. 
  • The agencies periodically re-evaluate a previously assigned ratings after new developments (example, Coronavirus pandemic or a geography-specific climate change), geo-political events or a significant economic announcement by the concerned entity. 
  • Their reports are sold and published in financial and daily newspapers. 

What grading pattern do they follow? 

  • The three prominent ratings agencies, viz., Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch subscribe to largely similar grading patterns.
  • Standard & Poor’s accord their highest grade, that is, AAA, to countries, equity or debt with the exceedingly high capacity to meet their financial commitments. 
    • Its lowest grade is ‘D’, accorded to entities with high probability of payment default or breach of an imputed promise.
    • Its grading slab includes letters A, B and C with an addition a single or double letter denoting a higher grade. 
  • Moody’s separates ratings into short-term (obligations maturing in thirteen months or less) and long-term definitions (obligations maturing in eleven months or more)
    •  Its longer-term grading ranges from Aaa to C, with Aaa being the highest. The succession pattern is similar to S&P. 
    • The short-term ratings scale ranges from P-1 to NP, with P-1 being the highest. 
  • Fitch, too, rates from AAA to D, with D being the lowest. It follows the same succession scheme as Moody’s and Fitch.

Do countries pay attention to ratings agencies? 

  • Lowered rating of a country can potentially cause panic selling or offloading of investment by a foreign investor. 
  • In 2013, the European Union opted for regulating the agencies. Also, in order to discourage domination by three it recommends use of smaller credit agencies. 
  • Back in September 2021, Finance Ministry officials had pitched for an upgrade in India’s rating from Moody’s Investor Service. Moody’s had downgraded the India’s rating to Baa3 in June 2020. The agency stated that the lowest investment grade was accorded because of a prolonged economic slowdown and deteriorating fiscal position. 
  • In November, Fitch had affirmed India’s rating at BBB-.

Criticism of rating agencies

  • Popular ratings agencies publicly reveal their methodology, which is based on macroeconomic data publicly made available by a country, to lend credibility to their inferences. 
  • However, credit rating agencies were subjected to severe criticism for allegedly spurring the financial crisis in the United States, which began in 2017. They were charged for methodological errors and conflict of interest on multiple counts. 
  • Over reliance on credit ratings may reduce incentives for investor to develop their own capacity for credit risk assessment.
  • Domination by three agencies (namely, Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s) often leading to distortion of the credit ratings.

Connecting the dots:


Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya

TOPIC:

  • GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present – significant events, personalities, issues

“DEENDAYAL UPADHYAYA is to the BJP [Bharatiya Janata Party] what Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi was to Congress” opined R. Balashankar, former editor of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh’s (RSS) organ Organiser 

Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya is undoubtedly the most significant ideologue of the contemporary Hindutva movement. Upadhyaya’s writings and speeches on the principles and policies of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, his philosophy of ‘Integral Humanism’ and his vision for the rise of modern India, constitute the most comprehensive articulation of what might be described as a BJP ideology.

In 1951, when Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee founded the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, Deendayal became the first general secretary of its UP branch. Next he was chosen as all-India general secretary. The acumen and meticulousness shown by Deendayal deeply impressed Dr Mookerjee and elicited his famous remark: ‘If I had two Deendayals, I could transform the political face of India.’  

After Dr Mookerjee’s death in 1953, the entire burden of nurturing the orphaned organisation and building it up as a nation-wide movement fell on the young shoulders of Deendayal. For 15 years, he remained the outfit’s general secretary and built it up, brick by brick. He raised a band of dedicated workers imbued with idealism and provided the entire ideological framework of the outfit.  

Political ideologies

  • A fundamental political thinker, the key element was humanism in his political thought.
  • Pandit Upadhyay is one of those thinkers in India who exercised on ‘Swaraj of ideas’ – means decolonisation of ideas, i.e. decolonisation of Indian minds. India was free politically but ideologically, colonial hangover was still there.
  • Introduced the basic concept of Indian philosophy in political, social and cultural discourses 
  • After the death of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, he managed Bhartiya Jan Sangh for 15 years
  • Alternative of Congress
    • In 1960, Deendayal Updhyay started polarisation against Congress. He actualised it by 1965 and by 1967, there was anti-congress regime. He is called architect of non-congress movement along with Ram Manohar Lohiya. In 1967 election, for the first time after independence, in the hindi belt of India, a political non-congress government was formed.
    • It was not opportunism. According to him, there should be diversity in democracy. There shouldn’t be one leader-one party-one policy. This is detrimental for democracy. 
    • His approach was constructive but at the same time he was not soft when it came to his principles. For example, In Rajasthan, he had expelled 6 MLAs of Jan Sangh out of 8 MLAs because they were opposing Zamindari abolition act. For him, quality mattered than quantity.
  • Deplored the concept of territorial nationalism, which saw the Indian nation as being formed of all the peoples who reside in this land. A territory and its inhabitants, as Westernized Indians seemed to believe; this would embrace Hindus, Muslims, Christians and others under a common nationhood to resist British rule. This was a fallacy, according to Upadhyaya. ‘A nation is not a mere geographical unit. The primary need of nationalism is the feeling of boundless dedication in the hearts of the people for their land. Our feeling for the motherland has a basis: our long, continuous habitation in the same land creates, by association, a sense of “my-ness”.

Three cardinal principles for Indian politics:

  1. Decentralisation – Rural development and agriculture to be given importance – visualised for India a decentralized polity and self-reliant economy with the village as the base.
  2. Diversity in social and cultural ideas: It should not be an environment of uniformity. 
  3. Planning should be decentralised: Bottom-top approach was proposed so that real needs can be known and taken into account.

Hindu revivalism and Deendayal Upadhyaya

  • Hindu revivalism represented a broad trend in the 19th and 20th century India which sought to revitalise Hinduism after a millennium of political, ideological and psychological subjection to Islamic and Western hegemony.
  • Unlike Hindu traditionalism, it sought to co-opt modernity in its programme of Hindu revival or Hindu reconstruction. The concept of Hindu nationalism or ‘Hindutva’ was given expression by the Hindu Mahasabha (HMS, 1915) and the family of organisations around the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS, 1925), including the Bharatiya Jan Sangh (BJS, 1951-1977) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, 1980).

Chief Architect of Doctrine of integral humanism

Deriving from Shankara’s Advaitavad and similar to Buddha’s middle path, Deen Dayal Upadhaya’s Integral Humanism is a negation of the extreme prospects of Capitalism as well as Marxism.

Integral Humanism is different from western ideologies. 

Most of western ideologies are based on materialism, emphasising more on development in economic term and eventually every individual is treated as economic man. His social contacts, his cultural milieu and special bent of mind is ignored in this theory. Economic without ethics and political discourse without morality are creating crisis in society. Therefore he propounded that every economic theory and policy should be in context of specialism, local tradition and nature, and temperament of people. In Indian thought he said- dharm kaam arth moksh– all four are important. If there is balance between them, there is social equilibrium.

Dharma and religion are different in Indian context. Dharma is more related to morality of person in individual and collective life. It is less about religion. But religion in western countries is more concerned about sects. There is difference between sects and dharma. No society can live without dharma but can live without religion. Dharma is above religion. On the basis of this truth, he propounded Integral Humanism. 

Integral Humanism is critical of individualism as well as Communism as social systems. It defines society as a natural living organism with a definitive national soul. Integral humanism insists upon the infusion of religious and moral values in politics. It seeks a culturally authentic mode of modernization that preserver the values of Hinduism.

Integral humanism consists of visions organized around two themes-

  1. Morality in politics – can be a game changer
  2. Swadeshi and small scale industrialization in economy – initiating self-reliance that reflects in Gandhiji’s philosophy as well.

Thus, Integral Humanism revolves around the basic themes of harmony, primacy of cultural-national values and discipline. This doctrine of Pandit Upadhyay is quite relevant even in the present political and economic situation of India.

Can you answer the following question?

  1. Is Integral Humanism relevant in today’s time and age? Explain

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Which of the following has the greatest share in Core Industries:

  1. Coal
  2. Crude Oil
  3. Natural Gas
  4. Refinery Product

Q.2 Consider the following

  1. Habeas Corpus means “you may have the body.” The writ is issued to produce a person who has been detained, whether in prison or in private custody, before a court and to release him if such detention is found illegal.
  2. Mandamus is a judicial writ issued as a command to an inferior court or ordering a person to perform a public or statutory duty.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 Milan exercise is the largest exercise of which of the following country?

  1. India
  2. USA
  3. SriLanka
  4. Japan

ANSWERS FOR 12th Feb 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 A

Must Read

On quarantine-free entry for travellers:

The Hindu

On Budget & reducing welfare spending:

Indian Express

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