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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th February 2022

  • IASbaba
  • February 14, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Doxxing

Part of: Prelims and GS-III -Information technology

Context: Meta’s oversight board has suggested Facebook and Instagram to make strict doxxing rules. 

  • Meta was asked to consider doxxing as an offence which should prompt temporary account suspension.

What is doxxing?

  • Doxxing is publishing and analysing others’ personal information on the internet with a malicious intent that can reveal the person’s real identity making them victims of harassments and cyber-attacks.
  • The firm highlighted how doxxing is used to shame or punish people who would rather stay anonymous, because of their controversial beliefs or other types of non-mainstream activity.
  • Doxxing can result in emotional distress, loss of employment and even physical harm or death.

News Source: TH


Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP)

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Economy

Context: The Union government has filed a draft red herring prospectus with the SEBI for selling 5% of its shares in the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.

Key takeaways 

  • A Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) is a document that is prepared to introduce a new business or product to a potential investor.
  • This is not a final document for an investor.
  • It is a way of demonstrating value and providing investors with enough information for them to decide whether they want to invest in the company or not.
  • SEBI is required to assess the facts stated in the DRHP and recommend changes if required, before giving the share sale a green signal.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) 

  • It is the regulator of the securities and commodity market in India owned by the Government of India. 
  • It was established in 1988 and given statutory status through the SEBI Act, 1992. 
  • SEBI is responsible to the needs of three groups:
    • Issuers of securities
    • Investors
    • Market intermediaries
  • Functions
    • Quasi-legislative – drafts regulations 
    • Quasi-judicial – passes rulings and orders 
    • Quasi-executive – conducts investigation and enforcement action 
  • Powers:
    • To approve by−laws of Securities exchanges.
    • To require the Securities exchange to amend their by−laws.
    • Inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognised Securities exchanges.
    • Inspect the books of accounts of financial intermediaries.
    • Compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more Securities exchanges.
    • Registration of Brokers and sub-brokers

News Source: TH


PSLV-C52 Mission

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Space; Science and technology 

Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation, ISRO has successfully launched the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C52 from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.

Key takeaways 

  • The PSLV-C52 mission has also injected three satellites into the orbits.
  • It has placed an EOS-04 radar imaging satellite weighing 1710 kgs into orbit.
    • EOS-04 is designed to provide high-quality images under all weather conditions for applications such as agriculture, forestry and plantations, soil moisture and hydrology and flood mapping.
    • This satellite will be positioned into a Sun synchronous polar orbit gradually.
  • As a co-passenger INS-2TD technology demonstrator satellite and INSPIRE sat 1 student satellite were also placed into orbit. 
  • INS-2TD is a precursor to India-Bhutan Joint Satellite INS-2B.
    • INS-2TD carries a thermal imaging camera to assess land and water surface temperature and thermal inertia at day and at night.
  • INSPIRE sat-1 is a small satellite from the Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology in association with the Laboratory of Atmospheric and Space Physics at University of Colorado. 

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle

  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India.
  • It is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stages using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.
  • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.

News Source: AIR


ModifiedElephant

Part of: Prelims and GS-III cybersecurity

Context: American cybersecurity firm SentinelOne has released a report on ModifiedElephant.

  • It is a hacking group that allegedly planted incriminating evidence on the personal devices of Indian journalists, human rights activists, human rights defenders, academics and lawyers.

Key takeaways from the report

  • According to the report, ModifiedElephant maliciously targeted specific groups and individuals, including the activists arrested in the Bhima Koregaon case of 2018. 
  • It called the incident ‘one of the most serious cases of evidence tampering’ that the firm had ever encountered.
  • ModifiedElephant operators have been infecting their targets using spear phishing emails with malicious file attachments over the last decade, with their techniques getting more sophisticated over time.
    • Spear phishing refers to the practice of sending emails to targets that look like they are coming from a trusted source to either reveal important information or install different kinds of malware on their computer systems.

News source: IE


(PIB)


‘Statue of Equality’ in Hyderabad

Part of: Prelims

  • A 216-feet tall statue of the 11th century Bhakti saint Sri Ramanujacharya
  • Promoted the idea of equality before God and engendered many social reforms in his time. 
  • His philosophy of Vishistadwaita argued that there is no room for discriminating against people on the basis of caste and community. 
  • With his great wisdom, sagacity and foresight, he synthesised seemingly opposite thoughts of Jnana and Bhakti, Dvaita and Advaita.

Maharaja Surajmal

Part of: Prelims

  • A Hindu Jat ruler of Bharatpur in Rajasthan, India
  • A contemporary historian had described him as “the Plato of the Jat tribe” and by a modern writer as the “Jat Odysseus”, because of his “political sagacity, steady intellect and clear vision”.
  • The Jats, under Suraj Mal, overran the Mughal garrison at Agra. Suraj Mal was killed in an ambush by the Rohilla troops on the night of 25 December 1763 near Hindon River, Shahadra, Delhi.

Continuation of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) Approved

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

In News: The Government has approved continuation of umbrella scheme of Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF). The approval moves forward the initiative of the Union Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah to modernise and improve the functioning of Police Forces of States and Union Territories. 

  • Provision has been made under the Scheme for internal security, law and order, adoption of modern technology by Police, assisting States for narcotics control and strengthening the criminal justice system by developing a robust forensic set-up in the country.
  • The Scheme for modernization of State police forces has a Central outlay of Rs.4,846 crore.
    • To develop operationally independent high-quality forensic sciences facilities in States/Union Territories for aiding scientific and timely investigation through modernization of resources.   A central Scheme for Modernisation of Forensic Capacities with outlay of Rs.2,080.50 crore has been approved.
    • Central outlay of Rs.18,839 crore has been earmarked for security related expenditure for the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir, insurgency affected North Eastern States and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas.
    • With the implementation of ‘National Policy and Action Plan’ for combating LWE, the LWE violence incidents have come down drastically. To further pursue this accomplishment, six LWE related schemes with Central outlay of Rs.8,689 crore have been approved.  These schemes include Special Central Assistance (SCA) to Most LWE Affected Districts & Districts of Concern to consolidate the gains.
    • For raising of India Reserve Battalions/Specialised India Reserve Battalions, Central outlay of Rs.350 crore has been approved.
    • Central sector scheme of ‘Assistance to States & Union Territories for Narcotics Control with outlay of Rs.50 crore has been continued.

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


INTERNATIONAL/ SECURITY

  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate. 
  • GS-2: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

QUAD 2022 Ministerial Meeting

Context: Foreign Ministers of Australia, India, Japan and US met in Melbourne, Australia on 11 February 2022, for the fourth Quad Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.

What were the key takeaways from the meeting?

  • Vaccine Diplomacy: Quad partners have collectively provided more than 500 million vaccine doses. The grouping plans to deliver more than a billion vaccine doses — India-made with U.S. funding and distributed through Japanese and Australian networks — and donate another 1.3 billion doses around the world
  • Climate Cooperation: The group agreed to prepare for an Indo-Pacific Clean Energy Supply Chain Forum to tackle climate change
  • Centrality of ASEAN: As unwavering supporters of ASEAN unity and centrality, and the ASEAN-led architecture, QUAD continues to support ASEAN partners to advance the practical implementation of ASEAN’s Outlook on the Indo-Pacific. 
  • Strengthening HADR cooperation: Since 2004, when QUAD collaborated in response to the Indian Ocean tsunami, the grouping has continued to respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters in the Indo-Pacific. The group further committed to building links between their response agencies to provide timely and effective HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) support to the region.
  • Maritime Security in Indo-Pacific region: The grouping reiterated that it is determined to deepen engagement with regional partners, including through capacity-building and technical assistance, to 
    • strengthen maritime domain awareness; 
    • protect their ability to develop offshore resources, 
    • consistent with UNCLOS; 
    • ensure freedom of navigation and overflight; 
    • combat challenges, such as illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; and 
    • promote the safety and security of sea lines of communication.
  • Cooperation on anti-Terrorism: The Quad is exchanging information to counter all forms of terrorism and violent extremism. India was also able to insert a reference to fighting “cross-border” terrorism, and condemnation of the 26/11 attack and Pathankot attacks. 
  • Afghanistan: The grouping reaffirmed UNSC Resolution 2593 (2021) that Afghan territory should not be used to threaten or attack any country.
  • Technology: The group also pledged to further a “Quad vision” for technology governances and safe and transparent 5G systems.

Positives of the meeting 

  • It shows a growing level of comfort with the principles behind the grouping of democratic countries, to support regional countries’ efforts to advance a “free and open Indo-Pacific”. It also set the stage for Summit level meeting to be held later this year at Tokyo. 
  • That Quad members have thus far avoided institutionalising their grouping, and that they have not “militarised” it
  • Despite China’s sharp criticism of the grouping, Quad members chose not to name China directly as the joint statement spoke of ensuring a rules-based order and respect for sovereignty and building a region “free from coercion”.

Is India losing its strategic autonomy by being a part of QUAD?

  • While the grouping is strong on all these precepts, there are obvious differences in the practice of their vision for the Indo-Pacific region and the world in general.
  • India’s strong tone on China’s amassing of troops at India’s border was also a subtle reminder to Quad partners that while they may have similar concerns and share many core values, they do not have an identical world view.
  • The situation in Myanmar was mentioned, but India’s External Affairs Minister made it clear that while India supports a restoration of democracy, it does not support western “national” sanctions. 
  • The meeting took place in the shadow of the growing Russia-NATO tensions over Ukraine, but it seemed evident that India did not share USA’s assessment of an imminent “invasion” (by Russia into Ukraine). 
  • Indian chose not to join the decision by the U.S., Japan and Australia to tell their citizens to evacuate immediately from Ukraine; nor was any mention of the situation allowed into the joint statement. 

Conclusion

Quad remains very much a grouping that is “for something, not against somebody”.

Connecting the dots:


GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

Import Ban on Drones

Context: The Government recently issued an order regulating the import of drones.

What does the order say?

  • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued an order on February 2022 prohibiting with immediate effect the import of drones. 
  • Import of drones by government entities, educational institutions, government recognised R&D entities and drone manufacturers for R&D purpose as well as for defence and security purposes will be allowed provided upon approval from DGFT. 
  • The order also says that import of drone components is “free”, implying that no permission is needed from the DGFT allowing local manufacturers to import parts likes diodes, chips, motors, lithium ion batteries etc. 
  • Before this order, import of drones was “restricted” and needed prior clearance of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) and an import license from DGFT. 
  • However, smaller drones known as nano category drones that weighed less than 250 grams and flew below 50 feet or 15 meters needed an equipment type approval from the Department of Telecommunications for operating in de-licensed frequency band(s) and did not require an import clearance of the DGCA or an import license from the DGFT.

What other measures has the Government taken to promote indigenous drone manufacturing?

  • In August 2021, the Government brought out liberalised Drone Rules, 2021 which reduced the number of forms to be filled to seek authorisation from 25 to five.
  •  They also dispensed with the need for a security clearance before any registration or issuance of licence. 
  • Under these rules, R&D entities too have been provided blanket exemption from all kinds of permissions, and restrictions on foreign-owned companies registered in India have also been removed. 
  • The Government has also announced a production-linked incentive scheme for drones and drone components with the aim to make India a “global drone hub by 2030”. 
    • It has allocated ₹120 crore for a period of three years under which it will offer an incentive of 20% of the value addition made by a manufacturer of drones or drone components or drone related IT products. 

What is likely to be the immediate impact of the announcement? 

  • What the import ban will do is that it will ensure that an Indian manufacturer has the control of the IP, design and software which gives him or her a total understanding and control of the product. Over a period of time this can enable further indigenisation.
  • Domestic industry has considered it as very good move by the Government to nurture and protect the industry.
  • But how well the ban is implemented remains to be seen. 
  • There are questions raised on the difference which the import ban will make especially when local manufacturers rely heavily on foreign-made components. 
  • Most drone manufacturers in India assemble imported components in India, and there is less of manufacturing.
  • For its defence needs, India imports from Israel and the U.S.. Consumer drones such as those used for wedding photography come from China and drones for light shows also come from China apart from Russia. 
  • Indian drone manufacturers and service providers arrange drones for a variety of use cases such as survey and mapping, security and surveillance, inspection, construction progress monitoring and drone delivery.
  • The ban is likely to hurt those who use drones for photography and videography for weddings and events as these primarily come from China because they are cheaper and easy-to-use and India still has a lot of catching up to do in manufacturing them. 

Connecting the dots:


(Down to Earth – News)


Feb 11: Thousands may face starvation from February to May in ‘hunger hotspots‘- https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/africa/thousands-may-face-starvation-from-february-to-may-in-hunger-hotspots-un-agencies-81527  

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: International Relations

Thousands may face starvation from February to May in ‘hunger hotspots’

Context: People living in parts of 20 countries will face acute food insecurity from February through May 2022, warned Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP). Urgent and targeted humanitarian action is needed in these places to avoid putting the lives and livelihoods of this population at risk. 

  • Ethiopia, Nigeria, South Sudan and Yemen are on the highest alert, according to the research paper Hunger Hotspots. 
  • A share of the population in these four countries were projected to experience starvation and death in the last assessment by the agencies for August to November 2021. 

Source: DTE

Famine

IPC defined famine as an extreme deprivation of food. This refers to a condition in which 

  • an area has at least 20 per cent households facing extreme lack of food
  • at least 30 per cent children suffering from acute malnutrition and
  • Two of every 10,000 people dying each day due to outright starvation or to the interaction of malnutrition and disease.

Area-wise

  • At least 13,550 people in conflict-affected northern Nigeria and in particular Borno state could face catastrophic food insecurity (IPC Phase 5) from June to August 2022 if adequate humanitarian and resilience-building assistance are not provided. 
  • In Afghanistan, a total of 8.7 million people by March 2022 is expected to slide into critical levels of acute food insecurity (IPC Phase 4). This is more than double the number from the same time last year.

Drivers of food insecurity

A combination of factors are behind the acute food insecurity in these hotspots during the outlook period such as

  • Organized violence and conflict: In Myanmar, Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central Sahel, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, the northern parts of Ethiopia, Nigeria and Mozambique, people were forced to abandon their land, homes and jobs due to conflict situations
  • Economic shocks including impacts of COVID-19 pandemic will continue to drive food prices higher
  • Extreme weather events: 
    • Weather extremes such as heavy rains, tropical storms, hurricanes, flooding, drought and climate variability
    • The ongoing La Niña conditions led to an elevated risk of a two-year sequence of dry conditions, particularly in East Africa and Central Asia
    • Impact of climate extremes on food security was seen in Haiti, Eastern Africa, Madagascar, Mozambique and in Afghanistan’s western region of Badghism
  • Animal and plant pests and diseases 
  • Poor humanitarian access: Humanitarian access is limited in various ways, including administrative/bureaucratic impediments, movement restrictions, security constraints and physical constraints related to the environment.

What is happening in India?

How did India’s food system work during Pandemic?

  • During the COVID-19-precipitated lockdown, the FAO, IFAD and the WFP worked in close coordination to support the Government of India’s Empowered Group 5 on facilitating supply chain and logistics management, so necessary items such as food and medicines were available.
  • Over the past few decades, India has gone from being a net importer to a net exporter of food grains. This strength has been evident through the pandemic. 
  • During April to June 2020, Central and State governments were able to distribute around 23 million tonnes from India’s large domestic food grain reserves through Public Distribution System
  • The government also successfully mobilised food rations for 820 million people from April to November 2020, including finding alternate solutions to provide food rations to 90 million schoolchildren. 
  • During pandemic’s initial days of lockdown, there were efforts to remove bottlenecks in the food supply chain to ensure that agricultural activities weren’t disrupted. 
  • As a result, agriculture grew at 3.4% during the first quarter this financial year and the area cultivated this kharif exceeded 110 million hectares.

Challenges Ahead for India

  • High number of Malnourished: The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18 revealed that over 40 million children are chronically malnourished, and more than half of Indian women aged 15-49 years are anaemic.
  • Climate change continues to be a real and potent threat to agrobiodiversity, which will impact everything from productivity to livelihoods across food and farm systems.
  • Small Land Size: Intensified food production systems with excessive use of chemicals and unsustainable farming practices cause soil degradation, fast depletion of groundwater table and rapid loss of agro-biodiversity. These challenges multiply with an increase in fragmentation of landholdings.

Way Ahead & Learnings for India

  • The way we produce food must change through agroecology and sustainable production practices in agriculture and allied sectors
  • India must stop the waste — one-third of the food we produce is wasted. 
  • COVID-19 and now the new realityis an opportunity to adopt innovative solutions based on scientific evidence so they can build back better and make food systems more resilient and sustainable
  • Everybody — governments, the private sector, civil society and local communities- has a role to play in transforming our food systems so they can withstand increasing volatility and climate shocks

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Discuss the concept of food security. Also examine the reasons for the world food problem.
  2. What are the factors contributing to India’s below par performance on addressing hunger and malnutrition despite having adequate food stocks? Examine.
  3. There are many international organisations and programmes that work for the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger. Can you discuss at least three of them? Also, discuss their mandate and objectives.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Which of the following is/are the function of SEBI? 

  1. Passes rulings and orders 
  2. Conducts investigation and enforcement action 
  3. Drafts regulations 
  4. All of the above

Q.2 Consider the following Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle:

  1. It is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stages using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.
  2. It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

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

Q.3 ModifiedElephant is associated with which of the following?

  1. Genetically enhanced breed of Asiatic elephant 
  2. Hacking group
  3. Code name for India’s neighbouring countries
  4. Latest PSLV satellite launched by ISRO

ANSWERS FOR 14th Feb 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 D
2 C
3 B

Must Read

On boosting domestic semiconductor production:

The Hindu

On Promoting occupational safety:

The Hindu

On Climate Smart Agriculture:

Indian Express

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