fbpx

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th March 2022

  • IASbaba
  • March 30, 2022
  • 0
IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Rhino population up by 200 in Kaziranga

Part of: Prelims and GS III – Environment 

Context: The population of the greater one-horned or Indian rhinoceros in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve has increased by 200 in four years.

  • The last rhino census conducted in 2018 had put the number at 2,413.
  • This year’s census had a first — the use of drones for the recheck of 26 park compartments where the sample survey was done.
  • A similar census was conducted in two more of Assam’s rhino habitats earlier in March. The Orang National Park recorded an increase of 24 rhinos over the figure of 101 in 2018
    • The Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary recorded five more rhinos than in 2018.

Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

  • Also known as Indian rhino, it is the largest of the rhino species. 
  • India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world. 
    • At present, there are about 2,600 Indian rhinos in India, with more than 90% of the population concentrated in Assam’s Kaziranga National Park.
  • Habitat: The species is restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal terai and northern West Bengal and Assam.
  • In India, rhinos are mainly found in 
    • Kaziranga NP, Pobitora WLS, Orang NP, Manas NP in Assam, 
    • Jaldapara NP and Gorumara NP in West Bengal 
    • Dudhwa TR in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Threats:
    • Poaching for the horns
    • Habitat loss
    • Population density
    • Decreasing Genetic diversity
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
    • CITES: Appendix-I
    • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I.

News Source: TH


Agreement between Assam and Meghalaya to end border conflict

Part of: Prelims and GS II – State Relations 

Context: Assam and Meghalaya have partially resolved a 50-year-old border dispute in six of the 12 sectors along their 885-km boundary through signing of an agreement.

Key takeaways 

  • The agreement was based on a draft resolution signed between the two States on January 29.
  • The six disputed sectors are Tarabari, Gizang, Hahim, Boklapara, Khanapara-Pillangkata and Ratacherra under the Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro) and Cachar districts of Assam and the West Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi and East Jaintia Hills districts of Meghalaya.
  • In June 2021, the two States had adopted a “give-and-take” policy to start the process of resolving the boundary dispute by constituting three regional committees each.
    • The draft resolution, prepared on the basis of the recommendations of the regional panels, proposed dividing the disputed 36.79 sq. km land in the six areas of difference between the two States.
  • Meanwhile, people in several villages in the disputed sectors protested the boundary agreement. 
    • They claimed they were not given enough opportunities by the regional committees to present their cases

Do you know?

  • Apart from Meghalaya, Assam has boundary disputes with Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. 
  • All these States, two as Union Territories initially, were carved out of Assam between 1963 and 1972.

News Source: TH


Rouble currency

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations and GS III – Economy

Context: In the wake of economic sanctions imposed against Russia for attacks on Ukraine, Russia has insisted recently that it will only be accepting payment for gas deliveries to the EU in rouble.

  • G7 Ministers called this arrangement “unacceptable”.
  • European Union receives around 40% of its gas supplies from Russia. Hey do you have it you can check it out yeah

About Rouble

  • Russian ruble or rouble is the official currency of the Russian Federation.
  • The ruble was the currency of the Russian Empire and of the Soviet Union (as the Soviet ruble). 
  • However, today only Russia, Belarus and Transnistria use currencies with the same name. 
  • The Russian ruble is also unofficially used in the four partially recognised republics of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Donetsk and Luhansk. 
  • As of April 2019, the ruble is the seventeenth most traded currency in the world, and a free-floating currency.

About G7

  • The Group of Seven (G7) is an inter-governmental political forum consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 
  • Its members are the world’s largest IMF advanced economies and wealthiest liberal democracies.

News Source: TH


(News from PIB)


EX DUSTLIK:  Indo-Uzbekistan Joint Exercise


Sagar Parikrama

Part of: GS-Prelims and GS-III: Indian Economy 

By: The Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying

‘Sagar Parikrama’ aims to

  • Facilitate interaction with fishermen, coastal communities and stakeholders so as to disseminate information of various fisheries related schemes and programs being implemented by the Government,
  • Demonstrating solidarity with all fisher folk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholder’s as a spirit of Aatmanirbhar Bharat
  • Promote responsible fisheries with focus on sustainable balance between the utilization of marine fisheries resources for food security of nation and livelihoods of coastal fisher communities
  • Protection of marine ecosystems. ‘Sagar Parikrama’ program envisages to cover the maritime States/UTs in a phased manner. 

The fishermen, fisher communities and stakeholders in the coastal areas are likely to be benefitted with awareness of various beneficiary oriented schemes and programs being implemented by the Government and showcasing them the best practices that may be adopted.

  • Aims to resolve the issues of the fishers and other stakeholders and to facilitate their economic up-liftment through various fisheries schemes and programs being implemented by the Government of India, such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana’ (PMMSY) a flagship scheme with highest ever estimated investment of Rs.20,050 crore in fisheries sector

About Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY)

  • Launched to bring about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector in India 
  • Goal: To double the fish exports in the next 3 to 4 years i.e. by 2024-25.
  • Objective: 
    • To address critical gaps in fish production and productivity; quality, technology, post-harvest infrastructure and management, modernisation and strengthening of value chain, traceability, establishing a robust fisheries management framework and fishers’ welfare
    • Harnessing of fisheries potential in a sustainable, responsible, inclusive and equitable manner
    • Enhancing contribution to Agriculture GVA and exports
    • Social, physical and economic security for fishers and fish farmers;
    • Robust fisheries management and regulatory framework

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


ECONOMY/ GOVERNACNE

  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment. 
  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. 

Cryptotaxation

Context: The Union Budget contained a rude shock for users and traders of crypto and other virtual digital assets. All transfer or sale of these assets was brought into the tax net. 

What was the intention behind this move?

  • The Centre is worried about the increase in activity on unregulated crypto-trading platforms such as WazirX, CoinDCX, Zebpay, etc. 
  • Gullible investors have been lured by the drastic rise in the prices of these assets in 2020 and 2021 without fully aware of the risks of the assets (do not by itself have any underlying worth)
  • The extremely volatile and speculative nature of these assets puts investor money at great risk. 
  • Further, with no regulatory supervision on any of the trading platforms, investors face the risk of losing all their money if any of these platforms default or shut down. 
    • The Centre is still deliberating on whether to regulate these trades or to ban them all together, the way China has done.

What is the taxation that has been proposed?

There are five aspects to the crypto taxation in the Budget. 

  • One, any income from transfer of any virtual digital asset shall be taxed at the rate of 30 per cent. When surcharge and cess are added, the tax rate goes up between 33 and 42 per cent. 
  • Two, no deduction is provided while calculating the income, only cost of acquisition is allowed, if any. So cost of mining or any other cost cannot be shown as expense to reduce the profit. 
  • Three, loss from transfer of virtual digital asset cannot be set off against any profit from any other source. Profit made in one cryptocurrency cannot be set off against loss made in another cryptocurrency, either. 
  • Four, gift of virtual digital asset is also proposed to be taxed in the hands of the recipient. 
  • Finally, TDS is to be levied on transfer of such assets at the rate of 1 per cent.

Why are experts calling it a punitive taxation?

  • The Centre is clear that it is viewing trading in cryptocurrencies on a par with other speculative activity such as lottery or gambling. 
  • That is the reason why the tax on income is much higher than the capital gains tax charged on other capital assets. 
  • The amendment to the Finance Bill further clarified that cryptocurrencies cannot be construed as capital assets. 
  • Disallowing setting-off of losses, not allowing deduction of any expenses and taxing gifts are punitive and another way of telling investors to stay away from these assets.

How have the crypto players reacted to this?

  • The stakeholders in the cryptocurrency space including trading platforms and wallet providers are clearly unhappy at this move. 
  • Initially, they tried to give the spin that the government’s move to tax them makes these assets legal. 
  • But various government officials have denied this interpretation stating that taxing cryptocurrencies does not amount to legitimising them. 
  • The crypto industry then lobbied with the Centre to roll back the taxes. But now that the Finance Bill has been passed, these players need to get ready to face the changed circumstances. 

What next for crypto exchanges, investors?

  • Crypto trading platforms will now be constantly under the radar of the Income Tax Department which will now require these platforms to maintain records of all transaction done on them, collect TDS of 1 per cent on the sale and deposit the money to the IT authority. 
  • The compliance burden is going to be onerous and many exchanges are likely to shut shop. 
  • Investors may not want to buy and sell on Indian cryptocurrency platforms due to the requirement to pay high income tax. 
  • They could shift their activity to other unregulated overseas trading platforms. In other words, the trading activity could shift underground once again.

What is the recourse, how will all this end?

  • Governments across the globe, including the US and EU, are working on a framework to regulate private cryptocurrency trading. 
  • A global framework — which allows those willing to take risk continue playing in these assets, while protecting the naïve investors — could be ready in a year or two. 
  • That is when clarity on the way forward in regulating these assets will emerge. 
  • Unilateral ban or regulation of these trades by one country is unlikely to work because the ecosystem is virtual.

Connecting the dots:


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • GS-2: functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies (Parliament)

Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022

Context: The government has introduced the Criminal Procedure (Identification) Bill, 2022 in Lok Sabha amid strong protests from the Opposition.

  • The Bill replaces the Identification of Prisoners Act, 1920. 
  • Objective of the bill: The bill provides legal sanction for taking appropriate body measurements of persons who are required to give such measurements and will make the investigation of crime more efficient and expeditious and will also help in increasing the conviction rate.

Problems of India’s Criminal Justice System

  • Slow disposal of cases leading to huge backlogs. There are more than 4.4 crore cases pending before the judiciary. The tendency to over-criminalise conduct being one of the reason for high number of cases.
  • Justice mechanisms is mostly inaccessible to marginalised classes of citizens. This is because the focus has been upon institution building rather than capacity building.
  • Abuse of power by the police due to continuation of Colonial mindset in certain circles.
  • Crime prevention has remained utopian goal of our criminal justice system. This is due to ineffective community policing mechanisms and situational crime prevention 
  • Rehabilitative form of justice has not been focused. Custodial punishments are seen by the governments as a more effective measure than non-custodial punishments (recommended by various Law Commission)
  • Dearth of reliable state-sponsored data collection, maintenance and analysis mechanisms. 
  • Criminal justice system is yet to catch up with the Changing nature of crimes.
  • Low Conviction rate due to inefficiencies in police & judicial system – which is being addressed by the new proposed bill.

What is the proposed law?

  • Details about convicts and other persons: Earlier act permitted collection of only finger impressions and footprint impressions. The Bill expands the list to include iris and retina scans, palm-print impression, signature and handwriting, biological samples such as blood, semen, hair samples, and swabs, and their analysis.
  • Coverage- It proposes that the law apply to three categories of individuals. 
    • All Convicted persons (earlier it was only for certain cases)
    • Arrested Persons
    • Suspected Criminals
    • Persons held under any preventive detention law
  • Retention of details: The Bill requires the details collected to be retained in digital or electronic form for 75 years from the date of collection. 
  • Removal of details: The record may be destroyed in case of persons who: (i) have not been previously convicted, and (ii) are released without trial, discharged, or acquitted by the court, after exhausting all legal remedies.  
  • Police personnel up to the rank of Head Constable have been authorised to record the measurements.
  • Resistance to giving details: As per the Bill, resistance or refusal to give details will be considered an offence under the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 
  • Role of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB): Functions of NCRB under the Bill include: 
    • Collect the details about the persons covered under the Bill from state/UT governments, or other law enforcement agencies 
    • storing and destroying the details about specified persons at the national level
    • processing the details with relevant criminal records, and 
    • disseminating the details to law enforcement agencies.  
  • Rule-making power: The Act vested rule-making power only in the state government.  The Bill extends this power to the central government as well.  The central or state government may make rules on various matters like the manner of collection, storage, preservation, destruction, dissemination, and disposal of details by NCRB.

What are the concerns expressed against the bill?

  • Lack of Clarity: the statement of objects says it provides for collection of measurements for “convicts and other persons” but the expression “other persons” is not defined. 
  • Conflict with Fundamental Rights: The bill implied use of force in collection of biological information, that could lead to narco analysis and brain mapping, which is considered as violative of Article 20 (3) (right against self-incrimination). There are also concerns that it violates the right to privacy under Article 21. 
  • Possibility of Judicial Scrutiny: The Bill also states “increasing conviction rate” as one of its aims. The court may have to look into whether this can be a legitimate aim and if it can outweigh rights of citizens.
  • Federal Challenges: Given that policing is still a state subject, it remains to be seen if any states refuse to share this information. 
  • Fear of Mass surveillance: The proposed Bill brings a legal framework for police surveillance using technology, experts fear that it could be expanded or misused. For ex: The bill empowers to collect samples even from protestors engaged in political protests. 

Connecting the dots:


(Down to Earth: Governance)


March 28: Towards affordable healthcare in India: ‘Jan Aushadhi’ to ‘Jan Upyogi’ 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/governance/towards-affordable-healthcare-in-india-jan-aushadhi-to-jan-upyogi–82117 

TOPIC:

  • GS-2: Health

Towards affordable healthcare in India: ‘Jan Aushadhi’ to ‘Jan Upyogi’ 

Context: India marked the Jan Aushadhi Diwas 2022 in mid-February. 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) in 2015, with a vision to provide affordable and quality medicine to the citizens of India. 
  • The scheme was established under the department of pharmaceuticals of the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers. 
  • Since its establishment in 2015, more than 8,000 janaushadhi kendras (centres) have been operationalised across India. These centres cater to a large section of our society in the nooks and crannies of our country by offering 1,451 generic drugs and 240 surgical items at an affordable price. 

In the long run, PMBJP aims to make healthcare affordable, accessible and acceptable by all the citizens.

Need for affordable healthcare – India and Health

Health is one of the central pillars of a nation’s human development index (HDI) that indicates its prosperity. Health is not only a basic necessity for an individual but also an integral ingredient of human-capital for the nation. 

  • Given this, every nation aims to provide good healthcare to its citizens at an affordable cost through various initiatives and schemes. PMBJP is one such noble initiative in India to facilitate affordable and accessible healthcare. 
  • India is the biggest democratic country and one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Despite this, the budget allocation to healthcare is less than 3 per cent
  • India’s population is dominated by rural domiciles and mid-income groups. 
  • About one-third population of our country is devoid of health insurance. The prevailing diseases and pandemic outbreaks add to the perils of the situation. Considering these vital factors, it is important to make healthcare affordable to the population. 

Jan Aushadhi to jan-upyogi 

Medicines (aushadhi) and surgical equipment have a larger share in healthcare. Making them reach the common mass of our society solves a major issue in healthcare. This makes ‘Jan Aushadhi’ a jan-upyogi (useful for the mass).

  • Patented drugs have taken over generic drugs, with the emergence of privatisation, market competition and profit hunger in the pharmaceutical industry. This resulted in burning a hole in the pockets of individuals for maintaining essential health hygiene. 
  • India’s out-of-pocket expenditure on healthcare is more than 60 per cent, according to NITI Aayog’s latest report. This is significantly above the average for lower-middle income countries.

In short, India has a gruesome healthcare challenge to address. 

  • PMBJP aims for this through its increasing outreach and affordable generic drugs.
  • PMBJP also serves employment opportunities to the human resources in the pharma sector. It provides financial assistance and support to the qualified personnel to open Janaushadhi Kendra and generate income. 
  • In addition to the direct employment opportunity, Janaushadhi Kendra generates peripheral employment in associated supply chain, transportation and maintenance sectors. PMBJP, thus, is aushadhi not only for health but also for the wealth of the nation. It is indeed a jan-upyogi.

In the last seven years, PMBJP has achieved significant milestones in terms of wider presence of Janaushadhi Kendra in the country and providing affordable drugs. However, given the increasing and ageing population and fear of pandemic, there is a vital need to support and promote this initiative for its sustainability and growth. Issues that need solving are –

  • First, increasing outreach of the Janaushadhi Kendra. 
  • Second, promotion for increasing awareness of PMBJP. 
  • Third, maintaining the affordable price of the generic medicines despite increasing inflation and supply cost. 

The Way forward

  • First, to increase the outreach of Janaushadhi Kendra
    • Increase in the healthcare budget for infrastructure and financial support is required. 
    • In addition, public-private partnership models for generic drugs should be mulled over to increase competitive participation of more private players and expand the outreach.
    • Training and development of pharmaceutical staff will also be required in expansion of Janaushadhi Kendra.
  • Second, to spread awareness about PMBJP and Janaushadhi Kendra: Collaboration with local hospitals, clinics and doctors is required – this is a very effective way to build the trust of locals on the efficacy of generic drugs. Patients believe in doctor’s prescription, not in ad description.
  • Finally, to hedge against inflation and maintain the affordable prices of the generic drugs, supply-side intervention is required. 
    • This primarily includes research and development of drugs to bring the efficacy in generic drugs at par with that of patented drugs, at less cost. 
    • Efficiency in production, storage and supply chain would also help in slashing the input cost and thereby, maintain the affordable prices without compromising the stakeholders’ profit interest.

Conclusion

Affordable, accessible and acceptable drugs are every citizen’s right. Health is not just a choice of individuals but necessity of the nation. PMBJP is a noble initiative towards ‘healthy India’. It is important to make this initiative sustainable for future India. 


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros

  1. It is the largest of the rhino species. 
  2. India is home to the largest number of Greater One-Horned Rhinoceros in the world. 

 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.2 Which of the following state of India does not share boundary with Assam?

  1. Tripura 
  2. Arunachal Pradesh 
  3. Sikkim
  4. Mizoram 

Q.3 Which of the following is not a part of G7 group?

  1. Canada
  2. China
  3. France
  4. Germany

ANSWERS FOR 30th March 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C
3 B

Must Read

On centralising tests:

The Hindu

On BIMSTEC:

The Hindu

On possibilities of NATO’s role in Ukraine Crisis:

Indian Express

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

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Explainer Videos, Strategy Sessions, Toppers Talks & many more…

Search now.....