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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th March 2022

  • IASbaba
  • March 7, 2022
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


National Stock Exchange of India Limited

Part of: Prelims and GS-III Economy

Context: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) recently arrested Chitra Ramkrishna, former Managing Director of the National Stock Exchange (NSE), in a case registered in May 2018, to probe the alleged abuse of the NSE’s server architecture for granting preferential access of market data to a stock broker, ahead of others.

  • Ms. Ramkrishna was NSE’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer from April 2013 to December 2016.

Earlier penalty by SEBI

  • On February 11, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) levied penalties on Ms. Ramkrishna, Mr. Subramanian, and former NSE MD Ravi Narain on account of multiple violations, including irregularities in Mr. Subramanian’s appointment as a Chief Strategic Adviser and his re-designation as the Group Operating Officer and Adviser to the then NSE MD.

National Stock Exchange of India

  • It is the leading stock exchange of India, located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 
  • It is the world’s largest derivatives exchange in 2021 by number of contracts traded based on the statistics maintained by Futures Industry Association (FIA), a derivatives trade body. 
  • It is under the ownership of some leading financial institutions, banks, and insurance companies.
  • NSE was established in 1992 as the first dematerialized electronic exchange in the country. 
  • NSE was the first exchange in the country to provide a modern, fully automated screen-based electronic trading system that offered easy trading facilities to investors of the country.

News Source: TH


Reconnaissance satellite

Part of: Prelims and GS-II International Relations and GS-III Science and technology

Context: North Korea performed data transmission and other key tests needed to develop a spy or Reconnaissance satellite.

  • This is the second such tests in about a week, indicating the country intends to conduct a prohibited long-range rocket launch soon.
  • North Korea has been carrying out a spate of ballistic missile launches.
  • Experts call it an attempt to add new weapons systems to its arsenal and pressure the U.S. into making concessions amid stalled diplomacy.

Reconnaissance satellite

  • Intelligence satellite, commonly referred to as a spy satellite is an Earth observation satellite or communications satellite deployed for military or intelligence applications.
  • Some of its Types and their uses
    • Missile early warning: Provides warning of an attack by detecting ballistic missile launches. Earliest known are Missile Defense Alarm System.
    • Nuclear explosion detection: Detects nuclear detonation from space. Vela is the earliest known.
    • Optical imaging surveillance: Earth imaging satellites. Satellite images can be a survey or close-look telephoto. Corona is the earliest known.
  • Reconnaissance satellites have been used to enforce human rights, through the Satellite Sentinel Project, which monitors atrocities in Sudan and South Sudan.
  • To operate a reconnaissance satellite, North Korea must launch a long-range rocket to put it into orbit. 
    • But the UN bans such a launch by North Korea because it considers that as a cover for testing its long-range missile technology.

News Source: TH


Indigenous aircraft trainer, HANSA-NG

Part of: Prelims 

Context: A first-of-its-kind indigenous aircraft trainer, HANSA-NG, has completed sea-level trials in Puducherry, a necessary condition before evaluation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

  • Developed by: CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), 

Key takeaways 

  • HANSA-New Generation is reportedly one of the most advanced flying trainers.
  • It is powered by a Rotax digital control engine with features such as a composite lightweight airframe, a glass cockpit, a bubble canopy with a wide panoramic view, and electrically operated flaps.
  • The aircraft is designed to meet the need of flying clubs in India for trainer aircraft.
  • It is an ideal aircraft for commercial pilot licensing due to its low cost and low fuel consumption.
  • It is also a revamped version of the original Hansa developed three decades ago.

News Source: TH


(Mains Focus)


SCEINCE & TECH/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-3: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.
  • GS-2: Governance

A ‘settings change’ for social media

Context: The years that have passed have seen an active ignoring of the concerns around social media platforms during a conflict. 

Issues with Social Media Platforms

  • Armed conflicts within and between states have played out in cyberspace for years and same dynamics play out on social media platforms where parties try to set the narrative of the events. West did little to create norms for social media as a new dimension of conflicts
    • Ex: Ukraine war where Russia is seen as an aggressor and NATO expansion posing a security threat to Russia is subdued.
  • Social media platforms themselves have gone by the mantra of “tech neutrality” to avoid taking decisions that may be considered political for too long. 
  • Content moderation remains a core area of concern, where, essentially, information warfare can be operationalised and throttled. 
  • These corporations do not have the obligation to act responsibly. Ex: Social media’s use by the Islamic State in the early 2010s and lack of effective action by platforms.
  • Even though these big platforms create special teams to handle such content, the magnitude overwhelms the teams that are sparingly staffed. 
  • The use of algorithms to deal with misinformation & disinformation have at times misfired thus necessitating human intervention.
  • After years of facing and acknowledging these challenges, most social media giants are yet to create institutional capacity to deal with such situations. 
  • World has missed the chance to have established a clear protocol on balancing the business interests of social media platforms and their intersection with global public life in critical situations.

India has a role

  • The lack of coherent norms on state behaviour in cyberspace as well as the intersection of business, cyberspace, and state activity is an opportunity for India
  • Indian diplomats can initiate a new track of conversations here which can benefit the international community at large.
  • It is necessary to reassess the domestic regulatory framework on social media platforms. Transparency and accountability need to be foundational to the regulation of social media platforms in the information age
  • It is in our national interest and that of a rule-based global polity that social media platforms be dealt with more attention across spheres than with a range of reactionary measures addressing immediate concerns alone

Connecting the dots:


INTERNATIONAL/ ECONOMY

  • GS-2: International Relations
  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries 

Humanitarian Corridors

What are humanitarian corridors?

  • They are demilitarized zones, in a specific area and for a specific time — and both sides of an armed conflict agree to them.
  • The United Nations considers humanitarian corridors to be one of several possible forms of a temporary pause of armed conflict.

What are these for?

  • Via these corridors, either food and medical aid can be brought to areas of conflict, or civilians can be evacuated.
  • The corridors are necessary when cities are under siege and the population is cut off from basic food supplies, electricity and water.
  • In cases where a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds because the international law of war is being violated — for example through large-scale bombing of civilian targets — humanitarian corridors can provide crucial relief.

Who sets them up?

  • In most cases, humanitarian corridors are negotiated by the United Nations. 
  • Sometimes they’re also set up by local groups. 
  • Since all sides need to agree to set up the corridors, there is a risk of military or political abuse. For example, the corridors can be used to smuggle weapons and fuel into besieged cities.
  • On the other hand, they can also be used by UN observers, NGOs and journalists to gain access to contested areas where war crimes are being committed.

What corridors have been established in Ukraine?

  • In eastern Ukraine, a five-hour cease-fire was to be in place on March 5, to allow around 200,000 to leave Mariupol and Volnovakha.
  • But the initiative failed after a few hours where the administration said the evacuation had been “postponed for security reasons” because Russian troops continued to bomb the surroundings.
  • Russia however said the corridors set up near Mariupol and Volnovakha had not been used. 
  • Ukraine said that Russia had not fulfilled the promise of a corridor and that 19 vehicles with humanitarian aid had not been allowed through.

Who gets access?

  • Access to humanitarian corridors is determined by the parties to the conflict. 
  • It’s usually limited to neutral actors, the UN or aid organizations such as the Red Cross. 
  • They also determine the length of time, the area and which means of transport — trucks, buses or planes — are allowed to use the corridor.
  • In rare cases, humanitarian corridors are only organized by one of the parties to the conflict. This happened with the American airlift after the Berlin blockade by the Soviet Union in 1948-1949.

Where else have they been used?

  • Humanitarian corridors have been put in place since the mid-20th century. For example, during the so-called Kindertransport from 1938 to 1939, Jewish children were evacuated to the United Kingdom from areas under Nazi control.
  • Humanitarian corridors were also created during the 1992-1995 siege of Sarajevo, Bosnia and the 2018 evacuation of Ghouta, Syria.
  • However, there are many wars and conflicts where calls for civilian corridors or a pause in fighting have been made in vain. In the ongoing war in Yemen, for instance, the UN has so far failed in its negotiations.

Connecting the dots:


(Down to Earth: Environment)


March 1: Release of DTE’s State of India’s Environment 2022-  https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/environment/bhupender-yadav-releases-dte-s-state-of-india-s-environment-2022-81746 

TOPIC:

  • GS-3: Environment, Conservation, Climate Change

Release of DTE’s State of India’s Environment 2022

Context: In the last two years, the world has seen disruption at a scale not seen before. Both COVID-19 and climate change are the result of our ‘dystopian’ relationship with nature — call this the revenge of nature.

  • COVID-19 happened because humans had broken the barrier between wild habitats and the way humanity produced its food. Climate change was the result of emissions needed for economic growth. Both are also linked and are being exacerbated because of our mismanagement of health systems and the environment.
  • Today, there are three extremely critical issues that confronts India — climate change, desertification and the sustainability-affordability linkage.

The Down To Earth 2022 Annual State of India’s Environment has stated that India is behind on at least 17 key government targets that have a deadline in 2022. The slow progress made so far means that the deadlines are unlikely to be met.

Report Card

  • Economy: The target for the economy is to raise the gross domestic product to nearly $4 trillion by 2022-23. But by 2020, the economy has grown only to $2.48 trillion (Rs 18 trillion). In fact, the economy has largely shrunk during the COVID-19 pandemic, making it even more difficult to meet the deadline.
  • Employment: The target is to increase the female labour force participation rate to at least 30 per cent by 2022-23; it stood at 17.3 per cent in January-March 2020.
  • Housing: The targets are to construct 29.5 million housing units under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY)-Rural and 12 million units under PMAY-Urban; only about 46.8 per cent and 38 per cent respectively of the targets under ‘Housing for All’ have been achieved.
  • Provision of drinking water: The target is to provide safe piped drinking water to all by 2022-23; only 45 per cent of the target has been achieved.
  • Agriculture: The target is to double farmers’ income by 2022. While the average monthly income of an agricultural household has increased to Rs 10,218 from Rs 6,426, this increase is largely due to increase in wages and income from farming animals. The share of income from crop production in the average monthly income of an agricultural household has, in fact, dropped — to 37.2 per cent in 2018-19, from 48 per cent in 2012-13.
  • Digitisation of land records: Another target is to digitise all land records by 2022. While states like Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha have made good progress, states like Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Sikkim languish at 5 per cent, 2 per cent and 8.8 per cent digitisation of land records, respectively. Overall, the target is unlikely to be met, particularly because 14 states have witnessed deterioration in the quality of land records since 2019-20.
  • Air pollution: The target is to bring down PM2.5 levels in Indian cities to less than 50 microgramme per cubic metre (µg/m3). In 2020, when vehicular movement was restricted due to the pandemic, 23 of the 121 cities monitored for PM2.5 exceeded 50 µg/m3.
  • Solid waste management: The target is to achieve 100 per cent source segregation in all households. The overall progress is 78 per cent; and while states like Kerala and Union territories like Puducherry have achieved the target, others like West Bengal and Delhi are woefully behind. Manual scavenging is targeted for eradication, but India still has 66,692 manual scavengers.
  • Increasing the forest cover: The target is to increase it to 33.3 per cent of the geographical area, as envisaged in the National Forest Policy, 1988. By 2019, 21.67 per cent of India was under forest cover.
  • Energy: The target is to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy generation capacity by 2022. Only 56 per cent of this target has been achieved thus far.

State of the states

  • With less than a decade left to realise the SDGs (2030 is the deadline), Uttar Pradesh and Bihar are below the national average in 11 and 14 SDGs, respectively. Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh fared best.
  • With respect to SDG 1 (poverty eradication), six of the poorest performers include Bihar, Jharkhand, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. All these states — along with Meghalaya, Assam, Gujarat, Maharashtra and West Bengal — also feature in the list of worst performers as far as ending hunger and malnutrition is concerned (SDG 2).
  • In water and sanitation (SDG 6), the performance of Delhi, Rajasthan, Assam, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh is a cause for concern. 
  • SDG 7 — related to clean and affordable energy — has seen an above average performance, with most states achieving the target.
  • In climate action (SDG 13), 13 states and two Union territories score below the national average. Odisha tops the good performance chart, followed by Kerala; Jharkhand and Bihar bring up the rear.

Conclusion

The gap between the targets and the achievements once more exposes the chronic problems besetting governance in our country. We set out with high hopes and may occasionally take some bold policy decisions, but when it comes to implementation and delivery, we are found wanting. This must change.

  • Most of these targets are quite realistic, and while the pandemic can be blamed for some of the missed deadlines, for example, regarding the GDP growth, other deadlines, like the one on reduction in air pollution, should in fact have been achieved quicker because of the pandemic-induced lockdown. We must introspect on why we fail to achieve targets that are necessary to secure a sustainable future for this country.
  • India needs to act in its own self-interest. Our climate change strategy has to be based on the principle of co-benefits — we will do something for climate change because it is good for the world, but also because it is good for us. We need a low-carbon strategy for every sector; we must also ask the developed world to pay for and give us the high-cost options so that we can leapfrog.

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. Climate change, desertification and the sustainability-affordability linkage three extremely critical issues facing India today. Share recommendations to address these issues.

 (TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Q.1 Consider the following statements regarding National Stock Exchange of India:

  1. It is managed under the Ministry of Finance.
  2. It is the leading stock exchange of India, located in Mumbai, Maharashtra. 

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 is the use of Reconnaissance satellite? 

  1. Provides warning of an attack by detecting ballistic missile launches. 
  2. Detects nuclear detonation from space. 
  3. Optical imaging where Satellite images can be a survey or close-look telephoto. 
  4. All of the above

Q.3 Which of the following is not true about HANSA-New Generation?

  1. It is the first-of-its-kind indigenous aircraft trainer of India.
  2. It is reportedly one of the most advanced flying trainers.
  3. The aircraft is designed to meet the need of flying clubs in India for trainer aircraft.
  4. It is an ideal aircraft for commercial pilot licensing due to its high cost and high fuel consumption.

ANSWERS FOR 7th March 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 D
3 D

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