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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 28th May 2022

  • IASbaba
  • May 28, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Sela Macaque

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment – Current Affairs

In News: A new species of old-world monkey recorded from Arunachal Pradesh has been named after a strategic mountain pass at 13,700 ft above sea level.

The Sela macaque was geographically separated from the Arunachal macaque ((Macaca munzala) of Tawang district) by Sela, the Eastern Himalayan pass at 13,700 ft (phylogenetic analysis revealed).

  • Acted as a barrier by restricting the migration of individuals of these two species for approximately two million years.
  • Protection Status: Not yet included in the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 of India.
  • Potential threats: Hunting by locals for consumption and habitat degradation due to urbanization and infrastructure development.

Sela Pass

  • Located in
    • West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh
    • Will provide an alternate axis to the Sela pass (at 13,700 feet)
    • On the BCT Road – the Balipara, Charduar, and Tawang axis (more than 300 km long)
  • Being executed by: Border Roads Organisation
    • Includes two tunnels and a link road; Tunnel 2 will be one of the longest tunnels to have been constructed above an altitude of over 13,000 feet.
    • The total length of the project, including the tunnels, the approach and the link roads, will be around 12 km.
  • Why does the project matter?
  • All-weather connectivity to Tawang and other forward areas in the sector
  • Will provide a new alignment on the axis towards the LAC, and allow movement of military and civil vehicles all through the year (Sela pass stays closed for a few winter months).
  • Reduction in more than one hour of travel time from Tezpur to Tawang and travelers avoiding dangerous snow-covered Sela top at a height of 13,700 feet.
  • All-weather connectivity to Tawang would be a game-changer for the local population ahead of Sela apart from the much-required strategic edge for our security forces.

Note:

  • Phylogenetics relates to the evolutionary development and diversification of a species or group of organisms.
  • Sela is situated between Dirang and Tawang towns in western Arunachal Pradesh.

Source: The Hindu 


The Booker Prize

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

First Indian language book to win the International Booker Prize: Author Geetanjali Shree’s translated Hindi novel, Tomb of Sand

  • The 2018 novel titled ‘Ret Samadhi’ was translated by Daisy Rockwell and published as ‘Tomb of Sand’ in 2021.

The Booker Prize Award

  • One of the best-known literary awards for fiction writing in English, including both novels and collections of short stories.
  • First awarded in 1969
  • Criteria: Must be written in English and published in the UK and Ireland
  • International Booker Prize: Awarded annually for a single book, written in another language and translated into English. The £50,000 prize money is divided equally between the author and translator each year.

Many Indian-origin writers have won the Booker in the past, such as

  • Arundhati Roy (‘The God of Small Things’)
  • Salman Rushdie (‘Midnight’s Children’)
  • Kiran Desai (‘The Inheritance of Loss’)
  • Aravind Adiga (‘The White Tiger’)
  • Shree is the first Indian to win an international prize

Source: Indian Express


System of Rice Intensification

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Syllabus

  • Mains GS-3: Agriculture

First developed in Madagascar in the 1980s by Father Henri, and since then several countries in the world have been practising it, including India.

  • Involves cultivating rice with as much organic manure as possible, starting with young seedlings planted singly at wider spacing in a square pattern; and with intermittent irrigation that keeps the soil moist but not inundated, and frequent inter cultivation with weeder that actively aerates the soil.

Benefits of SRI

  • Higher yields – Both grain and straw; Increase in income security for farmers
  • Reduced duration (by 10 days)
  • Lesser chemical inputs
  • Less water requirement
  • Systemic regulation of climate, soil and water
  • Reduction in Methane evolution
  • Less chaffy grain %
  • Grain weight increased without change in grain size
  • Reduced vulnerability & risks
  • Improved farm health
  • Higher head rice recovery
  • Withstand cyclonic gales
  • Cold tolerance
  • Soil & water health improves through biological activity (reduction in nitrogen)
  • Public health improvement with improvement in food security

Limitations with SRI

  • If unchecked, greater weed growth will cause a substantial loss of yield.
  • Higher labour costs in the initial years – needs 50% more man-days for transplanting and weeding.
  • Difficulties in acquiring the necessary skills.
  • Not suitable when no irrigation source is available.

Source: Indian Express


Community Forest Rights

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Syllabus

  • Mains GS-3: Conservation

In News: The Chhattisgarh government has become only the second state in the country (after Simlipal in Odisha) to recognize Community Forest Resource (CFR) rights of a village inside a national park (rights of tribals living in Gudiyapadar, a hamlet inside the Kanger Ghati National Park in Bastar district).

Community forest resource area:

  • The common forest land that has been traditionally protected and conserved for sustainable use by a particular community.
  • The community uses it to access resources available within the traditional and customary boundary of the village; and for seasonal use of landscape in case of pastoralist communities.
  • Has a customary boundary with identifiable landmarks recognised by the community and its neighboring villages.
  • It may include forest of any category – revenue forest, classified & unclassified forest, deemed forest, DLC land, reserve forest, protected forest, sanctuary and national parks, etc.

Community Forest Resource rights:

Provide for recognition of the right to “protect, regenerate or conserve or manage” the community forest resource.

  • Rights allow the community to formulate rules for forest use by itself and others and thereby discharge its responsibilities under Section 5 of the FRA.
  • Include nistar rights and rights over non-timber forest products, ensure sustainable livelihoods of the community.
  • Authority to the Gram Sabha to adopt local traditional practices of forest conservation and management within the community forest resource boundary.

Significance

Aimed at undoing the “historic injustice” meted out to forest-dependent communities due to curtailment of their customary rights over forests, the FRA came into force in 2008.

  • Recognises the community’s right to use, manage and conserve forest resources
  • To legally hold forest land that these communities have used for cultivation and residence.
  • Underlines the integral role that forest dwellers play in sustainability of forests and in conservation of biodiversity.
  • Traditional dwellers then become a part of management of the protected forests using their traditional wisdom.

Challenge: Getting a consensus amongst various villages about their traditional boundaries.

Source: Indian Express


Supreme Court Directions on Sex Workers: Sex as Work

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Syllabus

  • Mains GS-2: Welfare for vulnerable population
  • Mains GS-2: Judiciary

In News: A long-standing demand of sex workers that their work be decriminalized, has been partially fulfilled with the Supreme Court passing an order stating that adult sex workers are entitled to dignity and equal protection under law (Article 21).

  • Coming down heavily on the brutal and violent “attitude” of the police toward sex workers, the Court said “it is as if they are a class whose rights are not recognised”.
  • With the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill yet to see the light of day, the Court invoked powers under Article 142 to issue guidelines till the legislation is in force.
  • SC has asked states and Union Territories to “implement” and “to act in strict compliance of” certain recommendations made by a panel appointed by the court in 2011 on the rehabilitation of sex workers.

What was the case about?

Case Budhadev Karmaskar (2011): Sex workers are also entitled to a “life of dignity”.

2011: Had set up a panel to look at prevention of trafficking; rehabilitation; and conditions conducive for sex workers who wish to continue work.

  • As the Court awaits the Government’s response to the panel’s recommendations that adult sex workers should not be “arrested or penalised or harassed or victimised,” a three-judge Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao did well to direct the police to treat “all sex workers with dignity and should not abuse them, … verbally and physically, subject them to violence or coerce them into any sexual activity”.

Challenges the Panel highlighted

  • Sex workers find it difficult to acquire proofs of identity such as ration cards or voter cards because they lacked proof of residence.
  • District authorities did not recognize the identities of sex workers and their children, and sex workers did not have access to schemes meant for their rehabilitation.
  • They also had no access to credit offered by states, because the lack of documents prevented them from opening bank accounts.

Changes in the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act

Has asked State governments to do a survey of protective homes under the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, the legislation governing sex work in India, to review the cases of “adult women” detained there and process their release in a time-bound manner.

  • ITP Act penalises acts such as running a brothel, soliciting in a public place, living off the earnings of a sex worker and living with or habitually being in the company of one.
  • The Government’s responsibility is now to draw up appropriate legislation to free consenting sex workers from stigma and grant them workers’ rights.
  • The Court suggested the Centre and States involve sex workers or their representatives to reform laws.

Recommendations that the SC has directed to be implemented

  • Provision for immediate medical assistance for any sex worker who is a victim of sexual assault
  • Direction to states to do a survey of all Immoral Trafficking (Prevention) Act Protective Homes so that cases of adult women who are detained against their will can be reviewed and processed for release in a time-bound manner
  • Sensitising police and other law enforcement agencies to the rights of sex workers and to ensure that police treat them with dignity and do not abuse them verbally or physically or coerce them into any sexual activity
  • Ask The Press Council of India to issue appropriate guidelines for the media to take utmost care not to reveal the identities of sex workers
  • Direction that measures that sex workers employ for their health and safety (condoms, etc.) must neither be construed as offences nor seen as evidence of commission of an offence.

Source: The Hindu & Indian Express


Forensic Labs & Criminal Justice System

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and issues arising out of their Design and Implementation)

Why in News: The key to an improved criminal justice system is quality forensic labs and well-trained staff, not more legislation and harsher punishments.

Part of the process of investigation that results in the collection of proof pointing to innocence or guilt involves the deployment of forensic science.

  • Forensic science is the application of scientific perspectives and techniques to the legal process, including investigations and courtroom protocol. It is the use of scientific data and procedures specifically for the legal system.
  • There is rigorous procedure involved, including controlled conditions, reliable data collection and the attempt to disprove hypotheses.

Challenges include

  • India has amongst the highest disparities in police-citizens and judge-citizens ratios
  • Woefully inadequate number of forensic science laboratories (FSL)
  • Lack of adequate qualified personnel = often trials were delayed to non-receipt of FSL reports.
  • Lack of information on staffing from the labs

This means that India has inadequate state forensic facilities-

  • Takes an inordinate amount of time for the report to be prepared.
  • Often, forensic analysis is simply not conducted and the criminal justice system relies principally on witness statements.

In 2017, The Hindu reported that while the United Kingdom completes DNA testing on over 60,000 crimes annually, India with over 13 times the population completes such tests on less than 7,500 cases. The average pendency at each lab is huge.

The Way Forward

  • More investment in the establishment of FSL laboratories
  • Proper training and appointment of personnel adept at forensic methodologies
  • Reforms within our police to establish a trained and skilled detective cadre tasked with solving complex and heinous crimes.
  • Good quality training facilities, standards of accreditation and continuous education programmes for forensic experts.
  • Study of Forensic science as it evolves, as it is important to know which facets of the science are still credible and what methodologies must be discarded.

It is not more legislation and harsher punishments that will solve crimes, but well-trained forensic staff plying their craft in good quality laboratories that will aid our criminal justice system.

Source: Indian Express


Digitisation of Court Records

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Syllabus

  • Mains GS-2: Judiciary

Context: The Indian judiciary has increasingly started using technology and the change is reflected in the legal profession in general as well.

History

In India, e-governance in the field of administration of justice began in the late 1990s, but it accelerated after the enactment of the Information and Technology Act, 2000.

  • 2006: e-courts were launched as a part of the National e-Governance Plan (NEGP).
  • Guiding star: Chief Justice of Allahabad HC, Justice D Y Chandrachud
    • Conceptualized and initiated the project to digitize approximately one crore case files in one year.
    • Necessary: A large space required to store so many files + becoming difficult to manually preserve the decades-old documents + To ensure that these files are traceable electronically as and when required. The consequences of missing court records are grave.
  • In-State of Uttar Pradesh v. Abhay Raj Singh: Held by the Supreme Court that if court records go missing and re-construction is not possible, the courts are bound to set aside the conviction. Thus, convicts can go free for want of court records.

Significance of Digitisation

Saves time: The time consumed in summoning records from the lower courts to the appellate courts is one of the major factors causing delays in cases. With digitisation, it will take much less time for the lower courts to transmit the records as and when called for.

Decrease in the no of adjournments: Cases are adjourned simply because affidavits filed several years ago were not restored with the record or were not traceable. Once the documents are digitised and e-filed by counsels, at least the cases would not get adjourned by the courts on this account.

Current Status check: Once a lawyer or a litigant files a case digitally, he or she can check the status of the filing, the status of applications and affidavits, the date of the next hearing, and orders passed by the courts, etc. just by clicking on an app. They or their staff are no longer required to visit the reporting sections or other sections of the court to know about the status of their cases.

Virtual Hearings will be a norm: Before the pandemic, virtual hearings were used only in a limited manner. In 2018, the Supreme Court allowed the live-streaming of cases of constitutional and national importance on the basis of the judgment in Swapnil Tripathi. The livestreaming of court proceedings is a step towards ensuring transparency and openness.

  • Gujarat HC in July 2021 became the first court in the country to livestream its proceedings.

The Way Forward

  • Significant investment in court and IT infrastructure: Solving internet connectivity issues, ensuring cybersecurity and provision of a well-equipped space where lawyers can conduct their cases
  • Political will and the support of judges and lawyers are necessary.
  • Training to Judges, court staff and lawyers to make them well-versed with digital technology and its benefits.
  • The use of video and audio enabled hearings have also faced significant legal and practical problems including admissibility and authenticity of the evidence received through the video and/or audio transmissions, the identity of the witness and/or individuals subject of the hearings, the confidentiality of the hearings.
  • Clear classification of cases that can be taken care of in the virtual space: Virtual hearings cannot be a substitute for physical court hearings in all cases. However, in appropriate cases and certain categories of cases as identified by the court administration in consultation with the members of the Bar, virtual hearing should be made mandatory.

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Green Hydrogen

Green Hydrogen

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment; Government Budgeting

Context: At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, India stated that it will emerge as the leader of green hydrogen by taking advantage of the current energy crisis across the globe.

  • The assertion came almost a month after Oil India Limited (OIL) commissioned India’s first 99% pure green hydrogen plant in eastern Assam’s Jorhat.
  • It was on April 20, 2022 that the public sector OIL set up India’s first 99.99% pure green hydrogen pilot plant in Assam.
  • Powered by a 500 KW solar plant, the green hydrogen unit has an installed capacity to produce 10 kg of hydrogen per day and scale it up to 30 kg per day.

Read Complete Details on Green Hydrogen


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding the System of Rice Intensification (SRI)

  1. SRI is a combination of several practices those include changes in nursery management, time of transplanting, water and weed management.
  2. It emphasizes altering of certain agronomic practices of the conventional way of rice cultivation.
  3. As per SRI, Rice yield increased with more water and with reduction in chemical inputs.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. Only 1 and 2
  2. Only 2 and 3
  3. Only 1 and 3
  4. All of the above

Q.2) With reference to ‘coal gasification’, consider the following statements

  1. All coal gasification-based conversion processes require the removal of hydrogen sulfide
  2. Dyes, organic compounds, and even medicines can be derived from coal gas
  3. Coal-derived syngas can be converted into transportation fuels such as gasoline and diesel directly

Choose the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 2 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 3 only

Q.3) ‘Wanchuwa’ festival is celebrated in the state of

  1. Himachal Pradesh
  2. Uttarakhand
  3. Assam
  4. Tripura

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’28th MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 27th MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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