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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 25th June 2022

  • IASbaba
  • June 25, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Tree Pruning

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Syllabus

  • GS 3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

In News: A drive has been launched by the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) for pruning old trees in the city’s Connaught Place area.

Tree Pruning

  • A common maintenance procedure to maintain structural integrity and aesthetics
  • Goal: To remove unwanted branches, improve the tree’s structure, and direct new, healthy growth.
  • Benefits:
    • When you remove old branches, you let trees put out healthy, new growth.
    • A clean, polished look that elevates the whole landscape.
    • Set the tree up with a good foundation for long-term health.

Source: The Print


VL-SRSAM Missile System

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Syllabus

  • GS 3: Development in Space

In News: India has successfully flight-tested the Vertical Launch Short Range Surface to Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from a ship at Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, off the coast of Odisha.

About VL-SRSAM

  • The VL-SRSAM, a ship-borne weapon system, is meant for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges, including sea-skimming targets.
  • The weapon system will prove to be a force-multiplier for the Indian Navy.
  • Designed to strike at the high-speed airborne targets at the range of 40km to 50km and at an altitude of around 15km.
  • Two key features of the VL-SRSAM are cruciform wings and thrust vectoring.
  • VL-SRSAM is a canisterised system, which means it is stored and operated from specially designed compartments. In the canister, the inside environment is controlled, thus making its transport and storage easier and improving the shelf life of weapons.

Source: News18


Expansion of the Invasive Plants

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Syllabus

  • GS 3: Environment

Context: The Wildlife Institute of India has sought permission for a pilot project to check the expansion of the invasive plants threatening the rhino habitat.

  • Kaziranga has had to deal with encroachment, poaching, and annual floods for decades. But none of these has been as damaging to the health of the 1,300 sq. km tiger reserve as the green invaders that have gone under the radar until now.
  • This is the first time that such species have been identified with threat estimation.

Invasive Plants

  • Regenerate at an alarming speed and threaten to edge out the indigenous flora
  • Some of the invasive plants have a toxic impact on the landscape after remaining underwater, which is often for two months every monsoon.
  • Some weeds have herbal properties, but their toxicity outweighs their utility. For instance, wild boars love to gorge on the succulent rootlets of the Leea macrophylla or ‘kukura thengia’ that is fast clogging the patrolling paths and grasslands.

Invasive Species discovered

  • Ipomoea (Ipomoea carnea)
  • Mimosa (Mimosa himalaica)
  • Parthenium (Parthenium hysterophorus) is believed to have come to India as contaminants in a consignment of wheat imported from the U.S. in the 1950s
  • Lantana (Lantana camara) was brought by the British as ornamental plants from South America two centuries ago.
  • Bombax ceiba (locally called Semul)
  • Largestroemia speciosa (locally called ejhar)
  • Cestrum diurnum or day-blooming jasmine of West Indies origin; otherwise a source of vitamin D3. Once the modalities are finalised, this weed can be turned into a commercial crop for the people in the vicinity of Kaziranga. Pharmaceutical companies need tonnes of dry leaves of this plant periodically
  • Cane is a commercial plant that is threatening to be an invasive plant in Kaziranga.

Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve

  • It is a national park in the Golaghat and Nagaon districts of Assam.
  • The sanctuary, which hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses, is a World Heritage Site.
  • Kaziranga is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for conservation of avifaunal species.
  • Kaziranga has the largest population of the Wild water buffalo anywhere accounting for about 57% of the world population.

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.

Source: The Hindu


National Mobile Monitoring Software

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Syllabus

  • Mains GS 2: Government schemes and policies

Context: The new National Mobile Monitoring Software application has problems that are eroding the right to work.

  • In May 2021, the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) launched the National Mobile Monitoring Software (NMMS) app, a new application meant for “improving citizen oversight and increasing transparency” in National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) works.
  • It is to be deployed by NREGA Mates, local women at the panchayat level who are selected and trained to monitor NREGA worksites.
  • The main feature of the app is the real-time, photographed, geo-tagged attendance of every worker to be taken once in each half of the day.

Why has it become a cause of concern?

  • Strict timing: While such an app may be useful in monitoring the attendance of workers who have fixed work timings, in most States, NREGA wages are calculated based on the amount of work done each day, and workers do not need to commit to fixed hours. This flexibility has been key to NREGA’s widespread demand. However, marking attendance on the app mandates that workers are at the worksite the entire day. This causes significant difficulty for NREGA workers.
  • Disproportionately affect women workers: NREGA has historically had a higher proportion of women workers (54.7% in FY 2021-22) and has been pivotal in changing working conditions for women in rural areas. Due to the traditional burden of household chores and care work on women, the app is likely to disproportionately affect women workers. The conditions for registering NREGA attendance on the app put them in a dilemma where they may end up foregoing NREGA work.
  • Network woes: A stable network is a must for real-time monitoring; unfortunately, it remains patchy in much of rural India. This could lead to workers not being able to mark their attendance, and consequently lose a day of wages.
  • Impacted NREGA Mates: The role of a Mate was conceptualised as an opportunity to empower local women to manage attendance and work measurement in their panchayat. But now, to be a Mate, one needs to have a smartphone. This new condition disqualifies thousands of women who do not own smartphones from becoming Mates. Now, smartphone-owning men are likely to be given preference as Mates. Alternatively, women could become proxy Mates — officially registered, but deferring to men who work and get paid.
  • Errors in pilot process: Officials and activists have confirmed these implementation errors had been evident throughout the pilot process.
  • No physical records: The app claims to increase citizen oversight by bringing more transparency and ensuring proper monitoring of the schemes, besides potentially enabling processing payments faster. However, it appears to be doing exactly the opposite. With no physical attendance records signed by workers anymore, workers have no proof of their attendance and work done.

The Way Forward

  • Strengthen social audits: Social audits are citizen-centric institutions, where the citizens of the panchayat have a direct role and say in how NREGA functions in their panchayat.
  • Ensure Principles of Transparency: The MoRD’s habit of passing reforms with no stakeholder consultation does not fall in line with the principles of transparency and citizen-participation enshrined in NREGA.

MGNREGA Scheme:

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, earlier known as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act was passed in 2005 to augment employment generation and social security in India.
  • The scheme is a demand-driven wage employment scheme, which functions under the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Every adult member of a household in a rural area with a job card is eligible for a job under the scheme.
  • The scheme envisages providing 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to adult member volunteers for unskilled manual work.
  • There is also a provision for additional 50 days of unskilled wage employment in drought/natural calamity notified rural areas.
  • As per Section 3(4) of the MGNREGA, the States may make provisions for providing additional days beyond the period guaranteed under the Act from their own funds.
  • At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women.
  • Wages must be paid according to the statutory minimum wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.

Source: The Hindu


Access to Abortion is a Human Right

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Syllabus

  • GS-1: Women Issues
  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

Context: The United States Supreme Court on June 24 overturned by a 6-3 majority ‘Roe v. Wade’, the court’s landmark 1973 judgment that made abortion a constitutional right.

  • The decision will transform life for women in America. Near-total bans on abortion will come into effect in about half of the country’s states.
  • Availability of clinics, insurance payouts, are crucial issues that form part of the struggle of many women even with the backing of ‘Roe’. With this legal backing gone, access could become even harder.
  • Laws against abortion put many women in US at risk of back-alley abortions outside institutional care. For women in the relatively liberal Democratic states, and for women elsewhere who have the means to travel to a clinic, abortion may still be accessible. However, poor women, especially in many Republican states, may find traveling to other states for in-clinic abortions to be an impossible challenge.
  • Foetal viability was around 28 weeks (7 months) at the time of the ‘Roe’ judgment nearly 50 years ago; experts now agree that advances in medicine have brought the threshold down to 23 or 24 weeks (6 months or a little less), and newer studies show this could be further pegged at 22 weeks. An average pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
  • Foetal viability is often seen as the point at which the rights of the woman can be separated from the rights of the unborn foetus. The length of a pregnancy is commonly calculated from the start of a person’s most recent menstrual period. Since many people identify pregnancy only after the sixth week, pre-viability timelines leave women with very little time and opportunity to make a decision to abort.

Abortion – Human Rights

  • Access to safe and legal abortion is a matter of human rights, and its availability is the best way to protect autonomy and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.
  • Authoritative interpretations of international human rights law establish that denying women, girls, and other pregnant people access to abortion is a form of discrimination and jeopardizes a range of human rights.
  • Where safe and legal abortion services are unreasonably restricted or not fully available, many other internationally protected human rights may be at risk, including rights to non-discrimination and equality; to life, health, and information; to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment; to privacy and bodily autonomy and integrity; to decide the number and spacing of children; to liberty; to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress; and to freedom of conscience and religion.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), complications from pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls and young women ages 15 to 19, and children ages 10 to 14 have a higher risk of health complications and death from pregnancy than adults. WHO has also found that the removal of restrictions on abortion results in the reduction of maternal mortality.

Key Insight: Do restrictive abortion policies reduce the rate of abortions?

Abortion restrictions do not prevent abortions. Research has shown that when abortion is banned or restricted, the number of abortions does not decrease. Abortions just move underground.

  • Restrictive abortion policies push pregnant people seeking abortions, especially those living in poverty or rural areas, out of the healthcare system and into unsafe, unregulated settings.
  • WHO has also stated that lack of access to safe, affordable, timely, and respectful abortion care, as well as the promotion of stigma associated with abortion, poses risks to abortion seekers’ physical and mental well-being throughout their lives.

Abortion Laws in India

Abortion is legal in India via Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

  • India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 allows abortion until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Through an amendment in 2021, the ceiling for abortions was raised to 24 weeks, but only for special categories of pregnant women such as rape or incest survivors, that too, with the approval of two registered doctors.

Eligibility

  • An unmarried woman can avail (In case the woman is under 18, the guardian’s signature would be needed + a case should be registered under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act)
  • If the pregnancy is the result of incest or rape.
  • Major deformations in the fetus
  • If it is a result of failed contraception.
  • If the continuation of the pregnancy can cause grave injury to the physical or mental health of the mother.
  • In case of a miscarriage i.e. if the baby is dead inside

Procedural Details

  • The procedure can be carried out only by a registered medical practitioner.
  • The abortion should take place at a hospital or at a clinic that is fully equipped to do so.

PCPNDT (Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques) Act

Enacted to prevent misuse of the MTP Act and so that abortions aren’t carried out at the whims and fancies of a woman or a couple.

  • While consent of the spouse isn’t required for a woman to undergo an abortion, a spouse cannot force a woman to undergo an abortion. In such a case, a case for domestic violence can be registered and under IPC 312/313, a case for causing miscarriage can be booked against the husband.
  • A woman, whether a minor or not, cannot walk into a pharmacy to avail a pill for termination of pregnancy unless she has a prescription from a trained medical practitioner.

Must Read:

Abortion Rights Vs Ethics

Source: The Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Australia Electricity Crisis

Australia Electricity Crisis

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
  • GS-3: Economy & Challenges; Energy Security
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context: An energy crisis in Australia has seen prices spike and supply issues plague much of the country’s east. This is astonishing given that Australia has good resources for power generation.

  • Australia is a major fossil-fuel exporter. Its domestic consumption of coal and gas has grown only 8% in two decades, while exports of coal have more than doubled and exports of gas have increased more than 10-fold.

Read Complete Details on Australia Electricity Crisis


ANSWERS FOR 24th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – a

Q.3) – b


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

ANSWERS FOR ‘25th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with Monday’s Daily Current Affairs.

 

ANSWERS FOR 24th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

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