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

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


Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) for 2019-20

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 1 & 3 (Social issues; Economy)

In News: The Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Education (MoE) has released the Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D)

  • PGI-D assesses the performance of school education system at the district level by creating an index for comprehensive analysis
  • It is based on 83 indicators grouped in six categories.
  • These categories are outcomes, effective classroom transaction, infrastructure facilities and student’s entitlements, school safety and child protection, digital learning and governance process.
  • PGI-D grades the districts into ten gradeshighest achievable grade is Daksh, which is for districts scoring more than 90% of the total points in that category or overall.
  • Utkarsh category is for districts with scores between 81-90% followed by Ati-Uttam (71-80%), Uttam (61-70%), Prachesta-I (51-60%), Prachesta-II (41-50%) and Pracheshta III(31-40%)
  • The lowest grade in PGI-D is called Akanshi-3 which is for scores upto 10% of the total points.
  • Rajasthan’s Sikar is the top performer followed by Jhunjhunu and Jaipur
  • The three districts have figured in the Utkarsh category with Junjhunu scoring the maximum in learning outcomes.
  • The other States whose districts have performed best in the latest index are Punjab with 14 districts in Ati-uttam grade followed by Gujarat and Kerala with each having 13 districts in this category.
  • There are 12 States and Union Territories which don’t have even a single district in the Ati-uttam and Uttam categories and these include seven of the eight States from the northeast region.
  • The report states that since none of the States have districts in the top category there was a need for further improvement in the years to come.

Digital learning

  • The PGI-D for 2019-20 shows that schools across India performed poorly under the category of digital learning, which threw up the lowest scores compared to the other parameters which were considered while creating the index.
  • In the index, as many as 180 districts scored less than 10 per cent on digital learning, 146 districts scored 11 to 20 per cent, while 125 districts had scores between 21 and 30 per cent.

  • There is a clear rural-urban divide in the area of digital learning.
  • For instance, while districts in cities like Chandigarh and Delhi scored between 25 and 35 out of 50, places like Bihar’s Araria and Kishanganj scored as low as 2
  • The district-wise performance on digital learning was drawn up based on the number of schools with computers/laptops, Internet facility, student-to-computer ratio and percentage of teachers trained to use and teach through computers.

Source: The Hindu

Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) The Global Competitiveness Index is published by? (2019)

  1. International Monetary Fund
  2. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  3. World Economic Forum
  4. World Bank

India’s gig workforce

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In News: A report on India’s gig workforce was released by NITI Aayog

  • According to the study released by Niti Aayog the number of workers engaged in the gig economy is estimated to be 77 lakh in 2020-21 and is expected to grow to 2.35 crore by 2029-30.

What is the Gig economy?

  • A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.
  • A gig economy undermines the traditional economy of full-time workers who rarely change positions and instead focus on a lifetime career.
  • Gig workers include self-employed, freelancers, independent contributors and part-time workers.
  • The report broadly classifies gig workers into platform and non-platform-based workers.
  • Platform workers are those whose work is based on online software apps or digital platforms.
  • Non-platform gig workers are generally casual wage workers and own-account workers in the conventional sectors, working part-time or full time.
  • The report notes that at present, about 47% of gig work is in medium skilled jobs, about 22% in high skilled, and about 31% in low skilled jobs, and the trend shows the concentration of workers in medium skills is gradually declining and that of the low skilled and high skilled is increasing.
  • While in 2020-21, the gig workforce constituted 2.6% of the non-agricultural workforce or 1.5% of the total workforce in India, by 2029-30, gig workers are expected to form 6.7% of the non-agricultural workforce or 4.1% of the total livelihood workforce in India
  • Thus India requires a framework that balances the flexibility offered by platforms while also ensuring social security of workers.

Note: Gig economy Mindmap

Recommendations of NITI Aayog

Through Initiatives

  • It has recommended introducing a ‘Platform India initiative’, on the lines of the ‘Startup India initiative’, built on the pillars of accelerating platformisation by simplification, funding support and incentives, skill development, and social financial inclusion.

Access to credit

  • Access to institutional credit may be enhanced through financial products specifically designed for platform workers and those interested to set-up their own platforms.

Wider Market Access

  • It has suggested linking self-employed individuals to platforms so that they can sell their produce to wider markets.

Other recommendations include gender sensitisation and accessibility awareness programmes for workers and their families, extending social security for gig and platform workers in India, and conducting a comprehensive study on key aspects of the platform economy.

Source: The Hindu

Livemint


2022 Resilient Democracies Statement

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: India, along with the G7 nations and four other countries, signed a statement that called for “guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors” and “protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline”.

  • The “2022 Resilient Democracies Statement” was signed after Prime Minister attended a summit of the G7 countries.
  • Apart from India, the signatories to the statement were Germany, Argentina, Canada, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Senegal, South Africa, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and the European Union
  • The signatories said that democracies enable “open public debate, independent and pluralistic media” and the “free flow of information online and offline”, fostering legitimacy, transparency, responsibility and accountability for citizens and elected representatives alike

And that they are prepared to defend these principles and are resolved to:

  • Protecting the freedom of expression and opinion online and offline
  • Ensuring an open, free, global, interoperable, reliable and secure internet.
  • Increasing the cyber resilience of digital infrastructure
  • Countering hybrid threats, in particular information manipulation and interference, including disinformation.
  • Cooperating to counter information manipulation, promote accurate information, and advocate for our shared democratic values worldwide.
  • Promoting affordable access to diverse sources of reliable and trustworthy information and data, online and offline, including through a multi-stakeholder approach
  • Enhancing transparency about the actions of online platforms to combat violent, extremist and inciting content online.

It said, “We commit to:

  • Guarding the freedom, independence and diversity of civil society actors, speaking out against threats to civic space, and respecting freedom of association and peaceful assembly.
  • Building resilience against malign foreign interference and acts of transnational repression that seek to undermine trust in government, society and media, reduce civic space and silence critical voices.
  • Advancing programmes for the protection of human rights defenders and all those exposing corruption.

The statement said that democracies lay and protect the foundations for free and vibrant civic spaces, enabling and encouraging civic engagement and political participation, which in turn stimulate meaningful legitimacy, creativity, innovation, social accountability, and responsibility.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following adopted a law on data protection and privacy for its citizens known as ‘General Data Protection Regulation’ in April 2016 and started implementation of it from 25th May, 2018? (2019)

  1. Australia
  2. Canada
  3. The European Union
  4. The United States of America

Places in News

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (Places in News)

Akwaya

In News: At least 26 villagers were killed in an attack in the Akwaya district of Cameroon’s South-West region, where separatist insurgencies have added fuel to long-running inter-ethnic conflicts over land

  • Anglophone insurgents began fighting the Cameroonian military in the South-West and North-West regions in 2017 after civilian protests calling for greater representation for the country’s English-speaking minority were violently repressed.

Source: Tribuneindia

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Regions in News             Country

  1. Anatolia –            Turkey
  2. Amhara –            Ethiopia
  3. Cabo Delgado –  Spain
  4. Catalonia –          Italy

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Q.2) Consider the following pairs: (2018)

Regions sometimes mentioned in the news        Country

  1. Catalonia –                                                       Spain
  2. Crimea –                                                           Hungary
  3. Mindanao –                                                      Philippines
  4. Oromia –                                                           Nigeria

Which of the pairs given above are correctly matched?

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

Iskander-M missile system

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: Russia has promised its ally Belarus delivery of nuclear- capable missiles in the coming months to take on an “aggressive” West.

What is the Iskander-M missile system?

  • Codenamed “SS-26 Stone” by NATO, Iskander-M is a term used by Russia to define both the transporter-erector launch system and the short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) it fires.
  • The system can also fire ground-launched cruise missiles (GLCMs).
  • The Iskander-M system has been exclusively used by the Russian military, whereas Iskander-E is the one meant for export

What is the missile’s capability and range?

  • The Iskander-M missile has a range of 500 km and it can carry a payload of up to 700 kg.
  • It is capable of carrying both conventional and nuclear warheads.
  • The conventional warheads can be equipped with include cluster bombs, electromagnetic pulse (EMP) warheads and bunker-buster munitions.
  • The export variant, Iskander-E, has a range of 280 km with a reduced 480 kg payload.
  • Russia first used the Iskander in combat in Georgia in 2008.
  • US-based think tank, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), says that the Iskander missiles are designed to confuse missile defences by flying on a low trajectory and manoeuvring in flight to strike targets within 2 to 5 metres accuracy.

What does its proposed delivery to Belarus mean?

  • A sort of warning to the West against climbing the escalation ladder in the Ukraine war
  • In 2012, Moscow said that the weapon could be used to target Europe’s missile defences.
  • The Iskander system has already been deployed in Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave, from where it can be fired to target NATO forces in Poland, the Baltic States, and Sweden.

Source: Indian Express


Growing freebie culture

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: There is growing trend of freebie culture in India. In this context let us analyze whether such electoral promises are sustainable or not.

Resources to fund the electoral promises

  • Much of the borrowing that funds these freebies happens off budget.
  • The typical modus operandi for States has been to borrow on the books of their public enterprises, in some cases by pledging future revenues of the State as guarantee.
  • Effectively, the burden of debt is on the State exchequer.
  • A certain amount of spending on transfer payments to provide safety nets to the most vulnerable segments of the population is not only desirable but even necessary.
  • The problem arises when such transfer payments become the main plank of discretionary expenditure, the spending is financed by debt, and the debt is concealed to circumvent the FRBM targets.
  • There is no comprehensive information in the public domain to assess the size of this off-budget debt, but anecdotal evidence suggests that it is comparable in size to the debt admitted in the Budget books.

Failed Checks

  • Unfortunately, all of them have become ineffective.

Opposition

  • In theory, the first line of defence has to be the legislature, in particular the Opposition, whose responsibility it is to keep the Government in line.
  • But given the perils of our democracy, the Opposition does not dare speak up for fear of forfeiting vote banks that are at the end of these freebies.

CAG

  • In practice, it has lost its teeth, our bureaucracy has mastered the fine art of turning audit paras into ‘files’ which run their course and die a quiet death.

The market

  • In practice this fails since the market perceives all State borrowing as implicitly guaranteed by the Centre, but there is no such guarantee in reality.

Consequences

  • The more States spend on transfer payments, the less they have for spending on physical infrastructure such as power and roads, and on social infrastructure such as education and health, which can potentially improve growth and generate jobs.
  • Makes beneficiaries lazy, thus leading to unemployment problems and affecting the social harmony of the society
  • The amount States borrow collectively every year is comparable in size to the Centre’s borrowing which implies that their fiscal stance has as much impact on our macroeconomic stability as does that of the Centre.
  • Thus instituting more effective checks that can make wayward States fall in line is compelling.

Way forward

Amendment of FRBM Act

  • Under the current FRBM provisions, governments are mandated to disclose their contingent liabilities, but that disclosure is restricted to liabilities for which they have extended an explicit guarantee
  • The provision should be expanded to cover all liabilities whose servicing obligation falls on the Budget, or could potentially fall on the Budget, regardless of any guarantee

Strict Monitoring by the centre

  • Under the Constitution, States are required to take the Centre’s permission when they borrow.
  • The Centre should not hesitate to impose conditionalities on wayward States when it accords such permission.

Use of Financial Emergency Provision

  • Constitution of India allows the President to declare financial emergency in any State if s/he is satisfied that financial stability is threatened.
  • It is therefore important to ensure that the prospect of a financial emergency in case of gross and continuing fiscal irresponsibility is not just an abstract threat but a realistic one.

Source: The Hindu


Start Up Ecosystem

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

Context: The startup ecosystem which has been in overdrive for the past few years — propelled by a combination of factors, but largely, by the era of cheap money — is now showing signs of weakness.

  • Built on a narrative — the combination of accelerated financial inclusion (bank accounts), ease of identification (Aadhaar) and connectivity (mobile phones) — it is ultimately a bet on the Indian consumer, and the economy

Current Status

  • Among the startups that have gone public in recent times, Paytm’s losses stood at Rs 2,396 crore in 2021-22, while for Zomato and PB Fintech (PolicyBazaar) losses were Rs 1,222 crore and Rs 832 crore respectively.
  • The seemingly inexhaustible source of cash that funds such losses is now being squeezed.

Reasons

  • During the heady days, many numbers, indicators of the size of the market or TAM (the total addressable market), were discussed about.
  • But in reality, for most of these startups, the market or even the potential market is just a fraction of this.
  • The reality is, there aren’t that many consumers with significant discretionary spending capacity, and those with the capacity aren’t increasing their spending as these companies would hope.
  • This seems to be the case across startups for a range for products/services.

Digital payment platforms

  • When it comes to consumers with considerable discretionary spending, the size of the market shrivels considerably
  • While these companies have seen an increase in the number of transacting customers, to what extent the overall customer base for these startups can expand further is constrained by the number of households in the cohort that has significant spending power.

Tighter financial conditions, a re-rating of the market, will impact both fundraising efforts and valuations. Some startups will survive this period. Many may not. And changes in the dynamics of private markets will also have a bearing on public markets.

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer – Abortion debate

Abortion debate

Syllabus

  • GS-1: Women Issues
  • GS-2: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests.
  • GS-IV- Ethics

Context: When a democracy rolls back a constitutional right that has been in place for almost half a century, it must consider itself as treading backwards.

The U.S. stands at this juncture now, after its Supreme Court, in a 6-3 majority, overturned the 1973 ruling in Roe vs Wade, and took away the constitutional right to abortion.

Read Complete Details on Abortion debate


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) is released by?

  1. NITI Aayog
  2. Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation
  3. Ministry of Education
  4. Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Q.2) Which of the below given pairs is/correctly matched?

Places in News Country
Zamora Sudan
Akwaya Ethiopia
Oromia South Africa

Choose the correct code:

  1. 1, 2 and 3
  2. 1 and 3
  3. 1 only
  4. None

Q.3) Which amomg the following countries signed ‘2022 Resilient Democracies Statement’?

  1. South Africa, Saudi Arabia, India and USA
  2. Italy, Japan, Singapore and Indonesia
  3. Canada, Switzerland, USA and UK
  4. Indonesia, Senegal, Argentina and India

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

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


ANSWERS FOR 27th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – b

 

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