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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 29th June 2022

  • IASbaba
  • June 29, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: June 29, is national ‘Statistics Day’, in ‘recognition of the contributions made by Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, the ‘Plan Man’ of India.

  • Every year, the Statistics Day is celebrated on 29th June, the birth anniversary of Prof. Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis, to recognise his invaluable contribution in establishing the National Statistical System.
  • The theme of Statistics Day, 2022 is ‘Data for Sustainable Development’.
  • On this occasion, MoSPI declare the winners of P C Mahalanobis National Award and Prof. P. V. Sukhatme Award 2020 will be declared during the event.

Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis (1893-1972)

  • He is considered the father of modern statistics in India, founded the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and shaped the Planning Commission of India.

  • He also devised a statistical method called ‘Fractile Graphical Analysis’, used to compare socio-economic conditions of varied groups.

Contributions

  • Mahalanobis Distance: In 1930 he proposed the Mahalanobis Distance for the first time, which is a measure of comparison between two data sets.
  • Indian Statistical Institute: In 1932 he founded ISI in Kolkata.
  • Journal: In 1933 he started ‘Sankhya: The Indian Journal of Statistics’.
  • He established National Sample Survey and set up the Central Statistical Organisation to coordinate statistical activities in 1950
  • In 1955 he became the member of Planning Commission
  • He was instrumental in formulating India’s second five-year-plan (1956-1961), which laid the blueprint for industrialisation and development in India.

Source: The Hindu


Gulabi Meenakari & Varanasi Wooden Lacquerware & Toys

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Culture

In News: The Prime Minister had taken along a plethora of artistic gifts for each of the G7 leaders.

  • Products from Uttar Pradesh’s ‘One District One Product’ program were used for the enviable purpose of diplomatic gifting by prime minister at the recently held 48th G7 Summit in Germany
  • PM gifted eight products from eight different districts marked under the ODOP programme to heads of different international governments
  • The ODOP is an initiative of the UP government to encourage indigenous and specialised products and crafts by assisting artisans in improving quality of their products, helping them with marketing and branding with a larger aim to increase their incomes and generate higher employment.

Notable among the gifts

Gulabi Meenakari

  • Gulabi Meenakari and cufflink set were gifted to US President Joe Biden.
  • Gulabi Minakari is one of the rarest crafts in India that is practiced in
  • This art was brought to the city of Varanasi by Persian enamellists during the Mughal era
  • Minakari is an art form from Persia and involves colouring the surface of metals by fusing different colours.
  • In Varanasi, it is practiced on jewellery and home decor items
  • The Meenakari of Varanasi is part of its rich cultural heritage.
  • It was given a GI Tag in the year 2015.

Varanasi Wooden Lacquerware & Toys

  • Varanasi wooden lacquerware & toys is an ancient craft, where the toys are made in wood with sets of birds, animals, orchestras, and dance ensembles available packed in boxes.
  • Earlier sal or seesham was used in the making of the toys, due to price rise cheaper, lighter wood is now being used. The paints are bright and usually applied in primary colours.
  • It was accorded GI Tag in 2015.

Source: Indian Express

Economic Times

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The well-known painting “Bani Thani” belongs to the (2018)

  1. Bundi school
  2. Jaipur school
  3. Kangra school
  4. Kishangarh school


mRNA Vaccine

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: The country’s first homegrown mRNA Covid-19 vaccine developed at Pune’s Gennova Biopharmaceuticals has received emergency use for the age group 18 and above.

  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved the two-dose mRNA vaccine.
  • The vaccine is stable for storage at 2-8 degree C.
  • Vaccines based on mRNA require ultra-low temperature conditions for storage and distribution.

What are mRNA vaccines?

  • mRNA vaccines trick the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself.
  • They work by using mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is the molecule that essentially puts DNA instructions into action.
  • Inside a cell, mRNA is used as a template to build a protein

How it works?

  • To produce an mRNA vaccine, scientists produce a synthetic version of the mRNA that a virus uses to build its infectious proteins.
  • This mRNA is delivered into the human body, whose cells read it as instructions to build that viral protein, and therefore create some of the virus’s molecules themselves.
  • These proteins are solitary, so they do not assemble to form a virus.
  • The immune system then detects these viral proteins and starts to produce a defensive response to them.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) With reference to recent developments regarding ‘Recombinant Vector Vaccines’, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. Genetic engineering is applied in the development of these vaccines.
  2. Bacteria and viruses are used as vectors.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Partners in the Blue Pacific

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The US and its allies — Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom — have launched a new initiative called ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations.

What is Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP) initiative?

  • The PBP is a five-nation “informal mechanism” to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, economic ties in the region.
  • It speaks of enhancing “prosperity, resilience, and security” in the Pacific through closer cooperation.
  • Through the PBP, the counties — together and individually — will direct more resources here to counter China’s aggressive outreach.
  • The initiative members have also declared that they will “elevate Pacific regionalism”, and forge stronger ties with the Pacific Islands Forum.
  • The areas where PBP aims to enhance cooperation include “climate crisis, connectivity and transportation, maritime security and protection, health, prosperity, and education”.

How is China trying to transform its ties in the Pacific?

  • Recently China signed a security pact with Solomon Islands, the deal flagged serious concerns about the Chinese military getting a base in the southern Pacific, close to the US island territory of Guam, and right next to Australia and New Zealand.
  • Its failed attempt to push 10 Pacific nations to endorse a “game-changing” agreement called the “Common Development Vision” – where it intended to work with “traditional and non-traditional security,” and expand law enforcement cooperation with these countries.
  • China indicated that it would continue pursuing this goal.

What is being done by the US and its allies to counter China?

  • The US and its partners started the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), a trade-boosting play in the region with 13 nations
  • Recently G7 announced a plan — Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) — to rival China’s Belt and Road Initiative by promising to raise $600 billion to fund development projects in low and middle-income countries.
  • And now the new initiative ‘Partners in the Blue Pacific’ for “effective and efficient cooperation” with the region’s small island nations

Why is the Pacific region strategically important?

  • In its 2019 strategy report, the US Department of Defence called the Indo-Pacific the “single most consequential region for America’s future”.
  • Spanning a vast stretch of the globe from the west coast of the United States to the western shores of India,
  • the region is home to the world’s most populous state (China),
  • most populous democracy (India), and largest Muslim-majority state (Indonesia),
  • and includes over half of the earth’s population.
  • Among the 10 largest standing armies in the world, 7 reside in the Indo-Pacific;
  • and 6 countries in the region possess nuclear weapons.
  • Nine of the world’s 10 busiest seaports are in the region,
  • and 60 percent of global maritime trade transits through Asia, with roughly one-third of global shipping passing through the South China Sea alone.

Pacific Island Forum

  • Pacific Island Forum is an ‘Inter-governmental organization’.
  • It was established in year 1971.
  • The objective of the organization is to work in support of Forum member governments, to enhance the economic and social well-being of the people of the South Pacific by fostering cooperation between governments and between international agencies.
  • The summit of the organization held annually and which is presided by the host country.
  • The summit discusses about decisions related to the development and implementations of policies in the region.
  • The forum has 18 members, which are as follows- Australia, Cook Islands, Federation of Micronesia, Fiji, French Polynesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Republic of Marshal Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to ‘Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Urban Development (APMCHUD), consider the following statements: (2017)

  1. The first APMCHUD was held in India in 2000 on the theme ‘Emerging urban Forms – Policy Responses and Governance Structure’.
  2. India hosts all the Annual Ministerial Conferences in partnership with ADB, APEC and ASEAN.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Ban on single-use plastic

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Syllabus

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

In News: With the ban on single-use plastic coming into force on July 1, the government will be setting up control rooms at national and state levels to ensure its effective enforcement.

  • Apart from the control rooms, which will be supervised by the Central Pollution Control Board, special enforcement teams will be formed to check illegal manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the 12 banned single-use plastic items.
  • States and Union Territories have been asked to set up border check points to stop inter-state movement of any banned single-use plastic item.
  • The list of banned items include ear buds with plastic sticks, plastic sticks for balloons, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice-cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives, straw, trays, wrapping or packing films around sweet boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packets, plastic or PVC banners less than 100 micron, stirrers.
  • The items have been chosen on the basis of three criteria – their low utility, high littering potential and availability of alternative materials.

Stats

  • According to the CPCB, plastic waste generation in 2020-21 was 41,26,997 tonnes, while per capita waste generation was 3 kg per annum.
  • Characterization of plastic waste in 18 cities has found that the percentage of single-use plastic in total plastic waste is between 10% and 35 %.

The government has over the past year focused on encouraging industry and MSMEs to come up with alternatives to plastic, including biodegradable plastic and compostable plastic.

Source: Indian Express


Anti defection law - Speaker’s powers in a rebellion

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity)

Context: While granting interim relief to rebel MLAs of the Shiv Sena, the Supreme Court made an unusual judicial intervention that raises questions on the powers of the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution.

  • The Speaker’s powers under the Tenth Schedule have been previously upheld by the Supreme Court itself; the court has allowed judicial review only once the Speaker has made a decision, and has ruled out interference with the process.

What does the interim order say?

  • The interim order grants more time to the rebel MLAs to reply to the disqualification notice served on them. It seeks affidavits from them, and also a counter-affidavit from the Deputy Speaker on his removal as demanded by the rebels.
  • In granting more time, the Supreme Court has essentially delayed the disqualification proceedings, which would have a direct impact on a trust vote in the Assembly

What does the Tenth Schedule say?

  • The Tenth Schedule gives the Speaker of the House the power to disqualify legislators who ‘defect’ from the party.
  • In the landmark case Kihoto Hollohan versus Zachillhu in 1992, the Supreme Court upheld the power vested in the Speaker and said that only the final order of the Speaker will be subject to judicial review.
  • Courts have refrained from interfering with the process itself.
  • However, a 2016 ruling of a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Nabam Rebia ruling has shifted the balance on the powers of the Speaker.

What was the Nabam Rebia ruling?

  • The Supreme Court held that it is “constitutionally impermissible” for a speaker to proceed with disqualification proceedings, if a no-confidence motion against him is pending.
  • If a Speaker truly and rightfully enjoys support of the majority of the MLAs, there would be no difficulty whatsoever, to demonstrate the confidence which the members of the State Legislature, repose in him.
  • This ruling gave a window to defecting legislators to stall or circumvent the Tenth Schedule by seeking removal of the Speaker when disqualification proceedings are anticipated — effectively tying the hands of the Speaker.

Have legislators used this legal route?

  • Yes, since 2016, this legal route has a been a familiar playbook for legislators cutting across states and political affiliations.

How can the Speaker be removed?

  • Under Article 179 of the Constitution, a Speaker can be removed by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of “all the then members of the Assembly”.
  • The process begins with notice of at least 14 days.
  • In the 2016 Nabam Rebia ruling, the Supreme Court interpreted Article 179, specifically the term “all the then members of the Assembly”, to mean the composition of the house at the date/time of giving the notice for the removal of the Speaker.
  • This interpretation would mean that the composition of the Assembly cannot be changed from the date of issuing of a notice of the removal of the Speaker, and therefore the Speaker cannot make any decisions under the Tenth Schedule to change the composition of the House until the question of his removal is settled.
  • The Supreme Court’s reasoning in barring the Speaker from acting under the Tenth Schedule when a notice for his own removal is pending, is to ensure that the Speaker who disqualifies legislators must enjoy the confidence of the Assembly.

Source: Indian Express

The Hindu


Bring the shine back on government jobs

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: Growing contractual employment culture

Stats

  • In 2019, an Indian citizen died of suicide every hour due to joblessness, poverty or bankruptcy, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
  • Several unemployed people in India resort to protests — thousands burnt railway coaches in January 2022 over alleged flaws in the railways recruitment process and more recently, India saw protests over the Agnipath scheme.

A culture of hire and fire

  • In May 2022, Haryana terminated the services of over 2,000 contractual health workers who had been hired during the pandemic.
  • Over 8,300 panchayat and rural development contractual staff in Assam staged protests in February 2022. They had been in a contractual state for 12-14 years and had not been given bonuses, allowances and other benefits.
  • The situation is same in the most of the states.

Problems

  • First, vacancies in the government are not being filled at a sufficient pace.
  • There were over 60 lakh vacancies in the government across all levels in July 2021.Of these, over 9.1 lakh were in the Central government.
  • The government has sought to push for recruitment of 10 lakh people in a mission-mode over 1.5 years. However, this would fall short of the size of the problem.
  • Second, where vacancies are being filled, they are notably skewed towards contractual jobs.
  • In 2014, about 43% of government employees had non-permanent or contractual jobs as per the Indian Staffing Industry Research 2014 report.
  • By 2018, the share of government employees in this category had risen to 59%. For Central Public Sector Enterprises, the share of contractual employees increased from 19% to 37%

What needs to be done?

  • Instead of expanding contractual employment, focus should be to bolster public services.
  • Expanding public service provisioning will also lead to the creation of good quality jobs, along with skilled labour, offering us social stability.
  • A push for enhancing public health would lead to the creation of societal assets – having more ICU beds in the first place would have ensured that the COVID-19 crisis could have been managed better
  • Such spending, however, will eventually lead to an increase in consumer demand and have strong multiplier effects, while generally improving the productivity and quality of life in India’s cities and villages.
  • Focus should be on those sectors that create job opportunities
  • Renewable power generation and waste management front – Encouraging solid waste treatment practices would create about 300 jobs per year in a city municipal corporation.
  • A push for adopting electric vehicles and encouraging green mobility would require significant manpower, leading to the generation of ‘green jobs’
  • Selective PSU reform to create job opportunities

Government jobs have lost their shine. It is time to attract talent to the government. This is the time to build capacity for an efficient civil service that can meet today’s challenges – providing a corruption-free welfare system, running a modern economy and providing increasingly better public goods by bringing the shine back on government jobs.

Source: The Hindu


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Gulabi Meenakari art recently seen in news?

  1. It is one of the rarest crafts practiced in southern state of Tamil Nadu
  2. This art was introduced to India by Persian enamellists
  3. Gulabi Meenakari has been accorded Geographical Indication Tag

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis

  1. He is considered the father of modern statistics in India
  2. He founded Indian Statistical Institute in 1932 at Kolkata
  3. He was instrumental in formulating India’s second five-year-plan

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Partners in the Blue Pacific (PBP)

  1. The PBP is a four-nation informal mechanism to support Pacific islands and to boost diplomatic, economic ties in the region.
  2. Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the United Kingdom are the members of this initiative.

Choose the correct statements:

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

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

ANSWERS FOR ’29th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 28th JUNE 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – d

 

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