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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 31st May 2022

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  • June 1, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Indus Waters Treaty, 1960

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (India and its Neighborhood- Relations)

In News: The two day meeting of the Indus Commissioners of India and Pakistan began in Delhi

History of the Indus Waters Treaty

  • The Indus river basin has six rivers Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej, originating from Tibet and flowing through the Himalayan ranges to enter Pakistan, ending in the south of Karachi
  • In 1947, the line of partition, aside from delineating geographical boundaries for India and Pakistan, also cut the Indus river system into two.
  • Both the sides were dependent on water from the Indus river basin
  • Initially, the Inter-dominion accord of May, 1948 was adopted, where both countries, after meeting for a conference, decided that India would supply water to Pakistan in exchange for an annual payment made by the latter.
  • This agreement however, soon disintegrated as both the countries could not agree upon its common interpretations.
  • In 1951, in the backdrop of the water-sharing dispute, both the countries applied to the World Bank for funding of their respective irrigation projects on ​​Indus and its tributaries, which is when the World Bank offered to mediate the conflict.
  • Finally in 1960, the World Bank mediated agreement was reached between the two countries and the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed by former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan.

Key Provisions of the treaty

  • Sharing Water
  • It allocated the three western rivers—Indus, Chenab and Jhelum—to Pakistan for unrestricted use, barring certain non-consumptive, agricultural and domestic uses by India and the three Eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej—were allocated to India for unrestricted usage.
  • Permanent Indus Commission
  • It also required both the countries to establish a Permanent Indus Commission constituted by permanent commissioners on both sides.
  • Rights over Rivers
  • While Pakistan has rights over the waters of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus, Annexure C of the IWT allows India certain agricultural uses, while Annexure D allows it to build ‘run of the river’ hydropower projects, meaning projects not requiring live storage of water.

Objections:

  • The treaty also allows Pakistan to raise objections over such projects being built by India, if it does not find them to be compliant with the specifications.
  • India has to share information on the project design or alterations made to it with Pakistan, which is required to respond with objections, if any, within three months of receipt.
  • Besides, India is allowed to have a minimum storage level on the western rivers – meaning it can store up to 3.75 MAF of water for conservation and flood storage purposes.
  • Dispute Resolution Mechanism:
  • The IWT also provides a three step dispute resolution mechanism, under which “questions” on both sides can be resolved at the Permanent Commission, or can also be taken up at the inter-government level.
  • In case of unresolved questions or “differences” between the countries on water-sharing, such as technical differences, either side can approach the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert (NE) to come to a decision.
  • And eventually, if either party is not satisfied with the NE’s decision or in case of “disputes” in the interpretation and extent of the treaty, matters can be referred to a Court of Arbitration.

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) With reference to the Indus river system, of the following four rivers, three of them pour into one of them which joins the Indus direct. Among the following, which one is such a river that joins the Indus directly? (2021)

  1. Chenab
  2. Jhelum
  3. Ravi
  4. Sutlej

Source: The Hindu 


Scheme for COVID Orphans

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Government Schemes
  • Mains – GS 2 (Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections)

In News: Prime Minister of India released PM CARES benefits for ‘COVID orphans’

  • Initiatives are announced under the PM CARES for children initiative.

Features

  • The Covid initiative for children will be open to those who lost both their parents, only surviving parent, legal guardian or adoptive parents to Covid between March 11, 2020 and February 28, 2022
  • They will be provided financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh, and health cover of Rs 5 lakh through Ayushman cards
  • The beneficiaries will be eligible to avail loans for higher education and professional courses.
  • The Rs 10 lakh assistance will be in the form of an investment with the returns given to beneficiaries in form of a monthly stipend between the ages of 18 and 23, and the entire amount handed over when they attain the age of 23.
  • The benefits also include an annual scholarship of Rs 20,000 for school students and monthly financial support of Rs 4,000 for daily needs.
  • School-going children will also receive free education, textbooks and uniforms at the nearest government schools. Those in private schools may avail fee reimbursement under norms for the Right to Education Act, 2005.
  • To avail the benefits, the names of affected children need to be registered on the portal pmcaresforchildren.in — it will also act as a single-window system for approvals.
  • Data available on the portal show that 9,042 applications have been received under the programme with 4,345 of them already approved.
  • Children may also need emotional support and mental guidance. A special ‘Samvad’ service has also been started for this.
  • On the ‘Samvad Helpline’, children can consult, discuss with experts on psychological matters

PM – CARES Fund

  • The government set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Fund is a public charitable trust with the Prime Minister as its Chairman. Other Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
  • PM CARES do not receive budgetary support
  • It is not audited by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
  • The Fund enables micro-donations as a result of which a large number of people will be able to contribute with the smallest of denominations.
  • Donations have been made tax-exempt, and can be counted as a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations

Source: Indian Express & The Hindu


Tobacco Consumption

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources)

Context: Large corporate enterprises themselves are making efforts to reduce the harm of tobacco consumption

Consequences of Tobacco Cultivation and Consumptions

Stats:

  • Environment
  • According to the WHO, 600 million trees are chopped down annually to make cigarettes, 84 million tonnes of CO2 emissions are released into the atmosphere, and 22 billion litres of water are used to make cigarettes.
  • India, the world’s second largest producer of tobacco, produces about 800 million kg annually.
  • Addiction and Health
  • The second Global Adult Tobacco Survey estimated that 28.6% of all adults in India used tobacco in 2016-2017, second only to China.
  • The survey said 4% of men and 14.2% of women used tobacco — both the smokeless form, i.e. chewing tobacco, and smoked form, i.e. cigarettes and ‘bidis’.
  • In 2021, smoking killed about 8 million people.
  • Tobacco use is known to be a major risk factor for several non-communicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases.
  • Nearly 27% of all cancers in India are due to tobacco usage

What has India done to Control Tobacco Consumption?

  • India adopted the tobacco control provisions under WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
  • The Promulgation of the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Ordinance, 2019 prohibits Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage and Advertisement of e-Cigarettes.
  • The Government of India launched the National Tobacco Quitline Services (NTQLS) which have the sole objective to provide telephone-based information, advice, support, and referrals for tobacco cessation.
  • mCessation Programme is a similar initiative which uses mobile technology for tobacco cessation. It was launched in 2016 as part of the government’s Digital India initiative.

Large corporate enterprises themselves are making efforts to reduce the harm of tobacco consumption

  • Cigarette companies themselves appear to be changing. In 2016, one of the largest cigarette companies pledged to begin transitioning its customers away from tobacco to smoke-free products.
  • By transitioning to safer nicotine delivery systems, and moving away from tobacco, cigarette companies are potentially lowering the risk of their customers dying from cancer.

Improvement

Decline in Tobacco Consumption:

  • The prevalence of tobacco use has decreased by six percentage points from 34.6% in 2009-10 to 28.6% in 2016-17.
  • Under the National Health Policy 2017, India has set an ambitious target of reducing tobacco use by 30% by 2025.

While there are problems in the business of tobacco and cigarettes, there are options, solutions and global movements being undertaken. Educating potential consumers to not consume tobacco, supporting consumers in their journey to quit, and incentivising industry to help consumers and the planet will protect not just our lungs, but also the air we breathe.

Source: The Hindu


Threats to Internal Security

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Role of External State and Non-state Actors in creating challenges to Internal Security)

Context: The war in Europe, political turmoils in South Asia dominates newspaper headlines today. This has pushed the debate on India’s many internal security problems on the backburner.

Threats

Upheaval in Kashmir

  • While Jammu and Kashmir has been a troubled region ever since 1947, the situation has metamorphosed over the years — at times tending to become extremely violent followed by spells of near normalcy.
  • Political angst over the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution is possibly one of the reasons for local support being available for the current crop of Jammu and Kashmir militants. A majority of them are believed to be home-grown militants, though backed by elements from across the border in Pakistan.
  • Irrespective of the reasons for the latest upsurge in violence, what is evident is that Jammu and Kashmir has again become the vortex of violence, specialising currently on targeted killings of outsiders, mainly Kashmiri Pandits.
  • Evidently, the doctrine of containment pursued by the Jammu and Kashmir police and security agencies is not having the desired effect.
  • The Maoist shadow
  • The combination of ideological ideation and brutal killings has often confused and confounded the police, intelligence and security establishments of the States and the Centre.
  • In that sense, the Maoists represent the biggest challenge to the idea of India.
  • While railing against the use of State violence, and from time to time displaying a willingness to hold peace talks with both the State and Central governments, the Maoists have seldom displayed a commitment to peaceful ways.
  • More than any other militant or violent movement in the country, curbing the Maoist menace will require considerable doses of statecraft, as many of the purported demands of the Maoists find an echo among intellectuals in the cities and the ‘poorest of the poor’ in the rural areas.

In Punjab and the North-east

  • The recent discovery of ‘sleeper cells’ in the Punjab clearly indicates the potential for the revival of a pro-Khalistan movement — which once ravaged large parts of the Punjab
  • In Assam, the United Liberation Front of Assam–Independent (ULFA-I) is trying to revive its activities after a long spell of hibernation.
  • Likewise in Nagaland, where the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (I-M) has recently initiated a fresh push for a solution of the ‘Naga political issue

A threat in the South

  • In the South, intelligence and police officials appear concerned about a likely revival of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)-sponsored activities in Tamil Nadu.
  • This stems from a possible revival of LTTE-sponsored militancy in Sri Lanka following the recent economic crises and uncertainty there.
  • Security agencies in India believe that an attempt could be made to reach out to elements in Tamil Nadu to revive the spirit of the 1980s.

Limitations of a security vigil

  • While the country’s security agencies do maintain a tight vigil, what is seldom realized is that security agencies can only deal with the immediate threat.
  • Additional doses of security whenever a situation arises are at best a temporary solution. This does not amount to problem solving.
  • To change the mindsets of both the authorities and those challenging the existing order, it may be first necessary to admit that more and more security has its limitations.
  • The next step is even harder, viz., to admit that the forces threatening the state have lately become nimbler in adopting new technologies and modes of warfare.

Way forward

  • Long-term solutions require the use of statecraft.
  • In many countries, both the authorities and security agencies are beginning to acknowledge the importance of resorting to statecraft as a vital adjunct to the role played by the security agencies.
  • Statecraft involves fine-grained comprehension of inherent problems; also an ability to quickly respond to political challenges.
  • It further involves strengthening the ability to exploit opportunities as they arise, and display a degree of political nimbleness rather than leaving everything to the security agencies.
  • In short, it entails a shift from reposing all faith in the security establishment to putting equal emphasis on implementation of policies and programmes.
  • In effect, it shifts the emphasis to formulating strategies that favour political deftness, strength and agility, after the initial phase.

Source: The Hindu


India's Transation away from Coal

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Context: Finance Minister said India’s transition away from coal as a fuel for power would be hampered by the Russia-Ukraine war

Why is the ‘move away from coal’ so important?

  • An effective way to keep the danger (unprecedented natural calamities as a result of climate change) at bay is to cut the use of fossil fuels — coal, natural gas and oil.
  • About 80% of the world’s energy requirements are met by these three fuels.
  • They have likely brought on the climate crisis we now face, as they trigger the emission of carbon dioxide.
  • The worst culprit of them all is coal, which emits nearly twice as much carbon dioxide as natural gas and about 60% more than oil, on a kilogram-to-kilogram comparison.
  • Combusting coal also leaves behind partially-burnt carbon particles that feed pollution and trigger respiratory disorders.
  • The consequence of these chemical reactions gains great significance because, the power sector in India accounts for 49% of total carbon dioxide emissions, compared with the global average of 41%.

India’s dependence on coal

  • As of February 2022, the installed capacity for coal-based power generation across the country was 2.04 lakh megawatt (MW)
  • This accounts for about 5% of power from all sources. This compares with about 25,000 MW of capacity based on natural gas as fuel, or a mere 6.3% of all installed capacity.
  • Renewable power accounted for 1.06 lakh MW or 27%.
  • Coal-based power stations are retired periodically which happens all the time. But is not fast enough nor are new additions being halted
  • For FY20, for example, India added 6,765 MW power capacity based on coal as fuel. But only 2,335 MW was retired.
  • According to the IEA’s Coal Report 2021, India’s coal consumption will increase at an average annual rate of 3.9% to 1.18 billon tonnes in 2024.

How has war made India’s move away from coal difficult?

  • Natural gas has been dubbed as the transition fuel in India’s plans to move away from coal.
  • The international cost of natural gas has zoomed in the recent past (War) from a level that was considered already too high to be financially viable.
  • Of the 25,000 MW of gas-based power plants, about 14,000 MW remains stranded, or idle, because they are financially unviable.

Coal availability crisis

  • Depleting coal supplies at thermal power plants has resulted in power crisis.

Possible Causes of the Power Crisis

  • Revival of Economic Activities: The heatwaves and revival of economic activities after Covid-19 disruptions propelled electricity demand.
  • Inefficiency of TPPs: The TPPs’ inability to ramp up power generation is explained by critical coal stockpile levels at plant sites.
  • Multiple Structural Fault Lines
  • Cash Flow Problem In The Electricity Sector: The inability of discoms to recover costs has resulted in outstanding dues of over ₹1 lakh crore to power generation companies. Consequently, power generation companies (GenCos) default on payments to Coal India Limited (CIL).
  • Discom Losses: Despite two decades of sectoral reforms, the aggregate losses of discoms stand at 21% (2019-20). This is reflective of both operational inefficiency and poor recovery of dues from consumers

Way forward

  • Planning and Policy Reforms: Policy focus should be on long-term structural solutions that address distribution financial viability and a robust mechanism for resource planning
  • Enabling Ecosystem: The need is to create an enabling ecosystem to ensure power plants work efficiently
  • Strategic Energy Transition: A strategic approach to the energy transition that harnesses the low-cost power promise of renewable energy and opportunities for diversification in energy mix is critical to address persisting power shortages.
  • Focussing on Domestic Production and Reducing Imports: Increasing domestic production to reduce and even avoid imports altogether is imperative.

Coal

  • Coal is a combustible black or brownish-black sedimentary rock with a high amount of carbon and hydrocarbons.
  • Coal is classified as a nonrenewable energy source because it takes millions of years to form.
  • Coal is also called black gold
  • It is used as a domestic fuel, in industries such as iron and steel, steam engines and to generate electricity. Electricity from coal is called thermal power.

The distribution of coal in Indian is in two categories:

  • Gondwana Coalfields that are 250 million years old
  • Tertiary Coalfields that are 15 to 60 million years old.

Gondwana Coalfields

  • Gondwana coal makes up to 98% of the total coal reserves in India and 99% of the coal production in India.
  • Gondwana coal is free from moisture and contains phosphorus and sulphur
  • The carbon content in Gondwana coal is less compared to the Carboniferous coal
  • Gondwana coal forms India’s metallurgical grade as well as superior quality coal.
  • These basins occur in the valleys of certain rivers viz., the Damodar (Jharkhand-West Bengal); the Mahanadi (Chhattisgarh-Odisha); the Son (Madhya Pradesh Jharkhand); the Godavari and the Wardha (Maharashtra-Andhra Pradesh); the Indravati, the Narmada, the Koel, the Panch, the Kanhan and many more.
  • The volatile compounds and ash (usually 13 – 30 percent) and don’t allow Carbon percentage to rise above 55 to 60 percent.

Tertiary Coal Fields

  • Carbon content is very low but is rich in moisture and sulphur.
  • Tertiary coalfields are mainly confined to extra-peninsular regions.
  • Important areas include Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Himalayan foothills of Darjeeling in West Bengal, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Kerala.

Types of Coal

  • On the basis of carbon content, it can be classified into the following three types:

Anthracite

  • This is the best quality of coal and contains 80 to 95 percent carbon. It has very little volatile matter and a negligibly small proportion of moisture.
  • In India, it is found only in Jammu and Kashmir (in Kalakot) and that too in small quantities.

Bituminous

  • This is the most widely used coal. It varies greatly in composition in carbon content (from 60 to 80 percent) and moisture. It is dense, compact, and is usually of black colour.
  • It does not have traces of original vegetable material from which it has been formed.
  • Its calorific value is very high due to high proportion of carbon and low moisture content.
  • Most of the bituminous coal is found in Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, and Madhya Pradesh.

Lignite

  • Also known as brown coal, lignite is lower-grade coal and contains about 40 to 55 percent carbon.
  • It represents the intermediate stage in the alteration of woody matter into coal. Its colour varies from dark to black-brown.
  • Its moisture content is high (over 35 percent) so that it gives out much smoke but little heat.
  • It is found in Palna of Rajasthan, Neyveli of Tamil Nadu, Lakhimpur of Assam, and Karewa of Jammu and Kashmir.

Peat

  • This is the first stage of transformation of wood into coal and contains less than 40 to 55 percent carbon, sufficient volatile matter, and a lot of moisture.

Coal Reserves in India by State (Top 3)

  • JHARKHAND
  • ODISHA
  • CHATTISHGARH

Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q.1) With reference to the mineral resources of India, consider the following pairs: (2010)

Mineral             90% Natural sources in

  1. Copper:        Jharkhand
  2. Nickel:      Orissa
  3. Tungsten:    Kerala

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

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

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Civil Servants and VIP Culture

Civil Servants and VIP Culture

Syllabus

  • GS-1: Society
  • GS-4: Attitude of Civil Servants; Human Values

Context: The common man has long suffered due to the Very Important Person (VIP) culture. A recent incident of a stadium being shut before time so an IAS officer could ‘walk his dog’ has brought the debate back to the fore.

Read Complete Details on Civil Servants and VIP Culture


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to Indus Waters Treaty, consider the following statements

  1. Indus Waters Treaty is World Bank mediated water treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1950
  2. It allocated the three eastern rivers—Indus, Chenab, and Jhelum—to Pakistan for unrestricted use
  3. The treaty provides for three-step dispute resolution mechanism

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about PM CARES fund

  1. The Fund is a public charitable trust with the Finance Minister as its Chairman
  2. Donations made to PM CARES fund counted as a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations
  3. PM CARES do not receive budgetary support

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.3) mCessation Programme is related to?

  1. Digital initiative to fight money laundering
  2. Digital initiative to fight Multi-Drug resistant TB
  3. Digital program that uses mobile technology for tobacco cessation
  4. Maritime Domain Awareness Program under Deep Ocean Mission

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

ANSWERS FOR ’31st MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 30th MAY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – c

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