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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 19th July 2022

  • IASbaba
  • July 19, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


MSP Panel

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Syllabus

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

In News: The Centre has constituted a committee to look into the issues of minimum support price (MSP).

Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare issued a notification stating:

  • A committee will be constituted to promote Zero budget based farming, to change crop pattern keeping in mind the changing needs of the country, and to make MSP more effective and transparent
  • The committee will consist of representatives of the Central Government and State Governments, Farmers, Agricultural Scientists and Agricultural Economists.”
  • The committee, headed by former Agriculture Secretary Sanjay Agrawal, has 26 members including farmer representatives.

The committee will provide suggestions/measures

  • To make available MSP to farmers of the country by making the system more effective and transparent and will also give suggestions to give more autonomy to Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) and measures to make it more scientific.
  • To strengthen the Agricultural Marketing System as per the changing requirements of the country to ensure higher value to the farmers through remunerative prices of their produce by taking advantage of the domestic and export opportunities.
  • On 5 points regarding natural farming including suggestions for programmes and schemes for value chain development, protocol validation & research for future needs and support for area expansion under the Indian Natural Farming System by publicity and through involvement and contribution of farmer organizations.
  • On 4 points related to crop diversification including
  • mapping of existing cropping patterns of agro-ecological zones of producer and consumer states;
  • strategy for diversification policy to change the cropping pattern according to the changing needs of the country;
  • arrangement for agricultural diversification & system to ensure remunerative prices for the sale of new crops; review and suggestion on micro irrigation scheme.

Minimum Support Price (MSP)

  • The MSP is the rate at which the government purchases crops from farmers, and is based on a calculation of at least one-and-a-half times the cost of production incurred by the farmers.
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) recommends MSPs for 22 mandated crops and fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane.
  • CACP is an attached office of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • The mandated crops include 14 crops of the kharif season, 6 rabi crops and 2 other commercial crops.
  • In addition, the MSPs of toria and de-husked coconut are fixed on the basis of the MSPs of rapeseed/mustard and copra, respectively.

Factors for Recommending the MSP:

The CACP considers various factors while recommending the MSP for a commodity, it considers following factors

  • Cost of production
  • Changes in input prices
  • Input-output price parity
  • Trends in market prices
  • Demand and supply
  • Inter-crop price parity
  • Effect on industrial cost structure
  • Effect on cost of living
  • Effect on general price level
  • International price situation
  • Parity between prices paid and prices received by the farmers
  • Effect on issue prices and implications for subsidy

Crops covered

The list of crops is as follows.

  • Cereals (7) – paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi
  • Pulses (5) – gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil
  • Oilseeds (8) – groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and nigerseed
  • Raw cotton
  • Raw jute
  • Copra
  • De-husked coconut
  • Sugarcane (Fair and remunerative price)
  • Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco

Source: Indian Express

The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following: (2018)

  1. Areca nut
  2. Barley
  3. Coffee
  4. Finger millet
  5. Groundnut
  6. Sesamum
  7. Turmeric

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has announced the Minimum Support Price for which of the above?

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 7 only
  2. 2, 4, 5 and 6 only
  3. 1, 3, 4, 5 and 6 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Draft medical devices Bill

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

In News: Recently Union Health Ministry released a draft of a proposed The Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2022.

  • The Bill replaces the existing The Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and several sets of Rules by which the industry is currently run.
  • The draft focuses on regulating medical devices as a separate entity, makes provision for fines and imprisonment for injury and death related to clinical trials or investigations, and seeks to regulate e-pharmacies.

Major provisions of the Bill

Regulation:

  • It seeks to regulate e-pharmacies and medical devices and provides for penalties including imprisonment for failing to pay compensation for injury or death during clinical trials for both drugs and medical devices.

Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940:

  • For the first time, regulations for conduct of clinical trials for new drugs and medical devices have been brought under the draft New Drugs, Medical Devices and Cosmetics Bill, 2022 which seeks to replace the existing Drugs and Cosmetics Act of 1940.

AYUSH drugs:

  • The draft bill has a separate chapter for AYUSH drugs which proposes to regulate Sowa Rigpa and Homoeopathy for the first time.
  • The existing act regulates Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha drugs and cosmetics.

New definitions:

  • The draft bill introduces various new definitions or provisions like bioequivalence study, bioavailability study, clinical trial, clinical investigation, controlling authority, manufacturer, medical device, new drugs, over the-counter (OTC) drugs, adulterated cosmetics, etc. for more clarity and smooth functioning and implementation.

Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and Medical Devices Technical Advisory Board (MDTAB):

  • It proposes the constitution of a separate Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and Medical Devices Technical Advisory Board (MDTAB), comprising experts from various associations to advise the central government in technical matters.

Penalties:

  • The penalties for offences related to import of drugs and cosmetics have been enhanced appropriately.
  • It mentions where any person permitted under sub-section (1) of section 72 fails to provide the required medical management or compensation under section 73, shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to one year or with fine which shall not be less than twice the amount of compensation.

Central Licensing Authority:

  • In the interest of public health or extreme urgency of drugs, the central government is empowered to make provisions for Central Licensing Authority to waive the requirement of conducting clinical trials for manufacture or import of new drugs or investigational new drugs in the country.

Compensation:

  • Where a participant during a clinical trial suffers injury or death on account of his participation in such investigation, provision has been made to provide compensation and medical management to such participants.

E-pharmacy:

  • Permission has to be taken to operate an e-pharmacy.
  • No person shall himself or by any other person on his behalf sell, or stock or exhibit or offer for sale, or distribute, any drug by online mode (e-pharmacy) except under and in accordance with a licence or permission issued in such manner as may be prescribed.

Medical device testing centres:

  • Provisions have been incorporated to designate or establish medical device testing centres by the central government for testing and evaluation of medical devices for regulators and industry.

About Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940

  • The Act regulates the import, manufacture, and distribution of drugs in India.
  • The primary objective of the act is to ensure that the drugs and cosmetics sold in India are safe, effective and conform to state quality standards.

Section 3 of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940:

  • The Central Government, after consultation with the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB), specifies the devices intended for use in human beings or animals as drugs.

Source: Indian Express


Yield inversion, soft-landing and reverse currency wars

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: The three economic terms have gained focus in the present global economic scenario.

  • Many observers have pointed to an inversion of the US yield curve to argue that the US central bank will not be able to achieve a soft-landing for the economy.
  • And yet, the US dollar continues to gain against all other currencies.
  • In what is being seen as a reverse currency war, most central banks across the world are trying to raise their interest rates to counter the Fed’s actions and ensure their respective currency claws back value against the dollar.
  • There are three key terms that one is likely to hear repeatedly in the coming days: Yield inversion, soft-landing and reverse currency war.

Bond yield curve inversion

  • A yield curve illustrates the interest rates on bonds of increasing maturities.
  • An inverted yield curve occurs when short-term debt instruments carry higher yields than long-term instruments of the same credit risk profile.
  • Inverted yield curves are unusual since longer-term debt should carry greater risk and higher interest rates, so when they occur there are implications for consumers and investors alike.
  • An inverted yield curve is one of the most reliable leading indicators of an impending recession.

Soft Landing

  • A soft landing is a cyclical slowdown in economic growth that avoids recession.
  • A soft landing is the goal of a central bank when it seeks to raise interest rates just enough to stop an economy from overheating and experiencing high inflation, without causing a severe downturn.
  • Soft landing may also refer to a gradual, relatively painless slowdown in a particular industry or economic sector.
  • But when the actions of the central bank bring about a recession, it is called a hard-landing.

Reverse Currency War

  • A flip side of the US Fed’s action of aggressively raising interest rates is that more and more investors are rushing to invest money in the US.
  • This, in turn, has made the dollar become stronger than all the other currencies.
  • Every central bank is trying to figure out ways to counter the US Fed and raise interest rates themselves in order to ensure their currency doesn’t lose too much value against the dollar.
  • That’s because a currency which is losing value to the dollar, on the other hand, finds that it is getting costlier to import crude oil and other commodities that are often traded in dollars.
  • But raising the interest rate is not without its own risks. Just like in the US, higher interest rates will decrease the chances of a soft-landing for any other economy.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following situations best reflects “Indirect Transfers” often talked about in media recently with reference to India? (2022)

  1. An Indian company investing in a foreign enterprise and paying taxes to the foreign country on the profits arising out of its investment
  2. A foreign company investing in India and paying taxes to the country of its base on the profits arising out of its investment
  3. An Indian company purchases tangible assets in a foreign country and sells such assets after their value increases and transfers the proceeds to India
  4. A foreign company transfers shares and such shares derive their substantial value from assets located in India

Q.2) India Government Bond Yields are influenced by which of the following? (2021)

  1. Actions of the United States Federal Reserve.
  2. Actions of the Reserve Bank of India.
  3. Inflation and short-term interest rates.

Choose the correct code:

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

Cryptocurrency

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In News: Union Finance Minister stated that Crypto legislation can only work with global collaboration

  • She stated that a law to regulate or ban cryptocurrencies can only be effective once there’s some form of international agreement in place.
  • Finance Minister Statement in Parliament signals law on cryptocurrencies may be off the table for now.

What is Cryptocurrency?

  • Cryptocurrency, sometimes called crypto-currency or crypto, is any form of currency that exists digitally or virtually and uses cryptography to secure transactions.
  • Cryptocurrencies don’t have a central issuing or regulating authority, instead use a decentralized system to record transactions and issue new units.
  • It is supported by a decentralized peer-to-peer network called the blockchain.

Benefits of Cryptocurrency

  • Inherent security: Use of pseudonyms and ledger systems conceals the identities.
  • Low transaction cost: Very low fees and charges for transactions.
  • Lack of interference from the banking system: Outside ambit of banking systems.
  • Lower Entry Barriers: No entry barriers, unlike conventional banking systems.
  • Universal recognition: Lots of cryptocurrencies and acceptable in many nations.

Challenges

  • Security risks: Cyberattacks on wallets, exchange mechanism (Cryptojacking).
  • Shield to Crime: Used for Illicit Trading, Criminal Activities, & organised crimes.
  • Threat to the domestic currency: If a large number of investors invest in digital coins rather than domestic currency based savings like provident funds, the demand of the latter will fall.
  • Lack of Liquidity and Lower Acceptability: Outside the traditional banking systems.
  • Price Volatility: Prone to price fluctuations & waste of computing power.
  • Lack of Consumer Protection: No Dispute Settlement Mechanisms and control of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to ‘Bitcoins’, sometimes seen in the news which of the following statements is/are correct (2016)

  1. Bitcoins are tracked by the Central Banks of the countries.
  2. Anyone with a Bitcoin address can send and receive Bitcoins from anyone else with a Bitcoin address.
  3. Online payments can be sent without either side knowing the identity of the other.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Chin refugees

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography
  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

In News: The military coup in Myanmar has displaced half a million Myanmarese within the country and forcing more than 50,000 ethnic Chin and others to seek refuge outside.

  • One of the spin-offs of the political turmoil in Myanmar has been an unprecedented schism between the Indian government and the Mizoram state government.
  • The state has been in the eye of a storm that has gathered over its decision to take in Chin refugees — their number has swelled to more than 30,000.
  • The Chin refugees currently in Mizoram are not refugees who have simply run away to save their lives. They are rebels who have opted to go into self-exile and continue to extend support to the PDF and other anti-Tatmadaw militias like the Chin Defence Force and the Chin National Army.
  • Despite an MHA advisory to stay alert and take appropriate action to prevent a possible influx into Indian territory the Mizoram government has the refugees.

Contrast in the responses

  • The contrast in the responses of the two governments emanates from the security-centric approach of the Centre and the people-centred focus of the Mizoram government.

Centre’s Stand

  • The state governments have no powers to grant ‘refugee’ status to any foreigner.
  • The Centre has invoked India’s non-ratification of the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and its 1967 Protocol as a ground for denying asylum.

State Government Stand

  • The roots of the state government’s open defiance lie in the common history of the Mizos and Chins and the unique social-political realities between the two people at the India-Myanmar international border.
  • They share a strong ethnic bond predating India’s Independence, as they come from the same larger Zo tribe.
  • The two are also bound together by a common religion: Mizos are predominantly Christians, as are the Chin people of Buddhist-majority Myanmar.
  • Along the largely unfenced Mizoram-Myanmar border, people from both sides have traditionally moved in and out freely.
  • The Free Movement Regime (FMR) in 2018 between India and Myanmar legalised this practice.
  • This has facilitated ease of movement wherein a large number of borderlanders routinely cross over on either side for work and to meet relatives. Cross-border marriages are common, and so is trade in essential commodities.

Given all this, it appears that the Centre has probably gauged the sensitivity of the issue from the point of the Mizos and has somewhat softened its aggressive posture towards both the Mizoram government and the Chin refugees after more than one year of their stay in the state.

Much would depend on how the Centre recalibrates its policy toward the refugees and their hosts.

India’s diplomacy need to induce Myanmar to take actions of its own political stability, internal security and social harmony

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following pairs:

Community sometimes of mentioned in the news: In the affairs

  1. Kurd: Bangladesh
  2. Madhesi: Nepal
  3. Rohingya: Myanmar

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

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

Minority status

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity
  • Mains – GS 2 (Polity & Governance)

In News: Supreme Court says that Minority status of religious, linguistic communities is State-dependent.

  • It held that every person in India can be a minority in one State or the other.
  • Minority status of religious and linguistic communities is “State-dependent”.
  • It says a religious or linguistic community which is a minority in a particular State can claim protection and right to run own educational institutions under Articles 29 and 30.

Background

  • The court was hearing a petition filed by a Mathura resident, complaining that followers of Judaism, Bahaism and Hinduism, who are the real minorities in some states cannot establish and administer educational institutions of their choice because of non-identification of ‘minority’ at State level, thus jeopardising their basic rights guaranteed under Articles 29 and 30.
  • The petition has argued that the recognition of Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis nationally by the Centre as ‘minorities’ ignored the fact that religious communities like Hindus were “socially, economically, politically non-dominant and numerically inferior” in several States.
  • It pointed out that Hindus were a mere 1% in Ladakh, 2.75% in Mizoram, 2.77% in Lakshadweep, 4% in Kashmir, 8.74% in Nagaland, 11.52% in Meghalaya, 29% in Arunachal Pradesh, 38.49% in Punjab and 41.29% in Manipur.
  • The petition also challenged Section 2(c) of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) Act 1992, which gave “unbridled power” to the Centre to notify minorities in defiance of the Supreme Court’s 11-judge Bench judgment in T.M.A Pai case

Judgements related to determination on minority status

TMA Pai Case:

  • The SC had said that for the purposes of Article 30 that deals with the rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, religious and linguistic minorities have to be considered state-wise.

Bal Patil Case:

  • In 2005, the SC in its judgement in ‘Bal Patil’ referred to the TMA Pai ruling.
  • The legal position clarifies that henceforth the unit for determining status of both linguistic and religious minorities would be ‘state’.

How is a community notified as a minority?

Notified Minorities in India

  • Currently, only those communities notified under section 2(c) of the NCM Act, 1992, by the central government are regarded as minority.
  • In 1993, the first Statutory National Commission was set up and five religious communities viz. The Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Zoroastrians (Parsis) were notified as minority communities.
  • In 2014, Jains were also notified as a minority community.

Constitutional Provisions for Minorities

Article 29

  • It provides that any section of the citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own, shall have the right to conserve the same.
  • It grants protection to both religious minorities as well as linguistic minorities

Article 30:

  • All minorities shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
  • The protection under Article 30 is confined only to minorities (religious or linguistic) and does not extend to any section of citizens (as under Article 29).

Article 350-B:

  • The 7th Constitutional (Amendment) Act 1956 inserted this article which provides for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
  • It would be the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ)

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Conservation and challenges
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context: Farmers in Kerala continue to protest across several high ranges of the state against the Supreme Court’s recent order to establish 1-km Eco-Sensitive Zones around all protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

Read Complete Details on Eco-Sensitive Zone (ESZ)


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which of the following factors Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP) considers while recommending the MSP for a commodity?

  1. Input-output price parity
  2. Effect on cost of living
  3. Changes in input prices
  4. Demand and supply

Choose the correct code:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements

  1. An inverted yield curve is one of the most reliable leading indicators of an impending recession
  2. A soft landing is a cyclical slowdown in economic growth that avoids recession

Choose the incorrect statements:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements

  1. The 1st Constitutional Amendment Act, 1951 provided for a Special Officer for Linguistic Minorities appointed by the President of India.
  2. It is the duty of the Special Officer to investigate all matters relating to the safeguards provided for linguistic minorities under the Constitution.

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 ’19th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 18th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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