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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 5th July 2022

  • IASbaba
  • July 5, 2022
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Digital India Week 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The Prime Minister inaugurated the Digital India Week 2022.

  • The theme for Digital India Week 2022: Catalyzing New India’s Techade.
  • The programme will celebrate the anniversary of Digital India and demonstrate how public digital platforms like Aadhaar, UPI, Cowin, Digilocker etc. have enabled ease of living for citizens.
  • Multiple digital initiatives were launched.
  • PM launched ‘Digital India Bhashini’, ‘Digital India GENESIS’ and ‘Indiastack.global’; also dedicates ‘MyScheme’ and ‘Meri Pehchaan’.
  • The first cohort of 30 Institutions to be supported under Chips to Startup Programme were also announced

Initiatives launched:

Digital India Bhashini

  • ‘Digital India Bhashini’ will enable easy access to the internet and digital services in Indian languages, including voice-based access, and help the creation of content in Indian languages.
  • The key intervention in building AI-based language technology solutions for Indian languages will be the creation of multilingual datasets.
  • Digital India Bhashini will enable massive citizen engagement to build datasets through a crowdsourcing initiative called BhashaDaan.

Digital India GENESIS

  • ‘Digital India GENESIS’ (Gen-next Support for Innovative Startups) – a National Deep-tech Startup Platform, to discover, support, grow and make successful startups in Tier-II and Tier-III cities of India.

Indiastack.global

  • ‘Indiastack.global’ – a global repository of key projects implemented under India Stack like Aadhaar, UPI, Digilocker, Cowin Vaccination Platform, Government e-Marketplace (GeM), DIKSHA Platform and Ayushman Bharat Digital Health Mission.

MyScheme –

  • A service discovery platform facilitating access to Government Schemes.
  • It aims to offer a one-stop search and discovery portal where users can find schemes that they are eligible for.

Meri Pehchaan

  • National Single Sign On for One Citizen Login.
  • National Single Sign-On (NSSO) is a user authentication service in which a single set of credentials provide access to multiple online applications or services.

Chips to Startup Programme

  • The C2S Programme aims to train specialized manpower in the area of design of semiconductor chips at Bachelors, Masters and Research levels, and act as a catalyst for the growth of Startups involved in semiconductor design in the country.
  • It offers to mentor at the organisational level and makes available State-of-the-art facilities for design to the institutions.
  • This is part of the India Semiconductor Mission to build a strong design ecosystem in semiconductors.

Source: pib.gov

The Hindu


Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The results of the third edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems were released

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has been conducting the States’ Start-up Ranking Exercise since 2018 to facilitate the ease of building a start-up and doing business across the country.
  • For the purposes of the Ranking, States and Union Territories are classified into 5 Categories, viz. Best Performers, Top Performers, Leaders, Aspiring Leaders and Emerging Start-up Ecosystems.
  • Gujarat and Karnataka emerged as the Best Performers in a category of States.
  • Delhi and Meghalaya won the top honour among UTs and North-eastern (NE) States.
  • While Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Telangana got the Top Performers award among states, Jammu & Kashmir emerged as the Top Performer among UTs.
  • The participants were evaluated across 7 broad Reform Areas consisting of 26 Action Points ranging from Institutional Support, Fostering Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Access to Market, Incubation support, Funding Support, Mentorship Support to Capacity Building of Enablers.
  • The State Start-up Ranking Exercise aims to support states and union territories in developing their start-up ecosystem and learn from the best practices in each state and union territory.

Source: Pib.Gov

Financial Express


Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

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Syllabus

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

In News: Myanmar’s military government hosted the first high-level regional meeting since the Army took power last year with China’s Foreign Minister and counterparts from Mekong Delta nations.

  • The delegations met at the Lancang-Mekong Cooperation group meeting held under the theme “Solidarity for Peace and Prosperity” in the central city of Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • China is Myanmar’s biggest trading partner and an old ally.
  • Beijing has invested billions of dollars in Myanmar’s mines, oil and gas pipelines and other infrastructure and is its major arms supplier, together like Russia.

Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

  • Lancang-Mekong Cooperation is a multilateral format established in 2016 for cooperation between the riparian states of the Lancang River and Mekong River.
  • The Lancang is the part of the Mekong that flows through China.
  • Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand are five downstream countries of the Mekong River.
  • The central purpose of the format is for China to manage water flow from its hydropower dams with the other riparian states.
  • LMC Special Fund was created in 2016 to aid in small and medium-sized projects by the Lancang-Mekong countries.

Source: Times of India

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, an initiative of six countries, which of the following is/are not a participant/ participants? (2015)

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Cambodia
  3. China
  4. Myanmar
  5. Thailand

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

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

Draft E-waste Management Rules

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Syllabus

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

Context: Recently Environment Ministry has released Draft E-waste Management Rules, 2022, for public comments.

Draft Notification for Electronic Waste Management

  • Electronic Goods Covered: A wide range of electronic goods, including laptops, landline and mobile phones, cameras, recorders, music systems, microwaves, refrigerators and medical equipment have been specified in the notification.
  • E-Waste Collection Target: Consumer goods companies and makers of electronics goods have to ensure at least 60% of their electronic waste is collected and recycled by 2023 with targets to increase them to 70% and 80% in 2024 and 2025, respectively.
  • Companies will have to register on an online portal and specify their annual production and e-waste collection targets.
  • EPR Certificates: The rules bring into effect a system of trading in certificates, akin to carbon credits, that will allow companies to temporarily bridge shortfalls.
  • The rules lay out a system of companies securing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) certificates.
  • These certificates certify the quantity of e-waste collected and recycled in a particular year by a company and an organisation may sell surplus quantities to another company to help it meet its obligations.
  • Penalty: Companies that don’t meet their annual targets will have to pay a fine or an ‘environmental compensation’ but the draft doesn’t specify the quantum of these fines.
  • Implementing Authority:
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is the main organisation in charge of coordinating EPR certificate transactions and ensuring that enterprises are fulfilling their targets.
  • The overall execution of these laws will be overseen by a steering committee led by the Chairman of the CPCB.
  • Responsibility of the State Governments:
  • Establishing steps to protect the health and safety of workers working in e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities, and
  • Earmarking industrial space for e-waste dismantling and recycling facilities.

Concerns

The proposed market for e-waste recycling appears unrealistic.

  • First, large-scale recycling of e-waste is still in its infancy in India.
  • Most of the recycling of valuable material is carried out within the informal sector using inefficient and unsafe technologies.
  • Given this a target to recycle 60% of the e-waste generated in 2022-23 appears too optimistic
  • Second, if the regulatory targets were to create a vibrant market for recycling, silence of draft on regulating registered collectors, dismantlers, and producer responsibility organisations is an issue.

Implementation

  • Experience from European countries suggests that recycling targets would likely be much more difficult for the regulators to monitor and enforce compared to collection targets.
  • Deciding whether the recycling target applies to every component of an e-product or it applies to its aggregate weight is important because the technological complexity and cost could vary by component.
  • The Steering Committee which oversee the overall implementation, monitoring, and supervision of the regulations lacks representation from science/academia and civil society organizations.

The draft e-waste Rules propose a few positive changes in India’s fight against waste management, however, it require careful deliberation with all the relevant stakeholders before the Rules are finalized.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Due to improper/indiscriminate disposal of old and used computers or their parts, which of the following are released into the environment as e-waste? (2013)

  1. Beryllium
  2. Cadmium
  3. Chromium
  4. Heptachlor
  5. Mercury
  6. Lead
  7. Plutonium

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

Q.2) In India, ‘extended producer responsibility’ was introduced as an important feature in which of the following? (2019)

  1. The Bio-medical Waste (management and handling) rules,1998
  2. The Recycled Plastic (manufacturing and usage) rules, 1999
  3. The e- Waste (Management and handling) rules, 2011
  4. The food safety and standard regulations, 2011

Unified Payments Interface

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: The success of United Payment Interface

  • The UPI was launched in 2016 and is operated by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • UPI operates on top of the Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) which was created by the NPCI for immediate fund transfers.
  • UPI based payments function broadly through three steps.
  • First, one’s bank account is mapped to a Virtual Payment Address (VPA).
  • A VPA eliminates the risk of mentioning account details in every transaction
  • Secondly, a Payment Service Provider (typically a bank) takes care of the to-and-fro transactions to this VPA and
  • Finally, the UPI software organize the fund movement from a customer’s VPA to a target VPA and completes the transaction.
  • This transaction is different from paying with a debit card or credit card as it does not involve a Merchant Discount Rate (MDR)

Popularity of UPI

  • The popularity of UPI is evident — from tiny roadside shops to large brands, many merchants accept UPI-based payments.
  • The primary reason for this penetration is that UPI accepts transactions as small as one rupee and for merchants, the absence of MDR that they have to pay to their banks is a significant incentive to accept UPI payments.
  • The security of a UPI transaction is tied to the user’s authentication with the mobile phone — there is a mobile personal identification number (MPIN) for the UPI application and there is one more layer of security through the bank’s online transaction PIN is to be keyed in as part of every UPI transaction.
  • The ecosystem in which UPI thrives: the presence of high-speed internet in many parts of the country, technologies that power a smartphone, cloud computing and modern software engineering technologies that fulfil a transaction in a few seconds has made it very popular.

The UPI is a phenomenal Indian technological success story. In 2019, Google requested the U.S. Federal Reserve to develop a solution similar to India’s UPI citing the thoughtful planning, design and implementation behind it.

From the dawn of civilisation, man has always accumulated and hoarded; however, UPI enables one to move around with an empty pocket barring a smartphone.

Source: The Hindu


Space sustainability

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Science and Technology – Space)

Context: Recently U.K. hosted the fourth summit for Space Sustainability in London in collaboration with the Secure World Foundation.

  • UK also announced a new ‘Plan for Space Sustainability’, thus bringing the focus back on space sustainability.
  • This plan aims to “set a global commercial framework for the insurability, the licensing and the regulation of commercial satellites.”

Problems

  • The earth’s orbital environment has more than tripled in the past decade.
  • One of the hot issues when it comes to space sustainability is orbital crowding.
  • It poses a direct threat to the operations and safety of a mission and is likely to cause legal and insurance-related conflicts.
  • Space debris is another prominent issue. After the completion of a mission, an ‘end-of-life protocol’ requires space objects to be moved to the graveyard orbit or to a low altitude.
  • Space weather threats – other causes of concern are solar and magnetic storms which potentially damage communication systems.

What does the U.K. plan for space sustainability entail?

  • The U.K. calls for an “Astro Carta” for space sustainability, based on the Artemis Accords model for sustainable space exploration.
  • The U.K. Space Sustainability plan mentions four primary elements:
  • to review the regulatory framework of the U.K.’s orbital activity;
  • to work with organisations such as the G-7 and the UN to emphasise international engagement on space sustainability;
  • to try and develop safety and quality-related metrics that quantify the sustainability of activities;
  • and, to induce additional funding of $6.1 million on active debris removal.

Where does India stand on space sustainability?

  • With the establishment of Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre (In-SPACe) – One can expect an increased role of the private sector in India’s space activities.
  • India is well on its way to create a subsystem that addresses global sustainability questions.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has initiated ‘Project NETRA’ to monitor space debris, this would aid further planning on protecting space assets.
  • In April 2022, India and the U.S. signed a new pact for monitoring space objects at the 2+2 dialogue.
  • To provide in-orbit servicing, ISRO is developing a docking experiment called ‘SPADEX’.
  • It looks at docking a satellite on an existing satellite, offering support in re-fuelling and other in-orbit services while enhancing the capability of a satellite.
  • This would not only ensure the longevity of a mission but would also provide a futuristic option to combine missions/experiments.

Way ahead

  • Sustainable practices in outer space would directly help reduce orbital crowding and collision risk while nurturing future technologies.
  • The Plan for Space Sustainability, which includes private industries, is a timely move.
  • Collective effort by all space players, with the active role of the UN COPUOS (United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space) or the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), is needed to set equitable standards for the ease of activities.
  • India has always emphasised cost-effective and efficient missions with problem-solving applications. Its debris footprint is minuscule; it has 114 debris among the 25,182 pieces, of sizes larger than 10 cm, in the lower earth orbits.
  • The UK’s Astro Carta idea throws light on the need for addressing the principles and rules that guide the activities of entities in outer space.

The role of public and private sector should be encouraged with a set of sustainability guidelines to ensure optimum utilization of resources and increase the safety and productivity of missions.

Source: The Hindu


Multilateralism

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Syllabus:

  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: In today’s world with the multilateral arrangements like BRICS, Quad, G7 etc the exchange of ideas with world leaders, seeking common ground on burning issues and recalibrating our policy accordingly are at the heart of diplomacy

  • But at a time when the world is trying to grapple with the impact of unprecedented problems, the various intergovernmental organisations and groupings, which are undergoing fundamental changes, may not be fertile places for building peace.

Perils of Multilateralism

BRICS

  • The composition of the group had its own contradictions right from the beginning.
  • It had two permanent members of the Security Council together with three aspirants to permanent membership.
  • The fundamental question of support for the three countries to secure permanent membership was fossilised on China’s position that the role of the developing countries should be enhanced, implying that there shall be no expansion of the permanent membership of the Security Council.
  • Russia’s support for India also got diluted as a result.
  • Even at the best of times, the BRICS partnership did not result in support for its three partners.

Russia-China link

  • The joint statement of BRICS summit 2022 did not indicate the stance that indicated in the beginning of a new relationship within BRICS.
  • In 2022 Russia is legally obliged to take the Chinese side in any future showdown between India and China.
  • With Russia continuing its war in Ukraine and China continuing to occupy Indian territory in Ladakh, there was little credibility in many of the words they used in the Joint Communique.
  • China pushed for expansion of membership at the summit itself even at a time when BRICS had no credible global agenda.
  • China showed no enthusiasm to bring India into the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) even after India met the criteria of a liberalised economy.
  • China seems to think that BRICS would be an extension of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • The Sri Lankan experience has exposed the Chinese strategy; it has been India, not China, which has come to the rescue of Sri Lanka.

India’s participation in G7 summit

  • The G7 made its own statement on the Ukraine war on expected lines and India was only involved in other issues such as environment, energy, climate, food security, health, gender equality and democracy.
  • The Prime Minister’s presence at the G7 summit enabled India to pursue several vital projects with G7 countries, but they will have to be pursued away from the theatre of war — an issue that has fully occupied the G7 countries .
  • India’s gain has been the opportunity it got to interact with world leaders

At the UAE (Bilateral engagement)

  • The limited gains of India at the BRICS and G7 summits have been in contrast with the enthusiastic welcome Prime Minister received in the United Arab Emirates.
  • India with this visit tried to smoothen the cracked relations with UAE and other West Asian countries, which were hurt by the totally objectionable remarks made by two former spokespersons of the ruling party.
  • The bilateral meeting was very effective.

Multilateral negotiations will be increasingly difficult in the present chaotic global situation. It is only by working bilaterally with potential allies that India can attain the status of a pole in the new world with steadfast friends and followers.

Source: The Hindu


Free speech and consent

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: The conflict between free speech and consent

  • Publishing non-consensual intimate images (NCII) is a criminal offence under the Information Technology Act 2000, with platforms doing their best to filter out such content.
  • While a criminal conviction is desirable, the more urgent need for victims is to stop the spread of this illegal content.
  • The Intermediary Guidelines 2021 provide a partial solution.
  • They empower victims to complain directly to any website that has allowed the uploading of non-consensual images or videos of a person in a state of nudity or engaging in a sexual act.
  • The website must remove the content within 24 hours of receiving a complaint, or risk facing criminal charges.

Concerns

  • This approach relies on victims identifying and sharing every URL hosting their intimate images.
  • Further, the same images may be re-uploaded at different locations or by different user accounts in the future.
  • While the Intermediary Guidelines do encourage large social media platforms to proactively remove certain types of content, the focus is on child pornography and rape videos.
  • Victims of NCII abuse have few options other than lodging complaints every time their content surfaces, forcing them to approach courts.

Existing practices to fight

  • Meta recently built a tool to curtail the spread of NCII
  • The tool relies on a “hashing” technology to match known NCII against future uploads
  • Other websites could eventually use this NCII hash database to identify illegal content
  • Australia has appointed an “e-Safety Commissioner” who receives complaints against NCII and coordinates between complainants, websites, and individuals who posted the content – with the Commissioner empowered to issue “removal notices” against illegal content.
  • Pairing a hash database with an independent body like the Commissioner may significantly reduce the spread of NCII.

Concerns

  • The use of automated tools raises free speech concerns that lawful content may accidentally be taken down.
  • Automatic filters often ignore context.
  • Content that may be illegal in one context may not be illegal in another.
  • While there exist tricky cases where courts may be required to intervene
  • The vast majority of NCII has no public interest component and can be taken down quickly.
  • Automated tools also have a much better record against images than text, with images less likely to be misinterpreted.

Way forward

The government’s reported overhaul of the Information Technology Act is an opportunity to develop a coordinated response to NCII-abuse that will provide victims meaningful redress without restricting online speech.

In the interim, courts should balance the harm caused by NCII with the need to protect online speech, courts may consider tasking a state functionary or independent body with verifying the URLs and coordinating with online platforms and internet service providers.

Source: Indian Express


Baba’s Explainer –  Custodial Deaths 

Custodial Deaths

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Security and its challenges
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors

Context: India has a grim record in police brutality and custodial violence. Between 2001 and 2018, 1,727 persons died in police custody, but only 26 policemen were convicted for such deaths.

  • The recent spate of custodial deaths in Tamil Nadu has yet again highlighted the methods used by the police during interrogation.
  • Madras high court came down heavily on the state police for the rising number of custodial deaths. The court observed that it reflected the “madness of the police” and recommended the appointment of a retired high court judge as the head of the State Police Complaints Authority.

Read Complete Details on Custodial Deaths

 


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Lancang-Mekong Cooperation is a multilateral format established in 2000
  2. The Lancang is the part of the Mekong that flows through China
  3. Myanmar and Vietnam are the members of Lancang-Mekong Cooperation

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about States’ Start-up Ranking Exercise

  1. It is released by Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT)
  2. This year Gujarat and Karnataka emerged as the Best Performers

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  1. It is a statutory organisation constituted under Environment Protection Act, 1986
  2. It is entrusted with functions and responsibilities under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  3. The Chairman of CPCB will head the steering committee which is mandated to implement Draft E-waste Management Rules, 2022

Choose the correct statements:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’5th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 4th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – a

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