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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th July 2022

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  • July 9, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Defence exports

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs
  • Mains – GS 3 (Science & Technology; Economy – Development)

In News: India’s defence exports for 2021-22 were estimated at ₹13,000 crore, the highest ever.

  • The S. was a major buyer, as also nations in Southeast Asia, West Asia and Africa.
  • The private sector accounted for 70% of the exports, while public sector firms accounted for the rest.
  • Earlier, the private sector used to account for 90% but now the share of defence public sector units had gone up.
  • While India’s defence imports from the U.S. have gone up significantly in recent years, Indian companies have been increasingly becoming part of the supply chains of U.S. defence companies.
  • In January, India signed a $374.96-million deal with the Philippines, its single biggest defence export order, for the supply of three batteries of shore-based anti-ship variant of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile.

Issues retarding defence exports

  • Excess reliance on Public Sector: India has four companies (Indian ordnance factories, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL)) among the top 100 biggest arms producers of the world.
  • Policy delays: In the past few years, the government has approved over 200 defence acquisition worth Rs 4 trillion, but most are still in relatively early stages of processing.
  • Lack of Critical Technologies: Poor design capability in critical technologies, inadequate investment in R&D and the inability to manufacture major subsystems and components hamper the indigenous manufacturing.
  • Long gestation: The creation of a manufacturing base is capital and technology-intensive and has a long gestation period. By that time newer technologies make products outdated.
  • Unease in doing business: An issue related to stringent labour laws, compliance burden and lack of skills, affects the development of indigenous manufacturing in defence.
  • Multiple jurisdictions: Overlapping jurisdiction of the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Industrial Promotion impair India’s capability of defence manufacturing.
  • Lack of quality: The higher indigenization in few cases is largely attributed to the low-end technology.
  • Lack of R&D: A lip service to technology funding by making token allocations is an adequate commentary on our lack of seriousness in the area of Research and Development.
  • Lack of skills: There is a lack of engineering and research capability in our institutions.

Steps taken by the Centre to boost defence production

  • Licensing relaxation: Measures announced to boost exports since 2014 include simplified defence industrial licensing, relaxation of export controls and grant of no-objection certificates.
  • Lines of Credit: Specific incentives introduced under the foreign trade policy has facilitated Lines of Credit for countries to import defence product.
  • Indigenization lists: On the domestic front, to boost indigenous manufacturing, the Government had issued two positive indigenization lists consisting of 209 items that cannot be imported.
  • Budgetary allocation: In addition, a percentage of the capital outlay of the defence budget has been reserved for procurement from domestic industry.

There is a need to create an environment for greater participation of private industry, a stable macro-economic and political environment, and a transparent business environment which encourages fair competition.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the international trade of India at present, which of the following statements is/are correct? (2020)

  1. India’s merchandise exports are less than its merchandise imports.
  2. India’s imports of iron and steel, chemicals, fertilisers and machinery have decreased in recent years.
  3. India’s exports of services are more than its imports of services.
  4. India suffers from an overall trade/current account deficit.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

IPBES Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species

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Syllabus

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

In News: A report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) was released.

  • The IPBES Assessment Report on the Sustainable Use of Wild Species has been carried out over four years.

Key findings

  • A report has found that with the accelerating global biodiversity crisis, a million species of plants and animals are facing extinction.
  • Humans depend on 50,000 wild species for various things, including food, energy, medicine, material and other purposes, directly depend on 10,000 species for food and that over-exploitation is one of the main reasons for biodiversity degradation.
  • People all over the world directly use about 7,500 species of wild fish and aquatic invertebrates, 31,100 wild plants, of which 7,400 species are trees, 1,500 species of fungi, 1,700 species of wild terrestrial invertebrates and 7,500 species of wild amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals.
  • Wild plants, algae and fungi provide food, nutritional diversity and income for an estimated one in five people around the world, in particular women, children, landless farmers and others in vulnerable situations.
  • Approximately 4 billion people, or one-third of the global population, rely on fuel wood for cooking and an estimated 880 million people globally log firewood or produce charcoal, particularly in developing countries.
  • Globally, wild tree species provide two thirds of industrial roundwood and half of all wood consumed for energy.
  • Small-scale fisheries support over 90% of the 120 million people and about half of the people involved in small-scale fisheries are women.
  • The report finds that 34% of marine wildlife is overfished.
  • Over-exploitation has been identified as the main threat to wild species in marine ecosystems and the second greatest threat to those in terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems.
  • Unsustainable fishing is the main cause for the increased extinction risk of sharks and rays over the past half century.
  • Unsustainable hunting has been identified as a threat for 1,341 wild mammal species, including 669 species that were assessed as threatened.
  • An estimated 12% of wild tree species are threatened by unsustainable logging and unsustainable gathering is one of the main threats for several plant groups, notably cacti, cycads, and orchids as well as other plants and fungi harvested for medicinal purposes.
  • Unsustainable harvest contributes towards elevated extinction risk for 28-29% of near-threatened and threatened species from 10 taxonomic groups assessed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Source: Indian Express


Leadership development programme

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy – Current Affairs

In News: The FSIB has asked the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to appoint an institution or firm to design and deliver a leadership development programme for PSU banks (PSBs).

  • Recently, Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) stated it will select top officials of banks via a grooming process under a leadership development programme.
  • The programme aims to groom business leaders of the PSBs who should be ready to assume top management and board level positions in PSBs and to drive long-term sustainable business in a competitive market place
  • The firm which will design and execute the programme will be selected by the IBA through a bidding process.
  • The objective is to develop future generation of leaders who are digitally savvy, strategic thinkers with capability to build highly collaborative teams and create a customer centric organisation that thrives in a very dynamic competitive environment.
  • The programme will up-skill around 75 participants in the senior management.
  • The proposed firm should have capability to design and deliver a training programme for senior officers of PSU banks that can be delivered through three modes — online as e-learning modules, online through live webinars, meetings and through in-person mode.

Financial Services Institutions Bureau

  • Recently, Cabinet Appointments Committee (ACC) has passed a government resolution to establish the Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) in place of the Banks Board Bureau (BBB).
  • The Financial Services Institutions Bureau will select the chiefs of public sector banks and insurance companies.
  • The FSIB will have the clear mandate to issue guidelines and select general managers and directors of state-run non-life insurers, general insurers and Financial Institutions.
  • FSIB will be the single entity for making recommendations for appointments of WTD (Whole-time Director) and NEC (Non-executive Chairman) in Public Sector Banks, India Private Limited company and Financial Institutions.
  • The ACC has approved the appointment of Bhanu Pratap Sharma as Initial chairperson of FSIB for two years. He was the former Chairman of BBB.

Banks Board Bureau (BBB)

  • The government, in 2016, approved the constitution of the BBB to make recommendations for appointment of whole-time directors as well as non-executive chairpersons of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and state-owned financial institutions.
  • It was an autonomous recommendation body.

Issues

  • Delhi High Court had struck down the BBB’s power to select directors of Public Sector Undertaking, general insurance companies
  • Delhi High Court in 2020 ruled that the BBB couldn’t select the general managers and directors of state-run general insurers, as it was not a competent body.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) The Chairmen of public sector banks are selected by the (2019)

  1. Banks Board Bureau
  2. Reserve Bank of India
  3. Union Ministry of Finance
  4. Management of concerned bank

Q.2) With reference of the ‘Banks Board Bureau (BBB)’, which of the following statements are correct? (2022)

  1. The Governor of RBI is the Chairman of BBB.
  2. BBB recommends for the selection of heads for Public Sector Banks.
  3. BBB helps the Public Sector Banks in Developing strategies and capital raising plans.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

PM Gati Shakti scheme

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Syllabus

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

In News: The states are being onboarded for real-time project coordination and collective decision-making in Pm Gati Shakti scheme.

  • With the states being onboarded aim is to reduce the time taken to plan and award a project by at least a third.
  • Recently, at the meeting chaired by Prime Minister and state chief secretaries, all state governments are learnt to have agreed to support the project.
  • The focus is on reducing the time taken to award a project — starting from preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) till the project is assigned.
  • While the process usually takes about 16-18 months, it is estimated that it could take just five-six months under the Gati Shakti scheme if a coordinated, real-time approach is implemented.

PM Gati Shakti

  • PM Gati Shakti plan envisages a centralised portal to unite the infrastructural initiatives planned and initiated by as many as 16 central ministries and departments.
  • GatiShakti targets to cut logistic costs, increase cargo handling capacity and reduce the turnaround time.
  • It is a campaign to lend more speed (Gati) and power (Shakti) to projects by connecting all concerned departments on one platform.
  • This way, the infrastructure schemes of various ministries and state governments will be designed and executed with a common vision.

Pillars of Gati Shakti:

Comprehensiveness:

  • It will include all the existing and planned initiatives of various Ministries and Departments with one centralized portal.
  • Each and every Department will now have visibility of each other’s activities providing critical data while planning & execution of projects in a comprehensive manner.

Prioritization:

  • Through this, different Departments will be able to prioritize their projects through cross-—sectoral interactions.

Optimization:

  • The National Master Plan will assist different ministries in planning for projects after identification of critical gaps.
  • For the transportation of the goods from one place to another, the plan will help in selecting the most optimum route in terms of time and cost.

Synchronization:

  • PM GatiShakti will help in synchronizing the activities of each department, as well as of different layers of governance, in a holistic manner by ensuring coordination of work between them.

Analytical:

  • The plan will provide the entire data at one place with GIS based spatial planning and analytical tools having 200+ layers, enabling better visibility to the executing agency.

Dynamic:

  • All Ministries and Departments will now be able to visualize, review and monitor the progress of cross-sectoral projects, through the GIS platform, as the satellite imagery will give on-ground progress periodically and progress of the projects will be updated on a regular basis on the portal.
  • It will help in identifying the vital interventions for enhancing and updating the master plan.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following is/are the aim/aims of “Digital India” Plan of the Government of India? (2018)

  1. Formation of India’s own Internet companies like China did.
  2. Establish a policy framework to encourage overseas multinational corporations that collect Big Data to build their large data centres within our national geographical boundaries.
  3. Connect many of our villages to the Internet and bring Wi-Fi to many of our schools, public places and major tourist centres.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Forest landscape restoration

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Syllabus

Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context:  In fight against climate change and its impact, Forest landscape restoration has gained focus.

  • According to the IUCN, deforestation and forest degradation contribute around 12% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Typically, governments have relied on afforestation and reforestation as a means of establishing trees on non-treed land.
  • These strategies have now evolved. The focus is now on forest landscape restoration — the process of regaining ecological functionality and improving human welfare across deforested or degraded forest landscapes.

Forest landscape restoration

  • Forest landscape restoration seeks to involve communities in the process of designing and executing mutually advantageous interventions for the upgradation of landscapes.
  • Nearly two billion hectares of degraded land in the world (and 140 million hectares in India) have scope for potential restoration as forest land.

Crucial Aspect

  • A crucial aspect of this process is to ensure the diversity of the species while planting trees.
  • Natural forests with diverse native tree species are more efficient in sequestering carbon than monoculture tree plantations.
  • Planting diverse species is also healthier for local communities and their livelihoods

Importance of forest

  • Forests are integral in regulating ecosystems, influencing the carbon cycle and mitigating the effects of climate change.
  • Annually, forests absorb roughly 2.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. This absorption includes nearly 33% of the carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels.
  • Millions of lives and livelihoods are intertwined with our forests.
  • Forests are a boon for local communities and their livelihoods by functioning as a resource base for goods and services.
  • Forest ecosystems enrich soil fertility and water availability, enhancing agricultural productivity, and in turn the rural economy.
  • Tree planting prevents erosion and stems flooding.
  • Sustainable forest crops reduce food insecurity and empower women, allowing them to gain access to more nutritional diets and new income streams.
  • Agroforestry lessens rural-to-urban migration and contributes to an increase in resources and household income.

India and programmes

  • India joined the Bonn Challenge in 2015, pledging to restore 26 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by 2030.
  • An additional carbon sink of 5 billion-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through forest and tree cover is to be created by 2030 as announced recently.
  • Government programmes includes Compensatory Afforestation, the National Afforestation Programme, the National Mission for a Green India (Green India Mission), the Nagar Van scheme and the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme to name a few.
  • There is a spotlight on youth via the Green Skill Development Programme for youth who aspire to attain employment in the environment and forest sectors.
  • However, forest restoration in India faces hurdles in terms of the identification of areas for restoration, a lack of importance accorded to research and scientific strategies in tree planting, stakeholders’ conflicts of interest, and financing.

What is the right way to undertake tree plantation drives?

  • Forest landscape restoration must be implemented proactively, bolstering landscapes and forest ecosystems to be durable and adjustable in the face of future challenges and societal needs.
  • It also needs the involvement and the alignment of a host of stakeholders including the community, champions, government and landowners.
  • Vulnerable forest-dependent communities should be factored in, and any effort should be tailored to the local socio-economic context and landscape history of a region.

Source: The Hindu


Gender Equality

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 1 (Social Issues)

Context: New Zealand Cricket striking a deal to remunerate its women cricketers the same as their male counterparts is a major landmark in the fight to close the gender pay gap in sports.

  • From August, New Zealand’s men and women players will be entitled to the same match fees, both at the international and domestic levels.
  • This comes four months after the United States’ women’s national footballers won the six-year-long battle with their federation to secure equal compensation.
  • The agreements are expected to be game changers, encouraging more girls to take up the sports.

Barriers

  • Historically, men taking to sport and following sport have been organic exercises, largely because of social conditioning.
  • Women, on the other hand, have been forced to internalise that sporting participation and fandom are not for them.
  • Unequal opportunities, curtailed playing time and lack of investment are the factors that are holding women back.
  • In cricket, any move to narrow the monetary gap between men and women, especially in India, is silenced by citing lower market ratings for the ladies’ game.
  • The need of the hour is to eliminate such barriers and improve access.

Reducing the pay gap is a step in right direction.  It is time the vicious cycle of fewer women accessing sports, fewer women becoming professionals and hence fewer women having commercial opportunities is broken and the glacial pace of the journey towards pay parity hastened.

Source: The Hindu


Beating the heat

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Syllabus:

  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment)

Context: India must include financial incentives for adoption of effective cooling plans.

  • India has been registering instances of anomalous weather with alarming frequency with an erratic monsoon, landslides, coastal erosion etc.

Rising temperature

  • An analysis of public weather data over the last half a century by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), suggests that the all-India average temperature during the monsoon months (June-September) is higher than the summer months (March-May).
  • Monsoon temperatures are 0.4°C higher than average summer temperatures in 2012-2021.
  • From 2015-2020, 2,137 people had reportedly died due to heat stroke in northwest India and southern India had reported 2,444 deaths due to excess environmental heat, with Andhra Pradesh accounting for over half the reported casualties.
  • The urban heat island effect — whereby cities because of concrete surfaces and dense populations tend to on average be hotter than rural habitations — also contributed to heat stress.

Steps taken

  • Indian authorities are cognisant of these trends with some States, led by Gujarat, having Heat Action Plans (HAP).
  • The National Disaster Management Authority is working with 23 out of 28 heat-prone States to develop HAPs that stress changes in the built environment
  • using material that keeps the indoors cooler, having an early warning system about heatwaves and improving health infrastructure to treat heat stroke patients.

Way Ahead

It is time that India includes financial incentives, preferably via Budget outlays, for effective cooling plans. Adapting to and mitigating this most visceral challenge is the need of the hour.

Source: The Hindu


MSMEs

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Syllabus:

  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Delayed payments for small firms stifle economic growth

Delayed Payments

  • Delayed payments to suppliers who are often MSMEs is a norm set by buyers who are often big companies and public sector units.
  • One estimates suggest that payments worth Rs 6.3-10.7 lakh crore were delayed to MSMEs during 2020-21 with the average days for the delays for micro, small and medium enterprises estimated to be 194, 68 and 46 days respectively.

Foregoing business opportunities due to lack of liquidity

  • For every day that a payment is delayed, there is an erosion of value. It locks in capital that could have been deployed gainfully.
  • The fact that this is a problem largely faced by cash-strapped and credit-starved MSMEs, makes the erosion of value even more acute.
  • Micro and small enterprises borrow at comparatively higher costs and often operate in very competitive environments, surviving on razor-thin margins.
  • Foregoing business opportunities due to lack of liquidity is not just detrimental to the specific firm or enterprise but is a deterrent to the overall growth of MSMEs.

Other types of costs incurred

  • The other types of costs incurred by such supplier firms include the time spent and the personnel costs employed to recover payments as well as the business forgone due to disrupted cash flows.

The issue needs to be addressed at multiple levels.

Intervention from the government

  • This kind of intervention should aim at changing the business culture and thereby strengthening all enterprises across the supply chain.
  • On this front, the MSME 2006 Act and the SAMADHAN platform are both steps in the right direction, but there are gaps.
  • There are close to one lakh complaints at present on the portal, amounting to Rs 25,000 crore.
  • But the disposal rate is low, suggesting that the mechanism is not backed by the necessary wherewithal to address the issues.
  • Also regulatory interventions are needed to shift the onus of timely payments onto the buyer firms.
  • On the supply chain financing and in-time credit – Market-based solutions lead to efficiency gains and maintain amicable supplier-buyer relations while easing cash flows for MSMEs.
  • Strengthening associations and credit practices of MSMEs – entrepreneurs learn to develop a unique value proposition for their services over time, to quicken this, MSMEs need to coalesce and work towards gaining sustainable credit terms.

The problem of delayed payments is a systematic one. It gives buyers an advantage that the economy cannot afford. On the other hand, small businesses and supplier firms have to work with a rising cost of capital due to delays and uncertainty in terms of planning business cycles.

If this issue is not addressed now, it will only add to the burden on the MSMEs, working against the smaller supplier firms and crippling economic activity for the vast majority of entrepreneurs in the country.

Source: Indian Express


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Financial Services Institutions Bureau (FSIB) replaced the Banks Board Bureau (BBB).
  2. Financial Services Institutions Bureau is headed by the Governor of RIB.
  3. FSIB will select the chiefs of public sector banks and insurance companies.

Choose the correct statements:

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

Q.2) Consider the following statements about PM Gati Shakti Scheme

  1. It is a multi-modal connectivity plan, with the aim of coordinated planning and execution of infrastructure projects to bring down logistics costs.
  2. The scheme subsumed the Rs 110 lakh crore National Infrastructure Pipeline scheme

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 about Dragon fruit

  1. The dragon fruit is indigenous to the China
  2. It is hardy and grows in diverse climatic conditions with varied soils
  3. Presently Mizoram tops among the States that cultivate this fruit in India

Choose the correct statements:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’9th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 8th JULY 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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