IASbaba's Daily Current Affairs Analysis
(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)
- Prelims – Current Affairs
In News: The nation’s first Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC-1) is set to be commissioned soon in the presence of Prime Minister of India; the Indian Navy has announced.
What is the aircraft carrier INS Vikrant?
- The INS Vikrant – the 44,000-tonne indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC) – is the first to be designed and constructed in India.
- After its induction, the warship will be a key component of the Indian Navy’s push to establish itself as a “blue water” force, one with the ability to project its power on distant seas.
- The Vikrant stretches 262 metres in length, exceeding that of two football fields and is 62 metre wide. Around 20 aircraft can be parked in the hangar.
- It has a top speed of around 28 knots (more than 50 kmph) and a cruising speed of 18 knots with an endurance of about 7,500 nautical miles.
- Over 76 per cent of the material and equipment on board the carrier is indigenous, including 21,500 tonnes of special grade steel developed indigenously and used in Indian naval ships for the first time.
- This is the first time in the country that a ship of the size of an aircraft carrier is completely modelled in 3D and production drawings extracted from the 3D model.
- The Made-in-India warship is a feather in the country’s cap, as only five or six nations have the capacity of building an aircraft carrier.
It will be carrying:
- the Russian-made MiG-29K fighter jet,
- Kamov-31 early warning helicopters,
- the indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters and
- the MH-60R multirole helicopter made by the American defence major Lockheed Martin.
Why is it named Vikrant?
- INS Vikrant was India’s first aircraft carrier, which it acquired from the United Kingdom in 1961.
- It played a key role in the 1971 war with Pakistan which led to the creation of Bangladesh. It was decommissioned in 1997.
- Now India’s first homemade aircraft carrier will carry the name of her illustrious predecessor.
Other aircraft carriers:
- The Indian Navy has only one operational aircraft carrier at present – the INS Vikramaditya.
- The country’s two earlier carriers, INS Vikrant and INS Viraat, were originally the British-built HMS Hercules and HMS Hermes before being commissioned into the Navy in 1961 and 1987 respectively.
The commissioning of the warship, which will be christened ‘Vikrant’, will mark a “historical milestone of realisation of Nation’s commitment towards AatmaNirbharta” (self-reliance).
Source: Indian Express
Previous Year Question
Q.1) With reference to the Agni-IV Missile, which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? (2014)
- It is a surface-to-surface missile.
- It is fuelled by liquid propellant only.
- It can deliver a one-tonne nuclear warhead about 7500 km away.
Select the correct answer using the codes given below.
- 1 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
- Prelims – Current Affairs
In News: Weeks after a mystery disease hit the paddy crop causing “dwarfing” of the plants in Punjab and Haryana, the scientists at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) decoded the mystery blaming it on ‘Southern Rice Black-Streaked Dwarf Virus’ (SRBSDV), named after Southern China where it was first reported in 2001.
- This is the first time that SRBSDV has been found in Punjab.
- The SRBSDV is transmitted by white-backed plant hopper (WBPH) in a persistent circulative and propagative manner.
- In addition to rice, SRBSDV also infects different weed species as nymphs of WBPH can transmit the virus more efficiently as compared to adults.
- Long-distance transmission of this virus may occur through WBPH migrating with the typhoons and strong convection winds.
- There was no corrective measure for the viral disease, farmers should regularly monitor the crop for the presence of WBPH.
- Many farmers in Punjab and Haryana have been complaining about stunted rice plants for the past 20-25 days.
- The height of the stunted plants showed a reduction from 1/2 to 1/3rd of the normal plants.
- These plants had shallow roots and could be easily uprooted.
Must Read: Mystery ‘dwarfing’ disease
Source: Indian Express
- Prelims – Current Affairs
In News: The whole state of Punjab had already been declared as “controlled area” and a ban on inter-district and inter-state movement of any pig or its belongings has been imposed.
- Earlier African Swine Fever has been confirmed for the first time, at a private pig farm in Kerala, after more than 15 pigs on the farm had died due to the disease in the last ten days.
About African Swine Fever (ASF):
- Cause: Large DNA virus of the Asfarviridae family. Only virus with a double-stranded DNA genome known to be transmitted by arthropods.
- Affects domestic & wild pigs.
- Symptoms: Includes weight loss, intermittent fever, respiratory signs, chronic skin ulcers & arthritis. Acute forms are characterised by anorexia, loss of appetite & haemorrhages in the skin.
- Transmission: Through natural hosts (warthogs, bushpigs & ticks) acting as vectors & by direct/indirect contact with infected pigs, their faeces & body fluids.
- Vaccination: No approved vaccine yet.
- Geographical Distribution: First detected in Kenya in 1909 & currently found in Asia, Europe & Africa.
- Public Health Risk: Not risky for humans.
- For the prevention of the disease in these areas, restrictions under the provisions of The Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009 and the National Action Plan for Control, Containment and Eradication of African Swine Fever (June 2020) have been imposed.
- Application of classic sanitary measures, early detection & humane killing of animals.
- Thorough disinfection, stricter biosecurity norms & restricted supply from affected areas.
Source: The Hindu
- Prelims – Science and Technology
In News: Army accelerates procurement of light tank ‘Zorawar’ for LAC.
- Realising the protracted threat along the northern borders with China and the induction of the enemy’s technologically “state-of-art” tanks, the Indian Army is pushing for “Project Zorawar”.
- Zorawar will be the name of the Light Tanks which have been envisaged to be manufactured indigenously.
- Zorawar will be designed to operate from High Altitude Area, the marginal terrain to the Island territories and will be highly transportable for rapid deployment to meet any operational situation.
- Zorawar will have niche technologies to include Artificial Intelligence, Drone integration, Active Protection System, High Degree of Situational Awareness.
- Zorawar Singh Kahluria was the famed military general of Dogra King Gulab Singh and was adept at mountain warfare. New tanks will be named after him.
- Missile-firing capability, counter-drone apparatus, warning system and a power-to-weight ratio will make the tanks “very agile”.
- The light tanks will help the Army overcome the limitations of medium battle tanks and equip the force for all contingencies in high altitude area, marginal terrain and island territories besides its utilisation in the plains, semi-deserts and deserts.
Army inducts indigenous swarm drone systems
- Indian Army has inducted indigenously produced Swarm Drones Systems aiming to employ them in both offensive and defensive operations.
- The force believes that it will be providing a decisive edge to the tactical commanders employing them.
- A swarm drone system consists of a number of small drones which are AI enabled and capable of communicating with the control station as well as among themselves and provide asymmetric capabilities for taking out frontline assets of the adversary.
- The application of swarm drones in recent conflicts worldwide especially Armenia, Azerbaijan, Syria and strike on oilfields in Saudi Arabia and ongoing war in Ukraine have highlighted their potency in modern warfare.
Source: The Hindu
- Prelims – Science – Current Affairs
- Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD), a viral infection of cattle has been observed in several states of which Gujarat and Rajasthan are more affected states.
- In Rajasthan, around 27,000 cattle heads have reportedly succumbed to the virus. Since 2019, outbreaks of the disease have been reported in 20 states of India.
What is the LSD virus?
- LSD is caused by the lumpy skin disease virus (LSDV), which is a virus of the capripoxvirus genus in the poxviridae family.
- Sheeppox virus and goatpox virus are the other members of the genus capripoxvirus.
- The LSDV mainly affects cattle — cow and its progeny, and the Asian water buffaloes.
- However, the disease is not zoonotic, meaning it does not spread from animals to humans, and humans cannot get infected with it.
Areas of its prevalence: According to the FAO report, LSD was long restricted to sub-Saharan Africa. However, over the past decade, it spread to the Middle East and Turkey.
How it spreads?
- The LSDV spreads through blood-sucking vectors like ticks and mites like houseflies, mosquitoes, etc.
- It also spreads through contaminated water, fodder, and feed. Mosquito and housefly infestations which remain at their peak during the monsoon season.
Symptoms of LSD:
- Signs of infection include the appearance of circular, firm nodes on the animal’s hide or skin that look like lumps.
- Infected animals immediately start losing weight and may have fever and lesions in the mouth, along with a reduced milk yield.
- Other symptoms include excessive nasal and salivary secretion.
- Pregnant cows and buffaloes often suffer miscarriage and, in some cases, diseased animals can die due to it as well.
What is the Government response to check its spread:
- As LSD being a viral disease, there is no specific cure once an animal contracts the virus and therefore vaccination is the most effective tool.
- Animal husbandry department has been providing free treatment to infected cattle and has been appealing to dairy farmers and cattle-herders to contact it via its helpline number 1962.
- Setting up isolation centres for feral cattle in urban areas while prohibiting cattle fairs and exhibitions and transportation of cattle in the affected areas.
Source: Indian Express
- Prelims – Geography
In News: An independent panel of the World Bank is considering a plea by residents of Haat village, Chamoli district, Uttarakhand to investigate environmental damage from the under-construction Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project (VPHEP).
- The 444-MW VPHEP is being built by the Tehri Hydropower Development Corporation (THDC), a partially State-owned enterprise.
- The project is primarily funded by the World Bank and was sanctioned in 2011.
- It is proposed to be completed in June 2023. About 40% of the funds for the $792 million project (₹64,000 crore approx.) had already been disbursed.
- Residents in their complaint to the bank panel have said muck dumping from the dam threatens the local Lakshmi Narayan Temple.
- Other than ecological damage the project had caused forced resettlement, loss of livelihoods and, in several instances, the amount of compensation offered was inadequate.
- This is the third such complaint to the bank panel by villagers with neither of them having triggered an investigation by the panel.
Hydropower projects in Uttarakhand
- Hydropower projects in Uttarakhand have been a controversial issue.
- Following complaints by local environmentalists, the Supreme Court ordered a review of hydropower electric projects and tasked a panel of experts with determining whether they were environmentally sustainable.
- Based on their reports, two ministries – the Environment Ministry and the Jal Shakti Ministry— concurred that most of the projects sanctioned by the Uttarakhand government needed to be junked, except for seven that were already over 50% complete. The VPHEP is one such.
Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project
- The World Bank’s assisted Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project to be developed by the THDC India Ltd (THDC) on the Alaknanda River in Uttarakhand.
- The Vishnugad Pipalkoti Hydro Electric Project has been designed as a 444-megawatt, run-of-river hydropower scheme which, when completed, will generate an estimated 1,665 gigawatt-hours.
Source: The Hindu
Previous Year Question
Q.1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)
- Ghataprabha: Telangana
- Gandhi Sagar: Madhya Pradesh
- Indira Sagar: Andhra Pradesh
- Maithon: Chhattisgarh
How many pairs given above are not correctly matched?
- Only one pair
- Only two pairs
- Only three pairs
- All four pairs
Q.2) Consider the following rivers: (2021)
Which of the above rise from the Eastern Ghats?
- 1 and 2
- 2 and 4
- 3 and 4
- 1 and 3
- Prelims – Environment – Current Affairs
In News: The Union Ministry of Environment has objected to the transfer of thousands of hectares of land without following due process by Chhattisgarh from its Forest to the Revenue Department for setting up industries and for building road, rail, and other infrastructure.
- While the Chhattisgarh government has described these areas as non-forest land that were earlier given “by mistake” to the Forest Department, the Environment Ministry has warned that the land in question is “undemarcated protected forests”, which cannot be used for non-forest purposes without clearance under the Forest Conservation (FC) Act, 1980.
Forests in law
Broadly, state Forest Departments have jurisdiction over two types of forests notified under the Indian Forest (IF) Act, 1927:
- Reserve Forests (RF), where no rights are allowed unless specified; and
- Protected Forests (PF), where no rights are barred unless specified.
- Certain forests, such as village or nagarpalika forests, are managed by state Revenue Departments.
FC Act, 1980
- The FC Act, 1980, applies to all kinds of forests, whether under the control of the Forest or the Revenue Department, and it requires statutory clearance before forests can be used for any non-forest purpose such as industry, mining, or construction.
- In 1976, forests were included in List III (Concurrent List) under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
- The recorded forest area in Chhattisgarh covers 44.21% of its geography.
Orange, a grey area
- Under the zamindari system, villagers used local malguzari (livelihood concessions) forests for firewood, grazing, etc.
- When zamindari was abolished in 1951, malguzari forests came under the Revenue Department.
- In 1958, the government of undivided Madhya Pradesh notified all these areas as PFs under the Forest Department.
- Madhya Pradesh amended the IF Act, 1927, in 1965 — when forests figured in the State List — to allow denotification of PFs.
- The areas yet to be surveyed — undemarcated PFs — were marked in orange on the map.
- The FC Act came in 1980, and required central clearance for non-forest use of forest land.
- This led to a situation where the rights of lakhs of villagers, including those settled by the government through pattas, remained restricted.
After Madhya Pradesh was split
- Carved out of MP in 2000, Chhattisgarh inherited its share of ‘orange’ areas.
- Ranked second after Orissa in implementing the Forest Rights Act, 2006, the state has settled over 26,000 claims since 2019.
- Chhattisgarh did not seek central clearance to transfer over 300 sq km to Revenue, they claim, because it did not have to.
Supreme Court Ruling
- In 1996, the SC defined ‘forest’ after its dictionary meaning, irrespective of the status of the land it stands on.
- It also defined forestland as any land thus notified on any government record irrespective of what actually stands on that land.
- To meet this broad definition, Madhya Pradesh in 1997 framed a policy — an area no smaller than 10 hectares with at least 200 trees per hectare — to identify forests in Revenue areas for handing over to the Forest Department.
- Based on this policy some non-forest areas also came under the Forest Department.
- These non-forest areas, they claim, are now being identified and returned to the Revenue.
What happens now?
- Clearance for non-forest use of forestland under the FC Act requires giving back twice the area for compensatory afforestation (CA) from Revenue to Forest.
- That would defeat the very purpose of the state government’s action.
- However, conversion of Forest to Revenue land has been exempted from CA under exceptional circumstances in the past.
- For example, when enclaves were moved out of forests, the SC allowed those to be resettled at the edge of the forests, in the absence of suitable Revenue land, as revenue villages.
Must Read: Deemed Forest + Forest Conservation Act 1980 & compensatory afforestation + Forest Conservation Rules
Source: Indian Express
- Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)
Context: Nepal has postponed the recruitment rallies which were to be held in that country to recruit Gorkha soldiers for the Indian Army under the Agnipath scheme.
Why has Nepal postponed Agnipath recruitment rallies?
- The decision to postpone these rallies has been taken by the Nepalese government as it is of the opinion that this new form of entry into the Indian military is not covered under the Tripartite Agreement signed between Nepal, Indian and UK governments in 1947.
- According to reports from Nepal, the government feels that the Agnipath scheme must be approved by it and for that political consultations with all parties in Nepal must take place.
What was the Tripartite Agreement between India, Nepal and UK?
- Soon after Indian Independence on August 15, 1947, an agreement was reached by the governments of India, Nepal and the UK regarding the future of the Gorkha soldiers who were serving in the Indian Army.
- As per the terms of this agreement four regiments of Gorkha were transferred to the British Army while the rest remained with the Indian Army.
- The agreement also provides for the terms and conditions of the Nepal-domiciled Gorkha soldiers in the Indian Army and for their post-retirement benefits and pensions.
- The largest body of Gorkha troops serves in the Indian Army while in the UK their presence has been reduced from four regiments to just two.
Have any changes been made in Gorkha unit recruitments over the years?
- There have been attempts to reduce the dependence on Nepal for the Gorkha soldiers in the Indian Army, and to this effect, the composition has increasingly been attempted to be balanced between Indian and Nepal-domiciled troops.
- Also, a pure Indian Gorkha battalion was raised in 2016.
What is the socio-economic impact on Nepal of Gorkha soldiers serving in the Indian Army?
- A major economic and social impact is felt in Nepal due to the Nepal-domiciled Gorkha soldiers serving in the Indian Army and much of it has to do with the remittances that they send home.
- These remittances have “significantly contributed to social modernization in the isolated villages, while the financial remittances spurred entrepreneurship development thereby contributing to regional development”.
- Another aspect is the presence of ex-servicemen of the Indian Army in Nepal retired personnel form an important link of goodwill between India and Nepal.
Must Read: Agnipath Recruitment Scheme + India – Nepal Relations
Source: Indian Express
- Mains – GS 3 (Environment)
In News: Achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2070 could boost India’s economy by as much as 4.7% above the projected baseline growth in GDP terms by 2036, worth a total of $371 billion as per the report by High-level Policy Commission on Getting Asia to Net Zero.
- It could also create as many as 15 million new jobs by 2047.
- The Getting India to Net Zero report, as it is called, contains new research and modelling and finds that policies to initiate the clean energy transition will be crucial in determining when India achieves net zero emissions and how much it could benefit from it.
- Positive economic impacts are driven in part by an improved trade balance of $236 billion due to reduced demand for fossil fuels.
- By reaching net zero by 2050, India could boost annual GDP by as much as 7.3% ($470 billion) and create nearly 20 million additional jobs by 2032, compared with the current policies, the report finds.
- Net zero emissions by 2070 would require an economy-wide investment of $10.1 trillion from now; 2050 calls for $13.5 trillion, the research finds.
- Additional finance would free up existing resources to tackle negative impacts of climate policies such as carbon taxes, and to help reskill and upskill workers.
Must Read: India’s higher Climatic Targets
Source: The Hindu
- Prelims – Polity
- Mains – GS-3 (Internal Security)
- The statement made by the Prime Minister this year, to the people of the North-east to the effect that the Government intends withdrawing the much-dreaded Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958, or AFSPA, completely from the region
- This follows its partial withdrawal from parts of Assam, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur in March this year could spell tidings for the denizens of these States.
What is AFSPA?
- A colonial era legislation that was enacted to quell the protests during the Quit India movement, the AFSPA was issued by way of four ordinances in 1947.
- The ordinances were replaced by an Act in 1948 and the present law effective in the Northeast was introduced in Parliament in 1958
- The ASFPA gives unfettered powers to the armed forces and the Central armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas”
- It allows them to open fire, even causing death, against any person in contravention to the law or carrying arms and ammunition.
- Also, it gives them powers to arrest individuals without warrants, on the basis of “reasonable suspicion”, and search premises without warrants.
- The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising in the Naga Hills, followed by the insurgency in Assam.
- The Act was amended in 1972 and the powers to declare an area as “disturbed” were conferred concurrently upon the Central government along with the States.
Controversy around the Act
Human Rights Violations:
- The exercise of these extraordinary powers has often led to fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces
- Example: Custodial rape and killing of the Thangjam Manorama by the Assam rifles in 2004
Misuse of Absolute Power:
- The power to shoot on sight violates the fundamental right to life, making the soldier on the ground the judge of the value of different lives and people the mere subjects of an officer’s discretion.
Violates Fundamental Rights:
- The power of arbitrary arrest and detention given to the armed forces goes against the fundamental right vested in Article 22
Immunity against any Punitive Action
- The act provides immunity to the armed forces against prosecution, suit or another legal proceeding, which shall be instituted only with the previous sanction of the central government.
Supreme Court Views on the Act
- The Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of AFSPA in a 1998 judgment (Naga People’s Movement of Human Rights v. Union of India).
Supreme Court Orders – 2016
The Supreme Court judgement said:
- Every death in the ‘disturbed areas’, be it of a common person or insurgent, should be thoroughly enquired by the CID at the instance of the NHRC
- Not every armed person violating the prohibitory order in a disturbed area is an enemy. Even though he is considered an enemy a thorough investigation has to be conducted, since every citizen of India is entitled to all the fundamental rights including Article 21 of the constitution.
- Even if the enquiry finds the victim to be an enemy, a probe should look into whether excessive or retaliatory force was used.
- There is no concept of absolute immunity for army personnel who commit a crime.
Recommendations of Jeevan Reddy Committee:
- In November 2004, the Central government appointed a five-member committee headed by Justice B P Jeevan Reddy to review the provisions of the act in the northeastern states.
The committee recommended that:
- AFSPA should be repealed and appropriate provisions should be inserted in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967
- The Unlawful Activities Act should be modified to clearly specify the powers of the armed forces and paramilitary forces and Grievance cells should be set up in each district where the armed forces are deployed.
Current Status: There is gradual reduction in areas under the Act
- Improvement in the security situation
- An increase in development activity in the region
- On the political side much headway has been made in moving towards a political solution like peace accords, ceasefire and creation of sub-regional administrative arrangements.
- The AFSPA has become a symbol of oppression in the areas it has been enacted. Hence the government needs to address the affected people and reassure them of favourable action.
- The armed forces must build the necessary trust amongst the locals to ensure their support in countering insurgency.
- The state bureaucracy, army, and the grass-root civil society organization should come together in the developmental activities of the state.
Source: The Hindu
Daily Practice MCQs
Q.1) Consider the following pairs:
Hydroelectric project and rivers
- Vishnugad Pipalkoti – Bhaghirathi
- Bhakra Nangal – Sutlej
- Bansagar – Sone
- Balimela – Indravathi
How many pairs given above is/are correctly matched?
- One pair only
- Two pairs only
- Three pairs only
- All four pairs
Q.2) ‘Vizhinjam sea port’ recently seen in the news, is in
- Trivandrum, Kerala
- Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu
- Cochin, Kerala
- Mangalore, Karnataka
Q.3) Consider the following statements
- Forests are included in List III under the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
- Under Forest Conservation (FC) Act, 1980 Central clearance is required for non-forest use of forest land.
Choose the incorrect statements:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!
ANSWERS FOR ’27th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.
ANSWERS FOR 26th August 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs
Q.1) – c
Q.2) – b
Q.3) – d
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