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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 15th September 2022

  • IASbaba
  • September 15, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Manasbal Lake, Kashmir

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (Map)

In News:

  • After a gap of 33 years, Manasbal Lake is once again open for training drills after raging militancy forced the Navy to abandon it.
  • Recently over 100 National Cadet Corps (NCC) cadets, both from J&K and outside, including female cadets, participated in exercises like sailing and boat pulling.
  • Such exercises here will motivate locals to join the NCC in the future.

 About Manasbal Lake:

  • Location: Central Kashmir’s Safapora area in Ganderbal district.
  • Features: It’s a freshwater lake with picturesque hills and pristine waters. The Mughal Garden, called the Jaroka Bagh, (meaning bay window) built by Nur Jahan overlooks the lake.
  • Biodiversity: The lake is a good place for birdwatching.
  • Flora: macrophytes and phytoplankton
  • Fauna: zooplankton, benthos and fish
  • History: Training in the area was suspended during the inception of militancy in the 1989 and thereby abandoned by the Navy. The NCC has been working in J&K since 1965.
  • Issues: Eutrophication (nutrient-induced increase in phytoplankton productivity) and pollution
  • Other lakes in Kashmir: Dal Lake, Wular Lake, Tarsar-Marsar Lakes

About NCC:

  • It is the youth wing of the Indian Armed Forces as a Tri-Services Organisation, comprising the Army, the Navy and the Air Force
  • Headquarters are in New Delhi, India.
  • It is open to school and college students on voluntary basis,
  • To develop the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.
  • The emblem of the NCC consists of 3 colours; red, dark blue and light blue representing the Indian Army, Indian Navy and Indian Air Force respectively. The 17 lotuses indicate the 17 directories of India.

Source : The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q1) Consider the following pairs: (2022)

Wetland/Lake Location

  1. Hokera Wetland – Punjab
  2. Renuka Wetland – Himachal Pradesh
  3. Rudrasagar Lake – Tripura
  4. Sasthamkotta – Tamil Nadu Lake

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

  1. Only one pair
  2. Only two pairs
  3. Only three pairs
  4. All four pairs

Schedule Tribes

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

Context: Cabinet approves addition of four tribes in Himachal, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh to ST list.

What are the tribes added to the Scheduled Tribes list?

  • The Hatti tribe in the Trans-Giri area of Sirmour district in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The Narikoravan and Kurivikkaran hill tribes of Tamil Nadu.
  • The Binjhia in Chhattisgarh, who were listed as ST in Jharkhand and Odisha but not in Chhattisgarh, were the communities newly added to the list.
  • Betta-Kuruba’ as a synonym for the Kadu Kuruba tribe In Karnataka.
  • In Chhattisgarh, the Cabinet approved synonyms for tribes like the Bharia (variations added include Bhumia and Bhuyian), Gadhwa (Gadwa), Dhanwar (Dhanawar, Dhanuwar), Nagesia (Nagasia, Kisan), and Pondh (Pond), among others.

Process to include tribes in the ST list:

  • It will start with the recommendation from the respective State governments, which are then sent to the Tribal Affairs Ministry, which reviews and sends them to the Registrar General of India for approval.
    • This is followed by the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes’ approval before the list is sent to the Cabinet for a final decision.

Note: The Cabinet approved a proposal to bring the Gond community residing in 13 districts of Uttar Pradesh, under the ST list from the Scheduled Caste list. This includes the five subcategories of the Gond community (Dhuria, Nayak, Ojha, Pathari, and Rajgond).

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India, the terms ‘Halbi, Ho and Kui’ pertain to  (2021)

  1. dance forms of Northwest India
  2. musical instruments
  3. pre-historic cave paintings
  4. tribal languages


The future of old times in India

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Schemes
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context:

  • Life expectancy in India has more than doubled since Independence — from around 32 years in the late 1940s to 70 years or so today. Many countries have done even better, but this is still a historical achievement.
  • The share of the elderly (persons aged 60 years and above) in India’s population, around 9% in 2011, is growing fast and may reach 18% by 2036 according to the National Commission on Population.

Outcomes of old age and loneliness – Mental issues:

  • A survey of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and the Government of Tamil Nadu, reports that among persons aged 60 and above, 30% to 50% had symptoms that make them likely to be depressed.
  • Among the elderly living alone, in the Tamil Nadu sample, 74% had symptoms that would classify them as likely to be mildly depressed or worse on the short-form Geriatric Depression Scale. A large majority of elderly persons living alone are women, mainly widows.

Pension helps:

                   

  • The hardships of old age are not related to poverty alone, but some cash often helps. Cash can certainly help to cope with many health issues, and sometimes to avoid loneliness as well.
  • The first step towards a dignified life for the elderly is to protect them from destitution and all the deprivations that may come with it.
    • That is why old-age pensions are a vital part of social security systems around the world.
  • India has important schemes of non-contributory pensions for the elderly, widowed women, and disabled persons under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), administered by the Ministry of Rural Development.

About NSAP:

  • NSAP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Government of India that provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  • Only BPL persons are eligible for it.

Components of NSAP: Presently NSAP comprises of five schemes, namely –

  • Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS)
  • Indira Gandhi National Widow Pension Scheme (IGNWPS)
  • Indira Gandhi National Disability Pension Scheme (IGNDPS)
  • National Family Benefit Scheme NFBS) and
  • Annapurna

Issues of NSAP:

  • Eligibility for NSAP is restricted to “below poverty line” (BPL) families, based on outdated and unreliable BPL lists, some of them are 20 years old.
  • The central contribution to old-age pensions under NSAP has stagnated at a tiny ₹200 per month since 2006, with a slightly higher but still paltry amount (₹300 per month) for widows.
  • Many States have enhanced the coverage and/or number of social-security pensions beyond NSAP norms using their own funds and schemes. Some have even achieved “near-universal” (say 75%-80%) coverage of widows and elderly persons.
  • “Targeting” social benefits is always difficult. There are huge exclusion errors in the BPL lists.
  • Even when lists of left-out, likely-eligible persons were submitted to the local administration, very few were approved for a pension, confirming that they face resilient barriers in the current scheme of things.

Way forward in social security schemes: Beyond targets

  • Many Officials have absorbed the idea that their job is to save the government money by making sure that no ineligible person qualifies by mistake.
  • For example, at some places in Tamil Nadu, if the applicant has an able-bodied son in the city, they may be disqualified, regardless of whether they get any support from their son. In their quest to avoid inclusion errors, many officials are less concerned about exclusion errors.
  • A better approach is to consider all widows and elderly or disabled persons as eligible, subject to simple and transparent “exclusion criteria”.
  • Eligibility can even be self-declared, with the burden of time-bound verification being placed on the local administration or gram panchayat.

Conclusion:

Social security pensions, of course, are just the first step towards a dignified life for the elderly. They also need other support and facilities such as health care, disability aids, assistance with daily tasks, recreation opportunities and a good social life. This is a critical area of research, policy, and action for the near future.

Source: The Hindu


Govt’s health spending

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 Economy, GS 2 Governance

In News: Recently Govt’s FY19 health spending dropped

About the Issue as per National Health Accounts Estimates 2018-19:

  • Government spending on health as a proportion of total health expenditure has increased by more than 11% over the previous five years, from 23.2% in 2013-14 to 34.5% in 2018-19.
  • Government spending as proportion of GDP went down to 1.28% from 1.35% in the previous year’s (2017-18) report.
  • Overall expenditure on health has declined. The total health spending — (both government and non-government agents) — went down from 3.9% of the GDP to 3.2% in the five years up to 2018-19.
  • Out-of-pocket health spending is lower at point of care, but people are still spending more than the government

About Out-of-pocket expenditure (OOPE) as per NSSO data:

  • Since healthcare services in the country being largely provided by private players; hence, out-of-pocket spending becomes important
OOPE Down

48.2% of the total health expenses in the year 2018-19

 

2.87 lakh crore, which was equivalent to 1.52% of the GDP for the year

Implying – people spent much more than the government

48.8% in the previous year (2017-18) 62.6% recorded in 2014-15

 

  • Comparison with other countries in the region as per Global Health Expenditure Database
  • In 2017, India – 66th position (out of 189 countries) with $100.05 per capita OOPE
  • Bhutan was at 37th, Bangladesh at 52nd, Pakistan at 55th
  • Highest in the developed countries
  • Switzerland 189th
  • United States ranking 185th
  • United Kingdom 167th
  • Causes
  • fewer people are seeking care, which is counter-intuitive considering health related distress are rising
  • data collection is such that it does not capture the spending by the richest 5% of the country, thereby leaving out a big chunk of out-of-pocket expenditure from the estimates.

About Current health expenditure:

  • Centre’s share = 11.71%, state governments = 19.63%, local bodies 1.01%, and households (including insurance contributions) = 60.11% corporates (as insurance contributions), NGOs, and external or donor funding.

  • Primary care was 47.4%, secondary care 31.7%, and tertiary care 14.9%. The rest was utilised for governance and supervision, and ‘others.

 

Causes

  • Using a wrong indicator that is internationally not comparable. The comparable indicator would be the current health expenditure, which does not include the capital spending on, say, building or equipment that will be used over multiple years

Miscellaneous

  • OOPE Includes cost-sharing, self-medication and other expenditure paid directly by private households

Issues with Health Sector

Lack of Primary Healthcare Services: The existing public primary health care model in the country is limited in scope.

  • Even where there is a well-functioning public primary health centre, only services related to pregnancy care, limited childcare and certain services related to national health programmes are provided.

Supply-Side Deficiencies: Poor health management skills and lack of appropriate training and supportive supervision for health workers prevent delivery of the desired quality of health services.

Inadequate Funding: India spent 1.8% of its GDP on health in FY 2020-21 and 1-1.5% in the previous years. India’s total out-of-pocket expenditure is around 2.3 % of GDP.

  • As compared with the OECD countries’ average of 7.6% and other BRICS countries’ average of 3.6% on their health sector, this is considerably low.

Overlapping Jurisdiction: There is no single authority responsible for public health that is legally empowered to issue guidelines and enforce compliance of the health standards

Less than Required Doctors:

  • India currently has one doctor over the population of 1,445 against the WHO norm of 1:1000.

Government’s scheme on healthcare

  • Ayushman Bharat Yojana
  • PM-JAY
  • National Rural health mission
  • PM Swasth suraksha yojana
  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush 3.0

Way Forward

  • To reduce costs outside a few islands of excellence, such as AIIMS, investments in other medical colleges should be promoted in order to potentially reduce costs and improve healthcare quality.
  • Emphasising on Public Private Partnerships (PPP), leveraging private sector expertise in achieving targets.
  • Incentivising R&D by additional tax deductions to further support greater investments in new drug developments.
  • To prepare the existing healthcare workforce to provide the people the proposed healthcare facilities, it is important to give significant attention to their training, re-skilling, and knowledge upgradation.

Source: Indian Express


Discrimination in labour market

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

In news: Discrimination in labour market

Sources of data:

  • 61st round of National Sample Survey on employment-unemployment (2004-05)
  • The Periodic Labour Force Survey in 2018-19 and 2019-20
  • All-India Debt and Investment Survey by the Centre
  • ‘India Discrimination Report’, compiled by the NGO Oxfam India from 2004-05 to 2019-20
  • Data from the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation

Meaning of Discrimination

  • Discrimination in the labour market is when people with identical capabilities are treated differently because of their identity or social backgrounds

Meaning of Endowments

  • It includes education, parental education and years of experience
  1. A) Discrimination against women
  • Hardly any difference across religion or caste-based sub-groups, or the rural-urban divide.
  • Gender discrimination in India is structural resulting in great disparities between earnings of men and women under ‘normal circumstances’
  • Unemployed women have a high level of education and equal endowments as their male counterparts.
  • Unemployment occurs because of prejudice; social biases such as women won’t be able to keep late hours or travel for work; and family and social pressure wherein women withdraw from the workforce or are not allowed to work.
  • Overall discrimination in wages for women in this period increased from 67.2% in 2004-05 to 75.7% in 2019-20.
  1. B) Discrimination against SC and ST communities
  • In rural India such discrimination is increasing in casual employment.
  • However, there has been some decline due to endowments.
  • For SC/ST employees, discrimination declined from 69.1% in 2004-5 to 34.6% in 2018-19 but increased to 39.3% in 2019-2020.
  1. C) Discrimination against Dalits and Adivasis and religious minorities like Muslims:
  • Exists in terms of accessing jobs, livelihoods, and agricultural credits.
  • For the Muslim community, the endowments are very low and limited access to regular salaried jobs. Therefore, Muslims are largely self-employed in family-owned businesses.
  • They are also part of specialised jobs like cobbling or carpentry, where there is no (or little) competition. So, the discrimination against Muslims is low simply because the endowments are also low.
  • Discrimination in employment for the Muslim community dropped from 31.5% in 2004-5 to 21.9% in 2018-19 to 3.7% in 2019-2020.

Data as per sources cited above:

Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) for women the proportion of working-age population that engages actively in labour market, either by working or looking for work declined from 42.7% in 2004-05 to 25.1% in 2021
In 2019-20, aged 15 and above that had regular salaried or self-employed jobs Male – 60% Female – 19%
For regular, self-employment in urban areas, the average earning Male – Rs. 15,996 Female – Rs. 6,626
in 2019-20, Mean income for people with regular employment in urban areas SC or ST communities

Rs 15,312

General – Rs 20,346
Muslims in urban areas faced discrimination in 2019-20 = 68.3% in 2004-05= 59.3%
In 2019-20, people above 15 years of age in regular salaried jobs Non- Muslims = 23.3% Muslims= 15.6%
Oxfam report

regular, salaried in urban areas in 2019

non-Muslims = Rs 20,346 on average Muslims = Rs 13,672
Oxfam report

Self-employed in 2019

 

non-Muslims = Rs 15,878 Muslims = Rs 11,421

(Despite over-representation of Muslims in urban self-employment)

How to fight Discrimination

There are two possible strategies to reduce these biases: the first focuses on the victims of discrimination by empowering them to break free from the stereotypes that target them, while the second focuses on perpetrators.

  • The first approach should be the heart of the policy.
  • Frame initiatives in favour of equal opportunities allow identifying priority actions: enabling women to play on an equal footing with men through a better sharing of domestic and family tasks, which would be made possible by extending paternity leave; improving the employability of older people by preventing the risk of obsolescence of their skills; improving the educational and professional integration of people with a vulnerable and migrant

Regarding the second approach, there has a wide range of legislation to combat discrimination.

  • The actions against the perpetrators of discrimination are rarely brought to court.
  • Thus, making the threat of legal sanctions credible is critical: this requires a better knowledge of the legal framework and the possible remedies in case of discrimination in the labour market, and the presence of trained interlocutors to assist employees in their efforts.

Oxfam

  • It is founded and led by Oxfam International (British founded confederation) in 1942 consisting of 21 independent charitable organizations
  • Focusing on the alleviation of global poverty
  • Oxfam India was one of the organisations that faced an Income Tax survey recently. Oxfam maintained that it was compliant with domestic laws.

National Statistical Office (NSO):

  • Formed with the merger of NSSO and CSO.
  • The Statistics Wing of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MOSPI)
  • Recommended by Rangarajan Commission
  • To implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies.
  • It consists of 3 directors.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In India, which one of the following compiles information on industrial disputes, closures, retrenchments and lay-offs in factories employing workers?

  1. Central Statistics Office
  2. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
  3. Labour Bureau
  4. National Technical Manpower Information System

Water Crisis in India

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context:

  • United Nations World Water Development Report of 2022 has encapsulated global concern over the sharp rise in freshwater withdrawal from streams, lakes, aquifers and human-made reservoirs, impending water stress and water scarcity being experienced in different parts of the world.

Growing water stress – various reports:

  • In 2007, ‘Coping with water scarcity’ was the theme of World Water Day (observed on March 22).
  • The new Water Report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) sounded a note of caution about this silent crisis of a global dimension, with millions of people being deprived of water to live and to sustain their livelihood.
  • A NITI Aayog report, ‘Composite Water Management Index’ (2018) has sounded a note of caution about the worst water crisis in the country, with more than 600 million people facing acute water shortages.

Water stress and water scarcity:

  • Water scarcity is a physical, objective reality that can be measured consistently across regions and over time.
  • “Water stress” refers to the ability, or lack thereof, to meet human and ecological demand for water.
  • Compared to scarcity, “water stress” is a more inclusive and broader concept.
  • India is experiencing a very significant water challenge, approximately 820 million people of India – living in twelve river basins across the country have per capita water availability close to or lower than 1000m3 – the official threshold for water scarcity as per the Falkenmark Index.
  • Falkenmark Indicator or Water Stress Index:
    • It defines water scarcity in terms of the total water resources that are available to the population of a region; measuring scarcity as the amount of renewable freshwater that is available for each person each year.

Types of water scarcity: Water scarcity is the lack of fresh water resources to meet the standard water demand. There are two types of water scarcity

Physical water scarcity is where there is not enough water to meet all demands, including that needed for ecosystems to function effectively.

  • Arid areas for example Central and West Asia, and North Africa often suffer from physical water scarcity.
  • Economic water scarcity is caused by a lack of investment in infrastructure or technology to draw water from rivers, aquifers, or other water sources, or insufficient human capacity to satisfy the demand for water.
    • Much of Sub-Saharan Africa has economic water scarcity.

Other issues of water scarcity:

  • The typical response of the areas where water shortage or scarcity is high includes transfer of water from the hinterlands/upper catchments or drawing it from stored surface water bodies or aquifers.
    • This triggers sectoral and regional competition; rural-urban transfer of water is one such issue of global concern.
  • Increasing trans-boundary transfer of water between rural and urban areas has been noted in many countries since the early 20th
    • A review paper published in 2019 reported that, globally, urban water infrastructure imports an estimated 500 billion liters of water per day across a combined distance of 27,000km. At least 12% of large cities in the world rely on inter-basin transfers.
  • A UN report on ‘Transboundary Waters Systems – Status and Trend’ (2016) linked this issue of water transfer with various Sustainable Development Goals proposed to be achieved during 2015 to 2030.
    • The report identified risks associated with water transfer in three categories of biophysical, socio-economic and governance. South Asia, including India, falls in the category of high biophysical and the highest socio-economic risks.

Urban water use:

  • According to Census 2011, the urban population in India accounted for 34% of total population.
    • It is estimated that the urban population component in India will cross the 40% mark by 2030 and the 50% mark by 2050 (World Urbanization Prospects, 2018).
  • Dependence on groundwater continues particularly in the peri-urban areas in almost all large cities that have switched to surface water sources.
    • While surface water transfer from rural to urban areas is visible and can be computed, the recharge areas of groundwater aquifers are spread over well beyond the city boundary or its periphery.
  • At present, the rural-urban transfer of water is a lose-lose situation in India as water is transported at the expense of rural areas and the agricultural sector; in cities, most of this water is in the form of grey water with little recovery or reuse, eventually contributing to water pollution.
  • Rural and urban areas use water from the same stock, i.e., the water resources of the country. Therefore, it is important to strive for a win-win situation.

The case of Ahmedabad

  • Ahmedabad is an interesting case in this context. More than 80% of water supply in this city used to be met from groundwater sources till the mid-1980s.
    • The depth to groundwater level reached 67 meters in confined aquifers. The city now depends on the Narmada canal for the bulk of its water supply.
    • The shift is from local groundwater to canal water receiving supply from an inter-State and inter-basin transfer of surface water.
  • Whatever be the source, surface or groundwater, cities largely depend on rural areas for raw water supply, which has the potential to ignite the rural-urban dispute.
    • Available studies covering Nagpur and Chennai indicate the imminent problem of rural-urban water disputes that the country is going to face in the not-so-distant future as water scarcity grows, which will be further exacerbated by climate change.

 Way forward:

  • A system perspective and catchment scale-based approach are necessary to link reallocation of water with wider discussions on development, infrastructure investment, fostering a rural-urban partnership and adopting an integrated approach in water management.
  • Institutional strengthening can offer entry points and provide opportunities to build flexibility into water resource allocation at a regional level, enabling adjustments in rapidly urbanizing regions.
  • Authorities must also simultaneously work to enhance waste water recycling and water recharge activities targeting aquifers and wells through rainwater harvesting.
  • In India’s 75th anniversary of Independence, it is time to examine the state of its water resources and ensure that the development process is not in jeopardy.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer –Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme

Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

Context: The Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (UEGS) has rolled out in Rajasthan with the objective of providing economic support to the poor and needy families living in the cities through work to be provided on demand for 100 days in a year.

  • Rajasthan State government has touted it as the country’s biggest scheme to give guaranteed jobs to the people residing in cities, on the lines of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) for villagers started by the UPA government at the Centre in 2006.

Read Complete Details on Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to India, the terms ‘Kurivikkaran, Hatti, and Binjhia’ pertain to?

  1. Merchant guilds
  2. Scheduled Tribes
  3. Scheduled Castes
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding National Social Assistance Programme:

  1. It is a central sector programme.
  2. It is administered by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  3. It provides financial assistance to the elderly, widows, and persons with disabilities in the form of social pensions.
  4. Only BPL persons are eligible for it.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Manasbal Lake

  1. It’s a freshwater lake in Ladakh.
  2. Lake water outflows to the Jhelum River through a regulated outflow channel.

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 ’15th September 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 14th September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – a

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – d

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