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

  • IASbaba
  • September 5, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Martand Temple

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History

In News:

Current controversies

  • In May this year, some pilgrims offered prayers inside the Martand Temple, an Archaeological Survey of India-protected (ASI) monument.
  • Soon after, J&K Lieutenant Governor participated in a ‘Navgrah Ashtamangalam Puja’ on the premises.
  • The ASI objected to this, saying no permission was granted for the ceremony.

History of Martand Temple

  • The Martand Temple was built by the Karkota dynasty king Lalitaditya Muktapida, who ruled Kashmir from 725 AD to 753 AD.
  • Lalitaditya built his capital at Parihaspora, the ruins of which also survive to this day.

About the Temple

  • Dedicated to Vishnu-Surya, the Martand Temple has three distinct chambers—the mandapa, the garbhagriha, and the antralaya—probably the only three-chambered temple in Kashmir.
  • The temple is built in a unique Kashmiri style, though it has definite Gandhar influences.”
  • A major historical source for Kashmir’s history remains Rajatarangini, written in the 12th century by Kalhana, and various translations of the work contain descriptions of Martand’s grandeur.

A confluence of architectural style

  • From the ruins of the temple, it is evident that the complex originally consisted of a principle shrine at the centre of a quadrangular courtyard, flanked towards the north and south by two small structures.
  • The central courtyard was initially filled with water supplied by a canal from river Lidar to a level which immersed almost one foot of the base of the columns.
  • This courtyard was enclosed by a colonnade, which seem to have consisted of 84 pillars.
  • The temple is influenced by Classical Greco-Roman, Buddhist-Gandharan, and North Indian styles.
  • Lalitaditya is known to have subjugated the king of Kannuaj, which can be one of the reasons for North Indian workers building his temple.

Destruction of Martand Temple

  • Many historians believe Sultan Sikandar ‘Butshikan’ (iconoclast) was behind it, others blame earthquakes, faults in the temple’s masonry, and the simple passage of time in an area prone to weather excesses.
  • One of the main sources that hold Sikandar responsible, is the work of poet-historian Jonarajawho wrote the ‘Dvitiya’, or second, Rajatarangini.
  • There are reports that the temple appears to have been destroyed by earthquakes, friable nature of the material used, frost and snow causing natural weathering, and improper fitting of stones at their joints.

Why Harsha broke temples

  • Three centuries after Lalitaditya and two centuries before Sikandar existed a Hindu king known for destroying and desecrating temples: King Harsha (1089 AD to 1101 AD) of the first Lohara dynasty.
  • Harsha’s actions against the temples had nothing to do with religion—he was simply a profligate king who ran out of money and began looting temples for treasure and for the precious metals of the idols.
  • However, Harsha appears to have spared the Martand Temple, where a few years before, his father had drawn his last breath.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which of the following is/are famous for Sun temples? (2017)

  1. Arasavalli
  2. Amarakantak
  3. Omkareshwar

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Places in News

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography (Map)

Prague

In News: Over 70,000 citizens of the Czech Republic gathered at the heart of the nation’s capital Prague in a protest against their government’s failure to control soaring energy prices.

  • The protesters also openly voiced their anger against NATO and the European Union.
  • The demonstration held is being seen as the largest show of public discontent in recent times against the cost-of-living crisis that has deepened in Europe amid the Russia-Ukraine war.
  • The Czech inflation is currently at its highest since 1993, and is expected to touch 20% in the coming months.
  • A key contributor to the double-digit inflation crisis is Russia’s decision to cap gas supplies to Europe, which has sent energy costs through the roof.

Russia-Ukraine war, and why Prague matters

  • Czech Republic is a member of both the European Union and NATO.
  • It has been one of the most strident supporters of Ukraine since the war began.
  • It currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency, and therefore is more diplomatically noticeable in the bloc’s efforts to project unity in the time of war.
  • Till mid-August, around 4,13,000 refugees – nearly 4% of the country’s population — had been registered in the Czech Republic.
  • The opposition to Russian aggression also comes from the historical reference point of the Prague Spring of 1968 when Soviet tanks rolled into then-Czechoslovakia to crush an uprising demanding a rapid transition to democracy.

Source: Indian Express


Nano-Urea

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In news: Despite being fast tracked for commercial application, nano-urea has yet to be fully tested. Nano-urea approval was granted in February 2021.

  • Nano-urea is developed by the Indian Farmers and Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) a multi-state cooperative society (based in New Delhi) and promoted by the government as a panacea to reduce farmer reliance on packaged urea.

Advantages over conventional urea:

  • In the field trials, it was claimed that a single half-litre bottle of the liquid (~ Rs 240 and is good for an acre of crop) can compensate for a 45 kg sack of urea granules (costs around ₹3,000 though it is made available to the farmer at ₹242).
  • Apart from significantly enhancing farmers’ income by lowering input and storage costs, nano urea liquid promises to increase agricultural yield and productivity.
  • Nano urea liquid also promises to give a long-term solution for plant nutrition by increasing crop nutrient efficiency while lowering soil, water, and air pollution.
  • It is very efficient to use because there is no wastage in application of Nano urea. Therefore, its efficacy is more than 80 per cent , whereas the conventional urea efficacy is only 30 per cent to 40 percent.
  • According to the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers, by 2025, India’s domestic urea production (conventional + nano-urea) would mean India would be self-sufficient in the manufacture of urea. This means, India would no longer require the 90 lakh tons that it imported every year and would save the country close to ₹40,000 crore.

Concerns expressed by agronomists about the new technology:

Claim of IFFCO is unfounded:

  • Urea is highly water soluble and already reaches the lowest form of concentration when absorbed.
  • It is uncertain how nanoparticles can improve nitrogen uptake efficiency by being even smaller.
  • Moreover, scientists are still unclear if the product can on its own cut farmers’ dependence on urea.

Conventional urea cannot be omitted:

  • As per the standard practice, when sowing crops such as wheat, rice, mustard, at least two 45-kg sacks of urea is used.
    • The first is applied during the early sowing or transplantation stage of the crop.
    • The second stage application is done when the plant has sprouted a canopy of leaves.
  • This means that traditional packaged urea is still required throughout the initial stage of crop development as basal nitrogen.
  • According to the findings, 50% of the top-dressed urea (second stage treatment) could be substituted but not basal nitrogen.

Source: The Hindu


Hyderabad Liberation Day

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: The Centre has decided to mark Hyderabad State Liberation Day on September 17.

  • The Telangana Government has decided to observe September 17 as Telangana National Unity Day.

History and Significance:

  • On September 17, 1948, more than one year after India got Independence, the erstwhile state of Hyderabad, comprising the entire state of Telangana and some districts in Maharashtra and Karnataka, got liberated from the Nizam rule.
  • This was possible due to the swift and timely action of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel under Operation Polo.
  • The struggles of the people of erstwhile Hyderabad state against colonialism, feudalism and autocracy are a symbol of national integration.

Background

Telangana rebellion

  • The Telangana rebellion was started by a group of peasants in late 1945, against the prevalent jagirdari system where power to collect revenue and govern certain landholdings was installed in certain officers.
  • Represented by the Comrades Association, who were affiliated with the Communist Party of India, the rebellion turned violent and clashed with the Razakars, a militia headed by Kasim Rizvi.
  • In 1945 Nizam of Hyderabad put forward multiple conditions to join India — all of which were unacceptable to the Indian state
  • In the meantime, Kasim Rizvi and his Razakars became increasingly dominating, difficult to ignore presence in Hyderabad.
  • He influenced all major decisions the Nizam undertook and installed his chosen men in the government.
  • In order to ensure that Hyderabad’s already deteriorating law and order condition did not worsen further, India signed the Standstill Agreement with Hyderabad, stating that all administrative agreements that were in place between the Nizam and the British Crown would continue between the Nizam and India.

Operation Polo

  • The signing of the Standstill Agreement, however, ensured peace for only about a year.
  • Almost instantly, Hyderabad started violating the conditions, simultaneously the violent activities of the Razakars increased, creating an atmosphere of anarchy in the state.
  • As a last resort, India launched ‘Operation Polo’ in September 1948 and defeated the rebel forces within five days to make Hyderabad an integral part of India.

Source: The Indian Express


National Legal Services Authority

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity

In News: Justice D.Y. Chandrachud has been appointed as the executive chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA)

  • Justice Chandrachud takes up the position that became vacant after Justice U.U. Lalit was elevated as the 49th Chief Justice of India (CJI).

The NALSA 

  • Constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.

Objective: To provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society and to organize Lok Adalats for amicable settlement of disputes.

  • While the CJI is the Patron-in-Chief, the second senior most judge of the Supreme Court of India is the executive chairperson of the Authority.
  • In every State, State Legal Services Authority has been constituted to give effect to the policies and directions of the NALSA and to give free legal services to the people and conduct Lok Adalats in the State.
  • The State Legal Services Authority is headed by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the respective High Court.

Constitutional Provisions:

  • Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.

Objectives of Legal Services Authorities:

  • Provide free legal aid and advice.
  • Spread legal awareness.
  • Organise lok adalats.
  • Promote settlements of disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms. Various kinds of ADR mechanisms are Arbitration, Conciliation, Judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat, or Mediation.
  • Provide compensation to victims of crime.

What are Legal Services Institutions at Various Levels?

  • National Level: NALSA was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987.
  • State Level: State Legal Services Authority. It is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief.
  • District Level: District Legal Services Authority. The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman.
  • Taluka/Sub-Division Level: Taluka/ Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee. It is headed by a senior Civil Judge.
  • High Court: High Court Legal Services Committee
  • Supreme Court: Supreme Court Legal Services Committee

Who is Eligible for Getting Free Legal Services?

  • Women and children
  • Members of SC/ST
  • Industrial workmen
  • Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
  • Disabled persons
  • Persons in custody
  • Those persons who have annual income of less than the amount prescribed by the respective State Government, if the case is before any court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs. 5 Lakhs, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
  • Victims of Trafficking in Human beings or begar.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to National Legal Services Authority, consider the following statements: (2013)

  1. Its objective is to provide free and competent legal services to the weaker sections of the society on the basis of equal opportunity.
  2. It issues guidelines for the State Legal Services Authorities to implement the legal programmes and schemes throughout the country.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) just declared that it has successfully demonstrated the new technology with Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (IAD).

What is IAD?

  • IAD is a technique used for an atmospheric entry payload.
  • An inflatable envelope and an inflatant (anything that inflates the envelope, like air or helium) make up the inflatable aerodynamic decelerator.
  • While entering the atmosphere, it inflates like a balloon and decelerates the lander.
  • The inflatant is designed to fill the inflatable envelope to a condition such that it surrounds the payload meant to enter the atmosphere of a planet or satellite and causes aerodynamic forces to slow it down.
  • In simpler words, IAD is designed to increase drag upon entering the atmosphere of any planetary body, like Earth, Mars, or even Moon.
  • Its shape is maintained by a closed, gas-pressured body and the inflatant gas is also generated internally. Some versions also use ram air or both.
  • Some space agencies, including NASA, have already successfully tested advanced versions of the technology, including the supersonic and hypersonic variants.
  • However, for near future missions of ISRO, the current version that it tested is perfect.

ISRO’s IAD

  • ISRO’s latest IAD has been designed and developed at Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
  • It also has a spin rocket that is ejectable.
  • The inflatable structure is made out of Kevlar fabric, which is a very strong synthetic fibre and also heat resistant to withstand atmospheric pressure and temperature changes.
  • On top of it, it’s coated with polychloroprene, an oil and wax resistant rubber, which can also withstand extreme temperatures.
  • The Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC), created the pneumatic inflation system for the IAD system.
  • In the inflation system, it uses compressed nitrogen stored in a bottle.
  • It has consistently decreased the payload’s velocity through aerodynamic drag while maintaining the expected trajectory during the test flight.

Where does ISRO intend to use it?

  • The IAD will help ISRO in performing many space tasks effectively including recovery of spent stages of rockets, for landing payloads on missions to other planetary bodies.

Source: The Hindu

Timesnownews.com

Previous Year Question

1) Which one of the following statements best reflects the idea behind the “Fractional Orbital Bombardment System” often talked about in media ?

  1. A hypersonic missile is launched into space to counter the asteroid approaching the Earth and explode it in space.
  2. A spacecraft lands on another planet, after making several orbital motions.
  3. A missile is put into a stable orbit around the Earth and deorbits over a target on the Earth.
  4. A spacecraft moves along a comet with the same speed and places a probe on its surface.

Dark sky reserve

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the Department of Science & Technology (DST) has announced the setting up of India’s first Dark Sky Reserve in Hanle, Ladakh.

  • Hanle, which is about 4,500 metres above sea level, hosts telescopes and is regarded as one of the world’s most optimal sites for astronomical observations.
  • A visitor centre would also be set up to inform people not only about astronomy but also the wildlife and plant life in the adjoining Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary.

A Dark Sky Reserve

  • It is a designation given to a place that has policies in place to ensure that a tract of land or region has minimal artificial light interference.
  • The International Dark Sky Association is a U.S.-based non-profit that designates places as International Dark Sky Places, Parks, Sanctuaries and Reserves, depending on the criteria they meet.

Significance:

  • Help in boosting local tourism and economy through interventions of science and technology.
  • To promote astro-tourism
  • Villages around Hanle will be encouraged to promote homestays equipped with telescopes that visitors can use to view the night sky.
  • Villagers and residents will also be trained to help visitors with astronomical observations.

Hanle: The Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), High Energy Gamma Ray telescope (HAGAR), the Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) and GROWTH-India are prominent telescopes located at the Hanle observatory.

Source: The Hindu


Bail for women

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Syllabus

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

In News: The Supreme Court allowed activist Teesta Setalvad interim bail in a case of alleged forgery and fabrication of records in connection with the 2002 Gujarat riots cases.

  • A three-judge Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India said a case of interim bail is “evidently made out” on consideration of the facts that she is a woman who has already undergone seven days of custodial interrogation.
  • CJI made an oral observation that under Section 437 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), a woman is entitled to favourable treatment.

What does the bail provision say?

  • Section 437 of the CrPC deals with bail in case of non-bailable offences.
  • It says a person shall not be released on bail if there is reasonable ground to believe that he has committed an offence punishable with death or life imprisonment; or, if he has been previously been convicted for an offence punishable with death, life imprisonment, or for a term of seven years or more; or been convicted on two or more occasions on other offences with a term between three and seven years.
  • However, it also contains exceptions in a proviso that says the court may grant bail even in these cases, “if such person is under the age of 16 or is a woman or is sick or infirm”.

Are there other provisions favourable to women accused?

  • There are several provisions in criminal law that give special consideration to women, of any age, when they are victims of offences, including sexual offences, in the way they are treated as witnesses and victims of crimes.
  • There are also some provisions relating to women when they are made an accused, and arrested.
  • For instance, when a police officer requires the attendance of any person who he believes is acquainted with a case under investigation, the person has to appear before the officer (Section 160).
  • However, no woman shall be required to do so at any place other than the place in which she resides. This is understood to mean that the officer has to visit the place of residence to make enquiries.

What does the CrPC say on the arrest of a woman?

  • A police officer may arrest a person who has committed a cognisable offence without a judicial order or a warrant (Section 41).
  • If the person does not submit to custody based on the word or action of the police, Section 46 enables the police officer to confine the person physically to effect the arrest.
  • A proviso was introduced in the CrPC in 2009 to the effect that where a woman is to be arrested, only a female police officer may touch the woman’s person, unless circumstances otherwise require.
  • Through a 2005 amendment, a subsection was added to Section 46 to prohibit the arrest of a woman after sunset or before sunrise.
  • In exceptional circumstances, a woman police officer can obtain the prior permission of a judicial magistrate to make the arrest.

What does it say on women who don’t appear in public?

  • The police may seek entry into any premises where they suspect that a person who is required to be arrested is present.
  • In a situation where any such place is an apartment in the occupancy of a female (who is not the person to be arrested) and if the woman is one who, by custom, does not appear in public, the police have to give notice to her so that she may withdraw before they enter it.
  • It adds that they shall afford her every reasonable facility for withdrawing before they break open and enter the place.
  • In yet another exception, a woman who intends to file a defamation case, but is one who does not appear in public according to custom, can ask someone else to file the complaint on her behalf.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India, consider the following statements: (2021)

  1. Judicial custody means an accused is in the custody of the concerned magistrate and such accused is locked up in police station, not in Jail.
  2. During judicial custody, the police officer in charge of the case is not allowed to interrogate the suspect without the approval of the court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct:

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

Contempt of court

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Syllabus

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

In News:  Attorney General of India has declined a request for consent to initiate criminal contempt of court proceedings against Senior Advocate and Member of Parliament Kapil Sibal for certain remarks that he made during a speech on the subject of “Judicial Rollback of Civil Liberties.

What is contempt of court?

  • Around the world, “contempt of court”, or simply “contempt”, is understood as a set of legal provisions that firewall courts, and safeguard and protect their ability to dispense justice.
  • According to The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court can either be civil contempt or criminal contempt.
  • Civil contempt means “wilful disobedience to any judgment, decree, direction, order, writ or other process of a court, or wilful breach of an undertaking given to a court”.
  • Criminal contempt, is attracted by “the publication (whether by words, spoken or written, or by signs, or by visible representations, or otherwise) of any matter or the doing of any other act whatsoever which:
  1. scandalises or tends to scandalise, or lowers or tends to lower the authority of, any court; or
  2. prejudices, or interferes or tends to interfere with, the due course of any judicial proceeding; or
  • interferes or tends to interfere with, or obstructs or tends to obstruct, the administration of justice in any other manner.

Who can bring a charge of criminal contempt of court against an individual?

  • The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, lays down the law on contempt of court.
  • Section 15 of the legislation describes the procedure on how a case for contempt of court can be initiated.
  • In the case of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and in the case of High Courts, the Advocate General, may bring in a motion before the court for initiating a case of criminal contempt.
  • However, the motion can be brought by a private citizen as well — and in such a case, the consent of the Attorney General (or the Advocate General, as the case may be,) is required.
  • The motion or reference made for initiating the case will have to specify the contempt of which the person charged is alleged to be guilty.

But what is the reason that the consent of the A-G is required?

  • The objective behind requiring the consent of the A-G before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.
  • The A-G’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that the A-G, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.

What if a court itself decides to bring a case of contempt?

  • In such a situation, the A-G’s consent is not required.
  • This is because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Constitution to punish for contempt, and such Constitutional powers cannot be restricted because the A-G declined to grant consent.

And what happens if the A-G denies consent (in the case of a private citizen)?

  • If the A-G denies consent, the matter all but ends.
  • The law also has a limitation period of one year for bringing in action against an individual.
  • The complainant can, however, separately bring the issue to the notice of the court and urge the court to take suo motu (on its own motion) cognizance.
  • Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.

What is the process if the A-G does grant consent?

  • Once the A-G gives his consent in writing, a notice under The Contempt of Courts Act is served personally on the person against whom the proceedings are sought to be initiated by the court.
  • If the court decides not to serve the notice personally, the law requires the court to record the reasons for it.
  • If the court is satisfied that the alleged contemnor is likely to abscond or evade judicial proceedings, it can order attachment of property of a value that it deems reasonable.
  • The alleged contemnor may file an affidavit in support of his defence, explaining the nature and circumstances of his/her remarks.
  • The case is required under the Act to be heard by a Bench of at least two judges.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements : (2022)

  1. Pursuant to the report of H.N. Sanyal Committee, the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 was passed.
  2. The Constitution of India empowers the Supreme Court and the High Courts to punish for contempt of themselves.
  3. The Constitution of India defines Civil Contempt and Criminal Contempt.
  4. In India, the Parliament is vested with the powers to make laws on Contempt of Court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Sri Lanka

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Syllabus

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

In News: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced a staff-level agreement with Sri Lanka, months after the island nation’s economic crisis intensified this year, following a serious Balance of Payments problem.

What is the staff-level agreement?

  • It is a formal arrangement by which IMF staff and Sri Lankan authorities agree on a $2.9-billion package that will support Sri Lanka’s economic policies with a 48-month arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF).
  • However, even though the IMF has agreed to support Sri Lanka, the EFF is conditional on many factors.
  • Sri Lanka must take a series of immediate measures that the Fund has deemed necessary to fix fiscal lapses and structural weaknesses — such as raising fiscal revenue, safeguarding financial stability and reducing corruption vulnerabilities.
  • Apart from making domestic policy changes to strengthen the economy, Sri Lanka must also restructure its debt with its multiple lenders.
  • The IMF has said that it will provide financial support to Sri Lanka only after the country’s official creditors give financing assurances on debt sustainability, and when the government reaches a collaborative agreement with its private creditors.

How will IMF funds will help Sri Lanka?

  • The package will help raise government revenue to support fiscal consolidation, introduce new pricing for fuel and electricity, hike social spending, bolster central bank autonomy, and rebuild depleted foreign reserves.
  • Starting from one of the lowest revenue levels in the world, the bailout programme will implement major tax reforms. These reforms include making personal income tax more progressive and broadening the tax base for corporate income tax and VAT.
  • The programme aims to reach a primary surplus of 2.3% of GDP by 2024.
  • The IMF package, to be paid in tranches over the next four years, is less than what India provided to Sri Lanka over four months.
  • However, an IMF loan will boost the receiving country’s credit ratings, and the confidence of international creditors and investors.

What is the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 190 member countries, each of which has representation on the IMF’s executive board in proportion to its financial importance, so that the most powerful countries in the global economy have the most voting power.

MUST READ:    Sri Lankan Economic Crisis

MUST READ:    IMF’s Lending instruments

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) “Rapid Financing Instrument” and “Rapid Credit Facility” are related to the provisions of lending by which of the following: (2022)

  1. Asian Development Bank
  2. International Monetary Fund
  3. United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative
  4. World Bank

Q.2) Recently, which one of the following currencies has been proposed to be added to the basket of IMF’s SDR? (2016)

  1. Rouble
  2. Rand
  3. Indian Rupee
  4. Renminbi

Feeding humanity, Saving the Planet

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Syllabus

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

Context: There is increasing awareness that humans are over-exploiting this planet’s natural resource endowment. This may threaten the very existence of humanity.

Consequences of over exploitation of natural resources:

  • Degradation of lands, especially the topsoil that is crucial for providing us with food, animal feed and fibre.
  • Groundwater is depleting and its quality is becoming poorer with the increasing use of chemical fertilisers and other industrial waste.
  • The air pollution at an alarming rate in certain parts of the world, especially in India, where at times it is difficult to even breathe in a city like Delhi when stubble burning peaks in farmers’ fields in Punjab and Haryana.

What is the real cause behind such a rapid deterioration in nature’s wealth:

  • There is imbalance between people, our planet, and the political economy of policies.
  • What we know is that roughly it took more than 2,00,000 years for homo sapiens to evolve into the current form of mankind. In 1804, for the first time in history, the human population touched one billion.
  • In next billion was added in 123 years with the count touching two billion by 1927. Several major breakthroughs in medical science ensured that the next billion was added in just 33 years by 1960.
  • The next billion was added in just 14 years with the population reaching four billion in 1974. The next billion took just 13 years (five billion in 1987), 11 years thereafter (six billion in 1998), 12 years thereon (seven billion in 2010), and another 12 years to touch eight billion in 2022.

This explosive growth of population, with higher and higher aspirations, has created a huge imbalance between the demands of people and the capacity of this planet to supply them in a sustainable manner.

Can this planet provide food for all through natural farming without the use of any chemical fertilisers, pesticides, modern high yielding varieties of seeds etc.?

  • Many governments, religious organisations, and some NGOs and individuals believe that there is no option but to go back to nature and practice organic/natural farming
  • Sri Lanka, for example, wanted to get rid of chemical fertilizers.
  • Even in India, we have some states (like Sikkim) declared as organic states, state like Andhra Pradesh is also scaling up natural farming and many others states are attempting to do so.
  • SAVE SOIL: A MOVEMENT THAT BEGAN 24 YEARS AGO: For three decades now, Sadhguru from ISHA Foundation has been continuously bringing the importance of soil and has said repeatedly at several international platforms: “Soil is our life, our very body. And if we forsake soil, in many ways, we forsake the planet.”
  • These are practice are in growing phase with the expectation that they are safe for society, augment their incomes and ensure food security for the masses through ample availability of food at affordable prices.

However, certain conducted studies which shows certain negative aspect of it such as

  • Studies conducted by ICAR in India show that with the adoption of natural farming yields go down for major staple crops like wheat and rice by as much as 30 to 50 per cent.
  • Given that India is going to be the most populous country on the planet in 2023, we need to take policy decisions with better and more scientific evidence if we want to avoid a Sri Lanka-like fiasco.

Use of Modern-technological tools to enhance the crop production:

  • AIML (Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning), GIS (Geographical Information System),which can use enormous data to bring about precision in farming.
  • Use of sensors, drones, doves, and LEOs (low earth orbits), space technologies, cloud computing, are all bursting out to provide the basis for a revolutionary epoch.
  • Drips, hydroponics, and aeroponics, vertical farming, are all available for mankind to get much more with very little exploitation of the planet’s natural resource endowment.

Government’s initiative for sustainable agriculture:

  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Regions (MOVCDNER):
    • It is a Central Sector Scheme, a sub-mission under National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA), in North-Eastern states
    • which aims to development of certified organic production in a value chain mode to link growers with consumers and to support the development of entire value chain starting from inputs, seeds, certification, to the creation of facilities for collection, aggregation, processing, marketing, and brand building initiative.
  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) :
    • It is an elaborated component of Soil Health Management (SHM) of major project  under National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) which promotes organic farming through adoption of organic village by cluster approach and Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) certification.
  • Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:
    • The scheme has come a long way since its inception in 2007 and has been implemented across two plan periods (11th and 12th). The scheme incentivizes States to increase public investment in Agriculture & allied sectors.

Therefore, there is need to address certain areas of concerns for sustainable farming

  • Precise and efficient use of Subsidy: In India, specifically, we have the culture of free power, free water, almost 80 to 90 per cent subsidy on urea, and so on. These subsidy policies may have been good in the 1960s or the 1970s when the country was hugely food deficit. But they are continuing and even increasing. So, effective and target subsidy should be provided with ‘sunset’ timing.

Thus, Precision farming needs to be promoted to get more output with less exploitation of natural resources while considering that natural resources are not exploited. This will help in sustainable food grain production which can feed the planet.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In the context of India, which of the following is/are considered to be of practice(s) of eco-friendly agriculture? (2020)

  1. Crop diversification
  2. Legume intensification
  3. Tensiometer use
  4. Vertical farming

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

India-world’s fifth-largest economy

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Syllabus

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

Context: According to the latest calculations by Bloomberg, India has become the world’s fifth-largest economy after it overtook the United Kingdom in end-March 2022.

Comparison between India and UK

  • On an adjusted basis and using the dollar exchange rate on the last day of the relevant quarter, the size of the Indian economy in nominal cash terms in the quarter through March was $854.7 billion.
  • On the same basis, UK was $816 billion.

GDP per capita

  • GDP per capita provides a more realistic comparison of income levels because it divides a country’s GDP by the population of that country.
  • The income of an average Indian is far lower.

Poverty levels

  • Low per capita incomes often point to high levels of poverty.
  • At the start of the 19th century, the UK’s share in extreme poverty was considerably higher than India’s.
  • However, the relative positions have reversed even though India has made giant strides in curbing poverty.

Human Development Index

  • The end goal of higher GDP and faster economic growth is to have better human development parameters.
  • The Human Development Index is a composite of health, education and standard of living parameters.
  • Despite its secular improvement, India might still take a decade to be where the UK was in 1980.

Universal Healthcare Coverage

  • A crucial element of becoming richer as a country is the quality of life available to citizens.
  • The Universal Health Coverage (UHC) Index is measured on a scale from 0 (worst) to 100 (best) based on the average coverage of essential services including reproductive, maternal, new born and child health, infectious diseases, non-communicable diseases and service capacity and access.
  • While faster economic growth and the government’s policy focus on healthcare schemes since 2005 have made a distinct improvement for India, there is still a long way to go.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exchange rates are calculated by comparing the prices of the same basket of goods and services in different countries.
  2. In terms of PPP dollars, India is the sixth-largest economy in the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2019)

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

India-Australia relations

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

Context: The fifth round of the bilateral Track 1.5 dialogue will set the pace for Canberra’s deepening relationship with New Delhi.

India-Australia Relationship

  • The India-Australia bilateral relationship has undergone an evolution in recent years, developing along a positive track, into a strategic partnership.

Economic Cooperation: Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at about US$ 12.5 billion in FY 2020- 21 and has already surpassed US$ 17.7 billion in the first 10 months of FY 2021-22.

  • Key imports from Australia include coal, gold and LNG while key exports to the country from India include diesel, petrol and gems and jewellery.
  • Recently both the countries signed a historic interim Economic Cooperation And Trade Agreement (INDAUS ECTA), which will give a fillip to India’s exports in the textiles, leather, gems, and jewellery sector Down Under.

Security Cooperation: India and Australia are both members of the Quad (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) along with the US and Japan.

  • In 2009, India and Australia established a ‘Strategic Partnership’, including a Joint Declaration on Security Cooperation which has been further elevated to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2020.

Science and Technology: The countries have established an Australia-India Strategic Research Fund {(AISRF) – a pillar of collaboration on science, technology and research} and successfully conducted the 2021 India Australia Circular Economy Hackathon.

  • Australia is also supporting India’s Gaganyaan Space Program.

People to People Ties: Australia is investing in India’s talented young people through a new Future Skills Initiative between education and training providers and industry.

  • This complements the Australian government’s significant new Maitri scholarships and fellowships which gives Indian students and researchers the chance to experience Australia’s world class education system.

Energy Cooperation: A Civil Nuclear Cooperation Agreement between the two countries was signed in 2014.

  • The agreement came into force in 2015 and provides the framework for substantial new trade in energy between Australia and India.

Regional and Multilateral Cooperation: Both the countries are part of QUAD, G20, WTO, WHO’s COVAX, ISA etc. regional and multilateral initiatives.

Concerns impeding the relationship

  • India’s stand on Russia- Ukraine crisis: Australia has criticized Russian invasion of Ukraine and sided with the U.S. and western countries.
  • However, India has refrained from criticizing Russia over the issue. This can create differences in bilateral discourse and the functioning of QUAD.
  • No Free Trade Agreement: Both the nations have been interacting and communicating with each other for decades but have failed to create a consensus on a Free trade agreement.
  • China’s Discontent: China is unhappy with growing security cooperation between Australia and India. The Chinese government responded to the Quadrilateral dialogue by issuing formal diplomatic protests to its members, calling it “Asian NATO”.
  • Lack of Uranium Supply: The progress on uranium supply has been very low, despite efforts from both sides.
  • In 2017, Australia had sent its first uranium shipment to India but that was cited as “a small sample of uranium” transferred “purely for testing purposes”.
  • Attacks on Indians: Increasing Racist attacks on Indians in Australia has been a major issue.

Way forward:

Energy: Australia is a natural partner for India in the energy sector.

  • Australia’s long-term and secure LNG supply can help diversify India’s current highly concentrated import supplies from the Middle East.

Science & Technology: India and Australia have a strong track record of collaborating in research and innovation.

  • The $84 million Australia-India Strategic Research Fund (AISRF) is Australia’s largest.
  • The Australian Government’s $1.1 billion National Innovation and Science Agenda present new opportunities to engage with India. The agenda resonates well with India’s ‘Start-up India’ and ‘Make in India’ campaign. This can be spread in other areas of science & technology

Economic ties: Our economies are highly complementary. But trade is still very narrow.

  • If we are to build depth to our economic relationship, we need to broaden its base. That is why negotiating a CECA will put in place the framework to support the freer flow of particularly services and investment between our countries. For India, CECA would give improved access to the world’s twelfth largest economy.

Security: Regular strategic dialogue should focus on common interests, including relating to China, Pakistan, Afghanistan, terrorism and maritime security.

  • A bilateral security declaration is needed between Australia and India.
  • India should reciprocate Australia’s overtures to engage as a priority maritime partner.
  • The two armies should help each other too, for example in Special Forces training.

Although there are strategic divergences in the Australia–India relationship, there are more common interests. The time has come for an honest appraisal of these divergences and introspection regarding how to build a stronger bilateral strategic relationship. Last year the Australian government released an India Economic Strategy that comprehensively laid out the weaknesses of the economic relationship and identified pathways to push it forward. Similar initiatives aimed at evaluating and advancing the geopolitical relationship are needed.

Source: The Hindu


 Baba’s Explainer – UN Report on Xinjiang

UN Report on Xinjiang

Syllabus

  • GS-2: India and its neighbourhood
  • GS-2: Human Rights
  • GS-2: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.

Context: The United Nations human rights office has released a long-delayed and damning report into conditions for the Uyghurs ethnic minority in China’s northwestern Xinjiang autonomous region.

The report details serious rights abuse against Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang and states that such treatment by China may amount to “crimes against humanity”.

India is currently the third largest carbon emitter in the world, behind the US and China.

Read Complete Details on UN Report on Xinjiang


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which of the following statement(s) regarding nano urea is/are correct?

  1. It is liquid urea in the form of a nanoparticle.
  2. It is developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), commonly known as the Pusa Institute.
  3. Its efficacy is more than 80 per cent , whereas the conventional urea efficacy is only 30 per cent to 40 percent.

Select the correct option using the code given below:

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

Q.2) Which of the following is/are initiative of government to promote the sustainable agriculture:

  1. Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) :
  2. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:
  3. MOVCDNER

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) Hanle region, recently seen in news is located in?

  1. Sikkim
  2. Jammu & Kashmir
  3. Ladakh
  4. Arunachal Pradesh

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

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


ANSWERS FOR 2nd September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – d

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