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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 7th September 2022

  • IASbaba
  • September 7, 2022
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Ramon Magsaysay Award

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Syllabus

  •  Prelims – Current Affairs

In News

  • The Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation had picked former Kerala health minister K K Shailaja for the 64th Magsaysay award. However, the ex-minister has turned down the award on following ground:
    • Ramon Magsaysay was a known oppressor of Communists; and
    • The fight against Covid in Kerala was collective.
    • The fight against Covid-19 was not the achievement of any single person. Generally, political leaders are not considered for the Magsaysay award.

Ramon Magsaysay Award

  • Launched in 1958, the Ramon Magsaysay Award is widely considered to be Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
  • The award is given to individuals and organisations in Asia for selfless service to society in various fields.
  • The award was set up by trustees of the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Philippine government to carry forward Magsaysay’s legacy of service to the people, good governance, and pragmatic idealism.
  • The award is given out every year on August 31, on Magsaysay’s birth anniversary.
  • The awardees are presented with a certificate and a medal with an image of Ramon Magsaysay.

Who was Ramon Magsaysay?

  • Ramon del Fierro Magsaysay Senior was the seventh president of the Philippines, from 1953 until his death in an air crash in 1957.
  • He came to prominence during the 2nd world war when Japanese forces occupied the Philippines — then a colony of the US — for nearly four years.
  • In December, 1953, he was elected president from the Nationalist Party, the oldest political party in the Philippines.

What is the link between Communism and Magsaysay

  • Philippines plunged into post-war chaos after 1946. Also, during this period, with the expansion of capitalism, the gap between the rich and poor widened and the farmers continued to languish.
  • As the country was a close ally of USA, many leaders were viewed with suspicion over their declaration of commitment to communism and the demand for peasant rights.
  • The then government of Philippines started severe crackdown on these leaders.
  • It was under the administrative and military policies of Magsaysay that the threat from communism was considered to be neutralised.

Indian winners on the list

  • Prominent Indians who have won the award include Vinoba Bhave in 1958, Mother Teresa in 1962, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay in 1966, Satyajit Ray in 1967, Mahasweta Devi in 1997.
  • In recent years, Arvind Kejriwal (2006), Anshu Gupta of Goonj (2015), human rights activist Bezwada Wilson (2016), and journalist Ravish Kumar (2019) have won the award.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Consider the following statements in respect of Bharat Ratna and Padma Awards:

  1. Bharat Ratna and Padma awards are titles under the Article 18 (1) of the Constitution of India.
  2. Padma Awards, which were instituted in the year 1954, were suspended only once.
  3. The number of Bharat Ratna Awards is restricted to a maximum of five in a particular year.

Which of the above statements are not correct?

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

Foundational Learning Study (FLS)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Current Affairs

In News: A nationwide study has been carried out jointly by the Union Ministry of Education and the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

  • With a sample size of 86,000 students in 10,000 schools, the study — the largest ever in terms of scale at the foundational level
  • Assessment done: Literacy skills of students in 20 languages including English.
  • Methodology: Unlike the National Achievement Survey (NAS), which evaluates learning outcomes of students in Classes III, V, VIII and X through a test based on multiple choice questions (MCQs) every three years, the findings of the were based on one-to-one interviews with each participant.
  • Interactions of the students with the field investigators were standardised to remove discrepancy.

Depending on their performance, the students were categorised into four groups:

  • Those who lacked the most basic knowledge and skills
  • Those who had limited knowledge and skills
  • Those who had developed sufficient knowledge and skills
  • Those who had developed superior knowledge and skills.

Key Findings:

  • 37 per cent of students enrolled in Class III have “limited” foundational numeracy skills, such as identifying numbers, while 11 per cent “lack the most basic knowledge and skills”.
  • While 15 per cent lacked “basic skills” in English, 30 per cent were found to have “limited skills”, 21 per cent had sufficient skills, while 34 per cent had fairly superior skills.
  • At the national level, 11 per cent did not have the basic grade-level skills; 37 per cent had limited skills; 42 per cent had sufficient skills; and 10 per cent had superior skills.
  • In numeracy, Tamil Nadu, at 29 per cent, had the maximum number of students who could not complete the most basic grade-level tasks, followed by Jammu and Kashmir (28 per cent), Assam, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat (18 per cent).
  • Among other Indian languages, the proportion of students who lacked basic skills was: 17 per cent in Marathi, 20 per cent in Bengali, 17 per cent in Gujarati, 17 per cent in Malayalam, 42 per cent in Tamil, and 25 per cent in Urdu.

Utility of the Findings:

  • The findings will set the baseline for NIPUN Bharat (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy), the Centre’s scheme to improve foundational learning.

National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN Bharat)

  • Aims to achieve universal foundational literacy and numeracy in primary classes and to ensure that all children attain grade-level competencies in reading, writing and numeracy.
  • Lays down priorities and actionable agendas for States/UTs to achieve the goal of proficiency in foundational literacy and numeracy for every child by grade 3.
  • Detailed guidelines have been developed for implementation of the NIPUN Bharat Mission which includes the Lakshya or Targets for Foundational Literacy and Numeracy starting from the Balvatika upto age group 9.

Source: The Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) ‘SWAYAM’, an initiative of the Government of India, aims at (2016)

  1. promoting the Self Help Groups in rural areas
  2. providing financial and technical assistance to young start-up entrepreneurs
  3. promoting the education and health of adolescent girls
  4. providing affordable and quality education to the citizens for free


iNCOVACC Gets DCGI Nod for Restricted Emergency Use

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science & Technology

In News: The national drug regulator, DGCI, has given the green signal to the country’s first intra-nasal Covid vaccine for emergency use in adults – iNCOVACC.

  • Manufactured by Bharat Biotech, the company behind Covaxin, in partnership with Washington University-St Louis, and partly funded by the Department of Biotechnology’s Covid Suraksha programme
  • The new vaccine has been approved for primary immunisation — it can be administered only to the unimmunised.
  • Those who have already received the first and second doses of other vaccines will not be eligible to get iNCOVACC as the “precaution” third dose.

Source: Bharat Biotech

The Administration

  • Will be delivered through the nasal route.
  • This would potentially trigger an immune response in the mucosal membrane.
  • It has been designed to not only protect against infection but also reduce transmission of the virus.
  • May produce local antibodies in the upper respiratory tract, which may provide the potential to reduce infection and transmission.
  • The vaccine uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, which cannot replicate in the body, to carry the Covid spike protein to induce immunity.

Benefits of intranasal vaccine

  • Promises to be more effective, since it is expected to generate immune responses at the site of infection (respiratory mucosa)
  • Non-invasive, Needle-free.
  • Ease of administration – does not require trained health care workers.
  • Elimination of needle-associated risks (injuries and infections).
  • High compliance (Ideally suits for children’s and adults).
  • Scalable manufacturing – able to meet global demand. It can produce 100 million doses a month.

India’s Progress Card

  • India has, so far, administered a total of 213 crore vaccine doses, of which 102 crore are first doses
  • Nearly 98 per cent of adults in India had received at least one dose by the third week of July
  • Currently, Covishield, Covaxin and Corbevax are part of the Government’s Covid immunisation drive while vaccines like Covovax and Sputnik are available at private centres.

About Drugs Controller General of India

  • Drugs Controller General of India is the head of department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization of the Government of India.
  • Responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines, and sera in India
  • DCGI also sets standards for manufacturing, sales, import, and distribution of drugs in India.
  • Comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  • DCGI lays down the standard and quality of manufacturing, selling, import and distribution of drugs in India.
  • Acting as appellate authority in case of any dispute regarding the quality of drugs
  • Preparation and maintenance of national reference standard
  • To bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • DCGI also act as Central Licensing Authority (CLA) for the medical devices which fall under the purview of Medical Device Rules 2017

Source: The Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In the context of vaccines manufactured to prevent COVID-19 pandemic, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. The Serum Institute of India produced COVID-19 vaccine named Covishield using mRNA platform.
  2. Sputnik V vaccine is manufactured using vector based platform.
  3. COVAXIN is an inactivated pathogen based vaccine.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

National Clean Air Programme

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Syllabus

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

In News: An analysis by the environmental think tank, Centre for Science and Environment, reported “barely any difference” in trends in particulate matter pollution (PM2.5) between the group of cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and those outside its ambit.

  • It covers 132 of India’s most polluted or so-called non-attainment cities.
  • This is defined as a city whose air quality did not meet the national ambient air quality standards of 2011 to 2015.
  • The NCAP launched in 2019 aims to bring a 20%-30% reduction in pollution levels from PM2.5 and PM10 particles by 2024, using 2017 pollution levels as a base.
  • The CSE in its national analysis of PM2.5 levels in cities for which data is available found that between 2019 and 2021, only 14 of 43 (NCAP) cities registered a 10% or more reduction in their PM2.5 level between 2019 and 2021.
  • On the other hand, out of 46 non-NCAP cities, 21 recorded significant improvement in their annual PM2.5 value with 5% or more decline between 2019 and 2021.
  • There is hardly any difference between the performance of NCAP and non-NCAP cities between 2019 and 2021.
  • Cities in Punjab, Rajasthan and Maharashtra dominated the list of cities which registered a significant increase in PM2.5 levels between 2019 and 2021.
  • The cities of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat dominate the list of non-NCAP cities that have registered significant increase in air pollution levels.

National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)

It was launched by the MoEFCC in January 2019 as a long-term, time-bound, national level strategy that features:

  • Making determined efforts to deal with the air pollution problem across the country in a comprehensive manner.
  • Achieving 20% to 30% reduction target in Particulate Matter concentrations by 2024 where 2017 is kept as the base year for the comparison of concentration.
  • Identification of 122 non-attainment cities across the country based on the 2014-2018 Air Quality data.
  • Non- Attainment Cities are the cities which do not meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards.

  • Preparation of the city specific action plans including measures to strengthen the monitoring network, reduce vehicular/industrial emissions, increase public awareness
  • Implementation of the city specific action plans to be regularly monitored by Committees at Central and State level namely Steering Committee, Monitoring Committee and Implementation Committee.
  • Facilitating collaborative, multi-scale and cross-sectoral coordination between the relevant central ministries, state governments and local bodies.
  • Establishing a right mix with the existing policies and programmes.
  • Increasing number of monitoring stations in the country including rural monitoring stations, technology support.
  • Emphasis on awareness and capacity building initiatives.
  • Setting up of certification agencies for monitoring equipment, source apportionment studies, emphasis on enforcement, specific sectoral interventions etc.

National Ambient Air Quality Standards

  • National Ambient Air Quality Standards are the standards for ambient air quality set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)
  • The CPCB has been conferred this power by the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • Ambient Air Quality Standards contains 12 pollutants.

The pollutants that are covered under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards include:

  • Sulphur dioxide (SO2),
  • Nitrogen dioxide (NO2),
  • The particulate matter having a size less than 10 microns (PM10),
  • The particulate matter having a size less than 2.5 microns (PM2.5),
  • Ozone
  • Lead
  • Carbon monoxide (CO)
  • Arsenic
  • Nickel
  • Benzene
  • Ammonia, and
  • Benzopyrene

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In the context of WHO Air Quality Guidelines, consider the following statements: (2022)

  1. The 24-hour mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 15 ug/m3 and annual mean of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 ug/m3.
  2. In a year, the highest levels of ozone pollution occur during the periods of inclement weather.
  3. PM10 can penetrate the lung barrier and enter the bloodstream.
  4. Excessive ozone in the air can trigger asthma.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

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

Climate Reparation

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Syllabus

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

Context: Facing the worst flooding disaster in its history, Pakistan has begun demanding reparations, or compensation, from the rich countries that are mainly responsible for causing climate change.

What are climate reparations?

  • Climate reparations refer to a call for money to be paid by the Global North to the Global South as a means of addressing the historical contributions that the Global North has made (and continues to make) toward climate change.
  • Countries in the Global North are responsible for 92% of excess global carbon emissions.
  • Despite this, countless studies have shown that countries across the Global South are facing the sharpest end of the consequences when it comes to climate change—from severe heat waves in India to flooding in Kenya and hurricanes in Nicaragua.
  • In repeated public statements, Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change has been saying that while her country makes negligible contribution to global warming, it has been among the most vulnerable to climate change.
  • The current floods have already claimed over 1,300 lives, and caused economic damage worth billions of dollars.
  • Pakistan’s demand for reparations appears to be a long shot, but the principles being invoked are fairly well-established in environmental jurisprudence.
  • Almost the entire developing world, particularly the small island states, has for years been insisting on setting up an international mechanism for financial compensation for loss and damage caused by climate disasters.

Historical emissions argument

  • The demand for compensation for loss and damage from climate disasters is an extension of the universally acknowledged “Polluter Pays” principle.
  • In the climate change framework, the burden of responsibility falls on those rich countries that have contributed most of the greenhouse gas emissions since 1850, generally considered to be the beginning of the industrial age.
  • The United States and the European Union, including the UK, account for over 50% of all emissions during this time.
  • If Russia, Canada, Japan, and Australia too are included, the combined contribution goes past 65%, or almost two-thirds of all emissions.
  • Significance of Historical responsibility:
    • Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, and it is the cumulative accumulation of this carbon dioxide that causes global warming.
    • A country like India, currently the third largest emitter, accounts for only 3% of historical emissions.
    • China, which is the world’s biggest emitter for over 15 years now, has contributed about 11% to total emissions since 1850.

Implications:

  • While the impact of climate change is global, it is much more severe on the poorer nations because of their geographical locations and weaker capacity to cope. This is what is giving rise to demands for loss and damage compensation.
  • Countries that have had negligible contributions to historical emissions and have severe limitations of resources are the ones that face the most devastating impacts of climate change.

Admission of Responsibility

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the 1994 international agreement that lays down the broad principles of the global effort to fight climate change, explicitly acknowledges this differentiated responsibility of nations.

  • It is this mandate that later evolved into the $100 billion amount that the rich countries agreed to provide every year to the developing world.
  • The Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damages, set up in 2013, was the first formal acknowledgment of the need to compensate developing countries struck by climate disasters. It so far has focused mainly on enhancing knowledge and strengthening dialogue.
  • At the recent climate conference in Glasgow, a three-year task force was set up to discuss a funding arrangement.
  • According to a recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Efforts (UNOCHA), prepared for the UN General Assembly, annual funding requests related to climate-linked disasters averaged $15.5 billion in the three-year period between 2019 and 2021.
  • The economic loss from cyclone Amphan in India and Bangladesh in 2020 has been assessed at $15 billion.

The report said that the United States alone is estimated to have inflicted more than $1.9 trillion in damages to other countries due to its emissions. Then there are non-economic losses as well, including loss of lives, displacement migration, health impacts, damage to cultural heritage.

The report also said that the unavoidable annual economic losses from climate change were projected to reach somewhere between $290 billion to $580 billion by the year 2030.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) “Climate Action Tracker” which monitors the emission reduction pledges of different countries is a: (2022)

  1. Database created by coalition of research organisations
  2. Wing of “International Panel of Climate Change”
  3. Committee under “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”
  4. Agency promoted and financed by United Nations Environment Programme and World Bank

Economically Weaker Section Quota

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

In News: A Constitution Bench asked the Centre, States and petitioners to firm up a slew of concerns raised in the Supreme Court about granting reservation on a purely economic basis, one of them being whether it is a violation of the very basic structure of the Constitution to exclude Scheduled Castes, Tribes and some of the most impoverished, socially and educationally backward classes in the country from the scope of the quota.

  • The five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court is considering the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment, which provides a 10% quota to economically weaker sections (EWS) of the society in government jobs and educational institutions.

Issues in the case

  • These include whether the 103rd Amendment violated the Indira Sawhney judgment of 1992 which had prohibited reservation on the basis of a “purely” economic criterion.
  • Whether the amendment “breached the Basic Structure of the Constitution in excluding the SEBCs/OBc/SCs/STs from the scope of EWS reservation”
  • If the 10% EWS quota infringed the 50% ceiling limit for reservation.
  • If the EWS quota should be imposed in private unaided institutions
  • Whether the 103rd CAA breaches the equality code and the Constitutional scheme by giving sanctity to the ‘existing reservation’ which are only created temporarily by enabling provisions”.
  • Economic reservation was introduced in the Constitution by amending Articles 15 and 16 and adding clauses empowering the State governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.

Significance of EWS Quota

Addresses Inequality:

  • The 10% quota is progressive and could address the issues of educational and income inequality in India since the economically weaker sections of citizens have remained excluded from attending higher educational institutions and public employment due to their financial incapacity.

Recognition of the Economic Backwards:

  • There are many people or classes other than backward classes who are living under hunger and poverty-stricken conditions.
  • The reservation through a constitutional amendment would give constitutional recognition to the poor from the upper castes.

Reduction of Caste Based Discrimination:

  • Moreover, it will gradually remove the stigma associated with reservation because reservation has historically been related with caste and most often the upper caste look down upon those who come through the reservation.

Concerns:

Unavailability of Data:

  • The Statement of Object and Reason in the EWS bill clearly mentioned that the economically weaker sections of citizens have largely remained excluded from attending the higher educational institutions and public employment on account of their financial incapacity to compete with the persons who are economically more privileged.
  • The government has not produced any data to back this point.

Breaches Reservation Cap:

  • In the Indira Sawhney case 1992, the nine-judge Constitution bench put a cap of 50%.
  • The EWS quota breaches this limit, without even putting this issue into consideration.

Arbitrary Criteria:

  • The criteria used by the government to decide the eligibility for this reservation is vague and is not based on any data or study.
  • Even the SC questioned the government whether they have checked the GDP per capita for every State while deciding the monetary limit for giving the EWS reservation.

Way forward

It is high time now that the Indian political class overcame its tendency of continually expanding the scope of reservation in pursuit of electoral gains, and realised that it is not the panacea for problems.

Instead of giving reservation based on different criterias government should focus on quality of education and other effective social upliftment measures.

Source: The Hindu


India-Bangladesh Relations

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Syllabus

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

Context: Following a meeting with the visiting Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of India said India and Bangladesh will resolve all issues and problems on shared consensus.

India-Bangladesh relations in depth:

Historic relations:

  • India was the chief architect of Bangladeshi independence from the oppressive political rule of (west) Pakistan in 1971.
  • In December 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini in Dhaka. It was a guerrilla resistance movement.
  • India was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh and establish diplomatic relations immediately after its independence in December 1971.

Economic Relations:

  • In 2021-22, Bangladesh has emerged as the largest trade partner for India in South Asia and the fourth largest destination for Indian exports
  • India’s main exports to Bangladesh are raw cotton, non-retail pure cotton yarn, and electricity and main imports includes pure vegetable oils, non-knit men’s suits, and textile scraps.
  • Both countries may sign a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) during the visit. It covers negotiation on the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnership.

Defence Cooperation:

  • Border Management: India and Bangladesh share longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours.
  • In 2015, India and Bangladesh resolved the decades-long border dispute through the Land Swap Agreement (exchange of enclaves). (100th CAA, 2015)
  • Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) and Navy (Exercise Milan) take place between the two countries.

Current Institutional Frameworks:

  • Under the provisions of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), Bangladesh extends preferential tariffs to Indian exports of products outside the ‘sensitive list’ of 993 items.
  • The MoU on Border Haats on the India-Bangladesh border was renewed in April 2017. Currently, four Border Haats — two each in Meghalaya (Kalaichar and Balat) and Tripura (Srinagar and Kamalasagar) — are functional.
  • Members of major regional organisations like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

Medical tourism:

  • Bangladesh accounts for more than 35% of India’s international medical patients.
  • Bangladesh alone contributes to more than 50% of India’s revenue from medical tourism

Connectivity:

  • Both countries jointly inaugurated the newly restored railway link between Haldibari (India) and Chilahati (Bangladesh).
  • Agreed to an early operationalization of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative Motor Vehicles Agreement through the expeditious signing of the Enabling MoU.
  • The Protocol on Inland Waterways Trade and Transit (PIWTT) allows the movement of goods by barges/ vessels on eight routes between points in India and Bangladesh.

Challenges

In 2019, India enacted the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA, 2019), which created an uproar within and beyond the borders. Ms. Hasina termed the move as “unnecessary”. It had ripple effects for Bangladesh.

The Teesta River water dispute:

  • The sharing of the waters of the Teesta has remained a thorny issue since 1947 although a bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) has been working since June 1972.
  • The 2011 interim deal aims to share the Teesta River water between India and Bangladesh about 42.5 per cent and 37.5 per cent respectively. But, the state of West Bengal object to this demand and never signed the deal, and strain in this issue goes on.

Rohingya issue: Bangladesh also requires China’s support in resolving the Rohingya refugee crisis. India has refused providing asylum to Rohingyas but is helping Bangladesh settle them in its char islands.

Regional geopolitics:

  • China has been actively pursuing bilateral ties with Bangladesh. Bangladesh had successfully approached China for a mega project to enhance Teesta River water flow.
  • Bangladesh is the second biggest arms market for China after Pakistan.
  • Bangladesh is an active partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) that India has not signed up to.

Way forward:

  • The early resolution of river water disputes like Teesta is the better way to boost India-Bangladesh relations.
  • Involvement of joint forces to reduce border issues such as illegal trading, trafficking, cattle smuggling, etc
  • Strengthening of regional groups like SAARC, BIMSTEC etc and focusing on Neighbourhood First policy.

Just as Bangladeshis remain grateful to India for the generous support extended by India during the Liberation War of 1971, they are equally sensitive to being treated with respect and fairness, no matter who rules their country.

Source: The Hindu


Economic reforms beyond liberalisation

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

Context:

  • The Indian economy recovery has been better than that of most countries.
  • In the recent past growth suffered because of an excessive focus on structural reforms while neglecting the smoothening of shocks. Current policy has responded to the latter.
  • Given this ups and downs, the talk of the necessity of reforms is again in the air.

So what reforms are required?

  • The IMF-WB holy trinity of structural land, labour and other market-opening reforms harms many domestic citizens and, beyond a point, runs into severe resistance that imposes large political costs.
  • Liberalisation has reached a point of diminishing returns.
  • Organic reform will take place as states compete.
  • Improving the supply-side has many other aspects. In choosing from the reform menu, the Centre must be guided by feasibility and pragmatism and ensure that benefits accrue to a majority.

What should be done?

  • The focus should be on leveraging the special circumstances that currently favour India.
  • These include the impetus Covid-19 has given to digital aspects, where India has a comparative advantage, the possibility of supply chain diversification away from China, moving to a net zero economy and harnessing green initiatives as a source of investment and innovation.
  • Attention should be given to developing skills and capabilities, improving employability, augmenting infrastructure, reducing logistics and other business costs through better Centre-state coordination, and enhancing the quality of governance and counter-cyclical regulation with good incentives.
  • Much can be done to improve data use and privacy, functioning of courts and police.
  • Instead of wasting political capital on reforms that encounter large resistance and shock the system, reforms should enhance favourable trends.

      Role of Public Sector Banks

  • Improvements in PSB governance and risk-based lending profiles have resulted in falling NPA ratios and strong capital adequacy even under the pandemic shocks.
  • Diversity in institutions and approaches makes for a more stable financial sector.
  • PSBs have garnered Rs 1.7 trillion in their Jan Dhan accounts, while private banks have hardly any.
  • PSBs can leverage their advantages in low-cost deposits through many co-lending opportunities and partnerships.
  • This is not the time to disrupt the recovery in credit growth by Privatizing PSBs.
  • PSBs should be allowed to compete and raise resources on their own.
  • Only those who cannot do so, or have other serious weaknesses, should be allowed to exit through the privatisation or merger route.

     Exchange rate:

  • There are recommendations that the rupee should be completely market-determined since this would benefit exporters.
  • But pass-through of exchange rate depreciation is much faster in Indian imports, which are dominated by dollar-denominated commodities such as crude oil.
  • Indian exporters largely have little market power and are forced to share the benefits of depreciation.
  • Many studies show they do not gain from volatility.
  • As imported inflation rises, monetary tightening follows and hurts the real sector. Any gain to exporters from overshooting is temporary.
  • Market panics and large deviations from competitive real exchange rates hurt the economy and most participants.
  • Lower volatility in the real exchange rate helps both gainers and losers when there are changes in the rupee value.
  • Thus the intervention by the central bank that prevents overshooting has facilitated the working of markets and their discovery of equilibrium values.

Thus moving beyond liberalisation, focus must be on leveraging India’s special circumstances and areas where India has a comparative advantage.

Source: Indian Express


 Baba’s Explainer –Wetland Conservation

Wetland Conservation

Syllabus

  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 

Context: Everyone is careful about consuming clean and pure water to protect their kidneys from malfunctioning. But what about the earth’s kidneys, the wetlands?

  • Natural wetlands have often been referred to as “earth’s kidneys” because of their high and long-term capacity to filter pollutants from the water that flows through them.

As India celebrates an increase in its total number of Ramsar sites to 75, this brings into sharp relief the deteriorating state of natural wetlands across the country, especially in urban areas.

Read Complete Details on Wetland Conservation


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) The Ramon Magsaysay Award is named after the former President of which country?

  1. Malaysia
  2. Thailand
  3. Philippines
  4. Taiwan

Q.2) Consider the following statements about the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO):

  1. It is under the department of Health Research of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  2. It derives its power from the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  3. It is responsible for approval of licenses of vaccine and its emergency use.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Q.3) With reference to the Agreement at the UNFCCC Meeting in Paris in 2015, which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The Agreement aims to limit the greenhouse gas emissions so that the rise in average global temperature by the end of this century does not exceed 2°C.
  2. Developed countries acknowledged their historical responsibility in global warming and committed to donate $ 1000 billion a year from 2020 to help developing countries to cope with climate change.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  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 ’7th September 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 6th September – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – d

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – c

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