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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 14th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 14, 2022
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Exercise IBSAMAR

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Relations

Context: INS Tarkash reached Port Gqeberha (also known as Port Elizabeth), South Africa to participate in the seventh edition of IBSAMAR.

Key details of the Exercise:

  • It is a joint multinational maritime exercise among Indian, Brazilian and South African Navies.
  • It was initiated in 2008
  • Ex IBSAMAR highlights the maritime dimension of the IBSA Dialogue Forum and the robust South-South cooperation.
  • The Indian Navy is represented by the Teg class guided missile frigate, INS Tarkash, a Chetak helicopter and the personnel from the Marine Commando Force (MARCOS).
  • The harbour phase of IBSAMAR VII includes professional exchanges such as damage control and fire-fighting drills, VBSS/cross boarding lectures and interaction among special forces.
  • The Joint Maritime Exercise will strengthen maritime security, joint operational training, sharing of best practices and building interoperability to address common maritime threats.

The IBSA Dialogue Forum:

  • The IBSA Dialogue Forum (India, Brazil, South Africa) is an international tripartite grouping for promoting international cooperation among these countries.
  • It represents three important poles for galvanizing South–South cooperation.
  • The forum provides the three countries with a platform to engage in discussions for cooperation in the field of agriculture, trade, culture, and defence among others.

Source: PIB


Lead Poisoning in India

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

Context: A central government report has found that India bears the world’s highest health and economic burden due to lead poisoning.

Key findings of the report:

  • The report was prepared jointly by government think tank Niti Aayog and the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR).
  • Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh had the highest average blood lead levels (BLL) among Indian states.
  • Some 23 states have an average BLL that goes beyond five microgram per decilitre (μg / dl) — the standard used to gauge poisoning.
  • The statistics are worrying on a national level with the average for the country being 4.9 μg / dl for children less than two years old.
  • The UNICEF report also noted that lead poisoning shaved off an estimated five per cent of Indian Gross Domestic Product (GDP) due to lower economic productivity and reduced lifetime earnings.
  • It also caused 230,000 premature deaths in India.

Details about Lead:

  • Lead is a naturally occurring toxic metal found in the Earth’s crust.
  • Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time.
  • Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.
  • Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing foetus.
  • There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.
  • Lead exposure is preventable.

About Lead Poisoning:

  • Lead poisoning or chronic intoxication is caused by the absorption of Lead in the system and is characterised especially by fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, anaemia, a dark line along the gums, and muscle paralysis or weakness of limbs.
  • Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.
  • Lead exposure also causes anaemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs.
  • More than three quarters of global lead consumption is for the manufacture of lead-acid batteries for motor vehicles.

Sources of lead poisoning:

  • battery recycling,
  • lead mining,
  • smelting,
  • welding,
  • soldering and
  • automobile repatriating
  • adulterated spices, cosmetics and traditional medicines.

Indian Government Initiatives:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) has passed a notification as “Regulation on Lead contents in Household and Decorative Paints Rules, 2016” and has prohibited manufacture, trade, import as well as export of household and decorative paints containing lead or lead compounds in excess of 90 Parts Per Million (PPM).

Source:  Down To Earth

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Magnetite particles, suspected to cause neurodegenerative problems are generated as environmental pollutants from which of the following?  (2021)

  1. Brakes of motor vehicles
  2. Engines of motor vehicles
  3. Microwave stoves within homes
  4. Power plants
  5. Telephone lines

Select the correct answer using the code given below

  1. 1, 2, 3 and 5only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 only
  3. 3, 4 and 5 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Q.2) Lead, ingested or inhaled, is a health hazard. After the addition of lead to petrol has been banned, what still are the sources of lead poisoning? (2012)

  1. Smelting units
  2. Pens and pencils
  3. Paints
  4. Hair oils and cosmetics

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

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

Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In news: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is developing a rocket named Next Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) to replace its ageing workhorse the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV).

  • ISRO to develop a ‘Bharat Krishi satellite’ to study the growth pattern of crops, identify irrigation deficiencies and provide information that will help in pest-control and verification of farm insurance claims besides many other applications.
  • ISRO is also exploring the possibility of increasing civilian use of the country’s indigenous satellite navigation system NaVIC.

About NGLV:

  • NGLV will use ‘semi-cryogenic’ technology which is both efficient and cost-effective.
  • The new rocket could also be ‘reusable’. A reusable rocket will have a smaller payload than an expendable one. If it is reusable, the payload will be around five tonnes and if it’s expendable, it will go up 10 tonnes.
  • Participation of the industry would ensure that capability is created outside ISRO to build, operate and launch it on a commercial basis.

About PSLV technology:

  • Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is the third generation launch vehicle of India.
  • It is the first Indian launch vehicle to be equipped with liquid stages.
  • It is a four-staged launch vehicle with first and third stage using solid rocket motors and second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.
  • The PS4 is the uppermost stage of PSLV, comprising of two Earth storable liquid engines.
  • The third stage of PSLV is a solid rocket motor that provides the upper stages high thrust after the atmospheric phase of the launch.
  • PSLV uses an Earth storable liquid rocket engine for its second stage, know as the Vikas engine, developed by Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre.
  • PSLV uses the S139 solid rocket motor that is augmented by 6 solid strap-on boosters.
  • PSLV uses 6 solid rocket strap-on motors to augment the thrust provided by the first stage in its PSLV-G and PSLV-XL variants. However, strap-ons are not used in the core alone version (PSLV-CA).
  • Initially, PSLV had a carrying capacity of 850 kg but has been enhanced to 1.9 tonnes.
  • It comes in the category of medium-lift launchers with a reach up to various orbits, including the Geo Synchronous Transfer Orbit, Lower Earth Orbit, and Polar Sun Synchronous Orbit.
  • All the operations of PSLV are controlled from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.

MUST READ: Indigenisation of PSLV technology

About GSLV technology:

  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) is an expendable space launch vehicle designed, developed, and operated by ISRO to launch satellites and other space objects into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbits.
  • GSLV is 49.13 m tall and tallest among all other vehicles of ISRO.
  • It is a three-stage vehicle with a lift-off mass of 420 tonnes.
  • Stages in GSLV
  • First stage – comprises S139 solid booster with 138-tonne propellant and four liquid strap-on motors, with 40-tonne propellant.
  • Second stage – is a liquid engine carrying 40-tonne of liquid propellant.
  • Third stage – is the indigenously built Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) carrying 15-tonne of cryogenic propellants.
  •  GSLV rockets using the Russian Cryogenic Stage (CS) are designated as the GSLV Mk I while versions using the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS) are designated the GSLV Mk II.
  • All GSLV launches have been conducted from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • GSLV has the capability to put a heavier payload than PSLV.
  • PSLV can carry satellites up to a total weight of 2000 kg into space and reach up to an altitude of 600-900 km. GSLV can carry weight up to 5,000 kg and reach up to 36,000 km.
  •  PSLV is designed mainly to deliver earth observation or remote sensing satellites, whereas, GSLV has been designed for launching communication satellites.
  • GSLV delivers satellites into a higher elliptical orbit, Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) and Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO).
  • Mission Chandrayan-2 was launched by GSLV Mk-III

MUST READ: NaVIC

Source: New Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1. PSLVs launch the satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites.
  2. Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth.
  3. GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Snow Leopard

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Wildlife officials in Arunachal Pradesh are awaiting analysis of the data of a survey conducted in 2021 to ascertain the presence of the elusive snow leopard.

  • The data was collected from a high-altitude Himalayan belt across 11 wildlife divisions from Tawang in the west and Anini to the east and was sent to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
  • Namdapha is the known home of three other large cats — tiger, leopard and clouded leopard.

About Snow Leopard:

                           

  • Snow leopard, is often referred to as a mountain ghost because of its coat that helps it blend in a snowy-rocky environment.
  • The tiger is called Lama in the Lisu dialect and is also called ‘Lamaphu.
  • It is a felid in the genus Panthera native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia.
  • It inhabits alpine and subalpine zones at elevations of 3,000–4,500 m (9,800–14,800 ft), ranging from eastern Afghanistan, the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau to southern Siberia, Mongolia and western China.
  • In the northern part of its range, it also lives at lower elevations.
  • Snow leopards become sexually mature at two to three years, and normally live for 15–18 years in the wild.
  • In captivity they can live for up to 25 years.
  • The snow leopard has never been spotted nor recorded in the Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang district.
  • Threats: poaching and illegal trade of skins and body parts as well as habitat destruction.
  • Conservation efforts
  • IUCN status: Vulnerable
  • Listed in CITES Appendix I
  • Listed as threatened with extinction in Schedule I of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species (CMS) of Wild Animals since 1985.
  • Listed in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • Flagship conservation species of India – part of 21 critically endangered species for the recovery program under MoEF&CC
  • India is a party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since 2013.
  • SECURE Himalayas initiative of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Project Snow Leopard 2009

About WWF:

  • Established in 1961, it is an international non-governmental organization that works in the field of wilderness preservation and the reduction of human impact on the environment.
  • WWF works to help local communities conserve the natural resources they depend upon; transform markets and policies toward sustainability; and protect and restore species and their habitats.
  • WWF is the world’s largest conservation organization.
  • Their work is focused around six ambitious goals: Climate, Food, Forests, Freshwater, Oceans, Wildlife.
  • Its initiatives include:
    • Debt-for-Nature Swap
    • Earth Hour
    • Healthy Grown
    • Marine Stewardship Council
    • Living Planet Index
  • WWF-India was established as a Charitable Trust in 1969 and is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • WWF-India is one of India’s leading conservation organizations

MUST READ:  Namdapha National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following groups of animals belongs to the category of endangered species?

  1. Great Indian Bustard, Musk Deer, Red Panda and Asiatic Wild Ass
  2. Kashmir Stag, Cheetal, Blue Bull and Great Indian Bustard
  3. Snow Leopard, Swamp Deer, Rhesus Monkey and Saras (Crane)
  4. Lion-tailed Macaque, Blue Bull, Hanuman Langur and Cheetal

National Highway InvIT

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In News: National Highways Infra Trust (NHAI InvIT) has raised a sum of Rs 1,430 crore from domestic and international investors for funding its road projects.

  • NHAI InvIT is issuing Non-Convertible Debentures (NCDs) which are proposed to be listed on BSE and NSE (collectively, the “Stock Exchanges”).

Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvIT):

  • InvITs are instruments that work like mutual funds.
  • They are designed to pool small sums of money from a number of investors to invest in assets that give cash flow over a period of time. Part of this cash flow would be distributed as dividend back to investors.
  • InvITs are listed on exchanges just like stocks — through IPOs.
  • The InvITs listed on the stock exchange are IRB InvIT Fund and India Grid Trust.
  • InvITs are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014.
  • Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) are similar to InvITs but they are present only in Real estate sector.
  • For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram

About NHAI InvIT:

  • The infrastructure investment trust is sponsored by National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to support Government of India’s National Monetization Pipeline.
  • It will have minimum investment amount at Rs.10,000 and will be open to institutional investors, non-institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals, and retail investors including the common man.
  • NHAI launched its InvIT to facilitate monetisation of roads and also to attract foreign and domestic institutional investors to invest in the roads sector.
  • The advantages of an InvIT instrument are that it has stable and predictable cash flows and experienced professionals manage the InvIT and operate and maintain the roads.

Miscellaneous:

  • NHAI has the largest share under the National Monetization Pipeline at 27%.
  • Such government initiatives will bring logistics cost down from 13-14% to 5% of GDP.

Source: PIB


Living Planet Report 2022

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment

In News: Nature NGO WWF has published the latest edition of its Living Planet Report.

  • The last edition, published two years ago, revealed that the population sizes of animals (excluding insects) had decreased by an average of 68% between 1970 and 2020.

About Living Planet Report:

  • The Living Planet Report 2022 is a comprehensive study of trends in global biodiversity and the health of the planet.
  • It is an annual flagship World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) publication.
  • It is the world’s leading, science-based analysis, on the health of our planet and the impact of human activity.
  • It links climate change and biodiversity loss for 1st time. Biodiversity loss and climate crisis should be dealt with as a single issue.

Findings:

  • WWF identified six key threats to biodiversity — agriculture, hunting, logging, pollution, invasive species and climate change — to highlight ‘threat hotspots’ for terrestrial vertebrates.
  • Wildlife populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles and fish across the globe decline by 69% in the last 50 years.
  • Latin America and the Caribbean region recorded the highest decline i.e. 94 per cent.
  • Africa recorded a 66 per cent fall in its wildlife populations from 1970-2018
  • Asia Pacific recorded a decline of 55 per cent.
  • Freshwater species populations globally reduced by 83 per cent.
  • The vertebrate wildlife populations are plummeting at a particularly staggering rate in tropical regions of the world.
  • Habitat loss and barriers to migration routes were responsible for about half of the threats to monitored migratory fish species.
  • Mangroves are lost to aquaculture, agriculture and coastal development at a rate of 0.13 per cent per year.
  • Many mangroves are also degraded by overexploitation and pollution, alongside natural stressors such as storms and coastal erosion.

India Findings:

  • Around 137 square kilometres of the Sundarbans mangrove forest in India and Bangladesh has been eroded since 1985, reducing land and ecosystem services for many of the 10 million people who live there.
  • Climate change in India will impact key areas, such as water resources, agriculture, natural ecosystems, health and the food chain

Source:   Down To Earth


Democratisation of India

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 Polity and Governance

Context:

  • The socio-political movement that led to this phenomenon known as “Mandal” has dramatically changed the demographic diversity of people’s representatives.
  • Christophe Jaffrelot called it, ‘India’s Silent Revolution’.
  • ‘India’s Silent Revolution’ identified socially and educationally backward castes and communities by not letting religion become a barrier.

Historical reference:

  • Historically, in Varna system, Other Backward Classes (OBCs) formed most of Shudra, the fourth category.
  • They mostly engaged in activities such as agriculturalist, field workers or artisans or in the field of construction.
  • OBC especially in Hindu belt and social system, situated above the untouchables, but below the twice born known as “dvij” or called as kshtriya and vaishyas.

Issues of OBC:

  • According to Mandal commission report of 1980, OBC formed half of Indian population and in 2006 when national sample survey organization conducted, they are found around 41%.

  • Low political representation
  • Caste bias in development projects and lack of political will to steer development initiatives towards backward communities.
  • Long-established upper-caste patronage networks and ‘elite capture’ of government programmes.

Kaka Kalekar Commission:

  • Government of India formed first backward commission in 1953 headed by Kaka Kalelkar.
  • The commission presented its report in 1955.
  • There were many contradictions within the report such as 5 members of the commission put a disagreement note, few opposed the clause that says backwardness should be jointly seen with cast.
  • Thus, the commission didn’t present a neutral report and it was thus, not accepted by the government.

The B.P. Mandal Commission:

  • Constituted in 1978 by Morarji Desai government, the second backward class commission was headed by B.P. Mandal.
  • Recommendations:
  • Reservation of 27% government jobs for OBCs for those who do not qualify on merit
  • Reservation of 27% for promotions at all levels in government jobs for OBCs.
  • Quota of reservation, if didn’t fill, should be carried forward for 3 years.
  • A roster system should be prepared for backward classes on the same pattern as that of Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes and the age relaxation for OBCs to be same as SC, STs.
  • Government must make legal provision to make these recommendations a reality.
  • The VP Singh government accepted the recommendations of Mandal Commission.

About the Mandal Movement:

  • The acceptance of Mandal Commission’s recommendations led to gradual political rise of the backward communities. There were many reasons for the same.
  • First, the demographic weight of the backward communities.
  • The second was the fact that OBCs were not a natural constituency of the Congress and preferred peasant-based formations, socialist parties and regional parties — all of which were on the ascendant then.
  • And the third was the impact of the Green Revolution which led to their economic empowerment and desire for upward professional mobility.
  • The Mandal moment saw ferocious backlash by sections of upper castes. This opposition was articulated on two axes — the fact that reservations compromised merit, and if at all reservations should open up beyond what was offered to Scheduled Castes and Tribes, it should be on economic lines.
  • These arguments hid beneath it a real fear of losing power and opportunities. And it launched an era of open hostility between upper castes and backward communities, particularly in the Hindi heartland.
  • OBCs became a force to contend with, and it is no surprise that no government in Uttar Pradesh or Bihar can now be formed without their active support.
  • But it also opened up a Pandora’s Box. For one, the resentment of those communities which did not have a share in the reservation pie increased.
  • Further, political parties, in order to appease them, continued to expand reservation — to the extent that now economically weaker sections of dominant communities avail quotas, and in many states, there is over 70% reservation in key spheres.
  • This has undermined the entire purpose of reservation, envisaged as a tool to address historic injustice, and made it an exercise in power distribution and employment generation.
  • Second, within OBCs, some communities benefited more than others, which led to a political divide and demands for sub-categorisation.
  • The role played by two Dalit icons, Kanshi Ram and Ram Vilas Paswan for mobilisation and implementation of Mandal has been immense.

Democracy & Social justice:

  • The social justice discourse in modern India can be traced to the initiatives of social revolutionaries such as Jyotiba Phule, Savitribai Phule, Sahuji Maharaj and Periyar during colonial rule.
  • But a sustained intervention with a concrete outcome in terms of policy prescriptions surfaced only with B.R. Ambedkar arriving on the national scene.
  • The “depressed classes” (Dalits) and “tribals” (Adivasis) — as they were termed by the colonisers — were already listed as Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, respectively, by 1935.
  • The benefits of reservation in education and employment for these social groups in proportion to their population were adopted as soon as the Constitution of India came into force.
  • But a large section of the “backward classes” and occupational caste groups remained socially and educationally backward; hence, their presence in the bureaucracy, the judiciary, academia or the media remained abysmal.
  • The Constituent Assembly had debated caste-class dichotomy. It was envisioned that backward classes would be backward communities.
  • This was endorsed by B.R. Ambedkar who said: “…a backward community is a community which is backward in the opinion of the government….” But the Mandal report reaffirmed this with the line “a caste can be and quite often is a social class in India”.

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 340 of the Constitution entailed egalitarian possibility that resulted in two Backward Classes commissions, the Kalelkar Commission (1953-1955) and the Mandal Commission (1978-80).
  • The mobilisation campaign for implementing the recommendations of the latter led to a “Mandal movement” characterised by the announcement of 27% reservation for the Other Backward Classes (OBC) in the central service in 1990.
  • The 73rd and 74th Amendments have furthered the idea of social justice by extending reservation benefits to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and OBCs.
  • Horizontal reservation was also extended to all women.
  • In 2006, reservations were extended to OBC candidates in institutions of higher learning — popularly known as Mandal II.

Success of Mandal Movement:

  • Mandal parties checkmated communal mobilisations and hate mongering by the right wing. There were two spectacular political decisions in 1990 — the arrest of L.K. Advani by the Lalu Prasad-led government in Bihar at the height of the Ram Janmabhoomi movement. Second, the Mulayam Singh-led government in Uttar Pradesh ordering the police to fire at kar sevaks assembled in Ayodhya near the Babri Masjid.
  • Another point of merit derived from “Mandal” has been the identifying of socially and educationally backward castes and communities by not letting religion become a barrier.
  • The consciousness generated by Mandal demolished a perception about Indian Muslims being a homogenous monolith.
  • The churning around Mandal also led to the emergence of a pasmanda (backward in Persian) movement among backward Muslims demanding democratisation and representation.

Way forward

  • Mandaite political parties have made serious blunders too by restricting key organisational positions to family members and extending favours to caste brethren.
  • Hence, the entire architecture of reservations needs a review, with the aim of creating a just, inclusive and equal society, without pandering to populist movements.
  • There could be possible course correction such as being more accommodative towards the aspirations of the lower castes such as the economically backward classes or most backward classes; forging alliances with parties championing Dalit and Adivasi agendas; and pushing for quota within quota in the women’s reservation Bill — which is still pending — with fresh insights, and also fielding more women candidates from the marginalised communities.

Source: The Hindu


Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022

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Syllabus

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

Context: Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2022 after the announcement by the Union Cooperation Minister.

Provisions of the Amendment Bill 2022:

  • Incorporation of provisions of the 97th Constitutional Amendment Act 2011:
    • Regarding constitutional status and protection to cooperatives and guarantees democratic and independent functioning of the cooperative societies.
  • Democratic governance: The bill has provisions for setting up of cooperative election authority, cooperative information officer, cooperative ombudsman etc. to make governance of multi-state cooperative societies more democratic, transparent and accountable.
  • Reform electoral processes: The cooperative election authority will ensure fair, free and timely elections and reduce electoral complaints and malpractices.
    • The Bill also provides for debarring offenders for three years, hence will bring in more electoral discipline.
  • Grievance redressal: The cooperative ombudsman will set up a mechanism for grievance redressal of the cooperative societies members in a structured fashion.
  • Strengthen monitoring mechanisms: The bill empowers the Central government to suspend the Board of a MSCS for fraud or embezzlement of funds or failure to conduct elections within a stipulated time.
    • It will also debar relatives of a sitting director to be recruited as an employee in the same cooperative.
  • Improved composition of the Board: For promoting the professional management of the cooperatives, the bill has provisions-
    • To bring in co-opted directors with experience in the field of banking, management, cooperative management and finance.
    • The option of including the members having specialization in any field relating to the objects and activities undertaken by such multi-state cooperative society.
  • Enhance transparency and accountability: The Bill proposes to appoint a Cooperative Information Officer who will enhance the transparency in functioning by providing the members timely access to information.
  • To promote equity and facilitate inclusiveness, the bill includes provisions relating to representation of women and Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe members on the board of multi-state cooperative societies.
  • Improve ease of doing business: The amendment Bill proposes-
    • To reduce the period of registration, with a provision for the applicants to seek additional time of two months for rectification of mistakes.
    • For electronic submission and issuance of documents, thus providing for a comprehensive digital ecosystem.
  • Simpler registration: Presently, India has nearly 800,000 cooperative societies of which around 1,600 are MSCS thus serve the interest of members in more than one state. For example, IFFCO, Kribhco and NAFED.
  • Increase financial discipline: The bill provides for the Rehabilitation Fund for the revival of sick cooperatives and enables raising of funds in multi-state cooperative societies.
  • Regulation: For cooperative banks, the banking functions will be governed by the Banking Regulation Act. However, all other operational issues will be regulated by the MSCS Act and its new amendments.

About Cooperative Societies in India:

  • A co-operative society is a voluntary association of individuals having common needs who join hands for the achievement of common economic interest.
  • Its aim is to serve the interest of the poorer sections of society through the principle of self-help and mutual help.

97th Constitutional Amendment Act 2011:

  • It established the right to form cooperative societies as a fundamental right (Article 19).
  • It included a new Directive Principle of State Policy on the Promotion of Cooperative Societies (Article 43-B).
  • It added a new Part IX-B to the Constitution titled “The Co-operative Societies” (Articles 243-ZH to 243-ZT).
  • It authorizes the Parliament to establish relevant laws in the case of multi-state cooperative societies (MSCS) and state legislatures in the case of other cooperative societies.
  • Of the 1600 odd MSCS, the majority are in Maharashtra (570), followed by UP (150) and New Delhi (133).
  • Credit cooperatives constitute the bulk of the MSCS (610), followed by agriculture-oriented MSCS (244).
  • There are around 100 multi-state cooperative diaries and 70 multi-state cooperative banks.

About new Ministry of Cooperation:

  • The Union Ministry of Cooperation was formed in 2021, its mandate was looked after by the Ministry of Agriculture before.

Objectives of creation of the new ministry:

  • To realize the vision of “Sahakar se Samriddhi” (prosperity through cooperation).
  • To streamline processes for ‘’Ease of doing business’’ for co-operatives and enable development of Multi-State Co-operatives (MSCS).
  • To provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movements in the country.
  • To deepen the cooperative as a true people-based movement reaching up to the grassroot level.

Way Forward:

  • The Bill is expected to be introduced during the winter session of Parliament. The bill if passed will enhance transparency, accountability and improve ease of doing business for the cooperatives.
  • The Union Cooperation Minister had also announced bringing in a new national cooperative policy for holistic management and success of cooperatives movement in India.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to Urban Cooperative Banks in India, consider the following statements:

  1. They are supervised and regulated by local boards set up by the State Governments.
  2. They can issue equity shares and preference shares.
  3. They were brought under the purview of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 through an Amendment in 1996

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?    (2021)

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

Q.2) With reference to Urban Cooperative Banks in India, consider the following statements:

  1. They are supervised and regulated by local boards set up by the State Governments.
  2. They can issue equity shares and preference shares.
  3. They were brought under the purview of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 through an Amendment in 1996

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?  (2020)

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

Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East Region (PM-DevINE)

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Syllabus

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

Context: The Union Cabinet has recently approved the Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for the North East Region (PM-DevINE).

About the Scheme:

  • PM-DevINE is a new scheme for the Northeastern states which was announced in the Union Budget.
  • The scheme will be operational for the remaining four years of the 15th Finance Commission, from 2022-23 to 2025-26, and will have an outlay of Rs 6,600 crore.
  • PM-DevINE will target:
    • The creation of infrastructure,
    • Support industries,
    • Social development projects and
    • Create livelihood activities for the youth and women, with a focus on job creation.
    • These projects will include basic infrastructure in all primary healthcare centres and government schools.
  • Funding and implementation:
    • It is a central sector scheme with 100% central funding.
  • PM-DevINE will be implemented by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), through the North Eastern Council or central ministries and agencies.
  • Time constraints:
    • Efforts will be made to complete the PM-DevINE projects by 2025-26 so that there are no committed liabilities beyond this year.
  • Significance of bringing the scheme:
  • The parameters of N-E states in respect of Basic Minimum Services (BMS) are well below the national average and there are critical development gaps as per the NER District Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Index 2021-22 prepared by NITI Aayog, UNDP and MDoNER.

Challenges to the Development of the NER:

Difficult Terrain:

  • North Eastern Region is majorly a mountainous region, except the state of Assam, which has plains as a major part of its area.
  • This makes it difficult for the government schemes to be implemented in the area, because of the problem of access to the remote areas.

Backward Areas:

  • Unlike the mainland, people of the North East Region are still content with a simple lifestyle and lack of technology in their day-to-day lives. The standard of living continues to be low, due to the absence of high-income generation opportunities.
  • For e.g., the farmers practice primitive methods of agriculture, with the tribals still practising Shifting agriculture in the country.

Connectivity:

  • As stated above, the North Eastern Region is a landlocked region. Therefore, it has limited access to the sea. Similarly, it has a difficult terrain that renders expressways and wider roads infeasible.
  • This is complicated by the absence of railway infrastructure in the region.

Insurgencies:

  • One of the major regions for the lack of development in the region is the lack of political and social stability in the country.
  • The artificial boundaries of the British legacy have not been fully accepted by the tribal communities of the region, which is compounded by political opportunism.
  • The region is still caught in the vicious circle of violence due to political reasons and the diversion of youth towards the insurgent groups, which leads to a lack of skill enhancement and consequent lack of opportunity.

Government initiatives for the development of NER:

North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS):

  • The aim of the scheme is to enhance the physical infrastructure related to power, connectivity and water supply, and social infrastructure in the form of health infrastructure. It is a Central Sector Scheme.

NITI Forum for North East:

  • In collaboration with the NITI Aayog, the ‘NITI Forum for North East’ constituted for accelerated, inclusive and sustainable development in the North East Region has identified 5 focus sectors, viz. Tea, Tourism, Bamboo, Dairy and Pisciculture.

Mission Organic Value Chain Development (MOVCD-NER):

  • The program has been implemented in the North-Eastern states since 2017. The aim of the mission is to promote organic farming in the region. It seeks to replace traditional subsistence farming with a cluster-based approach.

Sub Mission on Seeds and Planting Material (SMSP):

  • It aims to increase the availability of seeds of the High Yielding Varieties of crops. The overall objective is to double farmers’ income by 2022, as envisioned by the Government. The scheme is run alongside other support programs like Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), integrated farming systems etc.

Connectivity Projects:

  • To create alternate routes to the region and decrease its dependence on the Chicken’s Neck, the Indian government has planned additional routes through South East Asia like Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Project, Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor, etc.
  • India’s Look-East connectivity projects connect Northeast India to East Asia and ASEAN.

NEHHDC:

  • Home Minister recently launched the North Eastern Handicrafts & Handlooms Development Corporation Limited (NEHHDC) Mobile Application during the session.
  • The NEHHDC would help register artisans and weavers online and collect authentic data through the app. It is expected to provide training through specially designed online courses and help the beneficiaries and redress grievances.

NESAC:

  • North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) was established as a joint initiative of Department of Space (DOS) and the North Eastern Council (NEC) and came into being on 5th of September, 2000.
    • The Centre helps in augmenting the developmental process in the region by providing the advanced space technology support.

External aided projects for NER:

  • North Eastern States Roads Investment Programme (NESRIP) assisted by Asian Development Bank (ADB):
    • The scheme envisaged construction/up-gradation of total 433.425 km long roads in 6 North Eastern States of Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • North East Rural Livelihood Project assisted by World Bank:
  • The objective of the North East Rural Livelihood Project (NERLP) is “To improve rural livelihoods especially that of women, unemployed youth and the most disadvantaged, in four North Eastern States”. The proposed project has four major components:
    • Social empowerment;
    • Economic empowerment;
    • Partnership development & management and
    • Project management.

Source:  Indian Express


Telecom industry in India

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance
  • Mains – GA 2 (Governance)

Context: With the launch of  5G services in the country at the Indian Mobile Congress 2022 on October 1, 2022 it is hoped the remarkable progress the telecom industry has made, especially in mobile services, will continue.

  • It is indeed timely that the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has released the draft Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022, replacing the age old Indian Telegraph Act of 1885. However, though technology has evolved exponentially in the last decade, the draft Bill, disappointingly, lacks a vision for the future.

Brief details about telecom industry in India:

  • The Telecom industry in India is the second largest in the world with a subscriber base of 1.17 billion as of July 2022.
  • India has an overall tele-density of 85.11 %, with the tele-density of the rural market at 58.37% while that of the urban market is at 134.78%.
  • By the end of December 2021, the total number of internet subscribers increased to 829.3 million (narrowband + broadband subscribers), out of which 37.25% of the internet subscribers belong to the rural areas.
  • The number of broadband subscribers has increased to 807.42 million as of July 2022. The average monthly data consumption per wireless data subscriber has also increased by 22,605% to 14.97 GB in December 2021 from 61.66 MB in March 2014.
  • The Telecom sector is the 3rd largest sector in terms of FDI inflows, contributing 6.44% of total FDI inflow, and contributes directly to 2.2 million employment and indirectly to 1.8 million jobs.
  • 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has now been allowed in the Telecom sector under the automatic route.

Positive side of draft Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022:

  • It is stated clearly that any revisions to the telecom policies, including licensing conditions and payment, will not have any retrospective effect. This provides certainty to the firms.
  • Provisions related to verifiable identification of the calling party to be displayed to the receiver to limit the ubiquitous unsolicited commercial calls.
  • The Bill recognises the optimal utilisation of radio spectrum for commercial mobile services and provides the way forward for spectrum trading, sharing, leasing and re-purposing in a technology-neutral manner.
  • The opening up of the option for allocation to assign radio spectrum other than using auctions. This provides opportunities for the government to allocate spectrum using other methodologies such as administrative or beauty parades as applicable in specific use cases.
  • The recognition of telecommunication facility providers and the associated Right of Way (ROW),{ the area around a pipeline or transmission line that is either government- or privately-owned for which you receive permission to work on}enablement for the laying down of the passive infrastructure.
  • The bill has also proposed that if a telecom entity in possession of spectrum goes through bankruptcy or insolvency, the assigned spectrum will revert to the control of the Centre.

Caveats in draft Indian Telecommunications Bill 2022:

Inclusion of Over the Top:

Though the policy makers have attempted to re-define telecommunication services to include all forms of digital communication including Over the Top (OTT) communication and broadcasting services, the way in which this sector is addressed in the Bill severely lacks depth and vision.

Role of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI):

  • The total absence of any modification to the role of the Telecommunications Regulatory of Authority of India (TRAI), except for cosmetic changes to the TRAI Act 1997.
  • The TRAI has done remarkable job as the regulator of this dynamic technologically advanced sector for the past 25 years. The government must provide the much needed autonomy — both financially as well as administrative.
  • The Regulator plays a very important role in shaping the digital communication landscape of the country. The only additional power that has been given to TRAI is the checking of predatory pricing in telecommunications which in fact is an antitrust action and should be in the Competition Commission of India’s (SCCI) ambit and not TRAI.

Centre’s overarching power:

  • The Centre’s overarching power to regulate all aspects of telecommunications in the interest of national security, without appropriate safeguards including the designation of authorities who can issue such orders. This is likely to send jitters to the service providers as well as consumers, so there is a need to clearly indicate the precautionary measures and processes to reduce possible misuse.

Sanctions and penalties:

  • Granular level of details regarding sanctions and penalties in the Bill for deviating conduct of the service providers should be prescribed in the subsequent regulations and rules.

No provisions on cyber security:

  • The draft Bill has no provisions on cyber security of either telecommunications or related infrastructure. This assumes more significance given the fact that India does not have a dedicated law on cyber security. Hence, it becomes even more essential to address issues concerning cyber security in telecommunications.

Way Forward:

  • However, the Bill has only paid lip service to the fast evolving ecosystem. The Bill’s scope should be expanded to address the newly emerging digital communications sector;
  • The sector regulator’s role also needs to be enhanced for appropriate coordination with other related regulators including the soon-to-be enacted Data Protection Authority, CCI and Consumer Protection Authority.
  • The draft Bill represents an important step forward. But there is a need to address the various concerns of the stakeholders, both public and private, in the telecommunication ecosystem in order to enable the legislation to be more effective, relevant and topical.

Source: The Hindu


Baba’s Explainer – Language Panel Recommendations

Language Panel Recommendations

Syllabus

  • GS-2: Indian Society – Diversity
  • GS-2: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

Context: The 11th volume of the Report of the Official Language Committee headed by Home Minister which was submitted to President recently has triggered angry reactions from the Chief Ministers of Southern States, who have described the Report as an attempt by the Union government to impose Hindi on non-Hindi-speaking states.

Read Complete Details on Language Panel Recommendations


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) With reference to New Generation Launch Vehicle (NGLV) technology, which of the following statements are correct?

  1. NGLV uses a cryogenic upper stage like GSLV Mk-III
  2. NGLC is a reusable technology.
  3. NGLC will be used for the 2023 lunar mission Chandrayan-3

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

Q.2) If one can want to see snow leopards in their natural habitat, which one of the following is the best place to visit?

  1. Khangchendzonga National Park
  2. Namdapha National Park
  3. Hemis National Park
  4. Manas National Park

Q.3) The 97th Constitutional Amendment Act 2011  made changes to which of the following parts of the Constitution?

  1. Part III
  2. Part IV
  3. Part IX A

Select correct answer code given below:

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’14th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 13th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) –  a

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – b 

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