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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 26th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 26, 2022
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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


Eclipses

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography

Context: The partial solar eclipse or Surya Grahan on October 25 marks the last solar eclipse of the year. The eclipse will be visible from parts of Europe, Northern Africa and large parts of western and central Asia. Most of India should be able to view the solar eclipse, apart from some parts in the Northeast.

About Eclipses:

  • An eclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the sun’s light.
  • When the light of the Sun or the Moon is blocked by another body, the sun or Moon is said to be in eclipse.
  • Here on Earth, we can experience two kinds of eclipses: solar eclipses and lunar eclipses.

Solar Eclipse:

  • Also known as the eclipse of the sun, it occurs when the moon comes in between the sun and the earth. As a result, the moon blocks the light of the sun from reaching the earth’s surface and casts a shadow on it.
  • This occurs on a new moon phase.
  • We can observe up to 5 solar eclipses per year.

Type of Solar Eclipses:

  • Eclipses may be classified into 4 types i.e., Annular, Total, Partial and Hybrid.
  • The type of eclipse we experience depends on the type of shadow that is involved.
    • Both the Moon and Earth cast 3 shadows: umbra, penumbra, and an antumbra.
    • The umbra is a shadow’s dark core: It means If you are standing within the umbra, you will not be able to see any part of the light source as the object blocks all direct light rays.
    • The penumbra is a half-shadow that occurs when a light source is only partly covered by an object
    • Antumbra – the lighter part of the shadow that begins where the umbra ends.
  • Total Eclipse: This occurs when the Sun is completely obscured from the rich. Instead, the Sun’s intense light is replaced by the dark silhouette of the Moon that is outlined by the Sun’s corona (the super-heated plasma extending out from the Sun.
  • Annular Eclipse: Occurs when the Sun and Moon are exactly in line but Moon appears smaller than the Sun. During one annular eclipse, the Sun appears as a bright ring around the Moon.
  • Partial Eclipse: Occurs when the Sun and Moon are not completely aligned and the Sun is partially obscured.
  • Hybrid Eclipse: Hybrid Eclipse is a combination of total and annular eclipse that takes place when a total eclipse changes to an annular eclipse or vice-versa along different sections of the eclipse’s path.

Lunar Eclipse:

  • A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon moves into the Earth’s shadow.
  • This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned with Earth between the other two, which can happen only on the night of a full moon when the moon is near either lunar node.

There are 3 kinds of lunar eclipses:

  • A total lunar eclipse occurs when Earth’s umbra – the central, dark part of its shadow – obscures all of the Moon’s surface.
  • A partial lunar eclipse can be observed when only part of the Moon’s surface is obscured by Earth’s umbra.
  • A penumbral lunar eclipse happens when the Moon travels through the faint penumbral portion of Earth’s shadow.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In the northern hemisphere, the longest day of the year normally occurs in the: (2021)

  1. First half of the month of June
  2. Second half of the month of June
  3. First half of the month of July
  4. Second half of the month of July

Q.2) On 21st June, the Sun      (2019)

  1. does not set below the horizon at the Arctic Circle
  2. does not set below the horizon at Antarctic Circle
  3. shines vertically overhead at noon on the Equator
  4. shines vertically overhead at the Tropic of Capricorn

The Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Recently the Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) pitched for regulating all OTT players, including communication over the top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp, and those such as Netflix that consumed huge bandwidth.

About COAI:

  • COAI was constituted in 1995 as a registered, non-governmental society. The Association is dedicated to the advancement of modern communication through the establishment of world-class mobile infrastructure, products and services and to delivering the benefits of innovative and affordable mobile communication services to the people of India.
  • Over the years COAI has emerged as the official voice for the Indian telecom industry and interacts directly with Ministries, Policy Makers, Regulators, Financial Institutions and Technical Bodies.
    • It provides a forum for discussion and exchange of ideas between these bodies and the Service Providers, who share a common interest in the development of mobile telephony in the country. COAI collaborates with other Industry Associations such as CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM, AUSPI, ISPAI, VSAT association etc.
  • COAI’s core membership includes private Telecom Service Providers, namely – Bharti Airtel Limited., Vodafone Idea Limited and Reliance Jio Infocomm Limited, operating across the whole country.
  • Having started as an Association for mobile service providers, COAI has today expanded to be a thought leader in the Digital Communications industry, with members including Telecom service providers, telecom infrastructure players, telecom network equipment & device manufacturers, chipsets manufacturers,  Social Media companies, Content Providers, E-commerce players; and still expanding to include other allied and critical stakeholders of the sector.
  • COAI’s present Associate Members include –Amazon Seller Services Pvt.Ltd, Apple India, Atria Convergence Technologies Pvt. Ltd, Ciena Communications India Pvt. Ltd., Cisco Systems India Pvt. Ltd., Ericsson India Pvt. Ltd., ECI Telecom India Pvt. Ltd., Facebook India Online Services Pvt. Ltd., Google India Pvt. Ltd., Huawei Telecommunications (India) Co. Pvt. Ltd, Indus Towers Ltd,  Juniper Networks Solutions India Pvt. Ltd., Nokia Networks, Qualcomm India Pvt. Ltd., Sterlite Technologies Limited and ZTE Telecom India Pvt. Ltd.
  • Further, COAI has dedicated itself towards the training of skilled manpower to ensure efficient and optimum utilization of human resources to the industry. COAI has played a major role in the setting up and operations of the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) in India under the aegis of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC).
    • TSSC is registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860, with members from COAI, ICA, TCOE, NSDC, TAIPA, AUSPI, Govt., Telecom Industry and Academia.
  • COAI also played a major role in setting up the Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE) set up in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, with the Government, the Academia and the Industry working together for the sustained growth and progress of the country.
    • The key objective of TCOEs are to create synergy amongst the academia, telecom industry and the government for creation of new services/applications, generation of IPR, development of manufacturing capability, global telecom standardization activities, and promotion of entrepreneurship.
  • COAI was instrumental in the formation of the Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI), which aims at developing and promoting India-specific requirements, standardizing solutions for meeting these requirements and contributing these to international standards.
    • The TSDSI contributes to global standardization in the field of telecommunications by maintaining the technical standards and other deliverables of the organization, safe-guarding the related IPR, helping create manufacturing expertise in the country, and providing leadership to the developing countries in terms of their telecommunications-related standardization needs.
  • COAI also interacts with various international organizations such as ITU, GSMA, UMTS, TIA, ITIC, GSA, MMF, Digital Europe, WWRF and 3GPP; Country Embassies as well as the Press & Media to ensure that the issues pertaining to the mobile phone industry are discussed, understood and debated on a wider platform.

Source: The Hindu


LVM3-M2 rocket

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

In news: The Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest rocket Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LVM3 or GSLV Mark 3) took off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, and successfully orbited 36 satellites of U.K.-based OneWeb.

  • ISRO would place another 36 satellites in the next M3 mission.
  • This mission is being undertaken as part of the commercial arrangement between NSIL and m/s Network Access Associates Limited (m/s OneWeb Ltd), a U.K. based company.

About LVM3:

  • LVM3-M2 is the dedicated commercial satellite mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) under the Department of Space, Government of India.
  • The 43.5 metre LVM3 weighing around 644 tonnes carried 36 satellites weighing 5,796 kg or about 5.7 tonne.
  • With this launch, LVM3 has made its entry into the global commercial launch service market.
  • The LVM3 was conceived primarily for launching geo-stationary satellites with a payload capacity of 4T, which can be used for launching 6T payloads for LEO.
  • The mission is very critical to meet the customer’s expectations to launch 36 satellites in 9 phases with precision. The mission was designed in such a way that C25 stage was to handle this operation using in-house built inertial navigation systems.

About OneWeb:

  • OneWeb is a joint venture between India’s Bharti Enterprises and the U.K. government.
  • This is OneWeb’s 14th launch, bringing the constellation to 462 satellites.
  • This launch represents more than 70% of its planned 648 Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite fleet that will deliver high-speed, low-latency connectivity worldwide.
  • With only four more launches to go, OneWeb remains on track to activate global coverage in 2023.

Significance:

  • The launch with ISRO and NSIL opens up the space sector in India with the possibility of billions of dollars flowing into the country.
  • This partnership with NSIL and ISRO demonstrates OneWeb’s commitment to provide connectivity across the length and breadth of India by 2023.
  • It will bring secured solutions not only to enterprises but also to towns, villages, municipalities and schools, including the hardest-to-reach areas across the country.

Source: The Hindu

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

Credit in the Economy

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy

In news: As per a report of CareEdge, credit outstanding stood at ₹128.6 lakh crore, rising by 17.9 per cent y-o-y over the last 12 months, reporting robust growth.

  • Increase is due to a low base, retail credit, higher demand for working capital requirements amidst high inflation, and low funds raised in the capital market.

Weighted Average Call Rate (WACR):

  • Call money rate is the rate at which short term funds are borrowed and lent in the money market.
  • The duration of the call money loan is 1 day.
  • Banks resort to these types of loans to fill the asset liability mismatch, comply with the statutory CRR and SLR requirements and to meet the sudden demand of funds.
  • RBI, banks, primary dealers etc are the participants of the call money market.
  • Demand and supply of liquidity affect the call money rate. A tight liquidity condition leads to a rise in call money rate and vice versa.
  • It represents the unsecured segment of the overnight money market.
  • It was explicitly chosen as the operating target of monetary policy in India.

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS):

  • The scheme was launched as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package announced in May 2020 to mitigate the distress caused by covid-induced lockdown, by providing credit to different sectors, especially Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Objective: To provide fully guaranteed and collateral free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, MUDRA borrowers and individual loans for business purposes to the extent of 20% of their credit outstanding as on 29th February, 2020.
  • 100% guarantee coverage is being provided by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company, whereas Banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) provide loans.
  • Eligibility: Borrowers with credit outstanding up to Rs. 50 crores as on 29th February, 2020, and with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 250 crores are eligible under the Scheme.
  • On 1st August, 2020 the government widened the scope of the Rs. 3 lakh crore-ECLGS scheme by doubling the upper ceiling of loans outstanding and including certain loans given to professionals like doctors, lawyers and chartered accountants for business purposes under its ambit.
  • Tenor of loans provided under the Scheme is four years, including a moratorium of one year on principal repayment.
  • Interest rates under the Scheme are capped at 9.25% for Banks and Financial Institutions (FIs), and 14% for NBFCs.
  • Present Status: As per data by the government and banks, loans of about Rs 3.67 lakh crore have been sanctioned under ECLGS till August 5, and Rs 2.54 lakh crore had been disbursed till April 30.
  • Benefits of the scheme:
  • The scheme is expected to provide credit to the sector at a low cost, thereby enabling MSMEs to meet their operational liabilities and restart their businesses and recover early.
  • The Scheme is expected to have a positive impact on the economy and support its revival.

Source: The Hindu Businessline

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference of the Indian economy, consider the following statements: (2020)

  1. ‘Commercial Paper’ is a short-term unsecured promissory note.
  2. ‘Certificate of Deposit’ is a long-term instrument issued by the Reserve Bank of India to a corporation.
  3. ‘Call Money’ is a short-term finance used for interbank transitions.
  4. ‘Zero-Coupon Bonds’ are the interest-bearing short-term bonds issued by the Scheduled Commercial Banks to corporations.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Bronze idols

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Architectures

In News: The Idol Wing-CID has traced two Chola-era bronze idols that were stolen about 50 years ago from the Vishwanatha Swamy Temple at Alathur in Tiruvarur district and smuggled to the United States.

About:

  • Three antique metal idols — Vishnu, Sridevi and Bhudevi belonging to the Vishwanatha Swamy Temple — had been burgled.
  • The Idol Wing traced the idols of Yoganarasimha and Ganesha, Somaskandar idol and the Dancing Sambandar idol.

Indian Bronze Sculptures:

  • The process of making alloy of metals by mixing copper, zinc and tin is called bronze.
  • The ‘Dancing Girl’ from Mohenjodaro is the earliest bronze sculpture datable to 2500 BCE.
  • At Daimabad (Maharashtra) datable to 1500 BCE, bronze ‘Chariot’ has been discovered.
  • They are cast through cire-perdu or ‘lost-wax’ process.
  • First a wax model of the image is made by hand of pure beeswax
  • It is then pressed through a pichki or pharni — which squeezes the wax into noodle-like shape.
  • These wax wires are then wound around to the shape of the entire image. The image is now covered with a thick coating of paste, made of equal parts of clay, sand and cow-dung.
  • Into an opening on one side, a clay pot is fixed. In this molten metal is poured.
  • While the molten metal is poured in the clay pot, the clay-plastered model is exposed to firing. As the wax inside melts, the metal flows down the channel and takes on the shape of the wax image.
  • The image is later chiselled with files to smoothen it and give it a finish.
  • Sometimes an alloy of five metals — gold, silver, copper, brass and lead — is used to cast bronze images.

Source: The Hindu


Samburu warriors rock art

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Art and Architecture

In News: Linnaeus University in Sweden and the University of Western Australia initiated a community-led project together with the Samburu to learn about their rock art tradition.

About:

  • The Samburu people in northern Kenya’s Marsabit county are pastoralists.
  •  They migrate from place to place in search of pasture and water for their cattle, goats, sheep and camels.
  • As part of their lifestyle, at the age of 15, Samburu boys leave their villages and go through initiation rituals when they live in rock shelters, which mark the passing from childhood to warriorhood and learn about their protective duties.
  • During this time the young warriors — called lmurran — express themselves by painting images on the rocks.
  • This is one of very few ongoing rock art traditions in the world and therefore, presents a unique chance to know where, when, and why rock art was created.
  • Samburu rock art tradition commemorates real-life events related to the warrior life-world. They express the wishes and expectations of the young men and is made as a leisure activity.
  • Dancing is an important part of Samburu culture and some paintings depict boys and girls dancing together.
  • While there are indeed many rituals in Samburu culture, rock art is not part of such practices.
  • Certainly, there are norms guiding the creation of the rock art, but the artist is free to express himself if the images reflect young men’s experiences.

About Samburu art:

  • The images are made using red, white, yellow and black paint.
  • Before the arrival of Europeans in the 1940s the artists preferred a pigment of red ochre, which was also used for smearing their hair and bodies.
  • The white colour was animal fat, which turns light when it dries. To make black paint they used charcoal.
  • As a binder, all pigments were mixed with fat from slaughtered animals.
  • Today, commercial paint is also used along with more traditional pigments.
  • The oldest rock art the elders remembered was more than 150 years old.
  • When visiting the rock art sites, we saw an intriguing relationship between rock art made by different generations of warriors. Present warriors are inspired by older art, but add their own memories and style and sometimes also the names of the artists.
  • The images become an inter-generational visual culture that reflects and recreates a warrior identity and lifestyle.
  • The artists always have specific people, animals and objects in mind when making their drawings. This is not clearly expressed in the drawings as they lack identifying details.
  • Studying the images doesn’t reveal the artist’s intention. Many of the artworks reflect first hand experiences of the warriors. A bull figure, for example, depicts a bull they slaughtered and ate.

Miscellaneous:

  • Rock art has been made for more than 60,000 years and it exists on every continent except the Antarctic.
  •  Papua New Guinea and parts of Australia are among the few other places where new rock art is still being created, maintained, or repainted like at the Samburu sites.
  • Ancient rock art images offer glimpses of human thoughts and beliefs from times when no written records existed.
  • Marsabit county in northern Kenya is a semi-desert which frequently experiences drought.

Source: Down to Earth

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to the history of Indian rock-cut architecture, consider the following statements: (2013)

  1. The caves at Badami are the oldest surviving rock-cut caves in India.
  2. The Barabar rock-cut caves were originally made for Ajivikas by Emperor Chandragupta Maurya
  3. At Ellora, caves were made for different faiths.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Risk to UPI being a Public Good

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Recently there has been a debate among various industry stakeholders and the government on making digital payments through UPI infrastructure chargeable.

  • Although recently the finance minister has reiterated that the UPI was a digital public good and hence will likely remain a free-of-charge product.

About Unified Payments Interface (UPI):

  • It is a system that facilitates instant fund transfer between two bank accounts on a mobile platform, without requiring details of the beneficiary’s bank account.
  • It is an advanced version of Immediate Payment Service (IMPS) – round–the-clock funds transfer service to make cashless payments faster, easier and smoother.
  • It is developed by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) and regulated by RBI.
  • NPCI launched UPI with 21 member banks in 2016.
  • India is expanding UPI based infrastructure in many foreign countries such as Singapore’s PayNow has been linked with UPI.

Evolution of UPI:

  • UPI has gone a long way in enabling the digitalization of India’s payments economy.
  • It has added layers of convenience in the way people transact with money.
  • UPI being an indigenous ‘Made in India’ product has helped India find its unique place in the globe in the digital payments arena.
  • Touted to be a $180 billion market by 2026, India is among top nations in this space.
  • With UPI expanding beyond the borders, it has certainly brought a lot of pride to the nation.

Issues with the UPI infrastructure:

  • UPI has neither reduced the cost of money or currency, nor has it propelled a mass-scale substitution of physical cash with UPI.
  • The payments industry is unhappy with the current free-UPI model because the cost of its investments in infrastructure don’t recover.
  • Incremental investments are not coming in thus the upgradation of infrastructure has suffered.
    • This is partly a reason for the high transaction failure rates of the UPI.
    • Payment rejection rates are increasing from less than 1% about 4 years back to about 2% currently.
  • Although the UPI allows transfer of up to ₹1 lakh but about 70% of the total payments are lower value transactions (up to ₹200).
  • In reality it has replaced low-denomination rupee notes and not really cash as a payment mode

Government’s stand o UPI:

  • The government believes that the current reimbursement fund is adequate to find the stakeholders.
  • Although the reimbursement fund neither considers the constant cost of upgrading the back-end systems of the payment providers nor does the money reach everybody in the ecosystem.
  • While banks end up getting their costs refunded, payment apps and infrastructure providers are often left to fend for themselves.
  • Advantages of making UPI transactions chargeable
  • Data trade and data mining accounts for a third of total revenues for payment apps.
  • RBI and the government are trying to clamp down on companies making gains out of the consumer’s personal data, introducing charges on UPI transfers could help address this.
  • The NPCI has been facing the challenge of capping the market dominance of certain players in the payment interface.
  • A mechanism to charge payments can help address this issue too.
    • For instance, the NPCI could levy an additional user fee on payment companies which have breached the permissible transaction threshold.
    • Such levies are usually passed on to customers, and this itself would help cap individual player market shares at 30 per cent.
    • The payment infrastructure providers will get incentivized to upgrade their infrastructure thus making innovation in the field.
  • Save government finances on subsidies as the government allocates substantial amounts for reimbursement of charges towards RuPay debit card and UPI transactions.

Way forward:

  • UPI is a means to accelerate formalization and digitization of the economy and thus its infrastructure needs to be upgraded at the right times.
  • To make the UPI acceptable and relevant across larger ticket sizes and economic strata, all the players in the UPI ecosystem need to be incentivized.
  • Therefore, if the government’s intention is to increase the use case and acceptability of UPI.
  • It should do away with its policies of populism and should make the UPI infrastructure chargeable so that the UPI lives up to its expectation of “a new generation payment system” and which is accepted across the globe.

About Public Good:

  • Public goods are non-excludable and non-rivalrous, meaning they are free for everyone and unlimited in supply.
  • In theory , there is no shortage to others as they are non-rivals in consumption
  • The public sector typically manages public goods and the private/free market does not produce them i.e., the state has absolute say over these goods.
  • Public goods suffer from what economists call the free-rider problem.
  • Examples of public goods include:
    • Street lighting,
    • National defense,
    • Public beaches
    • National parks and monuments.
    • Education, healthcare infrastructure etc.

Are public goods necessarily available at zero cost?

  • Public goods are actually not available at a zero cost because they come at a cost which is indirectly paid in the form of taxes.
  • In specific cases such as healthcare or education the dynamics are different.
  • While basic or entry level public goods are usually available free of cost, specialized healthcare treatment or higher education usually does come at a cost.
  • When a public institution provides healthcare/education services, the costs are lesser than a private player which actually creates certain artificial usage barriers.
  • For instance, free education or education at a low fee is an option only to households of a certain socio-economic strata.
  • But in case of road and toll taxes everyone having a vehicle will be paying road tax i.e public goods are not completely free.

Source: The Hindu


India-United Kingdom Relations

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Syllabus

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

Context: India’s External Affairs Minister recently discussed relations between India-U.K. with his British counterpart of UK. The call took place just before he was confirmed to continue in the post of Foreign Secretary by the newly appointed British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

  • The two Ministers discussed several issues but the announcement of the phone call did not include the state of negotiation of the India-U.K. Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that missed the Deepavali deadline that was given earlier this year by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during his visit to India.

History of India-United Kingdom relations

1600-1857: East India Company

  • 1600: Trade was first established between Mughal India and Tudor England. Elizabeth, I granted a royal charter to the East India company.
  • 1757: The Battle of Plassey started the advent of company rule in India. Over the years a series of wars and treaties expanded the company’s influence all over India.
  • Through the Anglo-Mysore wars, Anglo-Maratha wars, and Anglo-Sikh wars- EIC controlled most of the Indian subcontinent.
  • 1857: Indian rebellion of 1857 led to the end of company rule in India. The rule was transferred to the crown and the British government.

1858-1947: British Raj

  • 1858: The British Government seized control of the territories and treaty arrangements of the former East India Company.
  • Over the next span of years, the British fought numerous wars including the Anglo-Afghan Wars, the Anglo-Gurkha Wars, the Anglo-Burmese Wars, the First and Second Opium Wars, and World War I and II on the strength of the British Indian Army.

Indian Independence Movement:

  • The 1857 rebellion became the inspiration for initiating the struggle for independence in India.
  • Many nationalists and revolutionaries and leaders stood up against the British rule like Tilak, Lala Lajpat Rai, Bhagat Singh, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru, and many more.
  • The events of the freedom movement eventually led to the dissolution of the British Raj and the Independence of India on 15 August 1947.
  • However, it also resulted in the Partition of India into two new entities, the Dominion of Pakistan (which included the province of East Bengal that would later achieve independence as Bangladesh) and the Dominion of India.
  • 1950: India decided to be in the commonwealth of nations after becoming a republic.
  • Both Britain and India have since pursued quite divergent diplomatic paths.
  • In particular, India became a major force within the Non-Aligned Movement, which initially sought to avoid taking sides during the Cold War. This contrasted with Britain’s position as a founding member of NATO and a key ally of the United States.

Economic and Trade relations:

  • India is the 2nd largest investor in the UK. While the UK ranks 18th as a trading partner of India, it is 3rd as an investor in India.
  • 2005: The Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETCO) was inaugurated in New Delhi aimed at boosting two-way bilateral investments.
  • India’s main exports to the UK are: ready-made garments and textiles, gems and jewellery, engineering goods, petroleum and petrochemical products, transport equipment and parts, spices, manufactures of metals, machinery and instruments, drugs & pharmaceuticals and marine products.
  • The main imports from the UK to India are: precious and semi-precious stones, metalliferous, ores and metal scraps, engineering goods, professional instruments other than electronics, non-ferrous metals, chemicals, and machinery.
  • In the services sector, the UK is the largest market in Europe for Indian IT services.
  • The top sectors attracting FDI from the UK are petroleum, ports, services, roads and highways, and computer software.
  • The growth of India’s multinational companies contributed greatly to UK’s business and economy.
  • India-UK bilateral merchandise trade (Trade in Goods and Trade in Service) has increased exponentially over the decade.
  • Under the Road map, a free trade agreement was signed in 2021.

Cultural relations:

  • India and UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cultural Cooperation in July 2010. The Nehru Centre (TNC), established in 1992 in London, is the cultural outreach of the High Commission of India in the UK.

Nuclear Cooperation:

  • Both nations have signed a Civil Nuclear Cooperation Declaration in 2010 to help promote and facilitate cooperation in the nuclear field including nuclear trade and also between the scientific institutions of the two countries
  • In 2015, the UK and Indian Prime Ministers signed a Nuclear Collaboration Agreement as part of a comprehensive package of collaboration on energy and climate change, including joint research programs and initiatives to share technical, scientific, financial, and policy expertise.

Education:

  • India is the second-largest source of students studying in the UK and the number of Indian students in the UK is approximately 38,000. The UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) was launched in 2005 with a focus on higher education and research, schools, and professional and technical skills.
  • 2016 was announced as the UK-India year of Education, Research and Innovation.

Defence cooperation:

  • At all the three services level, joint exercises and wide-ranging exchanges between the three services are conducted regularly.
  • Prime Ministers Modi and Johnson have set out a shared vision for the UK-India defence partnership and agreed to advance the relationship to a new level.
  • India-UK agreed to significant new cooperation on Maritime Domain Awareness, which includes new agreements on maritime information sharing, an invitation to the UK to join India’s Information Fusion Centre in Gurgaon, and an ambitious exercise program that includes joint tri-lateral exercises.

Health:

  • As a Global Force for Good in health, the UK and India will use our combined research and innovation strength to address the biggest global health challenges, save lives and improve health and well-being.
  • The India-United Kingdom Health Partnership envisions to enhance global health security and pandemic resilience, show leadership in Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), promote healthy societies and strengthen both our health systems through increased collaboration on clinical education, health worker mobility, and digital health.

Way Forward

  • UK values its relationship with India just more than trade and India regards UK as an important player in world politics and development. There is convergence of views on the global issues. Both believe in rule based international order. UK is the permanent member of the UNSC and supports India for its permanent membership. Both support for the development in west Asia.
  • There are areas in which UK seeks India’s support, opinion and share their views with us. At a time when UK is not the part of Europe, it is very important to have strong friends outside and India is one of those.
  • As the UK prepares to leave the EU, it is time to reset this relationship. Both the countries cannot afford to be complacent or rely on historical connections to deliver a modern partnership.
  • Britain could further its relationship with India including through security and defence cooperation, joint exercises of the armed forces, and working with India to achieve reform at international bodies such as the UN and WTO. Trade, security, a shared commitment to the rules-based international system — these are all factors in our growing and evolving partnership.
  • India is one of the fastest growing large economies of the world and FTA with the UK has played a significant role in enhancing the trade volume of the country.

Source: The Hindu


Global Cybersecurity

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 3 Science and Technology

In news: ESIWA and ORF convened the first high-level, closed-door roundtable in New Delhi on the side-lines of the Raisina Dialogue 2022 to discuss and examine European and Indian positions on cybersecurity issues.

  • The event was the first in a series of six roundtables that ESIWA and ORF will host in 2022-23 in order to advance track 1.5 cyber-dialogues between the EU and India.
  • The objective is to determine how can EU and India cooperate bilaterally and multilaterally to increase adherence to cyber norms and implementation of cyber confidence-building measures, involvement of private sector stakeholders and addressing organised forms of cybercrime such as ransomware.
  • The conclusions of the roundtable discussions will be put forward for consideration during the formal EU–India Cybersecurity Dialogue meetings.
  • It addressed the theme, ‘Enhancing Global Cybersecurity Cooperation: European and Indian Perspectives’.

Context:

  • The European Union (EU) and India have cooperated on cybersecurity since the early 2000s on lines of common values of democracy and rule of law and the need to protect the rules-based order.
  • For both India and the EU, the imperative is to promote an open, free, secure, and accessible cyberspace that enables growth and innovation.
  • Most recently, in April 2022, the two sides established the EU-India Trade and Tech Council to tackle challenges at the nexus of trade, trusted technology and security

The Challenges:

  • The last few years have seen a sharp rise in the incidence of cyber-attacks in various parts of the world, partly as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak that forced a shift to digitisation of economic, social and other activities.
  • Cybersecurity firm McAfee estimated that as of December 2020, incidents of cybercrime had cost the world economy over US$ 1 trillion, up by 150 percent from a 2018 estimate of US$ 600 billion.
  • In 2021, India experienced the third highest number of data breaches in the world, with over 86.3 million breaches occurring in the first 11 months of the year.
  • Similarly, the Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment 2021 found that the EU was witnessing a spike in ransomware affiliate programmes, mobile malware, and online fraud.
  • The European Union Agency for Cybersecurity (ENISA) reported 304 malicious attacks against critical sectors in 2020, double the number from the previous year.
  • In India, the National Crime Records Bureau recorded a rise of 11.8 percent in cybercrime in 2020; and over 1.15 million incidents of cyber-attacks were reported to the country’s Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) in the same year.
  • In 2021, the Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center and the Digital Security Unit observed that most nation state actors focused operations and attacks on government agencies, intergovernmental organisations, nongovernmental organisations, and think tanks for traditional espionage or surveillance objectives.
  • During 2019–21, Microsoft delivered over 20,500 Nation State Notifications (NSNs) when customers were targeted or compromised by nation state activities.
  • The instances of cybercrime in India have increased fivefold between 2018 and 2021.

International Mechanisms:

  • The Budapest Convention: The Council of Europe’s Convention on Cybercrime, also known as the Budapest Convention came into force in 2004 as the first international instrument on cybercrime.
  • It is currently the only binding international instrument on cybercrime
  • The Convention deals with offences such as computer-related fraud, illegal access, misuse of devices, and child pornography.
  • Its principal aims are to: (1) Harmonise domestic laws on cybercrime; (2) Support the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes; and (3) Facilitate international cooperation on cybercrime. Since 2006, the first Additional Protocol to the Convention that criminalises ‘acts of a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems’ has been in effect.
  • The UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE): Established in 2004 by UNGA to explore the impact of developments in ICT on international peace and security.
  • The mandate of the GGEs has been to examine threats in cyberspace along with possible cooperative measures, and to maintain an open, secure, peaceful and accessible ICT environment.
  • EU itself is not a member of the GGEs, many individual EU member states have held expert positions on past GGEs.
  • India was an active member of the fifth (2016-17) and sixth (2019-21) GGEs.
  • While it was not a member of the third GGE for 2014–15, it responded to the Group’s deliberations by initiating a national study for examining the norms for cooperation.
  • The UN Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG): Established in 2019 by UNGA to provide a “democratic, transparent and inclusive platform”.
  • The OEWG’s mandate is to develop rules, norms and principles of responsible behaviour of States; devise ways to implement these rules; identify CBMs and capacity-building measures; and study cyber threats and the application of international law to cyberspace.
  • India actively participated in the first OEWG and contributed substantively towards its final report.
  • India stated that a “common understanding on how international law is applicable to State’s use of ICTs is important for promoting an open, secure, stable, accessible, interoperable and peaceful ICT environment.
  • The Proposed Programme of Action (PoA): Established in 2020 by over 40 countries (including EU member states) for advancing responsible state behaviour in cyberspace.
  • To end the dual-track discussions of the GGE and OEWG, and to establish a permanent UN forum to consider the use of ICTs by states in the context of international security.
  • It is envisaged as a single, long-term, inclusive and progress-oriented platforms.
  • India has been participating in UN-mandated cyber processes and consultations.

Recommendations:

  • Build upon and expand EU-India cyber interactions – by exchanging best practices and lessons learned on the implementation of cyber norms and engage in discussions on the drafting and implementation of relevant international standards for new technologies such as 5G; and undertake joint efforts to advance global cyber resilience.
  • Promote multistakeholder engagement at various levels by building public-private consensus and partnerships and foster a more inclusive ecosystem for cyber cooperation.
  • Jointly undertake capacity building exercises and confidence-building measures, particularly in areas such as promoting cybersecurity, strengthening encryption standards, and developing the capacity of cyber professionals.
  • Support to third countries could also be strategic, focusing on issues such as helping eradicate the safe havens for cybercriminals operating out of these countries; or facilitating cooperation among third countries from an enforcement perspective.
  • Explore the implications and possible benefits of the Programme of Action (PoA).
  • Work towards crafting new standards for data governance and data sharing.
  • Work towards developing global standards in selected domains.
  • Continue to build trust through increased cooperation.

Way forward:

  • The present ESIWA-ORF project will complement the official EU-India interactions on cybersecurity.
  • These could include
  • defending against data breaches and cyber-attacks
  • using emerging technologies to fight cybercrime
  • exploring measures that states could take to ensure a balance between cybersecurity and free speech
  • deliberating upon the ongoing process of drafting a comprehensive UN cybercrime treaty
  • As recommended, a multistakeholder approach involving governments, civil society organisations, and the private sector will be adopted across efforts to enhance cybersecurity cooperation.

Source: ORF Online


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements:

  1. An eclipse happens when a planet or a moon gets in the way of the sun’s light.
  2. A Solar Eclipse occurs when the moon comes in between the sun and the earth.
  3. A lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth moves into the Moon’s shadow.

Which of the statements given above are true?

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

Q.2) With respect to OneWeb, consider the following statements:

  1. It is a joint venture between NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) and UK government.
  2. It recently launched 36 satellites with LVM3 rockets.
  3. The LVM3 was conceived primarily for launching geo-stationary satellites.

Which of the above are correct?

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

Q.3) Consider the following statements regarding Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) :

  1. COAI has played a major role in the setting up and operations of the Telecom Sector Skill Council (TSSC) in India under the aegis of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC).
  2. COAI was instrumental in the formation of the Telecommunications Standards Development Society, India (TSDSI).
  3. COAI played a major role in setting up the Telecom Centres of Excellence (TCOE) set up in Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode across the country.

Which of the following statements are correct?

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

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

ANSWERS FOR ’26th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st


ANSWERS FOR 25th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – b

Q.3) – d

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