UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS| PRELIMS & MAINS | 2nd May 2020

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IASbhai DAILY UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS  (THE HINDU+LIVEMINT+PIB)

Dear Aspirants
IASbhai Daily Current Affairs for UPSC is an initiative to dilute major articles from leading Newspapers in India which are most relevant to UPSC preparation –‘THE HINDU, LIVEMINT , INDIAN EXPRESS’ and help millions of readers who find difficulty in answer writing and making notes everyday. Hence we choose articles on daily basis and analyse them with respect to UPSC PRELIMS2020.

When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you’ll find a way to get it.– Jim Rohn

HIGHLIGHT INFO:

ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.

BLACK COLOUR: Must Read !

BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

 

Draft Electricity Bill

      HEADLINES:

Why experts want govt to withdraw draft Electricity Bill

      WHY IN NEWS:

Experts question urgency of introducing a draft bill at a time when states struggle with COVID-19

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:3:Energy:Electricity:Bills

      LEARNING: 

For MAINS understand the drawbacks of the bill .

What do you mean by franchise in this bill ?

How does privatization effect the bill ?

      ISSUE: 

The Union government’s draft Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2020 — that emerged on April 17, 2020, amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) — has raised several concerns over reportedly increasing centralisation and protecting private interests over the greater good of the country.

The government refused to learn from the past, with this push for a privatisation model through the draft bill, said an expert Photo: Wikimedia Commons

  • After protests from several quarters, however, the government extended the deadline to submit all comments by June 2.
  • Several experts questioned the urgency of introducing the draft bill at a time when all the states struggle to curb the spread of the disease.

MAJOR ISSUES IN THE DRAFT BILL :

  • End of subsidies and cross-subsidies; in which the consumer; ‘direct benefit transfer (DBT)’ to consumers
  • Creation of the Electricity Contract Enforcement Authority (ECEA), a move aimed to further centralisation.

ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION MODEL :

  • Distribution sub-licensee and franchise.
  • The draft bill defined distribution sub-licensee as a person recognised as such and authorised by the distribution licensee to distribute electricity on its behalf in a particular area within its area of supply, with the permission of the appropriate state commission.
A franchisee means a person recognised as such and authorised by a distribution licensee to distribute electricity on its behalf in a particular area within his area of supply.

DRAWBACKS IN THE BILL :

  • PRIVATISATION : The government may first attempt to make NTPC Ltd the sub-licensee for distribution after taking it from the states and then subsequently hand it over to a private franchisee.
  • LEARNING FROM MISTAKES : It is, however, established that the franchisee model has not worked in India so far.
  • BENEFICIARIES : The removal of subsidies and cross-subsidies was another big concern, as the draft bill said consumers will not get subsidised electricity.
  • TRANSFER OF FUNDS : There are two concerns with the Centre’s move to allow for a transfer of subsidies through DBT.
  1. Farmers will have to pay first from their own pocket, after which they will get subsidies.
  2. Farmers will have to pay first from their own pocket then only they will get the subsidy.
  • CROSS SUBSIDIES : The concern with eliminating cross-subsidies is that it added to a burden on already-empty state coffers, with states not getting their dues from the Centre even during the pandemic..
  • This is to make sure ease of business of the licensees / power generators, Saldanha said.
  • DELIVERY OF JUSTICE : Most NGT benches were inaccessible to a majority of the population.
  • This is why thousands were deprived of justice in their legal battle related to environmental matters,

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • The cities where the government tried to establish a franchisee model included Bhiwandi, Nagpur and Sagar among many others.
  • The government refused to learn from the past, with this push for a privatisation model through the draft bill.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

American Academy of Arts and Sciences

      HEADLINES:

JNCASR Professor elected as International Honorary Member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

      WHY IN NEWS:

Professor Shobhana Narasimhan from the Theoretical Sciences Unit (TSU) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, has been elected as an International Honorary Member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1:Personality:Person in News

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS well person in news have lately been forgotten by UPSC but let us not forget this institution .

For MAINS go through the various disciplines and significant contributions made by such institutions.

      ISSUE: 

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences honours scholars and leaders who have distinguished themselves in the sciences, arts, humanities and public life.

AMERICAN ACADEMY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES :

  • The Academy is both an honorary society that recognizes and celebrates the excellence of its members and an independent research center convening leaders from across disciplines, professions, and perspectives to address significant challenges.

MISSION

  • Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences honors excellence and convenes leaders from every field of human endeavor to examine new ideas, address issues of importance to the nation and the world, and work together “to cultivate every art and science which may tend to advance the interest, honor, dignity, and happiness of a free, independent, and virtuous people.”

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Academy members are world leaders in the arts and sciences, business, philanthropy, and public affairs. They are based across the United States and around the world.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Shramik Special Trains

      HEADLINES:

Railways start Shramik Special Trains to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.

      WHY IN NEWS:

These special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Railways
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Railways

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS so finally HAPPY LABOURS DAY …. “Without labour nothing prospers.”

      ISSUE: 

As per the guideline issued by Ministry of Home Affairs, it has been decided to run “Shramik Special” trains from “Labour Day” today, to move migrant workers, pilgrims, tourists, students and other persons stranded at different places due to lock down.

“SHRAMIK SPECIAL” TRAINS :

  • These special trains will be run from point to point on the request of both the concerned State Governments as per the standard protocols for sending and receiving such stranded persons.
  • The Railways and State Governments shall appoint senior officials as Nodal Officers for coordination and smooth operation of these “Shramik Specials”.
  • It will be mandatory for every passenger to wear face cover.
  • Meals and drinking water would be provided to the passengers by the sending states at the originating station.
  • The Railways will endeavour to ensure social distancing norms and hygiene with the cooperation of passengers.
  • On longer routes, the Railways will provide a meal enroute during the journey.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The passengers have to be screened by the sending states and only those found asymptomatic would be allowed to travel.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

India’s R&D expenditure

      HEADLINES:

India’s R&D expenditure & scientific publications on the rise

      WHY IN NEWS:

India is placed 3rd among countries in scientific publication

MINISTRY? :- Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Research and Development:Science and Technology

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS this data is collected by ministry itself in form of a report ! lets go through it .

For MAINS take down important facts to substantiate a stand in your answers , this data can help you !

      ISSUE: 

India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018 .

R&D STATISTICS AND INDICATORS :

  • This is as per the R&D Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 based on the national S&T survey 2018 brought out by the National Science and Technology Management Information (NSTMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • “The report on R&D indicators for the nation is an extraordinarily important document for the evidence-based policymaking and planning in higher education, R&D activities and support, intellectual property, and industrial competitiveness.
  • The report shows that with the rise in publication, the country is globally at the 3rd   position on this score as per the NSF database.
  • The number of researchers per million population has doubled since 2000.

KEY FINDINGS OF THE REPORT :

INDIA’S GROSS EXPENDITURE IN R&D HAS TRIPLED BETWEEN 2008 & 2018:

  • The Gross expenditure on R&D (GERD) in the country has nearly tripled from Rs. 39,437.77 crore in 2007- 08 to Rs. 1,13,825.03 crore in 2017-18.
  • India’s per capita R&D expenditure has increased to PPP $ 47.2 in 2017-18 from PPP $ 29.2 in 2007-08.
  • India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D in 2017-18, while the same among other developing BRICS countries was Brazil 1.3%, Russian Federation 1.1%, China 2.1% and South Africa 0.8%.

EXTRAMURAL R&D SUPPORT BY CENTRAL S&T AGENCIES HAS INCREASED SIGNIFICANTLY

  • DST and DBT were the two major players contributing 63% and 14% respectively during 2016-17.
  • Women participation in extramural R&D projects has increased significantly to 24% .
  • As on 1st April 2018, nearly 5.52 lakh personnel were employed in the R&D establishments in the country

THE NUMBER OF RESEARCHERS PER MN POPULATIONS HAS DOUBLED SINCE 2000

  • Number of researchers per million population in India has increased to 255 in 2017 from 218 in 2015 and 110 in 2000.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

India occupies 3rd rank in terms of number of Ph. D.’s awarded in Science and Engineering (S&E) after USA (39,710 in 2016) and China (34,440 in 2015).

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Kisan Sabha App

      HEADLINES:

Kisan Sabha App to Connect Farmers to Supply Chain and Freight Transportation Management System Launched by CSIR

      WHY IN NEWS:

Kisan Sabha has 6 major modules taking care of Farmers, Mandi Dealers, Transporters, Mandi Board Members, Service Providers and Consumers

MINISTRY? :-Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Agriculture:Science and Technology:Digital India

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS look out for the key features , significance and the app developers !

For MAINS do you think its a mashup of apps ? So many apps around during this pandemic .

      ISSUE: 

In present situation of COVID 19, farmers are looking for help in their harvest reaching the market, seed/ fertilizer procurement, etc.

KISAN SABHA APP :

NEED OF THIS APP ?

  • A robust supply chain management is urgently required to facilitate the timely delivery of the produce at the best possible prices.

DEVELOPED BY :

  • Kisan Sabha App developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi to connect farmers to supply chain and freight transportation management system was remotely.

FEATURES OF THE APP :

AIM
Kisan Sabha aims to provide the most economical and timely logistics support to the farmers and increase their profit margins by minimizing interference of middlemen and directly connecting with the institutional buyers.
  • The portal acts as a single stop for every entity related to agriculture, be they a farmer who needs better price for the crops or mandi dealer who wants to connect to more farmers or truckers who invariably go empty from the mandis.
  • KisanSabha also works for people in agriculture services sector such as dealers of fertilizers/ pesticides,who can reach out to more farmers for their services.
  • It would also prove to be useful for those associated with cold store(s) or godown(s).
Kisan Sabha has 6 major modules taking care of Farmers/Mandi Dealers/Transporters/Mandi Board Members/ Service Providers/Consumers.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • It will also help in providing best market rates of crops by comparing nearest mandis, booking of freight vehicle at cheapest cost thereby giving maximum benefit to the farmers.
  • KisanSabha also provides a platform for people who want to buy directly from the farmers.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

New Parliament project

      HEADLINES:

Environment Ministry gives nod for new Parliament project

      WHY IN NEWS:

Approval subject to outcome of legal challenge to land use change, says panel

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Infrastructure

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS understand these developments . Keep a seperate note on central vista .

For MAINS find some drawbacks in this fast submitted environmental nod in the midst of a lockdown !

      ISSUE: 

The Centre’s proposal to construct a new Parliament building next to the existing heritage structure was approved by the Environment Ministry’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) last week.

  • The CPWD submitted that there would be “no significant impacts on public space” and with the entire area being in “high security zone”, the plot could have never been used for recreational purposes.
  •  “The existing Parliament building was constructed 93 years ago.
  • Over the years many planned/ unplanned changes have been made, often undocumented.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The project would not lead to any increase in air and noise pollutions and the water consumption would decrease due to reuse of treated water.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

      HEADLINES:

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

      WHY IN NEWS:

The aromatic spice possesses medicinal properties

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : GI Tags

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS we have mentioned all the significance of Kashmiri saffron below . Just dive in !

      ISSUE: 

Kashmir saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry.

 

A woman picking saffron flowers in south Kashmir.

 

  • The spice is grown in some regions of Kashmir, including Pulwama, Budgam, Kishtwar and Srinagar.

‘VERY PRECIOUS’

  • “Kashmir saffron is a very precious and costly product.
  • Iran is the largest producer of saffron and India is a close competitor.
  • With the GI tag, Kashmir saffron would gain more prominence in the export market.
  • Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice.
  • It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
  • It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).

THE SAFFRON AVAILABLE IN KASHMIR IS OF THREE TYPES —

  • LACHHA SAFFRON:  with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing;
  • MONGRA SAFFRON’ : in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and
  • GUCHHI SAFFRON’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level).

     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 

 Let us ‘Discuss’

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.

     SOURCES:THE HINDU/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

 

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