17th August 2021 Daily current Affairs

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Questions:-

‘IndiGau’, sometimes seen in the news recently, refers to?

a.  Indigenously developed vaccine for cattles

b.  Cattle genomic chip for preserving indigenous breeds

c.  Animal health card issued under the National Mission for Bovine productivity

d.  A web portal to boost dairy productivity in India by organizing the livestock market

2)Which of the following is generally not an activity carried out by shell companies?

 a) Make financial transactions.

 b) Manufacturing products and rendering services

 c) Diverting money or money laundering.

 d) None of the above are the activities of Shell companies.

3)Fiscal Consolidation refers to the policies undertaken by Governments to

Reduce their fiscal deficits

Reduce the accumulation of debt stock

Select the correct answer code:

 a) 1 only

 b) 2 only

 c) Both 1 and 2

 d) Neither 1 nor 2

Prelims specific News :-

Central Asian Flyway(CAF) Flyway:

Central Asian Flyway

A flyway is a geographical region within which a single or a group of migratory species completes its annual cycle – breeding, moulting, staging and non-breeding. 

Central Asian Flyway(CAF) encompasses overlapping migration routes of over 30 countries for different water-birds. The CAF links the northernmost breeding ground in Siberia to the southernmost non-breeding grounds in west and south Asia, the Maldives and the British Indian Ocean territory.

2) The Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched an online portal named TAPAS (Training for Augmenting Productivity and Services).

About TAPAS Portal:

Developed by: National Institute of Social Defence, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

What is it? It is a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) platform that offers various courses in the field of social defence.

Objective: The main objective of introducing courses on social defence is to impart training and enhance the knowledge and skills for the capacity building of the participants.

Courses: It will provide five basic courses

Drug (Substance) Abuse Prevention,

Geriatric/Elderly Care,

Care and Management of Dementia,

Transgender Issues

Comprehensive course on Social Defence Issues.

Eligibility: The courses can be taken up by anyone who wishes to enhance his or her knowledge on the topics and there is no fee for joining.

About National Institute of Social Defence (NISD):

NISD was originally set up as the Central Bureau of Correctional Services in 1961 under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.

Since 1975, the Institute has functioned as a subordinate office under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

In 2002, NISD became an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and is registered under Societies Act 1860 with the Government of NCT, Delhi.

3)The Ministry of Culture inaugurated two exhibitions on the occasion of Independence Day.

Which are those two exhibitions?

Katha Kranthi Veeron Ki:

It is an exhibition of revolutionaries with a dedicated exhibition on Alluri Seetharamaraju and exhibits of paintings of Shaheedi Diwas, Champaran Satyagraha and Jallianwala Bagh.

It will be organized by Lalit Kala Akademi. 

Monuments of Victory & Valour:

It is an exhibition that will contain photos of resistance and valour across millennia. This will include photos of the:

Kakatiya Kala Thoranam at Warangal

Fort of Jhansi Laxmi Bhai that symbolises her valour against the British in the war of independence in 1857 and 

Vijaya Stambh in Chittorgarh that commemorates the victory over the sultanates led by Mahmud Khilji.

The exhibition will be organized by the National Monuments Authority(NMA).

About National Monuments Authority (NMA):

National Monuments Authority (NMA) has been set up under the Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India.

It has been set up as per provisions of The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Amendment and Validation) Act, 2010.

Functions: To protect and preserve monuments and sites through management of the prohibited and regulated area around the centrally protected monuments. 

4)The Union Minister of Women and Child Development has launched the 2nd phase of SAMVAD programme.

About SAMVAD Programme:

SAMVAD stands for Support, Advocacy & Mental health interventions for children in Vulnerable circumstances And Distress.

Mandate: It is a National Initiative and Integrated Resource that works in child protection, mental health and psychosocial care. 

Aim: To provide mental health outreach for children who are abandoned and orphaned, child survivors of trafficking, or in conflict with law.

Implementation: The programme is led by National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences(NIMHANS). It is funded by Ministry of of Women and Child Development.

NIMHANS is the apex centre of mental health and neuroscience education. It operates autonomously under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

5) Agencies brace for sharp rise in drug trafficking :-

Context:

  • Taliban assert control over Afghanistan.

Details:

  • With the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan, the Indian anti-drug law enforcement agencies are suspecting a steep surge in cross-border trafficking of heroin and crystal methamphetamine.
    • Heroin is a depressant and is manufactured from opium.
    • Methamphetamine is a stimulant that is mainly used as a recreational drug. The drug is prepared using ephedrine extracted from Ephedra plants.
  • This projection is based on the following recent reports.
  • There have been reports of an increase in drug trafficking in the region, mostly through maritime routes. Several seizures of Afghan-origin heroin and methamphetamine in the high seas of the region have been made in the recent past.
  • According to the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, Afghanistan reported a 37% increase in the extent of land used for illicit cultivation of opium poppy during 2020 compared with 2019.
    • Afghanistan accounted for 85% of the global opium production in 2020.
    • The Golden Crescent region of South Asia—comprising Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan—is a principal global site for opium production and distribution.
Golden Crescent and Golden Triangle
  • Iran too has reported an increase in the proportion of Afghan-origin methamphetamine seizures over the years.

Contributing factors:

Taliban’s dependency on drug money:

  • Drug money has been a major source of revenue for the Taliban. Given the weak economic fundamentals of the Afghanistan economy, the Taliban will continue to be reliant on drug money to fund its operations and maintain influence among its cadres.

Economic disruption caused by the pandemic:

  • The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic had increased the appeal of illicit poppy cultivation in Afghanistan, given the high returns from its cultivation.
  • The 2020 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) cautions that the economic hardship caused by the pandemic could lead to an increase in the number of people resorting to illicit activities linked to drugs to make a living.
  • Fewer countries are taking part in joint drug operations due to budgetary problems.

Methamphetamine in Afghanistan :- Afghanistan is also turning out to be a major source for methamphetamine. In the neighbouring Iran, the proportion of Afghan-origin methamphetamine seizure increased from less than 10% in 2015 to over 90% in 2019, while seizures in Afghanistan increased almost sevenfold that year compared to 2018. The drug is prepared using ephedrine extracted from Ephedra plants in Afghanistan.

6) About Tribunals :- What are Tribunals?

The Tribunal is a quasi-judicial institution. They were set up to deal with problems such as resolving administrative or tax-related disputes.

Initially, Tribunals were not a part of the Constitution. Swaran Singh Committee recommended including Tribunals as a part of the Constitution.

Based on that, the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 provided constitutional status to Tribunals. Tribunals were placed under Part XIV-A. 

This part has only two articles:

Article 323-A deals with Administrative Tribunals. These tribunals resolve disputes related to the recruitment and service conditions of persons engaged in public service.

Article 323-B deals with tribunals for other matters. These tribunals resolve disputes related to Taxation, Foreign exchange, Industrial and labour,  Land reforms, import and export, Food, Ceiling on urban property, etc.

Few differences between these tribunals are:- 

Article 323-A (Administrative Tribunals):- 

Parliament alone can establish these tribunals

Only one tribunal at the center level and Only one for each state(or two or more states)

Article 323-B (Tribunals for other matters):- 

Both Parliament and State Legislatures can establish these tribunals.

Government can establish the hierarchy of Tribunals

7) Measurement of Inflation in India:- 

Wholesale Price Index WPI:- 

It is the most widely used inflation indicator in India.

Published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

All transactions at the first point of bulk sale in the domestic market are included.

Major criticism for this index is that the general public does not buy products at wholesale price.

The base year of All-India WPI has been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in 2017.

Major components of WPI:- 

Primary articles is a major component of WPI, further subdivided into Food Articles and Non-Food Articles.

Food Articles include items such as Cereals, Paddy, Wheat, Pulses, Vegetables, Fruits, Milk, Eggs, Meat & Fish, etc.

Non-Food Articles include Oil Seeds, Minerals and Crude Petroleum.

The next major basket in WPI is Fuel & Power, which tracks price movements in Petrol, Diesel and LPG.

The biggest basket is Manufactured Goods. It spans across a variety of manufactured products such as Textiles, Apparels, Paper, Chemicals, Plastic, Cement, Metals, and more.

Manufactured Goods basket also includes manufactured food products such as Sugar, Tobacco Products, Vegetable and Animal Oils, and Fats.

Consumer Price Index CPI:- 

It measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer.

It measures changes over time in the level of retail prices of selected goods and services on which consumers of a defined group spend their incomes.

Four types of CPI are as follows:

CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).

CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).

CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).

CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).

Of these, the first three are compiled by the Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Fourth is compiled by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Base Year for CPI is 2012.

Editorials of the Day

The message from the IPCC report:-

Context

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently released the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6). It is the first of four that the Panel will issue over the next one and a half years.

What does the report say?

  • Global surface temperature is now higher by 1.07oC since the pre-industrial era.
  • The impact of climate change on the atmosphere, oceans and land is unmistakably of human origin and this impact is picking up pace.
  • Carbon dioxide is the dominant source of warming.
  • Aerosols contribute to reducing the impact of warming by other greenhouse gases, by almost a third.
  • Methane reduction, while needed overall, is particularly significant only as part of the endgame as the drastic reduction of aerosols actually leads to an increase in warming.
  • The report expectedly projects an increase in climate extremes due to global warming, with heatwaves, extreme rainfall events and occurrence of extreme sea levels all expected to intensify and be more frequent.
  • A major finding of the report is that air pollution reduction and steep climate change mitigation are not complementary goals but require independent efforts over the short and medium-term
  • With the inclusion of the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology’s Earth System Model among the climate models used in AR6, India too has joined the climate modelling fraternity.

About the net-zero emission targets

  •  The report’s clear message is that reaching net zero was not the determining factor for the world to limit itself to a 1.5oC , or 2oC, or indeed any specific temperature increase.
  • The report is clear that it is the cumulative emissions in reaching net zero that determine the temperature rise.
  • India’s Ministry for Environment, Forest and Climate Change was quick to note this point about net zero in a statement, adding that “historical cumulative emissions are the cause of the climate crisis that the world faces today
  • The limitations of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5oC are so stringent — a mere 500 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide for an even chance of keeping to the limit — that they cannot be met by promises of net-zero 30 years from now.
  • Equally, the disconcerting finding is that the world is set to cross the 1.5oC limit within 10-15 years.

Implications for India

  •  India has contributed less than 5% of global cumulative emissions to date, with per capita annual emissions a third of the global average.
  • India is also the only nation among the G20 with commitments under the Paris Agreement that are even 2oC warming-compatible.
  • India needs its development space urgently to cope with the future, one where global temperature increase may be closer to 2oC.
  • Even if India completely stops its emission which is 3 billion tonnes in carbon dioxide equivalent terms, for the next 30 years, with others’ emissions remaining the same, will buy the world less than two years of additional time for meeting the Paris Agreement temperature goals.

Way forward

  • Equity: Focusing on definite cumulative emission targets keeping equity and historical responsibility in view,
  • Immediate reduction by developed countries: Immediate emission reductions by the developed countries with phase-out dates for all fossil fuels.
  • Investment: Massive investment in new technologies and their deployment,
  • Climate finance: a serious push to the mobilisation of adequate climate finance is the need of the hour.

Conclusion

This is the message that the IPCC report has sent to this year’s climate summit and the world. The message is a dire warning, all the stakeholders should heed the warning.

Editorial 02 :- Return of Taliban has implications for India

Delhi must maintain vigil against a resurgence of cross-border terrorism that could quickly destabilize Kashmir and escalate the conflict between India and Pakistan.

Introduction

The rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the triumphant return of the Taliban will have a considerable impact around the world. The restoration of Taliban rule in Afghanistan with Pakistan’s support undoubtedly presents some very serious potential challenges for Indian security.

How did the US and USSR intervention in Afghanistan shaped India’s history?

At the end of 1979, the Soviet Union launched a massive military invasion to protect a communist regime in Kabul. The US and Pakistan responded by unleashing a religious jihad. These Jihads compelled Russia to withdraw in 1989.

  1. The Pakistan army used the jihadi armies to gain control of Afghanistan and launched a proxy war against India, especially in the Punjab and Kashmir regions.
  2. The turbulence of the 1990s saw deepening conflicts between India and Pakistan. Both countries conducted nuclear weapon tests, and the Pak-backed Taliban rule was established in Afghanistan.

Al Qaeda, hosted by the Taliban, launched terror attacks against the US on September 11, 2001.

  1. The US retribution brought an end to Taliban rule and compelled Pakistan to reconsider its policies.
  2. Further, after 2001, there has also been a significant expansion of the India-US strategic partnership.

After the withdrawal of US forces under the Doha AgreementPakistan’s Afghan policy regained its prime.

Challenges with Taliban in power:
  1. Taliban might renew the support for international terrorism.
  2. Pakistan might redirect the jihadi groups that fought with the Taliban towards India. Pakistan-based jihadi groups might turn their attention to Kashmir.
  3. Further, the Taliban will also face troubles in balancing their religious ideology with the imperatives of state interests.
Suggestions for India
Immediate initiatives
  1. India should securely evacuate Indian diplomatic personnel and other citizens from Afghanistan. This will require a major logistical effort.
  2. The government of India must also offer refuge to those Afghans who have worked with Indian initiatives and are desperate to avoid potential retribution from the Taliban
Diplomatic initiatives
  1. India must make all possible efforts to get the international community to hold the Taliban to its word on letting all foreigners leave with peace, protecting the lives of all Afghan citizens, and respecting international humanitarian law.
  2. India also chairs the Taliban Sanctions Committee of the UNSC. It will have an important role in framing the international response to the Taliban’s demands for the lifting of all sanctions against its leaders.
  3. Similarly, India should also make the international community provide humanitarian assistance to the large number of Afghan people displaced by fighting.
Domestic initiatives
  1. India must maintain vigil against a resurgence of cross-border terrorism that could quickly destabilize Kashmir and escalate the conflict between India and Pakistan.

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