19th- 20th September 2021 Daily current Affairs

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Today’s Questions –

1) Minsky moment was sometimes seen in the news. Which of the following correctly explains the term?

  1. It is a plan to establish multiple new startups to weed out inefficient firms
  2. It is the time where the governments fiscal deficit goes beyond the ability of government to repay them.
  3. It marks the decline of asset prices, causing mass panic and the inability of debtors to pay their interest and principal.
  4. It is a plan to establish a Nuclear fast reactor demonstration project collaboration with private and government.

Answer-

  • It marks the decline of asset prices, causing mass panic and the inability of debtors to pay their interest and principal.
  • Our small and medium scale sector is facing a Minsky moment.
  • India has reached its Minsky moment. Several banks and financial institutions have collapsed in the last 18 months in India.

2) Withania somnifera sometimes seen in news is a?

  1. Traditional Indian herb
  2. Alien invasive weed
  3. Extinct reptile species
  4. A sacred grove

Answer –

Traditional Indian herb

  • Ashwagandha’ (Withania somnifera) is commonly known as ‘Indian winter cherry ’.
  • It is a traditional Indian herb that boosts energy, reduces stress, and makes the immune system stronger.
  • Ashwagandha has also shown success in treating both acute and chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune diseasethat can cause joint pain and damage throughout your body.

3) Nubra river is a tributary of which of the following river?

  1. Lidder
  2. Shyok
  3. Jhelum
  4. Chenab

Answer – Shyok River

Facts about Shyok River –

  1. The River originates from Rimo Glacier, Karakoram Range and is called the “The River of Death”
  2. It is a tributary of River Indus
  3. It is also known as Sindhu
  4. It is a transboundary river flowing through China (Tibet), India and Pakistan. Originating in China, the river joins the Indus river in PoK.
  5. Chang Chen Mo River, Galwan River, Nubra River and Saltoro River are the tributaries of Shyok river.
  6. The river holds several Quatenary period (2.58 million years ago) depositions that help Geologists to learn more about evolution of the earth.
  7. The bridge build on Shyok River was named after the “Lion of Ladakh” Col Chewang Rinchen. It stands at 14,650 feet across the Shyok river.

Important Prelims Facts –

1) Sequoia National Park

  • Sequoia National Park is adjacent to Kings Canyon National Park in California’s southern Sierra Nevada mountains.
  • Two wildfires in California are burning through the Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada that is home to some of the largest trees in the world.
  • Among these trees is the world’s largest tree popularly known as General Sherman, which firefighters are now trying to protect from the blaze.

About General Sherman

  • The General Sherman tree is the world’s largest in terms of volume and exists in the Giant Forest sequoia grove of the national park.
  • As per recent estimates, General Sherman is about 2,200 years old.

2) What is CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organization )?

  • The CSTO is a Russia-led military alliance of seven former Soviet states that was created in 2002.
  • Current CSTO members are Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, the Russian Federation and Tajikistan. Afghanistan and Serbia hold observer status in the CSTO.
  • Its purpose is to ensure the collective defence of any member that faces external aggression.
  • It has been described by political scientists as the Eurasian counterpart of NATO, which has 29 member states, while the CSTO has just six.

Important News  :-

1) NRC is final, rules Assam –

While the Registrar General of India has not yet issued a notification on Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC) to make it a legal document, a Foreigners’ Tribunal has gone ahead and recorded it as the “final NRC” while declaring a man to be Indian.

Purpose: To separate “illegal” immigrants from “legitimate” residents of Assam.

Nodal Agency: Registrar General and Census Commissioner India.

What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.

  • The NRC was published only once in 1951.

Assam NRC :- In the case of Assam, there was a cut-off date — March 25, 1971 — after which all foreigners as per the Assam Accord were to be “detected, deleted and expelled in accordance with law”.

Presumably, the Centre will come out with a cut-off for the nationwide NRC, but it will be an arbitrary one.

In December 2014, a division bench of the apex court ordered that the NRC be updated in a time-bound manner.

The NRC of 1951 and the Electoral Roll of 1971 (up to midnight of 24 March 1971) are together called Legacy Data. Persons and their descendants whose names appeared in these documents are certified as Indian citizens.

FT:- order may be called the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964.

Constitution of Tribunals: – The Central Government may by order, refer the question as to whether a person is not a foreigner within the meaning of the Foreigners Act, 1946 (31 of 1946) to a Tribunal to be constituted for the purpose, for its opinion.

3) 1.2 lakh deaths in road accidents in 2020: NCRB

About NCRB –

National Crime Records Bureau was set up on the recommendation of the Tandon Committee, the National Police Commission (1977–1981) and the Task Force of the Ministry of Home Affairs, to act as a repository and collection of information on crime and criminals. It was done in 1986 to help in linking crime with criminals.

Accordingly, in the year 2009, the National Crime Records Bureau was entrusted with the responsibility of monitoring, coordinating and implementing the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS) project. This project will connect around 15000 police stations in the country and 6000 higher offices in the country.

4) Hindi gains due to demographic shift –

When the Centre launched its NIPUN Bharat scheme in July 2021 to improve foundational literacy and numeracy among primary school students, participants from non-Hindi speaking States complained that they were the ones left feeling illiterate as they could not understand either the speeches, nor the PowerPoint presentations on the scheme, all made in formal Hindi. Last August, Tamil Nadu delegates at a yoga and naturopathy training webinar claimed that the AYUSH Ministry Secretary told them if they wanted English to be used, they could leave.

According to the 2011 Census, Hindi and its variants are the only major languages to have gained mother tongue adherents over the last 40 years, growing from 36.99% of the population in 1971 to 43.63% by 2011. A large factor in this growth comes from demographic changes.

“Fertility rates are higher among the poor and among women with less education, who comprise a higher share of Hindi speakers,”

Migration could be increasing the number of those whose mother tongue is Hindi even in non-Hindi speaking States. “If a Hindi-speaking poor illiterate family migrates from Bihar to Kerala, they may have fewer children than a similar family in Bihar but they’ll have more than the average Malayalam speaking family in Kerala. This will raise the share of Hindi speakers in other such ‘destination’ States too,”

Article 351 in The Constitution Of India 1949

351. Directive for development of the Hindi language. It shall be the duty of the Union to promote the spread of the Hindi language, to develop it so that it may serve as a medium of expression for all the elements of the composite culture of India and to secure its enrichment by assimilating without interfering with its genius, the forms, style and expressions used in Hindustani and in the other languages of India specified in the Eighth Schedule

About NIPUN Bharat Scheme –

The Ministry of Education has launched NIPUN (National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy) Bharat Scheme.

  • It aims to cover the learning needs of children in the age group of 3 to 9 years.
  • NIPUN Bharat will be implemented by the Department of School Education and Literacy.

5) Centre yet to take call on 68 names sent by SC Collegium-

A brief History of collegium:-

The ‘First Judges Case’ (1981) ruled that the “consultation” with the CJI in the matter of appointments must be full and effective. However, it rejected the idea that the CJI’s opinion, albeit carrying great weight, should have primacy. After First Judges Case Executive was Supreme in selection.

The Second Judges Case (1993) introduced the Collegium system, holding that “consultation” really meant “concurrence”. It added that it was not the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior-most judges in the Supreme Court. On a Presidential Reference for its opinion, the Supreme Court,

In the Third Judges Case (1998) expanded the Collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues.

6) R&D labs transform livelihoods in Odisha’s poorest district –

In 2019, a consortium of 12 national research and development (R&D) laboratories joined hands in a rare effort to transform livelihoods at Nabarangpur in Odisha, one of India’s poorest districts. Two years later, the interventions appear to be creating quite a stir.

Nabarangpur now has 5,000 farmers, artisans and women self-help groups (SHGs) involved in livelihood generation with 12 government departments and 15 entrepreneurs.

7)  Google abused Android dominance: CCI report

Google abused the dominant position of its Android operating system in India, using its “huge financial muscle” to illegally hurt competitors, the country’s antitrust authority found in a report on its two-year probe seen by Reuters.

Alphabet Inc’s Google reduced “the ability and incentive of device manufacturers to develop and sell devices operating on alternative versions of Android,” says the June report by the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) investigations unit.

The U.S. tech giant told Reuters in a statement it looks forward to working with the CCI to “demonstrate how Android has led to more competition and innovation, not less.”

Senior CCI members will review the report and give Google another chance to defend itself, before issuing a final order, which could include penalties.

Google would be able to appeal any order in India’s courts.

The 750-page report finds the mandatory pre-installation of apps “amounts to imposition of unfair condition on the device manufacturers” in violation of India’s competition law, while the company leveraged the position of its Play Store app store to protect its dominance.

 

Editorial- Important Articles

1) Can the telecom industry get out of the rut?

CONTEXT-

  • The Union Cabinet has recently gave a green signal to implement set of financial relief measures to aid major telecom companies, who are facing many issues.
  • Companies such as Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel have adversely affected by financial demands made by the government and being in a very competitive market.
  • In 2019, the Supreme Court had ordered telecom companies to pay dues worth over ₹1.4 lakh crore to the government, which they are yet to complete.  

Issues facing by telecom Companies –

  • Telecom companies traditionally paid a fixed fee to purchase spectrum under lease from the government.
  • Since 1999, this convention has changed, apart from the spectrum licence fees, they have also required to share a certain proportion of their Adjusted gross revenue (AGR) with the government. 
  • The government and the telecom companies were not on a same page on what counts as AGR. Companies have argued that the government cannot classify their non-telecom revenues as AGR and demand a share of it. So the issue of counting Non- telecom revenues in Adjusted gross revenue or not is the main bone of Contention. 
  • The dispute went in court and eventually ended in favour of the government with the Supreme Court ordering companies to pay all their accumulated AGR dues. 
  • The order put huge stress on the balance sheets of the companies which were already in trouble owing to an intense price war.

Concessions offered by Government-

  • The Centre has offered the companies a four-year moratorium on spectrum and AGR dues to relieve them of their financial stress. 
  • They can now opt to pay these dues and the interest accumulated on them at the end of the moratorium period.
  • If a company is unable to pay the accumulated dues by the end of the moratorium it can negotiate with the government to give it an equity stake in lieu of the accumulated dues.
  • Apart from that, the government has eased its policy stance in order to decrease the future liabilities of the companies. 
  • It has declared that they do not have to share with the government revenues that they receive from non-telecom sources. Further, to make investment in telecom companies easier, the Centre has allowed 100% foreign direct investment without the need for government clearance.
  • It has also eased bank guarantee requirements against licence fee and done away with penalties imposed on late payment of fees.

Are those measures proved beneficial for Telecom Companies?

  • According to the experts, these measures will not relieve the pain of the companies like Vodafone Idea, which has a total debt of nearly ₹2 lakh crore.
  • In fact, according to experts, the government’s offer to convert the spectrum and AGR dues of the companies into equity may cause Vodafone Idea to come under government control. This risk could deter investors from infusing fresh capital into the company.

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