8th October, 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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8th Oct, 2021 Newspaper Analysis Video

Questions :-

1) K.S. Valdiya committee was sometime seen in news. The committee is formed to study which of the following?

  1. To study the floods in North-Eastern India and suggest measures.
  2. To study the impact of climate change in Agriculture.
  3. To study the Glacial Lake Outburst Floods in Himalayan Region.
  4. To study the paleochannels in North-West India.

Answer – To study the paleochannels in North-West India.

2) With reference to Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), consider the following statements:

  1. It is a statutory body established under the Environment Protection Act 1986.
  2. One of its functions is to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different States.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – 2 Only

The Central Pollution Control Board

  • CPCB is a statutory organisation which was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.
  • It was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Principal Functions of the CPCB, as spelt out in the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
    • to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.
    • to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

3) Mitra Shakti is a joint bilateral exercise between India and which other country?

  1. Thailand
  2. Sri Lanka
  3. Nepal
  4. Malaysia

Answer – Srilanka

Prelims specific news items –

1) Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 –

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2021 has been awarded to German scientist Benjamin List and Scotland-born scientist David WC MacMillan “for the development of asymmetric organocatalysis.” 

What is asymmetric organocatalysis?

Catalysts are substances that control and accelerate chemical reactions, without becoming part of the final product. For example, catalysts in cars transform toxic substances in exhaust fumes into harmless molecules.

Our bodies also contain thousands of catalysts in the form of enzymes, which chisel out the molecules necessary for life.

In the past, it was believed that there are just two types of catalysts available: metals and enzymes. Now, there is a third type of catalyst i.e., asymmetric organocatalysis.

These new catalysts are thus fundamental tools for chemists and many research areas and industries are dependent on chemists’ ability to construct molecules. 

A new generation of small-molecule catalysts is more friendly for the environment and cheaper to produce.

Nobel Prize in Literature 2021 –

Tanzanian-born novelist Abdulrazak Gurnah, whose work focuses on colonialism and the trauma of the refugee experience, won the Nobel Literature Prize 2021.

2) PM MITRA Parks-

Government has approved setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks

Source: This post is based on the articles

“Government has approved setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA पीएम मित्र) Parks with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crore in a period of 5 years” published in ‘PIB’ on 06 October 2021.

“Cabinet approves scheme to setup 7 mega textile park” published in Livemint on 07th October 2021.

What is the news? 

The government has approved the setting up of seven PM MITRA textiles parks, following the “Union Budget for 2021-22″ commitments, with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crores in a period of 5 years.

About “PM-MITRA” Scheme

The scheme aims to realize the vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat by positioning India strongly on the Global textiles map. It is inspired by the 5F vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister –Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign.

Aim: The scheme aims to create a world-class industrial infrastructure that would attract cutting-edge technology and boost FDI and local investment in the sector.

Sites for the scheme will be selected by a Challenge Method, based on objective criteria for Greenfield / Brownfield sites. The Centre is receiving proposals from states for the ready availability of contiguous and encumbrance-free land parcels of 1,000+ acres along with other textiles related facilities & ecosystems.

3) What is the news?

The new vaccine “RTS,S/ASO1 (RTS.S)” with its trade name “Mosquirix” was endorsed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently. This is the first and only vaccine shown to have the capability of significantly reducing malaria, and life-threatening severe malaria, in tests on young African children.

About the vaccine – Mosquirix

Mosquirix has been developed by British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline in partnership with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative. It was approved for the pilot programme in 2015.

The vaccine acts against P. falciparum, the most deadly malaria parasite globally, and the most prevalent in Africa. 

Important news :-

1) SC questions income limit for EWS quota –

The Supreme Court’s query is significant as the One Hundred and Third Constitutional Amendment of 2019, which introduced the 10% EWS quota, is itself under challenge before a larger Bench.

2) HAL delivers cryogenic propellant tank to ISRO-

The heaviest semi-cryogenic propellant tank (SC120LOX) ever fabricated by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has been delivered to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

The semi cryo-liquid oxygen (LOX) tank — the first developmental welded hardware — is a part of the SC120 stage intended for payload enhancement by replacing the L110 stage in existing MkIII launch vehicle, said a release from HAL.

Last year, HAL had delivered the biggest ever cryogenic liquid hydrogen tank (C32LH2), four meters in diameter and eight meters in length, much ahead of contractual schedule.

3) Indian forces to carry out exercise with U.K. –

India’s armed forces are scheduled to carry out an exercise with the U.K.’s Queen Elizabeth carrier strike group later this month as it heads back home after its maiden operational deployment in the Indian Ocean.

India – UK Exercises –

  • Ajeya Warrior    –  Army
  • Konkan             – Navy
  • Indradhanush    – Air Force

4) Baghel inaugurates temple as part of special tourism circuit –

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated there developed ancient Mata Kaushalya temple, part of the “Ram Van Gaman” Tourism Circuit the State government is developing at a cost of ₹137.45 crore.

“Chhattisgarh is the maternal place of Lord Ram,”

Initiating the tourism circuit at Chandkhuri, 27 km from Raipur, the State capital. The village is considered to be the birthplace of Kaushalya, Lord Ram’s mother.

The nine sites are Sitamarhi-Harchaika (Koriya), Ramgarh (Ambikapur), Shivrinarayan (Janjgir-Champa), Turturiya (Baloda Bazaar), Chandkhuri, Rajim (Gariaband), Sihawa-Saptarishi Ashram (Dhamtari), Jagdalpur (Bastar) and Ramaram (Sukma).

5) India, Nepal to conduct joint patrols for controlling trans-border crime –

The SSB, a central armed police force, secures the Nepal and Bhutan borders.

Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is a border guarding force of India deployed along its border with Nepal and Bhutan. It is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Formed:- 20 December 1963

The force was originally set up under the name Special Services Bureau in 1963 in the aftermath of the Sino-Indian War to strengthen India’s border areas against enemy operations. The civil wing of the SSB, comprising 1,800 personnel, was transferred to the Intelligence Bureau in 2018.

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) refers to uniform nomenclature of five Central Armed Police Forces of the Union of India under the authority of the Ministry of Home Affairs. Their role is to defend the national interest mainly against the internal threats. They are :-

  • Border Security Force (BSF), 
  • Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 
  • Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), 
  • Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and
  • Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).

6) French Senator calls Taiwan a ‘country’ –

The head of a French delegation of Senators called Taiwan a “country” during a visit to Taipei, risking fury from China which has strongly protested against the trip.

Editorial – Important Articles

1) Seeding a data revolution in Indian agriculture –

Context –  Two significant documents relating to the Indian agriculture sector were released.

  1. first is a consultation paper on the India Digital Ecosystem of Agriculture (IDEA) from the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (MoA&FW). It talks about a digital revolution in the agriculture sector and later predicts a revolutionary investment growth in agri-logistics, offtake, and agri-input delivery by 2025; these are, surprisingly, highly complementary.
  2. The second on Indian Agriculture: Ripe for Disruption from a private organisation, Bain and Company.

The forecast – Doubling farmers’ income targets can be achieved in near future.

The Approach – The report has a ‘today forward– future back approach’

The idea of integration –

The IDEA-consulting paper is based on the Task Force and Working Group report constituted by the MoA&FW to design the blueprint of “digital agriculture” — which is similar to the digital disruption mentioned in the Bain report.

 The farmer and the improvement of farmers’ livelihood is the aim of the IDEA concept and it is proposed to happen through tight integration of agri-tech innovation and the agriculture industry ecosystem to farming and food systems. To be precise, the IDEA concept profounds the creation of second enabling conditions (which is described in the Bain report). The IDEA principles explicitly talk about openness of data, which means open to businesses and farmers, indicating the kind of integration it aims at.

Challenges –

  • A thread of digital disruption – The IT industry has opposition to IDEA mainly due to the ethics of creating a Unique Farmer ID based on one’s Aadhaar number and also the potential for data misuse.
  • These reports heavily rely on digital disruption to improve farmers’ livelihoods, without discussing how much farmers will be prepared to benefit from these newly emerging business environments. Hinting that the Union government is serious about this digital support to the agriculture sector — the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar.

An unconvincing ‘how’ –

However, the fact is that a majority of small and marginal farmers are not technology-savvy. That most of them are under-educated for capacity building is ignored amidst these ambitious developments. The Bain report relies on the general assumption that more investments into the agriculture sector will benefit farmers; ‘but how’ has not been convincingly answered. 

Focus on the farmer –  

While agreeing on the fact that a data revolution is inevitable in the agriculture sector, given its socio-political complexities, we cannot just count on technology fixes and agri-business investments for improving farmers’ livelihoods. There need to be immense efforts to improve the capacities of the farmers in India – at least until the educated young farmers replace the existing under-educated small and medium farmers. This capacity building can be done through a mixed approach

2) Will a bad bank fix India’s broken banking system? –

The NARCL will pay 15% of the price of these loans upfront in cash to banks and then issue security receipts in lieu of the remaining amount. The NARCL will then try to resolve these bad loans in a time-bound manner with help from the India Debt Resolution Company Limited (IDRCL). In case the IDRCL is unable to sell these bad loans at a satisfactory price to make good on the security receipts, the Centre will step in and fund the gap, but within a budget limit of ₹30,600 crore. 

  • this is a one-time, time-bound effort.
  • The bad bank has been set up to remove bad assets from the balance sheets of banks and free up capital which will allow bank lending to grow.
  • Credit growth is important for economic growth, and bank balance sheets are constrained by the presence of bad assets. So, one of the main objectives of the bad bank is to remove these assets from the balance sheets of existing banks and consolidate them within a bad bank.

Meanwhile, the resolution and recovery process can continue. The proposed design of the bad bank separates the trustee part of the NARCL, where the assets will sit, from the the IDRCL, which will engage in the recovery and turnaround of bad assets. So, it’s a twin structure working to free existing banking capital to enable higher credit growth.

Read more about Bad Banks Here.

2) Stronger at the grassroots –

The Panchayati Raj, first adopted by Nagaur in Rajasthan on October 2, 1959, has expanded vastly. There are now 2,60,512 Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) represented by about 31 lakh elected members across India. This system of local self-governance, where people in the villages participate in the decision-making process, is the backbone of democracy. The People’s Plan Campaign and Vibrant Gram Sabha Dashboard, rolled out this year, aspire to strengthen the Panchayati Raj system by making gram sabhas more vibrant.

A bottom-up approach

Unlike other disasters like earthquakes, COVID-19 is an unusual crisis as it is long-drawn and affects people everywhere. When the traditional top-down disaster response system was compromised during the bad months of the pandemic, it was PRIs that played a remarkable role. They helped reduce risks, responded swiftly and thus helped people recover quickly. The PRIs provided essential leadership at the local level. They performed both regulatory and welfare functions. For instance, during the nationwide lockdown, PRIs set up containment zones, arranged transport, identified buildings for quarantining people and provisioned food for the incoming migrants. Moreover, effective implementation of welfare schemes like MGNREGA and the National Rural Livelihood Mission quickened the pace of recovery while ensuring support to the vulnerable population.

Gram sabhas act as a sounding board for diverse ideas and opinions.

During the COVID-19 crisis, they organised community-based surveillance systems involving village elders, the youth and self-help groups (SHGs) to keep a strict vigil in quarantine centres and monitor symptoms in households. More recently, their role in mobilising citizens for COVID-19 vaccination is exemplary.

Building capacity

The Yokohama strategy during the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction in May 1994 emphasised that it is important to focus on disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness rather than disaster response alone, to reduce vulnerability. In this respect, certain initiatives can be taken to build the capacity of PRIs.

  1. One, it is crucial to include disaster management chapters in Panchayat Raj Acts and make disaster planning and spending part of Panchayati Raj development plans and local-level committees. This will ensure citizen-centric mapping and planning of resources. Various insurance products customised to local needs will build financial resilience of the community.
  2. Two, conducting regular location-specific training programmes for the community and organising platforms for sharing best practices will strengthen individual and institutional capacities. Assigning roles to individual members and providing them with the necessary skills can make such programmes more meaningful.
  3. Three, since the community is usually the first responder in case of a disaster, community-based disaster management plans would help. These would provide a strategy for resource utilisation and maintenance during a disaster. Such plans should tap the traditional wisdom of local communities which will complement modern practices.

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