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The Hindu Newspaper 02/06/2020 | TEMS IAS

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1)The concept of Constructive Vote of No Confidence is followed in which of the following countries?

a.  India

b.  Australia

c.  Germany

d.  Canada

The ruling BJD in Odisha (where Assembly and Lok Sabha elections already coincide) has proposed a solution for simultaneous elections in India. This is based on a concept followed in Germany called “constructive vote of no-confidence”, also recommended by the Law Commission of India in a 2018 draft report. The system prevalent in Germany is that the Bundestag (i.e. Lower House) cannot simply remove the Chancellor with a vote of no-confidence. The constructive vote of no confidence puts an embargo on ousting the Chancellor as the opponents must not only disagree with his or her governance but also agree on a replacement

2)”AWaRe” sometimes seen in the news recently is an online tool developed by which of the following organisations?

a.  UN Office on Drugs and Crime

b.  World Health Organisation

c.  Financial Action Task Force

d.  Transparency International

Answer : b

“AWaRe” is an online tool developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) aimed at guiding policy-makers and health workers to use antibiotics safely and more effectively.

The tool ‘AWaRe’, classifies antibiotics into three groups:

Access   — antibiotics used to treat the most common and serious infections

Watch    — antibiotics available at all times in the healthcare system

Reserve — antibiotics to be used sparingly or preserved and used only as a last resort

3)The world’s largest irrigation and drinking water system—Kaleshwaram Multipurpose Lift Irrigation Project was recently inaugurated by which of the following states?

a.  Maharashtra

b.  Andhra Pradesh

c.  Karnataka

d.  Telangana

Answer : d

The Kaleshwaram project will provide water for drinking and irrigation purpose to about 45 lakh acres in 20 of the 31 districts in Telangana, apart from Hyderabad and Secunderabad. 

This project is unique because Telangana will harness water at the confluence of two rivers with Godavari by constructing a barrage at Medigadda in Jayshankar Bhoopalpally district and reverse pump the water into the main Godavari river and divert it through lifts and pumps into a huge and complex system of reservoirs, water tunnels, pipelines and canals.

Map of the Day :- Biosphere Reserves in India

News:- Moody’s downgrades India’s rating:- Rating agency Moody’s
downgraded India’s foreign currency and local currency long term issuer
ratings to Baa3 from Baa2, while maintaining a negative outlook, citing prolonged period of low growth and further deterioration in the government’s fiscal position.

Baa3 is the lowest in investment grade in Moody’s rating ladder. This means, India is just one notch above the non-investment grade or junk grade.

News:- Pulses, oilseeds see sharp hike in MSP

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved an increase in the minimum support prices (MSPs) for all mandated kharif crops, including paddy, pulses and cotton, for the 2020-21 marketing
season.

About MSP :- Minimum Support Price (MSP) is a form of market intervention by the Government of India to insure agricultural producers against any sharp fall in farm prices. The minimum support prices are announced by the Government of India at the beginning of the sowing season for certain crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP). MSP is price fixed by Government of India to protect the producer – farmers – against excessive fall in price during bumper production years. 

The list of crops are as follows.

Cereals (7) – paddy, wheat, barley, jowar, bajra, maize and ragi

Pulses (5) – gram, arhar/tur, moong, urad and lentil

Oilseeds (8) – groundnut, rapeseed/mustard, toria, soyabean, sunflower seed, sesamum, safflower seed and nigerseed

Raw cotton

Raw jute

Copra

De-husked coconut

Sugarcane (Fair and remunerative price)

Virginia flu cured (VFC) tobacco

News:- COVID-19 pandemic delays scheme for tribal students:-

The scheme which began in 2010-11, encourages selected tribal students from Class I and II to pursue their education in renowned residential
schools with the State government paying the fees. At present, 50,269
students are studying under this scheme.“The idea is to provide
quality English education with qualified teachers. We are making sure that no student misses out on education,”.

News:- What is APMC :– Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Government in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or horticultural or livestock products, under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act issued by that state government.

APMCs are intended to be responsible for:

ensuring transparency in pricing system and transactions taking place in market area;

providing market-led extension services to farmers;

ensuring payment for agricultural produce sold by farmers on the same day;

promoting agricultural processing including activities for value addition in agricultural produce;

Publicizing data on arrivals and rates of agricultural produce brought into the market area for sale; and

Setup and promote public private partnership in the management of agricultural markets

Under Constitution of India, agricultural marketing is a state (provincial) subject. While intra-state trades fall under the jurisdiction of state governments, inter-state trading comes under Central or Federal Government (including intra-state trading in a few commodities like raw jute, cotton, etc.)

News:- Street vendors to get credit without collateral:- Recently Finance Minister in the relief package announced a scheme for street vendors. Rs. 10000 Loan will be provided.

Ministry :- Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

The scheme is valid till March 2022, the Ministry said in a statement. The vendors will be able to apply for a working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within a year.
“On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through direct
benefit transfer on a six-monthly basis. There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.

News:- About NPCI : The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI; Hindi: भारतीय राष्ट्रीय भुगतान निगम) is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.

Founded in 2008, the NPCI is a not-for-profit organisation registered under section 8 of the Companies Act 2013, established by Reserve Bank of India & IBA. The organisation is owned by a consortium of major banks, and has been promoted by the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India. 

Why in News:- The report by vpnMentor alleged that 409 gigabyte of
data, comprising 7.26 million records, were leaked, and the trove included personal identifiable information such as Aadhaar details, residence proof, bank records and complete profiles.

What is VPN Mentor:– The vpnMentor’s website claims it is the world’s largest VPN review website and its research lab is a pro bono service that strives to help the online community defend itself against cyberthreats
while educating organisations on protecting their users’ data.

News:- Russia’s COVID-19 drug to roll out next week’:- Name of the Drug Avifavir. Avifavir, known generically as favipiravir, was first developed in the late 1990s by a Japanese company later bought by Fujifilm as it moved into healthcare..

News:- ‘Can allow non-profit organisations to list on social stock exchanges’

What has Happened:– A SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) working group has published a new report offering recommendations for creating a “social stock exchange” to help channel funding to social enterprises and voluntary organisations.

The social stock exchange (SSE) can be housed within the existing stock exchange such as the BSE and/or National Stock Exchange (NSE). This will help the SSE leverage the existing infrastructure and client relationships of the exchanges to onboard investors, donors, and social enterprises (for-profit and non-profit).

Further, it has been recommended that profit social enterprises can also list on SSE with enhanced reporting requirement. To encourage, giving culture some tax incentives have also been suggested.

Social Stock Exchange is a novel concept in India and such a bourse is meant to serve private and non-profit sector providers by channelling greater capital to them. The group has recommended that fundraising instruments like equity and SVFs for social profit enterprises and zero coupons zero principal bonds, SVFs, Mutual Funds (MFs), various pay-for-success structures, other securities and for NPOs.

Editorial of the Day :- India and China relation with African Nations and the difference in their approach.

Context: India and China have increased their outreach to Africa to help them fight the COVID-19 by providing medical assistance.

Economic and public health conditions are extremely vulnerable in Africa: 

  • Ill-equipped: They have shortages of masks, ventilators, and even basic necessities such as soap and water.
  • Dependence:Africa’s cycle of chronic external aid dependence continues even in medical needs.

Critical aspects for China and India:

ChinaIndia
Money, political influence and elite level wealth creation. An equal partnership with Africans and not merely with African elites concerned. 
Strong state-to-state relations as opposed to people to people ties. More people to people relations
Hard infrastructure projects and resource extraction.Building local capacities

Beijing’s donation diplomacy approach:

  • To raise Beijing’s profile as a leading provider of “public goods” in the global public health sector:China, being Africa’s largest trading partner, dispatched medical protective equipment, testing kits, ventilators and medical masks to several African countries.
  • China’s billionaire philanthropy: 
  • Tech founder Jack Ma donated three rounds of anti-coronavirus supplies.
  • Chinese embassies across Africa have taken the lead by coordinating both public and private donations to local stakeholders.
  • Controlling Guangzhou narrative:For the most part, it succeeded in achieving these ends until China faced widespread backlash over the ill-treatment of African nationals in Guangzhou city. China has been successful in controlling the Guangzhou narrative due to the depth of its political influence in Africa.
  • Relying heavily on diplomatic support and cooperation from African countries in multilateral forum: Beijing used African support for securing a win for Chinese candidates as the head of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and in the World Health Organization (WHO).

New Delhi’s approach:

  • Opportunity to demonstrate its willingness to shoulder more responsibility: Even with limited resources, India fighting the virus at home and reaching out to developing countries in need is a proof to India’s status as a responsible and reliable global stakeholder.
  • Development assistance: Africa has been the focus of India’s development assistance and diplomatic outreach as seen in plans to open 18 new embassies.
  • India’s role as ‘the pharmacy of the world’:India is a supplier of low-cost, generic medicines.
  • Pharmaceutical products along with refined petroleum products account for 40% of India’s total exports to African markets.
  • India is sending consignments of essential medicines, including hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) and paracetamol, to 25 African countries in addition to doctors and paramedics at a total cost of around ₹600 million ($7.9 million) on a commercial and grant basis.
  • The initial beneficiaries were the African Indian Ocean island nations of Mauritius, the Seychelles, Comoros, and Madagascar under India’s ‘Mission Sagar’.
  •  e-ITEC COVID-19 management strategies training webinars: It is a timely initiative exclusively aimed at training health-care professionals from Africa and the SAARC nations and sharing of best practices by Indian health experts. Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, and Namibia have been beneficiaries.
  • Health care partnership: A few African countries such as Mauritius are pushing for health-care partnerships in traditional medicines and Ayurveda for boosting immunity.
  • Role of Indian Diaspora: 
  • The Indian community, especially in East African countries, has also been playing a crucial role in helping spread awareness.
  • Prominent Indian businessmen and companies in Nigeria and Kenya have donated money to the respective national emergency response funds.
  • Country-specific gurdwaras and temples have fed thousands of families by setting up community kitchens, helplines for seniors and distributing disinfectants and sanitisers.

Way Forward

Both New Delhi and Beijing need to adapt to the rising aspirations of the African continent.

Editorial 2:- EARTHQUAKES in INDIA

Context: Recently, Delhi experienced its seventh earthquake in two months.

Earthquakes: Earthquakes are vibrations of the earth, caused by the rupture and sudden movement of rocks that have been strained beyond their elastic limits.

Earthquakes in India: The Bureau of Indian Standards with the help of Indian Meteorological Department has grouped the country into four seismic zones, based on modified Mercalli scale.

Why are some regions in India prone to Earthquake?

  • North-East India: Most earthquakes occurring in the region are related to subduction of the India-Burma tectonic plate under the Java-Sumatra tectonic plate.
  • North India: This region is prone to earthquakes as it is located near the boundary between the Eurasian and Indo-Australian Plate
  • Andaman and Nicobar Islands: Sea floor displacement and underwater volcanoes disturb the equilibrium of earth’s surface
  • Peninsular India: Due to the presence of rifts, shear zones and old orogenic belts, the ancient zones of weak crust get reactivated from time to time and rupture.

Earthquake Prevention and Mitigation in India: National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Guidelines: The NDMA has listed down pre-disaster and post-disaster preventive measures.

Pre-Disaster Prevention Measures:

Long-term 

  • Re-framing buildings’ codes, guidelines, manuals and byelaws and their strict implementation- Tougher legislation for highly seismic areas
  • Incorporating earthquake resistant features in all buildings in high-risk areas.
  • Making all public utilities like water supply systems, communication networks, electricity lines etc. earthquake-proof.

Medium -Term

  • Retrofitting of weak structures in highly seismic zones
  • Getting communities involved in the process of disaster mitigation through education and awareness.

Post Disaster Measures: These include maintenance of law and order, rescue and evacuation, ensuring supply of supply of food and drinking water etc.

Initiatives taken:

  1. National earthquake Risk Mitigation Project: The project aims at strengthening the structural and non-structural earthquake mitigation efforts and reducing the vulnerability in the high-risk districts prone to earthquakes.
  2. National Building Code (NBC): The salient features of the NBC 2005 include meeting the challenges posed by natural calamities and reflecting the state-of-the-art and contemporary applicable international practices.
  3. Seismic retrofitting: It is the modification of existing structures to make them more resistant to seismic activity, ground motion, or soil failure due to earthquakes

Conclusion: According to seismologists, minor earthquakes indicate that a major earthquake could hit the city of Delhi. It’s high time that the government should make earthquake proof architecture mandatory. Also, in the long term, the government should take measures to de-congest cities.

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