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Daily Current affairs 01 March 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

1. Cabinet clears voluntary use of Aadhaar as identity proof (The Hindu,Page.07)

Prelims: Indian Polity

Mains: GS, Paper II: Polity &Governance

Aadhaar

What was the need for the Ordinance?

 

  • In the Aadhaar Judgment, the Supreme Court has held the constitutional validity of Aadhaar but had struck down certain provisions of the Aadhaar Act.
  • Consequently, it was proposed to amend the Aadhaar Act, Indian Telegraph Act and the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in line with the Supreme Court directives and the report of Justice B. N. Srikrishna committee on data protection.
  • This was proposed to ensure that personal data of Aadhaar holder remains protected against any misuse and Aadhaar scheme remains in conformity with the Constitution.
  • Thus, the Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2018 was passed by the Lok Sabha in January 2019. However, before it could be considered and passed in the Rajya Sabha, the Rajya Sabha was adjourned sine die.  
  • So, based on the situation, the Union Cabinet has approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to make amendments to the Aadhaar Act 2016, Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2005 & Indian Telegraph Act 1885. The amendments proposed are the same as those contained in the Bill passed by the Lok Sabha in January 2019.

 

Salient Features

 

  • Provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar number holder;
  • Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number and its alternative virtual identity to conceal the actual Aadhaar number of an individual;
  • Gives an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years;
  • Permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority; and the authentication is permitted under any law made by Parliament or is prescribed to be in the interest of State by the Central Government;
  • Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002.
  • Proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of Aadhaar by private entities; 
  • Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to undergo authentication;
  • Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund;
  • Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, appeal in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act and provisions by entities in the Aadhaar ecosystem. 

 

2. J&K ordinance cleared by Union Cabinet (The Hindu,Page.10)

Prelims: Indian Polity

Mains: GS, Paper II: Polity &Governance

The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019

What is the ordinance about?

 

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the proposal of Jammu &Kashmir Government to issue "The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 by the President of India. 
  • The ordinance provides for amendments to be made in the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 to bring persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border within the ambit of reservation at par with persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 provides for reservation in appointment, and admission in Professional Institutions, for the members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other socially and educationally backward classes.   

 

Need for the Ordinance

 

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and Rules provide for vertical reservation in direct recruitment, promotions and admission in different professional courses to various categories viz. Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (Residents of Backward Area (RBA), Residents of Areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC) and Weak and Under Privileged Classes (Social Castes) alongwith horizontal reservation to the Ex-Serviceman and Physically Challenged Persons.
  • However, the reservation benefits were not extended to the persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border.   
  • Due to continuous cross border tensions, persons living alongside International Border suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness. Shelling from across the border often compels these residents to move to safer places and is adversely impacting their education as Educational Institutions remain closed for long periods.   
  • Hence, the government felt justifiable to extend the reservation benefits to persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border on the similar lines of the persons living in areas adjoining Actual Line of Control (ALoC).  

 

Reservation Benefits in Jammu & Kashmir

 

  • 10% reservation for economically weaker sections have also been made applicable in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. This would pave the way for reserving State Government jobs to the youth of J&K who are from economically weaker sections belonging to any religion or caste.
  • Providing 10% reservation to economically weaker sections was introduced in rest of the country through the 103rd Constitution Amendment in January 2019.
  • Benefit of promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, which include Gujjars and Bakarwals amongst others, has also been made applicable to the State of J&K. 

 

Difference between LOC & LAC 

 

  • Shimla Agreement was signed between Prime Minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi and President of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in June 1972 in the backdrop of India-Pakistan war which also resulted in creation of Bangladesh.
  • As per the agreement, India and Pakistan agreed to convert Ceasefire Line established by UN in 1948 in Jammu and Kashmir into Line of Control (LoC) and agreed not to violate it establish peace in the region. Both sides also agreed to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this Line of Control.
  • LAC stands for Line of Actual Control that separates Indian Territory from Chinese territory. There is no commonly delineated Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China as there are areas along the border where India and China have differing perceptions of the LAC.
  • Since there are no clear demarcations of the border, both sides undertake patrolling upto their respective perceptions of the LAC, but at times transgressions do occur without knowledge or intent.
  • For the maintenance of peace and tranquility along LAC, both India and China signed the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement on 23rd October, 2013. The Agreement strengthens maintenance of stability on the border and adds to existing instruments to ensure peace and stability on our borders. 

3. FAME second phase to get Rs 10,000 crore(The Hindu,Page.14)

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS, Paper III: Indian Economy

FAME Scheme

What is the news?

  • The Union cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for implementation of scheme titled 'Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India Phase II (FAME India Phase II)' for promotion of Electric Mobility in the country.
  • The scheme with total outlay of Rs 10000 Crores over the period of three years will be implemented with effect from 1st April 2019. This scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled 'FAME India1 which was launched on 1st April 2015.

 

Objective

  • The main objective of the scheme is to encourage Faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering upfront Incentive on purchase of Electric vehicles and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles.
  • The scheme will help in addressing the issue of environmental pollution and fuel security. Emphasis is on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
  • FAME encourages advance technologies, the benefits of incentives, will be extended to only those vehicles which are fitted with advance battery like a Lithium Ion battery and other new technology batteries.
  • The scheme proposes for establishment of charging infrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations will be established in metros, other million plus cities, smart cities and cities of Hilly states across the country so that there will be availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km. Establishment of Charging stations are also proposed on major highways connecting major city clusters.   

 

4. Rhinos without borders is conservation credo (The Hindu,Page.18)

Prelims: Environment and ecology

Mains: GS, Paper III: Environment &Ecology

New Delhi Declaration

Five Asian Rhino–range countries have signed the New Delhi Declaration on protection and conservation of Asian Rhino population:

    • India
    • Nepal
    • Bhutan
    • Indonesia
    • Malaysia

Three types of Asian Rhinos include

  1. Greater one-horned Rhino in India, Nepal and Bhutan
  2. Javan Rhino
  3. Sumatran Rhino

 

New Delhi Declaration: Rhino Conservation Strategy

 

  • Trans-boundary collaboration between India, Nepal and Bhutan for Greater one-horned Rhino conservation in line with India’s National Rhino Conservation Strategy.
  • Landscape-level conservation by connecting Sukla-Phanta (Nepal) and Valmiki tiger reserve (India) and Chitwan National Park (Nepal) and Dudhwa (India) to manage under the same protocol.
  • Review of population of 3 Asian rhino species every four years.
  • Strengthening the protection regimes with technology-based wildlife forensics.
  • Real-time sharing of intelligence on rhino crime and its horn trade.
  • Expansion of rhino habitat within and between rhino range countries for optimal population management.
  • Connecting the rhino-corridors across international boundaries.

 

About Asian Rhinos

Greater one-horned Rhino (Indian Rhino)

  • It is the largest of the rhino species.
  • It has been accorded with ‘Vulnerable Status’ in the IUCN Red List.
  • Indian Rhino is an amphibious species and an excellent swimmer.
  • It is an herbivorous animal feeding on grasses, leaves, branches, fruit, and aquatic plants.

Habitat

  • Indian Rhino is an herbivorous species found in Tropical and Subtropical Grasslands, Savannas, and Shrublands.
  • Indian Rhino population is restricted to Indo-Nepal terai region, northern West Bengal and Assam.
  • The main sanctuaries of Indian Rhino are:
    • Assam
    • Kaziranga National Park (70% of world’s population)
    • Pobitara Wildlife sanctuary
    • Orang National Park,
    • Manas National Park Assam
  • West Bengal
    • Jaldapara National Park
    • Garumara National Park
  • Uttar Pradesh
    • Dudhwa Tiger Reserve
  • Nepal
    • Royal Chitwan National Park
    • Sukla-Phanta

https://tinglado-mediafiles.s3.amazonaws.com/media/editor_images/2019/3/1/12/40/26/5c78dae24c4557157b369ef3_OI.PNG

 

Threats

 

  • Poaching due to demand in international trade for horn.
  • Habitat destruction due to land-use change.
  • Concentration of rhino population in one protected area, viz
  • Political boundaries constricting natural boundary.
  • Other threats including diseases and natural disaster.

 

Conservation Efforts

 

  • Indian Rhino Vision 2020 was launched in 2005 aimed at increasing the rhino population to 3000 by 2020.
  • Translocation of species from Kaziranga to Manas.
  • Training in new patrolling methods.
  • Recently India launched the National Rhino Conservation Strategy 2019 calling for active engagement between India and Nepal.
  • Now the Delhi Declaration for Asian Rhino conservation and protection

 

Sumatran and Javan Rhino

  • Sumatran and Javan Rhinos have been accorded the ‘Critically Endangered’ Status under IUCN Red List.
  • Javan Rhino are only about 60 in number concentrated in Unjung Kulon National Park near Jakarta in Javan island of Indonesia.
    • Earlier they were found in Cat Tien National Park in Vietnam where it is extinct now.
  • Sumatran Rhino are the smallest among Asian Rhinos.
    • There are about 300 of this species left in Indonesia and Malaysia where it is extinct in the wild.
    • They are only Asian Rhino species with 2 horns.

 

5. Cabinet okays National Mineral Policy 2019 (The Hindu,Page.13)

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS, Paper III, Indian Economy

National Mineral Policy 2019

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Mineral Policy 2019. It replaces the existing National Mineral Policy 2008.

 

Objective: -

The aim of National Mineral Policy 2019 is to have a more effective, meaningful and implementable policy that brings in further transparency, better regulation and enforcement, balanced social and economic growth as well as sustainable mining practices.

 

Details:

  • The National Mineral Policy 2019 includes provisions which will give boost to mining sector such as
  • Encouraging the private sector to take up exploration.
  • Auctioning in virgin areas for composite RP cum PL cum ML on revenue share basis.

(RP means Reconnaissance Permit, PL means Prospecting License, ML means Mining Lease.

RP is granted for preliminary prospecting of a mineral through regional, aerial, geophysical or geochemical surveys and geological mapping.

PL is granted for undertaking operations for purpose of exploring, locating or proving mineral deposit.

ML is granted for undertaking operations for mining minerals.)

  • Encouragement of merger and acquisition of mining entities
  • Transfer of mining leases and creation of dedicated mineral corridors to boost private sector mining areas.
  • Introduction of Right of First Refusal for RP/PL holders. (Usually, the mines are leased for a specified period of time and upon the expiry of the lease period, the mine is auctioned once again. Under the Right to First Refusal Option, when the mine is auctioned through bidding, the company presently involved in the exploration of the mine would be given the option of keeping the mining lease by paying the bidding amount. However, if it refuses to pay the bidding amount, only then the mining lease gets transferred to a third party.
  • The 2019 Policy proposes to grant status of industry to mining activity to boost financing of mining for private sector (Getting ‘industry’ status will help in easy sanction of loans for projects.)
  • The Policy also mentions rationalize reserved areas given to PSUs which have not been used and to put these areas to auction, which will give more opportunity to private sector for participation
  • The new policy focuses on use coastal waterways and inland shipping for evacuation and transportation of minerals and encourages dedicated mineral corridors to facilitate the transportation of minerals. 
  • The 2019 Policy also introduces the concept of Inter-Generational Equity that deals with the well-being not only of the present generation but also of the generations to come and also proposes to constitute an inter-ministerial body to institutionalize the mechanism for ensuring sustainable development in mining.

 

Benefits

New National Mineral Policy will ensure more effective regulation.  It will lead to sustainable mining sector development in future while addressing the issues of project affected persons especially those residing in tribal areas

 

6. Union Cabinet approves software product policy (The Hindu,Page.13)

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS, Paper III, Indian Economy

National Policy on Software Products - 2019

Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the National Policy on Software Products - 2019 to develop India as a Software Product Nation.

 

Background:

  • The Indian IT Industry has predominantly been a service Industry. However, a need has been felt to move up the value chain through technology-oriented products and services. To create a robust software product ecosystem the Government has approved the National Policy on Software Products - 2019, which aims to develop India as the global software product hub, driven by innovation, improved commercialization, sustainable Intellectual Property (IP), promoting technology start­ups and specialized skill sets.
  • Further, the Policy aims to align with other Government initiatives such as Start-up India, make in India and Digital India, Skill India etc so as to create Indian Software products Industry of USD ~70-80 billion with direct & indirect employment of ~3.5 million by 2025.

 

Expenditure involved

  • Initially, an outlay of Rs.1500 Crore is involved to implement the programmes/ schemes envisaged under this policy over the period of 7 years.   Rs1500 Crore is divided into Software Product Development Fund (SPDF) and Research & Innovation fund.

 

Implementation strategy and targets

  • The Policy will lead to the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
  • To achieve the vision of NPSP-2019, the Policy has the following five Missions:
  • To promote the creation of a sustainable Indian software product industry, driven by intellectual property (IP), leading to a ten-fold increase in India share of the Global Software product market by 2025.
  • To nurture 10,000 technology startups in software product industry, including 1000 such technology startups in Tier-II and Tier-III towns & cities and generating direct and in-direct employment for 3.5 million people by 2025.
  • To create a talent pool for software product industry through (i) up-skilling of 1,000,000 IT professionals, (ii) motivating 100,000 school and college students and (iii) generating 10,000 specialized professionals that can provide leadership.
  •  To build a cluster-based innovation driven ecosystem by developing 20 sectoral and strategically located software product development clusters having integrated ICT infrastructure, marketing, incubation, R&D/testbeds and mentoring support.

In order to evolve and monitor scheme & programmes for the implementation of this policy, National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry.

 

Major impact

  • The Software product ecosystem is characterized by innovations, Intellectual Property (IP) creation and large value addition increase in productivity, which has the potential to significantly boost revenues and exports in the sector, create substantive employment and entrepreneurial opportunities in emerging technologies and leverage opportunities available under the Digital India Programme, thus, leading to a boost in inclusive and sustainable growth.

 

7. Development scheme for Knitwear sector launched (The Hindu,Page.14)

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS, Paper III, Indian Economy