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Daily Current affairs 1 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair


Title

  1. Slowdown in GDP and Release of PLFS Report (The Hindu, Page – 01)

Syllabus

Prelims: Indian Economy

Theme

Economic Slowdown and PLFS Report

 

Context:

The National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has released the Estimates of National Income for the financial year 2018-19.

 

Highlights:

  • The GDP growth in the fourth quarter (Jan-March) of the financial year 2018-19 was around 5.8%, which is considered to be the lowest in the last 20 quarters. The GDP growth rate for the full financial year 2018-19 was estimated to be 6.8%.

  • The slowdown in the economy can be attributed to a number of factors such as decline in consumption expenditure, low employment creation, weak private sector investment, weak exports due to global uncertainty caused by trade war etc.

  • It is expected that the RBI may go for policy cuts in order to boost consumption and investment expenditure.

 

Release of Periodic Labour Force Survey

The Government has now decided to release the PFLS report of the NSSO, which was withheld earlier. This report had pointed out that the unemployment rate in India stood at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18.

 

About Periodic labour force survey (PLFS):

  • Earlier, the NSSO used to conduct quinquennial (5-year) Employment-Unemployment Surveys (EUS) surveys in India. The last such survey was conducted in 2012. These surveys are the prime source for statistics about employment and unemployment situation in the country.

  • Considering the importance of availability of labour force data at more frequent time intervals, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoS&PI) constituted a Committee on Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) under the Chairpersonship of Amitabh Kundu.

  • Based upon this committee's recommendations, the NSSO decided to adopt the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) in India.

  • The PLFS started as a pilot project in July 2017, and includes a quarterly urban and an annual rural and urban survey on labour force. The objective is to have more frequent data on labour market and hence it departed from the previous EUS exercise, which happened once every five years.

  • Further, the PLFS has updated the sampling techniques used and has adopted new data collection methods. This report is based on data collected between July 2017 and June 2018 and is the first official survey post-demonetisation.

 





 

 

 

 

Title

  1. Farm focus at first Cabinet Meet – (The Hindu, Page-13)

Area of interest

Prelims: Indian Economy

Theme

Cabinet Decisions- PM-KISAN, New Pension Scheme for Farmers and Traders

Highlights

Context:

The Union Cabinet has recently decided to widen the coverage of PM-KISAN Scheme. It has also decided to launch pension schemes for the benefit of farmers and traders.

 

PM-KISAN

  • The ambit of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) has been comprehensively extended. With this decision, all land holding eligible farmer families would avail of the benefits under this scheme. (Subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria)

  • As per the exclusion criteria, some of the persons have been excluded from receiving the benefits of PM-KISAN. The exclusion criteria is applicable to serving or retired officers in the government sector including at the state level, pensioners drawing monthly emolument of more than Rs 10,000, income tax payers and professionals such as doctors and lawyers etc.

  • The revised Scheme is expected to cover around 2 crore more farmers, increasing the coverage of PM-KISAN to around 14.5 crore beneficiaries, with an estimated expenditure by Central Government of Rs. 87,000 crores for year 2019-20. 

 

About PM-KISAN

  • The genesis of the PM-KISAN Yojana dates back to the interim Budget for the year 2019-2020.The key element of PM-KISAN is income support of Rs. 6000/- to the small and marginal landholder farmer families with cultivable land holding up to 2 hectare across the country. (This has been expanded today).

  • The amount is being released in three 4-monthly instalments of Rs.2000/- each over the year, to be credited into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries held in destination banks through Direct Benefit Transfer mode.

 

 

Pension Scheme for the Farmers

The Union Cabinet has launched a new central sector scheme to provide pension to the farmers. It is for the first time since independence that such a pension coverage has been envisioned for farmers.

 

Salient features of the Scheme:

  • A voluntary and contributory pension scheme for all Small and Marginal Farmers (SMF) across the country.

  • Entry age of 18 to 40 years with a provision of minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- on attaining the age of 60 years.

  • For example, a beneficiary farmer is required to contribute Rs 100/ - per month at median entry age of 29 years.  The Central Government shall also contribute to the Pension Fund an equal amount as contributed by the eligible farmer. 

  • After the subscriber’s death, while receiving pension, the spouse of the SMF beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension, provided he/she is not already an SMF beneficiary of the Scheme. 

  • If, the death of the subscriber happens during the period of contribution, the spouse shall have the option of continuing the Scheme by paying regular contribution.

 

Note: An interesting feature of the Scheme is that the farmers can opt to allow his/her monthly contribution to the Scheme to be made from the benefits drawn from the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme directly. 

 

 

 Pension Coverage to Trading Community

  • Under this scheme all shopkeepers, retail traders and self-employed persons are assured a minimum monthly pension of Rs. 3,000/- month after attaining the age of 60 years. 

  • All small shopkeepers and self-employed persons as well as the retail traders with GST turnover below Rs. 1.5 crore and age between 18-40 years, can enrol for this scheme.  The scheme would benefit more than 3 crore small shopkeepers and traders.

  • The scheme is based on self-declaration as no documents are required except Aadhaar and bank account. The Government of India will make matching contribution in the subscribers’ account.  For example if a person with age of 29 years contributes Rs. 100/- month, then the Central Government also contributes the equal amount as subsidy into subscriber’s pension account every month.

Title

  1. Economic Agenda before the new government (The Hindu, Page-10)

Syllabus

Mains GS paper III Issues relating to Economy

Theme

Economic Reforms to be undertaken by Government

Highlights

Context:

This article seeks to laydown down exhaustive economic agenda before the newly elected government so as to promote faster and inclusive growth in India.

 

Agriculture

The farm loan waivers and input subsidies have failed to alleviate the agrarian distress. In this regard, the Government must shift its focus from boosting agricultural production to boosting the farmers' income. The coverage of the PM-KISAN Scheme has to be increased to include all the farmers.

 

Industries

The multiplicity in the labour laws have proved to be a major hindrance to the development to large scale Industries in India due to complexity, higher compliance burden, lack of freedom to hire and fire. This has made it difficult for India to reap its demographic dividend.

There is a golden opportunity before India to take the lead in the manufacturing sector due to increase in the wages in the China. India needs to seize this opportunity by undertaking the labour reforms at the earliest.

 

Services Sector

Countries such as USA, China etc have taken lead over India by investing in new age technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, data analytics, block chain etc.

India needs to make itself future ready by investing in such new age technologies. In this regard, there is a need to promote and nurture the start-ups through hand-holding and conductive regulatory environment.

 

Investment

The Government has to set up "India First" investment agency under the control of PMO. This agency should reach out to select "Fortune 1000" companies such as Tesla to encourage them to establish their production units in India.

These companies should be provided suitable tax incentives. The government must also focus improving the ease of doing business by reducing red tapism and facilitating land acquisition.

 

Governance

The Government must expand its coverage of "home delivery of services" model (cooking gas, health care etc) to include all other government services. This can be done by leveraging the "Digital India" programme. The implementation of the schemes can be improved by giving more autonomy to the field level agencies.

There has to be rationalisation of Government personnel. The government must reduce its recruitment in over-staffed sectors such as railways and at the same time increase its recruitment of doctors, teachers and police personnel.

 

 

Title

4. Uniform Civil Code (The Hindu, Page-09)

Syllabus

Mains – GS paper II : Polity & Governance

Theme

Uniform Civil Code- Pros and Cons

Highlights

Context

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to the Centre on a petition seeking framing of a uniform civil code to promote “unity, fraternity and national integration.

 

What is Uniform Civil Code?

In India, different communities are governed by different Personal laws like Hindu Marriage Act, Hindu Succession Act, Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act for Hindus, whereas Muslims, Parsis and Christians are governed by their own personal laws.

Uniform civil code in India is the proposal to replace the personal laws based on the scriptures and customs of each major religious with a common set governing every citizen. These laws are distinguished from public law and cover marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption and maintenance. Article 44 of the Directive Principles in India sets its implementation as duty of the State.

 

Why Uniform Civil Code is needed?

The society has been fragmented in the name of religions, sects and sex. There are different laws governing rights related to personal matters or laws like marriage, divorce, maintenance, adoption and inheritance for different communities.

The demand for a uniform civil code essentially means unifying all these personal laws to have one set of secular laws dealing with these aspects that will apply to all citizens of India irrespective of the community they belong to.

Benefits are:

  • It will do away with diversity in matrimonial laws, simplify the Indian legal system and make Indian society more homogeneous.

  • It will de-link law from religion.

  • It will create a national identity and will help in containing fissiparous tendencies in the country.

  • It will also help in establishing social justice and gender equality in family matters.

  • The introduction of UCC will promote monogamy among all the citizen of India including Muslim and it will lead to betterment in the position of women.

  • It will also remove prejudices against women regarding personal laws on divorce and maintenance.

  • It will help in strengthening the secular fabric of the country and promote unity. 

Supreme Court Judgments on Uniform Civil Code

  1. Shah Bano case: In 1985, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Shah Bano, who had moved the apex court seeking maintenance under Section 125 of the Code of Criminal Procedure after her husband divorced her. The then Chief Justice, Y.V. Chandrachud, observed that a Common Civil Code would help the cause of national integration by removing disparate loyalties to law. The Court directed Parliament to frame a Uniform Civil Code.

  2. In the John Vallamattom v. Union of India case in 2003, Chief Justice V.N. Khare had observed: “It is a matter of regret that Article 44 of the Constitution has not been given effect to. Parliament is still to step in for framing a common civil code in the country.”

  3. Daniel Latifi & other Vs. Union Of India: In this case, the constitutional validity of Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Divorce) Act, 1986 was challenged. It was held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that clause (1-a) of section 3 does not limit the duty of the husband to pay maintenance only for the period of iddat rather the duty is to make the necessary arrangements within the iddat period but the arrangements has to be made for the entire life of the wife until she gets remarried.

Arguments against Uniform Civil Code

  • It will introduce State interference in religious affairs hence against the concept of secularism.

  • UCC would violate personal laws of different religion gravely and would thus result in irreversible damage to their religion and the laws therein.

  • Methodology to select which rule is good and bad as rules are based on once culture and norms.

Goa is the only state where Uniform Civil code exists.

The Goa Civil Code collectively called Family Laws, was framed and enforced by the Portuguese colonial rulers through various legislations in the 19th and 20th centuries. After the liberation of Goa in 1961, the Indian State scrapped all the colonial laws and extended the central laws to the territory but made the exception of retaining the Family Laws.

 

    


 

Title

5. Draft Education Policy (The Hindu, Page-13)

Syllabus

Mains GS paper II: Polity & Governance

Theme

Highlights of the Draft Education Policy

Highlights

Draft National Education Policy, 2019

The National Education Policy 2019 envisions an India centred education system that contributes directly to transforming our nation sustainably into an equitable and vibrant knowledge society, by providing high quality education to all.

It is based on Kasturiranjan committee recommendations of 2017 to fulfill the SDG ‘ 4’ – inclusive and equitable quality education.

Focus Areas/components

  1. National Education Committee/ Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog will be headed by PM with 20-30 members.

  • A RSA Appointment Committee (RSAAC), consisting of the PM, the Chief Justice of India, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, and the UME, will be constituted to enable the appointments to the RSA and to other key related roles and structures.

  • Similar to the RSA, a RjSA/State Education Commission (SEC) may be constituted in each State, chaired by the Chief Minister with the Minister of Education, nominated by the chair, as Vice-Chair. The respective SECs can have as its members the ministers of education, ministers of other stakeholder ministries related to education, eminent educationists and professionals, and a senior representative from the RSA. The creation of the SECs in the States will facilitate better coordination with the Centre.

  1. In order to bring the focus back on education and learning, the MHRD will be redesignated as the Ministry of Education (MoE).

  2. Promotion of classical languages: Indian languages are some of the most expressive and scientific in the world, containing much of the world’s great literature and knowledge. They are also truly functional languages, many spoken by lakhs if not crores of people, and represent the culture and heritage of entire regions and generations, and of centuries if not millennia. True inclusion and preservation of culture and traditions of each region, and true understanding by all students in schools, can be achieved only when suitable respect is given to all Indian languages, including tribal languages.

Hence specific plans for the promotion of classical Indian languages and literature must be developed by HEIs. The existing institutions, including National Institutes, for these languages will be strengthened and expanded.

A National Institute for Pali, Persian and Prakrit will also be set up. All institutes supporting language programmes will be affiliated with and preferably located in universities, and will be funded to study comparative literature.

  1. A National Curriculum Framework for Adult Education will be developed to cover five broad areas - foundational literacy and numeracy, critical life skills, vocational skills, basic education and continuing education.

  • Foundational literacy and numeracy: The material in this programme will initially cover basic reading and writing (including of numbers) so that the learner may successfully carry out essential daily activities outside of the home, including reading signs, price tags, receipts, license plates, etc., as well as filling out forms, addressing envelopes to mail, etc.

  • Critical life skills: This programme will be intended for neo-literates to learn essential life skills for modern times: how to open a bank account and carry out basic financial transactions, etc.

  • Basic education: The thrust of the Basic Education Programme will be to enable neo-literates to continue learning beyond basic literacy and numeracy, and acquire education equivalent to the Preparatory, Middle and Secondary stages of education through either the formal education system or the open learning system.

  • Vocational skills development: The Vocational Skills Development Programme will aim at equipping non- and neo-literate adults with vocational skills to improve their living conditions and earning capabilities.

  • Continuing education: The Continuing Education Programme (CEP) will provide lifelong-learning opportunities to neo-literates and other targeted beneficiaries. The programme will involve short-term thematic courses on, e.g.: health awareness/care; food and nutrition; water conservation and drinking water; sanitation, etc.

  1. Incorporation of Indian knowledge systems into the curriculum: Indian contributions to knowledge - and the historical contexts that led to them - will be incorporated in an accurate and engaging manner, wherever relevant, into the existing school curriculum and textbooks. Topics will include Indian contributions to mathematics, astronomy, philosophy, psychology, yoga, architecture, medicine, as well as governance, polity, society, and conservation.

  2. Learning in local language: It is well-understood that young children learn and grasp nontrivial concepts most quickly in their home language/mother tongue. Thus there is a strong need for classes in early years to be conducted in students’ local languages. To leverage the enhanced language-learning abilities of young children, all students from pre-school and Grade 1 onwards will be exposed to three or more languages with the aim of developing speaking proficiency and interaction, and the ability to recognise scripts and read basic text, in all three languages by Grade 3.

Multilinguism is a necessity of India (as of much of the developed world), and must be considered a boon and an opportunity for learning and expanding one’s horizons rather than a burden. A multilingual India is better educated and also better nationally integrated.

  1. Establishment of Special Education Zones: Special Education Zones will be set up in disadvantaged regions across the country. It is known that there is inequitable development across regions. States will be encouraged to declare any clearly definable area as a SEZ on the basis of clear social development and socio-economic indicators (e.g. tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh). The Central government will support extra investment and per-child expenditure in the ratio of 2:1 for each rupee spent by the State in these Zones.

  2. Common regulatory regime - private higher education institutions: All HEIs - public and private - shall be treated on par within this regulatory regime. The regulatory regime shall encourage private philanthropic efforts in education. At the same time it shall eliminate commercialisation of education. The IDP and audited financial statement of all private HEIs must be made public after due endorsement by the Board. All private HEIs shall be governed and regulated with norms identical to public institutions, unless otherwise specified. Private HEIs shall not be mandated to adhere to reservation guidelines other than those stated in this Policy and their formative Acts with respect to local State students.

 

 

 

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