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Daily Current affairs 25 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair






Premature to count India out of RCEP



A war of masks between Iran and US 



Will follow all security norms: Huawei 



ASI carries out restoration of Mughal-era parts of Red Fort



Jharkhand lynching case 




1.   Premature to count India out of RCEP (The Hindu, Page 01)     


Mains: GS Paper II  international relations 





What is RCEP?


RCEP is an agreement currently being negotiated between ASEAN+6, which includes the 10 ASEAN countries and Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.  

The RCEP negotiations was also envisioned as being led by ASEAN and would be based upon vision of ‘ASEAN Centrality’.

The agreement covers goods, services, investment, competition, intellectual property, economic and technical cooperation, e-commerce and law, and is intended to be a Free Trade Agreement.

The 1st RCEP Summit was held in 2017 and is meant to built upon the existing ASEAN+1 FTA wherein ASEAN has existing FTA agreements with the other six members. 


Article Focus: Highlights India's contention in RCEP negotiations


India has negotiated for liberalization of the Services sector in which it has an advantage, however countries such as Australia and New Zealand are reluctant towards opening their services market to other countries such as India that would provide cheaper competitive edge to their domestic players.

• India has been reluctant for liberalization in the manufacturing sector in which China and other member nations have an advantage, which would hamper India’s domestic players in price competitive sectors such as in electronics, in which China, South Korea and other have an edge. 


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2.  A war of masks between Iran and US (The Hindu, Page 10)     


Mains: GS Paper II  international relations 


Iran US conflict 



Now this editorial talks about the evolving news about the rising tensions in conflict between Iran and US. 
Now the main crux of the author in this editorial is that both US and Iran do not want to raise tensions to the level that it leads to war. However both also do not want to be the first to stop the rising tensions and offer a truce or a peaceful resolution to the other side. Now the reason for this is that both do not want to be seen weak in front of the world by taking a step back from a fight especially D. Trump who has to fight in an election next year.

Potential impact of War:
The containment of Iran has been the main aim Saudi led Arab alliance and of Israel. However according to the author, these countries would actually be negatively affected in a US- Iran war.
In a US-Iran war, it would be UAE, Saudi Arabia and Israel that would be the prime targets for Iranian attacks. It is difficult for Saudis and UAE to defend themselves against Iranian attack especially on their oil supplies through the Strait of Hormouz and Persian Gulf. 
If Israel enters into the War and attack Irsn, there is a strong possibility of Muslims especially in Arab world in becoming sympathetic towards Iran in the War. 
Iran has a strong and effective proxy network across the Middle East such as Houthis in Yemen, Hezbollah in Lebanon, fighters in Iraq and Syria. Currently such Iranian fighters are not directly involved in Saudi Arabia and UAE, however these proxies in a war spread directly spread to Saudi Arabia and UAE.
Iran has been one of the leading country that defeated ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Therefore weakening of Iran allows for ISIS to become stronger which would then negatively effect Saudis & Israel.

Signs that both do not war:
Iran had shot down a US drone recently. D. Trump administration did not retaliate by bombing Iran after this incident and thereby dif not increase tensions. 
Iranian rulers are trying to convince the U.S.’s allies in Europe, West Asia and Asia to pressure D. Trump into a deal. US should ease or decrease the US sanctions on Iran that have severly affected the Iranian economy. In return, Iran would be willing to decrease tensions with US and negotiate on US demands.

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3. Will follow all security norms: Huawei  (The Hindu Page 15)   


Mains: GS Paper III – Economy


Foreign investments



What has happened?

Obama administration had blacklisted Huawei from supplying equipment for sensitive systems way in 2012. Similarly, a 2018 US law forbade government agencies from procuring telecommunications equipment or services produced or provided by Huawei. A 2019 US Order prohibit transactions involving information and communications technology or services from “adversaries”, with Huawei being considered as an adversary. This causes US companies & individuals to receive a licence from US govt. to conduct trade with Huawei.  



There are two main reasons for US actions against Huawei: first is security concerns of Chinese espionage and second is weakness of US companies to compete against Huawei. 

Although US export in ICT & telecom equipments has increased, there has been a fall in US share of global exports in ICT and telecommunication equipment trade. 

Apart from this, there has been an increase in imports of cheaper ICT & telecom equipments from China into US and other original markets of US equipments such as South American countries. Huawei has the largest share in the global cellular base station market & has overtaken Apple as largest mobile manufacturer.

Most importantly, Huawei is the leading company which is providing the ICT & telecom infrastructure for launching 5G to countries across the world. The dominance of Huawei in this field would ensure its dominance in 5G and its related fields.


Impact on India

The US is pressuring countries around the world to not allow Huawei within their field trials for 5G rollout. UK, Australia, New Zealand and several other countries have agreed to this US demand. Similarly, India has also been pressurised.


However, Huawei had received an invitation from the government in September to conduct 5G trials in India, along with Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung and Cisco.

But, there is ambiguity as in late February the Telecom Secretary said that the government is yet to take a decision on whether to allow Chinese equipment makers or not. 


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4. ASI carries out restoration of Mughal-era parts of Red Fort (The Hindu Page 04)   


Mains: GS I – History & culture





It was constructed in 1639 by the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as the palace of his fortified capital Shahjahanabad, the Red Fort is named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone 

The most important surviving structures are

  • Naubat Khana/ The vaulted arcade 

  • Diwan-i-Aam/ the Public Audience Hall.

  • Nahr-i-Bihisht/ row of pavilions on a raised platform along the eastern edge of the fort.

  • Hammam / the imperial baths, 

  •  Diwan-i-Khas (Hall of Private Audience)

  • Moti Masjid A mosque

  • The Hira Mahal is a pavilion on the southern edge of the fort

Shah Jahan, Aurangzeb and other later Mughal rulers ruled from here. The private apartments that lie behind the throne consists of rows of pavilions connected by a continuous water channel.This is known as Nahr-i-Behisht (Stream of Paradise). 









5.  Jharkhand lynching case  (The Hindu Page 01)   


Mains: GS I –Social issues and Society




Public Lynching

• Lynching is a form of violence in which a mob, under the pretext of administering justice, executes a presumed offender.

• It is a subsequent consequence of mob violence wherein public lynching stems from identity politics in which a particular group or community intends to establish dominance & portray power over another.

• Lynching in form of public hangings was practised in United States in which a mob of white individuals indulged in lynching of black men for alleged instances of injustice such as sexual harassment of white women, hurting a white person, etc.


Observations of the Supreme Court

• The Supreme Court in its judgement recommend to the Parliament to create a separate offence for lynching and provide adequate punishment for the same.

• The reason is that a special law in this field would instil a sense of fear for law amongst the people who involve themselves in such kinds of activities.

• Moreover, the current laws are predicated on ‘individual violence’ and not ‘collective violence’, so the different aspects of mob lynching such as sharing of hateful information, actual killing, etc. are prosecuted on individuals basis and within different laws.


Law & Order

 Authorities which are conferred with the responsibility to maintain law and order in the States have the principal obligation to see that vigilantism of any perception, does not take place.

 Public order and Police are within State list under Seventh Schedule of Constitution of India.


   Social Aspect

Contemporary constitutional democracy imbibes the essential feature of accommodating pluralism in thought and approach so as to preserve cohesiveness and unity.

• Intolerance arising out of a dogmatic mindset sows the seeds of upheaval and has and has a chilling effect on freedom of thought and expression. Hence, tolerance has to be fostered and practised and not allowed to be diluted in any manner in India.


Preventive Measures


 Government Measures

The State Governments shall designate a senior police officer as Nodal Officer in each district.

Such Nodal Officer shall take measure to prevent incidents of mob violence and lynching.

• They shall constitute a special task force so as to procure intelligence reports about the people who are likely to commit such crimes or who are involved in spreading hate speeches, provocative statement and fake news.

• Central & State Governments should take steps to curb and stop dissemination of irresponsible and explosive messages, videos and other material on various social media platforms which have a tendency to incite mob violence and lynching.


 Duties of Nodal Officer

The Nodal Officer with the local intelligence units in the district identifies the existence of the tendencies of vigilantism mob violence or lynching in the district.

• S/he should undertake steps to prohibit instances of dissemination of offensive material through different social media platforms or any other means for inciting such tendencies.

• The Nodal Officer shall also make efforts to eradicate hostile environment against any community or caste which is targeted in such incidents.

Local Police Duty

The local police in an incident of lynching or mob violence station shall immediately cause to lodge an FIR.

The government should ensure protection and for concealing the identity and address of the witness.

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Relevant articles from PIB:

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Population and associated issues.


Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission


What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features and significance of the programme.


Context: National Workshop on Experience Sharing under Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission.


About SPMRM:

The Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission (SPMRM) is a unique programme, designed to deliver catalytic interventions to rural areas on the threshold of growth.


Funding Support:

  1. There is a funding support of up to 30% of the estimated investment for each Rurban cluster, given as Critical Gap Funding (CGF), while 70% of the funds is mobilized by the States through convergence with synergic State and Central programmes and private investment and institutional funding.
  2. The CGF is now shared between the Centre and the State in a ratio of 60:40 for Plain area States and 90:10 for Himalayan and NE States.


Various Provisions:

Provision of basic amenities – 

  • Provision of 24/7 Water Supply to all households,
  • Solid and Liquid Waste Management facilities at the household and cluster level

Provision of Inter and Intra village roads–

Adequate Street Lights and Public Transport facilities using green technologies.

Provision of Economic Amenities –

Various thematic areas in the sectors of Agri Services and Processing, Tourism, and Skill development to promote Small and Medium Scale Enterprises.


Mission’s Objective:

The objective of the National Rurban Mission (NRuM) is to stimulate local economic development, enhance basic services, and create well planned Rurban clusters.


Need for development of such clusters:

As per Census of India Statistics, the rural population in India stands at 833 million, constituting almost 68% of the total population.

  • The rural population has shown a growth of 12% during the 2001-2011 period and there has been an increase in the absolute number of villages during the same period.
  • Large parts of rural areas are not stand-alone settlements but part of a cluster of settlements, which are relatively proximate to each other.
  • These clusters typically illustrate potential for growth, have economic drivers and derive location and competitive advantages.
  • Hence, making a case for concerted policy directives for such clusters; these clusters once developed can then be classified as ‘Rurban’.


Mains Question: Write a critical note on the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission.

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


National Policy on Biofuels – 2018


What to study?

For Prelims: National Biofuel Policy- key features, classification of biofuels.

For Mains: Biofuels- significance, policies for their promotion and challenges therein.


ContextThe National Policy on Biofuels-2018 approved by the Government envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol and 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.


National Policy on biofuels- salient features:

Categorization: The Policy categorises biofuels as “Basic Biofuels” viz. First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel and “Advanced Biofuels” – Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc. to enable extension of appropriate financial and fiscal incentives under each category.

Scope of raw materials: The Policy expands the scope of raw material for ethanol production by allowing use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.

Protection to farmers: Farmers are at a risk of not getting appropriate price for their produce during the surplus production phase. Taking this into account, the Policy allows use of surplus food grains for production of ethanol for blending with petrol with the approval of National Biofuel Coordination Committee.

Viability gap funding: With a thrust on Advanced Biofuels, the Policy indicates a viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore in 6 years in addition to additional tax incentives, higher purchase price as compared to 1G biofuels.

Boost to biodiesel production: The Policy encourages setting up of supply chain mechanisms for biodiesel production from non-edible oilseeds, Used Cooking Oil, short gestation crops.


Expected benefits:

Import dependency: The policy aims at reducing import dependency.

Cleaner environment: By reducing crop burning & conversion of agricultural residues/wastes to biofuels there will be further reduction in Green House Gas emissions.

Health benefits: Prolonged reuse of Cooking Oil for preparing food, particularly in deep-frying is a potential health hazard and can lead to many diseases. Used Cooking Oil is a potential feedstock for biodiesel and its use for making biodiesel will prevent diversion of used cooking oil in the food industry.

Employment Generation: One 100klpd 2G bio refinery can contribute 1200 jobs in Plant Operations, Village Level Entrepreneurs and Supply Chain Management.

Additional Income to Farmers: By adopting 2G technologies, agricultural residues/waste which otherwise are burnt by the farmers can be converted to ethanol and can fetch a price for these waste if a market is developed for the same.


Significance of Biofuels:

Globally, biofuels have caught the attention in last decade and it is imperative to keep up with the pace of developments in the field of biofuels. Biofuels in India are of strategic importance as it augers well with the ongoing initiatives of the Government such as Make in India, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Skill Development and offers great opportunity to integrate with the ambitious targets of doubling of Farmers Income, Import Reduction, Employment Generation, Waste to Wealth Creation.


Classification of Biofuels:

1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first generation biofuel.

2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”

3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.


Mains Question: Discuss the importance of biofuels for India? Critically examine whether the national policy on biofuels will help India unlock it’s biofuel potential?

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Schemes for the vulnerable sections of the society.




What to study?

For Prelims: PMU- key features.

For Mains: PMUY- objectives, features, significance and measures needed to sustain the momentum.


Context: 7.23 Crore Connections released under Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana.


About Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana:

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana aims to provide LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) connections to poor households.

Who is eligible? Under the scheme, an adult woman member of a below poverty line family identified through the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) is given a deposit-free LPG connection with financial assistance of Rs 1,600 per connection by the Centre.

Identification of households: Eligible households will be identified in consultation with state governments and Union territories. The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.


Key objectives of the scheme are:

  • Empowering women and protecting their health.
  • Reducing the serious health hazards associated with cooking based on fossil fuel.
  • Reducing the number of deaths in India due to unclean cooking fuel.
  • Preventing young children from significant number of acute respiratory illnesses caused due to indoor air pollution by burning the fossil fuel.


What makes LPG adoption necessary?

  1. A large section of Indians, especially women and girls, are exposed to severe household air pollution (HAP) from the use of solid fuels such as biomass, dung cakes and coal for cooking. A report from the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare places HAP as the second leading risk factor contributing to India’s disease burden.
  2. According to the World Health Organization, solid fuel use is responsible for about 13% of all mortality and morbidity in India (measured as Disability-Adjusted Life Years), and causes about 40% of all pulmonary disorders, nearly 30% of cataract incidences, and over 20% each of ischemic heart disease, lung cancer and lower respiratory infection.

Mains Question: Examine the objectives, merits and demerits of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.


National Policy on Domestic Workers


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the proposed National Policy on Domestic Workers, International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.

For Mains: Need for a policy and guidelines on this, vulnerability and challenges faced by domestic workers, international experience.


Context: Draft National Policy on Domestic Workers Under Consideration.


There is a need for the policy due to the following reasons:

  • Employer-dominated, domestic work industry is characterised by low, stagnant wage rates. Wages are particularly low for Bengali and Adivasi workers.
  • Irregular payment of wages by employer.
  • Extraction of more work than agreed upon at the start of employment.
  • Practice of arbitrarily reducing wages.
  • Private power of regulation enjoyed by the employer.
  • Private nature of regulation has allowed the employer to exercise quasi-magisterial powers over the domestic worker in India.
  • Workers’ attempts to renegotiate their terms of work or to leave such employment are outbid by verbal, and often, physical assaults by employers.
  • Domestic workers are on an almost absolute risk of unemployment or criminalisation when they try to obtain their dues.


Proposed national policy for domestic workers:

  • Its aimis to protect the domestic workers from abuse, harassment, violence and guarantee them rights in the matter of social security and minimum wages. The policy also includes social security cover and provisions against sexual harassment and bonded labour.
  • It is a national policy for all kinds of household helps, under which payment of wages will be made to the board under fixed slab rates and the central board/trust will be managed by all stakeholders.
  • The policy intends to set up an institutional mechanismto social security cover, fair terms of employment, grievance redressal and dispute resolution. 
  • It provides for recognising domestic workers as a worker with the right to register themselves with state labour department or any other suitable mechanism.
  • The policy will also promote the rightsfor them to organise and form their own unions/associations and affiliate with other unions/associations. It will also provide for model contract of employment with well-defined period of work and rest.
  • It also aims to regulate the recruitment and placement agencies by respective governments through formulation of a policy.
  • It will also have a tripartite implementation committee at centre, state and district levels.
  • It will also clearly define various termssuch as part time workers, full time workers, live in workers, employers and private placement agencies.


Mains Question: The proposed national policy for domestic workers fails to achieve the purpose it is designed for. Critically examine.


Relevant articles from various news sources:

Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential.


Complaint Management System (CMS) by RBI 


What to study?

For prelims and mains: CMS- need for, features and significance.


What is it? Launched by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the Complaint Management System (CMS) is a software application to facilitate RBI’s grievance redressal process

Aim: to improve customer experience in timely redressal of grievances. 


How it works?

Customers can lodge complaints against any regulated entity with public interface such as commercial banks, urban cooperative banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs). 
The complaint would be directed to the appropriate office of the Ombudsman/Regional Office of the RBI. 



The application improves transparency by keeping the complainants informed through auto-generated acknowledgements and enabling them to track the status of their complaints and file appeals online against the decisions of the Ombudsmen, where applicable.

Complainants can also voluntarily share feedback on their experience in obtaining redressal. 



Sustaining the confidence of consumers in banks and other financial service providers (FSPs) through prompt and effective grievance redressal, together with empowering customers through education is pivotal for maintaining trust in the banking system. 


Sources: the Hindu.

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.

Jal Hi Jeevan Hai


What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features and significance of the scheme, the issue of water scarcity and measures needed to avert the problem.


Context: The farmers of northern districts of Haryana have shown a keen interest in crop diversification scheme called ‘Jal Hi Jeevan Hai’ of the Haryana government which promotes to diversify paddy area into maize, arhar dal (pigeon pea) and soybean.


About the scheme:

The scheme is for replacement of Paddy by Maize and other crops in 7 dark zone blocks.

The target is to diversify around 50000 Hectare area from this season.



Due to continuous Paddy growing in the State about 1 mtr. water table is depleting per year. Crop diversification through the above scheme is intended to promote technological innovation with sustainable agriculture and enable farmers to choose crop alternatives for increasing productivity and income.


The root causes of this over-exploitation of water are because of the following:

  1. A continuous cultivation of water guzzling crops in rice wheat cropping system. 
  2. Ground water withdrawal has outpaced its recharge that take place from annual precipitation.
  3. The method of irrigation in the rice and wheat crops results in excess watering and wastage of water.


Objectives of the scheme:

  • To reduce the area of water guzzling crops in Haryana
  • Induction of technological innovation for establishing alternate crops for sustainable agriculture.
  • To introduce Resource conservation,
  • To restore ground water table
  • To control soil fatigue because of rice-wheat cycle and introduce soil conservative and micronutrients balanced crop for the soil.
  • To shift the farmer from paddy wheat cycle and give more profitable crop options to the farmers
  • Ensure purchase of produce of this diversified area through MSP and also give farmer input support and cover his risk by insuring them completely under PMFBY by paying their insurance premium by the Government with an overall objective of increasing farmers’ income which will step forward in achieving ‘doubling of farmers’ income goal”.


Incentives Provided By The Government:

  • Rs 2000/- per acre for the farmer. 
  • High quality and high yield hybrid seed will be provided to these selected farmers on HSDC counters free of cost.
  • The selected farmers will be covered by State Government by paying the farmer’s premium share also for Maize Crop under PMFBY. 
  • The produce of these farmers will be purchased by the state Government at MSP.


Sources: TOI.

Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Awareness in space.

What is Lunar Evacuation System?


What to study?

For prelims and mains: NASA’s moon mission, various components and LESA.


Context: Among preparations for NASA’s 2024 Moon mission, one has been to test a device called Lunar Evacuation System Assembly, or LESA.


What is LESA?

Developed by the European Space Agency (ESA), LESA is a pyramid-like structure whose purpose is to rescue an astronaut should he or she suffer an injury on the lunar surface.


How it works?

LESA can be operated by a single astronaut to rescue a fallen colleague. It enables an astronaut to lift their crewmate onto a mobile stretcher in less than 10 minutes, before carrying them to the safety of a nearby pressurised lander.


Sources: Indian Express.


Facts for prelims:


Vaishno Devi shrine to have own disaster response force:

Context: The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu will get a dedicated in-house disaster response force by September next year.

The shrine is located atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu region.

The shrine board and the NDRF have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) early this year keeping in mind the hilly terrain and need to impart advanced disaster management training to the shrine board staff in batches to keep them in a state of readiness for effectively and promptly responding to any disaster situation.