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Daily Current affairs 29 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

1 President’s rule for 6 more months in J&K 01 

2 Proposal on electric vehicles is well thought out 01 

3 Things to do to avoid another water crisis 10 

4 Varkari undertake an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur 07 

5 NASA to send a drone to Titan 24 

 

Title 1. President’s rule for 6 more months in J&K (The Hindu, Page 1) 

Syllabus Prelims: Polity & Governance 

Mains: GS Paper II – Polity & Governance Theme Extension of President’s Rule in J&K 

Highlights

What is the news? 

• The Union Cabinet has extended President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir for another period of six months beginning July 3 and in this regard the Home Minister has introduced a Bill in the Parliament. 

• Lok Sabha also cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019 to replace an ordinance issued by the previous government. It 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 provided for reservation in appointment, and admission in Professional Institutions, for the members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other socially and educationally backward classes for people living along ALoC. But the reservation benefits were not extended to the persons residing in the areas adjoining International Border. 

President’s Rule in J&K 

• BJP and PDP were running a coalition government in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. 

• However, on June 20, 2018, Bhartiya Janta Party withdrew support from the ruling coalition and state was under suspended animation as per Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir. No political party was in a position to claim majority on the floor of the House. 

• Seeing the inability of any political party to form a stable government, the Governor on 21st November 2018 dissolved the 87-member State Assembly of J&K citing issues of horse trading and lack of stability to form a government. 

• Since the State has a separate Constitution, in such cases, six months of Governor’s rule is compulsory under Section 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution prior to imposition of President’s rule under Article 356 of the Indian Constitution Section 92 - Provisions in case of failure of constitutional machinery in the State 

• After expiration of 6 months of Governor’s rule from 20th June, 2018, Jammu & Kashmir has been brought under President’s Rule from 20th December, 2018. 

• After the proclamation under Article 356, the powers of the State Legislature shall be exercised by or under the authority of Parliament and all decisions will be taken with concurrence of the President with the council of Ministers and the PM advising the President. 

 

Title 2. Proposal on electric vehicles is well thought out – FAME 2 (The Hindu, Page 1) 

Syllabus Prelims: Economy, Environment 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy, Environment Theme FAME 2 Scheme 

Highlights Context: 

• Automobile industry has said that NITI Aayog’s proposal for transition from Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) to Electric Vehicles (EVs) was “unrealistic” and “ill-timed” and has cautioned that such a move would disrupt the automotive sector, which is already reeling under stress. 

• However, NITI Aayog has countered the claim of industry saying that the policy is well thought of and needs active and positive co-operation from the industry in the sake of national interest. 

• Combustion, also known as burning, is the basic chemical process of releasing energy from a fuel and air mixture. In an internal combustion engine (ICE), the ignition and combustion of the fuel occurs within the engine itself. The engine then partially converts the energy from the combustion to work. 'Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India – FAME - II 

• In February, 2019, the Union cabinet had approved the proposal for implementation of Phase II of FAME Scheme for promotion of Electric Mobility in the country. This scheme is the expanded version of the present scheme titled 'FAME India1 which was launched on 1st April 2015. 

• 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. 

• 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. 

Report of NITI Aayog & Rocky Mountain Institute 

• The NITI Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) released a report on opportunities for the automobile sector and government under the FAME II scheme. RMI is an Indian and global nonprofit organisation focused on driving the efficient and restorative use of resources. 

• The technical report titled ‘INDIA’S ELECTRIC MOBILITY TRANSFORMATION: PROGRESS TO DATE AND FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES’, quantifies the direct oil and carbon savings that the vehicles incentivized under FAME II will deliver. 

• The report highlights that if FAME II scheme is implemented properly, then it will increase sale of electric vehicles - 30% of private cars, 70% of commercial cars, 40% of buses and 80% of two and three-wheelers by 2030. This could generate cumulative savings of 846million tonnes of CO2. 

Way Forward 

• However, India needs auto industry's active participation to ease electric mobility transition. 

• The auto and battery industries could collaborate to enhance customer awareness, promote domestic manufacturing, promote new business models, conduct R&D for EVs and components and must consider new business models to promote EVs. 

• Government should focus on a phased manufacturing plan to promote EVs, provide fiscal and non-fiscal incentives for phased manufacturing of EVs and batteries. 

• Transformation to EVs will create enormous economic, social and environmental benefits for the citizens of India. 

 

Title 3. Things to do to avoid another water crisis (The Hindu Page 10) 

Syllabus Prelims: Social Issues, Environment 

Mains: GS Paper I – Issues in Urbanisation Theme Water Crisis in mega cities 

Highlights

Context – This article highlights the extreme water crisis in metropolitan cities particularly Chennai and an urgent need for compulsory Rain Water Harvesting (RWH) techniques in residential, commercial and government buildings. The article has also mentioned about the need for water governance in India which has also been highlighted in NITI Aayog’s Report 

Rain Water Harvesting Rain water harvesting is collection and storage of rain water that runs off from roof tops, parks, roads, open grounds, etc. This water run-off can be either stored or recharged into the ground water. A rainwater harvesting systems consists of the following components: 

1. catchment from where water is captured and stored or recharged, 

The catchment of a water harvesting system is the surface which directly receives the rainfall and provides water to the system. It can be a paved area like a terrace or courtyard of a building, or an unpaved area like a lawn or open ground. A roof made of reinforced cement concrete (RCC), galvanised iron or corrugated sheets can also be used for water harvesting. 2. conveyance system that carries the water harvested from the catchment to the 

storage/recharge zone. 3. first flush that is used to flush out the first spell of rain, 4. filter used to remove pollutants, 5. storage tanks and/or various recharge structures. 

Suggestions to solve water crisis 

• Metropolitan cities should set up urban water planning and management boards, a permanent body similar to urban development authorities that regulate the supply, demand and maintenance of water services and structures. 

• The authorities shall monitor and regulate groundwater supply in these metropolitan areas. Desalination plants must also be set up especially in coastal cities to increase drinkable supply of water for citizens. Increased supply of drinking water will reduce the dependency on water tankers which in times of crisis charge exorbitant prices. 

• Considering opinion of experts, beds of existing lakes can be deepened for greater water storage and better water percolation. The urban water management board should also oversee the desilting of lakes in the city on a regular basis. 

• Government can apply water tariff on the line of electricity supply especially in areas where there is extreme water crisis. Government can apply differential pricing and cross-subsidise households based on per capita income and water usage. 

• We can benefit from best practices adopted in cities across the world facing severe water crisis. For eg. Cape Town introduced the idea of Day Zero to reduce water usage and manage water consumption as per need. Day Zero refers to when most of the city’s tap will be switched off. 

Nal se Jal Scheme 

• Providing drinking water to all households including rural areas is an important mission for the new government and in this regard Nal se Jal scheme aims to provide piped drinking water to every rural home by 2024. 

Jal Shakti Abhiyan The Centre is set to initiate the Jal Shakti Abhiyan to ramp up rainwater harvesting and conservation efforts in 255 water-stressed districts from July 1, in line with the government’s promise to focus on water. 

Dated: 29. June. 2019 DNS Notes 

Though water is a State issue, the campaign will be coordinated by 255 central IAS officers of Joint or Additional Secretary-rank, drawn from ministries as varied as Space, Petroleum and Defence, according to a notification issued by the Department of Personnel and Training. 

The campaign seems to follow the model of last year’s Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, where central officials monitored the implementation of seven flagship development schemes in 117 aspirational districts across the country. 

• The campaign will run from July 1 to September 15 in States receiving rainfall during the south-west monsoon, while States receiving rainfall in the retreating or north-east monsoon will be covered from October 1 to November 30. 

• Overall, 313 blocks with critical groundwater levels will be covered, along with 1,186 blocks with over-exploited groundwater and 94 blocks with low groundwater availability. 

• It would aim to accelerate water harvesting, conservation and borewell recharge activities already being carried out under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and the Integrated Watershed Management Programme of the Rural Development Ministry, along with existing water body restoration and afforestation schemes being undertaken by the Jal Shakti and Environment Ministries. 

• Progress would be monitored in real time through mobile applications and an online dashboard at indiawater.gov.in 

• A major communications campaign on TV, radio, print, local and social media will be carried out, with celebrities mobilized to generate awareness for the campaign. 

 

Title 4. Varkari undertake an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur (The Hindu Page 7) 

Syllabus Prelims: History & Culture 

Mains: GS Paper I - History & Culture Theme Varkari 

Highlights 

From the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries Maharashtra saw a great number of saint-poets, whose songs in simple Marathi continue to inspire people. The most important among them were Dnyaneshwar (Gyaneshwar), Namdev, Eknath and Tukaram. 

This regional tradition of bhakti focused on the Vitthala (a form of Vishnu) temple in Pandharpur, as well as on the notion of a personal god residing in the hearts of all people. The Vaishnava poet-saints of Maharashtra such as Jnaneshwar, Namadeva, Eknath and Tukaram were devotees of lord Vitthala. Devotion around lord Vitthala gave rise to the Varkari sect which lay emphasis on an annual pilgrimage to Pandharpur. The cult of Vitthala emerged as a powerful mode of devotion and was very popular amongst the people. 

These saint-poets rejected all forms of ritualism, outward display of piety and social differences based on birth. In fact they even rejected the idea of renunciation and preferred to live with their families, earning their livelihood like any other person, while humbly serving fellow human beings in need. 

Varkari people undertake an annual pilgrimage (vari) to Pandharpur, gathering there on Ekadashi (the 11th day) of the Hindu month of Ashadha, corresponding to a date falling sometime between late June to July. 

 

Title 5. NASA to send a drone to Titan (The Hindu Page 24) 

Syllabus Prelims: General Science 

Mains: GS Paper III – Science & Technology Theme NASA to send a drone to Titan, Saturn’s moon 

Highlights 

• NASA has selected the next mission in its New Frontiers program where a drone will fly on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2034. 

• Dragonfly (name of the eight-rotor craft) will aim to investigate the distant world’s strange geology and to search for signs of alien life. 

• NASA plans to launch Dragonfly from Earth in 2026 which will ply past Venus and make two flybys of Earth to pick up speed for the long trip to Saturn. Dragonfly won’t enter orbit before heading to the surface—it will be precisely aimed at the edge of the Selk crater, just north of Titan’s equator. Once inside Titan’s thick atmosphere, Dragonfly will drift downward for hours under a series of parachutes until it’s about 1 kilometer above the surface. It will then cut away and fly off in search of a good landing site. 

• The drone will have eight rotors stacked in four pairs, and will be designed to be able to fly even if one rotor fails. Each rotor will be about a meter long. 

• Because of Titan’s dense atmosphere (over four times denser than Earth’s) and low gravity, it takes only about a 40th as much power to fly there as on Earth. The temperature will be about minus 180 °C (minus 290 °F). 

• The initial landing spot will be at the Selk crater region as it will be in a direct line of sight from Earth, so Dragonfly will be able to communicate with NASA’s Deep Space Network antennas in California, Spain, and Australia without a relay satellite. 

 

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