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Daily Current affairs 3 June 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

 

Title

1.   Make up for lost time   (The Hindu, Page 10)

Syllabus

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy

Theme

Indian Economy and issues relating to growth, development and employment.

Highlights

Context: The article highlights the missteps of the government in the last 5 years and also mentions about key areas which the new government must focus in order to provide inclusive growth.     

Missteps:

  • Demonetisation

  • Abandoning Make in India by 2015

  • poorly designed rollout of the Goods and Services Tax 

  • Problems of the financial sector received little policy attention  

  • Lack of financial reforms  in the last few years

  • Amendment of Constitution to provide reservation to EWS

Renewed Focus of the Government

  • Poor’s access to income-enhancing skills, education,  health and job opportunities must be enhanced.

  • Revival of Make in India plan will boost growth and also provide employment opportunities to millions across the country.

  • Capital intensive refers to business processes or industries that require large amounts of investment to produce a good or service, and therefore have a high percentage of fixed assets (property, plant, and equipment)

  • If production is made less capital intensive, it will create more organised sector jobs. More organised sector jobs will improve bargaining powers of employees.

  • Thus, there is a need for making industries less capital intensive and bringing labour reforms along with land and financial sector reforms.

  • Government should not provide subsidies or incentives to industrialists or provide cheap loan to investors.

  • Rather, the government must focus vigorously on MSMEs and the government must provide them with easy credit and tax concessions. GST compliance must be made easy for small firms by the government.

  • Concessions provided to MSMEs will not only spur growth of the sector but will improve production and revenue of the government.    

  • The government must also focus on improving the credibility of data collected by the newly created National Statistical Office and also provide clearly for the jurisdictions of National Statistics Commission.     

 

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Title

2. Just 20% water left in 91 major reservoirs (The Hindu, Page 13)     

Syllabus

Prelims: Polity & Governance  

Mains: GS III – Irrigation systems storage

Theme

    Water resource   

Highlights

Reservoirs are those water bodies formed or modified by human activity for specific purposes, in order to provide a reliable and controllable resource.

Their main uses include:

• drinking and municipal water supply,

• industrial and cooling water supply,

• power generation,

• agricultural irrigation,

• river regulation and flood control,

• commercial and recreational fisheries,

• body contact recreation, boating, and other aesthetic recreational uses,

• navigation,

• canalisation, and

• Waste disposal (in some situations).

Reservoirs are usually found in areas of water scarcity or excess, or where there are agricultural or technological reasons to have a controlled water facility. Where water is scarce, for example, reservoirs are mainly used to conserve available water for use during those periods in which it is most needed for irrigation or drinking water supply. When excess water may be the problem, then a reservoir can be used for flood control to prevent downstream areas from being inundated during periods of upstream rainfall or snow-melt. Particular activities such as power generation, fish-farming, paddy-field management or general wet-land formation, for example, are also met by constructing reservoirs.

CWC monitors water reservoirs in India

Central Water Commission is monitoring live storage status of 91 reservoirs of the country on weekly basis.

91 reservoirs are divided in five regions namely Northern Region, Eastern Region, Western Region, Central Region and Southern Region on the basis of their state.

  • The northern region includes States of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Rajasthan.

  • The Eastern region includes States of Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Tripura.

  • The Western region includes States of Gujarat and Maharashtra.

  • The Central region includes States of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.

  • The Southern region includes States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, AP&TG (2combined projects in both states) Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Data

  • The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 30, 2019, was 31.65 billion cubic meters, which is 20% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 21% for the week ending on May 23, 2019.

  • Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have better storage than last year while the water in storage in Karnataka is similar to what it was in the corresponding period last year.

  • States having lesser storage than last year for the corresponding period are Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Tripura, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Kerala.

  • Last year, several parts of Gujarat and Maharashtra received deficient monsoon showers. The situation is particularly grim in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra where water levels in reservoirs have dipped to an all-time low.

About Central Water Commission

 

Central Water Commission is a premier Technical Organization of India in the field of Water Resources and is presently functioning as an attached office of the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.

 

The Commission is entrusted with the general responsibilities of initiating, coordinating and furthering in consultation of the State Governments concerned, schemes for control, conservation and utilization of water resources throughout the country, for purpose of Flood Control, Irrigation, Navigation, Drinking Water Supply and Water Power Development. It also undertakes the investigations, construction and execution of any such schemes as required.

   

 

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Title

3. Indian Economy – Concerns & Possible Solutions (The Hindu Page 10)   

Syllabus

Prelims: Economy

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy

Theme

Indian Economy and issues relating to growth, development and employment.

Highlights

Indian Economy – Concerns & Possible Solutions

Concerns highlighted:

  • Macro data released highlighted GDP growth falling to 5.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018-19. This has decreased overall growth for the fiscal year 2018-19 at 6.8%

  • Growth in gross value added (GVA), which is GDP minus taxes and subsidies, fell to 6.6% in 2018-19. Rural economy remains in distress, as seen by the 2.9% growth in agriculture. These data points to slowdown in the Indian Economy.    

  • Agriculture gross value added (GVA) growth is estimated at negative 0.1% and manufacturing GVA growth at 3.1% in the January-March quarter.

  • Growth in the core sector – which is a set of eight major industrial sectors — fell to 2.6% in April 2019, compared to 4.7% in April, 2018.    

  • Further joblessness has been at 45 year high at 6.1% high in 2017-18.

  • Economy is also experiencing consumption slowdown which can be reflected in the falling sales of automobiles, consumer durables, even fast-moving consumer goods. Economy is also impacted by low farm incomes, stagnating exports, rising NPAs of banks NBFC crisis.

  • There is not enough private investment taking place in the economy. Even government  spending was reduced in the last quarter of 2018-19 to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.4%.

Possible Solutions

These are the following measures which can be adopted by Finance Ministry to revive the Indian economy

  • There is a need to boost consumption in the market in the near term and this can be done by putting money in the hands of the people by reducing Income Tax rates. However, this will not be an easy decision to take as it will increase government’s fiscal deficit.

  • The difference between total revenue and total expenditure of the government is termed as fiscal deficit. It is an indication of the total borrowings needed by the government. While calculating the total revenue, borrowings are not included. 

  • the Centre will have to look at alternative sources such as disinvestment as there will reduction in tax collection due to slowdown in the economy.

  • In the medium term, the Finance Ministry must ensure an increase in private investment in the economy by

  • Reforming the present  land acquisition process

  • Reforming labour laws in India

  • Reducing corporate taxes

  • Solving the financial crisis affecting banks and NBFCs – recapitalisation of banks

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Some data on recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks

  • Government of India had announced recapitalisation of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) to the tune of Rs. 2.11 lakh crore in October 2017, through infusion of capital by the Government and raising of capital by banks from the markets.

  • Rs. 88,139 crore was infused by the Government in PSBs during financial year (FY) 2017-18 after the recapitalisation announcement and provision of Rs. 65,000 crore has been made in the budget for the current financial year for infusion.

  • Since the recapitalisation announcement till November 2018, PSBs have been recapitalised to the tune of Rs. 1, 28,861 crore through infusion and mobilisation of capital from the market.  

Conclusion: The market is hoping that budget presented by the new government will provide a boost to the Indian Economy. Let us wait for the budget as it will present the financial road map to steer away from the present slowdown.

 

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Title

4. Uneven distribution of health workers across India  (The Hindu Page 11)

Syllabus

Mains: GS Paper III– Health

Theme

Issues relating to development and management of social sector relating to health.  

Highlights

  • Context: Uneven distribution of health workers in India.

 

  • Introduction: Health workforce includes all those people engaged in actions whose primary intent is to enhance health. Competent, motivated and committed health workforce forms the core of an effective and efficient health system. 

 

  • Background : World Health Report 2006 identified India among the 57 countries facing critical shortage of health workforce. Since then, India, through the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and other initiatives, has made significant progress by improving the availability of doctors, nurses and midwives. 

 

  • Analysis: As per WHO estimates ,through NRHM, India has recruited additional 160 000 health workforce (doctors, nurses and midwives) and nearly 900 000 community health workers called Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) to facilitate interface between the communities and health system. However, the availability of skilled health workforce continues to remain a challenge in many rural and remote parts of the country. The challenges include inadequate numbers, skill-mix and unequal distribution in rural and urban areas and in public and private sector.

 

 

  • Relevant data:

  • India has 20.6 health workers per 10,000 people, as shown in a study by National Sample Survey Organisation. While it is less than the World health Organization’s minimum threshold of 22.8.

  • The numbers have increased from 19 health workers per 10000 people in 2012.

  • Unfortunately, the distribution of health workers is uneven between urban and rural areas. Rural areas with nearly 71% of India's population have only 36% of health workers.

  • Delhi has the highest concentration of health workers followed by Kerala, Punjab, and Haryana.

  • Many eastern states such as Bihar,Odisha and Jharkhand have lowest density of doctors, nurses and midwifes.

  • The uneven distribution of health workers is seen in private and public health sector too — more than 80% of doctors and 70% of nurses and midwives are employed in the private sector.

Way forward:

The public sector can collaborate with the private sector to overcome the shortages in human resources for health. Policy should focus on enhancing the quality of health workers and bringing professionally qualified persons into the health workforce.

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Title

5. Rock art at Karikiyoor under threat (The Hindu Page 08)   

Syllabus

Prelims: Art & Culture

Mains: GS Paper I – Indian culture      

Theme

Preserving archeological sites

Highlights

  • Context: The rock paintings in Karikiyoor at Kil Kotagiri in the Nilgiri forests are approximately 5,000 years old. In just the last few years, close to 40% of the paintings have been destroyed by trekkers, tourists, and vandals.   

Members of the Irula tribal community, have an ancestral link to the site.The rock paintings depict the hunting habits and ways of life of the local communities and also a ritualistic purpose.

The government not taking adequate measures to protect the site. Local community plans to put up warning boards prohibiting tourists from entering without our permission, and only with a guide under exceptional circumstances.

 
  • Way forward: The State Archeological Department, the Archeological Survey of India and also the Forest Department have a huge say in ensuring the site is protected. They need to act quickly to ensure that what remains of the rock paintings are preserved. Failure to act will lead to the destruction and eventual loss of the site forever.

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