Please wait...
THANKU FOR BEING A PART OF OUR JOURNEY TO BRING "REVOLUTION IN EDUCATION"
We Genuinely APPRECIATE your PATIENCE

Daily Current affairs 30 July 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair

SL. NO.

TOPICS   

THE HINDU

PAGE NO.

1

India has nearly 3,000 tigers, up by a third from 2014 count

01

2

List of ‘Iconic Tourist sites, may be reviewed                                    

09

3

It’s official, Odisha is origin of Rasagola                                            

09

4

A straightforward lesson in resolution                                              

10

5

Minorities panel draws its remit                                               

12


 

Title

1. India has nearly 3,000 tigers, up by a third from 2014 count (The Hindu, Page 01)     

Syllabus

Mains: GS Paper III – Environment 

Prelims GS paper I – Environment 

Theme

Tiger Conservation 

Highlights

 Context : According to 4th Tiger Census, India has 2,967 tigers, an increase of 741 individuals (aged more than one year), or 33%, in four years. The survey was fourth such exercise since 2006,  and is conducted once in four years. 

 

 

About Tiger Census

  • The 4th Tiger census was conducted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority

(NTCA), in collaboration with the State Forest Departments, Conservation NGOs and

coordinated by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).

  • The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation.

  • Since movement of tigers is not restricted to state boundaries, their number is

calculated in terms of landscapes rather than states

  • 5 tiger landscapes where Tiger is found- Shivalik Hills and Gangetic Plains, Central

Indian Landscape and Eastern Ghats, Western Ghats, North-East Hills and

Brahmaputra Plains Sundarbans

Highlights 

 

Biggest increase in number of Tigers 

  • The biggest increase has been in Madhya Pradesh — an increase of 218 individuals (71%) from 308 in 2014 to 526. 

  • In Maharashtra, the number has gone up from 190 to 312 (64%), and in

  • Karnataka, from 406 to 524 (118, or 29%). 

  • Uttarakhand has gained over 100 tigers (340 to 442; 30%)

 

Decrease in number of Tigers 

 

  • Only one of the 20 tiger-bearing states has seen a fall in numbers — Chhattisgarh, where the census counted 19 tigers, significantly fewer than the 46 of 2014.

  • This decrease has been attributed to Naxalite Insurgency. 

  • Mizoram also saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger’s numbers in Odisha remained constant.

 

No Tigers reported 

 

  • Buxa (West Bengal), 

  • Dampa (Mizoram) 

  • Palamu (Jharkhand) tiger reserves.

 

 

 

Who Conducts the Tiger Census?

 

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), in collaboration with the State Forest Departments, Conservation NGOs and coordinated by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), has been conducting a national assessment for the “Status of Tigers, Co-predators, Prey and their Habitat” every four years since 2006.

 

Why is the 4th Tiger census more authentic?

  •  2,461 individual tigers — 83% of the total estimated 2,967 were captured in camera-traps. 

  • This makes it more authentic by limiting the scope of extrapolation and potential bias or flaws in the process. 

  • In comparison, only 1,540 unique tigers — 69% of the total estimated population of 2,226 — were camera-trapped in the 2014 estimation. 

 

Why is a tiger census needed?

  • The tiger sits at the peak of the food chain, and its conservation is important to ensure the well-being of the forest ecosystem. 

  • The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation. 

  • The numbers reflect the success or failure of conservation efforts. 

  • This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.

  • The Global Tiger Forum, an international collaboration of tiger-bearing countries, has set a goal of doubling the count of wild tigers by 2022. More than 80% of the world’s wild tigers are in India, and it’s crucial to keep track of their numbers.

 

 

Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR)

 

  • Along with the census a report of the 4th cycle of the Management Effectiveness Evaluation of Tiger Reserves (MEETR) was also released. 

  • Pench Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh scored the highest on this scale.  

  • Sathya Mangalam Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu showed the highest increment in management since the last cycle 

  • 42% of the tiger reserves fell in the Very Good management category, 34% in the Good category, 24% in the Fair category while no tiger reserve was rated Poor.

 

Economic Value of Tiger Reserves 

 

  • The government also commissioned a study to gauge the economic value of tiger reserves. 

  • Based on an analysis of 10 of them, the government claimed that the cumulative benefits — from the carbon and timber conserved, livelihood to those who depend on forest and tourism — were anywhere from ₹4,200 crore to ₹16,000 crore annually.

 

Tigers across the Globe 

 

India accounts for many of the 3,500-odd tigers that are scattered among Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russian Federation, Thailand and Vietnam. 

 

 

Conservation efforts by the Government

 

Project Tiger , Integrated development of Wildlife habitats ,Creation of Special Tiger

Protection Force (STPF), Online Tiger Mortality database, Spatial Monitoring and reporting

tool (SMART), Conservation assured Tiger Standards ( CATS), E-Eye surveillance system, M-

Stripes etc.

 

NATIONAL TIGER CONSERVATION 

AUTHORITY (NTCA) 

  • A statutory body constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 for tiger conservation. 

  • It is headed by the minister of MOEFCC. 

OBJECTIVES 

  • Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance of its directives becomes legal. 

  • Fostering accountability of Centre-State in management of Tiger Reserves, by providing a basis for MoU with States within our federal structure. 

  • Providing for an oversight by Parliament. 

  • Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas 

surrounding Tiger Reserves. 

  • Functions: Its functions are to assist in population assessment of tigers, law enforcement, wildlife forensics, infrastructural development and mitigation, smart patrolling and advisory role in policy formulation. 


 

 

Title

2. List of ‘Iconic Tourist sites, may be reviewed                                    (The Hindu, Page 09)   

Syllabus 

Prelims GS Paper I – History and Culture 

Theme

Culture 

Highlights

Context: The government is planning to review the list of iconic places. Earlier it was decided that government will develop 17 “Iconic Tourist Sites” in the country as a world class tourist destinations which in turn would serve as a model for other tourism sites.

“Iconic Tourist Sites” Initiative

  • The Tourism Ministry is the nodal ministry for the implementation of the initiative.

  • The 17 sites identified by the Ministry are:
     

    • Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri (Uttar Pradesh),

    • Ajanta & Ellora (Maharashtra),

    • Humayun’s Tomb, Red Fort and Qutub Minar (Delhi),

    • Colva (Goa),

    • Amer Fort (Rajasthan),

    • Somnath and Dholavira (Gujarat),

    • Khajuraho (Madhya Pradesh),

    • Hampi (Karnataka),

    • Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu),

    • Kaziranga (Assam),

    • Kumarakom (Kerala) and

    • The Mahabodhi Temple (Bihar)

  • The initiative is aimed at enhancing India’s soft power.

  • Vision: The Ministry shall be developing the sites in a holistic manner with a focus on issues concerning connectivity to the destination, better facilities/experience for the tourists at the site, skill development, involvement of local community, promotion & branding and by bringing in private investment.

A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

Personal Notes



































 

 

Title

3. It’s official, Odisha is origin of Rasagola                                            (The Hindu Page 09)

Syllabus 

Mains: GS Paper III – Economy  

Prelims GS paper I – Economy 

Theme

GI tag 

Highlights

What is a geographical Indication?

  • A geographical indication (GI) is a sign used on products that have 

  • a specific geographical origin and 

  • possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin. 

  • Since the qualities depend on the geographical place of production, there is a clear link between the product and its original place of production.

  • Generally protected for renewable ten-year periods.

 

GI in India

  • India being a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection)Act, 1999.

  • It is  administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks, who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications who functions under the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry 

 

What rights does it protect?

  • A GI right enables those who have the right to use the indication to prevent its use by a third party whose product does not conform to the applicable standards. 

  • The right to use a protected geographical indication belongs to producers in the geographical area defined, who comply with the specific conditions of production for the product.

  • However, a protected geographical indication does not enable the holder to prevent someone from making a product using the same techniques as those set out in the standards for that indication. 

 

Difference with trademark?

  • GIs identify a good as originating from a particular place. By contrast, a trademark identifies a good or service as originating from a particular company.

  • A trademark often consists of a fanciful or arbitrary sign. In contrast, the name used as a geographical indication is usually predetermined by the name of a geographical area.

  • A trademark can be assigned or licensed to anyone, anywhere in the world, because it is linked to a specific company and not to a particular place. In contrast, a GI may be used by any persons in the area of origin, who produces the good according to specified standards, but because of its link with the place of origin, a GI cannot be assigned or licensed to someone outside that place or not belonging to the group of authorized producers.

 

Difference with Indication of Source?

  • An indication of source can be defined as an indication referring to a country (or to a place in that country) as being the country or place of origin of a product.

  • An indication of source does not imply the presence of any special quality, reputation, or characteristic of the product essentially attributable to its place of origin.

  • . Examples of indications of source are the mention, on a product, of the name of a country, or indications such as “made in ….”, “product of ….”, 

 

What is appellation of origin ?

  • An appellation of origin is a special kind of geographical indication, used on products that have a specific quality that is exclusively or essentially due to the geographical environment in which the products are produced. 

  • The concept of geographical indication encompasses appellations of origin.

 

Title

4. A straightforward lesson in resolution                                              (The Hindu Page 10)      

Syllabus 

Mains GS Paper II – International relations 

Theme

India – Pakistan 

Highlights

Context : Recently Donald Trump said that he can mediate in the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan. Similar offers have been made by other countries and international organisations. 
 

India’s View on trump’s statement 

 

However, India has said that territorial disputes between India and Pakistan would be resolved bilaterally between both countries and does not require third party intervention or mediation. Pakistan on the other hand, prefers third party mediation in India - Pakistan conflicts.
 

 

Reasons why India does not favour mediation by third party 

The reason India does not prefer third party mediation on territorial conflicts is because:
 

  • Third parties typically come with their own agenda and would attempt to mediate based on their national interests rather than as a neutral observer.
     

  • The media today is hyper-jingoistic and is driven mainly by commercial interests and therefore focussed on presenting news in a sensationalist manner.

  •  A delicate topic like Kashmir is therefore unlikely to handled objectively by media and would make successful mediation difficult for all parties involved. 
     

  • Indian and Pakistani political parties and influential actors such as military in Pakistan would all have to agree for ToR for mediation which is difficult to ensure.
     

  • India recognises that initial third party intervention by U.N. on Kashmir issue failed. India therefore does not recognise the work of United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan’s (UNMOGIP’s) peacekeeping work in Kashmir. However Pakistan continues to do. 
     

  • The Simla agreement of 1972 stated that Kashmir will be a bilateral issue thereby ending the any third party involvement. Similarly, India also disapproves officially if any country or organisation makes even a reference to Kashmir. 
     

  • India intends to involve other countries and organisations against Pakistan sponsored terrorism in Kashmir. Similarly, Pakistan also involves other countries and organisations against India's alleged human rights violations in Kashmir. 

  • India therefore needs to clearly define to what extent intervention by third parties on Kashmir related issues is agreeable and when not.
    Pakistan has been trying to internationalise the  Kashmir issue 


 

Conclusion:
 

  • There is a difference between conflict resolution and crisis management. 

  • While both involve mediation, conflict management is focussed on addressing and resolving the root causes of the conflict. 

  • While crisis management involves mediation during an ongoing crisis with a potential for escalation. 

  • This was seen during the recent Balakot crisis wherein UAE, US and others mediated to ensure the crisis does not increase further into a war. 

  • India is fine with unofficial mediation during crisis management but not in conflict management.
     

Within that regard author has said that, If India and Pakistan do not resolve their conflict by themselves, then it would increase the ability of Pakistan for ensuring intervention by other powers to resolve our conflict with Pakistan. 



 

Title

5. Minorities panel draws its remit                                               (The Hindu Pgno 12 )

Syllabus 

Mains GS paper II – Minorities Issue   

Theme

National commission of minorities 

Highlights

Context: NCM has provided a detailed reply to a petition filed by advocate Ashwini Upadhyay to either frame guidelines for identification of minorities at the State level or use the powers under Section 2(c) of the NCM Act of 1992 to declare Hindus a minority in States where they do not form the majority of the population. 

 

Highlights 

 
  • The National Commission of Minorities (NCM) has refused to entertain a plea to declare Hindus a “minority community” in those States where they do not form a majority of the population.

 
  • A report of its sub-committee, which was approved and adopted by the NCM, said the role of the minorities commission was not to declare new minority communities but to, instead, work and ensure the progress and development of minorities and protect their religious, cultural and educational rights.

 
  • The NCM has no such jurisdiction to declare minorities. The repository of such powers to declare a community as minority lies with the Central government.

 
  • The NCM said the function awarded to it was not to identify a community as “minority”. The report refers to the Supreme Court’s own judgment in 1999 in Bal Patil vs Union of India which detailed the function of the NCM.

  • The court in its Judgement had said that the constitutional goal of minority commissions is to “create social conditions where there remains no necessity to shield or protect the rights of minorities”.

  • The minority commissions have to direct their activities “to maintain the unity and integrity of India by eliminating the need for identifying communities as majority and minority”, the 1999 judgment said.

  • One group would vie with another for minority status if it is solely given on the basis of claims of religious thoughts, less numerical strength, lack of health, welfare, education or power or social rights made by a section of the society. Conflict and strife would ensure, the judgment had added.

 

Who are Minorities?

 
  • The Central Government by way of two notifications, one in 1993 and the other in 2014, has notified six religious communities, namely, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Jains as minorities in India. The NCM has no say really in deciding who is a minority and who isn’t.

  • The Constitution of India, grants special fundamental rights for the protection and advancement of minorities in India. 

  • However, the term “minority” itself is not defined in the Constitution. One can nevertheless infer from Articles 29 and 30 read together that the term primarily refers to religious and linguistic minorities.

  • 1958 : The Kerala Education Bill, 1957 – Supreme Court had said that t is easy to say that a minority community means a community which is numerically less than 50 percent. But whether it is less than 50% of the population in a state or at the National was left undecided. 

  • 1971 In D.A.V. College Etc vs State of Punjab & Ors it was held that “Religious or linguistic minorities are to be determined only in relation to the particular legislation which is sought to be impugned; if it is State Legislature these minorities have to be determined in relation to the population of the State.”

  • 1992 :The National Commission for Minorities Act, 1992 was enacted. 2(c) of the Act defines “minority”, for the purposes of this Act, means a community notified as such by the Central Government. Thus, only the Central Government can notify a community as a “minority” under the Act.

  • 2002 In T.M.A. Pai Foundation case:
    “Linguistic and religious minorities are covered by the expression “minority” under Article 30 of the Constitution. Since reorganization of the States in India has been on linguistic lines, therefore, for the purpose of determining the minority, the unit will be the State and not the whole of India. Thus, religious and linguistic minorities, who have been put at par in Article 30, have to be considered state wise.”

  • 2005 Bal Patil case: Differential treatment to linguistic minorities based on language within the state is understandable. But if the same concept for minorities on the basis of religion is encouraged, the whole country, which is already under class and social conflicts due to various divisive forces, will further face division on the basis of religious diversities. Such claims to minority status based on religion would increase in the fond hope of various sections of people getting special protections, privileges and treatment as part of constitutional guarantee. Encouragement to such fissiparous tendencies would be a serious jolt to the secular structure of constitutional democracy.

A screenshot of a newspaper

Description automatically generated

 

    A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated



 




 

Relevant articles from PIB:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Statutory bodies.

 

Central Wakf Council

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Objectives, composition, functions and significance of the Central Wakf Council.

 

Context: A national conference of Central Waqf Council (CWC) was recently held.

 

What is it?

  1. Central Wakf Council is a statutory body established in 1964 by the Government of India under Wakf Act, 1954 (now a sub section the Wakf Act, 1995).
  2. It has been established for the purpose of advising Centre on matters pertaining to working of the State Wakf Boards and proper administration of the Wakfs in the country.
  3. It is a permanent dedication of movable or immovable properties for religious, pious or charitable purposes as recognized by Muslim Law, given by philanthropists.

 

Composition and appointments:

The Council is headed by a Chairperson, who is the Union Minister in charge of Wakfs and there are maximum 20 other members, appointed by Government of India as stipulated in the Wakf Act.


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Renaming of states

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Procedure to change the name of states in India.

 

Context: Over the years, several demands have been made, for reasons that could be either political or administrative, to change the name of West Bengal.

  • A request in 2018 was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in November 2018 due to the similarity between “Bangla” and “Bangladesh”.

 

Rationale behind renaming:

The state government first proposed the renaming in 2016. West Bengal argues for the change saying bureaucrats and politicians from the state often complain that they are asked to speak at the end of every national-level meeting in Delhi. This was because the speakers’ lists at such meeting are prepared according to alphabetical order of the states they represent. If West Bengal gets the new name, it will leapfrog from bottom of the list to the top of the pecking order.

The renaming will help the state appear at the fourth spot after Arunachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Assamin the alphabetic order of the states.

 

The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator and the procedure is as follows:

  1. The renaming of a state requires Parliamentary approval under Article 3 and 4 of the Constitution.
  2. bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
  3. Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time. The views of the state assembly are not binding, neither on the President nor on the Parliament.
  4. On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.
  5. The bill is sent for approval to the President. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.

 

Initiation by a State:

If any fresh proposal comes from states to the Home Ministry, it will prepare a note for the Union Cabinet for an amendment to the Schedule 1 of the Constitution. Thereafter, a Constitution Amendment Bill will be introduced in Parliament, which has to approve it with a simple majority, before the President gives his assent to it.

 

Sources: the hindu.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Disaster and disaster management.

 

INTERNATIONAL CHARTER SPACE AND MAJOR DISASTERS

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: key features, need for and significance of the charter.

 

Context: India, by virtue of being a member of the International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’ has received a satellite data related to the Assam floods from other member nations including France, Russia and China.

 

About International Charter ‘Space and Major Disasters’:

  1. It is a non-binding charter.
  2. It provides for the charitable and humanitarian related acquisition of and transmission of space satellite data to relief organizations in the event of major disasters.
  3. Initiated by the European Space Agency and the French space agency CNESafter the UNISPACE III conference held in Vienna, Austria in July 1999.
  4. It officially came into operation on November 1, 2000 after the Canadian Space Agency signed onto the charter on October 20, 2000.
  5. Only agencies that possess and are able to provide satellite-based Earth Observation data can be membersof the International Charter. The members cooperate on a voluntary basis.

 

How it works?

  1. The Charter is a worldwide collaboration, through which satellite data are made available for the benefit of disaster management. By combining Earth observation assets from different space agencies, the Charter allows resources and expertise to be coordinated for rapid response to major disaster situations; thereby helping civil protection authorities and the international humanitarian community.
  2. This unique initiative is able to mobilise agencies around the world and benefit from their know-how and their satellites through a single access point that operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at no cost to the user.

Need:

Faced with a major emergency, rescue and relief organisations that are armed quickly with reliable and accurate information are better equipped to save lives and limit damage to property, infrastructure and the environment.

Satellites routinely monitoring Earth from space and delivering data to support rapid damage mapping offer an objective tool to aid disaster management.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. IPR related issues.

 

GI Certification

 

What to study?

For Prelims: GI tags and about Rasagulla and controversy surrounding it’s origin.

For Mains: Significance of GI tags.

 

Context: Odisha has bagged the geographical indication (GI) tag for its local version of “Rasagola”. 

This GI tag, numbered 612, is the second for Odisha. It got its first GI tag for Kandhamal Haldi.

 

Background:

This tag comes amid a years-long debate between West Bengal and Odisha over where the sweet had originated.

West Bengal and Odisha had staked their claim on GI tag for Rasagola. In 2017, West Bengal secured the GI tag for its “Banglar Rasogolla”.

Bengalis claim that the Rasgulla was invented in the 19th century by Nobin Chandra Das at his Bagbazar residence in Kolkata, while Odias believe that the tradition of Niladri Bije where Rasgulla is offered started in the 12th century.

Now with Odisha also securing a certificate for a similar but somewhat differently named delicacy, it seems both will be relishing the sweet end.

 

About GI tag:

What is it?

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

Significance of a GI tag:

Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

Security:

Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

Provisions in this regard: GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.

At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.

 

Sources: the hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

 

What to study?

For prelims: RCEP- Key facts and Geographical location of member countries.

For mains: Why is India concerned, gains and losses from this, what India needs to do?

 

ContextThe 16-nation group led by ASEAN countries is making a push for India to sign the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Free Trade Agreement.

 

What you need to know about RCEP?

  1. RCEP is proposed between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and the six states with which ASEAN has existing FTAs (Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand).
  2. RCEP negotiations were formally launched in November 2012 at the ASEAN Summit in Cambodia.
  3. Aim: RCEP aims to boost goods trade by eliminating most tariff and non-tariff barriers — a move that is expected to provide the region’s consumers greater choice of quality products at affordable rates. It also seeks to liberalise investment norms and do away with services trade restrictions.

 

Why has it assumed so much significance in recent times?

When inked, it would become the world’s biggest free trade pact. This is because the 16 nations account for a total GDP of about $50 trillion and house close to 3.5 billion people. India (GDP-PPP worth $9.5 trillion and population of 1.3 billion) and China (GDP-PPP of $23.2 trillion and population of 1.4 billion) together comprise the RCEP’s biggest component in terms of market size.

 

Why is India concerned?

Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on the Indian manufacturing sector. India has got massive trade deficit with China. Under these circumstances, India proposed differential market access strategy for China.

There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.

 

Why India should not miss RCEP?

If India is out of the RCEP, it would make its exports price uncompetitive with other RCEP members’ exports in each RCEP market, and the ensuing export-losses contributing to foreign exchange shortages and the subsequent extent of depreciation of the rupee can only be left to imagination. Some of the sectors that have been identified as potential sources of India’s export growth impulses under RCEP to the tune of approximately $200 billion.

There are more compelling trade and economic reasons for RCEP to become India-led in future, than otherwise. India would get greater market access in other countries not only in terms of goods, but in services and investments also.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 

Mains Question: India should not allow the RCEP trade deal to fail. Do you agree. Comment.


Topics Covered:

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

 

Dam Safety Bill 2019

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Highlights of the Bill and key functions of the National Dam Safety Authority, concerns expressed by states over the Bill.

 

Context: Opposition MPs in the Lok Sabha have expressed deep reservations about the Centre’s decision to introduce the Dam Safety Bill, 2019, asserting that the legislation, which is ostensibly aimed at providing uniform safety measures across the country, would undermine the powers of State governments since water is a State subject.

 

Concerns raised:

  1. The bill is too focused on structural safety and not on operational safety.
  2. There is inadequate compensation to the people affected by dams.
  3. There is need for an independent regulator as well as for a precise definition of stakeholders.
  4. Many states say it encroaches upon the sovereignty of States to manage their dams, and violates the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. They see it as an attempt by the Centre to consolidate power in the guise of safety concerns.

 

Why Centre is introducing this Bill?

Though the subject does not fall under the purview of Parliament, the Centre has decided to introduce this bill mainly because dam safety is an issue of concern in the country. And there are no legal and institutional safeguards in this regard.

 

Highlights of Dam Safety Bill, 2019:

  1. The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
  2. The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  3. The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authorityas a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  4. The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

 

Significance:

  • The Bill will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
  • It addresses all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals. It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

 

Need:

  1. Over the last fifty years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures, and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. 5254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction. In addition to this, there are thousands of medium and small dams.
  2. While dams have played a key role in fostering rapid and sustained agricultural growth and development in India, there has been a long felt need for a uniform law and administrative structure for ensuring dam safety.
  3. The Central Water Commission, through the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), Central Dam Safety Organization (CDSO) and State Dam Safety Organizations (SDSO) has been making constant endeavours in this direction, but these organizations do not have any statutory powers and are only advisory in nature.
  4. This can be a matter of concern, especially since about 75 percent of the large dams in India are more than 25 years old and about 164 dams are more than 100 years old. A badly maintained, unsafe dam can be a hazard to human life, flora and fauna, public and private assets and the environment.
  5. India has had 36 dam failures in the past.

 

Sources: the hindu.


 

Facts for Prelims:

 

What are Microdots?

Why in News? The Ministry of Road Transport & Highways has issued a draft notification amending Central Motor Vehicle Rules, allowing motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies to be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots.

What are microdots?

Microdot technology involves spraying the body and parts of the vehicle or any other machine with microscopic dots, which give a unique identification.

These microdot can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultra violet light source.

The microdots and adhesive will become permanent fixtures/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset, that is the vehicle itself.

Benefits: Use of this technology will help check theft of vehicles and also use of fake spare parts.   

 

Automated multimodal biometric identification system (AMBIS):

Context: Maharashtra has become the first state in the country to adopt automated multimodal biometric identification system (AMBIS) About AMBIS: It aims to create a criminal database by addition of iris and face biometrics. Under this system, a digital database of fingerprints and photographs of criminals will be prepared, that will lead to a subsequent hike in conviction rate.

 

Muthulakshmi Reddi:

Context: Google has created a doodle on Muthulakshmi Reddi’s 33rd birth anniversary.

Who is she? Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi was India’s first legislator and also known as woman of many firsts.

Tamil Nadu Government declared that every year hospitals will celebrate her birth anniversary as ‘Hospital Day.’

She became the first female surgeon in a government hospital and the first woman legislator in the country during British India.


 

Summaries of important Editorials:

 

Ban or regulate? — On India’s policy on cryptocurrencies:

Context: An inter-ministerial committee recently recommended that India should ban all private cryptocurrencies.

The Reserve Bank of India has also repeatedly warned the public of the risks associated with dealing with cryptocurrencies

 

Why the committee has recommended for a complete ban?

Governments and economic regulators across the world are wary of private cryptocurrencies. These Cryptocurrencies need neither a central issuing authority nor a central validating agency for transactions.

These currencies can exist and thrive outside the realm of authority and regulation.

They are even deemed a threat to the official currency and monetary system.

 

Is banning cryptocurrencies the most effective way to respond?

Seven jurisdictions, that the report cites, have not banned cryptocurrencies outright. Many of them, including Canada, Thailand, Russia and Japan, seem to be moving on the path of regulation, so that transactions are within the purview of anti-money laundering and prevention of terror laws.

Even in China, which India has taken a cue from, the ban has not achieved its objectives. Trading in China is now low but not non-existent.

Therefore, there are no official or other data available that point towards misuse of cryptocurrencies for illegal ends.

 

What is a cryptocurrency and how they operate?

A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. Cryptocurrencies use decentralized technology to let users make secure payments and store money without the need to use their name or go through a bank. They run on a distributed public ledger called blockchain, which is a record of all transactions updated and held by currency holders. The most common cryptocurrencies are Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, and Litecoin.

 

Concerns associated with the use of cryptocurrencies:

  1. The government is wary that regulation will provide legitimacy to “what is currently ambiguous,” and may lead to further rise in its valuation and end up contributing “to the investment bubble”.
  2. currency that is not based on any real economic activity, unlike a sovereign currency whose value is based on the relative value of a tradeable basket of goods and services, cannot prima facie inspire much comfort.
  3. The security

Comments