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IASbaba's Flagship Course: Integrated Learning Programme (ILP) - 2022  Read Details

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 13th January 2022
Published on Jan. 13, 2022, 2:34 p.m.

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India 

Part of: Prelims and GS-II -Policies and Interventions

Context: Information & Broadcasting Ministry has asked Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India to release news ratings with immediate effect.

What is BARC?

  • It is a company created in 2010 and jointly owned by advertisers, ad agencies, and broadcasting companies, represented by the Indian Society of Advertisers, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agencies Association of India.
  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting notified the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India on January 10, 2014, and registered BARC in July 2015 under these guidelines, to carry out television ratings in India.

Do you know?

  • The Television Rating Point (TRP) is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate viewership.
  • Significance of TRP:
    • These influence programmes produced for the viewers. Better ratings would promote a programme while poor ratings will discourage a programme.
    • TRPs are the main currency for advertisers to decide which channel to advertise on by calculating the cost-per-rating-point (CPRP)

News Source: TH


Retail inflation accelerates to 5.59%

Part of: Prelims and GS-III - Economy

Context: According to data from the National Statistical Office (NSO), Retail inflation increased to 5.59% in December due to an increase in food prices.

  • India’s industrial output growth slowed to 1.4% in November 2021.
  • In December 2020, the retail inflation was 4.59%.
  • Retail Inflation is measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

National Statistical Commission

  • The new NSO as an agency was envisaged firstly by Rangarajan Commission to implement and maintain statistical standards and coordinate statistical activities of Central and State agencies as laid down by the National Statistical Commission (NSC).
  • NSO was formed with the merger of NSSO and CSO under MoSPI.
  • CSO coordinates the statistical activities in the country and also evolves statistical standards.
  • NSSO is responsible for the conduct of large scale sample surveys in diverse fields on an all India basis.
  • Parent Ministry: It is the statistical wing of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

What Is the Consumer Price Index (CPI)?

  • The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is a measure that examines the weighted average of prices of a basket of consumer goods and services, such as transportation, food and medical care. 
  • It is calculated by taking price changes for each item in the predetermined basket of goods and averaging them.
  • Changes in the CPI are used to assess price changes associated with the cost of living; 
  • The CPI is one of the most frequently used statistics for identifying periods of inflation or deflation.

News Source: TH 


(News from PIB)


Increase in Textile sector exports

Part of: Mains GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment

In News: Textile sector exports increase by 41% in April- December 2021 as compared to last year.

Background: Textile sector has continuously maintained trade surplus with exports manifold higher than imports. 

  • FY 2020-21: Deceleration in textile exports due to pandemic disrupting the supply chain and demand.
  • 2021-22: US$ 29.8 billion as compared to US$ 21.2 billion for the same period last year. This implies robust growth of approximately 41% over last year. Growth signals an economic rebound.

Significance of the Textiles Sector

  • It contributes 2.3% to Indian GDP, 7% of Industrial Output, 12% to the export earnings of India and employs more than 21% of total employment (second to agriculture).
  • India is the 6th largest producer of Technical Textiles with 6% Global Share, largest producer of cotton & jute in the world.
    • Technical textiles are functional fabrics that have applications in industries such as automobiles, civil engineering and construction, 
  • India is also the second largest producer of silk in the world and 95% of the world’s hand woven fabric comes from India.

What are Major Initiatives by India in textile sector?

  • Amended Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (ATUFS): For technology upgradation of the textiles industry (2015)
  • Scheme for Integrated Textile Parks (SITP): To assist small and medium entrepreneurs in the textile industry to clusterize investments in textile parks by providing financial support for world class infrastructure in the parks.
  • SAMARTH (Scheme For Capacity Building In Textile Sector): To address the shortage of skilled workers. 
  • North East Region Textile Promotion Scheme (NERTPS): This is a scheme for promoting textiles industry in the NER by providing infrastructure, capacity building and marketing support to all segments of the textile industry.
  • Power-Tex India: It comprises new research and development in power loom textiles, new markets, branding, subsidies and welfare schemes for the workers.
  • Silk Samagra Scheme: It focuses on improving the quality and productivity of domestic silk thereby reducing the country’s dependence on imported silk.
  • Jute ICARE: This pilot project launched in 2015 is aimed at addressing the difficulties faced by the jute cultivators by providing them certified seeds at subsidized rates, and by popularizing several newly developed retting technologies under water limiting conditions.
  • National Technical Textile Mission: It aims to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market. It aims to take the domestic market size to USD 40 billion to USD 50 billion by 2024.
  • PLI plan for India’s textile sector: To help India regain its historical dominant status in global textiles trade, Government has approved a Rs. 10,683 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for the textile sector.
  • PM MITRA Parks: Government has approved setting up of 7 Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel (PM MITRA) Parks with a total outlay of Rs. 4,445 crore in a period of 5 years. ‘5F’ Formula encompasses – Farm to fibre; fibre to factory; factory to fashion; fashion to foreign

News Source: PIB


(Mains Focus)


POLITY/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies. 

Selection of Election Commissioner

Context: Some of the recent allegations & events has brought renewed focus on the independence and the impartiality of the Election Commission of India (ECI). 

What are the charges levelled? 

  • Accusations of favouring ruling party: Over the last seven years, the ECI has faced multiple accusations of favouring the ruling dispensation. For example, during the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, the EC under Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora gave a clean chit to PM Narendra Modi, who in an election rally in Latur, had referenced his campaign with an appeal on behalf of the armed forces. 
  • Allegations of inaction: Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE), chaired by the retired Supreme Court judge, Justice Madan B. Lokur, in its report titled “An Enquiry into India’s Election System”, has highlighted several instances of inaction on the part of the ECI while conducting the 2019 general election. 
  • Pandemic & Elections: In 2021, the Commission’s delayed decision in banning election campaigns in the midst of a rampaging pandemic, raised eyebrows. Eventually, when they banned rallies and public meetings of over 500 people, the decision came a day after Mr. Modi cancelled his four scheduled rallies
  • Informal meeting with Principal Secretary to PM: CEC and ECs attended an ‘informal’ meeting with the Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, in Dec 2021. It has raised questions about the neutrality of the Commission, especially when elections to crucial States are around the corner. 
    • The CEC’s initial hesitation when ‘summoned’ was appropriate given that the ECI is a constitutionally mandated body that should maintain its distance from the Executive, in perception and reality.

What are the provisions for appointment of Election Commissioners?

  • Constitutional Status: The appointment of Election Commissioners falls within the purview of Article 324(2) of the Constitution, which establishes the institution. 
  • ‘Subject to’ Clause: Article 342 contains a subject to’ clause which provides that both the number and tenure of the Election Commissioners shall be “subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President”.
    • This ‘subject to’ clause was introduced, in the words of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, to “prevent either a fool or knave or a person who is likely to be under the thumb of the Executive”. 
  • Legislative Inaction: It was left to Parliament to enact legislation regarding the appointment of Election Commissioners. Apart from enacting a law in 1991, which was subsequently amended to enlarge the number of Election Commissioners from one to three, Parliament has so far not enacted any changes to the appointment process. 

Why judiciary should act now?

  • In the face of legislative inaction, there is now a possibility that the judiciary will force Parliament’s hand. 
  • Three writ petitions, with one pending since 2015, are urging the Supreme Court to declare that the current practice of appointment of Election Commissioners by the Centre violates Articles 14, 324(2). 
  • These petitions argue for an independent system for appointment of Election Commissioners, as recommended by previous Law Commission and various committee reports.
  • In 1975, the Justice Tarkunde Committee recommended that Election Commissioners be appointed on the advice of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Lok Sabha Opposition Leader and the Chief Justice of India. 
  • This was reiterated by the Dinesh Goswami Committee in 1990 and the Law Commission in 2015. 
  • The Fourth Report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission additionally recommended that the Law Minister and the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha be included in such a Collegium.

What is the argument behind recommending the change in appointment process?

  • The Executive’s role in the current appointment process has come under judicial scrutiny over its lack of transparency. 
  • The pending writ petitions argue that the Election Commission is not only responsible for conducting free and fair elections but it also renders a quasi-judicial function between the various political parties including the ruling government and other parties. 
  • Accordingly, the Executive cannot be a sole participant in the appointment of members of Election Commission as it renders the selection process vulnerable to manipulation.
  • Hence, establishing a multi-institutional, bipartisan committee for the fair and transparent selection of Election Commissioners can enhance the perceived and actual independence of the ECI. 
  • Such a procedure is already followed with regard to other constitutional and statutory authorities such as the CIC, the Lokpal, CVC, and the Director of CBI.

Way Forward

  • The existing opaqueness over the appointment process of Election Commissioners potentially undermines the very structure on which our democratic aspirations rest.
  • Parliament would do well by formulating a law that establishes a multi-institutional, bipartisan Collegium to select Election Commissioners. 
  • Separation of powers is the gold standard for governments across the world. Therefore, ECI’s constitutional responsibilities require a fair and transparent appointment process that is beyond doubt.

Connecting the dots:


EDUCATION/ GOVERNANCE

  • GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources 
  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

India’s education emergency

Context: During the COVID-19 pandemic, India enforced among the strictest, most generalised and continuous school and university closures creating in the process the largest education emergency in the world. 

How did India & other countries react to Pandemic vis-à-vis Education?

  • In India, the school closure indicator shows that of the 503 days, between March 5, 2020 and July 20, 2021, 
    • 404 days were characterised as being at the most severe policy response (requiring closure of all types of educational institutions); 
    • 62 at level 2 (with closure of some types of institutions) 
    • only 37 days at level 1 (when closure was either only recommended or school opening was allowed with precautions). 
  • As a result, about 265 million schoolchildren in India have been taught exclusively through so-called “remote learning”, the largest number in any country for the longest period of time.
  • Within a few months of the first lockdown of schools in March 2020, pandemic-hit Europe began resuming in-person schooling for certain groups of children or certain localities. 
  • Less affluent countries such as Uruguay and Vietnam, also took a more measured approach, imposing the severest policy responses in education only for 140 and 212 days, respectively.
  • When the school closure policy was relaxed in a few Indian States during January-March 2021, only high schools were allowed to function to conduct public exams.
  • By March 2021, 51 countries had resumed in-person education. In another 90 countries, including many in Africa, multiple modalities, rotation of children for in-person classes were being offered. Similar strategies were not systematically tried in India, even when relaxations were made for public gatherings at festivals and elections, prior to the second wave of the pandemic

What has been the Indian experience during these long periods of school lockdown?

  • Difficult transition: States leveraged investments made over the last two decades in information technology for schools, including capacity building of teachers and teacher developed digital content. Nevertheless, the universal switch to ‘online’ mode has proved challenging.
  • Multidimensional Impact on Children: Evidence was mounting of the harm caused to children and young adolescents — learning losses as well as socio-emotional stress — by prolonged school closures.
  • Ineffectiveness of remote learning: It was also well observed about the ineffectiveness and inequalities of remote learning, even in technologically sophisticated environments.
    • The national Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) portal of teacher resources claims that usage increased to 3.17 billion “learning sessions” and 37.85 billion “learning minutes”, by the end of May 2021. The educational significance of these metrics is not clear. 
  • Widened Existing Inequalities: During these hundreds of days of almost continuous lockout, the youngest and the poorest among Indian children — Dalits, tribals and others, and lacking devices and electricity — struggled with online classes. Existing education inequalities will increase.
  • Pushed Children to Work: Tragically, for tens of millions of Indian children, the difficulties of remote learning may be the least of their troubles. With families ravaged by disease and job losses, teenagers are caring for the sick and younger siblings, or working for pay.
  • Impacted development of child: Interruptions in child health services, early nutrition and mid-day meals have affected the growth and development of young children. Ironically, closed schools are seen as a commitment to children’s safety, while the higher risk of disease transmission by working children or the increase in malnutrition is ignored.

A complete change is needed

  • India’s education emergency demands action on the education, health and livelihood fronts. 
  • It requires focusing on every child as an individual. 
  • Each school should prepare a safe school opening and child support plan, and should receive technical help for this. 
  • Teachers must be prioritised for vaccinations. 
  • An ‘Education Emergency Room’ should be set up in every district to coordinate, implement and monitor local plans. Many activities have to be coordinated: 
    • Develop health and sanitation measures in schools and protocols for public transportation; 
    • Encourage children who were not engaged with schools over the last year to come back; 
    • Develop tools to help teachers make quick diagnoses of students’ learning gaps; 
    • Train teachers to use this as a guide to support children’s recovery; 
    • Offer additional classes or activities; 
    • Implement school health and nutrition; 
    • Develop tools to accompany the educational trajectory of each student. Technology should be deployed safely for such purposes that identify and respond to children’s needs.

Connecting the dots:


(Sansad TV: Itihasa)


Jan 6: Swami Vivekananda https://youtu.be/yX975BFgl1A 

TOPIC:

  • GS-1: Modern Indian history
  • GS – 4: ETHICS
  • ESSAY

Swami Vivekananda

Swami Vivekananda was one of the most important thinkers of our times. He was responsible for liberalising Hinduism in 19th century India, he encouraged interfaith tolerance, and he helped introduce the philosophies of the Vedanta and yoga to the west, and dedicated his life towards uplifting oppressed classes. His modern yet spiritual approach towards life, and his profound teachings, made him an icon among the youth. 

  • An ardent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.
  • He pushed for national integration in colonial India, and his famous speech remains as the one that he gave in Chicago in 1893 (Parliament of the World Religions).
  • In 1984 the Government of India declared that 12th January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, will be celebrated as National Youth Day.

The life and ideas of Swami Vivekananda are immemorial. They continue to inspire generation of people – IMPORTANT FOR ETHICS & ESSAY

“Arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached”. 

  • He said “Hold on to the ideal, if you fail a thousand times, try it one more time”. Thus, he had tremendous belief in the self-effort and the ability of an individual to reach any goal through hard work.
  • Today people are looking to earn big money through short cut methods and least amount of hard work. It is important to learn this that true success required tremendous effort and perseverance.

“So long as the millions live in hunger and ignorance, I hold every man a traitor who, having been educated at their expense pays not the least heed to them.” 

  • This inspires us to work for the upliftment of poor and downtrodden. 
  • He believed that every Indian must work hard to uplift the millions from the clutches of poverty and superstitions.

Purity, patience, and perseverance are the three essentials to success, and above all, love

  • These ideas of his stressed on the importance of virtues which are essential for success and happiness.

“Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true”

  • Truth is multi-faceted. 
  • Truth remains true from the point of view of the observer but may be seemingly false from other’s point of view. 
  • There has been a perpetual fight of perspectives and will always be as long as truth is concerned. 
  • There is no black or white but shades of grey.

Karma Yoga and Niskama Karma

  • In this he emphasized the selflessness of an individual in all his endeavours.
  • Today, when the world around us engulfed in acts of sheer selfishness, his teachings can show a new path.

Education

  • Swami Ji always said that ‘lack of education’ is the root cause behind all problems in India.  
  • Swami ji believed that education should be freed from the stranglehold of the upper class and spread to every section of the society. 
  • He also had a vision for the kind of education that the people of India needed. He was not in favour of just career-oriented education. He talked about ‘true education’ that will make your character besides boosting your self-confidence. 
  • Unfortunately, that kind of education is not available today and given the risk of automation and poor job growth rate in India, gaining true education, as defined by Vivekanand, would surely help youth of today to excel in various fields.

Views on Oppression of underprivileged section of society

  • Swami ji said that we talk of highest Vedanta but do not even think about the oppressed classes. 
  • We trample them and crush them. 
  • That’s why he said that we need to give them back their self-respect, their lost individuality. Allow everybody to move forward.

Women emancipation

  • Swami Ji was in favour of allowing women to take their own decisions. He emphasized on the women’s education and believed that it will lead to greater development of society as a whole. 
  • He also advocated the need to impart martial arts training to women so that they could defend themselves. He always cited examples of Rani Lakshmi Bai, Padmini and Ahalya.  
  • Considering the girl drop outs from school and also reducing female labour force participation we need to make an effort to make women part of our development story.

Respect for culture and belief is necessary

  • One day, a Britisher commented that the Indian dressing style was ‘uncivilized’.  
  • Swami Vivekananda replied, “In your culture, cloth builds a man but in our culture, character builds a man’. This story became very famous the world over, showcasing Swami Vivekananda’s deep understanding of the world. 
  • Culture, traditions and beliefs make every community unique. And our own reasoning about their significance, importance enables us to help clear others’ doubts, perception or ideas.

The historic Chicago address of Swami Vivekananda

On September 11, 1893, Swami Vivekananda delivered his famed speech at the ‘Parliament of the World’s Religions’, garnering a full two minute standing ovation and the moniker of ‘cyclonic monk of India’.

  • He was considered a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India and bringing it to the status of major world religion in the late 19th century.
  • His address in the World “Parliament of Religions” at Chicago in 1893 drew the world’s attention to the ancient Indian philosophy of Vedanta.
  • Message of universal brotherhood: “As the different streams mingle their water in the sea, different paths which men take, various though they appear, all lead to the same god”. Today the world realizes that to bring peace, there is no other ideology more proper than this. Vasudhev Kutumbakam – i.e. belief in world as a family has become necessary in growing era of protectionism and de-globalisation

Conclusion:

Swami Vivekananda’s nationalism is deeply rooted in Indian spirituality and morality. His nationalism is associated with spiritualism. 

  • He linked India’s regeneration to her age-old tradition of spiritual goal. He said, “Each nation has a destiny to fulfill, each nation has a message to deliver, each nation has a mission to accomplish. Therefore, we must have to understand the mission of our own race, the destiny it has to fulfill, the place it has to occupy in the march of nations, and the role which it has to contribute to the harmony of races”. 
  • He contributed immensely to the concept of nationalism in colonial India and played a special role in steering India into the 20th Century.

Through his reforms, Swami Vivekananda brought a remarkable change in the society. His work, thoughts, ideas gave a new direction to the masses. 

Can you answer the following questions?

  1. “Condemn none: if you can stretch out a helping hand do so. If not fold your hands, bless your brothers and let them go their own way.” – Swami Vivekanand (150 words).
  2. What contribution did Swami Vivekananda make in awakening the spirit of nationalism in India? Discuss.
  3. Truth can be stated in a thousand different ways, yet each one can be true. Elucidate.
  4. “Every work has got to pass through hundreds of difficulties before succeeding. Those that persevere will see the light, sooner or later.   ‘-Swami Vivekananda.  (Answer in 150 words)

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Q.1 Which of the following is/are true?

  1. It is a statutory body under the Press Council Act 1978.
  2. The Television Rating Point (TRP) is the metric used by the marketing and advertising agencies to evaluate viewership.

Select the correct answer:

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Swami Vivekanand:

  1. He was a disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa 
  2. In 1984 the Government of India declared that 12th January, the birthday of Swami Vivekananda, will be celebrated as National Youth Day.

Which of the above is or are correct? 

  1. 1 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

Q.3 SAMARTH scheme is associated with Which of the following? 

  1. To provide vocational education to college students
  2. To empower farmers through financial inclusion
  3. To address the shortage of skilled workers. 
  4. None of the above

ANSWERS FOR 13th Jan 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 B
2 C
3 C

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