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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th September 2019
Published on Sept. 16, 2019, 7:35 p.m.

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 16th September 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


SURVEY OF INDIA (SoI)

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Governance

In News 

  • SoI to deploy 300 drones for mapping country
  • Currently the best SoI maps have a resolution of 1:250000, meaning a 1 cm on the map represents 2500 cm on the ground.
  • The new maps being prepared will be of 1:500 resolutions, meaning 1 cm will represent 500 cm.
  • The aim is to map 75% of India’s geography— about 2.4 million sq km of the 3.2 million sq km — within the next two years.
  • Other than unprecedented detail, creation of High-resolution maps will facilitate digitisation of land titles in villages. 
  • Based on the availability of accurate maps, residents will finally be able to get property cards as well as proper legal titles to their lands

Do you know?

  • Survey of India is the National Survey and Mapping Organization of the country
  • It is the oldest scientific department of the Govt. of India. It was set up in 1767 with its headquarters at Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  • It is under the Department of Science & Technology
  • It has the responsibility to ensure that the country's domain is explored and mapped suitably. It also provides base maps for expeditious and integrated development.

 Vulture Conservation

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III – Environmental Conservation

In News

  • The population of the vultures in the country declined sharply from 40 million in the 80s to a few thousand by 2009.
  • The major reason behind the vulture population getting nearly wiped out was the drug Diclofenac, found in the carcass of cattle the vultures fed on.
  • The drug, whose veterinary use was banned in 2008, was commonly administered to cattle to treat inflammation.
  • To study the cause of deaths of vultures, a Vulture Care Centre (VCC) was set up at Pinjore, Haryana in 2004.
  • At present there are nine Vulture Conservation and Breeding Centres (VCBC) in India, of which three are directly administered by Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS).
  • The objective of the VCBCs is not only to look after the vultures and breed them in captivity, but also to release them into the wild.
  • The total number of vultures in these VCBCs is now more than 700.
  • These days the forest department burning or burying animal carcasses it to keep poachers away. But the practice is denying food to vultures. Thus, scientists at VCBCs have called for better management of carcass dumps.

Agri Credit

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III - Economy

In News

  • The Internal Working Group (IWG) headed by M.K.Jain, constituted by the RBI to Review Agricultural Credit submitted its report.
  • Some of the recommendations of the group are:
  • Priority sector lending guidelines should have a separate definition for lending to small and marginal farmers based on their land-holding size.
  • Banks should not insist on land records for borrower seeking credit of up to Rs 2 lakh
  • Digitise land records so that banks can create charges against landholdings, which will reduce instances of double or multiple financing on the same piece of land.
  • State governments should reform their legal framework on the basis of the Model Land Leasing Act proposed by NITI Aayog, which will make it easier for farmers to lease land for cultivation and therefore avail credit.
  • A federal institution, like that of the GST Council, should be set up with members from the central and state governments to implement agricultural reforms.
  • At present there is no database of the Indian agriculture sector. Thus, GoI with the help of state governments should develop a centralised database for agriculture capturing details related to crops cultivated, cropping pattern, output, sown/irrigated area, health of soil, natural calamity.
  • Central and state governments should set up a credit guarantee scheme on the lines of credit guarantee schemes for MSME sector to cover the default risk of the borrowers.
  • Interest subvention scheme should be replaced with direct-benefit-transfers to mall and marginal farmers, tenant farmers, sharecroppers, oral lessees and landless labourers as individual borrowers or through self-help-group model up to a limit of Rs 3 lakh

(MAINS FOCUS)


ECONOMY

TOPIC: 

General Studies 1:

  • Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.
  • Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

India’s growth figures are off the mark

Context

  • The economic growth rate (quarterly) for the last five quarters 8% to 7% to 6.6% to 5.8% and now to 5%.(much less than 5%)
  • Experts like IMF , RBI , ADB  have been indicating  a 7% annual rate of growth
  • Data shows that investment proposals are at a 14-year low.

Origin of the slowdown:

  • Unorganised sector producing 45% of the output and employing 94% of the workforce, has been in decline since demonetisation and the Goods and Services Tax , which is pulling down the rate of growth of the economy.
  • The decline in the workforce, the rise in the demand for work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, etc. suggests that the unorganised sector has declined by 10%.

Why the difference between experts and the actual growth rate?

  • Because these agencies are not independent data gathering agencies and depend on official data.
  • The over-reliance on the organised sector for official GDP data is causing a gross miscalculation

The official data only represents the organised sector like:

  • For estimating quarterly growth govt uses ,estimates of Agricultural Production, Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and performance of key sectors like, Railways, Transport other than Railways, Communication, Banking, Insurance and Government Revenue Expenditure.(Except for agriculture, these belong to the organised sector of the economy)
  • For the annual estimates govt uses mining, banking, hotels and restaurants, and transport. For construction, steel, glass, etc are used which are also derived from the organised sector production.

The assumption is that the organised sector data represents for the unorganised sector. But with the economy suffering over the last three years which adversely impacted the unorganised sector, this assumption does not hold true.

Measures taken and their impact :

  • Recently announced Bank mergers  further disturb a major chunk of the banking system in the coming year.
  • Recently announced package for the automobile sector or making banks pass on interest rate cuts to businesses have little impact
  • The announcement of a transfer of Rs 1.76 lakh crore from the RBI to the government will allow the government to maintain the fiscal deficit target at 3.3%. But, this will not provide the needed stimulus.( fiscal deficit today is 9%)

Conclusion :

  • The investment rate has hovered at around 30% for the last several years because the capacity utilisation in the economy has been around 75%.Unless this rises, fresh investment will mean even lower capacity utilisation and lower profitability since capital will be underutilised.
  • The official data only represents the organised sector. To incorporate the unorganised sector, data from alternative sources need to be used.
  • Govt must reveal the rate of growth of the unorganised sector that it is using in its estimates and which is not based on using the organised sector as a proxy.

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think over-reliance on the organised sector for official GDP data is causing a gross miscalculation?

POLITY/GOVERNANCE

TOPIC: General Studies 2:
  • Important Aspects of Governance, Transparency and Accountability, E-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; Citizens Charters, Transparency & Accountability and institutional and other measures.
  • Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  • Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes

Jan Soochna Portal and National Judicial Data Grid: remarkable achievement in advancing RTI

About Jan Soochna Portal (JSP)

  • It was launched by the government of Rajasthan
  • Associated with right to information (RTI)
  • JSP makes State government accountable to everyone
  • People will have access to welfare schemes, revenue activities such as mining, and other service delivery issues such as health and education.
  • Information kiosks in village panchayats and self-service e-Mitra centres in the towns will be established to enable the people to access the information.
  • Department of Information Technology will serve as the nodal department for the development, operationalisation and maintenance of the JSP.

National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG)

  • By: The e-Committee of the Supreme Court
  • Aim: To provide data on cases pending in the district courts across the country
  • It is a part of the on-going e-Courts Integrated Mission Mode Project, and the NJDG works as a monitoring tool to identify, manage and reduce pendency of cases

Do you know?

  • Section 4 of the RTI Act — deals with proactive disclosure of information
  • More than 70,000 cases were pending for over 30 years (according to NJDG)

Need of the hour: Transparency should be accompanied by accountability

One can cite examples of JSP or NJDG as a proof to support that availability of information (transparency) has led to accountability.

Case 1: National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG)

  • NJDG had revealed number of pending cases across the country and it held justice delivery system (Chief Justices and Registrars) accountable to such enormous delays.
  • Outcome – Many courts have begun to concentrate on the disposal of old cases with considerable success.

Case 2: Jan Soochna Portal (JSP) and associated Janta Information System

  • JSP provides details of every activity of the government such as availability of food grains and ration shops and their distribution, implementation of various schemes and their beneficiaries and a variety of other information.
  • Since the information is available on the Internet, every citizen has access to the information and hence the State government is accountable to everyone.
  • Information available on portal ranges from waived farmers’ loans, mining leases, pollution and environment clearances, production and royalties and taxes paid etc.
  • This kind of information can facilitate a progressive partnership between government and citizens for a cleaner society.

Crux:

  • Significance of technology and digitalization: With the use of technology and digitisation of records and information, range of information is made freely available on the JSP or NJDG.
  • Information at free of cost: There is no need for anyone to take recourse to the RTI Act and await a response. All information can be accessed immediately, free of cost.
  • Advances RTI: The launch of such portals are in accordance with the true spirit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and ensures compliance with Section 4(2) of the RTI Act that mandates the public authorities to proactively disclose information in the public domain.

Jan Soochna Portal (JSP) or the National Judicial Data Grid (NJDG) is remarkable achievement in advancing the Right to Information (RTI).

Conclusion:

Digital divide is indeed a serious problem in India. To bridge this, care should be taken to ensure that access points are open and free. Also steps should be taken to train citizens and make them aware of the facilities available.

It would be wonderful if all other State governments follow the Rajasthan government’s initiative (JSP), which aims to make people, including the marginalised sections, a part of the governance process.

Connecting the dots:

  • Transparency accompanied by accountability can bring transformation in any system. Substantiate.
  • Do you think citizen participation contribute to good governance? Illustrate with examples or recent initiatives how people can be made a part of the governance process.
  • Citizen’s right to information is increasingly being seen as an important instrument to promote openness, transparency and accountability. Why? Examine.

(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


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

Note: 

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Consider the following statements

  1. The Internal Working Group (IWG) headed by Bimal Jalan was constituted by the RBI to Review Agricultural Credit scenario in India
  2. IWG recommended a federal institution, like that of the GST Council, should be set up with members from the central and state governments to implement agricultural reforms
  3. IWG also recommended a credit guarantee scheme to farm loans on the lines of credit guarantee schemes for MSME sector to cover the default risk of the borrowers.

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements

Assertion (A): The population of the vultures in the country declined sharply from 40 million in the 80s to a few thousand by 2009.

Reason (R): The major reason behind the vulture population getting nearly wiped out was the drug Diclofenac, found in the carcass of cattle the vultures fed on.

Select the correct answer from the codes given below.

  1. Both A & R are correct and R is the correct explanation for A
  2. Both A & R are correct but R is not the correct explanation for A
  3. A is correct and R is incorrect
  4. A is incorrect and R is correct

Q.3) Consider the following statements about Survey of India

  1. It is the oldest scientific department of the Govt. of India. It was set up in 1767 with its headquarters at Dehradun, Uttarakhand.
  2. It is under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

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

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