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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd October 2022
Published on Oct. 3, 2022, 2:01 p.m.

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(PRELIMS & MAINS Focus)


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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Content: A new catfish species has been discovered in the river Cauvery near Mettur Dam. The edible species has been named Pangasius icaria ( P. icaria) after Indian Council of Agricultural Research that discovered the species. The species belongs to the Pangasius genus.

About Catfish:

  • The edible species has been named Pangasius icaria ( P. icaria) after the Indian Council of Agricultural Research that discovered the species. The species belongs to the Pangasius genus.
  • The genus Pangasius is found in the Gangetic plains but not in peninsular India.
  • Through this study, they found that Pangasius specimens from the river Cauvery are different from other species of the genus Pangasius.
  • The new species is edible and the locals call it aie keluthi in Tamil.
  • Catfish has high commercial value in aquaculture and wild capture fisheries.

About Mettur Dam:

  • The Mettur Dam is one of the largest dams in India and also the largest in Tamil Nadu, located across the river Kaveri where it enters the plains. Built in 1934, it took 9 years to complete.
  • The dam receives inflows from its own catchment area, Kabini Dam and Krishna Raja Sagar Dams located in Karnataka.
  • There is a park at the base of the dam called Ellis Park maintained by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department. It provides irrigation and drinking water facilities for more than 12 districts of Tamil Nādu and hence is revered as the life and livelihood-giving asset of Tamil Nadu.

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Which of the following is not a bird?  (2022)

  1. Golden Mahseer
  2. Indian Nightjar
  3. Spoonbill
  4. White Ibis

Q.2) Certain species of which one of the following organisms are well known as cultivators of fungi?    (2022)

  1. Ant
  2. Cockroach
  3. Crab
  4. Spider       

National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Polity and Governance

In News: NDMA celebrated its 18th Formation Day on September 28, 2022, in New Delhi.

  • The theme for this year’s Foundation Day was “Volunteerism in Disaster Management.

About NDMA:

  • NDMA is India’s apex statutory body for disaster management.
  • NDMA was formally constituted on 27th September 2006, by the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • The Prime Minister is its chairperson and it has nine other members. One of the nine members is designated as Vice-Chairperson.
  • Disaster Management Act also envisaged the creation of State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) headed by respective Chief Ministers and the District Disaster Management Authorities (DDMA) headed by the District Collectors/ District Magistrate and co-chaired by Chairpersons of the local bodies.
  • The primary responsibility for the management of disaster rests with the State Government concerned. However, the National Policy on Disaster Management puts in place an enabling environment for all i.e., the Centre, state and district.
  • Aim: to spearhead and implement a holistic and integrated approach to Disaster Management in India. To build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, pro-active, technology driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation.

Functions & Responsibilities:

  • Lay down policies on and guidelines for the functioning of Disaster Management.
  • Approve the National Plan.
  • Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan.
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan.
  • Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the Purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects.
  • Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management.
  • Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation.
  • Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government.
  • Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary.

Volunteerism in Disaster Management:

  • With regard to importance of initial response to a disaster, it is critical to train volunteers in certain basic skills in disaster management so that they are able to respond in an informed and prompt manner as well as assist the concerned agencies in rescue and relief operations.
  • Apda Mitra Scheme:
  • The scheme was started by NDMA to train community volunteers in disaster response in selected flood-prone districts of India.
  • More than 5500 volunteers have been trained under the pilot scheme.
  • “Sewa, Samarpan & Paropkar” is the identity of Aapda Mitras.
  • Significance: In any disaster, however quick the government machinery may be, volunteers from the affected community are normally the first to act, external help takes time to reach the affected people, and this time lag is very crucial in saving lives and livelihood.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) conducts community awareness programmes for the capacity building of community in disaster management.
  • NDRF is also conducting School Safety Programme (SSP) and imparting basic training to school children as well as teachers to evacuate themselves during an earthquake.
  • NDMA runs awareness generation campaigns through electronic and print media, including social media, on various disasters, from time to time. These campaigns include Do’s & Don’ts, Audio-Visual films, messages containing preparedness before, during and after disaster events.
  • Example of Kerela Floods 2018: A team of 30 volunteers, comprising journalists, lawyers, fishermen and IT workers, managed several operations like supplying food, taking control of the Rescue Operation Centre of the district disaster management authority, handling distress calls and coordinating rescue effort with several choppers through personal contacts in Air Force and NDRF.

Source: Indian Express         


Mahatma Gandhi

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Syllabus 

  • Prelims – Modern History

In news: Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary was celebrated on October 2.

About Mahatma Gandhi:

  • Mahatma Gandhi was born on October 2, 1869 as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi to the dewan (chief minister) of Porbandar and Putlibai.
  • He was an Indian lawyer, politician, social activist, and writer who led the national movement against the British rule in India and South Africa.
  • Rabindranath Tagore gave him the title “Mahatma” and Subash Chandra Bose gave him the title “Father of the Nation”.
  • In 1893, Gandhi went to South Africa for legal work and remained there for 21 years, fighting for Indian rights and defending indentured labour in low courts against racial discrimination.
  • He founded Ashram settlement at Phoenix and Tolstoy farm towards leading a simple community life.
  • During the Boer war and the Zulu rebellion he helped the Government at the hour of its need, by raising Indian Ambulance and Stretcher-bearer Corps which served close to the line of fire. Gandhi was awarded Kaiser-i-hind for this service.
  • He founded the Natal India congress 1894. The British Indian committee in the Transvaal fought against restriction on Indian trade, movement and residence. During the campaign against the ‘Black’ Registration Act, Gandhi lit a grand bonfire of thousands of the registration certificates.

Contribution to National Movement:

  • Champaran Movement (1917) in Bihar under the strategy of civil disobedience was led by Gandhi to make Britishers agree to the demand of farmers, who were forcefully made to grow Indigo. He signed an agreement in which Britishers granted control and compensations to the farmers, cancelled the hikes in revenue and collection.
  • Kheda Movement (1918) in Gujarat was led by Gandhi towards non-payment of taxes and involved social boycott of the revenue officials.
  • Ahmedabad Mill Strike (1918) in Gujarat led by Gandhi against owners of mill on the issue of plague bonus and workers ended up getting a 35% wage increase.
  • Khilafat Movement (1919): Gandhi had a major influence on the Muslim population and helped in uniting the country at the time of crisis, when Britishers tried their best to divide the nation on religious grounds. Gandhi participated actively in the movement, and became a prominent spokesperson for the All-India Muslim Conference
  • Non-cooperation Movement (1920): He convinced people that non-cooperation was the key to Independence. He also set the goal of Swaraj or self-governance.
  • Unity’ Fast (1924): Gandhi imposed on himself a 21-day fast to end Hindu-Muslim tension.
  • Dandi March (1929) or Satyagraha campaign against the salt tax was led by Gandhi where he marched 388 kilometres from Ahmedabad to Dandi in Gujarat to make salt. This led the beginning of the civil disobedience movement that lasted till 1934.
  • Quit India Movement (1942) was led by Gandhi in 1942 with the slogan of “Do or Die” against the British rule and India’s involvement in the World War II.

Gandhi as a Philosopher:

  • Gandhi was an original and consistent thinker in the matter of peace building and also an astute peace builder. He, beyond the violent values of his time, struggled for nonviolence and dialogue among nations.
  • Gandhi believed that in the absence of a concrete ethical foundation, the political could not function democratically and non-violently.
  • He believed in the moral legitimacy of non-violence be a strategy of peace-making. While violence damages and undermines all forms of life, nonviolence uplifts all.
  • He advocated an awareness of the essential unity and spiritual growth of humanity through critical self-examination and towards a ‘shared humanity’ and a pluralistic peace.
  • Peace is the result of a long process of compassionate dialogue and tireless caring across cultural, religious, and political boundaries.
  • In an age of increasing ‘globalisation of selfishness’, there is an urgent need to read and practise the Gandhian social and political philosophy in order re-evaluate the concept of peace.

MUST READ:  Gandhi as a political thinker

Source:  The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which one of the following observations is not true about the Quit India Movement of 1942? (2011)

  1. It was a nonviolent movement
  2. It was led by Mahatma Gandhi
  3. It was a spontaneous movement
  4. It did not attract the labour class in general

Nord Stream pipeline

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Geography and International relations

In News: Sweden discovered the fourth leak in the two damaged offshore pipelines that comprise the crucial Nord Stream pipelines (Nord Stream 1 and Nord Stream 2). Two other leaks were found near Denmark earlier this week, Reuters reported.

About Nord stream:

  • It is a pair of 2 offshore natural gas pipelines that runs across the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany.
  • Nord Stream 1 was completed in 2011 and runs from Vyborg in Russia to Lubmin near Greifswald, Germany.
  • Nord Stream 2 runs from Ust-Luga in Leningrad to Lubmin Germany and was completed in September 2021. It has the capacity to handle 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
  • The twin pipelines together can transport a combined total of 110 billion cubic metres of gas a year to Europe for at least 50 years.
  • The Nord Stream crosses the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of several countries including Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Germany, and the territorial waters of Russia, Denmark, and Germany. In Germany, the pipeline connects to the OPAL (Baltic Sea Pipeline) and NEL (North European Pipeline) which further connects to the European grid.

Significance:

  • Russia has the largest natural gas reserves in the world and around 40% of its budget comes from sales of gas and oil.
  • Nord Stream 2 eliminates the risks related with sending gas through transit countries, cuts operating costs by doing away with transit fees and gives direct access to its most important European customer, Germany.
  • It increases Europe’s dependence on Russia (around 40% of its gas comes from Russia) while giving it a reliable customer. Germany is Russia’s biggest European gas consumer, and most of it comes through the Nord Stream.
  • This gas is used for heating homes, factories, and offices in the harsh, long European winters and also for power generation.
  • Further, Germany’s transition to cleaner fuels by phasing out nuclear power and cutting reliance on coal has increased its dependence on Russian gas.
  • Russia has been accused of leveraging Europe’s dependency on its energy, as retaliation against the Western sanctions imposed on it since the Ukraine war began.

Source: Indian Express                                   


Lal Bahadur Shastri

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Modern History

In News: Marking Lal Bahadur Shastri’s birth anniversary, Prime Minister of India and President Draupadi of India paid tributes to the former PM at Vijay Ghat.

About:

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri was the 2nd Prime Minister of India from 1964 to 1966 and 6th Home Minister of India from 1961 to 1963. He was also the railways minister (1951–56).
  • He was born on 2 October 1904 and left his education to join the non-cooperation movement.
  • He worked for the betterment of the Harijans at Muzaffarpur and dropped his caste-derived surname of “Srivastava“.
  • Shastri’s thoughts were influenced by Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Annie Besant.
  • He served as the president of Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal), founded by Lala Lajpat Rai and held prominent positions in Indian National Congress.
  • He promoted the White Revolution by supporting the Amul milk co-operative of Anand, Gujarat and creating the National Dairy Development Board.
  • He also promoted the Green Revolution in India in 1965. This led to an increase in food grain production, especially in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • He won great popularity for his firmness on the outbreak of hostilities with neighbouring Pakistan (1965) over the disputed Kashmir region.
  • He died of a heart attack after signing a “no-war” agreement with Pres. Ayub Khan of Pakistan and was succeeded as prime minister by Indira Gandhi

Source: Indian Express                                 

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Who of the following organized a march on the Tanjore coast to break the Salt Law in April 1930? (2015)

  1. V.O. Chidambaram Pillai
  2. C.Rajagopalachari
  3. K.Kamaraj
  4. Annie Besant          

Card Tokenization

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

Content: Recently the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) signalled that it would not extend deadline for implementation for tokenization of card based payments and mandated the adoption of card-on-file (CoF) tokenisation as an alternative to card storage.  This rule is applicable to all stakeholders except card issuers and card networks.

In this context let us understand the process of Tokenization.

What is Tokenization?

  • Tokenisation is a process by which card details are replaced by a unique code or token, allowing online purchases to go through without exposing sensitive card details.
  • Under tokenisation services, a unique alternate code is generated to facilitate transactions through cards.
  • It is the process of substituting a 16 digit customer card number with a non-sensitive equivalent value, referred to as a token.
  • This essentially means that a customer’s card information will no longer be available on any Merchant, Payment Gateway, or 3rd party that helps in the processing of digital transactions today.
  • With card tokenisation, consumers no longer need to fear saving their card details.
  • Cardholders will have to give an explicit consent that will be collected for tokenisation.

Who can offer tokenisation services?

  • Tokenisation can be performed only by the authorised card network and recovery of original Primary Account Number (PAN) should be feasible for the authorised card network only.
  • Adequate safeguards have to be put in place to ensure that PAN cannot be found out from the token and vice versa, by anyone except the card network. RBI has emphasised that the integrity of the token generation process has to be ensured at all times.

What is the size of the industry?

  • As per the RBI’s annual report for 2021-22, during 2021-22, payment transactions carried out through credit cards increased by 27 per cent to 223.99 crore in volume terms and 54.3 per cent to 9.72 lakh in value terms.

Why RBI wants cards to be tokenized?

  • Customer’s card details are stored by merchants, and if their security measures are inadequate, this puts all the customers at risk. There have been several instances in the past where merchant websites have been hacked and debit and credit card details have been leaked. This is what the RBI wants to eliminate.
  • By mandating card tokenization, the burden of security is now on payment processors and banks, not merchants.
  • Thus, a tokenised card transaction is considered safer as the actual card details are not shared with the merchant during transaction processing.
  • Tokenization ensures standardization for card on file transactions through higher security standards which is irreversible as compared to existing reversible cryptographic standards.

How does this card tokenisation work?

  • At check-out time on an online shopping portal, one has to enter card details and opt for tokenisation. The merchant forwards it to the respective bank or the card networks (VISA, Rupay, Mastercard, etc). A token is generated and sent back to the merchant, which then saves it for the customer.
  • Now, the next time the customer comes back to shop, she has to just select this saved token at check-out time. The same masked card details and last four digits of customer’s card number will be visible. Customer needs to enter your CVV and complete the transaction.
  • The customer, does not need to remember the token. The end-customer experience is not changing while making the payment.
  • The implementation of the tokenisation request is carried out through the Additional Factor of Authentication (AFA) by the cardholder.
  • This algorithmically generated token protects sensitive information and prevents card frauds as it allows you to make payments without exposing your bank details.

Benefits of tokenization in a nutshell:

Largely designed to counter online frauds and curb digital payment breaches, tokenization comes with a slew of benefits. Some of them are:

  • Enhanced safety and security: Tokens generated will be unique to a single card at a specific merchant and this will take up the overall security of making card-based transactions. It eliminates the risk of storing card details online and ensures the uncompromised convenience of storing customer’s token details on the merchant site.
  • Quicker checkouts: Tokenized Mastercard will allow the convenience of quick checkouts as one doesn’t need to punch in the card number for each purchase.
  • No more ‘False Declines’: Many times, legitimate online payments using valid cards are declined on the grounds of the transaction looking like a fraud. With tokenization, this becomes a thing of the past as the usage of tokens for payments confirms security of the highest order.
  • Easy card management: With tokenization, one can also keep track of all your cards and the merchants they have been tokenized with.
  • No need for a physical card: With tokenization, one can store a virtual version of one’s card on a smartphone for the days one forgets to carry your wallet.
  • Added benefits: Tokenization also comes with cashback benefits when secured with platforms like Amazon, Paytm, Swiggy, Flipkart and Phonepay among others.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1)  With reference to the Indian economy, consider the following statements:

  1. If the inflation is too high, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to buy government securities.
  2. If the rupee is rapidly depreciating, RBI is likely to sell dollars in the market.
  3. If interest rates in the USA or European Union were to fall, that is likely to induce RBI to buy dollars.

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Q.2) With reference to Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs), consider the following statements:

  1. They enable the digital representation of physical assets.
  2. They are unique cryptographic tokens that exist on a blockchain.
  3. They can be traded or exchanged at equivalency and therefore can be used as a medium transactions. of commercial

Which of the statements given above are correct? (2022)

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

Green Accounting

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Environment
  • Mains – GS 3 (Environment and Ecology)

Context: Ecologists and environmental economists scorn how superficially countries maintain their financial and national accounts.

  • Amounts spent on building human skills, providing education, nutrition, and safeguarding health, land, air, and water quality or forests are classified as consumption expenditure in the national accounts, except for the associated construction and equipment purchased.

What is Green Accounting?

  • Green accounting is a type of accounting that attempts to factor environmental costs into the financial results of operations.
  • It has been argued that gross domestic product ignores the environment and therefore policymakers need a revised model that incorporates green accounting.
  • The major purpose of green accounting is to help businesses understand and manage the potential quid pro quo between traditional economic goals and environmental goals.

Sustainability checks on the output generated:

  • National accounts measure output by assessing income generation.
  • Environmental economic accounts measure output as the change in natural capital (as distinct from physical capital- buildings, roads, machinery- all of which degrade natural capital).
  • The flaw in the national accounts’ approach of focusing on the output generated from capital is that it does not have a “sustainability” check.
  • Environmental economists instead deduct the value of natural capital degraded in the process of generating income from the annual output, to assess whether economic growth is negative or positive.
  • Negative growth is unsustainable because it borrows from the future to enjoy income today—a Ponzi scheme that cannot be played endlessly—akin to a country accumulating debt without building the capacity to repay it.

The flawed logic of substitutability and an infinite supply of natural resources:

  • The logic of not accounting for the stock of natural resources in the United Nations Statistical Commissions’ (UNSC) approved system of national accounts, followed worldwide, is simply that natural resources were, till very recently, presumed to be inexhaustible and in specific cases even substitutable.
  • For instance, Wood can be replaced by limestone-based cement and iron for building houses. Coal is replaceable with petroleum oil, natural gas, biofuels, or newer forms of renewable energy for our energy services.
  • Ecologists and environmental economists reject the assumption of infinite substitutability of natural resources as based on less than adequate knowledge of how nature works.
  • They view the stock of natural resources as the outcome of innumerable complementary processes between specific resources, linking them together organically.
  • Extracting a part of the whole, could disturb the equilibrium and send a stable ecosystem over the “tipping point”—a phrase the world is now familiar with since the impact of cumulative carbon emissions on global warming and climate has become the subject of close scientific scrutiny.

System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA):

  • Recognising the need to make economic accounting environment-sensitive, the UNSC formulated the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts (SEEA) in 2012.
  • The SEEA (central framework) applies the accounting concepts, structures, rules, and principles of the System of National Accounts (SNA) to environmental information.
  • It allows for the integration of environmental information (often measured in physical terms) with economic information (often measured in monetary terms) in a single framework.
  • India – A graduated approach to green accounting:
  • In India, the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) leads in embedding environmental economic valuations into natural capital stocks and services.
  • Following the 1992 Earth Summit, CSO produced a Framework for the Development of Environmental Statistics (FDES).
  • A Compendium of Environmental Statistics was released in 1997 and updated periodically.
  • The Ministry of Statistics and Plan Implementation commissioned a set of studies between 2000 to 2006 assessing and valuing land, forests, air, water, and subsoil resources.
  • An expert group chaired by Dr. Patho Dasgupta released a report “Green National Accounts in India” in 2013, which proposed a framework, aligned with the SEEA framework.
  • The CSO released physical accounts for four resources—land, water, minor minerals, and forests in 2018.
  • EnviStats India 2019 added a quality index for two resources—soil and water and valued two services—cropland ecosystem services and natural resource-based tourism services.
  • The task of making government financial accounting systems compatible with environmental economic accounting is being led by the Government Accounting Standards Advisory Board (GASAB) under the Comptroller and Auditor General, which published a Concept Paper on “Natural Resource Accounting in India” in June 2020.
  • There has been significant activity, since the 1990s, around natural resource accounting. However, India is nowhere near integrating environmental accounts into national accounts.

Way Forward: Miles to go

  • A 2020 UNSC global survey of implementation of environmental-economic accounting found that 89 countries had compiled at least one account in the last five years—up from just 54 in 2014—whilst 62 countries are doing so regularly.
  • One way of checking governments’ commitment to a program is to assess the resources being made available for it.
  • In 2020, on average, governments had allocated only 3.7 full-time staff for environmental-economic accounting.
  • Developed countries had allocated, on average, five full-time staff, illustrating marginal but consistent commitment to green accounting.
  • Nevertheless, environmental economic accounting at the ecosystem level (SEEA EA) is already crucial for sector decision-making – best illustrated by the case of carbon emissions.
  • Achieving the 2030 global target of reducing carbon emissions to 45 percent below the 2010 level is one way to make governol. After all, only that which gets measured gets done. The private sector, and citizens believe that environmental economic accounting is a useful tool. After all, only that which gets measured gets done.

Source:  Observer Research Foundation

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) “Climate Action Tracker” which monitors the emission reduction pledges of different countries is a:(2022)

  1. Database created by coalition of research organisations
  2. Wing of “International Panel of Climate Change”
  3. Committee under “United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”
  4. Agency promoted and financed by United Nations Environment Programme and World Bank

Q.2) Consider the following statements:

  1. The Climate Group is an international non-profit organisation that drives climate action by building large networks and runs them.
  2. The International Energy Agency in partnership with the Climate Group launched a global initiative “EP100”.
  3. EP100 brings together leading companies committed to driving innovation in energy efficiency and increasing competitiveness while delivering on emission reduction goals.
  4. Some Indian companies are members of EP100.
  5. The International Energy Agency is the Secretariat to the “Under2 Coalition”.

Which of the statements given above are correct?  (2022)

  1. 1,2, 4 and 5
  2. 1,3 and 4 only
  3. 2,3 and 5 only
  4. 1,2, 3, 4 and 5            

Swachh Bharat 2.0

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance)

Context: As India celebrates the 75th anniversary of its independence much can be said about the progress the country has made in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) concerning sanitation.

  • The concept of sanitation in the Indian context has been around since the Indus Valley civilisation.
    • However, till 2014, sanitation coverage in India was as low as 39 per cent. Around 55 crore people in rural areas were without a toilet facility before 2014 and this severely affected the health and dignity of our people, especially women and children.

Impacts of poor sanitation:

  • Impact of poor sanitation on health:
    • Exposure to contaminated drinking water and food with pathogen-laden human waste is a major cause of diarrhoea and can cause cholera, trachoma, intestinal worms, etc, leading to the “stunting” of huge swathes of our children.
    • Poor hygiene and waste management practices also impact the environment with untreated sewage flowing directly into water bodies and affecting coastal and marine ecosystems, contaminating soil and air, and exposing millions to disease.
  • Economic impact of poor sanitation:
    • A study by the World Bank states that the absence of toilets and conventional sanitation costs India 6.4 percent of its GDP in 2006.
    • The economic impact of poor sanitation for India is at least $38.5 billion every year under health, education, access time, and tourism.

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM):

  • The launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) had a unique goal — to achieve universal sanitation coverage and to make the country Open Defecation Free (ODF).
  • By offering financial incentives for building household toilets, as well as community toilets for slums and migrant populations, the government gave a huge fillip to the toilet infrastructure.
  • To bring changes to the age-old idea that toilets in the home were unclean, the government ran several programs with the participation of the private sector and NGOs to educate the population on the benefits of ODF in what is acclaimed as one of the largest behaviour change programs in the world.
  • From 2014 to 2020, more than 10 crore toilets were constructed. The country declared itself ODF on October 2, 2019.

About SBM-U 2.0:

  • SBM-U 2.0, announced in Budget 2021-22, is the continuation of SBM-U first phase.
  • It was launched on 1st October 2021 to achieve the vision of ‘Garbage Free Cities’ over the next five years.
  • The government is also trying to tap safe containment, transportation, disposal of faecal sludge, and septage from toilets.
  • It will be implemented over five years from 2021 to 2026 with an outlay of Rs.1.41 lakh crore.
  • SBM-U first phase was launched on 2nd October 2014 aiming at making urban India Open Defecation Free (ODF) and achieving 100% scientific management of municipal solid waste. It lasted till October 2019.

Mission Outcomes:

  • All statutory towns will become ODF+ certified (focuses on toilets with water, maintenance and hygiene).
  • All statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become ODF++ certified (focuses on toilets with sludge and septage management).
  • 50% of all statutory towns with less than 1 lakh population will become Water+ certified (aims to sustain toilets by treating and reuse of water).
  • All statutory towns will be at least 3-star Garbage Free rated as per MoHUA’s Star Rating Protocol for Garbage Free cities.
  • Bioremediation of all legacy dumpsites.

Lighthouse Initiative (LHI):

  • The Lighthouse Initiative (LHI) commissioned by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation as part of the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav is to be implemented through PPP, across villages in 75 Gram panchayats in 15 states in Phase1.
  • LHI is based on the principle of inclusive sanitation and leaving no one behind.

Aim of the Initiative:

  • LHI aims to effectively implement solid and liquid waste management structures by employing a participatory and consultative approach through mobilization of the village communities, corporates, district and block administration, and gram panchayat officers.

Significance of LHI:

  • Joint ownership and accountability between local governments, communities, and corporates will ensure the success of the initiative.
  • Managing household and plastic waste as well as wastewater at a village level, defining and implementing solutions to convert waste to achieve a remunerative return not only creates hygienic surroundings for the communities but allows them to become economically self-sufficient in the medium to long term.
  • Recovery of precious grey water through minimal treatment and treatment of sewage helps tackle scarce water resources, encouraging reuse and conserving water bodies.
  • The ability of corporates to team up with the village communities to convert their waste to wealth by utilizing simple and cost-effective technologies that can be managed by them independently in the long run, as well as their ability to help build the capacity of the gram panchayats in understanding how to manage the various programs are areas where PPPs can excel.

India Sanitation Coalition (ISC):

  • Multistakeholder platform:
    • The India Sanitation Coalition (ISC) is a multi-stakeholder platform that creates meaningful collaborations.
    • These stakeholders include the private sector, government, financial institutions, civil society groups, media, donors, etc.
    • ISC is recognized as the official intersection between the government and the private sector for engagement in helping build solid and liquid waste management infrastructure sustainably.
  • Private sector partnerships:
    • In choosing to partner with ISC on the LHI initiative and the early batch of corporates that have come forward such as ITC, Jindal Steel and Power, JSW, Nayara, HCL, and foundations such as Ambuja Cement, Tata Trusts and Aga Khan Trust, the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation has recognized the benefits of working with the private sector.

Funding of the Initiative:

  • Understanding the on-ground need for solid and liquid waste management infrastructure, has included activities such as the construction of soak pits, waste stabilization ponds, drainage channels, compost pits, collection and segregations sheds, and biogas plants as part of the Rs1,40,881 crore that will be provided over the next five years. The private sector will supplement this through CSR funding.

Management and technology expertise:

  • The ISC will continue to focus on the government’s position about the thematic interlinkages between WASH and sectors such as health, education, gender, nutrition, and livelihoods.
  • This will include urban and rural challenges and create viable programs where government funding will be used primarily for infrastructure building and the private sector comes in as a strategic partner providing expertise in management and technology.

Way Forward:

  • These successful collaborations, “lighthouses” should be documented and disseminated to enable replication across the country, holding the promise of taking forward the remarkable success of the first phase of SBM.
  • All these efforts together endeavour into culminating a Swachh (Clean), Swasth (Healthy), and Sundar (Beautiful) Bharat that we dreamt for us and future generations to inherit which will be a real tribute to the ‘Father of the Nation’.

Source: Indian Express

Additional Information:

SWACHH SURVEKSHAN AWARDS 2022:

Key Highlights

  • Indore has been adjudged the cleanest city of India for the sixth year in a row, while Madhya Pradesh is the cleanest state in the country.
  • Surat is the second cleanest city and Navi Mumbai comes a close third in the category of cities with a population more than a lakh.
  • In the population category of less than one lakh, Panchgani and Karad from Maharashtra bagged the first and third positions respectively, while Patan from Chhattisgarh bagged the second position.
  • Tirupati received the best city award in Safai Mitra Suraksha category, while Haridwar in Uttarakhand received the award for the best Ganga town in more than one lakh population cities.
  • Shivamogga in Karnataka received the fast mover city award.

Source:  The Hindu       


India-US relations

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Syllabus

  • Mains – GS 2 (International Relations)

In News: The U.S. Congressional amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act states that India faces immediate and serious regional border threats from China, with continued military aggression by the Chinese people along the India-China border.

About India-US relations:

  • The U.S.-India strategic partnership is founded on shared values including a commitment to democracy and upholding the rules-based international system.
  • There are more than 50 bilateral dialogue mechanisms between the two governments.
  • Despite COVID-19 pandemic, India-U.S. cooperation witnessed intense engagement under various bilateral dialogue mechanisms in wide range of areas including defence, security, health, trade, economic, science & technology, energy and people-to-people ties.

Political relations:

  • The 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue is the premier recurring dialogue mechanism between the countries. U.S. hosted the fourth 2+2 Dialogue in 2022.
  • The United States welcomed India joining the UN Security Council in 2021 for a two-year term and supports a reformed UN Security Council that includes India as a permanent member.
  • India and the US jointly proposed to list Makki, a top LeT (Lashkar-e-Taiba) Militant, under the UN Security Council’s Al-Qaeda and ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) Sanctions Committee which is also known as the UNSC 1267 Committee.
  • Quad is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States and is viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power.
  • There have been regular parliamentary exchanges and high-level visits to strengthen ties of friendship and cooperation – External Affairs Minister’s visit in September 2022, PM Modi’s visit in 2021 and Donald Trump’s visit to India in 2020.

Defence relations:

  • India-US defence cooperation is based on “New Framework for India-US Defence Cooperation”, which was renewed for a period of ten years in 2015.
  • A strong United States-India defence partnership is rooted in shared democratic values and is critical to advancing United States interests in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Defence procurements from the US have been an area of steady growth in the last decade. India has procured defence items of around US$ 21 billion from the US since 2008.
  • India-specific waiver under CAATSA – will allow India to freely purchase Russia’s S-400 missile system without the fear of American sanctions.
  • Defence agreements include The Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement, or BECA (2020) on sharing sensitive satellite data and allowing US’s strategic partners to access a range of sensitive geospatial and aeronautical data which is useful for military actions. Other agreements include Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Association (LEMOA 2016) and COMCASA.
  • Both countries setup Counter-Narcotics Working Group which met for the first time virtually on 24 November 2020.
  • India-US Cyber Framework signed in 2016, provides for expanding cooperation in cyber domain.
  • India-US military exercises include Yudh Abhyas, Vajra Prahar, Cope India, MALABAR, Red Flag and RIMPAC.

Economic relations:

  • The U.S. is India’s largest trading partner and most important export market.
  • In 2021, overall U.S.-India bilateral trade in goods and services reached a record $157 billion. Major export items from India include petroleum, polished diamonds, pharmaceutical products, jewellery, frozen shrimp, whereas major imports from the US include petroleum, rough diamonds, liquified natural gas, gold, coal, waste and scrap, almonds and so on.
  • In 2021-22, India had a trade surplus of $32.8 billion with the US.
  • During financial year 2020-21, India received the highest ever FDI amounting to $81.72 billion, as per Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • US is one of the top 5 investment destinations for Indian FDI. At 2020, Indian investment in the United States totalled $12.7 billion, supporting over 70,000 American jobs.

Bilateral dialogues:

  • India is one of twelve countries partnering with the United States on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) to make our economies more connected, resilient, clean, and fair.
  • India-U.S. Trade Policy Forum: Established in 2005, it serves as the leading bilateral mechanism. The 11th Meeting was held in 2017.
  • India-U.S. Commercial Dialogue: focuses on cooperation in areas such as standards, ease of doing business, travel & tourism. The meeting is chaired by the Minister of Commerce & Industry and the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

Indian Diaspora:

  • About 4.2 million Indian Americans/Indian origin people reside in the US. The Indian Americans constitute the third largest Asian ethnic group in the US.
  • There are a number of Indian American community organizations as well as several professional organizations of Indian Americans.
  • Indian Americans are one of the most successful immigrant communities in the US and are excelling in diverse fields, including politics.
  • The Indian diaspora has been a catalyst in cementing closer ties between India and the U.S.
  • The nearly 200,000 Indian students in the United States contribute $7.7 billion annually to the U.S. economy.
  • U.S. accounts for 23% of total remittances in 2020-21.

Science & Environment:

  • In 2021, U.S. joined the International Solar Alliance headquartered in India, and in 2022 the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator became Co-chair of the Governing Council of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) where India is a permanent co-chair.
  • Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technologies is a collaboration between engineers, computer scientists, governments, academia, and industry. It is vital to address the latest advances in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, aerospace, and semiconductor manufacturing and to help foster innovation and facilitate technological advances that continue to far outpace the technology of the Russia and China.
  • At the Leaders’ Summit on Climate held in  2021, “U.S.- India Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 Partnership,” was launched which envisages bilateral cooperation on strong actions in the current decade to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Challenges:

  • US-Pakistan friendship: US decided to provide a $450-million sustenance package for Pakistan’s aging F-16 fleet.
  • US sanctions: targeted an India-based petrochemical company for selling Iranian petroleum products to China.
  • Russia-Ukraine conflict: Due to India’s neutral stance, the US reiterated India’s position as “unsatisfactory” but “unsurprising” due to its historical relationship with Russia
  • Concern of China: China has been opposing the U.S.’ proactive policy specifically in the disputed South China Sea and thus reducing India’s chances of forming a favourable partner in the area.

Way forward:

  • Such a partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies is critical and should continue to be strengthened in response to increasing threats in the Indo-Pacific region so as to send an unequivocal signal that sovereignty and international law must be respected.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently told President Vladimir Putin that “today’s era is not of war” on account of Russia-Ukraine conflict and the US was pleased with the formulation and its articulation in full public glare.

Source: The Hindu           


Baba’s Explainer -India and Pluralism

India and Pluralism

Syllabus

  • GS-1: Indian Society

Context: In the diverse society of India, pluralism is crucial for its smooth functioning. A pluralist democracy, allowing the masses the freedom of association, is necessary for the democratic culture to flow.

Read Complete Details on India and Pluralism


Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Which of the following statement is not true with respect to NDMA?

  1. It is a statutory body.
  2. Prime Minister of India is the Chairperson of the NDMA.
  3. Nine other members of the NDMA are nominated by the chairperson.
  4. The Minister of State for Home Affairs acts as the Vice-Chairperson of NDMA.

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding Nord Stream Gas Pipeline?

  1. It passes through Caspian Sea.
  2. It runs between Russia and Germany

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

Q.3) With reference to modern Indian history, consider the following events:

  1. Kheda Movement
  2. Ahmedabad Mill Strike
  3. Quit India Movement
  4. First Round Table Conference

In which of the above mentioned events did Mahatma Gandhi participated?

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

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’3rd October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 2nd October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – a