Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th September 2019
Published on Sept. 9, 2019, 7:14 p.m.

IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 9th September 2019

Archives


(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Mega Food Parks

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains GS-III –Food processing

In News:

  • Minister of Food Processing Industries inaugurated Telangana’s first food park.
  • It has been set up at a cost of ₹109 crores in Lakkampally of Nizamabad District.
  • This smart agro Food park is estimated to provide direct and indirect employment opportunities to 50,000 youth and benefit one lakh farmers in the region.

Do you know?

  • The Mega Food Park Scheme is based on “Cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone for setting up of modern food processing units along with well-established supply chain.
  • Under the food park scheme, the Centre provides financial assistance of up to ₹50 crore.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to give boost to the food processing sector by adding value and reducing food wastage at each stage of the supply chain with particular focus on perishables.

India and South Korea

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II – International Affairs

In News

  • India and South Korea concluded a military logistics agreement to extend logistical support to each other’s Navies, during the ongoing visit of Defence Minister to Seoul. 
  • India will be able to get assured logistic support when it operates in the Indo-Pacific in the ports of South Korea 
  • The two countries also formulated a forward-looking road map to take bilateral defence industry cooperation to the next level. It includes proposed areas of cooperation in land, aero and naval systems, R&D cooperation and coproduction of defence equipment.
  • India stressed that South Korea’s ‘New Southern Policy’ and India’s ‘Act East Policy’ will provide a strong framework for future engagement and consolidation of Special Strategic Partnership between the two countries.

Miscellaneous 

‘Make in India’ metro coach

Part of: GS Prelims

In News:

  • PM Modi launched Mumbai’s first ‘Make in India’ metro coach, manufactured by the state-run BEML.
  • BEML Limited (formerly Bharat Earth Movers Limited) was established in 1964, is a ‘Miniratna-Category-1’ Public Sector Undertaking of Government of India.
  • It manufactures a variety of heavy equipment, such as that used for earth moving, transport and mining 
  • The Company operates under three major Business verticals viz., Mining & Construction, Defence and Rail & Metro.
  • It is headquartered in Bengaluru. BEML has manufacturing plants in Kolar Gold Fields, Bengaluru, Palakkad and Mysore.
  • The indigenous coach, the first of 500 to be delivered to the Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation, was built by BEML at its Bengaluru facility in 75 days.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL

TOPIC: General Studies 2:

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

Strengthening Local Democracy

Background:

Democratic decentralisation is barely alive in India. Over 25 years after the 73rd and 74th constitutional amendments (they mandated the establishment of panchayats and municipalities as elected local governments) devolved a range of powers and responsibilities and made them accountable to the people for their implementation, very little and actual progress has been made in this direction. 

Local governments remain hamstrung and ineffective; mere agents to do the bidding of higher level governments. 

Devolution as per the Constitution:

  • It is not mere delegation. 
  • It implies that precisely defined governance functions are formally assigned by law to local governments, backed by adequate transfer of a basket of financial grants and tax handles, and they are given staff so that they have the necessary wherewithal to carry out their responsibilities. 
  • Yet, none of this has happened, by a long shot. 

Key issues:

  • The volume of money set local governments for them is inadequate to meet their basic requirements. 
  • Much of the money given is inflexible; even in the case of untied grants mandated by the Union and State Finance Commissions, their use is constrained through the imposition of several conditions.

There is little investment in enabling and strengthening local governments to raise their own taxes and user charges.

  • Local governments do not have the staff to perform even basic tasks. 
  • Furthermore, as most staff are hired by higher level departments and placed with local governments on deputation, they do not feel responsible to the latter; they function as part of a vertically integrated departmental system.
  • If these structural problems were not bad enough, in violation of the constitutional mandate of five yearly elections to local governments, States have often postponed them.

Way forward:

  • Gram sabhas and wards committees in urban areas have to be revitalised. Consultations with the grama sabha should be organised through smaller discussions where everybody can really participate. Even new systems of Short Message Services, or social media groups could be used for facilitating discussions between members of a grama sabha.
  • Local government organisational structures have to be strengthened. Panchayats are burdened with a huge amount of work that other departments thrust on them, without being compensated for the extra administrative costs.

Local governments must be enabled to hold State departments accountable and to provide quality, corruption free service to them, through service-level agreements.

  • We cannot have accountable Gram Panchayats, without local taxation. 

Local governments are happy to implement top-down programmes because they know that if they collect taxes, their voters will never forgive them for misusing their funds. 

Conclusion:

India’s efforts in decentralisation represent one of the largest experiments in deepening democracy. We have given ourselves a reasonably robust democratic structure for local governance over the last two decades and more. It is for us to give life to this structure, through the practice of a robust democratic culture. 

Connecting the dots:

  • Democracy has not been enhanced in spite of about 32 lakh peoples’ representatives being elected to them every five years. Local governments remain hamstrung and ineffective. Comment.

NATIONAL/ENVIRONMENT

TOPIC:

General Studies 2:

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

General Studies 3:

  • Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

India: Buidling resilience against climate change

Background:

Against scientific warnings, carbon emissions continue to rise in China, the U.S. and India, three of the biggest emitters. Brazil is encouraging — under the false pretext of promoting economic growth — unprecedented deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. 

Amidst this dangerous setting, global leadership must act with far greater urgency, and countries, including India, ought to switch rapidly from polluting fossil fuels to cleaner renewable energy, while building much stronger coastal and inland defences against climatic damage. 

In Indian context:

India is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change as per HSBC’s 2018 assessment.

As global warming worsens, the hardest hit by the resulting floods, storms, heatwaves and droughts will be in India.

Measures relating to the climate risk consider the exposure or sensitivity of countries to climate impacts on the one side, and their ability to cope on the other. 

  • A number of Indian States have experienced extreme heatwaves in the past three years, and the nation’s capital recently recorded a temperature of 48°C, its hottest day in 21 years.
  • India’s exposure to climate hazards is heightened by the location of its vast coastline in the eye of the storm, across the Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. 
  • Increasing temperatures and changing seasonal rainfall patterns are aggravating droughts and hurting agriculture across the country. Extreme storms like the one that hit Odisha this year and the floods that swept Chennai in 2015 are the new normal. 

Way ahead: Building resilience

  • India is not doing enough to boost its coastal and inland defences. 
  • It also needs to do more to build resilience in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, manufacturing, energy, transport, health, and education. 
  • The priority for spending at the national and State levels for disaster management needs to rise. Adequate resources must also be allocated for implementing climate action plans that most States have now prepared.

Conclusion:

As the country that is most at risk for climate damage, India should lead in pressing the global community to take sweeping climate action. Meanwhile, the nation must reinforce its infrastructure and adapt its agriculture and industry. Equally, India also needs to replace urgently its fossil fuels with renewable energy.

Connecting the dots:

  • India is one of the most vulnerable country to climate change as per HSBC’s 2018 assessment. In this light discuss the urgency for India to build resilience.

(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 about Mega Food Park

  1. The Scheme is based on “Cluster” approach and envisages creation of state of art support infrastructure in a well-defined agri / horticultural zone
  2. It is being implemented by Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries
  3. It is a central sector scheme with 100% contribution from Centre

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) The 38th north parallel forms the border between which two countries?

  1. USA & Canada
  2. North Korea & South Korea
  3. France & Germany
  4. None of the above

Q.3) Which of the following Public Sector Undertakings are considered as Navaratna companies in India?

  1. National Thermal Power Corporation(NTPC)
  2. Oil India Ltd
  3. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd
  4. BEML

Select the correct answer from the codes given below

  1. 1, 2 and 3 Only
  2. 1, 2 and 4 Only
  3. 2 and 3 Only
  4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

MUST READ

So close, yet so far: On Chandrayaan 2 lander debacle

The Hindu

Justice Tahilramani: An arbitrary transfer, a graceful resignation

The Hindu

Abrogation of J&K’s special status is being seen through one prism: The fear of demographic change

Indian Express

Fast privatisation vital for economic turnaround

Financial Express

Why India needs to protect its small dairy farmers

Financial Express

Making a case for green bonds

Financial Express

What India needs at higher education institutions

Financial Express