Current Affairs for IAS PCS Civil Services Exams : 06 February 2019

Daily Current Affairs : 06 February 2019

Relevant Articles from:

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for the protection of vulnerable sections of the society.

 

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY)

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Key features of RVY and about ALIMCO.
  • For Mains: Significance of the programme and similar policies for the aid of old aged.

 

Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:

The Scheme aims at providing Senior Citizens, belonging to BPL category and suffering from any of the age related disability/infirmity Low vision, Hearing impairment, Loss of teeth and Locomotor disability, with such assisted-living devices which can restore near normalcy in their bodily functions, overcoming the disability/infirmity manifested.

  1. This is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government. The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund“.
  2. Under the scheme, free of cost distribution of the devices, commensurate with the extent of disability/infirmity that is manifested among the eligible senior citizens will take place.
  3. In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities manifested in the same person, the assistive devices will be given in respect of each disability/impairment.
  4. Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.
  5. As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.

 

Way ahead:

With more than 70% of the 104 million elderly living in the rural hinterland, any serious initiative to improve the lot of senior citizens must incorporate adequate budgetary support for social welfare spending on the relevant programmes.

With the number of the elderly in India set to surge by 2050 to almost 300 million, or about a fifth of the population, governments need to make more comprehensive efforts to address the problems of elderly.

Mains Question: Discuss the features and prospects of recent policies meant to provide better social and economic security to India’s growing population of senior citizens.

 

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for the protection of vulnerable sections of the society.

 

Asia LPG Summit

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: About Asia LPG summit, WLPGA.
  • For Mains: PMUY- features, significance and performance analysis.

 

Context: 2nd edition of the Asia LPG Summit is being held in New Delhi.

The summit is being organized by the World LPG Association (WLPGA) in association with major Indian public-sector oil companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum, and Bharat Petroleum.

Objectives of the summit:

  1. The summit will offer a unique opportunity to the global LPG industry to interact with development agencies, NGOs and non-profit organizations who have facilitated last-mile access to LPG for the beneficiaries.
  2. The summit will also bring together academia and private sector to exchange their views on the use of LPG and how pathbreaking initiatives such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ can bring remarkable socio-economic transformation.

 

About World LPG Association:

The World LPG Association (WLPGA) is the authoritative global voice for the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) industry and the worldwide industry association which represents the interests of the LPG industry globally.

The WLPGA promotes the use of LPG to foster a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world.

  • With over 200 members and presence in more than 125 countries, the WLPGA represents the interests of private and public companies from the entire LPG value chain under one umbrella.
  • The WLPGA provides a platform for the exchange of best practices, facts and figures among its members.
  • The Association regularly organises interactive meetings between technical experts, members and key stakeholders to demonstrate the benefits of LPG.

The WLPGA was officially granted Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council in 1989. Publications such as its Annual Statistical Review have become LPG industry references.

Paper 1 and 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Women related issues.
  2. Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  3. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Safe City project

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features, significance and the need for safe city project.

 

Context: Empowered Committee of Officers for Nirbhaya funds scheme has approved pilot Safe City projects in eight selected metropolitan cities, namely, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow with a view to provide safety to women in public places.

The project would be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with Centre and State sharing the funding in 60:40 ratio.

 

The major components of the Safe City project include, inter-alia:

  1. Setting up an Integrated Smart Control Room;
  2. Setting up Pink Out-posts (exclusively administered by Women police) for facilitating ease of filing complaint by women;
  3. Pink Patrols of Women police;
  4. Setting up Women Help Desks in all Police Stations with Counsellors;
  5. Augmentation of existing Asha Jyoti Kendra;
  6. Implementing Safety measures in buses, including Cameras;
  7. Improving Street Lighting in identified Hot Spot areas;
  8. Setting up Pink Toilets;
  9. Integration of Women power-help line with single Emergency number.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

Sentinelese Tribe:

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: Who are Sentinelese? Geographical location of North Sentinel Island.
  • For Mains: Why are they vulnerable, what needs to be done and how recent moves by the government is affecting their fundamental and moral rights?

 

Context: The Government has promulgated various laws/regulations from time to time to ensure that the rights and well-being of the Sentinelese are safeguarded.

 

Steps taken to ensure the protection of Sentinelese:

  1. The entire North Sentinel Island along with 5 km coastal sea from high water mark is notified as tribal reserve.
  2. The Government respects their way of life style, therefore, has adopted an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ practice to protect and safeguard the Sentinelese tribe.
  3. A protocol of circumnavigation of the North Sentinel Island has been notified. The ships and aircrafts of Coast Guard and boats of Marine Police make sorties around North Sentinel to keep surveillance.

 

They have been protected under:

  1. A &N Islands (PAT) Regulation 1956.
  2. Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  3. Restrictions under Foreigner (Restricted Area) Orders, 1963.
  4. Visa Manual Conditions/Passport Act 1920, Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

 

Who are the Sentinelese?

The Sentinelese are a negrito tribe who live on the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans. The inhabitants are connected to the Jarawa on the basis of physical, as well as linguistic similarities. Their numbers are believed to be less than 150 and as low as 40.

Based on carbon dating of kitchen middens by the Anthropological Survey of India, Sentinelese presence was confirmed in the islands to 2,000 years ago. Genome studies indicate that the Andaman tribes could have been on the islands even 30,000 years ago.

 

Why are they said to be vulnerable?

  • It is said they have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts.
  • They are very vulnerable to germs since they have not had contact with the outside world. Even a common flu virus carried by a visitor could wipe out the entire tribe.
  • Since the 1960s, there have been a handful of efforts to reach out to the tribe but all have largely failed. They have repeatedly, aggressively made it clear that they want to be isolated.

 

Conclusion:

Currently, there is a one-size-fits-all policy. For instance, the Sentinelese should be left alone. The rights and the desires of the Sentinelese need to be respected and nothing is to be achieved by escalating the conflict and tension.

 

Relevant Articles from Various News Papers:

 

Magnetic north pole drifting fast towards Russia

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Magnetic and geographical poles- differences, reasons for magnetic behaviour of earth, why is Magnetic north pole drifting and what are its implications?

 

Context: News publications across the world have been reporting that the magnetic north pole is drifting fast from the Canadian Arctic and towards Russia.

 

 

What is Magnetic North Pole? How is it different from Geographic North Pole?

The Earth has two north poles- magnetic and geographic.

  1. Geographic north pole- It is northern axis around which the earth rotates and is fixed. The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
  2. The Magnetic North Pole (also known as the North Dip Pole) is a point on Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth.

A compass needle will point to the Magnetic North Pole – which is different from the geographic north.

 

 

Origin of Earth’s magnetism:

The origin of Earth’s magnetism lies in its outer core, a more than 2,000-km layer of liquid iron and some other metals like nickel, that surrounds the central core, or the innermost part. This liquid iron is in constant motion due to Earth’s rotation and various other reasons, and this motion produces a magnetic field.

 

What’s the issue now?

Currently, the magnetic north pole is located somewhere over northern Canada, a fact discovered in 1831 by Sir James Clark Ross. Since then the magnetic north pole has been moving across the Canadian Arctic towards Russia, and has moved hundreds of miles over the last several decades. This phenomenon is known as the Polar Shift Theory.

Scientists have now realised the pace of this movement has suddenly increased, quite significantly, from about 14-15 km per year till the 1990s to about 55 km per year in the last few years. This has led to scientists updating the World Magnetic Model (WMM) that tracks this movement. It was a year ahead of schedule.

 

Why it is moving faster?

Scientists do not have full clarity on. The movement of liquid iron and other metals in the outer core of the Earth is known to influence the magnetic field, but this movement is chaotic and turbulent. Scientists do not fully understand how the movement happens or why.

The study of the phenomena happening inside the earth can only be done indirectly or through computer modelling, because of the extremely hot temperatures prevailing there. Scientists hope that this acceleration in the shifting of magnetic north pole would throw some new insights into the phenomena happening deep inside the Earth’s surface.

 

The consequences:

The entire transportation sector, especially aviation and shipping, depends on correctly knowing the position of magnetic north to chart out their navigation paths. Similarly, it is crucial for militaries, who need to know this for firing their missiles or for other purposes. Knowing the magnetic north is vital for a number of civilian applications as well.

The compasses that are used in modern instrumentation are much more sophisticated, digital and more accurate. This is the reason why they need to be recalibrated to reflect the change in the magnetic north pole. This is what the unscheduled release of the WMM has done.

 

What is the World Magnetic Model?

James Clark Ross first located magnetic north in 1831 in the scattered islands of Canada’s Nunavut territory. Since then, the pole has largely marched north, traversing hundreds of miles over the last several decades.

  • To keep up with all these changes, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the British Geological Survey developed what eventually became known as the World Magnetic Model.
  • The model is updated every five years, with the last update in 2015. Between each update, scientists check the model’s accuracy against data from ground magnetic observatories and the European Space Agency’s Swarm mission—a trio of magnetic-field mapping satellites that zip around Earth 15 to 16 times each day.

 

Sources: Indian Express.

Paper 2 and 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
  2. e-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Kisan Credit Card Scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: KCC scheme- features and significance.

 

Context: The Indian Banking Association (IBA) has issued advisory guidelines requesting banks to waive off the processing, documentation, inspection, ledger folio charges and all other service charges for crop loans up to Rs 3 Lakhs or for the Kisan Credit Card Scheme. The move aims to provide direct benefit to farmers and ease the pressure on them.

 

Campaign:

The Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has announced the launch of campaign with immediate effect to saturate farmers for financial inclusion under Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).

This campaign will be launched through the Financial Institutions including Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks in collaboration with the State Governments. The Department of Financial Services has already issued directives to these financial institutions under their purview. There are around 6.95 crore active KCCs.

 

Kisan Credit Card Scheme:

  • The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme was announced in the Budget speech of 1998-99 to fulfil the financial requirements of the farmers at various stages of farming through institutional credit.
  • The model scheme was prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on the recommendation of V Gupta committee.
  • The KCC scheme is being implemented by the all Co-operative banks, Regional Rural Banks and Public Sector Banks throughout the country.
  • Scheme covers risk of KCC holders against death or permanent disability resulting from accidents.

 

Objectives:

  1. To provide adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers at the cheap rate of interest.
  2. To provide credit at the time of requirement.
  3. To support post-harvest expenses.
  4. To provide Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture.
  5. Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities (land development, pump sets, plantation, drip irrigation etc.)
  6. Consumption requirements of farmers.

 

Other Salient features of the Scheme:

  • Revolving cash credit facility involving any number of drawals and repayments within the limit.
  • Limit to be fixed on the basis of operational land holding, cropping pattern and scale of finance.
  • Entire production credit needs for full year plus ancillary activities related to crop production to be considered while fixing limit.
  • Card valid for 5 years subject to annual review. As incentive for good performance, credit limits could be enhanced to take care of increase in costs, change in cropping pattern, etc.
  • Conversion/reschedulement of loans also permissible in case of damage to crops due to natural calamities.
  • Operations may be through issuing branch (and also PACS in the case of Cooperative Banks) through other designated branches at the discretion of bank.
  • Crop loans disbursed under KCC Scheme for notified crops are covered under Crop Insurance Scheme, to protect the interest of the farmer against loss of crop yield caused by natural calamities, pest attacks etc.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Awareness in space.

 

India’s communication satellite GSAT-31 launched from French Guiana

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: GSAT- 31- features, objectives and significance.

 

Context: Indian Space Research Organisation’s latest communication satellite, GSAT-31 was successfully launched by Arianespace aboard its launch vehicle Ariane 5 from the spaceport in French Guiana recently.

 

Ariane 5 carried two communication satellites:

  1. Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and Hellas Sat.
  2. ISRO’s GSAT-31.

 

About GSAT- 31:

  • A telecommunications satellite designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • India’s 40th communication satellite and derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series.
  • It will be placed in Geostationary Orbit (36,000 km above the equator) using its onboard propulsion system.
  • It has a unique configuration of providing flexible frequency segments and flexible coverage. Hence, it will provide communication services to Indian mainland and islands.
  • It will also provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications. The satellite will also be used for bulk data transfer for a host of emerging telecommunication applications.

 

Key Objectives:

  1. Augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit for at least 15 years.
  2. Provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
  3. Help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of an ambitious Indian space program, whose objectives are to develop India while pursuing scientific research and planetary exploration.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Flamingo sanctuary:

Context: A committee, chaired by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, has accorded wildlife clearance to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed train corridor that encroaches upon a flamingo sanctuary and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the home to leopards, in Mumbai.

About Sanjay Gandhi National Park: Sanjay Gandhi National Park is spread over three districts – Palgar, Thane and Mumbai Suburb. The National Park is home to a number of endangered species of flora and fauna and harbours approximately 800 species of flowering plants, 45 species of mammals, 43 species of reptiles among others.

Flamingo sanctuary: Western side of the Thane creek is a dedicated flamingo sanctuary. Thane Creek is home to flamingos as well as other migratory and residential bird species. It is Maharashtra’s second marine sanctuary after the one at Malvan.

 

Sangeet Natak Akademi:

Context: President of India to confer Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the Year 2017.

About Sangeet Natak Akademi:

  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi – India’s national academy for music, dance and drama – is the first National Academy of the arts set-up by the Republic of India. It was created by a resolution of Government of India.
  • It was set up in 1952.
  • The academy functions as the apex body of the performing arts in the country to preserve and promote the vast cultural heritage of India expressed in music, dance and drama.
  • It also works with governments and art academies in states and territories of the country.
  • The academy Renders advice and assistance to the government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the field. It carries a part of the responsibilities of the state for fostering cultural contacts between regions in the country, as well as between India and the world.

The Akademi Awards are the highest national recognition conferred on eminent artistes. Each year the Academy awards Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships, Ratna Sadsya, to distinguished individuals for their contribution to the field of arts, music, dance and theatre. Ustad Bismillah Khan award is given to young artists for their talent in the fields of music, dance and drama.

 

Categorisation of Farmers- mentioned in PIB:

Context: In agriculture Census, the operational holdings are categorised in five size classes as follows:

  1. Marginal: Below 1.00 hectare.
  2. Small: 1.00-2.00 hectare.
  3. Semi- Medium: 2.00-4.00 hectare.
  4. Medium: 4.00-10.00 hectare.
  5. Large: 10.00 hectare and above.

 

Thailand makes Siamese fighting fish national aquatic animal:

Context: Siamese fighting fish is named Thailand’s national aquatic animal.

Known in the West as a betta fish, the underwater brawler is popular in home aquariums for its iridescent body and many-hued tail.

IUCN status: Vulnerable.

Summaries of Important Editorials:

 

Wrong on the Rohingya:

 

The Editorial discusses about the plight of Rohingyas, India’s position and the need for reconsideration of its views based on international conventions, constitutional provisions and moral issues.

 

Why in News? Based on allegations that India’s repatriation of the Rohingya refugees contravenes international principles on refugee law as well as domestic constitutional rights, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has called for a report from India on the deportation of a group of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar in October 2018.

 

How does the Global Framework on Refugees seeks to protect refugees?

In order to address the problem of mass inter-state influx of refugees, UN adopted the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1951. This was followed by the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1967.

Most notable features of the Convention is the principle of non-refoulement. The norm requires that “no contracting State shall expel or return a refugee in any manner whatsoever to the frontiers of territories where his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

 

Does it not apply to India?

It is often argued that the principle does not bind India since it is a party to neither the 1951 Convention nor the Protocol.

  • However, the prohibition of non-refoulement of refugees constitutes a norm of customary international law, which binds even non-parties to the Convention.
  • UN has clarified that it is binding on all States, including those which have not yet become party to the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol.

 

Constitutional safeguards for refugees:

  • Article 51(c) talks about promotion of respect for international law and treaty obligations. Therefore, India cannot deport rohingyas disrespecting the international treaty.
  • There are few Fundamental Rights available to citizens, persons including foreign citizens– the right to equality and the right to life, among others. Therefore, the Rohingya refugees, while under the jurisdiction of the national government, cannot be deprived of the right to life and personal liberty.
  • In National Human Rights Commission v. State of Arunachal Pradesh (1996), the Supreme Court has reiterated this.

 

What’s missing?

India lacks a specific legislation to address the problem of refugees, in spite of their increasing inflow.

The Foreigners Act, 1946, fails to address the peculiar problems faced by refugees as a class. It also gives unbridled power to the Central government to deport any foreign citizen.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2019 strikingly excludes Muslims from its purview and seeks to provide citizenship only to Hindu, Christian, Jain, Parsi, Sikh and Buddhist immigrants persecuted in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is important to note that the majority of the Rohingya are Muslims.

Some experts point out that this limitation on the basis of religion fails to stand the test of equality under Article 14 of the Constitution and offends secularism, a basic feature of the Constitution.

 

Why Rohingyas need protection?

  • The Rohingya are “among the world’s least wanted and most persecuted people.” In Myanmar, they are denied citizenship, the right to own land and travel, or to even marry without permission, says the report.
  • According to the UN, the Rohingya issue is one of systematic and widespread ethnic cleansing by Myanmar. Therefore, the discrimination that the Rohingya face is unparalleled in contemporary world politics.

 

Conclusion:

The deportation of refugees by India is not only unlawful but breaches a significant moral obligation. Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides that everyone has the right to seek and enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution. Therefore, India needs to reconsider its earlier decision.

Mains Question: “India’s internal security concerns must override humanitarian impulses.” Comment in the context of Rohingya crisis.

 

06 Febraury 2019

 

National

  • India’s 22nd All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) – Maneti (Rewari, Haryana).
  • On February 4, Agriculture Ministry decided to launch a campaign to saturate farmers, mainly for the livestock farmers and fisherman, for financial inclusion under – Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
  • “The National River Ganga (Rejuvenation, Protection and Management) Bill 2018” provides for the constitution of …….. as an armed forces of the union – Ganga Protection Corps.
  • With an average growth of 8.4 percent in LPG consumption in 2017-18, India is the …….. largest consumer of LPG in the world at 22.5 million tonnes –

 

International

  • The ban on teaching this subject in Uzbekistan has been lifted –
  • On February 5-6, TheAsia LPG Summit 2019 held in – New Delhi (India).
  • The “Church of Saint Francis” & ‘Mosque of Grand Imam Ahmad Al-Tayyeb’ will be built in – Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • According to updates of the World Magnetic Model, the researchers say that the pole is moving by ….. a year – 34 miles (55km).
  • On 4 February, this many European nations joined the United States in recognising opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s interim president – Eight (Britain, France, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Denmark, Austria and Germany).

 

Sports

  • Winner of Pro Wrestling League (PWL 4) tournament – Haryana Hammers.
  • First Asian woman cricketer to play 100 international T20 matches – Sana Mir (Pakistan).
  • This Ukrainian player won the Woman single event of the Thailand Open 2019 tournament on the WTA Tour – Diana Yestemeska.
  • In the latest ICC ODI rankings announced on February 4, the Indian cricket team ranked –
  • Topper team in the latest ICC ODI rankings announced on February 4 –

Person In News

  • On February 4, this veteran Marathi actor died in Mumbai – Ramesh Bhatkar.
  • Current President of Venezuela – Nicolas Maduro.
  • Winner of the first ‘Human Fraternity Award’ by the UAE government – Pope Francis and Grand Imam Dr. Ahmed Al Tayeb.

 

General Knowledge

  • Capital of United Arab Emirates (UAE) – Abu Dhabi.
  • Currency for United Arab Emirates (UAE) –
  • Capital of Venezuela –
  • Currency of Venezuela – Venezuelan Bolivar.

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