Current Affairs for IAS PCS HCS : 10 January 2019

Current Affairs : 10 January 2019

Paper 1:

Topics covered:

  1. Women related issues.

 

Web- Wonder Women Campaign

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Features and significance of the campaign.

 

Context: The Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India has launched an online campaign Web- Wonder Women to discover and celebrate the exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change via social media.

 

About the Campaign:

The Campaign has been launched by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India in association with the NGO Breakthrough and Twitter India.

Through the campaign, the Ministry aims to recognize the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive & niche campaigns to steer a change in society. The Campaign is aimed at encouraging, recognizing and acknowledging the efforts of these meritorious Women.

Selection: Based on the nominations received from a large number of categories including Health, Media, Literature, Art, Sports, Environmental protection, fashion, the entries would be shortlisted. Then the shortlisted entries will be open for public voting on Twitter. The finalists would then be selected by the panel of judges.

 

Sources: toi.

Paper 1 and 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Social empowerment.
  2. population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  3. Effects of globalization on Indian society.
  4. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  5. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Universal Basic Income

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: UBI- key facts, achievements of Sikkim.
  • For Mains: UBI in India- need, concerns, challenges and alternatives.

 

Context: Sikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), recently declared to include the Universal Basic Income scheme in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly election in 2019 and aims to implement it by 2022. If everything goes according to the plan, it will be the first state to implement UBI in India.

Sikkim has set up examples in the country in different areas in the past also, some of them being:

  • Sikkim is the best state for women in the workplace, thanks to its high rates of female workforce participation, there’s less crime against women.
  • Sikkim’s literacy rate increased to 82.2% from 68.8% in 2001, among the country’s highest.
  • Sikkim is the least populated state in India, has its per capita GDP growing in double digits since 2004-05.
  • Sikkim also decreased its poverty ratio by 22% to 51,000 (8.2%) in 2011-12 from 1.7 lakh (30.9%) in 2004-05.
  • Sikkim also became the first fully organic state.

 

What is Universal Basic Income?

Universal Basic Income (UBI) is a programme for providing all citizens of a country or other geographic area/state with a given sum of money, regardless of their income, resources or employment status.

The main idea behind UBI is to prevent or reduce poverty and increase equality among citizens. The essential principle behind Universal basic income is the idea that all citizens are entitled to a livable income, irrespective of the circumstances they’re born in.

Sources: toi.

Mains Question: Examine the arguments in favour and against introduction of universal basic income.

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

RBI allows tokenization of card transactions

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Tokenization- meaning, significance, key facts and concerns associated.

 

Context: The Reserve Bank of India has allowed tokenization of debit, credit and prepaid card transactions to enhance the safety of the digital payments ecosystem in the country.

  • The bank has offered permission for the process using all types of payment services and methods, including near-field communication (NFC), magnetic secure transmission (MST), in-app payment methods and cloud services.

 

What is Tokenization?

Tokenization will replace card details with a code, called a “token,” which will be specifically for the card, the token requestor and the device being used to pay. Instead of the card’s details, the token will act as the card at point of sale (POS) terminals and quick response (QR) code payment systems. The goal of the process is to improve the safety and security of payments.

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 2 and 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
  2. Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Gold monetization program

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features, significance and potential of the programme.

 

Context: Reserve Bank of India has allowed central and state governments and entities owned by them to deposit gold under its Gold Monetization Scheme. Furthermore, charitable institutions have also been made eligible to deposit gold with banks to earn interest under the program.

 

About the Gold Monetization Scheme:

Gold Monetization Scheme was launched in 2015. The basic aim of this scheme is to monetise all the gold which is lying idle with individuals or institutions like banks.

 

The key features of Gold Monetization scheme are as follows:

  • The persons can open Gold Saving Account in designated banks and anyone can deposit physical gold via BIS certified collection, purity testing centres (CPTCs). The minimum amount of gold thus deposited is 30 gms, no upper limit.
  • The gold is deposited for short term (1-3 years), medium term (5-7 years) and long term (12-15 years).
  • The gold thus collected is sent to refineries and banks have tripartite / bipartite agreements with refineries and CPTCs.
  • On maturity, one can get back the cash / physical gold for short term deposits and cash only for long term deposits.
  • The scheme allows banks’ customers to deposit their idle gold holdings for a fixed period in return for interest in the range of 2.25 per cent to 2.50 per cent.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Mains Question: “The recent gold bond scheme and gold monetization scheme can help deepen the financial sector.” Discuss.

 

Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: The proposed regional forum, need, concerns and significance.

 

Context: In a diplomatic initiative to address the lingering conflicts and mistrust in the Gulf region, Iran has proposed a new platform for regional peace building.

 

About the proposed Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum:

The announcement of Persian Gulf Regional Dialogue Forum is significant as it comes in the wake of continued erosion of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which in the recent years has been divided between the Iranian and the Saudi spheres.

The new forum could focus on promotion of peace and prosperity in the region. Such a forum should offer membership to countries based on a set of general principles to address real issues that affect people of the region and the world.

Admission to such a forum should be based on accepting generally-recognised principles and shared objectives, notably respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity and the political independence of all states. The forum should render international boundaries inviolable and use of force impermissible.

Agenda of the forum: It could connect people of various member countries cutting across all traditional boundaries.

Effectiveness: Such a forum shall be helpful in dealing with threats like terrorism and extremism that has left the countries of the region in a state of continuous state of insecurity.

The member countries will have to follow a set of confidence building measures. These measures could include freedom of navigation, assurance of free flow of energy and other resources and protection of the fragile marine ecology of the Gulf.

 

About GCC:

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is a political and economic alliance of six Middle Eastern countries—Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman.

The GCC was established in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in May 1981. The purpose of the GCC is to achieve unity among its members based on their common objectives and their similar political and cultural identities, which are rooted in Arab and Islamic cultures. Presidency of the council rotates annually.

All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain), two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates, which is composed of seven member states, each of which is an absolute monarchy with its own emir).

 

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 3:

Topics Covered:

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

 

‘Private consumption, a $6 tn opportunity’

 

What to study?

  • For Prelims: About WEF.
  • For Mains: Private Consumption in India- potential, challenges and measures to address them.

 

Context: WEF has released a report titled Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market – India.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • As per the report, domestic private consumption, that accounts for a major portion of India’s gross domestic product (GDP), is expected to develop into a $6 trillion growth opportunity that would make India the world’s third-largest economy by 2030. Currently it is at $1.5 trillion.
  • The potential, however, offers both challenges and opportunities as India would have to address critical societal issues, including skill development and employment of the future workforce, socio-economic inclusion of rural India and creating a healthy and sustainable future for its citizens.
  • If realised, this would make India’s consumer market, the third-largest in the world, behind the U.S. and China.

 

Major driving factors:

  • The future of consumption in India in 2030 is anchored in rising incomes and a broad-based pattern of growth and benefit sharing.
  • The growth of the middle class would lift nearly 25 million households out of poverty and further, India would have 700 million millennials and Gen Z consumers, who have grown up in a more open and confident country.

 

Challenges ahead:

The potential would only materialise if business and policy-makers pursue an inclusive approach towards the economic and consumption growth. The study identified three critical societal challenges that need to be addressed.

Skill gaps: With nearly 10-12 million working-age people expected to emerge in India over the next decade, the country faces a huge challenge in providing the workforce with the right skills. More than one-half of Indian workers will require reskilling by 2022 to meet the talent demands of the future, stated the report.

Access-barriers: India will have to manage socio-economic inclusion of rural India as, by 2030, 40% of Indians will be urban residents. Physical connectivity, digital connectivity and financial inclusion income is constraining the spending and well-being of rural dwellers, and these ‘access-barriers’ need to be addressed to ensure social and economic inclusion in India over the next decade.

Business and policy-makers will have to take the initiative on improving health and liveability for India’s citizens by providing them with access to affordable healthcare, promoting sustainable development, and seeking solutions to urban congestion.

 

Sources: the hindu.

Paper 1 and 3:

Topics Covered:

  1. Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
  2. Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways, etc.
  3. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Gangajal Project

 

Context: Giving a major push to develop and enhance Tourism infrastructure in Agra, the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched a series of development projects worth Rs. 2900 Crores for the Agra city and the adjoining areas.

About Gangajal Project:

  • It aims to bring 140 cusecs of Ganga Water to Agra which will help meet the drinking water demands in the city.
  • It will provide Agra with better and more assured water supply, at an estimated cost of Rs. 2880 crores.
  • The project was launched in 2005 in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency and was scheduled to be completed by March 2012 but the project has missed several deadlines.
  • Under the Gangajal project, Agra will get 140 cusec water supply per day from Palra headworks in Bulandshahr’s Upper Ganga canal.

Source: PIB

Facts for Prelims:

 

‘Sambhav’:

 

Context: Men Against Violence and Abuse (MAVA), which works to prevent gender-based violence, will travel to nine cities and four districts this year with its two-day travelling film festival called ‘Sambhav’.

About the festival: The festival tries to cover the lives and issues of all genders. There are films on gender discrimination and sexual harassment but also on toxic masculinity and its impact on men and boys. There are also films portraying the stigma and inhumane treatment faced by homosexual and transgender people.

 

Olof Palme Prize:

Context: Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, a former US military analyst who exposed Washington’s secret war plans for Vietnam in 1971, has won the 2018 Olof Palme human rights prize.

About the Prize:

The Olof Palme Prize is an annual prize worth $75,000 (65,500 euros) awarded by the Swedish labour movement. It commemorates the memory of Sweden’s Social Democratic prime minister Olof Palme, an outspoken international human rights advocate — and vehement opponent of US involvement in the Vietnam War — who was assassinated in Stockholm in 1986.

 

India’s longest single-lane steel cable suspension bridge in Arunachal Pradesh:

 

Context: India’s longest single-lane steel cable suspension bridge has been inaugurated over Siang River in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The bridge is 300-metre-long and is also known as byorung bridge. The bridge will reduce the distance between Yingkiong and Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh by almost 40 km.

Siang River: The Tsangpo river, which originates in the Angsi Glacier in the Himalayas, enters India through Arunachal Pradesh where it is called by name Siang. The river is also called as Dihang in the plain regions. It is joined by the rivers Dibang and Lohit.

 

World Hindi Day 2019:

 

Context: World Hindi Day is celebrated on January 10 every year, marking the anniversary of first World Hindi Conference which was held in 1975 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

World Hindi Day was first observed on January 10, 2006. Since then, it is celebrated on January 10 every year.

 

World Hindi Day vs National Hindi Diwas:

National Hindi Diwas is celebrated every year on September 14. On that day in 1949, the constituent assembly adopted Hindi, written in Devanagari script, as the official language of the Union.

While the focus of the World Hindi Day is to promote the language at the global stage, the National Hindi Diwas, which is held across the country at a national level, marks adaptation of Hindi, written in Devanagari script as the official language.

 

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