Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY
D. GS4 Related:
Useful News Articles for UPSC Current Affairs
A. GS1 Related
- 2016 Indian Exclusion Report (IXR)- released by Centre for Equity Studies (CES) in New Delhi
- Crux: Dalits, Adivasis and Muslims continue to be the worst-hit communities in terms of exclusion from access to public goods
- 2016 Report reviews exclusion with respect to four public goods: pensions for the elderly, digital access, agricultural land, and legal justice for under trials.
- The groups most severely and consistently excluded from provisioning tend to the same historically disadvantaged groups: Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims, and persons with disabilities and age-related vulnerabilities
- India’s refusal to be a signatory to a non-binding UN Human Rights Council resolution to protect human rights on the Internet indicates reluctance to incorporate a rights-based approach to access.
Meagre land holdings:
- The pattern of land distribution “broadly reflects the socio-economic hierarchy — large landowners invariably belong to the upper castes, cultivators to the middle castes, and agricultural workers are largely Dalits and Adivasis.
- The rate of landlessness was highest among Dalits, at 57.3%. Among Muslims, it was 52.6%, and 56.8% of women-headed households were landless. Around 40% of all those displaced by “development activity” were Adivasis.
- Where Dalits, Muslims and women owned land, the holdings were meagre in size, with only 2.08% of Dalit households owning more than two hectares of land. Also, the quality of land owned by Dalits was very poor, with 58% of it having no irrigation facility
- Land reform efforts have not benefited Dalits, women or Muslims significantly
- Land allotments to SC/ST households were often only on paper, as allottees were forcefully evicted or not allowed to take possession
- 1.063 billion Indians were offline even though India ranks among the top five nations in terms of the total number of Internet users.
- Poverty and geographic location were the two major barriers to digital access, with urban locations enjoying better Internet penetration rates.
- IT access have been riddled with implementation problems like poor infrastructure, a lack of adequate institutional frameworks, low literacy in the targeted areas, and poor cooperation from government officials
- In the new thrust towards a cashless economy, digital exclusion can often also result in financial exclusion
What’s in news?
- The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds.
- GEAC cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields.
- Approval is dependent on a final nod from Environment Ministry.
Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH -11):
- The transgenic mustard
- Developed by a team of scientists at Delhi University led by former vice chancellor Deepak Pental under a government-funded project.
- It uses a system of genes from soil bacterium that makes mustard — generally a self pollinating plant — better suited to hybridisation than current methods.
- GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop to be allowed for commercial cultivation in Indian fields and would be a gateway for several genetically-modified food crops in India.
- GM seeds are the need of the hour, since they are able to address threats from climate change.
Bt brinjal blocked:
- Bt Brinjal was cleared by the Committee in 2010 but was blocked by then Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, who cited, among other things, a paucity of safety tests.
What is Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC)?
- It is established under Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
- It is the apex body for approval of activities involving large scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants
- It is also responsible for approval of proposals relating to release of genetically engineered organisms and products including experimental field trials
C. GS3 Related
- A new series of Index of Industrial Production (IIP) and Wholesale Price Index (WPI) will be released.
- Main motive is to bring greater accuracy and improved synchronisation among data sets, in turn leading to better policies.
- Base year revised: The base year for the IIP and the WPI will be 2011-12 and not the current 2004-05. The Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and gross value addition also have 2011-12 as the base year.
- . The new series of IIP will include technology items such as smart phones, tablets, LED television and tablets.
- The new WPI series will include toys and games as a separate group.
What’s in news?
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley held consultations with representatives of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CII) on the proposed Strategic Partnership (SP) model meant to promote the private sector in defence manufacturing.
Strategic Partnership (SP) model advantages:
- Enhance competition
- Increase efficiencies
- Facilitate faster and more significant absorption of technology
- Create a tiered industrial ecosystem
- Ensure development of a wider skill base
- Trigger innovation and enable participation in global value chains as well as promote exports.
Modalities of the model:
- Government intends to boost private sector participation and create domestic expertise in four key areas, namely, fighter aircraft, helicopters, submarines, and armoured vehicles and main battle tanks.
- Technology transfer: One company would be selected for each area based on its competence, which would then tie up with the foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer selected through the procurement process, to build the platform in India with significant technology transfer.
- SP model would block new technology and new players coming to the defence sector.
- On the other hand, existing defence players argue for committed orders for the next 30 years to give them the economies of scale as defence involves large investments.
What’s in news?
- Niti Aayog member Bibek Debroy indicated a dramatic rise in voluntary unemployment across the country, where people choose not to work below a certain income level after ‘investing’ in education.
- India is currently under the phase of ‘jobless growth’ as well as ‘growth-less jobs’ — and fail to capture the pre-dominantly informal and unorganised nature of the Indian economy.
- The primary growth in jobs will come from the services sector
- Data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy based on a household survey with a ‘reasonably decent sample size,’ indicates a raise in voluntary unemployment.
What’s in news?
- Ahmedabad civic body is launching a comprehensive Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Information and Response (AIR) plan in order to effectively battle increasing air pollution.
Air Quality Index (AQI) and Air Information and Response (AIR) plan:
- It includes an air pollution alert system and health risk communication, based on real-time data.
- The initiative by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) focuses on
- Health risk communication
- Immediate and long term actions to reduce the impact of rising air pollution.
- The new air quality monitors installed across the city will collect and report data on smog and toxic pollutants as part of the AQI.
- It will be used to inform residents on when to take precautions and minimise exposure to pollution.
- Initiative involves five key factors
- I. Health risk communication
- II. Inter-agency coordination
- III. Increasing capacity of medical professionals and
- IV. Targeted activities for vulnerable groups like school children, senior citizens and
- V. Adults with heart or lung disease.
- AQI forecast reading ‘very poor’ air quality (301-400) triggers a health alert that is to be issued by the civic body through its communication channels.
- The alert needs to be displayed in colour-coded messages on a dozen large-size LED screens installed on city roads, social media platforms and traditional media like newspapers and radio.
Global best practice:
- Ahmedabad’s AIR plan is based on global best practices on AQI health risk communication from Beijing, Los Angeles, Mexico City and New Delhi.
Nothing here for Today
- A transgene is a gene or genetic material that has been transferred naturally, or by any of a number of genetic engineering techniques from one organism to another. The introduction of a transgene (called “transgenesis”) has the potential to change the phenotype of an organism.
- In its most precise usage, the term transgene describes a segment of DNA containing a gene sequence that has been isolated from one organism and is introduced into a different organism.
Question 1: Cases in Supreme Court can be filed only through
- Senior advocates
- None of the above
Question 2: The first transgenic food crop allowed for commercial cultivation in Indian fields is
Question 3: Consider the following statement with reference to Dhara Mustard Hybrid (DMH -11)
- Transgenic mustard crop
- Cross-pollinating plant
Identify the correct statement.
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Question 4: The base year for the new series of IIP, WPI data is
Question 5: India’s first bio refinery plant has set up in which of the following state?
- Andhra Pradesh
- Tamil Nadu
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