INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 01 January 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. What is Merchant Discount Rate?
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.
What to study
For Prelims and Mains: About IHC, origin and objectives.
Context: Recently, the 80th session of the Indian History Congress (IHC) was held at Kannur, Kerala.
It called upon political and administrative authorities to pursue the constitutional duty of promoting composite culture, which is vital to promoting the territorial unity of India.
What is Indian History Congress?
Founded in 1935, the Indian History Congress(IHC) is the largest association of professional historians in South Asia.
- It has about 35000 members of which over 2000 delegates participate in its session every year.
- It has been holding its sessions very regularly from its inception and publishing its proceedings every year since 1935.
- Its main objective is to promote secular and scientific writing of history.
The BISM organised an All India Congress in 1935 to celebrate its silver jubilee in Pune. As an outcome, the Indian History Congress (IHC) was thus born with about 50 delegates.
The Bharata Itihasa Samshodhaka Mandala (BISM) was founded by Vishwanath Kashinath Rajwade in 1910 in Pune with the support of K C Mehendale.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Battle of Koregaon- reasons, key facts and outcomes of the battle.
Context: 202nd anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle of 1818 was observed on January 1, 2020.
About the Bhima- Koregaon battle:
A battle was fought in Bhima Koregaon, a district in Pune with a strong historical Dalit connection, between the Peshwa forces and the British on January 1, 1818. The British army, which comprised mainly of Dalit soldiers, fought the upper caste-dominated Peshwa army. The British troops defeated the Peshwa army.
Outcomes of the battle:
- The victory was seen as a win against caste-based discrimination and oppression. Peshwas were notorious for their oppression and persecution of Mahar dalits. The victory in the battle over Peshwas gave dalits a moral victory a victory against caste-based discrimination and oppression and sense of identity.
- However, the divide and rule policy of the British created multiple fissures in Indian society which is even visible today in the way of excessive caste and religious discrimination which needs to be checked keeping in mind the tenets of the Constitution.
Why Bhima Koregaon is seen as a Dalit symbol?
The battle has come to be seen as a symbol of Dalit pride because a large number of soldiers in the Company force were the Mahar Dalits. Since the Peshwas, who were Brahmins, were seen as oppressors of Dalits, the victory of the Mahar soldiers over the the Peshwa force is seen as Dalit assertion.
On 1 January 1927, B.R. Ambedkar visited the memorial obelisk erected on the spot which bears the names of the dead including nearly two dozen Mahar soldiers. The men who fought in the battle of Koregaon were the Mahars, and the Mahars are Untouchables.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: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.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key features of the Act, Citizenship Act 1955, Citizenship- acquisition and types available.
For Mains: Issues over the Bill, why NE States oppose to this bill?
Context: Kerala has become the first state in India to pass a resolution demanding rollback of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
Why? – Kerala’s arguments:
The CAA act contradicts the basic values and principles of the Constitution.
It is against the “secular” outlook and fabric of the country and would lead to religion-based discrimination in granting citizenship.
The Parliament had passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 on December 11, 2019. The act had triggered widespread protests across India and created fear of discrimination based on religion.
Kerala has already put on hold all the activities in connection with the National Population Register (NPR) considering the anxiety among people that it relates to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
What’s the issue now?
The Centre has clarified that the CAA act will not impact any Indian citizen including Muslims.
The clarification has failed to have any impact on the protests, with many states announcing that they will not implement the law.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019:
- It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenshipby amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.
- It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities —Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
- The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.
Why is it criticised?
- It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
- It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
- It makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
- It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
- It allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.
Sources: The Hindu.
Topics Covered:Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key findings, performance of various states.
For Mains: Concerns and challenges highlighted, ways to address them.
Context: Results (July-September) of ‘Swachh Survekshan League 2020‘ have been released.
SS League is conducted in three quarters (April-June, July-September and October-December) with the objective of sustaining the on-ground performance of cities along with monitoring of when it comes to cleanliness.
Swachh Survekshan 2020 is the 5th edition of the annual urban cleanliness survey conducted by the Ministry.
Performance of various states:
- Cleanest city: Indore for the fourth time in a row.
- Worst performer:
- In the category of cities having population more than 10 lakh, Bhopal stood second in first quarter results (April to June), while Rajkot grabbed the second spot in second quarter results (July-September) of ‘Swachh Survekshan League 2020’.
- The third position was grabbed by Surat in the first quarter and Navi Mumbai in the second quarter.
- In the second quarter, Vodara was ranked fourth, followed by Bhopal, Ahmedabad, Nashik, Greater Mumbai, Allahabad and Lucknow.
- Among cantonment boards, Tamil Nadu’s St.Thomas Mount Cantt was ranked 1st in quarter 1 whereas Delhi Cantt ranked first in the 2nd quarter.
- Secunderabad Cantonment Board in Hyderabad is the worst performer among other cantonment boards.
All About Swachh Survekshan:
- The process of ranking cities and town of India on the basis of cleanliness was first conducted in 2016, which covered 73 cities.
- The second and third round of the survey in 2017 and 2018 widened the coverage of the assessment to 434 cities with a population of one lakh and above and 4,203 cities respectively.
Objectives of Swachh Survekshan:
- The annual cleanliness survey aims to encourage large scale participation of citizens in cleanliness drives.
- It aims to ensure sustainability of initiatives taken towards garbage free and open defecation free cities.
- It aims to create awareness among all sections of the society regarding the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in.
Sources: The Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered:Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key Features of the scheme.
For Mains: Significance, relevance and need for the scheme, concerns and challenges over its implementation, is it sufficient?
Context: The Centre will transfer over Rs. 12,000 crore to the bank accounts of more than 6 crore farmers under the flagship PM-Kisan Scheme.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi:
Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs. 2,000 each.
The complete expenditure of Rs 75000 crore for the scheme will borne by the Union Government in 2019-20.
What is a small and marginal landholder family?
It comprises of husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectares as per the land records of the concerned states.
Significance of the scheme:
Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this. It would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season. It would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.
Similar programmes by states:
Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana in Madhya Pradesh was sought to provide relief to farmers by providing the differential between MSPs and market prices.
The Rythu Bandhu scheme of the Telangana provides ₹4,000 per acre for every season to all the farmers of the state. Similar initiatives have also be framed in Jharkhand and Odisha.
Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income augmentation (KALIA) of Odisha is more complicated in design and implementation. It commits to give Rs 5,000 per SMF, twice a year, that is Rs 10,000 a year.
Sources: The Hindu.
Topics Covered: Infrastructure related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features of NIP.
For Mains: Funding, need for and significance.
Context: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has unveiled a ₹102 lakh crore national infrastructure pipeline, in accordance with the Narendra Modi government’s vision to make India a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
The finance ministry had set up a task force headed by Economic Affairs Secretary to prepare a road map for the “national infrastructure pipeline” from 2019-20 to 2024-25 under the ₹100 lakh crore infra plan.
- Irrigation and rural infrastructure projects would account for ₹7.7 lakh crore each. ₹3.07 lakh crore would be spent on industrial infrastructure. Agriculture and social infrastructure would account for the rest.
- Road projects will account for ₹19.63 lakh crore while another ₹13.68 lakh crore would be for railway projects.
- Port projects would see spending of ₹1 lakh crore and airports another ₹1.43 lakh crore. ₹16.29 lakh crore would be spent on urban infrastructure and ₹3.2 lakh crore in telecom projects.
- According to the sector-wise break-up of projects made available by the Finance Ministry, ₹24.54 lakh crore investment will flow in the energy sector, and of that ₹11.7 lakh crore would be in just the power sector.
- ₹42 lakh crore NIP projects which are in the implementation stage now include expressways, national gas grid and PMAY-G.
About the National Infrastructure Pipeline and it’s significance:
It is estimated that India would need to spend $4.5 trillion on infrastructure by 2030 to sustain its growth rate. The endeavour of the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), is to make this happen in an efficient manner.
Funding: The central government and state governments would have an equal share of 39% each in the NIP. The private sector, on the other hand, would have 22% share which the government expects to increase to 30% by 2025.
- National Infrastructure Pipeline will ensure that infrastructure projects are adequately prepared and launched.
- Each Ministry/ Department would be responsible for the monitoringof projects so as to ensure their timely and within-cost implementation.
- It will help in stepping-up annual infrastructure investment to achieve the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $5 trillion by 2024-25.
Need for infrastructure funding:
- Availability of quality infrastructure is a pre-requisite to achieve broad-based and inclusive growth on a sustainable basis.
- Investment in infrastructure is also necessary for sustaining the high growth rate of India.
Sources: The Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
What is Merchant Discount Rate?
It is a fee charged from a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from customers through credit and debit cards in their establishments.
MDR compensates the card issuing bank, the lender which puts the PoS terminal and payment gateways such as Mastercard or Visa for their services.
MDR charges are usually shared in pre-agreed proportion between the bank and a merchant and is expressed in percentage of transaction amount.
Why in News? From January onwards, all companies with a turnover of Rs 50 crore or more need to provide the facility of payment through RuPay Debit card and UPI QR code to their customers, under which no MDR fee will be charged from customers as well as merchants