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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 3 April 2020

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Agriculture Market.

2. What is geofencing?

3. GRACE-FO mission.

 

GS Paper 4:

1. How COVID-19 outbreak slipped through China’s system?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Operation Sanjeevani.

2. What is National Cadet Corps?

3. AarogyaSetu

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian and its neighbourhood. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Financial Action Task Force (FATF)

What to study?

For Prelims: FATF, Grey list, G7.

For Mains: What is Grey list and Black list, how are countries in the list affected?

Context: The decision by a Pakistani court in Sindh to acquit Ahmed Omar Sheikh Saeed of murdering journalist Daniel Pearl will be raised by India at the next meeting of the Financial Action Task Force, where Pakistan’s greylist status will come up for discussion.

The accused in the murder of a U.S. journalist had been released by India in 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages.

About FATF:

What is it? The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.

It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.

The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Roles and functions:

  • Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
  • In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Composition:

The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe. It also has observers and associate members.

Objectives:

To set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

What is blacklist and grey list?

Black List: Countries knowns as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Considered in the grey list may face:

  1. Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
  2. Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries.
  3. Reduction in international trade.
  4. International boycott.

Who is FATF President? 

The FATF President is a senior official appointed by the FATF Plenary from among its members for a term of one year.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. G7 vs G8 vs G20.
  2. Black vs Grey list.
  3. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  4. Who heads the FATF?
  5. Where is its secretariat?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate and objectives of Financial Action Task Force? Discuss its importance for India – Pakistan relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: e-technology in the aid of farmers.

National Agriculture Market

What to study?

For Prelims: NAM- features.

For Mains: Need for and significance.

Context: Union Agriculture Minister launches new features of e-NAM platform.
They are important steps in our fight against COVID-19.

  • They will strengthen agriculture marketing & reduce the need for cultivators to physically come to the mandis to sell their produce.

The newly launched software modules are namely:

  • Warehouse based trading module in e-NAM software to facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR.
  • FPO trading module in e-NAM whereby FPOs can trade their produce from their collection center without bringing the produce to APMC.
  • Enhanced version of logistic module has been released whereby aggregators of transport logistic platform have on boarded which helps users to avail trackable transport facilities for transporting their produce.

What is e-NAM?

E-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is an online trading platform for agriculture produce aiming to help farmers, traders, and buyers with online trading and getting a better price by smooth marketing.

It was launched by the Centre in 2015 and the government had to extend it in a phased manner across the 585 mandis of the country by December 31, 2019.

Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

Agriculture_market_portel

NAM has the following advantages:

For the farmers, NAM promises more options for sale. It would increase his access to markets through warehouse-based sales and thus obviate the need to transport his produce to the mandi.

For the local trader in the mandi / market, NAM offers the opportunity to access a larger national market for secondary trading.

Bulk buyers, processors, exporters etc. benefit from being able to participate directly in trading at the local mandi / market level through the NAM platform, thereby reducing their intermediation costs.

  • The gradual integration of all the major mandis in the States into NAM will ensure common procedures for issue of licences, levy of fee and movement of produce.
  • The NAM will also facilitate the emergence of value chains in major agricultural commodities across the country and help to promote scientific storage and movement of agri goods.

Need for:

  • Fragmentation of state into multiple market areas.
  • Poor quality of infrastructure and low use of technology.
  • In the traditional mandi system, farmers generally procured very less price for their crops as they had to pass through various intermediaries at the physical marketplace. This not only adds costs but also handling costs.
  • In addition, the farmer has to face obstacles in form of multiple tax levies and licenses and weak logistics and infrastructure in India.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who implements eNAM?
  2. Composition of SFAC.
  3. Which states have not implemented eNAM?
  4. What are APMCs? How are they administered?

Mains Link:

Write a note the National Agriculture Market (eNAM).

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

What is geofencing?

What to study?

For Prelims: Meaning, features and how it works?

For Mains: Significance, associated concerns.

Context: The centre has tested an application that triggers e-mails and SMS alerts to an authorised government agency if a person has jumped quarantine or escaped from isolation, based on the person’s mobile phone’s cell tower location. The “geo-fencing” is accurate by up to 300 m.

Background:

The States have been asked to seek the approval of their Home Secretaries under the provisions of Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, for the specified mobile phone numbers to request the DoT to provide information by email or SMS in case of violation of “geo-fencing”.

What is geofencing?

It is a location-based service in which an app or other software uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger a pre-programmed action when a mobile device or RFID tag enters or exits a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location, known as a geofence.

Depending on how a geofence is configured it can prompt mobile push notifications, trigger text messages or alerts, send targeted advertisements on social media, allow tracking on vehicle fleets, disable certain technology or deliver location-based marketing data.

How geofencing works?

To make use of geofencing, an administrator or developer must first establish a virtual boundary around a specified location in GPS- or RFID-enabled software.

This virtual geofence will then trigger a response when an authorized device enters or exits that area, as specified by the administrator or developer.

Other applications of geofence:

  1. Social networking.
  2. Marketing
  3. Audience engagement.
  4. Smart appliances.
  5. Human Resource management.
  6. Telematics.
  7. Security

Geo_Fence

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. RFID GS WiFi.
  2. GPRS vs GPS.
  3. What is TRAI?
  4. What is Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of geofencing in the COVID 19 spread in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

GRACE-FO mission

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key features and objectives of the mission.

Context: New satellite-based, weekly global maps of soil moisture and groundwater wetness conditions were developed by US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) on March 31, 2020.

How were these maps produced?

Data available from NASA and German Research Center for Geosciences’ Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow On (GRACE-FO) satellites was used to derive these global maps.

  • The satellite-based observations of changes in water distribution were integrated with other data within a computer model that simulated water and energy cycles.
  • The model then produced — among other outputs — time-varying maps of the distribution of water at three depths: Surface soil moisture, root zone soil moisture (roughly the top three feet of soil) and shallow groundwater.
  • The maps have a resolution of up to 8.5 miles, providing continuous data on moisture and groundwater conditions across the landscape.

Why do we need these data?

The scientific community believes data available through this project would fill existing gaps in understanding the full picture of wet and dry conditions that can lead to drought.

These tools are absolutely critical to helping us address and offset some of the impacts anticipated, whether it is from population growth, climate change or just increased water consumption in general.

The data would also help in managing the selection of appropriate agricultural crops and predicting yields.

About GRACE- FO mission:

The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-on (GRACE-FO) mission is a partnership between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ).

GRACE-FO is a successor to the original GRACE mission, which began orbiting Earth on March 17, 2002. The GRACE missions measure variations in gravity over Earth’s surface, producing a new map of the gravity field every 30 days.

  • GRACE-FO will continue the work of tracking Earth’s water movement to monitor changes in underground water storage, the amount of water in large lakes and rivers, soil moisture, ice sheets and glaciers, and sea level caused by the addition of water to the ocean.
  • These discoveries provide a unique view of Earth’s climate and have far-reaching benefits to society and the world’s population.

Sources: down to earth.

 


GS Paper  : 4


 

How  COVID-19 outbreak slipped through China’s system?

Context: Nearly, 1 million are infected by COVID 19 across the world today. Though, the spread initially started in the month of December last year, until January 19, authorities in Wuhan maintained there was no proof of human-to-human transmission.

Studies suggest while China’s January 23 lockdown of 50 million people averted an additional 7,00,000 cases outside Wuhan, interventions one week and three weeks earlier may have brought down the number by 66% and 95%, respectively.

What led to the disaster?

  1. Communication gap: Every province, city and even district in China has its own Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but these are subordinate to the health commission at every level so they do not directly report to the national level.
  2. Encroachment on freedom of speech: Doctors were told that they could not speak about what was happening in Wuhan. This downplayed the severity of the situation.
  3. Spread of infection: By the time the Wuhan province came under lockdown, as many as 5 million people had left.

Learning:

China finally came out in public on January 10 explaining the severing the situation. Only it was too late for the world. If they had acted earlier, say by January 7, it may have been an entirely different equation. The most important lesson is there has to be more transparency and an open environment for sharing and discussion. 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Operation Sanjeevani:

An Indian Air Force (IAF) C-130J transport aircraft recently delivered 6.2 tonne of essential medicines and hospital consumables to Maldives under Operation Sanjeevani.

Among other things, these medicines include influenza vaccines, anti-viral drugs such as lopinavir and ritonavir — which have been used to treat patients with COVID-19 in other countries.

Operation_Sanjeevani

What is National Cadet Corps?

It is a youth development movement. It came into existence under the National Cadet Corps Act XXXI of 1948.

It is a Tri-Services Organization, comprising the Army, Navy and Air Force, engaged in grooming the youth of the country into disciplined and patriotic citizens.

  • The NCC provides exposure to the cadets in a wide range of activities., with a distinct emphasis on Social Services, Discipline and Adventure Training. The NCC is open to all regular students of schools and colleges on a voluntary basis. The students have no liability for active military service.

Why in News?

National Cadet Corps (NCC) has offered a helping hand to civilian authorities in the country’s fight against COVID-19 by extending the services of cadets under ‘Exercise NCC Yogdan’.

 

AarogyaSetu:

  • It is mobile app developed in public-private partnership to bring the people of India together in a resolute fight against COVID-19.
    The App joins Digital India for the health and well-being of every Indian.
  • It will enable people to assess themselves the risk for their catching the Corona Virus infection.
  • It will calculate this based on their interaction with others, using cutting edge Bluetooth technology, algorithms and artificial intelligence.

aarogya_setu


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper