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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 9 June 2020

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. India is all set to be UNSC’s non-permanent member.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Direct seeding of rice.

2. Shapes of economic recovery.

3. Rising forex reserves and its importance.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT).

2. About CAT.

3. COVID BEEP app.

4. NAIMISHA 2020.

5. Gairsain becomes Uttarakhand’s summer capital.

6. India’s first online waste exchange platform.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

India is all set to be UNSC’s non-permanent member

What to study?

For Prelims: About UNSC- composition, objectives and functions.

For Mains: Role and significance of UNSC, need for UNSC reforms, why India should be given permanent membership?

Context: India is all set to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the eighth time.

Background:

Elections will be held on June 17 by the UN General Assembly to elect five of the ten nonpermanent members.

India is the single candidate in the Asia-Pacific group and would return to the council after a decade starting January 2021.

How are non- permanent members elected?

Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members out of a total of 10, for a two-year term.

Distribution of seats: These 10 seats are distributed among the regions thus: five for African and Asian countries; one for Eastern European countries; two for Latin American and Caribbean countries; two for Western European and other countries.

Of the five seats for Africa and Asia, three are for Africa and two for Asia; there is an informal understanding between the two groups to reserve one for an Arab country. The Africa and Asia Pacific group takes turns every two years to put up an Arab candidate.

Elections:

Elections for terms beginning in even-numbered years select two African members, and one each within Eastern Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean. Terms beginning in odd-numbered years consist of two Western European and Other members, and one each from Asia-Pacific, Africa, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Votes:

Irrespective of whether a country is a “clean slate” candidate and has been endorsed by its group, it needs to secure the votes of two-thirds of the members present and voting at the General Assembly session (a minimum of 129 votes if all 193 member states participate).

When contested, the elections for non-permanent seats can be fraught and can go on for several rounds, In 1975, there was a contest between India and Pakistan, which went to eight rounds. Pakistan won the seat that year. In 1996, India lost a contest to Japan.

About UNSC:

What is it?

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security.

Its powers include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of international sanctions, and the authorization of military action through Security Council resolutions; it is the only UN body with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.

Permanent Members: The Security Council consists of fifteen members. Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, and the United States—serve as the body’s five permanent members. These permanent members can veto any substantive Security Council resolution, including those on the admission of new member states or candidates for Secretary-General.

Proposed reforms:

Reform of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) encompasses five key issues:

  1. categories of membership.
  2. the question of the veto held by the five permanent members.
  3. regional representation.
  4. the size of an enlarged Council and its working methods.
  5. the Security Council-General Assembly relationship.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Name the permanent members of UNSC?
  2. How are non permanent members elected?
  3. Voting powers at UNSC.
  4. How are non permanent seats distributed?
  5. UNGA vs UNSC.

Mains Link:

Discuss why India should be given a permanent seat at the UNSC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related con

Direct seeding of rice

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: DSR- significance, need for and limitations.

Context: The Punjab government has decided to deploy direct seeding of rice (DSR) technique instead of the traditional transplantation of paddy this year due to the shortfall of agricultural labourers triggered by reverse migration in the wake of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

What is Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR)?

Here, the pre-germinated seeds are directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.

There is no nursery preparation or transplantation involved in this method. Farmers have to only level their land and give one pre-sowing irrigation.

How is it different from conventional method?

In transplanting paddy, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.

The nursery seed bed is 5-10% of the area to be transplanted. These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the puddled field.

 Advantage of DSR:

Water savings. The first irrigation (apart from the pre-sowing rauni) under DSR is necessary only 21 days after sowing. This is unlike in transplanted paddy, where watering has to be done practically daily to ensure submerged/flooded conditions in the first three weeks.

Less Labour. About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy at almost Rs 2,400 per acre.

The cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.

Reduce methane emissions due to a shorter flooding period and decreased soil disturbance compared to transplanting rice seedlings.

Limitations:

  • Non-availability of herbicides.
  • The seed requirement for DSR is also high,8-10 kg/acre, compared to 4-5 kg/acre in transplanting.
  • Further, laser land levelling is compulsory in DSR. This is not so in transplanting.
  • The sowing needs to be done timely so that the plants have come out properly before the monsoon rains arrive.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are herbicides?
  2. India’s largest rice producing states.
  3. Suitable climatic conditions for rice.
  4. Who announces MSP?
  5. What is green revolution?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR).

Sources: down to earth.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Shapes of economic recovery

What to study?

For Prelims: Shapes of economic recovery and features.

For Mains: India’s scenario and what should be the ideal recovery path?

Context: Most economists are unanimous that in the current financial year, India’s economy will contract.

  • The difference of opinion is only about the extent of this contraction.
  • The range varies between minus 4% to minus 14%.

Many economists are of the opinion that after hitting rock bottom this year, the economy will start its recovery in the next financial year (2021-22).

What should be the ideal shape of the economic recovery for India?

Given the weakness of the economy going into the Covid crisis as well as the less than adequate fiscal stimulus, India is likely to end up with an “elongated U-shape” recovery.

Shapes:

The Z-shaped recovery is the most-optimistic scenario in which the economy quickly rises like a phoenix after a crash. It more than makes up for lost ground (think revenge-buying after the lockdowns are lifted) before settling back to the normal trend-line, thus forming a Z-shaped chart.

Z-Shaped_Recovery

In V-shaped recovery the economy quickly recoups lost ground and gets back to the normal growth trend-line.

V-Shaped_Recovery

A U-shaped recovery is a scenario in which the economy, after falling, struggles and muddles around a low growth rate for some time, before rising gradually to usual levels.

U-Shaped_Recovery

A W-shaped recovery is a dangerous creature — growth falls and rises, but falls again before recovering yet again, thus forming a W-like chart.

w-Shaped_Recovery

The L-shaped recovery is the worst-case scenario, in which growth after falling, stagnates at low levels and does not recover for a long, long time.

L-Shaped_Recovery

The J-shaped recovery is a somewhat unrealistic scenario, in which growth rises sharply from the lows much higher than the trend-line and stays there.

other_shapes

Other shapes:

  1. There is also the Swoosh shaped recovery, similar to the Nike logo — in between the V-shape and the U-shape. Here, after falling, growth starts recovering quickly but then, slowed down by obstacles, moves gradually back to the trend-line.
  2. There is also the Inverted square root shaped recovery. Financier George Soros, who coined this term years ago, explained that while there could a rebound from the bottom, the growth slows and settles a step down.

Factors responsible:

The shape of economic recovery is determined by both the speed and direction of GDP prints. This depends on multiple factors including fiscal and monetary measures, consumer incomes and sentiment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Have a brief overview of various curves mentioned above.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Rising forex reserves and its importance

What to study?

For Prelims: Components of Forex reserves.

For Mains: Rising forex- reasons, significance and how to utilise it?

Context: Amid pandemic, India’s foreign exchange reserves are rising and are slated to hit the $500 billion mark soon.

In the month of May, forex reserves jumped by $12.4 billion to an all-time high of $493.48 billion (around Rs 37.30 lakh crore) for the week ended May 29.

Important fact for Prelims:

The level of foreign exchange reserves has steadily increased by 8,400 per cent from $5.8 billion as of March 1991 to the current level.

What are forex reserves?

Forex reserves are external assets in the form of gold, SDRs (special drawing rights of the IMF) and foreign currency assets (capital inflows to the capital markets, FDI and external commercial borrowings) accumulated by India and controlled by the Reserve Bank of India. 

Why they are important?

  1. Official foreign exchange reserves are held in support of a range of objectives like supporting and maintaining confidence in the policies for monetary and exchange rate management including the capacity to intervene in support of the national or union currency.
  2. It will also limit external vulnerability by maintaining foreign currency liquidity to absorb shocks during times of crisis or when access to borrowing is curtailed.

Why are forex reserves rising despite the slowdown in the economy?

Rise in investment in foreign portfolio investors in Indian stocks and foreign direct investments (FDIs).

Fall in crude oil prices has brought down the oil import bill, saving the precious foreign exchange.

Overseas remittances and foreign travels have fallen steeply – down 61 per cent in April from $12.87 billion.

What’s the significance of rising forex reserves?

The rising forex reserves give a lot of comfort to the government and the Reserve Bank of India in managing India’s external and internal financial issues at a time when the economic growth is set to contract by 1.5 per cent in 2020-21.

It’s a big cushion in the event of any crisis on the economic front and enough to cover the import bill of the country for a year.

The rising reserves have also helped the rupee to strengthen against the dollar.

Reserves will provide a level of confidence to markets that a country can meet its external obligations, demonstrate the backing of domestic currency by external assets, assist the government in meeting its foreign exchange needs and external debt obligations and maintain a reserve for national disasters or emergencies.

Where are India’s forex reserves kept?

The RBI Act, 1934 provides the overarching legal framework for deployment of reserves in different foreign currency assets and gold within the broad parameters of currencies, instruments, issuers and counterparties.

As much as 64 per cent of the foreign currency reserves is held in the securities like Treasury bills of foreign countries, mainly the US.

28 per cent is deposited in foreign central banks.

7.4 per cent is also deposited in commercial banks abroad.

India also held 653.01 tonnes of gold as of March 2020, with 360.71 tonnes being held overseas in safe custody with the Bank of England and the Bank for International Settlements, while the remaining gold is held domestically.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Components of forex reserves?
  2. Who handles it?
  3. Does RBI earn any returns on them?
  4. Trends in forex reserves over the last decade.

Mains Link:

Discuss how rising forex reserves are beneficial for India’s economy.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


Airborne Rescue Pod for Isolated Transportation (ARPIT):

Designed, developed and manufactured by Indian Air Force.

The pod is used for the evacuation of critical patients with infectious diseases from the high altitude, remote and isolated areas across the country.

  • It has a transparent and durable cast Perspex for enhanced patient visibility which is larger, higher, and wider than the existing models.
  • The ARPIT uses High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) H-13 class filters and supports invasive ventilation using Transport Ventilator.

HEPA

About CAT:

The Central Administrative Tribunal was established by an Act of Parliament namely Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985 as sequel to the 42nd amendment of the Constitution of India inserting Article 323 A.

Functions: The tribunal adjudicates disputes and complaints with respect to Recruitment and Conditions of Service of the persons appointed to the Public Services and Posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or any State or of any other Local Authorities within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India.

Composition: The Tribunal is headed by the Chairman and 65 Members, 33 from Judicial (including Chairman) and 33 from the Administrative stream. The Chairman is normally a retired Chief Justice of a High Court.

Why in News?

18th Bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) for the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh inaugurated recently.

“COVID BEEP” App:

It is country’s first indigenous wireless physiological parameters monitoring system for the COVID 19 affected patients.

Developed by Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) medical college, Hyderabad in collaboration with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad and the Department of Atomic Energy.

COVID BEEP stands for Continuous Oxygenation and Vital Information Detection Biomed ECIL ESIC Pod.

NAIMISHA 2020:

It is an initiative to provide a chance to participants and art enthusiasts to create and learn from practising artists.

  • The programme includes online workshops sessions on painting, sculpture, printmaking and indrajaal (an interdisciplinary creative workshop).
  • Organised by National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA).
  • The exhibition of selected artworks from the program will be displayed on So’ham, the cultural media platform of NGMA.

Gairsain becomes Uttarakhand’s summer capital:

Gairsain in Chamoli district was formally declared as the summer capital of Uttarakhand.

  • It would be developed as an ideal seat of the administration.
  • The Legislative Assembly of the state is located at Dehradun, the winter capital city.

India’s first online waste exchange platform:

  • Launched by the Andhra Pradesh Government.
  • It will help the authorities monitor the movement of hazardous waste real-time using the tools incorporated in the platform.
  • The platform will be handled by the AP Environment Management Corporation (APEMC).
  • The APEMC will streamline collection of the waste from industries, sort and streamline the waste as hazardous or non-hazardous or e-waste according to category, and scientifically dispose it off at various waste disposal centres.

 

Note:

The following articles will be covered tomorrow:

  1. Powers of LG of Delhi.
  2. UV rays.
  3. And few other.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper