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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 13 August 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Krishi Megh.

2. What is Business Responsibility Reporting?

3. CSIR moots ‘mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing.

4. One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative.

5. How the tiger can regain its stripes?

6. Forest Ministry releases guide to managing human-elephant conflict.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Maharashtra okays speed boat ambulance service.

2. World Elephant Day 2020.

3. Places in News- Papum Reserve Forest.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)


Context:

The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry recently said over 5 lakh applications had been received under the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme for street vendors since it started on July 2 and 1 lakh loans had been sanctioned already.

Implementing agency:

Recently, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs signed MoU with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in order to engage SIDBI as the Implementation Agency for the scheme.

  • SIDBI will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

Overview of the scheme:

  1. It is a special micro-credit facility plan to provide affordable loan of up to ₹10,000 to more than 50 lakh street vendors, who had their businesses operational on or before 24 March 2020.
  2. The the scheme is valid until March 2022.
  3. Small Industries Development Bank of India is the technical partner for implementation of this scheme.
  4. It will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises.

Loans under the scheme:

  • Under the scheme, vendors can avail working capital loan of up to  ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within one year.
  • On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on six-months basis.
  • There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.

Eligibility:

The scheme is applicable to vendors, hawkers, thelewalas, rehriwalas, theliphadwalas in different areas/contexts who supply goods and services. Street vendors belonging to the surrounding peri-urban/rural areas are also included.

Need for:

The lockdown has affected the lives and livelihoods of many especially daily wagers including street vendors who businesses were affected due to the restrictions.

  • Street vendors usually work with a small capital base taken on very high interest rates from informal sources. Further, they might have consumed their savings and high cost capital during the lockdown.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide affordable credit for working capital through formal banking channel to street vendors to help them resume the business.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Validity of the scheme.
  2. Who implements?
  3. Eligibility under the scheme?
  4. Rate of interest?
  5. What is SIDBI?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PM SVANIDHI scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Krishi Megh:


Context:

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare virtually launched the Krishi Megh (National Agricultural Research & Education System -Cloud Infrastructure and Services).

 What is it?

  • Krishi Megh is the data recovery centre of ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research).

Details:

  • Krishi Megh has been set up under the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).
  • The data recovery centre has been set up at National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), Hyderabad.

Significance and benefits of Krishi Megh:

  • Built to mitigate the risk, enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of e-governance, research, extension and education in the field of agriculture in India.
  • Krishi Megh is equipped with the latest artificial intelligence and deep learning software for building and deploying of deep learning-based applications through image analysis, disease identification in livestock, etc.
  • It enables the farmers, researchers, students and policymakers to be more equipped with the updated and latest information regarding agriculture and research.

National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP):

The project is funded by both the government of India and the World Bank.

The overall objective of the project is to provide more relevant and high-quality education to the agricultural university students that is in tune with the New Education Policy – 2020.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Funding and objective of the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).
  2. What is Krishi Megh?
  3. Where the data centre has been set up?
  4. About ICAR- formation, functions and important schemes.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of Krishi Megh.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

What is Business Responsibility Reporting?


Why in News?

Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) releases the Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting.

Key recommendations:

  1. A new reporting framework called the ‘Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR)’ has been recommended to better reflect the intent and scope of reporting on non-financial parameters.
  2. The BRSR would be integrated with the MCA 21 portal.
  3. The information captured through BRSR filings should be used to develop a Business Responsibility-Sustainability Index for companies.
  4. The top 1000 listed companies are to undertake this reporting mandatorily.
  5. The reporting requirement may be extended by MCA to unlisted companies above specified thresholds of turnover and/or paid-up capital.

What is Business Responsibility Reporting?

It is a disclosure of adoption of responsible business practices by a listed company to all its stakeholders.

  • Business Responsibility Reporting is applicable to all types of companies including manufacturing, services etc. 

Evolution of Business Responsibility Reporting in India:

  1. Corporate Voluntary Guidelines in 2009;
  2. Endorsement of United Nations Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights by India in 2011;
  3. MCA issued ‘National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economical Responsibilities of Business’ which encourages reporting on environment, social and governance issues in 2011;
  4. SEBI mandates top 100 listed companies by market capitalization to file Business Responsibility Reports (BRR) based on NVGs in 2012;
  5. SEBI extends BRR reporting to top 500 companies by market capitalization in 2015;
  6. National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC) released in 2019.

Why we need Business Responsibility Reporting?

  • At a time and age when enterprises are increasingly seen as critical components of the social system, they are accountable not merely to their shareholders from a revenue and profitability perspective but also to the larger society which is also its stakeholder.
  • This is important considering the fact that these companies have accessed funds from the public, have an element of public interest involved, and are obligated to make exhaustive disclosures on a regular basis.

Business_responsibility

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Meaning of BRR.
  2. Its evolution in India.
  3. SEBI guidelines in this regard.
  4. What is MCA 21 portal?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and evolution of BRR in India.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

CSIR moots ‘mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing:


Context:

To speed up testing as well as improve the accuracy of testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) positive cases, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing “mega labs”.

  • In these labs, large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS), which are also used for sequencing human genomes, will be repurposed to sequence 1,500-3,000 viral genomes at a go for detecting the SARS-CoV-2 novel coronavirus.

Significance and benefits of these mega labs:

  • These genome sequencing machines can substantially detect the possible presence of the virus even in several instances where the traditional RT-PCR(reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) tests miss out on them.
  • RT-PCR test identifies the SARS-CoV-2 virus by exploring only specific sections of the virus whereas the genome method can read a bigger chunk of virus genome and thereby provide more certainty that the virus in question is indeed the particular coronavirus of interest.
  • It can also trace the evolutionary history of the virus and track mutations more reliably.
  • The NGS does not need primers and probes, and only needs custom reagents.

What is Genome Sequencing?

It is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine that make up an organism’s DNA.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Genome Sequencing?
  2. How it works?
  3. RNA vs DNA.
  4. How RT- PCR works?
  5. What kind of virus is the

Mains Link:

What is genome sequencing? How it helps prevent the spread of COVID 19?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative:


Context:

The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has put calls for proposals to the One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative on hold till further notice.

About the initiative:

OSOWOG initiative was proposed by India to set up a framework for facilitating global cooperation which aims at building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources that can be easily shared.

Details of the initiative:

Parent Body: The Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Objective: To build global consensus about sharing solar resources among more than 140 countries of West Asia and South-East Asia.

The vision is ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time.

This grid shall be interconnected with the African power pools also at the later stage.

It has been taken up under the technical assistance program of the World Bank.

Potential and benefits of the initiative:

  • India would generate 40% of power from non-fossil fuels by 2030 and has called for connecting solar energy supply across borders giving the mantra of ‘One World One Sun One Grid’.
  • The proposed integration would lead to reduced project costs, higher efficiencies and increased asset utilization for all the participating entities.
  • This plan will require only incremental investment because it will not require a parallel grid infrastructure due to working with existing grids.
  • It will help all the participating entities in attracting investments in renewable energy sources as well as utilizing skills, technology and finances.
  • Resulting economic benefits would positively impact poverty alleviation and support in mitigating water, sanitation, food and other socio-economic challenges.
  • It will allow national renewable energy management centers in India to grow as regional and global management centers.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. OSOWOG initiative- objectives.
  2. When was it launched?
  3. Implementing agency.
  4. What are non- fossil fuels? Examples.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of OSOWOG initiative.

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

How the tiger can regain its stripes?


Context:

Two legal instruments that have enabled tiger recoveries in India are:

  1. The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  2. The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980, which reinforced Project Tiger.

How was this achieved?

The political leadership and field efforts behind this recovery had to overcome very difficult social challenges:

  • slow growth of the economy.
  • excessive reliance on forest exploitation for livelihoods and government revenues.
  • dire poverty, and protein dependency on wild meat that drove massive local hunting.

These challenges were overcome and tiger recoveries occurred, but only sporadically in a few reserves.

What has changed? What are the current challenges?

Around 2000, things began to change.

  • There was a decline in political commitment to conservation.
  • There was gradual transition of the field-oriented Forest Department to one whose primary aspiration was to be like the multitasking Indian Administrative Service.
  • There was also unnecessary and massive borrowings from the Global Environment Facility-World Bank combine to create new models for tiger recovery.
  • There was also the upsurge of emancipatory political movements for the release of wildlife habitats for cultivation and exploitation by loosely defined “forest-dwellers”- This populist movement led to the implementation of the Forest Rights Act of 2006.
  • The tiger extinction in Sariska Reservecaused a public outcry in 2005, leading to the appointment of a Tiger Task Force (TTF) by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. However, it created a tiger management model that benefited the forest bureaucracy more than it did the tigers.

International cooperation to protect tiger:

Global Tiger forum is the only intergovernmental international body established with members from willing countries to embark on a global campaign to protect the tiger.

  • It is focused on saving the remaining five subspecies of tigers distributed over 13 tiger range countries of the world.

In India:

National Tiger conservation authority (NTCA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and climate change.

It was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger task force.

It was constituted under enabling provisions of the wildlife (protection) act 1972, as amended in 2006.

Need of the hour:

The role of the forest bureaucracy should be once again restricted to wildlife law enforcement.

Merging Project Tiger with other Central schemes for wildlife conservation would be a good first step.

Government monopoly over domains of tiger conservation such as tiger research, monitoring, nature education, tourism and possibly even conflict mitigation should be erased.

The vast reservoir of talent and energy in society should be drawn in to engage with these diverse domains, by involving private enterprises, local communities, NGOs and scientific institutions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves.
  2. M-STrIPES is related to?
  3. What is GTIC?
  4. When was project tiger launched?
  5. NTCA- composition and functions.
  6. Why the fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018 entered Guinness Record book recently?
  7. State with highest number of tigers.
  8. State with highest tiger density.

Mains Link:

The centrality of tiger agenda is an ecological necessity for the sustainability of our environment. In this context, examine the steps taken by India to conserve tigers?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Forest Ministry releases guide to managing human-elephant conflict:


Context:

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has compiled the best practices of human-elephant conflict management in India.

These include:

  1. Retaining elephants in their natural habitats by creating water sources and management of forest fires.
  2. Elephant Proof trenches in Tamil Nadu.
  3. Hanging fences and rubble walls in Karnataka.
  4. Use of chili smoke in north Bengal and playing the sound of bees or carnivores in Assam.
  5. An elephant corridor initiative where 25.37 acres of private land was purchased at Edayarahalli-Doddasampige in Karnataka as part of conservation efforts.
  6. Use of technology: Individual identification, monitoring of elephants in south Bengal and sending SMS alerts to warn of elephant presence.

Need for these management strategies:

Over 500 humans are killed in encounters with elephants annually, and crops and property worth millions are also damaged. Many elephants are also killed in retaliation due to conflict.

Insta Facts:

  1. Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
  2. Indian Elephant has also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species in the recently concluded Conference of Parties of CMS 13 at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat in February 2020.
  3. Elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India.
  4. India has the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at 29,964 according to the 2017 census by Project Elephant. The figure amounts to about 60% of the species’ global population.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Maharashtra okays speed boat ambulance service:

The Maharashtra government has cleared a speed boat ambulance service between Gateway of India in Mumbai and Mandwa jetty in Raigad district.

World Elephant Day 2020:

Observed every year on August 12. 

The first World Elephant Day was observed on August 12, 2012.

This day was conceived by the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation in Thailand and Canadian filmmakers Patricia Sims and Michael Clark in 2011.

Places in News- Papum Reserve Forest:

  • It is an Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBAs) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Located between two IBAs, Itanagar Wildlife Sanctuary to the east and Pakke Wildlife Sanctuary to the west.
  • The Reserve Forest forms part of the Eastern Himalayas Endemic Bird Area.

Why in News?

A study based on satellite data has flagged a high rate of deforestation in this area which is also a major hornbill habitat in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • Papum RF is a nesting habitat of three species of the large, colourful fruit-eating hornbills: Great, Wreathed and Oriental Pied.

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