Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (3rd to 9th July, 2019)
(Info graphic Summary at the end)
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Polity
Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program-SVEEP
Recently SVEEP Nodal Officers from across the country met in a two-day National Conference of SVEEP Nodal Officers which was organized by the Election Commission of India to deliberate upon the blueprint for the next five years.
Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program, better known as SVEEP, is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India. Since 2009, we have been working towards preparing India’s electors and equipping them with basic knowledge related to the electoral process.
Goal of the SVEEP programme
SVEEP’s primary goal is to build a truly participative democracy in India by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and make an informed decision during the elections. The programme is based on multiple general as well as targeted interventions which are designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.
Building a stronger democracy through greater synergy with Civil Society Organisations, Media and Corporate Houses and even greater queries, suggestions, and participation from individuals.
Consider the following statements regardingSystematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation(SVEEP) programme by the Government of India :
1) National voter’s day is celebrated every year on January 25thas part of the SVEEP programme by the election commission of India.
2) Systematic Voter’s Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) was launched by Election Commission of India to inform, educate, motivate and facilitate voters and in turn make Indian democracy more participative and meaningful.
3) The SVEEP programme has been successful in increasing voter registration and high voter turnout with greater participation from youth and women.
Which of the above statements are true ?
a) 1 & 2 only
b) 2 & 3 only
c) 1 & 3 only
d) all of the above
Topic: Jaipur gets UNESCO World Heritage tag
Topic in Syllabus: Heritage and Culture
The Walled City of Jaipur, known for its iconic architectural legacy and vibrant culture made its entry into the UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
ICOMOS (The International Council on Monuments and Sites) had inspected the city in 2018, post its nomination.
- The historic walled city of Jaipur in Rajasthan was founded in 1727 AD under the patronage of Sawai Jai Singh II.
- It serves as the capital city of the culturally-rich state of Rajasthan.
- India’s first heritage city is Ahmedabad.
- The City of Jaipur is an exceptional urban example in indigenous city planning and construction in South Asia.
- Unlike other medieval cities of the region, Jaipur was deliberately planned as a new city on the plains open for trade as opposed to hilly terrain and military cities of past.
- In town planning, it shows an interchange of ancient Hindu, Mughal and contemporary Western ideas that resulted in the form of the city.
- The site selected within the valley that lay to the south of Amber hills was comparatively flat and unmarred by any previous construction.
- Besides an exemplary planning, its iconic monuments such as the Govind Dev temple, City Palace, Jantar Mantar and Hawa Mahal excel in artistic and architectural craftsmanship of the period.
- Jaipur is an exemplary development in town planning and architecture that demonstrates amalgamation and important interchange of several ideas over the late medieval period.
About the World Heritage Committee:
- The World Heritage Committee is composed of representatives of 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention who meet annually.
- The Committee is in charge of implementing the Convention.
- To date, 1,092 sites in 167 countries have been inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Jaipur is an expression of the astronomical skills, living traditions, unique urban form and exemplary foresighted city planning of an 18th century city from India.
With this, India now has 38 World Heritage Sites , that include 30 Cultural properties, 7 Natural properties and 1 mixed site.
How many cultural sites are there in UNSECO’s world heritage sites in India?
Answer : c
Topic: Key points of Economic Survey 2018-19
Topic in Syllabus: Indian Economy
- The Economic Survey is prepared by the Economic Division of the Department of Economic Affairs in the Finance Ministry under the overall guidance of the Chief Economic Adviser.
- The survey was de-linked from the Budget in the year 1964 and is circulated in advance to provide the context of the Budget.
- India’s first Economic Survey was presented in the year 1950-51.
- This is the first survey by the new chief economic advisor Krishnamurthy V Subramanian.
A sustained real GDP growth rate of 8% is needed for India to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
Behavioural Economics for Social Change
The survey has drawn on Nobel Laureate Richard Thaler’s Behavioural Economics Theory to lay out an “ambitious agenda” for behavior change that will bring in social change, which in turn, will help India transit to a $5 trillion economy by 2024-25.
Decisions by real people deviate from impractical robots theorized in classical economics. Behavioral economics provides insights to ‘nudge’ people towards desirable behavior.
It pitches for behavioral change by applying the principles of behavioral economics to several issues including gender equality, a healthy and beautiful India, savings, tax compliance, and credit quality.
This includes a transition from ‘BetiBachaoBetiPadhao’ to ‘BADLAV’ (BetiAapkiDhan Lakshmi Aur Vijay Lakshmi), from ‘Swachh Bharat’ to ‘Sundar Bharat’, from ‘Give it up” for the LPG subsidy to ‘Think about the Subsidy’ and from ‘Taxevasion’ to ‘Tax compliance’.
Policies for MSME Growth
Dwarfs are the firms with less than 100 workers despite being more than 10 years old.
They account for more than 50% of all organized firms in manufacturing by number.
Contribution of dwarfs to employment is only 14% and to the productivity is a mere 8%.
Large firms (more than 100 employees) account for 75% employment and close to 90% of productivity despite accounting for about 15% by number.
The survey highlights the importance of intervention in the case of “Dwarfs”.
- A sunset clause of less than 10 years, with necessary grand-fathering, for all size-based incentives.
- Deregulating labor law restrictions to create significantly more jobs.
- Re-calibrating Priority Sector Lending (PSL) guidelines for direct credit flow to young firms in high employment elastic sectors.
- Sunset Clause & Size Based Incentives
- Sunset clause is a provision of a law that it will automatically be terminated after a fixed period unless it is extended by law.
The Economic Survey slammed the practice of perpetual support to small and medium-sized enterprises on the grounds that they are mega job creators. Such a continuous hand-holding merely encourages these entities to keep a check on their scale of operations, i.e. they deliberately stay small.
- The governments should shift their focus to nurturing “infant” firms only.
- Policymakers must ensure that support to small units is withdrawn after a specified time, forcing them to expand their operations and not live off government relief forever.
- The survey also cites “size-based incentives” irrespective of the firm’s age.
Minimum Wage System & Inclusive Growth
Survey proposes a well-designed minimum wage system as a potent tool for protecting workers and alleviating poverty.
The survey supports rationalization of minimum wages as proposed under the Code on Wages Bill. Minimum wages to all employments/workers.
Reforms in the Lower Judiciary
The section on ways to ramp up capacity in the lower judiciary is titled ‘Ending Matsyanyaya’ (the law of the fish/jungle).
Delays in contract enforcement and disposal resolution are now the single biggest hurdle to the ease of doing business and higher GDP growth in India.
However, the survey highlights the profound impact that the Government’s efforts of introducing the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the adoption of the Goods and Services Tax, have had on improving Ease of Doing Business in India.
Data “Of the People, By the People, For the People”
- As data is generated by the people, data can be created as a public good within the legal framework of data privacy.
- The government must intervene in creating data as a public good, especially of the poor and in social sectors.
- Merging the distinct datasets held by the Government already would generate multiple benefits.
According to Economic Survey 2019, since mid-2018, what happened to rural wage growth?
a) It started decreasing
b) It started increasing
c) Remains same
d) None of the above
Explanation: Rural wage growth started increasing since mid-2018.
Topic: US Senate clears proposal to bring India on a par with its Nato allies
Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs
The US Senate has passed a legislative provision that brings India on par with Washington’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Nato) allies and countries such as Israel and South Korea for increasing defence cooperation.
The legislative provision provides for increased US-India defence cooperation in the Indian Ocean in areas of humanitarian assistance, counterterrorism, counter-piracy, and maritime security.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is the name for each of a series of United States federal laws specifying the annual budget and expenditures of the U.S. Department of Defense. The first NDAA was passed in 1961.
What are its advantages to India?
- India would be on par with America’s NATO allies like Japan, Australia, and South Korea.
- It would enable the transfer of advanced defense technology to India and in implementation of a major defense partnership with the US.
- The amendment provides for increased U.S.-India defense cooperation in the Indian Ocean in the areas of humanitarian assistance, counter-terrorism, counter-piracy, and maritime security.
- In recognition of the shared democratic values and commitment to free navigation, another suggestion in the budget document is to increase engagement with India in multilateral frameworks “to promote regional security and defend shared values and common interests in the rules-based order”.
- It said the quadrilateral dialogue among the US, India, Japan, and Australia should be enhanced.
About North Atlantic Treaty Organization (North Atlantic Alliance):
It is an intergovernmental military alliance.
Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.
Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.
Significance: It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.
How many Countries Are the Members Of NATO?
Topic: Tamil Yeoman
Topic in Syllabus: State News
Tamil Nadu has declared the Tamil Yeoman butterfly species (endemic to western ghats) as the state butterfly.
Tamil Nadu is the fifth state in the country to announce its state butterfly and Maharashtra was the first in the country to announce its state butterfly (Blue Mormon) followed by Uttarakhand (Common Peacock), Karnataka (the Southern Birdwing) and Kerala (Malabar banded peacock or buddha butterfly).
Tamil Yeoman (Cirrochroathais) is uniformly orange in colour with a dark brown outer ring.
Also known as tamilmaravan which means warrior.
Tamil Yeoman butterfly species moves in groups in large numbers and are found mainly in hilly areas.
Butterflies are significant for environment as they play the main role in pollination and food chain.
For many other species like birds and reptiles, butterflies become a prey.
Queen Alexandra’s bird wing is a well known species of –
d) Honey Bee
Topic: India’s first elephant rehabilitation centre
Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment
India’s first elephant rehabilitation centre is to be set up in Kottoor, Kerala.
- It is being planned on the lines of the Pinnawala Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka.
- Recently India has also opened its first water clinic for elephants suffering from arthritis, joint pain and foot ailments at a wildlife SOS Elephant Hospital, Mathura, UP.
- Rehabilitation centre is aimed at providing protection to abandoned, orphaned, injured and older elephants.
- It is planning to give an opportunity for people to know more about elephants and will be a boon for wildlife researchers and veterinary students.
- The rehabilitation centre is expected to have an elephant museum, mahout training center, super-specialty hospital, a retirement home and crematorium for the animals.
Consider the following statement (s) related to the objective of Project Elephant
- To protect elephants, their habitat & corridors
- To address issues of man-animal conflict
- Welfare of domesticated elephants
Which of the above statements are true ?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) All of the above
d) None the above
Topic: The World Day To Combat Desertification
Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment
World Day to Combat Desertification
The year 2019 is the 25th anniversary of the Convention and the World Day to Combat Desertification. And the theme of the event is “Let’s Grow the Future Together”. And it is held in Ankar, hosted by the government of Turkey.
In light of the World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD)-2019 the Union Minister also launched a flagship project on enhancing capacity on forest landscape restoration (FLR) and Bonn Challenge in India, through a pilot phase of 3.5 years implemented in the States of
- Madhya Pradesh
Aim of the project:
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) in partnership with The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), through this flagship project aims to develop and adapt best practices and monitoring protocols for the Indian states and build capacity within the five pilot states on FLR and Bonn Challenge. This will be eventually scaled up across the country through subsequent phases of the project.
About Bonn challenge and India:
The Bonn Challenge is a global effort to bring 150 million hectares of the world’s deforested and degraded land into restoration by 2020, and 350 million hectares by 2030.
At the UNFCC Conference of the Parties (COP) 2015 in Paris, India also joined the voluntary Bonn Challenge pledge to bring into restoration 13 million hectares of degraded and deforested land by the year 2020, and additional 8 million hectares by 2030.
India’s pledge is one of the largest in Asia
The day is a unique moment to remind everyone that land degradation neutrality (LDN) is achievable through problem solving, strong community involvement and co-operation at all levels.
The Day was declared by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995. Many countries, groups and individuals celebrate and observe WDCD by organizing a variety of outreach activities and awareness raising events.
Rio Conventions of UN
United Nations has 3 Rio Conventions namely, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
Established in 1994, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) is the only legally binding international agreement linking environment and development issues to the land agenda.
The World Day to Combat Desertification (WDCD) is observed every year on 17 June to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification.
Which technique is not being used to combat Desertification?
a) Satellite monitoring
b) Terracing steep hill slopes
c) Laws mandating irrigation practices
Topic: Dispute Resolution MechanismFor Wind/Solar Sector
Topic in Syllabus: Energy & Infrastructure
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy approved the setting up of a dispute resolution mechanism for disputes between solar/ wind power developers, and the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI).
- Under the mechanism, a three member Dispute Resolution Committee will be set up. The Committee members will be eminent persons located in the NCR of Delhi.
- This mechanism will be applicable for all solar/ wind schemes and projects being implemented by the SECI/NTPC.
The Committee will consider the following type of cases:
- All cases of appeals against decisions given by SECI on extension of time requests based on the terms of contract, and
- All requests for extension not covered under the terms of contract.
- The recommendations of the Committee and the Ministry’s observations will be placed before the Minister for New and Renewable Energy for final decision.
About Solar Energy Corporation of India
Solar Energy Corporation of India ltd (SECI) is a CPSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), set up on 20th Sept, 2011 to facilitate the implementation of JNNSM and achievement of targets set therein. It is the only CPSU dedicated to the solar energy sector. It was originally incorporated as a section-25 (not for profit) company under the Companies Act, 1956.
About National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
NTPC is India’s largest power utility with an installed capacity of 55,126 MW (including JVs), plans to become a 130 GW company by 2032.
Established in 1975, NTPC aims to be the world’s largest and best power major.
NTPC has comprehensive Rehabilitation & Resettlement and CSR policies well integrated with its core business of setting up power projects and generating electricity.
The company is committed to generating reliable power at competitive prices in a sustainable manner by optimising the use of multiple energy sources with innovative eco-friendly technologies thereby NTPC is contributing to the economic development of the nation and upliftment of the society.
Which among the following have a large amount of installed grid interactive renewable power capacity in India?
a) Wind power
b) Solar power
c) Biomass power
d) Small Hydro power
Explanation: Wind power having capacity 29000 MW holds 56.8%, Solar power having capacity 9500 MW holds 18.5%, Biomass power having capacity 8200 MW holds 16%, Small Hydro power having capacity 4400 MW holds 8.5%.
Info graphic Summary