Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 06-03-2021


Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 06-03-2021


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  1. People and Personalities - Taapsee Pannu jokes about IT raids - Bollywood actress Taapsee Pannu took to Twitter to react to the Income Tax Department raids at her properties. She said that there is no bungalow in her name in Paris, or receipts of ?5 crore payment were ever made to her. She added that there was no raid in 2013 on her property either. "PS- 'not so sasti' anymore," she wrote. Social media was abuzz with speculation that her dissenting attitude towards recent govt. moves led to the raids. Meanwhile, India's sports Minister Kiren Rijiju responded to Taapsee Pannu's boyfriend, badminton coach Mathias Boe's tweet about I-T raids on Taapsee. "Representing India...as...coach, meanwhile I-T department is raiding Taapsee's houses...@KirenRijiju please do something," wrote Mathias. "Law of...land is supreme...Subject matter is beyond [our] domain. We must stick to...professional duties," Rijiju replied.
  2. Governance and Institutions - India calls for Syria chemical weapons probe - India at the UNSC has called for attention to the use of chemical weapons in Syria and has also asked for an objective investigation into the matter. India’s officials at UNSC urged the members of the council to remain aware of the danger of mass weapon destruction falling into the hands of the terrorist organization. The OPCW investigators have accused Assad's regime of sarin gas and chlorine attacks in Syria in 2017. The new US envoy to the United Nations on Thursday accused Russia of seeking to stymie efforts to hold the government of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad accountable for its use of chemical weapons during its long civil war. [OPCW - The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force on 29 April 1997.]
  3. Energy - RE MoU signed between India and France - The Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding on Renewable Energy Cooperation between India and France. It was signed in January 2021, with the purpose of being to lay a foundation for promoting bilateral cooperation in the field of new energy and renewable energy on the basis of mutual benefit, equality and reciprocity. It covers technologies related to solar energy, wind energy, hydrogen energy and biomass energy. MoU requires exchange and training of scientific and technical personnel, exchange of scientific and technical information and data, organization of workshops and seminars, transfer of equipment, expertise and technology, and development of joint research and technology projects. India claims it is on track to reach its goal of 175 GW of installed renewable capacity by 2022. The renewable energy target to 450 GW by 2030 has also been set. That will make renewable energy 60% of the total energy produced.
  4. Energy - Covid and energy use reduction - Covid-related restrictions brought about a 6% drop in energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions in 2020, according to the International Energy Agency. But as demand picked up, so did emissions, which were 2% higher in December 2020 than in December 2019. With its economy rebounding, China’s emissions rose over the year, by 0.8%; in America they fell by 10%. Globally, the decline in road activity accounted for 50% of the fall in demand for oil, and the slump in aviation for 35%. In India, the recovery of electricity demand was confirmed with higher levels than in 2019 starting in early August. In September 2020, electricity demand, weather corrected, was 3.4% above September 2019 in average, driven by higher demand in industrial and commercial sectors, as well as higher demand for irrigation compared to 2019. In October 2020, the relaxing of restrictions and a stronger economic environment led to electricity demand (weather corrected) more than 10% above October 2019 levels, in line with pre Covid-19 trends.
  5. Governance and Institutions - India faces U.S. Anti-Dumping Tax - Anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value. The US Department of Commerce would impose anti-dumping or countervailing tax on aluminium sheet exporters from 18 countries as they had benefited from subsidies and dumping. According to the U.S. investigation, imports from India have benefited from subsidies for 35% to 89%. So, India and 17 other countries would face the U.S. anti-dumping tax.
  6. Environment and Ecology - Platypus refuge in Australia - To promote breeding and rehabilitation of platypus that faces extinction due to climate change, the world’s first platypus refuge would be built in Australia. Platypus is one of the five species of monotremes, the only mammals that lay eggs instead of giving birth to young ones. This duck-billed mammal is the only animal in the world to have a beak, fur and webbed feet. It is endemic to eastern Australia, including Tasmania, where it is classified as an endangered species. International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red list Status - Near Threatened.
  7. Governance and Institutions - Amendment Of Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017 - The Union government amended the Insurance Ombudsman Rules, 2017, bringing insurance brokers within the ambit of the Insurance Ombudsman and also allowed policy holders to file online complaints. Enlarged the Scope Of Complaints: Earlier it was only disputes. Now the amended rules will cover even the deficiencies in service on the part of insurers, agents, brokers and other intermediaries. Introduced ICT Enabled Complaint Redressal. Enables making complaints electronically. Complaints management system to enable policyholders to track the status of their complaints online. Video-conferencing for hearings. These amendments will strengthen the timeliness and cost-effectiveness of the mechanisms.
  8. Governance and Institutions - India-Bangladesh Bilateral Meet - Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister visited Bangladesh for a bilateral meet. This meeting comes ahead of Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh scheduled in March 2021. Earlier a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces has participated in the 72nd Republic Day parade, commemorating 50 years of the 1971 India-Pakistan war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s Problems between neighbouring countries should be resolved through discussions and negotiations. Need to focus on possible ways to materialise commitments and accommodate each other’s priorities in a mutually beneficial manner. Cooperation During Covid-19 - Bangladesh acknowledged the collaborative initiative of the two countries in implementing the vaccination programme against the ongoing pandemic. Bangladesh purchased the Covid vaccine from Serum Institute of India. Bangladesh is the largest recipient of 9 million doses of Made in India vaccine.
  9. Science and Technology - Technology And Innovation Report 2021: UNCTAD - India was the biggest ‘overperformer’ in frontier technologies than the country's per capita Gross Domestic Products (GDP) would suggest, according to a recent country-readiness index of the Technology And Innovation Report 2021. The report was released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report examines the likelihood of frontier technologies widening existing inequalities and creating new ones. It also addresses the national and international policies, instruments and institutional reforms that are needed to create a more equal world of opportunity for all, leaving no one behind.
  10. Energy - OPEC refuses to oblige India on oil prices - Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman has said that India should use the crude that it purchased "very cheaply last year (2020)". His comments came after India urged the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) to ease production curbs and fulfil their promise of stable oil prices. On 04-03-2021, OPEC and its allies extended output cuts till April 2021. Brent crude, the most widely used benchmark, on 05-03-2021 rose nearly 1 per cent to USD 67.44 a barrel after the OPEC and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, agreed not to increase supplies in April 2021, awaiting more substantial recovery in demand. That is bad news for India, where sky-high fuel prices have dampened economic sentiment and stoke inflationary fears.
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    • 1. ECONOMY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper)
Bear Market in Indian stocks 
  1. March scare: Lakhs of investors sold off stocks across the board leading to fall in the stock market indices. What led to the sell-off in Indian market?
  2. Explained: Earlier, the US 10-year bond yield climbed to 1.614% which was highest in a year due to concerns over inflation in US. Due to this, the US Federal Reserve had the option of either lowering the monthly bond-buying or hiking the policy interest rates. That would mean investors putting more money into US, rather than in emerging economies like India. So, this affected Indian markets as it is the major recipient of foreign inflows.
  3. Rising prices: The rising crude oil prices and increasing geopolitical tension between US and Syria also raised concerns among the investors. And the GDP data for the third quarter which was recently released added some volatility to Indian market.
  4. Immediate future: Investors will keenly monitor the data like auto sales numbers and manufacturing PMI and services PMI. But the rising bond yields continue to remain a key concern for equity markets worldwide despite positive statements by US Fed. It is expected that there will be further decline in the indices.
  5. Is the bull market over: Though markets are witnessing volatile movements they are not expected to fall further. Indian markets have witnessed a positive performance in the earlier months due to strong foreign flows, improvement in the macroeconomic fundamentals and corporate earnings growth. Therefore, conditions for a structural bull market remain intact in India. Long-term investors will use this opportunity to take advantage of volatility and accumulate quality businesses at reasonable valuations and price points.
  6. RBI's stance: The market will gain momentum when global market gets stabilised. This will be achieved by maintaining accommodative monetary policy and a positive growth.

Finance Ministry upbeat about FY21  GDP performance
  1. Very hopeful: Economic activity in India has gathered pace and the financial year could end better than projected in the second advance estimates of gross domestic product (GDP) released in Feb 2021 (by MoSPI), the finance ministry said in its monthly review of the economy. The mild rise in Covid cases has not dented the steady uptick in consumer sentiment, which has been bolstered by the inoculation drive, the ministry noted in its February review.
  2. DEA: The Department of Economic Affairs in its monthly report said the recovery of global output has slowed following the re-imposition of lockdowns in advanced countries amid renewed COVID-19 waves and its emerging variants. It said that the positive GDP growth in Q3 of FY 21 - for the first time since the onset of the pandemic - adds to the positive sentiment as the economy is set to close the year with activity levels higher than measured in the second advance estimates of GDP. There is further strengthening of the "V-shaped recovery" that began in the second quarter.
  3. Estimate: The Central Statistics Office has estimated an 8% contraction in GDP in FY21. Based on GDP data for the first nine months, this would mean a 1.1% contraction in the current quarter of the fiscal year.
  4. Vaccine rollout: The report noted that the Covid vaccine rollout has improved sentiment. India's daily inoculations crossed the 1 million mark for the first time on Thursday. Daily Covid-19 cases have, however, risen over the past 30 days.
  5. Signs of pickup: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) industrial outlook survey (IOS) conducted in the third quarter of FY21 reaffirmed this optimism. There was an expansion of services activity since the beginning of 2021 as people overcame fear of the pandemic, though this risked increasing the infection rate.
  6. Sustained momentum in GST revenue collection: A a 7% rise in February to Rs 1.13 lakh crore-suggests business and trading was growing even beyond the festival season. There were apprehensions consumer demand would wane after the festival season. While surplus systemic liquidity will nurture this growth, the finance ministry said bank credit is only just beginning to pick up and is mainly directed at micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Credit to large industries continues to be in negative territory as they are using alternate funding sourced from bonds, debentures and other market-based instruments. Indian companies made debt issuances worth Rs. 1.3 lakh crore, 29% higher than in the previous quarter, the report said.

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    • 2. ENVIRONMENT AND ECOLOGY (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper
Similipal Forest Fire 2021 
  • Regular fires: The Similipal forest reserve area frequently witnesses forest fires during dry weather conditions. The latest took weeks to come under control and the massive fire has threatened colossal damage to the Similipal Biosphere.
  • The Similipal Biosphere reserve: It is a national park and a tiger reserve, that derives its name from ‘Simul’ (silk cotton) tree. It is situated in the northern part of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. Similipal and the adjoining areas was declared a biosphere reserve by the Government of India in 1994. It lies in the eastern end of the eastern ghat.
  1. Biodiversity - Similipal is the abode of 94 species of orchids and about 3,000 species of plants.
  2. The identified species of fauna include 12 species of amphibians, 29 species of reptiles, 264 species of birds and 42 species of mammals.
  3. All of this collectively highlights the biodiversity richness of Similipal. Sal is a dominant tree species. The transition zone of the reserve has 1,200 villages with a total population of about 4.5 lakh. Tribals constitute about 73% of the population.
  • How fire-prone is Similipal: Generally, with the onset of summers and towards the end of autumn, the forest area remains vulnerable to forest fires. They are a recurrent annual phenomenon, but are also brought under control due to short span of precipitation. The months of January and February witness rainfall of 10.8 and 21 mm, respectively. This duration coincides with the shedding of deciduous forests in the forest areas. The fallen leaves are more vulnerable to catching fire. They facilitate the spreading of forest fires quickly over the entire forest area. The last incident of a major forest fire was reported in 2015.
  • Main causes: Natural causes such as lighting or even soaring temperatures can sometimes result in these fires. But forest officials and activists say most of the fires can be attributed to man-made factors. With dried leaves and tree trunks, even a spark can lead to a raging fire. Instances of poaching and hunting, wherein the poachers set a small patch of forest on fire to divert the wild animals, can lead to such fires. They do not douse the fire after hunting; this particular time is very vulnerable for fires to spread quickly. Secondly, jungle areas are also set on fire by villagers to clear the dry leaves on the ground for easy collection of mahua flowers. These flowers are used to prepare a drink which is addictive in nature. Villagers also believe burning patches of sal trees will lead to better growth when planted again. In 2021, along with man-made factors, an advanced heat wave with the early onset of summer further deteriorated the condition. A total of 399 fire points have been identified in the fringe areas bordering the forest, close to the villages, during the recent fire.
  • How are fires controlled and prevented: Such fires are generally brought under control by natural rains. Some of the methods to prevent fires include –
  1. forecasting fire-prone days
  2. including community members to mitigate incidents of fire, creating fire lines, clearing sites of dried biomass
  3. crackdown on poachers
  4. the forest fire lines, which are strips kept clear of vegetation, help break the forest into compartments to prevent fires from spreading.
  • The forest department recently intensified its mitigation measures, by forming a squad each for 21 ranges across the five divisions to closely monitor the situation. More than 1,000 personnel, 250 forest guards were pressed into action, and 40 fire tenders and 240 blower machines were used to contain the blaze. Awareness programmes are also being initiated at the community level to prevent such incidents.

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    • 3. FOREIGN AFFAIRS (Prelims, GS Paper 3, Essay paper)

India-Bangladesh bilateral meet
  • High level interaction: India’s External Affairs Minister visited Bangladesh for a bilateral meet, ahead of Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Bangladesh scheduled in March 2021. Earlier, a 122-member contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces has participated in the 72nd Republic Day parade, commemorating 50 years of the 1971 India-Pakistan war that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.
  • Points to note:
  1. Bangladesh’s stand - Problems between neighbouring countries should be resolved through discussions and negotiations. Need to focus on possible ways to materialise commitments and accommodate each other’s priorities in a mutually beneficial manner. Bangladesh acknowledged the collaborative initiative of the two countries in implementing the vaccination programme against the ongoing pandemic. Bangladesh purchased the Covid vaccine from Serum Institute of India. Bangladesh is the largest recipient of 9 million doses of Made in India vaccine. Both countries are committed to expand their relationship in all dimensions, ranging from security, trade, transport and connectivity, culture, people-to-people ties, energy, joint development of our shared resources and defence.
  2. India’s stand - It congratulated Bangladesh, on its graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status. Bangladesh has been on the United Nations (UN) Least Developed Countries list since 1975. It has now fulfilled all the criteria necessary for its elevation to a developing country in 2018. So the UN has recommended graduation of Bangladesh from the category of Least Developed Country (LDC). Once it receives the final recommendation, Bangladesh will formally graduate to the developing nation bracket in 2026. India-Bangladesh relations transcend strategic partnership, and bonding of both the countries is central to the realisation of a dream of a peaceful, prosperous and progressive South Asia. Despite the Covid pandemic, interactions and consultations continued unabated such as the India and Bangladesh had a Virtual Summit in December 2020, etc. A Joint Consultative Commission between the two Foreign Ministers in September 2020. India and Bangladesh would have a meeting of Water Resources secretaries to discuss the Teesta issue. India is keen to focus on the development of connectivity with Bangladesh and beyond for next 20 years to change the region's geo-economic scenario. Bangladesh was central to India's Neighbourhood First' policy and increasingly relevant to the country's Act East Policy. Bangladesh as a key neighbour and a valued partner not only in South Asia but also in the broader Indo-Pacific region.
  • Way forward: A year after the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue strained the robust ties between the two countries, quiet diplomacy appears to have worked. India must keep up the partnership that allows for economic growth and improved developmental parameters for both countries. Deepening relationship with Bangladesh has become a necessity in the face of shifting geo-economics. Bangladesh, with its growing economic success provides a vital partnership in the region. The two countries share 54 transboundary rivers, and water management is the key to prosperity. Bangladesh-India relations have reached a stage of maturity. There is scope for India-Bangladesh ties to move to the next level, based on cooperation, coordination and consolidation. It is important to address specific issues like Teesta and to respond to Dhaka’s call for help on the Rohingya issue.
  • Knowledge centre:
  1. Teesta river water issue - Teesta is the fourth largest river among the 54 rivers shared by India and Bangladesh, and flows through three states/ divisions of two countries, namely India’s Sikkim and West Bengal states and Bangladesh’s Rangpur division. . Within India, 6930 km2 or 86% of the basin lies in Sikkim. The flow of the river is highly variable. Teesta is a perennial, rain-and-snow-fed river characterized by extreme variability in her flows throughout the year. Over 90% of her flow occurs in rainy season from June to September while the rest 10% occurs in the remaining eight months. As a lower riparian, Bangladesh is completely dependent on India, the upper riparian, for keeping minimum flows in the Teesta River. India has been constructing a series of dams up north which have reduced the river’s flows to as little as 14 m3/s during times of drought, greatly hurting the livelihoods of thousands of farmers, fishermen and boatmen in Bangladesh. Conversely, during monsoon season, Indian dams on the Teesta release excess water, causing heavy floods and again disrupting thousands of livelihoods in Bangladesh. The intensity of damage is particularly more acute in Bangladesh as the size of population and economy dependent on Teesta in Bangladesh outstrips its counterpart upstream in India. Bangladesh demands a fair share of the Teesta waters in lean season and guaranteed minimum flows throughout the year formalized in a treaty signed and ratified by governments of both countries. Negotiations on the Teesta River have been going on for decades and a draft agreement has been prepared, however, the Teesta deal between New Delhi and Dhaka fell through in 2011, and no concrete progress has been made since.
  2. Rohingya issue - A report published by UN investigators in August 2018 accused Myanmar's military of carrying out mass killings and rapes with "genocidal intent". The ICJ case, lodged by the small Muslim-majority nation of The Gambia, in West Africa, on behalf of dozens of other Muslim countries, called for emergency measures to be taken against the Myanmar military, known as Tatmadaw, until a fuller investigation could be launched. Aung San Suu Kyi rejected allegations of genocide when she appeared at the court in December 2019.The massive numbers of refugees who fled to Bangladesh in 2017 joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya who had fled Myanmar in previous years. Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh said they fled after troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians. Kutupalong, the largest refugee settlement in the world according to UNHCR, is home to more than 600,000 refugees alone.

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    • 4. GOVERNMENT SCHEMES (Prelims, GS Paper 2, Essay paper)

Objections to new IT rules 
  • Not good: The latest norms for social media intermediaries in the New IT Rules 2021 have drawn objections from privacy experts and lawyers. The Supreme Court (SC) had in 2015 struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act finding it contrary to both Articles 19 (free speech) and Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
  • Points to note:
  1. Suspecting everyone - Asking ‘significant social media intermediaries’ to have automated tools to proactively track certain words is akin to “active hunting”, and will “make suspects out of people”. For example: For track words like interfaith marriage or love jihad, its like criminalising an entire population as most of the people must be using these words in their normal discussions. This way, an entire citizenry is being made a suspect.
  2. Against Right to Privacy - According to the New IT Rules of 2021, significant social media intermediaries providing services primarily in the nature of messaging shall enable identification of the first originator of the information. This provision would end up weakening overall security, harm privacy and contradict the principles of data minimisation endorsed in the IT Ministry’s Draft Data Protection Bill 2019. Identification of the first originator will require end to end encryption to be broken, thereby compromising the fundamental technology on which most apps are based on. Moreover, owing to the volume of data, encryption has become more important now as more personal data is being aggregated and analysed at a scale that was never possible before.
  3. Data Minimisation - Data Minimisation is a principle that states that data collected and processed should not be held or further used unless this is essential for reasons that were clearly stated in advance to support data privacy. It will “undermine the principles of open and accessible internet and the fundamental right of privacy enshrined in the Constitution, particularly in the absence of robust data protection law. For example: It contains a provision requiring significant intermediaries to provide the option for users to voluntarily verify their identities. This would likely entail users sharing phone numbers or sending photos of government issued IDs to the companies. This provision will incentivize the collection of sensitive personal data that are submitted for this verification, which can then be also used to profile and target users
  4. Against Freedom of Expression: Automated forms of censorship and surveillance could disproportionately impact users’ freedom of speech and expression, suppressing creativity. Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression.
  5. 'Over' Censorship: The new rules provide stricter and wide-ranging obligations on intermediaries for proactive monitoring of content. The fear of legal liability or action could lead to over-censorship of content.
  6. Lack of Accountability and Transparency: The news rules require social media to “deploy technology-based measures, including automated tools (Artificial Intelligence (AI)) to filter out objectionable content like child sexual abuse. However, as history has shown, such tools not only suffer from major accuracy problems but also can lead to function creep. Earlier in 2020 an AI-powered tool Genderify designed to identify a person’s gender by analyzing their name, username or email address was shut down just a week after launch after it was blamed to be biased. Coding biases in the development of AI often lead to discrimination, inaccuracies, and a lack of accountability and transparency.
  7. Gag on Online News Media: The rules open the way for increased scrutiny as well as increased costs of compliance and may lead to gagging of free and unhindered news reporting.
  • Right to Privacy: The SC described privacy and its importance in the landmark decision in 'K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India' in 2017 as a fundamental and inalienable right and attaches to the person covering all information about that person and the choices that he/ she makes. The right to privacy is protected as an intrinsic part of the right to life and personal liberty under Article 21 and as a part of the freedoms guaranteed by Part III of the Constitution.

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    • 5. POLITY AND CONSTITUTION (Prelims, GS Paper 2, GS Paper 3)
Gurkha rights in Assam 
  • Seeking Rights: The Gurkha community in Assam has sought gazette notification ensuring that the safeguards according to Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord are also extended to Gurkha people of Assam.
  • Points to note: The demand for the safeguards by Gurkha community further intensified with the recommendations of the high-level committee formed under the Chairmanship of Biplab Kumar Sharma by the Union Home Ministry on Clause 6 of Assam Accord. The committee recommended that all Gurkhas of Assam are not indegenous Assamese people as per the definition of Assamese people. Clause 6 of the Accord envisages constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards for protecting, preserving and promoting the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
  • Biplab Kumar Sharma Committee recommendation:
  1. Definition of Assamese: The report proposes 1st January 1951 as the cut-off date for any Indian citizen residing in Assam to be defined as an Assamese for the purpose of implementing Clause 6.
  2. Reservation for Assamese: It seeks reservation for Assamese in Parliament, state assembly, local bodies. It recommended creating an Upper House (Legislative Council of Assam) whose seats will be reserved for the ‘Assamese people’. The report also seeks quotas in government jobs.
  3. Regulation of Outsiders: Recommends regulation of entry of people from other states into Assam, which include the implementation of an Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime in the state. The ILP is a system in which a special permit is required by people from other regions of India to visit the state. Currently the ILP is applicable in Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Mizoram.
  4. Other Rights: It also talks about issues related to land and land rights, linguistic, cultural and social rights and protection of the state’s resources and biodiversity.
  5. Concern: It did not mention anything about the constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards of local Gorkhas. This means the exclusion from the rights under the Clause 6 of the Accord.
  • Government assurance: The Gurkhas in Assam are “one of the old communities”. The government would treat them “at par with other indigenous communities and protect their constitutional rights while implementing Clause 6”.
  • Gorkhas in Assam: There are currently 25 lakh Gurkhas in Assam. The Gurkhas were permanently settled in the Scheduled Areas in the last part of the 18th century as grazers and cultivators. They fought for Assam against the Burmese invaders in 1826 resulting in the Treaty of Yandaboo. It was a peace treaty that resulted in the end of the First Anglo Burmese War. This treaty was signed on February 24, 1826 after two years of the war between British and Burmese. They were declared as protected class by the British in the tribal belts and blocks according to the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886.
  • Assam Accord: It was a tripartite accord signed between the Government of India, State Government of Assam and the leaders of the Assam Movement in 1985. The Accord ended the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation from 1979-1985. The signing of the Accord led to the conclusion of a six-year agitation that was launched by the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in 1979, demanding the identification and deportation of illegal immigrants from Assam. It sets a cut-off of midnight of 24th March 1971, for the detection of illegal foreigners in Assam. However, the demand was for detection and deportation of migrants who had illegally entered Assam after 1951.

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    • 6. SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY (Prelims, Various GS Papers)
Technology and Innovation Report 2021: UNCTAD  
  • India did well: India was the biggest ‘overperformer’ in frontier technologies than the country's per capita Gross Domestic Products (GDP) would suggest, according to a recent country-readiness index of the Technology And Innovation Report 2021. The report was released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
  • Points to note: The report examines the likelihood of frontier technologies widening existing inequalities and creating new ones. It also addresses the national and international policies, instruments and institutional reforms that are needed to create a more equal world of opportunity for all, leaving no one behind.
  1. Frontier Tech Market - The report shows that frontier technologies already represent a USD 350 billion market, which could grow to USD 3.2 trillion by 2025.
  2. International Cooperation - It calls for strengthened international cooperation to build innovation capacities in developing countries, facilitate technology transfer.
  3. Inclusive - Envisages increase women’s participation in digital sectors, conduct technological assessments and promote an inclusive debate on the impact of frontier technologies on sustainable development.
  4. Humans and Machines at Work - Technological change affects inequalities through its impact on jobs, wages and profits in following ways:
  5. Automation taking jobs - Job displacement can also be accompanied by job polarization, which refers to an expansion in high- and low-wage jobs combined with a contraction in middle-wage jobs. Frontier technologies are being used to provide services via digital platforms that have spurred the creation of a ‘gig economy’.
  • India specific findings: India’s actual index ranking is 43, while the estimated one based on per capita income is 108. So India overperformed other countries by 65 ranking positions. India was followed by the Philippines, which overperformed by 57 ranking positions. It did well in research and development, reflected in its abundant supplies of qualified and highly skilled human resources available at a comparatively low cost. But countries such as the United States, Switzerland and the United Kingdom were “best prepared” for frontier technologies.
  • Challenges for Developing Countries:
  1. Demographic Changes: Low-income- and lower-middle-income countries have expanding and younger populations which will increase the supply of labour and depress wages, reducing the incentives for automation.
  2. Lower Technological and Innovation Capabilities: Low-income countries have fewer skilled people and depend to a large extent on agriculture which tends to be slower to take advantage of new technologies.
  3. Slow Diversification: Developing countries typically innovate by emulating industrialized countries, diversifying their economies, and absorbing and adapting new technologies for local use, but this process is slowest in the poorest countries.
  4. Weak Financing Mechanisms: Most developing countries have increased their R&D expenditures, but these are still relatively low. There is very little private funding of industrial technologies for productive applications.
  5. Intellectual Property Rights and Technology Transfer: Stringent intellectual property protection will restrict the use of frontier technologies that could be valuable in SDGs related areas such as agriculture, health and energy.
  • Suggestions: The Report argues that frontier technologies are essential for sustainable development, but they also could accentuate initial inequalities. It is up to policies to reduce this risk and make frontier technologies contribute to increasing equality. A balanced approach building a robust industrial base and promoting frontier technologies is a must for success in the twenty-first century.
  • Frontier Technologies: These are defined as potentially disruptive technologies that can address large-scale challenges or opportunities. They include artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things, big data, blockchain, 5G, 3D printing, robotics, drones, gene editing, nanotechnology and solar photovoltaic.
  • UNCTAD: The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) was established in 1964 to promote development-friendly integration of developing countries into the world economy. It is a permanent intergovernmental body headquartered at Geneva in Switzerland. Some of the reports published by it are: Trade and Development Report, World Investment Report, The Least Developed Countries Report, Information and Economy Report, Technology and Innovation Report, and Commodities and Development Report.

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    • 7. SOCIAL ISSUES (Prelims, GS Paper 2)
Right To Education (RTE) 
  • Latest: The Delhi High Court asked the Central government to respond to a petition against the authorities for not deciding upon extension of free education under the Right To Education (RTE) Act to children of Economically Weaker Section (EWS) beyond Class 8 and up to Class 12 in school.
  • Points to note: Originally Part IV of Indian Constitution, Article 45 and Article 39 (f) of DPSP had a provision for state funded as well as equitable and accessible education. The first official document on the Right to Education was the Ramamurti Committee Report in 1990. In 1993, the Supreme Court’s landmark judgment in the Unnikrishnan JP vs State of Andhra Pradesh & Others held that Education is a Fundamental right flowing from Article 21. The Tapas Majumdar Committee (1999) was set up, which encompassed insertion of Article 21A.
  1. The 86th Constitutional Amendment in 2002, provided Right to Education as a fundamental right in Part-III of the Constitution. It inserted Article 21A which made Right to Education a fundamental right for children between 6-14 years.
  2. It provided for a follow-up legislation Right to Education Act 2009.
  • RTE Act, 2009: The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009 aims to provide primary education to all children aged 6 to 14 years. Section 12(1)(c) mandates that non-minority private unaided schools should reserve at least 25% of seats in entry-level grades for children from economically weaker and disadvantaged backgrounds. It also makes provisions for a non-admitted child to be admitted to an age appropriate class. It also states about sharing of financial and other responsibilities between the Central and State Governments. Education in the Indian constitution is a concurrent issue and both centre and states can legislate on the issue. It lays down the norms and standards related to: Pupil Teacher Ratios (PTRs), Buildings and infrastructure, School-working days, Teacher-working hours. It also provides for prohibition of deployment of teachers for non-educational work, other than decennial census, elections to local authority, state legislatures and parliament, and disaster relief. It provides for the appointment of teachers with the requisite entry and academic qualifications.
  • Prohibitions: It prohibits physical punishment and mental harassment, screening procedures for admission of children, capitation fee, private tuition by teachers, running of schools without recognition. It focuses on making the child free of fear, trauma and anxiety through a system of child friendly and child centred learning.
  • Argument for Extension of Free Education under RTE beyond Class 8 for EWS: The parents of children are required to pay hefty fees to unaided private schools in classes 9 and onwards which they can not afford. Changing school from unaided private to government after class 8 may affect the children’s state of mind and education and thus, an extension of the RTE benefits will ensure continuity in the education.
  • Reservation for Economically Weaker Section in Higher Education: The 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act introduced an economic reservation (10% quota) in jobs and admissions in education institutes for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) by amending Articles 15 and 16. It inserted Article 15 (6) and Article 16 (6). It was enacted to promote the welfare of the poor not covered by the 50% reservation policy for SCs, STs and Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC). It enables both Centre and the states to provide reservation to the EWS of society.


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    • 8. MISCELLANEOUS (Prelims, GS Paper 1, GS Paper 2)

UN calls for Scaling-up “Carbon Capture, Use and Storage” Technology
  1. Calling the world: The United Nations report have called to scale up the carbon capture, use and storage in light with the Paris Agreement on Climate change which aims for the net-zero emissions goal in order to limit the global warming.
  2. Highlights: The scaling-up “carbon capture, use & storage” (CCUS) technology comprises of the component like capturing the CO2 emissions from the coal and gas power plants. It also seeks to capture carbon emissions from the heavy industry for its deep underground storage or reusing it.  United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) stated that deployment of CCUS technology on a large scale would permit the countries to decarbonize these sectors. The UN report have warned that, time is nearing to deliver the Paris Agreement and 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development. The countries like United states, Scandinavia, and United Kingdom are leading the way. On the other hand, the smaller nations need the international partners and financing.
  3. Carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS): It is a significant carbon emissions reduction technology. This technology can be applied all across the energy sector. These technologies comprise of the process to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes, transporting the CO2 through the ship or pipeline, and lastly to use it as a resource in order to create valuable products or services or to store it permanently underground in the geological formations. These technologies further provided for the carbon removal or negative emissions of the carbon dioxide either coming from the bio-based process or from the atmosphere directly.
  4. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe: It is one among the five regional commissions that works under the jurisdiction of United Nations Economic and Social Council. The commission was set up with the objective of promoting economic cooperation and integrations among member states. It comprises of 56 member states. Some of the non-European members include: Canada, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Israel, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and United States of America.
Madhya Pradesh Tourism introduces Night Safari
  1. The story: The state of Madhya Pradesh has introduced the night safaris in the three national parks in Madhya Pradesh on March 4, 2021. This move by the state is a major boost for the state which is already known for its robust tourism industry.
  2. Highlights: With the introduction of night safaris in three national parks, wildlife enthusiasts can now experience the majestic animals at night. The three parks include the Bandhavgarh National Park, Kanha National Park and Pench National Park. Usually, safaris are conducted during the day because tourists feel safer in the daylight. But because of day safaris, tourists miss out to witness nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. So, now the state hopes to organise the safaris in a controlled manner. Under the safaris, the routes will be decided by the state. They would ensure that, neither the animals nor the tourists get vulnerable to harm. The night safari can be booked on the Wildlife Safari Reservation portal. This portal is operated by forest department of the state.
  3. Bandhavgarh National Park: It is a national park located in Umaria district of Madhya Pradesh. The park has an area of 105 square kilometres. The park was declared a national park in the year 1968. It was designated as the Tiger Reserve in 1993. Currently, the core area is spread over 716 square kilometres. The density of the tiger population at Bandhavgarh stands at 8 tigers per km2, which is highest known population density. The park is also known for the breeding population of leopards and deer. The state has fixed the time slot of 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm. The safari would be conducted in the buffer zone.  Under the night safari, tourists can spot deer.
  4. Pench National Park: This national park was established in Madhya Pradesh in the year 1975. It has an area of 257.26 km2. The park derives the name from Pench River. The park was designated a sanctuary in the year 1965, a national park in 1975 and tiger reserve in 1992. This park will be carrying the night safaris between 5.30 pm to 8.30 pm. Tourists can spot animals like jackal, wild boar and nocturnal birds.
  5. Kanha National Park: At this park, safaris will be carried out between 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The park is home to Barasingha, which tourists can spot during night safaris. The park is also known as Kanha–Kisli National Park. It is the largest national park of Madhya Pradesh.
Food Waste Index Report-2021
  1. The story: The United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP) published the “Food Waste Index Report, 2021”. As per the UNEP report, estimated 931 million tonnes of food were wasted across the world 2019. The agency also highlighted that this amount of wasted food can circle the Earth seven times.
  2. Points to note: The index report was published by the UNEP in collaboration with the partner organisation WRAP. Out of the total waste generation, households accounts for the sixty-one per cent of waste, food services accounts for 26 per cent from foo waste while, the retail accounts for 13 per cent waste. The report also highlights 17 per cent of total global food production is wasted. The agency stated that, weight roughly equals to 23 million fully loaded 40-tonne trucks is enough to circle Earth seven times. capita per year which accounts for 91,646,213 tonnes in a year. As per the report, every country that has measured food waste which was substantial independent of income level. Further, the waste coming from the households comprises of the 11 percent of the total food available at consumption level. The agency further highlighted that, on the global per capita stage 121 kgs of consumer food is wasted per year out of which 74 kgs waste is generated from the households.
  3. Food Waste in India: The household waste in India is 50 kg per capita per year which equals 68,760,163 tonnes per year. On the other hand, the household food waste in USA is 59 kg per capita per year which equals the 19,359,951 tonnes per year. The Report highlighted that, In China household waste is 64 kg per capita per year which accounts for 91,646,213 tonnes in a year.
  4. Hunger across world: The report mentioned that, in the year 2019, “More than 690 million people were affected by hunger”. This estimate would further rise amid the Covid-19an estimate that is expected to increase further amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The report estimates that around three billion people unable to afford any healthy diet. Thus, the consumers should help in reducing the food waste at home.

DRDO conducts Flight Test of Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet
  1. A new flight test: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted the successful flight test of the Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR) technology on March 5, 2021. The flight test was conducted from Integrated Test Range at Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. The air launch scenario was also simulated during the flight test using the booster motor. After that, the nozzle-less booster accelerated the motor to the required Mach number for the operating the Ramjet.
  2. Highlights: All systems like booster motor and nozzle-less motor performed as per the expectation of the DRDO. Further, the flight test proved many of the new technologies including the Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology. The performance of missile was monitored using the data which was captured by Electro Optical, Radar and Telemetry instruments. The Successful flight test of the Solid Fuel based Ducted Ramjet technology now provides the DRDO with several technological advantage. This would now enable the DRDO to develop a long-range air-to-air missile.
  3. Solid Fuel Ducted Ramjet (SFDR): It is a missile propulsion system developed by DRDO, who built the project with the aim of developing the critical technologies which are required in the propulsion systems future long range air-to-air missiles of India. It is a missile propulsion system that comprises of the thrust modulated ducted rocket along with the reduced smoke nozzle-less missile booster. Thrust modulation of the system is achieved through a hot gas flow controller. SFDR uses a solid fuelled air-breathing ramjet engine.

9.1 Today's best editorials to read
  • We offer you 7 excellent editorials from across 10 newspapers we have scanned. 

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    • SECTION 3 - MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions)

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01-01-2020,1,04-08-2021,1,05-08-2021,1,06-08-2021,1,28-06-2021,1,Abrahamic religions,6,Afganistan,1,Afghanistan,35,Afghanitan,1,Afghansitan,1,Africa,2,Agri tech,2,Agriculture,150,Ancient and Medieval History,51,Ancient History,4,Ancient sciences,1,April 2020,25,April 2021,22,Architecture and Literature of India,11,Armed forces,1,Art Culture and Literature,1,Art Culture Entertainment,2,Art Culture Languages,3,Art Culture Literature,10,Art Literature Entertainment,1,Artforms and Artists,1,Article 370,1,Arts,11,Athletes and Sportspersons,2,August 2020,24,August 2021,239,August-2021,3,Authorities and Commissions,4,Aviation,3,Awards and Honours,26,Awards and HonoursHuman Rights,1,Banking,1,Banking credit finance,13,Banking-credit-finance,19,Basic of Comprehension,2,Best Editorials,4,Biodiversity,46,Biotechnology,47,Biotechology,1,Centre State relations,19,CentreState relations,1,China,81,Citizenship and immigration,24,Civils Tapasya - English,92,Climage Change,3,Climate and 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PT's IAS Academy: Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 06-03-2021
Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 06-03-2021
Useful compilation of Civil Services oriented - Daily Current Affairs - Civil Services - 06-03-2021
PT's IAS Academy
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