26 Jun, 2020
86 Min Read
|GS-II||Korean Crisis - Analysis||International Relations|
|US Visa Ban Extension||International Relations|
|Civil Servants as Joint Secretaries||Governance|
|GS-III||Sickle Cell Disease|
|Government e-Marketplace (GeM) Country of Origin Flag||Economic Issues|
|PT Pointer||Atma Nirbhar Uttar Pradesh Rojgar Abhiyan||Economic Issues|
|eBloodServices mobile App|
|KVIC launches Sandalwood and Bamboo plantation||Economic Issues|
|Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan||Governance|
|Cairn Circles||Art and Culture|
|PM SVANidhi||Economic Issues|
|Gee’s Golden Langur|
|Horse Shoe Crab|
|Product Application & Development Centre (PADC)|
|Kumbhar Sashaktikaran Yojana||Economic Issues|
|Rule of Law Index||Governance|
|Global Education Monitoring Report|
|Important GS Topics||Rajya Sabha Polls||Indian Polity|
On the occasion of the 70th Anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War in 1950, Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi paid rich tribute to the brave hearts who sacrificed their lives in the pursuit of peace on the Korean Peninsula.
How the Partition of Korea happened?
What happened during Korean War?
What is the history of dictatorship in North Korea?
Why North Korea is considered a ‘hermit kingdom’?
What about North Korea’s pursuit with nuclear weapons?
Start of the current standoff?
GS-PAPER-2 IR India and the USA
The US administration extended the 60-day ban on immigration and non-immigrant worker visas till the end of 2020.
Why: US President Donald Trump said that the move was to protect domestic workers. They are said to have been impacted due to a contraction in the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Popular work visas including the much-coveted H-1B and H-2B, and certain categories of H-4, J, and L visas shall also remain suspended.
Different categories of visas issued?
Why US suspend non-immigrant worker visas?
Since it was started in 1952, the H-1 visa scheme has undergone many changes and revisions. These were done to allow or disallow certain categories of skilled workers into the US. The changes were made depending on the economic situation of the country.
The eventual technology boom saw the arrival of the internet and low-cost computers in developing nations such as India and China. This led to a large number of graduates with a will to work at relatively low costs in the US. This turned out to be a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.
However, there raised a concern about having low-cost workers in the US at the expense of domestic workers. In 2017, after taking over as the US President, Trump hinted that the low-cost workers were hampering the economy and undercutting the jobs of citizens. The US had then hinted at reforming the “broken” H-1B visa system. Now, Trump seized the opportunity provided by the economic contraction due to Covid-19. He first banned the entry of non-immigrant workers till 23 June 2020. It is now extended till 31 December 2020.
What are the likely implications?
How does it affect Indian IT companies?
GS: Paper-2 Civil service reforms
A Union government circular set new conditions for empanelling civil servants for appointment as joint secretaries in central ministries.
What Gov say?
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) stipulated that the qualifying service period for empanelment of Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers as joint secretaries at the Centre would be 16 years. Even earlier, an IAS officer would usually become eligible for empanelment as a joint secretary at the Centre after 16 years of service. However, in reality, many of them would get empanelled only after 18 years of service. The reiteration of empanelment as joint secretary after 16 years is, therefore, reassuring to the IAS officers.
An issue with the circular?
The circular stated that not less than 2 years of experience at the deputy secretary or director level under the Central Staffing Scheme (CSS) would be mandatory for empanelment as joint secretaries at the Centre. This would be applicable to IAS officers from the 2007 batch onwards. The circular will have significant implications for many IAS officers across the country.
In 2019, the government decided to hire private-sector professionals as joint secretaries at the Centre. It was a bold step to get non-IAS experts to work in the government. In 2019, nine private-sector professionals were hired as joint secretaries in different ministries. Almost a year later, another decision has been taken that would make the journey of an IAS official to the post of a joint secretary at the Centre a little more difficult.
What does the joint secretary post mean for the IAS offcers?
For an IAS officer, the post of a joint secretary is almost like a gateway for securing a longish tenure in important positions in central ministries in New Delhi. A five-year stint as joint secretary is usually followed up with a promotion as additional secretary. After that, the officer will be promoted as either special secretary or secretary till retirement. Therefore, many IAS officers who joined the service after 2006 are not amused by the decision to introduce the new condition.
Most IAS officers prefer to spend the first decade and a half of their tenure in the states. This is because of the relatively better designations, more power and perquisites like housing that are more generous than those they can enjoy at the Centre as a deputy secretary or even as a director.
What did the government do to make the post attractive?
A deputy secretary at the Centre is a joint secretary in the state secretariat or a district magistrate and a director at the Centre is often a special secretary in the state secretariat. Even while at the Centre, a deputy secretary or a director would not be entitled to an official transport for a pick-up from residence till a few years ago.
In 2016, these rules were modified to allow hiring of cars to pick them up from their residence. In February 2020, this facility was extended by another three years in a bid to make the position a bit more attractive. This facility was also extended to address the shortage of deputy secretaries and directors coming in from states under the CSS.
What is the monopoly?
The IAS is only one of the 37 All India Services or Group-A Services, which take part in the CSS. It was created to meet the Centre’s need for fresh talent at the middle or senior levels in its ministries. The officers would help the ministries to formulate policy and implement or monitor various programmes with assistance from domain experts.
The idea was to make use of officers from specialised services like the Indian Police Service, Indian Economic Service, Indian Audit and Account Service, Central Engineering Service and Indian Statistical Service. But in practice, it is the IAS which has virtually monopolised the process of empanelling officers as joint secretary at the Centre.
The 2-year minimum stint as deputy secretary or director at the Centre for all IAS officers before being empanelled as joint secretary may help the government meet its shortage of deputy secretaries and directors. But it is debatable if the move will help the Centre recruit more non-IAS officers as joint secretary under the CSS.
Sickle Cell Disease
Micius is the world’s first quantum communications satellite, launched by China in 2016. The satellite serves as the source of pairs of entangled photons. Recently, it has sent light particles to the Earth to establish the world’s most secure communication link. It has successfully brought entanglement-based quantum cryptography to its original ground stations 1,200 km apart by sending simultaneous streams of entangled photons to the ground stations to establish a direct link between the two of them.
The satellite provided entangled photons as a convenient resource for the quantum cryptography and the two ground stations then used them according to their agreed protocol. Until now, this had never been done via satellite or at such great distances. It has not been specified how the messages were transmitted in this instance but in theory it could be done by optical fibre, another communications satellite, radio or any other agreed method.
Scientists have started using quantum encryption for securing long-range communication and Micius has been at the forefront of quantum encryption for several years.
For QUANTUM TECH: https://www.aspireias.com/daily-news-analysis-current-affairs/Quantum-Supremacy
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) Country of Origin Flag
The government made it mandatory for sellers on the GeM portal to clarify the country of origin of their goods when registering new products.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is the Commerce Ministry’s online marketplace. It procures goods and services by various Ministries and government bodies. Products sold on the portal range from stationery used by government officials to medical products that are used on patients.
Why this decision?
What would be the impact?
Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan
Through this scheme, Union Government plans to provide employment to migrant workers and create rural infrastructure. The scheme will be launched through video-conferencing from the village Telihar in the Khagaria district of Bihar.
Aim: The scheme will empower and provide livelihood opportunities to the returnee migrant workers and rural citizens who have returned to their home states due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown. This campaign will work in mission mode for 125 days with an outlay of Rs. 50,000 crores.
Objective: A total of 116 districts across six states, namely Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Odisha (where maximum migrant workers have returned) have been chosen for the campaign. Those districts where 25,000 migrants have returned have been chosen for this programme.
It will involve intensified and focused implementation of 25 different types of work which includes
Apart from these the workers will help build gram panchayat bhawans and anganwadi centres, national highway works, railway works and water conservation projects, among others across six states.
12 different Ministries/Departments, namely, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Road Transport and Highways, Mines, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Environment, Railways, etc. will be coordinating for the implementation of the scheme.
Common Service Centres
Krishi Vigyan Kendras
A megalith is a large prehistoric stone that has been used to construct a structure or monument, either alone or together with other stones. Cairn-circles are the prehistoric stone row which is a linear arrangement of parallel megalithic standing stones.
Recently, the State Department of Archaeology, Chennai has identified 250 cairn circles from the Kodumanal excavation site in Tamil Nadu. This is for the first time that 10 pots and bowls were discovered from the site, instead of the usual 3 or 4 pots, placed outside three-chambered burial cists and inside the cairn circle.
More numbers and bigger size of boulders suggests that the grave could be of a village head or the head of the community. Findings from the site also include an animal skull, beads, and copper smelting units, the mud walls of a workshop, potteries, and Tamil Brahmi script.
Other types of megaliths are
PM SVANidhi was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, on June 01, 2020. Its objective is to provide affordable Working Capital loans to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail of a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments over the tenure of one year. On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on a quarterly basis.
There will be no penalty for early repayment of the loan. SIDBI will implement the PM SVANidhi Scheme under the guidance of the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA). It will also manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).
Golden langurs can be most easily recognized by the colour of their fur, after which they are named. It has been noted that their fur changes colours according to the seasons as well as geography. The colour of the young also differs from adults in that they are almost pure white.
They are highly dependent on trees, living in the upper canopy of forests, they are also known as leaf monkeys. It is endemic to western Assam, India, and southern Bhutan.
Their habitat is restricted to the region surrounded by four geographical landmarks, such as
The Central Zoo Authority, New Delhi entrusted the state zoo with the project for the conservation breeding of golden langur in Assam in 2011. IUCN Status– Endangered. Listed in Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) - Appendix I and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 - Schedule I.
Horse Shoe Crab is a marine chelicerate arthropod living in shallow coastal waters on soft sandy or muddy bottom and spawns (release or deposit eggs) mostly on intertidal beaches at summer spring high tides. They have existed since the time of the dinosaurs and are important ecosystem engineers and predators of small organisms.
Their ecological function is to lay millions of eggs on beaches to feed shorebirds, fish and other wildlife. Their large hard shell serves as a microhabitat for many other species such as sponges, mud crabs, mussels and snails. It is regarded as a marine ‘living fossil’.
It is in Schedule IV of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, under which the catching and killing of a horseshoe crab is an offence.
Recently, IUCN has decided to observe the first-ever International Horseshoe Crab Day on 20th June 2020.
There are four extant horseshoe crab species:
The last three are Indo-pacific species found in the coastal waters of India, Southeast Asia, China and Japan. Odisha is their largest habitat in India.
Applications of Polymers
It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for the empowerment of the potter community in the remotest of locations in the country. The program reaches out to the potters in - U.P., M.P., Maharashtra, J&K, Haryana, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Assam, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana and Bihar.
It provides the following support -
It is a statutory body established by an Act of Parliament (Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956). In April 1957, it took over the work of the former All India Khadi and Village Industries Board.
It is an apex organization under the Ministry of MSME, with regard to khadi and village industries within India. It seeks to plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.
India has secured 69th rank of 128 countries.
It measures countries’ rule of law performance across eight factors:
It is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO. Formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report. Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
It has also developed the World Inequality Database on Education (WIDE) to draw attention to the extremely high levels of education inequality across countries and between groups within countries.
According recent GEM report about 40% of low- and lower-middle-income countries have not supported learners at risk of exclusion during this crisis, such as the poor, linguistic minorities and learners with disabilities. GEM 2020 had noted that efforts to maintain learning continuity during the pandemic may have actually worsened exclusion trends.
During the height of school closures in April 2020, almost 91% of students around the world were out of school. Imperfect substitutes - Education systems responded with distance learning solutions, all of which offered less or more imperfect substitutes for classroom instruction.
Rajya Sabha Polls
Rajya Sabha is a permanent House and is not subject to dissolution. However, one-third Members of Rajya Sabha retire after every second year (biennial). A member who is elected for a full term serves for a period of six years.
The election held to fill a vacancy arising otherwise than by retirement of a member on the expiration of his term of office is called ‘Bye-election’. A member elected in a bye-election remains a member for the remainder of the term of the member who has resigned or died or disqualified to be member of the House under the Tenth Schedule. (PT)
Methods of Voting in RS Polls
China, Kashmir and the ghost of August 5 By, Happymon Jacob teaches national security at the School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi Context # What is becoming clear now is that by “inventing” a rhetorical position around the issue of Aksai Chin,
The perils of follow the leader syndrome By, Dushyant Dave is Senior Advocate and President, Supreme Court Bar Association of India. The views expressed are personal Context # André Gide, the French writer, once said, “Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens w
Bad to worse: On India-Pakistan ties Context # In another round of tit-for-tat manoeuvres, India, followed by Pakistan, has decided to halve the strength of diplomatic missions in each other’s capital. # The government’s decision, conveyed in a démarche to the Pakistani
Star Formation Nebula White dwarf and Neutron Star or Black Hole GS- Paper-1 Geography / Geography Optional (PT-Mains-I.V) Outlined below are the many steps involved in a star’s evolution, from its formation in a nebula, to its death as a white dwarf or a neutron star
Sudan warns against escalation in Nile dam dispute GS-Paper-2 International issue AFRICA Sudan has warned against escalation and urged further negotiations with Egypt and Ethiopia over the construction of a controversial dam on the Blue Nile river by Addis Ababa. Important points
Assam: Ambubachi Mela - Kamakhya temple The annual Ambubachi Mela at the historic Kamakhya temple in Guwahati began. This year, however, the fair is being observed without devotees as only rituals will be performed in the temple till June 25. Kamakhya temple located atop of Nilachal Hills is one
Coal sector reforms GS-PAPER-2 Governance and Energy PT-MAINS-I.V India, being a developing country, coal remains one of the most important indigenous energy resources and the dominant fuel for power generation and many industrial applications. Presently, despite being the world's f
Anti Defection Law Part of: GS-II- Polity (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST) Recently, some of the sitting MLAs in the Manipur government defected to the opposition creating instability in the state's polity. This politics of defection in Manipur is not unique, there have been some othe
Signalling intent: On Government e-Marketplace New guidelines for the GeM platform # The Centre’s decision to make it mandatory for vendors on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) procurement platform to specify the country of origin of new products listed by them is on its face of it unex
The many questions about Favipiravir S.P. Kalantri is Professor of Medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences and Medical Superintendent of Kasturba Hospital, Sevagram, Maharashtra; Dinesh Thakur is a public health activist Context # The pandemic has not only exposed the d
Sustainable Developmental Goals Index 2019 GS-Paper-3 Environment SDG PT-MAINS The SDG India Index (NITI AAYOG) dashboard displays overall & detailed info on the progress made by States & UTs on Global Goals of the United Nations including their incremental progress from 2018, using in
ULV sprayer through drones To overcome the limitation of importing equipment, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW), under the Make in India initiative, has taken up the challenge to indigenously develop a vehicle-mounted ULV sprayer for locust contr
Government declares Minimum Support Price for Mature Dehusked Coconut The government of India has declared Minimum Support Price for mature dehusked coconut for the season 2020 at Rs. 2700/- per quintal, thus hiking the MSP by 5.02% from Rs. 2571/- per quintal during the season 2019.
Information about the Country of Origin by the sellers made mandatory on GeM to promote Make in India and Aatmanirbhar Bharat Government e-Marketplace (GeM), a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has made it mandatory for sellers to enter the Country of Origin
YUKTI 2.0 About YUKTI 1.0 Union Minister for HRD Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal “Nishank” has launched a web-portal YUKTI (Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation) . It’s a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and init
Financing for Compressed Bio-Gas plants to be brought under Priority Sector Lending Context The Government is in the process of including Compressed Bio-Gas under Priority Sector Lending. Shri Pradhan, along with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, inaugurates CBG Plant at Namakkal in Tamil
International Comparison Program,2017 Purchasing Power Parities and the size of Indian Economy: Results from the 2017 International Comparison Program The World Bank has released new Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) for the reference year 2017, under the International Comparison Progra
Downing the shutters: On H1-B visa halt Context # The White House has made a proclamation restricting the issuance of non-immigrant work visas (H1B) across the board, purportedly to clamp down on American jobs going to foreign workers, a consistent policy priority of the Donald Trump administr
NDRF The NDRF was set up in accordance with Section 46 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is meant to “meet the expenses for emergency response, relief and rehabilitation” for any threatening disaster situation. Although Section 46 includes a clause regarding grants made by any
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