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Daily current affairs

Daily current affairs

Daily current affairs

Water as an essential commodity

GS II: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Why in the news?Kerala imposes ₹13 price cap on bottled water

  • Bottled drinking water has come under a price cap in Kerala, with the State making it an essential commodity and fixing a ceiling of ₹13 per litre. The current retail price is ₹20. 

  • The State government announced the price reduction after the Chief Minister signed the Food Department proposal.

  • Including bottled water in the list of essential commodities enables price control.

  • The government had also decided to make BIS standards mandatory for all brands of bottled water. This would force unauthorised manufacturers to shut shop.  

  • The government convened a meeting of bottled water manufacturers at which it was decided to bring down the price to ₹12. But the decision was not implemented in the face of opposition from traders and some manufacturers.  

  • The Kerala Bottled Water Manufacturers’ Association welcomed the decision to reduce the price.

  • The State government sells a litre of bottled water at ₹10, through a subsidiary of the Kerala Water Authority.

     ~Source The Hindu

                                                                       Awareness drill

GS III: Disaster and disaster management.

Why in the news? 

NDRF personnel conducting a drill near a replica of Sun temple near the Ramchandi beach in Konark, Odisha,as part of the BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise. Representatives from Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka,Nepal and India are taking part in the three ­day event aimed at the safety of heritage sites at the time of disasters.

BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise:

  • Field Training Exercise of 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise on flood rescue at the Ramachandi Beach, Puri (Odisha).  Delegates & rescue teams of five member nations namely- India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka & Myanmar, of BIMSTEC group participated in this  exercise with great zeal and enthusiasm.

  • This exercise will provide a platform for member states to evaluate existing capabilities, share best emergency response practices, improve existing emergency preparedness and strengthen regional response mechanisms and also to conduct risk assessment in the context of cultural heritage sites at the time of disaster.

  • In order to bring in a feel of real disaster scenario,  "simulated exercise sites including villages & Heritage Site (Konark Sun Temple)”were set up at Ramchandi Beach in Puri to depict flooded localities and houses due to the flood disaster.

  • A Heli-born rescue operation was carried out to demonstrate the coordination among various stakeholders to deal with emergency situations. 

     ~Source The Hindu

          Live ­streaming in HC

GS II: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Why in the news?Live ­streaming of case hearing allowed by HC

  • The Calcutta High Court allowed livestreaming of a hearing in a case of a Parsi woman, saying the proceedings would have ramifications for the community across the country.

  • The woman had moved the Calcutta High Court seeking an order permitting her children to enter the Fire Temple, the Zoroastrian community’s place of worship.

  • The woman’s children were not being allowed to enter the Temple as she had married outside the community. 

  • The Parsi Zoroastrian Association of Kolkata had earlier prayed for live ­streaming of the court proceedings before the High Court which was rejected by the Division Bench.

  • The court also said that the Association, which wants it to be streamed live, will bear the entire cost.

  • It is the first instance of livestreaming of a hearing being allowed in Bengal.

     ~Source The Hindu

Free power 

GS II: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.

Why in the news?‘Giving 100 units of free power feasible’

  • Even as two senior ministers in the Maharashtra government have expressed divergent views on providing free electricity to people who consume up to 100 units of power, city ­based economist supported the feasibility of such a measure on the lines of the one in Delhi.

  • The Maharashtra government was considering a proposal to provide free electricity to domestic users whose monthly consumption is up to 100 units.

  • The basic requirement for this is accountability. The poorer sections of society will benefit from it.

  • The likely loss to the State exchequer, only 5% consumers fall in this (poor) category in Maharashtra, while people from other stratas of society can bear these expenses without any major burden.

  • The government agencies spend a lot of time and energy recovering money from these consumers. The move will help save their efforts and an automatic controller can curb malpractices.

     ~Source The Hindu

   Ethnic products 

GS II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections

Why in the news?Ethnic products a big hit among Amazon shoppers 

  • Amazon has been witnessing a crowd of online shoppers for ethnic products ever since ‘Gadhika’ products were launched on the ecommerce platform by the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribe Development Department of Kerala in December last year.

  • Gadhika products natural forest produce and eco­ friendly handicraft made from bamboo, coconut and coconut shell, and ornaments, food products, clothes, Wayanad turmeric, honey, pickles, puttu kutti, etc. have been hand­crafted by artisans and others belonging to various tribes and the Scheduled Castes. Though the list of products has been uploaded on Amazon for six months now, it was officially launched only in December and within a month the sale touched over ₹1 lakh.

  • Moving at a slow pace as it is important to have enough stock of products, considering the huge response has been received within a month.

  • Coordinating and bringing the artisans under a single umbrella is necessary to ensure the regular flow of products.

  • As many as 240 products have been uploaded on the e­commerce platform and people can access them by searching Gadhika products. 

  • Products made by about 80 beneficiaries have been uploaded. The products are reasonably priced.

  • The acceptance for the tribal products was also visible at the tribal festival Gadhika held in Kannur recently.

     ~Source The Hindu

Kashmir delegates visit

GS II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests

Why in the news?25 Ambassadors reach Srinagar on two ­day visit

  • Twenty ­five foreign Ambassadors arrived here on a two day visit to Jammu and Kashmir to assess the situation after the Centre’s August 5 decision to revoke the erstwhile State’s special status. 

  • They sought inputs from locals, including select politicians, elected grass ­roots representatives, editors, traders and members of the civil society, on the measures required to move ahead. 

  • Around 100 local delegates formed separate groups and met the envoys, including 10 from the European Union (EU).

  • No politician from the regional parties, such as the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), figured on the list of delegates drafted by the administration. 

  • The visit assumes significance because of U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to India, and the EU’s plan to discuss the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and reading down of Article 370 in the European Parliament in March. 

  • Because of the inclement weather, the delegation cancelled its visit to Baramulla in north Kashmir.

  • The envoys stationed themselves in Srinagar and used the time to surf on the waters of the Dal Lake in local boats, called shikaras.

  • A Kashmiri woman paddling her boat through the Dal Lake, Srinagar. Like Venice, lots of shopping points selling local handicrafts and boat resorts in the middle of the lake. Undoubtedly, the valley has a lot of potential for boosting tourism.

  • Most envoys avoided talking to the media, though they said the visit was aimed at “assessing the situation.

  • A delegation of local editors told the envoys that Article 370 had increased anger on the ground and demanded restoration of broadband Internet services.

     ~Source The Hindu

Cyber security

GS III: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention

Why in the news?CIA spied through Swiss encryption firm: report

  • The CIA read the encrypted messages of several countries, including India, for decades through its secretly owned Switzerland­ based company trusted by governments all over the world to keep the communications of their spies, soldiers and diplomats secret.

  • The company, Crypto AG, entered into a deal with the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1951 and came under its ownership in the 1970s. 

  • The joint reporting project, which uncovered the secret operation from CIA­ classified documents, described how the U.S. and its allies exploited other nations’ gullibility for years, taking their money and stealing their secrets.

  • The company specialised in communications and information security and was founded in the 1940s as an independent firm. The CIA and the National Security Agency spied on allies and adversaries alike through Crypto AG specialising in making cryptography equipment.

  • These spy agencies rigged the company’s devices so they could easily break the codes that countries used to send encrypted messages.

  • It was the intelligence coup of the century. Foreign governments were paying good money to the U.S. and West Germany for the privilege of having their most secret communications read by at least two [and possibly as many as five or six] foreign countries.

     ~Source The Hindu

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana

GS II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Why in the news?‘Bank the unbanked to achieve $5­ trillion goal’ 

  • To achieve the goal of a $5­ trillion economy, commercial banks will need to focus on those who are still deprived of formal finance and the country will need more than just one bank in the top 100 global banks.

  • India has become one of the largest economies in the world. Banks have been a constant part of India’s growth saga. 

  • As India aims to become a $5­trillion  economy, the banking sector has to start preparing for the next big leap. This mainly involves “banking with the unbanked” and “securing the unsecured.

  • India’s future journey will be greatly helped if banks exhibit deeper reach and become more efficient.

  • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana’ almost 35 crore bank accounts had been opened under this scheme. This number is larger than the population of all countries except ours and China’s.

  • Banks  needed to take proactive measures to bring greater gender parity in ownership of financial assets.

  • As part of social responsibility, banks can adopt certain geographical areas for increasing financial awareness among women.

     ~Source The Hindu

100% ST Quota

Why in the news?100% ST quota — SC pulls up Andhra govt: What will SCs, OBCs do

  • The Supreme Court questioned the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision in 1988 to provide 100 per cent reservation to Scheduled Tribes for teacher posts in Scheduled Areas, saying it would deprive other backward communities from availing reservation benefits and opined that allowing it may facilitate misuse.

  • The bench sought to know what was the data before the Governor on the basis of which the decision was made. 

  • If this is allowed without data, it will not be far when politicians will start doing it for whosoever supports their ideology. There is no political will left to undo a wrong.

  • The Fifth Schedule of the Constitution dealing with administration of Scheduled Areas vests the Governor with legislative and administrative powers, which run seamlessly.

  • The “Governor’s decision can’t be above the law” and referred to the apex court judgment in Indira Sawhney case which said the reservation limit should not exceed 50 except in exceptional circumstances.

  • Even if there was no data, maybe the Governor looked at the Rules and felt it is not enough to improve the standard of education of these areas.

     ~Source The Hindu