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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 27 April 2020

Contents

  1. Executive is better-suited to deal with COVID-19: CJI
  2. Pandemic will deepen job and livelihood crisis of migrants
  3. Assam’s BTAD might see Governor’s rule
  4. Pandemic is China’s biggest crisis since Tiananmen
  5. First-ever digital geological map of moon
  6. India Registered a total of 826 fatalities and 26,917 cases

EXECUTIVE IS BETTER-SUITED TO DEAL WITH COVID-19: CJI

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

In an Interview the Chief Justice of India said that the Executive with its three ‘Ms’ of money, men and material is the better-suited branch of the Government to deal with COVID-19 crisis regarding Supreme Court interventions.

He also said that hearing of cases through videoconferencing are not in-camera hearings and virtual courts are not closed courts.

Executive is better to handle things during times of Crisis

  • Situations like floods or earthquakes or a Pandemic like this one is when the Executive gets in to action with three ‘Ms’ are ‘men, material and money’.
  • It is very difficult for the court to assume charge and say ‘this is what the priority should be’ and ‘this is what it should be like’.
  • The Executive is better suited to decide on the ‘whats’, ‘hows’ and ‘whens’ of deploying money, material and men.
  • The courts ensure that rule of law does not suffer and people’s lives and properties do not suffer. But courts cannot deal with the situation on the ground.

From open court system to videoconferencing

  • Videoconferencing does not mean courts are closed.
  • Virtual courts are not in-camera courts.
  • When the video links are given, there are people who can see what is happening on the screen from where the lawyers address the court. Hence, it is not a binary situation.
  • The distinction made between videoconferencing and open court system is not accurate. A better description would be virtual courts and ‘courts in congregation’.
  • There is no absence of openness in the present videoconferencing proceedings. Things are not being decided without anybody coming to know.
  • Only thing is the number of people who could attend like in a court in congregation is reduced.

What has changed in the justice administration system?

  • There is much less pressure on the courts as very few actions are being taken in the country which normally generate litigation.
  • Events that generate litigation are few and far between. To that extent, pressure is also less on the courts and filing of cases is not what it was.
  • The courts are doing their best to cope with the situation, in particular, they are selecting and prioritising matters they must hear.
  • Courts are continuing to hear cases despite constraints through videoconferencing.

PANDEMIC WILL DEEPEN JOB AND LIVELIHOOD CRISIS OF MIGRANTS

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

Migrant workers, who constitute about 50% of the urban population and many of whom are engaged in what are called “3D jobs” (dirty, dangerous and demeaning) are likely to face job and livelihood crisis owing to COVID-19 pandemic, according to findings of a research.

Percentage of Migrants to Population in various States of India

Details of how grave the situation is?

  • The pandemic saw one of the biggest streams of mass return migration in the country.
  • Lockdown has left about 42% with no ration and 33% were stuck in cities with no access to food, water, and money. As many as 94% of them did not have worker’s identity card.
  • When migrants flee from the city, they not only lose their livelihood but possibly carry the infections to their native places, noted the study.
  • India is likely to face job crisis because of COVID-19. Migrant workers and workers in the informal sector are likely to be badly hit.
  • A large number of migrant workers and workers in the informal sector just have been surviving on subsistence wages.
  • The Current lockdown may also affect hugely their food and nutritional intake, access to healthcare and education of children.
  • Following lack of their inclusion in urban society, workers were grossly denied access to social security schemes, healthcare and other entitlements.
  • Many schemes meant for the poor do not reach them due to lack of identity and residential proofs.

ASSAM’S BTAD MIGHT SEE GOVERNOR’S RULE

Focus: GS-II Governance

Why in news?

The COVID-19 pandemic may earn Governor’s rule for the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in Assam.

The State’s Governor is the constitutional head of the BTAD that falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and is administered by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).

Why Governor’s rule?

Elections were scheduled to be held for the BTC on April 4 but was deferred indefinitely in view of the pandemic. The council’s current term expires on April 27.

What is Bodoland?

  • Bodoland, officially the Bodoland Territorial Region, is an autonomous region in the state of Assam in India.
  • Historically Bodoland Territorial Region was inhabited by the Boros or Bodos or Kacharis and Mechs.
  • It made up of four districts on the north bank of the Brahmaputra river, by the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is administered by an elected body known as the Bodoland Territorial Council.
  • The region covers an area of over eight thousand square kilometres and is predominantly inhabited by the indigenous Bodo people and other indigenous communities of Assam.

History of Bodoland Territorial Region and Peace Agreements

  1. For decades, the Bodos, a Tibeto-Burmese ethnic group and the largest plains tribe in Assam, have sustained a bloody armed struggle demanding their own separate state.
  2. The Bodos were once the sole inhabitants of the Brahmaputra north bank, but during the pre-colonial era, they were victims of large-scale land alienation; large portions of their traditional land were either expropriated by the government or transferred to other communities.
  3. Doubled with internal and illegal international migration to these areas, the Bodos became reduced to a minority population in Assam, brewing discontent among the community since the 1960s. By 1979, Bodo leadership decided to actively support and participate in the rebellion led by the All Assam Students’ Union against illegal Bangladeshi migrants, in the hope that an anti-foreigner move would evict settlers on Bodo land.
  4. The first attempt to end Bodo violence by way of regional autonomy came about in the 1993 tripartite accord signed between the Central government, the Assamese government, and the Bodo people, who were represented by the ABSU and the Bodo People’s Action Committee.
  5. This agreement paved the way for the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) to partially fulfill the factions’ demands for maximum autonomy in matters of “social, economic, educational, ethnic and cultural advancement” in designated Bodo-majority areas.
  6. But the ‘failure’ of the government to comply with their demand of incorporating non-Bodo majority villages into their new territory convinced many that the struggle needed to become more violent to be able to protect Bodo interests and eventually form a new state.
  7. The 2003 accord founded the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD), including the districts of Udalguri, Baksa, Chirang and Kokrajhar and spanning an area of 27,100 km. Kokrajhar was declared as the capital of the BTAD, where the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) assumed power over education, social welfare, forest management, and other areas covered under modified provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. It also recognized the Bodo language as the first tribal language to be included in the Eighth Schedule.
Assam Bodoland BTAD

Bodoland Territorial Council

  • The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is an autonomous district council for the Bodoland Territorial Region of Assam state in India, established in February 2003.
  • The executive and legislative powers of the Bodoland Territorial Council are derived from the provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India and the 2003 and 2020 Bodoland Peace Agreements.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Council can levy taxes, fees and tolls on; buildings and land, animals, vehicles, boats, entry of goods into the area, roads, ferries, bridges, sanitation, employment and income and general taxes for the maintenance of schools and roads.

PANDEMIC IS CHINA’S BIGGEST CRISIS SINCE TIANANMEN

Focus: GS-III International Relations

Challenges the Party had to face?

  • The global financial crisis in 2008-2009 was a big challenge for China. They got through that through a massive stimulus programme.
  • The COVID-19 Crisis is probably the longest downturn for China post-Tiananmen or maybe since the late seventies.
  • They now have a sort of global political crisis or global political fight over the origins of the virus, and responsibility and accountability for it as this can’t be turned around by a sort of wave of infrastructure spending.

How is China Handling it?

  • China’s handling of this crisis really shows the deep weaknesses and also some of the strengths of their system.
  • Weaknesses that were exposed: a lack of openness, lack of transparency, endemic bureaucratic problems, and a fear of offending and reporting to the centre.
  • Strengths: The remarkable demonstration of the power of the Party-State.
  • A display of power of the party is seen when they locked down in residences up to a 700 million people, they mobilised the army, they mobilised the paramilitary, they commandeered businesses to make for the state personal protective equipment, they shut factories, they shut businesses.
  • It might be good internal propaganda if China is successful and they can portray China as successful compared to other countries.
  • China’s logistical strengths, its industrial clusters, its ports, its railways, in other words, the ability to trade and do business are immensely powerful.

China’s Global Position affected?

  • The US-China relationship continues to break down at a rapid pace.
  • China’s relations with a lot of European countries, France, Germany, Britain, has been strained by the COVID-19 Crisis.
  • Reasons for this being – The lack of transparency and a distaste at what many people see as China’s efforts to exploit the turnaround in their country and gain sort of a propaganda or PR win from it.
  • There’s little doubt that the climate for China investing in the US is not going to get better soon.
  • Europe in recent years has gradually been trying to put up more regulatory barriers to particular purchases of Chinese tech equipment.

Tiananmen Square Protests

  • The Tiananmen Square protests were student-led demonstrations calling for democracy, free speech and a free press in China in 1989.
  • At issue was a frustration with the limits on political freedom in the country—given its one-party form of government, with the Communist Party holding sway—and ongoing economic troubles.
  • Although China’s government had instituted a number of reforms in the 1980s that established a limited form of capitalism in the country, the poor and working-class Chinese still faced significant challenges, including lack of jobs and increased poverty.
  • The students also argued that China’s educational system did not adequately prepare them for an economic system with elements of free-market capitalism.
  • The protests started on April 15 and were forcibly suppressed on June 4 when the government declared martial law and sent the military to occupy central parts of Beijing.
  • In what became known as the Tiananmen Square Massacre, troops with assault rifles and tanks fired at the demonstrators and those trying to block the military’s advance into Tiananmen Square. Estimates of the death toll vary from several hundred to several thousand, with thousands more wounded.

FIRST-EVER DIGITAL GEOLOGICAL MAP OF MOON

Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

The first ever digital, unified, global, geological map of the moon was released virtually by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Lunar Planetary Institute on April 22, 2020.

Geological map of the Moon NASA

Details

  • Data from recent satellite missions to the moon and resources data from NASA’s Apollo Missions were used to come up with the map. This map is a culmination of a decades-long project.
  • Surface features of the moon included crater rim crests, buried crater rim crests, fissures, grabens, scarps, mare wrinkle ridges, faults, troughs, rilles, and lineaments.
  • The moon’s South Pole is especially interesting because the area is much larger than the North Pole and there could be possibility of presence of water in these permanently shadowed areas. Further, the South Pole region also contains the fossil record of the early Solar System.

What is the use of the Map?

  • Called the ‘Unified Geologic Map of the Moon’, it will serve as a blueprint for future human missions and a source of research and analysis for the educators and the general public interested in lunar geology.
  • The Map will help NASA with their planning for future missions.
  • It provides vital information for new scientific studies by connecting the exploration of specific sites on the moon with the rest of the lunar surface.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chandrayaan 2, is an active mission that targets the Lunar South Pole for exploration.
  • Like Chandrayan, other moon missions like the Artemis (human spaceflight programme), that is a crewed exploration programme of Nasa, plan to send humans to the Lunar South Pole by 2024 and in due course of time, establish a permanent presence on the moon.

INDIA REGISTERED A TOTAL OF 826 FATALITIES AND 26,917 CASES

Focus: GS-III Disaster Management

Why in news?

  • The death toll due to COVID-19 continued to rise on Sunday, with the country registering a total of 826 fatalities and 26,917 cases.
  • 5,913 people have recovered, with a recovery rate of 21.9%.
  • The doubling rate had been showing regular improvement and stood at 10.5 days when seen over a period of 3 days, 9.3 days over a period of 7 days and 8.1 days over a period of 14 days.
  • These indicators may be taken as positive effects of the lockdown along with the cluster management and containment strategies.
  • Through a graded, pre-emptive and pro-active approach, the Central government is taking several steps along with the States/Union Territories for prevention, containment and management of COVID-19.
India's Progression in COVID 19 Cases and deaths

Trend and graphs if Asian Countries and India Rising number of COVID -19 Cases
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