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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 28 July 2020

Contents

  1. Andhra Pradesh: Remarkable increase in tiger numbers
  2. What was said about India and Bangladesh?
  3. China meets Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal Ministers
  4. Govt. to go ahead with divestment of PSUs
  5. RBI governor: 5 Points to reignite the economy
  6. 5 Rafales head to India
  7. Israeli team arrives for trials of COVID-19 tests

ANDHRA PRADESH: REMARKABLE INCREASE IN TIGER NUMBERS

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

There is an increase in number of adult and sub-adult Tigers in Andhra Pradesh during the last five years.

Introduction

Of the less than 4,000 Tigers in the world, India accounts for 75%.

A massive conservation effort spearheaded by the Forest Department and many global NGOs has started showing results as is evident from the tangible increase in the population of tigers.

Tiger census in Andhra Pradesh

The Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR) is where the rise in the number of tigers is seen according to the tiger census carried out by the Wildlife Institute of India and the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).

In spite of limited support, the Forest Department has fared well in tiger conservation by engaging the local tribals, numbering 500, undertaking active surveillance by using sensor-based camera traps and ensuring 24 X7 patrolling by the personnel.

Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve (NSTR)

  • Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve is the largest tiger reserve in India.
  • The reservoirs and temples of Srisailam are major attraction for many tourists and pilgrims.
  • The Krishna river cuts its basin through the reserve.
  • Endemic reptiles like the skinks Ashwamedh writhing skink, Sharma’s mabuya] lizards and the Nagarjun Sagar racer snake are particular highlights of this unique region.

-Source: The Hindu


WHAT WAS SAID ABOUT INDIA AND BANGLADESH?

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

  • Speaking on the occasion of handing over 10 broad gauge locomotives to Bangladesh – Indian Minister of External Affairs said India-Bangladesh relationship is a role model for good neighbourly relationship in the South Asian region.
  • Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister said that the Indian government and society have an obligation to prevent any development that can fracture the historic ties with Bangladesh.

Details

  • India emphasized that it was indeed happy to witness the transformative economic growth in Bangladesh, and that Bangladeshi achievements across all socio-economic indicators have set new benchmarks.
  • The locomotives handed over under grant assistance are expected to provide improved train operations within the Bangladesh Railways and strengthen interchange with the Indian Railways.
  • The Bangladeshi Foreign Minister said both sides should work in such a way so that such disruptions can be averted.
  • Regarding the position of Bangladesh about the beginning of the temple construction in Ayodhya – Bangladeshi Foreign assured that they will not allow it to hurt ties.

Recently in news: India appreciated the position as Dhaka considers it an internal matter of India. Click Here to read more about India – Bangladesh relations

-Source: The Hindu


CHINA MEETS AFGHANISTAN, PAKISTAN, NEPAL MINISTERS

Focus: GS-II International Relations

Why in news?

China convened a rare quadrilateral dialogue with the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan.

Details

  • China pledged to strengthen cooperation among the four nations in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as well as boosting their economic recoveries, including through regional connectivity projects.
  • China outlined four proposals at the meet, including for the four countries to cooperate under China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
  • Extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan, as well as taking forward an economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network was proposed.
  • China also called on the countries to learn from China and Pakistan’s joint prevention and control model, and suggested the four countries could look at opening up “green channels” as soon as possible.
  • China has also offered its expertise in fighting COVID-19 and said vaccines that are being developed would be shared with the three countries.
  • The four countries pledged their support to the ongoing peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.

Click Here to read more about the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

-Source: The Hindu


GOVT. TO GO AHEAD WITH DIVESTMENT OF PSUS

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

  • The government is working on completing the stake sale process of about 23 public sector companies whose divestment has already been cleared by the Cabinet.
  • With regard to extending credit to the industry – under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS), micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) can avail loans.

Details

  • The government as part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat package had announced opening up of all sectors for private participation.
  • The final call as to which are the sectors that are going to be called ‘strategic’ is not made yet.
  • This would lead to consolidation of public sector undertakings (PSUs) as well as scaling up of their operations.

The Economic Survey 2020 on Govt. Divestment in PSUs

  • The Economic Survey 2020 has aggressively pitched for divestment in PSUs by proposing a separate corporate entity wherein the government’s stake can be transferred and divested over a period of time.
  • The performance of privatized firms, after controlling for other confounding factors using the difference in the performance of peer firms over the same period, improves significantly the following privatization.
  • Further, the survey has said privatized entities have performed better than their peers in terms of net worth, profit, return on equity and sales, among others.

Click Here to read more about Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

-Source: The Hindu


RBI GOVERNOR: 5 POINTS TO REIGNITE THE ECONOMY

Focus: GS-III Indian Economy

Why in news?

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor said five dynamic shifts have the potential to shape the future of the country’s economy.

He said the infrastructure gap still remains large and there is a need for diversifying financing options.

The Five Dynamic Shifts

I. Favoring Agricultural Sector

  • The RBI Governor suggested a change in agriculture policy focus from minimum support price (MSP).
  • An efficient domestic supply chain has a possibility to facilitate “domestic free trade” in agriculture that is triggered by three key policy changes — the amendment of the Essential Commodities Act (ECA), 1955; the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020; and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance, 2020.
  • With this enabling legislative framework, the focus must turn to crop diversification, food processing, agricultural exports, and public and private capital formation in the farm sector.

II. Towards Renewable Energy

  • In the case of renewables, there is clear scope for taking advantage of progressive cost reductions and substituting imports of solar panels from China by creating domestic capacity.
  • India has emerged a power surplus country, exporting electricity to neighbouring countries, hence an opportunity exists in the energy sector, especially renewable energy.

III. Infrastructure as Growth multiplier

  • In the case of infrastructure, the private sector already has a specific role in financing the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP)
  • The current and next years are critical for the NIP since the proposed schedule provides for peaking of infrastructure investment in these years, particularly in the construction sector.
  • Financing of infrastructure investment in the current and subsequent years will be key to the recovery of India’s growth and pushing it towards its potential.
  • To finance public investment in infrastructure, the government may consider another round of fiscal stimulus focused mainly on increasing its capital expenditure on infrastructure.

IV. Information and Communications Technology (ICT)

  • In the case of information and communication technology, the government’s initiatives for curbing Chinese technologies and applications open up competitive space for Indian initiatives.
  • Leveraging information and communication technology (ICT) and focusing on start-ups has the potential to help in India’s Economic growth plans.

V. Domestic and Global Supply Chains

  • Global shifts in value chains in response to Covid-19 and other developments would create opportunities for India.
  • Besides focusing on diversifying sources of imports, it may also be necessary to focus on greater strategic trade integration, including in the form of early completion of bilateral free trade agreements with the US (United States), the EU (European Union), and the UK (United Kingdom).
  • Global supply chains are bound to be realigned in favour of the country and the private sector should invest extensively and take advantage of the space that is being opened up.

-Source: Hindustan Times, The Hindu


5 RAFALES HEAD TO INDIA

Focus: GS-III Internal Security Challenges

Why in news?

Five Rafale fighter jets of the 36 ordered by the Indian Air Force (IAF) took off from France and are homebound to India.

Benefits

  • This move of inducting Rafales to the IAF will boost rapid deployment of the jets to upgrade India’s ageing air power amid tensions with neighbouring China and Pakistan.
  • This also marks a new milestone in the strong and growing India-France defence cooperation.
  • The new fighters — the first imported jets to be inducted into the IAF in 23 years after the Russian Sukhoi-30 jets entered service in June 1997 — will significantly enhance the offensive capabilities of IAF.
  • The new fighters — the first imported jets to be inducted into the IAF in 23 years after the Russian Sukhoi-30 jets entered service in June 1997 — will significantly enhance the offensive capabilities of IAF
  • The twin-engine jet is capable of carrying out a variety of missions – ground and sea attack, air defence and air superiority, reconnaissance and nuclear strike deterrence.

-Source: Hindustan Times, The Hindu


ISRAELI TEAM ARRIVES FOR TRIALS OF COVID-19 TESTS

Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology, Prelims

Why in news?

An Israeli team, led by a “high ranking” research and development (R&D) defence official, arrived in India with a multi-pronged mission, codenamed “Operation Breathing Space”.

Operation Breathing Space

  • The team will be coordinated by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), and Indian Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Ministry of Health.
  • The plans include four different kinds of rapid tests, which will be jointly developed after trials on Indian COVID-19 patients, as well as high-tech equipment to minimise exposure of medical staff to the virus, advanced respirators and special sanitisers developed in Israel.
  • If even one of the tests proves to be effective in testing for coronavirus in 30-40 seconds, this could be a game changer for the whole world and how we behave, at least until we have a vaccine.
  • The tests that the Israeli teams will be conducting trials for include an audio test, a breath test, thermal testing, and a polyamino test which seeks to isolate proteins related to COVID-19.
  • The simple tests have been tried on a small sample of Israeli patients, and now would be tried in the next stage on a larger sample of Indian patients.
  • The cooperation between Indian and Israeli scientists will also include sharing the most effective treatment protocols for COVID-19 patients.

-Source: The Hindu

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