Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - May 14, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

Focus: GS1.

Topic: The Freedom Struggle - its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.


Context

President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind pays Homage to Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, President of India on his birth anniversary.

About Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed

  • Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed (13 May 1905 – 11 February 1977)was an Indian lawyer and politician who served as the fifth President of India from 1974 to 1977 and also the 2nd President of India to die in office. 
  • First being Dr. Zakir Husain who died on 3 May 1969, the first Indian President to die in office.

About his political life

  • In 1925, he met Jawaharlal Nehruin England.
  • He joined theIndian National Congress and actively participated in the Indian Freedom Movement.
  • In 1942 he was arrested during the Quit India Movementand sentenced to 5 years’ imprisonment.
  • He was a member of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee from 1936-74.
  • He was also a member of All India Congress Committee (AICC) from 1947 to 1974.
  • He remained the Minister of Finance, Revenue and labourin 1948 Gopinath Bordoloi Ministry.
  • He was chosen for the presidency by Prime Minister Indira Gandhiin 1974, and on 20 August 1974, he became the second Muslim to be elected President of India.
  • He is known to have issued the proclamation of emergency.
  • He used hisconstitutional authority as head of state to allow him to rule by decree once the Emergency in India was proclaimed in 1975.

Source: India Today.

Infant Mortality rate

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • India’s infant mortality rate (IMR) has improved very marginally from 33 per 1,000 live births in 2017 o 32 in 2018, according to data released by the Registrar General of India.
  • The IMR has declined significantly over the years; in 1971, it was 129.

About the states performance

  • Madhya Pradesh continues to have the worst IMR in the country at 48 while Nagaland has the best at 4.
  • In fact, MP’s IMR has worsened slightly from 2017 when it stood at 47.
  • The urban rural differential in MP is huge with the rural IMR at 51, while the urban IMR at 32.
  • Among large states, Kerala is the best performer being the only state with an IMR in single digits at 7.
  • It is also the only state which has now achieved the United Nations’ sustainable development goal in this regard.
  • The largest decline in IMR has been registered by Mizoramwith a decline from 15 to 5.
  • Undivided Jammu and Kashmir has also seen a decline and is at 22, well below the national average of 32.

About the highlights

  • Child and infant mortality continues to be a massive problem in India despite improvements over the years.
  • An estimated 8,82,000 children under the age of 5 died in 2018 in India.
  • The registrar also released data for death and birth rates.
  • While India’s birth rate stood at 20, the death rate was 6.2.
  • Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate in the country at 8, while Delhi has the lowest at 3.
  • India’s birth rate has declined from 36 in 1971 to 20 now.
  • The death rate in 1971 was 14.9.

Source: Indian Express.

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Global Nutrition Report 2020

Focus: GS2.

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


Context

  • The Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2020, said that India is among 88 countries that are off track from 2025 global nutrition targets.
  • Just five years away from 2025, the year that was targeted to achieve World Health Organisation’s Global Nutrition targets, 88 countries in the world, including India, are off track to achieve even one of the targets.

About the criteria

  • The criteria for the ten 2025 global nutritional targets are: anaemia, low birthweight, exclusive breastfeeding, childhood stunting, childhood wasting, childhood overweight (including obesity), adult obesity (men, women) and adult diabetes (men, women), level for salt intake, and raised blood pressure.
  • The Global Health Report measured countries’ progress only on the first eight of these criteria due to data constraints, and found that four was the maximum number of targets that any country was on track to meet by 2025.
  • Only eight countries were on track to meet four targets.

About the malnutrition in Indian children

  • When it comes to India’s country profile, a snapshot of the data reveals that as of 2015, the national prevalence of overweight in children under five years is 2.4%, which has increased slightly from 1.9% in 2006.
  • The national prevalence of under-five stunting (impaired growth and development in children due to poor nutrition, repeated infection and insufficient psychosocial stimulation), meanwhile, is 37.9%, which is greater than the developing country average of 25%.
  • Further, wasting (low eight for height) is seen in 20.8% of children under five which is also greater than the developing country average of 8.9%.
  • According to data from WHO, UNICEF and World Bank, prevalence of wasting in boys (21.8%) is higher than in girls (19.8%).
  • The national average is 20.8%; and the cumulative stunting in the 0-23 months age group is much higher at 25.1%.
  • Stunting in both boys and girls has seen a reduction from 2007 to 2015 across age groups.
  • However, overweight has increased in both boys and girls in the same time period, with a significant difference between the genders.
  • There was a clear relation found between child feeding practices and household characteristics globally.
  • Continued breastfeeding up to 1 or 2 years of age is less common for children in wealthier households, urban areas or with a more educated mother. In contrast, rates of solid food introduction and minimum diet diversity are substantially lower for children in the poorest households, in rural areas or with a less educated mother.
  • This was true for India too.
  • For instance between urban and rural areas, exclusive breastfeeding, as well as continued breastfeeding at two years and one year were higher in rural areas i.e. in poorer households.
  • The same was seen for introduction to solid, semi-solid and soft foods.

Source: The Hindu.

Direct seeding of rice

Focus: GS3.

Topic: e-technology in the aid of farmers.


Context

Ø  The two granary states of Punjab and Haryana could face a shortage of an estimated 10 lakh labourers, mainly seasonal migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, to undertake transplantation of paddy in the upcoming kharif season.
Ø  With lockdown relaxations not extending to trains to ferry these labourers who usually arrive by early June, farmers are now being encouraged to adopt ‘direct seeding of rice’ (DSR) in place of conventional transplanting.

About its difference from normal transplant

  • In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where the paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.
  • These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field.
  • The nursery seed bed is 5-10% of the area to be transplanted.
  • In DSR, there is no nursery preparation or transplantation.
  • The seeds are instead directly drilled into the field by a tractor-powered machine.
  • The Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) in Ludhiana has developed a ‘Lucky Seed Drill’ that can both sow seeds and simultaneously spray herbicides to control weeds.
  • This machine is different from the more popular ‘Happy Seeder’, used to directly sow wheat on combine-harvested paddy fields containing leftover stubble and loose straw.

About the advantages

  • The most obvious one is water savings.
  • The second savings, relevant in the present context, is that of labour.
  • About three labourers are required to transplant one acre of paddy in a single day.
  • As against this, the cost of herbicides under DSR will not exceed Rs 2,000 per acre.

Source: Indian Express.

Force Majeure

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Investment models.


Context

  • Builders in Noida and Ghaziabad hailed the government''s stimulus measures for the sector but hoped for more steps that can help them get priority funds from banks to complete stuck projects.
  • Announcing a slew of stimulus measures, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the deadline for completion of real estate projects will be extended by up to six months, treating the coronavirus outbreak as a ''force majeure'' event under the realty law RERA.

Highlights

  • Relaxation in registration and completion date for the ongoing registered projects is a welcome move.
  • However, this is the first instant assistance by the government that was highly and naturally required.
  • At this point, the sector needs steps that could help them complete the stuck projects and get priority funds from banks.
  • Though the latest announcement by the Finance Minister will ease out the burden of getting into defaulter list for missing construction deadlines, the real issues remains to be addressed still.
  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs will issue an advisory to real estate regulators of all states and Union Territories to treat COVID-19 as an ''act of God'' so that ''force majeure'' clauses under RERA can be invoked for providing relief to builders in completion of projects.

Source: Financial Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Force majeure:
  1. It is a French term that literally means "greater force."
  2. It is a situation that refers to extraordinary events and circumstances beyond human control.
  3. It refers to a clause that is included in contracts to remove liability for natural and unavoidable catastrophes that interrupt the expected course of events and restrict participants from fulfilling obligations. 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. AOTA

Solution: D

2. The subject of ‘Labour’ falls in the:

      1. State list
      2. Union list
      3. Concurrent list
      4. NOTA

Solution: C

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