Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 18th November -2020


Topics of the day:

  1. International Crops Research Institute permitted to use drones
  2.  Women Employment
  3. Peru
  4. The Ariel Space Mission
  5. Golden Visa Programme
  6. Ministry of I & B requests compliance of policy on FDI in digital media within a month Issue: FDI in digital media



1 ) International Crops Research Institute permitted to use drones:

Relevant to : GS3- Economy- Agriculture, Science and Technology

Context: Permission to use drones for agricultural research activities

Highlights: Civil Aviation Ministry and Directorate General of Civil Aviation have granted conditional permission to the International Crops Research Institute for the deployment of drones for agricultural research activities.

  • Drones are poised to play a big role in agriculture sector in India especially in areas like
  1. Precision agriculture,
  2. Locust control and
  3. Improvement in crop yield.
  • The Government is encouraging young entrepreneurs and researchers to look at ruggedized low-cost drone solutions for the over 6.6 lakh villages in India.”
  • Clarifications: This exemption shall be valid only if all conditions and limitations as stated are strictly adhered to. In case of violation of any condition, this exemption shall become null and void
  • About International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid-Tropics (ICRISAT): ICRISAT is a nonprofit agricultural research organization.

HQ: Hyderabad, Telangana.

  • It was founded in 1972 by a consortium of organizations convened by the Ford and the Rockefeller Foundations.
  • Its charter was signed by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • It has several regional centres around globe Niamey (Nigeria), Nairobi (Kenya) and research stations Bamako (Mali), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe).



Relevant to:#Mains GS 1,2 3

Context: The year 2020 marks the anniversary of two major events concerning the status of women.

  • First, it is nearly fifty years since the Committee on the Status of Women in India (CSWI) submitted the report ‘Towards Equality’ to the United Nations (UN), which focused on women-sensitive policymaking in India, providing a fresh perspective on gender equality.
  • Second, it is the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, a benchmark for analysing the condition of women and State-led empowerment.

Issues of Women’s Economic Participation

  • Economic Growth not translating into employment: India’s female employment trends do not resonate with its high economic growth, low fertility, and rise in female schooling.
  • Declining Female Labour Force Participation rate: Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS), 2018-19 shows that women faced a decline in labour participation rates (from 2011 to 2019) in rural areas from 35.8% to 26.4%, and stagnation in urban areas at around 20.4%.
  • Low Global Ranking: Furthermore, the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report ranks India at 149 among 153 countries in terms of women’s economic participation and opportunity.
  • Wage Gap: The gender wage gap is the highest in Asia, with women 34% below men (for equal qualification and work), according to a 2019 Oxfam report. This stifles women’s labour force participation, despite the guarantees of India’s Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.
  • Feminisation of Agriculture: Agriculture that is an almost completely informal sector employs nearly 60% of women, who form the bulk of landless labourers, with no credit access, subsidies, little equipment, and lack of social security measures.
  • Abysmal Land ownership: Only about 13% of women tillers owned their land in 2019.
  • Low participation in Manufacturing Sector: Manufacturing employs (almost completely informally) only around 14% of the female labour force.
  • Care work dominates Women’s participation in Service Sector: According to the National Sample Survey (NSS) 2005, over 60% of the 4.75 million domestic workers are women.
  • Unequal gender division of household work: Women spend (an unpaid) three times (as per NSS) or even six times (as per OECD) more time than men in household work.
  • Overburdened Healthcare work: According to WHO, 70% of the world’s healthcare and social workers are women. In India, women are indispensable as frontline ASHA workers, but they are underpaid and overworked.
  • Disproportionate impact of Pandemic: In India, the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) showed that 39% of women lost their jobs in April and May compared to 29% of men, in the context of the ongoing pandemic.

Criticism of recently passed three labour codes w.r.t women issues

  • The laws are expected to transform labour relations, but they only end up ‘easing business’.
  • The codes acknowledge neither the gender wage gap nor non-payment of wages and bonuses, and ignore informal (mostly women) workers in terms of social security, insurance, provident fund, maternity benefits, or gratuity.
  • Though ‘allowing’ women to work night shifts, there is little focus on accountability and responsibility
  • Even protection from sexual harassment at workplace is missing.
  • Maternity benefits remain unchanged from the 2017 amendment, with an insensitively formulated adoption leave policy that grants leave to women who adopt infants under the age of three months, ignoring that most children are much older at the time of adoption.


  • The recent labour codes disregard women’s work conditions.
  • Gender cannot be wished away, since every policy and code affects a giant proportion of India’s workforce — both paid and unpaid, acknowledged and unacknowledged.


3) PERU:

Relevant to: GS Prelims and GS-I – Geography

Context: Peru’s fifth president in five years, Manuel Merino, was forced out of power, just five days after taking office, as massive protests swept Peru over alleged bribery – charges on the Presidet.


  • It is a country in western South America.
  • It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the south and west by the Pacific Ocean.
  • Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.
  • The country forms part of The Pacific Pumas, a political and economic grouping of countries along Latin America’s Pacific coast that share common trends of positive growth, stable macroeconomic foundations, improved governance and an openness to global integration.
  • Its Capital is Lima.


4) The Ariel Space Mission:

Relevant to:#GS Prelims #Mains GS 3

Context: The European Space Agency (ESA) has formally adopted Ariel.

What is Ariel?

Ariel (Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey) will be launched in 2029.

  • It will perform a large-scale survey of over a thousand exoplanets over a period of four years.
  • The explorer that will study the nature, formation and evolution of exoplanets.


  • Ariel is the first mission of its kind dedicated to measuring the chemical composition and thermal structures of hundreds of exoplanets.
  • It will also help to answer one of the key questions of ESA’s Cosmic Vision Plan, which is, “What are the conditions for planet formation and the emergence of life?”.

How exoplanets are found?

  • As per NASA, only a handful of exoplanets have been found using telescopes and the rest have been detected using indirect methods. These include:
  • Tracking the dimming of a star that happens when a planet passes in front of it. NASA’s Kepler Space telescope uses this method to spot thousands of planets.
  • Gravitational lensing and the “wobbling method”, which is based on the idea that an orbiting planet will cause its parent star to orbit slightly off-centre.

Why study exoplanets?

The search for exoplanets is driven by the possibility that life may exist beyond Earth and even if there is no evidence for this, scientists believe that their hunt for an answer will reveal details about where humans came from and where we’re headed.

Key Points:

  • As of now the existence of more than 4,000 exoplanets is considered confirmed, while there are thousands of other candidate exoplanets that need further observations to say for certain if they are exoplanets.
  • Proxima Centauri b is the closest exoplanet to Earth and is four light-years away and inhabits the “habitable zone” of its star, which means that it could possibly have liquid water on its surface.


5) Golden Visa Programme:

Relevant to : # GS Prelims

Context: The United Arab Emirates will extend its “golden” visa system — which grants 10-year residency in the West Asian nation — to certain professionals, specialised degree-holders and others

Key points

  • The “Golden Card” programme is open to investors and “exceptional talents” such as doctors, engineers, scientists, students and artists.
  • The visa categories include:
  1. General investors who will be granted a 10 years visa
  2. Real estate investors, who can get a visa for 5 years Visa
  3. Entrepreneurs and talented professionals such as doctors, researchers and innovators: 10 years Visa
  4. Outstanding students — will also be permitted residency visas for 5 years
  • All categories of visas can be renewed upon expiry.

Benefits for India

  • The Indian expatriate community is reportedly the largest ethnic community in the UAE, constituting roughly about 30 per cent of the country’s population of around nine million.
  • Though most of the Indians living in the UAE are employed, about 10 per cent of the Indian population constitutes dependent family members, according to the Indian Embassy.


6) Ministry of I & B requests compliance of policy on FDI in digital media within a month Issue: FDI in digital media:

Relevant to: #Mains GS3- Economy- FDI

Context : Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued a public notice to facilitate eligible entities involved in uploading/streaming of news and current affairs through digital media

  • It had permitted 26% FDI under Government approval route

About Guidelines for Digital Media Regulation:

  • The government has put emphasis on compliance to the26% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) cap under the government approval route in digital media.
  • – 26% FDI through the government approval route in the digital media sector was brought in 2019. FDI in print media is capped at 26%, and that in TV news is 49%.
  • The majority of the directors on the company’s board, and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company would have to be an Indian citizen.
  • All foreign employees working for more than 60 days would need security clearance.
    – If the government denies or withdraw security clearance, the digital media company will ensure that the concerned person resigns or his/her services are terminated.
  • The government has given a year to digital media news entities to align their shareholding with these requirements.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

× How can I help you?