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Implementation of PM-DAKSH scheme

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 11th & 12th April 2022

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 11th & 12th April 2022

 

 

 

Topics for the day:

  1. Ukraine dominates Modi-Biden talks
  2. Modi pushes for peace as Shehbaz fags Kashmir
  3. NSCN(K) seeks united push for solution
  4. RBI to allow cardless cash withdrawals
  5. Guru nabha dass
  6. Implementation of PM-DAKSH scheme
  7. Professor Hargobind Khorana

 

 

Ukraine dominates Modi-Biden talks

Ukraine dominates Modi-Biden talks

Context and news :

  • PM Modi and U.S. President Joe Biden met virtually, as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh were in Washington for the fourth ‘2+2’ foreign and defence ministry dialogues with their U.S. counterparts.
  • The war between Russia and Ukraine featured prominently in the opening remarks of both.
  • The government’s readout of the meeting said the two leaders had discussed
    • Ukraine, as well as regional and global issue
    • The COVID-19 pandemic
    • The global economy
    • Climate and “recent developments in South Asia and the Indo-Pacifc region”
    • Even developments in Sri Lanka and Pakistan had been “touched on”
  • India’s unwillingness to call out Russia by name for its attack on Ukraine has not gone down well in Washington, but U.S. officials have also said that they hoped countries that have relationships with Moscow might leverage them to bring about a resolution to the situation.
  • “The United States and India are going to continue our close consultation on how to manage the destabilizing effects of this Russian war,” Mr. Biden said.
  • The Press Secretary Jen Psaki emphasised that while payments for energy from Russia were not sanctioned, the U.S. was discouraging India from increasing its purchases of Russian energy.
  • Biden had reiterated a U.S. offer to help India diversity its energy imports.
  • India currently imports only a small 1-2% of its energy from Russia
More on the 2+2 format :
  • What is the 2+2 format?
    • 2+2 Ministerial is the highest-level institutional mechanism between the two countries.
    • The dialogue is aimed to provide a positive, forward-looking vision for the India-U.S. strategic partnership.
    • It also aims at promoting synergy in diplomatic and security efforts.
    • The 2-plus-2 dialogue is held between Indian External Affairs and Defence Ministers, and their US counterparts.
  • Does india have 2+2 format with other nations?
    • India holds such talks with Australia, Japan and the USA which are the other members of the QUAD
    • India also holds these talks with Russia
  • Use of 2+2 format for india – US ties :
    • 1st 2+2 format in 2018 :
      • The two sides signed the landmark security pact, decided to set up hotlines between their defence and foreign ministers
      • They deliberated on thorny issues such as India’s purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia and the import of crude oil from Iran.
      • They also signed the landmark COMCASA agreement that gives India access to encrypted American technologies.
      • While the Indo-Pacific region occupied the bulk of the discussions, the two countries also agreed on working together towards the entry of India in the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG)
    • 2nd 2+2 format 2019 :
      • Peacekeeping for Indo-Pacific
        • Cooperation in capacity-building of UN peacekeepers from Indo-Pacific countries, based on demands from the countries concerned.
        • Counter-terrorism efforts were also discussed including dangers of of cross border terrorism.
      • To hold the India-U.S. joint tri-services ‘Tiger Triumph’ on an annual basis.
      • The US became a part of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI)
    • 3rd 2+2 format 2020 :
      • India had signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) with the USA.
        • BECA will enable the exchange of geospatial data and information between the two countries and will improve the accuracy of India’s missiles in precision strikes.
      • Agreement to extend the duration of the MoU on the Global Center for Nuclear Energy Partnership.
      • Agreement on the electronic exchange of customs data.

 

PM Modi pushes for peace as Shehbaz fags Kashmir

PM Modi pushes for peace as Shehbaz fags Kashmir

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi wished Pakistan’s new PM Shehbaz Sharif, with a message of peace in a region “free of terror”.
  • In a speech to the National Assembly a few hours earlier, Mr. Sharif said that Pakistan desires good ties with India, which is “not possible without the resolution of the Kashmir dispute”.
  • The comments from both leaders, while diferent from the period of no bilateral engagement that existed under PM Imran Khan indicated that both sides will maintain their positions on terrorism and Jammu and Kashmir respectively.
  • Sharif was elected unopposed in the National Assembly on Monday, after days of uncertainty over the no-confidence motion against Mr. Khan, which was eventually resolved by the Supreme Court
  • S. President Joe Biden had not held any conversation with Mr. Khan after taking office in 2021, and his engagement with the new government will be watched.
India Pakistan relations overview :
  • India – Pakistan relations since independence are marked by distinct phases of ups and downs.
    • Phase of active aggression (1947 – 2001):
      • This phase is marked by post-partition acrimony. The issues between India and Pakistan led to three Wars during this period fought in 1965, 1971 and 1999.
      • This phase is marked by the rise in insurgency in Kashmir which was supported by Pakistan.
      • Both countries displayed their nuclear weapon capabilities also during this phase.
    • Phase of reconciliation (2001-2008):
      • This phase is marked by cordial overtures made by both countries.
      • Permanent ceasefire was agreed by both across the border, confidence building measures were initiated;
      • energy pacts agreed upon, trade and travel routes were inaugurated for the first time by both.
    • Phase of passive bilateralism (2008 – 2015):
      • Low key interactions take place, India’s ‘Neighborhood First’ Policy unveiled, high levels visits initiated at the end of this period.
    • Phase of renewed aggression (2015-2019):
      • Cross-border terrorism peaked, several attacks on Indian soil took place, trade plummeted, internationalization of disputes and diplomatic isolation started, complete isolation and disruption of all levels of talks characterize this period.
    • India and Pakistan’s historic belligerence is founded on some basic irritants which include the history of partition, Kashmir dispute, water distribution, boundary disputes in some specific sectors and the continuing acrimony of Pakistan’s military establishment for its failure in wars with India.
    • Above irritants have been manifested into several face-offs in different domains which include low bilateral trade, separatism in Punjab, creation of external leverages to the detriment of each other, cross-border skirmishes, nuclear arms race etc.
    • Now that the political level engagement is near zero, a start could be made through development of people-to-people level relations, international mediation, using multilateral forums to initiate sideline talks and focusing on development of and bringing normalcy in Kashmir.

 

NSCN(K) seeks united push for solution

NSCN(K) seeks united push for solution

Context :

  • The chief of the NSCN (K) has said a solution to the “Indo-Naga political issue” would be possible if all the Naga political groups come together with a common draft. NSCN (K) is the Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
Background:
The beginning :
  • The Naga National Council (NNC) was formed in April 1946 to carry out social and political upliftment of the Nagas.
  • After the return of the radical leader of Naga cause, Angami Zapu Phizo, from Burma in 1947, the faction of NNC demanding full impendence grew strong
??Shillong Accord and the split of NNC :
  • The Shillong Accord was signed in 1975 by Government of India with a section of the NNC leaders. As part of the accord, the leaders agreed to abjure violence and work towards the solution of the Naga problem within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
  • It was opposed by Phizo, Isak Swu and Muivah.
Formation of NSCN :
  • Later, Isak Swu and Muivah formed the “National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)” in January 1980.
    • Later, NSCN split into two factions, namely NCSN (I-M) led by Isak &Muivah and NCSN (K) led by Khaplang.
  • The Nagas under NSCN (I-M) had various views for a new Nagaland.
    • One was an independent nation of Nagaland comprising the present Nagaland, the Naga inhabited areas of Manipur and Myanmar.
    • Another one was to integrate the Naga inhabited districts of Manipur with the state of Nagaland under the Indian Constitution.
  • Since 1997, NSCN (I-M) has been involved in negotiations with the Government of India and signed many ceasefire agreements.
2015 Framework Agreement (FA) :
  • In 2015, the Centre signed a framework agreement with the NSCN (I-M) to resolve the Naga issue.
  • Both sides-maintained secrecy about its contents.
  • Hence, the details of the agreements are not entirely clear.
  • However, broad points included:
    • The government could go for devolution of more powers to Nagaland under provisions of Article 371 (A) of the Constitution of India.
    • The army of NSCN-IM will be absorbed in a new force to be raised on the lines of Home Guards.
    • It would involve more autonomy to Naga tribes living in Manipur.
    • The agreement, however, does not include physical integration of all Naga areas in terms of a boundary.
    • The agreement was only a framework, with many details still to be hammered out. For this Centre is engaged in talks with different Naga groups.
    • Also the NSCN (IM) is adamant on the issues of a separate flag and separate constitution for the naga areas.
  • Along with the NSCN(IM) the Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) comprise of at least seven other extremist groups, including the NSCN (K)
 Current status of peace talks :
  • The Union government is engaged in discussions with different Naga groups to find a solution to the Naga political issue.
  • The dialogue between the Union Government and the NSCN-IM collapsed in 2020 when the largest Naga group refused to hold any further talks with Mr. Ravi
  • Later a new interlocutor was appointed
  • The Naga peace talks were also impacted by the incident on December 4, 2021 when six villagers were killed in an operation by para commandos of the Assam Rifles.

 

RBI to allow cardless cash withdrawals

RBI to allow cardless cash withdrawals

Context :

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed to make cardless cash withdrawal facility available at all ATMs, irrespective of banks, through the Unified Payment Interface (UPI), one of the key decisions made by the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee.
What is UPI?
  • UPI was first introduced in April, 2016 by National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • NPCI is an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India.
  • It is a system that powers multiple bank accounts into a single mobile application (of any participating bank), merging several banking features, seamless fund routing & merchant payments into one hood.
  • UPI Apps include PhonePe, Paytm, Google Pay, Amazon Pay and BHIM.
Cardless Cash Withdrawal:
  • At the moment, only a limited number of banks such as ICICI Bank, Kotak Mahindra Bank, HDFC Bank and SBI, allow their users to withdraw cash from their ATMs without a card, a feature introduced in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • However, it is a long-drawn process.
    • Users have to install apps of their respective banks and first select the option of cardless cash withdrawal on the app, followed by adding beneficiary details and the withdrawal amount.
    • Also, cardless cash withdrawals have certain limits as well such withdrawals start from Rs 100 per transaction and have an upper limit put in place by respective banks.
How will it be made possible :
  • ATMs soon will show an option to withdraw cash using UPI.
  • Upon selecting that option, a user would have to add the amount they wish to withdraw following which a QR code would be generated on the ATM machine.
  • The user would then have to scan that code on their UPI app and enter their pin following which the ATM will dispense cash.
Impact of Cardless Withdrawal on Debit Card Usage:
Positive Impact:
  • The RBI noted that the absence of need for a card to initiate cash withdrawal transactions would help in containing frauds like skimming, card cloning, device tampering, etc.
Negative Impact:
  • As of now, there are more than 900 million debit cards in the country, and experts have cautioned that allowing cash withdrawals through UPI could negatively impact debit card usage.
  • However, the RBI has assured that the issuance of debit cards would not stop due to the move since they have other uses beyond cash withdrawals.

 

Guru nabha dass

Guru nabha dass

Context :

  • The Punjab government has announced a gazetted holiday on the birth anniversary of Guru Nabha Dass, a 16th century saint.
About Guru Nabha Dass:
  • Born on: April 8, 1537. Born at village Bhadrachalam on the bank of Godavari river in Khammam district, which falls in the present day Telangana.
  • Belonged to Mahasha also known as doom or dumna community, which is one of the Schedule Caste communities.
  • His religious gurus were Agar Dass and Keel Dass.
  • People from this community are also known as Nabhadassias.
  • They are known for making baskets and grain storage containers with bamboo.
  • Bhagatmal: Guru Nabha Dass wrote ‘Bhagatmal’ in 1585.
    • It has the life history of around 200 saints.
What is his connection with Punjab?
  • Guru Nabha Dass used to visit village Pandori in Gurdaspur district where people of Doom community live.
  • Some gurus of the community also used to live there.
  • Neighbouring Himachal Pradesh and Jammu states also have a sizeable presence of the community.
  • Kullu Dussehra is celebrated for a week on the directions of Guru Nabha Dass.

 

Implementation of PM-DAKSH scheme

Implementation of PM-DAKSH scheme

Context :

  • The youth, owing to their educational backwardness, are finding difficulties to obtain employment with good compensation after undergoing short-term skilling courses. In this background, the government has highlighted the need for and significance of this scheme.
About the scheme:
  • The scheme is being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment from the year 2020-21.
  • Under the scheme, eligible target groups are being provided skill development training programmes on up-skilling/reskilling, short term training programme, long term training programme and entrepreneurship development program (EDP).
  • Eligibility: Marginalized persons of SC, OBC, Economically Backward Classes, De-notified tribes, Sanitation workers including waste pickers, manual scavengers, transgenders and other similar categories.
 It is implemented by the three Corporations under the Ministry:
  • National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSFDC)
  • National Backward Classes Finance & Development Corporation (NBCFDC)
  • National Safai Karamcharis Finance and Development Corporation (NSKFDC).
Significance and the need for the scheme:
  • Most of the persons of target group are having minimal economic assets; therefore, provision of training and enhancing their competencies is essential for economic empowerment/ upliftment of these marginalized target groups.
  • Many of the persons of target group belong to the category of rural artisans who have become marginalized owing to coming of better technologies in market.
  • There is also a need to empower the women amongst the target group, who, due to their overall domestic compulsions, cannot be involved in wage employment which normally involves long working hours and sometimes migration to other cities.

 

Professor Hargobind Khorana

Professor Hargobind Khorana

Context:

  • The year 2022 marks the 100th birthday of Nobel Prize-winning chemist Har Gobind Khorana.
Research and discoveries :
  • He began research on nucleic acids during a fellowship at the University of Cambridge (1951) under Sir Alexander Todd.
  • He made another contribution to genetics in 1970 when he and his research team were able to synthesize the first artificial copy of a yeast gene.
  • He was the first in the world to complete the total synthesis of a functional gene outside a living organism in 1972.
  • His later research explored the molecular mechanisms underlying the cell signalling pathways of vision in vertebrates.
  • His studies were concerned primarily with the structure and function of rhodopsin, a light-sensitive protein found in the retina of the vertebrate eye.
  • He also investigated mutations in rhodopsin that are associated with retinitis pigmentosa, which causes night blindness.
Awards and recognition :
  • He shared the 1968 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Marshall W. Nirenberg and Robert W. Holley for research that helped to show how the nucleotides in nucleic acids, which carry the genetic code of the cell, control the cell’s synthesis of proteins.
  • In addition to the Nobel Prize, Khorana received the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (1968) and the National Medal of Science (1987).
  • The Indian government awarded Khorana the Padma Vibhushan in 1969.
Nobel prize :
  • Alfred Nobel, a Swedish chemist, engineer, industrialist, and the inventor of dynamite, in his last will and testament in 1895, gave the largest share of his fortune to a series of prizes in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, and Peace, to be called the “Nobel Prizes”.
  • In 1968, the sixth award, the Prize in Economic Sciences was started.
  • The Nobel Prize consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount.
  • The Nobel Committees of five prize-awarding institutions every year invite thousands of members of academies, university professors, scientists, previous Nobel Laureates, and members of parliamentary assemblies among others to submit candidates for the Nobel Prizes for the coming year.
  • The nominators are selected in such a way that as many countries and universities as possible are represented over time.
  • One cannot nominate himself/herself for a Nobel Prize.
  • The following Indians (or individuals of Indian origin) have been honoured with the Nobel: Rabindranath Tagore (Literature, 1913), C V Raman (Physics, 1930), Hargobind Khorana (Medicine, 1968), Mother Teresa (Peace, 1979), Subramanian Chandrashekhar (Physics, 1983), the Dalai Lama (Peace, 1989), Amartya Sen (Economics, 1998), Venkatraman Ramakrishnan (2009), and Kailash Satyarthi (Peace, 2014).

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 11th & 12th April 2022

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