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    UPSC Key | 7th July, 2024: Primary Agriculture Credit Societies, Right to Repair Portal, Crowd management and more


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    Govt and Politics

    Not one village should be without primary agri credit societies: Shah

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Economic and Social Development

    Mains Examination: GS-II, GS-III: Government policies and interventions; Development processes and the development industry, Economic Development

    Festive offer

    What’s the ongoing story- Minister of Home Affairs and Cooperation Amit Shah urged stakeholders in cooperative societies — district registrars, heads of district cooperative banks and heads of milk unions — to support the establishment of primary agricultural credit societies (PACS) in all villages and blocks of the country, which, he said, has 2 lakh gram panchayats lacking such societies.


    short article insert
    Prerequisites: 

    — What are PACS?

    — Constitutional provision related to the cooperative societies. 

    — Read about the evolution of the cooperative sector in India.

    — National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and Union Ministry of Cooperation.

    Key takeaways: 

    — Addressing a programme at Gandhinagar marking the 102nd International Day of Cooperatives in Gandhinagar, Shah said that the cooperation ministry has undertaken a drive to “establish 2 lakh dairies and PACS” for the 2 lakh gram panchayats which he says lack such facilities. He added that this move is in addition to an established database which identifies cooperative societies across the country.

    — Shah also appealed to the NABARD and other state-level district cooperative banks along with milk producers’ unions across the country “to ensure that all dairies, all PACS and all cooperatives of districts open their bank accounts with district or state cooperative banks.

    For Your Information: 

    — PACS are village level cooperative credit societies that serve as the last link in a three-tier cooperative credit structure headed by the State Cooperative Banks (SCB) at the state level. Credit from the SCBs is transferred to the district central cooperative banks, or DCCBs, that operate at the district level. The DCCBs work with PACS, which deal directly with farmers.

    — Since these are cooperative bodies, individual farmers are members of the PACS, and office-bearers are elected from within them. A village can have multiple PACS.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What is the significance of PACS?

    — What are the issues and challenges associated with PACS?

    — What initiatives have been taken to promote PACS?

    Post Read Question:

    Prelims

    Consider the following statements: (UPSC CSE 2020)

    1. In terms of short-term credit delivery to the agriculture sector, District Central Cooperative Banks (DCCBs) deliver more credit in comparison to Scheduled Commercial Banks and Regional Rural Banks.

    2. One of the most important functions of DCCBs is to provide funds to the Primary Agricultural Credit Societies.

    Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

    (a) 1 only

    (b) 2 only

    (c) Both 1 and 2

    (d) Neither 1 nor 2

    Mains

    “In the villages itself no form of credit organization will be suitable except the cooperative society.” – All India Rural Credit Survey. Discuss this statement in the background of agricultural finance in India. What constraints and challenges do financial institutions supplying agricultural finance face? How can technology be used to better reach and serve rural clients? (UPSC CSE 2014)

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    Every village to have agricultural credit societies by 2027, says Amit Shah

    Law Ministry works on AI for translating laws into official languages

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance.

    Mains Examination: GS-II, GS-III: Government policies and interventions; Awareness in the fields of IT, Computers, robotics, 

    What’s the ongoing story- In order to reduce its reliance on state governments to translate Central legislation into Indian languages, the Union Law Ministry is working on developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) to translate laws into the official languages, likely by December, The Indian Express has learnt.

    Prerequisites: 

    — Read about AI and Its applications in different sectors.

    — Eighth Schedule of the Constitution of India.

    — What are the new criminal laws?

    Key takeaways: 

    — According to senior officials of the Ministry, a recent trial of AI to translate laws was only around 40% successful. The Ministry and the National Informatics Centre are feeding in words from the legal glossary in Hindi and other Indian languages into the AI to improve results, officials said.

    — While there are 22 Indian languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, translations are likely to be in 14 languages, including Bengali, Tamil, Gujarati, Urdu, Punjabi and Marathi, as not all languages are used in courts, the official said.

    — These efforts come at a time when the three new criminal laws have come into effect on July 1, while their official translations into Indian languages are yet to be notified.

    For Your Information: 

    — The Supreme Court has also deployed AI to translate its judgments. The project, which started in 2019, had translated 31,184 judgments into 16 languages using “AI translation tools” as on December 2, 2023. 

    — Under Article 348 of the Constitution, all proceedings of the Supreme Court and High Courts and authoritative texts of Bills introduced and passed by Parliament or any state legislature have to be English, unless the Governor of state, with the prior consent of the President, authorises the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What are the advantages and disadvantages of AI?

    — What ethical considerations should be taken into account when developing and using AI?

    — Is there any legal framework for AI regulation globally and nationally?

    Post Read Question:

    With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following? (UPSC CSE 2020)

    1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units

    2. Create meaningful short stories and songs

    3. Disease diagnosis

    4. Text-to-Speech Conversion

    5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy

    Select the correct answer using the code given below:

    (a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only

    (b) 1, 3 and 4 only 

    (c) 2, 4 and 5 only 

    (d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

    Govt asks new auto companies to join Right to Repair Portal

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance

    Mains Examination: GS-II, GS-III: Government policies and interventions; Environmental Pollution & Degradation.

    What’s the ongoing story- The Centre asked the automobile companies to join the unified Right to Repair Portal India which has been launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs to provide consumers with an easy access to information for repairing their products and enabling them to reuse it.

    Prerequisites: 

    Read about the Right to Repair Portal.

    Consumer Protection Act, 2019.

    What is the status of e-waste management in India?

    Key takeaways: 

    “Companies were urged to on board the portal which facilitates and works as a catalyst to provide relevant repair associated information between the consumers and companies,” the official said.

    — During the meeting, it was emphasised that products that cannot be repaired or subject to planned obsolescence compel consumers to buy new products due to lack of repair options or if it is expensive and contribute to e-waste, the official said.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What are the factors contributing to high e-waste in India?

    — What measures have been taken for efficient e-waste management?

    — What are the main challenges in ensuring the protection of consumer rights in India?

    — What steps should be taken to address the challenge of increasing e-waste?

    Post Read Question:

    What are the impediments in disposing of the huge quantities of discarded solid waste which are continuously being generated? How do we safely remove the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? (UPSC CSE 2018)

    PM congratulates new Iran President, hopes for stronger relations

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Current events of national and international importance

    Mains Examination: GS-II: International relations- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

    What’s the ongoing story- The elections in Iran took place more than a month after hardliner President Ebrahim Raisi died in a chopper crash in May this year.

    Prerequisites: 

    — History of India-Iran bilateral relations.

    — Read about the  Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal 

    Chabahar Port and International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

    Key takeaways: 

    — Reading the verdict in Tehran, Modi’s expression of working closely with the newly elected President from the reformist group is an expression of hope from South Block — since Delhi has had good experience of working with the reformists in the past.

    — India and Iran ties have gone through several ups and downs in the past two decades. The relations were impacted during hardliner President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s (2005-13) tenure due to the India-US nuclear deal and the sanctions on the Iranian nuclear programme.

    — The relations improved in 2015, when reformist Hassan Rouhani (2013-2021) came to power and the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) nuclear deal was signed between Iran and P5+1 and the sanctions were eased, but the moment was short-lived.

    — When US President Donald Trump withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018, the sanctions were back, and India had to stop buying oil from its traditional supplier Iran. Though Chabahar got an exemption from the sanctions, the pace of work has been slower than usual.

    The Indian approach has been to wait and watch, especially since a possibility of Trump to be back in the White House is there in the next six months. Delhi will be extremely measured in how it moves forward in its ties with Iran, which has been low-key in recent years.

    For Your Information: 

    — Chabahar is a deep water port in Iran’s Sistan-Baluchistan province. It is the Iranian port that is the closest to India, and is located in the open sea, providing easy and secure access for large cargo ships.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What is the current state of relations between India and Iran?

    — What is the strategic importance of Iran for India?

    — What are the major issues between Indo-Iranian Ties?

    Post Read Question:

    What is the importance of developing Chabahar Port by India? (UPSC CSE 2017)

    (a) India’s trade with African countries will enormously increase.

    (b) India’s relations with oil-producing Arab countries will be strengthened.

    (c) India will not depend on Pakistan for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.

    (d) Pakistan will facilitate and protect the installation of a gas pipeline between Iraq and India.

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    The India-Iran reconnect

    Front Page

    Budget on July 23: Boosting demand key goal, GST rate cut being explored

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Current events of national importance and economy

    Mains Examination: GS-III: Indian Economy and Government Budgeting

    What’s the ongoing story- As Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman prepares to present the first Budget in the third term of the BJP-led NDA government on July 23, policymakers are pushing for a revision in indirect tax rates to give a fillip to flagging consumption.

    Prerequisites: 

    — Constitutional provisions related to the Budget and GST Council.

    — Budget and Its components.

    — Difference between direct and indirect taxes.

    — Goods and Services Tax (GST).

    Key takeaways: 

    — Sources in the government said there is broad consensus over the need for rate rationalisation in a phased manner under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) regime.

    The Indian Express had on June 17 reported that rationalising the income tax structure, especially at lower income levels, was also an option under consideration.

    — Policymakers acknowledge that while cutting income tax rates was easier and can happen in the Budget itself, the move to rationalise GST rates will take some time since this would be discussed only at the time of next GST Council meeting.

    — For raising the income slabs or In the case of I-T rate cuts, the Centre does not have to consult the states; the discussions have essentially been around the trade off between some revenue loss, and the multiplier effect higher consumption can bring to the economy.

    — A GST rate rationalisation exercise, especially any meaningful one, would need the concurrence of states and some sort of a guidance on how to plug any potential revenue loss, an official said. An income tax rate cut could still be a strong possibility, especially at the lower end of the bracket, but the revenue implications of any such cut are posing concerns within sections of North Block.

    — A boost to consumption, whether through a cut in direct tax or indirect tax, is being seen as crucial for reviving demand, which in turn is central to restarting the investment cycle, especially rekindling private capital expenditure in consumer-focused sectors.

    For Your Information: 

    — The Budget session will start from July 22 and conclude on August 12,  Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kiren Rijiju said Saturday.  An interim budget was presented in February due to the Lok Sabha polls.

    — Rate rationalisation under the GST regime has been a long pending proposal. The Group of Ministers (GoM) on GST rate rationalisation had submitted an interim report in June 2022. The Council had then undertaken a series of rate changes, which came into effect from July 2022

    Points to Ponder: 

    — How can the rationalisation of GST rates impact demand in the Indian economy?

    — What are the pros and cons of the income tax rate cut?

    — Why is the income tax rate cut preferred over the higher welfare expenditure for boosting demand in the economy?

    (Thought Process: While welfare spending comes with leakages, a tax rate cut at the lower income levels often leads to higher consumption. It boosts demand, which is critical for kickstarting investment, especially by the private sector, which has remained moribund for years now.)

    Post Read Question:

    Consider the following items: (UPSC CSE 2018)

    1. Cereal grains hulled

    2. Chicken eggs cooked

    3. Fish processed and canned

    4. Newspapers containing advertising material

    Which of the above items is/are exempted under GST (Good and Services Tax)?

    (a) 1 only 

    (b) 2 and 3 only 

    (c) 1, 2 and 4 only 

    (d) 1, 2, 3 and 4

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    Govt looks at income tax rate cut to boost demand, trigger private investment

    PM Modi speaks to Starmer, invites him to India; both agree to work on sealing FTA

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination:  Current events of national and international importance

    Mains Examination: GS-II, GS-III: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora; Effects of liberalisation on the economy

    What’s the ongoing story- A day after Keir Starmer led the Labour landslide to end 14 years of Conservative rule in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the new British Prime Minister Saturday and the two leaders agreed to work towards an early conclusion of a mutually beneficial India-UK free trade agreement.

    Prerequisites: 

    — History of India-UK bilateral relations.

    — Read about the role of the Labour Party in India’s Independence struggle.

    — Read about the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and countries with which India has FTAs.

    Key takeaways: 

    Modi congratulated Starmer on assuming charge and on the remarkable victory of his Labour Party in the election. He also invited Starmer to India.

    — New Delhi and London have been negotiating the proposed FTA for over two years now, with a final deal expected to result in a mutual tariff relaxation on a range of goods such as cars, clothes, alcoholic beverages and medical instruments. While the Tories and Labour disagree on how to restrict immigration into the UK, there is a bipartisan consensus on the fact that it must be curbed.

    — With the UK being a powerhouse in the financial services and technology segments, India is seeking temporary visas for its service sector workforce. Given the political climate though, Labour is likely to negotiate hard on the visa issue.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What are the areas of cooperation between India and the UK?

    — What is the significance of the UK for India?

    — What are the issues under the India-UK FTA negotiations?

    — What are the areas of challenges in India-UK Bilateral relations?

    Post Read Question:

    Consider the following countries: (UPSC CSE 2018)

    1. Australia

    2. Canada

    3. China

    4. India

    5. Japan

    6. USA

    Which of the above are among the ‘free-trade partners’ of ASEAN?

    (a) 1, 2, 4 and 5

    (b) 3, 4, 5 and 6

    (c) 1, 3, 4 and 5

    (d) 2, 3, 4 and 6

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    India-UK trade pact: Outstanding issues to be resolved after Britain’s general elections

     

    Opinion

    Lessons from Hathras

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: Current events of national importance

    Mains Examination: GS-II, GS-III: Government policies and interventions, Disaster Management.

    What’s the ongoing story- O P Singh Writes– “The stampede in Hathras on June 2 is another in a long line of tragedies manufactured by a lack of sense for science.”

    Prerequisites: 

    — What is a stampede? 

    — What causes stampedes? 

    — Major stampede cases in India.

    Key takeaways: 

    — “Regardless of whether a gathering is private or public, certain protocols have to be adhered to. These standard operating procedures (SOPs) must not be relaxed for any reason or any person. The organiser has to approach the police station concerned for permission and provide a multitude of details. The police allow or reject the application based on their assessment — an assessment based on credible information or “intelligence”. The size and nature of the crowd, its density given the capacity of the location, possible escape routes and a response mechanism in case of an emergency all need to be anticipated.”

    — “In my time as the head of the police force (SSP) at Kumbh Mela in 1993-1994, this was my takeaway: Strategy, not numbers, is the key. Instead of deploying thousands of officers for an event, we have to learn how to strategically place perhaps much fewer in the right spots with the right considerations in mind.”

    — “In the event of a private gathering, the organiser has to be involved in the security planning just as much…The police department cannot provide thousands of policemen on end for the innumerable gatherings that happen across the country. They are short of the requisite resources for that; it is simply not practical. Given that, there should be a certain synergy between organisers and the police force.”

    — “The police are hard-pressed to manage such crowds. It is a two-fold challenge. One, it is a matter of faith. This introduces certain sensitivities into the equation…Second, private organisers have a lot to gain, unfortunately, from desperate people…. In my opinion, this factor — the nature of a gathering and how to manage it with the requisite sensitivity and due diligence — should be formalised and introduced into the SOP.

    For Your Information:

    — Most stampede casualties are caused by traumatic asphyxia — there is partial or complete cessation of respiration due to external compression of the thorax and/or upper abdomen. Other possible reasons for stampede-related deaths include myocardial infarction (heart attack, caused by decreased or complete cessation of blood flow to a portion of the heart), direct crushing injury to internal organs, head injuries, and neck compression.

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What are the impacts of stampedes? 

    — How to prevent stampedes or mitigate their risks?

    — What are the NDMA guidelines regarding crowd management?

    Post Read Question:

    Failure in crowd management can lead to a major disaster. In light of this, explain the measures that should be taken for effective crowd management.

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    Hathras stampede kills over 100: Why stampedes take place

    Women who paved the path in higher education

    UPSC Syllabus:

    Preliminary Examination: History of India 

    Mains Examination: GS-I: Indian history and society, Role of women and women’s organisation and associated issues.

    What’s the ongoing story-  Angellica Aribam Writes– “According to AISHE 2020-2021, the total enrolment of women in higher education is around 49%, almost on a par with men. The Ministry of Education data further indicates that female Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) has overtaken male GER since 2017-18. These numbers certainly gladden the heart, especially given that women were not allowed admission to most higher educational institutions almost a century ago.”

    Prerequisites: 

    — What is the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE)?

    — Read about the status of women in India.

    — Major social reform movements of the 19th century. 

    Key takeaways: 

    — It is common knowledge that girls’ education was one of the major areas of focus in the 19th century for social reformers as well as the British government. One would assume that the ripple effect would have led to the entry of women into higher education. But it wasn’t as simple as that. Women who wanted to pursue higher education were expected to study in women’s colleges, which scarcely existed, and most reputed universities and colleges didn’t enrol women students. The doors of some of these institutions opened only due to the sheer determination of the women who wanted to study there.”

    — “Established in 1901, Tagore’s residential school at Santiniketan had gained a high status in society. Building on that premise, a university called Visva-Bharati was established in 1921. It was a strictly male environment and didn’t have provisions for female students. Undeterred by this technicality, a spirited teenager Malati Choudhury wanted to study there. She directly wrote requesting admission to the institute. This unprecedented plea made Tagore think. He then decided to open a girls’ hostel to accommodate female students……Malati’s desire to study at Santiniketan led to the entry of the first girls’ batch of 1921-22.”

    — “It wasn’t easy being women in these highly masculine and patriarchal set-ups. Additionally, one must also recognise the intersectionality of the challenges faced by women from marginalised communities. Being one of the first Dalit women to go to college in Cochin, Dakshayani Velayudhan faced discrimination not just from her peers but also from her teachers.”

    — “Today, the barriers to accessing education for women students have diminished significantly. Much of this credit goes to women leaders from our history who used their grit and relative privilege to open the door for generations of women who came after them.”

    Points to Ponder: 

    — What was the role of women in India’s freedom struggle?

    — What are the key constitutional provisions related to women’s empowerment?

    — What are the current challenges faced by women in our society?

    — What measures have been taken by the government for women’s empowerment?

     Post Read Question:

    Discuss the positive and negative effects of globalization on women in India? (UPSC CSE 2015)

    Other Important Articles Covering the same topic:

    Why Savitribai Phule matters for women struggling at universities

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