Daily Current Affairs
27 February 2021

1) Economy records 0.4% growth in Q3

GS 3

Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment

 

ABOUT:

  1. India’s economy returned to growth terrain in the third quarter of 2020-21, with a 0.4% rise in the GDP, even as the National Statistical Office estimated the economy to contract 8% during the full fiscal.
  2. The NSO had earlier estimated a 7.7% contraction for FY21.

 

BACK TO GROWTH:

  1. The GDP shrunk in the first two quarters by 24.4% and 7.3% respectively, following the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
  2. Agriculture continued to grow strongly, with a 3.9% rise in GVA in Q3, even as manufacturing and construction resurged after two bad quarters.
  3. India’s economy resurfaced to growth territory in the third quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2020-21, clocking a 0.4% rise in the gross domestic product (GDP), as per data from the National Statistical Office (NSO).
  4. The NSO has also revised its advance national income estimates for FY21 to project an 8% decline in GDP, compared with the 4% growth seen in FY20. The NSO had earlier estimated a 7.7% shrinkage for FY21.
  5. The Finance Ministry termed the 0.4% real GDP growth in Q3 as a return to ‘the pre-pandemic times of positive growth rates’ and a reflection of a ‘further strengthening of V-shaped recovery that began in Q2’.

 

OTHER SECTORS PERFORMANCES:

  1. India’s farm sector remained resilient, clocking a 3.9% growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy in the October-to-December quarter, after recording a 3.3% and 3% rise in the first two quarters, respectively.
  2. For the full year FY21, the NSO expects only two sectors to record positive growth in GVA — agriculture (3%) and electricity, gas, water & other utilities (1.8%).
  3. Overall GVA is expected to contract 6.5% in the year, led by an 18% dip in trade, hotels and other services, a 10.3% decline in construction, and an about 9% fall in mining and manufacturing GVA.
  4. In Q3, manufacturing, construction and financial, real estate and professional services staged a return to growth for the first time in the year after two bad quarters.
  5. Manufacturing GVA grew 1.6% after dipping 35.9% and 1.5% in the first two quarters. Construction saw the sharpest recovery – with GVA rising 6% after falling 49.4% and 7.2%.
  6. Services including trade, hotels, transport and communication remained in trouble, with GVA declining 7.7%, though it was better than the -47.6% and the -15.3% reading in Q1 and Q2.
  7. The Finance Ministry said the resurgence in manufacturing and construction augured well for them to drive growth in FY22 and added that services, which account for more than 50% of India’s GVA and the biggest source for pushing consumption, had done remarkably better in Q3.
  8. Real GVA in services has also improved from a contraction of 21.4% in Q1 to a negligible contraction of 1% in Q3.
  9. “Given the uncertainties around investments and exports, recovery prospects- hinge critically on uptick in private consumption- one would expect support from public policy.

 

Source- The Hindu

 

2) India, China agree to establish new hotline

GS 2

Bilateral agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

ABOUT:

  1. The Foreign Ministers of India and China agreed to establish a new hotline to ensure “timely communication” in the wake of last year’s border crisis but differed sharply on the way forward to restore relations.
  2. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar told his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, that “bilateral relations have been impacted severely over last year” and that while “the boundary question may take time to resolve”, the “disturbance of peace and tranquillity, including by violence, will inevitably have a damaging impact on the relationship”.
  3. He stressed that restoring normality to the broader relationship would first require complete disengagement and then de-escalation along the border.

 

S. JAISHANKAR'S STATEMENTS:

  1. It was necessary to disengage at all friction points in order to contemplate de-escalation of forces in this sector. That alone will lead to the restoration of peace and tranquillity and provide conditions for progress of our bilateral relationship.
  2. He said with the completion of disengagement in the Pangong Tso (lake) area, both sides “should now quickly resolve the remaining issues along the LAC” and “once disengagement is completed at all friction points, then the two sides could also look at broader de-escalation of troops in the area and work towards restoration of peace and tranquillity”.

 

Wang Yi STATEMENTS:

  1. There has been some wavering and back-pedalling in India’s China policy”, because of which “practical cooperation between the two countries has been affected”.
  2. Decades of experiences have shown repeatedly that heightening differences does not help solve problems, and that it only erodes the basis of mutual trust. 
  3. He added that both sides should avoid the “wrong path of mutual misgivings and suspicion, still less the path of retrogression” and “should handle the boundary question properly to prevent the bilateral relationship from sinking into a negative cycle”.
  4. While that the two countries have boundary disputes is an objective fact, which should be taken seriously, it is not the whole of China-India relations, and it should be put at a proper place in the overall bilateral relations.
  5. India, for its part, made it clear to China that it is not realistic to insulate the relationship from the boundary crisis, and emphasised that in its view, peace on the border is a prerequisite for the rest of the relationship to develop.
  6. China, however, has hit out at India’s economic measures, such as banning Chinese apps and stricter curbs on investment following last year’s tensions, viewing India’s “whole of government” approach as going against a past consensus of containing differences while cooperating elsewhere.
  7. He said the situation on the ground “has been noticeably eased” and he called for both sides “to cherish the hard-won relaxation, and work together to consolidate the progress, keep up the consultation momentum, further ease the situation, and improve the border management and control mechanisms”.
  8. “The two sides also stressed need to advance the boundary talks to build up mutual trust and realise peace and tranquillity in the border areas.

 

TIMELY COMMUNICATION:

  1. Agreeing to set up a hotline so both Ministers could be in more regular contact, both sides stressed the importance of “timely” communication in the wake of last year’s crisis.
  2. This hotline will be in addition to the military hotline between the Indian Army’s Director-General of Military Operations (DGMO) and China’s Western Theatre Command.
  3. Army chief General Manoj Naravane said last year that the proposal for military hotline, which had been mired in bureaucratic delays for years, had been accepted by both sides after all procedural issues were resolved.

 

Source- The Hindu

 

3) The caracal, a favourite of royals, now critically endangered

GS 3

Conservation

 

ABOUT:

  1. The National Board for Wildlife and Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change last month included the caracal, a medium-sized wildcat found in parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, in the list of critically endangered species.
  2. Though not under grave threat in its other habitats, the animal is on the verge of extinction in India, some experts believe.
  3. The recovery programme for critically endangered species in India now includes 22 wildlife species.

 

THE WILDCAT:

  1. Besides India, the caracal is found in several dozen countries across Africa, the Middle East, Central and South Asia. While it flourishes in parts of Africa, its numbers in Asia are declining.
  2. The wildcat has long legs, a short face, long canine teeth, and distinctive ears — long and pointy, with tufts of black hair at their tips.
  3. The iconic ears are what give the animal its name — caracal comes from the Turkish karakulak, meaning ‘black ears’.
  4. In India, it is called siya gosh, a Persian name that translates as ‘black Ear’. A Sanskrit fable exists about a small wild cat named deergha-karn or ‘long-eared’.

 

IN HISTORY AND MYTH:

  1. The earliest evidence of the caracal in the subcontinent comes from a fossil dating back to the civilisation of the Indus Valley c. 3000-2000 BC, according to a reference in ‘Historical and current extent of occurrence of the Caracal in India’.
  2. The ears are a caracal’s signature feature.
  3. The caracal has traditionally been valued for its litheness and extraordinary ability to catch birds in flight; it was a favourite coursing or hunting animal in medieval India.
  4. Firuz Shah Tughlaq (1351-88) had siyah-goshdar khana, stables that housed large numbers of coursing caracal.
  5. It finds mention in Abul Fazl’s Akbarnama, as a hunting animal in the time of Akbar (1556-1605).
  6. Descriptions and illustrations of the caracal can be found in medieval texts such as the Anvar-i-Suhayli, Tutinama, Khamsa-e-Nizami, and Shahnameh.
  7. The caracal’s use as a coursing animal is believed to have taken it far beyond its natural range to places like Ladakh in the north to Bengal in the east.
  8. The East India Company’s Robert Clive is said to have been presented with a caracal after he defeated Siraj-ud-daullah in the Battle of Plassey (1757).

 

DECLINING NUMBERS:

  1. The caracal is an elusive, primarily noctural animal, and sightings are not common.
  2. Very few studies have been conducted on the wildcat, and there is no reliable data on populations now or in the past.
  3. In the absence of sightings, several experts fear the caracal could be on the verge of extinction in India — some estimates put their numbers at no more than 50; other experts say an accurate assessment is difficult.
  4. The caracal has historically lived in 13 Indian states, in nine out of the 26 biotic provinces.
  5. In the period before Independence, the animal roamed an estimated area of 7.9 lakh sq km; between then and 2000, however, this habitat shrunk by almost a half. After 2001, sightings have been reported from only three states.
  6. “From 2001 to 2020, the reported extent of occurrence further decreased by 95.95%, with current presence restricted to 16,709 sq km, less than 5% of the caracal’s reported extent of occurrence in the 1948-2000 period.
  7. The caracal could be earlier found in arid and semi-arid scrub forest and ravines in Rajasthan, Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Chhattisgarh.
  8. Today, its presence is restricted to Rajasthan, Kutch, and parts of MP.

 

REASONS BEHIND DECLINE:

  1. The caracal is rarely hunted or killed — in recent years, cases have been detected of the animal being captured to be sold as exotic pets — and the decline of its population is attributable mainly to loss of habitat and increasing urbanisation.
  2. Experts point out that the caracal’s natural habitat — for example the Chambal ravines — is often officially notified as wasteland.
  3. Land and environment policies are not geared towards the preservation of such wasteland ecology, rather they seek to ‘reclaim’ these areas to make them arable.
  4. Infrastructure projects such as the building of roads lead to the fragmentation of the caracal’s ecology and disruption of its movement.
  5. The loss of habitat also affects the animal’s prey which includes small ungulates and rodents.
  6. The listing of the caracal as critically endangered is expected to bring central funding to conservation efforts.
  7. It is likely to ensure that the animal is studied comprehensively for the first time, including its home range, population, prey, etc.

 

CONCLUSION:

1.   Such study will also throw light on the much neglected “wastelands” in the country, which are home to a large number of animal and bird species, including leopards, Asiatic wild cats, rust spotted cats, sloth bears, wolves, wild dogs, civets, etc.

 

Source- Indian Express

 

4) Union Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurates Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021

GS 2

Development processes and the development industry- the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders

 

ABOUT:

1. Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Food Processing inaugurated Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021 at Noida Haat.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF SHG's:

  1. Ministry of Rural Development is working to include more women in Self Help Groups (SHGs).
  2. He said these SHGs played a vital role in increasing family income and improving quality of life.
  3. Atmanirbharta can't be achieved only by Government's schemes and efforts. People's participation is a must and SHGs can play a major role to achieve this goal.
  4. Empowered SHGs should come forward and help other SHGs to become Atmanirbhar.
  5. SHGs played a crucial role during COVID times for employing rural women.
  6. Our SHGs have the potential to produce export quality material and with the help of these SHGs, the country can achieve the dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  7. SHGs and craftsmen should understand consumer's demand to improve the products.
  8. Ministry will give publicity to the Mela through advertisement and SMS marketing so that all participants will get a chance to showcase their products to a large number of audience.

 

SARAS AAJEEVIKA MELA 2021:

  1. The Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021 is being organized from 26th February to 14th March 2021 by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  2. More than 300 rural self-help groups and craftsman from 27 states are participating in the Mela.
  3. Around 150 stalls and 15 food stalls serving regional cuisines have been set up and more than 60 cultural performances will be performed.
  4. During the Mela, workshops on product packaging and design, communication skills, social media publicity and Business 2 Business marketing will be organised to educate the rural self-help groups and craftsman.
  5. The Mela will remain open from 11 AM to 8 PM daily.

 

Source- PIB

 

5) To facilitate Rural Consumers, the Common Service Centres to be integrated with e-daakhil portal

GS 2

e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential

 

ABOUT:

  1. E-Daakhil portal was launched by National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on 7th September, 2020,  for online redressal of consumer grievances now operational in 15 States/UTs.
  2. E-Daakhil portal for Consumer grievance redressal is now operational in 15 States/UTs.
  3. Department of Consumer Affairs is now proactively following up with the states to launch e-filing portal at their ends.

 

EMPOWERING THE CONSUMER:

  1. The Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which has come into force from 20th July, 2020, has provision for e-filing of consumer complaints in the Consumer Commissions and online payment of the fees for filing a complaint.
  2. This digital software for filing consumer complaints has the many features like e-Notice, case document download link & VC hearing link, filing written response by opposite party, fling rejoinder by complainant and alerts via SMS/Email.
  3. The e-daakhil portal empowers the consumer and their advocates to file the consumer complaints along with payment of requisite fees online from anywhere for the redressal of their complaints.
  4. It also facilitates the consumer commissions to scrutinize the complaints online to accept, reject or forward the complaint to the concerned commission for further processing.
  5. To facilitate the rural consumers for e-filing, it has been decided to integrate the Common Service Centres (CSC) with the e-daakhil portal.
  6. As many consumers at Gram Panchayat level may either not have access to electronic modes of communication or unable to use the tools, they may avail the services of CSCs in filing their complaints in the Consumer Commission.
  7. The work for integration of this portal with CSC is in under process.

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E-filing:

  1. E-filing was launched by National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) on 7th September, 2020.
  2. Delhi was the first state to implement it on 8th September, 2020. 
  3. Later Maharashtra, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Gujarat, Chandigarh, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka & Haryana implemented facility of e-filling in their respective States/UTs. 
  4. Department of Consumer Affairs had been proactively following up with the States/UTs to launch e-filing.
  5. Total 444 locations are covered including NCDRC, State Commissions and District Commissions.

 

Source- PIB