Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 18th June 2019

PM Modi reaches India after attending SCO meet

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.

Image result for PM Modi reaches India after attending SCO meet

Why in News?

  • Indian PM has concluded his two-day visit to attend the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • During his visit, Indian PM has held successful bilaterals with China, Russia, Afghanistan and Kyrgyzstan apart from addressing the SCO summit.

Background

  • He coined the acronym HEALTH during his address at the Summit, which is a template for strengthening cooperation amongst SCO member-states.
  • Expanding on the acronym, he said that the ‘H’ in HEALTH stands for Healthcare Cooperation,’E’ for Economic Cooperation,’A’ for Alternate Energy, ‘L’ for Literature and Culture,’T’ for Terrorism free society and ‘H’ for Humanitarian Cooperation. 

Highlights

  • Indian PM has also asked the member states to try coordinated action against international terrorism under the SCO-Regional Anti Terrorist Structure (RATS).
  • Indian PM also said that India’s participation in projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), Ashgabat Agreement and in the development of Iran’s Chabahar port was a hallmark of its commitment to linkages between India and the region.
  • The INSTC is a 7,200-km multimode network of ship, rail and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
  • The Ashgabat Agreement is a pact among Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Oman to build an international transport and transit corridor that facilitates transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. 

About RATS

  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) is a permanent organ of the SCO. 
  • It serves to promote cooperation of member states against (a)terrorism (b)separatism and (c) extremism. 
  • The head of RATS is elected to a three-year term. 
  • Each member state also sends a permanent representative to RATS. 
  • Its headquartered in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.

Source: The Hindu. 

Narendra Modi, Imran Khan exchange pleasantries during SCO Summit at Bishek

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.

Context

  • Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
  • The Bishkek Declaration of the SCO Heads of State Council condemned terrorism in all forms and manifestations. 

Background

  • The member states stressed on expanding and deepening cooperation in trade, finance, investment, transport, energy, agriculture, innovation, cutting-edge technology.
  • They also called for keeping outer space free from weapons and importance of peaceful uses of outer space.
  • The summit also signed a document titled ‘Roadmap for Further Action of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group’.
  • Further, they also stressed on the need to address the illegal cultivation, production, circulation, sales and dissemination of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances and precursors. 

Highlights

  • A separate MoU was also signed for establishment of Astana International Financial Centre. 
  • Apart from that the other agreements were on sports, mass media, coordination of humanitarian affairs, tourism, healthcare.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a Eurasian political, economic, and military organisation. 
  • It was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.
  • Apart from Uzbekistan, the other five countries have been a part of the Shanghai 5 since 1996.
  • The cooperation was renamed to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation after Uzbekistan joined the organisation in 2001.
  • India and Pakistan joined SCO as full members in 2017.

Source: The Hindu.

Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Image result for Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report

Context

  • According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2019,Over half of the world’s population has access to the internet now with a majority of users which is about 53% coming from the Asia-Pacific region.
  • The report says that India has the second largest internet user base at 12% while China leads with 21% internet users globally. 
  • The United States is third with 8% internet users globally.

Background

  • The report also says that seven of the top 10 companies across the world by market capitalization are technology companies. 
  • Out of these, four of the top six are based in the US while two are Chinese companies.
  • The report further revealed that e-commerce occupies 15% of global retail sales at present. 
  • Sales from online channels went up by 12.4% compared to offline retail sales that grew a mere 2%.

Highlights

  • The report further says that the global smartphone shipments fell by 4% in 2018 highlighting the fact that when markets reach mainstream new growth is harder to find.
  • However, the report highlights that as the Internet continues to grow, it’s having its share of problems as well. 
  • Removing inappropriate content still remains a major issue for major social platforms on the Internet. 
  • Also, social media has lead to increased political polarisation and divisiveness.

Source: The Hindu.

Scientists unravel the fungus responsible for Sheath Blight disease in rice

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Image result for Sheath Blight disease in rice

Context

  • Recently, scientists at the National Institute of Plant Genome Research has unraveled the genomic diversity associated with aggressiveness of two Indian strains of Rhizoctonia solani.
  • Rhizoctonia solani is a fungal pathogen that causes the dreaded Sheath Blight disease in rice. 

About Sheath Blight Disease

  • Sheath Blight disease is a major issue in rice cultivation. 
  • It can cause up to 60% reduction in rice yield. 
  • It is difficult to breed disease resistant rice varieties as there is a lack of natural source of disease resistance. 
  • Thus, controlling the disease in a sustainable manner has remained a challenge.
  • The scientists have identified several genes and gene families in the strain that might account for their disease aggressiveness.
  •  This genomic insight is expected to help develop rice varieties resistant to sheath blight disease.
  • The scientists have also said that the further characterisation of the identified genes will be helpful to understand their role in the pathogenesis of the fungus.

Source: The Hindu.

US cautions India over S-400 deal with Russia, cities strategic partnership choices

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Context

  • The US administration has been persuading India to cancel the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
  • The US has raised a range of concerns over the deal such as systems interoperability to long-term worries over strategic partnership choices. 

Background

US officials have also indicated that the US is ready to sell India platforms such as its Terminal High Altitude Area defence (THAAD) and Patriot-3 missiles defence systems if India cancels the S-400 deal. 

Highlights

  • However, US persuasion comes in the backdrop of 

(a)US stopping India from buying oil from Iran 

(b)US withdrawal of the Generalised System of Preferences(GSP) (c)Tighter norms for H1-b visas which undermine the mutual pledge to elevate the relationship between the two countries.

  • S-400 Triumf Missile System is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM).
  • It is capable of engaging aircraft, UAVs, cruise missiles and has a terminal ballistic missile defense capability. 
  • It has an operational range of over 400 kms.
  • The S-400 Triumf is known as the SA-21 Growler by the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
  • NATO members consider the S-400 a major threat because of its long range.

Source: The Hindu.

Akshaya Patra wins BBC award

Focus: GS3.

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

Image result for Akshaya Patra wins BBC award

Context

  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation has been awarded the BBC World Service’s Global Food Champion 2019.
  • Global Food Champion is an annual award that honours people or projects that is changing the way the world produces, processes, consumes or thinks about food for the better. 

About Akshaya Patra Foundation

  • The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) is an NGO for children in India which implements the Mid-day meal scheme in number of states in India.
  • Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a centrally-sponsored Scheme that provides children studying in Classes I-VIII of government and government aided schools with cooked mid-day meal.
  • The key objectives of the MDMS is to a) improve the nutritional status of children and b) improve enrollment, attendance and retention rates in schools and EGS/AIE centres (Alternative and Innovative Education Centres) 

Highlights

  • The Mid-day Meal scheme is implemented by the Ministry of Human resources and Development. Both the Centre and the state governments contribute funds for the scheme, with the menu differing in each state according to local factors.
  • In some places, the supply of meals is outsourced to contractors appointed by the state governments; example: Akshaya Patra.

Source: The Hindu.

Map of the Day – England

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Data check

India school enrollment statistics

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Quote for the Day

“Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves” – Jawaharlal Nehru

Mains Answer Writing

1.Explain how International groupings have helped in resolving burning conflicts.
2.Critically analyse Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends Report 2019 and it’s reflection on India.
3.Discuss the issues related to Sheath Blight disease in rice.

 

Test your Knowledge

1. Consider the following statements 

1.The INSTC is a 7,200-km multimode network of ship, rail and road routes for moving freight.
2.It is between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.
3.The Ashgabat Agreement is a pact among Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Pakistan, India and Oman.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above

2. Consider the following statements:

1.Sheath Blight disease is a major issue in wheat cultivation.
2.It can cause up to 60% reduction in rice yield. 
3.It is difficult to breed disease resistant rice varieties as there is a lack of natural source of disease resistance.  

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

3. Consider the following statements:

1.The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) is an NGO for children in India.
2.It implements the Mid-day meal scheme in number of states in India.
3.Mid-Day Meal Scheme is a state-sponsored Scheme. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a) 1 and 2 only

b) 2 and 3 only

c) 1 and 3 only

d) All of the above 

4.Regional Anti Terrorist Structure (RATS) is related to

a.Asian Development Bank
b.Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
c.UNO
d.ASEAN 

5.S-400 missile defence system is from

a.Russia 
b.Japan
c.Canada 
d.China



Answer

1.A 2.B 3.A 4.B 5.