Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020
Current Affair 1:
Surveys Released recently by RBI
The results of different surveys released by the RBI recently paint a very grim picture of the consumer confidence and industrial activity.
On 06 August 2020, the RBI released the results of surveys. In this topic, we take a look at few of the critical observations from these surveys and explore the trends over the period of time. Four surveys we will see here: Remember names. They are released regularly by the RBI. In Prelims, names are important. For mains, if questions come, how COVID-19 has impacted economy, you can put names of such surveys.
- Consumer Confidence Survey
- Business Assessment Index
- Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization Survey (OBICUS)
- Inflation Expectations Survey of Households (IESH)
Consumer Confidence survey
As per the results released for July 2020 of Consumer Confidence survey, the Current Situation Index (CSI) for Economic Situation is at 53.8, which is an all-time low. The impact of lockdown due to COVID-19 and the general uncertainty all around is clearly visible in the low number for the index.
The survey was conducted based on the perceptions and expectations on – general economic situation, employment scenario, overall price situation, own income & spending etc. of 5,342 households across 13 major cities.
Meanwhile, the Future Expectation Index (FEI) which reflects how the consumers feel for the upcoming period has shown an improvement over May 2020, at 105.4. This is the first time since May 2019 that FEI has increased compared to the earlier round of survey.
Consumer perception on Income and Employment in July 2020 significantly lower than in May 2020
Consumer confidence indices are based the consumers perception and expectation on 5 different variables – Economic Situation, Employment, Price Level, Income & Spending. In the July 2020 round of survey, significant fall in Consumers current perception on Employment and income was observed.
Sharp fall in the Business Assessment Index for Q1’FY 20-21
The 90th round of Industrial Outlook Survey of Manufacturing Sector was also conducted during April-June’2020. The survey assesses the business climate of Indian manufacturing companies. A total of 802 companies responded in this round of survey.
As per the survey, Business Assessment Index (BAI), which is based on the current assessment of the respondents fell to 55.3 for Q1 of 2020-21, a sharp fall from 102.2 in the previous quarter i.e. Q4 of 2019-20. This is also the all-time low. This is based on various parameters.
Apart from BAI, there is another index calculated with the responses of the survey i.e. Business Expectation Index (BEI), which is based on the expectation of the respondents for the next quarter for each of the parameter. The positive expectations across most of the parameters are less when compared to the previous quarter, resulting in BEI falling to 99.5 for Q2 of 2020-21, compared to the expectation they had for the current quarter, which stood at 108.8.
Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization Survey (OBICUS)
The Reserve Bank released the results of the 49th round of the Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization Survey (OBICUS) for the quarter January-March 2020 covering 364 manufacturing companies. The Demand conditions in manufacturing sector as per OBICUS (Order Books, Inventories and Capacity Utilization Survey) also does not show a positive trend. Although the capacity utilization for Q4 of 2019-20 had increased compared to previous quarter, it is significantly lower compared to the same quarter of 2018-19. Meanwhile, Manufacturing companies have received fewer orders in Q4 of 2019-20 compared to previous quarter. While there is an increase in Raw materials to Sales Ratio (RMI) (indicating lesser production), the Finished goods to Sales Ratio (FGI) has come down.
Inflation Expectations Survey of Households (IESH)
Reserve Bank released the results of the July 2020 round of the Inflation Expectations Survey of Households (IESH). In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey was conducted through telephonic interviews during July 1-12, 2020 in 18 major cities. The results are based on responses from 5,411 urban households.
Households’ median inflation perception increased by 60 basis points in July 2020 as compared with the May 2020 survey round. Inflation expectations for both three months and one-year horizons increased by 10 basis points each.
Current Affair 2:
Pradeep Kumar Joshi appointed as UPSC chairman
Here we will cover this topic in elaborate. As there is lot of confusion in its history and evolution and also Constitutional provisions. First of all, we will see History of Commission. You will enjoy reading and very important for your Prelims Exam and Mains Exam.
- Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Haileybury College in London and then sent to India. Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854.
- The Report recommended that patronage-based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit-based system with entry through competitive examinations.
- For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855.
- Initially, the examinations for Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London. Maximum age was 23 years and minimum age was 18 years. The syllabus was designed such that European Classics had a predominant share of marks.
- All this made it difficult for Indian candidates. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendra Nath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindranath Tagore succeeded. Three years later 4 other Indians succeeded.
- Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS.
- It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to. From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
- Regarding Central Civil Services, the Civil Services in British India were classified as covenanted and uncovenanted services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority. In 1887, the Aitchinson Commission recommended the reorganization of the services on a new pattern and divided the services into three groups-Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate. The recruiting and controlling authority of Imperial services was the ‘Secretary of State’.
- With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two-All India Services and Central Services. The central services were concerned with matters under the direct control of the Central Government.
- The origin of the Public Service Commission in India is found in the First Dispatch of the Government of India on the Indian Constitutional Reforms on the 5th March, 1919 which referred to the need for setting up some permanent office charged with the regulation of service matters.
- Section 96(C) of the Act provided for the establishment in India of a Public Service Commission which should “discharge, in regard to recruitment and control of the Public Services in India, such functions as may be assigned thereto by rules made by the Secretary of State in Council”. No decision was taken on setting up of the body after passing of 1919 Act.
- The subject was then referred to the Royal Commission on the Superior Civil Services in India (also known as Lee Commission) which recommended that the statutory Public Service Commission contemplated by the Government of India Act, 1919 should be established without delay.
- Subsequent to the provisions of Section 96(C) of the Government of India Act, 1919 and the strong recommendations made by the Lee Commission in 1924 for the early establishment of a Public Service Commission, it was on October 1, 1926 that the Public Service Commission was set up in India for the first time.
- Further, the Government of India Act, 1935 envisaged a Public Service Commission for the Federation and a Provincial Public Service Commission for each Province or group of Provinces. Therefore, in terms of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935 and with its coming into effect on 1st April 1937, the Public Service Commission became the Federal Public Service Commission.
- With the inauguration of the Constitution of India in January 26, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission came to be known as the Union Public Service Commission, and the Chairman and Members of the Federal Public Service Commission became Chairman and Members of the Union Public Service Commission by virtue of Clause (1) of Article 378 of the Constitution.
Constitutional Provisions: Don’t think, you are running out of time. The same thing you have to remember till end of your paper, so better you read in such a way, you never forget.
Current Affair 3:
Agriculture Infrastructure Fund
Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently launched the financing facility of Rs 1 lakh crore under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund via video conferencing. The fund has been launched as part of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ (self-reliant India) to make farmers self-reliant.
So, we will cover this topic in detail. Life and UPSC both will become easy. For any such schemes, we should always cover introduction, why this was created. It becomes easy then to understand scheme.
Objectives of Scheme
To mobilize a medium - long term debt finances facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management Infrastructure and community farming assets through incentives and financial support in order to improve agriculture infrastructure in the country. This financing facility will have numerous objectives for all the stakeholders in the agriculture eco-system.
- Improved marketing infrastructure to allow farmers to sell directly to a larger base of consumers and will improve the overall income of farmers.
- With modern packaging and cold storage system access, farmers will be able to further decide when to sell in the market and improve realization.
- Due to improvements in post-harvest infrastructure, government will further
be able to reduce national food wastage percentage thereby enable agriculture sector to become competitive with current global levels.
- With a dedicated source of funding, entrepreneurs will push for innovation in agriculture sector by leveraging new age technologies including IoT, AI, etc.
- It will also connect the players in ecosystem and hence, improve avenues for collaboration between entrepreneurs and farmers.
- With Credit Guarantee, incentive and interest subvention lending institutions will be able to lend with a lower risk. This scheme will help to enlarge their customer base and diversification of portfolio.
- Refinance facility will enable larger role for cooperative banks and RRBs.
- With reduced inefficiencies in post-harvest ecosystem, key benefit for
consumers will be a larger share of produce reaching the market and hence, better quality and prices.
Government Budgetary Support
All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crores. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of 7 years. In case of loans beyond Rs.2 crore, then interest subvention will be limited up to 2 crores.
Current Affair 4:
Collapse of Canada’s last remaining ice shelf raises global warming fears
The collapse of Canada’s Milne ice shelf — the country’s last one — in a corner of the country’s Ellesmere Island, has increased fears of the Arctic region being under severe stress due to global warming.
The Milne ice shelf lost more than 40 per cent of its ice over two days end of July 2020. This has increased concerns over the rapid melting of ice and the breaking of old ice shelfs — large floating pieces of ice that form when a glacier or ice sheet flows into the sea surface.
This also meant the last known epi shelf lake — a water body dammed by the ice shelf and floating on the ocean surface — in the northern hemisphere and on the Milne ice shelf, no longer exists.
Current Affair 5:
6,600-year-old gravesites in Poland suggest wealth gap existed earlier than thought
A team of researchers from Sweden, the U.S., Poland and the U.K. has found evidence that suggests the wealth gap in human communities goes back at least 6,600 years. In their paper published in the journal Antiquity, the group describes their study of skeletons in an ancient Polish graveyard and what they found.
- The wealth gap is a term for describing disparities in income for people living in a shared community. Most countries in the world today have a wealth gap. In this new effort, the researchers have found evidence that suggests the wealth gap goes back even further than most historians have believed.
- The work involved digging up skeletons in an ancient cemetery in Os?onki, Poland, along with associated artifacts. The researchers then studied the bones, looking for nitrogen and carbon isotopes. In all, the team studied the remains of 30 people, all adults between the ages of 18 and 45. As a final step, the researchers also studied the bones of cattle found in the same area from the same time period.
- They found that some of the people had been buried with pendants, headbands and copper beads, a hint that they may have been from more privileged families. But that was not enough to provide evidence of a wealth gap.
- The team then noted that those same people who had been buried with nice trinkets also had a distinctive ratio of carbon isotopes in their bones, which was also observed in the cattle, suggesting that those people were eating the local cattle. Those people buried without such trinkets did not have the distinctive carbon isotopes ratios, suggesting that they did not eat the local cattle.
- The researchers also note that the carbon isotope ratio in the cattle suggests they grazed on open field grasses because it is the type of ratio typically seen with modern cattle with access to wide-open, sunlit fields, as opposed to cows who eat plants growing in partially tree-shaded areas.
Taken together, the findings suggest that those people buried with trinkets who ate local beef likely belonged to land-owning families—families that had access to more of the good things in life than those people buried without trinkets, providing evidence of a wealth gap.<< Previous Next >>