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Daily Current Affairs – 03rd Feb. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 03rd Feb. 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Jal Jeevan Mission to help revive urban water bodies

Context:

According to the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, the urban water supply mission announced in the Budget 2021-22 will include rejuvenation of waterbodies and 20% of supply from reused water.

Details:

  • Jal Jeevan Mission Urban [JJM(U)] seeks to bridge an estimated gap of 2.68 crore urban household tap connections.
  • It would also aim to bridge the gap of 2.64 crore sewer connections in the 500 cities under the existing Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT).
  • The mission would include rejuvenation of water bodies to boost the sustainable freshwater supply and creation of green spaces.
  • JJM(U) would promote circular economy of water through the development of city water balance plan for each city focusing on recycle/reuse of treated sewage, rejuvenation of water bodies and water conservation.
  • 20% of the water demand would be met with reused water.
  • The total expenditure on the mission would be Rs 2.87 lakh crore over five years.

Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) Scheme

Context:

Govt. announces launch of Mega Investment Textiles Parks (MITRA) scheme in the Union Budget 2021-22 to make Indian textile industry globally competitive.

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About MITRA Scheme:

  • The objectives behind the scheme are to enable the textile industry to become globally competitive, attract large investments, boost employment generation and exports.
  • This scheme will be in addition to the PLI scheme.
  • The FM announced that seven textile parks will be established over three years.

Significance:

  • Such parks have already been present in nations like China and Vietnam which help give a thrust to the textile sector.
  • India has been losing its competitive edge to Bangladesh and Vietnam owing to their low labour costs, wider scale of operations and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) advantage enjoyed by them.
  • With the textile sector being the second largest employment generator in the country after agriculture, the Budget announcements mean a significant step forward for the industry.
  • This comes after a tumultuous year for the textile and clothing industry in 2020 which saw a spate of job losses, cancelled orders and an acute crunch of financial resources.
  • Exports in the textiles and apparel industry are expected to reach $300 billion by 2024-25 resulting in a tripling of Indian market share from 5% to 15%, as per national investment promotion and facilitation agency Invest India.
  • The industry size is expected to double to $300 bn by 2025-26, for which the 7 mega textile parks have been planned.

ATMA Scheme

What is the ATMA Scheme?

  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Support to State Extension Programs for Extension Reforms”, popularly known as ATMA Scheme, is under implementation since 2005.
  • ATMA stands for Agricultural Technology Management Agency.
  • It is being implemented in 691 districts of 28 states & 5 UTs in the country.
  • The scheme promotes decentralized farmer-friendly extension system in the country.
  • Under the scheme, grants-in-aid are released to the State Governments with an objective to support State Government’s efforts to make available the latest agricultural technologies and good agricultural practices in different thematic areas of agriculture and allied areas to farmers.
  • Scheme objective: The scheme aims at making extension system farmer driven and farmer accountable by way of new institutional arrangements for technology dissemination in the form of an Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA) at district level to operationalize the extension reforms.
  • ATMA has active participation of farmers/farmer-groups, NGOs, Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVKs), Panchayati Raj Institutions and other stakeholders operating at district level and below.
  • Release of funds under ATMA scheme is based on State Extension Work Plans (SEWPs) prepared by the State Governments.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

ECT fiasco: Indian envoy meets Gotabaya, Mahinda

Context:

Sri Lanka backed out of an agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal (ECT) at the Colombo Port.

Details:

  • The development has sparked alarm in India and Japan.
  • In 2019, Sri Lanka, Japan and India had signed an agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port.
  • This is the second instance of Sri Lanka reversing an agreement on a large infrastructure project involving Japan, after the government scrapped the $1.5 billion, Japan-funded Light Rail Transit system in 2020.

Note:

  • While the ECT, which is in its first stage and awaits upgrade, has a 450-metre-long quay wall and water depth of 18 metres, equipping it to accommodate large vessels, the West Container Terminal (WCT) exists merely as a proposal, with no infrastructure yet.

Strategic importance and concerns:

  • The ECT is adjacent to the Colombo International Container Terminal, which is a joint venture between China Merchants Port Holdings Company Limited and the Ports Authority, with the Chinese company holding an 85% stake.
  • Over 70% of the trans-shipment business at the strategically located ECT comes from India.
  • India and China’s competing geopolitical interests in the island are well known, but India-backed projects have often seen more vocal protests.

Why did the military stage a coup?

Context:

Recently, Myanmar’s Election Commission rejected allegations by the military that fraud played a significant role in determining the outcome of elections, in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won the majority of seats.

Details:

  • Tensions were rising between the Army and the National League for Democracy (NLD) since the latter swept the polls.
  • Myanmar’s powerful military chief had raised doubts about the election results even before the polls were held.
  • NLD swept the polls by winning almost 80% of the vote.
  • The USDP did not accept the result. The military backed the USDP’s allegations of fraud, without offering any evidence.
  • However, Myanmar’s Election Commission rejected allegations by the military.
  • Hours before the new Parliament was to convene, the Generals moved into action. They detained State Counsellor Suu Kyi, President and other top leaders; declared a state of emergency for a year; and took power in their hands.
  • Now, Myanmar, which started a fragile transition to democracy 10 years ago after decades of military dictatorship, is back in the hands of the Generals.

Background:

  • The political climate in the junta-led Myanmar started changing around 2010.
  • In 2008, the military had written a new Constitution that made sure the Generals’ interests would be protected even if there is a transition.
  • Than Shwe, who had been ruling the country since 1992, shook up the power structure, promoted young soldiers who were loyal to him and conducted elections under the new Constitution.
  • The NLD, which had not recognised the Constitution, boycotted the 2010 election, which the USDP won.
  • In the next five years, the Army loosened its grip on the government and society. Political prisoners, including Ms. Suu Kyi, were released. Media censorship was eased.
  • Suu Kyi’s party also changed its earlier position and accepted the Constitution.
  • The NLD won the 2015 election, and formed the government, raising hopes that the country is on its way to full transition to democracy.

Issues:

  • The 2008 Constitution has enough clauses to prevent transition into a democracy. According to the Constitution, the President must have military experience and he himself, his spouse or children “shall not be subject of a foreign power or citizen of a foreign country”.
    • Suu Kyi, whose two sons are British citizens, cannot become President.
  • The Constitution also mandates that the Defence and Interior Ministries be controlled by the military.
  • 25% of the total seats in Parliament (166 out of the 664-member house) are reserved for the military, giving it a veto over any move to change the Constitution.
    • Even when the Army allowed power to be transferred to an elected government, it made sure that it would continue to drive defence and internal security policies, and that the USDP, its political vehicle, has an edge over other parties in elections with the reserved seats in Parliament.

What Army wants?

  • The timing of the coup is self-explanatory. It unfolded hours before the new Parliament was scheduled to convene.
  • The 2020 elections were held after the Army launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya in Rakhine State, which forced over 7,00,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee Myanmar.
  • The 2015 and 2020 election results showed the growing popularity of Ms. Suu Kyi and the unpopularity of the military.
  • Tensions have been rising between the NLD and the military ever since the November 2020 election.

What’s next?

  • The Army says it has declared the emergency as the NLD government failed to act on its complaints on voter fraud.
  • The NLD has called for protests against the coup.
  • But Ms. Suu Kyi’s popularity and an energised NLD that was in power for five years would be an impediment for them. And their own unpopularity, a burden.

Global Reaction:

  • The U.S. has reacted harshly.
  • India has expressed deep concerns.
  • It is apparent that the Generals won’t face any heat from Beijing. This means, they could circumvent pressure from the U.S., even economic sanctions, by moving closer to China, which is already making huge investments in Myanmar.

MISCELLANEOUS

Indian Ocean Region [IOR] Defence Ministers’ conclave

What’s in News?

India will host the defence ministers of the countries of the Indian Ocean Region at a conclave during the “Aero India” in Bengaluru.

  • The conclave is being organised in the backdrop of growing Chinese military assertiveness in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
  • It is being organised as part of an initiative to promote dialogue in an institutional and cooperative environment that can foster peace, stability and prosperity in the Indian Ocean region.
  • The broad theme of the conclave will be ‘Enhanced Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Indian Ocean’.
  • The conclave would address aspects related to synergising the resources and efforts in the Indian Ocean.

Strategic importance of the Indian Ocean Region:

  • The Indian Ocean, considered the backyard of the Indian Navy, is critical for India’s strategic interests.
  • China has been making concerted efforts to increase its presence in the region.
  • In sync with the national security doctrine, the Indian Navy has significantly increased its deployment of warships, submarines and other assets in the Indian Ocean Region. It is in an attempt to send across a message to China.
  • The IOR Defence Ministers’ conclave is also taking place at a time when Indian and Chinese troops are locked in a bitter standoff in eastern Ladakh.

Alarm over damage to heritage site

What’s in News?

The controversy over the destruction of ancient monuments around the 11th century Lingaraj Temple in Bhubaneswar amid a State-sponsored redevelopment drive, spiralled with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) complaining that irreparable damage had been done to the temple and ancient shrines around it.

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Details:

  • The Odisha government’s Ekamra Kshetra beautification project is aimed at creating space adjoining the Lingaraj Temple to accommodate around two lakh devotees expected to visit the temple for the festival of Shivaratri.

Lingaraj Temple:

  • Lingaraj temple at Bhubaneswar, Odisha is an 11th-century temple.
  • It is a symbol of Kalinga style architecture.
  • Lingaraj Temple was built by the King Jajati Keshari, who belonged to Soma Vansh.
  • The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva.

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