Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 01 July 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. Core Industry output contracts for the third month.
  2. Free foodgrain scheme till November.
  3. Reviving SAARC to deal with China.

1. Core Industry output contracts for the third month

News Summary

According to the data released by the Commerce Ministry, the index of eight core sector industries output has shrunk 23% in May 2020. In the eight core sector industries, only the Fertilizer industry saw a rise whereas all other industries have seen a sharp decline.

Prelims GS – Economic Development

Index of Eight Core Industries:
  • Eight Core Industries comprises of the following industries:
    1. Coal
    2. Crude Oil
    3. Natural Gas
    4. Refinery Products (Petroleum)
    5. Fertilizers
    6. Steel
    7. Cement
    8. Electricity
  • The Index of Eight Core Industries is released by the Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. (Note: UPSC Prelims Question expected)
  • In the index of eight core industries, Refinery products have the highest weight followed by Electricity and Steel.
  • The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27 % of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
Index of Industrial Production: (IIP)
  • Index of Industrial Production is an index that tracks manufacturing activity in various sectors of the economy.
  • The three broad sectors of IIP:
    • Mining,
    • Manufacturing,
    • Electricity
  • Besides these, the Index of eight core industries constitutes 40.27% of the weight of items in IIP.
  • IIP data is compiled and released monthly by the Central Statistical Organisation, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

2. Free foodgrain scheme till November

News Summary

Hon’ble PM of India Shri. Narendra Modi Ji announced the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) which is a free grain distribution scheme till November with an additional estimated outlay of Rs.90,000 crore.  This scheme has ensured that the poorest of the poor in India were not left hungry despite the lockdown. Hon’ble PM thanked the honest taxpayers for making this scheme possible.

Prelims GS – Economic Development

PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:(PMGKAY)
  • PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana ensures sufficient food for the poor and the needy during coronavirus pandemic.
  • It is considered as the World’s largest food security scheme.
  • Foodgrains are provided to the beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System for Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Household Ration Card Holders.
  • This scheme helps over 80 crore people and ensures food security.

(Note: Use these points for Food security-based Questions in GS Paper 3 also.)

3. Reviving SAARC to deal with China

News Summary

In the current India-China border tensions, China is promoting itself as a hegemony as a part of its global expansionism. It is a known fact Pakistan is in good ties with China.  Nowadays, Nepal is moving closer to China for its material reasons. Also, China is trying to support Bangladesh and Srilanka through its tariff exemption and massive investments respectively. This is a major concern for India as many South Asian nations now are becoming dependent on China for imports. Policy experts have suggested that India has to deal with China strategically by starting with South Asia and reviving SAARC.

Prelims GS – International Relations

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was founded in 1985.
  • It is dedicated to improving the welfare of South Asia through economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region.
  • Members of SAARC are
    • Afghanistan
    • Bangladesh
    • Bhutan
    • India
    • Nepal
    • Maldives
    • Pakistan
    • Sri Lanka

Mini Insights

Mains GS2 – International Relations

Reviving SAARC to deal with China:
  • Due to Pakistan’s animosity, India’s relations with SAARC dipped significantly.
  • As a result, India started investing in BIMSTEC as a replacement for SAARC.
  • SAARC concentrates on all the South Asian nations whereas BIMSTEC is concentrating only in the Bay of Bengal region. So we cannot use BIMSTEC as an alternative for SAARC.
  • One way to bring back life to  SAARC is to revive the South Asian Economic Integration.
  • South Asia is one of the least integrated regions in the World with intra-regional trade just at 5% compared to 25% intra-regional trade in ASEAN.
  • Due to the lack of political will and restrictions, the trade in SAARC regions has not flourished.
  • Deeper regional economic integration is the key to make SAARC nations interdependent on each other making India acquire a central role that will ultimately serve the strategic interests of India.
  • In this regard, Hon’ble PM of India Shri. Narendra Modi Ji convening SAARC virtual summit is a step in the right direction.
  • This will promote India’s position as a counter to China’s influence in South Asia.



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