Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics
- Too Big to Fail Banks
- Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology
- Defence Acquisition Council
- Japan-Korea Summit
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics
Context: The ‘Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics,’ prepared by the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying after an integrated sample survey, showed an increase in the milk, eggs and meat productions in the country.
Basic Animal Husbandry statistics 2022
- ‘Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics 2022’ is the annual publication of the department of animal Husbandry and dairying. The publication gives an overview of Animal Husbandry sector briefly in terms of important livestock statistics on livestock population, livestock production and other information like animal diseases, infrastructure etc.
- It is the primary source of data on production estimates of four Major Livestock Products (MLPs) like Milk, Egg, Meat and Wool for the year 2021-22 and other technical aspects of Integrated Sample Survey (ISS).
- In addition to the production estimates, it also contains data of secondary information like livestock population as per the latest 20th Livestock Census, import and export data of livestock and livestock products, the incidence of livestock disease, infrastructure and economic contribution of the livestock sector.
- The information contained in this publication will be useful for all stakeholders for planning and policy-making purposes as well as for research and academician across the globe.
Findings of the Report
- The report said total milk production in the country was 221.06 million tonnes in 2022. India continued to remain as the largest milk producing country in the world.
- The production had increased by 5.29% over the previous year.
- The per capita availability of milk was 444 grams per day.
- The milk production from exotic/crossbred cattle had increased by 6.16% and indigenous or non-descript cattle had gone up by 6.13% as compared to previous year.
- The milk production from buffaloes also increased by 4.44% as compared to 2021 and indigenous buffaloes contributed 31.58% of the total production followed by 29.91% by crossbred cattle.
- The Indigenous cattle contribute 10.35% of the total milk production in the country whereas non-descript cattle contribute 9.82% and non-descript buffaloes contribute 13.49% of the total milk production in the country.
- Goat milk shared a contribution of 2.93% in the total production across the country. Exotic cow had a share of 1.92% to the total milk production, the survey showed.
- Rajasthan (15.05%), Uttar Pradesh (14.93%), Madhya Pradesh (8.60%), Gujarat (7.56%) and Andhra Pradesh (6.97%) together contribute 53.11% of total milk production in the country.
- The milk production was 209.96 million tonnes in 2020-21.
- The total egg production in the country was 129.60 billion numbers and it is an increase by 6.19% than the previous year.
- The per capita availability of egg is 95 eggs per annum.
- Top five egg producing States are Andhra Pradesh (20.41%), Tamil Nadu (16.08%), Telangana (12.86%), West Bengal (8.84%) and Karnataka (6.38%) and these States together contribute 64.56% of total egg production in the country.
- The total meat production in the country was 9.29 million tonnes. It had increased by 5.62% as compared to previous year.
- The meat production from poultry was 4.78 million tonnes, contributing about 51.44% of the total production.
- The growth of poultry meat production has increased by 6.86% over previous year.
- The top five meat producing States are Maharashtra (12.25%), Uttar Pradesh (12.14%), West Bengal (11.63%), Andhra Pradesh (11.04%) and Telangana (10.82%). They together contribute 57.86% of total meat production in the country.
- 51.44% of meat production was contributed by poultry. Buffalo, goat, sheep, pig, and cattle contribute nearly 17.49%, 13.63%, 10.33%, 3.93% and 3.18% of meat production respectively to the total meat production of the country
- Any increase in our per capita eggs and meat consumption will bring a lot of employment opportunities in the country. Even now, India’s per capita eggs and chicken consumption is much less than the developed world.
- The total wool production in the country during 2021-22 was 33.13 thousand tonnes which had declined by 10.30% as compared to previous year.
Animal Husbandry Statistics (AHS)
- The Animal Husbandry Statistics (AHS) Division of Department of Animal Husbandry & Dairying (DAHD) is entrusted with the generation of Animal Husbandry Statistics through the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “Livestock Census and Integrated Sample Survey” under the development programmes category with two components,
- (i) Livestock Census (LC)&
- (ii) Integrated Sample Survey (ISS).
- The scheme is being implemented by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying through State Animal Husbandry Departments.
Animal Husbandry Statistics Division’s Mandate
- Conducting quinquennial Livestock Census (LC).
- Conducting annual sample survey namely Integrated Sample Survey (ISS).
- Publishing All India Livestock Report consisting of livestock population of major species at National and States/UT level by use, sex and age.
- Publishing Breed-wise report based on the latest Livestock Census consisting of detail breed-wise livestock population at aggregate as well as segregated level.
- Publishing of annual publication title Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics to release the production estimates of four major livestock products like milk, meat, egg and wool.
2 . Too Big to Fail Banks
Context: The failure of Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank in the US raises questions on the safety of depositors’ wealth everywhere. Such failures are unlikely in the Indian system. India remained a safe haven during the global financial crisis triggered by the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, with domestic banks, backed by sound regulatory practices, showing strength and resilience.
Too Big to Fail Banks- Domestic Systemically Important Banks
- D-SIBs are those interconnected entities, whose failure can impact the whole of the financial system and create instability. Systemically important banks attract closer supervision and regulation from the country’s central bank as these entities are too big-to-fail banking companies.
- Central banks world-over began to look at ‘too-big-to-fail’ banking institutions closely after the 2008 global financial crisis.
Which banks are classified as D-SIBs?
- RBI has classified SBI, ICICI Bank, and HDFC Bank as D-SIBs. The additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) requirement for D-SIBs was phased-in from April 1, 2016, and became fully effective from April 1, 2019. The additional CET1 requirement was in addition to the capital conservation buffer. It means that these banks have to earmark additional capital and provisions to safeguard their operations.
- Under the D-SIB framework announced by RBI, the central bank was required, from 2015, to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs, and to place them in appropriate buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs). Depending on the bucket in which a D-SIB is placed, an additional common equity requirement is applicable to it.
- Based on data collected from banks as on March 31, 2017, HDFC Bank was classified as a D-SIB along with SBI and ICICI Bank.
- The Basel, Switzerland-based Financial Stability Board (FSB), an initiative of G20 nations, has identified, in consultation with the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) and Swiss national authorities, a list of global systemically important banks (G-SIBs).
- There are 30 G-SIBs currently, including JP Morgan, Citibank, HSBC, Bank of America, Bank of China, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and Goldman Sachs. No Indian bank is on the list.
How does RBI select D-SIBs?
- The RBI follows a two-step process to assess the systemic importance of banks.
- First, a sample of banks to be assessed for their systemic importance is decided. All banks are not considered — many smaller banks would be of lower systemic importance and burdening them with onerous data requirements on a regular basis may not be prudent.
- Banks are selected for computation of systemic importance based on an analysis of their size (based on Basel-III Leverage Ratio Exposure Measure) as a percentage of GDP. Banks having a size beyond 2% of GDP will be selected in the sample.
- Once the sample of banks is selected, a detailed study to compute their systemic importance is initiated. Based on a range of indicators, a composite score of systemic importance is computed for each bank. Banks that have a systemic importance above a certain threshold are designated as D-SIBs.
- Next, the D-SIBs are segregated into buckets based on their systemic importance scores, and subjected to a graded loss absorbency capital surcharge, depending on the buckets in which they are placed.
- A D-SIB in the lower bucket will attract a lower capital charge, and a D-SIB in the higher bucket will attract a higher capital charge.
Why was it felt important to create SIBs?
- During the 2008 crisis, problems faced by certain large and highly interconnected financial institutions hampered the orderly functioning of the global financial system, which negatively impacted the real economy. Government intervention was considered necessary to ensure financial stability in many jurisdictions.
- The cost of public sector intervention, and the consequential increase in moral hazard, required that future regulatory policies should aim at reducing the probability and the impact of the failure of SIBs.
- In October 2010, the FSB recommended that all member countries should put in place a framework to reduce risks attributable to Systemically Important Financial Institutions (SIFIs) in their jurisdictions.
- SIBs are perceived as banks that are ‘Too Big To Fail (TBTF)’, due to which these banks enjoy certain advantages in the funding markets. However, this perception creates an expectation of government support at times of distress, which encourages risk-taking, reduces market discipline, creates competitive distortions, and increases the probability of distress in the future.
- It is therefore felt that SIBs should be subjected to additional policy measures to guard against systemic risks and moral hazard issues.
- While the Basel-III Norms prescribe a capital adequacy ratio (CAR) — the bank’s ratio of capital to risk — of 8 per cent, the RBI has been more cautious and mandated a CAR of 9 per cent for scheduled commercial banks and 12 per cent for public sector banks.
What is the need to take these precautions?
- The failure of a large bank anywhere can have a contagion effect around the world. The impairment or failure of a bank will likely cause greater damage to the domestic real economy if its activities constitute a significantly large share of domestic banking activities.
- Impairment or failure of a large bank is also likely to damage confidence in the banking system as a whole. As a measure of systemic importance, size is more important than any other indicator — and size indicators are assigned greater weight.
- The impairment or failure of one bank could potentially increase the probability of impairment or failure of other banks if there is a high degree of interconnectedness (contractual obligations) between them. This chain effect operates on both sides of the balance sheet — there may be interconnections on the funding side as well as the asset side. The larger the number of linkages and size of individual exposures, the greater is the potential for the systemic risk getting magnified, which can lead to nervousness in the financial sector.
- The greater the role of a bank as a service provider in underlying market infrastructure like payment systems, the larger is the disruption it is likely to cause in terms of availability and range of services and infrastructure liquidity in case of failure.
- Also, the costs for customers of a failed bank for the same service at another bank would be much higher if the failed bank had a greater market share in providing that service.
What is the basis for the confidence in the resilience of Indian banks?
- A reason why an SVB-like failure is unlikely in India is that domestic banks have a different balance sheet structure
- Household savings constitute a major part of bank deposits in India — this is different from the US, where a large portion of bank deposits are from corporates.
- A large chunk of Indian deposits is with public sector banks, and most of the rest is with very strong private sector lenders such as HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, and Axis Bank.
3 . Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology
Context: Stepping up from its ongoing initiative of providing potable water in six islands of Lakshadweep using Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology, the Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) is working at making this process free of emissions.
About the News
- Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has stepped up the project of delivering potable water in six islands of Lakshadweep using low temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) technology.
- Currently, there are five operational desalination plants in Lakshadweep islands, and four more are expected to start functioning in the coming months. The proposed self-sustaining plant is expected to be ready in the latter part of 2023. The desalination plants, with a minimum daily capacity of 1,00,000 litres of potable water, are powered by diesel-powered generator sets.
- NIOT, which has worked extensively on harnessing energy from the ocean, under the aegis of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is working to upgrade the process to ensure emission-free output. In a first of its kind facility, the desalination plant will supply power to the plant.
What is Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology?
- The LTTD is a process under which the warm surface sea water is flash evaporated at low pressure and the vapour is condensed with cold deep-sea water. The LTTD technology does not require any chemical pre and post-treatment of seawater and thus the pollution problems are minimal and suitable for island territories. Since no effluent treatment is required, it gives less operational maintenance problems compared to other desalination processes.
- LTTD utilises the concept of de-pressurised water which evaporates even at ambient temperatures, and the resulting vapour when condensed, are devoid of salts and contaminants, making it fit for consumption.
- The LTTD technology is completely indigenous, robust and environment friendly. The cost per liter of desalination would depend on the technology used and cost of electricity which varies from place to place.
- According to the cost estimates made recently by an independent agency for LTTD technology, the operational costs per litre of bottled quality fresh water currently works to be 19 paise. Since the LTTD technology is not matured for coastal regions of mainland India, except in thermal power plants located very near to the coast, so far no attempt has been made to introduce such plants in Andhra Pradesh. The coastal areas would require offshore plant with larger capacity, which are yet to develop.
- The National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) an autonomous body of the Ministry of Earth Sciences has been responsible for design, develop, demonstrate and commission the LTTD plants in selected coastal locations.
- NIOT has established a Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology-based desalination plant at Kavaratti in May 2005, Agatti and Minicoy in 2011, and Kalpeni in 2021. These plants have been generating fresh water continuously and have been extremely helpful to the people.
4 . ELECTRONICALLY-TRANSMITTED POSTAL BALLOT SYSTEM
Context: The Election Commission of India (EC) has proposed to change the rules pertaining to the conduct of elections to facilitate the electronically transmitted postal ballot system for overseas Indian voters and the matter is being discussed with the Ministry of External Affairs to “iron out” logistical challenges in implementing it.
What is ETPBS and how does it function?
- The Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended in 2016 to allow service voters to use the ETPBS.
- Under this system, postal ballots are sent electronically to registered service voters. The service voter can then download the ETPB (along with a declaration form and covers), register their mandate on the ballot and send it to the returning officer of the constituency via ordinary mail. The post will include an attested declaration form (after being signed by the voter in the presence of an appointed senior officer who will attest it). The postal ballot must reach the returning officer by 8 a.m. on the day of the counting of results.
- In the case of NRI voters, those seeking to vote through ETPBS will have to inform the returning officer at least five days after notification of the election. The returning officer will then send the ballot electronically via the ETPBS.
- The NRI voter can then register her/his mandate on the ballot printout and send it back with an attested declaration in a process similar to the service voter. Except in this case, the senior officer would be appointed by the Indian diplomatic or consular representative in the resident country of the NRI. The ECI has not specified whether the voter should send in the ballot through ordinary post to the returning officer or drop it off at the Indian consular office/embassy, which will then send the envelopes constituency-wise to the returning officers.
- The ECI proposed to extend this facility to overseas votersl. For this to commence, the Law Ministry has to amend the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961
5 . Defence Acquisition council
Context: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) for capital acquisition proposals worth ₹70,500 crore. Some of the projects are long-gestation projects involving indigenous design and development including the development of marine diesel engine.
About the News
- The AoN has been accorded for capital acquisitions under ‘Buy Indian-IDDM’ (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured),
- Out of the total proposals, Indian Navy proposals constitute more than ₹56,000 crore, which largely includes indigenous BrahMos cruise missiles, Shakti Electronic Warfare (EW) systems, Utility Helicopters-Maritime among others. An AoN is the beginning of the long winding procurement process.
- Other proposals include a Long Range Stand-Off Weapon (LRSOW) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) to be designed and developed indigenously and integrated on SU-30 MKI fighters and the indigenous 155mm/52-Calibre Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS) along with High Mobility Vehicles (HMVs) and Gun Towing Vehicles (GTVs) for the Army.
- Accordance of AoN for medium-speed marine diesel engine under Make-I category of procurement procedure is a significant step as, for the first time, India is venturing into the development and manufacturing of such engines indigenously to achieve self-reliance and leverage the capabilities of the industries towards the goal of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’, the Ministry said.
About Defence Acquisition Council
- Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the Defence Minister was constituted for overall guidance of the defence procurement planning process.
- It was constituted based on the Group of Ministers recommendations on “Reforming the National Security System,”
- Defence Minister: Chairman
- Minister of State for Defence: Member
- Chief of Army Staff: Member
- Chief of Naval Staff: Member
- Chief of Air Staff: Member
- Defence Secretary: Member
- Secretary Defence Research & Development: Member
- Secretary Defence Production: Member
- Chief of Integrated Staff Committees HQ IDS: Member
- Director General (Acquisition): Member
- Dy. Chief of Integrated Defence: Staff Member Secretary
- The objective of the Defence Acquisition Council is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the Armed Forces in terms of capabilities sought and time frame prescribed by optimally utilizing the allocated budgetary resources.
- The functions of the DACIn principle approval of 15 Years Long Terms Integrated Perspective Plan for Defence Forces
- Accord of Acceptance of Necessity to acquisition proposals;
- Categorization of the acquisition proposals relating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’ and ‘Make’;
- Issues relating to Single vendor clearance;
- Decision regarding ‘offset’ provisions in respect of acquisition proposals above Rs. 300 crores;
- Decisions regarding Transfer of Technology under ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals
- Field Trial evaluation.
6 . Japan South Korea Summit
Context: South Korean and Japanese leaders will meet in Tokyo this week, hoping to resume regular visits after a gap of over a decade and overcome resentments that date back more than 100 years.
Background of the issue
- Japan effectively colonized the Korean Peninsula between 1910 and 1945, in a regime that imposed Japanese names and language on Koreans and conscripted many into forced labour or forced prostitution in military brothels before and during World War II. Japan paid $800 million in reparations to South Korea’s military-run government in 1965, but this money was never distributed to victims. A semi-government fund offered compensation to former “comfort women” when the government apologized in 1995, but many South Koreans believe that the Japanese government must take more direct responsibility for the occupation.
- The two sides also have a longstanding territorial dispute over a group of islands controlled by South Korea and claimed by Japan.
- Seoul and Tokyo have attempted to establish better ties before. In 2004, leaders began regular visits, but these ended in 2012 after South Korean President Lee Myung-bak visited the disputed islands.
- Tensions escalated in the past 10 years as conservative Japanese governments moved to rearm the country while stepping up attempts to whitewash Japan’s wartime atrocities, and in 2018 South Korea’s Supreme Court ordered Japan’s Nippon Steel and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to compensate forced labor victims.
- In 2019, Japan, in apparent retaliation, placed export controls on chemicals used to make semiconductors and displays used in smartphones and other high-tech devices.
What’s expected at the summit?
- South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida are to hold a summit on March. In this summit Kishida is expected to reaffirm Japan’s past expressions of remorse over its wartime actions.
- Both sides have signalled hopes that this summit will lead to a resumption of regular bilateral visits,
- Both the sides are considering establishing a separate, private fund to promote bilateral economy, security, culture and other key areas of cooperation.
What’s at stake for the region?
- Improved ties between South Korea and Japan could pave the way for the two U.S. allies to cooperate more closely on shared security concerns related to China and North Korea.
- Washington is eager to get its allies on the same page, and appears to have worked intensively to bring about the summit.
- This plan is apparently part of South Korean efforts to strengthen alliances to counter North Korea, which has been expanding nuclear-capable missiles and issuing threats of preemptive nuclear strikes.
7 . Facts for prelims
Prime Minister MITRA (Mega Integrated Textile Region and Apparel) scheme
- The PM MITRA scheme is Inspired by the 5F vision of Hon’ble Prime Minister – Farm to Fibre to Factory to Fashion to Foreign. It aspires to fulfil the vision of building an Aatmanirbhar Bharat and to position India strongly on the Global textiles map.
- PM MITRA Parks will offer an opportunity to create an integrated textiles value chain right from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing and printing to garment manufacturing at 1 location
- Integrated Textile Value chain at 1 location will reduce logistics cost of Industry
- Intended to generate ~1 lakh direct and 2 lakh indirect employment per park
- Sites for PM MITRA Parks will be selected by a Challenge Method based on objective criteria
National commission of Backward Classes
- National Commission for Backward Classes is a constitutional body (123rd Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017 and 102nd Amendment Act, 2018 in the constitution to make it a constitutional body under Article 338B of the Indian Constitution) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, established on 14 August 1993.
- National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) was initially constituted by the Central Govt by the National Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1993.
- The commission was the outcome of Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India.
- Constitutionality – According to article 340 of the Indian Constitution, President shall establish a commission to examine the condition of social and backward class.
- Composition– According to Article 338B.
- (2) Subject to the provisions of any law made in this behalf by Parliament, the Commission shall consist of a Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and three other Members and the conditions of service and tenure of office of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members so appointed shall be such as the President may by rule determine.
- (3) The Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson and other Members of the Commission shall be appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal.
- (4) The Commission shall have the power to regulate its own procedure.
- Functions and powers- The commission considers inclusions in and exclusions from the lists of communities notified as backward for the purpose of job reservations and tenders the needful advice to the Central Government as per Section 9(1) of the NCBC Act, 1993. Similarly, the states have also constituted commissions for BC’s.
- According to Article 338B (5) It shall be the duty of the Commission—
- to investigate and monitor all matters relating to the safeguards provided for the socially and educationally backward classes under this Constitution or under any other law for the time being in force or under any order of the Government and to evaluate the working of such safeguards;
- to inquire into specific complaints with respect to the deprivation of rights and safeguards of the socially and educationally backward classes;
- to participate and advise on the socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes and to evaluate the progress of their development under the Union and any State;
- to present to the President, annually and at such other times as the Commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards;
- to make in such reports the recommendations as to the measures that should be taken by the Union or any State for the effective implementation of those safeguards and other measures for the protection, welfare and socio-economic development of the socially and educationally backward classes; and
- to discharge such other functions in relation to the protection, welfare and development and advancement of the socially and educationally backward classes as the President may, subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, by rule specify.