Daily Current Affairs : 1st July 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

  1. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
  2. Globa Andersoniee
  3. Namami Gange
  4. State of the World Population 2020 report
  5. LIC Disinvestment
  6. Global Fusion Project
  7. Facts for Prelims

1 . Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

Context: The free grain distribution scheme under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) has been extended by five months till the end of November, with an additional estimated outlay of ₹90,000 crore.

About the Scheme

  • This scheme was first announced by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26 for an initial period of three months – April, May and June. 
  • Under the scheme eligible beneficiaries will receive 5 kg free rice/wheat to each member of the family, along with 1 kg pulses to each family, per month for a period of three months between April and June, 2020. This time period has now been extended to five more months.
  • It needs to be provided to all the beneficiaries under public distribution system (TPDS) for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority household (PHH) ration cardholders.
  • PMGKAY during lockdown has ensured that the poorest of the poor are not left hungry
  • The scheme covered 80 crore ration card holders.
  • It is considered as the world’s largest food security scheme

2 . Globba andersoniie

Context: A rare and critically endangered plant species called Globba andersoniie has been “rediscovered” from the Sikkim Himalayas near the Teesta river valley region after a gap of nearly 136 years.

About Globba andersoniie

  • The plant is commonly known as ‘dancing ladies’ or ‘swan flowers’ and was thought to be extinct after 1875
  • Globba andersonii are characterised by white flowers, non-appendaged anthers (the part of a stamen that contains the pollen) and a “yellowish lip”.
  • They are classified as “critically endangered” and “narrowly endemic”
  • The species is restricted mainly to Teesta River Valley region which includes the Sikkim Himalays and Darjeeling hill ranges.
  • The plant usually grows in a dense colony as a lithophyte (plant growing on a bare rock or stone) on rocky slopes in the outskirts of evergreen forests.
  • It is especially prevalent near small waterfalls along the roadside leading to these hill forests, which are 400-800 m. above sea level.
  • Recommendations for Future survival and thriving of the species : Micro-propagation, tissue culture of this taxon and multiplication of this species and its re-introduction in the natural habitat.

3 . World Bank approves funds for Namami Gange

Context: The World Bank has approved a five-year loan to the Namami Gange project worth ₹3,000 crore ($400 million) to develop and improve infrastructure projects to abate pollution in the river basin.

About the News

  • The Namami Ganga or the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has already received ₹4,535 crore ($600 million) from the World Bank until December 2021 as part of the first phase of the National Ganga River Basin project. So far, 313 projects worth ₹25,000 crore have been sanctioned under the mission.
  • Some of the projects to be undertaken under the second phase of the mission include spillover projects from the first phase of the mission as well cleaning projects in tributaries such as the Yamuna and Kali.
  • In the second phase, the loan would fund ₹1,134 crore ($150 million) for three new ‘Hybrid Annuity Projects’ in Agra, Meerut and Saharanpur for the tributaries of the Ganga.

Namami Gange Programme

  • ‘Namami Gange Programme’, is an Integrated Conservation Mission, approved as ‘Flagship Programme’ by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore to accomplish the twin objectives of effective abatement of pollution, conservation and rejuvenation of National River Ganga.
  • The program would be implemented by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), and its state counterpart organizations i.e., State Program Management Groups (SPMGs). NMCG will also establish field offices wherever necessary.
  • Its implementation has been divided into Entry-Level Activities (for immediate visible impact), Medium-Term Activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame) and Long-Term Activities (to be implemented within 10 years).

Main Pillars of the programme are

  1. Sewage water treatment
  2. River Front development
  3. River surface cleaning
  4. Biodiversity conservation
  5. Afforestation
  6. Public awareness
  7. Ganga Gram
  8. Industrial effluent monitoring

About Hybrid Annuity Model

  • Hybrid annuity means that the government makes payment in a fixed amount for a considerable period and then in a variable amount in the remaining period. This hybrid type of payment method is called HAM in the technical parlance.
  • Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM) has been introduced by the Government to revive PPP (Public Private Partnership)

4 . State of the World Population 2020 report

Context: According to a recently released UNFPA’s State of the World Population 2020 report one in three girls missing globally due to sex selection, both pre- and post-natal, is from India — 46 million out of the total 142 million. The figure shows that the number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years, who were at 61 million in 1970.

About the report

  • Report is titled  as Against my will: defying the practices that harm women and girls and undermine equality
  • Report is released by UNFPA
  • Report lists at least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, report focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage, and extreme bias against daughters in favour of sons.

Key Observations of the Report

  • Missing Women
    • Missing females are women missing from the population at given dates due to the cumulative effect of postnatal and prenatal sex selection in the past
    • Number of missing women has more than doubled over the past 50 years – from 61 million in 1970 to a cumulative 142.6 million in 2020
    • In India between 2013 and 2017, about 460,000 girls were missing’ at birth each year.
  • Gender-biased sex selection
    • It accounts for about two-thirds of the total missing girls, and post-birth female mortality accounts for about one-third
    • China and India together account for about 90-95 per cent of the estimated 1.2 million to 1.5 million missing female births annually worldwide due to gender-biased (prenatal) sex selection
  • Female Deaths
    • India has the highest rate of excess female deaths, 13.5 per 1,000 female births, which suggests that an estimated one in nine deaths of females below the age of 5 may be attributed to postnatal sex selection
  • Marriage Squeeze
    • In countries where marriage is nearly universal, many men may need to delay or forego marriage because they will be unable to find a spouse. This so-called “marriage squeeze”, where prospective grooms outnumber prospective brides, has already been observed in some countries and affects mostly young men from lower economic strata.
    • At the same time, the marriage squeeze could result in more child marriages
    • Some studies suggest that the marriage squeeze will peak in India in 2055. The proportion of men who are still single at the age of 50 is forecast to rise after 2050 in India to 10 per cent
  • Harmful practices against girls
    • Every year, millions of girls globally are subjected to practices that harm them physically and emotionally, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities.
    • At least 19 harmful practices, ranging from breast ironing to virginity testing, are considered human rights violations, according to the UNFPA report, which focuses on the three most prevalent ones: female genital mutilation, child marriage, and extreme bias against daughters in favour of sons.
    • Harmful practices against girls cause profound and lasting trauma, robbing them of their right to reach their full potential
  • Female Genetial Mutiliation
    • This year, an estimated 4.1 million girls will be subjected to female genital mutilation. Today, 33,000 girls under age 18 will be forced into marriages, usually to much older men and an extreme preference for sons over daughters in some countries has fuelled gender-biased sex selection or extreme neglect that leads to their death as children, resulting in the 140 million missing females.

Impact of Steps taken by Government

  • Regarding sex selection, India and Vietnam have included campaigns that target gender stereotypes to change attitudes and open the door to new norms and behaviours.
  • They spotlight the importance of daughters and highlight how girls and women have changed society for the better. Campaigns that celebrate women’s progress and achievements may resonate more where daughter-only families can be shown to be prospering, it said.
  • Successful education-related interventions include the provision of cash transfers conditional on school attendance; or support to cover the costs of school fees, books, uniforms and supplies, taking note of successful cash-transfer initiatives such as ‘Apni Beti Apna Dhan’ in India.
  • It said that preference for a male child manifested in sex selection has led to dramatic, long-term shifts in the proportions of women and men in the populations of some countries.


  • Ending child marriage and female genital mutilation worldwide is possible within 10 years by scaling up efforts to keep girls in school longer and teach them life skills and to engage men and boys in social change.
  • Investments totalling USD 3.4 billion a year through 2030 would end these two harmful practices and end the suffering of an estimated 84 million girls,


  • The United Nations Fund for Population Activities was established as a trust fund in 1967 and began operations in 1969. In 1987, it was officially renamed the United Nations Population Fund, reflecting its lead role in the United Nations system in the area of population. The original abbreviation, UNFPA, was retained.
  • It is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. 
  • The mission is to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
  • The goal of UNFPA is ensure reproductive rights for all. To accomplish this, UNFPA works to ensure that all people, especially women and young people, are able to access high-quality sexual and reproductive health services, including voluntary family planning, so that they can make informed and voluntary choices about their sexual and reproductive lives.
  • Headquarters of UNFPA is in New York.
  • The mandate of UNFPA is established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)
  • Guided by the 1994 Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), UNFPA partners with governments, civil society and other agencies to advance its mission.
  • UNFPA is entirely supported by voluntary contributions of donor governments, intergovernmental organizations, the private sector, and foundations and individuals, not by the United Nations regular budget.
  • UNFPA is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.
  • UNFPA in India: UNFPA has been assisting the Government of India since 1974 to provide family planning and health services, advance reproductive health and rights and improve maternal health. Its Eighth Country Programme of assistance (2013-17) to the Government of India focusses on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and improving opportunities for vulnerable women and girls.

5 . LIC Disinvestment

Context: The All-India LIC Employees Federation has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking him to stop the proposed disinvestment in the Life Insurance Corporation of India, saying the move would be against his stated mission of an Atmanirbhar Bharat. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the government will sell a part of its holding in Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) through an initial public offering (IPO).

About LIC

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (abbreviated as LIC) is an Indian state-owned insurance group and investment corporation.
  • LIC is owned 100 percent by the Government
  • The Life insurance Corporation of India was founded on September 1, 1956, when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalized the insurance industry in India.
  • Over 245 insurance companies and provident societies were merged to create the state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India.
  • LIC policyholders enjoy a sovereign guarantee on the sum assured and the bonus declared. This has been one of the main selling points for LIC policies.
  • The corporation had invested heavily in IPOs and follow-on offers of companies such as ONGC. It was also called in to bail out IDBI Bank and is also the largest investor in government securities and stock markets every year. LIC also has huge investments in debentures and bonds besides providing funding for many infrastructure projects

Rationale behind LIC Disinvestment

  • LIC is India’s largest financial institution, and if LIC shares are listed on stock exchanges, it could easily emerge as the country’s top listed company in terms of market valuation, overtaking current leaders Reliance Industries Ltd and Tata Consultancy Services.
  • Public listing of LIC will lead to more disclosures of investment and loan portfolios and better governance, with greater transparency and accountability.
  • The plan of disinvestment has been proposed by the government in lines with the “maximum governance, minimum government” policy


  • With less federal interference, LIC will be more accountable with strong governance protocols, which will be a positive for its financial health.
  • The listing of LIC is a positive move which will result in transparency of the corporation in public view, sparking renewed interest in the insurance industry in international markets
  • listing of LIC will help bring in greater transparency, public participation and also deepen the equity market.
  • Since LIC is entrusted with the hard earned savings of the people of India, creating a culture where shareholders exercise control over the company run by professional managers is a must. And this can only be achieved by listing LIC.
  • Listing LIC could also help reduce costs of the exchequer.
  • It will also make stock exchanges quite broad-based and will change India’s weightage and rating across various global indices including MSCI which is highly tracked globally.


  • As LIC is one of the biggest financial institutions of the country, any move to privatise LIC will shake the confidence of the common man and will be an affront to financial sovereignty.
  • And also the very purpose of LIC which is to provide insurance coverage to socially and economically backward class at a reasonable cost will be defeated and motto will change from service to profit
  • SEBI regulations need a minimum dilution of 10 per cent to the public, it is unclear if there is enough liquidity for such a large sized IPO.

Disinvestment in India

  • Disinvestment means sale or liquidation of assets by the government, usually Central and state public sector enterprises, projects, or other fixed assets.
  • The government undertakes disinvestment to reduce the fiscal burden on the exchequer, or to raise money for meeting specific needs, such as to bridge the revenue shortfall from other regular sources.
  • In some cases, disinvestment may be done to privatise assets. However, not all disinvestment is privatisation.
  • Some of the benefits of disinvestment are that it can be helpful in the long-term growth of the country; it allows the government and even the company to reduce debt.
  • Disinvestment allows a larger share of PSU ownership in the open market, which in turn allows for the development of a strong capital market in India.

Main objectives of Disinvestment in India:

  • Reducing the fiscal burden on the exchequer
  • Improving public finances
  • Encouraging private ownership
  • Funding growth and development programmes
  • Maintaining and promoting competition in the market

Initial Public Offering

  • Initial public offering is the process by which a private company can go public by sale of its stocks to general public.
  • It could be a new, young company or an old company which decides to be listed on an exchange and hence goes public.
  • Companies can raise equity capital with the help of an IPO by issuing new shares to the public or the existing shareholders can sell their shares to the public without raising any fresh capital.
  • A company offering its shares to the public is not obliged to repay the capital to public investors.
  • The company which offers its shares, known as an ‘issuer’, does so with the help of investment banks. After IPO, the company’s shares are traded in an open market. Those shares can be further sold by investors through secondary market trading.

Facts for Prelims

  • 1818: Oriental Life Insurance Company, the first life insurance company on Indian soil started functioning.
  • 1870: Bombay Mutual Life Assurance Society, the first Indian life insurance company started its business.
  • 1912: The Indian Life Assurance Companies Act enacted as the first statute to regulate the life insurance business.
  • 1928: The Indian Insurance Companies Act enacted to enable the government to collect statistical information about both life and non-life insurance businesses.
  • 1938: Earlier legislation consolidated and amended to by the Insurance Act with the objective of protecting the interests of the insuring public.
  • 1956: 245 Indian and foreign insurers and provident societies are taken over by the central government and nationalised. LIC formed by an Act of Parliament, viz. LIC Act, 1956, with a capital contribution of Rs. 5 crore from the Government of India.

6 . Global Fusion Project

Context : Engineering and construction giant Larsen & Toubro said it has achieved a major milestone under ‘Make in India’ initiative by building a cryostat for the USD 20 billion global fusion project.

About International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor

  • ITER is one of the most ambitious energy projects in the world today.
  • In southern France, 35 nations are collaborating to build the world’s largest tokamak, a magnetic fusion device that has been designed to prove the feasibility of fusion as a large-scale and carbon-free source of energy based on the same principle that powers our Sun and stars.
  • The experimental campaign that will be carried out at ITER is crucial to advancing fusion science and preparing the way for the fusion power plants of tomorrow.
  • ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy. ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time. And ITER will be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.
  • Thousands of engineers and scientists have contributed to the design of ITER since the idea for an international joint experiment in fusion was first launched in 1985.
  • The ITER Members—China, the European Union, India, Japan, Korea, Russia and the United States—are now engaged in a 35-year collaboration to build and operate the ITER experimental device, and together bring fusion to the point where a demonstration fusion reactor can be designed.

What is Fusion

  • Without fusion, there would be no life on Earth.
  • What we see as light and feel as warmth is the result of a fusion reaction in the core of our Sun: hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier helium atoms and release tremendous amounts of energy in the process.
  • Over billions of years, the gravitational forces at play in the Universe have caused the hydrogen clouds of the early Universe to gather into massive stellar bodies. In the extreme density and temperature of the stars, including our Sun, fusion occurs.

How Fusion Produces Energy

  • The most efficient fusion reaction in the laboratory setting is the reaction between two hydrogen isotopes deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The fusion of these light hydrogen atoms produces a heavier element, helium, and one neutron.
  • Atoms never rest: the hotter they are, the faster they move. In the Sun’s core, where temperatures reach 15,000,000 °C, hydrogen atoms are in a constant state of agitation. As they collide at very high speeds, the natural electrostatic repulsion that exists between the positive charges of their nuclei is overcome and the atoms fuse. The fusion of light hydrogen atoms produces a heavier element, helium.
  • The mass of the resulting helium atom is not the exact sum of the initial atoms, however—some mass has been lost and great amounts of energy have been gained. This is what Einstein’s famous formula E=mc² describes: the tiny bit of lost mass (m), multiplied by the square of the speed of light (c²), results in a very large figure (E), which is the amount of energy created by a fusion reaction.
  • Every second, our Sun turns 600 million tonnes of hydrogen into helium, releasing an enormous amount of energy. But without the benefit of gravitational forces at work in our Universe, achieving fusion on Earth has required a different approach.
  • Twentieth-century fusion science identified the most efficient fusion reaction in the laboratory setting to be the reaction between two hydrogen (H) isotopes deuterium (D) and tritium (T). The DT fusion reaction produces the highest energy gain at the “lowest” temperatures. It requires nonetheless temperatures of 150,000,000 degrees Celsius—ten times higher than the hydrogen reaction occurring in the Sun.

How Fusion can be produced in Labortary

  • Three conditions must be fulfilled to achieve fusion in a laboratory: very high temperature (on the order of 150,000,000° Celsius); sufficient plasma particle density (to increase the likelihood that collisions do occur); and sufficient confinement time (to hold the plasma, which has a propensity to expand, within a defined volume).
  • At extreme temperatures, electrons are separated from nuclei and a gas becomes a plasma—often referred to as the fourth state of matter. Fusion plasmas provide the environment in which light elements can fuse and yield energy.
  • In a tokamak device, powerful magnetic fields are used to confine and control the plasma.

What is Tokamak ?

  • Visualization courtesy of Jamison Daniel, Oak Ridge Leadership Computing FacilityPower plants today rely either on fossil fuels, nuclear fission, or renewable sources like wind or water. Whatever the energy source, the plants generate electricity by converting mechanical power, such as the rotation of a turbine, into electrical power. In a coal-fired steam station, the combustion of coal turns water into steam and the steam in turn drives turbine generators to produce electricity.
  • The tokamak is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion. Inside a tokamak, the energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel. Just like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant will use this heat to produce steam and then electricity by way of turbines and generators.
  • The heart of a tokamak is its doughnut-shaped vacuum chamber. Inside, under the influence of extreme heat and pressure, gaseous hydrogen fuel becomes a plasma—the very environment in which hydrogen atoms can be brought to fuse and yield energy. (You can read more on this particular state of matter here.)
  • The charged particles of the plasma can be shaped and controlled by the massive magnetic coils placed around the vessel; physicists use this important property to confine the hot plasma away from the vessel walls.
  • The term “tokamak” comes to us from a Russian acronym that stands for “toroidal chamber with magnetic coils.”
  • First developed by Soviet research in the late 1960s, the tokamak has been adopted around the world as the most promising configuration of magnetic fusion device. ITER will be the world’s largest tokamak—twice the size of the largest machine currently in operation, with ten times the plasma chamber volume.

What will ITER do

The amount of fusion energy a tokamak is capable of producing is a direct result of the number of fusion reactions taking place in its core. Scientists know that the larger the vessel, the larger the volume of the plasma … and therefore the greater the potential for fusion energy.

With ten times the plasma volume of the largest machine operating today, the ITER Tokamak will be a unique experimental tool, capable of longer plasmas and better confinement. The machine has been designed specifically to:

1) Produce 500 MW of fusion power
The world record for fusion power is held by the European tokamak JET. In 1997, JET produced 16 MW of fusion power from a total input heating power of 24 MW (Q=0.67). ITER is designed to produce a ten-fold return on energy (Q=10), or 500 MW of fusion power from 50 MW of input heating power. ITER will not capture the energy it produces as electricity, but—as first of all fusion experiments in history to produce net energy gain—it will prepare the way for the machine that can.

2) Demonstrate the integrated operation of technologies for a fusion power plant
ITER will bridge the gap between today’s smaller-scale experimental fusion devices and the demonstration fusion power plants of the future. Scientists will be able to study plasmas under conditions similar to those expected in a future power plant and test technologies such as heating, control, diagnostics, cryogenics and remote maintenance.

3) Achieve a deuterium-tritium plasma in which the reaction is sustained through internal heating
Fusion research today is at the threshold of exploring a “burning plasma”—one in which the heat from the fusion reaction is confined within the plasma efficiently enough for the reaction to be sustained for a long duration. Scientists are confident that the plasmas in ITER will not only produce much more fusion energy, but will remain stable for longer periods of time.

4) Test tritium breeding
One of the missions for the later stages of ITER operation is to demonstrate the feasibility of producing tritium within the vacuum vessel. The world supply of tritium (used with deuterium to fuel the fusion reaction) is not sufficient to cover the needs of future power plants. ITER will provide a unique opportunity to test mockup in-vessel tritium breeding blankets in a real fusion environment.

5) Demonstrate the safety characteristics of a fusion device
ITER achieved an important landmark in fusion history when, in 2012, the ITER Organization was licensed as a nuclear operator in France based on the rigorous and impartial examination of its safety files. One of the primary goals of ITER operation is to demonstrate the control of the plasma and the fusion reactions with negligible consequences to the environment.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Index of Eight Core Industries

  • It contains index, production and growth of Eight Core Industries.
  • Eight Core Industries are Electricity , steel, refinery products, crude oil, coal, cement, natural gas and fertilizers.
  • The Index of Eight Core Industries is a monthly production index, which is also considered as a lead indicator of the monthly industrial performance.

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action