Daily Current Affairs : 2/3/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Purchase Manager’s Index
  2. Hydro Seismicity
  3. Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy, govt. tells SC

1 . Purchase Manager’s Index

Context : Manufacturing activity expanded to a 14-month high of 54.3 in February, driven by increases in sales, output, and employment, according to a private sector survey.

What is PMI

  • PMI or a Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an indicator of business activity — both in the manufacturing and services sectors. It is a survey-based measures that asks the respondents about changes in their perception of some key business variables from the month before. It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is constructed.

What are its implications for the economy? 

  • The PMI is usually released at the start of the month, much before most of the official data on industrial output, manufacturing and GDP growth becomes available. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity. Economists consider the manufacturing growth measured by the PMI as a good indicator of industrial output, for which official statistics are released later. Central banks of many countries also use the index to help make decisions on interest rates 

PMI for India

  • For India, the PMI Data is published by Japanese firm Nikkei but compiled and constructed by Markit Economics (for the US, it is the ISM).

PMI for Manufacturing Sector

  • The variables used to construct India’s PMI for manufacturing sector are: Output, New Orders, Employment, Input Costs, Output Prices, Backlogs of Work, Export Orders, Quantity of Purchases, Suppliers‟ Delivery Times, Stocks of Purchases and Stocks of Finished Goods. Similar variables are used for the construction of services PMI. A manufacturing PMI and a services PMI are prepared and published by the two.
  • The Nikkei and Markit economics websites says that PMI data are based on monthly surveys of carefully selected companies.

Difference between PMI and IIP

  • The popular index that measures growth in the industrial sector as far as India is concerned is the CSO prepared Index of Industrial Production.
  • IIP shows the change in production volume in major industrial subsectors like manufacturing, mining and electricity.
  • Similarly, the IIP also gives use based (capital goods, consumer goods etc) trends in industrial production. It covers broader industrial sector compared to PMI.
  • But compared volume based production indicator like the IIP, the PMI senses dynamic trends because of the variable it uses for the construction of the index. For example, new orders under PMI show growth oriented positive trends and not just volume of past production that can be traced in an ordinary Index of Industrial Production. Inventory level shows recessionary or boom trends. Employment scenario is also sentimental indicator.
  • Thus according to some experts, the PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.

2 . Hydro Seismicity

Context : Palghar district in Maharashtra, which has seen thousands of small earthquakes since November 2018, experienced a quake measuring 4.3 on the moment magnitude (Mw) scale on Friday forenoon. This is the first time the magnitude has crossed 4 here, with tremors felt even in Mumbai.

Reasons for Earthquake

Scientists, however, are divided on the primary cause of this phenomenon. Some believe it is related to groundwater levels, and others attribute it to tectonic activity.

  • If high groundwater is the cause, the quakes may remain small. This phenomenon, called hydro-seismicity, is common across the Deccan plateau.
  • However, another hypothesis is that intra-plate tectonic forces could be generating stresses along faults in Palghar. Such a mechanism is believed to be behind the 1993 Latur earthquake. If intra-plate activity is the cause, Palghar could see larger, more destructive quakes.

Hydro Seismicity

  • In this phenomenon, rainwater enters the existing faults in the earth’s crust. This increases pressure, which is released through small earthquakes.
  • In 2017, after heavy rains, such a phenomenon occurred in Hyderabad’s Borabanda suburb.
  • Such earthquakes typically measure less than 4 Mw and subside by December.
  • They are also very shallow, typically emerging from within 4-5 km underground.

3 . Order on surveillance meant to protect privacy, govt. tells SC

Context : The Centre told the Supreme Court on Friday that its December 20, 2018 notification allowing 10 central agencies to snoop on people is in fact a measure to protect citizens’ privacy.


About the Order

  • The order allows central agencies, from the Intelligence Bureau to the Central Board of Direct Taxes to the Cabinet Secretariat (RAW) to the Commissioner of Delhi Police, to intercept, monitor and de-crypt “any information” generated, transmitted, received or stored in “any computer resource”.
  • The order is based on Section 69 (1) of the Information Technology Act of 2000 and Rule 4 of the Information Technology 2009 Rules (Procedure and Safeguards for Interception, Monitoring and Decryption of Information) Rules, 2009.

Government’s Arguments

  • Purpose of the order is to ensure that surveillance is done as per due process of law; that any interception, monitoring, decryption of computer resource is done only by authorised agencies and with approval of competent authority; to prevent unauthorised use of these powers by any agency, individual or intermediary so that the right to privacy of citizen is not violated.
  • In the modern world where modern tools of information communication, including encryption, is used”. Surveillance is done only in the defence of India, to maintain public order, etc.
  • “There is no blanket permission to any agency, permission for surveillance needs to be got from the Union Home Secretary. Besides, the law mandates the Centre and States to constitute a review committee with the Cabinet Secretary.
  • The affidavit explained how there are “grave threats to the country from terrorism, radicalisation, cross border terrorism, cyber crime, drug cartels”, and these cannot be ignored or under-stated. There is a need for “speedy collection of actionable intelligence” to counter threat to national interests.

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