Daily Current Affairs : 29th October 2020

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey
  2. Appointment Process of Vice Chancellors
  3. Green crackers
  4. Earth Observation Satellite
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Annual State of Education Report (ASER) Survey

Context : About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home, according to the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted in September, the sixth month of school closures due to COVID-19 across the country. In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks, and only 60% had textbooks in Rajasthan. More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam.

About ASER Survey

  • ASER is a nationwide survey of rural education and learning outcomes in terms of reading and arithmetic skills that has been conducted by the NGO Pratham for the last 15 years.
  • This year, the survey was conducted via phone calls, reaching 52,227 rural households with school age children in 30 States and Union Territories.

Key findings of the survey

  • About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home. In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks, and only 60% had textbooks in Rajasthan. More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam.
  • In the week of the survey, about one in three rural children had done no learning activity at all.
  • About two in three had no learning materials or activity given by their school that week
  • Only one in ten had access to live online classes. It’s not always about technology; in fact, levels of smartphone ownership have almost doubled from 2018, but a third of children with smartphone access still did not receive any learning materials.
  • It found that 5.3% of rural children aged 6-10 years had not yet enrolled in school this year, in comparison to just 1.8% in 2018. This seems to indicate that due to the disruptions caused by the pandemic, families are waiting for the physical opening of schools to enrol their youngest children, with about 10% of six-year-olds not in school.
  • Among 15-16-year-olds, however, enrolment levels are actually slightly higher than in 2018. Enrolment patterns also show a slight shift toward government schools, with private schools seeing a drop in enrolment in all age groups.
  • In 2018, ASER surveyors found that about 36% of rural households with school-going children had smartphones. By 2020, that figure had spiked to 62%. About 11% of families bought a new phone after the lockdown, of which 80% were smartphones.
  • WhatsApp was by far the most popular mode of transmitting learning materials to students, with 75% of students who got some input receiving it via the messaging app. About a quarter of those who got input had personal contact with a teacher.
  • However, two thirds of rural children nationwide reported that they had not received any learning materials or activities at all. In Bihar, less than 8% got such materials from their schools, along with 20% in West Bengal, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh. On the other hand, more than 80% of rural children in Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Kerala and Gujarat received such input.
  • Many children did learning activities on their own, with or without regular input. Of the 70% who did some activities, 11% had access to live online classes, and 21% had videos or recorded classes, with much higher levels in private schools. About 60% studied from their textbooks, and 20% watched classes broadcast on TV. In Andhra Pradesh, half of all children did no learning activity at all, while in Kerala, only 5% of children were left out.

2 . Appointment Process of Vice Chancellors

Context : President Ram Nath Kovind, in his capacity as Visitor of Delhi University, has suspended Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi and ordered an inquiry against him over allegations of grave misconduct, dereliction of duties, abuse of power and lack of commitment to uphold the provisions of the Delhi University Act.

About the issue

  • The issue emerged on October 21, when Tyagi appointed a new Acting Registrar PC Jha on the day an Executive Council (EC) meeting of the university was scheduled. Sources say he was miffed as names of the permanent appointments to the post of Registrar were to be revealed in the EC meeting and those had not been shared with Tyagi despite his request. Pro V-C P C Joshi (also Acting V-C) saw Jha’s appointment as “illegal” and argued that since Tyagi was on leave, and he had not appointed Jha, the appointment could not be valid.
  • Joshi then held the EC meeting without Jha, but with then-Acting Registrar Suman Kundu presiding over it. During the meeting, Vikas Gupta was elected Registrar by the EC. In retaliation, Tyagi, in his capacity as V-C, removed Joshi as Pro VC and replaced him with Geeta Bhatt. Thus, DU came to have two Registrars and two Pro VCs, with none willing to back down

Appointment Process of Vice Chancellors

  • Vice-chancellors of central universities and directors of the Indian Institutes of Technology are now appointed after approval from the Visitor, the President of India.
  • The HRD minister chairs the selection panel for IIT directors and the minister’s office forwards the recommended names with preferences to the Visitor, who usually approves the preferred person.
  • In the case of selection of vice-chancellors, the HRD minister recommends the names for a search panel, which is set up with the Visitor’s approval. The panel submits names of possible candidates for the post to the minister who forwards them to the Visitor indicating his preference.
  • In universities funded by state governments, the government concerned sets up search committees, approves the recommendations and sends them to the governor, who is the chancellor of these institutes.
  • So, whether it is central institutes or those run by a state, governments have a considerable say in selections and appointments.

3 . Green crackers

Context : Delhi is set for its first full-fledged date with ‘green’ crackers this Deepavali amid growing sentiment against not deepening the air pollution crisis the Capital countenances every winter. A ban on fireworks was imposed in 2018 and in 2019 only ‘green’ crackers were allowed, but the permission had come too late for manufacturers to ensure their availability on time.

About Green Crackers

  • Green crackers” are so named because they “do not contain harmful chemicals” that would cause air pollution. Components in firecrackers are replaced with others that are “less dangerous” and “less harmful” to the atmosphere, 
  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) labs have been successful in developing various environment-friendly fireworks such as sound emitting crackers, flowerpots, pencils, chakkar and sparklers. 
  • Green logo as well as a Quick Response (QR) coding system has been developed for differentiation of green crackers from conventional crackers.  QR codes is a novel feature incorporated on the fire crackers to avoid manufacture and sale of counterfeit products. This will also help the consumers to track the cracker using smart phones and other devices. 

4 . Earth Observation Satellite

Context : India would launch its latest earth observation satellite EOS-01 and nine international customer spacecraft onboard its PSLV-C49 rocket from the spaceport of Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on November 7

About the News

  • This is the first launch by the Indian Space Research Organisation since the COVID-19-induced lockdown came into force in March.
  • EOS-01 is intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support
  • The customer satellites are being launched under commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), Department of Space, the space agency said, without giving further details.
  • This will be the 51st mission of ISRO’s workhorse, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle.

About Earth Observation Satellites launched by ISRO

  • Starting with IRS-1A in 1988, ISRO has launched many operational remote sensing satellites.
  • India has one of the largest constellations of remote sensing satellites in operation.
  • Currently, *thirteen* operational satellites are in Sun-synchronous orbit – RESOURCESAT-1, 2, 2A CARTOSAT-1, 2, 2A, 2B, RISAT-1 and 2, OCEANSAT-2, Megha-Tropiques, SARAL and SCATSAT-1, and *four* in Geostationary orbit- INSAT-3D, Kalpana & INSAT 3A, INSAT -3DR.
  • Varieties of instruments have been flown onboard these satellites to provide necessary data in a diversified spatial, spectral and temporal resolutions to cater to different user requirements in the country and for global usage.
  • The data from these satellites are used for several applications covering agriculture, water resources, urban planning, rural development, mineral prospecting, environment, forestry, ocean resources and disaster management.

5 . Facts for Preims

India-Central Asia Dialogue

  • India-Central Asia Dialogue was attended by Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyz Republic

Last state to record covid fatality

  • Mizoram, the only state which had not reported any COVID-19 fatality so far, registered its first coronavirus death

Leave a comment

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