Daily Current Affairs : 30th October 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  2. Data Protection Bill
  3. Core Sector
  4. Suicide among farm workers
  5. Fiscal Deficit
  6. Facts for Prelims
  7. Places in News


Context : The Centre’s flagship rural employment scheme has run out of funds halfway through the financial year, and supplementary budgetary allocations will not come to the rescue for at least another month when the next Parliamentary session begins.

About the issue

  • Scheme’s 2021-22 budget was set at just ₹73,000 crore, the total expenditure as on October, including payments due had already reached ₹79,810 crore, pushing the scheme into the red.
  • Already, 21 States show a negative net balance, with Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal faring the worst.
  • This means that payments for MGNREGA workers as well as material costs will be delayed, unless the States dip into their own funds.


  • According to Central Govt States are using it not as a demand driven scheme, but as a supply-led scheme. The States are asking their field authorities to artificially create demand
  • Activists say the exact opposite is happening on the ground. MGNREGA data shows that 13% of households who demanded work under the scheme were not provided work.


  • MGNREGA is the largest social security scheme in the world — guaranteeing 100 days of unskilled manual work to all rural households in India.
  • The MGNREGA provides a legal guarantee for one hundred days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work at the statutory minimum wage.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD), Govt of India is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments
  • This act was introduced with an aim of improving the purchasing power of the rural people, primarily semi or un-skilled work to people living below poverty line in rural India. It attempts to bridge the gap between the rich and poor in the country. Roughly one-third of the stipulated work force must be women.


  • Adult members of rural households submit their name, age and address with photo to the Gram Panchayat.
  • The Gram Panchayat registers households after making enquiry and issues a job card. The job card contains the details of adult member enrolled and his /her photo.
  • Registered person can submit an application for work in writing (for at least fourteen days of continuous work) either to Panchayat or to Programme Officer.
  • The Panchayat/Programme officer will accept the valid application and issue dated receipt of application, letter providing work will be sent to the applicant and also displayed at Panchayat office. The employment will be provided within a radius of 5 km: if it is above 5 km extra wage will be paid.

Key facts

  • Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.
  • Right to get unemployment allowance in case employment is not provided within fifteen days of submitting the application or from the date when work is sought.
  • Receipt of wages within fifteen days of work done.
  • Variety of permissible works which can be taken up by the Gram Panchayaths.
  • MGNREGA focuses on the economic and social empowerment of women.
  • MGNREGA provides “Green” and “Decent” work.
  • Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
  • MGNREGA works address the climate change vulnerability and protect the farmers from such risks and conserve natural resources.
  • The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.

Activities covered under MGNREGA

  • Majority of the wor are related to agricultural and allied activities they include
    • Public Works relating to Natural Resource Management
    • Community Assets and Individual Asset
    • Common Infrastructure including for NRLM Compliant Self Help Group
  • Works that will facilitate rural sanitation projects
  • The works have been divided into 10 broad categories like Watershed, Irrigation and Flood management works, Agricultural and Livestock related works, Fisheries and works in coastal areas and the Rural Drinking water and Sanitation related works.
  • Rural sanitation projects, time toilet building, soak pits and solid and liquid waste management have been included under MGNREGA.
  • Construction of Anganwadi Centre building has been included as an approved activity
  • Though the overall 60:40 ratio of labour and material component will be maintained at the Gram Panchayat level but there will be some flexibility in the ratio for certain works based on the practical requirements.


  • One in four persons lives below the poverty line in rural India. Ever since the launch of this scheme in 2006, it has changed the nature of the rural labour market.
  • It gave an opportunity to rural households to earn minimum income by getting job cards under this scheme. While the poor have used it to climb out of poverty, the not-so-poor used it as a measure to supplement their income by working during lean agriculture periods.
  • The scheme is inclusive — with higher participation of women and SC and ST individuals. About one in two jobs created under the scheme is for women and about 40 per cent for SC/ST.
  • For many women, it is a first-time earning opportunity as well as a chance at empowerment.
  • Scheme has indirectly enabled households to get freed from the clutches of local money lenders too.
  • Payments under the scheme today are mostly by way of direct transfer into beneficiary accounts — which in turn forced people to open 10 crore new bank or post office accounts. The newly opened accounts have aided access to bank credit.
  • Some studies even point to improved education for children in MGNREGA households.

2 . Data Protection Bill

Context : Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has asked for exemption from the Personal Data Protection (PDP) Law.

About the Issue

  • Personal Data Protection (PDP) Bill 2019 has a contentious section 35, which invokes “sovereignty and integrity of India,” “public order”, “friendly relations with foreign states” and “security of the state” to give powers to the Central government to suspend all or any of the provisions of this Act for government agencies.
  • The UIDAI during the interaction with the Joint Parliamentary Committee, sources said, demanded that it should get a blanket exemption from the act under this section.
  • It further argued that it already is being governed by the Aadhaar Act and the PDP bill could be counter productive.

Background of the Data Protection Bill

  • The Bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals, and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same. 
  • The genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna. The committee was constituted by the government in the course of hearings before the Supreme Court in the right to privacy case (Justice K.S. Puttaswamy v. Union of India).
  • Bill is currently referred to the Standing Committee

Details of Bill

  • Applicability: The Bill governs the processing of personal data by: (i) government, (ii) companies incorporated in India, and (iii) foreign companies dealing with personal data of individuals in India. Personal data is data which pertains to characteristics, traits or attributes of identity, which can be used to identify an individual.  The Bill categorises certain personal data as sensitive personal data.  This includes financial data, biometric data, caste, religious or political beliefs, or any other category of data specified by the government, in consultation with the Authority and the concerned sectoral regulator. 
  • Obligations of data fiduciary: A data fiduciary is an entity or individual who decides the means and purpose of processing personal data. Such processing will be subject to certain purpose, collection and storage limitations.  For instance, personal data can be processed only for specific, clear and lawful purpose.  Additionally, all data fiduciaries must undertake certain transparency and accountability measures such as: (i) implementing security safeguards (such as data encryption and preventing misuse of data), and (ii) instituting grievance redressal mechanisms to address complaints of individuals.  They must also institute mechanisms for age verification and parental consent when processing sensitive personal data of children. 
  • Rights of the individual: The Bill sets out certain rights of the individual (or data principal). These include the right to: (i) obtain confirmation from the fiduciary on whether their personal data has been processed, (ii) seek correction of inaccurate, incomplete, or out-of-date personal data, (iii) have personal data transferred to any other data fiduciary in certain circumstances, and (iv) restrict continuing disclosure of their personal data by a fiduciary, if it is no longer necessary or consent is withdrawn. 
  • Grounds for processing personal data: The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries only if consent is provided by the individual. However, in certain circumstances, personal data can be processed without consent.  These include: (i) if required by the State for providing benefits to the individual, (ii) legal proceedings, (iii) to respond to a medical emergency. 
  • Social media intermediaries: The Bill defines these to include intermediaries which enable online interaction between users and allow for sharing of information. All such intermediaries which have users above a notified threshold, and whose actions can impact electoral democracy or public order, have certain obligations, which include providing a voluntary user verification mechanism for users in India. 
  • Data Protection Authority: The Bill sets up a Data Protection Authority which may: (i) take steps to protect interests of individuals, (ii) prevent misuse of personal data, and (iii) ensure compliance with the Bill. It will consist of a chairperson and six members, with at least 10 years’ expertise in the field of data protection and information technology.  Orders of the Authority can be appealed to an Appellate Tribunal.  Appeals from the Tribunal will go to the Supreme Court. 
  • Transfer of data outside India: Sensitive personal data may be transferred outside India for processing if explicitly consented to by the individual, and subject to certain additional conditions. However, such sensitive personal data should continue to be stored in India.  Certain personal data notified as critical personal data by the government can only be processed in India.  
  • Exemptions: The central government can exempt any of its agencies from the provisions of the Act: (i) in interest of security of state, public order, sovereignty and integrity of India and friendly relations with foreign states, and (ii) for preventing incitement to commission of any cognisable offence (i.e. arrest without warrant) relating to the above matters. Processing of personal data is also exempted from provisions of the Bill for certain other purposes such as: (i) prevention, investigation, or prosecution of any offence, or (ii) personal, domestic, or (iii) journalistic purposes.  However, such processing must be for a specific, clear and lawful purpose, with certain security safeguards. 
  • Offences: Offences under the Bill include: (i) processing or transferring personal data in violation of the Bill, punishable with a fine of Rs 15 crore or 4% of the annual turnover of the fiduciary, whichever is higher, and (ii) failure to conduct a data audit, punishable with a fine of five crore rupees or 2% of the annual turnover of the fiduciary, whichever is higher.  Re-identification and processing of de-identified personal data without consent is punishable with imprisonment of up to three years, or fine, or both. 
  • Sharing of non-personal data with government: The central government may direct data fiduciaries to provide it with any: (i) non-personal data and (ii) anonymised personal data (where it is not possible to identify data principal) for better targeting of services. 
  • Amendments to other laws: The Bill amends the Information Technology Act, 2000 to delete the provisions related to compensation payable by companies for failure to protect personal data.

3 . Core Sector

Context: Output from India’s eight core sectors grew 4.4% in September, the slowest pace of year on year growth in seven months. On a sequential basis, September saw the second successive
monthly decline in the Index of Eight Core Industries compiled by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

What is a core industry?

  • Core sectors or industry can be defined as the main industry of the economy. In most countries, these industries are backbone to other industries

Eight Core Industries (Mnemonic – EF, NRS, C3)

  1. Electricity
  2. Steel
  3. Refinery products
  4. Crude oil
  5. Coal
  6. Cement
  7. Natural gas
  8. Fertilizers

Index of Eight Core Industries

  • It is an index of the eight most fundamental industrial sectors of the Indian economy and it maps the volume of production in these industries.
  • The Index of Eight Core Industries is a monthly production index, which is also considered as a lead indicator of the monthly industrial performance. The index gives different weights to each of these sectors to arrive at a final figure.
  • Since these eight industries are the essential “basic” and/or “intermediate” ingredient in the functioning of the broader economy, mapping their health provides a fundamental understanding of the state of the economy. In other words, if these eight industries are not growing fast enough, the rest of the economy is unlikely to either.
  • Office of Economic Adviser within the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade releases the Index of Eight Core Industries (ICI) 

4. Suicide among farm workers

Context: The number of agricultural labourers who died by suicide in 2020 was 18% higher
than the previous year, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) report. However, suicides among landowning farmers dropped slightly during the pandemic year.

Important data from the report

  • Overall, 10,677 people engaged in the farm sector died by suicide in 2020. This is slightly higher than the 10,281 who died in 2019.
  • Most of these deaths were among those whose primary work and main source of income comes from labour activities in agriculture or horticulture.
  • In 2020, a total of 5,098 of these labourers died by suicide, an 18% rise from the 4,324 who died last year.
  • However, among farmers who cultivate their own land, with or without the help of other workers, the number of suicides dropped 3.7% from 5,129 to 4,940.
  • Among tenant farmers who cultivate leased land, there was a 23% drop in suicides from 828 to 639.
  • The worst among the States continues to be Maharashtra, with 4,006 suicides in the farm sector, including a 15% increase in farm worker suicides.
  • Other States with a poor record include Karnataka (2016), Andhra Pradesh (889) and Madhya Pradesh (735).
  • Karnataka saw a dismal 43% increase in the number of farm worker suicides in 2020.

Reason for slight drop in suicide among landowning farmers then landless labourers

  • The NCRB report does not include any indication of the specific causes of suicide among the farm community.
  • The farm sector was one of the few bright spots in the Indian economy last year, recording growth on the back of a healthy monsoon and the continuation of agricultural activities during a lockdown that crippled other sectors.
  • However, landless agricultural labourers, who did not benefit from income support schemes such as PM Kisan, may have faced higher levels of distress during the pandemic resulting in suicides

5. Fiscal Deficit

Context : The union government’s fiscal deficit has worked out to be ₹5.26 lakh crore or 35% of budget estimates at the end of September, as per the data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) on Friday.

Fiscal Deficit – Definition

  • Fiscal Deficit is the difference between the total income of the government (total taxes and non-debt capital receipts) and its total expenditure.
  • A fiscal deficit situation occurs when the government’s expenditure exceeds its income.
  • This difference is calculated both in absolute terms and also as a percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country.
  • A recurring high fiscal deficit means that the government has been spending beyond its means.

Fiscal deficit in the Indian Context

  • The government describes fiscal deficit of India as “the excess of total disbursements from the Consolidated Fund of India, excluding repayment of the debt, over total receipts into the Fund (excluding the debt receipts) during a financial year”.

What constitutes the government’s total income or receipts?

  • It has two components revenue receipts and non-tax revenues.
  • Revenue receipts of the government
    • Corporation Tax
    • Income Tax
    • Custom Duties
    • Union Excise Duties
    • GST and taxes of Union territories. (GST or Goods and Services Tax which is collected by the Centre includes CGST (Central Goods and Services Tax), IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax) & GST Compensation Cess)
  • Non-tax revenues
    • Interest Receipts
    • Dividends and Profits
    • External Grants
    • Other non-tax revenues
    • Receipts of union territories

Expenditures of the government:

  • It can be classified into:
    • Revenue Expenditure
    • Capital Expenditure
    • Interest Payments
    • Grants-in-aid for creation of capital assets

Fiscal Deficit formula: How is Fiscal Deficit calculated?

  • Fiscal Deficit = Total expenditure of the government (capital and revenue expenditure) – Total income of the government (Revenue receipts + recovery of loans + other receipts)
  • If the total expenditure of the government exceeds its total revenue and non-revenue receipts in a financial year, then that gap is the fiscal deficit for the financial year.
  • The fiscal deficit is usually mentioned as a percentage of GDP. For example, if the gap between the Centre’s expenditure and total income is Rs 5 lakh crore and the country’s GDP is Rs 200 lakh crore, the fiscal deficit is 2.5% of the GDP.

What causes Fiscal Deficit?

  • Generally fiscal deficit takes place either due to revenue deficit or a major hike in capital expenditure. Capital expenditure is incurred to create long-term assets such as factories, buildings and other development.
  • Sometimes, the governments spend on handouts and other assistance to the weak and vulnerable sections of the society such as the farmers and the poor. This can also lead to fiscal deficit
  • A high fiscal deficit can also be good for the economy if the money spent goes into the creation of productive assets like highways, roads, ports and airports that boost economic growth and result in job creation.

How is Fiscal Deficit met?

  • A deficit is usually financed through borrowing from either the central bank of the country or raising money from capital markets by issuing different instruments like treasury bills and bonds.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)

  • Union Health Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya launched a nationwide expansion of Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) as a part of ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
  • Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV13) can prevent pneumococcal disease.
  • PCV13 protects against 13 types of bacteria that cause pneumococcal disease.
  • Infants and young children usually need 4 doses of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, at ages 2, 4, 6, and 12–15 months. Older children (through age 59 months) may be vaccinated if they did not receive the recommended doses.
  • Pneumococcal disease  refers to any illness caused by pneumococcal bacteria.
  • These bacteria can cause many types of illnesses, including pneumonia, which is an infection of the lungs.  Pneumococcal bacteria are one of the most common causes of pneumonia.
  • Besides pneumonia, pneumococcal bacteria can also cause:
    • Ear infections
    • Sinus infections
    • Meningitis (infection of the tissue covering the brain and spinal cord)
    • Bacteremia (infection of the blood) 
  • Pneumonia was a leading cause of death among children under five, globally and in India.
  • Pneumonia caused by pneumococcus is the most common cause of severe pneumonia in children.
  • Around 16% of deaths in children occur due to pneumonia in India.
  • The nationwide roll-out of PCV will reduce child mortality by around 60%.

7 . Places in News

Lumding Reserve forest

  • Lumding Reserve Forest, part of Dhansiri-Lumding Elephant Reserve, is considered an important wildlife habitat in Assam and stretches through Lanka and Lumding ranges of Nagaon South Forest division.
  • After Dholpur eviction drive in Darrang district, the Gauhati High Court has directed the Assam government to conduct eviction drive against illegal encroachers at Lumding Reserve Forest area in Assam’s Hojai district.

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