Daily Current Affairs for 31st August 2020

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India can become a global toy hub: Modi


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

PM Narendra Modi in its recent Mann ki Baat programme urged entrepreneurs to tap into global toy industry.

Key details

  • As a part of Atmanirbhar Bharat and Vocal for Local PM has invited startups and entrepreneurs to enter into games industry through which we can promote the culture and heritage of the India.
  • Imports from China and Taiwan account for around 90% of the domestic toy market.
  • Besides, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has reached out to large manufacturers and is proposing to hold a round table with them as it seeks investment in the country’s $1.75 billion toy industry.
  • India will begin enforcing quality control for imported toys from September 1 to ensure that only products conforming to standards enter the country.
  • Global toy industry is of 7 lakh crores of rupees but Indian’s share in it is very minimal.
  • India is one of the largest data consumers and with lowest rate of data charges despite which we are not able to harness the benefits of it due to lack of skills and low education levels of our citizens and further issues of being unproductive and under productive aggravate this problem.
  • Under the system of GI Tag accreditation, we have a number of toys like Etikoppaka from Andhra Pradesh, Kondapalli toys, channapatna toys from Karnataka, These can be linked with schemes which promote digital India.

Toy industry in India:

  • The push to local manufacturing is significant as the toy industry in India is primarily in the unorganised sector, comprising around 4,000 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
  • Dolls and playing cards to videogame consoles and board games are all considered toys.
  • A study by the Quality Council of India (QCI) had revealed that 67% of imported toys failed a testing survey, which prompted an aggressive push to produce safe toys in the country.
  • The government is also deliberating forming producers’ companies for all the clusters and link all the clusters and artisans with them.
  • As per another official, India has invited top global toy makers to invest in India and a round table with major manufacturers is being planned as part of which ways to introduce Indian-themed toys would be discussed.
  • Karnataka has announced a Rs 5,000-crore toy cluster in Koppal.
  • A plan to establish networks of toy labs like Atal Tinkering Lab is also in the works that would provide support for physical toys for children to learn, play and innovate besides a specialised quality toy marking for quality certification and original design.

Way Ahead:

  • Promote local products on various platforms like social media, T. V., advertisements.
  • Setting up centres which can provide youth and entrepreneurs knowledge of programming and language which is necessary to build games.
  • Make apps which are based on the local games of India like kabaddi, which is of great attraction to western world as India has won all the world titles of kabaddi.
  • Can make games on the themes of jallikattu, kambala, though which we can also aware public of the importance and reason of that game being celebrated as a festival.
  • GOI has proposed to setup a 1st digital gaming university in Andhra Pradesh to promote digital gaming and bring innovation in gaming field to promote rich heritage of India and its diversity.
  • The way EA Games and Tencent games has wide acceptance among youth is because of its wide publicity. There is a need to publicize and incentivize our gamers, developers and programmers to nourish the industry.

Haladi loses its flavour amid pandemic


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

Due to covid induced lock down farmers of Kandhamal region of Odisha not being able to sell their produce of raw turmeric.


  • Kandhamal haldi is a GI Tag accredited product which is purely organic.
  • Farmers are not approached by local traders.
  • Farmers are forced to sell turmeric at a throwaway price of 30 to 35 per kg.
  • Taking advantage of the covid restrictions, traders have been quoting prices below rupees 40 for a Kg.
  • In many interior villages, farmers have not even been approached by local traders.
  • Those who were in urgent need of cash had no choice, but to sell turmeric at a throwaway price of ₹30 to ₹35 per kg,”

Kandhamal Haldi

  • Growing and harvesting of Kandhamal haldi is a long process.
  • ‘Kandhamal Haladi’ for which GI tag has been received is a pure organic product.
  • Tribals grow the tuber without applying fertiliser or pesticide. The aromatic value and golden yellow colour of ‘Kandhamal Haladi’ make it stand out from the rest.
  • The cultivation begins in the summer months of April and May.
  • With more than 60% of the geographical area covered with hills and forest, Kandhamal offers ideal conditions for cultivation of various spices including turmeric, ginger, mustard and tamarind.
  • The GI tag was primarily developed with the purpose of recognising the unique identity connecting different products and places. For a product to get GI tag, it has to have a unique quality, reputation or characteristic which is attributable to its geographic origin. ‘Kandhamal Haldi’ has been placed under Class-30 type.

 kandhamal district.

 What can be done?

  • As it is antibacterial, antiseptic and also having GI Tag, it has a wider acceptance among educated people. Farmers can set their SHGs and can develop a portal to make their product enter in wider public.
  • can promote these products on GEM portal.
  • TRIFED AND NAFED can come for the help of tribal farmers.
  • Local panchayats and state govt. provide them with better opportunities like linking them with eNAM portal at the national level.

About GI tag:

  • A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.
  • Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.
  • GI is covered as element of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under Paris Convention for Protection of Industrial Property.
  • At international level, GI is governed by WTO’s Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). In India, Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection Act), 1999 governs it.

Rise in post – traumatic stress disorder


Mains: General Studies- II: Governance, Constitution, Polity, Social Justice and International relations.

Why in News?

Recently a web based study was done that reveals that Covid-19 lockdown has affected the psychological profile of the people.

What is PTSD?

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event, causing flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety.

What exactly is Mental health?

  • According to WHO, mental health is a state of mental well being in which people cope well with the many stresses of life, can realize their own potential, can function productively and fruitfully, and are able to contribute their communities.

Key issues

  • A nation of one billion plus was forced into a lockdown to cut the chain of transmission of the coronavirus.
  • People were restricted to the four walls of their homes, unable to meet their friends and peers face to face to interact
  • policies of social distancing, quarantines, travel restrictions, cancellation of schools and large gatherings, has sparked perpetual fear, panic, anxiety, confusion, anger and depression. People are afraid of infection, dying and losing family members.
  • People mainly in unorganised sector are under constant fear of losing their businesses, jobs or savings.
  • With repeated images of severely ill people, dead bodies and coffins, frequent misinformation and rumours about the virus, people developing notion that they may not able to say goodbye to their dying loved ones.

Steps Taken:

  • MOHFW has issued guidelines, Minding our Minds during Covid-19 to deal with mental health issues.
  • Strengthening and sustain mental health services.
  • De stigmatization and awareness generation.
  • Investing in mental health.

Fears of contraction, GDP data today will Mark Covid effect & phase of recession


Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in news?

With the GDP of the APRIL-JUNE, India will enter into a recessionary phase- with two consecutive quarters of GDP contraction. This trend is expected to continue in the July-September quarter as well.

What is the issue?

  • With economic activity severely disrupted in the first two months of this fiscal, GDP contraction for the first quarter is being pegged at an average 20 percent by economists, with the de-growth range between 15.2 per cent and 25.5 per cent.
  • Weak investment, capital spending and consumption demand have hit manufacturing, construction, tourism and transport sectors even as agricultural growth is seen around 3-4 percent in the April-June quarter.
  • As expected with various states announcing lockdowns in July and August, recovery in the second quarter has also not picked up.
  • Household debt with income stagnating, salary cuts and job losses are also worrisome and will cause effect on the falling GDP.
  • As per the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE), salaried jobs suffered the biggest hit during the lockdown, with total losses estimated to beat18.9 million during April-July
  • According to expert- corporates have fared better than MSMEs, which are in a far worse situation which along with a weakness in farm incomes is also expected to hit demand further in the coming year.
  • Though rural demand is expected to support economic recovery, it cannot substitute urban demand,
  • The COVID-19 led business disruptions have been so s iis especially in sectors such as aviation, tourism, hotels and hospitality.

Importance of the released data:

  • The data is critical because it will provide the first benchmark on the state of the economy after the pandemic and the series of lockdowns.
  • RBI, GST meeting, McKinsey’s report on jobs — all point to severe challenges. When the pandemic curve begins to flatten will be key to the recovery too.



Mains: General Studies-III: Technology, Economic Development, Bio diversity, Environment, Security and Disaster Management

Why in News:

NSO data will provide the first benchmark of the state of the economy after the pandemic disrupted it. In the past week, RBI, Niti Aayog, and McKinsey reports have given pointers to what India needs to do.

Key details:

  • The National Statistical Office(NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation(MoSPI) is going to release GDP estimates for the first quarter(April, May, June) of the current financial year.
  • it will provide the first benchmark of the state of the Indian economy after the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted it and forced the country into widespread and repeated lockdowns.

The current state of economy:

Following are the several key developments that provide the context to the GDP numbers.

  1. RBI’s Annual Report

For India’s central bank, the annual report of 2019-20 pertains to the period between July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020. According to RBI- an assessment of aggregate demand during the years so far suggests that the shock to consumption is severe, and it will take quite some time to mend and regain the pre-COVID-19 momentum”.

  1. GST council meeting
  • During the GST council meeting, the Union government expressed its inability to pay the compensation amount, roughly Rs 2.35 lakh crore, that was due to the states under the GST regime.
  • As different states try to recover from the impact of Covid-19, they need money, the states are being asked to borrow money from the market instead of getting it from the Centre.
  1. Export Prepardeness Index
  • The index launched by NITI Aayog ranked Indian states and Union Territories in the context of export preparedness in terms of policy environment, infrastructure etc.
  • The top performers were mostly coastal states such as Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Odisha but there was one landlocked state that managed to sneak into the top 5 list and it was Rajasthan.
  • At the other end of the spectrum were mostly landlocked and Himalayan states such as Jammu & Kashmir, Bihar and Assam.
  1. Mckinsey Emlpoyment report:

The McKinsey Global Institute’s report on India’s employment needs stated that India will have to create at least 90 million nonfarm jobs over the next decade , 145 million at the upper end and for which it would have to grow at 8 to 8.5 per cent every year.

  1. Review of ease-of-doing-business rankings:

The World Bank issued a statement recently saying that it has ordered a “systematic review” and “internal audit” of its data and methodology used for compiling the Ease of Doing Business rankings that were published in 2017 and 2019.

What can one expect from the GDP data?

  • The composition of growth (or de-growth) — in other words, which sector got hit the most — will set the tone for the rest of the year.
  • The amount and nature of the damage will point to the type and magnitude of fiscal and monetary policy efforts required to revive the Indian economy.
  • Most analysts expect the economy to contract sharply. But the expected magnitude of contraction differs — sometimes substantially over specific sectors of the economy.
  • Manufacturing, construction, and trade and hotels etc. are likely to have been most massively hit (highlighted in red);
  • Agriculture and public administration (that is, the government) would have done pretty well (highlighted in green);
  • There is less consensus about what is likely to have happened to sectors like mining & quarrying and electricity and other utilities (highlighted in blue).

Source: CARE ratings’ estimation

How difficult is it to make these estimates and what is their significance?

It is true that GDP projections over the past year or so have increasingly shortened shelf life. But with each passing month, the projections continued to be scaled back as the underlying economy decelerated faster than expected. Eventually, India ended the year with just 4%.

In this financial year, making these estimates and projections is even more difficult because Covid’s spread in India has been much worse than the government’s expectation.

Source: SBI

Way Ahead:

India is now the third-most afflicted country on the planet. What is most worrisome is that the rate of spread of Covid in India’s rural areas is almost twice the rate of spread in urban areas.

All of this points to uncertainty about the shape of economic recovery. In this context, the latest data would provide the first benchmark around which future analysis can happen.

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