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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 10 August 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 10 August 2019


Relevant articles from PIB:

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: COC for Politicians- Need, previous efforts in this regard, challenges and significance.

 

Context: Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has sought a consensus on a Code of Conduct for MPs and MLAs. This has been a longstanding concern — progress has been slow and uneven, however.

A Code of Conduct for members of Rajya Sabha has been in force since 2005; there is no such code for Lok Sabha.

 

Background:

  1. Code of conduct for high constitutional functionaries and representatives of the people have been discussed for long. A code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964, and state governments were advised to adopt it as well.
  2. A conference of Chief Justices in 1999 resolved to adopt a code of conduct for judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts — this 15-point ‘Re-instatement of Values in Judicial Life’ recommended that serving judges should maintain an air of “aloofness” in their official and personal lives.
  3. In the case of MPs, the first step was the constitution of Parliamentary Standing Committees on Ethics in both Houses. The Committee in Rajya Sabha was inaugurated by Chairman K R Narayanan on May 30, 1997 “to oversee the moral and ethical conduct of the Members and to examine the cases referred to it with reference to ethical and other misconduct of Members”.

 

Why do We Need a Code of Conduct For Politicians?

Elections in India are often remembered for personal attacks, snide remarks and hate speeches made at the expense of taking political discourse to its nadir.

In a bid to assert their superiority over the rest, some political leaders go overboard and blur the line between public and private lives. Some even threaten voters with dire consequences if they are not voted to power.

Therefore, to ensure civility in political speeches and expressions, establishing code of conduct for politicians is mandatory.

 

In short, Code of Conduct for Politicians is needed mainly because of the following reasons:

  1. The politicians representing their constituencies in the Parliament have time and again brought ill-repute to the institution with their incivility.
  2. Creating ruckus in the Parliament; making unacceptable remarks and disrupting the House proceedings are some of the major allegations they face.
  3. Tenure of some of the politicians is also fraught with severe charges of impropriety.
  4. It has been long since a parliamentary panel had recommended a 14-point code of conduct that somewhat outlines what’s expected from the politicians.

 

Key recommendations:

  1. Prohibit MPs from misusing the power and immunities they get.
  2. An MP should avoid conflict between a private and a public interest.
  3. No parliamentarian should be allowed to vote on those questions in the House, in which he/she has a vested interest.
  4. Amend the Constitution to ensure a minimum of 110 days of sitting in a legislature having more than 100 members, and 90-50 days of sitting in Houses with less than 100 members depending on the size of the State involved.
  5. The filing by legislators of a statement of income, assets and liabilities, and an indication of changes in these figures over time.
  6. Punishment of members by admonition, reprimand, censure or withdrawal from the House in case of violations or breach of the code of conduct.
  7. Automatic suspension from the House of any member involved in offences of grave misconduct.

 

Need of the hour:

There’s a lot more that the Election Commission ought to do to make it difficult for the errant politicians. Its responsibility doesn’t ends with the filing of an FIR against a candidate who is violating code of conduct. It should direct political parties to withdraw such candidates.

Stronger actions such as derecognizing political parties and other powers need to be exercised for the larger interest of the democracy.

 

Conclusion:

A code of conduct for legislators is absolutely essential at this point of time, when coalition Governments mean increasing and more intense activity within the walls of the legislatures.

 

Elsewhere:

  1. In the UK, a code of conduct for MPs was “prepared pursuant to the Resolution of the House of 19 July 1995”.
  2. The Canadian House of Commons has a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner with powers to examine violations of the Conflict of Interest Code at the request of another Member or by Resolution of the House or on his own initiative.
  3. Germany has had a Code of Conduct for members of the Bundestag since 1972.
  4. The US has had a Code since 1968.
  5. Pakistan has a Code of Conduct for members of the Senate.

 

Mains Question: “Political parties must evolve a consensus on the code of conduct for their members both inside the Parliament and out of it, otherwise, people might soon lose faith in our political processes and institutions.” Comment. 


GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: The scheme- features, significance, need and potential?

 

Context: Registration opens for PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana.

Aim: To improve the life of small and marginal farmers of the country.

 

Salient features of the scheme:

(Note: The list is comprehensive, but important from exam point of view).

  1. The scheme is voluntary and contributory for farmers in the entry age group of 18 to 40 years.
  2. A monthly pension of Rs. 3000/– will be provided to them on attaining the age of 60 years.
  3. The farmers will have to make a monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry, in the Pension Fund till they reach the retirement date i.e. the age of 60 years.
  4. The Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund.
  5. The spouse is also eligible to get a separate pension of Rs.3000/- upon making separate contributions to the Fund.
  6. The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) shall be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.
  7. In case of death of the farmer before retirement date, the spouse may continue in the scheme by paying the remaining contributions till the remaining age of the deceased farmer.
  8. If the spouse does not wish to continue, the total contribution made by the farmer along with interest will be paid to the spouse.
  9. If there is no spouse, then total contribution along with interest will be paid to the nominee.
  10. If the farmer dies after the retirement date, the spouse will receive 50% of the pension as Family Pension.
  11. After the death of both the farmer and the spouse, the accumulated corpus shall be credited back to the Pension Fund.
  12. The beneficiaries may opt voluntarily to exit the Scheme after a minimum period of 5 years of regular contributions.
  13. On exit, their entire contribution shall be returned by LIC with an interest equivalent to prevailing saving bank rates.
  14. The farmers, who are also beneficiaries of PM-Kisan Scheme, will have the option to allow their contribution debited from the benefit of that Scheme directly.
  15. In case of default in making regular contributions, the beneficiaries are allowed to regularize the contributions by paying the outstanding dues along with prescribed interest.

 

Need for and Significance of the scheme:

It is expected that at least 10 crore labourers and workers in the unorganised sector will avail the benefit of the scheme within next five years making it one of the largest pension schemes of the world.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

  1. Issues related to health.

Rotavirus

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Rotavirus- symptoms, transmission and vaccines.

 

Context: The Health Ministry has drawn an ambitious plan under the 100 days agenda of the newly elected government, wherein it has been decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September, 2019.

The vaccine has been developed indigenously under a public-private partnership by the ministries of science and technology and health and family welfare.

 

About Rotavirus:

Rotavirus is a leading cause of severe diarrhoea and death among children less than five years of age.

It is responsible for around 10% of total child mortality every year.

 

Rotavirus-Signs and Symptoms:

  1. Kids with a rotavirus infection have fever, nausea, and vomiting, often followed by abdominal cramps and frequent, watery diarrhea.
  2. Kids may also have a cough and runny nose.
  3. Sometimes the diarrhea that accompanies a rotavirus infection is so severe that it can quickly lead to dehydration.
  4. As with all viruses, though, some rotavirus infections cause few or no symptoms, especially in adults.

 

Transmission:

Rotavirus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route, via contact with contaminated hands, surfaces and objects, and possibly by the respiratory route. Viral diarrhea is highly contagious.

 

Background:

Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age. Rotavirus diarrhoea presents in similar manner like any other diarrhoea but can mainly be prevented through rotavirus vaccination. Other diarrhoea can be prevented through general measures like good hygiene, frequent hand washing, safe water and safe food consumption, exclusive breastfeeding and vitamin A supplementation.


GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

ICAT – A World Class Automotive Testing Centre

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: About ICAT and NATRiP.

 

Why in news? 3rd International Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave was recently held at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar, Gurugram.

The Conclave was held to create a knowledge-sharing platform to ensure flow of information at all levels in the automotive sector.

 

About ICAT Manesar:

International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) Manesar is a division of NATRIP Implementation Society (NATIS) under the Department of Heavy Industries, India.

 

Functions:

  1. It provides services for testing, validation, design and homologation of all categories of vehicles.
  2. It assists the automotive industry in adopting cutting edge technologies in vehicle evaluation and component development to ensure reliability, durability and compliance to the current and future regulations.

 

National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP):

The Project aims at creating core global competencies in Automotive sector in India and facilitate seamless integration of Indian Automotive industry with the world as also to position the country prominently on the global automotive map.


 

Relevant articles from various news sources:

GS Paper 3:

Topics covered:

  1. Conservation related issues.

 

Samagra Shiksha-Jal Suraksha

 

What to study?

For prelims: Key features of the campaign.

For mains: Water conservation- issues, challenges and need of the hour.

 

 

Context: ‘Samagra Shiksha-Jal Suraksha’ Drive has been launched by the Department of School Education & Literacy, HRD Ministry to create awareness about water conservation among all school students in the country.

 

Five Major Objectives:

  1. To educate students learn about conservation of water.
  2. To sensitize Students about the impact of scarcity of water.
  3. To empower Students to learn to protect the natural sources of water.
  4. To help every Student to save at least one litre of water per day.
  5. To encourage Students towards judicious use and minimum wastage of water at home and school level.

 

Target:

  1. One Student – One Day – Save One Litre Water.
  2. One Student – One Year – Save 365 Litres Water.
  3. One Student – 10 Years – Save 3650 Litres Water.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered: 

Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

World Biofuel day

 

What to study?

For Prelims: World Biofuel Day- key facts.

For Mains: Significance of Biofuels and government initiatives in this regard.

 

Context: World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

Aim: to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and to highlight the various efforts made by the Government in the biofuel sector.

Theme 2019: ‘Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)’.

 

Why August 10?

On this day in 1893, Sir Rudolph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil.

His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines. Thus to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.

 

Government of India initiatives to promote the use of Biofuels:

Since 2014, the Government of India has taken a number of initiatives to increase blending of biofuels.

  1. The major interventions include administrative price mechanism for ethanol, simplifying the procurement procedures of OMCs, amending the provisions of Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951 and enabling lignocellulosic route for ethanol procurement.
  2. The Government approved the National Policy on Biofuels-2018 in June 2018. The policy has the objective of reaching 20% ethanol-blending and 5% biodiesel-blending by the year 2030
  3. Among other things, the policy expands the scope of feedstock for ethanol production and has provided for incentives for production of advanced biofuels.
  4. The Government has also increased the price of C-heavy molasses-based ethanol.

 

Outcomes:

  1. These interventions of the Government of India have shown positive results.
  2. Ethanol blending in petrol has increased from 38 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2013-14 to an estimated 141 crore litres in the ethanol supply year 2017-18.
  3. Bio-diesel blending in the country started from 10th August, 2015 and in the year 2018-19, Oil Marketing Companies have allocated 7.6 crore litres of biodiesel.
  4. Oil PSUs are also planning to set up 12 Second Generation (2G) Bio-refineries to augment ethanol supply and address environmental issues arising out of burning of agricultural biomass.

 

Classification of Biofuels:

1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first generation biofuel.

2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”

3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Mains Question: Biofuels hold huge potential for India’s future and current energy needs, critically analyse whether the national policy on biofuels is the step in the right direction to help India unlock its biofuel potential? 


GS Paper 2:

Topics covered:

Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

What is Simla Agreement?

 

What to study?

For prelims and mains: Simla agreement- origin, impact and outcomes, has it been successful?

 

Context: United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has expressed concern over the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. Referring to the Simla Agreement, which was signed by India and Pakistan in 1972, Guterres said the “final status of J&K is to be settled by peaceful means, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations”.

 

What is Simla Agreement and why was it signed?

The Simla Agreement was signed by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and Pakistani President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on 2 July 1972, following a full-blown war between India and Pakistan in 1971.

The Simla Agreement was “much more than a peace treaty seeking to reverse the consequences of the 1971 war (i.e. to bring about withdrawals of troops and an exchange of PoWs).” It was a comprehensive blue print for good neighbourly relations between India and Pakistan.

Under the Simla Agreement both countries undertook to abjure conflict and confrontation which had marred relations in the past, and to work towards the establishment of durable peace, friendship and cooperation.

The two countries not only agreed to put an end to “conflict and confrontation” but also work for the “promotion of a friendly and harmonious relationship and the establishment of durable peace in the sub-continent, so that both countries may henceforth devote their resources and energies to the pressing talk of advancing the welfare of their peoples.”

 

How was this to be achieved?

In order to achieve this objective, both the governments agreed that that the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations would govern bilateral relations and differences would be resolved by “peaceful means through bilateral negotiations or by any other peaceful means mutually agreed upon between them.” 

Regarding Jammu and Kashmir, the two sides had agreed that the line of control “resulting from the cease-fire of December 17, 1971 shall be respected by both sides without prejudice to the recognized position of either side. Neither side shall seek to alter it unilaterally, irrespective of mutual differences and legal interpretations. Both sides further undertake to refrain from the threat or the use of force in violation of this Line.”

Both governments had also agreed that their respective Heads would meet again at a “mutually convenient time in the future the representatives of the two sides will meet to discuss further the modalities and arrangements for the establishment of durable peace and normalization of relations, including the questions of repatriation of prisoners of war and civilian internees, a final settlement of Jammu and Kashmir and the resumption of diplomatic relations.”

 

India had three primary objectives at Shimla:

  1. First, a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue or, failing that, an agreement that would constrain Pakistan from involving third parties in discussions about the future of Kashmir. 
  2. Second, it was hoped that the Agreement would allow for a new beginning in relations with Pakistanbased upon Pakistan’s acceptance of the new balance of power.
  3. Third, it left open the possibility of achieving both these objectives without pushing Pakistan to the wall and creating a revanchist anti-India regime.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Gogabeel is Bihar’s first community reserve:

Gogabeel, an ox-bow lake in Bihar’s Katihar district, has been declared as the state’s first ‘Community Reserve’.

Gogabeel is formed from the flow of the rivers Mahananda and Kankhar in the north and the Ganga in the south and east. It is the fifteenth Protected Area (PA) in Bihar.