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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 19 October 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 19 October 2019

Table of contents:


GS Paper 1:

  1. Guru Ravidas.


GS Paper 2:

  1. How Supreme Court chooses the Chief Justice of India?
  2. Naga Peace Accord.
  3. Asbestos in Baby Powder.
  4. UN Human Rights Council.


GS Paper 3:

  1. National milk sample safety quality survey.


Facts for prelims:

  1. Community policing scheme ‘Prahari’.
  2. What is Merchant Discount Rate?
  3. Danx- 19.
  4. World’s first female spacewalking team makes history.
  5. Shirui lily festival.



GS Paper 1:


Topics Covered:

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.


Guru Ravidas


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Contributions and significant role in Bhakti movement.


Context: Yielding to the protests against the Supreme Court-directed demolition of a Guru Ravidas temple in south Delhi, the Centre has agreed to allot the same site to the devotees to construct a new temple.


Who is Guru Ravidas?

  1. He was a poet and saint of the Bhakti movement.
  2. Born in Varanasi to the ‘untouchable’ leather tanners caste.
  3. He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramanandaand a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.
  4. One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.
  5. Ravidas’ devotional songs were included in the Sikh scriptures, Guru Granth Sahib.
  6. The Panch Vani text of the Dadupanthi tradition within Hinduism also includes numerous poems of Ravidas.
  7. Ravidas taught removal of social divisions of caste and gender, and promoted unity in the pursuit of personal spiritual freedoms.
  8. Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.


Sources: the Hindu.



GS Paper 2:


Topics Covered:

  1. Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.


How Supreme Court chooses the Chief Justice of India?


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: CJI- appointment, eligibility, roles and functions, reforms needed.


Context: Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has recommended Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde as his successor and the 47th Chief Justice of India in keeping with convention and the seniority norm.


How it works?

The Chief Justice of India is traditionally appointed by the outgoing Chief Justice of India on the day of his (or her) retirement.

By convention, the outgoing Chief Justice of India selects the most senior then-sitting Supreme Court judge.

Seniority at the apex court is determined not by age, but by:

  1. The date a judge was appointed to the Supreme Court.
  2. If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day:
  3. The one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another.
  4. If both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes.
  5. An appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.


Is it a part of the Constitution?

The Constitution of India does not have any provision for criteria and procedure for appointing the CJI. Article 124(1) of the Indian Constitution says there “shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India”.

The closest mention is in Article 126, which deals with the appointment of an acting CJI.

In the absence of a constitutional provision, the procedure relies on custom and convention.


What is the procedure?

The procedure to appoint the next CJI is laid out in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) between the government and the judiciary:

  1. The procedure is initiated by the Law Minister seeking the recommendation of the outgoing CJI at the ‘appropriate time’, which is near to the date of retirement of the incumbent CJI.
  2. The CJI sends his recommendation to the Law Ministry; and in the case of any qualms, the CJI can consult the collegium regarding the fitness of an SC judge to be elevated to the post.
  3. After receiving recommendation from the CJI, the law minister forwards it to the Prime Minister who then advises the President on the same.
  4. The President administers the oath of office to the new CJI.


Does the government get a say?

Except for the law minister seeking the recommendation from the incumbent CJI, and forwarding it to the Prime Minister, the government has no say in the appointment of the CJI.

Vis-à-vis the appointment of the CJI and the appointment of SC judges, the key difference is that in the former, the government cannot send the recommendation of the CJI (or the collegium) back to them for reconsideration; while in the latter, the government can do so. However, if the collegium reiterates those names, then the government cannot object any further.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.


Naga Peace Accord


What to study?

For Prelims: What is Naga Peace Accord? How the conflict the began? Shillong accord.

For Mains: Significance and the need for peace, challenges remaining and ways to address them.


Context: Four years after the government inked the Naga peace accord in 2015, the Centre has now said that the process had almost concluded, despite the fact that the talks had hit a roadblock in its final stages.


Why is it being delayed?

It is mainly because of unrealistic demands. NSCN I-M has issued statements in the past claiming that it wanted a separate Constitution, flag and integration of all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas under Nagalim (Greater Nagaland).


Government of India’s stand:

A mutually agreed draft comprehensive settlement, including all the substantive issues and competencies, is ready for inking the final agreement. Respecting the Naga people’s wishes, the Government of India is determined to conclude the peace process without delay.


How old is the Naga political issue?

Pre- independence:

  1. The British annexed Assam in 1826, and in 1881, the Naga Hills too became part of British India. The first sign of Naga resistance was seen in the formation of the Naga Club in 1918, which told the Simon Commission in 1929 “to leave us alone to determine for ourselves as in ancient times”.
  2. In 1946 came the Naga National Council (NNC), which declared Nagaland an independent state on August 14, 1947.
  3. The NNC resolved to establish a “sovereign Naga state” and conducted a “referendum” in 1951, in which “99 per cent” supported an “independent” Nagaland.

Post- independence:

On March 22, 1952, underground Naga Federal Government (NFG) and the Naga Federal Army (NFA) were formed. The Government of India sent in the Army to crush the insurgency and, in 1958, enacted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.


When did the NSCN come into being?

A group of about 140 members led by Thuingaleng Muivah, who were at that time in China, refused to accept the Shillong Accord, and formed the National Socialist Council of Nagaland in 1980.

As per the accord, NNC and NFG agreed to give up arms.

In 1988, the NSCN split into NSCN (IM) and NSCN (K) after a violent clash.


What did the NSCN (IM) want?

A “Greater Nagalim” comprising “all contiguous Naga-inhabited areas”, along with Nagaland. That included several districts of Assam, Arunachal and Manipur, as also a large tract of Myanmar.

The Nagaland Assembly has endorsed the ‘Greater Nagalim’ demand — “Integration of all Naga-inhabited contiguous areas under one administrative umbrella” — as many as five times: in December 1964, August 1970, September 1994, December 2003 and as recently as on July 27, 2015.


The ceasefire:

The Government of India signed a ceasefire agreement with NSCN (IM) on July 25, 1997, which came into effect on August 1, 1997.


What’s in peace accord?

  1. NSCN – IM has been derecognized as a militant organization and talks have been initiated with the government.
  2. GOI is open to discuss the Naga territorial issue within the existing boundaries of the neighboring states of Manipur, Assasm etc which are being claimed as part of Greater Nagalism.
  3. Key issues that have been put under consideration includes AFSPA, demographic changes due to cross border migrations and other tribals like Meitei who are diluting the local populations in the Naga areas.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Asbestos in Baby Powder


What to study?

For Prelims: About Asbestos and its use.

For Mains: Concerns over its use and need for a blanket ban.


Context: Johnson and Johnson (J&J) recalled 33,000 bottles of one lot of its talcum powder supplied in the United States (US) on October 18, 2019, as asbestos was found in it.


What is talc, and why is asbestos relevant?

Talc is a mineral in clay mined from underground deposits. It’s the softest mineral known to man and that makes it useful in a wide range of consumer and industrial products.

Asbestos is also found underground, and veins of it can often be found in talc deposits, leading to a risk of cross-contamination, geologists say.


About Asbestos:

Asbestos is a set of six naturally occurring silicate minerals, which all have in common their eponymous asbestiform habit: i.e., long (roughly 1:20 aspect ratio), thin fibrous crystals, with each visible fiber composed of millions of microscopic “fibrils” that can be released by abrasion and other processes.

They are commonly known by their colors, as blue asbestos, brown asbestos, white asbestos, and green asbestos.


Uses and applications:

  1. Manufacturers and builders use asbestos for its desirable physical properties. Some of those properties are sound absorption, average tensile strength, affordability, and resistance to fire, heat, and electricity. It was used in such applications as electrical insulation for hotplate wiring and in building insulation.
  2. When asbestos is used for its resistance to fire or heat, the fibers are often mixed with cement or woven into fabric or mats. These desirable properties led to asbestos being used very widely.


Health effects:

Inhalation of asbestos fibers can cause serious and fatal illnesses including lung cancer, mesothelioma, and asbestosis (a type of pneumoconiosis).


Sources: the hindu.



Topics covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


UN Human Rights Council


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: UNHRC- functions and composition, issues related to reforms.


Context: Venezuela Elected to UN Human Rights Council.


About UNHRC:

Established in 2006 with the aim of promoting and protecting human rights around the globe, as well as investigating alleged human rights violations.

Made up of 47 member states, which are selected by the UN General Assembly on a staggered basis each year for three-year-long terms.

Members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues and pass non-binding resolutions and recommendations by majority vote.

Members serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.

The council also carries out the Universal Periodic Review of all UN member states, which allows civil society groups to bring accusations of human rights violations in member states to the attention of the UN.


Sources: The Hindu.



GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

  1. Economics of animal rearing.


National milk sample safety quality survey


What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings of the survey and overview of chemical contaminants found.

For Mains: Concerns raised and ways to address them.


Context: National milk sample safety quality survey has been released by the Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI).

  • This is the first-of-its-kind comprehensive survey FSSAI has conducted through a third-party agency.
  • It covered both organised (retailers and processors) as well as non-organised (local dairy farms, milk vendors and milk mandis) sectors.


Key findings:

  1. Around one-tenth of processed milk samples have safety issues, while over a third of the samples, even those of major brands, failed to meet one quality standard or another.
  2. In the survey of 2,607 processed milk samples, 10.4% had safety issues while another 37.7% missed at least one quality standard.
  3. Both raw and processed samples were found non-compliant on account of low fat or low SNF (solid not fat) or both. Proportion of fat and solid non-fat in milk varies widely by species and depends on breed as well as quality of feed and fodder.
  4. In the survey of 3,825 raw milk samples, about 47% missed one quality parameter or another, while another 4.8% had safety issues.
  5. On an average only, 7% of the milk had safety issues, and that most of the milk sold both in raw and processed form was fit for human consumption.
  6. Out of the total 6,432 samples of liquid milk which were tested, 456 samples (7.1 per cent) were found to be unsafe due to contaminants such as Aflatoxin-M1, antibiotics or pesticides.


Aflatoxin M1 (AFM1):

  1. Aflatoxins are toxins produced by certain fungi which are generally found in agricultural crops like maize, peanuts, cotton seed and others. They are carcinogenic in nature, which means they can cause cancer.
  2. Consumption of food containing aflatoxin concentrations of one milligram/kilogram or higher has been suspected to cause aflatoxicosis, the prognosis of which consists of acute liver failure, jaundice, lethargy and nausea, eventually leading to death.

According to FSSAI standards, the permissible limit of aflatoxins in milk is 0.5 µg/kg.


Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for prelims:


Community policing scheme ‘Prahari’:

  • Launched by Delhi Police.
  • To prevent crime and maintain law and order in Delhi.
  • Under this scheme, civil personnel such as chowkidars and security guards deployed in the commercial and VIP areas will act as the eyes and ears of the police.
  • Significance: The move will help to bring professionalism in the work of security guards by giving them appropriate training and enabling frequent police-Prahari interaction and co-operation.


What is Merchant Discount Rate?

  • It is a fee charged from a merchant by a bank for accepting payments from customers through credit and debit cards in their establishments.
    MDR compensates the card issuing bank, the lender which puts the PoS terminal and payment gateways such as Mastercard or Visa for their services. 

    MDR charges are usually shared in pre-agreed proportion between the bank and a merchant and is expressed in percentage of transaction amount.

Why in News? In a move that may boost digital payments, businesses with an annual turnover of more than ₹50 crore will have to mandatorily offer electronic mode of payments to their customers from 1 November. Besides, no charges or merchant discount rate (MDR) will be levied on either customers or merchants.


Danx- 19:

  • Second edition of Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19), a large scale joint services exercise, was recently conducted by Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC).
  • Carried out by Indian Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard.
  • Objective: to validate defensive plans of Headquarters ANC towards pursuance of the Command’s responsibility, namely ensuring territorial integrity of the A&N Islands.


World’s first female spacewalking team makes history:

  • The world’s first female spacewalking team made history high above Earth on 18th October, floating out of the International Space Station to fix a broken part of the power network.
  • The team included astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir.
  • This marked the first time in a half-century of spacewalking that a woman floated out without a male crewmate.


Shirui lily festival:

Context: Shirui Lily Festival inaugurated in Manipur.

  • Shirui Lily Festival is an annual five-day State festival celebrated in Ukhrul district to spread awareness about the endangered state flower ‘Shirui Lily’ as well as to promote Ukhrul district as a potential tourist destination in Manipur.
  • The festival was celebrated by the locals in their own level till 2016, when the State Government in 2017 declared that Shirui Lily festival would be celebrated in state level.
  • Shirui Lily, or Lilium mackliniae, is the State Flower of Manipur found only in the upper ranges of Shirui Hills in Ukhrul district of Manipur.