INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 January 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. Ophichthus kailashchandrai.
2. Web portal ‘GATI’.
3. National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP).
4. Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
What to study?
For Prelims: Meaning of enemy properties and key features of the enemy properties act.
For Mains: Significance and key features of the act.
Context: A Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister Amit Shah will monitor the disposal of over 9,400 enemy properties, which the government estimates is worth about Rs 1 lakh crore.
- Two committees headed by senior officials will be set up for the disposal of immovable enemy properties vested in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India under The Enemy Property Act.
What are enemy properties?
Properties that were left behind by the people who took citizenship of Pakistan and China.
- There are 9,280 such properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and 126 by Chinese nationals.
- Of the total properties left behind by those who took Pakistani citizenship, 4,991 are located in Uttar Pradesh, the highest in the country. West Bengal has 2,735 such estates and Delhi 487.
- The highest number of properties left by Chinese nationals is in Meghalaya (57).West Bengal has 29 such properties and Assam seven.
- The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately Rs 1 lakh crore.
Who oversees these properties?
Under the Defence of India Rules framed under The Defence of India Act, 1962, the Government of India took over the properties and companies of those who took Pakistani nationality.
These “enemy properties” were vested by the central government in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. The same was done for property left behind by those who went to China after the 1962 Sino-Indian war.
The Tashkent Declaration of January 10, 1966 included a clause that said India and Pakistan would discuss the return of the property and assets taken over by either side in connection with the conflict.
However, the Government of Pakistan disposed of all such properties in their country in the year 1971 itself.
How did India deal with enemy property?
The Enemy Property Act, enacted in 1968, provided for the continuous vesting of enemy property in the Custodian of Enemy Property for India. Some movable properties too, are categorised as enemy properties.
- The 2017 amended Act expanded the definition of the term “enemy subject”, and “enemy firm” to include the legal heir and successor of an enemy, whether a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy; and the succeeding firm of an enemy firm, irrespective of the nationality of its members or partners.
- The amended law provided that enemy property shall continue to vest in the Custodian even if the enemy or enemy subject or enemy firm ceases to be an enemy due to death, extinction, winding up of business or change of nationality, or that the legal heir or successor is a citizen of India or a citizen of a country which is not an enemy.
- The Custodian, with prior approval of the central government, may dispose of enemy properties vested in him in accordance with the provisions of the Act, and the government may issue directions to the Custodian for this purpose.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures. Role of civil services in a democracy.
What to study?
For Prelims: Performance of various countries in the corruption perception index.
For Mains: Need for transparency, efforts by government.
Context: Corruption Perception Index 2019 has been released.
It is prepared by Transparency International.
What is Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI)?
It is a composite index that draws from 12 surveys to rank nations around the globe.
It has become a benchmark gauge of perceptions of corruption and is used by analysts and investors.
The index is also based on expert opinions of public sector corruption and takes note of range of factors like whether governmental leaders are held to account or go unpunished for corruption, the perceived prevalence of bribery, and whether public institutions respond to citizens’ needs.
How are the countries ranked?
It ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, according to experts and business people.
It uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. More than two-thirds of countries score below 50 on this year’s CPI, with an average score of just 43.
Performance of India and neighbours:
- With a score of 41, India is at the 80th spot.
The rank is also shared by China, Benin, Ghana and Morocco.
- Neighbouring Pakistan is ranked at the 120th place.
Performance of various other countries:
- Denmark and New Zealand have cornered the top spot, followed by Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland in the top ten.
- This year’s analysis shows corruption is more pervasive in countries where big money can flow freely into electoral campaigns and where governments listen only to the voices of wealthy or well-connected individuals.
- Not only are more than two-thirds of countries — along with many of the world’s most advanced economies — stagnating, some are seriously backsliding.
- In the last eight years, only 22 countries have shown significant improvement on the CPI, while almost as many have declined.
Even in democracies, such as Australia and India, unfair and opaque political financing and undue influence in decision-making and lobbying by powerful corporate interest groups, result in stagnation or decline in control of corruption.
Governments must urgently address the corrupting role of big money in political party financing and the undue influence it exerts on our political systems.
To end corruption and restore trust in politics, it is imperative to prevent opportunities for political corruption and to foster the integrity of political systems. Transparency International recommends:
- Manage conflicts of interest.
- Control political financing.
- Strengthen electoral integrity.
- Regulate lobbying activities.
- Empower citizens.
- Tackle preferential treatment.
- Reinforce checks and balances.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: India and it’s neighbours.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: Measles- causes, symptoms, spread and vaccines.
Context: India has stepped in to help the Maldives tackle a recent outbreak of measles. The Indian Embassy in Male recently handed over 30,000 doses of measles and rubella (MR) vaccine to the Maldivian Health Ministry.
The outbreak comes less than three years after the World Health Organisation declared the Maldives measles-free.
The Indian government’s initiative comes even as the two countries implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Health cooperation — signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Male in June 2019.
Secretary-level delegations met in Male early January to draw a roadmap for cooperation, in capacity building and training of doctors and medical professionals, disease surveillance, training of mental health professionals, setting up of digital health capacities in Maldives.
What is It? Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It remains an important cause of death among young children globally, despite the availability of a safe and effective vaccine.
Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.
Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.
Vulnerability: Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.
The most serious complications include blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
Prevention: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.
What is Rubella?
Also called German Measles, Rubella is a contagious, generally mild viral infection that occurs most often in children and young adults.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: India and neighbours.
What to study?
For Prelims: Who are Rohingya? Where is Rakhine?
For Mains: About the alleged genocide, concerns and what’s the way ahead?
Context: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has given its verdict on the Rohingya crisis.
The ruling of the court is binding on Myanmar, and cannot be appealed.
However, no means are available to the court to enforce it.
What the ruling says?- provisional measures:
- The government of Myanmar should immediately take “all measures within its power” to prevent atrocities against members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.
- This is to be done in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
- Myanmar shall ensure that its military or any irregular armed units within its control, do not commit any of the acts described above, or conspire to commit, direct, attempt to commit, or be complicit in genocide.
- Myanmar shall take “effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts” of genocide.
How the case reached ICJ?
It was the Republic of the Gambia. It went to the ICJ in November 2019, accusing Myanmar of genocide, which is the most serious of all international crimes.
The Gambia was backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Myanmar was represented by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
This order is a provisional measure and a restraining order.
The hearings dealing with the main, and more serious allegations of genocide by the Myanmar military, have not even started. And cases at the ICJ often drag on for years on end, and no quick closure can be reasonably expected.
How common is it to convict a country for genocide?
So far, only three cases of genocide worldwide have been recognised since World War II: Cambodia (the late 1970s), Rwanda (1994), and Srebrenica, Bosnia (1995).
Proving genocide has been difficult because of the high bar set by its ‘intent requirement’ — that is showing the genocidal acts were carried out with the specific intent to eliminate a people on the basis of their ethnicity.
Rohingya Crisis in Short:
- An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya villages in the country’s coastal Rakhine state. In August 2019, the UN said the army’s action was carried out with “genocidal intent”.
- Myanmar has stoutly denied all allegations of genocide. It has also denied nearly all allegations made by the Rohingya of mass rape, killings and arson against its army. Myanmar says the soldiers carried out legitimate counterterrorism operations.
More about ICJ:
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims: Navic and its key features.
For Mains: Significance, applications and potential of Navic.
Context: Qualcomm Technologies has unveiled mobile chipsets supporting the Indian regional satellite navigation system – NavIC (Navigation in Indian Constellation).
The release of chipsets will help accelerate the adoption of NavIC by smartphone Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). The OEMs can now release any new models for the Indian market which are NavIC enabled, thus eventually making NavIC as a standard feature in the upcoming handsets, applications, processors, etc.
What is NAVIC?
Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC) is an independent regional navigation satellite system designed to provide position information in the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland.
IRNSS would provide two types of services, namely Standard Positioning Services available to all users and Restricted Services provided to authorised users.
Its applications include:
- Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation.
- Disaster Management.
- Vehicle tracking and fleet management.
- Integration with mobile phones.
- Precise Timing.
- Mapping and Geodetic data capture.
- Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers.
- Visual and voice navigation for drivers.
How many satellites does NAVIC consist of?
It is a regional system and so its constellation will consist of seven satellites.
Three of these will be geostationary over the Indian Ocean, i.e., they will appear to be stationary in the sky over the region, and four will be geosynchronous – appearing at the same point in the sky at the same time every day.
This configuration ensures each satellite is being tracked by at least one of fourteen ground stations at any given point of time, with a high chance of most of them being visible from any point in India.
Why it is necessary to have indigenous global navigation system?
Having a global navigation system bolsters the ability of a nation to serve as a net security provider, especially through the guarantee of such assurance policies. It can also play a significant role in relief efforts post disasters such as the tsunami in the Indian Ocean region in 2004 and the Pakistan-India earthquake in 2005.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
This is a new snake eel species residing in the Bay of Bengal. It was discovered recently.
It has been named Ophichthus kailashchandrai to honour the vast contributions of Dr. Kailash Chandra, Director of ZSI, to Indian animal taxonomy.
It is the eighth species of the Ophichthus genus found on the Indian coast.
More about Ophichthus kailashchandrai:
- Lives at a depth of around 50 metres in the sea.
- Individuals of this species are around 420 mm to 462 mm in length.
- They are light brown in colour, with white fins.
- It feeds on small fish and crabs. The outer surface of their bodies is slimy but they are not poisonous.
Web portal ‘GATI’:
Launched by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
Created by NHAI.
How it works?
- The portal ‘GATI’ can be accessed from NHAI’s website, and contractors and concessionaires can raise any project-related issues on the platform.
- The issues raised in the GATI will be daily monitored by a team of officers in NHAI and will be constantly reviewed by the senior officers of NHAI and the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.
National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP):
Context: NITI Aayog released its vision for the National Data and Analytics Platform (NDAP).
- The platform aims to democratize access to publicly available government data.
- It will host the latest datasets from various government websites, present them coherently, and provide tools for analytics and visualization.
- NDAP will follow a user-centric approach and will enable data access in a simple and intuitive portal tailored to the needs of a variety of stakeholders.
Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar:
Context: Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 announced.
About the award:
- Awarded to recognise the excellent work done by individuals and institutions in India in the field of disaster management.
- Announced every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
- If the awardee is an institution, it shall receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 51 lakhs. The Institution shall utilize this cash prize for Disaster Management related activities only.
- If the awardee is an individual, the winner shall receive a certificate and a cash prize of Rs. 5.00 lakhs.
- Only Indian nationals and Indian institutions can apply for the award.