INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 28 January 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for Prelims:
1. India’s first underwater metro.
GS Paper : 1
Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key contributions of lal rai and related facts.
For Mains: Significance of his contributions.
Context: Lala Lajpat Rai’s 155th birth anniversary celebrated on January 28, 2020.
His contributions, achievements and related key facts:
- Rai is remembered for his role during the Swadeshi movement and for his advocacy of education.
- He became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati,the founder of the Arya Samaj, and went on to become one of the society’s leaders.
- He also helped found the Punjab National Bank.
- In 1885, Rai established the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.
- Rai, Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) fervently advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.
- He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City in 1917.
- He was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata in 1920, which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.
- The patriot died at Lahore in 1928 after he was attacked by police during a protest rally against the Simon Commission.
- His important works include:‘The Arya Samaj’, ‘Young India’, ‘England’s Debt to India’, ‘Evolution of Japan’, ‘India’s Will to Freedom’, ‘Message of the Bhagwad Gita’, ‘Political Future of India’, ‘Problem of National Education in India’, ‘The Depressed Glasses’, and the travelogue ‘United States of America’.
The significance of his views for the freedom struggle are as follows:
- His views helped recognize the importance of a united front against British.
- The British efforts to divide India on communal lines as seen in the Acts of 1909 and 1919 was made clear to Indian leadership.
- His thoughts of cultural diversity were given post independence by Nehru as ‘Unity in Diversity’.
- His idea of people of all religions as true citizens of India, combined with Gandhiji’s ideas of inclusive fight against British led to Non- Cooperative movement linked with the Khilafat movement.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
What to study?
For Prelims: Features, composition and formation of legislative councils.
For Mains: Significance and issues related.
Context: Andhra Pradesh Cabinet has approved a statutory resolution seeking the abolition of the Legislative Council.
The Vidhan Parishad of united Andhra Pradesh was created on July 1, 1958, and dissolved on May 31, 1985. It was resurrected after 22 years, on March 30, 2007.
Since the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh in 2014, the Council has had 58 members.
Councils in other states:
Besides Andhra Pradesh, five other states have Vidhan Parishads — Bihar (58 members), Karnataka (75), Maharashtra (78), Telangana (40), UP (100). Jammu and Kashmir had a Council until the state was bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.
What are the Legislative Councils, and why are they important?
India has a bicameral system i.e., two Houses of Parliament. At the state level, the equivalent of the Lok Sabha is the Vidhan Sabha or Legislative Assembly; that of the Rajya Sabha is the Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council.
Why do we need a second house?
- To act as a check on hasty actions by the popularly elected House.
- To ensure that individuals who might not be cut out for the rough-and-tumble of direct elections too are able to contribute to the legislative process.
- Having a second chamber would allow for more debate and sharing of work between the Houses.
Arguments against having a second house:
- Rather than fulfilling the lofty objective of getting intellectuals into the legislature, the forum is likely to be used to accommodate party functionaries who fail to get elected.
- It is also an unnecessary drain on the exchequer.
- Unlike Rajya Sabha which has substantial powers to shape non-financial legislation, Legislative Councils lack the constitutional mandate to do so. Legislative Assemblies have the power to override suggestions/amendments made to a legislation by the Council.
- While Rajya Sabha MPs can vote in the election of the President and Vice-President, members of Legislative Councils can’t. MLCs also can’t vote in the elections of Rajya Sabha members.
- As regards Money bills, only fourteen days’ delay can be caused by the Council, which is more or less a formality rather than a barrier in the way of Money Bill passed by the Assembly.
How is a legislative council created?
Under Article 169 of the constitution, Parliament may by law create or abolish the second chamber in a state if the Legislative Assembly of that state passes a resolution to that effect by a special majority.
Strength of the house:
As per article 171 clause (1) of the Indian Constitution, the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall not exceed one third of the total number of the members in the legislative Assembly of that state and the total number of members in the legislative council of a state shall in no case be less than 40.
How are members of the Council elected?
- 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly.
- 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.
- 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.
- 1/12th by registered graduates.
- The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
What to study?
For prelims and mains: NPR- features, composition and uses.
Context: Supreme Court Agrees To Hear Pleas Against National Population Register.
What’s the issue?
Various petitions have been filed challenging the NPR.
- The concern here is that data collected under NPR does not enjoy the same protection as the census data.
- Also, the rules under which NPR data is collected don’t provide protection against misuse, unlike Aadhaar and census data.
What is National Population Register (NPR)?
It is a Register of usual residents of the country.
It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
Objectives: To create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
Who is a usual resident?
A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.
What is the controversy around it?
- Comes in the backdrop of the NRC excluding lakhs of people in Assam.
- It intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India.
- There is yet no clarity on the mechanism for protection of this vast amount of data.
Why does the government want so much data?
- Every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with relevant demographic details. It will help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security.
- It will ease the life of those residing in India by cutting red tape. Not only will it help target government beneficiaries in a better way, but also further cut down paperwork and red tape in a similar manner that Aadhaar has done.
- With NPR data, residents will not have to furnish various proofs of age, address and other details in official work.
- It would also eliminate duplication in voter lists, government insists.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
What to study?
For Prelims: Polycrack, how it works?
For Mains: Need for and significance.
Context: The country’s first Government-owned Waste-to-Energy Plant was recently commissioned at the Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop in Odisha.
The plant, a patented technology called Polycrack, is first-of-its-kind in the Indian Railways and fourth in the country. It converts multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.
What is Polycrack?
It is the world’s very first patented heterogeneous catalytic process which converts multiple feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon as well as water.
- The waste generated will become the feeder material for the waste to energy plant.
- The energy which will be produced at the plant, will be in the form of light diesel oil and this oil will be used to light furnaces.
The plant, having a capacity of 500 kg per batch can be fed with the following:
- All kinds of existing plastic
- Petroleum sludge
- Un segregated MSW with moisture up to 50 per cent
- Automobile fluff
- Organic waste including bamboo, garden waste
- Jathropa fruit and palm bunch
Some of the advantages of this plant are as follows:
- The pre-segregation of waste is not required for processing in the plant. The waste as collected from the source, can be directly fed into the polycrack plant.
- The plant has high tolerance to moisture hence drying of the waste after treatment, is not required.
- The waste is processed in the plant and reformed within a period of 24 hours
- The biological decomposition is not allowed as the waste is treated in the plant as it is received
- All the constituents are converted to valuable energy therefore, making it a zero discharge process through the plant
- The gas generated in the process of the plant is reused in order to provide energy to the system, hence making it self reliant and self sufficient for its energy requirements. This also brings down the operating cost of the plant.
- The plant does not cause atmospheric emission during the process unlike the other conventional methods except for the combustion of gases which have pollutants less than the prescribed norms across the world.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.
What to study?
For Prelims: Who are Bodos and What is Bodoland?
For Mains: Bodo dispute- timeline, demands, concerns and ways to address them.
Context: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Assam government and the Bodo groups have signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam.
The BTAD district is currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
Overview of the agreement signed:
As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
The memorandum of settlement says that the criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
The families of those killed during the Bodo movement would get Rs. 5 lakh each.
A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
A committee will decide the exclusion and inclusion of new areas in the BTAD. Subsequent to this alteration, the total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
The signing of the agreement would end the 50-year-old Bodo crisis.
Around 1500 cadres of NDFB(P), NDFB(RD) and NDFB(S) will be rehabilitated by Centre and Assam Government. They will be assimilated in the mainstream now.
After the agreement, the NDFB factions will leave the path of violence, surrender their weapons and disband their armed organisations within a month of signing the deal.
The first Bodo accord was signed with the ABSU in 1993, leading to the creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council with limited political powers. The BTC was created in 2003 with some more financial and other powers.
The BTAD and other areas mentioned under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019, that enables undocumented non-Muslims from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who entered India on or before December 31, 2014 to apply for Indian citizenship.
As of now the agreement has not addressed the issue of “citizenship or work permit” for non-domiciles in the BTAD, to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
Several Bodo groups have been demanding a separate land for the ethnic community since 1972, a movement that has claimed nearly 4,000 lives.
Who are the NDFB?
Alongside political movements, armed groups have also sought to create a separate Bodo state.
In October 1986, the prominent group Bodo Security Force (BdSF) was formed by Ranjan Daimary. The BdSF subsequently renamed itself as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), an organisation that is known to be involved in attacks, killings, and extortions.
Who are Bodos?
Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.
The four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang — that constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD), are home to several ethnic groups.
The Bodoland dispute:
In 1966-67, the demand for a separate state called Bodoland was raised under the banner of the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA), a political outfit.
In 1987, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) renewed the demand. “Divide Assam fifty-fifty”, was a call given by the ABSU’s then leader, Upendra Nath Brahma.
The unrest was a fallout of the Assam Movement (1979-85), whose culmination — the Assam Accord — addressed the demands of protection and safeguards for the “Assamese people”, leading the Bodos to launch a movement to protect their own identity.
Why the demand for separate Bodoland?
- For centuries, they survived sanskritisation without giving up their original ethnic identity. However in the 20th century, they had to tackle a series of issues such as illegal immigration, encroachment of their lands, forced assimilation, loss of language and culture.
- The 20th century also witnessed the emergence of Bodos as a leading tribe in Assam which pioneered the movements for safeguarding the rights of the tribal communities in the area.
- From then on, they have been consistently deprived of the political and socio-economic rights by successive state and central governments.
- The Bodos have not only become an ethnic minority in their own ancestral land but have also been struggling for their existence and status as an ethnic community.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims
India’s first underwater metro:
Context: India’s first underwater metro nears completion after costs double.
Location: The first underwater metro project is being constructed in Kolkata, a part of which will pass under the iconic Hoogly river on which the famous Howrah bridge is constructed.