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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 April 2020

Table of Contents:

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

GS Paper 1:

1. Global Report on Food Crises.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. No 100% quota for tribal teachers: SC.

2. Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

3. World Bank report on remittances.

4. World Food Programme.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Feluda and Crispr technology.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. VIDYADAAN 2.0.

2. Kasowal Bridge.

3. Education for Justice.

4. Team Mask Force.

5. Noor satellite.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Global Report on Food Crises

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings, about the global network.

For Mains: Concerns expressed, ways to address them.

Context: A new edition of the annual Global Report on Food Crises has been released by the Global Network Against Food Crises.

The report reveals scope of food crises as COVID-19 poses new risks to vulnerable countries.

Key findings:

  1. At the close of 2019, 135 million people across 55 countries and territories experienced acute food insecurity.
  2. Additionally, in 2019, 183 million people were classified in Stressed condition — at the cusp of acute hunger and at risk of slipping into Crisis or worse if faced with a shock or stressor, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
  3. Worst hit areas: More than half (73 million) of the 135 million people covered by the report live in Africa; 43 million live in the Middle East and Asia; 18.5 million live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  4. The key drivers behind the trends analysed in the report were: conflict, (the key factor that pushed 77 million people into acute food insecurity), weather extremes (34 million people) and economic turbulence (24 million).

What is Acute food insecurity?

  • Acute food insecurity is when a person’s inability to consume adequate food puts their lives or livelihoods in immediate danger.
  • It is more severe than / not the same as chronic hunger, as reported on each year by the UN’s annual State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World report.

Chronic hunger is when a person is unable to consume enough food over an extended period to maintain a normal, active lifestyle.

About the Global Network against Food Crises:

It was launched by the European Union, FAO and WFP during the 2016 World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) to respond to the WHS’s call for new approaches to tackle protracted crises and recurrent disasters, reduce vulnerability, and manage risk, by bridging the divide between development and humanitarian partners.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is WFP?
  2. Composition and objectives of FAO.
  3. EU vs Eurozone.
  4. What is World Humanitarian Summit (WHS)?
  5. Who Launched Global Network Against Food Crises?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

No 100% quota for tribal teachers: SC

What to study?

For Prelims: Constitutional provisions on reservations.

For Mains: Significance and implications of the Supreme Court verdict.

Context: The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court has held it unconstitutional to provide 100% reservation for tribal teachers in schools located in Scheduled Areas across the country.

What’s the issue?

The case stemmed from a legal challenge to a January 10, 2000 order issued by the erstwhile State of Andhra Pradesh Bench providing 100% reservation to the Scheduled Tribe candidates, out of whom 33.1/3% shall be women, for the post of teachers in schools located in the Scheduled Areas of the State.

What has the Court said?

  1. 100% reservation is not permissible under the Constitution as the outer limit is 50% as specified in Indra Sawhney case, 1992.
  2. The citizens have equal rights and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated by the Constitution.
  3. It also deprives SCs and OBCs of their due representation.
  4. The opportunity of public employment cannot be denied unjustly to the incumbents and it is not the prerogative of few.

 Which rights are affected?

  1. Equality of opportunity and pursuit of choice under Article 51­A cannot be deprived of unjustly and arbitrarily.
  2. It is arbitrary and violative of provisions of Articles 14 (equality before law), 15(1) (discrimination against citizens) and 16 (equal opportunity) of the Constitution.
  3. It also impinges upon the right of open categorybecause only STs will fill all the vacant posts leaving SCs and OBCs far behind.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of the ordinance and epidemics diseases act.

For Mains: Need for and significance of this ordinance.

Context: The Union Cabinet has approved promulgation of an Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 to protect healthcare service personnel and property including their living/working premises against violence during epidemics.

The ordinance is intended to ensure that during any situation akin to the current pandemic, there is zero tolerance to any form of violence against healthcare service personnel and damage to property.

How the current COVID-19 pandemic has affected critical service providers?

Members of healthcare services are targeted and attacked by miscreants, thereby obstructing them from doing their duties.

They have become the most vulnerable victims as they have been perceived by some as carriers of the virus.

This has led to cases of their stigmatization and ostracization and sometimes worse, acts of unwarranted violence and harassment.

What is the fallout?

Such a situation tend to hamper the medical community from performing their duties to their optimum best and maintaining their morale, which is a critical need in this hour of national health crisis.

Need for a National Level legislation:

The existing state laws do not have a wide sweep and ambit. They generally do not cover harassment at home and workplace and are focused more on physical violence only. The penal provisions contained in these laws are not stringent enough to deter mischief mongering.

Overview of the ordinance and key provisions in it:

  1. The Ordinance provides for making acts of violence cognizable and non-bailable offences.
  2. It has provisions for compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property in which healthcare service personnel may have a direct interest in relation to the epidemic.
  3. Violence includes harassment and physical injury and damage to property.
  4. Healthcare service personnel include public and clinical healthcare service providers such as doctors, nurses, paramedical workers and community health workers; any other persons empowered under the Act to take measures to prevent the outbreak of the disease or spread thereof; and any persons declared as such by the State Government, by notification in the Official Gazette.
  5. Punishment can be imprisonment for a term of three months to five years, and with fine of Rs.50,000/- to Rs.2,00,000/-.  In case of causing grievous hurt, imprisonment shall be for a term six months to seven years and with fine of Rs.1,00,000/- to Rs.5,00,000/-.
  6. Offences shall be investigated by an officer of the rank of Inspector within a period of 30 days, and trial has to be completed in one year, unless extended by the court for reasons to be recorded in writing.

Provisions of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act:

  • It empowers state governments/UTs to take special measures and formulate regulations for containing the outbreak.
  • It also empowers state to prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person or class of persons as it shall deem necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof.
  • The state may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred (including compensation if any) shall be defrayed.
  • It also provides penalties for disobeying any regulation or order made under the Act. These are according to section 188 of the Indian Penal Code (Disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).
  • It also gives legal protection to the implementing officers acting under the Act.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Ordinance? How and when is it promulgated?
  2. Definition of violence in the ordinance.
  3. Previous examples of implementation of Epidemics Diseases Act, diseases for which it was declared.
  4. A notifiable disease.
  5. Implementing agency, penalty, protection and inspection of people under the act.
  6. Handling of the plague epidemic by British, criticisms by Tilak through his papers.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key provisions of the 1897 Epidemic Diseases Act.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Indian diaspora.

World Bank report on remittances

What to study?

For Prelims: Remittances- inward and outward- country- wise.

For Mains: Significance of remittances and challenges therein.

Context: The World Bank has released a report on the impact of the COVID-19 on migration and remittances.

India specific observations:

Remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 per cent from $83 billion last year to $64 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a global recession.

India’s neighbourhood:

  1. In Pakistan, the projected decline is about 23 per cent, totalling about $17 billion, compared to a total of $22.5 billion last year, when remittances grew by 6.2 per cent.
  2. In Bangladesh, remittances are projected at $14 billion this year, a likely fall of about 22 per cent.
  3. Remittances to Nepal and Sri Lanka are expected to decline by 14 per cent and 19 per cent, respectively, this year.

India’s remittances:

  • India is the world’s biggest recipient of remittances.
  • In 2019, India is estimated to have received $83.1 billion in remittances from people working overseas, about 12% of the total expected global inflow.
  • International remittances in 2018 (2020 report) reached $689 billion, out of which India received $78.6 billion from the 17.5 million living abroad.

Global scenario:

Globally remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 per cent this year due to the economic crisis induced by the pandemic and shutdowns.

The projected fall is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages during an economic crisis in a host country.

Remittance flows are expected to fall across all World Bank Group regions, most notably in Europe and Central Asia (27.5 per cent), followed by Sub-Saharan Africa (23.1 per cent), South Asia (22.1 per cent), the Middle East and North Africa (19.6 per cent).

Significance of remittances:

Studies show that remittances alleviate poverty in lower- and middle-income countries, improve nutritional outcomes, are associated with higher spending on education, and reduce child labor in disadvantaged households. They are a vital source of income for developing countries. A fall in remittances affect families’ ability to spend on these areas as more of their finances will be directed to solve food shortages and immediate livelihoods needs.

decline_due_to_drop

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. India’s top sources of remittances.
  2. Past 10 years trend.
  3. Indian diaspora across the world- top 3 countries.
  4. What are FCNR accounts?

Sources: World Bank.

 

Topics covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

In News- World Food Programme

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key facts on WFP and its programmes.

About WFP:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.

The WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

Born in 1961, WFP pursues a vision of the world in which every man, woman and child has access at all times to the food needed for an active and healthy life.

The WFP is governed by an Executive Board which consists of representatives from member states.

The WFP operations are funded by voluntary donations from world governments, corporations and private donors.

WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

The objectives of the World Food Programme are:

  1. Save lives and protect livelihoods in emergencies.
  2. Support food security and nutrition and (re)build livelihoods in fragile settings and following emergencies.
  3. Reduce risk and enable people, communities and countries to meet their own food and nutrition needs.
  4. Reduce under-nutrition and break the inter-generational cycle of hunger.
  5. Zero Hunger in 2030.

“World Hunger Map”:

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba is working with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”. The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals. It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology.

Feluda and Crispr technology

What to study?

For Prelims: All about CRISPR technology and how it works?

For Mains: Recent developments, significance of the technology, concerns associated and ethical concerns associated.

What is Feluda?

  • It is a low-cost, paper-strip test which can detect the new coronavirus within an hour.
  • Developed by Scientists at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research — Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB).
  • It is expected to cost around Rs 500 against the RT-PCR test that costs Rs 4,500 in private labs.
  • The test is based on a bacterial immune system protein called Cas9.
  • It uses cutting-edge gene-editing tool Crispr-Cas9 system.

What are Genes and what is gene- editing?

Genes contain the bio-information that defines any individual. Physical attributes like height, skin or hair colour, more subtle features and even behavioural traits can be attributed to information encoded in the genetic material.

An ability to alter this information gives scientists the power to control some of these features.

What is CRISPR-Cas9?

CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technology that can be used for the purpose of altering genetic expression or changing the genome of an organism. The technology can be used for targeting specific stretches of an entire genetic code or editing the DNA at particular locations.

Significance:

CRISPR technology is a simple yet powerful tool for editing genomes. It allows researchers to easily alter DNA sequences and modify gene function. Its many potential applications include correcting genetic defects, treating and preventing the spread of diseases and improving crops. However, its promise also raises ethical concerns.

How it works?

  1. CRISPR-Cas9 technology behaves like a cut-and-paste mechanism on DNA strands that contain genetic information.
  2. The specific location of the genetic codes that need to be changed, or “edited”, is identified on the DNA strand, and then, using the Cas9 protein, which acts like a pair of scissors, that location is cut off from the strand. A DNA strand, when broken, has a natural tendency to repair itself.
  3. Scientists intervene during this auto-repair process, supplying the desired sequence of genetic codes that binds itself with the broken DNA strand.

Concerns and issues involved:

  • Tampering with the genetic code in human beings is more contentious. Leading scientists in the field have for long been calling for a “global pause” on clinical applications of the technology in human beings, until internationally accepted protocols are developed.
  • Studies highlighted that CRISPR-Cas9-edited cells might trigger cancer.
  • May increase the risk of mutations elsewhere in the genome in those cells.
  • Many things are not clear like how we should determine which disease or traits are appropriate for gene editing.
  • Ethical concerns:In addition, there are concerns with manipulating human embryos for own interest.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are genes?
  2. How are genes edited?
  3. What is Crispr technology?
  4. Difference between DNA and RNA.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


VIDYADAAN 2.0:

Launched by Union HRD Ministry, it is a national program for inviting e-learning Content contributions.

VidyaDaan is conceptualised as a common national program for individuals and organizations across the country to contribute e-learning resources for both school and higher education to ensure continuity of quality learning.

The content will be used on the DIKSHA app to help millions of children across the country to continue their learning anytime and anywhere.

Kasowal Bridge:

It is a 484- metre long permanent bridge on the river Ravi to connect the Kasowal enclave of Punjab along the Pakistan border to the rest of the country.

Built by the Borders Roads Organization.

Kasowal enclave is around 35 square km. It was till now connected through a pontoon bridge of limited load capacity.

The enclave was formed because it has the Ravi behind it and the International Border ahead of it.

There are similar enclaves of Pakistani territory too, which lie ahead of Ravi and face Indian territory. These Pakistani enclaves — Dera Baba Nanak enclave and Jassar enclave — were occupied by the Indian Army in the 1965 and 1971 wars.

Education for Justice:

The Education for Justice (E4J) initiative was launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes to teach next generation about crime prevention and address problems under law.

The initiative seeks to prevent crime and promote a culture of lawfulness through education activities designed for primary, secondary and tertiary levels.

The E4J initiative is under the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.

Team Mask Force:

  • It is a video Created by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India).
  • It promotes the use of masks to fight the infectious disease COVID-19.
  • The video featuring India’s most revered cricketers urges fellow countrymen to join the team mask force and help the nation fight against the novel coronavirus.

Noor satellite:

It is a military satellite launched recently by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps — a branch of the country’s armed forces. 

The satellite flew into orbit on top of a multi-stage Qased rocket.

VIDEO of News Analysis (I CAN) by InsightsIAS