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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 11 May 2020

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Gopal Krishna Gokhale.

2. Maharana Pratap.

3. Sample Registration System (SRS).

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979.

2. Vizag Gas Leak: ‘Strict Liability’ Or ‘Absolute Liability’?

3. Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.

4. Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Pranavayu programme.

2. Smallpox

3. Elongated tortoise.

4. Relation between Vitamin D and COVID 19.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Gopal Krishna Gokhale

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions to the freedom movement and their impact.

Context: PM paid tributes to Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary. He was born on 9 May 1866.

Who was he?

Gopal Krishna Gokhale was an Indian political leader, a social reformer during the Indian Independence Movement and Mahatma Gandhi’s political mentor.

Gokhale campaigned for Indian self-rule and also social reform. He was the leader of the moderate faction of the Congress party that advocated reforms by working with existing government institutions

Contributions of GK Gokhale in freedom movement of India:

  1. He gave budget speeches as a member of the Imperial Legislative Council.
  2. He contributed articles to the English weekly Mahratta.
  3. He served as Secretary of the Deccan Education Society.
  4. After being given charge of the Bombay Provincial Conference in 1893, he was elected to the Senate of the Bombay University.
  5. He visited Ireland and arranged for Irish nationalist Alfred Webb to serve as the President of the Indian National Congress in 1894.
  6. As a member of the Pune Municipality, twice elected its president, Gokhale continued to strive to solve the problems of the poor, and those who came to him with grievances.
  7. Gokhale also published a daily newspaper entitled Jnanaprakash, which allowed him to voice his reformist views on politics and society.
  8. He was later elected to the Council of India of the Governor-General of India in 1903.
  9. He was appointed as the Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire in 1904 New Year’s Honours List.
  10. In 1905, he founded the Servants of India Society, which trained people to be selfless workers so they could work for the common good of the people. He was also elected as the President of the Indian National Congress.
  11. He was instrumental in the formation of the Minto-Morley Reforms of 1909, which eventually became law.
  12. Gokhale was a mentor to both Mohammed Jinnah and Mahatma Gandhi. Mahatma Gandhi even wrote a book called, ‘Gokhale, My Political Guru’. His core beliefs about the importance of political liberty, social reform and economic progress for all Indians are still relevant to our times.

Insta Think:

Prelims Link:

  1. Organisations in which Gokhale served.
  2. His election Governor’s council and imperial council.
  3. His role in freedom movement.
  4. Name of book written by Gandhi on Gokhale.
  5. INC presidency for Gokhale.
  6. Who published Mahratta?
  7. Who founded Deccan Education Society?
  8. Newspaper published by Gokhale.
  9. Gist of Morley Minto reforms.

Mains Link:

Comment on the significance of key contributions made by GK Gokhale to the Indian freedom movement.

gopal_krishna_gokhule

Sources: pib.

 

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

Maharana Pratap

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions and their significance.

Context: May 9 marks birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap, the 13th Rajpur king of Mewar. Maharana Pratap was born in 1540 and died at the age of 56 in 1597.

Battle of Haldighati:

He is known for his bravery in the Battle of Haldighati. It was fought in 1576 between Maharana and the forces of Akbar led by Man Singh of Amber.

Rana’s forces were defeated in 6 hours. But the Mughals failed to capture him. Maharana re-gathered his forces, fought and won against the Mughals after six years in 1582. Having faced a terrible defeat, Akbar stopped his military campaigns against Mewar after the battle.

Legacy:

Rana Pratap’s defiance of the mighty Mughal empire, almost alone and unaided by the other Rajput states, constitute a glorious saga of Rajput valour and the spirit of self sacrifice for cherished principles. Rana Pratap’s methods of sporadic warfare was later elaborated further by Malik Ambar, the Deccani general, and by Shivaji Maharaj.

Maharana_Pratap

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Battle of Haldighati- reasons, groups involved and outcomes.
  2. Akbar’s reign- extent, cultural contributions.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Population and related issues.

Sample Registration System (SRS)

What to study?

For Prelims: Key findings and the best and worst performers.

For Mains: Relevance of these data and measures need to achieve low IMR and MMR.

Context: Sample Registration System (SRS) bulletin has been released by the Registrar General of India. It is based on data collected for 2018.

Key findings and important facts:

National birth rate in 2018 stood at 20. It was 36.9 in 1971.

  • Best and worst: Bihar (26.2) continues to remain at the top of list in birth rate while Andaman and Nicobar (11.2) is at the bottom.
  • The rural-urban differential has also narrowed. However, the birth rate has continued to be higher in rural areas compared to urban areas in the last four decades.
  • There has been about an 11 per cent decline in birth rate in the last decade, from 22.5 in 2009 to 20.0 in 2018.
  • The corresponding decline in rural areas is 24.1 to 21.6, and in urban areas, it is 18.3 to 16.7.

Death rate stood at 6.2 in 2018 from 14.9 in 1971.

  • Best and worst: Chhattisgarh has the highest death rate, while Delhi has the lowest.
  • The decline has been steeper in rural areas.
  • In the last decade, death rate at an all-India level has declined from 7.3 to 6.2. The corresponding decline in rural areas is 7.8 to 6.7 and in urban areas, 5.8 to 5.1.

Infant mortality rate is at 32. It is about one-fourth as compared to 1971 (129).

  • Worst and best: Madhya Pradesh (48) has the worst infant mortality rate in the country while Nagaland (4) has the best.
  • In the last 10 years, IMR has witnessed a decline of about 35 per cent in rural areas and about 32 per cent in urban areas.
  • The IMR at an all-India level has declined from 50 to 32 in the last decade.

What is SRS?

The SRS is a demographic survey for providing reliable annual estimates of infant mortality rate, birth rate, death rate and other fertility and mortality indicators at the national and sub-national levels.

  • Initiated on a pilot basis by the Registrar General of India in a few states in 1964-65, it became fully operational during 1969-70.
  • The field investigation consists of continuous enumeration of births and deaths in selected sample units by resident part-time enumerators, generally anganwadi workers and teachers; and an independent retrospective survey every six months by SRS supervisors. The data obtained by these two independent functionaries are matched.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Registrar General of India- Appointment, tenure and functions.
  2. IMR and MMR- current rates and trends.
  3. Best and worst performing states.
  4. Who compiles SRS?

Mains Link:

Discuss the key trends in the National Birth Rate of India.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Inter-State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1979

What to study?

For Prelims: Key provisions.

For Mains: Significance of the legislation and its need for implementation now, challenges faced by migrants and ways to address them.

Context: Following the novel coronavirus pandemic, the nationwide lockdown announced on March 24 at short notice has caused immense distress to migrant workers around the country.

Those working in the field of labour welfare have recalled the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979 to regulate the employment and working conditions of inter-State migrants, but feel that the lack of serious implementation has led to their rights being ignored.

Key provisions of the Act:

  1. The Act seeks to regulate the employment of inter-State migrants and their conditions of service.
  2. It envisages a system of registration of such establishments.
  3. The principal employer is prohibited from employing inter-State workmen without a certificate of registration from the relevant authority.
  4. The law also lays down that every contractor who recruits workmen from one State for deployment in another State should obtain a licence to do so.
  5. Contractors are bound by certain conditions. These include committing them to providing terms and conditions of the agreement or any other arrangement on the basis of which they recruit workers.

Applicability of the law:

  • It is applicable to every establishment that employs five or more migrant workmen from other States; or if it had employed five or more such workmen on any day in the preceding 12 months.
  • It is also applicable to contractors who employed a similar number of inter-State workmen.
  • The Act would apply regardless of whether the five or more workmen were in addition to others employed in the establishment or by the contractors.

Beneficial provisions for inter-State migrants:

  • Registration of establishments employing inter-State workers creates a system of accountability and acts as the first layer of formalising the utilisation of their labour.
  • It helps the government keep track of the number of workers employed and provides a legal basis for regulating their conditions of service.
  • The wage rates, holidays, hours of work and other conditions of service of an inter-State migrant workman shall be the same as those extended to other workmen in the same establishment, if the nature of their work is similar.

Attempts to reform:

As part of the present regime’s efforts towards consolidating and reforming labour law, a Bill has been introduced in Parliament called the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019. The proposed code seeks to merge 13 labour laws into a single piece of legislation. The Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979, is one of them.

Concerns and criticisms surrounding the new code:

  • Activists fear that specific safeguards given to migrant workers may be lost as a result of the consolidation in the new code.
  • The attempt to consolidate laws relating to occupational safety, health and working conditions means that many separate laws concerning various kinds of workers and labourers will have to be repealed.
  • Regarding inter-State migrant workers, the Act includes them in the definition of ‘contract labour’.
  • At the same time, an inter-State migrant worker is also separately defined as a person recruited either by an employer or a contractor for an establishment situated in another State.

Need of the hour:

Even though the Code seeks to preserve many of the protections and rights given to inter-State workers, trade unions feel that it is always better to have a separate enactment. The unprecedented distress and misery faced by migrant workers due to the current lockdown has drawn attention to a beneficial legislation dedicated to their welfare.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Provisions regarding migrant labourers in the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2019, how are they defined?
  2. Difference between contract and permanent workers?
  3. Key provisions of the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act, 1979.
  4. What are the Certificates of Registration defines in the 1979 Act?

Mains Link:

Discuss how the Inter-State Migrant Workmen Act of 1979 can ensure the protection of migrants in the wake of COVID 19 pandemic induced lockdown.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Vizag Gas Leak: ‘Strict Liability’ Or ‘Absolute Liability’?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Differences between absolute and strict liabilities, their evolution, applicability in Vizag gas leak case.

Context: The National Green Tribunal‘s order in the Visakhapatnam gas tragedy found LG Polymers prima facie liable under the 19th century English law, Principle of “strict liability”, which was made redundant in India by the Supreme Court in 1986.

But some some lawyers are of the opinion that the term absolute liability principle should have been used instead.

What is Strict liability principle?

Evolved in the year 1868 in the case of Rylands v. Fletcher. It has become obsolete now with the evolution of “absolute liability” principle.

As per this principle, any person who indulges in “non-natural” use of land and who keeps “hazardous substances” on his premises will be held “strictly liable” if such substances “escapes” the premises and causes any “damage”.

However, this principle allows for exception from liability if such damage has been caused by!

  1. the Plaintiff’s own fault;
  2. an Act of God;
  3. act of a Third Party; or
  4. if the hazardous activity was being carried out with the consent of the Plaintiff (violenti non fit injuria).

What is Absolute Liability Principle?

Evolution:

The Supreme Court, while deciding the Oleum gas leak case of Delhi in 1986, found strict liability woefully inadequate to protect citizens’ rights in an industrialised economy like India and replaced it with the ‘absolute liability principle’.

What is it?

Under the absolute liability principle, the apex court held that a company in a hazardous industry cannot claim any exemption.

  1. It has to mandatorily pay compensation, whether or not the disaster was caused by its negligence. The court said a hazardous enterprise has an “absolute non-delegable duty to the community”.
  2. The principle of absolute liability is part of Article 21 (right to life). 

Difference between Absolute & Strict Liability:

  1. Payment of compensation: Under strict liability, compensation is payable as per the nature and quantum of damages caused but in cases of absolute liability, damages to be paid are exemplary in nature, and depend upon the magnitude and financial capability of the enterprise.
  2. The element of “escape” is not an essential under the doctrine of Absolute Liability. This means that even if any hazardous substance does not leak from the premises of the industry but causes harm to the workers inside, the enterprise may be held absolutely liable.
  3. Absolute Liability can be upheld by the courts even in those cases where a single death is reported and there is no mass destruction of property or pollution of the environment.

Relevance of this in Vizag Gas Leak case:

The use of words “strict liability” under the NGT order opens up a convenient window for the company, LG polymers, to escape liability on showing that there was no negligence on their part.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Exceptions under strict liability principle.
  2. Key differences between absolute and strict liability principles.
  3. Can courts interfere in such matters?
  4. NGT- composition and functions.
  5. What is Article 21 of the Indian Constitution?

Mains Link:

LG Polymers is liable under the Principle of “strict liability” for Vizag gas leak case. Critically comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key provisions and significance of the act.

Context: The gas leak at LG Polymers India Private Ltd in Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh has brought back the focus on the Public Liability Insurance.

Over and above the compensation that may be awarded by the Courts, the victims are also entitled to compensation under the company’s Public Liability Insurance, available in terms of the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.

What is Public liability?

Simply put, public liability insurance policy covers a policyholder from claims from third parties for death or injury or property damage caused by hazardous substances handled in a factory.

About the Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991:

The Act came into being in the aftermath of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

  • This law requires all enterprises that own or have control over handling of any hazardous substance, to subscribe to a “public liability insurance policy cover” whereby they are insured against the claims from third parties for death or injury or property damage caused by hazardous substances handled in their enterprise.
  • The compensation payable under this Act is also irrespective of the company’s neglect. The victims who are exposed to hazardous substance used by an industry may file a claim with the Collector within 5 years of the accident.
  • On receipt of an application, the Collector, after giving notice to the owner and after giving the parties an opportunity of being heard, will hold an inquiry into the claim and may make an award determining the amount of relief which appears to him to be just.

Criticisms:

However, the amounts under this Act, as specified in the Schedule, were stipulated nearly two decades ago. Resultantly, the compensation under the Act is very meager and the families of victims’ who have died due to the gas leak or have suffered permanently disability, are entitled only to a maximum compensation of Rs 25,000, in addition to a maximum of Rs. 12,500, as reimbursement for medical expenses.

  • In cases where a victim has suffered permanent partial disability or other injury or sickness, the relief available if (a) reimbursement of medical expenses incurred, if any, up to a maximum of Rs. 12,500 in each case and (b) cash relief on the basis of percentage of disablement as certified by an authorized physician.
  • For loss of wages due to temporary partial disability which reduces the earning capacity of the victim, a fixed monthly relief not exceeding Rs. 1,000 per month has been stipulated, up to a maximum of 3 months, provided the victim has been hospitalized for a period exceeding 3 days and is above 16 years of age.
  • For any damage to private property, an amount of up to Rs. 6,000 is payable, depending on the actual damage.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Compensation and fines under the Act.
  2. Who is covered?
  3. Procedure for granting compensation.
  4. What is Styrene?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Shekatkar committee

What to study?

For Prelims: Shekatkar committee and important recommendations made.

For Mains: Defence reforms- need, necessary reforms.

Context: Union Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh recently approved the abolition of 9,304 posts in the military engineering services. The posts were abolished based on the recommendation of Shekatar Committee.

Implications:

This step of abolition of around 9000 posts of basic and industrial staff will lead to significant savings.

Almost 70% of the budget is used for payment of salaries and allowances and leaves very little money for actual infrastructural development.

Background:

Shekatkar Committee was tasked with suggesting steps to enhance combat capability of the armed forces.

Measures as recommended by the Committee and taken up for implementation include:

  1. Optimization of Signals Establishments to include Radio Monitoring Companies, Corps Air Support Signal Regiments, Air Formation Signal Regiments, Composite Signal Regiments and merger of Corps Operating and Engineering Signal Regiments.
  2. Restructuring of repair echelons in the Army to include Base Workshops, Advance Base Workshops and Static / Station Workshops in the field Army.
  3. Redeployment of Ordnance echelons to include Vehicle Depots, Ordnance Depots and Central Ordnance Depots apart from streamlining inventory control mechanisms.
  4. Better utilization of Supply and Transportation echelons and Animal Transport Units.
  5. Closure of Military Farms and Army Postal Establishments in peace locations.
  6. Enhancement in standards for recruitment of clerical staff and drivers in the Army.
  7. Improving the efficiency of the National Cadet Corps.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK)

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Location and conflict surrounding PoK.

Context: Indian government has decided to begin weather forecasts for regions under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) — Gilgit-Baltistan, Muzaffarabad and Mirpur.

After DD and AIR started airing weather forecasts from PoK regions, In return Radio Pakistan also featured updates from Srinagar, Pulwama and Ladakh.

What’s the issue?

The ‘weather war’ — a diplomatic move by India — started after Pakistan’s Supreme Court issued notices to the advocate general of Gilgit-Baltistan in late April, directing them to amend the Gilgit-Baltistan Order-2018 and establish a caretaker government there.

About PoK:

Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) is that part of the Jammu and Kashmir (India) which was invaded by Pakistan in 1947. The region is referred by the United Nations and other international organizations, as ‘Pakistani-controlled Kashmir’ (or Pakistan Administered Kashmir) and it was re-named as ‘Pakistan occupied Jammu-Kashmir’ by the Modi government.

PoK divided into two parts:

  1. Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK)
  2. Gilgit-Baltistan (referred to as the ‘Northern Areas’ till August 2009).

What is the root of the fight between India and Pakistan?

  • The fact that PoK is an integral part of India has been our consistent policy ever since 1947.
  • In 1947, Pakistan’s Pashtoon tribals attacked Jammu and Kashmir.
  • So to tackle this critical situation the Ruler of that time Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir sought military assistance from the Indian government and the then Indian Governor General Mountbatten signed an agreement on 26 October 1947 in which three subjects Defense, Foreign Affairs and Communications were handed over to India.
  • Except these subjects Jammu and Kashmir was free to all its decisions.
  • On the basis of this accession of treaty, the Government of India claims that India has the full right to interfere in the matters related to Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan on the other hand doesn’t agree with India.
  • The legality of transfer of territory of J and K through the instrument of accession to India is unquestionable.
  • Unanimous resolution of the Parliament talks about whole of J & K been a integral part of India.
  • Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir is based on the declaration of 1993. As per this declaration, Jammu & Kashmir was among those 5 states in which rule of Government of Pakistan was supposed to be established. But India never accepted this claim of Pakistan.
  • India has also made clear to the world that it is the internal matter of India.

Why is PoK important?

Because of its location, PoK is of immense strategic importance. It shares borders with several countries – the Punjab and North-West Frontier Province provinces (now called Khyber-Pakhthunkhwa) in Pakistan to the west, the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan in the north-west, Xinjiang province of the People’s Republic of China to the north and India’s Jammu and Kashmir to the east.

Challenges for India in PoK region:

  1. Terrorist infiltration through the region is high.
  2. Pakistan has changed the demography of PoK over a period of time.
  3. It has settled ex- servicemen, Punjabi’s and Pathans so the original colours of PoK has changed.
  4. Gilgit Baltistan region is easy as compared to other.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Location of PoK.
  2. Rivers flowing through.
  3. Neighbours
  4. Instrument of Accession.

pok

Sources: the Print.

 


Facts for Prelims


Pranavayu programme:

  • The Bengaluru city corporation has launched Pranavayu programme to create awareness on the need to self examine the respiratory health for Bengaloreans.
  • It is an attempt to help people with low oxygen level in their blood to get themselves checked early before their ailments become fatal.
  • Several deaths due to COVID-19 are reported due to Severe Acute Respiratory illness (SARI).

SMALLPOX:

Context: World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN’s postal agency have released a commemorative postage stamp on the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox.

Key facts:

  • Smallpox is an infectious disease caused by one of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor.
  • It is contagious i.e. spread from one person to another.
  • Symptoms: The initial symptoms of the disease included fever and vomiting. This was followed by formation of sores in the mouth and a skin rash. Over a number of days the skin rash turned into characteristic fluid-filled bumps with a dent in the center.
  • Smallpox is one of two infectious diseases to have been eradicated, the other being rinderpest in 2011.

ELONGATED TORTOISE:

Context: Over 90% of the potential distribution of the Sal forest tortoise falls outside current protected area’s network.

About Elongated tortoise:

  • It is a species of tortoise found in Southeast Asia and parts of the Indian Subcontinent, particularly Northeast India.
  • They have elongated somewhat narrow carapaces and yellow heads. Shells are typically a pale tannish-yellow to caramel color, with blotches of black.
  • IUCN Red List Status: Critically Endangered.
  • The population of the species may have fallen by about 80% in the last three generations (90 years).
  • Threats:It is heavily hunted for food and collected both for local use, such as decorative masks, and international wildlife trade. In china, a mixture, made by grinding up the tortoise’s shell, also serves as an aphrodisiac.

Relation between Vitamin D and COVID 19:

Vitamin D is known to modulate the response of white blood cells, preventing them from releasing too many inflammatory cytokines (part of the body’s immune response to fight infections). And the SARS-CoV2 virus is known to cause an excess of pro-inflammatory cytokines, called a cytokine storm.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper