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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 26 May 2020

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Ramkinkar Baij.

2. Purandara Dasa.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Govt notifies BS-VI emission norms for quadricycles.

2. What are heatwaves?

3. No answers yet for Somalia.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna or ANITA?

2. Stubble burning.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Puntius sanctus.

2. Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme.

3. P. releases skill map of migrants.

4. CoAST India (Collaboration/Covid Action Support Group).

5. Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary.

6. Bhagwan Mahavir wildlife sanctuary.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Ramkinkar Baij

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions to the modern art.

Context: Ministry of Culture’s National Gallery of Modern Art will organise virtual tour titled “Ramkinkar Baij, Journey through silent transformation and expressions” to commemorate the 115th Birth Anniversary of Ramkinkar Baij on 26th May 2020.

Who was Ramkinkar Baij?

Ramkinkar Baij (1906-1980), one of the most seminal artists of modern India, was an iconic sculptor, painter and graphic artist.

He was born in Bankura, West Bengal

In 1925, he made his way to Kala Bhavana, the art school at Santiniketan and was under the guidance of Nandalal Bose.

Along with Nandalal Bose and Benodebehari Mukherjee, he played a pivotal role in making Santiniketan one of the most important centres for modern art in pre-Independent India.

ramkinkar_baij

Contributions to modern art:

  • He assimilated the idioms of the European modern visual language and yet was rooted in his own Indian ethos.
  • He experimented restlessly with forms, moving freely from figurative to abstract and back to figurative.
  • His themes were steeped in a deep sense of humanism and an instinctive understanding of the symbiotic relationship between man and nature.
  • Both in his paintings and sculptures, he pushed the limits of experimentation and ventured into the use of new materials.
  • For instance, his use of unconventional material, for the time, such as cement concrete for his monumental public sculptures set a new precedent for art practices.

Awards and honours:

He was invited to participate in the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles in 1950 and in the Salon de Mai in 1951.

In 1970, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his irrefutable contribution to Indian art.

In 1976 he was made a Fellow of the Lalit Kala Akademi.

In 1976, he was conferred the honorary Doctoral Degree of ‘Desikottama’ by Visva Bharati, and in 1979 an honorary D.Litt by Rabindra Bharati University.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Santiniketan- objectives, founder and significance.
  2. Key contributions of Ramkinkar Baij.
  3. Who is Nandalal Bose?

Sources: pib.

 

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

Purandara Dasa

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Key contributions to literature and Bhakti movement, important compositions.

Context: Department of Archaeology, Heritage and Museums will soon commence field research work at Keshavapura in Araga Gram Panchayat (GP) of Tirthahalli taluk to explore definitive archaeological evidences that may put an end to speculations regarding the birthplace of Purandara Dasa.

What’s the issue?

There is much speculation about where Purandara Dasa, regarded as the pitamaha of Carnatic music, was born.

An expert committee was constituted by Kannada University, Hampi. It had come to the conclusion that it was most likely a small village called Kshemapura (now called Keshavapura) at Araga hobli in Tirthahalli taluk of Shivamogga district in Karnataka. The committee found enough evidence to believe this place, which was a major province of the Vijayanagara empire, was the birthplace of the saint.

But, some have been arguing that the saint-poet was born in Purandaragadh, near Pune in Maharashtra, and finally settled in Hampi.

About Purandaradasa:

Purandara Dasa (1484–1564) was a Haridasa, great devotee of Lord Krishna and a saint.

He was a disciple of the celebrated Madhwa philosopher-saint Vyasatirtha, and a contemporary of yet another great Haridasa, Kanakadasa.

Purandaradasa was the pioneer who blended the rich musical streams, namely the Dravidian and Aryan music, into a single stream known as Carnatic music.

Prior to his initiation to Haridasa tradition, Purandara Dasa was a rich merchant and was called as Srinivasa Nayaka.

Contributions to Indian Music:

  1. He formulated the basic lessons of teaching Carnatic music by structuring graded exercises known as Svaravalis and Alankaras
  2. He introduced the raga Mayamalavagowla as the first scale to be learnt by beginners in the field – a practice that is still followed today.
  3. He also composed Gitas (simple songs) for novice students.
  4. He is noted for composing Dasa Sahithya, as a Bhakti movement vocalist, and a music scholar.

Social reforms:

  1. Purandara Dasa tried to reform existing practices in the society, and preached to others in the local language, Kannada by singing devotional songs. Most of his keertanas deals with social reform and pinpoints defects found in the society.
  2. It teaches complete self-surrender and unadulterated love towards Lord Krishna, the Supreme.
  3. The philosophy of Bhakti in Purandara Dasa’s compositions stems from the essential teachings of the realistic-pluralistic Madhwa Philosophy of Vaishnavism.
  4. Purandara Dasa fought the evils of casteism through his songs. In his song aavakulavaadarenu aavanadarenu aatma bhavavariyada mele he wonders what is the use if one does not understand the spirit of humanism whatever caste or status one might be accredited to.
  5. According to Purandara Dasa there were no inequalities among men and women. Both of them had same rights and obligations in their conduct of everyday life as well as observation of pity.
  6. He made some forceful expressions on untouchability, which was dogging society.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Govt notifies BS-VI emission norms for quadricycles

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of these norms.

For Mains: Difference between BS4 and BS6 emission norms, significance.

 Context: The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification regarding the emission norms for L7 (quadricycle) category for BS-VI. This notification completes the process of BS-VI for all category vehicles in India.

The emission norms are on the lines of the European Union’s World Motorcycle Test Cycle (WMTC).

What is the WMTC cycle?

It is a system of driving cycles used to measure fuel consumption and emissions in motorcycles.

The methods are stipulated as part of the Global Technical Regulation established under the UN World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations, also known as WP.29.

What is a quadricycle?

It is the size of a three-wheeler but with four tyres and is fully covered like a car. It has an engine like that of a three-wheeler. This makes it a cheap and safe mode of transport for last-mile connectivity.

Dimensions: A quadricycle cannot be more than 3.6 metres long, should have an engine smaller than 800cc, and should not weigh more than 475 kilograms.

quadricycle

Regulation of quadricycles in India:

In 2018, the government had introduced the quadricycle segment with necessary standards to produce the vehicle. It had approved the vehicle for both commercial and private use.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is L7 category of vehicles?
  2. What are quadricycles?
  3. How are they regulated in India?
  4. Who administers emission norms in India?
  5. Difference between BS4 and 6 emission norms.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of BS6 Emission norms.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What are heatwaves?

What to study?

For Prelims: What are heat waves and how are they classified?

For Mains: Why is India vulnerable, effects of heatwaves on health, environment and economy, how should India be prepared?

Context: Several parts of north India are reeling under an intense heatwave with many districts in Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh posting temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius or five degrees above what is normal.

What is a heatwave?

A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season.

Heat Waves typically occur between March and June, and in some rare cases even extend till July.

Criteria for Heat Waves:

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has given the following criteria for Heat Waves:

  1. Heat Wave need not be considered till the maximum temperature of a station reaches at least 40°C for Plains and at least 30°C for Hilly regions.
  2. When the normal maximum temperature of a station is less than or equal to 40°C, Heat Wave Departure from normal is 5°C to 6°C and Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 7°C or more.
  3. When the normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40°C, Heat Wave Departure from normal is 4°C to 5°C and Severe Heat Wave Departure from normal is 6°C or more.
  4. When the actual maximum temperature remains 45°C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature, heat waves should be declared.

Health Impacts of Heat Waves:

  • The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
  • Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing morbidities are particularly vulnerable.
  • Vegetable vendors, cab drivers, construction workers, police personnel, road side kiosk operators and mostly weaker sections of the society have to work in the extreme heat to make their ends meet and are extremely vulnerable to the adverse impacts of heat waves such as dehydration, heat and sun strokes.

Reasons why India is experiencing more heat waves are:

  1. Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover.
  2. Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.
  3. More heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too.
  4. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.
  5. High intensity of UV rays in medium-high heat wave zone.
  6. Combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India vulnerable to heat waves.

Way ahead for India- How India should deal with heat waves?

  1. Identifying heat hot-spots through appropriate tracking of meteorological data and promoting timely development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency co-ordination, and a response which targets the most vulnerable groups.
  2. Review of existing occupational health standards, labour laws and sectoral regulations for worker safety in relation to climatic conditions.
  3. Policy intervention and coordination across three sectors health, water and power is necessary.
  4. Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.
  5. Popularisation of simple design features such as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks and insulating housing materials.
  6. Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response which the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. When is a heat wave declared?
  2. Criteria?
  3. Difference between heatwave and super heatwave?
  4. What is IMD?

Mains Link:

Examine the adverse impacts caused by heat waves and how India should deal with it?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

No answers yet for Somalia

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: UNCLOS and overview of the dispute.

 Context: In the wake of COVID 19 pandemic, upcoming public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Somalia’s maritime dispute with Kenya will be deferred yet again.

What’s the dispute all about?

The dispute is between Somalia and Kenya on the delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.

The disputed area is roughly 1,00,000 sq km and contains huge deposits of oil and gas.

The dispute is rooted in a disagreement over which direction the two countries’ border extends into the Indian Ocean.

  • Somalia argues that the maritime boundary should continue on in the same direction as the land border’s southeasterly path.
  • Kenya, meanwhile, insists that the border should take a roughly 45-degree turn at the shoreline and run in a latitudinal line, giving Nairobi access to a larger chunk of the sea.

Efforts to find a solution:

Under a 2009 Memorandum of Understanding, each granted the other no objection to presenting separate submissions to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) concerning the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. The parties also committed to finding a settlement in accordance with international law on the basis of the CLCS’s recommendations.

But, In 2014 Somalia called on the International Court of Justice in The Hague to resolve the dispute. In October 2019 the ICJ postponed the hearing until 8 June 2020.

International implications:

The dispute has drawn international attention, owing in part to the ramifications for the international energy market and the promise for lucrative oil and gas contracts. The United Kingdom and Norway have expressed support for Somalia, while the United States and France have backed Kenya’s claim.

About CLCS:

The purpose of the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (the Commission or CLCS) is to facilitate the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (the Convention) in respect of the establishment of the outer limits of the continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (M) from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured. Under the Convention, the coastal State shall establish the outer limits of its continental shelf where it extends beyond 200 M on the basis of the recommendation of the Commission.

 Functions:

The Commission shall make recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of those limits; its recommendations and actions shall not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts.

Members of the Commission:

The Commission shall consist of twenty-one members who shall be experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, elected by States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals, having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation, who shall serve in their personal capacities.

kenya

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is UNCLOS?
  2. Countries in the Indian Ocean region.
  3. Horn of Africa
  4. What is CLCS? India’s representation.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

What is ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna or ANITA?

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: ANITA- objectives m functions and findings.

Context: The news that a NASA experiment has indicated the possibility of a parallel universe has created headlines across the world. WIth this, ANtarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna or ANITA has suddenly come into the limelight as the cosmic-ray shower that is key to the new discovery was a part of NASA’s ANITA and IceCube experiment taking place in Antarctica.

What is ANITA?

Designed by NASA, the ANITA instrument is a radio telescope which is used to to detect ultra-high energy cosmic-ray neutrinos from a scientific balloon flying over Antarctica.

ANITA is the first NASA observatory for neutrinos of any kind.

It involves an array of radio antennas attached to a helium balloon which flies over the Antarctic ice sheet at 37,000 meters.

 How many ANITAs?

  1. ANITA-I was launched from McMurdo, Antarctica in 2006.
  2. ANITA-II, a modified instrument with 40 antennas, was launched from McMurdo Station in 2008.
  3. ANITA-III, which was equipped with systems to improve sensitivity by a factor of 5–10, was launched in December 2014.
  4. ANITA-IV was launched in December 2016 and it was loaded with tunable notch filters and an improved trigger system.

Facts for Prelims:

The neutrinos have energies on the order of 1018 eV and they are capable of producing radio pulses in the ice because of the Askaryan effect.

What are neutrinos?

Neutrinos are high-energy particles that pose no threat to us and pass through most solid objects without anyone even noticing.

Neutrinos constantly bombard Earth and as per some estimates emerging from studies, 100 trillion neutrinos pass through your body every second.

Do they interact with matter?

Rarely do they interact with matter. But if they do smash into an atom, they produce a shower of secondary particles we can detect, which allows us to probe where they came from in the universe.

Sources: Time Now.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

Stubble burning

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Crop burning- why, concerns, effects on environment and health, their regulation and the need for a comprehensive policy on this.

Context: With wheat harvesting over in Punjab, the State has witnessed a spike in incidents of stubble burning against the last two years as several farmers continue to defy the ban on burning the crop residue.

The ban and action against the people burning the crop residue is regulated under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.

What the data show?

Government data show that across the State, between April 15 and May 24, 13,026 incidents of stubble burning have surfaced. Last year the number of such incidents during the same period was 10,476. In 2018, Punjab recorded 11,236 fire incidents.

What is stubble burning?

It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.

Impact: Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.

Why farmers opt for stubble burning?

  1. They do not have alternatives for utilising them effectively.
  2. The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with waste because they cannot afford the new technology that is available to handle the waste material.
  3. With less income due to crop damage, farmers are likely to be inclined to light up their fields to cut costs and not spend on scientific ways of stubble management.

 Advantages of stubble burning:

  1. It quickly clears the field and is the cheapest alternative.
  2. Kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide.
  3. Kills slugs and other pests.
  4. Can reduce nitrogen tie-up.

Effects of Stubble Burning:

Pollution: Open stubble burning emits large amounts of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere which contain harmful gases like methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They may eventually cause smog.

Soil Fertility: Burning husk on ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.

Heat Penetration: Heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.

Alternative solutions that can avoid Stubble Burning:

  1. Promote paddy straw-based power plants. It will also create employment opportunities.
  2. Incorporation of crop residues in the soil can improve soil moisture and help activate the growth of soil microorganisms for better plant growth.
  3. Convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
  4. New opportunities for industrial use such as extraction of yeast protein can be explored through scientific research.

What needs to be done- Supreme Court’s observations?

Incentives could be provided to those who are not burning the stubble and disincentives for those who continue the practice.

The existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme must be so interpreted as to enable the States concerned to wholly or partly deny the benefit of MSP to those who continue to burn the crop residue.

Chhattisgarh Model:

An innovative experiment has been undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government by setting up gauthans.

  1. A gauthan is a dedicated five-acre plot, held in common by each village, where all the unused stubble is collected through parali daan (people’s donations) and is converted into organic fertiliser by mixing with cow dung and few natural enzymes.
  2. The scheme also generates employment among rural youth.
  3. The government supports the transportation of parali from the farm to the nearest gauthan.
  4. The state has successfully developed 2,000 gauthans.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Puntius sanctus:

  • It is a new species of small freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae.
  • It was recently discovered in Velankanni in Tamil Nadu.
  • It grows to a length of 7 cm. Its physical characteristics included a protractible mouth, a pair of maxillary barbels (a sensory organ near the snout), 24-25 lateral line scales and 10 pre-dorsal scales.
  • The Puntius species are known locally as ‘Paral’ in Kerala and ‘Kende’ in Tamil Nadu. They are purely freshwater fishes.

purely

Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme:

Launched On the eve of the International Day for Biological Diversity.

It proposes to engage 20 students with postgraduate degrees for a period of one year through an open, transparent, online competitive process.

U.P. releases skill map of migrants:

The Uttar Pradesh government has released its first skill map of migrant workers who returned to the State during the lockdown.

  • The government has said it will provide them employment in the State as per their skills and experience and will constitute a Migrant Commission for the purpose.
  • The list includes construction workers, painters, carpenters, drivers, electricians and persons associated with electronics, security guards, furniture and fitting workers and auto-repair mechanics.

CoAST India (Collaboration/Covid Action Support Group):

It is a GIS-enabled dashboard that includes an India map reflecting the movement of migrants in real time on their long journeys, often on foot, along with facilities and relief organisations on their routes.

  • The platform has been developed by India Observatory in collaboration with Anand-based Forest Ecological Security (FES) as its main nodal point.
  • It draws information from 55 organisations on the ground, mostly in villages, and aims to make such data available so that it would enable governments and small local civil society groups to be of assistance.
  • The map matches “time and spatial data, on administrative facilities in the area, transportation and healthcare facilities of an area and summaries, on the fly, in real time of people passing by.

Places in News- Jubaland:

It is an autonomous region in southern Somalia.

  • Its eastern border lies 40–60 km east of the Jubba River, stretching from Gedo to the Indian Ocean, while its western side flanks the North Eastern Province in Kenya, which was carved out of Jubaland during the colonial period.
  • Its largest city is Kismayo, which is situated on the coast near the mouth of the Jubba River.

news_jubland

Dehing Patkai wildlife sanctuary:

Why in News?

Concerns have been expressed over the diversion of 98.59 hectares land of Saleki proposed reserve forest, which is a part of Dehing Patkai elephant reserve, for a coal-mining project in Upper Assam.

Key facts:

  • The reserve is located in the Dibrugarh and Tinsukia Districts of Assam.
  • The Dehing Patkai forms the largest stretch of tropical lowland rainforests in India.
  • Ethnic groups living in the area include the indigenous Assamese communities, particularly Tai Phake, Khamyang, Khampti, Singpho, Nocte, Ahom, Kaibarta, Moran and Motok, Burmese, and non-indigenous Nepali people.

 

Note: The article on “ILO urges PM not to dilute labour laws” will be covered tomorrow.
 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper