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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 29 May 2020

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Lok Sabha nominates 15 MPs as associate members of Delimitation Commission.
  2. What are Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)?
  3. African Swine Fever.
  4. China passes controversial Hong Kong law.
  5. U.S. House passes Uighur rights Bill.
  6. Trump ‘order’ to target social media.

 

Facts for Prelims:

  1. Interahamwe militia.
  2. Uttar Pradesh govt to develop 800 km roads as Herbal roads.
  3. Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2019 Award.
  4. WHO Foundation.

GS Paper  : 2


Lok Sabha nominates 15 MPs as associate members of Delimitation Commission

What to study?

For prelims and mains: What is delimitation, why is it needed, how is it carried out

Context: The Lok Sabha Speaker has nominated 15 MPs from Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh as “associate members” of the Delimitation Commission to assist the panel in redrawing parliamentary and assembly constituencies of the northeastern states and the union territory.

Who are associate members?

Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of states, for which the Delimitation Commission is set up, are drawn in as associate members to help the panel in its task.

Background:

The government had on March 6 constituted the Delimitation Commission, to be headed by former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai, to redraw Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland.

The commission will delimit the constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, and of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Nagaland in accordance with the provisions of the Delimitation Act, 2002.

What is Delimitation?

Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.

 Who carries out the exercise?

  1. Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.
  2. These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.
  3. Such commissions have been constituted at least four times in India — in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952; in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962; in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and last in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
  4. The commissions’ orders are enforced as per the date specified by the President of India. Copies of these orders are laid before the Lok Sabha or the concerned Legislative Assembly. No modifications are permitted.

Composition of the Commission:

According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission appointed by the Centre has to have three members: a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.

Why Delimitation?

  • To provide equal representation to equal segments of a population.
  • Fair division of geographical areasso that one political party doesn’t have an advantage over others in an election.
  • To follow the principle of “One Vote One Value”.

How delimitation is carried out?

Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.

Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.

Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Previous delimitation commissions- powers and functions.
  2. Composition of the commission.
  3. Who can set up?
  4. Are changes allowed in final orders?
  5. Which are the constitution provisions related?

Mains Link:

How and why delimitation of constituencies is carried out? Discuss.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered:  Issues related to health.

What are Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API)?

 

What to study?

For Prelims: What are APIs? Their production in India vs China.

For Mains: Why China is leading in APIs production, how India should compete, challenges ahead.

Context: Export of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of paracetamol from the country is all set to resume with the Centre moving it out of the ‘restricted for export’ list.

About 40% of the paracetamol API manufactured in the country is consumed in the domestic market, while the rest is meant for exports.

What is an API? 

Every medicine is made up of two main ingredients — the chemically active APIs and chemically inactive, excipients, which is a substance that delivers the effect of APIs to one’s system.

API is a chemical compound that is the most important raw material to produce a finished medicine.

In medicine, API produces the intended effects to cure the disease. For instance, Paracetamol is the API for Crocin and it is the API paracetamol that gives relief from body ache and fever.

Fixed-dose combination drugs use multiple APIs, while single-dose drugs like Crocin use just one API.

How an API is manufactured? 

API is not made by only one reaction from the raw materials but rather it becomes an API via several chemical compounds. The chemical compound which is in the process of becoming an API from raw material is called an intermediate.

There are some APIs that pass “through over ten kinds of intermediates in a process when it changes from being a raw material into an API”. The long manufacturing process is continued until it is purified and reaches a very high degree of purity.

What’s the concern for India now? How COVID 19 induced pandemic has affected?

  • Despite being a leading supplier of high-quality medicines to several countries, Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for APIs.
  • In the 2018-19 fiscal, the government had informed the Lok Sabha that the country’s drug-makers had imported bulk drugs and intermediates worth $ 2.4 billion from China.
  • But with an frequent lockdowns due to the deadly coronavirus outbreak, supplies of raw materials from China to produce drugs for treating HIV, cancer, epilepsy, malaria, and also commonly-used antibiotics and vitamin pills, are likely to be hit.

How India lost its API market to China?

During the early 90s, India was self-reliant in manufacturing APIs.

However, with the rise of China as a producer of API, it captured the Indian market with cheaper products and it eventually led to high economies of scale for China.

  • China created a low-cost API manufacturing industry. The industry was backed by the low cost of capital followed by aggressive government funding models, tax incentives. Their cost of operation is one-fourth of India’s cost. Even the cost of finance in China is 6-7 per cent against India’s 13-14 per cent.
  • So, due to low-profit margins and non-lucrative industry, Indian pharma companies over the years stopped manufacturing APIs.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an APIs?
  2. What is an intermediate?
  3. APIs in fixed- dose vs single- dose drug combinations.
  4. Comparison of API production in India vs China.
  5. What are excipients in Medicine?

Mains Link:

What are APIs? How and why China became a leading producer in APIs? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered:  Issues related to health.

African Swine Fever (ASF)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: The Disease, spread, symptoms and concerns.

Context: Citing swine fever, China bans pork imports from India.

Background:

ASF has been seen in other Asian countries as well. Most recently, the Philippines had to cull more than 7,000 pigs to arrest the spread of ASF.

About African Swine Fever (ASF):

  • ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
  • It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
  • The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
  • ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • According to the FAO, “its extremely high potential for transboundary spread has placed all the countries in the region in danger and has raised the spectre of ASF once more escaping from Africa. It is a disease of growing strategic importance for global food security and household income”.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Swine fever and swine flu?
  2. Can swine fever affect humans?
  3. Is it a viral disease?
  4. Where was it first discovered?
  5. Which countries have been affected by this in 2020?
  6. Is there any vaccine available against this?

Mains Link:

Write a note African Swine Fever, symptoms and its spread.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

China passes controversial Hong Kong law

What to study?

For Prelims: All about the new law, it’s relevance and controversy surrounding.

For Mains: How is Hong Kong administered? Implications of the new law.

Context: China’s Parliament has passed new legislation for Hong Kong that will for the first time empower Beijing to draft national security laws for the Special Administrative Region (SAR).

The law will be added to Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, or Basic Law, to require the territory to enforce measures to be decided by the NPC’s standing committee, a small body controlled by the governing party that handles most legislative work.

Details:

  • The law is called the “NPC Decision on Establishing and Improving the Legal System and Enforcement Mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to Safeguard National Security”.
  • It essentially empowers the NPC to draft new national security laws for Hong Kong.
  • The scope of the laws could cover any activity that “seriously endangers national security”.
  • It is aimed at enabling “measures to counter, lawfully prevent, stop and punish foreign and overseas forces’ use of Hong Kong to carry out separatist, subversive, infiltrative, or destructive activities”.

What next?

Now approved, the NPC’s standing committee will draft the law — a process that is expected to take about two months. It will then be implemented upon promulgation by the Hong Kong government, bypassing the city’s legislature via a rarely-enacted constitutional backdoor.

The law will drastically broaden Beijing’s power over Hong Kong, which last year was roiled by anti-government protests calling for greater democracy and more autonomy from mainland China.

 What’s the issue now?

This act has been criticised by legal experts as it undermines the “one country, two systems” model. Since 1997, Hong Kong has been governed by the Basic Law, which gives the SAR “executive, legislative and independent judicial power, including that of final adjudication”. Only matters of defence and foreign affairs are handled by the central government.

International condemnation:

This move is being seen as a direct violation of China’s international commitments by the United States and its allies – the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

The US and allies are extremely concerned that this action will exacerbate the existing deep divisions in Hong Kong society.

US has already revoked the special trading status given to Hong Kong.

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical location of Hong Kong.
  2. What is one country two systems rule?
  3. Relationship of Macau with China.
  4. What is “One country Two systems” principle?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.S. House passes Uighur rights Bill

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Uighurs?

For Mains: Significance and implications of the law.

 Context: The U.S. House of Representatives has approved a legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for oppression of Uighur Muslims. The Bill has been sent to the White House for President Donald Trump to veto or sign into law.

Details:

  • The Bill calls for sanctions against those responsible for repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang province, where the United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps.
  • It singles out the region’s Communist Party secretary, Chen Quanguo, as responsible for “gross human rights violations” against them.
  • The Bill also calls on U.S. firms operating in Xinjiang region to ensure their products do not include parts using forced labour.

Who are Uighurs?

Uighurs are a Muslim minority community concentrated in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang province. 

They claim closer ethnic ties to Turkey and other central Asian countries than to China, by brute — and brutal — force.

Why is China targeting the Uighurs?

Xinjiang is technically an autonomous region within China — its largest region, rich in minerals, and sharing borders with eight countries, including India, Pakistan, Russia and Afghanistan.

  • Over the past few decades, as economic prosperity has come to Xinjiang, it has brought with it in large numbers the majority Han Chinese,who have cornered the better jobs, and left the Uighurs feeling their livelihoods and identity were under threat.
  • This led to sporadic violence, in 2009 culminating in a riot that killed 200 people, mostly Han Chinese, in the region’s capital Urumqi. And many other violent incidents have taken place since then.
  • Beijing also says Uighur groups want to establish an independent state and, because of the Uighurs’ cultural ties to their neighbours, leaders fear that elements in places like Pakistan may back a separatist movement in Xinjiang.
  • Therefore, the Chinese policy seems to have been one of treating the entire community as suspect,and launching a systematic project to chip away at every marker of a distinct Uighur identity.

 

InstaThink:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Uighurs?
  2. Where is Xinjiang?
  3. Who are Han Chinese?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Trump ‘order’ to target social media

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: Details and implications of the order.

 Context: President Trump has signed an executive order targeting legal protections that keep people from suing social media websites.

The order would make it easier for federal regulators to argue that the companies are “suppressing free speech when they move to suspend users or delete posts.”

 What’s the issue?

The move follows his anger at Twitter over its decision this week to append fact-check labels to several of his tweets about mail-in voting, along with links to accurate information on the topic.

Twitter’s move to tag the President’s tweets comes after years of being accused of ignoring the President’s violation of platform rules with his daily tweets.

What protects social media companies?

A 1996 law, Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, essentially bars people from suing providers of an “interactive computer service” for libel if users post defamatory messages on their platforms.

It says intermediary website operators — a category ranging from social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to blogs that let readers post comments — will not be treated as the publisher or the speaker for making others’ posts available.

A related provision also protects the sites from lawsuits accusing them of wrongfully taking down content. It gives them immunity for “good faith” decisions to remove or restrict posts they deem “obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected.”

How does the executive order target this shield?

By putting forward a vision for an exception to websites’ legal immunity. The order argues that if a site restricts access to others’ content in bad faith and goes beyond removing the types of objectionable content detailed in the law, it should be deemed a publisher rather than a neutral platform — thus losing its legal immunity from lawsuits.

What next?

If this vision were the law, it would mean that social media companies could be sued for defamatory content over what other people post on their platforms.

Even under the executive order’s vision of the law, such lawsuits might fail: A court would first have to decide that the social media firm had sufficiently engaged in enough editorial conduct to lose its immunity.

But the order could discourage such companies from taking an active role in curating the content on their platforms — and raise the risk and cost of doing business.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Interahamwe militia:

  • It is a far-right Hutu paramilitary organization active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda.
  • Formed around 1990 as the youth wing of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development (MRND according to its French name), the then-ruling party of Rwanda.
  • The Interahamwe were the main perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutus were killed from April to July 1994, and the term “Interahamwe” was widened to mean any civilian bands killing Tutsi.

 

Uttar Pradesh govt to develop 800 km roads as Herbal roads:

  • Uttar Pradesh government will develop 800 km roads as Herbal roads in the state.
  • These herbal roads will have medicinal and herbal trees along with the land on their both sides.
  • These include trees like like Peepal, Neem, Sehjan along with other herb varieties like Brahmi, Ashvagandha and Jatrofa.
  • These 800 kilometer roads will be along national and state highways passing through state and the herbal garden along with them will keep air-borne, bacterial and other diseases at bay.

Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2019 Award:

Women peacekeepers from India and Brazil have jointly won the United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year 2019 Award.

Major Suman Gawani of the Indian Army and Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo have been chosen for the award.

About the award:

Created in 2016, the United Nations “Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award” recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual military peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Resolution For the first time, two peacekeepers will receive the award jointly for their contribution to this important cause.

WHO Foundation:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced the creation of the WHO Foundation.
  • It is an independent grant-making entity that will support the organization’s efforts to address the most pressing global health challenges.
  • The Foundation will support global public health needs by providing funds to the WHO and trusted implementing partners, but is legally separate from WHO.
  • It’ll be Headquartered in Geneva.
  • The Foundation will work with individual donors, the general public and corporate partners to strengthen health systems globally.

 

The following article shall be covered tomorrow:

Hindi as official language in Haryana courts challenged.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper