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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 16 June 2020

InstaLinks help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically.

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

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Talamaddale

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Concerns over suspension of PCPNDT rules.

2. Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP) scheme.

3. SIPRI report on India China Nuclear weapons.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI).

2. Indian Gas Exchange.

 

GS Paper 4:

1. A case study.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Malathion.

2. Places in News.

3. Magallanodon baikashkenke.

4. PNGRB

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Talamaddale

Context: The traditional art of ‘talamaddale’, a variant of Yakshagana theatre, has gone virtual in times of COVID-19. A performance was streamed live on social media on June 13.

About Talamaddale:

It is an ancient form of performance dialogue or debate performance in Southern India in the Karavali and Malnad regions of Karnataka and Kerala.

The plot and content of the conversation is drawn from popular mythology but the performance mainly consists of an impromptu debate between characters involving sarcasm, puns, philosophy positions and humour.

 How is it different from Yakshagana?

Unlike the Yakshagana performance, in the conventional ‘talamaddale,’ the artists sit across in a place without any costumes and engage in testing their oratory skills based on the episode chosen.

If music is common for both Yakshagana performance and ‘talamaddale’, the latter has only spoken word without any dance or costumes.

Hence it is an art form minus dance, costumes and stage conventions.

talamaddale

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is it?
  2. How is it different from Yakshagana?
  3. What are classical dances?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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.

Concerns over suspension of PCPNDT rules

Why in News?

The Supreme Court has asked the government to explain its decision to suspend crucial rules of a parliamentary law against pre-natal sex determination and sex selection till June end, amid the COVID-19 national lockdown. However, the Court has refused to put on hold the notification.

What has happened?

On April 4, a notification was issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare which put on hold the implementation of certain rules of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex-Selection Rules) of 1996 till June 30, 2020.

The government’s notification suspends rules 8, 9(8), and 18A(6) of the PCPNDT Act.

  • This move was widely criticised for its future consequences and possibility of spike in sex-selective abortions in the country.
  • In the absence of the rules, many fear that it could lead to undocumented misuse by clinic owners as well as parents.

Clause 9:

The suspension of Clause 9(8) is of particular concern.

The Rule reads: “Rule 9(8): Every Genetic Counselling Centre, Genetic Laboratory, Genetic Clinic, Ultrasound Clinic and Imaging Centre shall send a complete report in respect of all pre-conception or pregnancy related procedures/techniques/tests conducted by them in respect of each month by 5th day of the following month to the concerned Appropriate Authority.”

Concern: Since the medical facilities come under essential services and thus are exempted from the lockdown, if the clinic is open and conducting tests it should be duty-bound to keep a register of such tests and suspension of the rule could lead to illegal procedures.

About PCPNDT Act:

It was enacted in response to the decline in Sex ratio in India, which deteriorated from 972 in 1901 to 927 in 1991.

The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.

Offences under this act include conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex selection on a man or woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus.

The Act mandates compulsory registration of all diagnostic laboratories, all genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, genetic clinics and ultrasound clinics.

Amendments:

  1. The act was amended in 2003 to improve the regulation of the technology used in sex selection.
  2. The Act was amended to bring the technique of pre conception sex selection and ultrasound technique within the ambit of the act.
  3. The amendment also empowered the central supervisory board and state level supervisory board was constituted.

Why strict implementation of this law is necessary?

The number of girls missing at birth due to the practice of gender biased sex selection in India has been estimated at 0.46 million girls per year for the period 2001-12 (which is 5.52 million girl children, missing at birth for the 12-year period).

The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act and the Rules thereunder, are aimed at remedying this social evil.

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is banned under PCPNDT Act.
  2. What changes were introduced through the 2003 Amendments.
  3. Implementation of the act.
  4. Offences under the act.
  5. Clause 8 and 9 under the act are related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of PC&PNDT Act.

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.

Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP) scheme

Why in News?

First ever distribution of assistive aids & devices to divyangjan through virtual platform under ADIP Scheme of M/O Social Justice & Empowerment in Firozpur, Punjab.

This is the first camp being organized by the ALIMCO under DEPwD after opening of lockdown with the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) approved by the Government of India.

About the ADIP Scheme- the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP) scheme:

Being implemented by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

Objective: to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.

Implementation: The scheme is implemented through implementing agencies such as NGOs, National Institutes under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and ALIMCO (a PSU that manufactures artificial limbs).

Eligibility:

A person satisfying all the following conditions are eligible:

  1. Indian citizen of any age
  2. Has 40% disability or more (must have the requisite certificate)
  3. Monthly income, not more than Rs.20000.
  4. In the case of dependents, income of parents/guardians should not exceed Rs.20000 per month.
  5. Must not have received assistance during the last 3 years for the same purpose from any source. However, for children below 12years of age, this limit would be one year.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is ALIMCO?
  2. Who is implementing ADIP scheme?
  3. Who is eligible?
  4. How is this scheme different from Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana?

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing/fitting of aids/appliances (ADIP) scheme.

Sources: pib.

 

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

SIPRI report on India China Nuclear weapons

Context:

A new yearbook released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

The yearbook “assesses the current state of armaments, disarmament and international security”.

What is SIPRI?

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) established in 1966 is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.

Based in Stockholm the Institute provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public.

What has it said in its latest report?

India and its neighbours:

  1. All nations that have nuclear weapons continue to modernise their nuclear arsenals, while India and China increased their nuclear warheads in the last one year.
  2. China is in the middle of a significant modernisation of its nuclear arsenal. China’s nuclear arsenal had gone up from 290 warheads in 2019 to 320 in 2020.
  3. China is developing a so-called nuclear triad for the first time, made up of new land and sea-based missiles and nuclear-capable aircraft.
  4. India’s nuclear arsenal went up from 130-140 in 2019 to 150 in 2020.
  5. Pakistan, too, is slowly increasing the size and diversity of the nuclear forces. It has reached 160 in 2020.
  6. Both China and Pakistan continue to have larger nuclear arsenals than India.

global_tension

Global scenario:

  1. Together the nine nuclear-armed states — the U.S., Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea — possessed an estimated 13,400 nuclear weapons at the start of 2020, which marked a decrease from an estimated 13,865 nuclear weapons at the beginning of 2019.
  2. The decrease in the overall numbers was largely due to the dismantlement of old nuclear weapons by Russia and the U.S., which together possess over 90% of the global nuclear weapons.

Need of the hour:

The U.S. and Russia have reduced their nuclear arsenals under the 2010 New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) but it will lapse in February 2021 unless both parties agree to prolong it.

Therefore, efforts should be made to extend the New START or negotiate a new treaty.

The deadlock over the New START and the collapse of the 1987 Soviet–U.S. Treaty on the Elimination of Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF Treaty) in 2019 suggest that the era of bilateral nuclear arms control agreements between Russia and the U.S. might be coming to an end.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is SIPRI?
  2. How many nuclear armed states are there in the world?
  3. 2020 nuclear warhead inventories.
  4. Comparison with previous report findings?
  5. What is the New START treaty?
  6. Which countries have reduced nuclear warheads over the last year?
  7. What is nuclear triad?

Mains Link:

Comment on the latest findings of 2020 SIPRI Yearbook.

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.

Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI)

Why in News?

India joins Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (GPAI) as a founding member to support the responsible and human-centric development and use of AI.

What is GPAI?

It is an international and multi-stakeholder initiative to guide the responsible development and use of AI, grounded in human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation, and economic growth.

This is also a first initiative of its type.

GPAI will be supported by a Secretariat, to be hosted by Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, as well as by two Centers of Expertise- one each in Montreal and Paris.

Founding members:

Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and the European Union.

How this initiative works?

  1. It will bridge the gap between theory and practice on AI by supporting cutting-edge research and applied activities on AI-related priorities.
  2. In collaboration with partners and international organizations, GPAI will bring together leading experts from industry, civil society, governments, and academia to collaborate to promote responsible evolution of AI.
  3. It will also evolve methodologies to show how AI can be leveraged to better respond to the present global crisis around COVID-19.

How this helps for India?

By joining GPAI as a founding member, India will actively participate in the global development of Artificial Intelligence, leveraging upon its experience around use of digital technologies for inclusive growth.

What is AI?

Artificial intelligence is the branch of computer science concerned with making computers behave like humans. AI refers to the ability of machines to perform cognitive tasks like thinking, perceiving, learning, problem solving and decision making.

AI_and_opportunities

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is AI?
  2. What is GPAI? Objectives?
  3. Founding members.
  4. Secretariat of GPAI?
  5. OECD, objectives and members.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of the GPAI.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Indian Gas Exchange launched in e-ceremony

What is it?

Indian Gas Exchange (IGX) is the first nationwide online delivery-based gas trading platform.

  • IGX will be a delivery-based trading platform for delivery of natural Gas.
  • Incorporated as a wholly owned subsidiary of the IEX – India’s energy market platform.
  • The platform is fully automated with web-based interface to provide seamless trading experience to the customers.

How will this exchange work?

The IGX is a digital trading platform that will allow buyers and sellers of natural gas to trade both in the spot market and in the forward market for imported natural gas across three hubs —Dahej and Hazira in Gujarat, and Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh.

Imported Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will be re-gassified and sold to buyers through the exchange, removing the requirement for buyers and sellers to find each other.

The exchange also allows much shorter contracts – for delivery on the next day, and up to a month – while ordinarily contracts for natural gas supply are as long as six months to a year.

Will domestically produced natural gas also be bought and sold on the exchange?

No. The price of domestically produced natural gas is decided by the government. It will not be sold on the gas exchange.

Why this was necessary?

Domestic production of gas has been falling over the past two fiscals as current sources of natural gas have become less productive.

Domestically produced natural gas currently accounts for less than half the country’s natural gas consumption; imported LNG accounts for the other half.

LNG imports are set to become a larger proportion of domestic gas consumption as India moves to increase the proportion of natural gas in the energy basket from 6.2% in 2018 to 15% by 2030.

Benefits:

This will help the nation move towards free market pricing of natural gas.

The exchange is expected to facilitate transparent price discovery in natural gas, and facilitate the growth of the share of natural gas in India’s energy basket.

About Natural Gas:

It is the cleanest fossil fuels among the available fossil fuels.

It is used as a feedstock in the manufacture of fertilizers, plastics and other commercially important organic chemicals as well as used as a fuel for electricity generation, heating purpose in industrial and commercial units.

It is also used for cooking in domestic households and a transportation fuel for vehicles.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is traded on IGX?
  2. What is IEX?
  3. What is Natural Gas?
  4. Where is it used?
  5. Why it is called a clean fuel?

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of Indian Gas Exchange.

petroleum_natural_gas

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 4


Case study for Paper 4:

Odisha bank manager suspended after woman drags 100-year-old mother on a cot to branch:

What happened?

The incident happened in a village of Odisha’s Nuapada district.

  • On June 9, Punjimati Dei, her daughter, visited bank to withdraw the amount since her mother was bedridden.
  • When physical verification was needed, having no option, Ms. Dei placed her mother on a cot and dragged her along the road to the bank. She was then able to withdraw her money.

A video of Ms. Dei dragging her mother on a cot has since gone viral.

How was the situation handled?

This unfortunate incident was taken seriously by the State government and the Chairman of UGB was requested to take stern action after due enquiry.

Based on the enquiry, the bank manager has been suspended.

What has the bank said?

The bank, however, clarified that the manager had offered to visit the woman’s house, but could not do so as there was a rush at the branch, which has only a single officer assigned to it.

  • But, in her anxiety to get the money early and avoid rush the next day, Ms. Dei had come to the branch on June 10 before business started by pulling her mother on a cot from her residence, to the surprise of the branch staff.
  • Though payment was made, the unfortunate incident had happened and it was widely covered by media.

The bank’s Chairman, expressing regret over the incident, said the branch manager did not have any intention of causing harassment, but the incident, which was the result of a communication gap, ended up showing the bank in poor light.

case_study

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Malathion:

It is a pesticide that is widely used in agriculture, residential landscaping, public recreation areas, and in public health pest control programs such as mosquito eradication.

Why in News?

HIL India Ltd. supplies 25 MT Malathion 95% ULV Insecticides to Iran for Locust Control Programme.

Need for:

As per the reports of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the hopper stage population of locust is building up in Sistan-Baluchistan Region of Iran, which shall migrate to India in coming months leading to further crop devastation. Government of India has taken an initiative to counter the locust menace at its breeding ground itself and approached Iran for coordinated efforts.

(For more details on desert locusts: click here.)

Places in News:

Context: Mentioned as part of 32nd session of the DekhoApnaDesh webinar series of Ministry of Tourism titled “Trekking in the Himalayas- Magical Experiences”.

Places:

  1. Kuari Pass (Uttrakhand): This trek was explored by Lord Curzon and is also knows as the Curzon trail.
  2. Brahma Taal (Uttrakhand): It is a hidden and secluded lake amidst the ridge, where Lord Brahma meditated according to the mythology.
  3. Fotoksaris a picturesque village in Ladakh. It is the part of the Lingshed- Padum trek (also known as The Great Zanskar trek).
  4. Roopkhund (Uttarakhand): It is a high altitude glacial lake. It lies in the lap of Trishul massif.

(Note: Please locate these place on map and look for important rivers, National parks and places of significance.)

Magallanodon baikashkenke:

Context: Researchers from Chile and Argentine have discovered teeth of an extinct species of the lineage of Gondwanatheria.
It was unearthed in Patagonia.

Magallanodon

The species is named Magallanodon baikashkenke.

Key facts:

  • The animal is the oldest mammal ever discovered in Chile.
  • The name Magallanodon is due to the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of Hernando de Magallanes and Baikashkenke’s first round the world tribute to the Tehuelches, in whose language it means “grandfather’s valley”.
  • The small mammal would have lived in southern Patagonia during the late Cretaceous era, alongside dinosaurs, crocodiles, turtles and birds.

PNGRB:

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) was constituted under The Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act, 2006.

  • It seeks to protect the interests of consumers and entities engaged in specified activities relating to petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas and to promote competitive markets and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
  • The board has also been mandated to regulate the refining, processing, storage, transportation, distribution, marketing and sale of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas excluding production of crude oil and natural gas so as and to ensure uninterrupted and adequate supply of petroleum, petroleum products and natural gas in all parts of the country.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. IAEA begins meet over Iran’s n-programme.
  2. Issues surrounding coal washing norms.
  3. Fifth state of matter.
  4. Right to reservation not a fundamental right.

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