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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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 2:

1. Secrecy of ballot.

2. Madhesis oppose new Nepal rule.

3. Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan.

2. Intercropping

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Covifor?

2. Golden Langurs.

3. International Yoga Day.

4. Swabhiman Anchal.

5. UNICEF Kid Power.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

Secrecy of ballot

Why in News?

Supreme Court has delivered its judgment on Secrecy of Ballot.

  • The judgment came on an appeal against the Allahabad High Court decision setting aside the voting of a no-confidence motion in a zila panchayat in Uttar Pradesh in 2018.
  • The High Court had found that some of the panchayat members had violated the rule of secrecy of ballot. It relied on CCTV footage to conclude that they had either displayed the ballot papers or by their conduct revealed the manner in which they had voted.

What has the Supreme Court said on Secrecy of Ballot?

  • Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections. The choice of a voter should be free and the secret ballot system in a democracy ensures it.
  • It is the policy of law to protect the right of voters to secrecy of the ballot.
  • Even a remote or distinct possibility that a voter can be forced to disclose for whom she has voted would act as a positive constraint and a check on the freedom to exercise of franchise.
  • The principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy.
  • However, a voter can also voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure. No one can prevent a voter from doing. Nor can a complaint be entertained from any, including the person who wants to keep the voter’s mouth sealed as to why she disclosed for whom she voted.

What the RPA says?

Section 94 of the Representation of People Act upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote.

What next?

The apex court ordered a re-vote of the motion within the next two months. It ordered the Allahabad District Judge or his nominee to act as the presiding officer. The vote should be conducted by the secret ballot system.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Section 94 of RPA?
  2. What is a writ petition?
  3. What is first past the post system?
  4. Constitutional provisions related to panchayat elections in India.
  5. Appeals against High Court judgments.

Mains Link:

What is Secrecy of Ballot? Why Supreme Court has termed it as the cornerstone of free and fair elections? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Madhesis oppose new Nepal rule

Why in News?

Nepali opposition party leaders have opposed the planned changes in the existing citizenship rules that will most notably affect the families in Nepal’s plains also known as the Madhes region where cross-border kinship with India is common.

However, the government defends its move by citing India’s citizenship rules to justify the amendments the Nepalese govt has brought.

Proposed changes:

  • The Bill seeks to amend the country’s Citizenship Act that would require a foreign woman married to a Nepali national to wait seven years for naturalised citizenship.
  • It includes seven rights that a foreign woman married to a Nepali national can exercise till she acquires citizenship certificates.
  • Lack of a citizenship certificate will not bar them from running any businesses and earn, use and sell any fixed and movable assets, make profits through businesses and get involved in transaction of property of any kind.

Who are Madheshi? Why they are concerned about these changes?

  • The Madheshi are residents of Terai region in the south of Nepal at the foothill of the Himalayas on the border with India in Bihar.
  • The Madhesis have castes and ethnicity similar to Bihar and eastern UP, with frequent inter-marriages between families on either side of the border.
  • They believe these changes will introduce uncertainty and tension in the society and families.
  • Critics have termed the changes as racially motivated.

Changing ties between India and Nepal:

The move to amend the citizenship act comes days after the Nepal government completed the process of redrawing the country’s political map through a Constitutional amendment, incorporating three strategically important Indian areas, a move that could severely jolt relations with New Delhi.

These include- Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Madheshi people?
  2. Where is Terai region in India?
  3. Overview of of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act.
  4. Nepal’s proposed amendments to Citizenship Act.
  5. Himalayan ranges in and around Nepal.
  6. Locate Kalapani, Limpiyadhura and Lipulekh on map.

Mains Link:

Who are Madheshis? Why they are concerned about the changes proposed in Nepal’s Citizenship law?

bottom_layer

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG)

Context:

India attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting, under the aegis of the Financial Action Task Force.

What is EAG?

The EAG is a regional body comprising nine countries: India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus.

Established in 2004, it is an associate member of the FATF.

  • The founding conference was held in Moscow on October 6, 2004 and was attended by six founding countries:Belarus, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.
  • In 2005 and 2010 the group was expanded to include Uzbekistan (2005), Turkmenistan (2010) and India (2010).
  • The Agreement on the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism was signed in Moscow in June 2011, granting the EAG the status of a regional intergovernmental organization.

The main tasks of the EAG:

  1. Assisting member-states in implementing the 40 FATF anti-money laundering Recommendations and the 9 Special FATF Recommendations on combating terrorist financing (FATF 40+9 Recommendations).
  2. Developing and conducting joint activities aimed at combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
  3. Implementing a program of mutual evaluations of member-states based on the FATF 40+9 Recommendations, including assessment of the effectiveness of legislative and other measures adopted in the sphere of AML/CFT efforts.
  4. Coordinating international cooperation and technical assistance programs with specialized international organizations, bodies, and interested states.
  5. Analyzing money laundering and terrorist financing trends (typologies) and exchanging best practices of combating such crimes taking into account regional specifics.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is EAG?
  2. When was it established and who are its founding members?
  3. What is FATF?
  4. Black vs Grey list?
  5. Members of EAG vs FATF.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Employment related issues.

Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan launched

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the mega ‘Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan’ aimed to boost livelihood opportunities in rural India amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

Highlights of the scheme:

  • The first priority of the scheme is to meet the immediate requirement of workers who have gone back to their districts by providing them with livelihood opportunities.
  • The focus is also on rural citizens.
  • It is a focused campaign of 125 days across 116 districts in six states to work in mission mode.
  • Public works worth 50,000 crore rupees to be carried out under the scheme.
  • It includes focused implementation of 25 different types of work to provide employment and to create durable infrastructure.
  • The villages will join this programme through the common service centres and Krishi Vigyan Kendras.

Implementation of the scheme:

The scheme will be a coordinated effort by 12 different ministries including rural development, Panchayati Raj, Road transport and highways, mines, drinking water and sanitation, environment, railways, petroleum and natural gas, new and renewable energy, border Roads, Telecom and agriculture.

Why these 6 states were chosen?

Post-COVID-19 lockdown, maximum migrant workers have returned to these six states.

  • These districts are estimated to cover about 2/3 of such migrant workers.
  • The chosen districts include 27 aspirational districts.

Significance of the scheme:

The jobs selected in the campaign will enable proper utilisation of the strength and skill of people. It will also enable the government to convert Covid crisis into an opportunity.

The campaign will contribute towards provision of modern facilities, such as internet connectivity, laying of optic fibre cables, to increase internet speed in villages, so that children in villages are able to study and learn like those in cities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Districts covered under the scheme.
  2. What are aspirations districts?
  3. Types of works covered under the scheme.
  4. What are CSCs?
  5. Various ministries involved in the implementation of the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of the scheme.

116districts

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints.

Intercropping

Why in News?

Kerala government is planning to modify specific laws that govern the plantation sector to allow the management to intercrop food crops with cash crops such as tea, coffee, cardamom and rubber.

Laws that need modification include the Kerala Land Reforms Act, Kerala Grants and Leases (Modification of Rights) Act and Kerala Land Utilisation Order.

Need for:

To break its dependency on food imports from neighbouring States.

To guard against possible food protectionism by large-scale producers by opening up plantations for farming edibles.

Implications:

Plantations encompassed 8 lakh hectares in Kerala. An amendment of the law would free up an estimated 2 lakh hectares for inter-cropping.

  • The proposed modification would also permit plantations to diversify into dairy and poultry farming.
  • It would spur investment in precision farming characterised by high yield food crops, reduced use of toxic pesticides, chemical fertilisers and water.

Proposed plan:

The Kerala Agriculture University had zoned Kerala into 23 agro-climatic sectors.

  • It had suggested that oranges, apples, avocados, grapefruit and winter vegetables as ideal intercrop for high altitude tea plantations in regions such as Munnar.
  • In rubber growing regions, the cultivation of rambutan, mangosteen and other tropical fruits in small plots interspersed among the trees has been suggested.
  • It had also suggested jack fruit as shade trees in tea, coffee and cardamom plantations.

What is intercropping?

It is the cultivation of two or more crops simultaneously on the same field.

The main goal is to produce a greater yield on a given piece of land by making use of resources of ecological processes that would otherwise not be utilised by a single crop.

There are different approaches to intercropping such as:

  1. Mixed intercropping – two or more crops are planted in a mix without a distinct row arrangement.
  2. Row intercropping – two or more crops are planted in distinct rows.
  3. Relay intercropping – two or more crops are grown at the same time as part of the life cycle of each i.e. a second crop is sown after the first crop has been well established but before it reaches its harvesting stage.
  4. Strip intercropping – growing two or more crops at the same time in separate strips wide enough apart for independent cultivation.

Advantages of intercropping:

More efficient use of light, water and other nutrient resources compared to single crops.

It allows for effective management of cover crops because crop mixtures have lower pest densities.

Potential increased crop yields per unit area.

Improved soil fertility by leguminous intercrops e.g. nitrogen fixing.

Reduced soil erosion.

Lowered soil surface evaporation.

Some cons of intercropping:

  • Intercropping is not always suited to a mechanised farming system.
  • Time consuming: It requires more attention and thus increased intensive, expert management.
  • There is reduced efficiency in planting, weeding and harvesting which may add to the labour costs of these operations.
  • The biggest challenge to adopting intercropping systems is the advance planning of planting, cultivation, fertilisation, spraying and harvesting of more than one crop in the same field. 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Different cropping patterns.
  2. Climatic conditions for tea and coffee.
  3. Types of intercropping.
  4. Pros and cons.
  5. What is Zero Budget Natural Farming?

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of intercropping.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is Covifor?

It is an antiviral Remdesivir for treatment of COVID 19.

Drug Controller General of India has recently given its nod to Drugmaker Hetero to launch this new drug.

It is the second such drug to enter the Indian market after Fabiflu by Glenmark, which came a day earlier.

Golden Langurs:

Why in News?

Primatologists have observed that the Gee’s golden langur induce stillbirth of babies killed inside the womb of females, besides practising infanticide.

Forced abortion and infanticide happen when a new male takes over. He often kills the baby of a lactating female or hits the abdomen of a female impregnated by the deposed male till the point of abortion.

Other Concerns:

Obstructions such as wires, and gaps in the forest due to felling, have increased the threat of inbreeding among golden langurs.

Facts:

  • Habitat: semi evergreen and mixed deciduous forests.
  • Found in Small regions of western Assam and in the neighbouring foothills of the black mountains of Bhutan.

Protection status:

  • Schedule I species in the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).
  • CITES Appendix I.
  • Endangered in IUCN Red List.

Population:

In 2019, Bhutan recorded a drop of 62% in the population of golden langurs over the 2009 census. The recorded estimation in Assam in 2009 was 5,140.

This year’s census could not be completed due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Golden_Langurs

International Yoga Day:

Observed on June 21st every year.

Theme for 2020: “Yoga for Health – Yoga at Home”.

The World Health Organization mentions yoga as a means to improve health in its Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018–2030: More active people for a healthier world.

Background:

The UN proclaimed June 21 as International Day of Yoga by passing a resolution on December 11, 2014, during the 69th session of the General Assembly.

Swabhiman Anchal:

  • Swabhiman Anchal, formerly known as Cut-off area, in Malkangiri district of Odisha has been a Maoist stronghold.
  • The area was covered by water from three sides and inhospitable terrain by another. It had long been a stronghold of naxalites.
  • The Maoists from Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh used to slip into Swabhiman Anchal to take refuge.

Why in News?

The Odisha police has been strengthening security infrastructure in the area.

UNICEF Kid Power:

Why in News?

UNICEF Kid Power’ has listed 13 Yoga stretches and poses for children.

What is it?

  • UNICEF Kid Power is a program of UNICEF USA that gives kids the power to save lives by connecting their everyday activity to real-world impact.
  • Launched in 2015, the initiative, in collaboration with technology firms, develops activity tracker bands for kids.
  • These bands act as a kids’ fitness tracker bracelet that connects to a smartphone app. The app lets users complete missions, which counts total steps and awards points.
  • The points then unlock funding from partners, which is then used by UNICEF to deliver packets of therapeutic food (Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF)) to severely malnourished children around the globe.

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Detection of fluorine in hot extreme helium stars.
  2. Solar eclipse and solstice.
  3. Pokhran potteries.

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