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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 2 July 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. Police reform and the crucial judicial actor.

2. Same Language Subtitling (SLS) project.

3. G4 Virus.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs.

2. Lax on safety: On Nevveli and Vizag disasters.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. New butterfly species from Arunachal.

2. World’s first ever online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science.

3. Hul Divas.

4. National Doctor’s Day 2020.

5. ‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Police reform and the crucial judicial actor

Context:

The death of a father and son due to alleged custodial torture in Sathankulam town near Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu has brought into focus the topic “Police reforms and the role of Judiciary “.

Such recurring incidents also raise one significant question:

  • How many more times must powerless citizens suffer the blows of a lathi or a baton, the kicks of patent leather boots, be violated by the “wooden rollers” around their private areas, not to mention spending hours inside a police lockup, all as a part of an “investigation” by police searching for “truth”?

Role of judiciary:

As always, when the conversation veers in this direction it becomes natural to look towards the judiciary as the source of hope and action.

In this case, the Madurai High Court has taken notice on its own and is “closely” monitoring the situation.

How has the Supreme Court handled this topic in the past?

Supreme Court has intervened multiple times in the 1990s through cases such as Joginder Kumar v. State of UP [AIR 1994 SC 1349] and D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal [(1997) 1 SCC 416], where guidelines were passed to try and secure two rights in the context of any state action:

  1. A right to life.
  2. A right to know.

Through the guidelines, the Court sought to curb the power of arrest, as well as ensure that an accused person is made aware of all critical information regarding her arrest and also convey this to friends and family immediately in the event of being taken in custody.

  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2008 gave statutory backing to these judicial guidelines; it remains part of the law today.

Finally, in Prakash Singh v. Union of India (2006) case, the Court pushed through new legislation for governing police forces to be passed by States across India. A key component of the new legislation was a robust setup for accountability that contemplated a grievance redress mechanism. 

What else has been advised by the judiciary to reduce police violence?

  1. Support for “scientific” investigations.
  2. Fascination for techniques such as narcoanalysis, ensuring video recording of investigations.
  3. Passing orders for installing closed-circuit television cameras inside police stations.

Why judicial interventions have failed to curb the violence?

Judiciary’s approach of simply passing directions and guidelines, has proven to be a failure.

  • For it is the ordinary magistrate, and not the constitutional court, who is the judicial actor wielding real power to realise substantial change in police practices.
  • Gap between the highest court and the lowly police officer in India has been demonstrated through studies which show how despite criminal laws being struck down as unconstitutional, they continue to be enforced in various parts of the country by local police.

What needs to be done?

Rather than expend energies in only passing more guidelines, constitutional courts must seriously contend with the concrete cases that come their way and expose how hard it is for a common man to get justice against police violence, either through compensation claims or prosecutions.

They must shed the institutional baggage which often leads to them protecting the supposedly vulnerable morale of police. 

It is time to consider sanctions at a larger scale and impose monetary penalties at the district level, to drive home the message that the erring actions of one officer must be seen as a failure of the force itself.

They could strike an inspired move by reorienting their guidelines to try and change the practices of magistrates, over whom they exercise powers of superintendence, as opposed to other non-judicial actors.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was the National Police Commission established?
  2. Ribeiro committee is associated with?
  3. Key recommendations made by Malimath Committee.
  4. Police under 7th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  5. Prakash Singh case is more popularly associated with?

Mains:

Write a note on police reforms.

Sources: The Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to education.

Same Language Subtitling (SLS) project

Context:

The Same Language Subtitling (SLS) project at IIM-Ahmedabad has researched and implemented SLS pilots on TV in eight major Indian languages.

The project has completed a 23 years journey. And yet, the most critical policy step remains unaccomplished — quality implementation of the policy on TV channels.

About SLS project:

In 1996 the Same Language Subtitling (SLS) programme was launched as a research project.

Its aim was to examine whether the subtitling of mainstream TV content could help people, especially those who were hard to reach through traditional literacy programmes, to improve their reading and writing skills.

In 1999, SLS was officially put into practice as a literacy intervention programme by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA) and not-for-profit organization PlanetRead.

  • SLS has the proven power to transform much of TV and OTT content consumption into routine reading practice that is inescapable, subconscious, sustainable, scalable, and extremely cost-effective.
  • The ‘Accessibility Standards’ of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB), framed in September 2019 under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, require 50% of all entertainment content on TV to carry captions in the same language, or SLS, by 2025.

The main approach of SLS is quite simple: to subtitle audiovisual content in the language of the audio track so the on-screen text and audio match perfectly. While watching TV, viewers can match the words on screen to the sounds they are hearing simultaneously.

Significance and potential of the project:

India is globally the first country where the mainstreaming of SLS on TV and streaming content is being advanced for mass reading literacy.

  • When SLS is implemented on TV in all Indian languages, as broadcast policy now stipulates, it will automatically give daily reading practice to an estimated 600 million weak readers who currently cannot read and understand simple text, like a newspaper.
  • Within three to five years of regular exposure to SLS on entertainment content already watched, many of them will become functional and some even fluent readers.

Background:

Close to a billion viewers in India watch on average 3 hours and 46 minutes of TV every day (FICCI-EY, 2019). No other activity, nationally, comes close to commanding four billion person-hours every day.

COVID 19 pandemic situation:

COVID-19 has further highlighted the potential of the SLS solution for upping the nation’s mass reading skills. Globally, 1.4 billion children, and in India 300 million, have been locked out of schools. Intermittent school openings and closures are to be expected going forward.

Way ahead:

A national implementation of SLS on existing general entertainment content (GEC) on TV and streaming platforms, also known as Over-The-Top (OTT), would revolutionise reading literacy in India.

This is in addition to having massive national impact in two other domains, that of media access among Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) people and of language learning.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Examples for OTT platforms.
  2. SLS project was launched by?
  3. Focus of the program.
  4. Overview of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

Mains Link:

Write a note on SLS project.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

G4 Virus

Context:

Researchers in China have discovered a new form of swine flu that can infect humans, and they believe it has the potential to cause a future pandemic.

This swine flu has been dubbed the G4 virus and it’s related to the H1N1 flu that caused widespread illness in 2009.

What is the G4 virus, exactly?

The G4 virus is a newly discovered strain of the H1N1 flu virus.

It’s basically a virus that’s found in pigs but has combined the swine flu virus with the H1N1 virus that circulates in humans.

  • G4 viruses bind to receptor molecules in human cells, and can replicate in the outer layer of the respiratory system.

Transmission and symptoms:

The newly identified virus can efficiently infect ferrets via aerosol transmission, causing severe clinical symptoms in them like sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and a mean maximum weight loss ranging from 7.3 to 9.8 per cent of the mammals’ body mass.

Concern:

It has the potential to become a human virus.

  • Of concern is that swine workers show elevated seroprevalence for G4 virus.
  • Moreover, low antigenic cross-reactivity of human influenza vaccine strains with G4 reassortant EA H1N1 virus indicates that preexisting population immunity does not provide protection against G4 viruses.

What is H1N1 influenza?
Swine flu (H1N1) is a highly contagious respiratory infection caused by a type of Influenza A viruses in humans. It has been named so as people who worked near pigs (or in close contact with them) were seen getting infected by this disease. It was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation in the year 2009 as it was spreading aggressively back then.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About H1N1 and related strains.
  2. What is G4 virus?
  3. Difference between pandemic and epidemic?
  4. WHO- Director General.
  5. Previous pandemics.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues related.

Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs

Context:

RBI announces special liquidity scheme for NBFCs and HFCs through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to avoid any potential systemic risks to the financial sector.

Background:

Finance Minister had announced on 13th March 2020, launch of a Special Liquidity Scheme of Rs. 30,000 crore.

Key features of the scheme:

  • RBI will provide funds for the Scheme by subscribing to government guaranteed special securities issued by the Trust.
  • The total amount of such securities issued outstanding shall not exceed Rs. 30,000 crores at any point of time.
  • Government of India will provide an unconditional and irrevocable guarantee to the special securities issued by the Trust.

Who is eligible?

NBFCs, including Microfinance Institutions that are registered with the RBI, under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, excluding those registered as Core Investment Companies.

Housing Finance Companies that are registered under the National Housing Bank Act, 1987.

Other eligibility criteria:

  • CRAR/CAR of NBFCs/HFCs should not be below the regulatory minimum, i.e., 15% and 12% respectively as on March 31, 2019.
  • The net non-performing assets should not be more than 6% as on March 31, 2019.
  • They should have made net profit in at least one of the last two preceding financial years (i.e. 2017-18 and 2018-19)
  • They should be rated investment grade by a SEBI registered rating agency.

Implementation:

  1. SBICAP which is a subsidiary of the State Bank of India has set up a SPV (SLS Trust) to manage this operation.
  2. The SPV will purchase the short-term papers from eligible NBFCs/HFCs, who shall utilise the proceeds under this scheme solely for the purpose of extinguishing existing liabilities.
  3. The instruments will be CPs and NCDs with a residual maturity of not more than three months and rated as investment grade.

Way ahead:

  • The Scheme will remain open for 3 months for making subscriptions by the Trust.
  • The period of lending (CPs/NCDs of NBFCs/HFCs for short duration of upto 90 days) by the Trust shall be for a period of upto 90 days.
  • The financing would be used by the NFBCs/HFCs only to repay existing liabilities and not to expand assets.

Prelims Link:

  1. What are NBFCs?
  2. NBFCs vs Commercial Banks.
  3. Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs- implementation.
  4. What are core investment companies?
  5. RBI Act of 1934.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

Lax on safety: On Nevveli and Vizag disasters

Context:

Second Fatal Boiler Blast In Two Months At Plant In Tamil Nadu.

  • The blast took place at a power plant of the central government-owned NLC India Limited (formerly known as Neyveli Lignite Corporation Limited) in Cuddalore, about 180 km from state capital Chennai.

This once again underscore the value of safety protocols, particularly the Indian Boilers Act.

About the Indian Boilers Act, 1923:

Enacted with the objective to provide mainly for the safety of life and Property of persons from the danger of explosions of steam boilers and for achieving uniformity in registration and inspection during operation and maintenance of boilers in India.

Definitions:

Boiler: Under Section2(b) of the Act, Boiler is any closed vessel exceeding 22.75 liters in capacity which is used expressly for generating steam under pressure and includes any mounting or other fitting attached to such vessel, which is wholly or partly under pressure when is shut off.

Accident means an explosion of a boiler or steam- pipe or any damage to a boiler or steam- pipe which is calculated to weaken the strength thereof so as to render it liable to explode.

Conclusion:

Such accidents are mostly preventable, and occur rarely in the industrialised world, because of impeccable attention to safety. India’s aspirations to industrialise should be founded on safety.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


New butterfly species from Arunachal:

Lepidopterists have discovered two species of butterflies in Arunachal Pradesh. They are:

  1. The Striped Hairstreak (Yamamotozephyrus kwangtugenesis)was located in Vijaynagar bordering Myanmar. It was first recorded by Japanese entomologists in Hainan province of China.
  2. The Elusive Prince (Rohana tonkiniana)was found in Miao on the periphery of the Namdapha National Park. It has a Vietnamese connection and was thought to be the more familiar Black Prince found in the Eastern Himalayas.

butterfly

World’s first ever online B.Sc. degree in Programming and Data Science:

  • The programme has been prepared and offered by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras).
  • The program will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments and in-person invigilated exams just like any other regular course.

Eligibility:

  • This programme is open to anyone who has passed Class 12th, with English and Maths at the Class 10th level, and enrolled in any on-campus UG course. The current batch of students who are completing their Class 12th in 2020 are eligible to apply.
  • Graduates and working professionals can also take up this programme.

Hul Divas:

Hul Divas is observed annually on June 30 in memory of tribals — Sidho and Kanhu Murmu — who led the Santhal hul (rebellion) on June 30, 1855, at Bhognadih in Sahebganj district.

This was believed to be the first people’s action against the British.

hul_divas

National Doctor’s Day 2020:

Celebrated on July 1 every year to honour eminent physician Dr Bidhan Chandra Roy.

Doctor’s Day was established by the Government of India in 1991.

  • It is traditionally organised in the country by the Indian Medical Association (IMA).
  • The theme this year is “lessen the mortality of COVID-19”.

Globally, the first Doctor’s Day was observed on March 28, 1933, in Winder, Georgia.

About Dr Roy:

  • He was the second chief minister of West Bengal.
  • He was also Mahatma Gandhi’s friend and doctor.
  • He was honoured with Bharat Ratna on February 4,1961.

‘Accelerate Vigyan’ Scheme:

Launched by Scientific and Engineering Research Board (SERB).

  • It seeks to provide a single platform for capacity building programs, research internships, and workshops across the country.
  • The primary objective of this scheme is to give more thrust on encouraging high-end scientific research and preparing scientific manpower, which can lead to research careers and knowledge-based economy.

Components:

ABHYAAS: To boost research and development in the country by enabling and grooming potential PG/PhD students by means of developing their research skills in selected areas across different disciplines or fields.

  • It has two components: High-End Workshops (‘KARYASHALA’) and Research Internships (‘VRITIKA’).

Mission SAMOOHAN: Marks the beginning of Accelerate Vigyan.

It aims to encourage, aggregate and consolidate all scientific interactions in the country under one common roof.

It has been sub-divided into:

  1. SAYONJIKA is an open-ended program to catalogue the capacity building activities in science and technology supported by all government funding agencies in the country.
  2. SANGOSHTI is a pre-existing program of SERB.

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