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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 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. Strength of M.P. Ministry exceeds Constitutional limit.

2. One Nation One Voter ID.

3. Bhutan demarches China on its claim to Sakteng Sanctuary.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India’s first plasma bank.

2. NASA research says the Moon is more metallic than thought before.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. ICAR and NICRA.

2. Krishi Vigyan Kendra.

3. Karan- 4.

4. Kisanrath.

5. Atmanirbhar Bharat app innovation challenge.

6. Stevioside.

7. Winter grade diesel for Ladakh.

8. Elyments.

9. Dhanvanthri Rath.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Strength of M.P. Ministry exceeds Constitutional limit

Context:

Congress is planning to move the court as the strength of the Council of Ministers in Madhya Pradesh reportedly exceeds the prescribed limit.

Background:

Recently, 20 Cabinet Ministers and eight Ministers of State were included in the Council of Ministers, expanding it to 34.

This is more than 15% of the effective strength of the legislators at 206. The strength of the Council of Ministers shouldn’t have exceeded 30.

  • The Assembly strength of 228 dropped in March when 22 rebel Congress MLAs resigned and later switched over to the BJP. Two seats fell vacant earlier owing to deaths.

What the Constitution says?

Article 164 (1A) of the Constitution prescribed that the total number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister, in the Council of Ministers in a State shall not exceed 15% of the total number of members of the Legislative Assembly of that State.

  • This provision was introduced through the 91st Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003.

Exceptions: Provided that the number of Ministers, including the Chief Minister in a State shall not be less than twelve.

Article 163: Council of Ministers to aid and advise Governor:

  1. There shall be a Council of Ministers with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this Constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion.
  2. If any question arises whether any matter is or is not a matter as respects which the Governor is by or under this Constitution required to act in his discretion, the decision of the Governor in his discretion shall be final, and the validity of anything done by the Governor shall not be called in question on the ground that he ought or ought not to have acted in his discretion.
  3. The question whether any, and if so what, advice was tendered by Ministers to the Governor shall not be inquired into in any court.

 Article 164 (2) provides that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the State Legislative Assembly.

Article 164 (4) provides that a person can remain as Minister without being a member of the state legislature for a period of six consecutive months.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 163 and 164 are related to?
  2. What is collective responsibility?
  3. Who appoints CM and CoM?
  4. Who distributes portfolios among ministers.
  5. 91st Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003 is related to?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

One Nation One Voter ID

Context:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has made it possible for senior citizens above the age of 65 to vote by postal ballot, given that they are at greater risk from exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Now, there is an opinion that the same empowering approach be extended to another group which faces enormous difficulties in exercising its franchise: migrant workers.

Why migrant workers?

Internal migrant workers constitute about 13.9 crore as in the Economic Survey of 2017, that is nearly a third of India’s labour force.

They are often unable to exercise their voting rights. Therefore, Migrant workers become quasi-disenfranchised, forgotten voters because they cannot afford to return home on election day to choose their representatives.

  • Internal migrant workers do not enrol as voters in their place of employment since they find proof of residence hard to provide.
  • This group also does not constitute a vote bank worthy of attention.
  • Many are seasonal migrants who would rather vote in their villages if they could afford to return home.

What needs to be done now?

Ensuring that every Indian who is eligible to vote can do so must be a central mission for the ECI.

ECI has said that it is testing an Aadhaar-linked voter-ID based solution to enable electors to cast their votes digitally from anywhere in the country.

  • To facilitate voting by migrant workers, the ECI could undertake substantial outreach measures using the network of District Collectorates.
  • Migrants should be able to physically vote in their city of work based on the address on their existing voter IDs and duration of their temporary stay.

Conclusion:

A ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ is being ushered in to enable migrant workers and their family members to access Public Distribution System benefits from any fair price shop in the country.

Similarly, voting must be viewed not just as a civic duty but as a civic right. We must demonstrate the political will to usher in ‘One Nation One Voter ID,’ to ensure native ballot portability and empower the forgotten migrant voter.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Right to vote- is it a constitutional right?
  2. Voting rights during the colonial rule- brief events.
  3. What is postal ballot?
  4. ECI- composition and key functions.
  5. What is a secret ballot?
  6. What is Aadhar Number?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of One Nation One Voter ID.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Bhutan demarches China on its claim to Sakteng Sanctuary

Context:

Bhutan’s foreign ministry has issued a demarche to the Chinese embassy in New Delhi for the claims made by Beijing over Sakteng Wildlife sanctuary, situated in eastern Bhutan.

What’s the issue?

Bhutan’s western and middle sector have been in dispute with China (Jakarlung, Pasamlung and Chumbi Valley). However, the eastern sector has not been part of the boundary talks and China had not claimed rights over Sakteng wildlife sanctuary earlier.

  • The recent claim was made at the 58th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council where China tried to “oppose” funding to a project for the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary situated in Bhutan saying that it was “disputed” territory.

While Thimphu and Beijing do not have formal diplomatic relations, the two sides have been in talks to resolve the border issues between the two countries and demarcate the boundary.

Dividing_line

Where is Sakteng wildlife sanctuary?

Sakteng is based in Eastern Bhutan, or Trashigang Dzongkhag (district) that borders Arunachal Pradesh.

About GEF:

Established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems.

It is an international partnership of countries, international institutions, civil society organizations and the private sector that addresses global environmental issues.

GEF funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements.

  • The World Bank serves as the GEF Trustee, administering the GEF Trust Fund.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Trustee of GEF.
  2. Funding from GEF.
  3. Outcomes of 1992 earth summit.
  4. Locate the following on map: Sakteng, Doklam, Jakarlung, Chumbi valley and Doklam.
  5. Tri- junction border between India, Bhutan and China.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Doklam Stand-off.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

India’s first plasma bank:

Established at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Delhi.

Aim: To ease access to plasma that is being used as a trial to treat Covid-19 patients.

How it functions?

The plasma bank functions like a blood bank, and has been created specifically for those who are suffering from Covid-19, and have been advised the therapy by doctors.

  • The bank will coordinate with patients who have recovered from Covid-19, and are eligible to donate plasma.

Who can donate plasma?

Those who had the disease, but have recovered at least 14 days before the donation can be considered.

  • People between the ages of 18 and 60, and weighing not less than 50 kg are eligible.
  • Women who have given birth are not eligible, as the antibodies they produce during pregnancy (after being exposed to the blood of the foetus) can interfere with lung function.

How is plasma donation different from blood donation?

  • In plasma donation, as opposed to blood donation, only plasma is extracted and the other components of blood are returned to the body.
  • Blood contains several components, including red blood cells, platelets, white blood cells, and plasma.
  • 500 ml of plasma can be donated every two weeks, while blood can be donated once in three months.

plasma_therapy

 How plasma therapy works?

  1. Blood is drawn from a person who has recovered from COVID-19 sickness.
  2. The serum is separated and screened for virus-neutralizing antibodies.
  3. Convalescent serum,that is the blood serum obtained from one who has recovered from an infectious disease and especially rich in antibodies for that pathogen, is then administered to a COVID-19 patient.
  4. The sick acquires passive immunisation.

How long the antibodies will remain in the recipient?

After the antibody serum is given, it will stay on the recipient for at least three to four days. During this period, the sick person will recover. Various studies have confirmed this.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between vaccination and plasma therapy?
  2. What is passive immunisation?
  3. What are antibodies and antigens?
  4. First Nobel prize in medicine?
  5. Differences between blood donation and plasma donation.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of convalescent plasma therapy.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA research says the Moon is more metallic than thought before

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft has found evidence that the Moon’s subsurface might have greater quantities of metals such as iron and titanium than thought before.

  • The metallic distribution was observed by the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument aboard the LRO.

The Mini-RF findings were backed by metal oxide maps from the LRO Wide-Angle Camera, Japan’s Kaguya mission and NASA’s Lunar Prospector spacecraft, which showed that larger craters with their increased dielectric material were also richer in metals.

How was it discovered?

LRO’s Mini-RF instrument was measuring an electrical property within lunar soil in crater floors in the Moon’s northern hemisphere.

The property, known as the dielectric constant, is the ratio of the electric permeability of a material to the electric permeability of a vacuum.

Dielectric properties are directly linked to the concentration of these metal minerals.

  • Level of this property increased as they surveyed larger craters, and kept rising in crater sizes up to 5 km in diameter. Beyond that size, the value of the dielectric constant leveled off.

The findings raise the possibility that the dielectric constant increased in larger craters because the meteors that created them dug up dust containing iron and titanium oxides from beneath the Moon’s surface.

How was moon created?

The most popular theory about the Moon’s creation is that a Mars-sized protoplanet collided with newly formed Earth around 4.5 billion years ago, breaking off a piece of our planet that went on to become its satellite.

  • The hypothesis is also backed by substantial evidence, such as the close resemblance between the Moon’s bulk chemical composition with that of Earth.

Implications of latest findings:

It is known that Earth’s crust has lesser amounts of iron oxide than the Moon– a finding that scientists have been trying to explain.

  • Now, the new discovery of even greater quantities of metal on the Moon makes their job even more difficult. It really raises the question of what this means for our previous formation hypotheses.

A possible reason could be that the Moon was created from a material much deeper beneath Earth’s surface than was believed before, or that the newly found metal presence could be the result of molten lunar surface cooling down gradually.

About Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO):

It is a NASA mission to the moon within the Lunar Precursor and Robotic Program (LPRP) in preparation for future manned missions to the moon and beyond (Mars).

LRO is the first mission of NASA’s `New Vision for Space Exploration’.

 The objectives of LRO are to:

  1. Identify potential lunar resources.
  2. Gather detailed maps of the lunar surface.
  3. Collect data on the moon’s radiation levels.
  4. Study the moons polar regions for resources that could be used in future manned missions or robotic sample return missions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Objectives of LRO.
  2. Overview of NASA’s `New Vision for Space Exploration’.
  3. Moon formation hypothesis.
  4. Composition of earth’s crust.
  5. What is dielectric constant?
  6. Kaguya mission is related to?

Mains Link:

Write a note on Chandrayaan 2 mission.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


ICAR and NICRA:

Indian Council of agricultural research (ICAR) is an autonomous body Responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India.

  • It reports to the Department of agricultural research and education, Ministry of agriculture.
  • The union minister of agriculture serves as its president.
  • It is the largest network of agricultural research and education institutes in the world.
  • National innovations of climate resilient agriculture (NICRA) has been launched by ICAR in 2011.

Krishi Vigyan Kendra:

The name means “farm science Centre”.

The Centre serves as the ultimate link between the Indian Council of agricultural research and farmers.

  • The Centre is usually associated with a local agricultural University.
  • It aims to apply agricultural research and practical localised setting.
  • As of January 2020, there were approximately 716 KVKs throughout India.

Karan- 4:

It is a sugar cane variety that has enhanced sugar recovery and has replaced traditional grown varieties in Uttar Pradesh.

Kisanrath:

  • It is an app launched by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare.
  • Developed by the National Informatics Centre.
  • It will facilitate farmers and traders to identify suitable transport facilities for the movement of farm produce during coronavirus lock down.
  • The App will allow transportation of farm produce from farm gate to mandi and from one to another mandi.
  • It will ensure seamless supply linkages between farmers, FPOs, APMC mandis and intra-state and inter-state buyers.

Atmanirbhar Bharat app innovation challenge:

This initiative is created by MeitY in partnership with Atal Innovation Mission – Niti Aayog.

The challenge is for techies around India and the start-up community for creating world class ‘Made in India’ apps.

The challenge will run in two tracks:

  1. Promotion of existing apps.
  2. Development of new apps.

The outcome of this challenge will be to give better visibility and clarity to existing apps to achieve their goals, and to create tech products to find solutions to tech conundrums with the help of mentorship, tech support and guidance during the entire life-cycle.

To recognise good apps, there will be “various cash awards and incentives”.

  • The prize money for apps is between Rs 20 lakh and Rs 2 lakh depending on the category.

The app will be evaluated on the basis of: ease of use, robustness, security features and scalability.

Stevioside:

It is a natural plant-based glycoside found in leaves of Honey yerba.

It is widely used as the non-caloric natural sweeteners.

Why in News?

Researchers recently found that Stevioside when coated on nanoparticles can increase the efficiency of Magnetic hyperthermia-mediated cancer therapy (MHCT).

Winter grade diesel for Ladakh:

Winter diesel is a specialised fuel that was introduced by IOCL last year specifically for high altitude regions and low-temperature regions such as Ladakh, where ordinary diesel can become unusable.

  • It contains additives to maintain lower viscosity. It has higher cetane rating — an indicator is the combustion speed of diesel and compression needed for ignition— and lower sulphur content, which would lead to lower deposits in engines and better performance.

Significance: The new fuel has a pour point of – 33oC and does not lose its fluidity function even in the extreme winter weather of the region unlike the normal grade of diesel which becomes exceedingly difficult to utilise.

Need: Using the normal grade of diesel fuel becomes an arduous task for the people in the winter months where temperatures fall to sub zero temperatures of nearly –30 degree Celsius.

Elyments:

It is being hailed as the country’s first indigenously developed ‘social media super app’.

The app has been developed by over 1,000 IT professionals who volunteer at Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s Art of Living foundation.

  • It will compete with the likes of Facebook and Instagram, comes with hosts of features that enable users to connect with friends and family in a creative way.
  • The app also has messaging and group chatting capabilities.
  • It is available in eight Indian languages.
  • It comes with features such as end-to-end encryption, which ensures that users’ data ‘remains safe from prying eyes’.

Dhanvantri Rath:

It is a mobile van providing non-COVID essential healthcare services to the doorsteps of the people in the city of Ahmedabad.

  • These vans have an Ayush Doctor, paramedic and nursing staff along with local Medical Officer from Urban Health Centre.

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