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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 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. Kanpur Encounter case and policing issues.

2. FAO locust warning.

3. Lesson from Doklam: No de-escalation until full return of status quo.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is Compulsory Licensing?

2. What is Raman Spectroscopy?

3. NHAI to Rank Roads for Quality Service.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Vaartavali.

2. Sanskrit Saptahiki.

3. Haryana Drafts Ordinance To Reserve 75% Private Sector Jobs For Locals.

4. Fourth highest opium seizure in 2018 reported from India: World Drug Report.

5. Zardozi art.

6. Places in News- Natanz.

7. National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO).

 


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.

Kanpur Encounter case and policing issues

All the staff of a police station in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh — where 8 policemen were shot down by Vikas Dubey and his gang on Friday — are suspected of leaking information to the notorious criminal.

  • This incident bears the violent signature of a dysfunctional society and an alarming emaciation of governance in India’s most populous State. 

What this incident exposes?

Gangster Vikas Dubey is the symbol of the nexus between politics, crime and policing in many parts of the country.

The circumstances that went into the making of this incident and the response of the administration all point to the same morbid affliction that can be fatal to any democratic society — the collapse of the rule of law.

  • Criminal gangs shielded by politics and police forces that bend to caste, communal and political vested interests form a malevolent circuit that perpetuates itself and rewards its patrons.

Reasons for the present crisis in policing:

The police force is the coercive arm of the state often in direct contact with ordinary citizens. The quality of policing therefore has an outsized impact on the overall quality of governance.

  • But, Poor training, an alienating and dehumanising work environment, corruption and a lack of resources add to the crisis in policing.
  • Politicians in power often use the police the same way politicians out of power use gangsters. Not surprisingly, there are times when the police mirror in character the criminal gangs they chase down.
  • Questionable coercive measures such as collective punishment and criminalisation of political protest and suppression of freedom of expression have also been mainstreamed as regular policing tools.

Need of the hour- Smart policing:

‘SMART’ police force is Strict and Sensitive, Modern and Mobile, Alert and Accountable, Reliable and Responsive; Techno-savvy and Trained.

There is an urgent need to strengthen our Criminal Justice System and our grassroots level policing institutions;

  • to prepare our police to deal with the present and emerging challenges and
  • Strengthen its investigative capabilities and emergency response infrastructure.

Considering the multiple causes and their complex interdependencies associated with today’s policing issues, there is a realization that these challenges require broader, more collaborative and innovative approaches and would involve a range of coordinated and interrelated responses.

Directions of the Supreme Court in Prakash Singh vs Union of India:

  1. Constitute a State Security Commissionin every state that will lay down policy for police functioning, evaluate police performance, and ensure that state governments do not exercise unwarranted influence on the police.
  2. Constitute a Police Establishment Boardin every state that will decide postings, transfers and promotions for officers below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, and make recommendations to the state government for officers of higher ranks.
  3. Constitute Police Complaints Authorities at the state and district levels to inquire into allegations of serious misconduct and abuse of power by police personnel.
  4. Provide a minimum tenure of at least two years for the DGP and other key police officers within the state forces
  5. Ensure that the DGP of state police is appointed from amongst three senior-most officers who have been empanelled for the promotion by the Union Public Service Commission on the basis of length of service, good record and experience.
  6. Separate the investigating police from the law and order police to ensure speedier investigation, better expertise and improved rapport with the people.
  7. Constitute a National Security Commission to shortlist the candidates for appointment as Chiefs of the central armed police forces.

Besides, Various expert bodies have examined issues with police organisation and functioning over the last few decades. Its chronology as follows:

  1. National Police commission 1977-81
  2. Rubeiro Committee 1998
  3. Padmanabhaiah committee 2000
  4. Malimath committee 2002-03
  5. Police Act drafting committee 2005
  6. Second ARC 2007
  7. Police Act drafting committee-II 2015

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 Link:

Write a note on police reforms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

FAO locust warning

India should remain on high alert against locust attack for the next four weeks, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned amid the country facing the worst locust attack in 26 years.

  • Spring-bred locust swarms, which migrated to the Indo-Pakistan border and travelled east to northern states, are expected to return back to Rajasthan with the start of the monsoon in coming days.

The current locust attack (2019-2020) has been categorised as an upsurge.

Difference between a locust plague, upsurge and outbreak:

  1. Outbreak: If good rains fall and green vegetation develop, Desert Locust can rapidly increase in number and within a month or two, start to concentrate, gregarize which, unless checked, can lead to the formation of small groups or bands of wingless hoppers and small groups or swarms winged adults. This is called an OUTBREAK and usually occurs with an area of about 5,000 sq. km (100 km by 50 km) in one part of a country. 
  2. Upsurge: If an outbreak or contemporaneous outbreaks are not controlled and if widespread or unusually heavy rains fall in adjacent areas, several successive seasons of breeding can occur that causes further hopper band and adult swarm formation. This is called an UPSURGE and generally affects an entire region.
  3. Plague: If an upsurge is not controlled and ecological conditions remain favourable for breeding, locust populations continue to increase in number and size, and the majority of the infestations occur as bands and swarms, then a PLAGUE can develop. A major plague exists when two or more regions are affected simultaneously.

Outbreaks are common, but only a few result in upsurges. Similarly, few upsurges lead to plagues. The last major plague was in 1987-89 and the last major upsurge was in 2003-05. Upsurges and plagues do not occur overnight; instead, they take many months to develop.

What are ‘desert locusts’?

Desert locusts (Schistocerca gregaria), which belong to the family of grasshoppers, normally live and breed in semi-arid or desert regions. For laying eggs, they require bare ground, which is rarely found in areas with dense vegetation.

How they form swarms?

As individuals, or in small isolated groups, locusts are not very dangerous. But when they grow into large populations their behaviour changes, they transform from ‘solitary phase’ into ‘gregarious phase’, and start forming ‘swarms’. A single swarm can contain 40 to 80 million adults in one square km, and these can travel up to 150 km a day.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are desert locusts?
  2. How they form swarms?
  3. What is gregarious phase?
  4. Difference between a plague, upsurge and an outbreak.
  5. When was the last locust plague?

Mains Link:

Discuss how India should prepare itself for the upcoming locust upsurge.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Lesson from Doklam: No de-escalation until full return of status quo

First signs have emerged that India and China are disengaging — even if partially — on the ground in Ladakh. Both sides have pulled back their troops from the site of the June 15 clash in Galwan Valley.

However, Pointing out to the outcome of the Doklam stand-off in 2017 as a marker, Experts have said;

  • The government must not agree to de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakhwithout an agreement on returning to “status quo ante” or the situation before the stand-off began.

Why so?

It is because the lesson for us in Doklam is that disengagement is not enough in order to declare an end to tensions at the LAC. It is necessary that we define end points up to where the troops must withdraw to and no understanding should be reached without the restoration of status quo ante.

How the Doklam issue ended?

It has been more than two years since the Doklam standoff took place.

  • According to experts, however, while the disengagement brought an end to hostilities between India and China over China’s attempt to build a road near the India-China-Bhutan tri-junction area, transgressing into Bhutanese territory, it did not stop the PLA’s construction work right across the Doklam plateau.

Thus, the conclusion is that if the military only agrees on disengagement and de-escalation, it may end up at a disadvantage.

What happened at Doklam?

In Doklam, the faceoff had taken place over territory belonging to Bhutan, which has a border security agreement with India.

The Chinese wanted to take control of the territory, called Doklam, to come closer to what is known as the chicken’s neck or the Silliguri Corridor of India that connects the Northeast with the rest of the country.

  • It was practically an eyeball-to-eyeball standoff which endedin the view of China hosting BRICS and India refusing to back down, and a possible boycott of the summit. The standoff ended with diplomatic interference.

dolam_plateau

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is Doklam?
  2. Where is Chumbi valley?
  3. About Galwan river.
  4. Siliguri corridor.
  5. LAC vs LOC.
  6. Neighbouring Indian States of Doklam.

Mains Link:

Discuss why India must not agree to de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh without an agreement on returning to “status quo ante” or the situation before the stand-off began.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: IP related issues.

What is Compulsory Licensing?

A compulsory licence is a licence or authorisation issued by the government to an applicant for making, using and selling a patented product or employing a patented process without the consent of the patentee.

Chapter XVI of the Indian Patents Act 1970 and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights discuss compulsory licensing.

  • The application for compulsory license can be made any time after 3 years from date of sealing of a patent.

The following conditions should be fulfilled by the applicant:

  1. Reasonable requirements of the public with respect to the patented invention have not been satisfied;
  2. Patented invention is not available to the public at a reasonably affordable price.
  3. Patented invention is not used in India.

Additionally, according to Section 92 of the Act, compulsory licenses can also be issued suo motu by the Controller of Patents pursuant to a notification issued by the Central Government if there is either a “national emergency” or “extreme urgency” or in cases of “public non-commercial use”.

When was the first license issued?

India’s first ever compulsory license was granted by the Patent Office on March 9, 2012, to Hyderabad-based Natco Pharma for the production of generic version of Bayer’s Nexavar, an anti-cancer agent used in the treatment of liver and kidney cancer.

Global Perspective on Compulsory Licensing:

This phenomenon of compulsory licensing is a hugely debated issue. Many developing countries are giving importance to the compulsory licensing because of the unavailability and unaffordability of the medicines, and they are continuously granting more and more compulsory licenses. The developed countries of Europe, USA are opposing this view as it would make innovation difficult for the pharmaceutical companies.

Why compulsory licensing is in News?

Issue compulsory licences for manufacture of an affordable generic version of Remdesivir, CPI(M) tells govt.

  • It said the government should invoke Clause 92 of the Patent Act that allows it to issue compulsory licences so that Indian manufacturers can produce a more affordable generic version.

Need for:

Gilead Sciences’ anti-viral drug Remdesivir has shown efficacy in treating COVID-19 patients.

  • Media reports indicate that the U.S., which is hoarding all drugs found to be useful in combating the pandemic, has bought the entire stock of Remdesivir from Gilead for the next three months.
  • It will therefore not be available for the rest of the world.

Besides, while the cost of manufacturing Remdesivir for a full course — as worked out by experts — is less than $10 or ₹750 in the U.S. And about ₹100 in India. Gilead, by virtue of its patent monopoly, is holding the world to ransom by asking a price that is hundreds of times its cost.

Present scenario:

Given the uncertainty over access to treatments for COVID-19, several countries have been laying the legislative groundwork to issue compulsory licenses for products that patent holders refuse to make accessible.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a patent?
  2. What is CL? Provisions under which it is issued?
  3. Who can apply for a CL?
  4. Conditions under which a CL can be granted.
  5. Remdesivir is used for?
  6. What are generic medicines? what is TRIPS Agreement?

Mains Link:

What do you understand by compulsory licensing? Discuss the related provisions.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What is Raman Spectroscopy?

Raman Spectroscopy is a non-destructive chemical analysis technique which provides detailed information about chemical structure, phase and polymorphy, crystallinity and molecular interactions. It is based upon the interaction of light with the chemical bonds within a material.

Raman Scatter:
It is a light scattering technique, whereby a molecule scatters incident light from a high intensity laser light source.

  • Most of the scattered light is at the same wavelength (or color) as the laser source and does not provide useful information – this is called Rayleigh Scatter.
  • However a small amount of light (typically 0.0000001%) is scattered at different wavelengths (or colors), which depend on the chemical structure of the analyte – this is called Raman Scatter.

Why in News?

Researchers have turned to Raman Spectroscopy to detect RNA viruses present in saliva samples.

  • It has been reported that novel coronavirus is found in sufficient numbers in human saliva.

How was it carried out?

For the study, the researchers spiked saliva samples with non-infectious RNA viruses and analysed it with Raman Spectroscopy. They analysed the raw Raman Spectroscopy data and compared the signals with both viral positive and negative samples.

  • Statistical analysis of all the 1,400 spectra obtained for each sample, showed a set of 65 Raman spectral features was adequate to identify the viral positive signal.

Significance:

This conceptual framework to detect RNA viruses in saliva could form the basis for field application of Raman Spectroscopy in managing viral outbreaks, such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

  • However, in case of COVID 19 pandemic, it can be used only for screening. Because, the RNA virus detected could be a common cold virus as well or any other RNA virus such as HIV. It doesn’t look for COVID-19 viral-specific signature.

But, the main benefit here is that this whole process of data acquisition and analysis can be performed within a minute. Since no additional reagent is needed there is no recurring cost.

  • A portable (benchtop or handheld) Raman spectrophotometer installed at the port of entry such as airports or any point of care (in the field) can quickly screen passengers within minutes.

gama_ray

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CV Raman and his key contributions.
  2. What is Raman effect?
  3. Difference between Rayleigh scattering and Raman scattering.
  4. What is Raman Spectroscopy?
  5. Difference between RNA and DNA.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Raman Spectroscopy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Roadways.

NHAI to Rank Roads for Quality Service

NHAI has decided to undertake performance assessment and ranking of the highways in the country.

  • They are aimed to take corrective recourse, wherever needed, to improve the quality and provide a higher level of service to highway commuters.

How will it be undertaken?

The criteria for the assessment have been broadly categorised in three main heads:

  1. Highway efficiency (45%)
  2. Highway safety (35%)
  3. User services (20%)

Other parameters:

Additionally, important parameters like operating speed, access control, time taken at toll plaza, road signages, road markings, accident rate, incident response time, crash barriers, illumination, availability of Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS), functionality of structures, provision for grade-separated intersections, cleanliness, plantation, wayside amenities and customer satisfaction will also be considered while conducting the assessment.

Significance:

  • The score obtained by each Corridor in each of the parameters will provide feedback and corrective recourse for higher standards of operation, better safety and user experience to improve existing highways.
  • This will also help in identifying and filling gaps of design, standards, practices, guidelines and contract agreements for other NHAI projects.

Separate ranking for BOT, HAM and EPC projects will also be done:

  1. Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) Annuity model:

Under this, a developer builds a highway, operates it for a specified duration and transfers it back to the government.

The government starts payment to the developer after the launch of commercial operation of the project.

  1. Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Model:

Under this model, the cost is completely borne by the government.

Government invites bids for engineering knowledge from the private players. Procurement of raw materials and construction costs are met by the government.

  1. The Hybrid Annuity Model (HAM):

In India, the new HAM is a mix of BOT Annuity and EPC models.

As per the design, the government will contribute to 40% of the project cost in the first five years through annual payments (annuity). The remaining payment will be made on the basis of the assets created and the performance of the developer.

Here, the developer has to raise the remaining 60% in the form of equity or loans. There is no toll right for the developer.

Revenue collection would be the responsibility of NHAI.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NHAI.
  2. Key functions of NHAI.
  3. NHAI vs BRO.
  4. Criteria for assessment.
  5. Difference between BOT, EPC and HAM.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Vaartavali:

On 4th July 2020, DD News has completed the 5 years of the continuous broadcast of Sanskrit News Magazine ‘Vaartavali’.

Sanskrit Saptahiki:

All India Radio (AIR) FM news channel has started its first-ever news programme in Sanksrit language for 20 minutes duration. It has named the news programme ‘Sanskrit Saptahiki’.

Haryana Drafts Ordinance To Reserve 75% Private Sector Jobs For Locals:

As per the ordinance, 75 percent of the jobs with a salary of less than Rs 50,000 per month will be reserved for the locals of Haryana in the state.

Under the upcoming law, employment providers with more than 10 employees in its premises would be covered.

These rules would apply to recruitment after the date of notification of this ordinance.

Domicile certificate would be mandatory for a candidate to get the benefits under this scheme.

  • If private companies inform the state government that they are not being able to find suitable candidates, they will be issued permits to hire from other states.

Fourth highest opium seizure in 2018 reported from India: World Drug Report:

Findings of the latest World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC):

  • The fourth highest seizure of opium in 2018 was reported from India, after Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The maximum of 644 tonnes of opium was seized in Iran, followed by 27 tonnes in Afghanistan and 19 tonnes in Pakistan.
  • In terms of heroin seizure (1.3 tonnes), India was at the 12th position in the world.
  • Global area under opium poppy cultivation declined for the second year in a row in 2019. It went down by 17% in 2018 and by 30% in 2019.
  • The main opiate trafficking flows originate from three key production areas: Afghanistan, Myanmar-Laos and Mexico-Colombia-Guatemala.

Zardozi art:

Zari work or Zardozi, an art which is considered quite popular amongst embroiders and designers, survives in the narrow alleys of the Old Town of Bhopal.

Zardozi prospered in India during the 17th century during the reign of the Mughal emperor Akbar. It came to India from Persia.

Its literal translation, ‘Zar’ means gold and ‘dozi’ meaning embroidery. Thus, Zardozi come from the Persian term meaning ’embroidering with gold threads.’

  • In this embroidery, gold coils and beads are tucked onto fabric using a needle and thread.
  • Metals like gold and silver are transformed into a zari (thin thread) that is used to adorn motifs onto rich fabrics like silk, velvet, organza, chiffon, etc.

In 2013 the Geographical Indication Registry (GIR) accorded the Geographical Indication (GI) registration to the Lucknow Zardozi.

gir

Places in News- Natanz:

Recently, a fire broke out at Natanz, an Underground Nuclear Facility of Iran used for enriching uranium.

  • Located in Iran’s central Isfahan province in Tehran, Natanz hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. It is known as the first Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant of Iran.
  • It is among the sites monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal.

National Atlas and Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO):

Context: NATMO publishes 4th updated version of its COVID-19 Dashboard.

About NATMO:

  • Established in 1956 as the National Atlas Organisation.
  • Professor S.P. Chatterjee, the doyen of Indian Geography was the Founder-Director of this institute.
  • It was renamed in 1978 to give it a broad-based responsibility in the field of thematic cartography and geographical research.
  • It is under the administrative control of the Department of Science &Technology of the Government of India.
  • It is headquartered in Kolkata.

Important functions:

  1. Compilation of the National Atlas of India.
  2. Preparation of the National Atlas maps in regional languages.
  3. Preparation of thematic maps based on research studies on environmental and associated aspects and their impact on social and economic development.

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