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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 10 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.

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Mongolian Kanjur Manuscripts.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Criminalization of Politics.

2. WHO Declares Sri Lanka, Maldives Measles-Free.

3. S. withdrawal from WHO.

4. Australia and the Malabar Exercise.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Rewa solar project.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Bhashan Char island.

2. Samadhan se Vikas.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Mongolian Kanjur Manuscripts

The Ministry of Culture had taken up the project of reprinting of 108 volumes of Mongolian Kanjur under the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM).

Now, the first set of five volumes of Mongolian Kanjur have been released.

What is Mongolian Kanjur?

  • In the Mongolian language ‘Kanjur’ means ‘Concise Orders’- the words of Lord Buddha in particular.

It is held in high esteem by Mongolian Buddhists and they worship the Kanjur at temples and recite the lines of Kanjur in daily life as a sacred ritual.

  • The Mongolian Kanjur has been translated from Tibetan. The language of the Kanjur is Classical Mongolian.

Historical connection between India and Mongolia:

Historical interaction between India and Mongolia goes back centuries.

  • Buddhism was carried to Mongolia by Indian cultural and religious ambassadors during the early Christian era.
  • As a result, today, Buddhists form the single largest religious denomination in Mongolia.
  • India established formal diplomatic relations with Mongolia in 1955.

About the National Mission for Manuscripts (NMM):

NMM was launched in February 2003 by the Government of India, under the Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

  • It has the mandate of documenting, conserving and disseminating the knowledge preserved in manuscripts.

Background:

India possesses an estimate of ten million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world. These cover a variety of themes, textures and aesthetics, scripts, languages, calligraphies, illuminations and illustrations.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is Mongolia?
  2. When was NMM launched? Objectives?
  3. Mongolian Kanjur- meaning and significance.
  4. Diplomatic relations between India and Mongolia.
  5. Various Buddhist Mudras, hand gestures and their meaning.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Mongolian Kanjur manuscripts.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: RPA related issues.

Criminalization of Politics

Context:

A February 2020 Supreme Court judgement on Criminalisation in politics may have far-reaching consequences for Indian democracy.

  • It will first be implemented in the coming Bihar elections in October 2020.

What was the case all about?

The judgment was passed in a contempt of court case filed against the Chief Election Commissioner of India.

The petition claimed the ECI had failed to take any steps to ensure the implementation of a 2018 judgment of the bench, which had made it mandatory for political parties to declare and publish all criminal cases pending against their candidates.

  • The petitioners argued that parties were “circumventing” the 2018 judgment by publishing the details of their candidates’ criminal background in “obscure and limited circulation newspapers” and “making the webpages on their websites difficult to access”.

cause_of_concern

The judgment:

The court had asked the particle parties to state “The reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates.”

  • If a political party fails to comply, it would be in contempt of this court’s orders/

Directions issued by the Court:

  1. It is mandatory for all political parties to publish all details regarding pending criminal cases against their chosen candidates, not only in local newspapers, but also on party websites and social media handles.
  2. Along with the details of pending cases, the parties will also have to publish “the reasons for such selection, as also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates”.
  3. The “reasons” given for selection of the candidates have to be “with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned, and not mere ‘winnability’ at the polls”.

What does the RPA say on this?

Currently, under the Representation of Peoples (RP) Act, lawmakers cannot contest elections only after their conviction in a criminal case.

Section 8 of the Representation of the People (RP) Act, 1951 disqualifies a person convicted with a sentence of two years or more from contesting elections. But those under trial continued to be eligible to contest elections.

Main reasons for Criminalization:

  1. Corruption
  2. Vote bank.
  3. Lack of governance.

What is the way out?

  1. Political parties should themselves refuse tickets to the tainted.
  2. The RP Act should be amended to debar persons against whom cases of a heinous nature are pending from contesting elections.
  3. Fast-track courtsshould decide the cases of tainted legislators quickly.
  4. Bring greater transparency in campaign financing.
  5. The Election Commission of India (ECI) should have the power to audit the financial accounts of political parties.

Need for reforms:

In 2004, 24% of the members of Parliament had criminal cases against them.

  • In 2009, that went up to 30%.
  • In 2014, it went up to 34%.
  • In 2019, as many as 43% of MPs had criminal cases.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section 8 of the RP Act.
  2. SC guidelines.
  3. ECI- composition and functions.
  4. CEC- appointment.
  5. Powers of Election Commission on matters related to election of candidates.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated criminalisation of politics and what the Supreme Court done to address these concerns?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

WHO Declares Sri Lanka, Maldives Measles-Free

The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that measles and rubella have been eradicated from Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

  • This makes them the first two countries in WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve measles and rubella elimination ahead of the 2023 target.

 When is a country declared so?

A country is verified as having eliminated measles and rubella when there is no evidence of endemic transmission of the measles and rubella viruses for over three years in the presence of a well performing surveillance system.

  • Maldives reported last endemic case of measles in 2009 and of rubella in October 2015, while Sri Lanka reported last endemic case of measles in May 2016 and of rubella in March 2017.

 Background:

Member countries of WHO South-East Asia Region had in September last year set 2023 as target for elimination of measles and rubella, revising the goal of the flagship programme that since 2014 had focused on measles elimination and rubella control.

  • Bhutan, North Korea and East Timor were also declared to be measles-free.

The need for elimination:

Eliminating measles will prevent 500,000 deaths a year in the region, while eliminating rubella/ CRS would avert about 55,000 cases of rubella and promote health and wellbeing of pregnant women and infants.

About Measles:

What is It? Measles is a highly contagious viral disease.

Spread: Measles is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected persons.

Initial symptoms, which usually appear 10–12 days after infection, include high fever, a runny nose, bloodshot eyes, and tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth. Several days later, a rash develops, starting on the face and upper neck and gradually spreading downwards.

Vulnerability: Severe measles is more likely among poorly nourished young children, especially those with insufficient vitamin A, or whose immune systems have been weakened by HIV/AIDS or other diseases.

  • The most serious complications includeblindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and related dehydration, and severe respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
  • Prevention: Routine measles vaccination for children, combined with mass immunization campaigns in countries with low routine coverage, are key public health strategies to reduce global measles deaths.
  • Preventive efforts:Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, measles and rubella are targeted for elimination in five WHO Regions by 2020. WHO is the lead technical agency responsible for coordination of immunization and surveillance activities supporting all countries to achieve this goal.

Rubella:

It is generally a mild infection, but has serious consequences if infection occurs in pregnant women, causing congenital rubella syndrome (CRS), which is a cause of public health concern. CRS is characterized by congenital anomalies in the foetus and newborns affecting the eyes (glaucoma, cataract), ears (hearing loss), brain (microcephaly, mental retardation) and heart defects, causing a huge socio-economic burden on the families in particular and society in general.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Measles and Rubella?
  2. What is Global Vaccine Action Plan?
  3. Difference between contagious and non contagious viral infection?
  4. How vaccination works?
  5. WHO- South East Asia region.
  6. Composition of UNICEF.

Mains Link:

Where does India stand in battle against Measles? Do you think India can achieve its 2020 target? Discuss the status of MR in India and the challenges it has been facing in eliminating the same.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.S. withdrawal from WHO

On July 6, when the number of novel coronavirus cases and deaths in the U.S. reached over 2.8 million and nearly 0.13 million, respectively, the U.S. officially notified the United Nations of its intention to withdraw membership from the World Health Organization.

  • This comes after President Donald Trump announced on May 29 his decision to halt fundingand pull out of the global health body.

Why this decision?

Trump said the body had “called it wrong” on COVID-19 and that it was very “China centric” in its approach, suggesting that the WHO had gone along with Beijing’s efforts months ago to under-represent the severity of the outbreak.

Implications:

The capricious decision to withdraw from WHO will have dire consequences for global public health.

The departure of the U.S. will be a significant blow to the WHO in terms of loss of technical expertise and an annual funding of about $450 million.

  • The WHO now will have to suspend the country’s voting rights and deny access to its services, as per Article 7 of its Constitution.

About WHO:

WHO came into existence on 7 April, 1948 – a date which is now celebrated every year as World Health Day.

  • The organisation has more than 7,000 people working in 150 country offices, six regional offices and at its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

How WHO is governed?

  1. The World Health Assembly (delegations from all members countries) determines the policies of the organisation.
  2. The executive board is composed of members technically qualified in health, and gives effect to the decisions and policies of the health assembly.
  3. Its core function is to direct and coordinate international health work through collaboration.

How is the WHO funded?

There are four kinds of contributions that make up funding for the WHO.These are:

Assessed contributions are the dues countries pay in order to be a member of the Organization. The amount each Member State must pay is calculated relative to the country’s wealth and population.

Voluntary contributions come from Member States (in addition to their assessed contribution) or from other partners. They can range from flexible to highly earmarked.

Core voluntary contributions allow less well-funded activities to benefit from a better flow of resources and ease implementation bottlenecks that arise when immediate financing is lacking.

Pandemic Influenza Preparedness (PIP) Contributions were started in 2011 to improve and strengthen the sharing of influenza viruses with human pandemic potential, and to increase the access of developing countries to vaccines and other pandemic related supplies.

Largest contributions:

  1. The United States is currently the WHO’s biggest contributor, making up 14.67 per cent of total funding by providing $553.1 million.
  2. The US is followed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation forming 9.76 per cent or $367.7 million.
  3. The third biggest contributor is the GAVI Vaccine Alliance at 8.39 per cent, with the UK (7.79 per cent) and Germany (5.68 per cent) coming fourth and fifth respectively.
  4. The four next biggest donors are international bodies: United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (5.09 per cent), World Bank (3.42 per cent), Rotary International (3.3 per cent), and the European Commission (3.3 per cent). India makes up 0.48 per cent of total contributions, and China 0.21 per cent.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. WHO governance.
  2. Types of contributions in WHO.
  3. Largest contributors.
  4. Significance of World Health Day.
  5. What is GAVI?

Mains Link:

Discuss the role of WHO in promoting public health and environmental health across the globe.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Australia and the Malabar Exercise

Why in News?

India to shortly take a call on Australia’s inclusion in Malabar.

Why Australia should be included in the group?

Australia’s inclusion would be seen as a possible first step towards the militarisation of the Quad coalition, something Beijing has opposed in the past.

  • Besides, even Japan and the U.S. have been keen on Canberra’s inclusion for sometime now and have been pushing India to consider it.

Procedure to be followed:

Once the government takes a decision to include Australia, as per procedure, the other partner nations — Japan and the U.S. — have to be informed to secure their consent, after which a formal invitation would be extended to Australia.

About Malabar exercise:

Malabar began as a bilateral naval exercise between India and the U.S. in 1992, and was expanded into a trilateral format with the inclusion of Japan in 2015.

  • It has been delayed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What is Quad grouping?

The quadrilateral formation includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
  • The idea was first mooted by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in 2007. However, the idea couldn’t move ahead with Australia pulling out of it.

Significance of the grouping:

  1. Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  2. Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific.
  3. It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Rewa solar project

Inaugurated recently by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it is Asia’s largest 750 MW solar power project.

It is located at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh.

  • The Solar Park was developed by the Rewa Ultra Mega Solar Limited (RUMSL), a Joint Venture Company of Madhya Pradesh UrjaVikas Nigam Limited (MPUVN), and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a Central Public Sector Undertaking.

 Significance:

The Rewa Project has been acknowledged in India and abroad for its robust project structuring and innovations.

  1. Its payment security mechanism for reducing risks to power developers has been recommended as a model to other States by MNRE. 
  2. It has also received World Bank Group President’s Award for innovation and excellence and was included in the book “A Book of Innovation: New Beginnings” released by Prime Minister.
  3. The project is also the first renewable energy project to supply to an institutional customer outside the State,e. Delhi Metro, which will get 24% of energy from the project with remaining 76% being supplied to the State DISCOMs of Madhya Pradesh.
  4. The Project also exemplifies India’s commitment to attain the target of 175 GW of installed renewable energy capacity by the year 2022, including 100 GW of Solar installed capacity.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Bhashan Char island:

  • It is also known as Char Piya.
  • It is an island in Bangladesh.
  • It is located in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The island was formed with Himalayan silt in 2006.
  • It spans 40 km².

Why in News?

Rohingya refugees on this island will not be allowed to leave unless they agree to return home, Bangladesh authorities said recently.

bangladesh

Samadhan se Vikas:

It is a one-time settlement scheme introduced by Haryana government for the recovery of long-pending dues on account of External Development Charges (EDC)and Infrastructural Development Charges (IDC).

  • The scheme is modeled on the central scheme of ‘Vivad se Vishwas-2020’.

 


Insights Current Affairs Analysis (ICAN) by IAS Topper

 


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