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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 13 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. Extra-judicial Killings.

2. NATDRID

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NEOWISE- a comet.

2. India’s Tiger Census sets a New Guinness Record.

3. Assam’s Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to get national park status.

4. Snakebites in India.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Itolizumab that was recently in News?

2. ATL App Development Module.

3. Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC).

4. Ophiocordyceps sinensis.

5. Special parcel train to Bangladesh.

6. Tiger Orchids.

7. Swarna Sub1.

 


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.

Extra-judicial Killings

Context:

Recent killing of Vikas Dubey by the Uttar Pradesh Police in an encounter has brought back the focus on extra-judicial killings and issues associated.

  • The government has formed a one-member judicial commission to probe this saga. The commission is headed by justice (retd) Shashi Kant.

Laws Dealing with Encounters:

At the outset, there is no provision in the Indian law which directly authorizes an official to encounter a criminal irrespective of the grievousness of the crime committed by him/her.

  • However, there are some enabling provisions that may be construed so as to vest officials with the power to deal with criminals including the power to use force against a criminal.
  1. Section 100 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860:

It authorizes any person to exercise his right of private defense which may extend to causing death if there is reasonable apprehension in the mind of the person that there exists a threat to life or limb.

  1. Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973:

It permits a police officer to use all means necessary to effect the arrest of the person.

  1. Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code:

It provides that culpable homicide is not murder if the offender, being a public servant acting for the advancement of public justice exceeds the power given to him by law and causes death by doing an act which he, in good faith, believes to be lawful and necessary for the discharge of his duty and without ill-will towards the person whose death is caused.

View of the Supreme Court:

The Apex Court has held in:

  1. Om Prakash v. State of Jharkhandthat “it is not the duty of the police to kill the accused merely because he is a criminal.” It was further stated that ‘encounters’ amounted to “state sponsored terrorism.”
  2. Sathyavani Ponrai v. Samuel Raj that a fair investigation is mandatory under Articles 14, 21 and 39 of the Constitution of India and that it is not only a constitutional right but a natural right as well.
  3. Nirmal Singh Kahlon v. State of Punjab that the right to investigation and fair trial is applicable to both, the accused and the victim under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  4. Prakash Kadam v. Ramprasad Vishwanath Gupta that a fake encounter by a police official falls under the category of ‘rarest of rare case’ as laid down in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjaband therefore, the death penalty would be attracted to the concerned police official.
  5. Public Union for Civil Liberties v. Union of India that not even State can violate the right to life and obligation to follow the procedure established by law under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Court opined that encounter killings by the police must be investigated independently as it “affects the credibility of the rule of law and the administration of the criminal justice system.”

View of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC):

NHRC has stated that under the laws of India, the police officials have no right to take away the life of another person.

  • If by his act, the police official kills a person, he will be booked for culpable homicide unless it is proved to the contrary that such an act did not constitute an offence.

Further, in 2010, the NHRC has laid down guidelines/procedures to be followed in cases of deaths caused in police action.

Note: please go through Supreme Court and NHRC guidelines on Encounter.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section 100 and 300 of IPC are related to?
  2. Section 46 of CrPC.
  3. Shashi Kant Commission is related to?
  4. NHRC- composition and functions.
  5. The concept of judicial review.

Mains Link:

Discuss the views of Supreme Court on extra judicial killings.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government.

NATGRID

The National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.

What is NATGRID?

First conceptualised in 2009, NATGRID seeks to become the one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details of a suspect on a “secured platform”.

The project aims to go live by December 31.

Who can access the data?

It will be a medium for at least 10 Central agencies such as the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) to access data on a secured platform. The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 providing organisations such as the telecom, tax records, bank, immigration etc.

Criticisms:

  • NATGRID is facing opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.
  • Its efficacy in preventing terror has also been questioned given that no state agency or police force has access to its database thus reducing chances of immediate, effective action.
  • According to few experts, digital databases such as NATGRID can be misused. Over the last two decades, the very digital tools that terrorists use have also become great weapons to fight the ideologies of violence.
  • Intelligence agencies have also opposed amid fears that it would impinge on their territory and possibly result in leaks on the leads they were working on to other agencies.

But, Why do we need NATGRID?

  1. The danger from not having a sophisticated tool like the NATGRID is that it forces the police to rely on harsh and coercive means to extract information in a crude and degrading fashion.
  2. After every terrorist incident, it goes about rounding up suspects—many of who are innocent. If, instead, a pattern search and recognition system were in place, these violations of human rights would be much fewer.
  3. Natgrid would also help the Intelligence Bureau keep a tab on persons with suspicious backgrounds.
  4. The police would have access to all his data and any movement by this person would also be tracked with the help of this data base.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is CCTNS?
  2. NATGRID- aims and objectives.
  3. What is NCRB?
  4. Agencies covered under NATGRID.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of NATGRID.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NEOWISE- a comet

Context:

The recently discovered comet called C/2020 F3, also known as NEOWISE after the NASA telescope that discovered it, will make its closest approach to the Earth on July 22.

  • On the day, the comet, which takes 6,800 years to complete one lap around its orbit, will be at a distance of 64 million miles or 103 million kilometers while crossing Earth’s outside orbit.

What is Coma?

On July 3, the comet was closest to the sun at 43 million km. On this day, the comet cruised inside Mercury’s orbit and, due to its proximity to the sun, its outer layer was released creating an atmosphere – referred to as coma – of gas and dust from its icy surface.

  • This atmosphere sometimes leads to formation of a bright tail of debris that can extend for thousands or millions of kilometres.

What Are The Differences Between An Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite?

  1. Asteroid: A relatively small, inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  2. Comet: A relatively small, at times active, object whose ices can vaporize in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  3. Meteoroid: A small particle from a comet or asteroid orbiting the Sun.
  4. Meteor: The light phenomena which results when a meteoroid enters the Earth’s atmosphere and vaporizes; a shooting star.
  5. Meteorite: A meteoroid that survives its passage through the Earth’s atmosphere and lands upon the Earth’s surface.

asteroid

NASA’s NEOWISE:

Launched in December 2009 as the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, the space telescope was originally designed to survey the sky in infrared, detecting asteroids, stars and some of the faintest galaxies in space.

It did so successfully until completing its primary mission in February 2011.

  • In December 2013, it was re-purposed for the NEOWISE project as an instrument to study near-Earth objects, or NEOs, as well as more distant asteroids and comets.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NASA’s WISE and NEOWISE project.
  2. What is an Asteroid?
  3. What is a comet?
  4. What is coma?
  5. Differences between Asteroid, Comet, Meteoroid, Meteor and Meteorite.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

India’s Tiger Census sets a New Guinness Record

Context:

The fourth cycle of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018, results of which were declared on Global Tiger Day last year has entered the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.

  • Camera traps were placed in 26,838 locations across 141 different sites and surveyed an effective area of 121,337 square kilometres.

Tigers in India:

The country now has an estimated 2967 tigers as per the latest census.

With this number, India is home to nearly 75% of the global tiger population.

It has already fulfilled its resolve of doubling tiger numbers, made at St. Petersburg in 2010, much before the target year of 2022.

 4th cycle of all India Tiger Estimation- highlights:

  1. Highest number of tigers have found in Madhya Pradesh (526), after that Karnataka has 524 and Uttarakhand is accommodating 442 tigers.
  2. In five years, the number of protected areas increased from 692 to over 860, community reserves from 43 to over 100.
  3. While the 2014 census pegged the total number of striped big cats in the country at 2,226, the 2010 census put the figure at 1,706 and the 2006 version at 1,411, indicating that tiger numbers have been on the up.
  4. While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
  5. Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other states witnessed a positive trend.

All India Tiger estimation:

The All India Tiger Estimation done quadrennially is steered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority with technical backstopping from the Wildlife Institute of India and implemented by State Forest Departments and partners.

Conservation efforts- National and Global:

  1. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has launched the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status), a mobile monitoring system for forest guards.
  2. At the Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010, leaders of 13 tiger range countries resolved to do more for the tiger and embarked on efforts to double its number in the wild, with a popular slogan ‘T X 2’. 
  3. The Global Tiger Initiative (GTI) program of the World Bank, using its presence and convening ability, brought global partners together to strengthen the tiger agenda.
  4. Over the years, the initiative has institutionalised itself as a separate entity in the form of the Global Tiger Initiative Council (GTIC), with its two arms –the Global Tiger Forum and the Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Protection Program.
  5. The Project Tiger, launched way back in 1973, has grown to more than 50 reserves amounting to almost 2.2% of the country’s geographical area.

table_4

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between National Parks, wildlife sanctuaries and biosphere reserves.
  2. Important Biosphere Reserves in India.
  3. M-STrIPES is related to?
  4. What is GTIC?
  5. When was project tiger launched?
  6. NTCA- composition and functions.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Assam’s Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary to get national park status

Assam government has decided to upgrade the Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary into a national park.

About Dehing Patkai Wildlife Sanctuary:

Also known as the Jeypore Rainforest is a part of Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve .

  • Located in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts, the 111.19 sq km Dehing Patkai was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 2004.
  • It is home to 47 mammal, 47 reptile, and 310 butterfly species.
  • It forms the largest stretch of lowland rainforest in the country.

Dehing is the name of the river that flows through this forest and Patkai is the hill at the foot of which the sanctuary lies.

What is a National Park?

According to the Indian Ministry of Environment & Forests, a national park is “[a]n area, whether within a sanctuary or not, [that] can be notified by the state government to be constituted as a National Park, by reason of its ecological, faunal, floral, geomorphological, or zoological association or importance, needed to for the purpose of protecting & propagating or developing wildlife therein or its environment.

National parks in India are IUCN category II protected areas.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. IUCN Protected Areas classification.
  2. India’s first national park.
  3. Role of state governments in declaring national parks.
  4. Dehing river.
  5. Jeypore forest.

Sources: toi.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

Snakebites in India

Centre for Global Health Research (CGHR) at the University of Toronto, Canada, had recently conducted a study on snakebites with Indian and U.K. partners.

  • The report has been made public now.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognises snakebite as a top-priority neglected tropical disease (NTD).

Key findings:

  1. Total deaths caused by snakebites in the 20-year period from 2000 to 2019:  1.2 million.
  2. Annual Average: 58,000.
  3. 70% of these deaths occurred in limited, low altitude, rural areas of eight States — Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh (including Telangana), Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  4. Half of all the snakebite deaths occurred during the monsoon period from June to September.
  5. Most of the envenomation (the process by which venom is injected by the bite or sting of a venomous animal) was by Russell’s vipers followed by kraits and cobras.
  6. Snakebite deaths occurred mostly in rural areas (97%), were more common in males (59%) than females (41%), and peaked at ages 15-29 years (25%).
  7. The numbers for annual snakebite deaths were highest in the States of Uttar Pradesh (8,700), Andhra Pradesh (5,200) and Bihar (4,500), it further added.

What needs to be done?

Since deaths are restricted mainly to lower altitude, intensely agricultural areas, during a single season of each year, this should make the annual epidemics easier to manage.

  1. Primary victims of snakebites are rural farmers and their families.

Experts suggest that targeting certain areas and educating people with simple methods such as ‘snake-safe’ harvest practices — using rubber boots and gloves, mosquito nets and rechargeable torches (or mobile phone flashlights) — could reduce the risk of snakebites.

  1. Improved knowledge of the distribution of venomous snake species as well as the human consequences of bites.

India has sufficient capacity to manufacture large volumes of anti-venom. Better understanding of the distribution of India’s many venomous snake species could help in the design and development of more appropriate anti-venoms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is Itolizumab that was recently in News?

Itolizumab (rDNA origin), a monoclonal antibody which was already approved for severe chronic plaque psoriasis, has now been granted Restricted Emergency Use authorisation for COVID 19 patients by the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) based on clinical trials data.

ATL App Development Module:

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) has launched the ‘ATL App Development Module for school children all across the country.

Launched in collaboration with Indian homegrown startup Plezmo

It is an online course and is completely Free. 

Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC):

TIFAC is an autonomous organization set up in 1988 under the Department of Science & Technology.

  • Its mandate is to look ahead in technology domain, assess the technology trajectories, and support innovation by networked actions in select areas of national importance.
  • It was conferred with Rani Lakshmibai Award (Nari Shakti Puraskar 2015) for its scheme KIRAN-IPR that is empowering women in R&D through training on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR).

Ophiocordyceps sinensis:

Also known as Himalayan Viagra, it is the world’s costliest fungus.

It has entered the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

IUCN has placed the fungus, known for its aphrodisiac and rejuvenation properties, in the ‘vulnerable’ category.

The fungus, also known as keeda jadi in Uttarakhand because of its caterpillar-like appearance, is endemic to the Himalayan and Tibetan plateau and is found in China, Bhutan, Nepal and India.

  • In India, it is primarily found in Uttarakhand in the higher reaches of districts like Pithoragarhand Chamoli.

ophiocordycep

Special parcel train to Bangladesh:

In a first ever cross-border movement for Indian Railways, a special parcel train was sent to Benapole, Bangladesh carrying dry chillies from Reddipalem in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh

  • The Guntur Sannam Chilli is a variety which has the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag.

Tiger Orchids:

  • Tiger orchids (Grammatophyllum speciosum) are called so for their large and resplendent flowers which resemble the tiger skin.
  • They flower in alternate years.
  • These epiphytic plants are not native to India. They, in fact, are endemic to southeast Asia. 

The tiger orchid has an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records due to its massive size. Mature plant in its natural habitat weighs up to 2 tonnes.

tiger_orchids

Ground Orchid:

Eulophia obtusa, a rare orchid species, also known as ‘ground orchid’, has been rediscovered after 118 years in the forests of Dudhwa Tiger Reserve.

In India, this species was last sighted in Pilibhit in 1902 and there is a documented record in Kew Herbarium in England.

  • It is listed as “critically endangered” as per IUCN Red List of endangered species.
  • CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild fauna and flora) has also included this plan as a rare species and kept it in Tier-2 list and its trade is prohibited.

orchid_species

Swarna Sub1:

Farmers in flood-prone areas of Assam have been harvesting the water-resistant Swarna Sub1 rice variety, developed by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and the Manila-based International Rice Research Institute, since 2009.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/Sources: the Hindu. Quota.
  2. Mizoram quake zone caught between two geological faults.

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