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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 18 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 1:

1. US’ Trinity Test.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. PM Svanidhi.

2. Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act.

3. PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2020.

4. India registers a steep decline in maternal mortality ratio.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Eosinophil count.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: History of the world will include events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawing of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization, political philosophies like communism, capitalism, socialism etc.- their forms and effect on the society.

US’ Trinity Test

Context:

On 16th July, exactly 75 years ago, scientists tested Gadgetthe world’s first atomic bomb — in what was dubbed as the ‘Trinity Test’.

  • Less than a month later, an identical nuclear bomb called ‘Fat Man’ was dropped on the Japanese city of Nagasaki, killing tens of thousands of people.

What you need to know?

The super bomb, nicknamed ‘Gadget’, was developed as part of the US-led Manhattan Project.

Manhattan Project sought to build nuclear weapons to give the allied forces an edge over Germany, Japan and Italy in World War 2.

The super bomb was designed and conceptualised by a team of scientists headed by J Robert Oppenheimer, a physics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Oppenheimer later came to be known as the “father of the atomic bomb”. 

The test was carried out at the Alamagordo Bombing Range, which was located around 337 km away from Los Alamos. 

What were the repercussions of the Trinity Test?

Residents of New Mexico were not warned about the test.

And the adverse impact of radiation caused by the detonation, was ignored for years after the test.

  1. There was a sudden rise in infant mortality.
  2. Several residents also complained that the number of cancer patients went up after the Trinity Test.
  3. The dust outfall from the explosion was expected to have travelled nearly 100 miles from the test site, posing a serious threat to residents in the area.
  4. Many families complained that their livestock suffered skin burns, bleeding and loss of hair.

It was only in 1990, when the federal government passed the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), that residents of North Mexico who contracted Cancer and other illnesses due to radiation exposure received compensation.

How many countries worldwide now have nuclear weapons?

Seventy-five years after the Trinity Test, as many as nine countries around the world are currently in possession of nuclear weapons.

  • These include, the US, the UK, Russia, France, India, China, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea.

At least eight countries have detonated over 2,000 nuclear test explosions since 1945.

  • The most recent instance of nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India, were the series of five explosions done as part of the Pokhran-II tests in May 1998. The first test, code-named Smiling Buddha, took place in May 1974.

nuclear_weapons

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Smiling Buddha?
  2. How many countries worldwide now have nuclear weapons?
  3. Who is known as the “father of the atomic bomb”?
  4. US-led Manhattan Project is related to?
  5. What is US’ trinity test?

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of US’ trinity test on World War 2.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi)

Context:

Mobile App of PM SVANidhi launched to bring Microcredit facility for street vendors at their door steps.

  • This App aims to provide user friendly digital interface for Lending Institutions (LIs) and their field functionaries for sourcing and processing loan applications of street vendors under the Scheme.

Implementing agency:

Last month, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs signed MoU with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in order to engage SIDBI as the Implementation Agency for the scheme.

  • SIDBI will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

Overview of the scheme:

  1. It is a special micro-credit facility plan to provide affordable loan of up to ₹10,000 to more than 50 lakh street vendors, who had their businesses operational on or before 24 March 2020.
  2. The scheme is valid until March 2022.
  3. Small Industries Development Bank of India is the technical partner for implementation of this scheme.
  4. It will manage the credit guarantee to the lending institutions through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises.

Loans under the scheme:

  • Under the scheme, vendors can avail working capital loan of up to ₹10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments within one year.
  • On timely/early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy of 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) on six-months basis.
  • There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.

Eligibility:

The scheme is applicable to vendors, hawkers, thelewalas, rehriwalas, theliphadwalas in different areas/contexts who supply goods and services. Street vendors belonging to the surrounding peri-urban/rural areas are also included.

Need for:

The lockdown has affected the lives and livelihoods of many especially daily wagers including street vendors who businesses were affected due to the restrictions.

  • Street vendors usually work with a small capital base taken on very high interest rates from informal sources. Further, they might have consumed their savings and high cost capital during the lockdown.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to provide affordable credit for working capital through formal banking channel to street vendors to help them resume the business.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Validity of the scheme.
  2. Who implements?
  3. Eligibility under the scheme?
  4. Rate of interest?
  5. What is SIDBI?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PM SVANIDHI scheme.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Kerala Animals and Birds Sacrifices Prohibition Act

Context:

The Supreme Court has agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1968.

What’s the issue?

An appeal is filed in the Supreme Court by people who are Shakthi worshippers, and for whom, animal sacrifice is an integral part of the worship.

In their appeal, they said animal sacrifice was an “essential religious practice”.

But, the 1968 State law bans killing of animals and birds for religious sacrifices. However, the act does not ban killing for personal consumption.

  • This amounted to arbitrary classification and is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution.
  • It also violates the right to practice religion and manage religious affairs under articles 25 and 26 of the Constitution.
  • The appellants said if killing of animals and birds was to be prohibited, let it be so for all purposes – religious or otherwise.

Besides, Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960 does not make killing of animals for religious purposes an offence.

What had the High Court said?

Recently, the Kerala High Court had dismissed the PIL on the ground that no material was brought on record to establish that the practice was essential to the religion.

  • The High Court had observed that the Prevention of Cruelty Act does not have the word “sacrifice” for the purpose of religion.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who and where can a PIL be filed?
  2. What is a writ and writ petition?
  3. Section 28 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 1960.
  4. Articles- 14, 25 and 26 of the constitution.
  5. Recent issues with the Kerala Animals and Bird Sacrifices Prohibition Act of 1968.

Mains Link:

Comment on the “dichotomy” in animal protection law that allows killing of animals for food but does not permit “killing of animals for offer to a deity and then consumption”.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.

PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration 2020

Context:

Revamped PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration has been launched.

Highlights:

  1. The Scheme has been revamped to recognize the performance of the District Collectors towards outcome indicators, economic development, peoples’ participation and redressal of public grievances.
  2. Nominations have been called in four major categories – District Performance Indicators Programme, Innovation General Category, Aspirational Districts Program and Namami Gange Program.
  3. The scheme for the very first time seeks to recognize the efforts of District level officials in the Namami Gange Programme. Under this award category, one award shall be given to a district out of the 57 notified District Ganga Committees under the Namami Gange Programme.

Background:

The Government of India instituted “The Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration” in the year 2006 to acknowledge, recognize and reward the extraordinary and innovative work done by Districts/ Organizations of the Central and State Governments.

  • The Scheme was restructured in 2014 for recognizing the performance of District Collectors in Priority Programmes, Innovations and Aspirational Districts and was further restructured in 2020 to recognize the performance of District Collectors towards economic development of the District.

Now, For the year 2020, the scope of the awards has been expanded to identify areas of overall outcome-oriented performance in the districts across sectors. 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When PM’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration was launched?
  2. Eligibility?
  3. Recent changes.
  4. What is Namami Gange?
  5. Who heads district Ganga committees?

Mains Link:

Write a note on Namami Gange programme.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

India registers a steep decline in maternal mortality ratio

Context:

Special bulletin on Maternal Mortality in India 2016-18 was recently released by the Office of the Registrar General’s Sample Registration System (SRS).

What is MMR?

MMR is defined as the number of maternal deaths per 1,00,000 live births.

 What is Maternal Mortality?

Maternal mortality in a region is a measure of reproductive health of women in the area.

  • As per the World Health Organization, maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.

Key findings:

MMR in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016.

MMR of various States includes Assam (215), Bihar (149), Madhya Pradesh (173), Chhattisgarh (159), Odisha (150), Rajasthan (164), Uttar Pradesh (197) and Uttarakhand (99).

The southern States registered a lower MMR — Andhra Pradesh (65), Telangana (63), Karnataka (92), Kerala (43) and Tamil Nadu (60).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Maternal Mortality and MMR?
  2. What is Target 3.1 of SDG?
  3. MMR trend in India in the last 10 years.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Bhagirathi Eco-Sensitive Zone

Context:

The union environment ministry has approved the zonal master plan for the Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification that stretches from Gaumukh to Uttarkashi covering an area of 4179.59 sqkm.

  • This move will help expedite the chaardhaam road project.

What is there in the zonal master plan?

The ZMP is based on watershed approach and includes governance in the area of forest and wildlife, watershed management, irrigation, energy, tourism, public health and sanitation, road infrastructure, etc.

Background:

The Bhagirathi eco-sensitive zone notification was first issued by the environment ministry on December 18, 2012.

After years of protests by local environmentalists, the notification sought to protect the entire fragile Himalayan region by restricting hydropower projects of over 2 MW, riverbed mining and change of land use.

The notification was however amended on April 16, 2018 following Uttarakhand government’s objections that the notification was ‘anti-development.’

  • The amendments approved land use change to meet the local needs including civic amenities and other infrastructure development in larger public interest and national security with the prior approval of State Government with due study of Environmental Impacts.

What are the Concerns now?

This approval could make the entire Bhagirathi region extremely vulnerable to natural disasters.

Pointing at the 2013 Kedarnath tragedy, experts put forth the following arguments:

  1. The Himalayas are extremely fragile mountains. The rocks still haven’t consolidated completely. Hill cutting will definitely destabilise hills.
  2. If there is forest loss, debris would flow into the river affecting the river and making the entire region extremely vulnerable to landslides.
  3. Beyond 1800 to 2000 metres altitude its mostly moraines (unconsolidated glacial debris). If there is a cloudburst these will add to landslides.
  4. The Himalayas are also in seismic zone V- a major earthquake can happen anytime.

Where is Bhagirathi Eco- Sensitive Zone?

Located in the upper Himalayas, the notified area of the Bhagirathi eco- sensitive zone is an interwoven, interdependent fragile Ganga- Himalayan Basin.

Geographically the area falls under the Garhwal lesser Himalayas and Higher Himalayas.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. How an eco-sensitive zone is declared?
  2. Where is Bhagirathi eco- zone?
  3. Classification of Himalayas.
  4. Kedarnath- location.
  5. Locate Gaumukh on map.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Eosinophil count:

It is a blood test that measures the number of one type of white blood cells called eosinophils.

  • Eosinophils become active when you have certain allergic diseases, infections, and other medical conditions.

Why in News?

Researchers have flagged this test for early recognition of Covid-19 in patients.

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Assam floods.

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