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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 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. New Education Policy.

2. Trust set up to build Ram Temple in Ayodhya.

3. Antibiotic resistance.

4. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor.

2. Turkey approves social media law.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Indians largest diaspora to get Australian citizenship in 2019-20.

2. Places in News- Port Louis.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

New Education Policy:

First new education policy in 34 years has been brought out. The union Cabinet gave its nod to the new policy recently.

  • The aim of the National Education Policy 2020 is to create an education system which is deeply rooted in Indian ethos and can rebuild India as a global knowledge superpower, by providing high-quality education to all.

Background:

  • A panel headed by former ISRO chief K. Kasturirangan submitted a draft in December 2018, which was made public and opened for feedback after the Lok Sabha election in May 2019.

Highlights of the policy:

  1. Public spending on education by states, Centre to be raised to 6% of the GDP.
  2. Ministry of Human Resource Development to be renamed Minister of Education.

 Digital Education- related:

  1. An autonomous body, the national educational technology forum, will be created for the exchange of ideas on use of technology to enhance learning, assessment, planning and administration.
  2. Separate technology unit to develop digital education resources. The new unit will coordinate digital infrastructure, content and capacity building.

 Teacher Education- related:

  1. By 2030, the minimum degree qualification for teaching will be a four year integrated B.Ed.
  2. Teachers will also be given training in online educational methods relevant to the Indian situation in order to help bridge the digital divide.

 School Education- related:

  1. Universalise the pre-primary education (age range of 3-6 years) by 2025.
  2. Universalization of Education from pre-school to secondary level with 100% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in school education by 2030.
  3. A new school curriculum with coding and vocational studies from class 6 will be introduced.
  4. A child’s mother tongue will be used as the medium of instruction till class 5.
  5. A new curricular framework is to be introduced, including the preschool and Anganwadi years.
  6. A National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy will ensure basic skills at the class 3 level by 2025.
  7. Board exams to be easier, redesigned. Exams will test core competencies rather than memorising facts, with all students allowed to take the exam twice.
  8. School governance is set to change, with a new accreditation framework and an independent authority to regulate both public and private schools.

Higher Education- related:

  1. Four year undergraduate degrees with multiple entry and exit options will be introduced.
  2. The Phil degree will be abolished.
  3. New umbrella regulator for all higher education except medical, legal courses.
  4. An Academic Bank of Credit will be set up to make it easier to transfer between institutions.
  5. College affiliation system to be phased out in 15 years, so that every college develops into either an autonomous degree-granting institution, or a constituent college of a university.
  6. It also aims to double the Gross Enrolment Ratio in higher education, including vocational education, from 26.3% in 2018 to 50% by 2035, with an additional 3.5 crore new seats.

 Traditional knowledge- related:

  1. Indian knowledge systems, including tribal and indigenous knowledge, will be incorporated into the curriculum in an accurate and scientific manner.

Special focus:

  1. Regions such as aspirational districts, which have large number of students facing economic, social or caste barriers will be designated as ‘Special Educational Zones’.
  2. The Centre will also set up a Gender Inclusion Fund to build the country’s capacity to provide equitable quality education to all girls and transgender students.

Financial support:

Meritorious students belonging to SC, ST, OBC and other socially and economically disadvantaged groups will be given incentives.

New Curricular and Pedagogical Structure:

The NEP proposes changing the existing 10+2 Curricular and Pedagogical Structure with 5+3+3+4 design covering the children in the age group 3-18 years. Under this —

  1. Five years of the Foundational Stage: 3 years of pre-primary school and Grades 1, 2;
  2. Three years of the Preparatory (or Latter Primary) Stage: Grades 3, 4, 5;
  3. Three years of the Middle (or Upper Primary) Stage: Grades 6, 7, 8;
  4. Four years of the High (or Secondary) Stage: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12.

Challenges ahead:

Since education is a concurrent subject most states have their own school boards. Therefore, state governments would have to be brought on board for actual implementation of this decision.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of new Pedagogical Structure with 5+3+3+4 design.
  2. What are Special Educational Zones as per the new policy?
  3. Who will set up the Gender Education Fund as per the policy?
  4. Role of the proposed Academic Bank of Credit.
  5. Gross Enrolment Ratio target in higher education?
  6. About the proposed national educational technology forum.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently announced New Education Policy 2020.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Trust set up to build Mosque in Ayodhya:

Context:

A trust has been set up to build a mosque in Ayodhya, in line with the November 2019 order of the Supreme Court in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case.

  • The trust has been named the ‘Indo Islamic Cultural Foundation’.
  • There will be 15 members on the trust.

 What is this trust? Why has it been setup?

On November 9, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict in the Babri Masjid case.

It allowed the construction of a Ram temple at the site of the demolished Babri Masjid in Ayodhya, and ordered handing over another 5-acre plot to the Uttar Pradesh Sunni Waqf Board for the mosque. According, the Waqf Board has setup this trust.

 About the trust:

There will be 15 members on the trust.

The Uttar Pradesh Sunni Central Waqf Board will be the founder trustee of the trust, while the secretary of the trust will also function as the official spokesperson.

 Functions of the trust:

  • The trust will build the Mosque and other facilities for the benefit of general public.
  • It will provide community service to the local population, including medical and health facilities, community kitchen.
  • It will act as a centre to promote and highlight the Indo-Islamic cultural influences in the Indian society through a research facility, a museum, a library and a publishing house.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. The above mentioned trust has been setup by?
  2. What is Waqf Board? Composition?
  3. Overview of the Supreme Court verdict in Babri Masjid case.
  4. What are legal entities?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Antibiotic resistance:

Context:

The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) recently published a survey report on antibiotic use in the dairy sector.

Concerns expressed:

  1. Antibiotics are extensively misused in the dairy sector and its residues remain largely untested in milk, which is an integral part of Indian diets, particularly of children.
  2. Another pandemic-like situation — Antibiotic resistance fuelled by the way we are producing our food, which has become chemical-intensive, could become another pandemic- like situation.
  3. Farmers often sell milk while the animal is under treatment, which increases the chances of antibiotic residues. While milk sold directly to consumers is not tested, contrary to what one would expect, processed milk sold in packets is also largely unchecked for antibiotic residues.

Why there is increased use of antibiotics?

Farmers indiscriminately use antibiotics for diseases such as mastitis (infection/inflammation of the udder), a common ailment in dairy animals.

  • Often, these include critically important antibiotics (CIAs) for humans — the WHO has warned that they should be preserved in view of the growing crisis of antibiotic resistance.
  • The abused antibiotics — despite a law against it — are easily available without the prescription of a registered veterinarian and stocked at farms.

Background:

India is the world’s largest milk producer — it produced a massive 188 million tonnes in 2018-19.

  • Urban areas consume 52% of it, and the unorganised sector, comprising milkmen and contractors, caters to 60% of this consumer base;
  • The remaining demand is met by dairy cooperatives and private dairies which represent the organised sector.

What is Antimicrobial resistance?

It is the ability of a microorganism (like bacteria, viruses, and some parasites) to stop an antimicrobial (such as antibiotics, antivirals and antimalarials) from working against it. As a result, standard treatments become ineffective, infections persist and may spread to others.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Antibiotic resistance?
  2. What are antibodies?
  3. Milk production and consumption in India.
  4. What are critically important antibiotics (CIAs)?

Mains link:

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest health challenges of 21st century. Examine why. 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR):

Context:

The independent experts on the Human Rights Committee have published a fresh interpretation of the right of peaceful assembly, offering comprehensive legal guidance about where and how it applies and also outlining governments’ obligations.

Background:

The committee is tasked with monitoring how countries implement the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.

What’s the issue?

Authorities worldwide are grappling with swelling demonstrations over issues like political rights and racial justice. At some places, coercive forces are being used to suppress the voices of protesters.

  • Therefore, right to peaceful assembly has come into the spotlight.
  • Supporters believe that protesting peacefully, online or in person, is a fundamental human right.

Important observations made by the Human Rights Committee:

  1. It is a “fundamental human right” for people to gather to celebrate or to air grievances, “in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online.”
  2. Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly.
  3. Governments could not prohibit protests by making “generalised references to public order or public safety, or an unspecified risk of potential violence”.
  4. In addition, Governments “cannot block internet networks or close down any website because of their roles in organising or soliciting a peaceful assembly”.
  5. It also stressed the right of journalists and human rights observers to monitor and document any assembly, including violent and unlawful ones.

Implications:

The Committee’s interpretation will be important guidance for judges in national and regional courts around the world, as it now forms part of what is known as ‘soft law’.

About ICCPR:

  1. It is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).
  2. Monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
  3. The covenant commits its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
  4. The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  5. It became effective in 1976.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is International Bill of Human Rights?
  2. What is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)?
  3. About United Nations Human Rights Committee.
  4. When ICCPR became effective?
  5. Has India signed ICCPR?
  6. Article 21 of ICCPR.

Mains Link:

It is a “fundamental human right” for people to gather to celebrate or to air grievances, “in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online.” Discuss its relevance today.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER):

Context:

The truly massive International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) has entered its years-long assembly phase.

  • After 35 years of brainstorming, planning, and preproduction, ITER says assembly will take five years, starting now.

What is ITER?

It is an international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject, which will be the world’s largest magnetic confinement plasma physics experiment.

It is an experimental tokamak nuclear fusion reactor that is being built in southern France.

  • The goal of ITER is to demonstrate the scientific and technological feasibility of fusion energyfor peaceful use.

Significance of ITER:

  1. ITER will be the first fusion device to produce net energy.
  2. ITER will be the first fusion device to maintain fusion for long periods of time.
  3. ITER will be the first fusion device to test the integrated technologies, materials, and physics regimes necessary for the commercial production of fusion-based electricity.

The project is funded and run by seven member entities:

The European Union, China, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

What will ITER do?

  1. Produce 500 MW of fusion power
  2. Demonstrate the integrated operation of technologies for a fusion power plant
  3. Achieve a deuterium-tritium plasma in which the reaction is sustained through internal heating
  4. Test tritium breeding
  5. Demonstrate the safety characteristics of a fusion device.

What is Fusion?

Fusion is the energy source of the Sun and stars. In the tremendous heat and gravity at the core of these stellar bodies, hydrogen nuclei collide, fuse into heavier helium atoms and release tremendous amounts of energy in the process.

How is it achieved in the laboratory?

Most efficient fusion reaction in the laboratory setting is the reaction between two hydrogen isotopes, deuterium (D) and tritium (T).

The DT fusion reaction produces the highest energy gain at the “lowest” temperatures.

Three conditions must be fulfilled to achieve fusion in a laboratory:

  1. Very high temperature (on the order of 150,000,000° Celsius).
  2. Sufficient plasma particle density (to increase the likelihood that collisions do occur).
  3. Sufficient confinement time (to hold the plasma, which has a propensity to expand, within a defined volume).

What is a Tokamak?

The tokamak is an experimental machine designed to harness the energy of fusion.

  • Inside a tokamak, the energy produced through the fusion of atoms is absorbed as heat in the walls of the vessel.
  • Just like a conventional power plant, a fusion power plant will use this heat to produce steam and then electricity by way of turbines and generators.

 First developed by Soviet research in the late 1960s, the tokamak has been adopted around the world as the most promising configuration of magnetic fusion device. ITER will be the world’s largest tokamak—twice the size of the largest machine currently in operation, with ten times the plasma chamber volume.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. ITER is funded by how many countries? Is India a part of it?
  2. What is a Tokamak?
  3. Different states of matter?
  4. What is fusion?
  5. Differences between fusion and fission.
  6. Location and significance of ITER.

 Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Turkey approves social media law

Context:

Turkey’s parliament has approved a new social media law that gives authorities greater power to regulate social media despite concerns of growing censorship.

Key provisions:

  1. The law requires major social media companies such as Facebook and Twitter to keep representative offices in Turkey to deal with complaints against content on their platforms.
  2. If a social media company refuses to designate an official representative, the legislation mandates steep fines, advertising bans and bandwidth reductions.
  3. With a court ruling, bandwidth would be halved, and then cut further. Bandwidth reductions mean social media networks would be too slow to use.
  4. The representative will be tasked with responding to individual requests to take down content violating privacy and personal rights within 48 hours or to provide grounds for rejection.
  5. The company would be held liable for damages if the content is not removed or blocked within 24 hours.
  6. It also would require social media providers to store user data in Turkey.

Need for this law- govt’s arguments:

The government says the legislation was needed to combat cybercrime and protect users.

The law was necessary to contain cyberbullying and insults against women.

Concerns:

The new law is being called the “censorship law.”  It is because the law would further limit freedom of expression in a country where the media is already under tight government control and dozens of journalists are in jail.

The law would be used to remove content critical of the government rather than to protect users. This is a clear violation of the right to freedom of expression online and contravenes international human rights law and standards.

Background:

In recent times, hundreds of people have been investigated and some arrested over social media posts on the COVID-19 pandemic, opposition to Turkish military offensives abroad or insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other officials.

Turkey leads the world in removal requests to Twitter, with more than 6,000 demands in the first half of 2019.

More than 408,000 websites are blocked in Turkey.

Online encyclopedia Wikipedia was blocked for nearly three years before Turkey’s top court ruled that the ban violated the right to freedom of expression.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Indians largest diaspora to get Australian citizenship in 2019-20:

More than 38,000 Indians became Australian citizens in 2019-2020, a 60 per cent increase from the previous year and the largest diaspora group to be granted the country’s citizenship.

India was followed by 25,011 Britishers, 14,764 Chinese and 8821 Pakistanis.

Places in News- Port Louis:

It is the capital city of Mauritius, in the Indian Ocean. It’s known for its French colonial architecture

Why in News?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Mauritius counterpart Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated the new Supreme Court built in Port Louis with Indian grant assistance.

mauritius


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