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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 5 August 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. Nagara Architecture Of Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA).

2. Three capitals for Andhra Pradesh.

3. United Nation’s policy brief on the pandemic’s impact on education.

4. Trump signs executive order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Parivar Pehchan Patra.

2. Places in News- Beirut.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Nagara Architecture of Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir:

Context:

The grand temple at Rama Janmabhoomi in Ayodhya will follow the Nagara style of temple architecture.

What is Nagara style of temple architecture?

The Nagara style of temple architecture is found in northern India.

  • In the Nagara style, the temple is generally constructed on an upraised platform called jagati. Mandapasare present in front of the Garbhagriha. These are adorned with the Shikhara, the tallest one being above the Garbhagriha.
  • Nagara style doesn’t usually have elaborate boundary walls or gateways.
  • Generally, there is no water tank in the temple premises and the pradakshina patha is covered.
  • The garbhagriha is always located directly under the tallest tower.

nagar_dravid

The basic form of a Hindu temple contains the following architectural elements:

  1. Garbhagriha– the small room where the principle deity/deities of the temple reside
  2. Mandapa– the portico or hall at the entrance of the temple generally designed to house a large number of people
  3. Shikhara– the mountain like spire which can have different shapes from pyramidal to curvilinear
  4. Vahana– the mount or vehicle of the main deity placed generally in line of sight from Garbhagriha

Subdivisions:

Nagara school is further subdivided into different schools based on region like Odisha, Khajuraho, Solanki etc.

nagar_school

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is Garbagriha located in Nagara style of architecture?
  2. Key differences between Nagara and Dravida style of architectures.
  3. Boundary walls or gateways in Nagara style.
  4. Examples of Nagara Style temples.
  5. Examples of Dravida Style temples.
  6. What is Vesara style of architecture?

Mains Link:

Ancient Indian temple architecture evolved over the centuries from simple rock-cut cave shrines to massive and ornate temples. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA):

Why in News?

The Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) has received a funding of ₹455.02 crore for the construction of new academic buildings, hostels, and research centres, among others, under the Union ministry of human resources development (MHRD)’s higher education funding agency (HEFA).

About Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA):

HEFA incorporated on 31st May 2017, is a joint venture of Ministry of HRD, GOI and Canara Bank with an agreed equity participation in the ratio of 90.91% and 09.09% respectively.

HEFA is registered under the Companies Act 2013 as a Union Govt company and as Non–deposit taking NBFC with RBI.

VISION: To enable India’s premier educational institutions to excel and reach the top in global rankings by financing building world class infrastructure including R&D Infra.

Functions:

  • It will mobilize resources from the market by way of equity from individuals / corporates and by issue of bonds to finance the requirement.
  • It provides financial assistance for creation of educational infrastructure and R&D in India’s premier educational Institutions.
  • Encourages scientific and technological developments by supporting R&D facilities for conducting high-quality research.
  • Channelises CSR contributions from companies and donations for various schemes in uplifting higher education.

How HEFA works? What are the advantages?

The funding under HEFA will replace the current grant assistance by GOI for infrastructure projects in premier educational institutions.

All the Educational Institutions set up/funded referred by concerned ministries would be eligible for financing their capital expenditure from HEFA.

  • HEFA would be able to fund larger basket of institutions as compared to grants approach.
  • Top class infrastructure can be created in quick time so that the country realises the potential of its demographic dividend in a faster time frame.

RISE 2022:

“Revitalising Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022”, is a major initiative launched by GOI in the FY 2018-19 budget.

  • HEFA’s scope under RISE has been greatly expanded from initial objective of financing infrastructural needs of select Higher Educational Institutions in India to the extent of Rs. 20,000 crores.
  • It is proposed to accelerate the investment in these institutions to Rs.1,00,000 crores over the next 4 years as under

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is HEFA?
  2. When was it established?
  3. Stakeholders in HEFA.
  4. Functions of HEFA.
  5. What is RISE 2?
  6. What is Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)?

Mains Link:

Discuss the functions and significance of HEFA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Three capitals for Andhra Pradesh:

Why in News?

The Andhra Pradesh high court has stayed the notifications issued by the YSR Congress government on the formation of three capitals for the state till August 14.

What’s the issue?

  • Various petitions were filed opposing the three capitals move and demanding a stay on the two new acts.
  • In response, the Court has granted stay on the implementation of the gazette notifications and asked the state government to file a counter within 10 days.

Three- capitals:

Andhra Pradesh Assembly, in January 2020, passed The Andhra Pradesh Decentralisation and Equal Development of All Regions Bill, 2020.

On July 31 the state government notified the AP Decentralisation and Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020, and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Act, 2020.

This law paves the way for three capitals for the state.

  1. Amaravati– legislative capital.
  2. Visakhapatnam– executive capital.
  3. Kurnool– judicial capital.

Need for three capitals:

  • The government says it is against building one mega capital while neglecting other parts of the state. Three capitals ensure equal development of different regions of the state.
  • Decentralisation has been the central theme in recommendations of all major committees that were set up to suggest a suitable location for the capital of Andhra Pradesh. These include Justice B N Srikrishna Committee, K Sivaramakrishnan Committee, G N Rao Committee etc.

Why implementing this idea will be difficult?

Coordination and logistics fear: Coordinating between seats of legislature and executive in separate cities will be easier said than done, and with the government offering no specifics of a plan, officers and common people alike fear a logistics nightmare.

Time and costs of travel: Executive capital Visakhapatnam is 700 km from judicial capital Kurnool, and 400 km from legislative capital Amaravati. The Amaravati-Kurnool distance is 370 km. The time and costs of travel will be significant.

andhra_pradesh

Which other Indian states have multiple capitals?

  1. Maharashtra has two capitals– Mumbai and Nagpur (which holds the winter session of the state assembly).
  2. Himachal Pradesh has capitals at Shimla and Dharamshala (winter).
  3. The former state of Jammu & Kashmir had Srinagar and Jammu (winter) as capitals.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Public Interest Litigation petition?
  2. Which Indian states have multiple capitals?
  3. AP’s proposed capitals.
  4. Various writs under the Indian constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss the idea of multiple state capitals. Explain in what way it may impact the governance of a state in the country? Substantiate with suitable example.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to education.

United Nation’s policy brief on the pandemic’s impact on education:

Context:

United Nation has released its policy brief on the pandemic’s impact on education.

Key findings:

  1. More than 1.6 billion learners affected across the world by the disruption of the education system.
  2. Disparities increased: The pandemic has served to exacerbate existing disparities, with vulnerable populations in low-income countries taking a harder and longer hit.
  3. School dropouts: Almost 24 million children are at risk of not returning to school next year due to the economic fallout of COVID-19.
  4. Girls and young women are likely to be disproportionately affected as school closures make them more vulnerable to child marriage, early pregnancy and gender-based violence.
  5. Learning losses: Even for those who do not drop out of school, learning losses could be severe, especially in the foundational years.

Overall impact:

Simulations on developing countries participating in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) suggest that:

  1. Impact on learning: Without remediation, a loss of learning by one-third [equivalent to a three-month school closure] during Grade 3 might result in 72% of students falling so far behind that by Grade 10 they will have dropped out or will not be able to learn anything in school.
  2. The economic loss might reach $16,000 of lost earnings over a student’s lifetime, translating over time into $10 trillion of lost earnings globally.
  3. Increased financial gap: In early 2020, low and middle incomes faced a $148-billion gap between their education budgets and the money available to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of quality education. The COVID-19 crisis is likely to increase that financing gap by up to one-third.

What needs to be done?

Education budgets need to be protected and increased. And it is critical that education is at the heart of international solidarity efforts, from debt management and stimulus packages to global humanitarian appeals and official development assistance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Trump signs executive order against hiring H1B visa holders for federal contracts:

Context:

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order preventing federal agencies from contracting or subcontracting foreign workers — mainly those on H-1B visa — from hiring.

What will change now?

The order bars federal agencies from hiring H-1B visa holders and other foreign workers in place of US citizens or green card holders.

What is H1B visa?

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

Why is it popular?

  • To keep costs in check, federal agencies in the US — and various other countries — either hire a large number of foreign workers or outsource their back-end database updation and other jobs to business process outsourcing firms from around the world. Such jobs in developed countries pay minimal wages, which are not lucrative enough for employable individuals in these countries.

Implications of this move:

  • The executive order requires all federal agencies to complete an internal audit and assess whether they are in compliance with the requirement that only US citizens and nationals are appointed to the competitive service.
  • As a result, the Department of Labour will also finalise guidelines to prevent H-1B employers from moving H-1B workers to other employers’ job sites to displace Americans workers.

Immediate reason for this change:

The latest order follows the federally-owned Tennessee Valley Authority’s (TVA) announcement that it will outsource 20% of its technology jobs to companies based in foreign countries.

  • TVA’s action could cause more than 200 highly-skilled American tech workers in Tennessee to lose their jobs to low-wage, foreign workers hired on temporary work visas.

Trump’s arguments:

  • Outsourcing hundreds of workers is especially detrimental in the middle of a pandemic, which has already cost millions of Americans their jobs.
  • National security risk: Given the current climate of rampant intellectual property theft, outsourcing IT jobs that involve sensitive information could pose a national security risk.
  • This will help combat employers’ misuse of H-1B visas, which were never intended to replace qualified American workers with low-cost foreign labour.

What’s the concern? Why India and Indians are worried?

The latest move comes over a month after the Trump administration in June 23 suspended the H-1B visas along with other types of foreign work visas until the end of 2020 to protect American workers in a crucial election year.

The latest executive order will also impact workers of Indian companies that are on contract with federal agencies.

  • Bigger federal agencies such as state-run banks give the contract for supply and maintenance of their databases and other services to bigger Indian companies such as Infosys, TCS, or Wipro.

How it would affect the US?

  • The new executive order is based on misperceptions, and misinformation. Such a measure could slow down the recovery phase of the US as countries start unlocking.
  • The order is particularly coming at a time when there is a huge shortage of STEM skills in the US that workers on short-term non-immigrant visas like H-1B and L-1 help bridge.

Insta Facts:

  • Of 65,000 new visa applications approved every year, an average 1,800 to 2,000, or roughly 3%, are H-1B visas granted to workers employed by federal agencies.
  • As many as 70% of the H-1B visa goes to people from India.

What next?

Mr. Trump said he favours a merit-based immigration system that brings in high-skilled people that creates jobs inside the US and not take jobs of Americans. An immigration bill in this regard will be introduced shortly.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between H1B, F1 and M1 Visas.
  2. Difference between an NRI and an OCI cardholder.
  3. When OCI and PIO were merged?
  4. The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 grants citizenship to?
  5. Constitutional provisions related to citizenship in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of recent changes in US visa rules on Indian students in the US.

h1b_visa

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Parivar Pehchan Patra (PPP):

Launched by Haryana government.

Key features:

PPP will provide a unique identity to complete family and it would have name of the head of the family on top. The name of family member will be added to the ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra’ right after his birth and after marriage of a girl her name will be transferred to the ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra’ of her in-laws.

Significance:

PPP will enable the citizens to get the benefits of various central and state government schemes at their door-step in a fair and transparent manner.

mera_parivar_portel

Places in News- Beirut:

It is the capital and largest city of Lebanon

Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast, Beirut is an important regional seaport.

Why in News?

A huge explosion recently devastated the port area of the capital Beirut

The blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored unsafely in a warehouse.

beirut

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Pakistan’s new political map.

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