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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 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.

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.

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Pakistan’s new map.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. What is defamation?

2. Brus reject resettlement sites proposed by Tripura non-Brus.

3. Fluorosis

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NGT brings strict conditions for commercial use of ground water.

2. What is ammonium nitrate, which caused the massive explosion in Beirut?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is MyGov?

2. Pokkali variety of rice.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Post-independence consolidation and reorganization within the country.

Pakistan’s new map:


Context:

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan recently unveiled a new political map that includes all of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh, Sir Creek and Junagadh.

  • Pak Foreign Minister said that the new map reflects the aspirations of the people.

India’s response:

  • India has dismissed the map as an “exercise in absurdity” that made “untenable claims” to territories in India. These ridiculous assertions have neither legal validity nor international credibility.
  • India also said that the release of the new map confirms Pakistan’s “obsession with territorial aggrandizement” supported by cross-border terrorism.

The timing of the release of new map:

  • The map has been released a day before the first anniversary of Indian government’s August 5 decisions rolling back special status of J&Kand the bifurcation of the state into two UTs.
  • The move also appears to be a tit-for-tat for India’s inclusion of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as part of the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and of Gilgit Baltistan as part of Ladakh in the new map the government released on November 2.

Let us look at the important regions now:

Where is Sir Creek?

Sir Creek is a 96-km strip of water disputed between India and Pakistan in the Rann of Kutch marshlands.

  • Originally named Ban Ganga,Sir Creek is named after a British representative.
  • The Creek opens up in the Arabian Sea and roughly divides the Kutch region of Gujarat from the Sindh Province of Pakistan.

What’s the related dispute?

The dispute lies in the interpretation of the maritime boundary line between Kutch and Sindh.

  • Pakistan claims the entire width of the estuary, while India says the demarcation should be in the middle.
  • In its support, India cites the Thalweg Doctrine in International Maritime Law,which states that river boundaries between two states may be divided by the mid-channel if the water-body is navigable.

pakistan_

What about Junagadh?

Junagadh is in coastal Gujarat. It was a part of the Kathiawar region.

It decided to join India in 1947 and the decision was formalised through a Plebiscite in 1948. This was, however, not accepted by Pakistan then, but was overtaken by the first India-Pakistan war over Kashmir that began at the end of October 1947 and continued for over a year.

pakistan_political_map

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Disputed regions between India and its neighbours.
  2. Locations of these places and surrounding important places.
  3. India’s land and maritime boundary.
  4. Kharai camels.
  5. Rivers draining rann of Kutch.
  6. Largest fish producers in the world.
  7. United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and Bombay Government resolution of 1914 w.r.t the disputed region.
  8. Boundary pacts in this regard.
  9. What is plebiscite?

Mains Link:

Where is Sir Creek located? What is the dispute surrounding it? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

What is defamation?


Context:

The Delhi High Court has asked Delhi Police and Zee News to respond to a plea by Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra challenging the summons and framing of charges against her in a defamation case filed by the news channel and its editor.

What’s the issue?

The case relates to Ms. Moitra’s June 25, 2019 speech in Parliament on the ‘Seven Signs of Fascism’ and a TV show run by the news channel and other subsequent developments.

Zee News has filed the defamation complaint against Ms. Moitra for allegedly making statements against the channel to the media.

What is defamation?

Defamation is the communication of a false statement that harms the reputation of an individual person, business, product, group, government, religion, or nation.

In India, defamation can both be a civil wrong and a criminal offence.

The difference between the two lies in the objects they seek to achieve.

  • A civil wrong tends to provide for a redressal of wrongs by awarding compensation and a criminal law seeks to punish a wrongdoer and send a message to others not to commit such acts.

Legal provisions:

Criminal defamation has been specifically defined as an offence under section 499 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Civil defamation is based on tort law (an area of law which does not rely on statutes to define wrongs but takes from ever-increasing body of case laws to define what would constitute a wrong).

Section 499 states defamation could be through words, spoken or intended to be read, through signs, and also through visible representations.

  • Section 499 also cites exceptions. These include “imputation of truth” which is required for the “public good” and thus has to be published, on the public conduct of government officials, the conduct of any person touching any public question and merits of the public performance.

Section 500 of IPC, which is on punishment for defamation, reads, “Whoever defames another shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both.”

Misuse of the law and concerns associated:

  • The criminal provisions have often been used purely as a means of harassment. 
  • Given the cumbersome nature of Indian legal procedures, the process itself turns into punishment, regardless of the merits of the case.
  • Critics argue that defamation law impinges upon the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression and that civil defamation is an adequate remedy against such wrongs.
  • Criminal defamation has a pernicious effect on society: for instance, the state uses it as a means to coerce the media and political opponents into adopting self-censorship and unwarranted self-restraint.

What has the Supreme Court said?

  1. In Subramanian Swamy vs Union of India case 2014, the Court approved the Constitutional validity of sections 499 and 500 (criminal defamation) in the Indian Penal Code, underlining that an individual’s fundamental right to live with dignity and reputation “cannot be ruined solely because another individual can have his freedom”.
  2. In August 2016, the court also passed strictures on Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa for misusing the criminal defamation law to “suffocate democracy” and, the court said, “public figures must face criticism”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between criminal and civil defamations.
  2. Sections 499 and 500 of IPC are related to?
  3. What is tort law?
  4. Relevant Supreme Court judgments.
  5. Exceptions under section 499.

Mains Link:

Do you think defamation in India should be decriminalised? Is defamation and contempt law anachronistic? Justify with suitable examples.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Brus reject resettlement sites proposed by Tripura non-Brus:


Context:

Three organisations representing the Bru community displaced from Mizoram have rejected the sites proposed by the Joint Movement Committee (JMC), an umbrella group of non-Brus in Tripura, for their resettlement.

What’s the issue?

The JMC had on July 21 submitted a memorandum to the Tripura government specifying six places in Kanchanpur and Panisagar subdivisions of North Tripura district for the resettlement of the Brus who fled ethnic violence in Mizoram since 1997. The JMC also proposed settling 500 families at most in these places.

However, the organisations representing the Bru Community have opposed the involvement of non-Brus in JMC.

What’s the demand now?

Resettle some 6,500 families in clusters of at least 500 families at each of the sites of their choice —seven in North Tripura district and five in the adjoining Dhalai district. The sites proposed by the JMC, they said, are unconnected by road and electricity and too far from hospitals, schools and other facilities.

Who are Brus?

The Brus, also referred to as the Reangs, are spread across the northeastern states of Tripura, Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram.

In Tripura, they are recognised as a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group. In Mizoram, they have been targeted by groups that do not consider them indigenous to the state.

Permanent solution to the crisis:

The centre, in January 2020, signed a historic pact for permanent solution of Bru refugees’ issue.

The agreement was between Union Government, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives to end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis.

Highlights of the agreement:

  • Under the agreement, the centre has announced a package of Rs. 600 crore under this agreement.
  • As per the agreement the Bru tribes would be given land to reside in Tripura.
  • A fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakh will be given to each family as an amount of government aid. They will be able to withdraw this amount after two years.
  • Each of the displaced families will be given 40×30 sq ft residential plots.
  • Apart from them, each family will be given Rs. 5,000 cash per month for two years.
  • The agreement highlights that each displaced family will also be given free ration for two years and aid of Rs. 1.5 lakh to build their houses.

Brus

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Brus?
  2. What’s the crisis all about?
  3. Where they have settled?
  4. What’s there in the peace agreement?
  5. Signatories of the peace agreement.

Mains Link:

Reconciliation between the Mizo and the Bru communities is necessary for successful repatriation and for a long-term solution. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Fluorosis:


Context:

Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have developed an equipment-free fluoride ion detection and quantification in drinking water with the naked-eye. It can be operated by non-experts for household use to evade Fluorosis-based disorders.

How it works?

The technology involves a push-pull chromophore based on 2,3-disubstituted 1,1,4,4-tetracyano-1,3-butadienes (TCBDs) that changes color upon exposure to fluoride ion.

paper_test_kit

What is fluorosis?

Fluorosis is a crippling disease resulting from deposition of fluorides in the hard and soft tissues of body due to excess intake of fluoride through drinking water/food products/industrial pollutants over a long period.

It results in dental fluorosis, skeletal fluorosis, and non-skeletal fluorosis.

According to WHO, the fluoride concentration in drinking water should not exceed 1.5mg/l.

fluorosis

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

NGT brings strict conditions for commercial use of ground water:


Context:

The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has set stringent conditions for commercial groundwater use.

  • The order came on a plea seeking direction to check depleting groundwater level in the country.

NGT has also struck down the Central Ground Water Authority’s (CGWA) 2020 guidelines, saying they were against the law. The 2018 version of the guidelines had been struck down by the NGT last year.

Conditions set by NGT:

  1. Industries must expect a complete overhaul in the manner in which the permits are issued for the extraction of groundwater for commercial activities. They must ensure that all the conditions are complied with.
  2. The tribunal has specifically banned the general permission for the withdrawal of groundwater, especially to the commercial entities without an environment impact assessment.
  3. Permits must be for the specified quantity of water and must be monitored with digital flow metres and audited every year by the third parties.
  4. Strict actions, including prosecution and blacklisting, must be taken against those who will fail the audit.
  5. All overexploited, critical and semi-critical (OCS) assessment units must undergo water mapping.
  6. Authorities are given three months to make water management plans for all the overexploited, semi-critical, and critical areas.

Concerns associated with these conditions:

  • As per some of the experts, these directions have put rigorous requirements on the businesses at a time when they have been trying to find their way amid COVID-19.
  • The restrictions make access of groundwater very difficult.
  • The move by NGT has also been interfering with the legislative functions of the Jal Shakti Ministry.

Why NGT felt these conditions were necessary?

No improvements: There was no claim over groundwater levels improving, nor was there a projection for future improvement in the past 23 years of regulation by the CGWB.

India was at the bottom of the water quality index, at 120 among 122 countries.

Fifty-four per cent of India’s groundwater wells have decreased in levels, with 21 major cities across the country expected to run out of groundwater by 2020.

India extracted the most groundwater. India accounted for 25 per cent of the total annual global water extracted, with the extraction level steadily increasing.

According to ‘Water and Related Statistics 2019’, a report published by the Central Water Commission (CWC), the annual replenishable groundwater resources in India (2017) are 432 BCM, out of which 393 BCM is the annual “extractable” groundwater availability.

Related Schemes- Atal Bhujal Yojana (AJY):

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2019/12/25/atal-bhujal-yojana-ajy/.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Atal Bhujal Yojana? States in which it is being implemented?
  2. About Central Water Commission.
  3. About Global Drinking Water Quality Index,
  4. Central Ground Water Authority- composition and functions.
  5. NGT- establishment, members and functions.

Mains Link:

India’s overexploitation of groundwater is leading to the worst water crisis in its history. Examine and suggest measures for improvement.

ground_water

Sources: Down to Earth.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

What is ammonium nitrate, which caused the massive explosion in Beirut?


Context:

The catastrophic explosion at Beirut port on August 4 was caused by over 2,700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate kept in storage for over six years.

What is it?

In its pure form, ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) is a white, crystalline chemical which is soluble in water.

Where all is it used?

  • It is the main ingredient in the manufacture of commercial explosives used in mining and construction.
  • It is a common chemical ingredient of agricultural fertilisers.
  • It is also the main component of the explosive composition known as ANFO — ammonium nitrate fuel oil.

When it can cause a fire hazard?

Pure ammonium nitrate is not an explosive on its own. It is classified as an oxidiser (Grade 5.1) under the United Nations classification of dangerous goods.

  • If mixed with ingredients like fuel or some other contaminants, or because of some other external factors, it can be very explosive.

The explosion of large storage can happen primarily in two ways:

  1. By some type detonation or initiation because the storage comes in contact with explosive mixture.
  2. Due to a fire which starts in the ammonium nitrate store because of the heat generated due to the oxidation process at large scale.

How is it regulated in India?

  • In India, its usage is regulated as per The Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012, under The Explosives Act, 1884.
  • The rules also make storage of ammonium nitrate in large quantities in populated areas illegal in India.
  • For the manufacture of ammonium nitrate, an Industrial licence is required under the Industrial Development and Regulation Act, 1951.
  • A license under the Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 is also required for any activity related to ammonium nitrate.

Health effects:

An ammonium nitrate explosion produces massive amounts of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) is a red, bad-smelling gas.

It can irritate the respiratory system. Elevated levels of these pollutants are particularly concerning for people with respiratory conditions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Ammonium Nitrate?
  2. Where is it used?
  3. How is it regulated in India?
  4. How is it defined under The Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012?
  5. UN classification of dangerous goods.

Mains Link:

Discuss how ammonium nitrate is regulated in India and why are these regulations necessary.

ammonium_nitrate

Sources: the Hindu, Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is MyGov?

  • MyGov (mygov.in) is the Government of India’s citizen engagement and crowdsourcing platform.
  • Launched in 2014.
  • It aims to promote active citizen participation in governance and policymaking.
  • Since its launch on 26th July 2014, MyGov has adopted multiple engagement methodologies like discussions, tasks, innovation challenges, polls, surveys, blogs etc.

Why in News?

Goa joins MyGov Citizen Engagement Platform; 12 states had already launched their MyGov Platforms.

Pokkali variety of rice:

The pokkali variety of rice is known for its saltwater resistance and flourishes in the rice paddies of coastal Kerala districts.

  • The uniqueness of the rice has brought it the Geographical Indication (GI) tag and is the subject of continuing research.
  • The organically-grown Pokkali is famed for its peculiar taste and its high protein content. 

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. EWS quota challenge referred to Constitution Bench.

 

Articles covered previously:

(Note: This section helps you have a brief overview of articles which are frequently in news and are repeated with no significant developments. This will also help you reduce unnecessary burden.)

 

Waste on Yamuna bank: NGT warns of penalty:


Context:

Observing that adequate steps against dumping of unregulated solid waste on the banks of river Yamuna were not being taken by authorities, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has warned of imposing environmental compensation on the Uttar Pradesh government.

  • The observations came when the Tribunal was hearing a plea, which alleged that illegal disposal of solid waste on the Yamuna floodplains in Vrindavan was affecting the environment adversely.

Note:

A detailed article has already been published on Yamuna River pollution. Please go through this:

Link: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/07/29/high-levels-of-ammonia-in-yamuna-water/.

 

Madhya Pradesh should not get GI tag for basmati rice’, Punjab CM writes to Prime Minister:


Context:

Amid Madhya Pradesh government’s push for the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for basmati rice, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his personal intervention against allowing this in the larger interest of Punjab and other States which are already basmati GI tagged.

  • Apart from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Western Uttar Pradesh and select districts of Jammu and Kashmir have GI tagging for basmati.

What’s the issue?

The Chief Minister said India exported basmati to the tune of ₹33,000 crore every year. Any dilution in registration may give advantage to Pakistan (which also produces basmati as per GI tagging) in the international market in terms of basmati characteristics, quality parameters.

Note:

A detailed article on the issue has already been published. There are no significant developments on the issue. Hence, we request you to revise;

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/03/10/basmati-gi-tag/.

 

India’s move on Article 370 is ‘illegal and invalid’, says China:


Context:

India has told China “not to comment on the internal affairs” of other countries, in response to Beijing describing the dilution of Article 370, on the one-year anniversary of the move, as being “illegal and invalid”.

What’s the issue?

In response to a question from the Pakistani media, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has repeated its opposition to “any unilateral change to the status quo” in Jammu and Kashmir, echoing its statements on the issue last year.

Note:

Please go through:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2019/08/07/insights-into-editorial-this-is-what-has-changed-in-jammu-and-kashmir/.

 

PM Modi lays foundation for Ayodhya Ram temple:


Context:

PM Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for a Hindu temple in the northern city of Ayodhya.

About Ayodhya Verdict and the dispute:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2019/11/11/ayodhya-verdict/.


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