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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 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. Abanindranath Tagore.

2. Japan marks 75th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

2. EWS quota challenge referred to Constitution Bench.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Priority Sector Lending (PSL).

2. Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

3. Tsunami Ready.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. National Handloom Day 2020.

2. Kisan Rail.

3. Pangolin

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Abanindranath Tagore:


Context:

National Galary of Modern Art, New Delhi is organising the virtual tour titled “The Great Maestro | Abanindranath Tagore” to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Abanindranath Tagore on 7th August 2020.

About Abanindranath Tagore:

Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, was one of the most prominent artists of Bengal school of art in India. He was the first major supporter of swadeshi values in Indian art.

The contribution of Abanindranath Tagore towards Indian art and culture are:

Bengal School of Art:

  • He first created the ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’ and later went on to establish Bengal school of art.
  • He believed that Indian art and its art forms gave importance to spirituality as opposed to the West which stressed on materialism, thus rejecting it.
  • His idea of modernizing Mughal and Rajput paintings eventually gave rise to modern Indian painting, which took birth at his Bengal school of art.
  • Most of his works revolved around Hindu philosophy.
  • In his later works, Abanindranath started integrating Chinese and Japanese calligraphic traditions into his style. The intention behind this move was to construct an amalgamation of the modern pan-Asian artistic tradition and the common elements of Eastern artistic and spiritual culture.

Abanindranath_Tagore

Famous paintings are:

Bharat Mata, The Passing of Shah Jahan (1900), My Mother (1912–13), Fairyland illustration (1913), Journey’s End (circa 1913).

Literature:

  • Abanindranath is also regarded as a proficient and accomplished writer.
  • Most of his literary works were meant for children. Some of his books like ‘BudoAngla’, ‘KhirerPutul’ and ‘Rajkahini’ are best examples of Bengali children’s literature.
  • William Rothenstein helped Rabindranath Tagore to publish his work ‘Gitanjali’ in English.
  • Arabian Nights series was one of his notable works.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Indian Society of Oriental Art- objectives.
  2. About Bengal School of Art.
  3. Subjects of his paintings.
  4. His literary works.
  5. His famous paintings.

 Mains Link:

Examine the evolution and salient features of Bengal School of Art.

Sources: pib.

 

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.

Japan marks 75th anniversary of Hiroshima atomic bombing:


Context:

Japan, on 6th August, marked 75 years since the world’s first atomic bomb attack, with the coronavirus pandemic forcing a scaling back of ceremonies to remember the victims.

What happened on August 6th?

On August 6, 1945, the US dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, and three days later, on August 9, it dropped another bomb on Nagasaki, killing hundreds of thousands of people and affecting many more who would suffer the effects of the radiation from the blast and the “black rain” that fell in the aftermath of the explosions.

Why did the US bomb Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

After the conclusion of World War II in 1945, the relations between Japan and the US worsened, especially after Japan forces decided to take an aim at Indochina with the intention of capturing the oil-rich areas of the East Indies. Therefore, US president Harry Truman authorised the use of atomic bombs in order to make Japan surrender in WWII, which it did.

Who developed the bomb?

The atomic bomb was a result of British and American scientific knowledge and was built at two plants in the US, while a scientific laboratory was maintained separately, all of which came under the ambit of the Manhattan Project, which was the codename for this research effort.

Insta Facts:

  • Atomic bomb dropped on the city of Hiroshima was called “Little Boy”.
  • Atomic bomb dropped over Nagasaki was called “Fat Man”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who were the Allies and the axis powers?
  2. Causes for the world war 2.
  3. Manhattan project is related to?
  4. Outcomes of the war.
  5. Important events and battles during WW2.
  6. What is the battle of midway?
  7. What led to attacks on pearl harbour?

Mains Link:

The Second World War gave a great incentive to the nationalist movements in colonies. Analyse.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG):


Context:

Former Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu was recently appointed as the new Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

About CAG:

  • The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in chapter V under Part V.
  • The CAG is mentioned in the Constitution of India under Article 148 – 151.
  • He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.
  • He is the guardian of the public purse and controls the entire financial system of the country at both the levels- the centre and state.
  • His duty is to uphold the Constitution of India and the laws of Parliament in the field of financial administration.

Appointment and Term to Constitutionals Posts: 

  • The CAG is appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal.
  • He holds office for a period of six years or upto the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Duties:

  1. CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated Fund of each state and UT having a legislative assembly.
  2. CAG audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
  3. CAG audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and the state governments.
  4. CAG audits the receipts and expenditure of all bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or State revenues; government companies; other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
  5. He ascertains and certifies the net proceeds of any tax or duty and his certificate is final on the matter.

Reports:

  • He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre and State to the President and Governor, who shall, in turn, place them before both the houses of Parliament and the state legislature respectively.
  • He submits 3 audit reports to the President: audit report on appropriation accounts, audit report on finance accounts and audit report on public undertakings.

CAG and PAC:

He acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

CAG along with its mandatory regulatory and compliance audit performs the performance as well as efficiency audit to question executive’s wisdom and economy in order to identify cases of improper expenditure and waste of public money.

Constitutional provisions which ensure the independence of CAG are:

  1. CAG is provided with the security of tenure. He can be removed by the president only in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the Constitution. Thus, he does not hold his office till the pleasure of the president, though he is appointed by him.
  2. He is not eligible for further office, either under the Government of India or of any state, after he ceases to hold his office.
  3. His salary and other service conditions are determined by the Parliament. His salary is equal to that of a judge of the Supreme Court.
  4. Neither his salary nor his rights in respect of leave of absence, pension or age of retirement can be altered to his disadvantage after his appointment.
  5. The administrative expenses of the office of the CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions of persons serving in that office are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India. Thus, they are not subject to the vote of Parliament.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between Consolidated and Contingency funds of India.
  2. About Public Accounts Committee.
  3. Reports submitted by CAG to the President.
  4. CAG is appointed by?
  5. Appointment and removal of CAG.

Mains Link:

CAG is instrumental in securing accountability of the executive to the parliament in the sphere of financial administration. Explain. List the constitutional provisions to ensure the independence of the CAG.

Sources: pib.

 

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

EWS quota challenge referred to Constitution Bench:


Context:

The Supreme Court has referred to a five-judge Bench the “substantial question of law” whether grant of 10% reservation to economically weaker sections of the society is unconstitutional and violates the 50% ceiling cap on quota declared by the court itself.

What does the reference mean?

A reference to a larger Bench means that the legal challenge is an important one.

  • As per Article 145(3) of the Constitution, “the minimum number of Judges who are to sit for the purpose of deciding any case involving a substantial question of law as to the interpretation of this Constitution” shall be five.
  • The Supreme Court rules of 2013 also say that writ petitions that allege a violation of fundamental rights will generally be heard by a bench of two judges unless it raises substantial questions of law. In that case, a five-judge bench would hear the case.

What are the grounds of challenge?

The law was challenged primarily on two grounds.

  1. First, it violates the Basic Structure of the Constitution. This argument stems from the view that the special protections guaranteed to socially disadvantaged groups are part of the Basic Structure and that the 103rd Amendment departs from this by promising special protections on the sole basis of economic status. Although there is no exhaustive list of what forms the Basic Structure, any law that violates it is understood to be unconstitutional.
  2. Second, it violates the SC’s 1992 ruling in Indra Sawhney & Ors v Union of India, which upheld the Mandal Report and capped reservations at 50%. In the ruling, the court held that economic backwardness cannot be the sole criterion for identifying backward class.

What’s the issue?

The economic reservation was introduced in the Constitution by amending Articles 15 and 16 and adding clauses empowering the state governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.

  • The validity of the Constitutional Amendment was challenged, saying the 50% quota limit was part of the Basic Structure of the Constitution.
  • A three-judge bench had refused to stay the implementation of the Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which provides the 10% quota.

How centre defends this move?

The Centre had argued that it was every State’s prerogative to provide 10% economic reservation in State government jobs and admissions in State-run education institutions. Whether or not to provide reservation to the economically weaker section (EWS) of the society for appointment in State government jobs and for admission to State government educational institutions, as per provisions of the newly inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution, is to be decided by the State government concerned.

  • The government also argued that under Article 46 of the Constitution, part of Directive Principles of State Policy, it has a duty to protect the interests of economically weaker sections.
  • Countering the claims that the amendment violates the Indra Sawhney principle, the government relied on a 2008 ruling— Ashok Kumar Thakur v Union of India, in which the SC upheld the 27% quota for OBCs. The argument is that the court accepted that the definition of OBCs was not made on the sole criterion of caste but a mix of caste and economic factors, to prove that there need not a sole criterion for according reservation.

What is a constitution bench?

Article 145(3) says at least five judges need to hear cases that involve “a substantial question of law as to the interpretation” of the Constitution, or any reference under Article 143, which deals with the power of the President of India to consult the Supreme Court.

  • But this doesn’t mean constitution benches can’t be larger. For example, nine judges were on the bench that unanimously declared privacy to be a fundamental right in August 2017. There have also been seven and 13-judge benches.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 143 and 145(3) are related to?
  2. Articles 15(6) and 16(6) of the Constitution- overview.
  3. Ashok Kumar Thakur v Union of India case is related to?
  4. What is basic structure of the constitution?
  5. Supreme Court judgment in Indira Sawhney case.

Mains Link:

Is the reservation policy earmarking a 10% quota for the economically weaker sections of the “general category” empirically founded and justifiable? Critically analyse.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices; Public Distribution System objectives, functioning, limitations, revamping; issues of buffer stocks and food security; Technology missions; economics of animal-rearing.

Priority Sector Lending (PSL):


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India has assigned priority sector lending (PSL) status to India’s startup sector.

 Significance of the move:

RBI opening up more funds for lending to startups is a very positive step. Startups have not had easy access to debt, stymied by traditional lender metrics of creditworthiness. This is a huge booster as sufficient funding and user adoption are two primary challenges for Indian entrepreneurs.

Besides, Startups have mostly relied on expensive venture debt. This move will help startups free up their equity and raise low cost debt.

What is Priority Sector Lending?

It means those sectors which the Government of India and Reserve Bank of India consider as important for the development of the basic needs of the country and are to be given priority over other sectors. The banks are mandated to encourage the growth of such sectors with adequate and timely credit.

RBI guidelines for PSL for scheduled commercial banks:

40% of the total net bank credit should go to a priority sector advances.

  1. 10% of the priority sector advances or 10% of the total net bank credit, whichever is higher should go to weaker section.
  2. 18% of the total net bank credit should go to agricultural advances. Within the 18 percent target for agriculture, a target of 8 per cent of Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC) or Credit  Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher is prescribed for Small and Marginal Farmers, to be achieved in a phased manner.
  3. 5 of ANBC or Credit Equivalent Amount of Off-Balance Sheet Exposure, whichever is higher should go to Micro enterprises.

Priority Sector includes the following categories:

  1. Agriculture
  2. Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME)
  3. Export Credit
  4. Education
  5. Housing
  6. Social Infrastructure
  7. Renewable Energy
  8. Others

Priority Sector Lending Certificates (PSLCs):

Priority Sector Lending Certificates (PSLCs) are a mechanism to enable banks to achieve the priority sector lending target and sub-targets by purchase of these instruments in the event of shortfall. This also incentivizes surplus banks as it allows them to sell their excess achievement over targets thereby enhancing lending to the categories under priority sector.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are PSLCs? Who issues them?
  2. Priority sector includes? Latest additions.
  3. What is Adjusted Net Bank Credit (ANBC)?
  4. RBI guidelines on PSL.

Mains Link:

What are the objectives of Priority Sector Lending (PSL)? Recently, RBI permitted the issue and trading of PSL certificates. Discuss the significance of this initiative for PSL.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:


Context:

Ministry of Agriculture funding start-ups under the innovation and agripreneurship component of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana in 2020-21.

Background:

A component, Innovation and Agri-entrepreneurship Development programme has been launched under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana in order to promote innovation and agripreneurship by providing financial support and nurturing the incubation ecosystem.

  • These start-ups are in various categories such as agro-processing, artificial intelligence, digital agriculture, farm mechanisation, waste to wealth, dairy, fisheries etc.

The following are the components of this scheme:

  1. Agripreneurship Orientation – 2 months duration with a monthly stipend of Rs.  10,000/- per month.  Mentorship is provided on financial, technical, IP issues etc.
  2. Seed Stage Funding of R-ABI Incubatees – Funding upto Rs. 25 lakhs (85% grant & 15% contribution from the incubatee).
  3. Idea/Pre-Seed Stage Funding of Agripreneurs – Funding up to Rs. 5 lakhs (90% grant and 10% contribution from the incubatee).

About Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana:

RKVY scheme was initiated in 2007 as an umbrella scheme for ensuring holistic development of agriculture and allied sectors.

The scheme incentivizes States to increase public investment in Agriculture & allied sectors.

  • The Cabinet has approved (as on 1st November 2017) for the continuation of the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme (State Plans) – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR).

The main objective of Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana is to develop farming as a main source of economic activity. Some of the objectives also include:

  1. Risk mitigation, strengthening the efforts of the farmers along with promoting agri-business entrepreneurship through the creation of agri-infrastructure.
  2. Providing all the states with autonomy and flexibility in making plans as per their local needs.
  3. Helping farmers in increasing their income by encouraging productivity and promoting value chain addition linked production models.
  4. To reduce the risk of farmers by focusing on increasing the income generation through mushroom cultivation, integrated farming, floriculture, etc.
  5. Empowering the youth through various skill development, innovation and agri-business models.

Funding:

RKVY-RAFTAAR will continue to be implemented as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme in the ratio of 60: 40 (Government of India and State Share respectively) except in the case of northeastern and hilly states where the sharing pattern is 90:10. For UTs the grant is 100% as Central share.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was the scheme launched?
  2. Funding under the scheme.
  3. Objectives of the scheme.
  4. Various components under the scheme.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

Tsunami Ready:


Context:

Odisha has achieved another milestone in disaster management. Venkatraipur in Ganjam and Noliasahi in Jagatsinghpur have been recognised by UNESCO-IOC as Tsunami-Ready Communities.

About Tsunami Ready:

Tsunami Ready is a community performance-based programme.

Initiated by the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to promote tsunami preparedness through the active collaboration of public, community leaders, and national and local emergency management agencies.

Objectives of the programme:

  • To improve the coastal community’s preparedness for tsunami emergencies.
  • To minimize the loss of life and property.
  • To ensure a structural and systematic approach in building community preparedness.

About the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC):

  • IOC-UNESCO was established in 1960 as a body with functional autonomy within UNESCO and is the only competent organization for marine science within the UN system.
  • The purpose of the Commission is to promote international cooperation and to coordinate programmes in research, services and capacity-building, in order to learn more about the nature and resources of the ocean and coastal areas and to apply that knowledge for the improvement of management, sustainable development, the protection of the marine environment, and the decision-making processes of its Member States.
  • The IOC is recognized through the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as the competent international organization in the fields of Marine Scientific Research and Transfer of Marine Technology.

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


National Handloom Day 2020:

Sixth edition of National Handloom Day to be celebrated on 7th August.

First National Handloom Day was organised in 2015.

Why August 7?

This day is celebrated on August 7 as a way to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement.

  • Swadeshi Movement was officially proclaimed on August 7, 1905 at the Calcutta Town Hall, in Bengal.

The movement had been launched in 1905 on the same date and now, it is used to create awareness and acceptance towards this sector and their exquisite work.

CKisan Rail:

  • Indian Railways will introduce “Kisan Rail”, a special Parcel Train from Devlali (Maharashtra) to Danapur (Bihar).
  • It is in pursuance of announcement made by Finance Minister in Union Budget 2020-21.
  • It is expected that the train will provide seamless supply chain of Perishable produce, will be a great help to the farmers.

Pangolin:

  • Pangolin is only scaly mammal on the planet.
  • According to CITES, it is also the most illegally traded vertebrate within its class (Mammalia).
  • Of the eight species of pangolin worldwide, two are found in India. They are Chinese pangolin, mostly found in northeast India and Indian pangolin.

Protection Status:

  • Chinese pangolin has been listed as “critically endangered”.
  • Indian pangolin (Manis crassicaudata) has been listed as “endangered”.
  • It is also a Schedule I category protected animal, under the Wildlife Protection Act (1972).

Pangolin_2

 


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.)

EIA 2020 to make polluter pay heavy penalty: Javadekar:


Context:

Union Environment Minister responds to Jairam Ramesh’s series of public letters castigating the proposed Environment Impact Assessment Notification.

 Various criticisms:

  • The draft saw environmental regulation as “an unnecessary burden and not an essential obligation to be met for sustainable development”.
  • A clause in the draft allowed illegal projects to be approved post-facto. That is, it could have been set up in contravention of existing laws but managers of the project could later on approach a dedicated Expert Appraisal Committee, called a “violations committee”.

 A detailed article on the topic has already been published. Please refer:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/06/27/draft-eia-notification/.

 

Rajasthan HC dismisses plea against merger of 6 BSP MLAs in Congress:


Context:

Rajasthan High Court has disposed off a petition filed in the case regarding the merger of six BSP MLAs with the Congress.

This topic was recently covered in depth. Please go through:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/07/31/merger-of-political-parties-under-10th-schedule/.


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