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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 11 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. Citizenship of Buddha: India and Nepal in war of words.

2. Geothermal springs in Himalayas release large amount of carbon dioxide: Study.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. International Finance Corporation (IFC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

2. What is Submarine communications cable?

3. World Biofuel day.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Surakhsya

2. Delhi HC issues notice to UPSC after plea says quota for disabled neglected.

3. Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Citizenship of Buddha: India and Nepal in war of words:


Context:

Recently, there has been a war of words between India and Nepal over the origin of Gautama Buddha.

What’s the issue?

Nepal is the land of origin of Lord Buddha, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu asserted recently after India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar described the founder of Buddhism as one of the greatest Indians ever.

What history says?

Gautam Buddha was a prince of the Shakya republic, which extended till the current border region of India and Nepal.

  • Its capital was Kapilvastu, whose exact location has remained unascertained among historians.
  • By the time Gautam was born to Shakya chief Shuddhodana and Mayamaya, the republic was a vassal of Kosala kingdom.
  • In Buddhist texts, Shakya chief’s family has been identified with the Ikshwaku lineage. It is the same lineage as Lord Ram’s.
  • Ayodhya under Kosala kingdom was the central line of Ikshwaku tree expanding over to Nepal and India as the borders then were not so defined as today.

According to Buddhist texts, Gautma Buddha was born while his mother Mahamaya was travelling. He was born in a park in Lumbini, which is in Nepal. Lumbini is a UNESCO-declared heritage site and holds immense significance for the followers of Buddhism.

What India says?

  • Gautam Buddha grew up in Kapilvastu, whose location is yet to be identified conclusively. He left Kapilvastu to fulfill his spiritual quest and reached Rajgrih, located in Bihar. He was still Prince Gautam.
  • What is also conclusively known is that Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment in Bodhgaya, in India. Here Gautam became Buddha. He spent over four decades of his life travelling across Indian cities and villages reaching in the India-Nepal borders.
  • Gautam Buddha delivered his first sermon near Varanasi. He kept wandering mostly in the vast expanse of the kingdom of Magadha. Buddha breathed his last in Kushinagar, a town in eastern UP.

Conclusion:

Gautam Buddha lived in an era when citizenship was not a concept bound by political boundaries of the states. Those boundaries kept changing. His life was modelled as a citizen of humanity.

Nepal’s claim of Gautam Buddha being a Nepali citizen or giving Nepali identity to Gautam Buddha appears unfair given that as Buddha, Gautam was a general resident of India. He was born in Nepal while his pregnant mother was in journey.

buddhist_place

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Holy places associated with the life of Buddha.
  2. Four noble truths.
  3. What is eightfold path?
  4. About Ikshvaku lineage.
  5. What are Jataka tales?
  6. What are Mahayana Sutras?
  7. About Hinayana and Mahayana Buddhism.
  8. About Buddhism Mudras.

Mains Link:

Discuss the ethical principles of Buddhism as articulated by Gautam Buddha.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features.

Geothermal springs in Himalayas release large amount of carbon dioxide: Study:


Context:

Scientists of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) recently conducted a study on Geothermal springs in Himalayas.

Key observations and findings:

  1. Geothermal springs cover about 10,000 square kms in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
  2. The Himalayas host hundreds of geothermal springs and they release a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  3. CO2 in these thermal springs are sourced from metamorphic decarbonation of carbonate rocks present deep in the Himalayan core along with magmatism and oxidation of graphite.
  4. Most of the geothermal water is dominated by evaporation followed by weathering of silicate rocks.

What are hot/geothermal springs?

A hot spring is a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust.

Science behind hot water:

  1. As we know, deeper we go down the earth hotter it gets and find magma (molten rock) at the outer core of the earth. This magma(8001300°C) is surrounded by different layers of the earth.
  2. If there is a crack or thrust fault in the layers of earth (one layer of the crust breaking and being thrust over another), tremendous amount of heat will be transferred from the magma to the surrounding rocks.
  3. Now, all that thermal energy will be transferred from the rocks along that thrust fault to the water present down there.
  4. As the temperature of the water increases, its density decreases which results in the rise of the hot water toward the surface along this thrust fault in the form of hot springs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are hot springs?
  2. Science behind hot springs.
  3. Examples of hot springs in India.
  4. Division of Himalayas.
  5. Overview of Garhwal region of Himalayas.

Mains Link:

What are the different non-conventional sources of energy? Do you think they have been adequately utilized in India? Critically examine.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

International Finance Corporation (IFC):


Context:

IFC to invest $10 mn in Endiya Partners Fund II for product start-ups.

About the International Finance Corporation (IFC):

  • It is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset management services to encourage private sector development in developing countries.
  • It is a member of the World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
  • It was established in 1956 as the private sector arm of the World Bank Group to advance economic development by investing in strictly for-profit and commercial projects that purport to reduce poverty and promote development.
  • The IFC is owned and governed by its member countries, but has its own executive leadership and staff that conduct its normal business operations.
  • It is a corporation whose shareholders are member governments that provide paid-in capital and which have the right to vote on its matters.
  • Since 2009, the IFC has focused on a set of development goals that its projects are expected to target. Its goals are to increase sustainable agriculture opportunities, improve healthcare and education, increase access to financing for microfinance and business clients, advance infrastructure, help small businesses grow revenues, and invest in climate health.
  • It offers an array of debt and equity financing services and helps companies face their risk exposures while refraining from participating in a management capacity.
  • It advises governments on building infrastructure and partnerships to further support private sector development.

world_bank_group

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Institutions under World Bank group.
  2. Difference between IDA and IBRD.
  3. Types of loans by IDA.
  4. About IFC.
  5. Headquarters of important World Bank institutions.
  6. What is open data initiative?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP):


Context:

Finance Minister launches an Online Dashboard for the National Infrastructure Pipeline.

Key points:

  • The online dashboard is envisaged as a one stop solution for all stakeholders looking for information on infrastructure projects in New India.
  • The dashboard is being hosted on the India Investment Grid (IIG) (indiainvestmentgrid.gov.in).

About NIP:

When was it announced?

In the budget speech of 2019-2020, Finance Minister announced an outlay of Rs 100 lakh Crore for infrastructure projects over the next 5 years.

What is it?

  1. NIP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  2. It will improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic & foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for attaining the target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025.
  3. Covers both economic and social infrastructure projects.

Report by Task force:

The task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP), in May 2020, submitted its final report to the Finance Minister.

Important recommendations and observations made:

  1. Investment needed: ₹111 lakh crore over the next five years (2020-2025) to build infrastructure projects and drive economic growth.
  2. Energy, roads, railways and urban projects are estimated to account for the bulk of projects (around 70%).
  3. The centre (39 percent) and state (40 percent) are expected to have an almost equal sharein implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.
  4. Aggressive push towards asset sales.
  5. Monetisation of infrastructure assets.
  6. Setting up of development finance institutions.
  7. Strengthening the municipal bond market.

The task force has recommended setting up of the following three committees:

  1. Committee to monitor NIP progress and eliminate delays
  2. Steering Committee at each Infrastructure ministry level to follow up on the implementation process
  3. Steering Committee in DEA for raising financial resources for the NIP.

rebooting

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is NIP? When was it launched?
  2. Projects covered under NIP.
  3. Key recommendations made by task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on NIP.
  4. Three committees proposed to be set up as per the recommendations made by Task Force.
  5. What is India Investment Grid?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and features of NIP.

Sources: pib.

 

What is Submarine communications cable?


Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System, which will provide better connectivity to the archipelago.

  • The foundation stone for the project was laid by PM Modi in December 2018 at Port Blair.

Key points:

  • About 2,300 km of submarine optical fibre cable (OFC) has been laid at a cost of about Rs 1,224 crore to provide better connectivity in the UT.
  • The project envisages better connectivity from Chennai to Port Blair and seven other Islands — Swaraj Deep (Havelock), Long Island, Rangat, Hutbay (Little Andaman), Kamorta, Car Nicobar and Campbell Bay (Great Nicobar).
  • The project is funded by the government through the Universal Service Obligation Fund under the ministry of communications.

 Who will benefit?

  1. Better connectivity in the region will facilitate the delivery of e-governance services such as telemedicine and tele-education.
  2. Small enterprises will benefit from opportunities in e-commerce, while educational institutions will utilise the enhanced availability of bandwidth for e-learning and knowledge sharing.
  3. Business Process Outsourcing services and other medium and large enterprises too also benefit from better connectivity.
  4. After the launch of the project by PM Modi, the internet bills in Andaman and Nicobar will also come down substantially.

 What is Submarine Communications cable?

It is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea.

  • The optical fiberelements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.

Types of Submarine fiber cables:

There are two types of Submarine fibre cables: unrepeatered and repeatered.

  • Unrepeatered cables are preferred in short cable routes because it does not require repeaters, lowering costs; however, their maximum transmission distance is limited.

Importance of submarine cables:

  • Currently 99 per cent of the data traffic that is crossing oceans is carried by undersea cables.
  • The reliability of submarine cables is high, especially when multiple paths are available in the event of a cable break.
  • The total carrying capacity of submarine cables is in the terabits per second, while satellites typically offer only 1,000 megabits per second and display higher latency.

Challenges:

A typical multi-terabit, transoceanic submarine cable system costs several hundred million dollars to construct.

Andaman_Nicobar

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About optical fibers.
  2. Types of Submarine fiber cables.
  3. About the recently launched Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.
  4. Key features of the Universal Service Obligation Fund.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

World Biofuel day:


Context: World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August to raise awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.

  • The day honours the research experiments by Sir Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) who ran an engine with peanut oil in 1893.
  • In India, the day has been celebrated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas since 2015.

The theme for 2020 World Biofuel Day in India is ‘Biofuels Towards Atmanirbhar Bharat’

What are Biofuels?

Any hydrocarbon fuel that is produced from an organic matter (living or once living material) in a short period of time (days, weeks, or even months) is considered a biofuel.

Biofuels may be solid, liquid or gaseous in nature.

  • Solid: Wood, dried plant material, and manure
  • Liquid: Bioethanol and Biodiesel
  • Gaseous: Biogas

Classification of Biofuels:

1st generation biofuels are also called conventional biofuels. They are made from things like sugar, starch, or vegetable oil. Note that these are all food products. Any biofuel made from a feedstock that can also be consumed as a human food is considered a first-generation biofuel.

2nd generation biofuels are produced from sustainable feedstock. The sustainability of a feedstock is defined by its availability, its impact on greenhouse gas emissions, its impact on land use, and by its potential to threaten the food supply. No second-generation biofuel is also a food crop, though certain food products can become second generation fuels when they are no longer useful for consumption. Second generation biofuels are often called “advanced biofuels.”

3rd generation biofuels are biofuel derived from algae. These biofuels are given their own separate class because of their unique production mechanism and their potential to mitigate most of the drawbacks of 1st and 2nd generation biofuels.

4th generation biofuels: In the production of these fuels, crops that are genetically engineered to take in high amounts of carbon are grown and harvested as biomass. The crops are then converted into fuel using second generation techniques.

biofuels

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a biofuel?
  2. Categorisation of biofuels.
  3. Overview of National Policy on Biofuels.
  4. What is ethanol? How is it produced?

Mains Link:

Discuss the importance of biofuels for India? Critically examine whether the national policy on biofuels will help India unlock it’s biofuel potential?

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Surakhsya:

It is the National Portal on human elephant conflict.

  • It is for collection of real time information & also for managing the conflicts on a real time basis.

Delhi HC issues notice to UPSC after plea says quota for disabled neglected:

The Delhi High Court has issued notice to Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on a plea challenging this year’s preliminary examination notice for direct recruitment to civil services on the ground that it neglects the minimum reservation to be provided to disabled persons.

  • The petition claimed that the UPSC’s notice reserves only 24 vacancies for persons with disabilities out of a total 796 ‘expected approximate vacancies’.
  • This was below the four per cent mandatory reservation under section 34 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016.
  • The plea submitted that four per cent of 796 vacancies work out to is 32.

Sub-Mission on Agricultural Mechanization:

  • It was introduced in April 2014 with an aim to have inclusive growth of farm mechanisation to boost productivity.
  • The scheme is implemented in all the states, to promote the usage of farm mechanization and increase the ratio of farm power to cultivable unit area up to 2.5 kW/ha.

 


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.)

Put on hold draft EIA till it is discussed, Jairam urges Javadekar:


Context:

The chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Jairam Ramesh, urged Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar to keep the draft Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification in abeyance until the committee examines it in detail.

This article has already been covered in detail. Please go through:

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

 

Protest against farm ordinances:


Context:

Farmers of as many as 10 outfits recently taged a ‘two-wheeler’ protest in Punjab, opposing the Centre’s recently promulgated agriculture-related ordinances.

  • Farmers were seen shouting slogans against the recently promulgated ordinances by the Centre, which included the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance; the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and the Farm Services Ordinance and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance.

Details of the issue:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/08/04/centre-should-repeal-ordinances-farmers/.

 

Inpatient care utilisation under PMJAY badly hit by lockdown:


Context:

The nationwide lockdown had a significant negative impact on inpatient care utilisation under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), where claim volumes fell by over 50%, with wide variation across the States and procedure types.

  • The steepest decline (over 75%) was registered in Assam, followed by Maharashtra and Bihar.
  • Of particular concern were significant declines in admissions for child delivery and oncology. 

Details about PMJAY:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/03/24/ayushman-bharat-2/.


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