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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 14 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 2:

1. Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status.

2. Price Monitoring and Resource Unit set up in Karnataka.

3. Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO).

4. Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest.

5. African Swine Fever (ASF).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Organic farming in India.

2. What is line of credit?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Sarthak

2. Places in News- Mediterranean Sea.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status:


Context:

The revival of the demand for two autonomous councils has made political parties and community-based groups call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the Sixth Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.

What’s the demand?

Currently, Arunachal Pradesh is under the Fifth Schedule that “does not provide special rights for the indigenous communities” unlike the Sixth Schedule.

  • Many political parties have been demanding the inclusion of Arunachal Pradesh in the 6th Schedule for making the Arunachalees owner of all natural resources instead of being protectors only.
  • Inclusion of the state under the Sixth Schedule would enable the state to own the legitimate ownership rights over its own natural resources and make it self sufficient without having to depend too much on central grants.

What is 6th Schedule?

The Sixth Schedule currently includes 10 autonomous district councils in four northeastern States — Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.

Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, it seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).

This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.

Key provisions:

The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.

  1. If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  2. Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  3. Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  4. Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  5. Powers of councils: The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
  6. Village councils: The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.
  7. Powers and functions: The district council can establish, construct or manage primary schools, dispensaries, markets, ferries, fisheries, roads and so on in the district. It can also make regulations for the control of money lending and trading by non-tribals. But, such regulations require the assent of the governor. The district and regional councils are empowered to assess and collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.

Exceptions: The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.

The governor can appoint a commission to examine and report on any matter relating to the administration of the autonomous districts or regions. He may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.

What about Nagaland?

Nagaland is governed by Article 371 (A), which says that no Act of Parliament shall apply in the State in several areas unless the Nagaland Assembly so decides by a resolution.

  • These include administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.

For a detailed Comparison of alternate/special governance mechanisms for tribal zones in the Constitution of India, please refer:

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/governance/very-little-is-understood-about-fifth-and-sixth-schedules-of-indian-constitution-58603.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between 5th and 6th schedule of Indian Constitution.
  2. Powers of governor under 5th
  3. Who can include or exclude areas under 5th
  4. What are scheduled areas?
  5. Forest Rights Act- key provisions.
  6. Tribal Advisory Councils- composition and functions.

Mains Link:

Differentiate between 5th and 6th schedules of the Indian constitution.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Price Monitoring and Resource Unit set up in Karnataka:


Context:

A Price Monitoring and Resource Unit (PMRU) has been set up in Karnataka under the aegis of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

What are Price Monitoring and Resource Units (PMRU)?

It is a registered society and shall function under the direct control and supervision of State Drug Controller of respective states. The unit shall be funded by  NPPA for its recurring and non-recurring expenses.

Functions:

  1. Help NPPA and State Drug Controller in ensuring availability and accessibility of medicines at affordable prices.
  2. Organise seminars, training programs and other information, education and communication (IEC) activities in the areas of availability and affordability of medicines for all.
  3. Collect samples of medicines, collect and analyse data and make reports with respect to availability and over-pricing of medicines for taking action under the provisions of Drug Price Control Order (DPCO).

Which other states have PMRUs?

NPPA, under its Central Sector Scheme named Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring (CAPPM), has already set up PMRUs in 12 States/ UTs, including Kerala, Odisha, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Mizoram and Jammu & Kashmir.

  • NPPA has plans to set up PMRUs in all the 36 States/ UTs.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can set up PMRUs?
  2. Role of states in setting up of PMRUs.
  3. Functions of NPPA in context of DPCO regulation.
  4. Which states in India have PMRUs.

Mains Link:

Discuss the role and functions of Price Monitoring & Resource Unit (PMRU).

Sources: pib.

 

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

Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO) launched:


The NIIO is a three-tiered organisation.

  1. Naval Technology Acceleration Council (N-TAC)will bring together the twin aspects of innovation and indigenisation and provide apex level directives.
  2. A working group under the N-TAC will implement the projects.
  3. A Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC)has also been created for induction of emerging disruptive technology in an accelerated time frame.

 Functions of NIIO:

The NIIO puts in place dedicated structures for the end users to interact with academia and industry towards fostering innovation and indigenisation for self-reliance in defence in keeping with the vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Background:

The Draft Defence Acquisition Policy 2020 (DAP 20) envisages Service Headquarters establishing an Innovation & Indigenisation Organisation within existing resources.

  • Indian Navy already has a functional Directorate of Indigenisation (DoI) and the new structures created will build upon the ongoing indigenisation initiatives, as well as focus on innovation.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NIIO.
  2. Its functions.
  3. Overview of the Draft Defence Acquisition Policy 2020.
  4. About the Directorate of Indigenisation.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest:


Context:

It is a new platform launched recently by PM Modi to further digitise the Income Tax Department’s functioning.

  • The platform seeks to “reform and simplify our tax system.”

Key features of the platform:

The platform has major reforms like faceless assessment, faceless appeal and taxpayers charter.

Faceless assessment and taxpayers charter have come into force. However, the facility of faceless appeal will be available from September 25.

Need for such initiatives:

The number of taxpayers is significantly low with only 1.5 Crore paying taxes in a country of 130 Crore people. Therefore, its time for people to introspect and come forward to pay Income taxes due on them to build an AtmaNirbharBharat.

  • Besides, the country’s tax structure needed fundamental reforms as the earlier tax structure was developed from the one created during pre-independent times. Even the several changes made during the post-independent times did not alter its fundamental character. Thus, the complexity of the earlier system made it difficult to conform.

Significance of the platform:

Honest taxpayers of the country play a big role in nation-building. When the life of an honest taxpayer becomes easy then the country also develops.

Therefore, the tax system should be seamless, painless and faceless.

  • The new facilities launched are a part of the Government’s resolve to provide maximum governance with minimum government.

Recent tax reforms:

  1. Latest laws reduced the legal burden in the tax system where now the limit of filing cases in the High Court has been fixed at up to 1 crore rupees and up to 2 crores for filing in the Supreme Court.
  2. Initiatives like the ‘Vivaad Se Vishwas’ Scheme pave the way for most of the cases to be settled out of court.
  3. The tax slabs have also been rationalised as a part of the ongoing reforms where there is zero tax upto an income of 5 lakh rupees, while the tax rate has reduced in the remaining slabs too.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Vivaad Se Vishwas scheme.
  2. Latest tax reforms- direct and indirect.
  3. Overview of Transparent Taxation platform.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

African Swine Fever (ASF):


Context:

African swine fever (ASF) has spread to Meghalaya; more than 17,000 pigs have died due to the highly-contagious disease in adjoining Assam.

Background:

Since February this year, ASF has killed at least 17,000 domesticated pigs in Assam and an unspecified number in Arunachal Pradesh. The disease is believed to have been transmitted from China where it has resulted in the death of several animals in 2019.

What’s the concern?

Piggery is a major source livelihood in the northeast because of the high demand for pork. Assam alone has seven lakh pig farmers engaged in the business, worth at least ₹8,000 crore annually.

About African Swine Fever (ASF):

ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.

It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.

  • The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
  • ASF is not a threat to human beings since it only spreads from animals to other animals.
  • According to the FAO, “its extremely high potential for transboundary spread has placed all the countries in the region in danger and has raised the spectre of ASF once more escaping from Africa. It is a disease of growing strategic importance for global food security and household income”.

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Swine fever and swine flu?
  2. Can swine fever affect humans?
  3. Is it a viral disease?
  4. Where was it first discovered?
  5. Which countries have been affected by this in 2020?
  6. Is there any vaccine available against this?

Mains Link:

Write a note African Swine Fever, symptoms and its spread.

swine_fever

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

Organic farming in India:


Context:

In a world battered by the COVID pandemic, the demand for healthy and safe food is already showing an upward trend and hence this is an opportune moment to be captured for a win-win situation for our farmers, consumers and the environment.

organic_farming

Organic farming in India:

  1. India ranks first in number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming.
  2. Sikkim became the first State in the world to become fully organic and other States including Tripura and Uttarakhand have set similar targets.
  3. North East India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than rest of the country.
  4. Similarly the tribal and island territories are being nurtured to continue their organic story.
  5. The major organic exports from India have been flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice and pulses.

Government initiatives to support organic farming:

Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) launched in 2015 to encourage chemical free farming.

  • Both these schemes are promoting certification under Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and National Program for Organic Production (NPOP) respectively targeting domestic and exports markets.

What is organic farming?

  • It is an agricultural process that uses biological fertilizers and pest control acquired from animal or plant waste.
  • It is a unique production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is organic farming?
  2. Types
  3. What is Zero Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF).
  4. Differences between ZBNF vs organic farming.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and features of Organic Farming.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

What is line of credit?


Context:

India announced a slew of new connectivity measures for the Maldives, including air, sea, intra-island and telecommunications in an effort to help the Indian Ocean Islands deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initiatives announced:

  1. Air connectivity “bubble” for travel.
  2. A direct ferry service.
  3. A submarine cable for telecom connectivity.
  4. Assistance for the Greater Male Connectivity project (GMCP) to connect Male to three neighbouring islands- Villingili, Thilafushi and Gulhifahu islands.

Background:

India will support the implementation of the GMCP in Maldives, through a financial package consisting of a grant of USD 100 million and a new Line of Credit (LoC) of USD 400 million.

  • The GMCP would be the “largest civilian infrastructure project in Maldives”.

What is Line of Credit (LOC)?

The Line of Credit is not a grant but a ‘soft loan’ provided on concessional interest rates to developing countries, which has to be repaid by the borrowing government.

The LOCs also helps to promote exports of Indian goods and services, as 75% of the value of the contract must be sourced from India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Sarthak:

  • It is an Indian Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel.
  • It was launched recently.
  • It is the 4th in the series of five OPVs.
  • It has been designed & built indigenously by M/s Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL).

Places in News- Mediterranean Sea:

mediterranean_sea

The Mediterranean is a vast sea positioned between Europe to the north, Africa to the south, and Asia to the east.

The Mediterranean Sea connects:

  1. to the Atlantic Oceanby the Strait of Gibraltar (known in Homer‘s writings as the “Pillars of Hercules“) in the west
  2. to the Sea of Marmaraand the Black Sea, by the Straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosporus respectively, in the east
  3. The 163 km (101 mi) long artificial Suez Canalin the southeast connects the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.

Why in News?

France has temporarily reinforced its military presence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea amid tensions between neighbours Greece and Turkey over recently discovered gas reserves.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. National Health Authority.
  2. Official language Act.

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