Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 19 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. No Audit of PM-CARES Funds: SC.

2. Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.

3. Atal Rankings of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Digital Quality of Life Index 2020.

2. ‘No-Go’ forests cleared for coal mining, says report.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Ayuraksha

2. Mysuru zoo receives three African hunting cheetahs from South Africa.

3. Ninja UAVs.

4. Advocates appointed as High Court judges.

5. Madhya Pradesh govt jobs to be reserved for state citizens.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

No Audit of PM-CARES Fund: SC:


Context:

Supreme Court has delivered its judgement on PM CARES funds.

What’s the issue?

The petition was filed by an NGO named Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) had sought a direction to the Centre to transfer the funds of PM Cares Fund to the NDRF.

Highlights of the judgment:

  1. The Court has “refused” to order transfer of funds from the PM CARES Fund to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF). They “are two entirely different funds with different object and purpose”.
  2. PM CARES Fund, being a public charitable trust, “there is no occasion for audit by the Comptroller & Auditor General of India”.
  3. The Court also rejected the request for a new National Plan under the National Disaster Management Act, 2005, to deal with Covid-19 situation.
  4. The court held that there is “no statutory prohibition on individuals to make voluntary contributions to NDRF” under Section 46(1)(b) of the DM Act.
  5. The court also declined to intervene with the “minimum standards of relief” and the necessary guidelines issued by the government under Section 12 of the DM Act.

About PM CARES Fund:

Set up on March 28, the PM CARES Fund is a charitable trust registered under the Registration Act, 1908.

The trust does not receive any Budgetary support or any Government money.

It was constituted with an objective to extend assistance in the wake of public health emergency that is pandemic COVID-19”.

Who administers the fund?

Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund and Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 266 vs 267.
  2. What is a public account?
  3. Who administers PM CARES fund?
  4. Which organisations are exempted from the ambit of RTI act?
  5. What is Consolidated fund of India?
  6. What is a charitable trust?
  7. About NDRF.

Mains Link:

Discuss why PM CARES fund should be brought within the ambit of RTI act?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal:


Context:

At a recent meeting, the Punjab Chief Minister asked the Central government to be cautious on the contentious Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, saying it has the potential to disturb the nation’s security.

  • The meeting was convened following the Supreme Court’s direction to the Centre on July 28 to mediate between the two States to resolve the issue.

How this issue could disturb nation’s security?

Pakistan has been making continuous attempts to foment trouble and to try and revive the separatist movement through the banned Sikhs for Justice organisation. The water issue could further destabilise the State.

Punjab’s demands:

Suitable amendments should be made to the proposed Inter State River Water Disputes Act to set up a new tribunal, to ensure that Punjab gets adequate water “in a just and equitable manner in keeping with its total demand and securing livelihood of the future generations.”

What is the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal, and the controversy over it?

Historical background:

  1. The creation of Haryana from the old (undivided) Punjab in 1966 threw up the problem of giving Haryana its share of river waters.
  2. Punjab was opposed to sharing waters of the Ravi and Beaswith Haryana, citing riparian principles, and arguing that it had no water to spare.
  3. However, Centre, in 1976, issued a notification allocating to Haryana 3.5 million acre feet (MAF) out of undivided Punjab’s 7.2 MAF.
  4. The Eradi Tribunal headed by Supreme Court Judge V Balakrishna Eradi was set up to reassess availability and sharing of water. The Tribunal, in 1987, recommended an increase in the shares of Punjab and Haryana to 5 MAF and 3.83 MAF, respectively.

The canal:

To enable Haryana to use its share of the waters of the Sutlej and its tributary Beas, a canal linking the Sutlej with the Yamuna, cutting across the state, was planned.

tripartite agreement was also negotiated between Punjab, Haryana, and Rajasthan in this regard.

  • The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometer long canal to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. However, the proposal met obstacles and was referred to the Supreme Court.

What is Haryana’s demand?

Haryana has been seeking the completion of the SYL canal to get its share of 3.5 million acre-feet of river waters. It has maintained that Punjab should comply with the 2002 and 2004 Supreme Court orders in this regard. Haryana is getting 1.62 million acre-feet of the Ravi-Beas waters.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of SYL canal.
  2. Sutlej and Yamuna- tributaries and basins.
  3. Water under 7th
  4. Overview of Article 262 of the Constitution.
  5. Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956- Key provisions.

Mains Link:

It is said that water sharing awards and agreements such as the Sutlej–Yamuna Link between Punjab and Haryana are generally politically-induced, and therefore, remain unimplemented. Do you think sharing of river water should be based on the emerging ground realities, especially geographical factors?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to education.

Atal Rankings of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020:


Context:

The Atal Rankings of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) 2020 has been released.

What is it?

Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA) is an initiative of Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) (Now, it is the Ministry of Education), Govt. of India to systematically rank all major higher educational institutions and universities in India.

ARIIA ranking will primarily focus on 6 main parameters:

  1. Programs and Activities on IPR, Innovation, Start-up and Entrepreneurship.
  2. Pre Incubation & Incubation Infrastructure & Facilities to Support I&E.
  3. Annual Budget Spent on Promoting and Supporting I&E Activities.
  4. Courses on Innovation, IPR and Entrepreneurship Development.
  5. Intellectual Property (IP), Technology Transfer and Commercialization.
  6. Successful Innovation and Start-ups & Funding Innovation & start-ups.

Rank Categorisation- Two Broad Categories:

  1. Publicly Funded Institutions:

Sub Categories:

  1. Institute of National Importance, Central Universities and Centrally Funded Technical Institutes.
  2. State University & Deemed Universities (Government & Government. Aided)
  • Government and Government/Aided College/Institutes.
  1. Private or Self- Financed Institutions:

Sub categories:

  1. Private or Self- Financed Universities.
  2. Private or Self- Financed College/Institutes.

For the first time, ARIIA 2020 has a special prize category for women only higher educational institutions.

  • This will be the 6th sub- category.

Top Performing of various institutions:

  1. IIT Madras under the category of Institutes of National Importance, Central Universities, and Centrally Funded Technical Institutes;
  2. Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai got the top position under Government and Government Aided Universities;
  3. College of Engineering, Pune under Government and Government Aided Colleges;
  4. Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar under Private or Self-Financed Universities.
  5. S R Engineering College, Warangal under Private or Self-Financed Colleges.
  6. Avinashilingam Institute For Home Science And Higher Education For Women, Tamil Nadu got the first rank in Higher Educational Institutions Exclusively for Women.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. ARIIA was launched by?
  2. Ranking parameters.
  3. Categories 
  4. Best performers in various categories.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers.

Digital Quality of Life Index 2020:


Context:

The report was released recently.

The index is prepared by Surfshark, a virtual private network (VPN) provider based in the British Virgin Islands.

  • It seeks to rank countries on internet affordability and quality, and electronic infrastructure, security and government. All parameters have equal weightage.

Performance of other countries:

  1. Top 3: Scandinavian countries Denmark and Sweden topped the index, with Canada rounding up the top three.
  2. Israel offered the cheapest internet — calculated by considering how much time one must work to be able to afford the cheapest mobile internet and broadband.
  3. Of the total countries, 75% of them have to work more than the global average to afford the internet.
  4. Singapore, the UK and the US performed the best on the e-government indicator — arrived at by checking the state of government’s online presence and readiness to employ artificial intelligence technology and help “minimise bureaucracy, reduce corruption and increase transparency of the public sector”.
  5. The UK, France and Lithuania offer the most security — cybersecurity and status of personal data protection.
  6. Best Internet Quality- Singapore, Sweden and the Netherlands.
  7. The UAE, Sweden and Denmark have the most developed e-infrastructure.

India’s performance:

  1. Of 85 countries, India ranked 9th on the internet affordability indicator, and 15th on e-government.
  2. Overall, India is ranked 57th.
  3. Internet cost- India scored the best on this parameter, leading countries like the UK, US and China.
  4. e-government indicator- India secured 15th position on this, ahead of the Netherlands, China and Belgium.
  5. Security- India performed poorly here, standing at 57th position.
  6. Internet quality- With a rank of 78, it fell behind countries such as Bangladesh, Nepal, Nigeria and the Philippines.
  7. On electronic infrastructure — focusing on active internet users and information and communications technology adoption rate — India ranked 79th, behind neighbours Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the index.
  2. Performance of India on various parameters.
  3. Global scenario.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

‘No-Go’ forests cleared for coal mining, says report:


Context:

As per the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE):

  1. Since 2015, of the 49 blocks cleared for coal mining, 9 were in ‘No-Go’ areas, or regions that were once classified by the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change as containing very dense forests and hence closed to coal mining.
  2. In 2020, of the 41 blocks put up for auction, 21 feature in the original No-Go list.
  3. Currently India is not utilising its existing capacity fully: 67% of the mines auctioned since 2015 are were not operational yet.

What’s the issue?

The environment ministry‘s ban on mining in areas of thick forest cover has locked away millions of tonnes of coal reserves.

According to the power ministry, coal shortage is likely to hold up new power projects of over 17,000 mw aggregate capacity. This has triggered debate among the ministries of coal, power and steel on the ‘Go, No-Go’ concept’s merits.

What are ‘No Go’ areas in coal mining?

In 2009, the environment and coal ministries had jointly placed the country’s forested areas under two categories – Go and No-Go – and imposed a ban on mining in the ‘No-Go’ zones on environmental grounds.

  • ‘No Go’ areas are those having either more than 10 per cent weighted forest cover (WFC) or more than 30 per cent gross forest cover (GFC).

Is there a need for classifying ‘Go’ and ‘No Go’ areas?

The exercise is aimed at prioritising forest areas under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980.

  • Besides, Diversion of forest land for coal mining in these areas, which are rich in flora and fauna, will have “avoidable serious adverse impact on forests and wildlife”.

If mining were to continue, even with afforestation and reclamation, it would not be possible to restore the regions biodiversity.

Criticisms of this policy:

The concept has no legal standing– They are mandated neither under Forest Conservation Rules, 2003 nor under any circular issued by the ministry of environment and forests.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Ayuraksha:

All India Institute of Ayurveda under Ministry of AYUSH and Delhi Police have jointly launched ‘AYURAKSHA’ for police personnel.

  • Ayurveda medicines will be provided to nearly 80000 personnel of Delhi Police.

Mysuru zoo receives three African hunting cheetahs from South Africa:

Mysuru zoo has received three Cheetahs from Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Centre, South Africa.

  • Mysuru is the second zoo to house hunting cheetah in India. Hyderabad zoo has a pair of big cats.

About Cheetah:

  • The cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus,is one of the oldest of the big cat species, with ancestors that can be traced back more than five million years to the Miocene era.
  • The cheetah is also the world’s fastest land mammal.
  • It is listed as vulnerablein IUCN red listed species.
  • It was declared extinct in India in 1952.
  • The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” speciesby the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.

Ninja UAVs:

Indian Railways has started deploying “Ninja UAVs” (unmanned aerial vehicles) for establishing a drone-based surveillance system in a bid to intensify its security mechanism across its network.

  • A drone camera can cover a large area, which may require up 10 RPF personnel.
  • The exercise may lead to a substantial improvement in utilisation of scarce manpower, said a note on drone surveillance issued by the ministry.

Advocates appointed as High Court Judges:

Supreme Court collegium elevates 6 advocates as Delhi High Court judges.

  • The criteria for appointment of a person as Judge of High Court are provided under Article 217 of Constitution, which are: – has for at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India; or has for at least ten years been an advocate of a High Court or of two or more such Courts in succession.

Appointment:

  • On approval by the Supreme Court Collegium, the names of the proposed candidates will be sent to the Ministry of Law & Justice, which will send the names to the President of India.
  • The President under his sign and seal would issue the warrant of appointment.

Madhya Pradesh govt jobs to be reserved for state citizens:

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced that government jobs in the State would now be reserved for its youth only. Necessary legal provisions will be introduced shortly.

 

Note:

Current Affairs of 17th and 18th July will be uploaded shortly.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos