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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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.

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Odisha to give facelift to 11th century Lingaraj Temple.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. What is Curative Petition?

2. Domicile-based job quota.

3. National Recruitment Agency.

4. What is Vaccine Nationalism?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Cabinet Approves Proposal For Leasing Out 3 Airports.

2. Hamas

3. Millennium Alliance.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Odisha to give facelift to 11th century Lingaraj Temple:


Context:

The Odisha government has announced to give a facelift to the 11th century Lingaraj Temple, akin to its pre-350-year structural status.

  • The efforts will be to create a spiritual and ecological ambience in and around the Lingaraj Temple.

About

Lingaraja Temple is a temple dedicated to Shiva and is one of the oldest and largest temples in Odisha.

Built by king Jajati Keshari of Soma Vansh.

It is built in red stone and is a classic example of Kalinga style of architecture.

Located to the north of the temple is Bindusagar Lake.

The temple is believed to be built by the kings from the Somavamsi dynasty, with later additions from the Ganga rulers.

The temple has images of Vishnu, possibly because of the rising prominence of Jagannath sect emanating from the Ganga rulers who built the Jagannath Temple in Puri in the 12th century.

 Deula style:

The temple is Lingaraj Temple built in the Deula style that has four components namely, vimana (structure containing the sanctum), jagamohana (assembly hall), natamandira (festival hall) and bhoga-mandapa (hall of offerings), each increasing in the height to its predecessor.

kalinga_architecture

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who built the Lingaraj temple?
  2. What is Kalinga style of Architecture?
  3. What is Deula style?
  4. Difference between Nagara and Dravida styles.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

What is Curative Petition?


Context:

Recently, the Supreme Court held Prashant Bhushan guilty of criminal contempt of court for his tweets against the CJI S.A. Bobde and against the judiciary.

  • Now, Prashant Bhushan has asked the Court to defer the punishment till the review petition is filed and decided.
  • He also submitted that the remedy of curative petition is also available.

About Curative Petition:

The concept was first evolved by the Supreme Court of India in Rupa Ashok Hurra vs. Ashok Hurra and another case (2002) on the question whether an aggrieved person is entitled to any relief against the final judgement/order of the Supreme Court, even after the dismissal of a review petition.

  • The court used the Latin maxim “actus curiae neminem gravabit”,which means that an act of the court shall prejudice no one. It’s objectives are twofolds- avoid miscarriage of justice and to prevent abuse of process.

Related Constitutional provisions:

The concept of the curative petition is supported by Article 137 of the Indian Constitution.

It provides that in the matter of laws and rules made under Article 145, the Supreme Court has the power to review any judgement pronounced (or order made) by it.

Procedure:

  1. A curative petition may be filed after a review plea against the final conviction is dismissed.
  2. It can be entertained if the petitioner establishes that there was a violation of the principles of natural justice, and that he was not heard by the court before passing an order.
  3. It must be rare rather than regular.
  4. A curative petition must be first circulated to a Bench of the three senior-most judges, and the judges who passed the concerned judgment, if available.
  5. Only when a majority of the judges conclude that the matter needs hearing should it be listed before the same Bench.
  6. The Bench at any stage of consideration of the curative petition can ask a senior counsel to assist it as amicus curiae (Friend of the court).
  7. A curative petition is usually decided by judges in the chamber unless a specific request for an open-court hearing is allowed.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Curative petition?
  2. Who can file curative petition?
  3. Difference between curative and review petition.
  4. Overview of Articles 137 and 145.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Domicile-based job quota:


Context:

The Madhya Pradesh government’s recent decision to reserve all government jobs for “children of the state” raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality.

What’s the issue now?

Reservation solely based on place of birth would raise constitutional questions.

What does the Constitution say?

Article 16 of the Constitution, which guarantees equal treatment under law in matters of public employment, prohibits the state from discriminating on grounds of place of birth or residence.

Article 16(2) states that “no citizen shall, on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect or, any employment or office under the State”. The provision is supplemented by the other clauses in the Constitution that guarantee equality.

Enabling provisions:

However, Article 16(3) of the Constitution provides an exception by saying that Parliament may make a law “prescribing” a requirement of residence for jobs in a particular state. This power vests solely in the Parliament, not state legislatures.

Why does the Constitution prohibit reservation based on domicile?

When the Constitution came into force, India turned itself into one nation from a geographical unit of individual principalities and the idea of the universality of Indian citizenship took root.

  • As India has common citizenship, which gives citizens the liberty to move around freely in any part of the country, the requirement of a place of birth or residence cannot be qualifications for granting public employment in any state.

What has the Supreme Court said on reserving jobs for locals?

The Supreme Court has ruled against reservation based on place of birth or residence.

  1. In 1984, ruling in Dr Pradeep Jain v Union of India, the issue of legislation for “sons of the soil” was discussed. The court expressed an opinion that such policies would be unconstitutional but did not expressly rule on it as the case was on different aspects of the right to equality.
  2. In a subsequent ruling in Sunanda Reddy v State of Andhra Pradesh (1995), the Supreme Court affirmed the observation in Pradeep Jain to strike down a state government policy that gave 5% extra weightage to candidates who had studied with Telugu as the medium of instruction.
  3. In 2002, the Supreme Court invalidated appointment of government teachers in Rajasthan in which the state selection board gave preference to “applicants belonging to the district or the rural areas of the district concerned”.
  4. In 2019, the Allahabad High Court struck down a recruitment notification by the UP Subordinate Service Selection Commission which prescribed preference for women who are “original residents” of the UP alone.

How do some states then have laws that reserve jobs for locals?

Exercising the powers it has under Article 16(3), Parliament enacted the Public Employment (Requirement as to Residence) Act, aimed at abolishing all existing residence requirements in the states and enacting exceptions only in the case of the special instances of Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.

  • Constitutionally, some states also have special protections under Article 371.
  • Andhra Pradesh under Section 371(d) has powers to have “direct recruitment of local cadre” in specified areas.
  • In Uttarakhand, class III and class IV jobs are reserved for locals.

Some states have gone around the mandate of Article 16(2) by using language.

  • States that conduct official business in their regional languages prescribe knowledge of the language as a criterion. This ensures that local citizens are preferred for jobs. For example, states including Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu require a language test.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

National Recruitment Agency (NRA):


Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved setting up of National Recruitment Agency, an independent body to conduct examination for government jobs.

  • Initially, it will organise a CET to screen/shortlist candidates for the Group B and C (non -technical) posts, which are now being conducted by the Staff Selection Commission (SSC), Railways Recruitment Board (RRBs) and Institute of Banking Personnel Selection (IBPS). Later on, more exams may be brought under it.

When was it first announced?

The setting up of such an agency to conduct a common eligibility test (CET) was announced in the Union Budget by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in February.

Composition:

It will be headed by a Chairman of the rank of the Secretary to the Government of India. It will have representatives of the Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB & IBPS.

Functions of the proposed NRA:

It will conduct a common preliminary examination for various recruitments in the central government.

Based on the common eligibility test (CET) score a candidate can apply for a vacancy with the respective agency.

How the test will be conducted?

The Common Eligibility Test will be held twice a year.

  1. The test will be conducted for three levels: graduate, higher secondary (12th pass) and the matriculate (10th pass) candidates.
  2. However, the present recruitment agencies– IBPS, RRB and SCC — will remain in place.
  3. Based on the screening done at the CET score level, final selection for recruitment shall be made through separate specialised Tiers (II, III, etc.) of examination which shall be conducted by the respective recruitment agencies.

Other details:

  • The CET score of a candidate shall be valid for a period of three years from the date of declaration of the result.
  • To make it easier for candidates, examination centres would be set up in every district of the country.
  • While there will be no restriction on the number of attempts to be taken by a candidate to appear in the CET, it will be subject to the upper age limit.
  • The examinations will be conducted in 12 languages. 

Why is the NRA needed? What are the challenges faced by students and agencies?

  • As of now, aspirants have to take different exams that are conducted by various agencies for central government jobs.
  • Candidates have to pay fees to multiple recruiting agencies and also travel long distances for appearing in various exams.

On an average 2.5 crore to 3 crore aspirants appear for about 1.25 lakh vacancies in the central government every year.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is Vaccine Nationalism?


Context:

Even before the end of final stage human trials or regulatory approval, several wealthier countries like Britain, France, Germany and the US have entered into pre-purchase agreements with Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers, a development that has come to be known as “vaccine nationalism”.

  • There are fears that such advance agreements will make the initial few vaccines unaffordable and inaccessible to everyone apart from the rich countries in a world of roughly 8 billion people.

What is Vaccine Nationalism? How it works?

Vaccine nationalism occurs when a country manages to secure doses of vaccine for its own citizens or residents before they are made available in other countries.

This is done through pre-purchase agreements between a government and a vaccine manufacturer.

How was it used in the past?

Vaccine nationalism is not new. During the early stages of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic, some of the wealthiest countries entered into pre-purchase agreements with several pharmaceutical companies working on H1N1 vaccines.

  • At that time, it was estimated that, in the best-case scenario, the maximum number of vaccine doses that could be produced globally was two billion.
  • The US alone negotiated and obtained the right to buy 600,000 doses. All the countries that negotiated pre-purchase orders were developed economies.

Why its not good? What are the associated concerns?

  • Vaccine nationalism is harmful for equitable access to vaccines.
  • It further disadvantages countries with fewer resources and bargaining power.
  • It deprives populations in the Global South from timely access to vital public health goods.
  • Taken to its extreme, it allocates vaccines to moderately at-risk populations in wealthy countries over populations at higher risk in developing economies.

What needs to be done?

  • International institutions — including the WHO — should coordinate negotiations ahead of the next pandemic to produce a framework for equitable access to vaccines during public health crises.
  • Equity entails both, affordability of vaccines and access opportunities for populations across the world, irrespective of geography and geopolitics.

What is being done now?

To bring about equitable and broad access, WHO, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and Gavi have come up with an initiative known as “Covax Facility”. The facility aims to procure at least two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines by the end of next year for deployment and distribution mainly in the low- and middle-income countries.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is vaccine nationalism?
  2. Which drugs are being used in the treatment of COVID 19 disease?
  3. Various tests to detect SARS- COV 2.
  4. What is H1N1?

Mains Link:

What is Vaccine Nationalism? What are the concerns associated? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


Cabinet Approves Proposal For Leasing Out 3 Airports:

Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram airports of Airports Authority of India (AAI) will be leased out through Public Private Partnership (PPP) to Adani Enterprises Ltd. The lease is for a period of fifty years.

Hamas:

Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel since the group’s 1987 founding, most notably through suicide bombings and rocket attacks. It seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state. It also governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.

Millennium Alliance:

Context:

Millennium Alliance Round 6 & COVID19 Innovation Challenge-Award Ceremony was recently held. 49 innovations in 5 focus areas were recognised.

What is Millennium Alliance?

  • It is an innovation-driven and impact-focused initiative leveraging collaborative resources to identify test and scale Indian innovations that address global development solutions.
  • It is a consortium of partners (Public-Private Partnership) including the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), UK Government’s Department for International Development (DFID), Facebook and Marico Innovation Foundation.

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