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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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 2:

1. Appointment of Election Commissioners.

2. Sri Lanka to abolish 19th amendment to constitution.

3. Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana.

4. Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What are Participatory Notes?

2. Thumbimahotsavam 2020.

3. State Pollution Control Boards.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Kariye Museum.

2. Hari Path app.

3. Expansion of NCC.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Appointment of Election Commissioners:


Context:

In pursuance of clause (2) of article 324 of the Constitution, the President has appointed Rajiv Kumar, IAS(Retd.) as the Election Commissioner.

About Election commission of India:

The constitution under article 324 provides for an Election Commission for the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for the conduct of elections to parliament, state legislatures and to the offices of president and vice president.

Composition Election commission of India:

The constitution provides for the following provisions in relation to the composition of the election commission:

  1. The election commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and a such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.
  2. The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the president.
  3. When any other election commissioner is so appointed the chief election commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election commission.
  4. The president may also appoint after consultation with the election commission such regional commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election commission.
  5. The conditions of service and tenure of office of the election commissioners and the regional commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine.

CEC vs ECs:

Though the Chief Election Commissioner is the chairman of the election commission, however, his powers are equal to the other election commissioners. All the matters in the commission are decided by the majority amongst its members. The Chief Election Commissioner and the two other election commissioners receive equal salary, allowances and other benefits.

Tenure:

The Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners hold office for 6 years or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They can resign at any time by addressing their resignation to the president.

Removal:

  • They can resign anytime or can also be removed before the expiry of their term.
  • The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from his office in the same manner and on same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

Sri Lanka to abolish 19th amendment to constitution:


Context:

In his first address to the newly elected Parliament, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has declared his intention to repeal the landmark 19th Amendment to the Constitution, and, thereafter, to work towards a new Constitution.

Why? The Rajapaksa camp viewed the 19th Amendment’s clauses as primarily intending to prevent its leaders’ return to power.

Overview of the 19th Constitutional Amendment:

Introduced in 2015. The legislation envisages the dilution of many powers of Executive Presidency, which had been in force since 1978.

It involves:

  1. The reduction in the terms of President and Parliament from six years to five years.
  2. Re-introduction of a two-term limit that a person can have as President.
  3. The power of President to dissolve Parliament only after four and a half years.
  4. The revival of Constitutional Council and the establishment of independent commissions.
  5. The President remains the head of Cabinet and he can appoint Ministers on the advice of Prime Minister.

Why was the 19th Amendment introduced?

It mainly sought to weaken the power of the presidency which the 18th amendment had greatly expanded.

The 18th amendment allowed four basic changes:

  1. The President can seek re-election any number of times;
  2. The ten-member Constitutional Council has been replaced with a five-member Parliamentary Council;
  3. Independent commissions are brought under the authority of the President; and,
  4. It enables the President to attend Parliament once in three months and entitles him to all the privileges, immunities, and powers of a Member of Parliament other than the entitlement to vote.

The 19th amendment counterbalanced many of these decisions and restored components of the 17th amendment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana:


Why in News?

Relaxation in eligibility criteria and enhancement in the payment of unemployment benefits under the Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana of ESIC.

About Atal Bimit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana:

Launched by the Employee’s State Insurance (ESI) in 2018.

Aim: It aims to financially support those who lost their jobs or rendered jobless for whatsoever reasons due to changing employment pattern.

What are the latest changes?

Eligibility criteria for availing the relief has been relaxed, as under:

  1. The payment of relief has been enhanced to 50% of average of wages from earlier 25% of average wages payable upto maximum 90 days of unemployment.
  2. Instead of the relief becoming payable 90 days after unemployment, it shall become due for payment after 30 days.
  3. The Insured Person can submit the claim directly to ESIC Branch Office instead of the claim being forwarded by the last employer and the payment shall be made directly in the bank account of IP.
  4. The Insured Person should have been insurable employment for a minimum period of 2 years before his/her unemployment and should have contributed for not les than 78 days in the contribution period immediately preceding to unemployment and minimum 78 days in one of the remaining 3 contribution periods in 02 years prior to unemployment.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP):


Why in News?

PMEGP projects records 44% implementation jump.

About Prime Minister’s Employment Generation Programme:

PMEGP is a central sector scheme administered by the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MoMSME).

Launched in 2008-09, it is a credit-linked subsidy scheme which promotes self-employment through setting up of micro-enterprises, where subsidy up to 35% is provided by the Government through Ministry of MSME for loans up to ₹25 lakhs in manufacturing and ₹10 lakhs in the service sector.

Implementation:

National Level- Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) as the nodal agency.

State Level- State KVIC Directorates, State Khadi and Village Industries Boards (KVIBs), District Industries Centres (DICs) and banks.

Eligibility:

  • Any individual above 18 years of age, Self Help Groups, Institutions registered under Societies Registration Act 1860, Production Co-operative Societies and Charitable Trusts are eligible.
  • Existing Units and the units that have already availed Government Subsidy under any other scheme of Government of India or State Government are not eligible.
  • Only new projects are considered for sanction under PMEGP.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

What are Participatory Notes?


Context:

Investments through participatory notes (P-notes) in the domestic capital market soared to Rs 63,288 crore till July-end, making it the fourth consecutive monthly rise.

  • Of the total money invested through the route till July, Rs 52,356 crore was invested in equities, Rs 10,429 crore in debt, Rs 250 crore in the hybrid securities and Rs 190 crore in derivatives segment. 

What are Participatory Notes?

Participatory Notes or P-Notes (PNs) are financial instruments issued by a registered foreign institutional investor (FII) to an overseas investor who wishes to invest in Indian stock markets without registering themselves with the market regulator, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

 Key points:

  • P-Notes are Offshore Derivative Investments (ODIs) with equity shares or debt securities as underlying assets.
  • They provide liquidity to the investors as they can transfer the ownership by endorsement and delivery.
  • While the FIIs have to report all such investments each quarter to SEBI, they need not disclose the identity of the actual investors. 

What are govt & regulator’s concerns?

The primary reason why P-Notes are worrying is because of the anonymous nature of the instrument as these investors could be beyond the reach of Indian regulators.

Further, there is a view that it is being used in money laundering with wealthy Indians, like the promoters of companies, using it to bring back unaccounted funds and to manipulate their stock prices.

 Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and biodiversity related issues.

Thumbimahotsavam 2020:


What is it?

It is the first-ever State Dragonfly Festival in Kerala.

  • World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWFIndia) State unit has joined hands with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Thumbipuranam for the festival.

Official mascot of the festival:

Pantalu.

pantalu

National dragonfly festival:

  • This is part of a national dragonfly festival being organised by the WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society & Indian Dragonfly Society in association with the National Biodiversity Board, United Nations Environment Programme, United Nations Development Programme and IUCN – Centre for Environment Conservation.

The Dragonfly Festival started in 2018 to educate and inform the public about the integral role that dragonflies, and their lesser known siblings damselflies, play in our environment.

About the World Wide Fund for Nature:

It is an international non-governmental organization.

Founded in 1961

Headquarter — Gland (Switzerland).

Aim: wilderness preservation & the reduction of human impact on the environment.

Reports & programmes:

  1. Living Planet Report— published every two years by WWF since 1998; it is based on a Living Planet Index and ecological footprint calculation.
  2. Earth hour – a worldwide movement organized by WWF annually, encouraging individuals, communities, and businesses to turn off non-essential electric lights, for one hour, from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. on a specific day towards the end of March, as a symbol of commitment to the planet.
  3. Debt-for-nature swaps–financial transactions in which a portion of a developing nation’s foreign debt is forgiven in exchange for local investments in environmental conservation measures.
  4. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) — independent non-profit organization which sets a standard for sustainable fishing.
  5. Healthy GrownPotato — eco-brand that provides high-quality, sustainably grown, packaged, and shipped potatoes to consumers by leveraging integrated pest management (IPM) farming practices on large scale farms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

State Pollution Control Boards:


Context:

Orissa High Court has issued notice to the state government over appointment of bureaucrats as chairman and member secretary of the State pollution control board for the past 10 years.

What’s the issue?

A social activist had moved the HC drawing attention that:

As per the Section 4 of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974, and Sec 5 of the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) 1981, there is provision for appointment of full time member secretary and nomination of full time or part time chairman by the State government.

  • But, for last more than 10 years, the posts of OSPCB are filled up from the cadres of IAS and IFS respectively without adhering to any selection procedure”.
  • The same is the case in many other States. A case was also filed in the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, since the posts require scientific and engineering or management qualification and experience. The NGT made a similar observation in its 2016 order.
  • In September 2017, the Supreme Court had directed the State governments to formulate policy regarding the qualification and experience for these posts within six months.

About State Pollution Control Boards:

They are constitutes in pursuance of the Water (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

  • After the enactment of the Air (Prevention & Control of Pollution) Act, 1981, the enforcing responsibility was entrusted to these Boards.

Composition and selection of members:

The members of State Pollution Control Boards are nominated by respective State Governments.

Apart from the above said Acts, the Board is also enforcing the following Rule and Notifications framed under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986:

  1. Hazardous and Other Wastes (Management and Transboundary Movement) Rules, 2016.
  2. Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006.
  3. Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  4. Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
  5. The Noise Pollution (Regulation & Control) Rules, 2000.
  6. Construction & Demolition Waste Management Rules, 2016
  7. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991.
  8. Fly Ash Notification, 1999 and 2008.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Kariye Museum:

It is located in Turkey. Built in 534 AD, during the early Byzantine period.

Why in News? Turkish President has issued a decree to open this Orthodox church that was previously a popular Istanbul museum to Muslim worship upon a court order.

Background:

  • The decision to transform the Kariye (Chora) Museum into a mosque came just a month after a similar conversion of the UNESCO World Heritage-recognized Hagia Sophia.

Hari Path app:

  • It is a mobile app launched recently by the National Highway Authority of India.
  • It will monitor plantation along national highways.
  • The app will monitor location, growth, species details, maintenance activities, targets and achievements of each of the NHAI’s field units for each and every plant under all plantation projects.

Expansion of NCC:

Context:

Defence Ministry approves major expansion of NCC.

Changes:

  • From the 173 coastal and border districts, one lakh cadets, a third of them girls, will be trained.
  • The Army will provide training and administrative support to the NCC units located in the border areas, Navy to the units in the coastal areas andIndian Air Force to the units close to Air Force stations.

Significance:

  • It will provide trained manpower for disaster management and skill training to youth for making their career in the armed forces.

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Indian Gaur.
  2. Flavonoid
  3. Lokayukta

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