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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 27 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. What are Hurricanes?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Attorney General.

2. Armed Forces Tribunal.

3. UK’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Contingency Fund (CF) of the central bank.

2. Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020.

3. Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) – Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Pampa river.

2. Pulikkali.

3. Hezbollah.

4. 7 New ASI Circles.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

What are Hurricanes?


Why in News?

Hurricane Laura has made landfall in southwestern Louisiana in US as one of the most powerful storms to hit the state.

What Are Hurricanes?

Hurricanes are large, swirling storms. They produce winds of 119 kilometers per hour (74 mph) or higher. 

They form over warm ocean waters. 

What Are the Parts of a Hurricane?

Eye: The eye is the “hole” at the center of the storm. Winds are light in this area. Skies are partly cloudy, and sometimes even clear.

Eye wall: The eye wall is a ring of thunderstorms. These storms swirl around the eye. The wall is where winds are strongest and rain is heaviest.

Rain bands: Bands of clouds and rain go far out from a hurricane’s eye wall. These bands stretch for hundreds of miles. They contain thunderstorms and sometimes tornadoes.

rain_bands

How Does a Storm Become a Hurricane?

A hurricane starts out as a tropical disturbance. This is an area over warm ocean waters where rain clouds are building.

  1. A tropical disturbance sometimes grows into a tropical depression. This is an area of rotating thunderstorms with winds of 62 km/hr (38 mph) or less.
  2. A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm if its winds reach 63 km/hr (39 mph).
  3. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane if its winds reach 119 km/hr (74 mph).

What Makes Hurricanes Form?

  1. Warm ocean waters provide the energy a storm needs to become a hurricane. Usually, the surface water temperature must be 26 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher for a hurricane to form.
  2. Winds that don’t change much in speed or direction as they go up in the sky. Winds that change a lot with height can rip storms apart.

rain_bands

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Factors responsible for the genesis of hurricanes.
  2. Naming of cyclones/hurricanes in various regions of the world.
  3. Why more cyclones in Eastern coast of India?
  4. What is coriolis force?
  5. What is latent heat of condensation?

Mains Link:

Discuss the factors responsible for the formation of tropical cyclones.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Attorney General:


Context:

Attorney General of India KK Venugopal has told the Centre that it must compensate states fully for the loss of Goods and Services Tax revenue during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.

  • The Centre had sought advice from the attorney general on the matter.

Attorney General- Facts:

The Attorney General for India is the central government’s chief legal advisor, and its primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.

  • He is a part of the Union Executive. 

Appointment and eligibility:

He is appointed by the President of India under Article 76(1) of the Constitution and holds office during the pleasure of the President.

  • He must be a person qualified to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
  • He should be an Indian Citizen.
  • He must have either completed 5 years in High Court of any Indian state as a judge or 10 years in High Court as an advocate.
  • He may be an eminent jurist too, in the eye of the President.

Powers and Functions:

  • The Attorney General is necessary for giving advice to the Government of India in legal matters referred to him. He also performs other legal duties assigned to him by the President.
  • The Attorney General has the right of audience in all Courts in India as well as the right to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament, though not to vote.
  • The Attorney General appears on behalf of Government of India in all cases (including suits, appeals and other proceedings) in the Supreme Court in which Government of India is concerned.
  • He also represents the Government of India in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • The Attorney General can accept briefs but cannot appear against the Government.
  • He cannot defend an accused in the criminal proceedings and accept the directorship of a company without the permission of the Government.
  • The Attorney General is assisted by two Solicitor General and four Additional Solicitor Generals.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 143 of the Constitution.
  2. Who appoints AG and SGs?
  3. The right of AG to participate in the proceedings of the Parliament?
  4. Who can be appointed as AG?
  5. Article 76(1) of the Constitution.
  6. The Union Executive consists of?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Armed Forces Tribunal:


Context:

The Delhi-based principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal has initiated hearing of matters pertaining to regional benches through video conferencing.

About AFT:

It is a military tribunal in India.

It was established in 2009 under the Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007.

  • The act was passed on the basis of recommendation of 169th Law Commission Report and various Supreme Court directives.

 Powers and functions:

To adjudicate Disputes and complaints with respect to commission, appointments, enrolments and conditions of service in respect of persons subject to the Army Act, 1950, The Navy Act, 1957 and the Air Force Act, 1950.

Composition:

Each Bench comprises of a Judicial Member and an Administrative Member.

  • Judicial Members are retired High Court Judges.
  • Administrative Members are retired Members of the Armed Forces who have held the rank of Major General/ equivalent or above for a period of three years or more or Judge Advocate General (JAG), who have held the appointment for at least one year.

Who can be a chairperson?

The person holding the office of chairperson of AFT must have been either a retired judge of Supreme Court or a Retired chief justice of high court.

Exceptions:

  • Paramilitary forces including the Assam Rifles and Coast Guard are outside the tribunal’s purview.
  • AFT is considered to be a criminal court with respect to Indian Penal Code, and Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • Appeals against the decision of the AFT can be taken only in Supreme Court. High Courts are not allowed to entertain such appeals.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Composition of AFT.
  2. Powers of AFT wrt Paramilitary forces.
  3. Chairperson of AFT- eligibility and appointment.
  4. Jurisdiction of AFT.

Mains Link:

Discuss the powers and functions of Armed Forces Tribunals.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

UK’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme:


What is it?

The EOHO Scheme is an economic recovery measure by the UK government to support hospitality businesses as they reopen after the COVID-19 lockdown in the country.

  • The scheme was announced on July 8 as part of the Plans for Jobs summer economic update.

How it works?

  1. Under the EOHO Scheme, the government would subsidise meals (food and non-alcoholic drinks only) at restaurants by 50 per cent, from Monday to Wednesday every week, all through August.
  2. The discount is capped at GBP 10 per head and does not apply to take-away or event catering.
  3. There is no minimum spend and no limit on the number of times customers can avail the offer, since the whole point of the scheme is to encourage a return to dining in restaurants.

EOHO scheme would cost GBP 500 million.

Why was this scheme deemed necessary?

All over the world, the food services sector is one of the worst affected by the pandemic.

  • In the UK, the top two concerns were customers avoiding restaurants for fear of contracting the virus and customers having less disposable income for dining out.
  • The scheme makes eating out more affordable for consumers directly and helps restore demand.
  • And Restoring consumer demand is being seen as crucial to the UK’s economic recovery.

What do critics of the scheme say?

The scheme may have been introduced too early, since it was not yet clear whether the problem was on the demand side, with people being reluctant to go out and eat, or on the supply side, with restaurants unable to serve enough people, thanks to social distancing.

The scheme benefits everyone, regardless of income. Higher income households would have returned to restaurants anyway.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Contingency Fund (CF) of the central bank:


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has retained a whopping amount of Rs 73,615 crore within the RBI by transferring it to the Contingency Fund (CF) of the central bank.

  • As a result, the CF has swelled to a new high of Rs 264,034 crore.

Under what provisions does the central government receive money from the RBI?

As per Section 47 of the RBI Act, profits or surplus of the RBI are to be transferred to the government, after making various contingency provisions, public policy mandate of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.

  • The RBI’s transfer this year is as per the economic capital framework (ECF) adopted by the RBI board last year.

What is the Contingency Fund (CF)?

This is a specific provision meant for meeting unexpected and unforeseen contingencies.

  • This includes depreciation in the value of securities, risks arising out of monetary/exchange rate policy operations, systemic risks and any risk arising on account of the special responsibilities enjoined upon the Reserve Bank.

This amount is retained within the RBI.

RBI’s risk provision accounts:

The central bank’s main risk provision accounts are Contingency Fund, Currency and Gold Revaluation Account (CGRA), Investment Revaluation Account Foreign Securities (IRA-FS) and Investment Revaluation Account-Rupee Securities (IRA-RS). Together now they amount to Rs 13.88 lakh crore.

What’s the CGRA account?

The Currency and Gold Revaluation Account (CGRA) is maintained by the Reserve Bank to take care of currency risk, interest rate risk and movement in gold prices.

  • Unrealised gains or losses on valuation of foreign currency assets (FCA) and gold are not taken to the income account but instead accounted for in the CGRA.
  • CGRA provides a buffer against exchange rate/ gold price fluctuations. It can come under pressure if there is an appreciation of the rupee vis-à-vis major currencies or a fall in the price of gold.

What are IRA-FS and IRA-RS accounts?

The unrealised gains or losses on revaluation in foreign dated securities are recorded in the Investment Revaluation Account Foreign Securities (IRA-FS).

Similarly, the unrealised gains or losses on revaluation is accounted for in Investment Revaluation Account-Rupee Securities (IRA-RS). 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

About:

  1. IRA-FS and IRA-RS accounts.
  2. CGRA account.
  3. Contingency Fund (CF) of the central bank.

Section 47 of the RBI Act.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020:


Context:

NITI Aayog in partnership with the Institute of Competitiveness has released the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020.

EPI is the first report to examine export preparedness and performance of Indian states.

How were states ranked?

The index ranked states on four key parameters – policy; business ecosystem; export ecosystem; export performance.

The index also took into consideration 11 sub-pillars — export promotion policy; institutional framework; business environment; infrastructure; transport connectivity; access to finance; export infrastructure; trade support; R&D infrastructure; export diversification; and growth orientation.

Highlights of the report:

  1. Top 3 states: Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.
  2. Among the landlocked states, Rajasthan has performed the best, followed by Telangana and Haryana.
  3. Among the Himalayan states, Uttarakhand topped the chart, followed by Tripura and Himachal Pradesh.
  4. Across Union Territories/City States, Delhi has performed the best, followed by Goa and Chandigarh.
  5. On policy parameters, Maharashtra topped the index followed by Gujarat and Jharkhand.
  6. On business ecosystem parameter, Gujarat was ranked number one followed by Delhi and Tamil Nadu.
  7. In the export ecosystem parameter, Maharashtra topped the Index followed by Odisha and Rajasthan.
  8. On the export performance parameter, Mizoram led the index, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.
  9. At present, 70 per cent of India’s export has been dominated by five states – Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.

Export promotion in India faces three fundamental challenges:

  1. Intra- and inter-regional disparities in export infrastructure.
  2. Poor trade support and growth orientation among states.
  3. Poor R&D infrastructure to promote complex and unique exports.

What needs to be done?

  1. A joint development of export infrastructure.
  2. Strengthening industry-academia linkages.
  3. Creating state-level engagements for economic diplomacy.
  4. Revamped designs and standards for local products.
  5. Harness the innovating tendencies to provide new use cases for such products, with adequate support from the Centre.

Way ahead:

Rapid growth of exports is a crucial component for long-term economic growth. A favourable ecosystem enables a country to contribute significantly to global value chains and reap the benefits of integrated production networks, globally.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who releases the Export Preparedness Index (EPI)?
  2. Performance of various states under various categories.
  3. How are the states ranked?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020.

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) – Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA):


Context:

NITI Aayog has launched the India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

About NDC- TIA:

It is a joint programme, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU).

  • It aims to promote a comprehensive approach to decarbonize transport in India, Vietnam, and China.
  • It is implemented by a consortium of seven other organisations.
  • On behalf of the Government of India, NITI Aayog will be the implementing partner.

Implementation:

The NDC-TIA programme has a duration of 4 years.

It will allow India and other partner countries to achieve accountable long-term targets by making a sectoral contribution through various interventions, coordinated with a large number of stakeholders in the domain.

  • This will contribute towards achieving their NDCs and increasing their ambition in the transport sector of 2025 NDCs.

Need for such initiatives:

  • India has a massive and diverse transport sector that caters to the needs of billion people.
  • It has the world’s second-largest road network, which contributes to maximum greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through all means of transportation.
  • With increasing urbanisation, the fleet size i.e. the number of sales of vehicles is increasing rapidly.
  • It is projected that the total number of vehicles will be doubled by 2030.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Green House Gases?
  2. About the NDC-TIA programme.
  3. Implementation of the programme.
  4. Objectives 

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) – Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA).

Sources: pib.

 


Facts for Prelims


Pampa river (Also known as Pamba river):

  • Pampa is the third longest river in Kerala after Periyar and Bharathappuzha.
  • Sabarimala templededicated to Lord Ayyappa is located on the banks of the river.
  • The river is also known as ‘Dakshina Bhageerathi’ and ‘River Baris’.

Pulikkali:

  • It is a recreational folk art from the state of Kerala.
  • It is performed by trained artists to entertain people on the occasion of Onam, an annual harvest festival, celebrated mainly in Kerala.
  • Literal meaning of Pulikkali is the ‘play of the tigers’.
  • The origin of Pulikkali dates back to over 200 years, when the Maharaja Rama Varma Sakthan Thampuran, the then Maharaja of Cochin, is said to have introduced the folk art.

Hezbollah:

  • The Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political partythat is based in Lebanon.
  • The organization was founded by the Iranian effort in 1980s to aggregate Lebanese Shia groups. In the on-going Iran-Israel conflicts, Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran.

Why in News?

Israel launches air attacks at Hezbollah posts on Lebanon border.

  • Israel and Lebanon are still technically at war, and United Nations force UNIFIL is tasked with monitoring the ceasefire.

7 New ASI Circles:

Culture Ministry announced 7 new circles of the Archaeological Survey of India.

  • Trichy, Raiganj, Rajkot, Jabalpur, Jhansi and Meerut have been announced as new circles and Hampi Mini Circle has been converted into a full fledged circle.

ASI was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham who became its first Director-General.

 


Previously covered articles


Three capitals for Andhra Pradesh:

Latest developments:

The Supreme Court has refused to entertain the Andhra Pradesh government‘s plea challenging the state high court’s decision ordering status quo on two new laws enabling the formation of three capital cities.

What’s the issue?

  • On August 4, the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordered status quo on two new laws that enable the establishment of three new capitals for the state.
  • On July 31 the state government notified the AP Decentralisation And Inclusive Development of All Regions Act, 2020,and the AP Capital Region Development Authority (Repeal) Act, 2020.

For details on this issue, please refer:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/08/05/three-capitals-for-andhra-pradesh-2/.

 

U.S. blacklists 24 Chinese firms amid South China Sea dispute:

Latest developments:

The United States has blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted a number of individuals it said were part of construction and military actions related to disputed islands in the South China Sea.

 What’s the issue?

  • The United States accuses China of militarising the South China Sea and trying to intimidate Asian neighbors who might want to exploit its extensive oil and gas reserves.
  • The U.S. has conducted multiple freedom of navigation operations by sending its warships through the area to assert the freedom of access to international waterways.
  • China claims 90% of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, but Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also lay claim to parts of an area through which about $3 trillion of trade passes each year.

For details on this issue, please refer:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/06/27/asean-states-warn-of-u-s-china-sea-tensions/.


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