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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 5 September 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. Radhakrishnan.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?

2. The young child outcomes index and the young child environment index.

3. BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting.

4. North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

5. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What counts as ‘Act of God’?

2. What are National Parks?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. INDRA NAVY.

2. Yanomami people and blood gold.

3. Section 144(2) of the Railway Act, 1989.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Dr. Radhakrishnan:


Context:

Teacher’s Day is observed annually on September 5.

  • The day commemorates the birth anniversary of Radhakrishnan.

radhakrishnan

About Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan:

He was born on September 5, 1888 in Thiruthani, Tamil Nadu.

  • He was India’s first Vice President and second President.

His Philosophy and Literary works:

  • His book, ‘The Philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore’ attracted global attention to Indian philosophy.
  • His philosophy was grounded in Advaita Vedanta.
  • He defended Hinduism against “uninformed Western criticism” and played a major role in the formation of contemporary Hindu identity.
  • His other works include Indian Philosophy, (1923-27), The Philosophy of the Upanishads (1924), An Idealist View of Life (1932), Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939), and East and West: Some Reflections (1955).

Positions held, Awards and honours:

  • He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in 1954.
  • He received a knighthood in 1931 and honorary membership of the British Royal Order of Merit in 1963.
  • He was elected chairman of UNESCO’s executive board in 1948.
  • He was one of the founders of Helpage India, a renowned NGO for elderly underprivileged in India.
  • He had also formed the Krishnarpan Charity Trust along with Ghanshyam Das Birla and some other social workers in the pre-independence era.
  • He was the first Indian to hold a chair at the University of Oxford – the Spalding Professor of Eastern Religion and Ethics (1936-1952)
  • In 1930, he was appointed Haskell lecturer in Comparative Religion at the University of Chicago.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When and why Teacher’s day is celebrated?
  2. Offices held by Dr. Radhakrishnan.
  3. Awards and honours received.
  4. His philosophy.
  5. Important literary works.
  6. Important Movements he was involved in.
  7. Institutions established by him and he is associated with?
  8. What is Advaita Vedanta?

Mains Link:

What do you understand by advaita principle? Discuss the ethical aspects of advita.

Sources: pib.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?


Why in News?

A judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has recused from hearing the anticipatory bail application moved by former Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) Sumedh Singh Saini, in connection with the case of disappearance and murder of a man in year 1991.

  • The Judge, while recusing himself from the case referred the matter to the Chief Justice for listing.

What is a recusal?

Judicial disqualification, referred to as recusal, is the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.

General Grounds for Recusal:

Motions to recuse or disqualify judges and other adjudicators have been made for all sorts of reasons.

  • Most commonly such motions are predicated upon a claim that the judge is biased in favour of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be.

But such motions are also made on many other grounds, including the challenged judge’s:

  1. Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it.
  2. Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer.
  3. Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case.
  4. Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
  5. Rulings, comments or conduct.

Are there any laws in this regard?

There are no definite rules on recusals by Judges.

  • Justice J. Chelameswar in his opinion in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India (2015) held that “Where a judge has a pecuniary interest, no further inquiry as to whether there was a ‘real danger’ or ‘reasonable suspicion’ of bias is required to be undertaken”.

Besides, In taking oath of office, judges, both of the Supreme Court and of the high courts, promise to perform their duties, to deliver justice, “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.

Need of the hour:

  1. Definite rules need to be framed in this regard.
  2. Judges should express their decisions in writing while recusing.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Grounds for Judicial Disqualification.
  2. Who administers oath to Supreme Court and High Court judges?
  3. Articles 127 and 128 of the Indian Constitution are related to?

Mains Link:

Recusal has become a selective call of morality for Supreme Court judges. Discuss.

recusal

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

The young child outcomes index and the young child environment index released:


What is it?

Both these indices are part of the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report.

  • It is a report brought out by non-governmental organisation Mobile Creches.

About the young child outcomes index:

It measures health, nutrition and cognitive growth with the help of indicators such as infant mortality rate, stunting and net attendance at the primary school level.

Key findings:

  • Top 5: Kerala, Goa, Tripura, Tamil Nadu and Mizoram are among the top five States for well-being of children.
  • Eight States have scores below the country’s average: they are Assam, Meghalaya, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

About the young child environment index:

Its objective is to understand the policy and environment enablers that influence a child’s well-being.

How is it measured?

It uses five policy enablers that influence child well-being outcomes, including poverty alleviation, strengthening primary healthcare, improving education levels, safe water supply and promotion of gender equity.

Key findings:

  • Top 5: Kerala, Goa, Sikkim, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh secured the top five positions.
  • Eight States that have a below average score on the outcomes index also fared poorly on this one.

Suggestions made by the report:

India spent ₹1,723 per child in 2018 on expenses towards child nutrition, healthcare, education and other necessary protection services. This is insufficient and fails to reach the entire eligible population. Therefore, the need of the hour is to Increase in public spending on children.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who releases the ‘State of the Young Child’ in India report?
  2. Various indices released as part of this report.
  3. Performance of various states under these indices.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issue of child well- being in India, what are the challenges faced by the children and list down measures to ensure their well- being.

improving

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting:


Context:

The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held through video conference under the Chairpersonship of Russian Federation.

Basic facts that you must know about BRICS:

BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.

  • In 2001, the British Economist Jim O’Neill coined the term BRIC to describe the four emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
  • The grouping was formalised during the first meeting of BRIC Foreign Ministers in 2006.
  • South Africa was invited to join BRIC in December 2010, after which the group adopted the acronym BRICS.

Other key points:

  • The chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.
  • The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually.
  • During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (2014) the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB). They also signed the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement.

 Here, Cooperation among members is achieved through:

  1. Track I: Formal diplomatic engagement between the national governments.
  2. Track II: Engagement through government-affiliated institutions, e.g. state-owned enterprises and business councils.
  3. Track III: Civil society and People-to-People engagement.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. BRICS- origin, when South Africa joined?
  2. About the New Development Bank (NDB).
  3. Which are the NDB funded projects in India?
  4. Fortaleza declaration is related to?
  5. What is the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate of New Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank? Examine whether the coming of NDB and AIIB changes the rules of development financing vis-à-vis the western dominated multilateral financing institutions?

Sources: pib.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization:


Why in News?

Greece rejects NATO mediation.

  • It says ‘de-escalation’ only after Turkey withdraws vessels from Greek waters.

What’s the issue?

Over recent weeks, tensions have been rising in the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean, prompted by what seems like a simple rivalry over energy resources.

  • Turkey has pursued an aggressive gas exploration effort, its research vessel heavily protected by warships of the Turkish Navy.
  • There have been encounters with rival Greek vessels and a third Nato country, France, has become involved, siding with the Greeks.
  • These tensions also highlight another shift in the region – the decline of US power.

Cause for latest tensions:

Tensions are mounting to breaking point between Turkey and Greece over Turkey’s drilling work near the Mediterranean island of Cyprus, which like Greece is an EU member country.

  • Turkey doesn’t recognize the divided island of Cyprus as a state and claims 44 per cent of Cyprus’ exclusive economic zone as its own.
  • Cyprus was split along ethnic lines in 1974 when Turkey invaded in the wake of a coup by supporters of union with Greece.

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

It is an intergovernmental military alliance.

  • Established by Washington treaty.
  • Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.
  • Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.
  • Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.

Significance:

It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

Composition:

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.

  • NATO membership is open to “any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Objectives:

Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

Military – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NATO- genesis and headquarters.
  2. What is NATO Allied Command Operations?
  3. Who can become members of NATO?
  4. Overview of the Washington Treaty.
  5. Countries surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean.
  6. Latest NATO member.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of NATO.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA):


Why in News?

Iran has granted IAEA inspectors access to one of two sites where undeclared nuclear activity may have taken place in the early 2000s.

What’s the issue?

Iran signed the nuclear deal in 2015 with the United States, Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia. Known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, it allows Iran only to keep a stockpile of 202.8 kilograms (447 pounds).

  • However, as per IAEA reports, Iran continues to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium in violation of limitations set in the deal.

Why this oversight is necessary?

  1. The suspected work on a uranium metal disk, which could be used as a nuclear weapon component, and on neutrons—which are used to trigger a nuclear implosion—point to Iranian work on a neutron initiator for a nuclear weapons test or nuclear weapons device.
  2. Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium has grown by around 50% since February to 1,572 kilograms. That puts Iran’s stockpile of the nuclear fuel far above the limit of 202.8 kilograms stipulated in the 2015 nuclear accord.
  3. With 1,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, Iran would likely have enough material to fuel a single bomb once the material is further enriched, a process some experts believe could take as little as three months.

About IAEA:

Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family.

Reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council.

Headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

Functions:

  • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Board of Governors:

22 member states (must represent a stipulated geographic diversity) — elected by the General Conference (11 members every year) – 2 year term.

  • At least 10 member states — nominated by the outgoing Board.
  • Board members each receive one vote.

Functions:

  • Recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget.
  • Responsible for publishing IAEA standards.
  • Responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA.
  • Appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval.

Programs:

  1. Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
  2. Human Health Program.
  3. Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  4. International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. Members of IAEA.
  5. Programs of IAEA.
  6. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  7. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

iran_nuclear

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

What counts as ‘Act of God’?


Why in News?

This week, attributing the shortfall in GST collections to disruptions due to Covid-19, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the economy is facing an Act-of-God-like situation.

  • In February this year too, the Finance Ministry had said that this pandemic “should be considered a case of natural calamity and Force majeure clause (FMC) may be invoked, wherever considered appropriate”.

What is a force majeure clause?

The force majeure or “Act of God” clause has its origins in the Napoleonic Code.

  • FMC is a clause that is present in most commercial contracts and is a carefully drafted legal arrangement in the event of a crisis.
  • When the clause is triggered, parties can decide to break from their obligations temporarily or permanently without necessarily breaching the contract.

Force majeure clause (FMC) is mentioned in the 2017 Manual for Procurement of Goods issued by the Department of Expenditure.

  • Besides, some reference can also be found in Section 32 of the Indian Contract Act, 1872 (the “Contract Act”).

Difference between an “Act of God” and “force majeure”:

Generally, an “Act of God” is understood to include only natural unforeseen circumstances, whereas force majeure is wider in its ambit and includes both naturally occurring events and events that occur due to human intervention.

What situations legally qualify for use of force majeure?

War, riots, natural disasters or acts of God, strikes, introduction of new government policy imposing an embargo, boycotts, outbreak of epidemics and such situations are generally listed.

How do courts view this clause?

Court rulings have established that force majeure cannot be invoked when performance of the contract has become difficult, but only when it has become impossible.

  • In April this year, the Bombay High Court did not accept the force majeure argument in a case where the petitioner argued that Covid-19-related lockdowns had frustrated a contract for supply of steel.

force_majeure

Global examples:

  • China’s Supreme People’s Court had recognised the 2002 SARS outbreak as a force majeure event.
  • Singapore enacted the Covid-19 (Temporary Measures) Act in April to provide relief to businesses that could not perform their contractual obligations due to the pandemic.
  • The Paris Commercial Court in July ruled that the pandemic could be equated to a force majeure event.

Model Code on the force majeure clause:

The International Chamber of Commerce has developed a Model Code on the force majeure clause reflecting current international practice.

  • The Code states that the impediment triggering the operation of the force majeure clause must be beyond the party’s reasonable control; and that it could not reasonably have been foreseen at the time of the conclusion of the contract; and that the effects of the impediment could not reasonably have been avoided or overcome by the affected party.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is force majeure? When can it be invoked?
  2. Overview of the Model Code on the force majeure clause developed by ICC.
  3. Difference between an “Act of God” and “force majeure”.
  4. What is the Napoleon Code?

Mains Link:

What is the doctrine of Force Majeure? When can it be invoked? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

What are National Parks?


Why in News?

The Assam government has approved the addition of 30.53 sq. km (3,053 hectares) to the 884 sq. km Kaziranga National Park.

 Implications and significance of the move:

  • The latest additions would help provide connectivity to Orang and Nameri National Parks across river Brahmaputra, besides the hills of Karbi Anglong to the south of the park, where the rhino, tiger, deer and other animals take refuge during the floods.

What are National Parks?

They are the areas that are set by the government to conserve the natural environment.”

  • A national park has more restrictions as compared to a wildlife sanctuary.
  • Their boundaries are fixed and defined.
  • The main objective of a national park is to protect the natural environment of the area and biodiversity conservation.

 What is allowed and what is not allowed inside National Parks:

  • Here, no human activity is allowed.
  • Grazing of livestock and private tenurial rights are not permitted here.
  • Species mentioned in the Schedules of the Wildlife Act are not allowed to be hunted or captured.
  • No person shall destroy, remove, or exploit any wildlife from a National Park or destroy or damage the habitat of any wild animal or deprive any wild animal of its habitat within a national park.
  • They cannot be downgraded to the status of a ‘sanctuary’.

Declaration of National Parks:

  • National parks can be declared both by the Central Government and State governments. No alteration of the boundaries of a national park shall be made except on a resolution passed by the State Legislature.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Kaziranaga National Park- Important Flora and Fauna.
  2. What is a National Park? Who can declare it?
  3. Difference between a National Park and a Wildlife Sanctuary.
  4. What is not allowed inside National Parks?
  5. About Orang and Nameri National Parks.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


INDRA NAVY:

Context: The 11th edition of exercise INDRA NAVY has begun.

  • It is a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy.
  • Initiated in 2003, Ex INDRA NAVY epitomises the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies.

Yanomami people and blood gold:

  • Yanomami live in the rainforests and mountains of northern Brazil and southern Venezuela, and are, according to Survival International, the largest relatively isolated tribe in South America.
  • They live in large, circular houses called yanos or shabonos, some of which can hold up to 400 people.
  • It is a Yanomami custom that a hunter does not eat the meat he has killed.
  • The Yanomami consider all people to be equal, and do not have a chief. Instead, all decisions are based on consensus after long discussions and debates.

Why in News?

Since the 1980s, the Yanomami have been facing an onslaught from illegal gold miners.

  • It is believed that gold mined illegally in Yanomami land has most likely been coming to India since at least 2018.
  • Calling the gold mined there as blood gold, they have recently asked the Indian government to stop buying this gold.

Yanomami_people

Section 144(2) of the Railway Act, 1989:

It says that if any person begs in any railway carriage or at a railway station, he shall be liable for punishment, which prescribes imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year, or with fine that may extend to ₹2,000, or with both.

Why in News?

The Ministry of Railways has proposed to decriminalise begging on trains or railway premises. In this regard, it has called for comments/suggestions on the proposed amendments to the Act.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. RBI alters priority sector norms.

 


Articles covered previously


House Committees:


Why in News?

The Rajya Sabha Secretariat is mulling over changing the rules governing the standing committees’ tenure to make it two years from the present one so that the panels have enough time to work on the subjects selected by them.

  • Many chairpersons of the current panels have felt that a significant amount of the tenure of their committees was lost due to the pandemic.

For details on parliamentary committees, please refer:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/08/21/parliamentary-standing-committees-5/.


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