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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 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 2:

1. Termination of Session.

2. About the Central Pollution Control Board.

3. Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan.

4. G4 seeks time-bound reform of Security Council.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is a cess?

2. What is non-personal data?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is a Robber Fly?

2. ‘Kritagya’ Hackathon.

3. International Sign Languages Day.

4. World’s Longest High-Altitude Shinkun La Tunnel.

5. Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana.

6. Komodo dragon.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Termination of Session:


A sitting of Parliament can be terminated by adjournment or adjournment sine die or prorogation or dissolution (in the case of the Lok Sabha).

Adjournment: It suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.

Adjournment sine die: It means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period.

In other words, when the House is adjourned without naming a day for reassembly.

  • The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer (Speaker or Chairman) of the House.

Prorogation: The President issues a notification for prorogation of the session after the business of a session is completed and the presiding officer declares the House adjourned sine die. The President can also prorogue the House while in session.

Dissolution: Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution. Rajya Sabha, being a permanent House, is not subject to dissolution.

  • A dissolution ends the life of the existing House, and a new House is constituted after general elections are held.
  • The President is empowered to dissolve the Lok Sabha.

Why in News?

The Lok Sabha adjourned sine die recently in what is being termed one of the shortest sessions in India’s parliamentary history, but which was packed with 25 Bills.

  • In this session, Lok Sabha productivity clocked at 167% with 25 Bills passed; 2,300 unstarred questions answered; 68% of the sittings dealing with legislative work; and 370 Zero Hour mentions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who summons the Houses of Parliament?
  2. Powers of President vs Powers of Chairperson.
  3. What is adjournment sine die?
  4. What is dissolution of the house?
  5. Why Rajya Sabha cannot be dissolved?

Mains Link:

What needs to be done to increase the productivity of both the houses of Parliament? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

About the Central Pollution Control Board:


CPCB is a statutory organisation which was constituted in September, 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974.

  • It was entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

Important functions:

  • to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution.
  • to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution in the country.

Why in News?

CPCB recently celebrated its 46th Foundation Day.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CPCB.
  2. Powers and functions.
  3. CPCB vs State Pollution Control Boards.
  4. Composition of CPCB.

Mains Link:

Discuss the functions of CPCB.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan:


Launched in 2014 by the then Ministry of Human Resource Development (now Ministry of Education).

Aim: to meet the Right to Education Act’s mandate that all schools must have separate toilets for boys and girls.

Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) were roped in to implement the program.

  • The programme norms require the CPSEs to build toilets with running water and hand washing facilities.
  • It also requires CPSEs to maintain the toilets for three to five years while charging the annual expenses to their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) budgets.

Why in News?

Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) recently submitted a report on the performance of this program.

Key Highlights:

  • Public sector units claimed to have constructed 1.4 lakh toilets in government schools as part of a Right to Education project, but almost 40% of those surveyed were found to be non-existent, partially constructed, or unused.
  • Over 70% did not have running water facilities in the toilets, while 75% were not being maintained hygienically.
  • The objective of providing separate toilets for boys and girls was not fulfilled in 27% of the schools, said the CAG.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan.
  2. Implementation of the program.
  3. Key features.
  4. Mandatory provisions under the Right to Education act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the performance of Swachh Vidyalaya Abhiyan.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

G4 seeks time-bound reform of Security Council:


Who are G4 Nations?

The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.

 Basis for these demands:

  • Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5).

Support:

  • The United Kingdom and France have backed the G4’s bid for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
  • Japan has received support from the United States and the United Kingdom.
  • All the permanent members of P5 have supported India’s bids for permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but China had previously implied that it is only ready to support India’s bid for a permanent seat on United Nations Security Council if India did not associate its bid with Japan.
  • Brazil has received backing from three of the current permanent members, namely France, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Opposition:

  • There has been discontent among the present permanent members regarding the inclusion of controversial nations or countries not supported by them.
  • For instance, Japan’s bid is heavily opposed by China, Russia and South Korea who think that Japan still needs to make additional atonement for war crimes committed during World War II.
  • Under the leadership of Italy, countries that strongly oppose the G4 countries’ bids have formed the Uniting for Consensus movement, or the Coffee Club, composed mainly of regional powers that oppose the rise of some nearby country to permanent member status.

Why in News now?

The foreign ministers of the G4 countries held a virtual meeting coinciding with the 75th session of the UN General Assembly during which they held extensive discussion on the need for urgent reform of the UNSC.

  • They expressed their concern over lack of any “meaningful” forward movement on long-pending reform of Council and demanded “urgency” on the issue.

What are their demands?

  1. Permanent seats should be given in the council for these countries.
  2. There is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative.
  3. Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation.
  4. Need for text-based negotiations within a fixed time frame for the UNSC reform.

un_security_council

Present structure of the UNSC:

At present, the UNSC comprises five permanent members and 10 non-permanent member countries which are elected for a two-year term by the General Assembly of the UN.

  • The five permanent members are Russia, the UK, China, France and the United States.
  • These countries can veto any substantive resolution.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Name the permanent members of UNSC?
  2. How are non permanent members elected?
  3. Voting powers at UNSC.
  4. How are non permanent seats distributed?
  5. UNGA vs UNSC.
  6. What is G4 group?

Mains Link:

Discuss why India should be given a permanent seat at the UNSC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

What is a cess?


It is a form of tax levied or collected by the government for the development or welfare of a particular service or sector.

  • It is charged over and above direct and indirect taxes.
  • Cess collected for a particular purpose cannot be used for or diverted to other purposes.
  • It is not a permanent source of revenue for the government, and it is discontinued when the purpose levying it is fulfilled.

Examples:

Education Cess, Swachh Bharat Cess, Krishi Kalyan Cess etc.

What is the difference between tax and cess? What is cess tax?

  • Cess is different from taxes such as income tax, GST, and excise duty etc as it is charged over and above the existing taxes.
  • While all taxes go to the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI), cess may initially go to the CFI but has to be used for the purpose for which it was collected.
  • If the cess collected in a particular year goes unspent, it cannot be allocated for other purposes. The amount gets carried over to the next year and can only be used for the cause it was meant for.

Why in News?

The Centre retained in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) more than ₹1.1 lakh crore out of the almost ₹2.75 lakh crore collected in 2018-19 through various cesses, instead of transferring the receipts to the specified Reserve Funds that Parliament had approved for such levies, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India observed in a report.

Key Points:

  • ₹1,24,399 crore collected as cess on crude oil over the last decade had not been transferred to the designated Reserve Fund — the Oil Industry Development Board.
  • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Compensation Cess, which has become a bone of contention between the States and the Centre, was also ‘short-credited’ to the relevant reserve fund to the extent of ₹40,806 crore in 2018-19.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a cess?
  2. Cess vs Surcharge?
  3. What is Consolidated Fund of India?
  4. What is Contingency Fund of India?
  5. What is a public account?

Mains Link:

What are Cess and Surcharge? Why they are imposed? Discuss their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

What is Non- Personal Data?


Any set of data which does not contain personally identifiable information. This means that no individual or living person can be identified by looking at such data.

  • For example, while order details collected by a food delivery service will have the name, age, gender, and other contact information of an individual, it will become non-personal data if the identifiers such as name and contact information are taken out.

Why in News?

According to the results of a survey, majority of MSMEs and start-ups are not comfortable with the draft non-personal data policy in the current form. They believe permitting large businesses and platforms to sell aggregate data for a price will not help them.

  • The survey was conducted by LocalCircles.

About the draft Policy on Non- Personal Data:

Committee of Experts on Non-Personal Data Governance Framework had released a draft in July this year.

  • This committee (formed in 2019) headed by Infosys co-founder Kris Gopalakrishnan has suggested that non-personal data generated in the country be allowed to be harnessed by various domestic companies and entities.

The committee has classified non-personal data into three main categories, namely:

  1. Public non-personal data.
  2. Community non-personal data.
  3. Private non-personal data.

Key Suggestions made:

  • Formulate a separate legislation to govern non-personal data.
  • Setup a new regulatory body- Non-Personal Data Authority (NPDA).
  • It has also set circumstances under which a private organisation, that collects non-personal data, needs to be remunerated.

Need for regulation:

  • Digital transformations all over the world have meant that data is treated as an asset, which is monetised, either directly by trading it, or indirectly by developing a service on top of that data.
  • In a data economy, companies with “largest data pools have outsized and seized unbeatable techno-economic advantages.” These companies, having leveraged their “first-mover advantage” to create large pools of data, mean that smaller startups are often squeezed out of the competition, or there are significant barriers to their entry.
  • India, being the second-most populous country in the world, also with the second-largest smartphone userbase, is by extension, one of the largest data markets in the world.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is a Robber Fly?

  • Robber flies belong to the family Asilidae.
  • They’re named for their feeding behaviour: they ‘rob’ other insects of their lives.
  • Like all true flies, robber flies have only 2 wings.
  • Robber flies also have a distinctive hollow space between their 2 large compound eyes. This characteristic distinguishes robber flies from most other kinds of flies.
  • Asilidae occur in all zoogeographical regions except Antarctica.

robber_fly

‘Kritagya’ Hackathon:

It is being organised in order to promote potential technology solutions for enhancing farm mechanization with special emphasis on women friendly equipments.

  • The hackathon has been planned by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).
  • Who can participate? Students, faculties and innovators/entrepreneurs from any university / technical institution across the country can apply and participate in the event in the form of a group.

International Sign Languages Day:

Observed on 23 September.

  • Theme: ‘Sign Languages are for everyone’.

The day was celebrated in India by ISLRTC.

  • Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), an autonomous body under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 recognizes Sign Language as a means of communication.

World’s Longest High-Altitude Shinkun La Tunnel:

  • National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) has speeded up the detailed project report (DPR) work on this Tunnel.
  • The tunnel is 13.5 Km long.
  • The tunnel connects the Union Territory of Ladakh and tribal Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.
  • On completion of this tunnel, the Manali – Kargil highway will remain open throughout the year.

Kumhar Sashaktikaran Yojana:

It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) for empowerment of potters community in the remotest of locations in the country.

  • It was launched in 2018.

This program provides the following support to potters.

  1. Training for advanced pottery products.
  2. Latest, new technology pottery equipments like the electric Chaak.
  3. Market linkages and visibility through KVIC exhibitions.

Kumhar_Sashaktikaran_Yojana

Komodo Dragon:

  • They are the largest lizards on Earth.
  • They have venom glands loaded with toxins which have been shown to secrete anticoagulants.
  • Komodo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is situated in the Island of Komodo (eastern Indonesia) and is the habitat for this lizard species.
  • IUCN Status of the animal is Vulnerable.

Why in News?

According to a recent study, these lizards could become extinct in the next few decades due to climate change unless measures are taken to change the status quo.

Komodo_Dragon

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. China vows to go carbon neutral by 2060.

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