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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 October 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. What constitutes a breach of legislature’s privilege?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?

2. Pakistan to challenge India’s application for exclusive GI tag for Basmati rice in EU.

3. 2020 Nobel Prize in physics.

4. Delhi govt to spray bio-decomposer in fields to prevent stubble burning.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is high security registration plate (HSRP)?

2. What is Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI)?

3. What is Gupkar Declaration?

4. National Startup Awards 2020.

5. Wildlife week.

6. CAWACH.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

What constitutes a breach of legislature’s privilege?


Context:

In an affidavit, filed in pursuant to a plea by Facebook India VP and MD Ajit Mohan and Facebook in the Supreme Court against the summons, the Delhi Assembly said that Mohan has not been issued any summons for breach of privilege.

  • Delhi assembly said, he was only summoned by its Peace and Harmony committee to appear as witness in connection with north east Delhi riots.

But, can the Court intervene in such matters?

The proceedings of the assembly cannot be called in question in the court of law and the member or the Presiding Officer in whom powers are vested for regulating the procedure or conduct of business is not subject to the jurisdiction of courts in respect of exercise by him of those powers.

Basics:

Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?

The powers, privileges and immunities of either House of the Indian Parliament and of its Members and committees are laid down in Article 105 of the Constitution.

  • Similarly, Article 194 deals with the powers, privileges and immunities of the State Legislatures, their Members and their committees.

What constitutes a breach of this privilege?

There are no clear, notified rules to decide what constitutes a breach of privilege, and the punishment it attracts.

  • Generally, any act that obstructs or impedes either House of the state legislature in performing its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer of such House in the discharge of his duty, or has a tendency, directly or indirectly, to produce such results is treated as breach of privilege.
  • It is also a breach of privilege and contempt of the House to make speeches or to print or publish libel reflecting on the character or proceedings of the House, or its Committees, or on any member of the House for or relating to his character or conduct as a legislator.

What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?

  • The Legislative Assembly Speaker or Legislative Council Chairman constitutes a Privileges Committee.
  • The members to the committee are nominated based on the party strength in the Houses.
  • Speaker or Chairman first decides on the motions.
  • If the privilege and contempt are found prima facie, then the Speaker or Chairman will forward it to the Privileges Committee by following the due procedure.
  • The Committee will examine whether statements made by him had insulted the state legislature and its Members, and whether their image was maligned before the public.
  • The Committee, which has quasi-judicial powers, will seek an explanation from all the concerned, will conduct an inquiry and will make a recommendation based on the findings to the state legislature for its consideration.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature?
  2. What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege?
  3. Composition and functions of Privileges Committees in Parliament and State Legislatures.
  4. What is the punishment for an individual who is found guilty of breaching the legislature’s privilege?
  5. Can the Courts intervene in matters involving breach of privileges of state legislatures?

Mains Link:

What do you understand by legislative privileges? Discuss the problem of legislative privileges as seen in India time to time.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?


Context:

Securities and Exchange Board of India has tightened its regulations of additional tier-1 bonds or AT-1 bonds and ensured that these risky instruments are less accessible to retail investors.

Changes introduced:

  • Banks can issue these bonds only on electronic platform.
  • Only institutional investors could subscribe to them.
  • There shall be a minimum allotment size and trading lot size of ₹1 crore.

(An institutional investor is a company or organization that invests money on behalf of other people. Mutual funds, pensions, and insurance companies are examples.)

Basics:

What are Additional Tier-1 bonds?

Under the Basel III framework, banks’ regulatory capital is divided into Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital.

  • Tier 1 capital is subdivided into Common Equity (CET) and Additional Capital (AT1).

AT1 bonds are a type of unsecured, perpetual bonds that banks issue to shore up their core capital base to meet the Basel-III norms.

Key features:

  • These have higher rates than tier II bonds.
  • These bonds have no maturity date.
  • The issuing bank has the option to call back the bonds or repay the principal after a specified period of time.
  • The attraction for investors is higher yield than secured bonds issued by the same entity.
  • Individual investors too can hold these bonds, but mostly high net worth individuals (HNIs) opt for such higher risk, higher yield investments.
  • Given the higher risk, the rating for these bonds is one to four notches lower than the secured bond series of the same bank.

However, it has a two-fold risk:

  • First, the issuing bank has the discretion to skip coupon payment. Under normal circumstances it can pay from profits or revenue reserves in case of losses for the period when the interest needs to be paid.
  • Second, the bank has to maintain a common equity tier I ratio of 5.5%, failing which the bonds can get written down. In some cases there could be a clause to convert into equity as well.

Given these characteristics, AT1 bonds are also referred to as quasi-equity.

Differences between Common Equity (CET) and Additional Capital (AT1):

Equity and preference capital is classified as CET and perpetual bonds are classified as AT1.

  • By nature, CET is the equity capital of the bank, where returns are linked to the banks’ performance and therefore the performance of the share price.
  • However, AT1 bonds are in the nature of debt instruments, which carry a fixed coupon payable annually from past or present profits of the bank.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Basel Norms 1 vs 2 vs 3.
  2. CET vs AT1.
  3. Tier 1 vs 2 capital.
  4. ‘Point of Non-Viability Trigger’ (PONV).
  5. Role of RBI during bank crisis.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Basel norms.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: IP related issues.

Pakistan to challenge India’s application for exclusive GI tag for Basmati rice in EU:


Context:

Pakistan has decided to file its opposition in the European Union in response to India’s application for an exclusive Geographical Indications (GI) tag to Basmati rice.

Why Pakistan is approaching EU? What are the provisions in this regard?

Pakistan enacted the Geographical Indications (Registration and Protection) Act in March this year, which gives it the right to oppose Indian application for registration of Basmati rice exclusive rights.

While India has said that it is an Indian-origin product in its application, published in the EU’s official journal on September 11.

  • As per the EU’s official journal, any country can oppose the application for registration of a name pursuant to Article 50(2) (a) of Regulations (EU) of the European Parliament and of the Council on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs within three month from the date of publication.

Claims by Pakistan:

Pakistan said it was a major grower and producer of Basmati rice and India’s application for exclusivity is unjustified.

Background:

In May 2010, GI status was given to basmati grown in Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Uttrakhand and parts of western Uttar Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.

Basics:

About GI tag:

A GI is primarily an agricultural, natural or a manufactured product (handicrafts and industrial goods) originating from a definite geographical territory.

  • Typically, such a name conveys an assurance of quality and distinctiveness, which is essentially attributable to the place of its origin.

What are the benefits?

Once the GI protection is granted, no other producer can misuse the name to market similar products. It also provides comfort to customers about the authenticity of that product.

Who is a registered proprietor of a geographical indication?

  • Any association of persons, producers,organisation or authority established by or under the law can be a registered proprietor.
  • Their name should be entered in the Register of Geographical Indication as registered proprietor for the Geographical Indication applied for.

How long the registration of Geographical Indication is valid?

  • The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years.
  • It can be renewed from time to time for further period of 10 years each.

Who accords and regulates Geographical Indications?

At the International level: Geographical Indications are covered as a component of intellectual property rights (IPRs) under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. GI is also governed by the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO’s) Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

In India, Geographical Indications registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003. The first product in India to be accorded with GI tag was Darjeeling tea in the year 2004-05.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GI tag?
  2. Who grants?
  3. GI products in India and their geographical locations.
  4. Other IPRs.
  5. What is EU? Various institutions under it.

Mains Link:

What is a Geographical Indication (GI) tag? Discuss it’s 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.

2020 Nobel Prize in physics:


Context:

2020 Nobel Prize in physics has been awarded to Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for furthering the understanding of black holes.

Basics:

What are black holes?

A black hole is formed when stars collapse and can be defined as a space in the universe with an escape velocity so strong that even light cannot escape it.

  • Escape velocity is the speed at which an object must travel to override a planet or an object’s gravitational force.

Main features of blackholes:

  • Since light cannot get out, black holes are invisible and can only be tracked with the help of a space telescope or other special tools.
  • Light cannot escape from blackholes because the gravity inside a black hole is very strong as a result of a lot of matter being squeezed into a small space.

What do the award winners’ work tell us about black holes?

  • Penrose: Discovered “that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity.”
  • Genzel and Ghez: Discovered a “supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.” This is now known to be the Sagittarius A* supermassive black hole, which has a mass four million times that of the Sun and is confined to an area roughly the size of our Solar System.

Key points for Prelims:

  • Sagittarius A* is one of two black holes whose photographs have been captured by the Event Horizon Telescope project.
  • Black holes do not emit or radiate anything, even light. So, there is no way their image can be captured. But the area just outside its boundary, called the event horizon, which has vast amounts of gas, clouds and plasma swirling violently, does emit all kinds of radiations, even visible light.

About Nobel Prize in Physics:

Awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

It is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Alfred Nobel in 1895 and awarded since 1901.

  • The first Nobel Prize in Physics was awarded to physicist Wilhelm Röntgen in recognition of the extraordinary services he rendered by the discovery of X-rays.

nobel_prize_2020

InstaLinks:

Topics Covered:

  1. What are black holes?
  2. What is Sagittarius A* that is often seen in news?
  3. What is escape velocity?
  4. What is event horizon?
  5. Who awards Nobel Prize in Physics?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Delhi govt to spray bio-decomposer in fields to prevent stubble burning:


Context:

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced that the Delhi government will start spraying bio-decomposer solution prepared by Pusa Research Institute from October 11 to prevent stubble burning.

What’s the plan?

  • Pusa Research Institute has developed capsules containing bio-decomposers.
  • These capsules are mixed with a solution.
  • When applied on fields, it dissolves the stem of stubble, converts it into compost, fertility of land increases and less fertiliser is used.
  • Delhi government will provide the solution to farmers free of cost and spray it in farms.
  • The solution will help in the disposal of stubble, without the involvement of stubble burning.

How were these bio-decomposers formed?

Pusa Decomposer is a mix of seven fungi that produce enzymes to digest cellulose, lignin and pectin in paddy straw.

  • The fungi thrive at 30-32 degree Celsius, which is the temperature prevailing when paddy is harvested and wheat is sown.

The IARI has commercialised the technology. It has licensed six companies.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


What is high security registration plate (HSRP)?

  • They are made up of aluminium and are affixed using at least two non-reusable snap-on locks.
  • The plate comprises hot-stamped chromium-based 20 mm X 20 mm hologram of Ashoka Chakra in blue colour on the top left corner.
  • At the bottom left corner is a 10-digit permanent identification number (PIN) that is laser branded on the reflective sheeting.
  • HSRP also includes a hot stamped film applied on the numerals and letters bearing the inscription “INDIA” at a 45-degree angle.
  • Once affixed, the unique high security registration plate is electronically linked to the vehicle.

Benefits:

  • HSRP’s come with non-removable snap-on locks and are difficult to replace.
  • HSRP’s are affixed by automobile dealers and private vendors approved by the state authorities.
  • These plates are issued only after the vehicle owner provides with information like engine number, chassis number, etc. This is a crucial step in preventing counterfeiting of high security registration plates.
  • The details of a car, like engine number, chassis number, etc. are stored in a centralized database. This information, along with the 10-digit PIN, helps the authorities to identify a stolen vehicle.
  • HSRPs have a uniform pattern of displaying motor vehicle registration number, therefore addressing the issue of ‘incomprehensible’ vehicle registration plates.

no_plate

What is Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI)?

PMI is an indicator of business activity- in the manufacturing and services sectors.

It is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception about key business variables as compared with the previous month.

The PMI is a number from 0 to 100:

  • PMI above 50 represents an expansion when compared to the previous month;
  • PMI under 50 represents a contraction, and
  • A reading at 50 indicates no change.

5_key

What is Gupkar Declaration?

On August 4, 2019, first Gupkar declaration was signed before the abrogation of Article 370.

On August 22, 2020, the six political parties of Jammu and Kashmir signed a statement titled as ‘Gupkar Declaration II’ to collectively fight against the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The six parties have jointly stated the Centre’s decision to alter the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is ‘grossly unconstitutional’.

National Startup Awards 2020 announced:

Conceived by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).

  • The first edition had invited applications across 12 sectors further sub-classified into 35 categories.
  • 12 sectors included Agriculture, Education, Enterprise Technology, Energy, Finance, Food, Health, Industry 4.0, Space, Security, Tourism and Urban Services.

Rewards:

  • The winning Startups will get cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh each, along with opportunities to present their solutions to relevant public authorities and corporates, for potential pilot projects and work orders.
  • One exceptional Incubator and one Accelerator each will get a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.

Wildlife week:

Celebrated all over the country in the month of October from 2nd to 8th October every year with the view to preserve India’s fauna.

  • First conceptualised in 1952, the idea behind celebrating the Week is to take steps to save the animal species of India from extinction.
  • Wildlife Day was observed from 1955 and it was upgraded to Wildlife Week in 1957.

Theme for 2020: RoaR (Roar and Revive) – Exploring Human-Animal Relationships.

CAWACH:

The Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH) is an initiative by the National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Department of Science and Technology (DST).

  • CAWACH supports innovations in the areas of diagnostics, devices, informatics including bio-informatics & information management systems, any intervention for the control of COVID-19 and/or startup ideas to address/mitigate various challenges faced by country/society due to the severe impact of COVID-19.
  • It offers funding to the tune of Rs. 50 lakhs to Rs. 200 lakhs to selected startups.

 


Articles covered Previously


Govt. clears ₹11,000-cr. of PLI proposals by Samsung, others:

Context:

Ministry of Electronics and IT has approved 16 proposals by electronics manufacturers, including Samsung, Foxconn, Lava and Micromax, entailing an investment of ₹11,000 crore under its Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme.

For further details:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2020/09/29/what-is-the-production-linked-incentive-scheme-for-electronics-manufacturers-2/.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Centre to fix jurisdiction of river boards.

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