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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Azad Hind Government.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. State Election Commissions.

2. District Development Councils (DDC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

2. India’s first seaplane project.

3. OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu.

4. National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

5. State of Global Air 2020.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. INS Kavaratti.

2. COVIRAP.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Azad Hind Government:


Context:

77th anniversary of the formation of Azad Hind Government on 21st October, 2020.

About Azad Hind Government:

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had announced the establishment of the provisional government of Azad Hind in occupied Singapore in 1943.

Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.

  • The provisional government was also formed in the Japanese-occupied Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The islands were reoccupied by the British in 1945.

Why was it set up?

Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India.

  • It drew ex- prisoners and thousands of civilian volunteers from the Indian expatriate population in Malaya (present-day Malaysia) and Burma (now Myanmar).

Key features:

  • The Azad Hind government had its own court, civil code and currency.
  • Its provisional capital was Port Blair, while its capital-in-exile was Rangoon and Singapore.

Under the provisional government:

  • Bose was the head of the state, the prime minister and the minister for war and foreign affairs.
  • Captain Lakshmi headed the women’s organisation.
  • S A Ayer headed the publicity and propaganda wing.
  • Rash Behari Bose was designated as the supreme advisor.

How it came to an end?

Bose’s death was seen as the end to the Azad Hind movement. The Second World War, also ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis powers.

cry_freedom

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was Azad Hind Government established?
  2. Where was it formed?
  3. Its objectives.
  4. Portfolios held by various leaders.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Azad Hind Government and its objectives.

Sources: PIB.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

State Election Commissions:


Context:

The State Election Commission (SEC) has filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking a direction to the government to provide budget and release funds as and when a request is made by it for conducting elections.

  • The SEC also prayed for assistance from the government in holding the civic polls.

About the State Election Commission:

The Constitution of India vests in the State Election Commission, consisting of a State Election Commissioner, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities (Articles 243K, 243ZA).

The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.

  • As per article 243(C3) the Governor, when so requested by the State Election Commission, make available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC.

The ECI and SECs have a similar mandate; do they also have similar powers?

The provisions of Article 243K of the Constitution, which provides for setting up of SECs, are almost identical to those of Article 324 related to the EC. In other words, the SECs enjoy the same status as the EC.

  • In Kishan Singh Tomar vs Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad case, the Supreme Court directed that state governments should abide by orders of the SECs during the conduct of the panchayat and municipal elections, just like they follow the instructions of the EC during Assembly and Parliament polls.

How far can courts intervene?

Courts cannot interfere in the conduct of polls to local bodies and self-government institutions once the electoral process has been set in motion.

Article 243-O of the Constitution bars interference in poll matters set in motion by the SECs; Article 329 bars interference in such matters set in motion by the EC.

  • Only after the polls are over can the SECs’ decisions or conduct be questioned through an election petition.
  • These powers enjoyed by the SECs are the same as those by the EC.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 243 vs 324, similarities and differences in powers of state election commissions vs Election Commission of India.
  2. Appeals against decisions of Election Commissions.
  3. Elections to Parliament and state legislatures vs Local Bodies.
  4. Difference between powers of Election Commission of India vs State Election Commission.

Mains Link:

Are the State Election Commissions in India as independent as the Election Commission of India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

District Development Councils (DDC):


Context:

The Centre on October 17 amended the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, to facilitate the setting up of District Development Councils (DDC).

  • A legislation to this effect was brought in by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

What are DDCs? What are their functions?

This system effectively replaces the District Planning and Development Boards in all districts.

  • They will prepare and approve district plans and capital expenditure.
  • The term of the DDC will be five years.

The council will hold at least four “general meetings” in a year, one in each quarter.

Structure:

  • Their number has been specified at 14 elected members per district representing its rural areas, alongside the Members of Legislative Assembly chairpersons of all Block Development Councils within the district.
  • The electoral process will allow for reservations for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
  • The Additional District Development Commissioner (or the Additional DC) of the district shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the District Development Council.

Who will elect the members of DDC?

They will be directly elected by voters in the Union Territory.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About DDC.
  2. Composition.
  3. Functions.
  4. Who will chair these councils.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of DDCs.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme:


Context:

The government is considering an extension of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to 7-8 more sectors to promote domestic manufacturing.

About the PLI scheme:

To make India a manufacturing hub, the government recently announced the PLI scheme for mobile phones, pharma products, and medical equipment sectors.

  • Notified on April 1 as a part of the National Policy on Electronics.
  • It proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain.

Key features of the scheme:

  • The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five (5) years with financial year (FY) 2019-20 considered as the base year for calculation of incentives.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by MeitY from time to time.

Eligibility:

  • According to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.
  • In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.

PLI

What kind of investments will be considered?

All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme.

These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.

  • However, all investment done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine eligibility of the scheme.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key proposals under the National Policy on Electronics.
  2. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  3. Incentives under the scheme is available to?
  4. What kind of investments will be considered?
  5. Duration of the scheme.
  6. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

What is the production linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturers? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Waterways.

India’s first seaplane project:


India’s first seaplane service in Gujarat is set to begin from 31 October, the anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

  • It will connect Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia.
  • The service will be operated by Spicejet Airlines.

seaplane

Significance of seaplane projects and the potential:

  • Given the large and small waterbodies that dot the country, India provides an ideal opportunity for seaplane operations.
  • Unlike a conventional aircraft, a seaplane can land both on a waterbody and on land, thereby opening up more opportunities for business and tourism.
  • Such projects provide faster and hassle free travel option for the long, treacherous and hilly regions of the country.

Environmental concerns:

The water aerodrome is not a listed project/activity in the Schedule to the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and its amendments.

  • However, the Expert Appraisal Committee was of the opinion that the activities proposed under the water aerodrome project may have a similar type of impact as that of an airport.

May affect Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • The sanctuary is located at an approximate aerial distance of 2.1 km from the proposed project site.

Positive impact on the environment:

During seaplane operations, there will be turbulence created in the water while takeoff and landing of seaplanes.

  • This will lead to more operation process i.e. mixing of oxygen in the water.
  • This will have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem near seaplane operations increasing oxygen content and decreasing carbon content in this system.

How are these services regulated?

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will manage the Project of Seaplane in Inland Waterways and Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL) will manage the Projects of seaplane in Coastal Areas.

  • IWAI and SDCL will coordinate with the Ministry of Shipping, flight operators, Ministry of Tourism as well as DGCA.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu:


Context:

On October 20th, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it is meant to collect samples of dust and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.

What is the OSIRIS-REx mission?

OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.

  • This is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid.
  • Launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018.
  • The departure window for the mission will open up in 2021, after which it will take over two years to reach back to Earth.

Asteroid Bennu:

The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

Scientists believe that it was formed in the first 10 million years of the solar system’s formation, implying that it is roughly 4.5 billion years old.

  • Because of Bennu’s age, it is likely to contain material that contains molecules that were present when life first formed on Earth, where life forms are based on carbon atom chains.
  • Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about four per cent of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65 per cent of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30 per cent.
  • It classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199.

bennu

Site for sample collection:

NASA has selected a site located in a crater high in Bennu’s northern hemisphere designated “Nightingale”.

Why are scientists studying asteroids?

  • To look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system.
  • To look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Objectives of OSIRIS- REx.
  2. What are near earth asteroids?
  3. About Bennu.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of OSIRIS- REx.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

In News- National Supercomputing Mission (NSM):


What is National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?

It is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

  • Implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Focus of the mission:

  • The Mission envisages empowering national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network.
  • The Mission includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.

Achievements:

  • The first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (Banaras Hindu University).
  • Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. They are equipped with applications from domains like Weather and Climate, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Bioinformatics, and Material science.

Fact for Prelims:

India has developed an indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the High-Performance Computing (HPC) requirements of all governments and PSUs. This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Super computers in India and the world.
  2. How do they perform faster?
  3. About NKM.
  4. Targets under NSM.

Mains Link:

Write a note on National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

State of Global Air 2020:


Context:

The State of Global Air is a collaboration between the Health Effects Institute (HEI) and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), with expert input from the University of British Columbia.

Key findings:

  • Long-term exposure to outdoor and household air pollution contributed to over 1.67 million annual deaths from stroke, heart attack, diabetes, lung cancer, chronic lung diseases and neonatal diseases in India in 2019.
  • Overall, air pollution was now the largest risk factor for death among all health risks in India.
  • For the youngest infants, most deaths were related to complications from low birth weight and preterm birth.
  • India faced the highest per capita pollution exposure — or 83.2 μg/cubic metre — in the world, followed by Nepal at 83.1 μg/cubic metre and Niger at 80.1.

Challenges ahead for India:

The government has claimed that average pollution levels in India are declining over the past three years.

But these have been marginal, particularly in the Indo-Gangetic plains which see extremely high particulate matter pollution especially during winter.

  • After a decline in pollution due to the nationwide lockdown in late March and the months-long process of reopening, pollution levels are again rising and air quality has dipped to ‘very poor’ category in several cities.
  • There is clear evidence linking air pollution and increased heart and lung disease. This newest evidence suggests an especially high risk for infants born in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


INS Kavaratti:

  • It is an anti-submarine warfare (ASW) ship to be commissioned into the Indian Navy.
  • It has up to 90% indigenous content.
  • It is the last of four indigenously-built ASW under ‘Project 28’ or Kamorta-class corvettes of the Navy.
  • ‘Project 28’ was approved in 2003. The other three warships under this project are INS Kamorta (commissioned in 2014), INS Kadmatt (2016) and INS Kiltan (2017).

ins_kiltan

COVIRAP:

  • It is a diagnostic machine for COVID-19 detection.
  • Developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur.
  • The machine can be developed at a cost of less than ₹ 5000/- with a minimal infrastructural requirement.
  • The testing process in this new machine is completed within an hour.

How it works?

  1. The machine employs an isothermal nucleic acid amplification method.
  2. Once the sample was processed in the machine after being mixed with solutions developed by the IIT team, treated paper strips — similar to the pregnancy strips — are dipped into it, and the emergence of coloured lines will depict the presence of the virus.

novel_solution

What is infodemic?

“Infodemic” is having too much information, including false or misleading information, particularly on social media.

Concerns: It may lead to confusion, risk-taking and ultimately mistrust towards governments and the public health response.

Why in News?

Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization (WHO), has said that Managing the “infodemic” has been a serious challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.

infodemic


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