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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 28 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 2:

1. Now, outsiders can buy land in J&K.

2. Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC).

3. The European Union.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Yellow dust.

2. IndiGen Program.

3. The US ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ list?

4. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Parampara Series — National Festival of Music and Dance.

2. Harpoon coastal defence systems.

3. Why is October 27 celebrated as Infantry Day?

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Now, outsiders can buy land in J&K:


Context:

The Centre has notified new land laws for the Jammu and Kashmir UT region, ending the exclusive rights enjoyed by the local population over land under the now-diluted Article 370.

Who introduced the changes?

The introduction of the UT of J&K Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020, by the Ministry of Home Affairs has resulted in the repeal of at least 11 land laws in vogue in J&K earlier, including the J&K Big Landed Estates Abolition Act that had resulted in the famous ‘land to tiller’ rights.

What are the latest changes?

  • Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criteria has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.
  • No land used for agriculture purposes shall be used for any non-agricultural purposes except with the permission of the district collector.
  • The government may now allow transfer of land “in favour of a person or an institution for the purpose of promotion of healthcare or senior secondary or higher or specialized education in J&K”.
  • Also, No sale, gift, exchange, or mortgage of the land shall be valid in favour of a person who is not an agriculturist.
  • An Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.

open_sales

Need for:

The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.

Implications:

People, including investors, outside Jammu and Kashmir can now purchase land in the Union Territory.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. New Jammu and Kashmir UT land laws.
  2. Who can buy land in this region now?
  3. Power to declare an area as “Strategic Area”.
  4. What is Article 370?

Mains Link:

Discuss the implications of the new Jammu and Kashmir UT land laws.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC):


Context:

SIAC rules in Amazon’s favour, puts Future-Reliance deal on hold.

  • This order came on a plea from global e-commerce giant Amazon.

Implications:

This order now restraints Future Group and Reliance Industries Limited from proceeding with a Rs 24,713-crore deal signed in August for Future Retail to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance Retail and Fashionstyle.

Why did Amazon approach SIAC?

The parties in a deal usually sign a contractual agreement which specifies about:

  1. The arbitral institution administering the arbitration.
  2. The applicable rules.
  3. The seat of arbitration.

In this case Amazon and Future Group have under their agreement agreed to refer their disputes to SIAC, with Singapore presumably being the contractual choice for the seat/place of arbitration.

How the dispute is taken up at the SIAC? What is the procedure to be followed?

Once a dispute is referred to arbitration, the process of appointment of the arbitral tribunal takes place.

Composition: Typically, in case of a three member tribunal, both the parties appoint one member each to the tribunal, while the third member is jointly appointed by the two nominees or, if they fail to agree, by SIAC.

Appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator:

Appointment of the arbitral tribunal usually takes time.

  • Therefore, under the rules of SIAC, parties can move SIAC to appoint an emergency arbitrator to get urgent interim relief, even as the process of appointment of the main arbitral tribunal is underway.

What happens when the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily?

Currently under Indian law, there is no express mechanism for enforcement of the orders of the Emergency Arbitrator.

But, the parties voluntarily comply with the Emergency Award.

  • However, if the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily, then the party which has won the emergency award, in this case Amazon, can move the High Court in India under Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, to get similar reliefs as granted by the Emergency Arbitrator.

Why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

  • Foreign investors investing in India typically want to avoid the rigmarole of the Indian courts.
  • Foreign investors feel that Singapore is neutral ground for dispute resolution.
  • Singapore itself over time has built a stellar reputation as jurisdiction driven by rule of law with international standards and high integrity. This gives comfort to investors that the arbitration process will be quick, fair and just”.

According to the 2019 annual report of SIAC, India was the top user of its arbitration seat with 485 cases being referred to SIAC, followed by Philippines at 122, China at 76 and the United States at 65.

Does India has any international arbitration centre?

Yes. India now has its own international arbitration centre in Mumbai.

About Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC):

It is a not-for-profit international arbitration organisation based in Singapore, which administers arbitrations under its own rules of arbitration and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Arbitration?
  2. About SIAC.
  3. Overview of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996.
  4. About UNCITRAL.

Mains Link:

Discuss why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

The European Union:


Context:

France has encouraged EU allies to adopt measures against Turkey after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for a boycott of French goods.

  • The EU Commission has now warned that Turkish membership of the European Union bloc is further away than ever in light of Erdogan’s remarks.

Background:

Turkey applied to join the then European Economic Community in 1987 and began formal accession negotiations to the European Union in 2005, but the talks are seen as effectively frozen.

About the European Union:

It is a group of 27 countries that operate as a cohesive economic and political block.

  • The EU has often been described as a sui generis political entity (without precedent or comparison).

Origin of the European Union:

Despite not being officially formed until 1993, the European Union’s foundations actually reach further back to 1957, when the European Economic Community was established.

The EEC was formed out of a previous group called the European Coal and Steel Community – which had its own start in 1951.

  • In 1993, the EEC morphed into the European Union following the new Maastricht Treaty (also known as the Treaty on European Union).
  • Additionally, the Treaty of Lisbon, enacted in 2009, gave the European Union more broad powers that included being authorized to sign international treaties, increase border patrol, and other security and enforcement provisions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About EU.
  2. What is Eurozone?
  3. About the European Commission.
  4. Treaty of Maastricht.
  5. Treaty of Lisbon.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

IndiGen Program:


Context:

Results from the extensive computation analysis of the 1029 sequenced genomes from India were published recently.

  • This analysis was carried out under IndiGen Program.

Key findings:

  • The analysis led to the identification of 55,898,122 single nucleotide variants in the India genome dataset.
  • Comparisons with the global genome datasets revealed that 18,016,257 (32.23%) variants were unique and found only in the samples sequenced from India. This emphasizes the need for an India centric population genomic initiative.

Why this genome data is significant? What can it be used for?

  • It helps to classify variants involved in mendelian disorders and improve precision medicine outcomes.
  • The resource can also enable the identification of markers for carrier screening, variations causing genetic diseases, prevention of adverse events and provide better diagnosis and optimal therapy through mining data of clinically actionable pharmacogenetic variants.
  • The data will allow researchers to build Indian-specific reference genome dataset and efficiently impute haplotype information. This resource can provide useful insights for clinicians and researchers in comprehending genetics not only at the population level but at the individual level.

About the Genomics for Public Health in India (IndiGen) programme:

CSIR initiated the Program in April 2019.

It aims to undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.

  • The objective is to enable genetic epidemiology and develop public health technologies applications using population genome data.

What is Gene Sequencing?

A genome is the DNA or sequence of genes in a cell.

  • Most of the DNA is in the nucleus and intricately coiled into a structure called the chromosome.
  • Every human cell contains a pair of chromosomes, each of which has three billion base pairs or one of four molecules that pair in precise ways
  • The order of base pairs and varying lengths of these sequences constitute the “genes”.

Sequencing a genome means deciphering the exact order of base pairs in an individual.

 InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are genes?
  2. What is genome sequencing?
  3. What are chromosomes?
  4. About IndiGen programme.
  5. Applications of gene sequencing.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by Genome Sequencing? Discuss the various efforts by India in this regard and how will it lead to precision medicine and develop its commercial gene testing services?

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

Yellow dust:


Context:

Korean Central Television (KCTV) recently warned that a cloud of yellow dust would blow in from China.

  • North Korean authorities have warned that this dust could bring Covid-19 with it.

What is Yellow Dust?

It is actually sand from deserts in China and Mongolia that high speed surface winds carry into both North and South Korea during specific periods every year.

The sand particles tend to mix with other toxic substances such as industrial pollutants, as a result of which the ‘yellow dust’ is known to cause a number of respiratory ailments.

Can Covid-19 be transmitted through dust clouds?

US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) has said the virus can remain airborne for hours. However, it has also maintained that it is highly unlikely for the Covid-19 infection to spread in this way, particularly outdoors.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

The US ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ list?


Context:

Last week, Sudan became the third Arab nation in recent weeks to normalise relations with Israel, days after the US removed it from its State Sponsor of Terrorism list.

What is the US State Sponsor of Terrorism list? What are its implications?

The US Secretary of State has been given powers to designate countries that “have repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism” as “State Sponsors of Terrorism”.

The US can place four categories of sanctions on countries part of the list:

  1. Restrictions on U.S. foreign assistance.
  2. A ban on defence exports and sales.
  3. Certain controls over exports of dual use items.
  4. Miscellaneous financial and other restrictions.

How many countries are there in the list now?

After Sudan’s delisting, three countries remain with the designation: Syria (listed in 1979), Iran (1984) and North Korea (2017).

When was Sudan put in the list and why has it been removed now?

The US added Sudan to the terrorism list in 1993, after it was accused of harbouring groups such as Hezbollah and Palestinian militant outfits which Washington deems as terrorists.

Now, Trump has removed Sudan from the list hoping to impress evangelical Christian voters in the US, who are seen as favouring pro-Israel policies.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

What is ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’ list?

How many countries are there in the list?

Which country was recently removed from the

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967:


Context:

Eighteen more individuals declared as terrorists under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Please note, the Central Government had amended the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 in August 2019, to include the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist.

  • Prior to this amendment, only organizations could be designated as terrorist organizations.

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.

The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.

  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.

Key points:

Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.

  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.

As per amendments of 2019:

  • The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
  • The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of unlawful activity.
  2. Powers of Centre under the act.
  3. Is judicial review applicable in such cases?
  4. Changes brought about by amendments in 2004 and 2019.
  5. Can foreign nationals be charged under the act?

Mains Link:

Do you agree that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act could prove catastrophic for fundamental rights? Is sacrificing liberty for national security justified? Discuss and provide for your opinion.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims


Parampara Series — National Festival of Music and Dance:

The annual Parampara Series organised by Natya Tarangini in partnership with the United Nationswill be held online this year.

Background:

‘Natya Tarangini’ – Performing Arts Centre was started with an idea to globally popularize Kuchipudi style of Indian classical dance.

  • Established in 1976 by Padmabhushan Awardees Drs. Raja and Radha Reddy and Kaushalya Reddy.
  • Natya Tarangini has today evolved from a simple Kuchipudi dance school into a world-class performing arts centre in Delhi.

Harpoon coastal defence systems:

Context:

U.S. to sell Harpoon defence systems worth $2.4 billion to Taiwan.

Key facts:

  • The Harpoon is an all-weather, over-the-horizon, anti-ship missile, developed and manufactured by McDonnell Douglas (now Boeing Defense, Space & Security).

Why is October 27 celebrated as Infantry Day?

  • It was on this day that first Indian infantry soldiers took part in an action to defend Indian territory from external aggression.
  • On October 26, 1947 the then Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, signed the instrument of accession, making his state a part of Indian dominion, and thus paving the day for Indian troops to be deployed in the state to fight against Pakistani invaders.

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