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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 29 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. What is a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)?

2. Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey.

3. IT Ministry working to comply with CIC orders on Aarogya Setu.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Govt. green-lights ‘green’ firecrackers this year.

2. Water on the Moon.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. U.K. to partner for developing GIFT City.

2. Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey.

3. National Program and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF).

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

What is a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC)?


Context:

The Joint Committee of Parliament on the Data Protection Bill sought an affidavit from Twitter Inc., the U.S.-based parent company of the social media platform, asking them to explain why it had shown Ladakh as a part of China.

What’s the issue?

  • Display of wrong map is not only a question of the sensitivity of India or Indians. It is a question about national integrity and sovereignty of the country, and not respecting that is a criminal offence.
  • And displaying Indian map improperly and incorrectly is an offence of treason and attracts imprisonment of seven years.

What is a JPC?

A Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) is set up to examine a particular bill presented before the Parliament, or for the purpose of investigating cases of financial irregularities in any government activity.

  • The JPC is an ad-hoc body.
  • It is set up for a given period of time and is aimed at addressing a specific issue.

Composition:

  • In order to set up a JPC, a motion is passed in one House and supported by the other House.
  • The committee’s members are decided by Parliament.
  • The number of members can vary. There are twice as many Lok Sabha members as the Rajya Sabha.

Powers and Functions:

  • A JPC is authorised to collect evidence in oral or written form or demand documents in connection with the matter.
  • The proceedings and findings of the committee are confidential, except in matters of public interest.
  • The government can take the decision to withhold a document if it is considered prejudicial to the safety or interest of the State.
  • The Speaker has the final word in case of a dispute over calling for evidence.
  • The committee can invite interested parties for inquiry and summon people to appear before it.
  • The committee gets disbanded following the submission of its report to Parliament.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About JPC.
  2. Composition.
  3. Powers.
  4. Functions.
  5. Previous JPCs.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and functions of joint parliamentary committees.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered : Issues related to education.

Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey:


Context:

Findings of the Annual State of Education Report (ASER) survey conducted in September.

  • The survey provides a glimpse into the levels of learning loss that students in rural India are suffering, with varying levels of access to technology, school and family resources, resulting in a digital divide in education.

About ASER:

ASER is a nationwide survey of rural education and learning outcomes in terms of reading and arithmetic skills.

  • It has been conducted by the NGO Pratham for the last 15 years. This year, the survey was conducted via phone calls.

Key findings- impact of Covid- 19 Pandemic:

  • About 20% of rural children have no textbooks at home. In Andhra Pradesh, less than 35% of children had textbooks. More than 98% had textbooks in West Bengal, Nagaland and Assam.
  • In the week of the survey, about one in three rural children had done no learning activity at all.
  • About two in three had no learning material or activity given by their school that week, and only one in 10 had access to live online classes.
  • 3% of rural children aged 6-10 years had not yet enrolled in school this year, in comparison to just 1.8% in 2018.
  • Enrolment patterns also show a slight shift toward government schools, with private schools seeing a drop in enrolment in all age groups.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is ASER?
  2. ASER surveys are conducted by?

Mains Link:

How Covid 19 Pandemic has affected rural education? Discuss in the light of latest ASER survey report.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

IT Ministry working to comply with CIC orders on Aarogya Setu:


Context:

RTI (Right to Information) query related to the Aarogya Setu application.

What is Aarogya Setu?

  • This is an android and IOS app which is a coronavirus tracking app that uses data provided by users.
  • The App was launched by the Government of India in public-private partnership mode.

What’s the issue?

The IT Ministry and National Informatics Centre (NIC) were slammed by the CIC over their reply to an RTI stating that they do not have any information about the “creation” of the Aarogya Setu application.

  • The CIC termed the response as “preposterous” and issued a show cause notice to the NIC to explain why a penalty under the RTI Act should not be slapped on it for “prima facie obstruction of information and providing an evasive reply”.

About CIC:

CIC was established in 2005 by the Central Government under the provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

  • The Chief Information Commissioner heads the Central Information Commission.
  • It hears appeals from information-seekers who have not been satisfied by the public authority and also addresses major issues concerning the RTI Act.
  • CIC submits an annual report to the Union government on the implementation of the provisions of RTI Act.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Aarogya Setu App.
  2. About CIC.
  3. Composition.
  4. Functions.
  5. Powers.
  6. Chief Information Commissioner vs Information Commissioners.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

Govt. green-lights ‘green’ firecrackers this year:


Context:

The Delhi government scheduled to launch an anti-firecracker campaign on November 3.

  • Now, only ‘green’ firecrackers can be manufactured, sold and used in the national capital.

Background:

A ban on fireworks was imposed in 2018 and in 2019 only ‘green’ crackers were allowed, but the permission had come too late for manufacturers to ensure their availability on time.

What are Green Crackers?

They are known as ‘green’ firecrackers because they have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which substantially reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.

  • They are the crackers with reduced emission and decibel level.

Benefits of Green Crackers:

  • They promise a reduction in particulate matters and harmful gases, like nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide, by 30- 35 per cent.
  • They will be 25-30 per cent cheaper to manufacture and manufacturers would not have to make any changes in their facilities.

What gives colour to the firecrackers?

Red: Strontium salts (Nitrates, carbonates and sulphates of strontium).

Orange: Calcium salts (Carbonates, chlorides and sulphates of calcium).

Yellow: Sodium salts (Nitrates and oxalates of sodium).

Green: Barium salts (Nitrates, carbonates, chlorides and chlorates of barium).

Blue: Copper salts (Carbonates and oxides of copper).

Purple: A combination of copper and strontium compounds.

White: The burning of metals like magnesium, aluminium and titanium).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Green Crackers?
  2. Main products used in their manufacturing.
  3. What gives colour to the firecrackers?

Mains Link:

What are Green Crackers? Discuss their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Water on the Moon:


Context:

Water molecules, discovered in Clavius Crater in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.

  • And it is the first time water has been detected on the sunlit side, showing it is not restricted to the shadowy regions.
  • This was confirmed by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

Significance of the discovery:

Apart from being a marker of potential life, water is a precious resource in deep space.

  • For astronauts landing on the Moon, water is necessary not only to sustain life but also for purposes such as generating rocket fuel.
  • If space explorers can use the Moon’s resources, it means they need to carry less water from Earth.

How could the water have formed?

  • Space rocks carrying small amounts of water could have bombarded the Moon.
  • Alternatively, the Sun’s solar wind could have carried hydrogen, which then reacted with minerals in the lunar soil to create hydroxyl, which later transformed into water.

About SOFIA:

SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner that flies at altitudes up to 45,000 feet.

It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

  • It has an infrared camera that picks up the wavelength unique to water molecules.
  • SOFIA’s mission is to look at dark and distant objects. The Moon, on the other hand, is so close and bright that it fills the SOFIA guide camera’s entire field of view.

Chandrayaan-1 and water discovery:

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 mission has already provided evidence for the existence of water.

  • In 2009, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard Chandrayaan-1 found water molecules in the polar regions.

What next?

SOFIA will look for water in additional sunlit locations to learn more about how the water is produced, stored, and moved across the Moon.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will carry out a mission to create the first water resource maps of the Moon.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Important Craters on the Moon.
  2. About NASA’s VIPER.
  3. Chandrayaan 1.
  4. SOFIA.

Mains Link:

Apart from being a marker of potential life, water is a precious resource in deep space. Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims


U.K. to partner for developing GIFT City:

  • The United Kingdom has entered into a strategic partnership to develop India’s fledgling international financial services centre GIFT City.
  • It has also agreed to set up a new Fund of Funds to be managed by the State Bank of India (SBI) group in order to route the U.K.’s future capital investments into India.
  • GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), located in Gandhinagar is India’s first International Financial Services Centre.

National Program and Project Management Policy Framework’ (NPMPF):

Launched by NITI Aayog and Quality Council of India (QCI).

  • The framework envisages to bring radical reforms in the way infrastructure projects are executed in India.

It has an action plan to:

  1. Adopt a program and project management approach to infra development.
  2. Institutionalize and promote the profession of program and project management and build a workforce of such professionals.
  3. Enhance institutional capacity and capability of professionals.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020.

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