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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 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. Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Imposition of Article 356.

2. Central Vigilance Commission.

3. LAC situation critical: former MP.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials.

2. Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project.

3. Ordinance for setting up commission to manage NCR air quality.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Green Delhi.

2. Karnataka Govt. staff told not to act in films, serials.

3. Core Sector Industries.

4. Credit Default Swap.

5. Places in News- Chile.

6. National Productivity Council.

7. Operation “Meri Saheli”.

8. Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (Just have a brief overview).

9. Draft “Coastal Shipping Bill, 2020.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy:


Context:

The Supreme Court has allowed the Union government time till December 31 to implement its March 17 judgment, which upheld the right of women naval officers to be considered for permanent commission.

Supreme Court March 17 judgement:

The Court had upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.

  • The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service as SSC officers.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

  1. Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.
  2. Therefore, the “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.
  3. And women naval officers cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity and dignity entitled to under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.

Implications of the judgment:

  • Women naval officers will now be eligible to apply for permanent commission.
  • All serving women short service commission (SSC) officers in at least seven wings, including the executive, engineering, electrical, education, law and logistics, will be eligible to apply.
  • The grant of PCs will be subject to: (i) availability of vacancies in the stabilised cadre; (ii) Suitability of the candidate; and (iii) recommendation by the chief of Naval Staff.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Short Service Commission vs PC- differences and benefits.
  2. Status of PC for women in Army vs Navy vs Airforce.
  3. Women Special Entry scheme.
  4. Combat vs non combat roles.

Mains Link:

Discuss why women officers in the navy should be granted permanent commission. What are the benefits associated?

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Imposition of Article 356:


Context:

West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar recently made serious allegations about the law and order situation in the state.

  • The remarks prompted speculation about imposition of Article 356 in the State where Assembly polls are scheduled next year.

Challenges highlighted:

  1. The political killings, targeted killings and violence are a cause of great concern.
  2. The greater challenge to democracy in the state is that the police and administration, those in the premier services, the IAS and IPS, are politicised.
  3. Some of them are working as full-time political workers, as political foot soldiers, totally abandoning their roles.

What is President’s Rule in the Indian context?

Article 356 of the Constitution of India gives President of India the power to suspend state government and impose President’s rule of any state in the country “if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution”.

It is also known as ‘State Emergency’ or ‘Constitutional Emergency’.

 Implications:

Upon the imposition of this rule, there would be no Council of Ministers.

  • The state will fall under the direct control of the Union government, and the Governor will continue to head the proceedings, representing the President of India.

Parliamentary Approval and Duration:

  • A proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
  • The approval takes place through simple majority in either House, that is, a majority of the members of the House present and voting.
  • Initially valid for six months, the President’s Rule can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.

Report of the Governor:

Under Article 356, President’s Rule is imposed if the President, upon receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise, is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

Revocation:

  • A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation.
  • Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Imposition of President’s Rule.
  2. Related Provisions.
  3. Report of Governor.
  4. Parliamentary approval and duration.
  5. Revocation.
  6. What happens to the State legislature Under President’s Rule.

Mains Link:

What is President’s Rule? Why it is controversial? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Central Vigilance Commission:


Context:

CVC has decided to receive through email, from November 1 onwards, all vigilance clearance proposals for the Board level, all-India and Central services officials for appointment, empanelment, promotion and other related issues. No hard copies of documents will be accepted.

About CVC:

It is the apex vigilance institution created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred with statutory status in 2003.

  • It submits its report to the President of India.
  • The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.

Composition:

Consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.

Appointment:

They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendations of a committee consisting of Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha (if there is no LoP then the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha).

Term:

Their term is 4 years or 65 years, whichever is earlier.

Removal:

The Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner can be removed from his office only by order of the President on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after the Supreme Court, on a reference made to it by the President, has, on inquiry, reported that the Central Vigilance Commissioner or any Vigilance Commissioner, as the case may be, ought to be removed.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CVC.
  2. Appointment.
  3. Removal.
  4. Powers and functions.
  5. Reports.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of CVC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

LAC situation critical: former MP:


Context:

Thupstan Chhewang, former BJP MP from Ladakh, has said:

  1. Chinese troops have further transgressed into Indian territory and occupied positions in Finger 2 and 3 of the north bank of Pangong Tso (lake).
  2. Indian soldiers were living in tents and it was not adequate for them in sub-zero conditions.

Why there is a dispute here?

The Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the line that separates Indian and Chinese troops since 1962 – generally runs along the land except for the width of Pangong Tso. Here, it runs through water.

  • Both sides have marked their areas announcing which side belongs to which country.
  • India controls about 45 km stretch of the Pangong Tso and China the rest.

The lake is divided into sections called fingers:

There are eight of them in contention here. India and China have different understanding of where the LAC passes through.

  • India has maintained that the LAC passes through Finger 8, which has been the site of the final military post of China.
  • India has been patrolling the area – mostly on foot because of the nature of the terrain – up to Finger 8. But Indian forces have not had active control beyond Finger 4.
  • China, on the other hand, says the LAC passes through Finger 2. It has been patrolling up to Finger 4- mostly in light vehicles, and at times up to Finger 2.

Why China wants to encroach areas alongside Pangong Tso?

  • Pangong Tso is strategically crucial as it is very close to Chusul Valley, which was one of the battlefronts between India and China during the 1962 war.
  • China also does not want India to boost its infrastructure anywhere near the LAC. China fears it threatens its occupation of Aksai Chin and Lhasa-Kashgar highway.
  • Any threat to this highway also puts Chinese rather imperialist plans in Pakistan-occupied territories in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, and beyond in Pakistan.

About Pangong Tso:

  • Pangong Tso literally translates into a “conclave lake”.
  • Situated at over 14,000 feet, the Lake is about 135 km long.
  • It is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
  • The Karakoram Mountain range ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso. Its southern bank too has high broken mountains sloping towards Spangur Lake in the south.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is LoC and how is it established, geographical extent and significance?
  2. What is LAC?
  3. Where is Nathu la?
  4. Where is Pangong Tso?
  5. Who administers Akashi Chin?
  6. Where is Naku La?
  7. Who controls what in Pangong Tso lake region?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pangong Tso for India and China.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials:


Context:

Cabinet approves Extension of Norms for Mandatory Packaging in Jute Materials.

  • Now, 100% of the foodgrains and 20% of the sugar shall be mandatorily packed in diversified jute bags.

Benefits:

Nearly 3.7 lakh workers and several lakh farm families are dependent for their livelihood on the jute sectors.

  • This decision will give an impetus to the diversification of the jute industry.
  • It will also benefit farmers and workers located in the Eastern and North Eastern regions of the country.

Background:

Under the Jute Packaging Materials (Compulsory use in Packing Commodities) Act, 1987, the Government is required to consider and provide for the compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities in the interest of production of raw jute and jute packaging material and of persons engaged in the production thereof.

About Jute:

Known as the ‘golden fibre’, jute is one of the longest and most used natural fibre for various textile applications.

  • It thrives in tropical lowland areas with humidity of 60% to 90%. Jute is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticides.
  • India is the world’s largest producer of raw jute and jute goods.
  • The cultivation of jute in India is mainly confined to the eastern region of the country.
  • The first jute mill was established at Rishra (Bengal – now in West Bengal), on the river Hooghly near Calcutta in the year 1855, by Mr. George Aclend.
  • In 1959, the first power driven weaving factory was set up.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Jute.
  2. Where is it grown in India?
  3. Climatic conditions.
  4. Top jute producing states.
  5. India’s Jute exports and imports.
  6. Mandatory Jute Packaging.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for compulsory use of jute packaging material in the supply and distribution of certain commodities.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage.

Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project:


Context:

Cabinet approves Externally Aided Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project – Phase II and Phase III.

 Key points:

  • Financial Assistance is being provided by the World Bank (WB), and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
  • The Project will be implemented over a period of 10 years duration in two Phases, each of six years duration with two years overlapping from April, 2021 to March, 2031.

DRIP Phase II & Phase III envisages the following objectives:

  1. To improve the safety and performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner.
  2. To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup in participating states as well as at central level.
  3. To explore the alternative incidental means at few of selected dams to generate the incidental revenue for sustainable operation and maintenance of dams.

Need for the Scheme:

India ranks third globally after China and the United States of America, with 5334 large dams in operation. In addition, about 411 dams are under construction at present. There are also several thousand smaller dams.

  • Indian dams and reservoirs play an important role in the economic and agricultural growth of our country by storing approximately 300 billion cubic meter of water annually.
  • These dams present a major responsibility in terms of asset management and safety.
  • The consequences of dam failure can be catastrophic, in terms of loss of human life and property, and damage to ecology.

About DRIP:

The project was launched in 2012 by Central Water Commission (CWC) with assistance from World Bank.

The objectives of DRIP:

  1. To improve the safety and operational performance of selected existing dams and associated appurtenances in a sustainable manner, and
  2. To strengthen the dam safety institutional setup of participating States / Implementing Agencies.

Phase 1 of the Project:

The first phase of the DRIP programme covered 223 dams in 7 states.

Facts for Prelims:

  • DHARMA (Dam Health and Rehabilitation Monitoring) is a system to monitor the health of dams. At present, it is being used by 18 states.
  • A seismic hazard analysis information system (SHAISYS) has also been developed.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About DHARMA.
  2. What is SHAISYS?
  3. About DRIP.
  4. Implementation of the third phase and international financial assistance.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Pollution and conservation related issues.

Ordinance for setting up commission to manage NCR air quality:


Context:

President signs ordinance for setting up commission to manage NCR air quality.

  • The ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’ was introduced by the Centre.

The proposed Commission:

Composition:

Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.

It will be a permanent body and will have over 20 members.

Members include:

  1. A representative of the Secretary of the MoEF, five Secretary level officers who will be ex officio members, and two joint secretary level officers who will be full-time members.
  2. Representatives of the CPCB, ISRO, air pollution experts, and three representatives of non-government organisations (NGOs).
  3. As associate members, the Commission will have representatives from various other Ministries including the Ministries of Agriculture, Petroleum, Power, Road Transport and Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, and Commerce and Industry.

Key points:

  • The Commission will be a statutory authority.
  • The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.
  • It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.

Jurisdiction:

Exclusive jurisdiction over the NCR, including areas in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, in matters of air pollution, and will be working along with CPCB and ISRO, apart from the respective state governments.

Will this new body also have penal powers?

Yes, the Commission will have some teeth. If its directions are contravened, through say, the setting up of an industrial unit in a restricted area, the Commission will have the power to impose a fine of up to Rs 1 crore and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

We already had EPCA, was it not sufficient?

The Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) was not a statutory body but drew legitimacy from the Supreme Court, which has been looking at cases of air pollution as part of the judgment in M C Mehta vs Union of India (1988).

  • The EPCA was not, however, supported by a legal framework in the form of a law.
  • It did have the authority to issue fines or directions and guidelines to the governments in other states.
  • It had no state representatives, just two permanent members.

Criticisms and concerns associated with this move:

  1. The multiplicity of laws and institutions will create more confusion on the one hand and friction on the other. For eg, we already have EPCA, NGT, CPCB and SPCB no one is clear as to what needs to be done.
  2. The lack of law is not a problem in India, whether it is about paddy stubble burning, providing subsidies or penalising the polluter. The problem lies in the fact that political will is missing when it comes to implementation.

What needs to be done?

If the government is keen to resolve the issue, it must:

  • Undertake a thorough review of the various laws and institutions in order to look at their efficacy and utility.
  • Have detailed consultation with all relevant stakeholders, especially those outside Delhi, which includes farmers’ groups and small scale industries and the public at large.”
  • Draft a Bill and it should be put up for public comments.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About EPCA.
  2. About NGT.
  3. About CPCB.
  4. Overview of the ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims


Green Delhi:

  • It is an app launched by Delhi Government recently.
  • It will involve citizen participation and ensure timely action in the government’s fight against pollution.
  • The app enables citizens to register complaints, report pollution sources and violations of anti-pollution norms.
  • Citizens can take photos, videos and audio of local causes of pollution such as garbage burning, industrial pollution and construction dust among others and upload on the app.

Karnataka Govt. staff told not to act in films, serials:

A draft of the Karnataka State Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 2020, said:

  • The state government employees will be banned from acting in films and television serials, publishing books, and voicing criticism against the State and Union government policies.
  • They could not act in films and television serials without permission from the competent authority.
  • Government staff will be stopped from sponsoring media programmes in radio and television channels.
  • Employees are prohibited from embarking on foreign tours without permission.

Core Sector Industries:

The eight core sector industries include coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity

  • The eight core industries comprise nearly 40% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.

Why in News?

Lowest core sector shrinking since March.

Credit default swap:

  • It is an example of a credit derivative transaction where credit protection is bought and sold.
  • In a Credit Default Swap (CDS), one party agrees to pay another party periodic fixed payments in exchange for receiving ‘credit event protection’, in the form of a payment, in the event that a third party or its obligations are subject to one or more pre-agreed adverse credit events over a pre-agreed time period.
  • Typical credit events include bankruptcy, failure to pay, obligation acceleration, restructuring, and repudiation/moratorium.

Context:

RBI to issue fresh CDS norms soon.

Places in News- Chile:

  • In a referendum held recently, People of Chile have voted overwhelmingly in favour of rewriting the country’s nearly four-decade-old constitution
  • Chileans also voted to elect an assembly of 155 members to draw up the new constitution.
  • The body will not include any active lawmakers to finalise the new document.

Need for reforms:

The existing charter was drafted during the rule of dictator and military leader Pinochet without any popular inputs. The constitution was passed in a fraudulent plebiscite held in 1980, and has widely been blamed for the inequities that exist in Chilean society even today.

National Productivity Council (NPC):

NPC has been granted accreditation conforming to ISO 17020:2012 by National Accreditation Board for Certification Body (NABCB), Quality Council of India (QCI) for undertaking inspection and audit work in the area of Food Safety Audit and Scientific Storage of Agricultural Products.

  • This accreditation is valid for a period of three years.
  • Implications: This accreditation will enable it to undertake Independent Third-Party Audits of Food Business Operators including Food Storage Warehouses as per Food Safety and Standards (Food Safety Auditing) Regulations, 2018 of FSSAI as well as inspections of Warehouses as per Warehousing Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) Rules, 2017.

About NPC:

  • Established by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India in 1958, it is an autonomous, multipartite, non-profit organization.
  • NPC is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO), an Intergovernmental Body, of which the Government of India is a founder member.

Operation “Meri Saheli”:

  • Indian Railways has launched “Meri Saheli” initiative for focused action on security of women across all zones with an objective to provide safety and security to lady passengers travelling by trains for their entire journey from starting station to destination station.
  • An initiative of RPF, the Strategy of the entails interaction with lady passengers especially those travelling alone by a team of young lady RPF personnel at the originating station.

Patents (Amendment) Rules, 2020 (Just have a brief overview):

  • The amendments relate to the requirements related to the filing of Form 27 and the submission of verified English translation of priority documents, which is not in the English language.
  • Now, the patentee would get the flexibility to file a single Form-27 in respect of a single or multiple related patents. This will ease the compliance burden and boost innovation.
  • Authorized agents would be able to submit Form-27 on behalf of the patentee. This will lead to greater ‘Ease of Doing Business’ for innovators.

Draft “Coastal Shipping Bill, 2020”:

Issued by the Ministry of Shipping.

Highlights:

  • The Bill has been drafted in lieu of part XIV of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958.
  • The definition of coastal shipping and coastal waters has been expanded.
  • It is proposed to do away with the requirement of trading licence for Indian flag vessels for coastal trade.
  • The Bill also proposes integration of coastal maritime transport with inland waterways.
  • There is a provision for a National Coastal and Inland Shipping Strategic Plan.

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