Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 November 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. Rajasthan govt. launches maternity benefit scheme for second child.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution.

2. Supreme Court gives ministry a deadline for appointment of expert members to NGT.

3. First meeting between India and Luxembourg in 20 years.

4. West Bank and issues associated.

5. Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is Cord blood banking?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge.

2. Five Eyes.

3. Willow warbler.

4. India now has two of world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers.

5. Global HIV Prevention Coalition.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Rajasthan govt. launches maternity benefit scheme for second child:


Context:

Rajasthan Government has launched a maternity benefit scheme for four districts under which mothers will get ₹6,000 for the second child. This Scheme will be called Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana.

  • This will supplement the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) under which mothers get ₹5,000 for their first child.

Key Points:

  • The scheme is being implemented in Udaipur, Pratapgath, Banswara and Dungarpur on pilot basis for five years.
  • These districts were selected because nutrition indicators among children and anaemia levels among mothers are worse than the average for the State.

Features of the scheme:

  • The objective of the scheme is to compensate mothers for the loss of wages during pregnancy and after childbirth and to curb wasting and stunting among children as well as anaemia among mothers.
  • Beneficiaries will receive cash in five instalments upon meeting certain conditions. However, unlike the Central scheme they will not have to submit an Aadhaar card for the State scheme and the money will be transferred directly to their bank accounts.

About PMMVY:

Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit rechristened from erstwhile Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY).

The scheme is a conditional cash transfer scheme for pregnant and lactating women.

  • It provides a partial wage compensation to women for wage-loss during childbirth and childcare and to provide conditions for safe delivery and good nutrition and feeding practices.

matter_health

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).
  2. Eligibility.
  3. Benefits.
  4. Differences between Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana and PMMVY.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Indira Gandhi Matritva Poshan Yojana.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution:


Under Article 102 (1) and Article 191 (1) of the Constitution, an MP or an MLA (or an MLC) is barred from holding any office of profit under the Central or State government.

Why in News?

  • The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Office of Profit is deliberating on whether an MP can continue to teach at a university and if this draws the provisions of “Office of Profit” rules.

What is an ‘office of profit’?

If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”.

  • A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.

What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?

  1. Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions.
  2. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure. The intent is that there should be no conflict between the duties and interests of an elected member.
  3. The office of profit law simply seeks to enforce a basic feature of the Constitution- the principle of separation of power between the legislature and the executive.

Reasons for controversies:

  • The expression “office of profit” has not been defined in the Constitution or in the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • It is for the courts to explain the significance and meaning of this concept. Over the years, courts have decided this issue in the context of specific factual situations.

Role of Judiciary in defining the ‘office of profit:

The Supreme Court in Pradyut Bordoloi vs Swapan Roy (2001) outlined the four broad principles for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.

  • First, whether the government exercises control over appointment, removal and performance of the functions of the office
  • Second, whether the office has any remuneration attached to it
  • Third, whether the body in which the office is held has government powers (releasing money, allotment of land, granting licenses etc.).
  • Fourth, whether the office enables the holder to influence by way of patronage.

law_says

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an office of profit? Is it defined in the constitution?
  2. What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?
  3. Articles 102 and 191 of the constitution are related to?
  4. Principles outlined by the Supreme Court for determining whether an office attracts the constitutional disqualification.

Mains Link:

Explain the concept of ‘office of profit’. Discuss the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Supreme Court gives ministry a deadline for appointment of expert members to NGT:


Context:

The Supreme Court has directed the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MOEFCC) to hasten the process of pending appointments to vacancies in the National Green Tribunal (NGT). It has given four weeks for the process.

What’s the issue?

The petitioners had submitted that appointment of expert members are still pending before the appointment committee since September.

About NGT:

  • Established on 18th October, 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
  • Established for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai shall be the other four places of sitting of the Tribunal.
  • The Tribunal is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but shall be guided by principles of natural justice.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.

With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialised environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.

Composition:

Sanctioned strength: The act allows for up to 40 members (20 expert members and 20 judicial members).

Chairman: Is the administrative head of the tribunal, also serves as a judicial member and is required to be a serving or retired Chief Justice of a High Court or a judge of the Supreme Court of India.

Selection:

  1. Members are chosen by a selection committee (headed by a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) that reviews their applications and conducts interviews.
  2. The Judicial members are chosen from applicants who are serving or retired judges of High Courts.
  3. Expert members are chosen from applicants who are either serving or retired bureaucrats not below the rank of an Additional Secretary to the Government of India (not below the rank of Principal Secretary if serving under a state government) with a minimum administrative experience of five years in dealing with environmental matters. Or, the expert members must have a doctorate in a related field.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NGT.
  2. Composition.
  3. Functions.
  4. Key judgements.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of NGT.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

First meeting between India and Luxembourg in 20 years:


Context:

The first meeting between India and Luxembourg in 20 years was held recently.

The meeting resulted in three new bilateral agreements.

  • All three agreements are in the financial space to promote trade ties between India and Luxembourg.
  • Luxembourg is the third largest foreign investor in India.

The three agreements that have been signed are:

  1. Luxembourg Stock Exchange with State Bank of India (SBI).
  2. Luxembourg Stock Exchange with the India International Stock Exchange (INX).
  3. LuxInnovation and Invest India.

Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI):

India also invited Luxembourg to join the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

About CDRI:

Launched by Modi in September 2019 at the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit in New York, US.

It is a platform where knowledge is generated and exchanged on different aspects of disaster and climate resilience of infrastructure.

  • It will create a mechanism to assist countries to upgrade their capacities and practices, with regard to infrastructure development in accordance with their risk context and economic needs.

Benefits and significance:

This initiative will benefit all sections of society.

  • Economically weaker sections of society, women and children, are the most vulnerable to the impacts of disasters and hence, will be benefitted from the improvement of knowledge and practice in creating disaster resilient infrastructure.
  • It will also benefit all areas with high disaster risk.
  • In India, the north-eastern and Himalayan regions are prone to earthquakes, coastal areas to cyclones and tsunamis and central peninsular region to droughts.

Why do we need a global coalition?

Many countries, including India, have over the years developed robust disaster management practices that have helped in sharply reducing human casualties in a disaster. However, the economic costs of a disaster remain huge, mainly due to the damage caused to big infrastructure.

  • A global coalition for disaster resilient infrastructure would address concerns that are common to developing and developed countries, small and large economies, countries at early and advanced stages of infrastructure development, and countries that have moderate or high disaster risk.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Luxembourg- location.
  2. About the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

West Bank and issues associated:


Context:

Mike Pompeo recently paid the first visit by a U.S. Secretary of State to an Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank, in a parting show of solidarity with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by the outgoing Trump administration.

  • He also issued guidelines for Israeli products made in settlements to be labelled “Made in Israel” or “Product of Israel” when imported to the United States, removing the distinction between products made within Israel and those produced in occupied territory.

Implications:

Mr. Pompeo’s visit departed from past policy that had kept top U.S. officials away from settlements, which Palestinians view as obstacles to a viable future State.

Background:

Palestinians accused Mr. Pompeo of helping Israel to cement its control over West Bank land that they seek for a State.

Where is West Bank?

It is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

What are the disputed settlements here? Who lives there?

  • The West Bank was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  • Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since. During this war, the country defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
  • It has built some 130 formal settlements in the West Bank, and a similar number of smaller, informal settlements have mushroomed over the last 20-25 years.
  • Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers — many of them religious Zionists who claim a Biblical birthright over this land — now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.
  • The territory is still a point of contention due to a large number of Palestinians who live there and hope to see the land become a part of their future state.
  • When Israel took control of the land in 1967 it allowed Jewish people to move in, but Palestinians consider the West Bank illegally occupied Palestinian land.

Are these settlements illegal?

The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

  • Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.

Under the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, such transfers constitute war crimes, as does the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

israel

India’s views:

India: India traditionally believes in the 2-state solution and supports the establishment of a sovereign independent and a viable state of Palestine. However, India’s support for Palestine has not deterred its growing relationship with Israel.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Six- day war- countries involved, reasons and the outcome.
  2. Where is Gaza Strip?
  3. What’s there in the Middle East peace plan?
  4. Where is Jerusalem?
  5. Who are Palestinians and what are their demands?
  6. Countries surrounding Israel.

Mains Link:

Does India support the establishment of a sovereign independent state of Palestine? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC):


Context:

The latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was held online this year because of the pandemic.

APEC:

It is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific.

Aim: to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration.

Functions:

  1. APEC works to help all residents of the Asia-Pacific participate in the growing economy. APEC projects provide digital skills training for rural communities and help indigenous women export their products abroad.
  2. Recognizing the impacts of climate change, APEC members also implement initiatives to increase energy efficiency and promote sustainable management of forest and marine resources.
  3. The forum adapts to allow members to deal with important new challenges to the region’s economic well-being. This includes ensuring disaster resilience, planning for pandemics, and addressing terrorism.

Members:

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; The Philippines; The Russian Federation; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; United States of America; Viet Nam.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Geographical locations of APEC members.
  2. Regional groups to which India is not a member.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Biotechnology related issues.

What is Cord blood banking?


Context:

Community Cord Blood Banking, a stem cell banking initiative introduced by LifeCell in 2017, has helped save the life of a seven-year-old girl from Nashik in Maharashtra who was suffering from aplastic anaemia.

What is Cord Blood?

Cord blood (short for umbilical cord blood) is the blood that remains in the umbilical cord and placenta post-delivery.

  • It contains special cells called hematopoietic stem cells that can be used to treat some types of diseases.

What is Cord blood banking?

Cord blood banking is the process of collecting the cord blood and extracting and cryogenically freezing its stem cells and other cells of the immune system for potential future medical use.

  • Globally, cord blood banking is recommended as a source of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for haematological cancers and disorders where its use is recommended.
  • For all other conditions, the use of cord blood as a source of stem cells is not yet established.

What Can It Be Used For?

The umbilical cord fluid is loaded with stem cells.

  • They can treat cancer, blood diseases like anemia, and some immune system disorders, which disrupt your body’s ability to defend itself.
  • The fluid is easy to collect and has 10 times more stem cells than those collected from bone marrow.
  • Stem cells from cord blood rarely carry any infectious diseases and are half as likely to be rejected as adult stem cells.

Concerns associated with stem cell banking:

  • Over the past decade, stem cell banking has been aggressively marketed even as its use is still in experimental stages. But these companies charge enormous fees from parents to preserve cells.
  • The concern here is that it is merely by emotional marketing that companies convince parents to bank the cells for several years promising future therapeutic use.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are stem cells?
  2. Types of stem cells?
  3. Their benefits?
  4. What is stem cell therapy?
  5. Various projects in this regard.

Mains Link:

What is cord blood? How to- be parents are falling prey to the emotional marketing tactics by stem cell banking companies? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Safaimitra Suraksha Challenge:

  • Launched by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry.
  • It is a challenge for 243 cities to switch over to mechanised cleaning of sewers and septic tanks by April 30, 2021.
  • It aims to ensure that no life of any sewer or septic tank cleaner is ever lost again owing to the issue of ‘hazardous’ cleaning.
  • The initiative was launched on the occasion of World Toilet Day (19th November).

Background:

The Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act (2013) and various judgements of Hon’ble Supreme Court expressly prohibit hazardous cleaning, i.e. manual entry into a septic tank or sewer without protective gear and observing operating procedures.

Five Eyes:

It is an intelligence alliance comprising Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

These countries are parties to the multilateral UKUSA Agreement, a treaty for joint cooperation in signals intelligence.

Origin: It began in 1946 when the United States and the United Kingdom agreed to an open exchange of intelligence on the communications of foreign nations. It was expanded when Canada joined the alliance in 1948, followed by Australia and New Zealand in 1956.

the_eyes

Willow warbler:

  • It has been sighted for the first time in the country in Thiruvanathapuram.
  • It is one of the longest migrating small birds that breeds throughout northern and temperate Europe and the Palearctic.
  • IUCN Status: Least Concern.

17 species of warblers have been recorded from Kerala and the willow warbler forms the 18th warbler and 533rd species of bird to be recorded from the State.

Willow_warbler

India now has two of world’s 100 most powerful supercomputers:

Global information technology service provider Atos has announced that PARAM Siddhi – AI has been ranked 63 on the TOP500 ranking. This makes it India’s largest and fastest Supercomputer.

  • PARAM Siddhi – AI supercomputer has been established under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM), which is an initiative by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

Notably, PARAM Siddhi – AI isn’t the only Indian supercomputer in the Top100 list. Pratyush that is used for weather forecasting was ranked 78th in the list.

Global Supercomputers:

  • The Top500 project tracks the most powerful supercomputers in the world and is published twice a year.
  • Japanese supercomputer Fugaku (442 petaflops) and IBM’s Summit (148.8 petaflops) are the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, according to the list.

Global HIV Prevention Coalition:

  • It is a global coalition of United Nations Member States, donors, civil society organizations.
  • Established in 2017 to support global efforts to accelerate HIV prevention.
  • It includes the 25 highest HIV burden countries, UNAIDS Cosponsors, donors, civil society and private sector organizations.

Goal: It seeks to ensure accountability for delivering prevention services at scale in order to achieve the targets of the 2016 Political Declaration on Ending AIDS, including a 75% reduction in HIV infections towards fewer than 500 000 infections by 2020, and to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos