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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 21 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.

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Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

2. What is the national digital health mission?

3. What is the Chapare virus?

4. How Tibetans across the world will elect their parliament-in-exile?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Private sector banks reforms.

2. What are deemed forests, and why Karnataka wants to declassify some?

3. Inner Line Permit (ILP).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Tungabhadra Pushkaralu.

2. Inter Parliamentary Union.

3. 2020 Booker Prize.

4. Australia to temporarily host ISRO satellite tracking facilities.

5. Study on ‘status of radicalisation’.

6. World Fisheries Day.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

How Election Commission decides on party symbols?


Context:

In a major setback for the Kerala Congress (M) PJ Joseph faction, which is part of the UDF in the state, the Kerala High Court has dismissed the petitions challenging the Election Commission’s order declaring the group led by Jose K Mani as the official Kerala Congress (M) and granting it the official election symbol of “two leaves”.

  • The Court said it cannot, in the exercise of the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, interfere with the finding of the Commission.

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How are symbols allotted to political parties?

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

  1. A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.
  2. Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  3. When a recognised political party splits, the Election Commission takes the decision on assigning the symbol.

Powers of Election Commission:

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols.

  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
  • The EC is also the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.

How many types of symbols are there?

As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017, party symbols are either:

  1. Reserved: Eight national parties and 64 state parties across the country have “reserved” symbols.
  2. Free: The Election Commission also has a pool of nearly 200 “free” symbols that are allotted to the thousands of unrecognised regional parties that pop up before elections.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Recognition of political parties.
  2. What are state parties and national parties?
  3. Benefits for recognized parties.
  4. Who assigns party symbols? What are the types?
  5. Who decides on issues related to merger of political parties?
  6. Article 226 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how are symbols allotted to political parties?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the national digital health mission?


Context:

The Government is preparing for the nationwide launch of the National Digital Health Mission.

  • The mission of the new digital health programme is to provide affordable medical health facilities to the citizens.

When was it launched?

In his address to the nation on Independence Day, the PM launched the National Digital Health Mission.

  • The scheme was rolled out through a pilot launch in the Union Territories of Chandigarh, Ladakh, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep.

Features of the Mission:

  1. It is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities.
  2. The scheme will come under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  3. It comprises six key building blocks — HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.
  4. The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  5. The core building blocks of the mission is that the health ID, DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India.
  6. Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market. The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  7. Under the Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will store all medical details of the person including prescriptions, treatment, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries.
  8. The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.

What was the need for this mission?

The mission aims to liberate citizens from the challenges of finding the right doctors, seeking appointment, payment of consultation fee, making several rounds of hospitals for prescription sheets, among several others and will empower people to make an informed decision to avail the best possible healthcare.

partcipation

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the National Digital Health Mission.
  2. Components of the mission.
  3. Proposed National Health ID.
  4. Who can issue these IDs?
  5. Highlights of the National Health Policy 2017.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the National Digital Health Mission.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the Chapare virus?


Context:

scientists have now discovered another deadly virus, known as the Chapare virus, in Bolivia.

What is it?

The Chapare hemorrhagic fever (CHHF) is caused by the same arenavirus family that is responsible for illnesses such as the Ebola virus disease (EVD).

  • The virus is named Chapare after the province (in Bolivia) in which it was first observed.

Symptoms:

It causes a hemorrhagic fever much like Ebola along with abdominal pain, vomiting, bleeding gums, skin rash and pain behind the eyes. Viral hemorrhagic fevers are a severe and life-threatening kind of illness that can affect multiple organs and damage the walls of blood vessels.

Spread:

Arenaviruses like the Chapare virus are generally carried by rats and can be transmitted through direct contact with the infected rodent, its urine and droppings, or through contact with an infected person.

How is the Chapare hemorrhagic fever treated?

Since there are no specific drugs to treat the disease, patients generally receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids.

  • It includes maintenance of hydration, management of shock through fluid resuscitation, sedation, pain relief and transfusions.

What is the threat posed by the Chapare virus?

Scientists have pointed out that the Chapare virus is much more difficult to catch than the coronavirus as it is not transmissible via the respiratory route. Instead, Chapare spreads only through direct contact with bodily fluids.

  • The people who are particularly at risk of contracting the illness are healthcare workers and family members who come in close contact with infected people.
  • The disease is also known to be most commonly transmitted in more tropical regions, particularly in certain parts of South America where the small-eared pigmy rice rat is commonly found.

InstaLinks:

Prelims and Mains Link:

  • The virus, spread, treatments and threats.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

How Tibetans across the world will elect their parliament-in-exile?


Context:

Over 1.3 lakh Tibetans living in exile and settled across India and other parts of the globe shall be electing their next Parliament-in-Exile in May 2021.

  • The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Tibetans abroad:

Over 1 lakh Tibetans are settled across India, while the remaining are settled in United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and various other countries.

Composition of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE):

The Speaker and a Deputy Speaker head the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

The 16th TPiE had 45 members:

  1. 10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibetan – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey;
  2. Two from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion;
  3. Two representing each of the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe.
  4. One from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

What does the Tibetan Constitution say?

The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.

  • In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile.
  • The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.

Who can vote?

Only Tibetans living outside the subcontinent will elect their MPs based on their current geographic location. Besides MPs, voters will make their choice of the President as well.

Election Procedure:

The voting will be held in two rounds.

  1. In the preliminary round, there will be no official candidates, i.e. a voter can choose any person of his choice, which is expected to be one of the several candidates who have started campaigning among the electorate.
  2. Unless a person secures 60 percent of the vote, the two top contenders of the first round will become the official candidates for the second round to be held in April 11.

What is Kashag?

The Kashag (Cabinet) is Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members.

It is headed by the Sikyong (political leader) who is directly elected by the exiled Tibetan population.

  • Sikyong subsequently nominates his seven Kalons (ministers) and seeks the parliament’s approval.
  • The Kashag’s term is for five years.

Is TPiE officially recognised by any country?

Not exactly, it is not recognised officially by any country, including India.

  • But, a number of countries including the United States of America and European nations deal directly with the Sikyong and other Tibetan leaders through various forums.
  • The TPiE claims its democratically-elected character helps it manage Tibetan affairs and raise the Tibetan issue across the world.
  • The incumbent Sikyong, Lobsang Sangay, was among the guests who attended the oath-taking ceremony of prime minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, probably a first.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Private sector banks reforms:


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had constituted an Internal Working Group (IWG) to review the extant ownership guidelines and corporate structure for private sector banks in India.

  • It was headed by Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director, Central Board of RBI.

The terms of reference of included:

  1. Review of the eligibility criteria for individuals/ entities to apply for banking license.
  2. Examination of preferred corporate structure for banks and harmonisation of norms.
  3. Review of norms for long-term shareholding in banks by the promoters and other shareholders.

The group has recently submitted its recommendations.

Key Recommendations made:

  1. Raise the cap on promoters’ stake in private sector banks to 26% in the long run (15 years). The holding is currently mandated at 15% of the paid-up voting equity share capital of the bank.
  2. Large corporate or industrial houses should be allowed as promoters of banks only after necessary amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (to prevent connected lending and exposures between the banks and other financial and non-financial group entities).
  3. Improve the supervisory mechanism for large conglomerates, including consolidated supervision.
  4. Also, well-run non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), with an asset size of ₹50,000 crore and above, including those owned by a corporate house, may be considered for conversion into banks subject to completion of 10 years of operations, meeting due diligence criteria and compliance with additional specified conditions.
  5. As regards non-promoter shareholding, it has suggested a uniform cap of 15% of the paid-up voting equity share capital of the bank for all types of shareholders.
  6. For Payments Banks intending to convert to a Small Finance Bank (SFB), their track record of three years should be considered sufficient.
  7. Small Finance Banks and Payments Banks may be listed within ‘6 years from the date of reaching net worth equivalent to prevalent entry capital requirement prescribed for universal banks’ or ‘10 years from the date of commencement of operations’, whichever is earlier.
  8. The minimum initial capital requirement for licensing new banks be enhanced from ₹500 crore to ₹1,000 crore for universal banks, and be raised to ₹300 crore from ₹200 crore for SFBs.
  9. Non-operative financial holding company (NOFHC) should continue to be the preferred structure for all new licenses to be issued for universal banks. However, it should be mandatory only in cases where the individual promoters, promoting entities or converting entities have other group entities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Payment Banks?
  2. What are NBFCs?
  3. What are SFBs?
  4. Key recommendations made by the IWG.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of these recommendations.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

What are deemed forests, and why Karnataka wants to declassify some?


Context:

Karnataka government is planning to declassify 6.64 lakh hectares of the 9.94 lakh hectares of deemed forests in the state (nearly 67%) and hand it over to Revenue authorities.

Background:

The issue of deemed forests is a contentious one in Karnataka, with legislators across party lines often alleging that large amounts of agriculture and non-forest land are “unscientifically” classified as such.

 What are deemed forests?

An expert committee constituted by the Karnataka government after the Supreme Court order (in T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) Case) identified ‘deemed forests’ as “land having the characteristic of forests irrespective of the ownership’”. This includes:

  1. Thickly wooded areas of the Revenue Department not handed over to the Forest Department.
  2. Thickly wooded areas recommended to be handed over to the Forest Department.
  3. Thickly wooded land distributed to grantees but not cultivated.
  4. Thickly wooded plantations of the Forest Department.

But, What are Forests?

The Supreme Court in the case of T N Godavarman Thirumalpad (1996) accepted a wide definition of forests under the Act.

It said, the word ‘forest’ must be understood according to its dictionary meaning.

  • It covers all statutorily recognised forests, whether designated as reserved, protected or otherwise for the purpose of Section 2 (1) of the Forest Conservation Act.
  • It also includes any areas recorded as forest in the government record irrespective of the ownership.

After this announcement, what now for Karnataka?

Preservation of forest areas in India under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 has been continuously monitored by the Supreme Court since the Godavarman case judgment in 1996.

  • Karnataka state government must now obtain clearances from the Supreme Court for affecting changes to land classified as deemed forests since the verdict.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of Forests.
  2. What are deemed forests?
  3. How are they classified?

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.

Inner Line Permit (ILP):


Context:

Seven Meghalaya-based organisations have renewed their movement for the implementation of the British era inner-line permit (ILP) for entry into the State and the scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

What is an ILP?

It is a document required by non- natives to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.

At present, four Northeastern states are covered, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

  • Both the duration of stay and the areas allowed to be accessed for any non native are determined by the ILP.
  • The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online or in person.

When was it introduced?

The Inner Line Permit is an extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.

  • The Britishers framed regulations restricting entry in certain designated areas.
  • This was done to protect the Crown’s interest in certain states by preventing “British subjects” (Indians) from trading within these regions.
  • In 1950, the term ‘British subjects’ was replaced with ‘Citizens of India’.
  • Today, all non-natives require the permit. This was done to protect the indigenous tribal communities of these states from exploitation.

What about foreigners?

An ILP is only valid for domestic tourists. For foreign tourists in:

  • Manipur: No permit is required. But, have to register themselves.
  • Mizoram: No permit is required. But, need to register.
  • Nagaland: No permit is required. However, they need to register.
  • Arunachal Pradesh: Tourists need a Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

  • States requiring an ILP to visit.
  • Concentrate on Map based questions involving North- Eastern states.
  • NE state and their international neighbours.

Mains link:

Analyse the issue of imposition of ILP system in India’s northeastern states and the dilemma this system has posed to the Indian government.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Tungabhadra Pushkaralu commenced on November 20:

  • The Tungabhadra Pushkaralu is a 12-day festival held in honour of the Tungabhadra river.
  • It is celebrated when Jupiter enters Capricorn (Makar rashi).
  • Its significance is very high as the once in 12-year event is considered auspicious and a dip in the holy river is believed to get rid of one’s sins.

Pushkaralu or Pushkaram is a religious festival dedicated to the worship of 12 major rivers that flow across the country.

Inter Parliamentary Union:

  • The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments.
  • Genesis: Began in 1889 as a small group of parliamentarians, dedicated to promoting peace through parliamentary diplomacy and dialogue.
  • Composition: It has 179 Member Parliaments ,13 Associate Members, and increasing numbers of parliamentarians from all over the world involved in our work.
  • Slogan is “For democracy. For everyone.”
  • It seeks to promote democratic governance, institutions and values, working with parliaments and parliamentarians to articulate and respond to the needs and aspirations of the people.
  • Financed primarily by Members out of public funds.
  • Headquarters are in Geneva, Switzerland.

Why in News?

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Girish Chandra Murmu, has been elected External Auditor of Inter Parliamentary Union, Geneva, for a three-year term.

2020 Booker Prize:

Scottish author Douglas Stuart has been awarded the 2020 Booker Prize for his acclaimed debut novel Shuggie Bain, set in his home city of Glasgow.

  • The Booker Prize is the leading literary award in the English speaking world.
  • The Prize is awarded annually for a single book, translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.

Australia to temporarily host ISRO satellite tracking facilities:

  • The space agencies of India and Australia are working together to position temporarily Indian tracking facilities in Australia.
  • These include earth observation and data analytics, robotics, and space life sciences.
  • This would support India’s planned human space flight programme.
  • India, Australia space cooperation is underpinned by a formal Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries in 2012.

Study on ‘status of radicalisation’:

  • The Union Home Ministry has, for the first time, approved a research study on “Status of radicalisation in India”.
  • The study will attempt to legally define “radicalisation” and suggest amendments to the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA).
  • The study will be religion-neutral and will go by facts and the reported cases.

Need for: Radicalisation is yet to be defined legally, this leads to misuse by the police. It should be defined and necessary amendments made to the UAPA.

World Fisheries Day:

  • Celebrated on 21st November every year to demonstrate solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders throughout the world.
  • It started in 1997 where the “World Forum of Fish Harvesters & Fish Workers” met at New Delhi leading to the formation of the World Fisheries Forum with representatives from 18 countries and signed a declaration advocating for a global mandate of sustainable fishing practices and policies.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. At UNSC, India calls for immediate Afghan ceasefire.
  2. National Newborn Week 2020.
  3. Awas Diwas and Awas Week.

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