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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 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 2:

1. Why Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh is stronger than that of Haryana?

2. Experimental drug given to Trump to treat covid-19 wins FDA clearance.

3. At UNSC, India calls for immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India set to launch deep sea mission.

2. What is the Sentinel-6 satellite, and why is it important?

3. Kerala’s new 118A law.

4. Frontier Highway project.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. SITMEX-20.

2. Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies.

3. National Newborn Week 2020.

4. Awas Diwas and Awas Week.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

Why Punjab’s claim over Chandigarh is stronger than that of Haryana?


Context:

Haryana Government recently suggested that it would be better if both Haryana and Punjab agreed on Chandigarh as a Union Territory and make their independent capitals and Benches of High Courts.

Why was Chandigarh created?

  • Chandigarh was planned to replace Lahore, the capital of erstwhile Punjab, which became part of Pakistan during the Partition.
  • From 1952 to 1966 (till Haryana was carved out of Punjab), Chandigarh remained the capital of Punjab.
  • At the time of reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, the city assumed the unique distinction of being the capital of both Punjab and Haryana, even as it was declared a union territory and was placed under the direct control of the Centre.

What was announced then?

The-then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had announced that Haryana, in due course, would have its own capital and Chandigarh would go to Punjab.

Again, in 1985, under the Rajiv-Longowal accord, Chandigarh was to be handed over to Punjab on January 26, 1986, but the Rajiv Gandhi government withdrew at the last minute.

Recent Developments:

In 2018, Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar suggested to set up a special body for development of Chandigarh, but the Punjab CM rejected it, saying the city “indisputably belonged to Punjab”.

  • Haryana, on its part, has been demanding a separate High Court and even locked horns with Punjab by passing a resolution in the Vidhan Sabha demanding 20 rooms in the Vidhan Sabha complex that have been in the possession of Punjab.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

Experimental drug given to Trump to treat covid-19 wins FDA clearance:


Context:

Food and Drug Administration has granted emergency authorization to the experimental antibody treatment given to President Trump last month when he developed covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

About the drug:

  • The drug is made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals.
  • It is a cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies, called casirivimab and imdevimab.
  • It is designed to prevent infected people from developing severe illness.
  • Instead of waiting for the body to develop its own protective immune response, the drug imitates the body’s natural defenses.
  • It is the second drug of this type — called a monoclonal antibody — to be cleared for treating covid-19.

What are monoclonal antibodies?

  • Monoclonal antibodies are proteins that mimic the immune system’s ability to attack the virus.
  • They are man-made proteins.

polyclonal

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are antibodies?
  2. What are antigens?
  3. How immunity system works in our body?
  4. What are mAbs?
  5. What are Polyclonal antibodies?

Mains Link:

What are monoclonal antibodies? How do they work? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

At UNSC, India calls for immediate ceasefire in Afghanistan:


Context:

India has called for an “immediate comprehensive ceasefire” in Afghanistan.

  • At a recent UNSC meeting, convened under the Arria Formula (informally convened at the request of a UNSC member), India reiterated that “For durable peace in Afghanistan, we have to put an end to terrorist safe havens and sanctuaries operating across the Durand Line.”

Why is India concerned?

The Afghan peace process and premature withdrawal of NATO/ U.S. coalition forces could leave opportunities for terrorist networks that could target both Afghanistan and India.

  • As recently as May of this year, the UN issued a report providing evidence that despite assurances from the Taliban to the United States, Al Qaeda is still present and active in Afghanistan, harboured by the Taliban.

What needs to be done now?

For violence to end in Afghanistan, terrorist supply chains must be broken.

Four requirements for peace and stability in Afghanistan highlighted by India are:

  1. The process had to be Afghan-led and Afghan-owned.
  2. There must be zero tolerance for terrorism.
  3. Rights of women need to be strongly protected, the rights of the minorities and the vulnerable need to be safeguarded.
  4. The transit rights of Afghanistan should not be used by countries “to extract [a] political price from Afghanistan.”

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is Durand Line?
  2. India and its various international boundaries.
  3. Afghanistan and its neighbours.
  4. UNSC- Permanent Members.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for an “immediate comprehensive ceasefire” in Afghanistan.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

India set to launch deep sea mission:


Context:

India will soon launch an ambitious ‘Deep Ocean Mission’.

  • Required approvals are being obtained for the mission.

About the Mission:

The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.

The focus of the mission will be on deep-sea mining, ocean climate change advisory services, underwater vehicles and underwater robotics related technologies.

  • Two key projects planned in the ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ report include a desalination plant powered by tidal energy and a submersible vehicle that can explore depths of at least 6,000 metres.

Significance:

  • The mission will give a boost to efforts to explore India’s vast Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf.
  • The plan will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).

Potential:

India has been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB) by UN International Sea Bed Authority for exploration of poly-metallic nodules.

  • CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt.
  • It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.

What are PMN?

Polymetallic nodules (also known as manganese nodules) are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea.

Composition: Besides manganese and iron, they contain nickel, copper, cobalt, lead, molybdenum, cadmium, vanadium, titanium, of which nickel, cobalt and copper are considered to be of economic and strategic importance.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is deep sea mining?
  2. What are PMNs?
  3. Location of the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
  4. Functions of the UN International Sea Bed Authority.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ to be launched by India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

What is the Sentinel-6 satellite, and why is it important?


Context:

The Copernicus Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite is designed to monitor oceans.

  • It was recently launched from California aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
  • This is a part of the next mission dedicated to measuring changes in the global sea level.

What is the mission?

  • The mission is called the Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission.
  • It is designed to measure the height of the ocean, which is a key component in understanding how the Earth’s climate is changing.
  • It has been developed jointly by the European Space Agency (ESA), NASA, European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (Eumetsat), the USA’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the EU, with contributions from France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES).

What will the satellite do?

  • Provide measurements of global sea-level rise.
  • Send pulses to the Earth’s surface and measure how long they take to return to it, which will help scientists measure the sea surface height.
  • Measure water vapour along this path and find its position using GPS and ground-based lasers.

Significance of the Mission:

This data will allow improvements in both short-term forecasting for weather predictions in the two-to-four-week range (hurricane intensity predictions), and long-term forecasting, for instance for seasonal conditions like El Niño and La Niña.

Why is it important to measure the height of the ocean?

  1. With this, it is possible to observe the height of the oceans on a global scale and monitor critical changes in ocean currents and heat storage only from space.
  2. It helps scientists foresee the effects of the changing oceans on the climate.
  3. In order to measure and track changes in the oceanic heat budget, scientists need to know the ocean currents and heat storage of the oceans, which can be determined from the height of the sea surface.

Other satellites that have been launched since 1992 to track changes in the oceans on a global scale include:

  • The TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and OSTN/Jason-2, among others.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Objectives and significance of the mission.
  2. About: TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and OSTN/Jason-2.
  3. What are ocean currents? How are they generated?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Jason Continuity of Service (Jason-CS) mission.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Kerala’s new 118A law:


Context:

Kerala Government has introduced Section 118A in the Kerala Police Act, to penalise ‘offensive,’ ‘abusive,’ and ‘threatening’ social media posts.

  • This has been introduced through the ordinance route.

According to the new law:

“Whoever makes, expresses, publishes or disseminates through any kind of mode of communication, any matter or subject for threatening, abusing, humiliating or defaming a person or class of persons, knowing it to be false and that causes injury to the mind, reputation or property of such person or class of persons or any other person in whom they have interest shall on conviction, be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years or with fine which may extend to ten thousand rupees or with both.”

  • This means that a person can face three years in jail and a fine of Rs 10,000 for any social media post that is considered “offensive” or “defamatory”.
  • This is not just for writing or creating such a post, but those who share that post or opinion will also face the same kind of punishment.

Need for:

A similar law was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2015 along with Section 66A of the IT Act — Section 118(d) of the Kerala Police Act —  for being a threat to free speech.

  • Therefore, this new law has been brought in to ‘fill the gap’ left by the repealing of the two laws, which leaves current laws ‘inadequate’ to prevent crimes online which have ‘caused considerable distress to the women in our society’ and cyber attacks that are ‘turning into a threat to privacy’.

118

Why is the law being criticised?

Experts have called this law as draconian because:

  1. It is being seen as an attempt to stifle not only dissent but also freedom of speech and expression.
  2. It has resurrected the “same legal vices” the Supreme Court had “trashed” by scrapping Section 66 A of the IT Act.
  3. The law is unspecific and indistinct and can be indiscriminately misused by individuals or even the government and the police, who may use it against those whom they simply disagree with.
  4. Though the Kerala government claims it is to fight cyber crimes against women, that has not found any mention in the law either.
  5. It restricts speech without any domain limitation, it restricts Article 19 of the Constitution in an active way and is not protected by Article 19(2).
  6. It will effectively be a DDOS attack (denial-of-service attack) on the police functioning on the state, as well as on the police. There will be a huge rush of FIRs filed against all kind of issues between people.
  7. It gives power to the police to file suo-motu cases against anyone.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Frontier Highway project:


Context:

Since the Ladakh stand-off between the Indian and Chinese armies in May, Arunachal Pradesh has been pushing for the ambitious Frontier Highway project along the “India-Tibet border” for facilitating faster movement of troops if a war-like situation arises.

About the Frontier Highway Project:

  • It is also called as the Arunachal Frontier Highway and Mago-Thingbu–Vijaynagar Border Highway.
  • The 2,000-kilometre-long road follows the McMahon Line.
  • It accompanies the Trans-Arunachal Highway (through the middle) and the Arunachal East-West Corridor (in the foothills along the Assam border) as major highways spanning Arunachal Pradesh, pursuing the Look East connectivity concept.
  • The highway will intersect with the proposed East-West Industrial Corridor Highway in the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh from Bhairabkunda, the tri-junction of Bhutan, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to Ruksin in East Siang district.
  • The highway will cross the Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary, which may raise environmental issues.

Need for:

  • The highway will generate employment and increase tourism in these hard-to-reach areas.
  • The highway will check Chinese incursions into Indian territory. China has built an extensive road and railway network on its side, posing a security risk to India as the region is relatively inaccessible on the Indian side.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Frontier Highway Project.
  2. About the Trans-Arunachal Highway.

Mains Link:

Why do we need the Frontier Highway project? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


SITMEX-20:

  • It is a trilateral naval exercise between India, Thailand and Singapore.
  • The latest edition was held in the Andaman sea.
  • The exercise was conducted as a ‘non-contact, at sea only’ exercise in view of COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It highlights growing synergy, coordination and cooperation in the maritime domain between the three friendly navies and maritime neighbours.

Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies:

  • 4th Global Conference on Criminal Finances and Cryptocurrencies was held recently virtually.
  • Organised by the Interpol, Europol and the Basel Institute.
  • Participants: Representatives from law enforcement and the judiciary, Financial Intelligence Units (FIUs), international organisations and the private sector.

Background:

The conference is an initiative of the Working Group on Cryptocurrencies and Money Laundering established in 2016.

Launched with an objective of strengthening knowledge, expertise and best practices for investigations into financial crimes and intelligence on virtual assets and cryptocurrencies.

National Newborn Week 2020:

  • Observed every year from 15 to 21 November.
  • Theme for 2020: ‘Quality, Equity, Dignity for every newborn at every health facility and everywhere’.
  • The main purpose of the week is to reinforce the importance of newborn health as a key priority area of the health sector and reduce the infant mortality rate by improving healthcare conditions for babies in the neonatal period.
  • In 2014, India became the first country to launch the India Newborn Action Plan (INAP), in alignment with the Global Every Newborn Action Plan towards eliminating preventable deaths of new-borns and stillbirths.

Awas Diwas and Awas Week:

To commemorate the launch of the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), which aims to provide “Housing for All” by 2022, it was decided to celebrate 20th November every year as “Awaas Diwas”.

  • The program envisages the completion of 2.95 crore PMAY-G houses with all basic amenities by the year 2022.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. G20 summit.

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