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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 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. Cyclone ‘Nivar’.

 

GS Paper 2:

2. What is J&K’s Roshni Act?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Current account surplus likely.

2. What are desalination plants?

3. ISRO’s Shukrayaan.

4. Chang’e-5 probe.

5. Pangda village.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. ‘Abhayam’ app.

2. National Crisis Management Committee(NCMC).

3. ATAL Faculty Development Programmes (FDPs).

4. 15th G20 Summit.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

Cyclone ‘Nivar’:


After cyclones ‘Amphan’, ‘Nisarga’ and ‘Gati’, ‘Nivar’ is heading towards Karaikal in Puducherry and is expected to make the landfall on November 25.

  • Nivar is the third name to be used from the new list of names for North Indian Ocean Cyclones, released in 2020. It was suggested by Iran.
  • ‘Amphan’, which was proposed by Thailand, was the last name in the 2004 series.
  • ‘Nisarga’, which hit Maharashtra in June, was a name given by Bangladesh while India had proposed ‘Gati’, which made landfall over Somalia on November 22.

How are Cyclones named?

The names for tropical cyclones in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea are suggested by Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Yemen as per the formula agreed by World Meteorological Organisation and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in its 27th session in 2000.

  • Each country provides 13 names.

In the latest list, India had proposed:

Gati (speed), Tej (speed), Marasu (musical instrument in Tamil), Aag (fire) and Neer (water), among others, for the new list.

The names of the next few cyclones adopted by member countries in April 2020 are as follows:

Burevi (Maldives), Tauktae (Myanmar), Yaas (Oman), and Gulab (Pakistan).

These are among the 169 names suggested by the 13 countries.

tropical_storms

Insta Links:

Prelims Link:

  1. List of names given by India.
  2. What is a cyclone called in different regions?
  3. Favourable conditions for a cyclone to occur?
  4. How its intensity varies on land?
  5. Why eastern coast cyclones are more intense?

Mains Link:

What are Cyclones? How are they named? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

What is J&K’s Roshni Act?


Context:

The J&K administration has published a list of Roshni Act beneficiaries.

  • The beneficiaries include former Ministers, and retired civil servants.
  • The law was declared null and void recently by the Government.

Background:

There are allegations related to irregularities in the implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir States Land (vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act, also known as Roshini Act, which has now been declared null and void.

About the Roshini Act:

Enacted in 2001, the law sought to regularise unauthorised land.

The Act envisaged the transfer of ownership rights of state land to its occupants, subject to the payment of a cost, as determined by the government.

  • The government said the revenue generated would be spent on commissioning hydroelectric power projects, hence the name “Roshni”.
  • Further, through amendments, the government also gave ownership rights of agricultural land to farmers occupying it for free, charging them only Rs 100 per kanal as documentation fee.

Why it was scrapped?

  • In 2009, the State Vigilance Organisation registered an FIR against several government officials for alleged criminal conspiracy to illegally possess and vest ownership of state land to occupants who did not satisfy criteria under the Roshni Act.
  • In 2014, a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) estimated that against the targeted Rs 25,000 crore, only Rs 76 crore had been realised from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, thus defeating the purpose of the legislation.
  • The report blamed irregularities including arbitrary reduction in prices fixed by a standing committee, and said this was done to benefit politicians and affluent people.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Roshni Act?
  2. Features of the Act.
  3. Amendments.

Mains Link:

What is J&K’s Roshni Act? Why was it scrapped recently? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Current account surplus likely:


Context:

India may record a current account surplus in FY21. This is because there is moderation in import due to under heating of the economy triggered by the Covid-19 crisis.

  • This crisis is different from what the world witnessed during the taper tantrum.

What is the taper tantrum?

Taper tantrum phenomenon refers to the 2013 collective reactionary response that triggered a spike in US treasury yields, after investors learned that the US Fed was slowly putting brakes on its quantitative easing (QE) program. This led to a surge in inflation to high double digits emerging economies.

What is the Current Account?

The current account captures the net trade in goods and services, net earnings on investments, and net transfer payments over a period of time, typically a year or a quarter.

Essentially, net trade in goods and services is a major component of the current account.

Relevance:

The current account provides important information about the economic condition of a country, and a higher balance of the current account usually corresponds to higher exports than imports, indicating a healthy inflow of foreign exchange reserves.

What’s India’s current account like now?

  • India’s current account has largely been in deficit due to the higher value of imports compared to exports. Some of the major items we import are crude oil, gold, and electronic items.
  • Limited domestic production and issues related to competitiveness of our domestic industry such as land and labour laws, high cost of capital and taxes resulted in stiff competition from cheap imports coming from countries such as China.
  • Consequently, our trade deficit with these countries has increased which has had an adverse impact on our current account balances and has come at the expense of our domestic manufacturers.

tropical_storms

A surplus is not a good thing always, then?

A current account surplus implies a higher inflow of forex than outflow.

It helps with an increase in reserves which is critical for maintaining financial and external sector stability.

  • However, in the current situation, an improvement in our current account is coming from lower levels of imports which coincides with muted domestic demand. This makes it important to view such an uptick as a sign of potential weakness and undertake supportive policy measures.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Current Account?
  2. Components.
  3. Impact of Current Account surplus.
  4. What is the taper tantrum?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What are desalination plants?


Context:

Uddhav Thackeray clears Mumbai’s first desalination plant.

  • The proposed plant, which will process 200 million litres of water daily (MLD), is being set up to overcome the water shortage faced by Mumbai in the months of May and June.

Swiss Challenge method?

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is planning to take the ‘Swiss Challenge Method’ for the project.

  • Under this, a project can be awarded to a private player on an unsolicited proposal.
  • The private firm which has first submitted a proposal can be approached directly for negotiations and if they do not agree, then other bidders are called.

What are desalination plants?

A desalination plant turns salt water into water that is fit to drink.

  • The most commonly used technology used for the process is reverse osmosis where an external pressure is applied to push solvents from an area of high-solute concentration to an area of low-solute concentration through a membrane.
  • The microscopic pores in the membranes allow water molecules through but leave salt and most other impurities behind, releasing clean water from the other side.
  • These plants are mostly set up in areas that have access to sea water.

How widely is this technology used in India?

This technology has been limited to affluent countries in the Middle East and has recently started making inroads in parts of the United States and Australia.

  • In India, Tamil Nadu has been the pioneer in using this technology, setting up two desalination plants near Chennai in 2010 and then 2013.
  • Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh are also exploring the ideas.

Challenges:

  • High cost of setting up and running a desalination plant.
  • The disposal of the byproduct — highly concentrated brine — of the desalination process.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is desalination?
  2. What is a desalination plant?
  3. What is reverse osmosis?
  4. Desalination plants in India.

Mains Link:

What is desalination? Why desalination plants were installed recently in Mumbai? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

ISRO’s Shukrayaan:


Context:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has short-listed 20 space-based experiment proposals for its proposed Venus orbiter mission ‘Shukrayaan’.

About Shukrayaan:

It is a mission to study Venus for more than four years.

Scientific objectives: Investigation of the surface processes and shallow subsurface stratigraphy; and solar wind interaction with Venusian Ionosphere, and studying the structure, composition and dynamics of the atmosphere.

The satellite is planned to be launched onboard GSLV Mk II rocket.

The proposed orbit is expected to be around 500 x 60,000 km around Venus. This orbit is likely to be reduced gradually, over several months to a lower apoapsis (farthest point).

ISRO_Shukrayaan

Why study Venus?

  • Venus is often described as the “twin sister” of the Earth because of the similarities in size, mass, density, bulk composition and gravity.
  • It is believed that both planets share a common origin, forming at the same time out of a condensing nebulosity around 4.5 billion years ago.
  • Venus is around 30 per cent closer to the Sun as compared to Earth resulting in much higher solar flux.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Location of Venus.
  2. Shukrayaan mission.
  3. Objectives.
  4. Various missions to Venus.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of Shukrayaan mission.

ISRO_Shukrayaan_1

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Chang’e-5 probe:


Context:

It is an unmanned spacecraft launched by China recently.

About the Chang’e-5 probe:

  • The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.
  • The rocket is comprised of four parts: an orbiter, a returner, an ascender and a lander.
  • The objective of the mission is to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.
  • If successful, China will be only the third country to have retrieved samples from the moon, following the U.S. and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.
  • This will help scientists learn about the moon’s origins, formation and volcanic activity on its surface.

Identified location for the collection of samples:

The Chinese probe will collect 2 kg of surface material from a previously unexplored area known as Oceanus Procellarum — or “Ocean of Storms” — which consist of a vast lava plain.

The Chang’e-5 mission is expected to realize four “firsts” in China’s space history:

  1. The first time for a probe to take off from the surface of the Moon.
  2. The first time to automatically sample the lunar surface.
  3. The first time to conduct unmanned rendezvous and docking in lunar orbit.
  4. The first time to return to Earth with lunar soil samples in escape velocity.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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.

Pangda village:


  • It is a new border village built by China.
  • The village is located on territory disputed by China and Bhutan.
  • The area is east of the India-Bhutan-China trijunction on the Doklam plateau, the site of a 72- day stand- off in 2017.

Previous such instances:

In July this year, Beijing said Sakteng Wildlife sanctuary, situated in eastern Bhutan, belonged to China.

  • The claim was made at the 58th meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council where China tried to “oppose” funding to a project for the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary situated in Bhutan saying that it was “disputed” territory.

focal_point

What happened at Doklam?

In Doklam, the faceoff had taken place over territory belonging to Bhutan, which has a border security agreement with India.

  • The Chinese wanted to take control of the territory, called Doklam, to come closer to what is known as the chicken’s neck or the Silliguri Corridor of India that connects the Northeast with the rest of the country.

How it came to an end?

It was practically an eyeball-to-eyeball standoff which ended in the view of China hosting BRICS and India refusing to back down, and a possible boycott of the summit. The standoff ended with diplomatic interference.

jampheri_ridge

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Pangda village.
  2. Where is Doklam?
  3. Where is Chumbi valley?
  4. About Galwan river.
  5. Siliguri corridor.
  6. LAC vs LOC.
  7. Neighbouring Indian States of Doklam.

Mains Link:

Discuss why India must not agree to de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh without an agreement on returning to “status quo ante” or the situation before the stand-off began.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


‘Abhayam’ app:

Andhra Pradesh government has launched “Abhayam” mobile phone application which helps women and children travelling in taxis and autorickshaws to raise an alarm in case of any emergency.

  • To be operated by the Transport Department, the Abhayam app would help the women in alerting the police by pressing a panic button in the event of their landing in trouble.

National Crisis Management Committee(NCMC):

  • For effective implementation of relief measures in the wake of natural calamities, the Government of India has set up a National Crisis Management Committee.
  • Cabinet Secretary is it’s Chairman.
  • Other members: Secretaries of all the concerned Ministries /Departments as well as organizations are the members of the Committee.
  • The NCMC gives direction to the Crisis Management Group as deemed necessary.

ATAL Faculty Development Programmes (FDPs):

  • 46 online AICTE Training and Learning (ATAL) Academy Faculty Development Programmes (FDPs)
  • The objective is to train teachers of higher education institutions associated with All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) in thrust and emerging areas in technology.
  • Book of World Records, London acknowledges the training of over one lakh people in 1,000 programs under ‘FDP’ as a world record.

The main objective of ATAL Academy is to provide quality technical education in the country and to promote research and entrepreneurship through training in various emerging fields. IITs, IIITs, NITs CU and research labs are organizing these ATAL FDPs.

15th G20 Summit:

  • Convened by Saudi Arabia in a virtual format.
  • The Summit would culminate in the adoption of the Leaders’ Declaration and with Saudi Arabia passing on the Presidency to Italy.
  • It was also announced that India will host the summit in 2023 — a year later than what was decided earlier.

India was earlier slated to host the summit in 2022 with the Osaka declaration of the G20 stating last year that “we look forward to meeting again in Saudi Arabia in 2020, in Italy in 2021 and in India in 2022”.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Move to allow corporates to set up banks attracts flak.

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