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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 25 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. Lachit Borphukan.

2. What is Germany’s new boardroom quota for women?

3. Why has the Northeast monsoon remained subdued this year?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. U.P. Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance, 2020.

2. Poshan Abhiyaan.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What are negative yield bonds?

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

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Govt. bans 43 more apps citing threat to security.

2. South Asian University.

3. Sir Chhotu Ram.

4. Sahakar Pragya.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Lachit Borphukan:


Context:

PM pays tribute to Lachit Borphukan on Lachit Diwas.

Who was Lachit Borphukan?

  • He was a commander in the Ahom kingdom.
  • Known for his leadership in the 1671 Battle of Saraighat that thwarted a drawn-out attempt by Mughal forces under the command of Ramsingh I to take over Ahom kingdom.
  • The battle of Saraighat was fought on the banks of the Brahmaputra in Guwahati.
  • The National Defence Academy (NDA), ever since 1999 has been conferring the best passing out cadet with the Lachit Borphukan gold medal.

Background:

During the last phase of the Battle of Saraighat 1671, when the Mughals attacked the Assamese forces through the river in Saraighat, many Assamese soldiers began losing their will to fight. It was Lachit’s clarion call to all the soldiers that made them fight till their last breath, ultimately resulting in the defeat of the Mughals.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Lachit Borphukam is famously remembered for?
  2. Battle of Saraighat was fought between?
  3. Which Indian Organization awards Lachit Borphukan gold medal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the causes and outcomes of the Battle of Saraighat.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

What is Germany’s new boardroom quota for women?


Context:

Germany is planning to impose a mandatory quota for the number of women working in senior management positions in the country’s listed firms.

  • This historic move is being seen as the next step in narrowing the gap of sexual inequality in the country.

What is Germany’s new boardroom quota for women?

As per the agreed-upon provisions:

  1. In case executive boards of listed companies have more than three members, one of them must be a woman.
  2. Companies in which the federal government has a stake will require a supervisory board quota of at least 30 per cent and minimum participation in executive boards.

Why is there a need for such a quota in Germany?

Since 2015, Germany, which is Europe’s biggest economy, has had a voluntary quota of 30 per cent for women on supervisory boards.

  • However, various studies have indicated this did little to improve the proportion of senior executive positions held by women.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is boardroom quota for women?
  2. Which country recently provided it?

Mains Link:

Discuss how this helps improve the proportion of senior executive positions held by women.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

Why has the Northeast monsoon remained subdued this year?


Context:

Rainfall over the Southern peninsular region has been deficient so far.

The reason is:

  1. Prevalent La Niña condition, along with a low pressure belt that is currently lying to the north of its normal position.
  2. The current position of the Inter Tropical Convective Zone (ITCZ).

What is La Nina?

La Niña (Spanish for ‘little girl’) is an abnormal cooling of eastern and central regions of the Pacific Ocean surface waters.

  • Together, the El Niño and La Niña phenomena are termed as El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
  • These are large-scale ocean phenomena which inflence the global weather — winds, temperature and rainfall.
  • They have the ability to trigger extreme weather events like droughts, floods, hot and cold conditions, globally.

Each cycle can last anywhere between 9 to 12 months, at times extendable to 18 months — and re-occur after every three to five years.

What is the Northeast monsoon?

  • Occurs during October to December, and is a small-scale monsoon compared to South- West Monsoon.
  • It is confined to the Southern peninsula.
  • The rainfall associated with the Northeast monsoon is important for Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Karaikal, Yanam, coastal Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, north interior Karnataka, Mahe and Lakshadweep.
  • Some South Asian countries such as Maldives, Sri Lanka and Myanmar, too, record rainfall during October to December.

But how is La Niña linked with the Northeast monsoon?

While La Niña conditions enhance the rainfall associated with the Southwest monsoon, it has a negative impact on rainfall associated with the Northeast monsoon.

During La Niña years, the synoptic systems — low pressure or cyclones — formed in the Bay of Bengal remain significantly to the north of their normal position.

  • Besides, instead of moving westwards, these systems recurve. As they lie to the north of their normal position, not much rainfall occurs over southern regions like Tamil Nadu.

la_nina

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is El Nino?
  2. What is La Nina?
  3. What is ENSO?
  4. When do these events occur?
  5. Impact of ENSO on Asia, Africa and Australia.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of La Nina weather phenomenon on India.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

U.P. Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Ordinance, 2020:


Context:

Cleared by the Uttar Pradesh government recently.

Overview of the ordinance:

  1. It makes religious conversion for marriage a non-bailable offence.
  2. The onus will be on the defendant to prove that conversion was not for marriage.
  3. The notice period to the district magistrate for the religious conversion is two months.
  4. In case of conversion done by a woman for the sole purpose of marriage, the marriage would be declared null and void.

Penalties:

  1. Violation of the provisions of the law would invite a jail term of not less than one year extendable to five years with a fine of ₹15,000.
  2. If a minor woman or a woman from the Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes communities was converted through the said unlawful means, the jail term would be a minimum of three years and could be extended to 10 years with a fine of ₹25,000.
  3. The ordinance also lays down strict action, including cancellation of registration of social organisations conducting mass conversions.

Why this has become a controversial law?

The ordinance comes days after the Allahabad high court said in a verdict (Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case) that the right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty.

  • The verdict also said earlier court rulings that ‘religious conversion for marriage was unacceptable’ was not good in law.

What critics say?

The law has come under sharp criticism from several legal scholars who had contended that the concept of ‘love jihad’ did not have any constitutional or legal basis.

  • They have pointed to Article 21 of the constitution which guarantees individuals the right to marry a person of one’s choice.
  • Also, under Article 25, freedom of conscience, the practice and conversion of religion of one’s choice including not following any religion, are also guaranteed.

What are the Concerns associated? What are the challenges ahead?

The true danger with this new so-called ‘love jihad’ law lies in its ambiguity.

  • The law employs the use of open-textured phrases such as “undue influence”, “allurement” and “coercion”.
  • Indeed, even the question of whether a religious conversion is truly conducted solely for the purpose of a marriage is inherently vague.
  • It is in the subjective assessment and appreciation of these tenuous phrases that the real peril lies – this is a matter left entirely to the discretion of the judge.

Views of the Supreme Court:

The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Article 21.
  2. Article 25.
  3. What has the Allahabad High Court said in Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case.

Mains Link:

The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Poshan Abhiyaan:


Context:

NITI Aayog has released a review report on Poshan Abhiyaan.

Suggestions made:

  • The programme must be stepped up to meet the targets set by the Centre to reduce stunting, wasting and anaemia by 2022.
  • Graduate to a POSHAN-plus strategy which apart from continued strengthening the four pillars of the Abhiyaan also requires renewed focus on other social determinants in addition to addressing the governance challenges of NHM/ICDS delivery mechanisms.
  • Lay as much emphasis on complementary feeding as it does on breastfeeding. This can help avert 60% of the total stunting cases in India.

About Poshan Abhiyaan:

  • The programme seeks to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women and lactating mothers.
  • Launched in 2018 with specific targets to be achieved by 2022.

It aims to reduce:

  • Stunting and wasting by 2% a year (total 6% until 2022) among children.
  • Anaemia by 3% a year (total 9%) among children, adolescent girls and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

The target of the mission is to bring down stunting among children in the age group 0-6 years from 38.4% to 25% by 2022.

Background:

More than a third of the children under five face stunting and wasting and 40% aged between one and four are anaemic. Over 50% of pregnant and other women were found to be anaemic, said the National Family Health Survey 4 released in 2016.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Goals and targets under Poshan Abhiyaan.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of the scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

What are negative yield bonds?


Context:

Last week, China sold negative-yield debt for the first time.

  • 5-year bond was priced with a yield of –0.152%, and the 10-year and 15-year securities with positive yields of 0.318% and 0.664%.

What are they?

These are debt instruments that offer to pay the investor a maturity amount lower than the purchase price of the bond.

  • Can be issued by central banks or governments.
  • Here, investors pay interest to the borrower to keep their money with them.

 Then, why do Investors buy such bonds?

  • Such instruments are usually in demand during times of stress and uncertainty. This is to protect their capital from significant erosion.
  • From currency fluctuations to deflation, there are scenarios in which purchasers of negative-yield bonds can come out ahead.

Relationship between Bond Price and Yield:

A bond’s price moves inversely with its yield or interest rate; the higher the price of a bond, the lower the yield.

The reason for the inverse relationship between price and yield is due, in part, to bonds being fixed-rate investments.

  1. Investors might sell their bonds if it’s expected that interest rates will rise in the coming months and opt for the higher-rate bonds later on.
  2. Conversely, bond investors might buy bonds, driving the prices higher, if they believe interest rates will fall in the future because existing fixed-rate bonds will have a higher rate or yield.

What is the key factor driving this demand today?

  1. It is the massive amount of liquidity injected by the global central banks after the pandemic began that has driven up prices of various assets including equities, debt and commodities.
  2. Many investors could also be temporarily parking money in negative-yielding government debt for the purpose of hedging their risk portfolio in equities.
  3. In case the fresh wave of the Covid-19 pandemic leads to further lockdowns of economies, then there could be further negative pressure on interest rates, pushing yields down further, and leading to profits even for investors who put in money at the current juncture.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Negative Yield Bonds?
  2. Relationship between Bond Price and Yield.

Mains Link:

Discuss why Negative Yield Bonds are gaining popularity these days.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Move to allow corporates to set up banks attracts flak:


Context:

A recent report by an Internal Working Group of the Reserve Bank of India has attracted a lot of attention as well as criticism.

What has happened?

The IWG was constituted to “review extant ownership guidelines and corporate structure for Indian private sector banks” and submitted its report last week.

  • One key recommendation of the group was related to allowing large corporate/industrial houses to be promoters of private banks.

big_bank

What’s the issue now?

Former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and former RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya have criticised the suggestion by the IWG, describing it a “bombshell”.

  • They observed, it would be ‘penny wise pound foolish’ to replace the poor governance under the present structure of these (public sector/government-owned) banks with a highly conflicted structure of ownership by industrial houses.

Why is the recommendation to allow large corporates to float their own banks being criticised?

Historically, RBI has been of the view that the ideal ownership status of banks should promote a balance between efficiency, equity and financial stability.

  • A greater play of private banks is not without its risks. The global financial crisis of 2008 was a case in point.
  • A predominantly government-owned banking system tends to be more financially stable because of the trust in government as an institution.
  • More specifically, here in this case, the main concern in allowing large corporates to open their own banks is a basic conflict of interest, or more technically, “connected lending”.

What is connected lending?

A situation where the promoter of a bank is also a borrower and, as such, it is possible for a promoter to channel the depositors’ money into their own ventures.

  • Connected lending has been happening for a long time and the RBI has been always behind the curve in spotting it.
  • The recent episodes in ICICI Bank, Yes Bank, DHFL etc. were all examples of connected lending.
  • The so-called ever-greening of loans (where one loan after another is extended to enable the borrower to pay back the previous one) is often the starting point of such lending.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Govt. bans 43 more apps citing threat to security:

  • The government has blocked 43 more mobile apps, including major Chinese ones such as AliSuppliers, AliExpress, Alipay Cashier, CamCard and DingTalk, citing threat to national security, integrity and sovereignty.
  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) issued an order under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act blocking access to 43 mobile apps.

Section 69A of the IT Act, empowers the Central Government to order that access to certain websites and computer resources be blocked in the interest of the defense of the country, its sovereignty and integrity, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence.

South Asian University:

  • Established in 2010, it is an international university, located in India.
  • It is sponsored by the eight Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
  • Degrees and Certificates awarded by the SAU are at par with the respective Degrees and Certificates awarded by the National Universities/ Institutions.

Sir Chhotu Ram:

  • Born in 1881, he was a prominent politician in British India’s Punjab Province.
  • He championed the interest of oppressed communities of the Indian subcontinent. For this feat, he was knighted in 1937.
  • He was a co-founder of the National Unionist Party.

The enactment of two agrarian laws was primarily due to his contribution- the Punjab Relief Indebtedness Act of 1934 and the Punjab Debtor’s Protection Act of 1936, which emancipated the peasants from the clutches of the moneylenders and restored the right of land to the tiller.

Sahakar Pragya:

  • With an aim to help primary cooperative societies play bigger roles in AtmaNirbhar Bharat, the Government has launched Sahakar Pragya, an innovative capacity building initiative for the farmers associated with such entities in the country.
  • Under this, farmers in primary cooperatives in rural areas of the country would be trained under Sahakar Pragya by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), an autonomous body under the Ministry.
  • Under Sahakar Pragya, forty five training modules for transferring knowledge, skills and organisational capacities have been prepared.

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