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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 10 December 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. National Register of Citizens (NRC).

2. IAF moves court against RTI disclosure.

3. Quad is U.S. anti-China game: Russia.

4. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Lakshadweep to get optical fibre cable.

2. Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms.

3. PM-WANI.

4. NIA chargesheets ‘Khalistani’ activists.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Mini Kaziranga.

2. Karnataka Assembly adopts Bill against cow slaughter.

3. What is Submarine Day, celebrating the memory of INS Kalvari?

4. Cattle, buffalo meat residue found in Indus Valley vessels.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

National Register of Citizens (NRC):


Context:

The National Register of Citizens (NRC) authorities have submitted to the Gauhati High Court an affidavit reportedly containing the details of “illegal foreigners” whose names had crept into the updated list of citizens released in 2019.

Background:

Some 19.06 lakh out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded from the complete draft NRC published on August 31, 2019. It was later found that some “ineligible people” — those without papers establishing their domicile in Assam before March 24, 1971 — had been included in the citizens’ list.

About NRC:

  • The NRC was created in 1951 to determine who was born in Assam and is therefore Indian, and who might be a migrant from erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.
  • The demand for updating the NRC was first raised in 1980 during the anti-foreigners Assam agitation spearheaded by the All Assam Students’ Union.
  • A 2009 petition before the Supreme Court by the NGO Assam Public Works led to the updating exercise through a notification in December 2013.

citizen_count

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Relation between Census and National Population Register.
  2. NPR vs NRC.
  3. How NRC is related to Assam accord.
  4. Constitutional provisions wrt to grant and revocation of citizenships.
  5. Who carries out Census?

Mains Link:

Discuss why a nationwide NRC exercise may not be feasible.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.

IAF moves court against RTI disclosure:


Context:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has moved the Delhi High Court challenging a Central Information Commission (CIC) direction to provide an RTI activist details regarding every foreign visit undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on lAF aircraft.

What’s the issue?

  • CIC had directed the Indian Air Force (IAF) to disclose details of the Prime Minister’s entourage under the RTI Act (Right to Information Act, 2005).
  • The IAF, in its plea, said the information sought to be disclosed was “extremely sensitive in nature” as it related to details of the Prime Minister’s security apparatus. It can potentially affect the sovereignty and integrity of India

What information has been sought?

The information sought includes details related to the entire entourage, names of Special Protection Group (SPG) personnel accompanying the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on foreign tours for his personal safety.

Is there any exemption in this regard?

  • IAF says, the information sought is exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(a), 8(1)(e) & 8(1)(g) of the RTI Act.
  • Besides, SPG is explicitly exempted from the purview of the Right to Information Act, 2005 by the virtue of section 24(1) read with the Schedule II of the Right to Information Act, 2005.

Key Provisions:

  1. Section 24of the RTI Act 2005 lays down that this law is not applicable to the intelligence and security organisations specified in the Second Schedule. However, the only exception these organisations have is for information on allegations of corruption and human rights violations.
  2. Second Schedule: It includes 26 intelligence and security agencies under its ambit. Some of them are (i) Intelligence Bureau (IB), (ii) Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of the Cabinet Secretariat (iii) Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), (iv) Special Frontier Force (SFF), (v) Border Security Force (BSF) (vi) National Security Guards (NSG) and (Vii) Assam Rifles.
  3. Section 8 of the RTI: It deals with exemption from disclosure of information under this legislation. As per this section there shall be no obligation on Government to provide any citizen information, disclosure which will affect (i) India’s sovereignty and integrity, (ii) security, (iii) strategic, scientific or economic interests of the state and (iv) relations with foreign States or (v) will lead to incitement of an offence.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of Public Authority under the act.
  2. Exceptions under the act.
  3. About Chief Information Commissioner.
  4. State Information Commissioners.
  5. Public Information Officers.
  6. Latest amendments.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the RTI Act, 2005.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Quad is U.S. anti-China game: Russia:


Context:

Russia has called the four-nation quadrilateral strategic dialogue or Quad as a “devious policy” by western powers to engage India in “anti-China games”.

What’s the issue?

It expressed concerns about the U.S. Indo-Pacific policy and criticised the Quad. Also, for the first time it has suggested that India-Russia ties could be affected by it.

What are Russia’s concerns?

  • India has become an object of the western countries’ persistent, aggressive and devious policy as they are trying to engage it in anti-China games by promoting Indo-Pacific strategies, the so-called “Quad”.
  • At the same time the West is attempting to undermine Russia’s close partnership and privileged relations with India. This is the goal of the U.S.’s very tough pressure on New Delhi in the MTC [military and technical cooperation] area.
  • The incoming Biden administration is also expected to press harder on India against its purchase of the S-400 anti-missile system from Russia, which could attract U.S. sanctions.
  • Overall, the U.S. and European countries are trying to “restore” the unipolar model with U.S. leadership.

What is Quad grouping?

The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

Genesis:

The grouping traces its genesis to 2004 when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.

  • It then met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
  • The intention was to enhance maritime cooperation between the four nations.

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

What are China’s views on the Quad?

There is a general understanding that the Quad would not take on a military dimension against any country. The strategic community in China, nevertheless, had branded it an emerging “Asian NATO”.

Notably, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s “Confluence of Two Seas” address to the Indian Parliament gave a fresh impetus to the Quad concept. This recognised the economic rise of India.

Why there is a need for formalisation?

Despite renewed efforts, the QUAD has faced criticism over its lack of formal structure. There have been calls for institutionalisation, a formal agreement to transform the group into a formidable anti-China bloc.

A lot has changed over the years. Each member state has faced the heat of China’s increased aggression.

  1. China has grown in might and influence and is keen on picking up fights.
  2. After attempting to influence Australia’s domestic policies, it slapped punitive tariffs on the country.
  3. It is engaged in what has become a routine border confrontation with India.
  4. China has flared up territorial disputes with Japan with regards to the Senkaku Islands and is battling a fully-fledged trade war with the United States.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- composition.
  2. When was it first proposed?
  3. Countries and important islands in the Indian Ocean region.
  4. Geographical overview of Indo-Pacific region.
  5. Important seas and straits in the region.

Mains Link:

A formal revival and re-invigoration of the Quad is called for to maintain peace and tranquillity and to ensure observance of the UN Law of the Seas. Examine.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC):


Context:

36th Charter Day anniversary of SAARC observed recently.

  • The Charter establishing the Association was signed on December 8, 1985 by the SAARC Heads of States/Governments during first Summit meeting in Dhaka.

What is SAARC? When was it established?

Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005.

The Headquarters and Secretariat of the Association are at Kathmandu, Nepal.

Importance of SAARC:

  1. SAARC comprises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy.
  2. It is the world’s most densely populated region and one of the most fertile areas.
  3. SAARC countries have common tradition, dress, food and culture and political aspects thereby synergizing their actions.
  4. All the SAARC countries have common problems and issues like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, natural disasters, internal conflicts, industrial and technological backwardness, low GDP and poor socio-economic condition.

bimstec

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. SAARC vs BIMSTEC.
  2. BBIN
  3. Motor Vehicle Agreement.
  4. What is CPEC?
  5. Belt and Road initiative.

Mains Link:

Discuss how SAARC revival helps India deal with China.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Lakshadweep to get optical fibre cable:


Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved laying of undersea optical fibre cable to connect 11 islands of Lakshadweep with Kochi by May 2023, to help improve broadband connectivity in the Union Territory.

  • The project will be funded by the Universal Service Obligation Fund.

Background:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the submarine cable connectivity to Andaman and Nicobar Islands in August.

He had then announced the aim to connect Lakshadweep with undersea optical fibre cable as well in 1,000 days.

Significance:

This would improve telecommunication facilities in Lakshadweep by providing large bandwidth, and will play a vital role for delivery of e-governance services, potential development of fisheries, coconut-based industries, high-value tourism, educational development and healthcare.

What is Submarine Communications cable?

  • It is a cable laid on the sea bed between land-based stations to carry telecommunication signals across stretches of ocean and sea.
  • The optical fiber elements are typically individually coated with plastic layers and contained in a protective tube suitable for the environment where the cable will be deployed.

Importance of submarine cables:

  • Currently 99 per cent of the data traffic that is crossing oceans is carried by undersea cables.
  • The reliability of submarine cables is high, especially when multiple paths are available in the event of a cable break.
  • The total carrying capacity of submarine cables is in the terabits per second, while satellites typically offer only 1,000 megabits per second and display higher latency.

submarine_cables

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About optical fibers.
  2. Types of Submarine fiber cables.
  3. About the recently launched Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.
  4. Key features of the Universal Service Obligation Fund.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Chennai-Andaman and Nicobar Island Submarine Cable System.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

PM- WANI:


Context:

Public Wi-Fi plan ‘PM Wani’ gets cabinet approval.

  • The move is aimed at helping accelerate the uptake of broadband Internet services.
  • It was first recommended by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in 2017.

Key features of the project:

  1. This will allow setting up of public WiFi hotspots across the country via public data offices or public data offices (PDOs).
  2. It will not require the PDOs to get a license or pay a fee.
  3. This will involve multiple players, including PDOs, Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOA), app providers, and a central registry.

Implementation:

  1. PDOs will be “facilitators” between service providers and users.
  2. A PDOA will be an aggregator of PDOs that will oversee functions relating to authorization and accounting of Wi-Fi connections.
  3. A person, who wants to use public Wi-Fi, can do so via an app and will make payments as per usage.
  4. The project will also have an app developer who will build a platform to register users and discover Wani-compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in an area and display them on the app.
  5. A central registry, which will be maintained by the Centre for Development of Telematics, will record the details of app providers, PDOAs and PDOs.

Significance of the project:

Public Wi-Fi networks will ‘democratize’ content distribution and broadband access to millions at affordable rates. This will be the UPI (unified payments interface) of connectivity services.

Public_Wi-Fi

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms:


Context:

The six-member panel constituted by the National Green Tribunal recently conducted a field-level investigation into the alleged violations of Coastal Regulatory Zone norms along the coastal belt between Karavaka and Antarvedi Pallipalem in Andhra Pradesh’s East Godavari district.

  • The panel sought the necessary data pertaining to the nature of permissions granted for aquaculture and extraction of beach sand.

What are CRZ norms?

Under the section 3 of Environment Protection Act, 1986 of India, Coastal Regulation Zone notification was issued in February 1991 for the first time.

  • In 2018-19, fresh Rules were issued, which aimed to remove certain restrictions on building, streamlined the clearance process, and aimed to encourage tourism in coastal areas.

Objectives:

  • They restrict certain kinds of activities — like large constructions, setting up of new industries, storage or disposal of hazardous material, mining, reclamation and bunding — within a certain distance from the coastline.

What are the restrictions?

  • The restrictions depend on criteria such as the population of the area, the ecological sensitivity, the distance from the shore, and whether the area had been designated as a natural park or wildlife zone.
  • The latest Rules have a no-development zone of 20 m for all islands close to the mainland coast, and for all backwater islands in the mainland.

For the so-called CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have been stipulated.

  1. In the densely populated rural areas (CRZ-IIIA) with a population density of 2,161 per sq km as per the 2011 Census, the no-development zone is 50 m from the high-tide level, as against the 200 m stipulated earlier.
  2. CRZ-IIIB category (rural areas with population density below 2,161 per sq km) areas continue to have a no-development zone extending up to 200 m from the high-tide line.

Implementation:

While the CRZ Rules are made by the Union environment ministry, implementation is to be ensured by state governments through their Coastal Zone Management Authorities.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are CRZ Norms?
  2. Definition of CRZ.
  3. Classification of Zones.
  4. Categories under CRZ-III (Rural) areas.

Mains Link:

What do the draft  CRZ rules imply from the perspective of environmental justice and distributive justice.Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

NIA chargesheets ‘Khalistani’ activists:


Context:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has filed a chargesheet against 16 “foreign-based Khalistanis”.

  • The accused, based in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, have been chargesheeted under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly indulging in seditious activities and promoting enmity on the grounds of region and religion in the country.

What’s the issue?

The chargesheet alleged that the accused were involved in a conspiracy for launching a secessionist campaign under the banner of ‘Referendum 2020’ for the creation of ‘Khalistan’.

WHAT WAS THE KHALISTAN MOVEMENT?

It is the fight for a separate Sikh state and owes its origins to the Punjabi Suba Movement.

The Akali Dal – a Sikh-dominated political party – sought to create a separate Sikh Suba or Province.

  • When the States Reorganization Commission, constituted to assess the demand for separate states by linguistic groups, made its recommendations, it rejected the Akali Dal’s demand.
  • The state was trifurcated into Punjabi-majority Punjab, Hindi-majority Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh. Some hilly regions of the state were merged into Himachal Pradesh.

WHAT WAS THE ANANDPUR SAHIB RESOLUTION?

Shiromani Akali Dal adopted this resolution. This would serve as a blueprint for the party’s future agenda. The resolution demanded autonomy for the state of Punjab, identified regions that would be part of a separate state, and sought the right to frame its own internal constitution.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Mini Kaziranga:

  • Assam’s Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary is also known as ‘Mini Kaziranga’.
  • It has the highest density of one-horned rhinos in the world and second highest concentration in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.

Why in News?

Too many cattle robbing rhinos of nutrition in ‘Mini Kaziranga’.

  • This has been confirmed by the death of two rhinos whose alimentary canals had a high load of worms because of nutritional stress caused by dry reeds and other such “junk food” of the wilderness.

Karnataka Assembly adopts Bill against cow slaughter:

The Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill, 2020 has stringent penal provisions ranging from imprisonment of three to seven years and penalty of ₹50,000 to ₹7 lakh for violations.

  • The Bill makes even selling/disposing the cattle for slaughtering or intentionally killing the cattle an offence. If the accused is convicted, then the court can forfeit the confiscated cattle, vehicle, premises, and material on behalf of the State government.
  • The government can appoint a tahsildar or officer not below the rank of veterinary officer of the Animal Husbandry and Fisheries Department as competent authority to look into various issues related to slaughtering under the proposed legislation.

What is Submarine Day, celebrating the memory of INS Kalvari?

  • Celebrated on December 8th.
  • It was on December 8 that the Indian Naval Ensign was unfurled on INS Kalvari, the first submarine to be inducted in the Indian Navy, at Riga in Latvia, the erstwhile USSR, in 1967.
  • Kalvari is the Malayalam name for Tiger Shark, a predator in the Indian Ocean.
  • The Kalvari was decommissioned in 1996 after 29 years of service.

Cattle, buffalo meat residue found in Indus Valley vessels:

A new study has found the presence of animal products, including cattle and buffalo meat, in ceramic vessels dating back about 4,600 years at seven Indus Valley Civilisation sites in present-day Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Key findings:

  • About 50-60% of domestic animal bones found at Indus Valley sites come from cattle/ buffalo.
  • The high proportions of cattle bones may suggest a cultural preference for beef consumption across Indus populations, supplemented by the consumption of mutton/ lamb.
  • Lipid residues in Indus pottery show a dominance of animal products in vessels, such as the meat of non-ruminant animals like pigs, ruminant animals like cattle or buffalo and sheep or goat, as well as dairy products.

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