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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 14 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 1:

1. What is a Solar Eclipse?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census.

2. Withdraw plea on water use, Centre tells Telangana.

 

GS Paper 3

1. Chang’e-5 probe.

2. India is on track to reduce emissions.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. National Family Health Survey for the 2019-20 fiscal (NFHS-5).

2. Myristica swamp treefrog.

3. Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve.

4. What is the diversity requirements that Indian companies need to meet?

5. Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

What is a Solar Eclipse?


Context:

The total solar eclipse on December 14, Monday will be the last eclipse of the year.

  • Apart from Chile and Argentina, people living in southern parts of South America, south-west Africa and Antarctica will be able to witness a partial solar eclipse.

solar_eclipse_1

What is a Solar Eclipse?

It is a natural event that takes place on Earth when the Moon moves in its orbit between Earth and the Sun (this is also known as an occultation).

  • It happens at New Moon, when the Sun and Moon are in conjunction with each other.
  • During an eclipse, the Moon’s shadow (which is divided into two parts: the dark umbra and the lighter penumbra) moves across Earth’s surface.

Then, why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month?

If the Moon was only slightly closer to Earth, and orbited in the same plane and its orbit was circular, we would see eclipses each month. The lunar orbit is elliptical and tilted with respect to Earth’s orbit, so we can only see up to 5 eclipses per year. Depending on the geometry of the Sun, Moon and Earth, the Sun can be totally blocked, or it can be partially blocked.

solar_eclipse_2

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Solar vs Lunar eclipse- differences.
  2. Types of Solar Eclipses.
  3. Umbra vs Penumbra.
  4. Moon’s orbit around the earth.
  5. Why isn’t there a solar eclipse every month?
  6. Solstices.

Mains Link:

Write a note on annular solar eclipse.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Delimitation should be based on 2031 Census:


Context:

A paper released by the Pranab Mukherjee Foundation (PMF) on the eve of the late President’s birth anniversary has suggested that the next delimitation exercise should be a two-step process:

  1. A Delimitation Commission should be set up to redraw boundaries of constituencies on the basis of the 2031 Census.
  2. A State Reorganisation Act be passed to split States into smaller ones.

Background:

The 84th Amendment to the Constitution in 2002 had put a freeze on the delimitation of Lok Sabha and State Assembly constituencies till the first Census after 2026. While the current boundaries were drawn on the basis of the 2001 Census, the number of Lok Sabha seats and State Assembly seats remained frozen on the basis of the 1971 Census.

Need for reconsideration:

The population according to the last census preceding the freeze was 50 crore, which in 50 years has grown to 130 crore. This has caused a massive asymmetry in the political representation in the country.

What is Delimitation?

Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.

Who carries out the exercise?

Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commission or Boundary Commission.

  • These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.
  • Such commissions have been constituted at least four times in India — in 1952 under the Delimitation Commission Act, 1952; in 1963 under Delimitation Commission Act, 1962; in 1973 under Delimitation Act, 1972 and last in 2002 under Delimitation Act, 2002.
  • The commissions’ orders are enforced as per the date specified by the President of India. Copies of these orders are laid before the Lok Sabha or the concerned Legislative Assembly. No modifications are permitted.

Composition of the Commission:

According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission appointed by the Centre has to have three members: a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Previous delimitation commissions- powers and functions.
  2. Composition of the commission.
  3. Who can set up?
  4. Are changes allowed in final orders?
  5. Which are the constitution provisions related?

Mains Link:

How and why delimitation of constituencies is carried out? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Withdraw plea on water use, Centre tells Telangana:


Context:

The Centre has said that it would consider referring (under Section 3 of the Inter State River Waters Disputes Act) the matter for reallocation of Krishna waters between Telangana and Andhra Pradesh either to a new tribunal or to the existing Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-II headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, once Telangana withdrew its petition on the issue in the Supreme Court.

What’s the issue?

The Telangana government has filed a special leave petition (SLP) in Supreme Court seeking a direction to Andhra Pradesh government not to go ahead calling tenders for the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Scheme.

  • The government maintains that under the provisions of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, proposal for any new project on Krishna has to be first placed before the Krishna River Management Board and then before the Apex Council for ratification.

Background:

The two States- AP ans Telangana- share stretches of the Krishna and the Godavari and own their tributaries.

  • They have embarked on several new projects without getting clearance from the river boards, the Central Water Commission and the apex council comprising the Union Water Resources Minister and the Chief Ministers, as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

The Krishna:

It is an east-flowing river.

Originates at Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra and merges with the Bay of Bengal, flowing through Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

Basin: Together with its tributaries, it forms a vast basin that covers 33% of the total area of the four states.

What is the dispute all about?

The dispute began with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.

The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts:

  1. 560 TMC for Maharashtra.
  2. 700 TMC for Karnataka.
  3. 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

Revised order:

As new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004.

  • It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows: 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.

It has challenged the order of the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal in the Supreme Court.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Tributaries of Krishna.
  2. Tributaries of Godavari.
  3. East vs West flowing rivers of India.
  4. Interstate river water disputes- key provisions.
  5. Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards- formation, functions and orders.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Chang’e-5 probe:


Context:

Chinese spacecraft carrying rocks and soil from the moon has begun its journey back to Earth, putting China on course to become the first country to successfully retrieve lunar samples since the 1970s.

What Next?

A successful landing in Inner Mongolia would make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples after the United States and the Soviet Union.

The plan was to collect 2 kg (4.4 lbs) of samples, although it has not been disclosed how much was actually gathered.

Background:

The Chang’e-5 was launched on Nov. 24 and a lander vehicle touched down on the moon on Dec. 1. The mission was expected to take around 23 days in total.

The objective of the mission was to bring back lunar rocks, the first attempt by any nation to retrieve samples from the moon in four decades.

About Chang’e-5 probe:

It is an unmanned spacecraft by China. The probe is named after the mythical Chinese moon goddess.

The rocket comprises of four parts: an orbiter, a returner, an ascender and a lander.

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.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Significance of the mission.
  4. Past such missions by other countries.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

India is on track to reduce emissions:


Context:

Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said that India was the only major G20 country that was on track towards keeping to its nationally determined commitments to halt runaway global warming.

  • It had achieved 21% of its emissions intensity reduction target as a proportion of its GDP in line with its pledge to a 33-35% reduction by 2030.

Background:

These remarks were made ahead of the international Climate Ambition Summit to be jointly hosted shortly by the United Nations, the United Kingdom and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy to mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement.

Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):

In 2015, ahead of the United Nations’ significant climate conference in Paris, India announced three major voluntary commitments called the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC):

  1. Improving the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33–35% by 2030 over 2005 levels.
  2. Increasing the share of non-fossil fuels-based electricity to 40% by 2030.
  3. Enhancing its forest cover, thereby absorbing 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The Paris Agreement:

  • The Paris Agreement, adopted at COP 21 in Paris, on December 12, 2015, constitutes a landmark agreement on climate change that seeks to limit global average temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and endeavour to limit the increase to 1.5°C.
  • The agreement, which came into force on November 4, 2016, currently has 188 parties.
  • All parties to it are expected to undertake ambitious efforts to support the agreement’s goals and communicate their related intentions every five years in the form of NDCs.
  • In the first round, 186 parties submitted their first NDC and two have since submitted a second one.

paris_climate_agreement

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Paris Agreement?
  2. Which countries have not signed?
  3. Targets.
  4. Funding mechanism announced under the Paris Agreement.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Paris Climate deal.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


National Family Health Survey for the 2019-20 fiscal (NFHS-5):

Assam Related key findings:

  • Sex ratio in Assam is now skewed in favour of females. There were 1,012 females born during 2019-2020 per 1,000 males. The sex ratio in 2015-16 was 993 females per a thousand males.
  • But compared to the last survey, more women and men were found to have tied the knot before reaching the permissible age (31.8% of the women who were surveyed said they married before they turned 18. The percentage of such women in 2015-16 was 30.8).
  • The total fertility rate, however, dipped from 2.2 children per woman in NFHS-4 to 1.9 in the latest survey.
  • Female sterilisation also dropped from 9.5% to 9% between the two surveys while male sterilisation remained constant at 0.1%.
  • The survey found more children aged 6-59 months were anaemic or with low haemoglobin count than five years ago.

Myristica swamp treefrog:

  • It is a rare arboreal species endemic to the Western Ghats.
  • They are active only for a few weeks during their breeding season.
  • Before the end of the breeding season, the female frogs along with their male counterparts descend on the forest floor.
  • The female digs the mud and lays eggs in shallow burrows in mud. After breeding and egg-laying, they retreat back to the high canopies of the tree and remain elusive till next breeding season.

Context:

It has been recorded for the first time north of the Shencottah gap in the Vazhachal Reserve Forest in Kerala’s Thrissur district.

frog_2

Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve:

Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve can now be explored by boats while bicycle tracks are also being finalised. One can go trekking too. But the new activities are beyond the 1,302 sq km Kaziranga’s core area of 482 sq km.

Key Facts:

  1. It is a national park in Assam.
  2. Formed in 1908 on the recommendation of Mary Curzon, the park is located in the edge of the Eastern Himalayan biodiversity hotspots – Golaghat and Nagaon district.
  3. It hosts two-thirds of the world’s great one-horned rhinoceroses.
  4. It is a World Heritage Site.
  5. It is also recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International for the conservation of avifaunal species.
  6. Much of the focus of conservation efforts in Kaziranga are focused on the ‘big four’ species— Rhino, Elephant, Royal Bengal tiger and Asiatic water buffalo.
  7. Kaziranga is crisscrossed by four main rivers — Brahmaputra, Diphlu, Mora Diphlu and Mora Dhansiri.

What is the diversity requirements that Indian companies need to meet?

  • All public companies which are listed on stock exchanges and companies with either a paid-up capital of Rs 100 crore or annual turnover over Rs 300 crore are required to have at least one woman board member under the Companies Act.
  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) further requires, since April 1, 2020, that the top 1000 listed companies by market capitalisation have a woman board member who is also an independent director.

Lancet Citizens’ Commission on Reimagining India’s Health System:

  • It is a cross-sector initiative to develop a citizens’ roadmap to achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in India over a period of ten years.
  • It was launched recently.
  • It was a first-of-its-kind participatory, countrywide initiative, in collaboration with world’s leading health journal The Lancet and the Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.
  • The mission of the Commission is to lay out the path to achieving UHC in India in the coming decade, working with all stakeholders.

The Commission will be guided by four principles: first, UHC covers all health concerns; secondly, prevention and long-term care are key. Thirdly, the concern is financial protection for all health costs, and finally, aspiring for a health system that can be accessed by all who enjoy the same quality.


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