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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 21 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. Who was Khudiram Bose?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Any exploitation of Sentinel Island will wipe out tribals.

2. UK’s ‘more infectious’ Covid-19 strain spreads faster.

3. India, U.S. mull over unfinished work.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Karnataka appoints Regional Commissioner to compile status of ponzi cases.

2. India to bring more nations into coastal radar network.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. First rescue and rehabilitation centre for monkeys in Telangana.

2. Himalayan trillium.

3. ONGC begins production in Bengal basin, making it India’s eighth functional.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Who was Khudiram Bose?


Context:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently visited the native village of Bengali revolutionary Khudiram Bose in Midnapore, West Bengal.

Who was Khudiram Bose? Events he is associated with:

  • Born in 1889, Bose is highly regarded in Bengal for his fearless spirit.
  • Unlike other leaders like Subhash Chandra Bose, however, Khudiram’s legacy has been largely limited to Bengal.
  • In 1905, when Bengal was partitioned, he actively participated in protests against the British.
  • At the age of 15, Bose joined the Anushilan Samiti, an early 20th century organisation that propounded revolutionary activities in Bengal.
  • The deciding moment of Bose’s life came in 1908 when he along with another revolutionary, Prafulla Chaki were assigned the task of assassinating the district magistrate of Muzaffarpur,

Khudiram_Bose

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who was Khudiram Bose?
  2. Who was Prafulla Chaki?
  3. About Anushilan Samiti.
  4. Why was Magistrate Kingsford assassinated?

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Any exploitation of Sentinel Island will wipe out tribals:


Context:

Anthropological Survey of India policy document warns of threat to endangered group from commercial activity.

The policy document comes almost two years after American national John Allen Chau was allegedly killed by the Sentinelese on the Island.

  • The Sentinelese, a most secluded, is a particularly vulnerable tribal group (PVTG) who reside in complete isolation on the island.

Key observations:

  • Any exploitation of the North Sentinel Island of the Andamans for commercial and strategic gain would spell the death knell for its occupants.
  • The “right of the people to the island is non-negotiable”.
  • Build a knowledge bank on the Sentinelese.
  • Since ‘on-the-spot study’ is not possible for the tribal community, anthropologists suggest the ‘study of a culture from distance’.

Who are sentinelese?

Sentinelese, with a population of about 50 to 100 on the North Sentinel Island, are not only among the most isolated of the 75 PVTGs across the country, but also among the five in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands which include Great Andamanese, Onge, Jarawa, and Shompens.

Steps taken to ensure the protection of Sentinelese:

  1. The entire North Sentinel Island along with 5 km coastal sea from high water mark is notified as tribal reserve.
  2. The Government respects their way of life style, therefore, has adopted an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ practice to protect and safeguard the Sentinelese tribe.
  3. A protocol of circumnavigation of the North Sentinel Island has been notified. The ships and aircrafts of Coast Guard and boats of Marine Police make sorties around North Sentinel to keep surveillance.

They have been protected under:

  1. A &N Islands (PAT) Regulation 1956.
  2. Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
  3. Restrictions under Foreigner (Restricted Area) Orders, 1963.
  4. Visa Manual Conditions/Passport Act 1920, Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Why are they said to be vulnerable?

  1. It is said they have made little to no advancement in the over 60,000 years and still live very primitive lives, surviving mainly on fish and coconuts.
  2. They are very vulnerable to germs since they have not had contact with the outside world. Even a common flu virus carried by a visitor could wipe out the entire tribe.
  3. Since the 1960s, there have been a handful of efforts to reach out to the tribe but all have largely failed. They have repeatedly, aggressively made it clear that they want to be isolated.

north_sentinel_island

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are PVTGs?
  2. Who are Sentinelese?
  3. PVTGs of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  4. Overview of Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss how protection and development of PVTGs can be ensured?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

UK’s ‘more infectious’ Covid-19 strain spreads faster:


Context:

A new variant Covid-19 strain has been discovered in the United Kingdom last week and could be the reason behind the sharp rise in cases in the country.

  • Scientists and researchers say the new strain has much higher transmissibility than compared to the earlier variant.

Why do viruses mutate?

A mutation just means a difference; a letter change in the genome.

  • Mutations in viruses are a natural part of evolution.
  • The pressure on the virus to evolve is increased by the fact that so many millions of people have now been infected.

What is the Covid-19 mutant strain?

It has been named VUI-202012/01 (the first “Variant Under Investigation” in December 2020) and is defined by a set of 17 changes or mutations. As of Dec 13, a total of 1,108 cases with this new variant had been identified, predominantly in the south and east of England where cases have been rising.

How harmful is the new Covid strain?

  • This new variant is showing some 17 changes in the genome, this is a very large change. Due to this change, the transmissibility of this virus has also changed and is 70% more infectious compared to the earlier variant.
  • There is a high possibility that the new strain is still in the UK as it has not been detected in other parts of Europe.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RTPCR test?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

India, U.S. mull over unfinished work:


Context:

As Trump tenure winds down, deals in trade, sanctions, nuclear energy hang fire between India and the US. The unfinished businesses include:

  1. No blanket waiver of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) sanctions for buying Russian/Chinese arms.
  2. Failure to reverse the decision to revoke India’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).
  3. Commercial contract to be finalised for the decade-old MoU between U.S.-based Westinghouse Electric Company and Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) to build six reactors in Andhra Pradesh.

Achievements so far:

  1. The growing defence partnership, enhanced military exchanges bolstered by the signing of four foundational agreements: GSOMIA, LEMOA, COMCASA and BECA.
  2. U.S. grant of the STA-1 Strategic Trade Authorisation to India, capped by intelligence sharing and quick procurements during the ongoing standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  3. Crystallisation of the “Quad” arrangement.

What is the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP)?

  • It is a U.S. trade program designed to promote economic growth in the developing world by providing preferential duty-free entry for up to 4,800 products from 129 designated beneficiary countries and territories.
  • GSP was instituted on January 1, 1976, by the Trade Act of 1974.
  • GSP has been given on non-reciprocal basis. Yet the US has linked it with market access and tariff reduction which is against the basic tenets of GSP.

When was it withdrawn?

The privilege was withdrawn by outgoing President Donald Trump’s administration in Washington DC in June 2019 and India has been prodding the United States to restore it.

Benefits of GSP:

  1. Indian exporters benefit indirectly – through the benefit that accrues to the importer by way of reduced tariff or duty free entry of eligible Indian products.
  2. Reduction or removal of import duty on an Indian product makes it more competitive to the importer – other things (e.g. quality) being equal.
  3. This tariff preference helps new exporters to penetrate a market and established exporters to increase their market share and to improve upon the profit margins, in the donor country.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GSP.
  2. Countries covered under this program.
  3. When was India removed?
  4. Benefits under the program.
  5. What is quad?
  6. Four foundational agreements.

Mains Link:

What are the benefits of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade privilege for India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Money laundering related issues.

Karnataka appoints Regional Commissioner to compile status of ponzi cases:


Context:

In a bid to protect the depositors’ interest in Ponzi schemes run by financial companies, against whom cases have been registered, and monitor cases pending in various courts, the State government has appointed Bengaluru Regional Commissioner to compile the status of all cases that have been filed in the State and coordinate with the district administration.

Background:

The order comes in the light of the Reserve Bank of India identifying 118 finance companies in the State and seeking action against them under:

  1. The Karnataka Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Act, 2004.
  2. Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Act, 2019.

Need for such protective measures:

The finance companies running ponzi schemes could dupe investors completely and if movable and immovable properties belonging to these companies are not attached, there is a possibility that investors’ interest cannot be protected since these properties could be sold.

Ponzi Scheme:

  • A Ponzi scheme is a form of fraud that lures investors and pays profits to earlier investors with funds from more recent investors.
  • The scheme leads victims to believe that profits are coming from product sales or other means, and they remain unaware that other investors are the source of funds.
  • The scheme is named after Charles Ponzi, who became notorious for using the technique in the 1920s.

Key Provisions in the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019:

  1. Substantive banning clause which bans Deposit Takers from promoting, operating, issuing advertisements or accepting deposits in any Unregulated Deposit Scheme.
  2. Creation of three different types of offences, namely, running of Unregulated Deposit Schemes, fraudulent default in Regulated Deposit Schemes, and wrongful inducement in relation to Unregulated Deposit Schemes.
  3. Severe punishment and heavy pecuniary fines to act as deterrent.
  4. Provisions for disgorgement or repayment of deposits in cases where such schemes nonetheless manage to raise deposits illegally.
  5. Attachment of properties / assets by the Competent Authority, and subsequent realization of assets for repayment to depositors.
  6. Creation of an online central database, for collection and sharing of information on deposit-taking activities in the country.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Ponzi Schemes?
  2. How are they regulated?
  3. Role of RBI.
  4. Key Provisions in the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019.

Mains Link:

Enumerate the key features of the Banning of Unregulated Deposit Schemes Act, 2019.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

India to bring more nations into coastal radar network:


Context:

India is planning to further expand:

  1. The coastal radar chain network meant to enable real-time monitoring of the high seas for threats.
  2. Assistance for capacity building to Indian Ocean littoral states.

India’s past and future efforts in this regard:

  • Mauritius, Seychelles and Sri Lanka have already been integrated into the country’s coastal radar chain network.
  • Plans to set up coastal radar stations in the Maldives, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Maritime data fusion in India- institutional and structural efforts:

  1. Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) is the nodal agency for maritime data fusion. Located in Gurugram, it was set up after the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.
  2. As part of information exchange regarding traffic on the high seas, the Navy has been authorised by the government to conclude white shipping agreements with 36 countries and three multilateral constructs. So far agreements have been concluded with 22 countries and one multilateral construct.
  3. At the Navy’s Information Fusion Centre for the Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) which is meant to promote Maritime Domain Awareness, three more International Liaison Officers (ILO) are expected to join soon. The ILOs from France, Japan and the U.S. have joined the centre.
  4. Under Phase-I of the coastal radar chain network, 46 coastal radar stations have been set up across the country’s coastline. Under Phase-II of the project, which is currently under way, 38 static radar stations and four mobile radar stations are being set up by the Coast Guard and is in advanced stage of completion.

About the Information Fusion Centre for Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR):

  • The Navy set up the IFC-IOR in December 2018 within the premises of the Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) in Gurugram to track maritime movements in the region.

indian_ocean

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is IOC?
  2. When and how was it established?
  3. Who are the members and observers?
  4. How France is involved in this?
  5. What is IFC- IOR?
  6. What is RMIFC?
  7. Who established EMASOH?
  8. Locate Persian Gulf and strait of Hormuz.

Mains Link:

Discuss how observer status at the Indian Ocean Commission help India secure its strategic objectives.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


First rescue and rehabilitation centre for monkeys in Telangana:

  • The first rescue and rehabilitation centre for monkeys in the State was inaugurated at Gandi Ramanna Haritavanam near Chincholi village in Nirmal district recently.
  • It is the second such facility for the primates in the country (first one is in Himachal Pradesh).
  • The monkeys that venture into human habitations would be caught in a phased manner and brought to the rehab centre where they would be operated upon for birth control and would be released into forests against after the rehab period.

telangan

Himalayan trillium:

  • The Himalayan trillium, a common herb of the Himalayas was declared ‘endangered’ by the IUCN.
  • The herb has numerous uses for human beings thus inviting people to utilize it, paving way for overutilization.
  • Temperate and sub-alpine zones of the Himalayas at an altitude of 2400 meters to 4000 meters.
  • India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, Nepal, Bhutan has been home to this specie.

ONGC begins production in Bengal basin, making it India’s eighth functional:

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) Limited has begun crude oil production from the Asokenagar-1 well, Bengal Basin in 24 Paragana district.
  • This has made the Bengal basin India’s eighth producing basin, joining the ranks of Krishna-Godavari (KG), Mumbai Offshore, Assam Shelf, Rajasthan, Cauvery, Assam-Arakan Fold Belt and Cambay.
  • There are 26 sedimentary basins in India, covering a total area of 3.4 million square kilometer. Of these, 16 are onland basins, 7 located both onland and offshore and 3 completely offshore.

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