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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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. Parliamentary Panel report on Covid-19 management.

2. Lok Adalat creates history by settling 2.61 lakh cases in Karnataka.

3. Shigella infection.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

2. National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

3. CBI Brings Out Updated Crime Manual After 15 Years.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Shaheen-IX.

2. ”Jal Shakti Abhiyan II: Catch the Rain” awareness campaign.

3. Status of Leopards report.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

Parliamentary Panel report on Covid-19 management:


Context:

Report submitted recently by the standing committee on Home Affairs.

Key Recommendations:

  1. Bring a comprehensive public health Act with suitable legal provisions to keep checks and controls over private hospitals in times of a pandemic.
  2. Curb black marketing of medicines and ensure product standardisation.
  3. The government should be proactive by holding awareness campaigns on cheaper and effective repurposed medicines to prevent people from panicking and spending a huge amounts of money on expensive drugs.
  4. There is need to have regulatory oversight on all hospitals working in the country to prevent refusal to accept insurance claims.
  5. A separate wing may be formed in the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) that will specialise in handling /managing pandemics like COVID-19 in future.
  6. Measures should be taken to avoid social stigma and fear of isolation and quarantine, by making people aware and treating them with respect and empathy.
  7. The problems being faced by farmers, non-corporate and non-farm small/micro enterprises in getting loans need to be addressed.

Need for comprehensive measures:

  1. There have been several reported instances of beds reserved for COVID-19 patients in private hospitals being sold at exorbitant rates.
  2. Also, medicines that ‘helped’ in containing the COVID-19 infection were sold at higher rates.
  3. In the initial phase of the pandemic, medical insurance was not extended to patients with COVID-19 infection.
  4. With schools shut down now for more than nine months, many children were deprived of mid-day meal. Many States continued the scheme by delivering dry ration to students at their homes or giving them allowances. But this was not uniform.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between Parliamentary vs Cabinet committees.
  2. Standing vs select vs finance committees.
  3. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
  4. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
  5. Committees where Speaker is the chairperson.

Mains Link:

What are Parliamentary Standing committees? Why are they necessary? Discuss their roles and functions to bring out their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Lok Adalat creates history by settling 2.61 lakh cases in Karnataka:


Context:

The High Court of Karnataka and the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) have created history in settlement of cases.

Key Points:

  1. A record 2,61,882 cases were settled in a single day at the mega Lok Adalat held on December 19.
  2. This has resulted in a 12.17% reduction of cases pending before courts in taluks and districts, apart from the High Court.
  3. A total of ₹669.95 crore was awarded as compensation or settlement amount by amicably resolving cases related to motor vehicle accident claims, land acquisition, and other civil matters.
  4. The settlements also yielded a revenue of ₹41.45 crore for the State exchequer by way of fine through the compounding of around two lakh pending criminal cases.

What is a Lok Adalat?

Lok Adalat is one of the alternative dispute redressal mechanisms, it is a forum where disputes/cases pending in the court of law or at pre-litigation stage are settled/ compromised amicably.

  • The Lok Adalats are formed to fulfil the promise given by the preamble of the Indian Constitution– securing Justice – social, economic and political of every citizen of India.

Constitutional basis:

  • Article 39A of the Constitution provides for free legal aid to the deprived and weaker sections of the society and to promote justice on the base of equal opportunity.
  • Articles 14 and 22(1) of the Constitution also make it compulsory for the State to guarantee equality before the law.

Statutory provisions:

Under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 Lok Adalats have been given statutory status.

Final award:

The decision made by the Lok Adalats is considered to be a verdict of a civil court and is ultimate and binding on all parties.

No appeal:

  • There is no provision for an appeal against the verdict made by Lok Adalat.
  • But, they are free to initiate litigation by approaching the court of appropriate jurisdiction by filing a case by following the required procedure, in exercise of their right to litigate.

Court fee:

There is no court fee payable when a matter is filed in a Lok Adalat. If a matter pending in the court of law is referred to the Lok Adalat and is settled subsequently, the court fee originally paid in the court on the complaints/petition is also refunded back to the parties.

Nature of Cases to be Referred to Lok Adalat:

  • Any case pending before any court.
  • Any dispute which has not been brought before any court and is likely to be filed before the court.

Provided that any matter relating to an offence not compoundable under the law shall not be settled in Lok Adalat.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who organises National Lok Adalat?
  2. What are Permanent Lok Adalats?
  3. Composition of Lok Adalats.
  4. Nature of cases to be referred to Lok Adalat.
  5. Article 39A of the Constitution.
  6. Decisions made by Lok Adalats- are they binding?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Lok Adalats as an effective dispute resolution institution in present scenario.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Shigella infection:


Context:

Health officials in Kozhikode district of Kerala recently convened emergency meetings and kicked in preventive measures after six cases of shigella infection.

What is shigella infection?

Shigellosis, or shigella infection, is a contagious intestinal infection caused by a genus of bacteria known as shigella.

  • The bacteria is one of the prime pathogens responsible for causing diarrhea, fluctuating between moderate and severe symptoms, especially in children in African and South Asian regions.

How does it spread?

  • The bacteria, after entering the body through ingestion, attack the epithelial lining of the colon resulting in inflammation of the cells and subsequently the destruction of the cells in severe cases.
  • It takes only a small number of shigella bacteria to enter a person’s system and get her sick.
  • The infection is known to spread person-to-person when the bacteria is swallowed accidentally.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Shigella infection.
  2. Spread.
  3. Symptoms.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):


Context:

Skill India undertakes Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) for workers under Department of Panchayati Raj in Chandauli and Varanasi.

  • The programme is being implemented under SANKALP Programme of Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • The implementing agency for the programme is National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

Significance:

About 70% of our country’s population resides in rural India and hence the inclusion of gram panchayats is crucial for the success of District Skill Development Plans and will provide a huge fillip to the Skill India Mission.

  • Through RPL, the aim is to align the competencies of the pre-existing workforce of the country to the standardized framework.
  • Certification builds confidence, brings respect and provides recognition to the candidates, it has the potential to make skills aspirational.
  • Supporting formalization of the informal learning of youth will supplement their efforts in finding sustainable livelihood opportunities and reduce inequalities based on privileging certain forms of knowledge over others.

What is RPL?

  • Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) programme recognizes the value of learning acquired outside a formal setting and provides a government certificate for an individual’s skills.
  • Candidates receive exposure to concepts of digital and financial literacy and an accidental insurance coverage for three years at free of cost.
  • No fee is charged from a candidate for participating in the RPL program and every successfully certified candidate will receive INR 500.
  • This initiative is part of a larger programme on ‘Skill Development Planning at the level of ‘Gram Panchayat’ that focuses on introducing Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) in a structured manner in GPs of various districts across the country.

yuva_shakti

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is RPL?
  2. What is SANKALP?
  3. About PMKVY.
  4. About NSDC.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of RPL scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF):


Context:

Canada’s PSP, US’ DFC, Axis Bank invest $107 million in NIIF’s master fund.

  • After the new commitment from the three investors, the overall size of the ‘master fund’ has touched USD 2.34 billion.

About NIIF:

The government had set up the ₹40,000 crore NIIF in 2015 as an investment vehicle for funding commercially viable greenfield, brownfield and stalled infrastructure projects.

  • NIIF’s mandate includes investing in areas such as energy, transportation, housing, water, waste management and other infrastructure-related sectors in India.
  • NIIF currently manages three funds each with its distinctive investment mandate. The funds are registered as Alternative Investment Fund (AIF) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

NIIF Investors:

  • The NIIF signed the first investment deal of worth USD 1 billion with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) in October 2017. The ADIA became the first-ever international investor in the NIIF’s master fund.
  • The Indian Government holds a 49% share in the NIIF. Domestic investors such as ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Kotak Mahindra Life are the other notable investors in the NIIF.
  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in June 2018 announced to invest USD 200 million.

The three funds are:

  1. Master Fund: Is an infrastructure fund with the objective of primarily investing in operating assets in the core infrastructure sectors such as roads, ports, airports, power etc.
  2. Fund of Funds: Managed by fund managers who have good track records in infrastructure and associated sectors in India. Some of the sectors of focus include Green Infrastructure, Mid-Income & Affordable Housing, Infrastructure services and allied sectors.
  3. Strategic Investment Fund: Is registered as an Alternative Investment Fund II under SEBI in India. The objective is to invest largely in equity and equity-linked instruments. It will focus on green field and brown field investments in the core infrastructure sectors.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NIIF.
  2. Different funds under NIIF.
  3. Who manages NIIF.
  4. Investors.
  5. What are alternative investment funds?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of NIIF in the context infrastructure development in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

CBI Brings Out Updated Crime Manual After 15 Years:


Context:

The agency had set up a task force under Additional Director Praveen Sinha to make necessary changes in the crime manual, a set of guidelines for the investigating officer to follow while probing a case, which was last changed in 2005.

  • The changes were proposed after factoring in the changing crime landscape, evidence collection, international treaties, emergence of new avenues to track criminals among others.

What is CBI’s crime manual?

It lays down the standard operating procedures for the agency to implement in matters pertaining to special investigations, economic offences and cyber crimes. The crime manual dictates the working of the investigative agency and lays down procedures on how the agency is expected and supposed to act in its investigations.

New chapters and changes introduced:

  1. Changes in the standard operating procedures — especially to probe digital crimes in the cyber world and those across national boundaries.
  2. Quickening the pace of investigation: Cases at the heads-of-branches level will now have to be completed within six months while those supervised at the senior level of heads of zones will have to be completed within nine months from the earlier deadlines of around one year.
  3. A new chapter on procedures to be followed while conducting investigations abroad and coordinating and operating with Interpol.
  4. A chapter on investigations in the digital world and cyber crime.
  5. A new standard operating procedure for handling digital evidence has been introduced in the chapter.

Significance and implications of the new manual:

The new manual aims to break the silos while handling larger and complex cases by focussing more on team approach in the agency to achieve better results.

  • The revised manual takes into account the latest laws, Supreme Court judgements and their interpretations which are condensed into manual form, making it easy for the investigating officer to easily refer to and follow them.

About CBI:

  1. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating agency of India.
  2. Operating under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the CBI is headed by the Director.
  3. CBI, India’s first agency to investigate corruption, the Special Police Establishment, was set up in 1941, six years before independence from British rule to probe bribery and corruption in the country during World War II.
  4. In 1946, it was brought under the Home Department and its remit was expanded to investigate corruption in central and state governments under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act.
  5. The DSPE acquired its popular current name, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), through a Home Ministry resolution in 1963.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CBI and its establishment.
  2. Provisions of DSPE Act.
  3. What is General Consent?
  4. What happens when general consent is withdrawn by states?

Mains Link:

Can withdrawal mean that the CBI can no longer probe any case? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Shaheen-IX:

It is a bilateral exercise held between the Pakistan Air Force and the People’s Liberation Army Air Force since 2011.

”Jal Shakti Abhiyan II: Catch the Rain” awareness campaign:

  • Launched by the National Water Mission in collaboration with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) to promote rainwater harvesting.
  • Tagline: “Catch the rain, where it falls, when it falls”.

Status of Leopards report:

Released recently by the Environment Ministry.

Key findings:

  • 60 percent rise in Leopard population across the Country; India now has 12,852 leopards.
  • The States of Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra recorded the highest leopard estimates at 3,421, 1,783 and 1,690 respectively.

Leopard:

  • Scientific Name- Panthera pardus.
  • Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • Included in Appendix I of CITES.
  • Listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List.
  • Nine subspecies of the leopard have been recognized, and they are distributed across Africa and Asia.

 

Articles covered previously:

  1. Postal ballots proposal seeks to facilitate overseas electors, says EC.

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