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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 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. HC orders ‘composite floor test’ in BTC.

2. Two-child policy.

3. US Congress passes Tibetan Policy and Support Act.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. CII, FICCI to seek a pause on wage code.

2. Centre to set up development finance entity.

3. Pokhran’s ‘firefly bird diverters’ shine to save the Great Indian Bustard.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Legion of Merit to PM Modi.

2. ‘FRUITS’ portal for land records launched.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

HC orders ‘composite floor test’ in BTC:


Context:

The Gauhati High Court has ordered a “composite floor test” in Assam’s autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) on or before December 26.

  • The BTC falls under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the governor is its constitutional head.

What’s the issue?

  • Election to the 40 member council had resulted in fractured mandate with Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) emerging single largest party with 17 seats.
  • However, BJP and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) supported by Gana Shakti Party (GSP) formed the government of council.

Following this, a petition was filed in the court.

What are Autonomous District Councils?

  • As per the Sixth Schedule, the four states viz. Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram contain the Tribal Areas which are technically different from the Scheduled Areas.
  • Though these areas fall within the executive authority of the state, provision has been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of the certain legislative and judicial powers.
  • Each district is an autonomous district and Governor can modify / divide the boundaries of the said Tribal areas by notification.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an autonomous district council?
  2. Who constitutes them?
  3. Powers and roles?
  4. What are regional councils?
  5. Composition of these councils?
  6. How many states are covered under 6th schedule of the Indian Constitution.

Mains Link:

What are Autonomous District Councils? Why have they been constituted? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Two-child policy:


Context:

The latest data from the National Family Health Survey-5 (NFHS-5) shows India doesn’t need a two-child policy: experts.

Supporting findings:

  • The use of modern contraceptives in rural and urban areas.
  • An improvement in family planning demands being met.
  • A decline in the average number of children borne by a woman.

These prove that the country’s population is stabilising.

Key data:

  1. The Total Fertility Rate (number of children born per woman) has decreased across 14 out of 17 States and is either at 2.1 children per woman or less.
  2. This also implies that most States have attained replacement level fertility, i.e., the average number of children born per woman at which a population exactly replaces itself from one generation to the next.

Criticisms related to two- child policy:

  1. Critics argue that the population growth of India will slow down naturally as the country grows richer and becomes more educated.
  2. There are already well-documented problems with China’s one-child policy, namely the gender imbalance resulting from a strong preference for boys and millions of undocumented children who were born to parents that already had their one child.
  3. By interfering with the birth rate, India faces a future with severe negative population growth, a serious problem that most developed countries are trying to reverse. With negative population growth, the number of old people receiving social services is larger than the young tax base that is paying for the social services.
  4. The law related may also be anti-women. Human rights activists argue that the law discriminate against women right from birth (through abortion or infanticide of female fetuses and babies).
  5. A legal restriction to two children could force couples to go for sex-selective abortions as there are only two ‘attempts’.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

US Congress passes Tibetan Policy and Support Act:


Context:

The legislation was recently passed.

Highlights of the new law:

  • It reaffirms the rights of the Tibetan Buddhists to choose the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama without any interference of China.
  • The legislation will empower the US Government to impose sanctions on the Chinese Government officials, who might try to interfere in the process of selecting the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama, just as they had done in case of Panchen Lama.
  • It also acknowledged the legitimacy of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile elected by the exiled community as well as the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA).
  • It seeks to introduce key provisions aimed at protecting the environment and water resources on the Tibetan Plateau.

Response:

It has been hailed by the Tibetans, who were concerned over the possibility of the Chinese Government making an attempt to install someone loyal to it as the 15th Dalai Lama after the death of the incumbent and use him as a puppet to fizzle out the global campaign against its occupation of Tibet.

Background:

The incumbent and the 14th Dalai Lama has been living in exile in India ever since his 1959 escape from Tibet, which had been occupied by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in 1950-51.

  • He has been leading the movement for “genuine autonomy” for Tibet and the Tibetans.
  • But, the speculation is rife over the fate of the movement beyond his lifetime.

About the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE):

The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

  • The 16th TPiE had 45 members:
  • 10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibetan – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey;
  • Two from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion;
  • Two representing each of the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe.
  • One from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

What does the Tibetan Constitution say?

The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.

  • In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile.
  • The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.

What is Kashag?

  • The Kashag (Cabinet) is Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who is Sikyong?
  2. What is Kashag?
  3. The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile.
  4. About the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE).

Mains Link:

What is the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE)? How is it recognised? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

CII, FICCI to seek a pause on wage code:


Context:

Representatives of industry bodies, including those from CII and FICCI, have requested the Labour Ministry to hold back implementation of new definition of wages, which would increase social security deductions and reduce the take-home pay of workers.

Need for:

The new definition of wages is part of the Code on Wages, 2019 passed by Parliament last year.

  • The new definition would result in a major cut in take-home salaries and also place a burden on employers.

About the Code on Wages Act:

The code will amalgamate the Payment of Wages Act, 1936, the Minimum Wages Act, 1948, the Payment of Bonus Act, 1965, and the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

  1. The wage code universalises the provisions of minimum wages and timely payment of wages to all employees, irrespective of the sector and wage ceiling.
  2. It ensures the “right to sustenance” for every worker and intends to increase the legislative protection of minimum wage from existing about 40% to 100% workforce.
  3. It also introduces the concept of statutory floor wage which will be computed based on minimum living conditions and extended qualitative living conditions across the country for all workers.
  4. While fixing the minimum rate of wages, the central government shall divide the concerned geographical area into three categories – metropolitan area, non-metropolitan area and the rural area.
  5. Wages include salary, allowance, or any other component expressed in monetary terms. This does not include bonus payable to employees or any travelling allowance, among others.
  6. The minimum wages decided by the central or state governments must be higher than the floor wage.
  7. Payment of wages: Wages will be paid in (i) coins, (ii) currency notes, (iii) by cheque, (iv) by crediting to the bank account, or (v) through electronic mode.  The wage period will be fixed by the employer as either: (i) daily, (ii) weekly, (iii) fortnightly, or (iv) monthly.

Advisory boards:

The central and state governments will constitute advisory boards.

  • The Central Advisory Board will consist of: (i) employers, (ii) employees (in equal number as employers), (iii) independent persons, and (iv) five representatives of state governments.
  • State Advisory Boards will consist of employers, employees, and independent persons. Further, one-third of the total members on both the central and state Boards will be women.  The Boards will advise the respective governments on various issues including: (i) fixation of minimum wages, and (ii) increasing employment opportunities for women.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Composition and functions of the Central Advisory Board established under Code on wages act.
  2. What is a floor wage and who sets it?
  3. Who decides the minimum wages?
  4. What constitutes wages under the act?
  5. Criteria for determination of minimum wages.

Mains Link:

Write a note on code on wages Act, 2019.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

Centre to set up development finance entity:


Context:

The government plans to set up a Development Finance Institution (DFI) in the next three to four months.

  • In her last Budget speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed to set up DFIs for promoting infrastructure funding.

Need for:

  • To mobilise the ₹111 lakh crore required for funding of the ambitious national infrastructure pipeline.
  • To enhance credit rating of projects. It would fund projects where others are not willing to enter because of the risks involved.

DFIs in India- Historical background:

DFI would have a key developmental role apart from the financing role.

  • Prior to liberalisation, India had DFIs engaged in development of industry.
  • ICICI and IDBI, in their previous avatars, were DFIs.
  • The country’s oldest financial institution IFCI Ltd. too had acted as a DFI.

About national infrastructure pipeline:

In the budget speech of 2019-2020, Finance Minister announced an outlay of Rs 100 lakh Crore for infrastructure projects over the next 5 years.

  • NIP is a first-of-its-kind initiative to provide world-class infrastructure across the country and improve the quality of life for all citizens.
  • It will improve project preparation, attract investments (both domestic & foreign) into infrastructure, and will be crucial for attaining the target of becoming a $5 trillion economy by FY 2025.
  • Covers both economic and social infrastructure projects.

Measures needed:

  1. Investment needed: ₹111 lakh crore over the next five years (2020-2025) to build infrastructure projects and drive economic growth.
  2. Energy, roads, railways and urban projects are estimated to account for the bulk of projects (around 70%).
  3. The centre (39 percent) and state (40 percent) are expected to have an almost equal sharein implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.
  4. Aggressive push towards asset sales.
  5. Monetisation of infrastructure assets.
  6. Strengthening the municipal bond market.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is NIP? When was it launched?
  2. Projects covered under NIP.
  3. Key recommendations made by task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on NIP.
  4. Three committees proposed to be set up as per the recommendations made by Task Force.
  5. What is India Investment Grid?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and features of NIP.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Pokhran’s ‘firefly bird diverters’ shine to save the Great Indian Bustard:


Context:

The Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) along with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) India has come up with a unique initiative — a “firefly bird diverter” for overhead power lines in areas where Great Indian Bustard (GIB) populations are found in the wild.

Need for:

  • Power lines, especially high-voltage transmission lines with multiple overhead wires, are the most important current threat for GIBs in the Thar region, and are causing unsustainably high mortality in about 15% of their population.
  • The Supreme Court of India, in a recent hearing, had also directed that power lines in GIB landscapes should be placed underground.

What are firefly bird diverters?

The diverters are called fireflies because they look like fireflies from a distance, shining on power lines in the night.

This model has been endorsed by experts from the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Species Survival Commission’s (SSC) Bustard Specialist Group.

  • The firefly detectors have been installed in the Pokhran tehsil in Rajasthan.

firefly

Great Indian Bustards (GIB):

IUCN status: critically endangered.

Listed in Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection)Act, 1972 and in the CMS Convention and in Appendix I of CITES.

Identified as one of the species for the recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats of the Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Project Great Indian Bustard — state of Rajasthan — identifying and fencing off bustard breeding grounds in existing protected areas as well as provide secure breeding enclosures in areas outside protected areas.

Protected areas: Desert National Park Sanctuary — Rajasthan, Rollapadu Wildlife Sanctuary – Andhra Pradesh and Karera Wildlife Sanctuary– Madhya Pradesh.

Habitats in India:

Only two districts in Rajasthan — Jaisalmer and Barmer — have a breeding GIB population in the wild. The bird can also be found in very small numbers in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GIB.
  2. IUCN Status
  3. Protected areas.
  4. Habitats.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Legion of Merit to PM Modi:

Context:

US President Donald Trump has conferred one of the country’s highest military decoration — The Legion of Merit, Degree Chief Commander — to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Australian PM Scott Morrison and former Japanese PM Shinzo Abe.

  • There have been two Indian recipients of the hounour in the past: Field Marshal K M Cariappa in 1950, and Gen S M Srinagesh in 1955.

Key Points:Legion_Merit

  • The award is being given since 1943.
  • It is a prestigious award conferred by the President of the United States, typically upon Heads of State or Heads of Government of other countries.

 

 

‘FRUITS’ portal for land records launched:

  • The ‘FRUITS’ (Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System) portal, a project of e-governance by Karnataka Government.
  • The portal was integrated to the Bhoomi portal of the State for fetching and validating land details.
  • It will eliminate visit of farmers to sub-registrar offices.

How it works?

  1. In this portal, all the farmers will be registered and given a FID Number.
  2. Using this number, the financial and lending institutions can access the land details of the farmers as well as their borrowings and take a quick decision on lending to the farmers depending on their requirements.
  3. All financial institutions would be brought on to the portal so that at one place, all the data pertaining to the loans of the farmers would be available.

 


Value- additions for Mains:


No appetite for paid vaccines, finds rural survey:

The ‘COVID-19 Vaccine and Rural India’ survey was conducted by Gaon Connection, a rural media platform. Key findings:

  1. Less than half (44%) the respondents were willing to pay for vaccination against COVID-19.
  2. 36% said outright that they would not pay for it.
  3. Since affordability is a big issue in rural areas, respondents were asked if they hypothetically had to pay ₹1,000 for two doses of the vaccine, then who would get vaccinated first in their family. To this, more than 33% of the respondents said they would vaccinate their old parents.
  4. 43.5% of those surveyed said vaccines should first be given to doctors and nurses.
  5. More than 51% respondents said the disease was a “conspiracy by China”, 22% believed it was a failure of people to take precautions and 18% believed this was the government’s failure.
  6. COVID-19 has also changed the food habits of rural citizens with almost 70% respondents saying they had stopped eating outside food. Over 33% said they had started eating more vegetables, whereas 30% said they were eating more fruits.

Link: The Hindu 


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