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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 25 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. What the law says about a governor’s power to summon, prorogue or dissolve an assembly?

2. Five Month Old Infant Moves High Court Seeking Ban On Vehicular Movement Inside Cubbon Park.

3. Post- Brexit deal.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India challenges Vodafone arbitration ruling in Singapore.

2. National Mathematics Day.

3. IFFCO gas leak: How dangerous is ammonia?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is PASSEX?

2. What is Visva-Bharati?

3. Good governance day.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

What the law says about a governor’s power to summon, prorogue or dissolve an assembly?


Context:

Kerala government to seek governor’s nod again for special assembly session to discuss farmer agitation.

Constitution on a governor’s power:

There are two provisions in the Constitution that deal with a governor’s power to summon, prorogue and dissolve an assembly.

Under Article 174, a governor shall summon the House at a time and place, as she or he thinks fit.

  • Article 174 (2) (a) says a governor may from “time to time” prorogue the House and 174 (2) (b) allows her or him to dissolve the Legislative Assembly.

Article 163 says the governor shall exercise her or his functions with the aid and advice of the council of ministers. But it also adds that she or he would not need their advice if the Constitution requires her or him to carry out any function at her/his discretion.

What has the Supreme Court said?

A 2016 verdict of the Supreme Court in the Nabam Rebia case, which had resulted from a constitutional crisis in Arunachal Pradesh, had expressly stated that a “governor can summon, prorogue and dissolve the House, only on the aid and advice of the council of ministers”.

  • But the court also clarified that if the governor had reasons to believe that the chief minister and her or his council of ministers have lost the confidence of the House, a floor test could be ordered.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of Articles 163 and 174.
  2. Is the Governor bound by the advice of the chief minister-led council of ministers when it comes to convening the assembly session?
  3. Who appoints Chief Minister?
  4. Discretionary powers of Governor.
  5. Tenure of governor.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the discretionary powers of a governor of state.

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.

Five Month Old Infant Moves High Court Seeking Ban On Vehicular Movement Inside Cubbon Park:


Context:

The Karnataka High Court has issued notice to the state government and other respondents on a public interest litigation filed by a five-month-old infant, seeking to ban traffic movement within and through Cubbon park, in Bengaluru.

What’s the issue?

  1. The petitioner argues that allowing vehicle movement inside the park has a direct impact on the health, wellbeing and quality of life of the Petitioner, who as an infant is made to bear the burden of the environmentally irresponsible Respondents.
  2. It also impinges on the rights of the petitioner to enjoy pollution free air and water and endangers and impairs his quality of life and is a clear derogation of his constitutional rights.

Need for:

The plea relies on a study carried out by a team of researchers from the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, to understand the traffic impact should the Park’s thoroughfares be closed to vehicular traffic.

  1. The said researchers concluded that that there would be a net reduction in CO2 and PM2.5 emissions as compared to when the traffic is allowed inside the Park.
  2. The report has recommended closure of the Park to vehicular traffic after examining the significant improvement to the environment when vehicular traffic was stopped, and an absence of any impact on the traffic when the Park is open to vehicular traffic.

What is a PIL?

Public Interest litigation (PIL), as the name suggests, is litigation for any public interest. As the word ‘litigation’ means ‘legal action’, PIL stands for a legal action taken by a public spirited person in order to protect public interest (any act for the benefit of public).

  • A Public Interest Litigation can be filed against a State/ Central Govt., Municipal Authorities, and not any private party.
  • According to the Constitution of India, the petition can be filed under Article 226 before a High Court or under Article 32 before the Supreme Court of India.

Background:

Justice Bhagwati and Justice V R Krishna Iyer were among the first judges in the country to admit PILs.

Various areas where public interest litigation (PIL) can be filed:

  1. Violation of religious rights or basic fundamental rights
  2. Violation of basic human rights of the poor
  3. Compel municipal authorities to perform a public duty
  4. Content or conduct of government policy

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is PIL?
  2. Who can file it?
  3. Areas covered.
  4. Procedure to be followed.
  5. Original jurisdiction of Supreme Court vs High Court.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PIL.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Post- Brexit deal:


Context:

The UK and European Union have finally agreed a deal that will define their future relationship.

Background:

Ever since the UK left the the EU on 31 January, both sides have been talking about what the new rules should be.

What do we know about the deal?

The deal contains new rules for how the UK and EU will live, work and trade together.

  • No taxes on each other’s goods when they cross borders (known as tariffs).
  • No limits on the amount of things which can be traded (known as quotas).
  • Tariffs: Tariff-free and quota-free access to one of the world’s biggest markets is the backbone of the Brexit deal and goes beyond the EU’s deals with Canada or Japan.
  • Trade: There will be mutual recognition of trusted trader programmes. This means UK producers will have to comply with both UK and EU standards.
  • Professional qualifications: There will be no more automatic recognition for doctors, nurses, architects, dentists, pharmacists, vets, engineers. They will now have to seek recognition in the member state they wish to practise in.
  • Mobility – freedom of movement: UK nationals no longer have the freedom to work, study, start a business or live in the EU. Visas will be required for stays over 90 days.
  • Fisheries: The UK will leave the common fisheries policy.

Why did the deal take so long?

Because so much was at stake.

The EU is the UK’s nearest and biggest trading partner, The UK government says the deal covers trade that was worth £668bn in 2019.

While the UK was in the EU, companies could buy and sell goods across EU borders without paying tariffs.

  • Without the deal, businesses would have had to start paying these taxes, which would have added to their costs.
  • No deal would have also meant even more border checks, which could have caused delays for lorries transporting products.

What happens next?

  • Even though the deal has been agreed, it still needs to be made law.
  • For that to happen it must be looked at and approved by both the UK and European parliaments.

What are the EU and Brexit?

The EU is made up of 27 European countries.

EU citizens are free to live and work in other EU countries, and firms in those countries can buy and sell each other’s goods without checks or extra taxes at borders.

  • The UK was the first country to leave the EU and this was known as Brexit – British exit.
  • Brexit happened because a public vote – or referendum – was held in June 2016, to decide whether the UK should be in the EU- Leave won by 52% to 48% .

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link and Mains Link:

  • Brexit- meaning, key features and impact on India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

India challenges Vodafone arbitration ruling in Singapore:


Context:

India has challenged the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s verdict in favour of British telecom giant Vodafone Group in a case involving a Rs 20,000 crore demand from the Indian income tax authorities, in Singapore.

PCA at The Hague had ruled that:

  1. India’s retrospective demand of Rs 22,100 crore as capital gains and withholding tax imposed on Vodafone for a 2007 deal was “in breach of the guarantee of fair and equitable treatment”.
  2. India should not to pursue the tax demand any more against Vodafone Group.

long_winding

What happened after India passed the retrospective taxation law?

  • The Act was passed by Parliament in 2012 and the onus to pay the taxes fell back on Vodafone.
  • Later, Vodafone Group invoked Clause 9 of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed between India and the Netherlands in 1995.

Article 9 of the BIT says that any dispute between “an investor of one contracting party and the other contracting party in connection with an investment in the territory of the other contracting party” shall as far as possible be settled amicably through negotiations.

What is the Bilateral Investment Treaty?

The BIT was signed for promotion and protection of investment by companies of each country in the other’s jurisdiction.

  • The two countries would, under the BIT, ensure that companies present in each other’s jurisdictions would be “at all times be accorded fair and equitable treatment and shall enjoy full protection and security in the territory of the other”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. PCA- composition, functions and members.
  2. Are PCA rulings binding on parties.
  3. Clause 9 of the Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) signed between India and the Netherlands in 1995.
  4. What is retrospective taxation?
  5. Overview of UNCITRAL.

Mains Link:

Discuss the functions and significance of PCA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Achievements of Indians in science & technology;

National Mathematics Day:


Context:

Celebrated every year on December 22.

  • It is observed to honor the birth anniversary of the famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who greatly contributed towards mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.

Highlights of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life:

  • In 1911, Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
  • Ramanujan traveled to England in 1914, where Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research.
  • He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his own theory of divergent series.
  • The number 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital.
  • Hardy observed Ramanujan’s work primarily involved fields less known even amongst other pure mathematicians.
  • Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December as ‘State IT Day’, memorialising both the man and his achievements, as a native of Tamil Nadu.

The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link and Mains Link:

  • Key achievements and contributions of Sri Ramanujan.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster Management.

IFFCO gas leak: How dangerous is ammonia?


Context:

A major ammonia gas leakage at the Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) unit at Prayagraj.

What is Ammonia?

  • A tri-hydroid of nitrogen (NH3), ammonia is a building block for ammonium nitrate (NH4NO3) that is used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertiliser.
  • It interacts immediately upon contact with moisture present in the skin, eyes, oral cavity, and respiratory tract to form ammonium hydroxide, which is very caustic and disrupts the cell membrane lipids, ultimately leading to cellular destruction.

What are main uses of ammonia?

  • Ammonia is critical in the manufacturing of fertilizers, and is one of the largest-volume synthetic chemicals produced in the world.
  • More than 80 per cent of ammonia made is consumed in the manufacturing of fertilizer, and most of the remainder goes into the production of formaldehyde.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water?
  2. Permissible level of Sulfate.
  3. Desirable limit of hardness of water.
  4. The desirable level of faecal coliform.
  5. Uses of Ammonia.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


What is PASSEX?

A passing exercise is an exercise done between two navies to ensure that the navies are able to communicate and cooperate in times of war or humanitarian relief. Common drills include flashing light drills, semaphore drills, and flaghoist drills.

What is Visva-Bharati?

  • Visva-Bharati is a public research central university and an Institution of National Importance located in Santiniketan, West Bengal, India.
  • It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
  • Visva-Bharati was declared to be a central university and an institution of national importance by an Act of Parliament in 1951.

Why in News?

Centenary celebrations.

Good governance day:

Observed annually on December 25.

  • The day is also celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • The day aims to let the citizens, the students, who are the future of the country know about the government’s responsibilities and duties that it needs to fulfill.

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