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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 28 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. 1761 Battle of Panipat.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Why is weather dept asking people in north India not to drink alcohol during the cold wave?

2. Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Telangana withdraws regulated farming.

2. Businesses with monthly turnover of over ₹50 lakh to pay at least 1% GST liability in cash.

3. Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.

4. Inner-Line Permit.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. LAC hotspots turn brand buzzwords in Valley.

2. Portulaca laljii.

3. Sahi Fasal Campaign.

4. Monpa handmade paper.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

1761 Battle of Panipat:


Context:

Manoj Dani, an independent U.S.-based researcher of art history, has assimilated rare paintings pertaining to the battle and its key players in a work titled Battle of Panipat: In Light of Rediscovered Paintings.

  • The book contains rare paintings from the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the British Library, the National Museum in Delhi, Bonhams of U.K. and the Pune-based Bharat Itihas Sanshodak Mandal (BISM).

What does the book tell about the battle?

There are a myriad of myths surrounding Panipat. Far from a well-established narrative of this pivotal event, we have only scratched the surface of this crucial episode, and that whatever we know is only from a handful or selected sources of dubious veracity.

  • The paintings depict key players such as Ahmad Shah Abdali, Sadashivrao Bhau, Najib Khan Rohilla, Dattaji Shinde, Vishwas Rao, Suraj Mal Jat and other Maratha, Afghan, Rohilla and Jat chiefs.
  • The book deftly weaves analysis from original archival sources, casting a revealing light on the shifting alliances of 18th century Indian politics.

Background:

Two other major battles had been fought on the Panipat plains:

  1. The First Battle of Panipat, in 1526, laid the foundation of the Mughal Empire in India after its first ruler, Babur, ended the Delhi Sultanate, which at the time was led by the Lodi dynasty.
  2. The Second Battle of Panipat, in 1556, cemented Mughal rule when Akbar fought off a threat from the king Hemu ‘Vikramaditya’.

About the Third Battle of Panipat, fought in 1761:

  • Fought between Maratha forces and invading armies of Afghan general Ahmed Shah Abdali of Durrani Empire in 1761.
  • Abdali was supported by two Indian allies— the Rohillas Najib-ud-daulah, Afghans of the Doab region and Shuja-ud-Daula- the Nawab of Awadh.

How it started?

  1. After the death of Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, there was a sudden rise of the Marathas. The Marathas reversed all his territorial gains in the Deccan and conquered a considerable part of India.
  2. The decline was hastened by the invasion of India by Nader Shah, who also took away Takht-i-Taus (the Peacock Throne) and the Kohinoor Diamond in 1739.
  3. Abdali planned to attack the Marathas when his son was driven out of Lahore.
  4. By the end of 1759, Abdali with his Afghan tribes reached Lahore as well as Delhi and defeated the smaller enemy garrisons.
  5. The two armies fought at Karnal and Kunjpura where the entire Afghan garrison was killed or enslaved.
  6. The massacre of the Kunjpura garrison infuriated Durrani to such an extent that he ordered for crossing the river at all costs to attack the Marathas.
  7. Smaller battles continued through months and forces from both the sides amassed for the final assault. But food was running out for the Marathas.

Outcomes:

  1. The Marathas were defeated in the battle, with 40,000 of their troops killed, while Abdali’s army is estimated to have suffered around 20,000 casualties.
  2. It marked a loss of prestige for the Marathas, who lost their preeminent position in north India after this war, paving the way for British colonial power to expand here.
  3. The Marathas lost some of their most important generals and administrators, including Sadashivrao and heir-apparent Vishwasrao of the Peshwa household, Ibrahim Khan Gardi, Jankojirao Scindia, and Yashwantrao Puar.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the third battle of Panipat.
  2. Key players in the battle.
  3. Causes.
  4. Outcomes.
  5. Who was Shuja-ud-Daula?
  6. About the first and second battles of Panipat.

Mains Link:

Write a note on causes and outcomes of the third battle of Panipat.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Why is weather dept asking people in north India not to drink alcohol during the cold wave?


Context:

To avoid an adverse reaction to the cold wave, the IMD shared a list of recommendations, one of which was avoiding alcohol.

Background:

According to the IMD, severe cold wave conditions are likely in parts of Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan from December 29 onwards. Maximum temperature is also forecast to fall by 3 to 5 degrees Celsius after December 28.

Why is alcohol bad in cold weather?

Alcohol can decrease the core temperature of the body and increase the risk of hypothermia during cold exposure. A retrospective study in 2004 showed that alcohol consumption is associated with 68 per cent of accidental hypothermia cases.

 How it works?

  1. Alcohol is a vasodilator, which means that it causes blood vessels to relax and dilate or open.
  2. So after consuming alcohol, the volume of blood brought to the skin’s surface increases, making you feel warmer as a result.
  3. This is also what causes an intoxicated person to look flushed.
  4. As the body begins to believe that it is warm, you also start to sweat — a reaction that automatically reduces overall body temperature.
  5. Drinking copious amounts of alcohol may affect your bodies ability to detect the cold properly, which is in place to protect you from frostbite and hypothermia.

However, experts say drinking moderately in temperate environments does not significantly affect the core temperature of the body.

What is hypothermia?

  • Hypothermia is a severe medical condition where the body loses heat before it can generate it, resulting in a dangerously low body temperature.
  • While normal body temperature lies at around 37 degrees Celsius, the body temperature of a person suffering from hypothermia drops to below 35 degrees Celsius.
  • Common signs include shivering, slow rate of breathing, slurred speech, cold skin and fatigue.

Alcohol also has psychological and behavioural effects, which can impact a person’s ability to correctly perceive how cold it is.

What is a coldwave?

  • A cold wave occurs when the minimum temperature dips to 10 degrees Celsius or less and the departure from normal temperature is 4.5 degrees Celsius or lower.
  • In severe cold wave conditions, departure from normal temperature is 6.5 degrees or lower.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a cold wave?
  2. Severe cold waves.
  3. Classifications.
  4. About IMD.
  5. What is a Vasodilator?
  6. What is hypothermia?

Mains Link:

discuss why is weather dept asking people in north India not to drink alcohol during the cold wave?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine:


Context:

The first indigenous vaccine against pneumonia, developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII), will be launched.

  • In July, India’s drug regulator had granted market approval for the Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate vaccine.

How the disease is spread?

Infectious agents may include bacteria, viruses and fungi.

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of bacterial pneumonia in children, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is the second most common cause of bacterial pneumonia. Respiratory syncytial virus is the most common viral cause of pneumonia.
  • Air sacs in an infected individual’s lungs (alveoli) become inflamed due to deposits of fluid and pus, making it painful and difficult for them to breathe.

About pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23):

It protects against pneumococcal infections.

  • PPSV23 protects against 23 types of pneumococcal bacteria.

Helpful Terms:

  1. Conjugate: A type of vaccine that joins a protein to an antigen in order to improve the protection the vaccine provides.
  2. Polysaccharide: A type of vaccine that is composed of long chains of sugar molecules that resemble the surface of certain types of bacteria in order to help the immune system mount a response.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Pneumonia- types, causes and symptoms.
  2. Antigens vs Antibodies.
  3. How a vaccine works?
  4. Types of vaccines.
  5. About DGCI.
  6. Procedure to be followed for vaccine approval in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.

Telangana withdraws regulated farming:


Context:

The Telangana government has withdrawn regulated farming, introduced in the last agricultural season to discourage maize and promote fine variety of paddy, pulses and oilseeds for reasons of demand in the market.

  • The government has also decided not to purchase produce on its own from farmers in their villages. Now, the farmers can sell their produce wherever they fetched a good price.

Rationale behind the move:

It was not possible for the government to purchase or sell farmers’ produce as it was not into merchandise.

All you need to know about Telangana’s regulated farming policy:

The move was aimed at making agriculture a more profitable venture through scientific cultivation based on market demands.

  • Under the policy, the government would guide farmers on what crops should be cultivated in which area and to what extent.
  • The State government would extend Rythu Bandhu benefits and ensure MSP only to farmers who follow the directions of the State government.

What is the Rythu Bandhu?

Rythu Bandhu scheme also Farmer’s Investment Support Scheme (FISS) is a welfare program to support farmer’s investment for two crops a year by the Government of Telangana.

  • The scheme is meant to incentivise the state’s farmers for their day to day work.
  • Under the scheme, almost 58.33 lakh farmers of Telangana state are provided Rs 4000 per acre, per season (crop-sowing) – to support the farm investment twice a year (total Rs 8,000), for both – the Rabi and the Kharif seasons.
  • The purpose behind the scheme was to break the vicious cycle of rural indebtedness.

Who qualifies under the Rythu Bandhu scheme?

  1. To apply under the scheme and to make the cut, the farmer should have been a resident of Telangana state and must own farming land.
  2. The scheme is applicable for small and marginal farmers; however, commercial farmers are excluded from the scheme.
  3. Also, farmers who till rented land are excluded from under this scheme.

Currently, more than 8 lakh farmers in Telangana enjoy the benefits of the Rythu Bandhu scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Businesses with monthly turnover of over ₹50 lakh to pay at least 1% GST liability in cash:


Context:

Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has introduced Rule 86B in Goods and Services Tax (GST) rules which restricts use of input tax credit (ITC) for discharging GST liability to 99 per cent.

  • As per the new rule, Businesses with monthly turnover of over ₹50 lakh will have to mandatorily pay at least 1 per cent of their GST liability in cash.

Exceptions under the new rule:

This restriction will not apply where the managing director or any partner have paid more than ₹1 lakh as income tax or the registered person has received a refund amount of more than ₹1 lakh in the preceding financial year on account of unutilised input tax credit.

Rationale behind this move?

The idea remains to prevent misutilisation of credit by businesses taking fake credits.

What’s the issue now?

There are fears that the mandatory cash payment would adversely affect small businesses, increase their working capital requirement and make GST a more complex indirect tax system.

What is Input Tax Credit (ITC)?

  • It is the tax that a business pays on a purchase and that it can use to reduce its tax liability when it makes a sale.
  • In simple terms, input credit means at the time of paying tax on output, you can reduce the tax you have already paid on inputs and pay the balance amount.

Exceptions: A business under composition scheme cannot avail of input tax credit. ITC cannot be claimed for personal use or for goods that are exempt.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GST?
  2. What is composition scheme?
  3. What is Input tax credit?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Input tax credit.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- roadways.

Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor:


Context:

PM to inaugurate the New Bhaupur- New Khurja section and the Operation Control Centre of Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor.

About the eastern corridor:

Length: 1856 km.

Consists of two distinct segments: an electrified double-track segment & an electrified single-track segment.

Starts from Sahnewal near Ludhiana (Punjab) and will pass through the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand to terminate at Dankuni in West Bengal.

Constructed by Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL), that has been set up as a special purpose vehicle to build and operate Dedicated Freight Corridors.

Significance:

Eastern Corridor is projected to cater to a number of traffic streams-coal for the power plants in the northern region of U.P., Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and parts of Rajasthan from the Eastern coal fields, finished steel, food grains, cement, fertilizers, lime stone from Rajasthan to steel plants in the east and general goods.

Why do we need DFCs?

Increased burden: Covering a total of 10,122 km, these corridors carry the heaviest traffic and are highly congested. The route carries 52% of passenger traffic and 58% of freight traffic, according to the Make-in-India report of 2017. Also, these routes are highly saturated, with line capacity utilisation reaching as high as 150%.

Rise in demand: Considering increased transport demands, overtly congested routes and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions associated with road transport, these freight corridors will help reduce the cost and allow faster transportation.

Revenue generation: They will open new avenues for investment, as this will lead to the construction of industrial corridors and logistic parks along these routes.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About DFCs.
  2. Eastern and western links: Length, extent and states covered.
  3. About DFCCIL.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for DFCs.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Inner-Line Permit:


Context:

Meghalaya’s civil society groups have renewed calls for British-era Inner Line Permit.

Why Meghalaya wants ILP?

Fear among the indigenous people of Northeast against an “illegal immigrant influx”, its effects and long-term damages. Northeast India shares borders with countries such as China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan.

What is an ILP?

It is a document required by non- natives to visit or stay in a state that is protected under the ILP system.

At present, four Northeastern states are covered, namely, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur and Nagaland.

  • Both the duration of stay and the areas allowed to be accessed for any non native are determined by the ILP.
  • The ILP is issued by the concerned state government and can be availed both by applying online or in person.

An ILP is only valid for domestic tourists.

Rationale behind:

The Inner Line Permit is an extension of the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act 1873.

After the British occupied the Northeast, the colonisers started exploiting the region and its resources for economic benefits.

  • They first started tea plantations and oil industries in Brahmaputra Valley.
  • The indigenous tribes living in the hill areas would regularly conduct raids into the plains to loot and plunder, marauding the tea gardens, oil rigs and trading posts set up by the British East India Company.
  • It was in this context that the BEFR 1873 was promulgated.

Should Meghalaya be brought under ILP?

The ILP is considered the only mechanism to contain influx in the state. Influx is perceived as dangerous because it could upset the fragile demographic balance of the tribals of Meghalaya.

  • Influx definitely is a matter of concern but it requires better solutions than the ILP, not instant solutions demanded by pressure groups. Indeed, how can such a far-reaching policy be decided by one or two groups?

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

Since ILP is frequently in News, concentrate on:

  1. Map based questions involving North- Eastern states.
  2. NE state and their international neighbours.

Mains link:

Analyse the issue of imposition of ILP system in India’s northeastern states and the dilemma this system has posed to the Indian government.

Sources: the Print.

 


Facts for Prelims:


LAC hotspots turn brand buzzwords in Valley:

For a Delhi-based shoe company, volatile locations between India and China across LAC have become money-spinners; a range of winter shoes named after them is flying off the shelves across the Kashmir Valley.

Key Points include: ‘Galwan’, ‘Doklam’, ‘Kargil’, and ‘Point 5’ among others.

(Note: try to locate the above mentioned points on map and have a brief idea about their surroundings).

Portulaca laljii:

It is a new species of the wild sun rose discovered recently from the Eastern Ghats in India.

  • Discovered from Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • It has unique features such as a tuberous root, no hair in its leaf axils, a reddish-pink flower, prolate-shaped fruits, and copper brown seeds without lustre.
  • The succulent nature of tuberous roots allow the plant to survive on rocky crevices.

Sahi Fasal Campaign:

Launched by National Water Mission in 2019 to nudge farmers in the water stressed areas to grow crops which are not water intensive, but use water very efficiently; and are economically remunerative; are healthy and nutritious; suited to the agro-climatic-hydro characteristics of the area; and are environmentally friendly.

  • Creating awareness among farmers on appropriate crops, micro-irrigation, soil moisture conservation etc; weaning them away from water intensive crops like paddy, sugarcane etc to crops like corn, maize etc which require less water;etc ultimately  leading to increase in the income of farmers are the key elements of “Sahi Fasal”.

Monpa handmade paper:

  • It is a 1000-year-old heritage art of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The art of making handmade paper originated among the Monpas over 1000 years ago.
  • Gradually this art became an integral part of local custom and culture of Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The fine-textured handmade paper, which is called ‘Mon Shugu’ in the local dialect, is integral to the vibrant culture of the local tribes in Tawang.
  • The Monpa handmade paper is made from the bark of a local tree called ‘Shugu Sheng’, which has medicinal values too.

Context:

The KVIC has commissioned a Monpa handmade paper making unit in Tawang which not only aims at reviving the art but also in engaging the local youths with this art professionally so that they can earn from it.


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