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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 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. MP anti-conversion Bill.

2. Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. States borrow 43% more, get deeper in debt.

2. What are Zero coupon bonds?

3. ‘TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad’.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Govt. mulls mandatory front seat airbags.

2. Gaza.

3. Giant Rock Bee Honey.

4. Digital Ocean.

5. Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

MP anti-conversion Bill:


Context:

The proposed law is called the Madhya Pradesh Dharmik Swatantrata (Freedom of Religion) Bill 2020.

  • Madhya Pradesh Cabinet has given its nod to an ordinance on the Bill.

Key Provisions:

  1. Seeks to regulate inter-faith marriages in the state.
  2. Exempts reconversion to parental religion from its purview.
  3. Jail term of up to 10 years and a fine of ₹1 lakh for “conversion through marriage or other forcible means”.
  4. The bill seeks to prohibit religious conversions or an attempt of conversion by means of misrepresentation, allurement, threat, undue influence, coercion, marriage, and any other fraudulent means.
  5. The conspiracy and (the act of) abetting a person for conversion has also been prohibited.
  6. Forceful conversions and marriages will be a cognizable offence and be non-bailable.

Issues and concerns:

States are opting for laws on freedom of religion for marriage (‘love jihad’).

  • The Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, 2020, was notified by Uttar Pradesh last month.
  • Haryana and Karnataka announced intentions to enact such laws.

This has made the topic debatable.

What critics say?

The law has come under sharp criticism from several legal scholars who had contended that the concept of ‘love jihad’ did not have any constitutional or legal basis.

  • They have pointed to Article 21 of the constitution which guarantees individuals the right to marry a person of one’s choice.
  • Also, under Article 25, freedom of conscience, the practice and conversion of religion of one’s choice including not following any religion, are also guaranteed.

Supreme Court on Marriage and Conversion:

  • The Apex Court of India in its several judgements has held that the state and the courts have no jurisdiction over an adult’s absolute right to choose a life partner.
  • The Supreme Court of India, in both the Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases, has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Article 21.
  2. Article 25.
  3. What has the Allahabad High Court said in Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case.

Mains Link:

The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI):


Context:

Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has been nominated by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI) as a member on the GAVI Board.

Dr. Harsh Vardhan will be representing the South East Area Regional Office (SEARO)/ Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) constituency on the GAVI Board.

GAVI Board:

  • The GAVI Board is responsible for strategic direction and policymaking, oversees the operations of the Vaccine Alliance and monitors programme implementation.
  • With membership drawn from a range of partner organisations, as well as experts from the private sector, the Board provides a forum for balanced strategic decision making, innovation and partner collaboration.

What is GAVI?

Created in 2000, Gavi is an international organisation – a global Vaccine Alliance, bringing together public and private sectors with the shared goal of creating equal access to new and underused vaccines for children living in the world’s poorest countries.

Members:

Gavi brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry in both industrialised and developing countries, research and technical agencies, civil society, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other private philanthropists.

Main activities:

  1. GAVI’s strategy supports its mission to save children’s lives and protect people’s health by increasing access to immunisation in poor countries.
  2. It contributes to achieving the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals by focusing on performance, outcomes and results.
  3. Its partners provide funding for vaccines and intellectual resources for care advancement.
  4. They contribute, also, to strengthening the capacity of the health system to deliver immunisation and other health services in a sustainable manner.

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InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Members of GAVI?
  2. Largest contributors to GAVI?
  3. Who organised global vaccine summit recently?
  4. How much has India pledged to GAVI?
  5. What is a vaccine?
  6. What are different types of vaccines?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of GAVI.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

States borrow 43% more, get deeper in debt:


Context:

Borrowing 43% more in first 9 months, states fall deeper into debt trap.

  • According to an analysis by rating agency ICRA, States had borrowed ₹3,87,400 crore in the first nine months of FY20.

Borrowing by States:

Borrowing by the Government of India and Borrowing by States are defined under Article 292 and 293 of Constitution of India respectively.

Article 293 of Constitution of India “Borrowing by States”:

  1. Subject to the provisions of this article, the executive power of a State extends to borrowing within the territory of India upon the security of the Consolidated Fund of the State within such limits, if any, as may from time to time be fixed by the Legislature of such State by law and to the giving of guarantees within such limits, if any, as may be so fixed.
  2. The Government of India may, subject to such conditions as may be laid down by or under any law made by Parliament, make loans to any State or, so long as any limits fixed under Article292 are not exceeded, give guarantees in respect of loans raised by any State, and any sums required for the purpose of making such loans shall be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.
  3. A State may not without the consent of the Government of India raise any loan if there is still outstanding any part of a loan which has been made to the State by the Government of India or by its predecessor Government, or in respect of which a guarantee has been given by the Government of India or by its predecessor Government.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 293 is related to?
  2. Do states need Centre’s permission to Borrow from markets?
  3. Finance Commission- composition.
  4. Functions of the Finance Commission.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

What are Zero coupon bonds?


Context:

The government has used financial innovation to recapitalise Punjab & Sind Bank by issuing the lender Rs 5,500-crore worth of non-interest bearing bonds valued at par.

  • These are special types of zero coupon bonds issued by the government after proper due diligence and these are issued at par.

What are these special type of zero coupon bonds?

  • These are “non-interest bearing, non-transferable special GOI securities”.
  • They have a maturity of 10-15 years and issued specifically to Punjab & Sind Bank.
  • These recapitalisation bonds are special types of bonds issued by the Central government specifically to a particular institution.
  • It is not tradable, it is not transferable.
  • It is held at the held-to-maturity (HTM) category of the bank as per the RBI guidelines. Since it is held to maturity, it is accounted at the face value (and) no mark-to-market will be there.

How do they differ from traditional bonds?

Though zero coupon, these bonds are different from traditional zero coupon bonds on one account — as they are being issued at par, there is no interest; in previous cases, since they were issued at discount, they technically were interest bearing.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are bonds?
  2. What are government securities?
  3. What are zero coupon bonds?
  4. About HTM category.

Mains Link:

What are Zero Coupon Bonds? Discuss their significance.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

‘TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad’:


Context:

  • Inaugurated recently.
  • It is India’s first Test bed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial).
  • Special Features of this Facility include Test Tracks, Emulation of Real-World Scenarios, State of the Art Simulation Technologies, Road Infrastructure, V2X Communication, Drone Runways and Landing Area and many more.

 Background:

The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has sanctioned Rs. 135 crores to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems (UAVs, RoVs, etc.).

What are Cyber Physical Systems (CPS)?

They are a new class of engineered systems that integrate computation and physical processes in a dynamic environment. CPS encompasses technology areas of Cybernetics, Mechatronics, Design and Embedded systems, Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) among others.

About National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS):

  • To harness the potential of this new wave of technology and make India a leading player in CPS, the Union Cabinet approved NM-ICPS in 2018.
  • It had a total outlay of INR 3,660 crores for a period of five years.

The mission implementation would develop and bring:

  1. Cyber Physical Systems (CPS) and associated technologies within reach in the country,
  2. adoption of CPS technologies to address India specific National / Regional issues,
  3. produce Next Generation skilled manpower in CPS,
  4. catalyze Translational Research,
  5. accelerate entrepreneurship and start-up ecosystem development in CPS,
  6. give impetus to advanced research in CPS, Technology development and higher education in Science, Technology and Engineering disciplines, and
  7. place India at par with other advanced countries and derive several direct and indirect benefits.

Implementation:

  • The Mission aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  • These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are Cyber-Physical Systems?
  2. What is IoT?
  3. What is Big Data?
  4. Potential applications of CPS.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Cyber-Physical Systems and its associated technologies.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Govt. mulls mandatory front seat airbags:

  • The government has proposed to make airbags mandatory for the passengers in the front seat of a vehicle.
  • The step aims to improve passenger safety in case of accidents.
  • The Road Transport Ministry has issued a draft notification in this regard.

Gaza:

Islamist groups from Gaza fire rockets into sea to mark the anniversary of the start of the 2008 conflict with Israel.

Where is Gaza?

  • Gaza is a densely populated strip of land that is mostly surrounded by Israel and peopled almost exclusively by Palestinians. Israel used to have a military presence, but withdrew unilaterally in 2005.
  • Gaza is governed by the Islamist group Hamas, which formed in 1987 as a militant “resistance” group against Israel.

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Giant Rock Bee Honey:

Giant Rock Bee Honey added to Tribes India Collection.

  • It is a unique variant of honey, sourced from Malayali Tribes of Tamil Nadu.
  • Malayali is a tribal group from the Eastern Ghats in North Tamil Nadu.
  • With a population of around 3,58,000, they are the largest Scheduled Tribe in that region.

Digital Ocean:

  • Launched recently.
  • It is the first of its kind digital platform for Ocean Data Management.
  • Developed by Indian National Centre for Oceanic Information Services (INCOIS) of MoES.
  • It includes a set of applications developed to organize and present heterogeneous oceanographic data by adopting rapid advancements in geospatial technology.
  • It facilitates data visualization, data analysis to assess the evolution of oceanographic features, data fusion.

Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh:

  • Inaugurated recently.
  • Located at a height of 3500m, MetCenterLeh will be the highest meteorological centre in India.
  • It will provide forecast for important tourist places like Nubra, Changthang, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, Kargil, Drass, Dha-Baima (Aryan valley), Khalsi among others.

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