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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 January 2021

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. Foundation stone laid for ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. How horizontal, vertical quotas work; what Supreme Court said?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy.

2. National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. SEBI moots entry norms to set up stock exchanges.

2. Magnetotelluric-MT survey.

3. Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Exam.

4. Toycathon-2021.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Foundation stone laid for ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’:


Context:

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa laid the foundation stone for the ‘New Anubhava Mantapa’ in Basavakalyan, the place where 12th century poet-philosopher Basavanna lived for most of his life.

  • The project will showcase the 12th Century Anubhava Mantapa (often referred to as the “first Parliament of the world”) established by him in Basavakalyan, where philosophers and social reformers held debates.
  • The building will adopt the Kalyana Chalukya style of architecture.

About Basavanna, his thoughts and contributions:

  1. Basavanna was a 12th-century philosopher, statesman, Kannada poet and a social reformer during the reign of the Kalachuri-dynasty king Bijjala I in Karnataka,
  2. Basavanna spread social awareness through his poetry, popularly known as Vachanaas.
  3. Basavanna rejected gender or social discrimination, superstitions and rituals.
  4. He introduced new public institutions such as the Anubhava Mantapa (or, the “hall of spiritual experience”), which welcomed men and women from all socio-economic backgrounds to discuss spiritual and mundane questions of life, in open.
  5. As a leader, he developed and inspired a new devotional movement named Virashaivas, or “ardent, heroic worshippers of Shiva”. This movement shared its roots in the ongoing Tamil Bhakti movement, particularly the Shaiva Nayanars traditions, over the 7th- to 11th-century.
  6. Basava championed devotional worship that rejected temple worship and rituals led by Brahmins, and replaced it with personalized direct worship of Shiva through practices such as individually worn icons and symbols like a small linga.
  7. Basaveshwara is the first Kannadiga in whose honour a commemorative coin has been minted in recognition of his social reforms.
  8. In November 2015, the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi inaugurated the statue of Basaveshwara along the bank of the river Thames at Lambeth in London.

Basavanna and Sharana movement:

  1. The Sharana movement he presided over attracted people from all castes, and like most strands of the Bhakti movement, produced a corpus of literature, the vachanas, that unveiled the spiritual universe of the Veerashaiva saints.
  2. The egalitarianism of Basavanna’s Sharana movement was too radical for its times.
  3. He set up the Anubhava Mandapa, where the Sharanas, drawn from different castes and communities, gathered and engaged in learning and discussions.
  4. Sharanas challenged the final bastion of the caste order: they organised a wedding where the bridegroom was from a lower caste, and the bride a Brahmin.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Shramana tradition?
  2. What are Vachanas?
  3. What is Anubhava Mantapa?
  4. Who are Kalachuris?
  5. Who are Nayanars?
  6. What is Bhakti Movement?

Mains Link:

Write a note on important contributions made by 12th Century reformer Basavanna to the society.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

How horizontal, vertical quotas work; what Supreme Court said?


Context:

The Supreme Court in Saurav Yadav versus State of Uttar Pradesh case has clarified the position of law on the interplay of vertical and horizontal reservations.

  • The case was on issues arising from the way different classes of reservation were to be applied in the selection process to fill posts of constables in the state.

What are vertical and horizontal reservations?

Vertical reservation: Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes is referred to as vertical reservation. It applies separately for each of the groups specified under the law.

Horizontal reservation refers to the equal opportunity provided to other categories of beneficiaries such as women, veterans, the transgender community, and individuals with disabilities, cutting through the vertical categories.

How are the two categories of quotas applied together?

The horizontal quota is applied separately to each vertical category, and not across the board.

  • For example, if women have 50% horizontal quota, then half of the selected candidates will have to necessarily be women in each vertical quota category i.e., half of all selected SC candidates will have to be women, half of the unreserved or general category will have to be women, and so on.

Overview of the case:

  • Sonam Tomar and Rita Rani had secured 276.5949 and 233.1908 marks respectively. They had applied under the categories of OBC-Female and SC-Female respectively. OBC and SC are vertical reservation categories, while Female is a horizontal reservation category.
  • The two candidates did not qualify in their categories. However, in the General-Female (unreserved-female) category, the last qualifying candidate had secured 274.8298 marks, a score that was lower than Tomar’s.

What did the court decide in this case?

The court ruled against the Uttar Pradesh government, holding that if a person belonging to an intersection of vertical-horizontal reserved category had secured scores high enough to qualify without the vertical reservation, the person would be counted as qualifying without the vertical reservation, and cannot be excluded from the horizontal quota in the general category.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Constitutional provisions wrt to Reservations.
  2. Overview of articles 32, 226, 14, 15 and 16.
  3. What are writs?
  4. Difference in powers of SC and HC wrt writ jurisdictions.
  5. Indra Sawhney case verdict.
  6. When can Article 32 be suspended?
  7. Who can empower any other court to issue writs?

Mains Link:

Reservation is not a fundamental right. Discuss in the light of recent verdict of the Supreme Court.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in Science and Technology.

Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) policy:


Context:

The draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy released on Jan 1.

  • It could be game-changers for not just the scientific research community, but also for the way ordinary Indians interact with Science.

What is the overall philosophy behind the policy?

  • Unlike previous STI policies which were largely top-driven in formulation, the 5th national STI policy (STIP) follows core principles of being decentralised, evidence-informed, bottom-up, experts-driven, and inclusive.

Overall objectives:

  1. To position India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come.
  2. To attract, nurture, strengthen, and retain critical human capital through a people-centric STI ecosystem.
  3. To double the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers, gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private-sector contribution to GERD every five years.
  4. To build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aim of reaching the highest levels of global recognition and awards in the coming decade.

Key components:

  1. It proposes an Open Science Framework, with free access for all to findings from publicly funded research.
  2. One Nation, One Subscription: The idea is to democratise science by providing access to scholarly knowledge to not just researchers but to every individual in the country.
  3. It suggests modification or waiver of General Financial Rules (GFR), for large-scale mission mode programmes and projects of national importance.

It has made recommendations such as:

  1. Mandatory positions for excluded groups in academics; 30% representation of women in selection/evaluation committees and decision-making groups.
  2. Addressing issues related to career breaks for women by considering academic age rather than biological/physical age.
  3. A dual recruitment policy for couples; and institutionalisation of equity and inclusion by establishing an Office of Equity and Inclusion, etc.

What are the learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic for India’s science and technology sector? How does the draft policy address those learnings?

In India, the pandemic presented an opportunity for R&D institutions, academia, and industry to work with a shared purpose, synergy, collaboration and cooperation, which helped the country develop the capability to produce these kits in record time.

  • The STIP draft focuses on the need to adopt such learnings for greater efficiency and synergy in future.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP):


Context:

FM reviews NIP as part of infra spending push.

  • The NIP has been expanded from 6,385 projects at the time of its introduction a year ago, to more than 7,300 projects, and is making progress despite the pandemic.

About NIP:

  • 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.

Important recommendations and observations made by Atanu Chakraborty taskforce:

  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 share in implementing the projects, while the private sector has 21 percent share.
  4. Aggressive push towards asset sales.
  5. Monetisation of infrastructure assets.
  6. Setting up of development finance institutions.
  7. 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.

 


Facts for Prelims:


SEBI moots entry norms to set up stock exchanges:

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has floated a discussion paper on review of ownership and governance norms to facilitate new entrants to set up stock exchanges and depositories, otherwise called as market infrastructure institutions (MIIs).

As per the key proposals:

  1. A resident promoter setting up an MII may hold up to 100% shareholding, which will be brought down to not more than (either 51% or 26%) in 10 years.
  2. A foreign promoter from Financial Action Task Force FATF member jurisdictions setting up an MII may hold up to 49% shareholding, which shall be brought down to not more than (either 26% or 15%) in 10 years.
  3. Foreign individuals or entities from other than FATF member jurisdictions may acquire or hold up to 10% in an MII.
  4. Any person other than the promoter may acquire or hold less than 25% shareholding.

Magnetotelluric-MT survey:

The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) is conducting a unique geophysical (magnetotelluric-MT) survey in Delhi- NCR region to accurately assess potential seismic hazards.

  • Its findings will help different user agencies for designing quake-resistant buildings, industrial units and structures such as hospitals and schools.

What is MT method?

Magnetotelluric (MT) is a geophysical method which uses natural time variation of the earth’s magnetic and electric fields to understand geological (underground) structure and processes. It’s quite a reliable technique.

Kamdhenu Gau-Vigyan Prachar-Prasar Exam:

  • Announced by Rastriya Kamdhenu Aayog.
  • The exam has been initiated for raising mass awareness about Indigenous cows among young students and all citizens.
  • It will also help make study materials about cow science available.
  • It will be conducted in four categories, primary, secondary, college and general public levels.
  • The exam will be in Hindi, English and 12 regional languages.
  • There will be no fee for taking the exam.

Toycathon-2021:

  • This is a special kind of hackathon where students and teachers from schools and colleges, design experts, toy experts and start-ups will get together to crowd source ideas for developing toys and games that are based on Indian culture and ethos, local folklore and heroes, and Indian value systems.
  • It is an inter-ministerial initiative. The participating agencies are the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Women & Child Development, the Ministry of Textiles, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, DPIIT, Ministry of MSME, Innovation Cell (Education Ministry) and the AICTE.

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