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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 9 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.

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Last chance to clear stand on same-sex marriages for Center: Delhi HC

2. SC to hear plea against confessions to priests

 

GS Paper 2:

1. The return of bird flu

2. Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) to set up campuses abroad

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NCAVES India Forum 2021

2. China holds third South Asia multilateral meet

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Role of women and women’s organizations, Population and associated issues, Poverty and developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 Last chance to clear stand on same-sex marriages for Center: Delhi HC


Context:

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted the Centre and the Delhi government one last chance to file a response to petitions seeking the recognition and registration of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act.

The court was told that no reply has been filed in the case by authorities despite issuance of notice in October and November.

Background

The petitions filed in Delhi High Court contended that marriages between same sex couples are not possible despite the Supreme Court decriminalising consensual homosexual acts.

Petitioners sought a declaration to recognise same sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and Special Marriage Act (SMA).

  • The two other pleas are — one filed by two women seeking to get married under the SMA and challenging provisions of the statute to the extent it does not provide for same sex marriages.
  • The other plea by two men who got married in the U.S. but were denied registration of their marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act (FMA).

Legality of same-sex marriages in India

The Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes sex or marriage with persons of the same gender punishable by law.

  • However, on September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised Section 377 making gay sex legal.
  • On 2 July 2009, in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi High Court held that provision to be unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults, but the Supreme Court of India overturned that ruling on 11 December 2013.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section 377
  2. Legal provisions related to same-sex marriages
  3. Decriminalization of Section 377
  4. Special Marriage Act (SMA)
  5. Foreign Marriage Act (FMA)

 Mains Link:

Despite the decriminalising consensual homosexual acts by Supreme Court, it’s not easy for gay people to declare their sexual orientation. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

  

Topics Covered: Role of women and women’s organizations, Population and associated issues, Poverty and developmental issues, Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 SC to hear plea against confessions to priests


Context

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to consider after three weeks a petition filed by a group of women against the compulsory nature of sacred confessions to priests in Christianity.

  • The court will examine the issues in the petition as they came within the ambit of the questions of faith, rights of women and equality.

Background

Five women have moved the Supreme Court against compulsory practice of sacramental confession in certain Churches in Kerala.

  • They contended that it violated their fundamental right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.
  • Petitioner—members of the Church – had alleged that the practice was leading to several problems including sexual exploitation of women and blackmailing of both men and women followers.

 Prevalent practices

Under the religious practice followed by Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, it’s members are required to undergo ‘Sacramental Confession’ before a priest to relieve themselves of sin.

  • According to the practice, it’s a condition precedent for fulfilling the temporal and spiritual needs of being a Christian.
  • The one who doesn’t do that would be denied the benefit of such services from the Church.

 Earlier interventions of SC

Earlier, The Supreme Court had upheld the validity of the 1934 Constitution of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church to govern the parishes under the church. 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is the ‘Sacramental Confession’?
  2. fundamental right to freedom of religion
  3. article 25

Source: The Hindu

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 The return of bird flu


Context:

New Bird flu (avian influenza) cases have been confirmed in Gujarat recently, in addition to Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana where the disease has already been confirmed.

Several states, which have been reporting deaths of birds, including crows and migratory species, are scrambling to have samples tested for the virus.

 The infection:

Bird flu or avian influenza is the name used to describe a viral infection that is reported mostly in birds, but has the potential to affect humans and other animals.

  • More than a dozen types of bird flu have been identified, including the two strains that have most recently infected humans — H5N1 and H7N9. When bird flu does strike humans, it can be deadly.
  • Outbreaks of bird flu have occurred in Asia, Africa, North America and parts of Europe.
  • The virus was first reported in geese in China in 1996.
  • In India, Samples from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, and Kerala have tested positive for the A (H5N8) strain of the virus, while samples from Himachal Pradesh have shown the presence of A (H5N1).

 Causes of Bird flu

Bird flu occurs naturally in wild waterfowl and can spread into domestic poultry, such as chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese.

  • The disease is transmitted via contact with an infected bird’s feces, or secretions from its nose, mouth or eyes.
  • Undercooked poultry meat or eggs from infected birds can transmit bird flu.

 Human transmission

The H5N1 virus can jump species and infect humans from the infected bird.

  • The first case of H5N1 infection in humans was reported in Hong Kong in 1997, when a poultry farm worker caught the infection from infected birds.
  • In its present form, human-to-human infection is not known — human infections have been reported only among people who have handled infected birds or carcasses.

 Bird flu and consumption of Poultry meat, eggs

The chances of the H5N1 virus infecting humans is comparatively low in India as compared to South East Asian countries, mainly because of the difference in culinary habits.

  • The virus dies immediately if exposed to temperatures over 70 degrees Celsius.
  • Unlike in South East Asian countries, both meat and eggs in India are eaten well cooked, which sees them being exposed to over 100 degrees Celsius.
  • Thus the chances of humans contracting the virus from eating chicken and eggs is extremely rare.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When a country is declared free from Avian Influenza, who declares it?
  2. H5N1 vs H5N6 vs H9N2 vs H5N8.

 Mains Link:

Write a note on Bird Flu. Discuss how it can be prevented.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) to set up campuses abroad


Context

The University Grants Commission (UGC) has amended its regulations, allowing Institutions of Eminence (IoEs) to set up campuses abroad after receiving no objection certificates from the Ministry of External Affairs and Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • The amendments also permit the IOEs to start new off campus centres, with a maximum of three in five years and not more than one in an academic year.

 What are the Institutions of Eminence (IoEs)?

Institutions of Eminence scheme has been launched in order to implement the commitment of the Government to empower the Higher Educational Institutions and to help them become world class teaching and research institutions.

  • The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister in his budget speech of 2016.
  • This will enhance affordable access to high quality education for ordinary Indians.

 About the IoEs scheme:

Launched in order to empower the Higher Educational Institutions and to help them become world-class teaching and research institutions.

 Objectives:

Excellence and Innovation: To provide for higher education leading to excellence and innovations in such branches of knowledge as may be deemed fit at post-graduate, graduate and research degree levels.

Specialization: To engage in areas of specialization to make distinctive contributions to the objectives of the university education system.

Global Rating: To aim to be rated internationally for its teaching and research as a top hundred Institution in the world over time.

Quality teaching and Research: To provide for high quality teaching and research and for the advancement of knowledge and its dissemination.

Incentives of the scheme:

  • Institutes with IOE tag will be given greater autonomy and freedom to decide fees, course durations and governance structures.
  • The public institutions under IOE tag will receive a government grant of ₹1,000 crore, while the private institutions will not get any funding under the scheme.

 Why is it important?

Academic institutions that can impart highest quality education, generate cutting edge research, and attract the best and the brightest from across the globe can have multiplier beneficial effects for the country. So the idea of elevating the best in a sector to an eminent status by granting autonomy is a good one.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the IoEs Scheme
  2. UGC guidelines for IoEs

 Mains Link:

What are Institutions of Eminence? Discuss the benefits of Institutions of Eminence to India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

 NCAVES India Forum 2021


Context:

Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of the Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) India Forum-2021 is being organised by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

India is one of the five countries taking part in this project – the other countries being Brazil, China, South Africa and Mexico. 

 The NCAVES Project

The Natural Capital Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (NCAVES) project seeks to advance the theory and practice of environmental and ecosystem accounting in Brazil, China, India, Mexico and South Africa.

The project has been jointly implemented by the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Secretariat of the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD).

  • It aims to assist the five participating partner countries, to advance the knowledge agenda on environmental-economic accounting, in particular ecosystem accounting.
  • The project will have a duration until the end of 2021.

Funding: The project is funded by the European Union through its Partnership Instrument (PI).

 Objectives:

The objectives of the National Forum would be:

  • To present India’s achievements in the domain of Natural Capital Accounting (NCA);
  • To prioritize the emerging opportunities for NCA in India;
  • To familiarize stakeholders with the work undertaken by the different international agencies in the area of NCA; and
  • To provide a platform to selected Research Institutions to present their research conducted in the valuation of ecosystem services.

 About NCAVES India Forum 2021

In India, the NCAVES project is being implemented by the MoSPI with collaboration of Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC).

NCAVES India Forum 2021 is being organised in a virtual format.

Key Focus area:

The Forum aims to build a stronger awareness about the different perspective to Environment and to show a way forward towards realizing the contribution of the natural capital to achieve a “better environment, better tomorrow”.

 Significance:

The participation in the project has helped MOSPI commence the compilation of the Environment Accounts as per the UN-SEEA System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework.

  • The MOSPI has also released environmental accounts in its publication “EnviStats India” on an annual basis since 2018.
  • Several of these accounts are closely related to the social and economic attributes, making them a useful tool for the Policy.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NCAVES Project?
  2. Member countries.
  3. Implementing agencies in India
  4. Funding
  5. Significance for India

 Mains Link:

Participation in the NCAVES project will help India to advance the theory and practice of environmental and ecosystem accounting. Discuss.

Source: PIB

 

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

 China holds third South Asia multilateral meet


Context:

China has held its third multilateral dialogue with countries from South Asia to take forward closer cooperation on fighting COVID-19.

  • It also strive to coordinate their economic agendas, reflecting a new approach in Beijing’s outreach to the region.

 Key points:

  • The third dialogue, held virtually on January 6, brought together every country in the region barring India, Bhutan and the Maldives.
  • It was aimed at “anti-epidemic cooperation and poverty reduction cooperation”.

 South Asia multilateral meet

All three dialogues have been attended by Pakistan and Nepal, which are emerging as two lynchpins in China’s regional strategy.

  • The first such meeting was convened by China in July, and was attended by Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan.
  • The second meet was held in November by a five-member grouping attended by China, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
  • The third and recent January 6 meeting was attended by all five countries that have taken part in these dialogues — Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

 CPEC extension

At the July quadrilateral dialogue with Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan, China’s Foreign Minister proposed extending the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to Afghanistan.

  • China discussed about taking forward an economic corridor plan with Nepal, called the Trans-Himalayan Multi-dimensional Connectivity Network.
  • The four countries were “connected by mountains and rivers”, and china also offered to share China’s expertise and capacities on COVID-19 vaccines.

 Significance and implications of the meet:

  • The virtual meet seen as a bid to strengthen cooperation among the four nations in pandemic response and economic recovery.
  • The two virtual meets appear part of China’s growing engagement in the region, in the wake of the global pandemic.

Source: The Hindu

 


Facts for Prelims:


National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI)

The National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) announced that it will offer a free IDN (Internationalized Domain Name) in any of their preferred 22 official Indian language.

  • It will be available along with every IN domain booked by the registrant.
  • This offer has been created to stimulate the adoption of भारत (IDN) domain name and proliferation of local language content.

About NIXI

National Internet Exchange of India (NIXI) is a not for profit organization working since 2003 for spreading the internet technology to the citizens of India.


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