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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 11 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 2:

1. What are H-1B visas and new wage-based rules?

2. What is the 25th Amendment of US Constitution that could be used to remove Donald Trump?

3. China- Taiwan relations.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is a K-shaped economic recovery and what are its implications?

2. HC upholds arrest provision in CGST Act for tax evasion.

3. Why Jharkhand has exited an agreement with Centre, RBI on power dues?

 

GS Paper 4:

1. SOP for immunisation emergencies issued.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is CoWIN?

2. Vanadium.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Diaspora.

What are H-1B visas and new wage-based rules?


Context:

The US administration has once again amended the H-1B visa norms.

Changes:

  • Rules to give priority to higher wages and skills for selection of deserving candidates.
  • The old lottery system of work visa selection will not be followed now.

What are H-1B work visas?

In 1952, after the US started expanding its presence in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics disciplines, it felt the need to hire quality workers who could help the country achieve innovation in these areas at reasonable costs. The need to hire workers paved way for the introduction of the H-1 work visa system in US.

  • This work visa system was further subdivided into H-1B, H-2B, L1, O1, and E1 visas, depending on the qualification required and the area for which workers were sought.
  • Of these, the H-1B visa remains the most popular due to the relatively better wage chance it offers.

What is the new wage-based H-1B work visa regime?

  • Priority in selection of visas to applications of those employers where the “proffered wage equals or exceeds” the prevailing level in that area of employment (The proffered wage is the wage that the employer intends to pay the beneficiary).
  • This regime will also take into account the skill set that the respective worker brings to the country and cross check it whether such skill set is available at the same cost among the US workers.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between H1B, F1 and M1 Visas.
  2. Difference between an NRI and an OCI cardholder.
  3. When OCI and PIO were merged?
  4. The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 grants citizenship to?
  5. Constitutional provisions related to citizenship in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of recent changes in US visa rules on Indian students in the US.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries ,India and its neighborhood- relations.

China- Taiwan relations:


Context:

U.S. removes restrictions on diplomatic contact with Taiwan.

  • The move is expected to upset China.

Recent developments:

The Trump administration has sought to strengthen bilateral relations with Taiwan.

  • It announced UN Ambassador Kelly Craft would go to Taiwan, a move that sparked sharp criticism from Beijing and a warning that the U.S. would pay a heavy price.
  • In August, Health and Human Services Secretary became the first Cabinet member to visit Taiwan since 2014.

China and Taiwan:

The Chinese government maintains that mainland China and Taiwan are parts of “one China.”

  • China has been stepping up its threats to bring the self-governing island under its control by military force with frequent war games and aerial patrols.
  • It has been using its diplomatic clout to stop Taiwan from joining any organisations that require statehood for membership.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Location of Taiwan and its historical background.
  2. Regions being administered by China under One China policy.
  3. Is Taiwan represented at WHO and the United Nations?
  4. Countries in South China Sea.
  5. Qing dynasty.

Mains Link:

Write a note on India- Taiwan bilateral relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

What is a K-shaped economic recovery and what are its implications?


Context:

The prospects of a K-shaped recovery from COVID are increasing both in India and across the world.

What is a K-shaped recovery?

A K-shaped recovery happens when different sections of an economy recover at starkly different rates.

  1. Households at the top of the pyramid are likely to have seen their in- comes largely protected, and savings rates forced up during the lockdown, increasing ‘fuel in the tank’ to drive future consumption.
  2. Meanwhile, households at the bottom are likely to have witnessed permanent hits to jobs and incomes.

What are the macro implications of a K-shaped recovery?

  1. Upper-income households have benefitted from higher savings for two quarters.
  2. Households at the bottom have experienced a permanent loss of income in the forms of jobs and wage cuts; this will be a recurring drag on demand, if the labour market does not heal faster.
  3. To the extent that COVID has triggered an effective income transfer from the poor to the rich, this will be demand-impeding because the poor have a higher marginal propensity to consume (i.e. they tend to spend (instead of saving) a much higher proportion of their income.
  4. If COVID-19 reduces competition or increases the inequality of incomes and opportunities, it could impinge on trend growth in developing economies by hurting productivity and tightening political economy constraints.

economic_recovery

Way ahead:

Policy will, therefore, need to look beyond the next few quarters and anticipate the state of the macro economy post the sugar rush.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Government Budgeting.

HC upholds arrest provision in CGST Act for tax evasion:


Context:

Section 69 in the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) Act gives power to authorities to arrest any person if there is “reason to believe” that he has committed tax evasion.

  • This provision was upheld by Delhi HC recently.

What’s the issue?

A petition filed in the court claimed that:

Section 69 being of criminal nature, it could not have been enacted under Article 246A of the Constitution.

  • A person under the CGST Act can only be arrested, if the amount of tax evasion is more than ₹2 crore.
  • All offences in which tax evasion is less than ₹5 crore are bailable and only grave offences involving tax evasion of ₹5 crore and above are non-bailable and cognisable.

What has the Court said?

  • The pith and substance of the CGST Act is on a topic, upon which Parliament has power to legislate as the power to arrest and prosecute are ancillary and/or incidental to the power to levy and collect Goods and Services Tax.
  • Both Sections 69 and 132 of the CGST Act are “constitutional and fall within the legislative competence of Parliament”.
  • The court remarked that the scope of Article 246A is “significantly wide” as it not only empowers both Parliament and State Legislatures to levy or enact GST Act, but also grants the power to make all laws ‘with respect to’ GST.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- Energy.

Why Jharkhand has exited an agreement with Centre, RBI on power dues?


Context:

Jharkhand exited from a Tripartite Agreement (TPA) between the state, Government of India (GOI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

What is the Tripartite Agreement?

An agreement was signed between GOI, Jharkhand state and RBI in 2017 stating that the state government shall ensure that the state power utilities make the supply payment due to the Central Public Sector Units in this case, Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) within the period specified in the supply agreement.

  1. In the event of State Power Utilities committing a breach in the terms, the state government shall independently and as a principal debtor become liable for the payment.
  2. As per the TPA, it authorises the GOI to instruct RBI to act promptly on its instructions i.e. to debit the amount.
  3. As per the tripartite agreement, the Centre has the power to auto-debit the dues of a state to central power discoms from the state’s RBI account.

 What is Jharkhand’s say?

  • The cabinet decided to pull out of the agreement as it is not in the best interest of the state.
  • It says, the Centre’s decisions like these affect the federal structure of the country.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 4


 

SOP for immunisation emergencies issued:


Context:

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (Immunisation Division) has issued a Standard Operating Procedure for the Ministry of Home Affairs in case of Adverse Events Following Immunisation (AEFI).

Background:

Emergencyy Use Authorisation or Accelerated Approval has been granted by the National Regulator for two vaccines (Covishield and Covaxin) which have established safety & immunogenicity against covid 19.

Standard Operating Procedure:

The SOP is meant to help the investigator ensure appropriate handling of the vaccine, victim assistance as well as timely and effective law enforcement.

  • In case of an AEFI, the officer must ensure proper handling of the vaccine and diluent as evidence, and make sure the samples are preserved maintaining proper cold chain.
  • The police officer must also ensure that the AEFI victims, and any witnesses, are provided assistance and appropriate protection, care and attention.
  • The SOP also provides for investigation/interrogation of the vaccinator, if needed.
  • This will help in monitoring immunisation safety, correcting unsafe immunisation practices, reducing negative impact of the event on health and contributing to the quality of immunisation.
  • Documentation and completed requisition form for transportation of AEFI samples to a laboratory must have same official stamp.
  • The seal will ensure the samples and details sent to the lab are not tampered with during transportation.
  • While probing serious AEFI, which has resulted in death, the police must “always keep the perspective that the event might be coincidental and/or reaction to the vaccine and it may not be criminal negligence of the vaccinator and/or other workers, for which causality assessment report by an expert is needed”.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


What is CoWIN?

CoWIN is essentially an extension of eVIN.

It is a cloud-based IT solution for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of Covid-19 vaccination in India.

Vanadium:

Context:

Promising concentrations of vanadium found in the palaeo-proterozoic carbonaceous phyllite rocks in the Depo and Tamang areas of Papum Pare district in Arunachal Pradesh.This was the first report of a primary deposit of vanadium in India.

Key Points:

  1. Vanadium is a high value metal used in strengthening steel and titanium.
  2. India consumed 4% of about 84,000 tonnes of vanadium produced across the globe in 2017. China, which produces 57% of the world’s vanadium, consumed 44% of the metal.
  3. The largest deposits are in China, followed by Russia and South Africa.

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