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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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. Netaji’s birth anniversary to be celebrated as ‘Parakram Divas’.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Question Hour.

2. Why bird flu virus has so many strains and what it means for humans?

3. Military specialists to get S-400 training in Moscow.

4. West Bank and issues associated.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. SC seeks status report on river water quality.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Indian star tortoise.

2. Semeru volcano.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Netaji’s birth anniversary to be celebrated as ‘Parakram Divas’:


Context:

The Union Culture Ministry has announced that January 23, birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose, would be celebrated as “Parakram Divas”, day of courage, every year.

  • 2021 will be 125th birth anniversary of Subhas Chandra Bose.

About Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose:

  • Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had announced the establishment of the provisional government of Azad Hind in occupied Singapore in
  • Known as Arzi Hukumat-e-Azad Hind, it was supported by the Axis powers of Imperial Japan, Nazi Germany, the Italian Social Republic, and their allies.
  • He had launched a struggle to free India from British rule under the banner of the provisional government-in exile during the latter part of the Second World War.
  • Under his provisional government, the Indians living abroad had been united.
  • Under the provisional government, Bose was the head of the state, the prime minister and the minister for war and foreign affairs.
  • Subhash Chandra Bose was twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).
  • He resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Bose and INA.
  2. Bose and the Indian National Congress.
  3. Formation of Azad Hind Government.
  4. Distribution of various portfolios.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Azad Hind Government.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Question Hour:


Context:

The Question Hour, which had been suspended by the government during the monsoon session, will resume when Parliament meets for the Budget session from January 29.

What is Question Hour?

  • The first hour of every parliamentary sitting is termed as Question hour.
  • It is mentioned in the Rules of Procedure of the House.
  • During this time, the members ask questions and the ministers usually give answers.
  • The questions can also be asked to the private members (MPs who are not ministers).

Question Hour in both Houses is held on all days of the session. But there are two days when an exception is made:

  1. There is no Question Hour on the day the President addresses MPs from both Houses in the Central Hall.
  2. Question Hour is not scheduled on the day the Finance Minister presents the Budget.

Key facts:

The presiding officers of the both Houses (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) are the final authority with respect to the conduct of Question Hour.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is question hour?
  2. What is zero hour?
  3. What are starred questions?
  4. What are unstarred questions?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Zero hour in parliament.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

Why bird flu virus has so many strains and what it means for humans?


Context:

Two different subtypes of the bird flu virus or avian influenza have been detected in Himachal Pradesh.

How many different subtypes or strains of the flu A virus are out there?

At least 131 different subtypes of influenza A virus have been detected in nature.

  • The influenza A virus has two proteins on its surface hemagglutinin (H) and neuraminidase (N) both of which have 18 and 11 different subtypes respectively, leading to different combinations such as H3N2 and H7N9.
  • There are some strains which only infect birds, while others can infect birds as well as mammals such as pigs, dogs, horses and also humans.

How many of these strains can infect humans?

Mostly, humans have only experienced infections by three different H types (H1, H2 and H3), and two different N types (N1 and N2).

  • Presently, two subtypes, H1N1 and H3N2, circulate among human beings, causing the seasonal flu epidemics. Since these strains are well adapted to humans, they are referred to as human flu rather than bird flu.
  • Whenever a new flu A virus establishes itself in humans, it can cause a pandemic, and four such pandemics have occurred since 1918, including the Spanish flu (H1N1), the 1957-58 Asian flu (H2N2), the 1968 Hong Kong flu (H3N2) and the 2009 swine flu (caused by a newer version of the H1N1).

Why does the flu A virus have so many strains?

Influenza A virus mutates constantly and this is because:

  1. Firstly, It is an RNA virus with a segmented genome, i.e. it has eight separate strands, which makes its copying prone to errors or mutations. This ‘antigenic drift’ results in slight but continuous mutations in the surface proteins, which is the reason why flu vaccines have to be updated regularly.
  2. Secondly, when a cell happens to be infected with two different flu A viruses, their genes can easily get mixed up. This mixing, known as reassortment, is a viral version of sex.

bird_flu

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: Indian Express.

 

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

Military specialists to get S-400 training in Moscow:


Context:

The US has yet again warned India that it could face sanctions over it acquiring five Russian Almaz-Antei S-400 Triumf self-propelled surface-to-air (SAM) systems for $5.5 billion.

  • India is unlikely to get a waiver over Washington invoking its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on the Indian Air Force (IAF) for its S-400 buy.

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

  • Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • The Act primarily deals with sanctions on Russian interests such as its oil and gas industry, defence and security sector, and financial institutions, in the backdrop of its military intervention in Ukraine and its alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

But why does the US have a law like CAATSA to begin with?

  • Following the US elections and allegations of Russian meddling some call it collusion in the US elections, the strain between Washington and Moscow has reached a new level.
  • Angry with Moscow’s actions around the world, US lawmakers are hoping to hit Russia where it hurts most, its defense and energy business, through CAATSA.

russia

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

West Bank and issues associated:


Context:

Israel approves West Bank settlement homes ahead of Trump exit.

  • The approvals are widely seen as taking advantage of the last few days of US President Donald Trump’s administration.

Where is West Bank?

It is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore.

What is the dispute settlements here? Who lives there?

  1. The West Bank was captured by Jordan after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
  2. Israel snatched it back during the Six Day War of 1967, and has occupied it ever since. During this war, the country defeated the combined forces of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan.
  3. It has built some 130 formal settlements in the West Bank, and a similar number of smaller, informal settlements have mushroomed over the last 20-25 years.
  4. Over 4 lakh Israeli settlers — many of them religious Zionists who claim a Biblical birthright over this land — now live here, along with some 26 lakh Palestinians.
  5. The territory is still a point of contention due to a large number of Palestinians who live there and hope to see the land become a part of their future state.
  6. When Israel took control of the land in 1967 it allowed Jewish people to move in, but Palestinians consider the West Bank illegally occupied Palestinian land.

Are these settlements illegal?

  1. The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  2. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
  3. Under the Rome Statute that set up the International Criminal Court in 1998, such transfers constitute war crimes, as does the “extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

israel

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Six- day war- countries involved, reasons and the outcome.
  2. Where is Gaza Strip?
  3. What’s there in the Middle East peace plan?
  4. Where is Jerusalem?
  5. Who are Palestinians and what are their demands?
  6. Countries surrounding Israel.

Mains Link:

Does India support the establishment of a sovereign independent state of Palestine? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Pollu

SC seeks status report on river water quality:


Context:

The Supreme Court has sought a status report from the National Green Tribunal-appointed River Yamuna Monitoring Committee about its recommendations to improve the quality of water and the extent to which the States have implemented their suggestions.

  • The Committee was led by former Delhi Chief Secretary Shailaja Chandra.

Background:

The Supreme Court had, on January 13, taken suo motu cognisance of the contamination of rivers by sewage effluents through lapses committed by municipalities, saying “open surface water resources including rivers are the lifeline of human civilisation”.

Why is Yamuna so polluted?

  1. The sewage treatment plants of Delhi are major contributors of the Pollutants being discharged in the river.
  2. Pollutants discharge from different types of industry is also a major issue.
  3. Agriculture activities along the banks of the river in Delhi contributes to river pollution.
  4. Agricultural waste and pesticide discharge from the Haryana field also contributes to the pollution.
  5. The low volume of water flow in the river causes the pollutants to accumulate and raise the pollution level.

About Yamuna River:

  • The river Yamuna is a major tributary of river Ganges.
  • Originates from the Yamunotri glacier near Bandarpoonch peaks in the Mussoorie range of the lower Himalayas in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.
  • It meets the Ganges at the Sangam in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh after flowing through Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.
  • Tributaries: Chambal, Sindh, Betwa and Ken.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. River Yamuna Flows through how many states and UTs?
  2. Tributaries of Yamuna.
  3. Acceptable maximum limit of ammonia in drinking water?
  4. Permissible level of Sulfate.
  5. Desirable limit of hardness of water.
  6. The desirable level of faecal coliform.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Indian star tortoise:

  • Found across the Indian sub-continent, more specifically, in the Central and Southern parts of India, in West Pakistan and in Sri Lanka.
  • Protected under Schedule IV of Wild Life Protection Act 1972.
  • Convention on International Trade inSpecies (CITES): Appendix I
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable.

star_tortoise

Semeru volcano:

  • Erupted recently.
  • Located in Indonesia’s East Java province.
  • It is the highest volcano in Java and one of the most active.

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