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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 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. Kerala Assembly rejects motion to remove Speaker.

2. PLI Scheme.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM).

2. Parker Solar Probe.

3. India proposes to expand research, tourism in the Arctic.

4. New Whatsapp Policy and related Privacy issues.

5. Pakistan risks FATF blacklisting.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Shramshakti Digital Data Solution.

2. Smart Anti Airfield Weapon.

3. Spices Board.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Kerala Assembly rejects motion to remove Speaker:


Context:

Kerala Assembly recently rejected a motion moved by the Opposition seeking the removal of Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan alleging his role in the diplomatic channel gold smuggling case and reckless expenditure in the various activities by the Legislature Secretariat.

Removal of Speaker:

Article 179(c) of constitution provides that a member holding office as a Speaker or Deputy Speaker of an Assembly may be removed from his office by a resolution of the Assembly passed by a majority of all the then Members of the Assembly.

  • Provided that no resolution for the purpose shall be moved unless at least fourteen days’ notice has been given of the intention to move the resolution.

Subject to the provisions of Article 181 of Constitution, the Speaker, or the Deputy Speaker or such other person as is referred to in clause (2) of Article 180, presides when a resolution for the removal of the Speaker or Deputy Speaker is taken for consideration.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Election of Speaker.
  2. Functions.
  3. Powers.
  4. Removal.
  5. Grounds for removal.
  6. Committees he is associated with.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of the Speaker.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

PLI Scheme:


Context:

Approval accorded under PLI Scheme for Promotion of Domestic Manufacturing of critical Key Starting Materials (KSMs)/ Drug Intermediates and Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs).

Indian pharmaceutical industry:

It is the 3rd largest in the world by volume. It has high market presence in several advanced economies such as the US and EU. The industry is well known for its production of affordable medicines, particularly in the generics space.

  • However the country is significantly dependent on the import of basic raw materials, viz., Bulk Drugs that are used to produce medicines.

About the PLI scheme:

To make India a manufacturing hub, the government had initially announced the PLI scheme for mobile phones, pharma products, and medical equipment sectors.

  • Notified on April 1, 2020 as a part of the National Policy on Electronics.
  • It proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain.

In November 2020, the Union Cabinet gave its approval to introduce the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme in 10 more sectors for enhancing India’s manufacturing capabilities and exports (Atmanirbhar Bharat).

invest_india

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key proposals under the National Policy on Electronics.
  2. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  3. Incentives under the scheme is available to?
  4. What kind of investments will be considered?
  5. Duration of the scheme.
  6. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

What is the production linked incentive scheme for electronics manufacturers? Discuss.

Sources: PIB.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation an d Pollution related issues.

Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):


Context:

The Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in NCR and adjoining areas has begun the process of setting up a Decision Support System (DSS) having a web, GIS and multi-model based operational and planning decision support tool.

  • This tool will help immensely in capturing the static and dynamic features of the emissions from various sources.

About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):

The Commission for Air Quality Management was formed by an ordinance in October 2020, the “Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020”.

Composition:

Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.

It will be a permanent body and will have over 20 members.

  • The Commission will be a statutory authority.
  • The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.
  • It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.

Jurisdiction:

Exclusive jurisdiction over the NCR, including areas in Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, in matters of air pollution, and will be working along with CPCB and ISRO, apart from the respective state governments.

Will this new body also have penal powers?

Yes, the Commission will have some teeth. If its directions are contravened, through say, the setting up of an industrial unit in a restricted area, the Commission will have the power to impose a fine of up to Rs 1 crore and imprisonment of up to 5 years.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About EPCA.
  2. About NGT.
  3. About CPCB.
  4. Overview of the ‘Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Ordinance 2020’.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Parker Solar Probe:


Context:

Parker Solar Probe Marks Seventh Successful Swing around the Sun.

  • None are closer than Parker Solar Probe, which passed just 8.4 million miles (13.5 million kilometers) from the Sun’s surface while flying at 289,932 miles per hour on Jan 17.
  • Now just over two years into its seven-year mission, the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft will eventually travel within 4 million miles of the Sun’s surface.

parker_solar_probe

About the mission:

  • NASA’s historic Parker Solar Probe mission will revolutionize our understanding of the sun, where changing conditions can propagate out into the solar system, affecting Earth and other worlds.
  • Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.

Journey:

  • In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
  • The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

Goals:

The primary science goals for the mission are to trace how energy and heat move through the solar corona and to explore what accelerates the solar wind as well as solar energetic particles.

Parker Solar Probe has three detailed science objectives:

  1. Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
  2. Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
  3. Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

Why study corona?

The corona is hotter than the surface of the sun. The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on Earth. Nasa hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Solar Parker Probe.
  2. What are Solar Flares.
  3. Sun’s Corona.

Mains Link:

Discuss how Solar Flares influence earth’s environment.

Sources: Economic Times.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

India proposes to expand research, tourism in the Arctic:


Context:

India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy.

India’s Arctic Policy Roadmap For Sustainable Engagement draft rides on five pillars:

  1. Science and research activities.
  2. Economic and human development cooperation.
  3. Transportation and connectivity.
  4. Governance and international cooperation.
  5. National capacity building.

Highlights of the Policy:

  1. The policy commits to expanding scientific research, “sustainable tourism” and mineral oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region.
  2. The draft spells out goals in India’s Arctic Mission such as to better understand the scientific and climate-related linkages between the Arctic and the Indian monsoons.
  3. It also seeks to harmonise polar research with the third pole (the Himalayas) and to advance the study and understanding of the Arctic within India.
  4. The policy calls for exploration opportunities for responsible exploration of natural resources and minerals from the Arctic and identifying opportunities for investment in Arctic infrastructure in areas such as “offshore exploration/mining, ports, railways and airports.

Arctic region:

  • The Arctic region comprises the Arctic Ocean and parts of countries such as Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, USA (Alaska), Finland, Sweden and Iceland.
  • These countries together form the core of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum. The region is home to almost four million inhabitants, of which, about one-tenth are indigenous people.

India’s engagement in the Arctic:

  • India already has a research station in the Arctic, Himadri, for the research work.
  • India received the ‘Observer’ country status in the Arctic Council in 2013 and is one among the 13 countries across the world, including China, to have that position. The status was renewed in 2018.

Significance of arctic study for India:

  • Though none of India’s territory directly falls in the Arctic region, it is a crucial area as the Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.
  • Due to climate change, the region faces the loss of sea ice, ice caps, and warming of the ocean which in turn impacts the global climate.
  • The frigid Arctic, which keeps losing ice due to global warming, is one of the batteries feeding the variations in Indian monsoons.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Himadri.
  2. India’s research stations at Arctic and Antarctica.
  3. About Arctic Council.
  4. Overview of India’s draft ‘Arctic’ policy.

Mains Link:

The frigid Arctic, which keeps losing ice due to global warming, is one of the batteries feeding the variations in Indian monsoons. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

New Whatsapp Policy and related Privacy issues:


Context:

Recently, WhatsApp has updated its privacy policy.

  • As per the new policy, whatsapp may now share information of any of its users with its family of companies including Facebook.
  • This new update has caused a lot of concern over the privacy of the people that use this application.

Key Features of the Policy:

  1. Information Sharing with Third Party Services: When users rely on third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.
  2. Hardware Information: WhatsApp collects information from devices such as battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP) among others.
  3. Deleting the Account: If someone only deletes the WhatsApp app from their device without using the in-app delete my account feature, then that user’s information will remain stored with the platform.
  4. Data Storage: WhatsApp mentions that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers including those in the United States to store user data. It also states that the data in some cases will be transferred to the United States or other parts where Facebook’s affiliate companies are based.
  5. Location: Even if a user does not use their location-relation features, Whatsapp collects IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).
  6. Payment Services: WhatsApp says that if anyone uses their payments services they will process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information.

Issues and concerns:

  1. The new Whatsapp policy contradicts the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee report, which forms the basis of the Data Protection Bill 2019.
  2. The principle of Data Localisation, which aims to put curbs on the transfer of personal data outside the country, may come in conflict with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.
  3. With the updated privacy policy, WhatsApp can now share one’s metadata, essentially everything beyond the conversation’s actual text.
  4. If users disagree with the messaging platform’s updated privacy policy, they will have to quit WhatsApp when the new terms of service are set to come into effect.

Conclusion:

As the Supreme court in K. Puttaswamy’s judgment held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right, the Whatsapp new policy is yet another reason why India needs data protection law.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Pakistan risks FATF blacklisting:


Context:

Pakistan might be pushed into the Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) ‘black list’ next month as it continues to finance and tolerate terrorist organisations.

  • According to a report, terrorist organisations, such as Jamaar-ud-Dawa (JuD) and Jaish-e-Muhammed (JeM), continue to operate with impunity in Pakistan.

What is FATF Blacklist?

It is a list of countries that the intra-governmental organisation considers non-cooperative in the global effort to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.

Background:

  • In October, the FATF decided that Pakistan will continue to be on its greylist and asked it to continue to work on implementing an action plan to address its strategic deficiencies.
  • Pakistan is on the FATF’s grey list since June 2018 and the government was given a final warning in February 2020 to complete the 27 action points by June in the same year.
  • The FATF extended the June deadline to September due to the spread of coronavirus that disrupted the FATF plenary meetings.

About FATF:

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  • It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
  • The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Roles and functions:

  • Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
  • In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

fatf

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. G7 vs G8 vs G20.
  2. Black vs Grey list.
  3. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  4. Who heads the FATF?
  5. Where is its secretariat?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate and objectives of the Financial Action Task Force? Discuss.

Sources: Economic Times.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Shramshakti Digital Data Solution:

  • To be launched jointly by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Goa Government.
  • It is a national migration support portal aimed at the smooth functioning of national and state level programmes for migrant workers.

Smart Anti Airfield Weapon:

  • DRDO has successfully conducted captive and release trial of indigenously developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Hawk-I of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) off the Odisha coast.
  • Smart Anti Airfield Weapon is a 125 Kg class smart weapon, capable of engaging ground enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks, and runways, etc. up to a range of 100 kms.

Spices Board:

  • Spices Board is a body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • It was constituted in 1987 under the Spices Board Act, 1986 by merging the Cardamom Board and the Spices Export Promotion Council.
  • The Spices Board is one of the five commodity boards functioning under the Commerce Ministry.
  • It is an autonomous body responsible for the promotion of the 52 scheduled spices and the development of small and large cardamom.

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