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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 27 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. Govind Ballabh Pant.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. U.S. announces restoration of relations with Palestinians.

2. U.S.- Taliban peace deal.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Green tax.

2. ‘Off-budget borrowing’.

3. Manufactured sand.

4. BBV154, Bharat Biotech’s single-dose intranasal vaccine for Covid-19.

5. Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Padma Awards.

2. Akash-NG Missile.

3. Bharat Parv 2021.

4. Bangladesh contingent participated in Republic Day parade.

5. What is non-price competition?

6. Climate Adaptation Summit 2021.

 


GS Paper  : 1


 

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

Govind Ballabh Pant:


Context:

A statue of freedom fighter Govind Ballabh Pant that was removed from the Parliament premises recently would be unveiled at its new location.

About Govind Ballabh Pant:

  • Pant was born on 10 September 1887 in what is now Uttarakhand, at Almora.
  • In Kashipur, he established an organisation called Prem Sabha that started working towards several reforms.
  • He also saved a school from shutting down due to non-payment of taxes to the British government.
  • He was the first chief minister of Uttar Pradesh in Independent India.
  • He served as India’s home minister from 1955 to 1961. It was during his tenure that states were reorganised on linguistic lines.
  • Following Gandhi’s footsteps, Pant also organised a massive salt movement in the United Provinces. In May 1930, he was arrested and held at Dehradun jail.
  • He also protested against the Simon Commission.
  • In 1957, Pant was awarded India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Offices held by GB Pant before independence.
  2. Offices held after independence.
  3. Awards and honours.
  4. Prem Sabha organisation- objectives.
  5. Involvement in freedom struggle.
  6. His views on separate electorates.

Mains Link:

Write a note on GB Pant and his contributions to the freedom movement.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

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

U.S. announces restoration of relations with Palestinians:


Context:

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has announced that it is restoring relations with the Palestinians and renewing aid to Palestinian refugees.

  • This is a reversal of the Donald Trump administration’s cutoff and a key element of its new support for a two-state solution to the decades-old conflict agreed to by Israelis and Palestinians.

history_israle

Israel-Palestine Conflict:

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict dates back to the end of the nineteenth century, primarily as a conflict over territory.

  • After the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, the Holy Land was divided into three parts: The State of Israel, the West Bank (of the Jordan River), and the Gaza Strip.
  • The 1993 Oslo Accords mediated the conflict, to set up a framework for two state solution. It recognized the Palestinian Authority tasked with limited self-governance of parts of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

israel

West Asia peace plan:

  • Unveiled by former U.S. President Trump.
  • It plans to revive the stalled two-state talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
  • It seeks to give the Israelis an expansive state with Jerusalem as its “undivided capital” and tight security control over a future Palestinian state.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the proposed West Asia Peace plan?
  2. What is Six Day war?
  3. About the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
  4. Middle East quartet.

Locate the following on map:

  • Golan Heights.
  • West Bank.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.S.- Taliban peace deal:


Context:

The Biden administration has said that it will review the US-Taliban deal to see if the Taliban are able to keep their end of the bargain.

U.S.- Taliban peace deal:

  • A peace deal between the U.S. Government and the Taliban was signed on 29 February, 2020.
  • The deal calls for U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops to leave Afghanistan.

Significance of Peace in Afghanistan for India:

India has called for renewed efforts for establishing enduring peace and stability, and putting an end to externally-sponsored terrorism and violence in Afghanistan.

  • Economically, it is a gateway to the oil and mineral-rich Central Asian republics.
  • Afghanistan has also become the second-largest recipient of Indian foreign aid over the last five years.

Some of the important elements of the deal include:

  • The withdrawal of US troops along with bringing down NATO or coalition troop numbers within 14 months from when the deal was signed.

The main counter-terrorism commitment by the Taliban is that:

  • Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the deal.
  2. What is NATO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the deal.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

Topics Covered: Government Budgeting.

Green tax:


Context:

The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways has approved the following proposals:

  1. To levy a “Green Tax” on old vehicles which are polluting the environment.
  2. The policy of deregistration and scrapping of vehicles owned by Government department and PSU, which are above 15 years in age.
  3. Revenue collected from the Green Tax to be kept in a separate account and used for tackling pollution, and for States to set up state of-art facilities for emission monitoring.

Applicability of green tax:

  1. Transport vehicles older than 8 years could be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of fitness certificate, at the rate of 10 to 25 % of road tax;
  2. Personal vehicles to be charged Green Tax at the time of renewal of Registration Certification after 15 years.
  3. Public transport vehicles, such as city buses, to be charged lower Green tax.
  4. Higher Green tax (50% of Road Tax) for vehicles being registered in highly polluted cities.
  5. Differential tax, depending on fuel (petrol/diesel) and type of vehicle.

Exemptions:

  • Vehicles like strong hybrids, electric vehicles and alternate fuels like CNG, ethanol, LPG etc.
  • Vehicles used in farming, such as tractor, harvester, tiller etc.

The benefits of the “Green Tax” could be:

  • To dissuade people from using vehicles which damage the environment.
  • To motivate people to switch to newer, less polluting vehicles.
  • Reduce the pollution level, and make the polluter pay for pollution.

Need for:

  • It is estimated that commercial vehicles, which constitute about 5% of the total vehicle fleet, contribute about 65-70% of total vehicular pollution.
  • The older fleet, typically manufactured before the year 2000 constitute less that 1 % of the total fleet but contributes around 15% of total vehicular pollution. These older vehicles pollute 10-25 times more than modern vehicles.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the recently approved green tax.
  2. Applicability.
  3. Exemptions.
  4. How the revenue collected from green tax will be utilised?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of recently introduced green tax.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Government Budgeting.

‘Off-budget borrowing’:


Context:

One of the most sought after details in any Union Budget is the level of fiscal deficit. As such, it is keenly watched by rating agencies — both inside and outside the country. That is why most governments want to restrict their fiscal deficit to a respectable number.

One of the ways to do this is by resorting to “off-budget borrowings”.

  • Such borrowings are a way for the Centre to finance its expenditures while keeping the debt off the books — so that it is not counted in the calculation of fiscal deficit.

What is the fiscal deficit?

It is essentially the gap between what the central government spends and what it earns. In other words, it is the level of borrowings by the Union government. This fiscal deficit is the most important metric to understand the financial health of any government’s finances.

What are off-budget borrowings?

Off-budget borrowings are loans that are taken not by the Centre directly, but by another public institution which borrows on the directions of the central government.

  • Such borrowings are used to fulfil the government’s expenditure needs.
  • But since the liability of the loan is not formally on the Centre, the loan is not included in the national fiscal deficit.

This helps keep the country’s fiscal deficit within acceptable limits.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is fiscal deficit?
  2. What is revenue deficit?
  3. What is effective revenue deficit?
  4. What is off budget borrowing?
  5. Sources of revenue for the government.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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.

Manufactured sand:


Context:

The Rajasthan government has brought a policy on manufactured sand (M-sand), giving industry status to the units producing it for construction work and reducing the dependence on bajri (riverbed sand).

Highlights of the new Policy:

  • The policy will enable the investors to set up M-sand units by utilising the incentives offered by the State government.
  • It will also help in environmental protection and generate faith among the public in the efficacy of M-sand for construction works.
  • The policy would help create employment opportunities through new units and resolve the issue of huge quantities of waste generated in the mining areas.

Background:

The Supreme Court had banned illegal mining on riverbeds in 2017.

What is M-Sand?

  • M-sand is a substitute of river sand for concrete construction.
  • Manufactured sand is produced from hard granite stone by crushing.
  • The crushed sand is of cubical shape with grounded edges, washed and graded to as a construction material.
  • The size of manufactured sand (M-Sand) is less than 4.75mm.

Its significance:

  • It can be dust free, the sizes of m-sand can be controlled easily so that it meets the required grading for the given construction.
  • It is well graded in the required proportion.
  • It does not contain organic and soluble compounds that affect the setting time and properties of cement, thus the required strength of concrete can be maintained.
  • It does not have the presence of impurities such as clay, dust and silt coatings.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is M- Sand?
  2. How is it manufactured?
  3. Advantages.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of M- Sand.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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.

BBV154, Bharat Biotech’s single-dose intranasal vaccine for Covid-19:


Context:

Bharat Biotech’s BBV154 is the first publicised attempt at getting an intranasal Covid-19 vaccine.

What is an intranasal vaccine?

  • Vaccines are most commonly administered as injectable shots into the muscles (intramuscular) or the tissue just between the skin and the muscles (subcutaneous).
  • However, with intranasal vaccines, the solution is squirted or sprayed into the nostrils and inhaled instead of injecting it.

What are the benefits to an intranasal vaccine during a pandemic?

  • Such vaccines not only aim to overcome barriers to delivery and administration that come with producing and distributing injectable vaccines, they also may be able to tap an additional set of immune cells found in the tissues lining the nose, mouth and lungs.
  • Intranasal vaccines cut down on the need for syringes, needles and other components like alcohol swabs, as they are not injected.
  • Eliminates needle-associated injuries and infections and is easy to administer, as it also does not require trained healthcare workers.
  • It is also a single-dose, making it easier for those receiving the vaccine as well–they would not have to schedule revisits for booster shots the way they would have to with existing, injectable Covid-19 vaccines.

What are the potential setbacks?

  • Past attempts to develop intranasal vaccines, including for measles flu, have not been very successful.
  • These vaccines have mostly been made using live, weakened viruses, but have never cleared clinical trials.
  • Only a live attenuated influenza flu vaccine has been licenced through this route of delivery.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

Indian Telegraph Act, 1885:


Context:

Following violent protests, the Union Home Ministry has issued orders to suspend Internet in some areas in Delhi under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety Rules 2017) of the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885.

  • The order under this act had been issued only twice before — in Delhi on December 19 and 20, 2019, at the height of the protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

Implications:

The rules framed in 2017 empower the Union Home Secretary and a State’s Home Secretary to pass directions to suspend the telecom services, including the Internet, “due to public emergency or public safety.”

About the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885

  • It governs the use of wired and wireless telegraphy, telephones, teletype, radio communications and digital data communications.
  • It gives the Government of India exclusive jurisdiction and privileges for establishing, maintaining, operating, licensing and oversight of all forms of wired and wireless communications within Indian territory.
  • It also authorizes government law enforcement agencies to monitor/intercept communications and tap phone lines under conditions defined within the Indian Constitution.

Section 5(2) of the act allows central and state governments to prevent the transmission of messaging during a “public emergency or in the interest of public safety”, or “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Indian Telegraphs Act.
  2. Section 5(2).
  3. Powers of centre and the states under the act.
  4. Rules and regulations governing suspension of the internet.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraphs Act of 1885.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Padma Awards:

Context:

7 personalities have been awarded the Padma Vibhushan, 10 named for the Padma Bhushan and 102 named for Padma Shri.

About Padma Awards:

  • The Padma Awards are one of the highest civilian honours of India announced annually on the eve of Republic Day.
  • The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.
  • The Awards are conferred on the recommendations made by the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.

The Awards are given in three categories:

  1. Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service).
  2. Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order).
  3. Padma Shri (distinguished service).

padma_vibhushan

Akash-NG Missile:

  • DRDO conducted the successful maiden launch of Akash-NG (New Generation) Missile from Integrated Test Range off the coast of Odisha.
  • Akash-NG is a new generation Surface to Air Missile meant for use by Indian Air Force with an aim of intercepting high maneuvering low RCS aerial threats.

Bharat Parv 2021:

  • It is a mega event organized every year to coincide with the Republic Day Celebrations.
  • It was started in the year 2016.
  • The event envisages generating patriotic fervor and showcases the rich and varied cultural diversity of the country.
  • Bharat Parv 2021 will be organized by the Ministry of Tourism.

Bangladesh contingent participated in Republic Day parade:

For the first time, a 122-member strong contingent of the Bangladesh Armed Forces participated at the Republic Day celebrations.

  • This is significant as New Delhi and Dhaka celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Liberation War.

Important events during the 1971 war:

  1. The Bangladesh Navy had successfully conducted “Operation Jackpot” during the war, destroying 26 enemy ships in sea ports and river ports.
  2. The Bangladesh Air Force conducted 50 successful strikes on the enemy targets as part of “Kilo Flight” from the base in Dimapur, India.

What is non-price competition?

  • Non-price competition refers to competition between companies that focuses on benefits, extra services, good workmanship, product quality – plus all other features and measures that do not involve altering prices.
  • It contrasts with price competition, in which rivals try to gain market share by reducing their prices.
  • Non-price competition is often adopted by the competing players in a sector in order to prevent a price war, which can lead to a damaging spiral of price cuts.

Context:

Data privacy can take the form of non-price competition and abuse of dominance can lower privacy protection, a study by the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has said.

non_price

Climate Adaptation Summit 2021:

  • The climate adaptation summit was hosted by the Netherlands government on January 25, 2021.
  • The summit was held online and it is being called “CAS Online”.
  • The summit was built on the advances of the UN Climate Action Summit.
  • The summit also showcased the pioneering solutions of the climate emergency and sustaining momentum through UNFCCC’s COP26.
  • CAS will help in delivering the action and inspire the change to help the societies build back better.
  • The summit was organized with the aim of realizing the transitions which is required for a climate-resilient world.

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