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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 8 February 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. HC rejects SEC order restraining Minister.

2. FSSAI Caps Trans Fatty Acids In Food.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Open market operations.

2. Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.

3. Hope: UAE’s first mission to Mars.

4. What is a glacier outburst flood and why does it occur?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Dhauliganga.

2. Tapovan hydro power project.

3. National Safety Council.

 


GS Paper  : 2


 

Topics Covered: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

HC rejects SEC order restraining Minister:


Context:

Andhra Pradesh State Election Commissioner (SEC) had ordered that Panchayat Raj & Rural Development Minister Peddireddy Ramachandra Reddy be confined to his residence till February 21 to prevent him from vitiating the process of gram panchayat elections.

  • However, this order has been struck down by the High Court.
  • The Minister has argued in the court that the impugned action was beyond the jurisdiction of the SEC and in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

Powers of the State Election Commissioner in this regard:

The SEC, in its order, said it was invoking its plenary powers under Article 243K of the Constitution and directing the DGP to “confine” the Minister to his residential premises until the completion of the local/gram panchayat elections.

About the State Election Commission:

The Constitution of India vests in the State Election Commission, consisting of a State Election Commissioner, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and the Municipalities (Articles 243K, 243ZA).

The State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.

  • As per article 243(C3) the Governor, when so requested by the State Election Commission, make available to the State Election Commission such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of the functions conferred on the SEC.

The ECI and SECs have a similar mandate; do they also have similar powers?

The provisions of Article 243K of the Constitution, which provides for setting up of SECs, are almost identical to those of Article 324 related to the EC. In other words, the SECs enjoy the same status as the EC.

  • In Kishan Singh Tomar vs Municipal Corporation of the City of Ahmedabad case, the Supreme Court directed that state governments should abide by orders of the SECs during the conduct of the panchayat and municipal elections, just like they follow the instructions of the EC during Assembly and Parliament polls.

How far can courts intervene?

Courts cannot interfere in the conduct of polls to local bodies and self-government institutions once the electoral process has been set in motion.

Article 243-O of the Constitution bars interference in poll matters set in motion by the SECs; Article 329 bars interference in such matters set in motion by the EC.

  • Only after the polls are over can the SECs’ decisions or conduct be questioned through an election petition.
  • These powers enjoyed by the SECs are the same as those by the EC.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Article 243 vs 324, similarities and differences in powers of state election commissions vs Election Commission of India.
  2. Appeals against decisions of Election Commissions.
  3. Elections to Parliament and state legislatures vs Local Bodies.
  4. Difference between powers of Election Commission of India vs State Election Commission.

Mains Link:

Are the State Election Commissions in India as independent as the Election Commission of India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

FSSAI Caps Trans Fatty Acids In Food:


Context:

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has restricted the permissible amount of industrial Trans Fatty Acid (TFA) in food products to 2 per cent from 2022.

Background:

In December, the FSSAI had capped TFAs in oils and fats to 3% by 2021, and 2% by 2022 from the current levels of 5%.

Applicability:

Food products that incorporate edible oils and fats as ingredients, including edible refined oils, vanaspati/partially hydrogenated oils, margarine, vegetable fat spreads, mixed fat spreads, bakery shortenings, fall under the ambit of the newly issued Regulations.

What are Industrial trans fatty acids?

  • Trans fatty acids are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid, increase shelf life of food items and for use as an adulterant as they are cheap.
  • They are present in baked, fried and processed foods as well as adulterated ghee which becomes solid at room temperature.
  • They are the most harmful form of fats as they clog arteries and cause hypertension, heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.

fats

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are trans fats?
  2. Why they are harmful?
  3. How and where they are produced?
  4. What is the permissible limit set by WHO and FSSAI?
  5. Replace Campaign is related to?
  6. About FSSAI.

Mains Link:

What are Trans fats? Why are they harmful? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  : 3


 

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

Open market operations:


Context:

RBI announces ₹20,000 crore open market operations on February 10.

What is OMO?

Open market operations is the sale and purchase of government securities and treasury bills by RBI or the central bank of the country.

The objective of OMO is to regulate the money supply in the economy.

  • It is one of the quantitative monetary policy tools.

How is it done?

RBI carries out the OMO through commercial banks and does not directly deal with the public.

OMOs vs liquidity:

  • When the central bank wants to infuse liquidity into the monetary system, it will buy government securities in the open market. This way it provides commercial banks with liquidity.
  • In contrast, when it sells securities, it curbs liquidity. Thus, the central bank indirectly controls the money supply and influences short-term interest rates.

RBI employs two kinds of OMOs:

Outright Purchase (PEMO) – this is permanent and involves the outright selling or buying of government securities.

Repurchase Agreement (REPO) – this is short-term and are subject to repurchase.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Monetary vs Fiscal policy tools.
  2. Quantitative vs Qualitative tools.
  3. What are OMOs?
  4. PEMO vs REPO.

Mains Link:

What are OMOs? Discuss their significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- energy.

Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project:


Context:

GAIL (India) Ltd has put West Bengal on the gas map of India after it completed laying a Rs 2,433-crore pipeline that will bring to the state cooking fuel that is cheaper than LPG and CNG that costs less than petrol and diesel, and fuel to produce urea for all its requirement.

  • The 348-kilometer pipeline from Dobhi in Bihar to Durgapur in West Bengal is part of the Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project.

About the Project:

  • Inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  • A pipeline of length 2540 km is under construction from the states of Uttar Pradesh to Odisha.

Objectives:

  • To provide piped cooking gas to the households of Varanasi within next two years and to millions others in neighbour states after one more year.
  • To create 25 industrial clusters in these states which can utilise the gas as fuel and generate employment in these areas.

Length wise distribution:

  1. The state of UP gets the gas line of length 338 km. Bihar state will get about 441 km long line.
  2. Jharkhand gets 500 KM long.
  3. West Bengal will have the pipe line of length 542 km and Odisha gets benefited by 718 km pipeline.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Project.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Targets.
  4. Length wise distribution of the project.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the project.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in Space.

Hope: UAE’s first mission to Mars:


Context:

HOPE Mission- the first Arab interplanetary mission is expected to reach Mars’ orbit on Tuesday in what is considered the most critical part of the journey to unravel the secrets of weather on the Red Planet.

About the Hope mission:

The Hope mission is a Mars orbiter spacecraft, which will study the thin atmosphere of Mars.

The mission is officially named the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM) and the orbiter has been named Hope or ‘Al Amal’.

  • It is the first interplanetary mission for the Arab World.

The Hope orbiter:

The Hope probe has a mission life of one Martian year, which is almost two Earth years.

The three main objectives of the Hope probe are:

  1. to understand the climate dynamics and global weather map of Mars by studying the lower atmosphere of Mars.
  2. to explain how the weather of Mars affects the escape of hydrogen and oxygen, by correlating conditions in the lower and upper atmosphere.
  3. to understand the presence and variability of hydrogen and oxygen in the upper atmosphere, and why Mars is losing these gases to space.

Significance of the mission:

  1. It is a known fact that the Red Planet was once habitable, from signatures of flowing water and organic material that point to a past that could have supported living things.
  2. An understanding of Mars’ past could help scientists understand the future of Earth.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

Overview of:

  1. HOPE Mission.
  2. MAVEN.
  3. Mars Orbiter Mission.
  4. NASA’s curiosity and opportunity.
  5. ExoMars.
  6. Odyssey.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster and disaster management.

What is a glacier outburst flood and why does it occur?


Context:

Parts of Uttarakhand recently witnessed massive flooding after a chunk of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off at Joshimath in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.

  • Bringing back haunting memories of the 2013 Kedarnath calamity, the glacier break caused large-scale devastation in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalaya.
  • As per the available information, over 150 labourers working at a power project in Tapovan-Reni are missing.

What is glacial lake outburst flood (GLOF)?

It is an outburst that happens when a dam containing a glacial lake fails.

GLOFs have three main features:

  1. They involve sudden (and sometimes cyclic) releases of water.
  2. They tend to be rapid events, lasting hours to days.
  3. They result in large downstream river discharges (which often increase by an order of magnitude).

Why does a glacier break?

  1. Erosion.
  2. A build-up of water pressure.
  3. An avalanche of snow or rocks.
  4. An earthquake under the ice.
  5. Massive displacement of water in a glacial lake when a large portion of an adjacent glacier collapses into it.

Impact:

Although glacier lakes can vary in volume, they are known to hold millions to hundreds of millions of cubic metres of water and a failure to contain ice or glacial sediment can result in water being released even for days.

What is Nanda Devi glacier?

The Nanda Devi glacier forms part of the second-highest mountain in India — the Nanda Devi mountain.

While it the second-highest after Kangchenjunga, it is the highest mountain located entirely within the country as Kangchenjunga lies on the border of India and Nepal.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Dhauliganga:

  • Originating from Vasudhara Tal, perhaps the largest glacial lake in Uttarakhand, the Dhauliganga flows in a meandering course, which takes it through the Nanda Devi National Park.
  • The river merges with the Alaknanda at Vishnuprayag.
  • It is one of the several tributaries of the Ganga.

Why in News?

The river turned into a deathly torrent on Sunday after a part of the Nanda Devi glacier broke off and collapsed into it.

Tapovan hydro power project:

The Tapovan Vishnugad power plant is a 520MW run-of-river project which is being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand.

National Safety Council:

Shri S. N. Subrahmanyan has been appointed Chairman of the National Safety Council for a period of three years.

  • National Safety Council (NSC) was set up by the Ministry of Labour, Government of India (GOI) on 4th March, 1966.
  • It was established to generate, develop and sustain a voluntary movement on Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) at the national level.
  • It is an apex non- profit making, tripartite body, registered under the Societies Registration Act 1860 and the Bombay Public Trust Act 1950.

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