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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 17 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. Puducherry L-G.

2. Lawyers flag violation of norms in Disha arrest.

3. What is the South African Covid variant?

4. ICC ruling says it has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is net neutrality?

2. Pey Jal Survekshan.

3. Why prices of Petrol and Diesel are rising?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Odisha enhances land ceiling to be acquired by industry.

2. France passes Bill to battle extremism.

3. E-Chhawani portal launched.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Puducherry L-G:


Context:

President Kovind removes Kiran Bedi as Puducherry Lieutenant Governor.

  • Telangana Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan has been given the additional charge of Puducherry.

What are the powers and sources of LG of Puducherry?

Puducherry is a union territory which is governed by Article 239A of the Constitution.

  1. The Government of Union Territories Act, 1963 provides for a Legislative Assembly of Puducherry, with a Council of Ministers to govern the UT.
  2. The same Act says that the UT will be administered by the President of India through a Lieutenant Governor.
  3. Section 44 of the Act allows the LG to “act in his discretion” in the matter of lawmaking, even though the Council of Ministers has the task of aiding and advising him. In case of a difference of opinion between the LG and his Ministers on any matter, the Administrator is bound to refer it to the President for a decision and act according to the decision given by the President. However, the Administrator can also claim that the matter is urgent, and take immediate action as he deems necessary.
  4. Under Section 22 of the Act, prior sanction of the Administrator is required for certain legislative proposals. These include Bills or amendments that the Council of Ministers intends to move in the Legislative Assembly, and which deal with the “constitution and organisation of the court of the Judicial Commissioner”, and “jurisdiction and powers of the court of the Judicial Commissioner with respect to any of the matters in the State List or the Concurrent List”.

Appointment:

The Lt. Governor is appointed by the President for a term of five years.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers of LG of Delhi vs Puducherry.
  2. Legislative powers of states vs UTs.
  3. What happens when there is difference of opinion between LG and legislature?
  4. Jurisdiction of High Courts wrt to various UTs.
  5. Power of Court to review their own orders.

Mains Link:

Lt Governor plays a pivotal role in running the constitutional machinery of the Union Territory of Puducherry. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Lawyers flag violation of norms in Disha arrest:


Context:

Top lawyers have termed Bangalore-based climate activist Disha Ravi’s arrest “ab-initio-illegal”, meaning illegal from the beginning.

Background:

Disha was arrested for “editing” a tool-kit for organising farmers’ protest. Global climate leader, teenager Greta Thunberg, had forwarded the tool-kit online.

What’s the issue?

The arrest violated every legal and constitutional right of Disha, starting from her not being produced in court in Bangalore, where she was arrested, for a transit remand; to not being provided a legal counsel in Delhi, where she was remanded in police custody.

Rules and other provisions in this regard:

As per the lawyers, almost every due process of law was overlooked.

  • It is stated that the Delhi Police did not follow any of the guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court in Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar (2014).
  • Section 80 of CrPC stipulates that the arrested person must be produced before the magistrate within the jurisdiction of arrest, which must be followed in every case.
  • She also did not have an opportunity to seek legal counsel nor was one provided to her, in breach of Article 22.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the South African Covid variant?


Context:

The WHO has identified three new variants of coronavirus originating in the UK, Brazil and now in South Africa.

What’s the concern?

  • Of the three, the latest South African variant known as 20H/501Y.V2 or B.1.351, is different from the one in Britain and appears to be more infectious than the original virus.
  • The South African variant carries a mutation called N501Y that appears to make it more contagious or easy to spread, a report in The New York Times said.
  • Also, the WHO has said this variant “is less susceptible to antibody neutralisation” than previous variants.

Why do viruses mutate?

A mutation just means a difference; a letter change in the genome.

  • Mutations in viruses are a natural part of evolution.
  • The pressure on the virus to evolve is increased by the fact that so many millions of people have now been infected.

In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.

  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RT- PCR test?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

ICC ruling says it has jurisdiction in Palestinian Territories:


Context:

The International Criminal Court (ICC) recently ruled that it has jurisdiction over war crimes or atrocities committed in the Palestinian territories, paving the way for a criminal investigation over Israeli actions.

  • Judges said their decision was based on jurisdictional rules in its founding documents and does not imply any attempt to determine statehood or legal borders.

What has the ICC said?

  • It ruled that Palestine is a state party to the Rome Statute establishing the ICC.
  • It ruled that Palestine qualifies as the state on the territory in which the “conduct in question” occurred and that the court’s jurisdiction extends to East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza.

Response by Israel:

Israel is not a member of the ICC. As a non-member, it cannot appeal the recent ruling but its attorney general has argued all along that only a sovereign state can delegate authority to the ICC and that the areas in question were not a Palestinian sovereign state.

About ICC:

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • It is the first permanent, treaty based, international court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
  • Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.
  • Funding: Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Composition and voting power:

  • The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.
  • Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote.
  • The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.

Icj_vs_ICC

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between ICJ and ICC.
  2. Geographical locations of these organisations.
  3. What is Rome statute?
  4. Orders of ICC.
  5. What happens when its orders are not implemented?

Mains Link:

Write a note on ICC.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

What is net neutrality?


Context:

Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) has urged the government to bring over-the-top (OTT) service providers like WhatsApp, Google Duo etc under licensing regime and defer net neutrality rules on telecom operators till the time ‘same service same rules’ are applied on the apps.

What’s the issue?

Telecom operators have been demanding that the government should impose ‘same service, same rules’ to provide a level playing field in the sector.

  • But, recently Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) had recommended that no regulations should be imposed on the calling and messaging apps till the time clarity emerges in the international jurisdictions.

What has the COAI said?

Till the time any decision is taken regarding licensing of OTT communication providers, the un-equitability between TSPs (telecom service providers) and OTTs should not be increased further in any manner.

  • Therefore, till such time, no new licensing conditions, including that of traffic management practices for net neutrality etc., should be imposed on TSPs.

What is Net Neutrality?

It means that governments and internet service providers treat all data on the internet equally and does not differentially charge consumers for higher-quality delivery or giving preferential treatment to certain websites.

  • Network neutrality requires all Internet service providers (ISPs) to provide the same level of data access and speed to all traffic, and that traffic to one service or website cannot be blocked or degraded.

How net neutrality is treated/regulated in India?

  • The net neutrality principles, approved by the telecom department in 2018, prohibit service providers from discriminating against internet content and services by blocking, throttling or according preferential higher speeds.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Net neutrality?
  2. Examples.
  3. TRAI guidelines on this.

Mains Link:

What do you understand by net neutrality? Why is it significant? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Pey Jal Survekshan:


Context:

It is a drinking water survey launched in 10 cities under Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban).

  • Launched by the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry.
  • As part of the survey, data will also be collected on wastewater management and condition of water bodies in the cities.
  • The mission will be monitored through a technology-based platform on which beneficiary response will be monitored.
  • Initially, the survey is being launched as a pilot in ten cities namely, Agra, Badlapur, Bhubaneswar, Churu, Kochi, Madurai, Patiala, Rohtak, Surat and Tumkur.

Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban):

  • The Jal Jeevan Mission-Urban aims to create universal coverage of water supply in all 4,378 statutory towns as well as sewage management in 500 AMRUT cities.
  • The scheme will be implemented first through signing of MoUs between the Centre, states, and the urban local bodies.
  • The cities will then prepare city water balance plans, recycle/reuse plans and aquifer management plans.
  • The state will vet and approve the development of the project with a baseline assessment.

Funding:

For Union Territories, there will be 100% central funding. For North Eastern and Hill States, central funding for projects will be 90%. Central funding will be 50% for cities will less than 1 lakh population, one third for cities with 1 lakh to 10 lakh population and 25% for cities with million plus population.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the survey and mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Pilot cities selected for the surevy.
  4. Funding pattern.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Why prices of Petrol and Diesel are rising?


Context:

Retail prices of automobile fuels have reached record highs across the country.

How retail prices are linked to crude oil prices?

Retail petrol and diesel prices are in theory decontrolled or linked to global crude oil prices. Which means that if crude prices fall, as has largely been the trend since February, retails prices should come down too, and vice versa.

But, why is it not happening so?

By sharply hiking excise duty as global oil prices fell, the government has practically controlled the price of the auto fuels, mopping up any savings that may have accrued to consumers owing to low global prices.

  • The government does this to boost revenues.

Implications for OmCs and consumers:

Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are free to set prices for petrol and diesel based on international prices on paper. Increase in central levies has meant that the consumer hasn’t benefited from low international prices and has ended up bearing the cost of rising crude oil prices.

  • The urban population would be more impacted by rising fuel prices than the rural population however, a weak monsoon may lead to rural India being hit as farmers are forced to rely more on diesel-powered irrigation.

Why crude oil prices are rising now?

  • Prices collapsed in April 2020 after the pandemic spread around the world, and demand fell away. But as economies have reduced travel restrictions and factory output has picked up, global demand has improved, and prices have been recovering.
  • The controlled production of crude amid rising demand has been another key factor in boosting oil prices, with Saudi Arabia voluntarily cutting its daily output by 1 million barrels per day to 8.125 million barrels per day through February and March.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Odisha enhances land ceiling to be acquired by industry:

The land limit has been extended by exercise of the powers conferred by the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 and the Odisha Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules, 2016.

  • In both rural and urban areas, the extent of land to be acquired through direct negotiation has been doubled.
  • As per a resolution published by the government, private companies can now purchase 500 acres in rural areas and 100 acres in urban centres.

France passes Bill to battle extremism:

France Parliament has passed a Bill that would strengthen oversight of mosques, schools and sports clubs to safeguard France from radical Islamists and ensure respect for French values.

E-Chhawani portal launched:

  • The portal (https://echhawani.gov.in/) has been created to provide online civic services to over 20 lakh residents of 62 Cantonment Boards across the country.
  • Through the portal, the residents of cantonment areas will be able to avail basic services like renewal of leases, application for birth & death certificates, water & sewerage connections.


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