Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 26 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 1:

1. Sri Krishnadevaraya.

2. Swachh Iconic Places.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. ‘Pandemic generation’ hit hard: CSE.

2. Biden revokes Trump’s immigrant visa ban.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Bad bank.

2. Govt. to monitor OTT content.

3. Fugitive Economic Offender.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. China’s PPP.

2. Haryana govt. to table anti-conversion Bill.

3. SC plans exclusive courts for cheque cases.

4. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS).

5. River Beas.

6. Mannathu Padmanabhan.

 


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Sri Krishnadevaraya:


Context:

The first-ever epigraphical reference to the date of death of Vijayanagar king Krishnadevaraya has been discovered at Honnenahalli in Tumakuru district in Karnataka.

  • The inscription is written in Kannada.

As per the inscription:

  • Krishnadevaraya, one of the greatest emperors of India who ruled from the South, died on October 17, 1529, Sunday, and incidentally this day was marked by a lunar eclipse.
  • A village named Honnenahalli in Tumakuru was gifted for conducting worship to the god Veeraprasanna Hanumantha of Tumakuru.

About Vijayanagar ruler Krishnadevaraya:

  • He was an emperor of the Vijayanagara Empire who reigned from 1509–1529.
  • He belonged to Tuluva Dynasty.
  • Krishna Deva Raya earned the titles Kannada Rajya Rama Ramana, Andhra Bhoja and Mooru Rayara Ganda.
  • He became the dominant ruler of the peninsula of India by defeating the Sultans of Bijapur, Golconda, the Bahmani Sultanate and the Raja of Odisha.
  • The great south Indian mathematician Nilakantha Somayaji also lived in the Empire of Krishnadevaraya.
  • Portuguese travellers Domingo Paes and Fernao Nuniz also visited the Vijayanagara Empire during his reign.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Krishnadevaraya.
  2. His titles.
  3. His achievements- Cultural and architectural.
  4. Foreign travelers who visited his court.
  5. About Nilakantha Somayaji.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Sri Krishnadevaraya.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

Swachh Iconic Places:


Context:

Ministry of Jal Shakti announces selection of 12 sites for transforming them into ‘Swachh Tourist Destinations’ under Phase-IV.

The 12 sites are:

  1. Ajanta Caves, Maharashtra
  2. Sanchi Stupa, Madhya Pradesh
  3. Kumbhalgarh Fort, Rajasthan
  4. Jaisalmer Fort, Rajasthan
  5. Ramdevra, Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
  6. Golconda Fort, Hyderabad, Telangana
  7. Sun Temple, Konark, Odisha
  8. Rock Garden, Chandigarh
  9. Dal Lake, Srinagar, Jammu & Kashmir
  10. Banke Bihari Temple, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh
  11. Agra Fort, Agra, Uttar Pradesh
  12. Kalighat Temple, West Bengal

About Swachh Iconic Places (SIP):

What is it? It is an initiative of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation under Swachh Bharat Mission.

Aims to take iconic places and their surroundings to higher standards of Swachhata, so that all visitors benefit and also take away home the message of cleanliness.

Implementation of the project: It is a collaborative project with three other central Ministries: Urban Development, Culture, Tourism; all levels in the concerned States and more importantly, Public Sector and Private companies as partners.

Initiatives taken up under Swachh Iconic Places initiative:

Improved sewage infrastructure, installation of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP), drainage facilities, improved sanitation facilities, water vending machines, solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) set-up, structure restoration, lighting arrangements, beautification of parks, roads maintenance, better transport facilities in approach and access areas besides at the main sites.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Scheme.
  2. Implementation.
  3. Places selected.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

‘Pandemic generation’ hit hard: CSE:


Context:

State of Environment Report, 2021 was recently released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).

Highlights:

Impact by Covid 19:

  1. Biggest Concern: India is all set to usher in a “pandemic generation”, with 375 million children (from newborns to 14-year-olds) likely to suffer long-lasting impacts.
  2. The challenges could range from being underweight, stunting and increased child mortality, to losses in education and work productivity.
  3. Over 500 million children have been forced out of school globally and India accounts for more than half of them.
  4. 115 million additional people might get pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic — and most of them live in South Asia.
  5. India ranked 117 among 192 nations in terms of sustainable development and was now behind all South Asian nations, except Pakistan.

State of environment:

  1. India’s air, water and land have become more polluted between 2009 and 2018.
  2. Of 88 major industrial clusters in the country, 35 showed overall environmental degradation, 33 pointed to worsening air quality, 45 had more polluted water and in 17, land pollution became worse.
  3. Tarapur in Maharashtra emerged as the most polluted cluster.
  4. This data clearly indicated a lack of action over the years to control and reduce pollution even in areas that were already identified as critically or severely polluted.

Performance of various states:

When ranked on the basis of achieving Sustainable Development Goals:

  1. The best performing States were Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana.
  2. The worst performers were Bihar, Jharkhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Uttar Pradesh.

InstaLinks:

Have a brief overview of the key findings.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Diaspora.

Biden revokes Trump’s immigrant visa ban:


Context:

The Biden administration has revoked Donald Trump’s suspension of new immigrant visas, which had been in effect since late April 2020.

  • The revoked order had suspended the entry of certain immigrants and non-immigrants into the U.S. ostensibly on grounds of protecting the U.S. labour market in the wake of COVID-19.

What’s the issue now?

Mr. Biden, however, did not revoke a Trump administration pause on H1-B (skilled worker), L (intra-company transfer) and several other work and exchange visitor visa categories that went into effect on June 24, 2020.

  • H1-B visas are predominantly granted to workers in the IT sector, and most of these visas — over 70% — have gone to Indian citizens in recent years.

What are H-1B, H-2B, L and other work visas?

In order to fill a vacuum of highly-skilled low-cost employees in IT and other related domains, the US administration issues a certain number of visas each year which allows companies from outside the US to send employees to work on client sites.

  1. H-1B: Person is Specialty Occupation: To work in a specialty occupation. Requires a higher education degree of its equivalent.
  2. L1 visas allows companies to transfer highly skilled workers to US for a period of up to seven years.
  3. H-2B visas allow food and agricultural workers to seek employment in the US.
  4. J-1 Visas: It is for students on work-study summer programmes.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between H1B, F1 and M1 Visas.
  2. Difference between an NRI and an OCI cardholder.
  3. When OCI and PIO were merged?
  4. The Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019 grants citizenship to?
  5. Constitutional provisions related to citizenship in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of recent changes in US visa rules on Indian students in the US.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Bad bank:


Context:

The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) has begun identifying bad loans which can be transferred to the Centre’s proposed bad bank.

  • The IBA has written to banks asking them for a list of all bad loans worth Rs 500 crore and above to “identify magnitude of the problem” and “get clarity over initial capital required for the entity”.

Background:

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had proposed setting up of a bad bank during her Union Budget 2021 speech on February 1. She said the proposed entity would take over stressed loans from banks to sell to alternative investment funds (AIF).

Concept of Bad Bank:

  • A bad bank is a bank set up to buy the bad loans and other illiquid holdings of another financial institution.
  • The entity holding significant nonperforming assets will sell these holdings to the bad bank at market price.
  • By transferring such assets to the bad bank, the original institution may clear its balance sheet—although it will still be forced to take write-downs.

Why be concerned about bad loans?

  1. Indian banks’ pile of bad loans is a huge drag on the economy.
  2. It’s a drain on banks’ profits. Because profits are eroded, public sector banks (PSBs), where the bulk of the bad loans reside, cannot raise enough capital to fund credit growth.
  3. Lack of credit growth, in turn, comes in the way of the economy’s return to an 8% growth trajectory. Therefore, the bad loan problem requires effective resolution.

Benefits:

  1. This helps banks or FIs clear-off their balance sheets by transferring the bad loans and focus on its core business lending activities.
  2. Large debtors have many creditors. Hence bad bank could solve the coordination problem, since debts would be centralised in one agency.
  3. It can effect speedier settlements with borrowers by cutting out individual banks.
  4. It can drive a better bargain with borrowers and take more stringent enforcement action against them.
  5. It can raise money from institutional investors rather than looking only to the Government.

What are the Concerns or demerits of such banks?

Suppose, say for example, a bank sells bad loans. Then, it has to take a haircut because when Rs 100 goes bad, the actual amount that can be expected is lower than Rs 100 and that leads to haircut. When it takes haircut that will impact the P&L (Profit & Loss).

So, till that particular aspect is not addressed, creating a new structure may not be as potent in addressing the problem.

Way forward:

The K V Kamath Committee, has said companies in sectors such as retail trade, wholesale trade, roads and textiles are facing stress.

  • Sectors that have been under stress pre-Covid include NBFCs, power, steel, real estate and construction.
  • Setting up a bad bank is seen as crucial against this backdrop.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is an Asset Reconstruction Company?
  2. What is a bad bank?
  3. Who can set up a bad bank in India?
  4. What are stressed assets?
  5. What are non performing assets?

Mains Link:

Discuss the merits and demerits of setting up of bad banks.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.

Govt. to monitor OTT content:


Context:

For the first time, the government, under the ambit of the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, has brought in detailed guidelines for digital content on both digital media and Over The Top (OTT) platforms.

  • While all the rules have been framed and notified under the existing Information Technology (IT) Act, the administrative powers for regulation of OTT and digital news sharing platforms shall be under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B).

Overview of the rules:

Three-tier grievance redressal mechanism:

First level- OTT provider: Here, the grievance redressal system will be at the level of each OTT provider. Each complaint will have to be addressed within 15 days.

Second level- a self-regulatory body: If the complaint is not satisfactorily addressed, then the complainant can scale it up to a self-regulatory body collectively established by the OTTs.

  • Composition: This body will be headed by a retired judge of the Supreme Court, a High Court, or an independent eminent person from the field of media, broadcasting, entertainment, child rights, human rights or other relevant fields.
  • Powers: This self-regulatory body also has “censuring” powers in case of any incriminating content.

At the third tier, the government has equipped itself with overriding powers in the form of “oversight mechanism”. An inter-ministerial committee will perform this function and it will largely have the same powers as the collective self-regulatory body of the OTTs.

Applicability:

The new guidelines place more onus on nearly all such companies which provide a platform to host, share, view or modify content, while also including for the first time, entities which are in the business of either creating or distributing news online under the ambit of an online intermediary.

Safe harbour provisions:

The government has made social media intermediaries more liable for the content being shared on their platform by following due diligence, failing which the “safe harbour provisions” will not be applicable to them.

  • These safe harbour provisions have been defined under Section 79 of the IT Act, and protect social media intermediaries by giving them immunity from legal prosecution for any content posted on their platforms.

A grievances redressal and compliance mechanism:

Social media intermediaries will also be required to have a grievances redressal and compliance mechanism, appointing a grievance officer whose name and contact details will have to be shared, a resident grievance officer who shall have an office in India and will be an Indian passport-holding citizen, and a chief compliance officer.

The chief compliance officer, who will have to be present in India, shall be responsible for ensuring the platform’s compliance with the IT Act and the rules notified Thursday.

A nodal contact person who can be available round-the-clock for “coordination with law enforcement agencies” will also have to be appointed by social media intermediaries.

Identification of the first originator of the information:

  • Social media intermediaries, upon being asked either by the court or by a government authority, will be required to disclose the first originator of the mischievous tweet or message, as the case may be.
  • The platform will, however, be liable to disclose the originator of the message “only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States, or public order”.

Fair opportunity:

Social media companies have been asked to give users a chance for explanation and a fair opportunity to be heard before removing access to their accounts.

Compliance of ethics and rules:

A self-regulatory body, headed either by a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge or an independent eminent person, shall also be formed, which will ensure the compliance of ethics and rules by online digital news platforms.

“Emergency” powers:

“In case of emergency nature” the Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, may “if he is satisfied that it is necessary or expedient and justifiable” give orders to block access. Such orders can be released “without giving an opportunity of hearing” to the publishing platform.

Background:

The government’s move comes amid a flurry of activity across geographies over the last 12 months to frame new regulations aimed at policing Big Tech, which may force some of the world’s most valuable companies to fundamentally recalibrate their business models in order to stay in line with these regulations.

Implications and significance of these rules:

These were needed to hold social media and other companies accountable for “misuse and abuse”.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Money laundering related issues.

Fugitive Economic Offender:


Context:

The Westminster Magistrates Court in London has allowed India’s extradition request against businessman Nirav Modi, who is wanted in connection with the ₹13,758 crore Punjab National Bank fraud, ruling that a prima facie case had been made out.

What next?

The order will be sent to the Secretary of State for the United Kingdom’s Home Department for further action. The Secretary of State has to take a decision within two months or seek an extension from the High Court.

Unless there is an appeal, a requested person must be extradited within 28 days of the Secretary of State’s decision to order extradition (subject to any appeal).

  • Appealing the Secretary of State’s decision in the High Court is only possible with the court’s permission.

Fugitive economic offender:

A special court, in December 2019, declared diamond businessman Nirav Modi, the key accused in the $2 billion Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a fugitive economic offender, on a plea of the Enforcement Directorate.

Definition- Fugitive Economic Offender:

A person can be named an offender under the law if there is an arrest warrant against him or her for involvement in economic offences involving at least Rs. 100 crore or more and has fled from India to escape legal action.

The procedure:

  1. The investigating agencies have to file an application in a Special Court under the Prevention of Money-Laundering Act containing details of the properties to be confiscated, and any information about the person’s whereabouts.
  2. The Special Court will issue a notice for the person to appear at a specified place and date at least six weeks from the issue of notice.
  3. Proceedings will be terminated if the person appears. If not the person would be declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender based on the evidence filed by the investigating agencies.
  4. The person who is declared as a Fugitive Economic Offender can challenge the proclamation in the High Court within 30 days of such declaration according to the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who is a fugitive economic offender?
  2. Composition and powers of ED.
  3. Establishment and powers of CBI.
  4. What is PMLA?
  5. Overview of Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and key provisions of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


China’s PPP:

  • China’s elimination of absolute poverty is defined according to the government’s poverty line of $2.30 in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP) per person a day, which is higher than the international poverty line of $1.90 PPP.
  • The World Bank defines the poverty line for lower middle income countries at $3.20 PPP and for upper middle income countries, such as China, at $5.50 PPP.

Haryana govt. to table anti-conversion Bill:

The Haryana government is planning to bring in a Bill against “religious conversions through force or fraudulent means” and another one to recover damages to public and private properties from rioters and protesters in the upcoming budget session of the Assembly.

SC plans exclusive courts for cheque cases:

  • The Supreme Court has considered the creation of additional courts to exclusively hear and decide cheque bounce cases.
  • The court had found that over 35 lakh cheque bounce cases were pending in various courts across the country.

Background: The issue of prolonged litigation regarding dishonoured cheques came to the court’s notice when it was hearing a case dating back to 2005.

Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS):

  • It is an autonomous organization of the Government of India, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • INCOIS is mandated to provide the best possible ocean information and advisory services to society, industry, government agencies and the scientific community.

Why in News?

INCOIS is planning to take the help of the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) for aerial mapping of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep to get a better picture of the ocean floor, also called ‘bathymetric’ study.

River Beas:

  • The Centre is going to stop 232 Million Gallons per Day (MGD) of water coming from the Beas to Delhi for a month.
  • Centre is starting a repair work, which will create complete closure of Nangal hydel channel. This will stop 25% of the water supply in Delhi.

About the Beas:

  1. The Beas originates near the Rohtang Pass, at a height of 4,062 m above sea level, on the southern end of the Pir Panjal Range, close to the source of the Ravi.
  2. It crosses the Dhaola Dhar range and it takes a south-westerly direction and meets the Satluj river at Harike in Punjab.
  3. It is a comparatively small river which is only 460 km long but lies entirely within the Indian territory.

Mannathu Padmanabhan:

  • Mannathu Padmanabhan (1878 – 1970) was an Indian social reformer and freedom fighter from Kerala.
  • He took part in anti-untouchability agitations and advocated opening temples for people of all castes.
  • He also participated in the Vaikom Satyagraha.
  • He is also known for his founding of the Nair Service Society (NSS).

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Same-sex marriages will cause havoc, Central govt. tells HC.
  2. India, Pakistan agree to observe 2003 ceasefire.

 

Articles Covered Previously:

  1. Pakistan will remain on FATF ‘greylist’:

Details on:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/02/18/pak-to-remain-in-fatf-grey-list-until-june/.


  • Join our Official Telegram Channel HERE for Motivation and Fast Updates
  • Subscribe to our YouTube Channel HERE to watch Motivational and New analysis videos