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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 9 March 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. Declaration Of World Heritage Sites By UNESCO.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. SC seeks States’ views on 50% cap on quota.

2. Banks Board Bureau (BBB).

3. Cairn wins nod from five courts for $1.4 bn award.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative.

2. Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Delhi’s per capita income.

2.International Women’s Day.

 


GS Paper  :  1


 

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

Declaration Of World Heritage Sites By UNESCO:


Context:

Ministry of Culture said:

  1. ‘Dholavira: A Harappan City’ has been submitted for nomination of World Heritage Site in 2019-2020.
  2. Nomination dossiers of ‘Santiniketan, India’ and ‘Sacred Ensemble of Hoysalas’ have been submitted to UNESCO for the year 2021-22 cycle.

At present, India has 38 World Heritage Properties. Besides, India has 42 sites listed under Tentative List which is a pre-requisite condition for inscription as World Heritage Site.

What is a World Heritage site?

  • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.
  • These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
  • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.

Key facts:

  1. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  2. Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
  3. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who declares a site as world heritage site?
  2. What is endangered list?
  3. What is tentative list?
  4. WHS in India and their locations?

Sources: PIB.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

SC seeks States’ views on 50% cap on quota:


Context:

The Supreme Court has decided to examine whether the Indira Sawhney verdict of 1992 needs a relook.

What’s the issue?

In 1992, the Supreme Court fixed reservation for the marginalised and the poor in government jobs and educational institutions at 50%, except in “extraordinary circumstances”.

However, over the years, several States, such as Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, have crossed the Rubicon and passed laws which allow reservation shooting over 60%.

  • Recently, a five-judge Bench set up to hear the challenge to the Maratha quota law, decided not to confine the question of reservation spilling over the 50% limit to just Maharashtra.
  • The Bench expanded the ambit of the case by making other States party and inviting them to make their stand clear on the question of whether reservation should continue to remain within the 50% boundary or not.

Why 50%?

The Other Backward Classes, as identified by the Mandal Commission, make up about 52% of India’s population according to the 1931 Census, the last enumeration of castes in the country. The court, however, did not deal with the question of population while ruling that although reservation was fine, it must be capped.

Tamilnadu’s case:

The state’s Assembly passed the Tamil Nadu Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions and Appointments or Posts in the Services under the State) Act, 1993 to keep its reservation limit intact at 69%.

  • The law was subsequently included into the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution through the 76th Constitution Amendment passed by Parliament in 1994.

Overview of Maratha Quota law:

The Bombay High Court had, in June 2019, reduced the quantum of reservation for Marathas from the 16% recommended by the Gaikwad Commission to 12% in education and 13% in employment.

  • With the implementation of the Maharashtra law, the vertical quota in the state could go up to 68% which was earlier 52% before the passing of the law. This aspect will also come under question.
  • Since the Indra Sawhney verdict gives a pass to breach of the 50% quota rule only in exceptional circumstances, the court will have to test if the Maharashtra law qualifies to be an exception.

How does the Maratha reservation relate to the Indra Sawhney case?

  1. Based on the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution, which gives the President powers to notify backward classes, the court will have to look into whether states have similar powers.
  2. Also, since this power flows from the Constitution, whether the President is still required to comply with the criteria set by the Supreme Court in the Mandal case.
  3. The relevance of the Indra Sawhney criteria is also under question in another case in which the validity of the 103rd Amendment has been challenged. The 103rd Amendment, passed in 2019, provides for 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for the economically weaker section in the unreserved category.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the 103rd Constitutional Amendment Act.
  2. 102 CAA- overview.
  3. About Maratha Quota law.
  4. What is 9th schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  5. Indira Sawhney Judgment.

Mains Link:

Recently, a five-judge Bench set up to hear the challenge to the Maratha quota law, decided not to confine the question of reservation spilling over the 50% limit to just Maharashtra. Discuss the implications of this move.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Banks Board Bureau (BBB):


Context:

The Banks Board Bureau (BBB) may be entrusted with the job to select MDs and DMDs of a proposed ₹1-lakh crore development financial institution (DFI) being set up to accelerate infrastructure financing.

About the proposed DFI:

  • The infrastructure financier, to be called the National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development, is to anchor the ambitious National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP).

About BBB:

It was set up in February 2016 as an autonomous body– based on the recommendations of the RBI-appointed Nayak Committee.

  • It was part of the Indradhanush Plan.
  • It will make recommendations for appointment of whole-time directors as well as non-executive chairpersons of Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and state-owned financial institutions.
  • The Ministry of Finance takes the final decision on the appointments in consultation with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Composition:

Banks Board Bureau comprises the Chairman, three ex-officio members i.e Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises, Secretary of the Department of Financial Services and Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, and five expert members, two of which are from the private sector.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About BBB.
  2. Composition.
  3. Functions.
  4. What was the Nayak Committee appointed for by the RBI?

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of BBB.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Cairn wins nod from five courts for $1.4 bn award:


Context:

Courts in five countries (the U.S., the U.K., the Netherlands, Canada and France) have given recognition to an arbitration award that asked India to return $1.4 billion to Cairn Energy plc.

Background:

Cairn Energy had moved courts in nine countries to enforce its $1.4 billion arbitral award against India, which the company won after a dispute with the country’s revenue authority over a retroactively applied capital gains tax.

Implications:

The registration of the award is the first step towards its enforcement in the event of the government not paying the firm.

  • Once the court recognises an arbitration award, the company can then petition it for seizing any Indian government asset such as bank accounts, payments to state-owned entities, airplanes and ships in those jurisdictions, to recover the monies due to it.

What’s the case?

  • Cairn had challenged the Indian government seeking taxes over an internal business reorganisation using the 2012 retrospective tax law, under the UK-India Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • In 2011, Cairn Energy sold its majority stake in Cairn India to Vedanta Ltd, reducing its stake in the Indian company to about 10 per cent.
  • In 2014, the Indian tax department had demanded Rs 10,247 crore ($1.4 billion) in taxes.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Arbitration?
  2. Recent Amendments.
  3. About the International Court of Arbitration.
  4. About the Arbitration Council of India.
  5. Appointment of arbitrators under the 1996 Act.
  6. Permanent Court of Arbitration- composition, functions and members.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:


Context:

1770 Van Dhan Kendras Sanctioned so Far in 22 States and One UT.

About Van Dhan Vikas Kendras initiative:

  • The initiative aims to promote MFPs-centric livelihood development of tribal gatherers and artisans.
  • It mainstreams the tribal community by promoting primary level value addition to MFP at grassroots level.

Significance: Through this initiative, the share of tribals in the value chain of Non-Timber Forest Produce is expected to rise from the present 20% to around 60%.

Implementation:

  • The scheme will be implemented through Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level and TRIFED as Nodal Agency at the National Level.
  • At State level, the State Nodal Agency for MFPs and the District collectors are envisaged to play a pivot role in scheme implementation at grassroot level.
  • Locally the Kendras are proposed to be managed by a Managing Committee (an SHG) consisting of representatives of Van Dhan SHGs in the cluster.
  • Composition: As per the plan, TRIFED will facilitate establishment of MFP-led multi-purpose Van Dhan Vikas Kendras, a cluster of 10 SHGs comprising of 30 tribal MFP gatherers each, in the tribal areas.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:


Context:

A local court in Surat acquitted 122 persons arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for participating in a meeting organised in December 2001 as members of Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI), a banned outfit.

  • After their acquittal, some of the accused, and also activists from the minority community, demanded that they be compensated for being “illegally framed by the police” without any evidence against them.

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.

The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.

  • It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.

Key points:

Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.

  • It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.
  • Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.

As per amendments of 2019:

  • The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.
  • The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.
  • It also has the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist. Prior to this amendment, only organizations could be designated as terrorist organizations.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of unlawful activity.
  2. Powers of Centre under the act.
  3. Is judicial review applicable in such cases?
  4. Changes brought about by amendments in 2004 and 2019.
  5. Can foreign nationals be charged under the act?

Mains Link:

Do you agree that the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act could prove catastrophic for fundamental rights? Is sacrificing liberty for national security justified? Discuss and provide for your opinion.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Delhi’s per capita income:

  • As per the Economic Survey of Delhi 2020-21, the per capita income of the people of Delhi has fallen by 5.91% (at current prices) to ₹3,54,004 during 2020-21, compared to ₹3,76,221 in 2019-20.
  • Also, the Gross State Domestic Product (at current prices) fell by 3.92% in 2020-21 to ₹7,98,310 crore from ₹8,30,872 crore in 2019-20.

International Women’s Day:

  • Celebrated on March 8 every year.
  • On March 9, 1911, International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.
  • In the United Nations, it was celebrated for the first time in 1975.
  • In December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by the Member States in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
  • The theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is ‘Choose To Challenge’

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