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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 17 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. 

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Orunudoi scheme.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Applicability of Anti-defection law for nominated MPs.

2. Mullaperiyar dam isssue.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. The Jharkhand bill that reserves 75% jobs in private sector for locals.

2. The ‘World Air Quality Report 2020’.

3. Cabinet gives nod to Bill for setting up DFI.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. World’s highest railway bridge.

2. EU has been declared an ‘LGBTIQ Freedom Zone’.

3. International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

 


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Orunudoi scheme:


Context:

Launched in December 2020 by the Assam Government, Orunudoi scheme is one of the most popular schemes of the state.

About the Scheme:

  • Under the scheme, a monthly assistance of Rs 830 is transferred to women members of marginalised families of Assam.
  • On account of being a DBT, or a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme, the money is credited directly to the bank account of the woman head of a family because they are “primary caretakers of the household”.
  • The scheme gives “a choice to the poor and needy households on how they want to spend their money”.

Eligibility:

  1. The applicant, a woman, has to be a permanent resident of Assam, whose composite household income should be less than Rs 2 lakh per annum.
  2. Families with specially-abled members and divorced/widowed/separated /unmarried women are prioritised. Poorer families, those without National Food Security Act (NFSA) or ration cards, are also given priority.
  3. Families without any women members, MPs, MLAs (former and current), members of Panchayati Raj institutions and urban local bodies, government officials and employees of cooperative societies are excluded from the scheme.
  4. Families owning four-wheelers, mechanised boats, tractors or refrigerators, ACs and washing machines, or more than 15 bighas of agricultural land, are not eligible either.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme.
  2. Eligibility.
  3. Beneficiaries.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Applicability of Anti-defection law for nominated MPs:


Context:

Nominated MP Swapan Dasgupta has resigned from Rajya Sabha, a year before completion of his term.

What’s the issue?

The opposition had raised the issue of his disqualification from Rajya Sabha under the anti-defection law because the BJP had fielded Dasgupta as its candidate for Tarakeswar constituency in the West Bengal Assembly elections.

Who are Nominated members?

  • The Rajya Sabha has 12 nominated members from different walks of life.
  • The broad criterion for their nomination is that they should have distinguished themselves in fields like literature, science, art, and social service.
  • The President nominates such individuals as recommended by the Centre.
  • Nominated members have the same rights and privileges as elected members, with one notable difference — they cannot vote in the election of the President.

Anti-defection law:

  • In 1985 the Tenth Schedule, popularly known as the anti-defection law, was added to the Constitution.
  • The purpose of the Amendment was to bring stability to governments by deterring MPs and MLAs from changing their political parties on whose ticket they were elected.
  • The penalty for shifting political loyalties is the loss of parliamentary membership and a bar on becoming a minister.

The law specifies the circumstances under which changing of political parties by MPs invite action under the law. It covers three types of scenarios with respect to an MP switching parties:

  1. When a member elected on the ticket of a political party “voluntarily gives up” membership of such a party or votes in the House contrary to the wishes of the party.
  2. When an MP who has won his or her seat as an independent candidate after the election joins a political party.
  3. For nominated MPs, the law specifies that within six months of being nominated to the House, they can choose to join a political party. But, if they join a party thereafter, then they lose their seat in Parliament.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Names of various committees and commissions with regard to Anti Defection law.
  2. Committees vs Commissions.
  3. Decision of presiding officer vs Judicial review.
  4. Merger vs Split of political parties.
  5. Is anti- defection law applicable to the presiding officer?
  6. Relevant Supreme Court cases and verdicts.

Mains Link:

Examine the provisions of Anti- defection law. Has this law largely failed to meet its objective? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Mullaperiyar dam isssue:


Context:

The Supreme Court has issued a warning to Tamil Nadu in the Mullaperiyar case.

What did the court say?

  • Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary will be “personally responsible” and “appropriate action” will be taken on failure to give information on the ‘rule curve’ for the Mullaperiyar dam to the Supreme Court-appointed Supervisory Committee.
  • The Supervisory Committee should issue directions or take steps to address the three core safety issues — the monitoring and performance of the instrumentation of the dam, finalising the ‘rule curve’ and fixing the gate operating schedule — and submit a compliance report in four weeks.

What’s the issue?

The Kerala government has accused Tamil Nadu of adopting an “obsolete” gate operation schedule dating back to 1939. It has also expressed apprehensions about the lack of proper supervision of water levels in the dam located along the Periyar tiger reserve.

What is the rule curve?

The ‘rule curve’ in a dam decides the fluctuating storage levels in a reservoir. The gate opening schedule of a dam is based on the ‘rule curve’. It is part of the “core safety” mechanism in a dam.

Mullaperiyar Dam- what you need to know?

Although the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease indenture for 999 years (the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement) that was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works.

  • Constructed between 1887 and 1895, the dam redirected the river to flow towards the Bay of Bengal, instead of the Arabian Sea and provide water to the arid rain region of Madurai in Madras Presidency.
  • The dam is located on the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers inKerala’s Idukki district.

What Tamil Nadu says?

Tamil Nadu claims that although it has undertaken measures to strengthen the dam, the Kerala government has blocked any attempt to raise the reservoir water level – resulting in losses for Madurai farmers.

Kerala’s arguments:

Kerala, however, highlights fears of devastation by residents living downstream in the earthquake-prone district of Idukki.

Scientists have argued that if there is an earthquake in the region measuring above six on the Richter scale, the lives of over three million people will come under grave danger.

Mullaperiyar_Dam

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Locations of Mullar and Periyar rivers.
  2. Location of Mullaperiyar dam?
  3. Who manages the dam?
  4. About the 1886 Periyar Lake Lease Agreement.
  5. About the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act).

Mains Link:

Examine why the Mullaperiyar dam issue has become bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Examine if the union government can help resolve this issue.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to employment.

The Jharkhand bill that reserves 75% jobs in private sector for locals:


Context:

The Jharkhand government has announced 75% reservation in private sector jobs.

How does the bill define private sector jobs?

The bill will treat shops, establishments, mines, enterprises, industries, companies, societies, trusts, Limited Liability Partnership firms and any person employing ten or more persons as the private sector and an entity. Moreover, the same may be notified by the government from time to time.

Highlights of the Bill:

  1. Every employer needs to register employees on a designated portal who are receiving gross monthly salary or wages not more than Rs 30, 000 — or as notified by the government from time to time — within three months of this bill (after turning into an Act) coming into force.
  2. No person should be engaged or employed unless the registration process is complete on the designated portal.
  3. No local candidate will be eligible to avail 75 per cent benefit without registering herself in the designated portal.
  4. The employer may claim exemption where an adequate number of local candidates of the desired skill qualification or proficiency are not available.
  5. The employer will have to furnish a quarterly return about vacancies and employment on the portal which will be examined by an Authorised Officer (AO), who is a District Employment Officer, who can call any records for the purpose of verification.
  6. The aggrieved employer may also file an appeal within 60 days of an order passed by the AO or DO in front of an Appellate Authority — the Director, Employment and Training, Government of Jharkhand.

Concerns and issues associated with this policy:

  1. Violates constitutional provisions- Article 16.
  2. Impacts ‘Unity in Diversity’: This policy can lead to a situation of locals vs non-locals in an area, thus posing a threat to the integration of the country.
  3. It might discourage capital investment in the region.
  4. Impacts freedom of a business.
  5. Against the spirit of competition.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key provisions of the Bill.
  2. Article 16 of the Indian Constitution is related to?
  3. Reservations vs Articles 14 and 15 of the Indian Constitution.

Mains Link:

Discuss issues associated with Jharkhand’s move to reserve 75% private jobs.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Pollution and conservation related issues.

The ‘World Air Quality Report 2020’:


Context:

It is a report on air quality released by Swiss organisation, IQAir.

  • The global cities ranking report is based on PM2.5 data from 106 countries, which is measured by ground-based monitoring stations, most of which are operated by government agencies.

Air Pollution in Indian cities:

  1. Delhi is the world’s most polluted capital: Although Delhi’s air quality improved by nearly 15 per cent from 2019 to 2020, the city still ranked as the 10th most polluted city in the world and the most polluted capital.
  2. 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities including Delhi are in India.
  3. Ghaziabad is the second most polluted city in the world after Xinjiang in China.
  4. The eight Indian cities in the top 10 list are — Bulandshahar, Bisrakh Jalalpur, Noida, Greater Noida, Kanpur, Lucknow (all in UP), Bhiwari in Rajasthan and Delhi.
  5. Major sources of India’s air pollution include transportation, biomass burning for cooking, electricity generation, industry, construction, waste burning and episodic agricultural burning.

polution_fight

Global Scenario:

  • India is the third most polluted country in 2020, unlike in 2019, when its air was the fifth most noxious.
  • Bangladesh and Pakistan were the countries in 2020 with worse average PM2.5 levels than India, said the report.
  • China ranked 11th in the latest report.
  • of the 106 monitored countries, only 24 met the World Health Organization annual guidelines for PM 2.5.

Way ahead:

While many cities, including Delhi, have recorded marginal improvements in air quality due to lockdowns, the health and economic cost of air pollution remain severe.

  • Therefore, it is pertinent that governments prioritise sustainable and clean energy sources, as well as the cities, need to encourage low cost, active and carbon-neutral mobility choices such as walking, cycling, and accessible public transport.
  • Speeding up the transition to clean energy and clean transport not only saves lives but also dramatically reduces healthcare-related costs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the report- released by, criteria for ranking.
  2. Performance of India and its cities.
  3. Performance of countries worldwide.
  4. Relative performance of India.

Mains Link:

Why despite efforts at various levels, Delhi is ranked as the most polluted capital in world? Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Infrastructure.

Cabinet gives nod to Bill for setting up DFI:


Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved a Bill to set up a Development Finance Institution – National Bank for Financing Infrastructure and Development (NaBFID).

Background:

The government had mentioned in the Budget that it would be setting up a national bank for funding infrastructure and development activity.

Key facts:

  • NaBFID will be set up with a corpus of ₹20,000 crore and an initial grant of ₹5,000 crore from the government.
  • Initially, it will be wholly owned by the Government but the Government stake will be lowered to a quarter.
  • It will also enjoy some tax benefits for an initial 10-year period and some amendments will be carried out in the Indian Stamp Act in this regard.
  • It will have a professional board and at least 50% of members will be non-official directors.
  • An eminent person will be appointed chairperson.

Need for:

  • To mobilise the ₹111 lakh crore required for funding of the ambitious national infrastructure pipeline.
  • To enhance credit rating of projects. It would fund projects where others are not willing to enter because of the risks involved.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About NaBFID.
  2. What is NIP? When was it launched?
  3. Projects covered under NIP.
  4. Key recommendations made by task force headed by Atanu Chakraborty on NIP.
  5. Three committees proposed to be set up as per the recommendations made by Task Force.
  6. What is India Investment Grid?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and features of NIP.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


World’s highest railway bridge:

  • It is being constructed over the Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The ₹1,250-crore bridge will be 359 metres above the Chenab river bed.
  • The rail line is expected to be 35 metres taller than the Eiffel Tower.
  • Once completed, it will surpass the record of the Beipan river Shuibai railway bridge (275 m) in China.

World’s_highest_railway_bridge

EU has been declared an ‘LGBTIQ Freedom Zone’:

  • The European Parliament has symbolically declared the entire 27-member bloc as an “LGBTIQ Freedom Zone”.
  • A majority of countries in the EU (23/27) recognise same-sex unions, with 16 legally recognising same-sex marriage.
  • As per the resolution, LGBTIQ persons everywhere in the EU should enjoy the freedom to live and publicly show their sexual orientation and gender identity without fear of intolerance, discrimination or persecution.

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA):

  • The World Energy Transitions Outlook report is brought out by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
  • The latest report says, the COVID-19 crisis offers an unexpected opportunity for countries to decouple their economies from fossil fuels and accelerate the shift to renewable energy sources.

About IRENA:

  1. It is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to facilitate cooperation, advance knowledge, and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.
  2. It is the first international organisation to focus exclusively on renewable energy, addressing needs in both industrialized and developing countries.
  3. It was founded in 2009 & its statute entered into force on 8 July 2010 and is headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
  4. IRENA is an official United Nations observer.

 


Articles Covered Previously:


  1. Rajya Sabha passes MTP Bill.

 


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