Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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 2:

1. Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021.

2. SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls.

3. The Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Supplementary demand for grants.

2. Government questions methodology and data accuracy of Global Hunger Index.

3. What are aluminium-air batteries?

4. India, Japan agree for greater cooperation in patent verification.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021.

2. SAAMAR Campaign.

3. Pritzker Architecture Prize.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Supplementary demand for grants:


Context:

The Lok Sabha has passed the supplementary demand for grants (second batch for 2020-21).

What are Supplementary Demands for Grants?

The supplementary demand for grants is needed for government expenditure over and above the amount for which Parliamentary approval was already obtained during the Budget session.

Constitutional provisions:

Supplementary, additional or excess grants and Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants are mentioned in the Constitution of India 1949.

  • Article 115: Supplementary, additional or excess grants.
  • Article 116: Votes on account, votes of credit and exceptional grants.

Procedure to be followed:

  1. When grants, authorised by the Parliament, fall short of the required expenditure, an estimate is presented before the Parliament for Supplementary or Additional grants.
  2. These grants are presented and passed by the Parliament before the end of the financial year.
  3. When actual expenditure incurred exceeds the approved grants of the Parliament, the Ministry of Finance presents a Demand for Excess Grant.
  4. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India bring such excesses to the notice of the Parliament.
  5. The Public Accounts Committee examines these excesses and gives recommendations to the Parliament.
  6. The Demand for Excess Grants is made after the actual expenditure is incurred and is presented to the Parliament after the end of the financial year in which the expenses were made.

Other grants:

Additional Grant: It is granted when a need has arisen during the current financial year for supplementary or additional expenditure upon some new service not contemplated in the Budget for that year.

Excess Grant: It is granted when money has been spent on any service during a financial year in excess of the amount granted for that year. The demands for excess grants are made after the expenditure has actually been incurred and after the financial year to which it relates, has expired.

Exceptional Grants: It is granted for an exceptional purpose which forms no part of the current service of any financial year.

Token Grant: It is granted when funds to meet proposed expenditure on a new service can be made available by re-appropriation, a demand for the grant of a token sum may be submitted to the vote of the House and, if the House assents to the demand, funds may be so made available.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

What are?

  1. Additional grants.
  2. Excess grants.
  3. Exceptional Grants.
  4. Token grant.
  5. Procedure to be followed.

Constitutional provisions related.

About CAG and PAC.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

SC stays HC decision barring aided school teachers from contesting polls:


Context:

The Supreme Court has stayed a Kerala High Court decision barring aided school teachers and non-teaching staff from contesting Assembly elections or engaging in political activities.

What’s the issue?

The High Court had declared Section 2 (IV) of the Legislative Assembly (Removal of Disqualifications) Act of 1951, which allowed aided school teachers to become legislators, as unconstitutional.

Petitioners in the High Court had challenged the 1951 law, saying their participation in politics would affect the quality of education.

  • They had argued in the High Court that since Kerala Government Servants Conduct Rules prohibits government school teachers from taking part in political activities, the rule should extend to aided school teachers also.

What the government says?

The government had contended in the High Court that as per a government order issued in 1967, the teachers of aided schools had political rights.

  • There were no Rules or Act prohibiting them from not participating in political activities or contesting the elections. Besides, special leave without pay could be granted to aided teachers elected to local bodies and Assembly.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can contest in Assembly elections?
  2. Who is debarred from contesting in Elections?
  3. Who can cast their vote in Assembly Elections?
  4. Assembly vs Panchayat elections.

Mains Link:

Participation of teachers in politics would affect the quality of education. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021:


Context:

The bill was recently passed by Rajya Sabha.

Key features of the Bill:

  • The Bill amends the Insurance Act, 1938 to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.
  • The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control.
  • While control will go to foreign companies, the majority of directors and key management persons will be resident Indians who will be covered by law of the land.

Significance:

Insurance companies are facing liquidity pressure and the higher limit would help meet the growing capital requirement.

Background:

Foreign investment in the insurance sector was first permitted in the year 2000 up to 26%.

  • Subsequently, vide an Amendment Act of 2015, this limit was raised to 49% of the paid-up equity capital of such company, which is Indian owned and controlled.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. FDI in insurance sector.
  2. Recent amendments.
  3. About IRDAI.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with allowing 100% FDI in the insurance sector.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

The Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenya and Somalia:


Context:

Kenya has said it will not take part in proceedings of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over its maritime border dispute with Somalia.

What’s the issue?

The main point of disagreement between the two neighbours is the direction in which their maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean should extend.

Where is the disputed area?

  • According to Somalia, the sea border should be an extension of the same direction in which their land border runs as it approaches the Indian Ocean, i.e. towards the southeast.
  • Kenya, on the other hand, argues that the territorial southeast border should take a 45 degree turn as it reaches the sea, and then run in a latitudinal direction, i.e. parallel to the equator. Such an arrangement would be advantageous for Kenya, whose coastline of 536 km is more than 6 times smaller than Somalia’s (3,333 km).

Why is this area important?

The triangular area thus created by the dispute is around 1.6 lakh sq km large, and boasts of rich marine reserves. It is also believed to have oil and gas deposits.

Kenya_Somalia

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is UNCLOS?
  2. Countries in the Indian Ocean region.
  3. Horn of Africa.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Indian Ocean Region.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Issues of buffer stocks and food security.

Government questions methodology and data accuracy of Global Hunger Index:


Context:

The government has questioned the methodology and data accuracy of the Global Hunger Index (GHI) report, alleging that children considered healthy were also counted to determine the ranking.

  • The government has already written to NGO Welthungerhilfe, which compiles the report, expressing concerns about their methodology, data accuracy and sample size and was yet to hear from them.

What’s the issue?

In the latest report, India was ranked below countries such as Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar when it was among the top 10 food-producing countries in the world.

  • India was ranked at the 94th position out of 107 countries that were studied.

What is Global Hunger Index?

The report is a peer-reviewed publication released annually by Welthungerhilfe and Concern Worldwide.

  • It tracks hunger at global, regional and national levels.

How are Countries ranked?

The GHI scores are based on a formula that captures three dimensions of hunger—insufficient caloric intake, child undernutrition, and child mortality—using four component indicators:

  • UNDERNOURISHMENT: the share of the population that is under-nourished, reflecting insufficient caloric intake
  • CHILD WASTING: the share of children under the age of five who are wasted (low weight-for-height), reflecting acute undernutrition.
  • CHILD STUNTING: the share of children under the age of five who are stunted (low height-for-age), reflecting chronic undernutrition.
  • CHILD MORTALITY: the mortality rate of children under the age of five.

Score:

The GHI ranks countries on a 100-point scale, with 0 being the best score (no hunger) and 100 being the worst. Values less than 10 reflect low hunger, values from 20 to 34.9 indicate serious hunger; values from 35 to 49.9 are alarming; and values of 50 or more are extremely alarming.

Key findings:

  • India has the highest prevalence of wasted children under five years in the world, which reflects acute undernutrition.
  • The report put India under serious category with the score of 27.2.
  • In the region of the south, east, and south-eastern Asia, the only countries which fare worse than India are Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, and North Korea.
  • The child stunting rate in India was 37.4 %.
  • The child wasting was at 17.3 %.
  • The undernourishment rate of India was at 14% and child mortality at 3.7 %.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About GHI.
  2. Released by?
  3. Scoring.
  4. Ranking of countries.
  5. Performance of India.
  6. India vs neighbours.

Mains Link:

How India has performed in the latest Global Hunger Index? Discuss.

india_stand

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

What are aluminium-air batteries?


Context:

State-owned Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. has entered into a joint venture with Israel-based battery technology startup Phinergy to develop aluminium-air technology based battery systems for electric vehicles and stationary storage, as well as hydrogen storage solutions.

What is an aluminium-air battery?

Aluminium-air batteries utilise oxygen in the air which reacts with an aluminium hydroxide solution to oxidise the aluminium and produce electricity.

Benefits:

  • Lower cost and more energy-dense alternative to lithium-ion batteries which are currently in widespread use for electric vehicles in India.
  • Offer much greater range of 400 km or more per battery compared to lithium-ion batteries which currently offer a range of 150-200 kilometres per full charge.
  • The aluminium plate in an aluminium-air battery is converted into aluminium trihydroxide over time and that aluminium can be reclaimed from aluminium trihydroxide or even traded directly for industrial uses.

Challenges:

Aluminium-air batteries  cannot be recharged like lithium-ion batteries. Therefore, large scale use of aluminium-air battery based vehicles would require the wide availability of battery swapping stations.

Why is this technology important for India’s EV push?

Currently, India is largely dependent on imports of lithium-ion batteries from China for electric vehicles. A viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries and boost the domestic manufacture of batteries will help meet India’s growing demand for energy storage.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: IP related issues.

India, Japan agree for greater cooperation in patent verification:


Context:

India and Japan have agreed to recognize each other’s offices to act mutually as competent International Searching and International Preliminary Examining Authority (ISA/IPEA) for any international patent application filed with them.

  • This decision was taken during the recent review meet of Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme.

About the Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme:

The Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) is a set of initiatives for providing accelerated patent prosecution procedures by sharing information between some patent offices.

How it works?

This would allow a patent applicant to demand fast-tracking of his patent application by showing that his product or process has already been granted a patent in Japan.

  • Under this Pilot programme, Indian Patent Office may receive patent applications in certain specified technical fields only, namely, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Physics, Civil, Mechanical, Textiles, Automobiles and Metallurgy etc.

PPH programme would lead to the following benefits for the Indian IP office:

  1. Reduction in time to dispose patent applications.
  2. Reduction in pendency of patent applications.
  3. Improvement in quality of search and examination of patent applications.
  4. An opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About PPH.
  2. Features.
  3. How it works?
  4. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PPH.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2021:

  • Passed in Lok Sabha recently.
  • It seeks to put seven castes under one nomenclature of “Devendrakula Vellalars” with some exceptions for some of the castes in certain districts of Tamil Nadu.
  • The castes include Devendrakulathan, Kadaiyan, Kalladi, Kudumban, Pallan, Pannadi and Vathiriyan.

SAAMAR Campaign:

The Jharkhand government announced the launch of SAAMAR (Strategic Action for Alleviation of Malnutrition and Anemia Reduction) campaign to tackle malnutrition in the state.

  • The campaign aims to identify anaemic women and malnourished children and converge various departments to effectively deal with the problem in a state where malnutrition has been a major problem.
  • AAMAR has been launched with a 1000 days target, under which annual surveys will be conducted to track the progress.

Pritzker Architecture Prize:

  • Awarded annually to honor a living architect.
  • Founded in 1979 by Jay A. Pritzker and his wife Cindy, the award is funded by the Pritzker family and sponsored by the Hyatt Foundation.
  • It is considered to be one of the world’s premier architecture prizes, and is often referred to as the Nobel Prize of architecture.

Context:

Social housing architects Anne Lacaton and Jean-Philippe Vassal, founders of French studio Lacaton & Vassal, have been named the 2021 winners of the Pritzker Architecture Prize.


Articles to be covered tomorrow:


  1. GRAM UJALA Scheme.
  2. PMFME (Prime Minister Formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises) Scheme.

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