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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 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. Corrective voice from top court against stereotyping women.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

2. Places of Worship Act.

3. Riyadh presents ceasefire plan to Yemen’s Houthis.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Panel to evaluate applications for Universal Banks, Small Finance Banks.

2. Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RODTEP) scheme.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Drinking age reduced to 21 in Delhi.

2. Workers in govt. contracts must possess skill certificate.

3. Bacteria found on International Space Station named after Indian scientist.

4. Gandhi Peace Prize.

5. World Summit on Information Society Forum 2021.

 


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Corrective voice from top court against stereotyping women:


Context:

in its latest judgement, the Supreme Court has:

  • Forbid judges from making gender stereotypical comments.
  • Stopped courts from trying to mandate marriage or compromise between a sex offender and his victim.

The judgment was based on an appeal against a Madhya Pradesh High Court order directing an alleged molester to “allow” his victim to tie a rakhi on him.

Need for:

The judgment came days after the court ran into a maelstrom of criticism after the Chief Justice of India (CJI), during a virtual hearing on March 1, reportedly asked an alleged rapist’s lawyer to enquire whether his client would marry the survivor.

Need for these measures:

  • Gender stereotypical comments by the top court diminish a sexual offence and tend to trivialise the survivor.
  • Even a solitary instance of such order or utterance in court, reflects adversely on the entire judicial system of the country, undermining the guarantee to fair justice to all, and especially to victims of sexual violence (of any kind from the most aggravated to the so-called minor offences).

Notable judgments which have lashed out at sex stereotyping include:

  • The framing of the Vishaka Guidelines on sexual harassment of women in working places.
  • Justice D.Y. Chandrachud’s historic judgment giving women Armed Forces officers equal access to Permanent Commission while debunking the establishment’s claim that women were physiologically weaker than men.
  • In the Anuj Garg case, the Supreme Court had rebuked “the notion of romantic paternalism”, which, “in practical effect, put women, not on a pedestal, but in a cage”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Vishaka Guidelines.
  2. Anuj Garg case is related to?
  3. About Permanent Commission for women.

Mains Link:

Gender stereotypical comments by the top court diminish a sexual offence and tend to trivialise the survivor. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics covered: RPA related issues.

Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT):


Context:

The Election Commission has decided to use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) along with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) at all the Polling Stations in the upcoming assembly elections in four states and Union territory.

What is VVPAT?

  • Voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) is a method of providing feedback to voters using EVMs.
  • A VVPAT is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
  • It contains the name of the candidate for whom vote has been cast and symbol of the party/individual candidate.

vvpat

Significance and the need for VVPATs:

  • The VVPAT helps to detect potential election fraud or malfunction in the Electronic Voting Machine.
  • It provides a means to audit the stored electronic results. It serves as an additional barrier to change or destroy votes.
  • The EVMs with VVPAT system ensure the accuracy of the voting system with fullest transparency and restores the confidence of the voters.
  • EVMs and VVPATs also speed up the election process as counting votes on EVMs takes much lesser time than counting paper ballots.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About VVPAT.
  2. Features.
  3. What are EVMs?
  4. About the right to vote.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in Elections. 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Places of Worship Act:


Context:

A co-mutawalli of 350-year-old ”TeelyWali masjid” of Lucknow, Wasif Hasan, has approached the Supreme Court seeking intervention in the pending PIL challenging provisions of the Places of Worship Act.

  • The applicant has opposed the plea claiming that the petition is a mischievous one which aims at isolating the Muslim Community as a separate category from other religious communities in India.

What’s the issue?

A petition filed in the court challenged a special law — Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991 — which freezes the status of places of worship as it was on August 15, 1947.

The petitioner had termed the law as “arbitrary, irrational and retrospective”.

What are the objectives of the Act?

  • To freeze the status of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.
  • To provide for the maintenance of the religious character of such a place of worship as on that day.
  • To pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood.

Key features:

  • The Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947.
  • It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
  • It declares that all suits, appeals or any other proceedings regarding converting the character of a place of worship, which are pending before any court or authority on August 15, 1947, will abate as soon as the law comes into force. No further legal proceedings can be instituted.

Exceptions:

These provisions will not apply to:

  1. Ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains that are covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958.
  2. A suit that has been finally settled or disposed of; and any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.
  3. The Act also does not apply to the place of worship commonly referred to as Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. This law will have overriding effect over any other law in force.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the law.

Mains Link:

Write a note on issues surrounding this law.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Riyadh presents ceasefire plan to Yemen’s Houthis:


Context:

Saudi Arabia presented a new peace initiative to end the war in Yemen.

The initiative includes:

  • A nationwide ceasefire under UN supervision and the reopening of air and sea links.
  • Reopening of Sana’a airport, and allowing fuel and food imports through Hodeidah port, both of which are controlled by Riyadh’s enemies, the Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
  • Restarting of political negotiations between the Saudi-backed government and the Houthis.

The war in Yemen: Background:

  • The conflict has its roots in the Arab Spring of 2011, when an uprising forced the country’s long-time authoritarian president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to hand over power to his deputy, Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi.
  • The political transition was supposed to bring stability to Yemen, one of the Middle East’s poorest nations, but President Hadi struggled to deal with various problems including militant attacks, corruption, food insecurity, and continuing loyalty of many military officers to Saleh.
  • Fighting began in 2014 when the Houthi Shia Muslim rebel movement took advantage of the new president’s weakness and seized control of northern Saada province and neighbouring areas.
  • The Houthis is a group of Zaidi Shia Muslims who ruled a kingdom there for nearly 1,000 years.

Why is Saudi Arabia in Yemen?

Saudi Arabia interfered in Yemen after the Shia Houthi rebels captured Sana’a, the capital city, and the internationally recognised government of President Hadi moved to the country’s south.

How bad is Yemen’s humanitarian situation?

Since the Saudi intervention in 2015, at least 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen, according to the WHO. The widespread damage caused to infrastructure by the coalition airstrikes and lack of supplies of food and medicines due to the blockade have pushed Yemen into a humanitarian catastrophe. About 12 million people are at the risk of starvation if aid doesn’t reach them fast. The country has also seen a massive cholera outbreak. A child dies every 10 minutes in Yemen from preventable causes, says UNICEF.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Houthis?
  2. What is the crisis all about?
  3. Location of Yemen.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Panel to evaluate applications for Universal Banks, Small Finance Banks:


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the creation of a Standing External Advisory Committee under the chairmanship of Shyamala Gopinath for evaluating applications for Universal Banks and Small Finance Banks.

  • This is part of the central bank’s earlier announced plan to give banking permits on a continuous basis to candidates, a process that is is commonly known as ‘on-tap’ licensing.

What is On tap licensing?

It means the RBI window for granting banking licences will be open throughout the year.

What is Universal banking?

It is a system of banking where banks undertake a blanket of financial services like investment banking, commercial banking, development banking, insurance and other financial services including functions of merchant banking, mutual funds, factoring, housing finance, insurance etc.

RBIs universal bank licensing guidelines:

  1. Individuals/professionals who are ‘residents’ and have minimum 10 years of experience in banking and finance at a senior level.
  2. The initial minimum paid-up voting equity capital for a bank shall be ` five billion. Thereafter, the bank shall have a minimum net worth of ` five billion at all times.
  3. The requirement of Non-Operative Financial Holding Company (NOFHC) is not mandatory for individual promoters or standalone promoting/converting entities who/which do not have other group entities.
  4. Not less than 51% of the total paid-up equity capital of the NOFHC shall be owned by the Promoter/Promoter Group. No shareholder, other than the promoters/promoter group, shall have significant influence and control in the NOFHC.
  5. The bank shall get its shares listed on the stock exchanges within six years of the commencement of business by the bank.
  6. The bank is precluded from having any exposure to its promoters, major shareholders who have shareholding of 10 per cent or more of paid-up equity shares in the bank, the relatives of the promoters as also the entities in which they have significant influence or control.
  7. The bank has to open at least 25 per cent of its branches in unbanked rural centres.
  8. The bank shall comply with the priority sector lending targets and sub-targets as applicable to the existing domestic scheduled commercial banks.
  9. The board of the bank should have a majority of independent directors.
  10. The validity of the in-principle approval issued by the Reserve Bank will be 18 months from the date of granting in-principle approval and would thereafter lapse automatically.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NBFCs- meaning.
  2. Types.
  3. NBFCs under RBI.
  4. NBFC-MFI- eligibility, functions.
  5. What is Net Owned Funds?
  6. What are Qualifying Assets?
  7. What are small finance banks.
  8. Differences between NBFCs, SFBs and Payment Banks.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of NBFC-MFIs (microfinance institutions).

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RODTEP) scheme:


Context:

The notification of benefit rates payable to exporters under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RODTEP) scheme, is expected to take more time as it is facing ‘teething issues.

What are the issues?

  • Exporters fear the rates may turn out to be lower than recommended by a technical committee.
  • Inadequate remission of taxes would result in residual embedded taxes in export products and hit Indian industry’s competitiveness in world markets at a time shipments are witnessing a nascent recovery, they warn.

Indian exporters are already struggling with volatility in demand from many key markets like the US and EU in the aftermath of the pandemic.

About the scheme:

The scheme was announced in 2020 as a replacement for the Merchandise Export from India Scheme (MEIS), which was not compliant with the rules of the World Trade Organisation.

The scheme would refund to exporters the embedded central, state and local duties or taxes that were so far not being rebated or refunded and were, therefore, placing India’s exports at a disadvantage.

Significance:

  • Indian exporters will be able to meet the international standards for exports as affordable testing and certification will be made available to exporters within the country instead of relying on international organizations.
  • Also under it, tax assessment is set to become fully automatic for exporters. Businesses will get access to their refunds for GST via an automatic refund-route.
  • This would increase the economy for the country and working capital for the enterprise.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Drinking age reduced to 21 in Delhi:

  • Under the new excise policy, the Delhi government has taken a decision to reduce the minimum age for liquor consumption in the city to 21 from 25.
  • Also, there would be no government liquor stores in Delhi, and no new liquor shops will not be opened in the national capital.

Workers in govt. contracts must possess skill certificate:

  • The government has decided that all workers executing government contracts must have official certification for their skills.
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has told all government departments to mandate this requirement for all contracts issued under their watch.

Need for:

Only 2.4% of India’s workforce is formally trained as per the Periodic Labour Force Survey of 2018-19.

  • This is because Government contractors prefer low-wage informal workers. This is creating a dichotomy where the government is trying to promote skilling in workforce without insisting on the use of skilled manpower for its projects.

Bacteria found on International Space Station named after Indian scientist:

Four species of bacteria have been discovered onboard the International Space Station (ISS), one of which has been named after Indian biodiversity scientist Seyed Ajmal Khan (Methylobacterium ajmalii).

  • Four strains of bacteria belong to the family
  • While one strain was identified as Methylorubrum rhodesianum bacteria, the other three strains were previously undiscovered.
  • These bacteria aid in plant growth.

Gandhi Peace Prize:

  • The father of the nation of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the former Sultan of Oman, the late Qaboos bin Said Al Said, will be awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2020 and 2019, respectively.
  • They were selected by the jury, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising the Chief Justice of India, the leader of the single largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Lok Sabha Speaker and founder of Sulabh International.

About the Gandhi Peace Prize:

  • Instituted in the year 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • This annual award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 crore, a citation and a Plaque as well as an exquisite traditional handicraft/handloom item.
  • It is open to all persons regardless of nationality, creed, race or sex.

World Summit on Information Society Forum 2021:

  • It represents one of the world’s largest annual gatherings of the ‘ICT for development’ community.
  • It is co-organized by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), UNESCO, UNDP and UNCTAD.
  • The Forum has proven to be an efficient mechanism for coordination of multi- stakeholder implementation activities, information exchange, creation of knowledge, sharing of best practices.

 


Articles Covered Previously:


1. Govt introduces NaBFID Bill in Lok Sabha.

Link:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/03/17/cabinet-gives-nod-to-bill-for-setting-up-dfi/.

 

2. Amid protests, LS passes GNCTD amendment Bill.

Link: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/03/16/national-capital-territory-of-delhi-amendment-bill-2021/.

 

3. LS nod for Bill to increase FDI in insurance.

Link:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/03/20/insurance-amendment-bill-2021/.

 

4. Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) [MMDR] Amendment Bill, 2021.

Link:

https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/03/18/mmdr-amendment-bill-2021/.

 


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