Print Friendly, PDF & Email

INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 24 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 2:

1. Sixth Schedule areas.

2. Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).

3. GST compensation.

4. Health policy on rare diseases.

5. Indus water panel holds meeting.

6. U.S. peace plan.

7. UNHRC.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Shaheedi Diwas.

 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Sixth Schedule areas:


Context:

The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the Lok Sabha that “presently, there is no proposal to implement panchayat system in Sixth Schedule areas of Assam”.

Efforts in this regard- Constitution (125th Amendment) Bill, 2019:

  • Introduced in the Rajya Sabha on February 6, 2019, the Bill provides for elected village municipal councils.
  • The Bill that is still active proposes that the State Election Commissions would hold elections to the autonomous councils, village and municipal councils.

About the Sixth Schedule:

  • It protects tribal populations and provides autonomy to the communities through creation of autonomous development councils that can frame laws on land, public health, agriculture and others.
  • As of now, 10 autonomous councils exist in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.

Key provisions:

  1. The governor is empowered to organise and re-organise the autonomous districts.
  2. If there are different tribes in an autonomous district, the governor can divide the district into several autonomous regions.
  3. Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  4. Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  5. Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  6. Powers of councils: The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction. They can make laws on certain specified matters like land, forests, canal water, shifting cultivation, village administration, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs and so on. But all such laws require the assent of the governor.
  7. Village councils: The district and regional councils within their territorial jurisdictions can constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits and cases between the tribes. They hear appeals from them. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is specified by the governor.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Difference between 5th and 6th schedule of Indian Constitution.
  2. Powers of governor under 5th
  3. Who can include or exclude areas under 5th
  4. What are scheduled areas?
  5. Forest Rights Act- key provisions.
  6. Tribal Advisory Councils- composition and functions.

Mains Link:

Differentiate between 5th and 6th schedules of the Indian constitution.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA):


Context:

The government has been granted time till April 9 by Lok Sabha and July 9 by Rajya Sabha to frame rules under the citizenship law.

  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA) was notified on December 12, 2019 and came into force from January 10, 2020.

(Note: Rules are mandatory for the implementation of any new or amended law and normally framed within six months of its enactment.)

Background:

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

  • The Citizenship Act,1955 provides various ways in which citizenship may be acquired.
  • It provides for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of the territory into India.

About CAA:

  • The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  • Those from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution in their respective countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
  • The Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on certain grounds.

Exceptions:

  • The Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya because of being included in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • Also areas that fall under the Inner Limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will also be outside the Act’s purview.

Issues surrounding the law:

  • It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  • It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  • It makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  • It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  • It allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CAA.
  2. Features.
  3. Religions covered.
  4. Countries Covered.
  5. Exceptions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues surrounding the implementation of CAA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

GST compensation:


Context:

The Centre will release ₹30,000 crore as GST compensation to States this month, from the compensation cess collections during the year.

  • The pending compensation dues to States for 2020-21 are expected to be more than ₹77,000 crore.

Why should the Centre pay states for GST loss?

The GST Compensation Act, 2017 guaranteed States that they would be compensated for any loss of revenue in the first five years of GST implementation, until 2022, using a cess levied on sin and luxury goods.

However, the economic slowdown has pushed both GST and cess collections down over the last year, resulting in a 40% gap last year between the compensation paid and cess collected.

  • States are likely to face a GST revenue gap of ₹3 lakh crore this year, as the economy may contract due to COVID-19, which Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman termed an unforeseen “act of God”.

What is compensation cess?

The modalities of the compensation cess were specified by the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.

This Act assumed that the GST revenue of each State would grow at 14% every year, from the amount collected in 2015-16, through all taxes subsumed by the GST.

  • A State that had collected tax less than this amount in any year would be compensated for the shortfall. The amount would be paid every two months based on provisional accounts, and adjusted every year after the State’s accounts were audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

This scheme is valid for five years, i.e., till June 2022.

Compensation cess fund:

A compensation cess fund was created from which States would be paid for any shortfall. An additional cess would be imposed on certain items and this cess would be used to pay compensation.

  • The items are pan masala, cigarettes and tobacco products, aerated water, caffeinated beverages, coal and certain passenger motor vehicles.

The GST Act states that the cess collected and “such other amounts as may be recommended by the [GST] Council” would be credited to the fund.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GST?
  2. What are SGST and IGST?
  3. Related Constitutional provisions.
  4. Goods outside the purview of GST.
  5. What is a Cess?
  6. What is a surcharge?
  7. What is compensation cess fund?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Health policy on rare diseases:


Context:

The Delhi High Court has asked the Centre to finalise and notify the National Health Policy for Rare Diseases by March 31.

What is a rare disease?

A rare disease, also referred to as an orphan disease, is any disease that affects a small percentage of the population.

  • Most rare diseases are genetic, and are present throughout a person’s entire life, even if symptoms do not immediately appear.

The most common rare diseases recorded in India are:

Haemophilia, Thalassemia, sickle-cell anaemia and primary immuno deficiency in children, auto-immune diseases, Lysosomal storage disorders such as Pompe disease, Hirschsprung disease, Gaucher’s disease, Cystic Fibrosis, Hemangiomas and certain forms of muscular dystrophies.

Concerns and challenges:

  1. They pose a significant challenge to health care systems because of the difficulty in collecting epidemiological data, which in turn impedes the process of arriving at a disease burden, calculating cost estimations and making correct and timely diagnoses, among other problems.
  2. Many cases of rare diseases may be serious, chronic and life-threatening. In some cases, the affected individuals, mostly children, may also suffer from some form of a handicap.
  3. As per the 2017 report, over 50 per cent of new cases are reported in children and these diseases are responsible for 35 per cent of deaths in those below the age of one, 10 per cent of deaths between the ages of one and five, and 12 per cent between five and 15.

Efforts by India towards this:

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has published a national policy for the treatment of 450 ‘rare diseases’.

  • The policy intends to kickstart a registry of rare diseases, which will be maintained by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Under the policy, there are three categories of rare diseases — requiring one-time curative treatment, diseases that require long-term treatment but where the cost is low, and those needing long-term treatments with high cost. Some of the diseases in the first category include osteopetrosis and immune deficiency disorders, among others.

Financial assistance: As per the policy, the assistance of Rs 15 lakh will be provided to patients suffering from rare diseases that require a one-time curative treatment under the Rashtriya Arogya Nidhi scheme. The treatment will be limited to the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Justification for state’s intervention:

  1. State has responsibility for providing affordable, accessible and reliable health-care services to every citizen.
  2. Constitution also mentions importance of health-care services under articles like 21, 38 and 47 and thus state cannot evade this responsibility under the pretext of non-justifiability of articles.
  3. Even if pharmaceutical companies are incentivized to develop drugs to treat rare diseases, pharmaceutical companies remain beholden to the laws of economics and, given the low demand for orphan drugs, price these drugs as high as they choose to. Hence there has to be regulation of the government in restricting the exorbitant prices of the drugs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

  1. India’s policy on rare diseases.
  2. Which diseases can be classified as rare diseases?

Mains Link:

What are rare diseases? How do they spread? And how can the spread be prevented?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Indus water panel holds meeting:


Context:

After a gap of more than two and half years Indian and Pakistani delegations have begun the 116th Meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission.

  • The meeting is being viewed as part of the broader process of normalisation of bilateral ties between the two neighbours.

About the Indus Water Treaty:

  • It is a Water-Distribution Treaty, signed in Karachi on 1960, between India (Pm Jawaharlal Nehru) and Pakistan (President Ayub Khan), brokered by the World Bank.
  • Under the treaty, India has control over water flowing in the eastern rivers– Beas, Ravi and Sutlej.
  • Pakistan has control over the western rivers– Indus, Chenab and Jhelum.
  • As per the treaty, the water commissioners of Pakistan and India are required to meet twice a year and arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.
  • Both the sides share details of the water flow and the quantum of water being used under the treaty.

indus

Permanent Indus Commission:

  • The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.
  • The Commission according to the treaty must meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.

The functions of the Commission are:

  • to study and report to the two Governments on any problem relating to the development on the waters of the rivers.
  • to solve disputes arising over water sharing.
  • to arrange technical visits to projects’ sites and critical river head works.
  • to undertake, once in every five years, a general tour of inspection of the Rivers for ascertaining the facts.
  • to take necessary steps for the implementation of the provisions of the treaty.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Indus and its tributaries.
  2. When was Indus Water treaty signed?
  3. Who brokered the treaty?
  4. Highlights of the treaty?
  5. Functions of Permanent Indus Commission.
  6. Hydroelectric projects in News in this regard.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Indus Water Treaty.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

U.S. peace plan:


Context:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will propose a new presidential election within six months, under a peace plan he will put forward as a counter-offer to a U.S. proposal that he rejects.

  • Ghani will unveil his proposal at a gathering in Turkey next month, signalling his refusal to accept the U.S.’s plan for his elected government to be replaced by an interim administration.

U.S.- Taliban peace deal:

  • A peace deal between the U.S. Government and the Taliban was signed on 29 February, 2020.
  • The deal calls for U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops to leave Afghanistan.

Significance of Peace in Afghanistan for India:

India has called for renewed efforts for establishing enduring peace and stability, and putting an end to externally-sponsored terrorism and violence in Afghanistan.

  • Economically, it is a gateway to the oil and mineral-rich Central Asian republics.
  • Afghanistan has also become the second-largest recipient of Indian foreign aid over the last five years.

Some of the important elements of the deal include:

  • The withdrawal of US troops along with bringing down NATO or coalition troop numbers within 14 months from when the deal was signed.

The main counter-terrorism commitment by the Taliban is that:

  • Taliban will not allow any of its members, other individuals or groups, including al-Qaeda, to use the soil of Afghanistan to threaten the security of the United States and its allies.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the deal.
  2. What is NATO.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the deal.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

UN Human Rights Council:


Context:

India has abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.

  • The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was, however, adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.

About the Resolution:

  • It gives UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet the mandate to collect and preserve evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka’s civil war that ended in 2009 with the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels.
  • The resolution also contended the human rights situation has deteriorated under the Rajapaksa administration and that rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities are facing problems.

About UNHRC:

UNHRC was reconstituted from its predecessor organisation, the UN Commission on Human Rights to help overcome the “credibility deficit” of the previous organisation.

  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Composition:

  • The UNHRC has 47 members serving at any time with elections held to fill up seats every year, based on allocations to regions across the world to ensure geographical representation.
  • Each elected member serves for a term of three years.
  • Countries are disallowed from occupying a seat for more than two consecutive terms.

Functions:

  • The UNHRC passes non-binding resolutions on human rights issues through a periodic review of all 193 UN member states called the Universal Periodic Review (UPR).
  • It oversees expert investigation of violations in specific countries (Special Procedures).

Challenges and Need for reforms:

  • The human rights record of the member-states such as Saudi Arabia, China and Russia in the council has also not been in line with the aims and mission of the UNHRC, which has led to critics questioning its relevance.
  • Despite the continued participation of several western countries in the UNHRC, they continue to harbour misgivings on the understanding of Human rights.
  • Non-compliance has been a serious issue with respect to the UNHRC’s functioning.
  • Non-participation of powerful nations such as the US.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About UNHRC.
  2. Composition.
  3. Functions.
  4. What is Universal Periodic Review?
  5. Headquarters of UNHRC.
  6. Countries which have recently left UNHRC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Shaheedi Diwas:

  • On 23 March 1931, freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar were hanged to death by the British government for their revolutionary activities.
  • This day is observed as Shaheedi Diwas or Martyrs’ Day in India. The day is also known as ‘Sarvodaya Day’.

 


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