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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 3 April 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. WEF’s global gender gap report.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021.

2. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Haryana’s quota law.

2. Harmonized System of Nomenclature Code.

3. Nasa’s InSight lander.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Women related issues.

WEF’s global gender gap report:


Context:

World Economic Forum has released the Global Gender Gap Report 2021.

India specific findings:

  1. Overall Ranking: India has fallen 28 places- it is now ranked 140 among 156 countries.
  2. Among Neighbours: It is now one of the worst performers in South Asia, trailing behind neighbours Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
  3. Political empowerment: India has declined on the political empowerment index as well by 13.5 percentage points.
  4. In the index of education attainment, India has been ranked at 114.
  5. India has fared the worst on “Health and Survival”, which includes the sex ratio, and economic participation of women.
  6. The estimated earned income of women in India is only one-fifth of men’s, which puts the country among the bottom 10 globally on this indicator.

Global Scenario:

  • For the 12th time, Iceland is the most gender-equal country in the world.
  • The top 10 most gender-equal countries include Finland, Norway, New Zealand, Rwanda, Sweden, Ireland and Switzerland.
  • Many countries have fared worse in this year’s rankings compared to last year’s, on account of economic performance.
  • The gender gap in political empowerment remains the largest: women represent only 26.1 per cent of some 35,500 parliament seats and just 22.6 per cent of over 3,400 ministers worldwide.
  • In 81 countries, there has never been a woman head of state, as of January 15, 2021.
  • Bangladesh is “the only country where more women have held head-of-state positions than men in the past 50 years.
  • The countries with the largest gender gaps in economic participation include Iran, India, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

About the Global Gender Gap Report:

First published in 2006.

It benchmarks 156 countries on their progress towards gender parity in four dimensions:

  1. Economic Participation and Opportunity,
  2. Educational Attainment,
  3. Health and Survival and
  4. Political Empowerment.

Over the Index, the highest possible score is 1 (equality) and the lowest possible score is 0 (inequality).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Gender Gap Report.
  2. How are countries ranked?
  3. India’s performance.
  4. India and neighbours.
  5. Global Scenario.

Mains Link:

Comment on India’s performance in the latest Global Gender Gap Report.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021:


Context:

Caregivers to patients with ‘rare diseases’ and affiliated organisations are dissatisfied with the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021.

What’s the issue?

  • The policy specifies increasing the government support for treating patients with a ‘rare disease’— from ₹15 lakh to ₹20 lakh. But, caregivers say this doesn’t reflect actual costs of treatment.
  • Advocacy groups, however, have expressed concerns about the lack of funding support in the policy for patients diagnosed with life-threatening rare, genetic disorders.

Highlights of the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021:

Patients of rare diseases will soon be eligible for a one-time treatment under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY).

Beneficiaries for financial assistance would not be limited to below poverty line (BPL) families, but extended to about 40% of the population, who are eligible as per 23 norms of Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY), for their treatment in Government tertiary hospitals only.

The policy has categorised rare diseases in three groups – disorders amenable to one-time curative treatment; those requiring long term or lifelong treatment; and diseases for which definitive treatment is available but challenges are to make optimal patient selection for benefit.

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 commonly reported rare diseases, include:

Primary immunodeficiency disorders, Lysosomal storage disorders (Gaucher’s disease, Mucopolysaccharidoses, Pompe disease, fabry disease etc.) small molecule inborn errors of metabolism (Maple Syrup urine disease, organic acidemias, etc.), cystic fibrosis, osteogenesis imperfecta, certain forms of muscular dystrophies, and spinal muscular atrophy.

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

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):


Context:

The U.S. and Iran will soon begin negotiations through intermediaries to try to get both countries back into an accord limiting Iran’s nuclear programme, nearly three years after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the deal.

What’s the issue?

  • Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018. Besides, he opted for a “maximum pressure” campaign by imposing sanctions and other tough actions.
  • Iran responded by intensifying its enrichment of uranium and building of centrifuges, while maintaining its insistence that its nuclear development was for civilian and not military purposes.
  • Iran’s moves increased pressure on major world powers over the Trump administration’s sanctions and raised tensions among U.S. allies and strategic partners in West Asia.

About the Iran Nuclear Deal:

  • Also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
  • The JCPOA was the result of prolonged negotiations from 2013 and 2015 between Iran and P5+1 (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union, or the EU).
  • Under the deal, Tehran agreed to significantly cut its stores of centrifuges, enriched uranium and heavy-water, all key components for nuclear weapons.

What’s the concern now?

In January 2020, following the drone strike on Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Gen. Qasem Soleiman, Iran announced that it would no longer observe the JCPOA’s restraints.

  • The collapse of the JCPOA drags Iran towards nuclear brinkmanship, like North Korea, which has created major geopolitical instability in the region and beyond.

Significance of the deal for India:

  • Removing sanctions may revive India’s interest in the Chabahar port, Bandar Abbas port, and other plans for regional connectivity.
  • This would further help India to neutralize the Chinese presence in Gwadar port, Pakistan.
  • Restoration of ties between the US and Iran will help India to procure cheap Iranian oil and aid in energy security.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Haryana’s quota law:


Context:

Haryana’s private job reservation law which provides 75 per cent employment opportunities in private sector for people belonging to the state will come into force from May 1.

About Haryana State Employment of Local Candidates Bill, 2020:

  1. It requires private companies to set aside for domiciles 75% of jobs up to a monthly salary of Rs 50,000 or as may be notified by the government from time to time.
  2. The law is applicable to all the companies, societies, trusts, limited liability partnership firms, partnership firms and any person employing 10 or more persons and an entity, as may be notified by the government from time to time shall come under the ambit of this Act.

What are the legal issues in such laws?

  1. The question of domicile reservation in jobs: While domicile quotas in education are fairly common, courts have been reluctant in expanding this to public employment. It raises questions relating to the fundamental right to equality of citizens.
  2. The issue of forcing the private sector to comply with reservations in employment. For mandating reservation in public employment, the state draws its power from Article 16(4) of the Constitution. But, the Constitution has no manifest provision for private employment from which the state draws the power to make laws mandating reservation.
  3. It may not be able to withstand judicial scrutiny on the touchstone of Article 19(1)(g).

What is the government’s rationale in bringing such laws?

  1. Public sector jobs constitute only a minuscule proportion of all jobs. Therefore, talks about extending the legal protections to the private sector to really achieve the constitutional mandate of equality for all citizens has been on.
  2. Since private industries use public infrastructure in many ways — from accessing land through subsidised allotment to receiving credit from public banks, tax exemptions and in many cases subsidies for fuel etc, the state has a legitimate right to require them to comply with the reservation policy.

Do other countries take such affirmative action in employment?

Affirmative action is adopted in many countries in the context of race and gender.

  1. For example, in the US, although there is no statutory requirement for employers to have quotas, courts can order monetary damages and injunctive relief, including “such affirmative action as may be appropriate”, for victims of discrimination.
  2. The Employment Equity Act in Canada also protects minority groups, especially aboriginals from discrimination in federally regulated industries, even in the private sector.

Concerns and challenges ahead:

  1. It poses challenges for industrial development and private investment in Haryana.
  2. It could also provide a shield to some firms indulging in unethical practices to retrench the existing workforce.
  3. Investors and businesses may start moving out of the state in search for best human resources.
  4. Against the spirit of the Constitution, which gives citizens of India the freedom to work anywhere in the country.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the law.
  2. Applicability.
  3. Exceptions.
  4. States with similar laws.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with the policy of reservation in private jobs.

Sources: ET.

 

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Harmonized System of Nomenclature Code:


Context:

It has been made mandatory for a GST taxpayer having a turnover of more than Rs 5 crore in the preceding financial year, to furnish 6 digits HSN Code (Harmonized System of Nomenclature Code). This comes into effect from April 1.

What does the HS code mean?- Harmonised System, or simply ‘HS’:

It is a six-digit identification code. Of the six digits, the first two denote the HS Chapter, the next two give the HS heading, and the last two give the HS subheading.

  • Developed by the World Customs Organization (WCO).
  • Called the “universal economic language” for goods.
  • It is a multipurpose international product nomenclature.
  • The system currently comprises of around 5,000 commodity groups.

Need for and significance:

  • Over 200 countries use the system as a basis for their customs tariffs, gathering international trade statistics, making trade policies, and for monitoring goods.
  • The system helps in harmonising of customs and trade procedures, thus reducing costs in international trade.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About HSN Code.
  2. Features.
  3. Applicability.
  4. Significance.

Mains Link:

What does the HS code mean? Discuss its significance.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Nasa’s InSight lander:


Context:

Nasa’s InSight lander has recorded over 500 quakes to date on Mars since its touch down on the Red Planet in November 2018.

  • The two recent quakes of magnitude 3.3 and 3.1 originated in a region called Cerberus Fossae.
  • These findings support the idea that the planet is seismically active.

About InSight Mission:

  • InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.
  • It will be the first mission to peer deep beneath the Martian surface, studying the planet’s interior by measuring its heat output and listening for marsquakes, which are seismic events similar to earthquakes on Earth.
  • It will use the seismic waves generated by marsquakes to develop a map of the planet’s deep interior.

Significance of the mission:

  • The findings of Mars’ formation will help better understand how other rocky planets, including Earth, were and are created.
  • InSight would delve deep beneath the surface of Mars, detecting the fingerprints of the processes of terrestrial planet formation, as well as measuring the planet’s “vital signs”: Its “pulse” (seismology), “temperature” (heat flow probe), and “reflexes” (precision tracking).

InSight seeks to answer one of science’s most fundamental questions: How did the terrestrial planets form?

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Missions to Mars.
  4. Perseverance- objectives.
  5. About the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft.

Sources: toi.


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