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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 5 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 2:

1. International Criminal Court (ICC).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Stand Up India Scheme.

2. Ingenuity Helicopter.

3. Draft amendment to Forest Conservation Act.

4. Chilika was a part of the Bay of Bengal: Study.

5. Odisha government proposes state’s second biosphere reserve at Mahendragiri.

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Employer can reject candidate acquitted of serious crime: SC.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Sankalp se Siddhi.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

International Criminal Court (ICC):


Context:

U.S. President Joe Biden has lifted sanctions imposed by previous President Donald Trump on two top officials of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

What’s the issue?

ICC was probing alleged crimes by U.S. troops in Afghanistan. But, the Trump administration was openly hostile to the tribunal for pursuing prosecutions of Americans for actions in Afghanistan and Israelis for actions against the Palestinians.

About ICC:

  • The International Criminal Court (ICC), located in The Hague, is the court of last resort for prosecution of genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.
  • It is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.
  • Its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, entered into force on July 1, 2002.

Funding:

Although the Court’s expenses are funded primarily by States Parties, it also receives voluntary contributions from governments, international organisations, individuals, corporations and other entities.

Composition and voting power:

The Court’s management oversight and legislative body, the Assembly of States Parties, consists of one representative from each state party.

  • Each state party has one vote and “every effort” has to be made to reach decisions by consensus. If consensus cannot be reached, decisions are made by vote.
  • The Assembly is presided over by a president and two vice-presidents, who are elected by the members to three-year terms.

Icj_vs_ICC

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between ICJ and ICC.
  2. Geographical locations of these organisations and overview of surrounding countries.
  3. Doha accord between US and Taliban.
  4. What is Rome statute?
  5. Location of Afghanistan.
  6. US taliban peace deal- overview.

Mains Link:

Write a note on ICC.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

Stand Up India Scheme:


Performance of the scheme:

Five years ago the Stand Up India scheme was launched by the government to promote entrepreneurship among women, Scheduled Castes (SC) & Scheduled Tribes (ST). So far:

  • Banks have sanctioned more than ₹25,000 crore to over 1.14 lakh accounts.
  • Women-led enterprises have dominated the sanctions so far under the scheme, which has now been extended till 2025.

About the Stand Up India Scheme:

  • Stand Up India Scheme was launched on 5 April 2016 to promote entrepreneurship at the grass-root level of economic empowerment and job creation.
  • This scheme seeks to leverage the institutional credit structure to reach out to the underserved sector of people such as SCs, STs and Women Entrepreneurs.
  • The objective of this scheme is to facilitate bank loans between Rs.10 lakh and Rs.1 crore to at least one SC or ST borrower and at least one woman borrower per bank branch for setting up a Greenfield enterprise.
  • The offices of SIDBI and NABARD shall be designated Stand-Up Connect Centres (SUCC).

Eligibility under Stand Up India Scheme:

  1. SC/ST and/or women entrepreneurs; above 18 years of age.
  2. Loans under the scheme are available for only Greenfield project.
  3. Borrower should not be in default to any bank or financial institution.
  4. In case of non-individual enterprises at least 51% of the shareholding and controlling stake should be held by either an SC/ST or Woman entrepreneur.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

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

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Ingenuity Helicopter:


Context:

NASA’s Ingenuity mini-helicopter has been dropped on the surface of Mars in preparation for its first flight.

  • The helicopter had been fixed to the belly of the Perseverance rover, which touched down on the Red Planet on February 18.

Challenges on martian surface for Ingenuity:

  • Ingenuity will be attempting to fly in an atmosphere that is one percent the density of Earth’s, which makes achieving lift harder — but will be assisted by gravity that is one-third of our planet’s.
  • It will now have to use its own battery to run a vital heater to protect its unshielded electrical components from freezing and cracking during the bitter Martian night.

About Ingenuity Mars Helicopter:

Part of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission, the small coaxial, drone rotorcraft will serve as a technology demonstrator for the potential use of flying probes on other worlds, with the potential to scout locations of interest and support the future planning of driving routes for Mars rovers.

More About Perseverance:

Launched on July of 2020.

  • A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.
  • The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).
  • Perseverance is fueled by electrical power by using heat of plutonium’s radioactive decay.
  • Perseverance will carry a unique instrument, MOXIE or Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment: which for the first time will manufacture molecular oxygen on Mars using carbon dioxide from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere (ISRU means In Situ Resource Utilization: or the use of local resources to meet human needs or requirements of the spacecraft).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Missions to Mars.
  2. Perseverance- objectives.
  3. Instruments onboard.
  4. About the UAE’s Hope and China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft.
  5. Pathfinder mission.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Draft amendment to Forest Conservation Act:


Context:

The Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has proposed several amendments to the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 (FCA).

Draft amendments:

  • They propose to grant exemptions to railways, roads, tree plantations, oil exploration, wildlife tourism and ‘strategic’ projects in forests.
  • They seek to empower state governments to lease forest land to private individuals and corporations.
  • Amendments seek to complete the process of forest identification in a time-bound manner.
  • They also propose to enable the creation of ‘no-go’ areas, where specific projects would not be allowed.

What’s the issue and concern?

If the proposed amendments come into force, they would dilute the provisions of the landmark 1996 decision of the Supreme Court in Godavarman case (TN Godavarman Thirumulkpad vs Union Of India & Ors).

  • The case had started off as a petition to stop illegal felling of timber in the Nilgiri hills, but ended up expanding the coverage of the FCA.

The proposed amendment purportedly seeks to reduce the scope of this judgment by limiting the applicability of the FCA to only such land that has been:

  1. Declared or notified as forest under the Indian Forest Act, 1927.
  2. Recorded as forest land in the government record prior to 25 October 1980, with the exception of such land if its use has been changed from forest to non-forest purpose prior to 12 December 1996.
  3. Identified as “forest” by a state government expert committee up to one year from the date of the amendment.

About the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980:

  • The FCA is the principal legislation that regulates deforestation in the country.
  • It prohibits the felling of forests for any “non-forestry” use without prior clearance by the central government.
  • The clearance process includes seeking consent from local forest rights-holders and from wildlife authorities.
  • The Centre is empowered to reject such requests or allow it with legally binding conditions.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key Provisions of the FCA.
  2. Godavarman case is related to?

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980.

Sources: down to earth.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Chilika was a part of the Bay of Bengal: Study:


Context:

The Chilika lake in Odisha, Asia’s largest brackish water lake, was once part of the Bay of Bengal, a study by the marine archaeology department of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, has found.

How it was formed?

  • The process of the formation of the Chilika might have begun in the later part of the Pleistocene epoch, around 20,000 years ago.
  • India’s peninsular river Mahanadi carried a heavy load of silt and dumped part of it at its delta.
  • As the sediment-laden river met the Bay of Bengal, sand bars were formed near its mouth.
  • These created a backflow of the sea water into the sluggish fresh water at the estuary, resulting in the huge brackish water lake.

Historical evidences:

  • Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy (150 CE) described Palur as an important port of Kalinga and referred to it as ‘Paloura’ (located near Chilika).
  • Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (7th century CE) recorded ‘Che-li-ta-lo-Ching’ as a flourishing port. This port was located at Chhatargarh on the banks of the Chilika.
  • The Brahmanda Purana (10th century CE approximately) says the Chilika was an important centre of trade and commerce, with ships sailing to Java, Malaya and Ceylon.
  • The famous Sanskrit poet Kalidas called the king of Kalinga ‘Madhodhipati’ or ‘Lord of the Ocean’.

About Chilika:

  • Chilika is 64 kilometres long in the north-south direction and 13.5 km wide in the east-west direction.
  • The sea connected with the lake near Satapada through a shallow and narrow channel.
  • The connecting channel was obstructed by shoals, sand spits and sandbars, thus restricting the outflow of water and also checking the tidal flow into the lake.
  • Chilika is Asia’s largest and world’s second largest lagoon.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory birds on the Indian sub-continent and is home to a number of threatened species of plants and animals.
  • In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.
  • Major attraction at Chilika is Irrawaddy dolphins which are often spotted off Satpada Island.
  • The large Nalabana Island (Forest of Reeds) covering about 16 sq km in the lagoon area was declared a bird sanctuary in 1987.
  • Kalijai Temple – Located on an island in the Chilika Lake.

Sources: down to earth.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Odisha government proposes state’s second biosphere reserve at Mahendragiri:


Context:

The Odisha government has proposed a second biosphere reserve in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri, a hill ecosystem having rich biodiversity.

  • The 5,569-square kilometre Similipal Biosphere Reserve is Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified May 20, 1996.

About the proposed Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve:

  • It is around 470,955 hectares and is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas, making the region an ecological estuary of genetic diversities.
  • Mahendragiri is inhabited by the Soura people, a particularly vulnerable tribal group as well as the Kandha tribe.

What are biosphere reserves?

Biosphere Reserve (BR) is an international designation by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for representative parts of natural and cultural landscapes extending over large areas of terrestrial or coastal/marine ecosystems or a combination of both.

  • Biosphere Reserves tries to balance economic and social development and maintenance of associated cultural values along with the preservation of nature.
  • The concept of Biosphere Reserves was launched in 1971 as a, part of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’.

Criteria for Designation of Biosphere Reserve:

  1. A site must contain a protected and minimally disturbed core area of value of nature conservation.
  2. Core area must be a bio-geographical unit and should be large enough to sustain a viable populations representing all trophic levels.
  3. The involvement of local communities and use of their knowledge in biodiversity preservation.
  4. Areas potential for preservation of traditional tribal or rural modes of living for harmonious use of the environment.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are biosphere reserves?
  2. Criteria.
  3. Protection.
  4. About UNESCO MAB Network.

Mains Link:

Write a note on UNESCO’S ‘Man and Biosphere Programme’. 

Sources: down to earth.


GS Paper  :  4


 

Topics Covered: Ethical concerns and dilemmas in government and private institutions.

Employer can reject candidate acquitted of serious crime: SC:


Context:

The Supreme Court has held that a public employer can reject a candidate as unsuitable if he had, in the past, been acquitted of a serious crime merely on the benefit of doubt.

What has the court said?

  • The mere fact of an acquittal would not suffice but rather it would depend on whether it is a clean acquittal based on total absence of evidence or in the criminal jurisprudence requiring the case to be proved beyond reasonable doubt, that parameter having not been met, benefit of doubt has been granted to the accused.
  • An acquittal on the benefit of doubt is quite different from an honourable acquittal. A person should be honourably acquitted of a heinous crime to be considered eligible for public employment.
  • Besides, acquittal in a criminal case does not automatically entitle a candidate for appointment to the post.

Honourably acquitted:

An accused who is acquitted after full consideration of the prosecution evidence and prosecution has miserably failed to prove the charges levelled against the accused, it can possibly be said that the accused was honourably acquitted.

Background:

The case concerned a man acquitted of murder after witnesses turned hostile in Rajasthan in 2009. He was part of a group of people who ran a tractor over a woman and later knifed people who tried to resist them.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Sankalp se Siddhi:

  • It is a Village and Digital Connect Drive launched by TRIFED under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • It is a 100 day drive stared from April 1, 2021.
  • The drive will entail 150 teams visiting ten villages each of which 10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies, visiting ten villages each.
  • The main aim of this drive is to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in these villages.

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