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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 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. What are heat waves?

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Vigilance officers to be transferred every 3 years.

2. Draft National Migrant Labour Policy.

3. North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Convalescent plasma.

2. Space debris.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Lab on wheels.

2. Wolf-Rayet stars.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc.

What are heat waves?


Context:

As per the India Meteorological Department (IMD), Heat wave conditions very likely in isolated pockets over Rajasthan, Vidarbha and interior Tamil Nadu.

  • The warning comes after maximum temperatures of more than 40 degrees Celsius were recorded recently in most pockets.

What is a heatwave?

The IMD says heatwave is considered when the maximum temperature of a station touches at least 40 degrees Celsius or more for plains, 37 degrees Celsius or more for coastal regions and at least 30 degrees Celsius or more for hilly regions.

What are the criteria?

Heatwave is declared when the departure from normal temperature is by 4.5 to 6.4 degrees Celsius and a severe heatwave is when the departure from normal is more than 6.4 degrees Celsius.

  • For plains, based on actuals maximum temperature, IMD considers heatwave when actual maximum temperature is more than 45 degrees Celsius and severe heatwave when it is more than 47 degrees Celsius.

Reasons why India is experiencing more heat waves are:

  1. Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover.
  2. Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.
  3. More heat waves were expected as globally temperatures had risen by an average 0.8 degrees in the past 100 years. Night-time temperatures are rising too.
  4. Higher daily peak temperatures and longer, more intense heat waves are becomingly increasingly frequent globally due to climate change.
  5. High intensity of UV rays in medium-high heat wave zone.
  6. Combination of exceptional heat stress and a predominantly rural population makes India vulnerable to heat waves.

Way ahead for India- How India should deal with heat waves?

  1. Identifying heat hot-spots through appropriate tracking of meteorological data and promoting timely development and implementation of local Heat Action Plans with strategic inter-agency co-ordination, and a response which targets the most vulnerable groups.
  2. Review of existing occupational health standards, labour laws and sectoral regulations for worker safety in relation to climatic conditions.
  3. Policy intervention and coordination across three sectors health, water and power is necessary.
  4. Promotion of traditional adaptation practices, such as staying indoors and wearing comfortable clothes.
  5. Popularisation of simple design features such as shaded windows, underground water storage tanks and insulating housing materials.
  6. Advance implementation of local Heat Action Plans, plus effective inter-agency coordination is a vital response which the government can deploy in order to protect vulnerable groups.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When is a heat wave declared?
  2. Criteria?
  3. Difference between heatwave and super heatwave?
  4. What is IMD?

Mains Link:

Examine the adverse impacts caused by heat waves and how India should deal with it?

Sources: PIB.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies.

Vigilance officers to be transferred every 3 years:


Context:

The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has modified the guidelines pertaining to the transfer and posting of officials in the vigilance units of government organisations.

As per the latest guidelines:

  1. Personnel can have two continuous postings in vigilance units at different places of posting, each running to a maximum of three years.
  2. Personnel who have worked for over three years at one place should be transferred in phases, with priority given to those who have served for the maximum period.
  3. Those having completed over five years at one place should be shifted on top priority basis.
  4. In case someone has served at one place for over three years, his tenure at the next place would be curtailed to ensure that the combined tenure was limited to six years.
  5. After transfer from the vigilance unit, there would be a compulsory cooling off period of three years before anyone could be considered again for posting in the unit.

Need for:

Undue long stay of an official in a vigilance department has the potential of developing vested interests, apart from giving rise to unnecessary complaints or allegations.

About CVC:

  • The CVC was set up by the Government in February, 1964 on the recommendations of the Committee on Prevention of Corruption, headed by Shri K. Santhanam.
  • In 2003, the Parliament enacted CVC Act conferring statutory status on the CVC.
  • The CVC is not controlled by any Ministry/Department. It is an independent body which is only responsible to the Parliament.
  • It submits its report to the President of India.
  • The CVC receives complaints on corruption or misuse of office and to recommend appropriate action.

Who can approach CVC?

  • Central government
  • Lokpal
  • Whistle blowers

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CVC.
  2. Appointment.
  3. Removal.
  4. Powers and functions.
  5. Reports.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of CVC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

Draft National Migrant Labour Policy:


Context:

NITI Aayog, along with a working subgroup of officials and members of civil society, had prepared a draft National Migrant Labour policy.

  • The Policy is a clear statement of intent to better recognise migrants’ contribution to the economy and support them in their endeavours.

Highlights of the Draft- key Recommendations:

  • Facilitate Migration: Migration should be acknowledged as an integral part of development, and government policies should not hinder but seek to facilitate internal migration.
  • Increase Wages: The draft asks source states to raise minimum wages to bring major shifts in local livelihood of tribals which may result in stemming migration to some extent.
  • A central database should be created to help employers “fill the gap between demand and supply” and ensure “maximum benefit of social welfare schemes”.
  • Grievance Handling Cells: The National Legal Services authority (NALSA) and Ministry of Labour should set up grievance handling cells and fast track legal responses for trafficking, minimum wage violations, and workplace abuses and accidents for migrant workers.
  • It also proposes a new National Migration Policy and the formation of a special unit within the Ministry of Labour and Employment to work closely with other ministries

What ails the policy?

  • The policy does not delve deeper into the causes underlying the poor implementation of labour laws that are linked to the political economy of recruitment and placement.
  • There is a reference to unfair recruitment practices in the document, but virtually no analysis of why the system persists and how it is enabled by the employment structure of businesses and enterprises.
  • It does not address gender differences in employment.

Background:

The latest government data on migration comes from the 2011 Census. As per the Census, India had 45.6 crore migrants in 2011 (38% of the population) compared to 31.5 crore migrants in 2001 (31% of the population).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Data on internal and external migration.
  2. About the Inter State Migrant Workers Act, 1979.
  3. Overview of the Draft.

Mains Link:

Comment on NITI Aayog’s Draft Migrant Labour Policy.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

North Atlantic Treaty Organization:


Context:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged NATO to speed up his country’s membership in the alliance, saying it was the only way to end fighting with pro-Russia separatists.

Background:

Fears have been mounting of a major escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, where government forces have battled separatists in the mainly Russian-speaking Donbas region since 2014. Crimean peninsula was annexed by Moscow in 2014.

About North Atlantic Treaty Organization:

It is an intergovernmental military alliance.

Established by Washington treaty.

Treaty that was signed on 4 April 1949.

Headquarters — Brussels, Belgium.

Headquarters of Allied Command Operations — Mons, Belgium.

Significance:

It constitutes a system of collective defence whereby its independent member states agree to mutual defence in response to an attack by any external party.

Composition:

Since its founding, the admission of new member states has increased the alliance from the original 12 countries to 30. The most recent member state to be added to NATO was North Macedonia on 27 March 2020.

NATO membership is open to “any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Objectives:

Political – NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate on defence and security-related issues to solve problems, build trust and, in the long run, prevent conflict.

Military – NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations. These are carried out under the collective defence clause of NATO’s founding treaty – Article 5 of the Washington Treaty or under a United Nations mandate, alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organisations.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NATO- genesis and headquarters.
  2. What is NATO Allied Command Operations?
  3. Who can become members of NATO?
  4. Overview of the Washington Treaty.
  5. Countries surrounding the North Atlantic Ocean.
  6. Latest NATO member.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives and significance of NATO.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

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.

Convalescent plasma:


Context:

Demand for convalescent plasma has grown steadily over the past one week in Gurugram with sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.

  • However, there remains a mismatch between the supply and the demand, especially with people unwilling to come forward to donate the plasma.

Challenges:

It is now difficult to find a donor because those vaccinated were not eligible to donate and the mismatch between supply and the demand has further widened.

What is plasma therapy?

Plasma is the liquid part of the blood. Convalescent plasma, extracted from the blood of patients recovering from an infection, is a source of antibodies against the infection.

The therapy involves using their plasma to help others recover.

  • For Covid-19, this has been one of the treatment options. The donor would have to be a documented case of Covid-19 and healthy for 28 days since the last symptoms.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differences between vaccination and plasma therapy?
  2. What is passive immunisation?
  3. What are antibodies and antigens?
  4. Differences between blood donation and plasma donation.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of convalescent plasma therapy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

Space debris:


Context:

Aiming to develop a method to predict collision from space debris, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology (IIIT), Delhi, has received research funding from the National Super Computing Mission (NSM), implemented by the department of science and technology (DST).

  • The project titled ‘Orbit computation of Resident Space Objects for Space Situational Awareness’ has to be completed in two years.

What is Space Debris?

Space debris poses a global threat to the continued use of space-based technologies that support critical functions like communication, transport, weather and climate monitoring, remote sensing.

  • Predicting collision probability from these space objects is crucial from the national security perspective as well as for the protection of public and private space assets of Indian origin.

Amount of space debris in space:

The real amount of space debris is said to be between 500,000 and one million pieces as current sensor technology cannot detect smaller objects. They all travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,162 kmph) fast enough for a relatively small piece of orbital debris to damage a satellite or a spacecraft.

Significance of the Project:

Outcome of this project will directly support the Indian space sector, valued at $7 billion (Rs 51,334 crore) by providing an operationally flexible, scalable, transparent and indigenous collision probability solution.

Netra:

To safeguard its space assets from space debris, Isro had set up a dedicated Space Situational Awareness (SSA) Control Centre named “Netra” in Bengaluru last December.

  • Netra’s key objective is to monitor, track and protect the national space assets and function as a hub of all SSA activities.
  • Only the US, Russia and Europe have similar facilities in place to track space objects and share collision warnings.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Lab on wheels:

It is part of Delhi Technological University’s (DTU) Education Reaches You scheme.

  • The lab on wheels is a customised bus with 17 computers, two televisions, one 3D printer, cameras and normal printer that will hop around the city to give educational lectures, tutorials and teach school students as part of its outreach programme for guiding students in the domains of maths, science and advanced technology.
  • The lab will impart science education to students in Delhi government schools and under privileged children.

Wolf-Rayet stars:

Indian astronomers trace rare supernova explosion to Wolf-Rayet stars.

  • The rare Wolf-Rayet stars are highly luminous objects a thousand times that of the Sun.
  • They are a heterogeneous set of stars with unusual spectra showing prominent broad emission lines of ionised helium and highly ionised nitrogen or carbon.
  • The surface temperatures of known Wolf-Rayet stars range from 30,000 K to around 210,000 K, hotter than almost all other kinds of stars.
  • They were previously called W-type stars.


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