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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 15 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. 

 

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.

2. India, Russia committed to S-400 deal.

3. NATO to exit Afghanistan along with U.S.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India’s public debt level among highest in emerging economies.

2. Mettur-Sarabanga lift irrigation project.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Monkeydactyl?

2. What is tika utsav?

3. Raisina Dialogue.

4. Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy.

5. MANAS.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: The Freedom Struggle – its various stages and important contributors /contributions from different parts of the country.

Jallianwala Bagh massacre:


Context:

On April 13, 1919, British forces opened fire on unarmed Indians at Jallianwala Bagh killing hundreds of people.

About the incident:

  • It was Baisakhi that day, Local residents in Amritsar decided to hold a meeting that day to discuss and protest against the confinement of Satya Pal and Saifuddin Kitchlew, two leaders fighting for Independence, and implementation of the Rowlatt Act, which armed the British government with powers to detain any person without trial.
  • The crowd had a mix of men, women and children. They all gathered in a park called the Jallianwala Bagh, walled on all sides but for a few small gates, against the orders of the British. While the meeting was on, Brigadier-General Reginald Edward Harry Dyer, who had crept up to the scene wanting to teach the public assembled a lesson, ordered 90 soldiers he had brought with him to the venue to open fire on the crowd. Many tried in vain to scale the walls to escape. Many jumped into the well located inside the park.

Outcomes:

  • Considered ‘The Butcher of Amritsar’ in the aftermath of the massacre, General Dyer was removed from command and exiled to Britain.
  • Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi, as a sign of condemnation, renounced their British Knighthood and Kaiser-i-Hind medal respectively.
  • In 1922, the infamous Rowlett Act was repealed by the British.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who was the Viceroy when this incident took place?
  2. Outcomes of the incident?
  3. What is Rowlatt Act?

Mains Link:

The tragedy of Jallianwala Bagh is a shameful scar on British Indian history. Comment.

Sources: PIB.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact:


Context:

Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan recently said that he hoped India would “reassess” its stand on regional trading agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact that India withdrew from in 2019.

Need for India’s presence in RCEP:

  • India had “a crucial role” to play in helping the region build an inclusive architecture at a time of increasing global instability.
  • Such trade pacts will also give Indian companies a platform to showcase their strengths across even larger markets.
  • Besides, Rising U.S.-China tensions were “deeply worrying” for the region with the pandemic resulting in “heightened tension”.

What is RCEP?

  • The RCEP came into force in November 2020 without India. The signatories of the agreement include 10 ASEAN countries – Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines and 5 key partners (China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand).

Aims and Objectives of RCEP:

  1. To lower tariffs, open up trade in services and promote investment to help emerging economies catch up with the rest of the world.
  2. To help reduce costs and time for companies by allowing them to export a product anywhere within the bloc without meeting separate requirements for each country.
  3. It also touches on intellectual property, but will not cover environmental protections and labour rights.

Why India did not join?

India withdrew from the RCEP largely because of concerns it would open it up to Chinese goods amid an already wide trade imbalance with China, and the failure of the agreement to adequately open up to services.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. RCEP- composition and objectives.
  2. India’s free trade agreements with ASEAN countries.
  3. Geographical location of ASEAN countries.
  4. Aims and objectives of RCEP.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

India, Russia committed to S-400 deal:


Context:

Russian Ambassador to India Nikolai Kudashev recently confirmed that both India and Russia are “committed” to completing their contract for the S-400 missile system, due to be delivered to India at the end of the year. He said both countries opposed U.S. sanctions on the issue.

What’s the issue?

The S-400 deal could attract sanctions under US’ CAATSA law. The US has already sanctioned China and Turkey over similar purchases.

What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.

  • It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD).

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

  • Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • Enacted in 2017.
  • Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.

What sanctions will be imposed?

  1. prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  2. prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  3. prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  4. denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

NATO to exit Afghanistan along with U.S:


Context:

NATO has announced that Foreign troops under NATO command will withdraw from Afghanistan in coordination with a U.S. pull-out by September 11.

  • After withdrawing, the U.S. and NATO aim to rely on Afghan military and police forces, which they have developed with billions of dollars in funding, to maintain security though peace talks are struggling and the insurgency is resilient.

Background:

September 11 is a highly symbolic date as it will be 20 years since al-Qaeda attacked the U.S. with hijacked airliners, triggering military intervention in Afghanistan.

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.

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: Government Budgeting.

India’s public debt level among highest in emerging economies:


Context:

As per Moody’s Investors Service, India’s public debt level is among the highest in emerging economies with a quantitative easing programme underway, while its debt affordability is among the weakest.

What is Public Debt?

Public debt is the total amount borrowed by the government of a country.

In the Indian context, public debt includes the total liabilities of the Union government that have to be paid from the Consolidated Fund of India. It excludes liabilities contracted against Public Account.

Sources of Public Debt:

  1. Dated government securities or G-secs
  2. Treasury Bills or T-bills
  3. External Assistance
  4. Short term borrowings

Public Debt definition by Union Government

The Union government describes those of its liabilities as public debt, which are contracted against the Consolidated Fund of India. This is as per Article 292 of the Constitution.

Types:

It is further classified into internal & external debt.

Internal debt is categorised into marketable and non-marketable securities.

  • Marketable government securities include G-secs and T-Bills issued through auction.
  • Non-marketable securities include intermediate treasury bills issued to state governments, special securities issued to national Small Savings Fund among others.

What is Debt-to-GDP ratio?

The debt-to-GDP ratio indicates how likely the country can pay off its debt. Investors often look at the debt-to-GDP metric to assess the government’s ability of finance its debt. Higher debt-to-GDP ratios have fuelled economic crises worldwide.

Is there an acceptable level of debt-to-GDP?

The NK Singh Committee on FRBM had envisaged a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40 per cent for the central government and 20 per cent for states aiming for a total of 60 per cent general government debt-to-GDP.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are G-Secs?
  2. What are T-Bills?
  3. What is ways and means advance?
  4. What is FRBM Act?
  5. About Consolidated fund of India.
  6. About Article 292 of the Constitution.

Mains Link:

How does increased government borrowing affect govt finances? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: different types of irrigation and irrigation systems.

Mettur-Sarabanga lift irrigation project:


Context:

National Green Tribunal has allowed the Tamil Nadu government to proceed with the Mettur-Sarabanga lift irrigation project and has dismissed an application seeking a stay on the project.

What’s the issue?

  • The application claimed that prior environmental clearance was not obtained before work for the project commenced.
  • It also alleged irregularity in the construction of the project and said the project was envisaged in total disregard of riparian rights of the delta farmers.
  • Also, since the project involved the interests of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, clearance from the Central government was required.

What has the NGT said?

  • The proposed irrigation area under the project was 4,238 acres of land, which was less than 2,000 hectares and as per the amended 2018 EIA Notification, the project fell under the category of minor irrigation systems that are expressly exempted from the requirement of environmental clearance.
  • Besides, the water received from Karnataka was only being regulated and that water from the Mettur dam was not being shared by any two States and was being utilised only for the benefit of Tamil Nadu. Hence, there was no necessity for obtaining permission from any other authorities.

About the Project:

  • Being implemented by Tamil Nadu Government.
  • The project is aimed at irrigating 4,200 acres of land in Edappadi, Omalur, Sankagiri and Mettur taluks, diverting surplus water from Mettur reservoir through 100 tanks, lakes and ponds.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


What is Monkeydactyl?

  • It is a flying reptile with the ‘oldest opposable thumbs’.
  • The new pterosaur fossil was discovered in the Tiaojishan Formation of Liaoning, China, and is believed to be 160 million years old.
  • It has been named Kunpengopterus antipollicatus, also dubbed “Monkeydactyl”.
  • The pterosaur species were reptiles, close cousins of dinosaurs and the first animals after insects to evolve powered flight.

Background:

Opposability of the thumb is being able to “simultaneously flex, abduct and medially rotate the thumb” in a way that one is able to bring the tip of the thumb to touch the tips of the other fingers. Along with humans, some ancient monkeys and apes also had opposable thumbs.

What is tika utsav?

  • Also called vaccination festival.
  • Launched by India.
  • The aim is to vaccinate maximum number of eligible people against Covid-19.

Raisina Dialogue:

  • 6th edition of the Raisina Dialogue was held virtually.
  • The conference is being hosted by the think tank Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The theme for the 2021 conference is “#ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers and Out of Control”.
  • Started in 2016, the Raisina Dialogue has grown to emerge as a leading global conference on international affairs.
  • It invites leaders from politics, business, media and the civil society to hold discussions on the state of the world and explore opportunities for cooperation on several contemporary matters.

Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy:

  • It is a newly discovered active galaxy identified as the farthest gamma-ray emitting galaxy that has so far been stumbled upon.
  • This active galaxy is about 31 billion light-years away.

MANAS app launched:

  • MANAS App is a well-being App that stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System.
  • It is endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).
  • MANAS is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform and an app developed to augment the mental well-being of Indian citizens.
  • MANAS App integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces developed/researched by various national bodies and research institutions.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace.

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