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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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. Khajuraho Temples.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. RBI sets up committee to review working of ARCs.

2. Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.

3. Probe China over Xinjiang crimes: HRW.

4. EU Council approves conclusions on Indo-Pacific strategy.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NASA Mars helicopter makes first flight on another planet.

2. India and Germany sign agreement on ‘Cities combating plastic entering the marine environment’.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Vande Bharat mission.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Khajuraho Temples:


Context:

Ministry of Tourism had recently organised webinar on “Khajuraho – Temples of Architectural Splendour” under Dekho Apna Desh.

  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

About Khajuraho Temples:

  • Khajuraho Temples (in Madhya Pradesh) are among the most beautiful medieval monuments in the country.
  • Built between 950-1050 AD by the Chandela Dynasty.
  • The monuments include Hindu and Jain temples.
  • The temple site is situated within Vindhya Mountain range.
  • These Temples got the status of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1986.
  • The temples are famous for their Nagara-style architectural symbolism.
  • Reported for the first time by Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and Ibn Battuta in AD 1335.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Khajuraho Temples.
  2. What is Nagara style of architecture?
  3. Differences between nagara and Dravida styles?
  4. What are UNESCO World Heritage sites?

Sources: PIB.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

RBI sets up committee to review working of ARCs:


Context:

The RBI has set up a committee headed by Sudarshan Sen to undertake a comprehensive review of the working of asset reconstruction companies (ARCs) in the financial sector ecosystem and recommend suitable measures for enabling them to meet the growing requirements.

Terms of reference:

  • To review the existing legal and regulatory framework applicable to ARCs and recommend measures to improve efficacy of ARCs.
  • To review the role of ARCs in the resolution of stressed assets, including under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and give suggestions for improving liquidity in and trading of security receipts.

What is an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC)?

It is a specialized financial institution that buys the Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) from banks and financial institutions so that they can clean up their balance sheets. This helps banks to concentrate in normal banking activities. Banks rather than going after the defaulters by wasting their time and effort, can sell the bad assets to the ARCs at a mutually agreed value.

  • The asset reconstruction companies or ARCs are registered under the RBI.

Legal Basis:

The Securitization and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002 provides the legal basis for the setting up of ARCs in India.

  • The SARFAESI Act helps reconstruction of bad assets without the intervention of courts. Since then, a large number of ARCs were formed and were registered with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) which has got the power to regulate the ARCs.

Capital Needs for ARCs:

  • As per amendment made in the SARFAESI Act in 2016, an ARC should have a minimum net owned fund of Rs. 2 crores.
  • The RBI raised this amount to Rs. 100 crores in 2017. The ARCs also have to maintain a capital adequacy ratio of 15% of its risk weighted assets.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are ARCs?
  2. What is SARFAESI Act?
  3. Sudarshan Sen committee is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of ARCs.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Startup India Seed Fund Scheme:


Context:

The Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS) has been launched.

About the Startup seed fund:

  • The Fund aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market entry, and commercialization.
  • 945 Crore corpus will be divided over the next 4 years for providing seed funding to eligible startups through eligible incubators across India.
  • The scheme is expected to support an estimated 3,600 startups through 300 incubators.
  • Nodal Department: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.

Significance:

  • The SISFS will Secure seed funding, Inspire innovation, Support transformative ideas, Facilitate implementation, and Start startup revolution.
  • The Scheme will create a robust startup ecosystem, particularly in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns of India, which are often deprived of adequate funding.

Need for the scheme:

  • Easy availability of capital is essential for entrepreneurs at the early stages of growth of an enterprise.
  • Funding from angel investors and venture capital firms becomes available to startups only after the proof of concept has been provided. Similarly, banks provide loans only to asset-backed applicants.
  • It is essential to provide seed funding to startups with an innovative idea to conduct proof of concept trials.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Startup India scheme?
  2. About the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS).
  3. Eligibility.
  4. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS).

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Probe China over Xinjiang crimes: HRW:


Context:

Human Rights Watch has appealed to the United Nations to investigate allegations China’s government is committing crimes against Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

What’s the issue?

The rights group cited reports of the mass detention of Muslims, a crackdown on religious practices and other measures against minorities in the northwestern region. It said they amount to crimes against humanity as defined by the treaty that established the International Criminal Court.

What needs to be done?

As China is not a party to the Rome Statute, and hence, the ICC does not have the territorial jurisdiction over the crimes allegedly perpetrated there. China could use its veto power as a permanent UN Security Council member to block action against Chinese officials.

    • Therefore, the UN Human Rights Commission should create a body to investigate the charges, identify those responsible and provide a road map to hold them accountable.

Background:

More than 1 million people have been confined to camps in Xinjiang, according to foreign governments and researchers. Authorities there are accused of imposing forced labor and birth controls.

    • The Chinese government rejects complaints of abuses, saying the camps are for job training to support economic development and combat radicalism.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

    1. Who are Uighurs?
  1. Where is Xinjiang?
  2. Who are Han Chinese?
  3. Indian states bordering Xinjiang province.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

EU Council approves conclusions on Indo-Pacific strategy:


Context:

The Council of the European Union has approved conclusions on a European Union strategy for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific to “reinforce its strategic focus, presence and actions” with the aim to contribute to “regional stability, security, prosperity and sustainable development,” at a time of “rising challenges and tensions in the region.”

The renewed EU commitment to the Indo-Pacific will:

  • Have a long-term focus and will be based on “upholding democracy, human rights, the rule of law and respect for international law.
  • Aim to promote effective rules-based multilateralism.
  • Work together in order to mitigate the economic and human effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and work towards ensuring an inclusive and sustainable socio-economic recovery.

What necessiated this?

Current dynamics in the Indo-Pacific have given rise to intense geopolitical competition adding to increasing tensions on trade and supply chains as well as in technological, political and security areas. Human rights are also being challenged. These developments increasingly threaten the stability and security of the region and beyond, directly impacting on the EU’s interests.

What is Indo- Pacific?

The idea of the Indo-Pacific as a single strategic space is an outgrowth of China’s growing influence in the Indian Ocean region. It signifies the interconnectedness of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, the importance of the oceans to security and commerce.

Importance of Indo-Pacific region:

  1. Maintaining regional stability.
  2. Strong ties with the US are seen as a vital tool for enhancing India’s strategic posture.
  3. For the long-term vision of national interest.
  4. China’s increasingly active presence in the Indian Ocean region as well as its efforts to expand geopolitical reach in Asia and beyond by the use of trade and military.
  5. For adhering to freedom of navigation, adherence to rules-based order and stable trade environment.
  6. For free sea and air lanes, connectivity and upholding international rules and norms.

Role and Implications for India in the Indo – pacific region:

  • The Indo-Pacific, as described in the National security strategy, represents the most populous and economically dynamic part of the world and stretches from the west coast of India to the western shores of the United States.
  • India has always been a country with great national ambitions and is one of the most important advocates of the concept of “Indo-Pacific Strategy”.
  • With opening of economy, India has been connecting with its Indian Ocean neighbours and major maritime powers of the world.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Pacific Region.
  2. Overview of Indian Ocean Region.
  3. Important straits, bays and passes in these regions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the strategic significance of Indo- Pacific region for India.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA Mars helicopter makes first flight on another planet:


Context:

NASA successfully flew its tiny helicopter Ingenuity on Mars on 19th April, the first powered flight on another planet.

  • Ingenuity’s goal is to demonstrate its technology works, and it won’t contribute to Perseverance’s science goals.

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: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

India and Germany sign agreement on ‘Cities combating plastic entering the marine environment’:


Context:

India and Germany have signed an agreement on Technical Cooperation titled ‘Cities Combating Plastic Entering the Marine Environment’ at a virtual ceremony.

Key facts:

  • This project is envisaged under the contours of the Joint Declaration of Intent regarding cooperation in the field of ‘Prevention of Marine Litter’ signed between Republic of India and Federal Republic of Germany in 2019.
  • The project, aimed at enhancing practices to prevent plastic entering the marine environment, will be undertaken at the national level (at MoHUA), select states and UTs (Uttar Pradesh, Kerala and Andaman & Nicobar Islands) and in the cities of Kanpur, Kochi and Port Blair for a period of three and a half years.
  • The project’s outcomes are completely in line with the objectives of Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban focusing on sustainable solid waste management.

Effects of marine litter:

  1. Marine litter threatens ecosystems and adversely affects fishery and tourism industries around the globe.
  2. It affects public health with increased concerns about micro-plastic and risk of particles entering the food chain.
  3. It is estimated that 15-20% of all plastics are entering oceans via riverine ecosystems of which 90% are contributed by 10 of the world’s most polluting rivers. Two of these river systems are located in India, namely Ganga and Brahmaputra.

Sources: PIB.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Vande Bharat mission:

The Vande Bharat Mission (VBM), which started repatriating Indians stranded abroad due to COVID-19 and the resultant lockdowns since May 7 last, has turned out to be one of the largest evacuations of civilians by a country.

  • Till now, the Air India (AI) Group has operated 11,523 inbound flights to carry 18,19,734 passengers and 11,528 outbound flights with 13,68,457 passengers. The national carrier, which carried out the bulk of air transfers under the mission, was supported by its budget carrier Air India Express.

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