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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 11 May 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 2:

1. FCRA amendments crippling our work, say NGOs.

2. National Register of Citizens (NRC).

3. China threatens Bangladesh, says ties will be hit if it joins Quad.

4. Pakistan government set new rules to meet FATF demands.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH).

2. NASA’s OSIRIS-REx.

3. Green panel allows Great Nicobar plan to advance.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

FCRA amendments crippling our work, say NGOs:


Context:

An NGO has now moved the Delhi High Court seeking exemption from the Union Home Ministry’s March 31 deadline to open an FCRA account with the SBI branch in New Delhi.

What’s the issue?

The amendments to the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) enacted in 2020 made it compulsory for NGOs to open a bank account in Delhi.

  • But, this has crippled the work of many organisations that are unable to receive foreign funds.
  • Many NGOs are affected by the new regulations as they are hampering charitable work during the pandemic.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment, 2020:

  • It seeks to prohibit ‘public servants’ from receiving any foreign funding.
  • It proposes to reduce the use of foreign funds to meet administrative costs by NGOs from the existing 50 per cent to 20 per cent.
  • It seeks to “prohibit any transfer of foreign contribution to any association/person”.
  • It proposes to make Aadhaar cards a mandatory identification document for all office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of NGOs or associations eligible to receive foreign donations.
  • It seeks to allow for the central government to hold a summary inquiry to direct bodies with FCRA approval to “not utilise the unutilised foreign contribution or receive the remaining portion of foreign contribution”.
  • And to limit the use of foreign funds for administrative purposes. This would impact research and advocacy organisations which use the funding to meet their administrative costs.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was FCRA enacted?
  2. Who administers the legislation?
  3. Definition of foreign funding as per the act.
  4. Who cannot accept foreign contributions as per the act.
  5. What is the eligibility criteria for grant of registration?
  6. Key provisions in the amendment bill.

Mains Link:

Discuss why FCRA has been controversial in the recent past.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

National Register of Citizens (NRC):


Context:

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said that his coalition government favoured 20% reverification of the updated list of citizens in districts that shared a border with Bangladesh and 10% in the remaining districts.

Background:

The Supreme Court had monitored the exercise of updating the NRC of 1951 in Assam. About 19.06 lakh out of 3.3 crore applicants were excluded from the updated draft.

About NRC:

  • At its core, the NRC is an official record of those who are legal Indian citizens. It includes demographic information about all those individuals who qualify as citizens of India as per the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • The register was first prepared after the 1951 Census of India and since then it has not been updated until recently.
  • So far, such a database has only been maintained for the state of Assam.

Why was NRC updated for Assam?

In 2014, the SC ordered the updation of the NRC, in accordance with Citizenship Act, 1955 and Citizenship Rules, 2003 in all parts of Assam. The process officially started in 2015.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Relation between Census and National Population Register.
  2. NPR vs NRC.
  3. How NRC is related to Assam accord.
  4. Constitutional provisions wrt to grant and revocation of citizenships.
  5. Who carries out Census?

Mains Link:

Discuss why a nationwide NRC exercise may not be feasible.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

China threatens Bangladesh, says ties will be hit if it joins Quad:


Context:

China has bluntly threatened Bangladesh with reprisals if it considered any sort of participation in the Quad, warning that this will lead to a degrading of bilateral ties.

  • Beijing sees the Quad as an anti-China grouping.

Implications for India:

China’s tougher stand as regards India has only sharpened from 2020. The reference to Quad and the undiplomatic manner in which Bangladesh was warned indicate Beijing’s deep annoyance with a grouping that intends to curtail its influence in the Indo-Pacific and areas that China considers its zone of influence.

What is Quad grouping?

  • The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

Genesis:

The grouping traces its genesis to 2004 when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.

It then met for the first time in 2007 on the sidelines of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.

The intention was to enhance maritime cooperation between the four nations.

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- composition.
  2. When was it first proposed?
  3. Countries and important islands in the Indian Ocean region.
  4. Geographical overview of Indo-Pacific region.
  5. Important seas and straits in the region.

Mains Link:

A formal revival and re-invigoration of the Quad is called for to maintain peace and tranquillity and to ensure observance of the UN Law of the Seas. Examine.

Sources: times of India.

 

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

Pakistan govt to set new rules to meet FATF demands:


Context:

Pakistan, in order to exit from the grey list of the FATF, is set to introduce new rules relating to money laundering and terror financing cases.

  • Changes being made include the transfer of investigations and prosecution of anti-money laundering (AML) cases from police, provincial anti-corruption establishments (ACEs) and other similar agencies to specialised agencies.

What next?

Based on these measures, the FATF would conclude if Pakistan has complied with three outstanding benchmarks, out of 27, that blocked its exit from the grey list in February this year.

Background:

Pakistan was put on the grey list by the Paris-based Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June 2018 and the country has been struggling to come out of it.

About FATF:

  1. The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
  2. It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
  3. The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.

Roles and functions:

  • Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
  • In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
  • In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Composition:

The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe. It also has observers and associate members.

What is a blacklist and grey list?

Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.

Considered in the grey list may face:

  1. Economic sanctions from IMF, World Bank, ADB.
  2. Problem in getting loans from IMF, World Bank, ADB and other countries.
  3. Reduction in international trade.
  4. International boycott.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. G7 vs G8 vs G20.
  2. Black vs Grey list.
  3. Are FATF’s decisions binding on member countries?
  4. Who heads the FATF?
  5. Where is its secretariat?

Mains Link:

What is the mandate and objectives of the Financial Action Task Force? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Issues related to direct and indirect farm subsidies and minimum support prices.

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH):


Context:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has provided an enhanced allocation of Rs. 2250 Crore for the year 2021-22 for ‘Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture’ (MIDH).

About the ‘Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture’ (MIDH):

It is a scheme for the holistic growth and development of the Indian horticulture sector.

  • This Centrally Sponsored scheme covers vegetables, fruits, roots and tuber crops, aromatic plants, flowers, spices, bamboo, coconut, cashew and cocoa.
  • MIDH also provides technical support and advice to state horticultural missions, Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Saffron Mission and the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA).
  • MIDH is under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, GOI.
  • Under MIDH, Government of India (GOI) contributes 60%, of total outlay for developmental programmes in all the states except states in North East and Himalayas, 40% share is contributed by State Governments. In the case of North Eastern States and Himalayan States, GOI contributes 90%.

Sub Schemes:

  1. National Horticulture Mission (NHM).
  2. Horticulture Mission for North East & Himalayan States (HMNEH).
  3. National Bamboo Mission (NBM).
  4. National Horticulture Board (NHB).
  5. Coconut Development Board (CDB).
  6. Central Institute for Horticulture (CIH).

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About MIDH.
  2. Features.
  3. Sub Schemes.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx:


Context:

On May 11, NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft will depart asteroid Bennu, and start its two-year long journey back to Earth.

About the mission:

  • OSIRIS-REx is NASA’s first mission to visit a near-Earth asteroid, survey its surface and collect a sample from it.
  • In October 2020, the spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it collected samples of dust and pebbles.
  • The mission was launched in 2016.

About asteroid Bennu:

Bennu is considered to be an ancient asteroid that has not gone through a lot of composition-altering change through billions of years, which means that below its surface lie chemicals and rocks from the birth of the solar system.

  • Therefore, scientists and researchers are interested in studying this asteroid as it might give them clues about the origins of the solar system, the sun, the Earth and the other planets.
  • So far, we know that Bennu is a B-type asteroid, implying that it contains significant amounts of carbon and various other minerals.
  • Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about four per cent of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65 per cent of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30 per cent.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Objectives of OSIRIS- REx.
  2. What are near earth asteroids?
  3. About Bennu.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of OSIRIS- REx.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Green panel allows Great Nicobar plan to advance:


Context:

The Environment Appraisal Committee (EAC) – Infrastructure I of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has flagged serious concerns about NITI Aayog’s ambitious project for Great Nicobar Island.

  • The committee has, however, “recommended” it “for grant of terms of reference (TOR)” for Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) studies, which in the first instance will include baseline studies over three months.

About the project for Great Nicobar Island:

The proposal includes an international container transshipment terminal, a greenfield international airport, a power plant and a township complex spread over 166 sq. km. (mainly pristine coastal systems and tropical forests), and is estimated to cost ₹75,000 crore.

What are the main concerns?

  • The plan document has no information about a note on seismic and tsunami hazards, freshwater requirement details and details of the impact on the Giant Leatherback turtle.
  • Besides, there were no details of the trees to be felled — a number that could run into millions since 130 sq. km. of the project area has some of the finest tropical forests in India.
  • The committee raised a number of additional issues, including about Galathea Bay, the site of the port and the centrepiece of the NITI Aayog proposal. Galathea Bay is an iconic nesting site in India of the enigmatic Giant Leatherback, the world’s largest marine turtle.

Action points listed out by the committee:

  1. The need for an independent assessment of terrestrial and marine biodiversity.
  2. A study on the impact of dredging, reclamation and port operations, including oil spills.
  3. The need for studies of alternative sites for the port with a focus on environmental and ecological impact, especially on turtles, analysis of risk-handling capabilities.
  4. A seismic and tsunami hazard map, a disaster management plan, details of labour, labour camps and their requirements.
  5. An assessment of the cumulative impact, and a hydro-geological study to assess impact on round and surface water regimes.

Need for conservation:

Ecological surveys in the last few years have reported a number of new species. These include the critically endangered Nicobar shrew, the Great Nicobar crake, the Nicobar frog, the Nicobar cat snake, a new skink (Lipinia sp), a new lizard (Dibamus sp,) and a snake of the Lycodon sp that is yet to be described.

Sources: the Hindu.


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