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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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. 

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. UNESCO world heritage sites.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Recusal of judges.

2. PM Swasthya Suraksha Yojana.

3. Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) Program.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NASA-ESA Solar Orbiter Spacecraft.

2. What Beijing’s new crackdown means for cryptocurrencies in China?

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. GI-certified Gholvad Chikoo.

2. Rajasthan govt. declares mucormycosis an epidemic.

3. Infrastructure’ status for exhibition and convention centres.

4. Taiwan Strait.


GS Paper  :  1


 

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

UNESCO world heritage sites:


Context:

Six sites have been added to India’s tentative list of UNESCO world heritage sites.

These include:

  1. Maratha military architecture in Maharashtra.
  2. Hire Benkal megalithic site in Karnataka.
  3. Bhedaghat-Lametaghat of Narmada Valley in Madhya Pradesh.
  4. Ganga ghats in Varanasi.
  5. temples of Kancheepuram.
  6. Satpura Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh.

With the addition of these six sites, the UNESCO has 48 proposals in tentative list of India.

What Next?

These proposals will remain in the tentative list for a year after which the government will decide which one of them to push for in their final dossier to UNESCO.

What is a World Heritage site?

  • A World Heritage site is classified as a natural or man-made area or a structure that is of international importance, and a space which requires special protection.
  • These sites are officially recognised by the UN and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation, also known as UNESCO.
  • UNESCO believes that the sites classified as World Heritage are important for humanity, and they hold cultural and physical significance.

Key facts:

  1. The list is maintained by the international World Heritage Programme administered by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, composed of 21 UNESCO member states which are elected by the General Assembly.
  2. Each World Heritage Site remains part of the legal territory of the state wherein the site is located and UNESCO considers it in the interest of the international community to preserve each site.
  3. To be selected, a World Heritage Site must be an already classified landmark, unique in some respect as a geographically and historically identifiable place having special cultural or physical significance.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who declares a site as world heritage site?
  2. What is endangered list?
  3. What is tentative list?
  4. WHS in India and their locations?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Recusal of Judges:


Context:

Supreme Court judge Justice B.R. Gavai, one of the two judges on the Vacation Bench scheduled to hear a plea by former Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh challenging the internal enquiries instituted against him, has recused himself from hearing the case.

Background:

Mr. Singh had moved the Supreme Court alleging that the departmental enquiries against him were part of a conspiracy to frame him for levelling allegations of corruption against Anil Deshmukh, who resigned as Maharashtra Home Minister. He urged the top court to shift the enquiries to another State.

What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?

Judicial disqualification, referred to as recusal, is the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.

Grounds for Recusal:

  1. The judge is biased in favour of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be.
  2. Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it.
  3. Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer.
  4. Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case.
  5. Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
  6. Rulings, comments or conduct.

Are there any laws in this regard?

There are no definite rules on recusals by Judges.

  • However, In taking oath of office, judges, both of the Supreme Court and of the high courts, promise to perform their duties, to deliver justice, “without fear or favour, affection or ill-will”.

What has the Supreme Court said on this?

Justice J. Chelameswar in his opinion in Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association v. Union of India (2015) held that “Where a judge has a pecuniary interest, no further inquiry as to whether there was a ‘real danger’ or ‘reasonable suspicion’ of bias is required to be undertaken”.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Grounds for Judicial Disqualification.
  2. Who administers oath to Supreme Court and High Court judges?
  3. Articles 127 and 128 of the Indian Constitution are related to?

Mains Link:

Recusal has become a selective call of morality for Supreme Court judges. Discuss.

Sources; the Hindu.

 

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

PM Swasthya Suraksha Yojana:


Context:

The Central government has approved setting up 22 new All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) so far under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) out of which six are already fully functional.

About PMSSY:

PMSSY was announced in 2003 with objectives of correcting regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/ reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country.

The PMSSY is implemented by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

It has two components:

  • Setting up new AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences).
  • Upgradation of government medical colleges in various states.

The project cost for upgradation of each medical college institution is shared by the Centre and the state.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Components under PMSSY.
  2. Cost sharing.
  3. Implementation of the scheme.
  4. Institutions setup so far under the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Protection of vulnerable sections of the society.

Community Based Inclusive Development (CBID) Program:


Launched recently by the Union Ministry of Social Justice.

Features:

  1. The program aims to create a pool of grass-root rehabilitation workers at community level who can work alongside ASHA and Anganwadi workers to handle cross disability issues and facilitate inclusion of persons with disabilities in the society.
  2. The program has been designed to provide competency based knowledge and skills among these workers to enhance their ability for successfully discharging their duties. These workers will be called ‘Divyang Mitra’ i.e. friends of persons with disabilities.
  3. The National Board of Examination in Rehabilitation under the Rehabilitation Council of India will conduct examinations and award certificates to pass-out candidates.

Sources: PIB.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA-ESA Solar Orbiter Spacecraft:


Context:

NASA and European Space Agency’s spacecraft has captured the first solar eruption on the Sun’s surface. These eruptions are also known as coronal mass ejections (CME).

  • If these eruptions on the Sun’s surface are big enough, they can cause billions of tons of plasma and electrically charged particles to dash towards Earth.

About NASA-ESA Solar Orbiter Spacecraft:

Solar Orbiter is a space mission of international collaboration between ESA (European Space Agency) and NASA.

  • The spacecraft was launched from Cape Canaveral on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket in February 2020.
  • It was selected as the first medium-class mission of ESA’s Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Programme.
  • This is the first mission that will provide images of the sun’s north and south poles using a suite of six instruments on board that will capture the spacecraft’s view.
  • It is a seven-year mission and will come within 26 million miles of the sun.
  • It will be able to brave the heat of the sun because it has a custom titanium heat shield coated in calcium phosphate so that it can endure temperatures up to 970 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Solar Orbiter follows the Ulysses spacecraft, another collaboration between ESA and NASA that launched in 1990.

Solar Orbiter will set about answering four top-level science questions:

  1. What drives the solar wind and where does the coronal magnetic field originate from?
  2. How do solar transients drive heliospheric variability?
  3. How do solar eruptions produce energetic particle radiation that fills the heliosphere?
  4. How does the solar dynamo work and drive connections between the Sun and the heliosphere?

Other solar missions:

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope.
  2. What are radio waves?
  3. Different layers of sun?
  4. What are solar flares?
  5. What are Sunspots?
  6. About Sun’s Corona.

Sources: NASA.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

What Beijing’s new crackdown means for cryptocurrencies in China?


Context:

Chinese regulators have tightened restrictions on use of Cryptocurrencies.

  • The new rules greatly expanded the scope of prohibited services, and judged that “virtual currencies are not supported by any real value”.

As per the latest changes:

  1. Banks and online payment firms will not offer any crypto-related services, such as account openings, registration, trading, clearing, settlement and insurance. This also covers services that were not previously mentioned.
  2. Institutions are prohibited from providing cryptocurrency saving, trust or pledging services and issuing crypto-related financial products. And virtual currencies must not be used as investment targets by trust and fund products.

Background:

China does not recognise cryptocurrencies as legal tender and the banking system does not accept cryptocurrencies or provide relevant services.

Why has China tightened regulation?

The directive warned speculative bitcoin trading had rebounded, infringing “the safety of people’s property and disrupting the normal economic and financial order.

What’s the impact of the crackdown?

  • The fresh crackdown makes it more difficult for individuals to buy cryptocurrencies using various payment channels.
  • It could impact miners’ business by making it harder for them to exchange cryptocurrencies for yuan.
  • But banks and payment companies also face challenges of identifying money flows related to cryptocurrencies.

What are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds, operating independently of a central bank.

Examples: Bitcoin, Ethereum etc.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Various cryptocurrencies.
  2. Cryptocurrencies launched by various countries.
  3. What is Blockchain technology?

Mains Link:

What are Cryptocurrencies? Why is there a need for regulation? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


GI-certified Gholvad Chikoo:

  • GI-certified Dahanu Gholvad Chikoo from Maharashtra begins UK journey.
  • GI certification of Gholvad Sapota is held by Maharashtra Rajya Chikoo Utpadak Sangh and the fruit is known for its sweet and unique taste. It is believed that the unique taste is derived from calcium-rich soil of Gholvad village.
  • Sapota is grown in many states- Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Karnataka is known to be the highest grower of the fruit, followed by Maharashtra.

Rajasthan govt. declares mucormycosis an epidemic:

  • Amid the increasing instances of mucormycosis or black fungus, which is primarily affecting people recovering from COVID-19, the Rajasthan government has declared it an epidemic and a notifiable disease.
  • The declaration of mucormycosis as an epidemic would ensure its “integrated and coordinated” treatment along with the treatment for COVID-19.
  • The notification was issued under the Rajasthan Epidemic Act, 2020.

Infrastructure’ status for exhibition and convention centres:

The Finance Ministry has granted ‘Infrastructure’ status for exhibition and convention centres, a move that is expected to ease bank financing for such projects.

Eligibility: The benefits would only be available for projects with a minimum built-up floor area of 1,00,000 sq. m. of exclusive exhibition space or convention space or both combined.

Taiwan Strait:

  • The Taiwan Strait, also known as the Formosa Strait, is a 180 km wide strait separating Taiwan and mainland China.
  • The strait is currently part of the South China Sea and connects to the East China Sea to the north. The narrowest part is 130 km wide.
  • The entire strait is on Asia’s continental shelf.


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