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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 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 2:

1. Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund For Sportspersons.

2. SC: personal guarantors liable for corporate debt.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. RBI to transfer Rs 99,122 crore surplus to government.

2. DRDO’s Covid-19 antibody detection kit.

3. Govt vs WhatsApp on privacy policy.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. New York’s ‘Vax and Scratch’ programme.

2. International Day for Biological Diversity 2021.

3. Kalakshetra.

4. Bao-dhaan.

5. Sunderlal Bahuguna.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund For Sportspersons:


Context:

The Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports (MYAS) has approved an amount of Rs 2 Lakh for Karnataka’s V Tejaswini Bai, who won the Arjuna Award in 2011 and was a member of the Women’s Kabaddi team that won gold medals at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games respectively.

  • The financial assistance has been approved from the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay National Welfare Fund for the Sportspersons (PDUNWFS).

About the Fund:

  • Set up in March, 1982 with a view to assisting outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryear, living in indigent circumstances who had brought glory to the Country in sports.
  • The scheme was revised in May, 2016 to provide for lump sum ex-gratia assistance to outstanding Sportspersons of yesteryears.
  • Provision of pension has been done away with as there is already a Scheme of Pension for Meritorious Sportspersons.

The Fund shall be utilized for the following objectives:

  1. To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons now living in indigent sportspersons.
  2. To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons injured during the period of their training for competitions and also during the competitions, depending on the nature of the injury.
  3. To provide suitable assistance to outstanding sports persons who bring glory to the country in the international field and who are disabled as an after effect of their strenuous training or otherwise and to provide them assistance for medical treatment.
  4. To administrator and apply the funds of the Fund to promote the welfare of the sports persons generally in order to alleviate distress among them and their dependents in indigent circumstances.
  5. To administer and apply the funds of the Fund for active sports persons individually or collectively as a group.
  6. To do all other things which are incidental to the above objectives.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link and Mains Link:

  • Key features, Eligibility and significance of the scheme.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

SC: personal guarantors liable for corporate debt:


Context:

In November 2019, a government notification had allowed creditors, usually financial institutions and banks, to move against personal guarantors under the Indian Bankruptcy and Insolvency Code (IBC).

  • The Supreme Court has now upheld this move.
  • The court said there was an “intrinsic connection” between personal guarantors and their corporate debtors.

Implications:

This will allow lenders to initiate insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors, who are usually promoters of big business houses, along with the stressed corporate entities for whom they gave guarantee.

About the IBC:

  • The IBC was enacted in 2016, replacing a host of laws, with the aim to streamline and speed up the resolution process of failed businesses.
  • The Code also consolidates provisions of the current legislative framework to form a common forum for debtors and creditors of all classes to resolve insolvency.

The Code creates various institutions to facilitate resolution of insolvency. These are as follows:

Insolvency Professionals: A specialised cadre of licensed professionals is proposed to be created. These professionals will administer the resolution process, manage the assets of the debtor, and provide information for creditors to assist them in decision making.

Insolvency Professional Agencies: The insolvency professionals will be registered with insolvency professional agencies. The agencies conduct examinations to certify the insolvency professionals and enforce a code of conduct for their performance.

Information Utilities: Creditors will report financial information of the debt owed to them by the debtor. Such information will include records of debt, liabilities and defaults.

Adjudicating authorities: The proceedings of the resolution process will be adjudicated by the National Companies Law Tribunal (NCLT), for companies; and the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT), for individuals. The duties of the authorities will include approval to initiate the resolution process, appoint the insolvency professional, and approve the final decision of creditors.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board: The Board will regulate insolvency professionals, insolvency professional agencies and information utilities set up under the Code.  The Board will consist of representatives of Reserve Bank of India, and the Ministries of Finance, Corporate Affairs and Law.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is insolvency and bankruptcy?
  2. Various institutions established under the IBC code.
  3. NCLT- composition and functions.
  4. What are debt recovery tribunals?

Mains Link:

Discuss how suspension of initiation of fresh insolvency proceedings will help shield companies impacted by the outbreak of Covid-19.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.

RBI to transfer Rs 99,122 crore surplus to government:


Context:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will transfer a surplus of Rs 99,122 crore to the government for the nine-month accounting period ended March 31.

  • The bank also decided to maintain the contingency risk buffer at 5.5 percent.

Significance of the move:

The transfer will help the government’s finances as the country battles a furious second coronavirus wave that has seen daily infections and deaths rise to a record level. The restrictions clamped to break the chain of infections have also put a question mark on the country’s economic recovery.

Provisions in this regard:

The RBI, established in 1935, operates according to the Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934. The act mandates that profits made by the central bank from its operations be sent to the Centre.

  • As the manager of its finances, every year the RBI also pays a dividend to the government to help with the finances from its surplus or profit.

A technical Committee of the RBI Board headed by Y H Malegam (2013), which reviewed the adequacy of reserves and surplus distribution policy, recommended a higher transfer to the government.

RBI’s Earning:

  • Returns earned on its foreign currency assets, which could be in the form of bonds and treasury bills of other central banks or top-rated securities, and deposits with other central banks.
  • Interest on its holdings of local rupee-denominated government bonds or securities, and while lending to banks for very short tenures, such as overnight.
  • Management commission on handling the borrowings of state governments and the central government.

RBI’s Expenditure:

Printing of currency notes and on staff, besides the commission it gives to banks for undertaking transactions on behalf of the government across the country, and to primary dealers, including banks, for underwriting some of these borrowings.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About RBI.
  2. Management of Surplus.
  3. RBI’s earnings and expenditure.

Mains Link:

Discuss the mechanism under which RBI trasnfers surplus to the government.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

DRDO’s Covid-19 antibody detection kit:


Context:

The Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), a laboratory of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has developed a Covid-19 antibody detection kit called ‘Dipcovan’.

About Dipcovan:

  • The Dipcovan kit can detect both spike as well as nucleocapsid (S&N) proteins of SARS-CoV-2 virus with a high sensitivity of 97 % and specificity of 99%.
  • The kit has a shelf life of 18 months.
  • It has been developed in association with Vanguard Diagnostics Pvt Ltd.
  • The antibody detection kit is approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in April 2021.

Antibody:

  • Antibody, also called immunoglobulin is a protective protein produced by the immune system in response to the presence of a foreign substance, called an antigen.
  • Antibodies recognize and attack onto antigens in order to remove them from the body.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Differentiate between- RT- PCR, Rapid antibody and rapid antigen tests.
  2. What are antibodies?
  3. What are antigens?
  4. How does the body’s immune system work?
  5. What are lymphocytes?
  6. Coronavirus that affects humans.

Mains Link:

Write a note on rapid antigen tests.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

Govt vs WhatsApp on privacy policy:


Context:

Communication between the IT Ministry and WhatsApp on the issue of the updated privacy policy has been going on since January this year.

  • The Ministry has recently warned WhatsApp once again to roll back its latest update in privacy policy. This time, the Ministry has also warned of legal action if it does not get a satisfactory reply by May 25.

Key Features of the Privacy Policy:

Information Sharing with Third Party Services: When users rely on third-party services or other Facebook Company Products that are integrated with our Services, those third-party services may receive information about what you or others share with them.

Hardware Information: WhatsApp collects information from devices such as battery level, signal strength, app version, browser information, mobile network, connection information (including phone number, mobile operator or ISP) among others.

Deleting the Account: If someone only deletes the WhatsApp app from their device without using the in-app delete my account feature, then that user’s information will remain stored with the platform.

Data Storage: WhatsApp mentions that it uses Facebook’s global infrastructure and data centers including those in the United States to store user data. It also states that the data in some cases will be transferred to the United States or other parts where Facebook’s affiliate companies are based.

Location: Even if a user does not use their location-relation features, Whatsapp collects IP addresses and other information like phone number area codes to estimate your general location (city, country).

Payment Services: WhatsApp says that if anyone uses their payments services they will process additional information about you, including payment account and transaction information.

What are the concerns and why is the policy being criticised?

The Ministry has reiterated that the changes to WhatsApp’s privacy policy and the manner of introducing them undermine the sacrosanct values of informational privacy, data security and user choice for Indian users.

  • The new Whatsapp policy contradicts the recommendations of the Srikrishna Committee report, which forms the basis of the Data Protection Bill 2019.
  • The principle of Data Localisation, which aims to put curbs on the transfer of personal data outside the country, may come in conflict with WhatsApp’s new privacy policy.
  • With the updated privacy policy, WhatsApp can now share one’s metadata, essentially everything beyond the conversation’s actual text.
  • If users disagree with the messaging platform’s updated privacy policy, they will have to quit WhatsApp when the new terms of service are set to come into effect.

Sources: Indian Express.

 


Facts for Prelims:


New York’s ‘Vax and Scratch’ programme:

  • It is a new vaccination programme that will provide free lottery tickets to those individuals over the age of 18 years who choose to get vaccinated from one of the ten state-run sites.
  • Under the programme, lottery tickets that are otherwise sold for $20 by retailers across the state, will be given free of cost to those above the age of 18.

International Day for Biological Diversity 2021:

Celebrated each year on May 22.

This year, 2021, the theme is “We’re part of the solution”.

Background: The resolution to celebrate the day was adopted in 1992. The day was initially celebrated on December 29 till 2000 starting from 1993. It was marked on December 29 to celebrate the Day the Convention on Biological Diversity came into effect. It was later shifted to May 22 to commemorate the adoption of the convention at Rio Earth Summit.

Kalakshetra:

  • Kalakshetra, as the name suggests, is a centre for artistic endeavour.
  • It is an arts and cultural academy dedicated to the preservation of traditional values in Indian art and crafts, especially in the field of Bharatanatyam dance and Gandharvaveda music.
  • Founded in 1936 by the vibrant visionary Rukmini Devi Arundale.
  • The Institution stands testimony to her dream of creating a space where the essence of Indian thought would find expression through artistic education.
  • Located in Chennai, the Kalakshetra Foundation, as it is known today, is a vital centre for the study and performance of fine arts.
  • In 1994, an Act of the Parliament of India recognised the Kalakshetra Foundation as an “Institute of National Importance.”

Bao-dhaan:

  • It is iron-rich rice variety grown in Brahmaputra valley of Assam, without the use of any chemical fertilizer.
  • The first consignment of this ‘red rice’ variety was sent to the US from Assam recently.

Sunderlal Bahuguna:

Well-known environmentalist and Gandhian Sunderlal Bahuguna is no more.

  • He was one of the founders of the Chipko, or hug the tree movement, in the 1970s to save Himalayan forests.
  • Bahuguna also led the charge against the construction of big dams in the Himalayas in the 1980s.
  • He was fervently opposed to the construction of the Tehri dam and sat on two long hunger strikes against the dam, which proved to be of no avail.
  • He also led a movement of women’s groups, or mahila mandals, to enforce prohibition in Tehri Garhwal, which was then part of Uttar Pradesh.


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