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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 28 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. Rwanda genocide.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

2. China expanded influence in UN bodies over the past decade: Study.

3. UAE’s Golden Visa.

4. Gaza attack may constitute ‘war crimes’.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. WhatsApp Approaches Delhi High Court; Says New Media Rules Can Violate User Privacy.

2. Panel to investigate charges of illegal construction in Mekedatu.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Louvre museum.

2. Places in News- Bhitarkanika National Park.

3. Species in News- blackbucks.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: World History.

Rwanda genocide:


Context:

French President Emmanuel Macron has said he recognised his country’s role in the Rwandan genocide and hoped for forgiveness.

  • This comes after years of Rwandan accusations that France was complicit in the 1994 atrocities.

Where is Rwanda?

Rwanda is a landlocked country in central Africa. Its Capital is Kigali.

Population composition: Hutus – majority, Tutsi –Minority.

What is Rwanda genocide?

The Rwandan genocide, also known as the genocide against the Tutsi, was a genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi in Rwanda by members of the Hutu majority government. An estimated more than 800,000 Rwandans were killed during the 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July 1994.

Causes:

  1. After World War 1, Rwanda came under the League of Nations mandate of Belgium during which the ruling Belgians favored the minority Tutsis over the Hutu majority.
  2. It led to widening communal rift between Tutsis and Hutus.
  3. Rise in oppression of minority Tutsi by Hutu, creating a legacy of tension and violence even before Rwanda gained its independence.
  4. The Hutu revolution in 1959 forced thousands of Tutsis to flee the country.
  5. Ethnically motivated violence continued against Tutsi even after independence in 1962.
  6. Immediate cause – signing of an Arusha agreement by Habyarimana and thereafter killing of moderate Hutu leader Habyarimana of the Rwandan government on Apr 6, 1994 in a plane crash.

French Connection:

France maintained close diplomatic ties with the Hutu dominated government, ever since they gained independence.

During 1994’s civil war, France sent forces only after it felt  that Tutsi rebels would defeat the Hutu militia. France saved many Hutu plotters of Genocide, even gave them shelter/asylum in France.

  • Therefore, some people blame that France knew and helped Hutus to plot this genocide.

 

Insta Curious:

  • Did you know the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide was the first UN human rights treaty?
  • This convention was entered into force in 1951, has been ratified by more than 130 countries.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is Rwanda?
  2. Locate Kigali on map.
  3. About the Genocide.
  4. Causes and outcomes.

Mains Link:

Write a note on Rwanda Genocide.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

MP Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS):


Context:

MPs have written to Speaker Om Birla to restart the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

Background:

The Union government had resorted to Disaster Management Act to suspend the member of Parliament local area development (MPLAD) scheme in April 2020.

About MPLAD scheme:

  • Launched in December, 1993.
  • Seeks to provide a mechanism for the Members of Parliament to recommend works of developmental nature for creation of durable community assets and for provision of basic facilities including community infrastructure, based on locally felt needs.
  • The MPLADS is a Plan Scheme fully funded by the Government of India.
  • The annual MPLADS fund entitlement per MP constituency is Rs. 5 crore.

Special focus:

  • MPs are to recommend every year, works costing at least 15 percent of the MPLADS entitlement for the year for areas inhabited by Scheduled Caste population and 7.5 per cent for areas inhabited by S.T. population.

Release of Funds:

  • Funds are released in the form of grants in-aid directly to the district authorities.
  • The funds released under the scheme are non-lapsable.
  • The liability of funds not released in a particular year is carried forward to the subsequent years, subject to eligibility.
  • The MPs have a recommendatory role under the scheme.
  • The district authority is empowered to examine the eligibility of works, sanction funds and select the implementing agencies, prioritise works, supervise overall execution, and monitor the scheme at the ground level.
  • At least 10% of the projects under implementation in the district are to be inspected every year by the district authority.

Recommendation of works:

  • The Lok Sabha Members can recommend works in their respective constituencies.
  • The elected members of the Rajya Sabha can recommend works anywhere in the state from which they are elected.
  • Nominated members of the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha may select works for implementation anywhere in the country.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. More than Rs. 1750 crores of MPLADS funds unutilized as of December 2020. Curious why?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. How is MPLADS connected to Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana?
  2. Where can nominated MPs recommend their works?
  3. Is there any special focus on SC and ST Welfare?
  4. Difference between grants and loans?
  5. Implementing agencies.

Mains Link:

Critically examine whether MPLADS has helped in bridging the gaps in provisioning of public services?

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

China expanded influence in UN bodies over the past decade: Study:


Context:

China has taken numerous steps over the past decade to expand its influence in the United Nations (UN) and related bodies.

Various steps taken by China include:

  1. Increase in funding: There has been a nearly 350% increase in voluntary donations to these organisations by China.
  2. Dominant position: China increased its influence in crucial non-UN multilateral bodies and is now in a “dominant position” in several such organisations in terms of personnel and funding (Eg:ITU and UNIDO).
  3. Focus groups: China’s focus has been on bodies that help set international standards in order to boost the fortunes of Chinese companies and to favour Beijing’s projects such as the Belt and Road Initiative.

Impacts of these measures:

  1. China directly heads four of 15 principal agencies of the UN – ITU, UNIDO, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
  2. Chinese deputies are present in nine of these agencies, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), International Maritime Organisation (IMO), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), and World Health Organization (WHO).

How has China benefited from these positions?

  1. ITU also has Chinese representatives serving two terms. This ensures that Chinese national champions like Huawei and its standards become embedded and implemented by UN agencies engaged in development work in sparsely penetrated markets like the African continent, the Pacific, and South and Southeast Asia (Eg: acceptance of blockchain standards for finance).
  2. UNIDO: China has connected UNIDO to its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which UNIDO now endorses.
  3. ICAO: China’s positioning at ICAO, which sets air navigation and safety standards, ensured that during the pandemic, Taiwan was excluded from all discussions – just as it was with the WHO, over which China has a disproportionate influence.

How are the other countries responding?

The US started renegotiating the Postal Treaty in 2019 to increase stamp costs on post and mail originating from China. This was done after it was found it was cheaper to send a package from China to the US than between two destinations within the US.

How can India counter such moves by China?

  1. A more proactive role as a rule-maker.
  2. Setting up and leading its own multilaterals such as the International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure.
  3. Increasing voluntary contributions to agencies and bodies where it believes it can play a larger role.
  4. Sponsoring Indian nationals for influential policy positions in the UN system.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Funding for the United Nations comes from two sources- Assessed and Voluntary. Do you know the differences between them?  Read here:

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

Briefly study about the following UN Organisations:

  1. ITU.
  2. UNIDO.
  3. FAO.
  4. ICAO.
  5. IMF.
  6. IMO.

Mains Link:

Discuss how China has Increased its influence over multiple UN organs and how it will impact India.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

UAE’s Golden Visa:


Context:

Bollywood actor Sanjay Dutt recently received his Golden visa from the UAE government.

What is it?

In 2019, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) implemented a new system for long-term residence visas, thereby enabling foreigners to live, work and study in the UAE without the need of a national sponsor and with 100 per cent ownership of their business.

So, what does the Golden Visa offer?

The Golden Visa system essentially offers long-term residency (5 and 10 years) to people belonging to the following groups:

  • investors, entrepreneurs, individuals with outstanding talents the likes of researchers, medical professionals and those within the scientific and knowledge fields, and remarkable students.

Eligibility requirements (Have a brief overview; need not mug up):

For investors:

  • A deposit of at least AED (United Arab Emirates Dirham) 10 million worth of public investment, either in the form of an investment fund or a company.
  • 60% of the total investment must not be in the form of real estate.
  • The invested amount must not be loaned, or in case of assets, investors must assume full ownership.
  • The investor must be able to retain the investment for a minimum of three years.
  • May be extended to include business partners, providing that each partner contributes AED 10 million.
  • Can also include the holder’s spouse and children, as well as one executive director and one advisor.

For individuals with specialized talents:

The category includes doctors, researchers, scientists, investors and artists. These individuals may be granted a 10-year visa following accreditations granted by their respective departments and fields. The visa also extends to their spouses and children.

Eligibility for a 5-year visa:

  • The investor must invest in a property of a gross value of not less than AED 5 million.
  • The amount invested in real estate must not be on a loan basis.
  • The property must be retained for at least three years.

Outstanding students:

  • Outstanding students with a minimum grade of 95% in public and private secondary schools.
  • University students within and outside the country having a distinction GPA of at least 3.75 upon graduation.

Reasons Behind the Move:

The UAE’s economy has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and low oil prices, prompting many expatriates to leave.

  • The move intends to bring them back now and keep the “talented people and great minds” in the Gulf country and help in nation-building.
  • It will attract talented professionals from various fields of expertise and further encourage innovation, creativity and applied research, adding to the appeal of a career in the UAE for the world’s brightest minds.

Significance for India:

  • It would attract more Indian professionals and businessmen to the Gulf nation and strengthen the India-UAE Relations.
  • It will also facilitate the return of Indians who want to resume work after the relaxation of Covid-19-related restrictions, for which India had requested the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in early November 2020.

 

Insta Curious:

  • India is the top country receiving the highest remittances from the UAE(the Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, and the US). It stands at around $14 billion.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Important countries in the Middle East and their location.
  2. India and UAE- Bilateral trade and crude oil supply.
  3. Indian diaspora in UAE- volume and significance.
  4. What is a Golden Visa?
  5. Who is eligible?
  6. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of UAE Golden Visa Scheme.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

Gaza attack may constitute ‘war crimes’:


Context:

The UN rights chief recently said that Israel’s recent deadly air strikes on Gaza may constitute war crimes.

  • Meanwhile, countries are discussing launching a broad, international investigation.

What next?

If found to be indiscriminate and disproportionate in their impact on civilians and civilian objects, such attacks may constitute war crimes.

Background:

Before a truce took hold last Friday, Israeli air strikes and artillery fire on Gaza killed 254 Palestinians, including 66 children, and wounded more than 1,900 people in 11 days of conflict.

But what is a war crime?

According to the United Nations, a war crime is a serious breach of international law committed against civilians or “enemy combatants” during an international or domestic armed conflict.

In contrast with genocide and crimes against humanity, war crimes have to occur in the context of armed conflict.

Geneva Conventions:

The meaning of war crimes was clarified in the four 1949 Geneva Conventions.

  • Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention defines war crimes as “wilful killing, torture or inhuman treatment, including wilfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health, unlawful deportation or transfer or unlawful confinement of a protected person taking of hostages and extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly”.

ICC developments:

The Rome Statute of the ICC expanded the list of crimes that constitutes war crimes. The statute, for example, recognises forced pregnancy as a war crime.

Proportionality, distinction and precaution:

The three main pillars of humanitarian law are the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution. If any or all of these principles are violated, it could be found that a war crime has been committed.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Curious about Ethics and war crimes? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Definition of War Crimes as defined by Geneva Conventions.
  2. About ICC.
  3. Members and jurisdiction.
  4. Where is Gaza?
  5. Locate Golan Heights on map.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

WhatsApp Approaches Delhi High Court; Says New Media Rules Can Violate User Privacy:


Context:

WhatsApp has moved the Delhi High Court against India’s new and stricter IT Rules that require instant messaging platforms to aid in identifying the ‘originator’ of messages.

  • The petition challenged the constitutional validity of the rules, which came into force on May 26.

What’s the contentious clause in new rules?

The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 state that intermediary providing messaging services will “enable the identification of the first originator of the information on its computer resource” following a judicial order passed by a court of competent jurisdiction or an order passed under section 69 by the Competent Authority as per the Information Technology Act.

 Applicability of this clause:

The rules state that an order will be passed only for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation, prosecution or punishment of an offence related to the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or of incitement to an offence relating to the above or in relation with rape, sexually explicit material or child sexual abuse material, punishable with imprisonment for a term of not less than five years.

What are the arguments put forth by Whatsapp?

  1. Undermines people’s right to privacy: Rules violate the fundamental right to privacy guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
  2. Against the landmark judgment of the Supreme Court in the K.S. Puttaswamy case: The court had held that the right to privacy is a fundamental right guaranteed under the Constitution.
  3. The right to anonymity: More recently, the Supreme Court affirmed that the right to privacy included the right to anonymity.
  4. Breaking end-to-end encryption: Enabling the identification of the first originator of information in India results in significant harm, including “breaking end-to-end encryption and chilling lawful speech”.
  5. Violate the fundamental right to freedom of speech and expression: Privacy is inextricably intertwined with the right to freedom of speech and expression because it protects people from retaliation for expressing unpopular, but lawful, views.

Note:

We have Covered about the New IT Rules previously on: https://www.insightsonindia.com/2021/05/26/the-information-technology-guidelines-for-intermediaries-and-digital-media-ethics-code-rules-2021/.

 

Insta Curious:

  • Do you know about ‘splinternet’ ? It’s an interesting concept related to the above post. Read it here (3 min read)

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the new IT rules.
  2. Who are intermediaries as per the new rules.
  3. When did the rules come into force?
  4. What did the Supreme Court rule in the Puttaswamy case?
  5. Right to Anonymity is covered under which Right under the constitution?

Mains Link:

Privacy is inextricably intertwined with the right to freedom of speech and expression because it protects people from retaliation for expressing unpopular, but lawful, views. Comment.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Panel to investigate charges of illegal construction in Mekedatu:


Context:

Acting suo motu based on a media report, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has appointed a joint committee to look into allegations of unauthorized construction activity taking place in Mekedatu, where the Karnataka government had proposed to construct a dam across the Cauvery River.

Jurisdiction of NGT over such matters:

If any project is to be implemented without conducting any environmental impact assessment(EIA) study and without obtaining necessary clearance, if any required, then it will be an unauthorized act affecting the environment. In such matters, the NGT would get the jurisdiction of intervening on the issue.

Where is it located?

Mekedatu, meaning goat’s leap, is a deep gorge situated at the confluence of the rivers Cauvery and its tributary Arkavathi.

Issues surrounding Mekedatu project:

The project aims to store and supply water for drinking purposes for the Bengaluru city. Around 400 megawatts (MW) of power is also proposed to be generated through the project.

  • However, Tamil Nadu objected saying that the project would affect the flow of Cauvery water to Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu also argues that the project is against the final order of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) in which the SC held that no state can claim exclusive ownership or assert rights to deprive other states of the waters of inter-state rivers.

Cauvery River:

Origin: River rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in south-western Karnataka state.

The river basin covers three states and a Union Territory: Tamil Nadu, 43,868 square kilometres, Karnataka, 34,273 square kilometres l, Kerala, 2,866 square kilometres and Puducherry.

Key tributaries: Hemavati, Lakshman Tirtha, Kabini, Amaravati, Noyil, and Bhavani rivers.

Falls along the way: Upon entering Tamil Nadu, the Kaveri continues through a series of twisted wild gorges until it reaches Hogenakkal Falls.

Dams: There the Mettur Dam was constructed for irrigation and hydel power in Tamil Nadu.

 

Insta Curious:

  • In addition to SIA, also know the definitions and examples of SIA and HIA.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Tributaries of Cauvery.
  2. Basin states.
  3. Important falls and dams across the river.
  4. Where is Mekedatu?
  5. What is the project related to?
  6. Beneficiaries of the project.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Mekedatu project.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Louvre museum:

  • It is the world’s largest art museum, based in Paris.
  • It is also the world’s most visited museum.
  • It is home to the Mona Lisa, a classic that cultural organisations and art lovers across the world would love to exhibit.

Why in the News?

Art historian and curator Laurence des Cars has become the first woman to be appointed the president of Louvre – in its 228-year history.

 

InstaCurious:

  • It was also in the news for wrong reasons in 2018. Famous relic of Amaravati Stupa is at the Louvre. Read Here (2 min read)

 

Places in News- Bhitarkanika National Park:

  • Bhitarkanika National Park, located in Odisha, is famous for its mangroves, migratory birds, turtles, estuarine crocodiles, and countless creeks.
  • It is India’s second-largest mangrove forest.
  • The Bhitarkanika is represented by 3 Protected Areas, the Bhitarkanika National Park, the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary.
  • Bhitarkanika is located in the estuary of Brahmani, Baitarani, Dhamra, and Mahanadi river systems.
  • It is said to house 70% of the country’s estuarine or saltwater crocodiles, conservation of which was started way back in 1975.
  • Bhitarkanika is home to a wide range of fauna, including 3,000 spotted deer, bird species and other species such as wild boars, jackal, hyenas, jungle cat, fishing cats, water monitor lizards, rhesus macaques, common languor, Indian civet cat and hare.
  • The area was designated a national park in September 1998 and as a Ramsar site by UNESCO in August 2002.

Why in News?

Cyclone Yaas fells hundreds of trees in Bhitarkanika, hit on fauna being assessed.

 

Species in News- blackbucks:

  • Odisha’s blackbuck population has doubled in the last six years, according to figures from the latest population census released recently by the chief conservator of forest (wildlife).
  • The antelopes numbered 7,358 — 4,196 females, 1,712 males and 1,450 young, according to census figures.
  • Blackbucks are found only in the Ganjam district in the southern part of the state.
  • Protection status: The blackbuck is a Schedule-1 animal according to the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (amended in 1992) and is considered as ‘Vulnerable’ according to the Red Data Book.
  • The blackbuck is known in Odisha and Ganjam as Krushnasara Mruga.

Other related facts:

Bishnoi community of Rajasthan is known worldwide for their conservation efforts to blackbuck and Chinkara.

State animal of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana & Punjab.

Protected Areas:

  1. Velavadar Blackbuck Sanctuary — Gujarat.
  2. Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary.
  3. Nilgiri biosphere reserve.
  4. Corbett national park.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Biden orders probe into virus origins.

 


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