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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 29 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. Veer Savarkar.

2. What Germany recognising the colonial-era genocide in Namibia means for the African nation?

3. Scope of Section 304-B in dowry deaths widened by SC.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Rule 6(I) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954.

2. Children under mid-day meal scheme to get aid.

3. What are monoclonal antibody therapies?

4. Biden orders probe into virus origins.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Jayanti


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

Veer Savarkar:


Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to pioneering Hindutva ideologue Veer Savarkar on his birth anniversary- 28th May.

About Savarkar and his contributions:

  • Born on May 28, 1883 in Bhagur, a city in Maharashtra’s Nashik.
  • He was against foreign goods and propagated the idea of Swadeshi. In 1905, he burnt all the foreign goods in a bonfire on Dussehra.

Social reforms:

  • He championed atheism and rationality and also disapproved orthodox Hindu belief. In fact, he even dismissed cow worship as superstitious.
  • He also Worked on abolishment of untouchability in Ratnagiri.

Organisations he was associated with:

  1. Vinayak Savarkar was a president of Hindu Mahasabha from 1937 to 1943. When congress ministries offered resignation on 22nd oct 1939, Hindu mahasabha under his leadership cooperated with Muslim league to form government in provinces like Sindh, Bengal and NWFP.
  2. In Pune, Savarkar founded the “Abhinav Bharat Society”.
  3. He was also involved in the Swadeshi movement and later joined Tilak’s Swaraj Party. His instigating patriotic speeches and activities incensed the British Government. As a result, the British Government withdrew his B.A. degree.
  4. He founded the Free India Society. The Society celebrated important dates on the Indian calendar including festivals, freedom movement landmarks, and was dedicated to furthering discussion about Indian freedom.
  5. Vinayak Savarkar and Ganesh Savarkar started Mitra Mela, a revolutionary secret society in Nasik in 1899.

Important works:

  1. In his book, The History of the war of Indian Independence, Savarkar wrote about the guerilla warfare tricks used in 1857 Sepoy Mutiny.
  2. The book was banned by Britishers, but Madam Bhikaji Cama published the book in Netherlands, Germany and France, which eventually reached many Indian revolutionaries.
  3. He founded the two-nation theory in his book ‘Hindutva’ calling Hindus and Muslims two separate nations. In 1937, Hindu Mahasabha passed it as a resolution.

Insta Curious:

  • The airport at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar’s capital was renamed Veer Savarkar International Airport in 2002.
  • What’s the difference  between a social reformer and a social revolutionary?

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who founded Mitra mela, Abhinav Bharat Society and Free India society, what are the objectives?
  2. Books written by Savarkar?
  3. Savarkar’s book which was published by Madam Bhikaji Cama?
  4. Morley- Minto reforms- key changes.
  5. Savarkar’s views on use of arms to free India.
  6. Hindu Mahasabha- key achievements.

Mains Link:

Discuss Veer Savarkar’s contributions to social reforms in the country.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: World History.

What Germany recognising the colonial-era genocide in Namibia means for the African nation?


Context:

Germany for the first time has recognised that it committed genocide against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia during its colonial rule over a century ago.

  • Germany has also announced a fund of €1.1 billion ($1.2 billion) to help aid community projects in Namibia.

About the Genocide- What happened then?

  1. Between 1904 and 1908, German colonial settlers killed tens of thousands of men, women and children from the Herero and Nama tribes after they rebelled against colonial rule in what was then called German South West Africa.
  2. Reasons for the rebellion: Local tribes saw the German settlers as a threat to their land and resources.
  3. Important events- the Battle of Waterberg: around 80,000 Herero, including women and children, were chased across the desert by German troops. A mere 15,000 survived.

How long was the present day Namibia under the control of Germans?

  • Between 1884 and 1890, Germany formally colonised parts of present-day Namibia.
  • The Germans continued to rule the region till 1915, following which it fell under South Africa’s control for 75 years.
  • Namibia finally gained independence in 1990.

So, what happens now?

The atrocities committed have been described by some historians as the first genocide of the 20th century.

Now, after the announcement, a declaration will be signed by Germany, following which it will be ratified by the parliaments of both countries.

  • President Frank-Walter Steinmeier is then expected to officially apologize for Germany’s crimes in front of the Namibian Parliament.

 

Insta Curious:

  • The six principal colonies of German Africa, along with native kingdoms and polities, were the legal precedents for the modern states of Burundi, Cameroon, Namibia, Rwanda, Tanzania and Togo.
  • Can Bengal Famine falls into the category of Genocide by the British in India? Here
  • Do you feel legal remedies for historical injustices are justified? 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What was called German South West Africa in the early 20th century?
  2. Location of Namibia.
  3. About the Genocide.
  4. Herero and Nama tribes are found in which country?

Mains Link:

Discuss the impact of acceptance of genocide that Germany had committed against the Herero and Nama people in present-day Namibia.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to women.

Scope of Section 304-B in dowry deaths widened by SC:


Context:

The Supreme Court has called dowry harassment a “pestiferous” crime where women are subjected to cruelty by “covetous” husbands and in-laws.

  • Also, the Court indicated in a judgment that a straitjacket and literal interpretation of Section 304-B, a penal provision on dowry death may have blunted the battle against the “long-standing social evil”.

About Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code:

According to Section 304-B, to make out a case of dowry death, a woman should have died of burns or other bodily injuries or “otherwise than under normal circumstances” within seven years of her marriage. She should have suffered cruelty or harassment from her husband or in-laws “soon before her death” in connection with demand for dowry.

Issues with Section 304-B:

The courts have mostly resorted to the narrow view of Section 304-B. For example:

  1. Courts had interpreted the phrase ‘soon before’ in Section 304-B as ‘immediately before’. This interpretation would make it necessary for a woman to have been harassed moments before she died.
  2. The phrase “otherwise than under normal circumstances” in the Section also calls for a liberal interpretation.

Dowry related deaths in India- a quick look:

  • Dowry deaths accounted for 40% to 50% homicides in the country for almost a decade from 1999 to 2018.
  • In 2019 alone, 7,115 cases of dowry death were registered under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.

Need of the hour:

  • Courts should instead interpret Section 304-B liberally while keeping in mind the law’s intention to punish dowry and bride-burning.
  • Absurd interpretations should be avoided. Instead, courts need to show only a “proximate and live link” between the harassment and her death.
  • The court must also put incriminating circumstances before the accused and seek his response. He should be given sufficient opportunity to give his side of the story.

Causes of dowry and related atrocities:

  1. Greed: Expectations of material benefits from the bride’s family.
  2. Illiteracy: The communities that are not knowledgeable about the laws and legislation face several atrocities owing to dowry exchange practices.
  3. Lack of Willingness to adhere to laws.

Solutions:

  • Educate girl child.
  • Proper implementation of govt initiatives and laws.
  • Initiating Mass Media Campaigns.

Insta Curious:

  •  Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code – in 1983 deals with Anti-Dowry
  • It’s better to know SC’s orders on anti-dowry provisions (because of its misuse). Read here.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Section of 304-B of the Indian Penal Code.
  2. Section 498A of the IPC.
  3. Protection to the accused in dowry cases.

Mains Link:

Why has the Supreme Court stressed on the need for liberal interpretation of Section of 304-B of the Indian Penal Code? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Role of civil services in a democracy.

Rule 6(I) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954:


Context:

In an unprecedented order, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) invoked Rule 6(I) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) Rules, 1954 to place the services of West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay with the Government of India.

What is it?

Rule 6(1) of the Indian Administrative Service (cadre) rules, 1954 states: A cadre officer may, with the concurrence of the state governments concerned and the central government, be deputed for service under the central government or another state government or under a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by the central government or by another state government.

What happens in case of disagreement?

Rule 6(I) states that “provided that in case of any disagreement, the matter shall be decided by the Central Government and the State Government shall give effect to the decision of the Central Government.”

What’s the Concern/issue now?

It is being called a “blatant misuse of power and an attempt to encroach on state’s jurisdiction.”

What has the Supreme Court said in such matters?

Earlier in December 2020, the Home Ministry had attached three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers of West Bengal cadre but the State government did not relieve them.

  • Following this, a petition was filed which stressed that the unique dichotomy in the prevalent laws is itself self-contradictory and violative of Article 14.
  • It claimed that this rule has created havoc in the law-and-order situation and in the administrative structure of the concerned state governments.

However, the court rejected the petition.

 

Insta Curious:

  • Is Article-131 of the Indian Constitution relevant here in this context? Here

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Rules related to All India Services.
  2. Responsibility to manage cadres of IAS, IPS and IFS.
  3. Civil services board.
  4. Who has powers to take action against civil service officials who are posted under the state government?
  5. What is Home Ministry’s deputation policy for IPS officers?

Mains Link:

Discuss what are emergency provisions under the IPS Cadre Rule, 1954.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Children under mid-day meal scheme to get aid:


Context:

The Centre has decided to give about ₹100 each to children studying in Class 1 to Class 8 in government schools, who are beneficiaries of the Mid-Day Meal scheme.

  • The money, ₹1200 crore in total, will be given to 11.8 crore children through direct benefit transfer as a one-time payment.

Cash payment under the Mid-Day Meal scheme:

  • The money comes from the cooking cost component of the scheme.

Please note that cooking costs formed the largest component of the Central allocation for the Mid-Day Meal scheme in 2021-22.

  • It covers the prices of ingredients such as pulses, vegetables, cooking oil, salt, and condiments.

What’s the issue now?

Children are being given cash in lieu of the mid-day meal in some places and dry rations in others. Either way, the quantities/amounts are too low to be even adequate for one nutritious meal a day. ₹100 per child amounts to less than ₹4 a day even if it was a monthly payment.

  • Therefore, the Centre should provide enhanced take-home rations, including eggs, vegetables, fruits, dal/chana, oil in order to ensure nutrition security.

About the Mid-Day meal scheme:

The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madarsas supported under Samagra Shiksha.

  • Students up to Class VIII are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.
  • The Scheme comes under the Ministry of HRD.
  • It was launched in the year 1995 as the National Programme of Nutritional Support to Primary Education (NP – NSPE), a centrally sponsored scheme. In 2004, the scheme was relaunched as the Mid Day Meal Scheme.
  • The Scheme is also covered by the National Food Security Act, 2013.

Objective:

Address hunger and malnutrition, increase enrolment and attendance in school, improve socialisation among castes, provide employment at grassroot level especially to women.

The MDM rules 2015, provide that:

  • The place of serving meals to the children shall be school only.
  • If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month.
  • The School Management Committee mandated under the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 shall also monitor implementation of the Mid-day meal Scheme.

Nutritional norms:

In terms of calorie intake, as per the MDM guidelines, the children in primary schools must be provided with at least 450 calories with 12 grams of protein through MDM while the children in upper primary schools should get 700 calories with 20 grams of protein, as per MHRD.

The food intake per meal by the children of primary classes, as provided by MHRD is 100 grams of food grains, 20 grams of pulses, 50 grams of vegetables and 5 grams of oils and fats. For the children of upper-primary schools, the mandated breakup is 150 grams of food grains, 30 grams of pulses, 75 grams of vegetables and 7.5 grams of oils and fats.

food_norms

InstaCurious:

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Origin of MDMS.
  2. When was it renamed?
  3. Difference between centrally sponsored and Central sector schemes? What kind of scheme of the MDMS?
  4. Financing under the scheme.
  5. Nutritional norms prescribed.
  6. Coverage under the scheme.
  7. Responsibility to pay food security allowance under the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Mid-Day Meal scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What are monoclonal antibody therapies?


Context:

The Apollo Hospital in Delhi has started an “antibody cocktail treatment” for COVID-19 patients, who have mild symptoms and comorbidities. It comprises neutralising monoclonal antibodies.

What are Monoclonal antibodies?

They are artificially created antibodies that aim to aid the body’s natural immune system.

They target a specific antigen — a protein from the pathogen that induces immune response.

How are they created?

Monoclonal antibodies can be created in the lab by exposing white blood cells to a particular antigen.

To increase the quantity of antibodies produced, a single white blood cell is cloned, which in turn is used to create identical copies of the antibodies.

  • In the case of Covid-19, scientists usually work with the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which facilitates the entry of the virus into the host cell.

Need for monoclonal antibodies:

In a healthy body, the immune system is able to create antibodies — tiny Y-shaped proteins in our blood that recognize microbial enemies and bind to them, signaling the immune system to then launch an attack on the pathogen.

However, for people whose immune systems are unable to make sufficient amounts of these antibodies, scientists provide a helping hand- using monoclonal antibodies.

History:

The idea of delivering antibodies to treat a disease dates as far back as the 1900s, when Nobel-prize winning German immunologist Paul Ehrlich proposed the idea of a ‘Zauberkugel‘ (magic bullet), a compound which selectively targets a pathogen.

  • From then, it took eight decades of research to finally arrive at Muromonab-CD3, the world’s first monoclonal antibody to be approved for clinical use in humans.
  • Muromonab-CD3 is an immunosuppressant drug given to reduce acute rejection in patients with organ transplants.

Applications:

Monoclonal antibodies are now relatively common. They are used in treating Ebola, HIV, psoriasis etc.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know about Polyclonal antibodies. Find out more about them: Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are antibodies?
  2. What are monoclonal antibodies?
  3. How they are created?
  4. Applications.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

Biden orders probe into virus origins:


Context:

U.S. President Joe Biden has asked American intelligence agencies to “redouble” their efforts to analyse the origins of COVID-19, to determine whether it emerged from human-animal contact or via a laboratory accident.

  • The United States also said that it will keep working with like-minded partners around the world to press China to participate in a full, transparent, evidence-based international investigation and to provide access to all relevant data and evidence.

Implications of this move:

This announcement significantly adds to the growing pressure on China to be more open about the origins of the SARS-COV-2 virus, an outbreak of which was seen first in early 2020 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, which houses the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).

Why is the lab in Wuhan a focus on interest?

The institute collects genetic material from wildlife for experimentation.

  • The lab has done extensive work on bat-borne viruses since the 2002 SARS-CoV-1 international outbreak, which began in China.
  • The search for its origins led years later to discovery of SARS-like viruses in a southwest China bat cave.

How the virus might have leaked from this lab?

  1. Researchers experiment with live viruses in animals to gauge human susceptibility. To reduce the risk of pathogens escaping accidentally, the facility is supposed to enforce rigorous safety protocols, such as protective garb and super air filtration. But even the strictest measures cannot eliminate such risks. So, there is a reason to believe that the virus might have originated in the lab.
  2. Additionally, the lab is not far from the Huanan Seafood Market, which early in the health crisis was cited as the most likely place where animal-to-human transmission of the virus may have taken place. The market was also the site of the first known COVID-19 superspreader event.

Above all, the Chinese government’s refusal to allow the lab-leak scenario to be fully investigated adds fuel to these theories.

What do Scientists who favor the natural origins hypothesis say?

Some of the most lethal new diseases of the past century have been traced to human interactions with wildlife and domestic animals, including the first SARS epidemic (bats), MERS-CoV (camels), Ebola (bats or non-human primates) and Nipah virus (bats).

While an animal source has not been identified so far, swabs of stalls in the wildlife section of the wildlife market in Wuhan after the outbreak tested positive, suggesting an infected animal or human handler.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between Bacteria, Viruses, Fungi, and Protozoa?

Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is mRNA?
  2. What are zoonotic diseases?
  3. Overview of SARS, MERS, Ebola and Nipah.
  4. Diseases caused by various pathogens.
  5. What is SARS-CoV-2 virus?
  6. What is RT PCR test?
  7. Differences between antigens and antibodies.

Mains Link:

It is still not known whether Covid 19 virus emerged from human-animal contact or via a laboratory accident. Discuss how international community is considering the matter.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Jayanti:

  • Jayanti has become the twelfth subgenus, or species, of cricket identified under the genus Arachnomimus Saussure, 1897.
  • It was found in the Kurra caves of Chhattisgarh in April 2021 by a team of zoologists.
  • It was named Jayanti after Professor Jayant Biswas, one of the leading cave explorers in the country, who assisted the team.
  • Interestingly, males of the new Jayanti subgenus cannot produce sound and their females don’t have ears.

Arachnomimus is the genus name given by Swiss Entomologist Henri Louis Frédéric de Saussure in 1878 to crickets that resembled spiders.

 


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