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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 3 June 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. Model Tenancy Act.

2. Digital tax in India.

3. Only Delta is a variant of concern: WHO.

4. UNGA head.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO).

2. Chinese ‘Artificial Sun’ Experimental Fusion Reactor Sets New World Record.

3. DM Act is of 2005 vintage, was first enforced during pandemic.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Tulsa Race Massacre of May-June 1921.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Model Tenancy Act:


Context:

The Union Cabinet has approved the Model Tenancy Act (MTA).

  • States and Union territories can now adopt the Model Tenancy Act by enacting fresh legislation or they can amend their existing rental laws suitably.

Highlights of the Model Law:

  1. Applicable prospectively and will not affect the existing tenancies.
  2. Written agreement is a must for all new tenancies. The agreement will have to be submitted to the concerned district ‘Rent Authority’.
  3. The law also speaks about roles and responsibilities of landlord and tenants.
  4. No landlord or property manager can withhold any essential supply to the premises occupied by the tenant.
  5. If tenancy has not been renewed, the tenancy shall be deemed to be renewed on a month-to-month basis on the same terms and conditions as were in the expired tenancy agreement, for a maximum period of six months.
  6. Compensation in case of non-vacancy: On the expiry of extended period of six months of agreed tenancy period or the termination of tenancy by order or notice, the tenant shall be a tenant in default and liable to pay compensation of double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent thereafter.
  7. A landowner or property manager may enter a premise in accordance with written notice or notice through electronic medium served to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.

Significance:

It is an important piece of legislation that promises to ease the burden on civil courts, unlock rental properties stuck in legal disputes, and prevent future tangles by balancing the interests of tenants and landlords.

Need for a law in this regard:

  1. Young, educated job seekers migrating to large metropolises often complain of onerous tenancy conditions and obscene sums of money as security deposits that they are asked to fork out to lease accommodation. In some cities, tenants are asked to pay security deposits amounting to 11 months of rent.
  2. Also, some house owners routinely breach tenants’ right to privacy by visiting the premises unannounced for sundry repair works.
  3. Whimsical rent raises are another problem for tenants, many of whom complain of being squeezed as “captive customers“.
  4. Besides, Tenants are often accused of “squatting” on the rented premises, or trying to grab the property.

 

Insta Curious:

Other Issue related to Property:

Do you know what Zoning laws are? How can zoning be used as a tool for stimulating private sector participation in urban regeneration? Read Here

Did you know land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents are subjects under the state list of the Indian Constitution (7th Schedule)? Read more here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Model law- Highlights.
  2. Role of states.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance and relevance of the Model Tenancy Act.

Sources: PIB.

 

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

Digital tax in India:


Context:

The United States recently announced 25% tariffs on over $2 billion worth of imports from six nations over their digital services taxes, but immediately suspended the duties to allow time for international tax negotiations to continue.

  • The US. Trade Representative’s office had approved the threatened tariffs on goods from Britain, Italy, Spain, Turkey, India and Austria after a “Section 301 investigation concluded that their digital taxes discriminated against U.S. companies.
  • The potential tariffs aim to equal the amount of digital taxes that would be collected from U.S. firms.

About the Digital Tax:

India was the one of the first countries to introduce a 6 per cent equalisation levy in 2016, but the levy was restricted to online advertisement services.

However, India introduced the digital tax in April 2020 for foreign companies selling goods and services online to customers in India and showing annual revenues more than INR 20 million.

Applicability:

India has expanded the scope of the equalisation levy over the last few years, to tax non-resident digital entities.

  • While the levy applied only to digital advertising services till 2019-20 at the rate of 6 percent, the government in April last year widened the scope to impose a 2 per cent tax on non-resident e-commerce players with a turnover of Rs 2 crore.
  • The scope was further widened in the Finance Act 2021-22 to cover e-commerce supply or service when any activity takes place online.
  • Since May 2021, this also includes any entity that systematically and continuously does business with more than 3 lakh users in India.

When will the tax not apply?

Offshore e-commerce firms that sell through an Indian arm will not have to pay.

  • This means if the goods and services sold on a foreign e-commerce platform are owned or provided by an Indian resident or Indian permanent establishment, they will not be subject to the two percent equalization levy.

Why was it imposed?

The equalisation levy was imposed “to give level playing field between Indian businesses who pay tax in India and foreign e-commerce companies who do business in India but do not pay any income tax here.

Which other countries impose such a levy on digital sellers?

  1. France imposes a three percent digital services tax.
  2. In the ASEAN region, Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia impose a digital service tax with Thailand announcing forthcoming plans to tax its foreign digital service providers.
  3. Negotiations are underway at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) involving 140 countries to overhaul international tax rules given the fast growth of internet economies.

Why the United States Trade Representative (USTR) says that this tax is discriminatory?

  1. First, it states that the DST discriminates against US digital businesses because it specifically excludes from its ambit domestic (Indian) digital businesses.
  2. USTR also says the DST is discriminatory because it does not extend to identical services provided by non-digital service providers.

Why India says Digital services tax is not discriminatory? And why is it needed?

  • Business models employed by non-resident digital service providers obviate the need for a physical presence in India and profits earned here could easily escape the Indian income tax net. Hence, this kind of taxation is necessary.
  • Changing International Economic Order: Countries such as India which provide large markets for digital corporations seek a greater right to tax incomes.

Associated Concerns:

  1. Eventually the tax may become a burden for Digital Consumers.
  2. It could invite retaliatory tariffs (such as the latest one), as similar tariffs were imposed by the US on France.
  3. It would also result in double taxation.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Think! For clarity on concepts: In B2B transactions where the Service Provider is outside India and the Service Receiver is inside India, who is the liable entity for tax? Read Here
  2. Have you heard of the Trade Watch Report by the World Bank? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the equalization levy.
  2. Applicability.
  3. Exceptions.
  4. Other countries with similar taxes.
  5. About OECD.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with the implementation of equalization levy.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

Only Delta is a variant of concern: WHO:


Context:

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said only B.1.617.2, one of the three strains of the B.1.617 COVID-19 variant first detected in India, is a “variant of concern” now.

Background:

The B.1.617 variant was first detected in India and was divided in three lineages — B.1.617.1, B.1.617.2 and B.1.617.3.

How do variants of a virus emerge and why?

  1. Variants of a virus have one or more mutations that differentiate it from the other variants that are in circulation.
  2. Essentially, the goal of the virus is to reach a stage where it can cohabitate with humans because it needs a host to survive.
  3. Errors in the viral RNA are called mutations, and viruses with these mutations are called variants. Variants could differ by a single or many mutations.

What is a mutation?

  • A mutation means a change in the genetic sequence of the virus.
  • In the case of SARS-CoV-2, which is an Ribonucleic acid (RNA) virus, a mutation means a change in the sequence in which its molecules are arranged.
  • A mutation in an RNA virus often happens when the virus makes a mistake while it is making copies of itself.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. How are viruses named? Read here
  2. DNA vs. RNA- how many differences do you know? Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Covid 19?
  2. What is mutation?
  3. What is mRNA?
  4. What is RT- PCR test?
  5. What is genome sequencing?

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with mutations of Covid- 19 virus.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

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

UNGA head:


Context:

India has decided to vote in support of Maldives’ Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid in the election of the President of the United Nations General Assembly.

  • This time the UNGA head will be chosen from the Asia-Pacific grouping.

Asia- Pacific group of the UN:

  • Consists of 53 Member States and is the second largest regional group by number of member states after the African Group.
  • Its territory is composed of much of the continents of Asia and Oceania with the exception of a few countries.

About UNGA:

The General Assembly is the main deliberative, policymaking and representative organ of the UN.

  • All 193 Member States of the UN are represented in the General Assembly, making it the only UN body with universal representation.
  • The President of the General Assembly is elected each year by assembly to serve a one-year term of office.
  • The presidency rotates annually between the five geographic groups: African, Asia-Pacific, Eastern European, Latin American and Caribbean, and Western European and other States.

How are the decisions taken?

  • Decisions on important questions, such as those on peace and security, admission of new members and budgetary matters, require a two-thirds majority of the General Assembly.
  • Decisions on other questions are by simple majority.

The Assembly has no binding votes or veto powers like the UN Security Council.

According to the Charter of the United Nations, the General Assembly may:

  1. Consider and approve the United Nations budget and establish the financial assessments of Member States.
  2. Elect the non-permanent members of the Security Council and the members of other United Nations councils and organs and, on the recommendation of the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General.
  3. Consider and make recommendations on the general principles of cooperation for maintaining international peace and security, including disarmament.
  4. Discuss any question relating to international peace and security and, except where a dispute or situation is currently being discussed by the Security Council, make recommendations on it.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Do you know, the period from 2019 to 2028 is designated as the Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace? Read Here
  2. Did you know that the year 2020 marks the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and its founding Charter? Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Which countries are not a part of UNGA?
  2. How is the president of UNGA elected?
  3. Name the permanent members of UNSC?
  4. How are non permanent members elected?
  5. Voting powers at UNSC.
  6. How are non permanent seats distributed?
  7. UNGA vs UNSC.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO):


Context:

Indian Railways’ Research Design & Standards Organization (RDSO) has recently become the nation’s first institution to be declared as Standard Developing Organization (SDO) under the mission called “One Nation One Standard” on Bureau of Indian Standards.

Benefits of this recognition:

  1. Larger participation of industry/vendors/technology developers/MSME’s in Indian Railways supply chain.
  2. The competitiveness amongst the industry will increase.
  3. There will be a reduction in cost and quantum improvement in the quality of product and services.
  4. There will be smooth induction of latest evolving & emerging technologies on Indian Railways.
  5. Dependence on imports will reduce and Make-in-India” will get a boost.
  6. Improved ease-of-doing-business.
  7. RDSO will be recognized on international standards-making bodies and there will be integration with global supply chain/global trade.

About the “One Nation One Standard”:

  • The mission was envisioned on the line of one nation, one ration card scheme in order to ensure quality products in the country.
  • The purpose is to converge multiple standards with the BIS which is a recognized national body for standardization in India.
  • The idea is to develop one template of standard for one given product instead of having multiple agencies set it.

Need for:

  • The strength and character of a nation is often exemplified by the standards it sets for the quality of its products and services.
  • Bringing a national uniformity and standardization in all kinds of public procurement and tendering can be an immediate deliverable.
  • The uniform national standards will help in making it mandatory for more products.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Know a few International Standards Organizations: Read Here
  2. Do you know about the One Nation One Ration Card System? Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About BIS.
  2. Functions.
  3. Overview of BIS Act 2016.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for ‘One Nation One Standard’ Mission.

Sources: PIB.

 

Topics Covered: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Chinese ‘Artificial Sun’ Experimental Fusion Reactor Sets New World Record:


Context:

China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), also known as ‘Artificial Sun’ experiment, has set a new record in the latest experiment, where it achieved a plasma temperature of 216 million Fahrenheit (120 million C) for 101 seconds.

Why is this significant?

It is believed that the temperature at the core of the Sun is 15 million C, which also means that the temperature produced by (EAST) is nearly seven times that of the Sun.

  • It is a significant step in the country’s quest to unlock clean and limitless energy, with minimal waste products.

What is EAST?

  • The mission mimics the energy generation process of the sun.
  • The reactor consists of an advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device located in Hefei, China.
  • It is one of three major domestic tokamaks that are presently being operated across the country.
  • The EAST project is part of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) facility, which will become the world’s largest nuclear fusion reactor when it becomes operational in 2035.

The ITER project includes the contributions of several countries, including India, South Korea, Japan, Russia and the United States.

How does the ‘artificial sun’ EAST work?

It replicates the nuclear fusion process carried out by the sun and stars.

  • For nuclear fusion to occur, tremendous heat and pressure are applied on hydrogen atoms so that they fuse together.
  • The nuclei of deuterium and tritium — both found in hydrogen — are made to fuse together to create a helium nucleus, a neutron along with a whole lot of energy.
  • Here, fuel is heated to temperatures of over 150 million degrees C so that it forms a hot plasma “soup” of subatomic particles.
  • With the help of a strong magnetic field, the plasma is kept away from the walls of the reactor to ensure it does not cool down and lose its potential to generate large amounts of energy. The plasma is confined for long durations for fusion to take place.

Why is fusion better than fission?

While fission is an easier process to carry out, it generates far more nuclear waste.

  • Unlike fission, fusion also does not emit greenhouse gases and is considered a safer process with lower risk of accidents.
  • Once mastered, nuclear fusion could potentially provide unlimited clean energy and very low costs.
  • Like fission, fusion also does not emit greenhouse gases and is considered a safer process with lower risk of accidents.

Which other countries have achieved this feat?

China is not the only country that has achieved high plasma temperatures. In 2020, South Korea’s KSTAR reactor set a new record by maintaining a plasma temperature of over 100 million degrees Celsius for 20 seconds.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Know about a Heliophysics Missions : Read Here (Read Selectively)
  2. Do you know about the Artificial Moon? Read Here
  3. Know about India’s Role In World’s Largest Nuclear Fusion Project Construction In France: Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a Tokamak?
  2. What is China’s EAST?
  3. Nuclear fusion vs Fission.
  4. Byproducts of fusion and fission.
  5. About sun’s core.
  6. What is ITER?

Mains Link:

Describe the significance of artificial sun being developed by China.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Disaster management.

DM Act is of 2005 vintage, was first enforced during pandemic:


Context:

Former Chief Secretary of West Bengal Alapan Bandyopadhyay was recently served a show-cause notice by the Union Home Ministry under Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005, punishable by imprisonment of up to two years or a fine or both.

What’s the issue?

The officer abstained himself from the review meeting taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at cyclone-affected Kalaikunda in West Bengal on May 28. This way he has acted in a manner tantamount to refusing to comply with lawful directions of the Central Government and is thus violative of Section 51 (b).

Section 51 of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005:

The Section prescribes “punishment for obstruction” for refusal to comply with any direction given by or on behalf of the Central government or the State government or the National Executive Committee or the State Executive Committee or the District Authority under the Act.

  • It says that violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with a fine or both upon conviction.
  • It adds that if “such refusal to comply with directions results in loss of lives or imminent danger thereof, shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years”.

Recent uses of this Section:

  • Through the particular provision, the Home Ministry made spitting in public a punishable offence in April last year.
  • Made “wearing of face masks in public places mandatory”.
  • On March 30, 2020, when thousands of migrants gathered at the Anand Vihar railway station in Delhi due to the sudden announcement of the countrywide lockdown, two Delhi government officers were suspended and two others were served show-cause notice by the Centre under the Act for dereliction of duty.

Background:

The DM Act, 2005, came into existence after the 2004 tsunami.

On March 24, 2020, the Centre, through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) headed by the Prime Minister, invoked the provisions of the Act to streamline the management of the pandemic, empowering district magistrates to take decisions and centralise other decisions on the supply of oxygen and movement of vehicles.

  • The Act has been extended across the country till June 30 and it is enforced by the Home Ministry.

For details on the DM Act, refer

 

Insta Curious:

  1. Do you know what Disaster epidemiology is? Read Here  (Related topic to Disaster & effects)

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is DM Act?
  2. Bodies established under this act.
  3. Composition of NDMA.
  4. Powers of states and centre under DM act.
  5. What is a notified disaster?
  6. Functions of NDRF.
  7. About Liquid oxygen and its uses.

Mains Link:

Is the Disaster Management Act, 2005, ill-suited to be the main economic law of the country? Analyse the need for a pandemic law in the current situation facing the world.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Tulsa Race Massacre of May-June 1921:

  • It is one of the worst incidents of violent racial hate in the US’ modern history.
  • It involved widespread killings in Tulsa, Oklahoma, targeting relatively well-to-do African Americans, and the extensive damage to their property by white mobs.
  • Tulsa was especially known for being an unofficial sanctuary city for African Americans suffering the consequences of harsh segregation or Jim Crow laws in pre-civil rights America. It was also called as the “Black Wall Street” of the U.S.

Why in News?

U.S. President Joe Biden recently became the first sitting American head of state to officially recognise the incident.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Palestine flays India’s abstention from vote.

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