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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 14 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. Union Home Ministry order invites citizenship

2. G7 meet.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. A year after Galwan clash

2. Rare earth metals at the heart of China-US rivalry

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Tree of coffee family discovered in Andaman and Nicobar

2. Bidder pays $ 28 million for trip to space with Bezos

3. Copperplate inscriptions found at Srisailam temple


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Union Home Ministry order invites citizenship


Context:

Union Home Ministry order inviting citizenship applications faces Supreme Court challenge. A recent petition filed in the Supreme Court said the government order “utterly discriminates and deprives a class of persons namely, the Muslims”.

 Background:

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955.

  1. The Citizenship Act,1955 provides various ways in which citizenship may be acquired.
  2. It provides for citizenship by birth, descent, registration, naturalisation and by incorporation of the territory into India.

About CAA:

  1. The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities — Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian — from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
  2. Those from these communities who had come to India till December 31, 2014, facing religious persecution in their respective countries, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship.
  3. The Act provides that the central government may cancel the registration of OCIs on certain grounds.

Exceptions:

  1. The Act does not apply to tribal areas of Tripura, Mizoram, Assam and Meghalaya because of being included in the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
  2. Also areas that fall under the Inner Limit notified under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation, 1873, will also be outside the Act’s purview.

Issues surrounding the law:

  1. It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  2. It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  3. It makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  4. It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  5. It allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.

 

InstaCurious:

Do you know What Safe-Conduct is in International Law? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CAA.
  2. Features 
  3. Religions covered.
  4. Countries Covered.
  5. Exceptions. 

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues surrounding the implementation of CAA.

 

Topic covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

G7 meet.


Context:

The leaders of seven nations — the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Canada, Japan and Italy — met in Cornwall in south-west England, marking the 47th edition of the “Group of seven” summit.

India is a “natural ally” to work with the world’s richest G7 countries to fight against threats of authoritarianism, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking at a special outreach session for guest countries on “Open Societies and Open Economies” at the G7 summit that ended in Corbis Bay, U.K., on Sunday.

Background:

The United Kingdom had invited India, Australia, South Africa and South Korea to attend the G7 summit that was scheduled to be held in June as “guest countries”

About the G7 meet:

  1. The leaders of seven nations — the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Canada, Japan and Italy — met in Cornwall in south-west England, marking the 47th edition of the “Group of seven” summit.
  2. G-7 leaders agreed on Sunday to raise their contributions to meet an overdue spending pledge of $100 billion a year to help poorer countries cut carbon emissions and cope with global warming.
  3. Addressing the First Outreach Session of G7 summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday conveyed India’s commitment to “collective” solution to global health challenges.
  4. Prime Minister Modi called for “one earth, one health” approach which aims for unity and solidarity among the states of the world to deal with the pandemic.
  5. The Finance Ministers of the G7 had met on June 4-5 in the run-up to the summit and had agreed to backing a minimum global tax rate of 15% for multinational corporations, thereby setting the stage for MNCs to pay a fairer share of taxes in jurisdictions where they make money and profits, rather than playing governments in a race where they will compete on who will tax them the least and allowing MNCs to take advantage of “tax havens”.

What is G7?

The G7, originally G8, was set up in 1975 as an informal forum bringing together the leaders of the world’s leading industrial nations.

The summit gathers leaders from the European Union (EU) and the following countries: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The major purpose of the G-7 is to discuss and deliberate on international economic issues. It sometimes acts in concert to help resolve other global problems, with a special focus on economic issues.

How did G7 become G8?

  1. Russia was formally inducted as a member in the group in 1998, which led G7 to become G8.
  2. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s condemnable act of moving Russian troops into eastern Ukraine and conquering Crimea in 2014 drew heavy criticism from the other G8 nations.
  3. The other nations of the group decided to suspend Russia from the G8 as a consequence of its actions and the group became G7 again in 2014.

g20_g8_g7

 

InstaCurious:

Do you know about the Four Asian Tigers? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Groups: G7, G8, G10, G15, G20, G24 countries.
  2. Geographical location of member countries.

Mains Link:

Discuss the relevance of G7 countries today. What are the reforms necessary to make the grouping more effective?

 


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topic covered: Security Challenges and their Management in Border Areas

A year after Galwan clash


Context:

One year anniversary since the Galwan clash between Chinese and Indian armed forces

Background:

  • India and China share a border that is more than 3,440km (2,100 miles) long and have overlapping territorial claims.
  • In 2020, Indian and Chinese armies were locked in a tense stand-off at three points along the Line of Actual Control — the Galwan River Valley, Hot Springs area and the Pangong Lake
  • Even as India and China were engaged in military-level talks and in controlled engagement, there was a violent face-off between the army troops of both sides at Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh region.

The strategic importance of Galwan River Valley (GRV):

  • The Galwan River is the highest ridgeline and it allows the Chinese to dominate the Shyok route passes,which is close to the river.
  • It lies along the western sector of the LAC and close to Aksai Chin,a disputed area claimed by India but controlled by China.

Why tensions suddenly rose in this area?

  • India is trying to construct a feeder road emanating from Darbuk-Shyok Village – Daulat Beg Odi road (DS-DBO road).
  • This road runs along the Shyok River and is the most critical line of communications close to LAC.
  • Hence, Chinese were keen on controlling this area as they fear that the Indian side could end up threatening their position on the Aksai Chin plateauby using the river valley.

galwan_valley

What actions has China taken since this event?

  • PLA has built additional accommodation in the depth areas along the LAC on its side and is preparing for establishing a long haul presence in the area
  • Troops are being rotated in these areas by the Chinese
  • China is also intensifying construction work behind the main confrontation points in the Aksai Chin
  • Small arms exercise was conducted by the PLA in Tibet. In this exercise, PLA soldiers were trained in anti-tank rocket launchers, grenade launchers, anti-aircraft machine guns and other weapons
  • Reports have also indicated that China has deployed a long-range rocket artillery in the border region at an altitude of 5200 m

Disengagement process since last one year after the tense stand-off

  • India and China have so far held 11 rounds of military talks for disengagement and de-escalation in Eastern Ladakh since the stand-off began in May last year.
  • India’s aim in all these talks has been the restoration of status quoante of April 2020
  • Both the sides have agreed to and actually disengaged from the finger areas on the North Bank of Pangong Tso.
  • Both sides have also emptied the heights of the Kailash ranges on the South Bank where Indian Army was in an advantageous position.
  • There has been no progress in the talks for disengagement at Gogra and Hotsprings as well as in Demchok and the strategic Depsang Valley.

  

InstaCurious:

Have you heard of Ice Stupas of Ladhak? Read Here

 

Insta links

Prelims links

  1. Geographical position of all areas which were point of contention between the two armies
  2. Important geographical features in these areas. Ex: Rivers, mountain valleys etc

Mains links

Discuss the steps taken by China and India to de-escalate the border tension which occurred in 2020.

 

Topic covered: Science and technology

Rare earth metals at the heart of China-US rivalry


Context:

Recent measures of America and other countries to reduce import dependency on China for rare earth minerals

Background

What are rare earth minerals?

  • The rare earths minerals (REM) are a set of seventeen metallic elements. These include the fifteen lanthanides on the periodic table in addition to scandium and yttrium that show similar physical and chemical properties to the lanthanides.
  • The REMs have unique catalytic, metallurgical, nuclear, electrical, magnetic and luminescent properties. While named ‘rare earth’, they are in fact not that rare and are relatively abundant in the Earth’s crust.

Strategic importance of REM

  • Its usage range from daily use (e.g., lighter flints, glass polishing mediums, car alternators) to high-end technology (lasers, magnets, batteries, fibre-optic telecommunication cables).
  • Even futuristic technologies need these REMs (For example high-temperature superconductivity, safe storage and transport of hydrogen for a post-hydrocarbon economy, environmental global warming and energy efficiency issues).
  • Due to their unique magnetic, luminescent, and electrochemical properties, they help in technologies perform with reduced weight, reduced emissions, and energy consumption; therefore give them greater efficiency, performance, miniaturization, speed, durability, and thermal stability

Heavy dependence on China for REM

  • In 2019, US imported 80% of its rare earth minerals from China
  • European Union (EU) gets 98% of its supply from China
  • Indiahas the world’s fifth-largest reserves of rare earth elements, nearly twice as much as Australia, but it imports most of its rare earth needs in finished form from its geopolitical rival, China

Such high dependence on China might result in creating geopolitical issues for importing countries if China excludes others from accessing these crucial resources.

Some of the actions taken by countries to tackle this situation

  • US senate passed a law recently aimed at improving American competitiveness that includes provisions to improve critical minerals supply chain.
  • US also aims to boost production and processing of rare earths and lithium, another key mineral component while “working with allies to increase sustainable global supply and reduce reliance on competitors”

What India needs to do?

India has granted government corporations such as Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) a monopoly over the primary mineral that contains REEs. However, IREL accounts for only a minuscule fraction of the world’s production: only 2265 tonnes of REOs in 2016-17, providing almost no value to domestic manufacturers and consumers, who continued to import finished REE derivatives from China.

Reforms required:

  • India must open its rare earth sector up to competition and innovation, and attract the large amounts of capital needed to set up facilities to compete with, and supply to, the world.
  • The best move forward might be to create a new Department for Rare Earths (DRE) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, drawing on its exploration, exploitation, refining, and regulation capabilities.
  • This DRE should oversee policy formulation and focus on attracting investment and promoting R&D, with its first move being to allow private sector companies to process beach sand minerals within appropriate environmental safeguards.
  • It should also create an autonomous regulator, the Rare Earths Regulatory Authority of India (RRAI), to resolve disputes between companies in this space and check compliance.

 

InstaCurious

Do you know, protein found in bacteria could extract rare-earth metals more efficiently and with less waste? Read Here

 

Insta links

Prelims links

  1. What is REM?
  2. Countries with highest production of REM
  3. Places where REM is found in India
  4. Advantages of REM

Mains links

What is a rare earth mineral? Why is it necessary for India to strategically develop capabilities to increase its production in India? Suggest what reforms India should undertake to achieve this goal

 


Facts for Prelims:


Tree of coffee family discovered in Andaman and Nicobar

  • A 15 metre tall tree that belongs to genus of the coffee family has recently been discovered in Andaman Islands
  • The new species Pyrostria laljii, is also the first record of the genus Pyrostria in India. Trees belonging to these species are usually found in Madagascar
  • The tree is distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk and oblong-obovate leaves with a cuneate base and was first reported from Wandoor forest in South Andaman
  • Other places where tree could be located are: Jarawa reserve forest, chidia tapu forest
  • Pyrostria laljii: Critically endangered as per IUCN status

 

Bidder pays $ 28 million for trip to space with Bezos

  • Bidding was recently carried out for a seat alongside Jeff Bezos on board the first crewed spaceflight of the billionaire’s company Blue Origin
  • Company’s launch vehicle is called New Shepherd

Copperplate inscriptions found at Srisailam temple

  •  The Bhramarambha Mallikarjuna Devasthanam, engaged in reviving ancient Ganta Matham near Srisailam temple complex, chanced upon six sets of copperplate inscriptions on Sunday.
  • There were 18 copper leaves found that could be dated back to somewhere between 14 and 16 centuries.
  • The inscriptions depict the far and wide patronage by people.
  • Out of the six sets, four have inscriptions in Sanskrit and Nandi-Nāgarī script and the other two plates are in Telugu script, he added.

 

Note : Remaining topics will be covered tomorrow


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