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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 30 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. 

 

Table of Contents: 

GS Paper 2: 

1. Parliamentary Privileges. 

2. One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC). 

3. Govt. gives nod for Cipla to import Moderna’s vaccine. 

4. OPEC and rising oil prices. 

5. Lanka ‘banking on’ $1 bn India swap deal. 

6. What is EU’s new ‘vaccine passport’ programme, and why has Covishield not been included? 

 

Facts for Prelims: 

1. Atlas of glacial lakes. 

2. Kadakhnath. 


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Parliamentary Privileges: 


Context: 

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who chairs the Parliamentary Standing Committee on science and technology, has moved a privilege motion against news channel Times Now for “falsified and mischievous” reporting of the proceedings of the panel’s meeting. 

 

What are Parliamentary Privileges? 

Parliamentary Privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”. 

  1. Article 105 of the Constitution expressly mentions two privileges, that is, freedom of speech in Parliament and right of publication of its proceedings. 
  2. Apart from the privileges as specified in the Constitution, the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, provides for freedom from arrest and detention of members under civil process during the continuance of the meeting of the House or of a committee thereof and forty days before its commencement and forty days after its conclusion. 

 

Motion against breaches: 

When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament. 

  • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. 

 

Role of the Speaker/Rajya Sabha (RS) Chairperson: 

The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion.

The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament. 

  • If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under relevant rules, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement. 

 

Applicability: 

  1. The Constitution also extends the parliamentary privileges to those persons who are entitled to speak and take part in the proceedings of a House of Parliament or any of its committees. These include the Attorney General of India. 
  2. The parliamentary privileges do not extend to the President who is also an integral part of the Parliament. Article 361 of the Constitution provides for privileges for the President. 

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. Which provisions of the Constitution protect the privileges of the legislature? 
  2. What is the procedure to be followed in cases of alleged breach of the legislature’s privilege? 
  3. Composition and functions of Privileges Committees in Parliament and State Legislatures. 
  4. What is the punishment for an individual who is found guilty of breaching the legislature’s privilege? 
  5. Can the Courts intervene in matters involving breach of privileges of state legislatures? 

Mains Link: 

What do you understand by legislative privileges? Discuss the problem of legislative privileges as seen in India time to time. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

 

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

One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC): 


Context: 

The Supreme Court has directed all states and UTs to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card system. 

 

What is One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC)? 

The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidised ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013. 

  • ONORC was launched in August, 2019. 
  • Till date, 32 states and Union Territories have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries. Four states are yet to join the scheme — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal. 

 

Implementation: 

To promote this reform in the archaic Public Distribution System (PDS), the government has provided incentives to states. 

The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. 

  • At least 17 states, which implemented the ONORC reform, were allowed to borrow an additional Rs 37,600 crores in 2020-21. 

 

How does ONORC work? 

  • ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS). 
  • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePos devices at fair price shops. 
  • The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) and Annavitran, which host all the relevant data. 

 

National Food Security Act, 2013: 

The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA 2013) converts into legal entitlements for existing food security programmes of the Government of India. 

  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System
  • It recognizes maternity entitlements. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you recollect Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav? Read Here

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About TPDS. 
  2. Who gets food security allowance under the scheme? 
  3. Provisions of penalty under the act. 
  4. Maternity benefits related provisions. 
  5. Overview of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) scheme. 
  6. Overview of Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme. 
  7. The responsibility of 3. Identification of Households under the scheme. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the significance National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. 

Sources: Indian Express. 

 

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

Govt. gives nod for Cipla to import Moderna’s vaccine: 


Context: 

The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has granted permission to Mumbai-based pharma major Cipla to import Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the fourth vaccine in the country to be given the emergency use authorisation (EUA). 

  • Currently, India has made available three COVID vaccines — Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik. 

 

About the Vaccine: 

The vaccine, mRNA-1273, manufactured by Moderna TX, Inc., is a two-dose vaccine with the shots to be given 28 days apart. 

Messenger RNA vaccines, also called mRNA vaccines, are a new vaccine technology platform. 

  • The mRNA vaccines teach human cells how to make a protein, or even just a piece of a protein of the virus, triggering an immune response inside human bodies. 
  • The benefit of mRNA vaccines, like all vaccines, is that those vaccinated gain protection without ever having to risk the serious consequences of getting sick with Covid-19. 

 

Regular procedure for drug approval:

Vaccines and medicines, and even diagnostic tests and medical devices, require the approval of a regulatory authority before they can be administered. 

  • In India, the regulatory authority is the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
  • For vaccines and medicines, approval is granted after an assessment of their safety and effectiveness, based on data from trials. 

 

When can emergency use authorisation (EUA) be granted? 

India does not have a term like the EUA as in the US or UK in its regulatory processes. But in the New Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019, there are provisions for pharmaceutical companies to get approvals for clinical trials for new drugs or vaccines in India. 

  • When there is a declared emergency, the regulator, in India’s case the DCGI, can take a call whether it is worth releasing a drug or vaccine that is not fully tested for efficacy and safety. 
  • If there is evidence to suggest it may benefit patients, then the regulator is well within its rights to issue an emergency use authorisation to a medical product to make it widely available for use. 

 

Is there a risk in using a product that has only been granted an EUA?

According to the US FDA, the public has to be informed that a product has only been granted an EUA and not full approval. 

  • In the case of a Covid-19 vaccine, for example, people have to be informed about the known and potential benefits and risks, and the “extent to which such benefits or risks are unknown”, and that they have a right to refuse the vaccine. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the different types of COVID -19 vaccines and different approaches to designing a vaccine? Read Here

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. What is vaccine nationalism? 
  2. Which drugs are being used in the treatment of COVID 19 disease? 
  3. Various tests to detect SARS- COV 2. 
  4. What is mRNA? 

Mains Link: 

What is Vaccine Nationalism? What are the concerns associated? Discuss. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

 

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

OPEC and rising oil prices: 


Context: 

India is working to persuade oil exporting countries to moderate surging oil prices and warned that high prices would push the country to tap alternative import sources such as Iran. 

 

Current Challenges being faced by India: 

  1. With retail prices for petrol crossing ₹100 a litre in several States, ‘today’s price is very challenging’. 
  2. International oil prices have risen past USD 75 per barrel in recent days — highest since April 2019 — on consumption recovery as well as supplies being short of demand. 
  3. High oil prices are adding to inflationary pressures. 
  4. Exhausting the strategic petroleum reserves it had built up last year by taking advantage of lower oil prices. 
  5. Increasing central and state taxes on petrol and diesel are also the key reason for the prices of petrol and diesel being at record highs. 
  6. India’s oil demand has also risen by 25% in the last seven years – more than any other major buyer. 

 

Impact of OPEC: 

OPEC nations such as Saudi Arabia have traditionally been its principal oil source. But OPEC and its allies, called OPEC+, ignoring its call for ease supply curbs had led to the world’s third-biggest oil importer tap newer sources to diversify its crude oil imports. 

  • As a result, OPEC’s share in India’s oil imports has dropped to about 60 per cent in May from 74 per cent in the previous month. 

India’s oil imports: 

  1. India is the world’s third-largest consumer of crude. 
  2. United States is India’s second-largest supplier after Iraq. 

 

India’s Plan on strategic Petroleum reserve: 

Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL), has constructed three strategic petroleum reserves in huge underground rock caverns at Visakhapatnam (1.33 MMT) on the East Coast, and at Mangaluru (1.5MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT) on the West Coast. 

  • ISPRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas. 
  • The new facilities approved recently can provide additional supply for about 12 days. 
  • The government of India is planning to set up two more such caverns at Chandikhol (Odisha) and Udupi (Karnataka) as per phase II through Public-Private Partnership. 
  • Thus, a total of 22 days (10+12) of oil consumption will be made available by ISPR. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the differences between Brent Crude Oil Vs WTI oil? Read Here 

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About Crude oil and its byproducts. 
  2. What is OPEC? 
  3. About OPEC Plus. 
  4. About ISPRL. 

Mains Link: 

Write a note on India’s Plan on strategic Petroleum reserves. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

 

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests. 

Lanka ‘banking on’ $1 bn India swap deal: 


Context: 

Sri Lanka is “banking on” a $1 billion currency swap from India to meet its debt repayment obligations this year and tide over the current economic crisis. 

  • Sri Lanka is a $400 million swap from the Reserve Bank of India in a couple of months through the SAARC facility. 

 

Background: 

Sri Lanka is facing a foreign currency crisis in the midst of its debt service obligations. 

 

What is this Currency Swap Arrangement (CSA)? 

  • It is an arrangement between two friendly countries to involve in trading in their own local currencies. 
  • As per the arrangements, both countries pay for import and export trade at the predetermined rates of exchange, without bringing in third country currency like the US Dollar. 

 

RBI’s Framework for Swap Facilities for SAARC: 

  • The SAARC currency swap facility came into operation on 15th November, 2012. 
  • The RBI can offer a swap arrangement within the overall corpus of USD 2 billion. 
  • The swap drawals can be made in US dollar, euro or Indian rupee. The framework provides certain concessions for swap drawals in Indian rupee. 
  • The facility will be available to all SAARC member countries, subject to their signing the bilateral swap agreements. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know what a Plain Vanilla Financial instrument is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. What is Currency swap? 
  2. How is it done? 
  3. About SAARC Swap facility. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss the significance of Currency Swap Arrangement. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

 

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

What is EU’s new ‘vaccine passport’ programme, and why has Covishield not been included? 


Context: 

  • Covishield, manufactured by Serum Institute of India, is not among the vaccines which have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for its “vaccine passport” programme that allows free movement of people in and out of Europe. 

 

Which are the vaccines that have been approved by EMA for the purpose? 

The EMA list only includes four vaccines now Vaxzevria (Oxford-AstraZeneca), Comirnaty (Pfizer-BioNTech), Spikevax (Moderna) and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson). 

 

What is the ‘green pass’ which will ease travel restrictions across EU? 

The EU Digital Covid Certificate, or the “green pass” as it is popularly known, has been created to restore freedom of travel for the public and remove the barriers on entry placed due to the pandemic. 

  • It is a digital proof that a person has either been vaccinated against Covid-19, or received a negative test result, or recovered from the viral infection. The document is valid across all EU countries. 
  • While the “green pass” is expected to make the experience of travel hassle-free for people by doing away with restrictions, it is not absolutely compulsory. 

 

Why has Covishield not been included in the list? 

Serum Institute of India has not applied for Covishield’s approval. 

Though Vaxzevria has been among the vaccines approved by EMA, Covishield, which is derived from AstraZeneca’s shot, is not on the list. 

  • This is because the EMA takes into consideration local manufacturing facilities.  Even if the vaccine is the same, different manufacturers of the same product need to submit separate applications for approval from EMA. 

 

What is India’s stand on ‘vaccine passports’? 

Though the EU has made it clear that the “green pass” will not be compulsory, the issue has once again raked up the larger debate on concerns around privacy and ethics. 

  • The ‘vaccine passport’ has been largely touted to be a ticket back to normalcy, but it has given rise to larger concerns over intrusion, privacy and a curb on the right to free movement. 
  • At the recent meeting of G7 countries, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said that India was “strongly opposed to a ‘vaccine passport’ at this juncture”. 

 

Larger concern: 

With vaccine coverage as a % of population in developing countries still low compared to developed countries, such an initiative could prove to be highly discriminatory. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Did you know that the history of vaccine passports dates back to Edward Jenner’s development of the first known vaccine in 1796? The vaccine was against Smallpox. Read about this (briefly) 

(This article gives good information for your Mains answer).

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. About Vaccine Passports. 
  2. Various countries having this facility. 

Mains Link: 

Discuss concerns associated with Vaccine Passport Programmes. 

Sources: Indian Express. 

 


Facts for Prelims:


Atlas of glacial lakes: 

  • Ministry of Jal Shakti has released an updated atlas of glacial lakes that are part of the Ganga river basin. 
  • About 4,707 glacial lakes have been mapped in the Ganga basin. 
  • Glacial lakes with water spread area greater than 0.25 ha were mapped using Resourcesat-2 Linear Imaging Self Scanning Sensor-IV satellite data
  • The Atlas is available on Bhuvan portal of National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), ISRO. 

Kadakhnath: 

  • Kadaknath or Kali Masi is a breed of chicken originating from the Jhabua and Dhar districts of western Madhya Pradesh. 
  • It received GI tag in 2017. 
  • It is popular for its black meat which is famous for its meat quality, texture, taste, and excellent medicinal values. 
  • It is also famous for its low cholesterol and high protein content. 

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow: 

1. Ensure that no migrant worker goes hungry, SC instructs govt. 

2. Chamoli disaster due to avalanche. 

3. Protection Officers. 


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