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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 12 July 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. Uttar Pradesh govt releases new population policy.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Electing a Speaker, Deputy Speaker.

2. What is the ‘right to repair’ movement?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. VSS Unity spaceship’s suborbital flight.

2. NASA’s VIPER Mission.

3. Govt may issue guidelines for ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Lemru Elephant Reserve.

2. Bryum bharatiensis.


GS Paper  :  1


 

Topics Covered: Population related issues.

Uttar Pradesh govt releases new population policy:


Context:

On World Population Day (11th July), Uttar Pradesh government announced a new population policy for 2021-2030.

  • The new policy has provisions to give incentives to those who help in population control.

 

Highlights of the draft bill on population control:

The new policy aims at:

  1. Decreasing the total fertility rate from 2.7 to 2.1 by 2026 and 1.7 by 2030.
  2. Increase modern contraceptive prevalence rate from 31.7% to 45% by 2026 and 52% by 2030.
  3. Increase male methods of contraception use from 10.8% to 15.1% by 2026 and 16.4% by 2030.
  4. Decrease maternal mortality rate from 197 to 150 to 98, and infant mortality rate from 43 to 32 to 22, and under 5 infant mortality rate from 47 to 35 to 25.

 

Focus areas:

  1. To increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion.
  2. To reduce the newborns’ and maternal mortality rate.
  3. To provide for care of the elderly, and better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents between 11 to 19 years.

 

Incentives:

  1. Promotions, increments, concessions in housing schemes and others perks to employees who adhere to population control norms, and have two or less children.
  2. Public servants who adopt the two-child norm will get two additional increments during the entire service, maternity or as the case may be, paternity leave of 12 months, with full salary and allowances and three percent increase in the employer’s contribution fund under the National Pension Scheme.
  3. For those who are not government employees and still contribute towards keeping the population in check, will get benefits in like rebates in taxes on water, housing, home loans etc.
  4. If the parent of a child opts for vasectomy, he/she will be eligible for free medical facilities till the age of 20.

The Uttar Pradesh government plans to set up a state population fund to implement the measures.

 

Awareness creation:

  • The draft bill also asks the state government to introduce population control as compulsory subject in all secondary schools.

 

Applicability:

  1. The provision of this legislation shall apply to a married couple where the boy is not less than 21 years of age and the girl is not less than 18.
  2. The policy will be voluntary – it will not be enforced upon anyone.

 

Need for these measures:

Overpopulation exerts strain on resources. It is therefore necessary and urgent that the provision of basic necessities of human life including affordable food, safe drinking water, decent housing, access to quality education, economic/livelihood opportunities, power/electricity for domestic consumption, and a secure living is accessible to all citizens.

 

Issues and concerns associated with the Bill:

  1. Experts have advised caution against any population policy that puts women’s health and well being at risk.
  2. Given that the burden of contraception and family planning disproportionately falls on women, it is likely that female sterilisation will increase further.
  3. Stringent population control measures can potentially lead to an increase in these practices and unsafe abortions given the strong son-preference in India, as has been witnessed in a few states in the past.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about UNFPA?Read Here Briefly Click here

 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Highlights of the Draft.
  2. Latest Census data.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with UP’s draft population policy.

Sources: the Hindu.


GS Paper  :  2


 

Topics Covered: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

Electing a Speaker, Deputy Speaker:


Context:

Maharashtra has been without a Speaker since February. The sessions are now presided by Deputy Speaker.

  • Even Lok Sabha and several state Assemblies are without a Deputy Speaker.

 

How they are elected?

Article 93 for Lok Sabha and Article 178 for state Assemblies state that these Houses “shall, as soon as may be”, choose two of its members to be Speaker and Deputy Speaker.

  • In Lok Sabha and state legislatures, the President/Governor sets a date for the election of the Speaker, and it is the Speaker who decides the date for the election of the Deputy Speaker.
  • The legislators of the respective Houses vote to elect one among themselves to these offices.

 

Their roles and functions:

  1. The Speaker is “the principal spokesman of the House, he represents its collective voice and is its sole representative to the outside world”.
  2. The Speaker presides over the House proceedings and joint sittings of the two Houses of Parliament.
  3. It is the Speaker’s decision that determines whether a Bill is a Money Bill and therefore outside of the purview of the other House.
  4. Usually, the Speaker comes from the ruling party. In the case of the Deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, the position has varied over the years.
  5. The constitution has tried to ensure the independence of Speaker by charging his salary on the consolidated Fund of India and the same is not subject to vote of Parliament.
  6. While debating or during general discussion on a bill, the members of the parliament have to address only to the Speaker.

 

States which have specified time-frame for holding the election:

The Constitution neither sets a time limit nor specifies the process for these elections. It leaves it to the legislatures to decide how to hold these elections.

For example, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh specify a time-frame.

In Haryana:

  1. The election of the Speaker has to take place as soon as possible after the election. And then the Deputy Speaker is to be elected within seven more days.
  2. The rules also specify that if a vacancy in these offices happens subsequently, then the election for these should occur within seven days of the legislature’s next session.

 

In Uttar Pradesh:

  1. There is a 15-day limit for an election to the Speaker’s post if it falls vacant during the term of the Assembly.
  2. In the case of the Deputy Speaker, the date for the first election is to be decided by the Speaker, and 30 days is given for filling subsequent vacancies.

Know more about Speaker’s roles and functions here,

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the first recorded use of the term ‘speaker’ was in 1377 though a title with similar meaning ‘parlour’ or ‘prolocutor’ was used from 1258?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Election of Speaker.
  2. Functions.
  3. Powers.
  4. Removal.
  5. Grounds for removal.
  6. Committees he is associated with.

Mains Link:

Discuss the roles and functions of the Speaker.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

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

What is the ‘right to repair’ movement?


What is it?

It is the right of consumers to be able to repair their own electronics and other products.

The goal of the movement is to get companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills.

  • The movement traces its roots back to the very dawn of the computer era in the 1950s.

 

Why did this movement start? What was the motive behind this?

Electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’ — which means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced.

  • This leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.
  • Also, consumers, more often than not, are left at the mercy of manufacturers who make repairs inaccessible for most, by dictating who can fix your device and making it an inordinately expensive affair.

 

Benefits of the Right to Repair:

Boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.

 

‘Right to repair’ laws by various countries:

In recent years, countries around the world have been attempting to pass effective ‘right to repair’ laws.

  1. US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission to curb restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms.
  2. The UK introduced right-to-repair rules that should make it much easier to buy and repair daily-use gadgets such as TVs and washing machines.

 

Who is opposing?

The movement has faced tremendous resistance from tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft over the years.

  • Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
  • They also argue that such initiatives threaten data security and cyber security.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about the Mobile Phone Partnership Initiative (MPPI)? (An initiative which proposes reuse, refurbishing, material recovery, recycling and disposal options and environmentally friendly actions.) Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the campaign.
  2. E waste rules in India.
  3. International conventions over e waste management.

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

VSS Unity spaceship’s suborbital flight:


Context:

VSS Unity spaceship, with six people onboard, recently took off from New Mexico and reached an altitude of 85 km from Earth before returning. Such a trip is called a “suborbital flight”.

 

What’s suborbital?

Satellites need to reach a threshold speed in order to orbit Earth. If an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit once it is above the atmosphere.

  • At such speed, a satellite prevents itself from accelerating toward the Earth due to gravity.
  • Such a trip allows space travellers to experience a few minutes of “weightlessness”.

 

Significance of such experiments:

  1. Suborbital flights are helpful for microgravity research.
  2. They would be far less expensive than carrying experiments and people to the International Space Station.
  3. Suborbital flights could also be an alternative to parabolic flights in aeroplanes that space agencies currently use to simulate zero gravity.

 

About the Unity 22 mission:

As part of the mission, the crew flew to the edge of space on July 11 on board the ‘Unity’ rocket ship developed by Virgin Galactic.

This was the 22nd mission for VSS Unity.

  • This was Virgin Galactic’s fourth crewed spaceflight.
  • It was also the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin, including Virgin Group Founder Richard Branson, who will be testing out the private astronaut experience.

 

Objectives of the mission:

  • Unity 22 will focus on testing the cabin and customer experience.

Currently, two additional test flights remain before the Virgin Galactic plans to commence commercial service in 2022.

 

Significance for India:

Sirisha Bandla, an astronaut born in India, was a part of the crew.

  • This is significant as she was the third woman of Indian origin to go to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
  • Rakesh Sharma is another Indian who went into space prior to Bandla.

 

Uniqueness of VSS Unity Spaceship:

Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft are air-launched from beneath a carrier aircraft ‘White Knight Two’. The space vehicle can climb to an altitude of around 90 kilometres, enough to give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of Earth’s curvature from the edge of space.

 

Insta Curious:

  1. What altitude is considered the Edge of Space? Where is the Karman Line? Read this to understand better.
  2. Did you know that 90 percent of Earth’s gravity reaches the space station? But then, why do objects still float in orbit? Read this, 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. Similar missions.
  4. What is suborbital?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the mission.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA’s VIPER Mission:


Context:

NASA has announced that it will launch its Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, in 2023.

  • NASA is undertaking the mission to understand if it is possible for human life to sustain there, by using locally available resources.

 

About the mission:

  • VIPER is a mobile robot.
  • It is the first resource mapping mission on any other celestial body.
  • NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) will be providing the launch vehicle and lander for what’s going to be a 100-day mission.

 

Objectives of the mission:

  1. To explore the Moon’s South Pole region.
  2. Help create lunar resource maps.
  3. Evaluate the concentration of water as well as other potential resources on its surface.

 

Significance of the mission:

VIPER’s findings will inform “future landing sites under the Artemis program by helping to determine locations where water and other resources can be harvested” to sustain humans over extended stays.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about NASA’s Artemis programme which seeks to establish a sustainable human presence on the surface of the Moon by 2028? Reference: 

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

Govt to issue guidelines for ‘flex-fuel’ vehicles:


Context:

Union govt will issue new guidelines for use of flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) using flex engines by October.

  • The guidelines will specify engine configuration and other changes required in vehicles to conform to stipulated changes in fuel mix.

 

What are flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)?

An FFV is a modified version of vehicles that could run both on gasoline and doped petrol with different levels of ethanol blends.

  • FFVs will allow vehicles to use all the blends and also run on unblended fuel.
  • FFVs have compatible engines to run on more than 84 per cent ethanol blended petrol.

 

Benefits:

  • FFVs are aimed at reducing the use of polluting fossil fuels and cutting down harmful emissions.
  • Alternative fuel ethanol is Rs 60-62 per litre while petrol costs more than Rs 100 per litre in many parts of the country, so by using ethanol, Indians will save Rs 30-35 per litre.
  • For India, FFVs will present a different advantage as they will allow vehicles to use different blends of ethanol mixed petrol available in different parts of the country.
  • Also, these vehicles are a logical extension of the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme launched by the Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas in January 2003.
  • Since India has surplus produce of corn, sugar and wheat, the mandatory blending of ethanol programme will help farmers in realising higher incomes.
  • For the overall Indian economy, higher usage of ethanol as an automobile fuel will help save import costs as the country meets more than 80 per cent of its crude oil requirements through imports.

 

Disadvantages/challenges of using FFVs:

  1. Customer acceptance will be a major challenge since the cost of ownership and running cost are going to be very high compared with 100 per cent petrol vehicles.
  2. Running cost (due to lower fuel efficiency) will be higher by more than 30 per cent when run with 100 per cent ethanol (E100).
  3. Flex Fuel Engines cost more as ethanol has very different chemical properties than petrol. Ethanol has very low (40 per cent) Calorific value as compared to Gasoline, very High Latent heat of vaporization causing cooling of charge/combustion etc.
  4. Ethanol also acts as a solvent and could wipe out the protective oil film inside the engine thereby could cause wear and tear.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Cetyl alcohol is? Red about its uses in brief

 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About FFVs.
  2. What is ethanol?
  3. About Ethanol blending.

Mains Link:

Discuss the benefits of ethanol blending with traditional fuel.

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Lemru Elephant Reserve:

  • To be located in Chattisgarh.
  • Proposed in 2005 and got central approval in 2007.
  • It is planned to prevent human-animal conflict in the region, with elephants moving into Chhattisgarh from Odisha and Jharkhand.

Why in the News?

It has run into controversy as the government is planning to decrease the area of the proposed reserve from 1,995 sq km to 450 sq km. It is because if the government doesn’t reduce it then several coal mines would become unusable.

  • The area proposed under the reserve is part of the Hasdeo Aranya forests, a very diverse biozone that is also rich in coal deposits.

Bryum bharatiensis:

  • Scientists in India have discovered a native moss species in Antarctica.
  • It has been named Bryum bharatiensis – after India and India’s Antarctic station Bharati.
  • This is the first time a plant species has been discovered in the four decades of the Indian Antarctic mission.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Lok Adalats.

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