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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 20 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. 

 

 

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

1. Monsoon session of Parliament.

2. Indian Labour Conference (ILC).

3. What is the Monkey B virus?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. NASA’s new spacecraft NEA Scout.

2. The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021.

3. China’s national carbon emissions trading market.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. What is Space rice?

2. First continent to complete collection of digital land use data.

3. Bihar’s Kishanganj gets a digital fertility map.

4. Rules for registration of vintage cars.


GS Paper  :  2


 

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

Monsoon session of Parliament:


Context:

The monsoon session of Parliament has begun.

  • The last session of Parliament was curtailed and ended sine die on March 25 and under the Constitutional norms, the next session has to be held within six months. This period ends on September 14.

 

What the Constitution says?

  • Article 85 requires that there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of Parliament.
  • Please note, the Constitution does not specify when or for how many days Parliament should meet.
  • The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. That means the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.
  • A ‘session’ of Parliament is the period between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation.

 

Who shall convene a session?

  • In practice, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, comprising senior ministers, decides on the dates for parliament’s sitting and it is then conveyed to the president.
  • So, the executive, headed by the prime minister, which steers the business to be taken up by parliament will have the power to advise the president to summon the legislature.

 

Why is a Parliamentary Session important?

  1. Law-making is dependent on when Parliament meets.
  2. Also, a thorough scrutiny of the government’s functioning and deliberation on national issues can only take place when the two Houses are in session.
  3. Predictability in the functioning of Parliament is key to a well-functioning democracy.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the difference in powers of Speaker and Chairman with regards to suspension of Menmbers of the House? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who can Summon the Parliament?
  2. Article 85.
  3. Sessions of the Parliament.
  4. For how many days in a year the Parliament has to meet?
  5. Who chairs the joint sitting of the Parliament?

Mains Link:

Why is a Parliamentary Session important? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.

Indian Labour Conference (ILC):


Context:

The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene the Indian Labour Conference (ILC).

  • The most recent session of ILC was held in 2015, at the earliest.

 

Need for convening ILC:

  • The ILC is “required to uphold the noble tradition of tripartism in the country”.
  • India also has a legal obligation to do so since the Parliament has ratified Convention No. 144 of the ILO related to strengthening the tripartite mechanism.

 

About ILC:

  • The Indian Labour Conference (ILC) is the apex level tripartite consultative committee in the Ministry of Labour & Employment to advise the Government on the issues concerning working class of the country.
  • All the 12 Central Trade Union Organisations, Central Organisations of employers, all State Governments and Union Territories and Central Ministries/Departments concerned with the agenda items, are the members of the ILC.
  • The first meeting of the Indian Labour Conference (then called Tripartite National Labour Conference) was held in 1942 and so far a total of 46 Sessions have been held.

 

Significance:

Indian Labour Conference discusses and deliberates on significant issues aimed at improving the welfare of the workers. Notable contributions have been emanated by this forum including the Minimum wage fixing methodology and standing orders for employment.

 

Insta Curious: 

What are the 8 fundamental or core conventions of the International Labour Organisation? Out of these 8 What conventions have been ratified by India? Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About ILC.
  2. Participants.
  3. About ILO.
  4. Important ILO conventions.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of ILC.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

What is the Monkey B virus?


Context:

China has reported the first human infection case with Monkey B virus (BV).

About Monkey B Virus:

  • First identified in 1932, the virus is learnt to have infected only 50 people till 2020, of which 21 died.
  • It is an alphaherpesvirus enzootic in macaques of the genus Macaca.
  • B virus is the only identified old-world-monkey herpesvirus that displays severe pathogenicity in humans.
  • Currently, there are no vaccines that can protect against B virus infection.

 

Transmission:

The infection can be transmitted via direct contact and exchange of bodily secretions of monkeys.

 

Symptoms:

  • Initially there are flu-like symptoms such as fever and chills, muscle ache, fatigue and headache.
  • Following this, an infected person may develop small blisters in the wound or area on the body that came in contact with the monkey.
  • Some other symptoms of the infection include shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain and hiccups.
  • As the disease progresses, the virus spreads to and causes inflammation (swelling) of the brain and spinal cord, leading to neurologic and inflammatory symptoms such as pain, numbness, itching near the wound site; issues with muscle coordination.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know the differences between viruses and viroids? Reference: Read here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the virus.
  2. Transmission.
  3. Symptoms.
  4. Treatment.

Sources: Indian Express.


GS Paper  :  3


 

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

NASA’s new spacecraft NEA Scout:


Context:

NEA Scout is one of several payloads that will hitch a ride on Artemis I, which is expected to be launched in November.

 

What is Artemis I?

  • It is an uncrewed testflight of the Orion spacecraft and SLS rocket.
  • Under the Artemis programme, NASA has aimed to land the first woman on the Moon in 2024 and also establish sustainable lunar exploration programs by 2030.

 

What is NEA Scout?

  • NEA stands for Near-Earth Asteroid.
  • NEA Scout is a small spacecraft, about the size of a big shoebox.
  • Its main mission is to fly by and collect data from a near-Earth asteroid.
  • It will also be America’s first interplanetary mission using a special solar sail propulsion.

 

How will it use sunlight to sail?

  • The CubeSat will use stainless steel alloy booms to deploy an aluminum-coated plastic film sail – thinner than a human hair and about the size of a racquetball court.
  • The large-area sail will generate thrust by reflecting sunlight.
  • Energetic particles of sunlight, called photons, bounce off the solar sail to give it a gentle yet constant push.
  • Over time, this constant thrust can accelerate the spacecraft to very high speeds, allowing it to navigate through space and catch up to its target asteroid.

 

Significance of the mission:

  • NEA Scout will begin an approximate two-year journey to fly by a near-Earth asteroid.
  • Once it reaches its destination, the spacecraft will capture images of the asteroid which scientists will then study to further our understanding of these small but important solar system neighbors.
  • Understanding their properties could help us develop strategies for reducing the potential damage caused in the event of an impact.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard of NASA’s solar sail mission, Solar Cruiser? What are solar sails and how do they work? Reference: nasa.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the mission.
  2. Objectives.
  3. About Artemis’ mission.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the mission.

Sources: the Hindu.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

The Commission for Air Quality Management in the National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021:


Context:

The bill will be introduced in the parliament by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF).

  • The bill will establish the commission and replace an ordinance.
  • The Bill has taken into consideration the concerns of the farmers following several rounds of negotiations, after they had raised concerns of stiff penalties and possible jail terms for stubble burning.

 

Changes made:

  • The government has decriminalised the act of stubble burning and withdrawn the clause for possible jail time.
  • However, environmental compensation fees are levied on those who are found to be engaged in stubble burning, including farmers.

 

About the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM):

The Commission was first formed by an ordinance in October 2020.

The erstwhile Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority, or EPCA had been dissolved to make way for the Commission.

  • The Commission will be a statutory authority.
  • The Commission will supersede bodies such as the central and state pollution control boards of Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP and Rajasthan.

 

Composition:

Chairperson: To be chaired by a government official of the rank of Secretary or Chief Secretary.

  • The chairperson will hold the post for three years or until s/he attains the age of 70 years.
  • It will have members from several Ministries as well as representatives from the stakeholder States.
  • It will have experts from the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Civil Society.

 

Powers and functions:

  1. It will have the powers to issue directions to these state governments on issues pertaining to air pollution.
  2. It will entertain complaints as it deems necessary for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the air in the NCR and adjoining areas.
  3. It will also lay down parameters for control of air pollution.
  4. It will also be in charge of identifying violators, monitoring factories and industries and any other polluting unit in the region, and will have the powers to shut down such units.
  5. It will also have the powers to overrule directives issued by the state governments in the region, that may be in violation of pollution norms.

 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About EPCA.
  2. About NGT.
  3. About CPCB.
  4. Overview of the Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill, 2021.

Mains Link:

Why was EPCA dissolved? What has replaced EPCA? Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

 

Topics Covered: Conservation and pollution related issues.

China’s national carbon emissions trading market:


Context:

After running pilot projects at the local level for over a decade, China has officially launched its long-awaited national carbon emissions trading market.

  • China’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) has replaced the EU’s as the world’s largest emissions trading system.

 

What is a carbon market?

  • A carbon market is where greenhouse gas emitters can buy and sell greenhouse gas emissions permits or allowances.
  • Companies that over-performed and have surplus targets in hand will sell them in this market; those polluting will have to buy the surplus to submit their compliance statement.
  • The government sets the cap on the total amount of carbon emissions for the year, then companies receive or buy emissions quotas within the cap.

 

Who’s involved?

  • In the first phase, the system only covers the power sector. Over 2,000 power companies, emitting more than 4 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases per year or 40 percent of the country’s yearly total, have participated.
  • Seven more high energy-intensive industries, including iron and steel and construction materials, will be covered by the carbon market in the future.

 

Why build a carbon market?

The country is trying to use the trading scheme to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as part of its effort to peak its emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

  • Now, for the first time, the responsibility for controlling greenhouse gas emissions at the national level is left to the enterprises.

 

Insta Curious: 

What is Cap and Trade System? Read Here

 

Sources: Down to Earth.

 


Facts for Prelims:


What is Space rice?

  • It is the rice harvested from seeds that went on a 23-day lunar voyage with China’s Chang’e-5 in November.
  • After being exposed to cosmic radiation and zero gravity, these seeds weighing around 40 gram returned and were harvested.
  • It is believed that rice seeds exposed to the environment in Space may mutate and produce higher yields once planted on Earth.
  • China has been taking seeds of rice and other crops to Space since 1987.
  • In 2018, the total plantation area for space crops approved in China reached more than 2.4 million hectares.

 

First continent to complete collection of digital land use data:

  • Africa has become the first continent in the world to complete the collection of accurate, comprehensive and harmonised digital land use and land use change data under the Africa Open DEAL initiative.
  • DEAL stands for Data for the Environment, Agriculture and Land Initiative.
  • The data collection and analysis initiative is led by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the African Union Commission (AUC).
  • The data was analysed to highlight land use change over the past 20 years and the potential for restoration at the national level for every country in the African continent.

 

Bihar’s Kishanganj gets digital fertility map:

The digital fertility map has been prepared by the scientists of Bihar Agriculture University (BAU).

Benefits for farmers:

  • They can now easily decide which crops they should grow in particular areas for better gains.
  • They can introduce new crops, go for crop diversifications.
  • They can also decide about the exact dose of fertilisers after knowing the fertility level of their soil. This will get them bumper crops.

Concerns:

Agricultural experts and farmers are worried over the growing digitisation of land records and their fertility details. They apprehend the data could be exploited by private companies and big corporate houses for various purposes, such as land acquisition and predatory lending, leaving farmers in crisis.

 

Rules for registration of vintage cars:

Transport ministry has amended Central Motor Vehicles Rules (CMVR) 1989, formalising the registration process of vintage motor vehicles.

  • This is aimed at preserving and promoting the heritage of old vehicles in India.

Highlights of the new rules:

  • Under the new rules, all two and four-wheelers over 50 years old, maintained in their original form and which have not undergone any substantial overhaul, shall be defined as Vintage Motor Vehicles.
  • It allows for retention of old numbers for already registered vehicles and a “VA” series (Unique Registration Mark) for fresh registrations.
  • Vintage motor vehicles shall not be driven on roads for regular/commercial purposes.

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