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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 7 August 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


 

Abanindranath Tagore:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues.

 

Context:

Abanindranath Tagore’s 150th birth anniversary- 7th August.

 

About Abanindranath Tagore:

Abanindranath Tagore, the nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, was one of the most prominent artists of Bengal school of art in India. He was the first major supporter of swadeshi values in Indian art.

Abanindranath_Tagore

 

Contributions of Abanindranath Tagore towards Indian art and culture are:

  1. He first created the ‘Indian Society of Oriental Art’ and later went on to establish Bengal school of art.
  2. He believed that Indian art and its art forms gave importance to spirituality as opposed to the West which stressed on materialism, thus rejecting it.
  3. His idea of modernizing Mughal and Rajput paintings eventually gave rise to modern Indian painting, which took birth at his Bengal school of art.
  4. Most of his works revolved around Hindu philosophy.
  5. In his later works, Abanindranath started integrating Chinese and Japanese calligraphic traditions into his style. The intention behind this move was to construct an amalgamation of the modern pan-Asian artistic tradition and the common elements of Eastern artistic and spiritual culture.

 

Famous paintings are:

Bharat Mata, The Passing of Shah Jahan (1900), My Mother (1912–13), Fairyland illustration (1913), Journey’s End (circa 1913).

 

Contributions to Literature:

Abanindranath is also regarded as a proficient and accomplished writer. Most of his literary works were meant for children.

  • Some of his books like ‘BudoAngla’, ‘KhirerPutul’ and ‘Rajkahini’ are best examples of Bengali children’s literature.
  • William Rothenstein helped Rabindranath Tagore to publish his work ‘Gitanjali’ in English.
  • Arabian Nights series was one of his notable works.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard of Raja Ravi Varma? What are his contributions to Indian Art? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Indian Society of Oriental Art- objectives.
  2. About Bengal School of Art.
  3. Subjects of his paintings.
  4. His literary works.
  5. His famous paintings.

Mains Link:

Examine the evolution and salient features of Bengal School of Art.

Sources: the Hindu.

Public Accounts Committee: 

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context: 

The Public Accounts Committee, headed by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, is going on a four-day tour of Srinagar, Kargil, Leh and Drass. 

 

What’s the issue? 

The committee visit is in connection with a 2019 report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) on “high altitude clothing, equipment, ration and housing” for the Army personnel. 

  • The CAG report had pointed out delays in the procurement of high altitude clothing and equipment items of up to four years, leading to acute shortage of essential clothing and equipment. 

 

About PAC

  1. The PAC is formed every year with a strength of not more than 22 members of which 15 are from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha
  2. The term of office of the members is one year. 
  3. The Chairman is appointed by the Speaker of Lok Sabha. Since 1967, the chairman of the committee is selected from the opposition. 
  4. Its chief function is to examine the audit report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) after it is laid in the Parliament. 

 

Limitations of the Public Accounts Committee: 

  1. Broadly, it cannot intervene in the questions of policy. 
  2. It can keep a tab on the expenses only after they are incurred. It has no power to limit expenses. 
  3. It cannot intervene in matters of day-to-day administration. 
  4. Any recommendation that the committee makes is only advisory. They can be ignored by the ministries. 
  5. It is not vested with the power of disallowance of expenditures by the departments. 
  6. Being only an executive body; it cannot issue an order. Only the Parliament can take a final decision on its findings. 

 

Insta Curious: 

Did you know that the Committee on Public Accounts was first set up in 1921 in the wake of the Montague-Chelmsford Reforms? Reference

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. Difference between Parliamentary vs Cabinet committees. 
  2. Standing vs select vs finance committees. 
  3. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees? 
  4. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha. 
  5. Committees where the Speaker is the chairperson. 

Mains Link: 

What are Parliamentary Standing committees? Why are they necessary? Discuss their roles and functions to bring out their significance. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

The new Information Technology (IT) Rules: 

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context: 

Twitter has appointed a permanent Chief Compliance Officer (CCO), a Resident Grievance Officer (RGO) and a Nodal Contact Person in compliance with the new Information Technology (IT) Rules. 

 

What’s the issue? 

The Supreme Court had recently expressed reservations over Twitter changing the status of the CCO appointment from “interim” to “contingent” in its affidavit. 

  • The IT rules mandated the appointment of a senior employee as CCO, but Twitter had appointed a “contingent worker” through a third party contractor. This was opposed by the Centre. 

 

What the rules say? 

Twitter Inc is admittedly an ‘intermediary’ within the meaning of Section 2(1)(w) of IT Act, 2000, and an SSMI (Significant Social Media Intermediary) under the IT Rules 2021. 

  • SSMIs are required to appoint a chief compliance officer, a nodal officer, and a grievance officer — all whom are required to be residents of India, according to the IT rules. 

 

What happens in case of non compliance? 

  • Any non-compliance amounts to breach of provisions of IT Rules, leading to Twitter losing its immunity as an “intermediary”
  • A loss of its intermediary status, which provides its immunity from liabilities over any third-party data hosted by it, makes it liable for criminal action in case of complaints. 

 

Background: 

On February 25, the Centre framed the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021, in the exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011, which will come into effect from May 26. 

 

Overview of the new rules: 

  1. It mandates a grievance redressal system for over the top (OTT) and digital portals in the country. This is necessary for the users of social media to raise their grievance against the misuse of social media. 
  2. Significant social media firms have to appoint a chief compliance officer and have a nodal contact person who can be in touch with law enforcement agencies 24/7. 
  3. A grievance officer: Social media platforms will also have to name a grievance officer who shall register the grievance within 24 hours and dispose of it in 15 days. 
  4. Removal of content: If there are complaints against the dignity of users, particularly women – about exposed private parts of individuals or nudity or sexual act or impersonation etc – social media platforms will be required to remove that within 24 hours after a complaint is made. 
  5. A monthly report: They also will have to publish a monthly report about the number of complaints received and the status of redressal. 
  6. There will be three levels of regulation for news publishers — self-regulation, a self-regulatory body, headed by a retired judge or an eminent person, and oversight from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, including codes of practices and a grievance committee. 

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. Overview of the new rules. 
  2. Who are intermediaries as per the definition? 
  3. What is safe harbour protection? 
  4. Grievance redressal mechanism as provided under the new rules. 

Mains Link: 

What are the concerns being raised against the new IT rules? Discuss ways to address these concerns. 

Sources: the Hindu.

Who is an emergency arbitrator in Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC)? 

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context: 

The Supreme Court has ruled in favour of e-commerce giant Amazon against the proposed ₹24,713 crore merger deal between Future Retail Limited (FRL) and Reliance Retail. 

  • The court has also upheld the validity and enforceability of a Singapore-based Emergency Arbitrator (EA) award (October 2020 award), which restrained FRL, India’s second largest offline retailer, from going ahead with the disputed transaction. 

 

What’s the issue? 

(Note: just have a brief overview of the case. No details are necessary about the case from the exam’s perspective). 

Future Group and Reliance Industries Limited had signed a Rs 24,713-crore deal in August 2020 for Future Retail to sell its retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing units to Reliance Retail and Fashionstyle. 

  • Amazon is Future Group’s Indian partner. 
  • Amazon says Future violated a partnership contract with the asset sale to its rival and wants to scuttle it, while the indebted Indian group says it would collapse if the transaction fails. 

 

What has the Supreme Court ruled? 

The award by Emergency Arbitrator in SIAC is “exactly like an order of an arbitral tribunal” contemplated under Section 17 of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 Act Hence, an award by the EA was like an order under Section 17(1) (interim measures ordered by an arbitral tribunal) of the Act. 

  • Therefore, no appeal would lie under Section 37 of the Arbitration Act against an order of enforcement of an Emergency Arbitrator’s order. 

 

Why did Amazon approach SIAC?

The parties in a deal usually sign a contractual agreement which specifies about:

  1. The arbitral institution administering the arbitration.
  2. The applicable rules.
  3. The seat of arbitration.

In this case Amazon and Future Group have under their agreement agreed to refer their disputes to SIAC, with Singapore presumably being the contractual choice for the seat/place of arbitration.

 

How is the dispute taken up at the SIAC? What is the procedure to be followed?

Once a dispute is referred to arbitration, the process of appointment of the arbitral tribunal takes place.

Composition: Typically, in case of a three member tribunal, both the parties appoint one member each to the tribunal, while the third member is jointly appointed by the two nominees or, if they fail to agree, by SIAC.

 

Appointment of an Emergency Arbitrator:

Appointment of the arbitral tribunal usually takes time.

  • Therefore, under the rules of SIAC, parties can move SIAC to appoint an emergency arbitrator to get urgent interim relief, even as the process of appointment of the main arbitral tribunal is underway.

 

What happens when the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily?

Currently under Indian law, there is no express mechanism for enforcement of the orders of the Emergency Arbitrator.

But, the parties voluntarily comply with the Emergency Award.

  • However, if the parties don’t comply with the order voluntarily, then the party which has won the emergency award, in this case Amazon, can move the High Court in India under Section 9 of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996, to get similar reliefs as granted by the Emergency Arbitrator.

 

Why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

  • Foreign investors investing in India typically want to avoid the rigmarole of the Indian courts.
  • Foreign investors feel that Singapore is neutral ground for dispute resolution.
  • Singapore itself over time has built a stellar reputation as jurisdiction driven by rule of law with international standards and high integrity. This gives comfort to investors that the arbitration process will be quick, fair and just”.

According to the 2019 annual report of SIAC, India was the top user of its arbitration seat with 485 cases being referred to SIAC, followed by Philippines at 122, China at 76 and the United States at 65.

 

Does India has any international arbitration centre?

Yes. India now has its own international arbitration centre in Mumbai.

 

About Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC):

It is a not-for-profit international arbitration organisation based in Singapore, which administers arbitrations under its own rules of arbitration and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Arbitration Rules.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know about the UN Convention on International Settlement Agreements? Reference 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Arbitration?
  2. About SIAC.
  3. Overview of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act, 1996.
  4. About UNCITRAL.

Mains Link:

Discuss why has Singapore become the hub of international arbitration?

Sources: the Hindu.

Why should India be given a permanent seat at UNSC? 

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context: 

The US administration under Biden has continued to remain non-committal on support for India’s UNSC bid. 

  • However, the Obama and Trump administrations had supported a permanent seat for India on the Security Council. 

 

What has the US said? 

The U.S. has offered qualified support for building a consensus for enlargement of the UNSC — in terms of permanent and non-permanent members. However, it said it would not support an expansion of the veto — given to the P-5, the current five permanent members: China, France, Russia, the U.K and the U.S. 

 

Who else has opposed India’s bid? 

The Uniting for Consensus (UFC) group Pakistan, South Korea, Italy and Argentina — opposes the G4 plan. China also opposes the bids of India and Japan. 

 

India’s claims to a permanent seat in the UNSC are based on the following grounds: 

  1. Represents one-sixth of the global population. 
  2. Among the founding members of the U.N. 
  3. Always upheld its principles and credentials while some other countries consider the organisation as merely a talk shop. 
  4. Impressive contribution towards the UN Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF)
  5. An emerging economic power. 

 

Who are G4 Nations? 

The G4 nations comprising Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan are four countries which support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council. 

 

Basis for these demands: 

  • Each of these four countries have figured among the elected non-permanent members of the council since the UN’s establishment.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5). 

 

In general, what UNSC reforms are necessary at present? 

  • Permanent seats should be given in the council for these countries. 
  • There is a clear need for an enhanced role of developing countries and of major contributors to the United Nations to make the Council more legitimate, effective and representative. 
  • Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation. 
  • Need for text-based negotiations within a fixed time frame for the UNSC reform. 

 

Insta Curious: 

India is currently (in 2021 and 2022) a non-permanent member of the UNSC and is president for the month of August. How is UNSC Presidency decided? Reference

 

InstaLinks: 

Prelims Link: 

  1. Name the permanent members of UNSC? 
  2. How are non permanent members elected? 
  3. Voting powers at UNSC. 
  4. How are non permanent seats distributed? 
  5. UNGA vs UNSC. 
  6. What is the G4 group? 

Mains Link: 

Discuss why India should be given a permanent seat at the UNSC. 

Sources: the Hindu. 

 

Facts for Prelims:

Central University (Amendment) Bill 2021:

The bill seeks to amend the Central Universities Act, 2009, to provide for the establishment of a university in the Union territory of Ladakh.

  • The establishment of a central university (to be named Sindhu University) will help students in Ladakh to pursue their higher studies with ease and will also cater to the regional aspirations for years to come.

Please note that Central universities or union universities in India are established by an Act of Parliament and are under the purview of the Department of Higher Education in the Ministry of Education.

 

Khel Ratna named after Dhyan Chand:

The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna stands renamed as the “Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna” in honour of the hockey wizard.

  • Dhyan Chand, a three-time Olympic gold medallist, is considered India’s greatest hockey player. His birthday, on August 29, marks the National Sports Day, when the National Sports Awards are presented each year.
  • Khel Ratna Award is the highest sporting award given by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for the spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports by a sportsperson over a period of four years.

 

Hezbollah:

The Hezbollah is a Shia Islamist political party that is based in Lebanon. The organization was founded by the Iranian effort in the 1980s to aggregate Lebanese Shia groups. In the on-going Iran-Israel conflicts, Hezbollah acts as a proxy for Iran.

 

Pani Maah:

The Union Territory of Ladakh launched a month-long campaign — ‘Pani Maah’ (Water Month) to increase the pace of implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the UT and to inform and engage village communities on the importance of clean water.

  • The campaign will run at block and panchayat levels in two phases.
  • The campaign will adopt a three-pronged approach — focussing on water quality testing, planning and strategizing water supply, and seamless functioning of Pani Sabha in villages.

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