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INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 13 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. 

 

Table of Contents

GS Paper 2:

1. What is the sovereign right to taxation?

2. Why has NCPCR recommended minority schools be brought under RTE?

3. What is a bulk drug park?

4. What’s behind the China-Taiwan divide?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. GSLV-F10 launch and EOS-03 satellite.

2. Common survey to count elephants and tigers.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021.


 

What is the sovereign right to taxation?

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein.

 

Context:

The Indian government recently decided to withdraw the retrospective taxation amendment in the I-T Act introduced in March 2012.

 

Background:

The Indian government had in 2012 retrospectively amended the Income-tax Act. This was in response to a Supreme Court verdict, which had held that Vodafone cannot be taxed for a 2007 transaction that involved its purchase of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Whampoa for $11 billion.

 

What does ‘sovereignty’ mean?

An act of sovereign power is one which cannot be prevented or annulled by any other power recognised by the constitution of the state.

 

What is the ‘sovereign right to taxation’ in India?

The Indian Constitution gives the government the right to levy taxes on individuals and organisations, but makes it clear that no one has the right to levy or charge taxes except by the authority of law. Any tax being charged has to be backed by a law passed by the legislature or Parliament.

 

How does scrapping retrospective feature help?

  1. With the removal of the retrospective feature a clear and predictable taxation law and intent has been presented to the companies which are expected to structure their assets accordingly while doing deals hereon.
  2. It also provides clarity for deals between companies of countries where these are not covered under any tax treaty benefits.
  3. The companies stand to gain by withdrawing the litigation with the arbitration (for cases before 2012)  and then there will be a refund of any taxes that have been already paid or refunded in respect of any demands that have been adjusted.

 

Insta Curious: 

Do you know what Marginal Tax rate is? Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is retrospective taxation?
  2. When was it introduced in India?
  3. Who can impose new taxes?
  4. Latest Amendments.

Mains Link:

Discuss the issues associated with retrospective taxation in India.

Sources: Indian Express.

Why has NCPCR recommended minority schools be brought under RTE?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has released a report assessing minority schools in the country. The report has analysed the impact of exemptions provided to Minority institutions under Article 15(5).

 

What is Article 15(5)?

It empowers the country to make reservations with regard to admissions into educational institutions both privately run and those that are aided or not aided by the government. From this rule only the minority run institutions such as the Madarsas are exempted.

 

Background:

Please note, Minority schools are exempted from implementing The Right to Education policy and do not fall under the government’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.

 

How are minority schools exempt from RTE and SSA?

  1. In 2002, the 86th Amendment to the Constitution provided the Right to Education as a fundamental right.
  2. The same amendment inserted Article 21A, which made the RTE a fundamental right for children aged between six and 14 years.
  3. The passage of the amendment was followed by the launch of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) that aimed to provide “useful and relevant, elementary education’’ to all children between six and 14 years.
  4. In 2006, the 93rd Constitution Amendment Act inserted Clause (5) in Article 15 which enabled the State to create special provisions, such as reservations for advancement of any backward classes of citizens like Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, in all aided or unaided educational institutes, except minority educational institutes.

 

Why bring them under RTE now?

The Commission is of the view that the two different sets of rules Article 21A that guarantees fundamental right of education to all children, and Article 30 which allows minorities to set up their own institutions with their own rules and Article 15 (5) which exempts minority schools from RTE creating a conflicting picture between fundamental right of children and right of minority communities.

 

Need for their inclusion under RTE:

The Commission has observed in the report that many children who are enrolled in these institutions or schools were not able to enjoy the entitlements that other children are enjoying.

  1. For example, Missionaries school are elite cocoons. Such schools are admitting only a certain class of students and leaving underprivileged children out of the system, thus becoming what the Commission has called “cocoons populated by elites’’.
  2. Also, students in madarasas which do not offer a secular course along with religious studies – such as the sciences – have fallen behind and feel a sense of alienation and “inferiority’’ when they leave school.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NCPCR- composition and functions.
  2. Powers of NCPCR under RTE Act.
  3. Highlights of RTE Act.
  4. Children covered under RTE.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of RTE act.

Sources: Indian Express.

What is a bulk drug park, and why does Himachal Pradesh want one?

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

Karnataka has sought the Centre’s approval for the development of the Bulk Drug Park in Yadgir district under the Centre’s Promotion of Bulk Drug Parks Scheme.

 

What are bulk drugs or APIs?

A bulk drug is also called an active pharmaceutical ingredient (API).

It is the key ingredient of a drug or medicine, which lends it the desired therapeutic effect or produces the intended pharmacological activity.

  • Take for example- Paracetamol– It is a bulk drug, which acts against pain. It is mixed with binding agents or solvents to prepare the finished pharmaceutical product, ie a paracetamol tablet, capsule or syrup, which is consumed by the patient.

 

How are APIs prepared?

They are prepared from multiple reactions involving chemicals and solvents.

  • The primary chemical or the basic raw material which undergoes reactions to form an API is called the key starting material, or KSM.
  • Chemical compounds formed during the intermediate stages during these reactions are called drug intermediates or DIs.

 

Why is India promoting bulk drug parks?

India has one of the largest pharmaceutical industries in the world (third largest by volume).

But this industry largely depends on other countries, particularly China, for importing APIs, DIs and KSMs.

So, any disruptions in those countries would definitely affect the pharmaceutical industries here in India.

  • For instance, this year, drug manufacturers in India suffered repeated setbacks due to disruption in imports due to Covid 19.
  • The border conflict between India and China exacerbated the situation.

 

So, what India is doing?

Call for greater self-reliance: In June, the department of pharmaceuticals announced a scheme for the promotion of three bulk drug parks in the country.

  • A bulk drug park will have a designated contiguous area of land with common infrastructure facilities for the exclusive manufacture of APIs, DIs or KSMs, and also a common waste management system.
  • These parks are expected to bring down manufacturing costs of bulk drugs in the country and increase competitiveness in the domestic bulk drug industry.

 

Key features of the scheme for promotion of Bulk Drug parks:

  • The scheme will support three selected parks in the country by providing a one-time grant-in-aid for the creation of common infrastructure facilities.
  • The grant-in-aid will be 70 percent of the cost of the common facilities but in the case of Himachal Pradesh and other hill states, it will be 90 per cent.
  • The Centre will provide a maximum of Rs 1,000 crore per park.
  • A state can only propose one site, which is not less than a thousand acres in area, or not less than 700 acres in the case of hill states.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of the scheme mentioned above.
  2. Funding.
  3. Targets.
  4. What are active pharmaceutical ingredients?
  5. APIs in fixed- dose vs single- dose drug combinations.
  6. What are excipients in Medicine?

Sources: the Hindu.

What’s behind the China-Taiwan divide?

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

Context:

A meeting was held recently between Taiwan and US officials amid moves by the U.S. and others to defy Beijing’s pressure campaign aimed at compelling Taiwan to accept its view that the island is part of China.

 

What’s the issue?

  • China has increased diplomatic, economic and military pressure on Taiwan, whose residents overwhelmingly reject Beijing’s demand for political unification with the mainland.
  • China has long blocked Taiwan from taking part in the UN and other international organizations and has stepped up such pressure since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in 2016.

 

China- Taiwan relations- Background:

China has claimed Taiwan through its one China” policy since the Chinese civil war forced the defeated Kuomintang, or Nationalist, to flee to the island in 1949 and has vowed to bring it under Beijing’s rule, by force if necessary.

  • While Taiwan is self-governed and de facto independent, it has never formally declared independence from the mainland.
  • Under the “one country, two systems” formula, Taiwan would have the right to run its own affairs; a similar arrangement is used in Hong Kong.

Presently, Taiwan is claimed by China, which refuses diplomatic relations with countries that recognise the region.

 

Indo- Taiwan relations:

  • Although they do not have formal diplomatic ties, Taiwan and India have been cooperating in various fields.
  • India has refused to endorse the “one-China” policy since 2010.

south_china_sea_2

 

Insta Curious:

Which all regions are administered by China under the “one country, two systems” formula? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Location of Taiwan and its historical background.
  2. Regions being administered by China under One China policy.
  3. Is Taiwan represented at WHO and the United Nations?
  4. Countries in South China Sea.
  5. Qing dynasty.

Mains Link:

Write a note on India- Taiwan bilateral relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

GSLV-F10 launch and EOS-03 satellite:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

The launch of earth observation satellite EOS-03 onboard GSLV-F10 was unsuccessful recently because of an anomaly in the rocket’s cryogenic upper stage.

  • GSLV-F10 was ISRO’s eighth flight with indigenous cryo, 14th GSLV flight and 79th launch from Sriharikota.

 

What is EOS-03?

  1. EOS-3 was the first state-of-art agile Earth Observation Satellite which would have been placed in a geo-synchronous orbit around the Earth.
  2. It was expected to provide near real-time imaging, which could be used for quick monitoring of natural disasters, episodic events and any short-term events.
  3. The mission life of the satellite was 10 years.

 

What is a GSLV Rocket?

  1. The GSLV expands to geosynchronous satellite launch vehicle.
  2. The GSLV Mark III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO.
  3. As its name suggests, it can launch satellites that will travel in orbits that are synchronous with the Earth’s orbit.
  4. These satellites can weigh up to 2,500 kg and are first launched into transfer orbits that have a distance from Earth of 170 km at closest approach and about 35,975 km at furthest approach which is close to the height of the geosynchronous orbit.

 

Difference between PSLV and GSLV:

India has two operational launchers- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).

  1. PSLV was developed to launch low-Earth Orbit satellites into polar and sun synchronous orbits. It has since proved its versatility by launching geosynchronous, lunar and interplanetary spacecraft successfully.
  2. On the other hand, GSLV was developed to launch the heavier INSAT class of geosynchronous satellites into orbit. In its third and final stage, GSLV uses the indigenously developed cryogenic upper stage.

 

Geosynchronous vs Sun- synchronous:

  1. When satellites are about 36,000 km from the Earth’s surface, they enter what is called the high Earth orbit. Here, it orbits in sync with the Earth’s rotation, creating the impression that the satellite is stationary over a single longitude. Such a satellite is said to be geosynchronous.
  2. Just as the geosynchronous satellites have a sweet spot over the equator that allows them to stay over one spot on Earth, polar-orbiting satellites have a sweet spot that allows them to stay in one place. This orbit is a Sun-synchronous orbit, which means that whenever and wherever the satellite crosses the equator, the local solar time on the ground is always the same.

 

Insta Curious:

What does the three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle mean? What are the fuels used in different stages? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a geostationary orbit?
  2. What is a geosynchronous orbit?
  3. What is a polar orbit?
  4. What is a transfer orbit?
  5. About PSLV.

Mains Link:

What are communication satellites? Discuss their significance for India.

Sources: the Hindu.

Common survey to count elephants and tigers:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

India is planning to adopt the new population estimation protocol in the all-India elephant and tiger population survey in 2022.

  • As per the new protocol, India will move to a system that will count tigers and elephants as part of a common survey.

 

Benefits of the new method:

Given that 90% of the area occupied by elephants and tigers is common, and once estimation methods are standardised, having a common survey can significantly save costs.

 

How are they counted currently?

Currently, the tiger survey is usually held once in four years and elephants are counted once in five years.

  1. Since 2006, the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, which is affiliated to the Environment Ministry, has a standardised protocol in place that States then use to estimate tiger numbers. Based on sightings in camera traps and indirect estimation methods, tiger numbers are computed.
  2. Elephant numbers largely rely on States directly counting the number of elephants. In recent years, techniques such as analysing dung samples have also been deployed to estimate birth rates and population trends in elephants.

 

How many tigers and elephants are there in the country?

According to the most recent 2018-19 survey, there were 2,997 tigers in India. According to the last count in 2017, there were 29,964 elephants in India.

 

Efforts aimed at conservation of Elephants and their corridors at all- India level:

  • ‘Gaj Yatra’, a nationwide campaign to protect elephants, was launched on the occasion of World Elephant Day in 2017. The campaign is planned to cover 12 elephant range states.
  • The campaign aims to create awareness about elephant corridors to encourage free movement in their habitat.

 

Forest Ministry guide to managing human-elephant conflict (Best Practices):

  1. Retaining elephants in their natural habitats by creating water sources and management of forest fires.
  2. Elephant Proof trenches in Tamil Nadu.
  3. Hanging fences and rubble walls in Karnataka.
  4. Use of chili smoke in north Bengal and playing the sound of bees or carnivores in Assam.
  5. Use of technology: Individual identification, monitoring of elephants in south Bengal and sending SMS alerts to warn of elephant presence.

 

Efforts by Private Organizations in this regard:

  • Asian Elephant Alliance, an umbrella initiative by five NGOs, had, last year, come together to secure 96 out of the 101 existing corridors used by elephants across 12 States in India.
  • NGOs Elephant Family, International Fund for Animal Welfare, IUCN Netherlands and World Land Trust have teamed up with Wildlife Trust of India’s (WTI) in the alliance.

 

About Asian Elephants:

  1. Asian elephants are listed as “endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
  2. More than 60% of the world’s elephant population is in India.
  3. Elephant is the Natural Heritage Animal of India.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard of Asian Elephant Specialist Group (AsESG)? Reference: 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. IUCN conservation status of Asian Elephant.
  2. Elephant corridors in India.
  3. Calving period of elephants.
  4. Heritage animal of India.
  5. About Gaj Yatra.
  6. Elephant herd is led by?
  7. State with highest elephant population in India.

Mains Link:

Discuss the measures suggested by the Environment Ministry to manage man- elephant conflicts.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

Al-Mohed Al-Hindi 2021:

It is the maiden bilateral naval exercise between India and Saudi Arabia. It is being held in Saudi.


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