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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 15 September 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. Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Consent of AG on Contempt Proceedings.

2. What is the Bill to scrap NEET in Tamil Nadu?

3. What is Quad?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. What is Hydrogen Fuel?

2. What is Green Hydrogen?


Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh

GS Paper 1

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

 

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently laid the foundation stone for Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University in Aligarh.

  • It will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.

 

Who was Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh?

Born in a royal family on December 1, 1886 in Hathras, Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh was a freedom fighter, social reformer and a figure representing the Jat community,  predominant in Western Uttar Pradesh.

 

His legacy:

  • In 1914, during World War I, Mahendra Pratap left India and led the German-backed first Provisional Government of India in Kabul, Afghanistan and declared himself its President while waging a war against colonial rule.
  • It was around this time (1917) that Mahendra Pratap was received by Lenin and Leon Trotsky in Petrograd, in Russia.
  • The British announced a bounty on his head and he fled to Japan to continue his movement.
  • In 1911-12, he went off to fight in the looming Balkan War in Turkey, on the side of the Ottoman empire, along with fellow students from the Mohammedan Anglo Oriental College (MAO)
  • In 1932, he was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

His Contributions in the field of education:

Established Prem Maha Vidyalaya, a polytechnic college, in Vrindavan, which offered various courses, including carpentry, pottery and textiles under one roof.

He gave his own residence to establish the first technical school of the country.

He founded the world federation.

 

Political career:

  1. In 1957, Mahendra Pratap contested elections as an independent and defeated former Prime Minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, then a Jan Sangh candidate, from Mathura in western Uttar Pradesh.
  2. In 1913 he took part in Gandhi’s campaign in South Africa.
  3. He travelled around the world to create awareness about the situation in Afghanistan and India.
  4. In 1925 he went on a mission to Tibet and met the Dalai Lama.
  5. In free India, he diligently pursued his ideal of panchayati raj.

 

Insta Curious:

Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose had announced the establishment of the provisional government of Azad Hind in occupied Singapore in 1943. Know more about it here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh.
  2. His contributions to India’s freedom struggle.
  3. His political career.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the legacy of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh.

Sources: Indian Express.

Consent of AG on Contempt Proceedings:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

 

Context:

The Attorney General for India, K.K.Venugopal, has granted his consent to a lawyer for initiating contempt proceedings against the author of a YouTube video for allegedly making derogatory remarks against the judiciary in general, and the Supreme Court in particular.

  • Consent has been given under Section 15 of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971 read with Rule 3(c) of the Rules to Regulate Proceedings for Contempt of the Supreme Court, 1975.

 

Background:

The allegations made by Bharti against the Supreme Court are, among other things, of bribery, favouritism, nepotism and abuse of power.

 

 

What is the law on contempt of courts?

The Contempt of Courts Act 1971 defines civil and criminal contempt, and lays down the powers and procedures by which courts can penalise contempt, as well as the penalties that can be given for the offence of contempt.

  • Contempt of court is the offense of being disobedient to or disrespectful toward a court of law and its officers in the form of behavior that opposes or defies the authority, justice and dignity of the court.

 

Why is the consent of the Attorney General required to initiate contempt proceedings?

The objective behind requiring the consent of the Attorney General before taking cognizance of a complaint is to save the time of the court.

  • This is necessary because judicial time is squandered if frivolous petitions are made and the court is the first forum for bringing them in.
  • The AG’s consent is meant to be a safeguard against frivolous petitions, as it is deemed that the AG, as an officer of the court, will independently ascertain whether the complaint is indeed valid.

 

Under what circumstances is the AG’s consent not needed?

The AG’s consent is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.

However, when the court itself initiates a contempt of court case the AG’s consent is not required.

  • This is because the court is exercising its inherent powers under the Constitution to punish for contempt and such Constitutional powers cannot be restricted because the AG declined to grant consent.

 

What happens if the AG denies consent?

If the AG denies consent, the matter all but ends.

The complainant can, however, separately bring the issue to the notice of the court and urge the court to take suo motu cognizance.

  • Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.

 

Insta Curious:

Civil contempt refers to the wilful disobedience of an order of any court. How is it different from Criminal Contempt? Reference: read this.

 

Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. Powers of SC vs HCs wrt Contempt cases.
  2. Constitutional provisions in this regard.
  3. Changes brought about by Contempt of Courts (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  4. Civil vs Criminal contempt.
  5. Rights under Article 19.
  6. Section 10 of The Contempt of Courts Act of 1971 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how contempt cases are handled by Supreme Court in India.

Sources: the Hindu.

What is the Bill to scrap NEET in Tamil Nadu?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context: The Tamil Nadu Assembly has passed a Bill to dispense with the National Entrance cum Eligibility Test (NEET).

 

Why the bill to scrap NEET?

The Assembly has passed this Bill based on the recommendation of the high-level committee led by retired judge AK Rajan.

  • The bill will allow admission to medical courses based on Class 12 marks to “ensure social justice”.
  • The state assembly says the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test is not a fair or equitable method of admission since it favoured the rich and elite sections of society who can afford coaching.

 

Background:

The National Eligibility Entrance Test (NEET), formerly the All India Pre-Medical Test (AIPMT), is the qualifying test for MBBS and BDS programmes in Indian medical and dental colleges. It is conducted by the National Testing Agency (NTA).

 

Arguments against NEET:

  1. NEET ‘undermined the diverse societal representation’ in MBBS and higher medical studies, favouring mainly the affluent class.
  2. Social groups most affected were the students of Tamil medium, having a rural background of government schools, those having a parental income of less than Rs 2.5 lakh per annum.
  3. If NEET continued, the health care system of the state would be severely affected and there may not be enough doctors for Primary Health Centres or state-run hospitals.

Challenges ahead:

  • Since it challenges a central law, it cannot come into force until and unless approved by the President of India.

Can states refuse to implement Central laws?

  • Usually, when a state wants to amend a Central law made under one of the items in the concurrent list, it needs the clearance of the Centre.
  • When a state law contradicts a Central law on the same subject, the law passed by Parliament prevails.

 

Why has the Constitution envisaged such an arrangement?

This is an arrangement envisaged as most Parliament laws apply to the whole of India and states amending the Central laws indiscriminately could lead to inconsistencies in different regions on the application of the same law. In matters of trade and commerce, this could especially pose serious problems.

 

The other options available with the states are:

To take the Centre to the Supreme Court over the validity of these laws.

  • Article 131 of the Constitution provides exclusive jurisdiction to the Supreme Court to adjudicate matters between the states and the Centre.
  • Article 254 (2) of the Constitution empowers state governments to pass legislations which negate the Central acts in the matters enumerated under the Concurrent List.
    • A state legislation passed under Article 254 (2) requires the assent of the President of India.

 

Insta Curious:

Education, including technical education, medical education and universities, subject to the provisions of entries 63, 64, 65 and 66 of List I; vocational and technical training of labour. Know more about 7th Schedule here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Articles 131 and 254(2).
  2. Overview of 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
  3. What happens when a State’s law contravenes centre’s law?

Mains Link:

The three agriculture laws passed by the Centre recently are a clear infringement on the states’ right to legislate. Discuss.

Sources: Indian Express.

What is Quad?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

US President Joe Biden will be hosting the first in-person meeting of the Quad countries on September 24. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Australian PM Scott Morrison and Japanese PM Yoshihide Suga will be present at the meeting.

  • At the meeting, the Quad leaders will focus on issues related to the Covid-19 crisis, climate change, cyberspace and security in the Indo-Pacific.

 

What is Quad grouping?

The quadrilateral security dialogue includes Japan, India, United States and Australia.

  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.

 

Genesis:

The grouping traces its genesis to 2004 when the four countries came together to coordinate relief operations in the aftermath of the tsunami.

 

Significance of the grouping:

  • Quad is an opportunity for like-minded countries to share notes and collaborate on projects of mutual interest.
  • Members share a vision of an open and free Indo-Pacific. Each is involved in development and economic projects as well as in promoting maritime domain awareness and maritime security.
  • It is one of the many avenues for interaction among India, Australia, Japan and the US and should not be seen in an exclusive context.

 

What are China’s views on the Quad?

There is a general understanding that the Quad would not take on a military dimension against any country. The strategic community in China, nevertheless, had branded it an emerging “Asian NATO”.

Notably, Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s “Confluence of Two Seas” address to the Indian Parliament gave a fresh impetus to the Quad concept. This recognised the economic rise of India.

 

Why is there a need for formalisation?

Despite renewed efforts, the QUAD has faced criticism over its lack of formal structure. There have been calls for institutionalisation, a formal agreement to transform the group into a formidable anti-China bloc.

A lot has changed over the years. Each member state has faced the heat of China’s increased aggression.

  1. China has grown in might and influence and is keen on picking up fights.
  2. After attempting to influence Australia’s domestic policies, it slapped punitive tariffs on the country.
  3. It is engaged in what has become a routine border confrontation with India.
  4. China has flared up territorial disputes with Japan with regards to the Senkaku Islands and is battling a fully-fledged trade war with the United States.

 

Insta Curious:

Have you heard of Quad Plus? Quad members have also indicated a willingness to expand the partnership through a so-called Quad Plus that would include South Korea, New Zealand, and Vietnam amongst others. Read more about this here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Quad- composition.
  2. When was it first proposed?
  3. Countries and important islands in the Indian Ocean region.
  4. Geographical overview of Indo-Pacific region.
  5. Important seas and straits in the region.

Mains Link:

A formal revival and re-invigoration of the Quad is called for to maintain peace and tranquillity and to ensure observance of the UN Law of the Seas. Examine.

Sources: Indian Express.

What is Hydrogen Fuel?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

Ministry of Railways has decided to close down the Indian Railways Organization for Alternate Fuels’ with effect from September 7, 2021.

The closure comes nearly a month after the IROAF had floated a tender for “hydrogen fuel cell-based technology” for retrofitting the existing Diesel Electric Multiple Unit (DEMU).

  • All work-related to hydrogen fuel cells, including their tenders, will now be transferred to the Northern Railways.

 

Background:

Indian Railways are set to run trains on hydrogen fuel based technology under ‘Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission Railway’ by 2030.

 

What is Hydrogen fuel?

  • Hydrogen is the lightest and first element on the periodic table. Since the weight of hydrogen is less than air, it rises in the atmosphere and is therefore rarely found in its pure form, H2.
  • At standard temperature and pressure, hydrogen is a nontoxic, nonmetallic, odorless, tasteless, colorless, and highly combustible diatomic gas.

 

Occurrence of Hydrogen:

  • Molecular hydrogen is not available on Earth in convenient natural reservoirs.
  • Most hydrogen on Earth is bonded to oxygen in water and to carbon in live or dead and/or fossilized biomass. It can be created by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen.

 

Significance of Hydrogen Based economy:

  • Due to its ability to power fuel cells in zero-emission electric vehicles, its potential for domestic production, and the fuel cell’s potential for high efficiency hydrogen is considered an alternative.
  • Water is the only by-product that results from the usage of hydrogen fuel that makes the fuel 100 per cent clean.
  • Hydrogen can also serve as fuel for internal combustion engines.
  • The energy in 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of hydrogen gas contains about the same as the energy in 1 gallon (6.2 pounds, 2.8 kilograms) of gasoline.

 

Government Missions towards hydrogen fuel:

  • The Finance Minister in the Union budget for 2020-21 formally announced the National Hydrogen Mission which aims for generation of hydrogen from green power resources.
  • The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has also disclosed that the draft regulations for NHM will be finalised by the end of this month and will thereafter proceed for approval of the Union Cabinet.

 

Challenges for India:

  • Economic sustainability of extracting green or blue hydrogen.
  • The technology used in production and use of hydrogen like carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen fuel cell technology are at nascent stage and are expensive which in turn increases the cost of production of hydrogen.
  • The maintenance costs for fuel cells post-completion of a plant can be costly, like in South Korea.
  • The commercial usage of hydrogen as a fuel and in industries requires mammoth investment in R&D of such technology and infrastructure for production, storage, transportation and demand creation for hydrogen.

 

Insta Curious:

Hydrogen has been stored as compressed gas or cryogenic liquid, and transported as such in cylinders, tubes, and cryogenic tanks for use in industry or as propellant in space programs. Read more about this here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Hydrogen fuel.
  2. Why is it called a clean fuel?
  3. Features.
  4. Benefits.
  5. Production and storage.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Hydrogen as a fuel.

Sources: PIB.

What is Green Hydrogen?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh has urged US companies to participate in the bids for green hydrogen and electrolysers in the upcoming months.

 

Challenges:

The path for green hydrogen in the country is not clear and at the moment, production of green hydrogen is slightly more expensive than grey hydrogen.

 

What is green hydrogen?

Hydrogen when produced by electrolysis using renewable energy is known as Green Hydrogen which has no carbon  footprint.

 

Significance of Green Hydrogen:

  • Green hydrogen energy is vital for India to meet its Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) Targets and ensure regional and national energy security, access and availability.
  • Green Hydrogen can act as an energy storage option, which would be essential to meet intermittencies (of renewable energy) in the future.
  • In terms of mobility, for long distance mobilisations for either urban freight movement within cities and states or for passengers, Green Hydrogen can be used in railways, large ships, buses or trucks, etc.

 

Applications of green hydrogen:

  • Green Chemicals like ammonia and methanol can directly be utilized in existing applications like fertilizers, mobility, power, chemicals, shipping etc.
  • Green Hydrogen blending up to 10% may be adopted in CGD networks to gain widespread acceptance.

 

Benefits:

  • It is a clean-burning molecule, which can decarbonize a range of sectors including iron and steel, chemicals, and transportation.
  • Renewable energy that cannot be stored or used by the grid can be channelled to produce hydrogen.

 

Insta Curious:

Hydrogen is an invisible gas. But, then how are they named green, pink and so on? Read the

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Green Hydrogen.
  2. How is it produced?
  3. Applications.
  4. Benefits.
  5. About the Hydrogen Energy Mission.

Mains Link:

Discuss the benefits of Green Hydrogen.

Sources: PIB.


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