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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 21 October 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. Kushinagar, a Buddhist pilgrimage town.

2. Mount Harriet renamed after Manipur.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Electing a Speaker, Deputy Speaker.

2. Bhumiputra bill in Goa.

3. US, India, Israel and UAE to form a ‘New Quad’.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. James Webb Space Telescope.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Nebra Sky Disc.

2. Earthshot Prize.

3. Bhaskarabda.


 

Kushinagar, a Buddhist pilgrimage town:

GS Paper 1

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently inaugurated the Kushinagar international airport.

  • The airport in eastern UP, the third international airport in the election-bound state, will mainly service the Buddhist tourism circuit.
  • The Sri Lankan Airlines flight carrying monks and dignitaries was the first to land at the airport.

current affairs

 

Historical significance of Kushinagar:

  • Among the most important of Buddhist pilgrimages, Kushinagar was where The Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana (ultimate salvation) in c. 483 BC.
  • Today’s Kushinagar is identified with Kushinara, capital of the ancient Malla republic, which was one of the 16 mahajanapadas of the 6th-4th centuries BC.
  • The area went on to be part of the kingdoms of the Mauryas, Shungas, Kushanas, Guptas, Harshavardhana, and the Palas.
  • The first excavations in Kushinagar were carried out by Alexander Cunningham and ACL Carlleyle, who unearthed the main stupa and the 6-metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha in 1876.
  • Kushinagar is among the very few places in India where The Buddha is depicted in reclining form.

 

Significance of the move:

  • While Buddhism originated in India and seven of the eight main Buddhist pilgrimage sites are in India, our country gets not even 1 percent of Buddhist pilgrims in the world.
  • There is an awareness in the government that the absence of tourist infrastructure is a major reason why India loses out to Southeast Asian nations such as Indonesia and Thailand.
  • The hope is that world-class facilities will be able to attract Buddhist tourists to India, and boost revenues and employment generation.

Therefore, the latest move helps India promote important Buddhist pilgrimage sites in the country.

 

Buddhist Circuit:

  • In 2016, the Ministry of Tourism announced the Buddhist Circuit as the country’s first transnational tourism circuit, covering sites in Nepal and Sri Lanka alongside those in India.
  • The ministry’s map of the Buddhist Circuit includes Bodh Gaya, Vaishali, and Rajgir in Bihar, Kushinagar, Sarnath, and Shravasti in UP, and Lumbini in Nepal.

current affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Identify important places associated with the life of Buddha.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Kushinagar.
  2. Buddhist Circuit.
  3. Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India and the world.
  4. Reclining Buddha.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Buddhist Circuit.

Sources: Indian Express.

Mount Harriet renamed after Manipur:

GS Paper 1

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

 

Context:

The Centre has rechristened Mount Harriet, a historical tourist spot in the Andaman and Nicobar islands, as ‘Mount Manipur’.

 

What is Manipur’s connection to Mount Harriet?

After the Anglo-Manipur War of 1891, several Manipuris who had fought the British in the war, including Maharaja Kulachandra Dhwaja Singh, were exiled to the British penal colony in the Andaman Islands.

Since the cellular jail (Kalapani) was yet to be built, Kulachandra and the prisoners were kept on Mount Harriet, a hillock in what is now the Ferragunj tehsil of South Andaman district.

 

Anglo-Manipur War of 1891- Causes:

  • Considered an epoch in the history of Manipur, the Anglo-Manipur War was fought between the kingdom of Manipur and the British over a month in 1891.
  • The battle was triggered by a coup in the palace of Manipur, which had been marked by internal factionalism in the years leading up 1891.
  • The British government took advantage of the “internal dissension” among the princes of the royal family.

 

Significance of the war:

Many say the war was described as a “blow to British prestige”. Despite their victory, it had led to the death of five important officers.

  • In India, it was viewed as being part of the general uprising against British rule in the country, soon after the Revolt of 1857.
  • The war led to Manipur officially becoming a princely state under the indirect rule of the British crown.

 

About Mount Harriet:

  • Mount Harriet is the third highest peak in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and served as the summer headquarters of the Chief Commissioner during British Raj.
  • It is believed to be named after British artist and photographer, Harriet Christina Tytler, who was the wife of Robert Christopher Tytler, a soldier who served in the British Indian Army.

current affairs

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Mount Harriet.
  2. Anglo-Manipur War.
  3. Causes.
  4. Outcomes.

Mains Link:

Discuss about the significance of the Anglo Manipur war.

Sources: Indian Express.

Electing a Speaker, Deputy Speaker:

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Hardoi MLA Nitin Agrawal has been elected Deputy Speaker of the Uttar Pradesh Assembly, which has barely five months left in its tenure.

 

How are they 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.

 

Is it mandatory under the Constitution to have a Deputy Speaker?

Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the words “shall” and “as soon as may be” — indicating that not only is the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker mandatory, it must be held at the earliest.

 

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.

 

Tenure:

  • Once elected, the Deputy Speaker usually continues in office until the dissolution of the House.
  • Under Article 94 (Article 179 for state legislatures), the Speaker or Deputy Speaker “shall vacate his office if he ceases to be a member of the House of the People”.
  • They may also resign (to each other), or “may be removed from office by a resolution of the House of the People passed by a majority of all the then members of the House”.

 

Powers of deputy speaker:

The Deputy Speaker has the same powers as the Speaker when presiding over a sitting of the House. All references to the Speaker in the Rules are deemed to be references to the Deputy Speaker when he presides.

 

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:

Does being Deputy Speaker protect an MP or MLA from the law of disqualification? Reference: read this.

 

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.

Bhumiputra Bill in Goa:

GS Paper 2

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

 

Context:

Goa CM has clarified that the Bhumiputra Bill won’t be sent to Governor.

 

What’s the issue?

The Goa Bhumiputra Adhikarini Bill, 2021 that was passed in the Goa Assembly on July 30 had since been at the centre of a political storm.

The Bill was aimed at giving the status of ‘Bhumiputra’ to a person residing in Goa for at least 30 years and to enable him or her to stake claim to ownership of their house of up to 250 sq m built before April 1, 2019.

  • However, activists said that it had hurt the sentiments of the state’s tribal population.

 

Highlights of the Bill:

  1. It recognises anyone living in the state for 30 years or more as a ‘Bhumiputra (son of the soil)’ and gives such a person the right to own his or her ‘small dwelling unit’ if ownership was undetermined so far.
  2. Once recognised as a Bhumiputra, an individual can stake claim to ownership of their house of not more than 250 sq m, built before April 1, 2019.

 

Implementation:

  1. The Bill provides for the constitution of the Bhumiputra Adhikarini — a committee consisting of the Deputy Collector as its Chairperson, and officials from the departments of Town and Country Planning, Forest and Environment , and Mamlatdars of respective talukas as its members.
  2. The Bhumiputra may apply to the committee if his house has been built before the cut-off date.
  3. The committee will invite objections within 30 days, including from the land owner which could also be a local body, and then take a decision of granting ownership to the Bhumiputra.
  4. An appeal against the Bhumiputra Adhikarini’s decision can be filed before the Administrative Tribunal within 30 days.

 

Can the courts intervene?

No court shall have jurisdiction “to entertain, decide or deal with any question which is to be decided by the Bhumiputra Adhikarini and Administrative Tribunal under this Act”.

 

Need for these measures:

In the last so many years there have been cases of homes built by a person or his parents but the land is not in his name. There is always a sword dangling over their head that someone will file a case against them (over ownership).

  • Therefore, the objective of the Bill is to give ownership right to the self-occupied dweller of a small housing unit to enable him to live with dignity and self-respect and exercise his right to life.

 

Concerns:

The biggest concern is that the bill may give rise to regularisation of illegal structures. This might also open the floodgates for the migrant population that has been staying in densely populated areas in Goa and has no legality.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the Bill.
  2. Eligibility.
  3. Implementation.
  4. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Bill.

Sources: Indian Express.

US, India, Israel and UAE to form a ‘New Quad’:

GS Paper 2

Topics Covered: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

 

Context:

First virtual summit of the foreign ministers of the US, India, Israel and UAE was recently held.

  • At the end of the meet, the four nations agreed to form a new international economic forum to utilise the “unique array of capabilities, knowledge and experience” that each offers.

 

About the group:

The group is already being dubbed the ‘New Quad’ or the ‘Middle-Eastern Quad’ on the lines of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD).

 

Objectives and focus areas of the new Quad:

The group is intended as an “international economic forum” that will work on furthering the economic and political ties between the four countries.

 

Significance:

Experts believe the new group is important for greater cooperation of the countries involved in keeping the Middle East stable.

 

Comparisons with the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD):

The QSD, often called the ‘Quad’ is a strategic dialogue between the United States, India, Japan and Australia.

  • The dialogue was started in 2007 in response to increasing Chinese aggression in the South China Sea and was accompanied by one of the largest joint military exercises of the modern era, the Malabar Exercise.
  • While Australia had pulled out of the dialogue as its own economic ties to China grew over the decade, the group reconvened in 2017.

 

What will the group focus on?

Some of the areas that the countries had highlighted during their talks include improving trade ties, cooperation in maritime security of the region, joint discussions for global public health, and joint infrastructure projects focused on transportation and technology.

 

Benefits of the new Quad:

  1. Beyond trade, there is potential for India, UAE and Israel to collaborate on many areas — from semiconductor design and fabrication to space technology.
  2. With the new alliance, India can use this platform to harness various opportunities like Big data, AI, Quantum computing, export its products in their market etc.
  3. The group will help to focus on non-military issues like trade, energy, and environment and on promoting public goods.
  4. The platform will help India to pursue wide-ranging minilateral partnerships in the region. With major powers like France, Russia, China drawn to this region, the alliance will help India to shape its position in changing the geopolitics of this region.

 

Need for and significance of the group:

  • The four countries have a “unique set of capabilities, knowledge, and experience” that can be used to create a new network of cooperation.
  • The countries also recognised that there are many overlapping interests between them. Especially in the field of energy, climate, trade, and regional security.

So, the new Quad format will help these countries to develop these areas further.

 

Insta Curious:

India, Israel and the UAE have already established trilateral cooperation—in trade and investment—since the Abraham Accords. What are Abraham Accords?

 

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: the Hindu.

James Webb Space Telescope:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

Engineers have unboxed the James Webb Space Telescope in French Guiana and will now prepare it for launch.

  • JWST is one of the grand scientific projects of the 21st Century and will ride to orbit on 18 December.

current affairs

About JSWT:

JWST is a joint venture between the US (Nasa), European (Esa) and Canadian space agencies (CSA).

  • It is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope, with longer wavelength coverage and greatly improved sensitivity.
  • Webb was formerly known as the “Next Generation Space Telescope” (NGST) and it was renamed in 2002 after a former NASA administrator, James Webb.
  • It will be a large infrared telescope with an approximately 6.5 meter primary mirror.

current affairs

 

Objectives and functions of the telescope:

  1. It will look deeper into the cosmos – and thus further back in time – than is possible with Hubble.
  2. It will do this with a much bigger mirror (6.5m in diameter versus 2.4m) and instruments that are tuned to the infrared.
  3. Scientists hope this set-up can detect the light from the very first population of stars in the Universe to switch on more than 13.5 billion years ago.

 

Orbit:

  • The Hubble Space Telescope orbits around the Earth at an altitude of ~570 km above it.
  • Webb will not actually orbit the Earth, instead it will sit at the Earth-Sun L2 Lagrange point,5 million km away.
  • At the L2 point Webb’s solar shield will block the light from the Sun, Earth, and Moon which will help Webb stay cool, which is very important for an infrared telescope.

 

Insta Curious:

Know more about the Hubble Space Telescope here.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:

Nebra Sky Disc:

  • The British Museum in London will display an ancient object called the Nebra Sky Disc, which is thought to be the world’s oldest concrete depiction of stars.
  • About 3,600 years ago, the disc was ritually buried along with two swords, axes, two spiral arm-rings and one bronze chisel near Nebra in Germany. The burial of these objects is thought to be made as a dedication to gods.

current affairs

 

Earthshot Prize:

  • Dubbed as the “Eco Oscars”, The Earthshot Prize is an award set up by Prince William and the Royal Foundation, the charity founded by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, and historian David Attenborough to honour five finalists between 2021 and 2030 for developing solutions to fight the climate crisis.
  • Established in 2020, 2021 was the first year when awards were handed out to finalists for their contributions towards the five UN Sustainable Development Goals — restoration and protection of nature, air cleanliness, ocean revival, waste-free living and climate action.
  • India’s Vidyut Mohan’s technology that recycles agricultural waste to create fuel was named among the winners of the coveted prize.

What are the prizes about?

Inspired by former US President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot — when the president had set a goal of reaching the Moon in less than a decade — the Earthshot Prize hopes to encourage and support the development of solutions for Earth’s environmental problems.

Awards and Eligibility:

  • Five individuals or organisations that have come up with impactful solutions to problems plaguing the planet will be awarded one million euros.
  • Each year five winners will be selected, one for each of the UN SDG goal categories, with a total of 50 million euros being awarded by 2030.

current affairscurrent affairs

 

Bhaskarabda:

  • Bhaskarabda will be added to the Saka and Gregorian eras in the official calendar of the Assam Government.
  • Bhaskarabda is an era counted from the date of the ascension of a seventh-century local ruler.
  • Bhaskarabda began when Bhaskaravarman was crowned ruler of the Kamrupa kingdom. He was a contemporary and political ally of northern Indian ruler

Gregorian vs Bhaskarabda:

  • Unlike Gregorian, where a day starts at midnight, the Assamese calendar begins and ends at sunrise over 24 hours.
  • While the Gregorian goes by the solar cycle, the Saka and Bhaskarabda eras use a lunisolar system based on both the phases of the moon and the solar year.
  • The gap between Bhaskarabda and Gregorian is 593 years.

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