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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 6 November 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 2:

1. Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021.

2. China Taiwan relations.

3. Hamas and Gaza Strip.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Edible oil prices.

2. What are technical textiles?

3. Input tax credit.

4. Iran and Enriched Uranium.

5. Stubble Burning and its impact on health.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Who are the Vanniyars?


 

Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Government Policies and issues arising out of it.

 

Context:

Last week, a district autonomous council in Meghalaya announced that it would introduce the ‘Khasi Inheritance of Property Bill, 2021.

  • It is aimed at “equitable distribution” of parental property among siblings in the Khasi community.

 

Implications:

If implemented, the proposed Bill would modify an age-old customary practice of inheritance of the matrilineal Khasi tribe.

 

Aims and Objectives of the Bill:

  1. Equitable distribution” of parental property among siblings – both male and female.
  2. Let parents decide who they want their property to inherit.
  3. Prevent a sibling from getting parental property if they marry a non-Khasi and accept the spouse’s customs and culture.

 

Need for this Bill:

Many times, boys are not able to take loans because there is no collateral to show. Sometimes, when a couple has no children, and there is no genuine heir, the clan takes over the property, as per custom. It leads to a number of litigations by children against their parents.

 

But, why does the matrilineal system in Meghalaya rarely empower women?

  • Custodianship is often misconstrued as ownership vested in just one person, that is the youngest daughter. This custodianship comes with the responsibility to care for aged parents, unmarried or destitute siblings and other clan members.
  • Moreover, the custodian cannot buy or sell the land, without taking permission from her maternal uncle.
  • Also, most of the property is clan property or community property.

 

Matriliny in Meghalaya:

The three tribes of Meghalaya — Khasis, Jaintias, and Garos — practise a matrilineal system of inheritance. In this system, lineage and descent are traced through the mother’s clan.

  • Here, children take the mother’s surname, the husband moves into his wife’s house, and the youngest daughter (khatduh) of the family is bequeathed the full share of the ancestral — or the clan’s — property.
  • Custom also dictates that the khatduh cannot sell the property, without permission of her mother’s brother (maternal uncle) — since he technically belongs to the mother’s clan, through which descent is traced.
  • This inheritance tradition applies only to ancestral or clan/community property, which has been with the family for years.
  • In this traditional set-up, if a couple does not have any daughters, then the property goes to the wife’s elder sister, and her daughters. If the wife does not have sisters, then the clan usually takes over the property.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Dorbar Shnong (traditional Khasi village governing bodies) debar women from contesting elections? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

  1. Khasi tribes.
  2. Matriliny in North Eastern States.
  3. Meghalaya inheritance Bill.
  4. Tribes in Meghalaya.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with Meghalaya’s inheritance Bill.

Sources: Indian Express.

China-Taiwan relations

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: India and its neighbours.

 

China-Taiwan relations

Context:

The European Parliament’s first official delegation to Taiwan has come in support of Taiwan and said that the diplomatically isolated island is not alone. It called for bolder actions to strengthen EU-Taiwan ties as Taipei faces rising pressure from Beijing.

 

Need for:

Taiwan, which does not have formal diplomatic ties with any European nations except tiny Vatican City, is keen to deepen relations with members of the European Union.

  • Also, China has ramped up military pressure, including repeated missions by Chinese warplanes near democratic Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own and has not ruled out taking by force.

 

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:

Did you know that to this date, Taiwan is not a part of the WHO owing to objections from China? Read this to know more about the issue.

 

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 the South China Sea.
  5. Qing dynasty.

Mains Link:

Write a note on India- Taiwan bilateral relations.

Sources: the Hindu.

Hamas and Gaza Strip:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Context:

Egypt is seeking to reach an agreement on a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinian resistance group Hamas in Gaza.

 

The Agreement includes:

Long-term cease-fire, a prisoner swap, humanitarian aid to Gaza and reconstruction.

 

Who are Hamas?

  • Hamas is a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group that has waged war on Israel since the group’s 1987 founding, most notably through suicide bombings and rocket attacks.
  • It seeks to replace Israel with a Palestinian state. It also governs Gaza independently of the Palestinian Authority.

 

Need for an agreement:

Gaza has been under a tightened Israeli blockade since 2007 in which most basic goods still enter the region under highly restricted measures.

  • In May, an Israeli offensive left nearly 260 Palestinians dead and thousands wounded as well as a vast trail of destruction in Gaza. Palestinian resistance groups responded with rocket barrages into Israeli areas, killing at least 13 Israelis.

 

Where is the Gaza Strip?

The Gaza Strip is an entirely artificial creation that emerged in 1948 when roughly three-fourths of Palestine’s Arab population was displaced, in some cases expelled, during the course of Israel’s creation. And most of the refugees, they were sort of scattered across the region in neighboring countries like Jordan, Syria and Lebanon.

  • Some went to the West Bank, which came under Jordanian rule after 1948. And a very large number went to the Gaza Strip, which is this tiny little coastal strip between Egypt and what is now Israel. Today, the population of Gaza, about 70% of Gaza’s population are refugees.

 

Who controls it?

Hamas forcibly took control over the Gaza Strip in 2007. Shortly thereafter, the Israelis imposed a complete closure on Gaza’s borders. They declared Gaza to be an enemy entity. Of course, Gaza is not a state.

  • Hamas, of course, is viewed by Israel and by much of the international community as a terrorist organization, including the United States, for their history of attacks on civilians and so forth.

 

Present scenario:

  • Israel still occupies the West Bank, and although it pulled out of Gaza the UN still regards that piece of land as part of occupied territory.
  • Israel claims the whole of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
  • The US is one of only a handful of countries to recognise Israel’s claim to the whole of the city.

 

What’s happening now?

  • Tensions are often high between Israel and Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank.
  • Gaza is ruled by a Palestinian militant group called Hamas, which has fought Israel many times. Israel and Egypt tightly control Gaza’s borders to stop weapons getting to Hamas.
  • Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank say they’re suffering because of Israeli actions and restrictions. Israel say it is only acting to protect itself from Palestinian violence.
  • Things have escalated since the start of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan in mid-April 2021, with nightly clashes between police and Palestinians.
  • The threatened eviction of some Palestinian families in East Jerusalem has also caused rising anger.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Where is the west bank?
  2. Gaza strip.
  3. Golan heights.
  4. Who are Hamas?
  5. What is Al-Nakba?
  6. About the conflict.

Mains Link:

Suggest solutions to end the long standing Israel- Palestine conflict.

Sources: the Hindu.

Edible oil prices

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country.

 

Edible oil prices

Context:

The prices of most major cooking oils have dropped and stabilised across the country in the run-up to Diwali.

 

Reasons for the drop in prices:

  1. Stabilisation of global prices.
  2. Duty cuts.
  3. Cut in wholesale prices by major private players.
  4. Stock limits imposed by the Centre, using the provisions of the Essential Commodities Act.

 

What led to increase in oil prices previously?

  • Global commodity prices are extremely high. COVID-19 is a major factor, disrupting supply chains, closing down industries.
  • There is insufficient labour in the oil production industry in many countries.
  • Excessive buying of edible oil by China.
  • Many major oil producers are aggressively pursuing biofuel policies and diverting their edible oil crops for that purpose.
  • Governmental taxes and duties also make up a major chunk of the retail price of edible oils in India.

 

 

India’s Dependence on Edible Oil:

  • India is the world’s biggest vegetable oil importer.
  • India imports about 60% of its edible oil needs, leaving the country’s retail prices vulnerable to international pressures.
  • It imports palm oil from Indonesia and Malaysia, soyoil from Brazil and Argentina, and sunflower oil, mainly from Russia and Ukraine.

 

Facts about Edible Oils:

  • Primary sources of Edible oil (Soybean, Rapeseed & Mustard, Groundnut, Sunflower, Safflower & Niger) and secondary sources of Edible Oil (Oil palm, Coconut, Rice Bran, Cotton seeds & Tree Borne Oilseeds).
  • In India major challenges in oilseed production is
    • Growing in largely rain-fed conditions (around 70% area),
    • high seed cost (Groundnut and Soybean),
    • small holding with limited resources,
    • low seed replacement rate and low productivity.

 

Insta Curious:

Recently the Government announced the National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) to boost domestic oilseed production and make the country self-sufficient in cooking oils.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Edible oil
  2. Primary and Secondary sources of Edible oil
  3. Major edible oil importing countries
  4. About National Edible Oil Mission-Oil Palm (NMEO-OP) and its provisions

Mains Link:

Why does India have to import edible oils? What is the burden of importing edible oils on the government’s exchequer? What can we do to boost the domestic production of edible oils? Elaborate.

Sources: the Hindu.

What are Technical Textiles?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Context:

The Centre is targeting five times’ increase in export of technical textiles in three years.

 

Technical Textiles market and India’s share in it:

  • The world market for technical textiles is $250 billion and India’s share is $19 billion.
  • The biggest players are the U.S., West European countries, China and Japan.

 

Government efforts in this regard:

  • In January 2019, the government issued 207 HSN Codes for technical textiles and in less than two years, India had become a net exporter of technical textiles.
  • It also unveiled the National Technical Textiles Mission in February last year.
  • As many as 92 technical textile items have been made mandatory for use by government organisations covering agriculture, horticulture, highways, railways, water resources, and medical applications.

 

About the National Technical Textiles Mission:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) had, in 2020, approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.

 

Aim:

To position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.

 

The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have four components:

  1. The first component will focus on research and development and innovation and will have an outlay of ₹1,000 crore. The research will be at both, fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.
  2. The second component will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles. The Mission will aim at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.
  3. The third component will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crore by 2021-2022 and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends.
  4. The last component will be on education, training and skill development.

 

What are technical textiles?

Technical textiles are defined as textile materials and products manufactured primarily for their technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic and decorative characteristics.

Depending upon their application areas, Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories: Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What are technical textiles?
  2. Features.
  3. Types.
  4. Benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of technical textiles.

Sources: the Hindu.

What is Input Tax Credit (ITC)?

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

 

Context:

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has come out with norms on blocking of tax credit by GST field officers, saying that such blocking should be on the basis of ‘material evidence’ and not just out of ‘suspicion.’

 

New Norms:

  • The norms laid down five specific circumstances in which such credit could be blocked by a senior tax officer. These include invoices on which GST has not been paid by sellers.
  • The commissioner or an officer authorised by him, not below the rank of assistant commissioner, must form an opinion for blocking of input tax credit (ITC) only after ‘proper application of mind’ considering all the facts of the case.

 

What is Input Tax Credit (ITC)?

  • It is the tax that a business pays on a purchase and that it can use to reduce its tax liability when it makes a sale.
  • In simple terms, input credit means at the time of paying tax on output, you can reduce the tax you have already paid on inputs and pay the balance amount.

Exceptions: A business under composition scheme cannot avail of input tax credit. ITC cannot be claimed for personal use or for goods that are exempt.

 

Concerns over its misuse:

  1. There could be possibility of misuse of the provision by unscrupulous businesses by generating fake invoices just to claim tax credit.
  2. As much as 80% of the total GST liability is being settled by ITC and only 20% is deposited as cash.
  3. Under the present dispensation, there is no provision for real time matching of ITC claims with the taxes already paid by suppliers of inputs.
  4. Currently there is a time gap between ITC claim and matching them with the taxes paid by suppliers. Hence there is a possibility of ITC being claimed on the basis of fake invoices.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Madras HC had held last year that Section 54(3) of the Central Goods and Service Tax (CGST) Act – which allows for a refund of Input Tax Credit (ITC) where the accumulation is due to an inverted duty structure – does not infringe on Article 14 of the Constitution? It said that refund of tax paid on inputs and not input services was available under the inverted duty structure.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is GST?
  2. What is composition scheme?
  3. What is Input tax credit?

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Input tax credit.

current affairs

Sources: the Hindu.

Iran and enriched uranium:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Indigenization of technology.

 

Context:

Iran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium has reached over 210 kilograms, the latest defiant move ahead of upcoming nuclear talks with the West.

  • Also, so far the Iran agency has also produced 25 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium, a level that only countries with nuclear weapons have the physical capabilities to produce.

 

What’s the cause for concern?

  • Under the historic 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and the World Powers, Iran was not meant to enrich uranium above 3.67%.
  • The U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, but Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have tried to preserve the accord.
  • Please note that enriched uranium above 90% can be used for nuclear weapons.

 

Background:

In September, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran’s stockpile of uranium enriched to up to 20% fissile purity was estimated at 84.3 kilograms (185 pounds) up from 62.8 kilograms (138 pounds) three months earlier.

 

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA:

The 2015 deal promises Iran economic incentives in exchange for limits on its nuclear program, and is meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.

  • The U.S. unilaterally pulled out of the deal in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, but Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia have tried to preserve the accord.
  • Under the deal with world powers, the other signatories were to provide Iran with 20% enriched uranium needed for its research reactor.
  • Under the terms of the nuclear deal, Iran was prohibited from enriching uranium above 3.67% with the exception of its research reactor activities.

current affairs

 

What is the goal of uranium enrichment?

Uranium contains a rare radioactive isotope, called U-235, that can be used to power nuclear reactors at low enrichment levels and to fuel nuclear bombs at much higher levels.

  • The goal of uranium enrichment is to raise the percentage levels of U-235, which is often done through the use of centrifuges — machines that spin a form of unrefined uranium at high speeds.

 

What’s the concern now?

What makes the enrichment particularly threatening is that the tricky process of enrichment becomes far easier and requires fewer centrifuges as it moves into the higher purities. In other words, getting to 90 percent purity is much easier starting from 20 percent, and easier still starting from 60 percent.

centrifuge

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about India’s nuclear triad? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is JCPOA? Signatories.
  2. Iran and its neighbours.
  3. What is IAEA? Relation with the UN.
  4. Members of IAEA.
  5. Programs of IAEA.
  6. Board of Governors- composition, voting and functions.
  7. What is Uranium Enrichment?

Mains Link:

Write a note on JCPOA.

Sources: the Hindu.

Stubble Burning and its impact on health:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Conservation and Pollution related issues.

 

Context:

A study was conducted recently in six villages of Patiala, Punjab on Stubble Burning and impacts on health.

 

Key findings of the study:

  1. Pollution from stubble burning significantly reduced lung function and was particularly harmful to rural women.
  2. The concentrations of PM2.5, the category of unburnt carbon particles considered most harmful to respiratory health, was found to increase more than twice between the two phases, from 100 g/m3 to 250 g/m3.
  3. During the crop residue burning period, a two to three-fold increase was noted in most of the respiratory symptoms including wheezing, breathlessness on exertion, cough in morning, cough at night, skin rashes, runny nose or itchiness of eyes etc. across all age groups (10-60 years).
  4. The highest number of respiratory complaints were reported by the elderly population (>40-60) and the lowest in the younger age group(>10-18) during crop burning period.
  5. There was decline in lung function with increase in PM2.5 concentration across all age groups even after controlling for several other exposure variables, such the influence of cooking fuel, ventilation, distance from road etc.

 

What is stubble burning?

It is a common practice followed by farmers to prepare fields for sowing of wheat in November as there is little time left between the harvesting of paddy and sowing of wheat.

Impact: Stubble burning results in emission of harmful gases such carbon diaoxide, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide along with particulate matter.

 

Why farmers opt for stubble burning?

  1. They do not have alternatives for utilising them effectively.
  2. The farmers are ill-equipped to deal with waste because they cannot afford the new technology that is available to handle the waste material.
  3. With less income due to crop damage, farmers are likely to be inclined to light up their fields to cut costs and not spend on scientific ways of stubble management.

 

Advantages of stubble burning:

  • It quickly clears the field and is the cheapest alternative.
  • Kills weeds, including those resistant to herbicide.
  • Kills slugs and other pests.
  • Can reduce nitrogen tie-up.

 

Effects of Stubble Burning:

  • Pollution: Open stubble burning emits large amounts of toxic pollutants in the atmosphere which contain harmful gases like methane (CH4), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Volatile organic compound (VOC) and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. They may eventually cause smog.
  • Soil Fertility: Burning husk on ground destroys the nutrients in the soil, making it less fertile.
  • Heat Penetration: Heat generated by stubble burning penetrates into the soil, leading to the loss of moisture and useful microbes.

current affairs

 

Alternative solutions that can avoid Stubble Burning:

  1. Promote paddy straw-based power plants. It will also create employment opportunities.
  2. Incorporation of crop residues in the soil can improve soil moisture and help activate the growth of soil microorganisms for better plant growth.
  3. Convert the removed residues into enriched organic manure through composting.
  4. New opportunities for industrial use such as extraction of yeast protein can be explored through scientific research.

 

What needs to be done- Supreme Court’s observations?

  1. Incentives could be provided to those who are not burning the stubble and disincentives for those who continue the practice.
  2. The existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) Scheme must be so interpreted as to enable the States concerned to wholly or partly deny the benefit of MSP to those who continue to burn the crop residue.

 

Chhattisgarh Model:

An innovative experiment has been undertaken by the Chhattisgarh government by setting up gauthans.

  • A gauthan is a dedicated five-acre plot, held in common by each village, where all the unused stubble is collected through parali daan (people’s donations) and is converted into organic fertiliser by mixing with cow dung and few natural enzymes.
  • The scheme also generates employment among rural youth.
  • The government supports the transportation of parali from the farm to the nearest gauthan.
  • The state has successfully developed 2,000 gauthans.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about Pusa, a stubble burning solution? Reference: read this.

Do you know about the WHO prescribed air quality standards?

 

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.
  5. Byproducts of stubble Burning.

Mains Link:

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

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

Who are the Vanniyars?

Vanniyars are one of the largest and most consolidated backward communities in Tamil Nadu. They had raised massive protests in the mid-1980s demanding 20% reservation in the state, and 2% in central services.

Why in News?

The Madras High Court has quashed the 10.5% special internal reservation provided by the Tamil Nadu government to Vanniyars, a most backward caste (MBC).

  • The court said the quota was ultra vires to the Constitution.

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