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. Sessions of Parliament.
2. Mullaperiyar dam issue.
3. Competition Commission of India.
4. Dengue fever.
5. Zika Virus.
6. UNESCO creative cities network (UCCN).
Facts for Prelims:
1. Goa Maritime Conclave.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
The Cabinet Committee on Parliament Affairs (CCPA) has recommended that the
Winter session of Parliament be held from November 29 to December 23.
- Last year, the winter session could not be held due to the onslaught of the pandemic, which had witnessed the curtailment of the Budget and the Monsoon sessions.
What the Constitution says on Parliamentary Sessions?
- Article 85 requires that there should not be a gap of more than six months between two sessions of Parliament.
- Please note, the Constitution does not specify when or for how many days Parliament should meet.
- The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. That means the Parliament should meet at least twice a year.
- A ‘session’ of Parliament is the period between the first sitting of a House and its prorogation.
Who shall convene a session?
- In practice, the Cabinet Committee on Parliamentary Affairs, comprising senior ministers, decides on the dates for parliament’s sitting and it is then conveyed to the president.
- So, the executive, headed by the prime minister, which steers the business to be taken up by parliament will have the power to advise the president to summon the legislature.
Why is a Parliamentary Session important?
- Law-making is dependent on when Parliament meets.
- Also, a thorough scrutiny of the government’s functioning and deliberation on national issues can only take place when the two Houses are in session.
- Predictability in the functioning of Parliament is key to a well-functioning democracy.
Do you know the difference in powers of Speaker and Chairman with regards to suspension of Menmbers of the House? Read Here
- Who can Summon the Parliament?
- Article 85.
- Sessions of the Parliament.
- For how many days in a year the Parliament has to meet?
- Who chairs the joint sitting of the Parliament?
Why is a Parliamentary Session important? Discuss.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.
The Kerala government has withdrawn its decision granting permission to Tamil Nadu for felling 15 trees downstream the Baby Dam at Mullaperiyar reservoir as part of efforts to strengthen the structure. The state government said that action will be taken against the officials who had sanctioned the move.
The present issue:
Please note that both the states are at loggerheads over the stability of the structure, with Kerala demanding that a new dam must be constructed and Tamil Nadu saying that a new structure is not needed. Also, Kerala has been against increasing water levels at the dam, citing structural stability.
Last month, the Supreme Court directed the Supervisory Committee to take an immediate and firm decision on the maximum water level that can be maintained at Mullaperiyar dam, amid torrential rain in Kerala.
- The SC constituted a permanent Supervisory Committee in 2014 to oversee all the issues concerning Mullaperiyar dam. The dam is a source of friction between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Issue surrounding water level at the reservoir?
- Kerala said the water level should not go above 139 feet, the same as what the court had ordered on August 24, 2018, when the State was hit by floods. It is because the lives of 50 lakh people would be in danger if the water level in the dam is raised.
- However, Tamil Nadu objected to this decision citing the Supreme Court judgments of 2006 and 2014, which fixed the maximum water level at 142 feet.
Mullaperiyar Dam– what you need to know?
Although the dam is located in Kerala, it is operated by Tamil Nadu following an 1886 lease indenture for 999 years (the Periyar Lake Lease Agreement) that was signed between the Maharaja of Travancore and the Secretary of State for India for the Periyar Irrigation works.
- Constructed between 1887 and 1895, the dam redirected the river to flow towards the Bay of Bengal, instead of the Arabian Sea and provide water to the arid rain region of Madurai in Madras Presidency.
- The dam is located on the confluence of the Mullayar and Periyar rivers inKerala’s Idukki district.
What does Tamil Nadu say?
Tamil Nadu claims that although it has undertaken measures to strengthen the dam, the Kerala government has blocked any attempt to raise the reservoir water level – resulting in losses for Madurai farmers.
Kerala, however, highlights fears of devastation by residents living downstream in the earthquake-prone district of Idukki.
Scientists have argued that if there is an earthquake in the region measuring above six on the Richter scale, the lives of over three million people will come under grave danger.
What is the rule curve?
The ‘rule curve’ in a dam decides the fluctuating storage levels in a reservoir. The gate opening schedule of a dam is based on the ‘rule curve’. It is part of the “core safety” mechanism in a dam.
- Locations of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
- Location of Mullaperiyar dam?
- Who manages the dam?
- About the 1886 Periyar Lake Lease Agreement.
- About the Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act).
Examine why the Mullaperiyar dam issue has become bone of contention between Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Examine if the union government can help resolve this issue.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Statutory organizations.
Fair trade regulator CCI will identify measures to enhance competition in the country’s pharmaceutical sector for ensuring affordability of drugs after analysing findings of its market study.
The study has been initiated after observing issues such as lack of “effective consumer choice”.
- Currently, it appears that, when it comes to medicines, competition is primarily on the basis of brands and not prices. The study will identify measures to increase competition for ensuring affordability of drugs.
- India enjoys an important position in the global pharmaceuticals sector, as India is the largest provider of generic drugs globally.
- The Indian pharmaceutical industry meets over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the U.S. and 25% of all medicine in the U.K.
- Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs used globally to combat AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.
- The Indian pharmaceuticals market is the world’s third-largest in terms of volume and thirteenth-largest in terms of value. It has established itself as a global manufacturing and research hub.
- India has one of the lowest manufacturing costs in the world – lower than that of the U.S. and almost half of the cost in Europe.
Challenges that need to be addressed:
Dependence: Indian pharmaceutical industry is highly dependent on China for pharmaceutical raw materials. These raw materials are called the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API), also known as bulk drugs. Indian drug-makers import around 70% of their total bulk drug requirements from China.
Fake versions of high value and/or high volume brands of the pharmaceutical companies in India are adversely affecting their business performance posing another major challenge. It also creates a negative impact to the end consumer and a huge health hazard.
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.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009. Chairman and members are appointed by the central government.
Functions of the commission:
- It is the duty of the Commission to eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
- The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
The Competition Act:
The Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) was repealed and replaced by the Competition Act, 2002, on the recommendations of the Raghavan committee.
- The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
Do you know about the International Competition Network?
How might cartels be worse than monopolies? Read this.
- About CCI.
- Highlights of the Competition Act and amendments to it.
- About NCLT and its jurisdiction.
- What is Cartelisation?
Discuss the roles and functions of CCI.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Issues related to health.
The rate of spread of dengue in Delhi is rampant, with the total number of cases reported in just the first week of November being 1,171. The number of dengue cases reported in the national capital in the month of October was 1,196.
The spike in dengue, malaria and chikungunya cases across Delhi is leading the local bodies and authorities to increase their fogging and spraying drives. The citizens are also being directed to make sure that there is no stagnant water collected near or inside their houses, as it provides a breeding space for the disease.
- Dengue virus is transmitted through the bite of a female Aedes (Ae.) mosquito.
- Aedes is a day time feeder and can fly up to a limited distance of 400 meters.
- Although it usually results in mild illness, severe dengue infections can sometimes prove fatal.
- World Health Organization (WHO) estimates suggest an annual incidence of 100-400 million dengue infections every year, with its global incidence growing dramatically “in recent decades”.
Status of Dengue:
- Incidence of dengue has grown dramatically around the world in recent decades, with a vast majority of cases under-reported, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
- WHO estimates 39 crore dengue virus infections per year, of which 9.6 crore show symptoms.
- India registered over 1 lakh dengue cases in 2018 and over 1.5 lakh cases in 2019, according to the National Vector-Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).
Recently researchers from the World Mosquito Program have used mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria to successfully control dengue in Indonesia.
- The scientists infected some mosquitoes with Wolbachia and then released them in the city where they bred with local mosquitoes, until nearly all mosquitoes in the area were carrying Wolbachia bacteria. This is called the Population Replacement Strategy.
- At the end of 27 months, the researchers found that the incidence of dengue was 77% lower in areas where Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes had been released, as compared to areas without such deployments.
Did you know that dengue mosquitoes can’t breed once the temperature falls below 16 degrees?
Have you heard about the “Wolbachia method”, which could be used to significantly reduce the incidence of dengue fever? Reference: read this.
- Dengue- causes, symptoms and spread.
- The “Wolbachia method” is related to?
- Where was this method tested recently?
- About the World Mosquito Program (WMP).
Write a note on the “Wolbachia method”, which was in news recently.
Sources: Indian Express.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.
With a rise in the number of Zika virus cases in Uttar Pradesh, doctors have advised that people should avoid all non-essential travel to areas reporting cases. Currently close to 90 persons, including 17 children, have tested positive for the virus from the State.
What’s the concern now?
According to information released by the World Health Organisation (WHO), a majority of those infected with Zika virus disease either remain asymptomatic (up to 80%) or show mild symptoms of fever, rash, conjunctivitis, body ache, joint pains.
- The Zika virus is predominantly transmitted by infected mosquitoes from the Aedes genus, mainly Aedes aegypti. The Aedes mosquitoes also spread dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
- The virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys.
- Apart from the mosquitoes, an infected person can also spread the virus.
- Generally, the symptoms include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise, or headache. It lasts for about two to seven days. Most infected people do not develop any symptoms.
- Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly (smaller than normal head size) and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
- It has no treatment or vaccine. Instead, the focus is on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration and acetaminophen for fever and pain.
Did you know that in 2019 transgenic mosquitoes were released in some areas of Brazil? What was the objective of this experiment? Reference:
- About Zika Virus Disease.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper 2:
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has picked Srinagar among 49 cities as part of the creative city network under the Crafts and Folk Arts category.
- The inclusion of Srinagar in the creative city network for the arts and crafts has paved a way for the city to represent its handicrafts on the global stage through UNESCO.
About Creative Cities Network:
The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) was created in 2004 to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.
Objective: placing creativity and cultural industries at the heart of their development plans at the local level and cooperating actively at the international level.
The Network covers seven creative fields: Crafts and Folk Arts, Media Arts, Film, Design, Gastronomy, Literature and Music.
Joining the Network, cities commit to sharing their best practices and developing partnerships involving the public and private sectors as well as civil society in order to:
- Strengthen the creation, production, distribution and dissemination of cultural activities, goods and services;
- Develop hubs of creativity and innovation and broaden opportunities for creators and professionals in the cultural sector;
- Improve access to and participation in cultural life, in particular for marginalized or vulnerable groups and individuals;
- Fully integrate culture and creativity into sustainable development plans.
As of November, 2019, there are five Indian cities in UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) as follows:
- Jaipur-Crafts and Folk Arts(2015).
- Varanasi-Creative city of Music (2015).
- Chennai-Creative city of Music(2017).
- Mumbai – Film (2019).
- Hyderabad – Gastronomy (2019).
Did you know that the United Nations General Assembly has designated the 31st of October as World Cities Day? Reference: read this.
Sources: the Hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Goa Maritime Conclave:
- The third edition of Goa Maritime Conclave (GMC) – 2021 was hosted by the Indian Navy under the aegis of Naval War College, Goa.
- The theme for this year’s edition of GMC is “Maritime Security and Emerging Non-Traditional Threats: A Case for Proactive Role for IOR Navies”.
- Chiefs of Navies/ Heads of Maritime Forces from 12 Indian Ocean Region countries attended the conclave.
- The conclave is a multinational platform that uses collective wisdom of international maritime security providers. The participants of the conclave will benefit from the interactions with subject matter experts and eminent speakers.
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