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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 03 December 2021

 

InstaLinks

 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 1:

1 .Paika Rebellion.

2.Smart Cities Mission.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Caste Census.

2.Negative Import list.

3.Dam Safety Bill.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Hypersonic weapons.

2. Facial Recognition.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights.

2.INSCOG


 

Paika Rebellion:

GS Paper 1:

 

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

 

Context:

Union Culture Minister recently made the following recommendation regarding the Paika Rebellion:

  • “The 1817 Paika rebellion of Odisha could not be called the first war of Independence, but considering it as the beginning of a popular uprising against the British, it would be included as a case study in the Class 8 National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) history textbook.”

 

Who are Paikas?

Recruited since the 16th century by kings in Odisha from a variety of social groups to render martial services in return for rent-free land (nish-kar jagirs) and titles.

  • They were the traditional land-owning militia of Odisha and served as warriors.

 

How did the rebellion begin?

  • When armies of the East India Company overran most of Odisha in 1803, the Raja of Khurda lost his primacy and the power and prestige of the Paikas went on a decline. So, they rebelled back.
  • The British were not comfortable with these aggressive, warlike new subjects and set up a commission under Walter Ewer to look into the issue.
  • The commission recommended that the hereditary rent-free lands granted to the Paikas be taken over by the British administration and this recommendation was zealously adhered to. They revolted against the British.
  • Bakshi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar Mohapatra Bharamarbar Rai, the highest-ranking military general of King Khorda Mukund Dev II, led the Paikas to join the uprising.
  • However, the rebellion also had several other underlying causes – like the rise in the price of salt, abolition of the cowrie currency for payment of taxes and an overtly extortionist land revenue policy.

 

Outcome:

Although initially the Company struggled to respond they managed to put down the rebellion by May 1817. Many of the Paik leaders were hanged or deported. Jagabandhu surrendered in 1825.

 

Nationalist movement or a peasant rebellion?

The Paika Rebellion is one among the peasant rebellions that took place in India when the British East India Company was expanding its military enterprise. Because these uprisings violently clashed with European colonialists and missionaries on many occasions, their resistance is sometimes seen as the first expression of resistance against colonial rule — and therefore considered to be “nationalist” in nature.”

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Paika Rebellion.
  2. Paiks.
  3. Walter Ewer Commission.

Mains Link:

Is Paika Rebellion a Nationalist movement or a peasant rebellion? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Smart Cities Mission (SCM)

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.

 

Smart Cities Mission (SCM):

Context:

The deadline for completing projects under the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) has been extended for all 100 participating cities to June 2023 due to the delays caused by COVID-19 and based on a NITI Aayog recommendation in August.

 

Smart Cities mission:

  • GoI launched the smart cities mission in 2015.
  • The cities were given five years to complete the projects under the mission, with the first set of Smart Cities expected to complete in 2021.
  • The objective is to integrate city functions, utilize scarce resources more efficiently, and improve the quality of life of citizens.
  • It is an innovative initiative under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme.

 

Smart city is envisaged to have four pillars:

  1. Social Infrastructure.
  2. Physical Infrastructure.
  3. Institutional Infrastructure (including Governance).
  4. Economic Infrastructure.

 

Progress made under this scheme (as of June 2021):

  • Of the total proposed projects under this mission, 5,924 projects have been tendered, work orders have been issued for 5,236 and 2,665 projects are fully operational.
  • 212 PPP projects worth Rs. 24,964 crore have been grounded/completed
  • 70 Smart cities have developed. operationalized their Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCCs) in the country.

 

Challenges ahead:

  1. A lot of progress is desired in creating energy-efficient and green buildings.
  2. Making Urban Bodies self-reliant.
  3. The share of public transport is declining, it needs to be increased to meet the needs of increasing urbanization.
  4. Rising air pollution, increase in road congestion due to an increase in urbanization.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Global Smart City Index? Read Here(Briefly). 

Do you remember the City Innovation Exchange (CiX)? Read this

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Smart Cities Mission.
  2. India smart cities awards (ISCA)- latest edition.
  3. Parameters used for ranking.
  4. About the AMRUT mission.

 

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the Smart Cities Mission.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

Caste census: 

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Bihar is planning to conduct State-specific caste-based exercise. This comes after a delegation of Bihar leaders led by CM had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and urged him to hold caste census in the country but later, the Central Government had refused to hold the same.

 

What’s the issue?

The Union government had told the Supreme Court that the caste-based data enumerated in the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) of 2011 was “unusable”, but in 2016, the Registrar-General and Census Commissioner of India had informed the Standing Committee on Rural Development that 98.87% of the data on individual caste and religion was “error free”.

 

Why the data is “unusable” according to the government?

  • The government had said that the total number of castes surveyed in 1931 was 4,147, while the SECC figures show that there are more than 46 lakh different castes. Assuming that some castes may bifurcate into sub-castes, the total number can not be exponentially high to this extent.
  • The entire exercise was corrupted because the enumerators had used different spellings for the same castes. In many cases the respondents, the government said, had refused to divulge their castes.

 

How have caste details been collected so far?

  1. While SC/ST details are collected as part of the census, details of other castes are not collected by the enumerators. The main method is by self-declaration to the enumerator.
  2. So far, backward classes commissions in various States have been conducting their own counts to ascertain the population of backward castes.

 

What kind of caste data is published in the Census?

Every Census in independent India from 1951 to 2011 has published data on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, but not on other castes. Before that, every Census until 1931 had data on caste.

 

What is SECC 2011?

The Socio-Economic Caste Census of 2011 was a major exercise to obtain data about the socio-economic status of various communities.

  • It had two components: a survey of the rural and urban households and ranking of these households based on pre-set parameters, and a caste census.
  • However, only the details of the economic conditions of the people in rural and urban households were released. The caste data has not been released till now.

 

Difference between Census & SECC:

  • The Census provides a portrait of the Indian population, while the SECC is a tool to identify beneficiaries of state support.
  • Since the Census falls under the Census Act of 1948, all data are considered confidential, whereas all the personal information given in the SECC is open for use by Government departments to grant and/or restrict benefits to households.

 

Pros of caste census:

The precise number of the population of each caste would help tailor the reservation policy to ensure equitable representation of all of them.

 

Concerns associated:

  • There is a possibility that it will lead to heartburn among some sections and spawn demands for larger or separate quotas.
  • It has been alleged that the mere act of labelling persons as belonging to a caste tends to perpetuate the system.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics? What were the other contents of this? Reference

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a census?
  2. Statutory provisions in this regard.
  3. How is the census carried out?
  4. Highlights of the Census 2011.
  5. About the National Commission for Backward.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of caste based census.

Sources: the Hindu.

What is the negative imports list for defence?

GS Paper 2:

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

 

the negative imports list for defence?

Context:

The Government has brought in few changes in its negative imports list policy. This includes:

  • The armed forces will now be able to import defence equipment in certain circumstances even if it figures in the negative import list.
  • This includes scenarios where there is an “immediate requirement” that domestic industry cannot cater to, or if the safety of soldiers is at stake due to inadequacies in an indigenous product.
  • There is also a provision now to review or remove items mentioned in the negative import list, which was first formulated in August 2020.

 

What is the negative imports list policy/positive indigenisation list?

Introduced in August 2020, the negative list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy and Air Force—will only procure such items from domestic manufacturers.

  • The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).

 

Why was this policy needed? What will be the impact?

As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India has been the second largest importer between 2014 and 2019 with US$ 16.75 billion worth of imports during this period.

  • The government wants to reduce the dependence on imported items in defence and give a shot in the arm to the domestic defence manufacturing industry.
  • By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them for the needs of the forces.

 

2nd list:

The Defence Ministry notified the second negative import list, in May 2021, of 108 items that can now be only purchased from indigenous sources. The new list takes the total number on the list to 209.

  • The list comprises complex systems, sensors, simulator, weapons and ammunitions like helicopters, next generation corvettes, Air Borne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) systems, tank engines.

 

Significance and implications of this move:

  1. Recognises the potential of local defence industry.
  2. Invigorate impetus to domestic Research and Development by attracting fresh investment into technology and manufacturing capabilities.
  3. Provides an excellent opportunity for ‘start-ups’ as also Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know there is a negative list maintained by taxing authorities too?(Though not directly related to this article, it is good to know) : READ HERE (No need to remember everything)

Report on trends in global military expenditure: Read Here

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was this policy introduced?
  2. Features.
  3. Exceptions.
  4. Implementing ministry.

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of the policy.

Sources: the Hindu.

Dam Safety Bill 2019:

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 Rajya Sabha has passed the Dam Safety Bill, 2019.

  • The Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on 2 August, 2019.

 

Concerns raised:

  • The bill is too focused on structural safety and not on operational safety.
  • There is inadequate compensation to the people affected by dams.
  • There is need for an independent regulator as well as for a precise definition of stakeholders.
  • Many states say it encroaches upon the sovereignty of States to manage their dams, and violates the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. They see it as an attempt by the Centre to consolidate power in the guise of safety concerns.

 

Why Centre is introducing this Bill?

Though the subject does not fall under the purview of Parliament, the Centre has decided to introduce this bill mainly because dam safety is an issue of concern in the country. And there are no legal and institutional safeguards in this regard.

 

Highlights of Dam Safety Bill, 2019:

  • The Bill provides for proper surveillance, inspection, operation and maintenance of all specified dams in the country to ensure their safe functioning.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a National Committee on Dam Safety which shall evolve dam safety policies and recommend necessary regulations as may be required for the purpose.
  • The Bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
  • The Bill provides for constitution of a State Committee on Dam Safety by State Government.

 

Significance:

  • The Bill will help all the States and Union Territories of India to adopt uniform dam safety procedures which shall ensure safety of dams and safeguard benefits from such dams. This shall also help in safeguarding human life, livestock and property.
  • It addresses all issues concerning dam safety including regular inspection of dams, Emergency Action Plan, comprehensive dam safety review, adequate repair and maintenance funds for dam safety, Instrumentation and Safety Manuals.
  • It lays onus of dam safety on the dam owner and provides for penal provisions for commission and omission of certain acts.

 

Need for:

  • Over the last fifty years, India has invested substantially in dams and related infrastructures, and ranks third after USA and China in the number of large dams. 5254 large dams are in operation in the country currently and another 447 are under construction.
  • In addition to this, there are thousands of medium and small dams.
  • While dams have played a key role in fostering rapid and sustained agricultural growth and development in India, there has been a long felt need for a uniform law and administrative structure for ensuring dam safety.
  • The Central Water Commission, through the National Committee on Dam Safety (NCDS), Central Dam Safety Organization (CDSO) and State Dam Safety Organizations (SDSO) has been making constant endeavours in this direction, but these organizations do not have any statutory powers and are only advisory in nature.
  • This can be a matter of concern, especially since about 75 percent of the large dams in India are more than 25 years old and about 164 dams are more than 100 years old.
  • A badly maintained, unsafe dam can be a hazard to human life, flora and fauna, public and private assets and the environment.
  • India has had 42 dam failures in the past.

Sources: the Hindu.

hypersonic weapons:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in science and technology.

 

Context:

US has said that China’s pursuit of hypersonic weapons “increases tensions in the region” and vowed the U.S. would maintain its capability to deter potential threats posed by China.

 

What’s the issue?

  • China’s growing military muscle and its drive to end American predominance in Asia has triggered unease in Washington.
  • China’s efforts to accelerate its military capabilities were highlighted by its July test of a hypersonic weapon capable of partially orbiting the Earth before reentering the atmosphere and gliding on a maneuverable path to its target.

 

Concern:

Experts say the weapons system is clearly designed with a purpose of evading U.S. missile defences, although China insisted it was testing a reusable space vehicle, not a missile.

 

What are hypersonic speeds?

  • Hypersonic speeds are 5 or more times the speed of sound.

current affairs

current affairs

 

Concerns and implications for India and the world:

  • The weapon could, in theory, fly over the South Pole. That would pose a big challenge for the US military because its missile defence systems are focused on the northern polar route.
  • India is especially concerned with the latest developments considering relations with China in the recent past. Such capabilities highlight the threat for our space assets along with the surface assets.

 

Technology used:

The exact details on technology used by China in this particular test are not known through media sources. But most of the hypersonic vehicles primarily use the scramjet technology.

 

What is scramjet technology?

Scramjets are a category of engines designed to handle airflows of speeds in multiples of the speed of sound.

  • In an air-breathing scramjet engine, air from the atmosphere is rammed into the engine’s combustion chamber at a supersonic speed of more than Mach two.
  • In the chamber, the air mixes with the fuel to ignite a supersonic combustion but the cruiser’s flight will be at a hypersonic speed of Mach six to seven. So it is called supersonic combustion ramjet or Scramjet.

current affairs

 

current affairs

Insta Curious:

Hypersonic technology has been developed and tested by both DRDO and ISRO. Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who developed HSTDV?
  2. Which countries have successfully tested hypersonic technology so far?
  3. What is a scramjet?
  4. What are ICBMs? How many countries possess ICBMs?
  5. What are cruise missiles?
  6. What are ballistic missiles?

Mains Link:

What successful testing of the Hypersonic Test Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) mean for India? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facial recognition technology:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

 

Context:

After a delay of three years, come March 2022, passengers will be able to use a face scan as their boarding pass at four airports in the country.

  • Airports at Varanasi, Pune, Kolkata and Vijaywada will be the first to roll-out the facial recognition technology-based biometric boarding system, and the service will go live from March 2022.
  • Thereafter, the technology will be scaled up in a phased manner across various airports in the country.

 

Implementation:

  • The Airports Authority of India has engaged NEC Corporation Private Limited for implementing the technology as part of the DigiYatra policy, which seeks to promote paperless air travel and a seamless journey from entering an airport till boarding a plane.
  • The policy was unveiled in October 2018, and as per the original plan, the roll-out of the facial recognition technology was scheduled for April 2019.

 

What is facial recognition?

Facial recognition is a biometric technology that uses distinctive features on the face to identify and distinguish an individual.

  • AFRS works by maintaining a large database with photos and videos of peoples’ faces. Then, a new image of an unidentified person — often taken from CCTV footage — is compared to the existing database to find a match and identify the person.
  • The artificial intelligence technology used for pattern-finding and matching is called “neural networks”.

 

Benefits of facial recognition:

  1. Improves outcomes in the area of Criminal identification and verification.
  2. Easy identification amongst crowds.
  3. Boosts the police department’s crime investigation capabilities.
  4. Helps civilian verification when needed. No one will be able to get away with a fake ID.

 

What are the Concerns?

  1. Absence of specific laws or guidelines poses a huge threat to the fundamental rights to privacy and freedom of speech and expression because it does not satisfy the threshold the Supreme Court had set in its landmark privacy judgment in the ‘Justice K.S. Puttaswamy Vs Union of India’ case.
  2. Many institutions have not conducted “privacy impact assessment” prior to deployment of the facial recognition system (FRS).
  3. Function creep: A function creep happens when someone uses information for a purpose that is not the original specified purpose (Police got permission to use the FRS by an order of the Delhi High Court for tracking missing children. Now they are using it for wider security and surveillance and investigation purpose, which is a function creep).
  4. This might lead to an over-policing problem or problems where certain minorities are targeted without any legal backing or any oversight as to what is happening. Another problem that may arise is of mass surveillance, wherein the police are using the FRT system during protest.
  5. Mass surveillance: If someone goes to a protest against the government, and the police are able to identify the person, then there might be repercussions.
  6. The basis of the AFRS is a Cabinet note of 2009. But the Cabinet note is not a legal substance, it’s a procedural note at best. So it does not form a valid legal system based on which the AFRS can be built.

 

Need of the hour:

The Supreme Court in the Puttaswamy judgment ruled that privacy is a fundamental right even in public spaces. And if these rights needs to be infringed, then the government has to show that such action is sanctioned by law, proportionate to the need for such interference, necessary and in pursuit of a legitimate aim.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is FRT?
  2. How it works?
  3. Puttaswamy judgement is related to?

Mains Link:

FRT- uses and concerns.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights:

  • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also known as, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, is one of the UN human rights bodies.
  • The OHCHR is entrusted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with the mandate to protect and promote all human rights for everyone all over the world.
  • It offers technical expertise and capacity-development to aid the implementation of global human rights standards on the field.
  • It is a part of the UN Secretariat and was established in 1993.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva and has many regional offices as well.
  • The OHCHR is headed by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

OHCHR Funding: Almost 2/3rd of the funding for the Office comes from voluntary contributions from donors and member states. The rest is covered by the general budget of the UN.

 

Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG):

  • The Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) is jointly initiated by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and Department of Biotechnology (DBT) with Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • It is a consortium of 28 National Laboratories to monitor the genomic variations in the SARS-CoV-2.
  • It carries out whole genome sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 virus across the nation, aiding in understanding the spread and evolution of the virus.
  • INSACOG also aims to focus on sequencing of clinical samples to understand the disease dynamics and severity.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Crimea issue.
  2. UIDAI is working with the World Bank, UN to take Aadhaar tech overseas.

 


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