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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 22 December 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

 

Table of Contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

1. House panel to review Bill on raising marriage age of women.

2. The Belagavi border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka.

3. Mekedatu Issue.

4. Xinjiang issue.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. James Webb Space Telescope (JWST).

2. The problems within the UDAN scheme.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).

2. Article 31D of Indian Constitution.

3. Chillai Kalan.

4. Albino Indian Flapshell turtle


House panel to review Bill on raising marriage age of women:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Parliament and state legislatures- functioning.

 

House panel

Context:

Lok Sabha has sent the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021 which seeks to raise the age of marriage for women to 21 to a standing committee.

 

Rationale behind the legislation:

The age of marriage should be uniformly applicable to all religions, caste, creed, overriding any custom or law that seeks to discriminate against women.

The Bill would also amend:

  1. The Indian Christian Marriage Act, 1972.
  2. The Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act, 1936.
  3. The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937.
  4. The Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  5. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955.
  6. The Foreign Marriage Act, 1956.

To know more about the Bill, its key provisions, significance and concerns, refer to this article covered by us recently.

 

current Affairs

 

What are Parliamentary Committees?

A parliamentary committee is a “committee which is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker and which works under the direction of the Speaker and presents its report to the House or to the Speaker and the Secretariat”.

  • Parliamentary Committees are of two kinds – Standing Committees and ad hoc Committees. The former are elected or appointed every year or periodically and their work goes on, more or less, on a continuous basis. The latter are appointed on an ad hoc basis as need arises and they cease to exist as soon as they complete the task assigned to them.

 

Constitutional Provisions:

Parliamentary committees draw their authority from Article 105 (on privileges of Parliament members) and Article 118 (on Parliament’s authority to make rules for regulating its procedure and conduct of business).

 

Composition of Departmentally-related standing committees (DRSCs):

  • Until the 13th Lok Sabha, each DRSC comprised 45 members — 30 nominated from Lok Sabha and 15 from the Rajya Sabha.
  • However, with their restructuring in July 2004, each DRSC now has 31 members — 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha, to be nominated by Lok Sabha Speaker and Rajya Sabha chairman, respectively.
  • They are appointed for a maximum period of one year and the committees are reconstituted every year cutting across party lines.

 

Significance of Parliamentary Committee System:

  1. Inter-Ministerial Coordination.
  2. Instrument For Detailed Scrutiny.
  3. Acting As Mini-Parliament.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Jaya Jailtley committee was constituted for the purpose of?
  2. Legal provisions related to minimum age of marriage for men and women in India.
  3. Key provisions of Special Marriage Act, 1954.
  4. Overview of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006.
  5. Standing vs select vs finance committees.
  6. Who appoints chairperson and members of these committees?
  7. Committees exclusive to only Lok Sabha.
  8. Committees where Speaker is the chairperson.

Mains Link:

Do you think minimum age for marriage for men and women should be raised? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

The Belagavi border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka:

GS Paper 2:

 Topics Covered: Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure.

 

The Belagavi border dispute

Context:

An inter-state dispute between Karnataka and Maharashtra dating back to the period of Independence and the reorganisation of states on linguistic lines in 1956 has reared its head again in the Belagavi region of Karnataka.

  • The latest flashpoint is following a series of minor incidents over the last week that have inflamed pro-Kannada and pro-Marathi passions on the two sides of the border.

 

Genesis of the dispute:

The erstwhile Bombay Presidency, a multilingual province, included the present-day Karnataka districts of Vijayapura, Belagavi, Dharwad and Uttara-Kannada.

  • In 1948, the Belgaum municipality requested that the district, having a predominantly Marathi-speaking population, be incorporated into the proposed Maharashtra state.
  • However, the States Reorganisation Act of 1956, which divided states on linguistic and administrative lines, made Belgaum and 10 talukas of Bombay State a part of the then Mysore State (which was renamed Karnataka in 1973).

 

The Mahajan Commission report:

While demarcating borders, the Reorganisation of States Commission sought to include talukas with a Kannada-speaking population of more than 50 per cent in Mysore.

  • Opponents of the region’s inclusion in Mysore argued, and continue to argue, that Marathi-speakers outnumbered Kannadigas who lived there in 1956.
  • In September 1957, the Bombay government echoed their demand and lodged a protest with the Centre, leading to the formation of the Mahajan Commission under former Chief Justice Mehr Chand Mahajan in October 1966.

 

Recommendations of the Commission:

The Commission in its report in August 1967 recommended that 264 villages be transferred to Maharashtra (which formed in 1960) and that Belgaum and 247 villages remain with Karnataka.

 

Later developments:

  • Maharashtra rejected the report, calling it biased and illogical, and demanded another review.
  • Karnataka welcomed the report, and has ever since continued to press for implementation, although this has not been formally done by the Centre.
  • Maharashtra continues to claim over 814 villages along the border, as well as Belgaum city, which are currently part of Karnataka.
  • Successive governments in Maharashtra have demanded their inclusion within the state– a claim that Karnataka contests.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that in 1950, the Constitution contained a four-fold classification of the states of the Indian Union—Part A, Part B, Part C and Part D States?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Mahajan Commission.
  2. About the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.

Mains Link:

Discuss the key features of the States Reorganisation Act of 1956.

Sources: Indian Express Explained.

Mekedatu issue:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Karnataka has demanded that the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) give clearance for the detailed project report (DPR) of Mekedatu Balancing Reservoir Project in its next meeting.

 

What’s the issue?

Tamil Nadu has protested against Karnataka’s move to build a reservoir on river Cauvery at Mekedatu. However, the Karnataka Government has asserted that there is no “compromise” on the Mekedatu project and the state wants to undertake the project.

 

What’s the way out then?

The Centre has said the project required the approval of the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s (CWMA).

  • The Detail Project Report (DPR) sent by Karnataka was tabled in the CWMA several times for approval, but the discussion on this issue could not take place due to a lack of consensus among party states Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Also, as per the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal‘s final award, which was modified by the Supreme Court, acceptance of CWMA would be a prerequisite for consideration of the DPR by the Jal Shakti Ministry.

Since the project was proposed across an inter-state river, it required approval of lower riparian state(s) as per the interstate water dispute act.

 

About the Project:

  • Mekedatu is a multipurpose (drinking and power) project.
  • It involves building a balancing reservoir, near Kanakapura in Ramanagara district in Karnataka.
  • The project once completed is aimed at ensuring drinking water to Bengaluru and neighboring areas (4.75 TMC) and also can generate 400 MW power.
  • The estimated cost of the project is Rs 9,000 crore.

 

Why Tamil Nadu is against this project?

  1. It says, the CWDT and the SC have found that the existing storage facilities available in the Cauvery basin were adequate for storing and distributing water so Karnataka’s proposal is ex-facie (on the face of it) untenable and should be rejected outright.
  2. It has also held that the reservoir is not just for drinking water alone, but to increase the extent of irrigation, which is in clear violation of the Cauvery Water Disputes Award.

 

Award by the tribunal and the Supreme Court:

The tribunal was set up in 1990 and made its final award in 2007, granting 419 tmcft of water to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmcft to Karnataka, 30 tmcft to Kerala and 7 tmcft to Puducherry. The tribunal ordered that in rain-scarcity years, the allocation for all would stand reduced.

However, both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka expressed unhappiness over the allocation and there were protests and violence in both states over water-sharing. That saw the Supreme Court take up the matter and, in a 2018 judgment, it apportioned 14.75 tmcft from Tamil Nadu’s earlier share to Karnataka.

  • The new allocation thus stood at 404.25 tmcft for Tamil Nadu while Karnataka’s share went up to 284.75 tmcft. The share for Kerala and Puducherry remained unchanged.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Cauvery Management Scheme? What are the components of the scheme? Reference 

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Tributaries of Cauvery.
  2. Basin states.
  3. Important falls and dams across the river.
  4. Where is Mekedatu?
  5. What is the project related to?
  6. Beneficiaries of the project.

Mains Link:

Write a note on the Mekedatu project.

Sources: The Hindu

Uighurs:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

China has announced sanctions on four members of the U.S. government’s Commission on International Religious Freedom in retaliation for penalties imposed on Chinese officials over complaints of abuses in the country’s northwestern Xinjiang region.

 

Background:

The US has imposed new sanctions on several Chinese biotech and surveillance companies for actions in Xinjiang province, the latest step against Beijing over human rights abuses of Uighurs Muslims in the country’s western region.

 

What’s the issue?

Various countries have called on China to “ensure full respect for the rule of law” for the Muslim Uighur community in Xinjiang.

  • Credible reports indicate that over a million people have been arbitrarily detained in Xinjiang and that there is widespread surveillance disproportionately targeting Uighurs and members of other minorities and restrictions on fundamental freedoms and Uighur culture.

 

China’s response:

Despite mounting evidence, China denies mistreating the Uyghurs, and goes on to insist it is simply running “vocational training” centres designed to counter extremism.

Current Affairs

 

Who are Uighurs?

The Uighurs are a predominantly Muslim minority Turkic ethnic group, whose origins can be traced to Central and East Asia.

The Uighurs speak their own language, similar to Turkish, and see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

  • China recognises the community only as a regional minority and rejects that they are an indigenous group.
  • Currently, the largest population of the Uighur ethnic community lives in the Xinjiang region of China.
  • A significant population of Uighurs also lives in the neighbouring Central Asian countries such as Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.

Uighur Muslims for decades, under the false accusation by the Chinese government of terrorism and separatism, have suffered from abuses including persecution, forced detention, intense scrutiny, surveillance and even slavery.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about China’s One Country Two Systems policy? Which regions are administered under this policy? Read this

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Who are Uighurs?
  2. Where is Xinjiang?
  3. Who are Han Chinese?
  4. Indian states bordering Xinjiang province.

Mains Link:

Who are Uighurs? Why are they in news? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

James Webb Space Telescope:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

NASA has announced the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) on December 24.

  • Webb, the world’s premier space science observatory, will succeed the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA’s flagship telescope that has been in service for more than three decades now.

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.

Current Affairs

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.

The problems within the UDAN scheme:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Infrastructure- airways.

 

Context:

So far, the AAI has awarded 948 routes under UDAN, of which 403 routes have taken off that connect 65 airports and 8 heliports. However, some of the routes launched have discontinued.

  • This was because of the failure to set up airports due to lack of availability of land, airlines finding the routes difficult to sustain, and adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Poor financial health of many smaller, regional carriers have been a bane for the scheme.

 

About UDAN scheme (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) Scheme:

  • The scheme is aimed at enhancing connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country and making air travel affordable.
  • It is a key component of Centre’s National Civil Aviation Policy led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and launched in June 2017.
  • It is also known as the regional connectivity scheme (RCS) as it seeks to improve air connectivity to tier-2 and tier-3 cities through revival of unused and underused airports.
  • Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) an amount shared between the Centre and the concerned states.
  • The scheme will be jointly funded by the central government and state governments.
  • The scheme will run for 10 years and can be extended thereafter.

 

Key features of the scheme:

  1. Airlines are awarded routes under the programme through a bidding process and are required to offer airfares at the rate of ₹2,500 per hour of flight.
  2. At least 50% of the total seats on an aircraft have to be offered at cheaper rates.
  3. In order to enable airlines to offer affordable fares they are given a subsidy from the Government for a period of three years.
  4. The Government had also earmarked ₹4,500 crore for revival of 50 airports in the first three years.

Current Affairs

 

UDAN 4.0:

  • The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special focus on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
  • The airports that had already been developed by Airports Authority of India (AAI) are given higher priority for the award of VGF (Viability Gap Funding) under the Scheme.
  • Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopters and seaplanes is also been incorporated.

 

What have been the challenges?

  • Poor financial health of many smaller, regional carriers have been a bane for the scheme.
  • Many players don’t have more than one or two planes and they are often poorly maintained. New planes are too expensive for these smaller players.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the ATF is not within the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax (GST)? More about items not covered under GST: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was UDAN scheme launched?
  2. Implementation and funding of the scheme.
  3. Overview of the National Civil Aviation Policy.
  4. Under the scheme, who provides Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to subsidise the airfare?
  5. Role of state governments under the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the performance of UDAN scheme.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD):

SAD turns 100.

  • It was formed as a volunteer group on December 14, 1920, to free gurdwaras from the control of mahants.
  • It launched a peaceful struggle that lasted four years and resulted in the death of 4,000 protesters, who were attacked both by mahants and by the British administration.
  • The morcha finally led to the enactment of the Sikh Gurdwaras Act 1925, which brought gurdwaras under the control of the SGPC. It also pitched the party against the colonial government, paving the way for its alliance with Congress party.

 

Article 31D of Indian Constitution:

The Government has clarified that the word ‘anti-national’ has not been defined in statutes.

‘Anti-national activity’ was inserted in the Constitution during the Emergency in 1976 but was removed later.

  • The Constitution (Forty–Second Amendment) Act, 1976 inserted in the Constitution Article 31D (during Emergency) which defined ‘anti-national activity’ and this Article 31D was, subsequently, omitted by the Constitution (Forty-third Amendment) Act, 1977.

 

Chillai Kalan:

With the winter solstice today (December 21), one of the harshest winter periods of 40 days, called Chillai Kalan, has begun in Kashmir.

Chillai Kalan is a Persian term which means ‘major cold’.

  • The ongoing cold wave is said to reach its peak with Kashmir’s mountains covered in snow for weeks, and the famous Dal Lake also reaching freezing point until the fag end of January.
  • This is followed by a 20-day-long ‘Chillai Khurd’ and 10-day-long ‘Chillai Bacha’.

 

Albino Indian Flapshell turtle:

  • A rare species of Albino Indian Flapshell turtle was recently sighted by Mountaineers in Sirnapalli forest in Telangana’s Nizamabad.
  • The Indian flapshell turtle is commonly found in South Asian countries like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • The rare yellow color of the turtle may be due to the lack of a pigment called tyrosine present in high amounts in reptiles. A genetic mutation or possible congenital disorder is likely responsible for the lack of tyrosine.
  • Indian flapshell turtles are typically are only 9 to 14 inches (22 centimeters to 35 centimeters) long, and like to eat frogs, snails and aquatic vegetation.

Conservation Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable.
  • CITES: Appendix II.
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.

Current Affairs


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