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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 11 JANUARY 2022

 

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. Krishna River water dispute.

2. Poll symbol.

3. China’s status as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

 

GS Paper 3:

1. PM Jan Dhan Yojna.

2. Semiconductor Chip shortage.

3. NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Universal Accessibility in India.

2. Bhungloti.

3. Extended Producer Responsibility.

4. Jagannath temple.


 

Krishna River water dispute:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Fearing invectives, both judges on a Supreme Court bench—Justices D Y Chandrachud and A S Bopanna—created a record of sort by recusing from hearing the Krishna river water dispute case just because they hailed from Maharashtra and Karnataka, two litigants in the case apart from Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.

 

Need for:

Though the judges take oath to render justice without “fear or favour”, apprehensions over insulting or abusive criticism forced their recusal from the Krishna water dispute case.

 

Dispute in the court:

  • Karnataka had sought the vacation of a November 16, 2011, order of the Supreme Court that stopped the Centre from publishing in the Official Gazette (under Section 6(1) of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act of 1956) the final order of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal II (KWDT) pronounced in December 2010, allocating the river water to Karnataka, erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • The publication of the tribunal order is a necessary pre-condition for its implementation.

 

Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) award:

The dispute began with the erstwhile Hyderabad and Mysore states, and later continuing between successors Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

In 1969, the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal (KWDT) was set up under the Inter-State River Water Dispute Act, 1956, and presented its report in 1973.

The report, which was published in 1976, divided the 2060 TMC (thousand million cubic feet) of Krishna water at 75 per cent dependability into three parts:

  1. 560 TMC for Maharashtra.
  2. 700 TMC for Karnataka.
  3. 800 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

 

Revised order:

As new grievances arose between the states, the second KWDT was instituted in 2004.

It delivered its report in 2010, which made allocations of the Krishna water at 65 per cent dependability and for surplus flows as follows:

  • 81 TMC for Maharashtra, 177 TMC for Karnataka, and 190 TMC for Andhra Pradesh.

 

Why the order hasn’t been published yet?

After the creation of Telangana as a separate state in 2014, Andhra Pradesh is asking to include Telangana as a separate party at the KWDT and that the allocation of Krishna waters be reworked among four states, instead of three.

 

What is Judicial Disqualification or Recusal?

Judicial disqualification, referred to as recusal, is the act of abstaining from participation in an official action such as a legal proceeding due to a conflict of interest of the presiding court official or administrative officer.

 

Grounds for Recusal:

  • The judge is biased in favour of one party, or against another, or that a reasonable objective observer would think he might be.
  • Interest in the subject matter, or relationship with someone who is interested in it.
  • Background or experience, such as the judge’s prior work as a lawyer.
  • Personal knowledge about the parties or the facts of the case.
  • Ex parte communications with lawyers or non-lawyers.
  • Rulings, comments or conduct.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes? Click here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Tributaries of Krishna.
  2. Tributaries of Godavari.
  3. East vs West flowing rivers of India.
  4. Interstate river water disputes- key provisions.
  5. Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards- formation, functions and orders.

Sources: the Hindu.

How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

 

How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

Context:

Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s newly formed party Punjab Lok Congress has received its party symbol – Hockey stick and ball.

 

current Affairs

 

Firstly, how are symbols allotted to political parties?

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

  1. A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.
  2. Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  3. When a recognised political party splits, the Election Commission takes the decision on assigning the symbol.

 

Powers of Election Commission:

The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols.

  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
  • The EC is also the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.

 

How many types of symbols are there?

As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017, party symbols are either:

  1. Reserved: Eight national parties and 64 state parties across the country have “reserved” symbols.
  2. Free: The Election Commission also has a pool of nearly 200 “free” symbols that are allotted to the thousands of unrecognised regional parties that pop up before elections.

 

What are the Election Commission’s powers in a dispute over the election symbol when a party splits?

On the question of a split in a political party outside the legislature, Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, states: “When the Commission is satisfied that there are rival sections or groups of a recognised political party each of whom claims to be that party the Commission may decide that one such rival section or group or none of such rival sections or groups is that recognised political party and the decision of the Commission shall be binding on all such rival sections or groups.”

  • This applies to disputes in recognised national and state parties (like the LJP, in this case). For splits in registered but unrecognised parties, the EC usually advises the warring factions to resolve their differences internally or to approach the court.

Please note that before 1968, the EC issued notifications and executive orders under the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between a recognised National Political Party and a State Political Party? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Recognition of political parties.
  2. What are state parties and national parties?
  3. Benefits for recognized parties.
  4. Who assigns party symbols? What are the types?
  5. Who decides on issues related to merger of political parties?
  6. Article 226 is related to?

Mains Link:

Discuss how are symbols allotted to political parties?

Sources: the Hindu.

China’s status as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO):

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions.

 

Context:

China’s status as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a contentious issue with a number of countries raising concerns over the upper middle-income nation deriving benefits reserved for developing countries under WTO norms.

  • Moreover, concerns have been raised over the ‘least developed country’ (LDC) status, with Bangladesh potentially losing this tag after surpassing India in terms of GDP per capita.

 

Developing Country Status in WTO:

There are no WTO definitions of “developed” and “developing” countries.

Members announce for themselves whether they are “developed” or “developing” countries.

  • However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.

 

What are the advantages of “developing country” status?

  • Developing country status in the WTO brings certain rights. Developing country status ensures special and differential treatment (S&DT) or provisions which allow them more time to implement agreements and commitments, include measures to increase trading opportunities, safeguard their trade interests, and support to build capacity to handle disputes and implement technical standards.

 

WTO norms for recognition of Developed, Developing and LDCs:

  • Under the WTO system, generally, countries are designated as developed, developing, and least developed countries (LDCs).
  • The uneven level of development between developed and developing countries in the WTO is a well-recognised fact.
  • Article XVIII of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)recognises that attaining the objectives of this agreement would require facilitating the progressive development of those countries that can only support low levels of development and are at the early stages of development.
  • Accordingly, countries self-designate themselves as ‘developing country’ to take advantage of provisions like Article XVIII of GATT and other special and differential treatment (S&DT) provisions in the WTO agreements.
  • These provisions are aimed at increasing trade opportunities for developing countries, ensuring longer transitional periods to comply with WTO obligations, and affording technical assistance to countries, among other things.

 

What are “special and differential treatment” provisions?

  • Longer time periods for implementing Agreements and commitments.
  • Measures to increase trading opportunities for developing countries.
  • Provisions requiring all WTO members to safeguard the trade interests of developing countries.
  • Support to help developing countries build the capacity to carry out WTO work, handle disputes, and implement technical standards.
  • Provisions related to least-developed country (LDC) Members.
  • The concept of non-reciprocal preferential treatment for developing countries that when developed countries grant trade concessions to developing countries, they should not expect the developing countries to make matching offers in return.

 

Demands by developed countries:

  • For sometime now, developed countries, mainly the US, have been asking the WTO to end the benefits being given to developing countries.
  • Nearly two-thirds of the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have been able to avail themselves of special treatment and to take on weaker commitments under the WTO framework by designating themselves as developing countries.

 

Current Affairs

Sources: the Hindu.

Jan Dhan Yojana:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Inclusive growth and issues arising out of it.

 

Context:

The finance ministry data has revealed that deposits in bank accounts opened under the Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) have crossed the Rs 1.5 lakh crore mark.

 

Performance of the scheme (as of 2021):

  • The number of total PMJDY accounts stand at more than 44 crore.
  • 54 crore Jan Dhan accounts were held in rural and semi-urban bank branches.
  • Nearly 24.61 crore account holders were women as of December 29, 2021.

Benefits like scholarships, subsidies, pensions, and COVID relief funds are credited to the bank accounts, including Jan Dhan Accounts, through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).

 

About PMJDY:

Announced on 15th August 2014, PMJDY is National Mission for Financial Inclusion to ensure access to financial services, namely, Banking/ Savings & Deposit Accounts, Remittance, Credit, Insurance, Pension in an affordable manner.

 

Objectives:

  • To ensure access of financial products & services at an affordable cost.
  • Use of technology to lower cost & widen reach.

 

Basic tenets of the scheme:

  1. Banking the unbanked – Opening of basic savings bank deposit (BSBD) account with minimal paperwork, relaxed KYC, e-KYC, account opening in camp mode, zero balance & zero charges.
  2. Securing the unsecured – Issuance of Indigenous Debit cards for cash withdrawals & payments at merchant locations, with free accident insurance coverage of Rs. 2 lakhs.
  3. Funding the unfunded – Other financial products like micro-insurance, overdraft for consumption, micro-pension & micro-credit.

 

The scheme is Based upon the following 6 pillars:

  1. Universal access to banking services – Branch and Banking Correspondents.
  2. Basic savings bank accounts with overdraft facility (OD) of Rs. 10,000/- to every household.
  3. Financial Literacy Program– Promoting savings, use of ATMs, getting ready for credit, availing insurance and pensions, using basic mobile phones for banking.
  4. Creation of Credit Guarantee Fund – To provide banks some guarantee against defaults.
  5. Insurance – Accident cover up to Rs. 1,00,000 and life cover of   Rs. 30,000 on account opened between 15 Aug 2014 to 31 January 2015.
  6. Pension scheme for Unorganized sector.

 

Extension of PMJDY with New features:

  1. Focus shift from Every Household to Every Unbanked Adult.
  2. RuPay Card Insurance – Free accidental insurance cover on RuPay cards increased from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 2 lakhs for PMJDY accounts opened after 28.8.2018.
  3. Enhancement in overdraft facilities – OD limit doubled from Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000; OD upto Rs 2,000 (without conditions). Increase in upper age limit for OD from 60 to 65 years.

 

Current Affairs

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. When was Jan Dhan Scheme launched?
  2. Eligibility
  3. Overdraft facility under the scheme
  4. Accidental insurance cover under the scheme
  5. Various components of the scheme.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana.

Sources: Indian Express.

Semiconductor Chip shortage:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Science and technology.

 

Context:

Experts have warned that Shortage of semiconductor chips would continue following the rapid spread of Omicron variant of COVID-19 across the world but the supply disruptions would not worsen in 2022 as the Omicron surge should have a milder impact on chip supply chain.

 

What next?

The good news is that the companies have started learning how to deal with increasingly common shortages by building buffer inventory and exploring alternative sourcing to deal with the situation.

 

Semiconductor Chips:

Semiconductors are materials which have a conductivity between conductors and insulators. They can be pure elements, silicon or germanium or compounds; gallium, arsenide or cadmium selenide.

 

Significance of Semiconductor Chips:

They are the basic building blocks that serve as the heart and brain of all modern electronics and information and communications technology products.

  • These chips are now an integral part of contemporary automobiles, household gadgets and essential medical devices such as ECG machines.

 

Recent Increase in Demand:

The Covid-19 pandemic-driven push to take sizable parts of daily economic and essential activity online, or at least digitally enable them, has highlighted the centrality of the chip-powered computers and smartphones in people’s lives.

  • The pandemic and the subsequent lockdowns across the world also forced shut crucial chip-making facilities in countries including Japan, South Korea, China and the US.
  • Its shortage causes cascading effects, given that the first one creates pent-up demand that becomes the cause for the follow-up famine.

 

India’s Semiconductor Demand and Related Initiatives:

India currently imports all chips and the market is estimated to touch $100 billion by 2025 from $24 billion now.

  • The Union Cabinet has recently allocated an amount of ₹76,000 crore for supporting the development of a ‘semiconductors and display manufacturing ecosystem’.
  • India has also launched the Scheme for Promotion of Manufacturing of Electronic Components and Semiconductors (SPECS) under which a budget outlay of Rs 3,285 crore is spread over a period of eight years for manufacturing of electronics components and semiconductors.

 

Challenges ahead:

  1. High Investments Required.
  2. Minimal Fiscal Support from Government.
  3. Lack of Fab Capacities.
  4. Insufficient Grants under PLI Scheme.
  5. Resource Inefficient Sector.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is India Semiconductor Mission?
  2. India’s Status in Semiconductor Design and manufacturing?
  3. Key proposals under the National Policy on Electronics.
  4. Production linked incentive scheme- when was it announced?
  5. Who will implement it?

Mains Link:

Growing importance of Semiconductors or chips/integrated circuits (ICs) and China’s experience with the manufacturing and design of the same provides a strong case for focusing on chip designs in India. Comment.

Sources: Indian Express.

NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

The NISAR mission is scheduled for launch in 2023.

  • ISRO has already delivered the S-band SAR payload to NASA for NISAR [NASA-ISRO SAR] mission.

 

About NISAR:

  • It is optimised for studying hazards and global environmental change and can help manage natural resources better and provide information to scientists to better understand the effects and pace of climate change.
  • It will scan the globe every 12 days over the course of its three-year mission of imaging the Earth’s land, ice sheets and sea ice to give an “unprecedented” view of the planet.
  • It will detect movements of the planet’s surface as small as 0.4 inches over areas about half the size of a tennis court.
  • NASA will provide one of the radars for the satellite, a high-rate communication subsystem for science data, GPS receivers and a payload data subsystem.
  • ISRO will provide the spacecraft bus, the second type of radar (called the S-band radar), the launch vehicle and associated launch services.
  • NISAR will be equipped with the largest reflector antenna ever launched by NASA and its primary goals include tracking subtle changes in the Earth’s surface, spotting warning signs of imminent volcanic eruptions, helping to monitor groundwater supplies and tracking the rate at which ice sheets are melting.

 

Synthetic aperture radar:

The name NISAR is short for NASA-ISRO-SAR. SAR here refers to the synthetic aperture radar that NASA will use to measure changes in the surface of the Earth.

  • Essentially, SAR refers to a technique for producing high-resolution images. Because of the precision, the radar can penetrate clouds and darkness, which means that it can collect data day and night in any weather.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About SAR.
  2. About NISAR.
  3. Objectives.

Mains Link:

Write a note on NISAR.

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Universal Accessibility in India:

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has released the “Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India”.

Highlights:

  • The new guidelines have covered several aspects of built environment, ranging from design plan to the implementation.
  • As per new guidelines, ramps are significant for providing an accessible mobility option. But ramps should adhere to given guidelines.
  • Guidelines have been provided for persons with disabilities (PwD) as well as for those involved in planning projects, starting from construction of government buildings to master-planning cities.
  • It calls to incorporate accessibility symbols for PwD, family-friendly facilities and transgender, among the symbols for other user groups.

 

Bhungloti:

  • Bhungloti is a creeper that in combination with the pith of the roots of a jackfruit tree yielded a saffron dye.
  • This was mainly used by Buddhist Bhikkus in Assam.
  • A Buddhist village in eastern Assam’s Charaideo district has also adopted a forest to preserve this- Chala Reserve Forest.

 

Extended Producer Responsibility:

The environment ministry has released a draft notification to implement extended producer responsibility (EPR) for waste tyre management.

  • This extension of EPR requires the manufacturers and importers of tyres to also handle their disposal after consumers have used them.

Need for:

India is the world’s third largest producer and fourth largest consumer of natural rubber. Within the country, the automobile industry is the largest consumer.

  • With the rate of growth of the automobile industry, this number is only set to increase. An “environmental research and action group” called Chintan reported in 2017 that by 2035, there will be around 80.1 million passenger vehicles (cars and utility vehicles) and 236.4 million two wheelers on the roads.
  • Pollution from these sources is a big concern.

What is EPR?

Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) is a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility – financial/ physical for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products.

  • It helps advance the circular economy, decreases the environmental impact from a product and its packaging, and promotes the principle of “polluter pays” by holding the producer accountable for the entire lifecycle of the product.
  • India first introduced EPR in 2011 under the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2011 and E- Waste Management and Handling Rules, 2011.

 

Jagannath temple:

The Odisha state cabinet has approved amendments to the Sri Jagannath Temple Act of 1954.

  • Odisha Govt. has taken this historic step in order to simplify issues pertaining to land owned by the Jagannath Temple.
  • With this amendment, the temple administration and concerned officials now have the power to sell or lease out temple land, without any approval from the state government.

 

About Jagannath Temple:

Construction:

  • It is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
  • The temple is a part of Char Dham (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram) pilgrimages that a Hindu is expected to make in one’s lifetime.

Architecture:

  • This temple was called the “White Pagoda” and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
  • There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western ‘Vyaghra Dwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
  • The Nilachakra – Or the Blue wheel perched on top of the temple is made of eight metals or asta dhatu.
  • In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Gateway to Hell. (The Hindu).
  2. What is a Sikh Takht? (Indian Express).

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