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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 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 1:

1. National Youth Day.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and India.

2. U.K. launches FTA negotiations with India.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Gaganyaan Mission.

2. Hate Speech.

3. Assam Meghalaya border dispute.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Indu Malhotra Panel.

2. BARC.

3. Henley Passport Index.


National Youth Day:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

 

Context:

January 12 marks the birthday of Swami Vivekananda.

National Youth Day is celebrated on this day. Celebrated since 1984.

  • The main objective is to promote rational thinking among the youth, believed to be the future of the country.

 

Current Affairs

 

About Swami Vivekananda:

He was a true luminary, credited with enlightening the western world about Hinduism.

He was an ardent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahansa and a major force in the revival of Hinduism in India.

He pushed for national integration in colonial India, and his famous speech remains as the one that he gave in Chicago in 1893.

 

Early life- contributions:

Born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863 in Kolkata, Swami Vivekananda was known as Narendra Nath Datta in his pre-monastic life.

He is known to have introduced the Hindu philosophies of Yoga and Vedanta to the West.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose had called Vivekananda the “maker of modern India.”

In 1893, he took the name ‘Vivekananda’ after Maharaja Ajit Singh of the Khetri State requested him to do so, changing from ‘Sachidananda’ that he used before.

He formed the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897 “to set in motion a machinery which will bring noblest ideas to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest.”

In 1899, he established the Belur Math, which became his permanent abode.

He preached ‘neo-Vedanta’, an interpretation of Hinduism through a Western lens, and believed in combining spirituality with material progress.

 

Books written by him:

‘Raja Yoga’, ‘Jnana Yoga’, ‘Karma Yoga’ are some of the books he wrote.

 

Insta Curious:

What do you know about the Parliament of World Religions? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About 1893 Parliament of World’s Religions.
  2. Main participants.
  3. Who represented Hinduism?
  4. Headquarters of the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions.
  5. International modern Parliaments held so far.
  6. Contributions of Swami Vivekananda to Hinduism.
  7. About Ramakrishna Mission.

Mains Link:

How Swami Vivekananda became the ‘messenger of Indian wisdom’ to West. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and India:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

Context:

South Korea has said that it regrets India’s absence from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and hopes to see New Delhi rejoin the agreement.

 

When did it come into force?

The RCEP came into effect on January 1, 2022, marking the formation of the world’s largest free trade zone in terms of trade volume.

 

Why did India not join?

India withdrew from the RCEP in 2019 largely because of concerns it would open it up to Chinese goods amid an already wide trade imbalance with China, and the failure of the agreement to adequately open up to services.

 

Need for India’s presence in RCEP:

  • India had “a crucial role” to play in helping the region build an inclusive architecture at a time of increasing global instability.
  • Such trade pacts will also give Indian companies a platform to showcase their strengths across even larger markets.
  • Besides, Rising U.S.-China tensions were “deeply worrying” for the region with the pandemic resulting in “heightened tension”.

 

What is RCEP?

It is a trade deal between the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

 

Aims and Objectives of RCEP:

  1. To lower tariffs, open up trade in services and promote investment to help emerging economies catch up with the rest of the world.
  2. To help reduce costs and time for companies by allowing them to export a product anywhere within the bloc without meeting separate requirements for each country.
  3. It also touches on intellectual property, but will not cover environmental protections and labour rights.

 

Significance:

  • RCEP will cover about 30% of global gross domestic product (GDP), worth $26.2 trillion (€23.17 trillion), and nearly a third of the world’s population, some 2.2 billion people.
  • Under RCEP, around 90% of trade tariffs within the bloc will eventually be eliminated.
  • RCEP will also set common rules around trade, intellectual property, e-commerce and competition.

Current Affairs

 

Current Affairs

 

Challenges ahead:

  • The lack of participation by the United States “allows Beijing to solidify its role as driver of economic growth in the region.”
  • Economic gains will take a long time to materialize.
  • While the big Asian economies will enjoy most of the spoils, RCEP may leave smaller countries within ASEAN at a disadvantage, as the trade deal doesn’t cover their major industries.
  • The least developed countries in Asia ― Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar ― currently benefit from inter-ASEAN trade, which could be “eroded” by RCEP trade.
  • The smaller ASEAN countries may also lose some of their benefits from trade preference programs that allow them to export tariff-free products outside of ASEAN, including South Korea and Japan.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that China currently has no bilateral agreement with Japan and only a limited deal with South Korea ― its third and fifth largest trading partners?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. RCEP- composition and objectives.
  2. India’s free trader agreements with ASEAN countries.
  3. Geographical location of asean countries.
  4. Aims and objectives of RCEP.

Sources: the Hindu.

Gaganyaan Mission:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently successfully conducted the qualification test of Cryogenic Engine for Gaganyaan programme for a duration of 720 seconds at ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC) in Tamil Nadu’s Mahendragiri.

  • The performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test.

 

Significance:

This successful long-duration test is a major milestone for the Human Space Programme – Gaganyaan. It ensures the reliability and robustness of the cryogenic engine for induction into the human-rated launch vehicle for Gaganyaan.

 

When was it announced?

  • Formal announcement of the Gaganyaan programme was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his Independence Day address on August 15, 2018.
  • The initial target was to launch the human spaceflight before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence on August 15, 2022.

With this launch, India will become the fourth nation in the world to launch a Human Spaceflight Mission after the USA, Russia and China.

 

Objectives:

The objective of the Gaganyaan programme is to demonstrate the capability to send humans to low earth orbit on board an Indian launch vehicle and bring them back to earth safely.

 

Preparation and launch:

  1. Four Indian astronaut-candidates have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the Gaganyaan programme.
  2. ISRO’s heavy-lift launcher GSLV Mk III has been identified for the mission.

 

Relevance of a Manned Space Mission for India:

Boost to industries: The Indian industry will find large opportunities through participation in the highly demanding Space missions. Gaganyaan Mission is expected to source nearly 60% of its equipment from the Indian private sector.

Employment: According to the ISRO chief, the Gaganyaan mission would create 15,000 new employment opportunities, 13,000 of them in private industry and the space organisation would need an additional manpower of 900.

Spurs research and development: It will thrust significant research in areas such as materials processing, astro-biology, resources mining, planetary chemistry, planetary orbital calculus and many other areas.

Motivation: Human space flight will provide that inspiration to the youth and also the national public mainstream. It would inspire the young generation into notable achievements and enable them to play their legitimate role in challenging future activities.

Prestige: India could potentially become the fourth country to launch a human space mission. The Gaganyaan will not only bring about prestige to the nation but also establish India’s role as a key player in the space industry.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the Mir Space Station? Read Here

 

Did you know that Australia will support India’s ‘Gaganyaan’ mission by tracking it through Cocos Keeling island? This is significant because there are blind spots due to which there is a possibility of not receiving signals. The data relay satellite tracking from Cocos Keeling island is expected to help address the issue.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Gaganyaan.
  2. Objectives.
  3. About GSLV.

Mains Link:

Why is Gaganyaan mission significant for India? Discuss.

Sources: PIB.

Plea on Hate Speech in Supreme Court:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.

 

Context:

On January 12, 2022 , the Supreme Court of India agreed to hear petitions asking for legal action to be taken against the organisers of, and speakers at, the “Hardwar Dharma Sansad”.

 

What’s the issue?

During this Dharma Sansad, that had taken place between December 19 and 21, numerous speeches had been made.

  • These speeches ranged from open calls to violence (“… waging a war that would be more gruesome than 1857” or “if you want to eliminate their [i.e., Muslim] population, then kill them”), to the economic and social boycott of Muslims (“… there is no Muslim buyer here, so throw that [Muslim] vendor out”), and to dog-whistles, (such as drawing comparisons to the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar).

 

Similar petitions in the Court:

Two petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court on hate speeches in the recent past.

  1. One petition asked the court to issue directions for action in such cases.
  2. The second plea sought special provisions, insisting that the IPC wasn’t enough to deal with hate speech and rumour mongering.

Both petitions relied on a 2020 Supreme Court decision in Amish Devgun case where hate speech was linked to the violation of unity and fraternity and breach of human dignity, which constitutes an essential facet of the right to life and liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

What’s the issue?

The petitioners were concerned over concerted events in the recent past that targeted political, social and economic exclusion of Muslims through a series of rallies and hate speeches.

 

What is Hate Speech?

Hate speech is an incitement to hatred against a particular group of persons marginalized by their religious belief, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.

  • The Law Commission, in its 267th report on hate speech, said such utterances have the potential to provoke individuals and society to commit acts of terrorism, genocide, and ethnic cleansing.

 

How is it treated in Indian law?

Sections 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code are generally taken to be the main penal provisions that deal with inflammatory speeches and expressions that seek to punish ‘hate speech’.

 

Why Hate Speech Must be curbed?

  1. Internal Security: The Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 was triggered by a fake video that incited communal passions.
  2. Igniting extremist sentiments.
  3. Mob lynching.
  4. Misinformation and disinformation: Delhi Riots.

 

Measures:

  1. The world’s biggest social media companies, including Facebook, Google, Twitter and ByteDance, are exploring an industry-wide alliance to curb fake news on their platforms in India.
  2. The Election Commission of India must tie up with tech companies to identify the creator of such news.
  3. Educating the end-users.
  4. The government should bring out a policy framework on the possible harm due to the internet messaging platforms to engage at a deeper level.
  5. Imposing hefty fines, like in Germany the Social media companies face fines of up to €50m if they persistently fail to remove illegal content from their sites.

 

Need of the hour:

  • Hate speech is a discursive process of pushing marginalised groups outside of social, economic and political spheres of society by disseminating hate propaganda and encouraging discrimination. At its most harmful, it is widely recognized as a precursor to ethnic cleansing.
  • Public authorities must be held accountable for dereliction of the duty of care and also for non-compliance with this court’s orders by not taking action to prevent vigilante groups from inciting communal disharmony and spreading hate against citizens of the country and taking the laws into their own hands.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Information Technology Act.
  2. Section 66A of the Act.
  3. About the Law Commission of India.
  4. Regulation of Hate speech under IT Act.

Mains Link:

What is Hate speech? How it should be curbed? Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.

Assam-Meghalaya border dispute:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Internal security related issues.

 

Context:

Home Minister Amit Shah is expected to seal the final agreement to end the dispute in six areas of the Assam-Meghalaya boundary ahead of Meghalaya’s 50th Statehood Day celebration on January 21.

 

What’s the dispute?

Assam and Meghalaya share an 885-km-long border. Meghalaya was carved out of Assam under the Assam Reorganisation Act, 1971, a law that it challenged, leading to disputes.

  • As of now, there are 12 points of dispute along their borders. These include the areas of Upper Tarabari, Gazang reserve forest, Hahim, Langpih, Borduar, Boklapara, Nongwah, Matamur, Khanapara-Pilangkata, Deshdemoreah Block I and Block II, Khanduli and Retacherra.

 

Langpih:

A major point of contention between Assam and Meghalaya is the district of Langpih in West Garo Hills bordering the Kamrup district of Assam.

  • Langpih was part of the Kamrup district during the British colonial period but post-Independence, it became part of the Garo Hills and Meghalaya.
  • Assam considers it to be part of the Mikir Hills in Assam. Meghalaya has questioned Blocks I and II of the Mikir Hills -now Karbi Anglong region – being part of Assam. Meghalaya says these were parts of erstwhile United Khasi and Jaintia Hills districts.

 

Efforts to solve the dispute:

  • Both Assam and Meghalaya have constituted border dispute settlement committees.
  • Recently, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and his Meghalaya counterpart Conrad Sangma decided to set up two regional committees to resolve the border disputes in a phased manner.
  • Sarma recently said five aspects were to be considered in resolving the border dispute. They are historical facts, ethnicity, administrative convenience, mood and sentiments of the people concerned and the contiguity of the land.

 

Assam and border issues:

  • The states of the Northeast were largely carved out of Assam, which has border disputes with several states. Assam’s border disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are pending in the Supreme Court.
  • Assam’s border disputes with Meghalaya and Mizoram are currently in the phase of resolution through negotiations. The border dispute with Mizoram recently turned violent, leading to intervention from the Centre.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Indu Malhotra Panel:

The Supreme Court has appointed an inquiry committee under its former judge Justice Indu Malhotra to probe the security breach during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Punjab on January 5.

  • The committee will look into who is responsible for the security breach and suggest what safeguards are necessary for the security of the PM and Constitutional functionaries.

 

BARC:

  • It is an industry body jointly owned by advertisers, ad agencies, and broadcasting companies, represented by The Indian Society of Advertisers, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation and the Advertising Agencies Association of India.
  • Created in 2010.
  • I&B Ministry notified the Policy Guidelines for Television Rating Agencies in India on January 10, 2014 and registered BARC in July 2015 under these guidelines, to carry out television ratings in India.

Context:

Ratings by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) for the news channels will resume, after the organisation revised its procedures and protocols. The ratings were suspended after the Mumbai police busted a racket involving a private channel’s efforts to tamper the ratings.

 

Henley Passport Index:

  • India now ranks at 83rd position in the Henley Passport Index, climbing seven places from 90th rank last year.
  • India shares the rank with Sao Tome and Principe in Central Africa, behind Rwanda and Uganda.
  • It now has visa-free access to 60 destinations worldwide with Oman and Armenia being the latest additions. It has added 35 more destinations since 2006.
  • Japan and Singapore has topped the list.
  • The passport of the Maldives is the most powerful in South Asia (58th) enabling visa-free entry to 88 countries.
  • In South Asia, Bangladesh (103rd) is ahead of Pakistan (108th) and Nepal (105th).

About the Henley Passport Index:

  • The Henley & Partners publishes the ranking and the Index of the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
  • It was launched in 2005.
  • The ranking is based on data from the IATA (International Air Transport Association), a trade association of some 290 airlines, including all major carriers.
  • The index includes 199 different passports and 227 different travel destinations.
  • The data are updated in real time as and when visa policy changes come into effect.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Net zero building. (Indian Express).
  2. New ISRO Chief.

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