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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 14 FEBRUARY 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. Sri Madhvacharya.

2. Geomagnetic storms.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Supreme court refuses plea for including madrasas, Vedic schools under RTE.

2. Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission.

3. CAATSA.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. World Food Programme.

2. NGT’s order on Fly Ash.

3. Parker Solar Probe.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Community Innovator Fellowship.


Sri Madhvacharya:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Indian Art and Culture.

 

Context:

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi recently paid his obeisances to Sri Madhvacharya on the occasion of Madhva Navami.

 

Current Affairs

 

About Sri Madhvacharya:

Shri Madhvacharya was born near Udupi. He was born in 1238, on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami, and he was named Vasudeva.

  • He was the third of the trinity of philosophers who influenced Indian thoughts after the ages of the Vedas and Puranas (the other two being Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya).
  • He propounded the philosophy of Dwaita or Dualism.
  • It was Achyutapreksha who gave him the title ‘Madhva’ by which he was more famously known.
  • Literary works: He wrote various texts that detailed his philosophy which he called Tattvavada, or as it is more popularly known, Dvaita. Some of his works were the Gita Bhashya, Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Anu Bhashya, Karma Nirnaya, and Vishnu Tattva Nirnaya.

 

About Dvaita philosophy:

  • The basic tenet of Dvaita philosophy is the refutation of the Mayavada of Sri Shankara. Dvaitha emphasizes that the world is real and not just an illusion.
  • The soul is bound to this world through ignorance.
  • The way for the soul to release itself from this bondage is to seek the grace of Sri Hari.
  • To reach Sri Hari, one has to practice Bhakthi, there is no other way.
  • To practice Bhakthi, one needs to meditate.
  • To meditate, one needs to clear the mind and attain detachment by studying the sacred texts.

Sources: PIB.

Geomagnetic storm:

GS Paper 1:

Topics Covered: Important Geophysical phenomenon.

 

Context:

Recently, Elon Musk’s Starlink has lost 40 satellites that were caught in a geomagnetic storm a day after they were launched.

  • However, these satellites have not created any space debris as the satellites were designed to burn up on reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

 

What are Geomagnetic Storms?

Geomagnetic storms are caused when events such as solar flares can send higher than normal levels of radiation towards Earth. This radiation interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field causing a geomagnetic storm.

Causes:

The disturbance that drives the magnetic storm may be a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) or (much less severely) a co-rotating interaction region (CIR), a high-speed stream of solar wind originating from a coronal hole.

 

Effects of Geomagnetic storms:

  • Effects from the geomagnetic storm can range from the appearance of auroras or the northern and southern lights to disruptions in communications systems due to high radiation. This would make it difficult to communicate with others on Earth.

Classification of Geomagnetic storms:

Geomagnetic storms are classified according to a scale that measures the effect that storms will have.

  • At its safest level, a G1 storm affects power grids by causing weak fluctuations, minor impacts on satellite operations, and causes the northern and southern lights to occur.
  • At its most extreme, G5, there would be voltage control problems with some grid system collapses or blackouts, radio waves wouldn’t be able to travel for one to two days, low-frequency radio would be out for hours, and the auroras would be able to be seen at lower latitudes than usual.

 

Insta Curious:

What is Starlink?

  • Starlink is a SpaceX project to build a broadband network with a cluster of orbiting spacecraft that could eventually number thousands.
  • The Starlink network is one of several ongoing efforts to start beaming data signals from space.

 

Prelims Link:

  1. What are solar flares?
  2. What are sunspots?
  3. How solar flares affect earth’s magnetic field?
  4. What is sun’s 11 year cycle?

Sources: the Hindu.

Supreme court refuses plea for including madrasas, Vedic schools under RTE:

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 Supreme Court has refused to intervene in a petition challenging sections of the Right to Education Act of 2009 which exclude vedic pathsalas , madrasas and institutions imparting religious education from its ambit.

  • The Court observed that the exclusion of these institutions was specifically inserted into the 2009 Act by an amendment of August 2012 and since then there has never been any controversy in the past decade.

 

What’s the issue?

The petitioner said, Right of a child should not be restricted only to free education, but must be extended to have equal quality education without discrimination on the ground of child’s social economic and cultural background. Therefore, the court may declare Sections 1(4) and 1(5) of the 2009 Act arbitrary and irrational.

 

Sections 1(4) and 1(5) of the 2009 Act:

Section 1(5) of the Act states, “Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to madrasas, Vedic pathshalas and educational institutions primarily imparting religious instruction”.

Section 1(4) says, “Subject to the provisions of Articles 29 and 30 of the Constitution, the provisions of this Act shall apply to conferment of rights on children to free and compulsory education.

  • Article 29 and 30 contain provisions securing rights of minorities and minority-run institutions.

 

Constitutional Provisions regarding Minority Educational Institutions:

Article 30(1) recognizes linguistic and religious minorities but not those based on race, ethnicity.

  • It recognizes the right of religious and linguistic minorities to establish and administer educational institutions, in effect recognizing the role educational institutions play in preserving distinct culture.
  • A majority community can also establish and administer educational institutions but they will not enjoy special rights under Article 30(1)(a).

 

Special rights enjoyed by religious minority institutions are:

  1. Under Art 30(1)(a), MEI enjoy right to education as a Fundamental Right. In case the property is taken over by state, due compensation to be provided to establish institutions elsewhere
  2. Under Article 15(5), MEIs are not considered for reservation
  3. Under Right to Education Act, MEI not required to provide admission to children in the age group of 6-14 years upto 25% of enrolment reserved for economically backward section of society
  4. In St Stephens vs Delhi University case, 1992, SC ruled that MEIs can have 50% seats reserved for minorities
  5. In TMA Pai & others vs State of Karnataka & others 2002 case, SC ruled that MEIs can have separate admission process which is fair, transparent and merit based. They can also separate fee structure but should not charge capitation fee.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that all minorities, whether based on religion or language, shall have the right to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. NCPCR- composition and functions.
  2. Powers of NCPCR under RTE Act.
  3. Highlights of RTE Act.
  4. Children covered under RTE.
  5. Various rights available for MEIs.
  6. Rights of Minority vs other institutions.
  7. Can states interfere in their internal matters?

Mains Link:

Discuss the need for and significance of RTE act.

Sources: the Hindu.

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

 

Context:

The National Health Authority has announced the integration of its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission with the Aarogya Setu app, allowing users to create the 14-digit unique Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers from the app.

 

About the Mission:

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will provide a digital health ID to the people who will hold their health records.

 

Features of the Mission:

  1. It is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities.
  2. The scheme will come under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  3. It comprises six key building blocks — HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.
  4. The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  5. The core building blocks of the mission is that the health ID, DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India.
  6. Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market. The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  7. Under the Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will store all medical details of the person including prescriptions, treatment, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries.
  8. Health ID is a randomly generated 14 digit number used for the purposes of uniquely identifying persons, authenticating them, and threading their health records (only with their informed consent) across multiple systems and stakeholders.
  9. The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.

 

What was the need for this mission?

The mission aims to liberate citizens from the challenges of finding the right doctors, seeking appointment, payment of consultation fee, making several rounds of hospitals for prescription sheets, among several others and will empower people to make an informed decision to avail the best possible healthcare.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Curious:

The nationwide rollout of the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission coincides with the National Health Authority celebrating the third anniversary of Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY). Know more about PM-JAY here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Overview of the National Digital Health Mission.
  2. Components of the mission.
  3. Proposed National Health ID.
  4. Who can issue these IDs?
  5. Highlights of the National Health Policy 2017.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of the National Digital Health Mission.

Sources: the Hindu.

CAATSA:

GS Paper 2:

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

 

Context:

Underlining that the purchase of S-400 defence system is in New Delhi’s security interest, newly appointed Russian Ambassador to India Denis Alipov said threats of US sanctions against India will not affect the military-technical cooperation between the two countries.

 

What’s the concern?

There has been unease in Washington ever since 2016 when India announced the deal with Russia, which remains New Delhi’s biggest defence partner.

  • Now, the S-400 deal could attract sanctions under US’ CAATSA law. The US has already sanctioned China and Turkey over similar purchases.

 

What is the S-400 air defence missile system? Why does India need it?

The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia.

 

Current Affairs

 

What is CAATSA, and how did the S-400 deal fall foul of this Act?

  • Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)‘s core objective is to counter Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • Enacted in 2017.
  • Includes sanctions against countries that engage in significant transactions with Russia’s defence and intelligence sectors.

 

Current Affairs

 

What sanctions will be imposed?

  1. prohibition on loans to the sanctioned person.
  2. prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons.
  3. prohibition on procurement by United States Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned person.
  4. denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned person.

 

Current Affairs

 

Significance of the deal:

The S-400 decision is a very strong example of how advanced our defence and strategic partnership is, and how strong Indian sovereignty is, to choose its international partners, especially when it comes to issues of national interest and national security.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the foundational agreements? There are three agreements called foundational agreements. Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. CAATSA is associated with?
  2. Powers of US president under CAATSA.
  3. Types of sanctions that can be imposed.
  4. Significant defence deals between India and Russia.
  5. Overview of Iran Nuclear deal.

Mains Link:

Discuss the features and significance of CAATSA.

Sources: the Hindu.

World Food Programme:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Food security related issues.

 

Context:

India signed an agreement with the United Nation’s World Food Programme (WFP) for the distribution of 50,000 MT of wheat that it has committed to sending Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian assistance.

  • According to the MoU, the wheat will be taken through Pakistan to the Afghan border crossing and handed over to WFP officials in Kandahar beginning February 22.
  • The wheat will eventually be divided into five batches of 10,000 MT, to be distributed across the country on approximately 200 trucks that are run by WFP.

 

What is UN WFP?

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security.

Born in 1961, the WFP strives to eradicate hunger and malnutrition, with the ultimate goal in mind of eliminating the need for food aid itself.

It is a member of the United Nations Development Group and part of its Executive Committee.

  • WFP food aid is also directed to fight micronutrient deficiencies, reduce child mortality, improve maternal health, and combat disease, including HIV and AIDS.

 

What is “World Hunger Map”?

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba is working with WFP to develop digital “World Hunger Map”.

  • The map will help to monitor global hunger and operations to end scourge by 2030 which is one of UN’s key Sustainable Development goals.
  • It also aims to boost efficiency of interventions and shorten emergency response times.

 

Insta Curious:

TheWFP runs its own logistics network inside Afghanistan, partnering with civil society groups, and has launched a global campaign for enough food and aid for the population facing malnutrition — estimated to be half the population or 22 million Afghans.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. WFP was established by?
  2. Objectives?
  3. World Hunger Map.
  4. Members of the United Nations Development Group.
  5. About Nobel Peace Prize.

Mains Link:

Discuss the objectives of UN’s World Food Programme.

Sources: the Hindu.

Fly Ash:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Pollution related issues.

 

 

Context:

The National Green Tribunal has decided to club eight ongoing cases on fly ash mismanagement and accidents filed between 2013 and 2020.

  • This is a significant acknowledgement of the country’s fly ash crisis and could usher in better regulations to govern such infrastructure.

 

Fly Ash Management and Utilisation Mission:

To streamline the monitoring and coordination of all issues regarding the handling and disposal of fly ash in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, the tribunal directed the Centre to constitute a ‘Fly Ash Management and Utilisation Mission’ comprising of secretaries from the ministries of environment, coal and power and the chief secretaries of the two states.

  • The mission’s mandate includes preparation of an action plan based on the findings of the various committees (formed to look into the accidents), including plugging the big gap in storing, handling, management and utilisation of fly ash.
  • The mission will be financed through CSR funds, and also act as an environmental restoration and compensation fund responsible for relief compensation for affected people.

 

What is Fly Ash?

Popularly known as Flue ash or pulverised fuel ash, it is a coal combustion product.

 

Composition:

Composed of the particulates that are driven out of coal-fired boilers together with the flue gases.

  • Depending upon the source and composition of the coal being burned, the components of fly ash vary considerably, but all fly ash includes substantial amounts of silicon dioxide (SiO2), aluminium oxide (Al2O3) and calcium oxide (CaO), the main mineral compounds in coal-bearing rock strata.
  • Minor constituents include: arsenic, beryllium, boron, cadmium, chromium, hexavalent chromium, cobalt, lead, manganese, mercury, molybdenum, selenium, strontium, thallium, and vanadium, along with very small concentrations of dioxins and PAH compounds. It also has unburnt carbon.

 

Health and environmental hazards:

Toxic heavy metals present: All the heavy metals found in fly ash nickel, cadmium, arsenic, chromium, lead, etc—are toxic in nature. They are minute, poisonous particles accumulate in the respiratory tract, and cause gradual poisoning.

Radiation: For an equal amount of electricity generated, fly ash contains a hundred times more radiation than nuclear waste secured via dry cask or water storage.

Water pollution: The breaching of ash dykes and consequent ash spills occur frequently in India, polluting a large number of water bodies.

Effects on environment: The destruction of mangroves, drastic reduction in crop yields, and the pollution of groundwater in the Rann of Kutch from the ash sludge of adjoining Coal power plants has been well documented.

 

However, fly ash can be used in the following ways:

  1. Concrete production, as a substitute material for Portland cement, sand.
  2. Fly-ash pellets which can replace normal aggregate in concrete mixture.
  3. Embankments and other structural fills.
  4. Cement clinker production – (as a substitute material for clay).
  5. Stabilization of soft soils.
  6. Road subbase construction.
  7. As aggregate substitute material (e.g. for brick production).
  8. Agricultural uses: soil amendment, fertilizer, cattle feeders, soil stabilization in stock feed yards, and agricultural stakes.
  9. Loose application on rivers to melt ice.
  10. Loose application on roads and parking lots for ice control.

 

Insta Curious:

During coal combustion, large amounts of ash are created along with carbon dioxide and other gases. The fine particle ash that rises up with the flue gases is known as fly or flue ash while the heavier ash that does not rise is called bottom ash; collectively these are known as coal ash. Know more about this process, here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is fly ash?
  2. Sources.
  3. Pollutants.
  4. Potential applications.

Mains Link:

What is fly ash? What are its effects on human health and environment?

Sources: PIB.

Parker Solar Probe:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

For the first time in history, we can see the planet Venus in Color, thanks to NASA Parker Solar Probe.

  • The Wide-field Imager for Parker Solar Probe (WISPR) by the American space agency has managed to take pictures of the surface of Venus revealing stunning continents, plains, plateaus and even a layer of Oxygen.

 

First spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun:

Recently, the Parker Solar Probe, became the first spacecraft to fly through the outer atmosphere of the Sun- ‘Corona’.

  • The spacecraft flew through Corona and sampled magnetic fields and particles there.

 

Significance:

The achievement would help scientists discover critical information about the sun and its influence on our solar system.

 

Current Affairs

 

About the mission:

Launched in 2018, Parker Solar Probe will travel through the sun’s atmosphere, closer to the surface than any spacecraft before it, facing brutal heat and radiation conditions — and ultimately providing humanity with the closest-ever observations of a star.

 

Journey:

  • In order to unlock the mysteries of the sun’s atmosphere, Parker Solar Probe will use Venus’ gravity during seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually bring its orbit closer to the sun.
  • The spacecraft will fly through the sun’s atmosphere as close as 3.9 million miles to our star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury and more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before.

 

Parker Solar Probe has three detailed science objectives:

  1. Trace the flow of energy that heats and accelerates the solar corona and solar wind.
  2. Determine the structure and dynamics of the plasma and magnetic fields at the sources of the solar wind.
  3. Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energetic particles.

 

Why study corona?

The corona is hotter than the surface of the sun. The corona gives rise to the solar wind, a continuous flow of charged particles that permeates the solar system. Unpredictable solar winds cause disturbances in our planet’s magnetic field and can play havoc with communications technology on Earth. Nasa hopes the findings will enable scientists to forecast changes in Earth’s space environment.

 

Insta Curious:

What is Magnetic Reconnection with respect to the sun’s surface? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Solar Parker Probe.
  2. What are Solar Flares?
  3. Sun’s Corona.
  4. Earth vs Venus.
  5. What are radio waves?

Mains Link:

Discuss how Solar Flares influence earth’s environment.

Sources: the Hindu.

What is Lassa fever?

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to Health.

 

Context:

One of the three persons diagnosed with Lassa fever in the UK has died on February 11. The cases have been linked to travel to west African countries.

 

What is Lassa?

The Lassa virus is named after a town in Nigeria where the first cases were discovered in 1969.

The disease is primarily found in countries in West Africa including Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Nigeria where it is endemic.

 

Spread:

  • The fever is spread by rats.
  • Person-to-person transmission is also possible.

 

Symptoms:

  • Mild symptoms include slight fever, fatigue, weakness and headache and more serious symptoms include bleeding, difficulty breathing, vomiting, facial swelling, pain in the chest, back, and abdomen and shock.
  • The most common complication associated with the fever is deafness.
  • The death rate associated with this disease is low, at around one per cent. But the death rate is higher for certain individuals, such as pregnant women in their third trimester.

 

Prevention:

The best way to avoid getting infected is to avoid contact with rats.

 

How to deal with such pandemics/epidemics?

The international community should work together “towards a new international treaty for pandemic preparedness and response” to build a more robust global health architecture that will protect future generations.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Curious:

The WHO Hub for Pandemic and Epidemic Intelligence will be a global platform for pandemic and epidemic intelligence, creating shared and networked access to vital multi-sectoral data, driving innovations in data analytics and building the communities of practice needed to predict, prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to worldwide health threats.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About the Virus.
  2. Spread.
  3. Transmission.
  4. Symptoms.

Sources: Indian Express.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Koala:

  • Australia has designated the koala as an endangered species amid pressure on the marsupials’ eucalyptus tree habitats in eastern states of Australia.
  • The koala is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial, native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of Phascolarctidae family. Its closest living relatives are wombats, which are the members of Vombatidae family.
  • The species was classed as vulnerable 10 years also in Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory.
  • Endangered status to koala means, the species and their forest homes should be provided with greater protection in accordance with Australia’s national environment law. This would not only protect Koala but many other species living alongside them.

 

Current affairs

 

Community Innovator Fellowship:

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in collaboration with UNDP has launched the Community Innovator Fellowship (CIF) marking the “International Day of Women & Girls in Science”.

  • The fellowship is developed as a pre-incubation model that aims to provide youth with an opportunity to establish their social enterprise focusing on Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) based solutions for solving community issues.
  • The fellowship will be one year long. It would mainly focus on facilitating knowledge and capacity building among aspiring community innovators.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Global Environment Facility.
  2. HelioSwarm and MUSE.
  3. Pacific Islands Forum.
  4. ModifiedElephant.

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