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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 21 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

 

Table of Contents:

 

 

GS Paper 1:

1. Guru Ravidas.

 

GS Paper 2:

1. India, UAE sign Comprehensive Trade Agreement.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana.

2. Extended Producers Responsibility on plastic packaging.

3. UNEP Frontiers report.

4. Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System Project.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Tonga Volcanic Eruption.

2. REWARD Project.

3. Lakshya Zero Dumpsite.

4. Tarapur Massacre.

5. Falkland Islands.

6. Crytodactylus exercitus.

7. Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC).


Guru Ravidas:

GS Paper 1:

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

 

Context:

Out of the total population of Dalits in Punjab, about 21 percent of the population belongs to the Ravidassia community. The importance of this population can be understood from the fact that due to Sant Ravidas Jayanti on February 16, the date of Punjab Assembly elections was changed from February 14 to February 20.

 

Who are the Ravidassias?

The Ravidassias are a Dalit community of whom the bulk — nearly 12 lakh — live in the Doaba region. The Dera Sachkhand Ballan, their largest dera with 20 lakh followers worldwide, was founded in the early 20th century by Baba Sant Pipal Das.

  • Once closely connected with Sikhism, the dera severed these decades-old ties in 2010, and announced they would follow the Ravidassia religion. The dera made the announcement on Guru Ravidas Jayanti in Varanasi.
  • From 2010, the Dera Sachkhand Ballan started replacing the Guru Granth Sahib with its own Granth, Amritbani, carrying 200 hymns of Guru Ravidas, in Ravidassia temples and gurdwaras.

 

Current Affairs

 

About Guru Ravidas:

  • Guru Ravidas was a North Indian mystic poet of the bhakti movement.
  • While the exact year of his birth is not known, it is believed that the saint was born in 1377 C.E.
  • Guru Ravidas Jayanti is celebrated on Magh Purnima, which is the full moon day in the Hindu calendar month of Magha.
  • The Adi Granth of Sikhs, in addition to the Panchvani are the two of the oldest documented sources of the literary works of Guru Ravidas.
  • Notably, he belonged to an untouchable caste and suffered a lot of atrocities as a result. However, the saint chose to focus on spiritual pursuits and also penned several devotional songs which made a huge impact in the Bhakti movement during the 14th to 16th century CE.
  • He is believed to be a disciple of the bhakti saint-poet Ramanandaand a contemporary of the bhakti saint-poet Kabir.
  • One of his famous disciples was the saint, Mirabai.
  • Among Ravidas’s moral and intellectual achievements were the conception of “Begampura”, a city that knows no sorrow; and a society where caste and class have ceased to matter.

 

Current Affairs

 

Guru Ravidas Teachings:

  • Guru Ravidas spoke against the caste divisions and spoke of removing them to promote unity. His teachings resonated with the people, leading to a religion being born called the Ravidassia religion, or Ravidassia Dharambased on his teachings.
  • He taught about the omnipresence of God and said that a human soul is a particle of God and hence Ravidas rejected the idea that people considered lower caste cannot meet God. He said in his teachings that the only way to meet God was to free the mind from the duality.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Sant Ravidas.
  2. His teachings.
  3. Philosophy.
  4. Ravidassia community.

Mains Link:

Discuss the relevance of teachings by Guru Ravidas today.

Sources: the Hindu.

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Government subsidies.

 

Context:

The Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has successfully entered its seventh year of implementation with the upcoming Kharif 2022 season, completing six years of its implementation since its announcement on 18 February 2016.

 

Meri Policy Mere Hath to be launched:

  • As part of the celebrations, the Govt. has launched a doorstep distribution drive to deliver crop insurance policies to the farmers ‘Meri Policy Mere Hath’ in all implementing States.
  • The campaign aims to ensure all farmers are well aware and equipped with all information on their policies, land records, the process of claim and grievance redressal under PMFBY.

 

Performance of PMFBY:

  1. Till date, the scheme has insured over 30 crore farmer applications (5.5 crore farmer applications on year-on-year basis).
  2. Over the period of 5 years, more than 8.3 crore farmer applications have benefited from the scheme.
  3. Moreover, Rs.95,000 crores claims have been paid as against Rs. 20,000 crore farmers share.

 

About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana:

  • It is in line with the One Nation – One Scheme theme- It replaced National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS).
  • Launched in 2016.
  • Coverage: All food & oilseed crops and annual commercial/horticultural crops for which past yield data is available.
  • Premium: The prescribed premium is 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all rabi crops. In the case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium is 5%.

 

Objectives:

  1. To provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crops as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
  2. To stabilise the income of farmers to ensure their continuance in farming.
  3. To encourage farmers to adopt innovative and modern agricultural practices.
  4. To ensure flow of credit to the agriculture sector.

 

Coverage:

The Scheme covers all Food & Oilseeds crops and Annual Commercial/Horticultural Crops for which past yield data is available and for which requisite number of Crop Cutting Experiments (CCEs) are being conducted under General Crop Estimation Survey (GCES).

 

PMFBY to PMFBY 2.0 (overhauled PMFBY):

Completely Voluntary: It has been decided to make enrolment 100% voluntary for all farmers from 2020 Kharif.

Limit to Central Subsidy: The Cabinet has decided to cap the Centre’s premium subsidy under these schemes for premium rates up to 30% for unirrigated areas/crops and 25% for irrigated areas/crops.

More Flexibility to States: The government has given the flexibility to states/UTs to implement PMFBY and given them the option to select any number of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses.

Penalising the Pendency: In the revamped PMFBY, a provision has beenincorporated wherein if states don’t release their share before March 31 for the Kharif season and September 30 for rabi, they would not be allowed to participate in the scheme in subsequent seasons.

Investing in ICE Activities: Insurance companies have to now spend 0.5% of the total premium collected on information, education and communication (IEC) activities.

 

Insta Curious:

Several states have their own insurance schemes. Read about them briefly

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Key features of PMFBY.
  2. Benefits.
  3. Eligibility.
  4. PMFBY 2.0.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of PMFBY 2.0.

Sources: PIB.

Extended Producers Responsibility on plastic packaging:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

The government has notified the Guidelines on Extended Producers Responsibility  (EPR) on plastic packaging under Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016. The guidelines will come into effect from 1st July 2022.

 

Overview of the new guidelines:

Four categories of plastic packaging specified:

  1. Category one will include rigid plastic packaging.
  2. Category two will include flexible plastic packaging of single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachet or pouches.
  3. Category three will include multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic).
  4. Category four includes plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics.

 

The guidelines also include:

  • Specifications for reuse, recycling, use of recycled plastic content, and end-of-life disposal of non-recyclable plastic packaging.
  • setting up a centralised online portal by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration as well as filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste by March 31.
  • Producers of plastic packaging will have to manage 35% of the ‘Q1’ waste in metric tonnes in 2021-22. Q1 is calculated by adding the last two years’ average weights of plastic packaging material sold and pre-consumer plastic packaging waste, and subtracting the annual quantity of plastic packaging supplied to brand owners.
  • The EPR target will be increased to 70% in 2022-23 and 100% from 2023-24 onwards.
  • The recycling obligation for producers will be 50% for rigid plastics in 2024-25, 60% in 2025-26, 70% in 2026-27, and 80% from 2027-28 onwards.
  • Environmental compensation shall be levied based upon polluter pays principle, with respect to non-fulfilment of EPR targets by producers, importers and brand owners, for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environment pollution.
  • For the first time, the guidelines allow for the sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates. Thus setting up a market mechanism for plastic waste management.

 

Significance:

Along with prohibition of identified single-use plastic items, the new guidelines in India will:

  • Reduce pollution caused due to littered plastic waste.
  • Promote development of new alternatives to plastics.
  • Provide a roadmap for businesses to move towards sustainable plastic packaging.
  • Provide a framework to strengthen the circular economy of plastic packaging waste.
  • Boost for formalization and further development of the plastic waste management sector.

 

What are Plastic Waste Management Rules?

MoEFCC notified the Plastic Waste Management Rules on March 18, 2016, and the Solid Waste Management Rules on April 8 the same year.

  • As plastic waste is part of solid waste, therefore, both the rules apply to managing plastic waste in the country.
  • The Plastic Waste Management Rules mandate minimising the generation of plastic waste, avoiding littering, ensuring segregated storage of the waste at source, and handing it over.
  • The rules also mandate the responsibilities of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers, and street vendors to manage plastic waste.
  • The rules cast EPR on producers, importers, and brand-owners. Extended Producer Responsibility shall be applicable to both pre-consumer and post-consumer plastic packaging waste.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the ministry notified the Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules 2021 in August last year to make it mandatory for the thickness of plastic carry bags to be increased to 120 microns by the end of next year?

  • The rules prohibit the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of products with low utility but high littering potential.
  • The permitted thickness of the plastic bags will be increased to 120 microns from December 31, 2022.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Plastic Waste management rules.
  2. Latest Amendments.
  3. What is Extended Producer Responsibility?
  4. About the UN Environment Assembly.

Mains Link:

Comment on India’s efforts to beat plastic pollution.

Sources: the Hindu.

India, UAE sign Comprehensive Trade Agreement:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: India and neighbourhood relations.

 

Context:

India and the United Arab Emirates have signed a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).

 

Current Affairs

 

What is CEPA and how is it different from FTA?

It is a kind of free trade pact which covers negotiation on the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnership.

  • It may even consider negotiation on areas such as trade facilitation and customs cooperation, competition, and Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Partnership agreements or cooperation agreements are more comprehensive than Free Trade Agreements.
  • CEPA also looks into the regulatory aspect of trade and encompasses an agreement covering the regulatory issues.

 

As per the CEPA signed between India and the UAE:

90% of India’s exports will have duty-free access to the Emirates.

It covers goods, services and digital trade.

 

Benefits:

  • The bilateral trade pact is India’s first in the region and the first comprehensive trade agreement with any country in a decade.
  • The CEPA is likely to benefit about $26 billion worth of Indian products that are currently subjected to 5% import duty by the UAE, India’s third-biggest trading partner behind the US and China.
  • It is expected that the CEPA will lead to an increase in bilateral trade from the current $60 bn to $100 bn in the next 5 years.
  • Through the pact, Indian exporters will also get access to the much larger Arab and African markets.

 

Current Affairs

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that India was the UAE’s largest export destination and second-largest trade partner in 2019 and the eighth biggest investor with a cumulative foreign direct investment of nearly $11 billion so far?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About CECA.
  2. About CEPA.
  3. India’s FTAs with other countries.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of India- Australia CECA.

Sources: Indian Express.

Environmental Conservation, UN, UNEP.

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

UNEP Frontiers report:

Context:

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) recently released its latest annual Frontiers report.

  • This is the fourth edition of the Frontiers Report, which was first published in 2016 with an alert to the growing risk of zoonotic diseases, four years before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Report identifies and offers solutions to three environmental issues that merit attention and action from governments and the public at large.

 

Highlights of the report:

Focus areas:

Urban noise pollution, wildfires and phenological shifts – the three topics of this Frontiers report – are issues that highlight the urgent need to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss.

 

Concerns:

  • Wildfires are predicted to worsen in the coming years and decades. The trends towards more dangerous fire-weather conditions are likely to increase due to rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the attendant escalation of wildfire risk factors.
  • Vulnerable areas: There has been a rapid expansion of cities towards forest areas in many regions in recent decades. This wild land-urban interface is the area where wildfire risks are most pronounced. For example, rising fires in California, United States.
  • Lightning and pollution: With rising forest fires, the world is very likely to see more frequent incidences of lightning.
  • Fire-induced thunderstorms are a new danger posed by rising wildfires. These thunderstorms contribute to more dangerous conditions for fires on the ground.
  • Noise pollution in cities is a growing hazard to public health: Unwanted, prolonged and high-level sounds from road traffic, railways, or leisure activities impair human health and well-being.
  • Phenological shifts occur when species shift the timing of life cycle stages in response to changing environmental conditions altered by climate change. The concern is that interacting species in an ecosystem do not always shift the timing in the same direction or at the same rate.
  • These phenological shifts are increasingly disturbed by climate change, pushing plants and animals out of synch with their natural rhythms and leading to mismatches, such as when plants shift life cycle stages faster than herbivores.

 

Key Recommendations:

  1. Increase vegetation in urban environments.
  2. Provide soundscape planning (considers contextual characteristics of the place, including perceived acoustic parameters, physical features, natural factors, purpose, usage and user community).
  3. Noise barriers along highways or railways.
  4. Preventive approach by engaging vulnerable groups. Appreciating and adopting indigenous fire management techniques.
  5. Focus on long-range weather forecasting and remote-sensing capabilities such as satellites.
  6. Increasing ecological connectivity through habitat corridors.
  7. Promoting genetic diversity and increasing the chances of successful adaptation.

 

Insta Curious:

Phenology is the timing of recurring life cycle stages, driven by environmental forces, and how, within an ecosystem, interacting species respond to the changing conditions. Plants and animals in terrestrial, aquatic and marine ecosystems use temperature, day-length or rainfall as cues for when to unfold leaf, flower, bear fruit, breed, nestle, pollinate, migrate or transform in other ways.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims link:

  1. UNEP- aims, powers, mandate and reports.

Mains link:

Throw light on the UNEP’s significance and its role in environmental conservation efforts.

Sources: down to earth.

Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System Project:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cyber security related issues.

 

Context:

The central government has approved the implementation of Phase II of the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) project by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • It has been approved at a total cost of Rs 3,375 crore during the period from 2022-23 to 2025-26.

 

What is the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System Project?

ICJS is a national platform which invloves integration of the main IT system used for delivery of Criminal Justice in the country.

This includes integration of the five pillars of the system:

  1. Police (through Crime and Criminal Tracking and Network Systems).
  2. e-Forensics for Forensic Labs.
  3. e-Courts for Courts.
  4. e-Prosecution for Public Prosecutors.
  5. e-Prisons for Prisons.

 

Implementation:

National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) will be responsible for the implementation of the project in association with the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

  • The project will be implemented in collaboration with the States and Union Territories.

 

Current Affairs

 

Significance of the project:

It will be a step towards ensuring effective and modern policing.

  • It is going to be a major leap forward by digitizing the criminal justice records and making it accessible to law enforcement agencies, laboratories and courts.
  • This will not only make it far more difficult for persons to escape the consequences of their actions, it will also ensure that none, either the guilty or the innocent, is forgotten and that justice is equally meted to all.
  • It will not only save time but also make the system more robust and help to track criminals, solve crimes and make India a safer place.

 

Current Affairs

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Tonga Volcanic Eruption:

Last month, a volcano erupted in the southern Pacific Island of Tonga, which triggered Tsunami waves around the Pacific.

  • It is an Undersea Volcanic Eruption consisting of two small uninhabited islands, Hunga-Ha’apai and Hunga-Tonga.
  • The Tonga Islands occur along the Ring of Fire a perimeter of heightened volcanic and seismic activity that encircles the Pacific Ocean basin.

Why in the News?

NASA scientists say the Tonga volcano eruption shot out the highest ash plume satellites have ever captured.

  • The eruption on January 15 shot a plume of ash into the mesosphere, where shooting stars form.
  • The 36-mile-high plume makes this the largest volcanic eruption satellites have ever captured.

 

Current Affairs

 

REWARD Project:

The Government of India, the State Governments of Karnataka and Odisha and the World Bank have signed a $115 million Programme (Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development Programme).

  • REWARD stands for Rejuvenating Watersheds for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development.
  • The project aims to help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change, promote higher productivity and better incomes.

Significance:

The Government of India has committed to restoring 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030 and doubling farmers’ income by 2023. Effective watershed management can help enhance livelihoods in rainfed areas, while building a more resilient food system.

 

Lakshya Zero Dumpsite:

The Centre has approved legacy waste remediation proposals in Andhra Pradesh as a part of the initiative to do away with legacy solid waste dump yards in cities.

  • The housing and urban affairs ministry will provide assistance of Rs 77.7 crore for the Rs 235 crore proposal submitted by the state government under “Lakshya Zero Dumpsite”.
  • So far over 260 cities across five states and UTs have submitted their action plan for legacy waste remediation as a part of the vision of garbage free cities.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 1 had announced the plan to make Indian cities garbage free under the Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 and one of the major objectives under the mission is ‘Lakshya Zero’ Dumpsite to remediate 16 crore tonnes of legacy waste dumpsites occupying nearly 15,000 acres of city land parcels.

Significance of the project:

  • Legacy dumpsites pose major threats to the environment and contribute to air pollution and water pollution. Clearing these mountains of years-old waste is critical to not just transforming the urban landscape of the country, but also addressing the issue of public health and environmental concerns.

 

Tarapur Massacre:

Bihar will commemorate February 15 as “Shahid Diwas” in memory of the 34 freedom fighters who were killed by the British in Tarapur (1932).

  • It was the biggest massacre carried out by the British after the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (Amritsar, 1919).
  • It happened when a group of young freedom fighters planned to hoist an Indian national flag at Thana Bhavan during a protest.

Causes of protest:

  • Arrest of Mahatma Gandhi following collapse of the Gandhi-Irwin Pact (1932).
  • Hanging of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev, and Rajguru in Lahore (1931).
  • Arrest of Nehru, Patel, and Rajendra Prasad.

 

Falkland islands:

China has backed Argentina’s claim over British-run Falkland Islands.

 

Location:

  • Falkland islands are an overseas territory of the United Kingdom located to the southwest Atlantic Ocean at the southernmost point of South America.
  • Positioned both in the southern and western hemispheres of the Earth.
  • They are also called Malvinas Islands.

 

Argentina’s claims:

  • The British, in 1765, were the first to settle West Falkland, but they were driven off in 1770 by the Spanish.
  • The British outpost on West Falkland was restored in 1771 after threat of war, but then the British withdrew from the island in 1774 for economic reasons, without renouncing their claim to the Falklands.
  • Spain maintained a settlement on East Falkland (which it called Soledad Island) until 1811.
  • In 1820 the Argentina Government, which had declared its independence from Spain in 1816, proclaimed its sovereignty over the Falklands.

Despite wars and discussions at the United Nations, the issue of sovereignty remains a point of contention.

 

Current Affairs

 

Crytodactylus exercitus:

A team of herpetologists have recorded a new species of bent-toed gecko from a wooded part of the Umroi Military Station in Meghalaya.

  • Its scientific name is Crytodactylus exercitus and English name is Indian Army’s bent-toed gecko.
  • India is now home to 40 species of the bent-toed gecko with the northeast accounting for 16 of them.

 

Current Affairs

 

Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC):

The GBBC is a global event entailing backyard bird count and is being held for four days across the world from February 18 to 21 and the data uploaded will be harnessed for conservation.

  • It is an online citizen science or community science project that was first launched in 1998 by Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audubon Society.
  • It is being coordinated in India by e-bird India and Birdcount-India.
  • The exercise helps to provide a “snapshot” of the bird population and throws light on the ecosystem supporting it.

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