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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 24 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 2:

1. Fundamental duties must be enforced, says plea in Supreme Court.

2. PM CARES for Children scheme.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Data Accessibility Policy.

2. Ramanujan Prize.

3. India risks being left out of TRIPS waiver.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Kuki tribe.

2. National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS).

3. Char Chinar.

4. Vanniyars.

5. Sea Cucumber.

6. Nord Stream 2 Pipeline.

7. Deucha Panchami coal block.


Fundamental duties must be enforced, says plea in Supreme Court:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution.

 

Context:

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the enforcement of Fundamental Duties under the Indian constitution through comprehensive and well-defined laws.

  • The court has asked the centre and states to respond on this matter.

 

Need for:

The need to enforce fundamental duties arises due to a new illegal trend of protest by protestors in the garb of freedom of speech and expression, by way of blocking of road and rail routes in order to compel the government to meet their demands.

  • This is also necessary to remind citizens that fundamental duties were as important as fundamental rights under the Constitution.

Supreme Court’s judgment in the Ranganath Mishra case: The Court observed that fundamental duties should not only be enforced by legal sanctions but also by social sanctions. After all, rights and duties were co-relative.

 

Rationale behind the demand:

  • The petition referred to the Bhagwad Gita on the importance of duty. Lord Krishna guides Arjuna and educates him with the importance of duties in all spheres/ stages of one’s life.
  • It also referred to the erstwhile Soviet Constitution where the rights and duties were placed in the same footing.
  • Fundamental duties instill a “profound sense of social responsibility towards the nation”. Hence, they have to be enforced.

 

Impacts:

  • Enforcement of Fundamental Duties upholds and protects sovereignty, unity and integrity of India.
  • It also prepares citizens to defend the country and render national service when called upon to do so.
  • It seeks to disseminate a sense of nationalism and to promote the spirit of patriotism to uphold the unity of India after the emergence of China as a superpower.

 

Current Affairs

Fundamental Duties:

Original constitution did not contain any provisions related to Fundamental Duties (FD).

  • This section was added through 42nd amendment act to the constitution of India based on the recommendations of Swaran Singh Committee. In 2002, another Fundamental duty was added to this list.
  • The idea of this section was borrowed from USSR constitution.
  • Japanese constitution is one of the other democratic nations which have a provision dealing with the duties of its citizens.
  • Fundamental duties like DPSP are non-justiciable.

 

Significance of FD:

  • They serve as a reminder to the citizens that while enjoying their rights, they should also be conscious of duties they owe to their country, their society and to their fellow citizens.
  • They serve as a warning against the anti-national and antisocial activitieslike burning the national flag, destroying public property and so on.
  • They serve as a source of inspiration for the citizens and promote a sense of discipline and commitment among them.
  • They create a feeling that the citizens are no mere spectators but active participants in the realization of national goals.

 

Criticism of FD:

  • They are made non-justiciable in nature.
  • Important duties such tax-paying, family planning etc are not covered.
  • Vague and ambiguous provisions which are difficult to be understood by a common man.
  • Superfluous provisions since they would generally be followed even if they were not included.
  • Inclusion as an appendage to the constitution reduces the value and intent behind FD.

 

Insta Curious:

FD apply only to citizens and DO NOT EXTEND TO FOREIGNERS. Which are the other rights applicable to only citizens of the country?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Swaran Singh Committee.
  2. Important Fundamental Duties.
  3. Fundamental Rights vs Duties.
  4. Amendments to Fundamental Duties.

Sources: the Hindu.

Data Accessibility Policy:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Cybersecurity related issues.

 

Context:

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has come out with a draft Data Accessibility and Use policy.

 

Highlights of the policy:

  • The policy proposes to improve data availability, quality and use in line with the decade’s current and emerging technology demands.
  • Any data sharing shall happen within the legal framework of India, its national policies and legislation as well as the recognized international guidelines.
  • All data and information generated, created, collected, or stored by the central government and authorised agencies shall be covered by the policy.
  • Applicability: All government data will be open and shareable unless it falls under a negative list of data sets, categorised under the negative list of datasets that won’t be shared; and restricted access and shared only with trusted users, as defined by the respective ministry or department, under the controlled environment.

 

Important bodies proposed to be created:

  • It proposes the establishment of an India Data Office (IDO) to streamline and unify data access and sharing among government and other stakeholders.
  • In case of the institutional framework, the draft noted that every ministry or department should have Data Management Units, headed by Chief Data Officers, which will work closely with the IDO to ensure the implementation of this policy.
  • India Data Council — comprising IDO and chief data officers — shall be constituted with the objective of undertaking tasks that require deliberation across ministries, departments and state governments.

 

Expected policy outcomes:

  • Unlocking high-value data across the economy.
  • Facilitating a congruent and robust governance strategy.
  • Realising an interoperable digital infrastructure.
  • Data skills and data-driven culture.

 

Concerns:

  • Lack of transparency in the consultation and drafting process: The process of consultation has not been transparent.
  • Perverse revenue objective: The ‘Preamble’ of the policy states that “India’s ambition of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar digital economy depends on its ability to harness the value of data”. With this, it appears that revenue generation through sale of citizen data emerges is the primary objective of the Policy.
  • Harmful effects on informational privacy of citizens: In the absence of a personal data protection law, the envisaged interdepartmental sharing of data across the government departments may lead to a massive violation of the privacy of citizens.
  • Lack of clear & concise definitions for key concepts: New concepts introduced by the Policy have been defined in a vague and ambiguous manner which opens them up to misinterpretation.
    • For example, the Policy creates a separate category of ‘High-Value Data Sets’ which it deems essential for governance and innovation, access to which will be accelerated. However, nowhere in the Background Note or the Policy has the category been concisely defined.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the genesis of this Bill lies in the report prepared by a Committee of Experts headed by Justice B.N. Srikrishna? Read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Data protection bill.
  2. Key Provisions.
  3. Parliamentary panels.
  4. Puttaswamy judgment.
  5. Right to Privacy.

Mains Link:

Comment on the controversial provisions of the Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019.

Sources: the Hindu.

Ramanujan Prize:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Science and technology.

 

Context:

The Ramanujan Prize for Young Mathematicians was awarded to Professor Neena Gupta, a mathematician of the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata, in a virtual ceremony on 22nd February 2022.

  • She received the award for the year 2021 for her outstanding work in affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra.

 

About the Ramanujan Prize:

The prize is awarded annually to a researcher from a developing country funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of the Government of India in association with ICTP (International Centre for Theoretical Physics) and the International Mathematical Union (IMU).

  • Eligibility: It is given to young mathematicians less than 45 years of age who have conducted outstanding research in a developing country.
  • It is supported by DST in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

 

Current Affairs

 

Highlights of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life:

  • In 1911, Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
  • Ramanujan traveled to England in 1914, where Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research.
  • He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his own theory of divergent series.
  • The number 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital. It is the smallest number which can be expressed as the sum of two different cubes in two different ways.
  • Hardy observed Ramanujan’s work primarily involved fields less known even amongst other pure mathematicians.
  • Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December as ‘State IT Day’, memorialising both the man and his achievements, as a native of Tamil Nadu.
  • Ramanujan compiled around 3,900 results consisting of equations and identities. One of his most treasured findings was his infinite series for

 

The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.

 

Insta Curious:

Dr Manmohan Singh, then Prime Minister, declared the December 22 as National Mathematics Day in 2012.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link and Mains Link:

  • Key achievements and contributions of Sri Ramanujan.
  • National Mathematics Day.

Sources: PIB.

India risks being left out of TRIPS waiver:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: IP related issues.

 

Context:

India runs the risk of being excluded from a proposal it co-authored at WTO negotiations, in 2020, to “temporarily waive” IPR held, by primarily Western countries, on vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics for covid-19.

 

What are the shortcomings that impacted India’s global campaign?

  1. During the entire pandemic, India rarely made use of the existing flexibilities under the Indian Patent Act, such as compulsory licences (CL), which are consistent with the TRIPS agreement, to increase the supply of Covid-19 medical products despite being nudged by the judiciary to do so.
  2. TRIPS waiver at the WTO is only an enabling framework. Member countries need to amend their domestic IP laws to implement the waiver. Yet, India did not proactively develop a national strategy to implement the TRIPS waiver as and when it was adopted. This would have not only fortified India’s position internationally but would have also acted as a pressure point to influence the negotiations.
  3. The government failed to get the Indian pharmaceutical industry on board. Many Indian pharmaceutical bodies are not in the favor of the waiver, thus denting India’s global campaign.

 

Background:

India and South Africa had jointly sponsored a proposal in October 2020 and this was updated, with representation from several low– and middle–income countries — though with the notable omission of China — to expand the scope of the waiver to “all health products and technologies” and to have the waiver in place for at least a year.

 

What’s the issue?

A small group of WTO members are “discussing suggestions” to exclude drug manufacturers in India and China — two major, global suppliers of medicine — from prospective waivers to IPR obligations that result from the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) which WTO members are committed to uphold.

  • Also, Manufacturers want to “limit” any benefits of the waiver only to African countries, and not pave the way for Indian manufacturers who, with their large production capacities, would easily undercut Western competitors.

 

Why is there an opposition to the waiver? What are the arguments against it?

Waiving of intellectual property rights will neither lead to increased production of vaccines or increased deployment nor practical solutions to fight the virus of COVID-19 vaccines since IP is not the barrier.

Waiving of intellectual property rights could impact patient safety by opening doors for counterfeit vaccines to enter the supply chain.

 

Need of the hour:

Our top most priority should be to address the supply side constraints, including IP barriers, to augment the manufacturing of vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics, essential for treatment, prevention and control of the ongoing pandemic.

 

What does the intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 vaccines mean?

The IP waiver might open up space for production of Covid vaccines with emergency use authorisations (EUA) — such as those developed by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson and Bharat Biotech — on a larger scale in middle-income countries.

  • Most production is currently concentrated in high-income countries; production by middle-income countries has been happening through licensing or technology transfer agreements.

 

What are patents and IP rights?

A patent represents a powerful intellectual property right, and is an exclusive monopoly granted by a government to an inventor for a limited, pre-specified time. It provides an enforceable legal right to prevent others from copying the invention.

 

Patents can be either process patents or product patents:

  1. A product patent ensures that the rights to the final product is protected, and anyone other than the patent holder can be restrained from manufacturing it during a specified period, even if they were to use a different process.
  2. A process patent enables any person other than the patent holder to manufacture the patented product by modifying certain processes in the manufacturing exercise.

 

Patent regime in India:

India moved from product patenting to process patenting in the 1970s, which enabled India to become a significant producer of generic drugs at global scale, and allowed companies like Cipla to provide Africa with anti-HIV drugs in the 1990s.

  • But due to obligations arising out of the TRIPS Agreement, India had to amend the Patents Act in 2005, and switch to a product patents regime across the pharma, chemicals, and biotech sectors.

 

What is the TRIPS Agreement?

The TRIPS agreement was negotiated in 1995 at the WTO, it requires all its signatory countries to enact domestic law.

  • It guarantees minimum standards of IP protection. Such legal consistency enables innovators to monetise their intellectual property in multiple countries.
  • In 2001, the WTO signed the Doha Declaration, which clarified that in a public health emergency, governments could compel companies to license their patents to manufacturers, even if they did not think the offered price was acceptable.
  • This provision, commonly referred to as “compulsory licensing”, was already built into the TRIPS Agreement and the Doha declaration only clarified its usage.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is TRIPS?
  2. Indian Patents Act, 2005.
  3. Patent regime in India.
  4. What is compulsory Licensing?

Mains Link:

Write a note on compulsory Licensing.

Sources: the Hindu.

PM CARES for Children scheme:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

 

 

Context:

PM Cares for Children Scheme has been extended till February 28, 2022. The scheme was earlier valid till December 31, 2021.

 

About the scheme:

Launched in May 2021.

The scheme has been launched for support & empowerment of Covid affected children.

Eligibility: All children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to Covid 19 will be supported under the scheme.

  • Children must not have completed 18 years of age at the time of the death of their parents in order to be eligible for the scheme.

 

Features of the scheme:

  1. Fixed Deposit in the name of the child: A corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
  2. School Education: For children under 10 years: Admission will be given in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
  3. School Education: for children between 11-18 years: The child will be given admission in any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc.
  4. Support for Higher Education: The child will be assisted in obtaining an education loan for Professional courses / Higher Education in India as per the existing Education Loan norms.
  5. Health Insurance: All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs.

 

(Note: We have covered only highlights and key features of the scheme here. For complete details, please visit

 

Need for these measures:

  • As India battles a raging second wave, cases of children losing their parents to Covid-19 are also mounting.
  • Also the apprehension of child trafficking in the garb of adoption has increased.
  • Child Marriages have also increased in the Covid-19 induced lockdown.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about the SAMARTH initiative? Reference: read this.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is a public account?
  2. Who administers PM CARES fund?
  3. Which organisations are exempted from the ambit of RTI act?
  4. What is Consolidated fund of India?
  5. What is a charitable trust?
  6. PM CARES For Children- Empowerment of COVID Affected Children- eligibility and benefits.

Mains Link:

Discuss why PM CARES fund should be brought within the ambit of RTI act?

Sources: the Hindu.

Facts for Prelims:

 

Kuki tribe:

The Centre has assured it will hold peace talks with all Kuki militant groups and their issue would be resolved in the next five years.

Militant outfits such as the Kuki National Organisation and the United People’s Front were demanding a separate State for the Kuki tribe in Manipur.

  • Basically, the Kuki people are an ethnic group native to the Mizo Hills (formerly Lushai) in Mizoram.
  • In northeast India, they are present in all states except Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Kuki Rising, 1917-1919’ — also seen as the anti-colonial freedom struggle of the Kukis — was fought against the British to preserve their land. During WWII, the Kukis joined the Indian Army to fight the British again.

Demand for a separate State: The community today feels that despite never bowing to the British, their contribution in overthrowing the colonialists has never been acknowledged, rather it has left them vulnerable even after India gained Independence.

 

Current Affairs

 

 

National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Scheme (NMMSS):

The Ministry of Education has approved the continuation of National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship (NMMSS) over the 15th Finance Commission cycle for a period of five years i.e. from 2021-22 to 2025-26.

  • It is a central Sector Scheme, launched in 2008-09 to award scholarships to meritorious students of economically weaker sections to reduce drop-outs in class VIII.
  • The scheme envisages award of one lakh fresh scholarships every year to selected students of class IX and their continuation/renewal in classes X to XII for study in a State Government, Government-aided and Local body schools under the scheme.

 

Char Chinar:

  • The iconic island Char Chinari in the middle of Dal Lake (Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir), is in the spotlight again.
  • Recently, two tall chinar trees were planted on the picturesque island with the Zabarwan hills in the backdrop.
  • The 2014 floods left two mighty chinars damaged.
  • The island owes its name to chinar trees, as Char Chinari means four Chinars.

 

Current Affairs

 

Vanniyars:

Vanniyars are one of the largest and most consolidated backward communities in Tamil Nadu. They had raised massive protests in the mid-1980s demanding 20% reservation in the state, and 2% in central services.

Why in the News?

  • SC refuses to refer to larger bench appeals against HC order quashing 10.5 per cent Vanniyar quota, a Most Backward Community (MBC) in Tamil Nadu, in government jobs and admission to educational institutions.

 

Sea Cucumber:

  • Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
  • They are marine invertebrates that live on the seafloor found generally in tropical regions. They’re named for their unusual oblong shape that resembles a fat cucumber.
  • They are an integral part of the coral ecosystem as one of the main by-products of the sea cucumbers digestion of sand is calcium carbonate and this is essential for the survival of the coral reefs.
  • They act like garbage collectors of the ocean world, and they recycle nutrients, thus playing an important role in keeping coral reefs in good condition.
  • Sea cucumbers are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia. It is primarily smuggled from Tamil Nadu to Sri Lanka in fishing vessels from Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts.
  • IUCN Red List: Brown Sea Cucumber (Endangered), Blackspotted Sea Cucumber (Least Concern), Blue Sea Cucumber (Data Deficient), etc.

 

Current Affairs

 

Nord Stream 2 Pipeline:

  • This is a 1,200-km pipeline that runs from Ust-Luga in Russia to Greifswald in Germany through the Baltic Sea. It will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
  • It was decided to build this pipeline in 2015.
  • Nord stream 1 system is already completed and together with NS2P, it will supply 110 billion cubic metre of gas a year to Germany.

Why in the News?

Germany has taken steps to halt the process of certifying the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia after Russia announced that it will recognise the independence of eastern Ukraine’s separatist republics, Donetsk and Lugansk territories.

 

Current Affairs

 

Deucha Panchami coal block:

  • Deaucha Panchami coal block of Birbhum Coalfield Area is World’s Second Largest Coal Block situated in West Bengal.
  • This coal mine is the largest coal mine or coal block in Asia, due to the number of coal reserves.

Why in the News?

Amid protests over land issues over Deucha Panchami by various organizations, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has increased the monetary package for the tribals in Deucha Panchami.

 

Articles to be covered tomorrow:

  1. Concept of offence of money-laundering in PMLA is very wide: Supreme Court.
  2. Karakartam.

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