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[Mission 2022] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 22 APRIL 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 2:

1. How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

2. African swine fever.

3. G20.

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Regulatory framework for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

2. Human – animal conflict.

3. NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission.

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Europa.

2. ‘India Out’ campaign.

3. Fincluvation.

4. Civil Services Day.

5. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay


How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

GS Paper 2:

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

 

How Election Commission decides on party symbols?

Context:

Delhi High Court has dismissed public interest litigation, seeking the removal of election symbols from ballot papers for the municipal elections in the city.

 

What’s the issue?

  • The petitioner contended that the objective behind the municipal elections is “local self-governance” which is “taken away” by the appearance of election symbols of political parties on ballot papers.
  • The plea argued that a candidate with an existing symbol of a recognised political party gets an unfair advantage over a candidate with an unknown symbol.

 

Firstly, how are symbols allotted to political parties?

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

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

 

Powers of Election Commission:

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

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

 

How many types of symbols are there?

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

Insta Curious:

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

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

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

Mains Link:

Discuss how are symbols allotted to political parties?

Sources: the Hindu

African swine fever:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Issues related to health.

 

Context:

After African Swine Fever (ASF) cases were reported in a breeding farm in Sepahijala district, the Tripura government has decided to go in for mass culling of infected pigs at the farm.

 

About African Swine Fever (ASF):

  • ASF is a highly contagious and fatal animal disease that infects domestic and wild pigs, typically resulting in an acute form of hemorrhagic fever.
  • It was first detected in Africa in the 1920s.
  • The mortality is close to 100 per cent, and since the fever has no cure, the only way to stop it spreading is by culling the animals.
  • As of now, there is no approved vaccine, which is also a reason why animals are culled to prevent the spread of infection.

 

Current Affairs

 

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know the differences between African Swine fever and Classical swine fever? Read here.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. Can swine fever affect humans?
  2. Is it a viral disease?
  3. Where was it first discovered?
  4. Which countries have been affected by this in 2020?
  5. Is there any vaccine available against this?

Mains Link:

Write a note African Swine Fever, symptoms and its spread.

Sources: Down to Earth.

G20:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Important International Institutions.

 

Context:

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and her counterparts from the mostly western bloc recently walked out of a G20 finance boffins session as Russian officials began to speak.

  • This was a boycott — to protest Moscow’s war on Ukraine.
  • However, these countries were not joined by officials from at least ten other nations, including Indonesia, China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Saudi Arabia.

 

What’s the issue?

These countries have continued to resist Russian aggression and war crimes.

  • They said, Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy.
  • They demanded that Russia should not be participating or included in these meetings.

 

What is the G20?

The G20 is an annual meeting of leaders from the countries with the largest and fastest-growing economies.

  • Its members account for 85% of the world’s GDP, and two-thirds of its population.
  • The G20 Summit is formally known as the “Summit on Financial Markets and the World Economy”.

 

Establishment:

After the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997-1998, it was acknowledged that the participation of major emerging market countries is needed on discussions on the international financial system, and G7 finance ministers agreed to establish the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors meeting in 1999.

 

Presidency:

  • The group has no permanent staff of its own, so every year in December, a G20 country from a rotating region takes on the presidency.
  • That country is then responsible for organising the next summit, as well as smaller meetings for the coming year.
  • They can also choose to invite non-member countries along as guests.
  • The first G20 meeting took place in Berlin in 1999, after a financial crisis in East Asia affected many countries around the world.

 

Full membership of the G20:

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

 

g20_g8_g7

 

Its relevance in changing times:

  • As globalization progresses and various issues become more intricately intertwined, the recent G20 summits have focused not only on macroeconomy and trade, but also on a wide range of global issues which have an immense impact on the global economy, such as development, climate change and energy, health, counter-terrorism, as well as migration and refugees.
  • The G20 has sought to realize an inclusive and sustainable world through its contributions towards resolving these global issues.

 

Insta Curious:

Do you know about Sherpas? Reference: read this.

 

Currently, Indonesia holds the presidency of the G20 Summit.

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. G20 vs G20+ vs G7 vs G8.
  2. Objectives and sub- groups.
  3. Overview of Geographical locations of the member countries.

Mains Link:

Do you think the recent G20 summits have turned into talking shops rather than getting down to brass tacks? Critically analyse.

Sources: the Hindu.

Regulatory framework for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs):

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Indian economy and issues related to planning and governance. .

 

Context:

The government is reportedly considering a regulatory framework for special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs).

 

What are SPACs?

  • An SPAC, or a blank-cheque company, is an entity specifically set up with the objective of acquiring a firm in a particular sector.
  • An SPAC aims to raise money in an initial public offering (IPO) without any operations or revenues.
  • The money that is raised from the public is kept in an escrow account, which can be accessed while making the acquisition.
  • If the acquisition is not made within two years of the IPO, the SPAC is delisted and the money is returned to the investors.

 

Why are they attractive?

While SPACs are essentially shell companies, a key factor that makes them attractive to investors are the people who sponsor them.

Globally, prominent names have participated in SPACs.

 

Associated concerns:

  • In March last year, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued an investor alert on SPACs, cautioning investors “not to make investment decisions related to SPACs based solely on celebrity involvement”.
  • There may be lesser returns for retail investors post-merger.
  • Certain clauses could potentially prevent investors from getting their monies back.

 

Where does India stand?

Of the 1,145 IPOs by blank-cheque companies since 2009, 248 happened in 2020, 613 in 2021, and 58 in 2022 so far.

  • The gross proceeds raised by SPACs amounted to over $83 billion in 2020 and $162 billion in 2021. The number for 2022 has crossed $10 billion already.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the Company Law Committee, which was set up in 2019 to make recommendations to boost ease of doing business in India, has suggested the government to set up SPACs?

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. SPACs.
  2. The Company Law Committee.
  3. Shell Companies.
  4. Companies Act.

Mains Link:

Discuss the concerns associated with SPACs.

Sources: Indian Express.

Human Animal Conflict:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.

 

Context:

Standing Committee on Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change headed by Rajya Sabha member Jairam Ramesh has submitted its report.

  • The report analyses the Wildlife (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021 tabled in the Lok Sabha in December 2021.

 

Significance:

While Standing Committee reports on Bills usually stick to criticism of text of the Bill, this report devoted space to the question of Human Animal conflict— a subject not mentioned in the proposed amendments — as it was “a complex issue as serious as hunting” and needed “legislative backing.”

 

Key recommendations to reduce human – animal conflict:

  • The report recommends an HAC Advisory Committee to be headed by the Chief Wild Life Warden, who can consult the committee to act appropriately.
  • Such a committee with few members and in-depth technical knowledge for evolving effective site-specific plans/ mitigation strategies including recommendations on changing cropping patterns and for taking critical decisions at short notice, empowered under the law is necessary.

 

WWF and UNEP report on Human-wildlife conflict:

A report titled, A future for all – the need for human-wildlife coexistence, was released by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in July 2021.

 

Highlights of the Report:

  1. Conflict between humans and animals is one of the main threats to the long-term survival of some of the world’s most iconic species.
  2. Globally, conflict-related killing affects more than 75 per cent of the world’s wild cat species. It also affects polar bears and Mediterranean monk seals as well as large herbivores such as elephants.
  3. Global wildlife populations have fallen an average of 68 per cent since 1970.

 

Indian scenario:

  1. Over 500 elephants were killed between 2014-2015 and 2018-2019, mostly due to human-elephant conflict.
  2. During the same period, 2,361 people were killed as a result of conflict with elephants.
  3. India will be most-affected by human-wildlife conflict because it had the world’s second-largest human population as well as large populations of tigers, Asian elephants, one-horned rhinos, Asiatic lions and other species.

 

What needs to be done?

Completely eradicating human-wildlife conflict is not possible. But well-planned, integrated approaches to managing it can reduce conflicts and lead to a form of coexistence between people and animals.

 

Sonitpur Model:

  1. In Sonitpur district in Assam, destruction of forests had forced elephants to raid crops, in turn causing deaths of both, elephants and humans.
  2. In response, WWF India had developed the ‘Sonitpur Model’ during 2003-2004 by which community members were connected with the state forest department.
  3. They were given training on how to work with them to drive elephants away from crop fields safely.
  4. WWF India had also developed a low-cost, single strand, non-lethal electric fence to ease the guarding of crops from elephants.
  5. Afterwards, crop losses dropped to zero for four years running. Human and elephant deaths also reduced significantly.

 

Advisory for management of Human-Wildlife Conflict (HWC) approved by Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (SC-NBWL):

  1. Empower gram panchayats in dealing with the problematic wild animals as per the WildLife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  2. Utilise add-on coverage under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojna for crop compensation against crop damage due to HWC.
  3. Augment fodder and water sources within the forest areas.
  4. Other measures: The advisory prescribes inter-departmental committees at local/state level, adoption of early warning systems, creation of barriers, dedicated circle wise Control Rooms with toll free hotline numbers which could be operated on 24X7 basis.

 

Insta Curious:

The National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is a “statutory board” constituted under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 (wildlife act). Do you know who heads the board? Read here.

Sources: the Hindu

NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission:

GS Paper 3:

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is working with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) of the United States of America to jointly realise a satellite mission named ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR)’ for scientific studies of Earth.

  • The NISAR mission is scheduled for launch in 2023.

 

About NISAR:

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

 

Synthetic aperture radar:

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

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

 

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

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

Mains Link:

Write a note on NISAR.

Sources: the Hindu.

 Facts for Prelims:

 

 

Europa:

Researchers have said that there might be an abundance of water pockets beneath formations called double ridges on Jupiter’s moons Europa.

  • Europa’s surface is mostly solid water ice.
  • Double ridges are the formations which are most common on Europa’s surface and are similar to those seen on Earth’s Greenland ice sheet.

About Europa:

  • Europa is slightly smaller than Earth’s moon and its diameter is about one-quarter that of the Earth.
  • Europa has a very thin oxygen atmosphere.
  • Interestingly, while its diameter is less than the Earth’s, Europa probably contains twice the amount of the water in all of the Earth’s oceans.

NASA is expected to launch its Europa Clipper in 2024. The module will orbit Jupiter and conduct multiple close flybys to Europa to gather data on the moon’s atmosphere, surface and its interior.

 

Current Affairs

 

‘India Out’ campaign:

Maldives has issued a decree banning the ‘India Out’ campaign.

Opposition parties and a section of the media in the Maldives have been engaged in renewed efforts to whip up anti-India sentiments.

  • In this regard, “India Out” slogan was first used on social media platforms last year.
  • This campaign alleged that the cooperation between the governments of the two countries is undermining the national security and sovereignty of the Maldives.

 

Fincluvation:

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB), a 100% government owned entity under Department of Posts (DoP) has announced the launch of Fincluvation– a joint initiative to collaborate with Fintech Startup community to co-create and innovate solutions for financial inclusion.

  • Fincluvation is an Industry first initiative to create a powerful platform to mobilize the start-up community towards building meaningful financial products aimed at financial inclusion.
  • Fincluvation will be a permanent platform of IPPB to co-create inclusive financial solutions with participating start-ups.

 

Civil Services Day:

  • The Government of India celebrates April 21 every year as ‘Civil Services day’ as an occasion for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the cause of citizen and renew their commitments to public service and excellence in work.
  • This date is chosen to commemorate the day when first Home Minister of Independent India, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel addressed the probationers of Administrative Services Officers in 1947 at Metcalf House, Delhi.
  • As part of Civil Servant Day, Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration are presented to Districts/Implementing Units for implementation of Priority programme and innovation categories.

 

Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay:

  • He was a Bengali poet and writer.
  • He wrote the national song Vande Mataram.
  • His novel Anandamath — which was set in the background of the Sanyashi Bidroho (rebellion of monks in late 18th century) — is considered to be one of key works on Bengal’s nationalism.
  • His first Bengali fiction is called ‘Durgeshnondini’ published in 1865.
  • He also wrote other famous novels like Kapalkundala in 1866, Mrinalini in 1869, Vishbriksha in 1873, Chandrasekhar in 1877, Rajani in 1877, Rajsimha in 1881 and Devi Chaudhurani in 1884.
  • He brought out a monthly magazine called Bangadarshan in 1872.
  • His first fiction to appear in print was the English novel Rajmohan’s Wife.

 

Current Affairs


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