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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 2 August 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. Representation, all the way up

2. Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act

3. Bilateral Air Service Agreement

4. Private players can use drones

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Government’s own ‘gig workers’

2. Sowing the ‘AI’ seed for intelligent farming”

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Australia PM unveils draft Indigenous recognition referendum question

2. Indian Court’s Regressive Order

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs)

2. Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS)

3. CPGRAMs

4. Global Engagement Scheme

5. Researchers identify fungus for pyrene remediation


 

Representation, all the way up

GS Paper  2

Syllabus: Women and Local Self Government

 

Source: The Hindu, The Indian Express

Direction: Just go through it once. Not much content in the article to make a note of.

Context: Recently, Droupadi Murmu, an Adivasi woman from a humble background, was sworn in as the 15th President of India, made possible by reforms at the local level.

The 73rd and 74th Amendments towards democratic decentralisation have played a key role in diversifying representation in politics.

Constitutional Reform for women in LSG

  • Provided for Intersectional reservation: It refers to reservation for SC Women, ST Women and OBC Womenin the elected councils of Panchayats and Municipalities.
    • A minimum of one-third of seats has to be reserved for women.
  • Reservation beyond 33%: States such as Bihar, and West Bengal have gone beyond the Constitutional mandate by increasing women’s reservations from 33% to 50% and introduced reservations for OBCs.

 

Benefits:

  • Broadening therepresentative character of the Indian state by increasing the total number of elected representatives and diversifying its constituents.

Issues:

Despite 30 years of these constitutional reforms, the local governments have still not become powerful “units of self-government” as:

  • No true financial and administrative power has been transferred (the state still holds a substantial hold over LSG)
  • Expansion of the reservation to other social bases has been relatively ignored
  • Judiciary has been quite sceptical about diversifying representation in local governments, like OBC reservation in local government elections.
  • Issue of ‘Panchayat Pati’: Women are sometimes proxies for their husbands in reserved constituencies.

Conclusion:

Empirical studies have shown that women-led panchayats invest more in public goods, prioritize infrastructure more relevant for women, and increase women’s involvement in village affairs. The SC has given direction that diversifying reservations to OBC should be justified by “empirical findings” of backwardness.

Women in Judiciary

As per government data, there are 4 in the Supreme Court and 96 in the High Courts.

Insta Links

Devolution of Powers to Local Level

 

Mains Link

Q. Have the quota policy for women in local government delivered towards political empowerment of women? Critically comment. (10M)

 

Prelims Link

Local self-government can be best explained as an exercise in

(a) Federalism

(b) Democratic decentralization

(c) Administrative delegation

(d) Direct democracy

Answer: B

Democratic decentralization is the development of reciprocal relationships between central and local governments and between local governments and citizens.

Kerala opposes changes to MMDR Act

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation

 

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The Kerala government has opposed the new set of proposed amendments to the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act.
  • The State Industries Minister met the Union Coal and Mines Minister and told him that the amendments are a breach of States Rights as minerals come under the purview of States.
  • The Centre had invited suggestions from the public to the draft amendments to the MMDR Act.

 

Key Highlights:

  • Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals: The main objection is against the sixth item in the note for consultation sent to the State governments that will empower the Centre to auction some minerals from the list of atomic minerals.
  • Entry 23 of List II and Article 246(3): State Governments are the owners of the mines and minerals located within the territory of the State concerned, and under Entry 23 of List II of the Constitution and the Constitutional right of the State under Article 246(3), State Assemblies can make laws on such minerals.

Article 246(3):

● The Legislature of any State has exclusive power to make laws for such State or any part thereof with respect to any of the matters enumerated in List II in the Seventh Schedule (in this Constitution referred to as the “State List”).

Monazite:

● It is one of the beach sand minerals that contain rare earth like lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium etc.

● It also contains thorium which is a “prescribed substance”, the list of which was revised in 2006 under the Atomic Energy Act, 1962.

●It is a rare phosphate mineral that usually occurs in small isolated grains in Igneous and Metamorphic rocks such as granite, pegmatite, schist, and gneiss.

●It is translucent and one of the most resistant minerals to weathering.

● It is a radioactive atomic mineral used for the production of Thorium (as high as 500 ppm) and has the potential to be used as fuel in the nuclear power system

Monazite Distribution:

Insta Links:

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act

7th Schedule

 

Practice Questions

Q. How far do you think cooperation, competition and confrontation have shaped the nature of federation in India? Cite some recent examples to validate your answer. (UPSC 2020)

Which of the following states have Monazite deposits?

    1. Kerala
    2. Andhra Pradesh
    3. Odisha
    4. Jharkhand

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 3 only

b. 1 and 2 only

c. 1, 3 and 4 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (d)

Justification:

Refer to the image above

/ 2 Aug CA, Polity, Today Article

India has signed Bilateral Air Service Agreement with 116 countries

GS paper 2

Syllabus: India and its bilateral relations, Bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) etc

 

Directions: Go through it once

Source: PIB

Context:

  • India has signed a bilateral air service agreement with 116 countries including neighbouring Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Pakistan along with the US, UK, UAE etc
  • Airline can operate to/from a point in India: Any designated foreign airline can operate to/from a point in India if it is designated as a point of call in the bilateral Air Services Agreement (ASA) signed between India and the country which has designated the airline.
  • Free to mount scheduled operations: Indian designated carriers are free to mount scheduled operations to/from any international airport, including Kannur International Airport, under the ambit of bilateral ASAs concluded by India with foreign countries.
  • Operating passenger services: Currently, due to a significant imbalance in the number of points of call in favour of foreign carriers, the Government of India is not granting any non-metro airport as a new point of call to any foreign carrier for the purpose of operating passenger services.
India’s Open Sky Policy:

●        The National Civil Aviation Policy (2016) allows the government to enter into an ‘open sky’ air services agreement on a reciprocal basis with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations as well as countries beyond a 5,000 km radius from New Delhi.

●        It implies that nations within 5,000 kilometres of distance need to enter into a bilateral agreement and mutually determine the number of flights that their airlines can operate between the two countries.

●        India has open sky agreements with Greece, Jamaica, Guyana, Finland, the USA, Japan, etc.

●        The degree of “sky openness” depends on the freedoms of the air in the country granted to foreign airlines. There are 9 such freedoms according to the 1944 Convention on International Civil Aviation

 

Freedoms of air:

Practice Questions:

With reference to freedom of air granted to foreign airlines, consider the following statements:

    1. The fifth and sixth freedoms allow airlines to carry passengers picked from one country and fly them to a third country rather than the country from which the airline originated.
    2. Second freedom allows the airline to take off from the country it has landed in and come back to land at its home base.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Justification:

Refer to the image in Table

Private players can use drones for delivery purposes in accordance with Drone Rules, 2021

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Drone Rules, 2021, application of drones etc

 

Source: PIB

Context:

  • The government is utilizing the services of drone providers for vaccine delivery, an inspection of oil pipelines and power transmission lines, agricultural spraying, etc. Private players can now also do so.
  • In 2021, the government notified the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote the growth of drone manufacturing by private companies.
  • The PLI rate is 20 per cent of the value addition over three financial years. PLI for a manufacturer shall be capped at 25 per cent of the total annual outlay.
  • The beneficiaries include 12 manufacturers of drones and 11 manufacturers of drone components.

 

Key aspects of the regulatory framework under Drones Rules, 2021:

  • Registration and having a Unique Identification Number (UIN): Every drone, except for those meant for research, development and testing purposes, is required to be registered and should have a Unique Identification Number (UIN).
  • Segregating the entire airspace: An airspace map of the country segregating the entire airspace into red, yellow and green zones is available on the digital sky platform.
    • Operation of drones in red and yellow zones is subject to the approval of the Central Government and the concerned Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority respectively.
    • No approval is required for operation of drones in green zones.
  • Empowering State and UT Government’s: The State Government, the Union Territory Administration and Law enforcement agencies have been empowered under the Rules to declare a temporary red zone for a specified period.
  • Necessary type certification: Drones are required to have the necessary type certification issued by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
    • No type certification is however required in case of nano drones (up to 250 gram all-up weight) and model drones made for research and recreation purposes.
  • Necessary personal details: The owner and operators of drones are required to furnish the necessary personal details including their Indian passport number etc. for issuance of any registration or licence.
  • Rule 17 of the Drone Rules, 2021: It lays down the provision of transfer of drone to another person by way of sale, lease, gift or any other mode, after providing requisite details of the transferor, transferee and unique identification number of the drone on the digital sky platform along with the applicable fees.
  • Authorisation of Remote Pilot Training Organizations (RPTO): It will be done by DGCA within specified time limits.
  • Punishment for violation: Drone operations that violate the provisions of the Drone Rules, 2021 are punishable under Rule 49 of the Drone Rules, 2021 as well as provisions of any other law, for the time being in force.

 

Drones use in agriculture:

Insta Links:

SWAMITVA scheme

 

Practice Questions:

Q. The government is utilizing the services of drone providers for a number of purposes. In the light of this statement, Critically analyze Drones Rules, 2021.

With reference to Drones Rules, 2021, consider the following statements:

    1. No type certification is required in the case of nano drones up to 250 grams however model drones made for research and recreation purposes need type certification.
    2. No approval is required for the operation of drones in green zones.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct:

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (a)

Justification:

  • No type certification is however required in the case of nano drones (up to 250 gram all-up weight) and model drones made for research and recreation purposes.
  • Operation of drones in red and yellow zones is subject to the approval of the Central Government and the concerned Air Traffic Control (ATC) authority respectively.
  • No approval is required for the operation of drones in green zones.

 

Government’s own ‘gig workers’

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Employment

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: Agnipath scheme has highlighted the approach of the government to outsource work to ‘temporary workers’

Direction: Just go through it once. Not so important.

‘Temporary’ jobs have comprised the vast majority of available government employment for quite some time. They may be classified into three categories:

  • Permanent
  • Contractual
  • Daily wagers

Status:

  • Outsourcing has become the dominant mode of working in the government, from highly specialised tasks to the most routine ones. E.g.  Safai karamchari (sanitation worker), a driver/conductor of your city bus service, a junior engineer or a highly paid consultant.
  • As per a survey, The number of contractual workers in central public sector enterprises increased to 4,98,807 in March 2020from 2,67,929 in March 2016.

 

Benefits of contract workers

  • For Government: costs and liabilities of the government entity are significantly reduced compared to a “permanent” position.
    • Burden of responsibility is shifted to the contractor
    • No possibility of litigation seeking ‘regularisation’

Issues: Non-payment of salaries for extended periods, fudging of statutory deductions for the worker’s welfare such as provident fund (PF), employees’ state insurance (ESI), etc. by the labour contractor, and uneven distribution of work vis-à-vis “permanent” employees.

  • Long-term impact: Quality of public service that is sought to be provided including sanitation, public transport, health, etc.

What should be done:

  • Need to augment the capacity of the government, particularly those wings of the state that cater various services to people, as well as to create a viable avenue of employment for India’s burgeoning working-age population.
  • Following Effective procedure: Local bodies, parastatals, special purpose vehicles and other public utilities stand to gain considerably if the modalities of contractual engagement are diligently worked out.
    • g. The Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs’ The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP), enables city authorities to directly engage a young workforce for a fixed term.

 

Conclusion

Even though a permanent government job remains highly coveted, it may be important to also recognise that not everyone may aspire to ‘permanence’ due to various reasons.

Fixed-term contractual stints with the government with safeguards against sheer exploitation can be a major source of employment. However, such modes of recruitment will have to assimilate the principles of affirmative action, in line with the vision of social justice enshrined in our Constitution. This is key in order to avoid becoming a mechanism that will skirt provisions for reservation.

Insta Links

Niti Aayog report on India’s Gig worker

Mains Link

Q. Discuss facts and fears about the ‘contractualization’ labour force in government public service. (15M)

Sowing the ‘AI’ seed for intelligent farming”

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: E-technology in the aid of farmers.

 

Source: Times of India, Live Mint

Context: 2-3 different articles came in the different newspapers about the same theme of AI, we have combined all of them.

Direction: AI is important for both Mains and Prelims. Understand the topic discussed (can make note of a few points)

John McCarthy, the American computer scientist, first introduced the world to the term “artificial intelligence” at the 1955 Dartmouth Conference.

Status:

  • According to NITI Aayog, AI has the potential to add $1 trillion to India’s economy by 2035. And, as per some experts and academicians, a significant amount of this would be in the agriculture sector.

Application of the AI in agriculture

  • Efficient and cost-effective resource and yield management in the agricultural sector.
  • Enable Smart Agriculture: It refers to the usage of technologies like the Internet of Things, sensors, location systems, robots and artificial intelligence on your farm.
    • AI, cloud computing, satellite imagery, and advanced analytics, in combination, can create an ecosystem for smart agriculture.
  • Prediction analysis: Will ensure the highest possible yields based on the seasonal forecast models.
  • Address supply-demand mismatch in real-time. For example, a supply-demand engine or predictor that can map supply and demand can reduce this issue significantly.
  • Precision farming by determining whether pesticides and weedicides should be used by detecting and targeting weeds in the identified buffer zone.
    • This can lead to higher yields and reduced use of pesticides and weedicides.
  • Extension services: AI-based natural language translation facilitates the issuance and spread of Agri-advisories, weather forecasts, and early warnings for droughts in multiple vernacular languages.

Challenges:

  • Lack of proper infrastructure and know-how, faith in conventional styles of functioning, lack of awareness and scarcity of farmer capital,
  • Fragmentation of land could also prove to be a hurdle for the large-scale implementation of new technologies.

Measures Taken:

  • ICAR initiatives for cyber agro-physical systemsto make Indian farming a viable, self-sustaining, and internationally competitive enterprise.
  • NITI Aayog identifies agriculture as one of the focus areas as part of its national strategy for AI.

States:

  • Karnatakahas partnered with a leading MNC for agricultural produce, price-related information, and intelligence using predictive modelling
  • Uttar Pradesh is collaborating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Tata Trust to set up the Indian Agritech incubation network at IIT-Kanpur
  • Maharashtra has launched the Maha AgriTech projectthat is aimed at utilizing and promoting the application of satellites and drones to solve various agrarian problems.

Conclusion:

It is high time that collaborative Agri-data stacks are created and MSME and large corporations invest in this space. There is a need for the right mix of participation from public and private institutions.

AI in Biology

Context: Alphabet’s Deepmind Technologies recently predicted 3D structures of over 200 million proteins. Generated by its AI system AlphaFold, it aims to help researchers enhance their understanding of how proteins — the building blocks of life — may fold.

Proteins: Human body is estimated to have 20,000 to over 100,000 unique types of proteins within a cell with each having a specific function. These proteins are made up of long chains of 20-22 different types of amino acids linked by peptide (shorter chain of amino acids) bonds. Their order determines how the protein chain will fold upon itself into a 3D structure.

Importance of Folding: Folding lets proteins adopt a functional shape or conformation. If researchers can predict how proteins fold, they can better learn how cells function and how misfolded proteins can cause diseases. AlphaFold uses AI to predict a protein’s 3D structure from its amino acid chain, thereby helping learn how cell functions, and related diseases and accelerating the discovery of drugs.

 

Responsible AI for youth 2022

Context: Launched by National E-Governance Division (MeIT) and Intel India

Aim: To enable school students (class 8-12) with AI skills in an inclusive manner through exclusive hands-on learning and mentorship opportunities.

Other Initiative:

  • National Program on AI
  • AIRAWAT(Artificial Intelligence Research, Analytics and Knowledge Assimilation Platform)- Cloud computing platform
  • National Strategy for AI
  • Kamakoti Committee: Set up digital data banks, marketplaces and exchanges to ensure the availability of cross-industry information
  • National Artificial Intelligence Mission

 

Insta Links

Robotics in Agriculture

 

Mains Links

Q. Artificial Intelligence will revolutionize the farming sector in India. Critically comment. (15M)

 

Prelims Links

With the present state of development, Artificial Intelligence can effectively do which of the following?

    1. Bring down electricity consumption in industrial units.
    2. Create meaningful short stories and songs.
    3. Disease diagnosis.
    4. Text-to-Speech Conversion.
    5. Wireless transmission of electrical energy.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only

(b) 1, 3 and 4 only

(c) 2, 4 and 5 only

(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

Answer: D

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)


Australia PM unveils draft Indigenous recognition referendum question

Direction: This example can be used in answers where we talk about the inclusion of tribals.

The government is seeking a referendum, which is necessary to make changes to the constitution, on recognizing indigenous minorities in the constitution and requiring governments to consult Aboriginal people on decisions that impact their lives.

current affairs, current events, current gk, insights ias current affairs, upsc ias current affairs

Indian Court’s Regressive Order

Removing Mangalsutra is mental cruelty
In Tamil Nadu, a woman was accused of subjecting her husband to mental cruelty by removing her Thali (Mangalsutra).
Even though there is no law mandating that women should wear it all the time.

Such incidents highlight how even in the 21st Century women are still subjected to inequality and bias.

 


Facts for Prelims


District Legal Services Authorities (DLSAs)

Context: PM addressed the inaugural session of the 1st DLSA meet

DLSA has been established to provide free legal aid, organize Lok Adalat, legal literacy for the poor.

About

  • Established under Legal Services Authorities Act (LSA) 1987.
  • District Legal Services Authority is constituted in every District to implement Legal Aid Programmes and Schemes in the District.
  • There are 676 DLSA in India (headed by a District judge (acting as Chairman))

Background:

Legal Services Institutions have been set up at various levels e.g.,

  • NALSA (national level, CJI is a patron in chief)
  • SLSA (state level, headed by the chief justice of HC)
  • DLSA (district level)
  • Taluka/sub-division level (TLSC) (Taluka level, headed by Civil Judge)

Eligibility: Women and children, Members of SC/ST, Industrial workmen, Victims of mass disaster/violence, Disabled persons, Persons in custody, etc.

Initiative: Government has combined all the access to justice programmes under the DISHA scheme

 

Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS)

Context: RDSS has been launched for DISCOMs

Aim: RDSS is a reform-based and result-linked scheme to improve the financial sustainability and operational efficiencies of DISCOMs. This is done by financial assistance for the modernization of distribution infrastructure e.g., Smart Prepaid Meters. This is aimed to:

  • Reduce AT&C loss by 12-15%
  • Reduce financial deficit (average cost of supply-average revenue realised) of DISCOMs to Zero.
  • Compulsory installation of smart meters (target of installing 250 million smart meters by 2025)

Time: 2021-22 to 2025-26

Nodal Agency: Under Ministry of Power (Rural electrification cooperation and Power finance corporation)

Eligibility: All state-owned DISCOMs

Other programs to be taken under it are: Part A (Prepaid Smart Meter, solarization of agriculture feeders, segregation of feeders, use of AI etc.) and Part B (Training and Capacity Building)

Umbrella programme: It merges other existing power sector reforms schemes – Integrated Power Development Scheme, DDU Gram Jyoti Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (SAUBHAGYA)

 

CPGRAMs

Context: The timeline for redressal of grievances has been reduced from 45 days to 30 days

About:

Centralized Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAM) is an online web-enabled system developed by the National Informatics Centre (Ministry of Electronics & IT [MeitY]), in association with the Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) (under Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions)
It helps in receiving, redressing and monitoring of grievance of the public in an efficient way.

 

Global Engagement Scheme

Context:

The Ministry of Culture operates a Global Engagement Scheme under which Festivals of India are organized in other countries showcasing folk art and other cultural events such as exhibitions, dance, music, theatre, food fest, literary fest, film fest, yoga etc.

In addition to this, the Ministry of Culture also works in a coordinated manner with the Ministry of External Affairs. Under this scheme, the Ministry of Culture also gives Grant-in-aid to Indo- Foreign Friendship Cultural Societies for organizing programs and activities including folk art and other cultural activities for their promotion abroad.

 

Researchers identify fungus for pyrene remediation

Researchers at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), Dehradun, have identified a fungus capable of removing toxic, recalcitrant, and carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from the environment.

Pyrene, possessing four benzene rings, belongs to the highly toxic class of PAHs, with carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. It gets lodged into the environmental matrices like soil, water and atmosphere, resulting in widespread environmental pollution, necessitating adequate remediation of contaminated environmental matrices.

Like most PAHs, pyrene is used to make dyes, plastics and pesticides. It has also been used to make another PAH called benzo(a)pyrene.


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