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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 3 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. Bill to ban funding of weapons of mass destruction 2022

2. Taiwan draws Beijing’s scorn

3. Budget Allocation and Utilization of Funds under the National Ayush Mission

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Recalling India’s Antarctica activities

2.PPP in Healthcare

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. GATI Shakti Vishwavidyalaya

2. President’s Colours Award

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. 100% Quota to Locals

2. Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)

3. Rise in GST collection

4. Status of coal reserves in India

5. ‘Standard Treatment Workflows’

6. Government Scheme for Farmers

7. Animal Health

8. Nagar Van Yojana

9. Exercise ‘Pitch Black’

10. Hellfire R9X missile

11. Astrobee


 

Parliament passes bill to ban funding of weapons of mass destruction

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Parliament and State legislature-structure, functioning and conduct of business etc, weapons of mass destruction.

 

Source: Economic Times, The print

Context:

  • Parliament passed a bill (The Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Amendment Bill, 2022)which seeks to ban funding of weapons of mass destruction and also empowers the Centre to freeze, seize or attach financial assets and economic resources of people engaged in such activities.
  • The previous act, the Weapons of Mass Destruction and their Delivery Systems (Prohibition of Unlawful Activities) Act, passed in 2005, only banned the manufacture of weapons of mass destruction.

 Key Amendments:

  • Section 12A: The amendment bill seeks to insert a new Section 12A in the existing law which states that “no person shall finance any activity which is prohibited under this Act, or under the United Nations (Security Council) Act, 1947 or any other relevant Act for the time being in force, or by an order issued under any such Act, in relation to weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems.”
  • Prevent financing of such activities: To prevent persons from financing such activities, the central government may freeze, seize or attach funds, financial assets, or economic resources (whether owned, held, or controlled directly or indirectly).
  • Prevent finances or related services available: It may also prohibit persons from making finances or related services available for the benefit of other persons in relation to any activity which is prohibited.

What are Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)?

  • These are weapons with the capacity to inflict death and destruction on such a massive scale and so indiscriminately that its very presence in the hands of a hostile power can be considered a grievous threat.
  • Modern weapons of mass destruction are either nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons—frequently referred to collectively as NBC weapons.
  • The term weapons of mass destruction has been in currency since at least 1937, when it was used to describe massed formations of bomber aircraft.
    • For example, Nuclear bombs used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki attack in Japan.

Efforts to control the spread of WMD are enshrined in international agreements such as:

Insta links:

To read more about it: click here

 

Practice Questions:

Q. In what ways would the ongoing U.S-Iran Nuclear Pact Controversy affect the national interest of India? How should India respond to this situation? (UPSC 2019)

 

With reference to ‘Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)’, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2016)

  1. It is an organization of the European Union in working relation with NATO and WHO.
  2. It monitors the chemical industry to prevent new weapons from emerging.
  3. It provides assistance and protection to States (Parties) against chemical weapons threats.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 and 3 only

c. 1 and 3 only

d. 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • The coming into force of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) on 29th April, 1997 led to the establishment of an international chemical weapons disarmament regime headed by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
  • Convention contains four key provisions:
    • Destroying all existing chemical weapons under international verification by the OPCW.
    • Monitoring chemical industry to prevent new weapons from re-emerging.
    • Providing assistance and protection to States Parties against chemical threats.
    • Fostering international cooperation to strengthen the implementation of the Convention and promote the peaceful use of chemistry.

Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan draws Beijing’s scorn but bipartisan support

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global grouping and agreements involving or affecting India, China-Taiwan issue etc

 

Source: Indian Express

Context:

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan, casting aside private warnings from the Biden administration about the risk that her high-profile diplomatic visit could stoke a new crisis in Asia and immediately prompting a sharp response from the Chinese government.

Background:

Current Affairs

 One-China Principle:

  • This means that the nations who want to have diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China(PRC) have to recognize the PRC but not the ROC as China, breaking the relations with ROC.
  • Simultaneously, China evolved as a multi-party democracy alongside the reformation of its economic system.
  • Since then, the two countries became economically entangled and continuously competing.

 

Insta Links:

China-Taiwan relations

 

Practice Questions:

Q. China is using its economic relations and positive trade surplus as tools to develop potential military power status in Asia’. In the light of this statement, discuss its impact on India as her neighbour. (UPSC 2017)

 

Which of the following countries claims the South China Sea?

  1. Brunei
  2. Taiwan
  3. Indonesia
  4. Malaysia

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  • 1, 2 and 3 only
  • 2 and 4 only
  • 2 only
  • 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (d)

Justification:

/ 3 Aug CA, Today's Article

Budget Allocation and Utilization of Funds under the National Ayush Mission

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to development and management of social sector related to health, National Ayush Mission etc

 

Source: PIB

Context:

  • Under the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the National AYUSH Mission, the total budget of 3119.46 crores has been allocated/ released as a central share to States/UTs since the inception of the scheme and they have reported an expenditure of Rs. 2290.20 crores.

 

Background:

  • Co-location of AYUSH facilities: The government of India has adopted a strategy of Co-location of AYUSH facilities at Primary Health Centers (PHCs), Community Health Centers (CHCs) and District Hospitals (DHs), thus enabling the choice the patients for different systems of medicines under a single window.
  • Supported by Ministry of Health and family welfare: The engagement of AYUSH doctors/ paramedics and their training is supported by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare under National Health Mission (NHM), while the support for AYUSH infrastructure, equipment/ furniture and medicines are provided by the Ministry of Ayush under National AYUSH Mission (NAM)as shared responsibilities
  • Public Health is a State subject: AYUSH educational institutions come under the purview of respective State/UT Governments.
    • However, under NAM, as per the proposals received from State Governments through State Annual Action Plans (SAAPs), they have been supported for setting up 9 new AYUSH Educational Institutions since the scheme’s inception.

National Ayush Mission:

●     Launched in September 2014 by the Department of AYUSH under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, during the 12th Plan for implementation through States/UTs.

●     Now, it is implemented by the Ministry of Ayush.

●     The scheme involves expansion of the AYUSH sector to promote holistic health of Indians.

●     The Mission addresses the gaps in health services through supporting the efforts of State/UT Governments for providing AYUSH health services/education in the country, particularly in vulnerable and far-flung areas.

Components:

 

Practice Questions:

Q. How is the Government of India protecting traditional knowledge of medicine from patenting by pharmaceutical companies? (UPSC 2019)

Which of the following is/are obligatory components of the National Ayush Mission?

  1. Medicinal plants
  2. Ayush wellness centres
  3. Ayush services
  4. Tele-medicine

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 3

b. 1 and 3 only

c. 2 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (b)

Justification:

Refer to the image above

/ 3 Aug CA, Today's Article

Recalling India’s Antarctica activities

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Science and Technology

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: Antarctica Bill 2022 was passed

Direction: This was already discussed in the  Previous Article, 1-2 points extra have been added from Jai Ram Ramesh’s article.

The Antarctic treaty (signed in 1959 and implemented in 1961) made it mandatory for the 54 signatory countries to specific laws governing territories on which their stations are located. India signed the treaty in 1983 and therefore a law was needed to preserve the pristine Antarctic environment and ocean around it.

Initially, India was left out of 1959’s Antarctica Treaty, but it made a maiden voyage in 1982 (Under Operation Gangotri)

Key features of the bill:

  • Applicability: It will apply to any person, foreigners, corporations, firms, vessels or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica.
  • Central Committee: 10 members ( to be nominated from various ministries) + two experts (on the Antarctic) + chairman (Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Science)
    • It will give permits, ensure compliance and review information provided by parties to the treaty.
    • Private tours and expeditions to Antarctica would be prohibited without a permit or written authorisation by a Member country.
    • Permit can be granted only after the environmental impact assessment and waste management plan have been prepared.
  • Prohibited activities: The Bill prohibits certain activities in Antarctica including
    • nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes
    • introduction of non-sterile soil
    • discharge of garbage, plastic or other substance into the sea which is harmful to the marine environment.
  • Offences and penalties (extends the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica) :
    • Conducting a nuclear explosion in Antarctica will be punishable with an imprisonment of 20 years which may extend to life imprisonment and a fine of at least Rs 50 crore.
    • Drilling for mineral resources or introducing non-native animals or plants in Antarctica without a permit will be punishable with imprisonment of up to seven years and a fine between Rs 10 lakh and Rs 50 lakh.
    • The central government may notify one or more Sessions Courts to be the Designated Court under the Bill and specify its territorial jurisdiction to try offences punishable under the Bill.
  • Antarctic Fund: For the welfare of Antarctic research work and the protection of the Antarctic environment.
  • Establishes a ‘Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection.’ 

 

Issues remaining:

The issue of a polar research vessel still needs to be addressed immediately. So far, India has been chartering such ships from countries like Russia and Norway while China has raced ahead and has two of its own.

What is needed:

  • The acquisition of a vessel with ice-breaking and other technological capabilities on a permanent basis for is a logical next step to the passage of the Bill
  • Revamp of the Old Maitri research station
  • The polar research vessel will also be required as India expands its association with and involvement in the Arctic as well.

 

India’s Antarctic Programme

  • Dakshin Gangotri: It was first Indian scientific research base station (now just a supply base)
  • Maitri (finished in 1989):
    Situated near Schirmacher Oasis(India has also built a freshwater lake around it called Lake Priyadarshini)
  • Bharti (2012): research facility
  • Sagar Nidhi (2008): It is first Indian vesselto navigate Antarctic waters.

Insta Link

India and the Arctic

Mains Link

Q. Throw light on the Indian interests in the Antarctic region. Analyze the role that Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 can play in to protecting the Antarctic environment and regulating activities in the region. (250 Words)

Prelims Link

The formation of the ozone hole in the Antarctic region has been a cause, of concern. What could be the reason for the formation of this hole?

(a) Presence of prominent tropospheric turbulence; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons

(b) Presence of prominent polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of chlorofluorocarbons

(c) Absence of polar front and stratospheric clouds; and inflow of methane and chlorofluorocarbons.

(d) Increased temperature in the polar region due to global warming

Answer: B

PPP in Healthcare

GS2/GS3

Syllabus: Government policies and Interventions/ Investment Model

 

Context: Based on yesterday’s editorial article (The Live Mint) “Key lessons from public-private efforts will help us eliminate TB”.

Direction: Few examples/Case studies can be taken from the article. It is meant solely from Mains perspective.

The private sector has the potential of providing disruptive innovation for serving the public health goals of the Central and State governments in India.  According to National Prevalence Survey, almost half of all patients with TB symptoms seek care in the private sector.

Some private sector engagement programs for TB 

  • The Private-Provider Interface Agency (PPIA):(Mumbai in Maharashtra, Patna in Bihar, and Mehsana in Gujarat)
    • It worked with a network of private doctors, chemists, laboratories, and hospitals to ensure ‘Standards of TB Care’.
    • Result: As a result of the implementation of the PPIA program in Mumbai and Patna, there was a 351% and 532% increase in TB case notifications from the private sector, between 2014 and 2018. The actual reporting of cases resulted in a greater understanding of the TB burden on the ground.
  • Chiranjeevi Yojana program (Gujarat): The government is engaging with private providers to increase institutional deliveries.
  • Hausala Sajheedari initiative (UP): The government is engaging private health facilities for family planning. The scheme works on a reimbursement basis under a public-private partnership (PPP) model

 

The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), can help in achieving universal health coverage, quality healthcare for all, and also eliminating Tuberculosis (TB). This program aims to digitize the country’s healthcare ecosystem and to enable the creation of an enabling ecosystem for fostering public-private collaborations.

Insta Links

Issues related to Health Care

Mains Link

Q. Public-private partnership (PPP) model in the healthcare system will pool in the expertise and finances of the private sector with the access and subsidies of the public sector. Is PPP in healthcare the panacea for India’s healthcare woes? Critically analyse. (250 Words)

Prelims Link

The Global Infrastructure Facility is a/an (UPSC 2017)

(a) ASEAN initiative to upgrade infrastructure in Asia and financed by credit from the Asian Development Bank.

(b) World Bank collaboration that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enable mobilization of the private sector and institutional investor capital.

(c) Collaboration among the major banks of the world working with the OECD and focused on expanding the set of infrastructure projects that have the potential to mobilize private investment.

(d) UNCTAD-funded initiative that seeks to finance and facilitate infrastructure development in the world.

Answer: B

The Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) is a global, open platform that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure public-private partnerships (PPPs) to enable the mobilization of the private sector and institutional investor capital.

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)


GATI Shakti Vishwavidyalaya

Education Ministry will convert National Rail and Transportation Institute (NRTU) into Gati Shakti University to meet the need for talent in the transportation sector. This is an important example of sector-specific training.

  • Other measures- National Forensic Science University (Gandhinagar); National Sports University (Imphal, Manipur)

 President’s Colours Award (Rashtrapati Ka Nishan)

It has been awarded to Tamil Nadu Police for their commendable work (e.g., dip in custodial deaths from 17 in 2018 to 4 in 2021)

  • The award is bestowed upon any Military/State Police in recognition of its exceptional service of at least 25 years to the nation.

 


Facts for Prelims


100% Quota to Locals

Context: SC Quashes Jharkhand Decision to Grant 100% Quota to Locals in Govt Jobs

  • Observation by SC “‘The citizens have equal rights, and the total exclusion of others by creating an opportunity for one class is not contemplated by the founding fathers of the Constitution of India”
  • The Issue: Jharkhand Government in 2016 granted 100% reservations to locals of 13 scheduled areas in public jobs. Previously State HC had termed the decision discriminatory and impermissible.
  • Rights violated: The move is unconstitutional and ultra vires Articles 14, 16(2), 16(3) and 35 of the Constitution of India.
  • For reservation outer limit is 50% as specified in the Indra Sawhney case, 1992.
  • Previous Case: The top court relied on the constitution bench judgment of 2020 related to a 100% quota in jobs in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Power of Governor over scheduled areas: The power of the governor is pari passu with the legislative power of Parliament and the State. The power of the Governor does not supersede the fundamental rights guaranteed under Part III of the Constitution.

 

Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)

Direction: Do remember different types of banks, their function and some parameters.

Context: Government has recently reviewed the financial and operational reforms for RRBs

  • Aim: Reform is aimed at making RRBs financially sustainable, more digitized and increasing their credit base esp. to MSME sectors (for increased profitability)
  • Significance: RRBs Provide banking to rural masses, support weaker sections (through credits), direct finance to cooperative societies and SHGs, reduce regional imbalances and increase rural employment generation.
  • Issues: Most of the RRBs are in loss, poor management practices, NPA is increasing and lacks unity of command (being controlled by govt. as well as sponsor banks such as NABARD, RBI)

About RRBs:

  • It was formed under RRB Act 1976 (recommended by Narasimha Working Group (1975)), for providing credit in rural areas.
  • Ownership: Central Government (50%), Concerned State Govt. (15%), Sponsor Bank (35%)
  • It was to follow priority sector lending (75%) on the same level as commercial Bank
  • The first Regional Rural Bank “Prathama Grameen Bank” was set up on 2nd October 1975.
  • Unique thing: The RRBs combine the characteristics of a cooperative in terms of the familiarity with the rural problemsand a commercial bank in terms of its professionalism and ability to mobilise financial resources.
  • RRBs are to maintain CRAR (Capital-to risk-weighted asset ratio) of a minimum of 9% (at par with commercial banks)
    • CRAR is the ratio of a bank’s capital in relation to its risk-weighted assets and current liabilities.

 

Rise in GST collection

Context: GST collection has risen by 28% every year (reached about 1.5 lakh cr in July this year)

Reasons:

  • Higher inflation rate
  • Economic recovery means a higher consumption pattern
  • Stricter action against Tax evasions
  • Better compliance with Rules

About GST:

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) (by 101st C.A Act) is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption. It is based on the principle of destination-based consumption taxation as against the previous principle of origin-based taxation.

 

 

Status of coal reserves in India

Direction: This has been taken from Business standards, just go through it once.

Context: According to the Inventory of India published by the Geological Survey of India, the total assessed geological coal resource in the country is 352 billion tonnes, putting it among the nations with the highest reserves (currently 5th placed)

  • The bulk of it is relatively low calorific value thermal or non-coking coal (used mostly in thermal power plants)

Despite high reserve, India has to import coal because: Demand outpacing production, poor finances of DICOMS, poor logistics, the private sector is a marginal player currently.

Suggestions: Plan for coal as it will remain the mainstay of thermal power generation, utilize domestic coal reserves present across the country, and utilize technologies like coal liquefaction and carbon capture, storage, and utilization (CCUS) technologies.

  

‘Standard Treatment Workflows’

Context: ICMR has released the manual which seeks to address problems associated with irrational use of medicines, over and under-diagnosis and poor referral practices, among others.

Direction: Not so important, just glance at it once.

Developing STW is a mission mode project of the Indian Council of Medical Research for common and serious diseases encountered by the treating physicians at all levels of healthcare systems with an aim to guide them for management and encourage rational use of drugs, diagnostics and other healthcare services.

Indian Council of Medical Research

  • Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research.
  • It is funded by the Government of India through the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

  

Government Scheme for Farmers

Status:

  • Increase in Budget for agriculture: From 27662.67 crores in 2013-14 to Rs. 1,32,513.62 crores in 2022-23
  • Growth: According to the current Economic Survey, agriculture and allied sectors grew at a positive growth rate of 3.6 per cent during 2020-21.
  • Monthly income: estimated average monthly income per agricultural household as obtained from NSS 70th round (2012-13) and NSS 77th round (2018-19) were calculated as 6426/- and Rs.10,218/- respectively.

Aim of schemes:  decrease cost for farmers, increase crop production, remunerative returns and income support.

Agriculture’ is a state subject

Some of the schemes are PM-KISAN, PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana, PM Fasal Bima Yojana, increase in MSP, Agro-forestry through ‘Har Modh Par Ped’ for additional income, National Bamboo Mission, Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanrakshan Abhiyan (PM-AASHA) for ensuring remunerative prices for produce, Formation and promotion of 10,000 FPOs, National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) etc.

 

Animal Health

Context: This is from the y’day editorial article. Just go through it once.

Status: India has a livestock population of 1.6 billion and approximately 280 million farmers rely on livestock and related industries for livelihood.

Significance: Animal Husbandry is the source of reliable alternative income for farmers, Diary Industry ($160bn economy), Meat Industry ($50bn economy)

Issues:

  • Risk of Zoonotic disease (may cause an estimated annual loss of $12 billion to the Indian economy)
  • Around 9,580 instances of Zoonotic disease outbreaks from 2000 to 2010
  • Health policies are largely been human-centric

A zoonotic disease is a disease or infection that can be transmitted naturally from vertebrate animals to humans or from humans to vertebrate animals. More than 60% of human pathogens are zoonotic in origin.

Steps taken:

  • Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD)has set up a dedicated ‘One Health Unit’ in collaboration with the Gates Foundation.
    • One Health is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment.
  • National Digital Livestock Mission (NDLM) is helping create “Animal Pandemic preparedness”
  • Empowered Committee for Animal Healthto streamline the animal health regulatory ecosystem in the country.

 

Nagar Van Yojana

Context: The Yojana was discussed in Parliament

Aim: To create 400 Urban Forest and 200 Nagar Vatikas in at least 20 hectares of land in the urban areas in the next five years (2020-2025) (on existing forest land or any other vacant land by Urban local bodies)

About:

  • Launched in 2020
  • Van will be maintained by State Government
  • Funding: CAMPA Fund (under Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016)
  • Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change
  • Warje Urban Forest in Pune (Maharashtra)will be considered a role model for the Scheme.

 

Exercise ‘Pitch Black’

Context: India (Air force) will be participating in an air combat exercise in Australia

About

It is a biennial (every two years) multi-national (17 countries) large force employment exercise by the Australian Air Force

Other exercises:

  • AUSINDEX (a bilateral navy exercise)
  • MALABAR (India, Australia, US, Japan)

 

Hellfire R9X missile

Context: The US military used its ‘secret weapon’ — the Hellfire R9X missile (‘Ninja missile’)– to kill Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri on the balcony of a safe house in Kabul.

Better known in military circles as the AGM-114 R9X, the Hellfire R9X is a US-origin missile known to cause minimum collateral damage while engaging individual targets.

It weighs about 45 kg and the missile can also be launched from helicopters, aircraft and Humvees. The range of these missiles varies from 500 metres to 11 km.

Hellfire means Heliborne, Laser, Fire and Forget Missile

Al-Zawahiri, an Egyptian surgeon who had a $25 million bounty on his head, had helped coordinate September 11, 2001, attacks that had killed nearly 3,000 people.

 

Astrobee

Context: Astrobee is NASA’s new free-flying robotic system.

Astrobee also consists of a system that serves as a research platform that can be outfitted and programmed to conduct microgravity experiments. Thus, it will help to learn more about how robotics can benefit astronauts in space.

The three free-flying robots are named Honey, Queen, and Bumble. The robots are shaped like cubes 12.5 inches wide.

The Astrobee system consists of three cube-shaped robots, some software and a docking charging station used for recharging. They are about 32 centimetres wide.

The three robots propel themselves using electric fans that allow them to fly through the microgravity environment of the International Space Station.

The Astrobee robots are built on the knowledge acquired from operating SPHERES (Synchronised Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellite) robots which have been operating on the International Space Station for over a decade.


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