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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 8 September 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. CSR funding of NGOs

 

GS Paper 3:

1. Govt’s push for international trade in rupee: why and how

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. ‘Goodfellows’, a start-up offering companionship to senior citizens

2. Rising need for companionship

3. Revamped Curriculum on employability skills

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

2. Content moderation on Wikipedia

3. Section 66A of the IT Act

4. Internet shutdowns

5. Foundational Learning Study (FLS) survey

6. National Polity on Cooperatives

7. WEST initiative

8. Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme

9. Extension to Thermal Power plant

10. CoE – SURVEI standardizes Drone images for land Survey

11. China’s fully solar-powered, semi-satellite drone

12. Norms eased for use of Railway land

13. National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

14. NCD prevention and control

15. Ceasefire Agreement with NSCN (K)

16. Mapping


 

CSR funding of NGOs

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Development process and the development industry-NGOs, SHGs and various other groups and associations, donors, charities etc

 

Directions: This is an editorial piece and is important for Governance, can be used as an example of CSR funding’s impact on NGOs

Source: The Hindu

Context:

      • In any social effort, programme expenses attract the big cheques, especially from corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives in India.

How do NGOs spend:

      • Working on particular outcomes: For example, NGOs working on education receive funding for books, other online resources, teacher training, curriculum design, etc.
      • Administrative and support expenses: For instance, rent, electricity, technology and human resource costs.

Issues with the CSR:

      • Small, unlisted companies: The CSR amendment law, 2021 provides Substantial financial penalties for non-compliance.
        • Roughly 90% of the CSR funders are relatively small, unlisted companies.
      • CSR committee: Companies that spend less than ₹50 lakh annually on CSR are not required by law to have a CSR committee.
        • Leaving decision-making and action plans to company boards, having little to no experience in social impact.
      • CSR responsibility to the HR: Several larger companies have added CSR to the responsibilities of their HR or administration or communications head, rather than hiring professional leads, experienced in the social sector.
      • Awareness about CSR rules: Not every company is aware of all the facets of the CSR rules they are complying with.
        • For instance, the 5% cap on administrative overhead costs is applicable only to a business’ internal CSR operation cost, not to the grantee’s administrative costs.
      • Many CSRs make errors on safety: It leaves an NGO with unpaid bills or worse still, drawing on its scarce core funding from other donors to pay for these essential costs.

How can CSR funding of NGOs be made better?

      • Resource pooling by companies with other mission-aligned CSR or social sector stakeholders: This will increase their collective impact potential, and also hire or tap into professionals with experience working with NGOs
      • CSR funders should learn from peers: who view organizational development and indirect costs differently.
        • For example, ASK Foundation(CSR arm of ASK Group) is working to enable better livelihoods for rural communities.
      • Covering indirect costs and organizational development: they can help to relieve financial pressure and make organizations more resilient.

Corporate Social Responsibility(CSR):

      • It is a corporate initiative to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on the environment and impact on social welfare.
      • CSR is governed by clause 135 of the Companies Act, 2013.
      • India is the first country in the world to mandate CSR spending along with a framework to identify potential CSR activities.
      • Provisions within the Act: Applicable to companies with an annual turnover of 1,000 crores and more, or a net worth of Rs. 500 crores and more, or a net profit of Rs. 5 crores and more.

 

Insta Links:

Corporate Social Responsibility

 

Mains Link:

Q. How can the role of NGOs be strengthened in India for development works relating to the protection of the environment? Discuss throwing light on the major constraints. (UPSC 2015)

Govt’s push for international trade in rupee: why and how

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy, Liberalization

Direction: In economy, be clear with the basics.

 

Context: It came in the explained section of Indian Express, and argues why the government is pushing for international trade in Rupee.

Current system: Most of the trade currently is in US dollar, wherein an importer needs to pay in US dollar to pay for the import of goods to India and an exporter gets pain in the dollar which he then converts into Indian Rupee for use in India.

Working on payment system in INR:

To settle trade transactions with any country, banks in India would open Vostro accounts of correspondent bank/s of the partner country for trading. Indian importers can pay for their imports in INR into these accounts. These earnings from imports can then be used to pay Indian exporters in INR.

A Vostro account is an account that a correspondent bank holds on behalf of another bank — for example, the HSBC Vostro account is held by SBI in India.

 

Benefits of trading in Rupee:

      • Enable trading with Russia
      • Check dollar outflow
      • Slow the depreciation of the rupee
      • Promote the growth of global trade with emphasis on exports from India and to support the increasing interest of the global trading community in INR”.

Government measures:

      • RBI has put in place an additional arrangement for invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports/ imports in INR

Limitations:

      • The arrangement was not expected to help arrest the fall of the rupee to any significant extent.
      • Not all countries may agree to trade in Rupee as the credibility of the rupee is lower than US dollars.

 

Insta Links

RBI allows global settlement in Rupees

 

Mains Links

Q. Even as India and Russia explore new relationships, they continue to remain each other’s, all-weather friends. Comment. (10M)

 

Prelims links

The problem of international liquidity is related to the non-availability of (UPSC 2015)

(a) goods and services

(b) gold and silver

(c) dollars and other hard currencies

(d) exportable surplus

Answer: C

Since most International transactions occur in Dollars or other hard currencies.

The balance of payments of a country is a systematic record of (UPSC 2013)

(a) All import and export transactions of a country during a given period of time, normally a year

(b) Goods exported from a country during a year

(c) Economic transaction between the government of one country to another

(d) Capital movements from one country to another

Answer: A

In international economics, the balance of payments of a country is the difference between all money flowing into the country in a particular period of time and the outflow of money to the rest of the world.

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)


‘Goodfellows’, a start-up offering companionship to senior citizens

 Source: Indian Express

Shantanu Naidu, the founder of Goodfellows, a startup that aims to provide companionship to senior citizens, is a big believer in how much generations can learn from each other.

The tagline of Goodfellows is “Everything grandkids do” and that’s exactly how it works.

      • Senior citizens who subscribe to this platform are paired with graduates in the age group of 18 to 30, who over a course of time form meaningful bonds with them.
      • Ratan Tata who has invested in this startup expressed his optimism that the investment will assist the young Goodfellows team to develop.

 Status:

      • According to the statement, 15 million old people in India are living alone, either because they have lost a partner or because their families had to move away owing to unavoidable employment obligations.
      • The problem of loneliness or a lack of companionship, which has been the main factor contributing to the decline in the mental and physical health of senior adults, will be addressed by Goodfellows.

 

Rising need for companionship

Source: Indian Express

Shoji Morimoto charges 10,000 yen ($71) per booking to accompany clients and simply exist as a companion.

Morimoto reflected on the bizarre nature of his job and appeared to question a society that values productivity and derides uselessness.

So many are willing to pay for the simple companionship that, in a less disconnected world, would be freely available, speaks of a profound malaise of loneliness.

 

 

Revamped Curriculum on employability skills

      • It has been launched by the Ministry of skill development with support from Future Right Skills Network (collaboration of Quest Alliance, Accenture, Cisco etc.) to skill India’s youth.
      • It will provide 120 hr curriculum to over 15000 Industrial Training Institutes to help them self-learn 21st-century skills.

 


Facts for Prelims


UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities

Source: LiveMint

 Context: The Indian cities, Nilambur and Thrissur in Kerala, have gained recognition from UNESCO after they became the nation’s first entrants in the UNESCO Global Network of Learning Cities along with

Telangana’s second largest city, Warangal,

According to UNESCO’s website, the network is a global policy-oriented network offering “inspiration, know-how and best practice”.

There are six features that define a learning city:

      • Effectively mobilises its resources in every sector to advocate inclusive learning
      • Revitalises learning in families and communities
      • Facilitates learning for and at workplaces
      • Extends the use of modern learning technologies
      • Augments quality and excellence in learning
      • Fosters a culture of learning throughout life.

  

Content moderation on Wikipedia

Source: The Hindu

Context:

      • India summoned officials of Wikipedia, in response to cricketer Arshdeep Singh’s Wikipedia page being edited with misleading information that stated he was a “Khalistani”.

What is Wikipedia?

      • Multilingual free online encyclopedia written and maintained by a community of volunteers through open collaboration and a wiki-based editing system”.
      • Unlike traditional encyclopedias that have entries from pre-identified authors, all of Wikipedia’s encyclopedic content is user generated.

Advantages:

      • It allows the democratization of knowledge.
      • Unhindered access to edit.

Disadvantage:

      • Unhindered access to edit: It has resulted in concerns relating to the reliability of the information that it hosts.

Related Indian laws?

      • Section 79 of the Information Technology Act, 2000: Must abide by due diligence requirements under the Act and its Rules.
      • Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021: There are certain categories of information that an intermediary should not allow to be hosted or uploaded on its platform.
      • IT Rules, 2021: Actual knowledge occurs when an intermediary has been notified by either a court order or through an order of the appropriate agency demanding the removal of the offending content.

 

Section 66A of the IT Act

Source: Indian Express

 Context: The Supreme Court expressed “serious concern” over states continuing to register FIRs for offences under Section 66A of the Information Technology Act despite the court holding it unconstitutional in 2015.

On March 24, 2015, in the case Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in its entirety, and ruled that it was violative of Article 19(1)(a).

 What is Section 66A of the IT Act?

Section 66A defines the punishment for sending “offensive” messages through a computer or any other communication device like a mobile phone or a tablet. A conviction can fetch a maximum of three years in jail and a fine.

 Why it was stuck down?

The vagueness about what is “offensive”. The word has a very wide connotation and is open to distinctive, varied interpretations.

 

 

The Center should be the lone governing authority for issuing net shutdowns

Source: Indian Express

Context:

      • The Center should be the “governing authority” in issuing internet shutdown orders and state governments should only issue such orders based on guidelines laid out by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Key Highlights:

      • Internet shutdown orders are governed under the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Safety) Rules, 2017.
      • Rules framed by the DoT: Temporary suspensions can be “due to public emergency or public safety”, and gives senior bureaucrats from the Home Ministry at the central and state levels the power to order shutdowns.

Frequency of Internet Shutdowns:

      • Civil society estimates: India has imposed the maximum number of internet shutdowns for at least the last four years.
      • Global digital rights group Access: India enforced as many as 106 internet shutdowns last year.
      • India was third in terms of the total duration of domestic internet shutdowns, behind Myanmar and Nigeria.

 

To read about Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services Rules: click here

 

 

Foundational Learning Study (FLS) survey

Source: PIB

Direction: Go through the article. Keep note of the basics and the initiatives for FLN.

Context: FLS survey by the Ministry of Education and NCERT has revealed that 11% of Class 3rd students lack basic maths skills and about 37% lack basic skills in maths

      • Tamil Nadu performed poorly.

Basics:

Foundational learning forms the basis of all future learning and includes two main pillars – foundational literacy and foundational numeracy which a child is expected to acquire by Grade 3.

      • Foundational literacy means being able to read with comprehension by grade.
      • Child’s ability to solve basic maths problems(such as addition and subtraction)
      • Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) is one of the major themes of the NEP 2020.

Related concepts:

      • Learning Poverty: The World Bank defines learning poverty as: “the inability to read and understand a simple text by age 10.” When a child can’t read, it further impedes their ability to succeed in school and beyond.

Initiatives for FLN: NIPUN Bharat (ensure that every child in the country attains foundational literacy and numeracy by the end of Grade 3, by 2026-27)

About FLS survey

      • It takes a one-to-one interview with each child and then assesses their learning skills. It is different from the National Achievement Survey (wherein learning outcomes are tested for students of classes 3, 5,8 and 10 using MCQ)

 

 

National Polity on Cooperatives

Source: Indian Express

Direction: Cooperatives are important for this year’s mains.

Context: Government will come up with a National cooperation Policy (NCP) and has constituted a national-level committee for drafting NCP with the aim to strengthen the cooperative movement.

Cooperatives are people-centred enterprises owned, controlled and run by and for their members to realise their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations.

      • India has around 5 lakh Cooperative societies (around 29 crore members) under various categories- agro-processing, dairying, fisheries, etc.

  

WEST initiative

Source: PIB

Direction: Know the names of a few schemes and their main aim related to women in science.

Context: Principal Scientific adviser office has launched the Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Initiative (WEST) to enable women’s contribution to science.

      • WEST is a new I-STEM (mapping of Indian Science Technology and Engineering) using a web portal for research sharing and promoting collaborations in R&D.
      • I-STEM comes to under PM-STIAC Mission ( allows scientific cross-sectoral collaboration and development)

Other schemes: KIRAN ( to encourage women scientists); CURIE (to develop infrastructure in women universities); Vigyan Jyoti (for girls in high school to pursue STEM)

Fig: Components of PM-STIAC Mission

 

Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLG Scheme)

Source: Indian Express

Context: In an indication of the continuing distress in the MSME sector, one in every six loans disbursed under the ECLG Scheme launched as part of the Covid-19 relief package in May 2020 has turned bad.

About ECLG Scheme:

      • It is a part of the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package (announced in May 2020)
      • It provides fully guaranteed and collateral-free additional credit to MSMEs, business enterprises, MUDRA borrowers and individual loans for business purposes to the extent of 20% of their credit outstanding as of 29th February 2020.

 

 

Extension to Thermal Power plant

Source: Business Standards

Direction: You should know the primary gases responsible for pollution, their source and their removal technologies.

Context: MoEFCC has given a two-year extension to all categories of the thermal power plant on Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) norms (however, the deadlines remain the same for meeting the Particulate matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) norms)

      • Coal power plants are responsible for over 50% of the SO2 pollution.

 

Background:

MoEFCC has in 2015 set environmental norms for PM, SO2, NOx, Mercury and water use for coal-based Thermal power plants to be met by 2017 but later extended to 2022.

These norms require retrofitting and use of Flue Gas Desulphurisation (for removal of SO2), Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology (for removal of NOx)

      • An SCR system uses an aqueous urea solution known as AdBlue which, when injected in a specific way into an SCR catalytic converter, is converted into Ammonia.
      • Flue gases are exhaust gas

Fig: Flue gas desulphurisation (FGD)

 

CoE – SURVEI standardizes Drone images for land Survey

Source: PIB

Context: Setting World’s first standard on land survey using a drone, the Ministry of Defense’s Centre of Excellence – Satellite and Unmanned Remote Vehicle Initiative (CoE – SURVEI)  has published a draft concept paper prescribing the technical parameters which may serve as a reference standard to estimate the image quality of drone survey output. 

The draft standards prescribe 19 parameters to evaluate the quality of drone output and 8 extension metrics/ techniques to estimate image quality, apart from indicating sample benchmarking from literature.

 

China’s fully solar-powered, semi-satellite drone

Source: Indian Express

 Context: China’s first fully solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicle has successfully completed its maiden test flight with all onboard systems functioning optimally.

 Features:

      • With a wingspan of 164-ft, a drone is a large machine powered entirely by solar panels. The high-altitude, long-endurance (HALE) UAV can stay airborne for long durations.
      • Named the Qimingxing-50, or Morning Star-50, this drone flies above 20-km altitude where there is stable airflow with no clouds. This helps these drones to make maximum use of solar equipment to stay functional for extended durations.
      • Drone can operate in near-space – 20 km to 100 km above the Earth’s surface – making them capable of carrying out satellite-like functions.

 

 

Norms eased for use of Railway land

Source: Indian Express

 Context: The government has made it simpler and cheaper for various entities to set up a range of infrastructure on Railway land on a long-term lease.

Railway land can now be used to set up solar plants, sewage and water treatment facilities at Re 1 per square meter per annum for 35 years and hospitals through PPP and schools with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan for Re 1 per square meter per annum for up to 60 years.

National Monetization Pipeline:

      • It aims to unlock value in brownfield projects by engaging the private sector, transferring to them revenue rights and not ownership in the projects, and using the funds generated for infrastructure creation across the country.

 

PM GatiShakti:

      • Launched in 2020, it is a digital platform that connects 16 ministries— including Roads and Highways, Railways, Shipping, Petroleum and Gas, Power, Telecom, Shipping, and Aviation.
      • It aims to ensure holistic planning and execution of infrastructure projects.

 

National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)

Source: PIB

Direction: Go through once.

Context: Ministry of Health and Family Affairs has launched 6 new branches of NCDC for disease surveillance in order to prevent control of communicable diseases.

 NCDC was established in July 1963 for research in epidemiology and control of communicable diseases and to reorganize the activities of the Malaria Institute of India.

It also provides trained healthcare manpower, does research and analysis and investigates diseases outbreak.

 

NCD prevention and control

Source: The Hindu

Directions: Important for Prelims and mains, can be used in mains as an step taken to eradicate NCDs

 Context:

      • The member countries of the World Health Organization (WHO) South-East Asia Region endorsed the implementation roadmap for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases in South-East Asia from 2022–2030.
      • Two action plans:
        • Oral health in South-East Asia 2022–2030
        • Action Plan for integrated people-centred eye care in South-East Asia 2022–2030.

 Non-Communicable Diseases(NCDs)

      • Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are chronic diseases that tend to be of long duration and are the result of a combination of genetic, physiological, environmental and behavioral factors.

 

 

 

Ceasefire Agreement with NSCN (K)

 Source: PIB, The Hindu

Context:

      • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) extended the ceasefire agreement with the Niki Sumi faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland.
      • The government of India had signed a framework agreement with the major Naga group NSCN-IM in 2015.

Background:

      • Naga insurgency originated from the demand of independence.
      • Although the demand for independence has majorly subsided, the lingering issue of a final political settlement including the demand for ‘greater Nagaland’ or ‘Nagalim’

Peace Agreements with insurgent groups of the Northeast:

 

 


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