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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 4 October 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. The Mediation Bill, 2021

2. Is TN’s breakfast scheme populist or pertinent?

3. Mental Health at Work

 

GS Paper 4:

1. Mahatma Gandhi, the peacemaker

 

Content for Mains Enrichment:

1. Medicine Nobel

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Scale based Regulation

2. Bharat Skills Forum

3. Prachand

4. SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022

5. Over 69% houses constructed under PMAY in rural India are owned by women

6. MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification


 

The Mediation Bill, 2021

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Parliament- Structure, functioning and conduct of business etc

 

Directions: Important for Prelims and mains, can be asked directly in mains

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The Mediation Bill, 2021 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha with the Parliamentary Standing Committee being tasked with a review of the Bill.

Committee recommendations on bill:

  • Institutionalizing mediation
  • Establishing the Mediation Council of India.

Laws containing mediation provisions:

  • Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
  • Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996
  • Companies Act, 2013
  • Commercial Courts Act, 2015
  • Consumer Protection Act, 2019

Key features of the Bill:

  • Aim:
    • To promote, encourage, and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation.
    • To resolve disputes, commercial and otherwise.
  • Mandatory mediation: Before litigation.
  • Rights of litigants: It safeguards the rights of litigants to approach competent adjudicatory forums/courts for urgent relief.
  • Mediation Settlement Agreement (MSA): It will be legally enforceable and can be registered with the State/district/taluk legal authorities within 90 days.
  • Mediation council of India: The Bill establishes the Mediation Council of India and also provides for community mediation.

Need for Mediation:

  • Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee of the Supreme Court of India: It describes mediation as a tried and tested alternative for conflict resolution.
  • India is a signatory to the Singapore Convention on Mediation: It is appropriate to enact a law governing domestic and international mediation.

Concerns with the Bill:

  • Pre-litigation mediation is mandatory for both parties: Before filing any suit or proceeding in a court, whether or not there is a mediation agreement between them.
  • Fundamental right: Parties who fail to attend pre-litigation mediation without a reasonable reason may incur a cost.
    • Article 21 of the Constitution, access to justice is a constitutional right which cannot be fettered or restricted.
  • Denial of justice: Mediation should just be voluntary and making it otherwise would amount to denial of justice.
  • Clause 26 is unconstitutional: The Committee objected to this.
    • In countries that follow the Common Law system, it is a healthy tradition that in the absence of statutes, apex court judgments and decisions carry the same weight.
  • Conducting cross-border mediation in India: It will exclude the tremendous benefits of worldwide enforceability.

Conclusion:

  • In order to enable a faster resolution of disputes, the Bill should be implemented after discussion with stakeholders.

 

Insta Links:

A Bill that could alter the mediation landscape

 

Mains Links:

Q. Critically analyze the provisions of the Mediation Bill, 2021.

/ Mediation, Oct 4 CA, Polity, SC, Today's Article

Is TN’s breakfast scheme populist or pertinent?

GS  Paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to development of social sector involving education, schemes for vulnerable sections of society etc

 

Directions: Important for mains, you can use it as a measure to increase nutritional status of children in schools

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • The breakfast scheme caters to 1,14,095 primary school students from 1,545 government school

Aim:

  • To help students attend school hunger-free and improve their nutritional status.

Socio political developments around the scheme:

  • Political debate on freebies
  • Falling human development performance
  • Educational disruption caused by COVID-19

Responsibility of state under Constitution(Article 38):

  • To promote welfare and minimize inequalities in income as well as in facilities and opportunities among individuals and groups.

Welfare status of India:

  • Global Food Security Index: India is ranked 71 out of 113 countries
  • Global Hunger Index: 101 out of 116 countries
  • Human Development Index: 132 out of 191 countries
  • Schooling: India’s mean years of schooling stood at just 7(six point seven)years in 2020-21.
  • Inequality in education: India has among the highest levels of inequality in education.
  • Credit Suisse report: Rising wealth inequality.

Welfare Status of Tamil Nadu:(The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2016-18):

  • Stunted: About 10% of children aged 5-9 years were stunted in 2018, much lower than the all-India average of 22% and marginally lower than Kerala’s average (11%).
  • Underweight: Marginally higher level of underweight children (23%) than Kerala (21%), but this was lower than the national average (35%).
  • Malnutrition: 19% of children were malnourished (BMI for age), which was higher than the 16% in Kerala but lower than the national average (23%).
  • Anemia: About 10% and 7% were anemic and deficient in Vitamin A, respectively, whereas 41% were deficient in Vitamin D.

Malnutrition:

  • It refers to deficiencies or excesses in nutrient intake, imbalance of essential nutrients or impaired nutrient utilization.

Stunting:

  • It is defined as low height-for-age.
  • It is the result of chronic or recurrent undernutrition.

Underweight:

  • It is defined as low weight-for-age.
  • A child who is underweight may be stunted, wasted or both.

Anemia:

  • It is a condition in which the number of red blood cells or their oxygen-carrying capacity is insufficient to meet physiological needs.

Freebies:

  • Any public policy intervention that doesn’t support medium-term to long-term production and productivity may be termed as a freebie.
    • Free electricity, free water, free public transportation, waiver of pending utility bills and farm loan waivers are often regarded as freebies

Welfare:

  • Expenditure on which brings economic benefits, such as the public distribution system, employment guarantee schemes, states’ support for education and health.

Way forward:

  • Urgent need for implementing innovative and effective welfare schemes: To address the disruptions caused by the pandemic in the education and nutrition sectors and strengthen these sectors.
  • Initiatives: Such as Illam Thedi Kalvi and Ennum Ezhuthum were positive attempts in the education sector.
    • It is relevant to look at how T.N. fares in breakfast scheme
  • Studies from other countries: Free breakfast schemes might help increase educational outcomes and likely increase in school attendance and improved concentration on studies.

 

Insta Links:

End this asymmetrical conflict over ‘freebies’

Freebies

Midday meal scheme

 

Mains Links:

Q. How do subsidies affect the cropping pattern, crop diversity and economy of farmers? What is the significance of crop insurance, minimum support price and food processing for small and marginal farmers?(UPSC 2017)

 

Prelims Links:

Mid Day Meal Scheme

Subsidies

Freebies

Welfare

Malnutrition

Stunting

Underweight

With reference to Mid day Meal scheme, consider the following statements:

  1. Students upto class VI are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.
  2. The scheme comes under the Ministry of Education.

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: (b)

Justification:

  • The scheme guarantees one meal to all children in government and aided schools and madrasas supported under Samagra Shiksha.
  • Students up to Class VIII are guaranteed one nutritional cooked meal at least 200 days in a year.
  • The Scheme comes under the Ministry of education.

Mental Health at Work

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Health

Source: WHO

Context: WHO and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have called for concrete actions to address mental health concerns in the working population.

Status:

  • Over 12bn workdays are lost annually (costing about $1 trillion) due to depression and anxiety
  • Work and Mental Health are closely intertwined: Good mental health enables people to work productively and a good work environment induces good mental health.
  • WHO’s World Mental Health Report 2022 showed that of one billion people living with a mental disorder in 2019, 15% of working-age adults experienced a mental disorder.
  • Work amplifies wider societal issues that negatively affect mental health, including discrimination and inequality.
  • Bullying and psychological violence (also known as “mobbing”) is a key complaint of workplace harassment that has a negative impact on mental health.
    • Yet discussing or disclosing mental health remains taboo in work settings globally.
  • WHO Mental Health Atlasfound that only 35% of countries reported having national programmes for work-related mental health promotion and prevention.
  • COVID-19 triggered a 25% increase in general anxiety and depression worldwide.

Significance of Mental Health at work:

  • To uphold human rights
  • Achieve SDG 3 on health and SDG 8 on decent work for all
  • Reduce discrimination
  • Increase labour productivity

Measures suggested in the guidelines:

  • Psychosocial Risk management: Managing worries about close ones, their health and safety status, and business and societal interests.
  • Promote mental health through training and improving mental health literacy
  • Supporting those with mental health conditions to become productive

 

Government Initiatives

  • Constitutional Provision: The right to Health (including mental healthcare) is a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • National Mental Health Program (NMHP) ( To address the huge burden of mental disorders and shortage of qualified professionals)
  • Mental HealthCare Act 2017(Guarantees every affected person access to mental healthcare and treatment from services run or funded by the government)
  • Kiran Helpline(Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (2020) launched a 24/7 toll-free helpline)

 

Insta Links

Towards a stronger Mental Health Strategy

 

Mains Link

Q. Mental health is one of the most neglected social issues in India. Comment. (10M)

/ Oct 4 CA, Today's Article

Mahatma Gandhi, the peacemaker

GS Paper4

Syllabus: Application of Ethics

Source: The Hindu

Direction: The article details Gandhi’s views on peace.

Context: In a world facing violence and war, Gandhi’s approach to peace becomes relevant. Gandhi considered the problem of peace as an ethical instead of a political issue.

The letter published in Harijan on December 9, 1939, explains Gandhi’s psychology as a moral leader at the time of war.

Gandhi’s strategy for peace:

  • Struggle for nonviolence and dialogue among nations even during the hard times
    • Gandhi was a consistent thinker on peace
  • Self-awareness and towards ‘shared humanity’: Gandhi believed that awareness is required for a critical self-examination and a move from egocentricity toward a ‘shared humanity’.
    • The same is needed for today’s authoritarian leaders in the world.
  • Although he wrote on violence over cowardice, his approach was peaceful:
    • He said that where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence…But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment… But… forgiveness only when there is the power to punish…
  • Gandhi never dissociated nonviolence from violence and his position is understood when he said that action may wear the appearance of violence and yet be absolutely nonviolent.
  • Politics needs Ethics: Gandhi believed that in the absence of a concrete ethical foundation, politics could not function democratically and non-violently.
    • He further believed that the essential task of politics was to bring moral progress.
  • Morality in Politics: He believed that the strategy of peacemaking leads to the moral rightfulness of non-violence whereas Hitler believed in eliminating morality from politics.
    • That is why Gandhi remains an original thinker in the matter of peace building and also a successful peace builder.
  • He believed that nonviolence is a truth that follows from the unity and interdependence of humanity and life.
  • He said that violence damages and weakens all forms of life while nonviolence uplifts all.

However, there are critics of Gandhi’s non-violence strategies. Hannah Arendt has said that if Gandhi’s non-violence has met with a different enemy (Stalin’s Russia, Hitler’s Germany) other than the British, the outcome would have been worse.

Therefore, in an age of increasing ‘globalisation of selfishness’, there is an urgent need to read and practise the Gandhian social and political philosophy in order to re-evaluate the concept of peace.

 

Insta Links

Gandhian Perspective on Ethics in Administration

Mains Link:

Q. “Gandhian ethics of social and political reconstruction are more relevant than ever since they represent an act of self-transformation of humanity rather than an illusory dream of a political leader”. Discuss. (250 words)

/ ETHICS, Gandhi, Oct 4 CA, Today's Article

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay)


Medicine Nobel

Source: The Hindu

Swedish scientist Svante Pääbo has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology for the year 2022 “for his discoveries concerning the genomes of extinct hominins and human evolution.

Svante Pääbo found that gene transfer had occurred from these now extinct hominins to Homo sapiens. This ancient flow of genes to present-day humans has physiological relevance today, for example affecting how our immune system reacts to infections.

Achievements:

  • Paleogenomics: Through his groundbreaking research, Svante Pääbo established an entirely new scientific discipline, paleogenomics.
  • Sequencing the genome of the Neanderthal, an extinct relative of present-day humans
  • New powerful methods for sequence analysis indicate that archaic hominins may also have mixed with Homo sapiens in Africa.

Significance of his discovery:

  • Will help better understand human evolution and migration.
  • How archaic genes influence present-day humans:
    • g. Denisovan version of the gene EPAS1 confers an advantage for survival at high altitudes and is common among present-day Tibetans.
    • g. Neanderthal genes that affect our immune response to different types of infections.

Neanderthals are an extinct species or subspecies of archaic humans who lived in Eurasia until about 40,000 years ago

Last year’s recipients were David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries into how the human body perceives temperature and touch.

The Noble prizes carry a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000). The money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.

 

 


Fact for Prelims:


Scale based Regulation

Source: Economic Times

Context: RBI has categorized 16 large NBFCs into four layers based on their size, activity and perceived riskiness.

 

 A non-banking financial institution or non-bank financial company is a financial institution that does not have a full banking license or is not supervised by a national or international banking regulatory agency.

As per RBI definition:

A Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) is a company registered under the Companies Act, 1956 engaged in the business of loans and advances, and acquisition of marketable securities but does not include any institution whose principal business is that of agriculture activity, industrial activity, purchase or sale of any goods (other than securities) or providing any services and sale/purchase/construction of the immovable property.

 

Bharat Skills Forum

Source: Economic times

Context: It is a digital knowledge-sharing platform for the ITI trainees, trainers and industry launched by the Directorate General of Training (under Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

It will facilitate skilling by sharing content in various forms like notes, pdfs, and videos.

 

Prachand

Source: Live Mint

Context: The Indian Air Force (IAF) today inducted the first fleet of indigenously-built Light Combat Helicopters (LCH), which have been developed primarily for mountain warfare.

Background:

It was during the 1999 Kargil war and the recent Ladakh conflict with China that India felt the need for attack helicopters for mountain warfare.

 

Features:

  • The HAL Prachand(meaning “Fierce”) is an Indian multi-role, light attack helicopter designed and manufactured by the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) under project LCH
  • Its flight ceiling(maximum density altitude) is the highest among all attack helicopters in the world.
  • The LCH drew extensively on an earlier indigenous helicopter developed and manufactured by HAL, the ALH Dhruv
  • 8-tonne twin-engine gunship chopper is armed with air-to-air missiles, 20 mm turret guns, rocket systems and other weapons.

 

SASTRA Ramanujan Prize 2022

 Directions: Remember the award, it can be asked directly in prelims

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • The SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for 2022 will be awarded to Yunqing Tang, Assistant Professor with the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A.

Yunqing Tang awarded for:

  • Display a remarkable combination of sophisticated techniques, in which the arithmetic and geometry of modular curves and of Shimura varieties play a central role.
  • Her results and methods are bound to have a major impact on future research in this area.

SASTRA Ramanujan Prize:

  • The award, instituted by the Shanmugha Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) in 2005 with a cash prize of $10,000.
  • It is presented annually to individuals aged 32 and below, who made outstanding contributions in the field of mathematics, influenced by Srinivasa Ramanjuan.

 

Srinivasa Ramanujan:

  • Ramanujan was born on 22nd December 1887 in a village Erode (400 km from Chennai, then known as Madras).
  • Ramanujam made substantial contributions to the analytical theory of numbers and worked on elliptic functions.
  • He also worked on the partition of the whole number, hypergeometric series and Euler’s constant.
  • In India, December 22nd is celebrated as National Mathematics Day in the memory of Srinivasa Ramanujan.

 

Over 69% houses constructed under PMAY in rural India are owned by women

Directions: Important for Prelims and mains, can be asked directly in prelims

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • Over 69% of houses constructed under the Prime Ministers’ special housing scheme are either wholly or jointly owned by women in rural areas.

 

Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana –Gramin (PMAY-G):

  • Objective: To provide pucca houses to all who are houseless and living in dilapidated houses in rural areas by 2022.
  • Target: Construction of 95 crore houses with all basic amenities by the year 2022.
  • Cost sharing: The cost of unit assistance in this scheme is shared between Central and State Governments in the ratio 60:40 in plain areas and 90: 10 for North Eastern and Himalayan States.
  • Selection of beneficiaries: Based on housing deprivation parameters of Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), 2011, subject to 13 point exclusion criteria, followed by Gram Sabha verification.
  • The beneficiary is entitled to 90 days of unskilled labour from MGNREGA.
  • The beneficiary would be facilitated to avail loan of up to Rs.70,000/- for construction of the house which is optional.

MGNREGS to fund work to reverse desertification

Directions: Important for Prelims and mains, it can be asked directly in prelims

Source: The Hindu

 

Context:

  • The government is now planning to bring convergence between the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

 

Key Highlights:

  • Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas(Published by the Environment Ministry in 2021): At least 30% of India’s total geographical area is under the category of “degraded land”.
  • States with more than 50% of land area undergoing desertification or degradation: Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa
  • States with less than 10% land degradation:Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh.

Work done under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY):

  • Ridge area treatment
  • Drainage line treatment
  • Soil and moisture conservation
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Nursery raising
  • Afforestation
  • Horticulture and pasture development.

MGNREGA:

  • The scheme was introduced as a social measure that guarantees “the right to work”.
  • The local government will have to legally provide at least 100 days of wage employment in rural India to enhance their quality of life.

Key objectives:

  • Generation of paid rural employment of not less than 100 days for each worker who volunteers for unskilled labour.
  • Creation of durable assets in rural areas such as wells, ponds, roads and canals.
  • Reduce urban migration from rural areas.

Eligibility:

  • Must be Citizen of India to seek NREGA benefits.
  • Job seeker has completed 18 years of age at the time of application.
  • The applicant must be part of a local household (i.e. application must be made with local Gram Panchayat).

 

UNCCD:

  • It is a legally binding convention linking development and environment to sustainable land management.
  • The UNCCD addresses particularly the arid, semi-arid & dry sub-humid areas, called drylands, where some of the most vulnerable ecosystems and peoples are found.
  • The convention was drafted and opened for signing in 1994.
  • The UNCCD is one of the three Rio Conventions, the other two being:
    • Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD)
    • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

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