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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 21 December 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. Why do some Indian states ban alcohol and its impacts?

2. Urban-20 (U20)

3. If not reformed, the UN will be overtaken by other organisations

 

GS Paper 3:

1. EU’s Carbon Border Tax

2. Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Sethrichem Sangtam: Rural Development

2. Curbing malnutrition in Children

3. Fleather: The Vegan Leather

 

Facts for Prelims

1. UNESCO Tentative list

2. Rule 267

3. Karnataka: Hike SC, ST quota

4. AYURSWASTHYA Yojana

5. Platinum Icon in Digital India Awards 2022

6. Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts

7. Insurance Regulations

8. Purse Seine Fishing

9. Pathogens frozen in permafrost resurface as Earth heats up

10. Frontier Highway

 


 

Why do some Indian states ban alcohol and its impacts?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Source: IE

Direction: The article highlights the impact of the liquor ban in India against the backdrop of the recent hooch tragedy in Bihar.

 Context: The official death toll from the latest hooch tragedy in “dry” Bihar has mounted to 38.

Background:

  • The state’s prohibition policy is accused to have resulted in a booming underground economy where illicit alcohol is prepared and sold.
  • Prohibition is a Gandhian principle under the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP).

 

The alcohol ban in India:


The Indian constitution views on alcohol:

  • Article 47: The State shall make every effort to ban the consumption of intoxicating drinks and substances that are injurious to health.
  • Though not legally enforceable, DPSPs set goals for the state so that citizens can lead a good life. Thus, alcohol is seen by the Constitution as an undesirable evil that needs to be regulated.
  • 7th Schedule of the Constitution puts alcohol on the state liste., state legislatures have the right and responsibility to draft laws regarding it.
  • Hence, alcohol regulations vary from state to state, spanning the entire range from prohibition to private sale.
  • Currently, there are five states (Bihar, Gujarat, Lakshadweep, Nagaland, and Mizoram) with total prohibition and some more with partial prohibition.

 

Case of Bihar:

  • Both the sale and consumption of liquor were completely banned by the state government in 2016, to keep a promise made to the women of Bihar ahead of the Assembly polls.
  • Severe punishments were imposed on those found to be flouting the ban, including heavy fines and imprisonment.
  • Earlier this year, the Bihar government amended its prohibition laws to reduce punishment for first-time “drinkers” and replaced imprisonment with a fine.
  • This was done to free up Bihar’s already overcrowded jails and to direct the government’s attention away from consumers and toward sellers and distributors of liquor.

 

Why haven’t all states banned alcohol?

  • Liquor revenues are not easy to ignore.
  • For instance, in Maharashtra, state liquor revenues amounted to Rs 11,000 crore in April 2020 (during lockdown), compared with Rs 17,000 crore in March.

 

Effects of prohibition:

PositivesNegatives
  • A women’s right as there is evidence linking alcohol with domestic abuse.
  • Case of Bihar: Crimes against women have clearly declined both in terms of rate (per 100,000 female population) and incidence (absolute numbers).
  • Boosts underground market.
  • Strengthening organised crime groups (or mafias).
  • Spurious liquor disproportionately affects poorer sections.
  • Case of Bihar: A spike in substance (liquor) abuse after the ban.

  

Insta Links:

Alcohol prohibition

 

Mains Links:

Q. Do you think that total prohibition on the sale and consumption of alcohol is a wise policy move? State your opinion. (250 words)

Urban-20 (U20)

GS Paper 2

 

Source: PIB, Economic Times

 Context: Under the G20, the presidency of India from December 01, 2022, to November 30, 2023, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is organizing the Urban 20 event.

 About Urban 20:

  • U20 is an important city diplomacy initiative, which reinforces the role of cities in taking the sustainable agenda forward.
  • Urban-20 (U20), one of the Engagement Groups of G20, provides a platform for cities from G20 countries to facilitate discussions on various important issues of urban development including climate change, social inclusion, sustainable mobility, and affordable housing, and propose collective solutions.
  • The U20 2023 Cycle will be chaired by the City of Ahmedabad

  • The Urban 20 (U20) is a city diplomacy initiative launched on December 12, 2017, at the One Planet Summit in Paris.
  • It aims to facilitate lasting engagement between the G20 and cities, raise the profile of urban issues in the G20 agenda, and establish a forum for cities to develop a collective message and perspective to inform G20 negotiations.
  • C40 Cities (C40) and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) convene the U20 under the leadership of a Chair city that rotates annually, based in the G20 host country.
  • Ahmedabad will showcase its unique urban development and climate change initiatives and rich culture and heritage to the participants.
  • Resonating with India’s G20 theme of वसुधैवकुटुम्बकम् – One Earth, One Family, One Future’, U20 Ahmedabad will emphasize that actions at the city level can drive lasting positive global outcomes underscoring the interconnectedness of the world and our shared future. The effort of this cycle will be to move from ‘intention to action’ and draft a roadmap for closing the gaps between policy and practice to address critical urban issues. 

  

Why focus on urban development:

Today, more than half of the global population lives in cities, and it is estimated that cities will host two-thirds of all people by 2050. Cities also consume over 75% of the world’s energy, generate 75% of related emissions, and they are experiencing the impacts of climate change first-hand.

 

Priority areas for the Urban 20 event are as follows:

  • Encouraging environmentally responsive behaviour
  • Ensuring water security
  • Accelerating Climate Finance
  • Leveraging ‘local’ potential and identity
  • Reinventing urban governance and planning frameworks
  • Catalyzing digital urban futures

 

Insta Links:

Issues related to Urban Development

 

Mains Link: UPSC 2019

Q. The basis of providing urban amenities in rural areas (PURA) is rooted in establishing connectivity. Comment.

If not reformed, the UN will be overtaken by other organisations

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Bilateral, regional and global grouping involving India and affecting India’s interests etc

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article discusses why the process to reform the UNSC is complex and suggests a way ahead.

 Context: According to India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations (UN), Ruchira Kamboj, organisations such as the G-20 may step up to play a more important role in international affairs if the UN fails to implement reforms in the UN Security Council (UNSC).

Background:

  • She stated during India’s December UNSC Presidency on the themes of reformed multilateralism and counterterrorism that the UN reformation is the “most complex process” of the UN system.
  • The item of reform has remained on the agenda of the UNSC for nearly three decades without any substantive progress.
  • Today, the UN has almost 200 member states. But their voices are not being heard and everything is being scripted for them.

Need to reform UNSC:

  • Ineffectiveness: Global issues have been increasingly complex and interconnected, yet UNSC remains ineffective to address these.
  • Underrepresentation: The composition (P5-Permanent 5 members) does not reflect contemporary geopolitical and economic realities and excludes globally important and emerging economies like G4.
  • Powerplay and division among P5: The P5 with veto powers often act in self-interest rather than serving the global interests.

 

 

Why is the process complex?

  • Veto powers: Reform of the UN Charter requires all the P-5 to be on board and none of them should veto.
  • Conflict of interest: There are many who aspire to be in a reformed council but there are many who would not like to see those in the council. For example, the tussle between G4 and the coffee club.

 

India’s 2021-22 stint as a non-permanent member of the UNSC (which ended with the Presidency):

  • India has been vocal in expressing an opinion on difficult issues during the past two years (like the pandemic, and crisis in Ukraine).
  • India’s role in providing vaccines to the least developed countries had been applauded by all.

 

Way ahead: The possibility of “minilaterals” (like G20, which are more democratic) taking centre stage in global affairs if the UNSC refuses to make any progress.

 

Conclusion: The reform requires not just the P-5 but also smaller groupings within the UN structure to be engaged in the broader discussion on the reform.

 

Insta Links:

UNSC Summit: A ground plan for India’s reformed multilateralism

 

Mains Links:

Q. Compare the significance of IBSA and BRICS in the context of India’s multilateral diplomacy. (UPSC 2012)

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements:

  1. The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) has a ‘Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air’.
  2. The UNCAC is the ever-first legally binding global anti-corruption instrument.
  3. A highlight of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC) is the inclusion of a specific chapter aimed at returning assets to their rightful owners from whom they had been taken illicitly.
  4. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) is mandated by its member States to assist in the implementation of both UNCAC and UNTOC.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

    1. 1 and 3 only
    2. 2, 3 and 4 only
    3. 2 and 4 only
    4. 1, 2, 3 and 4

 

Ans: 3

EU’s Carbon Border Tax

GS Paper 3

Syllabus:  Environment and Conservation

 

Source: DTE

Direction: The article discusses carbon border tax, its stated goal, concerns, possible impacts and way ahead.

 

Context:

  • The European Union (EU) agreed on a preliminary deal for an EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) on imported goods such as iron and steel, cement, aluminium, fertilisers, electricity and hydrogen.
  • The CBAM/ a carbon border tax/ carbon leakage instrument was proposed by the EU in 2021 and will be applicable from October 1, 2023.

 

Background: According to the standard economic theory of trade, imposing carbon taxes on domestic producers without an adjustment mechanism would certainly cause a shift of production to places where those taxes can be avoided.

 

About Carbon Border Tax:

  • A carbon border tax is an import duty based on the amount of carbon emissions produced by the goods in question.
  • It discourages emissions as a carbon price, and it has an impact on production and exports as a trade-related measure.

 

Stated goal of CBAM:

  • To eliminate the difference in carbon price paid by companies subject to the EU’s Emissions Trading System (ETS) and the price paid by companies elsewhere.
  • Levelling the playing field for EU firms.
  • To implement stronger emission reduction efforts.
  • Incentivises non-EU countries to increase their climate ambition.
  • It will ensure that EU and global climate efforts are not undermined due to the relocation of production which is defined as ‘carbon leakage’.

 

Concerns:

  • From an equity perspective, it increases costs in poorer countries, due to the need to remit new taxes, etc.
  • Such schemes are still rare in most of the world and introducing them will be a major policy challenge for lower-income countries.
  • For countries reliant on one of the targeted industries – like Mozambique’s aluminium extraction, this could be a major economic shock.
  • If enacted unilaterally, it is likely to unfairly protect domestic industries from international competition – a practice known as ‘green protectionism.’
  • BASIC countries have emphasised that carbon border taxes could promote market distortion and worsen the trust deficit among countries.

 

The possible impact of the move:

PositiveNegative
  • From a longer-term perspective, this may well be beneficial to all if it encourages the more rapid application of renewable technologies.
  • This move by the EU could see other developed economies follow suit.
  • In the short run, this will be harmful to industries in developing countries.

 

Way ahead: Coordinated application of carbon taxes and related climate change avoidance measures would make it unnecessary to apply a border adjustment mechanism.

 

Insta Links:

Who should pay for climate damage?

 

Mains Links:

Q. Should the pursuit of carbon credit and clean development mechanisms set up under UNFCCC be maintained even though there has been a massive slide in the value of carbon credit? Discuss with respect to India’s energy needs for economic growth. (UPSC 2014)

Anti-Maritime Piracy Bill

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Internal Security

 

Source: Business-Standards

Context: Lok Sabha passes Anti-maritime Piracy Bill to promote trade security. The bill will bring the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea into domestic law and enable Indian authorities to take action against piracy on the high seas

 

Need for the bill:

  • IPC is not valid for foreigners in international waters: Previously, pirates were prosecuted under the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
    • However, India’s sovereignty is delimited by the outer boundary of its territorial waters— 12 nautical miles from the coast. Acts of piracy committed by a foreigner outside India’s territorial waters cannot be an offence under the IPC, and those accused in piracy cases have been acquitted due to the lack of jurisdiction.
  • Incidence of Piracy: Gulf of Aden has been one of the deadliest areas in the oceans due to a large number of piracy incidents. Due to an increased naval presence in the Gulf of Aden, it has been observed that piracy operations are shifting towards the east and south, which increases their proximity to India’s west coast.
    • E.g. 18 Indians aboard a crude oil carrier were kidnapped off the coast of Nigeria last year (2021).

 

Provisions in the Bill:

Definition of Piracy: Piracy is defined as an act of violence or detention by the crew or passengers of a private vessel or private aircraft on high seas, directed against another vessel or aircraft and/or people or property on board.

 

Extra-territorial JurisdictionsThe Bill will apply to the sea beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), that is, beyond 200 nautical miles from India’s coastline.
PunishmentFor committing acts of piracy, the convicts shall be punished with imprisonment for life or death in case the act of piracy itself causes the death or attempts to cause the death of another person.

·      Participating in or assisting acts of piracy will be punishable with up to 14 years of imprisonment and a fine.

 

Extraditable offencesThis means that the accused can be transferred to any country for prosecution with which India has signed an extradition treaty.
Designated CourtThe central government, in consultation with the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court, may notify the Sessions Courts to be the Designated Courts under this Bill.
Presumption of guiltThe presumption of guilt will be on the accused if:

(i)            The accused is in possession of arms, explosives and other equipment which were used or intended for use in committing the offence

(ii)          There is evidence of the use of force against the ship’s crew or passengers, and

(iii)               There is evidence of the intended use of bombs and arms against the crew, passengers or cargo of a ship.

 

Issues with the Bill:

  • It is unclear how the overlap of the 14-year term and the life term will be determined since committing an act of piracy will necessarily include participation as well.
  • The issue with the death penalty: Supreme Court of India has advocated for the use of extreme punishment in the “rarest of rare” According to the top court, the death penalty violates Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution.

 

 

Insta Links

Anti-maritime Piracy Bill

 

Insta Prelims Links

With reference to the United Nations Convention on the Law of Sea, consider the following statements: (UPSC 2022)

A coastal state has the right to establish

  1. The breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baseline determined in accordance with the convention.
  2. Ships of all states, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.
  3. The Exclusive Economic Zone shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baseline from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured.

Which of the statements given above are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer: D

Explanation:

Statement 1 is correct: Every state has the right to establish the breadth of its territorial sea up to a limit not exceeding 12 nautical miles, measured from baselines.

Statement 2 is correct:  States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.

(Innocent passage: It allows for a vessel to pass through the territorial waters of another state, subject to certain restrictions)

Statement 3 is correct: EEZ: It is an area that shall not extend beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines. The EEZ is measured from the breadth of the territorial sea. (Don’t get confused about EEZ. It starts from the end of the territorial sea)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment


 Governance: Sethrichem Sangtam: Rural Development

Context: Sethrichem Sangtam, who helped triple the incomes of 1,200 marginalised farmers in Eastern Nagaland, was awarded the first Rohini Nayyar prize for outstanding contribution to rural development.

 Initiatives taken:

  • His organisation ‘Better Life Foundation’ focuses on rural livelihood security, environmental sustainability and education for change
  • He encouraged farmers in the region to abandon wasteful slash, burn cultivation and move to permanent farming
  • He aided the farmers in marketing their products and promoting cooperative societies for this purpose.
  • Begun training young boys and girls in folk dance to divert their attention from the rampant hunting that plagues the locality.

Previously, he had left his life in New York to come back to his hometown in Nagaland and set up an NGO.

About the Prize: The prize is given out annually to an individual 40 years or under age, by the Nayyar Foundation for Social and Economic Purpose, set up to contribute to the social and economic development in India.

Dr Rohini Nayyar, an eminent scholar-administrator, economist and former adviser at the Planning commission, spent much of her professional life working on issues related to rural development in India. She passed away in October 2021.

 

 

Curbing malnutrition in Children

Context: Initiatives by the Delhi government

  • School timetables will be restructured with a “mini snack break” two-and-a-half hours before the lunch break
  • Keep track of children with low BMI by instructing class teachers to maintain a regular record of the height and weight of each child in their class.
  • Schools have been instructed to create a weekly planner of “cost-effective” health snacks
  • Conduct class-wise counselling sessions of parents by class teachers and recommend low-cost and high-nutrition meals suggested by home science teachers.

 

 

Fleather: The Vegan Leather

Context: An Indian start-up has found an unusual use for the tonnes of flowers which clog the Ganges: turning them into vegan leather.

It’s called Fleather, and it’s a new material being developed as a sustainable alternative to animal leather. It is delicate and smooth to the touch, like soft lamb skin leather, and its journey begins in an unexpected place – flowers.

Fleather, made by a Kanpur-based startup called Phool, is part of an emerging trend of companies producing plant- and fungi-based leather alternatives which aim to disrupt the traditional leather industry and capitalise on the growing interest in “vegan” fashion.

 


Facts for Prelims


UNESCO Tentative list

Source: Indian Express

Context: India adds 3 more sites to @UNESCO’s Tentative List: 01 Vadnagar – A multi-layered historic town, Gujarat; 02 Sun Temple, Modhera and its adjoining monuments; 03 Rock-cut Sculptures and Reliefs of the Unakoti, Unakoti Range, Unakoti District

 About Vadnagar:

  • It is a municipality under the Mehsana district. It is a multi-layered historic town (8th BCE).
  • It has a large number of historic buildings and hometown of PM Modi

Sun Temple (Modhera)

  • Dedicated to the sun god, it has exquisite architecture, and sculpture and has a unique position wrt Sun.
  • It is an example of the Maru-gurjara architectural style (11th CE, under the Solanki dynasty)

 About Unakoti (see Infographic)

About Tentative List

UNESCO tentative list is an “inventory of those properties”  which each state party intends to consider for nomination. It takes at least a year before it is considered for the final nomination dossier ( as per operational guidelines, 2019 of UNESCO).

Procedure: The country sends the list to UNSECO. The UNESCO then considers whether it should be added to the tentative list. After a year of adding to the tentative list, is sent to World Heritage Centre (WHC) for consideration to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list India has 52 sites on the Tentative list now.

 

 

 

Rule 267

Source: The Hindu

Context: Rule 267 of the Rajya Sabha rulebook, which allows for the suspension of a day’s business to debate the issue suggested by a Member, has become a bone of contention in the Upper House.

  • Not a single notice under the rule moved by the Opposition has been accepted in this Winter Session of Parliament.

 

What is Rule 267?

The Rajya Sabha defines Rule 267, under ‘suspension of rules’, as an instance where “any member, may, with the consent of the Chairman, move that any rule may be suspended in its application to a motion related to the business listed before the Council of that day and if the motion is carried, the rule in question shall be suspended for the time being.”

  • Therefore, it is simply the provision for a House member to request the Chairman to suspend issues listed out for discussion on a particular day in order to deliberate a separate issue.
  • The rule shall not apply where a specific provision already exists for suspension of a rule under a particular chapter of the Rules.
  • Usually, such requests are not accepted by the chairman, with 3 exceptions in 2015 and 2016. The last time the rule was used to request a discussion was in November 2016 – the issue in question being ‘demonetisation’.

 

Karnataka: Hike SC, ST quota

Source: The Hindu

Context: The Karnataka government Tuesday tabled a Bill in the Legislative Assembly to increase reservations for Scheduled Castes (from 15 per cent to 17 per cent) and Scheduled Tribes (from 3 per cent to 7 per cent) in the state.

While the SCs make up 16 per cent of the state’s population, the STs constitute 6.9 per cent (six point nine).

Concerns raised: The decision breaches the 50 per cent cap on quotas and may be challenged in the judiciary.

Why the quota has been increased?

While the percentage of SC/STs in the state has increased but the reservation percentage has not increased in line with it.

Related News: (Source: Indian Express)

Betta-Kuruba Community (from Karnataka) have been added to the ST category list. The community is involved in the collection of forest produce and bamboo and follows animism (nature worship).

  • They live in the hilly areas of Nilgiris
  • They belong to the Hindu caste native to the Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
  • They are generally believed to be the descendants of the Pallavas
  • Consanguineous marriages like cross-cousin marriages are preferred among the Kurumbas.

 

 

AYURSWASTHYA Yojana

Source: PIB

Context: AYURSWASTHYA Yojana is run by the Ministry of AYUSH.

About Ayurswasthya Yojana:

  • Ayurswasthya Yojana is an umbrella scheme that has been developed to roll out authentic classical Ayush interventions for promoting community health care.
  • It has two components: AYUSH and Public Health (PHI) and Centre of Excellence (CoE)
  • Under the CoE scheme, financial assistance is provided to eligible individual organizations/institutes for establishing and upgrading their functions & facilities and/or for research & development activities in AYUSH.
    • The maximum admissible financial assistance under the CoE component, to an organization/institute, is 10.00 crores for a maximum period of three years

 

The objectives of the Centre of Excellence component of the AYURSWASTHYA Yojana are as under: –

  • To support the establishment of advanced/ specialized AYUSH medical health units in reputed AYUSH and Allopathic institutions both in Government and Non-Government sectors.
  • To support creative and innovative proposals for the establishment and upgradation of functions and facilities of reputed institutions to strengthen competencies of AYUSH professionals in education technology, research & innovation and other fields necessary for the promotion of AYUSH at national as well as international levels.
  • To support creative and innovative proposals for prestigious organizations which have well-established buildings and infrastructure, and wish to work for AYUSH systems to the level of Centre of Excellence.

 

Platinum Icon in Digital India Awards 2022

Source: PIB

Context: The Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs won the Platinum Icon in the Digital India Awards 2022 for their initiative “DataSmart Cities: Empowering Cities through Data” under the ‘Data Sharing and Use for Socio-Economic Development’ category

The Digital India Awards (DIA) is a prestigious National competition that seeks to encourage and honour innovative digital solutions by government entities in realising the Digital India vision.

DataSmart Cities Initiative – Empowering cities through Data

  • A component of Smart Cities Mission.
  • Aims to harness the power of data to address complex urban challenges in smart cities.
  • Based on a ‘People, Platform, Process’ strategy, this initiative is leading to the convergence of the Ministry’s efforts for performance management, empowerment of communities, and research, co-creation & open innovation.
  • Enable peer-to-peer learning across cities over data-driven governance.

 

 

Social Progress Index (SPI) for States and Districts

Source: PIB

Context: Social Progress Index (SPI): States and Districts of India prepared by the Institute for Competitiveness and Social Progress Imperative was submitted to Economic Advisory Council- Prime Minister.

 

About Social Progress Index:

  • Assesses states and districts based on 12 components across three critical dimensions of social progress – Basic Human Needs, Foundations of well-being, and Opportunity.
  • Based on the SPI scores, states and districts have been ranked under six tiers of social progress. The tiers are Tier 1: Very High Social Progress; Tier 2: High Social Progress; Tier 3: Upper Middle Social Progress; Tier 4: Lower Middle Social Progress; Tier 5: Low Social Progress; and Tier 6: Very Low Social Progress.
  • The report also dwells on India’s performance based on Global SPI. In the September 2022 report, India is ranked 110th out of 169 nations.

 

Report findings:

  • Puducherry has the highest SPI score of 65.99 in the country, attributable to its remarkable performance across components like Personal Freedom and Choice, Shelter, and Water and Sanitation.
  • Lakshadweep and Goa closely follow it with scores of 65.89 and 65.53, respectively. Jharkhand and Bihar scored the lowest, 43.95 and 44.47, respectively.
  • Aizwal (Mizoram), Solan (HP) and Shimla (HP) – top 3 best performing districts.

 

Insurance Regulations

Source: Indian Express

Direction: Details of the notification are a bit technical in nature. You may skip finer details as the benefit-cost ratio is low.

 Context: The government has notified six insurance regulations decisions of IRDAI, with the aim to boost Insurance penetration in the country from present around 4% (World average around 6%)

 Decisions Notified:

  • Increase in tie-up limits for intermediaries: The maximum number of tie-ups for Corporate Agents (CA) and Insurance Marketing Firms (IMF) have been increased to enable last-mile insurance penetration and increase the choice of insurance
    • The regulatory sandbox time period increased for insurers/intermediaries from 6 months to 36 months:
    • The Regulatory sandbox is a framework which provides a testing environment to the companies to enable them to test their innovative products, technologies, etc., in a controlled regulatory setting.
  • It promotes innovation and technological solutions in the industry.
  • Experience and qualification requirements of the Appointed Actuary ( it values the reserve of insurers to pay future policy benefits) have been made flexible.
  • Registration of insurance companies made it simpler to promote ease of doing business

 Other measures:

  • Proposed amendments in the two insurance acts-Insurance Act,1938 and IRDA Act, 1999 for overhauling the insurance sector have been put up for public comment.

Related News:

Surety Bond Insurance: (Source: Live Mint) Surety Bond Insurance is a risk transfer tool for the Principal (here government agencies ) and shields the Principal from the losses that may arise in case the contractor fails to perform their contractual obligation.

  • It has been started for 1st time in India by Bajaj Allianz
  • g. If a government agency (e.g. NHAI) has awarded a project to some contractor to finish and the contractor leaves mid-way. Then NHAI can recover the losses from the Surety bond and award the rest of the work to another contractor.

 

 

 

Purse Seine Fishing

Source: The Hindu

 Context: Certain coastal states ( e.g. TN, Odisha, Kerala, etc. ) had imposed a ban on purse seine fishing. But the central government has criticized the move and said it is unjustified.

 A purse seine is made of a long wall of netting framed with floating and leadline and having purse rings hanging from the lower edge of the gear, through which runs a purse line made from steel wire or rope which allows the pursing of the net.

 Advantages:

  • Purse-seine fishing in open water is generally considered to be an efficient form of fishing
  • It has no contact with the seabed and can have low levels of bycatch (accidental catch of unwanted species)
  • Purse seines can also be used to catch fish congregating around fish aggregating devices
  • Expert panel observation: This mode of fishing has not resulted in any serious resource depletion so far, given the available evidence”.

 

Purse-Seine fishing is known to harm endangered species. As this mode of fishing uses a wide net to draw in not only targeted fish but also at risk varieties, including turtles.

 

Recommendations of the expert panel:

  • It recommended purse seiners fish in territorial waters and the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) subject to certain conditions.
  • Framing of a “national management plan on purse seine fisheries

 

Pathogens frozen in permafrost resurface as Earth heats up

Source: DTE

Context: A new study finds that a warming planet is resulting in the loss of the Earth’s cryosphere — parts of the planet where water is permanently frozen such as glaciers and ice sheets, and this could be resurrecting trapped pathogens, giving rise to potential public health threats.

 

Instances of pathogen resurrection:

  • 300-year-old frozen mummy from Siberiawas found to contain the variola virus that causes smallpox
  • Bodies exhumed from Alaska’s permafrost contributed to understanding the 1918 Spanish flu virus genome

 

Frontier Highway

Source: Business-Standard

Context: India to build 1,748 km ‘frontier highway’ near the India-Tibet-China- Myanmar border in Arunachal Pradesh by 2027

  • The two-lane highway, NH-913, will aim to stop infiltration in the border areas and it will be built by the transport ministry


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