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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 22 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 1:

1. Society through cinema’s lens

 

GS Paper 2:

1. North-East Zonal Councils

2. District Collector, Magistrate, Development Commissioner: what to call an IAS officer?

 

GS Paper 3:

1. New land rules bring J&K on par with the rest of India

2. A new global biodiversity framework

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

1. Reforms in Content and Design of School Textbooks

 

Facts for Prelims

1. Dokra metalcraft

2. SIDBI to support micro-lending

3. New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)

4. Freeing up EEZ

5. Vagir

 


 

Society through cinema’s lens

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Arts and Culture

 

Source: Indian Express

Context: Cinema as a medium has incredible power in our country. The reach and impact of a movie are far wider than in any other place. Thus, it acts as a powerful tool of soft diplomacy too.

 Indian Cinema – a reflection of our society:

  • Promoting Indian rich culture – Classical dances, folk dances, and festivals are an integral part of Indian cinema.
  • Natyam – a Telugu movie that portrays Kuchipudi classical dance.
  • Social issues – Films are being produced to reflect the contemporary social and political scene.
  • Bollywood Movie Sherni reflects environmental issues.
  • Patriarchy: ‘Great Indian Kitchen’ Malayalam movie shows prevailing hidden discrimination and new forms of patriarchy against homemakers.
  • Recognizing regional languages
  • Nationalism
  • Bose: Dead/Alive web series is based on the life of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose.
  • War Movies Uri, Gunjan Saxena – The Kargil Girl
  • Politics and administration – Indian cinema is not only for entertainment, they are also about reality. They show Indian politics, corruption, nepotism in administration etc.
  • Rajneeti’s movie portrays how political games unravel in India.
  • Mythology – Mythological stories are also depicted in both north and south movies.
    • Kannada movies Bhakta Prahlada and Satya Harishchandra.
  • Tribal Culture: Kannada movie Kantara showing animistic practices was largely accepted by the public all over.
  • Biopics: Knowing about great personalities g., Gandhi, Kapil Dev (83)
  • Breaking stereotypes: Movies like English Vinglish, Hichki etc.

 

Insta Links:

Indian Cinema and Circus

 

Mains Link:

Q. Does cinema influence society or is it vice-versa? Comment in the context of Indian cinemas and society.

 

North-East Zonal Councils

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.

 

Source: PIB 

Context: Recently, PM Modi attended the Golden Jubilee celebrations (50 years) of the North-Eastern Council (NEC) in Shillong

 

Points highlighted by the PM

  • Regular meetings: Prime Minister himself has visited the North-East more than 50 times in the last 8 years, while ministers have also visited the North-East more than 400 times
  • 8 pillars of North-East development: e.g. Peace, Power, Tourism, 5G connectivity, Culture, natural farming, Sports etc.
  • Infrastructure development: The government has taken up the project of connecting every capital of a North-Eastern State by road, train and air connectivity
    • Dhola-Sadiya bridge (the longest bridge in India over the Lohit River in Assam)
  • PM’s Development Initiative for North-East (PM-DevINE)
  • Strategic policies:
    • ‘Act Fast for Northeast and Act First for Northeast’ Policy
    • India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway project, Kaladan project and Agartala-Akhaura Rail project.

 

Inter-state council Vs Zonal Councils

About Inter-state council: It is a mechanism that was constituted “to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India”. It will be constituted by the President under article 263 of the constitution.

 

About Zonal Council (see Infographic below)

 

 

Need of Zonal councils.

  • They provide an excellent forum where conflicts between the Centre and States and States can be resolved through free and frank discussions and consultations.
  • They are regional fora of cooperative endeavour for States linked with each other economically, politically and culturally.
  • As they are meant for looking after the interests of respective zones, they are capable of focusing attention on specific issues taking into account regional factors, while keeping the national perspective in view.
  • Bringing out national integration and arresting the growth of acute State consciousness, regionalism, linguism and particularistic tendencies.

 

Effectiveness of Zonal councils.

  • In the last 8 years, more than 1,000 issues were discussed in the meetings of the Zonal Councils and 93 per cent of them were resolved, which is a huge achievement.
  • With the help of Zonal councils, instances of Left Wing Extremism and North East insurgency have been minimized.

  

Issues associated with Zonal councils.

  • The complexity of issues – The Council(s) may not deliver fruitful results in the ongoing crisis due to the traversing nature of the issues involved between the states.
  • Statutory Basis – Moreover, the statutory basis of the Council may also mar the efficiency of the institution while dealing with the sovereign exercise of power by the states.
  • Advisory in nature – It is just a recommendatory body to investigate and discuss subjects, in which some or all of the states or the Central government have a common interest.
  • Lack of expertise – No presence of technical and management/administrative experts.

  

Need for Inter-state councils (ISC):

  • Resolving new issues – The ISC in recent times is inevitable in the context of a growing divide between the states and the Union government  as a result of the experiments of demonetisation and the GST, farm laws and the subsequent repeal, NEET examination, Agnipath scheme and the deepening tussle between the Governors
  • Constitutional body – As it is a Constitutional body it has more importance in establishing national integration and ensuring healthy federalism than zonal councils.
  • Effective communication between different levels of government – In a decentralized polity where the interaction between several levels of government is significant, the interstate council is an essential preliminary step.
  • Focusing on National issues – It provides an ideal environment for discussing the needs of the people of the country, dealing with their issues, and making decisions that benefit everyone rather than just focusing on particular zones.

 

Effectiveness of ISC.

  • The formation of “The National Commission to review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC)” under the Chairmanship of Justice M N Venkatachalaiah in 2001 is one of the outcomes of the ISC meetings.
  • Interstate council helped to ensure Horizontal federalism in India.

 

Issues associated with ISC.

  • Inconsistent meetings – As per mandate ISC have to meet at least thrice a year. But since 1990 only 12 meetings have been held against the mandate of 96 as per the order.
  • Lack of diversification of issues – Out of 12, nine meetings were held by and large to discuss the recommendations of the Sarkaria Commission and consensus-building on the same.
  • Lack of Functional autonomy – ISC is excluded from discussing topics that fall under the purview of the National Development Council, the Finance Commission, etc. and also areas that relate to the constitutional or statutory responsibility of the Union to discharge any duty.
  • Lack of political will – There has been a lack of will by the political parties to strengthen the ISC through consensual governance.
  • Not participatory – There is no presence/engagement of the civil society in the council which makes it less participatory and cooperative.
  • Not permanent body – The Inter-state council is not a permanent constitutional body for coordination between the states and Central government.

 

Way forward

  • A regular meeting schedule and a permanent secretariat to ISC will ensure that the periodic meetings are more fruitful.
  • Making ISC a permanent body as suggested by the Sarkaria commission.
  • Bills of national importance should be placed before the ISC and Zonal councils before being tabled in Parliament.
  • Zonal councils have to be strengthened with technical and administrative expertise to handle complex issues.
  • Advises given by the zonal councils have to be taken seriously by the centre in implementing policies or programs.

 

Conclusion

The interstate council and Zonal councils are the most dynamic platform to discuss policies and strengthen Centre-State relations. These work as an instrument for cooperation, coordination and the evolution of common policies and act as a bridge to the trust deficit between the centre and the state.

 

Insta Links:

Mains Links

Q. A rejuvenated Inter-State and Zonal Councils can play a vital role in better implementation of governance practices, involve the states more closely in the planning and delivery of services and lead to a more prudent fiscal discipline. Discuss. (15M)

 

Prelims Links

Which of the following bodies does not/do not find mention in the Constitution? (UPSC 2013)

  1. National Development Council
  2. Planning Commission
  3. Zonal Councils

Select the correct answer using the codes given below

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3 only

 

Answer: D

Explanation:

All of them are non-Constitutional bodies.

District Collector, Magistrate, Development Commissioner: what to call an IAS officer?

GS Paper 2

 

Source: The Print, Indian Express

 Context: Vidhi Center for Legal Policy recently released a book titled From Rule By Law to the Rule of Law — 25 Reforms to Decolonise India’s Legal System.

Fig: District Administration in India

 

Role of DM/DC?

  • A District Collector supervises the matter of revenue administration in the district and a District Magistrate is the chief in charge of the general administration, also responsible for maintaining law and order
    • He/She is the Head of the land and revenue administration
  • Coordination: They coordinate with multiple departments — health, revenue, education etc. The current role helps serve development, revenue, protocol, and interdepartmental issues.
  • Power to deploy and trigger the movement of armed forces in the district in times of emergency and crisis is done under his/her guidance.
  • Power to issue licences g. Licences under Arms, Explosives, Cinematography Acts etc.
  • In some states, DM is the overall supervisory authority responsible for the proper management of jails and remand/juvenile homes in the district.
  • Success during COVID-19 management: Covid was managed well because, under the NDMA, it was the DM who had the powers.

 

Need to Restructure the DC/DM’s Role?

  • To remove the colonial legacy: The name of the position of the District Collector varies from place to place (as per the diverse administrative development in various British-administered India) in the country which creates confusion.
  • Uniformity in name of the position: In Punjab, Haryana and regulation districts, the preferred term is Deputy Commissioner. Though the legal terminology is always District Magistrate.
  • Devolution of power to local bodies
  • Ensure effective separation of power: In many states, DC/DM also acts as revenue judge.
    • Article 50of the Constitution states that “The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State.”
  • Considerable accumulation of power in the hands of the District Officer

 

Why there is a need to make the name of the position the same throughout India?

Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council Bibek Debroy had worked on doing away with at least 248 redundant, outdated colonial laws.

  • He recommended the designation and role of the District Collector should be made uniform throughout the country.

 

Counterviews:

  • A mere name change can’t automatically change mindsets
  • Change in the nomenclature of a DM’s post will bring confusion to the roles and in the distribution of power.

  

Other issues with Civil Services in India:

  • Structural Issues
    • Issue of colonial legacy: many of the structures and processes in Indian civil services still rely on colonial rules and processes e.g. Dual system of administration in Indian cities, outdated personal procedures
  • The issue with the mindset: Indian civil service is
    • Aimed at development (rather than the outcome of the policy area)
    • Committed to civil service (rather than public service),
    • Has a precedent of a follower (rather than the creator)
    • Is monopolistic (rather than competitive)
  • Status Quoist: Civil service resist change since they are wedded to their privileges and prospects e.g. lateral entry at the undersecretary level has long been fiercely opposed by Civil servants
    • Despite 73rd and 74th amendments, grass-root democracy has not given the desired result due to the reluctance of civil servants to accept changes in authority and control
  • Rule-Book Bureaucracy: This has led to issues of high-handed ‘bureaucratic behaviour’, (e.g. DM in Tripura was suspended recently for raiding a marriage party and misbehaving with guests).
    • This has also led to red-tapism, complicated procedures, and poor responses to the needs of people.
  • Political interference: This has led to issues of corruption, arbitrary transfer of honest civil servants (e.g. Haryana IAS office Ashok Khemka frequent transfer), inefficiency, institutional decline, and lack of professionalism

 

Conclusion

As per the 15th report of the 2nd ARC, it is now vital to reevaluate and redefine the district administration’s function after the constitutionally mandated establishment of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI) and municipal bodies.

 

Insta Links:

Role of Civil Services

Mains Links

Q. Discuss the various administrative reforms brought by the government recently, to encourage greater efficiency, and transparency and create corruption-free governance. (15M)

New land rules bring J&K on par with the rest of India

GS Paper 3

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: The abrogation of special status under articles 35A and 370 for Jammu and Kashmir was followed by various initiatives to initiate land reforms and modernization in the erstwhile state.

Toughening the stand on newly introduced land rules that have ended leaseholders’ rights for extension in the Union Territory (UT) has brought Jammu and Kashmir to par with India.

 

Initiatives taken for land reforms:

  • In 2020, the Centre notified ‘The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of Central Laws) Order which resulted in the repeal of 11 land laws in J&K, including the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act of 1950.
  • Domicile requirements to purchase non-agricultural land have been removed, equalising J&K with other states.
  • Wife and children of an agriculturist would also fall in the Agriculturist category for the purposes of the Jammu & Kashmir Land Revenue Act, 1996.
  • Implementation of the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016 or RERA to regulate the real estate sector.
  • Aapki Zameen Aapki Nigrani’ under the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP) for modernizing the management of land records has been launched in the UT.
  • These measures benefit economic development, ease of service delivery to the citizens, and reduction in litigation due to poor record-keeping.

Shortcomings of these measures:

  • Special-status of J&K still stands as articles that have been abrogated and not completely abolished. This indicates such reforms violate special rights given to domiciles.
  • Lack of consultation with local leadership – The elected government has been disbanded and such initiatives are almost completely a top-down affair.
  • Popular dissent people have protested against the measures as they see the removal of domicile needs as an attempt to drastically shift the demography of the region.
  • Undoing reforms: legislations like the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act of 1950 actually implemented the intended post-independence land reforms, such repeals are undoing the past progress.

 

Insta Links:

Now, outsiders can buy land in J&K, Roshni Act

A new global biodiversity framework

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment and Conservation

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The previous article discusses key areas agreed upon at COP 15, concerns and India’s stance on the GBF. This article highlights the importance of biodiversity and threats, the Kunming-Montreal pact on agriculture and urban planning, the roadmap of its implementation, challenges and the way ahead. 

 Context: The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the United Nations pact to protect and sustainably utilise the earth’s biodiversity, recently concluded (COP15) in Montreal, Canada.

Background:

  • The CBD got a boost when 188 of 196 member governments adopted the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
    • Earlier, the CBD had launched the Aichi biodiversity targets for 2020 – to safeguard all ecosystems that provide services for humanity’s survival, and the Nagoya Protocol (2014) – to ensure sharing of biodiversity access and benefits.
  • The GBF sets out four goals for 2050 and 23 targets for 2030, to save existing biodiversity and ensure that 30% of degraded terrestrial, inland water, coastal and marine ecosystems come under effective restoration.
  • The GBF does not prohibit the use of biodiversity, but calls for sustainable use, and a sharing of benefits from genetic resources.
  • That is why, the GBF emphasises respect for the rights of indigenous communities that traditionally protect forests and biodiversity, and their involvement in conservation efforts. It advocates similar roles for women and local communities.

Importance of biodiversity:

  • Web of life: Biodiversity signifies the variety of species on earth, which are all connected and sustain the balance of ecosystems, enabling humans to coexist.
    • According to the CBD, only roughly 75 (one point seven five) million species have been identified so far, whereas there may be up to 13 million.
  • Interact with the environment to perform a host of functions: Some familiar ecosystem services include providing humans with food, fuel, fibre, air and water purification, stabilisation of climate, etc.
    • When these are disrupted, severe consequences such as failing agriculture, abnormal climatic patterns, and species losses occur, speeding up the Earth’s degradation.

Threats to biodiversity:

  • A quarter of the plants and animals assessed for the 2019 Global Biodiversity Outlook were threatened.
  • The current model of economic growth would require 6 earths to maintain current lifestyles.

The Kunming-Montreal pact on:

  • Agricultural practices:
    • Adoption of biodiversity-supporting methods such as agroecology and sustainable intensification.
    • It is significant, as growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops are not favoured by agroecologists as they could harm biodiversity.
  • Turning cities into hosts of biodiversity:
    • By expanding the area and improving the quality and access to urban green and blue spaces.
    • Biodiversity-inclusive urban planning enhances native biodiversity, ecological connectivity and integrity, and improves human health and well-being.
Roadmap
Four GBF goals for 2050Implementation strategy for 2030Monitoring
  • Maintaining ecosystem integrity and health to halt extinctions.
  • Measuring and valuing ecosystem services provided by biodiversity.
  • Sharing monetary and non-monetary gains from genetic resources and digital sequencing of genetic resources.
  • Raising resources for all countries to close a biodiversity finance gap of an estimated $700 billion.
The GBF is aligned with UN SDGs, three of which directly deal with the environment and thus with biodiversity: Goal 13 on climate action, Goal 14 on life below water and Goal 15 on life on land.

 

  • Member nations need to submit a revised and updated national biodiversity strategy and action plan in 2024.
  • Countries would have to review existing laws relating to not just the environment, but areas such as industry, agriculture and land use.
  • There are specific indicators for countries to report their progress, as part of a transparency and reporting arrangement.

 

The challenges to protecting biodiversity:

  • Use of GDP as the chief determinant of development.
  • GDP calculations exclude the depreciation of assets like nature, degraded by the relentless extraction of resources.
  • According to the UN’s Inclusive Wealth (IW) report, although 135 countries did better on inclusive wealth in 2014 compared to 1990, the global GDP growth rate considerably outpaced IW.

 

Way ahead: There is a need for environmental appreciation and the measurement of “inclusive wealth,” which considers not only financial and produced capital but also human, social, and natural capital.

 

PYQ- 2015

Which one of the following is the best description of the term ‘ecosystem’?

(a) A community of organisms interacting with one another.

(b) That part of the Earth which is inhabited by living organisms.

(c) A community of organisms together with the environment in which they live

(d) The flora and fauna of a geographical area

 

Ans: (c)

Insta Links:

 

Content for Mains Enrichment


Reforms in Content and Design of School Textbooks

 Direction: It can be used as an example for education reforms in India and for making the education of younger children more interesting and inclusive.

 Context: Standing Committee on Education, Women, Children, Youth, and Sports Report recommendation on the ‘Reforms in Content and Design of School Textbooks’.

  • Quality of textbooks:To have more child-friendly textbooks.  It recommended the use of pictures, graphics, and audio-visual material.
  • Publication in all the languages: Also, efforts should be made to develop textbooks in local languages (those not a part of the eighth schedule).
  • Updating syllabus: Explore the possibility to develop a core class-wise common syllabus for various subjects
  • Representation of women in textbooks:
    • Make textbooks gender inclusive
    • Portray women in the emerging profession
    • Adequately represent the role of women in the Indian freedom movement
  • Depiction of history: 
    • Updating history textbooks to include certain details (such as post-1947 history and world history)
    • Reviewing the depiction of freedom fighters from various regions and communities
  • Information on drug and internet addiction:
    • highlight the adverse effects of drug addiction and internet addiction
  • Reducing the number of textbooks:
    • The initiative of the Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research known as Ekatmik Pathya Pustak (2018-19) created a single book for several subjects for class one students in order to lighten the school bag.
    • Such an initiative is in line with the School Bag Policy by the Ministry of Education, which suggested having long periods of one or two subjects to reduce the number of books students carry.

 


Facts for Prelims:


Dokra metalcraft

Source: The Hindu

Context: Lalbazar is becoming a hub for the famous dokra metalcraft.

Two places are famous in West Bengal for dokra work — Bikna in Bankura and Dariyapur in Bardhaman.

 About Dokra:

  • Dokra is an ancient tradition; its documented history is about 5,000 years
  • Dhokra (also spelt Dokra) is non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been in use in India for 4,000 years.
  • The product of dhokra artisans is in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of its primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form.
  • Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, measuring bowls, lamp caskets etc., are highly appreciated.

 

SIDBI to support micro-lending

Source: Business-Standards

 

Context: SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) provides financial support to micro-finance companies which then micro-lends to other groups/institutions/ individuals.

  • SIDBI provide funds for the fund
  • It provides direct financing and indirect financing
  • It focuses on the “Credit Plus Approach” for facilitating technology modernisation and upgradation etc.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Finance
  • It is one of the four financial institutions regulated and supervised by the RBI

 

 

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)

Source: Indian Express

Context: Centre has appointed Justice Hemant Gupta as Chairperson of the NDIAC

NDIAC was set up through NDIAC Act 2019 and is a 7-member body:

  • One Chairman + Two eminent persons + Three ex-officio members( CEO and a nominee from finance ministry) + Part-time member ( from trade body)
  • NDIAC has been declared an institution of national importance

The recent amendment to NDIAC Act 2019:

  • NDIAC renamed as India International Arbitration Centre
  • Will conduct International and domestic arbitration and any other forms of alternate dispute resolution

 

Freeing up EEZ

Source: Economic Times

Context: Defence and Space agencies release 99% of EEZ (exclusive economic zones) areas for Oil Exploration and Production (E&P) in order to promote energy security in the country.

 Significance of the move

  • Will release over 40% of prohibited areas for exploration
  • Help boost up Oil production and reduce import dependence

 About EEZ: The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) comprises an area which extends from the end of territorial water to 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) off the coast.

  • In all, India’s EEZ is about 2.36 million sq km, of which 1 million sq km, about 42%, was in the ‘no go’ zone.

 

 

Vagir

 Source: Times of India

Context: Vagir is the 5th Scorpene class submarine which has been built indigenously ( under Project-75 by Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd. and France’s help) and has now been delivered to the navy.

 The other 5 submarines are: Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj, Vela and Vagsheer (under construction)

 About Vagir: It has been built to undertake multifarious missions like anti-surface, anti-submarine, intelligence gathering, mine-laying etc.

About Project 75: Project – 75 (started in 1998) includes the indigenous construction of six submarines of Scorpene design. The submarines are being constructed at MDL in Mumbai in collaboration with the Naval Group of France


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