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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 4 January 2023

 

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. SC verdict on MPs, MLAs’ right to freedom of speech

2. On the legality of Israel’s occupation

 

GS Paper 3:

1. 50 years of the Stockholm Conference

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)

1. Parastronaut

2. Foster farmer: To stop distress migration from rural Uttarakhand

 

Facts for Prelims

1. Parasnath hill and Shetrunjay hill

2. SMART Program for Ayurveda

3. e-SCR project

4. Utkarsh 2.0

5. Zero poaching incidents in Assam

6. Virovore

7. Mapping

 


 

SC verdict on MPs, MLAs’ right to freedom of speech

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Indian Constitution—Historical Underpinnings, Evolution, Features, Amendments, Significant Provisions and Basic Structure

 

Source: IE

 

Direction: The article highlights the recent SC judgement in the context of the scope of the right to free speech under the Constitution of India.

  

Context: The SC held there is no reason to impose “additional restrictions” on the right to free speech {under Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution} of ministers, including MLAs and MPs.

 

Article 19 (Protection of certain rights regarding freedom of speech, etc.):

(1) All citizens shall have the right-

      (a) to freedom of speech and expression;

(b) to assemble peaceably and without arms;

(c) to form associations or unions;

(d) to move freely throughout the territory of India;

(e) to reside and settle in any part of the territory of India;

(g) to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business.

 

(2) Nothing in 19 (1) (a) shall affect the operation of any existing law, or prevent the State from making any law, as far as such law imposes reasonable restrictions in the interests of the –

●        Sovereignty and integrity of India,

●        Security of the State,

●        Friendly relations with foreign States,

●        Public order,

●        Decency or morality, or

●        In relation to contempt of court, defamation or incitement to an offence.

Background:

  • The case (Kaushal Kishor v the State of UP), relates to the Bulandshahar rape incident of 2016, in which the then Minister of the State termed the incident a ‘political conspiracy and nothing else’.
  • The survivors then filed a writ petition before the SC and the court raised an important question – “Whether restrictions can be imposed on a public functionary’s right to freedom of speech and expression?”.

 

The majority judgement:

  • Even if the remarks are related to state affairs or intended to protect the government, the government is not legally responsible for them.
  • While citizens had the right to petition the Court for violations of Articles 19 and 21 (right to life), a statement made by the Minister that was inconsistent with citizens’ rights may not by itself be actionable.
  • However, if it results in an omission (error) or commission (command) of an offence by a public official, remedies can be sought.

 

The dissenting opinion:

  • Freedom of speech and expression is a much-needed right so that citizens are well-informed and educated on governance.
  • As a result, the dissenting judge agreed with the majority that further restrictions on speech were unnecessary.
  • If the statements made by a Minister are derogatory, the government should be legally liable.
  • The word ‘fraternity’ in the Preamble of the Constitution, ensures that the dignity of individuals cannot be harmed by an unwarranted speech by fellow citizens, including public officials.

 

Conclusion: Hate speech strikes at the foundational values of society. However, common law remedies are present to address those issues and creating another set of guidelines or laws is a matter for Parliament to deliberate (the dissenting opinion).

 

Insta Links:

Is the freedom of speech absolute?

 

Mains Links:

Q. Examine the scope of Fundamental Rights in light of the latest judgement of the Supreme Court on the Right to Privacy. (UPSC 2017)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2017)

Which one of the following objectives is not embodied in the Preamble to the Constitution of India?

(a) Liberty of thought

(b) Economic liberty

(c) Liberty of expression

(d) Liberty of belief

 

Ans: b

On the legality of Israel’s occupation

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: International Relations

 

Source: TH

 

Direction: The article discusses Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land over time and attempts to restore normalcy in the region.

  

Context: The UNGA passed a resolution (India abstained from the vote) that asked the body’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), to render its opinion on the legal consequences of Israel’s prolonged occupation of Palestinian land.

 

Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land:

  • A UNGA resolution had sought to partition the British mandate Palestine, which was rejected by the Arabs.
  • The state of Israel was declared in 1948 → first Arab-Israeli war (1948).
  • Historically Palestine was divided into the –
    • State of Israel (including West Jerusalem),
    • West Bank (including East Jerusalem) that was taken over by Jordan and
    • Gaza Strip (controlled by Egypt).
  • Tensions kept rising between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, which led to the six-day war of 1967.
  • The war resulted in Israel capturing the –
    • West Bank,
    • Gaza Strip (Israel withdrew in 2005, however, its external borders are still controlled by Israel and Egypt),
    • East Jerusalem,
    • Syria’s Golan Heights and
    • Sinai Peninsula of Egypt (later returned to Egypt).
  • Israel also declared the whole of Jerusalem as its “eternal, undivided capital”.

 

Attempts to restore normalcy:

  • The UNSC passed a resolution in late 1967 stating that Israel must withdraw from the territories it seized in the war.
  • However, it is yet to happen and the fate of Palestinian self-determination remains uncertain.

 

What does the recent resolution seek to do?

  • It asked the ICJ to advise on the legal consequences of –
    • Israel’s occupation, settlement and annexation.
    • Israel’s measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem.
  • There are two possibilities – the ICJ can either lead to a settlement between parties or it can lead to a trial followed by a verdict. While its rulings are binding, the ICJ has no power to enforce them.

 

 Conclusion:

  • The UN resolution coincides with the return of Benjamin Netanyahu as Israel’s Prime Minister for a sixth time. In his words, “Jewish people have an exclusive and unquestionable right to all areas of the Land of Israel.”
  • There are fears that the new hard-line regime will bring damaging impacts for Palestinians.

Icj_vs_ICC 

Insta Links:

India-Palestine relations: Ignoring the dispossessed people goes against India’s anti-colonial legacy

  

Mains Links:

Q. “India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (UPSC 2018)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2015)

The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to

a) Central Asia

b) Middle East

c) South-East Asia

d) Central Africa

 

Ans: b

50 years of the Stockholm Conference

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation-related issues.

 

Source: DTE

 Context: “Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity” was held in the year 2022 to mark the 50 years of the Stockholm Conference ( Report of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment).

 

About Stockholm Conference, 1972

  • This was the first global convergence on the planetary environment and natural resources.
  • Also termed the “Swedish Initiative”, the idea of the Stockholm Conference was first proposed by Sweden.
  • The theme was ‘Only One Earth’.
  • Stockholm Declaration: To build the “interconnections between development, poverty and the environment”.
  • Action Plan for the Human Environment
    • Global Environmental Assessment Programme (watch plan)
    • Environmental management activities
    • International measures to support assessment and management activities carried out at the national and international levels.

  

Three Dimensions of the Conference:

  • Countries agreed to not “harm each other’s environment or the areas beyond national jurisdiction”.
  • An action plan to study the threat to Earth’s environment.
  • Establishment of an international body called the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to bring cooperation among countries.

 

Significance:

  • The Stockholm Conference of 1972 put environmental issues on the global agenda for the first time.
  • No country had an environment ministry until 1972.
    • Today, over 176 countries have environmental framework laws; 150 countries have enshrined environmental protection or the right to a healthy environment in their constitutions; and 164 countries have created cabinet-level bodies responsible for environmental protectio
  • After 1972, the environment started making headlines and public consciousness increased.
  • Many of today’s conventions on environmental crises trace their origin to the Stockholm Declaration.

 

Challenges:

  • An uncoordinated response from the nations: The world is on track to warm at least 3˚C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
  • Poverty is the biggest hurdle in the way of adopting sustainable measures for a healthy environment, as poverty can’t be eradicated without the use of science and technology.

Please Note:
Stockholm Conference is different from Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention
: It is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

 

Insta Links:

50 years since the Stockholm conference 

 

Content for Mains Enrichent


Parastronaut

 Direction: This could be used as an example to show that ‘disability is not a limitation’.

 European Space Agency (ESA) will announce the 1st astronaut — or astronauts — with a physical disability soon, under ESA’s “parastronaut project”.

People with physical disabilities have previously been excluded from being an astronaut — due to strict selection requirements.

After carrying out a feasibility study, the ESA said potential candidates could include people who have deficiencies in their lower limbs, whether from amputation or congenital defects.

 

Foster farmer: To stop distress migration from rural Uttarakhand

 Sudhir Kumar Sundriyal (from the Pauri district of Uttrakhand) established Feel Good Charitable Trust in January 2015, through which he distributes saplings and plants and helps farmers borrow small equipment through a machinery bank. He has been doing this for 8 years now.

He helps people in the Pauri district earn livelihoods in villages so that they do not have to migrate to big cities

 

Feel Good has also undertaken other initiatives:

  • It has built reservoirs in the district and farmers are conducting water conservation campaigns
  • It helps raise funds for 60 children’s education in the Pauri district

 


Facts for Prelims:


Parasnath hill and Shetrunjay hill

Source: Indian Express

Context: Members of the Jain community have been staging protests across the country for the past two weeks over demands related to two holy sites — Sammed Shikhar on Parasnath hill in Jharkhand and Shetrunjay hill in Palitana of Gujarat.

 

Sammed Shikharji Temple:

  • It is believed that 20 out of 24 Tirthankars (Jain spiritual leaders) attained salvation at Sammed Shikharji.
  • Sammed Shikharji, located on the Parasnath Hills in the Giridih district of Jharkhand, is the biggest pilgrimage of the Jain community.
  • It is important for both the Digambara and Swethambara sects of Jainism. The hill is known to be the highest mountain in Jharkhand.
  • The Hill is named after Parasnath (the 23rd Tirthankar)

Shetrunjay hill:

Situated on the banks of the Shetrunji river around 164 feet above sea level, Shetrunjaya Hills near Palitana city are home to 865 Jain temples and are a holy place for Shwetambara Jains. 

 

About the issue:

  • In Jharkhand, the issue is about Parasnath hill being declared a tourist spot and an eco-sensitive zone, neither the Centre nor the state consulted the main stakeholder
  • In Gujarat, the row is over the vandalising of a shrine and related security concerns, the Jains are demanding that Shetrunjay hill and the area around it be protected so as to maintain its holiness. They also want further probe into the vandalism case.

 

SMART Program for Ayurveda

Direction: This is in continuation of yesterday’s FFP on the SMART Program

 

Context: Scope for Mainstreaming Ayurveda Research in Teaching Professionals (SMART) program has been launched to boost scientific research in Ayurveda colleges and hospitals for common issues such as Iron Deficiency, Anemia, Obesity etc.

 

About NCISM

  • It is a statutory body (under NCISM Act, 2020) for regulating the Indian system of medical education.

 

About CCRAS

  • It is an autonomous body for promoting research in Ayurvedic sciences under the Ministry of Ayush.

 

 

 

e-SCR project

Source: Live Law

Context: Electronic Supreme Court Reports (e-SCR) project has been launched to provide the digital version of the SC’s judgements in the manner as they are reported in the official law report ‘Supreme Court Reports’

 

The report aims to provide the entire judgement of SC (from inception in 1950 to date)

 

 

The eCourts Mission Mode Project is a national eGovernance project for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enablement of district & subordinate courts of the country. The objective of the project is to provide designated services to litigants, lawyers and the judiciary through ICT enablement of courts.

 

 

 

Utkarsh 2.0

Source: RBI

Context: RBI ‘s Medium-term strategy framework- Utkarsh 2.0 (for 2023-2025) was launched recently.

  • Utkarsh 1.0 was for the period 2019-2022

 

Utkarsh 2022 is a medium-term strategy in line with the global central banks’ plan to strengthen the regulatory and supervisory mechanism

 

Zero poaching incidents in Assam

Source: PIB

Context: PM lauds rhino conservation efforts by people of Assam after zero poaching incidents reported in 2022

  • Recently, CITES (in COP19) downgraded the status of Southern white rhinos from Appendix I to Appendix II

 

 

Virovore

Source: Hindustan Times

Context: The first known “virovore”- an organism that eats viruses- has been found.

 

Key findings:

  • Two plankton organisms named Halteria and Paramecium, can not only feed on viruses but also thrive by consuming them. 
  • Scientists found that a species of Halteria – which are microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater throughout the world – can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses. Both share an aquatic habitat.
  • The research also notes the different patterns of consumption between Halteria and Paramecium as the formerly used chlorovirus as a source of nutrients and while the latter did consume the viruses, it did not grow much in population. 
  • Additionally, the consumption of chloroviruses could have a profound impact on the carbon cycle

 

Mapping:


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