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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 7 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 transfers to itself all pleas related to same-sex marriage

2. SC directs the committee to build a framework to ensure road safety

3. Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Ethics/Essay/ Governance)

1. Rajasthan’s ‘Tree teacher’

 

Facts for Prelims

1. Sagol Kangjei

2. Reserve Bank of India puts on hold NUE licensing

3. 2022’s New Discoveries Congratulate India’s Biologists

4. New dwarf boa found in Ecuadoran Amazon

5. Protein found in Zebrafish can regenerate aged discs in human vertebrae

6. Snapdragon Satellite

7. Mapping


 

SC directs the committee to build a framework to ensure road safety

GS Paper 2

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

 

Source: TH

 Direction: The article emphasises SC’s concerns about increasing fatal accidents on Indian roads, data on road accidents in India, steps by the Indian government and the way ahead.

 

Context: A Bench led by the Chief Justice of India (D.Y. Chandrachud) agreed that urgent steps need to be taken to enforce Section 136A of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

 

Background:

  • Section 136A was introduced into the Motor Vehicles Act in 2019 to keep an electronic eye on errant drivers.
  • In this respect, the SC directed its committee (led by Justice A.M. Sapre) to meet with the Road Transport Secretary and frame State-specific guidelines.
  • In its reply, the Centre stated that it has already framed Rules under sub-section (2) of Section 136A, which provides for rules for the electronic monitoring of road safety including speed cameras, CCTV cameras, speed guns, etc.

 

Data on Road accidents in India:

  • According to NCRB data, over 1.5 lakh people died from road accidents in 2021 and nearly 90% of deaths on the road were due to speeding, overtaking and dangerous driving.
  • According to the World Bank’s data from 2019, India ranked first among the top 20 countries for road accidents.

 

The WB’s report on women’s mobility in India:

  • For women, the fear of sexual assault is another cause for concern when they traverse public spaces after dark.
  • 84% of women’s trips were estimated to be by public transport, and more women tend to walk to work compared to men.

 

Steps taken by the Indian government:

  • The 2021 National Road Safety Board Rules require the formation of technical working groups to address issues such as crash investigation and forensics.

 

 

Way ahead for India:

  • Evidence-based preventive interventions. For example, black spots or accident-prone areas on roads where mishaps happen without the fault of drivers, need to be marked.
  • Sundar Committee’s recommendations need immediate implementation. For example, establishing a centralised national body for road safety and establishing decentralised responsibility at the district level.
  • WB launched a “Toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility and Public Spaces in India”, suggesting a four-pillared approach.

 

Brasilia declaration:

The Brasilia Declaration, adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil, lays down recommendations on strengthening existing legislations, adopting sustainable transport and strengthening the post-crash response.

In the declaration, participants reasserted their commitment to reducing the deaths caused due to traffic accidents to half by the year 2020.

This target was set under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 

Insta Links:

World Bank’s new toolkit on Enabling Gender Responsive Urban Mobility

SC transfers to itself all pleas related to same-sex marriage

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections

 

Source: TH

  

Direction: The article highlights the background of which the issue of same-sex marriages reached before the courts in India and also highlights countries around the world which recognise same-sex marriages.

  

Context: The SC transferred to itself (for an authoritative ruling) petitions pending in various HCs seeking legal recognition of same-sex marriage under the Special Marriage Act (SMA) 1954 and making the law gender-neutral.

The Special Marriage Act, 1954:
  • It provides for civil marriage (or “registered marriage”) for the people of India and all Indian nationals in foreign countries, irrespective of the religion or faith followed by either party.
  • Marriages solemnised under the Act are not governed by personal laws.

 

Background:

  • Batches of petitions, filed after the Navtej Johar case (which decriminalised homosexuality by reading down section 377 of the IPC), were pending before the Delhi, Kerala and Gujarat HCs.
  • These petitions argue that non-recognition of same-sex marriage amounted to discrimination impacting the dignity and self-fulfilment of LGBTQ+ couples.
  • They also challenge the mandatory requirement to issue public notice and objection to marriage contemplated under the SMA and the Foreign Marriage Act, exposing same-sex couples to the risks of ostracism, persecution and violence.
  • 32 countries around the world recognise gay marriage.

 

What happens in other countries?

  • US: In 2015, the US SC recognised gay marriage, as limiting marriage solely to heterosexual couples violated the 14th Amendment guaranteeing equal protection under the law.
    • The decision led to a nationwide legalisation of same-sex marriage.
  • Australia, Ireland, Switzerland: Following a referendum, Australia’s Parliament passed a law recognising the same-sex-marriage.
    • In Ireland and Switzerland too, a popular vote by the majority led to formal recognition of LGBTQ marriages.
  • South Africa became the first African country to legalise same-sex marriages in 2006, as the highest court found the ‘Heterosexual-Only Marriage’ policy to be violative of the equal rights enshrined in the constitution.
  • Taiwan became the first Asian country to recognise same-sex marriage.
  • Argentina became the first Latin American country to allow same-sex marriages nationwide.
  • Canada: Same-sex couples in Canada have enjoyed the legal benefits of marriage since 1999. In 2005, the Canadian Parliament passed nationwide legislation to this effect.

 

 

Insta Links:

Legalising Same-Sex Marriage

  

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 2019)

Which Article of the Constitution of India safeguards one’s right to marry the person of one’s choice?

(a) Article 19

(b) Article 21

(c) Article 25

(d) Article 29

 

Ans: b

Remote work helped in saving jobs during COVID: ILO report

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Planning, Mobilization of Resources, Growth, Development and Employment

 

Source: TH

 

Direction: The article highlights the changes in the nature of work during the Covid-19 pandemic, its impact and suggestions to leverage these changes.

 

Context:

  • A report titled ‘Working Time and Work-Life Balance Around the World’ has been recently released by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
  • This first-ever ILO global report on working time focuses on the actual number of hours of work, working-time arrangements and their implications for work-life balance.

 

Highlights of the report:

 

Nature of work during the COVID-19 crisis:

  • Flexible working hours.
  • Short-time work and work-sharing measures.
  • Increased working hours in the healthcare or pharmaceutical industries.
  • Teleworking contributed to the pandemic response by reducing social contact.
  • Great resignation phenomenon: It is an ongoing economic trend (beginning in early 2021) in which employees (most likely in hospitality, healthcare, and education sectors) have voluntarily resigned from their jobs in mass, in the wake of the pandemic.
    • The most cited reasons are work-life imbalances, wage stagnation amid the rising cost of living, limited opportunities for career advancement, hostile work environments, etc.

 

 

 

Impact: Inclusive short-time work schemes with the highest possible allowances –

  • Enabled individuals as well as companies, enterprises and industries to collectively reduce the hours or volume of work.
  • Sustained purchasing power and created the possibility of cushioning the effects of economic crises.
  • Laid the ground for a better and more healthy work-life balance.
  • Teleworking helped in maintaining organisational operations and preserving jobs.

 

Suggestions by the ILO:

  • ILO member countries need to prescribe policies necessary to remedy the weaknesses of working-time instruments that became apparent during the pandemic.
  • Large-scale implementation of telework nearly everywhere in the world to change the nature of employment in the near future.

 

Conclusion:

  • The ‘Great Resignation’ phenomenon has placed work-life balance at the forefront of social and labour market issues in the post-pandemic world.
  • There is a substantial amount of evidence that work-life balance policies provide significant benefits to enterprises, and such policies are a ‘win-win’ for both employers and employees.

 

What is ‘Great Resignation’?

The Great Resignation, also known as the ‘Big Quit’ and the ‘Great Reshuffle’, is an ongoing economic trend in which employees have voluntarily resigned from their jobs en masse, beginning in early 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A record 4.3 million people resigned in August 2021, up 2,42,000 from July, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

 

 

 

Underlying factors:

  • COVID Pandemic has led to people working from home, and many resigned to take care of their loved ones during periods of sickness.
  • Burnout: Working from home and being double burdened with psycho-social issues due to isolation and low-leisure time also led to burnout feeling.
  • Anti-work movement: It grew strong in 2021 and improvement in labour conditions and wage hikes were key demands that not being met resulted in resignation.
  • Gig economy: Freelance and gig work became strong during the pandemic period and many sought gig works and moonlighting in new fields.
  • Skilling: moonlighting in new fields also meant leaving the conventional job to acquire new skills.

 

 

Insta Links:

New labour codes give a free hand to employers: Unions

 

Mains Links:

Explore and evaluate the impact of ‘Work from Home’ on family relationships. (UPSC 2022)

 

Content for Mains Enrichment


Rajasthan’s ‘Tree teacher’

 


Facts for Prelims:


Sagol Kangjei

Source: Indian Express

Context: Home Minister inaugurated a 122-foot-tall statue of a polo player astride a Manipur Pony in Imphal.

 

Background:

  • Modern polo is said to have originated from Sagol Kangjei, a sport indigenous to Manipur, in which players ride horses, specifically the Manipur Ponies, which are referenced in records dating back to the 14th century.
  • Marjing is considered the God of polo and features a pony as his carrier.
  • The Lai-Haraoba festival of the state depicts the life and times of Khori-phaba, the polo-playing god of sports.
  • The Manipur Pony is one of five recognised equine breeds of India and has a powerful cultural significance for Manipuri society.
  • The Marjing Polo Complex has been developed as a way to conserve the Manipur Pony.

 

 

Reserve Bank of India puts on hold NUE licensing

Source: Economic Times

 Context: RBI is said to have put on hold licensing of the New Umbrella Entity (NUE) network, a fintech institution planned as a rival to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).

  • Six groupings, which included Facebook, Google, Amazon, Flipkart and others, had applied for NUE licences, but none of them could meet the RBI’s expectations in bringing a technology breakthrough.

 

What is Retail Digital Payment System?

The retail payment system facilitates the transfer of funds from consumers to merchants in exchange for goods and services.

 

What is NUE?

NUE is an entity (under the Companies Act 2013) that will manage and operate the new payment system in the retail sector such as ATMs, POS, UPI etc.

  • It will also manage clearing and settlement systems that could be an alternative to the bank-promoted NPCI.
  • It will be allowed to charge fees for transactions (unlike the existing NPCI)
  • The RBI had in 2020 issued guidelines for corporates to create for-profit NUEs with an aim to foster competition and “de-risk” India’s burgeoning digital payments ecosystem, where much of the settlement burden has fallen on the non-profit NPCI over recent years

What is NPCI?

NPCI was established by the RBI and the Indian Banks’ Association in 2008 modelled on the non-profit payments and settlement entity run by the Swedish central bank that’s owned and operated by banks.

  • It has developed the country’s key payment railroads, including UPI, the Immediate Payments System (IMPS), RuPay and the National Financial Switch (NFS). It’s also credited with powering the Direct Benefit Transfer architecture that supports the government’s Jan Dhan Yojana.

 

2022’s New Discoveries Congratulate India’s Biologists

Source: greenhumour.com

 Direction: This is just a recap of important species discovered last year.

 

New dwarf boa found in Ecuadoran Amazon

Source: The Hindu

Context: Scientists have discovered a new species of dwarf boa in the Ecuadoran Amazon and named it after an Indigenous activist.

 

About dwarf boa:

  • Up to 20 centimetres (7.8 inches) long and with skin colouring similar to those of the boa constrictor — the previously unknown snake was named Tropidophis cacuangoae.
  • The name honours early 20th-century Indigenous rights activist Dolores Cacuango.
  • The species is unusual for having a “vestigial pelvis” characteristic of primitive snakes.

 

Protein found in Zebrafish can regenerate aged discs in human vertebrae

Source: PIB

 

Context: A protein found in the backbone of zebrafish that plays a positive role in disc maintenance and promotes regeneration in aged discs between vertebrae can have potential therapeutic implications to promote regeneration in degenerated human discs.

  • Currently, only symptomatic treatments for disc degeneration are available, including pain relievers or anti-inflammatories. In severe cases, disc replacement or disc fusion surgery is performed.
  • A study by Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, discovered that a protein called Cellular communication network factor 2a (Ccn2a) secreted from intervertebral disc cells induces disc regeneration in aged degenerated discs by promoting cell proliferation and cell survival by modulating the pathway called the FGFR1-SHH (Fibroblast growth factor receptor-Sonic Hedgehog) pathway.

 

Snapdragon Satellite

Source: Financial Express

 

Context: Qualcomm at CES 2023 has announced Snapdragon Satellite- a satellite-based two-way capable messaging solution for premium smartphones. The company has collaborated with Iridium and Garmin to introduce satellite connectivity for two-way texting in remote or no internet connectivity areas.

 

Features:

  • According to a report, you can send only 160-character messages using Qualcomm’s satellite connectivity feature.
  • You can type your own messages and choose the recipient from your phone’s contact book which isn’t possible with iPhone 14.
  • Apple allows you to send limited responses to emergency services.

 

Mapping:


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