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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 16 February 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 ina 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 junks challenge to J&K delimitation: what did the petitioner, Centre argue?
  2. Does India’s Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 protect patients’ rights and dignity in institutions?
  3. At 80, the highest no. of custodial deaths reported in Gujarat in the last 5 years, Rajya Sabha told

 

GS Paper 3: 

  1. 72% of MSMEs stagnant since past 5 years: Survey
  2. Sea-level rise a major threat to India, other nations: WMO

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Taanvi Arekapudi: “Uplift Teens Today”

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Parhaiyas of Jharkhand
  2. President’s Colour Award
  3. Labour Ministry asks EPFO to speed up work on higher pension
  4. Startup20 Engagement Group
  5. ‘Transfer Pricing’ rules
  6. Haircut
  7. Windfall Tax
  8. IARI model InfoCrop
  9. What are volatiles?
  10. Marburg virus
  11. Omorgus Khandesh

 

SC junks challenge to J&K delimitation: what did the petitioner, Centre argue?

GS Paper 2

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

 

Source: IE

 Context: The SC dismissed a plea challenging the delimitation exercise to redraw Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in the Union Territory of J&K.

  

Background:

  • A challenge to the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, is pending before the apex court, along with other petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of an Assembly or LS seat to represent changes in population over time.
  • A commission set up by the Central government submitted its final report for delimitation in J&K last year.
  • It has been recommended that the number of seats in the J&K Assembly should be raised from 83 to 90.

  

Arguments of the petitioner:

  • After the notification of the Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies Delimitation Order, 2008, only the Election Commission of India could have undertaken the exercise.
  • The delimitation exercise violates Article 170 of the Constitution, under which constituencies shall remain frozen till the first census is conducted after the year 2026.
  • The increase in seats violates provisions of Articles 81, 82, 170, 330, and 332 of the Constitution, and Section 63 of the 2019 Act.

 

Arguments of the Centre:

  • The J&K Reorganisation Act 2019 mandates the setting up of a commission for the exercise.

 

Delimitation exercise:

Legal/constitutional provisions:

●        Article 82: Following each census, the allocation of Lok Sabha seats to the states, as well as the division of each state into territorial constituencies, shall be readjusted by such authority as Parliament may by law determine.

●        Section 8A of the Representation of the People Act, 1950: It allows for delimitation of Parliamentary and Assembly constituencies in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur or Nagaland.

●        Article 170 (Composition of the Legislative Assemblies): Census figures (2001) shall be used for the purpose of readjustment of constituencies in the State.

●        Reservation of seats for the SCs/STs will be provided as per Articles 330 (Lok Sabha) and 332 (State Assemblies) of the Constitution.

 

Delimitation Commission:

●        Delimitation is the responsibility of a high-level body known as the Delimitation Commission or a Boundary Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be challenged in court.

●        Article 82 of the Indian Constitution provides for the establishment of such a commission through a Parliamentary act.

●        The orders will take effect on a date to be determined by India’s President.

 

 

 

Insta Links:

‘Voter islands’ after J&K delimitation exercise

Does India’s Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 protect patients’ rights and dignity in institutions?

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Government policies and Interventions

 

Source: TH

  

Context:  NHRC in a recent report flagged the “inhuman and deplorable” condition of all 46 government-run mental healthcare institutions across the country (3 Central Run and the rest of state-run Institutions)

 

What is Mental Health?

It is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. (WHO Definition)

  

  • For the status of Mental disorders in India: Click here
  • For a Range of Mental illnesses in society: Click here 

Mental Healthcare Act, 2017(MHA) has been called a “watershed moment for the right to health movement in India”. 

Provisions of MHA

  • It discourages long-term institutionalization of patients and reaffirms the rights of people to live independently, and within communities.
    • This right is doubly guaranteed under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act of 2016
    • The previous act — the Mental Healthcare Act, 1987prioritized the long-term institutionalization of mentally-ill people and provided disproportionate authority to judicial officers and mental health establishments.
  • Attempt to Commit Suicide, not an Offence: A person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed to be “suffering from severe stress’’ and shall not be subjected to any investigation or prosecution.
  • Promotes community living: The government was made responsible for creating opportunities to access less restrictive options for community living — such as halfway homes, sheltered accommodations, rehab homes, and supported accommodations.
  • Discourages using physical restraints (such as chaining), objects to unmodified electro-convulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Establishment of Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority
  • It provides the following rights:
    • Right to Make an Advance Directive about how to be treated or not to be treated for the illness during a mental health situation.
    • Right to Appoint a Nominated Representative
    • Right to access mental health care
    • It pushes for the rights to hygiene, sanitation, food, recreation, privacy, and infrastructure.
    • Right to get free medicines
    • Right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment
    • Right to live in an environment, safe and hygienic, having basic amenities
    • Right to legal aid 

What are the challenges to the implementation of the Act? (as highlighted by the NHRC report)

  • Violation of Rights:
    • Illegal Confinement: The facilities are “illegally” keeping patients long after their recovery
      • NHRC found that almost 36.25% of residential service users in state psychiatric facilities were living there for one year or more
      • It violates Article 21 of the Constitution (which protects personal liberty)
    • Infringement of the human rights of mentally ill patients
  • Infrastructure issues:
    • Shortage of facilities: There are issues of shortage of doctors, lack of infrastructure, lack of community homes, homes for assisted living and socio-economic opportunities
  • Procedural Issues:
    • Non-compliance to MHA regulations by the institutions
    • A majority of the States have not established Central Mental Health Authority and State Mental Health Authority
    • Many States have not notified minimum standards which are meant to ensure the quality of MHEs
    • State Mental Health Authority – which was required to meet atleast four times every year, remained inactive until August 2022.
  • Societal Issues:
    • The social stigma that looks at a person with mental illness as a “criminal” deserving of incarceration.
  • Poor budgetary allocationand utilization of funds: It leads to Shelter homes remaining underequipped, understaffed, and undertrained

 

Initiatives taken:

  • Global Initiatives:
    • World Mental Health Day is observed on 10th October every year
    • WHO’s Comprehensive Mental Action Plan 2013-2020
    • The Mental Health Atlas was launched by WHO in 2017
    • Suicide prevention (under SDG 3.4)
  • India:
  • State initiatives:
    • Chennai’s Institute of Mental Healthlaunched five halfway homes, in collaboration with an NGO: Here people can access the confidence and skills needed to manage themselves outside a structured institution.
    • Kerala has also started half-way homes and community living centres
  • CSO/NGOs: “The Live Love Laugh Foundation”  aims to reduce the stigma, spread awareness and change the way we look at Mental Health
  • Unique Initiatives: Taanvi Arekapudi’s book “Uplift Teens Today” (Check today’s CME)

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links:

Q. Appropriate local community-level healthcare intervention is a prerequisite to achieving ‘Health for All ‘in India. Explain. (UPSC 2018)

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

At 80, the highest no. of custodial deaths reported in Gujarat in the last 5 years, Rajya Sabha told

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability

 

Source: IE

 

Context: According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the highest number of custodial deaths has been reported in Gujarat (80) In the last five years.

 

Custodial deaths/extrajudicial killings in India:

  

Meaning:

 

Reasons for the custodial deaths:

  • Police under work pressure: To improve their performance and conduct an investigation as soon as possible.
  • Punitive violence (torture to deter those who are about to commit a crime).
  • Positive reinforcement: Using shortcuts to get quick results.
  • Lack of proper training for policemen.

  

Laws regulating/prohibiting custodial deaths:

  • The Indian Penal Code (IPC Section-96): Every human being has the right to private defence.
  • The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC Section 46): Allows police to use all means necessary to arrest a detainee.
  • The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: It gives the Indian Defense Forces broad powers to use lethal force in a variety of situations.

 

Guidelines to prevent custodial deaths: 

The Central Government: Issues advisories from time to time and has enacted the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHR), 1993, which stipulates the establishment of the NHRC and SHRCs to look into alleged human rights violations by public servants.

  

NHRC: 

  • A magisterial inquiry (within 3 months) in all cases of deaths in the course of police action.
  • Prompt prosecution and disciplinary action against delinquent officers.
  • Denial of out-of-turn promotion, etc.

 

SC (in the PUCL vs State of Maharashtra case 2014): Laid down 16-point guidelines for a thorough, effective and independent investigation in the cases of death during police encounters.

  • Some of these are – An independent investigation > disciplinary action > compensation to be granted to the dependents of the victim.

 

Way ahead:

  • Amend the Evidence Act to place the onus of proof on the police (Law Commission).
  • To sensitize public servants (through NHRC’s workshops, and seminars) for a better understanding of the human rights of persons in custody.

 

Conclusion: Police and public order are State subjects as per the 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. Hence, it is primarily the responsibility of the state government concerned to ensure the protection of persons in custody.

 

Insta Links:

Use of Technology to Prevent Custodial Deaths

72% of MSMEs stagnant since past 5 years: Survey

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

Source: Indian Express

  

Context: A recent survey highlighted that over three-fourths of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are of the view that their business remained either stagnant or decreased or wound up during the last five years.

  

Key Highlights from the survey:

  • During the last 5 years, the performance of 72% of the respondents is either stagnant or
    decreasing or stopped or wound up.
    Only 28% of the respondents have confirmed that they are growing.
  • 45 per cent of the respondents were of the view that there was no “ease of doing” that exists in starting, running, or closing or in their living style, while only 21 percent of the respondents stated that the government has supported MSMEs adequately during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Around 42 percent of respondents cited profit margin concerns as one of the main challenges for entrepreneurs, 70 percent are worried about delayed payment receipts, and 40 percent are on raw material price and availability.
  • 52 percent of respondents found adherence to statutory compliances as tough, while 62 percent are worried about demand and order book position and 38 percent have fear of manpower sourcing and employability skills in the youth.

  

Challenges in the MSMEs sector that hinder it from reaching its potential

  • Access to Credit
  • Poor Infrastructure
  • Access to Modern Technology
  • Access to markets
  • Legal hurdles
  • Lack of skilled manpower

For Solutions: What Indian MSMEs need

  

Prelims Link: UPSC 2012

Which of the following can aid in furthering the Government’s objective of inclusive growth?

  1. Promoting Self-Help Groups
  2. Promoting Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises
  3. Implementing the Right to Education Act

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only

(b) 1 and 2 only

(c) 2 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer: D

Sea-level rise a major threat to India, other nations: WMO

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment, Conservation

 

Source: HT

 Context: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) cautioned that sea level rise poses a serious threat to both China and India in a report titled “Global Sea-Level Rise and Implications.”

 

Findings of the “Global Sea-Level Rise and Implications” report:

 

  • Sea level rise varies regionally
  • It will encroach upon Infrastructure and coastal communities will be encroached upon
  • It affects a number of major cities on every continent: Shanghai, Dhaka, Bangkok, Jakarta, Mumbai, Copenhagen, New York, Buenos Aires, Santiago, etc.
  • Poses a significant economic, social, and humanitarian problem (threatens coastal farmlands, water reserves, the resilience of infrastructures, food-nutrition security, human lives and livelihoods), especially in vulnerable areas.
  • Along with other climate concerns, it will affect coastal ecosystems, related development and beyond 1 billion people by 2050
  • Growing Urbanization in exposed areas will exacerbate the effects.
  • It is reinforced by storm surges and tidal variations as seen during the landfall of hurricane Sandy (New York) and Cyclone Idai (Mozambique)

  

Reasons behind sea-level rise:

  • Increase in average global temperature (by over 1°C since 1880)
  • Thermal expansion of seawater (leading to mean sea level increasing by ~20 cm)
  • Glacier and ice-sheet melt
  • Changes in groundwater storage.

 

Challenges:

  • According to the IPCC, melting ice sheets (the largest contributor to sea level change) are hard to predict.
  • By 2150, global sea level rise is estimated to rise by roughly 4, 0.5 and 0.2 m under high, mid and low-emission scenarios, respectively.
  • Limiting 21st-century global surface temperature rise to 2 °C above the pre-industrial level (Paris Agreement’s target) would be insufficient.

 

Way ahead:

  • A low greenhouse gas emission scenario, with temperatures staying below 1.5 °C
  • Reaching net zero carbon emissions before 2060.
  • Particularly along the coast, urban systems must enable climate-resilient development

 

World Meteorological Organization (WMO):

●        It is an intergovernmental organisation, which originated from the International Meteorological Organisation (IMO).

●        WMO was created on March 23, 1950 and it became the UN’s specialized organization for fostering international cooperation on

○        Meteorology (weather and climate),

○        Operational hydrology and

○        Related geophysical sciences.

●        The Secretariat (headquartered in Geneva) is headed by the Secretary-General and the WMO’s supreme decision-making body is the World Meteorological Congress.

 

Insta Links:

Himalayan plunder: 3 million Indians live in areas that can be swept by glacial lake floods, says study

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Taanvi Arekapudi: “Uplift Teens Today”

Source: TH

Taanvi Arekapudi, a 13-year-old girl from Andhra Pradesh, has penned a book sharing her own mental health coping strategies from a teenager’s perspective. She faced emotional upheavals when her family moved from Ireland to the United States.

Ethical lessons from her life:

  • Importance of family support and open conversations in dealing with mental health issues: Taanvi’s parents and sister were there for her when she needed them
  • Value of empathy and understanding in helping people
  • Taking action and making a positive difference in the world: Taanvi started a ‘Think Positive’ club in her school and founded the Empowerment Club, providing a space for young people to talk and support each other in coping with mental health issues
  • Importance of resilience and overcoming challenges

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Parhaiyas of Jharkhand

 Source: TH

 Context:The Parhaiyas of Jharkhand’ is a study that examines the level of penetration and coverage of government schemes and the bottlenecks that hinder their implementation.

Parhaiya is one of the nine Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) of Jharkhand state (one of the 75 in the country).

Food and pension schemes:

  • In Jharkhand, 88% of PVTG households were on the PDS list and under the Antyodaya scheme.
  • The Jharkhand government introduced the Adim Jan Jati Pension (AJJP in 2025) scheme, which provides ₹600 every month to such households.

Issues faced in the implementation of schemes:

  • Lack of proper education.
  • Many, including children, were forced to enter exploitative labour contracts.
  • Lack of a new ration card or Aadhar-related issues (biometric authentication) resulted in 12% of households not having access to such schemes.
  • The poor levels of digital infrastructure in the rural population.

A long way to go: More schemes and policies that promote long-term solutions such as stable employment and education along with maternity and healthcare benefits must be introduced.

 

President’s Colour Award

 Source: Live Mint

 Context: The prestigious President’s Colour Award was presented to the Haryana Police in recognition of its outstanding service to the nation.

  • The President of India had approved this award for the Haryana Police for a good track record in commitment to professionalism and high rank in the service of humanity while keeping up its performance and integrity

 About President’s Colour Award:

  • The President’s Colour is a prestigious honour, awarded by the President to armed forces or a police unit that has rendered exceptional service to the nation.
  • The award serves as a recognition of the sacrifices made by police personnel in the line of duty, and as a tribute to their unwavering commitment to serving and protecting its people.

 

Labour Ministry asks EPFO to speed up work on higher pension

Source: TH

 Context: The Union Labour Ministry has asked the EPFO to spell out the procedures for submitting joint options for those who retired after September 1, 2014, and subscribers of the EPS who are currently working.

Background: Earlier, the SC set the deadline for submitting joint options of employees and employers to claim higher Provident Fund pensions.

About Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO):

  • EPFO is a statutory organisation within the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India.
  • It was established with the passage of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
  • EPFO is responsible for regulating and managing provident funds in India, as well as managing social security agreements with other countries that have bilateral treaties with India.

 

Startup20 Engagement Group

 Source: TH

Context: It is the only new group at the G20 aimed at using the innovative capacity of startups along with the stability and scale of corporations

  

Other similar engagement groups:

  • B20 Engagement Group focuses on corporations
  • U20 Mayor’s summit: It facilitates discussions between countries and cities from the G20

About G20: 

Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union. It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development. It was founded in 1999 (by G7) and its incumbent chairman is PM Modi (India)

 

‘Transfer Pricing’ rules

Source: IE, IE,

Context: The IT Department surveys were conducted at the BBC office, in view of the BBC’s “deliberate non-compliance with the transfer pricing rules” and its “vast diversion of profits”

  • BBC has not followed the “arm’s length arrangement” in the allocation of profit
  • Transfer pricing laws in India are codified in the Income-tax Act, 1961 

  

What is Transfer Pricing? 

Transfer pricing refers to prices of transactions or transfers of goods, services and technology between related enterprises or between unrelated parties but controlled by a common entity.

  • Companies use transfer pricing to reduce the overall tax burden of the parent company. The effect of transfer pricing is that the parent company tends to produce insufficient taxable income or excessive loss on a transaction. 

How does transfer pricing work?

Suppose a company A purchases goods for 100 rupees and sells them to its associated company B in another country for 200 rupees, who in turn sells in the open market for 400 rupees.

Had A sold it (the good) direct, it would have made a profit of 300 rupees. But by routing it through B, it (A) restricted it (profit) to 100 rupees, permitting B to appropriate the balance. 

What is the ‘arm’s length price’?

The price at which a willing buyer and a willing unrelated seller would freely agree to transact or trade between related parties is conducted as if they were unrelated so that there is no conflict of interest in the transaction. 

Difference between an IT Survey and Raid? 

Tax officials during a survey can not remove any cash, stock or other valuable article or thing. During searches or raids, officials can seize accounts or valuable articles.

 

Haircut

 Source: TH

 Context: India has asked China to take a haircut on its loans to poor countries and assist their economic recovery.

  • India has specified that International Monetary Fund [IMF] taking a haircut to settle Chinese debt is unsustainable.

 

What is a Haircut in the Economy? 

When a bank or creditor country takes a ‘haircut’, it means it accepts less than what was due in a particular loan account. For example: if a bank (e.g. IMF) was owed Rs 10,000 cr by a borrower (e.g. Pakistan) and it agrees to take back only Rs 8,000 cr, it takes a 20% haircut (or loss).

 

Windfall Tax

Source: ET

Context: India cuts windfall tax on crude oil to Rs 1,900 per tonne from Rs 2,100 per tonne

  • India imposed the windfall profit tax, in July 2022, joining nations that tax supernormal profits of energy companies.
  • Levy was introduced in view of the windfall gains made by the domestic crude producers and refiners due to high global crude and product prices (on account of the Russian-Ukraine war)

What is windfall tax?

A windfall tax is a higher tax rate on sudden big profits levied on a particular company or industry.

 

IARI model InfoCrop

 Source: DTE

Scientists at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) developed InfoCrop (in 2015)—India’s only dynamic crop simulation model—to forecast crop loss yield due to heatwaves.

  • The IARI model InfoCrop (which is available free of cost) has an 85% accuracy for pre- or in-season crop yield forecasts.
  • The IARI is now working on the third version of InfoCrop, which will be more user-friendly and include models for many other crops.

  

Usage: It can be used as an example to show the “use of technology (in agriculture) for mitigation of impact due to climate change).

Did you know?

Scientists have recently discovered a new variety of wheat with the Rht13 gene (reduced-height wheat which can even grow in drier soil conditions). This different from Green Revolution genes (Rht-B1b and Rht-D1b)

 

What are volatiles?

Source: The Hindu

 Context: A new research suggests that some of the well-known volatiles, which form the basic part of Earth, may have come from beyond the inner solar system.

 

About Volatiles:

  • Volatiles are elements or compounds that change from a solid or liquid state into vapour at relatively low temperatures.
  • The most common volatiles — carbon dioxide, nitrogen, ammonia, hydrogen, methane, sulphur dioxide, and water—are abundant in nature and necessary to living organisms.

  

About the research:

  • The researchers examined 18 meteoriteseleven from the inner Solar System, known as non-carbonaceous meteorites, and seven from the outer Solar System, known as carbonaceous meteorites.
  • For each meteorite, they measured the relative abundances of the five different forms — or isotopes — of zinc.
  • They then compared each isotopic fingerprint with Earth samples to estimate how much each of these materials contributed to Earth’s zinc inventory. The results suggest that while the Earth only incorporated about ten per cent of its mass from carbonaceous bodies, this material supplied about half of Earth’s zinc.

 

Marburg virus

 Source: The Hindu

 Context: Central African nation Equatorial Guinea confirmed its first outbreak of the highly infectious Marburg virus disease or MVD.

 What is the Marburg virus disease?

  • Marburg virus disease is a highly virulent disease that causes haemorrhagic fever, with a fatality ratio of up to 88 per cent. It is in the same family as the virus that causes Ebola virus disease.

 Symptoms:

  • Illness caused by the Marburg virus begins abruptly, with high fever, severe headache, and severe malaise. Many patients develop severe haemorrhagic symptoms within seven days.

  

How does Marburg’s disease spread?

  • Like Ebola, the Marburg virus is transmitted to primates from fruit bats, which are considered natural hosts of the virus.
  • It spreads among humans via direct contact with the bodily fluids of infected bats, or surfaces contaminated with fluids, like bedsheets.

  

Is there any vaccine/treatment for Marburg disease?

  • There are no vaccines or antiviral treatments approved to treat the virus. However, supportive care – rehydration with oral or intravenous fluids – and treatment of specific symptoms, improve survival.

 

‘Omorgus Khandesh’

Source: DTE

 

Context: A new beetle species ‘Omorgus Khandesh’ has been discovered in India recently.

  • The beetle is important for forensic science as it helps detect the time of death of an animal or human. 

About Omorgus Khandesh:

  • Omorgus Khandesh is necrophagous and is, therefore, also called a keratin beetle.
  • The new species belongs to the Trogidae family. With the addition of this new species, now there are a total of 14 extant species of this family in India.
  • During the decomposition of a body, blowflies are amongst the first ones to arrive in the early stages. Meanwhile, the final successional stage is with the arrival of the keratin feeders, thus their importance in forensic science.

 

Optional:

 Economy:

  

Anthropology/ Sociology

Agriculture

 

Read the Daily CA in PDF Format here:

 


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