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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 25 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 1:

  1. A brief history of the Khalistan movement

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Report
  2. Section 153A of the IPC: its use and misuse

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. The other victim: The environmental costs of the Russia-Ukraine War
  2. COP-28 (Dubai) must focus on adaptation instead of mitigation, says India

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Water-Sensitive Cities Framework
  2. 8R Ethical guidelines for use of Traditional Knowledge

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Revised guidelines for MPLADS
  2. MGNREGS
  3. Matching of the eShram beneficiaries’ data with the Ration Card data
  4. Chicago Convention on international civil aviation
  5. IREDA to finance Renewable Energy projects in foreign currency
  6. Mulethi
  7. Researchers grow electrodes in living tissues of zebrafish

 

A brief history of the Khalistan movement

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Post-independence consolidation

 

Source: IE

 Context: Hundreds of followers of a radical preacher and pro-Khalistan leader (Amritpal Singh) clashed violently with police near Amritsar, demanding the release of one of their colleagues.

 

Background: Amritpal Singh is a follower of the slain Sikh militant Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, and took the reins of the ‘Waris Punjab De’ organisation following the death of its founder (Deep Sidhu).

 

What is the Khalistan movement?

  • It is a Sikh separatist movement seeking to create a homeland for Sikhs by establishing a sovereign state, called Khalistan (‘Land of the Khalsa’), in the Punjab region.
  • Its origins have been traced back to India’s independence and subsequent Partition along religious lines.
    • The Punjab province, which was divided between India and Pakistan, witnessed communal violence and generated millions of refugees.
    • The historic Sikh Empire’s capital, Lahore, as well as sacred Sikh sites like Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Guru Nanak, went to Pakistan.
  • While most Sikhs found themselves in India, they were a small minority (2% of the population) in the country.
  • The political struggle for greater autonomy began with the Punjabi Suba Movement for the creation of a Punjabi-speaking state.
  • The States Reorganisation Commission report (1955) rejected this demand, but the state of Punjab was reorganised (trifurcated into the Hindi-Hindu-majority HP and Haryana, and Punjabi-Sikh-majority Punjab) in 1966.
  • The Punjabi Suba movement had galvanised the Akali Dal, which concluded the Anandpur Sahib Resolution (1973) demanding autonomy (not secession from India) for the state of Punjab.
  • This demand had gone global by 1971 – when an advertisement in The New York Times proclaimed the birth of Khalistan.
  • By the 1980s, the appeal of Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale had started creating trouble for the government.
  • He and his followers (mostly from the lower rungs of the social ladder) were getting increasingly violent.
  • In 1982, with support from the Akali Dal’s leadership, he launched a civil disobedience movement called the Dharam Yudh Morcha and took up residence inside the Golden Temple, directing demonstrations and clashes with the police.

 

What was Operation Blue Star?

  • The Khalistan movement was crushed in India following Operation Blue Star (by the Indian Army to flush out militants from the Golden Temple and neutralise Bhindranwale in 1984) and Operation Black Thunder (1986 and 1988).
  • While the operations were ostensibly successful in their aims, they gravely wounded (by the desecration of the Golden Temple) the Sikh community around the world and also galvanised the demand for Khalistan.

 

Aftermath of the Operation Blue Star:

  • PM Indira Gandhi was assassinated (on October 31, 1984), triggering the worst communal violence since Partition.
  • Punjab became the hub of a long drawn-out insurgency (allegedly supported by Pakistan) that lasted till 1995.
  • The movement continues to evoke sympathy and support among sections of the Sikh population, especially in the Sikh diaspora.
  • Today, the movement is fuelled by vote bank politics, social issues (unemployment, drug menace in Punjab), dissatisfaction among the Sikh diaspora and support from non-state actors.

 

Conclusion: In order to curb the Khalistan movement and ideology, the Indian government needs to address the above-mentioned issues.

 

Insta Links:

NIA chargesheets ‘Khalistani’ activists

 

Mains Links:

The political and administrative reorganisation of states and territories has been a continuous ongoing process since the mid-nineteenth century. Discuss with examples. (UPSC 2022)

The Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Report

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The 2nd edition of the Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) report was released by Dr Bibek Debroy, Chairman EAC-PM.

 

FLN:

  • It is the ability of a child (between the ages of 3 and 8 years old) to read basic texts and do basic mathematical problems such as addition and subtraction.
  • It is one of the main elements of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

 

About the FLN report:

  • It is a benchmark for states and UTs to track their performance in achieving universal foundational learning by 2026-27.
  • Its findings cover the role of nutrition, access to digital technology and language-focused instructional approach.

 

It captures:

  • The role of language in education and highlights distinct challenges faced in a multilingual environment.
  • The fundamental concepts children require to become skilled readers.
  • Improving the learning outcomes using appropriate assessments and medium of instruction.

 

Recommendations:

  • Need to integrate the medium of instruction and teaching in languages familiar to children.
  • Undertake various assessments pertaining to the –
    • Linguistic system (includes phonology, vocabulary/lexicon, and syntax),
    • Orthographic system (includes symbols and mapping principles), and
    • Writing mechanisms
  • Need for data monitoring along with clearly defined outcome-based indicators on pedagogical framework and education in India.

 

Initiatives to promote FLN:

  • DIKSHA or Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing: Launched in 2017, it is a national platform of the NCERT, where teachers can find interactive and engaging teaching material to make their classes interesting.
  • NIPUN Bharat Mission: Launched in 2021 for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy by the end of the third grade by the year 2026-27.
  • NISHTHA: A new training program (in FLN) for the teachers, as well as the heads of the school launched by the NCERT.
  • The National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Skills 2022: To meet a key focus area of the NEP 2020, to improve the foundational skills of students.
    • Under this, ‘jadui pitara’ – learning and teaching material for the foundational stage of schooling, has been launched recently.

 

Best practice: Haryana Government Initiative – Saksham Haryana

 

Conclusion: FLN is linked to the health and economic growth of a nation. So, developing curriculum, phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, is the need of the hour.

 

Insta Links:

Where no child is left behind

Section 153A of the IPC: its use and misuse

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States

 

Source: IE

 Context: The SC granted interim bail to a Congress leader (Pawan Khera) arrested for alleged hate speech (booked under Section 153A of the IPC) by Assam Police.

 

Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC): What the law says?

  • It penalises (with imprisonment up to 3 years/fine/both) promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and committing offences against the maintenance of peace.
  • The provision was enacted in 1898 and was not in the original penal code. In 1969, the offence was amended (made cognisable – arrest without a warrant) to enlarge its scope to prevent communal tensions.

 

The application of the law:

  • Hate speech laws have been invoked under different regimes to crack down on criticism of public functionaries and to arrest individuals.
  • For example, a Marathi actor was arrested (booked under Section 153A of the IPC) last year, for a Facebook post allegedly defaming an NCP leader.
  • According to the NCRB data, the rate of conviction for Section 153A is very low. In 2020, 1,804 cases were registered (six times higher than in 2014), however, the conviction rate was 2%.
  • Also, the registration of multiple FIRs across different states drains the resources of the accused to secure legal representation.

 

Safeguards against misuse:

  • Section 153A requires prior sanction (before the trial begins, not at the stage of preliminary investigation) from the government for initiating prosecution.
  • In the Arnesh Kumar v State of Bihar case (2014), the SC laid down a set of guidelines. For instance, the police cannot automatically arrest a suspect before investigation for crimes that carry a punishment of less than seven years.
  • In 2021, the SC ruled that the state will have to prove intent (to cause disorder or incite people to violence) for securing a conviction under Section 153A.

 

Conclusion: Hate speech strikes at the foundational values of society. However, the suspected unlawful speech should be evaluated using the standards of reasonableness.

 

Insta Links:

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

The other victim: The environmental costs of the Russia-Ukraine War

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environmental Pollution

 

Source: Indian Express

 

Context: The conflict in Ukraine has racked up environmental costs that will far outlive the actual fighting.

 

How is the war affecting the environment?

  • Fighting-induced destruction: Nuclear power plants and facilities, energy infrastructure, including oil storage tankers, oil refineries, drilling platforms and gas facilities and distribution pipelines, mines and industrial sites, and agro-processing facilities are getting destructed.
  • Pollution: Air pollution and potentially serious contamination of ground and surface waters.
  • Deforestation: More than 2 million hectares of forest have been destroyed, wrecking ecosystems and putting rare endemic species at risk.
  • Carbon footprint: Ukraine estimates the emissions from Russia’s invasion to be roughly around 33 million tonnes of CO2 from the conflict and 23 million tonnes of CO2 from fires caused by the conflict. 
  • Nuclear radiation: Russian troops dug up deep trenches in the protected Chornobyl sanctuary, thereby releasing nuclear wastes and radiation.

  

Solutions:

 

  • Reduce military activities: This requires the parties involved in the conflict to agree to a ceasefire and pursue diplomatic solutions to resolve their differences.
  • Restore damaged ecosystems: This can include replanting forests, cleaning up polluted water sources, and rehabilitating habitats for wildlife.
  • Implement environmental regulations: The private sector should also be held accountable for any environmental damage caused by their activities.
  • Promote renewable energy: Governments should invest in renewable energy infrastructure, which will not only reduce carbon emissions but also create jobs and promote sustainable development.
  • Raise public awareness: This can include organizing protests, writing articles and reports, and using social media to raise awareness.
  • Provide support for affected communities: Governments and civil society organizations should provide support for these communities, including access to clean water, healthcare, and education.

 

Conclusion:

Overall, mitigating the environmental costs of the Russia-Ukraine War requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders involved. By prioritizing the environment and taking concrete actions, we can reduce the long-term impact of the conflict on the planet and its inhabitants.

COP-28 (Dubai) must focus on adaptation instead of mitigation, says India

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Environment Conservation/ Disaster Management

 

Source: The Hindu

 

The concepts of mitigation and adaptation are at the heart of international climate discourse.

Adaptation measures for climate change

 

Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It focuses on assisting countries that are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change (coastal states, island nations) with finance and infrastructural assistance

 

Reason for Focusing on the adaptation of climate Change

  • Can help manage the risks from climate disasters such as floods and droughts
  • Sponge cities concept to increase storing of water in city spaces to adapt to urban floods
  • Protection of ecosystems
  • Protecting agriculture and food security
  • Can allow populations to benefit from opportunities for climatic change.

 

Mitigation measures for climate change

 Mitigation refers to actions taken to lower the concentration of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere and thereby reduce the extent to which the global climate system changes

 

Reason for Focusing on Mitigation of Climate Change

  • To stabilize greenhouse gas levels in a sufficient time frame
  • Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+)
  • Avoid significant human interference with the earth’s climate
  • Enable economic development

 

Why India is pushing to focus on Adaptation:

  • Timeframe: Mitigation measures can take decades to have a significant impact but the impacts of climate change are already being felt and will continue to worsen in the short to medium term, making adaptation measures more urgent.
  • The scale of impact: Adaptation measures can help reduce vulnerability and minimize the negative impacts of climate change.
  • Political will: Adaptation measures, can be implemented at a local level and may be more feasible to achieve.
  • Co-benefits: improving public health, enhancing ecosystem services, and increasing resilience to other natural disasters.

 

Conclusion:

While adaptation is important, it should not be seen as a substitute for mitigation. Both strategies are needed to address the challenges of climate change and ensure a sustainable future for our planet.

  

Insta Links:

Adapting better to climate change

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Water-Sensitive Cities Framework

Issues: There is a crisis of water supply, wastewater, and stormwater management in urban areas, especially in the global south, due to inequity in urban settlements.

How to make our urban areas’ water secure in a just and inclusive way? 

  • Water conservation, groundwater recharge and decentralised non-sewered septage treatment systems need to be prioritised in planned settlements in a city
  • Cities commit to a “Just and Equitable Access, Use, Reuse” of water supply to sewerage/septage and stormwater management.
  • ‘Design thinking’: It assumes that cities need more green-blue infrastructure and not grey infrastructure, coupled with smart urban design elements.
    • Integration of water planning and city planningg., Building roads and drains as per hydrogeography of a place
    • Green places as recharge areasg., Parks, and open spaces.
    • Reuse of adequately treated wastewater for irrigation purposes
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design and Planning (WSUDP): WSUDP aims at combining groundwater recharge besides several accompanying measures that reduce runoff and increase infiltration.
    • It integrates urban water cycle, water supply, wastewater, stormwater and groundwater management with spatial and urban design. 

Usage: This can be used as an example/Way forward in Governance questions.

 

8R Ethical guidelines for use of Traditional Knowledge

A group of experts has proposed a set of ethical guidelines to guide practices on the use of traditional indigenous medicines and knowledge.

 Current Issues:  Cultural appropriation, traditional indigenous medicine is not widely protected by law, there is no mechanism to provide reparation and share benefits with indigenous communities, USA is not part of CBD and ABS.

 

8R principles: Respectful, Reverence, Relevant, Regulation, Reparation, Reconciliation, Responsibility, Restoration

  • As of 2022, only the constitutions of Bolivia and Ecuadorinclude regulations specific to Indigenous traditional medicine
  • CBD’s Nagoya Protocol on Access and benefit-sharing (ABS): It mentions indigenous rights to the use and development of their traditional medicines and related practices

 

Mnemonic to remember 8RRespectful Reverence requires Relevant Regulation, Reparation, and Reconciliation with Responsibility for Restoration.”

 

Related News:

Recently, Eurasian Patent Organization (EAPO) has been granted access to CSIR ‘s database on the Indian traditional knowledge Digital Library (TKDL). TKDL was established in 2001. It prevents the misappropriation of the country’s traditional medicinal knowledge through patenting (against bio-piracy).

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Revised guidelines for MPLADS

 Source: PIB

 Context:  Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the Revised Guidelines on Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS)-2023

 

Revised Guidelines:

  • The new guidelines broaden the scope of the Scheme so as to enable the parliamentarian to recommend works as per the changing needs of the community
  • New Web Portal: Entire process of fund flow under the revised guidelines will operate through the web portal
    • This will facilitate real-time monitoring, greater transparency and accountability in the system, and improved efficiency and effectiveness of the MPLAD Scheme.

 

MGNREGS

Source: TH

 Context: Over 40% of gram panchayats do not report digital attendance.

Recently,  the government made it mandatory that the attendance for Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) workers be captured through a mobile application, National Mobile Monitoring System (NMMS)

  • Only community work under MGNREGS requires NMMS

According to Ministry officials, an average of 85% of MGNREGS worksites currently use the NMMS app to collect data.

About NMMS:

  • The NMMS App was launched by the Minister of Rural Development on May 21 2021. This app is aimed at bringing more transparency and ensuring proper monitoringof the schemes.
  • It permits taking real-time attendance of workersat Mahatma Gandhi NREGA worksites along with a geo-tagged photograph.
  • The app helps in increasing citizen oversightof the programme.
  • The App is applicable for the Mahatma Gandhi NREGA workersfor all the States/ Union Territories.

 

Matching of the eShram beneficiaries’ data with the Ration Card data

 Source: PIB

 

Context: Ministry of Labour and Employment initiates matching of the eShram beneficiaries’ data with the Ration Card (National Food Security Act (NFSA)) data

  • This initiative will ensure that Ration Card benefits under NFSA are made available to all eligible workers registered on eShram.

 

About eShram Portal: 

Launched by: Ministry of Labour & Employment

Objectives:

  • To create a National Database of unorganized/migrant workers and to provide them with a Universal Account Number (UAN).
  • To extend the benefits of social security and welfare schemes to unorganized workers especially migrant workers, and to identify workers who are deprived of the various benefits of the welfare schemes of the Central and/or State Government due to lack of awareness or otherwise.

 

Chicago Convention on international civil aviation

 Source: TOI

 Context: The Union government cleared three protocols related to amendments in Chicago Convention

Significance: It would help India to become more instrumental in matters pertaining to international civil aviation

 

Ratified Protocols:

  • Amend Article 3 (refrain member States from use of weapons against civil aircraft in flight)
  • Amend Article 50 (a) for raising the strength of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Council)
  • Amend Article 56 (for raising the strength of the Air Navigation Commission)

About ICAO:

The International Civil Aviation Organization (est. 1944, HQ: Montreal, Canada) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (linked to ECOSOC) that coordinates the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth.

  • It has 193 state parties including all UN members except Liechtenstein.
  • Chicago Convention led to the creation of ICAO.
  • India is a founding member of ICAO.
  • It is not a global regulator, its standards never supersede the primacy of national regulatory requirements.

 

IREDA to finance Renewable Energy projects in foreign currency

 Source: PIB

 Context: IREDA is planning to establish an office in Gujarat’s GIFT City to finance Renewable Energy projects in foreign currency.

  • The office at GIFT City, Gandhinagar, will be classified as an overseas office, allowing the IREDA to avoid foreign exchange hedging costs. 

 About GIFT City:

  • It consists of a multi-service Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which houses India’s first International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) and an exclusive Domestic Tariff Area (DTA).
  • IFSCA is the unified regulator for the development and regulation of financial productsfinancial services, and financial institutions in International Financial Services Centers (IFSCs) in India.

 

About IREDA:

  • IREDA is a mini ratna company under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • It was set up as a specialized non-banking finance agencyfor the renewable energy sector.
  • IREDA plays a key role in renewable energy project financingwhich gives confidence to the financial institutions/banks to lend in the sector.

 

Mulethi

 Source: TOI

 Context: For the first time, Himachal Pradesh (HP) has begun the commercial cultivation of liquorice (Mulethi) with the distribution of planting material among the farmers by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)- Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT).

 

About Mulethi

Mulethi is a sweet-tasting perennial shrub (roots have a sweet taste due to the presence of glycyrrhizin, which is 50 times sweeter than sucrose) that has been used as medicine in Ayurveda (known in Ayurveda as ‘Yashtimadhu’) for rejuvenation.

  • It thrives in a dry and sunny climateand is cultivated in subtropical and warm temperate regions.

 

Other properties:

  • It has anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-bacterial, and boosts immunity.
  • It helps in weight loss as it contains flavonoids that help to reduce excessive fats accumulated in the body.
  • It helps improve the digestive system, lessens the acidic level in the intestines, and also helps to detox our body.

 

About CSIR:

CSIR (est. by the Government of India in 1942) is an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India. CSIR is also among the world’s largest publicly funded R&D organisations.

  • It comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Its President is the PM of India
  • Its founder: Arcot Ramasamy Mudaliar and Shanti Swaroop Bhatnagar

 

Researchers grow electrodes in living tissues of zebrafish

 Source: DTE

 Context: Researchers, for the first time, have used the body’s own chemistry to develop electrodes in the tissues of zebrafish (a small freshwater fish).

  • They used the body sugars of the fish to transform an injectable gel into a flexible electrode while causing no damage to the tissues of the organism.
  • The gel is built from a mixture of chemicals and enzymes, which are inactive. Interactions with body sugars such as lactose and glucose induce them to become electrically conductive.

  

Possible benefits of this:

  • If successful in future tests, the gel could one day replace conventional materials that help restore brain, eye, ear, spinal cord, nerve, and muscle functions. It could also help treat Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, dystonia (a movement disorder), and depression.
  • The gel was also tested in leeches and muscle tissues of cows, pigs, and chickens, showing encouraging results.
  • These findings, pave the way for creating soft electronics in various biological tissues and environments.

 About Zebrafish:

The zebrafish is a freshwater fish belonging to the minnow family of the order Cypriniformes. Native to South Asia, it is a popular aquarium fish, frequently sold under the trade name zebra danio. It is also found in private ponds.

 

 

Optional

 Anthropology/ Sociology

 DTE: Access and benefit-sharing: The paper proposes 8 principles on the use of indigenous medicine (also covered in today’s CME)

 Karnataka PSC:

 TH: What is the Kannada Language Comprehensive Development Bill, 2022?

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