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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 13 March 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. Women and Nation Building: 1857 to the Republic

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Same-sex marriages can rock societal values: Centre

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. What caused Silicon Valley Bank’s failure?
  2. The rise of the ESG regulations

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Global Feminist Movements

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Sri Ayya Vaikunda Swamikal
  2. Compassionate appointment: What the court has ruled?
  3. PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS)
  4. News Feed by OTT
  5. Centre launches MSME Competitive (LEAN) scheme
  6. High Price Day Ahead Market (HP-DAM) and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP) 
  7. Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA)
  8. Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA)
  9. Net-zero waste to be mandatory for buildings
  10. Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes)

 


 

Women and Nation Building: 1857 to the Republic

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Indian History: 1857 Revolt

 

Source: PIB

Context: On the occasion of the 133rd Foundation Day of the National Archives of India, an exhibition has highlighted the contributions of women in nation-building and freedom struggle from 1857 to 1950.

 

Some examples of the contributions made by women in nation-building and the freedom struggle from 1857 to 1950:

Name Example
Rani Lakshmi BaiRani Lakshmi Bai is famously known for her valiant stand against the British in the Siege of Jhansi
Begum Hazrat MahalBegum Hazrat Mahal was a key figure in the Lucknow uprising and led a force of rebels against the British in the battle of Chinhat.
Sarojini NaiduSarojini Naidu was a prominent Indian nationalist and was the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congress.

·         Participated in the Indian National Movement, and was a key figure in the Non-Cooperation Movement

·         Her work as a poet earned her the title of ‘Nightingale of India’ from Mahatma Gandhi

Annie BesantAnnie Besant was an Irish-born British writer, activist, and Theosophist who supported Indian self-rule.

·         Advocated for Indian self-rule (Home Rule Movement) and supported the Indian National Congress

·         Her contributions include being one of the founders of the Banaras Hindu University

Kamaladevi ChattopadhyayKamaladevi Chattopadhyay was a social reformer.

·         She played an important role in promoting Indian handicrafts and empowering women.

Begum RokeyaBegum Rokeya was a writer, educator, and social activist who worked for women’s education and advocated for women’s rights.

·         She was the founder of the first school for Muslim girls in British India.

·         Worked for women’s education and was a pioneer of women’s rights in India

Madam Bhikaji Cama·         She was involved in the home-rule movement

·         She was instrumental in demanding equal rights for all Indians, regardless of religion or gender.

·         She unfurled the Indian Tricolor Flag (this was the first time an Indian flag was flown outside of India) at Stuttgart (Germany) in 1907.

·         She is also known as the ‘Mother of Indian Revolution’

Aruna Asaf AliShe was a political leader who participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942.

She hoisted the Indian National flag at the Gowalia Tank maidan, Bombay during the Quit India Movement in 1942

She is known as the ‘Grand Old Lady of Indian Independence’ for her role in the freedom struggle.

 

Limitations:

These limitations included social restrictions that confined women to traditional roles, a lack of education that limited their participation and communication abilities, limited access to resources, gender discrimination within the movement, and a patriarchal society that did not consider women equal to men, resulting in their voices being silenced and opinions not taken seriously.

 

Conclusion:

Despite these limitations, many women played a significant role in the independence movement, paving the way for future generations of women to follow.

 

About National Archives of India (est. 1891, HQ: New Delhi):

The National Archives of India is an attached office under the Ministry of Culture.  It has at present in its repositories a collection of over 18 crores pages of Public Records, which include files, volumes, maps, bills assented to by the President of India, treaties, rare manuscripts, oriental records, private papers, cartographic records, etc.

 

Insta Links

The comic book ‘India’s Women Unsung Heroes’ released

 

Mains Links

Discuss the significance of contributions made by women freedom fighters during the second half of the 20th century.

 

Prelims Links:

In the context of Indian history, the Rakhmabai case of (1884) revolved around? (UPSC 2020)

  1. women’s right to gain education
  2. age of consent
  3. restitution of conjugal rights

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer: B

Same-sex marriages can rock societal values: Centre

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Social Justice – vulnerable sections

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: The Centre has opposed the Supreme Court pleas seeking legal validation of same-sex marriage, saying it would cause complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws and accepted societal values.

  • According to the government marriage between a biological man and woman is a “holy union, a sacrament and a sanskar” in India.
  • Any “deviation” from this “statutorily, religiously and socially” accepted norm in “human relationships” can only happen through the legislature and not the Supreme Court.

 

What were the petitioners’ demands:

  • Sought an interpretation of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 in a gender-neutral manner where a person is not discriminated against due to his sexual orientation.
  • The Special Marriage Act of 1954 provides a civil form of marriage for couples who cannot marry under their personal law.

 

Governments arguments:

  • The government argued that the Court had only decriminalised sexual intercourse between same-sex persons in its 2018 judgment in Navtej Singh Johar, and not legitimised this “conduct”.
  • The court, while decriminalising homosexuality, had never accepted same-sex marriage as part of the fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.
  • Registration of marriage of same-sex persons would also result in violation of existing personal as well as codified law provisions.

 

It is submitted that there cannot be an untrammelled right under Article 21 and cannot override other constitutional principles, adding that Parliament has designed and framed marriage laws, which are governed by personal laws/codified laws relatable to customs of various religious communities, to recognise only the union of a man and a woman to be capable of legal sanction, and thereby claim legal and statutory rights and consequences.

 

Ethical aspects of Same-sex marriage

Equality: Denying same-sex couples the right to marry is seen as discrimination and a violation of basic human rights.

Consent: Same-sex couples should be able to marry if they are both consenting adults who are making a free and informed decision to enter into a lifelong commitment.

Harm: Opponents of same-sex marriage argue that it is harmful to society or to children who may be raised by same-sex couples.

  • However, many studies have found that there is no evidence to support these claims and that children raised by same-sex parents do just as well as children raised by opposite-sex parents.

Tradition: Some people argue that same-sex marriage goes against traditional values and beliefs.

  • However, tradition is not always a reliable guide to ethics, and there is no inherent ethical value in maintaining a tradition simply because it is old or familiar.

Religious beliefs: For some, same-sex marriage may conflict with their religious beliefs. While everyone has the right to their own beliefs, it is important to remember that religious beliefs should not be used to justify discrimination or deny equal rights to others.

 

Insta Links:

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

 

Mains Link: UPSC 2021

How does Indian society maintain continuity in traditional social values? Enumerate the changes taking place in it.

What caused Silicon Valley Bank’s failure?

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian economy and related issues

 

Source: IE

Context: The downfall of the US-based Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) is the largest failure of a financial institution since the global financial crisis of 2008.

 

What went wrong at SVB?

  • The financial institution best known for its relationships with high-flying world technology startups and venture capital experienced a bank run.
  • A bank run, which is typically the result of panic (customers withdraw their deposits simultaneously) rather than true insolvency, pushes a bank into actual insolvency.
  • Bank runs have occurred throughout history including during the Great Depression and the 2008-09 financial crisis.

 

What happens next?

  • The SVB’s large deposits (startups and wealthy tech workers) are unsafe.
    • The Federal government insures deposits to $250,000 and anything above it is considered uninsured and likely to be released in an orderly process.
    • But many businesses want to access funds to meet payroll and office expenses → could lead to furloughs/layoffs.
  • There’s no buyer of SVB.

 

Is this a sign of a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis?

  • SVB was large but had a unique existence by servicing nearly exclusively the technology world and VC-backed companies.
  • Other banks are far more diversified across multiple industries, customer bases and geographies and could survive a deep recession and a significant rise in unemployment.
  • However, if the ‘contagion effects’ from SVB or higher interest rates hit more foreign banks, a flight to safety among global investors could hit capital flows into emerging markets.
    • The contagion effect explains the possibility of the spread of economic crisis or boom across countries or regions.
    • The fundamental underlying this scenario where price movements in one market are resultant of shocks or volatility in the other market is a perfect information flow.

 

Impact on the Indian economy?

  • Many Indian start-ups [especially in the SaaS (software as a service) sector] not only have accounts, but the bank had also been an important lender.
  • For example, an investment of a total of $1.7 million in One97 Communications, the parent company of Paytm.
  • As the funding for start-ups is dwindling, this could prove to be a major roadblock, especially for young businesses.
  • The flight of capital could also impact the

 

Insta Links:

Ten years on, in uncharted waters

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2020)

If another global financial crisis happens in the near future, which of the following actions/policies are most likely to give some immunity to India?

  1. Not depending on short-term foreign borrowings
  2. Opening up to more foreign banks
  3. Maintaining full capital account convertibility

Select the correct answer using the code given below :

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: 1

The rise of the ESG regulations

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation, Environmental Impact Assessment/Corporate Governance

 

Source: TH

Context: The evolution of environmental, social and governance (ESG) laws and regulations are still at a nascent stage in India.

 

Background:

  • Businesses should be measured not just on traditional economic metrics (shareholder return), but also by their –
    • Environmental impact,
    • Commitment to social issues and the
    • The soundness of their corporate governance and protection of shareholder rights.
  • Companies have a distinct responsibility as corporate citizens and the ESG considerations in a company’s risk profile are needed to accurately assess the enterprise.

 

How ESG differs from corporate social responsibility (CSR)?

  • India has a robust CSR policy codified in the Companies Act 2013, mandating that corporations engage in initiatives that contribute to the welfare of society by spending at least 2% of their net profit over the preceding 3 years on CSR activities.
  • ESG regulations differ in process and impact. For example, The U.K. Modern Slavery Act requires companies to publish the efforts they have taken to identify the risks of child labour in their supply chain, etc.

 

Current focus of India: Places more emphasis on protecting the environment or working conditions than on implementing the controls and disclosure that are essential components of modern ESG legislation.

 

Attempts to bring ESG legislation in India:

  • India has a number of laws and bodies regarding ESG issues, including
    • The Environment Protection Act of 1986,
    • Quasi-judicial organisations such as the National Green Tribunal,
    • A range of labour codes and laws governing corporate governance practices.
  • While these provide important environmental and social safeguards, new initiatives establish guidelines for monitoring, quantification and disclosure, akin to ESG.
  • For example, SEBI revised the annual Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) required by the 1,000 largest listed companies in India, mandating disclosures from GHG emissions to gender and social diversity.
Challenges for Indian companiesImplications for Indian companiesWay ahead
●        Compliance with ESG regulations (both originating in India and elsewhere – US, UK, EU), pose a significantly different challenge than India’s CSR regulations.

●        Ownership that is obscured through shell companies can present additional challenges.

Compliance will be essential if India wants to fully benefit from the growing decoupling from China and play a more significant role in global supply chains.

 

Thorough due diligence (for assessing risks and controls) will play a key role.

 

Conclusion: Companies that wish to maximise their opportunities in the global economy need to embrace these new requirements and adjust their organisations accordingly.

 

Insta Links:

Strengthening the CSR framework is a profitable idea

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)


Global Feminist Movements

Source: TH

MovementImpact
Ni Una Menos (“Not One Woman Less”) (Argentina, 2015)It brought to light the issue of femicide and gender violence in Argentina and other Latin American countries
Me Too (US, 2017)It exposed the extent of sexual harassment and abuse in the entertainment industry. It highlighted the power dynamics that allow sexual violence to continue and led to accountability for perpetrators.
International Women’s Strike (Global, 2017)It was a call to action for women to go on strike and protest against the oppression of women and gender non-conforming people. It aimed to highlight the value of women’s work and the need for gender equality in all aspects of life.
Black Lives Matter (US, 2013)Although not exclusively a feminist movement, it addresses the intersectional issues of racism, sexism, and violence against Black women. It highlights the need for racial and gender equality.
Say Her Name (US, 2015)This movement focuses on the violence experienced by Black women, including police brutality and sexual violence.
Pinjra Tod (India, 2015)Pinjra Tod is a feminist collective formed by women students in Delhi in 2015 to fight against discriminatory hostel rules for women.

 

Impact: It had an impact on raising awareness about gender inequality and the need for systemic change. They have also empowered women to speak out about their experiences and demand accountability for perpetrators of violence.

Usage: Such examples can be used in Essay/Ethics/ Indian Society to show recent women-led movements.

 


Facts for Prelims (FFP)


Sri Ayya Vaikunda Swamikal

 Source: PIB

Context: Prime Minister paid tributes to social reformer Ayya Vaikunda Swamikal on his birth anniversary.

About Sri Ayya Vaikunda Swamikal:

  • A thinker and social reformer of the 19th century.
  • Contributed a great deal to the modernization of the Hindu society in South Travancore. 
  • He tirelessly strived to remove the inequality based on birth and to establish a casteless society.
  • He preached equality among all the people and advocated coordinated and effective measures to realise it
  • He condemned those who divided society into many groups and considered them “nisas”. He wanted to unite all castes. 

 

Compassionate appointment: What the court has ruled?

Source: IE

Context: The SC rejected applications for ‘compassionate appointment’ that were filed by the dependents of deceased government employees in West Bengal, as it is not a vested right.

What are compassionate appointments?

  • The concept can be traced to the Indian Constitution’s Article 39 (DPSP), which talks about the right to livelihood.
  • It aims to provide employment on compassionate grounds to the dependent family members of a government servant who dies/retires on medical grounds.
  • According to the DoPT, these appointments can only be made for Group ‘C’ posts against the direct recruitment quota.
  • The measure can also extend to the family members of an Armed Forces employee.

Who is empowered to make these appointments? Either the Secretary/Joint Secretary of a Ministry or Department concerned or the Head of the Department in the case of attached and subordinate offices.

What has the court said now?

  • Existence of a policy issued by the State Government is a sine qua non for making appointments on a compassionate basis.
  • Even if the policy existed, it would be of no use to consider the applications several years after they were filed.
  • There shouldn’t be any delay in such appointments and the same should be provided immediately to redeem the family in distress.

 

PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS)

Source: PIB

Context: PM addresses a post-budget webinar on ‘PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS)’.

About PM Vikas:

  • Announced in Union Budget 2023.
  • PM Vishwakarma Kaushal Samman (PM VIKAS)’ aims at improving the quality, scale and reach of products/services of artisans/craftspeople by integrating them with the domestic and global value chains.
  • Will give impetus to the MSME sector and empower the Vishwakarma community.
  • Some of the key components of the scheme are:
    • Financial support
    • Access to advanced skill training
    • Knowledge of modern digital techniques and efficient green technologies
    • Brand promotion
    • Linkage with local and global markets
    • Digital payments
    • Social security

 

News Feed by OTT

Source: FE

Context: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in India has clarified that over-the-top (OTT) platforms, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, can stream digital feeds of TV news channels, even if they have 100% foreign direct investment (FDI).

  • Such OTT platforms would not be bound by FDI norms (currently, there is an FDI limit of 26% in digital media).
  • In November 2020, the government asked all news websites, portals, and aggregators to comply with the 26% FDI rule.

What are OTT platforms?

An over-the-top media service is a media service offered directly to viewers via the Internet. OTT bypasses cable, broadcast, and satellite television platforms: the types of companies that have traditionally acted as controllers or distributors of such content.

 

Centre launches MSME Competitive (LEAN) scheme

Source: LM

About the Scheme:

  • Aim: To provide a roadmap to increase the competitiveness for the MSMEs of India through LEAN Manufacturing.
  • Eligibility: All MSMEs registered with the UDYAM registration portal will be eligible to participate. Also open to SFURTI and Cluster Development Program Schemes.
  • Funding: Central government will contribute 90% of the implementation cost for handholding and consultancy fees.
    • An additional contribution of 5% for the MSMEs which are part of SFURTI clusters, owned by women/SC/ST and located in the North-East Region
  • Benefit: MSMEs can reduce wastages substantially, increase productivity, improve quality, work safely, expand their markets, and finally become competitive and profitable

 

High Price Day Ahead Market (HP-DAM) and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP)

Source: BS

Context: The Ministry of Power has launched a High Price Day Ahead Market and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP) – an initiative to ensure greater availability of power during the peak demand season.

  • The portal will allow DISCOMs to indicate their surplus power, which can be requisitioned by those in need

 

About HP-DAM

HP-DAM will offer costly power (from gas-based, imported-coal-based power plants, and renewable energy stored in battery-energy storage systems) on a need basis through power exchange

Day-Ahead Energy Market: Participants purchase and sell electric energy for the following day.

 

About PUShP

PUShP will ensure better utilization of power capacity at a reasonable rate and prevent power producers from charging exorbitant prices. It will aggregate excess power generation capacity on a national basis, offering Discoms a view of the supply and demand scenario

Other Portals:

  • PRAKASH Portal (improving coordination between the power, coal and railway ministries to ensure coal supplies to power plants)
  • GARV App (for monitoring rural electrification programme)

 

Multi-Party Interim Appeal Arbitration Arrangement (MPIA)

Source: Reuters

Significance of the move: Japan’s move is seen as pressuring other countries to join the alternative arrangement, which already has 26 members including the European Union, Canada, and Brazil.

 

Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA)

 Source: DTE

Context: The space agencies of the United States (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and Italy – Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI) will launch the Multi-Angle Imager for Aerosols (MAIA) missions to investigate the health impacts of air pollution in the world’s most populated cities

 

About MAIA:

  • MAIA is a state-of-the-art satellite instrumentproducing data that will be used in health studies to examine the health effects of various types of air pollution.
  • The MAIA mission will collect and analyse data from the observatory, sensors on the ground and atmospheric models
  • Its measurements of sunlight reflecting off airborne particles will help researchers determine the abundance, size and optical properties of certain pollutants in the atmosphere. 

 

Using such data in conjunction with surface-based measurements will help researchers decipher the particles’ chemical composition. Those results will then be related to human birth, death and hospitalisation records to answer pressing questions about the health impacts of solid and liquid particles contaminating the air we breathe. 

 

Net-zero waste to be mandatory for buildings

Source: TH

Context: According to the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, all upcoming housing societies and commercial complexes in the country will soon mandatorily have to ensure net zero waste.

 

Background:

  • The directive is part of the Manhole to Machine-hole scheme for the complete removal of manual scavenging and has been formulated as a convergence of programmes like Swachch Bharat, NAMASTE and AMRUT.
  • India currently generates 72,368 million litres per day of urban wastewater of which only 28% is treated.
  • According to a 2021 report – ‘Circular Economy in Municipal Solid and Liquid Waste’, if the sale of treated sewage is institutionalised, it can add close to ₹3,285 crore annually.
  • The UN SDG 6.3 aims at halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally by 2030.

 

What does achieving net zero waste mean?

  • Reducing, reusing, and recovering waste streams (sludge) to convert them to valuable resources so that zero solid waste is sent to landfills.
  • Net zero waste along with the treatment of liquid discharge will be part of the government’s push for reforming and modernising the sewage disposal system.

 

The Ministry is also looking at:

  • Integrating septic tank design into the building by-laws,
  • Geo-tagging all septic tanks and manholes for proper tracking,
  • Reducing GST on mechanised cleaning vehicles.

 

Indian Wolf (Canis lupus pallipes)

Source: IE

Status of the wolf in India:

  • The population of wolves in India was estimated to be 3,100 — Gujarat’s wolf population was estimated to be 494, the third highest after Madhya Pradesh (772) and Rajasthan (532).
  • The Central Zoo Authority (CZA) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) are also working on the conservation breeding of endangered cat species (Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard), canine species (Tibetan wolf) and bustard species (great Indian bustard, lesser florican).

 

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