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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 31 October 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 31 October 2019


Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 1:

  1. Tipu Sultan.

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. How a US President can be impeached?
  2. National Pension Scheme.
  3. European MPs’ Kashmir visit.
  4. International Solar Alliance (ISA).

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. NIRVIK scheme.
  2. Air-independent propulsion (AIP).
  3. Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA).

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. Malware.
  2. Mekong river.
  3. Indian brain atlas.
  4. Cyclone Maha.

 


 

GS Paper 1:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Indian culture will cover the salient aspects of Art Forms, Literature and Architecture from ancient to modern times.

Tipu Sultan

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Contributions of Tipu.

For Mains: A critical analysis of Controversies surrounding, what is the way out?

 

Context: Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has dropped hints that lessons on Tipu Sultan may be dropped from State syllabus textbooks, saying that the issue would be “reviewed.”

 

Concerns:

The “removal” of Tipu from textbooks will fundamentally alter the history of early modern India, and make invisible one of the key individuals in the society and politics of South India in the second half of the 18th century, when the East India Company was rapidly expanding Britain’s colonial footprint over the country.

 

Background:

The controversy surrounding Tipu Sultan, the 18th century ruler of Mysore, has emerged in Karnataka once again. Previously, it was over the celebrations of his Jayanti and now over lessons related to him in the text books.

 

Who was Tipu Sultan?

He was a ruler of the Kingdom of Mysore and the eldest son of Sultan Hyder Ali of Mysore.

In the wider national narrative, Tipu has so far been seen as a man of imagination and courage, a brilliant military strategist who, in a short reign of 17 years, mounted the most serious challenge the Company faced in India.

 

Contributions of Tipu Sultan:

  1. Fought the first Anglo-Mysore War (1767-69) at the age of 17 and subsequently, against the Marathas and in the Second Anglo-Mysore War (1780-84).
  2. He fought Company forces four times during 1767-99 and was killed defending his capital Srirangapatnam in the Fourth Anglo Mysore War.
  3. Tipu reorganised his army along European lines, using new technology, including what is considered the first war rocket.
  4. Devised a land revenue system based on detailed surveys and classification, in which the tax was imposed directly on the peasant, and collected through salaried agents in cash, widening the state’s resource base.
  5. Modernised agriculture, gave tax breaks for developing wasteland, built irrigation infrastructure and repaired old dams, and promoted agricultural manufacturing and sericulture. Built a navy to support trade.
  6. Commissioned a “state commercial corporation” to set up factories.

 

Why there are so many controversies surrounding him?

  1. There are concerns raised against Tipu Sultan on nearly every historical figure, perspectives differ.
  2. Haider and Tipu had strong territorial ambitions, and invaded and annexed territories outside Mysore. In doing so, they burnt down entire towns and villages, razed hundreds of temples and churches, and forcibly converted Hindus.
  3. The historical record has Tipu boasting about having forced “infidels” to convert to Islam, and of having destroyed their places of worship.
  4. The disagreement then, is between those who see the “Tiger of Mysore” as a bulwark against colonialism and a great son of Karnataka, and those who point to his destruction of temples and forced conversions of Hindus and Christians to accuse him of tyranny and fanaticism.

 

Conclusion and way ahead:

Placing a personality in binary terms, i.e. extreme good or bad is neither rational nor progressive.

  • Historical perspectives should be critically analysed only to study from the past so as to live in a better present and build a better tomorrow.
  • Attempts to see such narratives in political, communal or religious lines to create divisions in society should be vehemently opposed.
  • It is improper to judge figures of the past by canons of the present. History should be used to teach people about tolerance and brotherhood rather than dividing based on communal lines.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Comparison of the Indian constitutional scheme with that of other countries.

 

How a US President can be impeached?

 

What to study?

For Prelims: How is US President impeached?

For Mains: Impeachment process in India.

 

Context: House Democrats recently unveiled plans to open up the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump with public hearings, after criticism from Republicans that the process has been overly secretive.

 

Background:

No US President has ever been removed as a direct result of impeachment. The House did impeach two Presidents — Andrew Johnson (1968) and Bill Clinton (1998) — but the Senate did not convict them. In between, President Richard Nixon (1974) resigned before he could be removed.

 

What is Impeachment?

It is a provision that allows Congress to remove the President of the United States.

Under the US Constitution:

  1. The House of Representatives (Lower House) has the “the sole power of impeachment” while the Senate (Upper House) has “the sole power to try all impeachments”.
  2. The Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court has the duty of presiding over impeachment trials in the Senate.

 

Grounds for impeachment:

  1. The President can be removed from office for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”.
  2. Essentially, it means an abuse of power by a high-level public official. This does not necessarily have to be a violation of an ordinary criminal statute. Historically, in the US, it has encompassed corruption and other abuses, including trying to obstruct judicial proceedings.

 

The process:

  1. It begins with an investigation by a House committee. If they find that there is enough evidence of wrongdoing, it will refer the matter to the full House.
  2. HOUSE VOTE: When the full House votes, if one or more of the articles of impeachment gets a majority vote, the President is impeached. Next, the proceedings move to the Senate.
  3. SENATE TRIAL & VOTE:The Senate holds a trial, overseen by the chief justice of the Supreme Court. A team of lawmakers from the House, known as managers, play the role of prosecutors. The President has defence lawyers, and the Senate serves as the jury. If at least two-thirds of the Senators present find the President guilty, he is removed and the Vice President takes over as President.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.

 

National Pension Scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features, objectives of the scheme.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme and its role in ensuring financial security of the citizens.

 

Context: Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has now permitted Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) to enrol in National Pension Scheme (NPS) at par with Non-Resident Indians.

 

What is National Pension System (NPS)?

  • It is a government-sponsored pension scheme. It was launched in January 2004 for government employees. However, in 2009, it was opened to all sections.
  • The scheme allows subscribers to contribute regularly in a pension account during their working life. On retirement, subscribers can withdraw a part of the corpus in a lumpsum and use the remaining corpus to buy an annuity to secure a regular income after retirement.
  • This system is managed by PFRDA (Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority).

 

Who can join NPS?

  1. Any Indian citizen between 18 and 65 years can join NPS.
  2. An NRI can join NPS. However, the account will be closed if there is a change in the citizenship status of the NRI.
  3. Now, any Indian citizen, resident or non-resident and OCIs are eligible to join NPS till the age of 65 years.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.

 

European MPs’ Kashmir visit

 

What to study?

For Prelims: About European Parliament, composition and functioning.

For Mains: The recent visit- concerns and implications.

 

Context: A delegation of Members of European Parliament (MEPs), consisting of more than 20 MPs, recently visited Kashmir to understand the ground situation after India revoked special status given to the state under Article 370.

 

Observations made:

  1. Decision to revoke provisions of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir was an internal issue. And it should not be used against India.
  2. The recent terror attack on civilians indicate that Terrorism is not finished yet in Kashmir. 
  3. Terrorism should not be seen as only India’s problem but a global problem. For most of these terrorists trace their origin to Pakistan.
  4. After interacting with various groups, they felt that the situation is not as bad as they thought.
  5. J&K should be promoted as a dynamic place for building tourism infrastructure, development projects and educational institutes.

 

Concerns and issues raised wrt to their visit:

  1. When the govt can allow MPs from a foreign country to visit Srinagar to understand the situation, why not allow MPs from opposition parties from India.
  2. Why were MEPs not allowed to talk to detained J&K leaders, certain groups and sections.
  3. These MPs were invited by a businessperson who runs a non-profit organisation in India. How could the govt honour invitations by such a person?
  4. The choice of this delegation has also raised eyebrows. A majority of those travelling to Srinagar belong to anti-immigration and far-right parties in the U.K., France, Italy, Poland and Germany.
  5. If the objective of govt’s move was to bring back normalcy, then would terror activities recur?
  6. Why have the communication networks not been restored completely?
  7. It is also being said that the government has committed grave sacrilege by introducing a third party to assess the ground situation in Kashmir and that also through an unknown think tank.

 

Way ahead:

It’s high time for the Indian government to understand the implications of this visit and allow for more detailed visits by Indian MPs, journalists and other sections of the society. Meanwhile, communication networks should be restored.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


Topics Covered:

  1. Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

 

International Solar Alliance

 

What to study?

For Prelims and Mains: ISA- key facts, significance and India’s solar power potential.

 

Context: India is hosting the second Assembly of ISA. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is hosting the event.

The ISA assembly is the highest decision making body. It gives directions on financial and administrative issues.

 

About ISA:

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is an alliance of more than 120 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, now extended to all members of UN. 

The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.

Objectives: The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.

What it does? As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.

When it entered into force? When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

GS Paper 3:

 

Topics Covered:

  1. Effects of liberalization on the economy, changes in industrial policy and their effects on industrial growth.

 

NIRVIK scheme

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the scheme.

 

Context: The Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) is optimistic that the Nirvik scheme announced by the Union Government recently would give a fillip to export lending and insurance cover for export credit.

 

About NIRVIK:

Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (ECGC) announced this scheme to ease the lending process and enhance loan availability for exporters. 

 

Key features of the scheme:

  1. Insurance cover guaranteed will cover up to 90% of the principal and interest.
  2. The increased cover will ensure that foreign and rupee export credit interest rates are below 4 percent and 8 percent respectively for the exporters.
  3. The insurance cover will include both pre and post-shipment credit. 
  4. The gems, jewellery and diamond (GJD) sector borrowers with limit of over Rs 80 crore will have a higher premium rate in comparison to the non-GJD sector borrowers of this category due to the higher loss ratio.
  5. For accounts with limits below Rs 80 crore, the premium rates will be moderated to 0.60 per annum and for those exceeding Rs80 crore, the rates will be 0.72 per annum for the same enhanced cover.
  6. It mandates inspection of bank documents and records by ECGC officials for losses exceeding Rs.10 crore as against the present Rs 1crore.
  7. The banks shall pay a premium to ECGC monthly on the principal and interest as the cover is offered for both outstandings.

 

Benefits of the scheme:

  1. It will enhance accessibility and affordability of credit for exporters.
  2. It will help make Indian exports competitive.
  3. It will make ECGC procedures exporter friendly.
  4. The insurance cover is expected to bring down the cost of credit due to capital relief, less provision requirement and liquidity due to quick settlement of claims.
  5. It will ensure timely and adequate working capital to the export sector.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

 

Air-independent propulsion

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Features and operation.

For Mains: Significance and the need for it.

 

Context: DRDO is a step closer to boosting endurance of submarines with the indigenous Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) System. It has successfully tested the operation of the indigenous land-based prototype.

 

What is Air-independent propulsion?

It is any technology which allows a non-nuclear submarine to operate without the need to access atmospheric oxygen (by surfacing or using a snorkel).

It can augment or replace the diesel-electric propulsion system of non-nuclear vessels.

It is based on the combustion of stored oxygen and ethanol to augment battery-powered propulsion.

 

Significance of AIP:

  • AIP significantly improves stealth because it enables a submarine to generate electricity for services and battery charging and propulsion while completely submerged.
  • AIP systems also generate electricity, powering a submarine to operate and also generate oxygen, lighting and amenities for crew.
  • The Non-nuclear submarines running on battery power or AIP can be virtually silent.

 

Sources: the hindu.

 


Topics covered:

  1. Security challenges and their management in border areas; linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

 

Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA)

 

What to study?

For prelims: Key features of the act.

For mains: Issues related, why is it called a draconian law, need for reforms.

 

Context: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah’s detention under the Public Safety Act (PSA) has been extended to three months.

 

What is the J&K PSA?

  1. The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA)received the assent of the J&K Governor on April 8, 1978.
  2. The Act was introduced as a tough law to prevent the smuggling of timber and keep the smugglers “out of circulation”.
  3. The law allows the government to detain any person above the age of 16 without trial for a period of two years.
  4. The PSA allows for administrative detention for up to two years “in the case of persons acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State”, and for administrative detention up to one year where “any person is acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
  5. Detention orders under PSA can be issued by Divisional Commissioners or District Magistrates.
  6. Section 22 of the Actprovides protection for any action taken “in good faith” under the Act: “No suit, prosecution or any other legal proceeding shall lie against any person for anything done or intended to be done in good faith in pursuance of the provisions of this Act.”
  7. Under Section 23 of the Act, the government is empowered to “make such Rules consistent with the provisions of this Act, as may be necessary for carrying out the objects of this Act”.

 

Why is it often referred to as a “draconian” law?

  • Right from the beginning, the law was misused widely, and was repeatedly employed against political opponents and separatists by consecutive governments until 1990.
  • In August 2018, the Act was amended to allow individuals to be detained under the PSA outside the state as well.
  • The detaining authority need not disclose any facts about the detention “which it considers to be against the public interest to disclose”.
  • The terms under which a person is detained under PSA are vague and include a broad range of activities like “acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State” or for “acting in any manner prejudicial to the maintenance of public order”.
  • The vagueness provided in the act gives unbridled powers to the authorities. The detainees, therefore, are effectively debarred from contesting the legality of their detention.
  • PSA does not provide for a judicial review of detention. To checkmate the J&K High Court orders for release of persons detained under the act the state authorities issue successive detention orders. This ensures prolonged detention of people. 
  • PSC has been used against human rights activists, journalists, separatists and others who are considered as a threat to the law & order. Right to dissent is stifled by these Acts.

 

Sources: the Hindu.

 


 

Facts for prelims:

 

Malware:

Context: Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) has confirmed that a malware had infected its system at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).

It was infected by DTrack, a North Korean virus.

What is a Malware?

It is short for “malicious software,” also known as malicious code or “malcode.” It is code or software that is specifically designed to damage, disrupt, steal, or in general inflict some other “bad” or illegitimate action on data, hosts, or networks.

Some of the more commonly known types of malware are viruses, worms, Trojans, bots, ransomware, backdoors, spyware, and adware.

 

Mekong river:

Why in News? Mekong’s water levels fall as new Laos dam begins operations.

Key facts:

The Mekong originates in Tibet and flows through China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam.

Indian brain atlas:

Context: IIIT-Hyderabad creates the first Indian brain atlas. It is named as IBA100. Other brain atlases include Chinese, Korean and Caucasian.

The first digital human brain atlas was created by the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI).

Key facts:

  • The atlas reveals that Indian brain is smaller in height, width, and volume compared to the western and eastern populations.
  • This study will help in the early diagnosis of brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  • The India-specific brain atlas was created by using the MRI scans of 50 individuals of different genders.

 

Cyclone Maha:

  • The depression over Arabian Sea has intensified into a cyclonic storm. It is named Maha. The name is given by Oman.
  • This year, Maha will be the fourth Cyclone in Arabian Sea to form after Vayu, Hikaa, Kyaar.

 

Note: Topics on J&K bifurcation and National Health Profile will be covered tomorrow.

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