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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 18 November 2019

Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 18 November 2019

Table of contents:


GS Paper 1:

  1. Lala Lajpat Rai.


GS Paper 2:

  1. President of Sri Lanka- Election process.
  2. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
  3. Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS).
  4. India’s free trade agreements with Asean.
  5. ADMM-Plus.


GS Paper 3:

  1. Germany’s Climate Protection Act.
  2. Water Quality Report.


Facts for prelims:

  1. Indian Oil develops winter grade diesel for Ladakh.



GS Paper 1:


Topics Covered:

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


Lala Lajpat Rai


What to study?

For Prelims: Key contributions of lal rai and related facts.

For Mains: Significance of his contributions.


Context: November 17 is the death anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai, the firebrand Indian nationalist leader affectionately called ‘Punjab Kesari’.


His contributions, achievements and related key facts:

  1. Rai is remembered for his role during the Swadeshi movement and for his advocacy of education.
  2. Born in 1865, he became a follower of Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of the Arya Samaj, and went on to become one of the society’s leaders. 
  3. In 1881, he joined the Indian National Congress at the age of 16.
  4. He also helped found the Punjab National Bank.
  5. In 1885, Rai established the Dayanand Anglo-Vedic School in Lahore and remained a committed educationist throughout his life.
  6. Rai, Tilak, and Bipin Chandra Pal (called Lal-Bal-Pal) fervently advocated the use of Swadeshi goods and mass agitation in the aftermath of the controversial Partition of Bengal in 1905 by Lord Curzon.
  7. He founded the Indian Home Rule League of America in New York City in 1917.
  8. He was elected President of the Indian National Congress during its Special Session in Kolkata in 1920, which saw the launch of Mahatma Gandhi’s Non-cooperation Movement.
  9. The patriot died at Lahore in 1928 after he was attacked by police during a protest rally against the Simon Commission.
  10. His important works include: ‘The Arya Samaj’, ‘Young India’, ‘England’s Debt to India’, ‘Evolution of Japan’, ‘India’s Will to Freedom’, ‘Message of the Bhagwad Gita’, ‘Political Future of India’, ‘Problem of National Education in India’, ‘The Depressed Glasses’, and the travelogue ‘United States of America’.


The significance of his views for the freedom struggle are as follows:

  1. His views helped recognize the importance of a united front against British.
  2. The British efforts to divide India on communal lines as seen in the Acts of 1909 and 1919 was made clear to Indian leadership.
  3. His thoughts of cultural diversity were given post independence by Nehru as ‘Unity in Diversity’.
  4. His idea of people of all religions as true citizens of India, combined with Gandhiji’s ideas of inclusive fight against British led to Non- Cooperative movement linked with the Khilafat movement.
  5. Rai’s understanding of the societal issues led him to form various social organizations like All India Trade Union Congress, Punjab National Bank which are still flourishing in India.


Sources: pib.



GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

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


President of Sri Lanka- Election process


What to study?

For Prelims and mains: Election, eligibility and procedure.


Context: Sri Lanka’s former wartime defence chief Gotabaya Rajapaksa, part of the country’s most powerful political dynasty, has been elected president.


The government structure:

Sri Lanka’s government operates under a semi-presidential system, where the president holds widespread executive authority but governs in partnership with a prime minister they appoint and a cabinet recommended by the prime minister.


Election of the President:

The president is directly elected for a five-year term, through a version of Instant-runoff voting in which electors rank up to three candidates, and limited to only two rounds in total.

If no candidate wins a majority in the first round of voting, second and third preferences from ballots whose first preference candidate has been eliminated are used to determine the winner.



The Constitution sets the following qualifications for holding the presidency:

  1. If he/she is a citizen having been nominated as a candidate for such office by a recognized political party or elected member of the legislature.
  2. No person who has been twice elected to the office of President by the People, shall be qualified thereafter to be elected to such office by the People.

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered:

  1. Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.


Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 


What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of the Bill, Citizenship Act 1955, Citizenship- acquisition and types available.

For Mains: Issues over the Bill, why NE States oppose to this bill?


Context: With political positions on the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) largely unchanged, the government, which is hoping to move a new version of it during the winter session of Parliament, faces tough negotiations.


The Citizenship Amendment Bill:

  1. It seeks to allow illegal migrants from certain minority communities in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan eligible for Indian citizenshipby amending the Citizenship Act of 1955.
  2. It seeks to grant citizenship to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians —after 6 years of stay in India even if they do not possess any proper document. The current requirement is 12 years of stay.
  3. The Bill provides that the registration of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholders may be cancelled if they violate any law.

The Bill, however, does not extend to illegal Muslim migrants. It also does not talk about other minority communities in the three neighbouring countries, such as Jews, Bahais etc.


However, the bill is being criticised for the following reasons:

  1. It violates the basic tenets of the Constitution. Illegal immigrants are distinguished on the basis of religion.
  2. It is perceived to be a demographic threat to indigenous communities.
  3. The Bill makes illegal migrants eligible for citizenship on the basis of religion. This may violate Article 14 of the Constitution which guarantees the right to equality.
  4. It attempts to naturalise the citizenship of illegal immigrants in the region.
  5. The Bill allows cancellation of OCI registration for violation of any law. This is a wide ground that may cover a range of violations, including minor offences.


Need for Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016:

  1. There are thousands of Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Christians and Parsis who have entered India after facing religious persecution in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan without any valid document.
  2. These refugees have been facing difficulty in getting Long Term Visa (LTV) or Citizenship.
  3. The existing Citizenship law does not allow anyone granting Indian nationality if he or she can not show proof of documents on country of birth and therefore they have to stay at least 12 years in India.
  4. Those Hindus who are persecuted due to religion has no other place to go except India.


Concerns, issues and consequences of these changes:

  • Introduced religion as a new principle into the citizenship law: By marking out Muslims as a residual category, it reiterates the narrative of partition, without incorporating the principles of inclusion which were present in both the constitution of India and the Citizenship Act of 1955 at its inception.
  • While religious persecution is a reasonable principle for differentiation, it cannot be articulated in a manner that dilutes the republican and secular foundations of citizenship in India, and goes against constitutional morality.


Special concerns of NE indigenous people:

  1. The Bill has not been sitting well with the Assamese as it contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which clearly states that illegal migrants heading in from Bangladesh after March 25, 1971, would be deported.
  2. Mizoram fears Buddhist Chakmas and Hindu Hajongs from Bangladesh may take advantage of the Act.
  3. Meghalaya and Nagaland are apprehensive of migrants of Bengali stock.
  4. Groups in Arunachal Pradesh fear the new rules may benefit Chakmas and Tibetans.
  5. Manipur wants the Inner-line Permit System to stop outsiders from entering the state.


Sources: the Hindu.

Topics Covered:

  1. Issues related to health.


Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS)


What to study?

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


Context: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has launched a campaign in Gujarat named Social Awareness and Action to Neutralise Pneumonia Successfully (SAANS).



  1. To reduce child mortality due to pneumonia, which contributes to around 15% of deaths of children under the age of five annually.
  2. To mobilise people to protect children from pneumonia, and train health personnel and other stakeholders to provide prioritised treatment to control the disease.


Key features of the programme:

  • A child suffering from pneumonia will be treated with a pre-referral dose of antibiotic amoxicillinby Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) workers.
  • Pulse Oximeter (device to monitor oxygen saturation) will be used at the Health and Wellness Centre for identification of low oxygen levels in the blood of child and if required, the child can be treated by the use of oxygen cylinders.
  • mass awareness campaignwill be launched about the effective solutions for pneumonia prevention like breastfeeding, age-appropriate complementary feeding and immunization etc.


To know more about Pneumonia:


Sources: pib.


Topics Covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.


India’s free trade agreements with Asean


What to study?

For Prelims: India and it’s FTA with Asean.

For Mains: An analysis and ways to address the concerns.


Context: A report, analysing the benefits of India’s free trade agreements with Asean has been released.

The report has been prepared by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry.



Asean compromises 10 countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

India had signed an FTA in goods with the regional bloc in 2009, known as the Asean–India Free Trade Agreement (AIFTA). In 2014, an FTA in services was also included.


Key findings:

  1. Overall, India failed to benefit from free trade agreements (FTAs) with the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean).
  2. In fact, India’s trade deficit had increased ever since the country entered into FTAs with Asean.
  3. India’s net exports to countries without a trade agreement were only marginally lower than its net exports to countries with FTAs.
  4. The imports from countries with trade agreements were substantially higher, pushing India into a trade deficit.


What changed after the signing of these agreements?

India’s imports from Asean countries increased sharply in comparison to its exports to them after signing these agreements.


India’s experience with other FTAs:

India’s past experience with FTAs has not been encouraging.

India had recorded a trade deficit in all major trade agreements other than the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).


Need of the hour:

India needs to work on its manufacturing sector to benefit from any FTA.

India should not consider entering into FTAs without preparing the agriculture and manufacturing sectors adequately.


Sources: Down to earth.

Topics Covered:

Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests




What to study?

For Prelims and mains: ADMM- Plus- composition, objectives and significance.


Context: The latest ADMM-Plus meeting where Defence Ministers of ASEAN countries and eight other nations would gather and discuss the way forward for security cooperation, is being held in Bangkok.


About the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus):

Consistent with the ADMM guiding principles of open and outward looking, the 2nd ADMM in Singapore in 2007 adopted the Concept Paper to establish the ADMM-Plus.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

Agreed five areas of practical cooperation under this new mechanism, namely maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine. In 2013, a new priority area of humanitarian mine action was agreed.



  1. To benefit ASEAN member countries in building capacity to address shared security challenges, while cognisant of the differing capacities of various ASEAN countries.
  2. To promote mutual trust and confidence between defence establishments through greater dialogue and transparency.
  3. To enhance regional peace and stability through cooperation in defence and security, in view of the transnational security challenges the region faces.
  4. To contribute to the realisation of an ASEAN Security Community which, as stipulated in the Bali Concord II, embodies ASEAN’s aspiration to achieve peace, stability, democracy and prosperity in the region.
  5. To facilitate the implementation of the Vientiane Action Programme, which calls for ASEAN to build a peaceful, secure and prosperous ASEAN, and to adopt greater outward-looking external relation strategies with our friends and Dialogue Partners.


Sources: the Hindu.



GS Paper 3:


Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Germany’s Climate Protection Act


What to study?

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


Context: The German parliament has passed the Climate Protection Act in an attempt to reach its climate target by 2030.

This will be Germany’s first climate action law.


Key features of the bill:

  1. With this bill, a price on carbon emissions in the transport and heating sectors will be imposed along with some other measures to combat climate change.
  2. The bill consists of emissions targets for different sectors of the economy such as transport, energy and housing.
  3. Pollution rights: From 2021, companies that market diesel and petrol, heating oil and natural gas in the country will need to obtain pollution rights for the amount of greenhouse gases they emit.
  4. This will be regulated through a national emissions trading mechanism. The cost of these emissions will drive up the cost of using fossil fuels, making the usage of such fuels more expensive for the citizens and hence, discouraging their use and paving the way for climate-friendly technologies.
  5. The aviation tax will be increased.



  • Climate package was not sufficient and that the goals were not achievable.
  • The price of CO2 was kept too low to dissuade its emissions and the increased burden on the citizens.


Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


Water Quality Report


What to study?

For Prelims:

For Mains:


Context: The Centre has released the Water Quality Report.

The report is in line with the Jal Jeevan Mission that was launched to provide clean and safe drinking water to all by 2024.



In order to ensure that clean and safe drinking water is provided to all, Department of Consumer Affairs decided to undertake a study through the Bureau of India Standards (BIS) on the quality of piped drinking water being supplied in the country and also rank the States, Smart Cities and even Districts based on the quality of tap water.


How was the water tested?

Tests were conducted on various parameters such as Organoleptic and Physical Tests, Chemical test, Toxic substances and Bacteriological tests in the first stage. 


Performance of cities:

  1. In Delhi, all the samples drawn from various places did not comply with the requirements of the Indian Standard& failed on several parameters.
  2. All the 10 samples drawn from Mumbai were found to comply with the requirements.



  • All should get clean drinking water and that is the objective of this activity.
  • State Governments are encouraged to ensure quality potable tap water to all citizens.


Way ahead:

The Union Government wants to make BIS Standards mandatory for Tap Water so as to ensure quality drinking water for all households.


Sources: the Hindu.



Facts for prelims:


Indian Oil develops winter grade diesel for Ladakh:

Indian Oil Corporation has developed winter-grade diesel for Ladakh to address the problem of loss of fluidity in fuel during extreme winter conditions.

Significance: The new fuel has a pour point of – 33oC and does not lose its fluidity function even in the extreme winter weather of the region unlike the normal grade of diesel which becomes exceedingly difficult to utilise.

Need: Using the normal grade of diesel fuel becomes an arduous task for the people in the winter months where temperatures fall to sub zero temperatures of nearly –30 degree Celsius.