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Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 26 November 2019


Insights Daily Current Affairs + PIB: 26 November 2019


Table of contents:

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Constitution Day of India.
  2. Rules for the Conduct of Business.
  3. Global Housing Technology Challenge.
  4. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Coalbed methane (CBM).
  2. What is the Bodoland dispute?

 

Facts for prelims:

  1. ASI protected temples in India.
  2. Rohtang Tunnel.
  3. Flight service from Imphal to Mandalay.
  4. Assam roofed turtle.

 


 

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered:

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

 

Constitution Day of India

 

What to study?

For prelims: Meaning and significance of the day, historical background.

For Mains: Overview of the constitution, key features and important amendments.

 

What is Constitution day?

Constitution day which is also known as the Samvidhan Divas is celebrated every year on November 26 to mark the day on which the Constitution of India was adopted. While the adoption of the Constitution took place on November 26, 1949, it came into effect on January 26, 1950.

The draft of the constitution was prepared by the drafting committee under BR Ambedkar’s aegis. According to the government notification, the Constitution Day was also a tribute to Ambedkar.

Earlier, this day was commemorated as National Law Day, after a resolution by the Supreme Court Bar Association, a lawyers’ body, in 1979.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

  1. Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.

 

Rules for the Conduct of Business 

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of various rules discussed below.

For Mains: Need for and significance of the Code of conduct for MPs and MLAs.

 

Context: The suspension of two Congress members by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla after unruly scenes in the House has brought back focus on the conduct of MPs, and related issues.

 

Powers of Speaker under the Rules for the Conduct of Business:

Rule 378 of the Rules for the Conduct of Business states: “The Speaker shall preserve order and shall have all powers necessary for the purpose of enforcing own decisions.”

Rule 373 says: “The Speaker, if is of the opinion that the conduct of any member is grossly disorderly, may direct such member to withdraw immediately from the House, and any member so ordered to withdraw shall do so forthwith and shall remain absent during the remainder of the day’s sitting.”

 

For recalcitrant members, Rule 374 says:

  1. The Speaker may, if deems it necessary, name a member who disregards the authority of the Chair or abuses the rules of the House by persistently and wilfully obstructing the business thereof.
  2. If a member is so named by the Speaker, the Speaker shall, on a motion being made forthwith put the question that the member (naming such member) be suspended from the service of the House for a period not exceeding the remainder of the session: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
  3. A member suspended under this rule shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.

 

Rule 374A:

  1. Notwithstanding anything contained in rules 373 and 374, in the event of grave disorder occasioned by a member coming into the well of the House or abusing the Rules of the House persistently and wilfully obstructing its business by shouting slogans or otherwise, such member shall, on being named by the Speaker, stand automatically suspended from the service of the House for five consecutive sittings or the remainder of the session, whichever is less: Provided that the House may, at any time, on a motion being made, resolve that such suspension be terminated.
  2. On the Speaker announcing the suspension under this rule, the member shall forthwith withdraw from the precincts of the House.

 

Need of the hour:

  1. Political parties should have a code of conduct for their MPs and MLAs to help monitor their behaviour in Parliament and state legislatures. 
  2. Political parties could include such a code in their election manifestos that would help enable voters to make their judgement before voting.
  3. The code of conduct should include stipulations that members would not enter the well of the house, nor resort to sloganeering and disruptions or any other unruly behaviour such as tearing of papers and throwing them in the House. 
  4. There is also a need for more coordination between the ruling party and the opposition, both inside and outside Parliament, that could help bring about consensus on important legislations. 

 

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.

 

Global Housing Technology Challenge

 

What to study?

For Prelims: GHTC- key facts, PMAY- U- Key features.

For Mains: Significance of the scheme and its role in achieving the “Housing for All” target, implementational challenges and measures necessary.

 

Context: The Union Government has launched the Credit-linked Subsidy Services Awas Portal (CLAP) for Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Housing for All (Urban).

  • The portal was launched along with the signing of agreements between the Union Housing Affairs Ministry and state governments for the construction of LightHouse projects under GHTC-India.

 

Key features of the Global Housing Technology Challenge (GHTC) are:

  • GHTC aims to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.
  • GHTC focuses on identifying and mainstreaming proven demonstrable technologies for lighthouse projects and spotting potential future technologies for incubation and acceleration support through ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators) — India.

 

Objectives:

  1. To enable adoption of construction techniques for housing that are affordable and takes minimum time as less as three months instead of the conventional three years for construction.
  2. Bring a paradigm shift in technology transition using large-scale construction under the PMAY-U as an opportunity to get the best available construction technologies across the globe.

 

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U):

It is being implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA).

It seeks to address the housing requirement of urban poor including slum dwellers through following programme components:

  1. In-situ Rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers using land as a resource through private participation.
  2. Credit Linked Subsidy (Implemented as a Central Sector Scheme).
  3. Affordable Housing in Partnership.
  4. Subsidy for Beneficiary-led individual house construction/enhancement.

 

Why is it important?

Today, while developers in India’s metropolitan cities are sitting on lakhs of unsold residences costing upwards of ₹50 lakh, the country is estimated to have a shortage of nearly 20 million housing units needed by the rural and urban poor, at far lower price points of ₹5-15 lakh.

  • The PMAY aims to address this shortfall. With the increase in subsidised loan amount, the scheme is expected to cover a higher proportion of the urban poor.
  • The PMAY will hopefully incentivise India’s construction and realty sector to reduce its traditional obsession with affluent home buyers in the cities.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics covered:

  1. India and its neighbourhood- relations.
  2. Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Key features of CPEC.

For Mains: India’s concerns, ways to address them and global implications of the project.

 

Context: The US has warned that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would only benefit Beijing and inflict heavy debt burden on Islamabad.

The US observed that the CPEC was not an aid to Pakistan but a form of financing that guaranteed profits for Chinese enterprises, with little benefits for Islamabad.

 

About CPEC:

The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a pet project of Chinese President Xi Jinping, aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.

  • The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  • CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
  • The proposed project will be financed by heavily-subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banking giants such as Exim Bank of China, China Development Bank, and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

 

But, why is India concerned?

  1. It passes through PoK. Any Indian participation would inextricably be linked to the country’s legitimate claims on PoK.
  2. CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean. Hence, it is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
  3. It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
  4. Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both. As a result, even though suggestions to re-approach the project pragmatically have been made, no advocate has overruled the principle strands of contention that continue to mar India’s equations with China and Pakistan.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


 

GS Paper 3:

 

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.

 

Coalbed methane (CBM)

 

What to study?

For Prelims and mains: What is CBM? Potential, uses and challenges.

 

Context: Ministry of Coal has asked the state-run coal miner Coal India Limited (CIL) to produce 2 MMSCB (million metric standard cubic metres) per day of coalbed methane (CBM) gas in the next 2 to 3 years.

 

CBM potential:

  • India has the fifth-largest coal reserves in the world, and CBM has been looked at as a clean alternative fuel with significant prospects.
  • India’s CBM resources are estimated at around 92 trillion cubic feet (TCF), or 2,600 billion cubic metres (BCM).
  • The country’s coal and CBM reserves are found in 12 states of India, with the Gondwana sediments of eastern India holding the bulk.
  • The Damodar Koel valley and Son valley are prospective areas for CBM development.

 

What is coalbed methane (CBM)?

It is an unconventional form of natural gas found in coal deposits or coal seams.

CMB is formed during the process of coalification, the transformation of plant material into coal.

 

CBM can be used

  1. In Power generation.
  2. As Compressed natural gas (CNG) auto fuel.
  3. As feedstock for fertilisers.
  4. Industrial uses such as in cement production, rolling mills, steel plants, and for methanol production.

 

Challenges and concerns:

  1. Methane is a greenhouse gas emitted through CBM extraction. Global methane emissions from coal mines are projected to account for approximately 8 percent of total global methane emissions.
  2. Disturbance of lands drilled and its effect on wildlife habitats results in ecosystem damage.
  3. CBM production behavior is complex and difficult to predict in the early stages of recovery.
  4. Another concern is the effect water discharges from CBM development could potentially have on downstream water sources.
  5. Disposal of the highly salinized water that must be removed in order to release the methane creates a challenge, as its introduction into freshwater ecosystems could have adverse effects.

 

Sources: the Hindu.


Topics Covered:

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

 

What is the Bodoland dispute?

 

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Bodos and What is Bodoland?

For Mains: Bodo dispute- timeline, demands, concerns and ways to address them.

 

Context: The Home Ministry has declared the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) along with all its groups, factions, and front organisations as an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

The ban has been extended by five more years for its involvement in a series of violent activities including killings and extortion, and for joining hands with anti-India forces.

 

Who are the NDFB?

Alongside political movements, armed groups have also sought to create a separate Bodo state.

In October 1986, the prominent group Bodo Security Force (BdSF) was formed by Ranjan Daimary. The BdSF subsequently renamed itself as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), an organisation that is known to be involved in attacks, killings, and extortions.

 

Who are Bodos?

Bodos are the single largest tribal community in Assam, making up over 5-6 per cent of the state’s population. They have controlled large parts of Assam in the past.

The four districts in Assam — Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang — that constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD), are home to several ethnic groups.

The Bodoland dispute:

In 1966-67, the demand for a separate state called Bodoland was raised under the banner of the Plains Tribals Council of Assam (PTCA), a political outfit.

In 1987, the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) renewed the demand. “Divide Assam fifty-fifty”, was a call given by the ABSU’s then leader, Upendra Nath Brahma.

The unrest was a fallout of the Assam Movement (1979-85), whose culmination — the Assam Accord — addressed the demands of protection and safeguards for the “Assamese people”, leading the Bodos to launch a movement to protect their own identity.

 

Why the demand for separate Bodoland?

  • For centuries, they survived sanskritisation without giving up their original ethnic identity. However in the 20th century, they had to tackle a series of issues such as illegal immigration, encroachment of their lands, forced assimilation, loss of language and culture. The 20th century also witnessed the emergence of Bodos as a leading tribe in Assam which pioneered the movements for safeguarding the rights of the tribal communities in the area.
  • From then on, they have been consistently deprived of the political and socio-economic rights by successive state and central governments. The Bodos have not only become an ethnic minority in their own ancestral land but have also been struggling for their existence and status as an ethnic community.

 

Sources: the Hindu


 

Facts for prelims:

 

ASI protected temples in India:

Context: Information on this was given in Lok Sabha recently.

Key facts:

  • A total 651 Hindu temples in India are designated as Centrally Protected Monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • The largest number of Hindu temples under the ASI’s protection is in Karnataka, followed by Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh.

 

Rohtang Tunnel:

Context: Rohtang tunnel will officially be ready for inauguration by September 2020.

Key facts about the tunnel:

The 8.8 km long tunnel will cut through Pir Panjal range.

When complete, it will become the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet.

The tunnel provides a temporary winter link to the outside world not only to residents of Lahaul and Spiti but also to those living in Zanskar Valley of Ladakh.

The Seri nullah default zone inside the tunnel which had affected the work badly in the past many years has been fixed and only a 100m work is left to be completed.

 

Flight service from Imphal to Mandalay:

Context: Last week, Myanmar’s private airlines Air KBZ kicked off a chartered flight service from Manipur’s state capital Imphal to Myanmar’s second-largest city Mandalay.

Significance: Mandalay is an important economic centre of Myanmar and the flight service is said to be benefiting both traders and tourists.

Assam roofed turtle:

Context: The multipurpose Assamese gamosa, a ubiquitous, white cotton towel, has been assigned a new function — conservation of rare freshwater turtles- Assam roofed turtle.

Key facts:

  • It is an endangered small freshwater species.
  • Protected under Schedule I of the wildlife protection act.