INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 23 DECEMBER 2019
Table of contents:
GS Paper 1:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
Facts for prelims:
1. Mission Shat Pratishat.
2. West African Nations Rename Common Currency- eco.
4. Hunar Haat.
GS Paper : 1
Topics covered: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, Tsunami, Volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location- changes in critical geographical features (including water-bodies and ice-caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: All about Winter Solstice- its occurrence, why it occurs, significance and changes associated.
Context: Winter Solstice this year falls on December 22.
For Prelims and Mains:
What is Winter Solstice?
- The winter solstice happens every year when the Sun reaches its most southerly declination of -23.5 degrees. In other words, it is when the North Pole is tilted farthest away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year.
- The Sun is directly overhead of the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere during the December solstice and is closer to the horizon than at any other time in the year.
- The day after the winter solstice marks the beginning of lengthening days, leading up to the summer solstice in June.
What does ‘solstice’ mean?
The term ‘solstice’ derives from the Latin word ‘solstitium’, meaning ‘Sun standing still’. On this day the Sun seems to stand still at the Tropic of Capricorn and then reverses its direction as it reaches its southernmost position as seen from the Earth. Some prefer the more teutonic term ‘sunturn’ to describe the event.
Topics Covered: Population and associated issues, poverty and developmental issues, urbanization, their problems and their remedies.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Overview and significance of the resolution.
Context: The ‘Nagpur Resolution – A holistic approach for empowering citizens’ has been adopted at the end of the Regional Conference on ‘Improving Public Service Delivery – Role of Governments’, held recently in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- The conference was organised by the Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG), Government of India, in collaboration with the Government of Maharashtra and the Maharashtra State Commission for Right to Public Services.
- Previously, the Shillong Declaration and the Jammu Resolution have been adopted for good governance.
Overview of the resolution:
As per the resolution, the GOI, the Government of Maharashtra and other participating States shall collaborate to:
- To empower the citizens by policy interventions for better service delivery through timely updation of citizens charters, implementation of enactments and benchmarking standards for continuous improvement;
- To empower citizens by adopting a bottom-up approach to bring massive improvements in quality of grievance redressal and reduction in timelines of grievance redressal;
- To adopt a holistic approach of systemic public grievance reforms through improved mapping, formulation of monitoring matrix, data collection and evaluation in quality of grievance redressal;
- To provide an enabling environment for States and Ministries/Departments of the Government of India for creating web portals and to adopt a holistic approach for improved service delivery through digital platforms;
- To focus on dynamic policy-making and strategic decisions, monitoring of implementation, appointment of key personnel, coordination and evaluation;
- To achieve a sense of common identity by exchange of technical expertise in the areas of Improved Service Delivery between the paired States under the Ek Bharat – Shreshth Bharat Program;
- To ensure timely publication of Good Governance Index to identify the quality of governance in 10 sectors especially those pertaining to welfare and infrastructure at the Union, State and District levels.
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered:Development processes and the development industry the role of NGOs, SHGs, various groups and associations, donors, charities, institutional and other stakeholders.
What to study?
For Prelims and mains: Key features and significance of the policy.
Context: Arunachal has approved the Arunachal Pradesh Teachers Transfer & Posting Policy, 2020, which will help rationalize transfer and posting of teachers serving under the state government.
For Prelims and Mains:
Key features of the policy:
- Under the new policy, all the government schools will be divided into three categories – hard, middle and soft.
- All new recruits will be initially given hard posting for a mandatory period of three years, including probationary posting, and subsequently middle posting for five years.
- All general transfer of teachers will be made in the month of April/May through online process.
The policy will ensure need-based distribution of teachers to protect the academic interests of the students, and optimize job satisfaction among the teachers in a free and transparent manner.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered:Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability.
What to study?
For Prelims: What is Section 144? Who and why it is imposed? Implications?
For Mains: Concerns, challenges and ways to address them.
Context: “Section 144 CrPC” was recently widely invoked by police forces across the country in order to contain the massive public protests against the recently passed Citizenship Amendment Act.
What is Section 144?
It gives power to a District Magistrate, a sub- divisional Magistrate or any other Executive Magistrate on behalf of the State Government to issue an order to an individual or the general public in a particular place or area to “abstain from a certain act” or “to take certain order with respect to certain property in his possession or under his management”.
- This order can be passed against a particular individual or general public. The order can be passed even ex-parte.
- As held by the Supreme Court, mere apprehension of danger is not a sufficient ground to curb citizens’ rights by invoking Section 144 CrPC.
- Section 144 restricts carrying any sort of weapon in that area where it has been imposed and people can be detained for violating it. The maximum punishment for such an act is three years.
- According to the order under this section, there shall be no movement of public and all educational institutions shall also remain closed and there will be a complete bar on holding any kind of public meetings or rallies during the period of operation of this order.
- Section 144 also empowers the authorities to block the internet access.
Duration of Section 144 order:
No order under Section 144 shall remain in force for more than two months but the state government can extent the validity for two months and maximum up to six months. It can be withdrawn at any point of time if situation becomes normal.
As per the Section, the order can be passed only “if such Magistrate considers”, that the direction is likely to prevent:
- obstruction, annoyance or injury to any person lawfully employed.
- danger to human life, health or safety.
- disturbance of the public tranquility, or a riot or affray.
Value addition for Mains:
Test of Proportionality and the Supreme Court guidelines:
The orders under this provision will lead to the infringement of fundamental rights to freedom of speech and expression, assembly and movement guaranteed under Articles 19(1)(a),(b) and (c) of the Constitution. Hence, the orders under Section 144 have to meet the test of “reasonable restrictions” as per Article 19.
To ascertain whether a restriction on liberties guaranteed under Article 19 is reasonable or not, the Supreme Court has developed the “test of proportionality”.
In the Constitution Bench decision in Modern Dental College case (2016), the SC held that a law imposing restrictions will be treated as proportional if :
- It is meant to achieve a proper purpose, and
- If the measures taken to achieve such a purpose are rationally connected to the purpose, and
- If such measures are necessary.
Four-fold test to determine proportionality:
In Puttaswamy case (2017), the SC laid down a four-fold test to determine proportionality:
- A measure restricting a right must have a legitimate goal (legitimate goal stage).
- It must be a suitable means of furthering this goal (suitability or rationale connection stage).
- There must not be any less restrictive but equally effective alternative (necessity stage).
- The measure must not have a disproportionate impact on the right holder (balancing stage).
So, the legality of the orders passed under Section 144 CrPC will be tested on the basis of these principles of ‘reasonableness’ and ‘proportionality’.
Concerns over its misuse:
Contradictory approach of Article 19 (1) (b) and (c) of the constitution and section 144 of CrPC is a “reflection of a colonial legacy and the unquestioning adoption of most of the provisions of the 1872 Code of Criminal Procedure by the contemporary Indian State”.
More often than not, the section has been used to curb even peaceful dissent.
- The government should make sure that there is no blanket imposition.
- Existing checks and balances and judicial oversight are insufficient. Therefore, a thorough review is necessary.
- Public order and right to peaceful dissent– both should be ensured.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
What to study?
For Prelims: Space force- composition and functions.
For Mains: Space force- the idea, concerns, challenges and the need for free outer- space.
Context: United States President Donald Trump has signed the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, authorising the establishment of Space Force which would become the sixth branch of the armed forces.
- Space Force would become the youngest US military branch, and the first new service since the establishment of the US Air Force back in 1947.
- The Space Force would be part of the Department of the Air Force.
The main goal of the Space Force is to secure and extend American dominance of the space domain.
It will organize, train, and equip military space forces.
- The fundamental difficulty of a space corps is that the physical environment of space is not conducive to the conduct of military operations without incurring serious losses in the form of spacecraft and debris. And despite efforts to make spacecraft more fuel efficient, the energy requirements are enormous.
- The technical demands of defending assets in space make the possibility of dominance and space as a domain for war-fighting a sort of chimera.
Why space has become so important?
- Space is a “war-fighting domain” and global powers like Russia and China are already treating it as such.
- Besides, the stakes are high. Much of our 21st-century economy and lifestyle — from bank transactions to weather forecasting to television service to the GPS directions — depends on satellites functioning round the clock and without interruption. The military depends on them too.
- In 2007, China shot down one of its own satellites — mission accomplished in its own right, it also littered orbit with potentially destructive space debris. Many saw the operation as a veiled display of military power.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
What to study?
For Prelims: IOC- key facts.
For Mains: India’s involvement in the organization, need, significance and challenges.
Context: The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has voiced concern over the Citizenship Amendment Act and the verdict in the Ayodhya case.
The body has usually been supportive of Pakistan and often sided with Islamabad in its disputes with India.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill was passed by the Parliament and signed into law by the President this month.
According to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 following religious persecution there will get Indian citizenship.
Observations made by OIC:
- The OIC urged the Indian government to ensure the safety of the Muslim minority and the protection of their religious sites.
- It also cautioned that “any action, contrary to these principles and obligations, may lead to further tensions and may have serious implications on peace and security across the region.”
About the OIC:
- Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is an international organization founded in 1969, consisting of 57 member states.
- It is the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations.
- The organisation states that it is “the collective voice of the Muslim world” and works to “safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony “.
- The OIC has permanent delegations to the United Nations and the European Union.
- Permanent Secretariat is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Significance of OIC for India:
OIC’s growing economic and energy interdependence with India has become important in recent times.
That India has one of the world’s largest Muslim populations, of course, is the immediate explanation of the surprising invite for Swaraj to address the OIC.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics covered: 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.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: National Mathematics Day- facts and significance.
Context: National Mathematics Day is celebrated every year on December 22.
It is observed to honor the birth anniversary of the famous mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan who greatly contributed towards mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series and continued fractions.
National Mathematics Day:
In 2012, the Indian Government declared that 22 December will be celebrated every year as National Mathematics Day.
Highlights of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life:
- In 1911, Ramanujan published the first of his papers in the Journal of the Indian Mathematical Society.
- Ramanujan traveled to England in 1914, where Hardy tutored him and collaborated with him in some research.
- He worked out the Riemann series, the elliptic integrals, hypergeometric series, the functional equations of the zeta function, and his own theory of divergent series.
- The number 1729 is known as the Hardy-Ramanujan number after a famous visit by Hardy to see Ramanujan at a hospital.
- Hardy observed Ramanujan’s work primarily involved fields less known even amongst other pure mathematicians.
- Ramanujan’s home state of Tamil Nadu celebrates 22 December as ‘State IT Day’, memorialising both the man and his achievements, as a native of Tamil Nadu.
The Dev Patel-starrer ‘The Man Who Knew Infinity’ (2015) was a biopic on the mathematician.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
Mission Shat Pratishat:
The Mission Shat Pratishat was launched in September by the Punjab education department with the aim to further improve the results of government schools, as compared to the previous year.
The objective is to achieve 100 per cent result in classes 5, 8, 10, and 12 of government schools.
The department has coined a slogan: “Asambhav Nu Sambhav Banaiye, Shatpratishat Natija Liyaiye’ (Make impossible possible and secure 100 per cent results).
West African Nations Rename Common Currency- eco:
Eight West African countries have agreed to change the name of their common currency to Eco.
CFA franc was their currency so far. The CFA franc was initially pegged to French franc and has been linked to euro for about two decades.
The 8 West African countries namely- Ivory Coast, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Senegal, Togo and Guinea-Bissau currently use CFA France as their currency. All these countries, except Guinea-Bissau, are former French colonies.
Context: The 40-day harshest winter period in Kashmir, known in the local parlance as ‘Chillai-Kalan’, has begun with the upper reaches of the valley receiving snowfall.
These 40 days are when the chances of snowfall are the highest and the maximum temperature drops considerably.
- Hunar Haats are organised by Ministry of Minority Affairs under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme.
- The USTTAD scheme aims at preserving & promoting the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the Minority communities.
- Hunar Haat is an exhibition of handicrafts and traditional products made by artisans from the Minority communities.
- Aimed at promoting and supporting artisans from Minority communities and providing them domestic as well as international markets for displaying and selling their products.