INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY- 08 February 2020
Table of Contents:
GS Paper 2:
GS Paper 3:
GS Paper : 2
Topics Covered: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.
What to study?
For Prelims: Rules in this regard, what constitutes unparliamentary language?
For Mains: Need for rules in this regard and ways to improve.
Context: Few recent instances of heated exchanges in Parliament have brought back recurring questions around “unparliamentary” speech and conduct.
What are the checks available on MPs’ speech?
Despite Article 105(2) of the constitution, Whatever an MP says is subject to the discipline of the Rules of Parliament, the “good sense” of Members, and the control of proceedings by the Speaker.
These checks ensure that MPs cannot use “defamatory or indecent or undignified or unparliamentary words” inside the House.
Rules in this regard:
Rule 380 (“Expunction”) of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha says: “If the Speaker is of opinion that words have been used in debate which are defamatory or indecent or unparliamentary or undignified, the Speaker may, while exercising discretion order that such words be expunged from the proceedings of the House.”
Rule 381 says: “The portion of the proceedings of the House so expunged shall be marked by asterisks and an explanatory footnote shall be inserted in the proceedings as follows: ‘Expunged as ordered by the Chair’.”
What are Unparliamentary expressions? Who decides on this?
There are phrases and words, literally in thousands, both in English and in other Indian languages, that are “unparliamentary”.
The Presiding Officers — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairperson of Rajya Sabha — have the job of keeping these bad words out of Parliament’s records.
For their reference and help, the Lok Sabha Secretariat has brought out a bulky tome titled ‘Unparliamentary Expressions’, the 2004 edition of which ran into 900 pages.
- The list contains several words and expressions that would probably be considered rude or offensive in most cultures; however, it also has stuff that is likely to be thought of as being fairly harmless or innocuous.
- The state legislatures too are guided mainly by the same book, which also draws heavily from unparliamentary words and phrases used in the Vidhan Sabhas and Vidhan Parishads of India.
Examples of unparliamentary- (Breif overview for understanding):
Among the words and phrases that have been deemed unparliamentary are “scumbag”, “shit”, “badmashi”, “bad” (as in “An MP is a bad man”), and “bandicoot”, which is unparliamentary if an MP uses it for another, but which is fine if he uses it for himself.
If the Presiding Officer is a “lady”, no MP can address her as “beloved Chairperson”.
The government or another MP cannot be accused of “bluffing”. “Bribe”, “blackmail”, “bribery”, “thief”, “thieves”, “dacoits”, “bucket of shit”, “damn”, “deceive”, “degrade”, and “darling”, are all unparliamentary.
MPs or Presiding Officers can’t be accused of being “double minded”, having “double standards”, being of “doubtful honesty”, being “downtrodden”, indulging in “double talk”, being “lazy”, “lousy”, a “nuisance” or a “loudmouth”.
The government can’t be called “andhi-goongi”, or one of “Ali Baba aur 40 chor”. An illiterate MP can’t be called “angootha chhaap”, and it is unparliamentary to suggest that a member should be sent to the “ajayabghar” (museum).
Sources: Indian Express.
Topics Covered: 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.
What to study?
For Prelims: Key recommendations, about NCPCR.
For Mains: Significance of these recommendations and concerns.
Context: A parliamentary panel has recommended a code of conduct for Internet service providers (ISPs) and strengthening the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to curb child pornography.
The report was prepared by an ad hoc committee set up by the Rajya Sabha and led by Congress MP Jairam Ramesh.
- Put in place a multi-pronged strategy involving technological, institutional, social and educational as well as State-level measures.
- There is a need for code of conduct or a set of guidelines for ensuring child safety online.
- There shall be a greater onus on ISPs to identify and remove child sexual abuse material (CSAM) as well as report such content and those trying to access them to the authorities under the national cybercrime portal.
- There is also need for strengthening the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) so that it can serve as the nodal body for curbing child pornography. It is suggested that the capabilities required in the NCPCR should include technology, cyberpolicing and prosecution.
Issues with these recommendations:
- Some of the recommendations are expected to lead to concerns over privacy and misuse.
- It is believed that asking ISPs to report content in addition to blocking and filtering may not be practical.
- The suggestion to break encryption could also just lead to traffic moving to different platforms.
Need of hour:
There is a need to develop a victim-centric strategy instead of just focusing on prosecution.
Sources: the Hindu.
GS Paper : 3
Topics Covered: Awareness in space.
What to study?
For Prelims and Mains: Key features, objectives and accomplishments of Voyager 1 and 2.
Context: NASA has managed to fix its Voyager-2 probe remotely, almost 11.5 billion miles away from its location.
The probe has reportedly been acting in an unexpected manner as it failed to carry out a maneuver as planned on January 25. Moreover, the glitch in the probe was detected by the spacecraft’s fault detection software which was relayed to NASA.
Accomplishments so far:
Voyager 2 is the only probe ever to study Neptune and Uranus during planetary flybys.
It is the second man-made object to leave our planet.
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have visited all four gas giant planets — Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune — and discovered 16 moons, as well as phenomena like Neptune’s mysteriously transient Great Dark Spot, the cracks in Europa’s ice shell, and ring features at every planet.
What is Interstellar space?
Scientists use the heliopause to mark where interstellar space begins, although depending on how you define our solar system it can stretch all the way to the Oort Cloud, which begins 1,000 times farther away from the sun than Earth’s orbit.
The heliosphere is a bubble around the sun created by the outward flow of the solar wind from the sun and the opposing inward flow of the interstellar wind. That heliosphere is the region influenced by the dynamic properties of the sun that are carried in the solar wind–such as magnetic fields, energetic particles and solar wind plasma. The heliopause marks the end of the heliosphere and the beginning of interstellar space.
About Voyager mission:
- Launched in the 1970’s, and the probes sent by NASA were only meant to explore the outer planets – but they just kept on going.
- Voyager 1 departed Earth on 5 September 1977, a few days after Voyager 2 and left our solar system in 2013.
- The mission objective of the Voyager Interstellar Mission (VIM) is to extend the NASA exploration of the solar system beyond the neighborhood of the outer planets to the outer limits of the Sun’s sphere of influence, and possibly beyond.
- The Voyager spacecraft are the third and fourth human spacecraft to fly beyond all the planets in our solar system. Pioneers 10 and 11 preceded Voyager in outstripping the gravitational attraction of the Sun but on February 17, 1998, Voyager 1 passed Pioneer 10 to become the most distant human-made object in space.
Sources: the hindu.
Topics Covered: Issues related to biotechnology.
What to study?
For prelims: What is genome sequencing and how is it done?
For Mains: Significance, need and challenges to the project.
Context: The government has cleared an ambitious gene-mapping project, called Genome India Project.
Overview of Genome India Project:
The Rs 238-crore Genome India Project will involve 20 leading institutions including the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in Bengaluru and a few IITs.
The first stage of the project will look at samples of “10,000 persons from all over the country” to form a “grid” that will enable the development of a “reference genome”.
The IISc’s Centre for Brain Research, an autonomous institute, will serve as the nodal point of the project.
The project is said to be among the most significant of its kind in the world because of its scale and the diversity it would bring to genetic studies.
- The data generated would be accessible to researchers anywhere for analysis. As the genetic landscape differs across the world, it is necessary that genetic data is shared in order to derive greater knowledge from information and serve the purpose of enabling better treatment outcomes.
- The initiative will pave the way for identifying genes and genetic variations for common diseases, treating Mendelian disorders, enabling the transformation of the Precision Medicine landscape in India, and thus improving the healthcare of the general population in our country.
Need for genome sequencing:
Mapping the diversity of India’s genetic pool will lay the bedrock of personalised medicine and put it on the global map. Considering the diversity of population in our country, and the disease burden of complex disorders, including diabetes, mental health, etc., once we have a genetic basis, it may be possible to take action before the onset of a disease.
What is genome sequencing?
A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes. Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes. Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing. Advances in genomics have triggered a revolution in discovery-based research and systems biology to facilitate understanding of even the most complex biological systems such as the brain.
Sources: the Hindu.
Topics Covered: Conservation related issues.
What to study?
For Prelims: Differences between LED, CFL and filament bulbs.
For Mains: Why the ban? Implications and significance.
Context: Kerala will impose a ban on the sale of compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) and incandescent (filament) bulbs starting November this year as part of sustainable energy policy.
This is in line with the government project of ‘Filament-free Kerala’ envisaged in 2018 as part of the state’s Urja Kerala mission.
What is filament-free Kerala project?
- It will be implemented by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) and the Energy Management Centre,
- Consumers in the state can place orders for LED bulbs on the KSEB website in exchange for existing filament bulbs.
- Nine-watt LED bulbs are being sold at reduced prices by the government to encourage usage. Last year, Peelikode in Kasaragod district became the first panchayat in the country to be completely filament-free.
- The project is also part of the long-term sustainable energy policy to reduce the dependence on conventional energy sources and instead maximise potential on renewable sources like solar and hydel power.
Key differences between LED and CFL:
- The major difference between the CFL and LED is that in CFL the emission of light is because of the ionisation of mercury vapour. The mercury vapour when ionise produces ultraviolet rays. These rays when collides with phosphorous coating tube generates visible light.
- Whereas in the LED it is because of the PN junction diode. When the forward current applies across the diode, the recombination of the charge carrier takes place. This charge carrier gives energy in the form of the heat and light.
Rationale behind the ban:
- The CFL uses mercury vapour which is dangerous for the environment and living beings.
- Also, it requires additional components like ballast, tungsten tube coated with barium, etc., which increases their cost.
- The destruction of the LED is easier than the CFL because LED does not have any harmful metal which pollutes the environment.
- The brightness of LED is more as compared to CFL because LED emits light only in one direction.
The LED is better than the CFL in every aspect. The LED saves up to 80 percent of the electricity bill even though their cost is very less. It is recyclable, and their brightness remains same even after using it for a long time.
Sources: Indian Express.