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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 14 April 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. The Role of Parliamentary Committees
  2. World Bank Reforms

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Radioactive contamination
  2. The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Beggars’ Corporation
  2. Odisha PVTG Nutritional Improvement Programme (OPNIP)
  3. Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) 2023

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Traditional New Year Spring Festivals
  2. Solar Energy Corporation of India
  3. Translocation of Big Cats and IBCA
  4. Safety Across Asia for the Global Environment (SAFE)
  5. Indigenous chip for NavIC
  6. Resources at Moon
  7. YZ Ceti b

 


 

The Role of Parliamentary Committees

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business, Powers & Privileges and Issues Arising out of these

 

Source: TH

 Context: Parliamentary committees – panels made up of MPs – are constituted to delve deeper into matters of public concern and develop an expert opinion.

Parliamentary committees in India
Meaning A committee appointed/elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker of Lok Sabha (LS) or the Chairman of Rajya Sabha (RS) and has a secretariat provided by the LS/RS.

 

They work under the direction of the Speaker/Chairman, presenting their report to the House or to the Speaker/Chairman.

Evolution Individual committees have been formed since independence (Ex. The Ad Hoc Committee on the Citizenship Clause). A structured committee system was established in 1993.
Legal/ constitutional backing Mentioned in the Constitution of India without providing specific provisions (regarding their composition, tenure, functions, etc).

 

These matters are dealt with by the rules of two Houses.

Need Indian Parliament undertakes a large volume of information and scale of operations → not feasible to take up all issues on the floor of the House.

 

Continuous efforts are needed to make Parliament a dynamic, functional space.

 

Thus, committees are constituted to make Parliament a dynamic space and take up sector-specific concerns.

 

Behind every comment and every Bill introduced or taken up for discussion lies the ceaseless work of various committees.

 

‘It is not far from the truth to say that Congress in session is Congress on public exhibition, whilst Congress in Committee rooms is Congress at work’ (Woodrow Wilson)

Classification Standing Committees are permanent in nature, constituted every year or periodically. They may be further classified (based on the nature of the function) –

Financial Committees (Public Accounts Committee, etc)

Departmental-related Parliamentary Standing Committees

Committees to Inquire such as the Committee on Petitions, etc

 

Ad Hoc Committees are temporary (need-based).

Role Go into the details of a specific piece of legislation → analyse its potential impact on governance indicators →  then make their recommendations (not binding on the government).

 

Go into issues that are crucial for nation-building but don’t hold as much political significance. Take the example of defence shipyards.

 

Ensure an oversight on the executive → The government is required to table an ‘Action Taken’ report for the House to judge the progress made on the suggestions of the committee.

 

Enable day-to-day functioning of Parliament in session: For example, the Business Advisory Committee prepares the entire schedule of both Houses when Parliament is in session.

 

Enable efficient functioning of MPs: For example, the Committee on papers laid on the table of the House prepares each individual paper after careful deliberation, writing and screening.

Best practice

 

Work done on the Digital Data Protection Bill (The Puttaswamy judgement (2017) → Justice Srikrishna Committee → The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019 → A Joint Parliamentary Committee → New Draft Digital Data Protection Bill, 2022)
Current challenges Political enmity and polarization

 

Public proceedings of the House do not allow for any deliberation, leaving the consensus

 

The declining trend of national legislation being subjected to expert scrutiny.

 

During the course of the 17th LS, only 14 Bills have been referred for the further examination so far.

 

25% of the Bills introduced were referred to committees in the 16th LS, as compared to 71% and 60% in the 15th and 14th LS respectively.

The road ahead

 

The Parliament could consider a compulsory referral (like the US) for the Bills that are tabled on the floor.

 

Arming these toothless tigers with more powers to help them ensure accountability from the executive.

 

It is essential for the parliamentary ecosystem in India to institutionalise such procedures and not allow political considerations to hasten law-making.

 

Insta Links:

An essential pit stop in parliamentary business

 

Mains Links:

Why do you think the committees are considered to be useful for parliamentary work? Discuss, in this context, the role of the Estimates Committee. (UPSC 2018)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2018)

With reference to the Parliament of India, which of the following Parliamentary Committees scrutinizes and reports to the house whether the powers to make regulations, rules, sub-rules, by-laws, etc. conferred by the Constitution or delegated by the Parliament are being properly exercised by the Executive within the scope of such delegation?

 

    1. Committee on Government Assurances
    2. Committee on Subordinate Legislation
    3. Rules Committee
    4. Business Advisory Committee

 

Ans: 2

World Bank Reforms

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: International Institutions

 

Source: HT 

Context: Indian Finance Minister has said that the World Bank’s call for revitalization presents a “historic opportunity” to make the institution “fit for purpose” to achieve sustainable development goals and address national and global developmental challenges.

 

The issue with World Bank Description
Governance Non-democratic governance structure dominated by industrialized countries, decisions made without consulting poor and developing countries, under-representation of emerging countries like India, key roles held by Americans and Europeans
Transparency Lack of transparency in lending deals and interest rates
Anti-poverty agenda Criticism of the effectiveness of World Bank loans and financial assistance in reducing poverty
Structural Adjustment Programs (SAP) Criticism of the negative impact of SAPs on developing countries, including enforced privatization, government spending cuts, imposition of user fees, market-based pricing, higher interest rates, and trade liberalization
Climate and development assistance Difficulty in finding the right balance between climate and development assistance, and climate emission and adaptation priorities
Reliability of reports Criticism of the reliability of World Bank reports and economic performance predictions
Capacity The Bank, according to the road map, requires over $2 trillion to meet expanded commitments for newer challenges it faces
Definition of global development challenges The need to build consensus on the definition of global development challenges and priorities

 

Steps to reform World Bank at different levels:

Leadership Establish a diverse and independent board of directors with the skills, expertise, and independence
Remove the monopoly of America on the appointment process of the President
Strategy and Policies Reform the Bank’s lending and investment policies to prioritize climate-friendly projects and investments
Adopt a “do no harm” principle that ensures that the Bank’s activities do not harm vulnerable communities, or undermine human rights
World Bank decisions should be inclusive, consensus-based, and recognize the development perspectives and priorities of client countries
Operations and Implementation Increase transparency and accountability in the Bank’s operations by improving data collection, monitoring, and reporting
Strengthen partnerships with other development actors, such as governments, civil society organizations, and private sector actors,
India has asked for the following reforms Building consensus on the definition of global development challenges.

 

Augmenting the financial and operational capacity of World Bank Group.

 

The right balance between climate and development assistance, and climate emission and adaptation priorities.

 

Insta Links

World Bank

 

Mains Links:

The World Bank has supported India since its independence by giving large loans for its economic development. Evaluate its role as a facilitator of developmental objectives. (250 words)

 

Prelims Links:

Q1. India’s ranking in the ‘Ease of Doing Business Index’ is sometimes seen in the news. Which of the following has declared that ranking? (UPSC 2016)

(a) Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
(b) World Economic Forum
(c) World Bank
(d) World Trade Organization (WTO)

 

Ans: C

With reference to ‘IFC Masala Bonds’, sometimes seen in the news, which of the statements given below is/ are correct? ( UPSC 2016)

  1. The International Finance Corporation, which offers these bonds, is an arm of the World Bank.
  2. They are rupee-denominated bonds and are a source of debt financing for the public and private sectors.

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2

 

Answer: C

Radioactive contamination

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: DTE

 Context: The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has released its annual report on the illicit trafficking of nuclear and other radioactive material (part of the Incident and Trafficking Database), stating that radioactive materials and contaminated devices are entering into the scraps recycling chain, posing a severe health hazard.

 

What is Radioactive contamination?

Radioactive contamination occurs when radioactive substances, such as particles or radiation, are deposited onto surfaces, objects, or people. E.g., Radioactive-laced waste products are often found while scrapping ships.

 

Sources of Radioactive contamination:

Sources of Radioactive Contamination Examples Type of Radioactive Substance
Natural Sources Radon gas Radon-222
Uranium in soil and rocks Uranium-238, Uranium-235, Thorium-232
Medical Applications Nuclear medicine procedures Iodine-131, Technetium-99m, Cobalt-60
Radiation therapy Cesium-137, Iridium-192
Industrial Applications Nuclear power plants Uranium-235, Plutonium-239, Cesium-137
Radiography testing Cobalt-60, Iridium-192
Industrial gauges Americium-241, Cesium-137, Cobalt-60
Accidents and Incidents Chornobyl disaster Iodine-131, Cesium-137, Strontium-90
Fukushima nuclear disaster Iodine-131, Cesium-134, Cesium-137
Nuclear weapon testing Strontium-90, Cesium-137
Illegal Activities The illicit trafficking of radioactive materials Various, including Plutonium-239, Cobalt-60, Cesium-137
Radioactive waste dumping Various, including Uranium-238, Plutonium-239, Cesium-137

 

Health impact of radioactive contamination:

Health Impact Examples
Radiation Sickness Acute symptoms: nausea, vomiting, hair loss, skin burns, and in severe cases, death. Long-term effects: cancer, birth defects
Genetic Damage Birth defects, mutations in offspring
Increased Risk of Cancer Thyroid cancer after exposure to radioactive iodine, lung cancer after exposure to radon gas
Long-term Health Effects Cataracts, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, neurological effects

 

The institutional mechanism in India against Radioactive Contamination:

  • Atomic Energy Act, 1962: It provides a regulatory framework for all activities related to atomic energy and the use of ionizing radiation.
  • Atomic Energy Regulatory Board to exercise regulatory and safety functions.
  • Atomic Energy Rules, 2004 and 2012

 

Additional Information: 

Tests for Radioactive elements:

Radioactivity in drinking water can be determined by a gross alpha test. Radioactivity is measured in Becquerel (SI unit) or in Curie. The unit Sievert measures the quantity of radiation absorbed by human tissues.

About IAEA:

 The International Atomic Energy Agency (HQ: Vienna, Austria; Est: 1957) is an intergovernmental organization that seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons. It was set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization. India is a member.

 

About the Incident and Trafficking Database (ITDB):

 ITDB (est. in 1995) to assist States on incidents involving illicit trafficking and maintain and analyze reported information to identify common threats, trends, and patterns. ITDB is part of the IAEA’s Nuclear Security Plan that aims to Assist States in establishing, maintaining, and sustaining national nuclear security regimes.

 

Mains Link:

A recent report has highlighted uranium contamination in India’s groundwater. Discuss the causes, effects and ways to address the issue.

The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill 2023 was recently tabled in the Lok Sabha by the Ministry of Defence.

 

Inter-services organisations include Soldiers from the Army, the Air Force and the Navy, like joint training institutes –

  • National Defence Academy,
  • National Defence College (NDC),
  • Defence Services Staff College (DSSC), and
  • the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC).
The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill 2023
The rationale behind the proposed law Armed forces personnel are governed by the provisions of three separate laws for the three services

the Air Force Act, 1950,

the Army Act, of 1950, and

the Navy Act, 1957

 

Only an officer of the same service (not the commander-in-chief of a joint services command/the officer-in-command of any other inter-services organisation) holds disciplinary powers over persons governed by the respective Act → impacts command, control and discipline.

 

The existing framework is time-consuming and involves financial costs to move the personnel → impedes expeditious disposal of cases.

 

The proposed legislation aims to address these impediments without disturbing the unique service conditions or amending the service Acts.

Key provisions in the Bill Existing inter-services organisations will be deemed to have been constituted under the Bill.

 

The proposed legislation seeks to empower the central government to set up an inter-services organisation by notification.

 

This can include a joint services command – a key feature of the theaterisation plan of the armed forces. The commander-in-chief or the officer-in-command will be the head.

 

The superintendence of the inter-services organisation will be vested in the Central Government.

 

All disciplinary and administrative powers in terms of personnel (continue to be governed by their respective service Acts) will lie with the commander-in-chief, the officer-in-command, etc.

 

The Centre can notify any force or part of it, under the authority of the Government, to which the Bill will apply.

Tangible benefits Expeditious disposal of cases, saving time and public money by avoiding multiple proceedings and greater integration amongst armed forces personnel.
How will it affect the tri-services theaterisation plan? Each of the theatre commands will have units of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.

 

All the units will work as a single entity looking after security challenges in a specified geographical territory under an operational commander.

 

The Bill holds the potential to ensure better management of theatre commands once they are operationalised.

 

Insta Links:

Govt introduces bill in Lok Sabha to strengthen tri-services commanders’ powers

Beggars’ Corporation

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: HT

Beggars’ Corporation, a Varanasi-based start-up, has received the Best Social Impact Award in the Innopreneurs Global Startup Contest.

 

About Beggars’ Corporation

 

It is the only for-profit company in the world working towards making extremely poor people creators and owners of wealth.

 

Aim To make beggars self-sufficient by turning them into entrepreneurs through the conversion of donations into social investments.

 

How does it work?

 

Indians donate around ₹34,242 crores annually to India’s 413,670 beggars. Beggars’ Corporation aims to use this donated money to train beggars into employment generators and build their capacities for startups.

 

Usage This example can be used to show values of Empathy, Social Impact, Innovations, empowerment, social responsibility etc.

 

Odisha PVTG Nutritional Improvement Programme (OPNIP)

 

Source: DTE

OPNIP is a programme to improve the nutritional status of the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in Odisha.

 

Interventions:

  • Community-based creches for children of age 6 months to 3 years
  • Spot feeding centres for children aged 3-6 years
  • Maternal spot feeding centres for pregnant & lactating mothers
  • Prioritized the first 1,000 days of life when rapid growth and development take place

 

Community support: Local PVTG self-help groups are entrusted with managing the OPNIP interventions, which strengthens community ownership and empowers local PVTG women’s collectives in managing such nutrition interventions in their community.

 

Usage: The scheme can be used to highlight successful interventions for improving the health and nutrition among the PVTGs in India

Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) 2023

 

Source: PIB

The Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) 2023, organized by the National Innovation Foundation, discussed ways to raise the profile of India’s innovation and entrepreneurship eco-system, which is inclusive, the third largest in the world, and an inspiration to many countries.

 

About NIF:

National Innovation Foundation (founded 2000; HQ: Ahmedabad (Gujarat)) – is an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology. It is India’s national initiative to strengthen grassroots technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge.

Usage: It can be used to highlight initiatives to improve India’s innovation ecosystem.

Traditional New Year Spring Festivals

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

Other Traditional New Year festivals (celebrated last Month) are:

 

 

Additional news:

Source: TH

Tamil Nadu’s Uthirameur inscription (around 1100-1200 years old): It is like a local constitution for the gram sabha. In this it has been told how the Assembly should be run, what should be the process to elect the members and how a member would be disqualified.

 

Sangam literature: There are descriptions of various kinds of millets or Shri Anna (Millets).

Translocation of Big Cats and IBCA

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Indian government plans to translocate big cats annually to India (Cheetah) as well as from India to other countries, starting with Cambodia, where the tiger was declared extinct in 2016.

  • The International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) will facilitate the mobilization of financial and technical resources for the overall ecosystem dealing with big cat species.

 

To know about IBCA: Click Here

Current status of these seven big cats:

 

Solar Energy Corporation of India

 

Source: ET

Context: Solar Energy Corporation of India Limited (SECI) has been accorded the status of Miniratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE)

 

CPSEs with a continuous profit record in the last three years, pre-tax profit of at least Rs.30 crores in one of the three years, and a positive net worth are eligible for Miniratna-I status.

 

The benefits of this status include increased financial powers for investments, greater autonomy in operations, improved corporate governance, and competitive advantage, among others.

 

About SECI

Solar Energy Corporation of India Ltd. (founded in 2011; HQ: New Delhi; under the Companies Act, 2013) is a company of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, established to facilitate the implementation of the National Solar Mission. It is the only Central Public Sector The mandate of the company has also been broadened to cover the entire renewable energy domain.

Safety Across Asia for the Global Environment (SAFE)

 

Source: TH

 

Context: China is not participating in a United Nations project called Safety Across Asia for the Global Environment (SAFE) to survey high-risk facilities, including Asian wet markets, that may cause the spread of infectious diseases from animals to humans.

  • Also, Vietnam and Laos have yet to approve the surveys.

 

About SAFE:

The project aims to prevent future pandemics due to zoonotic, or animal-to-human, disease transmission.

  • Launched in 2021 (will run until 2024)
  • Coordinated by: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (monitors illegal wildlife trafficking)
  • Funded by the European Union
  • Four Asian countries – China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos – were initially selected for the survey under the project

 

It is believed that the strain of coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 disease was first identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan’s wet market in December 2019. China has since banned the sale and consumption of food from wildlife animals.

Indigenous chip for NavIC

Source: TH

 Context: A Bengaluru-based space technology company, Elena Geo Systems, has developed a chip (named NavIC processor) that can form the core of Navigation, Positioning and Timing applications using India’s indigenous satellite-based navigation system, NavIC.

 

  • Previously, IIT-Bombay had developed a homegrown receiver chip – Dhruva

Indian NavIC GPS system has faced issues in integration with mobile phones as the mobiles require an extra chip (unlike USA’s GPS). This has been one of the major obstacles to the widespread use of NavIC.

 

About NavIC:

Topic Information
About NavIC NavIC is a stand-alone navigation satellite system developed by ISRO. It consists of 7 satellites (3 Geo stationary and 4 Geosynchronous) covering India’s landmass and up to 1,500 km beyond its boundaries.
Operational Approved in 2006, NavIC became operational in 2018
L1 band India is trying to shift to L1 frequency (from current L5 and S bands) as it will increase the use of NavIC in wearable devices and personal trackers.
Applications NavIC is being used in public vehicle tracking, emergency warning alerts for fishermen, and tracking and providing information related to natural disasters.
Other global navigation systems Global Positioning System (GPS) of the U.S.A; Galileo from the European Union;

Russia’s GLONASS; China’s Beidou; QZSS covers the Asia-Oceania region, with a focus on Japan.

/ 14 Apr 2023, GPS, Navic, Today's Article

Resources at Moon

 

 Source: IE

Context: China plans to start building a lunar base using soil from the moon in the next five years, with a team designing a robot named “Chinese Super Masons” to make bricks out of lunar soil.

 

About the mission:

  • China aims to retrieve the world’s first soil sample from the far side of the moon in a mission around 2025
  • Then China will launch the Chang’e-8 mission around 2028 for making bricks out of lunar soil

 

Importance of Moon:

Resource Description
Helium-3 A rare isotope that is abundant on the moon and can be used as fuel for nuclear fusion reactors.
Water Water ice has been found in the moon’s polar regions. It offers a valuable resource for future lunar colonies or deep space missions.
Metals The moon contains metals such as iron, titanium, and aluminium, which could be used for construction and manufacturing purposes.
Rare Earth Elements The moon contains rare earth elements such as yttrium, lanthanum, and neodymium. These resources could be mined and used to support the development of advanced technology in space.
Solar Power The moon receives constant sunlight, making it an ideal location for solar power generation.
Launching Pad Moon can serve as the base for the exploration of other planets.

 

Other missions on Moon: Artemis (NASA), Chandrayaan-3 (India), Chang’e (China) Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter (Korea), Luna 25 (Russia), SLIM (Japan)

YZ Ceti b

 

Source: TH

 Context: Astronomers have discovered a repeating radio signal from YZ Ceti b, a rocky, Earth-sized exoplanet rotating around a small red dwarf star only 12 light-years away from Earth.

 

Significance: This discovery suggests the presence of a magnetic field around the planet, which is one of the prerequisites for a habitable planet.

 

What is a Radio signal from Exo-Planets?

 Radio signals from planets are electromagnetic waves that are emitted naturally by planets in the radio frequency range. The intensity and frequency of the radio signals vary depending on the planet, its magnetic field, its atmosphere, and other factors.

 

How Ceti b produce a radio signal?

The radio signals detected from YZ Ceti b are a result of the interaction between the planet’s magnetic field and the star, and such signals can only be produced if the exoplanet orbits very close to its parent star and has its own magnetic field to influence the stellar wind and generate the signals.

 

What is Exoplanet?

 An exoplanet, also known as an extrasolar planet, is a planet that orbits a star other than our sun.

 

About Red Dwarf Stars:

Red dwarf stars are small, low-mass, dim, and cool stars, they are the most common and smallest in the universe. As red dwarfs are dimmer than other stars, it is easier to find exoplanets that surround them. Also, the habitable zone of red dwarf stars is closer to the star than stars like our sun, making it easier to observe potentially habitable planets

 

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