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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 17 May 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 1:

  1. Israel-Palestinian issue: 75 years since the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians

 

GS Paper 2:

  1. Government Implements RPwD Act 2016

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Cross-Border Insolvency
  2. Land reclamation

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Welfare fund for MGNREGS workers
  2. Examples of initiatives under Mission LiFE

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Pension Adalat
  2. International Organization for Migration (IOM)
  3. South Asia Gas Enterprise (SAGE)
  4. Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS)
  5. UNFF18
  6. Species in News

 


 

Israel-Palestinian issue: 75 years since the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians

GS1/GS2 Paper 

 Syllabus: World History/ Role of UN

 

Source: UN

 

Context: UN commemorated the mass displacement of Palestinians, known as the Nakba, for the first time in its history.

 

What is Nakba (catastrophe)?

It refers to the mass displacement and exodus of Palestinians that occurred in 1948 when Israel was established. It resulted in approximately 700,000 Palestinians being forced to leave their homes, becoming refugees.

 

Why were Palestinians displaced?

Palestinians were displaced primarily as a result of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The displacement occurred during the Arab-Israeli war that followed Israel’s declaration of independence.

 

A brief timeline of the Israel-Palestinian issue:

  • Early 20th century: Jews and Arabs both claim historical and ancestral connections to the land of Palestine.
  • 1917: Balfour Declaration expresses support for a Jewish national home in Palestine
  • 1947: The United Nations proposes a partition plan, recommending separate Jewish and Arab states in Palestine.
  • 1948: Israel declares independence, leading to the Arab-Israeli war.
  • 1967: The Six-Day War takes place, with Israel gaining control of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula, and Golan Heights.
  • 1993: The Oslo Accords are signed, establishing a framework for peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
  • Current situation: Israel occupies the West Bank and East Jerusalem, with the construction of Israeli settlements and separation barriers impacting Palestinian territories.

current affairs

 

Status of Palestinian Refugees:

The status of Palestinian refugees remains a significant and unresolved issue. According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), there are approximately 6 million registered Palestinian refugees. Many of them continue to live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.

 

Views of the International Community:

The international community supports a two-state solution, where Israel and a future independent Palestine exist side by side. Various peace talks and initiatives, such as the Camp David Summit in 2000 and the Annapolis Conference in 2007, have aimed to resolve the conflict but have not yet resulted in a final agreement. In 2020, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed normalization agreements with Israel.

 

Views of India:

India’s views on the Israel-Palestinian issue have evolved over time. Historically, India supported the Palestinian cause and recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. However, in recent years, India has adopted a more balanced approach and emphasized its commitment to a two-state solution. India supports the establishment of a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestinian state existing peacefully alongside Israel.

 

Conclusion:

The UN marking 75 years since the displacement of 700,000 Palestinians recognizes historical injustice, affirms Palestinian rights, advocates for a peaceful resolution, and shows solidarity with Palestinians.

 

Insta Links:

Israel Palestine conflict

 

Mains Links:

“India’s relations with Israel have, of late, acquired a depth and diversity, which cannot be rolled back.” Discuss. (UPSC 2018)

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2015)

The area known as ‘Golan Heights’ sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to

  1. a) Central Asia
  2. b) Middle East
  3. c) South-East Asia
  4. d) Central Africa

 

Ans: B

Government Implements RPwD Act 2016

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Social Justice

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The Government of India has implemented the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act 2016 to establish accessibility standards for persons with disabilities.

What are accessibility standards for persons with disabilities?

Accessibility standards for persons with disabilities refer to guidelines and regulations that aim to ensure equal access and participation for individuals with disabilities in various environments and services. These standards cover different aspects of accessibility—Physical environment, transportation, information and communication, technology, and public facilities.

 

Status of Persons with Disabilities in India:

There are about 2.68 crore (2.21% of the population) people with disabilities in India according to the 2011 census of India.

 

About the Accessibility standards for persons with disabilities:

Aspect Accessibility Standards
Aim Provide access to medical services for persons with disabilities—Preventive, curative and rehabilitative.
Barriers Limited access to quality education, low employment rates, and inadequate healthcare services.
Key Aspects of accessibility standards
Physical Environment E.g., Ramps and accessible entrances; Barrier-free pathways and accessible parking spaces; Elevators and lifts for vertical accessibility
Transportation Accessible buses, trains, and stations; Wheelchair ramps and lifts; Audible and visual announcements
Information and Communication Accessible formats for printed materials; Captioning and audio descriptions for audio-visual content; Accessible websites and digital platforms
Technology Screen reader compatibility; Keyboard accessibility; Alternative text for images
The initiative taken by India
Conventions ·        India has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

·        India is a signatory to the Biwako Millennium Framework and the Declaration on Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asia Pacific Region.

·        Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for Persons with Disabilities in Asia and the Pacific.

 

Constitutional ·        Article 41 of DPSP: State shall make effective provisions in cases of disablement.

·        7th schedule: The subject of ‘relief of the disabled and unemployable’ is specified in the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.

Legislation Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 increased the number of disabilities from 7 conditions to 21; Accessible India Campaign;
Shift in Attitude Focus on disabilities has been shifted from the individual to society, i.e., from a medical model of disability to a social or human rights model of disability.
Institute Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre and the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation, have been established
Technology Unique Disability Identification Portal; BIS standard IS 17802, focuses on accessibility requirements for ICT products and services

 

Measures needed:

  • Strengthen preventive health programs, including early screening for all children, as demonstrated by Kerala’s successful Comprehensive Newborn Screening (CNS) programme
  • Embrace a Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) approach to maximize the abilities of individuals with disabilities
  • Increase public awareness and understanding of disability through social campaigns that challenge stigmas and stereotypes.
  • Encourage inclusiveness by transitioning individuals from special schools to mainstream environments, promoting a diverse range of influences and interactions.

 

Insta Links

75 Years: Laws that Shaped India- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016

 

Mains Links

Though the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 was a landmark step but much is left to be desired to achieve inclusivity and accessibility for the disabled. Examine. (250 Words)

 

Prelims Links:

India is home to lakhs of persons with disabilities. What are the benefits available to them under the law? (UPSC 2011)

  1. Free schooling till the age of 18 years in government-run schools.
  2. Preferential allotment of land for setting up business.
  3. Ramps in public buildings.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

 

Ans: D

Cross-Border Insolvency

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Source: LM

 

Context: The Indian government has decided to halt its plan to adopt a cross-border insolvency regime that would have allowed foreign lenders to initiate bankruptcy proceedings against defaulting Indian businesses in local tribunals.

 

About Cross-border Insolvency:

 Cross-border insolvency typically occurs when a debtor has operations or creditors in multiple countries, and there is a need for coordination and cooperation among different courts and stakeholders to achieve an efficient and fair resolution.

  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency, 1997, is a widely accepted legal framework to deal with cross-border insolvency issues.

 

Why has India halted its plan?

 India halted the adoption of cross-border insolvency, based on the fact that only around 50 countries have adopted the UN model of cross-border insolvency, and many of them have stringent restrictions in place.

 

Instead, the government’s current priorities include

  • Expanding the informal debt resolution scheme for larger corporations
  • Implementing a new regime for handling the insolvency of group companies
  • Creating a special regime for the real estate sector.
  • Remove lacunas in the operation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code
  • Reduce delays in case admission and approval of rescue plans
  • Prevent inappropriate transactions by the management of defaulting companies.

 

About Insolvency:

Topic Description
Key Words ·        Insolvency: Inability to repay outstanding debt

·        Bankruptcy: Court declaration of insolvency, with appropriate orders to resolve it and protect creditors’ rights.

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code Enacted in 2016, it consolidates laws related to the insolvency resolution of business firms.
Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment Bill), 2021 Introduces Pre-packaged Insolvency Resolution Process (PIRP) for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with defaults up to Rs 1 crore.
Challenges for the IBC Lack of proper resolution with over 50% of cases ending in liquidation; Significant delays in resolution; High haircuts (debt foregone) by creditors; Lack of digitization
Achievements A successful revival of India’s insolvency regime and addressing non-performing assets (NPAs); Improved credit discipline; India’s rank in resolving insolvency improved significantly
Provision of Cross border Insolvency Currently, section 234 (empowers the central government to enter into bilateral agreements) and 235 (adjudicating authorities issuing letters of request to foreign courts) of IBC, 2016 provide a basic framework for cross-border insolvency

 

Conclusion:

The introduction of a cross-border insolvency regime will be considered once the institutional capacity and overall bankruptcy resolution ecosystem are more robust.

 

Insta Links:

Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code: Provisions

 

Mains Links

The introduction of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) in 2016 was a ‘watershed’ moment in India. Comment (250 Words)

Land reclamation

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation

 

Source: IE

 Context: Should new land be generated in oceans by land reclamation, given that coastal regions around the world are endangered by rising sea levels and more severe storms?

Land reclamation
Meaning It is the process of creating new land from oceans, seas, riverbeds or lake beds.
Methods Infilling (filling the area with large amounts of heavy rock/cement/clay/dirt until the desired height is reached), draining of submerged wetlands, land dredging (removal of sediments and debris from the bottom of a body of water), etc.
Objectives A solution for many countries is to control flooding and make more space for agriculture and coastal industries, balancing economy and ecology.

Cities are already spending to include “future-ready” reclamation techniques – including seawalls and breakwaters – in ongoing reclamation projects and reinforcing and elevating existing coastal defences.

Example The Netherlands, where around one-third of the country is below sea level, must be artificially drained to keep out the North Sea.
Now a global-scale phenomenon With the increased economic importance of coastal zones, coastal land reclamation has become a global phenomenon despite considerable cost and engineering challenges.

106 cities around the world had altogether created around 2,530 square km of coastal land (~90% of that land was created in East Asia), an area roughly the size of Luxembourg.

China leads the way From 2000 to 2020, Shanghai alone added around 350 square km, with Singapore and Incheon (South Korea), also raising vast new areas.

The “eco-city” projects in cities like Tianjin and Tangshan near Beijing include environmentally friendly features like rehabilitated wetlands, artificial reefs, and restored mangrove forests that act as a buffer from ocean storms.

This means, the reclamation projects today are getting intertwined with the emerging sustainability paradigm.

 

Challenges:

  • Most coastal land expansions happened in low-lying areas, with more than 70% of new land ‘at high risk’ of storm surges and flooding due to rising sea levels linked to climate change.
  • The environmental cost of land reclamation projects can be significant.
    • Projects have destroyed coastal land like marshes, swamps and mangrove forests.
    • Using sand obtained from the marine and river environment can mean the destruction of habitats and spawning grounds of organisms.

 

As sea levels rise, is land reclamation still a good idea?

While land reclamation has provided benefits in the past, the changing climate and rising sea levels introduce new challenges and risks. For example, the Maldives, a nation that heavily relied on land reclamation, now faces the threat of losing large portions of its reclaimed land due to rising sea levels, making it an unsuitable long-term solution.

It is crucial to assess the long-term sustainability, environmental impact, and cost-effectiveness of land reclamation projects in the context of a changing climate.

 

Way ahead:

  • Use alternative fill like excavated rock and soil from local construction projects, or reclaimed concrete, asphalt, bricks and other rubble.
  • Several countries (Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam) have already banned the export of sand for land reclamation.

 

Conclusion:

Seas are not empty spaces as there are vibrant human and non-human communities whose lives are dependent on the health of the sea. Therefore, they need to be protected.

  

Insta Links:

Global Land Outlook report

Welfare fund for MGNREGS workers

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: ET

The Kerala government has introduced India’s 1st welfare fund specifically for workers under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). This initiative provides benefits such as pensions for workers aged 60 and above, as well as financial assistance for medical treatment, education, marriage, and other needs.

Usage: Such an initiative can be used to highlight the social security programme for unorganized workers in the state.

Examples of initiatives under Mission LiFE

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: PIB

Initiative By Description
Clean Sea Initiatives National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management “Fishing for litter” encourages fishermen to bring discarded fishing gear to shore-based reception facilities.
Beach Cleaning Beach cleaning activities are organized to collect plastic waste, including discarded fishing nets and single-use plastics.
Sensitization Programs Educating the fishing community about responsible fishing, hygienic fish handling, energy and water conservation.
Plantation Drives National Institute of Himalayan Environment Planting medicinal and horticultural species to promote healthy lifestyles and sustain resources.
Awareness Programs Zoological Survey of India Conducting programs in schools, colleges, offices, and marketplaces to spread awareness of sustainable practices.
Waste Segregation Programs National Museum of Natural History Promoting waste segregation and lifestyle changes to reduce environmental impact.

Pension Adalat

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare is set to inaugurate an all-India pension adalat aimed at resolving chronic pension cases.

 

  • Status: The initiative was started in 2017 and has organized seven all-India pension adalats so far (the current one is the 8th Adalat).
  • Benefits: The adalat brings together all stakeholders involved in a grievance on a common platform to ensure speedy resolution and timely pension processing.

 

Other initiatives:

  • Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare has decided to integrate various portals, including pension disbursing bank portals, ANUBHAV, CPENGRAMS, and CGHS, with the newly created “iIntegrated pensioners’ portal” (ipension.nic.in)
  • Bhavishya portal (to access pension slip, check the status of life certificate submission, and obtain Form-16)
  • SANKALP (It is a project to channelize the skill, experience and time available with Central Government Pensioners into meaningful social intervention)

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: ET

  

Context: Amy Pope from the United States has been elected as the new Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), making her the first woman to hold this position.

Information Description
About IOM is an intergovernmental organization that provides services and advice concerning migration to governments and migrants, including refugees, internally displaced persons, and migrant workers.
Origin IOM was established in 1951 as Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) to help resettle people displaced by World War II.
Status in UN It was granted Permanent Observer status to UN General Assembly in 1992. It is part of the UN now.
Major report World Migration Report is published every year.
Work IOM works in four broad areas of migration management—Migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and Forced migration.
Members It has 175 member states. India is a member of IOM.
Significance The IOM, with predominantly American leadership, plays a significant role in addressing global migration challenges, providing assistance to migrants, and advising governments on migration-related policies.

South Asia Gas Enterprise (SAGE)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: FE

 Context: An undersea gas pipeline project connecting the Middle East and India has been proposed by South Asia Gas Enterprise (SAGE), an international consortium.

 

About the project:

The project, estimated to cost $5 billion, aims to establish a 2,000-km-long energy corridor through the Arabian Sea, bypassing geopolitically sensitive regions.

 

  • Saving: If realized, the pipeline could result in annual savings of around `7,000 crores compared to importing an equivalent quantity of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • Import: Import of gas from countries such as Oman, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkmenistan, and Qatar, which collectively possess significant gas reserves.
  • Price: The proposed pipeline is projected to deliver 31 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of gas to India under a 20-year long-term supply contract, with a pipeline tariff range of $2 to $2.25 per mmBtu.

 

About SAGE:

South Asia Gas Enterprise Pvt. Ltd. (SAGE) is promoted by the New Delhi-based Siddho Mal Group, in Joint Venture with a UK-based Deepwater Technology Company. It is undertaking a path-breaking project, to build the Deepest Underwater Transnational Gas Pipeline (“Middle East to India Deepwater Pipeline (MEIDP)) to connect the Gas Rich Gulf & Middle East regions to India.

Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: The Hindu

 Context: Scammers are reportedly using leaked biometric details (silicone thumbs), bypassing the need for OTPs, to siphon money from users’ bank accounts.

About Aadhaar-enabled Payment System:

  • Aadhaar-enabled Payment Services (AePS) is a bank-led model, which allows online financial transactions at Point-of-Sale (PoS) and Micro ATMs through the business correspondent of any bank using Aadhaar authentication.
  • The model removes the need for OTPs, bank account details, and other financial details.
  • It allows fund transfers using only the bank name, Aadhaar number, and fingerprint captured during Aadhaar enrolment, according to the National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI).

UNFF18

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: DTE

Context: The eighteenth session of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF18) was held in New York.

 

United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF):

  • The UN Economic and Social Council established it in 2000.

 

Objective: To promote the management, conservation and sustainable development of all types of forests and to strengthen long-term political commitment to this end.

 

Key highlights:

  • Practice Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) in Tropical Regions
  • India: It presented a case of a UNFF country-led initiative on long-term SFM and expressed concerns regarding wildfires and the limitations of current forest certification schemes.

Species in News

 

Source: DTE, DTE

  

Context: Certain invasive species in Antarctica are changing its ecosystem. This invasion highlights the vulnerability of the Antarctic ecosystem, which is typically protected by harsh conditions.

Species Shelled pteropods (suborder of sea snails)

 

Habitat Southern Ocean, live at or close to the ocean surface
Description Tiny creatures with muscular feet for swimming, Highly vulnerable to climate change
Why in News Impact of Climate Change – Dissolution of their thin outer casings due to increasing CO2 absorption, making it difficult for them to survive.

 

Species Flightless Midge (Eretmoptera murphyi)

 

Habitat It is a native of South Georgia, a sub-Antarctic island, and was accidentally introduced to Signy in Antarctica in the 1960s during a botany experiment
Impact of Invasion Harsh living conditions are no longer impenetrable, global warming can worsen the crisis
Potential Consequence Midge activity combined with climate change can facilitate the establishment of other species in Antarctica

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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