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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 3 June 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. Sedition law in India
  2. Lateral Entry into Central Government
  3. India-Nepal Relationship

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. ILO Monitor on the World of Work
  2. A new treaty for outer space

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Virtual autism

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Sal seeds
  2. ICC warrant against Russia’s Putin
  3. The Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023
  4. Li-ion battery recycling technology
  5. Smart bandage
  6. MH60R helicopter

 

Mapping

  1. Seychelles
  2. Iran-Taliban water conflict

 


 

Sedition law in India

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Functions and Responsibilities of the Union and the States

 

Source: HT 

Context: The Law Commission of India has recommended the retention of the 153-year-old colonial law on sedition in India.

 

The Sedition Law in India: 

Section 124A of the IPC:

  • It deals with Sedition – a non-bailable offence and was drafted by TB Macaulay and included in the IPC in 1870.
  • Whoever (by words/signs/visible representation) brings or attempts to bring into hatred or contempt or excites or attempts to excite disaffection towards the Government established by law in India shall be punished.

 

Punishment under Section 124A: Punishment under the law varies from imprisonment up to three years to a life term and fine.

 

Need of Section 124A:  To effectively combat anti-national, secessionist and terrorist elements.

 

Criticism of Section 124A:

  • It is designed to suppress the liberty of the citizens (Gandhiji).
  • It is highly objectionable and the sooner we get rid of it, the better it is (Jawaharlal Nehru).
  • Not in tune with the current social milieu, and was intended for a colonial regime.
  • Often misused to muzzle dissent.
  • Low conviction rate.

 

In SC’s view:

  • In Kedar Nath Singh v State of Bihar (1962), the top court upheld the validity of Section 124A, but also attempted to restrict the colonial-era law’s scope for misuse.
    • Invoking the sedition clause requires the existence of a harmful intent to promote violence and the penal provision cannot be utilised to restrict free speech.
  • The government could not put citizens behind bars simply because they chose to disagree with the state policies.
  • Views, which are dissent and different from the opinion of the government cannot be termed seditious.

 

Steps taken:

  • In 2022, the SC effectively put on hold the colonial-era penal provision, and asked the Centre/states to desist from arresting/prosecuting people under the contentious provision.
  • The Union government recently informed the top court that the legislative process of reviewing/reforming the sedition law was in the “final stages”.

 

The Law Commission of India on sedition law:

  • The sedition law is a reasonable restriction on the right to free speech.
  • Repealing the legal provision can have serious adverse ramifications for the security and integrity of the country.
  • Mere fact that a particular legal provision is colonial in its origin does not validate the case for its repeal.
  • Jurisdictions like the US, UK, etc., have actually merged their sedition law with counter-terror legislations.

 

Recommendations – Amend Section 124A of the IPC:

  • To bring about more clarity in the interpretation, understanding, and usage of the provision and to align it with the SC’s 1962 verdict.
  • To replace mere inclination to incite violence or cause public disorder with proof of actual violence or imminent threat to violence.
  • To enhance the alternative punishment to “7 years”, giving the courts greater room to award punishment in accordance with the gravity of the act.
  • Procedural safeguards to minimise the abuse. For example, Section 154 of the CrPC could be amended to hold that a FIR under Section 124A would be registered only after a police officer conducts a preliminary inquiry.

 

Insta Links:

Sedition law 

Lateral Entry into Central Government

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Polity

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Government has decided to recruit 17 senior officers in the Central government from the private sector through lateral entry.

  • This is the fourth such recruitment drive proposed to be undertaken by the government which had in 2018 initiated lateral entry to bring fresh talent and augment the availability of manpower.

 

About Lateral Entry:

The term lateral entry relates to the appointment of specialists, mainly those from the private sector, in government organisations.

Committees’ recommendations on lateral entry:

  • The idea has been advocated by Surinder Nath Committee (2003), Hota Committee (2004) and Second ARC (2008).
  • NITI Aayog, in its three-year Action Agenda (2017—2020), recommended the induction of personnel at middle and senior management levels in the central government.

 

Arguments in Favour of Lateral Entry Arguments Against Lateral Entry
Twin objective of bringing in fresh talent and augmenting manpower. Difficulty adjusting to bureaucratic work culture.
Domain expertise synthesized with the multi-sectoral wisdom of the permanent civil service. Short tenures are not conducive to holding accountability.
Increasing complexity in governance (e.g., digitalization, financial frauds, cybercrime). Lack of field experience.
Increased efficiency through competition within governance. Need for a transparent process
  Profit motive vs. public service: Balancing profit orientation with public service objectives may be a challenge.

  

Conclusion:

To make lateral entry successful, it is essential to strike a balance between the advantages it brings and the challenges it poses. The selection process should be transparent and credible, with specific criteria that attract domain experts and eminent individuals. Adequate training and support should be provided to lateral entrants to help them navigate the bureaucratic work culture and ensure effective collaboration with existing civil servants.

 

 Insta Links:

Lateral Entry

  

Mains Link:

“Lateral entry into administration is a reform that needs to be better implemented”, do you agree? Give your opinion with a suitable justification. (250 words)

India-Nepal Relationship

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Bilateral relation with neighbour

 

Source: TH

 Context: Recently, Nepal’s Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s visited India and signed many bilateral agreements.

During the visit, India and Nepal announced a series of projects focusing on highways, I-ways, and trans-ways, aiming to strengthen ties between the two countries.

 

Some of the key projects include: 

  • Hydroelectricity:
    • Development of the Phukot Karnali Hydroelectric Project
    • Project Development Agreement for the Lower Arun Hydroelectric Project
    • India set a target of importing 10,000 MW of electricity from Nepal.
  • Pipeline:
    • Phase II facilities under Motihari-Amlekhgunj Petroleum Pipeline.
  • Connectivity:
    • The 35-km cross-border railway line linking Jaynagar in Bihar to Kurtha in Nepal.
    • Revised Transit Agreement (1992): To allow Nepal access to India’s inland waterways.
    • Inaugurated the Indian Railway cargo train from Bathnaha in India to Nepal Customs Yard.
  • Solar Energy:
    • Nepal to join the India-led International Solar Alliance.
  • Manufacturing:
    • India to set up a fertilizer plant in Nepal
  • Border Trade:
    • Integrated Check posts at Rupaidiha in India and Nepalgunj in Nepal.

 

Areas of Cooperation in the India-Nepal Relationship:

Examples
Unique India-Nepal Ties The relationship between India and Nepal has been unique due to factors such as social, religious, and community exchanges, inter-marriages, and peaceful coexistence along their 1,770-kilometer border.
Economic Interdependencies India is Nepal’s as its largest trade partner, highest source of foreign direct investment (FDI), transit for third-country trade, a major supplier of petroleum, and one of the top sources of inward remittances.
Defence Cooperation India assists in modernizing Nepal Army through equipment supply and training. Joint military exercises (e.g., Surya Kiran), disaster assistance, and bilateral visits. Recruitment of Nepalese soldiers in Gorkha regiments of the Indian Army.
Connectivity Construction of integrated check posts and hydroelectric projects (see examples above).
Power Cooperation Cross-border transmission lines to supply power from India to Nepal (see examples above)
Educational, People-to-People, and Cultural Exchanges Visa-free entry for citizens of both countries. Nepalese citizens living and working in India. Promoting people-to-people exchanges through agreements and initiatives. Cultural centres, sister city agreements, and alumni networks.
Multilateral Partnership BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), Non-Aligned Movement, and SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) etc.

 

 

Challenges in India-Nepal Relationship:

Challenges Examples
Boundary Issues The ongoing dispute over areas like Kalapani and Susta. Limited progress in resolving the dispute. Tensions escalated with the publication of new Indian and Nepali maps.
Treaty Revision Nepal’s request to revise the 1950 Friendship treaty was perceived as unequal. Lack of progress in initiating talks or accepting EPG recommendations.
China’s Influence Nepal’s increased engagement with China, including infrastructure agreements. Joining the Belt and Road Initiative. Concerns over Chinese interference in Nepali politics.
Connectivity Issues Nepal seeking air connectivity, particularly through specific airports in India. Dependence on Indian permission for international flights. Infrastructure projects constructed by Chinese companies but requiring Indian viability.
Economic Factors Transition to formal economy in India impacting informal trade arrangements. Difficulty in doing business with India compared to China. The decline in Indian investments was replaced by Chinese investments
Terrorism Porous and poorly patrolled borders enabled the smuggling of weapons, ammunition, and counterfeit currency. Pose security risks to India from terrorist organizations and insurgent groups operating in India’s northeast.
Trust Issues Growing trust gap due to the slow pace of project implementation by India. Perception of India’s interference in Nepal’s politics. Challenges in maintaining trust and political sovereignty.

 

Conclusion:

India-Nepal relations require formal mechanisms to resolve boundary issues, drawing from successful resolutions in other regions. People-to-people interactions and updated discourse are crucial, considering Nepal’s federated governance and changing demographics.

 

Insta Links

 India-Nepal relations

  

Mains Links

The bilateral relations between India and Nepal have been sliding apart, and hence there is a need for recalibration of ties. Discuss. (250 Words)

 

Prelims Links

Consider the following pairs: (UPSC 2016)

Community sometimes mentioned in the news

  1. Kurd — Bangladesh
  2. Madhesi — Nepal
  3. Rohingya — Myanmar

Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?

 

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

 

Ans: C

ILO Monitor on the World of Work (11th edition)

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Indian Economy and issues relating to Development and Employment

 

Source: ILO 

Context: The ILO Monitor on the World of Work database provides access to several of the indicators related to the labour market.

Latest trends: 

Uneven impact of the poly-crisis (simultaneous occurrence of several catastrophic events):

  • The war in Ukraine, effects of COVID-19 pandemic, have resulted in the ongoing cost-of-living crisis, especially in developing countries.
  • Countries face a trade-off in managing expected inflation, exchange rate movements, debt sustainability and economic activity.
  • Various global shocks and risks are holding back labour market recovery, especially in low- and middle-income countries.

 

Unemployment and the jobs gap: Global unemployment is likely to return to the pre-pandemic level in 2023.

 

Highlights of the ILO Monitor (11th edition):

  • In 2023, the global jobs gap (periods during one’s professional career when s/he did not have secure, formal employment) is projected to stand at 453 million people (11.7%), more than double the level of unemployment.
    • Low-income countries in debt distress face a jobs gap of 25.7% in 2023.
  • Some countries are facing complex and cascading crises, like natural disasters (e.g. the earthquakes in Türkiye and Syrian Arab Republic), which interact with broader global challenges and exacerbate labour market impacts.
  • Significant social protection policy gaps remain in developing countries, especially in low-income countries, including in regard to old-age pensions.
    • Only 38.6% of older persons in lower middle-income countries receive an old-age pension.

 

Case of India: Unemployment rate declined sharply in 2021 and 2022, falling to 4.8%, which is almost 2 percentage points below its level of 2019 (6.5%).

 

Some of the labour reforms in India:

  • Labour falls under the Concurrent List of the Constitution.
  • The central government replaced the 29 existing labour laws with four Codes. These Codes regulate: (i) Wages, (ii) Industrial Relations, (iii) Social Security, and (iv) Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions.
  • eShram: This portal will help build a comprehensive National Database of Unorganised Workers (NDUW) in the country.
  • PM Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM): Meant for old age protection and social security of Unorganised workers.
  • Aam Admi Bima Yojana: Providing social security to unorganised sector workers.

 

Recommendations:

  • Building a national social protection floor: For example, by expanding basic old-age pensions in developing countries.
    • This will act as a catalyst for inclusive sustainable development and decent jobs.
  • Policies and financial support: To build resilience and overcome the global employment divide.
  • Build global financial resources: The UN Global Accelerator on Jobs and Social Protection, and the Global Coalition for Social Justice can play a positive role here.

 

ILO’s 4-pillar policy framework: 

 

Insta Links:

Labour laws and labour reforms

A new treaty for outer space

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Developments in the field of Space

 

Source: DTE

 Context: The United Nations (UN) has recommended a new treaty for ensuring peace and security as well as preventing an arms race in outer space.

 

What is outer space?

  • Outer space is the region beyond a planet’s atmosphere. For Earth, it begins about 100 kms (62 miles) above sea level.
  • The line separating the atmosphere and outer space is called the Karman line.

 

Background:

  • The recommendations, which are part of a UN policy brief (‘For All Humanity – The Future of Outer Space Governance’) come ahead of the UN Summit of the Future.
  • At the Summit of the Future, member states will agree on multilateral solutions for a better tomorrow and to strengthen global governance.

 

The new treaty for outer space: 

Need:

  • Over the past decade, fundamental changes have been witnessed in outer space like weaponisation of space, exponential increase in satellite launches, etc.
    • For example, there were 210 new launches in 2013, which increased to 600 (2019), 1,200 (2020) and 2,470 (2022).
    • This increase is fuelled by the active participation of the private sector.
  • Outer space (like asteroids) contains abundant deposits of valuable metals (platinum, nickel, cobalt, etc) and governments are in favour of the exploitation of space resources.
  • Space debris is another issue. More than 130 million smaller than one cm have been recorded.
  • Currently, there is no agreed international framework on space resource exploration, exploitation and utilisation.
  • Conflict could arise if countries do not agree on international principles and could also lead to environmental degradation and cultural loss.
  • Hence, the development of international norms, rules and principles will ensure effective governance, propel innovation and mitigate risks in outer space.

 

Existing treaties:

  • The Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space: Established in 1959 by the UN to review and enable international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space.
  • In 1963, countries agreed to prohibit testing nuclear weapons in outer space.
  • In 1967, the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, was agreed upon.
    • It prohibits only weapons of mass destruction in outer space, not ordinary weapons.
  • In 2022, the UN members agreed upon a series of guidelines, frameworks and recommendations on issues such as
    • Mitigation of space debris,
    • Nuclear power source safety,
    • The long-term sustainability of outer space activities and
    • Transparency and confidence-building measures in outer space activities.

 

Key highlights of the recommended treaty:

  • A combination of binding and non-binding norms to address emerging risks to outer space security, safety and sustainability.
  • It will consider important legal issues, including jurisdiction, control, liability and responsibility for environmental pollution in space for present and future generations.
  • An additional framework to prevent an armed conflict in outer space and the weaponisation of outer space.
  • An effective framework for coordinating space situational awareness, space object manoeuvres and events.
  • An effective framework for sustainable exploration, exploitation and utilisation of the Moon and other celestial bodies for the benefit of all mankind.

 

Insta Links:

The Defenders- Weaponisation of Space

Virtual autism

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

Source: TH

 Virtual autism refers to the sensory, motor, and socio-affective deprivation experienced by children aged 0-3 years who spend more than four hours a day staring at screens.

This phenomenon, identified by psychologist Marius Teodor Zamfir, has similarities to behaviours found in children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Reversing the effects of virtual autism may involve a combination of therapies, including play therapy, psychomotor stimulation, language stimulation, and cognitive behaviour therapies.

Usage: The example can be used in Indian Society/Essay, to highlight the issues of digital addiction in children.

ICC warrant against Russia’s Putin

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH 

Context: South Africa is considering its legal options regarding a war crimes arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • As a member of the ICC, South Africa would be obligated to arrest Putin if he attended a summit of the BRICS countries in Johannesburg.

 

Why did the International Criminal Court issue the warrants?

The court says Putin bears individual criminal responsibility for the abduction and deportation of Ukrainian children since Russia’s full-scale invasion.

 

About International Criminal Court:

Dimension Description
Creation Established under the 1998 Rome Statute as a permanent international criminal court; HQ: The Hague, the Netherlands.
Members 123 countries party to the Rome Statute
Purpose Investigates and tries individuals charged with war crimes, genocide, crime of aggression and crimes against humanity
Jurisdiction Covers crimes committed on or after July 1, 2002
Structure Four main organs: Assembly of States Parties, Presidency, Judicial Divisions, and Registry
Languages Official languages: English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, and Spanish
Limitations No police force or enforcement body; depends on state cooperation
Controversies Accused of bias and Western imperialism; faced sanctions from the USA
Relationship with UN Not part of the United Nations system, but has a cooperation agreement with the UN
Relationship with ICJ Separate from the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
India’s Membership Status India is not a party to the Rome Statute and is not a member of the ICC (along with China and USA); the USA signed the statute but never ratified it.
Reasons for Non-Membership of India State sovereignty, national interests, difficulties in evidence collection and impartiality

The Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023

Facts for Prelims (FFP)C

Source: LM

 Context: The Civil Aviation Ministry has issued the Draft Aircraft Bill, 2023 to replace the existing Aircraft Act, 1934.

Aim: The draft bill aims to provide a simplified approach to regulations (including design, manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import, and export) in order to meet the current needs of the civil aviation sector and remove redundancies present in the 1934 law. It also seeks to bring India in line with the Chicago Convention.

 

Major provisions:

  • Creation of two statutory bodies, namely the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security and the Aircraft Accident Investigation Bureau. These bodies would be responsible for implementing the Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) prescribed under the Chicago Convention and would discharge regulatory and oversight functions.
  • Sufficient powers for the statutory regulatory bodies, such as the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

About Chicago Convention

Also known as the Convention on International Civil Aviation, it is an international treaty established in 1944. It sets out the core principles for international air transport and created the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to oversee its implementation. The convention recognizes nine freedoms of air, with the first five being officially recognized by the ICAO. These freedoms grant countries the right to fly over, land in, and transport passengers and cargo between territories.

  India is its member

Li-ion battery recycling technology

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: PIB

 Context: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in India has transferred cost-effective lithium-ion battery recycling technology to nine recycling industries and start-ups as part of the Mission LiFE under the “Promote circularity campaign.”

 

This indigenous technology can process various types of discarded lithium-ion batteries, recovering over 95% of lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel contents in the form of corresponding oxides/carbonates with a purity of about 98%.

 

What is the recycling process?

The recycling process of lithium-ion batteries involves several steps.

  • First, the batteries are collected, sorted and disassembled
  • Next, the electrodes, which contain valuable metals like lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel, are extracted, through a process called leaching, where the electrodes are submerged in a liquid that dissolves these metals.
  • After that, the metals are purified to remove impurities, resulting in high-purity lithium, cobalt, manganese, and nickel compounds.

 

Aim of recycling: To recover valuable materials from lithium-ion batteries, reducing the need for mining and minimizing environmental impact. It helps conserve resources and promotes sustainable practices in battery manufacturing.

Developed by: The technology was developed at the Centre of Excellence on E-waste Management, in collaboration with the Government of Telangana and industry partner.

About 

India generates more than 50,000 tons of lithium-ion battery waste annually, growing in the range of 40-80%. India currently imports all of its Li from Australia and Argentina and 70% of its Li-ion cell requirement from China and Hong Kong.

Smart bandage

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 Context: A new ‘smart bandage’ helps in treating chronic wounds in a much more effective manner.

 

What is a smart bandage?

  • The bandage works by using biosensors to track the chemical composition of the wound exudates, which changes as the wound heals.
  • It also monitors pH and temperature to provide real-time information about infection and inflammation. The bandage has a hydrogel layer with electrodes that control the release of drugs. It is wireless, eliminating the need for bulky equipment and wired connections.
  • In tests, the bandage loaded with an antimicrobial substance proved effective against bacteria commonly associated with chronic wounds. It also enhanced tissue regeneration in skin cell investigations.
  • When applied to wounds in diabetic mice, the bandage accurately detected infection, inflammation, and metabolic statuses. Diabetic rats treated with the bandage and a combination of drugs and electrical stimulation showed faster wound healing and less scarring compared to those without this treatment.

 

 

MH60R helicopter

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TOI

 Context: The Indian Navy achieved another unique feat after an MH-60 ‘Romeo’ multi-mission helicopter landed on the indigenously-built aircraft carrier INS Vikrant.

  • Manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics and sensors.

 About MH60R:

  • MH60R helicopter is a versatile platform known for its exceptional ASW, surveillance, anti-shipping, and search and rescue capabilities
  • MH60 R, considered one of the most advanced maritime helicopters in the world, is designed to operate from frigates, destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers. It is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions with state-of-the-art avionics/ sensors.

Seychelles

Mapping

Source: TH

 Context: After a 27-year absence, the United States has reopened its Embassy in Seychelles, signalling a renewed focus on countering China’s influence in the Indian Ocean region.

 

About Seychelles

It is an archipelago of 115 islands in the Indian Ocean, off East Africa. It’s home to numerous beaches, coral reefs and nature reserves, as well as rare animals such as giant Aldabra tortoises.

 

 

Iran-Taliban water conflict

 

Source: IE 

Context: Iran and Afghanistan are engaged in a long-standing dispute over the sharing of water from the Helmand River.

 

Both countries rely on the Helmand River as a vital water source for agriculture, livelihoods, and ecosystems in the region.

 

The dispute: Iran accuses Afghanistan of violating its water rights, claiming that it receives far less water than agreed upon in a 1973 treaty. Afghanistan, on the other hand, attributes the reduced water flow to climatic factors such as a shortage of rainfall.

 

About Helmand River 

It is the longest river in Afghanistan and the primary watershed for the Endorheic Sistan Basin. It emerges in the Sanglakh Range of the Hindu Kush mountains. It is separated from the watershed of the Kabul River by the Unai Pass.

 

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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