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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 30 August 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. ECI: Point of contention between the government and the judiciary
  2. Suspension of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Use of Technology in Agriculture

 

Content for Mains Enrichment

  1. Puneeth Rajkumar’s eye donation

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Near vs. Far Side of Moon
  2. Meaning of “Global South”
  3. Magic rice
  4. Nabhmitra
  5. Pragyan rover confirms sulphur at moon’s south pole, searching for hydrogen
  6. National Carbon Registry
  7. Over 50 African countries agree to work on minimising the impact of mineral mining
  8. Hollongapar Gibbon sanctuary

 

Mapping

  1. Australia

 


 

ECI: Point of contention between the government and the judiciary

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Election Commission of India

 

Source: TH

 Context: Recently, the government introduced a Bill that seeks to replace the Chief Justice of India with a cabinet minister nominated by the Prime Minister in the committee of selection for the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners in India.

  

Previously, The Supreme Court gave a unanimous judgment on March 2 and directed that the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs) should be appointed by the President based on a committee’s advice. This committee would include the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha or the largest Opposition party leader, and the Chief Justice of India (CJI).

 

For major provisions of the New Bill and issues with it: Click Here

 

The ongoing debate in light of the recent Supreme Court judgement:

  • Rationale: Article 324(2) reads “The appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners shall, subject to the provisions of any law made on that behalf by Parliament, be made by the President.”
    • Since there is no law made by parliament on this issue as provided in the Constitution, the Court felt the need to step in to fill the “constitutional vacuum.”
  • Government’s position: The government had argued that in the absence of such a law by parliament, there is no real “vacuum” as the President has the constitutional power to decide on the matter and asked the SC to exhibit Judicial restraint.
  • Separation of powers: The debate has focussed on the separation of powers which is a feature of the basic structure of the constitution. The question is whether SC is in line to produce such a pronouncement versus whether a government to be elected can appoint persons governing the process of election.
  • Parliament’s new bill: The new bill has been the government’s rebuttal to the judiciary.
  • Issues in the bill: The bill attempts to return to the status quo of government decisions while including only the leader of the opposition (replacing the provision of CJI with the minister as a member).
    • This has been criticised as the government of the day having a greater voice in appointing such an important body.
  • Other subjects of debate: The SC had left the question of funding the EC, the Permanent secretariat and the need for expenditure to be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India for the government to decide.

 

Suggested measures:

  • Transparency and independence in appointment: The appointments should be made by a bipartisan committee that includes representatives from various stakeholders.
    • Also, the publishing minutes of the meeting of such a committee is essential.
  • Judicial restraint: The judiciary must be aware of drawing the line between activism and overreacting to exercise restraint except when a true constitutional or executive vacuum exists.
  • Independence of the commission: The ECI should be given complete autonomy in the conduct of elections which can be done by creating a dedicated cadre of officers responsible for election duty.
  • Charged expenditure and other infrastructure: The government must act on the nudge of the SC to provide a permanent secretariat and other infrastructure along with funding via charged expenditure to ensure the commission’s independence.

  

Committee Recommendations:

Committee/Leader Recommendation
V.M. Tarkunde Committee (1975) Broad-based appointments of ECI members through the collegium process rather than the government’s advice
Dinesh Goswami Committee (1990s) A similar suggestion for broader-based appointments through a collegium
Second Administrative Reforms Commission (2009) Suggested broader-based appointments of ECI members
B.B. Tandon (2006) Proposed a seven-member committee with PM, CJI, Lok Sabha Speaker, Opposition leaders, Law Minister, and a judge nominated by CJI
L.K. Advani (2012) Suggested a collegium with PM as chairman, CJI, Minister of Law and Justice, and Leaders of the Opposition as members

 

Current provisions:

  • Appointment: The President appoints the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners. The President makes the appointment on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers headed by the Prime Minister.
  • Tenure: They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
  • Service conditions: They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court (SC) of India.
  • Removal: The CEC can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of an SC judge by Parliament.
  • Number of commissioners: As per Article 342(2) the Election Commission shall consist of the CEC and such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the President may from time to time fix.

  

Conclusion:

Free and fair elections are the foundation of any functioning democracy. In this light, it is important to find a way to balance the need for independence, accountability, and transparency, in order to ensure that the ECI remains a truly independent and impartial institution.

 

Insta Links:

How are the CEC and ECs appointed?

 

Prelims Links:

Consider the following statements: ( UPSC 2017)

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

 

Ans: D

 

Mains Links:

Q.1 In light of the recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines(EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (UPSC 2018)

Q.2 To enhance the quality of democracy in India the Election Commission of India has proposed electoral reforms in 2016. What are the suggested reforms and how far are they significant to make democracy successful? (UPSC 2017)

Suspension of Wrestling Federation of India (WFI)

GS Paper  2

 Syllabus: Sports Governance

 

Source: TH

Context: The United World Wrestling (UWW) has provisionally suspended the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) due to the delay in conducting its elections.

The suspension comes in the wake of allegations of sexual harassment, intimidation, financial irregularities, and administrative lapses brought forth by prominent wrestlers against the former WFI president, Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, and others.

 

  • The UWW took this action due to the absence of an elected president and board, which goes against UWW regulations and membership conditions. The suspension is expected to last for at least six months
  • The UWW has also considered the protection of athletes and the need to restore the federation’s functioning as reasons for the suspension

 

Why was the delay caused?

The WFI announced elections for May 7. However, protesting Wrestlers demanded Brij Bhushan’s arrest and his family’s exclusion from elections. The Ministry of Sports halted polls and asked the Olympic Association to form an ad-hoc committee. However, before the election could take place on the date set by IOA, the High Court of Guwahati and Punjab& Haryana stayed the elections.

 

As a result of the suspension:

  • Indian wrestlers cannot compete under the national flag in UWW-sanctioned events.
  • No national anthem will be played if an Indian wrestler wins a gold medal in these events.
  • However, Indian Wrestlers are not barred from playing

 

Common issues faced by women in sports:

Issue Examples
Lack of funding and support The US women’s soccer team paid less despite winning more titles than the men’s team.
Gender-based discrimination Female athletes are told they are not as strong or capable as male athletes.
Indian sports are marred by political influence and male domination in positions of power.
Sexual harassment and abuse Tennis player Ruchika Girhotra raised their voice against the tennis federation president.
E.g., Chinese Tennis star Peng Shuai accused the Chinese Vice Premier of sexual assault.
E.g., USA Gymnastics faced a sexual abuse scandal.
Lack of media coverage Women’s sports events receive less media coverage, limiting visibility and sponsorship.
Decreased quality training Inferior facilities, lack of trained coaches, and inadequate equipment.
Stereotyping and objectification Female athletes are objectified and stereotyped based on appearance.
Social attitudes and disfigurement Discrimination based on gender identity, negative evaluations, and loss of position.
Ethical issues Sexual harassment in sports leads to abuse of power, trust violations, and unsafe environments.

 

Steps needed and those taken to address the issues faced by women in sports:

Step Example
Education and Awareness The International Olympic Committee’s Athlete365 program provides educational resources on athlete safeguarding.
Policy and guidelines development Sports Authority of India mandates female coaches to accompany female athletes during travel.
Reporting and complaint mechanisms Sexual Harassment Electronic Box (SHe-Box) offers a platform for women to register complaints of harassment.
Accountability and enforcement National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued notices regarding inappropriate coach behaviour.
Support and empowerment Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports launched the Khelo India Scheme to encourage girls’ sports participation.

Conclusion:

To address the issues faced by women in sports. It will require a concerted effort from various stakeholders, including governments, sports organizations, and civil society, to create a safe and equitable environment for women in sports.

 

About United World Wrestling

It is the international governing body (founded 1912; Headquarters: Corsier-sur-Vevey, Switzerland) for the sport of amateur wrestling; its duties include overseeing wrestling at the World Championships and Olympics. It presides over international competitions for various forms of wrestling, including Greco-Roman, Freestyle, Grappling, as well as others

 

Insta Links:

What triggered Indian Wrestlers’ Protests?

 

Mains Links

How has women’s participation in sports changed over time? Enlist the challenges and limitations that women in sports face and measures taken to empower them. (15M)

Use of Technology in Agriculture

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Use of e-technology in Agriculture

 

Source: Fortune India

Context: During India’s G20 presidency, member countries are focusing on transforming their agriculture ecosystems into sustainable and resilient systems.

This involves developing an integrated digital agriculture ecosystem with standards and protocols for data interoperability.

What is Digital Agriculture?

Digital Agriculture refers to the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and data ecosystems to provide timely, targeted information and services to enhance the profitability, sustainability, and efficiency of farming practices. Examples of digital agriculture include:

  • Agricultural Biotechnology: E.g., developing microorganisms for specific agricultural purposes.
  • Precision Agriculture (PA): It relies on the use of ICT to optimize resource application.
  • Digital and Wireless Technologies: e.g., weather monitoring systems, robotics, drones, and other wireless devices

 

Benefits of Digital Agriculture:

Benefits Explanation
Increases agriculture productivity Digital tools and data-driven insights can lead to better crop management, optimizing yields and overall production.
Prevents soil degradation Precision farming techniques can help reduce soil erosion and nutrient loss, preserving soil health.
Reduces chemical application in crop production Targeted application of inputs like fertilizers and pesticides can minimize environmental impact.
Efficient use of water resources Digital sensors and data can aid in precise irrigation, minimizing water wastage and enhancing water efficiency.
Disseminates modern farm practices Information dissemination through digital platforms empowers farmers to adopt best practices and innovations.
Changes in the socio-economic status of farmers Increased productivity and reduced costs can lead to improved income and livelihoods for farmers.

 

Challenges for Digital Agriculture:

High Capital Costs discourage many farmers, especially those with limited resources, due to substantial initial investments. Small Land Holdings in India complicate adopting large-scale digital technologies, as smaller plots are less conducive to certain solutions. Renting and Sharing equipment, common due to financial constraints, hinder individual technology adoption as not all farmers have timely access. Illiteracy in Rural Areas is a significant barrier, as many rural farmers lack computer literacy, impeding their effective use of digital tools.

 

Related Government Initiatives:

Initiative Explanation
AgriStack A collection of technology-based interventions in agriculture to provide end-to-end services across the agri-food value chain.
Promotion to Startups Currently, India has over 1,000 agri-tech startups that play a crucial role in providing innovative solutions for challenges across the agricultural value chain.
Digital Agriculture Mission A government initiative for projects based on technologies like AI, blockchain, remote sensing, drones, and robots to advance agriculture.
Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP) A platform facilitating seamless interoperability of IT systems in the agriculture ecosystem, enhancing service delivery to farmers.
National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA) A scheme using ICT for timely access to agriculture-related information, including platforms like Farmers Portal and mkisan for advisories.
Strengthening/Promoting Agricultural Information System (AGRISNET) A scheme for strengthening the IT infrastructure of the Department and enhancing information dissemination through platforms like mkisan.

 

Conclusion:

Embracing quantum computing, AI, and big data can revolutionize the agriculture sector, akin to the green revolution’s impact. Establishing a robust digital infrastructure encompassing satellite imaging, soil health data, land records, cropping patterns, and market information is essential.

 

Insta Links:

 

e-Technology in the aid of farmers

 

Mains Links:

Examine the role of supermarkets in the supply chain management of fruits, vegetables, and food items. How do they eliminate number of intermediaries? (UPSC 2018)

Puneeth Rajkumar’s eye donation

Content for Mains Enrichment

 

 

 

Source: TH

 Context: Kannada actor Puneeth Rajkumar’s eye donation inspired a significant increase in eye pledges and donations in Karnataka.

Following Puneeth Rajkumar’s donation, the Dr. Rajkumar Eye Bank at Narayana Nethralaya received over 1,27,924 eye pledges and collected 3,989 eyes in the past two years, marking a substantial growth compared to the previous 30 years of its existence.

Corneal blindness, affecting millions in India, can be treated through eye transplants.

Usage: The example can be used to show ethical values of Compassion and Philanthropy, Social Responsibility, Altruism and Public Health, and Positive Role Models

Near vs. Far Side of Moon

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Chandrayaan-3 mission, part of India’s lunar exploration efforts, successfully landed the Vikram lander on the near side of the Moon, making it one of the closest approaches to the Moon’s South Pole.

 

 Difference between the Near and Far side of the Moon:

Aspect Near Side of the Moon Far Side of the Moon
Visibility from Earth Visible to Earth observers (about 60% of the moon’s surface area) Not visible from Earth
Sunlight Exposure Receives sunlight, not perpetually dark Receives sunlight during the new moon
Terrain Relatively smoother, more volcanic plains Rougher terrain with large impact craters
Crust Thickness Thinner crust, extensive volcanic lava flow Thicker crust, fewer volcanic features
Space Missions Conducive to space missions due to flatter terrain More challenging due to rough terrain and craters
Water-Ice Possibility Limited in permanently shadowed regions Possible in permanently shadowed regions
Lunar Exploration Many lunar missions have landed here Fewer lunar missions due to challenges (only China’s mission was sent to the far side)
Communication Direct line-of-sight communication with Earth Limited communication requires the relay

Meaning of “Global South”

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: BS

 Context:  The term Global South” originated in 1969 during the Vietnam War to critique the unequal global order created by the dominance of the Northern hemisphere over the Southern hemisphere.

 

What is the Meaning of “Global South” with example?

The term “Global South” refers to countries and regions that are economically and socially less developed in comparison to the more affluent and developed “Global North.”

Examples of Global South countries include India, Brazil, Nigeria, and Indonesia, which often face economic challenges and are considered to be part of the developing world.

Issues with this terminology:

  • Geographically, the division between Global North and Global South based on the 30-degree north latitude line is arbitrary and excludes countries like Australia, New Zealand, and developed countries within the Global South.
  • Economically, the term is inconsistent as nations like China, with high per capita income, are categorized as part of the Global South.
  • Issues arise due to key allies of the Global North situated in the Southern Hemisphere, which contradicts the categorization.

 

Evolving meaning of “Global South”: 

  • New Terminology: It’s a term some leaders use as an alternative to “developing world”
  • Beyond Economics:While the traditional labels focus on economic indicators, “Global South” emphasizes cultural and other differences
    • For example, the “Global South” prioritizes sustainable living, ecological balance, and universal healthcare.
  • Cultural Distinction: The difference between the Global South and the Global North is more about cultural aspects than just economic or developmental ones.

Magic rice

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TOI

 Context: Chokuwa rice, also known as Magic rice, is a distinctive part of Assam’s culinary heritage and has recently been granted a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for its uniqueness.

  

About Chokuwa rice:

  • This rice was a staple for the troops of the Ahom dynasty in Assam and is cultivated in various parts of the region, especially around the Brahmaputra area.
  • Chokuwa rice is a semi-glutinous winter rice, categorized as Sali rice. It comes in sticky and glutinous varieties, known as Bora and Chokuwa, based on their amylose content.
  • The low-amylose Chokuwa rice is used to make soft rice, which can be consumed after soaking in cold or lukewarm water.
  • The rice is pre-boiled, dried, stored, and then soaked before eating, making it convenient and nutritious.
  • Chokuwa rice is enjoyed with various accompaniments like curd, sugar, jaggery, and bananas, and is also used in traditional Assamese dishes like Pithe.

Nabhmitra

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: ISRO’s Space Applications Centre in Ahmedabad has developed a device called ‘Nabhmitra’, which has been successfully tested.

  • This device is aimed at enhancing the safety of fishermen. It operates through satellite-based communication and enables two-way messaging between boats at sea and authorities on land.
  • The system can convey weather alerts, cyclone warnings, and other information in the local language.
  • In cases of emergencies like boat accidents or fires, fishermen can activate the device to alert the control centre. The control centre receives the boat’s location and the crew onboard gets a response from the control centre.
  • Additionally, the device provides details about shipping routes, maritime boundaries, and fishing areas.

 

Pragyan rover confirms sulphur

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH 

Context: India’s Chandrayaan-3 mission’s Pragyan rover has confirmed the existence of sulphur on the moon’s surface near the south pole.

  • This discovery was enabled by the Laser-Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) instrument onboard the rover, marking the first in-situ measurements of the lunar surface’s elemental composition in this region.
  • The LIBS technique involves using intense laser pulses to analyse materials, creating hot and localized plasma whose emitted light is then studied to determine the material’s elemental composition.
  • The analysis has also revealed the presence of elements like aluminium, calcium, iron, chromium, titanium, manganese, silicon, and oxygen on the lunar surface. T

The Pragyan rover is still actively searching for the presence of hydrogen.

 

National Carbon Registry

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: UNDP

 Context: The UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) has created an open-source software named the National Carbon Registry for effectively managing national data and processes related to trading carbon credits.

  • This software has received accreditation as a digital public good (DPG), utilizing open-source code that countries can adapt to their own requirements.
  • It comprises various modules, software, and technical documentation that can be customized by countries, potentially reducing costs and timelines for implementation.
  • The registry aligns with best practices and insights from countries, supported by the Digital4Climate Working Group, which includes UNDP, World Bank, UNFCCC, and EBRD.

This initiative aims to build a digital public infrastructure for addressing climate challenges and carbon markets. The software also aligns with the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 and NDCs, recognizing the growing interest in carbon markets worldwide for GHG emission reduction.

Over 50 African countries agree to work on minimising the impact of mineral mining

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: African environment ministers have come to an agreement to establish national and regional strategies aimed at minimizing the environmental impacts associated with the extraction and processing of critical mineral resources.

  • This decision stems from the 19th African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
  • The conference, themed “Seizing Opportunities and Enhancing Collaboration to Address Environmental Challenges in Africa,” resulted in the Addis Ababa declaration, which acknowledges pressing environmental challenges like land degradation, desertification, and drought.
  • The declaration emphasizes actions to combat climate change, plastic pollution, marine protection, biodiversity conservation, and natural capital, contributing to global goals of sustainable development and climate mitigation.

 

The conference saw the launch of the first Africa UN Science-Policy-Business Forum and discussions encompassing Africa’s engagement in global environmental assemblies and conventions.

Hollongapar Gibbon sanctuary

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

  

Context: Primatologists have proposed a solution to address the division caused by a 1.65-km long railway track within the Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary in eastern Assam, dedicated to the western hoolock gibbon.

  • The sanctuary, home to about 125 hoolock gibbons, is facing habitat fragmentation due to the track’s presence, which has separated gibbon populations on either side.
  • To counter this, scientists from the Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have suggested constructing an artificial canopy bridge to enable the gibbons to move across the railway line.
  • This would help maintain genetic diversity and support the survival of the endangered gibbons, which are highly sensitive to disruptions in their canopy habitat.

 

 

 

About Hoolock Gibbons:

  • Gibbons, known as the smallest and fastest of all apes, inhabit tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia.

  

Conservation Status:

International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List:

  • Western Hoolock Gibbon: Endangered
  • Eastern Hoolock Gibbon: Vulnerable.
  • Schedule 1 of the Indian (Wildlife) Protection Act 1972.

 

The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary, formerly known as the Gibbon Wildlife Sanctuary or Hollongapar Reserved Forest is an isolated protected area of evergreen forest located in Assam, India. The sanctuary was officially constituted and renamed in 1997.

The Hollongapar Gibbon Sanctuary contains India’s only gibbons – the hoolock gibbons, and North-eastern India’s only nocturnal primate – the Bengal slow loris.

Australia

Mapping

 

Source: TH

On October 14, Australians will vote in a referendum regarding the establishment of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament, aiming to give Indigenous people a say in government policies that affect their lives. The referendum seeks to enshrine this mechanism in the Constitution, but there are concerns about how the Voice’s powers might be interpreted, and opinions on the matter are divided within Australia.

Australian Aboriginals are the Indigenous peoples of Australia, with a history dating back over 65,000 years. They have a rich cultural heritage, with diverse languages, art, and traditions. Despite facing historical injustices and ongoing challenges, they have contributed significantly to Australia’s cultural identity.

 

Read the CA in PDF format here: 

 


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