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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 16 March 2024

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. High-Level Committee Report on One Nation, One Election

 

GS Paper 4:

  1. Achieving Happiness

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Pandavula Gutta designated as a Geo-Heritage site
  2. Atmospheric Testbed Facility
  3. Darien Gap
  4. PB-SHABD
  5. Small and Medium REITs
  6. Lyme Disease
  7. Global Methane Tracker 2024 report
  8. NATO’s DIANA program

 

Mapping

  1. Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project (Arunachal Pradesh)

 


 

High-Level Committee Report on One Nation, One Election

GS Paper 2

 Syllabus: Polity: Elections

 

Source: IE

 Context: The High-Level Committee on One Nation, One Election, led by former President Ram Nath Kovind, has proposed significant changes to enable synchronized elections across India.

 

What is One Nation One Election (ONOE)?

One Nation One Election is a proposal to synchronize the timing of all elections in India, including those for the Lok Sabha, state legislative assemblies, and local bodies. The aim is to streamline the electoral process, reduce campaign expenditures, minimize disruptions to governance, and enhance political stability by holding all elections simultaneously at regular intervals, typically once every five years. ONOE was the norm until 1967 but after that cycle was broken. Earlier Law Commission also recommended the idea of ONOE in its report.

 

Key Recommendations of the High-Level Committee: 

  1. Two-step approach for Simultaneous Elections (SE): Synchronize Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies (SLA) elections first, followed by Municipalities and Panchayats elections (M&PE).
    1. Amendments in Article 324A are required for this synchronization, but states’ ratification is not necessary.
    2. The amendments needed for simultaneous elections are outside the scope of Article 368(2) and thus don’t require ratification by the states.
  • Municipal and Panchayat elections should be held within 100 days of Lok Sabha and State elections.
  1. Dealing with hung House, adoption of no-confidence motion, and defection:
    1. For Lok Sabha, fresh elections should be held with tenure limited to the unexpired term of the previous Lok Sabha.
    2. For States, fresh elections should be held, continuing until the end of the full term of Lok Sabha.
  • Amendments in Article 83 and Article 172 are needed, but state ratification is not required.
  1. Single electoral roll and electoral identity cards: An amendment to Article 325 is recommended, which will require states’ ratification.
  2. Presidential Notification: A Presidential notification would set an “appointed date” for simultaneous elections.
  3. Constitutional Authority of Parliament for ONOE: The Constitution mainly entrusts Parliament, not states, with the power to conduct Assembly elections.
    • Under Article 328 of the Constitution States have only residual powers on conducting Assembly elections; the power is mainly entrusted to Parliament through Article 327.

 

Constitutional Articles involved:

Article Description Amendment Required
Article 324A Article 324 of the Constitution vests the Election Commission with the authority to supervise, direct, and control elections for Parliament, state legislatures, the President of India, and the Vice-President of India.

 

The committee has suggested the inclusion of a new Article 324A in the Constitution.

This new article would empower Parliament to make laws to ensure that municipality and panchayat elections are held simultaneously with the General Elections (to Lok Sabha and state Assemblies) without requiring state ratification.
Article 83 and Article 172 Article 83(2) and Article 172(1) stipulate a five-year term for the Lok Sabha and state legislative Assemblies, respectively, commencing from their first sitting unless dissolved earlier. The committee recommended an amendment for synchronizing Assembly elections with Lok Sabha polls, suggesting no need for state ratification.
Article 325 Article 325 prohibits the exclusion of any person from a special electoral roll based on religion, race, caste, or sex. The committee suggested amendment for a single electoral roll and electoral identity cards, requiring state ratification.
Articles 328 and 327 Article 328: Power of Legislature of a State to make provision with respect to elections to such Legislature. As per the committee, the Constitution empowers Parliament, not states, to conduct Assembly elections, implying that simultaneous poll amendments do not mandate state ratification.

 

Benefits of “one nation, one election”:

Benefits Description
Reducing Election Expenditure Conducting all elections simultaneously minimizes expenses on logistics, security, and campaigning.
The Election Commission of India had pegged the expenditure for simultaneous elections at Rs 4,500 crore. In comparison, the 2014 Lok Sabha polls cost Rs 3,870 crore to the exchequer while the 2015 Bihar elections alone cost the government Rs 300 crore.
Better Governance Simultaneous elections reduce distractions to governance and allow elected governments to focus on developmental and welfare activities.
Voter Convenience Voters are spared from multiple rounds of voting throughout the year, ensuring better turnout and convenience.
Reduced Security Concerns Simultaneous elections decrease security concerns by requiring a unified security setup across the country.
Level Playing Field All parties and candidates have equal opportunities, promoting fairness and transparency in the electoral process.
Reduced Impact on Education Simultaneous elections lessen the impact on the education sector by minimizing the involvement of teachers in the electoral process.

Limitations of “one nation, one election”

Challenges Description
Ratification by States The committee proposal that Ratification by states is not needed for most of the amendments may increase tension between the centre and states and also be struck down by Judicial Review
In Kihoto Hollohan v Zachillhu (1992), the Supreme Court invalidated a law related to lawmaker disqualification because it lacked ratification by the states.
Constitutional Challenges Implementing “one nation, one election” requires lengthy and complicated constitutional amendments, necessitating consensus among political parties and states.
Anti-federalism Combining assembly elections with general elections risks submerging regional issues under the national narrative, potentially undermining local representation.
Complexity of Logistics Managing simultaneous elections entails significant logistical arrangements, including security deployment, electoral roll preparation, and polling booth management.
It would require greater numbers of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines
Dominance by National Parties Simultaneous elections may favour national parties with more resources, potentially disadvantaging regional parties and diminishing the representation of regional issues.
Impact on Democracy Conducting simultaneous elections might limit voters’ engagement with all issues, possibly compromising informed decision-making and the overall democratic process.
Voter’s choice and interests Simultaneous elections may shift voter focus to national issues, potentially favouring larger national parties over regional ones. This could marginalize regional parties and diminish voter interests.
Additionally, separate elections enhance accountability by subjecting politicians to more frequent electoral scrutiny.

International Experience:

  1. South Africa: National and provincial legislature elections are simultaneous for five years, with municipal elections held two years later.
  2. Sweden: Elections for the national legislature (Riksdag), provincial legislature/county council (Landsting), and municipal assemblies (Kommunfullmaktige) are held every fourth year on the second Sunday in September.
  • Britain: The Fixed-term Parliaments Act, 2011 ensures stability by holding elections on the first Thursday of May every fifth year, starting from May 7, 2015.

 

Way forward

  • Parliamentary standing committee on Law and Justice recommended a two-phase election schedule, according to which elections to some legislative assemblies whose term end within six months to one year before or after the election date could be held during the midterm of Lok Sabha. For the rest of the states, elections could be held along with the general elections to Lok Sabha.
  • Cost can be brought under control by ensuring that the legal cap on the expenditure of candidates is followed by all parties.
  • Concept of One year, One election will be easier than ONOE, and will have the same benefits.

 

Conclusion:

While the objectives for simultaneous polls offer considerable opportunities, the challenges involved and practical limitations highlight the need for wider political support and legislative amendments. Going forward toward this goal, elaborate deliberations and a consensus-based mechanism for implementation are essential.

 

Insta Links:

 

Mains Link:

Q.‘Simultaneous election to the Lok Sabha and the State Assemblies will limit the amount of time and money spent in electioneering but it will reduce the government’s accountability to the people’ Discuss. (UPSC 2017)

 

Prelims Links:

Q1. Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2020)

  1. According to the Constitution of India, a person who is eligible to vote can be made a minister in a State for six months even if he/she is not a member of the Legislature of that State.
  2. According to the Representation of People Act, 1951, a person convicted of a criminal offense and sentenced to imprisonment for five years is permanently disqualified from contesting an election even after his release from prison.

 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

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

 

Answer: D

 

Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2017)

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. The 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

 

Answer: D

Achieving Happiness

GS Paper 4

 Syllabus: Application of Ethics

 

Source: LM

 Context: The upcoming International Day of Happiness on March 20 prompts reflection on the elusive nature of true contentment amid global strife.

 

What is Happiness?

Happiness is a mental and emotional state characterized by contentment, satisfaction, and enjoyment. It is subjective and elicits positive thoughts and feelings, encompassing various emotions like joy, amusement, and triumph.

 

Examples:

 

  1. Individual Life Examples:
    1. Personal Achievement: Completing a long-term goal, like graduating from university, can bring a profound sense of happiness and accomplishment to an individual.
    2. Quality Time with Loved Ones: Spending a relaxing day with family or friends, and engaging in activities you enjoy together, can foster happiness through social connections.
  • Practising Gratitude: Taking time each day to reflect on things you’re thankful for, whether big or small, can cultivate a sense of happiness and appreciation.
  1. Societal Life Examples:
    1. Social Support Systems: Societies that prioritize community support networks, such as accessible healthcare, education, and social welfare programs, contribute to the overall happiness and well-being of their citizens.
    2. Cultural Celebrations: Festivals and cultural events that bring communities together in celebration and unity often lead to collective happiness and a sense of belonging.

 

Thinkers: Aristotle sees it as the pursuit of well-being and fulfilment, Buddhism emphasizes overcoming craving, while Hinduism focuses on realizing one’s true self by transcending duality. UN describes ‘happiness’ as a fundamental human goal.

 

Is economic growth sufficient to ensure a happy life?

Economic growth isn’t always enough for happiness. While wealth can contribute, studies reveal it’s not a guarantee. For instance, despite its affluence, the USA ranks low in the UN’s Happiness Report. Conversely, Nordic countries like Finland, Denmark, and Sweden, while not as rich, often rank higher.

 

What is a ‘Happy Society’?

A “happy society” is generally considered to be a society in which the majority of people report feeling satisfied and content with their lives.

  • This can be influenced by factors such as a high standard of living, access to education and healthcare, a sense of community and social support, and low levels of crime and violence.

 

Why has Indian society continuously underperformed in the gross happiness Index?

India has ranked 126 out of 150 countries in the annual World Happiness Report 2023, finding itself toward the bottom of the index for the eighth consecutive year.

Factors Responsible Impact
Poverty and income inequality Despite economic growth, a significant portion lives in poverty, lacking basics like food and healthcare.
Corruption Undermines public trust, and reduces the effectiveness of public services.
Lack of access to education Many, especially rural dwellers, lack a quality education, impacting well-being.
Lack of access to healthcare Limited healthcare access negatively affects overall well-being.
Social and cultural issues Challenges include discrimination, violence against women, child labour, and caste-based discrimination.
Political instability Instability and ineffective governance contribute to lower well-being.
Rapid urbanization Congested cities and urbanization impact well-being negatively.
Low earnings Economic challenges like dropping earnings and unemployment affect well-being.
Environmental pollution Pollution and its impact on mental health reduce well-being.

 

International Example:

Nordic countries consistently perform well in the World Happiness Report due to their strong government traits, including effective financial management, service delivery, rule of law, peacekeeping, and absence of repression. Additionally, these countries prioritize citizen welfare, contributing to their higher levels of happiness.

 

To achieve a happy citizen and society:

  1. Prioritize social welfare alongside economic growth.
  2. Foster environmental sustainability and conservation efforts.
  3. Ensure access to quality education and healthcare for all.
  4. Combat corruption and promote transparency in governance.
  5. Address social inequalities and discrimination.
  6. Promote community engagement and social cohesion.
  7. Invest in mental health services and promote well-being initiatives.
  8. Encourage active participation in civic and cultural activities.

 

Conclusion:

The pursuit of happiness is intertwined with sustainable development, combining social inclusion and environmental preservation. India must adopt a holistic approach encompassing economic, social, and political dimensions to achieve genuine progress and enhance overall happiness, prioritizing not just economic growth but also social welfare and good governance.

 

About World Happiness Report:

The World Happiness Report, released annually by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, ranks countries based on happiness. Started in 2012, it coincides with the International Day of Happiness. Surveying people in over 150 countries, the report evaluates happiness using six factors: social support, income, health, freedom, generosity, and absence of corruption.

 

Mains Link:

Happiness depends upon ourselves.” – Aristotle. What does this quote mean to you? (150 words)

Pandavula Gutta designated as a Geo-Heritage site

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: TH

 Context: Pandavula Gutta, an ancient geological marvel in Telangana (Jayashankar Bhupalpally District), has been designated as the exclusive Geo-heritage site in the state.

 

About Pandavula Gutta:

It is older than the Himalayas and showcases ancient rock paintings in various colours like green, red, yellow, and white. The paintings depict symbols such as swastikas, circles, squares, and animals like bison, antelope, tiger, and leopard.

 

About Geo-heritage Sites: 

Geo-heritage refers to the geological features which are inherently or culturally significant offering insight into earth’s evolution or history to earth science or that can be utilized for education. Sites are designated as Geo-heritage Sites (GHS) by the Geological Survey of India (GSI). India, as a member of the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, safeguards such sites through appropriate legislation, as done by other countries worldwide.

 

About the Geological Survey of India: 

Headquartered in Kolkata, it was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Presently, GSI is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines. The main functions of the GSI relate to the creation and updation of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment.

Atmospheric Testbed Facility

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: India inaugurated an atmospheric testbed facility near Bhopal and a Coastal Research Laboratory (CRL) in Visakhapatnam.

 

What is Atmospheric Testbed Facility?

About Atmospheric Research Testbed Description
Establishment Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), MoES at Silkheda to study cloud systems and monsoon patterns, aiding in climate forecasts
Instrumentation An extensive set of remote-sensing and in-situ instruments providing continuous observations of convection, clouds, precipitation, soil moisture, radiation, and microphysics.
 A Ka-band cloud radar and a C-band Doppler weather radar will aid in tracking the movement of rain-bearing systems in the area.
Phases First phase: Set up in central India to study convection, land-atmosphere interactions, and precipitation processes.
Second phase: Planned for the northeast/eastern part of the country to study severe thunderstorm processes.
Objectives Better understanding of processes governing monsoon convection and land-atmosphere interactions.
Organizing intense observational campaigns and model runs to improve physical parameterizations related to convection and land surface processes
Outreach, Training, and Dissemination of ART-CI data sets.
Instruments Approximately 25 high-end instruments were installed for aerosol studies, cloud measurements, rain radar, and weather radar to track rain-bearing systems.

Darien Gap

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DTE

 Context: The Darien Gap, a dense jungle spanning northern Colombia and southern Panama, has become a perilous route for migrants seeking asylum in the US.

 

What is Darien Gap?

The Darién Gap is a rugged region in the Isthmus of Darién, connecting Central and South America. It comprises dense forests and mountains in Panama’s Darién Province and Colombia’s Chocó Department. Home to indigenous communities, the terrain varies from flat marshlands to mountainous rainforests. With no roads crossing it, travel is challenging and often conducted by boat or on foot. Despite the dangers, increasing violence and limited legal immigration options in their home countries have driven a surge in crossings, primarily by Venezuelans but also by Haitians, Chinese, Afghans, and others.

PB-SHABD

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: The government has unveiled PB-SHABD, a news-sharing initiative by Prasar Bharati, DD News, and Akashvani News, along with an updated News on the Air mobile app.

 

About PB-SHABD

It is a news-sharing initiative to provide news stories in major Indian languages across fifty categories. The service offers clean feeds curated from across the country, free for the first year, and without the Doordarshan logo. The revamped websites and apps of Doordarshan News and All India Radio will provide personalized news feeds, push notifications, multimedia integration, live streaming, social media sharing, and more.

Aim: It aims to revolutionize the news industry by offering accurate and meaningful content to print and electronic media nationwide, benefiting smaller news organizations.

/ 16 March 2024, PB-SHABD

Small and Medium REITs

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: ET

 Context: The SEBI recently amended the REIT Regulations of 2014 to allow for the creation of small and medium real estate investment trusts, known as SM REITs or micro REITs.

 

About SM REITs:

Key Points Description
Definition SM REITs are specialised real estate investment trusts focusing on smaller and medium-sized properties, distinct from conventional REITs.
Aim To regulate fractional ownership and protect investors
Regulations Sebi sets regulations for SM REITs, including minimum subscription size, asset value for listing, leverage limits, and minimum unit holder requirements.
SM REITs are to have a minimum subscription size of ₹10 lakh per unit and a minimum of 200 unit holders.
The investment manager must have a net worth of ₹20 crore, and a trustee will oversee operations
SM REITs can list assets ranging from ₹50 crore to ₹500 crore and focus on smaller properties, unlike traditional REITs.
Benefits & Risks SM REITs offer retail investors diversification, access to high-value assets, reduced management burden, regular income, and potential capital appreciation. However, they also carry risks such as market volatility and regulatory compliance.
Impact of Macroeconomic Factors Economic factors like interest rates, inflation, and market conditions significantly influence SM REITs. Strong economic growth and favourable market conditions can lead to higher occupancy rates, rental income, and property values for SM REITs.
Global Experience SM REITs exist worldwide, catering to niche markets and specialised real estate segments.

Lyme Disease

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  

Source: TOI

 Context: Lyme Disease, a tick-borne illness caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacterium, was diagnosed in a 56-year-old man from Koovappady, Ernakulam.

 

About the Disease:

Aspect Description
About Lyme Disease It is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
Transmission Primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks.
Cannot spread between humans, from pets to humans, or through air, food, or water.
Lice, mosquitoes, fleas, and flies also do not transmit it.
Prevalence Prevalent in wooded and grassy areas worldwide, especially during warmer months.
Most commonly reported in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia.
Symptoms Early symptoms appear between 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite.
Manifests with fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic “bull’s-eye” rash (erythema migrans).
Erythema migrans serves as a hallmark sign for early diagnosis.
Complications Left untreated, it can lead to severe complications affecting joints, heart, and nervous system.
Treatment Standard treatment involves antibiotics like doxycycline or amoxicillin, especially in the early stages.
Intravenous antibiotics may be required in later stages.

Global Methane Tracker 2024 report

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IEA

 Context: The International Energy Agency (IEA) released its annual Global Methane Tracker 2024 report

 

Key Findings of the Report In 2023, methane emissions from the energy sector remained close to a record high.
Fossil fuel production and usage, alongside bioenergy, contributed to nearly 120 million tonnes (Mt) of emissions, with approximately 70% originating from the top 10 emitting countries.
Among these, the United States leads in methane emissions from oil and gas operations, followed by Russia, while China ranks highest in the coal sector.
Recommendations of the Report Achieving a 75% reduction in methane emissions by 2030 necessitates an estimated investment of around US $170 billion
Improved tools for emission tracking, like satellite imagery, have enhanced transparency, yet systematic and transparent data utilization is essential to reduce emission
About Methane Odorless, colourless, and flammable gas; second-largest contributor to global warming after Carbon Dioxide and primary contributor to the formation of ground-level ozone.
Global Initiatives to Control Methane International Methane Emissions Observatory, Global Methane Pledge (India is not part of it), Global Methane Initiative,

MethaneSAT

 

Indian Initiatives GobarDhan scheme, National Biogas and Organic Manure Programme.
About IEA IEA (HQ: Paris; Founded in 1974) is an autonomous intergovernmental organisation to ensure the security of oil supplies. Membership: 31 countries. World Energy Outlook is Published every year and provides critical analysis and insights on trends in energy demand and supply.

 

NATO’s DIANA program

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: FE

 Context: Finland has joined NATO’s DIANA (Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic) program, marking a significant opportunity for Finnish companies to expand globally.

 

What is this program?

 The DIANA program, established by NATO, aims to accelerate dual-use innovation capacity across the Alliance. It offers resources, networks, and guidance to companies for developing deep technologies. DIANA addresses critical defence and security challenges, including operating in denied environments and enhancing collective resilience. All NATO nations are members of DIANA.

Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project (Arunachal Pradesh)

Mapping

 

Source: PIB

 Context: PM laid the foundation stone for the 2,880 MW Dibang Multipurpose Hydroelectric Project in Arunachal Pradesh, which will be India’s highest dam, on the Dibang River, a tributary of Brahmaputra River. The project will be commissioned by February 2032. The project, located near Munli village in Lower Dibang Valley District, will feature a 278-meter-high dam, making it the highest Concrete-Gravity Dam in India.

Currently, Tehri Dam (260 m), located on the Bhagirathi River in Uttarakhand, is the highest dam in India.

About Dibang River:

The Dibang River, known as Sikang by the Adi and Talo in Idu, is an upstream tributary of the Brahmaputra in Arunachal Pradesh. Originating near Keya Pass on the Indo-Chinese border, it flows through the Mishmi Hills in the Upper and Lower Dibang Valley districts.

 

 

Prelims Links:

Which of the following is/are tributary/tributaries of Brahmaputra? (UPSC 2016)

  1. Dibang
  2. Kameng
  3. Lohit

 

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

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

 

Ans: D

 

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