Daily Analysis

An in-depth analysis of the best and most relevant editorials of the day from the best dailies known for civil services preparation.

DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS, 8th July 2020

MANIPUR DEFECTIONS PUT FOCUS ON SPEAKERS’ POWERS TO DISQUALIFY


Focus: GS2.

Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Context

  • Manipur Speaker Y Khemchand’s decision to disqualify three Congress MLAs and the state’s lone TMC MLA ahead of the Rajya Sabha election last week has raised questions once again on the Speaker’s powers to disqualify under the Constitution. 

  • With the disqualifications, BJP candidate Leisemba Sanajaoba was elected to the Rajya Sabha with 28 votes. The Congress secured four votes less.

 

About the Background

  • In 2017, the BJP formed the government in Manipur after seven legislators who won on a Congress ticket switched sides. 

  • The Congress party asked the Speaker to disqualify these seven, but the petitions were kept pending.

 

About the provisions

  • According to paragraph 2(1)(a) of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, an elected member of the house shall be disqualified from being a member if they win the election as a candidate of one party and then join another. 

  • The power for this disqualification is vested in the Speaker, who is usually a nominee of the ruling party. 

  • The anti-defection law, referred to as the Tenth Schedule, was added to the Constitution through the Fifty-Second (Amendment) Act, 1985.

About the Highlights

  • In 2018, however, the High Court, refusing the preliminary objections of the Speaker, decided to hear the case on merits. 

  • It reasoned that since the remedy under Tenth Schedule is an alternative to moving courts. 

  • It said that if the remedy is found to be ineffective due to deliberate inaction or indecision on the part of the Speaker, the court will have jurisdiction. 

  • However, the High Court again did not pass orders since the larger issue is pending before the Supreme Court.

  • Meanwhile, the Manipur case reached the Supreme Court.

  • While making a ruling in the Manipur case, the three-judge bench led by justice Nariman also ruled that the 2016 reference to a larger bench by a two-judge bench was not needed. 

  • It said, that the two judge bench had not been apprised of a five-judge bench ruling in 2007 that answers the questions raised by the 2016 reference. 

  • Decisions of a larger bench are precedents and are binding on smaller benches.

  • Incidentally, the 2016 reference was made by a bench of Justices R K Agarwal and Nariman.

  • But even after three months after the Supreme Court order, the Speaker did not take a call on the disqualifications. On March 18, in an extraordinary move, the Supreme Court removed Manipur Minister Thounaojam Shyamkumar Singh, against whom disqualification petition was also pending before the Speaker since 2017, from the state cabinet and restrained him “from entering the Legislative Assembly till further orders”.

 

Source: Indian Express.


CHINA SAYS IT HAS BORDER DISPUTE WITH BHUTAN TOO


Focus: GS2.

Topic: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

Context

China officially stated for the first time it has a boundary dispute with Bhutan in the eastern sector, a development with significant implications for India as the region borders Arunachal Pradesh, which is also claimed by Beijing.

 

About the Background

  • The Chinese foreign ministry, in a statement issued to Hindustan Times, said the China-Bhutan boundary has never been delimited and there “have been disputes over the eastern, central and western sections for a long time”. 

  • The statement in Mandarin further said “a third party should not point fingers” in the China-Bhutan border issue – an apparent reference to India.

 

About the Highlights

  • Bhutan and China have held 24 rounds of talks between 1984 and 2016 to settle their border issue and, according to discussions in the Bhutanese parliament and other public records of these meetings, the discussions have only centred on disputes in the western and central sections of the boundary.

  • People familiar with developments in Thimphu said on condition of anonymity that the eastern section has never figured in the border talks. 

  • There was no immediate reaction to China’s claim from Indian officials. 

  • However, China’s claim came against the backdrop of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s assertion during a visit to Ladakh that the “era of expansionism” is over – which was perceived as a signal to Beijing about New Delhi’s determination to defend its frontiers.

  • The Chinese foreign ministry’s statement said the country has been in communication with Bhutan on the border issue through bilateral channels.

 

Source: Hindustan Times.

 

COVID-19’S KAWASAKI DISEASE SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN


Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

 

Context

  • Around the world, including in India since recently, children with Covid-19 infection have often shown some symptoms similar to those associated with a rare illness called Kawasaki disease — such as rashes and inflammation — while other symptoms of Kawasaki disease have been absent. 

  • In fact, such symptoms have also shown in children who tested negative for Covid-19.

 

About the Background

  • The first such cases started getting reported since April, from the US and Europe. Doctors in India have started seeing such cases over the last few weeks. 

  • Last month, the World Health Organization (WHO) termed this new illness “multisystem inflammatory disorder”.

 

About Kawasaki disease

  • It affects children. Its symptoms include red eyes, rashes, and a swollen tongue with reddened lips — often termed strawberry tongue — and an inflamed blood vessel system all over the body. 

  • There is constant high fever for at least five days. 

  • The disease also affects coronary functions in the heart.

  • The disease derives its name from a Japanese paediatrician, Tomisaku Kawasaki, who reported the first case in 1961 — a four-year-old boy — and later found similar cases in other children. 

  • The doctor, 95, died on June 5 this year in Tokyo.

  • What causes Kawasaki disease is not yet known.

  • What we do know is that it is an immunological reaction to an infection or a virus.

  • A child’s immunity system responds to a particular infection and develops these symptoms.

 

About the link with COVID-19

  • Children with Covid-19 are mostly asymptomatic or develop mild symptoms. 

  • It has been in rare cases that children with Covid-19 have shown symptoms similar to those of Kawasaki disease, 2-3 weeks after getting infected with coronavirus.

  • In India, too, the cases (including some children who tested negative for Covid-19) that have been coming up have shown some of the symptoms associated with Kawasaki disease, but with some differences.


Source: Indian Express.


MT RUSHMORE

 

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


Context

  • US president Donald Trump chose Mount Rushmore for his Independence Day speech this year. 

  • It was symbolic at a time when the country has been rocked by anti-racism protests as part of the Black Lives Matter movement.

About Mount Rushmore

  • It is a memorial situated in South Dakota. 

  • It features 60-foot face carvings of four US Presidents — George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

  • The idea to carve the granite face of Black Hills was conceived by historian Doane Robinson in 1923, who thought it could promote tourism in the region.

  • Robinson wrote to sculptor Gutzon Borglum in 1924, suggesting that he “design and supervise a massive sculpture there”. 

  • Borglum responded that he was “very much interested” in the proposal.

  • Subsequently, Congress passed legislation authorising the carving of “heroic figures” commemorating the national history in the Harney National Forest, which is now called the Black Hills National Forest.

About the significance

  • Borglum chose Mount Rushmore as the site for carving since it was the highest peak in the vicinity, had resistant granite, and faced the southeast and therefore would receive good light throughout most of the day. 

  • Borglum selected these four Presidents since he felt they represented the most important events in the history of the US. 

  • The carving began in 1927 and was complete in 1941.

  • Borglum died in March 1941, after which his son Lincoln took over the project for the remaining seven months.

  • The US National Parks Service says that over the years, Mount Rushmore “has grown in fame as a symbol of America — a symbol of freedom and hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds”.


Source: Indian Express.


SEABED 2030 PROJECT


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

 

Context

  • The initiative that seeks to galvanise the creation of a full map of the ocean floor says one-fifth of this task has now been completed.

  • When the Nippon Foundation-GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project was launched in 2017, only 6% of the global ocean bottom had been surveyed to what might be called modern standards.

  • That number now stands at 19%, up from 15% in just the last year.

 

About the Background

  • million sq km of new bathymetric (depth) data was included in the GEBCO grid in 2019 - an area equivalent to almost twice that of Australia.

  • It does, however, still leave a great swathe of the planet in need of mapping to an acceptable degree.

  • Today we stand at the 19% level. That means we've got another 81% of the oceans still to survey, still to map. That's an area about twice the size of Mars that we have to capture in the next decade.

 

About the findings

  • The map at the top of this page illustrates the challenge faced by GEBCO in the coming years.

  • Black represents those areas where we have yet to get direct echo sounding measurements of the shape of the ocean floor. 

  • Blues correspond to water depth (deeper is purple, shallower is lighter blue).

  • It's not true to say we have no idea of what's in the black zones; satellites have actually taught us a great deal. 

  • Certain spacecraft carry altimeter instruments that can infer seafloor topography from the way its gravity sculpts the water surface above - but this only gives a best resolution at over a kilometre, and Seabed 2030 has a desire for a resolution of at least 100m everywhere.

 

About the Significance of mapping

  • Better seafloor maps are needed for a host of reasons.

  • They are essential for navigation, of course, and for laying underwater cables and pipelines.

  • They are also important for fisheries management and conservation, because it is around the underwater mountains that wildlife tends to congregate. 

  • Each seamount is a biodiversity hotspot.

  • In addition, the rugged seafloor influences the behaviour of ocean currents and the vertical mixing of water.

  • This is information required to improve the models that forecast future climate change - because it is the oceans that play a critical role in moving heat around the planet. 

  • And if you want to understand precisely how sea-levels will rise in different parts of the world, good ocean-floor maps are a must.

  • Much of the data that's been imported into the GEBCO grid recently has been in existence for some time but was "sitting on a shelf" out of the public domain. 

  • The companies, institutions and governments that were holding this information have now handed it over - and there is probably a lot more of this hidden resource still to be released.

 

Source: Indian Express.

 

RARE ORCHID PLANT FOUND IN DUDHWA NATIONAL PARK


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.

Context

  • A rare orchid plant variety has been found in the Dudhwa National Park in Uttar Pradesh. 

  • Popularly known as Ground Orchid (eulophia obtusa), the variety is categorised as an ‘endangered species’ under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). 

  • Never in the history of Dudhwa or any other forest area in the state, has this orchid been seen.

 

About the Background

  • It was 118 years back when Kew Herbarium of England had documented the orchid. 

  • This species was last sighted in Pilibhit in 1902.

 

About the features

  • Eulophia obtusa is a showy and distinctive species previously recorded from North India and Nepal. 

  • It is here reported from Bangladesh for the first time. 

  • The population occurring in Bangladesh may represent a distinct colour form, with pure white instead of bright yellow sepals and petals as in previous records. 

  • A species growing in seasonally waterlogged grassland, its only known site in Bangladesh has already been destroyed for agricultural development. 

  • No reliable data on its present day occurrence in India and Nepal could be obtained. 

  • However, the most recent of only three collections in the Kew Herbarium dates from 1902, which suggests that it is quite a rare species. 

  • It must be assessed as critically endangered (CR) in Bangladesh, according to the IUCN Red Listing criteria.

 

Source: Times of India.


MOON’S SUB SURFACE


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Context

  • Scientists have used radar technology to shed new light on the subsurface of the moon.

  • Researchers used the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument on NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft to analyze the moon. 

  • In a statement, NASA explained that the lunar subsurface might be richer in metals, like iron and titanium, than previously thought.

 

About the Background

  • The space agency is keen to gain as much information as possible on the moon's resources. 

  • NASA's Artemis program aims to land American astronauts on the lunar surface by 2024 and establish a sustainable human presence on Earth’s natural satellite.

 

About the findings

  • “Substantial evidence points to the moon as the product of a collision between a Mars-sized protoplanet and young Earth, forming from the gravitational collapse of the remaining cloud of debris,” said NASA in the statement. 

  • “Consequently, the moon’s bulk chemical composition closely resembles that of Earth.”

  • However, there are key differences that have long puzzled scientists. 

  • “In the bright plains of the moon’s surface, called the lunar highlands, rocks contain smaller amounts of metal-bearing minerals relative to Earth,” NASA said. 

  • “That finding might be explained if Earth had fully differentiated into a core, mantle and crust before the impact, leaving the moon largely metal-poor. But turn to the moon’s maria — the large, darker plains — and the metal abundance becomes richer than that of many rocks on Earth.”

  • To solve this mystery, scientists used Mini-RF to measure the electrical property, known as the dielectric constant, of lunar soil on crater floors in the northern hemisphere of the moon. 

  • Researchers found that the electrical properties increased with crater size for craters approximately 1 to 3 miles wide. 

  • For craters 3 to 12 miles wide, however, the electrical property remained constant.


Source: Indian Express.


THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A LOCUST PLAGUE, UPSURGE AND OUTBREAK


Focus: GS3.

Topic: Disaster and disaster management.


Context

  • India should remain on high alert against locust attack for the next four weeks, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned amid the country facing the worst locust attack in 26 years.

  • In its latest update, the FAO said spring-bred locust swarms, which migrated to the Indo-Pakistan border and travelled east to northern states, are expected to return back to Rajasthan with the start of the monsoon in coming days.

 

About the Background

  • The FAO has three categories of Desert Locust situations: outbreak, upsurge, and plague. 

  • The current locust attack (2019-2020) has been categorised as an upsurge. 

  • Outbreaks are common, but only a few result in upsurges. 

  • Similarly, few upsurges lead to plagues. 

  • The last major plague was in 1987-89 and the last major upsurge was in 2003-05. 

  • Upsurges and plagues do not occur overnight; instead, they take many months to develop.

 

About Locust upsurge

  • This is a more serious Desert Locust situation and generally affects an entire region. 

  • An ‘upsurge’ is formed when an outbreak or contemporaneous outbreaks are not controlled and if widespread or unusually heavy rains fall in adjacent areas, several successive seasons of breeding can occur that causes further hopper band and adult swarm formation. 

  • There FAO website records the upsurges of 2004-2005, 1996-1998, 1994-1996, 1992-1994, and 1972-1974. 

  • The upsurge of 1992-1994 affected India after Desert Locusts that bred for several generations along the Red Sea coastal plains in the winter of 1992 moved via the Arabian interior to India and Pakistan.

 

Source: Indian Express.

 

SDG INDEX FOR YEAR 2020

 

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.

Context

  • Bangladesh has moved 7 places up in the latest Sustainable Development Index (SDG) for the year 2020. 

  • Among 166 countries for which the SDG index was prepared, Bangladesh stands at the 109th position compared to the 116th position in the year 2019.

About the Background

  • Sweden is placed at the top of the index with an overall score of 84.7 while Bangladesh has a score of 63.5.

  • The report shows that among 17 SDG parameters.

 

About the Highlights

  • Bangladesh has remained on track in achieving goals relating to poverty alleviation, quality education, decent work and economic growth and climate action.

  • However, significant challenges remain on 7 parameters including the goal of zero hunger, good health, clean water and sanitation, innovation and peace, justice and strong institutions.

  • However, significant challenges remain on 7 parameters including the goal of zero hunger, good health, clean water and sanitation, innovation and peace, justice and strong institutions.


Source: AIR News.


Map of the Day–Bangladesh


Quote for the Day


“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it. “― Rabindranath Tagore

 

Mains Answer Writing


  1. Discuss the act of introducing private players in the Indian Railways. (250 Words).

  2. Define what waste-to-energy means.  Highlight the potential and challenges associated with waste to energy plants in India. (250 Words).

  3. Explain shortly what you understand by land degradation. (250 Words).


Test your Knowledge



  1. Consider the following statements with reference to the Global Health Security (GHS) Index:

    1. It is a report from the Nuclear Threat Initiative, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, and the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    2. The GHS Index is the first comprehensive assessment and benchmarking of health security and related capabilities across the 195 countries that make up the States Parties to the International Health Regulations (IHR, 2005).

    3. India is ranked 75th with a score of 46.5, falling in the high tier in 2019.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 only

      2. 1 and 2 only

      3. 1 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Consider the following statements about WHO Executive Board:

    1. It has 34 members.

    2. Each member has a tenure of 5 years.

    3. The Board chairman’s post is held by rotation for one year by each of the WHO’s six regional groups.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 only

      2. 1 and 2 only

      3. 1 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Consider the following statements.

    1. The amount recovered in the form of surcharge reaches the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI).

    2. The share of states in the Centre’s Gross Tax Revenue increases due to the levy of cess and surcharges.

    3. It can be spent for any purpose, just like the normal tax.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

 

      1. 1 and 2 only

      2. 1 and 3 only

      3. 2 and 3 only

      4. 1, 2 and 3

 

  1. Botanists have recently “rediscovered” a rare and critically endangered plant species called Globba andersonii from:

 

      1. Kerala

      2. Karnataka

      3. Sikkim

      4. Assam

 

  1. Which of the following were the first trains allowed to be run by a ‘non-Railway’ operator?

      1. Vande Bharat Express

      2. Tejas Express

      3. Shatabdi Express

      4. Cauvery Express


Answers

  1. B 2.C 3.B4.C 5.B


 
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