Daily Current Affairs : 6th and 7th October

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016
  2. CAATSA
  3. Electric Propulsion
  4. FnCas9 protein 
  5. Deposit Insurance
  6. Mosaic mission
  7. India- Bangladesh Relationship


1 . Citizenship (Amendment) Billn, 2016


Context : The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was passed by the Lok Sabha in January this year but lapsed as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha. It had proposed to amend the original Citizenship Act of 1955. After returning to power with a majority for another term, the government is trying to resurrect the Bill.

About the Bill

  • The Bill had mandated that those who cross the border to India from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan and belong to “minority communities”, namely, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, would not be treated as illegal immigrants despite having entered the country without valid documents or with travel papers that had expired.
  • They would not face deportation under the Passport (Entry into India) Act of 1920 and the Foreigners Act of 1946.

Need of the Bill

  • Many persons of Indian origin including persons belonging to the six “minority communities” had been unsuccessfully applying for citizenship under the Citizenship Act of 1955 but were unable to produce proof of their Indian origin. Hence, they were forced to apply for citizenship by naturalisation which prescribes 12 years’ residency as qualification.
  • The Bill stated that such a long-drawn process denies illegal immigrants from these six minority communities of the three foreign nations “many opportunities and advantages that may accrue only to the citizens of India, even though they are likely to stay in India permanently”.
  • The amendment shortened the period of residency from 12 to seven years for gaining citizenship by naturalisation.
  • The Bill had also empowered the government to cancel registration as Overseas Citizen of India in case of any violation of the Citizenship Act or any other laws.

Concerns regarding the bill

  • Critics say that the bill violated the basic structure of the Constitution. By distinguishing illegal immigrants on the basis of religion, the proposed law goes against constitutional guarantee of the fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Constitution. The protection of Article 14 applies equally to both citizens and foreigners.
  • The Bill would hamper the Assam National Register of Citizens (NRC), which defines all illegal immigrants, irrespective of religion, on the basis of a cut-off date.
  • The Citizenship Bill is also seen as a move to subvert the Assam Accord of 1985. The Accord deems any person who cannot prove his ancestry beyond March 24, 1971 as an alien. It does not differentiate on the ground of religion in this aspect.

2 . Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)


Context : Exactly a year ago, on October 5, 2018, India and Russia signed a contract to buy the Russian Triumf missile system, concluding negotiations that began in 2015. During that time, however, a new U.S. law, called “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” or CAATSA was passed by the U.S. Congress, which transformed what should have been a straightforward bilateral deal into a complex trilateral balancing game for India.

About CAATSA

  • Section 235 of the CAATSA legislation stipulates 12 kinds of punitive sanctions that the U.S. could place on a country conducting significant transactions in defence, energy, oil pipelines and cybersecurity technology with any of the U.S.’s “adversaries”, and according to the Act, the U.S. President may impose “five or more of the sanctions described”.
  • These measures include export sanctions, cancellation of loans from U.S. and international financial institutions, ban on investments and procurement, restrictions on foreign exchange and banking transactions, and a visa and travel ban on officials associated with any entity carrying out the sanctioned transactions.
  • None of these is expected to go into process until India takes delivery of the five S-400 systems it has paid an advance on, which are expected to begin in about 20 months and conclude by 2023.

Sanction Waiver / Exit clause

  • There is also and exit clause in CAATSA, which states that “The [US] President may waive the application of [CAATSA] sanctions if the President determines that such a waiver is in the national security interest of the United States.”
  • In August 2018, the U.S. Congress also modified the waiver clause to allow the President to certify that a country is “cooperating with the United States Government on other matters that are critical to United States’ strategic national security interests”.

Can India be considered for the waiver

  • Government officials have expressed the hope that the U.S. will exercise this waiver for the S-400 deal to India for a number of reasons: that a militarily stronger India is in the U.S.’s interests, and that India cannot completely drop its traditional dependence on Russian defence equipment without being weakened.
  • In addition, it is no secret that U.S. President Donald Trump has misgivings about the CAATSA sanctions, which he said were meant to curtail his own powers to deal with Russia, and the other countries included in the act — Iran and North Korea.
  • It is hoped that Mr. Trump will grant India a waiver on the deal, thanks to good bilateral relations with India and the fact that it is a “major defence partner” of the U.S.

3 . Electric Propulsion System in Ships


About Electric Propulsion System

  • In conventional power system arrangements, the ship’s propellers are driven by a diesel propulsion engine while the supply of electricity for the other shipboard loads is transmitted via the shipboard generators.
  • In electric propulsion systems, the power used to drive the propellers becomes an electrical load meaning that the generators can take care of all shipboard loads.
  • As shown in the diagram below, 3 generator-drive engines are referred to as the “ship’s electric power station” supplying power for both propulsion and electrical requirements on board.

4 . FnCas9 protein 


Context : Researchers at the Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) have discovered a protein variant from a different species of bacteria that can edit the DNA with very high precision. In the tool now commonly used for editing disease-causing mutations in DNA (CRISPR-Cas9), the Cas9 protein behaves like a molecular scissors that cuts the DNA at a specific location and inserts a foreign piece of DNA to correct the mutation that causes the disease.

Importance of new protein

  • Commonly used Cas9 protein from Strepotococcus pyogenes bacteria (SpCas9) and its engineered derivative tend to potentially bind to DNA at multiple unintended sites thereby leading to unnecessary alterations in the DNA.
  • The Cas9 protein is supposed to bind to the DNA only when there is a perfect match between the DNA and the protein, thus reducing the chances of the protein binding at non-target sites on the DNA. But even when three mismatches exist between the protein and the DNA, the currently used SpCas9 protein binds and cleaves the DNA. 

About FnCas9 (New Cas9 Protein)

  • The protein (FnCas9) used by the researchers to edit the DNA is derived from a bacterium — Francisella novicida.
  • The researchers found their new Cas9 protein, which binds and cuts the DNA, was able to correct sickle cell anaemia mutation in patient-derived stem cells.
  • New FnCas9 protein showed negligible binding when there exists more than one mismatch in the target DNA

Crispr Cas9 Covered under June Current Affairs


5 . Deposit Insurance


Context : With the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cracking down on Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative Bank (PMC Bank) last week and capping withdrawals by depositors at ₹25,000(₹1,000 initially, increased to ₹10,000 later), were you wondering what happens to depositors if banks fail in India? Here’s a refresher on how deposit insurance works.

What happens to depositors’ money when a bank fails?

  • When a bank is liquidated, depositors are entitled to receive an insurance amount of ₹1 lakh per individual from the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation of India (DICGC).
  • The DICGC is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RBI.
  • The ₹1 lakh insurance limit includes both principal and interest dues across your savings bank accounts, current accounts, fixed deposits and recurring deposits held with the bank.
  • The ₹1 lakh insurance limit is applicable across all the accounts held by an individual depositor.
  • Every insured bank pays premium amounting to 0.001% of its deposits to DICGC every year.

Are co-operative banks covered by DICGC?

  • Deposit insurance covers all commercial banks and foreign banks operating in India, State, Central and Urban Co-operative Banks, local area banks and regional rural banks.
  • When a bank fails to pay up the premium for deposit insurance, DICGC sometimes de-registers the bank and its insurance cover ceases.

6 . India-Bangladesh Relationship


Context : Recently Bangladesh Prime Minister visited India

Background

  • India was the first country to recognize Bangladesh as a separate and independent state and established diplomatic relations with the country immediately after its independence in December 1971.
  • The relationship between India and Bangladesh is anchored in history, culture, language and shared values of secularism, democracy, and countless other commonalities between the two countries.
  • It is based on sovereignty, equality, trust, understanding and win-win partnership that goes far beyond a strategic partnership. In the last couple of years, the relationship has been further strengthened including through cooperation in new and high-technology areas.
  • There have been regular high-level visits and exchanges between the two countries. There have also been frequent visits at Ministerial level as well as between senior officials on a regular basis.

Co-operations in various sectors

  • Bilateral Institutional Mechanism : There are more than 50 bilateral institutional mechanisms between India and Bangladesh in the areas of security, trade & commerce, power & energy, transport & connectivity, science and technology, defence,rivers & maritime affairs etc. A Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) led by the Ministers of Foreign/External Affairs coordinates and oversees implementation of initiatives taken between the two countries as well as explores newer avenues for cooperation
  • Border Security Management : India and Bangladesh share 4096.7 km. of border, which is the longest land boundary that India shares with any of its neighbours. The India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) came into force following the exchange of instruments of ratification in June 2015. On July 31, 2015 the enclaves of India and Bangladesh in each other’s countries were exchanged and strip maps were signed. Residents of these erstwhile enclaves, who opted to retain their Indian citizenship made a final movement to India by November 30, 2015.
  • River Water Sharing : India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. A bilateral Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) is working since June 1972 to maintain liaison between the two countries to maximize benefits from common river systems. Besides the meetings of the JRC (37 meetings held so far), JRC Technical level meetings are also held regularly
  • Bilateral Trade : Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has grown steadily over the last decade. In the five years, total trade between the two countries has grown by more than 17%
  • Economic Assistance : India has extended Lines of Credits to Bangladesh. Bangladesh i amongst the largest recipient of LOC funds from India
  • Power and Energy Sector Cooperation : Cooperation in power sector has become one of the hallmarks of India Bangladesh relations. Bangladesh is currently importing power from India. In 2016, the two Prime Ministers inaugurated the export of power from Tripura to Bangladesh as well as export of Internet bandwidth to Tripura from Bangladesh
  • Defence Cooperation: India and Bangladesh share the historical legacy of cooperation and support during the Liberation War of 1971.Various Joint exercises of Army (Exercise Sampriti) take place between the two countries.

Importance of Bangladesh

  • Security : Security of the northeastern states, of eastern India, and of India more widely is affected by what Bangladesh does or does not do. If Bangladesh does not cooperate with India, it is hard to see how India can rein in various insurgent groups that might find refuge in Bangladesh. India will also have great difficulty in stopping Islamic extremists from flourishing there and from targeting our cities and towns.
  • Connectivity : If India cannot get access to the northeast through Bangladesh — even if this only means economic access — it is hard to see how we can integrate those states with the heartland.
  • River Water Sharing : India and Bangladesh share over 40 rivers, and these rivers are vital for the livelihood of hundreds of millions of people in both countries. If we fail to be sensible and fair over river-water sharing with Bangladesh and Bangladesh does not get enough water (or if it gets too much when the rivers are full), it will face catastrophe. Catastrophe in Bangladesh means instability in India`s northeast, West Bengal, and states further away.
  • Climate Change : India and Bangladesh are amongst the 12 countries that will be most severely affected by climate change. Bangladesh could lose up to 20% of its land as sea levels rise due to climate change. The ensuing turmoil in Bangladesh will inevitably be felt in neighbouring and distant parts of India. The two countries must therefore think about how to cooperate on conservation, alternative energy, and many other related aspects of environmental defence.

Summary of Recent visit

  • According to the major agreements on river water issues, Bangladesh has agreed to allow India to withdraw 1.82 cusecs water from the Feni river for a drinking water supply project in Tripura.
  • Procedural data for the use of two Bangladeshi ports for goods from India was also exchanges as the two sides committed to greater connectivity between the two countries.
  • However, India and Bangladesh failed to conclude a framework agreement to optimise the use of waters from six rivers including the Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gumti, Dharla and Dudhkumar, which has been discussed for several months.
  • According to a joint statement issued after the bilateral meeting, Mr. Modi and Ms. Hasina have directed officials to complete the six-river agreement as well as a feasibility study for the Ganga-Padma barrage project as part of an upgraded version of the 1996 Ganga Water Sharing treaty. No progress was reported on the long pending Teesta water sharing agreement either.
  • The two Prime Ministers agreed on the need to expedite safe, speedy and sustainable repatriation of the displaced persons to their homes in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. They agreed on the need for greater efforts to be made to facilitate their return, including by improving security situation and socio-economic conditions in the Rakhine State of Myanmar.
  • MoUs Signed
    • MoU for providing a Coastal Surveillance System.
    • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports for Movement of goods to and from India.
    • MoU on withdrawal of 1.82 cusec of water from Feni River by India for drinking water supply scheme for Sabroom town, Tripura, India
    • Agreement concerning Implementation of the Lines of Credit (LoCs) committed by India to Bangladesh.
    • MoU between University of Hyderabad and University of Dhaka
    • Renewal of Cultural Exchange Programme
    • MoU on Co-operation in Youth Affairs

7 . Facts for Prelims


Mosaic Mission

  • Vishnu Nandan 32-year-old polar researcher from Kerala will be the only Indian aboard the multidisciplinary drifting observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate (MOSAiC) expedition
  • Mosaic mission covered under July Current Affairs Magazine

IFC-IOR

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