Daily Current Affairs : 15th & 16th February 2021

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Arjun MK 1
  2. Andhra – Odisha border Village Dispute
  3. Transit Anticipatory Bail
  4. Geospatial Data Policy
  5. Giant Leatherback turtle
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . Arjun MK 1


Context : Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday handed over the indigenous main battle tank Arjun Mk-1A to the Army in a function at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.

What is the Arjun Main Battle Tank?

  • The Arjun Main Battle Tank project was initiated by DRDO in 1972 with the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) as its lead laboratory.
  • The objective was to create a “state-of-the-art tank with superior fire power, high mobility, and excellent protection”.
  • During the development, the CVRDE achieved breakthroughs in the engine, transmission, hydropneumatic suspension, hull and turret as well as the gun control system. Mass production began in 1996 at the Indian Ordnance Factory’s production facility in Avadi, Tamil Nadu.

What are the features of the Arjun tank?

  • The Arjun tanks stand out for their ‘Fin Stabilised Armour Piercing Discarding Sabot (FSAPDS)’ ammunition and 120-mm calibre rifled gun.
  • It also has a computer-controlled integrated fire control system with stabilised sighting that works in all lighting conditions.
  • The secondary weapons include a co-axial 7.62-mm machine gun for anti-personnel and a 12.7-mm machine gun for anti-aircraft and ground targets

How many Arjun tanks have been inducted so far?

  • The Indian Army received the first batch of 16 tanks in 2004 and they were inducted as a squadron of the 43 Armoured Regiment.
  • In 2009, the first Arjun regiment of the Indian Army had 45 tanks. By 2011, over 100 tanks had been delivered. In 2010, the Indian army ordered another 124 Arjuns.
  • The Ministry of Defence ordered another 118 units of the Arjun Mk-1A. These are the units being inducted now at a revised cost of over Rs 8,400 crore.

How is the Mk-1A different?

  • The Mk-1A version has 14 major upgrades on the earlier version. It is also supposed to have missile firing capability as per the design, but this feature will be added later as final testing of the capability is still on. However, the biggest achievement with the latest version is 54.3 per cent indeginous content against the 41 per cent in the earlier model.

2 . Andhra – Odisha border Village Dispute


Context : Andhra Pradesh held panchayat elections in three villages in the Kotia cluster, which is at the centre of a dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha.

About the Villages

  • These villages, with a population of nearly 5,000, are located on a remote hilltop on the inter-state border and are inhabited by Kondh tribals.
  • The region, once a Maoist hotbed which still reports sporadic incidents of violence, is also rich in mineral resources like gold, platinum, manganese, bauxite, graphite and limestone.

About the Dispute

  • Prior to April 1, 1936, villages under Kotia panchayat were part of Jeypore Estate. In the Constitution of Orrisa Order, 1936, published in the Gazette of India on March 19 that year, the Government of India demarcated Odisha from the erstwhile Madras Presidency with the latter including the present-day Andhra Pradesh.
  • In 1942, the Madras government contested the boundary and ordered re-demarcation of the two states. In a joint survey of Odisha, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, seven villages of Kotia gram panchayat were recorded as revenue villages and revenue was collected by the Odisha government, but the exercise left out the 21 villages now under dispute.
  • When the state of Andhra Pradesh was created in 1955, the villages were not surveyed by the Andhra Pradesh government either.

Elections

  • This is the first time Andhra has held panchayat polls in any of these villages. But the villages participate in Assembly and Lok Sabha elections for both states. They are registered as voters for Salur Assembly and Araku Lok Sabha seats of Andhra, and Pottangi Assembly and Koraput Lok Sabha seats of Odisha.
  • The villagers enjoy benefits from both states under various schemes. For instance, Odisha constructed a gram panchayat office, a village agricultural centre, the office of an agricultural overseer, a boarding school, and a 380-bed hostel; it has also implemented MGNREGA, and distributed BPL cards to over 800 families and job cards to 1800 families.
  • The Andhra Pradesh government has built roads, supplied electricity and provided rations to BPL families.

Current Status

  • In the early 1980s, Odisha filed a case in the Supreme Court demanding right and possession of jurisdiction over the 21 villages. In 2006 however, the court ruled that since disputes belonging to the state boundaries are not within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, the matter can only be resolved by Parliament and passed a permanent injunction on the disputed area.
  • A day after Andhra notified the panchayat elections here, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated projects worth Rs 18 crore. The Odisha government moved the Supreme Court, which posted the matter for hearing
  • In Andhra, Vizianagaram District collector M Hari Jawaharlal said the three villages are separate gram panchayats and fall under Salur Mandal, hence elections were held.

3 . Transit Anticipatory Bail


Context : The Delhi police on Monday said non-bailable warrants (NBWs) had been issued against Mumbai-based advocate Nikita Jacob and her associate Shantanu Muluk who, along with arrested climate activist Disha Ravi, allegedly created and shared the toolkit document being investigated by the police. Both Ms. Jacob and Mr. Muluk have sought transit anticipatory bails from the Bombay High Court.

What is ‘transit anticipatory bail’?

  • Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) talks about grant of bail to a person anticipating arrest. 
  • An application for such a bail can be made before a high court or a sessions court whenever anyone feels they may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence.
  • So the difference between an ordinary bail order and an anticipatory bail order is that the former is granted after arrest and, therefore, leads to the release of the accused from custody, while an anticipatory bail is granted in anticipation of the arrest and is, therefore, effective at the very moment of arrest.
  • A transit anticipatory bail is sought when a case against a person has been or is likely to be filed in a state different from the one in which he or she is likely to be arrested. So the purpose of a transit bail is to allow the person bail, so they can approach the appropriate court in the state in which the case has been filed for anticipatory bail.
  • In the absence of transit anticipatory bail, the result would be that another state’s police could arrest a person from their home state without them having the opportunity to apply for anticipatory bail at all. The only option then left would be to apply for regular bail once they are arrested and taken to the state in which the case is registered.

What courts have said before

  • While Section 438 does not talk about transit anticipatory bail, courts have in the past granted such a bail to those who feared arrest. 
  • For instance, in a 1985 judgment, a two-judge bench of the Bombay High Court considered the question whether Section 438 CrPC can be used by it when the case is filed in some other state. 
  • The court ruled that it “would have jurisdiction if a person is likely to be arrested at a place within the jurisdiction of this court”. It referred to similar decisions given by the Karnataka High Court, the Calcutta High Court and the Delhi High Court. 
  • However, in another 2017 judgment in the Gurugram school murder case, Justice A.S. Gadkari of the Bombay High Court opined that the jurisdiction in such cases rests with criminal courts in the place where the crime was committed and not where the accused lives or in any other part of the country. 
  • In Muluk and Jacob’s case, the arguments revolved around both these judgments of the Bombay High Court.

4 . Geospatial Data Policy


Context : Existing regime imposed significant restrictions on the mapping industry – from creation to dissemination of maps, requiring Indian companies to seek licenses, follow a cumbersome system of pre-approvals and permissions. Compliance with these regulatory restrictions has subjected startups in India to unnecessary red tape, hindering Indian innovation in map technologies for decades.

Changes in the new Policy

  • To realise India’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and the goal of a 5 trillion-dollar economy, the regulations that apply to geospatial data and maps has been radically liberalised.
  • According to the policy what is readily available globally does not need to be restricted in India and therefore geospatial data that used to be restricted will now be freely available in India.
  • Corporations and innovators are no longer subject to restrictions nor do they require prior approvals before they collect, generate, prepare, disseminate, store, publish, update digital Geospatial Data and Maps within the territory of India.
  • Startups and mapping innovators will be trusted to self-certify, apply good judgement and be reliedupon to demonstrate adherence to guidelines.
  • Measures to promote the development of Indian geospatial innovations that take advantage of the latest map-making technologies are proposed.

Importance

  • Maps and accurate geospatial data are crucial for national infrastructure projects such as linkages of rivers, creation of industrial corridors and deploying smart power systems.
  • Emerging vibrant technologies like Digital India, Smart Cities, eCommerce, autonomous drones, delivery, logistics and urban transport require a leap forward in mapping with greater depth, resolution and precision.
  • In every economic endeavor, spanning agriculture, finance, construction, mining and local enterprise, India’s farmers, small businesses and corporations alike stand to gain tremendously from the application of innovative technologies based on modern geospatial data technologies and mapping services.
  • With the next generation of mapping technology just about coming into its own around the world, this policy will enable Indian innovators to create substantial advances in mapping ultimately making our lives easier and empowering small businesses.

5 . Giant Leatherback turtle


Context : Proposals for tourism and port development in the Andaman and Nicobar (A&N) Islands have conservationists worried over the fate of some of the most important nesting populations of the Giant Leatherback turtle in this part of the Indian Ocean.

About Giant Leatherback turtle

  • Giant Leatherback turtle is the largest of the seven species of sea turtles on the planet and also the most long-ranging
  • Leatherbacks are found in all oceans except the Arctic and the Antarctic.
  • In the Indian Ocean, they nest only in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands
  • They are listed in Schedule I of India’s Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, according it the highest legal protection.

About the issue

  • Surveys conducted in the A&N Islands over the past three decades have shown that the populations here could be among the most important colonies of the Leatherback globally.
  • There is concern now, however, that at least three key nesting beaches — two on Little Andaman Island and one on Great Nicobar Island — are under threat due to mega “development” plans announced in recent months.
  • These include NITI Aayog’s ambitious tourism vision for Little Andaman and the proposal for a mega-shipment port at Galathea Bay on Great Nicobar Island.

6 . Facts for Prelims


Kailash Range

  • The Karakoram Range ends on the northern side of the Pangong Tso.
  • The Kailash Range originates from the southern bank and runs northwest to southeast for over 60 km.
  • The Kailash Ridge is characterised by rugged, broken terrain with heights varying between 4,000-5,500m, and its key features include Helmet Top, Gurung Hill, Spanggur Gap, Muggar Hill, Mukhpari, Rezang La and Rechin La
  • The Ridge dominates Chushul Bowl; an important communications centre.

Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report

  • Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report is published by the World Economic Forum (WEF)
  • It measures the set of factors and policies that enable sustainable development of travel and tourism sector which contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.

Dickinsonia

  • Researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal — the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ — on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters, about 40 km from Bhopal.
  • The new discoveries, published in a journal, Gondwana Research, can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, a UNESCO heritage site, located about 3.5 metres above the ground.
  • They were the only such fossils available in the country, and were similar to those seen in south Australia. This is further proof of the similar paleoenvironments and confirms assembly of Gondwanaland by the 550 Ma (mega annum), but not reconstructions adjusted for true polar wander

Mandarin Duck

  • Considered the most beautiful duck in the world, the Mandarin duck, or the (Aix galericulata) was first identified by Swedish botanist, physician and zoologist Carl Linnaeus in 1758.
  • It is a “small-exotic looking bird” native to East Asia. “It’s very beautiful, with majestic colours and can be spotted from a distance,
  • In this species, the males are more colourful than the females.
  • The migratory duck breeds in Russia, Korea, Japan and northeastern parts of China
  • It now has established populations in Western Europe and America too.
  • The duck, however, rarely visits India as it does not fall in its usual migratory route. There are only a handful of recorded sightings here. “It was recorded in 1902 in Dibru river in the Rongagora area in Tinsukia. More recently, it was sighted in Manipur’s Loktak Lake in 2013, and in Saatvoini Beel in Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve in Assam’s Baksa district 2014.
  • It was very recently spotted in the Maguri-Motapung beel (or wetland) in Assam’s Tinsukia district

Maguri beel

  • The Maguri Motapung wetland is an Important Bird Area as declared by the Bombay Natural History Society and is located close to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park in Upper Assam.
  • The entire ecosystem (grassland and wetland) is very important as it is home to at least 304 bird species, including a number of endemic ones like Black-breasted parrotbill and Marsh babbler.”
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