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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 23 March 2021 | Legacy IAS Academy

Contents

  1. RS passes Insurance Amendment Bill to increase FDI limit
  2. Ken-Betwa river interlinking project
  3. UNICEF report released on World Water Day
  4. Gandhi Peace Prize 2020

RS PASSES INSURANCE AMENDMENT BILL TO INCREASE FDI LIMIT

Context:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Insurance Amendment Bill 2021 that increases the maximum foreign investment allowed in an insurance company from 49% to 74%, amid criticism from the Opposition parties on the clause enabling “control and ownership” by foreign investors.

Relevance:

GS-III: Indian Economy (Economic Development in India, Government Initiatives to overcome Challenges in Economic Development)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021
  2. Impacts of the Amendment

About the Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021

  • The Insurance Amendment Bill, 2021, seeks to amend the Insurance Act, 1938.
  • The Insurance Act, 1938 provided the framework for functioning of insurance businesses and regulates the relationship between an insurer, its policyholders and its shareholders. It also had provisions regarding the regulator (the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India).

Amendments in the Bill

  • The Bill seeks to increase the maximum foreign investment allowed in an Indian insurance company.
  • The Act allows foreign investors to hold up to 49% of the capital in an Indian insurance company, which must be owned and controlled by an Indian entity.
  • The Bill increases the limit on foreign investment in an Indian insurance company from 49% to 74%, and removes restrictions on ownership and control. However, such foreign investment may be subject to additional conditions as prescribed by the central government.
  • The Act requires insurers to hold a minimum investment in assets which would be sufficient to clear their insurance claim liabilities.
  • If the insurer is incorporated or domiciled outside India, such assets must be held in India in a trust and vested with trustees who must be residents of India. The Act specifies in an explanation that this will also apply to an insurer incorporated in India – and the Amendment removes this explanation.

Impacts of the Amendment

  • The FDI limit increase is also expected to provide access to fresh capital to some of the insurance companies, which are struggling to raise capital from their existing promoters.
  • This would not only increase the solvency position for some insurers but would provide long-term growth capital for other companies to invest in newer technologies.
  • These technologies would not only help in managing losses but also in customer acquisition and thus insurance penetration.
  • The additional funds could be used to invest in technology to adapt to the evolving customer needs like responsive service through digital platforms.

-Source: The Hindu


KEN-BETWA RIVER INTERLINKING PROJECT

Context:

The governments of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh have signed an agreement that nudges forward a long stalled multi-crore, controversial project to link the Ken and Betwa rivers and irrigate the water deficient Bundelkhand region (spread over both States) as well as provide electricity.

Relevance:

GS-I: Geography (Drainage System in India, Projects to improve Irrigation), GS-II: Polity and Governance (Inter-State Relations) 

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP)
  2. Benefits of the KBLP
  3. Criticisms of the KBLP
  4. Ken and Betwa Rivers
  5. Interlinking of Rivers

About the Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP)

  • The Ken-Betwa Link Project (KBLP) is the River interlinking project that aims to transfer surplus water from the Ken river in MP to Betwa in UP to irrigate the drought-prone Bundelkhand region.
  • The region spread across the districts of two states mainly Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts of UP and Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP.
  • The project involves building a 2-km wide Dhaudhan dam and a 200+ km canal.
  • Ken-Betwa is one of the 30 river interlinking projects conceived across the country.
  • The project has been delayed due to political and environmental issues.

Benefits of the KBLP

  • River linking will be a solution to recurring droughts in Bundelkhand region.
  • It will curb the rate of farmers suicide and will ensure them stable livelihood by providing sustainable means of irrigation and reducing excessive dependence on groundwater.
  • It will not only accelerate the water conservation by construction of a multipurpose dam but will also produce 103 MW of hydropower and will supply drinking water to over 60 lakh people.
  • There are also ideas that the introduction of dams inside the water scarce regions of panna tiger reserve (MP), will rejuvenate the forests of the reserve that in turn will pave the way for Rich Biodiversity in the region.

Criticisms of the KBLP

  • The project passes though the critical tiger habitat of Panna tiger reserve, hence, it is stuck in for the approval from National Green Tribunal (NGT), and other higher authorities.
  • There is a huge economic cost attached with the project implementation and maintenance, which has been rising due to delays in project implementation.
  • Reconstruction and rehabilitation caused due to displacement resulting from the implementation of the project will involve social cost as well.

Ken and Betwa Rivers

  • Ken and Betwa rivers originate in MP and are the tributaries of Yamuna.
  • Ken meets with Yamuna in Banda district of UP and with Betwa in Hamirpur district of UP.
  • Rajghat, Paricha and Matatila dams are over Betwa river.
  • Ken River passes through Panna tiger reserve.

Interlinking of Rivers

  • In 1858, Arthur Cotton (British general and irrigation Engineer) came up with even more ambitious proposals such as connecting all major rivers of India, and interlinking of canals and rivers. He suggested drought-relief measures for Odisha.
  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, envisages the transfer of water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding, to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity, through inter-basin water transfer projects.
  • The interlinking of river project is a Civil Engineering project, which aims to connect Indian rivers through reservoirs and canals.
  • The farmers will not have to depend on the monsoon for cultivation and also the excess or lack of water can be overcome during flood or drought.
  • Since the 1980s, the interlinking project has been managed by India’s National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Water Resources.

It has been split into three parts as follows:

  1. A northern Himalayan river interlink component.
  2. A southern peninsular component.
  3. An Intra-State river linking component.
TAJIK AFGHANISTAN - PAKISTAN Arabian Sea HIMALAYAN COMPONENT O Ma n a s -San kOSh-TiSta-Ganga Kosi-Ghaghara Gandak•Ganga G hag Yamu na•Rajasthan Rajasth a S a CHINA (Tibet) Sone Mahanadi Indravati INDIA PROPOSED INTER BASIN WATER TRANSFER LINKS Chunar-Sone Barrage Sone Dam-Southern Tributaries of Ganga Ganga Kosi-M echi Farakka•S u nderbans Jogighopa-TiSta-Farakka (Alternate) Yartung Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) UTAN & napotta 24 BAN Bra LADE AN (B Nat .28 Tapi 17 Bay of Bengal Cauve PENINSULAR COMPONENT (Manibhadra)-Godavari (Dow laiswaram) Godavari (InchampaIIi)-Krishna (Pulichintala) Godavari (Nagarjunasagar) G Oda (PO la (Vißyawada) Krishna (Almattff-pennar Krishna Krishna (Somasila) International Boundary Rivers Link Lines IAN 23 OCEAN pennar (Grand A nicut) Cauvery (KattaIaihVaigai•Gundar Par-Ta pi-Narmada Daman N Hemavat i p par LANKA Map not to Scale

-Source: The Hindu


UNICEF REPORT RELEASED ON WORLD WATER DAY

Context:

A new report was released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of World Water Day (22nd March).

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice (Issues Related to Women and Children, Governance and Government Policies for Development, Issues Arising Out of Design & Implementation of Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the UNICEF report
  2. Highlights of the Report on Global Water Crisis
  3. Recent Measures taken to overcome Water Crisis in India

About the UNICEF report

  • The new report is part of UNICEF’s ‘Water security for all’ initiative that identifies areas where physical water scarcity risks overlap with poor water service levels.
  • The initiative aims to mobilise resources, partnerships, innovation and global response to identified hot spots.
  • UNICEF identified 37 hot-spot countries where children faced especially distressing circumstances in terms of absolute numbers, where global resources, support and urgent action had to be mobilised.

Highlights of the Report on Global Water Crisis

  • According to the UNICEF Report: One in Five children worldwide reside in areas of high or extremely high-water vulnerability.
  • Children in more than 80 countries live in areas with high or extremely high-water vulnerability.
  • Eastern and Southern Africa has the highest proportion of children living in such areas, with more than half of children – 58% – facing difficulty accessing sufficient water every day.
  • It is followed by West and Central Africa (31%), South Asia (25%), and the Middle East (23%).
  • More than 155 million children in South Asia lived in areas with high or even extremely high water vulnerability.
  • India has 4% of the world’s freshwater which has to cater to 17% of the world’s population.
  • The report says that nearly 40% of the population in India will have absolutely no access to drinking water by 2030 and 6% of India’s GDP will be lost by 2050 due to the water crisis.

Recent Measures taken to overcome Water Crisis in India

Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) [Urban and Rural]:

  • In the Budget 2021-22, Jal Jeevan Mission (Urban) has been announced under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry to provide universal coverage of water supply to all households through functional taps in all statutory towns in accordance with Sustainable Development Goal- 6.
  • It complements the Jal Jeevan Mission (Rural) which envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.

Jal Shakti Abhiyan:

  • Under the National Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Centre has decided to utilize the upcoming monsoon season to expand its water conservation efforts.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs, as per the Centre, has allowed to take up MGNREGA works/drinking water and sanitation works at the time of lockdown with priority to be given to water conservation and irrigation works. Jal Shakti Abhiyan was launched in 2019 and it covered 256 water stressed districts across the country.
  • Rejuvenation of the traditional water bodies, desilting of ponds and lakes, Catchment area treatment etc., are the various activities under this initiative.

-Source: Down to Earth Magazine


GANDHI PEACE PRIZE 2020

Context:

The Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020 is being conferred on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-I: History (Important Personalities)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Who were awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020?
  2. About Gandhi Peace Prize
  3. Other Gandhi Peace Prize Winners to know about

Who were awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize 2020?

  • The Gandhi Peace Prize for the year 2020 is being conferred on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by the Culture Ministry.
  • Late Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said of Oman was awarded the prestigious prize for the year 2019 in recognition of his vision to strengthen relations with India, and his efforts to promote peace and non-violence in the Gulf region.
  • The Gandhi Peace Prize is an annual award instituted by government of India since 1995, the 125th birth anniversary commemoration year of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The award is open to all people regardless of nationality, race, language, caste, creed or sex.

About Gandhi Peace Prize

  • The International Gandhi Peace Prize, named after Mahatma Gandhi, is awarded annually by the Government of India.
  • Government of India launched the International Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995 on the occasion of the 125th birth anniversary of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.
  • This award is given to individuals and institutions for their contributions towards social, economic and political transformation through non-violence and other Gandhian methods.

The jury that decides the awardee each year consists of:

  1. The Prime Minister of India,
  2. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha,
  3. The Chief Justice of India,
  4. Speaker of the Lok Sabha
  5. One other eminent person.
  • If it is considered that none of the proposals merit recognition, the jury is free to withhold the award for that year; the award was withheld in the years from 2006 to 2012 inclusive.
  • Julius K Nyerere, former Tanzanian President, was the first recipient of the award in 1995.

Other Gandhi Peace Prize Winners to know about

YearRecipientDecription
1998Ramakrishna MissionFounded by Swami Vivekananda for promoting social welfare, tolerance, and non-violence among disadvantaged groups.
1999Baba AmteSocial worker, known particularly for his work for the rehabilitation and empowerment of poor people suffering from leprosy.
2000Nelson MandelaSouth African anti-apartheid revolutionary, political leader, and philanthropist who served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
2001John HumeNorthern Irish Politician and major figure in the Northern Ireland peace process.
2005Desmond TutuSouth African cleric and social rights activist and retired Anglican bishop who rose to worldwide fame during the 1980s as an opponent of apartheid.
2014ISROSpace agency of the Indian Govt. Objective is to advance space technology and deliver the applications of it.
2016Sulabh InternationalA social service organization that works to promote human rights, environmental sanitation, non-conventional sources of energy, waste management and social reforms through education.
2016Akshaya Patra FoundationA non-profit organisation in India that runs school lunch programme across India.
2017Ekal Abhiyan TrustContribution in providing Education for Rural and Tribal Children in remote areas pan India, Rural Empowerment, Gender and Social Equality.
2018Yōhei SasakawaContribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.

-Source: Indian Express

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