Current Affairs Analysis

26th August 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Warli painting; Sixth schedule; Arunachal Pradesh seeks 6th Schedule; Haryana Panchayat Bill; Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRI); Changes in CSR rules; Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); Glanders disease; Construction and demolition waste; India-Vietnam cooperation; Location of Vietnam; First all-weather route to Ladakh; Darcha-Padum-Nimu route; Earth’s inner core is older; Geodynamo; Fujiwhara effect; Super apps; Paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome; Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana; BRICS innovation base; Women's Equality Day; etc.
By IASToppers
August 26, 2020


Polity & Governance

  • Arunachal Pradesh seeks 6th Schedule status
  • Haryana plans Panchayat Bill

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Changes in CSR rules

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Glanders disease

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • India recycles only 1% of its construction and demolition waste

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India-Vietnam to enhance cooperation

Defence & Security Issues

  • First all-weather route to Ladakh

Geophysical Phenomena

  • Earth’s inner core is older than determined
  • Fujiwhara effect

Science & Technology

  • What are super apps?

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome
  • Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana
  • BRICS innovation base
  • Women’s Equality Day
  • Warli painting

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Polity & Governance

Arunachal Pradesh seeks 6th Schedule status

The state government in Arunachal Pradesh has decided to appeal to the Centre for bringing it under the purview of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

  • It is aimed towards protecting the rights of its indigenous peoples.

What is the issue?

  • Arunachal Pradesh at present is being protected by the Inner Line Permit (ILP).
  • The ILP was warranted by the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation Act of 1873.
  • It is an official travel document issued by the State government concerned to let in an Indian citizen into a protected area for a limited period.
  • As per the cabinet, the provisions of Article 371(H) for Arunachal Pradesh (special status) do not ensure full protection to the State’s people.

Sixth Schedule of Indian Constitution:

  • The Sixth Schedule consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
  • This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
  • It allows for formation of Autonomous District Councils to administer regions which have been given autonomy within these states.

Features of 6th Schedule:

  • The tribal areas of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram have been constituted as autonomous districts.
  • They do not fall outside the executive authority of the state concerned.
  • The tribals are given freedom to exercise legislative and executive powers through an Autonomous Regional Council and Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).
  • The governor is empowered to organize and re-organize the autonomous districts and can increase or decrease their areas or change their names or define their boundaries.
  • Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  • The elected members hold office for a term of five years and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.


  • The district and regional councils administer the areas under their jurisdiction.
  • They can make laws on:
    • Certain specified matters like land, forests, inheritance of property, marriage and divorce, social customs etc. but require the assent of the governor.
    • Constitute village councils or courts for trial of suits within their territorial jurisdictions.
    • Collect land revenue and to impose certain specified taxes.
  • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
  • The governor can appoint a commission to examine on any matter relating to administration of the autonomous districts or regions.
  • He may dissolve a district or regional council on the recommendation of the commission.
  • The ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Haryana Plans Panchayat Bill

The Haryana government is planning to bring a Bill to provide 50:50 reservations in panchayat polls for men and women candidates.


  • To ensure equal opportunities for both sexes.

Major Highlights:

  • The bill aims to rotate seats between male and female representatives after each term.
  • Men and women will be able to contest panchayat polls under the odd-even formula.
  • This will be implemented for sarpanches and members of village wards, block samitis and zila parishads.
  • If a ward or village is headed by a man in one term, it will be represented by a woman in the next term.
  • The bill has the Right to Recall for representatives of panchayat bodies.
  • Under this provision, an elected representative can be removed by voters if he or she fails to perform as per their minimum expectations.

Panchayati Raj Institutions:

  • PRI is a system of rural local self-government in India.
  • Local Self Government implies management of local affairs by the elected local bodies.
  • It was constitutionalised through the 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act of 1992.
  • PRIs gave 33% reservation to women coupled with decentralised decision making.
  • It provides reservation for women in Panchayati Raj system set up two ways:
    • (i) for the office of the members and
    • (ii) for that of the chairperson.

Role of PRI institutions in women empowerment:

  1. Women are gearing themselves up to enter politics at the lower level in the spirit of self-governance as committed Citizens.
  2. Through the PRIS, more than one million women have actively entered into the political life of India. Reservation for women in panchayats (chairman and members) up to one-third seats.
  3. Women’s issues have come to the forefront at the local level and consequently state and national level.
  4. Creation, development and promotion of Self Help groups, Cooperatives, MSMEs for better employment and livelihood options in Rural areas.
  5. Women leaders are transforming local governance by sensitizing the State to issues of poverty, inequality and gender injustice.
  6. Women are changing governance as they choose to tackle; water, alcohol abuse, education, health and domestic violence.
  7. Women are also taking action against child marriage and child domestic labour, promoting girl-child education and addressing quality health care.


  • More priority accorded to infrastructure issues such as the construction of roads and community buildings.
  • Social sector development issues such as health and education take a back seat.
  • Most women elected heads are dependents on others (secretary, husband, children etc.) due to lack of education.
  • Extortions from corrupt officials and threats of physical violence, rape and abuse from rouge elements.
  • Social and cultural barriers like sex stereotyping, political socialization, lack of preparation for political activity, and balancing work and family.
  • Maintaining work-life balance.
[Ref: Indian Express; Law Times Journal]

Government Schemes & Policies

Changes in CSR rules

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs has notified two amendments in the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) rules.

What are the new rules?

  • The companies are allowed to spend their CSR funds in R&D activities related to new vaccine, drugs and medical devices in three financial years starting from 2020-21.
  • MCA has amended the Schedule VII to include R&D for development of drugs to cure COVID-19 as one of the approved CSR activities.
  • The government has specified broad areas of mandatory CSR spending in Schedule VII.
  • The contributions to R&D projects in the field of science, technology, engineering and medicine, funded by the central or state governments or any public sector entity would also be counted under CSR.
  • Companies can now contribute their CSR funds to:
    • Public funded universities
    • Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs)
    • Department of Atomic Energy (DAE)
    • Department of Biotechnology (DBT)
    • Department of Science and Technology (DST)
    • Department of Pharmaceuticals.
    • Institutions under Ministry of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH).

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  • As per the Companies Act, firms with-
  • Net worth of Rs 500 crore or more, or
  • Turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or
  • Net profit of Rs 5 crore or more in the immediately preceding financial year have to mandatorily spend 2% of average net profit of the preceding three years on CSR.

Approved activities under Schedule VII of CSR:

  • Eradicating extreme hunger
  • Poverty
  • Promotion of education
  • Promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment
  • Reducing the child mortality
  • Improving maternal health
  • Combating diseases.
  • Ensuring environmental sustainability
  • Prompting employment enhancing vocational skills.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

Issues related to Health & Education

Glanders disease

The Delhi High Court has sought response of Delhi government on plea of PETA to prevent spread of glanders disease.

Major Highlights:

  • People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sought the HC to implement the Prevention and Control of Infectious and Contagious Diseases in Animals Act, 2009.
  • PETA has sought implementation of the National Action Plan for Control and Eradication of Glanders.
  • It is aimedto prevent spread of glanders disease among horses, mules, ponies and donkeys.

Glanders disease:

  • Glanders is a contagious zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys.
  • The infectious disease that is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei, usually by ingestion of contaminated feed or water.
  • B. mallei is able to infect humans, so is classed as a zoonotic agent.
  • Transmission occurs by direct contact with infected animals and entry is through skin abrasions, nasal and oral mucosal surfaces, or by inhalation.


  • Glanders is endemic in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America.
  • It has been eradicated from North America, Australia, and most of Europe through surveillance and destruction of affected animals, and import restrictions.
  • Signs of glanders include the formation of nodular lesions in the lungs and ulceration of the mucous membranes in the upper respiratory tract.

Key Fact:

  • Bacterium Burkholderia mallei is considered as potential bio-weapon and categorized under ‘Tier 1 Select Agent’.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

India recycles only 1% of its construction and demolition waste

As per a report by Centre for Science and Environment, India recycles just one per cent of its construction and demolition (C&D) waste.

Major highlights:

  • India generates an estimated 150 million tonnes of C&D waste every year.
  • But the official recycling capacity is a meagre 6,500 tonnes per day — just about one per cent.
  • 53 cities were expected to set up recycling facilities to recover material from C&D waste by 2017 — but only 13 cities have done that by 2020.


  • The heaps of concrete, bricks and metal waste from construction were choking waterbodies, green areas and public spaces in Indian cities.
  • Toxic dust particles from the debris pollute air and add to particulate matter (PM) pollution.
  • It is opposite to National Clean Air Programme where cities have to reduce their particulate pollution by 20-30 per cent by 2024.

Initiatives for recycling C&D waste:

  • The Bureau of Indian Standards has allowed use of concrete made from recycled material and processed C&D waste.
  • The Construction and Demolition Waste Rules and Regulations, 2016 have mandated reuse of recycled material.
  • Swachh Bharat Mission has recognised the need for C&D waste management.
  • Ranking points for C&D waste management for Swachh Survekshan 2021 have been doubled to 100 points, divided equally between management infrastructure and waste processing efficiency.
  • Cities will need to have a C&D waste collection system in place; notified charges for C&D services and segregation of waste in five streams.
  • Under waste processing efficiency criteria, ranking points will be awarded based on the percentage of collected waste that is processed and reused.


  • The demand for primary building material, including minerals, stone, sand, iron ore, aluminum and timber, is growing at an unprecedented rate.
  • A significant proportion of construction waste can be recycled and reused and brought back to construction to substitute naturally sourced material.
  • This can help reduce energy intensity and environmental footprints of buildings and infrastructure.
[Ref: DownToEarth]

Bilateral & International Relations

India-Vietnam to enhance cooperation

India and Vietnam have agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation after the meeting of the India-Vietnam Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

Major Highlights:

  • The enhanced cooperation will be in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity and growth for all in the region.
  • Both sides reviewed the recent developments in India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and discussed the future trajectory of their wide-ranging engagement.
  • They agreed to explore closer cooperation in emerging areas such as civil nuclear energy, space, marine sciences and new technologies.
  • They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest in context of the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.

India’s assistance to Vietnam:

  • 12 Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) for implementation in Vietnam are approved by the Govt. of India.
  • It includes seven QIPs in water resource management in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta Region and five QIPs related to construction of educational infrastructure in Vietnam.
  • India’s offers development and capacity building assistance to Vietnam through initiatives such as Quick Impact Projects (QIP), Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) and e-ITEC initiatives, PhD fellowships, SDGs, digital connectivity and heritage conservation.

Location of Vietnam:

  • Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country and the easternmost country on the Indochinese Peninsula.
  • Vietnam shares its land borders with China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west.
  • It shares its maritime borders with Thailand through the Gulf of Thailand, and the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia through the South China Sea.
  • Capital city: Hanoi.

 [Ref: Indian Express]

Defence & Security Issues

First all-weather route to Ladakh

India is pushing hard to complete an all-weather strategic route to Ladakh that will link Darcha in Himachal Pradesh to Nimu via Padum in Kargil’s Zanskar valley.

Darcha-Padum-Nimu route:

  • It requires upgrading the Darcha-Padum-Nimu trekking route into a metalled road and building a 4.5-kilometre tunnel under Shingo La on the Darcha-Padum route.
  • The project is scheduled to be completed by the Defence Ministry within two years.
  • This will be the first all-weather and the third route to connect Ladakh by road which is already connected by two other routes.
  • The first route is via Zoji La in Jammu and Kashmir and second via Himachal’s Manali-Upshi-Leh axis.


  • It is urgently needed given Pakistan and China’s interest in the Siachen Glacier and Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO).
  • It will keep the supply lines open for the military guarding Siachen, Kargil and DBO sectors.
  • The Darcha-Nimu route will also develop the new union territory of Ladakh to get round-the-year supplies.

Key Facts:

  • Nimu is 35 kilometres from Leh town and headquarters of XIV Corps responsible for the defence of East Ladakh and Siachen Glacier.
  • The 9.02 kilometre Atal tunnel at Rohtang La, which will reduce the distance between Manali and Leh by 46 km, is set to become operational in the last quarter of 2020.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

Geophysical Phenomena

Earth’s inner core is older than determined

Researchers have revised estimate of the age of Earth’s solid inner core to 1-1.3 billion years from 565 million years old.

Major Highlights:

  • The estimates for core age have fluctuated between very young and relatively high.
  • A new research has reported that the inner core is about 1-1.3 billion years old.
  • It is young compared to the age of Earth i.e. 4.5-billion years old.

Earth’s inner core:

  • Earth’s inner core is the innermost geologic layer of the Earth.
  • It is mostly made of iron and is in the solid state due to extreme pressure.
  • The temperature is very hot about 6,000 degrees Celsius.
  • The outer core is also iron, but is liquid due to relatively lower pressure.


  • As lighter elements rise through the liquid iron of the outer core at different temperatures, they cause convection currents.
  • The circulation of liquid metal creates electric currents (kinetic energy is converted into magnetic energy) and turns Earth into a giant electromagnet.
  • This is how Earth’s magnetic field is generated and the process is called geodynamo which is fed by convection.
  • The age of the inner core, has been essentially calculated by the effectiveness of iron to transfer heat, known as thermal conductivity.
[Ref: DownToEarth]

Fujiwhara effect

Two tropical storms (Marco & Laura) formed in western Atlantic Ocean at nearly same time, are likely to impact the Gulf of Mexico, North America.

  • This has sparked the concerns of the rare Fujiwhara effect whichoccurs when two hurricanes combine to form a mega hurricane.

What is Fujiwhara effect?

  • The effect occurs when two hurricanes spinning in the same direction pass close enough to each other, and begin an intense dance around their common center.
  • If one hurricane is a lot stronger than the other, the smaller one will orbit it and eventually come crashing into its vortex to be absorbed.
  • The storms closer in strength can gravitate towards each other until they reach a common point and merge, or merely spin each other around for a while before shooting off on their own paths.
  • Often, the effect is additive when hurricanes come together, and we usually end up with one massive storm instead of two smaller ones.
[Ref: DownToEarth]

Science & Technology

What are super apps?

Tata Group is planning to launch an all-in-one super app by the end of this year or early next year.

Super apps:

  • A platform developed by a company offering various services under one umbrella.
  • A physical world comparison of a super app would be a mall, which allows retail space to various brands and shops across businesses and verticals.

For example: China’s WeChat, started out as a messaging app, expanded into payments, cabs, shopping, food ordering, cab services to become a super app.

Concept of super apps:

  • Typically, companies that have a slew of services and products to offer tend to consolidate these offerings into a super app.
  • The concept first emerged in China and southeast Asia where internet companies leveraged the opportunity of customer traffic on their platforms.
  •  By offering these customers additional services leads to increased revenue realisations.

Why do Indian companies want to build super-apps?

  • A country or a region becomes super app-ready when its large base of the population uses smartphone first instead of desktop and ecosystem of apps customised to local needs is not evolved.
  • India has already become a market where a majority of those experiencing the internet for the first time are doing so on their mobile phones.
  • This is one of the main reasons why Indian companies are looking at building super apps.
  • Such apps also provide companies large amount of consumer data which can then be harnessed to learn more about user behaviour.

Concerns about super apps:

  • The concept of trying to keep a customer within its own ecosystem for most services they might increase the possibility of a monopoly.
  • This has the concerns of privacy when a super app has onboarded third-party service providers.
  • The data collected by master app could then be used to train machines in artificial intelligence and predict consumer behaviour even more accurately.

 [Ref: Indian Express]

Key Facts for Prelims

Paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome

  • A small number of children with COVID-19 have shown paediatric inflammatory multisystem syndrome (PIMS-TS).
  • The rare syndrome causes severe inflammation in blood vessels and can lead to heart damage.
  • In the acute stage of PIMS-TS, children have raised levels of cytokines (molecules associated with the immune system) and reduced levels of white blood cells (lymphocytes).
  • By the time the children recovered, the immune system changes gradually returned to normal.

Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana

  • The Chhavni COVID: Yodha Sanrakshan Yojana is a group life insurance scheme through Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).
  • It will cover more than 10,000 employees in all 62 Cantonment Boards in event of any unfortunate fatal calamity with an insurance cover of Rs five lakhs each.
  • It will benefit permanent and contractual employees including doctors, paramedics and sanitation staff.

BRICS innovation base

  • China has proposed to create BRICS innovation base to take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation among the five countries.
  • The move poses an awkward question for India, the only country in BRICS group that is leaning towards excluding Chinese participation in roll-out of India’s 5G network.

Women’s Equality Day

  • Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on August 26 throughout the world.
  • It commemorates the passage of 19th Amendment in U.S. that provides equal rights to women including the right to vote.
  • The Nineteenth Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted in 1920.
  • 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the day being observed in the U.S.
  • It is observed across the world to encourage and spread awareness about women’s empowerment.

Warli painting

  • It is a style of tribal art mostly painted on walls, practiced in Maharashtra.
  • Warli is the name of the largest tribe found on the northern outskirts of Mumbai.
  • This art makes use of geometric shapes such as circles, triangles and squares.
  • The paintings are the vivid expression of daily and social events of the Warli tribe.
  • It does not depict the mythological characters or images of deities.
  • One of the most popular themes in Warli art is a spiral chain of humans around one central motif.
  • This in accordance with their belief that life is an eternal journey, and it has no beginning and end.
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