Current Affairs Analysis

30th May 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Trump’s order targeting social media platforms; Speaker nominates MPs to the Delimitation Commission; Delimitation Commission; TRAI recommends National Numbering Plan; Rozgar Setu scheme; Extension of Amery Ice Shelf; US House Passes Uighur Human Rights Bill; Who are Uighurs? Xinjiang Province; UN Award for Army Major Suman Gawani; Pandharpur wari; Missile Park Agneeprastha; Port Antsiranana; Interahamwe militia; Herbal Roads etc.
By IASToppers
May 30, 2020


Polity & Governance

  • Speaker nominates MPs to the Delimitation Commission
  • TRAI recommends National Numbering Plan

Government Schemes and Policies

  • Rozgar Setu scheme

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Extension of Amery Ice Shelf

Bilateral & International Relations

  • US House Passes Uighur Human Rights Bill
  • Trump’s order targeting social media platforms

Defence & Security Issues

  • UN Award for Army Major Suman Gawani

Art and Culture

  • Pandharpur wari

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Missile Park Agneeprastha
  • Port Antsiranana
  • Interahamwe militia
  • Herbal Roads

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Polity & Governance 

Speaker nominates MPs to the Delimitation Commission

Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has nominated 15 MPs from Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh to assist the Delimitation Commission in redrawing the Lok Sabha and the Assembly constituencies of the north-eastern States and the UT J&K.

Major Highlights:

  • Union Ministers Kiren Rijiju and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah are among the 15 MPs who will be associates of the Delimitation Commission.
  • The appointments were made after the Delimitation Commission had recently written to the Lok Sabha speaker and other presiding officers of the Assemblies to nominate associate members.
  • Jammu and Kashmir at present has no Assembly. It is a Union Territory with a provision of a legislature.
  • Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and State Election Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir and the four north-eastern States will be its ex-officio members.

What is delimitation?

  • Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.
  • Delimitation is the process of redrawing the boundaries of the various assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies based on a recent census. 

Delimitation Commission of India:

  • The Delimitation Commission is a statutory body which was first established in India in 1952.
  • After this, Delimitation Commissions were constituted in 1963, 1973 and 2002.
  • According to Article 82 of the Indian Constitution, the central government can set up a delimitation commission after every 10 years.
  • The Delimitation Commission has not been formed after the year 2002 in India.
  • The Indira Gandhi government had suspended delimitation in 1976 until the 2001 census.
  • The delimitation of constituencies was further frozen till the first census after 2026, by the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002.


  • The Delimitation Commission appointed by the Centre has three ex-officio members:
    • A serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson,
    • The Chief Election Commissioner or the Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and
    • The State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.
  • Members of Parliament and Legislative Assemblies of states, for which the Delimitation Commission is set up, are drawn in as associate members to help the panel in its task.
[Ref: The Hindu]

TRAI recommends National Numbering Plan

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has recommended that a new National Numbering Plan be issued at the earliest so that a uniquely identifiable number can be provided to every subscriber in India.

Major Highlights:

  • TRAI has recommended:
    • switching to a 11-digit mobile number, 
    • reallocation of mobile numbering resources surrendered by operators who have shut shop and
    • prefixing zero for all mobile calls made from fixed line.
  • It has also recommended that all the SIM-based M2M (machine to machine) connections using 10-digit mobile numbering series should be shifted to the 13-digit numbering series allocated by the Department of Telecommunications at the earliest.
  • The government should enlist all newly allocated numbering resources for fixed line as well as mobile services every year.
  • It has recommended automated allocation of numbering resources be done using number management system software to speed up the process of allocation in an efficient and transparent manner. 


  • The regulator said adequate availability of numbering resources is threatened because of an increase in the range of services and massive growth in the number of connections, especially in the mobile segment.
  • The ongoing plan implemented in 2003, was developed keeping in mind the projections till the year 2033.
  • The total number of telephone subscribers in India stands at 1,177.02 million with a tele-density of 87.45% at the end of January 2020.
  • As a result, it is needed to review the utilisation of the numbering resources and make some policy decisions to ensure that adequate resources are available for sustainable growth of the telecommunication services.


  • Some serious problems are anticipated with a change in the mobile number from 10 to 11 digits, and the move should be resorted to only if all the efforts to continue with the 10-digit numbering are exhausted.
  • Migrating to 11 digits would require widespread modifications in the configuration of switches involving cost.
  • This would also cause inconvenience to the customers in the form of dialling extra digits and updating phone memory.
  • This could lead to more dialling errors, infructuous traffic, and loss of revenue to the Telephone service Providers.
  • The changes will be required in the databases of all services requiring telephone numbers for identity like financial banking services, e-commerce, and government welfare schemes.

Key Facts:

  • The Department of Telecommunications administers the numbers for fixed and the mobile networks based on the ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T) Recommendations.
  • The management of numbering resources is governed by the National Numbering Plan.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Government Schemes and Policies

Rozgar Setu scheme

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced the launch of the Rozgar Setu scheme.


  • To provide work to the maximum number of returned skilled workers.
  • To bring skilled workers on a platform and connect them with those needing them. 

Major Highlights:

  • The scheme will survey skilled workers who were employed at industries elsewhere, and have now returned back to the state.
  • The identification of skills would help secure employment for skilled workers.
  • The State is the first to devise such a work plan.
  • After such workers requiring employment are identified, the government will contact factory and workshop owners and contractors overseeing infrastructure projects such as road and bridge construction.
  • The State government will act as a setu [bridge] between workers and employers so that both are benefited.


  • The scheme would fulfil the manpower requirement of industries as well as provide employment to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
[Ref: The Hindu]  

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Extension of Amery Ice Shelf

The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research has predicted an increase in the expansion of the Amery Ice Shelf boundaries in Antarctica.

Major Highlights:

  • The prediction is made by NCPOR, Goa based on a 16-year-long satellite-based observation that covered an area of 60,000 sq km across the AIS.
  • There would be a 24 percent increase in the expansion of the Amery Ice Shelf (AIS) boundaries in Antarctica by 2021 and another 24 percent by 2026 from its 2016 positions.
  • The scientists observed a spatio-temporal change in the ice shelf as reflected by the extension of the Pridze and Mackenzie and the extension of a 200-km stretch between Mackenzie Bay and the Sandefjord Bay.
  • It becomes clear from the study that the AIS is losing its stability owing to the impact of a downstream giant glacial drainage system over the past 19 years, thereby advancing the ice shelf boundaries due to higher freezing rates than basal melting.
  • NCPOR observations also revealed a critical cooling of the sea surface temperature, resulting in an advancement of the ice shelf by 88 per cent in the past 15 years.
  • These changes would contribute in a major way to climate variability.

The study area map showing the AIS extent positions from 2001 to 2016.

Ice shelves:

  • The floating sheets of ice called ‘ice shelves’ play a multi-faceted role in maintaining the stability of a glacier.
  • Ice shelves connect a glacier to the landmass.
  • The ice sheet mass balance, sea stratification, and bottom water formation are important parameters for the balancing of a glacier.
  • Latent and sensible heat processes do play important roles here. 
  • The insulation of ice shelves from atmospheric forcing is dependent on a temperature gradient that the ocean cavity beneath the ice shelves provides.
  • It is the pressure exerted by the ice shelves upon the ocean cavity that determines this temperature gradient.
  • There is always a stress on the sea ice and ice sheets themselves play an indirect role in reducing the amplitude of the ocean swell.
  • This is assisted by the freezing atmospheric temperature, which is capable of promoting a change in the morphology of ice shelves.


  •  This study would help in better understanding of the ongoing changes in the ocean and atmospheric forces.

Amery Ice Shelf (AIS):

  • The AIS is one of the largest glacier drainage basins in the world, located on the east coast of Antarctica.
  • The Amery Ice Shelf is the third largest ice shelf in Antarctica, after the Ross Ice Shelf and the Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf.
[Ref: Down To Earth]

Bilateral & International Relations

US House Passes Uighur Human Rights Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation calling for sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for oppression of Uighur Muslims.

Major Highlights:

  • The bill was by unanimous consent in the US Senate putting pressure on Trump to impose human rights sanctions on China.
  • The bill calls for sanctions against those responsible for repression of Uighurs and other Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang province, where the United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps.
  • The bill also calls on U.S. companies or individuals operating in the Xinjiang region to take steps to ensure their products do not include parts using forced labour.
  • However, China denies mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training.

Who are Uighurs?

  • Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic minority mostly based in the Xinjiang province in China’s far north-west.
  • They make up around 45 percent of the population of the province.
  • The Uighurs are one of the largest ethnic minority populations in China.
  • The Uighurs don’t speak Mandarin as their native language and have ethnicity and culture that is different from that of mainland China.
  • China is accused of ‘homogenising’ the Uighurs, who claim closer ethnic ties to Turkey and other central Asian countries than to China, by a brutal force.

What is the issue?

  • The Xinjiang province of China had skill differences between Uighur Muslims and the majority Han Chinese, who took better jobs in the province.
  • This threatened the livelihoods and identity of Uighurs and led to sporadic violence by Uighurs in 2009.
  • Since then, they complain of discrimination and harsh treatment by security forces.
  • Uighur groups want to establish an independent state because of the Uighurs’ cultural ties to their neighbours.
  • China fears that the elements in the neighbourhood may back a separatist movement in Xinjiang.

Location of Xinjiang Province:

  • It is a provincial-level autonomous region of China.
  • It is the largest Chinese administrative division and the eighth largest country subdivision in the world.
  • Xinjiang contains the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, which is administered by China and claimed by India.
  • Xinjiang shares borders with the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.
  • The Karakoram, Kunlun, and Tian Shan mountain ranges occupy much of Xinjiang’s borders.
  • Xinjiang also borders Tibet Autonomous Region and the provinces of Gansu and Qinghai.
  • The most well-known route of the historical Silk Road ran through the territory from the east to its north-western border.
[Ref: Reuters, Indian Express]

Trump’s order targeting social media platforms

US President Donald Trump signed an executive order aimed at removing certain safeguarding protections for social media platforms and gives federal regulators the agency to take action against online platforms.

What is an executive order?

  • An executive order is a written directive issued by the President and is one of the most common presidential documents.
  • Such orders are not legislations and don’t require the approval of the Congress, which also means that the Congress cannot overturn them.
  • Only a sitting US president can overturn an executive order by issuing another one to that effect.

What does it say?

  • The executive order says that online platforms are engaging in selective censorship and that Twitter’s labelling of Trump’s Tweets shows political bias.
  • At the same time online platforms are invoking inconsistent, irrational, and groundless justifications to censor or otherwise restrict Americans’ speech here at home, several online platforms are profiting from and promoting the aggression and disinformation spread by foreign governments like China.
  • The move comes after Twitter labelled two posts made by Trump about California’s vote-by-mail plans as fact-checked.

What changes with the order?

  • Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) provides immunity to online platforms and protects them from being liable for the content billions of people post on their platform every day.
  • Further, under this section, providers of “interactive computer services” are free from being treated as the publisher or speaker of any information posted by the users.
  • The new executive order says that when online platforms remove or restrict access to content, which are not based on the aforementioned criteria, or is in bad taste, it engages in editorial conduct and thereby becomes the publisher of all the content posted on its website.
  • Based on this, the order seeks to revoke the liability shield offered to platforms and exposes them to liability like any traditional editor and publisher that is not an online provider.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Defence & Security Issues

UN Award for Army Major Suman Gawani

Major Suman Gawani of the Indian Army, who served as a peacekeeper with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in 2019, has won the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award.


  • As a military observer in UNMISS from November 2018 to December 2019, Major Gawani was the principal focal point of contact for gender issues for military observers in the mission.
  • The officer encouraged participation in joint military patrols to maintain gender balance, irrespective of the hardships under extreme field conditions.
  • She also strived to integrate gender perspective into the planning and military activity in the mission.

United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the year Award:

  •  The Award given since 2016 recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles within the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325.
  • It is awarded annually to a military peacekeeper who has best integrated a gender perspective into peacekeeping activities.
  • The award will help raise the profile and understanding of mainstreaming a gender perspective within a military context for UN Peacekeeping missions.

UN Resolution 1325:

  • UNSCR 1325 affirms that peace and security efforts are more sustainable when women are equal partners in the prevention of violent conflict, the delivery of relief and recovery efforts and in the forging of lasting peace.
  • Resolution 1325 addresses two major points – the inordinate impact of violent conflict and war on women and girls, as well as the crucial role that women should, and already do play in conflict prevention, conflict resolution, peacemaking and peacebuilding.
  • Four basic pillars of the resolution are: participation, protection, prevention & relief and recovery.
[Ref: The Hindu, USIP]

Art and Culture

Pandharpur wari

With COVID-19 cases rising in Pune, Satara and Solapur districts of Maharashtra, authorities have decided to cancel the AshadhiWari.

  • In a bid to uphold the 800-year-old tradition of AshadhiWari, the State government said the padukas would be carried by road or air to Pandharpur in Solapur district.

Pandharpur Wari:

  • Pandharpur Wari is an annual pilgrimage to the town of Pandharpur, which is the seat of Hindu God Vithoba in Maharashtra, in honour of the deity.
  • Wari means regular visiting of a particular (religious) place.
  • Wari of Pandharpur means to walk from one’s own house to Pandharpur for the Lord and return back to house.
  • The conglomeration of many Varkari is conventionally called Dindi.
  • There are four main Seasons of pilgrimage (wari): Chaitri Yatra, Ashadhi Yatra, Kartiki Yatra and Maghi Yatra.

Ashadhi Yatra:

  • It is an annual pilgrimage made on foot by lakhs of warkaris (devotees) to the temple town of Pandharpur carrying palkhis (palanquins) bearing the padukas (footprints) of saints Dnyaneshwar and Tukaram.
  • It is also known as Ashadhi Ekadashi or Devashayani Ekadashi.
  • It is believed that Lord Vitthal starts his sleep from this day.
  • During the period of Aashadhi and Kartiki, the temple remains open to all devotees for twenty-four hours of the day.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Key Facts for Prelims

Missile Park Agneeprastha

  • The foundation stone for a Missile Park “Agneeprastha” was laid at INS Kalinga recently.
  • The Missile Park once completed will be dedicated to all the Officers, Sailors and Support Staff of INS Kalinga, who have served in this premier op-support Base since its establishment in 1981.
  • Agneeprastha aims to capture glimpses of Missile History of INS Kalinga till date.
  • The Missile Park has been set up with a replica of missiles and Ground Support Equipment (GSE) that showcase the evolution of missiles handled by the unit.   

Port Antsiranana

  • As part of Mission Sagar, Indian Naval Ship Kesari entered Port Antsiranana, Madagascar.
  • Mission Sagar’ builds on the excellent relations existing between the two countries to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its resultant difficulties. 

Interahamwe militia

  • It is a far-right Hutu paramilitary organization active in Congo and Uganda.
  • It was formed around 1990 as the youth wing of the National Republican Movement for Democracy and Development, the then-ruling party of Rwanda.
  • They were the main perpetrators of the Rwandan genocide, during which an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Tutsi, Twa, and moderate Hutus were killed from April to July 1994.
  • The term “Interahamwe” was widened to mean any civilian bands killing Tutsi.

Herbal roads

  • Uttar Pradesh government will develop 800 km roads as Herbal roads in the state.
  • These herbal roads will have medicinal and herbal trees along with the land on their both sides.
  • These include trees like Peepal, Neem, Sehjan along with other herb varieties like Brahmi, Ashwagandha and Jatrofa.
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