Daily Current Affairs for 3rd August 2021

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Why in News

According to a report of Pakistan, Law and Justice Ministry of Pakistan has finalised draft legislation to incorporate Gilgit-Baltistan as a province of the country.

Key Points

  • India is yet to respond on the decision taken by the Pakistan.
  • India asserted that Gilgit-Baltistan is an integral part of India “by virtue of the legal, complete and irrevocable accession of Jammu & Kashmir to the Union of India in 1947.
  • For India, the strategic importance of area has increased in light of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor agreement, under which Beijing is investing hugely to develop the area as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, and the concerns of a two-front war after the standoff in Eastern Ladakh in 2020.

History of Gilgit-Baltistan

  • Gilgit was part of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, but was ruled directly by the British, who had taken it on lease from Hari Singh who was the Hindu ruler of the Muslim-majority state.
  • When Hari Singh acceded to India on 26th October, 1947, the Gilgit Scouts rose in rebellion, led by their British commander Major William Alexander Brown.
  • The Gilgit Scouts also moved to take over Baltistan, which was then part of Ladakh, and captured Skardu, Kargil and Dras. In battles thereafter, Indian forces retook Kargil and Dras in August 1948.
  • On 1st November, 1947, a political outfit called the Revolutionary Council of Gilgit-Baltistan had proclaimed the independent state of Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • On 15th November, 1947 it declared it was acceding to Pakistan, which accepted the accession only to the extent of full administrative control, choosing to govern it directly under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, a law devised by the British to keep control of the restive tribal areas of the northwest.
  • Following the India-Pakistan ceasefire of January 1, 1949, Pakistan in April that year entered into an agreement with the “provisional government” of “Azad Jammu & Kashmir”, parts that had been occupied by Pakistani troops and irregulars, to take over its defence and foreign affairs. Under this agreement, the “AJK” government also ceded administration of Gilgit-Baltistan to Pakistan.

Beyond the provinces

  • In 1974, Pakistan adopted its first full-fledged civilian Constitution, which lists four provinces: Punjab, Sindh, Baluchistan and Khyber Pakthunkhwa.
  • Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Gilgit-Baltistan were not incorporated as provinces. One reason ascribed to this is that Pakistan did not want to undermine its international case that the resolution of the Kashmir issue had to be in accordance with UN resolutions that called for a plebiscite.
  • In 1975, PoK got its own Constitution, making it an ostensibly self-governed autonomous territory. This Constitution had no jurisdiction over the Northern Areas, which continued to be administered directly by Islamabad (the Frontier Crimes Regulation was discontinued in1997 but repealed only in 2018).
  • In reality, PoK too remained under the control of Pakistani federal administration and the security establishment, through the Kashmir Council.
  • Although they were considered Pakistani, including for citizenship and passports, they were outside the ambit of constitutional protections available to those in the four provinces and PoK.

First changes

  • In 2009, Pakistan brought in the Gilgit-Baltistan (Empowerment and Self-Governance) Order, 2009, replacing the Northern Areas Legislative Council (NALC) with the Legislative Assembly, and the Northern Areas were given back the name of Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • The NALC was an elected body, but had no more than an advisory role to the Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Northern Areas, who ruled from Islamabad.
  • It has 24 directly elected members and nine nominated ones.

Provincial status

  • On November 1, 2020, observed in Gilgit-Baltistan as “Independence Day”, Pakistan Prime Minister announced that Gilgit-Baltistan would give the “provisional provincial status”.
  • The proposed law is believed to suggest that because of its status as part of the unresolved Kashmir issue, Gilgit-Baltistan be given provisional provincial status by amending Article 1 of the Constitution.
  • Separately, a set of amendments would be introduced to give Gilgit-Baltistan representation in Pakistan’s parliament, besides establishment of the Assembly.
  • The change in status will meet a long-standing demand of the 1.5 million people of Gilgit-Baltistan.
  • There is anger against Pakistan for unleashing sectarian militant groups that target Shias, but the predominant sentiment is that all this will improve once they are part of the Pakistani federation. There is a small movement for independence, but it has very little traction.


Krishna River Water Dispute

Why in News

Chief Justice of India has offered to send a water dispute case filed by Andhra Pradesh against Telangana for mediation while saying, in the background of the Assam-Manipur border flare-up, that the people of the two southern States were “brothers” and should not even “dream” of doing harm to each other.

Key Points

  • The remark of CJI’s came in response to an indirect allusion made by senior advocate, appearing for Andhra Pradesh, to the Assam-Manipur violence.
  • The case concerned Andhra Pradesh’s petition accusing Telangana of depriving its people of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation.
  • Andhra Pradesh said Telangana was refusing to follow decisions taken on river water management in the Apex Council constituted under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act of 2014.
  • It had also ignored the directions of Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) constituted under the 2014 Act and the Central government.
  • Fundamental rights, including right to life of its citizens, are being seriously impaired and infringed on account of unconstitutional, illegal and unjust acts on part of State of Telangana and its officials, resulting in the citizens of the State of Andhra Pradesh being deprived of their legitimate share of water for drinking and irrigation purposes.
  • The focus of the current petition is a Telangana government order of June 28, 2021, notifying that “to tap more hydel generation in the State, government has taken a decision to generate hydel power up to 100% installed capacity”.
  • The order directed Telangana State Power Generation Corporation Limited (TSGENCO) to hence “generate the hydel power up to 100% installed capacity in the State.”


  • In 2015, police from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana had come to blows following a heated discussion between government officials over release of water from the Nagarjuna Sagar reservoir.
  • Andhra Pradesh alleges that Telangana has been drawing Krishna water from four projects i.e., Jurala, Srisailam, Nagarjuna Sagar, and Pulichintala, for hydropower generation without approvals from the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB).
  • Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) is an autonomous body which was set up after the bifurcation of the state, to manage and regulate the waters in the Krishna basin.
  • The water that is used for power generation is being wasted by releasing it into the Bay of Bengal, even as farmers in the Krishna delta ayacut are yet to begin sowing of the kharif crop.
  • It would continue with the hydropower generation to meet its requirements of power.
  • At the same time, it has taken strong exception to the irrigation projects of the Andhra Pradesh government, especially the Rayalaseema Lift Irrigation Project (RLIP), which it claims is illegal. Telangana has called for a 50:50 allocation of water from the Krishna River.

Current division of water

  • After Telangana was carved out of Andhra Pradesh, the two states agreed to split the water share 66:34 on an ad hoc basis until the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-2 decided the final allocation.
  • Of the 811 TMC (thousand million cubic) feet of water allocated to the United States, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana at present get 512 TMC ft and 299 TMC ft respectively.

Krishna River Basin

  • The Krishna is the second largest eastward draining interstate river in Peninsular India.
  • It rises in the Mahadev range of the Western Ghats at an altitude of 1,337 m near Mahabaleshwar in Maharashtra State, about 64 km from the Arabian Sea.
  • It flows for a distance of 305 km in Maharashtra, 483 km in Karnataka and 612 km in Andhra Pradesh before finally out falling into the Bay of Bengal.
  • The length of the river is about 1,400 km. Krishna basin lies between latitudes 13º 07’ N and 19º 20’ N and longitudes 73º 22’ E and 81º 10’ E.
  • On the north, the basin is bounded by the range separating it from the Godavari basin and on the south and east by the Eastern Ghats and on the west by the Western Ghats.
  • Hydropower Station built on Krishna River basin: Nagarjunsagar, Srisailam, Nagarjunsagar RC, Nagarjunsagar CH and Srisailam LB.


The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021

Why in news

On July 30th, Finance Ministry introduced ‘the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021’ in the Lok Sabha which will allow the government to privatise state-owned general insurance companies.

Key Points

  • The Bill will amend the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972.
  • Presently, there are four general insurance companies in the public sector:
  • Oriental Insurance Company,
  • National Insurance Company,
  • United India Insurance Company, and
  • New India Assurance Company.
  • It is not known yet in which of the companies will the government pare its stake.

General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill, 2021

  • The Bill seeks to introduce 3 amendments:
  • The first amendment aims to omit the proviso to Section 10B of the Act so as to remove the clause that the Central government must hold at least 51 percent of the shareholding.
  • The second amendment proposes to insert a new section 24B providing for cessation of application of the Act to such specified insurer on and from the date on which the Central Government ceases to have control over it.
  • The third amendment proposes to insert a new section 31A providing for liability of a director of the specified insurer, who is not a whole-time director, liable for any acts of omission or commission committed with his knowledge and consent.
  • The Act empowers the central government to notify the terms and conditions of service of employees of the specified insurers.
  • The Bill provides that schemes formulated by the central government in this regard will be deemed to have been adopted by the insurer.
  • The board of directors of the insurer may change these schemes or frame new policies.
  • Further, powers of the central government under such schemes (framed under the Act) will be transferred to the board of directors of the insurer.

General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972

  • The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972, was enacted to provide for the acquisition and transfer of shares of Indian insurance firms for developing the general insurance business.
  • It was amended to transfer and vest the shares of the acquiring companies with the central government, thereby mandating it to maintain at least 51 percent shareholding in the general insurance companies.


Prevention detention

Why in News

According to the recent verdict of the Supreme Court, the Preventive detention could be used only to prevent public disorder.

Key Points

  • Preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder. The court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably leads to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large.
  • The State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.
  • The court said two drunks fighting on a road was a law-and-order problem, and not ‘public disorder’. The solution here was not preventive detention.

Four corners of Article 21

  • Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.
  • Mere contravention of law, such as indulging in cheating or criminal breach of trust, certainly affects ‘law and order’, but before it can be said to affect ‘public order’, it must affect the community or the public at large.
  • The Supreme Court said the State should have contested the bail order in a higher court rather than slap an Executive order of preventive detention on him on the ground that, if set free, he would cheat more people.

Preventive-Detention Law

  • Under Section 151 of The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC), preventive detention is action taken on grounds of suspicion that some wrong actions may be done by the person concerned.
  • A police officer can arrest an individual without orders from a Magistrate and without any warrant if he gets any information that such an individual can commit any offense.
  • Article 22 of the Indian Constitution provides protection against arrest and detention in certain cases.
  • The Article 22 of the Indian Constitution provides safeguards against the misuse of police powers to make arrests and detentions.

Difference between arrest and Preventive-detention

  • An ‘arrest’ is done when a person is charged with a crime. An arrested person is produced before a magistrate within the next 24 hours.
  • In case of preventive detention, a person is detained as he/she is simply restricted from doing something that might deteriorate the law-and-order situation.


Food fortification

Why in news

Recently, a group of scientists and activists has written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), warning of the adverse impacts on health and livelihoods.

Key Points

  • They cited multiple studies to show that dietary diversity and higher protein consumption are key to solving undernutrition in India, rather than adding a few synthetic micronutrients which could harm the health of consumers.
  • The letter was signed by 170 individuals and organisations, including eminent nutritionists, economists, doctors and farmers groups.

Inconclusive evidence

  • Former deputy director of the National Institute of Nutrition, who warned that “evidence supporting fortification is inconclusive and certainly not adequate before major national policies are rolled out”.
  • The letter pointed to recent studies published in the medical journal Lancet and in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition which show that both anaemia and Vitamin A deficiencies are over-diagnosed that means, mandatory fortification could lead to hypervitaminosis.
  • It also noted that many of the studies which FSSAI relies upon to promote fortification were sponsored by food companies which would benefit from it, leading to conflicts of interest.
  • The letter explained that a major problem with chemical fortification of foods is that nutrients don’t work in isolation but need each other for optimal absorption.
  • Undernourishment in India is caused by monotonous cereal­based diets with low consumption of vegetables and animal protein.
  • Citing a 2010 study that showed iron fortification causing gut inflammation and pathogenic gut microbiota profile in undernourished children.
  • The letter also argued that mandatory fortification would harm the vast informal economy of Indian farmers and food processors, including local oil and rice mills, and instead benefit a small group of multinational corporations.
  • Dietary diversity was a healthier and more cost­effective way to fight malnutrition. Once iron­fortified rice is sold as the remedy to anaemia, the value and the choice of naturally iron­rich foods like millets, varieties of green leafy vegetables and flesh foods will have been suppressed by a policy silence.

Food fortification

  • Food fortification is defined as the practice of adding vitamins and minerals to commonly consumed foods during processing to increase their nutritional value.
  • It is a proven, safe and cost-effective strategy for improving diets and for the prevention and control of micronutrient deficiencies.
  • In 2008 and 2012, the Copenhagen Consensus ranked food fortification as one of the most cost-effective development priorities.
  • While mandatory food fortification has been used as a strategy to prevent micronutrient deficiencies in high-income countries (HIC), dating as far back as the 1920s in Europe and North America when the first salt was iodized, it is still less common in LMICs where food systems are not delivering nutritionally adequate diets due the production and consumption of just a few major starchy food crops (maize, rice, wheat) with low micronutrient content and/or bioavailability (phytate).
  • In the past two decades, food fortification has become increasingly popular in LMICs for several reasons, including rapid urbanization and increasing household purchasing power, leading to a greater proportion of the population relying on processed foods.


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