Daily Prelims Notes 1 February 2021
- February 1, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
1 February 2021
All 6 CSE Prelims Qualified
If I can do it, you can too
Table Of Contents
- PSYCHEDELIC DRUGS
- CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
- MATUA COMMUNITY
- MARINE MEGA FAUNA STRANDING GUIDELINES
- AMRIT MAHOTSAV
- LA NINA & IOD
- ANDAMAN ISLANDS
- PEER TO PEER LENDING
- BRITAIN OPENS VISA SCHEME
- PURANA QUILA
- CHABAHAR PORT
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Psychedelic substances such as psilocybin, LSD and even MDMA are being studied by researchers for possible use in treatment of mental health conditions.
- Psychedelic Drug, also called psychotomimetic drug or hallucinogen, any of the so-called mind-expanding drugs that are able to induce states of altered perception and thought, frequently with heightened awareness of sensory input but with diminished control over what is being experienced.
- One of the most common psychedelic drugs is d-lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD-25, which was synthesized in 1938 by a chemist working for Sandoz Laboratories in Switzerland.
- LSD proved to be an extraordinarily powerful drug, hundreds or thousands of times more powerful than other substances such as mescaline and psilocin and psilocybin.
- LSD may induce sympathomimetic effects, such as an increased heart rate, but has not been shown to cause death directly.
- Chronic exposure, however, may lead to psychoses or difficulties with memory or abstract thinking.
- Although their effectiveness has not been proved, psychedelic drugs have been proposed as treatment aids for psychotherapy, alcoholism, and mental disorders.
- The actual mechanisms of the drugs are not fully understood, but these and other popular mood-altering substances appear to work by mimicking or supplanting the effects of naturally occurring neurotransmitters.
- Psychedelic drugs achieved their widest popularity during the 1960s and early ’70s, when drugs such as LSD were central to the “hippie” subculture in western Europe and the United States.
Subject: International Agreements
Context: Britain will next week formally apply to join a trans-Pacific trading bloc of 11 countries, with negotiations set to start later this year, the government said
- The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership may be referred to as a free trade agreement between the countries Australia, Canada, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, Mexico and Japan. It is one of the largest free trade agreements negotiated till date.
The key features of this agreement are as follows:
- Creating a free trade area: The Agreement calls for a free trade area to be created as per requirements of Article XXIV of GATT (envisages the need for a free trade area for facilitating trade between the constituent territories but not for raising barriers to trade) and Article V of GATS (grounds for economic integration).
- National Treatment: It requires the parties to give national treatment to the goods of the other State parties as per GATT provisions.
- Eliminating customs duties: The Agreement stipulates that no party is allowed to increase customs duty on an originating good or adopt any new customs duty with respect to it. Rather, parties have been mandated to eliminate these customs duties as per commitments set forth in the annexure.
- In case of export for repair or alteration: If a good is exported to another Party’s territory for the purpose of repair or alteration, it has to still be exempted from customs duty.
- Export and import restrictions: The Agreement prevents any restrictions on export or import of goods from another Party except as provided under Article XI of GATT 1994.
- Committee on Trade in Goods: A Committee on Trade in Goods is to be established consisting of government representative from every signatory country.
- The Committee is to meet once in a year for the first five years after the Agreement enters into force.
- Safeguard Measures: The Agreement provides for conditions when safeguard measures can be applied which include global safeguards stated by the GATT and transitional safeguard measures.
- It also provides for the practices relating to antidumping and countervailing duty.
- The other provisions relate to financial services, technical barriers to trade, investment and sanitary and phytosanitary measures.
Context: The CAG audit report on Kerala finances for 2018-19, tabled in the Assembly on January 18, stated that off-budget borrowings of the KIIFB are unconstitutional.
- The government is of the view that as it is providing a guarantee for principal and interest for the loans received by the KIIFB, the borrowings can be termed as contingent liabilities.
- It would become a liability on the government only when there is default by the KIIFB. The CAG has rejected the government view that these are contingent liabilities.
- Contingent Liabilities of the Government are like insurance obligations, which are contingent or conditional upon the occurrence of certain events, requiring payments by the Government, who had promised or agreed in the past to make good such liabilities, regardless of its financial health.
- It is a possible obligation and not a present obligation. It arises from some past events and its existence will be confirmed only by the occurrence of some future events.
- Its time of payment or the quantum of payment or both are uncertain.
- Contingent liabilities arise mainly because of sovereign guarantees. However, it goes beyond that.
Types of Contingent Liabilities
- A contingent liability may arise due to either explicit legal obligation or an implicit constructive obligation.
- A legal obligation relates to specific government obligation defined by law or contract, e.g., guarantees given against third party, crop insurance, tax refunds under litigation, indemnities, etc.
- A constructive or implicit obligation is an obligation that may arise when a government indicates to other parties that it accepts certain responsibilities and has created certain valid expectation on the part of those parties that it will discharge the responsibilities.
- For example, Letter of comfort issued by governments (Union and States), bailing out public sector insurance, banking and other entities, etc.
- This also represents a moral obligation or expected burden for the government not in the legal sense, but based on public expectations and political pressures.
- On the basis of the provisions made for meeting such contingent liabilities, it can be classified as either funded or unfunded liabilities. eg. the liability is funded in case of sovereign guarantees(Kerala govt stand).
- An unfunded Contingent Liability can arise due to some natural / manmade calamity say Bhopal Tragedy related payments, obligations on account of legislative changes with retrospective effect etc.
- Jahangir Aziz panel and the report of the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) (2013) studied the issue of public debt management had highlighted the importance of managing contingent liabilities in India.
Subject: Social Issue
Context: For years, the Matuas were demanding an amendment to the Citizenship Act of 2003, whose provisions made it difficult for refugees to get citizenship. The proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) only added to their insecurity.
- Matuas are Namasudras, a Scheduled Caste group who trace their ancestry to East Bengal.
- Many of them entered West Bengal after Partition and after the formation of Bangladesh.
- Today, Matuas constitute the second largest SC population of West Bengal. Mostly concentrated in North and South 24-Parganas, they also have a presence in other border districts such as Nadia, Howrah, Cooch Behar, and Malda
- While no official count is available, community leaders put their population at 3 crore.
- The Matua Mahasangha, is a religious reforms movement and a sect which was formed by Harichand Thakur in East Bengal in the mid-1800s.
- Thakur attained atmadarshan at an early age and would subsequently preach his Darshan in Twelve Commandments.
- The teachings of Thakur establish education as pre-eminently important for the adherent and upliftment of the population, while also providing a formula for ending social conflict.
- Matua-mahasangha believe in Self-Dikshitisation (“SelfRealisation”). Therefore, anyone who has faith in the Darshan or Philosophy of God Harichand belongs to the Matuamahasanhga.
- Harichand’s grandson P R Thakur established West Bengal’s Thakurnagar as headquarters of the sect after 1947.
Context: Guidelines to protect marine species released.
- Over the past few years, live and dead stranding of lone and groups of marine mammals and turtles have been reported across the country’s coastline.
- However, as there was no database of the stranded marine animals, the frequency and the hotspots have not been identified.
- These guidelines aim to improve coordination between various independent governments and civil societies responding to marine stranding, research and management, data sharing and thus promote inter-sectoral coordination in the conservation of marine animals.
These guidelines highlights:
- Actions to be taken for handling stranded animals on shore, stranded or entangled animals in the sea or on a boat,
- Management actions for improved coordination,
- Reducing threats to marine species and their habitats,
- Rehabilitation of degraded habitats,
- Enhancing people’s participation,
- Advance scientific research and exchange of information on marine mammals and marine turtles and their habitats.
Subject: Current Events
Context: PM Modi said that India would commence the celebrations of 75 years of Independence, AmritMahotsav.
- He said it is the best time to explore the places from where our heroes of the freedom movement came.
- He also urged the people of India, especially the youth, to learn about the freedom fighters, events of the freedom moment and write about them.
- AmritMahotsav was announced in 2015 by PM Modi. The festival will commence celebrating 75th Independence Day on August 15, 2022.
- It will be a 75-week long festival in which every week will have a theme dedicated to different segments that define how India is progressing.
- The government will soon launch a booklet that will showcase how India has progressed in the past and what the future holds for the country.
- It will also highlight the freedom fighters that played a crucial role in the freedom movement. On August 15, several mega projects will be dedicated to the nation.
Subject: History / Culture
Context : The ruling All India Trinamool Congress wary of the large number of non-Bengali-speaking voter base in the state, has found a specific word to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party .The word ‘bargi’ as the TMC likes to call the BJP, is of special significance in Bengal’s history.
- Bargi referred to cavalrymen in Maratha and Mughal armies. The word comes from the Persian “bargir”, literally meaning “burden taker”, notes historian SurendraNath Sen in his 1928 work The Military System Of The Marathas.
- But in the Mughal and Maratha armies, the term signified “a soldier who rode a horse furnished by his employer”.
- In the Maratha cavalry, any able-bodied person could enlist as a bargir, unless he had the means to buy a horse and military outfit– in which case he could join as a silhedar, who had “much better prospects of advancement”.
- Both the bargirs and silhedars were under the overall control of the Sarnobat (Persian for “Sar-i-Naubat”, or Commander in Chief).
Context : Skymet Weather, the country’s largest private-sector weather forecaster, has said that initial readings made on the prospects of impending 2021 South-West monsoon indicate that it would be a ‘normal monsoon year’ .
- The South-West monsoon 2021 would coincide with a devolving La Niña to start with.
- This trend of the Pacific Ocean temperatures may not lead to an above-normal or excess rainfall, Skymet Weather said, while ruling out the chances of a ‘disfigured’ monsoon from available indications.
- Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) event, which too has a major bearing on the monsoon, cannot evolve until April.
- The IOD mimics El Nino-La Nina in the Indian Ocean, and early indications suggest it to be ‘neutral’ (neither positive nor negative) around the time of monsoon onset.
About La Nina:
- It means the large-scale cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean, together with changes in the tropical atmospheric circulation, namely winds, pressure and rainfall.
- It has the opposite impacts on weather and climate as El Niño, which is the warm phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
Weather Changes due to La Nina :
- The Horn of Africa and central Asia will see below average rainfall due to La Niña.
- East Africa is forecast to see drier-than-usual conditions, which together with the existing impacts of the desert locust invasion, may add to regional food insecurity.
- It could also lead to increased rainfall in southern Africa.
- It could also affect the South West Indian Ocean Tropical Cyclone season, reducing the intensity.
- Southeast Asia, some Pacific Islands and the northern region of South America are expected to receive above-average rainfall.
- In India, La Niña means the country will receive more rainfall than normal, leading to floods.
Indian Ocean Dipole
- Sustained changes in the difference between sea surface temperatures of the tropical western and eastern Indian Ocean are known as the Indian Ocean Dipole or IOD.
- The IOD is one of the drivers of Indian Monsoon. The IOD has three phases: neutral, positive and negative
- Neutral IOD phase: Water from the Pacific flows over to East Indian Ocean (between the islands of Indonesia). Air rises above this area and falls over the western half of the Indian Ocean basin, blowing westerly winds along the equator. Temperatures are close to normal across the tropical Indian Ocean, and hence the neutral IOD does not affect the Indian Southwest Monsoon.
- Positive IOD phase: Westerly winds weaken along the equator allowing warm water to shift towards Africa. Changes in the winds also allow cool water to rise up from the deep ocean in the east.
- This sets up a temperature difference across the tropical Indian Ocean with cooler than normal water in the east and warmer than normal water in the west. Generally this means there is more moisture than normal in the atmosphere over West Indian Ocean & Arabian Sea.
- This changes the path of weather systems coming towards India, often resulting in more rainfall during Southwest Monsoon.
- Negative IOD phase: Westerly winds intensify along the equator, allowing warmer waters to concentrate near Equatorial East Indian Ocean. This sets up a temperature difference across the tropical Indian Ocean, with warmer than normal water in the east and cooler than normal water in the west.
- A negative IOD typically adversely affects the Indian Southwest Monsoon rainfall resulting in below-average rainfall over India.
Context: A plan for the sustainable and holistic development of the 680 sq km, fragile Little Andaman Island in the Andaman and Nicobar group has raised the alarm among conservationists.
- The ‘Sustainable Development of Little Andaman Island – Vision Document’, is the NITI Aayog’s proposal to leverage the strategic location and natural features of the island.
- This, the vision says, will be done by building a new greenfield coastal city there, that will be developed as a free trade zone and will compete with Singapore and Hong Kong.
- The Andaman Islands are the extension of the submerged ArakanYoma Tertiary Mountain range of Myanmar and the Nicobars are the continuation of the Mentawai Islands to the south and southeast of Sumatra.
- The main rocks of these islands are sandstone, limestone and shale.
- These two island groups situated in the Bay of Bengal span 6°45′ N to 13°41′ N (740 km) and 92°12′ E to 93°57′ E (190 km).
- These islands are separated from one another by very narrow straits.
- Andamans are separated from Nicobar by 10-degree channel (10-degree latitude).
- South Andaman and Little Andaman are separated by Duncan Passage.
- The Grand Channel is between the Great Nicobar islands and the Sumatra islands of Indonesia.
- The Coco Strait is between the North Andaman islands and the Coco Islands of Myanmar.
- Andaman and Nicobar Islands group is a Union Territory administered by the President through a Lt. Governor.
- Port Blair, located in South Andaman is the administrative capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
- The southernmost point of India is The Indira Point, (formerly known as Pygmalion Point and Parsons Point) which is the southern point of the Great Nicobar Islands.
- The highest peak of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is Saddle Peak, located in the North Andaman.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Island has a tropical marine climate influenced by the seasonal flow of monsoon winds.
- The region is under dense tropical rain forests. The coastal regions have mangrove forests.
- Coconut fruit is the staple food of the people. Fisheries, piggery is also followed.
- The Islands are also famous for the largest and rarest species of crab, the Giant Robber Crab. It can climb the coconut trees and break the hard shell of the fruit.
- The entire region is vulnerable to earthquakes as it is in the major earthquake zone.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are also known as the Emerald Islands.
- Barren Island, located in the east of Middle Andaman is India s only active volcano.
- The Narcondam Island, located in the north-east of North Andaman is also a volcanic island.
Context: Bank deposit rates have eased, and fixed income mutual fund running yields (portfolio YTMs) are much lower than earlier. In this situation, investors looking for relatively higher returns can eye an avenue known as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.
Peer to Peer Lending
- According to the RBI guidelines, ‘Peer to Peer Lending Platform means an intermediary providing the services of loan facilitation via online medium or otherwise, to the participants.’
- Participants are persons who has entered into an arrangement with an NBFCP2P to lend on it or to avail of loan facilitation services provided by it.
- The P2P lending is carried out through the internet platforms of the P2P lending companies.
- These companies charge a small commission for their services. Most of the loans are unsecured (no collateral) small personal loans.
- Peer to Peer (P2P) entities are to be regulated as Non-Banking Finance Companies-Peer to Peer (NBFC-P2P)s.
- Online platform that acts as the P2P itself should not undertake any financial activity.
- Rather, it provides a platform for credit intermediation, bringing together borrowers and lenders. The purpose of regulations on the sector is ensure customer protection, data security and orderly growth.
- The interest rate may be set by the platform or by mutual agreement between the borrower and the lender. Fees are paid to the platform by both the lender as well as the borrower.
- Any entity that is not a bank, NBFC or an All India Financial institution would like to lend electronically, should get an NBFC-P2P registration from the RBI.
Subject: International Relations
Context: A new visa scheme offering millions of people in Hong Kong a pathway to British citizenship went live on Sunday as the city’s former colonial master opens its doors to those wanting to escape China’s crackdown on dissent.
- The immigration scheme is a response to Beijing’s decision last year to impose a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong to snuff out the huge and often violent democracy protests.
- Eligible persons can work in U.K., seek citizenship after 5 years according to the immigration scheme.
- Britain has accused China of tearing up its promise ahead of Hong Kong’s 1997 handover that the financial hub would maintain key liberties and autonomy for 50 years, and has argued it has a moral duty to protect its former subjects.
Context: Central Public Works Department (CPWD) has proposed a garden along the banks of the Yamuna near PuranaQila to mark 75 years of Independence.
- PuranaQila is built on the banks of river Yamuna and is the oldest fort of Delhi.
- It has been said that the fort was previously built by the Pandavas for their kingdom Indraprastha as some grey ware of that period was found during excavation.
PuranaQila under Mughals
- PuranaQila was renovated byHumayun in 1533 and it took around five years to complete.
- The fort was built inside Din Panahwhich was a small city in Delhi. Sher Shah Suri defeated Humayun in 1540 and captured the fort.
- Sher Shah Suri ruled for five years and in his reign he constructed many structures inside the fort and named the fort as Shergarh.
- After winning again, the renovation of the fort continued by Humayun.
- Shah Jahan wanted to shift his capital from the old fort so he constructed Lal Qila or Red Fort.
- New Delhi became the capital of British India in 1920 and Edwin Lutyens linked Rajpath with PuranaQila.
Gateways of the fort
- The walls of the fort are 18m high and the circumference of the fort is 1.5km. There are three gates in the fort which are
- The Bara Darwaza is still in use and it faces west. HumayunDarwaza was named so because Humayun’s tomb is visible from here.
- TalaqiDarwaza or forbidden gate is the third gate of the fort. Each of the gates has two storeys and are built with sandstone. Each gate also has two bastion towers made up of marble.
- Qila-i-KuhnaMosque: Sher Shah Suri built this mosque in 1541. Five doorways are there having pointed arch in each. In this mosque the king and his courtiers used to offer prayers.
- Sher Mandal: The construction of Sher Mandal was started by Babur and completed by Humayun. The building is made up of red sandstone and is octagonal in shape. Babur used the building as an observatory and library.
Subject: International Relations
Context: In its latest push to develop Iran’s Chabahar port project, India handed over two 140-tonne cranes for loading and unloading equipment to the Iranian government on Sunday.
- In May 2016, India, Iran and Afghanistan signed the trilateral agreement which entailed the establishment of Transit and Transport Corridor among them using Chabahar port in Iran as one of the regional hubs for sea transportation.
- It is located on the Gulf of Oman and is only 72 km away from the Gwadar port in Pakistan which has been developed by China.
- The port serves as the only oceanic port of Iran and consists of two separate ports named ShahidBeheshti and Shahid Kalantari.
Significance of Chabahar Port for India:
- Trade: It is being considered a gateway to golden opportunities for trade by the three countries with other Central Asian countries in the wake of Pakistan denying transit access to India.
- Security: China is aggressively pursuing its own Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) under the One Belt One Road (OBOR) project. The port can also act as a counter to Pakistan’s Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment.
- Connectivity: In future, the Chabahar project and the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) will complement each other by optimising Indian connectivity with Russia and Eurasia.