Daily Prelims Notes 10 February 2022
- February 10, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 February 2022
Table Of Contents
- CENTRE’S NEW RULES FOR IMPORT OF DRONES
- GEOMAGNETIC STORMS THAT KILLED STARLINK SATELLITES
- The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator
- DEATH PENALTY
- QUESTION HOUR
- HALLMARKING OF GOLD JEWELLARY & ARTEFACTS
- New centre for carbon capture utilisation at IIT Bombay
- Kaziranga National Park is a net carbon emitter
- Demanding PESA rights- Jharkhand’s tribal people plan to boycott panchayat polls
- SOLAR GEOENGINEERING
- SOVEREIGN GREEN BONDS
- RBI’s POLICY RATES
1. CENTRE’S NEW RULES FOR IMPORT OF DRONES
Context- The Centre has banned the import of drones with some exceptions. The move is aimed at giving a boost to domestic manufacturing of drones which is seen as a sector that is set to witness rapid growth this decade.
- The Budget proposed the Drone Shakti scheme to facilitate application and use of ‘drones as service’ in the country.
What imports are being banned?
- The import of any drones either in completely built up (CBU), completely knocked down(CKD) /semi knocked down (SKD) forms have been banned, with the exception of drones imported “for the purposes of defence, security and research and development”.
- Anyone looking to import drones under the exemptions will be required to obtain clearances.
- The ban does not apply to the import of drone components.
Why the imports are banned?
- The move is aimed at giving a boost to domestic manufacturing of drones which is seen as a sector that is set to witness rapid growth this decade.
- According to BIS Research, India’s drone market is estimated to account for about 4.25 per cent of the global drone market worth about $28.5 billion in FY22.
- The government also launched a Rs 120 crore Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to boost the manufacturing of drones in the country.
Who can still import drones?
- Government entities, educational institutions and government recognised R&D entities will be allowed to import drones in CBU, SKD and CKD form after they acquire import authorisation from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade. Drone manufacturers seeking to import drones for R&D will also be able to import drones through this route
The new Drone Rules, 2021
- Reduced both compliances and fees required to operate drones.
- The civil aviation ministry also launched an airspace map of India on the Directorate General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) digital sky platform which demarcates the areas where drones can be used without permission and areas in which drone operators cannot operate drones without obtaining prior permission from government authorities.
2. GEOMAGNETIC STORMS THAT KILLED STARLINK SATELLITES
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- Elon Musk’s Starlink has lost dozens of satellites that were caught in a geomagnetic storm a day after they were launched causing them to fall from orbit before they could be commissioned.
- Geomagnetic storms occur when a surge of solar wind — charged particles from the sun — smashes into Earth’s magnetic field and generates charged particles and currents in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
- They occur during the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots e. ‘dark’ regions on the Sun that are cooler than the surrounding photosphere, and can last for a few minutes or hours.
- The surge warms the upper atmosphere and increases its atmospheric density such that the drag experienced by satellites in low Earth orbit can be enough to send them tumbling back to Earth.
- It can hit operations of space-dependent services like global positioning systems (GPS), radio, and satellite communications. Geomagnetic storms interfere with high-frequency radio communications and GPS navigation systems.
- The geomagnetic storm experienced by the STARLINK satellites came from solar wind kicked out by a Jan. 30 coronal mass ejection — an eruption of the sun.
- Starlink is a SpaceX project to build a broadband network with a cluster of orbiting spacecraft.
- The service offers low-latency broadband internet to remote areas across the globe, using a constellation of satellites in low-Earth orbit.
- In other words, it allows users to connect to the internet beamed from space onto a dish antenna, much like satellite TV.
3. The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- The WHO, on Wednesday, urged rich countries to pay their fair share of the money needed for its plan to conquer Covid by contributing $16 billion as a matter of urgency.
Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator:
- The Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is a WHO led global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
- Launched in April 2020, the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator brings together governments, scientists, businesses, civil society, and philanthropists and global health organizations (the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CEPI, FIND, Gavi, The Global Fund, Unitaid, Wellcome, the WHO, and the World Bank).
- ACTA gave birth to the Covax facility, designed to ensure poorer countries could access vaccines.
- Following the ACT-Accelerator launch, UNICEF and PAHO became delivery partners for COVAX, the vaccines pillar.
Context- The judgment by a three-judge Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar came in the rape and murder of a seven-year-old. The court commuted the death penalty of the convict to life imprisonment.
- Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, who authored the judgment, referred to the evolution of the principles of penology.
- Justice Maheshwari said penology had grown to accommodate the philosophy of “preservation of human life”.
- Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offence. It is the highest penalty awardable to an accused. Generally, it is awarded in extremely severe cases of murder, rapes, treason etc.
Death Penalty In India:
- Despite a global moratorium against the death penalty by the UN, India retains the death penalty.
- Prior to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act (Cr PC) of 1955, the death penalty was the rule and life imprisonment an exception in India.
- After the amendment of 1955 courts were at liberty to grant either death or life imprisonment.
- As per Section 354 (3) of the Cr PC, 1973 the courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.
- The situation has been reversed and a life sentence is the rule and death penalty an exception in capital offences.
- The Indian Penal Code prescribes ‘death’ for offences such as
- Waging war against the Government of India. (Section 121);
- Abetting mutiny actually committed (Section 132);
- Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death. (Section 194);
- Murder (Section 302);
- Some other criminal statutes that provide for the death penalty as a form of punishment.
- Direct or indirect abetment of sati is punishable with Death penalty under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
- Under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 giving false evidence leading to the execution of an innocent member belonging to the SC or ST would attract the death penalty.
- Rape of a minor below 12 years of age is punishable with death under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012.
- Financing, producing, manufacturing as well as the sale of certain drugs attracts the death penalty for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Army, Navy and Air Force Acts also provide the death penalty for certain specified offences committed by members of the armed forces.
- Supreme Court on the Death Penalty
- Jagmohan Singh v. State of UP 1973 case: The Supreme Court held that according to Article 21 deprivation of life is constitutionally permissible if that is done according to the procedure established by law.
- Bachan Singh v. the State of Punjab 1980 case: A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court propounded the dictum of ‘rarest of rare cases’ according to which death penalty is not to be awarded except in the ‘rarest of rare cases’ when the alternative option is unquestionably foreclosed.
- Machhi Singh v. State of Punjab 1983 case: The Supreme Court laid down certain considerations for determining whether a case falls under the category of rarest of rare cases or not.
Context- Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday that this was the first time in 70 years that no Cabinet Minister had replied to questions posed by members during the Question Hour.
- Question Hour is the first hour of a sitting session of India’s Lok Sabha devoted to questions that Members of Parliament raise about any aspect of administrative activity.
- The concerned Minister is obliged to answer to the Parliament, either orally or in writing, depending on the type of question raised.
- Questions are one of the ways Parliament can hold the Executive accountable.
- There are four types of question—Starred, non-starred, short notice question and questions to private members.
- Starred Questions are those for which an oral answer is expected. Answer to such question may be followed by supplementary questions by member. These questions are printed in green colour and are marked with asterisk sign ‘*’, in order to distinguish from other questions.
- Non-starred questions are those for which a written reply is expected. After the reply has been provided, no supplementary question can be asked. These questions are printed in white colour and not more than 230 questions can be listed for a day in loksabha.
- Short notice questions are those which are asked on matters of urgent public importance and thus, can be asked on a shorter notice i.e. less than 10 days. These questions can be answered orally and supplementary questions can be asked. These questions are printed in light pink colour.
- Questions to private members are those which are asked to members who are not ministers. These questions are related to private member’s bills, parliamentary committees, private member resolutions. These questions are printed in Yellow colour.
6. HALLMARKING OF GOLD JEWELLARY & ARTEFACTS
Context- The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), Chennai region, has increased drawing of market samples to check the conformity to mandatory hallmarking of gold ornaments and Hallmark Unique ID (HUID) in jewellery.
BIS Hallmarking Scheme:
- Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) Hallmarking Scheme was launched in 2001 as a voluntary scheme, with the objective of protecting the consumers against adulteration and justifying an obligatory responsibility of the manufacturers to maintain legal standards of fineness of precious metals in India.
- Under this scheme, BIS-certified jewellers can get their jewellery hallmarked from any of the BIS-recognised Assaying and Hallmarking Centres (AHMCs).
- Voluntary hallmarking was a fairly straightforward procedure, which required minimal documentation.
- However, the introduction of HUID (Hallmarking Unique ID) made it possible to validate the hallmarking process. By generating a unique identification number for each article of jewellery, and obligatory submission of reported sampling and testing for purity, complete transparency was achieved in the system.
- This facilitated the creation of a record of the transfer of ownership of jewellery articles, as well as, verification by the end-use customer regarding the authenticity of each unit using the HUID portal even before the purchase
- The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS), which operates the gold and silver hallmarking scheme in India, defines hallmarking as the “accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.”
- So, it is a “guarantee of purity or fineness” of precious metal articles, which started in 2000.
- In India, at present two precious metals namely gold and silver have been brought under the purview of Hallmarking.
- The government in June 2021 announced the phased implementation of mandatory hallmarking of gold jewellery.
- Earlier, it was optional for the jewellers and thus only 40% of gold jewellery was getting hallmarked.
Bureau of Indian Standards:
- BIS is the National Standard Body of India for the harmonious development of the activities of standardization, marking and quality certification of goods.
- It is a statutory body under The Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) Act 2016.
- BIS (Hallmarking) Regulations, 2018 under the BIS act calls for Hallmarking of:
- Gold jewellery and gold artefacts
- Silver jewellery and silver artefacts
7. New centre for carbon capture utilisation at IIT Bombay
Context- The Department of Science & Technology (DST) under the Union Ministry of Science and Technology has established the National Centre of Excellence in Carbon Capture and Utilisation (NCOE-CCU) at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay.
- This Centre of Excellence explores and unlocks the potential of Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU) technologies to set India on the path to achieving its climate goals and commitments.
- The Centre’s primary focus of research will involve understanding the role of CO2 in the global climate and mitigation strategies of the CO2 emitted from the industrial and energy sector.
- The NCOE-CCU, is the country’s first such centrally funded by the DST. It was formally sanctioned in December 2021.
- The NCOE has partnerships with several academic and research institutes (such as other IITs, universities, and CSIR labs) and industries including petroleum, cement, power, and steel.
- The NCOE will be nodal for state-of-the-art research and application-oriented initiatives in the field of CCUS.
Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage (CCUS):
- CCUS technology is designed to capture CO2 emissions from combustion of fossil fuels.
- It can absorb 85-95% of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere.
- The process starts with the capture of generated CO2 which undergoes a compression process to form a dense fluid. This eases the transport and storage of the captured CO2.
- The dense fluid is transported via pipelines and then injected into an underground storage facility. Captured CO2 can also be used as a raw material in other industrial processes such as bicarbonates.
8. Kaziranga National Park is a net carbon emitter
Context- The soil in Kaziranga is home to a large population of bacteria that release carbon dioxide as they breathe, adding to what trees and others emanate.
Why Kaziranga a Net Carbon emitter:
- This is mainly due to decreasing rainfall in the region, which has already been observed in the last few decades.
- It is due to the unique soil of the deciduous forest.
- The soil is home to a large population of bacteria that release carbon dioxide as they breathe, which adds to the carbon dioxide being emanated by other organisms, including trees.
- This is according to latest research conducted by a group of scientists from the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, Maharashtra and Tezpur University in Tezpur, Assam.
- Usually, forests absorb more carbon than they release, which makes them carbon sinks and they are globally promoted to counter the carbon dioxide emissions from different human activities.
- The main process by which a forest absorbs carbon is the process of photosynthesis that trees use to produce food for themselves and for other organisms in the forest.
Kaziranga National Park:
- Kaziranga National Park in Assam, home to the largest-population of the one-horned rhinoceros in the world.
- It was declared as a National Park in 1974.
- It has been declared a tiger reserve since 2007. It has a total tiger reserve area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.
- It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
- It is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
9. Demanding PESA rights- Jharkhand’s tribal people plan to boycott panchayat polls
Context- several tribal clans and their leaders in the state have vowed to boycott the elections alleging that the Jharkhand government has ignored the rights of the tribal people of the state for more than 20 years.
- Their specific grouse relates to the poor implementation of PESA (Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension Schedule Area) Act).
PESA (Provisions of the Panchayats (Extension Schedule Area) Act)1996:
- To promote local self-governance in rural India, the 73rd constitutional amendment was made in 1992.
- Through this amendment, a three-tier Panchayati Raj Institution was made into a law.
- PESA, one of the strongest acts supporting tribal communities, ensures self-governance through gram sabhas (village councils) in predominantly tribal areas that are categorised as Scheduled Areas under the Indian Constitution.
- The PESA conferred the absolute powers to Gram Sabha, whereas state legislature has given an advisory role to ensure the proper functioning of Panchayats and Gram Sabhas.
- Gram sabhas are non-political in nature and are formed traditionally in tribal areas based on hereditary rights of the clans without elections.
- PESA mandates that there should not be panchayat elections in the Fifth Scheduled areas.
- Following powers and functions have been provided to the Gram Sabhas:
- Right to mandatory consultation in land acquisition, resettlement and rehabilitation of displaced persons.
- Protection of traditional belief, the culture of the tribal communities
- Ownership of minor forest products
- Resolution of the local disputes
- Prevention of land alienation
- Management of village markets
- Right to control production, distillation, and prohibition of liquor
- Exercise of control over money-lending
- Any other rights involving the Scheduled Tribes.
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- Scientists are calling on political institutions to place limits on solar geoengineering research so that it cannot be deployed unilaterally by countries, companies or individuals.
- Geoengineering is also known as climate engineering.
- It is a conceptual method of reducing the negative effects of climate change by removing the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or by limiting the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface.
- Solar geoengineering is a specific form of albedo modification in which highly reflective particles i.e. aerosols are introduced into the atmosphere to increase Earth’s albedo.
- This would reduce incoming light (radiation) from the sun, and thereby decrease the amount of energy (heat) reaching Earth’s surface.
- Solar Radiation Management and Ocean Iron Fertilization are forms of geoengineering or climate engineering.
- Solar geoengineering’s leading proposal of injecting billions of aerosol particles into the Earth’s stratosphere could have severe, unintended and unforeseen consequences.
- The color of the sky could change.
- The chemical composition of the ozone layer and oceans may be permanently altered.
- Photosynthesis, which depends on sunlight, may slow down, possibly harming biodiversity and agriculture.
- And global weather patterns could change unpredictably.
Context- In recent years, the bitterness between states and Governors have been largely about the selection of the party to form a government, deadline for proving majority, sitting on Bills, and passing negative remarks on the state administration.
- Last week, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee blocked Governor JagdeepDhankhar on Twitter. She said she was “forced” to do so because of his “unethical and unconstitutional” statements and accused him of treating government officials like “his servants”.
The Governor – Appointment
- President of India appoints the Governor of State by warrant under his hand and seal for a five-year term.
- The Governor is not directly elected by the people, and neither is he elected indirectly by a special electoral college.
Qualifications: The Indian Constitution specifies two basic qualities for the selection of a Governor.
- He should be an Indian citizen.
- He must be at least 35 years old.
Over time, the following conventions have emerged:
- He should be an outsider who does not reside in the state where he will be appointed.
- When appointing the Governor of a state, the President must consult with the state’s Chief Minister.
Constitutional Position: The provisions of Articles 154, 163, and 164 of the Constitution empower the constitutional post of Governor.
- Article 153 of the Indian Constitution mandates the appointment of a Governor in each state. The 7th Amendment to the Constitution however, allows for the appointment of the same person as Governor of two or more states.
- Article 154: The Governor shall have executive power over the state, which he shall exercise either directly or through officers subordinate to him in conformity with this Constitution.
- Article 163: There shall be a council of ministers, led by the Chief Minister, to assist and advise the Governor in the exercise of his powers, except when he is compelled to execute his functions at his discretion.
- Article 164: The council of ministers is collectively responsible to the state’s legislative assembly. This provision is the cornerstone of the state’s parliamentary system of governance.
- The Governor has the same Executive, Legislative, Financial, and Judicial authorities as the President of India. However, the Governor’s power is restricted in several ways compared to that of the President, as the Governor lacks the President’s military, diplomatic, and emergency authorities.
Context- Despite govt’s climate focus, grants to key adaptation fund are sliding.
- The Union Budget 2022-23 emphasised sovereign green bonds and thematic funds for blended finance in areas including climate action.
Sovereign Green Bonds:
- Green bonds, issued through the Reserve Bank of India, will be part of the government’s overall borrowing programme and used for projects leading to a less carbon economy.
- The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.
- The announcement is in sync with India’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
- Green bonds are issued by companies, countries and multilateral organisations to exclusively fund projects that have positive environmental or climate benefits and provide investors with fixed income payments.
- The projects can include renewable energy, clean transportation and green buildings, among others.
- Proceeds from these bonds are earmarked for green projects. This is unlike standard bonds, the proceeds of which can be utilised for various purposes at the discretion of the issuer.
Context- Signalling that the country is not yet ready for a monetary tightening or a hike in interest rates, the six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Thursday kept key policy rates – Repo rate, Reverse repo rate and the Bank rate unchanged for the 10th time in a row, and retained the accommodative policy stance.
- Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (RBI in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Here, the central bank purchases the security.
- Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks within the country.
- Bank Rate: It is the rate charged by the RBI for lending funds to commercial banks.
- Marginal Standing Facility (MSF): MSF is a window for scheduled banks to borrow overnight from the RBI in an emergency situation when interbank liquidity dries up completely.
Monetary Policy Committee:
- The Monetary Policy Committee is a statutory and institutionalized framework under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
- The Governor of RBI is ex-officio Chairman of the committee.
- The committee comprises six members (including the Chairman) – three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
- Decisions are taken by majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
- The MPC determines the policy interest rate (repo rate) required to achieve the inflation target (4%).