Daily Prelims Notes 10 June 2021
- June 10, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 June 2021
Table Of Contents
- VISION DOCUMENT OF PHASE 3 E OURTS WAS RELEASED
- CABINET APPROVES 5 MHz SPECTRUM FOR RAILWAYS
- SAN FRANCISCO IS LEADING THE WAY TO HERD IMMUNITY
- ORIGIN AND SIGNIFICANCE OF PRIDE MONTH
- PETROL AND DIESEL PRICES ARE CONTINUING TO RISE IN INDIA
- SARDAR SAROVAR DAM IS PROVIDING IRRIGATION WATER IN SUMMER FOR FIRST TIME
- MIXING COVID VACCINES
- NO DECISION ON ADDU ATOLL : SOLIH
- PRADHAN MANTRI AWAS YOJANA – URBAN
- APPOINTMENT OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS
- INDO – THAI COORDINATED PATROL
- UN SPECIAL RIGHTS RAPPORTEUR
- CENTRE ANNOUNCES HIKE IN MSP FOR PADDY , PULSES
- GOVT HAS ADVANCED THE TARGET FOR ETHANOL BLENDING
Context: The e-Committee of the Supreme Court of India recently released its draft vision document for Phase III of the e-Courts project. Phases I and II had dealt with digitization of the judiciary, i.e., e-filing, tracking cases online, uploading judgments online, etc.
- The e-Courts project was conceptualized on the basis of the “National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the Indian Judiciary – 2005”submitted by e-Committee, Supreme Court of India with a vision to transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.
- The e-Courts Mission Mode Project, is a Pan-India Project, monitored and funded by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India for the District Courts across the country.
The following are the functions of e-Courts Project:
- To provide efficient & time-bound citizen-centric services delivery as detailed in e-Court Project Litigant’s Charter.
- To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
- To automate the processes to provide transparency in the accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
- To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost-effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.
Subject : Economy
Context : The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the allotment of 5 Mhz spectrum in the premium 700 MHz band to the Railways for captive use in areas of public safety and security services.
- With this spectrum, the Railways will introduce Long-Term Evolution (LTE)-based Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) on its routes.
- This will help prevent train accidents and reduce delays by enabling real-time interaction between the Loco Pilot, Station Master and the Control Centre.
- The project, targeted to be completed in five years, is estimated to cost over ₹ 25,000 crore.
Long Term Evolution (LTE) in Railways
- LTE in Indian Railways will be used to provide secure & reliable voice, video & data communication services for operational, safety & security applications.
- It will be used for modern signaling & train protection systems. LTE can ensure seamless communication between loco pilots & guards and can enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring of coaches, wagons & locos.
- It can also enable live video feed of CCTV cameras in train coaches to ensure safer, efficient and faster train operations.
- Spectrum charges may be levied on the basis of formula as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive use on recommendations of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Top epidemiologists have predicted that San Francisco, California will be the first major American city to arrive at the possible endgame of the pandemic — herd immunity.
- Experts believe San Francisco’s vaccination drive is largely to thank for its success in combating the virus.
- So far, nearly 80 per cent of all adults have already received at least one dose of the vaccine in the city, according to San Francisco health department data.
- Herd immunity is when a large number of people are vaccinated against a disease, lowering the chances of others being infected by it.
- When a sufficient percentage of a population is vaccinated, it slows the spread of disease.
- It is also referred to as community immunity or herd protection.
- The decline of disease incidence is greater than the proportion of individuals immunized because vaccination reduces the spread of an infectious agent by reducing the amount and/or duration of pathogen shedding by vaccines, retarding transmission.
- The approach requires those exposed to the virus to build natural immunity and stop the human-to-human transmission. This will subsequently halt its spread.
Subject : Current Events
Context : In many parts of the world, June is the ‘Gay Pride Month’, dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ community and their struggle against discrimination and social ostracization.
- June month is celebrated as the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) Pride month all over the world. The LGBTQ pride month is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall riots at Stonewall Inn in New York, a gathering space for LGBTQ community during the 60s.
- It provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT community. The month is observed by United States, United Kingdom, Canada. LGBT History Month originated in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1994.
- The commemoration of the month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.
- Note: On June 28, 1969, police raided the inn, leading to the gay liberation movement in the US. ‘Mother of Pride’ Brenda Howard organised the first pride parade a year later.
Subject : Economy
Context : Petrol has crossed the Rs 100 mark in at least six states as a result of a Rs 4.9 per litre hike in its price since the beginning of May.
Fuel price dynamics in India
- Retail petrol and diesel prices are in theory decontrolled — or linked to global crude oil prices.
- It means that if crude prices fall retails prices should come down too, and vice versa.
- But this does not happen in practice, largely because oil price decontrol is a one-way street in India.
- When global crude oil prices fall and prices slide, the government slaps fresh taxes and levies to ensure that it rakes in extra revenues.
- The consumer should have ideally benefited by way of lower pump prices, is forced to either shell out what she’s already paying or spend even more for every litre of fuel.
- The main beneficiary in this subversion of price decontrol is the government.
Why crude oil prices are rising now?
- The price of crude oil has risen sharply in 2021 on the back of a recovery in global demand as the world economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
- The price of Brent crude has risen by 37.1 per cent to about $71 per barrel from about $51.8 per barrel at the beginning of the year.
- The price of petrol and diesel are pegged to a 15-day rolling average of the international prices of the petrol and diesel.
- However, current petrol prices are significantly higher than prices in FY14 when the average price of India’s crude basket was $105.5 per barrel.
What is the impact of taxes?
- Increasing central and state taxes on petrol and diesel are the key reason for the prices of petrol and diesel being at record highs, even though the price of crude oil is only 3.5 per cent higher than at the beginning of 2020, before the Covid-19 pandemic led to a sharp fall in the demand for crude oil.
Subject : Economy / Infrastructure
Context : Called the ‘lifeline of Gujarat’, the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Dam usually has no water for irrigation during summers. However, this year the dam had 122.72 metres with live storage of 1,711 million cubic metres in the month of June.
About Sardar Sarovar Dam
- Sardar Sarovar Project is a concrete gravity dam on the Narmada river in Kevadiya near Navagam, Gujarat.
- It is the second-largest concrete dam in the world in terms of the volume of concrete used to construct the dam (after the Grand Coulee Dam in the United States).
- It involves a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams.
- The irrigation benefits accrue to the states of Rajasthan and Gujarat while the hydroelectric power of the SSP is to be shared by the states of Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Maharashtra is to get around 57 percent of the electricity produced; Madhya Pradesh will get around 27 percent and Gujarat around 16 percent.
- It was funded by the World Bank through its International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), although it withdrew in 1994.
- It is a part of the Narmada Valley Project, a large hydraulic engineering project involving the construction of a series of large irrigation and hydroelectric multi-purpose dams on the Narmada river.
Subject: Science & tech
Context : India plans to embark soon on an exercise to investigate if it can immunise people using a “mix and match” of different Covid-19 vaccines.
- This would mean following up one dose of a particular vaccine with a second dose of a different vaccine. In scientific terms, this is called “heterologous” immunisation.
- In India, whose vaccination programme currently uses Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V, this practice has not been approved yet. Other countries have already been testing this out.
Why mix and match Covid-19 vaccines?
- BETTER IMMUNE RESPONSE: Some scientists believe that using a different vaccine for the second dose could potentially boost the immune response against the virus. This may especially be true for viral vector vaccines like Covishield/AstraZeneca, which use a modified and weakened chimpanzee ‘adenovirus’ (common cold virus) to deliver the genetic code of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein to the body.
- MUTATIONS & VARIANTS: Mixing and matching vaccines of different technologies — for example, a viral vector vaccine followed up with an mRNA vaccine like Pfizer’s — might encourage our immune system to build a wider response.
- SHORTAGES IN SUPPLY: Current Covid vaccine production cannot sufficiently cater to the existing demand, resulting in stock-outs. In parts of India, government vaccination centres for those in the 18-44 age group had closed down due to limited Covishield and Covaxin supplies.
- SAFETY CONCERNS: Countries like Germany, France, the UK and Canada have halted the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in younger age groups due to concerns of rare blood clot.
- UNTESTED COMBINATIONS: Some vaccines like Covaxin have not even been administered in a mix and match scenario
- DIFFERENCES IN VACCINES: International bodies like the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, which is looking into mixing and matching Covid-19 vaccines, have highlighted certain complexities.
- SIDE EFFECTS: Studies such as the Com-COV trials show that some combinations, like AstraZeneca with Pfizer vaccines, could lead to an increase in side effects.
- THE SILVER LINING: As of now, there are no issues theoretically that could make mixing and matching of Covid-19 vaccines a major safety threat.
Subject : Environment / Geography
Context : The Maldives has made no decision on opening an Indian consulate in its southern Addu Atoll, President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said on Tuesday, a fortnight after the Indian Cabinet cleared a proposal for it.
About Addu Atoll
- Addu is one of the most beautiful sites of Maldives’26 coral atolls. It comprises more than two dozens of Maldives’ 1192 islands.
- Addu Atoll, also known as Seenu Atoll, is the southernmost atoll of the Maldives.
- Addu Atoll is the location of Addu City, one of the two cities of the Maldives. Addu City consists of the inhabited areas of Addu Atoll, namely the natural islands of Hulhudhoo, Meedhoo, Maradhoo, Feydhoo, and Hithadhoo.
- Addu Atoll, together with Fuvahmulah, extend the Maldives into the Southern Hemisphere. About 10% of actual Maldives residents are living here with unique culture and dialect.
- According to the official figures released by Maldives Tourism Indian citizens are second among people coming to the Maldives to visit from all over the world.
- An atoll is a roughly circular (annular) oceanic reef system surrounding a large (and often deep) central lagoon.
- The lagoon has a depth 80-150 metres and may be joined with sea water through a number of channels cutting across the reef.
- Atolls are located at great distances from deep see platforms, where the submarine features may help in formation of atolls, such as a submerged island or a volcanic cone which may reach a level suitable for coral growth.
- An atoll may have any one of the following three forms-
true atoll—a circular reef enclosing a lagoon with no island;
an atoll surrounding a lagoon with an island;
a coral island or an atoll island which is, in fact, an atoll reef, built by the process of erosion and deposition of waves with island crowns formed on them.
- Atolls are far more common in the Pacific than any other ocean. The Fiji atoll and the Funafuti atoll in the Ellice/Island are well known examples of atolls. A large ‘number of atolls also occur in the Lakshadweep Islands.
- In the South Pacific, most atolls occur in mid-ocean. Examples of this reef type are common in French Polynesia, the Caroline and Marshall Islands, Micronesia, and the Cook Islands.
- The Indian Ocean also contains numerous atoll formations. Examples are found in the Maldives and Chagos island groups, the Seychelles, and in the Cocos Island group.
Other types of coral reef
- Fringing reefs : Fringing reefs are reefs that grow directly from a shore. They are located very close to land, and often form a shallow lagoon between the beach and the main body of the reef.
- A fringing reef runs as a narrow belt [1-2 km wide]. This type of reef grows from the deep sea bottom with the seaward side sloping steeply into the deep sea. Coral polyps do not extend outwards because of sudden and large increase in depth.
- The fringing reef is by far the most common of the three major types of coral reefs, with numerous examples in all major regions of coral reef development.
- Barrier reefs : Barrier reefs are extensive linear reef complexes that parallel a shore, and are separated from it by lagoon
- This is the largest (in size, not distribution) of the three reefs, runs for hundreds of kilometres and is several kilometres wide. It extends as a broken, irregular ring around the coast or an island, running almost parallel to it.
- Barrier reefs are far less common than fringing reefs or atolls, although examples can be found in the tropical Atlantic as well as the Pacific.
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : Recently, the Government has approved 708 proposals for construction of 3.61 lakh houses under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U). The ‘PMAY-U Awards 2021-100 Days Challenge’ was also launched by the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U)
- It is a flagship Mission of Government of India being implemented by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
- It was launched in 2015.
- The main stakeholders are State Level Nodal Agencies (SLNAs), Urban Local Bodies (ULBs)/ Implementing Agencies (IAs), Central Nodal Agencies (CNAs) and Primary Lending Institutions (PLIs)
- All houses under PMAY (U) have basic amenities like toilet, water supply, electricity and kitchen.
Objectives of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U)
- It is aimed at providing pucca houses to all eligible beneficiaries of Urban India by 2022 with the vision of ‘Housing for All’.
- It addresses urban housing shortage among the EWS/LIG and MIG categories including the slum dwellers.
- It adopts a cafeteria approach to suit the needs of individuals based on the geographical conditions, topography, economic conditions, availability of land, infrastructure etc.
About PMAY-U Awards 2021-100 Days Challenge
- The awards are given to recognize and celebrate the outstanding contribution and performances by States, Union Territories (UTs), Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) and beneficiaries.
- It aims to encourage healthy competition among States/UTs/ULBs and recognize their best performance.
The awards have broadly been classified into 3 major levels:
- State Awards, Municipal Corporations, Municipal Councils and Nagar Panchayats Awards
- Special Category Awards
- Beneficiary Awards
Subject : Polity
Context : Recently, Shri Anup Chandra Pandey has assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner (EC) of India.
- Article 324 of the Constitution has made the following provisions with regard to the composition of election commission
- The Election Commission shall consist of the chief election commissioner and such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.
- The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the president.
- When any other election commissioner is so appointed, the chief election commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election commission.
- The president may also appoint after consultation with the election commission such regional commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election commission.
- The conditions of service and tenure of office of the election commissioners and the regional commissioners shall be determined by the president.
Powers and Tenure of Election Commissioners
- The chief election commissioner and the two other election commissioners have equal powers and receive equal salary, allowances and other perquisites, which are similar to those of a judge of the Supreme Court.
- In case of difference of opinion amongst the Chief election commissioner and/or two other election commissioners, the matter is decided by the Commission by majority.
- They hold office for a term of six years or until they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
Independence of Election Commissioners
- Article 324 of the Constitution has made the following provisions to safeguard and ensure the independent and impartial functioning of the Election Commission:
- The chief election commissioner is provided with the security of tenure.
- He cannot be removed from his office except in same manner and on the same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.
- He can be removed by the president on the basis of a resolution passed to that effect by both the Houses of Parliament with special majority, either on the ground of proved misbehaviour or incapacity.
- The service conditions of the chief election commissioner cannot be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment.
- Any other election commissioner or a regional commissioner cannot be removed from office except on the recommendation of the chief election commissioner.
Subject : Defence
Context : Recently, the 31st edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy is being conducted
About Indo-Thai Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT)
- The two navies have been carrying out CORPAT along their International Maritime Boundary Line twice a year since 2005.
- The aim of the Indo-Thai CORPAT exercise is to keep the vital part of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.
- It builds up the understanding and interoperability between navies.
- It facilitates institution of measures to prevent and suppress Illegal Unreported Unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery and piracy.
- It enhances the operational synergy by exchange of information for prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration and for conduct of SAR operations at sea.
- It will contribute towards Indian Navy’s efforts to consolidate inter-operability and forge strong bonds of friendship with Royal Thai Navy.
- The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Saryu, and His Majesty’s Thailand Ship (HTMS) Krabi, along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both navies are participating in the CORPAT.
- The other countries with which India conducts CORPAT exercise are Bangladesh (IN-BN CORPAT) and Indonesia (IND-INDO CORPAT).
Subject : International Organisations
Context : The UN’s special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar has warned of “mass deaths” from starvation and disease in the wake of fighting between rebel groups and junta forces in the east of the country.
UN Special Rapporteur
- The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts with mandates to report and advise on human rights (civil, cultural, economic, political, and social) from a thematic or country-specific perspective.
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
- Universal Periodic Review happens under the aegis of the Human Rights Council.
- Current membership of the Council includes India.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva (Switzerland).
- Special procedures are either an individual (called “Special Rapporteur” or “Independent Expert”) or a working group composed of five members, one from each of the five United Nations regional groupings: Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and the Western group.
- They are not United Nations staff members and do not receive financial remuneration.
- The independent status of the Special Procedures mandate-holders is crucial for them to be able to fulfil their functions in all impartiality.
- A mandate-holder’s tenure in a given function, whether it is a thematic or country mandate, is limited to a maximum of six years.
- Most Special Procedures receive information on specific allegations of human rights violations and send communications (urgent appeals and other letters) to States, and occasionally to non-State actors, asking for clarification and action.
Subject : Economy
Context : The Central government has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) for common paddy to ₹1,940 a quintal for the coming kharif season, less than 4% higher than last year’s price of ₹1,868.
Minimum support price
- MSP is the minimum price paid to the farmer for procuring food crops.
- It offers an assurance to farmers that their realisation for the agricultural produce will not fall below the stated price.
- The government uses the MSP as a market intervention tool to incentivise production of a specific food crop which is in short supply.
- It also protects farmers from any sharp fall in the market price of a commodity.
- MSPs are usually announced at the beginning of the sowing season and this helps farmers make informed decisions on the crops they must plant.
- MSP is computed on the basis of the recommendations made by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
- It considers factors such as the cost of production, change in input prices, market price trends, demand and supply, and a reasonable margin for farmers.
- The Centre has increased the MSP of kharif crops for 2020-21 crop year in line with the principle of fixing MSPs at a level which is at 1.5 times the cost of production that was announced in Union Budget 2018-19.
- Concerted efforts were made over the last few years to realign the MSPs in favour of oilseeds, pulses and coarse cereals to encourage farmers shift to larger area under these crops and adopt best technologies and farm practices, to correct demand – supply imbalance.
- The added focus on nutri-rich nutri-cereals is to incentivize its production in the areas where rice-wheat cannot be grown without long term adverse implications for groundwater table.
- Crops covered under MSP: Paddy, Jowar, Bajra, Ragi, Maize, Tur, Moong, Urad, groundnut, sunflower seed, soyabean, nigerseed, Cotton and sesamum
- Besides, the Umbrella Scheme “Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay Sanraks Han Abhiyan” (PM-AASHA) announced by the government in 2018 will aid in providing remunerative return to farmers for their produce.
The Umbrella Scheme consists of three sub-schemes i.e.
- Price Support Scheme (PSS)
- Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS)
- Private Procurement & Stockist Scheme (PPSS) on a pilot basis.
Context: The government of India has advanced the target for 20 per cent ethanol blending in petrol (also called E20) to 2025 from 2030. E20 will be rolled out from April 2023.
- The central government has also released an expert committee report on the Roadmap for Ethanol Blending in India by 2025.
- The roadmap proposes a gradual rollout of ethanol-blended fuel to achieve E10 fuel supply by April 2022 and phased rollout of E20 from April 2023 to April 2025.
- Currently, 8.5 per cent of ethanol is blended with petrol in India. In order to introduce vehicles that are compatible the committee recommends roll out of E20 material-compliant and E10 engine-tuned vehicles from April 2023 and production of E20-tuned engine vehicles from April 2025.
E 20 Fuel
- E20 fuel is a blend of 20% of ethanol with gasoline.
- The current permissible level of blending is 10% of ethanol, though India reached only 5.6% of blending in 2019.
- It will help in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons, etc.
- It will help reduce the oil import bill, thereby saving foreign exchange and boosting energy security.
- Compatibility of Vehicles: As per the government, the compatibility of the vehicle to the percentage of ethanol in the blend of ethanol and gasoline shall be defined by the vehicle manufacturer and the same shall be displayed on the vehicle by putting a clearly visible sticker.