Daily Prelims Notes 10 June 2022
- June 10, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 June 2022
Table Of Contents
- Presidential Polls 2022
- Indian patent regime vs the U.S. norms
- Fast radio burst
- Testosterone deficiency & the safety of replacement therapy
- Rajya Sabha Elections
- When can a Rajya Sabha vote be rejected?
- RBI to soon come out with regulations for digi-lending
- Rhino reintroduction a hit in Assam reserve
- Militarization of Aegean Islands
- Warmer subsurface waters in Bay of Bengal
- Is tying the knot a way to untangle even grievous cases?
- Methanol from Lignite Plant
Context: The Election Commission on Thursday announced that the Presidential election would be held on July 18 and counting of votes, if required, would be held on July 21.
- President Ram Nath Kovind’s term ends on July 24.
- Announcing the schedule, Chief Election Commissioner said the notiﬁcation would be issued on June 15 and the last date for nominations would be June 29.
- The date for scrutiny of candidature would be June 30 and the last date for withdrawal of candidature would be July 2.
- The electoral college for the poll will comprise 4,809 members — 233 Rajya Sabha and 543 Lok Sabha members and 4,033 MLAs of the Assemblies of the States and the Union Territories of Delhi and Puducherry.
- The total value of votes will be 10,86,431 (5,43,200 for MPs or 700 votes each and 5,43,231 for MLAs based on the 1971 Census population ﬁgures).
- The MLAs of J&K are no longer part of the Electoral College.
- Each candidate would require 50 members of the Electoral college to propose their name and another 50 to second it.
- The polling would be carried out in the Parliament House for MPs and at the respective State Assemblies for MLAs, with the Rajya Sabha Secretary General declared as the Returning Oﬃcer.
Under the Constitution of India, there shall always be a President of India (Article 52 of the Constitution). He holds the highest elective office in the country and is elected in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Presidential and vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952. The said Act is supplemented by the provisions of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Rules, 1974, and the said Act under Rules form a complete Code regulating all aspects of conduct of elections to the Office of the President.
Who elects the President of India?
The President is elected by an Electoral College, which consists of the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the Legislative Assemblies of all the States and also of NCT of Delhi and the Union Territory of Puducherry. [Article 54 of the Constitution of India]
What is the term of the office of the President?
The President shall hold office for a term of 5 years from the date on which he enters upon his office. He shall, however, continue to hold office notwithstanding the expiry of his term, until his successor enters upon his office. [Article 56 of the Constitution of India]
When is the election of the Office of President of India held?
Under the provisions of sub-section (3) of Section 4 of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections Act, 1952, the notification calling the election to the office of the President can be issued by the Election Commission on any day within the period of sixty days before the expiry of the term of office of the outgoing President. The election schedule shall be so fixed, that the President-elect is able to enter upon his office on the day following the expiry of the term of the outgoing President.
Who conducts the election to the Office of President of India?
Under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the authority to conduct elections to the Office of President is vested in the Election Commission of India.
How is the President elected?
- The Indian President is elected through an electoral college system, wherein the votes are cast by national and State-level lawmakers.
- The elections are conducted and overseen by the Election Commission (EC) of India.
- The electoral college is made up of all the elected members of the Upper and Lower Houses of Parliament (Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha MPs), and the elected Members of the Legislative Assemblies of States and Union Territories (MLAs).
- Related Constitutional Provisions:
- Article 54: Election of President
- Article 55: Manner of election of President.
- Article 56 :Term of office of President
- Article 57: Eligibility for re-election.
- Article 58: Qualifications for election as President
- Before the voting, comes the nomination stage, where the candidate intending to stand in the election, files the nomination along with a signed list of 50 proposers and 50 seconders.
- These proposers and seconders can be anyone from the total members of the electoral college from the State and national level.
- The rule for securing 50 proposers and seconders was implemented when the EC noticed, in 1974, that several candidates, many without even a bleak chance of winning, would file their nominations to contest the polls.
- An elector cannot propose or second the nomination of more than one candidate.
What is the value of each vote and how is it calculated?
- A vote cast by each MP or MLA is not calculated as one vote.
- The fixed value of each vote by an MP of the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha is 708.
- Meanwhile, the vote value of each MLA differs from State to State based on a calculation that factors in its population vis-a-vis the number of members in its legislative Assembly.
- The value of each MLAs vote is determined by dividing the population of the State by the number of MLAs in its legislative Assembly, and the quotient achieved is further divided by 1000.
What is required to secure a victory?
- A nominated candidate does not secure victory based on a simple majority but through a system of bagging a specific quota of votes.
- While counting, the EC totals up all the valid votes cast by the electoral college through paper ballots and to win, the candidate must secure 50% of the total votes cast + 1.
- Unlike general elections, where electors vote for a single party’s candidate, the voters of the electoral college write the names of candidates on the ballot paper in the order of preference.
- The President’s election is held in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote and the voting is by secret ballot.
Subject: Science and Technology
Context: The U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a report released last month that India was one of the most challenging major economies as far as IP protection and enforcement is concerned.
- It has decided to retain India on its Priority Watch List along with six other countries —Argentina, Chile, China, Indonesia, Russia and Venezuela.
- Among the issues raised in the report are India’s inconsistencies regarding patent protection, including concerns about what can be patented, waiting time for obtaining patents, burdensome reporting requirements, and doubts about data safety.
The Indian patent regime
- A patent is an exclusive set of rights granted for an invention, which may be a product or process that provides a new way of doing something or oﬀers a new technical solution to a problem.
- Indian patents are governed by the Indian Patent Act of 1970.
- India became a party to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement following its membership to the World Trade Organization on January 1, 1995.
- India is also a signatory to several IPR related conventions, including the Berne Convention, which governs copyright, the Budapest Treaty, the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), all of which govern various patent related matters.
- An interesting point is that the original Indian Patents Act did not grant patent protection to pharmaceutical products to ensure that medicines were available at a low price.
- Patent protection of pharmaceuticals were re-introduced after the 2005 amendment to comply with TRIPS.
Article 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act
- One of the main points of contention between India and the U.S. has been Article 3(d) of the Indian Patent Act.
- Section 3 deals with what does not qualify as an invention under the Act, and Section 3(d) in particular excludes “the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known eﬃcacy of that substance or the mere discovery of any new property or new use for a known substance or of the mere use of a known process, machine or apparatus unless such known process results in a new product or employs at least one new reactant” from being eligible for protection under patent law.
- This prevents what is known as “evergreening” of patents.
TRIPS and the Doha Declaration
- The Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health was adopted on November 14, 2021, by the WTO member states.
- It recognises that “intellectual property protection is important for the development of new medicines,” and acknowledges concerns about its eﬀects on prices.
- It says that the TRIPS agreement “does not and should not prevent members from taking measures to protect public health,” the declaration points out that the agreement “can and should be interpreted and implemented in a manner supportive of WTO members’ right to protect public health and, in particular, to promote access to medicines for all.
- Compulsory licenses can be invoked by a state in public interest, allowing companies apart from the patent owner to produce a patented product without consent.
- This ensures the growth of generic drug makers and the public’s access to aﬀordable medicines
Subject: Science and Technology
- In a paper published in Nature, astronomers have reported a fast radio burst (FRB) whose characteristics are different from almost all other FRBs previously detected, except one.
Fast radio burst
- FRBs are bright flashes of light that appear for a few milliseconds and then vanish.
- Since the first FRB was discovered in 2007, 140 more were discovered until June 2021, according to a post on the MIT website. “Their origins are unknown, and their appearance is unpredictable,” MIT said.
New Study on Fast radio burst
- The new study in Nature describes FRB 20190520B, first discovered in 2019.
- What makes it different is that unlike many other FRBs, it emits frequent, repeating bursts of radio waves.
- Between bursts, it constantly emits weaker radio waves. “Here we report the detection and localization of the repeating FRB 190520B, which is co-located with a compact, persistent radio source and associated with a dwarf host galaxy of high specific-star-formation…,” the paper said.
- Only one FRB has been previously observed to behave this way. Called FRB 121102, it was discovered in 2012.
Significance of new findings:
- Calling the behaviour strange, the US National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) said that the discovery raises new questions about the nature of these mysterious objects and also about their usefulness as tools for studying the nature of intergalactic space.
- The astronomers have suggested that there may be two different mechanisms producing FRBs, or that the objects producing them may act differently at different stages.
- Among the candidates for the sources of FRBs are the super dense neutron stars left over after a supernova, or magnetars (neutron stars with ultra-strong magnetic fields).
Subject: Science and Technology
- Analysis of data from more than 3,400 patients with hypogonadism from 17 clinical trials found little evidence that testosterone treatment increases the risk of cardiovascular events such as arrhythmia, heart attack, and stroke, in the short to medium terms.
What is hypogonadism
- Hypogonadism is a condition caused by the deficiency of the male sex hormone, testosterone, and a new study in Lancet Health Longevity looks at the short- to medium-term safety of testosterone treatment.
- Risk factors include ageing (as testosterone levels decline with age), obesity and diabetes.
- Worldwide, 2% of men aged over 40 are affected, and this is growing as the population gets older.
Treatment for Hypogonadism
- Testosterone replacement therapy is the standard treatment for hypogonadism, which can cause sexual dysfunction, weakening of bones and muscles, and reduced quality of life.
- Despite being widely used, the cardiovascular safety of testosterone treatment had so far remained unclear due to inconsistent findings.
- Most previous clinical studies relied on aggregate data, rather than individual participant data and have not published details of individual adverse events.
- Prescribing of testosterone for hypogonadism is increasing globally, but conflicting messages about its safety may have led to many patients not receiving the treatment.
Significance of new findings
- Ongoing studies should help to determine the longer-term safety of testosterone but, in the meantime, results provide much-needed reassurance about its short-to-medium term safety.
- Findings could have important implications for the treatment of men with hypogonadism worldwide.
- The researchers found that testosterone significantly reduced serum total cholesterol, HDL, and triglycerides.
The Rajya Sabha or the Upper House of Parliament is modeled after the House of Lords in the United Kingdom.
Composition of the house
- Article 80 of the Constitution has provisions for members of the Rajya Sabha.
- Currently, it has 245 members, including 233 elected members and 12 nominated. As per the constitutional limit, the Upper House strength cannot exceed 250.
- The number of Rajya Sabha members a state can send depends on its population. Hence, the number of elected seat changes as states are merged, bifurcated or new ones are created.
- Nominated members of the Rajya Sabha are nominated by the President of India in the field of art, literature, science and social service.
- The Vice-President is the ex-officio chairperson of the Rajya Sabha.
- The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman.
Tenure of members
- Every Rajya Sabha MP has a tenure of six years and elections to one-third seats are held every two years.
- According to Section 154 of the Representation of the People Act 1951, a member who has chosen to fill a casual vacancy will serve for the remainder of his predecessor’s term of office.
- The Rajya Sabha meets in continuous sessions, and unlike the Lok Sabha, is not subjected to dissolution. However, the Rajya Sabha, like the Lok Sabha can be prorogued by the President
Process of election
- Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the people, that is, by the MLAs.
- Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
- To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get a required number of votes. That number is found out using the below formula.
Required Vote =Total number of votes (Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1) + 1
- Elections for 57 Rajya Sabha seats across 15 states are being held on Friday. With as many as 41 candidates having already been declared elected unopposed, the contest is on for 16 seats in four states — Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Haryana and Karnataka.
Election to Rajya Sabha
- Members of the Rajya Sabha are elected through single transferable votes via an open ballot.
- Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system.
- Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
- There have been multiple instances in the past where the votes of MPs and MLAs have been rejected due to violation of rules.
When the Election Commission turned to Article 324
- In 2017, with the high-stakes Rajya Sabha election in Gujarat touching a nerve-racking finishing, the counting was delayed in three seats after the Congress asked the Election Commission (EC) to reject the votes of two of its rebels, who allegedly showed their ballot papers to unauthorised persons in the polling booth in Gandhinagar.
- The EC disqualified two votes by Congress MLAs that were in favour of the BJP.
- The commission had invoked its constitutional powers to overrule the returning officer, who had declared the votes valid, and by doing so maintained the panel’s neutrality.
- The commission turned to Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the panel unprecedented powers to hold free-and-fair polls in situations not covered by the Representation of People’s Act, the law governing the election process in India.
How can votes be rejected in an open ballot system?
- Open ballot voting applies in elections to the Council of States only.
- Every political party which has MLAs can appoint an authorised agent to verify whom its members have voted for.
- In 2016, Randeep Surjewala’s vote was rejected after he showed it to another MLA instead of his party’s authorised agent. Surjewala was an MLA in the 2016 Rajya Sabha elections in Haryana.
- Independent MLAs are required to insert the marked ballot paper in the ballot box without showing the marked ballot to any agent.
What action is taken by the Presiding Officer/Returning Officer in case an elector belonging to a political party refuses to show his/her marked ballot paper to the authorised agent?
- In such a case, the ballot paper issued to the elector will be taken back by the Presiding Officer, or a polling officer under the direction of the Presiding Officer, and the ballot paper will be kept in a separate envelope after recording on the reverse side of the ballot paper “Cancelled-voting procedure violates”.
- A provision in sub-rules (6) to (8) of rule 39A of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961, shall apply in such cases.
- According to the EC, if the elector drops the ballot paper in the box without showing it to the authorised agent, then at the time of counting, the RO should first separate this concerned ballot paper and it shall not be counted.
Section: Monetary Policy
- The RBI’s working group (2021) on digital lending, including lending through online platforms and mobile apps, noted that while the current share of digital lending in overall credit pie is not significant to affect financial stability, the growth momentum has compelling stability implications.
- It is believed that ease of accessing digital financial services, technological innovations and cost-efficient business models will lead to meteoric rise in the share of digital lending,
- The main issue is protecting customers from widespread unethical practices.
- The group also emphasized that mushrooming growth of technology companies extending and aiding financial services has made the regulatory role more challenging due to ease of scalability, anonymity and velocity provided by technology,
- Das said the common characteristics of some inappropriate business models or strategies include inappropriate funding structure and building asset liability mismatches.
- Digital lending refers to the online disbursal of loans where all processes, including loan approval and recovery, take place remotely, typically through mobile apps.
- A borrower-friendly approach, reduced paperwork, high availability, and economic implications of the covid pandemic are the reasons for the increased surge in digital lending.
- India’s digital lending market has seen a significant rise over the years.
- The digital lending value increased from USD 33 billion in FY15 to USD 150 billion in FY20 and is expected to hit the USD 350-billion mark by FY23.
Significance of Digital Lending
- Financial Inclusion: It helps in meeting the huge unmet credit need, particularly in the microenterprise and low-income consumer segment in India.
- Reduce Borrowing from informal channels: It helps in reducing informal borrowings as it simplifies the process of borrowing.
- Time Saving: It decreases time spent on working loan applications in-branch. Digital lending platforms have also been known to cut overhead costs by 30-50%.
Challenges associated with digital lending
- Growing number of unauthorized digital lending platforms and mobile applications.
- They charge excessive rates of interest and additional hidden charges.
- They adopt unacceptable and high-handed recovery methods.
- They misuse agreements to access data on mobile phones of borrowers.
- Repayment Challenge:
- Rising bad loans in the retail segment could be a big worry.
- Aggressive growth of digital lending at the cost of quality of lending can lead to deterioration of asset quality for banks below the tier-1 category.
Steps Taken by RBI
- Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and banks need to state the names of online platforms they are working with.
- RBI has also mandated that digital lending platforms which are used on behalf of Banks and NBFCs should disclose the name of the Bank(s) or NBFC(s) upfront to the customers.
- The central bank had also asked lending apps to issue a sanction letter to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/NBFC concerned before the execution of the loan agreement.
- Legitimate public lending activities can be undertaken by banks, NBFCs registered with the RBI and other entities who are regulated by state governments under statutory provisions.
- A rhino reintroduction programme under the Indian Rhino Vision 2020 was started in 2006.
- This entailed the translocation of rhinos from Kaziranga National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary besides orphans hand-reared at the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation at Kaziranga.
Indian Rhino Vision 2020
- Launched in 2005, Indian Rhino Vision 2020 was an ambitious effort to attain a wild population of at least 3,000 greater one-horned rhinos spread over seven protected areas in the Indian state of Assam by the year 2020.
- Seven protected areas are Kaziranga, Pobitora, Orang National Park, Manas National Park, Laokhowa wildlife sanctuary, Burachapori wildlife sanctuary and DibruSaikhowa wildlife sanctuary.
- Wild-to-wild translocations were an essential part of IRV2020 – moving rhinos from densely populated parks like Kaziranga NP, to ones in need of more rhinos, like Manas NP.
- It is a collaborative effort between various organisations, including the International Rhino Foundation, Assam’s Forest Department, Bodoland Territorial Council, World Wide Fund – India, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Performance of the Program
- Target of attaining a population of 3,000 rhinos was almost achieved but the animal could be reintroduced in only one of the four protected areas planned.
- The plan to spread the Greater one-horned rhino across four protected areas beyond Kaziranga National Park, Orang National Park and Pobitora could not materialize.
- The translocated rhinos helped Manas National Park get back its World Heritage Site status in 2011.
- 2018 and 2019 saw significant decreases in poaching, the results of forestry, local and national government officials coordinating efforts to combat wildlife crime across Assam.
Habitat of Greater One-Horned Rhino
- The species is restricted to small habitats in Indo-Nepal terai and northern West Bengal and Assam.
- In India, rhinos are mainly found in Kaziranga NP, Pobitora WLS, Orang NP, Manas NP in Assam, Jaldapara NP and Gorumara NP in West Bengal and Dudhwa TR in Uttar Pradesh.
- Protection Status: Javan and Sumatran Rhino are critically endangered and the Greater one-horned (or Indian) rhino is vulnerable under the IUCN Red List.
- Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned Greece to demilitarize islands in the Aegean Sea,
- Turkey claims Greece has been building a military presence in violation of treaties that guarantee the unarmed status of the Aegean islands.
- It argues the islands were ceded to Greece on the condition they remained demilitarized.
- Greece and Turkey are NATO allies, but the neighboring countries have a history of disputes over a range of issues, including mineral exploration in the eastern Mediterranean and rival claims in the Aegean Sea.
- The Aegean Islands are the group of islands in the Aegean Sea, with mainland Greece to the west and north and Turkey to the east; the island of Crete delimits the sea to the south, those of Rhodes, Karpathos and Kasos to the southeast.
- The vast majority of the Aegean Islands belong to Greece, being split among nine administrative regions.
- The only sizable possessions of Turkey in the Aegean Sea are Imbros (Gökçeada) and Tenedos (Bozcaada), in the northeastern part of the Sea.
- The Aegean Islands are traditionally subdivided into seven groups, from north to south:
- Northeastern Aegean Islands
- Sporades (Northern Sporades)
- Saronic Islands
- Dodecanese (Southern Sporades)
Section: Physical geography
- Warm subsurface waters in the Bay of Bengal likely helped fuel the 2020 Amphan super cyclone, a new study has suggested.
- This shows a link between marine heatwaves and cyclones.
Impacts of Warm subsurface waters:
- Warmer surface waters may have also helped sustain marine heatwaves — prolonged high sea temperatures.
- Marine heatwaves also likely helped intensify the cyclone from Category 1 (cyclonic storm) to Category 5 (super cyclone) in less than 36 hours, the study published in Frontiers in Climate, reported.
- Amphan was the first super cyclone in the Bay of Bengal in the last 21 years. It was also the costliest tropical cyclone on record in the North Indian Ocean.
Link between marine heatwaves and cyclones.
- Cyclones are an extreme event, and so are marine heat events.
- Researchers from France, Australia and India investigated the events that led to the formation of the Amphan super cyclone.
- The sea surface temperature in the southern and northern portions of the Ocean was close to 1.5 and 2°C above the average of 30.2 and 29.7°C, respectively, the study noted.
- A strong marine heatwave covered close to 300,000 square kilometres of the basin.
- Warm subsurface waters could intensify cyclones by allowing heat to flow between the sea and atmosphere. Warmer waters fuel cyclones
- The sea temperatures cooled as the cyclone approached the coast. Subsurface warming also went down, bringing the marine heatwave event to a close.
- Future studies can evaluate how the atmosphere helps marine heatwave fuels cyclones.
What are Tropical Cyclones ?
- Tropical cyclones are violent storms that originate over oceans in tropical areas and move over to the coastal areas bringing about large scale destruction due to violent winds, very heavy rainfall and storm surge.
- They are irregular wind movements involving closed circulation of air around a low pressure center. This closed air circulation is a result of rapid upward movement of hot air which is subjected to Coriolis force.
Conditions Favourable for Tropical Cyclone Formation
- Large sea surface with temperature higher than 27°C.
- Presence of the Coriolis force, enough to create a cyclonic vortex.
- Small variations in the vertical wind speed.
- A pre-existing weak low-pressure area or low-level-cyclonic circulation.
- Upper divergence above the sea level system.
Section: Supreme Court
Context: In two recent Supreme Court decisions have placed domestic stability above the punishment due to a convicted man.
More about news:
- The Court used its extraordinary power under Article 142 to release a man convicted of attempt to murder because he married his victim’s sister while the case was still pending in the Madras High Court.
- In another case in Tamil Nadu, concerned a man who was convicted under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act for raping his minor niece. He had later married her.
- Court set aside his conviction, reasoning that it did not want to “disturb” their “marriage” and “happy family life”.
Issues with judgements:
- It reflects “entrenched paternalistic and misogynistic attitudes” even after 70 years as a Republic.
- A woman cannot be herself in the society of the present day, which is an exclusively masculine society, with laws framed by men and with a judicial system that judges feminine conduct from a masculine point of view.
- Against Article 21 – Right to Marry
- Rule of law is not followed
What is Article 142?
- Article 142 provides discretionary power to the Supreme Court as it states that the Supreme Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction may pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.
- Recently, Supreme Court has invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution and ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
Subject: Science and Technology
Context: NLC requests Coal Ministry to include project under PLI scheme
- NLC India is working on a pilot project for production of methanol from lignite.
- It plans to set up a 1,200 tonne-a-day unit using 2.5 million tonnes of lignite.
- The company, which has land and lignite for the project, has requested the Ministry of Coal to include the project in the Centre’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, under which a financial incentive is provided for every unit of production sold, for years.
- Methanol can be mixed with petrol or can be converted into di-methyl ether (DME) and mixed with diesel for running vehicles and ships.
- In coal-to-methanol or lignite-to-methanol plants, coal or lignite is first gasified into synthesis gas (syn gas) by mixing pulverised coal or lignite with an oxidant such as oxygen or steam.
- The syn gas, which is very hot (about 1,800° C, is a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) and is a building block for production of a range of chemicals, including methanol.
- Lignite, which has much lower ash content than coal (around 6 per cent compared with 20 per cent and above for coal) is more suitable for gasification than coal.
- Coal gasification makes it possible to use coal with much less carbon dioxide emissions.