Daily Prelims Notes 10 May 2021
- May 10, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 May 2021
Table Of Contents
- PARLIAMENTARY STANDING COMMITTEE
- NEW COVID VACCINE POLICY
- LONG MARCH 5B ROCKET
- MERCHANT DISCOUNT RATE
- ANTI DUMPING DUTY
- MAHARANA PRATAP
- GOPAL KRISHNA GOKHALE
- HAKKI PIKKI TRIBAL COMMUNITY
- GREAT NICOBAR PLAN
- AL AQSA MOSQUE
Subject : Polity
Context : Opposition dials VP Naidu, seeks virtual meetings of Parliamentary standing committees
- The Constitution of India makes a mention of these committees at different places, but without making any specific provisions regarding their composition, tenure, functions, etc. All these matters are dealt by the rules of two Houses.
Accordingly, a parliamentary committee means a committee that:
- Is appointed or elected by the House or nominated by the Speaker / Chairman
- Works under the direction of the Speaker / Chairman
- Presents its report to the House or to the Speaker / Chairman
- Has a secretariat provided by the Lok Sabha / Rajya Sabha
- The introduction of 17 department-related standing committees (DRSCs) on March 31, 1993 was a significant innovation that increased parliamentary scrutiny and gave MPs a larger role in examining legislation and important decisions of the day.
- There are 24 DRSCs — 16 from Lok Sabha and 8 from Rajya Sabha. Each committee has 21 MPs from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
- The role: Given the volume of legislative business and the time constraints it is not possible for MPs to discuss and scrutinise all bills in the House.
- Parliamentary committees, either formed for a specific bill (select committee) or permanent (standing committees that are reconstituted annually) allow for a scrutiny with the possibility of tapping subject experts from outside and other stakeholders in an environment where MPs are not bound by party positions or whips.
Subject : Governance
Context: splitting vaccines 50-50 has created new supply bottlenecks
- Union government’s decision to decentralise vaccine procurement from May 1, has now presented fresh bottlenecks along the supply chain.
- The two specific obstacles, according to company and government sources involved in planning the supply chain brass tacks, are: i) absence of scale now, compared with the earlier integrated hub-and-spoke model, and ii) logistical impediments faced by procurers such as individual hospitals or chains and different states.
NEW COVID VACCINE POLICY
- India will dramatically expand its vaccination coverage from May 1, including everyone aged 18 and older.
- The fourth phase of the mass inoculation programme incorporates several changes in vaccine policy.
- In the first three phases, when healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those above the age of 45 were vaccinated, the Centre procured the entire quantity of vaccines from the manufacturers, Serum Institute of India (Covishield) and Bharat Biotech (Covaxin), and distributed it to states.
- The states distributed the stock to government vaccination centres, which administered the vaccine free of cost, and to private hospitals that charged recipients Rs 250 per dose.
- First, the 50 per cent basket of vaccine doses earmarked for states and private hospitals in the open market will be used to vaccinate those above the age of 18 years.
- Second, free vaccination would be available at all vaccination centres that receive doses from the Government of India — with those doses, healthcare workers, frontline workers, and those above 45 will be vaccinated.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Debris from a Chinese rocket made an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean, with remnants falling at a location to the west of Maldives.
- The debris came from the upper stage of a Long March 5B rocket– China’s largest– that had been launched into space on April 29 for putting into orbit a core module of the new Tianhe space station, which is expected to become operational in 2022.
- For days, there had been speculation on whether the debris would hit a populated area on the Earth’s surface, leading NASA to criticise China over lack of transparency and for “failing to meet responsible standards”.
Why did the Chinese rocket spark worry?
- When a rocket is launched, its discarded booster stages re-enter the atmosphere soon after liftoff and harmlessly fall into the ocean– a standard practice.
- In this case, however, a 10-floor large vehicle of the rocket weighing 18 metric tonnes went into orbit along with the section of the under-construction space station that it was carrying.
- While in orbit, this vehicle kept rubbing against the air at the top of the atmosphere, and the resulting friction caused it to start losing altitude. The piece hurtled through a low-Earth orbit at roughly 25,490 km/hr.
- An “uncontrolled re-entry” thus became inevitable, but China did not admit this fact to the world until Sunday, when it said the debris had entered the Earth’s atmosphere over the Mediterranean, flown over the Arabian peninsula and crashed near the Maldives at 72.47° East and 2.65° North.
- Few expected the debris to harm humans, mainly due to most of it burning up in the atmosphere, as well as the fact that large parts of the Earth are covered by oceans and massive land areas lie uninhabited.
What caused the rocket piece to enter into orbit?
- When rockets carry their payload into space, their booster stages that reach orbit fire the engine again after completing their job so as to drop back to Earth and not remain in orbit.
- Space agencies plan this process to ensure that such rocket parts end up in uninhabited areas, such as the middle of the ocean.
- China chose not to do this for its Long March rocket, leading to its vehicle crashing back uncontrollably.
- China’s plan to launch 10 more missions like this until 2022 to complete the Tianhe has thus sparked worry that pieces from its rockets could end up causing injuries.
Subject : Economics
Context : In a push to expand their merchant networks, fintech intermediaries have come up with an innovative settlement scheme by which they waive the merchant discount rate (MDR) on offline card transactions.
- This allows offline merchants to opt for a delayed settlement of a transaction by not shelling out the MDR rather than settling it on a next-day basis. The payment intermediary has access to the merchant’s float until the transaction is settled.
- To be sure, merchants would opt for a waiver of the MDR, typically 2-3% on the value of the purchase, only if they are severely strapped for cash. Else, it would not make sense for them to give up the float.
Merchant Discount Rate
- MDR is the cost paid by a merchant to a bank for accepting payment from their customers via digital means. The merchant discount rate is expressed in percentage of the transaction amount.
- Presently, it is applicable for online transactions and QR-based transactions.
- The amount that the merchant pays for every transaction gets distributed among three stakeholders–the bank that enables the transaction, vendor that installs the point of sale (PoS) machine and the card network provider such as Visa, MasterCard.
- MDR charges will NOT be applicable on transactions through homegrown RuPay and UPI platforms beginning January 1, 2020.
Subject : Economics
Context : The Finance Ministry has extended the validity of anti-dumping duty on certain seamless tubes and pipes imported from China till October 31.
- An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
- Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges in its own home market.
- The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.
- The duty is imposed only after a thorough investigation by a quasi-judicial body, such as Directorate General of Trade Remedies, in India.
- The imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime.
Subject : History
Context : Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Maharana Partap on his birth anniversary.
- Pratap Singh popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was a king of Mewar, a region in the present day state of Rajasthan.
- He was the eldest son of Udai Singh II (founder of city of Udaipur).
- Battle of Haldighati: It was fought on 18 June 1576 between the forces Maharana Pratap; and the Mughal emperor Akbar’s forces, led by Man Singh I of Amber. The Mughals were the victors but failed to capture Pratap, who escaped.
- Resurgence: Mughal pressure on Mewar relaxed after 1579 following rebellions in Bengal and Bihar. Taking advantage of the situation, Pratap recovered Western Mewar including Kumbhalgarh, Udaipur and Gogunda. During this period, he also built a new capital, Chavand, near modern Dungarpur.
- Chetak: Chetak is the name given in traditional literature to the horse ridden by Maharana Pratap at the Battle of Haldighati. However, some Historians debate it. According to tradition, Chetak, although wounded, carried Pratap safely away from the battle, but then died of his wounds. The story is recounted in court poems of Mewar from the 17th century onwards.
- Pratap Gaurav Kendra: It is a tourist spot at Tiger Hill in Udaipur city, Rajasthan. It aims at providing information about Maharana Pratap and the historical heritage of the area with the help of modern technology.
Subject : History
Context: Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to Freedom Fighter and social reformer Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his birth anniversary.
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale was born on May 9th, 1866 in Kothluk in Ratnagiri District, Maharashtra.
- In 1884, after his graduation in arts at the Elphinstone College, Bombay, Gokhale moved to Poona to take up a teaching job at a school.
- He also joined as professor of history and political economy at the Fergusson College, Poona.
- He supported MahadevGovindaRanade in the working of Poona Sarvajanik Sabha.
- He regarded MahadevGovindaRanade as his “Guru” and MG Ranade helped Gokhale in establishing the “Servants of India Society” in 1905.
- The main objective of this society was to train Indians to raise their voice against social evils and serve their country.
- Gokhale also worked with Ranade in a quarterly Journal, called “Sarvajanik” which wrote about the public questions of the day in a frank and fearless manner.
- He launched the English weekly newspaper named The Hitavad(The people’s paper) in 1911.
- He became the president of Indian National Congress (INC) during the Benaras Session of 1905.
- In 1908, he founded the ‘Ranade Institute of Economics‘.
Subject : Society
Context :Hakki-Pikki tribal from Karnataka wins battle against the virus
- The HakkiPikki are a semi-nomadic tribe of karnatakawho have travelled and lived in various parts of the country over the past few decades.
- As part of a ‘rehabilitation drive’ by the Government of Karnataka in the 1950s and ’60s, they were forced out of their forest dwellings and brought into the edges of cities like Bengaluru, Mysuru, Hassan etc. The actual rehabilitation though, remained on paper only.
- Also called the Shikaris or the hunters, they used to traditionally make a living through hunting and trapping birds in the forest and selling them along with lucky charms and trinkets in the villages and towns that they passed through.
- Many made a living by begging which was to them a way of life, not a symbol of degradation and misery. However their ways of life and livelihoods revolving around hunting and begging was gradually criminalised.
- The forests ceased to be a home they could walk into and out from and the cities failed to provide any secure alternatives.
Subject : Environment
Context : Green panel allows Great Nicobar plan to advance
Great Nicobar Development plan
- Firstly, The overall Great Nicobar Development plan envisages the use of about 244 sq. km. region for development purposes.
- Secondly, Phase 1 of the plan will cover:
- 22 sq. km. airport complex,
- Transshipment port (TSP) at South Bay
- Parallel-to-the-coast mass rapid transport system and
- Free trade zone and warehousing complex on the southwestern coast.
- Thirdly, Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO) will be the nodal agency for the implementation of the Great Nicobar Development plan.
Great Nicobar Island
- Great Nicobar is the southernmost and largest of the Nicobar Islands of India. The island of Sumatra has located 180 km to the south of Great Nicobar. It has an area of about 1045 sq. km.
- According to the 2011 census, it has a population of about 8,069. The island is home to one of the most primitive tribes of India — the Shompens.
- The island includes the Great Nicobar Biosphere Reserve (GNBR) comprising the Galathea National Park and the Campbell Bay National Park.
- Indira Point in the Great Nicobar Island is the southernmost point of India’s territory.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Israeli police, Palestinians clash at Al-Aqsa mosque.
- More than 160 people were wounded when Israeli riot police clashed with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound late on Friday, capping a week of violence in the Holy City and the occupied West Bank.
- Al-Aqsa Mosque, located in the Old City of Jerusalem, is the third holiest site in Islam. The mosque was built on top of the Temple Mount, known as the Al Aqsa Compound or Haram esh-Sharif in Islam.
- Muslims believe that Muhammad was transported from the Great Mosque of Mecca to al-Aqsa during the Night Journey.
- Islamic tradition holds that Muhammad led prayers towards this site until the 16th or 17th month after his migration from Mecca to Medina, when Allah directed him to turn towards the Kaaba in Mecca.
How Jerusalem become a hotly contested territory?
- The city of Jerusalem is holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews.
- “The Temple Mount” in the city is the holiest site in Jewish religion and Jews from across the world come to pray Western Wall of the Biblical temple.
- “Al-Aqsa mosque”, which is Islam’s 3rd holiest site after Mecca and Medina is also located within the city.
- “Church of the Holy Sepulchre” in Jerusalem is thought to be the site of Jesus Christ’s Resurrection, thereby making it holy for Christians too.