Daily Prelims Notes 10 September 2021
- September 10, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
10 September 2021
Table Of Contents
- Subramania Bharati
- Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
- Fossil Fuel Extraction and Global Warming
- 13th BRICS Summit
- National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF)
- Thamirabarani Civilization
- Marital Rape
- Indian Railways Organization for Alternative Fuels (IROAF)
- UDAN Scheme
- Transfer of Governor
Subject – History
Context – On his 100th death anniversary on Sept 11, a new book and a podcast throw light on unknown facets of the literary icon.
- Tamil writer, poet, journalist and nationalist, Subramania Bharati, whose 100th death anniversary falls on September 11, also wrote extensively in English, of which little is known.
- Popularly known as “Mahakavi Bharathi” (“Great Poet Bharathi”), he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time. His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.
- He fought for the emancipation of women, against child marriage, stood for reforming Brahminism and religion. He was also in solidarity with Dalits and Muslims.
- In The Coming Age, published by Penguin Modern Classics, edited and presented by his great granddaughter Mira T Sundara Rajan, we get a peep into the Tamil literary icon’s original English writings.
- Bharati saw himself as standing on the world’s stage, engaging in a dialogue with writers and thinkers around the world, touching the hearts of people, and finding a common humanity.
- His writings are so contemporary, they could have been written yesterday, today, or tomorrow.
- He covered political, social and spiritual themes.
- The songs and poems composed by Bharathi are very often used in Tamil cinema and have become staples in the literary and musical repertoire of Tamil artistes throughout the world.
- “Kannan Pattu” “Nilavum Vanminum Katrum” “Panchali Sabatam” “Kuyil Pattu” are examples of Bharathi’s great poetic output.
- He published the sensational “Sudesa Geethangal” in 1908.
- In 1949, he became the first poet whose works were nationalised by the state government.
- He edited and published journals India, Vijaya, Bala Bharatham and Suryodayam.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – 2 years on, ISRO has released the information gathered, from confirmation of the presence of the water molecule to data about solar flares.
- The failure of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the Moon, to make a soft-landing on the lunar surface had led to much disappointment. The lander and rover malfunctioned in the final moments and crash-landed, getting destroyed in the process.
- The Orbiter part of the mission has been functioning normally, and in the two years since that setback, the various instruments on board have gathered a wealth of new information that has added to our knowledge about the Moon and its environment.
The Findings –
- WATER MOLECULE:
- The presence of water on the Moon had already been confirmed by Chandrayaan-1, India’s first mission to the Moon that flew in 2008.
- Before that, NASA missions Clementine and Lunar Prospector too had picked up signals of water presence.
- But the instrument used on Chandrayaan-1 was not sensitive enough to detect whether the signals came from the hydroxyl radical (OH) or the water molecule (H2O, which too has OH).
- Using far more sensitive instruments, the Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) on board Chandrayaan-2 has been able to distinguish between hydroxyl and water molecules, and found unique signatures of both.
- This is the most precise information about the presence of H2O molecules on the Moon till date.
- Previously, water was known to be present mainly in the polar regions of the Moon. Chandrayaan-2 has now found signatures of water at all latitudes, although its abundance varies from place to place.
- Dual Frequency Synthetic Aperture Radar, a microwave imaging instrument, has reported unambiguous detection of potential water ice at the poles as it has been able to distinguish properties of surface roughness from that of water ice, which is a first.
- MINOR ELEMENTS:
- The Large Area Soft X-Ray Spectrometer (CLASS) measures the Moon’s X-ray spectrum to examine the presence of major elements such as magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, titanium, iron, etc.
- This instrument has detected the minor elements chromium and manganese for the first time through remote sensing, thanks to a better detector.
- The finding can lay the path for understanding magmatic evolution on the Moon and deeper insights into the nebular conditions as well as planetary differentiation.
- CLASS has mapped nearly 95% of the lunar surface in X-rays for the first time.
- Sodium, also a minor element on the Moon surface, was detected without any ambiguity for the first time.
- STYUDYING THE SUN:
- One of the payloads, called Solar X-ray Monitor (XSM), besides studying the Moon through the radiation coming in from the Sun, has collected information about solar flares.
- XSM has observed a large number of microflares outside the active region for the first time, and according to ISRO, this “has great implications on the understanding of the mechanism behind heating of the solar corona”, which has been an open problem for many decades.
How does all this help?
- While the Orbiter payloads build upon existing knowledge of the Moon in terms of its surface, sub-surface and exosphere, it also paves the path for future Moon missions.
- Four aspects — mineralogical and volatile mapping of the lunar surface, surface and subsurface properties and processes involved, quantifying water in its various forms across the Moon surface, and maps of elements present on the moon — will be key for future scope of work.
- A key outcome from Chandrayaan-2 has been the exploration of the permanently shadowed regions as well as craters and boulders underneath the regolith, the loose deposit comprising the top surface extending up to 3-4m in depth. This is expected to help scientists to zero in on future landing and drilling sites, including for human missions.
- Some key future Moon missions that hope to make use of such data include the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)-ISRO collaboration Lunar Polar Exploration (LUPEX) mission scheduled for launch in 2023/2024. Its aim is to obtain knowledge of lunar water resources and to explore the suitability of the lunar polar region for setting up a lunar base.
- NASA’s Artemis missions plan to enable human landing on the Moon beginning 2024 and target sustainable lunar exploration by 2028.
- The Chinese Lunar Exploration Programme too plans to establish a prototype of the International Lunar Research Station (ILRS) at the lunar south pole and build a platform supporting large-scale scientific exploration.
What was missed because of the crash-landing?
- The lander Vikram and rover Pragyaan were carrying instruments to carry out observations on the surface. These were supposed to pick up additional information about the terrain, and composition and mineralogy.
- While the instruments on board the Orbiter are making “global” observations, those on the lander and rover would have provided much more local information. The two diverse sets of data could have helped prepare a more composite picture of the Moon.
- ISRO is sending a fresh mission, Chandrayaan-3, planned for next year. It is expected to have only a lander and rover, and no Orbiter.
- It is an integrated 3-in-1 spacecraft of around 3,877 kg consisting of an Orbiter of the Moon, Vikram (after Vikram Sarabhai) – the lander and Pragyan (wisdom) – the rover, all equipped with scientific instruments to study the moon.
- The Chandrayaan-2 was India’s first attempt to land on the lunar surface.
- ISRO had planned the landing on the South Pole of the lunar surface. However, the lander Vikram hard-landed in September last year. Its orbiter, which is still in the lunar orbit, has a mission life of seven years.
- This mission was conducted for topographical researches and mineralogical studies to have a better understanding of the Moon’s origin and evolution.
- Chandrayaan 2 Mission was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space on July 22, 2019, by GSLV Mk III-M1.
- The main aim of Chandrayaan 2 was to trace the location and abundance of lunar water on the moon’s surface.
- Chandrayaan Mission was launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and was India’s first mission to the moon.
- The spacecraft was launched on 22nd October 2008 by a modified version of the PSLV C-11 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
- Chandrayaan-1, ISRO’s first exploratory mission to moon, was designed to just orbit the Moon and make observations with instruments on board.
- Chandrayaan-1 operated for 312 days as opposed to the intended two years but the mission achieved 95% of its planned objectives.
- Key Findings of Chandrayaan-1
- Confirmed presence of lunar water
- Evidence of lunar caves formed by an ancient lunar lava flow
- Past tectonic activity were found on the lunar surface.
- The mission successfully detected the presence of titanium and calcium along with the accurate measurements of iron, aluminium and magnesium on the moon.
Subject – Governance
Context – FSSAI is looking at tightening the labelling norms for pan masala
- It proposes to bring in amendments in the labelling and display regulations to make health warning more visible on pan masala packs.
- According to the draft amendments, the FSSAI has proposed that the health warning must cover 50 per cent of the front of the pack of products. It is mandatory for pan masala packs to carry the health warning ‘chewing of pan masala is injurious to health’.
- Unlike cigarette packs, so far there was no labelling regulation regarding the size and display of the health warning on pan masala products.
Nomenclature for breads –
- The draft is also proposing changes in the nomenclature of breads with the proliferation of various kinds of breads on retail shelves.
- The food safety authority is looking to set standards for the minimum amount of speciality ingredients, such as whole wheat, multi-grains or milk, that need to be added to the flour used for making bread.
- According to the draft, bread makers will be allowed to label their product as whole wheat bread only if it is made of flour comprising at least 75 per cent of whole wheat flour.
- Similarly, to be able to label a product as wheat bread or brown bread, it needs to be made with at least 50 per cent whole grain flour.
- In the flour used to make multi-grain bread, at least 20 per cent of the grains used should be those other than wheat.
- The draft amendments also propose to bring in changes in the labelling norms for other kind of speciality breads such as milk bread, oatmeal bread, bran bread, raisin bread, garlic bread, oregano bread, and fruit bread, among others.
About FSSAI –
- It is an autonomous statutory body that maintains the food safety and standards in India.
- FSSAI is administered by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
- The Body is functional as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
- The FSSAI has its headquarters at New Delhi. The authority also has 6 regional offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.
- The FSSAI comprises of a Chairperson and twenty two members out of which one – third are to be women.
- The Chairperson of FSSAI is appointed by the Central Government.
- Food Safety and Standards Rule, 2011 provides for:
- The Food Safety Appellate Tribunal and the Registrar of the Appellate Tribunal, for adjudication of food safety cases.
- It covers Licensing and Registration, Packaging and Labelling of Food Businesses, Food Product Standards and Food Additives Regulation.
- It prohibits and restricts on sales or approval for Non-Specified Food and Food Ingredients, such ingredients may cause harm to human health.
- It provides for Food Safety and Standards on Organic Food and regulates Food Advertising.
Important Initiatives by FSSAI
- Eat Right India – It is a Pan-India cycle movement called as ‘Swasth Bharat Yatra’ aimed to create consumer awareness about eating safe and nutritious food.
- Clean Street Food –This involves training the street food vendors and making them aware of the violations as per the FSS Act 2006.
- Diet4Life –This is another initiative taken by FSSAI, to spread awareness about metabolic disorders.
- Save Food, Share Food, Share Joy –Encouraging people to avoid food wastage and promote food donation. Through this, FSSAI intends to connect food-collecting agencies with the food-producing companies and share the food with the ones in need.
- Heart Attack Rewind – It is the first mass media campaign of FSSAI. It is aimed to support FSSAI’s target of eliminating trans fat in India by the year 2022.
- FSSAI-CHIFSS – It is collaboration between FSSAI and CII-HUL Initiative on Food Safety Sciences to promote collaborations between Industry, Scientific Community, Academia for food safety.
Subject – Environment
Context – A new study conducted by researchers from University College London says that the global oil and gas production should decline by three per cent per year until 2050.
- A new study conducted by researchers from University College London says that the global oil and gas production should decline by three per cent per year until 2050 to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which is the target set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.
- In other words, global fossil fuel extraction needs to go down.
- A Greenpeace report published in early 2020 estimated that the global cost of air pollution from fossil fuels was around $2.9 trillion per year, or $8 billion per day, which was 3.3 per cent of the world’s GDP at the time.
- As per this report, India is estimated to bear a cost of $150 billion from air pollution caused by fossil fuels.
Paris Climate Agreement
- The Paris Climate Agreement that was signed by 195 countries in 2015 has set out a goal to limit climate change in the coming decades.
- The agreement aims to slow the process of global warming by making efforts to “hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels”.
- This basically means that the countries would try to limit the increase in global temperature rise.
- While poor countries and island states had requested a lower goal considering threats of droughts and sea-level rise, climate experts have said maintaining a 2 degrees increase will be a challenge in itself.
- The agreement came into force on November 4, 2016.
- As of now, human activities have already caused global temperatures to rise by about 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels (1950-1900). Currently, countries’ emissions targets are not in line with limiting global warming to under 1.5 degrees.
Subject – IR
Context – 13th BRICS Summit was recently held virtually, chaired by India.
- The theme of the 13th BRICS Summit is, ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus.’
- The 13th BRICS summit held virtually called for an “inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue” for stability in Afghanistan.
- The virtual summit, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was dominated by the developments in Afghanistan, and adopted the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan.
- With the agreement on Remote Sensing Satellite Constellation between our space agencies, a new chapter of cooperation has begun.
- They stress the need to contribute to fostering an inclusive intra-Afghan dialogue so as to ensure stability, civil peace, law and order in the country.
- They underscore the priority of fighting terrorism, including preventing attempts by terrorist organisations to use Afghan territory as terrorist sanctuary and to carry out attacks against other countries.
- The document, titled the New Delhi Declaration, also called for addressing the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan, and urged the need to uphold rights of women, children and minorities.
- It will be the third time that India will be hosting the BRICS Summit after 2012 and 2016.
- The Indian Chairship of BRICS this year coincides with the fifteenth anniversary of BRICS.
For more information on BRICS, please click here.
Subject – Governance
Context – India Rankings 2021 under the National Institutional Ranking Framework were recently released.
- National Institute Ranking Framework or NIRF is the first-ever effort by the government to rank higher education institutions (HEIs) in the country.
- Before NIRF’s launch in 2016, HEIs were usually ranked by private entities, especially news magazines.
- While participation in the NIRF was voluntary in the initial years, it was made compulsory for all government-run educational institutions in 2018.
- This year, roughly 6,000 institutions have participated in NIRF — about twice the number in 2016.
- In order to be ranked, all education institutions are assessed on five parameters:
- teaching, learning and resources,
- research and professional practices,
- graduation outcomes,
- outreach and inclusivity, and
- NIRF lists out best institutions across 11 categories – overall national ranking, universities, engineering, college, medical, management, pharmacy, law, architecture, dental and research.
Why did the Union government decide to rank HEIs?
- The idea of NIRF has its roots in the global rankings.
- The union government and government-run HEIs were quite upset about their standing in QS World University Rankings and the Times Higher Education World University Ranking.
- To counter this, India decided to emulate the Chinese example. The Shanghai Rankings, done by the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, was born out of this in 2003. Nine Chinese universities and three from India (Indian Institute of Science (IISc), IIT Kharagpur and IIT Delhi) made it to the top 500 in the first edition of the Shanghai Rankings.
- While the Shanghai Rankings were international in character from the first year itself, the NIRF only ranked Indian HEIs.
NIRF Ranking 2021
- The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Madras was ranked the best higher education institution in the country for the third year in a row by the Union Education Ministry, which released its India Rankings 2021 under the National Institutional Ranking Framework .
- The IITs dominated the overall rankings, grabbing seven of the top 10 positions.
- The Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru was ranked second, followed by the IITs in Bombay, Delhi, Kanpur, Kharagpur, Roorkee and Guwahati. Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Banaras Hindu University (BHU) were at rank nine and 10, respectively.
- Among universities, the IISc was ranked one, followed by the JNU, the BHU, the University of Calcutta, the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Coimbatore, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Jadavpur University, the University of Hyderabad and Aligarh Muslim University.
Subject – History
Context – ‘Thamirabarani civilisation 3,200 years old’
- In a development that has the potential to rewrite the history of the Indian subcontinent, a US-based lab has carbon-dated the remaining discovered from an ancient civilization in Tamil Nadu to at least 3,200 years.
- The finding has established that the Porunai River (Thamirabarani) civilization dates back to 3,200 years.
- The results of the Beta Analytic Testing showed that rice and soil existed dates back to 1155 BCE.
- This is the oldest civilization perhaps, older than the Vaigai civilization which is believed to be 2,600 years old.
- The findings of artefacts at the excavation sites proves that the civilisation existed prior to 4th century BC.
- A silver coin that was found at the Keezhadi excavation with sun, moon engravings belong to 4th century BC, that is prior to the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka’s period.
- Chief Minister M.K. Stalin said in the assembly that a museum will be set up at Tirunelveli to exhibit findings from the excavations, at a cost of Rs.15 crore. The museum will be called Porunai, an ancient name for the Thamirabarani river.
Subject – Polity
Context – In 2017, the Supreme Court, in Independent Thought v. Union of India, refused to delve into the question of marital rape of adult women while examining an exception to Section 375 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) which allows a man to force sex on his wife.
- Marital rape (or spousal rape)is an act in which one of the spouses indulges in sexual intercourse without the consent of the other.
- Today, more than 100 countries have criminalized marital rape but, unfortunately, India is one of the only 36 countries where marital rape is still not criminalized.
- National Family Health Survey (NFHS) 2015-16 data indicates that an estimated 99.1 per cent of sexual violence cases go unreported and that the average Indian woman is 17 times more likely to face sexual violence from her husband than from others.
- Doctrine of Coverture: Non-Criminalised nature of Marital rape emanates from the British era. The Marital rape largely influenced by and derived from this doctrine of merging the woman’s identity with that of her husband.
Legal Provisions –
- Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)defines rape as a criminal offence and states that a man commits rape if he has sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or if she is a minor.
- However, according to Exception 2 to Section 375 “sexual intercourse by a man with his wife, the wife not being under fifteen years of age, is not rape
- However, in a landmark judgment in 2018, the Supreme Court of India held that it will be considered rape if a man has sexual intercourse with his wife if she is aged between 15 and 18
- The only recourse against non-consensual sex for married women are civil provisions under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act or Section 498-A of the IPC on cruelty against a wife by the husband or a husband’s relatives.
- Section 376-A was added in the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which criminalized the rape of a judicially separated wife.
- Law Commission in its 42nd Report advocated the inclusion of sexual intercourse by a man with his minor wife as an offence it was seen as a ray of hope.
Constitutional Provisions –
- Marital rape violates the right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Indian constitution.
- It violates Article 21 of the Constitution – According to creative interpretation by the Supreme Court, rights enshrined in Article 21 include the rights to health, privacy, dignity, safe living conditions, and safe environment, among others.
Subject – Infrastructure
Context – Railway Board order announces closure of green fuel wing.
- IROAF is a separate enterprise that works in the field of green fuels for transport.
- Its vision – to emerge as a world class organisation in setting standards, development, research and execution in fuel and energy efficient and eco-friendly technologies, primarily for assimilation in IR.
- The Ministry of Railways has announced the closure of the Indian Railways Organisation for Alternative Fuels (IROAF), an enterprise headquartered in New Delhi, that was formed exclusively to promote green energy by introducing alternative energy and fuel-efficient and emission ¬control technologies across the railway network.
- The existing work handled by IROAF — solar power and hydrogen fuel cell projects — was transferred to the Principal Chief Electrical Engineer and Chief Administrative Officer, Northern Railway.
- In keeping with its mission towards green railways, the IROAF had invited bids just last month in August for hydrogen fuel cell¬-based trains to start the concept of hydrogen mobility in the country along the 89¬km Sonipat-Jind sector of Northern Railway. Two diesel electric multiple units and two hybrid locos were planned for conversion to hydrogen fuel cell power movement leading to a savings of ₹2.3 crore annually.
- The IROAF was also working on research and development of projects relating to use of compressed natural gas (CNG) as a substitute to high-speed diesel to create a clean environment and reduce cost of transportation
Subject – Infrastructure
Context – Scindia sets target of 50 more UDAN routes.
- Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) was launched as a regional connectivity scheme under the Ministry of Civil Aviation in 2016.
- It is an innovative scheme to develop the regional Aviation market.
- The objective of scheme is to create affordable yet economically viable and profitable flights on regional routes so that flying becomes affordable to the common man even in small towns.
- The scheme envisages providing connectivity to un-served and underserved airports of the country through the revival of existing air-strips and airports.
- The scheme is operational for a period of 10 years.
- Under-served airports are those which do not have more than one flight a day, while unserved airports are those where there are no operations.
- Financial incentives from the Centre, state governments and airport operators are extended to selected airlines to encourage operations from unserved and under-served airports, and keep airfares affordable.
Subject – Economy
Context – Joblessness at 10.3% in Oct-Dec 2020; more women unemployed than men.
- Unemployment occurs when a person who is actively searching for employment is unable to find work.
- The most frequent measure of unemployment is the unemployment rate, which is the number of unemployed people divided by the number of people in the labor force.
Unemployment rate = (Unemployed Workers / Total labour force) × 100
- Labour Force Participation Rate: It is the percentage of people in the labour force (those who are working or seeking or available for work) in the population.
- Worker Population Ratio is the percentage of employed people.
- Unemployment rate shows the percentage of people unemployed among the labour force.
- Unemployed: A person who is unable to get work for even an hour in the last seven days despite seeking employment is considered unemployed.
Types of Unemployment in India –
- The PLFS is an annual survey conducted by the National Statistical Office.
- It was started in 2017 and it essentially maps the state of employment in the country.
- It collects data on several variables such as the level of unemployment, the types of employment and their respective shares, the wages earned from different types of jobs, the number of hours worked etc.
- Earlier this job was done by Employment-Unemployment Surveys, which were conducted once in five years.
There are two ways and they differ in terms of the reference period.
- The Usual Status (US)
- The survey ascertains whether a person had been employed for enough days in 365 days preceding the survey.
- The Usual Status is the only one that is showing a reversal in the unemployment trend
- The NSO unemployment number most routinely quoted is the one based on Usual Status.
- The Current Weekly Status (CWS)
- The survey tries to figure out whether a person was adequately employed in the seven days preceding the survey.
- But this approach is not comparable with either the global norm (say the one followed by International Labour Organization) or the private sector practice (such as the surveys done by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy or CMIE).
- The CWS is closer to the global norm. The CWS method shows that unemployment didn’t really fall
- The CWS is also more relevant because it is this approach that the NSO uses for understanding quarterly changes in unemployment. So if we start looking at the unemployment rate and LFPR trends compiled using the CWS approach, the emerging picture is more in sync with either the data from CMIE or indeed all the other indicators of the broader.
Subject – Polity
Context – Nagaland Governor RN Ravi transferred to Tamil Nadu
- The President may transfer a Governor appointed to one state to another state for the rest of the term.
- A governor holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters upon his office. However, this term of five years is subject to the pleasure of the President. Further, he can resign at any time by addressing a resignation letter to the President.
- The Supreme Court held that the pleasure of the President is not justifiable.
- The governor has no security of tenure and no fixed term of office. He may be removed by the President at any time.
- The Constitution does not lay down any grounds upon which a governor may be removed by the President.
- A governor can hold office beyond his term of five years until his successor assumes charge. The underlying idea is that there must be a governor in the state and there cannot be an interregnum.
- The Constitution of India envisages the same pattern of government in the states as that for the Centre, that is, a parliamentary system.
- Articles 153 to 167 in Part VI of the Constitution deal with the state executive. The state executive consists of the governor, the chief minister, the council of ministers and the advocate general of the state.
- Thus, there is no office of vice-governor (in the state) like that of Vice-President at the Centre.
- The governor is the chief executive head of the state. But, like the president, he is a nominal executive head (titular or constitutional head).
- The governor also acts as an agent of the central government. Therefore, the office of governor has a dual role.
- Usually, there is a governor for each state, but the 7th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1956 facilitated the appointment of the same person as a governor for two or more states.