Daily Prelims Notes 11 December 2021
- December 11, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
11 December 2021
Table Of Contents
- Western Coast of India less vulnerable to Cyclones
- Rajya Sabha marks Human Rights Day
- ‘Booster’ Dose
- The different types of COVID-19 vaccines
- President’s Rule
- Election Commission of India
- Model Code of Conduct
- US fed tapering its Impact on Rupee
- Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF)
- Cyber Crisis Management Plan
- Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal
- Observer Status on Solar Alliance
- Foreigner’s Tribunals
- Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme
- Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils
- 6th Schedule of Constitution
Subject – Geography
Context – More cyclones in Arabian Sea recently, Minister tells RS. This has not measurably increased threat to western coast.
- The eastern coast remained far more vulnerable to “extremely severe cyclones” than the western coast, but there was nevertheless “no significant trend” in the frequency of extremely severe cyclonic storms (ESCS).
- “The increase in frequency of cyclones over the Arabian Sea has not posed a corresponding increase in the coastal vulnerability along the west coast since most of such cyclones forming over the Arabian Sea were making landfall over the coasts of Oman, Yemen etc and hence the threat to Gujarat & Maharashtra coasts remains same.
- Low-lying coastal belts of West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and Puducherry were more prone to the impact of these systems.
- The winds over the Arabian Sea are stronger because of the presence of the mountains of East Africa. These strong winds force a much more vigorous oceanic circulation and the heat received at the surface is transported into the deeper ocean.
Subject – Polity
Context – Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairperson opened proceedings by marking the 73rd anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The anniversary is celebrated across the world as Human Rights Day.
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on 10th December in 1948, sets out, for the first time, the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
- This year, the day focuses on the theme ‘Equality — Reducing inequalities, advancing human rights’, which aims to highlight principles of equality and non-discrimination as the core of human rights.
- There should be a human rights approach to development to reduce inequalities and discrimination, and to pave the way for equality, inclusion and sustainability.
- Hansa Jivraj Mehta, a leading freedom fighter and champion of women’s rights, was single-handedly responsible for amending a critical feature of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 – sought a small amendment to Article 1 of the UDHR, which stated, “All men are born free and equal.”
- After her recommendation, Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights read, “All human beings are born free and equal.”
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Health Ministry said India is still examining the possibility of administering booster shots of the Covid-19 vaccine
- Most Covid vaccines are administered in two doses, with a few given as a single dose. A booster is an additional shot given after the protection provided by the original shot(s) has begun to decrease over time, so that people can maintain their level of immunity for longer.
- Antibodies decay over time, and even memory T-cells will die after a few years or months.
- In the past, boosters were recommended for smallpox prevention every three to five years. Tetanus toxoid boosters are also recommended today for adults and pregnant women after childhood vaccination.
- If community transmission is high, boosters would help in controlling viral spread.
Case of Omicron Variant
- Omicron — the fifth variant of concern declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) — has a greater ability than previous variants to partially escape protection from Pfizer Inc vaccine.
- The “escape” was incomplete in vaccinated participants who had a previous infection, the paper noted.
- Previous infection, followed by vaccination or booster is likely to increase the neutralisation level and confer protection from severe disease in Omicron infection.
- A vaccine imitates an infection — it activates the body’s immune system to produce antibodies and memory T-cells without causing illness. Antibodies are the body’s first response to fight on getting infected, while T-cells protect against severe disease.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – World Health Organization (WHO) recommended that immune compromised individuals or those inoculated with inactivated virus vaccine should be given a booster
There are three main approaches to designing a vaccine
- The whole-microbe approach
- The first way to make a vaccine is to take the disease-carrying virus or bacterium, or one very similar to it, and inactivate or kill it using chemicals, heat or radiation.
- This approach uses technology that’s been proven to work in people – this is the way the flu and polio vaccines are made – and vaccines can be manufactured on a reasonable scale.
- However, it requires special laboratory facilities to grow the virus or bacterium safely, can have a relatively long production time, and will likely require two or three doses to be administered.
- A live-attenuated vaccine uses a living but weakened version of the virus or one that’s very similar.
- The measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) vaccine and the chickenpox and shingles vaccine are examples of this type of vaccine.
- This approach uses similar technology to the inactivated vaccine and can be manufactured at scale.
- However, vaccines like this may not be suitable for people with compromised immune systems.
Viral vector vaccine
- This type of vaccine uses a safe virus to deliver specific sub-parts – called proteins – of the germ of interest so that it can trigger an immune response without causing disease.
- To do this, the instructions for making particular parts of the pathogen of interest are inserted into a safe virus.
- The safe virus then serves as a platform or vector to deliver the protein into the body. The protein triggers the immune response.
- The Ebola vaccine is a viral vector vaccine and this type can be developed rapidly.
- The subunit approach
- A subunit vaccine is one that only uses the very specific parts (the subunits) of a virus or bacterium that the immune system needs to recognize. It doesn’t contain the whole microbe or use a safe virus as a vector.
- The subunits may be proteins or sugars.
- Most of the vaccines on the childhood schedule are subunit vaccines, protecting people from diseases such as whooping cough, tetanus, diphtheria and meningococcal meningitis.
- The genetic approach (nucleic acid vaccine)
- Unlike vaccine approaches that use either a weakened or dead whole microbe or parts of one, a nucleic acid vaccine just uses a section of genetic material that provides the instructions for specific proteins, not the whole microbe.
- DNA and RNA are the instructions our cells use to make proteins. In our cells, DNA is first turned into messenger RNA, which is then used as the blueprint to make specific proteins.
- The nucleic acid approach is a new way of developing vaccines. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, none had yet been through the full approvals process for use in humans, though some DNA vaccines, including for particular cancers, were undergoing human trials.
Subject – Polity
Context – BJP MP asks for Presidential Rule in Jharkhand after ECI order on official
- It is the suspension of an elected state/UT government and the imposition of direct rule of the Centre, also called as the “state emergency”.
- The Constitution provides for the President’s Rule imposition through the invocation of Article 356 of the Constitution by the President on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers.
- This application of the President’s rule is done after receipt of the report from the Governor of the State or otherwise (Article 365 says that whenever a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction from the Centre, it will be lawful for the president to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution), is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of the State cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution
Parliamentary Approval and Duration of Art 356
- Proclamation must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue through simple majority in either House.
- It is initially valid for six months and can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
- A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require parliamentary approval.
- Consequences of President’s Rule
- The state governor, on behalf of the President, carries on the state administration with the help of the chief secretary of the state or the advisors appointed by the President.
- The President can declare that the powers of the state legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
- The President either suspends or dissolves the state legislative assembly.
Subject – Polity
Context – Election Commission ordering the Jharkhand government to remove an official from his current post for registering a false case
- The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering Union and State election processes in India.
- The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, and State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country.
- Part XV of the Indian constitution deals with elections, and establishes a commission for these matters.
- Article 324 to 329 of the constitution deals with powers, function, tenure, eligibility, etc of the commission and the member
Structure of the commission
- The commission consists of one Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners.
- The secretariat of the commission is located in New Delhi.
- At the state level election commission is helped by Chief Electoral Officer who is an IAS rank Officer.
- The President appoints Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.
- They have a fixed tenure of six years, or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- They enjoy the same status and receive salary and perks as available to Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
- The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from office only through a process of removal similar to that of a Supreme Court judge for by Parliament.
Procedure of Removal
- Judges of High Courts and Supreme Court, CEC, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) may be removed from office through a motion adopted by Parliament on grounds of ‘Proven misbehaviour or incapacity’.
- Removal requires special majority of 2/3rd members present and voting supported by more than 50% of the total strength of the house.
- The Constitution does not use the word ‘impeachment’, for the removal of the judges, CAG, CEC.
- The term ‘Impeachment’ is only used for removing the President which requires the special majority of 2/3rd members of the total strength of both the houses which is not used elsewhere.
- Election Commission of India superintendents, direct and control the entire process of conducting elections to Parliament and Legislature of every State and to the offices of President and Vice-President of India.
- The most important function of the commission is to decide the election schedules for the conduct of periodic and timely elections, whether general or bye-elections.
- It prepares electoral roll, issues Electronic Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
- It decides on the location polling stations, assignment of voters to the polling stations, location of counting centres, arrangements to be made in and around polling stations and counting centres and all allied matters.
- It grants recognition to political parties & allot election symbols to them along with settling disputes related to it.
- The Commission also has advisory jurisdiction in the matter of post election disqualification of sitting members of Parliament and State Legislatures.
- It issues the Model Code of Conduct in election for political parties and candidates so that the no one indulges in unfair practice or there is no arbitrary abuse of powers by those in power.
- It sets limits of campaign expenditure per candidate to all the political parties, and also monitors the same.
Subject – Polity
Context – Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha, BJP MP said the ECI had registered cases against him saying he had violated model code of conduct six months after the elections.
- The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission (EC) to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections. Basically, the code spells out the do’s and don’ts for elections.
- This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which mandates EC to conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
- It is not statutory but Political Parties, Candidates and Polling Agents are expected to observe the norms, on matters ranging from the content of election manifestos, speeches and processions, to general conduct etc.
- The code comes into force on the announcement of the poll schedule and remains operational till the process is concluded.
- The EC has devised several mechanisms to take note of the violation of the code, which include joint task forces of enforcement agencies and flying squads.
- Though MCC does not have any statutory backing, but the Code has come to acquire teeth in the past decade because of its strict enforcement by the EC.
- Certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- In 2013, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law and Justice, recommended making the model code of conduct legally binding. It recommended that the MCC be made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- The EC argues against making it legally binding. According to it, elections must be completed within a relatively short time or close to 45 days, and judicial proceedings typically take longer, therefore it is not feasible to make it enforceable by law.
Additional Information: cVIGIL App
- The cVIGIL App provides time-stamped, evidence-based proof of the Model Code of Conduct / Expenditure Violation, having live photo/video with auto location data.
- Any citizen can lodge a complaint through the Mobile App. Flying Squads will then investigate the matter and the Returning Officer takes the decision.
- The status of cVIGIL can be shared with the cVIGIL complainant within a specified time limit.
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – We need to make an effort to bring Indian manuscripts back – Rajya Sabha MP
- A manuscript is a handwritten composition on paper, bark, cloth, metal, palm leaf or any other material dating back at least seventy-five years that has significant scientific, historical or aesthetic value.
- Lithographs and printed volumes are not manuscripts.
- Manuscripts are found in hundreds of different languages and scripts. Often, one language is written in a number of different scripts. For example, Sanskrit is written in Oriya script, Grantha script, Devanagari script and many other scripts.
- Manuscripts are distinct from historical records such as epigraphs on rocks, firmans, revenue records which provide direct information on events or processes in history. Manuscripts have knowledge content.
Manuscripts in India
- India’s manuscripts have for centuries captured the imagination of the world.
- As early as the seventh century Chinese traveller Hiuen Tsang took back hundreds of manuscripts from India.
- Later in the late eighteenth century, the Nawab of Awadh gifted a superb illuminated manuscript of the Padshahnama to King George III of England. Today, it is considered one of the finest pieces in the Royal Collection.
- National Museum is a treasure for Manuscripts and ancient written records.
- The replica of Girnar Rock Edict is placed in the prime place to view and know the creative genius of Indian scribes.
- The major, minor rock edicts and pillar edicts of Ashoka found across India are in the languages of Bramhi, Prakrit, Greek and Kharoshti, which are earliest written documents.
The National Mission for Manuscripts
- The Ministry of Tourism and Culture, Government of India, established the National Mission for Manuscripts in February 2003 as an ambitious project with the specific objectives of locating, documenting, conserving and disseminating the knowledge content of India’s manuscripts.
- India possesses an estimate of five million manuscripts, probably the largest collection in the world.
- The National Mission for Manuscripts revived the New Catalogus Catalogorum programme in 2003 with Madras University.
Subject – Economy
Context – Rupee plunges to 18-month lowa head of US inflation data
What is tapering?
- Tapering refers to the policy of gradually withdrawing the monetary stimulus by the US Federal Reserve.
- The Fed purchased massive Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities since the outbreak of Covid, to help the economy deal with its impact.
What was the impact of taper in 2013?
- The phenomenon, popularly known as taper tantrum, disrupted the markets in 2013.
- Emerging economies witnessed huge capital outflows and a corresponding rise in inflation.
- The policy of quantitative easing was adopted by the Fed during the financial crisis of 2018. As part of it, benchmark interest rate was reduced to virtually zero.
- It was a way for the US to continue to provide credit to the economy and further lower borrowing costs for companies and consumers. By buying assets, their price goes up, which lowers their yield or interest rate.
How will it affect consumers?
- Benchmark interest rates have remained at near zero levels for better part of the last 13 years.
- However, with Fed cutting back on its purchases, there are expectations that interest rates might go up — even if marginally.
- The Fed also changed its timetable for interest rate increases to 2022 from 2023. So, the hike may happen sooner than expected.
- Eventually, it may become costlier to buy a car, home or even to start a business as the cost of borrowing for mortgages and loans will go up.
What will be the impact on India?
- The Indian economy is in a much better position today as compared to the global financial crisis.
- Even though the Covid-19 pandemic battered growth in 2020, the economy recovered sharply to register its best ever quarterly growth in gross domestic product (GDP) in the April-June period.
- The stock markets have also witnessed a stellar performance ever since its pandemic-induced slump in March 2020.
- Investors have gained over Rs 90 lakh crore in the past one year with the market capitalisation of BSE listed companies jumping nearly Rs 100 lakh crore in the same period.
- Besides, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has also cut its key lending rate to record lows and infused massive liquidity into the banking system to shore up the pandemic-hit economy. It also oversaw the quick rescue of troubled lenders.
- India has also accumulated sufficient foreign exchange reserves worth $642.019 billion as of October-end.
- So, even if the markets experience some outflows in the short-term, it is unlikely that the impact will be very significant and difficult to recover from — given the strong fundamentals of the economy
Subject – Agriculture
Context – Disbursal of funds to strengthen agricultural infrastructure through setting up of warehouses and other projects under the ₹1-lakh crore Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) has been slow
- National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) is providing re-finance facility under AIF to co-operative banks at 4 per cent interest, while the Centre is granting a further 3 per cent interest subvention to all beneficiaries of AIF, making the effective rate for PACS at just 1 per cent, whereas private sector is getting the credit at 5-6 per cent interest from commercial banks.
- Launched in August 2020, the AIF is a medium to long-term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets during 2020-29 (10 years).
- Besides interest subsidy, credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for loans up to ₹2 crore has been provided.
- AIF will fund projects at farm gates and where primary agricultural co-operative societies, farmers producer organisations, agriculture entrepreneurs and start-ups aggregate harvested farm produce.
- While the Agriculture Ministry has taken responsibility for interest subsidy, the States provide government guarantee to commercial banks for projects under AIF, which are not available to cooperative banks.
- Since the co-operative structure is a 3-tier one, to avail of the AIF credit, PACS have to first approach the district co-operative bank which will forward the proposal to Nabard via respective state co-operative bank.
To know more about AIF, please refer September 2021 DPN.
Subject – Defence and Security
Context – Over 32,000 cyber-attacks on govt bodies; Cyber Crisis Management Plan by govt to counter attacks: MoS IT
- It aims at countering cyber threats and cyber terrorism.
- The purpose of this plan is to establish the strategic framework and guide actions to prepare for, respond to, and begin to coordinate recovery from a cyber incident.
- Ministries/Departments of Central Govt., State Govts. and Union Territories to draw-up their own sectoral Cyber Crisis Management Plans in line with the Cyber Crisis Management Plan for Countering Cyber attacks and Cyber Terrorism
- The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team or CERT-In conducts regular training programmes for network administrators to mitigate cyber attacks.
Subject – IR
Context – Biden allocates $422mn for ‘democracy renewal’
- US President Joe Biden opened the first-ever Summit for Democracy by announcing a $422-million Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, that will centre on five areas of work to enable transparent, accountable governance.
- Biden outlined the five areas as supporting free and independent media, fighting corruption, bolstering democratic reformers, advancing technology for democracy and defending free and fair poll process.
- Through the Presidential Initiative for Democratic Renewal, the U.S. Department of State will launch a landmark set of policy and foreign assistance initiatives that build upon the U.S. Government’s significant, ongoing work to bolster democracy and defend human rights globally.
Subject – IR
Context – UN confers Observer Status on Solar Alliance
- The UN General Assembly has conferred Observer Status on the International Solar Alliance (ISA), a historic decision which India said would help provide for a well-defined cooperation between the alliance and the UN that would benefit global energy growth and development.
- The ISA was conceived as a joint effort by India and France to mobilise efforts against climate change through the deployment of solar energy solutions.
- It was presented by the leaders of the two countries at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris in 2015.
- The granting of Observer Status to ISA in the General Assembly would help provide for regular and well-defined cooperation between the Alliance and the United Nations that would benefit global energy growth and development.
- Observers have the right to speak at United Nations General Assembly meetings, but not to vote on resolutions.
International Solar Alliance (ISA)
- The ISA is an intergovernmental treaty-based organisation with a global mandate to catalyse solar growth by helping to reduce the cost of financing and technology.
- ISA is the nodal agency for implementing One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), which seeks to transfer solar power generated in one region to feed the electricity demands of others.
- The Headquarters is in India with its Interim Secretariat being set up in Gurugram.
- United States of America has become the 101st member country to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
To know more about One Solar One Grid, please refer November 2021 DPN.
Subject – Polity
Context – The Gauhati High Court has, in less than a month, picked holes in the orders of three Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) declaring as many people foreigners
- In 1964, the govt brought in the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order.
- Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (for assam) (or) Retired IAS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.
Who can setup these tribunals?
- The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.
- Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.
- Typically, the tribunals there have seen two kinds of cases: those concerning persons against whom a reference has been made by the border police and those whose names in the electoral roll has a “D”, or “doubtful”, marked against them.
Who can approach?
- The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals. Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.
- Foreigners Tribunals, quasi-judicial authorities, have been deciding on matters pertaining to citizenship in order to identify foreigners.
- The process begins by the border police or the Election Commission referring the case of a suspected foreigner to the Foreigners Tribunal.
- The tribunal calls on the person to appear before it and prove that they are not a foreigner, and then passes an order in favour or against them.
Subject – Governance
Context – ‘80% of funds for Beti Bachao was spent on media campaigns’
- Since coordinated and convergent efforts are needed to ensure survival, protection and empowerment of the girl child, Government launched the Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) on 22nd January, 2015 at Panipat in Haryana.
- It is a tri-ministerial effort of Ministries of Women and Child Development, Health & Family Welfare and Human Resource Development.
- BBBP is a national campaign and focussed multi sectoral action in 100 selected districts low in Child Sex Ratio (CSR), covering all States and UTs.
- Prevention of gender-based sex-selective elimination.
- Ensuring survival & protection of the girl child.
- Ensuring education and participation of the girl child.
- Protecting rights of Girl child.
Subject – Polity
Context–The parliamentary panel asked the MHA to increase sanctioning powers delegated to the engineering cadre and financial power of the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Councils (LAHDC).
- LAHDC, Leh is an autonomous district council that administers the Leh district of Ladakh.
- The council was created under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act of 1995.
- LAHDC-Leh has a total of 30 seats and four councillors are nominated by the government.
- The executive arm of the council consists of an executive committee composed of a Chief Executive Councillor and four other executive councillors.
- The autonomous hill council work with village panchayats to take decisions on economic development, healthcare, education, land use, taxation, and local governance which are further reviewed at the block headquarters in the presence of the chief executive councillor and executive councillors.
- The administration of Union Territory of Ladakh looks after law and order, communications and the higher education in the districts.
- Leh, which is a Buddhist-dominated district of Ladakh, has demanded the implementation of the sixth schedule for the Union territory to guard against demographic change and dilution of the unique cultural and tribal identity.
- The democratic constitution of the Council has heralded democratic decentralization of planning process with the involvement of people at the grass root level.
- An Autonomous Hill Council has also been established in neighboring Kargil District. The Hill Council in Kargil came in to existence in July 2003.
Subject – Polity
Context – Various civil society groups in Ladakh have been demanding inclusion of Ladakh under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
- The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.
- Passed by the Constituent Assembly in 1949, it seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
- ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.
- The Governors of these states are empowered to reorganize boundaries of the tribal areas.
- In simpler terms, she or he can choose to include or exclude any area, increase or decrease the boundaries and unite two or more autonomous districts into one.
- They can also alter or change the names of autonomous regions without a separate legislation.
- Along with ADCs, the Sixth Schedule also provides for separate Regional Councils for each area constituted as an autonomous region.
- In all, there are 10 areas in the Northeast that are registered as autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
- These regions are named as district council of (name of district) and regional council of (name of region).
- Each autonomous district and regional council consists of not more than 30 members, of which four are nominated by the governor and the rest via elections. All of them remain in power for a term of five years.
- The Bodoland Territorial Council, however, is an exception as it can constitute up to 46 members.