Daily Prelims Notes 11 March 2021
- March 11, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
11 March 2021
All 6 Prelims qualified
4 CSE Mains qualified
If I can do it, you can too
Table Of Contents
- AMENDMENT TO UNIFIED ACCESS SERVICE AGREEMENT
- STOCKHOLM +50
- CLINICAL TRIAL MODE
- COVISHIELD vs COVAXIN
- VARIANTS OF CORONA VIRUS
- IT RULES 2021
- TROIKA PROCESS
- NCT BILL
- INS KARANJ
- PRADHAN MANTRI SWASTHYA SURAKSHA NIDHI (PMSSN)
- ARBITRATION AND CONCILIATION (AMENDMENT) BILL 2021
- NO CONFIDENCE MOTION
Subject: Current Events
Context: The government on Wednesday amended the unified licence for procurement of telecom equipment.
- According to the amendments to come into effect from June 15, the licensee (operator) will only use ‘trusted products’ in its network and seek permission from ‘designated authority’ for upgrading the existing network.
- The designated authority for this purpose will be the National Cyber Security Coordinator and, in this regard, the licensee will have to provide any information as and when sought by the designated authority, it said.
- However, these directions will not affect ongoing annual maintenance contracts (AMC) or updates to the existing equipment already inducted in the network as on date of effect, according to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) said in the ‘Amendment to the Unified Access Services (UAS) License Agreement (UASL) for procurement of telecommunication equipment.
National Cyber Coordination Centre (NCCC)
- The NCCC was developed in 2017.
- It is an operational cybersecurity and e-surveillance agency in India.
- It is intended to screen communication metadata (little snippets of information hidden inside each communication) and co-ordinate the intelligence gathering activities of other agencies.
- Some have expressed concern that the body could encroach on Indian citizens’ privacy and civil-liberties, given the lack of explicit privacy laws in the country.
- Components of the NCCC include:
a cybercrime prevention strategy,
cybercrime investigation training and
review of outdated laws.
- Indian and U.S. intelligence agencies are also working together to curb misuse of social media platforms in the virtual world by terror groups
Subject: National Organisations
Context: Only about half of the urban slum households exclusively use LPG for cooking, according to a survey report released on Wednesday by the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW).
- The Council on Energy, Environment and Water is one of Asia’s leading not-for-profit policy research institutions.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- CEEW uses data, integrated analysis, and strategic outreach to explain – and change – the use, reuse, and misuse of resources.
- Some of CEEW’s research areas include resource efficiency and security; water resources; renewable energy; sustainability finance; energy-trade-climate linkages; integrated energy, environment and water plans; and climate geoengineering governance.
- The think-tank advises the Indian government.
Context: As we approach Stockholm+50, we are looking at an increasingly inequitable world; where poverty and marginalisation are growing and where climate change risks are reaching not just the homes of the poor but also of the rich.
- In 2022 it will be fifty years since the first United Nations conference on the human environment – the 1972 Stockholm Conference.
- The Government of Sweden has offered to host a high-level meeting in conjunction with this anniversary.
- The aim is to contribute to accelerating a transformation that leads to sustainable and green economies, more jobs, and a healthy planet for all, where no one is left behind.
The 1972 Stockholm Conference
- The UN Conference on the Human Environment, also known as the Stockholm Conference, was the first UN conference on the environment and was held between 5 and 16 June 1972 in Stockholm.
- The meeting’s outcome document – the Stockholm Declaration – included several principles that are still important for environmental management.
- Another result of the meeting was the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Environment Day, held annually on 5 June.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : An expert panel Wednesday recommended the removal of the “clinical trial mode” label attached to the emergency authorisation of Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin.
- Authorisations granted to the Covid-19 vaccines in India so far do not allow for commercial sale — both Covaxin and Covishield have only been approved for use in India’s immunisationprogramme at this time.
- While both vaccines had earlier been granted a restricted use authorisation “in an emergency situation”, the approval to Covaxin was granted “as an abundant precaution”, but on the condition that it be administered in “clinical trial mode”.
- The “clinical trial mode” label meant that the Hyderabad vaccine maker had to seek informed consent prior to administering Covaxin to the healthcare and frontline workers, senior citizens and those with co-morbidities eligible for the government’s ongoing vaccination drive.
- It also meant the company had to submit updates on the safety, immunogenicity and efficacy of the vaccine from its phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical trials more regularly than SII, which has had to submit such data every 15 days so far.
- After this approval, the vaccine would be administered to everyone and they would be monitored closely as if they were in a clinical trial.
Subject : Science & tech
- It is the name given to an Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate which is technically referred to as AZD1222 or ChAdOx 1 nCoV19.
- It is a version of the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with Swedish-British drugmaker AstraZeneca.
- Serum Institute of India (SII) is the manufacturing partner in India.
Constituents and Action:
- It is based on a weakened version of a common cold virus or the adenovirus that is found in chimpanzees.
- This viral vector contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein (protrusions) present on the outer surface of the virus that help it bind with the human cell.
- The body’s immune system is supposed to recognise this protein as a threat, and work on building antibodies against it.
- It had triggered an immune response in humans against the novel coronavirus in early trials and is considered to be one of the global frontrunners for the Covid-19 vaccine.
- It is India’s only indigenous Covid-19 vaccine.
- Developed by Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Virology, Pune
Constituents and Action:
- It is an inactivated vaccine which is developed by inactivating (killing) the live microorganisms that cause the disease.
- This destroys the ability of the pathogen to replicate, but keeps it intact so that the immune system can still recognise it and produce an immune response.
- It is expected to target more than just the spike protein.
- It also aims to develop an immune response to the nucleocapsid protein (the shell of the virus that encloses its genetic material).
- COVAXIN is more likely to work against newer variants of the virus, including the UK variant, as it contains immunogens (epitopes) from other genes in addition to those from Spike protein.
- Immunogen is a stimulus that produces a humoral or cell-mediated immune response, whereas antigens are any substance that binds specifically to an antibody.
- All immunogens are antigens, but all antigens may not be immunogens.
- Approval of COVAXIN ensures India has an additional vaccine shield especially against potential mutant strains in a dynamic pandemic situation.
Subject: Science & tech
- SARS-CoV-2 variants have emerged independently in several countries, and the latest research indicates that the virus is changing quickly (mutation) and it may continue to develop towards evading currently available vaccines.
- SARS-CoV-2 virus is responsible for causing the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
- SARS-CoV-2 variants from the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been particularly worrisome.
- Mutation is an alteration in the genetic material (the genome) of a cell of a living organism or of a virus that is more or less permanent and that can be transmitted to the cell’s or the virus’s descendants.
- The genomes of organisms are all composed of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), whereas viral genomes can be of DNA or Ribo Nucleic Acid (RNA).
RNA Mutation vs DNA Mutation:
- When cells multiply, the DNA within them replicates as well, to make copies for the new cells. During replication, random errors are introduced into the new DNA.
- While the errors in DNA virus genomes can be corrected by the error-correcting function of cells in which they replicate, there are no enzymes in cells to correct RNA errors. Therefore, RNA viruses accumulate more genetic changes (mutations) than DNA viruses.
Recent RBD Mutations in Coronavirus Variants:
- Three key Receptor-Binding Domain (RBD) mutations K417N/T, E484K, and N501Y are found in variants that emerged in South Africa and Brazil.
- The UK variant has the N501Y, P681H mutation.
- Viruses with mutations within the receptor-binding domain (RBD) of the Spike protein have the most potential to evade antibodies that develop as a result of natural infection or vaccination.
- The RBD binds the cellular receptor allowing the virus to infect cells, and anti-RBD antibodies neutralize the virus.
Vaccine Test Against Emerging Variants:
- Indirect tests are done in laboratories to assess if an emerging variant might escape antibodies developed after a natural infection or vaccination.
- Serum (the blood components that contain antibodies) from recovered patients or vaccinated people, and antibodies known to neutralise the original virus, are tested to determine whether the variant viruses evade antibodies.
- The effectiveness of a serum or antibody is expressed as an inhibitory concentration (IC) or plaque reduction neutralisation titer (PRNT) value.
- The IC50 or PRNT50 value is the reciprocal dilution of serum or antibody that neutralizes 50% viruses in the sample.
Efficacy of Vaccine Against Emerging Variants:
- Both Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech have agreed that their vaccines offered reduced protection against the South African variant. The two companies are reported to be working on developing fresh vaccines to cover these variants.
- There is also proof of several re-infections with the variant in South Africa, driven by the ability of new variants to evade immunity developed against the original virus.
Subject: Current Events
Context: The Kerala High Court restrained the Centre from taking coercive action against Live Law Media Private Ltd., which owns a legal news portal, for not complying with Part III of the new IT (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
- The court issued notice to the Centre on a petition filed by the firm challenging the rules regulating digital news media, curated content (OTT platforms), and social media intermediaries.
- The petition said Part III of the rules imposed an unconstitutional three-tier complaints and adjudication structure on publishers.
- The creation of a grievance redressal mechanism, through a governmental oversight body (an inter-departmental committee constituted under Rule 14) amounted to excessive regulation.
- Rule 4(2), which makes it mandatory for every social media intermediary to enable tracing of originators of information on its platform, purportedly in furtherance of Section 69 of the IT Act, violated Article 19(1)(a) (freedom of speech and expression).
- It also deprived the intermediaries of their “safe-harbour protections” under Section 79 of the IT Act.
- The rules obligating messaging intermediaries to alter their infrastructure to “fingerprint” each message on a mass scale for every user to trace the first originator was violative of the fundamental right to privacy of Internet users.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Russia has announced it will hold a conference of special envoys from the U.S., China, and Pakistan, along with representatives of the Afghanistan government, Taliban and other senior Afghan leaders next week.
- Unlike the UN-led formulation, however, India has not been invited to the Russian conference, officials confirmed, adding that Moscow has kept New Delhi apprised of the two-year old “Troika” process involving consultations between U.S., Russia and China.
- Diplomatic sources said the Troika process was an “already established mechanism”, and that there was no attempt to “leave India out” of the proposed talks.
Context : The Parliament has passed the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with Lok Sabha approving it. Rajya Sabha had already passed the bill last month.
- The legislation aims to amend the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011. The 2011 Act was valid till 31st December last year. The Bill seks to extend this deadline to till the end of December 2023.
- The 2011 Act provided for the regularization of unauthorized colonies in the National Capital which existed as on 31st March , 2002, and where construction took place till 1st June, 2014.
- The Bill amends this to provide that unauthorized colonies will be identified for regularization as per the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorized Colonies) Act, 2019, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi (Recognition of Property Rights of Residents in Unauthorized Colonies) Regulations, 2019.
- The legislation provides that the unauthorized colonies which existed as on 1st June 2014, and have 50 per cent development as on 1st January, 2015, will be eligible for regularization.
Context: Indian Navy’s third stealth Scorpene class Submarine INS Karanj has been commissioned at the Naval Dockyard Mumbai through a formal commissioning ceremony.
- Six Scorpene Class submarines are being built in India by the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) Mumbai, under collaboration with M/s Naval Group, France.
- INS Karanj would form part of the Western Naval Command’s Submarine fleet.
- The Scorpene Submarines are one of the most advanced conventional submarines in the world.
- These platforms are equipped with the latest technologies in the world. More deadly and stealthier than their predecessors, these submarines are equipped with potent weapons and sensors to neutralise any threat above or below the sea surface.
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : The Union Cabinet has approved the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Nidhi (PMSSN) as a single non-lapsable reserve fund for share of Health from the proceeds of Health and Education Cess levied under Section 136-b of Finance Act, 2007.
Salient features of the PMSSN
- A non-lapsable reserve fund for Health in the Public Account;
- Proceeds of share of health in the Health and Education Cess will be credited into PMSSN;
- Accruals into the PMSSN will be utilized for the flagship schemes of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare namely,
Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY)
Ayushman Bharat – Health and Wellness Centres (AB-HWCs)
National Health Mission
Pradhan MantriSwasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY)
Emergency & disaster preparedness and responses during health emergencies
Any future programme/scheme that targets to achieve progress towards SDGs and the targets set out in the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017.
- Administration and maintenance of the PMSSN is entrusted to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare; and
- In any financial year, the expenditure on such schemes of the MoHFW would be initially incurred from the PMSSN and thereafter, from Gross Budgetary Support (GBS).
Context: The Parliament gave its nod to the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 with Rajya Sabha passing it. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill last month.
- The legislation seeks to amend the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996. The Act contains provisions to deal with domestic and international arbitration and defines the law for conducting conciliation proceedings.
The Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill, 2021 provides for the following:
- to grant unconditional stay of enforcement of arbitral awards, where the underlying arbitration agreement, contracts or arbitral award is induced by fraud or corruption;
- to omit eighth Schedule of the act which laid down the qualifications, experience and norms for accreditation of arbitrators; and
- to specify by regulations the qualifications, experience and norms for accreditation of arbitrators and the said amendment is consequential in nature.
Context: The no-confidence motion moved by the Congress against the Bharatiya Janata Party-Jannayak Janta Party coalition government in Haryana on Wednesday was defeated by 55 votes to 32.
- A no-confidence motion is a parliamentary motion which is moved in the Lok Sabha against the entire council of ministers, stating that they are no longer deemed fit to hold positions of responsibility due to their inadequacy in some respect or their failure to carry out their obligations.
- No prior reason needs to be stated for its adoption in the Lok Sabha.
Procedure to move a “No Confidence Motion”:
- A motion of “No Confidence Motion” against the Government can be introduced only in the Lok Sabha under rule 198.
- The Constitution of India does not mention about either a Confidence or a No Confidence Motion. Although, Article 75 does specify that the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
- A motion of No Confidence can be admitted when a minimum of 50 members, support the motion in the house.
- The Speaker then, once satisfied that the motion is in order, will ask the House if the motion can be adopted.
- If the motion is passed in the house, the Government is bound to vacate the office.
- A no-confidence motion needs a majority vote to pass the House.
- If individuals or parties abstain from voting, those numbers will be removed from the overall strength of the House and then the majority will be taken into account.
DAILY PRELIMS NOTES, MARCH 10, TOPIC NO 12: OPEC+
The term Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) refers to a group of 13 of the world’s major oil-exporting nations. In the notes it is mentioned that there are 14 OPEC Nations.
Error is regretted.