Daily Prelims Notes 11 October 2023
- October 11, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
11 October 2023
Table Of Contents
- Why Gandhi was against Jews state in Palestine
- A day after allowing termination of 25-week-old pregnancy, Supreme Court puts abortion on hold
- Gaza’s 100-year history of war
- Centre opposes CPR petition to allow using part of fund in FD
- Serious considerations, interest in India on hosting Olympics
- Why are markets panicking over surging US bond yields
- Economics Nobel prize for work on gender-based pay gap
- A treasure trove: field notes from the forests of Arunachal Pradesh
- When sun and rain mingle
- Dancing frogs of Western Ghats among most threatened amphibians globally
- World leaders must prioritize implementation of sustainable development goals
- Climate crisis in forests: Wild fruits, sacred groves in Sharavathi valley bear the brunt
- Udaipur in race to be nation’s 1st wetland city
- RBI Extends PCA Framework to Government NBFCs
- Personal Income Tax vs. Corporate Income Tax Collection
- Composition of Bank Credit in India
Section: Modern India
Why Gandhi was against Jews state:
- Mahatma Gandhi expressed deep sympathy for the Jewish people who had faced historical persecution and equated their suffering with that of the untouchables in Hindu society.
- He condemned the German persecution of Jews, even suggesting that war against Germany to prevent their persecution would be justified.
- However, Gandhi opposed the establishment of a Zionist state in Palestine, asserting it was inhumane to impose Jews on the Arabs and reduce them.
- He believed that any settlement in Palestine should be achieved with the goodwill of the Arabs, without the aid of force, as it violated their rights and aspirations.
- Gandhi also raised concerns about the impact on Jews in other parts of the world if they were forced to relocate to Palestine.
How Gandhi’s position on Israel influenced India’s foreign policy.
- Gandhi’s stance on the Israel-Palestine issue was not unique and resonated with many leaders across the Arab world and anti-imperialists worldwide.
- They criticized Britain’s administration of Palestine and the Balfour Declaration, which promised a homeland to the Jews in the British Mandate, thereby impacting the region’s geopolitics.
- Gandhi’s views deeply influenced India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, and significantly shaped India’s foreign policy for decades.
- India initially voted against the UN Resolution 181 that partitioned Palestine but eventually recognized Israel in 1950.
- However, official diplomatic relations with Israel were only established in 1992, under Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao.
Section: Legislation in news
Context: A day after allowing termination of 25-week-old pregnancy, Supreme Court puts abortion on hold
More about the news:
- The Supreme Court of India has asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences authorities to temporarily halt a woman’s 25-week pregnancy termination, one day after permitting the procedure.
- AIIMS doctors raised concerns about the fetus being currently viable, indicating a strong possibility of survival.
- They inquired whether a feticide procedure, stopping the fetal heart, can be performed before termination.
- The doctors emphasized the potential challenges and consequences of a preterm delivery, including the child’s quality of life, and the need for clear adoption procedures.
- The Supreme Court has requested the Centre to file a formal application for the recall of the previous order.
What are the abortion law in India:
- Abortion was initially illegal in India, resulting in imprisonment or fines under Section 312 of the Indian Penal Code.
- To address this, the Shantilal Shah Committee was formed in the 1964. to assess the necessity of abortion regulations.
- This led to the introduction of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act in 1971, legalizing and regulating abortions.
- Now abortions in India are regulated by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971.
- Under the law section 3 of the MTP Act 1971, the doctor can perform an abortion in the following conditions:
- If the pregnancy would be harmful to the life of the patient or affects her physical or mental health. The doctor will need to consider the circumstances of the patient to figure out if the pregnancy will harm her mental health, on a case to case basis.
- If there is a good chance that the child would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities which would leave him or her seriously handicapped.
- If pregnancy occurred as a result of a failure of contraception only applicable to married women.
- If pregnancy is a result of sexual assault or rape.
Condition for termination of pregnancy:
- If the pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks, only one doctor is needed to sign-off.
- If the pregnancy has exceeded 12 weeks and is below 24 weeks, two doctors are needed.
- The gestation period does not matter if a doctor feels that an immediate abortion must be conducted to save the life of the patient.
- The doctor who determines if it is necessary to perform an abortion and performs it needs to be a ‘registered medical practitioner’ under the law.
- In January 2020, the Union Cabinet approved amendments to the MTP Act, allowing women to seek abortions as part of reproductive rights and gender justice.
- The amendment raised the upper limit of MTP from 20 weeks to 24 weeks for women including rape survivors, victims of incest, differently-abled women and minors.
Section: Places in news
Before Haifa, Gaza:
- Ten months before the Battle of Haifa, Indian lancers and Gurkha riflemen played a pivotal role in the Third Battle of Gaza in November 1917.
- They fought alongside the Empire forces against the Ottomans, commanded by German General Kress von Kressentstein and Erich von Falkenhayn, the former Prussian Minister of War.
- The Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade, composed of Indian troops, engaged in intense battles and strategic maneuvers, ultimately leading to the retreat of the Ottoman forces from Gaza and the northeastern end of the Gaza Strip, marking a turning point in the Palestine campaign.
The history of Gaza after 1918:
- Gaza came under British control in 1918 after the Ottomans were defeated in World War I.
- After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, it fell into Egyptian hands.
- An Egyptian puppet government was dissolved in 1959 when Egypt took control.
- In 1967, Israel launched preemptive strikes against Egypt, leading to its occupation of Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.
- This Six-Day War resulted in a clear Israeli victory, reshaping the region’s dynamics and conflicts.
- The Yom Kippur War in 1973, despite an Israeli victory, made it clear that a continuous state of war was unsustainable.
- Efforts to negotiate peace escalated as Egypt moved away from the Soviet sphere.
- The Camp David Accords of 1978 brought significant changes, with Israel agreeing to withdraw from Sinai in exchange for diplomatic relations with Egypt and recognition of Palestinian rights.
- The Accords earned President Anwar Sadat and Prime Minister Menachem Begin the Nobel Peace Prize, leading to the 1979 Egypt-Israel peace treaty.
- The Oslo Accords in 1993 and 1995 established the Palestinian National Authority and led to the coexistence of Fatah-controlled areas in the West Bank and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
- That year, Hamas, the militant Palestinian organization, founded in 1987 with the aim of armed resistance to Israeli occupation, won the elections. A year later, they ousted Fatah which was co-founded by Yasser Arafat in 1959 and which is now led by President Mahmoud Abbas from Gaza, and took full control of the Strip.
- Ariel Sharon’s government unilaterally dismantled Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip in 2005, leading to criticism and concern over Hamas’s rise to power.
- After Israel’s disengagement plan in 2005, Israeli settlements were removed, and around 9,000 settlers were evacuated from the Gaza Strip.
- While Palestinians were promised control over the territory, Israel retained authority over Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters according to the Oslo agreements.
- The Gaza Strip initially had seven border crossings for the movement of goods and people. However, due to a blockade imposed in 2007, only the Rafah crossing in Egypt and the Erez crossing in northern Gaza with Israel remain accessible to people.
- Israel faces criticism for its perceived restrictions and control over Gaza, likened by some to an open-air prison.
Section: legislation in news
Context: Centre opposes CPR petition to allow using part of funds in FD
More about the news:
- The government expressed its disagreement with the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) understanding of the release of 25% of funds that were not used concerning fixed deposits.
- This disagreement arose during a hearing at the Delhi High Court where CPR challenged the suspension of its registration certificate under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA).
- The Ministry of Home Affairs had frozen CPRs accounts following a suspension order.
- The main point of contention revolves around how “in his custody” is interpreted in Section 13(2)(b) of FCRA.
- CPR argues that this includes funds that one has control or dominion over, like fixed deposits.
- On the other hand, the government maintains that fixed deposits should not be considered as amounts.
What is FCRA:
- The law sought to regulate foreign donations to individuals and associations so that they functioned in a manner consistent with the values of a sovereign democratic republic.
- The law was enacted during the Emergency in 1976 amid apprehension that foreign powers were interfering in India’s affairs by pumping in funds through independent organizations.
- It is implemented by the Union Home Ministry
What are the provisions of the act:
- The FCRA requires every person or NGO seeking to receive foreign donations to be
- To be registered under the Act
- To open a bank account for the receipt of the foreign funds in State Bank of India, Delhi
- To utilize those funds only for the purpose for which they have been received and as stipulated in the Act
- To file annual returns and not to transfer the funds to another NGO
How is FCRA registration granted:
- FCRA registrations are granted to individuals or associations that have definite cultural, economic, educational, religious, and social programmes.
- NGOs that want to receive foreign funds must apply online with the required documentation.
- Authority– The Ministry of Home Affairs makes inquiries through the Intelligence Bureau into the antecedents of the applicant and approves or rejects the application within 90 days.
- In case of failure to process the application in the given time, the MHA is expected to inform the NGO of the reasons for the same.
- Eligibility- Under the FCRA, the applicant
- Should not be fictitious or benami
- Should not have been prosecuted or convicted for indulging in activities aimed at conversion through inducement or force, either directly or indirectly, from one religious faith to another
- Should not have been prosecuted for or convicted of creating communal tension or disharmony
- Should not have been found guilty of diversion or misutilisation of funds
- Should not be engaged or likely to be engaged in the propagation of sedition
- Validity– Once granted, FCRA registration is valid for five years and NGOs are expected to apply for renewal within six months of the date of expiry of registration.
- In case of failure to apply for renewal, the registration is deemed to have expired.
Section: International grouping
Context: The head of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has noted that there is significant interest and deliberation within India about hosting the Olympic Games.
More about the news:
- The President of the International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach has acknowledged that India has shown an interest in hosting the Olympic Games in 2036.
- While the official bidding process is yet to commence Bach mentioned that there are considerations within India.
- He highlighted India’s performance in sport events, particularly their diverse medal collection at the Asian Games.
- Bach also addressed concerns regarding India’s bid and reassured that any issues related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games are unlikely to impact it.
- He emphasized the importance of governance by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) as they are responsible for representing India in its candidacy.
- Furthermore Bach expressed his excitement about including T20 cricket in the Olympics due to its appeal and potential growth in the United States.
Some details about Olympic Association:
- The International Olympic Committee is a non-governmental sports organization based in Lausanne, Switzerland.
- It is constituted in the form of an association under the Swiss Civil Code (articles 60–79).
- It was founded in 1894 by Pierre de Coubertin and Demetrios Vikelas, it is the authority responsible for organizing the modern Summer, Winter, and Youth Olympic Games.
- Demetrios Vikelas was the first president of the IOC.
- 141st session of IOC is being held in Mumbai.
Some details about Indian Olympic Associations:
- Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was established in 1927 as a Non-Profit Organization under Societies Registration Act, 1860.
- It was founded by Sir Dorabjee Tata and Dr. A.G. Noehren.
- It is an autonomous body recognised by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
- India first participated in the Olympics in 1900 in Paris. The country was represented by Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian.
- A 32-member Executive Council, headed by President and assisted by different Standing Committees that includes subject-field experts work for effective governance.
- The election for the Executive Council is held once every 4 years.
Next Summer and Winter Olympics:
- Paris ( France) –2024 Summer Olympics
- Milano Cortina (Italy) –2026 Winter Olympics
- Los Angeles (United States) –2028 Summer Olympics
Subject : Economy
Section: External Sector
In News: US bonds in a downward trend with rising yields.
- The US treasury bond market which had been in a bull market that peaked out in 2020, has now started to reverse aggressively.
- The US 30-year bond which had a yield of around 9 per cent in 1988, had dipped to below 1 per cent in 2020 (when yields decline bond prices go up).
- In this intervening period the risk-free 30-year bond index had outperformed the stock market benchmark, S&P 500 total return.
- Now with the 30 year bond now yielding 4.96 per cent, it is now at levels last seen in 2007. So is the 10 year bond which is yielding 4.79 per cent.
What is causing the increase in yields?
- With persistent inflation, investors believe the US is likely to have long-term inflation around 3 per cent, with changed structural dynamics in the global economy post covid.
- For holding bonds they want compensation for that inflation and a premium over that.
- Typically investors in 10-year yields may expect at least a 1.5 per cent premium over inflation.
- There is also a concern that the Fed’s pause on rate hikes may be premature. And so if Central Banks don’t do their job, the markets seems to be pricing the interest expectation for the Central Bank.
Large bond issuances:
- US fiscal deficit for FY23 (ending September) has doubled to two trillion from around one trillion in FY22.
- With the Fed too not doing quantitative easing (QE/buying bonds anymore), the flood of bond issuances to fund the spending has further altered the supply-demand landscape for bonds.
Global macro/geopolitical factors:
- China has been reducing its holdings of US bonds. This could be due to a combination of economic as well as geopolitical factors.
- Further, there are risks that Japanese holders of US treasury bonds (large holders) may unwind as bond yields in Japan increase making the US investment less attractive.
- Many economists are of the view that Japan’s Central Bank may be forced to abandon its yield curve control and allow yields to move up as macro economic/inflationary pressures mount
Why are equity markets selling off?
- Higher risk free yields make risk assets less attractive.
- During covid-19 (CY20) when interest rates were so low and equities saw a bull run, as there were no alternative to equities. Now bonds are emerging as compelling alternatives to equities.
Possibilities of cooling of the US t-bond yields:
- Volatility in bond yields may lead to a credit event causing an abrupt slowdown in economy which will trigger rate cuts/QE by the US Fed.
- Another plausible path for cooling of yields is that the current levels of interest rates will slow down the economy enough or result in a mild recession next year, resulting in cooling of inflation. This will consequently result in cooling of bond yields as well.
- There is also a risk of stagflation where economy could be in recession, but inflation remains high like it happened in the 1970s in countries like US and UK.
In News: Claudia Goldin wins Nobel economics prize for work on gender gap n the 2023 Nobel economics prize for her work on labour market inequalities based on gender.
- Claudia Goldin has been awarded the prize for exposing the causes of deeply rooted wage and labour market inequality between men and women.
- Her work provided the first comprehensive account of women’s earnings and labour market
- Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap
- Her research reveals the causes of change, as well as the main sources of the remaining gender gap.
- There are still large differences between women and men in terms of what they do, how they’re remunerated and so on. Her work tries to answer why it is so.
- Her research found that married women started to work less after the arrival of industrialisation in the 1800s, but their employment picked up again in the 1900s as the service economy grew.
- Higher educational levels for women and the contraceptive pill accelerated change, but the gender pay gap remained.
- While historically that earnings difference between men and women could be blamed on educational choices made at a young age and career choices, Prof Goldin found that the current earnings gap was now largely due to the impact of having children.
- Prof Goldin was the first woman to receive tenure in Harvard’s economics department in 1989. Economics still had an image problem with women, she told the BBC in 2018.
- Even before students enter university, they believe economics is a field more oriented to finance and management and women are less interested in those than are men. If we explained economics was about “inequality, health, household behaviour, society, then there’d be a much greater balance,” she said.
- The economics prize is different to the original prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and peace, which were established by Alfred Nobel and first awarded in 1901.
- The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences was established in 1968 and funded by Sweden’s central bank.
- Elinor Ostrom was the first woman to win the economics prize in 2009, which she was awarded jointly with Oliver E Williamson for research on economic governance.
- In 2019 Esther Duflo shared the award with her husband Abhijit Banerjee, and Michael Kremer, for work that focused on poor communities in India and Kenya.
Reasons for pay gap:
- She has attributed the gap to factors ranging from outright discrimination
- Further she has attributed it to phenomena such as “greedy work“, a term she coined for jobs that pay disproportionately more per hour when someone works longer or has less control over those hours, effectively penalising women who need to seek flexible hours.
- Only two women have previously landed the economics prize: Elinor Ostrom in 2009 and Esther Duflo.
- Goldin, is only the third woman to win the Nobel economics priz and the first to win it by herself rather than sharing it.
- India’s FLFPR is one of the lowest in the world and the lowest among the G20 countries at 19.23% .
- India’s FLFPR is one of the lowest in the world and the lowest in the G20 countries at 19.23% as per the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2022. In contrast, the average FLFPR for the G20 cohort lies at 49.78%.
- India’s low FLFPR is unprecedented, considering many usual and unusual factors that keep women from the organised-formal workforce, despite knowing the fact, based on recent NFHS data, that a ‘high fertility ratio’ and ‘low education rates’, are no longer a cause for concern or a deterrent for women’s ability to be part of the organised workforce. The country has seen a reduction in fertility from0 to 2.5 children per woman as per recent data.
- Additionally, India has also seen a rise in girls’ enrolment in primary education and has seen female enrolment, for women aged 15-24, in any educational institution, go from 1% to 36% (ILO 2014). The change in these factors in the recent decades should correlate to an increase in FLFPR.
- However, the opposite is true. As per World Bank estimates, in 2004, India’s FLFPR was 2% which fell to 22.9% in 2021. World Economic Forum pegs India’s FLFPR even lower at 19.23% in 2022, in their Global Gender Gap Report 2022.
The Reasons Behind India’s Low FLFPR
- The major contributor towards India’s low FLFPR can be traced to women’s contributions towards care work at home. Indian women are responsible for most of the unpaid domestic work in the houses, may it be towards the maintenance of households or taking care of dependent family members.
- According to the International Labour Organisation, Indian women contribute 297 minutes a day towards care work, while men contribute 29 minutes the same. This implies women shoulder the burden of 90.5% of the care work, while only 9.5% is cared for by men.
- Furthermore, while on average, even in other G20 countries, women shoulder most of the burden of care work, the distribution of responsibilities is not as skewed. On average, women in other G20 countries account for 70.77% of the care work
- When it comes to care work distribution, countries in Europe (except Italy), the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada are the most favourable performers, averaging around 61% of unpaid care work being performed by women.
- These countries perform better in this criterion, because their governments choose to invest in social care. Whereas in developing countries, like India, the burden falls heavily on women. This implies that the time that that could be utilised for formal wage-earning labour, they spend on caring for their families, for which they accrue no compensation.
- What is interesting is that even when domestic work is outsourced, and domestic help is hired, women are still responsible for ensuring the quality of care. Additionally, even when households hire domestic labour, women of the household find themselves contributing to another form of unpaid care work, rather than joining the workforce.
- An ILO-IIHS study on India’s metropolitan cities of Bengaluru and Chennai found that 40% of households hire domestic work to free up time for care for elders and children and 30% of households hire for alleviating the burden of housework. It was found that in only 8.5% of households in Chennai, and 13.5% of households in Bengaluru, domestic help is hired to free up time for paid employment.
Some Recommendations for India
The recommendation for India is to work towards increasing enrolment in higher education for women, enhance opportunities for women across different sectors, develop a robust care infrastructure, and increase access to financial resources for women entrepreneurs through direct fiscal interventions i.e. single window clearances, tax breaks, and other measures that can help directly promote women entrepreneurship in the country
Section: Protected Areas
- A book More Than Just Footnotes: Field Assistants in Wildlife Research and Conservation is written by Ambika Aiyadurai, an anthropologist who teaches at the Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, and Mamata Pandya, an independent writer and editor.
Dibang Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Located in the Upper Dibang Valley district.
- As the sanctuary lies in the Indo-Chinese transition zone, the flora and fauna of this region is highly endemic and significant. There are over 130 species of birds, and various types of snakes. Some endangered species are the Mishmi takin, the Asiatic black bear, Musk deer and the Blyth’s tragopan.
- The Mishmi takin (Budorcastaxicolortaxicolor) is an endangered goat-antelope native to India, Myanmar and the People’s Republic of China. It is a subspecies of takin.
- The Mishmi takin lives in Northeast India and eats bamboo and willow shoots. It has an oily coat to protect it from the fog. Takin is the national animal of Bhutan.
- There are extensive tracts of primary forests —the density of population is very low — and the region is rich in biodiversity. There are at least 25 species of mammals like the clouded leopard, wild dog, the Asiatic black bear and the small clawed otter, and more than 240 species of birds.
- Type of cultivation undertaken in the region is known as Swidden agriculture, or shifting cultivation or jhum cultivation, refers to the technique of rotational farming in which land is cleared for cultivation (normally by fire) and then left to regenerate for a few years.
- Subsistence crops like rice, millets and vegetables are grown, and Swidden cultivation intricately binds the forest communities to their cultural identity.
- The Adi people celebrate at least 13 festivals related to shifting cultivation.
- Jemeithang valley is about four hours from Tawang and home to the Monpa tribe.
Kamlang Tiger Reserve:
- Located in Arunachal Pradesh.
- Kamlang is contiguous to the Namdhapa Tiger Reserve.
- It is home to all four big cats (tiger, leopard, clouded leopard and snow leopard).
- The Kamlang Tiger Reserve has several species of hornbills. Rufous-necked hornbills are common and Wreathed hornbills visit in the winters. The Glaw Lake, considered sacred by the Mishmis.
Pakke tiger reserve:
- Pakke Tiger Reserve, is a Project Tiger reserve in the East Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh in Northeast India.
- It is bounded by Bhareli or Kameng River in the west and north, and by Pakke River in the east.
- The main perennial streams in the area are the Nameri, Khari and Upper Dikorai.West of Kameng River are Sessa Orchid Sanctuary and Eaglenest Wildlife Sanctuary.
- It was known as Pakhui Tiger Reserve, but renamed in April 2001 by the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh. It has won India Biodiversity Award 2016 in the category of ‘Conservation of threatened species’ for its Hornbill Nest Adoption Programme.
Indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh:
- Kman Mishmis, Nyishi, Monpa, Apatani or Tani, Adi people and Tangshang people or Tangsa Naga are some of the 26 indigenous tribes of Arunachal Pradesh.
Subject: Science and Tech
Why are rainbows arc shaped?
- The cause of rainbow formation is reflection and refraction of the sun’s rays as they fall on drops of rain.
- As a ray passes into a drop of rain, the water acts like a tiny prism. The ray is bent, or refracted, as it enters the drop and is separated into different colours.
- As it strikes the inner surface of the drop, it is further refracted and dispersed.
- Each colour is formed by rays that reach the eye at a certain angle, and the angle for a particular colour never changes.
- The higher the sun the lower the bow. If the sun is higher than 40o, no bow can be seen.
- Raindrops that lie at this angle and opposite to the sun in the form of a full circle or a part of it. Even if there are enough rain drops to form a circle, to an observer on the earth it will look like an arc, as it is limited by the horizon.
- When the sun is near the horizon, an observer on a high mountain or in a hot-air balloon may see the whole circle of the rainbow.
Primary and secondary rainbow:
- Both the primary and secondary rainbows are formed by the reflection and refraction of sunlight in tiny water droplets.
- When a sunbeam is being refracted twice and reflected once by the droplet, a primary rainbow will form. If the beam is being refracted twice and reflected twice, a secondary rainbow will form.
- The primary rainbow forms between about 40° and 42° from the antisolar point.
- The light path involves refraction and a single reflection inside the water droplet.
- The secondary rainbow is about 10° further out from the antisolar point than the primary bow, is about twice as wide, and has its colors reversed.
- As the secondary rainbow is formed by one more reflection than the primary rainbow, it is much fainter and rare to see.
Section: Species in news
- The dancing frogs that are endemic to the Western Ghats are the most threatened amphibian genus of India, according to the Wildlife Trust of India.
- Global Amphibian Assessment report released by: IUCN’s Species Survival Commission’s Amphibian Specialist Group.
- More than 41% of the amphibian species are threatened with extinction. In India, 139 of the total 426 species were categorised as ‘Critically Endangered’, ‘Endangered’ or ‘Vulnerable’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species.
- Of the 24 species of the frogs belonging to the Micrixalus genus that were assessed, two were found to be critically endangered and 15 were endangered.
- It is also the fifth most threatened genus in the world with 92 per cent of its species in the threatened category.
- Frogs are valuable in the food chain and also provide other ecological services. Protecting the natural habitats and preserving their optimal living conditions is thus vital to save the last of these species.
- The dancing frogs that are found near the streams do a unique display to mate. The males stretch up their hind legs one at a time and wave their webbed toes in the air in a rapid motion akin to a dance.
- This is to attract mates as well as ward off competition, probably preferred because their mating calls are drowned out by the gurgling of the streams.
- This act is called “foot flagging” and gives the species their name.
- They prefer habitats in areas with thick canopy cover of at least 70-80 per cent.
- Multiple anthropogenic stresses have impacted the population of the dancing frogs.
- Micrixaluskottigeharensis (commonly called the Kottigehar Dancing Frog) is threatened by invasive species like the mosquito fish, land use change, variation in temperature and humidity, extreme weather events such as floods and excess rainfall, infectious diseases, water pollution, light pollution, and infrastructure projects such as dams.
- After the dancing frogs, the Nyctibatrachidae (night frogs) are the most threatened with 83.9 percent of its species threatened across the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
Amphibian recovery project:
- Wildlife Trust of India’s Amphibian Recovery Project in the Munnar Landscape of Kerala is actively working to recover the population of threatened amphibians by addressing the challenges that cause the risk of extinction, threat mitigation through strategically planned conservation action, capacity development and training, advocacy and information sharing implemented by a stakeholder network.
Wildlife trust of India (WTI):
- The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) is an Indian nature conservation organisation.
- WTI was formed in November 1998 in New Delhi, India, as a response to the rapidly deteriorating condition of wildlife in India.
- WTI is a registered charity (non-profit organization) in India (under Section 12A of the Income Tax Act, 1961).
- WTI currently focuses its resources on six priority landscapes – northeast India, western Himalayas, terai, southern Ghats system, central India and terrestrial ecosystems. One of its projects is to protect the Sarus crane.
- The Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation is a wildlife care facility that is run by Wildlife Trust of India and Assam Forest Department, with financial support from International Fund for Animal Welfare.
- The Udanti Tiger Reserve in Gariaband district, Chhattisgarh, is run by Wildlife Trust of India and the Chhattisgarh forest department.
Subject : Environment
Section: Protected Area
- The midterm assessment of the progress made on the sustainable development goals (SDG) was carried out in the 2023 SDG Summit, which took place on September 18-19, 2023, in New York.
Global People’s Assembly:
- 2,045 activists from 145 countries joined physically and virtually in the Global People’s Assembly, organised by 64 civil society organisation networks, coordinated by Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP).
Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):
- The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
- There are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets.
The SDGs build on decades of work by countries and the UN:
- In June 1992, at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, more than 178 countries adopted Agenda 21, a comprehensive plan of action to build a global partnership for sustainable development to improve human lives and protect the environment.
- The Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development and the Plan of Implementation, adopted at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in South Africa in 2002, reaffirmed the global community’s commitments to poverty eradication and the environment, and built on Agenda 21 and the Millennium Declaration by including more emphasis on multilateral partnerships.
- At the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 2012, Member States adopted the outcome document “The Future We Want” in which they decided, inter alia, to launch a process to develop a set of SDGs to build upon the MDGs and to establish the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development.
- In January 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with 17 SDGs at its core, at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in September 2015.
- 2015 was a landmark year for multilateralism and international policy shaping, with the adoption of several major agreements:
- Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (March 2015)
- Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development (July 2015)
- Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with its 17 SDGs was adopted at the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York in September 2015.
- Paris Agreement on Climate Change (December 2015)
- Now, the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development serves as the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the SDGs.
Assessment of the progress made on SDGs:
- The United Nation’s own estimate suggests that only 12 per cent of the targets are currently on track.Thirty percent of the SDGs are worse now than eight years ago.
- There is enough food to feed everyone on the planet, yet over 820 million people,roughly one in ten people on Earth, are going hungry.
- Nearly 860 million belong to the extreme poor category.
- Oxfam’s 2023 report, Survival of the Richest, suggested that the richest 1 percent has bagged twice as much wealth as the rest during the pandemic.
- The economic structure is heavily tilted towards the benefit of the rich and the social structures further push the people from the marginalised communities into despair, discrimination and indignity.
- The groups that traditionally faced exclusion and discrimination are women, communities discriminated by work and descent (CDWD), indigenous communities, persons with disabilities, the old and the LGBTQI+, among others.
- The welfarist nature of the state is fast dwindling. It’s all about corporate growth.
- Issues facing by the global south:
- Inequality, crack down on their people’s and civil society’s rights, political parties are dividing people in the name of religion, caste and race, debt crisis.
- Sixty countries are currently facing debt crises amid skyrocketing interest rates.
- Financial systems dominated by wealthy Western countries are not creating global prosperity.
- Climate change:
- There is no clear commitment to end the use of fossil fuels. Countries like the Philippines, Fiji and others are struggling to cope with the increasing disasters, including sea-level rise.
Subject : Environment
Section: Protected Area
- Due to climate change and changing rainfall patterns, production of fruits from wild trees are decreasing rapidly.
- Indian Institute of Science’s (IISc) research station in Kumta, Uttara Kannada district of Karnataka.
- Climatic changes are hitting something much more fundamental in Siddapur taluk of Uttara Kannada district. The area is famous for its sacred groves which have conserved ancient forests almost intact.
- Climate change has affected evergreen forests and they are increasingly deciduous, which has also led to a water shortage. Acacia plantations have also led to water shortage in these areas.
- Some sacred groves that have witnessed a decline in production are: Kokum (Garcinia indica) tree, Wild amla or nellikai (gooseberry) (mainly used for medicinal purposes), kasarakaya (Strychnosnux-vomica) (kasarakaya is a medicinal fruit but with poisonous qualities because of the presence of the compound strychnine), Upagi, monkey jacks, Malabar tamarind, Kathalekan sacred groves.
- Climax species, also called late seral, late-successional, K-selected or equilibrium species, are plant species that can germinate and grow with limited resources; e.g. they need heat exposure or low water availability.
- They are the species within forest succession that are more adapted to stable and predictable environments, and will remain essentially unchanged in terms of species composition for as long as a site remains undisturbed.
- The seedlings of climax species can grow in the shade of the parent trees, ensuring their dominance indefinitely. The presence of climax species can also reduce the prevalence of other species within an ecosystem. However, a disturbance, such as fire, may kill the climax species, allowing pioneer or earlier successional species to re-establish for a time.
- They are the opposite of pioneer species, also known as ruderal, fugitive, opportunistic or R-selected species, in the sense that climax species are good competitors but poor colonizers, whereas pioneer species are good colonizers but poor competitors.
Sharavathi LTM Wildlife Sanctuary:
- Located in Western Ghats of Karnataka state in India.
- Named after the Sharavathi River flowing through the sanctuary.
- The sanctuary was expanded by adding the Aghanashini Lion Tailed Macaque Conservation Reserve and some of the reserved forests in Uttara Kannada&Shivamogga districts, to the existing sanctuary.
- After expansion, the sanctuary has been renamed as the Sharavathi Lion Tailed Macaque Wildlife Sanctuary.
- The expanded sanctuary is aimed at protecting the freshwater habitat of Myristica swamps that hosts many species like Lion Tailed Macaque, Leaf Nosed Bats, Hornbills etc.
Subject : Environment
- The Rajasthan government is working towards making Udaipur the country’s first wetland city.
- Udaipur is surrounded by five major lakes and is already part of the restoration project of the National Lake Conservation Plan.
- The state environment and forest department is sending a nomination to the Ramsar Convention to declare Udaipur as a wetland city.
- The convention recognizes wetlands that are internationally important and support endangered species.
- Currently, there are only a few cities worldwide that have this title.
Internationally important wetland:
- As per Ramsar Convention, a wetland has to be considered internationally important if it contains a representative, rare, or unique example of a natural or near-natural wetland type found within the appropriate biogeographic region and supports vulnerable, endangered, or critically endangered species or threatened ecological communities.
- As per state authorities, Udaipur city, spread over 37 sq km, meets all the required criteria to be declared as a wetland city.
- Only a handful of cities in the world have been given this title. Other than Udaipur, Bhopal is also in the race for the tag.
- The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance
- Currently, there are 42 wetland cities spread across 17 countries worldwide, with China having the maximum or 13 such cities.
Accredited wetland cities:
2022: During COP14 the Convention recognized 25 cities for their efforts to safeguard urban wetlands for people and nature.
- Cities accredited: Canada: Sackville, China: Hefei; Jining; Liangping; Nanchang; Panjin; Wuhan; and Yangcheng, France: Belval-en-Argonne and Seltz, Indonesia: Subaraya and Tanjung Jabung Timur, Islamic Republic of Iran: Bandar Khamir and Varzaneh, Iraq: Al Chibayish, Japan: Izumi and Niigata, Morocco: Ifrane, Republic of Korea: Gochang; Seocheon; and Seogwipo, Rwanda: Kigali, South Africa: Cape Town, Spain: Valencia, Thailand: Sri Songkhram District
2018: During COP13 the Convention recognized 18 cities for their protection and wise use of urban wetlands. These pioneer cities serve as examples and inspire deliberate actions for other cities towards sustainable urbanization.
- Cities accredited: China: Changde, Changshu, Dongying, Haerbin, Haikou, Yinchuan, France: Amiens, Courteranges, Pont Audemer, Saint Omer, Hungary: Lakes by Tata, Republic of Korea: Changnyeong, Inje, Jeju, Suncheon, Madagascar: Mitsinjo, Sri Lanka: Colombo, Tunisia: Ghar elMelh
Source: India Times
Section: Monetary Policy
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the Prompt Corrective Action (PCA) framework for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) to government NBFCs starting from October 1, 2024.
- The PCA Framework for NBFCs was introduced by the RBI on December 14, 2021.
- The framework aims to address financial risks and safeguard the health of NBFCs.
- Prior to this extension, the PCA framework was in place for Scheduled Commercial Banks since 2002.
About Prompt Corrective Action (PCA):
- PCA is a structured framework established by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to monitor and intervene in banks with weak financial metrics.
- The primary aim of PCA is to address issues related to undercapitalization, poor asset quality, and declining profitability in banks.
- It focuses on tackling the problem of Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) in the Indian banking sector.
- The PCA framework enables supervisory intervention when necessary and compels the supervised entity to implement corrective actions promptly to restore its financial health.
- It serves as a tool for maintaining market discipline within the financial sector.
- This extension of the PCA framework to government NBFCs aligns with the RBI’s efforts to ensure the stability and soundness of financial institutions in India.
- The RBI introduced the PCA framework in 2002 as a mechanism for early intervention when banks face financial stress.
- It was reviewed in 2017 based on the recommendations of the working group of the Financial Stability and Development Council on Resolution Regimes for Financial Institutions in India and the Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission.
- PCA serves as an alert system for regulators, investors, and depositors to recognize potential banking troubles in advance.
- It enables the RBI to monitor key performance indicators of banks and take corrective actions to restore a bank’s financial health.
PCA Framework Criteria:
- Banks are classified as risky if they trigger certain thresholds. The key triggers include:
- Capital to Risk-Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR).
- Net Non-Performing Assets (NPA).
- Return on Assets (ROA).
- Tier 1 Leverage Ratio.
- The PCA framework helps the RBI track and assess the performance of banks in relation to these trigger points.
- If a bank’s financial indicators breach these thresholds, the PCA framework outlines corrective measures to be taken to prevent the situation from deteriorating.
Need for PCA Framework:
- The PCA framework was introduced in response to the collapse of major finance firms like IL&FS, DHFL, SREI, and Reliance Capital, which had collected public funds through fixed deposits and non-convertible debentures. These firms owed over Rs 1 lakh crore to investors.
Impact of PCA Invocation:
- When PCA is invoked for an NBFC, the RBI may enforce mandatory corrective actions, such as:
- Restrictions on dividend distribution and remittance of profits.
- Requiring promoters or shareholders to infuse equity.
- Reducing leverage.
- Limiting branch expansion.
- Imposing capital expenditure constraints (except for technological upgrades within board-approved limits).
- Restricting or directly reducing variable operating costs.
- For Core Investment Companies (CICs), the RBI may also restrict the issuance of guarantees or the assumption of other contingent liabilities on behalf of group companies.
About Capital to Risk-Weighted Asset Ratio (CRAR):
- CRAR is a financial ratio used to measure a bank’s capital in relation to its risk exposure.
- It indicates the amount of capital a bank holds as a buffer to cover potential losses on its loans and other assets.
- The CRAR ratio is calculated by dividing a bank’s capital (Tier 1 and Tier 2 capital) by its risk-weighted assets.
- CRAR = (Tier 1 Capital + Tier 2 Capital) / Risk-Weighted Assets.
Components of Capital:
- Tier 1 Capital (Core Capital): This includes equity capital, ordinary share capital, intangible assets, and audited revenue reserves.
- Tier 2 Capital: This comprises unaudited retained earnings, unaudited reserves, and general loss reserves.
Importance of CRAR:
- CRAR is a critical tool for assessing a bank’s financial health.
- It ensures that banks have sufficient capital to absorb potential losses and continue lending safely.
- It protects depositors and provides assurance of a bank’s ability to sustain its operations.
Benefits of CRAR:
- Risk Management: CRAR helps banks manage and mitigate risks effectively.
- Depositor Protection: It safeguards depositors’ funds by ensuring banks have enough capital to cover losses.
- Sustainability: It contributes to the stability and sustainability of banks’ operations.
- Lending Capacity:Maintaining a healthy CRAR allows banks to continue lending money to businesses and individuals.
In summary, CRAR is a key financial metric that provides insights into a bank’s financial strength and its ability to withstand financial challenges and risks.
Core Investment Companies (CICs) – A Quick Overview
- Specialized NBFCs: CICs are specialized Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) with a specific focus.
- Asset Size Requirement: To be registered with the RBI as a CIC, a company needs to have an asset size exceeding Rs 100 crore.
- Primary Business: The main business of CICs is the acquisition of shares and securities. However, specific conditions apply to their investment portfolio.
- Investment Conditions: CICs are required to have at least 90% of their net assets invested in equity shares, preference shares, bonds, debentures, debt, or loans in group companies.
- Group Companies: Group companies are defined as entities related through various relationships such as subsidiaries, joint ventures, associates, promoter-promotee relationships (for listed companies), related parties, common brand names, and investments in equity shares of 20% and above.
In summary, Core Investment Companies are specialized NBFCs with a significant asset size that primarily engage in acquiring shares and securities, subject to specific investment conditions primarily related to group companies.
Section: Fiscal Policy
Why in news?
- Discrepancy in Growth Rates: Recent data from the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) indicates that personal income tax (PIT) collections have been growing more than twice as fast as corporate income tax (CIT) collections.
- Impressive Growth in Direct Tax Collection: As of October 9, gross direct tax collection crossed ₹11 lakh crore, showing an 18% growth. After accounting for refunds, net direct tax collection amounted to ₹9.57 lakh crore, nearly 22% higher than the previous fiscal.
- Differential Growth: During this period, net CIT grew by over 12%, while net PIT, which includes Securities Transaction Tax, recorded a growth of around 32%.
- Factors Behind Growth: The CBDT attributes this growth in tax collection to three main factors: technological advancements, increased disclosures in returns, and the addition of around 53 lakh new taxpayers in FY23.
- Positive Outlook: With collections exceeding 50%, the CBDT expects further acceleration in growth. The government aims to surpass the budget estimates by collecting over ₹18.23 lakh crore in FY24, which requires a 10.5% growth over the Revised Estimate of ₹16.5 lakh crore in FY23.
- Resolution for Stuck Refunds: Regarding pending refunds, the CBDT has initiated a demand management facilitation system to address cases where refunds are held up for various reasons, including old demands dating back to 2010-11.
- Statistics on ITRs: For the assessment year 2023-24, a total of 7.27 crore Income Tax Returns (ITRs) were filed, with 7.15 crore verified by taxpayers. Out of these, the CBDT has processed 6.80 crore returns.
In summary, personal income tax collections have shown robust growth compared to corporate income tax collections.
Type of Taxes in India – Direct and Indirect Taxes
The types of taxes in India can be categorized into two main categories:
- Direct Tax: This tax is levied directly on individuals or entities and cannot be transferred to another party. Examples of direct taxes include:
- Income Tax: Applied to the income earned by individuals. The tax rates are structured into slabs based on income levels, and higher income corresponds to higher tax liability.
- Corporate Tax: Applicable to the profits earned by companies from their business operations.
- Indirect Tax: Indirect taxes are imposed on the consumption of goods and services rather than directly on income or profit. These taxes can be passed on from one party to another.
With the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in India from July 1, 2017, various indirect taxes have been replaced. These include:
- Service Tax: Applied to certain services.
- Sales Tax: Imposed on the sale of goods.
- Value-Added Tax (VAT): Levied at each stage of production and distribution.
- Central Excise Duty: A tax on the manufacturing or production of goods.
- Customs Duty: Applied on the import or export of goods.
The GST regime has unified and simplified the taxation system by replacing multiple indirect taxes with different tax slabs for different items. It is important to note that indirect taxes can be shifted from one party to another in the supply chain, which can have an impact on the final consumer.
The Indian government has introduced several significant taxation-related reforms in recent times, which encompass both direct and indirect taxes. Here is a summary of these reforms:
Taxation Reforms in India
Indirect Tax Reforms:
- Goods and Services Tax (GST): The implementation of GST involved the integration of state and central indirect taxes, leading to the abolition of entry tax and Central Sales Tax (CST). This move streamlined taxation and reduced trip times on major road corridors, benefiting manufacturers.
Direct Tax Reforms:
- Corporate Tax Rate Reduction: The government introduced a historic tax reform through the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019. It offered a concessional tax rate of 22% for all existing domestic companies from FY 2019-20 if they did not avail specified exemptions or incentives. These companies were also exempted from paying Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT).
- Reduction in MAT Rate: The rate of Minimum Alternate Tax (MAT) was reduced from 18.5% to 15%, offering relief to companies that continue to avail exemptions or deductions.
- Exemption from Income Tax: The Finance Act, 2019, provided 100% tax rebate to individuals earning taxable income up to Rs. 5 lakh. Additionally, the standard deduction for salaried taxpayers was increased from Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000.
- Vivad se Vishwas: The Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Act, 2020, was enacted to provide a resolution for pending tax disputes, benefiting both the government and taxpayers.
- Faceless E-assessment and Faceless Appeals: These initiatives, introduced in 2019 and 2020, respectively, aimed to eliminate human interface, optimize resources, and enhance efficiency in assessments and appeals.
- Simplification of Compliance Norms for Start-ups: Start-ups were provided with simplified assessment procedures, exemptions from Angel Tax, and the establishment of dedicated start-up cells.
These reforms are aimed at streamlining the taxation system, promoting economic growth, and simplifying compliance for taxpayers.
Section: Monetary Policy
The composition of bank credit in India has shifted significantly over the years, with an increasing proportion of credit going to services and retail loans rather than the industry.
Here’s an overview of the changing composition of bank credit:
As of March 2023:
- Personal loans now constitute the largest component of bank credit, accounting for 32.1% of outstanding credit.
- Services follow closely, making up 28.4% of total bank credit.
- The industry accounts for 26.2% of credit.
- Agriculture receives 13.3% of the total bank credit.
A Decade Ago (March 2013):
- Industry was the dominant sector, receiving 46% of the total bank credit.
- Services comprised 24% of the credit.
- Retail loans made up 18% of the credit.
- Agriculture received 12% of the bank credit.
This shift in credit composition over the last decade can be attributed to several factors:
- Retail Loan Push: Banks have actively promoted retail loans, including housing loans, vehicle loans, credit cards, and advances against fixed deposits. This shift is driven by consumer demand and banks’ efforts to diversify their lending portfolios.
- NBFCs and Services: Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), including housing finance companies, and the trade sector (wholesale and retail) have increasingly relied on bank loans, leading to an increase in credit to the services sector.
- Government Targets: The modest growth in loans to the agriculture sector may be influenced by the government’s yearly targets for credit growth in this segment.
- Alternative Funding: Large corporations have sought alternative funding sources like bonds and external commercial borrowings, reducing their dependence on bank credit for industry-related financing.
However, this shift in the composition of bank credit raises concerns:
- Credit to the industry sector is declining, which can affect capital formation and recurring revenue generation, both essential for economic growth.
- The growth in retail and service sector credit does not necessarily lead to capital formation or recurring revenues, and it can pose challenges when bad loans surge.
- Banks may focus more on retail and service segments due to credit scoring models, simpler financing processes, and attractive interest margins.
- There is a risk that a downturn in the economy could lead to increased non-performing assets in services and unsecured credit portfolios, as these sectors lack tangible assets as collateral.
Despite these challenges, the outlook for bank credit remains positive for FY24, supported by economic expansion, digitization, and a continued push for retail credit. Credit growth is estimated to be around 13.0–13.5% for FY24, excluding the impact of the merger of HDFC with HDFC Bank. The personal loan segment is expected to perform well compared to the industry and service segments.
About Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF)
Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) is a crucial economic concept that represents the total value of investments made in the production of physical assets within a country during a specific period. These investments primarily include tangible assets like buildings, machinery, equipment, infrastructure, and any other capital goods that contribute to increasing the nation’s capital stock and productive capacity.
The significance of GFCF lies in several key aspects:
- Economic Growth: GFCF is a leading indicator of an economy’s development. Higher investments in capital assets lead to the expansion of a country’s productive capacity, allowing for increased output and economic growth.
- Employment Generation: Many sectors are involved in the process of creating and installing physical assets, such as construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure development. This investment activity results in job creation and contributes to overall employment.
- Technological Advancement: Investments in machinery and equipment often involve adopting more advanced and efficient technologies. This helps to improve productivity and makes businesses more competitive.
- Infrastructure Development: A significant portion of GFCF is allocated to infrastructure projects like roads, bridges, ports, and utilities. These investments enhance a country’s connectivity and support various economic activities, leading to economic development.
In essence, GFCF reflects the commitment to the long-term development and growth of an economy, as it contributes to the expansion and modernization of its capital assets. A higher GFCF ratio is generally associated with faster economic growth, job creation, and overall prosperity.