Daily Prelims Notes 12 May 2021
- May 12, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
12 May 2021
Table Of Contents
- PREVENTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
- NATIONAL MISSION FOR CLEAN GANGA
- CLOUD BURST
- ZERO RATED SUPPLIES
- ORISIS – REx
- WORLD FOOD PRIZE 2021
- COMPETITION COMMISSION OF INDIA
- SEBI PITCHES FOR ‘PERSON IN CONTROL’ OVER PROMOTER
- NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION (NHRC)
- BUSINESS RESPONSIBILITY AND SUSTAINABILITY REPORT (BRSR)
- GLOBAL VARIANT OF CONCERN
- SHEIKH ZAYED BOOK AWARD
Context: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case of money laundering against former Maharashtra home minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Anil Deshmukh.
- The PMLA was enacted in 2002 and it came into force in 2005. The chief objective of this legislation is to fight money laundering, that is, the process of converting black money into white.
- The Act enables government authorities to confiscate property and/or assets earned from illegal sources and through money laundering.
- Under the PMLA, the burden of proof lies with the accused, who has to prove that the suspect property/assets have not been obtained through proceeds of crime.
- The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions, banks(Including RBI), mutual funds, insurance companies, and their financial intermediaries.
PMLA Amendment 2019
- The amendment seeks to treat money laundering as a stand-alone crime.
- Till now Money Laundering was not an independent crime; rather depended on another crime, known as the ‘predicate offence’ or ‘scheduled offence’, the proceeds of which are made the subject matter of crime of money laundering.
- It also expands the ambit of “proceeds of crime” to those properties which “may directly or indirectly be derived or obtained as a result of any criminal activity relatable to the scheduled offence.
- The most crucial amendments are the deletion of provisions in sub-sections (1) of Section 17 (Search and Seizure) and Section 18 (Search of Persons).
- These provisions required the pre-requisite of an FIR or charge sheet by other agencies that are authorised to probe the offences listed in the PMLA schedule.
- An explanation is added to Section 45 that clarifies that all PMLA offences will be cognisable and non-bailable.
- Therefore, ED will be empowered to arrest an accused without a warrant, subject to certain conditions.
- Another vital amendment makes concealment of proceeds of crime, possession, acquisition, use, projecting as untainted money, or claiming as untainted property as independent and complete offences under the Act.
- Section 72 will now give power to the Centre to set up an Inter-Ministerial Coordination Committee for inter-departmental and inter-agency coordination for operational and policy level cooperation, for consultation on anti-money laundering and counter-terror funding initiatives.
Context: National Mission for Clean Ganga directs to stop dumping of dead bodies in river
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG)
- NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council)
- It was established in the year 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860
- It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee
- Both of the tiers are headed by the Director General (DG), NMCG
- Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs 1000 crore
- Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees
- This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation
- In October 2016, National Ganga Council has replaced National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.
Subject: Current Events /Defence
Context: University Grants Commission (UGC) has forwarded for consideration to all vice-chancellors of universities across India a proposal of the Directorate General, National Cadet Corps (NCC), aimed at including NCC as an elective subject in curricula.
- The NCC was formed in 1948 (on the recommendation of H. N. Kunzru Committee-1946), and has its roots to British era uniformed youth entities like University Corps or University Officer Training Corps.
- Currently it has a strength of around 14 lakh cadets from Army, Navy and Air Force wings.
- The NCC falls under the purview of the Ministry of Defence and is headed by a Director General of three-star military rank.
- It enrolls cadets at high school and college level and also awards certificates on completion of various phases.
- The NCC cadets receive basic military training at various levels and also have academic curriculum basics related to Armed forces and their functioning.
- Various training camps, adventure activities and military training camps are an important aspect of NCC training.
- NCC cadets have played an important role over the years in relief efforts during various emergency situations.
- During the ongoing pandemic, over 60,000 NCC cadets have been deployed for voluntary relief work in coordination with district and state authorities across the country.
Context: Cloudburst hits Devprayag in Uttarakhand, no one injured
- The cloudburst is a localised weather phenomena representing highly concentrated rainfall over a small area lasting for few hours. This leads to flash floods/ landslides, house collapse, dislocation of traffic and human casualties on large scale.
- Meteorologists say the rain from a cloudburst is usually of the shower type with a fall rate equal to or greater than 100 mm (4.94 inches) per hour.
How does it form?
- Generally cloudbursts are associated with thunderstorms. The air currents rushing upwards in a rainstorm hold up a large amount of water.
- If these currents suddenly cease, the entire amount of water descends on to a small area with catastrophic force all of a sudden and causes mass destruction.
- This is due to a rapid condensation of the clouds. They occur most often in desert and mountainous regions, and in interior regions of continental landmasses.
- They occur most often in desert and mountainous regions, and in interior regions of continental landmasses.
- The topographical conditions like steep hills favour the formation of these clouds in the mountainous regions. And also the devastations, as water flowing down the steep slopes bring debris, boulders and uprooted trees with great velocity damaging any structure that comes in their way.
- The Chhotanagpur plateau spread across north Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand is the world’s most vulnerable spot for formation of severest thunderstorms.
- Cloudburst can occur not only in the monsoon seasons but also during March to May which is known for severe convective weather activities.
- The large scale features, which are conducive for occurrence of severe thunderstorms associated with cloudburst, are predictable two to three days in advance.
- However, the specific location and time of cloud burst can be predicted in NOWCAST mode only, i.e. a few hours in advance, when the genesis of thunderstorm has already commenced.
- To detect these sudden developments, a Doppler Weather Radar (DWR), a powerful tool for time and location specific prediction of cloudburst, can be deployed a few hours in advance. Coupled with satellite imagery this can prove to be useful inputs for extrapolation of cloudbursts anywhere in India.
Context: A thunderstorm accompanied by heavy rainfall hit Kolkata and the other districts of south Bengal on Tuesday afternoon. According to officials, three people were killed in rain-related incidents.
- Thunderstorms and tornadoes are severe local storms. They are of short duration, occurring over a small area but are violent.
- Thunderstorm is a storm with thunder and lightning and typically also heavy rain or hail.
- Thunderstorms mostly occur on ground where the temperature is high. Thunderstorms are less frequent on water bodies due to low temperature.
- Worldwide, there are an estimated 16 million thunderstorms each year, and at any given moment, there are roughly 2,000 thunderstorms in progress.
Motion of a thunderstorm
- Path of a thunderstorm is erratic. Motion is primarily due to interactions of its updrafts and downdrafts.
- The speed of isolated storms is typically about 20 km (12 miles) per hour, but some storms move much faster.
- In extreme circumstances, a supercell storm may move 65 to 80 km (about 40 to 50 miles) per hour.
- Downdrafts are referred to as macrobursts or microbursts.
- Macroburst is more than 4 km in diameter and can produce winds as high as 60 metres per second, or 215 km per hour.
- A microburst is smaller in dimension but produces winds as high as 75 metres per second, or 270 km per hour
- They are seriously hazardous to aircrafts, especially during takeoffs and landings.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Several states have called for removing taxation on Covid-related medicines and supplies, including a GST exemption on vaccines. In response, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said that exemptions on domestic supplies and commercial imports “would make these items costlier” for consumers.
- Zero rated supplies mean supply of goods or services or both to SEZ or SEZ developer or Export of goods or services or both.
- GST is not applicable in India for exports. Hence, all export supplies of a taxpayer registered under GST would be classified as zero rated supply.
- The tax payer can claim the input tax credit or claim the refund of unutilized input tax credit.
- zero rated supply means any of the following supplies of goods or services.
- Export of goods or services or both;
- Supply of goods or services or both to a Special Economic Zone developer
- Supply of goods or services or both to a Special Economic Zone unit.
Subject: Science & tech
Context : Recently, the NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex spacecraft will depart asteroid Bennu, and start its two-year long journey back to Earth.
- It is NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx).
- In October 2020, the spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it collected samples of dust and pebbles.
- It is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid.
- The mission is essentially a seven-year-long voyage and will conclude when at least 60 grams of samples are delivered back to the Earth.
- As per NASA, the mission promises to bring the largest amount of extraterrestrial material back to our planet since the Apollo era.
- The mission was launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity of the asteroid using small rocket thrusters.
- The spacecraft contains five instruments meant to explore Bennu including cameras, a spectrometer and a laser altimeter.
About Asteroid Bennu
- The Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets.
- Bennu is an asteroid about as tall as the Empire State Building, located about 200 million miles away from the Earth.
- The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.
- It is believed to have been born in the Main Asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
- The asteroid is coming closer to Earth because of gravitational tugs from other celestial objects and the slight push asteroids get when they release absorbed sunlight.
Subject: Current Events
Context: World Food Prize 2021 Won by Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted of Indian Descent
- The World Food Prize is the foremost international honor recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
- It is an annual award that recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply including plant, animal and soil science; food science and technology; nutrition, rural development, etc.
- It is open for any individual without regard to race, religion, nationality or political beliefs.
- In addition to the cash award of $2,50,000, the laureate receives a sculpture designed by the noted artist and designer, Saul Bass.
Presentation of the Award:
- The Prize is presented each October on or around UN World Food Day (16th October).
- It is presented by the World Food Prize Foundation which has over 80 companies, individuals, etc. as donors.
- The World Food Prize Foundation is located in Des Moines, USA.
- Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture, conceived the Prize. He is also known as the Father of the Green Revolution.
- The World Food Prize was created in 1986 with sponsorship by General Foods Corporation.
- It is also known as the “Nobel Prize for Food and Agriculture”.
- M.S. Swaminathan, the father of India’s green revolution, was the first recipient of this award in 1987.
Subject: National Organizations
Context: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has ordered an investigation against Tata Motors for alleged abuse of market dominance and anti-competitive practices.
- Competition Commission of India is a statutory body responsible for enforcing the objectives of the Competition Act, 2002.
- CCI has been established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003.
- Composition: A Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
- Duty of the Commission:
To eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition.
Promote and sustain competition.
Protect the interests of consumers.
Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
- The Commission is also required to give opinion on competition issues on a reference received from a statutory authority established under any law and to undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
The Competition Act
- The Competition Act, 2002, as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007, follows the philosophy of modern competition laws.
- The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements, abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations (acquisition, acquiring of control and M&A), which causes or likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within India.
Context: Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) proposed to rationalise the definition of ‘promoter group’ and move to the concept of ‘person in control’ as well as lower the minimum lock-in periods for promoters and other shareholders after an IPO.
- SEBI has suggested rationalising the definition of ‘promoter group’ as the current definition focusses on encompassing holdings by a common group of individuals or persons and often results in including unrelated companies with common financial investors.
- The regulator has proposed to do away with the current definition of promoter group as the deletion would rationalise the disclosure burden and bring it in line with the post listing disclosure requirement.
- Citing the changing investor landscape, SEBI said there was a need to revisit the concept of ‘promoter’ to a concept of ‘person in control’ and a period of three years has been proposed for such a shift over in a smooth and progressive manner without causing disruption.
- With regard to lock-in periods, SEBI has proposed that if the objective of the issue involves offer for sale or financing other than for capital expenditure for a project, then the minimum promoters’ contribution of 20% should be locked-in for one year from the date of allotment in the Initial Public Offer (IPO). Currently, the lock-in period is three years.
- SEBI has sought comments from the public on the proposals, the window being open till June 10.
Subject: National Organizations
Context: Justice Prafulla Chandra Pant, a former Supreme Court judge, has been appointed the Acting Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) with effect from April 25, the commission said.
- NHRC was established in 1993. It is in conformity with the Paris Principles, adopted at the first international workshop on national institutions for the protection of human rights held in Paris in 1991.
- It is a statutory organization established under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- The purpose of the NHRC is, suo moto or through the petition of a person, to investigate the violation of human rights or the failures of the state or other to prevent a human rights violation.
- The commissions may also take on research about human rights, create awareness campaigns through various mediums, and encourage the work of NGOs.
- The Commission consists of a Chairperson, four full-time Members and four deemed Members.
- The statute lays down qualifications for the appointment of the Chairperson and Members of the Commission. A Chairperson, should be retired Chief Justice of India.
Context: Regulator SEBI came out with disclosure requirements under business responsibility and sustainability reporting, covering environmental, social and governance perspectives, which will be applicable on the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalisation.
- The new report — Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR)– will replace the existing Business Responsibility Report (BRR).
- The move is expected to bring in greater transparency and enable market participants to identify and assess sustainability-related risks and opportunities.
- Under BRSR, listed entities need to disclose about an overview of the entity’s material ESG (environmental, social and governance) risks and opportunities, approach to mitigate or adapt to the risks along with financial implications of the same.
- In addition, sustainability related goals and targets and performance against the same need to mentioned in the report, it added.
- Environment related disclosures cover aspects such as resource usage (energy and water), air pollutant emissions, green-house (GHG) emissions, transitioning to circular economy, waste generated and waste management practices, bio-diversity.
- Social related disclosures would cover the workforce, value chain, communities and consumers.
- At community’s level, listed entities will have to make disclosures on Social Impact Assessments (SIA), Rehabilitation and Resettlement, Corporate Social Responsibility, among others.
- The BRSR will be applicable on the top 1,000 listed entities by market capitalization.
- SEBI said the reporting would be on voluntary basis for financial year 2021-22 and on a mandatory basis from 2022-23.
- The filing of the BRR containing ESG disclosures was first introduced for listed entities in 2012 and since then, a number of developments have taken place.
- With the adoption of the Paris Agreement on climate change and UN sustainable development goals, adapting to and mitigating climate change impact and transitioning to sustainable economies have emerged as major issues globally.
Subject : Science & tech
Context: Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified a coronavirus variant which was first identified in India as a “global variant of concern”.
- The variant called B.1.617 was classified as a variant under investigation (VUI) by authorities in the UK.
- The Indian government said that this variant also called the “double mutant variant” could be linked to a surge in the cases of coronavirus seen in some states.
- The B.1.617 variant of SARS-CoV-2 carries two mutations, E484Q and L452R.
- The two mutations are found in the virus’s spike protein.
- The spike protein helps the virus to bind itself to the human cell’s receptors and gain entry into a host cell.
- The E484Q mutation is similar to E484K, a mutation found in the United Kingdom (lineage B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351) variants of the coronavirus.
- The L452R mutation has been found in fast spreading variants in California (B.1.427 and B.1.429).
- It can increase the binding power of spike proteins with ACE2 receptors on human cells, making it more transmissible.
- It has already spread to more than 17 countries and several countries have put travel restrictions for passengers coming from India as a result of the surge in cases here.
How does the WHO define a variant of concern?
- The WHO says that a variant of interest (VOI) becomes a variant of concern (VOC) if it has been demonstrated to be associated with increase in transmissibility or detrimental change in COVID-19 epidemiology.
- The increase in virulence or change in clinical disease presentation or a decrease in effectiveness of public health and social measures or available diagnostics, vaccines, therapeutics are also considered.
- A variant may be classified as a VOC by the WHO in consultation with the WHO SARS-CoV-2 Virus Evolution Working Group.
Subject: Current Events
Context: Prominent German philosopher JuergenHabermas had turned down the SheikhZayed Book Award over its ties “with the existing political system” in the UAE, a hereditarily ruled country long criticised for its suppression of dissent.
- The Sheikh Zayed Book Award is a literary award begun in the UAE.
- The award is named after Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the first president of the UAE when the federation of seven sheikhdoms became a country in 1971.
- While describing itself as an “independent” initiative, the prize is administered by Abu Dhabi culture and tourism authorities.
- The “Cultural Person of the Year” is the premier category, it includes an award of one million Dirhams (around $300,000) while the other categories receive around $200,000 each.
- Habermas was named the Cultural Personality of the Year, a distinction that carries a cash prize of 1 million dirhams.
- Habermas’ influential writings on human rights, morality and democracy, among other topics, have stirred debate in Germany and beyond.