Daily Prelims Notes 12 November 2020
- November 12, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- RED SANDALWOOD
- GOVT TO GOVERN OTT PLATFORMS
- THE SCHEME FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO PPPS IN INFRASTRUCTURE (VIABILITY GAP FUNDING SCHEME)
- WORLD HEALTH ASSEMBLY
- MARINE PLASTIC POLLUTION
Subject : Polity
Context : The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has relaxed norms for farmer, student, religious and other groups who are not directly aligned to any political party to receive foreign funds if the groups are not involved in “active politics”.
- The Ministry notified new rules under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010 on Wednesday thereby amending the FCRA Rules, 2011.
- The new rule said, “The organisations specified under clauses (v) and (vi) of sub-rule (1) shall be considered to be of political nature, if they participate in active politics or party politics, as the case may be.
- It is mandatory to have FCRA clearance from the Home Ministry for any organisation to receive foreign funds.
- Foreign funding of voluntary organizations in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Key provisions of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010:
- Under the Act, organisations require to register themselves every five years.
- As per the amended FCRA rules, all NGOs registered or granted prior permission under FCRA are now required to upload details of foreign contributions received and utilized by them every three months on their website or the FCRA website.
- NGOs now need to file their annual returns online, with the hard copy version dispensed with.
Who cannot accept Foreign Contribution?
- Election candidate
- Member of any legislature (MP and MLAs)
- Political party or office bearer thereof
- Organization of a political nature
- Correspondent, columnist, cartoonist, editor, owner, printer or publishers of a registered Newspaper.
- Judge, government servant or employee of any corporation or any other body controlled on owned by the Government.
- Association or company engaged in the production or broadcast of audio news, audio visual news or current affairs programmes through any electronic mode
- Any other individuals or associations who have been specifically prohibited by the Central Government
What is the eligibility criteria for grant of registration?
- The Association must be registered (under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 or Indian Trusts Act 1882 or section 8 of Companies Act, 2013 etc.)
- It should normally be in existence for at least 3 years.
- It has undertaken reasonable activity in its field for the benefit of the society.
- It has spent at least Rs.10,00,000/- (Rs. ten lakh) over the last three years on its activities.
Subject : Environment
Context : The India Customs intercepted an 18-tonne shipment of red sandalwood destined for the United Arab Emirates, during a month-long “Operation Thunder 2020”, coordinated by the Interpol and the World Customs Organisation.
- Pterocarpus santalinus or Red Sanders is an endemic tree of South India
- They are found in Tropical Dry Deciduous forest of the Palakonda and Seshachalam hill ranges of Andhra Pradesh and also found in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
- Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate.
- IUCN has put it under the category of endangered species in the Red List due to the dwindling population because of illegal felling and smuggling.
- Its export is banned in India in accordance with the CITES and Wildlife Protection Act 1972.
- It is used for various purposes such as immunity medicine, furniture, radiation absorbent, musical instrument, food dyes and spices, Ayurveda and Siddha medicine, decorative and ornamental purposes etc.
3. GOVT TO GOVERN OTT PLATFORMS
Subject : Current events
Context : In a gazette notification issued on Wednesday and signed by the President Ram Nath Kovind, online films, digital news and current affairs content now come under the purview of the I&B Ministry, headed by Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
- Currently, there is no law or autonomous body governing digital content.
- Anticipating the government’s intervention in January 2019, eight video streaming services had signed a self-regulatory code that laid down a set of guiding principles for the content on these platforms.
- The code adopted by the OTTs in January last prohibited five types of content, including content which deliberately and maliciously disrespects the national emblem or flag and any visuals or story lines that promotes child pornography.
Over the Top Platform
- An “over-the-top” media service is any online content provider that offers streaming media as a standalone product. The term is commonly applied to video-on-demand platforms, but also refers to audio streaming, messaging services, or internet-based voice calling solutions.
- OTT services circumvent traditional media distribution channels such as telecommunications networks or cable television providers.
- As long as you have access to an internet connection — either locally or through a mobile network — you can access the complete service at your leisure.
4. THE SCHEME FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO PPPS IN INFRASTRUCTURE (VIABILITY GAP FUNDING SCHEME)
Subject : Economy
Context :The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved Continuation and Revamping of the Scheme for Financial Support to Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) in Infrastructure Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme till 2024-25.
- Background: The Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance introduced “the Scheme for Financial Support to PPPs in Infrastructure” (Viability Gap Funding Scheme) in 2006.
- The revamped Scheme is mainly related to introduction of following two sub-schemes for mainstreaming private participation in social infrastructure:
- This would cater to Social Sectors such as Waste Water Treatment, Water Supply, Solid Waste Management, Health and Education sectors etc.
- The projects eligible under this category should have at least 100% Operational Cost recovery.
- The Central Government will provide maximum of 30% of Total Project Cost (TPC) of the project as VGF and State Government/Sponsoring Central Ministry/Statutory Entity may provide additional support up to 30% of TPC.
- This Sub scheme will support demonstration/pilot social sectors projects. The projects may be from Health and Education sectors where there is at least 50% Operational Cost recovery.
- In such projects, the Central Government and the State Governments together will provide up to 80% of capital expenditure and upto 50% of Operation & Maintenance (O&M) costs for the first five years.
Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme
- Viability Gap Finance means a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
- The scheme is designed as a Plan Scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Finance and amount in the budget are made on a year-to-year basis.
- Such a grant under VGF is provided as a capital subsidy to attract the private sector players to participate in PPP projects that are otherwise financially unviable.
- Projects may not be commercially viable because of the long gestation period and small revenue flows in future.
- The VGF scheme was launched in 2004 to support projects that come under Public-Private Partnerships.
Subject : Economics
Context : July-Sept GDP to contract 8.6%, estimates RBI. However, RBI said the economy will break out of contraction of the six months gone by and return to positive growth in the October-December quarter of 2020-21.
- Recession refers to a phase of the downturn in the economic cycle when there is a fall in the country’s GDP for some quarters.
- It begins after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough.
- A common rule of thumb for recessions is two quarters of negative GDP growth.
- A recession is a period of decline in total output, income, employment and trade, usually lasting six months to a year.’
Subject : International Organisation
Context : The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called for “fair allocation” of Covid-19 vaccine.
World Health Assembly
- The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO.
- It is attended by delegations from all WHO Member States and focuses on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
- The main functions of the World Health Assembly are to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget.
- The Health Assembly is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Russias’s Sputnik V vaccine 92% effective. No adverse events reported in Phase 3 trials that involved 36,000 volunteers, says its Health Ministry.
- The vaccine has been called Sputnik V, named after the first artificial Earth satellite, Sputnik-I launched by the Soviet Union.
- It is the first Covid-19 vaccine to be approved.
- The russian vaccine has outrun other Covid-19 vaccines like Oxford-AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer which are still in trials.
- This vaccine has been developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute in collaboration with the Russia’s defence ministry.
- The vaccine is based on the DNA of a SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus, a common cold virus.
- The vaccine uses the weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.
- The vaccine is administered in two doses and consists of two types of a human adenovirus, each carrying an S-antigen of the new coronavirus, which enter human cells and produce an immune response.
Adenovirus Vector Vaccine :
- In this vaccine, adenovirus is used as a tool to deliver genes or vaccine antigens to the target host tissue.
- Adenovirus: Adenoviruses (ADVs) are DNA viruses ranging from 70-90 nanometre in size, which induce many illnesses in humans like cold, respiratory infection etc.
- Adenoviruses are preferred for vaccines because their DNA is double stranded which makes them genetically more stable and the chances of them changing after injection are lower.
- Rabies vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine.
- However, there are drawbacks of adenovirus vector vaccines like pre-existing immunity in humans, inflammatory responses etc.
- Just as human bodies develop immune responses to most real viral infections, they also develop immunity to adenoviral vectors. Since adenoviral vectors are based on natural viruses that some humans might already have been exposed to, these vaccines might not work for everyone.
Subject : Environment
Context : The global Marine plastic Pollution footprint is estimated to be 8-10 million tonnes annually—equivalent to dumping one truck of garbage into the ocean every minute.
- Plastic is a synthetic organic polymer made from petroleum with properties ideally suited for a wide variety of applications, including packaging, building and construction, household and sports equipment, vehicles, electronics and agriculture. Plastic is cheap, lightweight, strong and malleable.
- Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, half of which is used to design single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and straws.
- According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), at least 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year.
Sources of Marine Plastic:
- The main sources of marine plastic are land-based, from urban and storm runoff, sewer overflows, beach visitors, inadequate waste disposal and management, industrial activities, construction and illegal dumping.
- Ocean-based plastic originates mainly from the fishing industry, nautical activities and aquaculture.
- Under the influence of solar UV radiation, wind, currents and other natural factors, plastic fragments into small particles, termed microplastics (particles smaller than 5 mm) or nanoplastics (particles smaller than 100 nm).
- In addition, microbeads, a type of microplastic, are very tiny pieces of manufactured polyethylene plastic that are added as exfoliants in health and beauty products, such as cleansers and toothpastes. These tiny particles easily pass through water filtration systems and end up in the ocean and lakes.
Impact of Plastic Pollution: Plastic can take hundreds to thousands of years to decompose depending on the type of plastic and where it has been dumped.
- On Marine Environment: The most visible and disturbing impacts of marine plastics are the ingestion, suffocation and entanglement of hundreds of marine species.
- Floating plastics also contribute to the spread of invasive marine organisms and bacteria, which disrupt ecosystems.
- On Food and Health: Toxic contaminants accumulate on the surface of plastic materials as a result of prolonged exposure to seawater. When marine organisms ingest plastic debris, these contaminants enter their digestive systems, and overtime accumulate in the food web.
- The transfer of contaminants between marine species and humans through consumption of seafood has been identified as a health hazard, but has not yet been adequately researched.
- Impacts on Climate Change: Plastic, which is a petroleum product, also contributes to global warming. If plastic waste is incinerated, it releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, thereby increasing carbon emissions.
- Impacts on Tourism: Plastic waste damages the aesthetic value of tourist destinations, leading to decreased tourism-related incomes and major economic costs related to the cleaning and maintenance of the sites.
- Existing international instruments should be further explored to address plastic pollution. The most important are:
- The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention).
- The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol).
- The 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
- Recycling and reuse of plastic materials are the most effective actions available to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practiced to manage domestic waste.
- Governments, research institutions and industries also need to work collaboratively redesigning products, and rethink their usage and disposal, in order to reduce microplastics waste from pellets, synthetic textiles and tyres.