Daily Prelims Notes 13 December 2021
- December 13, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
13 December 2021
Table Of Contents
- Subramaniya Bharathi
- Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir
- Long COVID
- Differences between Webb and Hubble telescopes
- Governor’s role in state and central universities
- Ban on Single-Use Plastic
- Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC)
- High-Temperature Reactors for Green Hydrogen
- Pandemic Waves
- Gujarat’s Little Rann of Kutch
- Commercial Space Astronaut Wings Program
Subject – History
Context – Call to give national-level award to poet SubramaniaBharathi
- He was a Tamil writer, poet, journalist, Indian independence activist, social reformer and polyglot.
- Popularly known as “MahakaviBharathi” (“Great Poet Bharathi”), he was a pioneer of modern Tamil poetry and is considered one of the greatest Tamil literary figures of all time.
- His numerous works included fiery songs kindling patriotism during the Indian Independence movement.
- He fought for the emancipation of women, against child marriage, stood for reforming Brahminism and religion.
- He was also in solidarity with Dalits and Muslims.
- After 1904, he joined the Tamil daily newspaper Swadesamitran. This exposure to political affairs led to his involvement in the extremist wing of the Indian National Congress (INC) party.
- Bharathi had the weekly newspaper named ‘India’ printed in red paper. It was the first paper in Tamil Nadu to publish political cartoons.
- He also published and edited a few other journals like “Vijaya”.
- Attended the annual sessions of INC and discussed national issues with extremist leaders like Bipin Chandra Pal, B.G. Tilak and V.V.S. Iyer.
- His participation and activities in Benaras Session (1905) and Surat Session (1907) of the INC impressed many national leaders for his patriotic fervour.
- Published the sensational “SudesaGeethangal” in 1908.
- Bharati’s reaction to the Russian Revolutions of 1917, in a poem entitled “Pudiya Russia” (“The New Russia”), offers a fascinating example of the poet’s political philosophy.
- Important Works: Kaṇṇanpāṭṭu (1917; Songs to Krishna), Panchalisapatham (1912; Panchali’s Vow), Kuyilpāṭṭu (1912; Kuyil’s Song), Pudiya Russia and Gnanaratham (Chariot of Wisdom).
- Many of his English works were collected in Agni and Other Poems and Translations and Essays and Other Prose Fragments (1937).
Subject – Polity
Context – NC seeks agenda of delimitation panel meet
- The delimitation exercise has started in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir was constituted by the Centre last year to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the union territory in accordance with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the state into union territories of J&K and Ladakh.
- The delimitation exercise in J&K in the past has been slightly different from those in the rest of the country because of the region’s special status.
Delimitation exercise in J&K- a timeline:
- The delimitation of Lok Sabha seats was then governed by the Indian Constitution in J&K, but the delimitation of Assembly seats was governed separately by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.
- The first delimitation exercise, carving out 25 assembly constituencies in the then state, was carried out by a Delimitation Committee in 1951.
- The first full-fledged Delimitation Commission was formed in 1981 and it submitted its recommendations in 1995 on the basis of 1981 Census. Since then, there has been no delimitation.
- In 2020, the Delimitation Commission was constituted to carry out the exercise on the basis of 2011 Census, with a mandate to add seven more seats to the Union Territory’ and grant reservations to SC and ST communities.
- Now, the total number of seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be raised to 90 from the previous 83. This is apart from 24 seats which have been reserved for areas of PoK and have to be kept vacant in the Assembly.
To know about Delimitation, please refer August 2021 DPN.
Constitutional Basis for Delimitation
- Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
- Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.
- Once the Act is in force, the Union government sets up a Delimitation Commission.
- However, the first delimitation exercise was carried out by the President (with the help of the Election Commission) in 1950-51.
- The Delimitation Commission Act was enacted in 1952.
- Delimitation Commissions have been set up four times — 1952, 1963, 1973 and 2002 under the Acts of 1952, 1962, 1972 and 2002.
- There was no delimitation after the 1981 and 1991 Censuses.
- The Delimitation Commission is appointed by the President of India and works in collaboration with the Election Commission of India.
- Retired Supreme Court judge
- Chief Election Commissioner
- Respective State Election Commissioners.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Effects of ‘long COVID’ mapped
- ‘Long COVID’ is a term to describe the effects of COVID-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness, usually three months from the onset of the symptoms.
- Older people and those who had five or more symptoms in the first week of becoming ill with COVID-19 are more prone to develop ‘long COVID’.
- ‘Long COVID’ symptoms gradually improve over a period of time, but can last for more than 12 months.
- It is also found that ‘long COVID’ was higher among people who are overweight or obese, who smoke, live in deprived areas or had severe COVID illness and needed to be admitted to hospital.
- The common symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, anxiety and depression, palpitations, chest tightness or pain, joint or muscle pain and persistent cough.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – The James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s most powerful telescope, is scheduled to be rocketed into orbit no earlier than December 22.
- Though Webb is often called the replacement for the Hubble Space Telescope, NASA said it prefers to call it a successor.
- Launched into low Earth orbit in 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has made more than 1.4 million observations, including tracking interstellar objects, capturing a comet colliding with Jupiter, and discovering moons around Pluto.
- Hubble has captured galaxies merging, probed supermassive black holes and has helped us understand the history of our universe.
|Wavelength||See mainly in the ultraviolet and visible part of the spectrum|
|Size||Hubble’s mirror was much smaller – 2.4 metres in diameter.|
|Orbit||Webb will not orbit the Earth. It will orbit the sun at about 1.5 million kilometres away from Earth.|
|Hubble orbits around the Earth at an altitude of ~570 km.|
|How far can the telescope see?||Hubble can see the equivalent of “toddler galaxies”|
Webb vs Herschel Space Observatory
- In 2009, the European Space Agency launched an infrared telescope named the Herschel Space Observatory.
- It also orbits the Sun similar to how Webb would. The primary difference between Webb and Herschel is the wavelength range: Webb goes from 0.6 to 28 microns, while Herschel covers 60 to 500 microns.
- Also, Herschel’s mirror is smaller than Webb’s. It is 3.5 metres in diameter, while Webb’s primary mirror has a diameter of 6.5 metres.
Subject – Economy
Context – Banks are now going in for co-lending arrangements with non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) following a decision by the Reserve Bank of India to allow such lending practices.
- Under the RBI’s co-lending model, banks are permitted to co-lend with all registered NBFCs (including Housing Finance Companies or HFCs) based on a prior agreement.
- However, NBFCs will be required to retain a minimum 20 per cent share of individual loans on their books.
- The primary focus of the scheme is to improve the flow of credit to the unserved and underserved sectors of the economy, and to make available funds to the ultimate beneficiary at an affordable cost, considering the lower cost of funds from banks, and the greater reach of the NBFCs.
- NBFCs which will be the single point of interface for the customers should enter into a loan agreement with the borrowers.
Is there a risk in co-lending?
- NBFCs are required to retain a minimum 20% share of the individual loans on their books. This means 80% of the risk will be with the banks. If there is a default, banks will take the big hit.
- The Master Agreement may provide for the banks to either mandatorily take their share of the individual loans originated by the NBFCs on their books as per the terms of the agreement, or to retain the discretion to reject certain loans after due diligence prior to taking them on their books.
- Several banks have entered into co-lending tie-ups with NBFCs and more such alliances are in the pipeline.
- Interestingly, the NBFC will be the single point of interface for customers, and it will enter into a loan agreement with the borrower, which should clearly contain the features of the arrangement and the roles and responsibilities of NBFCs and banks. In short, banks will fund the exercise while the NBFC decides the borrower.
Is this allowing corporates backdoor entry into banking?
- The RBI hasn’t officially allowed the entry of big corporate houses into the banking space.
- But NBFCs — which are mostly floated by corporate houses — were already accepting public deposits. Now, they are being given more opportunities on the lending side.
Subject – Polity
Context – A controversy has erupted in Kerala over the reappointment of Gopinath Ravindran as the Vice Chancellor of Kannur University, with Governor Arif Mohammed Khan saying he approved the decision against his “better judgement” as Chancellor.
- Under the Central Universities Act, 2009, and other statutes, the President of India shall be the Visitor of a central university.
- With their role limited to presiding over convocations, Chancellors in central universities are titular heads, who are appointed by the President in his capacity as Visitor.
- The VCs too are appointed by the Visitor from panels of names picked by search and selection committees formed by the Union government.
- The Act adds that the President, as Visitor, shall have the right to authorise inspections of academic and non-academic aspects of the universities and also to institute inquiries.
Subject – Environment
Context – The year 2022 is the deadline set by the government to phase out single-use plastic.
Single Use Plastics
- Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.
- Plastic is so cheap and convenient that it has replaced all other materials from the packaging industry but it takes hundreds of years to disintegrate.
- If we look at the data, out of46 million tonnes of plastic waste generated every year in our country, 43% is single use plastic.
- Further, Petroleum-based plastic is non biodegradable and usually goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean.
- Pollution due to single use plastic items has become an important environmental challenge confronting all countries and India is committed to take action for mitigation of pollution caused by littered Single Use Plastics.
- The Prime Minister of India was also conferred the “champions of the earth” award by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 2018 for pledging to eliminate all single-use plastic by 2022.
Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021
- Plastic Waste Management Amendment Rules, 2021 amend the 2016 rules.
- The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of the identified single-use plastic will be prohibited with effect from the 1st July, 2022.
- The ban will not apply to commodities made of compostable plastic.
- For banning other plastic commodities in the future, other than those that have been listed in this notification, the government has given industry ten years from the date of notification for compliance.
- The permitted thickness of the plastic bags, currently 50 microns, will be increased to 75 microns from 30th September, 2021, and to 120 microns from the 31st December, 2022.
- Plastic bags with higher thickness are more easily handled as waste and have higher recyclability.
- Currently, the Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016, prohibits manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of carry bags and plastic sheets less than 50 microns in thickness in the country.
- The Central Pollution Control Board, along with state pollution bodies, will monitor the ban, identify violations, and impose penalties already prescribed under the Environmental Protection Act, 1986.
- The plastic packaging waste, which is not covered under the phase out of identified single use plastic items, shall be collected and managed in an environmentally sustainable way through the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) of the Producer, importer and Brand owner (PIBO), as per Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016.
Subject – Economy
Context – The PM noted that the deposits worth Rs 76 lakh crore were insured under the Deposit Insurance and Credit Guarantee Corporation (DICGC) Act providing full coverage to around 98 per cent of bank accounts.
To know about DICGC, please refer September 2021 DPN.
Subject – Environment
- High temperature nuclear reactors (HTRs) represent a novel way to produce hydrogen at large scale with high efficiency and less carbon footprint.
- High Temperature Reactor (HTR) technology has been developed from the late 1940s in US and Germany.
- The present Very High Temperature Reactor (VHTR), operating at >7500 C, has over the years, evolved into a new reactor concept, designed to be a very efficient and safe system.
- It is a helium-gas cooled, graphite-moderated, thermal neutron spectrum reactor, which can provide electricity and process heat for wide-ranging applications, including hydrogen production.
- Hydrogen production through fossil fuels entails CO2 emissions. Therefore splitting of water to produce hydrogen is a better alternative.
- There are several methods to extract hydrogen from water and two of the highly used processes are
- High Temperature Electrolysis (HTE) and
- Thermo-chemical cycles.
Both these processes require very high temperatures, which can be provided by the VHTRs.
- Indian HTR development programme has two elements:
- a 100 kW (thermal), 1,000 degrees C portable ‘compact high-temperature reactor’ (CHTR) for technology demonstration;
- a 600 MW (thermal), 1,000 degrees C ‘Indian high-temperature reactor hydrogen’, or IHTR-H.
- These two reactors would be powered by ‘TRISO-coated particle’ fuel. TRISO — ‘tristructural isotropic’ — comprises uranium, carbon and oxygen, all of which India can make.
- The IHTR-H is designed to produce about 7,000 kg of hydrogen, 18 MWhr (thermal) of energy per hour and 9 million litres of water a day.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Past episodes teach us that pandemic always ebbs and flows in waves, warning us against any premature celebration of its defeat
- The three pandemics between 1817 and 1920 show they stay for a while and come in waves before dying down.
- Chronicles cholera (1817), plague (1894) and influenza (1918), which collectively claimed over 72 million lives globally — 40 million in India.
- Past episodes teach us that pandemic always ebbs and flows in waves, warning us against any premature celebration of its defeat.
- From past experiences, the policy focus should have been on anticipating a mutation of the virus.
Subject – Geography Mapping
Context – Great change in Little Rann: salt workers on the brink in Gujarat brought about a solar revolution
- The Little Rann of Kutch is a salt marsh which is part of the Rann of Kutch in Kutch district, Gujarat, India.
- The Little Rann of Kutch is home to the Indian wild ass (khur). To conserve this species, the Indian Wild Ass Sanctuary (IWAS) was created in 1973.
- In 2008, to project Kutch as an international nature destination, the Government of Gujarat designated the area as the Kutch Biosphere Reserve.
- Biosphere reserves aim to promote sustainable development in the surrounding area, which is reserved for conservation and research.
- Such reserves are protected under the Wildlife Protection Act, the Indian Forest Act and the Forest Conservation Act.
- The government provides funds for the conservation of the landscape’s biological diversity and its cultural heritage.
Subject – IR
Context – US will no longer issue astronaut wings for commercial space travellers
- The astronaut wings it is referring to are pins that are given to individuals who fly to space in private spacecraft.
- The program comes under the Commercial Space Launch Act of 1984 and was designed to recognize pilots and flight crew who furthered the FAA’s mission to promote the development of vehicles designed to carry humans into space.
- It was created by FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation’s former Associate Administrator, the late Patti Grace Smith.
- In order to be eligible for the astronaut wings, which is essentially a pin, the individual must meet the requirements for flight crew qualifications and training.