Daily Prelims Notes 13 March 2021
- March 13, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
13 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- QUAD VACCINE INITIATIVE
- PLACES OF WORSHIP ACT
- EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY
- LIGHTS OUT PHILLY INITIATIVE
- 2001 FO32
- LIQUEFIED HYDROGEN FROM BROWN CARBON
- ATMANIRBHAR INCUBATOR
- APPOINTMENT OF CBI DIRECTOR
- STATE ELECTION COMMISSIONERS
- INDEX OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
- AT1 BONDS
- NOVAVAX VACCINE
Subject : International Events
Context : A mega Quad vaccine initiative, with India as the key, will be one of the main outcomes of the first-ever Quad grouping’s leadership summit.
- Quad vaccine initiative will basically function as “Vaccines developed in the US, manufactured in India, financed by Japan and US, and supported by Australia” and will allow “new manufacturing capacity to be added” in India for exports to the Indo-Pacific region.
- Quad Vaccine Initiative will project and re-inforce India’s credentials as a trusted, reliable manufacturer and supplier of quality vaccines.
- It will appreciably expand our Vaccine Maitri effort and strengthen India’s standing as a critical node in global health supply chains and as a selfless contributor to global health security.
- India, the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines that has already shipped out more than 48 million doses worldwide is expected to request Quad investment to scale up its outreach further.
Context: The Supreme Court on Friday sought the Centre sought the Centre’s response on a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of the Places of worship act, 1991.
Objective of the Act:
- To freeze the status of any place of worship as it existed on August 15, 1947.
- To provide for the maintenance of the religious character of such a place of worship as on that day.
- To pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood.
- The Act declares that the religious character of a place of worship shall continue to be the same as it was on August 15, 1947. It says no person shall convert any place of worship of any religious denomination into one of a different denomination or section.
- These provisions will not apply to monuments and sites covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958; a suit that has been finally settled or disposed of; and any dispute that has been settled by the parties or conversion of any place that took place by acquiescence before the Act commenced.
- Section 5 says that the Act does not apply to the place of worship commonly referred to as Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid in Ayodhya.
- Penal provision in the Act: The Act provides for imprisonment up to three years and a fine for anyone contravening the prohibition.
3. EXTENDED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY
Subject : Environment
Context : The LG stressed the need to provide for a mechanism to effectively implement the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) pertaining to the collection of e-waste and its processing.
- Extended Producers Responsibility is essentially the use of financial incentives to encourage manufacturers to design environmentally friendly products by making producers accountable for their product management during end-stage consumption.
- It differs from product stewardship as it relieves the government from the burden of managing certain products by making manufacturers internalize the cost of recycling within the product price.
- EPR is carried out bearing in mind that brand owners have the greatest control over product design and hence are in a better position to design their products in such a manner that it will reduce harmful effects on the environment as a whole.
- Extended Producers Responsibility is done through, reuse, buyback, or recycling. The producer has also the option of delegating this responsibility to a third-party which can be paid by the producer for used-product management.
- This shifts the responsibility for waste management from the government to private industries, making it easy for producers or sellers to internalise waste management and ensure the safe handling of their products.
4. LIGHTS OUT PHILLY INITIATIVE
Subject :Intenational Events
Context : Bird Safe Philly announced the Lights Out Philly initiative, a voluntary program in which as many external and internal lights in buildings are turned off or dimmed at night during the spring and fall.
- Lights Out Philly is the result of a collaborative effort led by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, Delaware Valley Ornithological Club, Audubon Mid-Atlantic, and two local Audubon Society chapters — Valley Forge and Wyncote.
- In addition to the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability, the Bird Safe Philly initiative is endorsed by the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Philadelphia and the Building Industry Association of Philadelphia.
- The first season of Lights Out Philly launches April 1, at the start of peak spring migration and runs through May 31, when most winged migrants will have passed through Philadelphia. In the fall, Lights Out Philly and peak migration will occur between Aug. 15 and Nov. 15 as birds travel south.
- Each year tens of millions of birds pass through Philadelphia during spring and fall while migrating between their breeding and wintering grounds.
- Many never complete their epic journey because they are killed when they fly into buildings and windows, confused by the bright artificial lights and glass.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : On March 21, the largest asteroid predicted to pass by Earth in 2021 will be at its closest. It is called 2001 FO32.
- It is a near-Earth asteroid classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid of the Apollo group.
- With an estimated diameter of 440–680 m (1,400–2,200 ft), it was discovered by the Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research at Socorro, New Mexico on 23 March 2001.
- The asteroid will safely pass by Earth on 21 March 2021.
- It won’t come closer than 2 million km to Earth, but still, that distance is close in astronomical terms, which is why 2001 FO32 has been designated a “potentially hazardous asteroid”.
- During this approach, 2001 FO32 will pass by at about 124,000 kph – faster than the speed at which most asteroids encounter Earth.
- The reason for the asteroid’s unusually speedy close approach is its highly eccentric orbit around the Sun, an orbit that is tilted 39° to Earth’s orbital plane. This orbit takes the asteroid closer to the Sun than Mercury, and twice as far from the Sun as Mars.
6. LIQUEFIED HYDROGEN FROM BROWN CARBON
Subject : Science & tech
Context : A Japanese-Australian venture has begun producing hydrogen from brown coal in a A$500 million ($390 million) pilot project that aims to show liquefied hydrogen can be produced commercially and exported safely overseas.
- Liquid hydrogen (LH2 or LH2) is the liquid state of the element hydrogen. Hydrogen is found naturally in the molecular H2 form.
- Liquefaction of hydrogen requires cooling to a temperature of -253 °C and subsequent storage in cryogenic containers. Liquefaction is an energy intensive process and can consume up to 35% of the energy in the stored hydrogen.
- The advantage of liquefied hydrogen is its high density compared to compressed gas, which means that more energy can be contained in a given volume. This is particularly beneficial for transportation of hydrogen.
- Generally, liquefaction of hydrogen is only appropriate where it is produced in large quantities and will be transported in bulk (or over long distances).
- This class of organic carbon, known for its light brownish color, absorbs strongly in the ultraviolet wavelengths and less significantly going into the visible.
- Types of brown carbon include tar materials from smoldering fires or coal combustion, breakdown products from biomass burning, a mixture of organic compounds emitted from soil, and volatile organic compounds given off by vegetation.
- Brown carbon contributes +0.25 W m-2 or about 19% of the total atmospheric absorption by anthropogenic aerosols, while 72% is attributed to black carbon and 9% is due to the coating effect of sulfate and organic aerosols on black carbon.
Subject : Current Events
Context :As part of Atmanirbhar initiative of the central government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday launched ‘Atmanirbhar Incubator’ to train artisans, especially in the cotton value chain.
- The Atmanirbhar Incubator is aimed at supporting artisans facing extinction due to lack of market linkage and funds and enhances their economic empowerment.
- The initiative would benefit nearly 40,000 families in the cotton value chain in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
8. APPOINTMENT OF CBI DIRECTOR
Subject : Polity
Context : The Supreme Court is scheduled to consider on Friday a plea by an NGO for a direction to the Centre to immediately appoint a regular CBI director.
- The CBI is headed by a Director.
- The Director of CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organisation.
- With the enactment of CVC Act, 2003, the superintendence of Delhi Special Police Establishment vests with the Central Government to save investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, in which, the superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
- The Director of CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure in office by the CVC Act, 2003.
- The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act (2013) amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act (1946) and made the following changes with respect to appointment of the Director of CBI:
- The Central Government shall appoint the Director of CBI on the recommendation of a three-member committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha and the Chief Justice of India or Judge of the Supreme Court nominated by him.
- Later, the Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Act, 2014 made a change in the composition of the committee related to the appointment of the Director of C.B.I.
- It states that where there is no recognized leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha, then the leader of the single largest opposition party in the Lok Sabha would be a member of that committee.
9. STATE ELECTION COMMISSIONERS
Subject : Polity
Context : The Supreme Court held that independent persons and not bureaucrats should be appointed State Election Commissioners.
- It said that giving government employees the additional charge of State Election Commissioners is a “mockery of the Constitution”.
- The top court directed that the States should appoint independent persons as Election Commissioners all along the length and breadth of the country.
- The judgment criticised the Goa government for giving its Law Secretary the additional charge of State Election Commissioner.
- Article 243K deals with the Elections to the Panchayats.
- It states that The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats shall be vested in a State Election Commission.
- It shall consist of a State Election Commissioner to be appointed by the Governor.
- Subject to the provisions of any law made by the State Legislature, the conditions of service and tenure of office of the State Election Commissioner shall be such as the Governor may by rule determine. However,
- The State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like ground as a Judge of a High Court.
- The conditions of service of the State Election Commissioner shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment
10. INDEX OF INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION
Subject : Economy
Context :India’s IIP contracts to 1.6% in Jan; retail inflation rises to 5.03% in Feb.
- The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
- It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
- Broad sectors, namely, Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
- Use-based sectors, namely Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods.
- Base Year for IIP is 2011-2012.
- The eight core industries of India represent about 40% of the weight of items that are included in the IIP.
Significance of IIP :
- IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
- It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, etc, for policy-making purposes.
- IIP remains extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advance GDP estimates.
Subject : Economics
Context : The decision of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to slap restrictions on mutual fund (MF) investments in additional tier-1 (AT1) bonds has raised a storm in the MF and banking sectors.
- AT-1 bonds are a type of unsecured, perpetual bonds that banks issue to shore up their core capital base to meet the Basel-III norms.
- There are two routes through which these bonds can be acquired:
Initial private placement offers of AT-1 bonds by banks seeking to raise money.
Secondary market buys of already-traded AT-1 bonds.
- AT-1 bonds are like any other bonds issued by banks and companies, but pay a slightly higher rate of interest compared to other bonds.
- These bonds are also listed and traded on the exchanges. So, if an AT-1 bondholder needs money, he can sell it in the secondary market.
- Investors cannot return these bonds to the issuing bank and get the money. i.e there is no put option available to its holders.
- However, the issuing banks have the option to recall AT-1 bonds issued by them (termed call options that allow banks to redeem them after 5 or 10 years).
- Banks issuing AT-1 bonds can skip interest payouts for a particular year or even reduce the bonds’ face value.
- AT-1 bonds are regulated by RBI. If the RBI feels that a bank needs a rescue, it can simply ask the bank to write off its outstanding AT-1 bonds without consulting its investors.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : US-based Novavax on Friday announced a final efficacy figure of 96.4% for its vaccine against the original strain of the novel coronavirus, with an efficacy as high as 83.4% two weeks after the first shot itself, boosting the global fight against covid-19.
- NVX-CoV2373 is a vaccine candidate engineered from the genetic sequence of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19 disease.
- It was created using Novavax’ recombinant nanoparticle technology to generate antigen derived from the coronavirus spike (S) protein and contains Novavax’ patented saponin-based Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance the immune response and stimulate high levels of neutralizing antibodies
- Novavax was awarded $1.6 billion by the US government as part of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a program to deliver millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for Covid-19 to the US population.
- The announcement of Novavax’s efficacy is significant in the fight against covid for India, where the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Serum Institute of India, will be making 1 billion doses of the shot for domestic supply and export under its brand Covovax.