Daily Prelims Notes 14 April 2022
- April 14, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
14 April 2022
Table Of Contents
- Cruise Missiles
- Why are vaccines administered into the upper arm?
- Colour Blindness
- Pandemic Treaty
- Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
- The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar on his Jayanti
- CAG Report on Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities
- Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)
- Coal Shortage
- Statutory Liquidity Ratio
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Ukraine, via a Telegram post late Wednesday, claimed to have severely damaged the Russian Black Sea Fleet Flagship ‘Moskva’ off the coast of Odessa via a missile strike on the ship.
What is the type of cruise missile that hit the Moskva?
- The Ukrainians claim that the Moskva was hit by two anti-ship cruise missiles called the Neptune.
- Ironically, the design of this missile is based on a Russian Kh-35 cruise missile which goes by the NATO name of AS-20 Kayak.
- According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence, the Neptune is a coastal anti-ship cruise missile which is capable of destruction of naval vessels in a range of 300 km.
What is Moskva, the ship that was hit by the missile?
- Moskva is a guided missile cruiser of the Russian Navy named after the city of Moscow. It has a displacement of 12,490 tons.
- It is the flagship of the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Navy and carries a crew of around 500 personnel.
- The Moskva was originally commissioned as the Slava in 1983. It was recommissioned in 2000 as the Moskva with refurbished weapon systems and electronics.
About Cruise Missiles:
- A cruise missile either locates its target or has a preset target.
- It navigates using a guidance system — such as inertial or beyond visual range satellite GPS guidance — and comprises a payload and aircraft propulsion system.
- Cruise missiles can be launched from land, sea or air for land attacks and anti-shipping purposes, and can travel at subsonic, supersonic and hypersonic speeds.
- Since they stay relatively close to the surface of the earth, they cannot be detected easily by anti-missile systems, and are designed to carry large payloads with high precision.
Cruise Missile vs Ballistic Missile:
|Cruise Missile||Ballistic Missile|
|Follows a straight trajectory of motion.||Travel in projectile motion and trajectory depends on gravity, air resistance and Coriolis Force.|
|The flight path is within the earth’s atmosphere.||Leave the earth’s atmosphere and re enter it.|
|Short range missiles (range upto 1000 km)||Long-range missiles (300 km to 12,000 km)|
|E.g.BrahMos missiles||E.g. Prithvi I, Prithvi II, Agni I, Agni II and Dhanush missiles.|
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Almost everyone vaccinated for Covid-19 over the last 16 months will remember that he or she received a quick prick in the upper arm.
Why are vaccines generally administered into muscle?
- This is because most vaccines, including those for Covid-19, are most effective when administered through the intramuscular route into the upper arm muscle, known as the deltoid.
- There are several reasons, but the most important one is that the muscles have a rich blood supply network.
- This means whenever a vaccine carrying an antigen is injected into it, the muscle releases the antigen, which gets dispersed by the muscular vasculature, or the arrangement of blood vessels in the muscle.
- The antigen then gets picked up by a type of immune cells called dendritic cells, which function by showing antigens on their surface to other cells of the immune system.
- The dendritic cells carry the antigen through the lymphatic fluid to the lymph node.
Role of T Cells
- T Cells also called T lymphocyte, type of leukocyte (white blood cell) that is an essential part of the immune system.
- T cells are one of two primary types of lymphocytes—B cells being the second type—that determine the specificity of the immune response to antigens (foreign substances) in the body.
- Once the antigen gets flagged and is given to the T cells and B cells that is how we start developing an immune response against a particular virus.
Other options for vaccination
- Conversely, if the vaccine is administered into the subcutaneous fat tissue [between the skin and the muscle], which has a poor blood supply, absorption of the antigen vaccine is poor and therefore one may have failed immune response.
- The same thing could happen when the vaccine is administered intradermally (just below the outermost skin layer, the epidermis).
- Hence, the route chosen now for most vaccines is intramuscular.
- Also, compared to the skin or subcutaneous tissue, the muscles have fewer pain receptors, and so an intramuscular injection does not hurt as much as a subcutaneous or an intradermal injection.
But why the upper arm muscle in particular?
- In some vaccines, such as that for rabies, the immunogenicity — the ability of any cell or tissue to provoke an immune response — increases when it is administered in the arm.
- If administered in subcutaneous fat tissues located at the thigh or hips, these vaccines show a lower immunogenicity and thus there is a chance of vaccine failure.
Why not administer the vaccine directly into the vein?
- This is to ensure the ‘depot effect’, or release of medication slowly over time to enable longer effectiveness.
- When given intravenously, the vaccine is quickly absorbed into the circulation. The intramuscular method takes some time to absorb the vaccine.
Which vaccines are administered through other routes?
- One of the oldest vaccines that for smallpox, was given by scarification of the skin.
- However, with time, doctors realised there are better ways to vaccinate beneficiaries.
- These included
- the intradermal route,
- the subcutaneous route,
- the intramuscular route,
- oral, and
- nasal routes.
- There are only two exceptions that continue to be administered through the intradermal route.
- These are the vaccines for BCG (Bacillus Calmette–Guérin) and for tuberculosis because these two vaccines continue to work empirically well when administered through the intradermal route.
Subject: Science & Tech
Section: Basic science
Context- The Supreme Court has directed the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) not to exclude candidates suffering from colour blindness from its courses on film making and editing and asked it to make changes to its curriculum instead.
What is colour blindness?
- Colour blindness, also known as colour deficiency, is the inability to see colours in the normal way.
- Colour blind individuals often cannot distinguish between certain colours— usually greens and reds, and sometimes blues as well.
- Two types of cells in the retina detect light — the “rods”, which distinguish between light and dark, and the “cones” that detect colour. There are three types of cones that see colour — red, green, and blue — and our brains use the information from these cells to perceive colour.
- Colour blindness can be the result of the absence of one or more of these cone cells, or their failure to work properly. In a situation where all three cone cells are present but one of them is malfunctioning, mild colour blindness may occur.
- Colour blindness may be of different kinds and degrees. Mildly colour blind people often see all colours properly only when the light is good; there are others who cannot tell one colour apart from the another no matter how good the light is.
- In the most severe kind of colour blindness, vision is black-and-white, that is, everything appears as a shade of grey. This is not very common.
- Colour blindness cannot as yet be treated or reversed. However, it can be corrected to some extent by wearing special contact lenses or colour filter glasses. There is some research that suggests gene replacement therapy can help modify the condition.
What causes colour blindness:
- Most colour blind people are born with the condition (congenital colour blindness), but some can develop it later in life.
- Congenital colour vision deficiencies are usually passed on genetically.
- A problem with colour vision that arises later in life could be the result of disease, trauma, or ingested toxins.
- If colour blindness arises out of disease, one eye may be affected differently from the other, and the difficulty could worsen over time.
- Medical conditions that may increase the risk of getting colour blindness include glaucoma, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, alcoholism, leukaemia, and sickle-cell anaemia.
Who is at risk?
- Men suffer from a higher incidence of colour blindness than women.
- Around the world, every tenth male is estimated to have some form of colour deficiency.
- Men of Northern European descent are considered to be especially vulnerable.
Section: Internal Organization
Context- Experts in India and across the globe have made various suggestions as to what the first-ever pandemic treaty in the world should consist of, even as the World Health Organization (WHO) started the first round of public hearings for it April 12, 2022.
- The first round of public hearings for the treaty is currently underway though it will be drafted only by 2024.
- It is aimed at agreeing on ways of working and timelines for a “convention, agreement or other international instrument” to prevent further pandemics and to improve the preparedness and response in case of its occurrence.
What are International Health Regulations?
While disease outbreaks and other acute public health risks are often unpredictable and require a range of responses, the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) provide an overarching legal framework that defines countries’ rights and obligations in handling public health events and emergencies that have the potential to cross borders.
The IHR are an instrument of international law that is legally-binding on 196 countries, including the 194 WHO Member States. The IHR grew out of the response to deadly epidemics that once overran Europe. They create rights and obligations for countries, including the requirement to report public health events. The Regulations also outline the criteria to determine whether or not a particular event constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern”.
At the same time, the IHR require countries to designate a National IHR Focal Point for communications with WHO, to establish and maintain core capacities for surveillance and response, including at designated points of entry. Additional provisions address the areas of international travel and transport such as the health documents required for international traffic.
Finally, the IHR introduce important safeguards to protect the rights of travellers and other persons in relation to the treatment of personal data, informed consent and non-discrimination in the application of health measures under the Regulations.
What is the pandemic treaty?
- In December 2021, the Health Assembly adopted a decision titled “The World Together” at its second special session since it was founded in 1948.
- Under the decision, the health organisation established an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to draft and negotiate the contents of the pandemic treaty in compliance with Article 19 of the WHO Constitution.
- The pandemic treaty is expected to cover aspects like data sharing and genome sequencing of emerging viruses and equitable distribution of vaccines and drugs and related research throughout the world.
Need of pandemic Treaty:
- Solutions to the COVID-19 pandemic have seen an inequitable distribution of vaccines so far, with poorer countries at the mercy of others to receive preventive medication.
- Most countries have followed the “me-first” approach which is not an effective way to deal with a global pandemic.
Subject : Government schemes
Section: Rural development
Context:The government on Wednesday approved ₹ 5,911 crore for the Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) which will focus on empowering elected representatives of panchayati raj institutions for leadership roles and help 2.78 lakh rural local bodies achieve the sustainable development goals.
About Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan
- Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) was launched on 24th April 2018 as an umbrella scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, Govt. of India. It is a unique scheme proposed to develop and strengthen the Panchayati Raj System across India in the rural areas.It is a centrally sponsored scheme
- Objectives of RGSA
- Develop governance capabilities of PRIs to deliver on the SDGs.
- Enhance capabilities of Panchayats for inclusive local governance with focus on optimum utilization of available resources and convergence with other schemes to address issues of national importance.
- Enhance capabilities of Panchayats to raise their own sources of revenue.
- Strengthen Gram Sabhas to function effectively as the basic forum of people’s participation, transparency and accountability within the Panchayat system.
- Promote devolution of powers and responsibilities to Panchayats according to the spirit of the Constitution and PESA Act 1996.
- Develop a network of institutions of excellence to support capacity building and handholding for PRIs.
- Strengthen institutions for capacity enhancement of PRIs at various levels and enable them to achieve adequate quality standards in infrastructure, facilities, human resources and outcome based training.
- Promote e-governance and other technology driven solutions to enable good governance in Panchayats for administrative efficiency and improved service delivery.
- RGSA will extend to all States and Union Territories (UTs) of the country. For the purpose of these guidelines, wherever ‘Panchayats’ are mentioned, these will include institutions of rural local government in non-Part IX areas.
Section: Modern India
Context: Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti.
- Bhirao Ramji Ambedkar, popularly known as Babasaheb, was the chairman of Constitution Drafting Committee and a champion of Dalit and minority rights movement in India.
- Ambedkar, who was an economist and social reformer, also served as the first Law Minister of Independent India.
- Born into a poor Mahar caste in Mhow, Madhya Pradesh, he was the first untouchable to have entered Elphinstone College which was affiliated with University of Bombay.
- After obtaining a degree in economics and political science, Ambedkar moved to United States in 2013 to study at Columbia University in New York City. He earned doctorates in economics from Columbia University and London School of Economics.
- Throughout his political career and public life, Ambedkar worked for upliftment of Dalit (untouchable) community.
- In 1920, Ambedkar launched a newspaper called “Mooknayaka”
- Other periodicals started by him were – ‘Bahishkrit Bharat’ (1927), ‘Samatha’ (1929) and ‘Janata’ (1930))
- In 1923, he set up the ‘Bahishkrit Hitkarini Sabha .
- Ambedkar launched full-fledged movements for Dalit rights in 1927 and demanded public drinking water sources open to all and right for all castes to enter temples. This is called as Mahad Satyagraha.
- Ambedkar participated in all three round table conferences in London.
- He demanded separate electorate for untouchables which were opposed by Gandhiji leading to Poona pact in 1932.
- The Poona Pact was an agreement between Mahatma Gandhi and B. R. Ambedkar on behalf of depressed classes and upper caste Hindu leaders on the reservation of electoral seats for the depressed classes in the legislature of British India in 1932.
- It was signed by Ambedkar on behalf of the depressed classes and by Madan Mohan Malviya on behalf of Hindus and Gandhi as a means to end the fast that Gandhi was undertaking in jail as a protest against the decision made by British prime minister Ramsay MacDonald to give separate electorates to depressed classes for the election of members of provincial legislative assemblies in British India. They finally agreed upon 148 electoral seats. Nearly twice as many seats were reserved for Depressed Classes under the Poona Pact than what had been offered by MacDonald’s Separate Electorate.
- He published the book Annihilation of Caste in 1936 which spoke against caste system and Hindu orthodox religious leaders.
- In order to participate in this election Dr. Ambedkar established Independent Labour Party in August, 1936 which contested election on 17 seats in Bombay Presidency and won 15 seats.
- After this on 19th July, 1942 he formed another party known as All India Scheduled Castes Federation (AISCF). This party contested election held in 1946 and 1952 but lost them under the adverse impact of Poona Pact.
- As a result of it Dr. Ambedkar himself lost the election in 1952 and 1954
- At last Dr. Ambedkar dissolved AISCF on 14th October, 1956 at Nagpur and announced the formation of Republican Party of India (RPI).
- He was the chairman of the drafting committee of Indian constitution.
Context: A 2013 report by CAG on “Preservation and Conservation of Monuments and Antiquities”flags the inefficiency of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- Monuments and antiquities are part of our heritage and culture and cannot be marketed adequately. Excavation and preservation require distinct skill-sets and expertise.
- As per the 2013 report, during physical inspections 131 antiquities were stolen from monuments/sites and 37 antiquities from Site Museums from 1981 to 2012. Worldwide, organisations took many more effective steps including checking of catalogues of international auction house(s), posting news of such theft on websites, posting information about theft in the International Art Loss Registry, sending photographs of stolen objects electronically to dealers and auction houses and intimate scholars in the field. Butthe ASI had never participated or collected information on Indian antiquities put on sale at well-known international auction houses viz. Sotheby’s, Christie’s, etc. as there was no explicit provision in the AAT (Antiquities and Art Treasures) Act, 1972 for doing so.
- The ASI was also a nodal agency to retrieve stolen or illegally exported art objects. From1976 to 2001, 19 antiquities had been retrieved by the ASI from foreign countries either through legal means, indemnity agreement, voluntary action or through out of case settlement. But after 2001,the ASI had not been able to achieve any success due to discretion and abuse in granting non-antiquity certificates for exports.
- India is a signatory to the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property (ratified it in 1977). Perhaps there is a need to sign the 1995 UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law) Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects.
- Steps taken by India to preserve and conserve monuments and antiquities include:
- Article 51 A (f)- “Its hall be the duty of every citizen of India to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture.”
- Article 49- to protect monuments, places and objects of national importance.
- Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act of 1958
- AAT(Antiquities and Art Treasures) Act, 1972– to effectively control movable cultural property consisting of antiquities and art treasures.
- Antiquities Export Control Act, 1947 – regulate the export of antiquities
- National Mission on Monuments and Antiquities, 2007– prepare a national register to document antiquities from different sources in a uniform format.
- India Pride Project– Volunteer network spread across globe that tracks and brings India’s stolen antiquities and art treasures.
To know about AMASR Act and ASI, refer: https://optimizeias.com/protection-of-ancient-monuments-archaeological-sites/
Section: External sector
Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi has come under the Enforcement Directorate (ED) scanner in connection with alleged foreign remittances of Rs 1,000 crore, which according to the agency is not compliant with the foreign exchange rules.
Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA):
FEMA came into effect on the 1st of June, 2000, replacing the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA).It aims to revise and unite laws that relate to transactions of foreign exchange and encourage an orderly maintenance and development of the foreign exchange markets in India.
All transactions involving foreign exchange have been classified either as capital or current account transactions. Only capital account transactions are regulated by the RBI. While current account transactions under FEMA are permissible freely subject to certain restrictions.
The exceptions for current account transactions include:
- Remittance out of lottery winnings.
- Remittance of income from racing/riding etc. or any other hobby
- Remittance for purchase of lottery tickets, banned/prescribed magazines,
- football pools, sweeps takes, etc.
- Payment of commission on exports made towards equity investment in joint
- ventures/wholly owned subsidiaries abroad of Indian companies.
- Remittance of dividend by any company to which the requirement of
- dividend balancing is applicable.
- Payment related to ‘call back services’ of telephones.
- Remittance of interest income on funds held in non-resident account
No person shall engage in the under specified actions unless given special sanction from RBI:
- deal in or transfer any foreign exchange or foreign security to any person not being an authorized person;
- make any payment to or for the credit of any person resident outside India in any manner;
- receive otherwise through an authorized person, any payment by order or on behalf of any person resident outside India in any manner
- enter into any financial transaction in India as consideration for or in association with acquisition or creation or transfer of a right to acquire, any asset outside India by any person
Holding of Foreign exchange:
Sub-section (4) allows a person resident in India to hold, own, transfer or invest in foreign currency, foreign security or an immovable property situated outside India, if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned by such person when he was resident outside India or inherited from a person who was resident outside India.
Similarly, a person resident outside India is permitted to hold, own, transfer or invest in Indian currency, security, or any immovable property situated in India if such currency, security or property was acquired, held or owned by such a person when he was resident in India or inherited from a person who was resident in India.
Capital account transaction:
Section 6 empowers the Reserve Bank of India to specify, in consultation with the Central Government, any class or classes of capital account transactions permissible and the limit up to which foreign exchange shall be admissible for such transactions.
The Reserve Bank may, by regulations, prohibit, restrict or regulate the following:
- transfer or issue of any foreign security by a person resident in India;
- transfer or issue of any security by a person resident outside India;
- transfer or issue of any security or foreign security by any branch, office or agency in India of a person resident outside India;
- borrowing or lending in foreign exchange in whatever form or by whatever name called;
- any borrowing or lending in rupees in whatever form or by whatever name called between a person resident in India and a person resident outside India;
- deposits between persons resident in India and persons resident outside
- export, import or holding of currency or currency notes;
- transfer of immovable property outside India, other than a lease not exceeding five years, by a person resident in India;
- acquisition or transfer of immovable property in India, other than a lease not exceeding five years, by a person resident outside India;
- giving of a guarantee or surety in respect of any debt, obligation or other liability incurred.
Section: Monetary Policy
Start-ups will now get five more years to convert convertible notes into equity shares under the Foreign Exchange Management (Non-debt Instruments or NDI) Rules, 2019.
Convertible vs Non Convertible Debentures:
Convertible debentures are debentures that can be converted into equity of the company and have a low rate of interest. The value of maturity of convertible debentures is dependent on the stock price of the company at that time, which means a high stock price will give higher returns while a low stock price will give low returns.
Non-convertible debentures cannot be converted into equity shares of the company and offer a high rate of interest. The value of non-convertible debentures is fixed and hence they will receive fixed returns on maturity.
According to the National Power Portal, of the 14 imported coal-based power plants, 11 have critical stocks as on April 12. Their daily stock requirement is 1.53 lakh tonnes and they have 1.48 MT stocks, which will last for 9.6 days.
National Power Portal
National Power Portal is one of the many e-governance initiatives of National Informatics Centre (NIC). NPP is designed, developed and hosted by National Informatics Centre, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India. The portal is a step towards automating various processes related to generation, transmission and distribution of Power across India. It has also facilitated continuous monitoring of aggregate technical and commercial losses (AT&C) losses which has led to reduction of AT&C loss.
The Central Electricity Authority is the nodal agency for its implementation. The major stakeholders of the NPP are the Ministry of Power, Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Power Finance Corporation (PFC), Rural Electrification Corporation (REC), Generation Utilities (GENCOs), Transmission Utilities (TRANSCOs), and Distribution Utilities (DISCOMs).
The NPP portal has been designed and developed using open source technologies. SMS and email services are used to send alerts, messages to utilities to improve and expedite the data entry process. National Power Database Management System (NPDMS), a core backend system of unified NPP is used to capture online data via APIs and web enabled forms from generation, transmission and distribution utilities across the country. NPDMS is embedded with Role Based Access Control (RBAC) to provide restricted access as per role assigned to various utilities. Various APIs under NPDMS have also been published to provide important power sector information to various utilities and many are in the pipeline to fulfill the requirements of NITI Aayog.
Other Coal Acts:
- The Mineral Laws (AMENDMENT) Act, 2020
- amends the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 and to amend the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.
- Allocation of coal blocks for composite prospecting license-cum-mining lease
- Provision for requirement of Approval from Centre – Done away, in cases where the allocation or reservation of coal/lignite block has been made by the Central Govt. itself
- The Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015
- provides for allocation of coal mines and
- vesting of the right, title and interest in and over the land and mine infrastructure together with mining leases to successful bidders and allottees with a view to ensure continuity in coal mining operations and production of coal, and for promoting optimum utilisation of coal resources consistent with the requirement of the country in national interest and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The Coal India (Regulation of Transfers and Validation) Act, 2000
- empower the Central Government to direct the transfer of the land, or of the rights in or over land or of the right, title and interest in relation to a coal mine, coking coal mine or coke oven plant, vested in the Coal India Limited or in a subsidiary company to any subsidiary company of Coal India Limited or any other subsidiary company and to validate certain transfers of such land or rights.
- The Coal Bearing Areas (Acquisition and Development) Act, 1957
- establish in the economic interest of India greater public control over the coal mining industry and its development by providing for the acquisition by the State of unworked land containing or likely to contain coal deposits or of rights in or over such land, for the extinguishment or modification of such rights accruing by virtue of any agreement, lease, licence or otherwise, and for matters connected therewith.
- The Coal Mines (Conservation and Development) Act, 1974
- provide for the conservation of coal and development of coal mines and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The Coal Mines Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1948
- The Coal Grading Board (Repeal) Act, 1959
Section: Monetary Policy
Why in the news?
the growing disconnect, and divergence between benchmark yields and bank lending rates, with banks entering a new territory where lending rates are now effectively lower than yields, thereby taking the sheen off risky lending.
Recent hike in government bonds:
New floor rate under the LAF corridor-The SDF is a liquidity window through which the RBI will give banks an option to park excess liquidity with it. It is different from the reverse repo facility in that it does not require banks to provide collateral while parking funds.Thus, the demand for SLR securities will not rise.
Statutory Liquidity Ratio:
Statutory Liquidity Ratio popularly called SLR is the minimum percentage of deposits that the commercial bank maintains through gold, cash and other securities. However, these deposits are maintained by the banks themselves and not with the RBI or Reserve Bank of India.
Section 24 and Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act 1949 mandates all scheduled commercial banks, local area banks, Primary (Urban) co-operative banks (UCBs), state co-operative banks and central co-operative banks in India to maintain the SLR.
Assets held under SLR are ones that can easily be converted into cash, gold and SLR securities:
- Dated securities
- Treasury Bills of the Government of India;
- Dated securities of the Government of India issued from time to time under the market borrowing programme and the Market Stabilization Scheme;
- State Development Loans (SDLs) of the State Governments issued from time to time under the market borrowing programme; and
- Any other instrument as may be notified by the Reserve Bank of India