Daily Prelims Notes 14 April 2023
- April 14, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
14 April 2023
Table Of Contents
- Micrixalus kottigeharensis
- Socioeconomic inequality as the biggest problem behind water shortages in urban areas
- Uttaramerur inscription
- Rules for recognition as a national party
- Dabba Trading
- Maternity benefits to adoptive mothers
- India, Japan and France announce common platform for Sri Lanka creditors
- MUDRA Microfinance Scheme
Section: Species in news
Context: Malformations such as a missing eye or deformed limb have been noted in the Kottigehar dancing frog, possibly due to anthropogenic stressors.
Kottigehar dancing frog (Micrixalus kottigeharensis)
- Micrixalus kottigeharensis is a species of frog found in the Western Ghats of India. It belongs to the genus Micrixalus in the family Micrixalidae.
- The species was first discovered in 2012 in Kottigehara, a small town in the Western Ghats of Karnataka. It is known to inhabit rocky streams in the vicinity of evergreen forests.
- Micrixalidae is one of the oldest families of frogs in the Western Ghats, and is known to have evolved more than 60 million years ago and diversified five million years ago.
- The genus, Micrixalus, commonly known as “dancing frogs”, represents an ancient lineage and certain studies have indicated that the lineage has no close living relatives.
- Micrixalus kottigeharensis is a small frog, with adult males measuring about 20-25 mm in length, and females being slightly larger at 30-32 mm.
- The frog has a unique call, which sounds like the chattering of a bird, and is used to attract mates during the breeding season.
- Micrixalus kottigeharensis is threatened by invasive species like the mosquito fish, land use change, variation in temperature and humidity, extreme weather events such as floods and excess rainfall, infectious diseases, water pollution, light pollution, and infrastructure projects such as dams.
- Conservation status
- It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List.
- The species is not listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Appendix.
- In India, the species is not protected by the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, as there isn’t adequate information about its distribution and numbers.
2. Socioeconomic inequality as the biggest problem behind water shortages in urban areas
Section: Species in news
Context: Swimming pools and manicured lawns — rich communities’ extravagant choices are leaving too little water for the poor
More on the News:
- Extravagant habits of the wealthy elite, like swimming pools, well-maintained lawns and regularly washed cars, are depriving poorer communities of basic water access, a new study has found.
- Socioeconomic inequalities could be driving urban water crises as much as factors like climate change or population growth in cities.
- The richest 13.7 per cent of people used more than 51 per cent of the water consumed by the entire city, the study found. Informal dwellers and lower-income households together constitute about 61.5 per cent of Cape Town’s population but consume 27.3 per cent of the city’s water.
- The elite households in Cape Town used 2,161 litres of water per day, according to the study. The water consumption of upper-middle-income households reached about 78 litres per day. On the other hand, lower-income families use only 178 litres per day and informal households consume 41 litres a day.
- The crisis could worsen still as the gap between the rich and the poor widens in many parts of the world, the study said.
- The researchers also said increased use of private boreholes in times of shortage by the richest citizens substantially depleted groundwater resources.
- About 2.4 billion people worldwide living in cities could face water shortages in 2050, up from 933 million people in 2016, according to a United Nations report.
- The study confirms the only way to preserve available water resources is by altering privileged lifestyles, limiting water use for amenities and redistributing income and water resources more equally.
- Reorienting current water management and drought adaptation policies towards new political-economic paradigms to prevent overconsumption and inequalities was also suggested by the study.
Section: Art and Culture
- Greeting Tamilians on the occasion of Puthandu, the Tamil New Year, Prime Minister of India mentions an over 1,100 year old inscription from Tamil Nadu.
About the inscription:
- The Uttaramerur inscription is dated around 920 A.D. in the reign of Parantaka Chola.
- It testifies to the historical fact that nearly 1,100 years ago, a village had an elaborate and highly refined electoral system and even a written constitution prescribing the mode of elections.
- The details of this system of elective village democracy are inscribed on the walls of the village assembly (grama sabha mandapa).
What is inscribed?
- On the walls of the mandapa a variety of secular transactions of the village, dealing with administrative, judicial, commercial, agricultural, transportation and irrigation regulations are inscribed.
- The villagers even had the right to recall the elected representatives if they failed in their duty.
About the Uttaramerur village:
- Uttaramerur is situated in Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.
- The Pallava king Nandivarman II established it around 750 A.D.
- The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, the Sambuvarayars, the Vijayanagara Rayas, and the Nayaks successively ruled it.
- The village has three important temples,
- the Sundara Varadaraja Perumal temple,
- the Subramanya temple, and
- the Kailasanatha temple.
- The three temples have a large number of inscriptions, notably those from the reigns of Raja Raja Chola (985-1014 A.D.), his son Rajendra Chola, and the Vijayanagar emperor Krishnadeva Raya.
- Rajendra Chola as well as Krishnadeva Raya visited Uttaramerur.
- Uttaramerur, built on the canons of the agama texts, has the village assembly mandapa at the centre.
- All the temples are oriented with reference to the mandapa.
- At Uttaramerur on the walls of the village assembly (mandapa) itself that we have the earliest inscriptions with complete information about how the elected village assembly functioned.
- The entire village, including infants, had to be present at the village assembly mandapa at Uttaramerur when elections were held.
- Only the sick and those who had gone on a pilgrimage were exempt.
- There were committees for the maintenance of irrigation tanks, roads, to provide relief during drought, to test gold, and so forth.
- The village assembly drafted the constitution for the elections.
The salient features were as follows:
- village was divided into 30 wards, one representative elected for each.
- Specific qualifications were prescribed for those who wanted to contest.
- The essential criteria were age limit, possession of immovable property, and minimum educational qualification.
- Those who wanted to be elected should be above 35 years of age and below 70.
- Only those who owned land that attracted tax could contest elections.
- A person serving in any of the committees could not contest again for the next three terms, each term lasting a year.
- Elected members who accepted bribes, misappropriated others’ property, committed incest, or acted against the public interest suffered disqualification.
Subject : Science and technology
Concept : Biotechnology
- A stretch of the beach at Bheemili near Visakhapatnam glows due to bioluminescence.
- Bioluminescence occurs mainly due to the presence of single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates that produce light when disturbed.
- Various other marine species such as sponges, jellyfish, worms, species of fish, arthropods, echinoderms and unicellular alga also exhibit bioluminescence.
- Bioluminescence is a type of chemiluminescence, i.e. it involves a chemical reaction which produces light.
- Such chemical reactions involve two unique chemicals namely luciferin and luciferase.
- Luciferin is the compound that produces light and it acts as the substrate.
- Luciferase is an enzyme or a catalyst that interacts with a substrate to affect the rate of a chemical reaction.
- Photoprotein can also act as a catalyst in such reactions.
- The phenomenon of bioluminescence on beaches is seen to be a natural phenomenon.
- Bioluminescence is a “cold light”.
- Cold light means less than 20% of the light generates thermal radiation or heat.
- In the case of Visakhapatnam, bioluminescence is said to be a result of an algal bloom of the dinoflagellate species of noctiluca and ceratium.
- Bioluminescence has been witnessed on some other beaches in India including Havelock Island in the Andamans, Thiruvanmiyur Beach in Chennai, Mattu Beach in Karnataka, Bangaram Island in Lakshadweep and Kerala’s Kumbalangi.
- Bioluminescence may not be harmful to humans but it can have significant implications on the marine ecosystem as phytoplanktons are consumed by fish and the harmful algal blooms have led to mass mortality of fish species in the past.
- Further, the rapid algal growth of noctiluca is attributed to environmental changes such as sudden low salinity or disturbance by pollutants.
5. Rules for recognition as a national party
Subject : Polity
- On April 10th, 2023, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) was accorded the status of a national party by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
- However, other parties such as the Trinamool Congress (TMC), the Communist Party of India (CPI), and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have lost their national party status.
- The ECI also revoked the recognition of some parties as State parties.
What is a national party?
- A national party refers to such a political party that has a presence “nationally”, whereas the presence of regional parties is limited to a particular state or region.
- National parties are usually India’s bigger parties, such as the Congress and BJP and a certain stature is associated with being a national party.
- According to the Representation of People Act 1951, registered political parties can get recognition as “State” or “National” parties in the due course of time.
- At present, there are six parties in India with the status of a “national party” including the BJP, Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), CPI(M), National People’s Party (NPP) and the AAP.
Criteria to be recognised as a “national party”
- The ECI reviews the performance of recognised parties after every State Assembly election and general election to the Lok Sabha in order to accord the status of “State Party” or “National Party”.
- The rules for recognition as a national party are specified by the ECI in para 6B of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
- According to the order, a registered party will be eligible to be accorded national status if it manages to:
- Be recognised as a “State party” in four or more States; or
- Secure at least 6% of the total votes polled in any four States in the last Lok Sabha or Assembly elections, and in addition, has a minimum of four of its members elected to the Lok Sabha; or
- Wins at least 2% of seats in the Lok Sabha from not less than three States.
- The Symbols Order of 1968 was amended in 2016 to give parties one additional “pass over”.
- According to the amendment, which is in force since January 1, 2014, if a national or State party fails to meet the eligibility rules in the next general elections (i.e. 2014 Lok Sabha polls) or the Assembly election after the election in which it was recognised, the party shall remain to be recognised as a national or State party, i.e. it will not be stripped of its status.
- However, whether it will continue to be recognised after any subsequent election would again have to be determined by the eligibility criteria.
Criteria to be recognised as a “State party”
- A party has to secure at least 6% of the valid votes polled and two seats in Assembly polls or one in Lok Sabha polls; or
- At a General Election or Legislative Assembly election, the party must have won at least 3% of the seats in the legislative assembly of the State (subject to a minimum of 3 seats); or
- At a Lok Sabha General Elections, the party must have won at least one Lok Sabha seat for every 25 Lok Sabha seats allotted for the State; or
- At a General Election to the Lok Sabha or the Legislative Assembly, the party must have at least 8% of the total valid votes polled.
Subject : Economy
- The National Stock Exchange (NSE) issued a string of notices naming entities involved in ‘dabba trading’.
What is ‘dabba trading’?
- Dabba (box) trading refers to informal trading that takes place outside the purview of the stock exchanges.
- Traders bet on stock price movements without incurring a real transaction to take physical ownership of a particular stock as is done in an exchange.
- It is gambling centred around stock price movements.
- ‘Dabba trading’ is recognised as an offence under Section 23(1) of the Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act (SCRA), 1956 and upon conviction, can invite imprisonment for a term extending up to 10 years or a fine up to ₹25 crore, or both.
Aim and purpose:
- The primary purpose of such trades is to stay outside the purview of the regulatory mechanism.
- Transactions are facilitated using cash and the mechanism is operated using unrecognised software terminals.
- It could also be facilitated using informal or kaccha (rough) records, sauda (transaction) books, challans, DD receipts, cash receipts alongside bills/contract notes as proof of trading.
- Tax evasion:
- Since there are no proper records of income or gain, it helps dabba traders escape taxation.
- They would not have to pay the Commodity Transaction Tax (CTT) or the Securities Transaction Tax (STT) on their transactions.
- The use of cash also means that they are outside the purview of the formal banking system.
- All of it combined results in a loss to the government exchequer.
- Associated risks:
- In ‘dabba trading’, the primary risk entails the possibility that the broker defaults in paying the investor or the entity becomes insolvent or bankrupt.
- Being outside the regulatory purview implies that investors are without formal provisions for investor protection, dispute resolution mechanisms and grievance redressal mechanisms that are available within an exchange.
- Menace of black money:
- Since all activities are facilitated using cash, and without any auditable records, it could potentially encourage the growth of ‘black money’ alongside perpetuating a parallel economy.
- This could potentially translate to risks entailing money laundering and criminal activities.
- On entering the dabba ecosystem, the clients were harassed by the broker’s ‘recovery agents’ for default payments and refused payments upon profit.
7. Maternity benefits to adoptive mothers
Subject : schemes
- The Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Section 5(4) of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
- It states that a woman who legally adopts a child below three months old will be entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave.
- The original 1961 legislation did not have specific provisions for mothers who adopt, and these were inserted with the 2017 amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act.
- According to the amended Act – A woman who legally adopts a child below the age of three months or a commissioning mother shall be entitled to maternity benefit for a period of twelve weeks.
- The term “commissioning mother” refers to a surrogate mother and has been defined as a biological mother who uses her egg to create an embryo implanted in any other woman.
- A woman adopting a child older than three months gets no benefits.
- The PIL challenges this provision on grounds of being “discriminatory” and “arbitrary” towards adoptive mothers.
- The absence of any provision for maternity leave for a mother adopting an orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered child above three months invariably prevents them from being able to utilise the statutory maternity benefits for adopted mothers.
Maternity Benefit Act, 1961
- The Maternity Benefit Act was originally passed to regulate the employment of women in “certain establishments” for the period before and after childbirth and to provide for maternity benefit and certain other benefits.
- Originally it applied to every establishment being a factory, mine or plantation.
- Later in 1973, it was extended to any such establishment belonging to Government and every establishment where persons are employed for the exhibition of equestrian, acrobatic and other performances.
- It repealed the Mines Maternity Benefit Act, 1941 and Maternity Benefit Act, 1929.
- The right to paid maternity leaves was also given under the 1961 Act, although the period of such leave could not exceed twelve weeks.
- Additionally, no woman could be allowed to avail maternity benefits if she had not worked in the establishment for at least one hundred and sixty days in the twelve months immediately preceding the date of her expected delivery.
- These benefits would be allowed without dismissing the female worker from service or reduction of wages.
- Violating provisions of the Act could result in three months’ punishment, with or without a fine.
The 2017 amendment
- The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 was amended to allow 26 weeks of paid leave after childbirth, although only to biological mothers.
- The amendment also inserted Section 5(4) which said that adoptive or surrogate mothers legally adopting a child below three months will be entitled to a maternity benefit period of 12 weeks from the date the child is handed over to the mother.
- Women in the unorganized sector cannot avail the benefits of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2017.
8. India, Japan and France announce common platform for Sri Lanka creditors
Subject: International Relations
- Japan, India and France have announced a common platform for talks among bilateral creditors to coordinate restructuring of Sri Lanka’s debt.
- The move is expected to serve as a model for solving the debt woes of middle-income economies.
- Japanese Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki told a briefing that to be able to launch this negotiation process with such a broad-based group of creditors is a historical outcome. He said this committee is open to all creditors.
- French Director General of the Treasury Emmanuel Moulin told the briefing that the group is ready to hold the first round of talks as soon as possible.
- The island nation of 22 million people last month secured a 2.9-billion-dollar programme from the International Monetary Fund to tackle its huge debt burden.
- But the middle-income economy could not apply for relief under the G-20’s common framework for debt treatments, which targets only low-income countries.
- This has put the onus on major economies to come up with an alternative scheme, leading to the creation of the new platform.
- Sri Lanka owes 7.1 billion dollars to bilateral creditors, with 3 billion dollars owed to China, followed by 2.4 billion dollars to the Paris Club and 1.6 billion dollars to India, according to official data from Sri Lankan government.
- The Paris Club is a group of mostly western creditor countries that grew from a 1956 meeting in which Argentina agreed to meet its public creditors in Paris.
- It describes itself as a forum where official creditors meet to solve payment difficulties faced by debtor countries.
- Their objective is to find sustainable debt-relief solutions for countries that are unable to repay their bilateral loans.
- The members are: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.
- All 22 are members of the group called Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi hit out at people ridiculing the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) and said those who gave loans to big businessmen “over phone” never understood the power of micro finance.
PM MUDRA yojana
- The Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency (MUDRA) was launched on April 8, 2015, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- MUDRA, which stands for Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Lt, is a financial institution set up by the Government.
- It provides funding to the non-corporate small business sector through various last-mile financial institutions like Banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
- MUDRA does not lend directly to micro-entrepreneurs/individuals.
- It aims to provide loans up to Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm, small and micro enterprises.
- It is known as the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana-loans are given under three categories:
- Shishu up to Rs 50,000,
- Kishore Rs 50,001 to Rs 5 lakh, and
- Tarun from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 10 lakh.
- At least 60% of the credit would go to Shishu Category Units, with the remaining 40% going to Kishor and Tarun Categories.
- The loan provided under the PMMY is not subsidised. However, if the loan proposal is linked to some Government scheme, wherein the Government is providing capital subsidy, it will be eligible under PMMY also.
- Mudra loans do not require any collateral/ security, and hence were perceived to be very risky.
- Public Sector Banks such as PSU Banks, Regional Rural Banks and Cooperative Banks, Private Sector Banks, Foreign Banks, Micro Finance Institutions (MFI) and Non Banking Finance Companies (NBFC) offer these loans.
- Any Indian Citizen who has a business plan for a non-farm sector income generating activity such as manufacturing, processing, trading or service sector and whose credit need is less than Rs 10 lakh can approach either a Bank, MFI, or NBFC for availing of Micro Units Development & Refinance Agency Ltd. (MUDRA) loans under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY).
- Land Transport Sector / Activity – Which will inter alia support units for purchase of transport vehicles for goods and personal transport such as auto rickshaw, small goods transport vehicle, 3 wheelers, e-rickshaw, passenger cars, taxis, etc.
- Community, Social & Personal Service Activities – Such as saloons, beauty parlours, gymnasium, boutiques, tailoring shops, dry cleaning, cycle and motorcycle repair shop, DTP and Photocopying Facilities, Medicine Shops, Courier Agents, etc.
- Food Products Sector – Support would be available for undertaking activities such as papad making, achaar making, jam / jelly making, agricultural produce preservation at rural level, sweet shops, small service food stalls and day to day catering / canteen services, cold chain vehicles, cold storages, ice making units, ice cream making units, biscuit, bread and bun making, etc.
- Textile Products Sector / Activity – To provide support for undertaking activities such as handloom, powerloom, chikan work, zari and zardozi work, traditional embroidery and hand work, traditional dyeing and printing, apparel design, knitting, cotton ginning, computerized embroidery, stitching and other textile non garment products such as bags, vehicle accessories, furnishing accessories, etc.