Daily Prelims Notes 14 December 2022
- December 14, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
14 December 2022
Table Of Contents
- Ex ante and ex post concept
- Cartel in India
- Real interest Vs Nominal Interest
- Equitable benefit sharing of digitised genetic information to span across discussions at COP15
- India likely to be first to hold satellite spectrum auction: TRAI Chairman
- Moderna’s mRNA cancer vaccine shows promise in early trial
- World pledge USD 1 bn to Ukraine
- SC to consider if Shiv Sena dispute needs to be referred to a seven-judge Bench
- Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act 2010 (FCRA)
- Secret Sitting in Parliament
- Kerala House clears bill to replace Governor as chancellor of varsities
- Traditional Art Forms
- Ministry evades direct reply on demand to include Ladakh under 6th Schedule
- House panel flags ‘casual approach’ of govt. over setting up disability centres
- The fusion energy breakthrough
- Can Montreal help communities: Here’s a look at access and benefit-sharing around the world
- Double financing for natural ecosystems by 2025 to deal with climate, biodiversity crises: UN report
- India is pitching for a 30X30 vision at the Montreal biodiversity COP
Subject : Economy
- Ex- Post and Ex- Ante are terms of Latin origin that mean “after the event” and “before the event,” respectively.
- In simple words, ‘Ex-ante’ means planned and ‘Ex-post’ means actual or realised.
- In the field of finance, these terminologies depict the returns from an investment or any other economic activity.
- It is a prediction of the returns that an investor can get from a security or from a company. Thus, it is a futuristic prediction.
- Ex-Ante is a prediction and is useful for an investor, a company, the various economic sectors, and the overall economy as a whole.
- Example– Ex-ante savings refers to the desired savings or planned savings during the period of one year. This is the savings which is intended to be made in the economy during the period of one year.
- It is the opposite of the term Ex-Ante.
- It means after the occurrence of an event. Hence, the term is important for those who rely upon actual or historical results of security for further decision-making.
- Investors and analysts can use Ex-Post data for the prediction of future trends, prices, etc. They can predict the returns from a security on the basis of actual returns from it over the years.
- Example- Ex-post savings refers to the actual savings in the economy from the given level of income during the period of one year.
Subject : Economy
Why in the news?
Government plans to include businesses accused of cartel behaviour in the ‘settlement and commitment scheme’ of the Competition Amendment Bill.
It will enable cartels to settle their case with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) by paying settlement fees.
- According to CCI, a “Cartel includes an association of producers, sellers, distributors, traders or service providers who, by agreement amongst themselves, limit, control or attempt to control the production, distribution, sale or price of, or, trade in goods or provision of services”.
- The International Competition Network, which is a global body dedicated to enforcing competition law, states three common components of a cartel:
- an agreement
- between competitors
- to restrict competition
- Cartelization is when enterprises collude to fix prices, indulge in bid rigging, or share customers, etc. When prices are controlled by the government under a law, that is not cartelization.
- It enshrines a situation where a single entity in the market owns all aspects of products and services to make them available to the public in abundance.
- Some cartels formed in order to curb the competition while other cartels formed for illegal trade such as drugs and illegal substances.
- The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is considered the world’s largest cartel.
Cartel and Indian law:
- Cartelization in India is a civil offence that is prohibited under the Competition Act, 2002.
- Section 3 of the act certainly prohibits and renders the agreement void when the business partners enter into an agreement with respect to the production of supply, distribution, storage, goods or provisions of the services which are likely to cause an ample amount of adverse effect to the competition in India.
- Section 3 also stipulates the provision which basically prohibits the anti-competitive agreement among the cartel enterprises which includes:-
- Implicit and explicit determination of purchase and sale of goods.
- Limiting the control of production, investment and sales services.
- Allocation of the geographical market.
- Indulging in the collusive bidding.
- All the enterprises who are involved in the formation of the cartel would get penalized with a fine of up to three times the stipulated collected profits or ten percent of the total turnover, whichever is higher.
- CCI can give full exemption from penalty to a cartel member who discloses the existence of the cartel and cooperates.
- The act also involves cases with a criminal offence in the following cases namely:-
- Non-compliance with the orders of the competition commission.
- Breaking an order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) without any reasonable grounds.
- Under the cartel legislation stipulated under the Competition Act, 2002, both companies and individuals can be prosecuted.
- The Competition Act, 2002 also empowers the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to deal with the extraterritorial jurisdiction, thereby giving the power to inquire to any cartel which operates outside India or any foreign company forming a cartel within India.
Subject : Economy
Scheduled commercial banks have recovered just 13 per cent of the total write-off in the last five years.
Due to government reforms the gross NPA ratio of the SCB has declined to 5.9 per cent as on March 31, 2022.
- It refers to taking out a loan from the book of account.
- NPAs (non-performing assets), including those with full provisioning made on completion of four years, are removed from the balance-sheet of the bank as write-off.
- Banks write off NPAs to clean up their balance-sheet, get tax benefit and optimize capital, in accordance with RBI guidelines and policy approved by their boards.
- A write-off does not mean relief to the borrower as borrowers of written-off loans continue to be liable for repayment and the process of recovery continues; the write-off does not benefit the borrower.
- Banks continue to pursue recovery actions initiated in written-off accounts through various recovery mechanisms available.
- Recovery mechanisms include:
- filing suit in civil courts or in debt recovery tribunals;
- action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002;
- filing of cases in the National Company Law Tribunal under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016;
- through negotiated settlement/compromise;
- through the sale of NPAs.
- Assets of the banking system comprises loans given and investment (in bonds) made by banks. Quality of the asset indicates how much of the loans taken by the borrowers are repaid in the form of interests and principal.
- Bad assets are further classified into NPA, substandard assets, doubtful assets, and loss assets etc..
- Stressed assets are a sum of Non-performing assets, restructured loans, and written-off assets. During the period of 90 days before becoming non-performing assets, these are called ‘stressed assets.’
- NPAs (Non-performing Assets) – A loan whose interest/instalments has not been paid for more than 90 days.
- A substandard asset is an asset classified as an NPA for less than 12 months.
- A doubtful asset is an asset that has been non performing for more than 12 months.
- Loss assets are loans with losses identified by the bank, auditor, or inspector that need to be fully written off.
- Restructured Loans – assets which have an extended repayment period, reduced interest rate, converting a part of the loan into equity, providing additional financing, or some combination of these measures. Hence, under restructuring a bad loan is modified as a new loan. A restructured loan also indicates bad asset quality of banks. This is because a restructured loan was a past NPA or it has been modified into a new loan.
- Written off Assets – assets/loans which aren’t counted as dues. The financial statement of the bank will indicate that the written off loans are compensated through some other way.
- NPAs (Non-performing Assets) – A loan whose interest/instalments has not been paid for more than 90 days.
Subject : Economy
Why in the news?
India’s real interest rate has turned positive after headline retail inflation eased below 6% for the first time this year.
- Inflation had stayed above the central bank’s repo rate for this year, implying a negative real rate.
- India’s retail inflation was at 5.88% in November, as against 6.25% of terminal repo rate.
- The central bank does not target real but is expected to keep the inflation-adjusted rate close to 1% to support growth.
Real interest Vs Nominal Interest
- Interest rates represent the cost of borrowing or the return on saving, expressed as a percentage of the total amount of a loan or investment.
- A nominal interest rate refers to the total of the real interest rate plus a projected rate of inflation.
- Nominal Interest Rate = Real Interest Rate + Projected Rate of Inflation
- A real interest rate provides the actual return on a loan (to the lender) and on a bond (to the investor).
- Real Interest Rate = Nominal Interest Rate – Projected Rate of Inflation
- The formula above is derived from the Fisher Effect.
- It suggests that the real interest rate—or the return received by lenders and borrowers—drops as inflation rises, until nominal interest rates rise in conjunction with inflation.
- Nominal interest rates can indicate current market and economic conditions while real interest rates represent the purchasing power of investors.
Terminal repo rate:
- Technically, the terminal rate is defined as the peak spot where the benchmark interest rate–the repo rate (in case of India)— will come to rest before the central bank begins trimming it back.
- This terminal rate is not just a number, but a planning point for an uncertain time as the repo rate carries all kinds of financial consequences.
- Example- For households, the rate can directly or indirectly influence the rates on credit cards, savings accounts, auto loans and mortgages.
Subject : Environment
At CoP15 to CBD-
- Issues of access and benefit-sharing from digital sequence information on genetic sources (DSI) will be a critical point of negotiations at the UN Biodiversity Conference or COP15 in Montreal, Canada.
The current issue with DSI on genetic resources-
- Lack of clarity on the definition of DSI,challenges in the traceability of the country of origin of DSI through digital databases, apprehensions around losing open access to DSI data, and divergent views on multilateral or bilateral policy options on benefit-sharing from DSI compound the negotiations.
- Little progress was made on DSI at the pre-COP15 Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG-5) meetings, to advance a refined, less bracketed draft text of the GBF, that will set the stage for the final COP15 negotiations.
Digital Sequence Information (DSI) on Genetic Resources-
- Digital sequence information (DSI) is a term used in the context of certain international policy fora, particularly the Convention on Biological Diversity, to refer to data derived from genetic resources.
- DSI refers to data from DNA or RNA that can be stored digitally.
- The term is generally agreed to include nucleic acid sequence data and may be construed to include other data types derived from or linked to genetic resources, including, for example, protein sequence data.
- The exact scope of this term is an aspect of ongoing policy discussions.
- DSI is crucial to research in a wide range of contexts, including public health, medicine, biodiversity, plant and animal breeding, and evolution research.
- The Nagoya Protocol, a component of the Convention on Biological Diversity, establishes a right for countries to regulate, and to share in benefits derived from, their nation’s genetic resources by arranging Access and Benefit Sharing Agreements with users.
- Academic researchers, however, generally share DSI freely and openly online, following a set of principles that align with the open science movement.
- Open sharing of DSI is recognized to have broad benefits, and open science is a major and growing focus of international science policy.
- This creates a perceived conflict with benefit-sharing obligations, as individuals can access and use these open data without entering into benefit-sharing agreements.
- Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity are currently considering a range of policy options that strike different balances between these two important international policy goals.
Subject :Science and Technology
- India will be the first country to auction spectrum for satellite communication (SatCom), and it should be designed to attract investments in the sector, telecom regulator TRAI chairman P.D. Vaghela said.
- It is revealed at the Broadband India Forum summit on SatCom.
- It will enhance the ease of doing business in the space sector.
- India will be the first to handle the issue of auctioning the space base spectrum.
- TRAI is yet to come up with a consultation paper on the spectrum auction as per the standard process meant for satellite communication.
- While telecom operators have proposed the allocation of spectrum through an auction for satellite communication, satellite industry players have opposed it.
What is Satellite Communications (SATCOM)?
- Satellite communication refers to any communication link that involves the use of an artificial satellite in its propagation path.
- Satellite communication is the method of transporting information from one place to another using a communication satellite in orbit around the earth.
What are the benefits of Satellite Communication (SATCOM) for India?
- Increased reach to previously inaccessible areas and hilly terrains.
- Lesser cost in reaching to inaccessible areas.
- Increased reliability and quality of communication.
- Satellite communication is expensive,
- Setting up ground stations or gateways would require regulatory approvals in each country, and there could be inhibitions with conservative regulators.
- There is no clear policy on Universal Licence (UL) specifically permitting international internet gateways.
Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)-
- The TRAI (a statutory body) was established on 20th February, 1997 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
Objectives of TRAI:
- TRAI’s mission is to create and nurture conditions for growth of telecommunications in the country.
- TRAI regulates telecom services including fixation/revision of tariffs for telecom services which were earlier vested in the Central Government.
- It also aims to provide a fair and transparent policy environment which promotes a level playing field and facilitates fair competition.
- Headquarters: New Delhi.
Composition of TRAI-
- Members: The TRAI consists of a Chairperson, two whole-time members and two part-time members, all of which are appointed by the Government of India.
- Tenure of Members: The Chairperson and other members shall hold their office for a term of three years or till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.
- Chairperson: The Chairperson has the powers of general superintendence.
- He/She presides over the meetings of the TRAI.
- Vice-Chairperson: The Central Government may appoint one of the members of the Authority as the Vice-Chairperson of TRAI.
- The vice-chairperson exercises and discharges the powers and functions of the Chairperson in his/her absence.
- Removal of Members: The Central Government is empowered to remove any member of the TRAI, if he/she:
- has been adjudged an insolvent
- has been convicted of an offence which involves moral turpitude
- has become physically or mentally incapable of acting as a member
- has abused his/her position, rendering his/her continuance in office prejudicial to the public interest.
- The Chairperson has the power of organising the meetings at times. He/She presides over the meetings.
- In the absence of the chairperson, the vice-chairperson presides over the meetings.
- In the absence of a vice-chairperson, any member can be chosen from the authority to preside over the meeting.
- The decisions in the meetings are taken by the majority vote of the members present.
- In the event of an equality of votes, the Chairperson (or the member presiding the meeting) gives a second or casting vote.
What are the Functions of TRAI?
- Makes Recommendations: The function of the TRAI is to make recommendations on the following matters:
- Need for introduction of new service provider.
- Revocation of license for non-compliance of terms and conditions of licence.
- Measures to facilitate competition and promote efficiency in the operation of telecommunication services to facilitate their growth.
- Technological improvements in the services provided by the service providers.
- Discharge of Responsibilities: The TRAI is responsible for discharging the following functions:
- Ensuring the compliance of terms and conditions of licence.
- Ensuring the technical compatibility and effective interconnection between different service providers.
- Laying down the standards of quality of service to be provided by the service providers.
- Ensuring the quality of service and conducting the periodical surveys of such services.
- Timely and officially notifying the rates at which the telecommunication services within India and outside India shall be provided under the TRAI Act, 1997.
- Non-Binding Recommendations: The recommendations of the TRAI are not binding upon the Central Government.
What are the Powers of TRAI?
- Order for Furnishing Information: It can call upon any service provider to furnish in writing the information or explanation relating to its affairs as the Authority may require.
- Appointments for Inquiry: The Authority may appoint one or more persons to make an inquiry in relation to the affairs of any service provider.
- Order for Inspection: It is empowered to direct any of its officers or employees to inspect the books of accounts or other documents of any service provider.
- Issue Directions to Service Providers: The Authority shall have the power to issue such directions to service providers as it may consider necessary for proper functioning by service providers.
Subject :Science and Technology
- A customized Moderna Inc. vaccine combined with a Merck & Co. cancer drug helped ward off the recurrence of the skin cancer melanoma after surgery in patients in a mid-stage clinical trial.
- A combination of the Moderna’s experimental cancer vaccine and Merck’s immunotherapy drug Keytruda reduced the risk of death or recurrence of melanoma in high-risk patients by 44 per cent compared with treatment using only Keytruda.
- Scientists have long studied the potential of using mRNA technology — which is best known for being used successfully in Covid-19 jabs — to deliver a vaccine that teaches the body’s immune system to target cancer tumours.
What is mRNA Vaccine Technology?
- mRNA vaccines use mRNA (messenger RNA) to teach our cells how to make a protein or a protein that triggers an immune response inside our bodies.
- That immune response, which produces antibodies, is what protects us from getting infected if the real virus enters our bodies.
How are mRNA Vaccines Different From Traditional Vaccines?
- Vaccines work by training the body to recognise and respond to the proteins produced by disease-causing organisms, such as a virus or bacteria.
- Traditional vaccines are made up of small or inactivated doses of the whole disease-causing organism, or the proteins that it produces, which are introduced into the body to provoke the immune system into mounting a response.
- mRNA vaccinestricks the body into producing some of the viral proteins itself.
- They work by using mRNA, or messenger RNA, which is the molecule that essentially puts DNA instructions into action. Inside a cell, mRNA is used as a template to build a protein.
What are the Advantages of Using mRNA Based Vaccines?
- mRNA vaccines are considered safe as mRNA is non-infectious, non-integrating in nature, and degraded by standard cellular mechanisms.
- They are highly efficacious because of their inherent capability of being translatable into the protein structure inside the cell cytoplasm.
- Additionally, mRNA vaccines are fully synthetic and do not require a host for growth, e.g., eggs or bacteria. Therefore, they can be quickly manufactured inexpensively to ensure their “availability” and “accessibility” for mass vaccination on a sustainable basis.
- Melanoma is the rarest and dangerous type of skin cancer.
- It develops in cells called melanocytes.
- Melanocytes produce melanin which is responsible for skin color.
- The exact reason for melanoma is not yet found.
- Younger women (under the age of 35- 40) are more prone to this disease.
Causes of Melanoma carcinoma:
- The exact cause of Melanoma carcinoma is not clear .
- Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight increases the risk of developing melanoma.
- Limiting one’s exposure to UV radiation can help reduce your risk of melanoma.
Symptoms of Melanoma carcinoma:
- This skin cancer can develop anywhere on the human body such as legs, arms, and face.
- Few visible symptoms are:
- Change in existing mole.
- Change in the sensation.
- Unusual growth of the skin.
- Appearance of new spot on the skin.
- Risk factors for Melanoma carcinoma:
Treatment for Melanoma carcinoma:
- Treatment of melanoma generally depends on the severity of the disease. Following are the treatments available for melanoma.
- Affected melanocytes are removed through surgery.
- Immunotherapy is used to treat melanoma. IMLYGIC, OPDIVO, KEYTRUDA, and ZELBORAF are Immunotherapy treatment approved by the FDA to treat melanoma skin cancer.
Subject :International Relations
- World Leaders agreed to deliver 1 billion euros in fresh financial aid for Ukraine for repair of vital infrastructure.
More about the news:
- The gathering in Paris extended far beyond the governments in North America, Europe and East Asia that have been mainstays of efforts to buoy Ukraine’s military, economy, government and people.
- It included representatives of some 50 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Turkey, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Cambodia, India and Indonesia, as well as a number of multinational organizations.
- The participants pledged money and equipment to help make repairs over the next few months to Ukraine’s electrical, heating, water, health care and transport systems.
- The aid will be delivered between now and the end of March,
- The “Paris mechanism,” an online platform allowing Ukraine to communicate its urgent needs to the donor countries was created.
- Warehouses have been set up in Poland and several neighboring countries to collect donations like generators, heat pumps, light bulbs and even fire trucks that can be swiftly shuttled to devastated Ukrainian cities.
Context: The Uddhav Thackeray faction of Shiv Sena told the Supreme Court that it will seek reference of cases pertaining to Maharashtra political crisis to a seven-judge Constitution bench, to reconsider a 2016 ruling on the Speaker’s powers to deal with disqualification pleas.
- CJI Chandrachud said it was for the five-judge bench to decide whether to refer the matter to a seven-judge bench, and arguments could be addressed on this issue.
- In the Nabam Rebia verdict, a five-judge bench ruled that a Speaker cannot initiate disqualification proceedings when a resolution seeking his removal is pending.
- Article 95: Power of the Deputy Speaker or other person(s) to perform the duties of the office of or to act as the Speaker of the Lok Sabha.
Role of speaker
- The sole representative and guardian of powers and privileges of the members, the House as a whole and its Committees.
- Principal spokesperson of the House and represents the collective voice of the House.
- Quasi-Judicial Body: His/her decision in all Parliamentary matters (including disqualification matters under Tenth Schedule) is final, binding and ordinarily cannot be challenged in the Court of law. Thereby, Speaker acts as the ultimate arbitrator.
- For example, on this question whether a bill is a money bill or not, his/her decision is final.
- However, Supreme Court in KihotoHollohan vs Zachillhu and Others, 1992 case ruled that the decision of the Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
- Maintains order and decorum in the House for conducting its business and regulating its proceedings.
- Allocates duration for debates, can discipline members of the House, and even override decisions taken by the Committees of the House.
- Final interpreter of the provisions of the Constitution of India, Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha, and Parliamentary precedents within the House.
Disqualification under the Tenth Schedule
- The Anti-Defection Law was passed in 1985 through the 52nd amendment to the Constitution.
- It added the Tenth Schedule to the Indian Constitution. The main intent of the law was to combat “the evil of political defections”.
- According to it, a member of a House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House, if
- he voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party; or
- he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party without obtaining prior permission of such party and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days.
Exceptions to the disqualification on the ground of defection (Two cases)
- If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such merger.
- If a member, after being elected as the presiding officer of the House, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office. This exemption has been provided in view of the dignity and impartiality of the office.
Powers of Speaker with regard to Anti-Defection Law
- Any question regarding disqualification arising out of defection is to be decided by the presiding officer of the House.
- After KihotoHollohan versus Zachilhu case (1993), the Supreme Court declared that the decision of the presiding officer is not final and can be questioned in any court. It is subject to judicial review on the grounds of malafide, perversity, etc.
Context: During the last three years i.e. 2019 to 2021, the FCRA registration certificates of 1,811 associations have been cancelled under section 14 of The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010 (FCRA, 2010) due to violation of provisions of the FCRA, 2010.
- Suspension of FCRA licence means that the NGO can no longer receive fresh foreign funds from donors pending a probe by the Home Ministr
- The FCRA is mandatory for associations and NGOs to receive foreign funds.
About Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 :
- Foreign funding of persons in India is regulated under FCRA act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Individuals are permitted to accept foreign contributions without permission of MHA. However, the monetary limit for acceptance of such foreign contributions shall be less than Rs. 25,000.
- The Act ensures that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the stated purpose for which such contribution has been obtained.
- Under the Act, organisations are required to register themselves every five years.
- Registered NGOs can receive foreign contributions for five purposes: Social, educational, religious, economic and cultural.
Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020:
- Prohibition to accept foreign contribution: The Act bars public servants from receiving foreign contributions.
- Public servant includes any person who is in service or paid by the government, or remunerated by the government for the performance of any public duty.
- Transfer of foreign contribution: The Act prohibits the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person not registered to accept foreign contributions.
- Aadhaar for registration: The Act makes Aadhaar number mandatory for all office bearers, directors or key functionaries of a person receiving foreign contribution, as an identification document.
- FCRA account: The Act states that foreign contributions must be received only in an account designated by the bank as FCRA account in such branches of the State Bank of India, New Delhi.
- Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes: The Act proposes that not more than 20% of the total foreign funds received could be defrayed for administrative expenses. In FCRA 2010 the limit was 50%.
- Surrender of certificate: The Act allows the central government to permit a person to surrender their registration certificate.
Context: The Opposition members, who were denied the opportunity to seek clarifications in the Rajya Sabha on the India-China stand-off, reminded the Modi Government about the 1962 India-China war, when Parliament discussed the incursions at length.
- The then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, had rejected outrightly the idea of holding a secret session at that time, the Opposition said.
- Provisions relating to the secret sitting are given in the Rules of the house.
- On a request made by the Leader of the House, the Speaker shall fix a day or part thereof for sitting of the House in secret.
- When the House sits in secret no stranger shall be permitted to be present in the Chamber, Lobby or Galleries.
- Report of proceedings
- The Speaker may cause a report of the proceedings of a secret sitting to be issued in such manner as the Speaker thinks fit, but no other person present shall keep a note or record of any proceedings or decisions of a secret sitting, whether in part or full, or issue any report of, or purport to describe, such proceedings.
- The procedure in all other respects in connection with a secret sitting shall be in accordance with such directions as the Speaker may give.
- Lifting ban on proceedings
- When it is considered that the necessity for maintaining secrecy in regard to the proceedings of a secret sitting has ceased to exist and subject to the consent of the Speaker, the Leader of the House or any member so authorized may move a motion that the proceedings in the House during a secret sitting be no longer treated as secret.
- On adoption by the House of the motion, the Secretary-General shall cause to be prepared a report of the proceedings of the secret sitting, and shall, as soon as practicable, publish it in such form and manner as the Speaker may direct.
- Disclosure of proceedings or decisions of a secret sitting by any person in any manner shall be treated as a gross breach of privilege of the House.
Context: The Kerala assembly on Tuesday passed a bill to replace the governor as chancellor of all state universities with top academics, ratcheting up the state government’s ongoing face-off with Raj Bhavan.
- The Kerala government wants to replace Kerala Governor with “renowned academic experts” as chancellors of various universities.
- The University Laws (Amendment) Bill that was introduced last week stipulates that a search committee be constituted by the government and senate of the varsity, which will then appoint eminent academicians as chancellors of each of the universities.
Kerala Govt stand on replacing governor
- Firstly, the Punchhi Commission that studied Centre-State relations had said that State governments should desist from burdening Governors with the role of chancellor of universities lest the extra authority impede them from the discharge of their constitutional obligations.
- Secondly, Kerala Government said that the Legislative Assembly had created the office of the chancellor and weaved the legislation into the founding statute that established State universities.
- Hence, the Assembly was assertively competent to withdraw the Governor’s powers as chancellor.
Role of governor as a chancellor of universities
- Hon’ble Governor acts as the ex-officio Chancellor of the State Universities.
- As per the provisions of the Act of the concerned University, the Governor appoints the Vice Chancellor on the advice/ in consultation with the State Government.
- As Chancellor, the Governor also presides over the Convocation of the State Universities, whenever present.
- The Governor as Chancellor has absolute authority. The Governor chairs the Senate and the Syndicate meetings.
- In his absence the Vice-Chancellor officiates. As the visitor of the university he can inspect, order and command. The institution runs under his stewardship.
- Chancellor also appoints his/her nominees on various bodies like Senate, Syndicate, Board of Management, Selection Committee and Academic Council of the State Universities.
- The Chancellor has been entrusted with the powers to enquire into the affairs of the State Universities as per the provisions of the Act.
Subject: Art and Culture
Context: The recent success of Kannada film Kantara ( which showcases Bhoota Kola, a spirit worship ritual dance of the Tulu-speaking people of Udipi and Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka) has put the focus back on native cultures such as the Yakshagana, Daivaradhane, Kambala or Theyyam.
- It is a popular ritual form of dance worship in Kerala and Karnataka. It consisted of thousand-year-old traditions, rituals and customs.
- The people consider Theyyam itself as a channel to a god and they thus seek blessings from Theyyam.
- Each Theyyam is a man or a woman who attained divine status by performing heroic deeds or by leading a virtuous life.
- Most Theyyams are believed to be the incarnations of Shiva or Shakti (the consort of Shiva). Or they have strong associations with these principal deities of Hinduism.
- The main instruments used for thottampattu are Chenda, VeekanChenda, Ilathalam and Kuzhal.
- Theyyams are performed in sacred groves and other places usually once in a year and is known as Kaliyattam.
- Yakshaganais a traditional Indian theatre form, developed in Karnataka.
- It combines dance, music, dialogue, costume, make-up, and stage techniques with a unique style and form.
- It is believed to have evolved from pre-classical music and theatre during the period of the Bhakti
- Most of the stories in yakshagana are drawn from the epics like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatha and other mythological episodes.
- The name yakshagana suggests the music of celestial beings.
- Yakshagana is believed to have evolved from the ancient Bhutha-worship prevalent in South Canara and Kasaragod.
- Theyyam is also a manifestation of this Bhutha worship.
About Bhoota Kola/Daivaradhane
- Bhoota means ‘spirit’ and Kola means ‘play’ in Tulu.
- It is basically a spirit worship ritual celebrated by Tulu-speaking people in Dakshina Kannada in Karnataka and some districts of Kerala.
- Kola is also called ‘nema’ which means ceremony, which goes on from dusk to dawn.
- The Kola is performed by professionals who belong to the lower castes of society
- The performer of the Daiva or Bhoota usually wears a skirt of tender palm leaves which is easily flammable and helps them to perform acts with fire.
- The performer displays an aggressive outlook, dances fiercely and performs multiple rituals.
- This performer is feared and respected in the community and is believed to give answers to people’s problems on behalf of the spirit.
- Drums and music give company to the dancing and pooja rituals.
- By praying together during Bhootada Kola, the community seeks God’s blessing, prosperity and riddance of various problems the community is challenged with.
- Bhootada Kola is said to have some influence from Yakshagana, a more popular and widely performed folk dance in coastal Karnataka.
- Some of the Bhootada Kola rituals also involve walking on a bed of hot coal.
- Popular Bhootas: Panjurli, Bobbarya, Pilipoota, Kalkuda, Kalburti, Pilichamundi, KotiChennayaare some of the popular gods (Bhootas) worshipped as part of Bhootada Kola.
- Kambala is an annual traditional Buffalo Race (he-buffalo) held in coastal districts of Karnataka to entertain rural people of the area.
- Slushy/marshy paddy field track is used for Kambala.
- The sports season generally starts in November and lasts till March.
- The contest generally takes place between two pairs of buffaloes, each pair race in two separate wet rice fields tracks, controlled by a whip-lashing farmer.
- In the traditional form of Kambala, buffalo racing is non-competitive and buffalo pairs run one by one in paddy fields.
- Besides, there is also ritualistic approach also as some agriculturists race their he-buffaloes for thanks giving to god for protecting their animals from diseases.
- But in recent times, Kambala has become an organised rural sport.
Context: The Union Home Ministry while evading a reply on the possible inclusion of Ladakh under the Fifth/Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, said that the main objective of the inclusion of tribal populations under the Sixth Schedule is to ensure the overall socio-economic development and the administration of Ladakh is already taking care of it since its inception.
- The erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir was divided into the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and there is no Legislative Assembly in Ladakh at present.
About the issue
- Post the removal of the special status, various political groups in Ladakh have been demanding the protection of land, employment and cultural identity under the Sixth Schedule.
- In 2021, Ladakh’s only member in the Lok Sabha demanded constitutional safeguards by amending the Ladakh Autonomous Hill District Council Act.
- Later, acknowledging the developmental requirements of the tribal population, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs placed a report in the Rajya Sabha recommending that special status may be granted to the UT.
- If an area is included under the Sixth Schedule, the tribal population of that area would be protected by extending autonomy to communities through the creation of Autonomous Development Councils, which can frame laws on land, public health and agriculture..
About Sixth Schedule of the Constitution
- It provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.
- This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
- It seeks to safeguard the rights of the tribal population through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).
- ADCs are bodies representing a district to which the Constitution has given varying degrees of autonomy within the state legislature.
- Provisions have been made for the creation of the District Councils and regional councils for the exercise of certain legislative and judicial powers.
- However, their jurisdiction is subject to the jurisdiction of the concerned High Court.
- They have powers to form courts to hear cases where both parties are members of Scheduled Tribes and the maximum sentence is less than 5 years in prison.
- They also have powers to levy taxes, fees and tolls on buildings, land, animals, vehicles, boats, entry of goods into the area, roads, ferries, bridges, employment and income and general taxes for the maintenance of schools and roads.
- The Acts of Parliament or the State Legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
- the Governor is vested with powers regarding the councils. He/she, by public notification, may:
- Include or exclude any new area.
- Create a new autonomous district.
- Define the boundaries of any autonomous district.
- Increase or decrease the area of an existing autonomous district.
- Alter the name of any autonomous district.
Context: The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has said that it feels the Union government is “somewhat casual” in setting up DDRC’s.
- Only 55 to 60 District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRC) made functional so far out of the targeted 269 in designated districts.
District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs)
- It is an initiative by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- Aim: To facilitate comprehensive services to Persons with Disabilities in the rural areas.
- These units have a group of rehabilitation professions for providing services like identification of Persons with Disabilities, Awareness Generation, Early Detection and Intervention, Provision / Fitment etc.
- These centres are run jointly by District Management Team headed by DM/Collector and a reputed NGO (Usually Indian Red Cross Society).
- It is a joint venture of Central and State Governments.
- Central Government establishes the centre for three years involving funding for man power contingencies.
- State Government will provide provision basic infrastructure, furniture and coordination of activities through District Management Team (DMT) Chaired by the District Collector and also identification of implementing agency.
Subject: Science and Technology
- Scientists in the U.S. have for the first time achieved a net gain in energy from a nuclear fusion reaction, seen as a big step forward in the decades-old endeavour to master a technology that is considered the most dependable source of energy in the future.
What is a fusion reaction-
- In a fusion reaction, two light nuclei merge to form a single heavier nucleus. The process releases energy because the total mass of the resulting single nucleus is less than the mass of the two original nuclei.
- Fusion is a different but more powerful way of harnessing the immense energy trapped in the nucleus of an atom.
- The nuclear fusion reaction occurs in the sun and other stars, which makes it able to shine and radiate energy.
Nuclear fission process-
- In this process, the nucleus of a heavier element is split into those of lighter elements in a controlled manner.
- Currently, the nuclear energy in use across the world comes from the fission process.
Energy from nuclear fusion reaction-
- A large amount of energy is released in both these processes, but substantially more in fusion than fission reaction.
- The fusion of two nuclei of a heavier isotope of hydrogen, called tritium, produces at least four times as much energy as the fission of a uranium atom which is the normal process of generating electricity in a nuclear reactor.
- Attempts to master this process begins in the 1950s, but it is incredibly difficult and is still at an experimental stage.
- Besides greater energy yield, fusion is also a carbon-free source of energy and has negligible radiation risks.
Challenges in harnessing energy from fusion reaction-
- These reactions happen only at very high temperatures, 10 times the temperature that exists at the core of the sun, and creating such an extreme environment in a laboratory requires huge amounts of energy.
What the U.S scientists have achieved-
- So, far, the energy released in such experimental fusion reaction has been lower than what is consumed to create the enabling high temperatures.
- At best, some of these reactions have produced ‘near-break-even’ energies.
- But in the latest experiment conducted at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, the scientist has gained the net positive energyi.e.produced more energy from fission reaction than what is consumed to produce that energy.
- Scientists use high-energy laser beams to achieve those temperatures, also called ‘inertial fusion’.
- But producing it on a commercial scale is still two to three decades away.
- In december last year, UK-based JET laboratory, which uses magnetic fusion, had improved its previous record for the amount of energy produced from a fusion reaction.
- The reaction had run for five seconds and produced 59 megajoules of energy, more than double the previous record.
Experiments in other countries-
- The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) project is going on in southern France, in which France, India and USA are partners. They are using very strong magnetic fields to enable very high temperatures.
- India joined the ITER project in The Institute for Plasma Research in Ahmedabad, a laboratory under the Department of Atomic energy, is the lead institution from the Indian side participating in the project.
- As a member country, India is building several components of the ITER reactor, while also carrying out a number of experiments and R&D activities related to the project.
- ITER, when operational, would become the biggest machine anywhere in the world, more complex than the Large Hadron Collider at CERN or the LIGO project to detect gravitational waves.
- Several countries like China, Japan, South Korea and the UK are working on this technology separately.
- Access and benefit sharing is one of the three objectives of the United Nations Convention for Biological Diversity (CBD).
- But on the ground, there is very little evidence that benefits arising from the use of biodiversity have been shared equitably with the communities that have protected it for centuries.
What is ABS?
- Access and benefit sharing (ABS) refers to the way in which genetic resources may be accessed, and how users and providers reach an agreement on the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits that might result from their use.
- Article 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) sets out rules, which govern access and benefit sharing. Under these rules, the governments of countries have two key responsibilities:
- To put in place systems that facilitate access to genetic resources for environmentally sound purposes
- To ensure that the benefits resulting from their use are shared fairly and equitably between users and providers
- Prior informed consent (PIC): Permission given from the CNAs (Competent National Authority) of a provider country to a user prior to accessing genetic resources, in line with an appropriate legal and institutional framework.
- Mutually agreed terms (MAT): An agreement reached between the providers of genetic resources and users on the conditions of access and use of the resources, and the benefits to be shared between both parties.
Status of ABS globally-
- CBD leaves many matters to the interpretation of each country’s laws.
- Some allow for the communities to receive benefits directly, while others consider that the state should manage them.
- Axolotl of Mexico-
- Mexico, a founding member of CBD, has issued only eight internationally recognised certificates of compliance (IRCC).
- Biopiracy has led to mistrust among the community in terms of sharing knowledge and hence, there is a lack of progress in developing agreements.
- An example of biopiracy is that of the axolotl, a Mexican salamander that can regrow its limbs and organs and thus may hold clues for human tissue regeneration.
- Biodiverse countries like Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay are not parties to the Nagoya Protocol, while in others like Brazil, national politics undermine environmental policies.
- kurinji honey- India
- It is collected from the Shola forest region in the Western Ghats of Tamil Nadu.
- This honey is considered rare as it is collected from bees that feed on Strobilantheskunthiana, a shrub with a purplish-blue flower that blooms once in 12 years.
- Peliyan tribal community, which collects the honey have received the benefit of this yet.
- Political issues have hampered benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources in Cameroon, Africa, which is seeing civil unrest.
- Mondiawhitei, a tree climber found in Cameroon and Kenya.
- The plant is used as a food flavouring agent and its roots to treat multiple diseases.
- Financing for nature-based solutions (NbS) needs to be doubled to deal with multiple global crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and land degradation, according to a new United Nations (UN) report.
What are Nature-based Solutions (NbS)-
- Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, or restore natural ecosystems, that address societal challenges such as climate change, human health, food and water security, and disaster risk reduction effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.
- e.g. Planting trees that thrive in coastal areas – known as mangroves — reduces the impact of storms on human lives and economic assets, and provides a habitat for fish, birds and other plants supporting biodiversity.
Salient features of NbS-
- Embrace nature conservation norms and principles;
- can be implemented alone or in an integrated manner with other solutions to societal challenges (e.g. technological and engineering solutions);
- are determined by site-specific natural and cultural contexts that include traditional, local and scientific knowledge;
- produce societal benefits in a fair and equitable way, in a manner that promotes transparency and broad participation;
- maintain biological and cultural diversity and the ability of ecosystems to evolve over time;
- are applied at a landscape scale;
- recognise and address the trade-offs between the production of a few immediate economic benefits for development, and future options for the production of the full range of ecosystems services; and
- are an integral part of the overall design of policies, and measures or actions, to address a specific challenge.
Do nature-based solutions help fight climate change?
- World Bank estimates suggest that nature-based solutions can provide 37% of the mitigation needed until 2030 to achieve the targets of the Paris Agreement.
- Examples include-
- Restoring native forests at the margins of the river to avoid landslides can also act as a carbon sink.
- Climate-smart agriculture enables farmers to retain more carbon in their fields as they produce crops.
- USD 57 billion in flooding damages averted by mangroves in China, India, Mexico, US and Vietnam each year.
Types of NbS:
- Minimal Intervention in Ecosystems:
- It consists of no or minimal intervention in ecosystems,
- Examples include the protection of mangroves in coastal areas to limit risks associated with extreme weather conditions and provide benefits and opportunities to local populations.
- Some Interventions in Ecosystems and Landscapes:
- It corresponds to management approaches that develop sustainable and multifunctional ecosystems and landscapes (extensively or intensively managed).
- This type of NBS is strongly connected to concepts like natural systems agriculture, agro-ecology, and evolutionary-orientated forestry.
- Managing Ecosystems in Extensive Ways:
- It consists of managing ecosystems in very extensive ways or even creating new ecosystems (e.g., artificial ecosystems with new assemblages of organisms for green roofs and walls to mitigate city warming and clean polluted air).
- It is linked to concepts like green and blue infrastructures and objectives like restoration of heavily degraded or polluted areas and greening cities.
- United Nations:
- The UN promoted NBS as the theme for World Water Day 2018 as “Nature for Water”.
- The UN World Water Development Report was titled “Nature-based Solutions for Water”.
- The 2019 UN Climate Action Summit highlighted Nature-based solutions as an effective method to combat climate change.
- A Nature Based Solution Coalition was created, including dozens of countries, led by China and New Zealand.
- European Union:
- Since 2016, the EU has supported a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform (Think Nature) to promote the co-design, testing, and deployment of improved and innovative NBS in an integrated way.
- India launched its first National Coalition platform for Urban nature-based solutions (NbS) under the Cities4Forests
- Cities4Forests: It works closely with cities around the world to connect with forests, emphasises the importance of wetlands and their multiple benefits to help combat climate change and protect biodiversity in cities.
Subject : Environment
- Governments will aim to adopt the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), often referred to as the ‘Paris Agreement for nature’, to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030 at the Fifteenth meeting of the Conference of Parties on Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) undergoing in Montreal, Canada.
Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF)-
- It will be the first global framework on biodiversity adopted since the Aichi Biodiversity Targets were agreed upon in 2010, none of which, according to a 2020 CBD report, were fully met.
- The draft GBF, set to replace the Aichi targets, comprises a suite of 22 action-oriented targets and four goals proposed for 2030.
- The targets will aid humans “living in harmony” with nature by 2050.
- The GBF targets range from reducing pollution, preventing or reducing the rate of introduction of invasive alien species, to all businesses assessing and reporting on their dependence and impacts on biodiversity and reducing their negative impacts.
About 30X30 target-
- The foundation of the GBF agreement is a pledge to protect 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030, usually referred to as the 30X30 goal.
- The 30X30 target was first floated in 2019 in an article AGlobal Deal for Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets published in Science Advances.
- This then became the global call of the High Ambition Coalition for Nature and People in 2020 and as of October 2022, more than 100 countries are part of it.
- Countries have to commit to protecting 30 per cent of the land and sea by 2030 under this goal.
Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN)-
- The Global Youth Biodiversity Network (GYBN) is an international network of youth organisations and individuals from all over the world whose common goal is to prevent the loss of biodiversity.
- The recent youth summit was held from 3-5 December under the aegis of CoP15 of the CBD.
- Aim- to organise, network, learn new skills, exchange knowledge, and share their hopes and concerns for COP 15.
Other effective area-based conservation measures (OECMs)-
An OECM is defined by the CBD as:
- A geographically defined area other than a Protected Area, which is governed and managed in ways that achieve positive and sustained long-term outcomes for the in-situ conservation of biodiversity, with associated ecosystem functions and services and where applicable, cultural, spiritual, socio–economic, and other locally relevant values.
- Governments, relevant organizations, Indigenous peoples and local communities are invited to apply voluntary guidance on OECMs to identify, recognise and support OECMs, and report data on OECMs to the World Database on OECMs.
Objectives of OECMs-
- Promote equitable governance, effective management and positive conservation outcomes.
- Increase coverage of ecologically representative areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem functions and services.
- Support the recovery of threatened species.
- Enhance connectivity between protected and conserved areas and across landscapes and seascapes.
- Foster engagement with a diverse range of rights-holders and stakeholders who contribute to area-based conservation outside of protected areas.
- Support sustainable livelihoods and provide a framework to help transform sectoral practices.
- Address climate change by contributing to net-zero climate targets and building resilience to the physical impacts of climate change through nature-based solutions.
High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People-
- A group of more than 70 countries encouraging the adoption of the global goal to protect 30% of land and seascapes by 2030.
- It was launched in 2019 by Costa Rica, France and Britain.
- It is co-chaired by Costa Rica and France and the Ocean co-chair belongs to the United Kingdom.
- India is the first among BRICS countries to be a part of this coalition.