Daily Prelims Notes 16 March 2021
- March 16, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
16 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- DEATH PENALTY
- INTER PARLIAMENTARY UNION
- NATIONAL MISSION ON HIMALAYAN STUDIES
- DELHI GOVERNMENT vs CENTRE
- DUST STORM
- OIL SUPPLIES TO INDIA
- PROJECT RE – HAB
- BARALACHA PASS
- NATIONAL CADET CORPS
- GREAT INDIAN BUSTARD
- ARMS IMPORTS
- AIR BUBBLE ARRANGEMENT
Subject : Polity
Context : Rarest of rare case’: IM terrorist Ariz Khan gets death penalty in Batla House encounter case.
Death Penalty in the Indian Context
- Prior to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act (Cr PC) of 1955, the death penalty was the rule and life imprisonment an exception in India.
- Further, the courts were bound to give an explanation for awarding a lighter penalty than death for capital offences.
- After the amendment of 1955 courts were at liberty to grant either death or life imprisonment.
- As per Section 354 (3) of the Cr PC, 1973 the courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.
- The situation has been reversed and a life sentence is the rule and death penalty an exception in capital offences.
- Moreover, despite a global moratorium against the death penalty by the UN, India retains the death penalty.
- India is of view that allowing criminals guilty of having committed intentional, cold-blooded, deliberate and brutal murders to escape with a lesser punishment will deprive the law of its effectiveness and result in travesty of justice.
- In concurrence of this, a proposal for the scrapping of the death penalty was rejected by the Law Commission in its 35th report 1967.
The Indian Penal Code prescribes ‘death’ for offences such as
- Waging war against the Government of India. (Sec. 121);
- Abetting mutiny actually committed (Sec. 132);
- Giving or fabricating false evidence upon which an innocent person suffers death. (Sec. 194);
- Murder (Sec. 302);
Other criminal statutes that provide for the death penalty as a form of punishment:
- Direct or indirect abetment of sati is punishable with Death penalty under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act, 1987.
- Under SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities Act), 1989 giving false evidence leading to the execution of an innocent member belonging to the SC or ST would attract the death penalty.
- The POCSO Act was amended with five new clauses, including death sentence for aggravated penetrative sexual assault by a person in a position of authority–which includes police officers, members of the armed forces and public servants.
- Financing, producing, manufacturing as well as the sale of certain drugs attracts the death penalty for repeat offenders under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
- Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967; Army, Navy and Air Force Acts also provide the death penalty for certain specified offences committed by members of the armed forces.
Subject : International Organisations
Context : The Indian economy under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ‘amazing’, said Duarte Pacheco, President of Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).
- IPU is global inter-parliamentary institution.
- It was established in 1889 and was the first permanent forum for political multilateral negotiations.
- It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- Its initial objective was arbitration of conflicts.
- It played important role in setting up Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
- Over time, its mission has evolved towards promotion of democracy and inter-parliamentary dialogue.
- It has worked for establishment of institutions at inter-governmental level, including UN.
- Initially, IPU was for individual parliamentarians, but has since transformed into international organization of parliaments of sovereign states.
- As of 2020, the national parliaments of 179 countries are members of the IPU, while 13 regional parliamentary assemblies are associate members.
- The IPU has permanent observer status at UNGA.
3. NATIONAL MISSION ON HIMALAYAN STUDIES
Subject : Environment
Context : No nod for new projects in himalayan region says environment minister.
- The National Mission on Himalayan Studies (NMHS), a Central Sector Grant-in-aid Scheme, therefore, targets to provide much needed focus, in addressing the key issues relating to conservation and sustainable management of natural resources in Indian Himalayan Region (IHR).
- The ultimate goal is to improve quality of life and maintain ecosystem health of the region to ensure long- term ecological security to the country.
- As the Mission specifically targets the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), the jurisdiction of NMHS includes 10 Himalayan states fully (i.e., Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand) and two states partially (i.e., hill districts of Assam and West Bengal).
NMHS envisages to work towards a set of linked and complementary goals to:
- Foster conservation and sustainable management of natural resources;
- Enhance supplementary and/or alternative livelihoods and overall economic well-being of the region;
- Control and prevent pollution in the region;
- Foster increased/augmented human and institutional capacities and the knowledge and policy environment in the region; and
- Strengthen, greening, and fostering development of climate-resilient core infrastructure and basic services assets.
Subject : International Conventions
Context : Pune RS MP demands criminalisation of marital rape.
- The Convention on the Elimination of ALL Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) is an international treaty adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly.
- Described as an international bill of rights for women, consisting of a preamble and 30 articles.
- It defines what constitutes discrimination against women and sets up an agenda for national action to end such discrimination.
- It was instituted on 3 September 1981 and has been ratified by 189 states.
- India signed CEDAW on July 39, 1980 and ratified it on July 9, 1993, with certain reservations. India has not yet ratified the Optional Protocol to CEDAW.
- By accepting the Convention, States commit themselves to undertake a series of measures to end discrimination against women in all forms, including:
- to incorporate the principle of equality of men and women in their legal system, abolish all discriminatory laws and adopt appropriate ones prohibiting discrimination against women;
- to establish tribunals and other public institutions to ensure the effective protection of women against discrimination; and
- to ensure elimination of all acts of discrimination against women by persons, organizations or enterprises.
- The treaty is monitored by a 23-member expert committee called the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
- The members are elected by state parties with the tenure of membership lasting four years.
Optional Protocol to CEDAW
- The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (OP-CEDAW) is an international treaty which establishes complaint and inquiry mechanisms for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
- Parties to the Protocol allow the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to hear complaints from individuals or inquire into “grave or systematic violations” of the Convention.
Subject : Polity
Context : The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) moved a Bill in the Lok Sabha on Monday where it proposed that the “government” in the National Capital Territory of Delhi meant the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi.
- The Bill gives discretionary powers to the L-G even in matters where the Legislative Assembly of Delhi is empowered to make laws.
- The proposed legislation also seeks to ensure that the L-G is “necessarily granted an opportunity” to give heror his opinion before any decision taken by the Council of Ministers (or the Delhi Cabinet) is implemented.
- Delhi is a Union Territory with a legislature and it came into being in 1991 under Article 239AA of the Constitution inserted by the Constitution (Sixty-ninth Amendment) Act, 1991.
- The 69th Amendment Act, 1992 has added two new Articles 239AA and 239AB under which the Union Territory of Delhi has been given a special status.
- 239AA provides that the Union Territory of Delhi shall now be called the National Capital Territory of Delhi and its administrator shall be known as Lt. Governor.
- It also creates a legislative assembly for Delhi which can make laws on subjects under the State List and Concurrent List except on these matters: public order, land, and police.
- Article 239AB provides that the President may by order suspend the operation of any provision of Article 239AA or of all or any of the provisions of any law made in pursuance of that article. This provision resembles Art.356 (President’s Rule)
- It also provides for a Council of Ministers for Delhi consisting of not more than 10% of the total number of members in the assembly.
SC Verdict in 2018
- In its 2018 verdict, the five-judge Bench had held that the L-G’s concurrence is not required on issues other than police, public order and land.
- It had added that decisions of the Council of Ministers will, however, have to be communicated to the L-G.
- “It has to be clearly stated that requiring prior concurrence of the Lieutenant Governor would absolutely negate the ideals of representative governance and democracy conceived for the NCT of Delhi by Article 239AA of the Constitution,” the court had ruled.
- The L-G was bound by the aid and advice if the council of ministers, it had said
Context : Beijing witnesses biggest dust storm in decade.
- Sand and dust storms are common meteorological hazards in arid and semi-arid regions. They are usually caused by thunderstorms – or strong pressure gradients associated with cyclones – which increase wind speed over a wide area.
- Sand and dust particles are distinguished by their grain size. Storms carrying bigger particles are known as Sand Storm whereas those carrying smaller are called dust Storms.
- Marginal dry lands are increasingly a source of major dust storms. These areas have fragile, delicately balanced ecosystems. Their degradation, called desertification, makes the soil less resilient to wind during prolonged drought.
Formation of Dust Storms
- Sand and dust storms usually occur when strong winds lift large amounts of sand and dust from bare, dry soils into the atmosphere.
- Once released from the surface, dust particles are raised to higher levels of the troposphere by turbulent mixing and convective updrafts.
- They are transported by winds for lengths of time, depending on their size and meteorological conditions, before being pulled back down to the surface again.
- As larger particles sediment more quickly than smaller ones, there is a shift toward smaller particle sizes during transport.
- Areas which have higher moisture witness thunderstorm and areas relatively devoid of moisture suffer from dust storms.
Subject : Economy/ International Relations
Context : The United States overtook Saudi Arabia as India’s second biggest oil supplier.
- India’s imports from the United States – the world’s top producer – rose 48% to a record 545,300 barrels per day (bpd) in February from the prior month, accounting for 14% of overall imports last month, the data obtained by Reuters showed.
- In contrast, February imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 42% from the previous month to a decade-low of 445,200 bpd, the data showed.
- Saudi Arabia, which has consistently been one of India’s top two suppliers, slipped to No. 4 for first time since 2006
- Iraq continued to be the top oil seller to India despite a 23% decline in purchases to a five-month low of 867,500 bpd, the data showed.
Subject : Environment
Context : A pilot project launched in Kodagu entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape.
- An initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees) intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.
- The pilot project was launched at four locations around Chelur village in Kodagu district by KVIC. These spots are located on the periphery of the Nagarahole National Park and Tiger Reserve, known conflict zone.
- Project RE-HAB is a sub-mission of the KVIC’s National Honey Mission.
- Between 2015 and 2020, nearly 2,500 people have lost their lives in elephant attacks across India, of which 170 human fatalities have been reported in Karnataka alone, says the KVIC.
Subject : Geography
Context : For the first time ever, the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has started work on reopening the crucial Baralacha Pass in Himachal Pradesh much before schedule to restore connectivity to Leh in Ladakh.
- Bara-lacha la also known as Bara-lacha Pass is a high mountain pass in Zanskar range, connecting Lahaul district in Himachal Pradesh to Leh district in Ladakh, situated along the Leh–Manali Highway.
- The pass also acts as a water-divide between the Bhaga river and the Yunam river.
- The Bhaga river, a tributary of the Chenab river, originates from Surya taal lake, which is situated a few of kilometers from the pass towards Manali.
Border Roads Organisation
- BRO was conceived and raised in 1960 by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru for coordinating the speedy development of a network of roads in the North and the North Eastern border regions of the country.
- It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Defence.
- It has diversified into a large spectrum of construction and development works comprising airfields, building projects, defence works and tunneling and has endeared itself to the people.
Subject : Polity
Context : The Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Election Commission of India to respond to a plea that fresh elections should be conducted in constituencies where the highest number of votes polled are NOTA (None Of The Above).
- The petition said candidates ‘rejected’ by voters should not be fielded again in the fresh polls.
- Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde expressed doubts initially about the feasibility of the petition to arm the electorate with the “right to reject” and nudge political parties to present voters with a better choice of candidates to pick from.
- Chief Justice Bobde said if voters kept rejecting candidates, Parliament/Assembly seats would continue to remain vacant, affecting legislative functioning.
- But the petition argued that “if voters are given the power to reject, political parties will take care to field worthy candidates in the first place.”
None of the Above (NOTA)
- Supreme Court, in the PUCL v Union of India (2013) directed the ECI to introduce NOTA in direct elections to allow voters to register their protest if none of the candidates is acceptable to them.
- NOTA has only symbolic value in a direct election. Regardless of NOTA numbers, candidate polling most votes is elected.
- However, it is a step towards encouraging political parties to field candidates with integrity.
Context : Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair, a recipient of Padma Shri, died here on Monday at the age of 104. He was a seasoned Kathakali actor.
- Chakiarkoothu, Koodiyattam, Krishnattam and Ramanattam are few of the ritual performing arts of Kerala which have had a direct influence on Kathakali in its form and technique.
- Kathakali is a blend of dance, music and acting and dramatizes stories, which are mostly adapted from the Indian epics.
- Heavy make-up and stunning costumes (elaborate masks, huge skirts and big head-dresses) are used.
- The dancers enact the roles (kings, gods, demons etc.) of the stories with particular make-up and costume, the vocalists narrate the legend and the percussionists play the musical instruments.
- Different facial colours indicate different mental stages & character, e.g. green – nobility, black – wicked, red patches – combining royalty & evil.
- Hand gestures, facial expressions and eye movements are important.
- Weight of the body is on the outer edges of the feet which are slightly bent and curved.
- Ramankutty Nair and Kalamandalam Gopi were the prominent artists.
Subject : Current Events
Context : In a landmark judgment, the Kerala High Court on Monday directed the Centre and the National Cadet Corps (NCC) to amend the enrolment criteria under Section 6 of the National Cadet Corps Act and include transgender persons for enrolment.
- The NCC was formed in 1948 (on the recommendation of H. N. Kunzru Committee-1946), and has its roots to British era uniformed youth entities like University Corps or University Officer Training Corps.
- Currently it has a strength of around 14 lakh cadets from Army, Navy and Air Force wings.
- The NCC falls under the purview of the Ministry of Defence and is headed by a Director General of three-star military rank.
- It enrolls cadets at high school and college level and also awards certificates on completion of various phases.
- The NCC cadets receive basic military training at various levels and also have academic curriculum basics related to Armed forces and their functioning.
- Various training camps, adventure activities and military training camps are an important aspect of NCC training.
- NCC cadets have played an important role over the years in relief efforts during various emergency situations.
- During the ongoing pandemic, over 60,000 NCC cadets have been deployed for voluntary relief work in coordination with district and state authorities across the country.
Subject : Environment
Context : The Supreme Court intervened on behalf of the critically endangered Great Indian Bustards over the birds falling dead after colliding with power lines running through their dwindling natural habitats in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
- The Great Indian Bustard is one of the heaviest flying birds in the world.
- Scientific Name: Ardeotis nigriceps
- Habitat: Dry grasslands and scrublands on the Indian subcontinent; its largest populations are found in the Indian state of Rajasthan.
- India, effectively the only home of the bustards, now harbours less than 150 individuals in five States.
- Today, its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. Small population also occur in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- It is the State bird of Rajasthan.
- Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List
- In Appendix I of CITES,
- In Schedule I of the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- A Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde will examine on a priority basis whether overhead power cables can be replaced with underground ones to save one of the heaviest flying birds on the planet.
- The court found further that an alternative mechanism — to install flight bird divertors — to guide the birds away from the power lines would be expensive.
Subject : Defence
Context : Arms imports decreased by 33% between 2011–15 and 2016–20 while India continues to remain the second largest arms importer after Saudi Arabia, according to a report from Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- The overall drop in arms imports between 2011–15 and 2016–20 was due to complex and lengthy procurement processes, combined with attempts to reduce its dependence on Russian arms by diversifying its network of arms suppliers.
- Russia was the largest arms supplier in both years. However, Russia’s deliveries dropped by 53% between the two periods and its share of Indian arms imports fell from 70 to 49%.
- France and Israel were the second and third largest arms suppliers in 2016–20. India’s arms imports from France increased by 709% while those from Israel rose by 82%.
- The U.S. was the fourth largest supplier in 2016–20.
- Combat aircraft and associated missiles made up more than 50% of arms imports.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Centre to expand air bubble pact with more countries.
- External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Monday told the Rajya Sabha that the government wanted to expand the “air bubble” arrangement with more countries,
- The priority would be Saudi Arabia, Kuwait in the west and Japan, China and Singapore in the east.
- Under the air bubble scheme, commercial airlines from specific countries are allowed to travel to and from India on a limited basis.
- This arrangement was solely reserved for the Air India under the Vande Bharat mission — as full-scale international commercial air operations are yet to resume after the COVID-19 restrictions were implemented last year.
- The Minister made these remarks while informing both Houses of Parliament about the government’s efforts in repatriating Indians, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) during the pandemic.