Daily Prelims Notes 16 November 2020
- November 16, 2020
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Table Of Contents
- FOREST RIGHTS ACT
- OPINION POLLS & EXIT POLLS
- UN PEACE KEEPING
- SEX RATIO
- GENE EDITING IN AGRICULTURE
- TRISTAN DA CUNHA
Subject : Polity
Context : Over 1,200 tribals Mysuru district stare at an uncertain future as their review petition for recognition of their claims over forest land under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, has been rejected by the local authorities.
- The act was passed in December 2006. It deals with the rights of forest-dwelling communities over land and other resources. The Act grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities, partially correcting the injustice caused by the forest laws.
Rights under the Act:
- Title rights – Ownership to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family, meaning that no new lands are granted.
- Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
- Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
- Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.
- Eligibility to get rights under the Act is confined to those who “primarily reside in forests” and who depend on forests and forest land for a livelihood. Further, either the claimant must be a member of the Scheduled Tribes scheduled in that area or must have been residing in the forest for 75 years.
Process of recognition of rights:
- The Act provides that the gram sabha, or village assembly, will initially pass a resolution recommending whose rights to which resources should be recognised.
- This resolution is then screened and approved at the level of the sub-division (or taluka) and subsequently at the district level.
- The screening committees consist of three government officials (Forest, Revenue and Tribal Welfare departments) and three elected members of the local body at that level. These committees also hear appeals.
Subject : Economy
Context : The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a mega trade bloc comprising 15 countries led by China, that came into existence said India would have to write expressing “intention” to join the organisation to restart negotiations for membership.
- Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is a free trade agreement (FTA) between –
The 10 members of ASEAN
Additional members of ASEAN +3 = China, Japan, South Korea
Members with which ASEAN countries have FTA = Australia, New Zealand
- The group is expected to represent at least 30% of the global GDP and will emerge as the largest free trade agreement in the world.
- It includes more than 3 billion people, has a combined GDP of about $17 trillion, and accounts for about 40 per cent of world trade.
- India’s ties with China in recent months have been disturbed by the military tension in eastern Ladakh along the LAC.
- In the meantime, India has also held a maritime exercise with Japan, Australia, and the United States for the “Quad” that was interpreted as an anti-China move.
- However, these moves did not influence Japanese and Australian plans regarding RCEP.
Leverage for China
- Despite the pandemic, the RCEP is certainly leverage for China and shows the idea of decoupling from China is not a substantive issue in a regional sense.
- The agreement means a lot for China, as it will give it access to Japanese and South Korean markets in a big way, as the three countries have not yet agreed on their FTA.
Source : The Hindu
Subject : Polity
Context : Former Chief Election Commissioner called for a ban on opinion polls and also suggested counting of votes from the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips instead of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
- Opinion polls are survey researches to determine voter preference among the candidates running for office and predict the outcome of elections.
- Exit poll is a post-voting poll, which is conducted just after a voter walks out after casting his or her vote. Such polls aim at predicting the actual result on the basis of the information collected from voters.
- An opinion poll, sometimes simply referred to as a poll, is a kind of voter behavior survey conducted to gauge the public opinion before voting takes place, while an exit poll happens right after voting.
- Section 126A of the Representation of the People’s Act, 1951, puts a ban on exit polls from the period between the commencements of the poll until half an hour after the closing of the final phase of the poll.
- However, there are no similar restrictions placed on opinion polls under RPA. EC has held consultations with political parties to revive its demand to restrict pre-election opinion polls as well from the date of notification of elections until the end of polling. But no action has been taken so far.
- The EC has however directed that no opinion polls can be conducted for constituencies that had already voted until the closing of the final phase of elections.
- According to Sec 126(1) of RPA 1951, TV, radio channels, cable networks, websites and social media platforms should ensure that the contents of programmes telecast/broadcast/displayed by them during the 48-hour period before the end of polls in each phase “do not contain any material, including views or appeals by participants that may be construed as promoting or prejudicing the prospect” of any particular party or candidate.
- Representation of the People Act of 1950 provides for the qualifications of voters, preparation of electoral rolls, delimitation of constituencies, allocation of seats in the Parliament and state legislatures and so on.
- Representation of the People Act of 1951 provides for the actual conduct of elections and deals with administrative machinery for conducting elections, the poll, election offences, election disputes, by-elections, registration of political parties and so on.
Subject : International Relations
Context : India and the U.S. are looking to undertake training of military personnel for the missions from Southeast Asian countries on the lines of the ongoing initiative for African countries.
- India has consistently been among the top troop contributing nations to the UN and is the fifth largest with 5,424 personnel in eight countries.
- The U.S. on the other hand has never contributed ground troops but contributes 27% of the U.N. peacekeeping budget.
- In 2016, India and the U.S. began a joint annual initiative “UN Peacekeeping Course for African Partners” to build and enhance the capacity of African troop and police-contributing countries to participate in the U.N. and regional peacekeeping operations.
UN Peacekeeping Mission :
- United Nations Peacekeeping is a joint effort between the Department of Peace Operations and the Department of Operational Support. Every peacekeeping mission is authorized by the Security Council.
- The financial resources of UN Peacekeeping operations are the collective responsibility of UN Member States. According to UN Charter every Member State is legally obligated to pay their respective share for peacekeeping.
- UN peacekeepers (often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets) can include soldiers, police officers, and civilian personnel. Peacekeeping forces are contributed by member states on a voluntary basis.
- Civilian staff of peace operations are international civil servants, recruited and deployed by the UN Secretariat.
- United Nations Peacekeeping helps countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace.
- Peacekeeping has unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, and an ability to deploy and sustain troops and police from around the globe, integrating them with civilian peacekeepers to advance multidimensional mandates.
UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
- Consent of the parties.
- Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
- UN peacekeeping is a unique global partnership. It brings together the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Secretariat, troop and police contributors and the host governments in a combined effort to maintain international peace and security.
5. SEX RATIO
Subject : Social issue
Context : Arunachal Pradesh recorded the best sex ratio in the country, while Manipur recorded the worst, according to the 2018 report on “Vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System” published by the Registrar-General of India.
- Sex ratio at birth is the number of females born per 1,000 males.
- Arunachal Pradesh recorded 1,084 females born per thousand males, followed by Nagaland (965) Mizoram (964), Kerala (963) and Karnataka (957).
- The worst was reported in Manipur (757), Lakshadweep (839) and Daman & Diu (877), Punjab (896) and Gujarat (897).
- The ratio was determined on the basis of data provided by 30 States and Union Territories as the “requisite information from six States namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal is not available”, the report said.
- The number of registered births increased to 2.33 crore in 2018 from 2.21 crore registered births the previous year. “The level of registration of births has increased to 89.3% in 2018 from 81.3% in 2009,” the report said.
- The prescribed time limit for registration of birth or death is 21 days. Some States, however, register the births and deaths even after a year.
- The birth or death certificate is issued free of charge by the Registrar concerned if reported within 21 days.
- “Births and deaths reported after one year of occurrence shall be registered only on an order of the Magistrate of the First Class after verifying the correctness and on payment of the prescribed fee,” the report said.
Registrar General of India :
- Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, founded in 1961 by Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs, for arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
6. GENE EDITING IN AGRICULTURE
Subject : Science & tech
- The system CRISPR-Cas9 acts on genetically modified molecules like a process of cut-and-paste.
- A special position is found on the DNA strand with genetic codes, which must be modified or “fixed”.
- Using the Cas9 protein acting like a pair of scissors, gene is removed from the strand.
- A DNA molecule has a natural propensity to fix itself, if it is damaged.
- In this automated repair process, scientists intervene to supply a necessary genetic code sequence that attaches to the damaged DNA strand.
What is CRISPR Cas9?
- The Clustered Regularly Interspersed Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR 9) (CRISPR-Cas9) method has streamlined gene editing, making it simpler and easier for most laboratories to access.
- CRISPR technology is basically a gene-editing technique which can be used to modify or change the organism’s genome.
- The technique can be used to target specific parts of the genetic code or to edit the DNA at certain locations.
- Researchers can change DNA sequences and gene activity
- Other potential applications include genetic defect repair, treatment and prevention of disease transmission and the improvement of crops.
Applications in Agriculture :
- Gene editing through CRISPR/Cas9 can create desired variations more precisely and without affecting other characters of a variety.
- This enables new varieties to be produced quicker and can enable breeders to significantly cut down on time, labour and cost.
- This technology is currently being harnessed for incorporating multiple traits that would help farmers improve both their production and incomes.
- These include varieties requiring low inputs like fertilisers, water, insecticides, fungicides or those that have better nutritional qualities.
In India :
- The DBT has also developed a draft regulatory framework and risk-assessment guidelines for genome-edited organisms.
- National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute, Mohali (Punjab), was among the first in India to use CRISPR/Cas9 to carry out a change in the phytoene desaturase (fruit ripening) gene of banana cv Rasthali.
- ICAR institutes are involved in application of CRISPR technology for enhancing stress tolerance and nutritional quality in a number of crops.
Subject : Environment
Context : The isolated UK Overseas Territory of Tristan da Cunha, which is home to the world’s most remote human settlement, declared the largest fully protected marine reserves in the Atlantic Ocean at 687,000 square kilometres.
- Tristan da Cunha, which is inhabited by less than 300 humans is a small chain of islands over 6,000 miles from London in the South Atlantic and the water around the islands are considered to be the richest in the world.
- Tristan da Cunha is home to tens of millions of seabirds and several unique land birds that are comparable to the Galapagos island finches, as per the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).
- The island group is also home to the World Heritage Site of Gough and Inaccessible Islands, which is one of the most important seabird islands in the world.
What does the announcement mean for the island group?
- After joining the UK’s Blue Belt Programme, it will become the largest no-take zone in the Atlantic and the fourth largest on the planet. This means fishing, mining and any such activities will not be allowed.
8. SERO SURVEY
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Sero prevalence studies, which test for antibodies, tend to throw up higher numbers than PCR tests, and these numbers sometimes vary in different rounds in the same population.
- Sero prevalence studies (or sero surveys) estimate the share of the population that test positive for antibodies using serology tests.
- The presence of a specific antibody in a sufficiently high concentration will suggest that the tested person was previously infected.
- Typically, such studies test individuals who are selected at random using sampling techniques that will allow scaling the results to the general population.
Reasons for Difference :
- The difference between nationally reported numbers and those from serosurveys comes, at least in part, from the fact that most Covid-19 cases in India have been asymptomatic.
- There is also some fear of stigma and threat of quarantine. As a result, not everyone with symptoms gets tested and the number of cases found positive from testing current cases with RT-PCR remains a lot smaller than that from sero prevalence studies.
Additional Facts :
- Around 25,000 Ethiopians fleeing conflict in the Tigray region have crossed into neighbouring Sudan, state news agency SUNA reported, as the UN said it was working to find them shelter.
- The United Arab Emirates will extend its “golden” visa system — which grants 10-year residency in the West Asian nation — to certain professionals, specialised degree-holders and others, the UAE’s Vice-President said .
- Leader of the Opposition said Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) had overstepped its constitutional bounds by issuing sovereign bonds to borrow from the foreign market as pointed out by CAG.