Daily Prelims Notes 17 March 2021
- March 17, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
17 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- NATIONAL MONETISATION PIPELINE
- WORLD AIR QUALITY REPORT
- TENTH SCHEDULE
- SYNTHETIC MEAT
- ARTICLE 342 A
- DEVELOPMENTAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
- FOOD WASTE INDEX REPORT
- RULE CURVE
- MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY (AMENDMENT) BILL 2020
- SEBI FRAMEWORK ON IPO
Context: 8 ministries list assets for monetisation: from stations to telecom towers, pipelines to roads.
National Asset Monetization Pipeline
- In Union Budget 2021, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a national monetisation pipeline will be launched, with a dashboard to track the progress and provide visibility to investors.
- Asset monetisation is the process of unlocking the value of investment made in public assets which have not yielded appropriate or potential returns so far.
- The Minister informed that an Asset Monetization dashboard will also be created for tracking the progress and to provide visibility to investors.
Some important measures in the direction of monetisation are as follows:
- National Highways Authority of India and PGCIL each have sponsored one InvIT that will attract international and domestic institutional investors. Five operational roads with an estimated enterprise value of Rs.5,000 crore are being transferred to the NHAIInvIT. Similarly, transmission assets of a value of Rs. 7,000 crore will be transferred to the PGCILInvIT.
- Railways will monetize Dedicated Freight Corridor assets for operations and maintenance, after commissioning.
- The next lot of Airports will be monetised for operations and management concession.
Other core infrastructure assets that will be rolled out under the Asset Monetization Programme are:
- NHAI Operational Toll Roads
- Transmission Assets of PGCIL
- Oil and Gas Pipelines of GAIL, IOCL and HPCL (iv) AAI Airports in Tier II and III cities,
- Other Railway Infrastructure Assets
- Warehousing Assets of CPSEs such as Central Warehousing Corporation and NAFED among others
- Sports Stadiums.
Subject : Important Reports
Context : 22 Of World’s 30 Most Polluted Cities Are In India: World Air Quality Report, 2020.
- Twenty-two of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi being ranked as the most polluted capital city globally, a new report said .
- The report shows that Delhi’s air quality improved by approximately 15 per cent from 2019 to 2020
- It said that despite the improvement, Delhi ranked as the 10th most polluted city and the top polluted capital city in the world.
- The report is prepared by Swiss organisation, IQAir, in the form of the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’, which has released globally.
- It is to be noted that the World Air Quality Report is different from the State Of Global Air Report which is produced by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI).
Subject : Polity
Context : After being declared as BJP candidate in WB Assembly Polls, TMC seeks Swapan Dasgupta’s disqualification from RS
- The Tenth Schedule was inserted in the Constitution in 1985 by 52nd amendment.
- It lays down the process by which legislators may be disqualified on grounds of defection by the Presiding Officer of a legislature based on a petition by any other member of the House.
- If a member of a house belonging to a political party voluntarily gives up the membership of his political party, or Votes, or does not vote in the legislature, contrary to the directions of his political party.
- However, if the member has taken prior permission, or is condoned by the party within 15 days from such voting or abstention, the member shall not be disqualified.
- If an independent candidate joins a political party after the election.
- If a nominated member joins a party six months after he becomes a member of the legislature.
91st amendment act of 2003
- The total number of ministers including the Prime minister in the central council of ministers shall not exceed 15% of the total strength of the Loksabha / State legislative assembly. (Article 75,164). However in states number of ministers shall not be less than 12.
- A member disqualified under defection is also disqualified for being a minister in house.
- The member disqualified on the grounds of defection shall also be disqualified for any remunerative political post, office wholly or partially under the government .
- The provision regarding one third was also deleted by this amendment.
- Exceptions under the law: Legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances.
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger. In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
- The law initially stated that the decision of the Presiding Officer is not subject to judicial review. This condition was struck down by the Supreme Court in Kihoto Hollohan case in 1992, thereby allowing appeals against the Presiding Officer’s decision in the High Court and Supreme Court.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Microsoft Founder Bill Gates has stirred the internet once again, this time with his comment on synthetic meat.
- Cultured meat or Synthetic meat is a meat produced by in vitro cell culture of animal cells, instead of from slaughtered animals It is a form of cellular agriculture.
- Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine.
- The concept of cultured meat was popularized by Jason Matheny in the early 2000s after co-authoring a seminal paper on cultured meat production and creating New Harvest, the world’s first nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting in vitro meat research.
- Cellular agriculture focuses on the production of agriculture products from cell cultures using a combination of biotechnology, tissue engineering, molecular biology, and synthetic biology to create and design new methods of producing proteins, fats, and tissues that would otherwise come from traditional agriculture.
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : There has been no increase in MGNREGA wages in Kerala and Lakshadweep while Meghalaya has recorded the highest increase of Rs 23, from Rs 203 in 2020-21 to Rs 226 2021-22, according to a report in the Indian Express.
- With the exception of Meghalaya, all states and Union Territories have recorded a lower hike in MGNREGA wages, which will be effective from April 1, for 2021-2022 in comparison with the increase announced for 2020-2021.
- The budgetary allocation for the 2020-2021 financial year (FY) for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme was only increased marginally, from Rs 60,000 crore to Rs 61,500 crore.
- MGNREGA is one of the largest work guarantee programmes in the world. It is one of the core of the core scheme under Government of India.
- Objective: The primary objective of the scheme is to guarantee 100 days of employment in every financial year to adult members of any rural household willing to do public work-related unskilled manual work.
- Under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005, the Centre decides the state-wise wage rates for unskilled manual workers who work under the rural job guarantee scheme.
- The wage rates are fixed as per changes in the Consumer Price Index- Agriculture Labor, which reflects inflation in rural areas.
- Legal Right to Work: Unlike earlier employment guarantee schemes, the act aims at addressing the causes of chronic poverty through a rights-based framework.
- At least one-third of beneficiaries have to be women.
- Wages must be paid according to the statutory minimum wages specified for agricultural labourers in the state under the Minimum Wages Act, 1948.
- Demand-Driven Scheme: The most important part of MGNREGA’s design is its legally-backed guarantee for any rural adult to get work within 15 days of demanding it, failing which an ‘unemployment allowance’ must be given.
- This demand-driven scheme enables the self-selection of workers.
- Decentralised planning: There is an emphasis on strengthening the process of decentralisation by giving a significant role in Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) in planning and implementing these works.
- The act mandates Gram sabhas to recommend the works that are to be undertaken and at least 50% of the works must be executed by them.
Subject : Polity
Context : Various petitioners argue (Maharashtra reservation case )in the Supreme Court that Maharashtra did not have the legislative competence to add the Maratha community to the list of Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) after the 102nd Amendment to the Constitution of India.
- Article 342 A was added by 102nd amendment in 2018. It states that,
- The President may with respect to any State or Union territory, and where it is a State, after consultation with the Governor thereof, by public notification, specify the socially and educationally backward classes which shall for the purposes of this Constitution be deemed to be socially and educationally backward classes in relation to that State or Union territory, as the case may be.
- Parliament may by law include in or exclude from the Central List of socially and educationally backward classes specified in a notification issued under clause (1) any socially and educationally backward class, but save as aforesaid a notification issued under the said clause shall not be varied by any subsequent notification.
Subject : Economy
Context : Cabinet clears plan to set up DFI for infra projects. The government will infuse ₹20,000 crore capital in the new financial institution, and gradually reduce its stake to 26% from 100%, said Sitharaman.
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had on February 1, proposed creation of a DFI to accelerate investment in infra sector as a part Union Budget 2021.
Development Finance Institution
- These are specialized institutions set up primarily to provide development/ Project finance especially in developing countries.
- These DFIs are usually majority-owned by national governments.
- The source of capital of these banks is national or international development funds.
- This ensures their creditworthiness and their ability to provide project finance in a very competitive rate.
How is it different from commercial banks?
- It strikes a balance between commercial operational norms as followed by commercial banks on the one hand, and developmental responsibilities on the other.
- DFIs are not just plain lenders like commercial banks but they act as companions in the development of significant sectors of the economy.
Evolution of DFIs in India:
- The first DFI was the Industrial Financial Corporation of India (IFC) that was launched in 1948.
- IDBI, UTI, NABARD, EXIM Bank, SIDBI, NHB, IIFCL etc are the other major DFIs.
- Later several of them were converted into banks as industry like ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank etc.
Classification of development Financial Institutions:
- Sector specific financial institutions: These financial Institutions focusses on a particular sector to provide project finance. Ex: NHB is solely related to Housing projects, EXIM bank is oriented towards import export operations.
- Investment Institutions: These are specialized in providing services designed to facilitate business operations, such as capital expenditure financing and equity offerings, including initial public offerings (IPOs).Ex: LIC, GIC and UTI
Subject : Economics
Context : SBI and IOCL ink $100 million first SOFR linked deal in the ECB market.
- The secured overnight financing rate (SOFR) is a benchmark interest rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans that is replacing the London interbank offered rate (LIBOR).
- SOFR is based on transactions in the Treasury repurchase market and is seen as preferable to LIBOR since it is based on data from observable transactions rather than on estimated borrowing rates.
- While SOFR is becoming the benchmark rate for dollar-denominated derivatives and loans, other countries have sought their own alternative rates, such as SONIA and EONIA.
Subject : International Report
Context : Recently, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released the Food Waste Index Report 2021.
- It has revealed that 17% of all food available at consumer level (11% in households, 5% in food service and 2% in retail) was wasted in 2019 and around 690 million people had to go hungry.
- This report estimates that around 931 million tonnes of food waste was generated in 2019.
- 61% of which came from households, 26% from food service and 13% from retail.
- Food waste generation is found to be equally relevant across all income countries such as high, upper‑middle and lower‑middle income countries.
- Developed Countries like Austria produce very low amounts of waste at 39 kg/capita/year. On the other hand, countries like Nigeria are producing waste at 189 kg/capita/year. For India, the waste in kg/capita/year was 50.
About the Report:
- It presents the most comprehensive food waste data collection, analysis and modelling to date, generating a new estimate of global food waste.
- It also publishes a methodology for countries to measure food waste, at household, food service and retail level, to track national progress towards 2030.
- In contrast to the Food Loss Index, the Food Waste Index measures total food waste (rather than loss or waste associated with specific commodities).
Food Loss Index
- The Food Loss Index (FLI) focuses on food losses that occur from production up to (and not including) the retail level.
- It measures the changes in percentage losses for a basket of 10 main commodities by country in comparison with a base period.
- The FLI contributes to measure progress towards SDG Target 12.3.
Subject : Geography
Context :The Supreme Court said the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary will be “personally responsible” and “appropriate action” will be taken on failure to give information on the ‘rule curve’ for the Mullaperiyar dam to the Supreme Court-appointed Supervisory Committee.
- The ‘rule curve’ in a dam decides the fluctuating storage levels in a reservoir.
- The gate opening schedule of a dam is based on the ‘rule curve’.
- It is part of the “core safety” mechanism in a dam.
- Mullaperiyar Dam is a masonry gravity dam built at the confluence of Mullayar and Periyar rivers.
- The dam is located in Kerala but is operated and maintained by the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu.
- It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick and also reached in an agreement to divert water eastwards to the Madras Presidency area (present-day Tamil Nadu).
Subject : International Organisations
Context : The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) released the World Energy Transitions Outlook report.
- It estimated that by 2050, 90% of total electricity needs would be supplied by renewables, followed by 6% from natural gas and the remaining from nuclear.
- The agency has identified 30 innovations for the integration of wind and solar PV in power systems.
- The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is an intergovernmental organisation mandated to facilitate cooperation and promote the adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy.
- It was founded in 2009 and its statute entered into force in 2010.
- The agency is headquartered in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi.
- IRENA is an official United Nations observer.
Subject : Governance
Context :The provisional data for the latest Census and National Population Register (NPR) will be available before the Lok Sabha election in 2024, according to information provided by the Union Home Ministry to a parliamentary committee.
- The previous Census was conducted in 2011 and the NPR, which has a database of 119 crore residents, was last updated in 2015.
- The first phase of Census House-listing and Housing Census that was to be conducted along with the NPR from April 1, 2020, was indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Provisional Census results will be released in the financial year 2023-24 and the primary Census abstracts (PCA) will provide village-level data on important indicators.
- A mobile application has been developed for collecting the Census details and NPR and residents can also self-enumerate.
- The mobile app through which Census will be conducted will be available in 16 languages.
- The census provides information on size, distribution and socio-economic, demographic and other characteristics of the country’s population.
- During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
- A systematic and modern population census, in its present form was conducted non synchronously between 1865 and 1872 in different parts of the country.
- However, the first synchronous census in India was held in 1881. Since then, censuses have been undertaken uninterruptedly once every ten years.
Subject : Legislations
Context : The Rajya Sabha passed the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020 that increases the time period within which an abortion may be carried out. The Bill was passed in March last year in the Lok Sabha.
- Currently, abortion requires the opinion of one doctor if it is done within 12 weeks of conception, and two doctors if it is done between 12 and 20 weeks.
- The Bill allows abortion to be done on the advice of one doctor up to 20 weeks, and two doctors in the case of certain categories of women, between 20 and 24 weeks.
- For a pregnancy to be terminated after 24 weeks in case of substantial foetal abnormalities, the opinion of the State-level medical board is essential.
- The Bill proposes a Medical Board in every State and UT. The board will decide on pregnancies beyond 24 weeks in cases of foetal abnormalities.
- Each board will have one gynaecologist, one radiologist or sonologist, one paediatrician, and other members prescribed by the State/UT government.
- Opposition MPs said the Bill still did not give women the freedom to decide, since they would need a nod from a medical board in the case of pregnancies beyond 24 weeks.
- The original Bill was framed in 1971.
Subject : Economy
Context : New SEBI framework to streamline IPO process.
- Markets regulator Sebi on Tuesday put in place a uniform policy to streamline the reconciliation process among intermediaries with regard to initial public offers as well as a new mechanism to compensate investors.
- The new framework would address issues related to delay in receipt of mandate by investors for blocking of funds due to systemic issues at intermediaries and failure to unblock the funds in cases of partial allotment by the next working day from the finalisation of Basis of Allotment (BOA), Sebi said in a circular.
Initial Public Offering
- IPO is the selling of securities to the public in the primary market.
- Primary market deals with new securities being issued for the first time. It is also known as the new issues market.
- It is different from secondary market where existing securities are bought and sold. It is also known as the stock market or stock exchange.
- It is when an unlisted company makes either a fresh issue of securities or an offer for sale of its existing securities or both for the first time to the public.
- Unlisted companies are companies that are not listed on the stock exchange.
- It is generally used by new and medium-sized firms that are looking for funds to grow and expand their business.