Daily Prelims Notes 17 November 2021
- November 17, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
17 November 2021
Table Of Contents
- BRCA Gene Testing
- Santiago Network
- Right to meaningful family Life
- Antibiotic consumption
- Criminal Tribes Act 1871
- Doubtful voters
- The Regulations Review Authority (RRA 2.0)
- Article 32 and Article 226
- Comptroller and Auditor-General of India (CAG)
- United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – BRCA gene testing is important for reducing cancer risk in women
- The BRCA gene test is a blood test that’s done to determine if you have changes (mutations) in your DNA that increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Mutations in either breast cancer gene — BRCA1 or BRCA2 — significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Everyone has two copies of each of these genes—one copy inherited from each parent.
- BRCA 1 and an unrelated BRCA 2 are proteins associated with breast tissues which help repair damaged DNA or destroy cells if the damaged DNA cannot be repaired.
- They are thus tumour suppressor or caretaker genes.
- But if BRCA itself has undergone a mutation, it loses the ability to repair DNA. This increases the susceptibility of the carrier of the mutant gene to breast and other cancers, notably ovarian cancer.
- Women with abnormal BRCA 1 or BRCA 2 genes have up to 80 per cent risk of developing breast cancer by age 90 and women with BRCA 1 mutations have up to 55 per cent risk of developing ovarian cancer.
- Scientists had long suspected that some cancers are inherited, especially breast and ovarian cancer.
- The discovery of BRCA mutations is of recent origin, starting in 1990. Testing for BRCA mutations became possible in 1994.
- While BRCA mutations are primarily associated with breast and ovarian cancer, there is some evidence of their role in other cancers, especially in the abdominal and thoracic cavities. Women linked to the BRCA mutation have considerably elevated risk of pancreatic cancer.
- If BRCA mutation is tested positive for breast cancer, regular breast self-examination must start at the age of 18.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – A world with fewer bats around is one that has failed to understand the critical role they play in ecosystems
- Bats are the largest mammalian group after rodents, with over 1,300 species making up a quarter of all mammals.
- They occur on all continents except Antarctica and are particularly diverse in South Asia, with 114 species of insect-eating bats and 14 fruit bats, also known as “flying foxes”, occurring in India.
- They roost in large colonies on trees, tree hollows, caves, rock crevices and abandoned manmade structures.
- They play a unique role in maintaining ecosystem structure, making a singular contribution to our food production, economy and well-being.
- They are the only mammals capable of true flight and have a unique sonar-based echolocation mechanism to capture prey at night.
Their Significance –
- Seed dispersal – The diet of fruit-eating bats consists largely of flowers and fruits such as mangoes, bananas, guavas, custard apples, figs, tamarind and many species of forest trees.
- Pollination – Studies have found that bats play a vital role in pollination, mainly of large-flowered plants, and in crop protection.
- Production boost – Some large insectivorous bats are also reported to feed on small rodents.
- Soil fertility – Bat droppings provide organic input to soil and facilitate nutrient transfer, contributing to soil fertility and agricultural productivity.
- Health benefits – contribute to human health by reducing populations of mosquitoes and other insect vectors that spread malaria, dengue, chikungunya and other diseases.
Why do bats never fall sick?
- Bats are reservoirs for viruses, but they never fall sick.
- Flying results in toxic by-products that could damage cell contents.
- Bats have evolved mechanisms to avoid such damage by suppressing their immune systems.
- According to the IUCN, about 5 per cent of bats are categorised as endangered and another 11 per cent are data deficient.
- Further, some species of fruit bats are categorised under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1973, along with other vermin species like rats, making it difficult to legally conserve them.
Subject – Environment
Context – COP-26 and environment
- The vision of the Santiago Network is to catalyze the technical assistance of relevant organizations, bodies, networks and experts, for the implementation of relevant approaches for averting, minimize and addressing L&D at the local, national and regional level, in developing countries that are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
- The Santiago Network will connect vulnerable developing countries with providers of technical assistance, knowledge, resources they need to address climate risks comprehensively in the context of averting, minimizing and addressing loss and damage.
- Mandated at COP 25 in Madrid, the Santiago Network will further the work of the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage.
- The Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage Associated with Climate Change Impacts was established at the 19th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 19) in 2013.
- It was mandated to enhance knowledge, strengthen dialogue and coordination, and enhance action to address loss and damage associated with the impacts of climate change in vulnerable developing countries.
- The website provides a space to channel assistance into operations, mid- to long-term investments, humanitarian services, and immediate technical needs.
Subject – History
Context – Recent scholarship has brought about a shift in the way Nalanda, the world’s most ancient university, is seen.
- Nalanda, the ruins of one of the world’s most prestigious seats of learning, is located 95 kilometres from Patna, the capital of Bihar, and 110 km from Bodh Gaya, the site of the Buddha’s enlightenment.
- Declared a Word Heritage Site in 2016, Nalanda is seen as the world’s most ancient university, flourishing much before Europe’s oldest university, Bologna, came into being in the 11th-12th century.
- Contemporary sources, however, describe the site as a mahavihara, a great monastery.
- Nalanda, therefore, functioned as a premier monastic-cum-scholastic establishment in ancient and early medieval India.
- Today, one can see there the remains of temples, monastic dwellings, votive structures and art works in stucco, bronze and stone dating from the 5th century C.E. to the 12th century C.E.
Literary Sources –
- As far as literary sources are concerned, most of the information on the history, functioning and, sometimes, the layout of the mahavihara comes from the accounts of Chinese Buddhist monks such as Xuanzang(also known as Hiuen Tsang) and Yijing (also known as I Tsing), primarily the former.
- Both travelled to India and stayed in the great monastery complex in the 7th century.
- Xuanzang’s account links both the Buddha (6th century BCE) and the Mauryan king Asoka (c. 268-232 BCE) with Nalanda.
- The Chinese monk likewise credits Asoka with the construction of a stupa/temple in honour of Sariputra, one of the Buddha’s closest disciples.
- Further, the archaeological findings—the material remains at Nalanda belong to the Gupta period/5th century C.E. onwards—do not support Xuanzang’s pre-Gupta history of the site.
- The rulers of the Gupta dynasty (c. 300-600 C.E.) were usually known for patronising Brahmanical cults, but some of them also supported Buddhism.
- Buddhist sources indicate that the Gupta King Vikramaditya sent his queen and son Baladitya to study under the famous Buddhist scholar Vasubandhu, who was based at Nalanda.
- Some texts mention that King Narasimhagupta became a Buddhist monk and gave up his life through meditation. Xuanzang also talks about the Guptas’ royal connection with Nalanda. He reports that shortly after the Buddha’s demise, a king called Shakraditya built a monastery at the site.
- Scholar Heras identifies Shakraditya with Kumaragupta I, Buddhagupta with Skandagupta, Tathagatagupta with Puragupta and Baladitya with Narasimhagupta.
- Nalanda seemingly continued to enjoy royal patronage in post-Gupta times as well: during the reign of Harshavardana (606-648 C.E.), the King of Kannauj (in Uttar Pradesh); and the Palas, who ruled over modern Bihar, West Bengal and Bangladesh from the 8th through 12th centuries. Xuangzang visited Nalanda during Harshavardana’s reign.
- The Palas were known to be Buddhists.
- Dharmapala (c. 781-821 C.E.), the second Pala king, is known to have supported the establishment of two monasteries: Somapura (better known as Paharpur, now in Bangladesh) and Vikramshila (in Bhagalpur in Bihar).
- An inscription from Nalanda records his gifting of a village for the upkeep of the great monastery.
- Another inscription from the site describes Devapala (c. 821 to 861 C.E.), Dharmapala’s successor, as helping the ruler of Suvarnadvipa (Sumatra), Balaputra, build a monastery at Nalanda and acquire five villages to support its maintenance.
- It is also known for several gifts to the mahavihara, again independent of the Pala kings.
- It is widely held that Nalanda started declining in the late-Pala period and was given a death blow around 1200 C.E by the invasion of BakhtiyarKhalji, the Afghan military commander of Delhi’s Turkish ruler QutbuddinAibek.
The mahavihara as a university
- Most of the information on the functioning of Nalanda as a university—its student strength, curriculum and buildings—comes from Chinese and Tibetan texts, which also emphasise the purity of its monastic discipline.
- Nalanda attracted students from China, Japan, Korea and from countries in South-East and Central Asia.
- Some scholars argue, though not on the basis of any direct evidence, that Nalanda’s curriculum went beyond religious texts to include literature, theology, logic, grammar, medicine, philosophy, the arts and metaphysics.
Decline of Nalanda
- The two major theories that explain the decline of Nalanda both talk about a possible destruction of the mahavihara and of a somewhat sudden or cataclysmic decline.
- The most common theory for the decline of Nalanda says the site was ransacked and destroyed by BakhtiyarKhalji.
- This theory is entirely based on a Persian work by Minhaj al-SirajJuzjani (1193-1260) called Tabaqat-iNasiri, which forms an elaborate history of the Islamic world during the reign of the Delhi sultan Nasiruddin Mahmud Shah (1246-66).
- It is important to note that the word “Nalanda” is mentioned nowhere in Minhaj’s account.
- The second theory broadly locates the decline in the context of the animosity between Brahmins and Buddhists. It finds expression in the writings of historians such as D.N. Jha, B.N.S. Yadava, R.K. Mookerji and SukumarDutt.
Subject – Polity
Context – Delhi HC: Right to meaningful family life is part of right to life
- The Delhi High Court on Tuesday said the right to a meaningful family life is part of the right to life and directed the West Bengal government to issue a no-objection directive for the transfer of an IAS officer to Tamil Nadu.
- The right to meaningful family life, which allows a person to live a fulfilling life and helps in retaining her/his physical, psychological and emotional integrity would find a place in the four corners of Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
- Such rights are recognised as part of human rights clearly emerges on perusal of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Subject – Agriculture
Context – ₹1,200-cr development plan brewing for coffee sector
- Coffee plant requires hot and humid climate with temperatures ranging between 15°C and 28 °C and rainfall from 150 to 250 cm.
- Frost, snowfall, high temperature above 30°C and strong sun shine is not good for coffee crop and is generally grown under shady trees.
- Dry weather is necessary at the time of ripening of the berries.
- Stagnant water is harmful and the crop is grown on hill slopes at elevations from 600 to 1,600 metres above sea level.
- Well drained, loams containing good deal of humus and minerals like iron and calcium are ideal for coffee cultivation.
- In India, coffee is cultivated in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers of which 98% are small farmers.
- The cultivation is mainly done in the Southern States of India:
- Karnataka – 54%
- Kerala – 19%
- Tamil Nadu – 8%
- It is also grown in non-traditional areas like Andhra Pradesh and Odisha (17.2%) and North East States (1.8%).
- India is the only country in the world where the entire coffee cultivation is grown under shade, hand-picked and sun dried.
- India produces some of the best coffee in the world, grown by tribal farmers in the Western and Eastern Ghats,which are the two major biodiversity hotspots in the world.
- Indian coffee is highly valued in the world market and is sold as premium coffee in Europe.
- India ranks 6th among the world’s 80 coffee producing countries, with some of the finest robusta and some top-notch arabica cultivated.
- Nearly 70% of India’s coffee is exported, largely to European and Asian markets.
- Coffee in India is traditionally grown in the rainforests of the Western Ghats in South India, covering Chikmagalur, Kodagu (Coorg), Wayanad, the Shevaroy Hills and the Nilgiris.
To know about Coffee Act 1942 and Coffee Board of India, please refer September 2021 DPN.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Antibiotic consumption rates up 46% in last two decades: study
- Global antibiotic consumption rates increased by 46% in the last two decades, according to a study covering 204 countries from 2000 to 2018.
- The study provides a comparative analysis of total antibiotic consumption rates in humans globally, expressed in the WHO metric of defined daily doses (DDD) per 1,000 population per day.
To know about Antibiotic Resistance, please refer August 2021 DPN.
Subject – History
Context – ‘Janjatiya Gaurav Divas’ is a part of the steps being taken to secure the culture and welfare of India’s tribal communities.
- The various pieces of legislation in India during British rule since the 1870s were collectively called the Criminal Tribes Act (CTA). They criminalized entire communities by categorizing them as habitual criminals.
- Because of this label, restriction on their movements was also imposed.
- Adult male members of such groups were forced to report weekly to the local police.
- Under these acts, ethnic or social communities in India were defined as “addicted to the systematic commission of non-bailable offences” such as thefts, and were registered by the government.
- Thugees, a cult devoted to the worship of the goddess Kali, had been operating with impunity in the Indian Subcontinent long before the arrival of the British. They had robbed and murdered travellers in caravans by the millions according to some estimates.
- In order to combat this menace, the Criminal Tribes Act was ostensibly formed.
- Contemporary historians are now seeing the measure as a part of a wider attempt at social engineering which, for example, saw the categorisation of castes as being “agricultural” or “martial” or recognising which groups were loyal to the colonial government and therefore suitable for military recruitment, respectively.
After Independence of India –
- At the time of Indian independence in 1947, thirteen million people in 127 communities faced search and arrest if any member of the group was found outside the prescribed area.
- The Act was repealed in August 1949 and former “criminal tribes” were denotified in 1952, when the Act was replaced with the Habitual Offenders Act 1952.
- In 1961 state governments started releasing lists of such tribes.
- Today, there are 313 Nomadic Tribes and 198 Denotified Tribes of India, yet the legacy of the past continues to affect the majority of 60 million people belonging to these tribes, as their historical associations have meant continued alienation and stereotyping by the police and the media as well as economic hardships.
- Many of them are still described as VimuktaJatis, or “Ex-Criminal Tribes”.
What was the scope of the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871?
- The Criminal Tribes Act was one of the many laws passed by the British colonial government that applied to Indians based on their religion and caste identification.
- The Criminal Tribes Act and its provisions used the term Tribes, which included castes within their scope.
- This terminology was preferred for various reasons, including Muslim sensitivities that considered castes by definition Hindu, and preferred Tribes as a more generic term that included Muslims.
Female Tribal Leaders
Subject – Polity
Context – NRC: only 1,032 doubtful cases referred for review
- D Voters is a category of voters in Assam whose citizenship has been doubtful (due to lack of citizenship credentials in form of supporting documents) or is under dispute.
- Foreigner Tribunal set up under Foreigner Tribunals order 1964 determines once status as D voters and such persons can’t hold voter I-card.
- Category was introduced in 1997 when the Election Commission of India (ECI) was revising the state’s voter list in the wake of huge immigration from Bangladesh.
- While ‘D’ voters continue to remain on Assam’s electoral roll, they cannot vote in an election unless their case is decided by a Foreigners’ Tribunal.
- They have not been defined in the Citizenship Act, 1955 or the Citizenship Rules of 2003.
To know about NRC, please refer September 2021 DPN.
Subject – Economy
Context – RBI voids 100 redundant circulars
- The Regulations Review Authority (RRA 2.0) was set up by the RBI in April to review regulatory instructions, remove redundant ones, reduce the compliance burden by streamlining reporting structure and wherever possible, obviate paper-based submission of returns.
- It will also obtain feedback from regulated entities.
- Regulated entities include commercial banks, urban co-operative banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies.
- It will focus on streamlining regulatory instructions, reducing compliance burden of the regulated entities by simplifying procedures and reducing reporting requirements, wherever possible.
- In 1999, the RBI had set up a Regulations Review Authority (RRA) for reviewing the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from the public, banks, and financial institutions.
Subject – Polity
Context – Courts cannot interfere with day-to-day temple rituals: SC
- Article 32 is one of the fundamental rights listed in the Constitution that each citizen is entitled.
- Article 32 deals with the ‘Right to Constitutional Remedies’, or affirms the right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred in Part III of the Constitution.
- Only if fundamental rights is violated can a person can approach the Supreme Court directly under Article 32.
- Both the High Courts and the Supreme Court can be approached for violation or enactment of fundamental rights through five kinds of writs:
- Habeas corpus – related to personal liberty in cases of illegal detentions and wrongful arrests
- Mandamus — directing public officials, governments, courts to perform a statutory duty;
- Quo warranto — to show by what warrant is a person holding public office;
- Prohibition — directing judicial or quasi-judicial authorities to stop proceedings which it has no jurisdiction for; and
- Certiorari — re-examination of an order given by judicial, quasi-judicial or administrative authorities.
- When it comes to violation of fundamental rights, an individual can approach the High Court under Article 226 or the Supreme Court directly under Article 32. Article 226, however, is not a fundamental right like Article 32.
- Article 226 of the Constitution empowers a high court to issue writs including habeas corpus, mandamus, certiorari, prohibition and quo warranto for the enforcement of the fundamental rights of the citizens and for any other purpose.
- The phrase ‘for any other purpose’ refers to the enforcement of an ordinary legal right. This implies that the writ jurisdiction of the high court is wider than that of the SC.
- This is because the SC can issue writs only for the enforcement of fundamental rights and not for any other purpose, that is, it does not extend to a case where the breach of an ordinary legal right is alleged.
- The high court can issue writs to any person, authority and government not only within its territorial jurisdiction but also outside its territorial jurisdiction if the cause of action arises within its territorial jurisdiction.
Subject – Polity
Context – CAG-Centre conflict a thing of the past: PM
- CAG is an independent authority under the Constitution of India.
- He is the head of the Indian audit & account department and chief Guardian of Public purse.
- It is the institution through which the accountability of the government and other public authorities (all those who spend public funds) to Parliament and State Legislatures and through them to the people is ensured.
Comparison with Britain CAG
- CAG of India only performed the role of an Auditor General and not of a Comptroller but in Britain it has the power of both Comptroller as well as Auditor General.
- In India the CAG audits the accounts after the expenditure is committed i.e. ex post facto. In UK no money can be drawn from the public exchequer without the approval of the CAG.
- In India, CAG is not a member of the parliament while in Britain; CAG is a member of house of the Commons.
- Article 148broadly deals with the CAG appointment, oath and conditions of service.
- Article 149deals with Duties and Powers of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.
- Article 150says that the accounts of the Union and of the States shall be kept in such form as the President may, on the advice of the CAG, prescribe.
- Article 151says that the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India relating to the accounts of the Union shall be submitted to the president, who shall cause them to be laid before each House of Parliament.
- Article 279– Calculation of “net proceeds” is ascertained and certified by the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India, whose certificate is final.
- Third Schedule– Section IV of the Third Schedule of the Constitution of India prescribes the form of oath or affirmation to be made by the Judges of the Supreme Court and the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India at the time of assumption of office.
- According to Sixth Schedule the accounts of the District Council or Regional Council should be kept in such form as CAG, with the approval of the President, prescribe. In addition these bodies account are audited in such manner as CAG may think fit, and the reports relating to such accounts shall be submitted to the Governor who shall cause them to be laid before the Council.
Independence of CAG
- CAG is appointed by the President by warrant under his hand and seal and provided with tenure of 6 years or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.
- CAG can be removed by the President only in accordance with the procedure mentioned in the Constitution that is the manner same as removal of a Supreme Court Judge.
- He is ineligible to hold any office, either under the Government of India or of any state, once he retires/ resigns as a CAG.
- His salary and other service conditions cannot be varied to his disadvantage after appointment.
- His administrative powers and the conditions of service of persons serving in the Indian Audit and Accounts Department are prescribed by the President only after consulting him.
- The administrative expenses of the office of CAG, including all salaries, allowances and pensions are charged upon the Consolidated Fund of India that is not subject to vote
Functions and Power of CAG
- CAG derives its audit mandate from different sources like–
- Constitution (Articles 148 to 151)
- The Comptroller and Auditor General’s (Duties, Powers and Conditions of Service) Act, 1971
- Important Judgments
- Instructions of Government of India
- Regulations on Audit & Accounts-2007
- CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India, Consolidated Fund of each state and UT’s having a legislative assembly.
- He audits all expenditure from the Contingency Fund of India and the Public Account of India as well as the Contingency Fund and Public Account of each state.
- He audits all trading, manufacturing, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets and other subsidiary accounts kept by any department of the Central Government and the state governments.
- He audits the receipts and expenditure of all bodies and authorities substantially financed from the Central or State revenues; government companies; other corporations and bodies, when so required by related laws.
- He audits the accounts of any other authority when requested by the President or Governor e.g. Local bodies.
- He advises the President with regard to prescription of the form in which the accounts of the Centre and States shall be kept.
- He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of the Centre to the President, who shall, in turn, place them before both the houses of Parliament.
- He submits his audit reports relating to the accounts of a State to the Governor, who shall, in turn, place them before the state legislature.
- CAG also acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.
CAG and Public Accounts Committee (PAC)
- PAC is a Parliamentary Standing Committee created under GOI Act, 1919.
- CAG audit reports are handed over to the PACs at the centre and at the state.
- Three CAG reports i.e. audit report on appropriation accounts, audit report on finance accounts and audit report on public sector undertakings are examined by PAC.
- At the central level, these reports are submitted by CAG to president, who makes them to be laid in parliament.
- CAG also assists the committee in its deliberations by preparing a list of the most urgent matters which deserve the attention of the PAC.
- He also helps in making the actions of the committee clear to the witnesses and in making the action of the government clear to the committee.
- CAG position is sometimes one of interpreter and translator, explaining the officials’ views to the politicians and vice-versa.
- The responsibility of the CAG does not end here. He has to watch whether the corrective action suggested by him has been taken or not. In cases whether it has not been taken, he reports the matter to the PAC which will take up the matter.
Subject – IR
Context – Telangana’s Pochampally Recognised By UNWTO among World’s Best Tourism Villages
- The UNWTO’s Best Tourism Villages Pilot initiative aims to recognise and reward villages that are great examples of rural tourism and demonstrate best practices in each of the nine evaluation areas.
- It also intends to help villages increase their rural tourism potential by providing training and access to improvement possibilities.
World Tourism Organization
- The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations tasked with promoting responsible, sustainable, and universally accessible tourism.
- Its headquarters are in Madrid, Spain.
- It is the world’s leading international tourist organisation, promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development, and environmental sustainability, as well as providing industry leadership and support in the advancement of knowledge and tourism policy around the world.
- UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts.
- India became a member of the UNWTO in 1975. The nodal agency in India that works with the UNWTO is the Ministry of Tourism.