Daily Prelims Notes 18 December 2021
- December 18, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
18 December 2021
Table Of Contents
- Project Development Cells (PDCs)
- Ramna Kali Temple
- Parvo virus
- EU’s General Data Protection Regulation
- Hybrid Immunity
- Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)
- Private Cryptocurrencies
- Biological Diversity Act 2002
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- Whip in India
- OBC Reservation
- Base Rate
Subject – Economy
Context – Officials across ministries are working with investors to facilitate 863 projects with an investment of $121 billion across sectors, including chemicals and petrochemicals, steel and heavy industry
- Project Development Cells will be dedicated units in select ministries whose primary task will be to develop investible industrial project proposals. The cell will be headed by a joint secretary level officer in the respective ministry.
- Project Development Cells will be set up in 22 ministries which deal with industrial sectors.
- These include heavy industries, textiles, chemicals & fertilisers, electronics, pharmaceuticals, commerce & industry, food processing, petroleum & natural gas, defence, steel, coal, housing & urban affairs, transport & highways, shipping, civil aviation, renewable energy, power, railways, health, agriculture, animal husbandry.
- The Cell will be tasked with conceptualising, strategising, and implementing investible projects. The cell will create detailed project reports, ensure that all permissions are in place, and land is available for allotment for their respective projects for investments by companies. Once the project proposals are ready, they will be presented to the Empowered Group of Secretaries.
- In addition, these cells will also identify policy issues that need to be resolved and place them before the Empowered Group of Secretaries. Moreover, the Cells will also interact with state governments and coordinate with them while preparing project proposals.
Empowered Group Of Secretaries
- The Empowered Group Of Secretaries (EGoS) is a panel of six senior central government officials from the economic ministries.
- This group will be headed by cabinet secretary Rajiv Gauba, who is the senior most serving bureaucrat in India. Other members of this panel are Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Ayog, and Secretaries of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (Guruprasad Mohapatra), Department of Commerce (Anup Wadhawan), Department of Economic Affairs (Tarun Bajaj), and Department of Revenue (Ajay Bhushan Pandey).
- Moreover, the secretary of the respective line ministry will also be co-opted when issues are discussed by this panel. The secretary of DPIIT will be the convener of EGoS.
- The primary task of the Empowered Group Of Secretaries (EGoS) is to improve investment environment in the country for foreign and domestic investors. The EGoS will also handhold investors and promote JVs with Indian companies.
- The EGoS will discuss and recommend investment policies to government departments and ensure that they get implemented. It will also identify sectors for import substitution. It will recommend FDI reforms to attract green filed foreign investments.
- The policy recommendation of the EGoS will be mandatory for central government departments.
- FDI related clearances were given by Foreign Investment Promotion Board. But it was wound down in 2017 and currently, the line ministries are tasked with approving FDI related proposals.
- Any inter-ministerial issue that comes up during promoting investments will be referred to the EGoS.
- Unlike inter-ministerial economic platforms like GST Council or the SEZ Board of Approval, states don’t have any representation in the EGoS.
- EGoS will not lead to single window clearance for investors. EGoS will have a mechanism to engage with stakeholders from the corporate world to take feedback. DPIIT has long been working on a one-stop digital platform for all state and central government clearances.
Subject – Economy
Context – THE US Federal Reserve said that it will curtail its extraordinary policy support for the American economy more quickly than predicted and underscored its plans to hike interest rates three times next year.
- Fed tapering is the gradual reduction in the bond buying program of the US Federal Reserves.
- Tapering is the gradual winding down of central bank activities used to improve the conditions for economic growth.
- Tapering activities is primarily aimed at interest rates and investor expectations of what those rates will be in the future.
- These can include conventional central bank activities, such as adjusting the discount rate or reserve requirements, or more unconventional ones, such as quantitative easing (QE).
- In layman terms, it can be said that in ‘Quantitative Easing , there is increase in dollar supply and in Fed tapering, there is decrease in dollar supply.
To know more about Tapering, please refer August 2021 DPN.
Subject – Art and Culture
Context – The Ramna Kali temple, Dhaka landmark rebuilt from the ruins
- President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the reconstructed Ramna Kali temple in Ramna, a part of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka where the landmark Suhrawardy Udyan (the former Ramna Race Course) is located.
- It was a temple in Dhaka begun in the time of the Mughal Empire. It was also known as the “RamnaKalibari”. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu Goddess Kali.
- The temple was destroyed on March 27, 1971 by the Pakistani Army during the Bangladesh Liberation War. It was the site of a massacre of mostly Hindu people.
- The temple was totally destroyed by the Pakistani Army’s operation codenamed ‘Operation Searchlight in 1971, targeting the resistance movement in the country.
- In the 17th century, Dhaka was a provincial capital of the Mughal Empire, and a key trading centre. The history of Ramna can be traced back to the early 1600s, when it was occupied by high officials of the Mughals. After Dhaka passed under British rule in 1858, a race course and boulevard were built at Ramna.
- It is said that it was built by a certain Haricharan Giri who was a mahant in the temple, but we cannot be sure. It was not a very large temple, and was fairly ordinary in terms of its architecture.
- However, it is the second oldest Hindu temple in Bangladesh, the Dhakeshwari Temple being the oldest.
- Days before the temple was razed, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had delivered his historic March 7, 1971 speech at the Ramna Race Course maidan, in which he exhorted Bengalis.
- The architectural design of the temple changed over the centuries in which it stood.
- In front of the temple was a large dighi (pool) which was a popular place for worshipers and visitors to swim.
- The temple has a tall shikhara (tower).
- Next to the temple was the Ma Anandamoyee Ashram,a place of worship with a residential complex and facilities for washing.
- The Ma Durga Mandir and the RadhaKrisnaMandir are present in the area of the Ramna Kali Mandir. Others are planned.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – Nearly 2,000 pet and stray dogs in Amravati city were affected by canine parvovirus virus last month with veterinarians cautioning pet owners against a severe outbreak.
- It is a highly contagious viral disease that can also be life-threatening in puppies and dogs.
- Parvovirus affects the intestinal tract of canines with puppies being more susceptible.
- Bloody diarrhoea, vomiting, drastic weight loss, dehydration and lethargy are some of the symptoms.
- The virus has reported a 90 per cent mortality rate.
- Experts have stated suspect that the recent rise in cases of Parvovirus in pets is due to the Covid-19 pandemic that compelled many pet owners to avoid timely vaccination of their dogs.
How does the virus spread in dogs?
- The highly contagious virus spreads through direct contact with an infected dog or by indirect contact with a contaminated object, including the hands and clothing of people who handle infected dogs.
- The dogs can get exposed to the parvovirus every time it sniffs, licks, or consume infected faeces.
- Indirect transmission occurs when a person who has recently been exposed to an infected dog touches the puppy, or when a puppy encounters a contaminated object, like food or water bowl, collars and leashes.
How to keep canines safe from infection?
- Parvovirus has no cure and inoculating a puppy or a dog gives them a fighting chance against the infection.
- The first dose is given at 45 days old and the second 21 days after the first dose.
- To properly protect canines, it is necessary to administer the vaccine to them while they are puppies and then continue to do the same every year.
Subject – Governance
Context – The JCP recommendations on the Personal Data Protection Bill are in some aspects very similar to global standards such as European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation
The similarities between EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and JCP recommendations on Data Protection Bill:
|Consent||Users must have informed consent about the way their data is processed so that they can opt in or out.||Processing of data should be done in a fair and transparent manner, while also ensuring privacy.|
|Breach||Supervisory authority must be notified of a breach within 72 hours of the leak so that users can take steps to protect information.||Data Protection Authority must be informed within 72 hours; DPA will decide whether users need to be informed and steps to be taken.|
|Transition period||Two-year transition period for provisions of GDPR to be put in place.||24 months overall; 9 months for registration of data fiduciaries, 6 months for DPA to start.|
|Data fiduciary||Data fiduciary is any natural or legal person, public authority, agency or body that determines purpose and means of data processing.||Similar suggestions; additionally, NGOs which also process data to be included as fiduciaries.|
Difference between EU’s regulation and JCP recommendations:
|Anonymous information||Principles of data protection do not apply to anonymous information since it is impossible to tell one from another.||Non-personal data must come under the ambit of data protection law such as non-personal data.|
|Punishment||No jail terms. Fines up to 20 million euros, or in the case of an undertaking, up to 4 % of their total global turnover of the preceding fiscal year.||Jail term of up to 3 years, fine of Rs 2 lakh or both if de-identified data is re-identified by any person.|
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – ‘Hybrid immunity protects against new variants’
- Hybrid immunity, which is developed as a result of vaccination and natural infection, may work well in providing protection against new variants of SARS-CoV-2.
- When a human body is exposed to a natural infection or is being inoculated, it generates an immune response that helps it fight infections in future. This helps protect the body against pathogens such as Covid, which may lead to severe disease or even death. Hybrid immunity is believed to provide greater protection against SARS-CoV2 variant.
To know more about Hybrid Immunity, please refer October 2021 DPN.
Subject – Economy
Context – RBI board discusses private cryptos, central bank digital currency
- The term central bank digital currency (CBDC) refers to the virtual form of a fiat currency.
- A CBDC is an electronic record or digital token of a country’s official currency.
- As such, it is issued and regulated by the nation’s monetary authority or central bank. As such, they are backed by the full faith and credit of the issuing government.
- CBDCs can simplify the implementation of monetary and fiscal policy and promote financial inclusion in an economy by bringing the unbanked into the financial system.
- Because they are a centralized form of currency, they may erode the privacy of citizens.
- Although they aren’t formally being used, many countries are exploring the introduction and use of CBDCs in their economy.
Working of CBDC
Advantages of CBDC
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – The ‘Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2021’ seeks to prohibit all private cryptocurrencies in India
- When we say private cryptocurrency, we can either say it is one of the two methods.
- One is to say that anything that is not given out from the government or Reserve Bank of India will be a private cryptocurrency which means Bitcoins, Ether and everything else will become private currency.
- But on the other hand, if the cryptocurrency is managed or governed by a specific set of developers or community, then it can be termed as private.
- Even as the definition of private cryptocurrencies has not been defined by the government, Bitcoin, Ethereum and many other crypto tokens are based on public blockchain networks, as the transactions made by the networks are said to be traceable while still providing a degree of anonymity to users.
- Bitcoin, Ether etc. are public crypto built on public blockchains and have their own specific use cases. They are needed to run smart contract and write to the distributed ledger that they’re built on top of. People cannot use INR or USDT to pay for fees on the Bitcoin or Ethereum Blockchain.
- On the other hand, private cryptocurrencies could refer to Monero, Dash, Zcash and other such digital tokens are built on public blockchains, obfuscate the transaction information to offer privacy to users like not saving transaction history as they are routed through multiple networks.
Difference between private and public cryptocurrencies
- The best-known cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ether, Dogecoin, ShibaInu and others are public as their transactions are completely transparent. Although these cryptocurrencies offer some degree of anonymity to users as they allow them to operate under pseudonyms, all transactions on the blockchain can be viewed by any person who has access to the said blockchain.
- By design, transactions of these cryptocurrencies are linkable and traceable. Therefore, organisations dealing with sensitive information—like commercial contracts or individuals’ personal information—prefer to join a private blockchain. Private blockchains include Monero, Particl, Dash, and ZCash. These platforms allow users to transact without making the data public.
- While these “private” blockchains also have public open ledgers, they allow different levels of permissions for users. Thus, the access can be restricted and transaction information can be encrypted to protect confidentiality.
Subject – Environment
Context – Congress Rajya Sabha MP Jairam Ramesh Friday asked Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla to ensure that the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 — tabled in the Lower House on Thursday — is referred to the Standing Committee on Environment rather than a Select Committee.
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was born out of India’s attempt to realise the objectives enshrined in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992 which recognizes the sovereign rights of states to use their own Biological Resources.
- The act was enacted in 2002, it aims at the conservation of biological resources, managing its sustainable use and enabling fair and equitable sharing benefits arising out of the use and knowledge of biological resources with the local communities.
- The Act prohibits the following activities without the prior approval from the National Biodiversity Authority.
- The act envisaged a three-tier structure to regulate the access to biological resources:
- The National Biodiversity Authority (NBA)
- The State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs)
- The Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) (at local level)
- The act stipulates all offences under it as cognizable and non-bailable.
- Any grievances related to the determination of benefit sharing or order of the National Biodiversity Authority or a State Biodiversity Board under this Act, shall be taken to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).
Exemptions from the Act
- The Act excludes Indian biological resources that are normally traded as commodities. Such exemption holds only so far the biological resources are used as commodities and for no other purpose.
- The act also excludes traditional uses of Indian biological resources and associated knowledge and when they are used in collaborative research projects between Indian and foreign institutions with the approval of the central government.
- Uses by cultivators and breeds, e.g. farmers, livestock keepers and bee keepers and traditional healers e.g.vaids and hakims are also exempted.
Subject – Environment
Context – Forests Minister Bhupender Yadav Friday introduced in Lok Sabha the Wildlife Protection (Amendment) Bill to ensure that the original 1972 Act complies with the requirements of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)
- CITES is a multilateral treaty to protect endangered species. One of its main aims is to regulate the international trade of animals and plants so that it does not threaten their survival.
- Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is part of a multilateral treaty that includes plant, animals and birds under varying categories of threat of extinction and which will be jointly protected by members of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- India is a signatory to CITES.
- CITES entered into force in July 1975. Currently there are 183 Parties (include countries or regional economic integration organizations).
- Aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
- The CITES Secretariat is administered by UNEP (The United Nations Environment Programme) and is located at Geneva, Switzerland.
- The Conference of the Parties to CITES, is the supreme decision-making body of the Convention and comprises all its Parties.
- Although CITES is legally binding on the Parties, it does not take the place of national laws.Rather, it provides a framework to be respected by each Party, which has to adopt its own domestic legislation to ensure that CITES is implemented at the national level.
- Appendices I, II and III to the Convention are lists of species afforded different levels or types of protection from over-exploitation.
- It lists species that are the most endangered among CITES-listed animals and plants.
- Examples include gorillas, sea turtles, most lady slipper orchids, and giant pandas. Currently 931 species are listed.
- It lists species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.
- Most CITES species are listed in this Appendix, including American ginseng, paddlefish, lions, American alligators, mahogany and many corals. Currently 34,419 species are listed.
- It is a list of species included at the request of a Party that already regulates trade in the species and that needs the cooperation of other countries to prevent unsustainable or illegal exploitation.
- Examples include map turtles, walruses and Cape stag beetles. Currently 147 species are listed.
Subject – Polity
Context – Every member duty-bound to attend House: Venkaiah
- Under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection law) a political party has a constitutional right to issue a whip to its legislators.
- SC in Kihoto Holohan vs Zachillhu case, 1992 held that the application of the Tenth Schedule is limited to a vote on “motion of confidence” or “no-confidence” in the government or where the motion under consideration relates to a matter which was an integral policy and programme of the political party.
- The concept of the whip was inherited from colonial British rule. It is used in parliamentary parlance often for floor management by political parties in the legislature.
- A whip is a written order that political party issue to its members for being present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line.
- Constitutional status: The office of ‘whip’, is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.
- Non-applicability of Whip: There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) on whom to vote.
To know more about Whip, please refer June 2021 DPN.
Subject – Polity
Context – Notify 27% OBC Seats as General Seats for Local Body Elections: Supreme Court Directs Maharashtra Govt & SEC
- Based on the recommendation of the Second Backward Classes Commission (Mandal Commission), the government in August, 1990 had notified 27% reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in vacancies in civil posts and services that are to be filled on direct recruitment.
- After this was challenged, the Supreme Court in November, 1992 (Indira Sawhney case) upheld 27% reservation for OBCs, subject to exclusion of the creamy layer.
- Creamy Layer is a concept that sets a threshold within which OBC reservation benefits are applicable.
- While there is a 27% quota for OBCs in government jobs and higher educational institutions, those falling within the “creamy layer” (various categories based on income and parents’ rank) cannot get the benefits of this quota.
- Other than the income limit, the current definition of the creamy layer remains the same.
Subject – Economy
Context – SBI lifts base rate a tad, to affect pre-2019 loans
- Base rate is the minimum rate set by the Reserve Bank of India below which banks are not allowed to lend to its customers.
- Base rate is decided in order to enhance transparency in the credit market and ensure that banks pass on the lower cost of fund to their customers. Loan pricing will be done by adding base rate and a suitable spread depending on the credit risk premium.
Factors that determine the base rate
- Each bank can determine their base rate in accordance with the norms given by the RBI. According to the RBI, Base Rate shall include all those elements of the lending rates that are common across all categories of borrowers.
- The base rate may differ from one bank to the other. But the following four components usually determine the base rate of particular bank. These components are:
- Cost for the funds (interest rate given for deposits),
- Operating expenses,
- Minimum rate of return (profit), and
- Cost for the CRR (for the four percent CRR, the RBI is not giving any interest to the banks)
- The base rate of one bank may differ from another bank due to difference in one these factors most probably due to difference in interest rate.