Daily Prelims Notes 18 March 2022
- March 18, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
18 March 2022
Table Of Contents
- Kamikaze Drones
- Geneva Biodiversity Conference
- US Federal Reserve
- War Criminal
- International Court Of Justice (ICJ)
- Retail inflation for farm, rural workers rises to 5.59%, 5.94% in February
- Article 24 of GATT
- Visva- Bharati and Rabindranath Tagore
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Kamikaze or suicide drones are unmanned aircraft that are part of the tranche of weapons that are being sent by the US to Ukraine to assist their fight against Russia.
About Kamikaze Drones:
- A loitering munition (also known as a suicide drone or kamikaze drone) is a weapon system category in which the munition loiters (waits passively) around the target area for some time and attacks only once a target is located.
- Loitering munitions enable faster reaction times against concealed or hidden targets that emerge for short periods without placing high-value platforms close to the target area, and also allow more selective targeting as the attack can easily be aborted.
- Loitering munitions lie between cruise missiles and unmanned combat aerial vehicles (UCAVs), sharing characteristics with both.
- They differ from cruise missiles in that they are designed to loiter for a relatively long time around the target area, and from UCAVs in that a loitering munition is intended to be expended in an attack and has a built-in warhead.
- Loitering weapons first emerged in the 1980s for use in the Suppression of Enemy Air Defenses (SEAD) role against surface-to-air missiles (SAMs).
Context- “Extinction” is the buzz word at the ongoing meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Geneva, where delegates from 190 countries are finalising a global plan to stop the biodiversity loss (March 14-29, 2022).
- Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CoP15, CBD) is to take place in Kunming, China.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) will hold three meetings concurrently that “are critical to developing an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework (GBF)”.
- The CBD’s two subsidiary bodies, the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA) and the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI) will convene, along with the Open-ended Working Group on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework (WG2020).
Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD):
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), a legally binding treaty to conserve biodiversity.
- The Convention on Biological Diversity (a multilateral treaty) was opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 and entered into effect in 1993. It has two supplementary agreements, the Cartagena Protocol and Nagoya Protocol.
- It has been in force since 1993.
- It has 3 main objectives:
- The conservation of biological diversity.
- The sustainable use of the components of biological diversity.
- The fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilization of genetic resources.
- The CBD Secretariat is based in Montreal, Canada and it operates under the United Nations Environment Programme.
- Only two member states of the United Nations are not Parties to the CBD, namely: the USA and the Vatican.
- The Parties (Countries) under Convention of Biodiversity, meet at regular intervals and these meetings are called Conference of Parties (COP).
- Supplementary agreement to the Convention include:
- Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
- It came into force on 11th September 2003.
- The Protocol seeks to protect biological diversity from the potential risks posed by living modified organisms resulting from modern biotechnology.
- The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (ABS) was adopted in 2010 in Nagoya, Japan at COP10.
- It entered into force on 12th October 2014.
- COP-10 also adopted a ten-year framework for action by all countries to save biodiversity. Officially known as “Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020”, it provided a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets collectively known as the Aichi Targets for biodiversity.
- Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.
Section: External Sector
Context- This is the first time since 2018 that the US central bank has raised borrowing costs. The Fed had kept interest rates near zero since March 2020 as the Covid-19 pandemic dealt blows to the US economy
- The US is the world’s biggest economy and the Fed the biggest central bank, and its decisions impact market behaviour around the world.
About Federal Reserve:
- The Federal Reserve System (also known as the Federal Reserve or simply the Fed) is the central banking system of the United States of America.
- It was created on December 23, 1913, with the enactment of the Federal Reserve Act.
- Over the years, events such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Great Recession during the 2000s have led to the expansion of the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve System.
- The Federal Reserve System is composed of several layers.
- It is governed by the presidentially-appointed board of governors or Federal Reserve Board (FRB).
- Twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks, located in cities throughout the nation, regulate and oversee privately owned commercial banks.
Subject: Defence & Security
Section: International organization
Context- President Joe Biden flatly called Russia’s Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” for the unfolding onslaught in Ukraine.
Who is a war criminal?
- The term applies to anyone who violates a set of rules adopted by world leaders known as the law of armed conflict.
- The rules govern how countries behave in times of war.
- Those rules have been modified and expanded over the past century, drawn from the Geneva Conventions in the aftermath of World War II and protocols added later.
- The rules are aimed at protecting people not taking part in fighting and those who can no longer fight, including civilians like doctors and nurses, wounded troops and prisoners of war. Treaties and protocols lay out who can be targeted and with what weapons. Certain weapons are prohibited, including chemical or biological agents.
What specific crimes make someone a war criminal?
- The so-called “grave breaches” of the conventions that amount to war crimes include
- willful killing
- extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity.
- Other war crimes include deliberately targeting civilians,
- using disproportionate force,
- using human shields and
- taking hostages.
- The International Criminal Court also prosecutes crimes against humanity committed in the context of “a widespread or systematic attack directed against any civilian population.” These include murder, extermination, forcible transfer, torture, rape and sexual slavery.
What are the paths to justice?
- There are four paths to investigate and determine war crimes, though each one has limits.
- International Criminal Court
- United Nations
- tribunal or court by a group of interested or concerned states, such as NATO, the European Union and the U.S. Example: The military tribunals at Nuremberg following World War II against Nazi leaders.
- some countries have their own laws for prosecuting war crimes. Germany, for example, is already investigating Putin.
*** For further reading on Geneva Convention refer to Optimize IAS DPN 13 March 2022
Section: International Organisation
Context- Indian judge at ICJ votes to seek end of Russia war on Ukraine.
- Justice Dalveer Bhandari, whose election to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was hailed as a major diplomatic victory by the government, has voted with 12 other judges including those from US, France and Germany at the global court which asked Russia to suspend its invasion of Ukraine.
- The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
- It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations and began work in April 1946.
- The court is the successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice (PCIJ), which was brought into being through, and by, the League of Nations.
- After World War II, the League of Nations and PCIJ were replaced by the United Nations and ICJ respectively.
- The PCIJ was formally dissolved in April 1946, and its last president, Judge José Gustavo Guerrero of El Salvador, became the first president of the ICJ.
Seat and role:
- The ICJ is based at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
- It is the only one of the six principal organs of the UN that is not located in New York City.
- (The other five organs are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, and the Secretariat.)
- All members of the UN are automatically parties to the ICJ statute, but this does not automatically give the ICJ jurisdiction over disputes involving them.
- The ICJ gets jurisdiction only if both parties consent to it.
- The judgment of the ICJ is final and technically binding on the parties to a case.
- There is no provision of appeal; it can at the most, be subject to interpretation or, upon the discovery of a new fact, revision.
- However, the ICJ has no way to ensure compliance of its orders, and its authority is derived from the willingness of countries to abide by them.
Judges of the court:
- The ICJ has 15 judges who are elected to nine-year terms by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, which vote simultaneously but separately.
- To be elected, a candidate must receive a majority of the votes in both bodies.
- A third of the court is elected every three years.
- The president and vice-president of the court are elected for three-year terms by secret ballot. Judges are eligible for re-election.
- Four Indians have been members of the ICJ so far.
- Justice Dalveer Bhandari, former judge of the Supreme Court, has been serving at the ICJ since 2012. Others being R S Pathak (1989-91), Nagendra Singh (1973-88), Sir Benegal Rau (1952-53).
India at the ICJ:
- India has been a party to a case at the ICJ on six occasions, four of which have involved Pakistan.
- They are:
- Right of Passage over Indian Territory (Portugal v. India, culminated 1960);
- Appeal Relating to the Jurisdiction of the ICAO Council (India v. Pakistan, culminated 1972);
- Trial of Pakistani Prisoners of War (Pakistan v. India, culminated 1973);
- Aerial Incident of 10 August 1999 (Pakistan v. India, culminated 2000);
- Obligations concerning Negotiations relating to Cessation of the Nuclear Arms Race and to Nuclear Disarmament (Marshall Islands v. India, culminated 2016); and
- (Kulbhushan) Jadhav (India v. Pakistan, culminated 2019).
Read More for ICC VS ICJ
Context- Jharkhand Governor Ramesh Bais returned the Prevention of Mob Violence and Mob Lynching Bill, 2021, passed by the state assembly in December last year, with two objections.
- The first objection reads, “Section 2: Sub section-I, Sub Clause-xii deals with ‘Witness Protection Scheme’ (in the English version of the Bill). This clause-xii is missing in the Hindi version of the Bill. This needs to be rectified/ corrected by the State Government so that there is a symmetry in both the versions of the Bill.”
- The second objection suggests, “There is a need to reconsider the definition of ‘mob’ as given in Section 2(vi) of the Bill, which is not in consonance or in line with the well-defined legal lexicon/glossary.
The Governor – Appointment:
- President of India appoints the Governor of State by warrant under his hand and seal for a five-year term.
- The Governor is not directly elected by the people, and neither is he elected indirectly by a special electoral college.
Qualifications: The Indian Constitution specifies two basic qualities for the selection of a Governor.
- He should be an Indian citizen.
- He must be at least 35 years old.
- Over time, the following conventions have emerged:
- He should be an outsider who does not reside in the state where he will be appointed.
- When appointing the Governor of a state, the President must consult with the state’s Chief Minister.
Constitutional Position: The provisions of Articles 154, 163, and 164 of the Constitution empower the constitutional post of Governor.
- Article 153 of the Indian Constitution mandates the appointment of a Governor in each state. The 7th Amendment to the Constitution however, allows for the appointment of the same person as Governor of two or more states.
- Article 154: The Governor shall have executive power over the state, which he shall exercise either directly or through officers subordinate to him in conformity with this Constitution.
- Article 163: There shall be a council of ministers, led by the Chief Minister, to assist and advise the Governor in the exercise of his powers, except when he is compelled to execute his functions at his discretion.
- Article 164: The council of ministers is collectively responsible to the state’s legislative assembly. This provision is the cornerstone of the state’s parliamentary system of governance.
- The Governor has the same Executive, Legislative, Financial, and Judicial authorities as the President of India. However, the Governor’s power is restricted in several ways compared to that of the President, as the Governor lacks the President’s military, diplomatic, and emergency authorities.
Powers of Governor with regard to assent to Bills:
- Article 200 of the Indian Constitution deals with the powers of the Governor with regard to assent given to bills passed by the State legislature and other powers of the Governor such as reserving the bill for the President’s consideration.
- Article 201 pertains to ‘Bills Reserved for Consideration’.
- The Governor of India enjoys absolute veto, suspensive veto (except on money bills) but not the pocket veto.
- The governor is empowered to reserve certain types of bills passed by the state legislature for the consideration of the President. Then, the Governor will not have any further role in the enactment of the bill.
Section: Inflation and Unemployment
Retail inflation for farm workers and rural labourers rose to 5.59 per cent and 5.94 per cent respectively in February, mainly due to higher prices of certain food items.
- Labour Bureau has been compiling CPI Numbers for Agricultural Labourers since September, 1964.The base of CPI(AL) was 1960-61=100.
- This series of CPI Numbers was then replaced by CPI for (i) Agricultural and (ii) Rural Labourers with base 1986-87=100 from November, 1995 onwards.
- CPI for Agricultural and Rural labourers on base 1986-87=100 is a weighted average of 20 constituent state indices and it measures the extent of change in the retail prices of goods and services consumed by the agricultural and rural labourers as compared with the base period viz 86-87. This index is released on the 20th of the succeeding month.
- CPI-AL is basically used for revising minimum wages for agricultural labour in different States.
How the CPI-AL compares with CPI-RL?
While the retail prices utilized in the compilation of CPI-AL and CPI-RL are same, the weights are different due to the difference in coverage of the two series. The coverage of CPI-AL is confined to households of the agricultural labourers whereas the CPI-RL is CPI-AL covers the households of rural labourers which include agricultural labourers households also.
How the Rural Labour Households and Agricultural Labour Householdsare have been defined?
i) Rural Labour Households
Rural Labour Households are those households whose income, during the last 365 days, was more from wage paid manual labour (agricultural and/or non-agricultural) than either from paid non-manual employment or from self- employment.
ii) Agricultural Labour households
The rural labour households, who derive 50 per cent or more of their total income from wage paid manual labour in agricultural activities, are treated as agricultural labour households.
For how many states indices for CPI-AL/RL are compiled and how were they selected?
Indices for CPI-AL/RL are compiled separately for each of the 20 States which were selected on the basis of the proportion of agriculture labour/rural labour in respective states.
How all-India index is compiled?
The all-India index is worked out as a weighted average of the indices of 20 States, weights being the estimated consumption expenditure of all rural and agricultural labour households in each State as a proportion of corresponding expenditure for all-India.
What are the weights assigned to each state?
Wage Rates in Rural India
When was the collection and compilation of wage rates started?
The wage rate data are collected since 1986-87, their compilation and publication however were started from April, 1998 on regular basis.
What wage rates are collected by the Labour Bureau and how the average wage rates are worked out?
The wage rates collected by the Bureau are the prevailing wage rates in different villages of the respective states and are averaged to arrive at State and All-India level average wage rate. To arrive at the State level average wage rates, the daily wage rate data received from the different villages are first normalized for eight hours working day and then the simple arithmetic average of these normalized daily wage rates is worked out. State-wise averages are however restricted to those occupations where the number of quotations are five or more in order to avoid inconsistency in wages paid to different categories of workers on account of difference in number of quotations.
The average wage rates at all-India level are derived by dividing the sum total of wages of all the 20 states by the number of quotations. At all-India level also, the number of quotations for working out occupation-wise averages are restricted to five or more.
What are the occupations for which wage rates are compiled?
The average daily wage rate data was collected for 11 agricultural and 7 non-agricultural occupations till October, 2013. However, following the recommendations of the Working Group constituted by the CSO on advice of the National Statistical Commission, wage rate is now being collected for 25 occupations(12 agricultural and 13 non-agricultural) as given below:
What are the reports being compiled and published by the Labour Bureau based on Rural Labour Enquiry?
The following five analytical reports are compiled and published by the Labour Bureau on quinquennial basis:
- Employment and Unemployment of the Rural Labour Households;
- Wages and Earnings of the Rural Labour Households;
- Indebtedness among the Rural Labour Households;
- General Characteristics of the Rural Labour Households; and
- Consumption Expenditure of the Rural Labour Households.
Subject: International relations
Section: International Organisation
Context: India negotiating FTAs
- Article 24 is a provision of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
- The GATT is a World Trade Organisation (WTO)agreement aimed at reducing tariffs and other barriers to trade in goods across the world.
- Ordinarily, under WTO rules, tariffs and other barriers applied to goods coming from other countries must be the same for all WTO members. This is known as the most-favoured nation principle.
- However, the GATT provides several means for members to negotiate agreements among themselves to reduce barriers selectively without having to apply the same benefits to all WTO members: one of these is Article 24.
- Its main purpose is to ensure that barriers are not raised to other WTO members because of these agreements. In principle, Article 24 also allows members to reach ‘interim’ agreements so they can offer preferential treatment prior to the implementation of a full agreement.
- The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade(GATT) is a legal agreement between many countries, whose overall purpose was to promote international trade by reducing or eliminating trade barriers such as tariffs or quotas.
- It was signed by 23 nations in Geneva on October 30th, 1947, and was applied on a provisional basis January 1st, 1948.
- It remained in effect until January 1st, 1995, when the World Trade Organization(WTO) was established after agreement by 123 nations in Marrakesh on April 15th, 1994, as part of the Uruguay Round
- The WTO is the successor to the GATT, and the original GATT text (GATT 1947) is still in effect under the WTO framework, subject to the modifications of GATT 1994.
The WTO’s creation on 1 January 1995 marked the biggest reform of international trade since the end of the Second World War. Whereas the GATT mainly dealt with trade in goods, the WTO and its agreements also cover trade in services and intellectual property. The birth of the WTO also created new procedures for the settlement of disputes.
Functions of WTO:
- Trade negotiations
- Implementation and monitoring
- Dispute settlement
- Building trade capacity
In 2020, the WTO marked its 25th anniversary.
Subject: Defence and Security
Context: The US is sending Ukraine a surface-to-air missile, also known as MANPADS, which will help Ukraine to fight Russiafrom dominating the air space.
- MANPADS are “short-range surface-to-air missiles used to intercept fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft in flight.”
- They are deployed for air defence.
- They are designed to be fired while mounted on a person’s shoulder or a tripod.
- The first MANPADS developed by the US and Soviet Union were called the ‘Redeye’ and ‘Strela’ systems respectively in the 1960s.
- An updated version, the ‘Stinger’, was released in 1970s by the US. They can be used to shoot down aircraft and drones. They were provided to Mujahideen in Afghanistan to fight Soviet aircraft in the 1980s.
- Currently, around 20 countries, including the US, UK, Russia, Sweden, North Korea, Poland, and others, produce MANPADS.
- Three general types of MANPADS: command line of sight, laser guided, and infra-red seekers.
- Command line-of-sight MANPADS are guided to their targets through the use of a remote control.
- Laser-guided or laser beam rider MANPADS follow a laser projected onto the target.
- The most common MANPADS, however, are infrared seekers that acquire their target by detecting the heat of an aircraft’s engine. E.g., Stingers – made by the US – have an infrared seeker which detects the target through its radiation emissions. Another example of such missiles is the Russian Igla-S.
- They have very long shelf life e., it can remain functional for up to 20 years.
- Concerns include illicit proliferation which land up in the hands of terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda, unaccounted stockpile as in Iraq after Saddam Hussein’s fall and attacks on civilians thereby claiming thousands of lives.
Context: There have been a string of resignations at Visva-Bharati University in the backdrop of relentless agitation by a section of students on campus.
Visva- Bharati University:
- It is a public central university and an Institution of National Importance located in Shantiniketan, West Bengal, India.
- It was founded by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 who called it “Visva-Bharati”, which means ‘the communion of the world with India’.
- Until independence it was a college. Soon after independence, the institution was given the status of a central university in 1951 by an act of the Parliament.
- At Visva-Bharati, if a course demanded by a student is not available, then the university will design a course and bring teachers for that course.
- The university would not be bothered by the consideration of whether there is a demand for the course.
- Rabindranath Tagore was a Bengali poet, novelist, and painter, who was born in Calcutta on May 7, 1861 and was highly influential in introducing Indian culture to the west.
- He was also referred to as ‘Gurudev’, ‘Kabiguru’, and ‘Biswakabi’.
- He was the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize for his work on Gitanjali in 1913.
- In 1915, Tagore was awarded knighthood by the British King George V. However, in 1919, following the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre he renounced his Knighthood.
- Rabindranath Tagore was a good friend of Mahatma Gandhi and is said to have given him the title of Mahatma.
- He not only gave the national anthems for two countries, India and Bangladesh, but also inspired a Ceylonese student of his, to pen and compose the national anthem of Sri Lanka.
- Tagore believed in open-air education and had reservations about any teaching done within four walls. This was due to his belief that walls represent the conditioning of the mind.
- Tagore did not have a good opinion about the Western method of education introduced by the British in India; on this subject, Tagore and Gandhiji’s opinion matched.
- So, he devised a new system of learning in Visva-Bharati which allowed students to continue their course till the student and his teacher both are satisfied.