Daily Prelims Notes 2 January 2022
- January 2, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
2 January 2022
Table Of Contents
- India appeals against WTO dispute panel ruling
- Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu
- Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement
- FCRA Registration
- Mushroom Farming
- Sunderbans Tiger Reserve (STR)
- Hate Speech
- Corbevax and Covovax
Subject – Economy
Context – India appeals against WTO dispute panel ruling on sugar export subsidies at appellate body
- India has appealed against a ruling of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel which ruled that the country’s domestic support measures for sugar and sugarcane are inconsistent with global trade norms.
- The appeal was filed by India in the WTO’s Appellate Body, which is the final authority on such trade disputes.
- The panel in its ruling on December 14, 2021 recommended India to withdraw its alleged prohibited subsidies under the Production Assistance, the Buffer Stock, and the Marketing and Transportation Schemes within 120 days from the adoption of this report.
- Ruling in favour of Brazil, Australia and Guatemala in their trade dispute against India over New Delhi’s sugar subsidies, the WTO panel has stated that the support measures are inconsistent with WTO trade rules.
- In 2019, Brazil, Australia and Guatemala dragged India into the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism alleging that New Delhi’s domestic support measures to producers of sugarcane and sugar and export subsidies are inconsistent with global trade rules including various provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures, and the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT).
- Brazil is the largest producer and exporter of sugar in the world. India is the world’s second largest sugar producer after Brazil.
- According to WTO rules, a WTO member or members can file a case in the Geneva-based multilateral body if they feel that a particular trade measure is against the norms of the WTO. Bilateral consultation is the first step to resolve a dispute.
- If both the sides are not able to resolve the matter through consultation, either can approach for the establishment of a dispute settlement panel.
- The panel’s ruling or report can be challenged at the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body.
To know about Agreement on Agriculture at WTO, please refer September 2021 DPN.
WTO Dispute Settlement
- WTO is an international body that also deals in Dispute Settlements.
- The member country will approach the WTO’s dispute settlement body when a country fails to comply with WTO rules.
- All the members are encouraged to settle the disputes through consultation or a panel if the consultation fails.
- The constituted panel will circulate the verdict of the dispute settlement amongst WTO members who can decide to reject the ruling.
- If the ruling is approved, the member country that violated the rules must change rules in line with the WTO Agreement.
- In the case of failure to do so, the complaining country and the violating country may determine a mutually-acceptable compensation, failing which, the complaining country may retaliate suitably.
WTO’s Appellate Body
- Appeals against the orders of DSB is taken to WTO Appellate Body.
- The Appellate Body, set up in 1995, is a standing committee of seven members that presides over appeals against judgments passed in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members.
- Countries involved in a dispute over measures purported to break a WTO agreement or obligation can approach the Appellate Body if they feel the report of the panel set up to examine the issue needs to be reviewed on points of law.
- However, existing evidence is not re-examined but legal interpretations are reviewed.
- The Appellate Body can uphold, modify, or reverse the legal findings of the panel that heard the dispute. Countries on either or both sides of the dispute can appeal.
- The Appellate Body has so far issued 152 reports. The reports, once adopted by the WTO’s dispute settlement body, are final and binding on the parties.
Subject – Geography
Context – 12 dead in stampede at Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu, Rs 12 lakh ex gratia declared for victims’ kin
Subject – IR
Context – India, Pak exchange list of nuclear installations
- India and Pakistan exchanged a list of their nuclear installations that cannot be attacked in case of an escalation in hostilities, as part of an annual ritual that has been in practice between the two neighbours for more than three decades.
- The lists of nuclear installation and facilities were exchanged as per the provisions of the Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities, signed on December 31, 1988 and ratified on 27 January 1991.
- According to this agreement, both countries have to inform each other of the nuclear facilities.
- The treaty was drafted in 1988, and signed by the Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her Indian counterpart, Rajiv Gandhi on 21 December 1988.
- The exchange is done each year on January 1, under the Agreement on the Prohibition of Attack against Nuclear Installations and Facilities, also referred to as the Non-Nuclear Aggression Agreement.
- The treaty provides a confidence-building security measure environment and refrained each party from “undertaking, encouraging, or participating indirectly or indirectly, any action aimed at causing destruction or damage to any nuclear installation or facility in each country”.
Subject – Governance
Context – Nearly 6,000 entities, including Jamia Millia Islamia and Oxfam India, lose FCRA licence
How the FCRA registration is granted?
- FCRA registration is granted to associations for a period of five years. Before expiry of registration, NGOs are supposed to apply for renewal of registration if they wish to continue receiving foreign funding.
- Even after an application is made, the Home Ministry reserves the right to reject the application in case it finds the NGO concerned violating FCRA.
- The registration is mandatory for associations and NGOs to receive foreign funds.
What is Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA)?
- Foreign funding of persons in India is regulated under FCRA Act and is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
- The Act ensures that the recipients of foreign contributions adhere to the stated purpose for which such contribution has been obtained.
- Under the Act, organisations are required to register/renew themselves every five years.
- Registered NGOs can receive foreign contributions for five purposes — social, educational, religious, economic and cultural.
Prior Reference Category under the Act
- It implies that to donate to such an NGO, a foreign donor has to take prior clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
Subject – Agriculture
Context – Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday released over ₹20,900 crore to more than 10.09 crore farmers across India as the 10th instalment of financial aid under the PM-KISAN scheme
- It is a Central Sector Scheme with 100% funding from the Government of India.
- It is being implemented by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- The entire responsibility of identification of beneficiary farmer families rests with the State / UT Governments.
- Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme, a financial benefit of ₹6,000 a year is provided to the eligible farmer families, payable in three equal instalments of ₹2,000.
- The money is transferred directly to the bank account of the beneficiaries.
- PM-KISAN scheme was announced in the February 2019 Budget.
- With a view to provide income support to all land holding eligible farmer families, the Government has launched PM-KISAN.
- The scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.
Benefits and Eligibility conditions
- All land holding eligible farmer families (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria) are to avail of the benefits under this scheme, as per the cabinet decision taken during May 2019.
The following categories of beneficiaries of higher economic status shall not be eligible for benefit under the scheme:
- All Institutional Land holders.
- Farmer families in which one or more of its members belong to following categories
- Former and present holders of constitutional posts
- Former and present Ministers/ State Ministers and former/present Members of Lok Sabha/ Rajya Sabha/ State Legislative Assemblies/ State Legislative Councils, former and present Mayors of Municipal Corporations, former and present Chairpersons of District Panchayats.
- All serving or retired officers and employees of Central/ State Government Ministries /Offices/Departments and its field units Central or State PSEs and Attached offices /Autonomous Institutions under Government as well as regular employees of the Local Bodies (Excluding Multi Tasking Staff /Class IV/Group D employees)
- All superannuated/retired pensioners whose monthly pension is Rs.10,000/-or more (Excluding Multi Tasking Staff / Class IV/Group D employees) of above category
- All Persons who paid Income Tax in last assessment year
- Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants, and Architects registered with Professional bodies and carrying out profession by undertaking practices.
PM-KISAN Mobile App
- The PM-KISAN Mobile App developed and designed by the National Informatics Centre in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has been launched.
- The farmers can view the status of their application, update or carry out corrections of their Aadhaar cards and also check the history of credits to their bank accounts.
Subject – Agriculture
Context – Bengal’s jobless tea workers turn to mushroom farming
- India only accounts for about 2% of the world’s mushroom production, as the lion’s share is with China which accounts for over 75% of global production.
- Mushroom cultivation starts in November, which is soon after the floods, and continues till the first week of March. By December, the farmer starts earning from the cultivation.
- For the rest of the year, the community has some savings from mushrooms and the daily wage work to fall back on.
- Mushroom belonging to fungi species, is a nutritious vegetarian delicacy and a good source of high quality protein (20-35 per cent dry weight).
- Mushroom is consumed as delicacy and possesses several medicinal properties.
- Presently 3 varieties of mushroom are cultivated namely, Button mushroom, the paddy-straw mushroom and oyster mushroom.
- Button Mushroom species is mostly cultivated mushroom globally, contributing 35-40 per cent of the world production.
- Paddy straw mushrooms can grow in temperatures ranging from 35 – 40 Degree Celcius.
- Oyster mushrooms on the other hand are grown in the northern plains while button mushrooms grow during the winter season.
- All these mushrooms of commercial importance are grown by different methods and techniques. Mushrooms are grown in special beds known as compost beds.
Subject – Environment
Context – On New Year, fourth incident of a tiger straying into the islands
- Sundarban is the largest deltaic region of the world and encompasses over hundreds of islands (105), with a maze of innumerable rivers, rivulets, and creeks.
- The name ‘Sundarban’ means “beautiful forest” and it is believed to be derived from a mangrove tree species ‘Sundari’ (Heritierafomes).
- The Indian Sundarban is the southernmost part of the estuarine delta formed by the River Ganges and Brahmaputra, bordering the Bay of Bengal.
- It is located little south of the Tropic of Cancer.
- The Dampier-Hodges line separates the Sundarbans from the rest of West Bengal.
- On the eastern boundary lies Bangladesh separated by the rivers Kalindi, Raimangal, and Harinbhanga.
Sundarban National Park
- The Sundarban National Park is located in the south-east of Calcutta in the District of West Bengal and forms part of the Gangetic Delta.
- The Sundarbans mangrove forest, one of the largest such forests in the world, lies across India and Bangladesh on the delta of the Ganges, Brahmaputra and Meghna rivers on the Bay of Bengal.
- It is adjacent to the border of India’s Sundarbans World Heritage site inscribed in 1987.
- The site is intersected by a complex network of tidal waterways, mudflats and small islands of salt-tolerant mangrove forests, and presents an excellent example of ongoing ecological processes.
- The area is known for its wide range of fauna, including 260 bird species, the Bengal tiger and other threatened species such as the estuarine crocodile and the Indian python.
- It is home to many rare and globally threatened wildlife species such as the estuarine crocodile, Royal Bengal Tiger, Water monitor lizard, Gangetic dolphin, and olive ridley turtles.
- Sundarban Wetland, India was recognised as the ‘Wetland of International Importance’ under the Ramsar Convention in January 2019.
- The Sunderbans Delta is the only mangrove forest in the world inhabited by tigers.
Subject – Polity
Context – A recent religious conclave held in Haridwar witnessed inflammatory and provocative speeches by proponents of Hindutva, many of them leaders of religious organisations
- There is no specific legal definition of ‘hate speech’.
- Provisions in law criminalise speeches, writings, actions, signs and representations that foment violence and spread disharmony between communities and groups and these are understood to refer to ‘hate speech’.
- The Law Commission of India, in its 267th Report, says: “Hate speech generally is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief and the like …
- Thus, hate speech is any word written or spoken, signs, visible representations within the hearing or sight of a person with the intention to cause fear or alarm, or incitement to violence.”
- In general, hate speech is considered a limitation on free speech that seeks to prevent or bar speech that exposes a person or a group or section of society to hate, violence, ridicule or indignity.
- Sections 153A and 505 of the Indian Penal Code are generally taken to be the main penal provisions that deal with inflammatory speeches and expressions that seek to punish ‘hate speech’.
- The Law Commission has proposed that separate offences be added to the IPC to criminalise hate speech quite specifically instead of being subsumed in the existing sections concerning inflammatory acts and speeches.
- Similar proposals to add sections to the IPC to punish acts and statements that promote racial discrimination or amount to hate speech have been made by the P. Bezbaruah Committee and the T.K. Viswanathan Committee.
- At present, the Committee for Reforms in Criminal Laws, which is considering more comprehensive changes to criminal law, is examining the issue of having specific provisions to tackle hate speech.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – India has approved two more vaccines, Corbevax and Covovax, under emergency use authorisation, as well as an antiviral drug, Molnupiravir, to fight against COVID-19
- Corbevax is a protein sub-unit vaccine co-developed by Hyderabad-based Biological E, Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, U.S., and American company Dynavax Technologies.
- A protein sub-unit vaccine is made by isolating a piece of the actual virus.
- As fragments are used, there is no danger that these will multiply within the body. These pieces are expected to trigger an immune response that, hopefully, will stymie future infection.
- As only a small part of the virus —in the case of Corbevax the spike protein is the piece— is exposed to the immune system, only antibodies specific to the spike protein are expected to be produced and is therefore, less likely to trigger adverse reactions.
- The vaccine can be stored in ordinary refrigerators.
- Covovax is produced by the Serum Institute of India under licence from Novavax, a U.S.-based biotechnology company.
- Covovax has been approved by the World Health Organization under its Emergency Use Listing and therefore will also be available globally as part of the COVAX initiative.
- It is similar to protein sub-unit vaccines and differs from, say Corbevax, in how the spike protein is produced.
- In Corbevax, the spike protein is grown typically in yeast cells whereas in Covovax, spike proteins are grown in moth cells.
- A nanoparticle formula is used to make it resemble the structure of the coronavirus spike protein to stimulate the immune response. This also needs an adjuvant and booster shots.
- Molnupiravir is said to be a promising drug for those with mild and moderate disease and can also be easily administered as a pill.
- Thirteen companies in India are set to manufacture this drug.
- It has been approved for use under emergency use authorisation for treating adults with COVID-19 “who have high risk of progression to disease.”