Daily Prelims Notes 2 May 2021
- May 2, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
2 May 2021
Table Of Contents
- RAJYA SABHA ELECTION CONTROVERSY
- BIO SAFETY LEVELS
- ARTICLE 311 (2) (C)
- JAIPUR SENIA GHARANA
- VARIANTS OF CONCERN
- P 8I PATROL AIRCRAFT
- PUTOLA NACH
- XYLOPHIS DEEPAKI
- POLAR WANDER
- STATE DISASTER RESPONSE FUND (SDRF)
- MODERNA VACCINE
- PUBLIC BUILDINGS AND FIRE SAFETY
Context: Kerala RS polls: After Govt nudge, EC broke 25-yr tradition until HC stepped in.
- On March 23, a day before the Rajya Sabha elections were set to be notified, the Union Law Ministry wrote to the EC that since voting in Kerala would end April 6, holding Rajya Sabha elections on April 12 (before the results on May 2) “may not reflect the will of the people.”
- Just a day after the Union Law Ministry made its suggestion, the Election Commission reversed its own order and went against a 25-year tradition to suspend elections to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala.
- That controversial move was rejected by the Kerala High Court and the three members were elected unopposed on April 23.
Process of Rajya Sabha Election
- The representatives of the States and of the Union Territories in the Rajya Sabha are elected by the method of indirect election.
- The representatives of each State and two Union territories are elected by the elected members of the Legislative Assembly of that State and by the members of the Electoral College for that Union Territory, as the case may be, in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
- The Rajya Sabha seat quota for each state is fixed as per Schedule 4 of the constitution. Elections to 1/3 of these seats occur every 2 years
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Haffkine to sign MoU with Bharat Biotech for sharing technology. On April 28, the Maharashtra government had approved Rs 94 crore for the construction and setting up of a bio safety level 3 facility in Haffkine’sParel premises.
Different Biosafety Levels
- Biosafety Level 1: It is applied to the laboratories where the work is carried out with very low-risk microbes that do not cause any infection in the adults. One such non-infectious strain is E.coli.
- Biosafety Level 2: It is applied to the laboratories where work is carried out with moderately pathogenic organisms. Agents worked in biosafety level 2 include HIV, encephalitis virus.
- Biosafety Level 3: The pathogens that can cause serious health hazards are worked under biosafety level 3.
- Biosafety Level 4: The biosafety level 4 laboratory works with the microbes Ebola and Marburg virus that are usually fatal and have no treatment or vaccines.
Context: In the first such order, a J&K government teacher, who in the police records is a Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) supporter, was terminated from his services without holding any inquiry “in the interest of the security of the State”.
- The J&K government has constituted a Special Task Force (STF) for identifying and scrutinising the government employees who are involved in any cases related to posing threat to the security or anti-national activities.
- STF will scrutinise cases of employees suspected of activities requiring action under Article 311(2)(C) of the Constitution.
Under provisons of Article 311 (2)(c):
- Where the President is satisfied that the retention of a person in public service is prejudicial to the security of the State, his services can be terminated without recourse to the normal procedure prescribed in Article 311 (2).
- The satisfaction referred to in the proviso is the subjective satisfaction of the President about the expediency of not giving an opportunity to the employee concerned in the interest of the security of the State.
- This clause does not require that reasons for the satisfaction should be recorded in writing.
- That indicates that the power given to the President is unfettered and cannot be made a justifiable issue, as that would amount to substituting the satisfaction of the court in place of the satisfaction of the President.
Safeguards to civil servants:
- Article 311(1) : It says that a civil servant cannot be dismissed or removed by any authority subordinate to the authority by which he was appointed.
- Article 311(2): It says that a civil servant cannot be removed or dismissed or reduced in rank unless he has been given a reasonable opportunity to show cause against action proposed to be taken against him.
Context: Sitar exponent Pt Debu Chaudhuri, torchbearer of the Jaipur-Seniagharana, was a self-made artiste whose impeccable technique and melodious presentations will always be remembered
- The word “Senia” is related to Tansen, the father of Indian Classical Music. The word “Gharana” implies a style of music.
- The followers of Tansen’s school of music are widely known as the followers of “Seniagharana” (i.e. “Seniya” style/school of music).
- The followers of this “gharana” may either be related with the family of Tansen or by the age old tradition of “Guru–Shishyaparampara” (teacher to student relation).
- Tansen was a vocalist but this tradition has also produced great Sitar Maestros.
- The “Senia” style of Sitar playing started with the legendary great master of Sitar, UstadMaseet Sen from the family of Tansen, the originator of “Maseetkhani” style.
- On the basis of scanti records available, Maseet Sen, emerges as a direct descendent in the sixth generation from MianTansen Even today, after many hundred years, the famous “MaseetkhaniBaaj” is still played by the traditional Sitar players of India.
- The Sitar players of “SeniaGharana” were, at a later stage known as the sitarists of “Jaipur-SeniaGharana”.
- One of the greatest Maestro’s of this “Gharana” was UstadBarkatUllah Khan of Jaipur, known as “Aftab–e-Sitar”, who made this instrument more popular and had no parallel to him.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: In many countries, including India, the VOC, by virtue of increased transmissibility, have kicked off new wave(s) of epidemic transmission.
- The term variant of concern (VOC) is a category used during the initial assessment of a newly emerged variant of a virus. Before this, an emerging variant may have been labeled a “variant of interest”.
- During or after fuller assessment as a “variant of concern” the variant is typically assigned to a lineage in the PANGOLIN nomenclature system and to clades in the Nextstrain and GISAID systems.
- There are three different schemes of nomenclature of SARS-CoV-2 variants.
- The widely used one is the ‘Phylogenetic Assignment of Global Outbreak Lineages’ (PANGOLIN) that uses a hierarchical system based on genetic relatedness – an invaluable tool for genomic surveillance.
- For convenience, the three most frequent ones are named by their geography of origin — ‘U.K. variant’ for B.1.1.7; ‘South Africa variant’ for B.1.351; and ‘Brazil variant’ for P.1.
- Variants in India include the so-called double mutant B.1.617 spreading in Maharashtra and B.1.618 spreading in West Bengal.
- During the pandemic, the virus Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was observed to mutate, with certain combinations of specific point mutations proving to be more concerning than others.
- This was principally for reasons of transmissibility and virulence, and also with regard to the possible emergence of escape mutations.
Context: Recently, the Biden Administration has notified the Congress of its determination to sell six P-8I patrol aircraft to India for an estimated cost of USD 2.42 billion.
- The Indian Navy had procured eight P-8I aircraft from Boeing in January 2009 via direct commercial sale and contracted for an additional four aircraft in July 2016.
- The first P-8I aircraft were delivered to the Indian Navy in 2013, providing critical capabilities to coalition maritime operations.\
P-8I Patrol Aircraft
- It is a long-range, multi-mission maritime patrol aircraft offered by Boeing for the Indian Navy.
- It replaced the ageing fleet of the Indian Navy’s Tupolev Tu-142 aircraft.
- The P-8I aircraft is a variant of the P-8A Poseidon multi-mission maritime aircraft (MMA) operated by the US Navy.
- The aircraft is equipped with a CAE AN/ASQ-508A magnetic anomaly detection (MAD) system, APS-143C (V) 3 multimode radar and a global version of the Raytheon APY-10 surveillance radar.
- The APY-10 radar provides precise information in all-weather, day and night missions.
- The P-8I aircraft can fly at a maximum speed of 789km/h and can reach a maximum altitude of 12,496m.
Context: The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an Assam-based trust the opportunity to focus on a near-forgotten form of string puppetry called PutolaNach.
- The string puppetry of Assam is called PutalaNach and is performed in three areas with distinct characteristics.
- These areas are Barpeta-Nalbari in western Assam, Kalaigaon in northern Assam and Majuli “island” in eastern Assam.
- The Ramayana, either in its entirety or by episodes, is performed, as well as scenes from the Mahabharata. The puppeteers are happy to add dialogues or chants taken from bhaona, the local traditional theatre.
Context: Herpetologist Deepak Veerappan has a snake named after him.
- In the first four months of 2021, the Western Ghats presented new butterflies, frogs, fruit flies, and even a freshwater crab.
- Joining the list is a tiny snake of just 20 cm length with iridescent scales – Xylophisdeepaki, first stumbled upon in a coconut plantation in Kanyakumari, is now reported to be an endemic species of Tamil Nadu and has been sighted in a few locations in the southern part of the Western Ghats.
- The species is named in honour of Indian herpetologist Deepak Veerappan for his contribution in erecting a new subfamily Xylophiinae to accommodate wood snakes.
- The team suggests the common name Deepak’s wood snake.
- Wood snakes are harmless, sub-fossorial and often found while digging soil in farms and under the logs in the Western Ghat forests.
- They feed on earthworms and possibly other invertebrates.
- Interestingly, their close relatives are found in northeast India and Southeast Asia and are known to be arboreal.
Context: Global warming and melting glaciers could have redistributed the global water fronts to such an extent that they have redefined the ‘polar wander’ or the drifting of the Earth’s axis, finds a study published in Geophysical Research Letters.
- Polar wander is the motion of a pole in relation to some reference frame.
- It can be used, for example, to measure the degree to which Earth’s magnetic poles have been observed to move relative to the Earth’s rotation axis.
- True polar wander represents the shift in the geographical poles relative to Earth’s surface, after accounting for the motion of the tectonic plates.
- This motion is caused by the rearrangement of the mantle and the crust in order to align the maximum inertia with the current rotation axis.
- This is the situation with the lowest kinetic energy for the given, unchanging, angular momentum of the earth, and is attained as kinetic energy is dissipated due to the non-rigidity of the earth.
Subject: Disaster Management
Context: As a special dispensation, the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance at the recommendation of Ministry of Home Affairs has released in advance of the normal schedule the 1st instalment of the Central Share of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) for the year 2021-22 to all the States. An amount of Rs.8873.6 crore has been released to the States.
- Normally, the first instalment of SDRF is released in the month of June as per the recommendations of the Finance Commission.
- However, in relaxation of normal procedure, not only has the release of SDRF been advanced, the amount has also been released without waiting for the utilization certificate of the amount provided to the States in the last financial year.
- Up to 50% of the amount released i.e. Rs.4436.8 crore can be used by the States for COVID-19 containment measures. The funds from SDRF may be used by the States for various measures related to containment of COVID-19.
State Disaster Response Fund
- The State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF), constituted under Section 48 (1) (a) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters.
- The Central Government contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States/UTs and 90% for special category States/UTs (NE States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).
Subject: Science & tech
Context: The World Health Organization has given the go-ahead for emergency use of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.
- The mRNA vaccine from the U.S. manufacturer joins vaccines from AstraZeneca, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson in receiving the WHO’s emergency use listing.
- Similar approvals for China’s Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are expected in the coming days and weeks.
mRNA 1273 :
- mRNA-1273 is the working name of Moderna’s vaccine. It is currently under the aegis of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), a part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).
- The mRNA means the messenger RNA. This carries the carries the genetic formula for the coding of a specific protein.
- The mRNA is a molecule that genetically encodes a set of instructions, based on which cells make proteins and send them to various parts of the body.
- Vaccines based on mRNA technology take advantage of normal biological processes of the body to create the desired therapeutic effect.
Context: Over the past year, there have been deadly fires in hospital buildings, including those treating COVID-19 patients.
- The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) says 330 people died in commercial building fires in 2019, while fatalities for residential or dwelling buildings were much higher at 6,329.
- Electrical faults are cited as the leading cause of fires but State governments are widely criticized for being lax with building safety laws and for failing to equip public buildings with modern technology.
- Hospital ICUs (intensive care units) are a great fire risk because they are oxygen-suffused, and need to meet high standards.
- Part 4 of the National Building Code of India deals with Fire and Life Safety.
- The document provides specifications and guidelines for design and materials that reduce the threat of destructive fires. Hospitals come under the institutional category in the code.