Daily Prelims Notes 20 November 2023
- November 20, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
20 November 2023
Table Of Contents
- IMA, nurses’ association honoured with Indira Gandhi Peace Prize
- Steering road safety in India back onto the right lane
- Chimaeras – hosts to multiple genotypes, and maybe human organs
- Shipping Ministry looks to push sea plane ops in Andaman, Lakshadweep
- Measures on to expand cultivation of GI-tagged Onattukara sesame
- Freemartins: black sheep among the cattle
- India is adopting advanced sewage wastewater treatment tech, but must choose those that best meet local needs
- 43% increase in measles deaths from 2021-2022: WHO
- NPCI – India’s Fintech Giant
- Request for Authorization of More Ports for Explosive Exports
- The role of the Governor in legislature
- What is the BDS movement
Subject : Polity
Section: National body
- The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development, 2022 was, on Sunday, jointly awarded to the Indian Medical Association and the Trained Nurses Association of India as representatives of the COVID19 warriors in the country.
- Indian Medical Association (IMA) is the largest represented organisation of doctors of the modern system of medicine in India which looks after the interests of doctors as well as the wellbeing of the community at large.
- It has a membership of 3.5 lakh doctors spread over in 28 State Branches, 5 Union territorial Branches and 1702 local branches in almost all the districts of India.
- To promote and advance medical and allied sciences in all their different branches and to promote the improvement of public health and medical education in India.
- To maintain the honour and dignity and to uphold the interest of the medical profession and to promote co-operation amongst the members thereof;
- To work for the abolition of compartmentalism in medical education, medical services and registration in the country and this to achieve equality among all members of the profession.
About Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace Disarmament, and Development
- The Indira Gandhi Prize or the Indira Gandhi Peace Prize or Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development is a prestigious award presented annually by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust.
- The Prize is presented to individuals or organisations in honour of innovative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order; ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom.
- The prize carries a cash award of 2.5 million Indian rupees and a medal.
- The recipients are chosen by a panel from a pool of national and international nominees.
- The panel constituted by the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust consists of prominent national and international personalities including previous recipients.
Subject : Schemes
- Recently, World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims was commemorated on November 19 to provide a platform for road traffic victims and their families to remember, support and act, such figures should serve as a wakeup call to all of us. We need immediate, coordinated and evidence based interventions to boost road safety and drastically reduce the daily human tragedies behind the alarming statistics.
Some facts of Road accidents in India:
- In India, road crashes are estimated to cost between 5% and 7% of national GDP.
- Road safety is a global problem, with 1.3 million people killed in road crashes every year.
- But almost one in every four road deaths around the world takes place in India.
- Last week, the Government released a report that 2022 was the most fatal year for traffic crashes in India.
Focus areas for better safety
- Priority areas must include enforcing the use of seatbelts not just for drivers but also for their passengers. Wearing a seatbelt reduces the risk of death among drivers and front seat occupants by upto 50%, and among rear seat occupants by 25%.
- Similarly, helmet use must be enforced among motorcyclists as well as their pillion passengers. Correct helmet use can lead to a 42% reduction in the risk of fatal injuries. Indeed, vulnerable road users, who include pedestrians, cyclists and the riders of two wheelers, account for almost three quarters of road deaths in India. And passengers unbelted in the back seat are not only risks to themselves upon impact but also to those in the front seat.
- Speeding must be reduced and there can be no tolerance for drink driving; a recent report by the Government revealed that speeding led to 70% of India’s road crash deaths.
- Road infrastructure should be enhanced — too many roads are not in a safe condition, although government programmes in recent years have led to rapid improvements.
- Large scale public awareness campaigns such as the new UN global campaign for road safety #MakeASafetyStatement, involving international celebrities, must be undertaken to secure behavioural changes.
- The call to action is not new. The Sustainable Development Goals, created in 2015, include a target (SDG 3.6) to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road crashes and a call (SDG 11.2) to make public transport safer, more affordable and more accessible to all. The good news is that we are already seeing steps in the right direction in India.
- The national government’s implementation of the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, and enhanced data collection from road crashes, are impactful measures that will help experts better understand where and why crashes are occurring, and, therefore, how to reduce them.
The UN helmet
- Police in the major cities, such as the capital, New Delhi, are adopting modern technologies such as intelligent traffic management systems to effectively regulate traffic flows in a much better way and minimise the potential for collision.
- To help increase access to safe helmets, the Special Envoy has worked with helmet producers to produce a low cost ventilated United Nations standard helmet, for under $20, including here in India.
- Your chances of surviving a road crash can vary enormously depending on what State you live in and what access you have to high quality emergency care services and proper aftercare.
- We also need to look increasingly at international best practices and successes and then adapt them to India’s specific needs and circumstances.
- Road safety is a complex and multidimensional challenge, but the benefits that come with addressing it can be equally profound. What we need is a comprehensive safe system approach as envisaged in the UN’s Second Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030, and full implementation of the MVA (Amendment) Act 2019.
What are the Initiatives Related to Road Safety?
- Brasilia Declaration on Road Safety (2015):
- The declaration was signed at the second Global High-Level Conference on Road Safety held in Brazil. India is a signatory to the Declaration.
- The countries plan to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 i.e. to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2030.
- Decade of Action for Road Safety 2021-2030:
- The UN General Assembly adopted resolution “Improving global road safety ” with the ambitious target of preventing at least 50% of road traffic deaths and injuries by 2030.
- The Global Plan aligns with the Stockholm Declaration, by emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to road safety.
- The International Road Assessment Programme (iRAP) :
- It is a registered charity dedicated to saving lives through safer roads.
- Motor Vehicles Amendment Act, 2019:
- The Act hikes the penalties for traffic violations, defective vehicles, juvenile driving, etc.
- It provides for a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund, which would provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
- It also provides for a National Road Safety Board, to be created by the Central Government.
- The Carriage by Road Act, 2007:
- The Act provides for the regulation of common carriers, limiting their liability and declaration of value of goods delivered to them to determine their liability for loss of, or damage to, such goods occasioned by the negligence or criminal acts of themselves, their servants or agents and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- The Control of National Highways (Land and Traffic) Act, 2000:
- The Act provides for the control of land within the National Highways, right of way and traffic moving on the National Highways and also for removal of unauthorized occupation thereon.
- National Highways Authority of India Act, 1998:
- The Act provides for the constitution of an authority for the development, maintenance and management of NHs and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
Ending the silent pandemic of road injuries will not only save lives but also strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life for everyone.
Subject : Science and Tech
- In a recent landmark study, scientists reported successfully generating a live chimaera in non-human primates.
- At present, more than 3 lakh people are waiting for an organ transplant in India alone,the global number is far higher, with no respite in sight.
- There is an alarming disparity in the number of organ donors and the number of recipients, and animals have played an important part in filling this gap.
Chimaeras in nature:
- A genetic chimaera is a single organism composed of cells of more than one distinct genotype (or genetic makeup).
- The animal kingdom has several examples of varying degrees of chimerism.
- The half-sider budgerigar, a type of common parakeet widely adopted as pets, has different colours on either side of its body due to chimerism.
- The anglerfish displays an extreme degree of symbiotic chimerism in which the male fish fuses with and is eventually absorbed into the female fish, mixing their genetic makeups into a single animal.
- Marine sponges are known to have up to four distinct genotypes in a single organism.
Chimerism in Humans:
- Natural Chimera occurs when the genetic material in one cell changes and gives rise to a clonal population of cells different from all the other cells.
- Zygote: The fusion of two fertilised zygotes early in the embryonic stage can also lead to a condition in which two genetic makeups coexist in a single individual.
- Foetus: Chimerism can also result from twin or multiple pregnancies evolving into a single foetus or a twin foetus being absorbed into a singleton.
- Blood Types: Researchers have also documented individuals living with two blood types.
- In fact, blood-group chimerism during multiple births is relatively common.
- Most chimaeras are detected during routine blood tests in hospitals or when family members undergo tests ahead of an organ transplant.
- Pregnant women have been known to harbour the genetic material of her foetus in the bloodstream during the pregnancy.
- Microchimerism: A phenomenon called microchimerism, in which traces of the foetus’s genetic material are observed in mothers’ tissues many years after childbirth, resulting in two different genetic materials in a single person.
- Individuals undergoing treatments like bone marrow transplants usually have their bone marrow destroyed and replaced by that from a suitable donor. Since the donor’s bone marrow contains stem cells, they will produce blood cells that will subsequently repopulate the recipient’s blood-cell repertoire. Eventually, the recipient will have blood cells that resemble the donor’s and will be different from the genetic makeup of the recipient’s other tissues – resulting in a chimeric individual.
Chimaeras in non-human primates:
- Non-human Chimera: Previously, chimaeras have been induced in laboratory settings, of rat-mouse, human-pig, and human-cow. These were in a bid to develop model systems that could ‘generate’ human organs of a suitable size, anatomy, and physiology. While rat-mouse chimerics had a near-normal lifespan, human-pig chimaeras had to be terminated in three to four weeks.
- Live infant chimeric monkey: In the journal Cell, scientists reported the successful generation of a live chimaera in non-human primates – species that are actually evolutionarily close to humans. This is the first time scientists have succeeded in producing a live infant chimeric monkey.
- Green fluorescent protein (GFP): In studies with Cynomolgus monkeys, a.k.a. long-tailed macaques (Macacafascicularis), researchers’ extracted embryonic stem cells from one-week-old embryos. They modified the DNA in these cells to include a green fluorescent protein (GFP).
- These GFP-marked embryonic stem cells were then injected into recipient embryos that were implanted into surrogate female monkeys, which delivered six full-term offspring.
- The chimeric monkey had to be euthanised after ten days for health reasons. Extensive genome-sequencing investigations conducted with its cells showed a high degree of chimerism in its tissues, including eyes, fingernails, brain, heart, kidney, liver, gonads, and placenta.
Significance of Chimeric Research:
- New Frontiers: As such, this study opens new doors for scientists to use non-human primates to create chimaeras that could become models for basic and translational biomedical applications in the near future.
- Ethical Issues: Just like other advances in science, this study wasn’t without limitations and ethical quandaries – and which we must address before thinking about the human biomedical applications.
Subject : Geography
Section: Places in news
- India’s Shipping Ministry has selected 10 locations, four across Andaman and six Lakshadweep, as probable ones to ramp up infrastructure and begin sea-plane operations in the initial phase.
- The Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) will be setting up the infrastructure across these islands.
- The infrastructures include floating navigation systems, and water-aerodromes, among other requirements.
- Routes will be managed by private players.
- Locations of Andaman- Long Island, Neill Island, Havelock Island and Port Blair.
- Locations of Lakshadweep- Minicoy, Kavaratti and Agatti (the other 3 will be decided later).
- The seaplane routes will be awarded under the UDAN scheme.
- Airports Authority of India (AAI), has so far awarded 14 Water Aerodromes (sea plane routes) under UDAN, which include Sardar Sarovar Dam (Statue of Unity), Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad; Havelock Island, Neill Island, Long Island and Port Blair in Andaman & Nicobar Islands; Guwahati riverfront and Umrangso Reservoir in Assam; Nagarjuna Saga Dam in Telangana; Prakasam Barrage in Andhra Pradesh and Minicoy, Kavaratti, Agatti in Lakshadweep Islands.
- Launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation for regional airport development and regional connectivity enhancement.
- It is a part of the National Civil Aviation Policy 2016.
- The scheme is applicable for a period of 10 years.
- Improve the air connectivity to remote and regional areas of India.
- Development of remote areas and enhancing trade and commerce and tourism expansion.
- Enable common people to access air travel with affordable rates.
- Employment creation in the aviation sector.
- Currently, phase V (UDAN 5.0) of the scheme is under implementation.
- It focuses on Category-2 (20-80 seats) and Category-3 (>80 seats) aircrafts.
- There is no restriction on the distance between the origin and the destination of the flight.
Source: TH Businessline
Subject : Geography
Section: Economical geography
- Kerala Authorities have announced an incentive scheme for growing sesame on fields and homesteads in the Thekkekara Krishi Bhavan limits.
Details about the initiative:
- The project is a joint initiative involving the local Krishi Bhavan, Onattukara Vikasana Agency (OVA), Onattukara Regional Agricultural Research Station (ORARS), Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Kayamkulam, and Mavelikara Thekkekara panchayat.
- The financial assistance of ₹40 for a cent of land would be given to farmers for cultivating sesame.
About Onattukara sesame:
- Onattukara sesame is currently grown on around 600 hectares spread across 43 local bodies in three districts of Alappuzha, Kollam and Pathanamthitta.
- The OVA, the registered owner of the GI-tagged sesame with Agriculture Minister P. Prasad as its chairman, plans to increase the area under sesame cultivation in the region to 2,000 hectares.
- Onattukara sesame oilseeds have added medicinal value, and contain high levels of Vitamin E and antioxidants.
- It also contains oleic acid, linoleic acid, palmitoleic acid and so on which help maintain good health.
- Other varieties of Onattukara sesame- Ayali variety, Kayamkulam-1, Thilak, Thilathara and Thilarani, all developed by the ORARS.
Source: The Hindu
Subject :Science and Tech
Section: General science
- In animal husbandry, cattle that are born exhibiting characteristics of both sexes are called freemartins.
- Freemartins are sterile female cattle that result from the twinning of a male and a female within the same uterus. This phenomenon occurs in approximately 90% of such twin pregnancies in cattle.
- The key reason is the exchange of blood between the male and the female foetuses during gestation.
- Genetically, freemartinism is attributed to the sharing of cells carrying the Y chromosome from the male twin with the female twin. This chromosome triggers the development of male reproductive organs in the male foetus, while the female foetus, affected by the presence of male hormones, experiences incomplete development of its reproductive system. The end result is that the freemartin has an underdeveloped or non-functional reproductive tract.
- In agricultural settings, because freemartins can’t reproduce, farmers often identify them through physical and/or behavioural traits to cull them from the breeding herd to improve reproductive efficiency.
Source: The Hindu
Subject : Environment
- Indian cities currently treat only 28 per cent of the 72,368 million litres of sewage they generate every day, as per the latest data released by the Central Pollution Control Board in December 2022.
- Most sewage treatment plants in the country rely on outdated technologies such as the activated sludge process, planted drying beds, soil biotechnology and upflow anaerobic sludge blanket reactors that have a treatment efficiency of around 65 per cent and are cumbersome to set up and manage.
- In recent years, several states have adopted some newer technologies that have treatment efficiency of around 80 to 90 per cent.
- Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have opted for sequencing batch reactors (SBRS) and moving bed biofilm reactors (MBBRS).
- The sewage treatment plant (STP) at Durgam Cheruvu Lake, Hyderabad and most of the STPs of Bihar, Maharashtra, Goa, Haryana, West Bengal and Uttarakhand have opted for SBRS.
- When compared to traditional treatment techniques, these technologies have higher treatment and nutrient removal capacity, are better at handling shock loads (spikes in pollution concentration in wastewater), are more resource-efficient and generate high-quality effluent with greater reuse potential.
- It has the highest rate of filtration which is achieved by combining biological processes with a membrane.
- Sewage is first treated inside a bioreactor where microorganisms break down organic matter and eliminate pollutants by converting them into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.
- After this, the wastewater is pressured through a fine-pore membrane to segregate treated effluent from micro-organisms and suspended solids and ensure the production of high-quality, clarified effluent that can be reused without further treatment.
- It also has a small footprint, making it ideal for areas with land scarcity.
- It offers a high level of automation and process control through sensors for real-time control over filtration.
- Highly efficient, and crucial for food processing industries.
- Energy-intensive, expensive to set up and operate, requires regular maintenance, skilled human intervention and frequent system downtime to replace the membrane.
Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR):
- Extensively used for handling municipal sewage.
- The process takes place in a bioreactor with plastic carriers on which microorganisms can attach and thrive.
- As wastewater flows through the bioreactor, the microorganisms in the biofilm metabolise organic matter and pollutants in the sewage. The biofilm is designed to freely float within the bioreactor, facilitating the distribution of wastewater and oxygen.
- High treatment efficiency, can handle wastewater with different pollutant compositions, produces limited sludge, requires less energy to operate and has negligible downtime.
- Limited removal of solids and nutrients, the biofilm carriers within MBBRs can clog up the system if not effectively managed, regular maintenance, and it relies less on automation and focuses on manual adjustments to control parameters like aeration and effluent quality.
Sequencing Batch Reactors:
- These combine biological treatment and sedimentation within a single bioreactor and each batch cycle begins with the filling up of the reactor with wastewater.
- This is followed by aeration to stimulate microorganisms to metabolise organic matter. Once the biological reaction is complete, aeration is halted, allowing suspended solids to settle at the bioreactor’s bottom.
- This results in the formation of a supernatant layer above the settled solids, which is decanted, leaving the settled solids in the reactor.
- The treated effluent is typically discharged or further processed.
- A high-efficiency rate, allows high automation and process control, facilitates the removal of nitrogen and phosphorus through specific process stages, and require smaller reactor volumes thus reducing construction costs.
- Longer treatment cycles, generate a significant amount of sludge, requiring proper management and disposal strategies.
Source: Down To Earth
Subject : Science and Tech
- The number of measles deaths worldwide increased by 43 per cent from 2021-2022, following years of falling vaccination rates, according to a new assessment by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- In 2022, there were an estimated 136,000 measles deaths globally, most of which were among children.
- The number of measles cases across the world also increased by 18 per cent during the same period bringing the total number of infections to nine million.
- Among the 22 million children who did not receive their first dose of the measles vaccination in 2022, more than half are residents of just 10 countries: Madagascar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Angola, Brazil, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, and Philippines.
About Measles and Rubella:
- Measles (also called rubeola) is a very contagious respiratory viral infection that causes a total-body skin rash and flu-like symptoms.
- It is transmitted person-to-person via droplets when infected people sneeze or cough.
- Initial symptoms usually occur 10–12 days after infection and comprise high fever, runny nose, bloodshot eyes and Koplik’s spots (tiny white spots on the inside of the mouth).
- Several days later, a rash develops and the most severe complication includes blindness, encephalitis (an infection that causes brain swelling), severe diarrhoea and pneumonia.
- There is no specific medical treatment.
- Rubella is a viral disease caused by the rubella virus that mostly affects the skin and lymph nodes.
- In kids, rubella (commonly called German measles or 3-day measles) is usually a mild illness.
- However, the infection is dangerous for pregnant women because it can cause serious health problems in their babies.
- Rubella is transmitted in airborne droplets from the nose, mouth or throat of infected people.
- Measles can be avoided with two vaccination doses- MCV1 and MCV2.
- Low-income countries — where the risk of measles-related deaths is highest — have the lowest vaccination rate of 66 per cent, indicating no recovery at all from the backslide during the pandemic.
To eradicate measles and rubella by 2023,India has plans to vaccinate 95 per cent of the population with two doses of the measles and rubella vaccine under the Intensified Mission Indradhanush, a flagship routine immunisation campaign of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Subject : Economy
- Flagship products: UPI (Unified Payments Interface) and RuPay card network.
- Products and Services:
- Homegrown services: IMPS, NFS, BHIM, BBPS, NACH, AePS.
- Contributions to changing how India deals with money.
- Closed FY23 with ₹828 crore in net profit.
- Operates as a non-profit for the objective of public good.
- Challenges regarding the business model and cost distribution.
- Evolution and Monopoly:
- Established in 2008, started operations in 2010, launched UPI in 2016.
- Conversations around monopolistic control and lack of healthy competition.
- Concerns about innovation and healthy competition in the payments arena.
- Lack of independent holding or supervisory organization raises concerns.
- Calls for encouraging participation from private players for industry growth.
- Performance and Reach:
- UPI processed 1,141 crore transactions in October 2023 worth ₹17.16 lakh crore.
- UPI transactions grew at a CAGR of 163% (FY18-FY23) in value and 56% in volume.
- RuPay’s exponential growth in annualized rate (about 40% in FY17-FY22).
- Future Challenges and Succession:
- Challenges regarding NPCI’s reliance on a single entity for the country’s digital payments infrastructure.
- Questions about NPCI’s future, governance, and succession management.
- Need for succession planning given NPCI’s scale and criticality.
- Public Good vs. Profitability:
- NPCI operates as a nonprofit for public good, aligning with government objectives.
- Debates about whether NPCI should rethink its strategy for the larger good.
- Concerns about monopolistic control and the absence of healthy competition.
- Global Acceptance and Market Share:
- NPCI aims for global acceptance, especially for UPI and RuPay.
- Calls for private players’ entry to build global scale and competitiveness.
- Plans for RuPay to gain market share in credit cards and achieve significant transactions.
- Profitability and Future Outlook:
- Profitability discussions expected once significant ground is covered.
- Government’s decision on NPCI’s achievements, valuation, and potential listing.
- NPCI’s grand plans include gaining a 10% market share in monthly credit card spends.
- Competition and Transformation:
- NPCI’s potential transformation into a ‘Navaratna’ or listing on exchanges.
- Speculations on NPCI shedding its benevolence tag, but potential competition from the private sector is essential.
- IMPS (Immediate Payment Service):
- Real-time interbank electronic funds transfer service.
- Enables instant money transfer through mobile phones.
- NFS (National Financial Switch):
- Network that connects multiple banks, allowing seamless electronic funds transfer.
- Facilitates ATM transactions and POS (Point of Sale) transactions.
- BHIM (Bharat Interface for Money):
- UPI-based digital payment app.
- Allows users to make quick, secure, and cashless transactions.
- BBPS (Bharat Bill Payment System):
- Centralized payment platform for various bill payments.
- Enables consumers to pay bills seamlessly through a single platform.
- NACH (National Automated Clearing House):
- Facilitates bulk electronic transactions like salary payments, dividends, etc.
- Provides a secure and efficient way for repetitive payments.
- AePS (Aadhaar Enabled Payment System):
- Allows Aadhaar-linked bank account holders to make financial transactions.
- Provides basic banking services through Aadhaar authentication.
- Formation: The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) was incorporated in 2008 as a “Not for Profit” company under the Companies Act 1956 (now Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013).
- Initiative: NPCI is an initiative of the RBI and IBA, established under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007. It aims to create infrastructure for the entire banking system in India, covering both physical and electronic payment and settlement systems.
Subject : Economy
Section: External sector
- Explosive manufacturing companies seek increased authorization for ports.
- Aimed at handling and dispatching explosives and ammunition abroad.
- Current Scenario:
- Only three authorized gateways for exports: Chennai, Kochi, and Vizag.
- Challenges for manufacturers, such as Munitions India Ltd (MIL) and Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL), in transporting explosives.
- Request to make more ports, especially on the western side, friendly for handling and dispatching explosives.
- Ports like Mumbai and Kandla suggested to share infrastructure load for exports.
- Rationale Behind the Proposal:
- Enhance infrastructure capacity.
- Reduce costs, logistic hassles, and time required for ferrying sensitive items.
- Most explosives bound for Europe and West Asia; authorization of ports in the West would streamline the process.
- Under Consideration of Ministry of Defence:
- Under review by the Ministry of Defence.
- Expected Impact on Exports:
- Estimated increase in explosive exports from ₹200 crore (FY22) to ₹1,500 crore (FY23).
- Companies Involved:
- MIL and EEL, significant players in explosive manufacturing.
- MIL specializes in military explosives, while EEL has diversified into military-grade ammunition.
- Safety Standards and Infrastructure Upgrades:
- Authorization to handle explosives requires ports to upgrade safety standards.
- Maintain a safe distance from the surrounding population.
- Specific fire-fighting capacity, staff training, and adherence to safety standards are crucial.
- Significance of Authorization:
- Enhances the country’s defence export capabilities.
- Aligns with the increasing demand for explosive products abroad.
- Future Implications:
- Streamlined export processes benefitting explosive manufacturing companies.
- Potential reduction in logistics-related challenges.
- Overall Industry Impact:
- Reflects the growth and importance of defence exports for India.
Munitions India Ltd (MIL):
- Type: State-owned company.
- Location: Based in Pune, Maharashtra.
- Expertise: Specializes in military explosives.
- Product Range: Manufactures 300 different types of explosives, including artillery shells, mortars, bullets, fuse and explosive fills like TNT, RDX, and MMX.
- Diversification: Involved in supplying companies both in India and abroad with military-grade products.
Economic Explosives Ltd (EEL):
- Type: Private company.
- Location: Based in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
- Core Business: Historically involved in commercial explosives.
- Diversification: Recently diversified into manufacturing military-grade ammunition.
- Strategic Shift: Transition from commercial to military-grade explosives.
- Industry Standing: Significant player in the explosive manufacturing sector.
Types of Chemical Explosives:
- RDX (Research & Development Explosive):
- Invented by German chemist Haning in 1899.
- Chemical name: Cyclotrimythelinetrinitramine.
- Also known as plastic exploder, cychlonite (USA), Hexogen (Germany), T-4 (Italy).
- Form: Pure white crystalline powder.
- Plastic Bonded Explosive (PBE): RDX mixed with plastic substances like poly butinc acrylic acid.
- Deadly destructor or cracker, contains powdered aluminum for optimal requirements.
- TNG (Tri Nitro Glycerine):
- Colourless oily liquid used in making dynamite.
- Also known as Nobel’s oil.
- Invented in 1846.
- Preparation: Mixing conc. H2SO4 and cone. HNO3 with Glycerine.
- TNT (Tri Nitro Toluene):
- Most frequently used explosive.
- Preparation: Reaction of toluene (C6H5 – CH3) with conc. H2SO4 and conc. HNO3.
- Invented in 1863, commercial use started in 1914.
- First user: UK troops.
- Invented by Alfred Nobel in 1863.
- Preparation: Absorbing inert substances like wood powder or absorbing in Kieselguhr.
- Nitro Glycerine Sodium Nitrate used in modern dynamite.
- Gelatine Dynamite: Contains a small amount of nitrocellulose.
- TNP (Tri Nitro Phenol):
- Also known as picric acid.
- Prepared by the reaction of phenol with cone. H2SO4 and cone. HNO3.
- Ultra-exploder explosive.
- About Ammonium Nitrate:
- Chemical formula NH4NO3, nitrogen-rich, soluble in water.
- Agricultural fertilizers.
- Ingredient in anaesthetic gases, cold packs.
- Main component in commercial explosives for mining and construction.
- Primary component of ANFO (Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil).
- Not explosive on its own; requires a primary explosive or detonator.
- Used in many Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) globally.
- Fire hazard, can explode through contact with an explosive mixture or due to the oxidation process at a large scale.
Regulations in India:
- Covered by The Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012, under the Explosives Act, 1884.
- Large-scale storage in populated areas is illegal.
- Industrial license required for manufacture under the Industrial Development and Regulation Act, 1951.
- License under the Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 required for any activity related to ammonium nitrate.
Section: State legislature
Context: Supreme Court to hear Tamil Nadu, Kerala pleas against their Governors
More about the news:
- Tamil Nadu Governor R. N. Ravi has ‘withheld’ assent for certain Bills passed by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly.
- This follows the Supreme Court expressing ‘serious concern’ over inaction by the Governor on Bills presented for his assent.
- The court expressed displeasure on similar delays by Governors of Telangana, Punjab and Kerala.
What does the Constitution say:
- Article 200 of the Constitution outlines four options available to a Governor when a legislature-passed Bill is presented for assent:
- Grant assent immediately.
- Withhold assent.
- Return the Bill to the legislature, requesting reconsideration of the Bill or specific provisions.
- If the legislature reapproves the Bill, with or without accepting Governor-suggested amendments, the Governor is constitutionally obligated to grant assent.
- Alternatively, the Governor may reserve the Bill for the President’s consideration.
- In the case of Presidential consideration i.e. Article 201 the decision to grant or withhold assent is made by the President. Notably, there is no specified timeframe for the President to decide on the Bill’s outcome.
Do Governors have discretion:
- Governors did have a discretion to return Bills before the first provision in the draft Article 175(now Article 200).
- This was amended by the Constituent Assembly in 1949.
- The first provision to Article 200 is thus a saving clause and retains the discretion over the fate of the Bill solely in the hands of the State Cabinet.
- Article 163 makes it clear the Governor is not expected to act independently.
- The Supreme Court in the Shamsher Singh case verdict has held that a Governor exercises all his powers and functions conferred on him by or under the Constitution on the aid and advice of his Council of Ministers save in spheres where the Governor is required by or under the Constitution to exercise his functions in his discretion.
- The assent or return of the Bill does not involve the discretion of individuals occupying the Governor’s post.
Can a Governor in practice actually sit on a Bill forever:
- Granting assent to Bills is among the limited areas where the Governor has discretionary powers. However, the exercise of this discretion must adhere to constitutional principles, relying on compelling reasons rather than personal preferences.
- Notably, Article 200 employs the term “shall,” suggesting that the Constitution framers intended a mandatory requirement for Governors in this regard.
What were the recommendations of different commission:
- The Sarkaria Commission (1987) has emphasized that the Governor’s power to reserve Bills for the President’s consideration is a rare and implied discretionary authority, primarily applicable in cases of unconstitutionality.
- In all other instances, the Governor should adhere to Article 200, acting on ministerial advice.
- The commission suggested that the President should resolve such Bills within a maximum of six months, communicating reasons for withholding assent when possible.
- Despite recommendations from the Punchhi Commission (2010) to decide on Bills within six months, these proposals remain unimplemented.
What are various Supreme Court observations w.r.t Governor
- Purushothaman Nambudiri vs State of Kerala (1962):
- The Constitution Bench clarified that no specific time limit is imposed by the Constitution for the Governor to provide assent to Bills.
- Emphasized that the Governor must align actions with the will of the Legislature and operate in harmony with their Council of Ministers.
- The Supreme Court asserted that withholding assent to a law validly passed by the Legislature constitutes a direct attack on the federal structure of the Constitution. Noting that causing delays in assenting to Bills would be an arbitrary exercise, contradicting the constitutional spirit.
- Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974):
- A 7-judge Constitution Benchoutlined that the President and Governor should exercise their formal constitutional powers based on the advice of their Ministers, with few well-known exceptions.
- Nabam Rebia case (2016):
- The SC cited B R Ambedkar’s observations, stating that the Governor has no independent functions to execute but does have specific duties to perform, urging recognition of this distinction by the House.
- Ruled that Article 163 of the Constitution does not grant the Governor general discretionary power to act against or without the advice of the Council of Ministers.
- Rajiv Gandhi assassination case (2018):
- The SC expressed dissatisfaction with the Governor’s delay in taking action on the release of seven convicted prisoners, citing a lapse of more than two years.
What are the other Constitutional Position related to 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.
Section: Places in news
Context: An article published in a German newspaper last week accused Indian poet and curator Ranjit Hoskote of “anti-Semitism” and sympathizing with the BDS movement
Some facts about BDS Movement:
- The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, initiated in 2005 by over 170 Palestinian groups, seeks international support for Palestinian rights.
- It is an anti-racist, human rights movement inspired by the South African anti-apartheid movement.
- BDS advocates nonviolent pressure on Israel until it aligns with international law, emphasizing three demands:
- Ending the occupation and colonization of Arab lands,
- Recognizing the rights of Arab-Palestinian citizens in Israel,
- Respecting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes as outlined in UN Resolution 194.
- The resolution, adopted in 1948, addresses the displacement of Palestinian refugees during the Israeli-Arab war, emphasizing the right to return and receive compensation.
How does BDS aim to achieve these goals:
- The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement calls for boycotting Israel’s government, associated institutions, and companies involved in human rights violations.
- It targets sponsors like Puma for their association with the Israel Football Association, including teams in illegal settlements.
- Divestment campaigns urge entities to withdraw investments, while sanctions campaigns seek government action against Israeli apartheid.
- The movement strategically focuses on selected companies for maximum impact, cautioning against lengthy lists that may be less effective.
What has the Israeli govt said about BDS:
- Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has linked the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement to anti-Semitism, accusing its founders of seeking the end of the Jewish state.
- BDS counters that criticizing Israel’s violations of international law should not be equated with anti-Semitism, emphasizing the right to critique a state’s unjust actions.
- Despite Israeli officials downplaying its threat, the government’s consistent references to BDS have sparked criticism within Israel, with some arguing that officials are inadvertently drawing more attention to the movement.
- U.S. officials, including former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have also criticized BDS.
What is the economic impact of BDS:
- In recent years, a few brands and celebrities, including Ben and Jerry’s and Pink Floyd member Roger Waters, have refused to work or perform in Israel, aligning with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
- However, the impact of these scattered efforts on Israel’s economy is challenging to measure, especially considering the longstanding policy of Arab states to boycott Israel.
- BDS acknowledges the entrenched support for Israel but asserts its potential as a powerful tool in ending Western support for Israeli apartheid and settler colonialism.