Daily Prelims Notes 21 November 2021
- November 21, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
21 November 2021
Table Of Contents
- Quantum Computing
- United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- Child Rights in India
- Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO)
- Procedure for Judicial Transfers
- Swachh Survekshan Awards
- Special Category Status (SCS)
- Manama Dialogue
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – First quantum computer to pack 100 qubits enters crowded race
- IBM’s newest quantum-computing chip, revealed on 15 November, established a milestone of sorts: it packs in 127 quantum bits (qubits), making it the first such device to reach 3 digits.
- The ‘Eagle’ chip is a step towards IBM’s goal of creating a 433-qubit quantum processor next year, followed by one with 1,121 qubits named Condor by 2023.
- Quantum Technology is based on the principles of Quantum mechanics that was developed in the early 20th century to describe nature at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.
- The first phase of this revolutionary technology has provided the foundations of our understanding of the physical world, including the interaction of light and matter, and led to ubiquitous inventions such as lasers and semiconductor transistors.
- A second revolution is currently underway with the goal of putting properties of quantum mechanics in the realms of computing.
Properties of Quantum Computing
- Superposition – It is the ability of a quantum system to be in multiple states simultaneously.
- Entanglement– It means the two members of a pair (Qubits) exist in a single quantum state. Changing the state of one of the qubits will instantaneously change the state of the other one in a predictable way. This happens even if they are separated by very long distances.
- Einstein called spooky ‘action at a distance’.
- Interference – Quantum interference states that elementary particles (Qubits) can not only be in more than one place at any given time (through superposition), but that an individual particle, such as a photon (light particles) can cross its own trajectory and interfere with the direction of its path.
Potential Applications For Quantum Computing
- Machine Learning
- Computational Chemistry
- Financial Portfolio Optimisation
- Secure Communication
- Disaster Management
- Logistics and Scheduling
- Cyber Security
- Augmenting Industrial revolution 4.0
National Mission on Quantum Technology and Applications (NMQTA)
- Union Budget 2020-21 proposed to spend Rs 8,000 crore on the newly launched NMQTA.
- In 2018, the Department of Science & Technology unveiled a programme called Quantum-Enabled Science & Technology (QuEST) and committed to investing Rs. 80 crore over the next three years to accelerate research.
- The mission seeks to develop quantum computing linked technologies amidst the second quantum revolution and make India the world’s third-biggest nation in the sector after the US and China.
Subject – IR
Context – In a veiled dig at China, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Sunday said “some irresponsible nations” with their narrow partisan interests and hegemonic tendencies are coming up with wrong definitions of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
- UNCLOS or the United Nation’s Convention on Laws of the Sea was formed to ensure freedom of shipping navigation at the sea. This allowed ships of one country to move safely and freely in international waters.
- The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea guarantees that a coastal state will not hamper the right of passage of foreign vessels if they don’t threaten a nation’s security.
5 important terms under UNCLOS
Territorial sea –
- According to UNCLOS, the territorial sea can be defined as the area which extends up to 12 nautical miles from the baseline of a country’s coastal state.
- The territorial sea is under the jurisdiction of that particular country; however, foreign ships (both merchant and military) ships are allowed passage through it.
- This type of passage of territorial passage of foreign ships is known as an innocent passage. However, the right to the innocent passage can be suspended if there is a threat to the security of the coastal state.
Contiguous Zone –
- The contiguous zone can be defined as the belt which extends 12 nautical miles beyond the territorial sea limit.
- A coastal state’s control on this area is limited to prevention of actions which can infringe its customs, fiscal, and immigration laws. It can also act if any activity in the contiguous zone threatens regulations in the territorial sea.
- It is possible that vessels carrying noxious dangerous substances or waste may be turned away on public health or environmental grounds.
Exclusive economic zone
- The exclusive economic zone can be defined as a belt of water which extends up to 200 nautical miles from the baseline of the coastal state. Thus it includes both territorial sea and contiguous zone.
- The exclusive economic zone provides the coastal state control over all economic resources such as fishing, mining, oil exploration, and marine research.
- The coastal state also has jurisdiction regarding protection and preservation of natural resources and marine environment.
- The continental shelf can be defined as the area whose outer limit shall not exceed 350 nautical miles from the baseline or shall not exceed 100 nautical miles from the 2500 meters isobath.
- The coastal state has exclusive rights for exploring and exploiting its natural resources in this area. The state also has the exclusive rights to authorize and regulate drilling on the shelf for all purposes.
- High seas can be defined as the part of the sea that is not included in the exclusive economic zone, in the territorial sea, or in the internal waters of a coastal state or archipelagic waters of an archipelagic state.
- High seas are open to all states for freedom of navigation, freedom of over flight, freedom to construct artificial islands installation, freedom of fishing, and freedom of scientific research.
- High seas are reserved for peaceful navigation through international waters. However, regulations have been made to avoid prevention of slave trade, piracy, seizure of ships, illicit narcotics trafficking and unauthorized broadcasting.
To know more about UNCLOS, please refer August 2021 DPN.
Subject – Governance
Context – Tamil Nadu releases state policy to ensure child rights
- Article 14- The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of laws with in the territory of India.
- Article 15- The State shall not discriminate against any citizen. Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any special provisions for women and children.
- Article 21- No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.
- Article 21 A- The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6-14 years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine.
- Article 23- Traffic in human beings and beggary and other forms of forced labour are prohibited and any contravention of this provision shall be an offence punishable in accordance with the law.
- Article 24- No child below the age of 14 years shall be employed to work in any factory or mine or engaged in any other hazardous employment.
- The Constitution (86th Amendment) Act was notified on 13th December 2002, making free and compulsory education a Fundamental Right for all children in the age group of 6-14 years.
- Article 39(e) & (f) direct that the state policies are directed towards securing the tender age of children.
- Article 45 states that the state shall endeavor to provide early childhood care and education for all children until they complete the age of six years.
- Article 47– The State shall regard the raising of the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people and the improvement of public health as among its primary duties
- Article 51A mentions that it shall be the fundamental duty of the parent and guardian to provide opportunities for education to his child or as the case may be, ward between the age of six and fourteen.
- Article 243G read with Schedule 11 – provide for institutionalization of child care by seeking to entrust programmes of Women and Child Development to Panchayat (Item 25 of Schedule 11), apart from education (item 17), family welfare (item 25), health and sanitation (item 23) and other items with a bearing on the welfare of children.
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005).
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is a statutory body under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
United Nations Convention on the Rights Of The Child
- Human rights belong to all people, regardless of their age, including children. However, because of their special status – whereby children need extra protection and guidance from adults – children also have some special rights of their own.
- These are called children’s rights and they are laid out in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).
- Significant features of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)
- Applies equally to both girls and boys up to the age of 18, even if they are married or already have children of their own.
- The convention is guided by the principles of ‘Best Interest of the Child’ and ‘Non-discrimination’ and ‘Respect for views of the child.’
- It emphasises the importance of the family and the need to create an environment that is conducive to the healthy growth and development of children.
- It obligates the state to respect and ensure that children get a fair and equitable deal in society.
Subject – Government Organisation
Context – EPFO board to meet today. PF interest rate, pension hike on agenda
- The EPFO Central Board of Trustees is a statutory body constituted by the government under provisions of Section 5A of the Employees’ Provident Funds and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
- It has representatives of the government, workers and employers.
- Any decision taken by the body is binding on EPFO.
- EPFO is one of the World’s largest Social Security Organisations in terms of clientele and the volume of financial transactions undertaken.
- The Employees’ Provident Fund came into existence with the promulgation of the Employees’ Provident Funds Ordinance on the 15th November, 1951. It was replaced by the Employees’ Provident Funds Act, 1952.
- The Act and Schemes framed there under are administered by a tri-partite Board known as the Central Board of Trustees, Employees’ Provident Fund, consisting of representatives of Government (Both Central and State), Employers, and Employees.
- The Central Board of Trustees administers a contributory provident fund, pension scheme and an insurance scheme for the workforce engaged in the organized sector in India.
- The EPFO is under the administrative control of Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India
- The Board operates three schemes – EPF Scheme 1952, Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS) and Insurance Scheme 1976 (EDLI).
- Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has a vision to reposition itself as a world class Social Security Organisation providing futuristic services meeting the growing requirements of all categories of its stakeholders. EPFO Vision 2030 envisages:
- Universal Social Security Coverage on mandatory basis by way of Provident Fund, Pension and Life Insurance for all workers of the country
- Online Services for all EPFO benefits with State-of-the-Art Technology
- Implementation of policies for a benefit structure with adequate support level of social security
Subject – Polity
Context – The transfer of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee from the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court has given rise to a controversy over the question whether judicial transfers are made only for administrative reasons or have any element of ‘punishment’ behind them.
- Article 222 of the Constitution provides for the transfer of High Court judges, including the Chief Justice. It says the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, may transfer a judge from one High Court to any other High Court. It also provides for a compensatory allowance to the transferred judge.
- This means that the executive could transfer a judge, but only after consulting the Chief Justice of India.
- From time to time, there have been proposals that one-third of the composition of every High Court should have judges from other States.
Supreme Court’s view
- In Union of India vs. Sankalchand Himatlal Sheth (1977), the Supreme Court rejected the idea that High Court judges can be transferred only with their consent.
- It reasoned that the transfer of power can be exercised only in public interest;
- secondly, the President is under an obligation to consult the Chief Justice of India, which meant that all relevant facts must be placed before the Chief Justice of India;
- And thirdly, that the Chief Justice of India had the right and duty to elicit and ascertain further facts from the judge concerned or others.
- In S.P. Gupta vs. President of India (1981), also known as the ‘Judges’ Transfer Case’ and, later, the First Judges Case, the Supreme Court once again had an opportunity to consider the issue.
- Among other issues, it had to consider the validity of the transfer of two Chief Justices as well as a circular from the Law Minister proposing that additional judges in all High Courts may be asked for their consent to be appointed as permanent judges in any other High Court, and to name three preferences.
- The majority ruled that consultation with the Chief Justice did not mean ‘concurrence’ with respect to appointments. In effect, it emphasised the primacy of the executive in the matter of appointments and transfers.
- However, this position was overruled in the ‘Second Judges Case’ (1993).
- The opinion of the Chief Justice of India, formed after taking into the account the views of senior-most judges, was to have primacy.
- Since then, appointments are being made by the Collegium.
Current Procedure For Transfers
- As one of the points made by the ‘Second Judges Case’ was that the opinion of the Chief Justice of India ought to mean the views of a plurality of judges, the concept of a ‘Collegium of Judges’ came into being.
- In the collegium era, the proposal for transferring a High Court judge, including a Chief Justice, should be initiated by the Chief Justice of India, “whose opinion in this regard is determinative”.
- The consent of the judge is not required. “All transfers are to be made in public interest, i.e., for promoting better administration of justice throughout the country.”
- For transferring a judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India should take the views of the Chief Justice of the court concerned, as well as the Chief Justice of the court to which the transfer is taking place.
- The Chief Justice of India should also take into account the views of one or more Supreme Court judges who are in a position to offer their views in the process of deciding whether a proposed transfer should take place.
- “In the case of transfer of a Chief Justice, only the views of one or more knowledgeable Supreme Court judges need to be taken into account.”
- The views should all be expressed in writing, and they should be considered by the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, which means, the full Collegium of five.
- The recommendation is sent to the Union Law Minister who should submit the relevant papers to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then advises the President on approving the transfer.
Subject – Governance
Context – Indore keeps cleanest city tag for fifth year
- Indore was on Saturday ranked the cleanest city for the fifth consecutive year by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in its annual cleanliness ranking.
- The Swachh Survekshan Awards, 2021 handed out by President Ram Nath Kovind included the cleanest State honour for Chhattisgarh for the third time, in the category of States with more than 100 urban local bodies.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, won the award for the cleanest “Ganga city”.
- Among cities, Surat and Vijayawada secured the second and third place, respectively.
- Bengaluru was declared the ‘Fastest Mover’ mega city among metros with a population of more than 40 lakh in the Swachh Survekshan 2021.
Subject – Governance
Context – Why no special status to A.P., HC asks Centre
- Special category status is a classification given by the Centre to assist development of states that face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages.
- This classification was done on the recommendations of the Fifth Finance Commission in 1969.
- It was based on the Gadgil formula. The parameters for SCS were:
- Hilly Terrain;
- Low Population Density And/Or Sizeable Share of Tribal Population;
- Strategic Location along Borders With Neighbouring Countries;
- Economic and Infrastructure Backwardness; and
- Nonviable Nature of State finances.
- SCS was first accorded in 1969 to Jammu and Kashmir, Assam and Nagaland. Since then eight more states have been included (Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim, Tripura and Uttarakhand).
- There is no provision of SCS in the Constitution.
- Special Category Status for plan assistance was granted in the past by the National Development Council to the States that are characterized by a number of features necessitating special consideration.
- Now, it is done by the central government.
- The 14th Finance Commission has done away with the ‘special category status’ for states, except for the Northeastern and three hill states.
- Instead, it suggested that the resource gap of each state be filled through ‘tax devolution’, urging the Centre to increase the states’ share of tax revenues from 32% to 42%, which has been implemented since 2015.
Subject – IR
Context – U.S. ‘committed’ to West Asia security
- The Manama Dialogue is annually held in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.
- Dozens of government officials, businessmen, international figures, economists and political and strategic thinkers from Asia, Africa, North America, Latin America and Europe meet in the Bahraini capital Manama to exchange views on regional security challenges.
- The conference, which coincided with the emergence of the Greek debt crisis and raised concern about the global economic recovery, served as a tool to uncover deep trends of geopolitics.
- Other objectives of the Summit include studying national, regional and international means of action, reviewing the intentions of major powers and discussing how to support development despite global financial difficulties.
Why coal usage under scanner?
Context: On the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, India’s Minister for Environment Bhupender Yadav read out a statement promising to “phase down” rather than “phase out” the use of coal. This caused many to raise questions about India’s commitment to tackling climate change.
- Since carbon emissions are considered the main culprit in global warming, countries have been committing themselves to turning carbon neutral by various dates. One key way to achieve carbon neutrality, wherein countries compensate for their carbon emissions by capturing an equal amount of carbon from the atmosphere, is to reduce dependence on coal. Coal is the most polluting among fossil fuels, and hence, its use in particular has come under scrutiny.
India and Coal:
- Coal is used to meet over 70% of India’s electricity needs. Most of this coal comes from domestic mines. In FY 2020-21, India produced 716 million tonnes of coal, compared with 431 million tonnes a decade ago. Since FY 2018-19, domestic production has stagnated and has been unable to meet the rising domestic demand, leading to arise in imports.
- Most of the country’s coal production is limited to Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh with a total production of over 550 million tonnes, contributing to over 75% of the country’s total coal production.
- The Prime Minister promised to increase non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, meet 50% energy needs from renewable sources and reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes in a decade. According to an estimate by the Centre for Science and Environment, the promise to reduce emissions by 1 billion tonnes means that India would need to reduce its carbon output by 22% by 2030. India now meets about 12% of its electricity needs from renewable sources, and increasing it to 50% by 2030 will be difficult. While some renewable energy sources like solar are cheap, they are unreliable because of the intermittency problem. They thus require the use of storage batteries, which adds to the cost. It should be noted that many low-income countries with low savings may not even possess the capital required to invest in renewable energy. Further, the damage that coal causes to commonly owned resources like the environment is not factored into its cost.
- It should also be noted that per capita carbon emissions of countries such as India and China are still lower than those of many developed countries. According to World Bank data of 2018, India produces 1.8 metric tonnes of carbon emissions per capita against 15.2 metric tonnes produced by the U.S.