Daily Prelims Notes 24 June 2022
- June 24, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
24 June 2022
Table Of Contents
- Investment through P-notes declines to 86706 cr in May
- Be prepared for recession
- WTO Appellate Body
- Goa’s Sao Joao festival
- Scientists unpack the influence of black carbon aerosols on rainfall in northeast India
- How are fireflies affected by light pollution?
- Multilateral fund offers $5.33 billion over 4 years to help solve biodiversity woes
- Soil conservation for food security
- Sanaa and Yemen
- Co-operative Banks
- Power Sector in India
- PM launches NIRYAT information portal to support importers and exporters
- Meta Oversight Board report raises concerns
- Nexon EV fire incident: Tata Motors says detailed investigation underway
Section : External sector
- Participatory notes (P-notes) are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) to overseas investors who wish to be a part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves under SEBI directly after going through a due diligence process.
- The increase in P-notes investment is in line with the higher net inflows of Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in the cash segment.
- P-Notes are Offshore Derivative Investments (ODIs) with equity shares or debt securities as underlying assets, as they are used by the investors abroad but not within India.
- They provide liquidity to the investors as they can transfer the ownership by endorsement and delivery.
- While the FIIs have to report all such investments each quarter to SEBI, they need not disclose the identity of the actual investors.
- Recession refers to a phase of the downturn in the economic cycle when there is a fall in the country’s GDP for some quarters.
- It begins after the economy reaches a peak of activity and ends as the economy reaches its trough.
- A common rule of thumb for recessions is two quarters of negative GDP growth.
- A recession is a period of decline in total output, income, employment and trade, usually lasting six months to a year.’
Subject: International relations
Section :International Organization
- There was no discussion to revive the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Appellate Body, which has been redundant since 2019, at the recently concluded 12th ministerial conference.
WTO Appellate Body
- WTO was established to provide a platform for negotiations for liberating trade and creating rules, as well as to monitor and administer multilateral trades.
- However, one of the key objectives was also to address the grievances between its members by acting as a court for global trade.
- Appeals against the orders of DSB are taken to the WTO Appellate Body.
- The Appellate Body, set up in 1995, is a standing committee of seven members with a limited four year term that presides over appeals against judgments passed in trade-related disputes brought by WTO members.
- Disputes arise when a member country observes that another member government is breaching a commitment or a trade agreement made at the WTO.
- Trade remedies under WTO guidelines mean that members are prohibited from raising their tariffs above a certain margin. But it offers a provision for governments to break these rules to apply trade remedies, which include anti-dumping duties, wherein the market is distorted by the manufacturing country by exporting the goods at a cheaper rate than the market.
- Countries are allowed to make the move to defend its cheap imports and other offsetting duties to protect itself from subsidised imports to safeguard tariffs countering the import hikes.
Dispute Resolution: current mechanisms
- The United States stopped the process of reappointing judges after their terms expired in 2017. In December 2019, the number of judges in the court fell below three — the minimum required.
- The revival is significant especially in the wake of Ukraine-Russia crisis that forced many countries to suspend exports pushing International trade to a standstill.
- Until a full-fledged solution comes into place, a few countries have found a makeshift arrangement. The interim arrangement involves countries and membership nations taking a shared approach.
- EU, for instance, took measures to set up interim appeal arbitration arrangements. After the suspension of the Appellate Body, EU and 18 members established a ‘multi-party interim appeal arbitration arrangement’, which allows WTO members access to the two-step dispute settlement issues for a mutual resolution.
- The mechanism allows the parties to refer to Article 25 of the Dispute Settlement Understanding (DSU) of WTO’s arbitration rules and follow substantiative and procedural concepts of the appellate body’s operations.
Section :Art and Culture
- As in every monsoon, Catholics in Goa will celebrate Sao Joao, the feast of St John the Baptist, on Friday.
What is Sao Joao and where is it celebrated in Goa?
- In Goa, Catholics celebrate all the feasts of the Roman Catholic Church, which include the feast of St John the Baptist on June 24 (John the Baptist because he had baptised Jesus Christ on the river Jordan).
- Traditionally, there are spirited Sao Joao festivities in the villages of Cortalim in South Goa and Harmal, Baga, Siolim and Terekhol in North Goa.
- However, over the years, pool parties and private Sao Joao parties in Goa have been a “complete package of merriment and joy” for tourists.
What does jumping into water bodies symbolise?
- In the 2004 edition of her book Feasts, Festivals and Observances of Goa, author and historian Maria de Lourdes Bravo da Costa Rodrigues wrote: “The youngsters in Goa celebrate this occasion with revelry and perform daredevil feats, by jumping into over flowing wells or rivulets…
- The boys are found merrily jumping into the water to commemorate the leap of joy, which St John is said to have taken in the womb of his mother St Elizabeth when virgin Mary visited her.”
- The festivities also include revellers wearing the Kopel, the crown of fruits, flowers and leaves, parading in villages and often well hopping from one place to another as they chant, “Sao Joao! Viva Sao Joao”.
- Villagers gather near the well and cheer for those throwing and dunking themselves into the water.
- Full-throated renditions of Konkani songs written for the occasion are accompanied by traditional musical instruments like the gumott and cansaim (cymbal).
Other events part of Sao Joao festivities
- Among the prominent festivities includes the Sao Joao boat parade in Siolim that usually sees visitors running into thousands.
What is the importance assigned to new sons-in-law?
- In Goa, Sao Joao is an occasion for the family and the villagers to get to know their newly wed daughters’ husbands a little better.
- Traditionally, the new son-in-law would be crowned with festive headgear of fruits and leaves, taken around the village and would then jump into the well with other revelers.
Context: Understanding the ground realities in the energy transition is key to teasing apart the role of aerosols (mainly black carbon) in tinkering with atmospheric processes including those that drive rain in northeast India.
What is Black Carbon?
- It is formed by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, biofuels, biomass (caused by human actions) and by natural sources such as wildfires
- It is the dominant form of light-absorbing particulate matter in the atmosphere
- It warms the atmosphere because it absorbs light (solar energy)
- It remains in the atmosphere for just a few days or weeks, compared to a century or more for carbon dioxide
- It is a major short-term contributor to global warming
- It has a heat-trapping power a million times more than carbon dioxide
- It can travel long distances on air currents
- The warming effects of black carbon aerosols are second only to carbon dioxide
What are the sources of Black Carbon?
- Agricultural biomass burning, especially in shifting cultivation practices in hilly regions in northeast India accounts for high black carbon levels
- Other prominent source is travel of black carbon from Indo Gangetic Plain
- Vehicles are the primary sources of black carbon in urban areas
- Residential fuel consumption (in the form of biomass burning and kerosene lamps for lighting) turned out to be the primary source of black carbon in suburban and rural areas
Black carbon influences in northeast India
- Studies shows that rising black carbon emissions lead to a decrease in low-intensity rainfall while pushing up severe rain in the pre-monsoon season in northeast India.
- Presence of higher aerosol amounts suppresses rain formation, which in turn subdues lower-intensity rainfall
- But an increase in black carbon concentration pushed up the moisture levels
- Increased black carbon also helps transfer more moisture to the upper atmosphere.
- It moves the cloud water to the upper atmosphere, where it converts to ice/hail. Melting of ice/hail produces severe rainfall.
Way forward measures to reduce Black Carbon:
- To electrify transportation in urban areas
- Replace coal with renewable
- Upgrade vehicles to the latest auto emission norms (Bharat Stage VI)
- Switch to clean cooking fuels and cleaner brick production technologies
- Enacting new policies later on and incorporating them through regional cooperation among states and neighboring countries (i.e., Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan) can achieve enhanced benefits
Context: Research shows that firefly occurrence decreases with proximity to artificial light. The closer one gets to a light source, the lesser fireflies there are.
What are fireflies?
- It belongs to the family Lampyridae
- Fireflies use their bioluminescence, a chemical reaction that produces light, for mating communication
- Adults of one or both sexes (depending on species) emit specific flash patterns which are received by the other sex
- Low light is needed for reproduction
- Fireflies are found in temperate and tropical regions in wetlands and marshes near wooded areas
- Firefly adults are short-lived, with life spans ranging from a week to a few months.
What happens when fireflies compete with artificial light?
- During the mating season, fireflies flash late in the day, shortly after sunset, when light levels are low
- In the presence of artificial light, as fireflies try to flash brighter to compete with artificial light. This reduces their chances of finding a mate and negatively affects reproduction rates
- Fireflies are highly sensitive to ambient light cues, since their courtship activities are restricted to specific times of the day
- The most serious threats to fireflies are habitat loss, light pollution from artificial light at night, and pesticides
Role of Fireflies in an ecosystem:
- An ecosystem is made up of interconnected parts. Each link in the chain depends on the other, and the loss of each species weakens the links.
- Firefly larvae feed on snails, slugs, mites, and earthworms, keeping their population in check
- An excess of these invertebrates, damages vegetation growth. This affects the wildlife that feeds on that vegetation
- Fireflies, like other species, maintain a delicate balance in the ecosystem.
- Fireflies’ luminescent genes have several applications in medicine, food safety testing, and forensics
Subject : Environment
Section:: International treaty
Context: The Global Environment Facility, the only multilateral fund focused on biodiversity, has promised to provide $5.33 billion over the next four years to address problems related to biodiversity worldwide
Global Environment Facility:
- It was established on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, is a catalyst for action on the environment
- It is a UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP of 18 agencies — including United Nations agencies, multilateral development banks, national entities and international NGOs
- It was working with 183 countries to address the world’s most challenging environmental issues
- It is a FINANCIAL MECHANISM for five major international environmental conventions:
- the Minamata Convention on Mercury,
- the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs),
- the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD),
- the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
- the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
- It is also an INNOVATOR AND CATALYST that supports multi-stakeholder alliances to preserve threatened ecosystems on land and in the oceans, build greener cities, boost food security and promote clean energy for a more prosperous, climate-resilient world
- The GEF Trust Fund was established to help tackle our planet’s most pressing environmental problems
- Funds are available to developing countries and countries with economies in transition to meet the objectives of the international environmental conventions and agreements
Aichi Biodiversity Targets:
It was established by the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in an effort to protect and conserve the biodiversity that underpins global food security, health and clean water
Officially known as “strategic plan for Biodiversity 2011 to 2020”, it provided a set of 20 ambitious yet achievable targets collectively known as the Aichi Targets for biodiversity.
- Modernisation of agriculture has brought huge dividends in terms of ensuring food security by improving crop production while at the same time causing soil degradation.
- Extensive use of fertilisers and pesticides led to the deterioration of soil health and contamination of water bodies and the food chain, which pose serious health risks to people and livestock.
- Soil degradation on an unprecedented scale is a significant challenge to sustainable food production.
- About one-third of the earth’s soils is already degraded and alarmingly, about 90 per cent could be degraded by 2050 if no corrective action is taken.
- While soil degradation is believed to be occurring in 145 million hectares in India, it is estimated that 96.40 million hectares — about 30 per cent of the total geographical area — is affected by land degradation.
- Globally, the biophysical status of 5,670 million hectares of land is declining, of which 1,660 million hectares (29 per cent) is attributed to human-induced land degradation, according to FAO’s State of Land, Soil and Water’ report. report
- The global annual production of industrial chemicals has doubled since the beginning of the 21st century, to approximately 2.3 billion tonnes, and is projected to increase by 85 per cent by the end of the decade.
- Another challenge comes from salinisation, which affects 160 million hectares of cropland worldwide.
History of Soil Conservation in India
- The earliest initiatives on soil conservation recorded in India date back to pre-colonial times, when soil and moisture conservation programmes were initiated in the 1920s by the British Administration.
- Post-independence, India’s First Five Year Plan (1951) included soil conservation measures to combat soil erosion and degradation and improve the livelihoods of rural population.
- The 1990s saw an overhaul of the previous soil conservation initiatives as the government launched the National Watershed Development Project for Rainfed Areas (NWDPRA).
- The project focussed on the construction of contour bunds, trenching, sowing, silvi-pasture development, and afforestation across India.
- By 2013 was launched the National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture (NMSA) which works alongside the MGNREGA.
- “National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture(NMSA) will be implemented during 12th Plan with the objectives to make agriculture more productive, sustainable and climate resilient; to conserve natural resources; to adopt comprehensive soil health management practices; to optimize utilization of water resources; etc.
- “Soil Health Management (SHM) is one of the most important interventions under NMSA.SHM aims at promoting Integrated Nutrient Management (INM) through judicious use of chemical fertilisers including secondary and micro nutrients in conjunction with organic manures and bio-fertilisers for improving soil health and its productivity; strengthening of soil and fertiliser testing facilities to provide soil test based recommendations to farmers for improving soil fertility; ensuring quality control requirements of fertilisers, bio-fertilisers and organic fertilisers under Fertiliser Control Order, 1985; upgradation of skill and knowledge of soil testing laboratory staff, extension staff and farmers through training and demonstrations; promoting organic farming practices etc.
Present steps to conserve Soil
- The need of the hour is to adopt innovative policies and agro-ecological practices that create healthy and sustainable food production systems.
- Sikkim, a small northeast Indian state has succeeded in phasing out chemical pesticides and fertilisers gradually but resolutely and has converted the entire state to organic agriculture.
- Natural farming and organic farming are not only cost-effective but also lead to improvement in soil health and the farmland ecosystem.
- The Indian government introduced the soil health card scheme.
- Under the programme as of date, soil health cards have been distributed to about 23 crore farmers.
- The scheme has not only helped in improving the health of the soil, but has also benefited innumerable farmers by increasing crop production and their incomes.
- There has been a decrease in the use of chemical fertilisers in the range of 8-10 percent as a result of the application of fertilisers and micro-nutrients as per the recommendations on the soil health cards.
- As a result, India is well on course to achieving the restoration of 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
- There is a need for collective global action involving governments and civil society to reverse this alarming trend.
- Campaigns like “save soil campaign” by Sadhguru is the right step in this direction.
Subject : International Relations
- Sanaa is the largest city in Yemen and the centre of Sana’a Governorate.
- At an elevation of 2,300 metres (7,500 ft), Sanaa is one of the highest capital cities in the world.
- The Old City of Sanaa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has a distinctive architectural character, most notably expressed in its multi-storey buildings decorated with geometric patterns.
- Sanaa’s Old City is renowned for its tower houses, which are typically built from stone and fired brick and can reach up to 8 stories in height.
- The doors and windows feature are decorated with plaster openings.
- The old fortified city has been inhabited for more than 2,500 years and contains many intact architectural gems.
- The oldest, partially standing architectural structure in the Old City of Sanaʽa is Ghumdan Palace.
- The city was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1986.
- Efforts are underway to preserve some of the oldest buildings some of which, such as the Samsarh and the Great Mosque of Sanaʽa, is more than 1,400 years old.
- Surrounded by ancient clay walls that stand 9–14 metres (30–46 ft) high, the Old City contains more than 100 mosques, 12 hammams (baths), and 6,500 houses.
- Many of the houses resemble ancient skyscrapers, reaching several stories high and topped with flat roofs.
- They are decorated with elaborate friezes and intricately carved frames and stained-glass windows.
Section: Moneya dn Banking
- A Co-operative bank is a financial entity which belongs to its members, who are at the same time the owners and the customers of their bank.
- Co-operative banks in India are registered under the States Cooperative Societies Act.
- The Co-operative banks are also regulated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and governed by:
- Banking Regulations Act 1949
- Banking Laws (Co-operative Societies) Act, 1955.
Features of Cooperative Banks:
- Customer Owned Entities: Co-operative bank members are both customer and owner of the bank.
- Democratic Member Control: Co-operative banks are owned and controlled by the members, who democratically elect a board of directors. Members usually have equal voting rights, according to the cooperative principle of “one person, one vote”.
- Profit Allocation: A significant part of the yearly profit, benefits or surplus is usually allocated to constitute reserves and a part of this profit can also be distributed to the co-operative members, with legal and statutory limitations.
- Financial Inclusion: They have played a significant role in the financial inclusion of unbanked rural masses.
Urban Co-operative Banks
- The term Urban Co-operative Banks (UCBs), though not formally defined, refers to primary cooperative banks located in urban and semi-urban areas.
- These banks, till 1996, were allowed to lend money only for non-agricultural purposes. This distinction does not hold today.
- These banks were traditionally centered around communities, localities and workplace groups.
- They essentially lent to small borrowers and businesses. Today, their scope of operations has widened considerably.
- In January 2020, the RBI revised the Supervisory action Framework (SAF) for UCBs.
- In June 2020, the Central government approved an Ordinance to bring all urban and multi-state cooperative banks under the direct supervision of RBI.
- Most recently RBI appointed a committee that suggested a 4 tier structure for the UCBs.
- Tier 1 with all unit UCBs and salary earner’s UCBs (irrespective of deposit size) and all other UCBs having deposits up to Rs 100 crore,
- Tier 2 with UCBs of deposits between Rs 100 crore and Rs 1,000 crore,
- Tier 3 with UCBs of deposits between Rs 1,000 crore and Rs 10,000 crore and
- Tier 4 with UCBs of deposits more than Rs 10,000 crore.
- The Centre had recently amended the Banking Regulation Act to bring the cooperative banking sector into the mainstream.
- With the amendment, UCBs are expected to get more freedom in their operations and will be brought under stricter regulatory regime.
- A new umbrella organisation for UCBs, the National Cooperative Finance Development Corporation (NCFDC) has been set up and will function as a self-regulatory organisation.
- On June 10, India’s power demand met during the day hit a record 211.86 gigawatts (GW), demand went up by 25 percent in one year.
- In 2015, the average power availability in rural areas was about 12.5 hours at the national level, today it is 22.5 hours.
Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme (RDSS)
- The CCEA approved a Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme worth Rs. 3.03 trillion wherein the Centre’s share will be Rs. 97,631 crore.
- It aims to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of discoms (excluding Private Sector DISCOMs).
- It will provide conditional financial assistance to strengthen the supply infrastructure of discoms (power distribution companies).
- The financial assistance will be based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria and upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks.
- All the existing power sector reforms schemes such as Integrated Power Development Scheme, Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana will be merged into this umbrella program.
- The scheme will be available till 2025-26.
- It would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
- Rural Electrification Corporation and Power Finance Corporation is the nodal agency for its implementation.
Green Energy Open Access Rules
- Green Open access is allowed to any consumer and the limit of Open Access Transaction has been reduced from 1 MW to 100 kW for green energy, to enable small consumers also to purchase renewable power through open access.
- Provide certainty on open access charges to be levied on Green Energy Open Access Consumers which includes transmission charges, wheeling charges, cap on cross-subsidy surcharge and standby charges.
- Transparency in the approval process of the open access application through a national portal. Approval to be granted in 15 days or else it will be deemed to have been approved subject to fulfillment of technical requirements.
- Determination of green tariff: The tariff for the green energy shall be determined separately by the Appropriate Commission, which shall comprise of the average pooled power purchase cost of the renewable energy, cross-subsidy charges if any, and service charges covering the prudent cost of the distribution licensee for providing the green energy to the consumers.
- Banking of surplus green energy with the distribution licensee mandated.
- There shall be a uniform renewable purchase obligation, on all obligated entities in the area of a distribution license. It has also included the Green Hydrogen/Green Ammonia for fulfillment of its RPO.
- Consumers will be given the green certificates if they consume green power.
- Cross subsidy surcharge and additional surcharge shall not be applicable if green energy is utilized for production of green hydrogen and green ammonia.
Subject : Governance
- The National Import-Export for Yearly Analysis of Trade (NIRYAT) portal where importers and ex- porters can get all necessary information related to foreign trade will provide real time data to stakeholders.
- It will contain information related to more than 30 commodity groups exported to more than 200 countries.
- Also, information related to district-wise exports will also be made available.
- India’s exports in 2021-22 crossed $418 billion against the target of $400 billion.
- The increase in exports of cotton and handloom products by 55 percent.
Subject : Economy
- The Board highlighted the lower number of appeals from users in India, a country that has the most number of Facebook and Instagram users.
- The lower number of user appeals from outside Europe and the US and Canada could also indicate that many of those using Facebook and Instagram in the rest of the world are not aware that they can appeal Meta’s content-moderation decisions to the Board.
- Another reason is the lack of sufficient resources in moderating content in languages other than English.
Subject : Governance
Section: National organization
- The Centre for Fire Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), Indian Institute of science and Naval Science & Technological Laboratory (NSTL), Visakhapatnam have been asked to probe the circumstances that led to the incident and also suggest remedial measures.
- The Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES) is an Indian defence laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO). Located in Timarpur, Delhi, its main function is the development of technologies and products in the area of explosive, fire and environmental safety. CFEES is organised under the Armaments Directorate of DRDO.