Daily Prelims Notes 25 April 2022
- April 25, 2022
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
25 April 2022
Table Of Contents
- Sodium-Ion Batteries
- Social Cost Of Carbon
- Palli in Jammu becomes India’s First Carbon-Neutral Panchayat
- Understanding the Olga Tellis judgment
- European Union’s (EU’s) Digital Services Act (DSA)
- India Art Fair
- Indian Desert Fox
- Pune’s GI tagged Figs exported to Germany
- Strontium- a Cyber Espionage Group
- World Book and Copyright Day
- Rule of law
- Principle of natural justice
- Right to city
- Green Ammonia
- Export inspection and phytosanitary certification
- All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey
- Oil Import Bill
Subject: Science & Tech
Context- Sodium is available in more abundance than lithium and considered to be safer as well. However sodium ion batteries fall short in terms of energy density hindering their potential use in electric vehicles.
- The sodium-ion battery (NIB or SIB) is a type of rechargeable battery analogous to the lithium-ion battery but using sodium ions (Na+) as the charge carriers.
- Its working principle and cell construction are almost identical with those of commercially widespread lithium-ion battery types, but sodium compounds are used instead of lithium compounds.
- The largest advantage of sodium-ion batteries is the high natural abundance of sodium.
- This would make commercial production of sodium-ion batteries less costly than lithium-ion batteries.
- No electric vehicles use sodium ion batteries.
- Challenges to adoption include low energy density and a limited number of charge-discharge cycles.
- Sodium-ion batteries offer better performance and can operate at a wider temperature range. They work much more efficiently in cold environments, compared to lithium-ion batteries.
- Another advantage of sodium-ion batteries over lithium-ion batteries is they are nonflammable and there is no thermal runaway.
- Sodium ion batteries are lightweight compared to Li-ion batteries.
- Sodium falls short in terms of energy density, thus making it difficult to make small batteries for use in electric vehicles.
Section: Physical Geography
Context- Threat being faced due to illegal mining of karewas.
- In the Kashmiri dialect, the term Karewa means “elevated table land”.
- Karewas are lacustrine deposits (deposits in lake) in the Valley of Kashmir and in Bhadarwah Valley of the Jammu Division.
- Karewas are the thick deposits of glacial clay and other materials embedded with moraines.
- Firstly, this term was used by Godwin Austin in 1859 and later on by Lydekker in 1878 for unconsolidated to semi-consolidated sand clay conglomerate sequence.
- “Vudr” is the local name for Karewas in Kashmiri language.
- This is ideal for cultivation of saffron, almonds, apples and several other cash crops.
Significance of Karewas:
- Karewa deposits have different soil and sediments such as sand, clay, silt, shale, mud, lignite and losses. Hence, these are very useful for agricultural and horticulture activities.
- Kashmir saffron, which received a Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2020 for its longer and thicker stigmas, deep-red colour, high aroma and bitter flavour, is grown on these karewas.
- Karewa formations are useful for the cultivation of Zafran is a local variety of Saffron in Kashmir valley.
- The fertility of these patches is believed to be the result of their long history of formation.
- Kashmir valley resides between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal ranges of the Kashmir Himalayas. In earlier times, when the upliftment of the Pir Panjal ranges happened, the flow of the river had stopped.
- As a result, the whole of Kashmir valley became a large lake. Slowly, the glacial deposits have accumulated here in this lake. Thus creating a large lacustrine plain.
- Later on, the water drained away and these unconsolidated deposits remained there. These unconsolidated gravel and mud deposits are known as Karewa formation.
- It formed during the Pleistocene period (2.6 million years to 11,700 years ago).
Threats to Karewas:
- Despite its agricultural and archaeological importance, Karewas are now being excavated to be used in construction.
- Between 1995 and 2005, massive portions of karewas in Pulwama, Budgam and Baramulla districts were razed to the ground for clay for the 125-km-long Qazigund-Baramulla rail line.
- The Srinagar airport is built on the Damodarkarewa in Budgam.
Section: Climate Change
Context- The Biden administration’s social cost estimate is about $51, meaning every ton of carbon dioxide spewed from a power plant or tail pipe today is projected to contribute to $51 in economic damages in coming years.
About Social cost of carbon:
- The social cost of carbon (SCC) is an estimate, in monetary value. It is the economic damages that would result from emitting one additional ton of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- The social cost of carbon (SCC) is the marginal cost of the impacts caused by emitting one extra tonne of greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide equivalent) at any point in time, inclusive of ‘non-market’ impacts on the environment and human health.
- The social cost of carbon attempts to capture the value of all climate damage, centuries into the future.
- Calculating the SCC requires estimating the impacts of climate change. This includes impacts on human health, as measured by the amount of damage done and the cost to remedy it.
- Carbon dioxide emissions are costing the Indian economy up to $210 billion every year. It is likely to suffer highest economic damage from climate change after the US.
- The country-level SCC for the India alone is estimated to be about $86 per tonne of CO2.
- For US, the cost is about $50 billion per tonne. This means that the nearly five billion metric tonnes of CO2 the US emits each year is costing the US economy about $250 billion.
Carbon pricing recommendations:
- It is an instrument that captures the external costs of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions—the costs of emissions that the public pays for, such as damage to crops, health care costs from heat waves and droughts, and loss of property from flooding and sea level rise—and ties them to their sources through a price, usually in the form of a price on the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted.
- A price on carbon helps shift the burden for the damage from GHG emissions back to those who are responsible for it and who can avoid it.
- According to economic theory, a carbon price should be set equal to the SCC.
- In reality, carbon tax and carbon emission trading only cover a limited number of countries and sectors.
- Carbon pricing reflects how much companies are willing to pay today for a limited amount of emission credits offered at auction.
- In other words, the social cost of carbon guides policy, while carbon pricing represents policy in practice.
Section: Climate Change
Context- Palli village in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir has become the first panchayat in the country to become carbon-neutral, fully powered by solar energy.
Various feats achieved:
- All its records have been digitised and the benefits of all the Central schemes are available in this village around 17 km from Jammu.
- Palli village, with its enthusiastic and dedicated elected representatives full of dreams, has shown how to implement the Glasgow pledge (Panchamrita) made by PM Modi.
- It has set an example of the slogan SabkaPrayas (everyone’s efforts).
What is Carbon Neutrality?
- Carbon neutrality refers to achieving net-zero carbon dioxide emissions or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.
- This can be done by balancing emissions of carbon dioxide with its removal (often through carbon offsetting) or by eliminating emissions from society.
- The term carbon neutral also includes other greenhouse gases, usually carbon-based, measured in terms of their carbon dioxide equivalence.
- The term “net-zero” is increasingly used to describe a broader and more comprehensive commitment to decarbonization and climate action.
Methodology: Carbon-neutral status can be achieved in two ways:
- Carbon offsetting: Balancing carbon dioxide emissions with carbon offsets — the process of reducing or avoiding greenhouse gas emissions or removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to make up for emissions elsewhere. If the total greenhouse gasses emitted is equal to the total amount avoided or removed, then the two effects cancel each other out and the net emissions are ‘neutral’.
- Reducing emissions: Reducing carbon emissions can be done by moving towards energy sources and industrial processes that produce fewer greenhouse gases, thereby transitioning to a low-carbon economy. Shifting towards the use of renewable energy such as hydro, wind, geothermal, and solar power, as well as nuclear power, reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Paris Agreement and its Target:
- The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change. It was adopted by 196 Parties at COP 21 in Paris, on 12 December 2015 and entered into force on 4 November 2016.
- Its goal is to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels.
- Article 4.1 of the Paris Agreement asks countries to reach global peaking of greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.
- It also requires countries to undertake rapid reductions in carbon emissions to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases.
Context- How is the judgment relevant to the ‘anti-encroachment’ drive in Jahangirpuri?
The story so far:
- A 37-year-old Constitution Bench judgment of the Supreme Court which held that pavement dwellers are diﬀerent from trespassers may become a game-changer in the Jahangirpuri case.
- The apex court ruled that pavement dwellers live on “ﬁlthy footpaths out of sheer helplessness” and not with the object of oﬀending, insulting, intimidating or annoying anyone.
- They live and earn on footpaths because they have “small jobs to nurse in the city and there is nowhere else to live.”
What is the Olga Tellis judgment?
- The judgment, Olga Tellis vs Bombay Municipal Corporation, in 1985 by a ﬁve-judge Bench led by then Chief Justice of India Y.V. Chandrachud agrees that pavement dwellers do occupy public spaces unauthorised. However, the court maintained they should be given a chance to be heard and a reasonable opportunity to depart “before force is used to expel them.”
- The case started in 1981 when the State of Maharashtra and the Bombay Municipal Corporation decided that pavement and slum dwellers in Bombay city should be evicted and “deported to their respective places of origin or places outside the city of Bombay.”
- One major question was whether eviction of a pavement dweller would amount to depriving him/her of their livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution
- The Supreme Court reasoned that eviction using unreasonable force, without giving them a chance to explain is unconstitutional.
- Pavement dwellers, too, have a right to life and dignity. The right to life included the right to livelihood. They earn a meagre livelihood by living and working on the footpaths. A welfare state and its authorities should not use its powers of eviction as a means to deprive pavement dwellers of their livelihood.
- The Constitution Bench was also asked to determine if provisions in the Bombay Municipal Corporation Act, 1888, allowing the removal of encroachments without prior notice, were arbitrary and unreasonable.
Article 21 of the Constitution:
- According to Article 21: “Protection of Life and Personal Liberty: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law.”
- This fundamental right is available to every person, citizens and foreigners
Subject: Science & tech
Context- The European Parliament and European Union (EU) Member States have reached a political agreement on the Digital Services Act (DSA).
- The Act, which is yet to become law, was proposed by the EU Commission (anti-trust) in December 2020.
- The DSA will tightly regulate the way intermediaries, especially large platforms such as Google, Facebook, and YouTube, function when it comes to moderating user content.
- The DSA is “a set of common rules on intermediaries’ obligations and accountability across the single market”, and ensures higher protection to all EU users, irrespective of their country.
- It will be a landmark legislation to force big Internet companies to act against disinformation and illegal and harmful content, and to “provide better protection for Internet users and their fundamental rights”.
- The proposed Act will work in conjunction with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was approved last month.
- The DSA is likely to be adopted by the EU Parliament in the next few months. Once adopted, “it will apply from fifteen months or from January 1, 2024, whichever is later”.
Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021- For India
- These new rules broadly deal with social media and over-the-top (OTT)
- These rules have been framed in exercise of powers under section 87 (2) of the Information Technology (IT) Act, 2000 and in supersession of the earlier Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines) Rules 2011.
Subject: Art & Culture
Context- The India Art Fair (IAF) opens on April 28 in New Delhi after a year’s break owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
- It is the biggest event for Indian art and artists, besides the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, which, unlike the fair, is not aimed at commerce.
- This will be the 13th edition of the fair.
- The IAF was conceived in 2008 by Neha Kirpal, a graduate in political science from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi, who worked in public relations before studying marketing at the University of Arts in London.
Art fairs in history:
- Religious festivals are seen as the oldest precursors to art fairs.
- These gatherings, which were often annual, and centred on religion and commerce, saw the representation and display of rare items, often from faraway places.
- Festivals of this kind were held in the Roman Empire, and under the Greek and Han dynasties.
- In medieval times, one of the earliest art fairs was hosted in 1460 in the courtyard of the Church of Our Lady in Antwerp, where manuscripts, paintings, sculptures, and illustrations were displayed.
- The 17th and 18th centuries saw the rise of sample fairs aimed at advertising and promoting new items.
- The birth of the modern-day art fair is traced to the Cologne Art Market, started in 1967 by two gallery owners based in Cologne, Germany.
- It was conceived as a trade fair where German galleries set up temporary stalls to exhibit works.
- In 2015, The European Fine Art Fair Market Report estimated that art fair sales amounted to approximately EUR 9.8 billion in 2014, 40 per cent of total dealer sales.
World’s biggest art fairs
- The first art fairs opened in Europe and the US, but according to UBS’s Art Market Report, there were almost 300 international art shows in 2018 across every continent, with about 52 per cent of the fairs being held in Europe.
- While New York’s annual Armory Show has showcased modern and contemporary art since 1994, Art Basel in Switzerland is widely considered to be the biggest contemporary art fair.
- Art Basel established Art Basel Miami Beach in 2002, and also expanded to Asia, with Art Basel in Hong Kong since 2013.
Important Indian Fairs:
- Kumbh Mela
- The Kumbh Mela is the world’s largest religious gathering.
- The mela (gathering) is conducted in four auspicious Hindu pilgrimage sites on a rotating basis: Allahabad, Haridwar, Nashik-Trimbak, and Ujjain.
- The exact dates are decided by the positions of the Sun, Moon, and Jupiter in the zodiac.
- Sonepur Mela
- It is one of Asia’s major cattle fairs.
- The mela takes place at the confluence of the Ganga and the Gandak rivers in Sonepur, Bihar.
- Chitra Vichitra Fair
- It is Gujarat’s largest tribal fair, attended primarily by the ‘Gharasia’ and ‘Bhil’ tribes.
- The tribals dress up in their traditional garb and display their tribal culture.
- Pushkar Fair
- The Pushkar Mela is an annual fair in Rajasthan that takes place on Kartik Poornima Day and lasts roughly a week.
- It is one of the world’s largest camel and cattle fairs. It is a period when Rajasthani farmers buy and sell cattle, but most of the business occurs in the days preceding up to the fair.
- Desert Festival
- In February, Jaisalmer hosts this three-day spectacle.
- The festival celebrates Rajasthan’s colourful culture. It gives visitors a taste of the local culture and highlights many aspects of Rajasthani culture.
- Colorful traditional dances, trips to the dunes, tying competitions, camel rides, and other activities are available among Rajasthan’s golden sands.
- Surajkund Crafts Fair
- This is an annual international crafts show held near Faridabad, Haryana, for a fortnight starting on February 1st. It highlights regional and worldwide crafts and cultural heritage.
- Goa Carnival
- The Goa Carnival was brought to India by the Portuguese. It takes place 40 days before Lent, a time of fasting and spiritual reflection.
- It entails food and merriment. People come out in masks to party in the streets. It is a tribute to Goa’s rich past and culture, with a strong Portuguese influence.
- Hemis Gompa Mela
- The Hemis Gompa fair is a religious event that is considered one of India’s most auspicious occasions for the Buddhist community.
- The world-famous Hemis Gompa, often known as “the world’s largest Buddhist monastery,” is located in Ladakh and hosts a magnificent fair in January/February.
- The famed Hemis Gompa is hidden within the Hemis National Park, surrounded by mountain peaks.
- Ambubasi Fair
- The Ambubasi Fair is one of several religious fairs and festivals held throughout India.
- Every year during the monsoon, the Kamakhya temple in Guwahati, Assam, hosts a three-day traditional fair.
- For the three-day customary fair, tens of thousands of devotees from all across the country flocked to the Kamakhya Temple.
Context- Prosopis juliflora, a salt-tolerant and fruit-bearing tree, has flourished in the Banni grasslands of Gujarat.
The encroachment by this woody invasive plant is, however, resulting in a loss of habitat and resources for the desert fox.
The Desert Fox:
- The desert fox is a specialist in open dry grasslands and deserts.
- The Indian desert fox (Vulpes vulpespusilla) is one among three subspecies of red fox found in India.
- The other two subspecies are the Kashmir fox and the Tibetan red fox.
- Its habitat includes dunes, saline scrub grasslands and semi-arid scrub savannah.
- It shelters in burrows dug in the ground near the vegetation cover of reeds and bushes.
- Gerbils, other rodents and spiny-tailed lizards are its main prey.
- This subspecies has been given the highest legal protection in India (Schedule I) under the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
- But despite its legal status, it is poached for its fur and meat.
- Rapid urbanisation, industrialisation and the introduction of invasive plant species, like the Prosopis juliflora in their habitats have also had an impact on the desert fox numbers.
- Prosopis juliflora is a shrub or small tree in the family Fabaceae, a kind of mesquite.
- It is native to Mexico,South America and the Caribbean.
- It has become established as an invasive weed in Africa, Asia, Australia and elsewhere.
- It is a contributing factor to continuing transmission of malaria, especially during dry periods when sugar sources from native plants are largely unavailable to mosquitoes.
- Prosopis juliflora is a resilient species and can withstand extremely harsh weather and soil conditions.
- Its extensive root system enables it to tap groundwater easily, so it remains green even in peak summer.
- Banni is the largest grassland of Asia situated near the Great Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
- It is spread over 2,618 kilometres and accounts for almost 45% of the pastures in Gujarat.
- Two ecosystems, wetlands and grasslands, are mixed side by side in Banni.
- Vegetation in Banni is sparse and highly dependent on rainfall.
- Banni grasslands, traditionally, were managed following a system of rotational grazing.
- Banni is dominated by low-growing plants, forbs and graminoids, many of which are halophiles (salt tolerant), as well as scattered tree cover and scrub.
- The area is rich in flora and fauna, with 192 species of plants, 262 species of birds, several species of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
- Wildlife Institute of India (WII) has identified this grassland reserve as one of the last remaining habitats of the cheetah in India and a possible reintroduction site for the species.
- Maldharis are a tribal herdsmen community inhabiting Banni.
Context:For the first time, fresh figs from Purandar taluka of Maharashtra’s Pune district with GI tags have been exported to Europe. The export was facilitated by the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) along with the Purandar Highlands Farmers Producers Company (PHFPC).
- Fresh figs from Purandar while being a rich source of nutrients, are highly perishable; their quality deteriorates within hours of being plucked and has never been exported before.
- Over the last two months, the PHFPC has been conducting trials with StePac, a packaging solution company from Israel, as well as Bayer Crop Sciences’ food chain department. After preparing and following specific protocols in packhouse tests, the figs can be preserved in perfect condition for 15 days.
- Following the success of this consignment, the FPC intends to begin working on full-fledged exports to Europe later this year and also tap the Pan-Asian market.
- The company is also building its presence in the domestic market and has been able to send shipments out of Maharashtra through air cargo under the ‘Super Figs’ brand name to seven states, including Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad, Cochin and Hyderabad.
- Sahyadri Farms of Nashik, Tata Trent Hypermarket and other supermarkets are also sourcing the fruit from Purandar Highlands.
- Established in January 2021, Purandar Highlands has been working in the segments of fresh figs and custard apples. At present, the FPC has been processing one tonne figs on a daily basis, and is working with 260 odd farmers.
- The total production of fig in the world is roughly 1.26 million tonnes. Turkey is the largest producer of figs in the world with 0.3 million tonnes.
- In India, fig farming is mostly done in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- The total area under fig cultivation is around 5,600 hectares and about 13,802 tonnes of the fruit are produced. Figs are cultivated on around 400 hectares in Maharashtra and about 4,300 tonnes of fresh figs are produced. About 90-92% of these figs are produced in Pune district. Poona figs are widely available in the Purandar area.
- The fig season occurs twice a year from May to June and December to January.
To know about GI tag, refer: https://optimizeias.com/geographical-indication-gi/ and https://optimizeias.com/gi-tag-for-basmati/
Subject: Science and Tech
Section: Cyber Security
Context: Recently,Microsoft said it had disrupted cyberattacks from a Russian nation-state hacking group. The group called ‘Strontium’ by the software company targeted Ukrainian firms, media organisations, government bodies, and think tanks in the U.S. and the EU.
What is Strontium?
- Strontium, also known as Fancy Bear, Tsar Team, Pawn Storm, Sofacy, Sednit or Advanced Persistent Threat 28 (APT28) group, is a highly active and prolific cyber-espionage group.
- It is one of the most active APT groups and has been operating since at least the mid-2000s, making it one of the world’s oldest cyber-spy groups.
- It has access to highly sophisticated tools to conduct spy operations, and has been attacking targets in the U.S., Europe, Central Asia and West Asia. The group is said to be connected to the GRU, the Russian Armed Forces’ main military intelligence wing. The GRU’s cyber units are believed to have been responsible for several cyberattacks over the years and its unit 26165 is identified as Fancy Bear.
How does it attack networks?
- The group deploys diverse malware and malicious tools to breach networks. In the past, it has used X-Tunnel, SPLM (or CHOPSTICK and X-Agent), GAMEFISH and Zebrocy to attack targets.
- These tools can be used as hooks in system drivers to access local passwords, and can track keystroke, mouse movements, and control webcam and USB drives. They can also search and replace local files and stay connected to the network.
- APT28 uses spear-phishing (targeted campaigns to gain access to an individual’s account) and zero-day exploits (taking advantage of unknown computer-software vulnerabilities) to target specific individuals and organisations.
- A watering hole attack compromises a site that a targeted victim visits to gain access to the victim’s computer and network. For high volume attacks, the group has used Zebrocy, which is also primarily deployed through spear-phishing emails.
- Fancy Bear has also used VPN Filter malware to target hundreds of thousands of routers and network-access storage devices worldwide. The infection allows attackers to potentially control infected devices, make them inoperable and intercept or block network traffic.
- More recently, APT28 deployed a malware called Drovorub, designed for Linux systems. When deployed on a victim machine, it provides file download and upload capabilities; execution of arbitrary commands; and implements hiding technique to evade detection.
Which organisations have been targeted?
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) hack during the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the global television network TV5Monde cyberattack, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) email leak, and several other high-profile breaches are said to be the work of APT28.
Section: Important Days and Events
Context: On World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO calls on its partners to share the message that books are a force to address contemporary challenges, to understand political and economic realities, and to combat inequalities and misinformation.
- Every year, on 23 April – a date that marks the departure of three great authors of universal literature, Miguel de Cervantes, William Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega – is celebrated to captivate the power to spark innovation, generate knowledge and change minds. It is a celebration to promote the enjoyment of books and reading.
- This date was a natural choice for UNESCO’s General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone to access books.
- Storytelling is an effective tool when it comes to educating younger generations. Indeed, books are vital vehicles to access, transmit and promote education, science, culture, and information worldwide.
- Books have long embodied the human capacity to conjure up worlds, both real and imagined, giving voice to the diversity of human experience. They help us share ideas, obtain information, and inspire admiration for different cultures, enabling far-reaching forms of dialogue between people across space and time.
- On this occasion, UNESCO and the international organizations representing the three major sectors of the book industry – publishers, booksellers and libraries, select the World Book Capital for a year to maintain, through its own initiatives, the impetus of the Day’s celebrations.
- In 2022, the Mexican city of Guadalajara is taking up the mantle of World Book Capital, with a year-long programme that focuses on the role of books and reading in triggering social change, combating violence, and building a culture of peace.
- By championing books and copyright, UNESCO stands up for creativity, diversity and equal access to knowledge, with the work across the board – from the Creative Cities of Literature Network to promoting literacy and mobile learning and advancing Open Access to scientific knowledge and educational resources.
Section : Constitution
Context: Jahangirpuri incident violates Rule of Law
- The concept of equality before law is an element of the concept of Rule of Law, propounded by A.V. Dicey, the British jurist. His concept has the following three elements or aspects:
- Absence of arbitrary power, that is, no man can be punished except for a breach of law.
- Equality before the law, that is, equal subjection of all citizens (rich or poor, high or low, official or non-official) to the ordinary law of the land administered by the ordinary law courts.
- The primacy of the rights of the individual, that is, the constitution is the result of the rights of the individual as defined and enforced by the courts of law rather than the constitution being the source of the individual rights.
- The first and the second elements are applicable to the Indian System and not the third one. In the Indian System, the constitution is the source of the individual rights.
- The Supreme Court held that the Rule of Law as embodied in Article 14 is a basic feature of the constitution. Hence, it cannot be destroyed even by an amendment.
Rule of Law Index
- The World Justice Project Rule of Law Index is the world’s leading source for original, independent data on the rule of law.
- The Rule of law Index measures “how the rule of law is experienced and perceived by the general public.”
- In 2019, on this Index, India was ranked 68 out of 126 countries, down 3 places from last year.
- This Index measures performance across various socio-legal and political focus-areas including “Open Government, Fundamental Rights, Regulatory Enforcement, Civil Justice, and Criminal Justice.”
- India has never been rated among top 50 in the index.
- Recently a petition was filed in SC to direct the government to take measure to improve its ranking on the index
Section : Constitution
Context: Jahangirpuri incident violates principle of natural justice
Natural justice is the essence of fair adjudication, deeply rooted in tradition and conscience, to be ranked as fundamental. The purpose of following the principles of natural justice is the prevention of miscarriage of justice. Natural Justice recognizes three principles:
- Nemo debetessc judex in propria causa.
- Audi alterem partem
- Speaking orders or reasoned decisions.
The first two have come to us from the Roman Law and the third one is a recent Innovation due to the rapid development of the constitutional as well as administrative law.
Nemo debet essc judex in propria causa.
The first principle of impartiality roughly translated into English means nobody shall be a judge in his own cause or in a cause in which he is interested. This principle is more popularly known as the Doctrine of Bias. That is the authority sitting in judgment should be impartial and act without bias. To instill confidence in the system, justice should not merely be done but seen to be done.
Audi alterem partem
The second principle of natural justice literally means ―to hear the other side‖. This is necessary for providing a fair hearing and no doubt the rule against bias would also be a part of the procedure. A corollary has been deduced from the above two rules and particularly the audi alteram partem rule, namely qui aliquidstatueritparteinaudita alteram actquam licet dixerit, haud acquum facerit‘ that is, he who shall decide anything without the other side having been heard, although he may have said what is right, will not have been what is right‘ or in other words, as it is now expressed, justice should not only be done but should manifestly be seen to be done‘.
Speaking orders or reasoned decisions.
The third aspect of natural justice requires speaking orders or reasoned decisions. It is now universally recognized that giving reasons for a certain decision is one of the fundamentals of good administration and a safeguard against arbitrariness. The refusal to give reasons may excite the suspicion that there are probably no good reasons to support the decision. Hence reasons are useful as they may reveal an error of law, the grounds for an appeal or simply remove what might otherwise be a lingering sense of injustice on the part of the unsuccessful party. When the order to be passed is an appealable order, the requirement of giving reasons would be a real requirement. Thus, reasons are also required to be given when the appellate or revisionary authority affirms the order of the lower authority.
Section : Constitution
Context: Jahangirpuri incident violates principle of natural justice
In In Ajay Maken vs Union of India (2019), a case concerning the legality of the demolition of Shakur Basti, the Delhi High Court held that no authority shall carry out eviction without conducting a survey, consulting the population that it seeks to evict and providing adequate rehabilitation for those eligible by invoking right to city.
The idea of the Right to the City
The “Right to the City” is an idea and a slogan that has been increasingly invoked in academic, activist and policy discourses on inclusive urbanization across the globe. It was first conceptualized by French philosopher Henri Lefebvre in 1967 in the book Le Droit à la ville (The Right to the City) in which he said, “the right to the city is like a cry and a demand… a transformed and renewed right to urban life.”
According to Lefebvre, the Right to the City is the right of all urban inhabitants, not just citizens, to participate in and appropriate urban space and resources. This means that all urban inhabitants should have a role in decision-making regarding urban space and be able to access, occupy and use urban space.
The Right to the City has become a common framework for articulating alternative visions of the city and making a host of demands on issues related to urban equity and social justice. Since the adoption of the World Charter on the Right to the City in 2005, the idea has also gained a lot of traction in various international forums. It became the linchpin driving the New Urban Agenda adopted in the UN Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held in Quito, Ecuador in 2016.
Though not initially conceptualized as legal right, the Right to the City is increasingly gaining recognition in law, especially in the global south with legislative instruments acknowledging this idea in countries like Brazil, Ecuador and Mexico.Brazil’s City Statute of 2001, for example, loosens the notion of individual ownership of property by privileging the social function of property over its commercial function and facilitates participatory forms of urban governance in which community groups play a key role in the planning and implementation of urban development projects.
Section :National bodies
NASSCOM, a not-for-profit industry association, is the apex body for the $227 billion dollar IT BPM industry in India, an industry that had made a phenomenal contribution to India’s GDP, exports, employment, infrastructure and global visibility. In India, this industry provides the highest employment in the private sector.
Established in 1988 and ever since, NASSCOM’s relentless pursuit has been to constantly support the IT BPM industry, in the latter’s continued journey towards seeking trust and respect from varied stakeholders, even as it reorients itself time and again to remain innovative,without ever losing its humane and friendly touch.
NASSCOM is focused on building the architecture integral to the development of the IT BPM sector through policy advocacy, and help in setting up the strategic direction for the sector to unleash its potential and dominate newer frontiers.
NASSCOM’s members, 3000+, constitute 90% of the industry’s revenue and have enabled the association to spearhead initiatives at local, national and global levels. In turn, the IT BPM industry has gained recognition as a global powerhouse.
Context: Russia-Ukraine war has raised the prices of fertilisers, it is tempting to hope that the fertiliser sector could give a demand push to green ammonia.
What is Green Ammonia?
- Ammonia is a chemical which is used mainly in the manufacture of nitrogenous fertilizers, like urea and ammonium nitrate, but can be put to other uses too, such as to run engines.
- Green ammonia production is where the process of making ammonia is 100% renewable and carbon-free.
- One way of making green ammonia is by using hydrogen from water electrolysis and nitrogen separated from the air. These are then fed into theHaber process (also known as Haber-Bosch), all powered by sustainable electricity.
- In the Haber process,hydrogen and nitrogen are reacted together at high temperatures and pressures to produce ammonia, NH3.
Need for Green Ammonia production:
- Decarbonising the food value chain : Green ammonia is intended to be used in the production ofcarbon-neutral fertiliser products.
- Rising gas price
- The conventional route of producing ammonia, using the HaberBosch process, uses natural gas as feedstock. Global gas prices have been on the rise — they increased from $10.75/mmBtu (metric million British thermal unit) in January 2021 to $33 in January
- Growing demand
- Long-term fertiliser demand in India is projected to grow to 130 million tonnes by 2050 from the current 55 million tonnes
- Reduce Food subsidy bill
- Green ammonia production makes use of renewable energy sources such as hydro-electric, solar power or wind turbines.
Challenges in Green Ammonia production:
- According to a recent report by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), for green ammonia to come within reach, the cost of green hydrogen should fall, for which in turn, the costs of two other factors should decline — electrolysers and green electricity.
Section: External sector
Though Egypt has included India among the list of nations it buys wheat from, exporters are worried that Cairo’s sanitary and phytosanitary measures, fixed in 2019, could be a big impediment to the shipments.
The phytosanitary conditions are country-specific requirements and compliance is a must.
Getting the phytosanitary certificates (PSC) from the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) is a normal procedure and NPPO does the needful work if exporters send their products based on the quality requirements of the importing nations.
Export inspection and phytosanitary certification:
A phyto certificate is an official document that is generated from the exporting country’s Department of horticulture, agriculture, food or water resources. It can only be issued by an authorized officer from a government department that is authorized by a National Plant Protection Agency (NPPO). The agency is in force to protect the threat of spreading pests, contamination or diseases into the country of import.
Export inspection and phytosanitary certification of plants and plant products is carried out in accordance with article IV of International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) to meet the legal obligations of the member countries.
Issue of Certificate– Such certificates are issued after careful inspection and treatment of plants and plant products by technically qualified and duly authorized officers at the country of export and shall include additional declarations as may be required by the importing country and also particulars of treatment, if any given by the duly authorized officer. Accordingly, inspecting & certifying authorities are notified by the Ministry of Agriculture for undertaking export inspection and phytosanitary certification.
Laws- The Phytosanitary issuing authority may refer to the Export-Import Policy as well as provisions of the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of wild flora and fauna) for the detailed list of prohibited/ restricted plant species.
The phytosanitary certificate is issued as per the requirements of the importing country duly reflected in the contract or the permit issued by the importing country.
Section :Fiscal policy
The All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey, usually conducted by the National Statistical Office (NSO) every five years, is set to resume this year after a prolonged break.
All-India Household Consumer Expenditure Survey:
The CES is traditionally a quinquennial (recurring every five years) survey conducted by the government’s National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) that is designed to collect information on the consumption spending patterns of households across the country, both urban and rural.
The NSS Consumer Expenditure Survey generates estimates of household Monthly Per Capita Consumer Expenditure (MPCE) and the distribution of households and persons over the MPCE classes. It is designed to collect information regarding expenditure on consumption of goods and services (food and non-food) consumed by households. The results, after release, are also used for rebasing of the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.
- The estimates of monthly per capita consumption spending are vital in gauging the demand dynamics of the economy as well as for understanding the shifting priorities in terms of baskets of goods and services, and in assessing living standards and growth trends across multiple strata.
- From helping policymakers spot and address possible structural anomalies that may cause demand to shift in a particular manner in a specific socio-economic or regional cohort of the population.
- To provide pointers to producers of goods and providers of services, the CES is an invaluable analytical as well as forecasting tool. It is, in fact, used by the government in rebasing the GDP and other macro-economic indicators.
- Previous survey on consumer expenditure was conducted during the period : July 2011 to June 2012.
- The Government has decided not to release the results of the all-India household Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES), conducted during 2017-18, due to data quality issues.
Section :External sector
India, the world’s third biggest oil consuming and importing nation, spent $119.2 billion in 2021-22 (April 2021 to March 2022), up from $62.2 billion in the previous fiscal year, according to data from the oil ministry’s Petroleum Planning & Analysis Cell (PPAC).
According to PPAC, India imported 212.2 million tonnes of crude oil in 2021-22, up from 196.5 million tonnes in the previous year. This was, however, lower than pre-pandemic imports of 227 million tonnes in 2019-20. The spending on oil imports in 2019-20 was $101.4 billion.
India imports about 85.5 percent of its crude oil needs, has a surplus refining capacity and it exports some petroleum products but is short on production of cooking gas LPG, which is imported from nations like Saudi Arabia.
The imported crude oil is turned into value-added products like petrol and diesel at oil refineries, before being sold to automobiles and other users.
- Russia is the world’s third-largest oil producer, trailing only Saudi Arabia and the United States.
- Russia is the world’s largest exporter of crude and oil products, having shipped 7.8 mb/d in December 2021.
- Russia is also a major exporter of natural gas and supplied almost a third, or 32%, of the gas consumed in Europe (and the U.K.) in 2021.
- China, which is the world’s largest importer of crude oil, is Russia’s single-biggest buyer.
- India imports 85% of its oil from about 40 countries, the bulk coming from the Middle East and the US. From Russia.; However, India imports 2% of its supplies, including oil which it converts to petroleum products after refining. So, it’s not Russian oil but oil in general and its rising prices that have India worried.
- Top oil import destination of India: Iraq>USA>Nigeria>Saudi Arabia>UAE