Daily Prelims Notes 25 March 2021
- March 25, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
25 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- DOUBLE MUTANT VARIANT CORONAVIRUS
- APPOINTMENT OF CJI
- NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR ALLIED AND HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS BILL 2021
- INDUS WATER TREATY
- SARS COV-2 IN ANIMALS
- SUEZ CANAL
- DIGITAL TAX
- BREACH OF PRIVILEGE
- CHANDRAYAAN 3
- CONTEMPT PROCEEDINGS
- UNHRC RESOLUTION
Subject: Science & tech
Context : A unique “double mutant” coronavirus variant — with a combination of mutations not seen anywhere else in the world — has been found in India, the Union Health Ministry said.
- Genome sequencing of a section of virus samples by a consortium of 10 laboratories across the country, called the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Consortium on Genomics (INSACOG), revealed the presence of two mutations, E484Q and L452R together, in at least 200 virus samples.
- Mutations in the virus per se are not surprising but specific mutations that help the virus evolve to thwart vaccines or the immune system or are linked to a spike in cases or in disease severity are causes of concern.
- While the two mutations have been individually identified in other variants of SARS-CoV-2 globally and have been associated with a reduction in vaccine efficacy, their combined effect and biological implications have not yet been understood.
- In the days ahead, the INSACOG will submit details of this variant to a global repository called GISAID and, if it merits, classify it as a “variant of concern” (VOC).
- So far, only three global VOCs have been identified: the U.K. variant (B.1.1.7), the South African (B.1.351) and the Brazilian (P.1) lineage.
- After the new double variant has been submitted to GISAID, it will be categorised under a formal lineage, and will have its own name.
- However, it is still to be established if this has any role to play in increased infectivity or in making COVID-19 more severe.
- The DNA sequence is specific to each organism. It can sometimes undergo changes in its base-pairs sequence. It is termed as a mutation.
- A mutation may lead to changes in proteins translated by the DNA. Usually, the cells can recognize any damage caused by mutation and repair it before it becomes permanent.
Subject : Polity
Context : Justice NV Ramana (Andhra) to replace CJI S A Bobde as the 48th Chief Justice of India till for the next 16 months till Aug 2022.
Appointment of CJI:
- Article 124 of the Constitution of India provides for the manner of appointing judges to the Supreme Court (SC). But there is no specific provision in the Constitution for appointing the Chief Justice.
- CJI should be the senior most judge of the Supreme Court (SC). Law Minister has to seek recommendation of the outgoing CJI for appointment of new CJI at an appropriate time.
- In case of doubt about the fitness of the senior-most Judge to hold office of CJI consultation with other Judges under Article 124(2) to be made.
- Law Minister then puts up recommendation to Prime Minister (PM) who will advise the President on appointment.
- Seniority at the apex court is determined not by age, but by the date a judge was appointed to the SC.
- If two judges are elevated to the Supreme Court on the same day, (1) the one who was sworn in first as a judge would trump another; (2) if both were sworn in as judges on the same day, the one with more years of high court service would ‘win’ in the seniority stakes; (3) an appointment from the bench would ‘trump’ in seniority an appointee from the bar.
- Once appointed, the Chief Justice remains in office until the age of 65 years.
- Article 124(4) of Constitution of India provides that a SC Judge including CJI can be moved only through a process of impeachment by Parliament.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Delhi Man Fed Thallium In Fish Curry To In-Laws. 2 Dead, Wife In Hospital.
- Thallium (Tl) with an atomic number of 81 is found in the periodic table with the symbol.
- Thallium is not freely found in nature. It is a soft grey post-transition metal. It resembles tin when isolated but when exposed to air it may discolour.
- There are around eighty-one electrons present in the atom of thallium.
- This element can be generated artificially. It can be obtained by smelting of lead and zinc. It is generally obtained as a by-product in the production of sulphuric acid.
Uses of Thallium
- In ancient times it was used as a rat poison and as an ant killer.
- Thallium compounds are used in the manufacture of glasses.
- It is used in photocells.
- It is used in the production of infrared optics.
Context : The Lok Sabha cleared the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professionals Bill, 2021. The Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha last week.
- The Bill seeks to regulate and standardise the education and practice of allied and healthcare professionals.
- The Bill defines ‘allied health professional’ as an associate, technician, or technologist trained to support the diagnosis and treatment of any illness, disease, injury, or impairment. Such a professional should have obtained a diploma or degree under this Bill.
- A ‘healthcare professional’ includes a scientist, therapist, or any other professional who studies, advises, research, supervises, or provides preventive, curative, rehabilitative, therapeutic, or promotional health services. Such a professional should have obtained a degree under this Bill.
- The Bill specifies certain categories of allied and healthcare professions as recognised categories. These include life science professionals, trauma and burn care professionals, surgical and anaesthesia related technology professionals, physiotherapists, and nutrition science professionals.
- The Bill sets up the National Commission for Allied and Healthcare Professions.
- It will frame policies and standards for regulating education and practice, create and maintain an online Central Register of all registered professionals, and providing for a uniform entrance and exit examination, among others.
- The Commission will constitute a Professional Council for every recognised category of allied and healthcare professions.
- Within six months from the passage of the Bill, state governments will constitute State Allied and Healthcare Councils.
Subject : International Agreements
Context : India justifies designs of PakalDul, Lower Kalnai hydro projects in J-K as Pakistan objects.
- Pakistan raised objections to the designs of PakalDul and Lower Kalnai hydropower plants in Jammu and Kashmir and sought more information on the projects in Ladakh sanctioned after the abrogation of Article 370 as the Indus Commissioners of the two countries met here on Tuesday, sources said.
- The PakalDul Hydro Electric Project (1,000 MW) is proposed on the Marusudar river, a tributary of the Chenab river, in Kishtwar district in Jammu and Kashmir. The Lower Kalnai project is proposed in Kishtwar and Doda districts.
- The two sides also discussed a host of other issues under the Indus Waters Treaty during the annual Permanent Indus Commission meeting.
Indus Water Treaty
- It is a treaty brokered by the World Bank and signed by then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan which administers how the waters of the Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilized.
- According to the treaty, waters of the eastern rivers — Sutlej, Beas and Ravi had been allocated to India, while the western rivers — the Indus, Jhelum and Chenab to Pakistan. However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20 percent of its water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes.
- A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty.
- The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : Recently, the first few cases have been reported of cats and dogs being infected with the so-called “UK variant” of the coronavirus.
- It is of great concern that some of the infected animals have also been diagnosed with a heart condition known as
What is Myocarditis?
- It is an inflammation of the heart muscle.
- It decreases the ability of the heart to pump blood normally.
- The myocardium muscle is responsible for contracting and relaxing to pump blood in and out of the heart and to the rest of the body.
- It can be caused by a number of factors, including a viral infection.
- The severity of symptoms varies i.e. in extreme cases, the patients of myocarditis can suddenly lose consciousness or show signs of heart failure.
The potential culprits of causing Myocarditis are:
- Viruses: They are one of the most common causes of infectious myocarditis.
- The most common viruses to cause myocarditis include Coxsackievirus group B (an enterovirus), Human Herpes Virus 6, and Parvovirus B19 (which causes fifth disease).
- Bacteria: It can also result from infection with Staphylococcus aureus or Corynebacteriumdiptheriae.
- Staphylococcus aureus is the bacterium that can cause impetigo and be a methicillin resistant strain (MRSA).
- Corynebacteriumdiptheriae is the bacterium that causes diphtheria, an acute infection that destroys tonsils and throat cells.
- Fungi: Yeast infections, molds, and other fungi can sometimes cause myocarditis.
Connection between Myocarditis and COVID-19
- The UK paper does not establish the coronavirus infection as the cause for myocarditis in the animals.
- It notes that among people, myocarditis associated with multisystem inflammatory syndrome is a well-recognised complication of Covid-19.
- The UK animals were diagnosed with myocarditis first, and the virus infection later.
Subject : International Relations
Context : Recently, the Suez Canal has been blocked after a large cargo ship ran a ground while passing through it, bringing traffic on the busy trade route to a halt.
About Suez Canal
- It is a critical shipping artery that connects the Mediterranean and Red Seas through Egypt.
- It is a human-made waterway and as one of the world’s most heavily used shipping lanes, carrying over 12% of world trade by volume.
- It was built in 1869 to provide a major shortcut for ships moving between Europe and Asia.
- The 150-year-old canal was controlled by British and French interests in its initial years, but was nationalised in 1956 by Egypt.
- In 2015, Egypt announced plans to further expand the Suez Canal, aiming to reduce waiting times and double the number of ships that can use the canal daily by 2023.
Significance of Suez Canal
- The canal is a major source of income for Egypt’s economy, with the African country earning $5.61 billion in revenues from it in 2020.
- According to reports, nearly 50 ships pass through it every day, and it accounts for 12% of world trade.
- The majority of oil transported by sea passes through the Suez Canal, which is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean, but demands hefty passage tolls.
- The journey between ports in the Gulf and London, for example, is roughly halved by going through the Suez as compared to the alternate route via the southern tip of Africa.
Subject : Economy
Context :The government has decided not to levy 2% digital service tax if goods and services are sold through Indian arm of foreign e-commerce players.
- The amendment to Finance Bill 2021 clarifies that offshore e-commerce platforms don’t have to pay 2% equalisation levy if they have permanent establishment or they pay any income tax here.
- However, foreign companies who are not paying any tax will have to pay.
- The tax applies only to non-resident companies with annual revenue in excess of Rs 2 crore, and covers online sales of goods and services to Indians.
- Digital tax is a tax that is levied on digital business activities.
- The digital businesses include both the digital-only brands that focus on virtual commodities and services and the services traditional market players use for transforming their businesses with digital technologies.
- Virtual commodities include downloaded software, website applications and digital assets like ebooks, image files, audio clips/audio files, movies or digital files.
- Digital services include those provided by social media companies, e-commerce platforms etc.
Subject : Polity
Context: The Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha has found no breach of privilege of YSRCP MP V Vijayasai Reddy after he complained of being allegedly manhandled at Visakhapatnam airport.
- Parliamentary privilege refers to rights and immunities enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution.
- According to the Constitution, the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and MP’s are to be defined by Parliament(Art 105) & Art 194 – State legisalture. No law has so far been enacted in this respect.
- In the absence of any such law, it continues to be governed by British Parliamentary conventions.
- Abreach of privilege is a violation of any of the privileges of MPs/Parliament. Among other things, any action ‘casting reflections’ on MPs, parliament or its committees; could be considered breach of privilege.
- A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege
- The Speaker/Chairperson can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.
- If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.
- In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths.
- A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report. The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House.
- A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed.
- In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) plans to launch its third mission to the Moon next year, the government said on Wednesday.
Chandrayaan 3 Mission
- ISRO has announced Chandrayaan-3, a soft-landing mission, after the failure of Vikram Lander under Chandrayaan 2.
- Its moon Lander will be the first to land in southern hemisphere of moon surface.
- While the Orbiter of Chandrayaan 2 is in the lunar orbit, the Lander and Rover failed after the lander crash-landed on lunar surface.
- ISRO is planning to land the Chandrayaan 3 lander at the same location as the Chandrayaan 2 – the lunar South Pole, which is a singularly promising part of the moon’s surface.
- It will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2 but will only include a lander and rover similar to that of Chandrayaan-2.
- Unlike its predecessor, Chandrayaan-3 will not have an orbiter.
- The lander for Chandrayaan-3 will have only four throttle-able engines unlike Vikram on Chandrayaan-2 which had five 800 N engines with a fifth one being centrally mounted and with fixed thrust.
- The Chandrayaan-3 lander will also be equipped with a Laser Doppler Velocimeter (LDV).
Subject : Polity
Context :Attorney general refuses to initiate contempt proceedings against Rahul Gandhi.
- Advocate Vineet Jindal, who had written to Attorney General Venugopal seeking to initiate the contempt proceedings against Rahul Gandhi, had accused the Congress leader of making comments against the judiciary and lowering its dignity.
- Section 15 of Contempt of Courts Act 1971, describes the procedure for contempt proceedings against an individual.
- In the case of the Supreme Court, the Attorney General or the Solicitor General, and in the case of High Courts, the Advocate General, may bring in a motion for initiating a case of criminal contempt.
- However, if the motion is brought by any other person, the consent of the Attorney General or the Advocate General in writing is required.
- It has to specify the contempt for which the person charged is alleged to be guilty.
Is AG’s consent mandatory for all contempt of court cases?
- It is mandatory when a private citizen wants to initiate a case of contempt of court against a person.
- The objective behind AG’s consent is to save the judicial time of the court as it will be wasted if a frivolous petition occurs.
- AG’s consent is not required when the court itself initiates a contempt of court case (suomotu) as it did in the case of Prashant Bhushan case.
- Article 129 of the Constitution gives the Supreme Court the power to initiate contempt cases on its own, independent of the motion brought before it by the AG or with the consent of the AG.
What happens if AG denies consent?
- If AG denies consent, petition ends there itself.
- However, complainant can urge the court to take suomotu cognizance.
What happens after the AG has granted consent?
- After the consent, notice is served personally to the person against whom the proceedings are sought to be initiated by the court.
- If the court decides not to serve the notice personally, the court has to record the reasons for it.
- If the court is satisfied that the alleged contemnor is likely to abscond or evade judicial proceedings, it can order attachment of property of a value that it deems reasonable.
- Once the notice is served, the alleged contemnor may file an affidavit in support of his defence, explaining the nature and circumstances of her remarks.
- Then the case has to be heard by at least two judge bench which will take into account any evidence available to check the affidavit and pass appropriate orders.
Subject : International Relations
Context :India abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.
- The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was, however, adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.
- Sri Lanka, which had earlier deemed the resolution “politically motivated”, was quick to reject the UN move to collect and preserve evidence of war crimes in the country, committed by the armed forces and the LTTE.
- The Sri Lanka resolution was the first to be voted on using the extraordinary e-voting procedures established for the UNHRC 46th Session, which has been held virtually.
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
- The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
- OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).