Daily Prelims Notes 25 May 2023
- May 25, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
25 May 2023
Table Of Contents
- Certification of Organic Products
- NITI Aayog’s Governing Council to discuss Developed India Plan or ‘Viksit Bharat@47’
- The Chola Sengol Tradition
- India set to triple speed of its fastest supercomputers
- NHRC Accreditation by GANHRI
- Independence of judiciary is part of basic structure of Constitution: SC
- Tampon Tax
- Mohenjodaro’s Dancing Girl figurine:
Subject : Economy
Organic farming is a farming system which avoids the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides etc.) using biological systems of nutrient mobilization and plant protection to produce toxic residue free food and achieve agri-ecosystem health and biodiversity.
|In News: European Union Audit (by EU’s DG Health and Food Safety) found many weaknesses in the certification of Indian organic products for export to EU:|
For Domestic market and imports:
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the regulator (comes under Ministryu of Health and Family Welfare). It has brought out the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations in 2017. These Regulations recognizes two systems of certification i.e. Participatory Guarantee System (PGS) and National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP) and also acts as secretariat of the National Accreditation Body. The NPOP is notified under APGMC act and controlled by Agriculture Marketing Advisor, Directorate of Marketing and Inspection looks after domestic certification.
National Programme on Organic Production (NPOP) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry regulates the organic farming certification. It sets standards for organic farming and organic produce and accredits certifying agencies. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is the implementing agency for NPOP. These standards have been recognized by both the EU, Switzerland and the US. The NPOP is notified under FTDR Act and controlled by APEDA which looks after the requirements of export.
|Participatory Guarantee System|
Participatory Guarantee System of India (PGS-I) is a quality assurance system that operates outside the ambit of certification agencies and is based on stakeholder participation (producers and consumers).
The foundational principle of PGS is TRUST, where consumers and producers come together under a shared vision. As part of this TRUST consumers trust that producers will be committed to protecting nature and consumer health through organic farming.
Other Programs related to Organic Farming:
- Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojna (PKVY): It is a component of the Soil Health Management (SHM) project under NMSA (National Mission of Sustainable Agriculture) by Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER): It is a sub-mission under the NMSA (National Mission for Sustainable Agriculture) of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare launched in 2015 for the north-eastern States.
Subject : Economy
Section: National Income
- Thrust on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for growth and job creation in next 25 years.
- Cooperative Federalism to help achieve the goal
- Common online platform for all schemes, to reduce virtual clutter.
- To develop a robust online dispute resolution system.
- Strengthen Annual Credit Plan for better fiscal management.
- Implementation of strategic investment plan developed under ‘Raising and accelerating MSME performance’ (Rs. 6,000 crore budgeted last year)
|Raising and accelerating MSME performance (RAMP) is a World Bank assisted Central Sector Scheme, supporting various COVID-19 Resilience and Recovery interventions of the Ministry of MSME.|
The programme aims at improving access to market and credit, strengthening institutions and governance at the Centre and State, improving Centre-State linkages and partnerships, addressing issues of delayed payments and greening of MSMEs. Funds would flow through RAMP into the Ministry’s budget against Disbursement Linked Indicators (DLIs) to support ongoing MoMSME programmes, focusing on improving market access and competitiveness.
Developed Country: what are the requirements/characteristics:
- High per capita GDP: At around $2300 India presently qualifies as a Lower Middle income country.
- Favorable Human Development Index: India presently ranks at 132nd position in HDI.
- Greater share of tertiary and secondary sectors
- Good infrastructure
World Bank Classification of Countries based on per capita Income:
|Lower Middle Income||1,086-4,255|
Subject : History
Section: Art and Culture
- The New Parliament to house Sceptre (Sengol) that ssymbolised transfer of Power on 1947.
Historical Significance of the Sengol:
- The sceptre is a historical symbol of Independence as it signifies the transfer of power from the British to the Indians.
- Sengol’s origin can be traced back to the Chola dynasty of South India, one of the longest-ruling dynasties in the world.
- During Chola’s rule the power was transferred in the presence of a priest, and it was sanctified with Sengol that would remind the king to rule with justice.
- The Sengol in Tamil Nadu state is also taken as a mark of heritage and tradition, serving as an integral part of various cultural events, festivals, and significant ceremonies.
The Transfer of Power Ceremony of 1947:
- Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, asked Nehru about “the ceremony that should be followed to symbolise the transfer of power from British to Indian hands”.
- C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, told Nehru about a ceremony performed during the Chola dynasty, in which the transfer of power from one king to the other was sanctified and blessed by high priests.
- “The symbol (for the transfer of power) used was the handover of the ‘Sengol’ from one King to his successor.
- Rajagopalachari was tasked with the responsibility of arranging a sceptre. He reached out to Thiruvaduthurai Atheenam, a well-known mutt in Tamil Nadu’s Tanjore district, and its leader commissioned the manufacturing of the Sengol to Chennai-based “Vummidi Bangaru Chetty” jewellers.
- The Sengol was constructed by two men Vummidi Ethirajulu and Vummidi Sudhakar.
- During the ceremony, which took place on August 14, 1947, a priest gave the sceptre to Lord Mountbatten and then took it back. It was then “taken in procession to Pt Jawaharlal Nehru’s house, where it was handed over to him.
- A special song known as Kolaru Padhigam which was composed by the 7th century Tamil saint Tirugnana Sambandar was rendered during the event.
- The cermony was also attended by Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India.
Subject : Science and technology
Section: Art and Culture
- According to the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES), India is set to dramatically scale up its super-computing prowess and install an 18-petaflop system over the course of this year.
- The most important details are that India’s most powerful supercomputers, Pratyush and Mihir, with a combined capacity of 8 petaflops, are housed at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF).
- These supercomputers were made operational in 2018 at an investment of 438 crore and will be housed at the IITM and NCMRWF.
Imported from France
- The Government of India has signed a deal with France to procure high-performance computers worth 4,500 crore by 2025.
- The new earth-sciences Ministry computers are likely to cost 900 crore and will improve resolution to 6*6 km, meaning four times as many pixels can be used to represent a given area.
- The fastest high-performance computing system in the world is currently the Frontier-Cray system at Oakridge National Laboratory, with a peak speed of 1 exa-flop.
- The top 10 other systems range from 400 petaflops to 60 petaflops.
About National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)
- The four major pillars of the NSM, namely, Infrastructure, Applications, R&D, HRD, have been functioning efficiently to realize the goal of developing indigenous supercomputing eco system of the nation.
- Some of the large-scale applications which are being developed under NSM include the following,
- Climate Modelling
- Weather Prediction
- Aerospace Engineering including CFD, CSM, CEM
- Computational Biology
- Molecular Dynamics
- Atomic Energy Simulations
- National Security/ Defence Applications
- Seismic Analysis
- Disaster Simulations and Management
- Computational Chemistry
- Computational Material Science and Nano-materials
- Discoveries beyond Earth (Astrophysics)
- Large Complex Systems Simulations and Cyber Physical Systems
- Big Data Analytics
- Information repositories/ Government Information SystemsBeing steered jointly by: Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeiTY) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
- Being implemented by: Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore.
Subject : International Relations
Section: International Organisations
- The credibility and independence of the National Human Rights Commission of India have been questioned by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the international body that accredits NHRIs based on their compliance with the UN-mandated Paris Principles.
- The National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) is a statutory body that was established in 1993 with the mandate of protecting and promoting human rights in the country.
- The NHRC-India has been accredited with ‘A status’ by GANHRI since 1999, which means that it is fully compliant with the Paris Principles and can participate independently in the UN Human Rights Council and other UN mechanisms.
- However, in 2016, the NHRC-India’s accreditation was deferred due to some concerns raised by GANHRI’s Sub-Committee on Accreditation (SCA).
- The credibility and independence of the NHRC have been questioned by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI).
Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)
- It is a global network of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) that aims to promote and protect human rights around the world.
- They are independent bodies that monitor report and advise on human rights issues in their respective countries.
- They also cooperate with regional and international human rights mechanisms, such as the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Universal Periodic Review.
- GANHRI is celebrating 30 years of the Paris Principles and 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2023. It invites all stakeholders to join its efforts to advance human rights for all.
Subject : Polity
- The Supreme Court has held that the independence of district judiciary is part of the basic structure of the Constitution and judicial independence from the executive and the legislature requires the judiciary to have a say in matters of finances.
Basic Structure Doctrine:
- A 13-judge Bench was set up by the Supreme Court, the biggest so far, and the case was heard over 68 working days spread over six months.
- The case was primarily about the extent of Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution.
- First, the court was reviewing a 1967 decision in Golaknath v State of Punjab which, had ruled that Parliament cannot amend fundamental rights.
- Second, the court was deciding the constitutional validity of several other amendments.
- The executive vs judiciary manoeuvres displayed in the amendments ended with the KesavanandaBharati case, in which the court had to settle these issues conclusively.
- In its majority ruling, the court held that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by amending them. While the court said that Parliament had vast powers to amend the Constitution, it drew the line by observing that certain parts are so inherent and intrinsic to the Constitution that even Parliament cannot touch it.
- The origins of the basic structure doctrine are found in the German Constitution which, after the Nazi regime, was amended to protect some basic laws. The original Weimar Constitution, which gave Parliament to amend the Constitution with a two-thirds majority, was in fact used by Hitler to his advantage to made radical changes. Learning from that experience, the new German Constitution introduced substantive limits on Parliament’s powers to amend certain parts of the Constitution which it considered ‘basic law’.
- In India, the basic structure doctrine has formed the bedrock of judicial review of all laws passed by Parliament.
- The present position is that the Parliament under Article 368 can amend any part of the Constitution including the Fundamental Rights but without affecting the basic structure of the Constitution.
- However, the Supreme Court is yet to define or clarify as to what constitutes the basic structure of the Constitution. From the various judgments, the following have emerged as basic features of the Constitution or elements / components / ingredients of the ‘basic structure’ of the constitution:
- Supremacy of the Constitution
- Sovereign, democratic and republican nature of the Indian polity
- Secular character of the Constitution
- Separation of powers between the legislature, the executive and the judiciary
- Federal character of the Constitution
- Unity and integrity of the nation
- Welfare state (socio-economic justice)
- Judicial review
- Freedom and dignity of the individual
- Parliamentary system
- Rule of law
- Harmony and balance between Fundamental Rights and Directive Principles
- Principle of equality
- Free and fair elections
- Independence of Judiciary
- Limited power of Parliament to amend the Constitution
- Effective access to justice
- Principle of reasonableness
- Powers of the Supreme Court under Articles 32, 136, 141 and 142
Section: Fiscal Policy
What is Tampon Tax
- Tampon tax refers to consumption levies such as value-added tax (VAT) that most countries charge on items such as sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners and menstrual cups.
Which countries have abolished the tampon tax:
- Kenya became the first country to scrap VAT on sanitary pads and tampons in 2004,
- Among the latest countries to pass laws to abolish the tampon tax are Mexico, Britain and Namibia.
- Mainly in Europe, 17 countries have reduced the VAT on sanitary products, with Italy being the latest to do so this year.
- In 2022, Scotland became the first nation to make tampons and sanitary pads free and available at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies.
Does India apply GST on menstrual products
- The Indian government in 2018 decided to abolish the tampon tax and decided to revoke the 12 percent tax levied on sanitary pads in an effort to make them accessible to menstrual hygiene products accessible to all.
Why are some countries unwilling to scrap tampon taxes:
- VAT is an important source of revenue for governments and the reason why many countries still have a tampon tax. In countries belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), VAT revenue represented 6.7% of their gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.
- VAT rates vary widely from country to country from 5% in Canada to up to 27% in Hungary and governments often have different definitions of what is considered an essential good that is exempted from the levy.
What Is the Pink Tax:
- It refers to the extra cost that women have to pay on products designed and marketed specifically to them, as compared to other generic or male equivalent same products. For e.g., most salons charge more for women’s haircut than men’s.
Section: Fiscal Policy
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the International Museum Expo in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan and also unveiled the Expo’s mascot – a “contemporised” version of the famous Dancing Girl of Mohenjodaro.
More about the dancing girl:
- The Dancing Girl was discovered from excavation in 1926, by British archaeologist Ernest McKay in a ruined house in the ‘ninth lane’ of the ‘HR area’ of Mohenjodaro’s citadel.
- The figurine is made up of Bronze.
- This exquisite casting depicts a girl whose long hair is tied in the bun and bangles cover her left arm.
- Cowry shell necklace is seen around her neck.
- Her right hand is on her hip and her left hand is clasped in a traditional Indian dance gesture.
- She has large eyes and a flat nose.