Daily Prelims Notes 26 November 2022
- November 26, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
26 November 2022
Table Of Contents
- Constitution Day
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA)
- Food distribution scheme
- Follow-on public offer (FPO)
- Narcoanalysis VS Polygraph analysis
- QR Code for Drugs
- ISRO Launches PSLV C-54/EOS-06 Mission
- No statutory bar on bodies with religious names to register as parties
- Life of Plastic: India is not collecting and recycling its polymer waste properly; here is how
- Malady to a miracle: Leprosy bacteria grow liver in armadillos, gives hope for human organ regeneration
- The warming Arctic Ocean is bringing more snowfall to Siberia, shows study
- Myanmar, a country in turmoil, emerging as a key transit hub for wildlife trade: Report
- COP27 and the ambiguity about responsibility
Section: Important Days & Events
Context: November 26 is the Constitution Day and India’s Constitution has now endured for 73 years.
- The Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Indian Constitution on November 26, 1949, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.
- India’s Constitution making project took about 3 years from 1946 to 1949.
- The Government of India declared 26 November as Constitution Day in 2015 by a gazette notification.
- 2015 was the 125th birth anniversary of Ambedkar, who played a key role in the drafting of the constitution. Previously this day was celebrated as National Law Day.
- Sources of Inspiration for our Constitution (as per Rohit De, Legal Historian) include:
- Tilak’s Swaraj Bill of 1895: Right to Free Speech, Free Press, Equality before Law
- Declaration of Rights of 1918: INC demanded that civil and political rights to include the Right to Life and Liberty, Freedom of Press and Association.
- Fundamental Rights and Economic Changes, Karachi Session of INC, 1931: Political freedom must include economic freedom, ending of bonded and child labour, free primary education, labour welfare, protection of labour unions, women workers, minority rights, redistribution of resources etc.
- Article 394 of the Constitution states that Articles 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 60, 324, 367, 379 and 394 came into force since the adoption of the Constitution on 26th November 1949 and the rest of the provisions on 26th January 1950.
Constitution and Constitutionalism:
- A constitution is a body of fundamental principles according to which a state is constituted or governed. It is the document or set of documents that has a set of rules and principles which as the basis of society is accepted by all. It reflects the ideals of a society shared by all and defines nature of social, legal and political system in a “STATE”.
|What is a State?|
The state is a territorial society, the people living on a particular tract of land organized under a common governing body which has, if not a complete at any rate, a very special degree of authority over people.
Components of State:
- On the other hand, the Constitutionalism is an idea. It is an idea which is traced generally to Political philosopher John Locke and it talks of government can and should be legally limited in its powers, and that its authority or legitimacy depends on it observing these limitations
- The significant difference between the Constitution and Constitutionalism is that the limitation envisaged under the Constitutionalism is provided by the Constitution. This means the Constitution is just a document and it is the idea of Constitutionalism which enforces the true meaning, values of the Constitution.
- Even an authoritarian state generally has some sort the Constitution. However, what is missing in these states is the Constitutionalism.
Fundamental Values of the Constitution:
The values expressed in the Preamble are expressed as objectives of the Constitution. These are: sovereignty, socialism, secularism, democracy, republican character of Indian State, justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, human dignity and the unity and integrity of the Nation.
Subject : Agriculture
Pre-launch celebration of the International Year of Millets 2023 was organised by the Ministries of Agriculture and External Affairs.
It held– “Covid, conflict, and climate” as the world’s main food security challenges, and placed the cultivation and popularisation of millets in context of “de-risking the global economy”.
- It is used for the small-grained cereals.
- There is evidence for consumption of millets by the Indus valley people (3,000 BC), and several varieties were first cultivated in India.
- Millet is grown mainly in low-income and developing countries in Asia and Africa, and are part of the food basket of about 60 crore people across the globe. West Africa, China, and Japan are home to indigenous varieties of the crop.
- It is the traditional food for more than half a billion people in Asia and Africa.
- They require much less water than rice and wheat, and are mainly grown in rainfed areas.
- Example– sorghum (jowar), pearl millet (bajra), foxtail millet (kangni/ Italian millet), little millet (kutki), kodo millet, finger millet (ragi/ mandua), proso millet (cheena/ common millet), barnyard millet (sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora), and brown top millet (korale).
- Globally, sorghum (jowar) is the biggest millet crop.
- The major producers of jowar are the United States, China, Australia, India, Argentina, Nigeria, and Sudan.
- Bajra is another major millet crop.
- India and some African countries are major producers.
Production of millets in India:
- In India, millets are mainly a kharif crop.
- During 2018-19, three millet crops — bajra (3.67%), jowar (2.13%), and ragi (0.48%) — accounted for about 7 per cent of the gross cropped area in the country.
- Millets are considered to be “powerhouses of nutrition”
- In 2018 the Agriculture Ministry declared millets as “Nutri Cereals”.
- Jowar, bajra, ragi/ mandua, the minor millets — kangani/ kakun, cheena, kodo, sawa/ sanwa/ jhangora, and kutki — and the two pseudo millets, buckwheat (kuttu) and amaranth (chaulai) are regarded as “Nutri Cereals” for the purposes of production, consumption, and trade.
- Millets contain 7-12% protein, 2-5% fat, 65-75% carbohydrates and 15-20% dietary fibre.
- Small millets are more nutritious compared to fine cereals as they have higher protein, fat and fibre content
Main millets states
- Jowar is mainly grown in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, and Madhya Pradesh.
- Maharashtra accounted for the largest area (1.94 mn ha) and production (1.76 million tonnes) of jowar during 2020-21.
- Bajra is mainly grown in Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
- Rajasthan accounted for the largest area (4.32 mn ha) and production (4.53 million) of bajra during 2020-21.
- In the latest available NSSO household consumption expenditure survey– less than 10 percent of rural and urban households reported consumption of millets.
- More than 95% of rural households reported consumption of rice and more than 59% wheat; only 8.5%, 6.6%, and 5.3% reported consumption of jowar, bajra, and ragi respectively.
- In urban areas, monthly per capita consumption of cereals (9.322 kg) was lower than in rural areas.
- The consumption of millets was reported mainly from Gujarat (jowar and bajra), Karnataka (jowar and ragi), Maharashtra (jowar and bajra), Rajasthan (bajra), and Uttarakhand (ragi).
Millets under PDS
- Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, eligible households are entitled to get rice, wheat, and coarse grain at Rs 3, Rs 2, and Re 1 per kg respectively.
- While the Act does not mention millets, coarse grains are included in the definition of “food grains” under Section 2(5) of the NFSA.
- However, the quantity of coarse grains procured for the Central Pool and distributed under the NFSA has been negligible.
- Only 2.64 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of coarse grain was available in the Central Pool on November 1, 2022 while that of rice, wheat, and unmilled paddy were 265.97 LMT, 210.46 LMT, and 263.70 LMT respectively.
- The Centre has accepted the recommendation of a committee set up by it, that millets be included in the PDS in order to improve nutritional support.
- The government has set a target to procure 13.72 LMT coarse grains during the Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2022-23
MSP for millets
The government declares a Minimum Support Price (MSP) for jowar, bajra, and ragi only.
Year of Millets
- On March 3, 2021, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution to declare 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
- The proposal was moved by India, and was supported by 72 countries.
- Several events and activities–conferences and field activities, and the issuing of stamps and coins, are expected as part of the celebrations aimed at spreading awareness about millets, inspiring stakeholders to improve production and quality, and attracting investments.
Subject : Government Schemes
India’s Rural development ministry has formed a panel to revamp its only job guarantee scheme in the hope of directing more work to the country’s poorer regions.
- The revaluation of the scheme comes as rural unemployment in India has remained above 7% for most of the current fiscal year.
- The panel will recommend institutional mechanisms, including governance and administrative structures, for more effective utilization of funds, especially to address poverty
- It will examine expenditure trends across various states and identify reasons for variations, the official added.
- The panel now aims to redesign work opportunities available under this scheme.
MGNREGA’s performance is possibly the most important proxy for the health of the informal economy, which accounts for anywhere between 80% to 90% of all employment in India.
The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA):
- Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 or MNREGA, earlier known as the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act or NREGA.
- It is also known as Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) and was enacted on August 25, 2005.
- It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to at least one member of every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
- Women are guaranteed one third of the jobs made available under the MGNREGA.
- Another aim of MGNREGA is to create durable assets (such as roads, canals, ponds and wells).
- Employment is to be provided within 5 km of an applicant’s residence, and minimum wages are to be paid. If work is not provided within 15 days of applying, applicants are entitled to an unemployment allowance.
- The MGNREG Act actually gives rural households the right to work — making it obligatory for the State to give them work on demand.
- If the government fails to provide employment, it has to provide certain unemployment allowances to those people. Thus, employment under MGNREGA is a legal entitlement.
- The Ministry of Rural Development (MRD) is monitoring the entire implementation of this scheme in association with state governments.
- MGNREGA is to be implemented mainly by gram panchayats (GPs).
- The act explicitly mentions the principles and agencies for implementation, list of allowed works, financing pattern, monitoring and evaluation, and detailed measures to ensure transparency and accountability.
Process of getting employment
- Adult members of rural households submit their name, age and address with a photo to the Gram Panchayat.
- The Gram Panchayat registers households after making enquiry and issues a job card.
- The job card contains the details of the adult member enrolled and his /her photo.
- Registered person can submit an application for work in writing (for at least fourteen days of continuous work) either to Panchayat or to Programme Officer.
- The Panchayat/Programme officer will accept the valid application and issue a dated receipt of application, letter providing work will be sent to the applicant and also displayed at Panchayat office.
- Within 15 days of submitting the application or from the day work is demanded, wage employment will be provided to the applicant.Receipt of wages within fifteen days of work is done.
- Individual beneficiary oriented works can be taken up on the cards of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, small or marginal farmers or beneficiaries of land reforms or beneficiaries under the Indira Awaas Yojana of the Government of India.
- Social Audit of MGNREGA works is mandatory, which lends to accountability and transparency.
- The Gram Sabha is the principal forum for wage seekers to raise their voices and make demands. It is the Gram Sabha and the Gram Panchayat which approves the shelf of works under MGNREGA and fix their priority.
Subject : Government Schemes
The department of expenditure will likely recommend halting the pandemic-era free foodgrain programme.
If the free foodgrain scheme is not extended further, we expect the fiscal deficit to be restricted to 6.4% of GDP for FY23
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) is a scheme as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and the poor.
- The scheme provides 5kg of free foodgrain to 800 million households to cushion the poor from the pandemic’s blow.
- The free food programme rolled out in 2020 has been extended several times, with the latest announced in September, when the government extended the scheme by three months to 31 December.
- More than 81.35 crore people will be provided 5 kg free wheat/rice per person / month along with 1 kg free whole chana to each family per month.
- Wheat has been allocated to 6 States/UTs, – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi and Gujarat and rice has been provided to the remaining States/UTs.
- This is over and above the regular monthly entitlements under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
- Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line – Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
- PHH are to be identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations as per criteria evolved by them. AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government:
- Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
- Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.
- All primitive tribal households.
- Landless agricultural labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitutes and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.
- All eligible Below Poverty Line families of HIV positive persons.
National Food Security Act:
The enactment of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013 on July 5, 2013 marks a paradigm shift in the approach to food security from welfare to rights based approach
- It is legally entitled to provide highly subsidized food grains to 75% of the rural and 50% of the rural population under Targeted Public Distribution System.
- Beneficiaries under NFSA, receive 5 kgs of foodgrains per person per month at subsidized prices of Rs 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains.
- Foodgrains under NFSA were to be made available at subsidized prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains respectively for an initial period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act (July 13, 2013). Thereafter, prices were to be fixed by the Central Government from time to time, but not exceeding MSP.
- Besides, the existing Antyodaya Anna Yojana households, referred as poorest of the poor, will continue to receive 35 Kgs of foodgrains per household per month.
- As a step towards women empowerment, the eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above is mandated to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing ration cards under the Act.
- The identification of beneficiaries by States/UTs is a continuous process, which involves exclusion of ineligible/fake/duplicate ration cards and also exclusion on account of death, migration etc. and inclusion on account of birth as also that of genuine left-out households.
- It follows life-cycle approach wherein special provisions have been made for pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years, by entitling them to receive nutritious meal free of cost through a widespread network of Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres, called Anganwadi Centres under ICDS scheme and also through schools under Mid-Day Meal (MDM) scheme.
- Pregnant women and lactating mothers are further entitled to receive cash maternity benefits of not less than Rs. 6,000 to partly compensate for the wage loss during the period of pregnancy and also to supplement nutrition.
- In case of non-supply of the entitled quantities of foodgrains or meals to entitled persons under NFSA, such persons shall be entitled to receive such food security allowance from the concerned State Government to be paid to each person, within such time and manner as may be prescribed by the Central Government
- National Food Security Act (2013) provides for reforms in the TPDS including schemes such as Cash transfers for provisioning of food entitlements. In pursuance of enabling provisions under section 12 of NFSA for cash transfer, Govt. notified ‘Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy Rule, 2015’ in Aug 2015.
- NFSA defines the joint responsibility of the Centre and State/UT Government.
- Centre is responsible for allocation of required foodgrains to States/UTs, transportation of foodgrains up to designated depots in each State/UT and providing central assistance to States/UTs for delivery of foodgrains from designated FCI godowns to the doorstep of the FPSs,
- States/UTs are responsible for effective implementation of the Act, which inter-alia includes identification of eligible households, issuing ration cards to them, distribution of foodgrain entitlements to eligible households through fair price shops (FPS), issuance of licenses to Fair Price Shop dealers and their monitoring, setting up effective grievance redressal mechanism and necessary strengthening of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
The Scheme is optional for States/UTs and operates in “Identified areas” in a State or Union territory or any specified area within the State or Union territory for which there is a written consent of the State Government for implementation of the Scheme. Prevailing system of distribution of food grains through the Public Distribution System may continue in the remaining areas not covered under the Scheme
Context: Adani Enterprises Ltd, the flagship company of billionaire Gautam Adani, on Friday said its board has approved raising up to ₹20,000 crore through a follow-on public offer, or FPO, the company said in a stock exchange filing
- The applicability of minimum promoters’ contribution norm and the subsequent lock-in requirements for the issuers making the FPO have been done away with by the regulator, as per a notification.
- Earlier, promoters were mandated to contribute 20% towards a FPO.
- Besides, in case of any issue of capital to the public, the minimum promoters’ contribution was required to be locked-in for three years.
- SEBI said the relaxation would be available for those companies which are frequently traded on a stock exchange for at least three years. Also, such firms should have redressed 95% of investor complaints.
Follow on Public Offer
- A follow-on public offer (FPO), also known as a secondary offering, is the additional issuance of shares after the initial public offering (IPO).
- Companies usually announce FPOs to raise equity or reduce debt.
- The two main types of FPOs are dilutive—meaning new shares are added—and non-dilutive—meaning existing private shares are sold publicly.
- An at-the-market offering (ATM) is a type of FPO by which a company can offer secondary public shares on any given day, usually depending on the prevailing market price, to raise capital.
Subject: Science and technology
Context : Shraddha Murder Case,
- It is based on the assumption that physiological responses that are triggered when a person is lying are different from what they would be otherwise.
- Instruments like cardio-cuffs or sensitive electrodes are attached to the person, and variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration, change in sweat gland activity, blood flow, etc., are measured as questions are put to them.
- A numerical value is assigned to each response to conclude whether the person is telling the truth, is deceiving, or is uncertain
- Narcoanalysis involves the injection of a drug, sodium pentothal, which induces a hypnotic or sedated state in which the subject’s imagination is neutralized, and they are expected to divulge information that is true.
- The drug, referred to as “truth serum” in this context, was used in larger doses as anaesthesia during surgery, and is said to have been used during World War II for intelligence operations.
- Investigating agencies employ these tests in investigation, and are sometimes seen as being a “softer alternative” to torture or “third degree” to extract the truth from suspects.
- However, neither method has been proven scientifically to have a 100% success rate, and remain contentious in the medical field as well.
Subject : Science & technology
Context : Government of India has recently introduced quick response (QR) codes to ensure authenticity and traceability of 300 common drug brands.
- A week ago, the Centre had mandated that the country’s 300 top brands sport QR/barcodes by August 2023, in an effort to weed out fake and counterfeit products.
- Pharma industry representatives agree that they are still evaluating the logistics involved in its roll-out, said representatives, speaking for drugmakers of all hues.
About the notification
- The Union Ministry of Health has made amendments to the Drugs Rules, 1945, to implement this.
- In this regard, the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) had identified the list of 300 drugs.
- The plan will be implemented in phases from May 2023.
- In the first phase, top brands which hold market shares of at least 35% each for lifesaving drugs will be required to display the QR code.
- This is aimed at preventing the sale of spurious drugs.
- These high-selling brands have been shortlisted based on their moving annual turnover (MAT) value.
- As per the draft notification of the ministry the manufacturers of the formulation products will print or affix barcode or QR code on its primary packaging label and on the secondary package label that store data or information legible with software application to facilitate authentication.
- The stored data or information will include unique product identification code, proper and generic name of the drug, brand name, name and address of the manufacturer, batch number, date of manufacturing, date of expiry, and manufacturing license number.
- Earlier this year, the Centre had said active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) or bulk drugs that are manufactured on imported in India should bear a QR code on its label at each level, packaging that stores data or information readable with software application to facilitate tracking.
- The new rule will be applicable from January 1, 2023.
About Bar Code:
- Barcode is a machine-readable representation of information, which can be read by barcode scanners or computer programs to extract relevant information from an image.
- The encoded information may then be used by computers to perform tasks like reading data from cards into databases and performing mathematical calculations based on the encoded values stored on cards.
- Barcodes are used to store information like price, product type, product identification numbers, etc.
About QR Code
- A QR code is a two dimensional version of barcode invented in 1994 by the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave.
- A QR code (quick response code) is used to provide easy access to online information through the digital camera on a smartphone or tablet.
- A QR code works similarly to barcodes.
- Each QR code consists black squares and dots which represent different pieces of information.
- When scanned, the unique pattern on the barcode translates into human-readable data.
Difference between QR Code and Barcode
- The major difference between Barcode and QR code is that the Barcode can store data only in one dimension while the QR code can store data in two dimensions.
- Storage of data is less in Barcode, whereas in QR Code it is higher.
- Data is stored horizontally in Barcode, whereas in QR Code it is stored both horizontally and vertical.
Subject : Science and Technology
Context : The Indian Space Research Organization launched PLV-C54/EOS-06 Mission with Oceans-3 and eight nanosatellites on board from Sriharikota spaceport.
- The PLV-C54/EOS-06 Mission includes EOS-06 (Oceans-3), plus eight nanosatellites which are BhutanSat, ‘Anand’ from Pixxel, Thybolt two numbers from Dhurva Space andAstrocast-four numbers from Spaceflight USA.
- ISRO Nano Satellite-2 for Bhutan (INS-2B) spacecraft is configured with INS-2 Bus. INS-2B will have two payloads namely NanoMx and APRS-Digipeater. NanoMx is a multispectral optical imaging payload developed by Space Applications Centre (SAC).
- The Anand Nano satellite is technology demonstrator to demonstrate the capabilities and commercial applications of miniaturized earth-observation camera for earth observation using a microsatellite in Low Earth Orbit.
- This is a three-axis stabilized satellite consisting of a satbus, accommodating all subsystems like telemetry, tele-command, Electrical Power system, Attitude Determination and Control System (ADCS), on-board computers etc.
- Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft is a technology demonstrator satellite for the Internet of Things (IoT) as the payload. There are 4 nos. of Astrocast Satellites in this mission. These spacecraft are housed within an ISISpaceQuadPack dispenser.
- The dispenser protects the satellite from contamination.
- The Thybolt is a 0.5U spacecraft bus that includes a communication payload to enable rapid technology demonstration and constellation development for multiple users.
- It also demonstrates Store-and-Forward functionality for authorized users in the amateur frequency band. The satellites shall be deployed by using Dhruva Space Orbital Deployer to perform the specific mission operations for a minimum lifetime of 1 year.
About EOS-06 Satellite
- The EOS-6 is a third-generation earth observation satellite in the Oceansat series of satellites.
- This is to provide continuity services for Oceansat-2 spacecraft with enhanced payload specifications as well as application areas.
- The payloads are Ocean Colour Monitor (OCM-3), Sea Surface Temperature Monitor and Ku-Band Scatterometer (SCAT-3), and ‘ARGOS’ Mission.
- ARGOS is the global satellite-based data collection and location system of its kind dedicated to studying and preserving the environment.
What is EOS?
- An EOS or Earth remote sensing satellite is a satellite used or designed for Earth observation (EO) from orbit.
- It includes spy satellites and similar ones intended for non-military uses such as environmental monitoring, meteorology, cartography, and others.
- The most common type is Earth-imaging satellites that take satellite images, analogous to aerial photographs.
- Some EOS may perform remote sensing without forming pictures, such as in GNSS radio occultation.
- Two years ago, ISRO had moved to a new naming system for its earth observation satellites which till then had been named thematically, according to the purpose they were meant for.
- The Cartosat series of satellites were meant to provide data for land topography and mapping, while the Oceansat satellites were meant for observations overseas.
- Some INSAT-series, Resourcesat series, GISAT, Scatsat, and a few other earth observation satellites were named differently for the specific jobs they were assigned to do, or the different instruments that they.
- All these would now become part of the new EOS series of satellites.
Subject : Polity
Context : The Election Commission has told the Supreme Court that “there is no express provision which bars associations with religious connotations to register as political parties under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act-1951”.
- The affidavit filed in SC points out that the political parties are required to abide by the principle of secularism as mandated by Section 29A of the Act.
- The EC has clarified that in 2005, it had taken a policy decision to not register political parties that had religious connotations, under Section 29A.
- It was submitted that since then no such party was registered and that “certain” political parties mentioned in the writ petition were registered prior to that.
Registration of Political Parties Under Section 29A of RPA,1951
- Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India.
To be eligible for a ‘National Political Party of India,’ the Election Commission has set the following criteria:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in any four or more states, at a general election to the House of the People or, to the State Legislative Assembly; and
- In addition, it wins at least four seats in the House of the People from any State or States. OR
- It wins at least two percent seats in the House of the People (i.e., 11 seats in the existing House having 543 members), and these members are elected from at least three different States.
To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party,’ the Election Commission has set the following criteria:
- It secures at least six percent of the valid votes polled in the State at a general election, either to the House of the People or to the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned; and
- In addition, it wins at least two seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned. OR
- It wins at least three percent (3%) of the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is more.
Benefits of a recognized political party:
- If a party is recognised as a State Party’, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it in the State in which it is so recognised, and if a party is recognised as a `National Party’ it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it throughout India.
- Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.
- They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
- Political parties are entitled to nominate “Star Campaigners” during General Elections.
- A recognized National or State party can have a maximum of 40 “Star campaigners” and a registered unrecognized party can nominate a maximum of 20 ‘Star Campaigners”.
- The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.
- India’s plastic waste nightmare is because the country is not properly collecting and recycling the trash, thus leading to lethal plastic pollution, according to a new report by Delhi-based think-tank, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
- Currently, the focus is entirely on downstream issues related to the collection, management, diversion and disposal of plastic waste.
- Management of plastic waste involves two distinct steps:collection and recycling or end-of-life disposal. Both are not executed properly in India.
- The collection of plastic waste is the responsibility of local government bodies, producers, importers and brand owners.
- As high as 42-86 per cent of the plastic waste in India flows through the informal sector to material recovery facilities.
- Brand owners outsource the work of waste collection and recycling to third parties and exempt themselves from taking responsibility for their actions.
- The Indian government claims that the country is recycling 60 per cent of its plastic waste. However, this is limited to specific types of polymers (plastics) like PET bottles.
- India is recycling (through mechanical recycling) approximately 12 per cent of its plastic waste.
- Close to 20 per cent of this waste is channelised for end-of-life solutions like co-incineration, plastic-to-fuel and road making, which means we are burning 20 per cent of our plastic waste and still calling it ‘recycling’.68 per cent of plastic waste is unaccounted for.
Where does the Real Problem Lie?
- Single-Use Plastic:
- Plastics are primarily produced from crude oil, gas, or coal, and 40% of total plastic is discarded after a single use.
- Many plastic products, such as plastic bags and food wrappers, have a lifespan of mere minutes to hours, yet they may persist in the environment for hundreds of years.
- Sea, sunlight, wind, and wave action break down plastic waste into small particles, often less than one-fifth of an inch (less than five millimetres or 2 inches in diameter) across called microplastics. Spread throughout the water column and have been found in every corner of the globe.
- Microplastics are breaking down further into smaller and smaller pieces.- Plastic microfibers. They have been found in municipal drinking water systems and drifting through the air.
- No Strict Adherence to Plastic Waste Management:
- Globally, about one-fourth of plastic waste is never collected.
- In less wealthy countries, waste plastic is sometimes burned in the open, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.
What are Plastic Waste Management Rules 2016?
- It mandates the generators of plastic waste to take steps to minimize the generation of plastic waste, prevent littering of plastic waste, and ensure segregated storage of waste at source among other measures.
- The rules also mandate the responsibilities of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers and street vendors to manage plastic waste.
These rules are amended in 2022 to expedite the process of plastic waste management.
Provisions under the New Rules-
- Classification of Plastics:
- Category 1: Rigid plastic packaging will be included under this category.
- Category 2: Flexible plastic packaging of a single layer or multilayer (more than one layer with different types of plastic), plastic sheets and covers made of plastic sheet, carry bags, plastic sachets or pouches will be included under this category.
- Category 3: Multi-layered plastic packaging (at least one layer of plastic and at least one layer of material other than plastic) will be included under this category.
- Category 4: Plastic sheet or like used for packaging as well as carry bags made of compostable plastics fall under this category.
- Plastic Packaging:
- The reuse of rigid plastic packaging material has been mandated in the guidelines to reduce the use of fresh plastic material for packaging.
- The enforceable prescription of a minimum level of recycling of plastic packaging waste collected under Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR) along with the use of recycled plastic content will further reduce plastic consumption and support the recycling of plastic packaging waste.
- Extended Producer Responsibility Certificates:
- In a significant first, the guidelines allow for the sale and purchase of surplus extended producer responsibility certificates.
- This will set up a market mechanism for plastic waste management.
- Centralised Online Portal:
- The government has also called for establishing a centralised online portal by Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the registration as well as filing of annual returns by producers, importers and brand-owners, plastic waste processors of plastic packaging waste by 31st March, 2022.
- It would act as the single point data repository with respect to orders and guidelines related to the implementation of EPR for plastic packaging under the Plastic Waste Management Rule, 2016.
- Environmental Compensation:
- Environmental compensation will be levied based upon the polluter pays principle, with respect to non-fulfilment of EPR targets by producers, importers and brand owners, for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environmental pollution.
- The Polluter Pays Principle imposes liability on a person who pollutes the environment to compensate for the damage caused and return the environment to its original state regardless of the intent.
- Committee to Recommend Measures:
- A committee constituted by the CPCB under the chairmanship of CPCB chairman will recommend measures to the environment ministry for the effective implementation of EPR, including amendments to Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) guidelines.
- Annual Report on EPR Portal:
- State Pollution Control Board (SPCBs) or Pollution Control Committees (PCCs) have been tasked to submit an annual report on the EPR portal with respect to its fulfilment by producers, importers and brand-owners and plastic waste processors in the state/Union Territory to the CPCB.
- Leprosy has long been associated with a life of ostracism. However, the bacteria causing this debilitating disease may offer some hope on the regenerative medicine horizon.
- Leprosy is also known as Hansen’s Disease. Leprosy is a chronic, progressive bacterial infection.
- Caused by Mycobacterium Leprae, which is an acid-fast rod-shaped bacillus.
- Leprosy is one of the oldest diseases in recorded history, afflicting humanity since time immemorial. A written account of Leprosy date as far back as 600 B.C.
- Genetic evidence supports the existence of Leprosy infections in hundred-thousand-year-old remains.
Areas of Infection:
- Skin, Peripheral nerves, Upper respiratory tract and Lining of the nose.
Mode of Transmission:
- Mainly by breathing airborne droplets from the affected individuals. It can be contacted at any age.
- Red patches on the skin, skin lesions, numbness in arms, hands, and legs, ulcers on the soles of feet, muscle Weakness and excessive weight loss.
- It usually takes about 3-5 years for symptoms to appear after coming into contact with Leprosy causing bacteria. The long incubation period makes it difficult for doctors to determine when and where the person got infected.
- If not treated on time, Leprosy can lead to significant disability, disfigurement, permanent nerve damage in arms and legs and even loss of sensation in the body.
- Leprosy is curable with a combination of drugs known as Multi-Drug Therapy (MDT).
What researchers have found-
- A group of researchers have found that armadillo livers grew substantially when infected with Mycobacterium leprae.
- The pathogen was able to maintain liver function and keep its exquisite architecture intact, giving rise to something that looked like stem cells.
- The research documents the in-vitro discovery of Mycobacterium leprae’s ability to reprogramme adult Schwann cells (the bacteria’s preferred host niche in the peripheral nervous system) to a stage of progenitor/stem-like cells.
- Armadillos are among the few animals that leprosy bacteria infect.
- The bacteria was performing something akin to ‘biological alchemy’ — a bacterial pathogen was changing the biology of infected cells to become more ‘valuable’ such that it can promote the growth of a vital organ like the liver in living animals.
- The leprosy bacteria need functional cells to function within it because of their dependency on the host to survive and replicate.
Significance of the findings-
- Organ growth and development
- Regenerative medicine
- Can prevent two million annual deaths due to liver disease.
- Special human cells that have the capability to develop into wide-ranging types of cells in the human body, from muscle cells to brain cells, are called stem cells.
2 unique properties of Stem Cells-
- A stem cell is an immature or unspecialized cell that can
- Split to form similar cells
- Develop into different specialized cells that perform distinct functions.
Different Types of Stem Cells-
- Stem cells are classified into 2 main categories –
- Classification based on the formation of cells at different phases of human lives and
- Classification based on its ability to form into different specialized cells.
Classification based on Stem Cells formation at different times of human lives
- Embryonic Stem cells
- These are the Stem cells that exist only during the earliest stage of development.
- Adult Stem Cells
- These are the cells that can multiply when there is a need to repair adult organs and tissues.
- These cells are present in almost all organs of the human body.
- They are multipotent i.e. they can give rise to a limited number of mature cell types, usually corresponding to the tissues in which they reside. A most well-known example is the blood-forming (hematopoietic) stem cells from bone marrow that give rise to different blood cells in our body.
- Some tissue-specific stem cells can only give rise to one or two mature cell types and are called unipotent and bipotent, respectively. Stem cells found in the skin produce new skin cells and are an example of unipotent stem cells.
- Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC’s)-
- These cells are not found in the body but made in the laboratory from cells of the body.
- The iPSC cells have properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells.
- Human iPSC’s were generated in 2007.
Classification based on Stem cells ability to develop into different specialized cells
- Totipotent Stem Cells
- These Stem Cells can transform into all kinds of cells in the human body.
- Pluripotent Stem Cells
- These Stem Cells can transform themselves into any type of cell in the human body except those kinds that are required to support and develop a fetus in the womb. ESC’s and iPSC’s are pluripotent stem cells.
- Multipotent Stem Cells-
- These can give rise to only a few distinct types of cells.
Use of stem cells in the Medical field-
- The only stem cells currently used to treat disease are hematopoietic stem cells. These are blood cells forming adult stem cells found in the bone marrow.
- Researchers believe that stem cells would be able to treat a multitude of ailments like
- Heart disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Spinal cord injury
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Some parts of northern Eurasia have been witnessing increased snow cover over the past decades, even as rising air temperatures are already melting glaciers and polar ice caps in an interesting paradox.
- The climate change-induced melting of ice in the Arctic Ocean could be responsible for an increase in snow cover in Siberia.
- Enhanced evaporation deposits more moisture in the Arctic atmosphere.
- The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the rest of the world over the past 43 years.
- The most impacted were Barents, Kara, Chukchi and East Siberian Seas.
- These areas experienced sea ice loss in recent decades.
- The researchers recorded a high concentration of Arctic moisture, especially in August. This, according to them, corresponded with years of strong southward-moving moisture.
- These weather events pick up unusually large quantities of moisture south and transport them into Siberia.
Significance of the study-
- This study can help improve predictions of abnormal weather events such as heatwaves, which increase the risk of forest fires.
- Increased snow cover in western Russia increased the risk of summer heat waves in Europe and Northeast Asia.
- The Barents Sea borders the Norwegian and Greenland Sea in the west, the Arctic Sea in the north and the Kara Sea in the east.
- The Barents Sea is divided between Russia and Norway as defined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
What is Atlantification?
- Scientists have discovered ‘hotspots’ where some parts of the Barents Sea have started to closely resemble the Atlantic. This phenomenon has been termed Atlantification.
- The north-flowing ocean currents transport the warm waters of the Atlantic into the Arctic Ocean through the Barents Sea.
- Unlike the Atlantic and Pacific, the upper waters of the Eurasian Arctic Ocean get warmer as they get deeper.
- The top of the ocean is typically covered by sea ice. Below this is a layer of cool freshwater, followed by a deeper layer of warmer, saltier water delivered to the Arctic from the Atlantic by ocean currents.
- According to NASA data, the total area covered by sea ice in this region has fallen by almost half since satellite records began in the early 1980s.
- One possible reason for this is that, when sea ice melts through the summer, it replenishes the freshwater layer that sits above the warmer Atlantic layer. With less sea ice around, the amount of freshwater dwindles, this, in turn, causes the ocean to mix together, drawing more Atlantic heat up towards the surface. This “Atlantification” can, in turn, cause more ice to melt from below.
- Human-caused global climate change has been accelerating the Atlantification process and this will in turn significantly affect the weather patterns, ocean circulations, and the entire Arctic ecosystem.
What will be the Consequences of the Warming?
- More extreme weather:
- Melting of More Ice:
- First Recorded Rainfall at Summit Station Greenland:
- Increase in Lightning strikes:
- Impact on Marine Ecosystem:
- Extreme Snowfall:
- Extreme Weather Events:
- Arctic jet stream becomes wavier and less impactful.
- Myanmar, a country at the crossroads of the south, southeast and east Asia and for long rocked by political turmoil, may be emerging as a key transit hub for illegal wildlife trade (IWT), according to a new report.
Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC) report-
- The WJC (set up in 2015), a non-profit based in The Hague, brought out a study “To skin a cat”: how organised crime capitalises and exploits captive tiger facilities.
- The document mostly deals with illegal tiger farms in southeast Asia.
- However, a small section deals with the situation in Myanmar and the implications for the Illegal Wildlife Trade (IWT).
- Live, exotic animals are being smuggled from the country to India’s Northeast for supply to the “growing and thriving exotic pet trade in India”.
- Traditionally, Manipur in India’s Northeast “had been the entry point for almost all land-based trade between India and Myanmar, including illegal goods and contraband entered through strategically located towns such as Moreh, Kamjong and
- But now, traffickers have changed track and are using
- Myanmar permitted private zoos to apply for captive-breeding licences that could be applied to 90 species, including elephants, tigers, pangolins, and others in June 2020.
- Almost one-quarter (20 species) of these are categorised as either endangered or critically endangered in the wild.
- It suggests that tiger farms in the Greater Mekong region — Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam — present a significant threat to the survival of tigers across southeast Asia.
Implications of IWT-
- Compromises the security of countries
- Profits can be used to finance civil conflicts and terrorist-related activities.
- Hinders sustainable social and economic development
- Reduces the effectiveness of governments
- Deter civil engagement
- Erode the rule of law
- Harms the reputation of and trust in the state
- Affects the growth of local communities
- Destroys natural wealth
Most Wildlife trafficking by country-
|United Kingdom||United States||South Africa|
Greater Mekong Region-
- The Greater Mekong Subregion, (GMS) is a trans-national region of the Mekong River basin in Southeast Asia.
- It came into being with the launch of a development program in 1992 by the Asian Development Bank that brought together the six Asian countries of Cambodia, China (specifically Yunnan Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Thailand, and Vietnam.
- The Greater Mekong holds irreplaceable natural and cultural riches and is considered one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots.
- The region is an important food provider and the site of many large-scale construction projects with social and economic implications.
What is the Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP)?
- JETP, launched at the COP26 in Glasgow with the support of the United Kingdom (UK), the United States (US), France, Germany, and the European Union (EU)
- JETP, is an initiative of the rich nations who propose various funding options to accelerate the phasing out of coal and reduce emissions in identified developing countries.
- The German approach includes building not just climate partnerships, but “climate and development” alliances beyond the G-7, though largely focused on G-20 members.
- This is significant because this approach takes into account the societal and economic development of each partner and will not try to force-feed partners a standard solution.
- That partnership—with special emphasis on the words “just” and “transition”—is about helping fund South Africa’s decarbonization by replacing coal usage with clean energy.
- At its core, the idea is to assist green transitions by making finance available from developed countries, multilateral institutions and groups of green investors.
JETP model of South Africa-
- The JETP model is expected to be on the lines of the JETP programme already launched with South Africa at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26) last year.
- The countries announced a shared long-term ambition to support South Africa’s decarbonisation efforts to help meet its emission reduction targets set out in its latest Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
- The G7 which includes France, Germany, the UK, the US and the EU, proposed financing of $8.5 billion for South Africa through various instruments such as grants, concessional loans and investments, and risk-sharing instruments, including involving the private sector.
What is the climate deal being offered to India by G7?
- Following that G7 has announced a similar partnership in India, Indonesia, Senegal, and Vietnam.
- The US and Germany have proposed a G-7 partnership with India to support and fund the makeover of its energy mix from fossil fuels to carbon-neutral sources.
- Constituents of the deal:
- reducing the number of coal-burning power plants under development,
- the gradual closure of our coal mines.
India argues that coal cannot be singled out as a polluting fuel, and energy transition talks need to take place on equal terms.
Section: National Bodies
Context: CBI Director recently issued directions to the agency’s investigation officers (IOs) with regard to handling matters received from the Lokpal.
- The agency should protect the identity of the complainant and avoid direct contact with him or her; not considering requests for withdrawal of the complainant; and focusing on the allegations rather than peripheral issues to complete the preliminary inquiry in a time-bound manner.
- If there is a compelling requirement for collecting some important document or some information, and the IO wants to contact the complainant, it should send a proposal justifying the reasons to the policy division for further taking up the matter with the office of the Lokpal.
- The Lokpal is an independent statutory body established under Section 3 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act 2013:
- The Act allows for setting up of anti-corruption ombudsman called Lokpal at the Centre.
- Composition: The Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members.
- Chairperson should have been a Chief Justice of India, or is or has been a judge of the Supreme Court, or an eminent person who fulfils eligibility criteria as specified.
- 50% of the members are to be judicial members provided that not less than 50% of the members belong to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities, and women.
- Inquiry Wing: Lokpal will have an Inquiry Wing for conducting preliminary inquiry into any offence alleged to have been committed by a public servant punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
- Prosecution Wing: It will also have a Prosecution Wing for the prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act.
- The Lokpal will have the power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the ombudsman.
- As per the Act, the Lokpal can summon or question any public servant if there exists a prima facie case against the person, even before an investigation agency (such as vigilance or CBI) has begun the probe. Any officer of the CBI investigating a case referred to it by the Lokpal, shall not be transferred without the approval of the Lokpal.
- An investigation must be completed within six months. However, the Lokpal or Lokayukta may allow extensions of six months at a time provided the reasons for the need of such extensions are given in writing.
- Special courts will be instituted to conduct trials on cases referred by Lokpal.
- Jurisdiction of Lokpal: It covers a wide range of public servants — from the Prime Minister (PM), ministers and MP, to groups A, B, C, D officers of the central government including the chairperson and members of the Lokpal. However, there are some exceptions for PM:
- Lokpal cannot inquire allegations against the PM relating to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy, and space.
- Also, complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it.
- Such an inquiry against the Prime Minister (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal concludes that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.
Section: National Bodies
Context: CBI Director conveyed to the CBI officials that the preliminary inquiry should be conducted with promptness and within the deadline as prescribed by the Lokpal.
- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the premier investigating police agency in India.
- It functions under the superintendence of the of Personnel, Ministry of Personnel, Pension & Public Grievances, Government of India – which falls under the Prime Minister’s Office.
- However, for investigations of offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, its superintendence vests with the Central Vigilance Commission.
- It is also the nodal police agency in India which coordinates investigation on behalf of Interpol Member countries.
- Its conviction rate is as high as 65 to 70% and it is comparable to the best investigation agencies in the world.
Cases Handled by the CBI
- Anti-Corruption Crimes – for investigation of cases under the Prevention of Corruption Act against Public officials and the employees of Central Government, Public Sector Undertakings, Corporations or Bodies owned or controlled by the Government of India.
- Economic Crimes – for investigation of major financial scams and serious economic frauds, including crimes relating to Fake Indian Currency Notes, Bank Frauds and Cyber Crime, Import, Export & Foreign Exchange violations, large-scale smuggling of narcotics, antiques, cultural property and smuggling of other contraband items etc.
- Special Crimes – for investigation of serious and organized crime under the Indian Penal Code and other laws on the requests of State Governments or on the orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts – such as cases of terrorism, bomb blasts, kidnapping for ransom and crimes committed by the mafia/the underworld.
- Suo Moto Cases – CBI can Suo-moto take up investigation of offences only in the Union Territories.
- The Central Government can authorize CBI to investigate a crime in a State but only with the consent of the concerned State Government.
- The Supreme Court and High Courts, however, can order CBI to investigate a crime anywhere in the country without the consent of the State.
Director of CBI
- Director, CBI as Inspector General of Police, Delhi Special Police Establishment, is responsible for the administration of the organisation.
- Till 2014, the CBI Director was appointed on the basis of the DSPE Act, 1946.
- In 2003, DSPE Act was revised on Supreme Court’s recommendation in the Vineet Narain A committee that had members from Central Vigilance Commission, Secretaries from Home Ministry, Ministry of Personnel and Public Grievances would send recommendations to Central Government for the appointment of CBI Director.
- In 2014, the Lokpal Act provided a committee for appointment of CBI Director:
- Headed by Prime Minister
- Other members – Leader of Opposition/ Leader of the single largest opposition party, Chief Justice of India/ a Supreme Court Judge.
- Home Ministry sends a list of eligible candidates to DoPT. Then, the DoPT prepares the final list on basis of seniority, integrity, and experience in the investigation of anti-corruption cases, and sends it to the committee.
- Director of CBI has been provided security of two-year tenure, by the CVC Act, 2003.