Daily Prelims Notes 28 June 2023
- June 28, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
28 June 2023
Table Of Contents
- Indian Ocean Dipole, and its Potential to Limit El Nino Effects
- Kolkata attempts to eliminate ‘legacy waste’ in landfills through biomining
- Brazil GEF meet: Over half a billion dollars set aside for work on biodiversity
- Many Indian districts saw a half of seasonal rainfall in 24 hours
- Minerals Security Partnership: India joins the critical minerals club. Here’s why this is important
- Congo: World’s 2nd-largest rainforest continues to vanish with half a million hectares lost in 2022, says report
- 19 startups lose Unicorn status owing to funding squeeze
- CAD narrows to 0.2% of GDP
- Govt to releases critical minerals list
- More Regulatory barriers to trade by European Union
- Meira Paibis
- Seven products from U.P. get GI tag
- President of India conferred distinguished service awards
- Rajya Sabha Members Election
- Opposition blames Centre’s policies for tomato price rise
- Netanyahu’s security risks mount as violence spirals in West Bank
- Govt. extends deadline for Aadhaar-based payments for MGNREGA
- With the El-Nino phenomenon almost certain to affect the Indian monsoon this year, high hopes are pinned on the development of a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) and its ability to counterbalance the El-Nino effect.
- While the El-Nino has been established in the Pacific Ocean this year, IOD is still in the neutral phase.
Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD):
- The IOD was identified as an independent system only in 1999.
- The IOD, sometimes referred to as the Indian Nino, is an ocean-atmosphere interaction very similar to the El Nino fluctuations in the Pacific Ocean that occur in the Indian Ocean between the Indonesian and Malaysian coastline in the east and the African coastline near Somalia in the west. One side of the ocean, along the equator, gets warmer than the other.
- The air circulation in the Indian Ocean basin moves from west to east, that is from the African coast towards the Indonesian islands, near the surface, and in the opposite direction at the upper levels.
- That means the surface waters in the Indian Ocean get pushed from west to east.
- In a normal year, warmer waters in the western Pacific near Indonesia cross over into the Indian Ocean and make that part of the Indian Ocean slightly warmer. That causes the air to rise and helps the prevailing air circulation.
- In the years when the air circulation becomes stronger, more warm surface waters from the African coast are pushed towards the Indonesian islands, making that region warmer than usual. This caused more hot air to rise and the cycle reinforces itself. This is the state of negative IOD.
- The opposite case involves air circulation becoming slightly weaker than normal.
- In some rare cases, the air circulation even reverses direction. The consequence is that the African coast becomes warmer while the Indonesian coastline gets cooler.
- IOD impacts:
- A positive IOD helps rainfall along the African coastline and also over the Indian sub-continent while suppressing rainfall over Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Australia.
- The impacts are opposite during a negative IOD event.
- Compared with ENSO events, the impacts of IODs are much weaker.
El-Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO cycle):
- In a normal year, the eastern side of the Pacific Ocean, near the northwestern coast of South America, is cooler than the western side near the islands of the Philippines and Indonesia.
- This happens because the prevailing wind systems that move from east to west sweep the warmer surface waters towards the Indonesian coast.
- The relatively cooler waters from below come up to replace the displaced water.
- An El-Nino event is the result of a weakening of wind systems that leads to lesser displacement of warmer waters.
- This results in the eastern side of the Pacific becoming warmer than usual.
- During La Nina, the opposite happens.
- The wind system becomes stronger, displacing greater amounts of warm surface waters towards the Indonesian coastline, because of which the ocean near the South American coast gets cooler than usual.
- Both these conditions, together called El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), affect weather events across the world. Over India, the El-Nino has the impact of suppressing monsoon rainfall.
ENSO and IOD:
- A positive IOD event is often seen developing at times of an El Nino, while a negative IOD is sometimes associated with La Nina.
- During El Nino, the Pacific side of Indonesia is cooler than normal because of which the Indian Ocean side also gets cooler. That helps the development of a positive IOD.
- Many studies suggest that IOD events are actually induced by ENSO.
- However, IOD is relatively a much weaker system than El Nino and thus has relatively limited impacts.
- IOD is said to be positive when the western side of the Indian Ocean, near the Somalia coast, becomes warmer than the eastern Indian Ocean.
- It is negative when the western Indian Ocean is cooler.
- A positive IOD has the potential to offset the impacts of El Nino to a small measure in neighbouring areas.
- The Dhapa landfill, Kolkata’s main municipal dumping ground since 1987, has been causing frequent fires and subsequent air quality deterioration in the city.
- Dhapa has been undergoing biomining and bioremediation, the methods chosen by the National Green Tribunal for clearing legacy waste, which allows the extraction of usable materials from the waste.
- Though the project began in 2019, as of February this year, 0.78 million tonnes of the 4 million tonnes of legacy waste has been processed, with the COVID-19 pandemic landing a blow to the progress.
- The Dhapa land was originally part of the East Kolkata Wetlands, which serves as Kolkata’s natural sewage treatment system and was designated a Ramsar site in 2002, as a wetland of global importance.
- Dhapa is spread over 35 hectares – a little over half the size of Eden Gardens cricket ground. Of this area, 12 hectares have been closed, capped and covered with grass after covering the waste with a geotextile membrane, with support from a World Bank project.
- Another 23 hectares are currently active, with new waste coming in while legacy waste is still being processed.
Harmful environmental impact of landfills:
- Landfills are known to greatly contribute to global warming, as they produce methane, a greenhouse gas that possesses a global warming potential over 21 times that of carbon dioxide.
- Municipal solid waste landfills are considered the third-largest source of methane generated from human activities.
- Methane facilitates fires, which worsen air quality.
- Leachate in landfills leads to pollution of groundwater, surface water, soil and air. It also contaminate the drinking water with heavy metals.
- Legacy wastes are the wastes that have been collected and kept for years at some barren land or a place dedicated to Landfill (an area to dump solid waste).
- This waste can be roughly grouped into four categories:
- Contained and/or stored waste(contained or stored waste are wastes in tanks, canisters, and stainless steel bins).
- Buried waste.
- Contaminated soil and groundwater
- Contaminated building materials and structures.
- The biomining method has been proposed by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the effective disposal of legacy wastes.
- The CPCB, in 2019, estimated that “more than 10,000 hectares of urban land is locked” in the form of ‘legacy wastes’ in landfills across the country.
- Environmental Impact of Legacy Waste:
- Legacy wastes not only occupy large spaces but also become a breeding ground for pathogens, flies, malodours and the generation of leachate (a liquid generated by airless waste that pollutes soil and groundwater).
- They also contribute to the generation of greenhouse gases and pose a risk of an uncontrollable fire.
- According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) guidelines, “Biomining is the scientific process of excavation, treatment, segregation and gainful utilisation of aged municipal solid waste lying in dumpsites typically referred to as legacy waste.”
- In this process, microorganisms (microbes) are used to extract metals of economic interest from rock ores or mine waste.
- It comprises 4 steps:
- excavation of legacy waste,
- stabilising the waste using bioremediation,
- segregation of excavated waste and
- sustainable management and its safe disposal.
- The methods of biomining include Bioleaching, Bio-oxidation, Dump leaching, and Agitated leaching.
- It is usually used for old dumped waste that remains in a partly or fully decomposed state with no segregation in existence between wet and dry waste.
- In the cost-effective method of biomining, treatment is done by dividing the garbage heap at the site into suitable blocks to let the air percolate in the heap.
- As a result, the leachate which is the water in the heap with suspended solid particles is drained off and microbes are sprayed in the heap to initiate biological decompositions.
- The waste is turned over several times in order to devoid the waste from leachate as much as possible.
- This biological decomposition of the waste decreases the volume of the waste by 40%.
|Methods of Biomining
|3. Dump leaching
|4. Agitated leaching
Section: International conventions
- At the 64th Global Environment Facility (GEF) council meeting in Brazil, the governing body approved the disbursement of $1.4 billion to accelerate efforts to tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises.
- The funding package includes support for 136 countries and has a significant focus on action to address species and habitat loss, in line with the GBF.
- Of the $1.4 billion, $653 million has been set aside for biodiversity and this would be used to help countries update their National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans, biodiversity programmes and meet the targets of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF).
- 47 per cent of the funds have been earmarked for work on biodiversity, followed by 16 per cent for climate change, 12 per cent for land degradation, 11 per cent for international waters and 6 per cent for chemicals and waste.
- Latin America and the Caribbean region are getting the most of the funds, followed by the African region.
- Out of the 18 implementing agencies for GEF; the United Nations Development Programme is getting the maximum funds followed by the UN Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
- Approval to establish the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) fund, as Adequate funds are needed to meet the 4 goals & 23 targets set under the Kunming-Montreal biodiversity framework by 2030.
About Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework:
- The “Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework” (GBF) was adopted by the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
- It includes four goals and 23 targets to be achieved by 2030. It is intended to replace the Aichi Biodiversity targets of 2010.
- COP 15 took place in Montreal, Canada.
- Through Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), countries agreed to protect 30 per cent of the planet by 2030.
- The countries pledged to achieve 23 targets to reverse ecosystem degradation under four overarching goals for the survival of the natural world.
- Under the Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), countries also agreed to reduce harmful government subsidies worth 500 billion dollars annually, while vowing to identify subsidies that are harmful to biodiversity by 2025.
- Its other targets include reducing the use of pesticides by half and raising annual international financial flows from developed to developing countries to at least 20 billion dollars by 2025, and to at least 30 billion dollars by 2030.
About Global Environment Facility (GEF) Council:
- The Global Environment Facility has a unique governing structure organized around an Assembly, the Council, the Secretariat, 18 agencies, a Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, and the Evaluation Office.
- The GEF serves as a financial mechanism for several environmental conventions.
- The Council:
- The Council, the GEF’s main governing body, comprises 32 members appointed by constituencies of GEF member countries (14 from developed countries, 16 from developing countries, and two from economies in transition).
- Council members rotate at different intervals determined by each constituency.
- The Council, which meets twice annually, develops, adopts and evaluates the operational policies and programs for GEF-financed activities.
- It also reviews and approves the work program (projects submitted for approval), making decisions by consensus.
- The monsoon has been delayed this year and has not yet met its quota for June.
- However, many parts of the country witnessed heavy and erratic rainfall on June 25 and 26, accounting for around half of the total rainfall for the monsoon season.
- Some districts in India received 50 per cent or more of the season’s total rainfall in a single day in a few hours on June 25 and June 26, leading to a flood-like situation.
- Excessive rainfall in a few hours of a single day can also be fatal and is a clear sign of climate change.
Unusual rainfall across different regions of India:
- Bijnor district in Uttar Pradesh received 92.6 mm of rainfall between 8 am and 10 am on June 25, or ‘heavy rainfall’ as per IMD classification.
- Suburban areas in Mumbai in Maharashtra recorded ‘extremely heavy rainfall’ of 176.1 mm on June 25.
- According to the IMD, rainfall recorded in the range of 125.5 to 244.4 mm in a day is considered extremely heavy rainfall.
- Deogarh district of Odisha recorded 106.3 mm of rainfall on June 25. This was 1,419 per cent more than the normal rainfall average of 7 mm for the day.
- Kathua district in Jammu and Kashmir recorded 107.4 mm of rainfall — 2,287 per cent more than average.
- Mahasamund and Raipur districts of Chhattisgarh also received rainfall of 90.8 and 82.1 mm.
- Continuous rainfall of more than 50 millimetres (mm) for two hours is classified as a mini cloudburst according to the IMD.
- Many districts in several parts of the country witnessed mini cloudbursts on June 25 and 26.
- According to the IMD, 100mm of rain in an hour is called a cloudburst. They usually occur over a small geographical region of about 20 to 30 sq. km.
Rainfall classification as per the IMD:
|24-hour rainfall over a station
|Very Light Rain
|Trace – 2.4 mm
|2.5 – 15.5 mm
|15.6 – 64.4 mm
|64.5 – 115.5 mm
|Very Heavy Rain
|115.6 – 204.4 mm
|Extremely Heavy Rain
|More than or equal to 204.5 mm
Major factors affecting heavy rainfall:
- Monsoon weather system
- Monsoon trough, Cyclonic Circulation, Low-Pressure Area, Depression, Cyclones etc.
- West coast offshore Trough.
- Interaction of Mid-latitude systems with Monsoon Circulation:
- Other Weather systems:
- Western Disturbances
- Pre Monsoon thunderstorms in association with Easterly/Westerly trough, Wind discontinuity, cyclonic circulations.
- Northeast monsoonal system:
- Easterly waves, Trough, Low-pressure area, Depression, Cyclone.
- The orographic uplifting of moist air
Steps for Monitoring and Prediction of Heavy Rainfall:
- Analysis of causative weather system (genesis, evolution, characteristics & dissemination).
- Analysis of current weather system based on surface, RADAR and Satellite observations.
- Comparison of this analysis with model analysis.
- Comparison of model diagnosis & prognosis and hence prediction of heavy rainfall for next five days.
- Development of objective consensus based NWP models using decision support system about occurrence and intensity of rainfall.
- Development of subjective consensus among forecasters through video conferencing system through knowledge, experience and expertise.
- Final consensus forecast on occurrence and intensity of heavy rainfall by modulating objective consensus with subjective consensus.
- Warning bulletin, product generation, presentation and dissemination.
Subject :International Relations
- India became a part of the coveted critical minerals club — the Mineral Security Partnership (MSP) — headed by the United States.
Other initiatives include:
- Recently, the US and the UK signed the Atlantic Declaration to begin negotiations on a critical minerals agreement, which would allow some UK firms to access tax credits available under the US Inflation Reduction Act.
Mineral Security Partnership (MSP):
- Initiated by the USA in 2022.
- It is also known as the critical minerals alliance.
- MSP is a strategic grouping of 13 member states including Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Sweden, the United Kingdom, US, the European Union, Italy and now India.
- It aims to catalyse public and private investment in critical mineral supply chains globally.
- Countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, the Democratic Republic of Congo, which have abundant reserves of critical minerals are not part of this strategic grouping formed by US.
- India’s inclusion can create space for other countries to be part of the partnership and reduce their dependence on China by building a robust and reliable supply chain of raw materials needed for the clean energy transition.
- Cobalt, graphite, lithium, manganese, nickel and rare earth elements are these common strategic mineral resources that are demand-intensive due to their strategic uses in wind turbines, batteries of electric vehicles and other critical emerging technologies for green transition.
- Objectives of the MSP include:
- Strengthened information sharing between partner countries
- Increased investment in secure critical minerals supply chains
- Developed recycling technologies
Significance for India:
- India’s inclusion in the club is vital for India to fulfill its ambition of shifting towards sustainable mobility through large, reliable fleets of electric public and private transport.
- Securing the supply chain of critical minerals will also provide the country with the necessary push towards a concerted indigenous electronics and semiconductor manufacturing.
- The inclusion will pave the way for equitable sharing of resources across the globe.
India’s involvement in other mineral partnership forums/agreements:
- India is already a member of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development, which supports the advancement of good mining governance.
- India and Australia have already signed the Critical Minerals Investment Partnership with the aim towards investment in critical minerals projects to develop supply chains between the two countries.
Section: Places In news
- The Congo, the world’s second-largest rainforest after the Amazon, continues to retreat. The rainforest is spread across six African countries, the largest of which lost half a million hectares (mha) of forest last year, according to a new report.
- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) lost over 500,000 hectares in 2022, according to the report made available by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the University of Maryland on Global Forest Watch, an open-source web application to monitor global forests in near real-time.
- The rate of primary forest loss in the DRC remains persistently high.
- It noted that 4.1 mha of primary tropical forest were lost worldwide last year, an area the size of Switzerland. This is equivalent to the loss of 11 football pitches per minute, stated the WRI.
- Of this, Brazil accounted for 43 per cent of the total tropical primary forest loss, at 1.8 million ha, followed by DRC (12.1 per cent) and Bolivia.
- Emission due to loss of forest:
- This destruction in natural forests generated 2.7 billion tonnes of CO2 — roughly equivalent to India’s annual emissions — of 43 billion tonnes emitted worldwide each year.
The Congo rainforests:
- The Congo rainforest is known for its high levels of biodiversity, including more than 600 tree species and 10,000 animal species.
- Some of its most famous residents include forest elephants, gorillas, chimpanzees, okapi, leopards, hippos, and lions.
- Some of these species have a significant role in shaping the character of their forest home.
- For example, researchers have found that Central African forests generally have taller trees but lower density of small trees than forests in the Amazon or Borneo because the elephants, gorillas, and large herbivores keep the density of small trees very low through predation, reducing competition for large trees.
- But in areas where these animals have been depleted by hunting, forests tend to be shorter and denser with small trees.
- Therefore the old-growth forests in Central Africa store huge volumes of carbon in their vegetation and tree trunks (39 billion tons, according to a 2012 study), serving as an important buffer against climate change.
- The Congo rainforest is spread across Cameroon, Central African Republic, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Sixty per cent of the rainforest lies in the DRC.
Loss of Primary forests in DRC:
- Primary forests are forests of native tree species, where there are no clearly visible indications of human activities. These provide numerous ecosystem services, but are under continuing threat.
- From 2002 to 2022, DRC lost 6.33 mha of humid primary forest, making up 35 per cent of its total tree cover loss in the same time period.
- The total area of humid primary forest in DRC decreased by 6.1 per cent during this period.
Key drivers of loss of Congo rainforests:
- Prevalence of Slash-and-Burn technique of agriculture.
- Increase in the demand for food has led to shorter fallow periods and the expansion of agriculture into primary forest.
- Around 96 per cent of the population uses polluting cooking fuel. These fuel or wood mainly come from primary forests.
- Uncontrolled bushfires, charcoal production for local and regional markets, cattle ranching, and illegal (artisanal) logging.
- Failure of forest governance in the DRC.
- The DRC government in Kinshasa, instead of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, announced its decision to auction oil and gas permits in critically endangered gorilla habitat and the world’s largest tropical peatlands.
- Economic condition of DRC:
- DRC is among the world’s five poorest nations according to the World Bank.
- In 2022, nearly 62 per cent of the population or around 60 million people, lived on less than $2.15 a day.
Section: National Income
Context: : ASK Private Wealth releases Hurun India Future Unicorn Index 2022
- The index lists the present unicorns as well as companies that are on path to become unicorns.
- 19 startups fell out of the unicorn list. Unicorn is the term used for startups valued over $1 billion.
- The number of unicorns stand at 84 right now as against 51 in the year-ago period
- There are 122 others valued at over USD 200 million which can achieve the unicorn status in the next 2-4 years
- The falling out of startups from unicorn club is attributed to several factors, prime being a ‘funding winter’, which is result of:
- liquidity conditions are getting tighter all across the world.
- recessionary conditions in Europe, also reduce investment sentiment
- Elevated interest rate, a cycle of hikes to counter inflation that started last year is still on.
- Rising interest rates and global uncertainties have dramatically reduced the appetite of investors to put money into startups.
- geopolitical headwinds have combined to make it harder for startups to raise capital
- Late-stage funding and mega deals in the Indian startup ecosystem have been hit hard by the funding winter.
- Despite the ongoing ‘funding winter’ which can impact start-up valuations, the number of unicorns or startups valued at over USD 1 billion will grow by 122 to cross the 200 companies mark in the next four years
- The index uses terms:
- Gazelle: startup worth atleast $200 billion and likely to become a unicorn in next 2 years.
- Cheetah: startup worth at least $200 billion and likely to become a unicorn in next 4 years.
Subject : Economy
Section: External sector
- India’s current account deficit (CAD) dropped to 0.2% of GDP in Q4 FY23 from 2 % of GDP in the previous quarter.
- CAD dipped to $1.3 billion in Q4 FY23 compared to $16.8 billion in Q3 and $13.4 billion in Q4 FY22.
- The narrowing is due to a moderation in the trade deficit along with robust services exports
- Trade deficit moderated to $52.6 billion in Q4 FY23 from $71.3 billion in Q3,
- Services exports have been strong. ($39.1 billion vs. $38.7 billion). This has helped achieve record high service trade surplus.
- Likely trend ahead and factors:
- CAD can be expected to further moderate in FY24.
- Favorable factors are: lower commodity prices, services exports, and robust remittance receipts.
- At the same time, growth in merchandise exports is likely to be lower on global slowdown along with some effect on services exports.
- CAD likely to stay in the 1.2-1.6% range.
- The implication of CAD moderation on value of Rupee is positive. Further there is positive trend on the capital account side too, with FDI and FPI flows ready to pick up. The two trends together indicate a range bound Rupee at the least, along with build up of forex reserves.
|Balance of Payment
Thus any shortfall on the current account is ideally balanced by a surplus on capital account (like India) or vice versa (like US). If the two do not balance the adjustment has to come from the forex reserves of the country. But that can only happen in the short term, till a balance is achieved either by appreciation or depreciation of the currency.
Section: Economic geography
In News: The government has released list of critical minerals of India for the first time.
- Ministry of Coal, Mines & Parliamentary Affairs released the ‘Report on Identification of Critical Minerals for India’.
- The critical minerals list is likely to have more than 40 minerals
- The list is designed to identify and prioritise minerals that are essential for various industrial sectors such as high-tech electronics, tele communications, transport and defence.
- The move is significant as India aims to achieve self sufficiency and ensure resource sustainability,
Other objective is to:
- Reduce import dependencies
- Enhance supply chain resilience
- Support the country’s net-zero objectives
- Identification of critical minerals is the first step towards developing adequate supplies
- Lack of a specific list of critical minerals was also becoming a deterrent towards prioritising the country’s critical mineral needs.
- The list will serve as a guiding framework for policy formulation, strategic planning, and investment decisions in the mining sector.
- Important in view of China being leader both in concentration and processing of these minerals.
- Critical minerals, such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, and rare earth elements (REEs), are key to clean energy technologies
- They are needed for the production of wind turbines and solar photovoltaic cells for electric vehicle (EV) batteries and electricity magnets.
Subject : Economy
Section: External sector
- EU has come up with yet another regulation that is likely to negatively impact exports from developing countries like India.
- The regulations are proposed in form of due diligence obligations on human rights and environment sustainability.
- This is the latest addition to other trade impeding measures like the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) and the Deforestation Free regulations,
- The official name of the measure is Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (DD).
- It targets important sectors such as textiles, agriculture, and mining, has still not been formalised
- As the burden of proof will be on EU importers, who may face penalties for any breach of obligations by their suppliers, they in turn would be careful in sourcing.
- Impact on India:
- the proposed EU legislation likely to make trade difficult for Indian exporters.
- We could see serious impact especially on MSME suppliers as they may not be able to provide all the in formation sought by EU importers to complete their due diligence process
- EU is one of India’s largest trading partners, accounting for 16.6 per cent of the country’s total ex ports in 2022–23 at $74.83 billion
- The European Union is a unique economic and political union between 27 EU countries that together cover much of the continent.
- 19 of these countries use EURO as their official currency. 8 EU members (Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Sweden) do not use the euro.
- The EU grew out of a desire to form a single European political entity to end centuries of warfare among European countries that culminated with World War II and decimated much of the continent.
- The EU has developed an internal single market through a standardised system of laws that apply in all member states in matters, where members have agreed to act as one.
Origin of the European Union:
- Despite not being officially formed until 1993, the European Union’s foundations actually reach further back to 1957, when the European Economic Community was established.
- The EEC was formed out of a previous group called the European Coal and Steel Community – which had its own start in 1951.
- In 1993, the EEC morphed into the European Union following the new Maastricht Treaty (also known as the Treaty on European Union).
- Additionally, the Treaty of Lisbon, enacted in 2009, gave the European Union more broad powers that included being authorized to sign international treaties, increase border patrol, and other security and enforcement provision
Subject : Polity
- The Spear Corps of the Indian Army accused women activists in Manipur called Meira Paibis of deliberately blocking routes and interfering in Operations of Security Forces.
About Meira Paibis
- The Meira Paibis or “women torch bearers”, so called because of the flaming torches that they hold aloft while marching in the streets.
- The Meira Paibis, also known as Imas or Mothers of Manipur, are Meitei women who come from all sections of society.
- The Meira Paibis are loosely organised, usually led by groups of senior women.
- They have no rigid hierarchy or structure, or any overt political leanings.
- The Meira Paibi was formed in 1977.
- One of the largest grassroots movements in the world, its initial focus of fighting alcoholism and drug abuse has now expanded to countering human rights violations and the development of society at large.
Subject : Economy
Section: Capital market
- Recently, a front page advertisement in a business daily featuring a financial influencer (or finfluencer) and a logo of the IT Ministry next to that has drawn sharp criticism from people on the Internet.
- Finfluencers are people with public social media platforms offering advice and sharing personal experiences about money and investment in stocks.
- They give the ordinary investor information and advice on an array of financial topics such as stock market trading, personal finance and mutual funds.
- Their videos cover budgeting, investing, property buying, cryptocurrency advice and financial trend tracking.
- They provide unsolicited ‘stock’ tips on various social media platforms without being registered investment advisers.
- It is unclear if these influencers have any educational or professional qualifications to offer such financial advice.
- It is also not clear that if there is any kind of monetary transaction that happens between them and the entity they are promoting.
- Scamsters are using this route to manipulate share prices.
Are there any guidelines?
- The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) released new guidelines for social media influencers and other advertisers about publishing ads about virtual digital assets (VDA).
- Per the guidelines, all advertisements for VDA products, VDA exchanges or featuring VDAs should carry a disclaimer.
- The disclaimer should say, “Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions”.
- ASCI also released its half-yearly report of complaints detailing social media influencers that were found to be non-compliant with its advertising guidelines.
- SEBI has taken note of it and is working on guidelines for content creators in the sector.
- Recently, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman asked people to exercise caution while following the advice of finfluencers.
- The Geographical Indications Registry in Chennai has given tags to seven different products from Uttar Pradesh.
The GI tag-given products are:
- Amroha Dholak: Musical instrument made of natural wood (mango, jackfruit, and teakwood).
- Mahoba Gaura Patthar Hastashlip: Craft made of unique and soft stone, scientifically known as ‘Pyro Flight Stone’.
- Mainpuri Tarkashi: Popular art form of brass wire inlay work on wood, used for making khadaous.
- Sambhal Horn Craft: Handmade craft made from raw material procured from dead animals.
- Baghpat Home Furnishings: Baghpat and Meerut have gained renown for their exceptional handloom home furnishing products, and they have been actively involved in the production of fabrics using cotton yarn for generations. The handloom weaving process exclusively utilizes cotton yarn.
- Barabanki Handloom Product: Barabanki and its neighbouring areas are home to approximately 50,000 weavers and 20,000 looms.
- Kalpi Handmade Paper: Munnalal ‘Khaddari,’ a Gandhian, introduced the craft formally in the 1940s. However, locals believe that Kalpi’s association with paper-making extends even further back in history. Today, the handmade paper-making cluster in Kalpi is a significant hub, involving over 5,000 craftsmen and approximately 200 units.
For further notes on GI Tag – https://optimizeias.com/geographical-indication-gi/
Subject : Schemes
- President Droupadi Murmu presented distinguished service awards to a total of 84 serving and retired personnel from the armed forces and the Indian Coast Guard.
- A total of 52 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals (AVSMs), 1 Bar to AVSM, 3 Uttam Yudh Seva Medals (UYSMs) and 28 Param Vishisht Seva Medals (PVSMs) were bestowed upon deserving recipients.
Details of the Award Ceremony:
- The ceremony took place at the Rashtrapati Bhavan, where the awards were presented.
- Lt. Gen. ADS Aujla, who previously served as the Commander of the Srinagar-based Chinar Corps, received the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM) for his role in safeguarding the Line of Control (LoC) in the Kashmir Valley.
Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM)
- Param Vishisht Seva Medal is a military award of India. It was constituted in 1960 and since then it is awarded in recognition to peace-time service of the most exceptional order and may be awarded posthumously.
- All ranks of the Indian Armed Forces including Territorial Army, Auxiliary and Reserve Forces, Nursing officers and other members of the Nursing services and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces are eligible for the award.
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)
- Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM) is a military award of India given to recognize “distinguished service of an exceptional order” to all ranks of the armed forces.
- The award is a peacetime equivalent of Uttam Yuddh Seva Medal, which is a Wartime Distinguished Service decoration.
- The award can also be granted posthumously. Subsequent awards are represented by a bar worn on the ribbon. The awardee can use “AVSM” as post-nominal letters.
Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM; Great War Service Medal)
- Uttam Yudh Seva Medal is one of India’s military decorations for Wartime Distinguished Service.
- It is awarded for a high degree of distinguished services in an operational context. “Operational context” includes times of war, conflict, or hostilities.
- The award is a wartime equivalent of Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, which is a Peacetime Distinguished Service decoration. Uttam Yudh Seva Medal may be awarded posthumously.
Subject : Polity
- The Election Commission of India recently announced the schedule for the election on 10 Rajya Sabha seats in Goa, Gujarat and West Bengal.
Election Process to Rajya Sabha:
- While Lok Sabha members are elected directly by the voters, Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the people, that is, by the elected Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly (MLAs).
- How many Rajya Sabha members a state can send depends on its population.
- MLAs vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in what is called proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
- In this system, MLAs don’t vote for each seat.
- Instead, the MLAs are given a paper with the names of all candidates. They have to give their order of preference for each candidate, marking 1,2,3… against their names.
- The ballot is open, but MLAs have to show their ballots to an authorised agent from their party to prevent practices such as cross-voting. A vote cannot be counted if the ballot is not shown to the agent. Independent MLAs cannot show their ballot to anyone.
- If a qualifying number of voters choose a candidate as their first choice, he or she is elected.
- The remaining votes go to the next candidates but with a lesser value. So, MLAs also vote for candidates from other parties.
- The candidate that gets rank 1 from an MLA secures a first preference vote. In order to win, a candidate needs a specific number of such first-preference votes. This number depends on the strength of the state Assembly and the number of MPs it sends to Rajya Sabha.
- To win, a candidate should get a required number of votes which is known as a quota or preference vote. The formula is = [Total number of votes/(Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1)] + 1.
- However, the formula is changed in case more than one seat needs to be filled. The total number of votes required for a candidate in the case is = [(Number of votes x 100) / (Vacancies + 1)] + 1.
Subject : Schemes
- Congress attacked the government over the rising prices of tomatoes, alleging that it was due to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “wrong policies”.
- Vegetable vendors and wholesalers have blamed the rains for the disruption in tomato supply, leading to prices of the kitchen staple skyrocketing in retail markets of many cities.
Operation Greens Scheme
- It is, being implemented by MoFPI has been extended from tomato, onion and potato (TOP) crops to all Perishable Fruits & Vegetables (TOP to Total) for providing subsidy for their transportation and storage from surplus production area to major consumption centres.
- The objective of intervention is to protect the growers of fruits and vegetables from making distress sale due to lockdown and reduce the post -harvest losses.
- Eligible entities: Food Processors, FPO/FPC, Co-operative Societies, Individual farmers, Licensed Commission Agent, Exporters, State Marketing/Co-operative Federation, Retailers etc. engaged in processing/ marketing of fruits and vegetables.
- Pattern of Assistance: Ministry will provide subsidy @ 50 % of the cost of the following two components, subject to the cost norms –
- Transportation of eligible crops from surplus production cluster to consumption centre; and/or
- Hiring of appropriate storage facilities for eligible crops (for maximum period of 3 months).
Subject : IR
Section: Places in news
- Violence in the occupied West Bank risks spiraling out of control fueled by Israel’s use of advanced military weaponry more suited to a war zone, the UN human rights chief warned.
- Israel saw armed battles between its forces and Palestinian militants, attacks on settlers by Palestinian gunmen and violence by radical settlers in Palestinian villages — all in one week.
- The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the coast of the Mediterranean in Western Asia that forms the main bulk of the Palestinian territories.
- It is bordered by Jordan and the Dead Sea to the east and by Israel to the south, west, and north.
- It was captured by Jordan after the Arab-Israeli War (1948) but Israel snatched it back during the Six-Day War of 1967 and has occupied it ever since.
- Ramallah, the de facto administrative capital of Palestine is situated in West Bank.
- At present, there are around 130 formal Israeli settlements along with 26 lakh Palestinians at West Bank.
- Under the Oslo Accords of the 1990s, both Israel and the Palestinians agreed that the status of settlements would be decided by negotiations.
Legality of the settlements:
- The United Nations General Assembly, the UN Security Council, and the International Court of Justice have said that the West Bank settlements are violative of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
- Under the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), an occupying power “shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”.
Subject : Scheme
- The Union Rural Development Ministry has extended the deadline for mandatory payments of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme via Aadhaar Based Payments System (ABPS) to August 31.
- The Ministry announced this on social media platforms though did not share the order in public.
- This is the fourth time the Ministry is extending the deadline, since the State governments have complained that reconciling the differences in Aadhaar data and the job card details of the beneficiaries is taking some time.
MGNREGA Scheme Payment System
- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) implements a wage payment system that combines different models.
Wage settlement followed two methods:
National Automated Clearing House (NACH) based electronic payment:
- NACH was set up by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
- NACH is an electronic platform for clearing funds that enables interbank transactions to occur on a recurring basis.
- Under this system, the bank account of the person is used for transferring funds to the beneficiary account.
Aadhaar-Based Payment System (ABPS):
- This system was first introduced in 2017.
- This system utilises the Aadhaar number of the recipient to identify them for the purpose of transferring funds.
- This system promotes transparency in wage payments and helps to prevent any unauthorised access.
- It prevents any disruptions in workers’ wage payments caused by issues with their bank accounts.
- Present usage:
- As per the government data, 84% of the transfers in March ’23 were based on ABPS.
- If the beneficiary was previously associated with the ABPS, payment would exclusively occur via this system.