Daily Prelims Notes 28 March 2021
- March 28, 2021
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
28 March 2021
Table Of Contents
- INDO – BANGLADESH RELATIONS
- RIVER TEESTA
- EARTH HOUR
- UNIFORM CIVIL CODE
- PREVENTION OF ATROCITIES ACT
- PLI SCHEME
- TRIPS AGREEMENT
- BATTLE OF FEROZESHAH
- CHINA IRAN PACT
- PERMANENT COMMISSION FOR WOMEN
- INTRANASAL VACCINES
- KUMBH MELA
Subject : International Relations
Context: India and Bangladesh signed 5 MoUs in the fields of Disaster Management, trade, NCC, ICT and setting up of sports facilities during the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh.
- Foundation stone was laid for infrastructure development for power evacuation facilities from the Rooppur Nuclear power plant.
- The Bangladesh leg of the Banagabandhu-Bapu Digital Exhibition was inaugurated by the two Prime Ministers. It will be taken to other parts of the world including the UN.
- Both the leaders also unveiled the foundation stone for the construction of a memorial at Ashuganj honoring the martyrs of Indian armed forces in the 1971 Liberation War of Bangladesh.
- India gifted 109 life support ambulances to Bangladesh and also 1.2 million doses of the Covishield vaccine.
- Three border haats were also opened along the India-Bangladesh border.
During the visit a number of announcements were made.
- A direct passenger train named ‘Mitali Express’ will run between Dhaka and New Jalpaiguri.
- Prime Minister Modi invited 50 young entrepreneurs from Bangladesh to connect with India’s start up ecosystem.
- 1000 SubarnoJayanti Scholarships were announced for the Bangladeshi students to study in India at the Undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
- A Bangabandhu Chair will be established at Delhi University to facilitate Bangladesh studies.
- Both countries agreed to start a new area of cooperation in the Civil nuclear and space sectors.
- Prime Minister also visited the birthplace of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Tungipara and placed a wreath at his mausoleum to pay tribute to the father of the nation of Bangladesh.
- Prime Minister Modi visited the Jeshoreshwari temple in Satkhira. He announced that a cyclone shelter cum community hall will be built at the temple for use by the people.
- He also visited Orakandi where he was given a community reception. He paid respect at Harimandir in Orakandi and addressed the representatives of the Matua community.
Subject : Geography
Context : Dhaka underlines need to conclude water sharing agreement at bilateral talks during PM’s visit.
- Teesta river is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh), flowing through India and Bangladesh.
- It originates in the Himalayas near Chunthang, Sikkim and flows to the south through West Bengal before entering Bangladesh.
- Originally, the river continued southward to empty directly into the Padma River (main channel of Ganga in Bangladesh) but around 1787 the river changed its course to flow eastward to join the Jamunariver.
- The Teesta Barrage dam helps to provide irrigation for the plains between the upper Padma and the Jamuna.
- Teesta river water conflict is one of the most contentious issues between India and Bangladesh.
Context : The Earth Hour is being observed on 27th March 2021.
- Earth Hour is the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF)’s annual initiative that began in 2007.
- It is held every year on the last Saturday of March.
- It encourages people from more than 180 countries to switch off the lights from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as per their local time.
- The idea is to refrain from the use of non-essential lighting to save energy in a symbolic call for environmental protection.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature
- It is the world’s leading conservation organization and works in more than 100 countries.
- It was established in 1961 and is headquartered at Gland, Switzerland to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.
- Other Initiatives of WWF:
Living Planet Report.
Subject : Polity
Context : Chief Justice of India S A Bobde on Saturday hailed Goa’s uniform civil code and said the state already has what the framers of the Constitution envisaged for the whole of India.
What is UCC?
- The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) calls for the formulation of one law for India, which would be applicable to all religious communities in matters such as marriage, divorce, inheritance, adoption.
- The code comes under Article 44 of the Constitution, which lays down that the state shall endeavour to secure a Uniform Civil Code for the citizens throughout the territory of India.
Background of Uniform Civil Code
- The origin of the UCC dates back to colonial India when the British government submitted its report in 1835 stressing the need for uniformity in the codification of Indian law relating to crimes, evidence, and contracts, specifically recommending that personal laws of Hindus and Muslims be kept outside such codification.
- Increase in legislation dealing with personal issues in the far end of the British rule forced the government to form the B N Rau Committee to codify Hindu law in 1941.
- Based on these recommendations, a bill was then adopted in 1956 as the Hindu Succession Act to amend and codify the law relating to intestate or unwilled succession, among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.
- However, there were separate personal laws for muslim, chirstian and Parsis.
- In order to bring uniformity, the courts have often said in their judgements that the government should move towards a uniform civil code.
- The judgement in the Shah Bano case is well known, but the courts have made the same point in several other major judgements.
- By arguing that practices such as triple talaq and polygamy impact adversely on the right of women to a life of dignity, the Centre has raised the question whether constitutional protection given to religious practices should extend even to those that are not in compliance with fundamental rights.
UCC and Implications
- Protection to Vulnerable Section of Society: The UCC aims to provide protection to vulnerable sections as envisaged by Ambedkar including women and religious minorities, while also promoting nationalistic fervour through unity.
- Simplification of Laws: The code will simplify the complex laws around marriage ceremonies, inheritance, succession, adoptions making them one for all. The same civil law will then be applicable to all citizens irrespective of their faith.
- When enacted the code will work to simplify laws that are segregated at present on the basis of religious beliefs like the Hindu code bill, Sharia law, and others.
- Adhering to Ideal of Secularism: Secularism is the objective enshrined in the Preamble, a secular republic needs a common law for all citizens rather than differentiated rules based on religious practices.
- Gender Justice: India has separate sets of personal laws for each religion governing marriages, divorce, succession, adoption and maintenance.
- However, the rights of women are usually limited under religious law, be it Hindu or Muslim. The practice of triple talaq is a classic example.
- If a uniform civil code is enacted, all personal laws will cease to exist. It will do away with gender biases in Muslim law, Hindu law and Christian law that have been often challenged by women on the ground that they violate the right to equality.
Subject : Legislations
Context : 2 waiters die cleaning septic tank: Banquet hall directors among 4 held under SC/ST Act.
- Article 17 seeks to abolish ‘untouchability’. To enforce this , Untouchability (Offences) Act 1955 was enacted.
- The lacuna in the above act lead to the passing of Protection of Civil Rights Act 1976
- Protection of Civil Rights Act, Indian Penal Code, were inadequate to check many dimensions of atrocities meted to SC/ST. This lead to Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and Rules, 1995.
- The Scheduled Castes and Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act is known as POA, SC/ST Act, the Prevention of Atrocities Act, or the Atrocities Act.
Provisions of Prevention of Atrocities Act :
- Creation of new types of offences not in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or in the Protection of Civil Rights Act 1955 (PCRA).
- Atrocities can be committed only by non-SCs and non-STs on members of the SC or ST communities. Crimes among SCs and STs or between STs and SCs do not come under the purview of this Act.
- Defines various types of atrocities against SCs/STs and prescribes stringent punishments for the same.
- Enhanced minimum punishment for public servants.
- Punishment for neglect of duties by a public servant(Section 4)
- Cancellation of arms licenses in the areas identified where an atrocity may take place or has taken place and grant arms licenses to SCs and STs
- Denial of anticipatory bail (Section 18) provided in Section 438 of the CrPC
- Denial of probation to convict (Section 19).
- provisions for relief and compensation for victims
- Creation of Special Courts and special public prosecutor
- Mandatory, periodic monitoring system at District, State and National level
- Identification of atrocity prone areas .
Subject : Government Schemes
Context : The Indian Cellular and Electronics Association (ICEA) has written letters to the NITI Aayog to consider declaring 2020-21 as zero year for production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing of mobile phones.
- PLI schemes for all sectors that have been announced since April last year envisage incentives on achievement of a minimum threshold of cumulative incremental investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes.
- Since the government notified the PLI for mobile manufacturing on April 1 last year, FY21 was considered as the base year for the calculation of incremental investments and sales, and therefore the incentives to be given to companies.
How does 2020-21 being considered as zero year help cellphone makers?
- For the purposes of calculation of incremental investment, incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes and therefore the incentives, cellphone companies have urged the government that the current financial year be considered as zero year.
- In essence, they say that for the purposes of calculation of the incentives to be given to under the PLI scheme, the government should consider the incremental investments they will make and sales of products that they achieve from next financial year.
- The most common claim is that the lockdown in the first three months of this fiscal left them with very little time to get started with the building of or expansion of old units.
Subject: International Agreements
Context : US considering supporting India , South Africa at WTO.
- TRIPS is an international agreement administered by the World Trade Organization (WTO), which sets down minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulations as applied to the nationals of other WTO Members.
- It was negotiated at the end of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1994.
- TRIPS requires WTO members to provide copyright rights, covering content producers including performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organizations; geographical indications, including appellations of origin; industrial designs; integrated circuit layout-designs; patents; new plant varieties; trademarks; trade dress; and undisclosed or confidential information.
- The agreement also specifies enforcement procedures, remedies, and dispute resolution procedures.
- TRIPs Plus are higher level of protection norms demanded by the developed countries that are not prescribed by the WTO’s TRIPs regime.
- They demand higher protection to intellectual property rights including inventions, internationally. These higher levels of protection norms are named as TRIPs Plus.
- The term is used to indicate that these requirements go beyond the minimum standards imposed by TRIPs.
- Many developing countries who are members of FTAs are under pressure to enact these tougher conditions in their patent laws.
- The developing countries have concerns over the higher level of protection demanded by the developed world. They fear that once such levels of protection are given multilaterally, it will reduce competition and may led to price rise of medicines, affecting health security in poor countries.
- For example, the demand for Data Exclusivity protection (protection of clinical test data submitted to a regulatory agency) that have high commercial value is a major demand from the developed world which doesn’t usually come under TRIPs.
- India has consistently objected to put higher level of protection (TRIPs Plus) than provided by the TRIPs.
- The implication of TRIPs Plus on India is that it will restrict the operation of the country’s generics drugs manufactures.
Subject : History
- The Battle of Ferozeshah was fought on 21 December and 22 December 1845 between the British East India Company and the Sikh Empire, at the village of Ferozeshah in Punjab.
- It was the second battle in first anglosikh war.
- The British were led by Sir Hugh Gough and Governor-General Sir Henry Hardinge, while the Sikhs were led by Lal Singh. The British emerged victorious.
Subject : International Organisations
Context : India delivered on its promise of 2,00,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the United Nations Peacekeeping Force (UNPKF) worldwide, sending a shipment bound for Copenhagen.
- UN peacekeepers provide security and the political and peacebuilding support to help countries make the difficult, early transition from conflict to peace.
- UN Peacekeeping is guided by three basic principles:
Consent of the parties;
Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate.
- Role of Security Council: The United Nations Charter gives the United Nations Security Council the responsibility to maintain international peace. For this reason, the international community usually looks to the Security Council to authorize peacekeeping operations through Chapter VII authorizations.
- There are currently 12 UN peacekeeping operations deployed.
- For its services, UN Peacekeeping has also received the Nobel Peace Prize.
- UN peacekeepers are often referred to as Blue Berets or Blue Helmets because of their light blue berets or helmets.
Subject : International Relations
Context : China and Iran signed what was described as a 25-year “strategic cooperation pact”.
- While details of the new 25-year pact were not immediately available, it includes “political, strategic and economic” components.
- This document can be very effective in deepening relations and would establish a blueprint for “reciprocal investments in the fields of transport, ports, energy, industry and services”.
Background: Nuclear Deal and Sanctions
- The agreement comes amid a major push from China to back Iran, which counts on Beijing, its largest trading partner, as it deals with the continuing weight of sanctions re-instated following then U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iranian nuclear deal.
- Earlier this week, China and Russia called for the U.S. to “unconditionally return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) as soon as possible and revoke the unilateral sanctions against Iran”.
- In this context, they proposed “the establishment of a regional security dialogue platform to converge a new consensus on resolving the security concerns of countries in the region”.
Subject : Defence
Context : The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed the pleas of several women short service commission (SSC) officers seeking grant of permanent commission in the Army, while holding that the Annual Confidential Report (ACR) evaluation process was flawed and discriminatory in nature.
- Under the Short Service Commission (SSC) scheme, women were commissioned into the Army for a period of 10 years, extendable up to 14 years.
- Women were, however, restricted to roles in specified streams such as Army Education Corps, Corps of Signals, Intelligence Corps, and Corps of Engineers. These specified streams excluded combat arms such as infantry and armoured corps.
- While male SSC officers could opt for permanent commission at the end of 10 years of service, this option was not available to women officers. Women officers, were, thus, kept out of any command appointment, and could not qualify for government pension, which starts only after 20 years of service as an officer.
- However, in the February 2019 policy statement, the Government endorsed the permanent commission for SSC women officers in 10 streams of the ‘Combat Support Arms’ and ‘Services’ sections. But it was said that the women officers would not be offered any command appointments, and would serve only in staff posts.
Permanent Commission (PC) Vs. Short Service Commission (SSC)
- SSC means an officer’s career will be of a limited period in the Indian Armed Forces whereas a PC means they shall continue to serve in the Indian Armed Forces, till they retire.
- The officers inducted through the SSC usually serve for a period of 14 years. At the end of 10 years, the officers have three options.
- A PC entitles an officer to serve in the Navy till he/she retires unlike SSC, which is currently for 10 years and can be extended by four more years, or a total of 14 years.
- They can either select for a PC or opt-out or have the option of a 4-years extension. They can resign at any time during this period of 4 years extension.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : While all COVID-19 vaccines administered through the intramuscular route have been found to reduce the chances of symptomatic disease and death, attempts are being made to develop vaccines that can potentially prevent or at least greatly reduce the chances of being infected and also stop the spread of the virus.
- Intranasal vaccines are vaccines that are administered through the nose to the mucosal layer.
- An intranasal vaccine stimulates a broad immune response – neutralizing IgG, mucosal IgA, and T cell responses.
- Immune responses at the site of infection (in the nasal mucosa) – essential for blocking both infection and transmission of COVID-19.
- So far, intranasal vaccination is being used only for influenza.
- However, it cannot be used on certain groups of people, particularly those who have compromised immune systems.
- The nasal route has excellent potential for vaccination due to the organized immune systems of the nasal mucosa.
- Non-invasive, Needle-free.
- Single dose regimen.
- Ease of administration – does not require trained health care workers.
- Elimination of needle-associated risks (injuries and infections).
- High compliance (Ideally suits for children’s and adults).
- Scalable manufacturing – able to meet global demand.
Subject : Science & tech
Context : A novel theory proposed by planetary scientists from Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory challenges the current thinking that the saltwater global ocean of Enceladus, the sixth largest moon of Saturn, is homogenous.
- Enceladus is a small, icy moon which has an abundance of hydrogen molecules in water plumes. 98% of the gas in the plumes was found to be water and 1% is hydrogen and the remaining is a mixture of molecules of carbon dioxide, methane, and ammonia.
- Underwater vents present on Enceladus resemble the vents present on Earth’s ocean floors, where microbes and other sea life congregate.
- Scientists expect to find the potential for life in those vents as microbes flourish on Earth in hot cracks on the ocean floors, where sunlight cannot penetrate.
- Microbes are capable of using the process of methanogenesis, in which hydrogen is combined with carbon dioxide dissolved in the water, to obtain energy. This process creates methane as a byproduct, which is a critical ingredient for life.
Subject : Culture
Context : COVID-19 casts a shadow over HaridwarKumbhMela.
- KumbhMela comes under UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
- KumbhMela is the largest peaceful congregation of pilgrims on earth, during which participants bathe or take a dip in a sacred river.
- It takes place on the banks of the Godavari river in Nashik, the Shipra river in Ujjain, the Ganges in Haridwar, and the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna, and the mythical Saraswatiriver in Prayag. The confluence is referred to as the ‘Sangam‘.
- As it is held in four different cities in India, it involves different social and cultural activities, making this a culturally diverse festival.
- While technically, it is to be held in each of the aforementioned locations once every 12 years, sometimes, the mela can happen only a year apart at the sites.
- It should also be known that in between, around the sixth year, the ArdhKumbhMela (also known as the half mela) is held. In addition to that, in Allahabad, every year the MaaghMela is celebrated in the month of Maagh (mid-January to February, as per the Hindu calendar) at the Sangam.
- This MaaghMela is also referred to as the ArdhKumbhMela and KumbhMela when it happens in the sixth and twelfth years, respectively.
- KumbhMela in Haridwar is being held after 11 years — not the usual 12 — because of specific auspicious dates. In fact, this is the first time in 80 years that such a phenomenon has happened.
- The event encapsulates the science of astronomy, astrology, spirituality, ritualistic traditions, and social and cultural customs and practices, making it extremely rich in knowledge.
- The teacher-student relationship of the sadhus in the ashrams and akhadas remains the most important method of imparting and safeguarding knowledge and skills relating to KumbhMela.
UNESCO List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity
- This coveted list is made up of those intangible heritage elements that help demonstrate diversity of cultural heritage and raise awareness about its importance.
- The list was established in 2008 when the Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.
- Intangible Cultural Heritage of India, recognized by UNESCO: