Daily Prelims Notes 29 September 2022
- September 29, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
29 September 2022
Table Of Contents
- Vigyan Ratna
- UAPA Tribunal
- Right to free speech
- Safeguard Duties
- Black carbon and melting of glaciers
- Floods and Transboundary Rivers
- Buddhist Caves and Temples found in Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve
- Centre Appoints Senior Advocate R Venkataramaniasnext Attorney General For India
Subject: Science and technology
Context:The Centre has asked its various science departments as well as its health department to trim the number of awards they give out and ensure instead that the few conferred are of greater value.
- Departments have to institute in consultation with the Principal Scientific Advisor a Nobel-like science award — Vigyan Ratna — which could be of the stature of the Bharat Ratna.
- The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has now been told to discontinue all private endowments as well as the ones based on lecture/ scholarship/ fellowship and start a new scheme for scholarship/ fellowship with a suitable honorarium.
- A new award of very high stature may be instituted for scientists in the field of atomic energy and space science and earth sciences.
- Out of the awards given by CSIR, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award, one of the most prestigious scientific awards in the country, will continue, while the others will either be scrapped or merged into other awards.
- Other awards given by the health ministry, Indian council for medical research, and FSSAI are also to be discontinued.
- Departments have been asked to submit an action taken report within ten days to the Home Ministry and a review meeting in this regard will soon be held by the PMO.
- However larger issues like untimely research grants to scientists and students, low government expenditure (0.7 percent of GDP as compared to 2% in China and 3% in Japan) in the R&D field, etc are yet to be resolved.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award
- The award is named after the Founder-Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) India, the late Dr (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar and is known as the ‘Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) Prize for Science and Technology.
- It is the most coveted national recognition bestowed upon young scientists and engineers to honour their research and developmental work in India.
- Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible for the prize.
- Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in Indiaare also eligible.
- The prize is awarded on the basis of contributions made through work done in India only during the five years preceding the year of the prize.
Nature of the prize
- The prize comprises a citation, a plaque, and a cash award of Rs. 5 lakh.
- In addition, recipients also get Rs. 15,000 per month up to the age of 65 years.
Haryana Vigyan Ratna Awards 2022-23
- Haryana Vigyan/Yuva Vigyan Ratna Awards 2022-23 is an initiative of the Haryana State Council for Science, Innovation, and Technology (HSCST) for eminent scientists of Haryana.
- These awards have been instituted to honor eminent scientists of Haryana who have made outstanding contributions in the field of science & technology.
- They should be 40 years of age as of 31st December 2022 (For Haryana Vigyan Ratna award) and 40 years of age as of 31st December 2021 (For Haryana Yuva Vigyan Ratna award)
- The selected candidates will receive the following awards –
- Haryana Vigyan Ratna Award – A cash prize of INR 5 lakhs, a citation, and a trophy
- Haryana Yuva Vigyan Ratna Award – A cash prize of INR1 lakh, a citation, and a trophy
Subject : Governance
Context : The Popular Front of India (PFI), declared an “unlawful association” under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) by the Centre, will now have the option to present its case before a tribunal that must confirm the government notification for the ban to continue.
About UAPA Tribunal
- The UAPA provides for a tribunal under a High Court judge to be constituted by the government for its bans to have long-term legal sanctity.
- Orders to declare an organization as “unlawful” are issued by the Centre under Section 3 of the UAPA.
- Thegovernment order would not come into effectuntil the tribunal has confirmed it by an order under Section 4 of the act.
- Procedure– After the Centre’s declaration of an organisation as unlawful, its notification must reach the tribunal within 30 days to adjudicate whether or not there is sufficient cause for the move.
- The tribunal then calls upon the association, by notice in writing, to show cause within 30 days why it should not be declared unlawful.
- It then holds an inquiry and decides the matter within 6 months.
- Constitution- The tribunal consists of only one person, who has to be a High Court
- The Centre will provide the necessary staff to the tribunal for the discharge of its functions.
- All expenses incurred for a tribunal are borne out of the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Regulation of own procedure– The tribunal has power to regulate its own procedure, including the place at which it holds its sittings.
- It can hold hearings in different states for allegations pertaining to those states.
- Powers regarding inquiries– The tribunal has the same powers as vested in a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908
For further details about UAPA Act, refer – https://optimizeias.com/unlawful-activities-prevention-act/
Context: Supreme Courthas made a oral observation while hearing a reference on the question whether the right to free speech and expression for high public functionaries require greater restrictions.
- Justice B.V. Nagarathna said, “reasonable restrictions for freedom of speech and expression are already there under Article 19(2) of the constitution “.
Freedom of speech and expression
- Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one’s own opinions freely through speech, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode.
- In India, under Article 19(1), the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.
- However, this freedom is not absolute and under Article 19(2) reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right for certain purposes.
Safeguards outlined under Article 19 (2): Article 19(2) allows the state to make laws that restrict freedom of speech so long as they impose reasonable restrictions in the:
- The security of the state: The term security of state refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety.
- Interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India: Sovereignty and integrity of India as a ground under Article 19 (2) was added by 16th constitutional amendment act.
- Friendly relations with foreign states: This ground was added by the First Amendment Act, 1951.
- Decency or morality: Sections 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency or morality. These sections prohibit the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words, etc. in public places.
- Contempt of court: According to the Section 2 of Contempt of court it may be either civil contempt or criminal contempt.
- Defamation or incitement to an offence: A statement, which injures a man’s reputation, amounts to defamation. Defamation consists in exposing a man to hatred, ridicule, or contempt.
Subject : Economy
India has proposed additional customs duties of 15 percent on the import of 22 products from the UK in retaliation to Britain’s decision to impose restrictions on steel products.
- Suspension of concessions under the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade 1994 and the Agreement on Safeguards are equivalent to the amount of trade affected by the measures of the UK.
- The measures imposed by the UK consist of tariff-rate quotas imposed on 15 steel product categories with an out-of-quota duty of 25 per cent.
- Safeguard measures include tariff increases to check increased imports of particular products that have caused ‘serious injury’ to domestic producers.
- Safeguard Duty is a tariff barrier imposed by the government on commodities to ensure that imports in excessive quantities do not harm the domestic industry.
- It is mainly a temporary measure undertaken by the government in defence of the domestic industry which is harmed or has potential threat getting hard due to sudden cheap surge in imports.
- Retaliatory custom duty-a tax that a government charges on imports to punish another country for charging tax on its own exports to that country/removing the existing concession of duty.
- Tariff-rate quota (TRQ) (also called a tariff quota) is a two-tiered tariff system that combines import quotas and tariffs to regulate import products.
- A TRQ allows a lower tariff rate on imports of a given product within a specified quantity and requires a higher tariff rate on imports exceeding that quantity.
- For example, a country might allow the importation of 5,000 tractors at a tariff rate of 10%. However, any tractor imported above this quantity would be subject to a tariff rate of 30%.
- Unlike a simple quota system, a TRQ regime does not restrict the quantity of imported products.
- The “in-quota commitment” is complemented by an “out-of-quota commitment”.
- The out of quota commitment does not set any limit on the quantity or value of an imported product, but instead applies a different, normally higher, tariff rate to that product. Imports face this higher duty rate once the in-quota quantity or value has been reached, or if any requirement associated with the “in-quota commitment” is not fulfilled
- A TRQ is generally used to protect domestic production by restricting imports. Under that regime, the quota component combines with a specified tariff level to provide the desired level of protection. In many cases, imports above the threshold may face a prohibitive “out-of-quota” tariff rate.
Other types of Safeguard duty:
- Countervailing duty (CVD) is a specific form of duty that the government imposes in order to protect domestic producers by countering the negative impact of import subsidies. CVD is thus an import tax by the importing country on imported products.
- To make their products cheaper and boost their demand in other countries, foreign governments sometimes provide subsidies to their producers. To avoid flooding of the market in the importing country with these goods, the government of the importing country imposes a countervailing duty, charging a specific amount on import of such goods.
- Anti-dumping duties are imposed when it is conclusively proved that a particular item is being exported at a price lower than what is prevailing in the domestic market of the exporter and is leading to disruption in the domestic market, injuring the local producers
- An anti-dumping duty is a protectionist tariff that a domestic government imposes on foreign imports that it believes are priced below fair market value.
- Dumping is a process where a company exports a product at a price lower than the price it normally charges in its own home market.
- The duty is aimed at ensuring fair trading practices and creating a level-playing field for domestic producer’s vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.
Context:The glaciers in the western Himalayas, source of water for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, have been melting at a significant rate due to the growing amount of black carbon aerosol and greenhouse gases, which is leading to the darkening of the region’s snowpack, researchers have found in various studies.
- In a recent study, around 77 glaciers in the Drass basin of the Ladakh region were evaluated using satellite data. The study was used to investigate the shrinkage, snout retreat, ice thickness changes, mass loss and velocity changes of these glaciers between 2000 to 2020.
- The findings indicated that glaciers in the Drass region have thinned by 1.27 metres between 2000-2020. Besides soaring regional temperatures, research indicates that the region’s black carbon (or soot, a component of particulates) increased from 330 nanograms to 680 nanograms from 1984-2020.
- The study tried to establish a link between greenhouse gases, black carbon and increased glacial melt in the Himalayas.
- Black carbon deposition on glaciers decreases the reflectivity of ice surface resulting in faster ice melt. Likewise, increasing black carbon concentration in the atmosphere, increases radiative forcing and upon deposition on glaciers absorbs solar radiation, ultimately playing a part in fast-melting of snow cover and glaciers in the mountain.
- Albedo is an expression of the ability of surfaces to reflect sunlight (heat from the sun). Light-coloured surfaces return a large part of the sunrays back to the atmosphere (high albedo). Dark surfaces absorb the rays from the sun (low albedo).
- Ice- and snow-covered areas have high albedo, and an ice-covered Arcticreflects solar radiation which otherwise would be absorbed by the oceans and cause the Earth’s surface to heat up. The proportion of the Earth’s surface that is covered by snow and ice has a great deal to say for how much of the incoming solar radiation is reflected or absorbed. Low albedo (dark surfaces) leads to higher uptake of energy and, hence, warming. Moreover, when more ice and snow melt, there will be more dark surfaces. This is therefore a self-reinforcing effect. Climate change in the Arctic is consequently important for the development of climate change globally.
Main Reason of Black carbon
In Kashmir, a major factor for the increase in black carbon is the burning of pruned branches of orchard trees in autumn and woody biomass for heating in winter mainly driven by economic considerations as the horticulture sector gives 5-6 times more monetary benefits to farmers than paddy cultivation
Long Term Consequence
- It will affect the downstream community in the Indus basin, which encompasses the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, states Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and a part of Rajasthan, Haryana, and Union Territory of Chandigarh, having an area of 3,21,289 sq. km., nearly 8% of the total geographical area of the country.
- The Indus is the westernmost river system in the subcontinent. Jhelum,Chenab, Ravi, Beas and Satluj are its main tributaries.
- There are more than 12000 glaciers in the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh region, which forms the Upper Indus Basin (UIB). The melt waters, emanating from these glaciers in the UIB meet about 80% water demands of neighbouring Pakistan. Therefore, the melting glaciers, if the causes are not understood in the right perspective, might affect the security situation in South Asia because of the transboundary nature of the rivers
About Black Carbon:
- BC is a short-lived pollutant that is the second-largest contributor to warming the planet behind carbon dioxide (CO2). Black carbon is a kind of an aerosol. An aerosol is a suspension of fine solid particles or liquid droplets in the air.
- Black carbon is commonly known as soot. Soot is a form of particulate air pollutant, produced from incomplete combustion.
- India and China are the largest emitters of black carbon in the world.
- It gets emitted from gas and diesel engines, coal-fired power plants, and other sources that burn fossil fuel. It comprises a significant portion of particulate matter or PM2.5, which is an air pollutant.
- Unlike other greenhouse gas emissions, BC is quickly washed out and can be eliminated from the atmosphere if emissions stop.
- Unlike historical carbon emissions it is also a localised source with greater local impact.
- It emits infra-red radiation that increases the temperature.
- Black carbon has a warming impact on climate 460-1,500 times stronger than CO2 per unit of mass
- The average atmospheric lifetime of black carbon particles is 4-12 days
Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC):
- The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is a voluntary partnership of governments, intergovernmental organizations, businesses, scientific institutions and civil society organizations committed to improving air quality and protecting the climate through actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants which includes Methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) etc.
What are short-lived climate pollutants?
- Short-lived climate pollutants are those pollutants which are short lived in the atmosphere.
- They are also known as Super Pollutants.
- Methane, black carbon and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are some examples of short-lived pollutants.
- They are many times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the planet.
- But because they are short-lived in the atmosphere, preventing emissions can rapidly reduce the rate of warming.
Way forward measures to reduce Black Carbon:
- To electrify transportation in urban areas
- Replace coal with renewable
- Upgrade vehicles to the latest auto emission norms (Bharat Stage VI)
- Switch to clean cooking fuels and cleaner brick production technologies
- Enacting new policies later on and incorporating them through regional cooperation among states and neighboring countries (i.e., Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan) can achieve enhanced benefits
Subject: International Relations
There has been an increase in the magnitude, the frequency and the intensity of floods in many parts of the world. This is further compounded by the lack of transparency in the sharing of hydrological information and also information relating to activities (such as by one riparian state) that are transboundary in their effect (affecting other riparian states), thus serving as an obstacle in understanding the magnitude of flooding.
International obligation in using transboundary natural resources:
No state has to use its territory in a manner that causes harm to another state while using a shared natural resource. Hence there is a binding obligation on all states not to release water to cause floods in other co-sharer of the river water.
International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on transboundary rivers:
The ICJ, in the Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina vs Uruguay) case (2010), upheld that conducting a transboundary environmental impact assessment (TEIA) of a planned measure or projects on the shared water course is part of customary international law. Further, the ICJ noted that the acting state must notify the affected party of the results of TEIA.
India’s concerns with Brahmaputra:
- China is the upper riparian in the Brahmaputra hence has an apparent leverage vis-à-vis lower riparian India.
- Construction of dams by China and the excessive water release, as a “dam controller”, in violation of customary international law has the potential to exacerbate flooding in Assam in future.
- Lack of comprehensive sub-basin or all basin-level mechanism to deal with water management of Brahmaputra.
- India and China are not party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses (UNWC) 1997 or the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes 1992 (Water Convention).
Existing mechanism between India and China:
India had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China in 2013 with a view to sharing hydrological information during the flood season (June to September). But the MoU does not allow India access to urbanisation and deforestation activities on the Chinese side of the river basin.
India and Nepal:
Floods are also a recurrent problem in the Koshi and Gandak river basins that are shared by India and Nepal. The India-Nepal Koshi agreement 1954 (revised in 1966) is aimed at reducing devastating flooding in the river basin. The treaty-based joint bodies have also tried to refine the early warning systems for flood forecasting.
- Procedural norms that support the management of floods, which include notification of planned measures, the exchange of data and information, and also public participation.
- India and other stakeholders like China, Nepal and Pakistan could become a party to either the UNWC and the Water Convention which could lay the groundwork for a bilateral treaty on the Brahmaputra but subject to the reservation that it should not insist on the insertion of a dispute settlement mechanism provision.
The Convention on the Law of Non-Navigational Uses of International Watercourses-
- commonly referred to as the UN Watercourses Convention, is an international treaty, adopted by the United Nations on 21 May 1997, pertaining to the uses and conservation of all waters that cross international boundaries, including both surface and groundwater. It entered into force on 17 August 2014.
- Each member state that shares in a resource is required to provide information to other sharing states about the condition of the watercourse and about their planned uses for it, allowing sufficient time for other sharing states to study the use and object if the use is perceived to be harmful.
- The treaty also requires states to take reasonable steps to control damage, such as caused by pollution or the introduction of species not native to the watercourse, and imposes an obligation on states that damage a shared water resource to take steps to remedy the damage or to compensate sharing states for the loss.
The Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention)
- Itwas adopted in Helsinki in 1992 and entered into forcein 1996.
- It is a unique legally binding international legal instrument and intergovernmental platform which aims to ensure the sustainable use of transboundary water resources by facilitating cooperation. Initially negotiated as a regional instrument, it has been opened up for accession to all UN Member States in 2016.
Subject: Art and Culture
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has reported Buddhist caves and stupas, and Brahmi inscriptions, dating back to the 2nd century, and Hindu temples from the 9th-11th centuries, and possibly the world’s largest Varaha sculpture in Madhya Pradesh’s Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve following an exploration exercise between May and June this year.
Findings of the exploration:
- The Varaha sculpture, possibly the world’s largest, is among the many monolithic sculptures of the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu that were discovered by an ASI at the national park earlier this year.
- The 26 caves were mostly Buddhist dating back to the 2nd and 5th centuries. The caves and some of their remains had ‘Chaitya’ (rounded) doors and stone beds typical of Mahayana Buddhism
- 24 inscriptions in Brahmi text, all dating back to the 2nd and 5th centuries. The inscriptions mention sites such as Mathura and Kaushambi, and Pavata, Vejabharada and Sapatanaairikaa. The kings they mention include Bhimsena, Pothasiri and Bhattadeva.
- The remains of 26 temples date to the Kalachuri period between 9th-11th centuries. In addition to this, two Saiva mutts have also been documented. The Kalachuri dynasty, which spread over parts of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh, is also associated with the earliest Ellora and Elephanta cave monuments.
- Forty-six sculptures and 19 waterbodies have also been excavated, all built between the 2nd and 15th century,
Attorney General (AG)
- The Attorney General (AG) of India is a part of the Union Executive. AG is the highest law officer in the country.
- Article 76 of the Constitution provides for the office of AG of India.
- AG is appointed by the President on the advice of the government.
- He must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, i.e. s/he must be a citizen of India and must have been a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the President.
- Term of the Office: Not fixed by the Constitution.
- Procedures and grounds for the removal of AG are not stated in the Constitution. S/he holds office during the pleasure of the President (may be removed by the President at any time).
Duties and Functions:
- To give advice to the Government of India (GoI) upon such legal matters, which are referred to her/him by the President.
- To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to her/him by the President.
- To appear on behalf of the GoI in all cases in the Supreme Court or in any case in any High Court in which the GoI is concerned.
- To represent the GoI in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 (Power of the President to consult the Supreme Court) of the Constitution.
- To discharge the functions conferred on her/him by the Constitution or any other law.
Rights and Limitations:
- The AG has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament or their joint sitting and any committee of the Parliament of which s/he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
- The AG enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
- The AG does not fall in the category of government servants. S/he is not debarred from private legal practice.
- However, The AG should not advise or hold a brief against the GoI.
Solicitor General of India and Additional Solicitor General of India assist the AG in fulfillment of the official responsibilities