Daily Prelims Notes 3 June 2021
- June 3, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
3 June 2021
Table Of Contents
- PALESTINE QUESTIONS INDIA’S SILENCE AT UNHRC
- PM ASKS TO HAVE A ‘ZERO HOUR’ IN CABINET
- RESTRICTIONS ON GOVT SERVANTS BEFORE & AFTER RETIREMENT
- SMALL CAVES DICOVERED AT PANDAV LENI COMPLEX IN NASHIK
- RURAL INDIA PLAYED THE ECONOMY’S SAVIOUR IN 2020 – 21
- LEO TECHNOLOGY: INTERNET FROM SKY
- RISING OIL PRICES & OPEC +
- CHINA’S ARTIFICIAL SUN EXPERIMENTAL FUSION REACTOR
- H10N3 BIRD FLU DETECTED IN HUMAN
- NEW GOLD SPOT EXCHANGE PROPOSED BY SEBI
- RIL SUBMITS A PROPOSAL FOR A POTENTIAL COVID DRUG
- NITI AYOG RELEASED THIRD EDITION OF SDG INDIA INDEX
- XRAYSETU TO IDENTIFY COVID POSITIVE PATIENTS
- ONLINE TRACKING PORTAL ‘BAL SWARAJ ‘ LAUNCHED
- CABINET APPROVES MODEL TENANCY ACT
- SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION (SCO)
Subject: International Organizations
Context: Palestine has conveyed its disappointment after India abstained from voting at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on a resolution against Israel.
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
- The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
- OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
- The UNGA takes into account the candidate States’ contribution to the promotion and protection of human rights, as well as their voluntary pledges and commitments in this regard.
The Council’s Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:
- African States: 13 seats
- Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
- Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
- Western European and other States: 7 seats
- Eastern European States: 6 seats
- Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.
Procedures and Mechanisms:
- Universal Periodic Review: UPR serves to assess the human rights situations in all United Nations Member States.
- Advisory Committee: It serves as the Council’s “think tank” providing it with expertise and advice on thematic human rights issues.
- Complaint Procedure: It allows individuals and organizations to bring human rights violations to the attention of the Council.
- UN Special Procedures: These are made up of special rapporteurs, special representatives, independent experts and working groups that monitor, examine, advise and publicly report on thematic issues or human rights situations in specific countries.
Context: PM told me to have ‘Zero Hour’ in Cabinet to hear negative feedback: HimantaBiswaSarma.
- Zero Hour is an Indian innovation in the field of parliamentary procedures and has been in existence since 1962.
- Zero Hour is the time when Members of Parliament (MPs) can raise Issues of Urgent Public Importance.
- For raising matters during the Zero Hour, MPs must give the notice before 10 am to the Speaker/ Chairman on the day of the sitting.
- The notice must state the subject they wish to raise in the House. However, Speaker, Lok Sabha / Chairman, Rajya Sabha may allow or decline a Member to raise a matter of importance.
- ‘Zero Hour’ is not mentioned in the Rules of Procedure. Thus, it is an informal device available to MPs to raise matters without any notice 10 days in advance.
- The Zero Hour starts at 12 noon immediately following the Question Hour.
Context: With a notification dated May 31, the Centre has amended its pension rules putting new restrictions of officials of intelligence and security organisations after retirement.
- The government has amended the CCS Pension Rules-1972. Under amended Rule-8(3)(a), officials retired from certain intelligence and security establishments ( Under Second Scheduleof RTI Act) will not be allowed to write anything about their organisation without permission.
- The Second Schedule of the RTI Act covers 26 organisations including the Intelligence Bureau, R&AW, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, NCB, BSF, CRPF, ITBP and CISF.
Exisiting Provisions that restricts govt servants
- Rule 7 of the CCS Conduct Rules restricts government servants from resorting to or abetting any form of strike or coercion.
- Rule 8 restricts them, except with government sanction, from owning or participating in the editing or management of any newspaper or other periodical publication or electronic media.
- If they publish a book or participate in public media, they “shall at all times make it clear that the views expressed by him are his own and not that of Government”.
- Rule 9 of the CCS Pension Rules says that if any government official has committed any misconduct and retires, he or she may face departmental proceedings only until four years of the date of committing that misconduct.
Subject: Arts & Culture
Context: Three new small caves have been discovered by an Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) employee at the famous Pandav Leni cave complex in Nashik. ASI employee Salim Patel found them while doing pre-monsoon cleanliness work at the complex.
- The Nasik Caves,(Trirashmi Leni) Trirashmi being the name of the hills in which the caves are located,( Leni being a Marathi word for caves), are a group of 24 caves carved between the 1st century BCE and the 3rd century CE.
- However, additional sculptures were added up to about the 6th century, reflecting changes in Buddhist devotional practices mainly.
- Buddhist sculptures are a significant group of early examples of Indian rock-cut architecture initially representing the Hinayana tradition.
- Most of the caves are viharas except for Cave 18 which is a chaitya of the 1st century BCE.
- The style of some of the elaborate pillars or columns, for example in caves 3 and 10, is an important example of the development of the form.
- The location of the caves is a holy Buddhist site and is located about 8 km south of the center of Nashik (or Nasik), Maharashtra, India.
- The “Pandavleni” name sometimes given to the Nasik Caves has nothing to do with the characters Pandavas, characters in the Mahabharata epic. Other caves in the area are Karla Caves, Bhaja Caves, Patan Cave and Bedse Caves.
Context: The economy saw it’s worst-ever contraction in 2020-21, but the farm sector actually grew by 3.6%. In the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, farmers face new challenges and uncertainties.
Gross Value Added
- In 2015, India opted to make major changes to its compilation of national accounts and decided to bring the whole process into conformity with the United Nations System of National Accounts (SNA) of 2008.
- The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity.
- It describes a coherent, consistent and integrated set of macroeconomic accounts in the context of a set of internationally agreed concepts, definitions, classifications and accounting rules.
- As per the SNA, GVA is defined as the value of output minus the value of intermediate consumption and is a measure of the contribution to growth made by an individual producer, industry or sector.
- It provides the rupee value for the number of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services.
- It can be described as the main entry on the income side of the nation’s accounting balance sheet, and from an economics perspective represents the supply side.
- At the macro level, from a national accounting perspective, GVA is the sum of a country’s GDP and net of subsidies and taxes in the economy.
- Gross Value Added = GDP + subsidies on products – taxes on products
- Earlier, India had been measuring GVA at ‘factor cost’ till the new methodology was adopted in which GVA at ‘basic prices’ became the primary measure of economic output.
- GVA at basic prices will include production taxes and exclude production subsidies.
- GVA at factor cost included no taxes and excluded no subsidies.
- The base year has also been shifted to 2011-12 from the earlier 2004-05.
- The NSO provides both quarterly and annual estimates of output of GVA. It provides sectoral classification data on eight broad categories that includes both goods produced and services provided in the economy.
Subject: Science & technology
Context: Following the successful launch of 36 satellites on May 28, OneWeb’s Low Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation reached 218 in-orbit satellites.
- The company only has one more launch to complete before it obtains the capacity to enable its ‘Five to 50’ service of offering internet connectivity to all regions north of 50 degrees latitude.
What is OneWeb?
- OneWeb is a global communications company that aims to deliver broadband satellite Internet around the world through its fleet of LEO satellites.
- In 2010, the company declared bankruptcy but was able to resume operations following an inflow of investment from a consortium consisting of the UK Government, Hughes Communication, Sunil Mittal’s Bharti Global Limited, SoftBank and Eutelsat, a leading European satellite operator.
- LEO satellites have been orbiting the planet since the 1990s, providing companies and individuals with various communication services
- LEO satellites are positioned around 500km-2000km from earth, compared to stationary orbit satellites which are approximately 36,000km away.
- Latency, or the time needed for data to be sent and received, is contingent on proximity.
- As LEO satellites orbit closer to the earth, they are able to provide stronger signals and faster speeds than traditional fixed-satellite systems.
- Additionally, because signals travel faster through space than through fibre-optic cables, they also have the potential to rival if not exceed existing ground-based networks.
- However, LEO satellites travel at a speed of 27,000 kph and complete a full circuit of the planet in 90-120 minutes. As a result, individual satellites can only make direct contact with a land transmitter for a short period of time thus requiring massive LEO satellite fleets and consequently, a significant capital investment.
- Due to these costs, of the three mediums of Internet – fibre, spectrum and satellite – the latter is the most expensive.
- Therefore, LEO satellite broadband is only preferable in areas that cannot be reached by fibre and spectrum services. OneWeb’s target market will therefore be rural populations and military units operating away from urban areas.
Subject: International Relations
Context : Crude oil prices have hit a two-year high with Brent crude rising above the $71 per barrel mark on Wednesday hitting the highest level since May 2019 as key oil-producing countries announced that they would adhere to plans entailing a gradual increase in crude oil production.
- The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries extended supply cuts made in 2020 when crude oil prices had reached a low of under $19 per barrel through the first five months of 2021
- The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was founded in Baghdad, Iraq, with the signing of an agreement in September 1960 by five countries namely Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
- They were to become the Founder members of the Organization.
- As of 2020, OPEC has a total of 13 Member Countries viz. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola and Venezuela are members of OPEC.
- OPEC’s objective is to co-ordinate and unify petroleum policies among member Countries, in order to secure fair and stable prices for petroleum producers; an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consuming nations; and a fair return on capital to those investing in the industry.
- It is head quartered in Vienna, Austria.
- OPEC membership is open to any country that is a substantial exporter of oil and which shares the ideals of the organization.
- PEC+ is the alliance of crude producers undertaking corrections in supply in the oil markets since 2017.
- OPEC plus countries include Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Russia, South Sudan and Sudan. (OPEC, As of 2020, OPEC has a total of 13 Member Countries viz. Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Republic of Congo, Angola and Venezuela are members of OPEC.)
Subject: Science & tech
Context: For 20 seconds, China’s ‘artificial sun’ EAST achieved a peak temperature of 288 million degrees Fahrenheit, which is over ten times hotter than the sun
- China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST), which mimics the energy generation process of the sun, set a new record after it ran at 216 million degrees Fahrenheit (120 million degrees Celsius) for 101 seconds, according to state media.
- For another 20 seconds, the “artificial sun” also achieved a peak temperature of 288 million degrees Fahrenheit (160 million degrees Celsius), which is over ten times hotter than the sun.
- The HL-2M Tokamak reactor is China’s largest and most advanced nuclear fusion experimental research device, and scientists hope that the device can potentially unlock a powerful clean energy source.
- HL-2M Tokamak device is used in it to replicate the nuclear fusion process that occurs naturally in the sun.
- It uses a powerful magnetic field to fuse hot plasma and can reach temperatures of over 150 million degrees Celsius, approximately ten times hotter than the core of the sun.
- Located in Sichuan province, the reactor is often called an “artificial sun” on account of the enormous heat and power it produces.
- Nuclear Fusion is defined as the combining of two lighter nuclei into a heavier one.
- Such nuclear fusion reactions are the source of energy in the Sun and other stars.
- It takes considerable energy to force the nuclei to fuse. The conditions needed for this process are extreme millions of degrees of temperature and millions of pascals of pressure.
- The hydrogen bomb is based on a thermonuclear fusion reaction. However, a nuclear bomb based on the fission of uranium or plutonium is placed at the core of the hydrogen bomb to provide initial energy.
Subject: Science & tech
Context : A 41-year-old man in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province is the first known human to be infected with a strain of bird flu known as H10N3, China’s National Health Commission said on Tuesday — a development that experts said merited close monitoring because of an underlying continued risk of pandemic flus.
- H10N3 is a type of bird flu or avian flu. These illnesses are common in wild aquatic birds worldwide and can infect domestic poultry and other bird and animal species.
- Infected birds shed avian flu in their saliva, mucus, and poop, and humans can get infected when enough of the virus gets in the eyes, nose, or mouth, or is inhaled from infected droplets or dust.
Is it a cause for concern?
- Health authorities have played down the outbreak, saying the case was a sporadic virus transmission from poultry to humans, and the risk of causing a pandemic was extremely low.
- H10N3 is a low pathogenic or relatively less severe strain of the virus in poultry and the risk of it spreading on a large scale is very low.
How to prevent the spread of H10N3 among people’?
- People should avoid contact with sick or dead poultry and avoid direct contact with live birds as much as possible.
- People must pay attention to food hygiene at the moment.
- People should wear masks and improve self-protection awareness, while constantly monitoring fever and respiratory symptoms.
Different strains of bird flu:
- Several strains of bird flu have been found among animals in China but mass outbreaks in humans are rare.
- The last human epidemic of bird flu in China occurred in late 2016 to 2017, with the H7N9 virus.
- H5N8 is a subtype of the Influenza A virus (also known as the bird flu virus). While H5N8 only presents a low risk to humans, it is highly lethal to wild birds and poultry.
- In April, a highly pathogenic H5N6 avian flu was found in wild birds in northeast China’s Shenyang city.
- Influenza viruses are classified into subtypes based on two surface proteins, Hemagglutinin (HA) and Neuraminidase (NA). For example, a virus that has an HA 7 protein and NA 9 protein is designated as subtype H7N9.
Context: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has added a breath of freshness to the commodity market by floating the idea of having a new gold spot exchange.
- The spot exchange is where financial instruments, such as commodities, currencies, and securities, are traded for immediate delivery.
- SEBI is a statutory body established in April, 1992 in accordance with the provisions of the Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992.
Framework of Gold Exchange:
- In the first tranche, an entity desirous of delivering gold, locally manufactured or imported, on the exchange platform would have to approach a SEBI regulated vault manager and deposit physical gold meeting quality and quantity parameters with it.
- Against this, the vault manager will issue an EGR (Electronic Gold Receipt), which will be tradeable on the exchanges, in the second tranche.
- A beneficial owner will surrender the EGR to a vault manager and take delivery of the gold in the third tranche.
- A common interface will be developed between vault managers, depositories, clearing corporations and stock exchanges to enable seamless execution of the three tranches.
- The proposed denominations – reflecting underlying physical gold – of EGRs are 1 kilogram, 100 gram, 50 gram and subject to conditions, those can also be even for 5 and 10 gram.
- STT (Security Transaction Tax) will be levied on trading of the EGR and IGST (Integrated Goods and Services Tax) at the time of delivery.
Reason for Creating Separate Exchange for Gold:
- To create a vibrant gold ecosystem in India which is commensurate with its large share of global gold consumption.
- India (after China) is the second largest consumer of gold globally, with annual gold demand of approximately 800-900 tonnes, and holds an important position in the global markets.
- The objective behind setting up gold exchanges is for India to become a price setter rather than a price taker and to establish an India good delivery standard, akin to London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) accredited gold bars.
- Setting up a new stock spot gold exchange has advantages such as single good delivery standard, reduced market fragmentation, improved liquidity, and single reference price.
Subject: Science & tech
Context: Reliance Industries Ltd’s R&D arm has proposed the use of Niclosamide – the drug used to treat tapeworm infestation – for treating COVID-19 patients.
- Niclosamide, a drug on the World Health Organisation’s list of essential medicines, has been used to treat tapeworm infestation for more than 50 years.
- The oral antiviral drug was also used to treat patients during the SARS outbreak of 2003-04.
- The drug regulator will now evaluate the proposal for public use.
- The company however did not say if it plans to manufacture the drug or would use it to treat COVID patients at hospitals run by the group.
- The Indian government has already given clearance for the Phase 2 clinical trials of Niclosamide in COVID-19 treatment in adult patients.
WHO Model List of Essential Medicines
- The WHO Model List of Essential Medicines , published by the World Health Organization (WHO), contains the medications considered to be most effective and safe to meet the most important needs in a health system.
- The list is frequently used by countries to help develop their own local lists of essential medicines.
- This includes countries in both the developed and developing world.
- The list is divided into core items and complementary items.The core items are deemed to be the most cost-effective options for key health problems and are usable with little additional health care resources.
- The complementary items either require additional infrastructure such as specially trained health care providers or diagnostic equipment or have a lower cost–benefit ratio.
- About 25% of items are in the complementary list.Some medications are listed as both core and complementary. While most medications on the list are available as generic products, being under patent does not preclude inclusion
- The first list was published in 1977 and included 208 medications. The WHO updates the list every two years.
- The WHO Model Lists of Essential Medicines has been updated every two years since 1977.
- The current versions are the 21st WHO Essential Medicines List (EML) and the 7th WHO Essential Medicines List for Children (EMLc) updated in June 2019.
Subject : Governance
Context : Recently, the NITI Aayog has released the third edition of SDG India Index & Dashboard 2020-21.
About SDG India Index
- It was first launched in 2018.
- It is designed and developed by NITI Aayog.
- The preparation of the index followed extensive consultations with the primary stakeholders i.e. the States and Union Territories, the UN agencies in India, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), and the key Union Ministries.
- It has been comprehensively documenting and ranking the progress made by States and Union Territories towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
- It has become the primary tool for monitoring progress on the SDGs in the country and has simultaneously fostered competition among the States and Union Territories.
- It remains a rare data-driven initiative to rank our States and Union Territories by computing a composite index on the SDGs.
- The States and Union Territories are classified as below based on their SDG India Index score:
- Aspirant: 0–49 , Performer: 50–64 , Front-Runner: 65–99 , Achiever: 100.
Overall results and findings of SDG India Index 2020-21
- The country’s overall SDG score has improved by 6 points i.e. from 60 in 2019 to 66 in 2020–21.
- The positive stride towards achieving the targets is largely driven by exemplary country-wide performance in Goal 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation) and Goal 7(Affordable and Clean Energy).
- Mizoram, Haryana, and Uttarakhand are the top gainers in 2020–21in terms of improvement in score from 2019, with an increase of 12, 10 and 8 points, respectively.
- Kerala has retained the top rank in NitiAayog’s SDG India Index 2020-21, while Bihar has been adjudged as the worst performer.
- Both Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu took the second spot with a score of 74.
- Bihar, Jharkhand and Assam were the worst performing states in this year’s India index.
Subject : Governance
Context :Recently, the Ministry of Science & Technology has unveiled a platform called ‘XraySetu’ to identify COVID positive patients.
About XraySetu Platform
- It is a new AI-driven platform which will facilitate early-COVID interventions over Whatsapp with the help of Chest X-ray interpretation.
- It is developed by ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) in collaboration with Bangalore based HealthTech startup Niramai and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc).
- It provides an automated interpretation of Chest X-Rays to predict if a patient has any lung abnormality that indicates COVID-19 infection.
- The platform can also detect 14 additional lung-related ailments, including tuberculosis and pneumonia, alongside others.
Significance of XraySetu Platform
- It can work with low-resolution images sent via mobiles, is quick and easy to use, and can facilitate detection in rural areas.
- It paves the way for exponential technologies like AI to leapfrog and provide cutting-edge healthcare technology to rural India in an extremely cost-effective manner.
- It can further be used for both analog and digital X-rays and has been successfully piloted by more than 300 doctors in rural areas over the last 10 months.
- It can enable cutting-edge AI-driven systems powering mobile PHCs, which can make healthcare more accessible even across rural India at a fraction of the cost.
- It allows doctors in rural areas to plan early intervention for their patients by simply taking a picture of their X-ray and sending it over via Whatsapp.
Subject : Governance
Context :Recently, the Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched the Online Tracking Portal “Bal Swaraj (Covid-Care).
About BalSwaraj Portal
- It is devised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) under section 109 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
- It has been created with a purpose for online tracking and digital real time monitoring mechanism of children who are in need of care and protection.
- The Commission has extended the use of this portal for tracking children who have lost parents or either of the parents during COVID-19.
- It has provided a link under the name of “COVID-Care” for uploading of data of such children by the concerned officer/department on the portal.
- The Supreme Court has directed all district officers across the States/UTs to fill data on the Commission’s portal on BalSwaraj portal under the COVID-Care link.
- Set up in March 2007 under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
- It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
- The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
- The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Subject : Legislations
Context : The Union Cabinet has approved the Model Tenancy Act for circulation to all States / Union Territories for adaptation by way of enacting fresh legislation or amending existing rental laws suitably. It will help overhaul the legal framework with respect to rental housing across the country.
Salient features of the act:
- The government had first released the draft of the MTA in 2019. The Act aims to bridge the trust deficit between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations.
- Besides, The Act is expected to give a fillip to private participation in rental housing as a business model for addressing the huge housing shortage.
- The Model Tenancy Act will provide a model for urban and rural properties, as well as a template for residential and commercial properties.
- In case of dispute between landlord and tenant, a rent authority, or a rent court would be available for speedy resolution.
- A tenant will have to submit a security deposit of two months for residential premises. For commercial property, a tenant will have to pay six-month rent.
- The tenant cannot sublet a part of or the whole property to someone else.
- If the tenant fails to vacate the premises on the expiration of the period of tenancy or termination of tenancy, the landlord is entitled to double the monthly rent for two months and four times after that.
- the landowner would give a notice in writing three months before revising rent. The landlord cannot hike the rent in the middle of the tenure.
Subject : International Organisations
Context :The Union Cabinet of India has approved the ratification of an Agreement on “Cooperation in the field of Mass Media” between all the Member States of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The Agreement was signed in June, 2019.
- The SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation. It is a Eurasian political, economic, and security alliance and has been the primary security pillar of the region.
- It was established in 2001. It was preceded by the Shanghai Five mechanism.
- The Heads of State Council (HSC) is the supreme decision-making body in the SCO. It meets once a year and adopts decisions and guidelines on all important matters of the organisation.
- The organisation has two permanent bodies:
the SCO Secretariat based in Beijing.
the Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) based in Tashkent.
- Eight member states: India, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Four observer states: Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran and Mongolia.