Daily Prelims Notes 31 July 2021
- July 31, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
31 July 2021
Table Of Contents
- Ozone levels exceeding permitted levels: study
- General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2021
- 6th meeting of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Working Group
- Shaheed Udham Singh
- Ramappa Temple under Kakatiya Rule as UNESCOs World Heritage Site
- The OBC Reservation and the Creamy Layer
- Serious Fraud Investigation Office
- Fiscal Deficit
- Core Industries
- Anti-dumping duty
Subject : Geography
Context : A Centre for Science and Environment study on ozone levels in Delhi-NCR.
- Contrary to the notion that ozone is predominantly a summer phenomenon, the study found ozone levels exceeding the permitted levels even during winter in Delhi-NCR.
- The study notes that despite the lockdown, more days and locations witnessed a higher and longer duration of ozone spells.
- While stratospheric ozone protects living things from ultraviolet radiation from the sun, ground-level ozone is considered a pollutant given the adverse health problems it gives rise to.
- Ozone is a secondary pollutant. Tropospheric, or ground-level ozone, is not emitted directly into the air, but is created by chemical reactions between oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOC) in the presence of sunlight (photochemical reaction).
- Emissions from cars, power plants, refineries, chemical plants, and other sources are the major sources of NOx and VOC.
- Ozone is most likely to reach unhealthy levels on hot sunny days in urban environments.
- Ozone is a highly reactive gas and when inhaled it can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation. It may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.
- Elevated exposure to ozone can affect sensitive vegetation and ecosystems. In particular, ozone can harm sensitive vegetation during the growing season.
Subject : Legislations
Context : The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- The Bill will amend the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972. The Bill proposes three amendments.
- The first aims to omit the proviso to Section 10B of the Act so as to remove the requirement that the Central government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity capital in a specified insurer.
- The second amendment is to insert a new Section 24B, providing for cessation of application of the Act to such a specified insurer from the date on which the Centre ceases to have control over it.
- And, the third amendment is also to insert a new Section 31A, making a director, who is not a whole-time director, liable only for acts of omission or commission committed with his knowledge and connivance by the insurer.
- Although the Bill has a provision that will allow the government to bring down its shareholding below 51 per cent, Sitharaman clarified that this is not a Bill for privatisation.
Which of the four?
- As on date, there are four public sector general insurance companies — National Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, and United India Insurance Company Limited.
- It is not yet known in one the government will lower its shareholding.
Subject : International Relations
Context : The 6th meeting of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Working Group was held virtually on 28th and 29th of July under the Chairmanship of India.
- The main outcome of the Working Group meeting was the finalisation of the BRICS Counter Terrorism Action Plan containing specific measures to implement the BRICS Counter Terrorism Strategy adopted by BRICS Leaders in 2020.
- The action plan will strengthen counter-terror cooperation among the BRICS member states.
- The plan is one of the key deliverables during India’s Chairship of BRICS and will be adopted at the meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors scheduled next month.
Subject : History
- Udham Singh was born in Sunam in Punjab’s Sangrur district in 1899.
- He was an Indian revolutionary and got associated with the Ghadar Party while in the US.
- He is best known for his assassination in London of Michael O’Dwyer, the former lieutenant governor of Punjab. The assassination was done in revenge for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919.
- Troops under the command of Colonel Reginald Dyer had opened fire on the crowd, killing several hundred.
- Udham Singh was given the title of Shaheed-i-Azam (the great martyr).
Subject: Arts and Culture
In news: At a review meeting after the inscription of Ramappa Temple as a World Heritage Site, Minister for Tourism and Heritage V. Srinivas Goud spelled out plans to put Ramappa Temple on the tourism map of the country.
- Telangana’s Kakatiya Rudreswara Temple (also known as the Ramalingeshwara or Ramappa Temple) has been given a world heritage site tag by UNESCO. The decision was taken at the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO, held in Fuzhou, China.
About Ramappa Temple:
- The temple located in Palmapet in Mulugu, was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by Recharla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva.
- The presiding deity here is Ramalingeswara Swamy.
- It is also known as the Ramappa temple, after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
- It is the only temple that has been named after its sculptor.
- The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiya sculptors.
- The distinct style of Kakatiyas for the gateways to temple complexes, unique only to this region, confirm the highly evolved proportions of aesthetics in temple and town gateways in South India.
- One of the European travelers had remarked that the temple was the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan“.
- The temple has become the 39th site in India to gain the tag of UNESCO.
About Kakatiya dynasty:
- The Kakatiya dynasty ruled most of eastern Deccan region comprising present day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of eastern Karnataka and southern Odisha between the 12th and 14th centuries.
- Their capital was Orugallu, now known as Warangal.
- Early Kakatiya rulers served as feudatories to Rashtrakutas and Western Chalukyas for more than two centuries.
- They assumed sovereignty under Prataparudra I in 1163 CE by suppressing other Chalukya subordinates in the Telangana region.
- Ganapati Deva (1199–1262) significantly expanded Kakatiya lands during the 1230s and brought under Kakatiya control the Telugu-speaking lowland delta areas around the Godavari and Krishna rivers.
- Ganapati Deva was succeeded by Rudrama Devi (1262–1289) and is one of the few queens in Indian history.
- Marco Polo, who visited India in 1289–1293, made note of Rudrama Devi’s rule and nature in flattering terms.
- In 1303, Alauddin Khilji, the emperor of the Delhi Sultanate invaded the Kakatiya territory which ended up as a disaster for the Turks.
- Another attack by Ulugh Khan in 1323 saw stiff resistance by the Kakatiya army, but they were finally defeated. The Kakatiya rule finally came to an end in 1323 A.D. when Warangal was conquered by Ghiyasuddin Tughlaq, the then Sultan of Delhi.
Kakatiya Art & Architecture:
- The Kakatiya era saw the development of a distinct style of architecture and notable examples are the Thousand Pillar Temple in Hanamkonda, Ramappa Temple in Palampet, Warangal Fort, and Kota Gullu in Ghanpur.
- The iconic KakatiyaThoranam was built by Rudramadevi’s father in the 12th Century. This ornate arch is said to have many similarities with the gateways at the Sanchi Stupa and is also the emblem of Telangana.
- The scenic Pakhal lake in Warangal was built by Ganapathi Deva.
- The 1000 pillar temple in Warangal was built during the Kakatiya Rule and is another example of the exquisite Kakatiya Architecture.
- The Koh-i-Noor Diamond, which is now among the jewels set in the British Crown, was mined and first owned by the Kakatiya Dynasty. The attacks started under AlauddinKhilji’s rule and it is said that it is during this time that the Koh-i-Noor went into the hands of the Delhi Sultanate.
- They were known for the construction of a network of tanks for irrigation and drinking water and thereby gave a big boost to the overall development of the region.
- Telangana has launched a massive rejuvenation movement in the form of “Mission Kakatiya” which involves the restoration of irrigation tanks and lakes/minor irrigation sources built by the Kakatiya dynasty.
- Golconda Fort in Hyderabad (Telangana) was also constructed by the Kakatiya rulers.
- Later, it became the capital of the QutbShahi kings, who ruled from CE 1518-1687.
Society under Kakatiya Rule:
- Under the Kakatiya rule, the caste system was not rigid and in fact, it was not given much significance socially. Anyone could take up any profession and people were not bound to an occupation by birth.
In news: During the Monsoon Session, MPs have raised questions about revising the criteria for defining the creamy layer among OBCs.
The Reservation System in India for Backward Classes:
- In 1954 and 1979, the Ministry of Education and the Mandal Commission suggested that a certain percentage should be reserved for the Scheduled Castes (SCs), Schedule Tribes (STs), and the Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in education as well as employment. These policies were introduced keeping in mind that caste disparities would dissolve over time.
What is the creamy layer?
- It is a concept that sets a threshold within which OBC reservation benefits are applicable.
- While there is a 27% quota for OBCs in government jobs and higher educational institutions, those falling within the “creamy layer” cannot get the benefits of this quota.
- Based on the recommendation of the Second Backward Classes Commission (Mandal Commission), the government on August 13, 1990 had notified 27% reservation for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBCs) in vacancies in civil posts and services that are to be filled on direct recruitment.
- After this was challenged, the Supreme Court on November 16, 1992 (Indira Sawhney case) upheld 27% reservation for OBCs, subject to exclusion of the creamy layer.
How is it determined?
- Following the order in Indra Sawhney, an expert committee headed by Justice (retired) R N Prasad was constituted for fixing the criteria for determining the creamy layer.
- On September 8, 1993, the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) listed out various categories of people of certain rank/status/income whose children cannot avail benefit of OBC reservation.
- For those not in government, the current threshold is an income of Rs 8 lakh per year.
- For children of government employees, the threshold is based on their parents’ rank and not income. For instance, an individual is considered to fall within the creamy layer if
- either of his or her parents is in a constitutional post;
- either parent has been directly recruited in Group-A;
- Both parents are in Group-B services.
- the parents enter Group-A through promotion before the age of 40, their children will be in the creamy layer.
- Children of a Colonel or higher-ranked officer in the Army, and children of officers of similar ranks in the Navy and Air Force, too, come under the creamy layer.
Has it ever been revised?
- Other than the income limit, the current definition of creamy layer remains the same as the DoPT had spelt out on September 8, 1993 and clarified on October 14, 2004.
- The income limit has been revised over the years. While the DoPT had stipulated that it would be revised every three years, the first revision since September 8, 1993 (Rs 1 lakh per year) happened only on March 9, 2004 (Rs 2.50 lakh), followed by revisions In October 2008 (Rs 4.50 lakh), May 2013 (Rs 6 lakh) and September 13, 2017 (Rs 8 lakh). It is now more than three years since the last revision.
Subject: National Organisations
Context: Following the government order, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) conducted a three-day search operation at premises connected to the Videocon Group in at least five cities
The Government of India had set up a Committee on Corporate Governance under the Chairmanship of Shri Naresh Chandra, former Cabinet Secretary. The Naresh Chandra Committee inter-alia recommended setting up of Corporate Serious Fraud Office.
The Central Government issued a resolution on 2nd July, 2003 constituting this organisation.
- SFIO is headed by a Director as Head of Department in the rank of Joint Secretary to the Government of India.
- The Director is assisted by Additional Directors, Joint Directors, Deputy Directors, Senior Assistant Directors, Assistant Directors Prosecutors and other secretarial staff.
- The Headquarter of SFIO is at New Delhi, with five Regional Offices at Mumbai, New Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad & Kolkata
- The SFIO is expected to be a multi-disciplinary organisation consisting of experts in the field of accountancy, forensic auditing, law, information technology, investigation, company law, capital market and taxation for detecting and prosecuting or recommending for prosecution white collar crimes/frauds.
- The SFIO will normally take up for investigation only such cases, which are characterized by –
- complexity and having inter-departmental and multi- disciplinary ramifications;
- substantial involvement of public interest to be judged by size, either in terms of monetary
- The possibility of investigation leading to or contributing towards a clear improvement in systems, laws or procedures.
- The SFIO shall investigate serious cases of fraud received from Department of Company Affairs. SFIO may also take up cases on its own,
- The SFIO would make investigations under the provisions of the Companies Act, 1956
Context: The Finance Ministry on Friday reported a fiscal deficit of 18.2 per cent of the Budget Estimate (BE) for the April-June quarter, the lowest since 2010-11
- The government describes fiscal deficit of India as “the excess of total disbursements from the Consolidated Fund of India, excluding repayment of the debt, over total receipts into the Fund (excluding the debt receipts) during a financial year”.
- The government that has a fiscal deficit is spending beyond its means.
- It is calculated as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or simply as total money spent in excess of income.
- In either case, the income figure includes only taxes and other revenues and excludes money borrowed to make up the shortfall.
- The government has set a fiscal deficit target of ₹15.06- lakh crore (6.8 per cent of GDP) for FY22. Achieving this will depend upon two things: Actual disinvestment proceeds and expenditure on possible stimulus
- Fiscal Deficit = Total expenditure of the government (capital and revenue expenditure) – Total income of the government (Revenue receipts + recovery of loans + other receipts)..
- It is different from revenue deficit which is only related to revenue expenditure and revenue receipts of the government.
- The government meets the fiscal deficit by borrowing money. In a way, the total borrowing requirements of the government in a financial year is equal to the fiscal deficit in that year.
- A high fiscal deficit can also be good for the economy if the money spent goes into the creation of productive assets like highways, roads, ports and airports that boost economic growth and result in job creation.
- The Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act, 2003 provides that the Centre should take appropriate measures to limit the fiscal deficit upto 3% of the GDP by 31st March, 2021.
Context : The all India Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) for June increased by 1.1 points and stood at 121.7. It increased by 0.91 per cent than May and 0.61 per cent when compared to June 2020.
- CPI is a measure of retail inflation (WPI measure wholesale inflation) in economy. It is calculated on monthly basis. There is also an annual report with a 1-month lag.
- Consumer Price Index or CPI is the measure of changes in the price level of a basket of consumer goods and services bought by households. CPI is a numerical estimation calculated using the rates of a sample of representative objects the prices of which are gathered periodically.
- The CPI captures changes in price level at the consumer level.
- Changes in prices at the producer level are tracked by the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
- CPI can capture the change in the prices of services which the WPI cannot.
Various Indices of CPI are:
- CPI – Industrial Workers (CPI -IW): It tries to measure the alterations over a time period on the prices of a fixed basket of goods and services utilised by Industrial Workers.
- CPI – Agricultural Labourers (CPI -AL): This index measures the change in the price of commodity basket consumed by the agricultural labourers. It is this used to revise minimum wages for agricultural labour in different States.
- CPI – Rural Labourers: This index measures the change in the price of commodity basket consumed by the rural labourers.
- The above indices are published monthly by Labour Bureau under the Ministry of Labour and Employment for all India as well as States and Union Territories.
- Since the above three indices covered only a segment of the population and not the overall nation, we Designed three more indices of CPI.
- CPI – Rural: This index measures the change in the price of commodity basket consumed by the rural population
- CPI – Urban: This index measures the change in the price of commodity basket consumed by urban population
- CPI – Combined: It is computed by combining CPI Rural and CPI Urban Index The base year for the above three indices is 2011-12 and are published monthly by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Why CPI is important?
- Tracks inflation in economy.
- RBI and other estimating agencies study CPI so as to understand the price change of various commodities and keep a tab on inflation.
- It also gives an idea of cost of living.
Context: The output of eight core industries’ grew 8.9 per cent in June largely due to base effect, official data showed on Friday
- Core industry can be defined as the main industry which has a multiplier effect on the economy.
- In most countries, there is particular industry that seems to be backbone of all other industries and it qualifies to be the core industry.
- The Eight Core Industries comprise 40.27% of the weight of items included in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
- The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement>Fertilizers. The eight Core Industries in decreasing order of their weightage: Refinery Products> Electricity> Steel> Coal> Crude Oil> Natural Gas> Cement> Fertilizers.
Index of Industrial Production
- The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index that shows the growth rates in different industry groups of the economy in a fixed period of time.
- It is compiled and published monthly by the Central Statistical Organization (CSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
- IIP is a composite indicator that measures the growth rate of industry groups classified under:
- Broad sectors: Mining, Manufacturing, and Electricity.
- Use-based sectors: Basic Goods, Capital Goods, and Intermediate Goods.
- Base Year for IIP is 2011-2012.
- The eight core industries of India represent about 40% of the weight of items that are included in the IIP.
Significance of IIP:
- IIP is the only measure on the physical volume of production.
- It is used by government agencies including the Ministry of Finance, the Reserve Bank of India, etc., for policy-making purposes.
- IIP remains extremely relevant for the calculation of the quarterly and advance GDP estimates.
Context: The government has initiated a sunset review investigation on continuing imposition of anti-dumping duties on steel wire rods originating from China
- 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 producers vis-a-vis foreign producers and exporters.
- The duty is imposed only after a thorough investigation by a quasi-judicial body, such as Directorate General of Trade Remedies, in India.
- The imposition of anti-dumping duty is permissible under the World Trade Organization (WTO) regime
Sunset review investigation
- Under the Customs Tariff Act, 1975, as amended from time to time and the Customs Tariff (Identification, Assessment and Collection of Anti-Dumping Duty on Dumped Articles and for Determination of Injury) Rules 1995, the Designated Authority is the Directorate General of Trade Remedies.