Daily Prelims Notes 6 January 2023
- January 6, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
6 January 2022
Table Of Contents
- Sinking town: Probe NTPC project, say experts as subsidence creates panic in Joshimath
- World’s first vaccine for honeybees gets conditional nod in US
- First round of talks for a global plastic treaty was not a success
- India now has 212 indigenous livestock breeds after ICAR-NBAGR registers 10 new ones
- Amid Chinese forays into Indian Ocean, Rajnath visits Andaman
- India’s use case of digital public goods phenomenal, applicable globally
- Controversy over Delhi ‘aldermen’: What does the term mean?
- Decennial census put off till September
- China And India Are Buying Up Russia’s Arctic Oil
- Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP)
- Process for selection of CCI chief to start all over again
- The extent to which the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan-Vishnugad hydropower project and Helang bypass are responsible for over 500 houses in Uttarakhand’s Joshimath town developing cracks must be investigated.
More in the news:
- Administration have asked the NTPC to prepare 2,000 prefabricated buildings to shift people whose houses have developed cracks.
- Earlier, the administration had closed the Joshimath to Auli ropeway, Asia’s largest.
- Tapovan is 15 km away from Joshimath. The tunnel ends at Selang, about 5 km from Joshimath.
Seismic zones of India:
- As per the seismic zoning map of the country, the total area is classified into four seismic zones.
- Zone V is seismically the most active region, while zone II is the least.
- Approximately, ~ 11% area of the country falls in zone V, ~18% in zone IV, ~ 30% in zone III and remaining in zone II.
Hydropower projects in India:
- Hydroelectricity means electricity generated by hydropower or from the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water.
- One of the most common forms of power generation since this form of energy neither produces any direct waste matter nor is subjected to exhaustion.
- The potential for hydro-electric potential in terms of installed capacity in India is estimated to be about 148,700 MW out of which a capacity of 42,783 MW (28.77%) has been developed so far and 13,616 MW (9.2 %) of capacity is under construction.
Below is a list of the Major Hydro Power Plants in India
|Tehri Dam (3 Stages)||THDC Limited, Uttarakhand||Uttarakhand||2400 MW||Tehri Dam Hudro Electric project is the highest Hydal project in India commissioned in 2006.|
Its construction started in 1978 with the technical collaboration from the USSR.
|Koyna Hydroelectric Project (4 Stages)||MAHAGENCO, Maharashtra State Power Generation Co Ltd.||Maharashtra||1960 MW||The Koyna Hydro electric project is the largest completed Hydal power project in India.|
The dam is constructed across Koyna river in Maharashtra.
|Srisailam||APGENCO||Andhra Pradesh||1670 MW||Srisailam Dam is constructed on the Krishna River in the border districts between Andhra Pradesh and Telangana districts Kurnool and Mahabubnagar districts respectively.|
It is the second largest working hydro electric power project in India.
|Nathpa Jhakri (6 Turbinesx25 MW)||Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam||Himachal Pradesh||1500 MW||The Nathpa Jhakri dam is concrete gravity dam constructed across Satluj River in Himachal Pradesh.|
|Sardar Sarovar Dam,||Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd||Navagam, Gujarat||1450 MW||The Sardar Sarovar Dam is the largest dam of Narmada Valley Project, is a concrete gravity dam on the Narmada river near Navagam in Gujarat.|
|Bhakra Nangal Dam (Gobind Sagar)||Bhakra Beas Management Board||Sutlej River, Bilaspur – Himachal Pradesh||1325 MW||Bhakra Dam is a concrete gravity dam built across Sutlej River at Bhakra villege in Bilaspur District of Himachal Pradesh.|
The power generated here is shared between Himachal Pradesh and Punjab and most of the outflow water is used by Punjab and Haryana for irrigation.
|Chamera I||NHPC Limited||Himachal Pradesh||1071 MW||Chamera Dam is a hydroelectric project on river Ravi, which is located near Dalhousie town in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh.|
|Sharavathi Project||Karnataka Power Corporation Limited||Karnataka||1035 MW||Sharavathi Dam, officially known as the Linganamakki Reservoir, is built across Sharavathi river, about 6 kilometers away from Jog Falls.|
|Indira Sagar Dam, Narmada River||Narmada Valley Development Authority||Madhya Pradesh||1000 MW||The Indirasagar Dam is a multipurpose project of Madhya Pradesh on the Narmada river at Narmadanagar, Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.|
|Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant||Jaypee Group||Himachal Pradesh||1000 MW||The Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant is a 1200 MW run of the river power station on the Sutlej river in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh.|
|Dehar (Pandoh) Power Project||Bhakra Beas Management Board||Himachal Pradesh||990 MW||The Pandoh Dam is built across Beas river in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh. It was commissioned in 1977 for the primary purpose of hydroelectric power generation.|
|Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Guntur||Andhra Pradesh Power Generation Corporation Limited||Andhra Pradesh||960 MW||Nagarjuna Sagar Dam Reservoir is created by NJ Sagar dam built across Krishna river, spread in the Nalgonda district of Telangana and Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh states.|
The dam was commissioned in 1967.
|Purulia Pass||West Bengal Electricity Distribution Company||West bengal||900 MW||Purulia Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Power Plant of West Bengal State Electric Distribution Company Limited is a project that can generate up to 900 MW power by discharging stored water from Upper Dam to Lower Dam through reversible pump turbine generator.|
|Idukki||Kerala State Electricity Board||Kerala||780 MW||Idukki Dam is built across Periyar River in Idukki district of Kerala. Commissioned in 1976 and dedicated to nation by then Prime Minister Smt.Indira Gandi, It is the largest source of electricity in the state|
|Salal I & II||NHPC Limited||Jammu & Kashmir||690 MW||Salal Hydroelectric Power Station Stage-I and Stage-II is constructed on Chenab river in Jammu and Kashmir.|
|Upper Indravati||Odisha Hydro Power Corporation||Orissa||600 MW||Upper Indravati Dam is a gravity dam on Indravati river with installed capacity of 600 MW.|
|Ranjit Sagar Dam||Punjab State Power Corporation Limited||Punjab||600 MW||Ranjit Sagar Dam, also known as Thein Dam, is part of hydro electric cum irrigation purpose dam constructed by the government of Punjab on the Ravi River in Punjab.|
|Omkareshwar||Narmada Hydroelectric Development Corporation||Madhya Pradesh||520MW||Omkareshwar Dam is a gravity dam on Narmada river in Khandwa district of Madhya Pradesh.|
Its hydroelectric power station has an installed capacity of 520 MW.
|Belimela Dam||Odisha Hydro Power Corporation||Orissa||510 MW||The Belimela Reservoir is constructed in Malkangiri district of Odisha on the river Sileru, a tributary of Godavari river.|
Belimela is a joint project of Andhra Pradesh and Orisha governments.
|Teesta Dam||NHPC Limited||Sikkim||510 MW||Teesta-V is one of six hydropower projects in river Teesta in East Sikkim district with three turbines with a total installed capacity of 510 MW.|
|Rihand Hydroelectric Power Plan||NTPC ltd.||Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh||300 MW (6 units of 50 MW each).||Rihand Dam also known as Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar, is the largest dam of India by volume.|
The reservoir of Rihand Dam is called Govind Ballabh Pant Sagar and is India’s largest artificial lake.
Rihand Dam is a concrete gravity dam located at Pipri in Sonbhadra District in Uttar Pradesh, India.
Its reservoir area is on the border of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
It is located on the Rihand River, a tributary of the Son River.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has granted a conditional licence for a vaccine for honeybees to curb American foulbrood (AFB), a fatal bacterial disease for the insect.
American foulbrood (AFB):
- AFB is caused by the spore-forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, according to bee information website Bee Aware.
- Infected broods usually die at the pre-pupal or pupal stage.
- It is not a stress-related disease and can infect the strongest to the weakest colony in an apiary.
- Heavy infections can affect most of the brood, severely weakening the colony and eventually killing it.
- The disease cannot be cured, meaning that the destruction of infected colonies and hives or irradiation of infected material is the only way to manage AFB.
- The bacteria Melissococcus plutonius causes another similar disease, European foulbrood. However, the incidence of EFB is generally higher when the colony is under stress.
- The first such vaccine, developed by biotechnology company Dalan Animal Health.
- The vaccine technology exposes queen bees to inactive (ie, “dead”) bacteria, which enables the larvae hatched in the hive to resist infection.
Effectiveness of the vaccine:
- The immune priming showed no negative impact on queen fitness in tests.
- Tests also showed no negative impact on honey.
- The company claims their products to be chemical free, non-GMO and organic.
Role of Honeybees in the ecosystem:
Honeybees- Threats and their significance:
- Honeybee populations are declining sharply, spurred by habitat loss, pesticide use and the climate crisis.
- Fewer honeybees mean not just less honey but also less food — honeybees are critical to pollination of the crops.
- They provide high-quality food—honey, royal jelly and pollen — and other products such as beeswax, propolis and honey bee venom.
- According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, a third of the world’s food production depends on bees.
- On December 2, 2022, negotiators responsible for carving out a global treaty on ending plastic pollution by 2024 concluded their first ever meeting in Punta Del Este, Uruguay.
Global Plastics Outlook: Economic Drivers, Environmental Impacts and Policy Options:
- Report published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
- Major highlights:
- The amount of plastic waste produced globally is on track to almost triple by 2060, with around half ending up in landfill and less than a fifth recycled.
- The report says that without radical action to curb demand, increase product lifespans and improve waste management and recyclability, plastic pollution will rise in tandem with an almost threefold increase in plastics use driven by rising populations and incomes.
- The report estimates that almost two-thirds of plastic waste in 2060 will be from short-lived items such as packaging, low-cost products and textiles.
- Growth will be fastest in developing and emerging countries in Africa and Asia, although OECD countries will still produce much more plastic waste per person (238 kg per year on average) in 2060 than non-OECD countries (77 kg).
Policies to reduce the environmental impacts of plastics and encourage a more circular use of them should include:
- Taxes on plastics, including on plastic packaging
- Incentives to reuse and repair plastic items
- Targets for recycled content in new plastic products
- Extended producer responsibility (EPR) schemes
- Improved waste management infrastructure
- Increased litter collection rates
Global Efforts To Tackle plastic pollution:
- Legal efforts have been made at the international and national levels to address marine pollution.
- The most important are:
- The 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention)
- The 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol)
- The 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).
- The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) considers plastic marine debris and its ability to transport harmful substances as one of the main emerging issues affecting the environment.
- At the 2015 G7 summit in Bavaria, Germany, the risks of microplastics were acknowledged in the Leaders’ Declaration.
- GloLitter Partnerships (GLP): It is a project launched by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and initial funding from the Government of Norway.
- Clean Seas Campaign:
- The United Nations Environment Programme launched the Clean Seas Campaign in 2017
- Aim: The goal was to galvanise a global movement to turn the tide on plastic by reducing the use of unnecessary, avoidable and problematic plastics including single-use plastics and phasing out intentionally added microplastics.
Steps taken by india:
- India has embarked on the journey to end plastic pollution by taking sound and effective measures through EPR on plastic packaging as well as putting a ban on single-use plastic items having low utility and high littering potential,
- The Plastic Waste Management Rules, 2016 clearly stipulate that urban local bodies (ULBs) should ban less than 50 micron thick plastic bags and not allow usage of recycled plastics for packing food, beverage or any other eatables.
- The Rules also require that local bodies should provide separate collection, storage and processing of plastic waste in their areas.
- The government has set an ambitious target of eliminating single-use plastics by 2022.
- India is a signatory to MARPOL (International Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution).
- The Centre has also recently issued fresh guidelines for manufacturers, brand owners, importers of plastics making it mandatory to recycle and has drawn up a pathway to incorporate the large informal sector, which is involved in plastic recycling, in a more formal circular economy.
- The “India Plastic Challenge – Hackathon 2021
- It is a unique competition calling upon start-ups / entrepreneurs and students of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to develop innovative solutions to mitigate plastic pollution and develop alternatives to single-use plastics.
- Swachh Bharat Mission
- India Plastics Pact
- Project REPLAN
- Un-Plastic Collective
- GoLitter Partnerships Project
- In the last one year, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has registered 10 new breeds of livestock species, including cattle, buffalo, goat and pig. This has taken the total number of indigenous breeds to 212 as of January 4, 2023.
ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR)
- Established on 21st September, 1984 at Bangalore in the form of twin institutes namely ICAR- National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources and National Institute of Animal Genetics and then shifted to Karnal in 1985.
- The two institutes were merged to function as a single entity in the form of ICAR- National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (ICAR-NBAGR) in 1995.
- This premier institute is dedicated to work with its mandate of identification, evaluation, characterization, conservation and utilization of livestock and poultry genetic resources of the country.
Registration of new breeds:
- The identification and registration of indigenous breeds started only after 2010.
- Those breeds which are not registered or identified are called ‘non-descript’.
- The registration was done by ICAR-National Bureau of Animal Genetic Resources (NBAGR).
- The registration process involves identification and surveying of these breeds through visits to the native areas.
- Since 2010, this is the third highest increase in registration of indigenous breeds, after 15 new breeds in 2018-19 and 13 new breeds in 2019-20 were recorded.
- In 2010, there were only 129 indigenous breeds registered, called ‘extant breeds’.
- Registration helps in breed conservation and promotion activities, as state governments get funds especially for these breeds.
About the New breeds:
- The 10 new breeds included three new cattle breeds (Kathani, Sanchori, Masilum), one buffalo breed (Purnathadi), three goat breeds (Sojat, Karauli, Gujari) and three pig breeds (Banda, Manipuri Black, Wak Chambil).
- Purnathadi buffalo
- Found in the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra.
- The population of Kathani, a dual purpose cattle, is also distributed in the region.
- It possesses good draft ability and is suited to marshy land for paddy cultivation.
- It is a small-sized but well-built and sturdy cattle of Meghalaya.
- Well adapted to the hill ecosystem, it is reared by the Khasi and Jaintia communities for sports, manure and socio-cultural festivals.
- Sanchori is found in the Jalore district of Rajasthan.
- Among goats, all the three new breeds are from different regions of Rajasthan.
- Of the new pig breeds, Manipuri Black is a native of Manipur, Banda is from Jharkhand and Wak Chambil is from the Garo hills of Meghalaya.
Significance of indigenous breeds:
- Indigenous breeds are better suited to climate resilience.
- These are more heat tolerant, have better immunity and disease resistance.
- But there is a declining trend in some of the indigenous livestock, especially cattle.
- In the 20th Livestock Census, while the population of exotic / crossbred cattle increased by 29.3 per cent, compared to the 2012 Census, the population of indigenous cattle declined by six per cent.
- Defence minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to the strategic military command at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago beginning Thursday assumes a greater significance amid increasing Chinese forays into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Strategic significance of Andaman and Nicobar Archipelago:
- The military command at the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago helps India keep a close watch on major choke points or the sea lines of communication (SLOC) in the Bay of Bengal — the Malacca Strait, Sunda Strait and the Ombai-Wetar Straits — from where most of the world’s shipping trade passes through.
- Established in 2001, the 21-year-old military command is an Integrated Theatre Command.
- Combining the resources of all three services ( the Army, Navy, and Air Force) under a single commander to secure a particular geographic area is known as integrated theatre commands.
- ANC Joint Operations Centre (JOC), also referred to as the nerve centre for integrated planning for surveillance, conduct of operations and logistic support.
- Indira Point at Campbell Bay — the southernmost tip of the Great Nicobar Islands — which is separated from Indonesia by the 163-km wide Six Degree channel through which all shipping traffic from the Malacca strait to the West passes.
- It is estimated that this includes the majority of Chinese shipping, making it a crucial strategic point for India.
- The Campbell Bay airfield helps India in carrying out frequent surveillance operations across the Indian Ocean.
- It is also slated to become a major trans-shipment hub for India and neighbouring countries.
Major Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs)
- Physical Geography:
- Connects the Andaman Sea (Indian Ocean) and the South China Sea (Pacific Ocean).
- Runs between the Indonesian island of Sumatra to the west and peninsular (West) Malaysia and extreme southern Thailand to the east.
- Strategic Importance:
- Shortest sea route between the Middle East and East Asia, helping to reduce the time and cost of transportation among Asia, the Middle East and Europe.
- Through this corridor, approximately 60% of the world’s maritime trade transits, and is the main source of oil supply for two of the main Asian consumers: the People’s Republic of China and Japan.
- The Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) was created in 2001 to safeguard India’s strategic interests in Southeast Asia and the Strait of Malacca by increasing rapid deployment of military assets in the islands.
- It links the Java Sea (Pacific Ocean) with the Indian Ocean (south).
- Sunda Strait, Indonesian Selat Sunda, is a channel, 16–70 miles (26–110 km) wide, between the islands of Java (east) and Sumatra.
- The Sunda Strait is an important passage connecting the Indian Ocean with eastern Asia.
- The strait stretches in a roughly northeast/southwest orientation, with a minimum width of 24 km (15 mi) at its northeastern end between Cape Tua on Sumatra and Cape Pujat on Java.
- It is very deep at its western end, but as it narrows to the east it becomes much shallower, with a depth of only 20 m (65 feet) in parts of the eastern end.
- It is notoriously difficult to navigate because of this shallowness, very strong tidal currents, sandbanks, and man-made obstructions such as oil platforms off the Java coast.
- The strait’s narrowness, shallowness, and lack of accurate charting make it unsuitable for many modern, large ships, most of which use the Strait of Malacca instead.
- Ombai Strait is an international strait in Southeast Asia.
- It separates the Alor Archipelago from the islands of Wetar, Atauro, and Timor in the Lesser Sunda Islands.
- The strait is also the western portion of a pair of international straits, the other one being Wetar Strait; the two straits combine to link the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean.
- East Timor is bounded by the Timor Sea to the southeast, the Wetar Strait to the north, the Ombai Strait to the northwest, and western Timor (part of the Indonesian province of East Nusa Tenggara) to the southwest.
Subject: Science and Technology
- Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella lauded India’s strides in the adoption and work with digital public goods and termed it to be “phenomenal”.
What is Digital public good?
- Digital public goods are public goods in the form of software, data sets, AI models, standards or content that are generally free cultural works and contribute to sustainable national and international digital development.
- Use of the term “digital public good” appears as early as April 2017, when Nicholas Gruen wrote Building the Public Goods of the Twenty-First Century, and has gained popularity with the growing recognition of the potential for new technologies to be implemented at a national scale to better service delivery to citizens.
- A digital public good is defined by the UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, as: “open source software, open data, open AI models, open standards and open content that adhere to privacy and other applicable laws and best practices, do no harm, and help attain the SDGs.
- Digital technologies have also been identified by countries, NGOs and private sector entities as a means to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- This translation of public goods onto digital platforms has resulted in the use of the term “digital public goods”.
- Several international agencies, including UNICEF and UNDP, are exploring DPGs as a possible solution to address the issue of digital inclusion, particularly for children in emerging economies.
- Example of DPGs in India: Aadhar, UPI, account aggregator system, ONDC, Open AI protocols, India stack, etc.
Why is it called a public good?
- Digital public goods share some traits with public goods including non-rivalry and non-excludability.
How is it different from physical public good?
- Most physical resources exist in limited supply.
- When a resource is removed and used, the supply becomes scarce or depleted. Scarcity can result in competing rivalry for the resource.
- The nondepletable, nonexclusive, and nonrivalrous nature of digital public goods means the rules and norms for managing them can be different from how physical public goods are managed.
- Digital public goods can be infinitely stored, copied, and distributed without becoming depleted, and at close to zero cost.
- Abundance rather than scarcity is an inherent characteristic of digital resources in the digital commons.
Usage of DPGs:
- A public good is a good that is both non-excludable (no one can be prevented from consuming this good) and non-rivalrous (the consumption of this good by anyone does not reduce the quantity available to others).
- Extending this definition to global public goods, they become goods with benefits that extend to all countries, people, and generations and are available across national borders everywhere. Knowledge and information goods embody global public goods when provided for free.
- The online world provides a great medium for the provision of global public goods, where they become global digital public goods.
- Once produced in their digital form, global public goods are essentially costless to replicate and make available to all, under the assumption that users have Internet connectivity to access these goods.
- DHIS2, an open source health management system.
- Free and open-source software (FOSS), Since FOSS is licensed to allow it to be shared freely, modified and redistributed, it is available as a digital public good.
- Open educational resources, which by their copyright are allowed to be freely re-used, revised and shared.
Digital Public Goods Alliance (DPGA):
- In mid-2019 the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation published The Age of Digital Interdependence.
- In response, in late 2019 the Governments of Norway and Sierra Leone, UNICEF and iSPIRT formally initiated the Digital Public Goods Alliance as a follow-up on the High-level Panel.
- The subsequent UN Secretary-General’s Roadmap for Digital Cooperation, published in June 2020, mentions the Digital Public Goods Alliance specifically as “a multi-stake-holder initiative responding directly to the lack of a “go to” platform, as highlighted by the Panel in its report.”
- The report further highlights digital public goods as essential to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in low- and middle-income countries and calls on all stakeholders, including the UN to assist in their development and implementation.
- India Stack is a set of (application programming interface) APIs that allows governments, businesses, startups and developers to utilize a unique digital Infrastructure to solve India’s hard problems towards presence-less, paperless, and cashless service delivery.
- The Open API team at iSPIRT has been a pro-bono partner in the development, evolution, and evangelisation of these APIs and systems.
The four distinct technology layers provided are:
- Presenceless layer: Where a universal biometric digital identity allows people to participate in any service from anywhere in the country.
- Paperless layer: Where digital records move with an individual’s digital identity, eliminating the need for massive amount of paper collection and storage.
- Cashless layer: Where a single interface to all the country’s bank accounts and wallets to democratize payments.
- Consent layer: Which allows data to move freely and securely to democratize the market for data.
APIs included in India Stack:
- The following APIs are considered to be a core part of the India Stack.
- Aadhaar Authentication
- Aadhaar e-KYC
- Digital Locker
- Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
- Digital User Consent – still work in progress.
The following APIs are also considered to be societal platforms built on similar principles like India Stack:
- GSTN – The Goods and Services Tax Network
- BBPS – The Bharat Bill Payment System
- ETC – Electronic Toll Collection (known under the brand FASTag)
- Citizens: Brings millions of Indians into the formal economy by reducing friction.
- Software ecosystem: Fosters innovation to build products for financial Inclusion, healthcare & educational services at scale.
- Government: Brings a paradigm shift in the way government services are delivered in a transparent, accountable and leakage free model.
- Delhi’s Lt. Governor, VK Saxena, nominated 10 aldermen amidst significant controversy. The 10 nominees, all BJP members, are expected to play a crucial role in determining who controls the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).
Meaning of the term Alderman:
- “Alderman” refers to a member of a city council or municipal body, with exact responsibilities depending on the location of its usage. It is derived from Old English.
- Originally referred to elders of a clan or tribe, though soon it became a term for king’s viceroys, regardless of age. Soon, it denoted a more specific title – “chief magistrate of a county,” having both civic and military duties.
Different meaning in different country:
- Under the Municipal Reform Act 1835, municipal borough corporations consisted of councilors and aldermen. Aldermen would be elected not by the electorate, but by the council (including the outgoing aldermen), for a term of six years, which allowed a party that narrowly lost an election to retain control by choosing aldermen.
- The Local Government Act of 1972 finally abolished Aldermen with voting rights, with effect from 1974, except in the Greater London Council and the London borough councils, where they remained a possibility until 1978.
- In the US, depending upon the jurisdiction, an alderman could have been part of the legislative or judicial local government. A “board of aldermen” is the governing executive or legislative body of many cities and towns in the United States.
- In Canada, the term “alderman” was used for those persons elected to a municipal council to represent the wards.
- Australia and Ireland have also abolished the term and specific post of an alderman whereas, in South Africa, the term alderman refers to senior members of municipal councils.
- In the Netherlands, the term refers to members of the municipal executive (rather than the council).
- As per the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, ten people, over the age of 25 can be nominated to the corporation by the administrator (the Lieutenant Governor).
- These people are expected to have special knowledge or experience in municipal administration.
- They are meant to assist the house in taking decisions of public importance.
Importance of alderman:
- Although they do not have the right to vote in the mayor polls, aldermen hold significant power and play an important role in the elections of Standing Committees, MCD in-house and ward committee meetings.
- They are a part of a group which effectively controls the MCD’s purse strings.
The controversy in Delhi:
- The current controversy regarding the appointment of 10 aldermen has two facets.
- The first is with regards to the people nominated. After the recommendations were sent to the LG, two of the 10 nominees were found to be technically unfit for the job, forcing the BJP to retract their names to avoid embarrassment.
- Second, the appointment of aldermen by the LG is seen by many as an attempt by the BJP to continue exercising power in the MCD, despite its election loss.
Context: The decennial census exercise has been postponed till September, at least, as the government informed States that the date of freezing of administrative boundaries has been extended till June 30.
More about the News:
- As per norms, census can be conducted only three months after freezing of boundary limits of administrative units such as districts, sub-districts, tehsils, talukas and police stations. The finalisation of boundaries of administrative units entails covering all jurisdictional changes between two consecutive censuses.
- The first phase of Census 2021, the House listing and Housing Census along with updating the National Population Register (NPR) were scheduled to be held from April-September 2020 but were postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The upcoming census is to be held for the first time both in digital mode and through paper schedules (questionnaire/forms).
- Census is process of collecting, compiling, analyzing, evaluating, publishing and disseminating statistical data regarding the population.
- It covers demographic, social and economic data and is provided as of a particular date.
- It has been undertaken every 10 years, beginning in 1872 under British Viceroy Lord Mayo, the first complete census was taken in 1881.
- Post 1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
- All the censuses since 1951 were conducted under the 1948 Census of India Act.
- The Census is one of the most credible sources of information on the following:
- Economic Activity.
- Literacy and Education.
- Housing & Household Amenities.
- Urbanization, Fertility, and Mortality.
- Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
- 2011 marks the first time biometric information was collected. The last census was held in 2011
- The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times.
About Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India:
- Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, was founded in 1961 by the Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs.
- Role include arranging, conducting and analysing the results of the demographic surveys of India including Census of India and Linguistic Survey of India.
- The position of Registrar is usually held by a civil servant holding the rank of Joint Secretary.
- Office was also entrusted with the responsibility of implementation of Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 in the country.
- It has been giving estimates on fertility and mortality using the Sample Registration System (SRS).
The 2021 Census of India, also the 16th Indian Census, is intended to be carried out in 2023. In April 2019, a data user conference was held and it was announced that 330,000 enumerators would be enlisted and that they would be encouraged to use their own smart phones, although a paper option will also be available, which the enumerators will then need to submit electronically.
The 15th Indian Census taken in 2011, attempted to estimate the population based on Socio-Economic and Caste Status for the first time since 1931. However, as the enumeration was based on recording the respondents’ declaration, it led to creation of hundreds of thousands of caste/subcaste categories.
For the 16th Indian census, the government is instead considering enumeration based on a list of educationally or socially disadvantaged castes (known as Other Backward Class) reported by each state. However, in February 2020, the Indian government rejected the demand for OBC data as part of the 2021 census.
- The first Census in India was conducted during a span of 8 years, starting from 1865 and ending in 1872. This was done non-synchronously in various parts of India. As the process reached its final point in 1872, this year has been labelled as the first Indian population census year. However, in India, the first synchronous population census was held in the year 1881.
- The last Census in India was held in 2011. This happened to be the 15th Indian Census. This included two phases, namely, the house listing and the population enumeration. According to the 2011 census, Uttar Pradesh was found to be the most populated state in India. It had a population count of 199,812,341, covering 16.51% of the overall Indian population.
- In this Census, Sikkim was found to be the least populated state in India, with a population count of 610,577, covering 0.05% of the overall Indian population.
To know about NPR https://optimizeias.com/national-population-register/
Understand difference between CENSUS and SECC https://optimizeias.com/census-and-secc/
Context: After being hit by western sanctions, Russia is boosting its shipments of oil produced in the Arctic region to India and China at steeper discounts.
- Arctic crude exports to India hit a record of 6.67 million barrels in November with a further 4.1 million in December, Refinitiv data showed.
- Arctic grades Arco, Arco/Novy Port and Varandey do not normally head East but are now finding new homes further afield after the West introduced a price cap on Russian oil in December.
- Russia’s grades from the Arctic – Arco, Arco/Novy Port, and Varandey – have been selling at deep discounts in China and India as the EU embargo and the G7 price cap have further pushed more Russian crude to customers in Asia that have not joined the Price Cap Coalition
- Indian has diversified its purchases of Russian crude to include Arctic grade Varandey Blend for the first time, as it further increases its dependence on Russian oil.
- Indian received 1.82mn bl (59,000 b/d) of light sour Varandey Blend from the Barents Sea port of Murmansk in December 2022, Vortexa data show. This is the first time India has ever imported this grade, which is produced by Russian firm Lukoil, according to Vortexa.
- December’s Varandey Blend imports were delivered on two Suezmax vessels at Kochi and Vadinar ports.
- Vadinar port, in west India’s Gujarat state, received 923,531 bl at state-controlled IOC’s single buoy mooring system, which pumps oil to IOC’s Mathura refinery in north India’s Uttar Pradesh state. Kochi received 896,629 bl of Varandey Blend at state-controlled Bharat Petroleum’s single point mooring facility, Vortexa data show.
- Four Varandey Blend cargoes are scheduled for January delivery. Vishakhapatnam port in the south India’s Andhra Pradesh state, where state-run Hindustan Petroleum operates a 166,000 b/d refinery, is scheduled to receive 925,555 bl on 9 January. Another 748,892 bl of Varandey Blend is scheduled to be delivered on 10 January to Vadinar port, where Russian-owned Nayara Energy operates a 400,000 b/d refinery.
- Paradip port in east India’s Odisha state of is due to receive 925,518 bl on 16 January. IOC operates a 300,000 b/d refinery at Paradip. Mumbai port in west India will take delivery of 923,531 bl on 27 January.
- India’s total imports of Russian crude, excluding CPC blend of Kazakh origin, rose to an all-time high of 1.19mn b/d in December. Imports remained above 1mn b/d for the seventh straight month, aided by discounts offered by Russian producers in the wake of Europe’s reduced imports of Russian oil.
Context: The Centre is set to launch the Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP), a new initiative on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme.
Under the ABP, 500 blocks across states have been identified. NITI Aayog, in partnership with the states, will release quarterly ranking of these blocks based on their performance on development indicators covering sectors such as health, education and nutrition, among others, it is learnt. The first such ranking is likely to be released in April this year.
About Aspirational District Programme:
- The Aspirational District Programme is aimed at improving performance of districts lagging on various development parameters
- The 115 districts were identified from 28 states, at least one from each state.
- Aspirational Districts are those districts in India, that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators.
- The improvement in these districts can lead to the overall improvement in human development in India.
- At the Government of India level, the programme is anchored by NITI Aayog. In addition, individual Ministries have assumed responsibility to drive the progress of districts.
- The objective of the program is to monitor the real-time progress of aspirational districts.
- ADP is based on 49 indicators from the 5 identified thematic areas, which focuses closely on improving people’s
- Health & Nutrition
- Agriculture & Water Resources
- Financial Inclusion & Skill Development
- Basic Infrastructure
- The broad strategy of the programme include:
- Convergence: horizontal and vertical governments.
- Collaboration: impactful partnerships between government, market and civil society.
- Competition: fosters accountability on district governments.
Context: The Centre has decided to start the selection process afresh after scrapping the earlier shortlist of candidates.
The selection of CCI is governed by The Competition Commission of India (Selection of Chairperson and other Members of the Commission) Rules,2003.
The selection of CCI chairperson is done by Constitution of committee
(1) The Central Government shall constitute a committee for the selection of Chairperson and other Members of the Commission.
(2) The committee shall consist of –
(a) a person, who has been a retired judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court or a retired Chairperson of a Tribunal established or constituted under an Act of Parliament or a distinguished jurist or a Senior Advocate for five years or more; Member
(b) a person who has special knowledge of, and professional experience of twenty-five years or more in international trade, economics, business, commerce or industry; Member, (c) a person who has special knowledge of, and professional experience of twenty-five years or more in accountancy, management, finance, public affairs or administration; Member, to be nominated by the Central Government.
(3) The Central Government shall nominate one of the Members of the committee to act as the Chairperson of the committee.
(4) The Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Finance and Company Affairs (Department of Company Affairs) dealing with the Competition Act, 2002 (12 of 2003) shall be the Convenor of the committee. (5) The term of the committee constituted under sub-rule (1) shall be for a period of one hundred and twenty days from the date of its constitution.
Functions of committee
(1) As and when vacancies of Chairperson or a Member in the Commission exist or arise, or are likely to arise, the Central Government may make a reference to the committee in respect of the vacancies to be filled.
(2) The committee shall devise its own procedure for purpose of the selection of the Chairperson or a Member of the Commission.
(3) The committee shall recommend a person, or a panel of not more than three persons in order of priority, as the committee may think fit, in respect of each vacancy that has been referred to the committee.
(4) The committee shall make its recommendations to the Central Government, within a period not exceeding ninety days.
(5) If the members of the committee differ in making its recommendation, the recommendation of selection of the Chairperson or a member of the Competition Commission of India shall be decided by the majority of the members of the committee.
Subject : Science and Technology
Context: Japan’s Sony on Wednesday unveiled a prototype of the new “Afeela” electric vehicles it will build together with Honda
- It is an Autonomous intelligence for mobility. Where we aim to create the essential foundations for safety and security.
- The car will use technology from hardware maker Qualcomm Inc, including its “Snapdragon” digital chassis.
- In order to realise intelligent mobility, continuous software updates and high-performance computing are required
- The Snapdragon Ride Flex SoC handles both assisted driving and cockpit functions, including entertainment.
- Previously those functions were handled on different chips, and bringing them together can help bring down costs.
- The car will use the “Unreal Engine” 3-D creation tool from Epic Games, the maker of the “Fortnite” series of games.
- It aims to achieve the world’s highest-level AD/ADAS by combining Sony’s sensor technology, Honda’s safety technology, and many intelligent technologies.
- It provides level 3 autonomous driving optimized for specific conditions, as well as driving assistance features such as level 2+ autonomy for urban and other wide range of conditions.
- It is equipped with a total of 45 cameras and sensors inside and outside the vehicle, together with 800 TOPS of maximum computing power for ECU
- It will utilize SoCs from Snapdragon Digital Chassis, a comprehensive solution that delivers customizable, safe and secure mobility experiences.
- By Enhancing the value of mobility space, it will expand it into entertainment and emotional space, by seamlessly integrating real and virtual worlds.