Daily Prelims Notes 6 March 2023
- March 6, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
6 March 2023
Table Of Contents
- N. global high seas biodiversity pact
- Too many deer at Delhi’s Deer Park, some may be moved to leopard territory
- Regulator’s guidelines on Rajasthan power lines ‘flout’ Supreme Court orders, threaten the Great Indian Bustard
- Amphibian species are particularly at risk
- Bio computers
- Government approves launch of IFFCO’s nano DAP fertilizer
- Raisina Security Dialogue
- Megha-Tropiques-1 Satellite
- Libya’s outlook remains bleak
- Extended Fund Facility (EFF)
- India close to ‘Hindu rate of growth ‘ states ex RBI Chief
- Guidelines for UIDF likely to be released by March-end
- Country Risk in Investment
- Women’s Role in Constitution Building
- National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
- The Global Education Monitoring Report
- Role of opposition in Choosing the Head of various Independent bodies
1. U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact
Section: International Convention
Context: Governments meeting at the United Nations (UN) in New York City reached agreement on key substantive issues for a new Treaty to protect marine life in the high seas.
U.N. global high seas biodiversity pact
- Negotiators from more than 100 countries completed a U.N. treaty to protect the high seas.
- The legally binding pact to conserve and ensure the sustainable use of ocean biodiversity, under discussion for 15 years, was finally agreed after five rounds of protracted U.N.-led negotiations that ended in New York.
- The treaty is seen as a crucial component in global efforts to bring 30% of the world’s land and sea under protection by the end of the decade, a target known as “30 by 30” agreed in Montreal.
- Countries must formally adopt the treaty and ratify it as quickly as possible to bring it into force, and then deliver the fully protected ocean sanctuaries our planet needs.
What are High Seas?
- The high seas are areas of oceans that lies beyond countries’ national waters. These are the largest habitat on Earth and home to millions of species.
- The high seas are the parts of the ocean that are not included in the exclusive economic zones, territorial sea or internal waters of a State.
- The high seas are open to all States, whether coastal or land-locked. Freedom of the high seas is exercised under the conditions laid down by this Convention and by other rules of international law.
- The high seas comprise nearly 45% of the Earth’s surface.
High Sea Alliance
- The High Seas Alliance is a partnership of organizations and groups aimed at building a strong common voice and constituency for the conservation of the high seas. The Alliance is currently made up of 40+ NGOs plus the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
- The objective of the Alliance is to facilitate international cooperation to establish high seas protected areas and to strengthen high seas governance. Members of the HSA share and facilitate access to information in order to promote transparency and encourage an informed public discourse related to the mission and goals of the Alliance.
- High Seas Alliance members commit to work together to achieve these goals either as members of a collaborative effort through the Alliance, or as individual organizations supported by or affiliated with the Alliance.
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)
- The convention is also sometimes referred to as the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea treaty.
- UNCLOS came into operation and became effective from 16th November 1982.
- India became a signatory to the UNCLOS in 1982.
- It replaced the four Geneva Conventions of April, 1958, which respectively concerned the territorial sea and the contiguous zone, the continental shelf, the high seas, fishing and conservation of living resources on the high seas.
- As per UNCLOS, the sea is divided into 4 parts:
- Territorial waters
- Contiguous Zone
- Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
- Continental Shelf
- It defines a distance of 12 nautical miles (approx. 22 km) from the baseline as Territorial Sea limit and a distance of 200 nautical miles distance as Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) limit.
- Exclusive Economic Zone is an area of the sea in which a sovereign state has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources, including energy production from water and wind.
2. Too many deer at Delhi’s Deer Park, some may be moved to leopard territory
Section: Places in news
Context: According to a senior forest department official, the department intends to move between 300 and 400 deer to the wildlife sanctuary to promote ecotourism and curb the possibility of inbreeding depression at the Deer Park.
More on the News:
- Delhi’s Forest Department wants to move the deer from the Deer Park in Hauz Khas to the Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary which is currently home to at least eight leopards.
- According to a senior forest department official, the department intends to move between 300 and 400 deer to the wildlife sanctuary to promote ecotourism and curb the possibility of inbreeding depression at the Deer Park.
- With regeneration efforts underway at the 32.71 sq km Asola sanctuary to restore the natural ecosystem of the Aravallis, herbivores are now likely to have access to enough grass and leaves.
- The Deer Park, set up in the 1960s, began with five or six deer. In the absence of a carnivore, these animals have now multiplied to nearly 500 inside a limited area.
Asola Bhatti sanctuary:
- Asola-Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary covering 32.71 km2 area on the Southern Delhi Ridge of Aravalli hill range on Delhi-Haryana border lies in Southern Delhi as well as northern parts of Faridabad and Gurugram districts of Haryana state.
- Biodiversity significance of Ridge lies in its merger with Indo-Gangetic plains, as it is the part of the Northern Aravalli leopard wildlife corridor, an important wildlife corridor which starts from the Sariska National Park in Rajasthan, passes through Nuh, Faridabad and Gurugram districts of Haryana and ends at Delhi Ridge.
- This protected area contains one of the last surviving remnants of Delhi Ridge hill range and its semi-arid forest habitat and its dependent wildlife.
- Once the whole Delhi Ridge was a forested area, but development has destroyed several parts of it.
- Historical place around sanctuary are Suraj Kund and Anangpur Dam (both in Haryana), Tughlaqabad Fort and Adilabad ruins (both in Delhi), Chhatarpur Temple (in Delhi).
- There are about 193 species of birds reported from Asola along with large number of medicinal plants, more than 80 species of butterflies, hundreds of other insects, mammals such as leopards, nilgai (blue bull, the largest antelope of the country), blackbuck (fastest land animal surviving in the wild in the country), black-napped hare, Indian crested porcupine, small Indian civet, golden jackal, and jungle cat.
- According to a report by the Forest Department and the Bombay Natural History Society last year, data collected through camera traps showed the presence of at least eight leopards at Asola sanctuary.
- Deer Park also known as Aditya Nath Jha Deer Park, is a natural park in Delhi located in the subdivision of Hauz Khas in South Delhi. It was named after famous social worker Aditya Nath Jha.
- The Deer Park along with the connected District Park (that houses the Hauz Khas lake) and adjacent Rose Garden (accessible from IIT Delhi and Safdarjung Development Area) make up one of the largest green areas in New Delhi and are collectively called “the lungs of Delhi” because they provide fresh air in the otherwise polluted hustling bustling mega metropolitan Delhi.
- It is called Deer Park because it actually houses a large number of deer inside the park.
- The park is maintained by the Delhi Development Authority, a government planning authority.
3. Regulator’s guidelines on Rajasthan power lines ‘flout’ Supreme Court orders, threaten the Great Indian Bustard
Section: Species in news
Context: High tension power lines in Rajasthan and Gujarat, from solar plants, often lay in the flight path of the bird causing them to collide, often fatally, into them.
More on the News:
- In a move that helps solar power projects in Rajasthan but may hinder efforts to make the region safe for the endangered Great Indian Bustard, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) India’s apex power regulator has proposed that only power lines below 33 KV need to go underground and the rest be fitted with bird-diverters.
- CEA proposal was part of draft regulations issued on February 1 and open to public comment until March 3 that came in the background of an ongoing case involving the threat to the bustard and other birds from power lines.
- Environmentalists and conservationists approached the Supreme Court in 2019, following which it directed, in 2021, that all ‘low-voltage’ power lines, in areas demarcated as “priority and potential habitats of the Great Indian Bustard” in the Thar and Kutch deserts, be pushed underground.
- “Priority zones” are areas where the birds are known to live and “potential regions” are those where conservation programmes, such as breeding the birds in captivity, are ongoing.
- A majority of the lines that transmit power from Rajasthan’s solar projects have a rating above 33KV and several such proposed ones are expected to pass through the ‘priority’ areas.
- While there is no standard definition of a ‘low-power’ line, the Ministry of Power in affidavits to the Supreme Court defined them as power lines 132 KV and lower. The SC order would have thus required several existing and proposed lines to go underground, hiking the cost of supplying solar power. The court had also constituted a three-member committee whom power companies could approach; in case they wanted exemptions from undergrounding.
Great Indian Bustard
- One of the heaviest flying birds endemic to the Indian subcontinent.
- State Bird of Rajasthan.
- Terrestrial birds spend most of their time on the ground, feeding on insects, lizards, grass seeds, etc.
- GIBs are considered the flagship bird species of grassland and hence barometers of the health of grassland ecosystems.
- Untamed, Arid grasslands.
- Among the heaviest birds with flight, GIBs prefer grasslands as their habitats
- A Maximum number of GIBs were found in Jaisalmer and the Indian Army-controlled field firing range near Pokhran, Rajasthan.
- Other areas: Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
- As per the studies conducted by the Wildlife Institute of India, there are around 150 Great Indian Bustards left across the country which includes about 128 birds in Rajasthan and less than 10 birds each in the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
- While the GIBs’ historic range included much of the Indian sub-continent, it has now shrunk to just 10 percent of that.
- IUCN Status: Critically Endangered.
- Listed in Wildlife Protection Act’s Schedule 1.
Threats to GIB:
- GIBs are slow breeders and they build their nests on the ground.
- The species have been subjected to hunting and egg collectionin the past.
- Decline in prevailing habitat loss as dry grasslands have been diverted for other use.
- Pesticide contamination and increase of populations of free ranging dogs and pigs along with native predators, putting pressure on nests and chicks.
- Frontal vision is poor and it often collides with overhead power lines, leading to death.
- Project Great Indian Bustard: It was launched by Rajasthan Government with the objective of conservation of the remaining population of critically endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) locally called Godawan.
- Firefly bird diverters: These are flaps installed on power lines, a reason for many death among GIB. They work as reflectors for bird species like the GIB. Birds can spot them from a distance of about 50 meters and change their path of flight to avoid collision with power lines.
4. Amphibian species are particularly at risk
Section: International Convention
Context: Increased environmental pollution and the ongoing destruction of the world’s natural habitats of a wide variety of animal species like rainforests and coral reefs have led to more than 10,000 out of roughly 74,000 known vertebrate species being endangered. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, 17,000 animal species face extinction in 2022, an increase of roughly 9,000 compared to 15 years ago.
While this increase can be attributed to more and more species being assessed over the years – 4,863 mammal species in 2007 versus 5,973 in 2022, this week’s Racing Bar puts the numbers into perspective by showing the share of threatened species in overall assessed animal species and grouping them by class. Fish, insects, molluscs and other crustaceans are excluded since, according to the IUCN, the coverage is not sufficient enough to allow a solid estimate of actual biodiversity development.
Even without these large swaths of species, the picture is dire, especially for amphibians and mammals. Of the former, 34.8% of assessed species are at risk of extinction in 2022, an increase of more than 4% compared to 2013. On the other hand, more than one-fifth of mammal species are thought to be at risk of going extinct, which represents an increase of almost 2% when compared to 2008.
The IUCN Red List was founded in 1964 and poses a crucial resource for policymakers, researchers and journalists when assessing global biodiversity and conservation efforts.
- Held once every four years, the IUCN World Conservation Congress brings together several thousand leaders and decision-makers from government, civil society, indigenous peoples, business, and academia, with the goal of conserving the environment and harnessing the solutions nature offers to global challenges.
- The Congress aims to improve how we manage our natural environment for human, social and economic development, but this cannot be achieved by conservationists alone.
- The IUCN Congress is the place to put aside differences and work together to create good environmental governance, engaging all parts of society to share both the responsibilities and the benefits of conservation.
- The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the French government have agreed to hold the IUCN World Conservation Congress 2020 from 3 to 11 September 2021 in Marseille. The event, originally scheduled for June 2020, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- A Congress with two components
- The Forum is a hub of public debate, bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss the world’s most pressing conservation and sustainability challenges. It includes many different types of events from high level dialogues to training workshops which explore the depths of conservation and innovation.
- The Members’ Assembly is IUCN’s highest decision-making body. A unique global environmental parliament, it involves governments and NGOs – large and small, national and international – taking joint decisions on conservation and sustainability.
- Host Country Selection
- Traditionally, the World Conservation Congress is hosted by one of IUCN’s State Members. The Congress provides a unique opportunity for a country to showcase its leadership on global environmental issues and to highlight conservation activities. Host countries also benefit from the international exposure of the country’s biodiversity, history and culture.
- The selection process generally starts about three and a half years prior to a Congress and IUCN carries out a formal selection process during which interested countries are asked to submit a formal proposal which addresses IUCN’s Statement of Requirements.
Subject : Science and technology
Section: Awareness in Computers
- Researchers at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) have come up with a plan for a new area of research named “organoid intelligence”, which aims to create “bio-computers”.
- Researchers are developing 3D cultures of brain tissue in the lab which are called brain organoids or mini brains.
- Mini-brains, which are up to 4 mm in size, are developed using human stem cells and thus they have the ability to capture various functional and structural features of a human brain.
- Such brain cultures that are created or developed are then coupled to the real-world through various sensors and input/output devices.
- Researchers at the JHU have developed a technique wherein brain organoids are integrated with modern computing technologies to create “bio-computers”.
- Plans are in place to also integrate rain organoids or mini brains with machine learning (ML) techniques by developing such organoids inside flexible structures affixed with multiple electrodes (similar to the ones used to record EEG readings).
- Such a mechanism will help record the firing patterns of various neurons and deliver electrical stimuli to mimic sensory stimuli.
- The following response pattern of the neurons and their effect on human behaviour will be analysed by ML techniques.
- Furthermore, developing brain organoids or mini brains using the stem cells of patients with neurodegenerative or cognitive disorders and analysing the data on brain structure, can provide key insights.
Functioning of Bio-computers
- Recently, researchers transplanted human brain organoids into rat brains where they were found to have formed connections with the rat brain which would provide the much needed blood circulation.
- These organoids were transplanted into the visual system and when flash light was shown to the rats as part of the experiment, the human neurons were found to be activated.
- This shows that the human brain organoids were functioning actively.
- Scientists believe that the advancement of this system will help significantly understand the biological basis of human cognition, learning, and various neurological disorders.
- Organoids are lab-grown tissues that resemble organs.
- They are three-dimensional structures usually derived from stem cells.
- They are smaller, simpler versions of an organ and can mimic the architecture and function of specific organs in the body.
- They can be crafted to replicate much of the complexity of an organ or to express selected aspects of it, like producing only certain types of cells.
- Organoids can range in size from less than the width of a hair to five millimeters.
- It refers to the ability of organoids to exhibit certain behaviors or responses that are indicative of intelligence, such as problem-solving, learning, or adapting to changing environments.
- It is an emerging field where researchers are developing biological computing using 3D cultures of human brain cells (brain organoids) and brain-machine interface technologies.
- These organoids share aspects of brain structure and function that play a key role in cognitive functions like learning and memory.
- They would essentially serve as biological hardware and could one day be even more efficient than current computers running AI programs.
- OI requires scaling up current brain organoids into complex, durable 3D structures enriched with cells and genes associated with learning and connecting these to next-generation input and output devices and AI/machine learning systems.
- OI requires new models, algorithms, and interface technologies to communicate with brain organoids, understand how they learn and compute, and process and store the massive amounts of data they will generate.
6. Government approves launch of IFFCO’s nano DAP fertilizer
Subject : Science and Technology
Section: Nano technology
- The Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO), which introduced nano liquid urea in 2021 announced that the government has approved the launch of its nano DAP (di-ammonium phosphate) fertilizer in the market.
- The Indian Prime Minister has said that the approval of nano DAP fertiliser is an important step towards making life easier for farmers.
- The introduction and approval of nano DAP fertilizer are also seen as a big step towards self-reliance (aatma nirbharta) in the fertilizer sector as India imports DAP and MoP (muriate of potash) in huge quantities to meet its domestic demand.
- IFFCO is also planning to launch nano potash, nano zinc and nano copper fertilizers.
About nano liquid DAP fertilizer:
- It is a concentrated phosphate-based fertilizer.
- It provides phosphorous nutrition throughout the crop growth and development cycle.
- Nano-DAP is jointly manufactured by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative (IFFCO) in association with a private player Coromandel.
- Nano-DAP will be sold at Rs 600 per bottle of 500 ml. One bottle will be equivalent to one bag of DAP, which currently costs Rs 1,350.
- Expected benefits:
- DAP is the second most consumed fertilizer in the country after urea.
- Out of the estimated annual consumption of around 10-12.5 million tonnes, local production is around 4-5 million tonnes, while the rest has to be imported.
- Nano-DAP will help to bring down India’s fertilizer import bill.
- It is also expected to contribute to bringing down the annual subsidy on non-urea fertilizers.
Significance of Nano Fertilizer
- Nanofertilizers offer benefits in nutrition management through their strong potential to increase nutrient use efficiency. Nutrients, either applied alone or in combination, are bound to nano-dimensional adsorbents, which release nutrients very slowly as compared to conventional fertilizers.
Fertilizer Control Order(FCO)
- It has been issued under the Essential Commodities Act 1955.
- It is administered by Department of Agriculture Cooperation, Govt. of India.
- The FCO lays down,
- what substances qualify for use as fertilizers in the soil;
- product-wise specifications;
- methods for sampling and analysis of fertilizers;
- the procedure for obtaining a license/registration as a manufacturer/dealer in fertilizers;
- conditions to be fulfilled for trading thereof.
Subject : International Relations
- India recently held the second edition of the Raisina Security Dialogue.
Raisina Security Dialogue:
- It is a conference of intelligence and security chiefs and top officials from around the world.
- It is modeled on the lines of the Munich Security Conference and Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialogue.
- It is organized by the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS).
- It was held for the first time in April 2022.
Raisina Security Dialogue 2023:
- This is the second edition of the dialogue.
- It saw participation from over 26 countries, including intelligence chiefs from the U.K, Japan, France, and Bahrain.
- The focus of the discussions was largely on global security, which encompassed counterterrorism, radicalization, drug trafficking, and illegal arms smuggling, among others.
Munich Security Conference:
- It is an annual conference on international security policy that has been held in Munich, Bavaria, Germany since 1963.
- It has become the most important independent forum for the exchange of views by international security policy decision-makers.
- The list of attendees includes heads of state, governments and international organizations, ministers, members of parliament, high-ranking representatives of armed forces, science, and civil society, as well as business and media.
- The conference is held annually in February. The venue is the Hotel Bayerischer Hof in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
- It is Asia’s premier defense and security summit.
- It is attended by Defence Ministers, permanent heads of ministries and military chiefs of 28 Asia-Pacific countries.
- It is organized by an independent think-thank, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
- The summit is named after the Shangri-La hotel in Singapore, where it has been held since 2002.
8. Megha-Tropiques-1 Satellite
Subject : Science and technology
Section: Space technology
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will be undertaking a challenging experiment of a controlled re-entry of the decommissioned Megha-Tropiques-1 (MT1) satellite on March 7, 2023.
- Megha-Tropiques is an Indo-French Joint Satellite Mission for studying the water cycle and energy exchanges in the tropics.
- Objective: To understand the life cycle of convective systems that influence tropical weather and climate and their role in the associated energy and moisture budget of the atmosphere in tropical regions.
- It provides scientific data on the contribution of the water cycle to the tropical atmosphere, with information on condensed water in clouds, water vapour in the atmosphere, precipitation, and evaporation.
- With its circular orbit inclined 20 deg to the equator, the Megha-Tropiques is a unique satellite for climate research that should also aid scientists seeking to refine prediction models.
- The Megha-Tropiques has day, night and all-weather viewing capabilities; it passes over India almost a dozen times every day, giving scientists an almost real-time assessment of the evolution of clouds.
Megha-Tropiques carries the following four payloads:
- Microwave Analysis and Detection of Rain and Atmospheric Structures (MADRAS), an Imaging Radiometer developed jointly by CNES and ISRO
- Sounder for Probing Vertical Profiles of Humidity (SAPHIR), from CNES.
- Scanner for Radiation Budget (ScaRaB), from CNES.
- Radio Occultation Sensor for Vertical Profiling of Temperature and Humidity (ROSA), procured from Italy.
9. Libya’s outlook remains bleak
Subject : International Relations
- Libyans celebrated 12 years of the uprising that finally ended the rule of Muammar Gaddafi. Streets were festooned with flags and lights, with music performances and a military parade in Tripoli reflecting popular joy.
- On February 28,2023, the UN special representative for Libya, Abdoulaye Bathily announced plans to create a new mechanism in support of crucial elections in the country.
- Libya was ruled by Muammar Gaddafi for 42 years from 1969 to 2011 after he overturned the previous monarchy and proclaimed the new Libyan Arab Republic.
- In 2011, the first civil war broke out in Libya against the regime of Gaddafi. This war was a part of a series of anti-dictatorial protests in countries of Arab world like Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon, Jordan etc, known as the Arab Spring.
- In response to the civil war, a multi-state NATO-led coalition began a military intervention in Libya in March 2011, aimed at protecting civilians and providing cover for a rebel advance.
- The NATO intervention was backed by a UN Security Council resolution 1973 which was supported by 10 countries. 5 countries viz. India, Brazil, Germany, Russia and China abstained from voting.
- A UN-backed internationally recognized government was put in place called the Government of National Accord (GNA) which was supposed to bring out a democratic transition.
- However, GNA failed to provide political stability to the country.
- LNA captured the East of Libya and has been running long campaign against Islamist groups and other opponents since then.
Libya after Gaddafi:
- After the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya experienced a period of political instability and conflict.
- Various factions vied for power, and a civil war erupted between the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) led by General Khalifa Haftar.
- The GNA, based in the capital city of Tripoli, was formed with the support of the United Nations and the international community. It claims executive authority.
- It was meant to be a temporary government until new elections could be held. However, the GNA struggled to establish its authority over the entire country and faced challenges from other armed groups and militias.
- Libya has no single government currently, with LNA backing the Tobruk-based parliament which governs East of Libya, and the GNA which controls Libya’s western parts fromTripoli.
- Both sides have been in constant conflict since 2014, in what has been termed as the second Libyan Civil War. In addition to these, there are also smaller rival groups in the country like the Shura Council of Benghazi Revolutionaries, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant etc.
- The House of Representatives (HOR) in Tobruk under General Haftar, who had previously served under Gaddafi, led the LNA in a campaign to take control of the country. Haftar’s forces controlled much of the eastern and southern parts of Libya, including the major oil fields.
- The growth of the Libyan economy is projected to be 17.9% this year, the highest in Africa, but despite this some estimates show that nearly a third of Libyans, especially in the south, live at, or below, the poverty line.
- Most Libyan politicians have amassed extraordinary wealth which has resulted in the situation called “redistributive kleptocracy”.
10. Extended Fund Facility (EFF)
Subject : International Relations
Section: International Organisation
Context: Sri Lanka bailout
- It is a fund created by IMF for helping economies to address serious medium-term balance of payments problems because of structural weaknesses that require time to address.
- Assistance under an extended arrangement features longer program engagement to help countries implement medium-term structural reforms with a longer repayment period.
- It provides for support for comprehensive programs including the policies needed to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.
- Typically approved for periods of three years, but may be approved for periods as long as 4 years (repaid over 4.5–10 years in 12 equal semiannual installments unlike Stand-By Agreement facility which provides support for short period with repayment period of 3.5–5 years.)
Conditions to get help
- When a country borrows from the IMF, it commits to undertake policies to overcome economic and structural problems
- The IMF’s Executive Board regularly assesses program performance and can adjust the program to adapt to economic developments.
- Lending is tied to the IMF’s market-related interest rate, known as the basic rate of charge, which is linked to the Fund’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) interest rate.
- EFF is guided by a country’s financing needs, capacity to repay, and track record with past use of IMF resources:
- Normal access: Borrowing under an EFF is subject to the normal limit of 145 percent annually of a country’s IMF quota, (IMF quota broadly reflects a country’s position in the global economy), and a cumulative limit over the life of the program of 435 percent of its quota, net of scheduled repayments.
- Exceptional access: The Fund may lend amounts exceeding these limits in exceptional circumstances provided that a country satisfies a predetermined set of criteria.
11. India close to ‘Hindu rate of growth ‘ states ex RBI Chief
Subject : Economy
Section: National income
- Former RBI governor Raghuram Rajan has said that India is “dangerously close” to the Hindu rate of growth in view of subdued private sector investment, high interest rates and slowing global growth.
- Rajan referred to sequential slowdown in quarterly growth seen in the latest estimate of national income released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) last month.
- GDP in the third quarter (October-December) of the current fiscal slowed to 4.4% from 6.3% in the second quarter (July-September) and 13.2% in the first quarter (April-June).
Hindu rate of growth
- The term ‘Hindu rate of growth’ was coined by Professor Rajkrishna, an Indian economist, in 1978 to characterize the slow growth and to explain it against the backdrop of socialistic economic policies.
- It is used to represent the nature of the growth of the Indian economy at around 3.5 per cent per year.
- The term came into being to show India’s contentment with the low growth rate, post independence.
- While the other countries clamored for more growth, Indian fatalism was cited as a possible reason why policy makers were not seeking ways to boost the economy.
- The word “Hindu” in the term was used by some early economists to imply that the Hindu outlook of fatalism and contentedness was responsible for the slow growth.
- However many later economists pointed out that the so-called Hindu rate of growth was a result of socialist policies implemented by the then staunch secular governments and had nothing to do with Hinduism.
When do we say that a country is having Hindu rate of growth?
- Small growth rate alone does not characterize Hindu rate of growth. Prolonged low growth rate, albeit not an economic contraction, is not sufficient to be deemed as the Hindu rate of growth.
- In addition to growth being low and extending over a long period of time, the term also captures a low per-capita GDP, by factoring in the population growth.
12. Guidelines for UIDF likely to be released by March-end
Subject : Economy
- The Urban Infrastructure Development Fund, created for the growth of Tier II and Tier III cities, should focus on the ongoing projects for the effective utilisation of funds; must provide for basic services; and encourage projects with lower carbon footprints.
- These are among the slew of likely guidelines to be released for operationalising the UIDF scheme, which was announced in this year’s General Budget with an annual allocation of ₹10,000 crore.
About Urban Infrastructure Development Fund (UIDF):
- UIDF will be established through the use of priority sector lending shortfall.
- The fund will be used by public agencies to create urban infrastructure in tier-2 and tier-3 cities.
- It will be managed by the National Housing Bank.
- It will be established on the lines of the Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF).
- States will be encouraged to leverage resources from the grants of the 15th Finance Commission, as well as existing schemes, to adopt appropriate user charges while accessing the UIDF.
- Cities with a population in the range of 50,000 to 100,000 are classified as tier 2 cities, while those with a population of 20,000 to 50,000 are classified as tier 3 cities.
Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF)
- The RIDF was set up by the Government in 1995-96 for financing ongoing rural Infrastructure projects.
- The Fund is maintained by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
- Contribution: Domestic commercial banks contribute to the Fund to the extent of their shortfall in stipulated priority sector lending to agriculture.
- Main Objective: To provide loans to State Governments and State-owned corporations to enable them to complete ongoing rural infrastructure projects.
- Loan to be repaid in equal annual installments within seven years from the date of withdrawal, including a grace period of two years.
13. Country Risk in Investment
Subject : Economy
Section: Capital Market
- Investment outside India should not be considered to generate higher returns, but to reduce the adverse impact of country risk.
- Country risk refers to the economic, social, and political conditions and events in a foreign country that may adversely affect a financial institution’s operations.
- Banks must institute adequate systems and controls to manage the inherent risks in their international activities.
- Country risk, also refers to the risk of investing or lending in a country, arising from possible modifications in the business environment that may unfavourably affect operating profits or the value of assets in the country.
- Country risk covers factors to influence the default risk of the country resulting from economic deterioration, political events, currency depreciation and so on.
14. Women’s Role in Constitution Building
Subject : Polity
- The riveting work by Achyut Chetan,” The Founding Mothers of the Republic” published by Cambridge University Press in 2022 serves as a means of rectifying this historical omission and giving due credit to the women who played a crucial role in shaping India’s democracy.
Women In constitutional Assembly
- When the Constitution was completed, there were 11 women members of the Constituent Assembly who signed onto it.
- These drafters were G Durgabai, Ammu Swaminathan, Amrit Kaur, Dakshayani Velayudhan, Hansa Mehta, Renuka Ray, Sucheta Kripalani, Purnima Banerjee, Begum Qudsiya Aizaz Rasul, Kamala Chaudhri and Annie Mascarene.
- The Constituent Assembly first met on December 11, 1946 and had 169 sessions before all its members signed the document on January 24, 1950.
Role of Women in the constituent assembly
- Hansa Mehta and Amrit kaur: Hansa Mehta and Amrit Kaur were on the Advisory Committee, with both being members of the Fundamental Rights Sub Committee and Kaur serving also on the Minorities Sub-Committee.
- G Durgabai: G Durgabai occupied effective positions on two important committees on procedural affairs The Steering Committee and the Rules Committee.
- Women were highly active: Women members were present and highly active on almost all significant committees and subcommittees.
- Women members often faced disrespect and discrimination: For instance, Renuka Ray opposed the clause on the Right to Property which put the compensation given within the purview of courts. During the debates on the floor of the Assembly too she was constantly interrupted and heckled even by the men of the eminence and tried to deride their amendments
- Women members made their opinions known and stood firm: In the settings of the committees they wrote notes of dissent, Amrit Kaur and Hansa Mehta wrote notes of dissent against decisions that relegated the uniform civil code to the non-justiciable rights, allowed the state to impose conscription for compulsory military service, at each stage when the committees made their official recommendations to the higher bodies of the Assembly
Views of Dakshayani Velayudhan on reservation
- Dakshayani Velayudhan, the only woman member from the Scheduled Castes communities, argued against reservations.
- She refused by saying “to believe that 70 million Harijans are to be considered as a minority and argued that reservations would not be in the best interests of them.
- She also argued that “the working of the Constitution will depend upon how the people will conduct themselves in the future, not on the actual execution of the law. When this Constitution is put into practice, what we want is not to punish the people for acting against the law, but for the state to take on the task of educating citizens for a transformation.”
15. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC)
Section: National Bodies
Context: NAAC chairperson Bhushan Patwardhan tendered his resignation on Sunday, days after alleging in a letter to the University Grants Commission (UGC) that universities were obtaining “questionable grades” through unfair means.
- It is an organization that assesses and accredits higher education institutions (HEIs) in India.
- It is an autonomous body funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
- It is an outcome of the recommendations of the National Policy in Education (1986) which laid special emphasis on upholding the quality of higher education in India.
- Headquartered in Bangalore.
- The mandate of the NAAC as reflected in its vision statement is in making quality assurance an integral part of the functioning of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).
- The NAAC functions through its General Council (GC) and Executive Committee (EC) comprising of educational administrators, policymakers and senior academicians from the cross-section of Indian higher education system.
- The ratings of institutions range from A++ to C. If an institution is graded D, it means it is not accredited.
- Process for Accreditation:
- Input Based: NAAC relies heavily on self-assessment reports of applicant institutions.The first step is for an applicant institution to submit a self-study report of information related to quantitative and qualitative metrics.The data is then validated by NAAC expert teams, followed by peer team visits to the institutions.
- Future Perspective: Outcome-based approach, The NAAC is planning to adopt an outcome-based approach, according to it the emphasis would be given to finding out if students are equipped with relevant skills and academic abilities.
University Grants Commission (UGC)
- The University Grants Commission (UGC) of India is a statutory body set up in 1956, and is charged with coordination, determination and maintenance of standards of higher education.
- Previously, UGC was formed in 1946 to oversee the work of the three Central Universities of Aligarh, Banaras and, Delhi. In 1947, a committee was entrusted with the responsibility of dealing with all the then existing Universities.
- After independence, the University Education Commission was set up in 1948 under the Chairmanship of S. Radhakrishnan and it recommended that the UGC be reconstituted on the general model of the University Grants Commission of the United Kingdom.
- The UGC was however, formally established in November 1956, by an Act of Parliament as a statutory body of the Government of India.
Important functions performed by the commission:
- It provides recognition to universities in India.
- It oversees distribution of grants to universities and colleges in India.
- It provides scholarships/fellowships to beneficiaries.
- It monitors conformity to its regulations by universities and colleges.
16. The Global Education Monitoring Report
Section: Reports and indices
- The Global Education Monitoring Report (the GEM Report, formerly known as the Education for All Global Monitoring Report) is an editorially independent, authoritative and evidence-based annual report published by UNESCO.
- Its mandate is to monitor progress towards the education targets in the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.
- The GEM Report is a singular, comprehensive, analytical and authoritative reference for the global follow-up and review of education
Highlights of report:
- Only 20% countries have laws and 39% have a national policy that specifically address sexuality education, according to UNESCO’s Global Education Monitoring report.
- Sexuality education in primary education is compulsory in 68% countries and in secondary education in 76%.
- More than six in 10 countries cover topics such as gender roles, sexual and domestic abuse, and gender-based violence. One in two countries covers the concept of mutual consent. Contraception issues are covered in school curriculum in two-thirds of the countries.
- In 95 per cent of countries, education programmes mainly cover issues related to HIV and AIDS and other STIs.
- Only 17% of countries cover sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression issues – the least covered areas in CSE curricula.
About Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)
- It is a curriculum-based process of teaching and learning about the cognitive, emotional, physical and social aspects of sexuality.
- It aims to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realise their health, well-being and dignity; develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own wellbeing and that of others; and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives.
- A well delivered, medically accurate, evidence-based and age-appropriate provides an opportunity for young people to be taught about sexuality in a balanced way.
- This includes its positive aspects such as love and relationships based on mutual respect and equality and helps to foster the conditions to create an inclusive society.
17. Role of opposition in Choosing the Head of various Independent bodies
Section: National Bodies
Context: The supreme Court on March 2 gave a say to the Opposition in the selection of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners, ruling that these officials would be appointed by the President based on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and Chief Justice of India (CJI).
|Body||Appointment||History of opposition dissent|
|CBI Director||Committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha or leader of the single largest Opposition party, and the CJI or his nominee.|
The process of appointment was established by the Supreme Court’s Vineet Narain judgment(1997),and the changes made to The Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE)Act, 1946 by The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act,2013.
|In 2017, Congress president MallikarjunKharge,who was his party’s leader inLok Sabha, objected to Verma’s selection citing his lack of experience in theCBI.|
Kharge recorded his dissent in writing, but Verma was still appointed to the position, in which he served until January 2019
|CIC|| The Right To Information Act,2005,states|
That CIC and InformationCommissioners shall be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the PM, Lok Sabha Leader of Opposition, and a
Union Cabinet Ministers nominated by the PM.
|In October 2020,Chowdhury strongly objected to the appointments of Information|
Commissioner Yashvardhan Kumar Sinhaas the new CIC and journalist Uday Mahurkar as Information Commissioner
|NHRC||TheProtection of Human Rights Act,1993,|
states that the chairperson and members
shall be appointed by the President on the
Recommendation of a Committee Consisting
Of the PM,Lok Sabha Speaker,Home Minister,
Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha and Rajya
Sabha,and Deputy Chairman of RajyaSabha.
|In June 2021,Kharge,Leader of Opposition in RajyaSabha,objected to the appointment of Justice Arun Mishra as NHRC chief, instead seeking member of the SCs or STs in the post.|
|CVC||CVC andVigilance Commissioner Shall Be Appointed The Recommendation of a panel of the PM, Home Minister,and Leader of Opposition in LokSabha.||In September 2010, the late Sushma|
Swaraj, then Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, recorded her dissent to the appointment of then Telecom Secretary PJ Thomas
as CVC, the Supreme Court struck down Thomas’s appointment
|Chairperson of lokpal||Selection of chairperson and members of Lokpal through a selection committee consisting of PM, Speaker of Lok Sabha, leader of opposition in Lok Sabha, Chief Justice of India or a sitting Supreme Court judge nominated by CJI. Eminent jurist to be nominated by President of India on basis of recommendations of the first four members of the selection committee “through consensus”.|
|Chairperson of lokayukta||The Lokayukta is appointed by the Governor of the State, through nomination by its Chief Minister (in consensus with Chief justice of the State High Court, Leaders of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Chairman of the Legislative Council).|