Daily Prelims Notes 6 October 2021
- October 6, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
6 October 2021
Table Of Contents
- Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav Series
- Coal Shortage Choking Thermal Power Plants
- 14% coral reefs lost since 2010
- Sabarmati River
- Sri Lanka’s inorganic transition to organic farming
- Public Debt
- The anti-defection law
- Monsoon set to travel with the sun to the southern hemisphere
- Nobel Prize in Physics 2021
- Moody’s upgraded India’s sovereign rating outlook
- Transfer of High Court Judges
- Voluntary Safety Reporting System
- 13th Amendment to Sri Lankan Constitution
- Ayushman Bharat PM- JAY
- The State of World’s Children Report
- Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban (PMAY-U)
- Microfinance Institutions
- Senkaku Islands
- Raj Kumar Shukla was the farmer behind the ChamparanKisan Movement, one that symbolizes the Indian Freedom Struggle and the role of Gandhiji.
- Raj Kumar was the person who convinced Gandhiji to visit Champaran. It was due to his efforts that farmers were freed from the forced Indigo cultivation.
- Gandhiji adopted Satyagraha for the first time on the Indian soil in Champaran.
Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi
- He joined the Non-Cooperation Movement in the year 1921. He attended the All India Congress Committee (AICC) Session held at Ahmedabad (1921), and supported the ‘Poorna Swaraj’ motion demanded by Hasrat Mohani.
- Maghfoor Ahmad Ajazi met Gandhiji at Sabarmati Ashram.
- He was a representative of the Central Khilafat Committee, who later took charge of the Calcutta Khilafat Committee.
- He also opposed the two-nation theory initiated by Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He served as the first General Secretary of the All India Jamhur Muslim League, which was established to counter the All India Muslim League demanding a separate nation.
Babu Chotelal Shrivastava
- Shri Babu Chotelal Shrivastava was a freedom fighter from Chhattisgarh. He was a true devotee and follower of Mahatma Gandhi.
- He started participating in national movements by coming in contact with Pt. Sundarlal Sharma and Pt. Narayanrao Meghawale.
- In the year 1915, he established the Srivastava Library.
- Also, he was among the principal organizers of the Dhamtari Tehsil Political Council in the year 1918.
- Chotelal Srivastava started Kandel Nahar Satyagraha agitation, a rebellion against the Britishers who had imposed too much taxes on farmers and perpetrated cruelty to recover the levy.
- The Kandel Nahar Satyagraha also drew Mahatma Gandhi to visit the village.
- During his visit, Mahatma Gandhi praised the leadership and active role of Babu Chotelal Srivastava in the freedom struggle.
- Gandhiji had said that this is the first Satyagraha in the fight against British rule.
- Babu Chotelal organized the peasants against the tyranny of the British Raj. This was the first unprecedented demonstration of organized manpower against English imperialism.
- In the year 1921, he established Khadi Production Center for Swadeshi movement.
Hollwell Monument Removal Movement conducted by Netaji in 1940 at Calcutta
- Subhas Bose endeavoured to consolidate Muslim support in his favour in Calcutta. His efforts in this direction began with the agitation to remove the Holwell Monument which was erected by G. Holwell ‘at his cost during the short tenure of his Calcutta Governorship in 1760 to commemorate those deceased in the Black Hole.
- The monument was a symbol representing the alleged savagery of the last Nawab of Bengal, Sirajuddowla, and the bravery of the British soldiers who sacrificed their lives.
- It was argued, ‘the monument must go because it is not merely an unwarranted stain on the memory of the Nawab but has stood in the heart of Calcutta for the last 150 years or more as the symbol of our slavery and humiliation.’
- The meeting by SC Bose was definitely illustrative of a unity in the sense that not only was it attended by the Hindus and anti- government Muslims, but also by the Muslim League Student Organization.
- As regards the removal of the Monument, neither the ministry nor anybody from the de facto ruling authority objected.
- The Holwell Monument was finally removed, but Bose remained in prison until December 1940.
Subject – Geography
Context – India’s thermal power plants are facing a severe coal shortage, with coal stocks having come down to an average of four days of fuel across an increasing number of thermal stations.
- The average level of coal stocks at an increasing number of India’s thermal power plants have come down to four days worth of stock compared to the government recommendations that thermal power plants hold 14 days worth of coal stock.
- The shortage of coal is more acute in non-pithead plants or plants which are not located close to coal mines with such plants accounting for 98 of the 108 plants seen to have critical levels of stock i.e under eight days.
- India’s coal fired thermal power plants account for 208.8 GW or 54 per cent of India’s 388 GW installed generation capacity.
Reason behind India’s coal shortage –
- A sharp uptick in power demand as the economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic coupled with supply issues have led to the current coal shortage.
- Other key reasons for the supply crunch include lower than normal stock accumulation by thermal power plants in the April-June period and continuous rainfall in coal bearing areas in August and September which led to lower production and fewer despatches of coal from coal mines.
- A consistent move to lower imports coupled with high international prices of coal have also led to plants cutting imports.
To know about coal and its types, please click here.
Amendment to the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960
- In a move expected to help address the ongoing coal shortage at the country’s thermal power plants, the government notified rules allowing the sale of up to 50 per cent of the annual coal and lignite output of captive mines.
- The move to amend the Mineral Concession Rules, 1960 is expected to benefit operators of 100 coal and lignite blocks, with an annual production capacity of 500 tonnes.
- Captive mines are operated by end-users of coal, including steel and power sector firms.
- The amended rules paved the way for releasing of additional coal in the market by greater utilisation of mining capacities of captive coal and lignite blocks, which were being only partly utilised, owing to limited production of coal for meeting their captive needs.
- Lessees of such captive mines will be required to pay additional premiums to state governments above the ones paid for coal that they sell after meeting their own requirements.
- The move is expected to motivate lessees of captive mines to boost production beyond their own requirements.
Subject – Environment
Context – Climate change: 14% coral reefs lost since 2010, says study
- In the last decade, the world lost about 14 per cent of its coral reefs, according to a new report.
- Ocean-acidification, warmer sea temperatures and local stressors such as overfishing, pollution, unsustainable tourism and poor coastal management pose a combined threat to the coral ecosystems, the paper said.
- The report by Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) was drawn from a global dataset gathered by over 300 members of the network covering four decades from 1978 to 2019.
- The report, the first of its kind in 13 years, underlined the catastrophic consequences of global warming but said that some coral reefs can be saved by arresting greenhouse gases.
- Coral reefs across the world are under relentless stress from warming caused by climate change. Coral bleaching events caused by rise in elevated sea surface temperatures (SST) were responsible for coral loss, according to the report.
- Large scale coral bleaching events were responsible for killing eight percent of the world’s corals in 1998.
- This is equivalent to more than the coral that is currently living on reefs in the Caribbean or Red Sea and Gulf of Aden regions.
- There has been a steady decrease in hard coral cover in the last four decades since 1978 when the world lost nine per cent of its corals.
- The worst-hit are the corals in South Asia, Australia, the Pacific, East Asia, the Western Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.
- The decrease is disconcerting because live hard coral cover is an indicator of coral reef health.
- The analysis found that since 2010, the amount of algae on the world’s coral reefs has increased by about 20 per cent. Algal bloom on coral ridges are a sign of stress on the structures.
- Prior to this, on average, there was twice as much coral on the world’s reefs as algae.
- This transition from live hard coral to algae-dominated reef communities impacts marine habitats, rendering them less biodiverse and also affects the ecosystem services provided by them.
- Corals occupy less than one per cent of the ocean floor but over one billion people benefit directly from the reefs.
- The value of goods and services provided by coral reefs is estimated to be $2.7 trillion per year, accordion to the report. This includes $36 billion in coral reef tourism.
- All of the world’s reefs will bleach by the end of the century unless the world acts together to reduce carbon emissions, said UNEP.
- Coral reefs in east Asia’s Coral Triangle accounts for more than 30 per cent of the world’s reefs but has been less impacted by rising sea surface temperatures.
- Despite a decline in hard coral cover during the last decade, on average, these reefs have more coral today than in 1983, when the first data from this region were collected, the scientists noted.
- In 2019, the world regained two per cent of its coral cover in spite of a short interval between mass coral bleaching events in the last decade.
- These instances point to the fact that these critical ecosystems have the capacity to recover if pressure on them eases, the researchers noted. They can even resuscitate to their pre-1998 health in the next ten years, the report mentioned.
To know more about coral reefs and coral bleaching, please click here.
Geographical Distribution of the Coral Reefs –
Subject – Geography
Context – Dying Sabarmati: Polluting units to be named, shamed and prosecuted, says Gujarat HC
- Industrial units found to have discharged pollutants into the Sabarmati river in Gujarat will not be provided water and power. They will also be penalised, named and shamed, the Gujarat High Court said in a recent order.
- All such polluting units will also be banned from participating in any industrial fair, public-private partnership events, etc, the court added.
- “In our Constitution, water resources are held in public trust. We have to use the ‘Public Trust Doctrine’ to apply stringent provisions against permitting municipal bodies or industries from polluting rivers,” the bench said in its order.
About Sabarmati River
- The Sabarmati originates in the Dhebar lake situated in the southern part of the Aravalli range in the Udaipur district of Rajasthan.
- It flows in a south-western direction, passing through Udaipur in Rajasthan and Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and Anand districts of Gujarat.
- Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad are two main cities standing on its banks.
- The Sabarmati basin extends over states of Rajasthan and Gujarat having an area of 21,674 Sq km.
- After traveling about 371 km, it falls into the Gulf of Khambhat.
- The Sabarmati is the name given to the combined streams the Sabar and Hathmati.
- The basin is bounded by Aravalli hills on the north and north-east, by Rann of Kutch on the west and by Gulf of Khambhat on the south.
- The basin is roughly triangular in shape with the Sabarmati River as the base and the source of the Vatrak River as the apex point.
- Left bank tributaries: the Wakal, the Hathmati and the Vatrak.
- Right bank tributaries: the Sei.
- Projects: Sabarmati reservoir (Dharoi), Hathmati reservoir and Meshwo reservoir project are major projects completed during the plan period.
- The Sabarmati is a seasonal river receiving varied rainfall and has been frequented by floods in the past.
- Gandhi, father of the nation, established an ashram on the banks of this river, the Sabarmati Ashram, an embodiment of peace, struggle, sacrifice, courage, and hard work.
Subject – Agriculture
Context – In April, President Rajapaksa announced that only organic farming would be allowed in Sri Lanka, aiming to become the first country to do so.
To know about Organic Farming, please click here.
Subject – Economy
Context – In its recent research report, Morgan Stanley forecasted that India will be included in global bond indices in early 2022 and this will result in investment inflow of $170-250 billion into the Indian sovereign bond market during the next decade
- Before Independence, the borrowing needs of Indian princely states were largely met by indigenous bankers and financiers. The concept of borrowing from the public was pioneered by the East India Company to finance the Anglo-French wars during the 18th century.
- The First World War saw a rise in India’s public debt due to the country’s contribution to the British exchequer.
- The provinces of British India were allowed to float loans for the first time in 1920 when the local government borrowing rules were issued under the Government of India Act, 1919.
- India’s public debt (combined liabilities of the Central and State governments) to gross domestic product (GDP), at constant prices, increased to a record high of 100.86 per cent in 2020 as against 76.86 per cent in 2014, as per the data from the Reserve Bank of India.
- Now, India has become the most indebted nation after Brazil and Argentina among the emerging market economies. In South Asia too, India is the most indebted after Bhutanand Sri Lanka.
- It is well-recognised that excessive public debt leads to higher risk premium in interest rates, which results in reduction of private investment (crowding out effect) as well as contraction of GDP in the long run.
- Though an increase in public debt will stimulate aggregate demand and output in the short-run, the economic growth will turn negative in the long run if the debt-GDP ratio exceeds 90 per cent (Reinhart, Reinhart, & Rogoff, 2015).
What is Public Debt?
- In the Indian context, public debt includes the total liabilities of the Union government that have to be paid from the Consolidated Fund of India.
- Sometimes, the term is also used to refer to the overall liabilities of the central and state governments.
- However, the Union government clearly distinguishes its debt liabilities from those of the states.
- It calls overall liabilities of both the Union government and states as General Government Debt (GGD) or Consolidated General Government Debt.
- Union government relies heavily on market borrowing to meet its operational and developmental expenditure. The study of public debt involves the study of various factors such as debt-to-GDP ratio, and sustainability and sources of government debt.
- The fact that almost a fourth of the government expenditure goes into interest payment explains the magnitude of the liabilities of the Union government.
What are the types of Public Debt?
- The Union government broadly classifies its liabilities into two broad categories.
- The debt contracted against the Consolidated Fund of India is defined as public debt and includes all other funds received outside Consolidated Fund of India under Article 266 (2) of the Constitution, where the government merely acts as a banker or custodian.
- The second type of liabilities is called public account.
Internal Public Debt versus External Public Debt
- Over the years, the Union government has followed a considered strategy to reduce its dependence on foreign loans in its overall loan mix.
- External loans are not market loans. They have been raised from institutional creditors at concessional rates. Most of these external loans are fixed-rate loans, free from interest rate or currency volatility.
- Internal debt constitutes more than 93% of the overall public debt.
- Internal loans that make up for the bulk of public debt are further divided into two broad categories – marketable and non-marketable debt.
- Dated government securities (G-Secs) and treasury bills (T-bills) are issued through auctions and fall in the category of marketable debt.
- Intermediate treasury bills (with a maturity period of 14 days) issued to state governments and public sector banks, special securities issued to National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) are classified as non-marketable debt.
- Internal loans that make up for the bulk of public debt are further divided into two broad categories – marketable and non-marketable debt.
Sources of Public Debt
- Dated government securities or G-secs.
- Treasury Bills or T-bills
- External Assistance
- Short term borrowings
- Public Debt definition by Union Government
The Union government describes those of its liabilities as public debt, which are contracted against the Consolidated Fund of India. This is as per Article 292 of the Constitution.
Public Debt Management in India
- As per Reserve Bank of India Act of 1934, the Reserve Bank is both the banker and public debt manager for the Union government.
- The RBI handles all the money, remittances, foreign exchange and banking transactions on behalf of the Government.
- The Union government also deposits its cash balance with the RBI.
Public Debt versus Private Debt
- Public Debt is the money owed by the Union government, while private debt comprises of all the loans raised by private companies, corporate sector and individuals such as home loans, auto loans, personal loans.
What is Debt-to-GDP ratio?
- The debt-to-GDP ratio indicates how likely the country can pay off its debt. Investors often look at the debt-to-GDP metric to assess the government’s ability of finance its debt. Higher debt-to-GDP ratios have fuelled economic crises worldwide.
- The NK Singh Committee on FRBM had envisaged a debt-to-GDP ratio of 40 per cent for the central government and 20 per cent for states aiming for a total of 60 per cent general government debt-to-GDP.
Suggested measures to make public debt sustainable –
- Privatisation of loss-makingPSUs
- Prudential stance as per the Fiscal Responsibility Budget Management (FRBM) Act 2003
- Leveraging ofPublic Financial Management System (PFMS)
- PPP model in social schemes
- Investment in infrastructure
- Harmonisation of tax regime
- Thrust on renewable energy
To know about Debt and Fiscal consolidation, please click here.
Subject – Polity
Context – The Calcutta High Court has given West Bengal Assembly Speaker Biman Banerjee a deadline of Thursday, October 7 to pass an order in the defection case involving MLA Mukul Roy.
- The anti-defection law punishes individual MPs/MLAs for leaving one party for another. It allows a group of MP/MLAs to join (i.e. merge with) another political party without inviting the penalty for defection. And it does not penalise political parties for encouraging or accepting defecting legislators.
- Parliament added it to the Constitution as the Tenth Schedule in 1985. Its purpose was to bring stability to governments by discouraging legislators from changing parties.
- It was a response to the toppling of multiple state governments by party-hopping MLAs after the general elections of 1967.
What constitutes defection?
- The law covers three kinds of scenarios.
- One is when legislators elected on the ticket of one political party “voluntarily give up” membership of that party or vote in the legislature against the party’s wishes. A legislator’s speech and conduct inside and outside the legislature can lead to deciding the voluntarily giving up membership.
- The second scenario arises when an MP/MLA who has been elected as an independent joins a party later.
- The third scenario relates to nominated legislators. In their case, the law specifies that they can join a political party within six months of being appointed to the House, and not after such time.
- Violation of the law in any of these scenarios can lead to a legislator being penalised for defection. The Presiding Officers of the Legislature (Speaker, Chairman) are the deciding authorities in such cases. The Supreme Court has held legislators can challenge their decisions before the higher judiciary.
- The law does not provide a time-frame within which the presiding officer has to decide a defection case.
- The supreme court held that ideally, Speakers should take a decision on a defection petition within three months.
Suggestions to improve the law
- Some commentators have said the law has failed and recommended its removal.
- Former Vice President Hamid Ansari has suggested that it apply only to save governments in no-confidence motions.
- The Election Commission has suggested it should be the deciding authority in defection cases.
- Others have argued that the President and Governors should hear defection petitions.
- And last year, the Supreme Court said Parliament should set up an independent tribunal headed by a retired judge of the higher judiciary to decide defection cases swiftly and impartially.
To know more about Anti-Defection Law, please click here.
To know about Anti-defection law for independent legislators, please click here.
Subject – Disaster Management
Context – Frequent landslides in the Himalayas
- Reckless construction of hydropower projects has made earthquake-prone Himachal Pradesh more vulnerable to landslides.
What is Landslide?
- A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth, down a slope due to the action of gravity.
- Areas with steep slopes, for example, mountainous regions, are particularly susceptible to landslide hazards.
- Earth flow, mass movement, mudflow, rotational slip, and avalanches are all examples of landslides.
- Geological causes
- Weak or sensitive materials
- Weathered materials
- Sheared, jointed, or fissured materials
- Adversely oriented discontinuity (bedding, schistosity, fault, unconformity, contact, and so forth)
- Contrast in permeability and/or stiffness of materials
- Morphological causes
- Tectonic or volcanic uplift
- Glacial rebound
- Fluvial, wave, or glacial erosion of slope toe or lateral margins
- Subterranean erosion (solution, piping)
- Deposition loading slope or its crest
- Vegetation removal (by fire, drought)
- Freeze-and-thaw weathering
- Shrink-and-swell weathering
- Human causes
- Excavation of slope or its toe
- Loading of slope or its crest
- Drawdown (of reservoirs)
- Artificial vibration
- Water leakage from utilities
Types of Landslides
- Falls: It happens due to the abrupt movements of the mass of geologic materials, such as rocks and boulders, that become detached from steep slopes or cliffs.
- Topples: It happens due to the forward rotation of a unit or units about some pivotal point, under the actions of gravity and forces exerted by adjacent units or by fluids in cracks.
- Slides: In this type, rocks, debris, or soil slide through slope forming material.
- Spread: It usually occurs on very gentle slopes or flat terrain.
Landslides and India
- Landslides and avalanches are among the major hydro-geological hazards that affect large parts of India.
- Around 15% of the country’s region is prone to landslides. The Himalayas of Northwest and Northeast India and the Western Ghats are two regions of high vulnerability.
- Some major recent incidents are Kerala (2018), Himachal Pradesh (2018), Uttarakhand (2018), Tamenglong-Manipur (2018), and Kalikhola, Manipur (June 2017).
Subject – Geography
Context – Monsoon set to travel with the sun to the southern hemisphere
- The monsoon travels with the sun and will now follow its seasonal trek to the southern hemisphere, putting the Bay of Bengal into another churn to set up the monsoon in reverse (North-East monsoon) and before moving to Australia for its next biggest play in the East and Far East.
- Changes in broad scale wind patterns across the tropical oceans in the region are a sign that the focus of tropical weather is starting to transition to the southern hemisphere.
- India’s monsoon trough had recently moved South over water due to the southward movement of the withdrawal process.
- Previously, it had lain over the landmass of the subcontinent and so was not conducive to forming tropical lows and cyclones over either the Bay or the Arabian Sea.
- Tropical cyclone ‘Gulab’ formed in the Bay before crossing the coast on September 26. It had then tracked westwards across the breadth of Central India before popping out in the Arabian Sea and being renamed as ‘Shaheen’ that went on to become a severe cyclone and crossed the Oman coast.
To know more about Indian Monsson, please click here.
To know about Monsoon Withdrawal, please click here.
Subject – Science and Tech
Context – First Nobel for climate science
- The Nobel Prize Committee said the Physics Prize this year was given for “ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems”.
- SyukuroManabe shared one half of the prize with Klaus Hasselmann, another climate scientist, while the other half went to Georgio Parisi for his contributions in advancing the understanding of complex systems.
- These are systems with a very high degree of randomness; weather and climate phenomena are examples of complex systems.
- This is the first time climate scientists have been awarded the Physics Nobel. The IPCC had won the Peace Nobel in 2007, an acknowledgement of its efforts in creating awareness for the fight against climate change, while a Chemistry Nobel to Paul Crutzen in 1995, for his work on the ozone layer, is considered the only other time someone from atmospheric sciences has won this honour.
- The recognition of Manabe and Hasselmann, therefore, is being seen as an acknowledgment of the importance that climate science holds in today’s world.
- The 1967 paper by Manabe was seminal work. It was the first description of the processes of global warming.
- Manabe and Wetherland also created a climate model for the first time.
- The sophisticated models that we run today, which are so crucial to climate science, trace their ancestry to that model created by Manabe.
- He was a pioneer in so many ways, and the father of climate modelling.
- Manabe was also instrumental in developing the first coupled model, in which ocean and atmospheric interactions are modelled together, in the 1970s.
- Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could lead to increased temperatures at the surface of the Earth. In the 1960s, he led the development of physical models of the climate.
- Hasselmann, a German, who too is now 90, is an oceanographer who ventured into climate science. He is best known for his work on identifying specific signatures, or “fingerprints” as the Nobel committee called them, in the climate phenomena that enabled scientists to ascertain whether these were caused by natural processes or human activities.
- He created a computer model that linked together weather and climate. His work answered the question of why climate models can be reliable despite weather being changeable and chaotic.
- Manabe and Hasselmann too have been authors of previous IPCC reports. Both of them contributed to the first and third assessment reports, while Hasselmann was an author in the second assessment report as well.
- Research by Manabe and Hasselmann led to computer models of the Earth’s climate that can predict the impact of global warming.
- Parisi, who is 73, found that hidden rules influence the apparently random behaviour of solid materials – and worked out a way to describe them mathematically.
Previous winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics
- 2020 – Sir Roger Penrose, Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez received the prize for their work on the nature of black holes.
- 2019 – James Peebles, Michel Mayor and Didier Queloz shared the prize for ground-breaking discoveries about the Universe.
- 2018 – Donna Strickland, Arthur Ashkin and Gerard Mourou were awarded the prize for their discoveries in the field of laser physics.
- 2017 – Rainer Weiss, Kip Thorne and Barry Barish earned the award for the detection of gravitational waves.
- 2016 – David Thouless, Duncan Haldane and Michael Kosterlitz shared the award for their work on rare phases of matter.
- 2015 – Takaaki Kajita and Arthur McDonald were awarded the prize the discovery that neutrinos switch between different “flavours”.
Subject – Economy
Context – Moody’s gives ‘stable’ rating to India
- Asserting that India’s downside risks from negative feedback between real economy and financial system are receding, ratings agency Moody’s changed India’s sovereign rating outlook from ‘negative’ to ‘stable’, while affirming the country’s foreign-currency and local-currency long-term issuer ratings at Baa3.
- Last year, Moody’s downgraded India’s sovereign rating from ‘Baa2’ to ‘Baa3’, the lowest investment grade, saying there will be challenges in implementation of policies to mitigate risks of a sustained period of low growth and deteriorating fiscal position. The outlook on the rating was kept negative.
What led to an upgrade in the rating agency’s outlook?
- With higher capital cushions and greater liquidity, banks and non-bank financial institutions pose much lesser risk to the sovereign than Moody’s previously anticipated.
- And while risks stemming from a high debt burden and weak debt affordability remain, Moody’s expects that the economic environment will allow for a gradual reduction of the general government fiscal deficit over the next few years, preventing further deterioration of the sovereign credit profile.
- In addition, banks have strengthened their capital positions, pointing to a stronger outlook for credit growth to support the economy.
What steps have been taken to strengthen the banking system?
- In the last six financial years, banks have recovered Rs 5.01 lakh crore of bad loans, enabling them to improve their financial metrics.
- The government has infused Rs 3.06 lakh crore in state-owned banks in five years between 2017-18 and 2021-22, and taken a series of reforms to strengthen banks, improve debt resolution and recovery.
- Last month, the government approved extending a guarantee of Rs 30,600 crore to the National Asset Reconstruction Company Ltd (NARCL) to help clear the banking sector’s stressed assets of around Rs 2 lakh crore in a time-bound manner.
Moody’s rating Scale –
Subject – Polity
Context – 15 High Court judges transferred
To know about Transfer of High Court Judges, please click here.
Subject – Defence and Security
Context – Online system for aviation safety
- The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has introduced a Web-based system for voluntary reporting of incidents that pose a potential threat to flight safety.
- It said that to encourage voluntary safety reporting, besides e-mail and postal mode, Web-based reporting had been introduced on the e-GCA platform, which made the reporting mechanism more accessible to persons engaged in aviation related activities.
- However, the Voluntary Safety Reporting System was not a substitute for Mandatory Safety Reporting System that would continue to function.
- As part of the state safety programme, the DGCA had voluntary safety reporting system to facilitate collection of information on actual or potential safety deficiencies that may not be captured by the mandatory safety reporting system.
- The DGCA said that the reporting system would be non-punitive and would protect the source of the information. Anyone witnessing or involved or having knowledge of an occurrence, hazard or situation which he or she believes possesses potential threat to flight safety could report the same through the system on e-GCA or email or postal mode the contact details made available on the official website of the DGCA.
- The information collected through voluntary safety reporting system would be handled in a manner so as to prevent its use for purposes other than safety and shall appropriately be safeguarded.
- The confidentiality about the identity of the person making the report would be maintained. While anonymous reports would be accepted, the person may disclose his/her identity to enable contact if any part of the report needed clarification.
Subject – IR
Context – There is an “urgent need” to understand the “weaknesses and strengths” of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and “act accordingly”, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.
- It is an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene, in an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that had aggravated into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which led the struggle for Tamils’ self-determination and sought a separate state.
- The 13th Amendment, which led to the creation of Provincial Councils, assured a power sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, to self-govern.
- Subjects such as education, health, agriculture, housing, land and police are devolved to the provincial administrations, but because of restrictions on financial powers and overriding powers given to the President, the provincial administrations have not made much headway.
- In particular, the provisions relating to police and land have never been implemented.
- Initially, the north and eastern provinces were merged and had a North-Eastern Provincial Council, but the two were de-merged in 2007 following a Supreme Court verdict.
Why is it contentious?
- The 13th Amendment carries considerable baggage from the country’s civil war years. It was opposed vociferously by both Sinhala nationalist parties and the LTTE.
- The former thought it was too much power to share, while the Tigers deemed it too little.
- A large section of the Sinhala polity, including the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which led an armed insurrection opposing it, saw the Accord and the consequent legislation as an imprint of Indian intervention.
- Though signed by the powerful President Jayawardene, it was widely perceived as an imposition by a neighbour wielding hegemonic influence.
- The Tamil polity, especially its dominant nationalist strain, does not find the 13th Amendment sufficient in its ambit or substance.
- However, some including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — which chiefly represented the Tamils of the north and east in Parliament in the post-war era until its setback in the recent polls — see it as an important starting point, something to build upon.
Why is the 13th Amendment significant?
- Till date, the 13th Amendment represents the only constitutional provision on the settlement of the long-pending Tamil question.
- In addition to assuring a measure of devolution, it is considered part of the few significant gains since the 1980s, in the face of growing Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism from the time Sri Lanka became independent in 1948.
Subject – Governance
Context – NHA revises rates of health-benefit packages
- The National Health Authority (NHA) has revised the rates of some health packages under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
- In the revised version of the Health Benefit Package (HBP 2.2), which is likely to be rolled out from November, the rates of some health packages have been increased by 20 per cent to 400 per cent under the scheme.
- As per the release, rates of about 400 procedures have been revised, and one new additional medical management package related to black fungus has also been added.
- The revised version of Health Benefit Packages (HBP 2.2) will strengthen the empanelled hospitals to provide better healthcare services to the beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY.
- The revised packages for oncology will enhance cancer care for the beneficiaries in the country.
- At present, Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY has 1,669 treatment procedures, of which, 1,080 are surgical, 588 medical and one unspecified package.
About Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY
- Under the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY aims to achieve the target of universal health coverage and provide access to free and affordable healthcare services to the citizens residing in the remotest areas of the country.
- Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY was launched in 2018, with the Health Benefit Package (HBP 1.0) comprising 1,393 packages.
- The scheme aims to provide free and cashless healthcare services up to ₹5 lakh per family per year to over 10.74 crore poor and vulnerable families (over 53 crore beneficiaries) as per Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) 2011 database.
To know more about the yojana, please click here.
To know about National Health Authority, please click here.
To know about Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission, please click here.
Subject – Governance
Context – Youth hit by COVID’s mental toll: UNICEF
- Mental health issues in developing countries such as India have been on the rise, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Tuesday while releasing the UNICEF’s global flagship publication: “The State of the World’s Children 2021; On My Mind: promoting, protecting and caring for children’s mental health”.
- Seeking support The report was launched globally, and in the survey across 21 countries, only 41% of young people in India said it is good to seek support for mental health problems, compared to an average of 83% across all countries surveyed.
- The survey found that around 14% of those aged 15 to 24 in India, or 1 in 7 reported often feeling depressed or having little interest in doing things.
Subject – Governance
Context – ‘Urban planning a victim of politics’
To know about the yojana, please click here.
To know about Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin., please click here.
Subject – Economy
Context – MFIs seek additional ₹7,500 cr. under credit guarantee scheme
- These are organizations that offer financial services to low-income populations. They provide services such as micro loans(all loans that are below Rs.1 lakh), micro-savings, and microinsurance.
- Microfinance Institutions provide small loans to people who do not have any access to banking facilities. Their area of operation includes rural areas and among low-income people in urban areas.
- The Non-Banking Financial Company -Micro Finance Institutions (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2011of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is regulating all the Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC)-MFIs in India.
Salient provisions of RBI document on Regulation of Microfinance sector
The suggested framework in the Document is intended to be made applicable to the microfinance loans provided by all entities regulated by the Reserve Bank. After the consultation, the RBI will release the overall guidelines for the regulation of the Microfinance Sector.
- A common definition of microfinance loans: there is no common definition for microfinance loans available from various microfinance entities in India. The document aims to provide one common definition for all regulated microfinance sector entities.
- Capping the outflow on account of repayment of loan obligations of a household to a percentage of the household income. Further, borrowers can determine the period of repayments as per their requirements.
- A Board approved policy for household income assessment.
- There should be no pre-payment penalty; no collateral requirement, and greater repayment frequency for all microfinance loans.
- Alignment of pricing guidelines for NBFC-MFIs with guidelines for NBFCs.
- Introduction of a standard simplified fact sheet on the pricing of microfinance loans. Further, MFIs need to display minimum, maximum and average interest rates charged on microfinance loans on their websites for greater transparency.
- Aligning pricing guidelines for NBFC-MFIs with guidelines applicable to NBFCs.
Major Business Models:
- Joint Liability Group:
- This is usually an informal group that consists of 4-10 individuals who seek loans against mutual guarantee.
- The loans are usually taken for agricultural purposes or associated activities.
- Self Help Group:
- It is a group of individuals with similar socio-economic backgrounds.
- These small entrepreneurs come together for a short duration and create a common fund for their business needs. These groups are classified as non-profit organisations.
- The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) SHG linkage programme is noteworthy in this regard, as several Self Help Groups are able to borrow money from banks if they are able to present a track record of diligent repayments.
- Grameen Model Bank:
- It was the brainchild of Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus in Bangladesh in the 1970s.
- It has inspired the creation of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in India. The primary motive of this system is the end-to-end development of the rural economy.
- Rural Cooperatives:
- They were established in India at the time of Indian independence.
- However, this system had complex monitoring structures and was beneficial only to the creditworthy borrowers in rural India. Hence, this system did not find the success that it sought initially.
Subject – IR
Context – Biden promised to defend disputed islands: Kishida
Other Islands in South China Sea –
South China Sea