Daily Prelims Notes 7 February 2021
- February 7, 2021
- Posted by: admin1
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
7 February 2021
All 6 CSE Prelims Qualified
4 CSE Mains Qualified
If I can do it, you can too
Table Of Contents
- ONE NATION ONE OMBUDSMAN
- FESTIVALS OF INDIA
- ASEEM PORTAL
- AJANTA PAINTING
- CESS & SURCHAGES
- CURRENCY SWAP
- WATER SCARCITY IN HIMALAYAS
- GOVT REGULATIONS & TECH PLATFORMS
- BAD BANKS
Context: The Reserve Bank on Friday announced it will be integrating consumer grievances redressal under a single ombudsman as against three schemes working at present.
- There are dedicated ombudsman schemes devoted to consumer grievance redressal in banking, non-bank finance companies and digital transactions, respectively, at present.
- The RBI is targeting to roll out the e-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme in June 2021
About the Initiative
- To make the alternate dispute redress mechanism simpler and more responsive to the customers of regulated entities, it has been decided to implement, inter alia, integration of the three Ombudsman schemes and adoption of the ‘One Nation One Ombudsman’ approach for grievance redressal.
- The move is intended to make the process of redress of grievances easier by enabling the customers of the banks, NBFCs and non-bank issuers of prepaid payment instruments to register their complaints under the integrated scheme, with one centralised reference point.
- The RBI is targeting to roll out the e-Integrated Ombudsman Scheme in June 2021.
- Financial consumer protection has gained significant policy priority across jurisdictions and the RBI has been taking a slew of initiatives on the same.
- In line with the global initiatives on consumer protection, RBI has taken various initiatives to strengthen Grievance Redress Mechanism of regulated entities.
- The RBI had operationalised complaint management system (CMS) portal as one stop solution for alternate dispute resolution of customer complaints not resolved satisfactorily by the regulated entities.
Subject: Art and Culture
- The KumbhMela (the festival of the sacred pitcher) is anchored in Hindu mythology.
- It is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world.
- Crowds gather at the sacred confluence of the Ganga, the Yamuna, and the mystical Sarasvati. Primarily, this congregation includes Ascetics, Saints, Sadhus, Sadhvis, Kalpvasis, and Pilgrims from all walks of life.
- The Mela was included in the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017.
- KumbhMela is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years.
- The geographical location of KumbhMela spans over four locations in India and the Mela site keeps rotating between one of the four pilgrimage places on four sacred rivers as listed below:
- Haridwar on the Ganges in Uttarakhand.
- Ujjain on the Shipra in Madhya Pradesh.
- Nashik on the Godavari in Maharashtra.
- Prayagraj at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the mythical Sarasvati in Uttar Pradesh.
- The festival is celebrated on the second day of Shukla Paksha of Ashadh, the third month, according to the traditional Oriya calendar.
- The RathYatra (Chariot Festival) is 9 day-long event during which the three holy chariots carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram (Balabhadra) and sister Subhadra are pulled by thousands of devotees from India and abroad.
- The festival honours the Lord Jagannath’s visit along with his siblings to the temple of Queen Gundicha, the place of their aunt’s house where they revel in a nine day stay.
- JagannathPuri temple is called ‘YamanikaTirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
Makaravilakku festival in Sabarimala
- It is celebrated at the sacred grove of Lord Ayyappa at Sabarimala.
- It is an annual seven-day festival, beginning on the day of Makara Sankranti when the sun is in the summer solstice.
- The highlight of the festival is the appearance of Makarajyothi- a celestial star which appears on the day of Makara Sankranthi on top ofKantamala Hills.
- Makara Vilakku ends with the ritual called ‘Guruthi’, an offering made to appease the god and goddesses of the wilderness.
Goa Carnival (February) – Goa
- In the South-West of India, in February, as the rigour and fasting of Lent approach, the residents of Goa, specially of Panaji, give vent to an exuberance and zest for life in a carnival that lasts for a week.
- This carnival, rivals the best in the world. Bright colourful costumes, masks and flitrationsfavour the revellers. Processions follow processions.
- Geniously made floats ply down the picturesque roads. And for an unforgettable week exuberance and joy find a home amidst the sandy beaches and beauty of Goa.
- Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has launched ‘Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM)’ portal to help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities.
- The Portal is expected to improve the information flow and bridge the demand-supply gap in the skilled workforce market.
- Developed and Managed By: National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in collaboration with Bengaluru-based company ‘Betterplace’.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) Based Platform:
- It will provide real-time data analytics about the demand and supply patterns including – industry requirements, skill gap analysis, demand per district/ state/cluster, key workforce suppliers, key consumers, migration patterns and multiple potential career prospects for candidates.
- It will enable policymakers to take a more objective view of various sectors in the economy.
- Driven by Prime Minister’s assertion of ‘India as a talent powerhouse’ at the India Global Week 2020 Summit, it will further re-engineer the vocational training landscape in the country ensuring a skilling, up-skilling and reskilling in a more organised set up.
Subject: Art and Culture
Context : After Independence, the Viceroy’s House became the RashtrapatiBhavan,and efforts were made to showcase Indian art — such as the paintings in the Ajanta caves, which had emerged as a supreme example of the Indian tradition — and, thus, infuse the building with the spirit of the land.
- Ajanta is a series of rock-cut caves in the Sahyadri ranges (Western Ghats) on Waghorariver near Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
- There are a total of 29 caves (all buddhist) of which 25 were used as Viharas or residential caves while 4 were used as Chaitya or prayer halls.
Time of Development
- The caves were developed in the period between 200 B.C. to 650 A.D.
- The Ajanta caves were inscribed by the Buddhist monks, under the patronage of the Vakataka kings – Harishena being a prominent one.
- Reference of the Ajanta caves can be found in the travel accounts of Chinese Buddhist travellers Fa Hien (during the reign of Chandragupta II; 380- 415 CE) and Hieun Tsang (during the reign of emperor Harshavardhana; 606 – 647 CE). .
- The figures in these caves were done using fresco painting.
- The outlines of the paintings were done in red colour. One of the striking features is the absence of blue colour in the paintings.
- The paintings are generally themed around Buddhism – the life of Buddha and Jataka stories.
- UNESCO Site: The caves were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983.
Context : West Bengal Finance minister Amit Mitra Saturday said the Centre is on a spree to impose cess and surcharges to deny the states from getting their share of revenues
- A cess imposed by the central government is a tax on tax, levied by the government for a specific purpose. Generally, cess is expected to be levied till the time the government gets enough money for that purpose.
- For example, a cess for financing primary education – the education cess (which is imposed on all central government taxes) is to be spent only for financing primary education (SSA) and not for any other purposes.
- A cess is different from the usual taxes like excise duty and personal income tax as it is imposed as an additional tax besides the existing tax (tax on tax).
- For example, the education cess of 3% on personal income tax of 30% is imposed as a tax on the prevailing 30%. As a result, the total tax rate goes up to 30.9% (30% basic rate + 3% (cess) of the 30%).
- But some cess like the Swachh Bharat Cess (SBC) is imposed as percentage tax on total value. Here the SBC is 0.5% of the value of the services.
- Tax revenue from Cess are first credited to the CFI and the Central Government may, after due appropriation made by Parliament, utilise the money for the specified purposes.
- For example, the proceeds are kept as Central Road Fund (CRF) in the case of fuel cess (on petrol and diesel).
- Another major feature of cess like surcharges is that the Centre need not share it with states.
- At present, the main cess are: education cess, road cess or (fuel cess), infrastructure cess, clean energy cess, krishikalyancess and swachhbharatcess.
- Surcharge is a charge on any tax, charged on the tax already paid. As the name suggests, surcharge is an additional charge or tax.
- The main surcharges are that on personal income tax (on high income slabs and on super rich) and on corporate income tax.
- From the revenue side, surcharges are important as around 35% of all cesses and surcharges comes from the surcharge on direct taxes.
- A surcharge of 10% on personal income tax when the basic personal income tax rate is 30%. Effectively this surcharge of 10% raises the combined tax burden to 33%.
Cess and Surcharge
- A common feature of both surcharge and cess is that the centre need not share it with states. Following are the difference between the usual taxes, surcharge and cess.
- The usual taxes goes to the consolidated fund of India and can be spend for any purposes.
- Surcharge also goes to the consolidated fund of India and can be spent for any purposes. whereascess goes to Consolidated Fund of India but can be spend only for the specific purposes.
- The main difference between surcharge and cess is that despite they are not shareable with state governments, surcharge can be kept with the CFI and spent like any other taxes, thecess should be kept as a separate fund after allocating to CFI and can be spent only for a specific purpose.
- This means cess can be spent only for the specific purpose for which it is created. If the purpose for which the cess is created is fulfilled, it should be eliminated.
Subject: Culture/ Current events
Context: The recently excavated monastery in bihar, holds evidence that the it was run by a female monk; it’s also a vital key in resurrecting the lost city of Krimila.
- The ancient city of Krimila is said to be a religious-cum-administrative centre in eastern India during the early medieval
- A flourishing urban settlement, Krimila is said to have been famous for the manufacture of stone sculpture, particularly Tibetan-Buddhist sculptures.
- Erstwhile Krimila flourished not only under active patronages of Pala kings and later during Sen dynasty rather there are evidences reveal that this forgotten Nagar of early medieval Eastern India also had the influences of Gupta dynasty
- The region drew the attention of ancient scholars, travellers and was explored from time to time by British and later by Indian scholars.
- The region was first surveyed by Major General Sir Alexander Cunningham, a British Army engineer who took interest in archaeology and went to form what we know as the present day Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
- During his visit, the archaeologist identified several stupas and the recorded presence of ancient temples in the region in his reports.
Context : The group, that includes members from each of the ministries, held its first meeting in late December and is considering a blueprint on a ‘United Platform for Skill Development and Employment Ecosystem’.
- A working group under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is creating the umbrella portal, to be called Unnati.
- Unnati will bring on one platform skills training, loans, job matching, e-counselling, jobs demands data, and financing, along with a skills locker for education, experience and training records.
- A mobile application of Unnati is already available in beta phase on Apple and Google play stores in seven languages.
- It has questions regarding the education level, skills, experience and preferred industry of an applicant, with jobs such as BPO, delivery associate and plumber listed, and offers options for a video resume.
- The working group and NITI Aayog are considering integration of Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM), a National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) project, and the Labour Ministry’s National Career Service portal and its National Database of Unorganised Workers that is under development.
Context : The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has amended its rules to cap trans-fatty acids (TFAs) in food products, just weeks after it tightened the norms for oils and fats.
- Food products in which edible oils and fats are used as an ingredient shall not contain industrial trans-fatty acids more than 2% by mass of the total oils/fats present in the product, on and from 1st January, 2022,” said the revised regulations made public.
- The 2% cap is considered to be elimination of trans-fatty acids, which we will achieve by 2022. We will be reaching this goal a year sooner than the WHO deadline,” FSSAI CEO ArunSinghal told.
Trans fatty acids
- Trans fatty acids (TFAs) or Trans fats are the most harmful type of fats which can have much more adverse effects on our body than any other dietary constituent.
- These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally. Thus in our diet, these may be present as Artificial TFAs and/ or Natural TFAs.
- Artificial TFAs are formed when hydrogen is made to react with the oil to produce fats resembling pure ghee/butter.
- In our diet the major sources of artificial TFAs are the partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (PHVO)/ vanaspati / margarine while the natural TFAs are present in meats and dairy products, though in small amounts.
- WHO recommendation: Limited to less than 1% of total energy intake.
- WHO had called for a global elimination of industrially produced TFAs by 2023. It brought a step-by-step guide called ‘REPLACE’ to help countries frame policies.
- TFAs pose a higher risk of heart disease than saturated fats. While saturated fats raise total cholesterol levels, TFAs not only raise total cholesterol levels but also reduce the good cholesterol (HDL), which helps to protect us against heart disease.
- Trans fats consumption increases the risk of developing heart disease and stroke.
- It is also associated with a higher risk of developing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, infertility, certain types of cancers and can also lead to compromised fetal development causing harm to the yet to be born baby.
Context: The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) settled a $400 million currency swap facility from the Reserve Bank (RBI) of India last week, meeting the terms that the two countries had agreed upon.
- A currency swap is a transaction in which two parties exchange an equivalent amount of money with each other but in different currencies.
- The parties are essentially loaning each other money and will repay the amounts at a specified date and exchange rate.
- The purpose could be to hedge exposure to exchange-rate risk, to speculate on the direction of a currency, or to reduce the cost of borrowing in a foreign currency.
- In such arrangements no third country currency is involved, thereby eliminating the need to worry about exchange variations.
- The currency swap agreement will also bring down the cost of capital for Indian entities while accessing the foreign capital market.
- The swap arrangement should aid in bringing greater stability to foreign exchange and capital markets .
Context: A new study has said that Himalayan catchment areas may face water stress situations. They also note that if there is increased rainfall, this could lead to a water surplus situation.
- The team studied five basins in the central Himalaya – Sutlej, ThuloBheri, Kali Gandaki, DudhKosi and Arun.
- The results show that the glacier-melt increases about 15% to 70% in a warmer environment with its present volume, but then decreases to 3%–38% substantially when the glacier volumes shrink.
- However, such a decrease can be compensated if there is increased rainfall and if a wetter scenario persists.
- The northward drift of the Indo-Australian plate resulted in its collision with the much larger Eurasian Plate.
- Due to which, the sedimentary rocks which were accumulated in the geosyncline known as the Tethys were folded to form the mountain system of western Asia and Himalaya.
- The Himalayas are geologically young and structurally folded mountains and represent the loftiest and one of the most rugged mountain barriers of the world.
- They form an arc, which covers a distance of about 2,400 km. Their width varies from 400 km in Kashmir to 150 km in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The general orientation of these ranges is from northwest to the southeast direction in the northwestern part of India.
- Himalayas in the Darjeeling and Sikkim regions lie in an east west direction.
- In Arunachal Pradesh they are from southwest to the northwest direction.
- In Nagaland, Manipur and Mizoram, they are in the north south direction.
- The Himalayan mountains consist of three parallel ranges in longitudinal extent:
- Great Himalaya or Himadri: It is the northernmost and the most continuous range consisting of the loftiest peaks with an average height of 6,000 m. World’s highest peaks are located in it.
- Lesser Himalaya or Himachal: To the south of Himadri, it is the most rugged mountain system and is known as Himachal or lesser Himalaya. The altitude varies between 3,700 and 4,500 m. It is well known for its hill stations like Kashmir, Kangra and Kullu Valleys.
- Shiwalik: It is the southernmost range with an altitude varying between 900 and 1100 m. These ranges are composed of unconsolidated sediments brought down by rivers from the main Himalayan ranges located farther north.
- There are large-scale regional variations within the Himalayas. On the basis of relief, alignment of ranges and other geomorphological features, the Himalayas can be divided into the following subdivisions:
Kashmir or Northwestern Himalayas.
Himachal and Uttaranchal Himalayas.
Darjeeling and Sikkim Himalayas.
Eastern Hills and Mountains.
Context : The Centre has issued notice to Twitter after the micro-blogging site restored more than 250 accounts that had been suspended earlier on the government’s ‘legal demand’.
Government Regulations regarding Tech Platforms
- In India, the Information Technology Act, 2000, as amended from time to time, governs all activities related to the use of computer resources.
- It covers all ‘intermediaries’ who play a role in the use of computer resources and electronic records.
- The term ‘intermediaries’ includes providers of telecom service, network service, Internet service and web hosting, besides search engines, online payment and auction sites, online marketplaces and cyber cafes.
- Social media platforms would fall under this definition.
- Section 69 of the Act confers on the Central and State governments the power to issue directions “to intercept, monitor or decrypt…any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”.
- The grounds on which these powers may be exercised are: in the interest of the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states, public order, or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognisable offence relating to these, or for investigating any offence.
- Section 69A, for similar reasons and grounds , enables the Centre to ask any agency of the government, or any intermediary, to block access to the public of any information generated, transmitted, received or stored or hosted on any computer resource.
- The Act also empowers the government to collect and monitor data on traffic. When an authorised agency asks for technical assistance in this regard, the intermediary must comply with the request.
- Non-compliance may lead to a prison term of up to three years, besides a fine.
- Section 79 of the Act makes it clear that “an intermediary shall not be liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him”.
- This protects intermediaries such as Internet and data service providers and those hosting websites from being made liable for content that users may post or generate.
Context: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech on Monday revived the idea of a ‘bad bank’ by stating that the Centre proposes to set up an asset reconstruction company to acquire bad loans from banks.
- A bad bank conveys the impression that it will function as a bank but has bad assets to start with.
- Technically, a bad bank is an Asset Reconstruction Company (ARC) or an Asset Management Company (AMC) that takes over the bad loans of commercial banks, manages them and finally recovers the money over a period of time.
- The bad bank is not involved in lending and taking deposits, but helps commercial banks clean up their balance sheets and resolve bad loans.
- The takeover of bad loans is normally below the book value of the loan and the bad bank tries to recover as much as possible subsequently.
- US-based Mellon Bank created the first bad bank in 1988, after which the concept has been implemented in other countries including Sweden, Finland, France and Germany.
- The Troubled Asset Relief Programme (TARP) in the US.
- In Ireland, the National Asset Management Agency was established in 2009 to respond to the financial crisis.
- In May 2020 the banking sector, led by the Indian Banks’ Association, had submitted a proposal for setting up a bad bank to resolve the NPA problem, proposing equity contribution from the government and banks.
- In 2017 the Economic Survey suggested Public Sector Asset Rehabilitation Agency or PARA, to buy out the NPAs of high value from Indian banks.