Daily Prelims Notes 7 February 2022
- February 7, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
7 February 2022
Table Of Contents
- ARTIFICIAL SNOW IN WINTER OLYMPICS
- MONETARY POLICY
- PROTECTION OF ANCIENT MONUMENTS & ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
- GEOGRAPHICAL INDICATION (GI)
- SECOND HATCHERY FOR OLIVE RIDLEY TO BE SET UP OFF COAST IN VILLUPURAM
- HIV VIRUS
- V.O. CHIDAMBARAM PORT
- SPUTNIK LIGHT VACCINE
- FREEDOM OF SPEECH AND EXPRESSION
- BIMSTEC SUMMIT
- QUANTITATIVE EASING
Context- Artificial snow needs to be pumped to pull off the Olympics in Beijing.
How artificial snow is made?
- The making of artificial snow is quite similar to Mother Nature’s process. However, in the man-made version, snow guns are heavily relied upon.
- The snow gun’s core element is a large propeller, which is supplied with water and electricity and generates a strong flow of air.
- The water is sprayed through nozzles in front of the propeller and transported from the compressed air stream to the cold, dry winter air.
- Depending on the weather conditions, the size of the water droplets can be adjusted to produce the best possible artificial snow.
- Another way to create artificial snow is through a snow lance. These devices, which look like thin lantern poles, are permanently installed at the edge of the piste. They blow out atomised water together with compressed air, creating fine snow dust that trickles onto the slope.
- The issues have raised concerns over the environmental sustainability of this process, as man-made snow requires thousands of litres of water and kilowatts of energy.
- Many are also concerned that the noise pollution from the artificial snow machines will disturb wildlife at the reserve.
- The use of artificial snow is also raising worries among the athletes, with some saying that fake snow creates an icier, harder skiing surface which is more treacherous for take-offs and landings.
Artificial snow at Olympics Games
- This is not the first time that artificial snow is being used at the Olympics.
- It was first used at the 1980 Winter Games held in Lake Placid, New York, USA to subsidise low natural snow levels.
- In 2014, around 80 per cent of snow at the Sochi Games was man-made and this rose to 90 per cent at the PyeongChang Games in 2018.
Context-The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is expected to start on a gradual normalisation of the reverse repo rate, hiking it by about 25 basis points in the upcoming Monetary Policy Review.
Repo and Reverse Repo Rate:
- Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank of a country (Reserve Bank of India in case of India) lends money to commercial banks in the event of any shortfall of funds. Here, the central bank purchases the security.
- Reverse repo rate is the rate at which the RBI borrows money from commercial banks within the country.
- Marginal Standing Facility (MSF): MSF is a window for scheduled banks to borrow overnight from the RBI in an emergency situation when interbank liquidity dries up completely.
Monetary Policy Corridor
- The Corridor in monetary policy of the RBI refers to the area between the reverse repo rate and the MSF rate.
- Reverse repo rate will be the lowest of the policy rates whereas Marginal Standing Facility is something like an upper ceiling with a higher rate than the repo rate.
- The MSF rate and reverse repo rate determine the corridor for the daily movement in the weighted average call money rate.
Monetary Policy Committee
- The Monetary Policy Committee is a statutory and institutionalized framework under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, for maintaining price stability, while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
- The Governor of RBI is ex-officio Chairman of the committee.
- The committee comprises six members (including the Chairman) – three officials of the RBI and three external members nominated by the Government of India.
- Decisions are taken by majority with the Governor having the casting vote in case of a tie.
- Function: The MPC determines the policy interest rate (repo rate) required to achieve the inflation target (4%).
TOPIC: Art & Culture
Context- The 100-metre radius around centrally protected monuments where construction is prohibited could be replaced with site-specific limits to be decided by an expert committee.
- The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958, was amended in 2010 to declare the 100-metre radius of protected monuments as prohibited areas and the next 300-metre radius as regulated
- Section 20A of the Act would be amended, which refers to the prohibited area, to rationalise the prohibited and regulated areas.
Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958
- The AMASR Act provides for preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance.
- It provides for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects.
- The Archaeological Survey of India functions under the provisions of this act. The Archaeological Survey of India is the custodian of these monuments.
- The Act prohibits construction in ‘prohibited area’, an area of 100 meters around protected monument.
- It does not permit construction in such prohibited areas even if it is for public purposes, except under certain conditions.
- The central government can extend the prohibited area beyond 100 meters.
- The iconic monuments in India, Taj Mahal, Ajanta Caves, The Great Stupa at Sanchi and the Sun Temple of Konark, among others are designated as “ancient monuments of national importance” and protected under the AMASR Act.
- National Monument Authority will make a recommendation, for construction of public works to the central government, only if it is satisfied that there is no reasonable possibility of moving the construction outside the prohibited area.
Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)
- ASI, under the Ministry of Culture, is the premier organization for the archaeological research and protection of the cultural heritage of the nation.
- It was founded in 1861 by Alexander Cunningham– the first Director-General of ASI. Alexander Cunningham is also known as the “Father of Indian Archaeology”.
- Its activities include carrying out surveys of antiquarian remains, exploration and excavation of archaeological sites, conservation and maintenance of protected monuments etc.
Context- Three applications from Uttar Pradesh have been ﬁled with the Geographical Indications Registry seeking a Geographical Indication (GI) tag for the Bundelkhand Kathiya Gehu (Wheat), BanarasiTabla and SitapurDurrie.
Bundelkhand Kathiya Gehu
- this particular wheat has high nutritional value and a high ﬁbre content.
- It is usually sown in the last week of October or ﬁrst week of November and is harvested between March and April.
- This wheat has several medicinal values.
- under the handicrafts category.
- A durrie is a thick ﬂat woven rug/carpet traditionally used as ﬂoor coverings.
- SitapurDurrie is unique and is diﬀerent from a carpet.
- The motifs and colour combinations are unique from what is made in rest of country.
- musical instrument
- Tabla is one of the most important musical instruments in Banaras
- it is made of diﬀerent kinds of wood like sheesham, neem, mahogany and babla wood.
- There is a huge demand for Banarasitabla’s in the local market as well as the international markets.
What is a Geographical Indication?
- It is an indication
- It originates from a definite geographical territory.
- It is used to identify agricultural, natural or manufactured goods
- It is an insignia on products having a unique geographical origin and evolution over centuries with regard to its special quality or reputed attributes.
- It is a mark of authenticity and ensures that registered authorized users or at least those residing inside the geographic territory are allowed to use the popular product names.
- GI tag in India is governed by Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection) Act, 1999. It is issued by the Geographical Indications Registry (Chennai).
What is the benefit of registration of geographical indications?
- It confers legal protection to Geographical Indications in India
- Prevents unauthorised use of a Registered Geographical Indication by others.
- It promotes economic prosperity of producers of goods produced in a geographical territory.
What Indications are not registrable?
- For registrability, the indications must fall within the scope of section 2(1)e of GI Act, 1999. Being so, it has to also satisfy the provisions of section 9, which prohibits registration of a Geographical Indication.
- the use of which would be likely to deceive or cause confusion; or
- the use of which would be contrary to any law for the time being in force; or
- which comprises or contains scandalous or obscene matter; or
- which comprises or contains any matter likely to hurt the time being in force; religious susceptibilities of any class or section of the citizens of India; or
- which would otherwise be dismantled to protection in a court; or
- which are determined to be generic names or indications of goods and are, therefore, not or ceased to be protected in their country of origin or which have fallen into disuse in that country; or
- which although literally true as to the territory region or locality in which the goods originate, but falsely represent to the persons that the goods originate in another territory, region or locality as the case may be.
How long the registration of Geographical Indication is valid?
- The registration of a geographical indication is valid for a period of 10 years
- It can be renewed from time to time for further period of 10 years each.
Context- The Villupuram Forest Department will soon be establishing its second artiﬁcial hatchery for the endangered Olive Ridley turtles along the district’s coastline as part of its conservation initiative to protect turtle nests.
Olive Ridley Turtles:
- The Olive ridley turtles are the smallest and most abundant of all sea turtles found in the world.
- These turtles are carnivores and get their name from their olive colored carapace.
- They are best known for their unique mass nesting called Arribada, where thousands of females come together on the same beach to lay eggs.
- They are found in warm waters of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans.
- The Odisha’s Gahirmatha Marine Sanctuary is known as the world’s largest rookery (colony of breeding animals) of sea turtles.
- Protection Status:
- IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
- CITES: Appendix I
- Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Scheduled I
TOPIC: Science & Tech
Context- A new, highly virulent strain of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) has been discovered in the Netherlands.
- HIV infection was originated in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) around year 1920 when HIV crossed species from chimpanzees to humans.
- In 1959, the first known case of HIV in a human was confirmed in a man who died in Congo.
- HIV is a ribonucleic acid virus. Therefore, it is in its nature to mutate.
- HIV attacks CD4, a type of White Blood Cell (T cells) in the body’s immune system. T cells are those cells that move around the body detecting anomalies and infections in cells.
- After entering body, HIV multiplies itself and destroys CD4 cells, thus severely damaging the human immune system. Once this virus enters the body, it can never be removed.
- CD4 count of a person infected with HIV reduces significantly. In a healthy body, CD4 count is between 500- 1600, but in an infected body, it can go as low as 200.
- Weak immune system makes a person prone to opportunistic infections and cancer. It becomes difficult for a person infected with this virus to recover from even a minor injury or sickness.
- A person infected with HIV is likely to develop symptoms of AIDS over a period of time when his/er immune system is too weak to fight HIV infection. This is the last stage of HIV when the infection is very advanced and if left untreated will lead to death.
- By receiving treatment, severe form of HIV can be prevented.
- HIV is transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids including blood, semen, vaginal secretions, anal fluids and breast milk.
HIV-1 and HIV-2: There are two types of HIV: HIV-1 and HIV-2.
- HIV-1 is considered the predominant type, representing the vast majority of infections worldwide, while
- HIV-2 is far less common and primarily concentrated in the west and central African regions.
- While both of these HIV types can lead to AIDS, HIV-2 is much more difficult to transmit and far less virulent than HIV-1.
Context- With PSA Sical Terminals Ltd, one of India’s oldest public-private-partnership (PPP) port projects, on the verge of collapse the Centre-owned VO Chidambaranar Port Authority (VOC Port) is gearing up with a back-up plan to run the terminal to support the export-import (EXIM) trade.
V. O. Chidambaranar Port
- V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust is a port in Thoothukudi, Tamil Nadu.
- The port is named after V.O. Chidambaram Pillai, the eminent freedom fighter.
- It is one of the 13 major ports in India.
- It was declared to be a major port on 11 July 1974.
- It is second largest port in Tamil Nadu and fourth largest container terminal in India.
- V.O. Chidambaranar Port is an artificial port.
- V.O. Chidambaranar Port is located strategically close to the East-West International sea routes on the South Eastern coast of India at latitude 8o 45’N and longitude 78o 13’E.
- Located in the Gulf of Mannar, with Sri Lanka on the South East and the large land mass of India on the West,
- V.O. Chidambaranar Port is well sheltered from the fury of storms and cyclonic winds.
- The port is operational round the clock all through the year.
TOPIC: Science & tech
Context- The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given green signal to emergency use of single-dose Sputnik Light Covid vaccine in the country.
Sputnik Light Vaccine:
- Sputnik Light has been made by Russia’s Gamaleya Center, built on a human adenovirus vector platform.
- It is a single dose vaccine.
- It is similar to component-1 of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine that has been used in the India’s national vaccination programme.
- The Russian Direct Investment Fund said that the single-dose vaccine has demonstrated 70 per cent efﬁcacy against the disease caused by the Delta variant of Covid-19.
- Sputnik V used two different vector for each of the two shots in a course of vaccination. This provides immunity with a longer duration than vaccines using the same delivery mechanism for both shots.
- Adenoviruses (ADVs) are DNA viruses ranging from 70-90 nanometre in size, which induces many illnesses in humans like cold, respiratory infection etc.
- Adenoviruses are preferred for vaccines because their DNA is double stranded which makes them genetically more stable and the chances of them changing after injection are lower.
- Rabies vaccine is an adenovirus vaccine.
- Adenovirus vaccines are a type of viral vector vaccine.
- In this vaccine, adenovirus is used as a tool to deliver genes or vaccine antigens to the target host tissue.
- However, there are drawbacks of adenovirus vector vaccines like pre-existing immunity in humans, inflammatory responses etc.
Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO):
- The CDSCO is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
- Major Functions:
- Regulatory control over the import of drugs, approval of new drugs and clinical trials.
- Approval of certain licences as Central Licence Approving Authority
Drug Controller General of India(DCGI)
- DCGI within CDSCO is responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids, vaccines and sera in India.
- The DCGI is advised by the Drug Technical Advisory Board (DTAB) and the Drug Consultative Committee (DCC).
- It comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
Context- The question whether the state can use ‘national security’ as a ground to limit judicial scrutiny has come up for scrutiny again in the Media One TV channel case after the Supreme Court, in its Pegasus case order, observed that the Centre cannot expect a ‘free pass’ from the courts as soon as it raises the ‘spectre of na- tional security’.
Freedom of Speech and expression
- Freedom of Speech and expression means the right to express one’s own opinions freely through speech, writing, printing, pictures or any other mode.
- In India, under Article 19(1), the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression.
- However, this freedom is not absolute and under Article 19(2) reasonable restrictions can be imposed on the exercise of this right for certain purposes.
Safeguards outlined under Article 19 (2): Article 19(2) allows the state to make laws that restrict freedom of speech so long as they impose reasonable restrictions in the:
- The security of the state: The term security of state refers only to serious and aggravated forms of public order e.g. rebellion, waging war against the State, insurrection and not ordinary breaches of public order and public safety.
- Interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India: Sovereignty and integrity of India as a ground under Article 19 (2) was added by 16th constitutional amendment act.
- Friendly relations with foreign states: This ground was added by the First Amendment Act, 1951.
- Decency or morality: Sections 292 to 294 of the Indian Penal Code provide instances of restrictions on the freedom of speech and expression in the interest of decency or morality. These sections prohibit the sale or distribution or exhibition of obscene words, etc. in public places.
- Contempt of court: According to the Section 2 of Contempt of court it may be either civil contempt or criminal contempt.
- Defamation or incitement to an offence: A statement, which injures a man’s reputation, amounts to defamation. Defamation consists in exposing a man to hatred, ridicule, or contempt.
- Chilling effect is the concept of deterring free speech and association rights protected by the First Amendment as a result of government laws or actions that appear to target free expression.
- The Supreme Court developed and explained the chilling effect doctrine in several opinions involving Freedom of Speech & Expression.
Context- BIMSTEC summit to be held on March 30 in Sri Lanka.
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional multilateral organisation.
- Its members lie in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
- Out of the 7 members,
- Five are from South Asia –
- Sri Lanka
- Two are from Southeast Asia –
- Five are from South Asia –
- This sub-regional organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- Initially, it was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri-Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
- It became renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ in 1997, following the inclusion of Myanmar.
- With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan in 2004, the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).
Context- The government is prepared to deal with all kinds of risks that may arise out of global developments, US Federal Reserve’s decision to roll back monetary easing, said, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- Also known as Quantitative easing (QE) is a form of monetary policy used by central banks as a method of quickly increasing the domestic money supply and spurring economic activity.
- Quantitative easing usually involves a country’s central bank purchasing longer-term government bonds, as well as other types of assets, such as mortgage-backed securities (MBS).
- In response to the economic shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 15, 2020, the U.S. Federal Reserve announced a quantitative easing plan of over $700 billion.1
- To execute quantitative easing, central banks increase the supply of money by buying government bonds and other securities.
- Increasing the supply of money lowers interest rates.
- When interest rates are lower, banks can lend with easier terms.
- Quantitative easing is typically implemented when interest rates are already near zero, because, at this point, central banks have fewer tools to influence economic growth.