Daily Prelims Notes 7 October 2023
- October 7, 2023
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
7 October 2023
Table Of Contents
- Two of every five amphibians threatened with extinction, reveals study
- Invasive plant species threaten 66% of India’s natural systems
- Climate finance beyond $100 billion: Are we close to agreeing on a new climate finance target?
- Modelling study shows how controversial geoengineering may affect global food production
- Least developed countries set expectations for COP28 with Dakar Declaration
- RBI FLAGS INFLATION RISK TO STABILITY
- RBI Proposes Anonymising Card Details at the Bank Level
- When can a bill be designated as a ‘money bill’
- Nobel Peace Prize
- Russia may pull out of CTBT
- TRAI can’t regulate OTT platforms
Subject : Environment
- A new paper analyzing two decades of data from around the world has found that climate change is emerging as one of the biggest threats to frogs, salamanders, and caecilians.
About the study:
- The assessment evaluated the extinction risk of more than 8,000 amphibian species from all over the world, including 2,286 species evaluated for the first time. More than 1,000 experts across the globe.
- Nearly 41% of all amphibian species are currently globally threatened while 26.5% of mammals, 21.4% of reptiles and 12.9% of birds are threatened.
- These data will be published on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
- Amphibian Red List Authority is a branch of the Amphibian Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Species Survival Commission and managed by Re:wild, a wildlife conservation group.
Why are amphibians particularly threatened by climate change?
- The data revealed that two out of every five amphibians are threatened with extinction. Climate change was the primary threat for 39% of these species.
- Amphibians are particularly sensitive to changes in their environment.
- Amphibians are becoming climate captives i.e. unable to move very far to escape the climate change-induced increase in frequency and intensity of extreme heat, wildfires, drought and hurricanes.
- Threats include:
- Habitat destruction and degradation as the result of agriculture (crops, livestock like cattle and livestock grazing, and silviculture), infrastructure development and other industries are the most common threats.
- Habitat destruction and degradation affect 93% of all threatened amphibian species.
- Disease caused by the chytrid fungus – it decimated amphibian species in Latin America, Australia, and the United States – and overexploitation.
- Three out of every five salamander species are threatened with extinction primarily as the result of habitat destruction and climate change, making them the world’s most threatened group of amphibians.
- North America is home to the most biodiverse community of salamanders in the world.
Already extinct amphibian species:
- Four amphibian species were documented as having gone extinct since 2004 — the Chiriquí harlequin toad (Atelopus chiriquiensis) from Costa Rica, the sharp-snouted day frog (Taudactylus acutirostris) from Australia, Craugastor myllomyllon and the Jalpa false brook salamander (Pseudoeurycea exspectata), both from Guatemala.
- Twenty-seven additional critically endangered species are now considered possibly extinct, bringing the total to more than 160 critically endangered amphibians that are considered possibly extinct.
- The assessment also found that 120 species improved their Red List status since 1980.
An action plan for conservation:
- Of the 63 species that improved as the direct result of conservation action, most improved due to habitat protection and management.
- Amphibians play a key role in keeping carbon-storing ecosystems healthy.
Species survival commission (SSC):
- The IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) works independently and with the different IUCN Units to build knowledge on the status of species and threats to them and to provide advice, develop policies and guidelines and facilitate conservation planning.
- Through this work, SSC catalyzes conservation action and enables IUCN to influence policy and assist societies in biodiversity conservation.
- Their work include: SSC members provide scientific advice to conservation organisations, government agencies and other IUCN members, and support the implementation of multilateral environmental agreements.
- Vision: “A just world that values and conserves nature through positive action to both prevent the loss and aid recovery of the diversity of life on earth.”
- Re:wild launched in 2021 combining more than three decades of conservation impact by Leonardo DiCaprio and Global Wildlife Conservation, leveraging expertise, partnerships and platforms to bring new attention, energy and voices together.
- Re:wild’s mission is to protect and restore the wild to build a thriving Earth where all life flourishes.
- About 66 per cent of the country’s natural systems are threatened with invasive species, according to the report published in the Journal of Applied Ecology.
Details of the study:
- The study offered the first account indicating distribution status of high-concern invasive plants spread across the country.
- The findings are a result of a national-level survey conducted in India.
- The 11 high-concern invasive plant species that showed presence in 20 states of the country included Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora and Chromolaena odorata.
- The economic loss due to biological invasions would cost the Indian economy up to $182.6 billion.
- The data indicated that invasive cover increases with temperatures up to a threshold and declines with increasing rainfall, seasonal vegetation opening and human modification index.
- Human modification index is based on 13 anthropogenic sensors that provide a cumulative measure on impact of the human modification of terrestrial lands across the globe.
Spread and threats of Invasive Alien Species (IAS):
- Susceptibility to invasive species: Highest in Savannas (87%), followed by moist grasslands (72%), dry deciduous forests (72%) and evergreen forests (least susceptible at 42%).
- The suitability of individual alien plants and its drivers varies for each species.
- Some invasive species are: Prosopis juliflora, Senna tora, Xanthium strumarium, Mesosphaerum suaveolens, Mikania micrantha and Ageratina adenophora.
- Invasive species that have invaded most are: Lantana camara (Maximum expanse at 50%), Mikania micrantha (least expanse at 13%).
- Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Western Ghats was one of the largest impacted hotspot areas due to invasion dominated by Lantana camara, Prosopis juliflora and Chromolaena odorata.
- Southern Eastern Ghats were found to host the most densely invaded landscapes with maximum vegetation of Prosopis juliflora and Lantana camara.
- Central Indian Highlands: Invaded along the ecocline between dry and moist systems by Prosopis juliflora.
Causes of these invasions:
- Human modifications, shifting soil moisture regime, historical propagation of invasive plants and altered cycles of natural disturbances.
- Human modifications include: Increasing work population densities and proportional increase of demand for food, infrastructure, energy and socio-ecological drivers.
Section: International Convention
- Discussions on the New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG) on climate finance were conducted in Geneva from September 30-October 2, 2023, through the 7th Technical Expert Dialogue (TED 7) under the Ad Hoc Work Programme of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on NCQG.
- Current climate finance goal is: $100 billion, decided by developed countries in 2009 at the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to UNFCCC held in Copenhagen.
- So far, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has provided data on the progress of the $100 billion goal.
- The primary objectives of TED 7 were twofold: Options for ways to reflect qualitative elements of NCQG, and options for setting up transparency arrangements to track progress towards achieving NCQG.
Enhanced Transparency Framework (ETF) of the Paris Agreement:
- Starting no later than 2024, as part of the enhanced transparency framework (ETF), all countries who have ratified the Paris Agreement will follow a single, universal transparency process. The information gathered under the ETF will provide a clear understanding of climate change actions and support, and ultimately contribute to the global stocktake process that will periodically take stock of the implementation of the Paris Agreement.
- By design, the ETF covers all aspects of the Paris Agreement, including tracking progress of implementation and achievement of nationally determined contributions under Article 4.
- Challenges with the ETF (one of the primary modes of tracking climate finance progress) mentioned by OECD included:
- Data inconsistencies due to differences in methodology followed by different parties
- Data gaps due to the lack of agreement on which sources of finance are to be included in NCQG and
- Gaps between when information on projects is reported and actually available for review
Recommendations to address transparency gap in climate financing:
- The call for a definition of climate finance
- Transparency of tracking progress around private finance flows and providing publicly accessible data in formats that may be understood by non-state actors across the world.
- The use of online tools for continuous reporting on project completions.
- A demand for setting a quantum of $1.1 trillion per year from developed to developing countries, excluding arrears from the $100 billion promise.
Article 2.1(c) & Article 4 of the Paris Agreement:
- Article 2.1(c) calls on governments to ‘make financial flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development’.
- This is a pre-condition for achieving the Agreement’s adaptation and mitigation goals, including limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
- Mitigation (Art. 4) – The Paris Agreement establishes binding commitments by all Parties to prepare, communicate and maintain a nationally determined contribution (NDC) and to pursue domestic measures to achieve them.
New Collective Quantified Goal (NCQG):
- In accordance with Article 9, paragraph 3, of the Paris Agreement, the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA) shall set a new collective quantified goal (NCQG) from a floor of USD 100 billion per year, taking into account the needs and priorities of developing countries, prior to 2025.
- NCQG is set up around the following elements:
- Ad hoc work programme
- Submissions by Parties and non-Party stakeholders
- High-level ministerial dialogues
- Stock-takes and guidance by the CMA
Section: Climate Change
- Implementing a controversial climate intervention could likely create inequities in food production, benefitting some and harming others, a new study published in journal Nature Food warned.
- The intervention proposed to counter climate change is a geoengineering technology called stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI).
Stratospheric aerosol intervention (SAI):
- SAI mimics volcanic eruptions by injecting sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere (layer of atmosphere extending from about 10 kilometres to 50 km in altitude), where it oxidizes to form sulphuric acid, which then forms reflective aerosol particles.
- Example: Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted in 2001 and injected about 15 million tonnes of sulphur dioxide into the stratosphere, which then formed aerosol particles which caused a drop in the average global temperature of about 0.6 degrees Celsius over the next 15 months.
- Injections would need to occur continuously to maintain decreased solar radiation and surface temperature.
Impact of SAI:
- It will affect agriculture in different ways in different locations and other climate factors important to agriculture such as precipitation and solar radiation.
- Cold regions will benefit from climate change so SAI will impact these regions negatively. While agricultural production in the tropics could see an increase with climatic interventions like SAI.
- Under continued uncontrolled climate change, crop production is favored in cold, high-latitude areas such as Canada, Russia, the United States’ northern border states, Scandinavia and Scotland.
Other geoengineering techniques include:
- Bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
- It is the process of extracting bioenergy from biomass and capturing and storing the carbon, thereby removing it from the atmosphere. The carbon in the biomass comes from the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) which is extracted from the atmosphere by the biomass when it grows.
- Energy is extracted in useful forms (electricity, heat, biofuels, etc.) as the biomass is utilized through combustion, fermentation, pyrolysis or other conversion methods.
- Ocean fertilization or ocean nourishment
- Ocean fertilization is a type of climate engineering based on the purposeful introduction of nutrients to the upper ocean to increase marine food production and to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
- A number of techniques, including fertilization by iron, urea and phosphorus have been proposed.
- Soil carbon sequestration (SCS)
- Soils can serve as a sink for carbon dioxide since atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have crossed 410 parts per million and oceans are already turning acidic.
- Carbon sequestration in soils has the potential to offset GHG emissions from fossil fuels by up to 15% annually.
- Soil organic carbon (SOC) comes from plants, animals, microbes, leaves and wood, mostly found in the first metre or so.
- There are many conditions and processes that determine changes to SOC content including temperature, rainfall, vegetation, soil management and land-use change.
- Marine cloud brightening (MCB)
- MCB involves reflecting sunlight away from the earth in some way. In this case, sea salt or other particles are sprayed into marine clouds to make them thicker and more reflective.
- Cirrus cloud thinning (CCT)
- CCT is almost the opposite of marine cloud brightening. High-altitude Cirrus clouds are thin and whispy, so they don’t reflect much solar radiation back into space, and instead trap long-wave radiation on earth.
- CCT proposes thinning them further through cloud seeding, letting more long-wave radiation escape.
Section: International Conventions
- Ministers from the world’s 46 least developed countries (LDC) issued a joint Dakar Declaration on Climate Change 2023 outlining their expectation and priorities for 28th Conference of Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- The Dakar Declaration called for urgent global emissions reductions, increased climate finance, a strong outcome operationalising the new Loss and Damage Fund and an ambitious Global Stocktake to close the gaps in global climate action.
- LDCs account for more than 14 per cent of the global population, they only account for about 1 per cent of emissions from fossil fuels and industrial processes.
Key points of the Dakar declaration:
- Developed countries must present a clear road map for at least doubling adaptation finance delivered by 2025 through public, grant-based financing.
- A New Collective Quantified Goal on Climate Finance should provide new and additional resources and should be many times greater than the current $100 billion per year floor.
- The UNFCCC centralised carbon market mechanism must also be operationalised by 2024, including the recognition of the specific needs and special circumstances of LDCs, as well as the implementation of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement’s capacity building programme.
About ‘LDC Climate change’ group:
- The Least Developed Countries are 46 nations that are especially vulnerable to climate change but have done the least to cause the problem.
- Through the coordination of the LDC Group on Climate Change, the Least Developed Countries work together at the intergovernmental negotiations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- The current chair of the LDC Group is Ms Madeleine Diouf Sarr (Senegal).
- Dakar is the capital and largest city of Senegal.
Section :Monetary Policy
MPC leaves benchmark interest rates unchanged for a fourth straight meeting, reiterates its real GDP growth and retail inflation projections for the fiscal year at 6.5% and 5.4%, respectively.
What is Monetary policy?
- Monetary policy refers to the policy of the central bank with regard to the use of monetary instruments under its control to achieve the goals specified in the Act.
- The primary objective of the RBI’s monetary policy is to maintain price stability while keeping in mind the objective of growth.
- The amended RBI Act, 1934 also provides for the inflation target (4% +-2%) to be set by the Government of India, in consultation with the Reserve Bank, once in every five years.
What is the Monetary Policy Committee?
- It 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 MPC determines the policy interest rate (repo rate) required to achieve the inflation target.
What is the repo rate?
The interest rate at which the Reserve Bank provides overnight liquidity to banks against the collateral of government and other approved securities under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF).
Types of Monetary Policy
- Expansionary Monetary Policy
- This is a monetary policy that aims to increase the money supply in the economy by decreasing interest rates, purchasing government securities by central banks, and lowering the reserve requirements for banks.
- An expansionary policy lowers unemployment and stimulates business activities and consumer spending.
- The overall goal of the expansionary monetary policy is to fuel economic growth. However, it can also possibly lead to higher inflation.
- Contractionary Monetary Policy
- The goal of a contractionary monetary policy is to decrease the money supply in the economy.
- It can be achieved by raising interest rates, selling government bonds, and increasing the reserve requirements for banks.
- The contractionary policy is utilized when the government wants to control inflation levels.
Monetary Policy Tools
- To control inflation, the Reserve Bank of India needs to decrease the supply of money or increase cost of fund in order to keep the demand of goods and services in control.
- RBI Monetary Policy instruments are divided into two category qualitative instruments and quantitative instruments.
- QUANTITATIVE TOOLS
The tools applied by the policy that impact money supply in the entire economy, including sectors such as manufacturing, agriculture, automobile, housing, etc.
- Reserve Ratio:
- Banks are required to keep aside a set percentage of cash reserves or RBI approved assets. Reserve ratio is of two types:
- Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) – Banks are required to set aside this portion in cash with the RBI. The bank can neither lend it to anyone nor can it earn any interest rate or profit on CRR.
- Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) – Banks are required to set aside this portion in liquid assets such as gold or RBI approved securities such as government securities. Banks are allowed to earn interest on these securities, however it is very low.
- Open Market Operations (OMO):
- In order to control money supply, the RBI buys and sells government securities in the open market. These operations conducted by the Central Bank in the open market are referred to as Open Market Operations.
- When the RBI sells government securities, the liquidity is sucked from the market, and the exact opposite happens when RBI buys securities. The latter is done to control inflation. The objective of OMOs is to keep a check on temporary liquidity mismatches in the market, owing to foreign capital flow.
- Market Stabilization Scheme (MSS)
- QUALITATIVE TOOLS
Unlike quantitative tools which have a direct effect on the entire economy’s money supply, qualitative tools are selective tools that have an effect in the money supply of a specific sector of the economy.
- Margin requirements – The RBI prescribes a certain margin against collateral, which in turn impacts the borrowing habit of customers. When the margin requirements are raised by the RBI, customers will be able to borrow less.
- Moral suasion – By way of persuasion, the RBI convinces banks to keep money in government securities, rather than certain sectors.
- Selective credit control – Controlling credit by not lending to selective industries or speculative businesses.
Section :Monetary Policy
- To further secure online transactions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) proposed to allow banks to “tokenise” debit or credit cards. Observing that Card on File Tokenisation (CoFT), which anonymises card details, had so far been offered at merchant sites, RBI proposed bank level tokenisation would enable cardholders to get tokens created and linked to their existing accounts with various e-commerce applications.
What is Tokenization?
- Tokenisation refers to the replacement of actual card details with a unique alternate code called the ‘token’.
- This token shall be unique for a combination of card, token requester and the device.
- Benefits – A tokenised card transaction is considered safer as actual card details such as three-digit CVV and expiry date are not shared with the merchant during transaction processing.
- Actual card data, token and other relevant details are stored in a secure mode by the authorised card networks.
- Now, for any purchases done online or through mobile apps, merchants, payment aggregators and payment gateways will not be able to save crucial customer credit and debit card details.
How is tokenisation be carried out?
- A Debit or Credit card holder can get the card tokenised by initiating a request on the app provided by the token requestor.
- The token requestor will forward the request to the card network.
- The card network, with the consent of the card issuer, will issue a token corresponding to the combination of the card, the token requestor, and the device.
How safe is tokenisation?
- The token requestor cannot store Primary Account Number (PAN), or any other card details.
- Card networks are also mandated to get the token requester certified for safety and security that conform to international best practices/globally accepted standards.
- With tokenisation, a card and merchant specific token is generated, which can be used for all online transactions with that merchant.
- In case of any data breach or hacking attempt at the merchant’s end, the customer’s card details will be protected.
- Further, RBI has emphasised that the integrity of the token generation process has to be ensured at all times.
How did India decide to carry out tokenisation?
- The RBI prohibited merchants from storing customer card details on their servers and mandated the adoption of card-on-file (CoF) tokenisation as an alternative.
- After multiple extensions, given to the system for a comfortable switchover, the RBI finally implemented these norms.
- The central bank was constantly talking to all stakeholders to ensure that the transition to the tokenisation framework was smooth.
Benefits of tokenization in a nutshell:
Largely designed to counter online frauds and curb digital payment breaches, tokenization comes with a slew of benefits. Some of them are:
- Enhanced safety and security: Tokens generated will be unique to a single card at a specific merchant and this will take up the overall security of making card-based transactions. It eliminates the risk of storing card details online and ensures the uncompromised convenience of storing customer’s token details on the merchant site.
- Quicker checkouts: Tokenized Mastercard will allow the convenience of quick checkouts as one doesn’t need to punch in the card number for each purchase.
- No more ‘False Declines’: Many times, legitimate online payments using valid cards are declined on the grounds of the transaction looking like a fraud. With tokenization, this becomes a thing of the past as the usage of tokens for payments confirms security of the highest order.
- Easy card management: With tokenization, one can also keep track of all your cards and the merchants they have been tokenized with.
- No need for a physical card: With tokenization, one can store a virtual version of one’s card on a smartphone for the days one forgets to carry your wallet.
- Added benefits: Tokenization also comes with cashback benefits when secured with platforms like Amazon, Paytm, Swiggy, Flipkart and Phonepay among others.
Context: A seven-judge SC bench will hear a challenge to the Centre’s use of money bills for passing important laws.
More about the news:
- Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud announced the formation of a seven-judge bench to address legal challenges against the government’s use of the money bill route to pass certain key legislations.
- The challenge includes amendments to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and Finance Acts passed between 2015 and 2019.
- Previously, the Supreme Court upheld the Aadhaar Act as a money bill in 2018, with Justice Chandrachud as the lone dissenter.
- The court also referred the money bill aspect of tribunal reform to a larger constitution bench in 2019.
What is Money Bill:
- Article 110 defines a money Bill as one containing provisions dealing with taxes, regulation of the government’s borrowing of money, and expenditure or receipt of money from the Consolidated Fund of India, among others.
- Article 109 delineates the procedure for the passage of such a Bill and confers an overriding authority on the Lok Sabha in the passage of money Bills.
- The Speaker certifies a Bill as a Money Bill, and the Speaker’s decision is final.
What is Finance Bill:
- In a general sense, any Bill that relates to revenue or expenditure is a financial Bill.
- A money Bill is also a specific type of financial Bill, that must deal only with matters specified in Article 110 (1) (a) to (g).
- Financial bills are responsible for fiscal matters such as government spending or revenue.
- It specifies the amount of money to be spent by the government and the way it is to be spent.
- More specifically, Article 117 of the Constitution deals with the special provisions relating to financial Bills.
- Finance Bills are divided into three categories: the Money Bill, Finance Bill Category I, and Finance Bill Category II.
What is the difference between money Bills and financial Bills:
- Classification Distinction: Money Bills encompass tax-related provisions, while Financial Bills cover various subjects, including taxation and expenditure. The Finance Bill, solely dealing with tax proposals, qualifies as a Money Bill. For e.g The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Bill, 2015, which establishes funds and covers other issues, was introduced as a Financial Bill.
- The procedure for the passage:
- Money Bill: The Rajya Sabha cannot amend or reject Money Bills. It offers non-binding recommendations within 14 days, but if the Lok Sabha declines them, the Bill passes as is.
- Financial Bill: It must be approved by both houses.
- Origination and President’s Recommendation:
- Money Bill: Must be introduced only in the Lok Sabha, and only the Presidential recommendation
- Financial Bill: An ordinary bill can originate in either house, and the President’s recommendation is not required for tax-related amendments.
Section: International Awards
Context: Narges Mohammadi, the Iranian woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
More about the news:
- Iranian activist Narges Mohammadi has been chosen by the Norwegian Nobel Committee for the coveted Nobel Peace Prize,2023 for her fight against the oppression of women in Iran and her fight to promote human rights and freedom for all.
- The Prize recognizes their contribution for many years, promoting the right to criticize arbitrary policies and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens.
- Currently she is detained in Iran under charges of “spreading anti-state propaganda” and defamation. Sentenced to a total of 31 years in prison and 154 lashes
What are the previous awards and recognition of Narges Mohammadi:
- 2023 PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award
- 2023 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize
- Featured in BBC’s list of 100 inspiring and influential women in 2022.
- Her book ‘White Torture: Interviews with Iranian Women Prisoners’ also won an award for reportage at the International Film Festival and Human Rights’ Forum.
Some other facts:
- Narges Mohammadi has become the second Iranian woman to receive the Nobel Peace Prize after Shirin Ebadi who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003.
- Shirin was also the first Muslim woman to receive the award.
- Narges Mohammadi is the 19th woman to have won the Nobel Peace Prize.
What is the Iranian Hijab Movement:
- The Iranian law strictly recommends women to wear hijabs or headscarves with their regular outfits. Anyone not following this is recently being arrested, warned, or punished severely.
- Mahsa Amini, a 22 years old youth, was arrested for breaching the dress code of Iranian women.
- The arrest of Mahsa Amini by the Iranian morality police, followed by her death, led to the outbreak of a massive protest by the Iranian women demanding greater freedom.
- This demand at present is no longer restricted to Iran but has taken the shape of a worldwide protest with banners displaying “Women, life, liberty.”
More details about Nobel Prize:
- The Nobel Prize was set up when businessman and entrepreneur Alfred Nobel died and left the majority of his fortune to the establishment of prizes in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, and peace
- The Nobel Prizes are awarded annually in six categories: Peace, Literature, Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, and Economic Sciences.
- The Economic Sciences category was added later in 1968 and is officially known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.
- The first Prizes were awarded in 1901
- The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded in Oslo, Norway, while the others are awarded in Stockholm, Sweden.
- The Nobel Prize consists of a Nobel Medal and Diploma, and a document confirming the prize amount
- The Nobel Prize cannot be given posthumously and it cannot be shared between more than three people.
- One cannot nominate himself/herself for a Nobel Prize.
Section: International Conventions
Context: Russia indicated that it was moving swiftly towards revoking its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT).
More about the news:
- Russia indicated that it was moving swiftly towards revoking its ratification of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) after President Vladimir Putin held out the possibility of resuming nuclear testing.
- President Putin said that Russia could look at revoking ratification of the CTBT as the United States had signed but not ratified it.
- A resumption of nuclear tests by Russia, the United States or China could indicate the start of a new nuclear arms race between the big powers who stopped nuclear testing in the years following the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
- Russia currently has around 5,889 nuclear warheads, compared with 5,244 for the United States, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
What is Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT):
- The Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) prohibits nuclear test explosions worldwide.
- It was introduced in September 1996, signed by 187 nations, and ratified by 178.
- However, for it to take full effect, 44 specific nations must ratify it, with eight, including India, China, Pakistan, North Korea, Israel, Iran, Egypt, and the United States, yet to do so.
- The CTBT establishes a global monitoring network and allows on-site inspections for compliance.
- Since its introduction, nuclear testing has become widely discouraged, with even non-ratifying states like India, Israel, and Pakistan observing moratoriums on nuclear testing.
- While Russia ratified the agreement in 2000, the US is still to do so
How did CTBT come into Being:
- Between 1945 and 1996, more than 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out — 1,032 of them by the United States and 715 of them by the Soviet Union, according to the UN.
- Britain carried out 45 tests, France 210 and China 45.
- The radioactive fallout from those tests drew criticism from around the globe. The international community’s concern about the effects on health and the environment continued to grow.
- As a result, several attempts to curb the explosive tests were made.
- The 1963 Limited Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (LTBT) was one of the first such attempts.It prohibited nuclear testing in the atmosphere, outer space, and underwater, but underground tests were still permitted.
- A major breakthrough only came after the Cold War ended around 1990 and the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
- As the geopolitical tensions simmered down, the UN took advantage of the situation and adopted the CTBT, which put a blanket ban on the explosive testing of nuclear weapons.
Why has India Refused to Sign the CTBT:
- India’s interest in a nuclear test ban dates back to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s 1954 call for a halt in nuclear testing between the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
- However, this was thwarted due to verification concerns.
- India’s stance on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is driven by national security interests, viewing nuclear weapons as a deterrent.
- Signing the CTBT, it believes, would limit its strategic autonomy and ability to test, while prioritizing equitable global disarmament and national security.
Subject: Science and tech
Section: Computer & IT
Context: TRAI can’t regulate OTT platforms like Hotstar, says tribunal.
More about the news:
- The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in India ruled that Over the Top (OTT) platforms like Hotstar fall outside the jurisdiction of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) and are instead governed by the Information Technology Rules, 2021.
- This decision came in response to a petition by the All India Digital Cable Federation (AIDCF) claiming that free streaming of ICC Cricket World Cup matches on Disney+Hotstar was discriminatory under TRAI regulations.
- TDSAT’s rejection of AIDCF’s plea is significant as it intersects with ongoing efforts by TRAI and the Department of Telecommunications to regulate OTT services.
What is the Significance of this order:
- TDSAT’s rejection of the plea has broader implications in the ongoing debate over the regulation of OTT services.
- At the heart of the matter is the clash between the TRAI and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology over who should oversee these platforms.
- The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had proposed a draft telecom Bill classifying OTT platforms as telecommunications services and seeking to regulate them like telecom operators.
- TRAI, on the other hand, issued a consultation paper on regulating OTT platforms.
- This difference in approach has led to a contentious disagreement between two key government bodies.
Why is the IT Ministry disagreeing with DoT over OTT regulation:
- The IT Ministry believes that under the Allocation of Business Rules, Internet-based communications services are not part of DoT’s jurisdiction.
- However, in this case, the conversation is centered around OTT communications services like WhatsApp.
- Time and again, MeitY made it clear that the DoT can only regulate the carriage layer, that is telephony, wireless communications, and private sector licenses, etc.
What is TRAI’s attempt at regulating OTT services:
- After initially opposing specific regulations for OTT communication services like WhatsApp and Zoom, TRAI has begun consultations on potential regulations for these services.
- In June, it sought input on regulating them, including the possibility of selective bans rather than total shutdowns.
- Telecom operators have long advocated for consistent rules.
- In September 2020, TRAI recommended against immediate regulation but suggested monitoring and intervention when deemed appropriate.
What is Telecom Regulatory Authority of India(TRAI):
- The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) was established in 1997 by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
- The head office of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) is located at New Delhi.
- The TRAI consists of a Chairperson, two whole-time members and two part-time members, all of which are appointed by the Government of India.
What is the power of TRAI
- It can call upon any service provider to furnish in writing the information or explanation relating to its affairs as the Authority may require.
- The Authority may appoint one or more persons to make an inquiry in relation to the affairs of any service provider.
- It is empowered to direct any of its officers or employees to inspect the books of accounts or other documents of any service provider.
- The Authority shall have the power to issue such directions to service providers as it may consider necessary for proper functioning by service providers.
What is Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT):
- The TRAI Act was amended by an ordinance, establishing a Telecommunications Dispute Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) to take over the adjudicatory and disputes functions from TRAI.
- TDSAT was set up to adjudicate any dispute –
- Between a licensor and a licensee,
- Between two or more service providers,
- Between a service provider and a group of consumers, and
- To hear and dispose of appeals against any direction, decision or order of TRAI.