Daily Prelims Notes 8 October 2022
- October 8, 2022
- Posted by: OptimizeIAS Team
- Category: DPN
Daily Prelims Notes
8 October 2022
Table Of Contents
- Nobel Peace Prize for 2022: A statement as Russia-Ukraine war rages
- Dark Sky Sanctuary
- Sustainable forestry paramount for biodiversity conservation: FAO
- Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS)
- BH series registration
- Google in trouble over alleged unfair revenue sharing; CCI orders third probe
- Aatmanirbhar in defence: In the Indo-Pacific, India and others
- Karnataka govt moves to increase SC and ST quota in the state
The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022, awarded to a jailed Belarus civil rights activist, and a rights organisation each in Russia and Ukraine, puts the focus on Russia’s war in Ukraine, now in its eighth month.
- The common thread among the winners of the Prize is that they stand, directly or indirectly, against Russia or an ally of Russia.
- Ales Bialiatski, who is in jail since 2021, is a vocal critic of Putin’s ally, President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus.
- Memorial, the Russian civil rights group, was shut down by Putin, and the Center for Civil Liberties is a Ukrainian rights organisation that is documenting alleged war crimes by Russia in Ukraine.
Ales Bialiatski of Belarus
- In 1995,Bialiatski founded the Belarus human rights group Viasna (Spring) which, according to a fund-raising page on patreon.com, “defends human rights, promotes human rights and exposes violations”.
- The 60-year-old activist was first jailed in 2011 for evading taxes, a charge that he has denied.
- He was released in 2014, before being arrested again in 2021 during mass public protests in Minsk against elections that opposition activists said had kept Lukashenko in power the previous year.
- In an interview given to Reuters in November 2021, Lukashenko, the first and only President of Belarus since it became an independent country, described himself as the “last dictator of Europe”.
- A close ally of Putin, Lukashenko has since the beginning of the war offered his country’s territory to Russian troops for launching attacks into Ukraine.
- Belarus shares a long border with Ukraine in the latter’s northwest, and the distance from Minsk to Kyivis just over 500 km.
- Russian missile launchers have been stationed on Belarus territory, and its soldiers are said to have fought alongside Russian troops, even though Lukashenko denies this.
- Viasna states its mission as “working to build a just and free society and ensure the rights of all without exception”.
Memorial group of Russia
- Memorial was established by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union during the Gorbachev years of glasnost and perestroika, and among its founders were 1975 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and Russian mathematician Svetlana Gannushkina.
- Its objective was to record atrocities committed during the communist regime, especially under Joseph Stalin.
- The Nobel Committee noted that the Memorial “is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones”.
- The Committee said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union,Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation in Russia.
- It established a centre to document victims of the Stalinist era and compiled information on political oppression and human rights violations in Russia.
- Memorial, the most authoritative source of information on political prisoners in Russian detention facilities, also leads efforts to combat militarism and promote human rights.
- During the Chechen wars, Memorial gathered and verified information on abuses and war crimes by Russian and pro-Russian forces.
- In 2009, the head of Memorial’s branch in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work.
- The organisation was stamped as a “foreign agent” early on, and in December 2021, the Supreme Court ruled that it must be liquidated and the documentation centre shut permanently.
Center for Civil Liberties, Ukraine
- The Center was founded in Kyiv in 2007 with the aim of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine.
- Since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the Center has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population in collaboration with international partners.
Nobel Peace Prize 2022: The choice of winner
- The Nobel Peace Prize has often mirrored the current geopolitical choices of the West.
- For this reason, the choice of some laureates has been as politically contentious as the word peace itself — including the question of peace for whom.
- One question that is periodically asked is why Mahatma Gandhi, almost universally revered as an apostle of peace, was overlooked by the Committee.
- The winner of the Peace Nobel is chosen by a committee of five persons selected by Norway’s Parliament.
- There were 343 candidates — 25 individuals and 92 organisations — for this year’s prize, the second highest after the record 376 nominations of 2016.
- The names of nominators and nominees cannot be divulged for 50 years.
- Among eligible nominators are members of national assemblies and national governments of sovereign states as well as current heads of state, and members of The International Court of Justice and The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.
Subject: Science and Technology
- Dark Sky Sanctuary has an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and a nocturnal environment that is protected for its scientific, natural, or educational value, its cultural heritage and/or public enjoyment.
- A sanctuary differs from a Dark Sky Park or Reserve in that it is typically situated in a very remote location with few (if any) nearby threats to the quality of its dark night skies and it does not otherwise meet the requirements for designation as a park or reserve. The typical geographic isolation of Dark Sky Sanctuaries significantly limits opportunities for public outreach, so a sanctuary designation is specifically designed to increase awareness of these fragile sites and promote their long-term conservation.
- The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt of India, has undertaken to set up India’s first-ever “Night Sky Sanctuary” in Ladakh which will be completed within next three months.
- The proposed Dark Sky Reserve will be located at Hanle in Ladakh as a part of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary. It will boost Astro tourism in India and will be one of the world’s highest-located sites for optical, infra-red, and gamma-ray telescopes.
- This entire setup, laid out on the mountain calledDigpaRatsa Ri, aka Mt Saraswati, comprises the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO).
- A tripartite MoU was signed recently among the the UT administration, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) Leh and the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) for launching the Dark Space Reserve.
- The multicoloured dish is the Major Atmospheric Cherenkov Experiment Telescope (MACE) built by a consortium of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, the Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. and the IIA.
- The dish, with a diameter of 21 m, is the second largest of its kind in the world and the only one at such an elevation.
- Its goal is to detect Cherenkov radiation from space.
- The seven-telescope contingent, called HAGAR (High Altitude Gamma Ray), also looks at Cherenkov radiation, although at a lower range of energies.
- The metallic capsule, the highest of the observatories, is the Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT), the oldest and active since 2000.
- An optical infrared telescope with a 2-metre lens is designed to detect light from the visible range of the electromagnetic spectrum as well as that just below it, or the infrared spectrum. The second capsule, situated slightly lower than the HCT, is the GROWTH India telescope, a 70cm telescope made by IIA and the Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai that is equipped to track cosmic events that unfurl over time, such as after glows of a gamma ray burst or tracking the path of asteroids.
- The IAO telescopes can be controlled remotely via a satellite link.
- Being a cold desert region, Ladakh holds great potential for undertaking uninterrupted astronomical observations.
- Dry weather and clear sky conditions prevail during most months of the year, making Hanle a naturally perfect setup for sky gazing and setting up astronomical observatories.
- At a height of 4,500 metres, Hanle is already home to an optical, a gamma ray and an infrared telescope at the Indian Astronomical Observatory complex operated by the IIA. These telescopes have been used to study stars, galaxies, exoplanets and the evolution of our Universe.
- Forests that are managed primarily for economic benefits are critical for biodiversity conservation.
- Mainstreaming biodiversity in such ‘production forests’ is paramount.
- The role of forests in maintaining biodiversity is explicitly recognised by the United Nations Strategic Plan for Forests 2017–2030.
- In 2019, FAO adopted the Strategy on Mainstreaming Biodiversity across Agricultural Sectors.
- Forests cover 31 per cent of the world’s land surface, store an estimated 296 gigatonnes of carbon and are home to most of the world’s terrestrial biodiversity.
What is “Mainstreaming Biodiversity”–
- Embedding biodiversity considerations into policies, strategies and practices of key public and private actors to promote the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources is called ‘mainstreaming biodiversity’.
- Mainstreaming biodiversity in forestry involves prioritising forest policies, plans, programmes, projects and investments that have a positive impact on biodiversity at the ecosystem, species and genetic levels.
- Biodiversity mainstreaming in the forest sector requires integrated multi-stakeholder approaches that cross-sectoral boundaries.
- Weak governance and law enforcement are the biggest stumbling blocks behind biodiversity conservation in protected areas.
FAO’s report on Mainstreaming Biodiversity–
- FAO’s forestry statutory body, Committee on Forestry (COFO), had asked FAO to review biodiversity mainstreaming in forestry in its 25th session in 2020.
- It had asked the UN body to share good practices on solutions that balance conservation and sustainable use of forest biodiversity.
- The report was released October 6, 2022, at the 8th World Forest Week on the sidelines of the 26th session of COFO taking place in Rome, Italy, from October 3-7, 2022.
- It was produced through a partnership between FAO and the non-profit Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), the lead centre of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry.
- CGIAR is a global partnership that unites international organisations engaged in research about food security.
- The world’s forests provide habitats for about 80 per cent of amphibian species, 75 per cent of bird species and 68 per cent of mammal species.
- In addition, about 60 per cent of all vascular plants occur in tropical forests.
- The report assessed tools and methods of ensuring the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity is integrated into forest policy, strategy and management.
- Through a series of case studies from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Finland, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (a case from Scotland), the report explored lessons learnt and identified good practices.
- These country case studies showed that, on the one hand, much progress has been made towards mainstreaming biodiversity in production forest management. On the other hand, biodiversity continues to decline globally.
- According to the report, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the involvement of Indigenous Peoples, local communities and the private sector in biodiversity management should be a priority and laws, policies and national strategies for biodiversity conservation should take into account forests other than protected areas.
- The study found that in Ethiopia, there are some important gaps, such as a lack of documentation on species that should be protected and inadequate definitions of institutional mandates and instruments for cross-sectoral collaboration.
- Forests and their biodiversity continue to be lost at an alarming rate, the report said.
- Deforestation is the greatest driver of the loss of valuable biodiversity, with around 10 million hectares lost to deforestation each year, mainly for agricultural expansion.
- Other threats include over-harvesting of timber, invasive species, climate change, desertification and forest fires.
- The report recommended various measures and actions that governments and development partners can take to facilitate the mainstreaming of biodiversity in forest management:
- Halting and reversing deforestation
- Combating illegal and unregulated forest activities
- Recognising the forest tenure of Indigenous Peoples and local communities
- Preventing the conversion of natural forests into monospecific forest plantations
- Ensuring the sustainable management of harvested species
- Managing and controlling invasive and overabundant species
- Leveraging global momentum on restoration to enhance biodiversity conservation
- Adopting a multisectoral perspective
- Providing economic incentives
- Facilitating market-based instruments
- Investing in knowledge and capacity development
Subject :Science and Technology
Context: Center notifies credit guarantee scheme for startups.
CGSS will complement the existing schemes under Startup India initiative such as Fund of Funds for Startups and Startup India Seed Fund Scheme.
Credit Guarantee Scheme for Startups (CGSS):
Purpose-providing credit guarantees to loans extended by member institutions (MIs) to finance eligible borrowers being startups
By-The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
Time line-loan/debt facilities sanctioned to an eligible borrower on or after 6 October.
- Guarantee covers are–transaction based and umbrella based.
- In respect of transaction-based guarantee cover, the guarantee cover is obtained by the MIs on a single eligible borrower basis.
- Guarantee cover:
- 80% -original loan sanction amount is up to ₹3 crore,
- 75% -original loan sanction amount is above ₹3 crore, and up to ₹5 crore, and
- 65% -original loan sanction amount is above ₹5 crore (up to ₹10 crore per borrower)
- The umbrella-based guarantee cover will provide guarantee to venture debt funds (VDFs) registered under AIF regulations of Sebi.
- Guarantee cover:
- actual losses or
- up to a maximum of 5% of Pooled Investment, whichever is lower, subject to a maximum of Rs.10 crore per borrower.
- Other bodies instituted-management committee and a risk evaluation committee for reviewing, supervising and operational oversight of the scheme.
- The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) will be operating the scheme.
National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC)
- National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) is a private limited company incorporated under the Companies Act 1956.
- In 2014 it was established by the Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, as a wholly owned company of the Government of India, to act as a common trustee company for multiple credit guarantee funds.
- It was set up by the Government of India to, inter alia, act as a common trustee company to manage and operate various credit guarantee trust funds.
- The following Credit Guarantee Trust Funds are under the trusteeship management of NCGTC:
- Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Educational Loans (CGFEL)
- Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Skill Development (CGFSD)
- Credit Guarantee Fund Scheme for Factoring (CGFF)
- Credit Guarantee Fund for Micro Units (CGFMU)
- Credit Guarantee Fund for Stand up India (CGFSI)
- Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)
- Credit Guarantee Scheme for MFIs
- Loan Guarantee Scheme for the Covid affected Tourism Service Sector (LGSCATSS).
Context: Road ministry proposes amendments in rules for the BH series registration mark.
- It would increase the scope of implementation of the BH series vehicle registrations.
- It would permit transfer of vehicles with BH series registration mark to other persons, who are eligible or ineligible for getting the series.
- It would allow vehicles having regular or currently prevalent state specific registration marks, be converted to BH series registration marks subject to payment of requisite tax.
- Application for registration of vehicle under BH series, shall be made to any registering authority of the state in which:
- vehicle owner has either permanent residence or
- place of work.
Bharat -BH series registration:
- It aims to universalise and simplify the registration process of vehicles and bring a seamless system of maintaining vehicle records.
- Under section 47 of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988, a person is allowed to keep the vehicle for not more than 12 months in any state other than the state where the vehicle is registered.
- Else a new registration with the new state- registering authority has to be made within the stipulated time of 12 months.
- A passenger vehicle user takes the following steps to re-register a vehicle
- No Objection Certificate from the Parent State for assignment of a new registration mark in another state.
- Assignment of new registration mark after the road tax on prorata basis is paid in the new State
- Application for refund of road tax in parent State on pro rata basis.
- Registration Mark Format in BH-series that will facilitate seamless transfer of vehicles is YY BH #### XX.
- YY is the code for Year of 1st registration, BH is the code for Bharat Series, #### for 0000 to 9999, XX for Alphabets (AA to ZZ).
- A vehicle bearing this BH-series registration mark shall not require assignment of a new registration mark when the owner of the vehicle shifts from one State to another.
- This vehicle registration facility under “BH-series” will be available on voluntary basis to
- Defense personnel,
- Employees of Central & State Governments/ Central & State PSUs,
- Employees of private sector companies/organizations, which have their offices in 4 or more States/UTs.
- The new system of allotting BH series registration to vehicles will be completely online.
- Vehicles registering under the BH system will be levied road tax for two years and in multiple of two thereafter, instead of the owner paying for the whole amount of 15 years’ worth of road tax up front.
- After completion of the fourteenth year, the motor vehicle tax shall be levied annually which shall be half of the amount which was charged earlier for that vehicle.
The Competition Commission has ordered another detailed probe against Google for alleged unfair revenue sharing terms with respect to news content.
- The News Broadcasters & Digital Association has alleged that its members are forced to provide their news content to Google in order to prioritise their weblinks in the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) of Google. Thus, Google free-rides on the content of the members.
- It was alleged that Google exploited the dependency of the members on the search engine offered by Google for referral-traffic to build services such as Google News, Google Discover and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
- Google has also abused its dominant position to dictate terms and conditions of the Terms of Service of the Agreement, which unilaterally favour Google.
Competition Commission of India
- Competition Commission of India is a statutory body responsible for enforcing the objectives of the Competition Act, 2002.
- CCI was established by the Central Government with effect from 14th October 2003, but it became fully functional on 20th May, 2009.
- Composition – A Chairperson and 6 Members appointed by the Central Government.
- Formation of CCI:
- The CCI was established under the provisions of the Competition act 2002:
- The Competition Act, 2007, was enacted after amending Competition Act, 2002, that led to the establishment of the CCI and the Competition Appellate Tribunal.
- The government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
Composition of CCI
- The Commission consists of one Chairperson and six Members as per the Competition Act who shall be appointed by the Central Government.
- The commission is a quasi-judicial body which gives opinions to statutory authorities and also deals with other cases. The Chairperson and other Members shall be whole-time Members.
- Eligibility of members: The Chairperson and every other Member shall be a person of ability, integrity and standing and who, has been, or is qualified to be a judge of a High Court, or, has special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance, accountancy, management, industry, public affairs, administration or in any other matter which, in the opinion of the Central Government, may be useful to the Commission.
- Function of CCI – To eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition, promote and sustain competition, protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
Subject : International Relations
Context: INDIA RANKS fourth among 12 Indo-Pacific nations in self-reliant arms production capabilities, according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a widely respected independent resource on global security.
- China tops the list,Japan is second, South Korea is in third place, and Pakistan is at number 8.
- The study, which measures self-reliance until 2020, is based on three indicators of self reliance in each country:
- Arms procurement— imports, licensed and domestic production as a proportion of the government’s total procurement of major conventional arms;
- Arms industry— the study presents the five largest arms companies in each country, where data are available, ranked by sales of arms and military services in 2020 to both domestic and export customers;
- Uncrewed maritime vehicles, the sea equivalent of drones— covering both uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) and uncrewed underwater vehicles (UUVs), meant to provide a qualitative understanding of how countries are engaging domestic research institutes and firms to produce such cutting edge systems.
- The study’s choice of maritime domain was because the Indo-Pacific region is a “maritime theatre”, and most of its flashpoints involve navies.
- The12 countries in the study were selected because they have the highest military spending in the region — Australia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
- India is ranked as the second largest importer of arms for its armed forces in 2016-20.
- India is highly dependent on imports of complete foreign major arms, including many produced under licence or as components for its domestic production.
- Of India’s total volume of procurement in 2016– 20,84 percent was of foreign origin.
- Domestic arms companies provide only 16 percent of its total procurement.
- According to the study, the significant arms sales of local firms and the high level of licensed production push India to fourth position in the list.
- The Karnataka government has decided to hike the reservation for Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities in the state by seeking a constitutional amendment.
- The reservation for SCs will be increased from 15% to 17% and that of STs from 3% to 7% making total reservation in the state to 56%.
- In order to escape the judicial scrutiny the government will place the amendment in Schedule 9 of the constitution.
- The decision was taken in view of Justice Nagamohan Das Committee report.
Constitutional provision involved:
- Article 15(4) – Empowers the state to make special laws for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes.
- Article 16(4A) – Reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favour of SCs/STs, which are not adequately represented in the services under the State.
- Article 46 – The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.
- Article 335 -The claims of the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall be taken into consideration, consistently with the maintenance of efficiency of administration, in the making of appointments to services and posts in connection with the affairs of the Union or of a State.
- Article 341 and 342- Define as to who would be Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with respect to any State·or Union Territory
Some famous Supreme Court Judgements.
- State of Madras v. ChampakamDorairajan (1951):-Court ruled that caste-based reservations as per Communal Award violate Article 15(1) of the constitution
- Indra Sawhney & Others v. Union of India (1993):-The Supreme Court in a 9 judge bench verdict while upholding the 27 % quota for backward classes,struck down the government notification reserving 10% government jobs for economically backward classes among the higher castes.The court also upheld the principle that the combined reservation beneficiaries should not exceed 50%.Moreover the concept of ‘creamy layer’ was introduced in the obc reservation.
- Nagraj & Others v. Union of India and Others(200):- Upheld the 77th constitutional amendments which inserted Articles 16(4A) and 16(4B),
- Jarnail Singh vs Lachhmi Narain Gupta(2018):- Supreme Court holds that reservation in promotions does not require the state to collect quantifiable data on the backwardness of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes.
Adherence of the Limit by the States:
- Many states have passed the law breaching the limit of 50% as set by Indra Sawhney judgement such as Maharashtra, Telangana,Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Chhattisgarh Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- The apex court has decided to look into Tamil Nadu’s 69% quota law.But the 69% quota in the state pre-dates the Indra Sawhney judgement.
- Maintaining the Federal Structure:-While deciding the reservation in the state, the state should maintain the federal structure.Under Article 341 and Article 342, declaring a particular community as Scheduled Caste (SC) or Scheduled Tribe (ST) is the power that vested in the parliament.
- Balance between reservation and merit:- A proper balance should be maintain between reservation and merit in order to maintain the efficiency of the institution.
- Spreading the awareness of reservation among the downward section of the society:-Making the downward section of the society more aware of reservations policy and making it accessible to them will further improve the efficiency of the the reservation system and will further help in achieving the desired goal of reservation system.