Prelims Objective Practices Questions
(I.) Where is Kilauea Volcano?
(II.) Arrange the following Himalayan ranges from South to North:
1. Pir Panjal Range
2. Ladakh Range
3. Zanskar Range
4. Karakoram Range
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
(III.) Arrange the following hills of North East from North to South:
1. Dafla hills
2. Mishmi hills
3. Mikir hills
4. Jaintia hills
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
Question of the Day
Ques:- What lessons can India learn from Taiwan while handling China.
CSAT Question of the Day
The least number which should be added to 2497 so that the sum is exactly divisible by 5, 6, 4 and 3 is:
Prelims Specific Facts
NEWS-1 RBI raises rates, vows nimble policy
- Policy repo rate raised by 50 basis points to 5.4%
- With inflation remaining at ‘elevated levels’, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India unanimously decided to raise the policy repo rate by 50 basis points (bps) to 5.4%.
- Headline inflation refers to the change in value of all goods in the basket.
- Core inflation excludes food and fuel items from headline inflation.
- Since the prices of fuel and food items tend to fluctuate and create ‘noise’ in inflation computation, core inflation is less volatile than headline inflation.
- 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).
- Reason for Repo Rate as Policy Rate: Repo rate changes transmit through the money market to the entire financial system, which, in turn, influences aggregate demand. Thus, it is a key determinant of inflation and 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.
- With reference to Indian economy, consider the following: (2015)
1. Bank rate
2. Open market operations
3. Public debt
4. Public revenue
Which of the above is/are component/ components of Monetary Policy?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2, 3 and 4
(c) 1 and 2
(d) 1, 3 and 4
- What is the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)?
- Origin: Under Section 45ZB of the amended (in 2016) RBI Act, 1934, the central government is empowered to constitute a six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
- Objective: Further, Section 45ZB lays down that “the Monetary Policy Committee shall determine the Policy Rate required to achieve the inflation target”.
- The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee shall be binding on the Bank.
- Composition: Section 45ZB says the MPC shall consist of 6 members:
- RBI Governor as its ex officio chairperson,
- Deputy Governor in charge of monetary policy,
- An officer of the Bank to be nominated by the Central Board,
- Three persons to be appointed by the central government.
- This category of appointments must be from “persons of ability, integrity and standing, having knowledge and experience in the field of economics or banking or finance or monetary policy”.
- Which of the following statements is/are correct regarding the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)? (2017)
1. It decides the RBI’s benchmark interest rates.
2. It is a 12-member body including the Governor of RBI and is reconstituted every year.
3. It functions under the chairmanship of the Union Finance Minister.
Select the correct answer using the code given below:-
(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 2 and 3 only
NEWS-2 SC moots verdict for ‘bodily autonomy’
- 51-year old abortion law which bars unmarried women from terminating pregnancies up to 24 weeks old.
- “Manifestly arbitrary and violative of women’s right to bodily autonomy and dignity”.
- A Bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and J.B. Pardiwala considered pronouncing a judgment which would put these unmarried women on a par with anguished women with less than 20-week old pregnancies who run the danger of suffering a mental breakdown because they had conceived due to the failure of “family planning devices or methods”.
- The medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 and its Rules of 2003 prohibit unmarried women who are between 20 weeks and 24 weeks pregnant to abort with the help of registered medical practitioners.
- “An unmarried woman suffers an unwanted pregnancy, why should she be excluded from termination up to 24 weeks if a married woman is allowed it… The danger to life is as much in the case of an unmarried woman as in the case of a married woman,”.
- The court noted that the rules permit termination of pregnancies of up to 24 weeks in seven specific categories, including survivors of rape or sexual assault, minors, in case of physical dis abilities and fetal malformation.
- But Justice Chandrachud said an unmarried woman whose pregnancy is over 20 weeks may have also conceived in a similarly vulnerable situation.
- “Ultimately what does the legislature intend… The legislature has not just used the word ‘husband’. It has also used the word ‘partner’. So the legislature is not just concerned about women who undergo pregnancy within marriage, but outside marriage too. Medical risk is the same for both married and unmarried women,” Justice Chandrachud observed.
- In 2021, Parliament altered the law to allow for abortions based on the advice of one doctor for pregnancies up to 20 weeks.
- The modified law needs the opinion of two doctors for pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks.
- Further, for pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks, rules specified seven categories of women who would be eligible for seeking termination under section 3B of rules prescribed under the MTP Act,
- Survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest,
- Change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce),
- Women with physical disabilities [major disability as per criteria laid down under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016
- Mentally ill women including mental retardation,
- The foetal malformation that has a substantial risk of being incompatible with life or if the child is born it may suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities to be seriously handicapped, and
- Women with pregnancy in humanitarian settings or disasters or emergencies may be declared by the Government.
- In the previous version of the Act, the opinion of one registered doctor was required to access a medical abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, while two doctors were required to endorse the abortion up to 20 weeks.
- Besides, if the pregnancy has to be terminated beyond the 24-week gestational age, it can only be done on the grounds of foetal abnormalities if a four-member Medical Board, as set up in each State under the Act, gives permission to do so.
- The law, notwithstanding any of the above conditions, also provides that where it is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, abortion can be carried out at any time by a single registered medical practitioner.
- Under the 2021 Act, Unmarried women can also access abortion under the above-mentioned conditions, because it does not mention the requirement of spousal consent. If the woman is a minor, however, the consent of a guardian is required.
- Visva-Bharati University
- The university was set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 at Santiniketan, Bolpur in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
- It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
- Until independence, it was a college. Soon after independence, the institution was given the status of a central university in 1951 by an act of the Parliament.
- The origins of the institution date back to 1863 when Debendranath Tagore was given a tract of land by the zamindar of Raipur, the zamindar of Kirnahar.
- He set up an ashram at the spot that has now come to be called chatim tala at the heart of the town.
- The ashram was initially called Brahmacharya Ashram, which was later renamed Brahmacharya Vidyalaya.
- Rajya Sabha Chairman M.Venkaiah Naidu said on Friday that members have a wrong notion that they have a privilege from action by the investigating agencies while the session is on.
- Article 105 of the Constitution, MPs enjoyed certain privileges so that they can perform their parliamentary duties without any hindrance. “One of the privileges is that a Member of Parliament cannot be arrested in a civil case, 40 days before the commencement of the session or committee meeting and 40 days thereafter. This privilege is already incorporated under section 135A of the Civil Procedure Code.
- However, in criminal matters, MPs are not on a different footing than a common citizen. “It means that an MP does not enjoy any immunity from being arrested in a criminal case during the session or otherwise,”.
- He recounted a ruling given in 1966 by Dr. Zakir Hussain that said, “Members of Parliament do enjoy certain privileges so that they can perform their duties. One such privilege is freedom from arrest when Parliament is in session. This privilege of freedom from arrest is limited only to civil cases and has not been allowed to interfere in the administration of criminal proceedings.”
- All India Radio was launched
- All India Radio
- The All India Radio (AIR), a division of Prasar Bharati is the national public radio broadcasting service of India.
- Officially known as Akashvani since 1956, it is the world’s second-largest radio network. As per the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, AIR has covered over 99% of the population of the country. It is headquartered in New Delhi and is Doordarshan’s sister service under Prasar Bharati.
- Its motto is “Bahujanahitaya Bahujanasukhaya” (for the happiness and welfare of all).
- In 1957, the Vividh Bharati radio channel was launched to compete with Radio Ceylon.
- In 1976, Doordarshan split from AIR.
- In 1977, FM broadcasting started from Chennai. This was expanded during the nineties.
- All India Radio
- On 15 September 1959, the Government of India launched Doordarshan or DD in short, India’s public service broadcaster in Delhi. Starting as an experiment with a small 5 KW transmitter and an improvised studio, DD became a national broadcaster in 1982.
- Effective from 1997, Prasar Bharati is the broadcasting corporation that owns both Doordarshan and the All India Radio. Prasar Bharati is controlled by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- India on Friday said the statement by the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation on Jammu and Kashmir “reeked of bigotry”.
- What is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation?
- The OIC claims to be the “collective voice of the Muslim world”.
- It was established at a 1969 summit in Rabat (Morocco) after what it describes as the ‘criminal arson’ of Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
- It has 57 member Countries.
- India is not a Member of OIC.
- The OIC endeavours to establish solidarity among member states.
- To support restoration of complete sovereignty and territorial integrity of any member state under occupation.
- To protect, defend and combat defamation of Islam.
- To prevent growing dissention in Muslim societies and work to ensure that member states take a united stand at the U. N. General Assembly, Human Rights Council and other international fora.
- Headquarters: Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
- The organisation plans to permanently move its headquarters to East Jerusalem once the disputed city is ‘liberated’.
- Moreover, it aspires to hold Israel accountable for ‘War Crimes’ and violations of international law.
- OIC charter:
- The organisation adheres to a charter that lays out its objectives, principles and operating mechanism.
- First adopted in 1972, the charter has been revised multiple times in line with emerging conditions in the developing world.
- The present charter was adopted in March 2008 at Dakar in Senegal.
NEWS-6 Centre launches portal to register for rations
- The Centre has launched a common facility to register names in ration cards on pi lot basis for 11 States and Union Territories.
- The facility will enable these States to identify and verify the eligible beneficiaries for coverage under the National Food Security Act. Named as Ration Mitr, this software developed by the National Informatics Centre can be used to enrol people of any State.
- He said the portal is an enabler for States/U.T.s to complete their inclusion exercise under NFSA. He added that the scheme will be extended to other States by the end of August. The NFSA provides food security coverage for 81.35 crore persons in the country. The present NFSA coverage is about 79.74 crore.
Editorial of the Day
Lessons for India from the Taiwan standoff
- For the U.S., it is about re-establishing steadily-diminishing American credibility in the eyes of its friends and foes. For Taiwan, it is about standing up to Chinese bullying and making its red lines clear to Beijing.
- For those of us in India watching the events as they unfold around Taiwan, there are valuable lessons to be learnt. To begin with, consider this. A small island of 23 million people has decided to stand up to one of the strongest military and economic powers on the planet, braving existential con sequences. India is a far more powerful nation armed with nuclear weapons and with a 1.4 million standing military against whom China has only marginal territorial claims. And yet, India continues to be hesitant about calling China’s bluff.
- To be fair, there is growing re cognition in New Delhi that it is important to meet the challenge posed by a belligerent China, but there appears to be a lack of clarity on how meet this challenge . To that extent, the Taiwan crisis offers New Delhi three lessons, at the very least.
- Unambiguous messaging
- The most important lesson from the Taiwan standoff for policymakers in New Delhi is the importance of articulating red lines and sovereign positions in an unambiguous manner. New Delhi needs to unambiguously highlight the threat from China and the sources of such a threat.
- Till date, India’s leadership has not clarified to the country what really went on at the border in 2020 and whether China continues to be in illegal occupation of Indian territory.
- In other words, India’s current policy of ‘hide and seek’ China amounts to poor messaging, and confusing to its own people as well as the larger international community, and is therefore counterproductive.
- Appeasement of China, Taiwan knows, is not the answer to Beijing’s aggression. China today is a revisionist power, challenging the regional order; is intent on using force to meet its strategic objectives, and is desirous of reshaping the regional balance of power to suit its interests. With such a power, appeasement might work in the short term, but will invariably backfire over the long term.
- First, India’s policy of meeting/ hosting Chinese leaders while the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) continue(d) to violate established territorial norms on the LAC is a deeply flawed one.
- The second mistake is unilaterally catering to Chinese sensitivities even during the standoffs between the two militaries. For instance, the parliamentary delegation visits and legislature-level dialogues between India and Tai wan have not taken place since 2017.
- The third mistake was the soft peddling of the Quad (Australia, Japan, India and the United States) when China objected to it.
- Perhaps the gravest mistake India has made has been the non acknowledgement of the PLA’s intrusion into Indian territory in 2020, and its capture and occupation of Indian territory along the LAC since.
- Consider this. Mainland China is Taiwan’s largest trading partner, and China has an annual trade deficit of around $80 billion to $130 billion with Taiwan. More so, in vestments from Taiwan to China were to the tune of $198.3 billion by 2021, whereas investments from mainland China to Taiwan were only $2.5 billion from 2009 to 2021. In other words, Taiwan knows that despite the sabre-rattling by Beijing, given the economic interdependence between the two sides, China is unlikely to stop trading with Taiwan for, after all, China is dependent on the semi conductors produced in Taiwan in a big way.
Addressing the challenges in new-age digital commerce
- Despite the rapid advancement of digital platforms on the one hand and the pervasiveness of the Internet-enabled phone on the other, small enterprises such as local kirana stores have not gained from this. Online purchases from “near and now” inventory from the local store remain in a digital vacuum. This is because, to sell on numerous platforms, sellers must maintain a separate infrastructure, which only adds costs and limits participation. The distinct terms and conditions of each plat form further limit the sellers’ flexibility. Consequently, small and medium-sized businesses have lost their freedom to choose and participate in the country’s e-commerce system at their will and on their terms. Alarmingly, centralising digital commerce transactions on a single platform creates a single point of failure.
- The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) of the Government of India established the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to level the playing field by developing open e-commerce and enabling access to small businesses and dealers. The ONDC network makes it possible for products and services from all participating e-commerce plat forms to be displayed in search results across all network apps. For instance, a consumer shopping for a product on an e-commerce app named “X” would also receive results from e-commerce app named “Y”, if both X and Y integrated their platforms with the ONDC.
- The ONDC began its pilot in five cities in April 2022, i.e., New Del hi, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Bhopal and Shillong. Currently, the pi lot has expanded to 18 cities, and there are immediate plans to add more cities.
- Disputes will be the obvious by product of this e-commerce revolution. Therefore, it is imperative to support this initiative with a modern-day, cost-effective, timely and high-speed dispute resolution system.
- Online Dispute Resolution, or ODR as it is popularly called, has the propensity to work alongside the incumbent setup and deliver quick, affordable and enforceable outcomes. The ODR is not restricted to the use of legal mechanisms such as mediation, conciliation and arbitration in an online environment but can be tailormade for the specific use case keeping the participants in mind.
- From making dispute resolution simple to handling complex multi-party disputes; from 24×7 accessibility from the remotest regions to availability in regional languages; from enabling a safe and secure online infrastructure to ensuring minimal touch points, the ODR can not only digitise the en tire value chain but can also facilitate an enhanced user experience.
- For example, the eBay Resolution Center uses the ODR and resolves over 60 million disputes between small traders every year through a platform that enables dealers and purchasers to directly communicate and, for the most part, without the assistance of a third party. Alibaba, one of the world’s largest retailers and e commerce companies, too hast adopted the ODR to resolve disputes arising our of transactions over the platform.
- The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has mandated platforms in the UPI ecosystem to adopt the ODR for complaints and grievances connected to failed transactions. Ingram, SEBI SCORES (or the Securities and Ex change Board of India SEBI COM plaints REdress System), RBI CMS (or the Reserve Bank of India Com plaint Management System), MahaRERA (or the Maharashtra Real Estate Regulatory Authority), MSME Samadhaan (or the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Delayed Payment Monitoring Sys tem), and RTIOnline (or the Right to Information Online) are other examples of ODR systems that are widely used in the country.