Prelims Objective Practices Questions
(I.) A law member was added to Governor-General’s Council, under which of the following Acts?
A.) Pitt’s India, 1784
B.) Charter Act, 1813
C.) Charter Act, 1833
D.) Charter Act, 1853
Note:- Lord Macaulay was the first Law Member appointed under the Act
(II.) Which of the following forces affect the velocity and direction of Wind?
1. Pressure gradient force
2. Frictional force
3. Gravitational force
4. Coriolis force
Select the correct answer code:
A.) 1, 2, 3
B.) 1, 3, 4
C.) 2, 3, 4
D.) 1, 2, 3, 4
(III.) In order for biomagnification to occur, the pollutant must be
3. Soluble in fats
4. Biologically inactive
Select the correct answer code:
A.) 1, 2, 3
B.) 1, 3, 4
C.) 1, 2, 3, 4
D.) 2, 3
Question of the Day
Ques. Job creation is a major problem today. How can govt. generate good quality jobs. Discuss
Prelims Specific Facts
NEWS-1 At above 7% retail inflation stays stubborn
- India’s retail inflation inched lower to 7.01% in June, from May’s 7.04%, but stayed stuck above the 7% mark for the third straight month. Price gains also exceeded the RBI’s upper tolerance limit of 6% for the sixth month.
This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s new James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals for the first time previously invisible areas of star birth.
Called the Cosmic Cliffs, Webb’s seemingly three-dimensional picture looks like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening. In reality, it is the edge of the giant, gaseous cavity within NGC 3324, and the tallest “peaks” in this image are about 7 light-years high. The cavernous area has been carved from the nebula by the intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds from extremely massive, hot, young stars located in the center of the bubble, above the area shown in this image.
NEWS-2 Indian, Brazil Navies may collaborate soon
- Indian has inducted four of the six Scorpene submarines contracted from France
- INS Vela, its fourth Scorpene-class submarine.
- The commissioning is taking place under Project 75, which includes construction of six submarines of the Scorpene class.
- Three of these submarines – Kalvari, Khanderi, Karanj – have already been commissioned.
- The fifth one, INS Vagir, was launched in November 2020 and has commenced harbour trials.
- The sixth submarine, INS Vagsheer, is in the advanced stage of outfitting.
- The Brazilian Navy also operates four Scorpene class submarines and is currently in the process of building a nuclear attack submarine (SSN) with assistance from France. India, which has leased SSNS in the past from Russia, is in the process of in digenously building SSNs while it already operates nuclear ballistic submarines (SSBN).
NEWS-3 NASA telescope dives deep into the universe
- In cuba tors for new stars – the Carina Nebula and the Southern Ring Nebula
- The collection also included fresh images of another galaxy cluster known as Stephan’s Quintet, first discovered in 1877.
- Stephan’s Quintet is a visual grouping of five galaxies of which four form the first compact galaxy group ever discovered. The group, visible in the constellation Pegasus, was discovered by Édouard Stephan in 1877 at the Marseille Observatory. The group is the most studied of all the compact galaxy groups.
NEWS-4 Impact of inflation on India’s poor negligible
- A recent UNDP report “Addressing the Cost-of-Living Crisis in Developing Countries” shows that inflation will have only a negligible impact on poverty in India, adding that targeted transfers (such as what India has been doing) help poorer households cope with price spikes.
- From the beginning of the pandemic, Modi Govt has implemented such targetted & time-bound transfers of food and cash to those at the bottom of the pyramid through the PMGKAY and PMGKY. These results highlight the effectiveness of this strategy.
- This new standard of the World Bank is expected to be implemented by the end of this year. The new global poverty line has been fixed using 2017 prices in the new standard. Now the new poverty line has been set at $2.15. This means that if a person is living on an income of less than $2.15 a day, then he will be considered in the category of extremely poor. So far, the standard for measuring the very poor is a daily income of $1.90 or less.
WHAT IS A BOND?
It is a debt instrument that provides investors with a steady income stream via interest payments and repays the principal amount on a pre-defined maturity date.
Terms you should know:-
1. Bond price:
Simply put, it is the present value of the bond’s future cash flows. Bond prices rise or fall according to the supply and demand of the bonds.
2. Coupon rate:
This is the periodic interest rate paid to the purchasers by the issuers on the bond’s face value.
3. Face value:
Also called par value, it is the price that the bond issuer pays at the time of the bond’s maturity
4. Bond yield:
This is the expected earnings realised over some time, represented by a percentage.
5. Yield to maturity:
This is the total return anticipated on a bond if it is held until its maturity.
- Relation of Bond Price and Bond Yield :-
The yield and bond price have an important but inverse relationship. When the bond price is lower than the face value, the bond yield is higher than the coupon rate. When the bond price is higher than the face value, the bond yield is lower than the coupon rate. So, the bond yield calculation depends on the price of the bond and the coupon rate of the bond. If the bond price falls, the yield rises, and if the bond price rises, the yield falls.
- Example 1
There is a 10-year bond with a price of Rs 5000 and a coupon amount of Rs 200. The yield on this bond is calculated as per the formula below
● Yield = interest on bond / market price of the bond x 100
● So, yield = (200/5000) x 100% = 4%Suppose the price of the bond increases from Rs 5000 to Rs 5500 due to strong investor demand. So, the bond now trades at a price of 10% above the issue price. However, the coupon amount remains the same at Rs 200.
● Now the yield changes to (200/5500) x 100% = 3.64%So, the bond price has gone up, which causes the yield on the bond to decrease.Example 2Now suppose the price on the same bond considered above decreases.
● Initial bond price = Rs 5000
● Coupon = Rs 200
● Bond price falls to Rs 4300
● Coupon remains Rs 200
● Now yield is (200/4300) x 100% = 4.65%
Editorial of the Day
Create more jobs revamp employment policy
- The Government of India has T recently announced its plan to create 10 lakh government jobs in the next 18 months. Of about 40 lakh sanctioned posts, 22% posts are now vacant and the Government will fill these posts in 18 months
- Vacancies are much higher
The first question is: how is the Government managing now in the absence of more than a fifth of the required number of staff? There are as many as 8.72 lakh positions that were vacant in various departments of the Central government, as told by the Minister of State in Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
If various positions in public sector banks, the defence forces and pol ice, the health sector, central schools and central universities, and the judiciary are added, then the number touches about 30 lakh posts. This number does not include vacancies in State government jobs.
The Government, however, has not made any complaints about such shortages in recent years.
- Quality as issue
Another major concern is about the quality of employment that will be generated through this plan. The share of contract workers in total government employment has been increasing rapidly in recent years – from 11.11 lakh in 2017 to 13.25 lakh in 2020 and to 24.31 lakh in 2021. In addition, there are “honorary workers” such as Anganvadi workers, their helpers, accredited social health activist (ASHA) workers, etc. These employees of the government earn a lower salary (consoli dated wages), and are not entitled to “decent work” conditions (International Labour Organization recommendations) including a minimum package of social security. The Government must ensure that the employment generated under its plan will be of a standard quality. There has been no assurance so far on this by the Government.
The unemployment rate of the youth is about 20% at present. Given the backlog of about 30 mil lion unemployed people and an annual addition of 50 lakh-70 lakh workers every year (World Bank), the dimensions of India’s unemployment problem today are formidable. The generation of a mere 10 lakh jobs in the next 18 months is too little. This scheme of the Government will hardly provide any relief to the youth of the country; and will not have much of an im pact on the present unemployment problem.
It is important to note here that the performance of the private sector in creating employment opportunities has remained dismal.
Private firms are being seen to be managing their profit margin by cutting costs (in the form of rationalising wage bills). In this situation it is all the more important for the Government to ensure as many jobs as possible.
- Focus on basis needs
As is claimed, if the Government is really in ‘mission mode’ to provide employment to the unemployed, and to the youth, it will have to do much more than what has been announced.
Recent national and inter national reports and rankings have shown that India is lagging far be hind most other countries in terms of health and nutrition, par ticularly women and children, in education, literacy and skills, holistic care of children in early childhood and later; drinking water and sanitation, and other basic infrastructure, etc.
We believe that the Government will have to take responsibility for meeting these basic needs without depending on privatisation – at least for the bottom 40% of the population.
Another major task would also be to reorient the industrialisation policy to focus on labour-intensive sectors of the economy, and pro mote Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
- Urban employment
The urban programme should include: basic urban services, where the youth would get special training so that they can be absorbed in the main stream economy; day-care centres set up for childcare to enable wo men to reduce their unpaid services and to ensure quality care for children; and infrastructural gaps filled in under construction work to facilitate quality urban life. If the gesture of filling vacant posts in the Government is part of a mission employment, it will have to be followed by radical changes in the Government’s employment policy.
Explainer of the Day
Mediation Bill: Not getting the Act together
- The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice has recommended substantial changes
to the Mediation Bill. The panel has particularly cautioned the Centre against making pre-litigation mediation compulsory.
- The Good :-
The Bill recognises that mediation has come of age and needs to be treated as a profession, which is a huge improvement over the part-time honorarium basis it has in the court-annexed mediation schemes. The Bill acknowledges the importance of institutes to train mediators, and service providers to provide structured mediation under their rules. It provides for pre-litigation mediation. This is quite a remarkable step, but is designed to be easy to implement. Parties are required to have at least one substantive session with the mediator where the process is explained to them. Thereafter they are free to continue or terminate the mediation and follow the litigation path if they so decide. Further, if any urgent interim order is needed, they can bypass mediation at the first stage and return to it after resolving the interim relief issue.
Another plus is that the Bill does away with the confusion emanating from using both expressions “mediation” and “conciliation” in different statutes by opting for the former in accordance with international practice, and defining it widely to include the latter. It recognises online dispute resolution, a process that is going to move mediation from the wings to centre stage in a world that COVID-19 has changed. It provides for enforcement of commercial settlements reached in international mediation viz between parties from different countries as per the Singapore Convention on Mediation to which India was a notable signatory. The Convention assures disputants that their mediation settlements will be enforced without much difficulty across the world, unlike the fresh headaches that the litigative decree or arbitration award present at the time of enforcement.
- The bad :-
Leading in from the last point, it is expected that this Bill would make India a hub for international
mediation in the commercial disputes field, and indeed institutions are being opened for this purpose. Exactly the reverse may happen. This is because the Bill unwisely treats international
mediation when conducted in India as a domestic mediation. The settlement under the latter is given the status of a judgment or decree of a court. Now, that is excellent for cases between Indian parties, but disastrous when one party is foreign. The reason is that the Singapore Convention does not apply to settlements which already have the status of a judgment or decree. Ergo, if you conduct your cross-border mediation in India, you lose out on the tremendous benefits of worldwide enforce ability. In sum, go to Singapore or SriLanka or anywhere else other than India to conduct your mediation.
Then comes the governing mechanism, the Council. It has three members: a retired senior judge, a person with experience of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) law and an academic who has taught ADR. This is an all-powerful body which regulates, certifies, accredits, plans, governs, etc., and it doesn’t have a single mediator. Judging from the fact that these are full-time members, it is clear that none of them will be active practitioners. Most likely we are looking at sinecures for the bureaucratic and academic world. Certainly this Bill will be unique where a profession is being regulated without a single professional on the regulator.
Then there is a long list of disputes which should not be mediated. Some of them look understandable at first sight but unnecessary at second.