Prelims Objective Practices Questions
(I.) Which of these acts, for the first time, provided for the association of Indians with the executive Councils of the Viceroy and introduced the system of communal representation?
a) Indian Councils Act of 1909
b) Government of India Act of 1919 c) Government of India Act 1935
d) Councils Act 1891
(II.) Which of the following factors can be considered as the Basis of International Trade?
1. Stage of economic development
3. Extent of foreign investment
4. Difference in national resources
Select the correct answer code:
a) 1, 2, 3
b) 1, 3, 4
c) 2, 3, 4
d) 1, 2, 3, 4
(III.) Arrange the following ecosystems in the decreasing order of biomass productivity (g per metre square per year).
1. Tropical Rain forests
2. Open ocean
3. Coral reefs
4. Swamps and marshes
Select the correct answer code:
Question of the Day
Q. What Should be the role of President in India’s Polity. Should President Just remain a rubber stamp?
Prelims Specific Facts
- Customs duty refers to the tax imposed on goods when they are transported across international borders. In simple terms, it is the tax that is levied on import and export of goods. The government uses this duty to raise its revenues, safeguard domestic industries, and regulate movement of goods.
- The rate of Customs duty varies depending on where the goods were made and what they were made of.Custom duty in India is defined under the Customs Act, 1962, and all matters related to it fall under the Central Board of Excise & Customs (CBEC).
- Types of custom duty Basic
Customs Duty (BCD)
Countervailing Duty (CVD)
Additional Customs Duty or Special CVD
- The DRI is the apex anti-smuggling agency of India, working under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India.
- The Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) was renamed as the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in 2018 after the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST). CBIC deals with the tasks of formulation of policy concerning levy and collection of Customs, Central Excise duties, Central Goods & Services Tax and Integrated GST, prevention of smuggling.
- It is tasked with detecting and curbing smuggling of contraband, including drug trafficking and illicit international trade in wildlife and environmentally sensitive items, as well as combating commercial frauds related to international trade and evasion of Customs duty.
- The DRI has also been designated as the lead agency for Anti-Smuggling National Coordination Centre (SCord).
- It was constituted on 4th December, 1957.
NEWS-2 India ranks 135 out of 146 in Gender Gap Index
- India ranks 135 among a total of 146 countries in the Global Gender Gap Index, 2022, released by the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. The country is the worst performer in the world in the “health and survival” sub-index in which it is ranked 146.
- India ranks poorly among its neighbours and is behind Bangladesh (71), Nepal (96), Sri Lanka (110), Maldives (117) and Bhutan (126). Only the performance of Iran (143), Pakistan (145) and Afghanistan
(146) was worse than India in South Asia. In 2021, India ranked 140 out of 156 nations.
- The Global Gender Gap Index benchmarks gender parity across four key dimensions or sub-indices – economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, and political empowerment. It measures scores on a 0-to-100 scale.
- India ranks 146 in health and survival, 143 in economic participation and opportunity, 107 in educational attainment and 48 in political empowerment.
NEWS-3 Assessing juvenility a ‘delicate task”
- Section 15 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 requires a “preliminary assessment” to be done of the mental and physical capacity of juveniles, aged between 16 and 18, who are involved in serious crimes.
The assessment is meant to gauge a child’s ability to understand the consequences of the offence and the circumstances in which he or she allegedly committed the offence.
If the Juvenile Justice Board is of the opinion that the juvenile should not be treated as an adult, it would not pass on the case to the children’s court and hear the case itself. In that case, if the child is found guilty, he would be sent to juvenile care for three years.
On the other hand, if the Board decides to refer the case to the children’s court for trial as an adult, the juvenile, if guilty, would even face life imprisonment.
- The court said the Board which conduct the assessment of the child should have at least one child psychologist. It should further take the assistance of experienced psychologists or psychosocial workers.
- The apex court’s judgment came while dismissing the appeals filed by the CBI and the relative of a Class 2 child who was allegedly found murdered in the washroom of his Gurugram school in 2017.
- The suspect, a Class 9 student of the same school, underwent a preliminary assessment in which it was decided that he should be tried as an adult. The Bench found that his assessment was limited to an IQ test. The apex court upheld the High Court’s decision to reverse the assessment and refer the case back to the Juvenile Justice Board for a fresh ‘preliminary assessment’ of the now 21-year-old.
NEWS-4 India has achieved clean energy targets 9 years before deadline
- India has achieved clean energy targets nine years ahead of schedule.
India has installed 162 GW (1 GW is 1,000 MW) of renew able energy capacity, which is 41% of the 402 GW of electricity installed.
“We reached this target on November 2021 and what our Prime Minister did was ask us to raise our ambition and so in Glasgow (at the UN COP-21) our Prime Minister committed to installing 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030, which would then be 50% of the installed capacity.
- In 2015, India committed to ensuring that 40% of its energy would be from renewable sources by 2030.
- In 2015, India committed to ensuring that 40% of its energy would be from renewable sources by 2030 as part of its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC).
NEWS-5 Push for wider use of genomics in all countries
- The World Health Organization’s Science Council, in its first report, has called for accelerating access to genomics across the world.
- The field of genomics tries to use human genetic material to study and research cures and treatments for medical conditions, and is used in a wide range of applications in animal sciences, and agriculture.
- After the WHO constituted the Science Council of experts in April 2021 to provide guidance on the science and research strategy of the organisation, it identified genomics as the focus of its first report.
- Harold Varmus, a Nobel Laureate and former Director of the U.N. National Institutes of Health, who also chairs the Science Council.
NEWS-6 I2U2 can become a regional feature like Quad
- The U.S. believes that ‘I2U2’, a group comprising India, Israel, The U.S., and the UAE, can become “a feature” of the West Asian region, just like the Quad is for the Indo-Pacific.
- I2U2, which was launched last autumn, has been called the “West Asian Quad” by some commentators.
- I2U2 stands for India, Israel, the UAE, and the US, and was also referred to as the ‘West Asian Quad’.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the first-ever I2U2 Virtual Summit along with the heads of state of Israel, the UAE, and the US on July 14 2022.
- Back in October 2021, a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries had taken place when External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar was visiting Israel. At that time, the grouping was called the ‘International Forum for Economic Cooperation’.
- Its stated aim is to discuss “common areas of mutual interest, to strengthen the economic partnership in trade and investment in our respective regions and beyond”.
- Six areas of cooperation have been identified by the countries mutually, and the aim is to encourage joint investments in water, energy, transportation, space, health, and food security.
- The press release added that with the help of “private sector capital and expertise”, the countries will look to modernise infrastructure, explore low carbon development avenues for industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.
NEWS-7 India’s imports from China rose to a record in first half of 2022
- The trade imbalance is also on track for another record, with India’s exports to China sliding 35% and accounting for only $9.57 billion of the total $67.08 billion in two-way trade.
- India’s biggest imports last year were electrical and mechanical machinery, chemicals used in industrial production, active pharmaceutical ingredients and auto components.
Editorial of the Day
Scale up the India-South Korea bilateral partnership
- There was a clear drift by South Korea away from multilateral security initiatives led by the United States, such as the Quad (the U.S., Australia, India and Japan); meanwhile, India has been actively participating in them.
- The newly elected Korean President, Yoon Suk Yeol, has brought about a paradigm shift in South Korean foreign and security policies. He has proposed that South Korea should step up to become a “global pivotal state, anchored in liberal values and a rules-based order”, that “advances freedom, peace, and prosperity through liberal democratic values and substantial cooperation”.
- n the last few years, India and South Korea have faced serious blockades to their economic ties. Trade between the two countries was sluggish and there was no major inflow of South Korean investment into India. India and South Korea were also trying to upgrade their Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) agreement, but to no avail.
- South Korea’s strategic policy shift to correct its heavy tilt towards China is bound to bring new economic opportunities for both countries.
- In 2020, India and South Korea signed a Roadmap for Defence Industries Cooperation between the Republic of India and the Republic of Korea (ROK) deal. However, due to the lack of political and strategic alignment, nothing came of it.
- India has evolved excellent strategic partnerships with Japan, Vietnam and Australia. Unfortunately, so far, South Korea has not received the same level of attention from the Indian establishment. This needs to change. South Korea could be the fourth pillar in India’s Indo-Pacific strategy along with Japan, Australia, and Vietnam.
- The real challenge for global geopolitics is this: can South Korea withstand the inevitable Chinese pressure and stick to its new alignment?
During the Moon presidency, South Korea was forced to sign the “three no’s” agreement with China. Under this agreement, Korea agreed to: no additional Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment; no participation in the U.S.’s missile defence network, and no establishment of a trilateral military alliance with the U.S. and Japan.
India can help South Korea withstand Chinese pressure and North Korean threats. An independent, strong, and democratic South Korea can be a long-term partner with India.
Explainer of the Day
1. The President is not a mere rubber stamp
- ” Dr. B.R. Ambedkar said: “Our President is merely a nominal figurehead. He has no discretion; he has no powers of administration at all.”
But is the President of India a mere figurehead? Article 53 of the Constitution says that “the executive power of the Union shall be vested in the President and shall be exercised by him either directly or through officers subordinate to him in accordance with this Constitution.”
So, we come back to the question of how crucial this office is to the governance of the country.
- Under Article 54, the President is elected by an electoral college consisting of only the elected members of both Houses of Parliament and the elected members of the State and Union Territory Assemblies.
The point is that in the computation of the value, the population of the State figures in a significant way. In other words, the population of the country is a crucial factor in the election of the President, which means the people’s presence in the process of electing the President is very much visible. This gives a wider base to the President than a mere vote by the legislators on the basis of one member, one vote. This also gives the President a greater moral authority. So, the Indian President is not and cannot be a mere rubber stamp. He does not directly exercise the executive authority of the Union, but he can disagree with the decision of the Council of Ministers, caution them, counsel them, and so on. The President can ask the Cabinet to reconsider its decisions. It is another matter that if the Cabinet, after such reconsideration, sends the same proposal back without any change, the President will have to sign it. That is be cause under the Cabinet system of government, it is the Cabinet which is responsible for the government’s decisions. The President is in no way personally responsible for those decisions which he or she approves.
But the point to note is that the President can disagree with the decisions of the Cabinet and ask the Cabinet to reconsider them. The Constitution of India wants the President to be vigilant and responsive, and gives the freedom to him or her to take a broader view of things uninfluenced by the narrow political view of the executive.
This point becomes clearer when we take a look at the oath the President takes before entering office.
*//. First, The President shall preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.
*//. Second, the President shall devote himself or herself to the service and the well-being of the
people of India.
2. In high-res: unfolding mysteries of the night sky
- About 13.8 billion years ago, through the Big Bang, our Universe emerged. The first stars and galaxies were born around 300 million years after the Big Bang. To know more about the formation of these stars and galaxies, we do not need a time machine or time travel. As light travels with a velocity of about 3,00,000 km per second, light from a distant object will take time to reach us on Earth. Hence, when we see a distant stellar object, we see it as if it were far back in time. Powerful telescopes are therefore, like time machines.
- Therefore, to look deep back into the early phases of the Universe, we need a giant infrared telescope. JWST is the biggest infrared telescope ever built. With a 6.5-metre primary mirror, the JWST infrared telescope collects more photons than Hubble. It can see even the faintest flicker from the most distant regions of the cosmos.
- The SMACS 0723 is a noted cluster of galaxies around 5.12 billion light-years away. Situated in the direction of the southern constellation of Volans, the image is as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, about the same time when the Sun and the Earth evolved. The cluster has been previously studied by Hubble, Planck and Chandra space telescopes. But the rich details and features of the JWST’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam) are unmatched.
- One such stellar nursery booming with new stars is a giant interstellar gas cloud in our galaxy called NGC 3324, located in the direction of the Carina Nebula. The stunning image of an edge of the NGC 3324, dubbed Cosmic Cliff, located approximately 7,600 light-years from Earth, is home to many massive and young stars than our Sun. With the giant gas cloud condensing into new stars, this is an active star-forming region. Hot gas and dust emit infrared light. By steering its NIRCam and MIRI instruments into the highly-dense dust clouds, the JWST has revealed rich details of this star formation region.