15th October, 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Prelims Specific Questions :-

1) Kunming Declaration, in news, is related to which of the following:

  1. Biodiversity Conversation
  2. Climate Change
  3. Cyber Security
  4. Disaster Reduction

2)With reference to National Human Right Commission (NHRC), consider the following statements:

  1. It has the powers of criminal court and can grant interim relief.
  2. Its recommendations are binding on the government.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

3)With reference to Green Grid Initiative- One Sun One World One Grid’, consider the following statements:

  1. It aims to build global consensus about sharing solar resources.
  2. It is launched by Ministry of Power and New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

The plan focuses on a framework for facilitating global cooperation, building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources (mainly solar energy) that can be seamlessly shared. 

Statement 2 is correct: It is launched by MNRE.

Prelims Specific News Items :-

1) Kunming Declaration

  • The “Kunming Declaration” was adopted by over 100 countries in the ongoing virtual 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD).
  • The theme of the COP-15 is Ecological Civilization: Building a Shared Future for All Life on Earth”.
  • COP15 is being held to review the achievement and delivery of the CBD’s Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020.

What are the key points in Kunming Declaration?

  • It calls upon the parties to “mainstream” biodiversity protection in decision-making and recognise the importance of conservation in protecting human health.
  • They should ensure that the post-pandemic recovery plans contribute to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, promoting sustainable and inclusive development.
  • The declaration expects signatory nations to synchronize Biodiversity plans with the three UN decades program which are on ‘Sustainable Development’, ‘Ecological Restoration’, Ecosystem Restoration.

Note: Conference of Parties (CoP) is the governing body of the Convention, and advances implementation of the Convention through the decisions it takes at its periodic meetings.

2) GI tags to Karuppur kalamkari paintings and the Kallakurichi wood carvings-

Karuppur kalamkari paintings and the Kallakurichi wood carvings have received geographical indication (GI) tags.

What are Karuppur kalamkari paintings?

  • Karuppur Kalamkari paintings are done in Karuppur and its surrounding villages in Tamil Nadu.
  • Purpose: The paintings are done on pure cotton cloth and are predominantly used in temples for umbrella covers, cylindrical hangings, chariot covers and asmanagiri (false ceiling cloth pieces).
  • Origin: The documentary evidence has shown that kalamkari paintings evolved under the patronage of Nayaka rulers in the early 17th century.

What are Kallakurichi wood carvings?

  • Kallakurichi wood carvings are mainly practised in the Kallakurichi district in Tamil Nadu.
  • Purpose: They are a unique form of wood carving ​​wherein the craftsmen are specialised in carving temple-related items and also furniture using traditional designs.
  • Origin: The woodcarving skill evolved as an indigenous art when Madurai was an important town under different monarchical regimes in ancient times.

Important news :-

1) Nirav Modi sister’s trust offers its Swiss account funds to Govt –

THE DEPOSIT Trust whose details were revealed in the Pandora Papers in which Purvi Modi, sister of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, is a settlor, has offered to remit about Rs 275 crore lying in its Swiss bank account to the Indian Government.

A settlor is an individual or party who establishes the trust by placing a particular asset.

About British Virgin Islands –

British Virgin Islands

Virgin Islands, group of about 90 small islands, islets, cays, and rocks in the West Indies, situated some 40 to 50 miles (64 to 80 kilometres) east of Puerto Rico. The islands extend from west to east for about 60 miles and are located west of the Anegada Passage, a major channel connecting the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Their combined land area is about 195 square miles (505 square kilometres).

The islands are administered in two groups—the British Virgin Islands and the United States Virgin Islands. The former is a British colony consisting of four larger islands—Tortola, Anegada, Virgin Gorda, and Jost Van Dyke—and 32 smaller islands and islets, of which more than 20 are uninhabited. Their total area is 59 square miles, and they lie to the north and east of the U.S. islands. The latter group, administered by the U.S. Department of the Interior as an unincorporated territory, consists of three larger islands—St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas—and some 50 smaller islets and cays, with a total area of 133 square miles.

2) Iran slams Adani Ports ban as unprofessional –

DAYSAFTER a massive drug haul at the Mundra port in Gujarat made the Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) issue a trade advisory stating that it will not handle any container cargo originating from Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (Adani Ports & SEZ) formerly known as Mundra Port and Special Economic Zone Limited, is India’s largest private multi-port operator. APSEZ represents a large network of ports with India’s largest SEZ at Mundra. APSEZ Port Business is integral to its Logistics Business and is India’s Largest private port operator with presence across 12 locations. The Adani Group, an integrated infrastructure corporation.

3) BSF powers and jurisdiction –

The Border Security Force’s jurisdiction has been extended in three states and reduced in Gujarat, all up to 50 km within the border.

The international borders in the three states where BSF’s jurisdiction has been enhanced.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) up to 50 km inside the international borders in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam.

The BSF’s powers — which include arrest, search and seizure — were limited to up to 15 km in these states. At the same time, the Ministry has reduced BSF’s area of operation in Gujarat from 80 km from the border, to 50 km.

The move, announced by a gazette notification has been criticised by the Punjab and West Bengal governments, which have called it an attack on the federal structure and an attempt to curtail the rights of the state police.

The government said it was exercising the powers under the Border Security Force Act of 1968.

What kind of powers can the BSF exercise in this jurisdiction?

Its jurisdiction has been extended only in respect of the powers it enjoys under Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Passport Act, 1967. BSF currently has powers to arrest and search under these laws.

Why has the government extended the jurisdiction?

Sources said the objective of the move is to bring in uniformity and also to increase operational efficiency. “Earlier we had different jurisdictions in different states. This has been done to bring uniformity to our jurisdiction,” BSF IG (Operations) Solomon Yash Kumar Minz said.

MHA sources said the move was also necessitated due to increasing instances of drones dropping weapons and drugs in Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. However, the kind of drones spotted so far do not have a range beyond 20 km.

There has been no official explanation for why BSF’s jurisdiction has not been increased under the Arms Act, Customs Act and NDPS Act, which cover most of the smuggling offences on the border and deal with far greater offences.

An officer, who served in West Bengal, said this may have happened as central agencies have jurisdiction in these matters. “If BSF catches drugs beyond its jurisdiction, it can always involve the Narcotics Control Bureau, or in case of arms, the National Investigation Agency.

4) Customs duty waiver on edible oil imports: will it help control prices?

About Customs Duty –

  • 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).
  • The Budget estimate of the government’s customs revenue for the year 2020-21 was Rs 1,38,000 crore. The revised estimates of customs for the 2019-20 Budget came at Rs 1,25,000 crore, while the actuals for the 2018-19 Budget stood at Rs 1,17,812.85 crore.

Types of custom duty –

  • Basic Customs Duty (BCD)
  • Countervailing Duty (CVD)
  • Additional Customs Duty or Special CVD
  • Protective Duty,
  • Anti-dumping Duty

5) US elected back to UN Human Rights Council after Trump era –

THE UN General Assembly elected the United States to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council, more than three years after the Trump administration quit the 47-member body over what it called chronic bias against Israel and a lack of reform.

About UNHRC –

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
  • It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
  • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

6) RBI Dy Guv: Banks will have to prepare for capital account convertibility –

Capital account convertibility is a feature of a nation’s financial regime that centers on the ability to conduct transactions of local financial assets into foreign financial assets freely or at market determined exchange rates.

The Tarapore Committee (2006) defined capital account convertibility as the “freedom to convert local financial assets into foreign financial assets and vice versa.”

Similarly, Current account convertibility means the freedom to conduct investment transactions without any constraints. Typically, it would mean no restrictions on the amount of rupees you can convert into foreign currency to enable you, an Indian resident, to acquire any foreign asset. Similarly, there should be no restraints on your NRI cousin bringing in any amount of dollars or dirhams to acquire an asset in India.

India has come a long way in liberating the capital account transactions in the last three decades and currently has partial capital account convertibility.

Editorial of the day

1) A crisis of compassion in India: About Indian Prisoners –

While releasing prisoners in view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the high-powered committee mandated by the Supreme Court of India to decongest prisons did not invoke the health vulnerabilities of prisoners but recalled the crimes they were accused of committing. 

Unconnected realities reflect one principle — that legal practices and discussions in the public sphere continue to privilege the principle of retribution as justice over rehabilitation. This lack of compassion may arise from the fact that a disproportionate number of prisoners in Indian prisons come from Muslim, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities. Because of the abject poverty and powerlessness of most of the accused from these groups, they have little access to quality legal representation or aid. They languish in prisons without bail for periods even longer than the punishment mandated by the law they are accused of violating. Many suffer continued incarceration even after securing bail, simply for the lack of surety or inability to pay cash bail.

The lack of compassion is not only a feature of the criminal justice system. Withholding compassion from certain categories of human beings has become a hallmark of majoritarian nationalism.

Before long, it was not just charges of sedition and defamation, allegations of offences such as incitement, rioting, damage to public property or attempt to murder were made against dissenters. Unlawful custody, custodial torture, and criminal intimidation by police and investigative agencies appear to have become a norm too. Remarkably, protesters too demonstrated a total lack of fear of any brutality. 

Human rights activists and lawyers have been at pains to demarcate categories of prisoners that might be considered as deserving of judicial compassion.

Indian prisons have alarmingly high occupancy rates, mass incarceration of the poorest and powerless — this was a problem already crying for attention. Taking cognisance of this problem will be an opportunity to rethink and reframe the debates on the protection of rights of the accused persons.

2) In search of home : Migrations –

Migration is not a single act, but a continuing process in which ordinary people are caught between the memory of violence past and present.

Some basic terms:

Human Migration:It is the movement by people from one place to another with the intention of settling, permanently or temporarily in a new location (within or outside the home country). Such people are called migrants.
Immigration:Immigration is coming to a foreign country with the intention of permanently living there.
Emigration:Emigration is leaving a resident country with the intent to settle elsewhere.
Refugees:These are the people who have been forced to flee their resident country because of war, violence or persecution. Such people are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention.
Enroute:Migrants in between origin and destination are known as en route.
Return Migration:When groups of people move back to where they came from.
Seasonal Migration:When people move with each season (e.g. farm workers following crop harvests or working in cities off-season).
World Migration Report:It is International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) flagship publication that features the latest trends in international migration, discusses emerging policy issues and provides regional recent developments in Africa, America, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Oceania.
Migration stream and counter-stream:A number of migrants sharing a common origin and destination form a migration stream. For every stream there is a reverse counter-stream.
International Organization for Migration (IOM):IOM is a leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. It was established in 1951 and has its head office at Le Grand-Saconnex, Switzerland.
DiasporaDiaspora is commonly understood to include Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI), of which PIO and OCI card holders were merged under one category – OCI – in 2015.
Terms Related to Migrations

Streams of Migration:

 Four streams are identified:

  1. rural to rural (R-R);
  2. rural to urban (R-U);
  3. urban to urban (U-U); and
  4. urban to rural (U-R)

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