17 November 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Prelims Specific Question

1) With reference to Teinopalpus imperialis, consider the following statements:

  1. It has been designated as state butterfly of Arunachal Pradesh.
  2. It is protected under Schedule II of Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972

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

Teinopalpus imperialis, the Kaiser-i-Hind, is a rare species of swallowtail butterfly found from Nepal and north India east to north Vietnam. The common name literally means “emperor of India”. The Kaiser-i-Hind is much sought after by butterfly collectors for its beauty and rarity. The green iridescence of the wings has been found to be due to three-dimensional photonic structure of the scales and is the subject of much research.

2) Talle Valley Wild life sanctuary is located in which of the following states?

  1. West Bengal
  2. Odisha
  3. Arunachal Pradesh
  4. Mizoram

3) With reference to Clydebank Declaration, consider the following statements:

  1. The declaration aims to set up green shipping corridors, which are zero-emission maritime routes between 2 (or more) ports.
  2. India is a signatory of the declaration.
  3. The signatory countries will support the establishment of at least six green shipping corridors by 2050.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1 only

Clydebank declaration: –

The Clydebank Declaration was signed at the COP26 Climate summit held in Glasgow in November 2021. Under the declaration, the signatories agreed to work together to support the establishment of green shipping corridors.

The signatories of the Clydebank Declaration will establish zero – emission maritime routes between two or more routes. These routes are called green shipping corridors. The objective is to establish six green corridors by the middle of the decade, that is by 2025. Under the declaration, more than two hundred businesses have committed to increase and commercialize zero emission fuels and vessels by 2030. Also, the buyers such as Ikea, Amazon, Patagonia, Michelin have already announced that they will buy only zero carbon freight from 2040.

Which countries signed Clydebank Declaration?

The Clydebank Declaration was signed by Australia, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, Denmark, Finland, Fiji, France, Republic of Ireland, Germany, Japan Italy, Morocco, Republic of Marshall Islands, Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, USA and UK.

Why “Clydebank”?

The declaration was named as “Clydebank” to pay tribute to the heritage city Clydebank and to the River Clyde. The Antonine Wall is in Clydebank. It was declared the World Heritage Site in 2008. The wall was a turf fortification. It was built by the Romans. Also, Clydebank is one of the major ship building centre.

Society

1) Mamata launches ‘Duare Ration’ scheme

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee launched an ambitious “Duare Ration” scheme for providing foodgrains under the public distribution system at the doorstep for the entire population.

“If there are five members in a family, then one has to carry 25 kg of foodgrains home. We are not so inhuman as to ask people to carry 25 kg on their backs. The solution is to have vehicles in one lane at a distance of 500 metres,” said Ms. Banerjee.

2) Heritage dhow to shine on beautiful game

Dhow is the generic name of a number of traditional sailing vessels with one or more masts with settee or sometimes lateen sails, used in the Red Sea and Indian Ocean region. 

Taking pride of place among the exhibits at Qatar during the FIFA World Cup next year will be a special dhow built far away in a village in Kerala.

Recreating the vessels used by Arab traders about 800 years ago when they sailed to Kerala, the dhow being made at Chaliyam in Kozhikode will not have a single nail or metal piece. Instead, traditional coir ropes will hold together the teak pieces.

Polity

1) NRC: only 1,032 doubtful cases referred for review

Who is a declared foreigner?

A declared foreigner, or DF, is a person marked by Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT) for allegedly failing to prove their citizenship after the State police’s Border wing marks him or her as an illegal immigrant.

What is a Foreigners tribunal?

Foreigners’ Tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies established as per the Foreigners’ Tribunal Order, 1964 and the Foreigners’ Act, 1946.

Composition: Advocates not below the age of 35 years of age with at least 7 years of practice (or) Retired Judicial Officers from the Assam Judicial Service (or) Retired IAS of ACS Officers (not below the rank of Secretary/Addl. Secretary) having experience in quasi-judicial works.

Who can setup these tribunals?

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has amended the Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964, and has empowered district magistrates in all States and Union Territories to set up tribunals (quasi-judicial bodies) to decide whether a person staying illegally in India is a foreigner or not.

Earlier, the powers to constitute tribunals were vested only with the Centre.

 Who can approach?

The amended order (Foreigners (Tribunal) Order, 2019) also empowers individuals to approach the Tribunals.

Earlier, only the State administration could move the Tribunal against a suspect.

Science

1) What is Kamo’oalewa?

Kamo’oalewa is a quasi-satellite. This means that it is a near-Earth object that orbits the Sun and yet remains close to the Earth.

Discovered by: This quasi-satellite was discovered by the PanSTARRS telescope in 2006 in Hawaii.

The Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) is a telescope operated by the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Hawaii. The telescope’s purpose is to survey the night sky for moving or variable objects and to also gather accurate astrometric and photometric data on previously-detected objects.

One possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was a part of the Earth’s Moon, the study suggests. It could have broken away from the Moon due to a possible impact, and gone on to orbit the Sun rather than the Earth-like its parent does.

Another possibility is that Kamo’oalewa was captured in its Earth-like orbit from the general population of Near Earth Objects. A third possibility could be that it originated from an as-yet-undiscovered quasi-stable population of Earth’s Trojan asteroids (Trojans are a group of asteroids that share an orbit with a larger planet.

Editorials of the Day

Editorial 1 – Kabul, Kashmir and the return of realpolitik #IR

Whether to aid Afghanistan or not – The international community is in dilemma whether to help Afghanistan or not. If not helped then the people of Afghanistan will suffer.

India’s dilemma

India now faces a new dilemma in Afghanistan — the first one was to decide whether to engage the Taliban or not.

The Taliban want India to engage and help the country stabilise, but Pakistan resents that. Not too long ago, the Pakistani National Security Adviser had lashed out against India for (India) reaching out to the Taliban delegation in Doha. And now, Pakistan refused to attend the regional security meeting on Afghanistan called by India.

These instances indicate that Pakistan would not like India to either develop close relations with the Taliban or be a part of any regional set up to stabilise the country.

India has little choice but to engage the Taliban.

Pakistan’s Kashmir policy

The February ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan and the subsequent reduction in violence in Kashmir (i.e., infiltration of terrorists from the Pakistani side to Kashmir, terror attacks in Kashmir and ceasefire violations on the Line of Control) were a direct result of the backchannel understanding between the two sides.

This understanding held until August when the Taliban takeover happened. Since then, violence data show that the backchannel understanding is withering away with violence in Jammu and Kashmir ( J&K) spiking along all three indicators albeit gradually.

The appointment of Sardar Masood Khan, former Pakistan occupied Kashmir President, as Pakistan’s Ambassador to the U.S. is perhaps yet another indication of the centrality of Kashmir in Pakistan’s foreign policy in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul.

If this analysis is accurate, then we are likely to see more war of words and violence in the context of J&K.

Editorial 2 – An outreach to tribals that checks all the boxes

In the Ayodhya kanda of the Ramayana, when Lord Rama is exiled from the kingdom of Ayodhya, and reaches the northern bank of the Ganga at Sringaverapura, he is received by the king of the neighbouring kingdom of Nishadha, Guha. Rama treats the tribal leader, Guha, as his own conscience. Rama stays at Guha’s place and the Nishadha king helps Rama cross the river the next day.

In the Mahabharata, Arjuna’s travels in the Northeast lead to his encounter with Ulupi, the princess of the Naga tribe, who he marries and has a son with, Iravan. The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are replete with harmonious relationships between forest dwellers and the “city dwellers’’.

Criminal Tribes Act, 1871 by the British government, branded the very ‘descendants’ of Guha as criminals.

The aim of commemorating November 15, the birthday of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, as Janjatiya Gaurav Divas is to ensure that the freedom fighters from various tribal communities who fought for India’s Independence get their rightful recognition. It will also ensure that the heritage, culture and the values of the 705 tribal communities (Scheduled Tribes) that constitute approximately 10% of our population is protected and is made accessible across the nation.

Economic well-being

Apart from political representation, it is also important to ensure that tribal communities see economic progress and better human development indicators. This received renewed impetus in 1999, when former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee set up a separate Ministry for Tribal Affairs.

Sustainable development also needs to ensure that human development indicators (HDIs) in nutrition, health and education are being improved. The National Education Policy (NEP) acknowledges the additional focus required for tribal communities to address issues such as higher dropout rates.

The NEP, by ensuring that the medium of instruction until at least Class 5, will be the mother tongue or local language of the child has ensured that tribal languages are protected and are treated on a par with languages mentioned in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

The expansion of the Eklavya Model Residential Schools, from 90 new schools sanctioned in the UPA years to 472 new schools sanctioned since 2014, will ensure that tribal children will see better education outcomes.

Editorial 3 – Longer term, better impact

What is the issue – The Central government’s decision to give five-year tenure to heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

Tenure should be increased to 5 year so that working of these posts could be without any favour or pressure.

The recent ordinances are timely and merited. A two-year tenure for a CBI head is too short for any officer to make an impact on the organisation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation chief in the U.S. gets a 10-year term. This provides them the much-needed continuity that a Director needs in an outfit charged with the task of conducting highly sensitive investigations, which sometimes impinge on the longevity and stability of a democratically elected government.

The only problem with the latest ordinance is that, at the end of the mandatory two-year tenure, the government will have to issue orders granting one-year extensions at a time. It would have better if there was a straight five-year term for the Director. The rule about three annual extensions can be misused by a tendentious government. It may be construed as a reward for ‘good behaviour’, which is a euphemism for an obliging Director.

Dependence on State governments

The Supreme Court has recently made caustic references to this objectionable development. Eight States — West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Mizoram — have withdrawn the general consent. The Court termed this a “serious issue”. The CBI should be made to derive its authority for launching investigations from its own statute instead of depending on the Criminal Procedure Code, which makes the CBI a police organisation.

Editorial 4 – The digital currency plan, made in China

Context – On November 13, 2021 Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting between the RBI and the Ministries of Home Affairs and Finance where the ever-expanding crypto-market within the country was discussed.

This expansion of the pilot marks the initiation of China’s central bank digital currency (CBDC). Christened Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP), available via a mobile wallet app, pegged 1:1 with fiat currency, and designed to replace M0 (comprising currency issued by the PBoC less [than] the amount held by banking institutions), this is the first such serious initiative in the whole world.

Historically, monetary authorities everywhere have been sceptical of cryptocurrencies. Wild fluctuations in the value of cryptocurrencies, the implied challenge to the monopoly of central banks in issuing fiat currencies, the looming possibility of software bugs and the tainted shadow of the dark web have all been responsible for the unwelcome reception.

What are the Advantages

  1. First, paper money comes with high handling charges and eats up 1% to 2% of GDP.
  2. Second, by acting as a powerful antidote for tax evasion, money laundering and terror financing, CBDCs can materially boost tax revenues while also improving financial compliance and national security.
  3. Third, as a tool of financial inclusion, particularly in emergencies, direct benefit transfers can be instantly delivered by state authorities deep into rural areas and directly into the mobile wallets of citizens who need them.
  4. Fourth, CBDCs can provide central banks an uncluttered view and powerful insights into purchasing patterns at the citizen scale.

What are the concerns?

That said, all these salutary benefits come packaged with a deep and abiding concern about the relentless rise of a surveillance state and the concomitant erosion in citizen privacy and anonymity. If face-recognition technology enables states to spy on the physical movement of citizens, will CBDCs be used to spy on every movement of their money?

What is the design of DCEP?

It is believed that the DCEP uses a DLT architecture (with central controls) which preserves the primacy of the monetary authority, unlike private cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH) that are truly decentralised.

It is possible that China has decided to use DCEP as its silver bullet to slay three dragons:

  1. First, on the world economic stage, it may want DCEP to challenge the hegemony of the U.S. dollar as the default global reserve currency.
  2. Second, in its war with American BigTech, it may want to showcase DCEP as its weapon of choice to counter FB or Facebook’s Libra, which is planning to offer a common  cryptocurrency to 2 billionplus FB users across the world.
  3. Third, and still in the realm of speculation, it may wish to use the DCEP to clip the wings of AliPay and WeChatPay, gigantic fintech duopolies that control 90% of the China’s domestic digital payments

2 thoughts on “17 November 2021 Daily Current Affairs

  1. Most improved content sir since 2 years

    Just request you to maintain regularity that binds us too ;that post watching YouTube analysis it will be a good revision …

    Earlier when I started following your channel I wrote your pop up boxes content but now it all here (time saved)

    Please please upload regular and use a dark colour for heading on blue background which is itself light .

    Thanks
    Kushagra

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