20 Sep, 2022, Daily Current Affairs – THE EXAMS MADE SIMPLE

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Prelims Practices Questions

1) Irish Sea is located between –
a.) Great Britain and Norway
b.) Sweden and Finland
c.) Great Britain and France
d.) Ireland and Great Britain

Solution: d
#. The Irish Sea separates the islands of Ireland and Great Britain.

2) Consider the following statements.

  1. Kushinagar is the place where the Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana, and is therefore, an international
    Buddhist pilgrimage centre.
  2. Kushinagar has the highest population of Buddhists in India.

Which of the above statements is/are incorrect?
a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

Solution: b
#. Kushinagar is the place where The Buddha attained Mahaparinirvana in 483 BC, and is therefore, an international Buddhist pilgrimage centre. However, it has a negligible population of Buddhists.
Ten other districts of UP — Kheri, Maharajganj, Siddharthnagar, Sultanpur, Basti, Mainpuri, Jaunpur, Pratapgarh, Hardoi, and Azamgarh — have larger Buddhist populations than Kushinagar.

3) Which of the following organizations/newspapers is/are associated with Mahatma Gandhi’s struggle in South Africa?
1. Indian Opinion
2. Indian Mirror
3. Indian Natal Organization
4. Passive Resistance Organization
Select the correct answer code:
a) 1, 3, 4
b) 2, 3, 4
c) 1, 2, 3, 4
d) 2, 4

Solution: a
#. Indian Mirror was an English paper founded by Devendranath Tagore, at Calcutta in 1862.

4. Which of the following sentences is incorrect?
a) Ethereum is a decentralised cryptocurrency, meaning that it does not have institutions like banks approving the transactions that happen on its network .
b) Surge refers to the addition of Ethereum sharding, which promises to process transactions on the network much faster than now.
c) ‘The Etherium Merge,’ will cast aside the need for crypto miners and gigantic mining farms, who had previously driven the blockchain under a mechanism called ‘proof-of-stake’ (PoS).
d) One of the biggest benefits being touted about ‘The Etherium Merge’ is that it will make transactions on the Ethereum network extremely secure.

Question of the Day

Statements:- The old order changed yielding place to new.
1. Change is the law of nature.
2. Discard old ideas because they are old.

A. Only conclusion I follows
B. Only conclusion II follows
C. Either I or II follows
D. Neither I nor II follows
E. Both I and II follow

Prelims Specific Facts

1.) NFRA :-
National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) was established by the Central Government in October 2018 under Section 132(1) of the Companies Act, 2013. An important function of NFRA under section 132(2)(a) of the Companies Act, 2013 is to make recommendation to Central Government on the formulation and laying down of accounting and auditing policies and standards for adoption by companies or class of companies or their auditors.
2) Ethereum :-
  • The world’s second most valuable cryptocurrency, has completed a significant software overhaul which promises to ramp up security of the cryptocurrency while claiming to cut down on its carbon footprint, nearly entirely.
  • The revamp, known as ‘The Merge,’ will cast aside the need for crypto miners and gigantic mining farms, who had previously driven the blockchain under a mechanism called ‘proof-of-work’ (PoW). Instead, it has now shifted to a ‘proof-of-stake’ (PoS) mechanism that assigns ‘validators’ randomly to approve transactions and earn a small reward.
  • The move to PoS will reduce ethereum’s energy consumption by nearly 99.95 per cent, according to the Ethereum Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the cryptocurrency and its related technologies.
Key takeaways :-
  • Ethereum is a decentralised cryptocurrency, meaning that it does not have institutions like banks approving the transactions that happen on its network – the approvals were earlier happening under the PoW consensus mechanism which was essentially done by miners.
  • At the Ethereum Community Conference in July, Ethereum’s co-founder Vitalik Buterin had said that post ‘The Merge’, the network will undergo further upgrades which he called the “surge,” “verge,” “purge,” and “splurge”.
3. Death Penalty : SC moots fair hearing
  • A death sentence is irreversible and every opportunity should be given to the accused for consideration of mitigating circumstances so that the court concludes that capital punishment is not warranted, the bench had observed while reserving its verdict on August 17.
  • The top court had taken note of the issue, saying there was an urgent need to ensure that mitigating circumstances for conviction of offences that carry the possibility of a death sentence are considered at the trial stage.
  • The case was titled as Framing Guidelines Regarding Potential Mitigating Circumstances to be Considered While Imposing Death Sentences
4. SC has done well to seek norms to present mitigating factors for death
  • Trial judges are called upon to make a decision on whether only a death sentence will meet the ends of justice, or a life term will be enough. As a salutary norm, the Supreme Court has laid down that the death penalty can be imposed only in the “rarest of rare” cases. Subsequent judgments have sought to buttress this principle by holding that the gruesome nature of the offence may not be the sole criterion to decide what brings it under the ‘rarest of rare’ category. The offender, his socio-economic background and his state of mind are also key factors in this regard.
  • The ITPGRFA was signed during the 31st session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome in November 2001. The treaty seeks to achieve food security through the conservation, exchange and sustainable use of the world’s Plant Genetic Re sources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA), equitable sharing of profits from its use, as well as playing an important role in the re cognition of rights of farmers.
  • It was signed in 2001 in Madrid, and entered into force on 29 June 2004.
  • The treaty recognises farmers’ rights, subject to national laws to: a) the protection of traditional knowledge relevant to plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; b) the right to equitably participate in sharing benefits arising from the utilisation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture; and c) the right to participate in making decisions, at the national level, on matters related to the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture. The Treaty establishes the Multilateral System of Access and Benefit-sharing to facilitate plant germplasm exchanges and benefit sharing through Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA).
6. FM urges World Bank arm IFC to raise lending to India
  • World Bank is one of the United Nations’ specialized agencies. The member countries are jointly responsible for how the institution is financed and how its money is spent. The World Bank concentrates its efforts on reaching the Millennium Development Goals aimed at sustainable poverty reduction.
  • The World Bank Group consists of :
    • The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD):-
      • IBRD was established in 1945 and has 188 members at present. IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middle-income countries and creditworthy poorer countries by promoting sustainable development, through loans, guarantees, and non-lending services, which include analytical and advisory services. The IBRD is owned by the member countries whose voting power is linked to its capital subscription based on the country’s relative economic strength.
    • The International Development Association (IDA) :-
      • IDA was established in 1960 and currently has 172 members. IDA is the concessional arm of the World Bank and plays a key role in supporting the Bank’s poverty reduction mission. IDA assistance is focused on the world’s 79 poorest countries, to which it provides interest-free loans (known as ‘credits’) and other non-lending services.
    • International Finance Corporation (IFC) :-
      • Established in 1956, IFC is owned by 184 member countries, a group that collectively
        determines the policies. It works in more than 100 developing countriesallowing
        companies and financial institutions in emerging markets to create jobs, generate tax
        revenues, improve corporate governance and environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities.
    • Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA):-
      • On April 12, 1988 an international convention established MIGA as the newest member of the World Bank Group. The agency opened for business as a legally separate and financially independent entity and has 179 countries in membership. MIGA was created to complement public and private sources of investment insurance against non-commercial risks in developing countries. MIGA’s multilateral character and joint sponsorship by developed and developing countries were seen as significantly enhancing confidence
    • International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) :-
      • ICSID is an autonomous international institution established under the Convention on the
        Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States (the
        ICSID or the Washington Convention) with over one hundred and forty member States.
        The Convention sets forth ICSID’s mandate, organization and core functions. The primary
        purpose of ICSID is to provide facilities for conciliation and arbitration of international investment dispute

Editorial of the Day

1. The hijab case and the essential practices doctrine
  • A two-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India is presently hearing arguments on the correctness of a Karnataka High Court judgment that upheld the ban on the use of the hijab by students in Karnataka.
  • The Karnataka High Court made three primary findings in its judgment.
    • It held that the use of a hijab is not essential to the practice of Islam. Thus, the right to freedom of religion was not violated.
    • It ruled that there exists no substantive right to freedom of expression or privacy inside a classroom and, therefore, these rights were simply not at stake here.
    • It held that the ban did not stem directly out of the government’s order, which only called for a uniform dress code to be prescribed by the State or school management committees, and, hence, the law did not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, against Muslim students.
  • That analysis was never conducted by the High Court because in its belief, classrooms are “qualified public spaces” where individual rights must give way to the interests of “general discipline and decorum”.
  • The essential practices doctrine owes its existence to a speech made by B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly. “The religious conceptions in this country are so vast that they cover every aspect of life, from birth to death,” he said. “…I do not think it is possible to accept a position of that sort… we ought to strive hereafter to limit the definition of religion in such a manner that we shall not extend beyond beliefs and such rituals as may be connected with ceremonials which are essentially religious. It is not necessary that… laws relating to tenancy or laws relating to succession, should be governed by religion.”
  • Ambedkar was striving to distinguish the religious from the secular, by arguing that the state should be allowed to intervene in matters that are connected to religion but are not intrinsically religious.
  • It was in this vein that the Supreme Court, in the case concerning the Shirur Mutt (1954), held that to detemine what constituted an ‘essential’ aspect of religion, the Court ought to look towards the religion concerned, and to what its adherents believed was demanded by their faith. But since then, the Court has, with a view to determining the kinds of circumstances in which the state could legitimately intervene, transformed this doctrine into an altogether different form of inquiry.
  • The essential practices test is not without alternatives. In his concurring opinion, in the case concerning the ban on entry of women into the Sabarimala temple, Justice D.Y. Chandrachud proposed one such doctrine: a principle of anti-exclusion. Its application would require the Court to presume that a practice asserted by a religious group is, in fact, essential to the proponents of its faith. But regardless of such grounding, the Constitution will not offer protection to the practice if it excludes people on grounds of caste, gender, or other discriminatory criteria.
  • At the same time, the anti-exclusion principle postulates that where a religious practice causes the exclusion of individuals in a manner which impairs their dignity or hampers their access to basic goods, the freedom of religion must give way to the over-arching values of a liberal constitution”.
2. It is people of Pakistan who are suffering
  • A humanitarian act can also be part of smart diplomacy, and India ought to make a distinction between Islamabad and the people of the country.
  • Let us look at two possible scenarios:
    • First, the Pakistan government rejects India’s offer and finds itself in trouble with the people as the price of tomatoes (Pakistan rupee 500 per kilo), and onions (Pakistani rupee 400 per kilo) shoots up.
    • Second, Pakistan accepts the offer, and the WFP, the World Bank, and other donors source relief material from India for obvious reasons to do with logistics. The Pakistan government has estimated that $30 billion is needed for relief and rehabilitation. A good part of the material could be sourced from India.
  • In conclusion, India should act without further delay. The United Nations Secretary General is likely to convene a conference of donors on assistance to Pakistan. India would find it awkward not to take part and it would be better for it to announce assistance before this. It is obvious that a humanitarian act can also be part of smart diplomacy. India as the major regional power in South Asia should act as one, able and willing to discharge its responsibilities as promptly as humanly possible.

Explainer of the Day

Scandinavian social democracy
  • Swedish legislature – Riksdag
  • Incumbent Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson of the Social Democrats conceded defate and resigned.
  • The commonalities in the Scandinavian countries – Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland – on many of these counts are measurable. For example, among countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) (featuring most high-income countries in the world), Iceland (90.7% of the workforce), Denmark (67%), Sweden (65.2%), Finland (58.8%) and Norway (50.4%) have the highest proportion of the workforce belonging to trade unions (data as of 2019). Education is free in all the Nordic States; health care is free in Denmark and Finland and partially free in Norway, Sweden and Iceland; workers get several benefits from unemployment insurance to old age pensions, besides effective child care. Therefore, labour participation rates in these countries are among the highest in the world (even among women).
  • The five Nordic nations rank in the top 10 among OECD countries in government expenditure on health and education if calculated as percentage of GDP.
Key Features
  • One key reason for the thriving social democratic model in the Nordic countries has been their relatively smaller and more homogenous populations enabling focused governance.
  • Scandinavian countries have these features in common reliance on representative and participatory democratic institutions where separation of powers is ensured; a comprehensive social welfare schema with emphasis on publicly provided social services and investment in child care, education and research among others, that are funded by progressive taxation; presence of strong labour market institutions with active labour unions and employer associations which allow for significant collective bargaining etc.

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