21 November 2021 Daily Current Affairs

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Prelims Specific Questions :-

1) With reference to DART Mission, consider the following statements:

  1. The target of the spacecraft will be a small moonlet called Dimorphos.
  2. Mission would also be carrying a small satellite or CubeSat.
  3. It is joint effort by NASA and ESA.

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, 2 and 3

2) Which of the following are the tributaries of Yamuna?

  1. Chambal, Hindon and Betwa
  2. Betwa, Ghagra and son
  3. Maner, Sabri and Chambal
  4. Chambal, Sabri and Tons

3) With reference to Norovirus, consider the following statements:

  1. It is an animal borne virus.
  2. It is transmitted through contaminated water and food.

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

Norovirus is an animal-borne disease. It is transmitted through contaminated water and food.   Norovirus are a group of viruses, causing gastrointestinal illness. Virus causes inflammation in lining of the stomach & intestines, severe vomiting and diarrhoea

Reports

The Bribery Risk Matrix 2021

  • The Bribery Risk Matrix 2021has been released by TRACE, an anti-bribery standard-setting organization.
  • The risk matrix measures the likelihood of bribe demands in 194 jurisdictions.

About Bribery Risk Matrix 2021

  • Aim: To measure business bribery risk in 194 countries, territories, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.
  • First Published in: The index was originally published in 2014 for more reliable and nuanced information about the risks of commercial bribery worldwide.
  • Parameters: The matrix is based on four factors — 
    • i). Business interactions with the government,
    • ii). Anti-bribery deterrence and enforcement,
    • iii). Government and civil service transparency,
    • iv). Capacity for civil society oversight, which includes the role of the media.

What are the key findings?

  • India has slipped to 82nd position in 2021 which is five places down from 77th rank in 2020.
  • India fared better than its neighbors – Pakistan, China, Nepal and Bangladesh. Meanwhile, Bhutan secured 62nd rank.
  • Lowest bribery risk: Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand present the
  • Highest commercial bribery risk: On the other hand, North Korea, Turkmenistan, Venezuela and Eritrea pose the

2) Indore keeps cleanest city tag for fifth year

Chhattisgarh is cleanest State for third time.

Indore was ranked the cleanest city for the fifth consecutive year by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in its annual cleanliness ranking.The Swachh Survekshan Awards, 2021 handed out by President Ram Nath Kovind included the cleanest State honour for Chhattisgarh for the third time, in the category of States with more than 100 urban local bodies.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency, Varanasi, won the award for the cleanest “Ganga city”.

‘Assam to be language lab for country’

Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said he saw Assam as the laboratory of the country’s language-based education in the next decade. He was speaking at the North East Education Conclave 2021 in Guwahati.

“By the next decade, we are bound to implement the new approach on language. Whatever challenges may come, I see Assam becoming the laboratory of language-based and knowledge-imparting education system in the country,” he said.

He said some 180 languages spoken by the communities and tribes in northeast India are the country’s strength. “More than 64 of these languages are spoken in Assam. I strongly believe the diversity of our language is the major unifying factor of our civilisation,”

Economy

RBI report finds 600 illegal loan apps operating in India

In course of its filed work to prepare a detailed report on digital lending and to suggest recommendations, the WG found out the existence of over 1,100 unique loan apps that could be searched through key words such as loan, instant loan and quick loan.

The RBI panel pointed out that Sachet, a portal established by the Reserve Bank under State Level Coordination Committee (SLCC) mechanism for registering complaints by public, has been receiving significantly increasing number of complaints against digital lending apps.

Science

Portable robot end septic tank deaths once it is deployed?

A group from Mechanical Engineering Department and Center for Non-Destructive Testing (CNDE) of IIT Madras has developed a robot that can, if deployed extensively, put an end to this practice of sending people into septic tanks. The robot, named HomoSEP (“homogenizer of septic tanks”) has taken the group about three years to develop.

Editorial of the day

Editorial 1 – Flaws in the system

The story so far: The transfer of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee from the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court has given rise to a controversy over the question whether judicial transfers are made only for administrative reasons or have any element of ‘punishment’ behind them. In 2019, Justice Vijaya K. Tahilramani, another Chief Justice of the Madras High Court who was transferred to Meghalaya, chose to resign.

What does the Constitution say on the transfer of judges?

Article 222 of the Constitution provides for the transfer of High Court judges, including the Chief Justice. It says the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, may transfer a judge from one High Court to any other High Court. It also provides for a compensatory allowance to the transferred judge. This means that the executive could transfer a judge, but only after consulting the Chief Justice of India. 

What is the Supreme Court’s view on the issue?

In Union of India vs. Sankalchand Himatlal Sheth (1977), the Supreme Court rejected the idea that High Court judges can be transferred only with their consent. It reasoned that the transfer of power can be exercised only in public interest; secondly, the President is under an obligation to consult the Chief Justice of India, which meant that all relevant facts must be placed before the Chief Justice of India; and thirdly, that the Chief Justice of India had the right and duty to elicit and ascertain further facts from the judge concerned or others.

In S.P. Gupta vs. President of India (1981), also known as the ‘Judges’ Transfer Case’ and, later, the First Judges Case, the Supreme Court once again had an opportunity to consider the issue.

The majority ruled that consultation with the Chief Justice did not mean ‘concurrence’ with respect to appointments. In effect, it emphasised the primacy of the executive in the matter of appointments and transfers. However, this position was overruled in the ‘Second Judges Case’ (1993). The opinion of the Chief Justice of India, formed after taking into the account the views of senior-most judges, was to have primacy. Since then, appointments are being made by the Collegium.

What is the current procedure for transfers?

As one of the points made by the ‘Second Judges Case’ was that the opinion of the Chief Justice of India ought to mean the views of a plurality of judges, the concept of a ‘Collegium of Judges’ came into being. In the collegium era, the proposal for transferring a High Court judge, including a Chief Justice, should be initiated by the Chief Justice of India, “whose opinion in this regard is determinative”. The consent of the judge is not required. “All transfers are to be made in public interest, i.e., for promoting better administration of justice throughout the country.” For transferring a judge other than the Chief Justice, the Chief Justice of India should take the views of the Chief Justice of the court concerned, as well as the Chief Justice of the court to which the transfer is taking place. The Chief Justice of India should also take into account the views of one or more Supreme Court judges who are in a position to offer their views in the process of deciding whether a proposed transfer should take place.

In the case of transfer of a Chief Justice, only the views of one or more knowledgeable Supreme Court judges need to be taken into account.” The views should all be expressed in writing, and they should be considered by the Chief Justice of India and four senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, which means, the full Collegium of five. The recommendation is sent to the Union Law Minister who should submit the relevant papers to the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister then advises the President on approving the transfer.

What makes transfers controversial?

Transfer orders become controversial when the Bar or sections of the public feel that there is a punitive element behind the decision to move a judge from one High Court to another. As a matter of practice, the Supreme Court and the government do not disclose the reason for a transfer. For, if the reason is because of some adverse opinion on a judge’s functioning, disclosure would impinge on the judge’s performance and independence in the court to which he is transferred. On the other hand, the absence of a reason sometimes gives rise to speculation whether it was effected because of complaints against the judge, or if it was a sort of punishment for certain judgments that inconvenienced the executive.

Editorial 2 – Why is India’s coal usage under scrutiny?

The story so far: On the final day of the UN Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, India’s Minister for Environment Bhupender Yadav read out a statement promising to “phase downrather than “phase out” the use of coal. This caused many to raise questions about India’s commitment to tackling climate change. Earlier, during the COP26 (Conference of Parties) summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had committed to turning India carbon neutral by 2070.

Why is it difficult?

Coal is used to meet over 70% of India’s electricity needs. Most of this coal comes from domestic mines. In FY 2020-21, India produced 716 million tonnes of coal, compared with 431 million tonnes a decade ago. Since FY 2018-19, domestic production has stagnated and has been unable to meet the rising domestic demand, leading to a rise in imports.

The Prime Minister promised to increase non-fossil fuel energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, meet 50% energy needs from renewable sources and reduce carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes in a decade.

 According to an estimate by the Centre for Science and Environment, the promise to reduce emissions by 1 billion tonnes means that India would need to reduce its carbon output by 22% by 2030.

 India now meets about 12% of its electricity needs from renewable sources, and increasing it to 50% by 2030 will be difficult. While some renewable energy sources like solar are cheap, they are unreliable because of the intermittency problem. They thus require the use of storage batteries, which adds to the cost. It should be noted that many low-income countries with low savings may not even possess the capital required to invest in renewable energy. Further, the damage that coal causes to commonly owned resources like the environment is not factored into its cost. So, there is not much economic incentive for countries to limit or to end their massive reliance on coal.

What lies ahead?

It is highly unlikely that developing countries like India and China will reduce their coal consumption or even stop it from rising further. Coal, after all, is the cheapest and most reliable way to meet their rising energy needs. Further, the pledges made by countries at COP26 to reach net zero emissions or to phase down coal are not legally binding. The target dates to achieve these climate goals also lie so far in the future that most of today’s political leaders won’t be around when the deadlines arrive. Some leaders have proposed a carbon tax as an alternative to ensure that the price of coal reflects the cost of the damage it causes to the environment. This may turn out to be a more effective approach towards reining in carbon emissions. Coal on average is priced at $2, while experts believe that it should be priced in the range of $30 to $70 to reflect its true cost. But such high carbon taxes can cause a drastic fall in coal output and severely affect living standards unless alternative sources of energy step in to fill the gap. India also faces its own set of structural problems in the power sector that will make the transition towards clean energy harder. The pricing of power, for instance, is influenced by populist politics which may hinder private investment in renewable energy.

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