22 July, 2022 Daily Current Affairs – THE EXAMS MADE SIMPLE

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Prelims Objective Practices Questions

(I.) Which of the following are categorised as critical minerals?
1. Graphite
2. Lithium
3. Cobalt
Select the correct answer from the codes given below:
A.) 1 and 2 only
B.) 2 and 3 only
C.) 1 and 3 only
D.) 1, 2 and 3 only

(II.) With reference to Varroa destructor, consider the following statements:
1. It is a parasitic insect.
2. It attacks and feeds on the honeybee population.
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
A.) 1 only
B.) 2 only
C.) Both 1 and 2
D.) Neither 1 nor 2

(III.) Which of the following places is also called Adivasi Jallianwala?
A.) Chittagong hill tracts
B.) Mangarh Hillock
C.) Chota Nagpur
D.) East Godavari region

1. “Like a battlefield, the entire area was filled with corpses.
2. According to the details, on March 7, 1922, Bhil tribal villagers in Sabarkantha district had gathered on the banks of Her river under the leadership of Motilal Tejawat, to protest against the land revenue system imposed by the British and the feudal lords.
3. Two wells Dhekhadiya and Dudhiya were overflowing with the bodies of about 1,200 innocent tribals.

Question of the Day

Ques:- Why is Europe facing heat waves. What are its impact. What needs to be done.

Prelims Specific Facts

(I.) Asiatic Cheetah
  • Cheetah, the world’s fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.
  • The Asiatic cheetah is classified as a “critically endangered” species by the IUCN Red List, and is believed to survive only in Iran.
  • It was expected to be re-introduced into the country after the Supreme Court lifted curbs for its re-introduction.
  • What caused the extinction of cheetahs in India?
    • The major reasons for the extinction of the Asiatic cheetah in India:
    • Reduced fecundity and high infant mortality in the wild
    • Inability to breed in captivity
    • Sport hunting and
    • Bounty killings
(II.) Micronesia: the remote Pacific Islands
  • Where is Micronesia?
    • FSM is located in the Western Pacific, in the Micronesia sub-region of Oceania.
    • It consists of four island states, Yap, Chuuk, Kosrae and Pohnpei (where the capital Palikir is located), all in the Caroline Islands.
    • Also known as the Carolines, it is a scattered archipelago of small islands that are divided between Micronesia and the Republic of Palau.
    • FSM is composed of 607 islands and islets with a total land area of 702 square km.
(III.) What are Tetrapods ?
  • In Mumbai, the unusual vibrations (like earthquakes), coinciding with high-tide times, were the result of the relocation of tetrapods as part of the ongoing Coastal Road Project (MCRP).
  • What are tetrapods?
    • Tetra pod in Greek means four-legged.
    • These are four-legged concrete structures that are placed along coastlines to prevent erosion and water damage.
    • Tetrapods were first used in France in the late 1940s to protect the shore from the sea.
    • They are typically placed together to form an interlocking but porous barrier that dissipates the power of waves and currents.
    • These are large structures, sometimes weighing up to 10 tonnes, and interlocked tetra pods act as a barrier that remains stable against the rocks when buffeted by waves.
    • Tetrapods, each weighing about 2 tonnes, were placed along Marine Drive in the late 1990s to break and dissipate waves and maintain the reclaimed shoreline in South Mumbai.
(IV) NAMASTE scheme
  • The Government has formulated a National Action Plan for Mechanized Sanitation Ecosystem- NAMASTE scheme for cleaning of sewers and septic tank.
  • NAMASTE Scheme
    • The scheme is a joint venture of Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
    • It aims to achieve outcomes like:
    • Zero fatalities in sanitation work in India
    • No sanitation workers come in direct contact with human faecal matter
    • All Sewer and Septic tank sanitation workers have access to alternative livelihoods
    • The Ministry has shortlisted type of machineries and core equipments required for maintenance works, safety gear for Safai Mitras.
  • Why such move?
    • Prevalence of manual scavenging in India
    • Manual scavenging is the practice of removing human excreta by hand from sewers or septic tanks.
    • India banned the practice under the Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Act, 2013 (PEMSR).
(V.) Stolen 19th century painting traced to U.S. museum
  • A 19th century painting of Raja Serfoji and his son Siva ji, which was stolen from Saraswathi Mahal, Thanjavur, a few years ago has been traced by the Idol Wing CID police to the Peabody Essex Museum, Massachusetts, in the U.S.
  • For long, the rulers of Than javur had been devoid of absolute power. Serfoji, placed by the British on the throne over his stepbrother Amar Singh, died in 1832.
  • His only son Sivaji ruled until 1855. However, he had painting, no male successor. Thanajavur became a casualty of Lord Dalhousie’s infamous ‘Doctrine of Lapse’, and it got absorbed into British ruled Indian provinces.
  • The Painting, which has Raja Serfoji and his young son, according to some historians, was probably painted between 1822 and 1827 and kept in the Saraswathi Mahal.
(VI.) Karnataka tops NITI Aayog innovation index list
  • Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national le vel. The State has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.
  • In the Index released on Thursday, Manipur secured the lead in the Northeast and Hill States category, while Chandigarh was the top per former in the Union Territories and City States category.
  • Global Innovation Index, the report by the government think tank has recommended measures, such as increasing Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD), promoting private sector participation in R&D and closing the gap between industry demand and what the country produces through its education systems.
  • India’s GDERD as a percen tage of GDP stood at about 0.7%. “Therefore, GDERD needs considerable improvement and should touch at least 2%, which would play an instrumental role in India achieving the goal of 5 trillion economy,” it suggested.
  • It added that the private sector needs to pick up pace in R&D.
(VII.) Russia resume gas supplies to Europe via Nord Stream
  • Russia on Thursday restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of maintenance, but uncertainty lingered over whether the Kremlin would still trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter.
  • Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipe line after the scheduled work and accused Moscow of using energy.

Editorial of the Day

‘Advantage New Delhi’ in Sri Lanka’s India lifeline
  • India was the first responder to Sri Lanka’s desperate calls for foreign aid to help tackle its crippling debt and economic crisis. India has been motivated by the unfolding humanitarian crisis affecting the Sri Lankan people and the political pressure from South India for Indian intervention.
  • Supporting Sri Lanka could be in India’s best interests. Stabilising Sri Lanka’s economy could prove to be a major win for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘neighborhood-first’ policy.
  • Its trade and investment linkages with Sri Lanka, transcending the current humanitarian aid relationship. This could spur regional integration and prosperity.
  • In recent years, China has emerged as a major partner for Sri Lanka, especially for infrastructure projects, many of which are under scrutiny now. This provides an opportunity for India to up scale its aid and cement its first mover advantage over China by leading an aid consortium for Sri Lanka, working closely with other friendly countries such as the United States, Japan and the European Union as well as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
  • Despite gaining benefits from commercial loans for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) projects in Sri Lanka which has fuelled a ‘debt trap’ narrative, China faces a di lemma in bailing out Sri Lanka. China worries that unilaterally restructuring Sri Lanka’s debt or giving it moratoria would set a new precedent in its lending practices, leading to a queue of similarly distressed countries seeking debt relief from Beijing.
  • The government must show that it is serious about stabilising the economy by concluding talks on an IMF programme which will increase taxes and utility prices to raise revenue and increase interest rates to control inflation while pre serving social welfare expenditures to protect the poor.
  • The economy more open to trade and investment and allow market forces to determine resource allocation. This means reducing barriers to trade and investment, cutting red tape hampering business and privatising loss-making state-owned enterprises such as Sri Lankan Air lines and the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation.
  • It has to build national consensus on implementing the IMF programme and reforms by explaining that this is the only solution to the crisis.
  • It has to restore the rule of law and enforce strong anti-corruption policies (including asset declarations for all parliamentarians and a strong anti-corruption office supported by the United Nations). Later, the executive presidency should be abolished.
  • It has to reset foreign policy to wards a more neutral direction and away from the pro-China stance of the Rajapaksas.

Explainer of the Day

One year since the Pegasus spyware revelations
  • The committee overseen by Justice R.V Raveendran was mandated to inquire, investigate and determine, among other things, if Pegasus was used to eavesdrop on phones and other devices of Indian citizens. Details were sought on whether the government had taken any action after reports emerged in 2019 about Whats App accounts being hacked by the same spyware and if the government had indeed acquired such a suite. The article had alleged that Pegasus was part of a $2 billion “package of sophisticated weapons and intelligence gear” between India and Israel after Narendra Modi became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Israel.
  • What is Pegasus?
    • The Pegasus spyware can not only mop up information stored on phones such as photos and contacts, but can also activate a phone’s camera and microphone and turn it into a spying device without the owner’s knowledge.
    • The earliest avatars of Pegasus used spear phishing to enter phones, utilising a message designed to entice the target to click on a malicious link. However, it evolved into using “zero-click” attacks wherein the phones were infected without any action from the target individual. In 2019, WhatsApp released a statement saying that Pegasus could enter phones via calls made on the platform, even if they were not attended.
    • Many of these exploits were reportedly “zero day”, which meant that even the device manufacturers were unaware of these weaknesses.
  • What do Indian laws outline?
    • Section 5(2) of The Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, states that the government can intercept a “message or class of messages” when it is “in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India, the security of the state, friendly relations with foreign states or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of an offence”. The operational process for it appears in Rule 419A of the Indian Telegraph Rules, 1951. Rule 419A was added to the Telegraph Rules after the verdict in the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) vs Union of India case, in which the Supreme Court said telephonic conversations are covered by the right to privacy, which can be breached only if there are established procedures. Under Rule 419A, surveillance needs the sanction of the Home Secretary at the Central or State level, but in “unavoidable circumstance” can be cleared by a Joint Secretary or officers above, if they have the Home Secretary’s authorisation. In the K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India verdict of 2017, the Supreme Court further reiterated the need for oversight of surveillance, stating that it should be legally valid and serve a legitimate aim of the government.
    • The second legislation enabling surveillance is Section 69 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. It facilitates government “interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer resource” if it is in the interest of the “sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state, friendly relations with foreign States or public order” or for preventing or investigating any cognisable offence. The procedure for it is detailed in the Information Technology Rules, 2009.
  • The Supreme Court would be hearing the case pertaining to the alleged use of the Pegasus spyware software later this month. The matter first reached the apex court on October 27 last year. Back then, the court constituted a committee to look into the charges and accordingly submit a report “expeditiously”.
  • The Pegasus spyware can not only mop up information stored on phones such as photos and contacts, but can also activate a phone’s camera and microphone and turn it into a spying device without the owner’s knowledge.
  • Reports that appeared in July 2021 said that in India, at least 40 journalists, Cabinet Ministers, and holders of constitutional positions were possibly subjected to surveillance using Pegasus. The Indian government has so far neither confirmed nor denied that it has deployed Pegasus for any operation.

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