Prelims Specific Questions :-
1) Consider the following statements
- All high courts in India have a territorial jurisdiction confined to a single state.
- District Court assume the name of Sessions Courts when they deal with matters concerning criminal cases.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
2) Consider the following statements regarding Fundamental Rights.
- Fundamental Rights protect citizens against the arbitrary and absolute exercise of power by the State.
- The Constitution guarantees the rights of the individual against the State but not against other individuals.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
3) A parliamentary committee means a committee that:
- Is appointed or elected by the House
- Works under the direction of the Speaker / Chairman
- Has a secretariat provided by the Cabinet Secretary
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
a) 1, 2
b) 1, 3
c) 1, 2, 3
d) 2, 3
Prelims Specific News Items :-
1) snail species named Georissa mawsmaiensis –
Researchers have recently discovered a micro snail species named Georissa mawsmaiensis from Mawsmai, a limestone cave in Meghalaya.
This is significant as the last discovery of the same genus was made in 1851. The species was named as Georissa saritta. It was collected and described from the Musmai (Mawsmai today) valley near Cherrapunjee by WH Benson.
Georissa is a genus of minute land snails. They are widely distributed across and reported from Africa, Asia, and the Pacific.
However, they are confined to microhabitats consisting of limestone caves or karst landscapes formed by the dissolution of limestone.
They are also found in soil or subterranean habitats in lowland tropical forests as well as high altitude evergreen forests or on rock surface rich in calcium.
Mawsmai cave is situated in the small village of Mawsmai, around four kilometres from Cherrapunjee (Sohra) in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya.
The term ‘Mawsmai’ means ‘Oath Stone’ in the Khasi language. The Khasi people use the local term ‘Krem’ for the cave.
2) Mastirak Gel to treat Mastitis –
Based on the indigenous knowledge shared by a farmer from Gujarat, National Innovation Foundation(NIF) has developed a poly-herbal and cost-effective medicine named Mastirak Gel to treat Mastitis, an infectious disease of dairy cattle.
What is Mastitis disease in Cattle?
Mastitis is an infectious disease condition resulting in an inflammatory reaction in the mammary gland of the cow.
Caused by: There are a variety of microorganism species that are known to cause mastitis. These range from viruses, mycoplasma, fungus and bacteria.
Symptoms: The clear sign of mastitis is inflammation of the mammary gland that turns into a red and hard mass. This affects farm productivity due to a fall in milk quality thus impacting income-generating activities.
3) Constitutional mandate for Deputy Speaker
Article 93 talks about the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker for Lok Sabha and the case for their vacancies.
Article 178 contains the corresponding position for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of a state.
Is it mandatory under the Constitution to have a Deputy Speaker?
Constitutional experts point out that both Articles 93 and 178 use the words “shall” and “as soon as may be”.
This indicates that not only is the election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker mandatory, it must be held at the earliest.
All that the Constitution says is the election must be held as soon as possible.
4) Gross Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks are expected to rise to 8-9% this fiscal from 7.5% as on March 31, 2021 but they would still remain below the peak of 11.2% seen at the end of fiscal 2018.
What are Non-Performing Assets?
For a bank, the loans given by the bank is considered as its assets.
Any asset which stops giving returns to its investors for a specified period of time is known as Non-Performing Asset (NPA).
So, if the principle or the interest or both the components of a loan is not being serviced to the lender (bank), then it would be considered as NPA.
Classification of NPAs in India
According to the RBI, a NPA is a loan or advance for which the principal or interest payment remained overdue for a period of 90 days.
Banks are required to classify NPAs further into Substandard, Doubtful and Loss assets.
Substandard Assets: Assets which has remained NPA for a period less than or equal to 12 months.
Doubtful Assets: An asset would be classified as doubtful if it has remained in the substandard category for a period of 12 months.
Loss Assets: As per RBI, loss asset is considered uncollectible and of such little value that its continuance as a bankable asset is not warranted, although there may be some salvage or recovery value.
NPAs of Agriculture Loans
In terms of Agriculture/Farm Loans, the NPA is defined as under: For short duration crop such as paddy, Jowar, Bajra etc. if the loan (instalment/interest) is not paid for 2 crop seasons, it would be termed as an NPA.
For Long Duration Crops, the above would be 1 Crop season from the due date
Important news :-
1) PM to attend climate meet in Glasgow –
Modi will travel to Glasgow on October 31 to attend the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26), India has conveyed to the British Government this week, sources confirmed.
The decision comes even as climate negotiation delegations from the United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom travelled to Delhi to discuss India’s climate goals.
Mr. Modi and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson are expected to jointly launch the “one world, one solar, one grid” initiative at the summit where at least 120 world leaders have confirmed their attendance.
India’s Nationally Determined Commitments (NDCs) to reflect its ambition to install 450 GW of renewable energy by 2030.
2) U.K., India joint military exercise is to keep peace and stability
As the United Kingdom’s Carrier Strike Group (CSG) gets ready for one of the biggest joint exercises — Konkan Shakti — with India’s armed forces, its aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth has an added task — it aims to strengthen military as well as cultural ties with India with an intent to “demonstrate that democracies that have similar views of the world want to work together to keep peace and stability”.
Other Exercises between India and UK:
- Exercise ‘Indradhanush’ (Air Force Exercise)
- Ajeya Warrior (Joint Military Exercise)
3) System to track prisoners on parole
The Union Home Ministry has advised the States to update recent photographs of prisoners released on parole/ furlough/premature release in the “ePrisons” and Interoperable Criminal Justice System database to generate immediate alerts and facilitate easy tracking in the event of their violating the law.
The e-Prisons application suite integrates all the activities related to prison and prisoner management. It provides vital information about the inmates lodged in the prisons in a real-time environment to the courts, prison officials and other entities, involved in the Criminal Justice System. It facilitates online visit request and grievance redressal.
Inter-operable Criminal Justice System
Inter-operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) is a common platform for information exchange and analytics of all the pillars of the criminal justice system comprising of Police, Forensics, Prosecution, Courts& Prisons. Invested under the CCTNS project of the MHA, the ICJS enables a nation wide search on police, prisons & courts databases across all States/ UTs in the country. Consumption of data between pillars is also being enabled.
4) Pakistan retained on FATF’s ‘greylist’ again
Financial Action Task Force
- It is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
- The FATF assesses the strength of a country’s anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing frameworks, however it does not go by individual cases.
- Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
- The FATF currently has 39 members including two regional organisations — the European Commission and Gulf Cooperation Council. India is a member of the FATF.
Lists under FATF:
- Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list.
- This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
- Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist.
- These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities.
- The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
5) 100 monuments illuminated
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) on Thursday illuminated 100 monuments in the tricolour to celebrate the milestone of 100 crore COVID19 vaccine doses. Thanking frontline workers, the ASI said in a statement that 100 monuments, including UNESCO World Heritage Sites — Red Fort, Humayun’s Tomb and Qutub Minar in Delhi, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh, Konark Temple in Odisha and Mamallapuram Rath temples in Tamil Nadu — were lit up.
6) UN unveils fund for ‘people’s economy’ in Afghanistan –
The United Nations said on Thursday it had set up a special trust fund to provide urgently-needed cash directly to Afghans through a system tapping into donor funds frozen since the Taliban takeover last August.
Achim Steiner, the UN Development Programme’s (UNDP) administrator said that Germany, a first contributor, had pledged €50 million ($58 million) to the fund, and that it was in touch with other donors to mobilise resources.
Economy set to contract
The International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday that Afghanistan’s economy is set to contract up to 30% this year and this is likely to further fuel a refugee crisis that will affect its neighbouring countries, Turkey and Europe.
The Islamists’ takeover saw billions in central bank assets frozen and international financial institutions suspend access to funds, although humanitarian aid has continued. Banks are running out of money, civil servants have not been paid and food prices have soared.
7) ‘Need strategic reserves of coal and gas’
The Centre has asked States to lift their hydropower output in a bid to conserve scarce coal supplies, Power Secretary Alok Kumar said on Thursday, stressing the need to build strategic reserves of imported coal and gas as was being done for petroleum products.
India, he pointed out, had 17,000 MW of power plants based on imported coal and 24,000 MW of gas-fired plants, which virtually go out of play when prices rise too high.
“Many countries have started keeping strategic reserves, because when it comes to a crunch, every country will meet its needs first. Russia has curtailed gas supply to Europe because they want more gas to be consumed within their country” .
8) Cabinet okays implementing PM GatiShakti
A week after PM Narendra Modi unveiled the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for improving multimodal connectivity projects’ outcomes, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday approved an institutional framework for its implementation.
Editorial of the day
Editorial 1 – COVID Vaccination : Responding to adversity with achievement
Context – India has completed vaccination of 100 crore doses on October 21, 2021, in just about nine months since starting vaccination.
The journey from anxiety to assurance has happened and our nation has emerged stronger, thanks to the world’s largest vaccination drive.
It has been a truly bhagirath effort involving multiple sections of society.
India’s vaccine drive is an example of what India can achieve if the citizens and the Government come together with a common goal in the spirit of Jan Bhagidari.
Editorial 2 – The poor conditions of protectors (Police)
In memory of these and other colleagues killed, all the police forces of the State and Centre observe October 21 as Police Commemoration Day. This year, tributes were paid to 377 personnel who lost their lives in the line of duty between September 1, 2020, and August 31, 2021.
October 21 is observed as Police Commemoration Day as it was on this day in 1959 that a pitched battle was fought against the Chinese in Ladakh close to the border. The incident went down in the history of the forces as an example of unflinching loyalty to the nation, dedication to duty and daring of the highest order.
A memorial at the spot is testimony to the sacrifices made by our forces. On it is etched the famous epitaph by John Maxwell Edmunds: “When you go home/ Tell them of us/ And say/ ‘For your tomorrow,/ We gave our today’.”
Don’t let sacrifices go in vain
Despite the onerous nature of their duties, the police are a neglected lot. They get paid low salaries, have a poor quality of life and are often deprived of basic facilities. Yet they risk their lives to protect citizens. The morale of the paramilitary personnel is not of the desired level. Those who cleared recruitment exams in 2003 but joined the force in 2004 or later are not eligible for pension under the old norms. Canteen and medical facilities are dismal. Items sold through the Central Police Canteens are not exempted from GST. It is high time the government takes note of the grievances of the police and paramilitary personnel and not let their sacrifices go in vain.
There are notable variations in the ex-gratia amounts given to the next of kin of the police who are killed. While certain States like Delhi and Tamil Nadu pay ₹1 crore, several other States dither to pay even half that amount. The Centre and the States need to bring about uniformity in the amount paid. While the Centre pays ex-gratia to the families of the Central Armed Police Forces which may be short of ₹1 crore, the balance should be borne by the States as ₹1 crore is reasonably sufficient to see the family through hard days. Care should be taken to ensure that the next of kin are not deprived of a decent living. Payments from the public exchequer need to be made judiciously.