Prelims Objective Practices Questions
(I.) Which of the Element is not counted as a Rare Earth Mineral?
(II) Which of the following statements clearly explains the term ‘carbon bombs’?
A) These are coal present beneath the Earthu2019s surface yet to be discovered.
B) These are oil or gas projects that will result in at least a billion tonnes of CO2 emissions over its lifetime.
C) These are oil resources present beneath the permafrost that will be exposed due to melting of ice.
D) These are vehicular emissions that receive less attention from the international community.
(III.) With reference to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, consider the following statements:-
1. This law is an exception to certain Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions.
2. The 2021 amendment increased the gestation period from 20 weeks to 28 weeks without any conditions.
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
Question of the Day
Ques:- This law is an exception to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions of 312 and 313 and sets out the rules of how and when a medical abortion can be carried out.
Prelims Specific Facts
1) What is the news?
- The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 moved by the Minister of Earth Sciences. The Bill aims at having India’s own national measures for protecting the Antarctic environment and also the dependent and associated ecosystem.
- What are the key provisions of the Indian Antarctic Bill,2022 ?
- Setting up of Indian Antarctic Authority (IAA): The Bill proposed to set-up Indian Antarctic Authority (IAA) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. The IAA shall be the apex decision-making authority and shall facilitate programmes and activities permitted under the Bill.
- Regulate Activities to Antarctica: It aims to regulate visits and activities to Antarctica, as well as potential disputes that may arise among those present on the continent.
- Inspection of Vessels: It lays out a structure for government officials to inspect a vessel and conduct checks of research facilities.
- Antarctic fund: It directs the creation of a fund called the Antarctic fund that will be used for protecting the Antarctic environment.
- Penal Provisions: It extends the jurisdiction of Indian courts to Antarctica. It also lays out penal provisions for crimes on the continent by Indian citizens, and foreign citizens who are a part of Indian expeditions or are in the precincts of Indian research stations. Establishment of Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection: It will monitor, implement and ensure compliance with the relevant international laws, emissions standards and rules of protection.
- Prohibitory Activities: It prohibits mining, dredging and activities that threaten the pristine conditions of the continent. It also bans any person, vessel or aircraft from disposing waste in Antarctica and bars the testing of nuclear devices.
- It also provides that private tours and expeditions to Antarctica would be prohibited without a permit or the written authorization by a member country.
- Why was the need for Antarctica Bill?
- Firstly, India had been a signatory to the Antarctic Treaty since 1983. The treaty makes it mandatory to specify a set of laws governing portions of the continent where it had its research bases.
- Secondly, India is also signatory to treaties such as the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources and the Protocol on the Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty – both of which enjoin India to help preserve the pristine nature of the continent.
- What is Antarctic Treaty?
- The Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961. The Treaty covers the area south of 60°S latitude.
- 1) To demilitarize Antarctica
- 2) To establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste and to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes only
- 3) To promote international scientific cooperation in Antarctica and
- 4) To set aside disputes over territorial sovereignty.
- Signatories: Of the 54 signatory countries to the treaty, 29 have consultative status that give them voting rights.
- What is the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources?
- The convention was signed in Canberra in 1980. The convention aims for the protection and preservation of the Antarctic environment and, in particular, for the preservation and conservation of marine living resources in Antarctica.
- India ratified the Convention in 1985 and is a member of the Commission for Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.
2) Jawaharlal Nehru Port becomes first 100% Landlord Major Port of India
- Jawaharlal Nehru Port(JNP) has become the first major landlord port in India following the awarding of a private tender to expand Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal(JNPCT).
- What is the Landlord Port Model?
- In the landlord port model, the publicly governed port authority acts as a regulatory body and as a landlord while private companies carry out port operations—mainly cargo-handling activities.
- Here, the port authority maintains ownership of the port while the infrastructure is leased to private firms that provide and maintain their own superstructure and install their own equipment to handle cargo.
- In return, the landlord port gets a share of the revenue from the private entity.
- What is Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority(JNPA)?
- Jawaharlal Nehru Port Authority(JNPA) is located in Navi Mumbai and was commissioned in 1989.
- It is the premier container handling port in India accounting for around 50% of the total containerized cargo volume across the major ports of India.
3) Explained: Why India has cut windfall tax on diesel, aviation fuel exports
- The government of India has slashed windfall tax on domestically produced crude, diesel and aviation turbine fuel, withdrew the levy on petrol and exempted exports of fuels from the special economic zone(SEZ) from it.
- What is the Windfall Tax?
- A windfall tax is a higher tax rate on sudden big profits levied on a particular company or industry.
4) With $87 billion, India top remittance recipient in 2021: UN report
- The World Health Organization(WHO) has released a report titled ‘’World report on the health of refugees and migrants’. This is the first WHO report on the health of refugees and migrants.
- Note: WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.
- What are the key findings of the report?
- Migrants: Globally, there are around one billion migrants or roughly one in eight people.
- Disease, famine, climate change and war have forced people to flee their homelands and the conflict in Ukraine has helped push the number of displaced people worldwide to more than 100 million for the first time in history.
- At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disproportionately affect the health and livelihoods of migrants and refugees.
- Remittances: In 2021, the top five remittance recipients in current US dollars were India, China, Mexico, the Philippines and Egypt.
- India received 87 billion dollars in remittances in 2021.
- Challenges to Remittances: Remittances are expected to continue growing in 2022, but there are challenges, such as the COVID-19 crisis, which still poses one of the greatest risks to low-and middle-income countries especially as fiscal stimulus programmes in migrant destination countries cannot continue indefinitely.
5. Monkeypox is ‘public health emergency’
- The World Health Organization has declared the global monkeypox outbreak a “Public health emergency of international concern” (PHEIC), one step below that of a “pandemic”.
- World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations’ specialized agency for Health was founded in 1948.
- Its headquarters are situated in Geneva, Switzerland.
- There are 194 Member States, 150 country offices, six regional offices.
- It is an inter-governmental organization and works in collaboration with its member states usually through the Ministries of Health.
- The WHO provides leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends.
- It began functioning on April 7, 1948 – a date now being celebrated every year as World Health Day.
- To act as the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.
- To establish and maintain effective collaboration with the United Nations, specialized agencies, governmental health administrations, professional groups and such other organizations as may be deemed appropriate.
- To provide assistance to the Governments, upon request, in strengthening health services.
- To promote cooperation among scientific and professional groups which contribute to the advancement of health.
- World Health Assembly
- The Health Assembly is composed of delegates representing Members.
- Each Member is represented by not more than three delegates, one of whom is designated by the Member as chief delegate.
- These delegates are chosen from among persons most qualified by their technical competence in the field of health, preferably representing the national health administration of the Member.
- The nearly century-old Badanavalu Khadi Kendra near Nanjangud in Mysuru district that was inaugurateed by Mahatma Gandhi in 1927 has stopped spinning for nearly five months, while the more than 65 years-old Dharwad Taluk Seva Kendra has not seen spinning activities for more than four months. The situation is as dire in other units, leading to job losses.
7. Media running kangaroo courts
- Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said the media was running “kangaroo courts” on issues even experienced judges found difficult to decide.
- A kangaroo court is a court that ignores recognized standards of law or justice, carries little or no official standing in the territory within which it resides, and is typically convened ad hoc. A kangaroo court may ignore due process and come to a predetermined conclusion.
- The revised rules of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation for disabled air passengers that required a doc tor’s opinion to permit them to fly is an “insult to injury” as it conflated disability and ill-health, and must be rolled back, disability rights groups said .
- The regulator on Friday amended its Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on Carriage by Air – Persons with Disability. While the rule said that disability cannot be a ground for denying boarding to a passenger, it stated that if the airline perceives that a passenger’s health can deteriorate during a flight, it must seek a doctor’s opinion on whether such a person is fit to fly or not.
9. Bat habitats in South Western Ghats lie mainly outside protected areas, finds study
- A recent study indicates that more than 50% of habitats suitable for 37 species of bats in the Southern Western Ghats lie outside protected areas, potentially increasing threats faced by the animals due to poaching for their meat, habitat loss and stigma from local communities, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 1,600 km of the Southern Western Ghats, encompassing biodiverse regions in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
- Six major biodiversity hotspots- Agastyamalai,Periyar Tiger Reserve, Anamalai, the Nilgiris, the Wayanad-Mudumalai complex and Brahmagiri – were part of the study area.
- the Southern Western Ghats was home to rare and endangered bat species such as Salim Ali’s fruit bat (Latidens salimalii) and the Pomona roundleaf bat (Hipposideros Pomona).
- Cholera is a life-threatening infectious disease and a public health hazard. It is caused by a comma-shaped bacterium known as Vibri o cholerae.
More than two hundred serogroups of this bacterium are known, of which only 01 and O139 are known to cause such infection that leads to epidemics and pandemics.
- Of these two serogroups, 01 was responsible for seven pandemic waves, only to be temporarily displaced by 0139. This emerged late and came up around 1992.
- It was anticipated that this would cause the eighth round of pandemic but it subside as mysteriously as it had originated.
11. Red hot Europe
- Over the past week, Western Europe reeled under one of the most brutal heatwaves the region has ever witnessed. On July 19, temperatures in the U.K., for the first time in recorded history, crossed 40 degrees Celsius.
- Countries such as France, Spain and Portugal too recorded temperatures across a similar range.
- The extreme rise in temperature in a region known for its cold climate is attributed to climate change and global warming. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for immediate action on the climate crisis, bleakly summing up that it is either “collective action or collective suicide”.
Explainer of the Day
Will Russia-Ukraine deal ease global food crisis?
- In their first major deal since the February 24 war began, Russia and Ukraine on Friday agreed to resume grain exports from Black Sea ports as part of a deal negotiated by the United Nations and Turkey. The UN had initiated talks in April to unblock the millions of tonnes of wheat and other food items stuck in Ukraine’s Black Sea ports that have been blockaded by Russia.
- Russia and Ukraine together account for more than a quarter of the world’s wheat supplies. Russia’s share in the global exports of wheat, the world’s most widely grown crop, is some 20% according to 2020 figures, while Ukraine accounts for 8%. About 50 countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for more than 30% of their wheat imports. Besides wheat, Ukraine is the world’s eighth largest producer and fourth largest exporter of corn, accounting for 16% of global exports. Further, Ukraine, which produces up to 46% of sunflower-seed and sunflower oil is the world’s largest exporter of sunflower oil. The Ukraine war has therefore clearly hit one of the breadbaskets of the world.
- The UN’s Food Price Index averaged 154.2 points in June, 23% higher than its value a year ago. Food price inflation has soared across economies in recent weeks. The exports agreement, if implemented, would see Russian and Ukrainian grains flowing back into the market, easing prices.
What is the controversy over GST levies on food?
- A 5% Goods and Services Tax (GST) has been levied on several food items and grains that are sold in a per-packed, labelled form even if they are not branded. So far, these items, which include curd, lassi, buttermilk, puffed rice, wheat, pulses, oats, maize and flour, were exempted from the GST net. The fresh tax le vies have attracted an outcry from traders as well as Opposition parties, with proceedings in Parliament’s Monsoon session repeatedly disrupted over the issue.
- The 5% tax on unbranded packed food items was ap proved by the GST Council in late June, and was part of a broader set of changes in the GST structure to do away with tax exemptions as well as concessional tax rates. Some of the other items to have lost their tax-exempt status include bank cheques, maps and atlases, hotel rooms that cost up to 1,000 a night, and hospital room rents of over 5,000 a day.
- Shoring up GST revenues was the driving force for the Council’s decision to form two groups of Ministers (GoMs) – one to consider steps to rationalise the tax rates and correct anomalies, and another to tap technology to improve compliance.
- She also pointed out that all affected food items, including wheat, pulses, rice, curd and lassi, will be exempt from GST when sold loose.
How will SC ruling on abortion impact women?
- The Supreme Court of India allowed an unmarried woman to end her pregnancy at 24 weeks, after the Delhi High Court refused to allow it, citing the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. The top court said if a medical board assessed that the pregnancy could be terminated without any harm to the mother, then she could go ahead and have an abortion.
- The Delhi High Court had taken the view that she was unmarried and since the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act allowed only married women to terminate the pregnancy after 20 weeks, she would not be eligible to get an abortion.
- The Court said it would amount to killing the foetus, since she was in the 23rd week of her pregnancy. “As of today, Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003 stands, and this court, while exercising its power under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, cannot go beyond the statute,”
- A bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Surya Kant, and A.S. Bopanna said the MTP Act which was amended in 2021 has the word partner instead of husband, exhibiting the intention of the law of the land to not confine it to only marital relationships.
- Further, the bench directed the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to set up a medical board of two doctors to examine the woman (as per the provisions of the MTP Act) to determine if it was safe and not a risk to the life of the mother to terminate the pregnancy. If it is their opinion that it is safe to do so, then AIIMS can conduct the procedure on her.
- As per the MTP Act, all women are allowed to get a medical termination of pregnancy before 20 weeks. But only certain categories of women are allowed to have an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks – survivors of rape, minors, and a married woman whose relationship status has altered during this period.