With reference to the coffee cultivation in India, which of the following statements is/are correct?
1. It is a tropical plantation crop.
2. India mostly grows superior quality coffee of arabica. Select the correct answer using the codes given below:
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Consider the following statement regarding Abanindranath Tagore:
1. He was associated with Indian Society of Oriental Art
2. His work was majorly inspired from Western models of Art
3. He was the creator of the iconic “Bharat Mata” painting
Which of the following is/are correct?
- 1 and 2 only
- 2 and 3 only
- 1 and 3 only
- 1, 2 and 3
Consider the following statements about Jallianwala Bagh massacre:
1.Hunter Commission was set up to examine the incident of Jallianwala Bagh
2. Sir Subrmaniya Aiyar renounced his knighthood following the incident.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Consider the following statements:
1. He was a freedom fighter from Meghalaya.
2. He knew Sanskrit and translated the Hindu religious book ‘Bhagavad Gita’ into the Khasi.
3. He was the only Khasi who attended the famous ‘Lahore Session’ of Indian National Congress in 1929.
Which of the following personality is described in the statements above?
- U Sib Charan Roy
- Moje Riba
- Gopinath Bordoloi
- Paona Brajabashi
Prelims Specific Factual News
All you need to know about the New Labour Codes
New Labour Codes
The four codes likely to be implemented in FY23 are:
- Code on Wages
- Industrial Relations Code
- Social Security Code, and
- Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code
Objectives of the Labour Code
- The new labor codes are aimed at facilitating ease of doing business in the country and seek to replace 29 cumbersome laws.
- The objective is to encompass over 500 million organized and unorganized sector workers—90% of the workforce which has been outside labour laws.
- The idea is to ensure that they receive wage security, social security and health security, gender equality in terms of remuneration, a minimum floor wage, make the lives of inter-state migrant workers easier.
What is the current status of the codes?
- The central government has completed the process of finalizing the draft rules, state governments are in the process of drafting the same.
- With labor being a concurrent subject, states are in the process of pre-publishing draft rules for these reforms.
How many labour laws do Indian states have?
- The simplification of 29 labour laws into the four labour codes is expected be a watershed moment for labour reforms.
- India currently has a web of multiple labour legislations, over 40 central laws and 100 state laws involving labour.
- The Second National Commission on Labour (2002) recommended simplification to bring about transparency and uniformity.
What are the major goals in these codes?
- Social security benefits: With organized sector workers being approximately 10% of the total workforce, the new codes may ensure that social security benefits are for all.
- Take-home salary: As per the proposed labour codes, total allowances such as house rent, leave, travel etc. are to be capped at 50% of the salary, while basic pay should account for the remaining 50%.
- Four days work: There could also be a permissible four-day work week of 12 hours per day.
How will it affect ease of doing business?
- Labour productivity: It is likely to improve with both employees and employers developing a sense of being partners in wealth creation.
- Labour reform: A transparent environment in terms of workers’ compensation, clear definition of employee rights and employer duties.
- Compliance un-burdening: Simplified labour codes making compliance easier are likely to attract investments.
- Formalization of the economy: With more workers in the organized sector, leakage in terms of direct as well as indirect taxes may be plugged.
2) Good Governance Index 2021
What do you mean by Good Governance?
- It is the process of measuring how public institution conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regard for the rule of law.
12 Principles of Good Governance:
- Participation, Representation, Fair Conduct of Elections
- Efficiency and Effectiveness
- Openness and Transparency
- Rule of Law
- Ethical Conduct
- Competence and Capacity
- Innovation and Openness to Change
- Sustainability and Long-term Orientation
- Sound Financial Management
- Human rights, Cultural Diversity and Social Cohesion
About Good Governance Index (GGI)
- The GGI is a uniform tool across States to assess the Status of Governance and the impact of various interventions taken up by the State Government and UTs.
- The objectives are:
- To provide quantifiable data to compare the state of governance in all states and UTs, enable states and UTs
- To formulate and implement suitable strategies for improving governance and shift to result-oriented approaches and administration
Components of GGI
- GGI 2021 Framework covered ten sectors and 58 indicators.
- These ten Governance Sectors are measured on total 50 indicators:
- Agriculture and Allied Sectors
- Commerce & Industries
- Human Resource Development
- Public Health
- Public Infrastructure & Utilities
- Economic Governance
- Social Welfare & Development
- Judicial & Public Security
- Citizen-Centric Governance
Categorization of States and UTs
The GGI 2020-21 categorizes States and UTs into four categories, i.e.
- Other States – Group A
- Other States – Group B
- North-East and Hill States and
- Union Territories
Top performers in 2021
- Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa top the composite rank score covering 10 sectors.
- GGI 2021 says that Gujarat registered 12.3 percent increase and Goa registered 24.7 percent increase over GGI 2019 indicators.
- Rajasthan has topped the Other States (Group B) category in Judiciary and Public Safety, Environment & Citizen Centric Governance.
- GGI 2021 says that in the North-East and Hill States category, Mizoram and Jammu and Kashmir have registered an overall increase of 10.4% and 3.7% respectively over GGI 2019.
- In the UTs category, Delhi tops the composite rank registering a 14 percent increase over the GGI 2019 indicators.
3) About Toda Population :- Toda people lived in isolation in the Nilgiri Hills. The current Toda population lives in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, which forms part of the Western Ghats. This region was recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 due to its unique ecology and rich botanical diversity.
4) About Contempt of Court :-
Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) stated that its power to punish for contempt under Article 129 is a constitutional power, which cannot be done away with even by any law.
When the Constitution was adopted, contempt of court was made one of the restrictions on freedom of speech and expression.
Separately, Article 129 of the Constitution conferred on the Supreme Court the power to punish contempt of itself.
Article 215 conferred a corresponding power on the High Courts.
The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, gives statutory backing to the idea.
Two Types of Contempt:
It is committed when someone wilfully disobeys a court order, or wilfully breaches an undertaking given to court.
It consists of three forms:
(a) words, written or spoken, signs and actions that “scandalise” or “tend to scandalise” or “lower” or “tends to lower” the authority of any court
(b) prejudices or interferes with any judicial proceeding and
(c) interferes with or obstructs the administration of justice.
Why is the Republic of South Africa referred to as a Rainbow Nation? :-
The Republic of South Africa is referred to as a Rainbow Nation to describe the unity of various cultural, racial or ethnic groups in the country during the post apartheid era after 1994 compared to earlier divisiveness based on skin colour. this term was coined by Desmond Tutu.
Desmond Tutu (1931- 2021)
- Tutu was a South African Anglican cleric who in 1984 received the Nobel Prize for Peace for his role in the opposition to apartheid in South Africa.
- A decade later, he witnessed the ends of that regime and he chaired a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, set up to unearth atrocities committed during those dark days.
- He was considered the nation’s conscience by both, the black majority and the white minority, an enduring testament to his faith and spirit of reconciliation in a divided nation.
6) India hands over food aid, defence equipment to Mozambique
India’s large amphibious warship INS Kesari has delivered 500 metric tons of food aid, two fast interceptor craft and self-defence military equipment to Mozambique, in the eighth such deployment to 15 `friendly foreign countries’ under Mission SAGAR (security and growth for all in the region).
The 500 metric tons of food aid was shipped by INS Kesari, which entered the Maputo Port on Saturday, to support Mozambique from ongoing drought and concurrent pandemic. Equipments are also handed over to boost the capacity of the country in order to fight terrorism.
7)What is Dumping and Anti-Dumping :-
What is dumping?
Dumping is, in general, a situation of international price discrimination, where the price of a product when sold in the importing country is less than the price of that product in the market of the exporting country. Thus, in the simplest of cases, one identifies dumping simply by comparing prices in two markets.
What is Anti-Dumping Duty :- Anti-dumping duty is a tariff imposed on imports manufactured in foreign countries that are priced below the fair market value of similar goods in the domestic market.
The government imposes anti-dumping duty on foreign imports when it believes that the goods are being “dumped” – through the low pricing – in the domestic market. Anti-dumping duty is imposed to protect local businesses and markets from unfair competition by foreign imports.
Why in News :- India imposed anti-dumping duty on 5 Chinese Goods.
8)Tai Khamti Rebellion :-
The Arunachal Pradesh Deputy CM urged the Centre to recognize the Tai Khamti-British war as India’s first for independence.
Tai Khamti Rebellion
- The Tai Khamti Rebellion is the first such war took place in 1839 between the Tai Khamti people and the British.
- The theatre of this war was some 2,400 km east of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh where the mutiny began.
- Tai Khamtis resisted colonization by the British. Some 80 British soldiers, including Col. Adam White, were killed in the resultant conflict.
Who are the Tai Khamti people?
- The Tai Khamti people, who follow Theravada Buddhism, number a little more than 1,00,000 today and live in areas straddling Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
Other revolts in Arunachal
- Arunachal Deputy CM also batted for recognition of battles between other communities of Arunachal Pradesh and the British.
- They include a series of Anglo-Abor wars from 1858 to 1911 and the Wancho-British war in Tirap district’s Ninu in 1875.
- The Abors, now called Adis, inhabit central Arunachal Pradesh, while the Wanchos live in the southern part of the State.
9) What is Tokenization of Debit and Credit Cards?
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to defer the implementation of tokenization of debit and credit cards for online transactions by a further six months following representations from stakeholders.
- RBI has also extended tokenization of Card-on-File (CoF) transactions where card details are saved by merchants — and directed the merchants not to store card details in their systems from January 1, 2022.
- A CoF transaction is one in which a cardholder has authorized a merchant to store his or her Mastercard or Visa payment details, and to bill the stored account.
- E-commerce companies and airlines and supermarket chains often store card details.
What is Tokenisation?
- Tokenisation refers to the replacement of credit and debit card details with an alternative code called a ‘token’.
- This token is unique for a combination of card, token requestor (the entity that accepts a request from the customer for tokenisation of a card and passes it on to the card network to issue a token) and the device.
Benefits of Tokenization
- Transaction safety: Tokenization reduces the chances of fraud arising from sharing card details.
- Easy payments: The token is used to perform contactless card transactions at point-of-sale (PoS) terminals and QR code payments.
- Data storage: Only card networks and card-issuing banks will have access to and can store any card data.
How are the transactions currently processed?
- There are many players involved in processing one card transaction today:
- Payment aggregator
- Issuing bank
- Card network
- When a transaction happens on a merchant platform, the data is sent to the payment aggregator (PA).
- The PA next sends the details to either the issuing bank or the card network.
- Then issuing bank sends an OTP and the transaction flows back.
Which companies dominate card transactions in India?
Is the industry ready to implement this?
- Not fully, that is why the RBI had to extend the deadline.
- The industry currently can convert CoF into a tokenized number. However, the readiness to process the token is negligible.
- About 90% of banks are ready with provisioning of token on Visa. Only 25-30% banks are ready on Mastercard.
Impact on businesses
If the industry isn’t ready, several business models would be impacted.
- E-mandates (recurring payments) will stand ineffective from 1 July.
- Card EMIs account for 25% of online e-commerce sales. That option will no longer be available.
- Cashbacks/discount offers by banks will be impacted, too.
- A user may not be able to use Mastercard saved cards on a merchant platform to make a transaction and will have to enter the card details every time a transaction is made.
- This could be the same for some Visa cards.
- The new system is a much bigger disruption to the way digital payments will henceforth be processed.
- Integration of systems and the ability to process is one part.
- The industry also needs to test the performance and success rate of the tokenization solution.
10) ‘Sri Lanka to sign Trinco deal with India soon’
After a year of visible strain in its ties with Colombo, New Delhi may finally have some reason for cheer. In a month’s time, Sri Lanka will ink the long dragging deal with India to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farms — a coveted project that has remained controversial for decades.
About Trincomalee oil field
- The facility, built by the British around World War II as a refueling station, has 99 storage tanks that look like giant wells.
- They have a capacity of 12,000 kilolitres each.
- Eighty-four of those are in the 800-acre Upper Tank Farm (UTF). For a good part of a century now, these tanks have remained unused, shrouded in a forest.
- The Lower Tank Farm (LTF) has 16 tanks, spread across 50 acres.
- Trincomalee harbor is the second deepest natural harbor in the world.
- The British who were in control of the island decided to make this as their primary logistics station in the east after World War I.
- It is also a lesser-known but important logistic station during World War II.
- British started the oil storage project in 1924 and completed in late 1930s.
- After that it was abandoned by the British in 1948 when Sri Lanka gained independence.
- In 2002, the development of this tank farm was revived by an Indian company Indian Oil Corporation (IOC).
History of India’s interest in Trincomalee
- The development of the Trincomalee Oil Tank farm has been a recurring talking point in Indo-Lanka relations since 1987.
- It was first mentioned in the Indo- Lanka Accord signed by PM Rajiv Gandhi and President Jayewardene.
- Despite that, nothing really took off until 2003, when Indian Oil Corporation set up Lanka IOC, its Sri Lankan subsidiary.
- The agreement remained dormant for years, until the Sirisena- Wickremesinghe administration tried revisiting it through the 2017 MoU.
Significance of Trincomalee
- Demography: Trincomalee is home to 3.7 lakh Muslim, Tamil and Sinhala people and Trincomalee, in Sri Lanka’s post-war years.
- Tourism: It has emerged as a favorite destination for surfers from around the world, gradually transforming with plush resorts and restaurants dotting its coast.
- Important sea route: Trincomalee remains in spotlight as a potential transit point for international trade routes, particularly drawing India which has known strategic interests there.
- Balancing China: From India’s geostrategic viewpoint, Trincomalee is an important counterbalance to the southern Hambantota Port backed substantially by China.
Hurdles to the Project
- Public resistance: India-backed projects in Sri Lanka tend to draw way more public resistance from nationalists among the majority Sinhalese constituency than projects with Chinese or American involvement.
- Anti-India sentiments: Observers in Sri Lanka attribute this to the “baggage” that Indian diplomacy carries, years after its intervention during different stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war.
11) ASIGMA: Indian Army Launches in-House Messaging Solution :-
What is the News?
The Indian Army has launched a contemporary messaging application named ASIGMA (Army Secure IndiGeneous Messaging Application).
What is ASIGMA?
It is a web-based communication platform developed to meet real-time data transfer and messaging requirements of the Army.
Developed by: It has been developed entirely in-house by a team of officers of the Corps of Signals of the Army.
Where will it be deployed? The application is being deployed on the Army’s internal network as a replacement of the Army Wide Area Network (AWAN) messaging application, which has been in service for the past 15 years.
Features: The app has a variety of contemporary features including multi-level security, message prioritisation and tracking, a dynamic global address book and various options to meet the Army’s requirements.
Significance: The app meets all futuristic user requirements and boasts of an enhanced user experience. It is also in line with the Government of India’s, Make in India initiative.
12) Kashmiri apples face Iranian kiwi pests :- The import of Iranian kiwis from Afghanistan to India has posed a major concern for apple dealers in Kashmir following a contagious quarantine pest threat found earlier this month in New Delhi.
Alarm bells were set off in Kashmir, which produces 71% of the country’s apples, after the National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO), a body under the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, wrote to Iran on December 7, 2021 about the incidence of two quarantine pests, Aspidiotus nerd and Aonidella aurantii, in many shipments of kiwis from Iran.
The Indian government has already conveyed to Iran that “the phytosanitary certificates issued by the NPPO, Iran, for fresh kiwi fruits shall not be entertained from our end from December 8, 2021”.
What is WTO’s Agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures?
The agreement on Sanitary and Phytosanitary measures (SPS) under WTO, provides guidelines for member countries to adopt measures related to food safety and animal and plant health from various biosafety risks arising from trade. These risks are usually related to pests and diseases and may come from risks arising from additives, toxins and contaminants in food and feed.
13) Study of distant Magnetar reveals facets of the Exotic Star :-
An international group of researchers has succeeded in measuring for the first time the characteristics of a flare on a distant magnetar.
What is a Magnetar?
- Magnetars are the most magnetic stars in the universe.
- It is a rare compact type of neutron star teeming with energy and magnetism.
- It is an exotic type of neutron star, its defining feature that it has an ultra-powerful magnetic field.
- The field is about 1,000 times stronger than a normal neutron star and about a trillion times stronger than the Earth’s.
- Magnetars are relatively rare objects, with only about thirty having been spotted within the Milky Way so far.
What is the recent study?
- The studied magnetar is about 13 million light years away, in the direction of the NGC 253, a prominent galaxy in the Sculptor group of galaxies.
- Its flare spewed within a few tenths of a second as much energy as the Sun would shed in 100,000 years.
- It was captured accidentally on April 15, 2020, by the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor instrument (ASIM) of the International Space Station.
- This is the first study to characterize such a flare from so distant a magnetar.
How do magnetars form?
- During the course of their evolution, massive stars – with masses around 10-25 times the mass of the Sun – eventually collapse and shrink to form very compact objects called neutron stars.
- A subset of these neutron stars is the so-called magnetars which possess intense magnetic fields.
- These are highly dense and have breathtakingly high rotation speeds – they have rotational periods that can be just 0.3 to 12.0 seconds.
What characterizes Magnetars?
(1) Violent flares
- The observed giant flare lasted approximately 160 milliseconds and during this time 1039 joules of energy was released.
- The flare spewed as much energy in a tenth of a second that our Sun will radiate in 100,000 years.
- Eruptions in magnetars are believed to be due to instabilities in their magnetosphere, or “starquakes” produced in their crust – a rigid, elastic layer about one kilometer thick.
- This causes waves in the magnetosphere, and interaction between these waves causes dissipation of energy.
14) Every third informal worker is now registered on E-Shram Portal :-
Every third informal sector worker in India is now registered on the e-Shram portal with registration on the portal crossing the 14 crore mark in four months.
About E-Shram Portal
- The Ministry of Labour and Employment has launched the E-Shram Portal for creating a National Database of Unorganized Workers (NDUW) this year.
- The E-Shram portal will cover all unorganised workers of the nation and help link them to social security schemes of the Government of India.
- Aadhaar with mobile number linked is mandatory for the registration.
Category of unorganized workers covered:
- Construction Worker
- Migrant Worker
- Gig & Platform Worker
- Street Vendor Worker
- Agriculture Worker
Broad objectives of this portal
- Creation of a centralized database of all unorganized workers (UWs)
- To improve the implementation efficiency of the social security services for the unorganized workers
- Integration of Social Security Schemes meant for UWs being administered by MoLE and subsequently, those run by other ministries as well
- Portability of the social security and welfare benefits to the migrant and construction workers
- Providing a comprehensive database to Central and State Governments for tackling any National Crises like COVID-19 in future
Benefits of registration
- Under the scheme, Rs 2.0 Lakh Accidental Insurance cover will be provided to every registered (on E-Shram portal) unorganized worker.
- Every registered unorganized worker shall be issued an E- Shram card with a unique Universal Account Number (UAN).
- He/She will be able to access the benefits of the various social security schemes through this Card anywhere anytime.
Who can register on this Portal?
Any individual satisfying the following conditions can register on the portal:
- An unorganized worker (UW).
- Age should be between 16-59 years.
- Not a member of EPFO/ESIC or NPS (Govt. funded)
What is required for registration?
Following is required to register on the portal:
- Aadhaar Number
- Mobile number linked with Aadhaar.
- Savings Bank Account Number with IFSC code
Registrations done so far
- The latest data of the portal shows that the top five States in terms of number of registrations on e-Shram are U.P., West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Jharkhand.
- Gender analysis of the data shows that 52.56% are female while 47.44% are male.
- The data show that 42.64% of the registered workers are other backward classes (OBC) followed by 26.45% from general category, 22.54% from the scheduled caste and 8.38% from the Scheduled Tribe.
- It also show that over 94% registered workers’ income is ₹10,000 per month or below while over 4% have income in the rage of ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 per month.
- About 51% workers are farm laborers, 11% in construction, 10% in domestic and household work and 6.5% in the apparel segment.
What is the issue?
Proof of a truly developed country lies in the way it not only nurtures its young but also cares for its elders equally
What is Demographic Dividend?
- The Demographic Dividend is expected to give a push to economic growth due to the lower dependency ratio which results from having a larger proportion of the population in the working-age group.
- The “Asian Tigers” — countries such as South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore — as also China, have exemplified the benefits.
What NFHS-5 data indicates?
- A larger youth population will give an impetus to innovation and entrepreneurship.
- As desired the young are in focus, with many programmes to facilitate their education, entrepreneurship, sports training as well as their well-being.
- The focus must not only be from an economic viewpoint, but also from the health perspective. Poor health could nullify the demographic advantage.
- The metrics for infant and child health continue to be at dismal.
- Life expectancy in India has risen from 50 (1970-75) to 70 years (2014-18).
- As a result the number of elders (over 60 years) is expected to increase (195 million in 2031, and 300 million by 2050.)
- Rather than looking at them as dependents converting them to productive members of society depends on two factors – their health and their capabilities.
What is the current health status of Senior Citizens?
- As per Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI), 11% of the elderly suffer from at least one form of impairment (locomotive, mental, visual and hearing).
- About 58 lakhs Indians die from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in India annually.
- Cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevalence is estimated to be 34% amongst 60-74 year olds.
- Though in 2016 Healthcare Access and Quality Index (HAQ), India improved its score (24.7 in 1990 to 41.2 in 2016) it ranks 145 out of 195 countries.
- Factors such as familial neglect, low education levels, socio-cultural beliefs, low trust on institutionalised health-care services and affordability affects the health of elders.
- Inequity in health-care access compounds the problems for the elderly who are physically, financially and at times psychologically restricted.
- With rising elderly population the biggest challenge is providing quality, affordable and accessible health care services to the elderly.
Are Government Schemes adequate enough?
- The Government does have schemes but are inadequate.
- Despite Ayushman Bharat, the Government’s health insurance scheme for the deprived, and private health insurance, a NITIAayog report indicates that 400 million Indians do not have any financial cover for health expenses. (largely elders)
- Both the Centre and States have pension schemes for the elders, but these provide as low as ₹350 to ₹400 a month in some States. Even this is not universal.
- A 2007 law requires States to ensure earmarked facilities for elders in every district hospital, headed by a doctor with experience in geriatric care.
- Yet, a status report filed by the Government in the Supreme Court of India in 2019 stated that 16 States and Union Territories (‘of 35’) did not have a single ward/bed dedicated to elders.
How should we address this issue?
- Home Consultations – They require specialised medical services like tele or home consultations, physiotherapy and rehabilitation services, mental health counselling and treatment.
- Seniors-first approach – Seniors-first approach led to over 73% of elderly population receiving at least one dose and 40% being doubly vaccinated by October 2021.
- Considering the success story, India should go with an elderly prioritised approach.
- Creation of adequate services for them will benefit all other age-groups.
- Funding – India needs to rapidly increase its public health-care spending, and invest in the creation of well-equipped medical care facilities, home health-care and rehabilitation services.
- Infrastructure – Presently, India has a major deficit in infrastructure and skilled medical care resources, with 1.3 hospital beds, 0.65 physicians, and 1.3 nurses for every 1,000 people.
- Over the next decade, we have the potential to add more than 3 million beds, 1.54 million doctors and 2.4 million nurses.
- We need to accelerate implementation of programmes such as the National Programme for Health Care of the Elderly (NPHCE).
- Schemes – The Ayushman Bharat and PM-JAY ecosystems need to be further expanded and similar, special health-care coverage schemes and services need to be created for senior citizens from the lower economic strata.
- The National Digital Health Mission has tremendous potential to expand medical consultations into the interiors of the country.
- However, this requires a digital literacy campaign for senior citizens.
- These essential steps will help to convert elders into a massive resource for socio-cultural and economic development, giving an altogether different perspective to “demographic dividend”.