26 July 2021 Daily The hindu Current Affairs

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Questions of the Day

Justice Amitava Roy panel was seen in news recently. The committee has been formed towards which of the following objective?

Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes

Digital payments

Prison reforms

Co-operative societies

2) Brandenburg Test often in news is related to?

Right to diplomatic immunity

Right to free speech

Right to free legal aid

Right against self-incrimination

3) Consider the following statements regarding Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK):

1. They are agricultural extension centres created by ICAR and its affiliated institutions at district level.

2. The KVK scheme is 100% financed by the Government of India.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

1 only

2 only

Both 1 and 2

Neither 1 nor 2

Explanation :- The Brandenburg test was established in Brandenburg v. Ohio, to determine when inflammatory speech intending to advocate illegal action can be restricted. 

Detail: In Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969), the ‘clear and present danger’ test was expanded, and the ‘imminent lawless action’ test was laid down by the U.S. Supreme Court, which the court has followed since. This test states, “The constitutional guarantees of free speech and free press do not permit the state to forbid or proscribe advocacy of the use of force or of law violation, except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action”. 

The word ‘imminent’ used in the judgment is very important. Imminent means ‘likely to happen very soon,’ ‘at hand,’ or ‘fast approaching.’ 

Prelims Specific News Items

1) China to activate world’s first clean Nuclear Reactor :- Scientist of the Chinese government has unveiled plans for an experimental nuclear reactor that does not require water for cooling. 

This reactor will run on liquid thorium instead of uranium and is expected to be safer than the traditional reactors. As molten salt, when exposed to air, cools and solidifies quickly thus insulating the thorium, causing any potential leak to spill very little radiation into the environment compared to the leaks from traditional reactors.

2) Golden Rice in Philippines : –  The government issued a bio safety permit which paves way for this rice which is enriched with beta-carotene the vitamin A-precursor and makes this rice more nutritional.

Vitamin A is crucial for development and normal growth, vision and the proper functioning of the immune system. The data of World Health Organization show that vitamin A deficiency causes up to 5,00,000 cases of childhood blindness every year

3) United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.

It has 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members from Asia-Pacific Region including India.

Established: 1947

Headquarters: Bangkok, Thailand

Objective: To overcome some of the region’s greatest challenges by providing results-oriented projects, technical assistance and capacity building to member States.

4) Recently, the Union Cabinet approved the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme (Central Sector Scheme) for manufacturing Speciality Steel (SS) with a budgetary outlay of Rs 6,322 crore over a period of five years from 2023-24.

Speciality Steel

It is value-added steel, which is made by processing normal finished steel.

It is done by converting normal finished steel into high value-added steel by way of coating, plating and heat treatment.

Apart from the automobile sector and specialised capital goods, they can be used in various strategic applications such as defence, space, power etc.

SS are categorized in various types such as, coated/plated steel products, high strength/wear resistant steel, speciality rails, alloy steel products and steel wires, electrical steel etc.

5) On 23rd July, India paid tribute to the freedom fighter Chandra Shekahr Azad on his birth anniversary.

Key Points

Birth: Azad was born on 23rd July 1906 in the Alirajpur district of Madhya Pradesh.

Early Life: Chandra Shekhar, then a 15-year-old student, joined a Non-Cooperation Movement in December 1921. As a result, he was arrested.

On being presented before a magistrate, he gave his name as “Azad” (The Free), his father’s name as “Swatantrata” (Independence) and his residence as “Jail”.

Therefore, he came to be known as Chandra Shekhar Azad.

Contribution to Freedom Movement: 

Hindustan Republican Association: After the suspension of the non-cooperation movement in 1922 by Gandhi, Azad joined Hindustan Republican Association (HRA).

HRA was a revolutionary organization of India established in 1924 in East Bengal by Sachindra Nath Sanyal, Narendra Mohan Sen and Pratul Ganguly as an offshoot of Anushilan Samiti.

Members: Bhagat Singh, Chandra Shekhar Azad, Sukhdev, Ram Prasad Bismil, Roshan Singh, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri.

Kakori Conspiracy: Most of the fund collection for revolutionary activities was done through robberies of government property. In line with the same, Kakori Train Robbery near Kakori, Lucknow was done in 1925 by HRA.

The plan was executed by Chandrashekhar Azad, Ram Prasad Bismil, Ashfaqulla Khan, Rajendra Lahiri, and Manmathnath Gupta.

Hindustan Socialist Republican Association: HRA was later reorganised as the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army (HSRA).

It was established in 1928 at Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi by Chandrasekhar Azad, Ashfaqulla Khan, Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar and Jogesh Chandra Chatterjee.

HSRA planned the shooting of J. P. Saunders, a British Policeman at Lahore in 1928 to avenge the killing of Lala Lajpat Rai.

Death: He died at Azad Park in Allahabad on 27th February 1931

6) Telangana’s Ramappa temple inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site :-

What is the News?

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) has inscribed the Ramappa Temple as a UNESCO ‘World Heritage Site’.

About Ramappa Temple:
  • Ramappa (Rudreswara) Temple is also known as the Ramalingeswara (Lord Siva) temple.
  • Location: The temple is located in the Palampet village of Venkatapur Mandal in Telangana’s Mulugu (old Warangal) district.
  • Built by: The temple was constructed in 1213 AD during the reign of the Kakatiya Empire by Recherla Rudra, a general of Kakatiya king Ganapati Deva.
  • Presiding Deity: The presiding deity of the temple is Ramalingeswara Swamy. The temple is known as the Ramappa temple after the sculptor who executed the work in the temple for 40 years.
Key Features of the Ramappa Temple:
  • The temple is a masterpiece of Kakatiya-era architecture. The temple stands on a 6 feet high star-shaped platform with walls, pillars, and ceilings adorned with intricate carvings that attest to the unique skill of the Kakatiya sculptors.
  • The foundation of the temple is built with the “sandbox technique”. The flooring of the temple is granite and the pillars are of basalt.
    • Sandbox technique involved filling the pit — dug up for laying the foundation — with a mixture of sand-lime, jaggery (for binding), and karakkaya (black myrobalan fruit) before the buildings were constructed on these ‘sandboxes’.This technique acts as a cushion in case of earthquakes.
  • The lower part of the temple is built with red sandstone, while the white gopuram is built with light bricks that reportedly float on water.
  • Moreover, the main temple is flanked by the collapsed structures of Kateshwarayya and Kameshwaraya temples in Palampet about 220 km from Hyderabad.
  • Further, the European merchants and travelers were mesmerized by the beauty of the temple, and one such traveler had remarked that the temple was the “brightest star in the galaxy of medieval temples of the Deccan”.
Terms to Know:

About International Council on Monuments and Sites(ICOMOS):

  • ICOMOS is a non-governmental international organisation associated with UNESCO. It was founded in 1965 in Warsaw as a result of the Venice Charter of 1964.
  • Its mission is to promote the conservation, protection, use, and enhancement of monuments, building complexes, and sites.
  • ICOMOS is also an Advisory Body of the World Heritage Committee for the implementation of the World Heritage Convention of UNESCO.
  • Partner Organization: ICOMOS is a partner and founding member of the Blue Shield, which works to protect the world’s cultural heritage threatened by wars and natural disasters.
  • Headquarters: Paris, France.

7) About NDRF :-

About NDRF:

The Disaster Management Act has made the statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.

Why was it needed?

Two national calamities in quick succession in the form of Orissa Super Cyclone (1999) and Gujarat Earthquake (2001) brought about the realization of the need of having a specialist response mechanism at National Level to effectively respond to disasters. This realization led to the enactment of the DM Act on 26 Dec 2005.

ROLE AND MANDATE OF NDRF:

  • Specialized response during disasters.
  • Proactive deployment during impending disaster situations.
  • Acquire and continually upgrade its own training and skills.
  • Liaison, Reconnaissance, Rehearsals and Mock Drills.
  • Impart basic and operational level training to State Response Forces (Police, Civil Defence and Home Guards).
  • Community Capacity Building Programme.
  • Organize Public Awareness Campaigns

8) Union Home Minister launches the Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign :-

What is the News?

The Union Home Minister has launched the Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign at Sohra (Cherrapunji).

About Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign:
  • Green Sohra Afforestation Campaign is a campaign of the Assam Rifles.
  • Under the campaign, the entire area of ​​Cherrapunji is going to be adopted by Assam Rifles for plantation.
  • So when the trees are cut for fuel and other uses, 80% of the total land will be planted with traditional and long lifespan trees. The remaining 20% ​​will be used for animal feed, ornamental plants, and nursery which will meet all the requirements and help reduce the feeling of long lifespan trees.
  • With this technique, multi-level farming is done, and the forest grows 30 times faster and after 3 years it becomes free of maintenance.
About Greater Sohra Water Project:
  • The Project was launched by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region(DoNER) and the Government of Meghalaya under the North-East Special Infrastructure Scheme.
  • The project is a part of the Prime Minister’s ambitious project Jal Jeevan Mission.
  • The project aims to provide pure drinking water through taps to every household in Sohra (Cherrapunji) region.
About Cherrapunji:
  • Cherrapunji or Sohra is a subdivisional town in the East Khasi Hills district in Meghalaya.It is the traditional capital of ka hima Sohra (Khasi tribal kingdom).
  • Sohra has often been credited as being the wettest place on Earth, but for now nearby Mawsynram currently holds that distinction.
  • However, Cherrapunji still holds the all-time record for the most rainfall in a calendar month and in a year.
About North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme(NESIDS):
  • NESIDS is a Central Sector Scheme launched by the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region(DoNER) in 2017.
  • Aim: The Project aims to ensure focused development of the North East Region by providing financial assistance for projects of
    • physical infrastructure relating to water supply, power, connectivity to enhance tourism and
    • social sector for creation of infrastructure in the areas of primary and secondary sectors of education and health.

9) ‘Spouses’ presence not mandatory for OCI card’ :- The Delhi High Court has said that the Foreigners Regional
Registration Office (FRRO) cannot insist on the physical or virtual presence of both the spouses for processing Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card applications for one of them.

Recently, the government has notified a consolidated list of rights of the Overseas Citizens of India (OCI).

The rights and restrictions are not new, they have been notified previously in 2005, 2007, and 2009. They were also mentioned in an OCI brochure published by the Ministry of Home Affairs in November 2019.

Key Points

Multiple Entry Lifelong Visa:

OCI cardholders will be entitled to get multiple entry lifelong visas for visiting India for any purpose.

Prior Permission:

OCI cards would need prior permission for a set of activities that include research, journalism, mountaineering, missionary or Tablighi work, and visits to restricted areas.

Parity with Non Resident Indians (NRIs):

OCI cardholders will enjoy parity with NRIs in adoption of children, appearing in competitive exams, purchase or sale of immovable property barring agricultural land and farmhouses, and pursuing professions such as doctors, lawyers, architects, and chartered accountants.

Parity with Indian Nationals:

They have parity with Indian nationals in the matter of domestic air fares, entry fees to monuments and public places.

Entrance Exams and Admissions:

OCIs can appear for all-India entrance tests such as National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Joint Entrance Examination (Mains), Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) or such other tests to make them eligible for admission only against any NRI seat or any supernumerary seat.

The OCI cardholder shall not be eligible for admission against any seat reserved exclusively for Indian citizens.

Other Economic, Financial and Educational fields:

In respect of all other economic, financial and educational fields not specified in the latest notification or the rights and privileges not covered by the notifications made by the Reserve Bank of India under the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999,  the OCI cardholder shall have the same rights and privileges as a foreigner.

Exemption:

They are exempted from registration with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Officer (FRRO) for any length of stay in India.

Foreigners visiting India who hold long-term visas (more than 180 days) are required to register their presence in India with the Foreigners’ Regional Registration Office (FRRO).

Restrictions:

There will be no restriction in visiting religious places and attending normal religious activities like attending religious discourses.

However, preaching religious ideologies, making speeches in religious places, distribution of audio or visual display/pamphlets pertaining to religious ideologies, spreading conversion etc. will not be allowed.

Who is an Overseas Citizen of India :

The Ministry of Home Affairs defines an OCI as a person who:

Was a citizen of India on or after 26th January 1950; or

Was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January 1950; or

Is a child or grandchild of such a person, among other eligibility criteria.

According to Section 7A of the OCI card rules, an applicant is not eligible for the OCI card if he, his parents or grandparents have ever been a citizen of Pakistan or Bangladesh. The category was introduced by the government in 2005.

The Government of India via Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2015 merged the Person of Indian Origin (PIO) category with OCI category in 2015.

10) Students can now get 40% of university credits from e-courses :-

About the news:

The government has recently announced that from the 2021-22 academic session, students of 149 universities would be allowed to earn up to 40% of their required credits from among the over 800 online courses available on the Swayam platform.

About the announcement
  • Students of 149 universities can now get 40% of university credits from e-courses available on the Swayam platform.
  • The 149 universities include central universities like Jamia Millia Islamia, state universities like National Law University, Delhi and over 75 private and deemed universities.
  • Once the student fulfils the total credits required, he or she will be granted the degree.
  • Apart from this, the academic bank of credit (ABC) would also become functional from the forthcoming academic session. The ABC will be a repository of the credits earned by a student.

About the SWAYAM Couses:

  • There are 846 online courses that will be offered by SWAYAM from the forthcoming semester.
  • The courses are divided into seven categories
    1. Architecture and planning,
    2. Engineering and technology,
    3. humanities and arts,
    4. Law
    5. Management and commerce,
    6. Mathematics and sciences
    7. NPTEL domain (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning)
  • Each category is further divided into small course modules, from which a student can choose and register and learn online.
  • The National Testing Agency conducts exams twice a year at the end of each semester.
Credit transfer from SWAYAM Courses
The benefit of the credit transfer:
  • This would give the much-needed flexibility to students as envisaged in the National Education Policy 2020.
  • So far, a student used to get the experience of one university. But from now on, a student can learn multiple online courses under different universities.
  • This will also boost the skill set among students as a university may not offer a particular skill that another might have.

Editorials of the Day

Getting India’s military jointness formula right

Context

The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat’s recent description of the Indian Air Force (IAF) as a supporting arm and the IAF chief Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria’s rebuttal highlights turbulent journey marking the reorganisation process of the armed forces.

Issues before IAF

  • The IAF is warning against splitting it into packets.
  • Reports suggest that counting even ageing aircraft, the IAF is 25% short on fighter squadrons.
  • A pan service shortage of about 400 pilots, almost 10% of their authorised strength, further aggravates this.
  • Therefore, the IAF has a point when it warns against splitting assets, for, there may be nothing much to split.

Way forward

  • Confidence building: A common understanding of the nuances of military airpower is the key.
  • With the experience of operating almost every kind of aircraft the IAF operates, the naval leadership understands air power.
  • This applies to the Indian Army too, in its own way.
  • Confidence needs to be developed that rightly staffed apex joint organisations can draw up professional operational plans for air power.
  • Enhancing military education: Confidence building will need some effort in the short term towards enhancing professional military education though, at the staff level.
  • Analysis before implementation: Major reorganisations must strictly follow the sequence of written concepts, their refinement through consultation, simulation or table top war gaming, field evaluation and final analysis before implementation.
  • This would help address command and control, asset adequacy, individual service roles, operational planning under new circumstances and the adequacy of joint structures.
  • Who gets to lead what also matters.
  • The Western Command between the Indian Army and the IAF, the Northern Command with the Indian Army, Maritime Command with the Indian Navy and the Air Defence Command with the IAF may be an acceptable formula.

Why jointness?

  • With dwindling budgets, a steadily deteriorating security situation and the march of technology, the armed forces understand the need to synergise.

Challenges

  • Challenges in co-existence: Different services do not co-exist well where they are colocated.
  • Bitter fights over land, buildings, facilities, etc. harms optimal operational synergising.
  • Allocation challenge: Then there is the issue of giving each other the best, or of wanting to be with each other.
  • Lack of operational charter: The Andaman and Nicobar Command suffered from the lack of a substantial operational charter, and the services not positioning appropriate personnel or resources there.
  • Lack of interest in joint tenure: As a joint tenure did not benefit career, no one strove for it.
  • The U.S., when faced with the same problem, made joint tenures mandatory for promotions.

Steps to be taken

  • Security strategy: We need a comprehensive National Security Strategy to guide the services develop capacities required in their respective domains.
  • Professional education: We need to transform professional education and inter-service employment to nurture genuine respect for others.
  • Mutual resolution of difference: The armed forces must resolve their differences among themselves, as the politicians or bureaucrats cannot do it.
  • Quality staff: Good quality staff, in adequate numbers, at apex joint organisations, will help to reassure individual services and those in the field that they are in safe hands.
  • Tailored approach: There is need for the acceptance of the fact that what works for other countries need not work for us.

Conclusion

We may need tailor-made solutions which may need more genuine thinking. For genuine military jointness, a genuine convergence of minds is critical.

Editorial 02 :- Implications of EU’s new GHG emissions law for Indian industry

Context

On July 14, the European Union introduced new legislation, Fit for 55, to cut its GHG emissions by 55 per cent by 2030 and to net-zero by 2050.

Implications of Fit for 55

  • Legal backing: It turns the EU’s announcement into law, protecting it from the winds of political change.
  • It opens new markets for Indian industry, for example for electric vehicles.
  • CBAM: However, it also introduces a potentially adverse policy called the carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM).
  • CBAM is meant to discourage consumers from buying carbon-intensive products and encourage producers to invest in cleaner technologies.

What is CBAM?

  • The EU has had a carbon emission trading system since 2005.
  • With Fit for 55, the EU’s carbon price is likely to go up.
  • High carbon price will make the EU’s domestic products more expensive than imports from countries that do not have such rules.
  • The new CBAM is meant to level the playing field between domestic and imported products.
  • CBAM will require foreign producers to pay for the carbon emitted while manufacturing their products.
  • The adjustment will be applied to energy-intensive products that are widely traded by the EU, such as iron and steel, aluminium, cement, fertiliser, and electricity.

Why CBAM is a cause for concern for India?

  • India is Europe’s third-largest trading partner, and it does not have its own carbon tax or cap.
  • So, CBAM should be a cause for concern for it.
  • A UNCTAD study predicts that India will lose $1-1.7 billion in exports of energy-intensive products such as steel and aluminium.
  • India’s goods trade with the EU was $74 billion in 2020.

Way forward for Indian Industry

  • Clean technology partnerships: Indian Industry should enter clean technology partnerships with European industry.
  • Invest in renewables:  Indian companies should invest in more renewable electricity and energy efficiency.
  • Incentivise low-carbon choices: They can adopt science-based targets for emission reduction and internal carbon pricing to incentivise low-carbon choices.
  • Schemes and Government financing: The government can extend the perform-achieve-trade scheme to more industries and provide finance to MSMEs to upgrade to clean technologies.
  • WRI India’s analysis shows that carbon dioxide emissions from the iron and steel industry can be reduced from 900 million tonnes to 500 million tonnes in 2035 through greater electrification, green hydrogen, energy efficiency, and material efficiency.
  • Diversify export: India can try to diversify its exports to other markets and products.

Consider the question “What is carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) introduced by the EU? What are its implications for Indian industry?” 

Conclusion

At present, the CBAM may seem obstructionist. But over the long-term, it can provide regulatory certainty to industry by harmonising carbon prices, and Indian industry can position itself as a strong player in the trade landscape of the future.

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