Prelims Objective Practice Questions
( I. ) With reference to the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII), consider the following statements:
1. The government has the power to declare any data, database, IT network or communications
infrastructure as CII.
2. CERT-In is the nodal agency for taking all measures to protect the nation’s critical information
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
( II. ) With reference to Kaavi art, consider the following statements:
1. It is a kind of sculpture modelling.
2. This art was introduced by the Portuguese in India.
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. ) Global Gender Gap report is released by which of the following organizations?
Prelims Specific Facts
1.)Kerala to have its own regional red list of birds
- Kerala will soon have its own red list of birds. The Kerala Bird Monitoring Collective led by Kerala Agricultural University and the Bird Count India will conduct the regional red list assessment.
- Kerala will be the first State to have a region-specific red list of birds. Assessment will be done on the basis of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) guideline.
- A species seen common as the global level may be to a threatened species at the regional level.
- The IUCN guidelines for preparing the red list have five main criteria:-
i.The population size reduction measured over 10 years or three generations is one of the major guidelines.
ii.Geographic range on the basis of extent of occurrence or area of occupancy is another.
iii.Small population size and decline,
iv.very small or restricted population, and
v.quantitative analysis indicating the probability of extinction in the wild are the other criteria.
- According to the global IUCN red list, Kerala has 35 threatened species of birds. In that, Red-headed vulture and White-rumped vulture are critically endangered.
- Steppe Eagle, Banasura Chilappan and Nilgiri Chilappan are endangered and 11 species are vulnerable.
2.) Udaipur’s ‘bird village’ to be declared wetland
- Recognised as the “bird village” following community driven conservation efforts, Menar in Udaipur district is set to be notified as Rajasthan’s new wetland. This will pave the way for getting the Ramsar Site status for this rural heartland of the Mewar region.
The two lakes in the village – the Brahma and Dhandh – play host to a large number of migratory birds in the winter season.
- With the status of wetland, the two lakes will be strengthened for increasing vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.
- At present, Rajasthan has two wetland recognised as Ramsar sites- Keoladeo Ghana in Bharatpur district and Sambhar Salt Lake in Jaipur.
3.) Biden signs landmark gun control measure
- President Biden on Saturday signed into law the first major gun safety legislation passed by Congress in nearly 30 years.
- The legislation includes incentives for states to pass so-called red flag laws that allow groups to petition courts to remove weapons from people deemed a threat to themselves or others.
- In addition, the bill expands an existing law that prevents people convicted of domestic abuse from owning a gun to include dating partners rather than just spouses and former spouses.
- It also expands background checks on people between the ages of 18 and 21 seeking to buy a gun.
- The National Rifle Association says it opposes the bill:- “This legislation can be abused to restrict lawful gun purchases, infringe upon the rights of law-abiding Americans, and use federal dollars to fund gun control measures being adopted by state and local politicians,”
4.) Typhoid: S. Typhi is more druge-resistant
- The bacteria causing typhoid fever is becoming increasingly resistant to some of the most important antibiotics for human health, according to a study published in The Lancet Microbe journal.
5). COP15 in Canada
- The 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, will move from Kumming in China to Montreal, Canada.
- About COP :-
The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, informally known as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. It is a key document regarding sustainable development. It comes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- The United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity, informally known as the Biodiversity Convention, is a multilateral treaty opened for signature at the Earth Summit in Rio De Janeiro in 1992. It is a key document regarding sustainable development. It comes under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
- 196 countries are a party to the CBD.
- India is also a party to the Convention. India ratified it in 1994.
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was enacted for giving effect to the provisions of the Convention.
- To implement the provisions of the Act, the government established the National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) in 2003. The NBA is a statutory body.
- The convention is legally binding on its signatories.
- The Conference of Parties (COP) is the governing body of the convention. It consists of the governments that have ratified the treaty.
- Its Secretariat is in Montreal, Canada.
- Only two member states of the United Nations are not Parties to the CBD, namely: the USA and the Vatican.
- In the 1992 Earth Summit, two landmark binding agreements were signed, one of them being the UNCBD. The other one was the Convention on Climate Change.
- More than 150 countries signed the document at the Summit, and since then, over 175 nations have ratified the agreement.
6.) Gentler Sonar
- Scientists at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in the United States are working to replace whale-harming sonar with the ambient sound made by aquatic creatures.
- The low-frequency booms of giant goliath groupers (Eminephelus itajara) and the super-loud snaps of pistol shrimp are among the sounds being considered.
What is SONAR:-
- Sonar, short for Sound Navigation and Ranging, is helpful for exploring and mapping the ocean because sound waves travel farther in the water than do radar and light waves. NOAA scientists primarily use sonar to develop nautical charts, locate underwater hazards to navigation, search for and map objects on the seafloor such as shipwrecks, and map the seafloor itself. There are two types of sonar—active and passive.
- Active sonar transducers emit an acoustic signal or pulse of sound into the water. If an object is in the path of the sound pulse, the sound bounces off the object and returns an “echo” to the sonar transducer.
- Passive sonar systems are used primarily to detect noise from marine objects (such as submarines or ships) and marine animals like whales. Unlike active sonar, passive sonar does not emit its own signal, which is an advantage for military vessels that do not want to be found or for scientific missions that concentrate on quietly “listening” to the ocean.
7.) GST compensation cess extended till ’26
- As per the Goods and Services Tax (Period of Levy and Collection of Cess) Rules, 2022 notified by the Finance Ministry, the compensation cess would continue to be levied form July 1, 2022 to March 31, 2026.
- The compensation cess, levied on luxury and demerit goods, would continue to be collected tell March, 2026 to repay the borrowings that were done in 2020-21 and 2021-2022 to compensate States for GST revenue loss.
What is GST Compensation Cess:–
- States are guaranteed compensation for any revenue shortfall below 14% growth (base year 2015-16) for the first five years which was going to end in 2022 but now it has been extended to 2026.
- The compensation cess, levied on luxury and demerit goods, would continue to be collected till March 2026 to repay the borrowings that were done in 2020-21 and 2021-22 to compensate States for GST revenue loss.
All about GST :- Goods and Services Tax
- GST was introduced through the 101st Constitution Amendment Act, 2016.
- It is one of the biggest indirect tax reforms in the country.
- It was introduced with the slogan of ‘One Nation One Tax’.
- The GST has subsumed indirect taxes like excise duty, Value Added Tax (VAT), service tax, luxury tax etc.
- It is essentially a consumption tax and is levied at the final consumption point.
- This has helped mitigate the double taxation, cascading effect of taxes, multiplicity of taxes, classification issues etc., and has led to a common national market.
- The GST that a merchant pays to procure goods or services (i.e. on inputs) can be set off later against the tax applicable on supply of final goods and services.
- The set off tax is called input tax credit.
- The GST avoids the cascading effect or tax on tax which increases the tax burden on the end consumer.
- Tax Structure under GST:
- Central GST to cover Excise duty, Service tax etc,
- State GST to cover VAT, luxury tax etc.
- Integrated GST (IGST) to cover inter-state trade.
- IGST per se is not a tax but a system to coordinate state and union taxes.
- It has a 4-tier tax structure for all goods and services under the slabs- 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%.
- GST compensation is paid out of Compensation Cess every two months by the Centre to states.
- The compensation cess was specified by the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017.
- All the taxpayers, except those who export specific notified goods and those who have opted for GST composition scheme, are liable to collect and remit the GST compensation cess to the central government.
- Compensation Cess Fund: The GST Act states that the cess collected and the amount as may be recommended by the GST Council would be credited to the fund.
Editorial of the Day
Has the anti-defection law failed in India?
- The Tenth Schedule of the Constitution, commonly known as the anti-defection law, was introduced in 1985 with a view to curb the tendency among legislators to switch loyalties from one party to another and facilitate the toppling of regimes and formation of new ones.
- It provides for the Presiding Officer of the legislature to disqualify any defector on a petition by another member.
- The law contemplates two kinds of defection:
(a) by a member voluntarily giving up membership of the party on whose symbol he got elected
(b) by a member violating a direction (whip) issued by his party to vote in a particular way or to abstain from voting.
- The Split Clause under Anti-defection law :- Originally, the 10th Schedule had spoken of a ‘split’ in a legislature party as an exception to the disqualification rule. That is if one-thirds of a legislature party leaves it or joins another party, it amounts to a ‘split’ and such members would not attract disqualification. This proved to be an escape clause for legislators to form a group that amounted to one-third of the legislature party’s total strength and then cross over. Paragraph 3, which allowed the use of a split to avoid disqualification for defection, was deleted by the Constitution (91st Amendment) Act, 2003.
How do the MLAs plan to avoid disqualification?
- Under Paragraph 4 of the Tenth Schedule, disqualification on account of defection will not apply in case of a merger of one party with another. However, there is a rider. There is a deemed merger only if two-thirds of the party’s total strength agrees to the merger. In Maharashtra, the rebel group will need to have 37 MLAs to make the claim that they constitute two-thirds of the legislature party. However, it remains to be seen if the Deputy Speaker (the Speaker’s office is vacant), initially, and then the law courts will recognise such a ‘merger’. Disqualification proceedings have already been initiated against some of them.
Has anti defection became useless:-
- The most common these days is for a ruling party with a big majority to poach the main Opposition parties without any regard for the anti-defection law. When the aggrieved party moves for disqualification, Speakers choose not to act, thus formalising the defection.
- In Manipur, for instance, seven Congress MLAs joined the BJP shortly after the 2017 Assembly election and one of them became a Minister too. However, the Speaker did not act on petitions to disqualify the Minister for over two years.
What is the way forward :-
As defections continue unabated and Speakers refrain from acting on these developments based on their political loyalties, there is a strong case to reform the anti-defection law. Redefining the merger clause, shifting the adjudicatory power from the Speaker to some other credible authority and even dispensing wholly with the law are measures that jurists have suggested. Some believe that the anti-defection law should be scrapped as it enslaves members to their party line, prevents them from representing their constituents and the people, and violates their freedom of expression.