Prelims Objective Practice Questions
(I.) Consider the following statements
1.These soils are widespread in the northern plains and the river valleys.
2.They are depositional soils, transported and deposited by rivers and streams.
3.In the Peninsular region, they are found in deltas of the east coast.
The above statements refer to :-
a.) Black Soil
b.) Laterite Soil
c.) Peaty Soil
d.) Alluvial Soil
(II.) High concentration of Teak and Sal forest are found in which topographic region
a.) Western Ghats
b.) Eastern Ghats
c.) Central Highland
(III.) Consider the following statements.
1. They are found in hills of the northeastern region and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
2. These forests are well stratified.
3. Species found in these forests include rosewood, mahogony, aini and ebony.
The above statements refer to:-
a.) Montane Forests
b.) Littoral and Swamp Forests
c.) Moist Deciduous Forests
d.) Tropical Evergreen Forests
Prelims Specific Facts
1.) Reviving cultivation of a traditional crop in Mysuru
- Efforts are under way to pop ularise the inclusion of Amaranthus – a wide variety of leafy vegetables – as part of mixed cropping among farmers in Mysuru.
- Though known to be highly nutritious and still consumed but in a limited quantity it has economic benefits too and farmers can have multiple harvest to supplement their income.
- Amaranthus refers to a wide variety of leafy vegetables including Kirkire Soppu and Dantina Soppu which are consumed but in a limited manner.
2.)Bringing MSMEs into global value chains
- Though the growth and achievements of large businesses in India have received much attention, micro-, small and medium enterprises (MSME) actually account for over 99% of businesses.
- MSMEs are the largest employer in India outside of agriculture, employing over 11.1 crore people, or 45% of all workers. It is no exaggeration to call MSMEs privately owned enterprise with less than Rs. 50 crore in investments in plant and machinery and turnover below Rs.250 crore the backbone of the Indian economy.
- Every year on June 27, World MSME Day provides us with the opportunity to appreciate their valuable contribution to job creation and sustainable development across the world. Yet, these businesses are the ones that have faced the harshest of environment over the last few years.
- At the same time, potential of India’s small businesses is truly immense. India faces a unique moment in history, a potential demographic dividend of tremendous proportions. To leverage this opportunity, India needs to create many jobs, especially for the one million young people entering the labour market every month.
- The Government of India has rightly identified the development of the country’s MSME ecosystem as a top priority for achieving Atma Nirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).
- India ambitious “Make in India” campaign aims to catapult the country up the manufacturing value chain to position itself as a global manufacturing hub. Initiatives such as the production linked incentives (PLI) schemes and the recently launched zero effect zero defect (ZED) certification are helping to promote and boost the sector.
What Can be done to further strengthen the MSME Sector
- Firstly, digitalisation and integration of digital technologies, such as big data, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, in business processes, also known as Industry 4.0. With few exceptions, digitalisation into smart manufacturing operations is still in its infancy. Government initiatives such as the Digital Saksham and the interlinking of the Udyam, e-Shram, National Career Services (NCS), and Atmanirbhar Skilled Employee-Employer Mapping (ASEEM) portals show the promise of targeted digitalisation schemes.
- Secondly, “greening” reduces the environmental impact of MSME operations and fosters cleantech innovation and entrepreneurship to accelerate the transition to a circular and low carbon economy.
- Thirdly, to increase the resilience of supply in response to recent shocks, production locations for global value chains are increasingly shifting and diversifying across countries and regions.
- This means fostering a culture of continuous improvement and innovation that reduces waste and increases productivity.
A forward-looking mindset centers on policy makers and society at large fully recognising and supporting the central socio-economic role that MSMEs play in India, as across the world.
3.) How Hanoi and New Delhi are fortifying defence ties
- The furtherance of India’s Act East Policy, maritime multilateralism, maritime security outreach and the building of stronger net works across the Indo-Pacific are some of the key elements which have made New Delhi and Hanoi natural partners.
- The two countries recently deepened bilateral cooperation with the singing of the Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030 during the recent visit of De fence Minister Rajnath Singh to Vietnam. The Joint Vision Statement is aimed at boosting the scope and scale of the existing de fence cooperation between the two nations. Both sides undertook extensive deliberations to expand avenues of effective and practicable collaboration in bilateral defence engagements pertaining to regional and global issues.
- The two sides also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Mutual Logistics Support. This is the first agreement of its kind that Hanoi has entered into with any other country and elevates the standing of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) which Hanoi shares with New Delhi since 2016 (along with only Russia and China).
5.) Implications of India’s new VPN rules
- The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said that the rules are applicable to “any entity whatsoever”, regardless of whether they have a physical presence in India or not, as long as they deliver services to Indian users.
- On April 28, India’s cyber security agency passed a rule mandating Virtual Private Network (VPN) providers to record and keep their customers’ logs for 180 days. It also asked these firms to collect and store customer data for up to five years. It further mandated that any cybercrime recorded must be reported to the CERT-In (Computer Emergency Response Team) within six hours of the crime.
- Nord VPN, one of the world’s largest VPN providers, has said it is moving its servers out of the country. Two other firms, Express VPN and Surfshark, said they will shut down their physical servers in India and cater to users in India through virtual servers located in Singapore and the U.K.
What is a virtual server, and what are its uses?
A virtual server is a simulated server environment built on an actual physical server. It recreates the functionality of a dedicated physical server. The virtual twin functions like a physical server that runs software and uses resources of the physical server. Multiple virtual servers can run on a single physical server.
Running multiple operating systems and applications on a single physical machine reduces cost as it consumes less space and hardware. Virtualisation also reduces cost as maintaining a virtual server infrastructure is low compared to physical server infrastructure. Virtual servers are also said to offer higher security than a physical server infrastructure as the operating system and applications are enclosed in a virtual machine.
Virtual servers are also useful in testing and debugging applications in different operating systems and versions without having to manually install and run them in several physical machines.
How will the law impact India’s IT sector?
VPN suppliers leaving India is not good for its burgeoning IT sector. Taking such radical action that highly impacts the privacy of millions of people in India will most likely be counterproductive and strongly damage the IT sector’s growth in the country, the company said in a release last week.
It estimated that 254.9 million Indians have had their accounts breached since 2004 and raised its concern that collecting excessive amounts 13/20 within Indian jurisdiction without robust protection mechanisms could lead to even more breaches.
The Netherlands-based company further said that they have never received a similar directive on storing customer logs from any other governments in the world.6.)
6.) Himachal to buy back single-use plastic
- As the Centre has decided to ban the use of single-use plastic form July 1, the hill State of Himachal Pradesh is all set to kick start a buy-back scheme in schools and colleges to purchase the single-use plastic items from students in a bid to instil a sense of environment preservation by “catching them young”.
- Under the novel scheme the students would be encouraged to bring single-use plastic items from their home and deposit it with the school, for which they will be paid Rs 75 a kg by the government.
7.) Odisha to install siren to caution elephant movement in forest
- The Forest Department in Odisha is experimenting with a siren system, which would go off automatically sensing elephant herds crossing the National Highway to reduce human elephant encounters.
- “The siren system detects elephant herds approaching National Highway by its infrared sensor system.
- The Khadi Village Industries Commission is implementing apiculture programme to keep elephants at bay in neighboring Angul District.
- The Khadi and Village Industries Commission is a statutory body formed in April 1957 by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.
- It is an apex organisation under the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, with regard to khadi and village industries within India, which seeks to – “plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries in the rural areas in coordination with other agencies engaged in rural development wherever necessary.”.
8.) G7 proposes $600-bn global infra plan to rival China
The G7 group on Sunday announced an attempt to compete with China’s formidable Belt and Road Initiative by raising $600 billion for global infrastructure programmes in poor countries.
Mr. Biden said the target was for the U.S. to bring $200 billion to the table, with the rest of the G7 another $400 billion by 2007.
Explainer of the Day
Indian laws on abortions
- How did abortion laws come about in India?
In the 1960s, in the wake of a high number of induced abortions taking place, the Union government ordered the constitution of the Shantilal Shah Committee to deliberate on the legalisation of abortion in the country. In order to reduce maternal mortality owing to unsafe abortions, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was brought into force in 1971. 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.
Under Section 312 of the IPC, a person who “voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry” is liable for punishment, attracting a jail term of up to three years or fine or both, unless it was done in good faith where the purpose was to save the life of the pregnant woman.
Under Section 313 of the IPC states that a person who causes the miscarriage without the consent of the pregnant woman, whether or not she is the in the advanced stages of her pregnancy, shall be punished with life imprisonment or a jail term that could extend to 10 years, as well as a fine.
- How has the MTP Act evolved from 1971 to 2021?
Under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021, abortion is permitted after medical opinion under stipulated circumstances. The 2021 Act increased the upper limit of the gestation period to which a woman can seek a medical abortion to 24 weeks from 20 weeks permitted in the 1971 Act. But this renewed upper limit can only be exercised in specific cases. Gestational age, calculated in weeks, is the medical term to describe how far along the pregnancy is and is measured from the first day of the woman’s last menstruation or period.
Another major amendment was that MTP could not be accessed on the opinion of a single registered medical practitioner up to 20 weeks of the gestational age. From 20 weeks up to 24 weeks, the opinion of two registered medical practitioners is required. In the previous version of the Act, the opinion of one registered doctor was required to access a medical abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy, while two doctors were required to endorse the abortion up to 20 weeks.
- What is the MTP (Amendment) Act, 2021?
Under the 2021 Act, medical termination of pregnancy is permitted if it is backed by medical opinion and is being sought for at least one of the following reasons :-
(1) If the continuation of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman.
(2) If its continuation would result in grave injury to the woman’s physical or mental health.
(3) In the case of a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from serious physical or mental abnormality.
The pregnancy can be terminated upto 24 weeks of gestational age after the opinion of two registered medical practitioners under these conditions : –
(1) If the woman is either a survivor of sexual assault or rape or incest
(2) If she is a minor
(3) If her marital status has changed during the ongoing pregnancy (i.e. either widowhood or divorce)
(4) If she has major physical disabilities or is mentally ill
(5) On the grounds of foetal malformation incompatible with life or if the child is born, it would be seriously handicapped
(6) If the woman is in humanitarian settings or disaster, or emergency situations as declared by the government.
Besides, if the pregnancy has to be terminated beyond the 24-week gestational age, it can only be done on the grounds of foetal abnormalities if a four member Medical Board, as set up in each State under the Act, gives permission to do so.
- Have there been judicial interventions in cases of abortions?
Medical boards reject their application to access MTP beyond the gestational upper limit (now 24 weeks), seeking permission to abort a pregnancy, mostly in cases where it is a result of sexual assault or when there is a foetal abnormality.
A report authored by advocate Anubha Rastogi for the Pratiya Campaign said that in the 15 months leading up to August 2020, High Courts across the country were hearing 243 petitions of women seeking permission to abort. In February this year, the Calcutta High Court allowed a 37-year-old woman, who was 34 weeks into her pregnancy, to get a medical abortion as the foetus was diagnosed with an incurable spinal condition. This judgment allowed abortion for the furthest gestational in the country so far.
- What are the criticisms against the abortion law?
According to a 2018 study in the Lancet, 15.6 million abortions were accessed every year in India as of 2015. The MTP Act requires abortion to be performed only by doctors with specialisation in gynecology or obstetrics. However, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s 2019-20 report on Rural Health Statistics indicates that there is a 70% shortage of obstetrician-gynecologists in rural India.