Prelims 2020

1st October 2020 Daily Current Flash Cards

Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite (ICON); Unnat Bharat Abhiyan; India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR); Oil spill in Russia; Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT); SARAS Aajeevika Mela; The Cairns Group; Decarbonising Transport in India project; Ionosphere; Article 371;
By IASToppers
October 01, 2020

 

 

 

United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) meets annually under the auspice of_________. a) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) OR b) United Nations Security Council (UNSC)

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Answer: Economic and Social Council

Enrich Your Learning:

India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR):

  • NITI Aayog presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020.
  • The reviews are voluntary and state-ledand are aimed at facilitating the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned.
  • NITI Aayoghas the mandate of overseeing the adoption and monitoring of SDGs at the national and sub-national level. NITI Aayog prepared and presented India’s first VNR in 2017.
  • The India VNR 2020 report was titled Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local.The report is a comprehensive account of the adoption and implementation of the 2030 Agenda in India.

Key Features of the report:

  • Presents a review of progress on the 17 SDGs.
  • Discusses at length the policy and enabling environment
  • Talks about India’s approach to localising SDGs and strengthening means of implementation.

United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF):

  • The HLPF is the main United Nations platform on sustainable development and it has a central role in the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the global level.
  • The establishment of the United Nations High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) was mandated in 2012 by the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), “The Future We Want”.
  • HLPF, comprising the political representatives (heads of states or ministers) of the members, meets every July at the UN in New York to review progress on Agenda 2030.
  • The Forum meets annually under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for eight days and every four years at the level of Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the General Assembly for two days.
  • Voluntary National Reviews, which are voluntary and country driven, form the basis of this review.
  • The Forum adopts inter-governmentally negotiated political declarations.

 

 

 

Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) hear and dispose appeals under Gold (Control) Act. 1968. True OR False.

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Answer: True

Solution:

The Tribunal has to hear and dispose of appeals which were being dealt with by the Central Board of Excise and Customs and the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) under the three enactments, namely

  • The Customs Act, 1962 ,
  • The Central Excise Act, 1944  and
  • The Gold (Control) Act. 1968 prior to 1982.

Enrich Your Learning:

Customs Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT)

  • The Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) formerly known as Customs, Excise & Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal CEGAT), was constituted in 1982.
  • It was constituted under Article 323(B) of the Constitution of India by making provisions in the Customs Act 1962.

The Tribunal has to hear and dispose of appeals which were being dealt with by the Central Board of Excise and Customs and the Ministry of Finance (Department of Revenue) under the three enactments, namely

  • The Customs Act, 1962 ,
  • The Central Excise Act, 1944  and
  • The Gold (Control) Act. 1968 prior to 11.10.1982.

The order of the Tribunal in a dispute regarding rate of duty or valuation of goods can be challenged in Supreme Court. In any other matter, the order of the Tribunal is subject to the decision of the High Court or of Supreme Court.

 

 

 

Ministry of Rural Development’s SARAS Aajeevika Mela focuses on which community? a) Empowering the Divyang community OR b) Rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs)

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Answer: Rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs)

Enrich Your Learning:

SARAS Aajeevika Mela:

  • SARAS Aajeevika Mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD).
  • The Mela is organised by the marketing arm of the Ministry, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART). The Mela was held in New Delhi.
  • It is an initiative to bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed with the support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform to show-case their skills, sell their products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers.

What is the objective?

  • Help rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers.
  • Workshops for the rural SHG women would be conducted, which will help them to enhance their knowledge and sharpen their skills in bookkeeping and GST, product design, packaging, marketing/e-marketing, communication skills etc.

 

 

 

‘Decarbonising Transport in India project’ is a joint initiative of?

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Solution:

  • Decarbonising Transport in India project is a joint initiative of NITI Aayog and International Transport Forum.

Enrich Your Learning:

Why in news?

  • (ITF) launched the Decarbonizing Transport in India project.

About Decarbonising Transport in India project

  • It was recently launched by NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum.
  • It is a five-year project.
  • It will design a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India.
  • It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.
  • The Decarbonising Transport in India is a part of the ITF’s DTEE (Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies). The India project is carried out in the wider context of the International Transport Forum’s Decarbonizing Transport (DT) initiative.
  • It is part of the Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions.

Need

  • The transport sector of India is the third most greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting sector, where the major contribution comes from the road transport sector. Out of the total carbon dioxide emissions in India, 13% come from the transport sector.
  • In India, CO2 emitted per inhabitant was just 20th of that of an average OECD country, yet, India’s transport CO2 emissions are likely to increase by almost 6% annually to 2030.

About Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies

  • It helps national governments to identify transport measures to reduce transport CO2 emissions.
  • Current participants: India, Argentina, Azerbaijan, and Morocco
  • The DTEE is a collaboration between the ITF and the Wuppertal Institute, supported by the International Climate Initiative (IKI) of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety.

International Transport Forum:

  • The International Transport Forum is an inter-governmental organisation within the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) system for transport policy.
  • It was created in 2006 by ministers from 43 countries.
  • It is the only global body with a mandate for all modes of transport.
  • It acts as a think tank for transport policy issues and organises the annual global summit of transport ministers.
  • Headquarter: Paris, France
  • India has been a member of ITF, since 2008.

 

 

 

In context of recently introduced lockdown across India due to COVID-19, the term ‘lockdown’ has been elaborately defined under A) Disaster Management Act OR B) Epidemic Diseases Act OR C) None.

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Answer: None.

Solution: The term ‘lockdown’ has not been defined under any Indian law.

Enrich Your Learning:

Why in news?

  • On 24 March 2020, Prime Minister of India declared lockdown for 21 days in order to prevent the spread of the global pandemic COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs invoked the lockdown under Section 6 of the Disaster Management Act.
  • Ministry also declared the spread of COVID-19 as a “notified disaster”, thus bringing into play Section 2(d) of the Disaster Management Act. This enabled the State Governments to use a larger part of the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to combat the spread of the virus.
    • The SDRF is constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and is the primary fund available with state governments for responses to notified disasters.
  • The Home Secretary also issued guidelines for this lockdown under his powers in Section 10 of the Disaster Management Act.
    • The guidelines also said that any person who violates these containment measures will be liable under Sections 51 to 60 (Offenses and Penalties) of the Disaster Management Act, and under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code which creates the punishment for disobedience to order duly promulgated by a public servant.

Legal basis of imposition of lockdown

  • The terms ‘lockdown’ and ‘curfew’ have not been defined under Indian law but are still being used to curtail the fundamental right of movement enshrined under Article 19(1) of the Indian Constitution. This cannot be termed invalid as this right is subject to reasonable restrictions under Article 19(2).
  • The closest understanding of ‘lockdown’ can be construed from the Epidemic Diseases Act (EDA).
    • Section 2 and 2A of the EDA give power to the State and Central governments to take necessary steps in the situation of an epidemic to control its outbreak, even if the steps are not mentioned in any law practice or theory in the country.

 

 

 

___________is the dynamic region of atmosphere where terrestrial weather from below meets space weather from above. a) Ionosphere OR b) Stratosphere

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Answer: Ionosphere

Enrich Your Learning:

Ionospheric Connection Explorer satellite (ICON)

  • NASA launched a satellite named Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) to explore the mysterious, dynamic region where air meets space.
  • The Ionospheric Connection Explorer is a satellite designed to investigate changes in the Earth’s ionosphere.
  • Four instruments have been sent along with ICON for measuring wind speed, temperature, speed of ions and light emitted from the ion by ultraviolet cameras.
  • Currently, ICON has been designed for two year’s mission.

About Ionosphere:

  • It is the top of atmosphereextending from about 60 km to 1,000 km altitude (80 to 400 Km above the mesosphere).
  • It includes the thermosphereand parts of the mesosphere and exosphere. It is divided into the sub-regions: D, E and F; based on what wavelength of solar radiation is absorbed.
  • The temperature starts increasing as the height increases in Ionosphere.
  • It is a very active part of the atmosphere, and grows and shrinks depending on the energy it absorbs from the Sun. The name ionosphere comes from the fact that gases in these layers are excited by solar radiation to form ions, which have an electrical charge.
  • In the ionosphere, charged particles are affected by the magnetic fields of both Earth and the sun resulting in creation of ‘Auroras’ (bright bands of light sometimes seeing near Earth’s poles).

Need:

  • The radio communications and GPS signals travel through ionosphere.
  • Variations in ionosphere due to solar radiations and other effects from earth can result in distortions or even complete disruption of signals.
  • In order to understand this complicated region of near-Earth space and to understand what drives variability in the ionosphere ICON mission was launched.

Earths atmospheric layers

Troposphere

  • The troposphere starts at the Earth’s surface and extends 8 to 14 kilometers high. This part of the atmosphere is the most dense. Almost all weather is in this region.

Stratosphere

  • The stratosphere starts just above the troposphere and extends to 50 kilometers high. The ozone layer, which absorbs and scatters the solar ultraviolet radiation, is in this layer.

Mesosphere

  • The mesosphere starts just above the stratosphere and extends to 85 kilometers high. Meteors burn up in this layer.

Thermosphere

  • The thermosphere starts just above the mesosphere and extends to 600 kilometers high. Aurora and satellites occur in this layer.

Exosphere

  • This is the upper limit of atmosphere. It extends from the top of the thermosphere up to 10,000 km.

 

 

 

Article 371 gives special provisions for backward regions in some states. In this context, Article 371F is related with a) Andhra Pradesh OR b) Sikkim OR c) Arunachal Pradesh OR d) Mizoram?

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Answer: Article 371F is related with Sikkim.

Solution:

Article 371F (36th Amendment Act, 1975): Special Provision for Sikkim

  • The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.
  • To protect the rights of various sections of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.

Enrich Your Learning:

Article 371

  • Article 371 relates to special provisions to special clauses favouring development to backward regions in some states.

Various provision of Articles 371:

Article 371: Maharashtra and Gujarat

  • Governors of the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat are given special responsibilities to set up development boards in regions such as Vidarbha, Marathwada, Kutchh etc.

Article 371A (13th Amendment Act, 1962), Nagaland

  • Nagas of Nagaland and their land and resources are protected under Article 371 A.
  • Inserted after a 16-point agreement between the Centre and the Naga People’s Convention in 1960, which led to the creation of Nagaland in 1963.
  • Parliament cannot legislate in matters of Naga religion or social practices, Naga customary law and procedure, administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law, and ownership and transfer of land without concurrence of the state Assembly.

Article 371B (22nd Amendment Act, 1969): Assam

  • The main objective was to facilitate the creation of the sub-State ‘Meghalaya’.
  • The President may provide for the constitution and functions of a committee of the Assembly consisting of members elected from the state’s tribal areas.

Article 371C (27th Amendment Act, 1971): Special Provision for Manipur

  • The President may provide for the constitution of a committee of elected members from the Hill areas in the Assembly, and entrust “special responsibility” to the Governor to ensure its proper functioning.

Article 371D (32nd Amendment Act, 1973; substituted by The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014), Andhra Pradesh and Telangana

  • President must ensure “equitable opportunities and facilities” in “public employment and education to people from different parts of the state”.
  • He may require the state government to organise “any class of posts in a civil service of, or civil posts under, the State into different local cadres for different parts of the State”. He has similar powers vis-à-vis admissions in educational institutions.

Article 371E:

  • Allows for the establishment of a university in Andhra Pradesh by a law of Parliament. But this is not a “special provision” in the sense of the others in this part.

Article 371F (36th Amendment Act, 1975): Special Provision for Sikkim

  • The members of the Legislative Assembly of Sikkim shall elect the representative of Sikkim in the House of the People.
  • To protect the rights and interests of various sections of the population of Sikkim, Parliament may provide for the number of seats in the Assembly, which may be filled only by candidates from those sections.

Article 371G (53rd Amendment Act, 1986): Special Provision for Mizoram

  • Parliament cannot make laws on religious or social practices of the Mizos, Mizo customary law, administration of civil and criminal justice, ownership and transfer of land, unless the Assembly, so decides.

Article 371H (55th Amendment Act, 1986): Special Provision for Arunachal Pradesh

  • The Governor has a special responsibility with regard to law and order, and “he shall, after consulting the Council of Ministers, exercise his individual judgment as to the action to be taken”.

Article 371J (98th Amendment Act, 2012): Special Provision for Karnataka

  • There is a provision for a separate development board for the Hyderabad-Karnataka region.
  • There shall be equitable allocation of funds for developmental expenditure over the said region, and equitable opportunities for people of this region in government jobs and education.

Article 371I:

  • It deals with Goa, but it does not include any provision that can be deemed ‘special’.

Key Facts:

  • Articles 369 through 392 (including some that have been removed) appear in Part XXI of the Constitution, titled ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’.

 

 

 

‘Cairns Group’ is a coalition of countries that exports pharmaceutical products in a significant amount. True OR False.

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Answer: False

Solution:

  • It is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries which account for more than 25 per cent of the world’s agricultural exports.

Enrich Your Learning:

The Cairns Group

  • It is a coalition of 19 agricultural exporting countries which account for more than 25 per cent of the world’s agricultural exports.
  • It was established in Cairns, Australia in 1986.
  • Aim: Achieving free and fair trade in agriculture that provides real and sustainable benefits for the developing world.
  • Members of the Group are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, South Africa, Thailand, Uruguay and Viet Nam. Ukraine is an observer of the Group.
  • It supports for the principle of special and differential treatment for developing countries (including least developed countries and small states remaining an integral part of the next World Trade Organization (WTO) agriculture negotiations).

 

 

 

What is the aim of the Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA)?

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Answer:

UBA aims to leverage the knowledge base and resources of the Premier Institutions of the country to bring in transformational change in rural developmental process.

Enrich Your Learning:

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan:

  • It is a flagship national programme of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • It is envisioning the transformational change in rural development processes by leveraging knowledge institutions to help build the architecture of an Inclusive India.
  • It has identified a few rural clusters for direct intervention and is in the process of networking with various participating institutions and voluntary organizations.
  • It works to build capacities and connect to the tribal communities.
  • IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this programme.
  • Under UBA, IIT Delhi has brought together a large number of nodal institutions like:
  • IITs, ICMR, ISRO, DRDO etc.
  • Community Organizations,
  • CSR conscious corporates.
  • It intends to extend the coverage to all the reputed Higher Educational Institutes, in a phased manner.
  • Each selected institute would adopt a cluster of villages / panchayats and gradually expand the outreach over a period of time.

 

 

 

Define the term: Permafrost.

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Answer:

Permafrost is defined as ground (soil or rock and included ice or organic material) that remains at or below 0°C for at least two consecutive years.

Enrich Your Learning:

Oil spill in Russia:

  • Recently, Russia has declared a state of emergency due to an oil spill in Ambarnaya river.
  • The incident took place on this river, near the Norilsk city.
  • The river flows to the Pyasino lake and river Pyasina, which connects it to the Kara Sea, a part of the Arctic Ocean.
  • The power plant in the city leaked huge amounts of diesel into the river.
  • The pollution will have a negative effect on the water resources, on the animals that drink that water, on the plants growing on the banks.

What is permafrost?

  • Permafrost is defined as ground (soil or rock and included ice or organic material) that remains at or below 0°C for at least two consecutive years.
  • Such a layer of frozen groundis designated exclusively on the basis of temperature. 
  • Part or all of its moisture may be unfrozen, depending on the chemical composition of the water or the depression of the freezing pointby capillary forces.
  • Permafrost with saline soil moisture, for example, may be colder than 0 °C for several years but contain no ice and thus not be firmly cemented.Most permafrost, however, is consolidated by ice.
  • A typical classification recognizes continuous permafrost (underlying 90-100% of the landscape); discontinuous permafrost (50-90%); and sporadic permafrost (0-50%).
  • Permafrost accounts for 0.022% of total water on Earth and exists in 24% of exposed land in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Some 55% of Russia’s territory, predominantly Siberia, is permafrost and home to its main oil and gas fields.

Where the Permafrost found?

  • Permafrost forms and exists in a climate where the mean annual air temperature is 0 °C or colder.
  • Such a climate is generally characterized by long, cold winters with little snow and short, relatively dry, cool summers.
  • Permafrost, therefore, is widespread in the Arctic, sub-Arctic, and Antarctica.

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