Polity & Governance
- EC recognises JJP as state party, allots ‘key’ as poll symbol
- GDP growth plunges to 4.5%, lowest since 2012
- Govt wants RBI to take over stressed assets of shadow banks: Report
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Global Sulphur cap compliant fuel oil is already available on west coast of India
- 16 seismometers defunct in earthquake-prone zones
Bilateral & International Relations
- The dispute over Chagos islands traces the long shadow of colonialism
Defence & Security Issues
- No major ‘Make in India’ defence project has taken off in 6 yrs
- Who was Udham Singh, the freedom fighter Pragya invoked?
- India’s cold-wave regions to have warm winter: IMD
Key Facts for Prelims
- Exercise SURYA KIRAN – XIV
- Expert panel bars release of Bhopal tragedy research findings
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Polity & Governance
EC recognises JJP as state party, allots ‘key’ as poll symbol
Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) has been recognised as a ‘state party’ in Haryana by the Election Commission of India (ECI).
Registration of Political parties
- Registration of Political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- A party seeking registration has to submit an application to the Election Commission of India within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation.
- The applicant association is asked to publish proposed Name of the party in two national daily newspapers and two local daily newspapers, on two days in same newspapers, for inviting objections with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission.
- The Election commission of India will implement “Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System” (PPRTMS) to facilitate tracking of status of application by applicants from 1st January, 2020.
The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968:
- A registered political party is accorded the status of a recognized state or national party as per the criteria listed in ‘The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968’.
Recognition as a National Party:
For any political party to be eligible for recognition as a National Party, it has to satisfy any of the three conditions listed below:
- Secure at least 6% of the valid vote in an Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election in any four or more states and won at least 4 seats in a Lok Sabha General Election from any State or States.
- Win at least 2% of the total Lok Sabha seats in a Lok Sabha General Election and these seats have to be won from at least 3 states.
- The party is recognized as a State Party in at least four states.
Recognition as a State Party:
For any political party to be eligible for recognition as a State Party in a state, it has to satisfy any of the five conditions listed below:
- Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 2 seats in an Assembly General Election.
- Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 1 seats in a Lok Sabha General Election.
- Win at least 3% of the seats or at least 3 seats, whichever is more, in an Assembly General Election.
- Win at least 1 out of every 25 seats from a state in a Lok Sabha General Election.
- Secure at least 8% of the total valid vote in an Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election.
Benefits of ‘National Party’ & ‘State Party’ recognition:
- If a party is recognised as a State Party/National party, it is entitled for exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to the candidates set up by it.
- Recognised `State’ and `National’ parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination and are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost at the time of revision of rolls and their candidates get one copy of electoral roll free of cost during General Elections.
- They also get broadcast/telecast facilities over Akashvani/Doordarshan during general elections.
- Political parties are entitled to nominate “Star Campaigners” during General Elections. A recognized National or State party can have a maximum of 40 “Star campaigners” and a registered un-recognised party can nominate a maximum of 20 ‘Star Campaigners”. The travel expenses of star campaigners are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of candidates of their party.
GDP growth plunges to 4.5%, lowest since 2012
Growth in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the July-September quarter hit a 25-quarter low of 4.5%, the government announced.
What is GDP?
- Gross Domestic Product or GDP represents the total value of all the final goods and services that are produced within a country’s borders within a particular time period, typically a year or a quarter.
GDP calculation in India
- India’s Central Statistics Office (CSO)calculates the gross domestic product (GDP).
- India’s GDP is calculated with three different methods.
- Output Method: This measures the monetary or market value of all the goods and services produced within the borders of the country. In order to avoid a distorted measure of GDP due to price level changes, real GDP is computed.
GDP (as per output method) = Real GDP (GDP at constant prices) – Taxes + Subsidies.
- Expenditure Method: This measures the total expenditure incurred by all entities on goods and services within the domestic boundaries of a country.
GDP (as per expenditure method) = C + I + G + (X-IM) C: Consumption expenditure, I: Investment expenditure, G: Government spending and (X-IM): Exports minus imports, that is, net exports.
- Income Method: It measures the total income earned by the factors of production, that is, labour and capital within the domestic boundaries of a country.
GDP (as per income method) = GDP at factor cost + Taxes – Subsidies.
Gross Value Added (GVA)
- It is a measure of total output and income in the economy.
- It provides the rupee value for the amount of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services.
GVA at Basic Prices
- For any commodity, the basic price is the price receivable by the producer from the purchaser for a unit of a product minus any tax on the product plus any subsidy on the product.
- GVA at basic prices include the production taxes, and it excludes the production subsidies available on the commodity.
- GVA at Basic Prices = GVA at factor cost + (Production Taxes – Production Subsidies)
GVA at Factor Cost
- GVA at Factor Cost includes no taxes and it excludes no subsidies.
GDP at Market Prices
- GDP at market prices includes both production and product taxes and it excludes both production and product subsidies.
- GDP at Market Prices = GVA at Basic Prices + Product Taxes – Product Subsidies
- A sector-wise breakdown provided by the GVA measure can better help the policymakers to decide which sectors need incentives/stimulus or vice versa.
- Some consider GVA as a better gauge of the economy because a sharp increase in the output, only due to higher tax collections which could be on account of better compliance, may distort the real output situation.
Difference between GVA and GDP
- The GDP gives the picture of the state of economic activity from the consumers’ side or demand perspective whereas the GVA gives a picture from the producer’s side.
- GDP helps in cross-country analysis of the economy whereas the GVA helps in measuring the sector specific development.
Govt wants RBI to take over stressed assets of shadow banks: Report
India’s finance ministry wants the Reserve Bank of India to set up a fund to buy out stressed assets of the country’s top 25 shadow lenders.
What are shadow banks?
- A shadow banking system is the group of financial intermediaries which have the same functions as traditional banks but whose members are not subject to regulatory oversight. The shadow banking system also refers to unregulated activities by regulated institutions.
- Like traditional banks, shadow banks provide credit and liquidity but they do not have access to central bank funding or safety nets like deposit insurance.
- The 2008 financial crisis has shown that shadow banking can be a source of systemic risk to the banking system.
- Basel III norms require central banks to tighten supervision on shadow banks across the globe through steps such as defining minimum capital.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Global Sulphur cap compliant fuel oil is already available on west coast of India
Minister of Chemical informed that the Government has taken many steps to clear the uncertainty of the Shipping industry arising out of impending IMO regulations to reduce the level of sulphur oxide emissions from ship’s exhaust from January, 2020.
- The main type of fuel oil for ships is heavy fuel oil, derived as a residue from crude oil distillation. Crude oil contains sulphur which, following combustion in the engine, ends up in ship emissions.
- Sulphur oxides (SOx) are known to be harmful to human health, causing respiratory symptoms and lung disease. In the atmosphere, SOx can lead to acid rain, which can harm crops, forests and aquatic species, and contributes to the acidification of the oceans.
- International Maritime Organization (IMO) regulations to reduce SOx emissions from ships first came into force in 2005 under International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL Convention).
What is the Sulphur 2020 limit?
- From 1 January 2020, the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships operating outside designated emission control areas will be reduced to 0.50% m/m (mass by mass), from current 3.50% m/m.
Four options for ships to comply Sulphur 2020 limit:
- Switching from high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) to marine gas oil (MGO) or distillates
- Using very-low-sulphur fuel oil or compliant fuel blends (0.50% sulphur)
- Retrofitting vessels to use alternative fuels such as LNG or other sulphur-free fuels
- Installing exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), which allows operation on regular HSFO
16 seismometers defunct in earthquake-prone zones
At least 20 out of 35 seismometers in Maharashtra are lying in a state of disrepair, and 16 of these are located in seismic zones III and IV.
What is seismometers?
- A seismometer is an instrument used to measure and record earthquakes.
Seismic Zones in India:
Over 59 % of India’s land area is under threat of moderate to severe earthquakes.
The zones are divided on the basis of Modified Mercalli (MM) intensity, which measures the impact of earthquakes.
The bureau of Indian standards is the official agency for publishing the seismic hazard maps and codes. Bureau of Indian Standards grouped India into four seismic zones, viz. Zone II, III, IV and V.
- Zone – V (highest seismic activity zone): Entire northeastern India, parts of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal, Rann of Kutch, part of North Bihar and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
- Zone – IV (high seismic zone): Parts of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Sikkim, Northern Parts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal, parts of Gujarat and small portions of Maharashtra near the west coast and Rajasthan.
- Zone – III (moderate seismic zone.): Kerala, Goa, Lakshadweep islands, remaining parts of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and West Bengal, Parts of Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka.
- Zone – II (least active seismic zone): Remaining parts of India.
Importance of India’s Seismic Zoning Map
- It is mainly used by the Department of Disaster Management of the different state governments. It also helps them in planning for a natural disaster like earthquake.
- An Indian seismic zoning map assists one in identifying the lowest, moderate as well as highest hazardous or earthquake prone areas in India. Even such maps are looked into before constructing any high rise building so as to check the level of seismology in any particular area.
Why north India is on shaky ground?
- Indian tectonic plate broke off from an ancient supercontinent called Gondwana 100 million years ago.
- The Indian plate skewed north and slammed into the Eurasian plate, creating the Himalayas.
- India still moves northeast into Eurasian plate at roughly 5 cm every year. About 60% of India is vulnerable to earthquakes caused by northward grind of the Indian subcontinental landmass.
Bilateral & International Relations
The dispute over Chagos islands traces the long shadow of colonialism
Mauritius called the UK an “illegal colonial occupier”, after it ignored a UN mandated deadline to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. The United Nations had given UK six months to process the transfer, a move the UK and the US have bitterly resisted.
What is the Chagos Islands dispute about?
- Sovereignty over the Chagos Archipelago is disputed between Mauritius and the United Kingdom.
- In 1810, UK captured the Ile de France and renamed it Mauritius. By the Treaty of Paris, France gave up the Ile de France and all its dependencies (including the Chagos Archipelago) to the United Kingdom.
- In 1965, the United Kingdom split the Chagos Archipelago away from Mauritius, and the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches from the Seychelles, to form the British Indian Ocean Territory.
- After Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968, the United Kingdom refused to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius claiming in petitions submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration that the island was required to “accommodate the United States’ desire to use certain islands in the Indian Ocean for defence purposes”. US and the UK operate a large military base on the largest island of Chagos Islands – Diego Garcia.
UN Resolution 1514
- Mauritius argued that the Chagos Islands has been a part of its territory since 18th century and said UK breached UN resolution 1514 (known as the Colonial Declaration) which specifically banned the breakup of colonies before independence to prevent colonial powers from including colonial territory into their overseas territory so as to retain their sovereignty.
- However, Mauritius proposed an exchange allowing the UK to let the US use the Chagos Islands for defence purposes temporarily, in exchange for increasing the quota of sugar imports into the US, a move that would contribute to Mauritius’ economy. The UK rejected the proposal.
- In 1960 and 70s, to accommodate the military base of UK and US, native inhabitants of the Chagos were forcefully removed by UK, claiming that the displaced people did not belong to the Chagos Islands.
Ruling of Permanent Court of Arbitration
- In 2015, Mauritius initiated legal proceedings against the UK in the Permanent Court of Arbitration in Netherlands. The Court ruled that UK had breached its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
- The ruling also called out the UK for deliberately creating a marine protected area in the waters surrounding Chagos Islands to prevent the original inhabitants of Chagos Island from being able to return.
- In February 2019 the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered the UK to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius as rapidly as possible. However, UK did not return it.
About Chagos Archipelago
- The Chagos Archipelago, later known as the Oil Island, are a group of seven atolls comprising of more than 60 individual tropical islands in the Indian Ocean about 500 kilometres from Maldives archipelago.
- This chain of islands is found in the southernmost archipelago of the Chagos-Laccadive Ridge, a long submarine mountain range in the Indian Ocean. The main natural resources of the area are coconut and fish.
Defence & Security Issues
No major ‘Make in India’ defence project has taken off in 6 yrs
None of the major ‘Make in India’ projects in the defence arena, ranging from new-generation stealth submarines, minesweepers and light utility helicopters to infantry combat vehicles, transport aircraft and fighter jets, have actually taken off in the last six years.
[Ref: Times of India]
Who was Udham Singh, the freedom fighter Pragya invoked?
Ruling political party member Pragya Singh raked up a storm in the Lok Sabha after she praised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse.
- Now, in her defence, she claimed her remark was meant for Udham Singh, and not Godse.
About Udham Singh
- Udham Singh was an Indian revolutionary belonging to the Ghadar Party.
- He is known for assassinating O’Dwyer (former lieutenant governor of the Punjab) in 1940, who orderd the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar in 1919. He was sentenced to death.
- On March 13, 1940 Singh shot O’Dwyer at a meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society at Caxton Hill.
- He was sentenced to death and was hanged on July 31, 1940 at Pentonville Prison.
- Udham Singh Nagar district in Uttarakhand is named after his name.
About Ghadar Party:
- Headquartered in California, the multi-ethnic party was believed to have communist tendencies and was founded by Sohan Singh Bhakna in 1913.
- It was committed to the ouster of the British from India.
India’s cold-wave regions to have warm winter: IMD
There is higher probability for above normal minimum temperatures in the core Cold Wave (CW) zone during December 2019 to February 2020, India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in a press release.
IMD Winter forecasts
- Minimum temperatures over most parts of central and peninsular India are likely to be warmer than normal by ≥ 1 C.
- However, in the central Indian region, the maximum temperature will be lower than the average, indicating a colder winter. In case of peninsular India, the winter would be warmer than normal.
What is Cold wave?
- It is a rapid fall in temperature within 24 hours to a level requiring substantially increased protection to agriculture, industry, commerce, and social activities.
- Wind chill factor is taken into account while declaring the cold wave situation. The wind chill effective minimum temperature (WCTn) is defined as the effective minimum temperature due to wind flow.
- India’s cold-wave zone covers the north Indian states of Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Delhi, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and also other states like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar.
When cold wave is declared in India?
- If normal minimum temperature of a place is equal to 10°C or more, the drop in temperature of 5°C to 6°C at that place is called cold wave.
- If normal minimum temperature of a place is less than 10°C, the drop in temperature of 4°C to 5°C at that place is called cold wave.
- When WCTn is 0°C or less, Cold Wave is declared irrespective of normal minimum temperature of a place.
Key Facts for Prelims
Exercise SURYA KIRAN – XIV
Joint military exercise ‘SURYA KIRAN – XIV’ between India and Nepal will be conducted at Salijhandi, Rupendehi district of Nepal from 03 to 16 December 2019.
About Exercise SURYA KIRAN – XIV
- Exercise SURYA KIRAN – XIV is an annual event which is conducted alternatively in Nepal and India.
- The aim of this exercise is to conduct a Battalion level training to increase interoperability in jungle warfare and counter terrorist operations in mountainous terrain, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, medical and environmental conservation including aviation aspects.
Expert panel bars release of Bhopal tragedy research findings
An expert committee explicitly barred the publication of the findings of a research study that said babies born to women — who as children were exposed to the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal — were significantly more likely to have “congenital malformations” than those born to women unexposed to the gas.
Bhopal gas tragedy
- The Bhopal gas tragedy was an industrial accident which happened at a Union Carbide subsidiary pesticide plant in Bhopal.
- The incident leaked 40 tons of Methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas and other chemicals leaked from the factory. Methyl isocyanate is extremely toxic and if its concentration in air touches 21ppm (parts per million), it can cause death within minutes of inhaling the gas.
- Approximately 5 lakh people were exposed to the leakage of methyl isocyanate gas.
- Congenital anomalies are also known as birth defects, congenital disorders or congenital malformations.
- Congenital anomalies can be defined as structural or functional anomalies (for example, metabolic disorders) that occur during intrauterine life and can be identified prenatally, at birth, or sometimes may only be detected later in infancy, such as hearing defects.