Prelims 2020

7th October 2020 Daily Current Flash Cards

Shaurya Missile; Carbon Tax; Global Girlhood Report 2020; Online Gambling in India; blockchain;
By IASToppers
October 07, 2020




What are the non-cryptocurrency applications of Blockchain?

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Solution: Legally-binding smart contracts, Remote voting and elections.

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Blockchain voting:

  • The Election Commission of India aims at further digitising the electoral infrastructure of the country.
  • It is exploring the possibility of using blockchain technology for the purpose of enabling remote elections.

What is blockchain?

  • A blockchain is a distributed ledger of information which is replicated across various nodes on a peer-to-peer network for the purpose of ensuring integrity and verifiability of data stored on the ledger.
  • Blockchain ledgers have traditionally been used as supporting structures for cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.
  • Their use in non-cryptocurrency applications too has seen a steady rise, with some solutions allowing individuals and companies to draft legally-binding smart contracts enabling detailed monitoring of supply chain networks, and several projects focused on enabling remote voting and elections.

Key issues, security concerns:

  • The problems with the blockchain-based remote voting systems are manifold.
  • The electors would still have to physically reach a designated venue in order to cast their vote, adding that systems would use white-listed IP devices on dedicated internet lines.
  • Digitisation and interconnectivity introduce additional points of failure external to the processes which exist in the present day.
  • The system envisioned by the Election Commission is perhaps only slightly more acceptable than a fully remote, app-based voting system.
  • Blockchain solutions rely heavily on the proper implementation of cryptographic protocols.
  • If any shortcomings exist in an implementation, it might stand to potentially unmask the identity and voting preferences of electors, or worse yet, allow an individual to cast a vote as someone else.
  • An attacker may be able to clone the biometric attributes required for authenticating as another individual and cast a vote on their behalf.




What is a game of skill?

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Solution: A game of skill is one in which the element of skill predominates over the element of chance.

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Online Gambling in India:

  • The Public Gambling Act, 1867, the primary legislation that governs gambling and betting in India was promulgated in 1870.
  • The Public Gambling Act seeks to punish public gambling and the keeping of common gaming houses.
  • The definition of a common gaming house is defined as a walled enclosure where cards, dice and other instruments of gaming are kept for profit or gain.
  • The Public Gambling Act has not been amended to classify the internet, the telephone or a mobile phone as a common gaming house.
  • The Public Gambling Act applies to all states in India, although individual states have separate laws which also govern gambling in addition to the state-specific amendments that such states have made to the Public Gambling Act.
  • The Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court are considering whether online rummy and poker fall within the purview of the Gambling Act, a final determination of this issue has not been reached.

Games of Skill and games of chance:

  • The focus has been on a distinction between games of skill and games of chance.
  • The games of skill are not subject to the purview of the Public Gambling Act.
  • The Supreme Court in 1996 reasoned that few games are purely of chance or skill, and a game of chance is one in which the element of chance predominates over the element of skill.
  • A game of skill is one in which the element of skill predominates over the element of chance.
  • The Supreme Court held that betting on horse-racing was a game of skill.
  • This distinction between skill and chance is even more difficult to apply to online gambling.




Which organisation has released the Global Girlhood Report 2020?

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Solution: Save the Children

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Global Girlhood Report 2020:

  • Global Girlhood Report 2020 has been released by Save the Children

Major highlights:

  • An estimated 500,000 more girls’ risk being forced into child marriage and as many as one million more are expected to become pregnant in 2020 as a result of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As per the report, there will be significant surge in child marriage rates with an expected spike in teenage pregnancies and school dropouts to follow.
  • The increase is set to reverse 25 years of progress, which saw child marriage rates decline.
  • Up to 2.5 million additional girls are expected to marry over the next five years. This amounts to a staggering 61 million child marriages by 2025.
  • Girls in South Asia are disproportionately impacted by the risk of increased child marriage this year (191,000), followed by West and Central Africa (90,000), and Latin America and the Caribbean (73,400).
  • The risk of adolescent pregnancy in 2020 is highest for girls in East and Southern Africa followed by West and Central Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The report also shows that:

  • 6 million child marriages have been prevented over the last 25 years but even before the pandemic, progress to end the practice had slowed to a halt.
  • The pandemic has now led to increased reports of gender-based violence around the world with an estimated one in 10 girls globally having experienced rape or sexual violence.
  • The UN expects an additional two million cases of female genital mutilation (FGM) to take place over the next 10 years as a result of the pandemic, mostly affecting girls under 14 years.




The Shaurya missile is a canister launched hypersonic a) surface-to-surface OR b) surface-to-air missile?

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Solution: Hypersonic surface-to-surface tactical missile

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Shaurya Missile:

  • The Shaurya missile is a canister launched hypersonic surface-to-surface tactical missile.
  • It has been developed by the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for use by the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It has a range of 700 to 1,900 km and is capable of carrying a payload of 200kg to 1 ton conventional or nuclear warhead.
  • It has the capability to strike at targets which are in a range of about 800 km and can carry nuclear payload.
  • Shaurya is a land-based parallel of the submarine launched K-15 missile.
  • The missile in the final phase of its course moves at hypersonic speeds before reaching a height of 40 km as it gets closer to its target.
  • It is a two-stage rocket missile and operates from solid fuel but can guide itself towards the target towards the cruise missile.
  • The missile is so fast that the enemy’s radar across the border will get less than 400 seconds to detect, track, and intercept it.
  • It can be stored in a composite canister, which can be easily hidden.

India’s K missiles family:

  • The K family of missiles are primarily Submarine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs).
  • They have been indigenously developed by DRDO and are named after Dr Kalam.
  • The development of these naval platform launched missiles began in the late 1990s as a step towards completing India’s nuclear triad — the capability of launching nuclear weapons from land, sea and air-based assets.
  • These missiles can be launched from submarines, so they are lighter, smaller and stealthier than their land-based counterparts.
  • K family are primarily submarine-fired missiles to be fired from India’s Arihant class nuclear powered platforms.
  • India has also developed and successfully tested multiple times the K-4 missiles from the family which has a range of 3500 km.




Is Carbon tax applicable in India?

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Solution: India introduced a nationwide carbon tax in 2010, which is currently Rs.400/tonne.

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Carbon Tax:

  • A carbon tax is a fee for making users of fossil fuels pay for climate damage by their fuel use which releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
  • It is aimed to motivate using clean energy.
  • A carbon tax is a tax levied on the carbon content of fuels. It is a form of carbon pricing.
  • Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and converted to carbon dioxide (CO2) and other products when combusted.
  • India introduced a nationwide carbon tax in 2010, which is currently Rs.400/tonne.

Rationale of the Tax:

  • Carbon tax is actually an instrument intending to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by increasing the price of fossil fuels and decreasing the demand for them.
  • It is based on the polluter pay principle.
  • The ultimate goal of a carbon tax is to eventually eliminate the use of fossil fuels.


  • The added cost reduces emissions by motivating consumers to seek cleaner energy.
  • Boosts economic growth by substantially increasing government revenue.
  • Funds agencies managing climate change


  • A carbon tax is regressive. By making fossil fuels more expensive, it imposes a harsher burden on those with low incomes.
  • A sudden increase in a carbon tax would shock the economy.
  • It penalizes those who can’t switch to alternatives.
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