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Mediation and Out-of-Court settlement

Mains Paper 2 : Executive & Judiciary |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Read the attached story

Mains level : Out of court settlement mechanisms in India


News

  • The attempt at mediation and an amicable out-of-court settlement of a famous temple dispute has failed.

Legal basis of Mediation

  • Negotiation or mediation is an accepted part of the procedure to resolve disputes.
  • Section 89 of the Code of Civil Procedure asks judges to ensure that all avenues to resolve a dispute outside the court have been exhausted.
  • The section reads: Where it appears to the Court that there exist elements of a settlement which may be acceptable to the parties, the Court shall formulate the terms of settlement.
  • The Court may reformulate the terms of a possible settlement and refer the same for- (a) Arbitration (b) conciliation (c) judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat or (d) mediation.
Judicial Pendency

Oil-emanating tarballs on Mumbai’s beaches

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tarballs

Mains level : Ocean water pollution



News

  • Recently on Girgaum chowpatty a famous tourist spot in South Mumbai saw big, black oil-emanating balls lying on its sandy beach.

What are tarballs?

  • The tar balls are crude-oil forms from which petrol is extracted.
  • Tar balls are dark-coloured, sticky balls of oil that form when crude oil floats on the ocean surface.
  • They are formed by weathering of crude oil in marine environments.
  • They are transported from the open sea to the shores by sea currents and waves.
  • Tarballs are usually coin-sized and are found strewn on the beaches. However, over the years, they have become as big as basketballs and can weigh as high as 6-7 kgs.

Do tarballs indicate an oil spill?

  • Most of the times, the presence of several tarballs indicate an oil spill.
  • However, its annual occurrence on the west coast during the monsoon has led marine biologists and experts to demand an investigation in the matter.
  • Experts have urged authorities to take stricter vigil and check if ships are dumping burnt oil waste off the western coast of India.
  • Oil-well blowouts, accidental and deliberate release of bilge and ballast water from ships, river runoff, discharges through municipal sewage and industrial effluents” also leads to the formation of tarballs.

Are tarballs harmful?

  • Tarball pollution is a major concern to global marine ecosystem.
  • Tarballs that travel towards the coast can get stuck to the fishing nets installed in the sea, making it difficult for fishermen to clean.
  • In addition, it could affect marine life, especially filter feeders like clams and oysters.
  • Coming in contact with a small amount of the greasy oil is not harmful, but if an individual is sensitive to hydro-carbons found in crude oil, then the contact area should be washed with soap and water.

How are they disposed?

  • Microbes such as bacteria and fungi are known to be associated with tarballs.
  • They presumably play an important role in tarball degradation and some are potential human and animal pathogens.
Oil and Gas Sector – HELP, Open Acreage Policy, etc.

Sardine Run

Mains Paper 1 : Climatic Change |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sardine Run, Phenology

Mains level : Climate change and its impact



News

Sardine Run

  • The sardine run is well known among residents of the KwaZulu-Natal coastline that runs along South Africa’s east coast.
  • Every year in winter, sardines migrate close to the shoreline. The event is well documented in the local press.
  • The sardine run is of great economic importance because it provides prime fishing opportunities and attracts large numbers of tourists who come for dolphin and shark sightings.
  • Similar migration patterns are seen in Sweden, Chile, and the Pacific Ocean.

A phenological event

  • The sardine run is what scientists term a “phenological event” — a biological event that occurs at the same time every year.
  • Phenological events are standard for plants and include the appearance of leaf and flower buds, blossoming, fruit development, fruit harvest and leaf colouration and fall.
  • For animals, the events are more varied and include hibernation, hatching, animal calls, moulting, and in the case of birds, game and fish (among others) migration.

Why is phenology so important?

  • Scientists have become very interested in phenology over the past few decades, because it’s one of the most sensitive biological indicators of climate change.
  • As temperatures increase, the plants or animals experience their triggers for spring earlier and their triggers for winter later.
  • As a result, many of these phenological events are occurring at different times of the year.

Nature’s biological clock

  • Phenological shifts are specific to species and location.
  • For example, Granny Smith apple trees are flowering approximately four days earlier for each 1 degree Celsius increase in temperature in Poland.
  • In South Africa, these Granny Smith apples are flowering two days earlier for each 1°C increase in temperature.
  • For many species these events are happening earlier. This is because they are spring events and, under climate change, the temperatures that are perceived by plants and animals to be the onset of spring are occurring in late winter.
  • For events that occur in autumn, the events are often occurring later, because the cooling that marks the start of winter has not yet occurred.

Why study Sardines?

  • A recently published paper reports sardine run between 1946 and 2012 the South African coast.
  • Researchers explored how the dates of the sardine run have changed over the 65-year period, and statistically examined oceanographic and climatological factors to determine the cause of this change.
  • It’s also known that climate affects the timing of phenological events globally, including marine environments.
  • The study found that sardines arrived off the coast of Durban increasingly late — at a rate of 1.3 days later per decade.

Why delay in sardines run?

  • Through analysis comparing the constructed phenological record with climate and ocean data, the study concluded that the delay could be caused by two things.
  • First, the ocean water is warmer. Sardines can tolerate a maximum surface temperature of 21°C. But this temperature isn’t being reached consistently at the same time every year due to changes in ocean temperature.
  • The second factor is mid-latitude cyclones. There have been an increasing number of these in the east coast region.

Why it matters

  • The delay is concerning. First, the large influx of sardines is important for the fishery industry.
  • If the sardine run occurs at an unexpected time, or doesn’t occur at all, supply chains are disrupted and fishermen are placed at economic risk.
  • The unpredictability is also a problem for tourism. The sardine run attracts visitors who are keen on shark and dolphin sightings and may leave disappointed.
  • The delays in the sardine run also result in food shortages for predators such as sharks, which feed on the sardines.
  • This is termed a species mismatch, and is increasingly observed as a result of climate change induced phenological shifts, where predators and their prey are no longer in the same place at the same time.
  • This is because each species has its own unique trigger for a particular activity.
Climate Change Impact on India and World – International Reports, Key Observations, etc.

Sanchi Stupa’s contribution to Indian architecture

Mains Paper 1 : Arts & Culture |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Sanchi Stupa

Mains level : Ancient Buddhist architecture



News

Sanchi Stupa

  • The Sanchi Stupa is one of India’s primary Buddhist sites and contains some of the oldest stone structures in the country.
  • One of the first accounts of the Sanchi Stupa came from the British captain Edward Fell in 1819.
  • It was a further 93 years before the site was ‘rediscovered’ by John Marshall, and an additional seven before it was restored to its current
  • The magnificent carvings and inscriptions, are reflective of Indian architecture from the Mauryan era (3rd century BCE) to its later medieval-era decline (around 11th century CE).
  • The Sanchi complex is famous for the Mahastupa (Great Stupa), the Ashokan pillar (with its inscriptions) and its signature ornate torans (gateways).
  • The style of the torans and fencing is said to mimic the bamboo craft of the surrounding areas.
  • If one looks at the design of the fencing around the stupa, as well as the way the torans have been designed they’re reminiscent of bamboo craft and tied bamboo.

Construction

  • Stupas are semi-spherical domes with square bases that contain small receptacles for relics. There is generally a path for circumambulation around the outer structure of the stupa. They were initially built outside monasteries by pilgrims.
  • Sanchi is regarded as one of the first monastic stupas.
  • Nestled in the Vindhya Range, 46 km from Madhya Pradesh’s capital Bhopal, the historical city of Sanchi also boasts 50-odd other monuments, including temples and monasteries.
  • The Mahastupa was built by King Ashoka (304-232 BCE) in the 3rd century BCE to house the relics of Gautam Buddha (obtained by opening the eight primary stupas located at places relevant to Buddha’s life).
  • These were further scattered across 84,000 stupas to spread the influence of Buddhism.
  • Inscriptions on the southern toran vouch that the ivory workers of erstwhile Vidisha (now Besnagar) worked on these monuments, translating the same intricate talent onto stone.

Destruction and restoration

  • After the reign of the Mauryas, the Sanchi Stupa was vandalised by Pushyamitra Shungain the mid-2nd century BCE.
  • It was later encased in stone, rebuilt and expanded by future Shunga kings during 187-78 BCE.
  • The four signature torans – embellished with scenes from the Jataka Tales, Ashoka’s visit to the Bodhi tree, the war for Buddha’s relics, etc – were also later additions, constructed by the Satavahanas between the 1st century BCE and 1st century CE.

Connection with Buddhism

  • Interestingly, Buddha never visited Sanchi.
  • Neither did foreign travellers like Hiuen Tsang, who extensively documented the holy Buddhist circuit in India, but did not mention Sanchi in his writings.
  • Marshall in his The Monuments of Sanchi (1938), wrote that Sanchi was not as revered as other Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India.
  • Scholars like Alfred A Foucher say that the iconic depictions of Buddha (as the Bodhi tree, a rider-less horse, an empty throne, etc.) at Sanchi are products of Graeco-Buddhist architectural interaction.

Inspiration for future architects

  • The lion capital at Sanchi is similar to the one at Sarnath. The main difference between the two is that the monument at Sanchi depicts an abacus instead of a chakra.
  • However, the influence of the Sanchi Stupa on our national psyche goes beyond the lion capital; it inspired the design of several modern buildings, chief among which is the modern-day Rashtrapati Bhavan.
  • Architect Edwin Lutyens was asked by Lord Charles Hardinge to incorporate symbols of India’s architectural past into the building, and modelled the colonnade to carry a Sanchi-style dome and balustrade railing.
  • In 1963, the dome of Kolkata’s Birla Planetarium was constructed to mirror the one at Sanchi.

With inputs from:

https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/travel/on-a-buddhist-trail-in-sanchi/article28771908.ece

History- Important places, persons in news

India’s biggest ever trial of tuberculosis vaccines

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : BCB and other vaccines mentioned

Mains level : Elimination of TB in India



News

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has launched India’s first large-scale trial for two new tuberculosis (TB) vaccines.

New Vaccines

There are two vaccines being tested in the latest trial:

  • Immuvac (also known as mycobacterium indicus pranii or MIP), which is manufactured by Cadila Pharmaceuticals in Ahmedabad, and
  • VPM1002 manufactured by Serum Institute of India in Pune.

Why need new vaccines?

  • Scientists at the ICMR have felt a critical need for new TB vaccines that are more effective than the Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine.
  • The BCG vaccine is used in the routine Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) in countries across the world. It is generally given at birth or in the first year.
  • The vaccine is over 100 years old and, while it has been partially effective in protecting infants and young children, particularly from the most severe forms of TB.
  • It provides poor protection against pulmonary disease in adolescents and adults.
  • It is for these reasons a need was felt to develop more effective preventive TB vaccines.

Rise of MDR TB

  • The new vaccines that are being put through the trials offer a chance to contain the accelerating spread of multi-drug resistant TB.
  • Treating TB requires a multi-drug course of treatment lasting six months; longer still for treating drug-resistant TB.
  • Treatment failure and recurrence can have devastating consequences.

Incidence of TB in India

  • India contributes to 27 per cent of the global TB burden; the highest share globally. That is why, in 2017, the central government had committed itself to eliminating TB by 2025.
  • As per the 2018 annual report of the Central TB division of Ministry of Health, the incidence of TB was nearly 2.8 million annually, and the incidence of multidrug-resistant TB was 1,47,000 per year.
  • The total number of deaths because of TB (excluding HIV) was 4,23,000, and the incidence of HIV-TB was 87,000 per year.
Tuberculosis Elimination Strategy

TOI 270: new planetary system

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : TOI 270

Mains level : Exoplanets and thier habitability



News

TOI 270

  • It is the name of the dwarf star and the planetary system recently discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
  • TOI 270 is about 73 light years away from Earth, and is located in the constellation Pictor.
  • Its members include the dwarf star, which is 40 per cent smaller than the Sun in size and mass, and the three planets or exoplanets (planets outside the solar system) that have been named TOI 270 b, TOI 270 c, and TOI 270 d.
  • These three planets orbit the star every 3.4 days, 5.7 days, and 11.4 days respectively. In this system, TOI 270 b is the innermost planet.

Nature of the planets

  • Researchers expect it to be a rocky world about 25 per cent bigger than Earth.
  • It is not habitable since it is located too close to the star — about 13 times closer than our Solar System’s Mercury is from the Sun.
  • On the other hand, TOI 270 c and TOI 270 d are Neptune-like planets because their compositions are dominated by gases rather than rock.
  • Planet d, which is suspected to have a rocky core covered by a thick atmosphere, offers a surface unfavorably warm for the existence of liquid water, thereby rendering the planet potentially uninhabitable.

About Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • TESS is NASA’s latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
  • The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in their light.
  • TESS is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days, once per orbit, as the spacecraft makes it closest approach to Earth.
  • These events, called transits, suggest that a planet may be passing in front of its star.
  • TESS is expected to find thousands of planets using this method, some of which could potentially support life.
International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Dholera Special Investment Region

Mains Paper 3 : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways Etc. |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : DMIC, SIR

Mains level : Smart Cities in India


News

  • Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant pushed the idea of Dholera as the first “green city in the world”.

Dholera Special Investment Region

  • The Dholera Special Investment Region is one of the several Greenfield cities that have been planned on the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC).
  • Located about 100 kilometres south-west of Ahmedabad, Dholera will be connected to the city by a six-lane Expressway with a metrorail running through its centre.
  • A greenfield international airport is also being developed in the vicinity which will unburden the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International airport of some of its traffic.
  • Six of the 24 nodes identified on the DMIC are in Gujarat.
  • The government had set up the Gujarat Industrial Corridor Corporation (GICC), an SPV to oversee development on the DMIC, a decade ago.

What’s so special ?

  • The Dholera Special Investment Region (SIR) is slated to be bigger than Singapore.
  • It covers an estimated 920 square kilometers, encompassing 22 villages of Dholera taluka of Ahmedabad district and is strategically located between Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Bhavnagar.
  • The Dholera SIR entails development of total 9225 hectares of land up to 2040 and will employ an estimated 8 lakh persons and will house 20 lakh inhabitants.
  • Phase-I of the project which entails developing basic infrastructure in 22.5 square kilometres of activation area will cost roughly Rs 4,400 crore.
  • In Phase-I, 52 per cent will be industrial and 28 per cent will be residential.

Back2Basics

Special Investment Region (SIR)

  • Special Investment Region (SIR) is a concept similar to Special Economic Zone.
  • However, this is a unique term applied in the territory of the state of Gujarat.
  • The Gujarat government has enacted a legal framework for the SIR – The Gujarat Special Investment Region Act – 2009(GSIR -2009) which has come into effect from 6th January, 2009.
  • SIR refers to an existing or proposed Investment Region with an area of more than 100 sq. Kms or Industrial Area with an area of 50-100 sq. Kms declared so by the state under Section 3 of the Gujarat Special Investment Region Act – 2009.
  • By giving SIR status, Gujarat govt. proposes to develop the investment region /industrial area as global hubs of economic activity supported by world class infrastructure, premium civic amenities, centers of excellence and proactive policy framework.

Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor Project

  • The DMIC Project is a planned industrial development project between India’s capital, Delhi and its financial hub, Mumbai.
  • It is one of the world’s largest infrastructure projects with an estimated investment of US$90 billion and is planned as a high-tech industrial zone spread across six states as well as Delhi.
  • The investments will be spread across the 1,500 km long Western Dedicated Freight Corridor which will serve as the industrial corridor’s transportation backbone.
  • It includes 24 industrial regions, eight smart cities, two international airports, five power projects, two mass rapid transit systems, and two logistical hubs.
Industrial Sector Updates – Industrial Policy, Ease of Doing Business, etc.

Microdots technology for Vehicles

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Microdots

Mains level : Vehicular Safety



News

  • The government has come out with draft rules to make microdots mandatory in vehicles.
  • This move will also ensure that consumers have a way of identifying original parts from fake ones and that contributes to overall safety as well.

Microdots Technology

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways issued a draft notification on amending the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989, and allowing motor vehicles and their parts, components, assemblies, sub-assemblies to be affixed with permanent and nearly invisible microdots.
  • These microdots can be read physically with a microscope and identified with ultraviolet light.
  • Microdots are a globally proven technology to ensure originality in spare parts of machines and components, including in the automobile sector.
  • The government has envisaged that with microdots becoming a permanent feature in vehicles, identifying them would become easier in case they are stolen.

How it works?

  • The microdots and adhesive are to become a permanent fixture/affixation which cannot be removed without damaging the asset itself.
  • The microdots are to comply with AIS 155 requirements, if affixed.
  • The technology involves spraying thousands of microscopic dots onto vehicles or other assets to form a unique identification.
  • Each microdot carries this identification which is registered to the owner, but is not visible to the naked eye.
Road and Highway Safety – National Road Safety Policy, Good Samaritans, etc.

Explained: Renaming of States

Mains Paper 2 : Parliament & State Legislatures |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Renaming of States


News

Demands for ‘Bangla’

  • Over the years, several demands have been made, for reasons that could be either political or administrative, to change the name of West Bengal.
  • The first such demand can be traced back to 1999, when the then CM Jyoti Basu took the initiative.
  • At that time, “Bangla” and “Paschim Bangla” were considered, but the parties concerned could not reach a consensus.
  • A request in 2018 was rejected by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in November 2018 due to the similarity between “Bangla” and “Bangladesh”.

Why such demands?

  • The renaming demand is more to do with chronology than anything else.
  • The state’s name “West Bengal” starts with the letter “W”, which being the fourth last letter among English alphabet pushes the state to number 30 in the state roll call.
  • The implication is that during official meetings where all states are present, by the time West Bengal gets a turn to speak either the hall was half-empty or the audience was fast asleep.
  • Changing the name to “Bangla” would give it precedence, pushing it to spot number four.
  • Also the name of a state should invoke a strong sense of identity among its people and this identity can be formed if the state’s name carries the signature of its history and authentic culture, claims state govt.

Procedure for renaming a state 

  • Unlike in the case of renaming cities, to change the name of a state, approval from the Centre’s Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is required under provisions laid down in its 1953 guidelines.
  • This means that a Constitutional amendment becomes necessary to affect this change.
  • The Union MHA then takes over and gives it consent after it receives No Objection Certificates (NOCs) from several agencies such as the Ministry of Railways, Intelligence Bureau, Department of Posts, Survey of India and Registrar General of India.
  • If the proposal is accepted, the resolution, introduced as a Bill in the Parliament, becomes a law and the name of the state is changed thereafter.

Back2Basics

Renaming of states

  • The Constitution of India provides for the renaming of a state under Article 3.
  • The Article 3 provides for formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States
  • The procedure of renaming of the state can be initiated by either the Parliament or the State Legislator and the procedure is as follows:
  1. A bill for renaming a state may be introduced in the Parliament on the recommendation of the President.
  2. Before the introduction of the bill, the President shall send the bill to the respective state assembly for expressing their views within a stipulated time.
  3. The views of the state assembly are not binding; neither on the President nor on the Parliament.
  4.  But the process must not be skipped as it is of vital importance as any law so made will be affecting that particular state.
  5. On the expiry of the period, the bill will be sent to the Parliament for deliberation.
  6. The bill in order to take the force of a law must be passed by a simple majority.
  7. The bill is sent for approval to the President.
  8. After the approval of the said bill, the bill becomes a law and the name of the state stands modified.

Some of the instances of change in the name of the states are:

Old Name New Name Year of Change
East Punjab Punjab 1950
United Province Uttar Pradesh 1950
Madras Presidency along with Hyderabad Andhra Pradesh 1956
Madhya Bharat Madhya Pradesh 1959
Pondicherry Puducherry 2006
Uttaranchal Uttarakhand 2007

With inputs from: https://blog.ipleaders.in/renaming-state-city/

Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)

Mains Paper 3 : Various Security Forces, Agencies & Their Mandates |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs)

Mains level : Need for IBGs



News

  • The new concept of Integrated Battle Groups (IBGs) which the Indian Army plans to create as part of overall force transformation is close to implementation.

What are IBGs?

  • IBGs are brigade-sized, agile, self-sufficient combat formations, which can swiftly launch strikes against adversary in case of hostilities.
  • Each IBG would be tailor-made based on Threat, Terrain and Task and resources will be allotted based on the three Ts.
  • They need to be light so they will be low on logistics and they will be able to mobilise within 12-48 hrs based on the location.
  • An IBG operating in a desert needs to be constituted differently from an IBG operating in the mountains.
  • The key corps of the Army are likely to be reorganized into 1-3 IBGs.

Objective of IBG

  • Holistic integration to enhance the operational and functional efficiency, optimize budget expenditure, facilitate force modernization and address aspirations

Structure

  • While a command is the largest static formation of the Army spread across a defined geography, a corps is the largest mobile formation.
  • Typically each corps has about three brigades.
  • The idea is to reorganise them into IBGs which are brigade-sized units but have all the essential elements like infantry, armoured, artillery and air defence embedded together based on the three Ts.
  • The IBGs will also be defensive and offensive. While the offensive IBGs would quickly mobilise and make thrust into enemy territory for strikes, defensive IBGs would hold ground at vulnerable points or where enemy action is expected.

Why need IBGs?

  • After the terrorist attack on the Parliament, the Indian military undertook massive mobilization but the Army’s formations which were deep inside took weeks to mobilise loosing the element of surprise.
  • Following this, the Army formulated a proactive doctrine known as ‘Cold Start’ to launch swift offensive but its existence was consistently denied in the past.
  • Its existence was acknowledged for the first time by Gen Rawat in January 2017.
Indian Army Updates

All India Tiger Estimation Report – 2018

Mains Paper 3 : Conservation, Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Eia |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Tiger census 2018, Tx2

Mains level : Conservation of tigers in India


News

  • India has 2,967 tigers, a third more than in 2014, according to results of a tiger census.
  • India has achieved the target of doubling tiger population four years before the 2022 deadline.

Statewise tiger count

  • According to the census, Madhya Pradesh saw the highest number of tigers at 526, closely followed by Karnataka at 524 and Uttarakhand at number 3 with 442 tigers.
  • While Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest number of tigers, Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu registered the “maximum improvement” since 2014.
  • Chhattisgarh and Mizoram saw a decline in their tiger numbers while tiger numbers in Odisha remained constant. All other states witnessed a positive trend.

About All India Tiger Estimation

  • The tiger count is prepared after every four years by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) provides details on the number of tigers in the 18 tiger reign states with 50 tiger reserves.
  • However, this time, the census also included data collected from the rough terrains of north-eastern states which was not possible due to logistic constrains before.
  • The entire exercise spanned over four years is considered to be world’s largest wildlife survey effort in terms of coverage and intensity of sampling.
  • Over 15, 000 cameras were installed at various strategic points to capture the movement of tigers. This was supported by extensive data collected by field personnel and satellite mapping.
  • Taking a step further, authorities have attempted to digitize the records by mandating the use of a GIS based app called M-STRiPES (Monitoring System For Tigers-Intensive Protection and Ecological Status) developed by Dehradun-based Wildlife Institute of India.

Back2Basics

Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is a tiger conservation programme launched in April 1973 during PM Indira Gandhi’s tenure.
  • In 1970 India had only 1800 tigers and Project Tiger was launched in Jim Corbett National Park.
  • The project is administrated by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA).
  • It aims at ensuring a viable population of Bengal tigers in their natural habitats, protecting them from extinction etc.
  • Under this project the govt. has set up a Tiger Protection Force to combat poachers and funded relocation of villagers to minimize human-tiger conflicts.
Tiger Conservation Efforts – Project Tiger, etc.

‘Trans Fat Free’ logo

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Trans Fats

Mains level : Healthcare awareness in India



News

  • Bakeries, sweet shops, restaurants besides packaged food companies will now be allowed to use “Trans Fat Free” logo at their outlets and on their products, if they comply with the norms notified by the FSSAI.

Why in news?

  • The food establishments which use trans-fat free fats/oils and do not have industrial trans-fat more than 0.2 gms per 100 gm of the food, in compliance with the regulation can display ‘Trans Fat Free’ logo in their outlets and on their food products.

Bar on trans-fat content

  • Since last year FSSAI has been pushing the industry to bring down the trans-fatty acids in Vanaspati, edible bakery shortenings, margarine in a phased manner.
  • The trans fat content in fats and oils has already been limited to 5 per cent.
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) had last year notified the Advertisement and Claims regulations on Trans fats.
  • It stated that nutritional claim of trans fat free can only be made if products contain less than 0.2 gm trans fat per 100 gm or 100 ml of food.
  • The regulator is working on further reducing the content to 3 per cent by 2021 and 2 per cent by 2022.
  • According to FSSAI regulations, the maximum permissible limits for Total Polar Compounds (TPC) have been set at 25 per cent, beyond which the cooking oil is unsafe for consumption.

Assist this newscard with:

FSSAI launches awareness drive on trans fats

Food Processing Industry: Issues and Developments

National Data Quality Forum (NDQF)

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : National Data Quality Forum (NDQF)

Mains level : Utilizing meadical health data


News

National Data Quality Forum

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)’s National Institute for Medical Statistics (ICMR-NIMS), in partnership with Population Council, launched the NDQF.
  • It will integrate learning from scientific and evidence-based initiatives and guide actions through periodic workshops and conferences.
  • Its activities will help establish protocols and good practices of data collection, storage, use and dissemination that can be applied to health and demographic data, as well as replicated across industries and sectors noted a release issued by ICMR.

Why need NDQF?

  • India has a rich resource of data on its population, its health status and demographic behaviour and economic condition among many other aspects of life and environment.
  • This wealth of data can be translated into insights and, eventually, into policy through a layered process involving human and technological inputs at every stage.
  • However, these data often suffer from some common challenges related to human and technological factors and affect its quality.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Milky Way’s violent birth decoded

Mains Paper 1 : Geographical Features & Their Location |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Milky Way, Big Bang

Mains level : Formation of our solar system



News

  • The Milky Way, home to our sun and billions of other stars, merged with another smaller galaxy in a colossal cosmic collision roughly 10 billion years ago, scientists said based on data from the Gaia space observatory.

What is Milky Way?

  • The Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Solar System, with the name describing the galaxy’s appearance from Earth.
  • It resembles to a hazy band of light seen in the night sky formed from stars that cannot be individually distinguished by the naked eye.
  • Galileo Galilei first resolved the band of light into individual stars with his telescope in 1610.

Its formation

  • The union of the Milky Way and the so-called dwarf galaxy Gaia-Enceladus increased our galaxy’s mass by about a quarter and triggered a period of accelerated star formation lasting about 2 to 4 billion years.
  • Galaxies of all types, including the Milky Way, began to form relatively soon after the Big Bang explosion that marked the beginning of the universe some 13.8 billion years ago.
  • But they were generally smaller than those seen today and were forming stars at a rapid rate.
  • Subsequent galactic mergers were instrumental in configuring galaxies existing now.

How was that verified?

  • A high-precision measurement of the position, brightness and distance of around a million stars within 6,500 light years of the sun was obtained by the Gaia space telescope.
  • It helped pinpoint stars present before the merger and those that formed afterward.
  • Certain stars with higher content of elements other than hydrogen or helium arose in the Milky Way and others with lower such content originated in Gaia-Enceladus owing to its smaller mass.
  • While the merger was dramatic and helped shape the Milky Way, it was not a star-destroying calamity.
  • This crash was big in cosmic terms, but if it was happening now, we could probably not even notice at a human or solar system level.
Global Geological And Climatic Events

Mauritius leaks

Mains Paper 3 : Effects Of Liberalization On The Economy, Changes In Industrial Policy and their effects on Industrial Growth |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Mauritius leaks

Mains level : FDI routes in India


News

Mauritius Leaks

  • According to the recently released data by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), as many as 50 entities, or one-fourth of those disclosed in the Mauritius leaks, had India as their only country or one of the countries of activity.

India-Mauritius connection

  • The Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) was signed between India and Mauritius in 1982.
  • Under this,any entity could apply for tax residency and pay zero capital gains tax.
  • This became the principal reason why Mauritius emerged as a top channel for investments being routed into India.
  • Over 200,000 emails, contracts and bank statements leaked from Mauritius show how it was used by corporates to facilitate partnerships with multinationals.
  • This was done without paying any capital gains tax, remit profits as Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to India.

Why is the Mauritius connection important?

  • In 2016, India amended its Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with Mauritius, and the new provisions — capital gains tax, instance — are now fully applicable.
  • Almost a third of India’s FDI came through Mauritius.
  • There was strong resistance from Mauritius. They were benefited in the sense that lots of support and infrastructure like accounting firms and firms that set up companies and get income from that.
FDI in Indian economy

IndSpaceEx

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : IndSpaceEx

Mains level : India's quest for security amidst clouds of space war



News

  • The Indian armed forces are all set to conduct the country’s first-ever simulated space warfare exercise “IndSpaceEx” this week.

IndSpaceEx

  • The tri-Service integrated defence staff under the defence ministry is conducting the two-day “IndSpaceEx”, with all military and scientific stakeholders.
  • Aim: to assess the requisite space and counter-space capabilities that are needed by India to ensure we can protect our national security interests in this final frontier of warfare.
  • Such an exercise was being planned after India successfully tested an anti-satellite (A-Sat) interceptor missile to destroy the 740-kg Microsat-R satellite, at an altitude of 283-km in the low earth orbit, in a “hit-to-kill mode”.
  • The exercise will help Indian armed forces in testing the cosmic war zone and see how the A-Sat capabilities can be used to defend the Indian skies.
  • The exercise comes at a time when India’s neighbour China is aggressively growing in this field.
  • Shortly after ‘Mission Shakti’, Beijing had launched several missiles from a ship to demonstrate its A-Sat capabilities.

In response to China

  • China has been developing an array of A-Sat weapons, both kinetic in the shape of co-orbital killer satellites and direct ascent missiles as well as non-kinetic ones like lasers and electro-magnetic pulse weapons.
  • Though India for long has had an expansive civilian space programme, it largely restricted military use of space to intelligence, reconnaissance, surveillance, communication and navigation.
  • It will lead to an assessment of the “imminent threats” in the expanse beyond earth and the drafting of a joint space doctrine for futuristic battles.
  • The A-Sat test and the approval for the tri-Service Defence Space Agency signifies the crossing of that self-imposed threshold for developing offensive space capabilities.
  • India has no option but to develop deterrence capabilities to ensure no adversary can threaten its assets in outer-space.

Why such exercise?

  • Not only can an adversary’s counter-space weapons take out India’s assets critical for its economic and social infrastructure, they can also “blind and deafen” the Indian armed forces.
  • They could do so by destroying or jamming satellites vital for surveillance, communication, and precision-targeting.

Way Forward

  • Having demonstrated its ASAT capability, India is in an ideal place to demonstrate its global governance credentials.
  • Clearly, efforts like the IndSpaceEx are important to determine the degree of the space security challenges India faces and to develop appropriate measures for effective deterrence.
  • But India must step up its efforts to develop global rules and norms about such challenges and threats.
  • India must continue working towards all-encompassing legally-binding instruments such as the Prevention of Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS).
Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Cryptocurrency panel for ban on private digital currencies

Mains Paper 2 : Governance, Transparency & Accountability, Citizens Charters |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Blockchain, Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

Mains level : Cryptocurrencies regulation in India


News

  • The committee set up to look into the legality of cryptocurrencies and blockchain has submitted its report to the Finance Ministry and recommended that private cryptocurrencies be banned completely in India.

Committee on cryptocurrencies

  • The government had constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee in November 2017, under the Chairmanship of Economic Affairs Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg and comprising senior officials of the MEITY, SEBI and the RBI.
  • The committee notes with serious concern mushrooming of cryptocurrencies almost invariably issued abroad and numerous people in India investing in these.
  • The Committee, however, leaves the door open for the central bank issued cryptocurrencies, adding that it endorsed the RBI’s stance of banning any sort of interface of cryptocurrencies with the banking system in India.
  • The Committee recommends that all private cryptocurrencies, except any cryptocurrency issued by the state, be banned in India.
  • It endorses the stand taken by the RBI to eliminate the interface of institutions regulated by the RBI from cryptocurrencies.
  • However, the report goes on to say that it would be advisable to “have an open mind” regarding the introduction of an official, government-backed cryptocurrency in India.
  • But it also added that it is currently unclear what the advantages of such a currency in India would be.

Banning of Cryptocurrency & Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, 2019

  • The committee has drafted a law which mandates a fine and imprisonment of up to 10 years for offences.
  • The draft law says that anybody who mines, generates, holds, sells, deals in, transfers, disposes of or issues cryptocurrencies with will face a fine and/or jail time of between 1 and 10 years.
  • The fine has been set at the either three times the loss or harm caused by a person, or three times the gain made by the person, whichever is higher.

Why ban cryptocurrencies?

  • All the cryptocurrencies have been created by non-sovereigns.
  • They do not have any intrinsic value of their own and lack any of the attributes of a currency.
  • That is, they neither act as a store of value nor are they a medium of exchange in themselves.
  • These cryptocurrencies cannot serve the purpose of a currency.
  • The private cryptocurrencies are inconsistent with the essential functions of money/currency, hence private cryptocurrencies cannot replace fiat currencies.

More focus on the use of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain

  • Distributed ledger technology (DLT) is a digital system for recording the transaction of assets in which the transactions and their details are recorded in multiple places at the same time.
  • Unlike traditional databases, distributed ledgers have no central data store or administration functionality.
  • While the committee has taken a strong stance against cryptocurrencies, it has highlighted the benefits of the underlying technology—the distributed ledger technology (DLT) and blockchain.
  • The Committee recommends that blockchain based systems may be considered by MEITY for building a low-cost KYC system that reduces the need for duplication of KYC requirements for individuals.
  • Further, the report said that DLT-based systems can be used by banks and other financial firms for loan tracking, collateral management, fraud detection, claims management in insurance etc.
  • Similarly, DLT can be beneficial for removing errors and frauds in land markets if the technology is implemented for maintaining land records.
  • The Committee therefore recommends that various state governments may examine the feasibility of using DLT for land-records management.

Back2Basics

Blockchains

  • Blockchain/ DLT are the building block of “internet of value,” and enable recording of interactions and transfer “value” peer-to-peer, without a need for a centrally coordinating entity.
  • “Value” refers to any record of ownership of asset — for example, money, securities, land titles — and also ownership of specific information like identity, health information and other personal data.
  • Blockchain is one type of a distributed ledger.
Blockchain Technology: Prospects and Challenges

India enters 37-year period of demographic dividend

Mains Paper 1 : Population & Associated Issues |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Demograhic Dividend

Mains level : Read the attached story



News

  • Since 2018, India’s working-age population (people between 15 and 64 years of age) has grown larger than the dependant population (defined as children aged 14 or below as well as people above 65 years of age).
  • This bulge in the working-age population is going to last till 2055, or 37 years from its beginning.

Why it matters?

  • In many ways, India’s demographics are the envy of the world.
  • As populations in countries such as China, US, and Japan is getting older, India’s population is getting younger.

What is demographic dividend?

  • Demographic dividend, as defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) means the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure.
  • This happens when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population (14 and younger, and 65 and older).
  • In other words it is a boost in economic productivity that occurs when there are growing numbers of people in the workforce relative to the number of dependents.
  • It indicates that more people have the potential to be productive and contribute to growth of the economy for a longer period of time.

When this happens?

  • This transition happens largely because of a decrease in the total fertility rate (TFR, which is the number of births per woman) after the increase in life expectancy gets stabilized.

Global Examples

Japan

  • Japan was among the first major economies to experience rapid growth because of changing population structure.
  • The country’s demographic-dividend phase lasted from 1964 to 2004.
  • An analysis of the first 10 years since this phase shows how such a shift in the population structure can propel growth.
  • In five of these years, Japan grew in double digits; the growth rate was above 8% in two years, and a little less than 6% in one.

China

  • China entered this stage in 1994 — 16 years after Deng Xiaoping’s economic reforms started in December 1978.
  • Although its growth accelerated immediately after the reforms, the years of demographic dividend helped sustain this rate for a very long period.
  • In the 16 years between 1978 and 1994 (post-reform, pre-dividend) China saw eight years of double-digit growth.
  • In the 18 years since 1994 there have been only two years when China could not cross the 8% growth mark.

Indian Case

  • In near future India will be the largest individual contributor to the global demographic transition.
  • A 2011 IMF Working Paper found that substantial portion of the growth experienced by India since the 1980s is attributable to the country’s age structure and changing demographics.
  • By 2026 India’s average age would be 29 which is least among the global average.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau recently predicted that India will surpass China as the world’s largest country by 2025, with a large proportion of those in the working age category.
  • Over the next two decades the continuing demographic dividend in India could add about two percentage points per annum to India’s per capita GDP growth.

What next?

  • It is however important to note that this change in population structure alone cannot push growth. There are many other factors.
  • According to research by the RBI this will depend on India addressing its declining labour force participation rate.
  • The UNFPA states that countries can only harness the economic potential of the youth bulge if they are able to provide good health, quality education and decent employment to its entire population.

Harnessing a golden opportunity

  • India’s working-age population is now increasing because of rapidly declining birth and death rates.
  • India’s age dependency ratio, the ratio of dependents (children and the elderly) to the working-age population (14- to 65-year-olds), is expected to only start rising in 2040, as per UN estimates.
  • This presents a golden opportunity for economic growth that could be reaped through higher growth.

Way Forward

  • India needs to pay  special  attention  to  skilling  and  reskilling  its  workforce,  keeping  in  view  the  changing  nature  of  today’s  job
  • There are  serious  gaps  between  what  the  skill  development  institutions  currently  do  and what the industry requires.
  • Improving education and health infrastructure, in terms of both quality and access and  timely  action  in  a  co-ordinated  manner  by  the  Government,  private  sector  and  researchers  is  necessary  to  harness  the  window  of  opportunity  provided by a favourable demography.
Economic Indicators-GDP, FD,etc

Successful Launch of Chandrayaan-2

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Chandrayan 2

Mains level : India's moon mission



News

  • The 640-tonne GSLV Mk-III rocket successfully injected the 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2 composite module into the Earth’s orbit.
  • With the successful launch all eyes are now on September 7 when the lander and rover modules of the spacecraft will make a soft landing on the surface of the moon.

Chandrayaan-2: India’s first lander mission

  • Chandrayaan-2 consists of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover, all equipped with scientific instruments to study the moon.
  • The Orbiter would once again watch the moon from a 100-km orbit, while the Lander and Rover modules will separate and make a soft-landing on moon’s surface.
  • ISRO has named the Lander module as Vikram, after Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of India’s space programme, and the Rover module as Pragyaan, meaning wisdom.
  • Once on the moon, the rover, a six-wheeled solar-powered vehicle, will detach itself from the lander, and would slowly crawl on the surface, making observations and collecting data.

Tasks to be accomplished

  • The mission will be equipped with two instruments, and its primary objective would be to study the composition of the moon’s surface near the landing site, and determine its abundance of different elements.
  • One of the instruments will also look out for seismic activity on lunar surface.
  • While the lander and rover are designed to work for only 14 days (1 lunar day), the Orbiter, a 2379-kg spacecraft with seven instruments on board, would remain in orbit for a year.
  • It is equipped with different kinds of cameras to take high-resolution 3D maps of the surface.
  • It also has instruments to study the mineral composition on the moon and the lunar atmosphere, and also to assess the abundance of water.

Chandrayaan-2 to enter uncharted territory

  • With Chandrayaan-2, India will become only the fourth country in the world to land a spacecraft on the moon.
  • So far, all landings, human as well as non-human, on the moon have been in areas close to its equator.
  • That was mainly because this area receives more sunlight that is required by the solar-powered instruments to function.
  • Earlier this year, in January, China landed a lander and rover on the far side of the moon, the side that is not facing the earth. This was the first time that any landing had taken place on that side.

What differentiates Chandrayaan 2 with others?

  • Chandrayaan-2 will make a landing at a site where no earlier mission has gone, near the South pole of the moon.
  • It is a completely unexplored territory and therefore offers great scientific opportunity for the mission to see and discover something new.
  • Incidentally, the crash-landing of the MIP from the Chandrayaan-1 mission had also happened in the same region.
  • The south pole of the moon holds the possibility of the presence of water, and this is one aspect that would be probed meticulously by Chandrayaan-2.
  • In addition, this area is also supposed to have ancient rocks and craters that can offer indications of history of moon, and also contain clues to the fossil records of early solar system.
ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Explained: When a juvenile is tried as an adult, when not

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Not Much

Mains level : Juvenile Justice in India and issues associated with it


News

Background

  • In 2016, a 17-year-old was booked for the murder of his three-year-old neighbour in Mumbai.
  • The city Juvenile Justice Board as well as a children’s court directed that he be tried as an adult under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act, 2015.
  • Last week, the Bombay High Court set aside these orders and directed that the accused be tried as a minor, saying the Act is reformative and not retributive.

When is a Child tried as an Adult?

  • The Juvenile Justice Act of 2000 was amended in 2015 with a provision allowing for Children in Conflict with Law (CCL) to be tried as adults under certain circumstances.
  • The Act defines a child as someone who is under age 18.
  • For a CCL, age on the date of the offence is the basis for determining whether he or she was a child or an adult.
  • The amended Act distinguishes children in the age group 16-18 as a category which can be tried as adults if they are alleged to have committed a heinous offence — one that attracts a minimum punishment of seven years.
  • The Act does not, however, make it mandatory for all children in this age group to be tried as adults.

How?

  • Trial as an adult is not a default choice; a conscious, calibrated one; And for that, all the statutory criteria must be fulfilled, said Bombay High Court
  • As per Section 15 of the JJ Act, there are three criteria that the Juvenile Justice Board in the concerned district should consider while conducting a preliminary assessment to determine a child be tried as an adult.
  • The criteria are whether the child has the mental and physical capacity to commit such an offence; whether the child has the ability to understand its consequences; and the circumstances in which the offence was committed.
  • If the Board finds that the child can be tried as an adult, the case is transferred to a designated children’s court, which again decides whether the Board’s decision is correct.

Why was this distinction made?

  • The amendment was proposed by the Ministry of WCD in 2014 (effective from 2015).
  • This was in the backdrop of the gang-rape of a woman inside a bus in Delhi in 2012, leading to her death.
  • One of the offenders was a 17-year-old, which led to the Ministry proposing the amendment (although it could not have retrospectively applied to him).
  • The then Minister, Maneka Gandhi, cited an increase in cases of offenders in that age group; child rights activists objected to the amendment.
  • The J S Verma Committee constituted to recommend amendments also stated that it was not inclined to reduce the age of a juvenile from 18 to 16.

Why is the issue under debate?

  • The statute permits a child of 16 years and above to stand trial as an adult in case of heinous offence, it did not mean that all those children should be subjected to adult punishment.
  • Essentially, the trial in the regular court is offence-oriented; in the juvenile court, it is offender-oriented.
  • In other words, in the children’s court, societal safety and the child’s future are balanced.
  • For an adult offender, prison is the default opinion; for a juvenile it is the last resort.
Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act