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Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th April 2019

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  • April 11, 2019
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 11th April 2019

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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Jallianwala Bagh Massacre and India-UK relations

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains I and II – Indian History; International Relations; India and the World

Context:

  • The Year 2019 marks the Centenary of the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre, also known as the Amritsar Massacre that occurred on April 13, 1919.
  • On this day, soldiers of the British Indian Army, on the orders of Colonel Reginald Dyer, massacred peaceful and unarmed celebrators, including women and children, on the occasion of the Punjabi New Year (Baisakhi). This massacre is remembered as one of the deadliest attacks on peaceful civilians in the world.
  • The massacre of innocents had shaken the whole of India and was the beginning of the end of the British Colonial Empire in India.
  • It left a permanent scar on India-British relations and was the prelude to Mahatma Gandhi’s full commitment to the cause of Indian Nationalism and independence from Britain.

In news:

  • British Prime Minister expressed “regret” in Parliament for the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the killings on April 13.
  • Theresa May described the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in Amritsar as a “shameful scar” on British Indian history but stopped short of a formal apology sought by a cross-section of Parliament in previous debates.

First photograph of a black hole

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space missions

In news:

  • According to an announcement by researchers at the National Science Foundation, they have captured an image of the super-massive black hole and its shadow at the center of a galaxy known as
  • This is the first direct visual evidence that black holes exist, the researchers said.

Pic: https://d39gegkjaqduz9.cloudfront.net/TH/2019/04/11/CNI/Chennai/TH/5_01/2d86984c_c1c039e9_101_mr.jpg

Key points:

  • In the image, a central dark region is encapsulated by a ring of light that looks brighter on one side.
  • The massive galaxy, called Messier 87 or M87, is near the Virgo galaxy cluster 55 million light-years from Earth.
  • The super-massive black hole has a mass that is 6.5 billion times that of our sun.

How it was captured?

  • The Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration, called EHT, is a global network of telescopes that captured the first-ever photograph of a black hole.
  • The project is named for the event horizon, the proposed boundary around a black hole that represents the point of no return where no light or radiation can escape.
  • In order to capture an image of a black hole, scientists combined the power of eight radio telescopes around the world using Very-Long-Baseline-Interferometry, according to the European Southern Observatory, which is part of the EHT.
  • This effectively creates a virtual telescope around the same size as the Earth itself.

Name of the eight radio telescopes:

The telescopes involved in creating the global array included:

  • ALMA, APEX, the IRAM 30-meter telescope, the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope, the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano, the Sub-millimeter Array, the Sub-millimeter Telescope and the South Pole Telescope.
  • The telescope array collected 5,000 trillion bytes of data over two weeks, which was processed through supercomputers so that the scientists could retrieve the images.

Do you know?

What are black holes?

  • A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying.
  • Because no light can get out, people can’t see black holes. They are invisible. Space telescopes with special tools can help find black holes. The special tools can see how stars that are very close to black holes act differently than other stars.

Size of Black hole:

  • Smallest Black holes – Scientists think the smallest black holes are as small as just one atom. These black holes are very tiny but have the mass of a large mountain.
  • Stellar – Its mass can be up to 20 times more than the mass of the sun. There may be many, many stellar mass black holes in Earth’s galaxy. Earth’s galaxy is called the Milky Way.
  • Supermassive – The largest black holes are called “supermassive.” These black holes have masses that are more than 1 million suns together. Scientists have found proof that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole at its center. The supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy is called Sagittarius A. It has a mass equal to about 4 million suns and would fit inside a very large ball that could hold a few million Earths.

Albert Einstein’s theory

  • The visual confirmation of black holes acts as confirmation of Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity. In the theory, Einstein predicted that dense, compact regions of space would have such intense gravity that nothing could escape them. But if heated materials in the form of plasma surround the black hole and emit light, the event horizon could be visible.
  • M87’s black hole has an enormous mass, which gave researchers reason to believe it may be the largest viewable black hole from Earth. Relative to other objects, supermassive black holes are actually small. This is why they couldn’t be observed before. Black hole size is directly related to mass. The larger the black hole, the larger the shadow. And black holes may seem invisible, but the way they interact with the material around them is the giveaway.

Law to ban making, sale of e-cigarettes

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II – Health issue;

In news:

  • The Commerce Ministry has asked the Health Ministry to frame a law banning manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in the country.
  • Currently, there is no domestic legislation dealing with e-cigarettes and it would not be possible to put a blanket ban on its imports.

Issues:

  • The chief constituent of e-cigarettes was nicotine, which is addictive.
  • It also has a high level of toxicity and can lead to development of cardiovascular diseases, lung diseases, have adverse effect on the immune and gastrointestinal systems, and raise the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.

Do you know?

  • In August last year, the health ministry had issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) to stop the manufacture, sale and import of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah, after the Delhi High Court took strong exception to the Centre for delay in coming up with appropriate measures to tackle the “new emerging threat” of e-cigarettes in the country.
  • Without banning domestic sale and manufacturing of ENDS through a law, it will be an infringement of global trade norms to put an import ban.
  • In March, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation also directed all Drug Controllers in States and UTs not to allow the manufacture, sale, import and advertisement of ENDS, including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah, in their jurisdictions.

About E-cigarettes

  • Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are devices that do not burn or use tobacco leaves but instead vaporise a solution, which a user then inhales.
  • The main constituents of the solution, in addition to nicotine, are propylene glycol (with or without glycerol and flavouring agents).
  • In its general advisory to the public in August 2018, the Health Ministry had said that as per the World Health Organization report, governments of 30 countries had already banned ENDS.

Report reveals growing risk to cloud platform

Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Security issues; Cyber Security

In news:

According to a report ‘Exposed: Cyberattacks on Cloud Honeypots’ conducted by global cyber-security major Sophos –

  • Cybercriminals attempted attacks on a cloud server honeypot more than 6,78,000 times in a month, which was second to Ohio in the U.S. that recorded more than 9,50,000 login attempts, among a total of 10 honeypots placed globally.
  • The honeypots were set up in 10 of the most popular Amazon Web Services (AWS) data centres in the world, including California, Frankfurt, Ireland, London, Ohio, Paris, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Sydney over a 30-day-period from mid-January to mid-February.

Do you know?

  • A honeypot is a system intended to mimic likely targets of cyber-attackers for security researchers to monitor cybercriminal behaviour.
  • The result demonstrates how cybercriminals are automatically scanning for weak open cloud buckets.
  • Cloud servers were subjected to 13 attempted attacks per minute, per honeypot, on an average.
  • With businesses across the globe increasingly adopting cloud technology, the report revealed the extent to which businesses migrating to hybrid and all-cloud platforms are at risk.

(MAINS FOCUS)


NATIONAL/POLITY

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Indian Constitution and governance issues
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Govt. Policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Trickeries of the money bill

Context:

  • The Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments in Revenue Bar Association (RBA) v. Union of India, in which the validity of the Finance Act of 2017 is under challenge.
  • Before going into the editorial, we should be aware about “Finance Bill”.

Basics: “Finance Bill”

  • Finance bills are legislative proposals presented in the Lok Sabha (India’s lower house) before the beginning of every financial year and after the budget announcement for the next financial year.
  • Finance bills essentially propose all the amendments to be made to various acts (such as the Income Tax Act 1961) to implement the budget in the coming financial year.

Why Finance Act of 2017 is in news for wrong reasons?

  • The Act contained provisions that bring into force the mandatory requirement for unique identification Aadhaar registration, prohibits cash payments above a certain payment, merges quasi judicial tribunals, restructures the appointment of members to certain judicial tribunals and amends the rules on the funding of political parties.
  • The controversial aspect was the way Finance Act, 2017 was styled as money bill and passed by the Lok Sabha. In addition, it contained provisions for structure and re-organisation of tribunals.
  • The Act also permitted the central government to decide the terms of service including appointments, term of office, salaries and allowances, and removal of tribunal members through rules.

We know that (from Basics), ordinarily, the Finance Act seeks to give effect to the government’s fiscal policies.

  • However, in Financial Act of 2017, the state not only set the fiscal agenda for the year ahead but it also toppled the existing regime governing the working of 26 different judicial bodies.

Until recently, each of these judicial bodies or panels was governed by a separate statute, and those laws individually contained a set of principles providing for the criteria employed to select and remove members to and from these bodies, and for salaries, allowances and other such service conditions of the members.

Therefore, in one fell swoop, the Finance Act not only abolished some of the tribunals but also altogether repealed the standards provided in the different statutes.

In their place, the law vested in the Central government an absolute, untrammelled power to make rules to effectively govern the operation of the tribunals.

Role of Speaker and Supreme Court

  • Article 110 of Indian Constitution specifically lists ‘matters’ that a draft Bill should contain to be deemed as a Money Bill.
  • Therefore, if any other subjects/matters are listed under the Bill other than those mentioned under Article 110, could be considered as not a money bill.
  • However, the Union government argued that the Speaker of the Lok Sabha decision is final and relied on Article 110(3), which states that in cases where a dispute arises over whether a bill is a money bill or not, the Speaker’s decision shall be considered final. It also went on to assert that speaker decision was beyond judicial review.
  • But, the Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the finality accorded to the Speaker’s decision does not altogether oust the court’s jurisdiction.
  • Constitution expressly vests in the Supreme Court and in the high courts the power to review governmental actions, and issue prerogative writs every time those actions exceed the Constitution’s remit.
  • The SC holds that the Speaker derives her power from the Constitution and therefore, in classifying a draft law as a money bill, her decision has to be demonstrably justifiable.
  • Also if provided immunity from judicial scrutiny, it would effectively allow the government to elude the Rajya Sabha’s constitutional checks by simply having the Speaker classify a draft law as a money bill regardless of whether it, in fact, meets the conditions stipulated in Article 110(1) or not.

Conclusion:

  • Money bills exist simply to ensure that the Rajya Sabha isn’t allowed to bring down a government by refusing it access to the exchequer for everyday governance. To use it as a means to nullify the Upper House’s democratic role in making substantive legislation denigrates the Constitution’s form which Ambedkar and the Constituent Assembly considered inviolate.
  • Such move could whittle down judicial independence, as the state can appoint its own personnel to tribunals and control the appointment process.
  • It undermines the parliamentary democracy and violates the basic principle of separation of power.

Connecting the dots:

  • The recent stalemate in the Rajya Sabha over crucial bills has given impetus to a thought that important bills should be converted into money bills so that their legislation doesn’t require the approval of the Rajya Sabha. What are your views on this issue? Also discuss the constitutional provisions in this regard.
  • What reasons would you attribute to the decline of parliamentary standards? Can you suggest some remedies?
  • Many bills are passed without debates and deliberations by the Parliament. Is it a good sign for a mature democracy? Examine.

NATIONAL/POLITY

TOPIC: General studies 2

  • Indian Constitution and governance issues
  • Govt. Policies and issues arising out of their design and implementation
  • Functions and responsibilities of the Union and the States, issues and challenges pertaining to the federal structure, devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
  • Separation of powers between various organs dispute redressal mechanisms and institutions.

Governor’s impropriety

Context:

  • Recently, Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh appealed voters to re-elect Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister.
  • The Governor’s remarks were in violation of the Model Code of Conduct and also the neutral post he holds.

Position of the Governor in India

  • According to the Indian Constitution, a governor is a neutral post who is supposed to hold a neutral stance and not side with any political party.
  • In other words, the post of governor is constitutional and in democracy it is expected from governors to be non-partisan and maintain distance from party politics.

Therefore, such political endorsement by the Governor does not suit the dignity of the post.

Do you know?

  • Over the past 65 years, no other institution in India has been misused by the ruling party at the Centre for their partisan ends the way the gubernatorial office has been.
  • There have been certain instances in which Governors subverted the people’s mandate, made a mockery of democracy and threw Constitutional propriety to the winds during the last 65 years.

Rajasthan governor Kalyan Singh’s political endorsement is one such incident and has reignited the debate on the independence and neutrality of the constitutional post.

Given the vagueness surrounding the process of appointing and removing the Governor, doubts have been raised about the ‘legal nature’ of his office.

Governor is expected to advance the cause of ‘federalism’ and ‘democracy’, which form a part of the basic structure of the Constitution.

Views on post of Governor

  • The Sarkaria Commission described the Governor as “a Constitutional sentinel and a vital link between the Union and the State.”
  • In S.R. Bommai (1994), the Supreme Court said, “The office of the Governor… is intended to ensure protection and sustenance of the constitutional process of the working of the Constitution by the elected executive.”
  • K. Gandhi said about the Governor’s office: “He would be an arbiter when there was a constitutional deadlock in the State and he would be able to play an impartial role.”
  • According to B.R. Ambedkar, “He is the representative not of a party; he is the representative of the people as a whole of the State. It is in the name of the people that he carries on the administration.”
  • In Hargovind Pant v. Raghukul Tilak (1979), the Supreme Court affirmed that the “office of the Governor was not subordinate or subservient to the Government of India”.

Conclusion:

Despite his unique constitutional positioning, the Governor is sometimes not seen as willing or able to discharge his functions as judiciously, impartially and efficiently as envisaged by the first Administrative Reforms Commission.

Successive reports by Sarkaria, Punchhi and Venkatachaliah Commissions reveals that the independence and dignity of the gubernatorial office is invariably undermined by the appointment of persons not suited to the post, the lack of security of tenure, the lack of an appropriate removal mechanism, with no reasonable post-retirement benefits and limitations on post-retirement political ingratiation.

It is high time that the recommendations of the relevant commissions are implemented in letter and spirit to obviate the danger of a full-blown constitutional crisis, to buttress constitutional morality and to restore the dignity of this office.

Connecting the dots:


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Featured Comments and comments Up-voted by IASbaba are the “correct answers”.
  • IASbaba App users – Team IASbaba will provide correct answers in comment section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1) Which of the following statements is/are correct?

  1. The crowd gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in support of non-cooperation movement.
  2. Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood in protest against Jallianwala Bagh incident.

Select the correct code

  1. Only 1
  2. Only 2
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

Q.2) Mahatma Gandhi began a Fast unto death in Yerwada jail to protest against

  1. Separate electorate to Muslims
  2. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  3. Communal riots in Calcutta
  4. Communal Award by Ramsay McDonald

Q.3) Consider the following events:

  1. Kheda Satyagraha
  2. Champaran Satyagraha
  3. Jallianwala Bagh Massacre
  4. Non Cooperation

Their correct chronological sequence is

  1. 2 – 1 – 3 – 4
  2. 1 – 2 – 4 – 3
  3. 2 – 4 – 1 – 3
  4. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4

Q.4) With relation to Space, ‘Redshift theory’ explains which phenomenon

  1. Expansion of the Universe
  2. Formation of black hole
  3. Death of a star
  4. Presence of Sun like star

Q.5) A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out. The gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space. This can happen when a star is dying. Is it possible for the sun (a star) to become a black hole?

  1. Yes it is possible but reason is not known
  2. No it is not possible because the Sun is too small in mass
  3. No it is not possible because the Sun is too large in mass
  4. There is no relation between star and black hole

Q.6) Consider the following about Black Hole

  1. A black hole is a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out.
  2. Black Holes can be seen through naked eyes

Which of the given statement/s is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both
  4. None

Q.7) Which of the following space observatories observed the eclipse of a black hole for the first time, in April 2007?

  1. Kepler
  2. Hubble space telescope
  3. Chandra x-ray observatory
  4. Spitzer Space Telescope

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