(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: Prelims and GS-III -Economy
Context: In order to deal with insolvency of firms in the financial sector, the Finance Ministry has recently sought views of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on drafting a modified version of the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill which was withdrawn in 2018.
About the FRDI Bill
- The Parliament had passed FRDI Bill in 2017, however, it was withdrawn in 2018.
- The bill was meant to address the issue of insolvency of firms in the financial sector with the least disruption to the system and other stakeholders.
- The Bill was withdrawn due to concerns among the public over safety of deposits despite assurances by the Central government.
- A key point of criticism was the so-called bail-in clause in the Bill that said in case of insolvency in a bank, the depositors will have to bear a part of the cost of the resolution by a corresponding reduction in their claims.
- Now under a modified version, in order to allay fears of depositors the deposit insurance cover has also been raised to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh per account.
News Source: IE
Part of: Prelims and GS-III Biodiversity
- Gharials are a type of Asian crocodilian distinguished by their long, thin snouts.
- Crocodilians are a group of reptiles that includes crocodiles, alligators, caimans, and more
- India has three species of Crocodilians namely:
- Gharial: IUCN Red List- Critically Endangered
- Mugger crocodile: IUCN- Vulnerable.
- Saltwater crocodile: IUCN- Least Concern.
- All the three are listed on Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
- However, Saltwater Crocodile populations of Australia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are included in Appendix II of CITES.
- Habitats include: Fresh waters of the northern India – Chambal river, Ghagra, Gandak river and the Sone river (Bihar).
- Population of Gharials is a good indicator of clean river water.
- Conservation Efforts:
- Breeding Centres of Kukrail Gharial Rehabilitation Centre in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, National Chambal Sanctuary (Gharial Eco Park, Madhya Pradesh).
Orang National Park
- It is located in Assam.
- It is on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra River, and is strategic to the Kaziranga Orang Riverine Landscape.
- It was recognised as a tiger reserve in 2016 and is often called ‘Mini Kaziranga’
- It is known for the one-horned rhino, tigers, elephants, wild boars, pygmy hogs, and a variety of fish, among a host of other flora and fauna species.
- Other national parks in Assam: Kaziranga, Manas, Nameri, Dibru-Saikhowa, Raimona and Dehing Patkai.
News Source: TH
Part of: Prelims and GS-III Sci and tech
Context Recently the doctors in the USA transplanted a genetically altered pig heart into a patient which is referred to as xenotransplantation (from animals to humans).
- Xenotransplantation is any procedure that involves the transplantation of either live cells, tissues, or organs from a nonhuman animal source, or human body fluids, cells, tissues or organs into a human recipient.
- Such cells, tissues or organs are called xenografts or xenotransplants.
- It offers a potential treatment for end-stage organ failure, a significant health problem in parts of the industrialized world.
- It also raises many novel medical, legal and ethical issues.
News Source: DTE
(News from PIB)
Part of: Prelims and Mains GS-2: Elections
Context: In view of prevailing restrictions on account of Covid -19, there was dislocation and delay in moving applications for registration, which in turn led to delay in registration as a Political Party. Therefore, after considering all aspects of the matter, the Commission has given a relaxation and has reduced the notice period from 30 days to 7 days.
What is the procedure for registering political parties?
- Has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation
- Article 324 of the Indian Constitution and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 has conferred power to the Election Commission to prescribe guidelines for registration of parties.
- The applicant has to publish a proposed party name in two national daily newspapers and two local daily newspapers. The notice for publication is also displayed on the website of the Election Commission.
- To register a political party, an application for registration has to be sent by registered post or presented personally to the Secretary to the Election Commission within 30 days following the date of formation of the party in the format prescribed.
- It also needs to include a printed copy of the memorandum, rules and regulations or constitution of the Party. It should contain provisions regarding organizational elections at different levels and the periodicity of such elections and terms of office of the office-bearers of the party.
- It also needs to have the latest electoral rolls in respect of at least 100 members of the party to show that they are registered electors.
- The application would also need an affidavit duty signed by the President or General Secretary of the party and sworn before a First Class Magistrate/Oath Commissioner)/ Notary Public.
- Individual affidavits from at least 100 members of the party would also be needed to ensure that they are not a member of any other political party registered with the Commission.
Why registering with the EC is important?
- It is not mandatory to register with the Election Commission but registering as a political party with the EC has its advantage in terms of intending to avail itself of the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, (relating to registration of political parties).
- The candidates of registered political party will get preference in the matter of allotment of free symbols vis-à-vis purely independent candidates.
- These registered political parties can get recognition as a ‘state party’ or a ‘national party’ subject to the fulfillment of the conditions prescribed in the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968.
How EC recognises a political party as a state or national party?
Several conditions are followed by the Election Commission to recognise the parties as a state or national party.
State Party – The registered party has to satisfy any of the 5 conditions.
- Secure at least 6% of the valid vote & win at least 2 seats in a State 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 a State 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 a State Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election
- There are over 60 regional parties and more than 2,000 registered but unrecognised parties in the country.
National Party – The registered party has to satisfy any of the 3 conditions.
- Secure at least 6% of the valid vote in an Assembly or a Lok Sabha General Election in any four or more states and win 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.
- As on 2019, India had seven national parties (All India Trinamool Congress, Bahujan Samaj Party, Bharatiya Janata Party, Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Indian National Congress and Nationalist Congress Party)
- These conditions have to be fulfilled by the parties before every Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to make sure they don’t lose their status.
What are the perks of recognition as a state or national party?
- A party recognized as a state party gets a reserved symbol within the state wheareas for a national party, the reserved symbol can be used across the country by its contesting candidates.
- Such parties need only one proposer for filing the nomination.
- They are entitled to broadcast/telecast facilities over Doordarshan during the general elections.
- They are also entitled for two sets of electoral rolls free of cost.
- There are also other advantages to the recognized parties like subsidized land for party offices etc.
News Source: PIB
- GS-2: International Politics
Context: The Geneva talks that was held recently between the United States and Russia were inconclusive.
What is the issue?
- USA and Ukraine say 100,000 Russian troops moved to within striking distance of Ukraine could be preparing a new invasion, eight years after Russia seized the Crimean Peninsula from its neighbour.
- Russia denies any such plans and says it is responding to what it calls aggressive behaviour from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Ukraine, which has tilted toward the West and aspires to join the alliance.
- The build-up of troops near Ukraine, has raised U.S.-Russia tensions to their highest levels since the end of the Cold War.
What is Russia’s major concern?
- The source of Russia’s staunch opposition to NATO is its deep insecurity.
- After the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991, a substantially weakened Russian Federation saw NATO’s continued expansion into Eastern Europe as a violation of the post-Cold War consensus.
- Russia responded militarily in 2008 when Georgia was considering joining NATO, and in 2014, it took Crimea from Ukraine after the pro-Russian regime in Ukraine was toppled by protests.
- Russia has demanded the U.S.-led NATO alliance rule out admitting the Ukraine or expanding further into what Russia sees as its own back yard.
- On the other side, the West sees Russia as an aggressive, abrasive and destabilising giant that breathes down the neck of Europe
- Both NATO’s expansions and Russia’s military responses are driving instability in Eastern Europe.
Has there been diplomatic efforts to ease the tension?
- US has hinted at the possibility of mutual compromises, saying US was open to discussing missile deployments in Europe as well as limiting the size and scope of military exercises.
- The United States formally withdrew from the landmark 1987 INF pact with Russia in August 2019 after determining that Moscow was violating the treaty, an accusation the Kremlin has denied.
- The treaty banned land-based missiles with a range of between 310 and 3,400 miles (500 and 5,500 km).
- Russia repeated a set of sweeping demands including a ban on further NATO expansion and roll back the alliance’s military presence to 1990 levels
- Despite the lack of obvious progress, the atmosphere between the two sides appeared cordial.
What is the status of the recent Geneva talks?
- The U.S. has publicly said that it will not shut NATO’s door on potential future members against the Russia’s demand of banning the NATO.
- Any aggression against Ukraine might serve Russia’s tactical interests but could deal a deadly blow to any plan to bring the Russia-Europe ties back on track.
- Finding a solution to the crisis depends on whether both sides are able to get out of their Cold War mentality and build mutual confidence in bilateral relations.
Connecting the dots:
- GS-2: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
Context: A first-of-its-kind government scheme, set in motion over two years ago (in Sep 2019), has finally taken shape, bringing courses offered by a group of edtech platforms within the reach of college and university students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
What is the scheme about?
- The National Education Alliance for Technology (NEAT), which is being implemented by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), aims to act as a bridge between edtech companies, academic institutions and students.
- The initiative was taken after government noted that learning tools developed by edtech platforms can supplement classroom teaching need to be made more accessible.
- Accordingly, it was proposed that a portal be created where edtech platforms can be roped in to display their products after a shortlisting process.
What are the products on display in the portal?
- The portal — neat.aicte-india.org– has separate sections listing products for students and educational institutes respectively.
- So far the government has roped in 58 edtech companies. The companies were shortlisted by independent expert committees leaving no room for favouritism.
- Under the B2B (business to business) segment of the portal, courses are on offer for higher education institutes to purchase in bulk for their students. And the B2C (business to customer) section lists courses that eligible students can browse through and choose from.
- The courses range from accounting and finance to coding, including advanced programming languages like python.
How were students picked under the scheme?
- The basic objective of the scheme is to make students from disadvantaged backgrounds aware of the availability of such opportunities that can help them learn new skills or polish existing ones.
- In that regard, the AICTE reached out to higher education institutes across the country, directing them to inform students about the portal and enroll them based on their needs and consent.
- The edtech platforms have been allowed to charge fees as per their policies.
But then how will it benefit students from backward communities?
- In order to do that, the government has mandated that every shortlisted company will have to offer free coupons to the extent of 25 per cent of the total registrations for their solution through NEAT portal.
- Through this route, the government created a bank of 12.15 lakh free coupons over the last two years. And it has now started distributing those coupons among students belonging to SC/ST/OBC and EWS categories with the annual family income cap fixed at Rs 8 lakh.
- After the government opened the registrations for students of these categories for free courses, nearly 37 lakh applications were received.
- As the number of free coupons were limited, the authorities used an AI tool to pick students with caste, income, gender, age as filters. Older students and women have been given preference over men.
- A state-wise break up shows that of the total, 4.12 lakh free coupons are being distributed among students of Uttar Pradesh, followed by 2.23 lakh in Tamil Nadu, 1.38 lakh in Maharashtra and 1.21 lakh in Andhra Pradesh.
- The top five courses in terms of demand are python programming, C, C++, Java programming, data science, life science and healthcare analysis, and interview preparation.
Connecting the dots:
- EdTech Sector’s self-regulation
- National Education Policy, 2020
- Higher Education in Regional Languages
(Sansad TV: Perspective)
Jan 6:– Saving the Tiger – https://youtu.be/6SiSjxcg3K4
- GS-3- Biodiversity and Conservation
Context: India has registered biggest margin of drop in tiger numbers in a decade in the year 2021.
- 127 big cats have fallen prey to everything from poachers and accidents to natural causes with man-animal conflict last year.
- India is home to a third of the global tiger population and the country’s success in saving the big cat is crucial to global efforts to protect their numbers.
- At present, India has around 75% of tiger population and its source areas amongst the 13 tiger range countries in the world.
- 2.24% of country’s geographical area is spread out in 51 tiger reserves in 18 States.
- Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule I.
- IUCN Red List: Endangered.
- CITES: Appendix I
Save the tiger, save the forests
The tiger is not only our national animal but a symbol of the ecosystem.
- As a top predator, wild tigers play an important role in maintaining the harmony of the planet’s ecosystems. Tiger happens to be at the pinnacle of the eco-system triangle. If the tiger disappears, the entire eco-system gets affected and our flora and fauna is hit hard.
- In conserving the tiger, we are not just saving a particular species, but our endangered ecosystem. The large range needed by tigers leads us to focus on landscape connectivity and conservation, which is also beneficial for the entire biosphere.
- At the beginning of the 20th century, the number of Indian tigers was around 40,000; after Independence, tigers were killed mercilessly and the 1972 tiger put their number at less than 1500.
- Every year, more than 100 tigers die due to several reasons (like health factors or poaching). They move between different habitats, and therefore, although protected areas are fundamental for their survival, connecting landscape are also essential. These areas often have limited protection as many development, mining and extraction projects are coming up in such regions. These activities not only diminish our forest areas but give additional opportunities to poachers to kill and hunt tigers and leopards.
Efforts taken by the Government
India was the first country in the world to champion the cause of conservation of the tiger and its natural habitats.
- Project Tiger, launched in 1973, was one of the largest conservation initiatives of its kind globally. Starting with nine tiger reserves in 1973, there are now around 50 tiger reserves in India covering an area of nearly 40000 sq. kms.
- International Tiger Day is celebrated on July 29 every year to raise awareness about the dwindling population of the Tiger. It is the anniversary of the agreement of Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia in 2010.
- The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (earlier ProjectTiger) has launched the M-STrIPES (Monitoring System for Tigers – Intensive Protection and Ecological Status), a mobile monitoring system for forest guards.
- India’s 2018 Tiger Census had made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for being the world’s largest camera trapping wildlife survey.
Why is a tiger census needed?
The tiger estimation exercise includes habitat assessment and prey estimation.
- The numbers reflect the success or failure of conservation efforts.
- This is an especially important indicator in a fast-growing economy like India where the pressures of development often run counter to the demands of conservation.
National Tiger Conservation Authority
- Established in December 2005 following a recommendation of the Tiger Task Force which was constituted by the Prime Minister of India for reorganised management of Project Tiger and the many Tiger Reserves in India.
- The Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 was amended in 2006 to provide for its constitution.
- It is responsible for implementation of the Project Tiger to protect endangered tigers.
- National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) felicitated some of the forest frontline workers as ‘BaghRakshaks’, to recognize their outstanding contribution towards the protection of tigers and forests during the pandemic.
“Do not cut down the forest with its tigers and do not banish the tigers from the forest. The tiger perishes without the forest and the forest perishes without its tigers” (Udyogaparva).
There is an emergent need to protect the forests and other natural habitats including the tiger reserves of India. We must engage local communities to ensure the survival of tigers. A strong message to protect our ecosystem through tiger conservation should reach the masses.
Can you answer the following questions?
- Discuss various issues related to Tiger conservation
- Relationship between survival of tigers and effects on climate change
- Discuss the status of tiger population in India. What are the most severe threats to tigers in India?
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
Q.1 Which of the following is/are true regarding gharial?
- Its IUCN status is critically endangered.
- National Chambal Sanctuary is a tri-state protected area of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana for the protection of the Gharial
Select the correct answer:
- Only 1
- Only 2
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
Q.2 Dibru-Saikhowa is a national park in which of the following state of India?
- Arunachal Pradesh
Q.3 Which of the following is true regarding xenotransplantation?
- It is a procedure that involves the transplantation of live cells into a human recipient from a nonhuman animal source only.
- It is a procedure that involves the transplantation of live cells into a nonhuman recipient from a nonhuman animal source.
- It is a procedure that involves the transplantation of live cells into a human recipient from a nonhuman animal source.
- It is a procedure that involves the transplantation of live cells into diseased plants from a nonhuman animal source
ANSWERS FOR 15th Jan 2022 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On Indo-Pak agenda:
On significance of MSP: