DAILY PRELIMS CURRENT AFFAIRS (UPSC) |03 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

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DAILY PRELIMS CURRENT AFFAIRS (UPSC) |03 Dec 2020| RaghukulCS

UPSC Online News Analysis


News-1

Context: China has begun importing Indian rice for the first time in at least three decades due to tightening supplies from Thailand, Myanmar and Vietnam and an offer of sharply discounted prices.

India is the world’s biggest rice exporter and China the biggest importer. Beijing buys about 4 million tonnes a year but has avoided purchases from India, citing quality issues.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Crops, economy

India & rice production:

  • India is one of the world’s largest producers of rice, including white rice and brown rice, grown mostly in the eastern and southern parts of the country.
  • Rice is one of the chief grains of India. Moreover, this country has the largest area under rice cultivation, as it is one of the principal food crops.
  • Rice is the basic food crop and being a tropical plant, it flourishes comfortably in hot and humid climate.
  • Rice is mainly grown in rain fed areas that receive heavy annual rainfall. That is why it is fundamentally a kharif crop in India.
  • It demands temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius and above and rainfall of more than 100 cm.
  • Rice is also grown through irrigation in those areas that receives comparatively less rainfall.
  • Rice is the staple food of eastern and southern parts of India.
  • Rice can be cultivated by different methods based on the type of region. But in India, the traditional methods are still in use for harvesting rice.
  • The seeds are transplanted by hand and then through proper irrigation, the seeds are cultivated. Rice grows on a variety of soils like silts, loams and gravels. It can also tolerate alkaline as well as acid soils. However, clayey loam is well suited to the raising of this crop.

News-2

Context: Interpol has issued a global alert to law enforcement agencies of its 194 member countries, asking them to prepare for the targeting of COVID­19 vaccines, both physically and online, by organised crime networks. “The Interpol Orange Notice outlines potential criminal activity in relation to the falsification, theft and illegal advertising of COVID­19 and flu vaccines, with the pandemic having already triggered unprecedented opportunistic and predatory criminal behaviour.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – International organisations

Different types of Notice issued by INTERPOL & their meanings:

  • Red Notice: To seek the location and arrest of wanted persons wanted for prosecution or to serve a sentence.
  • Yellow Notice: To help locate missing persons, often minors, or to help identify persons who are unable to identify themselves.
  • Blue Notice: To collect additional information about a person’s identity, location or activities in relation to a crime.               
  • Black Notice: To seek information on unidentified bodies.
  • Green Notice: To provide warning about a person’s criminal activities, where the person is considered to be a possible threat to public safety.
  • Orange Notice: To warn of an event, a person, an object or a process representing a serious and imminent threat to public safety.
  • Purple Notice: To seek or provide information on modus operandi, objects, devices and concealment methods used by criminals.
  • INTERPOL–United Nations Security Council Special Notice: Issued for groups and individuals who are the targets of UN Security Council Sanctions Committees. 

News-3

Context: In an unusual move, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan on Wednesday referred a breach of privilege notice given by Congress legislator V.D. Satheesan against Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac to the Privileges and Ethics Committee of the Assembly for scrutiny.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Polity

[a breach of privilege – understand this term in context of Indian parliament too]

What is parliamentary privilege?

  • Parliamentary privilege refers to rights and immunities enjoyed by Parliament as an institution and MPs in their individual capacity, without which they cannot discharge their functions as entrusted upon them by the Constitution.

Are these parliamentary privileges defined under law?

  • According to the Constitution, the powers, privileges and immunities of Parliament and MP’s are to be defined by Parliament. No law has so far been enacted in this respect.
  • In the absence of any such law, it continues to be governed by British Parliamentary conventions.

What is breach of privilege?

  • A breach of privilege is a violation of any of the privileges of MPs/Parliament. Among other things, any action ‘casting reflections’ on MPs, parliament or its committees; could be considered breach of privilege. This may include publishing of news items, editorials or statements made in newspaper/magazine/TV interviews or in public speeches.

Have there been earlier cases of breach of privilege?

  • There have been several such cases. In 1967, two people were held to be in contempt of Rajya Sabha, for having thrown leaflets from the visitors’ gallery. In 1983, one person was held in breach for shouting slogans and throwing chappals from the visitors’ gallery.

What is the punishment in case of breach of privilege or contempt of the House?

  • The house can ensure attendance of the offending person. The person can be given a warning and let go or be sent to prison as the case may be. In the case of throwing leaflets and chappal, the offending individuals were sentenced to simple imprisonment.

News-4

Context: Cyclonic storm Burevi is expected to be centred close to Pamban by Thursday noon, and may cross the south Tamil Nadu coast between Thursday night and the early hours of Friday.

Topic in the syllabus: Prelims – Geography

Will Cyclone Burevi be as strong as Cyclone Nivar?

  • NO
  • Due to upwelling caused by Nivar, Cyclone Burevi will have limited intensity.
  • When such consecutive systems develop in the same region of the ocean, the predecessor system leads to upwelling — the process in which cooler waters from lower ocean surfaces are pushed towards upper ocean surfaces.
  • In the absence of warm sea surface conditions, any cyclone, in this case Burevi, will not get enough fuel to intensify further while at sea.

Important one liners:

  • The Union Environment Ministry has constituted a high level interministerial apex committee for
    Implementation of Paris Agreement (AIPA) under the chairmanship of Secretary, MoEFCC. to ensure that India is “on track” towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
  • A Chinese space probe on Wednesday began drilling on the surface of the Moon hours after landing, in an ambitious attempt to bring back the first lunar samples in four decades. The Chang’e­5 spacecraft touched down on the near side of Moon and is now gathering samples from the surface.
  • U.S. President­elect Joe Biden will insist Iran agrees to new demands if it wants the U.S. to return to a nuclear deal and lift sanctions, TheNew York Times said on Wednesday. The Times said the Biden administration would seek to extend the duration of “restrictions on Iran’s production of fissile material that could be used to make a (nuclear) bomb” in a new round of negotiations.
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday rejected a Bill approved by Parliament that would
    have suspended UN inspections and boosted uranium enrichment, saying it was “harmful” to diplomatic efforts aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal and easing U.S. sanctions.
  • Attorney ­General (A­G) K.K. Venugopal on Wednesday took the Supreme Court’s invitation to suggest ways to gender sensitise judges as an opportunity to tell the court it has never had a woman Chief Justice. He told the Supreme Court that more women judges in constitutional courts would certainly improve gender sensitivity in the judiciary.
  • The Centre is drafting a road map to ensure that students of medicine, engineering, law and other professional programmes can study in their own mother tongue, the Education Ministry said.
  • The Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered the Centre to compulsorily install CCTV cameras and recording equipment in the offices of central agencies like National Investigation Agency (NIA) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which have the power to carry out “interrogations”. The CCTVs and recording equipment, the court said, would be used as a measure to protect the fundamental right to dignity and life.
  • ‘India will not accept less than bottom line in talks with China’ – External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar says negotiations could take longer.

 Examples related to ethics (GS-4)

  • Raid reveals pollution certificates issued without checks in Faridabad. An FIR has been lodged against a pollution check centre for giving pollution certificates to vehicles in Faridabad without proper inspection. (Against environmental ethics, against dedication to public service)

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