DAILY PRELIMS NEWSLETTER (UPSC) |16 Mar 2021| RaghukulCS

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

16 March 2021

Table Of Contents

Environment……………………………………………………….. 1
  • Sea buckthorn Plantation:…………………………………. 1
Science and Technology ……………………………………….. 2
  • Hubble Space Telescope: ………………………………….. 2
Economy …………………………………………………………….. 2
  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI): …………………………… 2
Polity and Governance …………………………………………. 2
  • Index Monitoring Cell (IMC) ………………………………. 2
  • State Election Commission ………………………………… 3
Governmental Initiatives: …………………………………….. 3
  • Jal Jeevan Mission: …………………………………………….. 3

Environment

Seabuckthorn Plantation:

Why in News?

The government of Himachal Pradesh has decided to start planting seabuckthorn in the cold desert areas of the state.

About Seabuckthorn:

  • It’s a shrub which has an orange-yellow coloured edible berry.
  • In India, it is found in the Himalayan region, generally in dry areas such as the cold deserts of Ladakh and Spiti.
  • States where it grows: Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.

Benefits of Seabuckthorn:

  • Ecological Benefits:
    • Prevents soil-erosion,
    • Checks siltation in rivers
    • Helps preserve floral biodiversity.
  • Medicinal Benefits:
    • As a folk medicine,to treat stomach, heart and skin problems.
    • Its fruit and leaves are rich in vitamins, carotenoids and omega fatty acids.
    • Also, it can help troops in acclimatising to high-altitude.
  • Economical Benefits:
    • Used in making juices, jams, nutritional capsules etc.
    • Important source of fuelwood and fodder.

Related Information: Cold Desert in India

  • The Cold Desert is situated in the Himalayas and stretches from Ladakh in the north to Kinnaur (in the state of Himachal Pradesh) in the south.
  • This region has harsh climatic conditions such as very low rainfall and high elevation.
  • Blizzards, snowstorms and avalanches are common occurances.
  • The soil is not very fertile, and the prevalent climatic conditions allow very short growing seasons making it almost a bare landscape.
  • Water resources are minimal and mostly comprise glacier-fed streams.

Science and Technology

Hubble Space Telescope:

Why in News?

NASA’s Hubble Telescope has spotted atmosphere forming on an Earth-like exoplanet. The present atmosphere contained a toxic mix of hydrogen, methane and hydrogen cyanide.

About Hubble Telescope:

  • It is a space-based telescope launched and serviced by NASA.
  • It was launched in 1990.
  • It is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts there itself.
  • It has also given the evidence to infer expansion of universe.
  • It can see across the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet with this telescope.

About Exoplanets:

  • Exoplanets are planets that orbit a star other than the sun of solar system.
  • The closest exoplanet found is Proxima Centauri b, orbits Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Solar System.

Economy

Wholesale Price Index (WPI):

Why in News?

WPI inflation rises to 4.17% in Feb due to costlier food and fuel.

About WPI:

  • WPI is an inflation indicator at the first point of bulk sale in the domestic market.
  • It is published by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • However, a drawback of this indicator is that it does not reflect inflation impact directly on people since public does not buy products at wholesale price.
  • The base year All-India WPI : 2011-12

Related Information: Consumer Price Index

  • CPI measures price changes from the perspective of a retail buyer or consumer.
  • It reflects changes over time in the level of retail prices of the selected goods and services basket on which consumers of a defined group spend their incomes.
  • Four types of CPI are as follows:
    • CPI for Industrial Workers (IW).
    • CPI for Agricultural Labourer (AL).
    • CPI for Rural Labourer (RL).
    • CPI (Rural/Urban/Combined).
  • CPI-IW, CPI-AL, CPI-RL, is released by Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  • CPI- Combined is compiled by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) underMinistry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

Comparison of CPI and WPI:

  • WPI, tracks inflation at the producer level while CPI captures inflation at the consumer level.
  • WPI does not capture inflation of services, which CPI does.
  • RBI has adopted the CPI as its key measure of inflation for monetary policy consideration.

Polity and Governance

Index Monitoring Cell (IMC)

Why in News?

IMC recently submitted its report to the GoI.

About Index Monitoring Cell:

  • It was set up by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry in 2020.
  • Its mandate was to recommend steps to improve India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index and to evolve an objective yardstick to measure the media freedom.
  • The group will also put in place a mechanism for States to prepare their own rankings of press freedom.

Related Information: Press Freedom Index

  • Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, an NGO, releases Press Freedom Index.
  • The index highlights attacks on journalists around the world.
  • It ranked India 142 out of 180 countries in its annual Press Freedom Index report published on April 22, 2020.
  • The parameters evaluated include pluralism, media independence, environment and self-censorship, legal framework, transparency, etc.

State Election Commission

Why in News?

The Supreme Court recently ruled that serving bureaucrats must not be appointed as election commissioners. This is to ensure that the independence of the office of the election commissioner is not compromised.

Key points in Supreme Court’s Ruling:

  • Independent persons should be appointed Election Commissioners and not government employees.
  • Giving serving bureaucrats an additional charge as Election Commissioners is a mockery of the Constitution.
  • Directed States to ensure the constitutional mandate of independent and fair functioning of election commissions.
  • If persons appointed hold any such office (under the state government), they must resign before taking charge of the office of the election commissioner.
  • SC also ordered all state governments to appoint whole-time election commissioners who will act independently and fairly.

About State Election Commissions (SECs):

  • The SEC has been entrusted with the function of conducting free, fair, and impartial elections to the local bodies i.e., PRIs in the state.
  • SEC is mandated to perform superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls for, and the conduct of, all elections to the Panchayats (Municipalities under Article 243ZA).
  • State Election Commissioner is appointed by the Governor.
  • It states that the tenure and appointment will be directed as per the law made by the state legislature.
  • However, SEC shall not be removed from his/her office except in manner and grounds as a Judge of a High Court.

Governmental Initiatives:

Jal Jeevan Mission:

Why in News?

Jal Shakti Ministry recently launched the framework for water quality testing and monitoring.

About Jal Jeevan Mission:

  • It envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • JJM focusses on integrated demand and supply-side management of water at the local level.
  • It also includes creation of local infrastructure, like rainwater harvesting, groundwater recharge and management of household wastewater for reuse, etc.
  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and also includes extensive information, education and communication as a key component of the mission.
  • It also aims to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everybody’s priority.
  • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is
    • 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States,
    • 50:50 for other states, and
    • 100% for Union Territories.
  • Institutional Arrangement:
    • National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) at the Central level
    • State Water and Sanitation Mission (SWSM) at the State level
    • District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) at the District level
    • Village Water Sanitation Committee (VWSC) at Village level

Started From 14 Mar 2021

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