Daily Prelims Newsletter for upsc 21 May 2022

Daily Prelims Newsletter For UPSC
| RaghukulCS

21 May 2022-Saturday

Table Of Contents

Table of Contents

The Authority of States to Enact GST Laws

Why in the news?

In a recent decision championing the importance of “Cooperative Federalism” for the well-being of democracy, the Supreme Court held that the Union and State legislatures have “equal, simultaneous, and unique powers” to make Goods and Services Tax (GST) laws, and that the GST Council’s recommendations are not binding on them.

The Supreme Court’s decision came while upholding a Gujarat High Court ruling that the Centre cannot charge IGST on ocean freight from Indian importers.

The Supreme Court ruled that paying GST on ocean freight paid while importing goods is unconstitutional.

What is the Supreme Court’s decision?

  • When it comes to GST legislation, the Center and the States are “autonomous, independent, and even rival units.” Because of the integrated approach of the federal divisions, cooperative federalism is referred to as marble cake federalism.
  • The GST Council’s suggestions are the result of a collaborative discourse between the Union and the states. They are advisory in nature.
  • The recommendations are only persuasive. Regarding them as binding would undermine fiscal federalism, as both the Union and the states have equal authority to legislate on GST.
  • It was emphasised that Article 246A of the Constitution (which provides the states the authority to create GST rules) sees the Union and the states as “equal units.”
  • It gives the Union and the States the ability to implement GST legislation at the same time.
  • In establishing the GST Council, Article 279A assumes that neither the Centre nor the states are truly dependent on the other.
  • There are no provisions in the Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 (GST Act) that address circumstances when there is inconsistency between the legislation enacted by the Centre and the states, and it is up to the GST Council to advise them appropriately whenever such occasions arise.

What is the difference between cooperative and competitive federalism?

  • Cooperative Federalism: The Centre and the states have a horizontal relationship in which they “cooperate” for the greater public good.
  • It is a critical tool for allowing states to participate in the creation and execution of national policies.
  • The Union and the states are required by the constitution to work together on the issues listed in Schedule VII of the constitution.
Competitive Federalism:
  • The relationship between the federal and state governments is vertical, whereas the relationship between the federal and state governments is horizontal.
  • This concept of competitive federalism gained traction in India during the 1990s economic reforms.
  • The endowments of states, accessible resource base, and comparative advantages all encourage a spirit of competitiveness in a free-market economy. However, greater globalisation exacerbated existing inequities and imbalances between states.
  • In competitive federalism, states must compete for benefits both among themselves and with the centre.
  • States compete with one another to attract finances and investment, which improves administrative efficiency and development activities.
  • The basic framework of the Indian constitution does not include competitive federalism. It is a decision made by the executives.

What exactly is the Goods and Services Tax?

  • GST is a multi-stage, destination-based tax that is levied on all value additions.
  • GST is a single indirect tax that applies to the entire country.
  • The GST council is the primary decision-making body in charge of all major GST decisions.
The Way Forward
  • The decision may alter the landscape of GST provisions that are subject to judicial review.
  • Given that the court has categorically stated that the GST Council recommendations have only persuasive value, there will be a pragmatic approach to the provisions that are subject to judicial review as a result of a challenge to the constitutionality of such provisions based on GST Council recommendations.

Promoting an Efficient Energy Transition by 2022

Why in the news?

The World Economic Forum (WEF) recently released a report titled Fostering Effective Energy Transition 2022, which calls for immediate action by both the private and public sectors to ensure a resilient energy transition in order to address the challenges of environmental sustainability, energy security, energy justice, and affordability.

What are the Report’s Findings?

  • The energy transition is falling behind the growing urgency of climate change, and recent compounded disruptions from a post-pandemic surge in energy demand, fuel supply bottlenecks, inflationary pressures, and reconfigured energy supply chains as a result of the Ukraine war have made the transition even more difficult.
  • High energy prices, the threat of energy supply shortages, and rising demand for fossil fuels all pose challenges to energy affordability, security and access, and sustainability.
  • The inability to obtain affordable energy has emerged as a major obstacle to a just transition.
  • Despite the fact that industrial activity accounts for more than 30% of anthropogenic emissions, many companies confront significant obstacles in decarbonizing.
Fuel Imports: 

Of the 34 advanced economies, 11 rely on only three trading partners for more than 70% of their fuel imports.

What are the suggestions?

Long-Term Visions and Climate Commitments:

More countries must adopt legally binding climate commitments, develop long-term strategies for domestic and regional energy systems, attract private sector investors for decarbonisation projects, and assist consumers and workers in adapting.

A Comprehensive Approach to Transition Imperatives:
  • It is critical to create appropriate enablers and support mechanisms to keep the transformation moving forward during this challenging period.
  • What is required now, more than ever, is a comprehensive solution that simultaneously addresses the three transition imperatives — energy affordability, availability, and sustainability – at a rapid speed.
Incentivize Efficient Consumption and Behavioral Intervention:
  • Actions are required to safeguard people who are most vulnerable by providing appropriate support in a way that encourages efficient consumption.
  • Behavioral therapies and fourth-generation technologies can benefit both households and enterprises.
  • Energy Diversification and Security: Dual diversification (of supply source and supply mix) is critical to a country’s energy security.
  • Diversifying the import partner ecosystem in the short term and diversifying the domestic energy portfolio with low-carbon options in the long term can offer major benefits.
Supply-Side Interventions and Demand-Side Efficiencies:
  • Demand-side efficiencies will be required to supplement supply-side interventions.
  • The current energy market volatility and security restrictions present an opportunity to accelerate the transition by increasing demand for renewable energy and encouraging more efficient energy consumption from both industrial and end users.

Regulatory frameworks must be enhanced in order to motivate the necessary actions and investments.

Anchoring climate promises in legally binding frameworks would not only ensure that they survive political cycles, but would also provide enforcement mechanisms to keep long-term implementation efforts on track.

Clean Demand: 

Clean demand signals could be the tipping point needed to scale the projects and investments needed to build low-emission businesses.

What exactly is the World Economic Forum?

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation founded in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • The Swiss authorities recognise it as the international institution for public-private partnership.
  • Mission: Committed to bettering the world by bringing together commercial, governmental, academic, and other societal leaders to create global, regional, and industry agendas.
  • Klaus Schwab is the company’s founder and executive chairman.
WEF has issued several key reports, including:
  • Index of Energy Transition
  • Report on Global Competitiveness.
  • Global Information Technology Report
  • This report is published by the WEF, INSEAD, and Cornell University.
  • Report on the Global Gender Gap
  • Report on Global Risks.
  • Report on Global Travel and Tourism

2022 Guidelines for Genome Edited Plant Safety Assessment

Why in the news?

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) recently announced guidelines relaxing norms for genetically modified (GM) agricultural research and avoiding problems of employing foreign genes to change crop characteristics.
  • Previously, the Government permitted genome-edited plants at the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee without the burdensome GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) legislation (GEAC).

What are the Guidelines’ Key Points?

Exempts Researchers from the Need for Approval:
  • It exempts plant genome researchers who employ gene editing technologies from requesting approval from the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC).
  • The GEAC assesses GM plant research and recommends or opposes its release into farmer fields.
  • The Environment Minister, as well as the states where such plants could be grown, make the ultimate decision. This exemption has also been approved by the Environment Ministry.
  • The guidelines provide a road map for the sustainable use of genome editing technologies and are relevant to public and private sector research institutions participating in genome editing plant research and development.
  • Guidelines for Issues BT-cotton, which uses a soil bacteria gene to protect against pest attack, is an example of a GM plant that has garnered such scrutiny.
  • The concern with this strategy is that these genes may spread to neighbouring plants, which is not intended, and hence their use has been controversial.

What exactly is genome editing?

  • Genome editing allows for the change of plant-owned genes without the addition of foreign genes, as with GM crops.
  • Genome-edited variants contain no foreign DNA and are indistinguishable from crops created through traditional plant breeding or through naturally occurring mutations.
Methods for Genome Editing:
  • Several methods for genome editing have been developed. CRISPR-Cas9 is a well-known example.
  • Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and CRISPR-associated protein 9 are abbreviated as CRISPR-Cas9.
  • This instrument has opened up new avenues for plant breeding. Agricultural scientists can now use this technique to modify the genome to put specific features into the gene sequence.
  • The procedure is separated into three categories based on the type of the edit – SDN 1, SDN 2, and SDN 3.
  • SDN 1 induces modifications in the host genome’s DNA by tiny insertions/deletions without the introduction of foreign genetic material.
  • SDN 2 edits include the use of a tiny DNA template to make particular alterations. Both of these approaches use no alien genetic material and produce crop varieties that are indistinguishable from conventionally bred crop kinds.
  • The SDN3 process involves bigger DNA elements or full-length genes of foreign origin, which is akin to the formation of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).
Global Developments:
  • Genome editing is employed in most crop plants for which a partial or complete genome sequence is available, and it is used in around 40 crops across 25 countries.
  • The United States and China are pioneers in using this technique to generate crop types such as rice, maize, soybean, canola, and tomato that can tolerate biotic and abiotic challenges caused by climate change.

What Is the Distinction Between Gene Editing and Genetic Modification?

  • Scientists often take the desirable gene from one organism and randomly inject it into another in order to make genetically engineered crops and animals.
  • Bt corn and cotton are two well-known genetically modified crops in which a bacterial gene was introduced that produces insecticidal toxins into the section of the plant where the insect consumes, killing the insect.
  • Gene editing is a modest, regulated change to a living organism’s existing DNA rather than the introduction of a new, foreign gene.
  • Because the changes are indistinguishable from naturally occurring mutations, it is practically impossible to tell whether an organism’s DNA has been edited or not.

What is the Importance of Genome Technique?

Increase Disease Resistance:

The technology holds enormous potential, but more work needs to be done to make oilseed and pulse crop varieties resistant to diseases, insects, and pests, as well as drought, salinity, and heat stress.

Faster Crop Varieties Development:

Traditional breeding techniques take 8 to 10 years to generate agricultural crop varieties, whereas genome editing can be done in two to three years.

What are the Problems with Genome Editing?

  • GM crops have been a source of contention around the world, with many environmentalists rejecting them on the basis of bio safety and insufficient data. The adoption of GM crops in India is a time-consuming process involving numerous levels of scrutiny.
  • Bt cotton is the only crop that has yet to clear regulatory hurdles.
  • Scientists in India and throughout the world have been keen to distinguish between GM and genome-edited crops. They have pointed out that the latter contain no foreign genetic material, making them indistinguishable from typical hybrids.
  • Globally, European Union member countries have classified genome-edited crops as GM crops. Argentina, Israel, the United States, Canada, and other countries have lax policies for genome-edited crops.
  • Gene editing techniques, which entail changing the function of genes, can have “huge and unanticipated implications” that affect plant “toxicity and allergenicity.”
The Way Forward
  • In light of such new advancements in Genome Technology, the regulatory regime must be strengthened as well as rationalised, for the benefit of both domestic and export customers.
  • Technology approvals must be simplified, and scientifically sound decisions must be executed.
  • To prevent the spread of unlawful GM crops, strict monitoring is required to guarantee that safety measures are strictly followed, and enforcement must be handled seriously.

Other’s News

Anti-Ship Missile for the Navy

  • The Indian Navy and the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully conducted the first flight test of an indigenously designed Naval anti-ship missile.
  • It is the Indian Navy’s first indigenous air-launched anti-ship missile weapon.
  • A Seaking 42B Naval helicopter launched the missile.
  • The test was carried out at the Odisha coast’s Integrated Test Range (ITR) near Chandipur.
  • Many new technology were used in the missile, including an indigenously produced launcher for the helicopter.
  • The missile guiding system contains a cutting-edge navigation system as well as integrated avionics.
  • This is an important step toward self-sufficiency in specialised missile technology, and it reinforces the Indian Navy’s commitment to indigenisation.

Rainfall in Bengaluru

  • Bengaluru received rain for two weeks in a row in May, well ahead of the arrival of the southwest monsoon in June.
  • The amount of rain is exceptional for this time of year.
  • In general, such heavy rainfall is not expected during the pre-monsoon season.
  • Potential Causes – The Arabian Sea’s extremely warm weather could have resulted in massive rains.
  • Normally, the Arabian Sea was cooler than 28 degrees Celsius. Temperatures in sections of the Arabian Sea have risen by 1.2-1.4°C during the 1950s.
  • Because of the warmer water, cumulonimbus clouds, which can produce hail, thunder, and lightning, are forming on the Western Coast.
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