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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 31 March 2023

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

  1. India and the Korean war
  2. Apex body for glacier management

 

GS Paper 3:

  1. Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 passed in LS
  2. How to manage India’s solar PV waste problem?
  3. India ranks fifth in national contribution to warming: Study
  4. World Bank Report: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

  1. Book Bank initiatives for poor students
  2. Fight for Climate Justice

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Rajasthan Day
  2. ICHR to use Ancestry records
  3. Use of Technology for election
  4. Saudi Arabia in SCO
  5. New fees on UPI payments
  6. NCLAT upholds penalty on Google
  7. India’s first cloned desi Gir female calf Ganga
  8. Mahoba’s Desawari variety betel leaf 
  9. Salt marshes

 

India and the Korean war

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: History of the World

 

Source: IE

 Context:  In its G20 year, India has shown renewed interest in the only other diplomatic intervention by India in a distant war (apart from the recent Russian-Ukraine) seven decades ago – The Korean War.

 

The Korean war:

  • It was fought between North Korea (supported by China and the then Soviet Union and invaded South Korea) and South Korea (supported by the US and allied countries) in 1950 and ended with an armistice in 1953.
  • It was the result of the Cold War rivalry between the then superpowers US (capitalist) and the Soviet Union (communist).
    • The peninsula had been divided at the end of World War II along the 38th Parallel, with Soviet and US forces occupying the North and South respectively.
    • In 1948, after the two Koreas declared themselves separate countries, and held their own elections, the occupying forces departed.
    • However, neither the North nor the South accepted the other and both claim the entire Korean peninsula even today.

 

India’s lesser-known role in the war:

  • India played a unique role, having no specific geo-political interests in the Korean Peninsula and maintaining a neutral position, and believing in the reunification of the peninsula.
  • India’s view at this time was that giving the People’s Republic of China admission into the UNSC could provide a resolution in Korea.
  • India made a huge diplomatic push to prevent an escalation into another world war, and for the parties to arrive at a quick ceasefire.
  • India sent the 60th Parachute Field Ambulance, which did outstanding work treating wounded soldiers.

 

India at the UN:

  • At the time of the invasion, India was among the six non-permanent members of the UNSC.
  • During its rotating presidency, 3 resolutions (moved by the US) on the war came up in quick succession. For example, calling for a withdrawal of North troops from South territory, etc.
  • The urgent problem of what to do with the prisoners of war was given to K. Krishna Menon – India’s Permanent Representative to the UN and a member of the UN’s Special Political Committee.
    • A Neutral Nations Repatriation Committee was set up and India was selected to chair the committee.

 

Conclusion:

  • In an essay, ‘Between the Blocs: India, the UN, and Ending the Korean War’, British historian Robert Barnes recognised the key role played by India
    • To bring the Korean war to a swift conclusion by reconciling the divergent positions of the two superpower blocs, and
    • Prevent the UN from adopting a policy that might lead to its escalation.
  • As the world grapples to find an end to the war in Ukraine, India’s role and its experience (in ending the Korean war,70 years ago) can’t be neglected.

 

Insta Links: India-South Korea

/ 31 Mar 2023, Today's Article

Apex body for glacier management

GS Paper 1

 Syllabus: Geography

 

Source: IE

Context: A Parliamentary Standing Committee in India has recommended the establishment of an overarching apex body for glacier management in the country.

 

What are glaciers?

A glacier is a large, perennial accumulation of crystalline ice, snow, rock, sediment, and often liquid water that originates on land and moves downslope under the influence of its own weight and gravity.

 

Status of Glaciers:

  • Glaciers cover nearly 3% of Earth’s surface and 11% of Earth’s land area
  • Source of three large river systems: Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra
  • Hindu Kush Himalayan Region is known as the “Water Towers of Asia
  • Himalayan mountains are referred to as the third pole
  • India has over 16000 glaciers. E.g Siachen glacier in the Himalayan region.

 

Threats recognized:

  • The majority of Himalayan glaciers are melting or retreating, which will severely affect flow in Himalayan River systems
  • Melting glaciers can cause disasters like Glacier Lake Outburst Floods (GLOF), glacier avalanches, etc.
  • Melting of glaciers may lead to the shift of tree lines in the Himalayas and may also cause a change in the phonological behaviour of plants.
  • Lack of data sharing on hydrological information with neighbouring countries
  • Multiple ministries/departments/institutions with different mandates for dealing with Himalayan glaciers

 

Recommendations by the parliamentary panel:

  • Set up a single nodal agency for bringing out synergies among various government departments/ministries involved in glaciological research and monitoring
  • Establish regional cooperation for the seamless sharing of hydrological information/data on glacier movement/behaviour
  • Create a multi-hazard alert and warning system
  • Increase involvement of Himalayan states, planners, scientists, and academicians in devising suitable measures for glacier management

 

Learn about the significance of glaciers: Here

 

Insta Links:

Erosion by ice/glacier

 

Prelims Links: (UPSC 2020)

Siachen Glacier is situated to the

(a) East of Aksai Chin

(b) East of Leh

(c) North of Gilgit

(d) North of Nubra Valley

 

Answer: D

 

Mains link: UPSC 2020

 Q.How will the melting of Himalayan glaciers have a far-reaching impact on the water resources of India?

Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 passed in LS

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Indian Economy

 

Source: TH

 Context: The Lok Sabha on Wednesday cleared the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022

 

Aim of the Bill:

Bring in greater regulation of corporates (particularly Big Tech firms)

and promote and sustain competition in markets, protects consumers’ interest, and ensures freedom of trade for market participants.

 

Background of the bill:

It was introduced by the Ministry of Finance to amend the Competition Act, 2002 to bring it in line with the modern development of new technology and the digital market. In December 2022, the Bill was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance for further scrutiny.

 

Key Features of the Competition (Amendment) 2022 Act

Feature Description Significance
Increases the regulation of combinations based on the ‘Value of Transaction’ Definition: ‘Combinations’ means mergers, acquisitions, or amalgamation of an enterprise.

 

 

Any transaction exceeding ₹2,000 crore would require CCIs approval, helping to bring acquisitions in digital markets (Big Tech firms) under it.

 

 

Also, the bill prohibits entering into a combination that may cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition.

Enhances scrutiny and regulation of larger transactions to prevent anti-competitive practices.
Reduces the time limit for approval of combinations The bill reduces the time limit for CCI approval on such transactions to 150 days from 210 days Speeds up the approval process for combinations, providing greater certainty for businesses.
Expands the definition of ‘control’ for the classification of combinations Definition: ‘Control’ means, who (individual or other enterprises) exercises influence in the company.

 

 

The bill expands the definition of control as the ability to exercise material influence over the management, affairs, or strategic commercial decisions of an enterprise.

It now provides greater clarity on which transactions will be scrutinized.
Broadens the scope of Anti-competitive agreements Definition: Anti-competitive agreements are any agreement for goods or services which has an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and is therefore prohibited.

 

As per the new Bill, even the enterprises or persons not engaged in identical or similar businesses shall be presumed to be part of such agreements if they actively participate in such agreements.

 

Previously, such entities were exempted.

 

Including participation by unrelated entities, strengthens the regulation of such agreements.
Introduces Framework for Settlement and Commitment in anti-competitive proceedings The bill provides a framework for settlement and commitment for faster resolution of investigations by CCI.

 

The bill limits the time period for filing information on it to CCI to three years.

Allows for faster resolution of anti-competitive proceedings and encourages enterprises to self-regulate.
Decriminalisation of certain offences The Bill changes the nature of punishment for certain offences from the imposition of fines to civil penalties. Reduces the burden on courts and provides a more proportionate punishment for certain offences.
Penalties CCI can impose a penalty of up to 10% of a company’s average turnover in the “relevant market.

 

Turnover” will refer to the “global turnover derived from all the products and services by a person or an enterprise”

Experts say this is the highly contentious provision that will result in higher penalties for global multi-product companies.

 

Terms used in the Bill

  • Hub-and-Spoke Cartels: Entities not engaged in similar businesses but have influence. The amendment broadens the scope of ‘anti-competitive agreements’ to catch entities that facilitate cartelisation even if they are not engaged in identical trade practices.
  • Gun Jumping: Gun jumping refers to the illegal practice of prematurely disclosing information or completing a transaction related to a merger or acquisition before the transaction has been fully approved by regulatory authorities.
  • New Age Market: New technology-enabled firms or new types of businesses, that are not under the preview of CCI

 

Way forward:

‘A National Competition Policy’ is needed in India: E.g. Competition policy has also been adopted and implemented by the UK, Australia, Denmark, Italy, Turkey, Mexico, Hong Kong, Malawi and Botswana.

 

Conclusion:

With the new changes, the Commission should be better able to manage certain aspects of the New Age market and make its operation more robust.

 

About CCI

The Competition Commission of India (est. 2009  under the Competition Act, 2002; Ministry Of Corporate Affairs) is a statutory, quasi-judicial body, which primarily pursues three issues of anti-competitive practices in the market:

  • Anti-competitive agreements.
  • Abuse of dominance.

CCI consists of one Chairperson and six Members who shall be appointed by the Central Government.

Insta Links:

 

Mains Links

  1. How would the recent phenomena of protectionism and currency manipulations in world trade affect the macroeconomic stability of India? (UPSC 2018)

How to manage India’s solar PV waste problem?

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

 

Source: TH

Context: Even while Indian policymakers are working hard to shift to a circular economy, there are still no defined guidelines for waste management in the solar photovoltaic (PV) sector.

A typical PV panel is dominated by: Crystalline silicon (c-Si) technology → 93% of c-Si modules (made up of silver, tin and lead) and 7% of cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film modules (made of glass, encapsulant, and compound semiconductor).

 

What is PV waste?

  • India stands 4th in solar PV deployment globally and its solar power installed capacity has reached ~62 GW by 2022.
  • India’s latest PLI scheme promotes the domestic manufacturing of high-efficiency solar PV modules.
  • This is great, but it also indicates massive amounts of solar PV waste in the future.
  • India could generate 50,000-3,25,000 tonnes of cumulative PV waste by 2030 and more than 4 million tonnes by 2050 (International Renewable Energy Agency) → expected to make India one of the world’s top five leading PV waste producers.
  • ~50% of total materials can be recovered through waste management and recycling processes.

 

Challenges:

  • Growing informal (~80%) handling of PV wasteaccumulates at landfills → causes acidification, leaching of toxic metals (lead, cadmium) into the soil → contaminates the local water.
  • Gradual incineration releases pollutants like sulphur dioxide, hydrogen fluoride, and hydrogen cyanide into the atmosphere.
  • Misinformation/ignorance about appropriate disposal practices among multiple actors and institutions (producers/owners/consumers/waste disposal facilities) across the supply chain.
  • The market to recycle PV waste is minuscule in India because of a lack of suitable incentives and schemes.
  • The absence of a body to measure, monitor, and report solar PV waste.

 

Recent initiatives by the Indian govt:

  • Revised e-waste management Rules in 2022: MoEF&CC brought solar PV cells, panels, and modules under its ambit.
  • Green Credit Programme: Launched under the Environmental Protection Act (1986) and announced in the UB 2022-2023, it aims to promote green growth and sustainable practices.

 

Best practices:

  • EU: Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive makes producers responsible for safely and responsibly disposing of end-of-life PV panels.
  • US: States have the freedom to establish their own solar PV regulatory standards.
  • Japan: Manufacturers are responsible for developing environment-friendly recycling technologies through PPP and launching awareness campaigns about their benefits.
  • China: Introduced life-cycle management to improve the resource efficiency of solar PV panels. It is also developing recycling processes to recover silicon and process them back into solar wafers.

 

Gaps to be identified by India:

  • Not to club PV waste with other e-waste. India should –
    • Formulate provisions specific to PV waste treatment within the ambit of the e-waste guidelines. Build a legislative framework to enforce the Extended Producer Responsibility Rules.
    • Set up a central insurance or a regulatory body to protect against financial losses incurred in waste collection and treatment.
  • Not to classify PV wastes as ‘hazardous’. India should –
    • Run pan-India sensitisation drives and awareness programmes,
    • Specify clear recycling targets and recycling rates in the PV waste management policy.
  • More attention to domestic R&D efforts promoted through suitable regulatory incentives, recycling programmes, appropriate infrastructure facilities, and adequate funding.

 

Conclusion: Best practices could be a good reference point for India to develop ‘Made in India’ manufacturing capabilities, recycling technologies, and waste management strategies in this field.

 

Insta Links:

India stares at the pile of solar e-waste

 

Mains Links:

What are the impediments in disposing of the huge quantities of discarded solid wastes which are continuously being generated? How do we safely remove the toxic wastes that have been accumulating in our habitable environment? (UPSC 2018)

 

India ranks fifth in national contribution to warming: Study

GS Paper 3

 Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental Pollution and Degradation

 

Source: DTE

 Context: According to a new study, India is responsible for 0.08 degrees Celsius of warming from the 1850s through 2021. 

 

Overall findings:

  • Contribution to warming:
CO2 1.11°C
Methane 0.41°C
Nitrous oxide 0.08°C

  • Ranking Of Countries as per their contribution to the Rise in temperature:
Rank Country Contribution in % to rise in temperature/warming
1 USA Nearly 17%
2 China Nearly 12%
3 Russia Nearly 6%
4 Brazil Nearly 5%
5 India Nearly 5%
  • Since 2005, India climbed to the fifth spot from the 10th.
  • China, too, rose to the second position after overtaking Russia.
  • Indonesia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Canada each contributed 0.03-0.05°C of warming.

 

India-specific findings:

  • Overall, India ranks fifth among the top 10 contributors to warming.
  • India’s emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) – CO2, CH4 and nitrous oxide (N2O) from 1851-2021 have resulted in 0.04°C, 0.03°C and 0.006°C of global warming over pre-industrial levels, respectively.

 

Causes of warming:

  • Fossil fuel remains the biggest culprit.
  • Land use, land-use change, and forestry (LULUCF) accounted for 38% of the total warming from CH4 and 72% from N2O emissions between 1851-2021.
  • The contribution of India, China and Brazil towards warming due to CH4 and N2O increased by 110%, 56% and 55%, respectively, compared to CO2-related warming alone.

 

Significance:

  • These 3 GHGs are included in most countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions. Hence, the dataset is uniquely positioned to inform climate policy and benchmarking.
  • It would help in tracking contributions to climate change and understanding the burden of responsibility carried by each country → pursuing equitable decarbonisation pathways.

 

Insta Links:

Air Pollution

World Bank Report: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environment Conservation

 

Source: WB

 Context: According to the World Bank’s ‘Striving for Clean Air: Air Pollution and Public Health in South Asia’ report, 9 out of the world’s 10 cities with the worst air pollution are in South Asia.

 

Highlights of the report:

  • This report quantifies particulate matter (PM) emissions and how they disperse in the atmosphere.
  • Ambient air pollution is a public health crisis in South Asia,
    • Not only imposing high economic costs
    • But also causing an estimated 2 million premature deaths each year.
  • In South Asia, nearly 60% of the population lives in areas where concentrations of 5 exceed an annual mean of 35 μg/m3 (WHO prescribes 5 μg/m3).
  • In the densely populated Indo-Gangetic Plain, it is over 20 times higher than the WHO-prescribed levels.
  • This report identifies six major airsheds in South Asia where spatial interdependence in air quality is high.

 

Main causes of air pollution in South Asia:

  • Solid fuel combustion
  • The current management practices of municipal waste in the region, include burning plastics.
  • Generation of secondary PM in the form of ammonia (NH₃) emissions related to the agriculture sector.
  • In the western part of South Asia, natural sources, such as dust, sea salt, and forest fires, are an important source of air pollution.

 

Way ahead:

  • Controlling ambient air pollution is difficult without a better understanding of the activities that emit PM and how emissions travel across locations.
  • Interdependence in air quality within airsheds in South Asia is necessary when weighing alternative pathways for pollution control.

 

Focusing on hotspots through regional cooperation would reduce mean exposure to 26 μg/m³.

Book Bank initiatives for poor students

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: PIB

The Prime Minister has lauded the book bank initiative of Ranchi Lok Sabha MP, Shri Sanjay Seth.

Sanjay Seth, the MP of Ranchi, has opened a book bank for underprivileged students at his office in Argora in the Jharkhand capital. The books were donated from various areas in and around Ranchi. The students can take the books free of cost and return them after finishing their studies. Seth has also floated two landline numbers and appealed to NGOs, academicians, writers, researchers, and even students to donate the books in their possession at the nearest sansad samadhan kendras.

 

Values shown in the example: Education accessibility, Empathy and compassion, Community participation, Volunteerism, Sustainable resource use, Responsibility and accountability

Fight for Climate Justice

Content for Mains Enrichment (CME)

 

Source: DTE

 Definition: Climate justice means finding solutions to the climate crisis that not only reduce emissions or protect the natural world, but that do so in a way that creates a fairer, more just and more equal world in the process.

 

Example 1: The European Court of Human Rights held the first-ever public hearing addressing the duty of states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including a case brought by the Swiss Senior Women for Climate Protection against Switzerland.

 

Example 2: UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling upon the International Court of Justice to issue an opinion on state legal responsibilities to protect the climate system.

 

Example 3: IPCC released the Sixth Synthesis Report, presenting a clear roadmap to a liveable future.

 

Example 4: Vanuatu (a small Island nation) secured the approval of the UN to ask the International Court of Justice (the world’s highest court) if countries can be sued under international law for failing to slow down climate change.

 

Usage: The examples highlight ethical values of Environmental Responsibility, Intergenerational equity, social justice, international cooperation

Rajasthan Day

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: IE

 Context: Every year, March 30, is celebrated as Rajasthan Day, marking the foundation of India’s largest state in 1949.

 

Process of formation: Rajasthan was created in phases, with the final modifications occurring in 1956 after India’s independence.

  • At that time, Rajasthan was almost wholly contained in the Rajputana Agency, a political office of the British Indian Empire.
  • Rajasthan consists of 22 princely states and estates, all of which assimilated in less than 22 months after India’s independence.
  • Most rulers were Rajput with the exception being Bharatpur and Dholpur which had Jat rulers.

ICHR to use Ancestry records

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 Source: TH

 

Context: ICHR is looking to use the records kept by genealogy priests called Pandas to fill “gaps” in Indian history.

The Pandas (under the Hindu religious system), who number around 2,500 in Haridwar, hold records of families going back 15 to 20 generations, with details like place of origin, names, births, deaths, reason of death, place of residence, grants made to temples, caste, and clan.

Use of the records: Historians say the records can be a rich source of information to understand past famines, epidemics, migration, and movement of people, as well as social history on how clans and communities were organised. The ICHR plans to help make these records available to researchers, scholars, and historians.

 

About Indian Council of Historical Research

The Indian Council of Historical Research (est. 1972; HQ: New Delhi) is a captive body of the Ministry of Education, established by an Administrative Order. The body has provided financial assistance to historians and scholars through fellowships, grants, and symposia.

Use of Technology for election

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: ECI

 

Context: ECI will use IT measures for election to the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka.

 

New technology being used:

  • cVIGIL Application (for filing Model Code of Conduct Violation)
  • Suvidha Portal (allows online nomination, Permission etc for political parties and candidates)
  • GARUDA (Geographical Asset Reconnaissance Unified Digital App)—It helps in coordination between Booth Level officers (BLOs)

 

Other Proposed technological Reforms

  • Using blockchain technology to enable remote/e-voting
  • Linking of Aadhaar with voter ID
  • Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS)
  • A voter verification systemthat uses biometric software, such as facial recognition

About ECI 

The Election Commission of India (formed 25th January 1950; HQ: New Delhi) is a 3-member constitutional autonomous body to conduct and regulate elections to the offices of the President and Vice-President of India, Parliament, State Legislative Assemblies and Legislative councils

Prelims Links

Consider the following statements: (UPSC 2017)

  1. The Election Commission of India is a five-member body.
  2. Union Ministry of Home Affairs decides the election schedule for the conduct of both general elections and bye-elections.
  3. Election Commission resolves the disputes relating to splits/mergers of recognised political parties.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

A. 1 and 2 only
B. 2 only
C. 2 and 3 only
D. 3 only

 

Ans: D

Saudi Arabia in SCO

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TH

 

Context: Saudi Arabia has approved a memorandum granting the kingdom the status of a dialogue partner in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

 

What is a dialogue partner?

Dialogue Partners refer to individual sovereign states and not members, but with a special interest and/or capacity to contribute, particularly in the areas of common interest.

  • The number of dialogue partners in SCO is 7 (including Saudi Arabia)

 

About SCO Description
Formation Intergovernmental Organization founded in 2001 in Shanghai by China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan
Focus Regional security, fighting terrorism, separatism, and extremism
Permanent Bodies SCO Secretariat in Beijing and Executive Committee of the Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) in Tashkent
Observer Status Has observer status in the UN General Assembly
Current Chair India
India’s Membership In June 2017 India became a full member (same day as Pakistan)
Significance to India Use it as a forum to counter the influence of China and Pakistan in the region; strengthen ties with Central Asian countries; access to the Eurasian market and resources; manage the negative implications of Taliban in Afghanistan; and counter terrorism-related activities in the region through RATS.

 

Learn about “SECURE” SCO here

New fees on UPI payments

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: TOI, LM

 

Context: The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has allowed prepaid payment instruments (PPIs) to be part of the interoperable Unified Payments Interface (UPI) ecosystem.

What does the new guideline say?

  • The new guidelines, effective from April 1st, levy a 1.1% charge on UPI transactions above ₹2,000 while using PPIs.
  • The charges are only applicable for PPI merchant transactions, and there are no charges for the bank account to bank account-based UPI payments.

 

Explanation using an example:

A PPI payment via UPI means a transaction done via a wallet, like PhonePe Wallet through a UPI QR code. This means that if users have money in their say PhonePe Wallet and want to make a payment via the merchant’s UPI QR code, then on transactions above Rs 2,000, an interchange fee of up to 1.1% will be levied. This fee is charged to the merchant and not the customer.

 

Benefit:

  • The move is expected to help UPI merchants, who can accept wallet payments regardless of the wallet being used by the customer, thereby increasing payment alternatives for customers.
  • The interoperability of KYC wallets will also eliminate the need for customers to carry multiple cards and reduce fraud and theft.

 

What are PPIs?

 The payment and Settlement Act, 2005 defined Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) as instruments of payment that facilitate buying of goods and services, including the transfer of funds, financial services and remittances, against the value stored within or on the instrument.

 Examples: Online wallets like PAYTM wallets, Amazon Pay wallets and preloaded gift cards

 

About NPCI

 The National Payments Corporation of India (est. 2008, HQ: Mumbai) is an umbrella organization for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007, for creating a robust Payment & Settlement Infrastructure in India.

  • It is a not-for-profit organisation registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act 2013

NCLAT upholds penalty on Google

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: IE

 

Context: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has upheld a penalty of Rs 1,337 crore imposed by India’s competition regulation body on Google for its anti-competitive conduct in the Android ecosystem.

  • However, the NCLAT set aside some of the conditions that would have severely impacted Google’s products.

What is the issue about?

The CCI, last year, had imposed a penalty of Rs 1,337 crore on Google for mandating pre-installation of its entire Google Mobile Suite (GMS), a family of key Google apps and services, on smartphones running on Android. This, according to the CCI, was an abuse of Google’s market dominance.

 

About NCLAT

The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (est. 2016) is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). NCLAT is also the Appellate Tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against the orders of the National Financial Reporting Authority. 

 

About Anti-trust laws:

Antitrust laws are regulations that encourage competition by limiting the market power of any particular firm. CCI is responsible for Anti-trust laws in India.

India’s first cloned desi Gir female calf Ganga

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: ET

 

Context:  The National Dairy Research Institute ( est. 1956, under ICAR, based in Haryana’s Karnal) has produced the first-ever clone of a calf belonging to the indigenous Gir cow breed. The calf has been named Ganga.

 

Process:

Scientists used three animals for producing this calf: Oocyte was taken from the Sahiwal breed, a somatic cell from the Gir breed, and a surrogate animal was a crossbreed.

 

What is Reproductive cloning?

Reproductive cloning is a process by which an exact genetic replica, or clone, of an existing organism, is created through a type of cloning called somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT). This involves removing the nucleus of an egg cell and replacing it with the nucleus of a somatic cell (a non-reproductive cell) from the organism to be cloned.

 

Other breeds of Cow: Sahiwal, Tharparkar, and Red Sindhi

 

Related news:

 Policy on cattle dehorning & castration

 Source: DTE

The Central Government has notified the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Animal Husbandry Practices and Procedures) Rules, 2023, which outlines the procedures for dehorning cattle and castration, branding or nose-roping of any animal.

  • All procedures like castration and dehorning must be carried out with the involvement of a registered veterinary practitioner and the mandatory use of general and local anaesthetics.
  • The rules also prescribe a methodology for euthanasia for ill animals to avoid a painful death.

Aim: The rules aim to prevent cruelty against animals and promote more humane animal husbandry practices.

Mahoba’s Desawari variety betel leaf

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: DTE

 

Context: The Mahoba Desawari variety, which is highly valued for its unique fragrance and dissolves in the mouth, has been particularly affected by extreme weather events and rising input costs.

 

About Mahoba’s Desawari variety betel leaf 

  • It is produced in the Mahoba district of UP
  • It received Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2021
  • Their size is larger than other betel varieties and they have a unique aroma and lesser fibre with a mild bitterness and sweet taste.

 

Salt marshes

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Source: DTE

 

Context: More than 90% of the world’s salt marshes may be lost to sea level rise by the end of the century, according to a study by scientists from the Marine Biological Laboratory.

 

Feature Description
Definition Salt marshes are coastal wetlands that are flooded and drained by salt water brought in by the tides.
Location They are found in intertidal zones along coastlines, usually in protected areas such as estuaries or bays.
Vegetation They are dominated by grasses and other salt-tolerant plants such as sedges, cordgrass, rushes, and mangroves.
Soil They have nutrient-rich soils that are often anoxic (depleted of oxygen) due to high levels of organic matter.
Ecological function They are important habitats for many species of fish, birds, and other wildlife, and provide valuable ecosystem services such as erosion control and water filtration.
Threats They are threatened by sea level rise, coastal development, pollution, and climate change.
‘Coastal squeeze’ The movement of salt marshes is obstructed by sea level rise, anthropogenic activities and geographical factors.

 

E.g., a seawall that protects a home from inundation will prevent a wetland from naturally migrating to higher ground.

 

Optional

 

Pub Ad/Governance

 

Agriculture

 

Economy

 

PSIR/ International Relations:

 

Science/ Indian Society/ Sociology

 

History/ Internal Security

 

Rajasthan PSC

 

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