TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related GEOGRAPHY 1. Tiny fossil shells give clues to climate on ancient Earth B. GS2 Related GOVERNANCE 1. Nomadic tribes: Move to grant Constitutional protection gathers pace Governance 2. Row over citizenship bill in Meghalaya 3. ‘70% of Ganga will be cleaned by May 2019’- Jacob Koshy 4. Need rules to balance out digital media: Smriti 5. Getting down to business- Krishnadas Rajagopal C. GS3 Related ECONOMY 1. India is more than a two-player e-com market, says Walmart CEO Doug McMillon- Amit Baruah INFRASTRUCTURE 1. NFR submits studies to extend rail connectivity to Bhutan D. GS4 Related E. Editorials F. Prelims Fact G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
1. Tiny fossil shells give clues to climate on ancient Earth
Why in news?
- Scientists have discovered tiny fossil shells that unveil details about the Earth’s climate over half a billion years ago.
About the research
- The research, published in the journal Science Advances , suggests that early animals diversified within a climate similar to that in which the dinosaurs lived.
- This interval in time is known for the ‘Cambrian explosion’, the time during which representatives of most of the major animal groups first appear in the fossil record.
- The animal groups include the first organisms to produce shells, and it is these hard-bodied fossils that the scientists used in their study.
- Scientists have long thought that the early Cambrian Period was probably a greenhouse interval in the earth’s climate history, a time when there were no permanent polar ice sheets.
- Data from the tiny fossil shells, and data from new climate model runs, show that high latitude (about 65 degree South) sea temperatures were in excess of 20 degrees Celsius. This seems very hot, but it is similar to more recent, better understood, greenhouse climates like that of the Late Cretaceous Period.
- Because scientists cannot directly measure sea temperatures from half a billion years ago, they have to use proxy data.
- These are measurable quantities that respond in a predictable way to changing climate variables like temperature.
- In this study, we used oxygen isotope ratios, which is a commonly used palaeothermometer.
- We then used acid to extract fossils about 1mm long from blocks of limestone from Shropshire, U.K., dated to between 515 – 510 million years old.
- Careful examination of these tiny fossils revealed that some of them have exceptionally well-preserved shell chemistry which has not changed since they grew on the Cambrian sea floor.
- Many marine animals incorporate chemical traces of seawater into their shells as they grow. That chemical signature is often lost over geological time, so it’s remarkable that we can identify it in such ancient fossils.
- Analyses of the oxygen isotopes of these fossils suggested very warm temperatures for high latitude seas. We hope that this approach can be used by other researchers to build a clearer picture of ancient climates where conventional climate proxy data are not available.
B. GS2 Related
1. Nomadic tribes: Move to grant Constitutional protection gathers pace Governance
- The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has invited comments from 22 ministries, commissions, and government think tanks on the recommendations of the National Commission for Denotified Nomadic and Semi Nomadic Tribes (DNT/ NT/ SNT), as part of its move to grant Constitutional protection to these communities under a separate third schedule after Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
Why separate schedule?
- A separate schedule would pave the way for bringing them under the cover of reservation in jobs and education and the protection of Prevention of Atrocities Act.
- The Idate Commission has made a total of 20 recommendations which concern the various ministries and departments we have written to this week.
- We have also sent letters to the Chief Secretaries of all States as the state-specific issues faced by these communities may vary.”
- Some of the issues raised by the report with regard to these ministries involve the repealing of the Habitual Offenders Act (which still results in harassment of the community by the police), provision of PDS cards, special housing schemes for the largely landless community, establishment of a separate academy to preserve their art and culture, special education and health schemes.
More about the issue
- The ministry has also written to existing commissions such as National Human Rights Commission and National Commission for Women regarding ethe stablishment of dedicated cells for these communities within these bodies, and to the Census Commissioner regarding “a proper systematic caste-based census in respect of DNT/NT communities” in the 2021 Census.
- The University Grants Commission and the Indian Council of Social Science Research have been asked if they would provide more research fund for studying DNT/NT, while NITI Aayog is being consulted regarding setting up a Working Group for framing Vision 2030 for development of these communities as per the Sustainable Development Goals.
- In addition to the steps required to be taken by others, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment would have to implement some of the major recommendations, including establishing a Permanent DNT/ NT/ SNT Commission, reclassifying those that have been wrongly put in the SC, ST, OBC categories, and also classifying the 94 DNT, 171 NT, and 2 SNT communities that have not been included under any of the scheduled categories.
Denotified tribes or Vimuktajatis
- Denotified tribes or Vimuktajatis are all those communities notified under the Criminal Tribes Acts enforced during British Rule, whereby entire populations were branded criminals by birth. In 1952, the Act was repealed and the communities were de-notified.
- The Nomadic tribes are the ones who maintain constant geographical mobility, while semi-nomads are those who are on the move but return to a fixed habitation once a year mainly for occupational reasons.
- The latest Idate Commission report has noted that post-independence policies for these communities have been mostly “symbolic reparations”, with post-liberalisation policies alienating them further from their land and occupations.
2. Row over citizenship bill in Meghalaya
Why in news?
- Protests by social and students’ organisation greeted the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill of 2016 as it began its two-day hearing in Meghalaya.
- The bill, which the BJP-led NDA government wants to push through, seeks to grant citizenship to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who entered India before December 31, 2014 to escape from religious persecution.
- Constitutionally, Meghalaya is a tribal State, and naturalisation of illegal immigrants into full citizens will only result in influx to capture our already-limited social, economic and political spaces.
3. ‘70% of Ganga will be cleaned by May 2019’- Jacob Koshy
Why in news?
- Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government will spend Rs.8,000 to Rs.10,000 crore this year to ensure that at least 70% of the Ganga will be clean by next May. The government has only spent Rs.4,500 crore since 2015 when the Rs.20,000-crore tranche for cleaning the 2,500-km long river was operationalised.
- A total of 195 projects worth Rs.20,959 crore have been sanctioned for various activities such as sewage infrastructure, ghats and crematoria development, river-front development and river surface cleaning.
4. Need rules to balance out digital media: Smriti
Why in news?
- Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani underscored the need for “laws, ethics and rules” to ensure that no one player dominated the digital media industry.
- She was speaking at the inaugural function of the 15th Asia Media Summit 2018.
More about the summit
- This is the first time the summit has been organised in India.
- The theme is ‘Telling Our Stories Asia and More.’
- She said India would have 969 million Internet users by 2021, and the digital world should be looked at not only as a challenge but also as an opportunity. “This is the time to put laws, ethics, rules in place, which will help us balance out the industry so that we do not have one dominant player who rules the roost.”
- She said India was the fastest growing advertising market, which was expected to touch the $10.59-billion mark by the end of 2018, and mobile spend was estimated to grow to $1.55 billion in 2018.
5. Getting down to business- Krishnadas Rajagopal
The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill of 2018
- The Commercial Courts, Commercial Division and Commercial Appellate Division of High Courts (Amendment) Bill of 2018 is pending in Parliament.
- The Bill intends to jump-start India as a sought-out business destination in the world. Its objective is to set India at the top of the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ index of the World Bank. It aims to create a conducive regulatory environment for investors to set up and operate businesses.
- India recently jumped 30 positions and reached the 100th rank in terms of ‘Ease of Doing Business’ among 190 countries. The urgency is apparent, with the government also promulgating an ordinance.
More about the bill
- The Bill proposes to lower the specified value of a commercial dispute to Rs.3 lakh from the present Rs.1 crore so that commercial disputes of a reasonable value can be decided by commercial courts. This would bring down the time taken (at present, 1,445 days) in resolving commercial disputes of less value, and further improve India’s ranking in the index.
- The Bill provides for the establishment of commercial courts at the district judge level for the territories over which the respective High Courts have ordinary original civil jurisdiction, as in Chennai, Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Himachal Pradesh. The State governments in such territories may by notification specify such pecuniary value of commercial disputes to be adjudicated at the district level.
- In the jurisdiction of High Courts other than those exercising ordinary original jurisdiction, a forum of appeal in commercial disputes decided by commercial courts below the level of a district judge is being provided, in the form of Commercial Appellate Courts to be at the district judge level.
- The introduction of the Pre-Institution Mediation (PIM) process in cases where no urgent or interim relief is contemplated would provide an opportunity to the parties to resolve commercial disputes outside the ambit of the courts through the authorities constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. The Bill proposes a new Section, 21A, which enables the Centre to make rules and procedures for PIM.
- The Cabinet note for the Bill says that with rapid economic development, there has been a considerable increase in commercial activities and a consequent steep rise in the number of commercial disputes at the domestic and international levels. Increase in foreign direct investment and overseas commercial transactions have further contributed to a significant rise in commercial disputes.
C. GS3 Related
1. India is more than a two-player e-com market, says Walmart CEO Doug McMillon- Amit Baruah
What’s in news?
- Walmart CEO Doug McMillon said that he sees cash-and-carry and online retailing as two different types of businesses and predicted that India would have more than two major players vying for a share of its rapidly expanding e-commerce market.
- Addressing a joint press interaction with Binny Bansal, co-founder of Flipkart, a day after the U.S. retail giant said it would acquire about 77% of the Indian firm for $16 billion, Mr. McMillon pointed to the differences in the nature of Walmart’s existing operations in India and Flipkart’s business, when asked whether a merger of the two companies’ current operations was on the cards.
- Walmart’s expansion in the online retail space in India comes after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has committed to investing $5 billion in the firm’s Indian unit and as Paytm Mall, backed by China’s Alibaba, is steadily expanding its operations. Walmart also plans to add 50 new cash-and-carry stores in the next four to five years.
- Walmart’s total investment includes $2 billion of new equity funding, which will help Flipkart accelerate growth in the future. Walmart and Flipkart have also said they are in discussions with additional potential investors who may join the round, which could result in Walmart’s stake moving lower after the transaction is complete.
- Bansal said the number of online sellers would go up to five lakh from 1.3 lakh now, creating a large number of jobs. He felt that e-commerce and start-ups were the “two engines” of growth in India.
1. NFR submits studies to extend rail connectivity to Bhutan
- The Northeast Frontier Railway has submitted feasibility studies to the Ministry of External Affairs to extend rail connectivity to Bhutan.
More about the news
- At present, there is no rail link between the two countries.
- The five feasible rail link routes include a 57 km line from Kokhrajhar (Assam) to Gelephu (Bhutan), a 51.15 km line from Pathsala (Assam) to Nanglam (Bhutan), a 48 km line from Rangiya (Assam) to Samdrupjongkjar (Bhutan), a 23 km line between West Bengal’s Banarhat to Samtse in Bhutan and a 17.52 km line between Hasimara in West Bengal to Phuentsholing in Bhutan.
D. GS4 Related
Nothing here for today!!!
To be updated shortly!
F. Prelims Fact
Nothing here for today!!!
G. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Which Union Ministry is planning to expand Van Dhan Vikas Kendras in Tribal Districts across India?
- Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs
- Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
- Union Ministry of Science and Technology
- Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Question 2. Consider the following statements about Flood Plains:
- A floodplain or flood plain is an area of land adjacent to a stream or river which stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls.
- When inundated with water, floodplains act as natural filters, removing excess sediment and nutrients, which can degrade water quality and increase treatment costs.
Which of the statements are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- None of the above
Question 3. Match the following indices with their publishers:
- CPI combined
- GDP Deflator
- CPI-Industrial Workers
- Labour Bureau
- Office of Economic Advisor
Select the correct answer using the code given below:
- (i)-2, (ii)- 3, (iii)–3, (iv)-1
- (i)-1, (ii)- 1, (iii)-2, (iv) -1
- (i)-1, (ii)-3, (iii)-3, (iv)-2
- (i)-1, (ii)-2, (iii)-3, (iv)-3
Question 4. "Demonetization" of Rs. 500 and Rs. 1000 currency notes has resulted in which of the following?
- Decrease in liquidity in the economy
- Reduction in money supply
- Decrease in market interest rates
- All of the above
Question 5. Consider the following statements about unemployment:
- Cyclical unemployment occurs when there is not enough aggregate demand in the economy to provide jobs for everyone who wants to work.
- Frictional unemployment occurs when people change from one to another and remain unemployed during this interval period.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2 only
- Both 1 and 2
- Neither 1 nor 2
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
Pokran II was a compulsion not just a Nuclear test for India. Discuss the implications.
- The Walmart Flipkart business deal stamps the growth of Indian Entrepreneurship and leads to control of Indian market by foreign companies. Critically Analyze.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis