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UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 25th February 2022

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 25th February 2022

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 25th February 2022

Topics for the day:

  1. Prevention of money laundering act
  2. Khajuraho temples
  3. Classical language status
  4. Data accessibility policy
  5. Nordstream 2 pipeline
  6. Sea cucumber

 

 Prevention of money laundering act

Context :

  • Recently the minority affairs minister of Maharashtra was arrested under the PMLA by the Enforcement Directorate.
What is money laundering ?
  • It is the process of making large amounts of money generated by criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source.
  • The money generated from criminal activities is called ‘dirty money’ and money laundering is the process of conversion of ‘dirty money’, to make it appear as ‘legitimate’ money.
What are the major provisions of PMLA ?
  • 3 of PMLA defines offence of money laundering. It says whosoever involved directly or indirectly attempts to indulge or knowingly is involved in an activity connected with proceeds of crime and projecting it as untainted property shall be guilty
  • PMLA prescribes the obligation of banking companies, financial institutions and intermediaries for verification and maintenance of records of the identity of all its clients
  • PMLA empowers certain officers of the Directorate of Enforcement to carry out investigations in cases involving offence of money laundering and allows to attach property even
  • It envisages designation of one or more courts of sessions as Special Court or Special Courts to try the offences punishable under PMLA
  • PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2012 :
    • Adds the concept of ‘reporting entity’ which would include a banking company, financial institution, intermediary etc
    • PMLA, 2002 levied a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, but the amendment act has removed this upper limit
    • Under Section 3 of the Act, mere “possession” of proceeds of crime is now an offense it means that when one person deposits money into another’s account then the other person is also punished.
    • ?3O lakh threshold limit for Initiating money laundering cases for economic offenses Is done away with. Hence even cases of small value can attract PMLA.
    • Penalties range from imprisonment from 3 years to 7 years with no upper limit on value of fines.

 

 Khajuraho temples

Context :

  • Renowned artists from across the country will be performing in the week-long 48th Khajuraho Dance Festival – 2022
More about the temples :
  • They were constructed by the chandellas of bundelkhand between 850AD to 1050AD
  • The Khajuraho temples are composed of sandstone, with a nearly buried granite base.
  • The temples are known for their sexual sculptures and Nagara-style architectural symbolism.
  • The Vaishnavism School of Hinduism, Saivism School of Hinduism, and Jainism all have temples in Khajuraho.
  • UNESCO designated these temples as World Heritage Sites
  • Abu Rihan al Biruni in AD 1022 and the Arab explorer Ibn Battuta in AD 1335 were the first to mention the Khajuraho temples.
  • When the Chandella kingdom fell (about AD 1150), Muslim invaders in this area destroyed and disfigured the Khajuraho Temples, forcing the people to flee Khajuraho.
  • Kandariya Mahadev, the most visited temple, has a Shikhara (spire) that rises 116 feet and occupies an area of around 6,500 square feet.
  • The Chandelas were extremely passionate about the performing arts, as well as numerous types of music and dance. The sculptural representations of varied scenes of music and dancing displayed on the walls of these temples demonstrate this.

 

 Classical language status

Context :

  • The Maharashtra government has escalated its demand to accord classical language status to Marathi
What is criterion for classical language ?
  • High antiquity of its early texts/recorded history over a period of 1500-2000 years
  • A body of ancient literature/texts, which is considered a valuable heritage by generations of speakers
  • The literary tradition be original and not borrowed from another speech community
  • The classical language and literature being distinct from modern, there may also be a discontinuity between the classical language and its later forms or its offshoots.
Languages already granted the status :
  • Tamil in the year 2004
  • Telugu in the year 2008
  • Malayalam in the year 2013
  • Sanskrit in the year 2005
  • Kannada in the year 2008
  • Odia in the year 2014
Benefits of being a classical language :
  • Two major international awards for scholars of eminence in Classical Indian Languages to be awarded annually.
  • A ‘Centre of Excellence for Studies in Classical Languages’ will be set up.
  • The University Grants Commission will be requested to create and to start with at least in the Central Universities, a certain number of Professional Chairs for Classical Languages for scholars of eminence in Classical Indian Languages.
Arguments for marathi as classical language :
  • committee chaired by litterateur Rangnath Pathare who had prepared a voluminous report citing evidence about the
    • ancientness of the language
    • originality and continuity and literary traditions for the criteria for granting classical language status to a language.

 

 Data accessibility policy

Context :

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has come out with a draft Data Accessibility and Use policy.
Features of the draft policy:
  • The policy proposes to improve data availability, quality and use in line with emerging technology demands.
  • Any data sharing shall happen within the legal framework of India, its national policies and legislation as well as the recognized international guidelines.
  • All data and information generated, created, collected, or stored by the central government and authorised agencies shall be covered by the policy.
  • All government data will be open and shareable unless it falls under a negative list of data sets, categorised under the negative list of datasets that won’t be shared; and restricted access and shared only with trusted users, as defined by the respective ministry or department, under the controlled environment.
  • It proposes the establishment of an India Data Office (IDO) to streamline and unify data access and sharing among government and other stakeholders.
  • In case of the institutional framework, the draft noted that every ministry or department should have Data Management Units, headed by Chief Data Officers, which will work closely with the IDO to ensure the implementation of this policy
  • India Data Council comprising IDO and chief data officers shall be constituted with the objective of undertaking tasks that require deliberation across ministries, departments and state governments
Problems surrounding the draft :
  • Lack of transparency in the consultation and drafting process: The process of consultation has not been transparent.
  • The ‘Preamble’ of the policy states that “India’s ambition of becoming a 5 trillion-dollar digital economy depends on its ability to harness the value of data”. Hence it appears that revenue generation through sale of citizen data emerges is the primary objective of the Policy

 

Nordstream 2 pipeline :

Nordstream 2 pipeline

Context :

  • The Western countries showed they were ready to target Russia’s huge energy industry as
    • Germany halted the nordstream 2 pipeline as it said it was halting its certification of the pipeline
    • US president Joe Biden’s administration plans to impose sanctions on the company constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline
What is nordstream 2 pipeline :
  • Nordstream 2 is a 1,200 km pipeline that runs from Ust-Luga in Russia to Greifswald in Germany through the Baltic Sea.
  • It will carry 55 billion cubic metres of gas per year.
  • It was decided to build this pipeline in 2015.
  • Nord stream 1 system is already completed and together with NS2P, it will supply 110 billion cubic metre of gas a year to Germany.
Role played by nordstream :
  • It will increase Europe’s dependence on Russia for Natural Gas, currently EU (European Union) countries already rely on Russia for 40% of their gas needs.
  • The pipeline affects ukraine as currently there is an existing pipeline between Russia and Europe through Ukraine, once the NS2P project is completed it would bypass Ukraine and deprive it of a significant transit fee of around $3 billion per year.
  • Completion of the pipeline can be a geopolitical win for Russia and a catastrophe for the United States and its allies.

 

Sea cucumber

Context :

  • Chinese hatcheries have been cultivating sea cucumbers in Sri lanka
  • Sea cucumbers are in high demand in China and Southeast Asia. Sea cucumber in India is treated as an endangered species listed under schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act of 1972.
More about the sea cucumber :
  • They are marine invertebrates that live on the seafloor found generally in tropical regions. They’re named for their unusual oblong shape that resembles a fat cucumber.
  • They are an integral part of the coral ecosystem as one of the main by-products of the sea cucumbers is calcium carbonate and this is essential for the survival of the coral reefs.
  • They act like garbage collectors of the ocean world, and they recycle nutrients, thus playing an important role in keeping coral reefs in good condition.
  • IUCN Red List: Brown Sea Cucumber (Endangered), Blackspotted Sea Cucumber (Least Concern), Blue Sea Cucumber (Data Deficient)

UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 25th February 2022

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