UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 7th March 2022
Topics for the day:
- Winged visitors from abroad flock to the wetlands in Punjab
- Locally made trainer aircraft finishes sea trials
- Democracy Report 2022
- What is Predatory pricing?
- Advanced version of BrahMos missile
- Artificial Intelligence (AI) in JUDICIAL PROCESSES
- Northern river terrapin
Winged visitors from abroad flock to the wetlands in Punjab
- An encouraging trend of waterbirds and species diversity has been observed from the wetlands of Punjab
More on the news :
- Waterbirds census exercise is conducted every year in six major and most biodiverse wetlands, which include the Nangal Wildlife Sanctuary, the Ropar Conservation Reserve, the Harike Wildlife Sanctuary, the Kanjli Wetland, the KeshopurMiani Community Reserve and the Ranjit Sagar Conservation Reserve
- A promising trend of waterbirds and species diversity has been observed from the wetlands some of them being Bonelli’s Eagle, Greater Spotted Eagle, Northern Lapwing, Peregrine Falcon, Steppe Eagle, Western Blacktailed Godwit, Blackheaded Ibis, Sarus Crane, Painted Stork, Woollynecked Stork, Common Pochard, Common Crane, Ferruginous Pochard, Pallid Harrier, River Tern, Indian Spotted Eagle, River Lapwing, Oriental Darter and Eurasian Curlew.
What are wetlands ?
- As per the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, “wetlands are areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed six metres.”
- Ramsar Convention :
- It is an international treaty for “the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands”.
- It is also known as the Convention on Wetlands. It is named after the city of Ramsar in Iran.
- At the centre of the Ramsar philosophy is the “wise use” of wetlands. Wise use: maintenance of ecological character within the context of sustainable development.
- At the time of joining the Convention, each Contracting Party undertakes to designate at least one wetland site for inclusion in the List of Wetlands of International Importance.
- The inclusion of a “Ramsar Site” in the List embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
- There are over 2,300 Ramsar Sites on the territories of 171 Ramsar Contracting Parties across the world. The country with the most Sites is the United Kingdom with 175 sites.
- The Montreux Record :
- It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference. It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
Locally made trainer aircraft finishes sea trials
- The first indigenous aircraft trainer, HANSANG, developed by the CSIR National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIRNAL), has completed sea-level trials in Puducherry, a necessary condition before evaluation by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
What is the HANSA NG ?
- HANSA-New Generation is reportedly one of the most advanced flying trainers, powered by a Rotax digital control engine with features such as :
- composite lightweight air frame
- a glass cockpit
- a bubble canopy with a wide panoramic view
- electrically operated flaps.
- The CSIR-NAL says the aircraft is designed to meet the need of flying clubs in India for trainer aircraft because of its :
- its low cost
- low fuel consumption
- The two seater Hansa-NG is a revamped version of the original Hansa developed three decades ago
Democracy Report 2022
- The latest edition of Democracy Report was released recently by the V-Dem Institute at Sweden’s University of Gothenburg.
- The study was titled ‘Democracy Report 2022: Autocratisation Changing Nature?’
- The report classifies countries into four regime types based on their score in the Liberal Democratic Index (LDI): Liberal Democracy, Electoral Democracy, Electoral Autocracy, and Closed Autocracy.
Observations in the report :
- More than twice as many countries are undergoing Autocratisation as are witnessing democratization.
- The level of democracy enjoyed by the average global citizen in 2021 is down to 1989 levels, with the democratic gains of the post-Cold War period eroding rapidly in the last few years.
- It classifies India as an electoral autocracy ranking it 93rd on the LDI, out of 179 countries.
- India is one of the top ten ‘autocratisers’ in the world says the report.
- India is part of a broader global trend of an anti-plural political party driving a country’s Autocratisation.
- Ranked 93rd in the LDI, India figures in the “bottom 50%” of countries. It has slipped further down in the Electoral Democracy Index, to 100, and even lower in the Deliberative Component Index, at 102.
- In South Asia, India is ranked below Sri Lanka (88), Nepal (71), and Bhutan (65) and above Pakistan (117) in the LDI.
What is autocratisation ?
- One of the biggest drivers of autocratisation is “toxic polarisation”: It is a dominant trend in 40 countries, as opposed to 5 countries that showed rising polarisation in 2011.
- Autocratisation is defined as a phenomenon that erodes respect of counter-arguments and associated aspects of the deliberative component of democracy.
- The Competition Commission of India has dismissed allegations of predatory pricing against e-commerce platform Shopee.
What is predatory pricing ?
- Predatory pricing is the illegal act of setting prices low to attempt to eliminate the competition.
- Predatory pricing violates antitrust laws, as it makes markets more vulnerable to a monopoly.
- Establishing that a business is engaging in predatory pricing requires that:
- The enterprise is a dominant player in the relevant market.
- Its goods or services are being marketed below cost.
- Sub-tactics are being used with the intention to eliminate competition.
About the Competition Commission Of India:
- Established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act.
- Chairman and members(one Chairperson and six Members) are appointed by the central government.
- The Chairperson and every other Member shall be a person of ability, integrity and standing and who, has been, or is qualified to be a judge of a High Court, or, has special knowledge of, and professional experience of not less than fifteen years in international trade, economics, business, commerce, law, finance
- Functions of the commission:
- To eliminate practices having adverse effects on competition.
- Promote and sustain competition.
- Protect the interests of consumers and ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India.
- Earlier the government replaced the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) with the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) in 2017.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in JUDICIAL PROCESSES
- During the 2022 Budget session,the Law Minister said that while implementing Phase 2 of the eCourts projects, under operation since 2015, a need was felt to adopt new, cutting-edge technologies of Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to increase the efficiency of the justice delivery system
More about Artifical intelligence in judiciary :
- To explore the use of AI in judicial domain, the Supreme Court of India has constituted the Artificial Intelligence Committee which has mainly identified application of AI technology in translation of judicial documents, legal research assistance and process automation.
- Several law firms are now keen on trying out new technologies for a quick reference on judicial precedents and pronouncements on cases with similar legal issues at stake.
- The Mumbai-based Riverus, a “legal tech” firm, has developed ML applications that peruse troves of cases, “understand” them, and parse cases that are similar in content very much like a human expert would do in a fraction of the time.
Present status of tech in judiciary :
- Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of technology for e-filing, and virtual hearings has seen a dramatic rise.
- From the beginning of the lockdown in 2020 until January 8 2022, the Supreme Court of India emerged as a global leader by conducting 1,81,909 virtual hearings.
- But the use of ML in India’s legal sphere has so far been restricted to automating back-end work, and is still a very long way from being used as a decision-making tool for the judiciary.
- SUVAS is a language-learning application being used to translate judgments, and SUPACE, which can draft a legal brief, comprise the initiatives being undertaken in the Indian judiciary as a part of incorporating ML-based applications.
Advanced version of BrahMos missile:
- The Indian Navy successfully test-fired a naval variant long-range version of the BrahMos cruise missile recently.
About Brahmos :
- Jointly developed by India and Russia.
- Extended range: 350 to 400-km.
- Speed: Flies almost three times the speed of sound at Mach 2.8.
- Types: Can be launched from submarine, ships, aircraft or land.
- Nomenclature: The name BrahMos is a blend formed from the names of two rivers, the Brahmaputra of India and the Moskva of Russia.
- Engine: First stage: Solid rocket booster; Second stage: Liquid ramjet (airbreathing jet engine).
- Significance: It is the world’s fastest Anti-Ship Cruise Missile currently in operation.
- Future plans: In 2016, as India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), India and Russia are now planning to jointly develop a new generation of Brahmos missiles with 800 Km range.
Northern river terrapin
- Experts and forest officials had installed GPS transmitters on Nothern River Terrapin in Indian Sundarbans.
- In just six weeks after the release, at least three of the ten individuals have travelled hundreds of kilometers and are now in Bangladesh.
More about the Terrapin :
- It is a species of riverine turtle native to Southeast Asia.
- It is one of the largest turtles to be found in Southeast Asia
- IUCN Status: Critically endangered.
- Habitat: Currently found in Bangladesh and India(in the Sunderbans), Cambodia, Indonesia and Malaysia. It is regionally extinct in Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 7th March 2022
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