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UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 3rd February 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 3rd February 2022

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 3rd February 2022

 Topics         

  • The Bomb Cyclone
  • The Reverse Repo Normalisation
  • The World Heritage List for 2022-2023
  • Dilution of Lokayukta Powers
  • The employment-centred and inclusive growth

 

 

 

1.The Bomb Cyclone

#GS1-Physical Geography

Context

  • The ‘Bomb cyclone’ just blasted the eastern United States, causing transportation havoc and blackouts.

In depth information

What is a Bomb Cyclone, and how does it work?
  • It’s a term used by meteorologists to describe a fast-intensifying mid-latitude cyclone.
  • The coast is being battered by a major winter storm, which is bringing severe winds, water, ice, and snow.
  • It’s the result of a mix of quickly falling pressure and bitter cold.
  • This storm is the most powerful on the east coast in recorded history.
  • It’s known as a bomb cyclone, a dramatic term for what happens as the storm intensifies rapidly and the pressure drops.
Formation
  • When the air pressure in the middle of a storm decreases by at least 24 millibars in 24 hours, the storm becomes a bomb cyclone.The storm will be stronger if the pressure drops below a certain level.
Compared to Conventional Strom
  • The phenomenon, also known as explosive cyclogenesis, is essentially a rapidly developing storm system. It differs from a tropical hurricane in that it occurs over midlatitudes, where warm and cold air fronts meet and collide, rather than relying on the warm ocean waters of late summer as a catalyst.
  • A bomb cyclone, like a traditional cyclone, is the result of a low pressure system, in which the air pressure at sea level is lower than in the surrounding area.
  • Hurricanes develop between late spring and early fall, while bomb cyclones develop between late fall and early spring.

 

2.The Reverse Repo Normalisation

#GS3-Indian Economy

Context

  • The State Bank of India feels that the groundwork for a Reverse Repo Normalization in India has been laid.

In depth information

What is Reverse Repo Normalization, and how does it work?
  • This implies that reverse repo rates will rise.
  • In response to growing inflation, several central banks throughout the world have raised interest rates or indicated that they may do so shortly.
  • The RBI is expected to boost the repo rate in India as well.
  • However, the RBI is likely to boost the reverse repo rate and close the gap between the two rates first.
  • The goal of the normalisation procedure is to keep inflation under control.
  • It will reduce excess liquidity in the Indian economy while simultaneously raising interest rates across the board.
  • As a result, consumer demand for money falls (because it makes more sense to leave the money in the bank) and businesses find it more expensive to take out new loans.
What does normalisation of monetary policy imply?
  • The Reserve Bank of India, India’s central bank, continually adjusting the overall amount of money in the economy to keep it running smoothly.
  • As a result, when the RBI seeks to increase economic activity, it uses “loose monetary policy.”
  • A policy like this has two elements.
  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) adds extra money (liquidity) to the economy. It accomplishes this by purchasing government bonds on the open market.
  • When the RBI purchases these bonds, it pays the bondholders back money, so pumping more money into the economy.
  • The RBI also decreases the rate of interest it costs banks when it lends them money, known as the repo rate.
  • The RBI anticipates that by lowering the interest rate at which it lends money to commercial banks, the commercial banks (and the rest of the banking sector) will feel compelled to decrease interest rates as well.
  • Lower interest rates and increased liquidity are projected to stimulate the economy’s consumption and production.
  • It now pays less for a consumer to retain their money in the bank, incentivizing current consumption. Borrowing money to establish a new business makes more sense for businesses and entrepreneurs because interest rates are lower.
  • A “tight monetary policy” is the polar opposite of a “loose monetary policy,” in which the RBI raises interest rates and drains liquidity from the economy by selling assets (and taking money out of the system).
  • When a central bank determines that a loose monetary policy is no longer effective (for example, when it leads to increased inflation), it “normalises” the policy by tightening the monetary policy stance.

 

3.The World Heritage List for 2022-2023

#GS1-Art and Culture

Context

  • The Hoysala temples of Belur, Halebid, and Somnathapura in Karnataka have been selected as India’s World Heritage nominee for the years 2022-2023.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India has designated all three Hoysala temples as protected monuments.
  • The World Heritage Centre (WHC) of UNESCO has already agreed to make Hindi descriptions of India’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites available on the WHC website.

In depth information

The World Heritage List for 2022-2023

  • Since April 15, 2014, the Sacred Ensembles of the Hoysala have been on the UNESCO Tentative List.”
  • A UNESCO team will be visiting the sites soon to undertake an examination. It will be decided whether the monuments may be designated as heritage sites after the inspection.
  • If the Hoysala temples are designated as World Heritage Sites, they will rank fourth on the state’s list.
  • The other three are Vijayanagara’s Hampi Monuments, the Chalukyan era’s Pattadakallu Temples complex, and the Western Ghats.
What is the World Heritage List, and how does it work?
  • A natural or man-made region or structure of worldwide significance, as well as a space that requires special protection, is listed as a World Heritage site.
  • The United Nations and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, often known as UNESCO, have formally recognised these places.
  • The World Heritage sites, according to UNESCO, are vital for humanity and have cultural and physical significance.
  • In order to be included on the World Heritage List, several requirements must be met.
  • Sites must be of outstanding universal importance and meet at least one of ten selection criteria to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
Criteria for selection
  • To depict a work of art created by a human being;
  • To show an important exchange of human values on innovations in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning, or landscape design over time or within a cultural area of the world;
  • To bear a one-of-a-kind or at least outstanding witness to a living or extinct civilisation’s cultural tradition or culture;
  • To be an outstanding example of a certain sort of structure, architectural or technological ensemble, or landscape that depicts (a) significant stage(s) in human history;
  • To be a shining example of a traditional human settlement, land usage, or sea use that represents a culture (or cultures), or human connection with the environment, particularly when it has become fragile due to irreversible change;
  • To be directly or visibly related with events or live traditions, ideas or beliefs, and exceptional universally significant artistic and literary works. (This criterion, the Committee believes, should be used in conjunction with other criteria.)
The objective of UNESCO’s World Heritage Programme is to protect the world’s cultural heritage.
  • encourage countries to join the World Heritage Convention and ensure that their natural and cultural heritage is protected;
  • Encourage States Parties to the Convention to nominate sites within their national territory for inclusion on the World Heritage List;
  • Encourage States Parties to establish management plans and set up reporting systems on the state of conservation of their World Heritage sites;
  • Help States Parties safeguard World Heritage properties by providing technical assistance and professional training;
  • Provide prompt help to World Heritage sites in jeopardy;
  • Support public awareness-raising actions for World Heritage conservation by States Parties;
  • Encourage local residents to participate in the preservation of their cultural and natural heritage, as well as international collaboration in the protection of our world’s cultural and natural legacy.
Temples of Hoysala
  • They are frequently referred to as hybrids or vesaras since their distinct style is neither totally Dravida nor completely nagara, but somewhere in the between.
  • The Hoysala temples have a core Darvidian morphology, but they also exhibit substantial influences from the Bhumija style, which is popular in Central India, the Nagara traditions of northern and western India, and the Karntata Dravida forms, which were popular among the Kalyani Chalukyas.
  • Their very unusual star-like ground-plans and a wealth of ornate carving set them apart from other mediaeval temples.
  • Hoysala architecture is a building style that emerged during the 11th and 14th centuries in southern Karnataka under the control of the Hoysala Empire.
  • Instead of a basic inner chamber with a pillared hall, Hoysala temples have many shrines gathered around a central pillared hall and built out in the shape of an intricately-designed star (stellate-plan).

 

4.Dilution of Lokayukta Powers

#GS2-Transparency & Accountability

Context

  • The Kerala government recently suggested amending the Kerala Lokayukta Act, 1999, through an ordinance, which has been criticised by the opposition.
  • The new ordinance aims to curtail the anti-corruption watchdog’s authority.

In depth information

What are the Proposed Modifications?
  • The Kerala cabinet has proposed that the Governor sign the legislation into law.
  • The plan aimed to give the government the authority to “either accept or reject the Lokayukta’s verdict, after giving an opportunity to be heard.”
  • The quasi-judicial entity will be reduced to a toothless advisory council whose decisions will no longer be binding on the government as a result of this act.
What is the difference between a Lokpal and a Lokayukta?
  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act of 2013 created a Lokpal for the Union and a Lokayukta for the States.
  • These organisations are statutory bodies with no legal standing.
  • They act as a “ombudsman” and investigate claims of corruption against specific public officials, as well as other problems.
  • The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act of 2013 establishes a Lokpal headed by a Chairperson who is or has been a Chief Justice of India, or a Supreme Court judge, or a distinguished person who meets the stipulated eligibility criteria.
  • A minimum of 50 percent of the remaining members, a total of eight, must be judicial members, with at least 50 percent belonging to the SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, or women.
  • The Lokpal was appointed in March 2019 and has been in operation since its guidelines were drafted in March 2020. Former Supreme Court Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose currently leads the Lokpal.
  • Anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officers of the Union government in Groups A, B, C, and D, has the Lokpal’s jurisdiction to investigate charges of corruption.
  • Chairpersons, members, executives, and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust, or autonomous entity constituted by an Act of Parliament or supported entirely or partially by the Centre are also protected.
  • It also applies to any society, trust, or organisation that receives foreign contributions in excess of Rs. 10 lakh.
What is the Ombudsman’s Historical Background in India?
  • The institution of ombudsman was officially established in Sweden in 1809.
  • After World War II, the Ombudsman as an institution emerged and grew greatly in the twentieth century (1939-45).
  • Great Britain introduced the institution of the ombudsman in 1967, following the recommendations of the Whyatt Report of 1961, and became the first significant democratic country to do so.
  • In India, the concept of a constitutional ombudsman was first advocated in parliament in the early 1960s by then-law minister Ashok Kumar Sen.
  • L. M. Singhvi created the names Lokpal and Lokayukta.
  • The First Administrative Reforms Commission advocated in 1966 the establishment of two independent authorities, one at the federal level and the other at the state level, to investigate complaints against public officials, including MPs.
  • The Lokpal bill was enacted in the Lok Sabha in 1968, but it lapsed with the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, and it has been reintroduced several times since then.
  • The Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution, led by M.N. Venkatachaliah, recommended the appointment of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas in 2002, as well as the exclusion of the Prime Minister from the authority’s purview.
  • The Second Administrative Reforms Commission, directed by Veerappa Moily, proposed that the Lokpal office be established as soon as possible in 2005.
  • In 2011, the “India Against Corruption Movement,” led by Anna Hazare, exerted pressure on the central government, resulting in the passage of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill, 2013.
What is the role of the Lokayukta in the States?
  • “Every state shall establish a body to be known as the Lokayukta for the State, if not otherwise formed, constituted, or appointed, by a statute issued by the State Legislature,” says Section 63 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013.
  • Within one year of the Act’s beginning, it will be established to deal with charges of corruption against certain public officials.
  • The legislation, on the other hand, is only a framework, leaving the specifics to the states to decide.
  • Because states are free to write their own laws, the Lokayukta’s powers differ from state to state in terms of tenure and the necessity for sanction to prosecute officials.
  • Lokayuktas were already in operation in various states when the 2013 Act was implemented, including Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, where they were particularly active.
  • Most states have now established a Lokayukta as a result of the Act and the Supreme Court’s intervention.
Next Steps
  • To be effective today, the fight against corruption must include a thorough transformation of our political, legal, administrative, and judicial systems, rather than one-off or piecemeal efforts.
  • One such measure is the development of an effective Lokpal institution.
  • As a result, state-level Lokayuktas should be established “in the lines of the Lokpal,” with “all state government personnel, municipal bodies, and state corporations under its purview.”

 

5.The employment-centred and inclusive growth

#GS2-Government Scheme

Context

  • India continues to fall behind in many global indexes that measure the country’s quality of life, human capital, and human development. In this backdrop, it was predicted that government spending on the social sector would increase in the current Budget.

In depth information

Increased funding on the social sector is required.
  • India is ranked 131 out of 189 nations in the Human Development Index, and 101 out of 116 countries in the Global Hunger Index.
  • Over the last two years, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the poor and informal sector workers’ health, education, and food security.
  • Over the previous couple of decades, the country has seen increasing inequality.
  • A small boost in funding for school education has been made.
  • Instead of proposing more school funding, the administration said that it will extend its “one class, one TV channel” programme in the budget. Instead of providing more resources for schools so that they can reopen with vigour, the government declared that it will expand its ‘one class, one TVchannel’ system.
  • The budget for school education, at 63,449 crore, is a marginal rise over the previous year’s 540,873 crore (2021-22 budget projections, BE) and a paltry 6% increase in nominal terms over the 2020-21 BE of 59,845 crore.
  • The school mid-day meal scheme has been renamed Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman, or simply PM Poshan, and its budget has been lowered from 11,500 crore last year to 10,233 crore this year.
Health spending is underfunded.
  • Despite repeated promises to expand the public health system, the Department of Health and Family Welfare’s overall budget, at 83,000 crore, is only 16 percent higher than the BE for 2021-22 and less than 1,000 crore higher than the RE for 2021-22, which is 82,921 crore.
  • However, incorporating water and sanitation in the health budget results in an increase in health spending as a percentage of GDP.
  • Moreover, despite an increase in the budget for the Jal Jeevan Mission from 50,000 to 60,000 crore, just 44% of the budgeted funds to the Department of Water and Sanitation for the fiscal year 2021-22 had been spent as of the end of December 2021.
There is no indication that the PMGKAY will be extended.
  • The National Food Security Act currently covers 60 percent of the population with ration cards.
  • The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana provided additional free foodgrains to those who were eligible (PMGKAY).
  • However, the food subsidy (BE) for 2022-23 is just enough to cover the regular NFSA benefits, with a budget of 2.06 lakh crore.
  • There is no indication that the PMGKAY will be extended.
  • For 2021-22, the food subsidy RE is 2.86 lakh crore.
Other strategies
  • Budgets for vital programmes like Saksham Anganwadi, maternity benefits, and social security pensions are roughly the same as last year’s allocations.
  • The MGNREGA allotment of 73,000 crore also does not reflect the increasing demand for labour or the 21,000 crore in awaiting wages.
Continued indifference
  • The resources provided to critical government programmes in the domains of health, education, nutrition, and social protection have remained constant or have increased in a careless manner.
  • In reality, since 2015, the expenditures for these programmes have been shrinking in real terms.
  • According to the International Labour Organization’s World Social Security Report 2020-22, India spends 1.4 percent of GDP on social protection (excluding health), while the average for low-middle income nations is 2.5 percent.
Conclusion
  • This indifference does not bode well for India’s inclusive growth.

UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 3rd February 2022

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