UPSC Daily Current Affairs | Prelim Bits 26-08-2020

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August 26, 2020

Fujiwhara Effect

  • The Fujiwhara effect, is a phenomenon that occurs when two nearby cyclonic vortices move around each other and close the distance between the circulations of their corresponding low-pressure areas.
  • When cyclones are in proximity of one another, their centers will circle each other cyclonically (counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere) about a point between the two systems due to their cyclonic wind circulations.
  • The two vortices will be attracted to each other, and eventually spiral into the center point and merge.
  • When the two vortices are of unequal size, the larger vortex will tend to dominate the interaction, and the smaller vortex will circle around it.
  • Recently two tropical storms, formed in the western Atlantic Ocean at nearly the same time, are likely to impact the Gulf of Mexico, sparking concerns of the rare Fujiwhara effect that occurs when two hurricanes combine to form a mega hurricane.
  • The last time two tropical storms formed at the same time and struck the region was in 1933.
  • Marco is the 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season which runs from June to November.
  • It is likely to make landfall along the Louisiana state coastline August 24 evening.
  • Tropical storm Laura is the 12th named storm of the season and is currently hovering over the Caribbean.
  • This makes Marco and Laura the earliest 13th and 12th named storms respectively in the recorded history of Atlantic Hurricane season.
  • Their simultaneous formation in the western Atlantic Ocean created a Fujiwhara effect scare.

Arunachal Pradesh Demand for 6th Schedule

  • The 6th Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.
  • This special provision is provided under Article 244(2) and Article 275(1) of the Constitution.
  • The tribes in the above states have not assimilated much with the life and ways of the other people in these states.
  • According to Bordoloi Committee formed by the Constituent Assembly, the 6th Schedule was formulated to provide limited autonomy to the tribal regions of North-East.
  • The committee report stated that there was a need for a system of administration that would allow tribal areas to become developed.
  • The report also called for the protection of these tribal areas from exploitation by the people in the plains and preserving their distinct social customs.
  • Recently few Autonomous Councils in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the 6th Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.
  • Currently Arunachal Pradesh is neither under 5th Schedule nor under 6th Schedule.
  • It is under the Inner Line Permit (ILP) system.
  • The 6th Schedule is applied in Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura.
  • The 5th Schedule areas are declared in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.
  • On the other hand, Article 371 A is applied in Nagaland which provides special status to Nagaland.

Article 371 A

  • The Acts of Parliament relating to the following matters would not apply to Nagaland unless decided by the State Legislative Assembly:
  1. Religious or social practices of the Nagas.
  2. Naga customary law and procedure.
  3. Administration of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary law.
  4. Ownership and transfer of land and its resources.

Credit Guarantee Scheme for Subordinate Debt (CGSSD)

  • Union Ministry of MSME has launched subordinate debt scheme to provide financial facility to stressed MSMEs.
  • It aims to provide emergency credit support to MSMEs impacted by coronavirus lockdown.
  • Under CGSSD the government has operationalized Rs 20,000 crore stressed fund which is likely to benefit around 2 lakh medium and small entrepreneurs.
  • CGSSD is a part the Rs 20.97 lakh crore Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package.
  • The highlights of the scheme are
  1. It seeks to extend support to the promoters of the operational MSMEs which are stressed and have become NPA as on April 30, 2020.
  2. The promoters of the MSME unit will be given credit equal to 15 percent of stake in the company or Rs 75 lakh, whichever is lower.
  3. As per the latest norms, this scheme seeks to extend support to MSMEs whose accounts have been standard as on March 31, 2018, and have been in regular operations, either as standard accounts, or as NPA accounts during financial year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  4. Fraud/willful defaulter accounts will not be considered under the proposed scheme.
  5. The scheme is valid for stressed MSME units which were Special Mention Accounts (SMA-2) and NPA as of April 30, 2020, who were eligible for restructuring as per RBI guidelines on the books of the lending institutions.

Special Mention Accounts

  • Special Mention Accounts are those assets/accounts that shows symptoms of bad asset quality in the first 90 days itself or before it being identified as NPA.
  • The classification of Special Mention Accounts (SMA) was introduced by the RBI in 2014, to identify those accounts that has the potential to become an NPA/Stressed Asset. 
  • The Special Mention Accounts are usually categorized in terms of duration.
  • There are four types of Special Mention Accounts
  1. SMA –NF - Non-financial indications about stress of an asset is considered.
  2. SMA-0 are those accounts in which loan repayments are wholly or partly overdue for a period of up to 30 days.
  3. SMA-1 for period between 31 and 60 days.
  4. SMA-2 for 61-90 days.

DNA Technology Regulation Act

  • DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2019 tries to check use of DNA technology to establish the identity of a person.
  • The bill proposes DNA sampling and profiling of citizens accused of crime or reported missing and storing their unique genetic information for administrative purposes.
  • The bill has been flagged with some alarming provisions that could be misused for caste or community-based profiling.
  • Sensitive Info - DNA profiles can reveal extremely sensitive information of an individual such as pedigree, skin color, behavior, illness, health status and susceptibility to diseases.
  • This is particularly worrying as it could even be used to incorrectly link a particular caste/community to criminal activities.
  • Misuse of DNA Database - The Bill proposes to store DNA profiles of suspects, under trials, victims and their relatives for future investigations.
  • There is no legal or moral justification for a database with DNA of the other categories, given the high potential for misuse.
  • Authoritative - In the Bill, if a person is arrested for an offence that carries punishment up to seven years, investigation authorities must take the person’s written consent before taking the DNA sample.
  • The Bill refers to consent in several provisions, but in each of those, a magistrate can easily override consent, thereby in effect, making consent perfunctory.
  • There is also no guidance in the Bill on the grounds and reasons of when the magistrate can override consent, which could become a fatal flaw.
  • Issues in Data banks - The Bill also provides that DNA profiles for civil matters will also be stored in the data banks, but without a clear and separate index.
  • Storage of DNA profiles violates the fundamental right to privacy and does not serve any public purpose.

Air Quality in Mega Cities

  • Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), a Delhi based think tank has analyzed air quality, in the following Mega cities
  1. Delhi
  2. Mumbai
  3. Kolkata
  4. Hyderabad
  5. Chennai
  6. Bangalore
  • Local meteorological events have also influenced the air quality of different cities.
  • Highlights of the Analysis
  1. All cities other than Delhi had better air quality, in terms of PM2.5 levels.
  2. Throughout the COVID-19 lockdown, air pollution in Delhi was less compared to 2019, however the air quality of the city was still worst among six large cities in different parameters
  3. The daily average PM2.5 levels in Delhi had breached the safe value on 56 days between March 25 and May 31 in 2019 and it exceeded the safe limit on 14 days this year.
  4. The cleanest period is usually during monsoon and this essentially means that the PM2.5 levels of Chennai and Kolkata were better during the lockdown than last year’s monsoon.
  5. In Bangalore and Delhi, the average air quality during 54 days of lockdown was only 20% worse than last year’s monsoon.

Panel to conserve Edakkal Caves

  • The Edakkal Caves are located on the Ambukuthi Hills (a part of the Western Ghats) on the Mysore Plateau, in Wayanad district of Kerala. It is located 1,200m above the sea level.
  • It has engravings from the late Neolithic period, the only evidence for the existence of true Neolithic Culture in Kerala.
  • Some of the carvings in the caves date back to 6000 BC and hence, even sound can impact them.
  • The neolithic petroglyphs on the cave walls still await protection from illegal constructions, mining, and urbanisation.
  • Authorities had been looking to get the caves labelled as UNESCO World Heritage Site to help conserve the site.
  • Recently government has constituted a nine-member expert committee to conduct a detailed study on the present state of the Edakkal caves.
  • The committee would consist of experts in archaeology, history, geology, rock mechanics, and conservation.


Source: The Hindu, Business Today, Down To Earth

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