A) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
1. Women Architects of the Indian Constitution (PIB)
- The Constituent Assembly, the body set up to draft the Constitution of India, held its first session on December 9, 1946, and was attended by 207 members, including nine women.
- Initially, the Assembly had 389 members; however, after Independence and Partition, its strength was reduced to 299.
- Among the 299 members of the assembly, 15 were women who had either been voted or chosen to represent their provinces.
- Women were first granted the right to vote in provincial legislatures in the early 1920’s, stand for elections by late 1920’s and later through the Government of India Act, 1935.
- Voting was restricted to people who owned property and by 1935 it expanded to include wives and widows of existing male voters, or women with some literary qualification.
- In the 1937 provincial elections, historians point out that roughly 2 per cent of the women participated in the election.
- The first woman to be elected to a legislative assembly was Dr. Muthu Lakshmi Reddy in 1927.
(i) Dakshayani Velayudhan
- She was the first and only Dalit woman to be elected to the constituent assembly in 1946.
- She served as a member of the assembly, and as a part of the provisional parliament from 1946-52.
- At 34, she was also one of the youngest members of the assembly.
- Dakshayani Velyudhan was the niece of Krishnaadi Asan, and the sister of K.K Madhavan lawyer.
- One of the more novel forms of protest was led by an organization called the Pulaya Mahajana Sabha in 1913.
- Founded by Kallachamuri Krishnaadi Asan, Pandit Karuppan and T.K. Krishna Menon, along with K.P. Vallon, the Sabha, named after the Pulaya caste, organized a Kayal Sammelan, or lake meeting.
- The meeting that took place on a catamaran in Vembanad lake was in defiance of the king, who had proclaimed that no Dalit group could have a meeting in his land.
- By holding the meeting on water, the group claimed that “they did not disobey the king”.
- Interesting in her arguments, on the 19th of December 1946 soon after Nehru had tabled his aims and objectives resolution, was the invocation of the Licchavi Kingdom of ancient India as an example a republic.
- Licchavi kingdom which originated in Benaras, was infact a tribal confederation as described by Kautilya.
- It had a council of ‘rajas’ who elected a leader to rule over them.
- Dakshayani Velayudhan vehemently opposed separate electorates for socially depressed classes.
- Velayudhan was scathing about the draft constitution presented by Ambedkar.
- She found the draft constitution “barren of ideas and principles”.
- The blame, she said, had to be shared by all the members of the constituent assembly who, in spite of lofty ideals, illustrious backgrounds and prodigious speeches, could not come up with an original constitution.
- One fascinating idea that she suggested was to have the draft constitution put to vote during the first general elections and to test its mettle with the people who would ultimately use it.
(ii) Hansa Jivraj Mehta
- Hansa Jivraj Mehta served in the constituent assembly from 1946-49.
- Her appointment to the constituent assembly was from Bombay.
- On 15 August 1947, a few minutes after midnight, Mehta, on behalf of the “women of India”, presented the national flag to the assembly—the first flag to fly over independent India.
- She had started a two-year term at the SNDT Women’s University in Bombay, as India’s first woman vice-chancellor.
- Internationally, in the same year, she served as a member of the UN sub-committee on the status of women, and vice-chair, with Eleanor Roosevelt, on the committee which drafted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that was adopted by the UN.
- With Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, she framed the Indian Women’s Charter of Rights and Duties and fought for the uniform civil code (UCC); with Vijayalakshmi Pandit, she worked on women’s equality and human rights in the UN.
- Mehta played an integral role in a women’s movement that pushed for the abolition of child marriage (the Sarda Act) as well as the devadasi system, for better educational opportunities for women, and personal law reforms.
- Mehta’s most significant contribution to the constituent assembly debates was in trying to make the UCC a justiciable part of the constitution.
- Their motion to pass this as a right was overturned.
- The UCC went on to become a non-justiciable directive principle.
- She was appointed to the UN Human Rights Council after Nehru recommended her for the position.
- She piloted a change of phrase in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, from “All men are born free and equal” to “All human beings are born free and equal”.
(iii) Purnima Banerji
- Purnima Banerji* was a part of the constituent assembly from 1946 – 1950.
- She represented the United Provinces in the assembly.
- She led the chorus in singing Jana Gana Manaafter its official adoption as the national anthem on January 24th, 1950.
- In 1941, she and Sucheta Kripalani were arrested for offering Individual Satyagraha.
- She backed the Article 22 of the preventive detention clause in the constitution, and stood up to make a case for returning women to seats vacated by women in the parliament.
- Purnima Banerji debated at length about the rights of detained people and called for lowering the qualifying age for membership in the state legislature.
(iv) Leela Roy
- Leela Roy was sworn in as a member of the constituent assembly from Bengal in December 1946.
- She was the only woman member from Bengal to be elected to the assembly.
- She resigned her post a few months later to protest against the partition of India.
- She started Deepali Sangha in 1923, a women’s group that encouraged and taught social, and political awareness to women, alongside leadership training, and physical fitness.
- Leela Roy was also the first female member to enter the ‘core group of an all male revolutionary party’, when she joined Shree Sangha in 1926.
- Revolutionary groups like the Shree Sangha, and its predecessors the ‘Anushilan Samiti’ and ‘Juguntar’ were conceived primarily as all male bastions where men would pledge their lives for violent, nationalist causes.
- In 1931, Leela Roy launched Jayashree Patrika, a magazine targeting women, edited and written by women.
- She was instrumental in forming the Dacca Mahila Satyagraha Sangha, which played an active role in the anti-salt tax movement.
- In 1937, she joined the Congressand in the next year, founded the Bengal Provincial Congress Women’s Organisation.
(v) Malati Devi Choudhury
- Malati Devi Choudhury was sworn in as a constituent assembly member from Orissa, on 9th December 1946.
- She quit the assembly soon after, She writes “when the eminent jurists like Shri Gopalswamy Ayangar, Shri Ambedkar, Munshiji, Durgaben Desmukh, sitting in the first row, were found busy in writing the Constitution of our country collecting materials from the constitutions of different countries, I, sitting in the last row, was feeling like a helpless school student. The thought crossed my mind that I did not have a place in the Constituent Assembly. The attempt to write the Constitution of our country by borrowing from the constitutions of other countries did not appear to me proper”
- She was nicknamed “toofani” by Gandhiji due to her restlessness
- She, along with her husband and other socialist workers began the Utkal Congress Socialist Workers League in 1933.
- It was by many accounts the first openly socialist organization in India.
- The organization identified with Marxism and the idea of uniting the ‘workers of the world’.
- She played a central role in the peasant uprisings in Orissa during the 1930s.
(vi) Vijayalakshmi Pandit
- Vijayalakshmi Pandit represented the United Provinces at the assembly for a few months before resigning to fulfill her duties as Independent India’s ambassador to Moscow.
- She also served as the first woman president of the United Nations General Assembly in 1953.
- 1937 provincial elections catapulted Vijayalakshmi Pandit to her first official political role, she was appointed as minister for local self-government and public health in the United Province.
- As the first woman cabinet minister in India, she was one of the 56 women who entered the legislature that year.
- She resigned the post in 1939 along with the rest of the elected officials to protest against Britain volunteering India for the war without consultation of the elected government.
- Vijayalakshmi Pandit in 1937, as a minister of the UP assembly, moved to table the resolution that condemned the Government of India Act, 1935, and demanded it be replaced by a Constitution for a free India framed by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of adult franchise.
- She, in 1945, headed the Indian delegation to the Pacific Relations conference in Virginia, which was set up to discuss the role of America in promoting democracies in colonies post the World War.
- She was also present at the San Fransisco Conference on Charter of the United Nations.
- Although she was not part of the officially chosen British delegation representing India, she went there with the backing of Gandhi.
- In September 1953, she was appointed as the first woman and the first Asian to be elected president of the N. General Assembly.
- She was also appointed as India’s representative to the UN human rights commission in 1979.
(vii) Annie Mascarene
- Annie Mascarene signed in to the constituent assembly in December 1948 representing Travancore and Cochin Union.
- She went on to serve, briefly from 1949-1950, as a Minister in charge of Health and Power, the first time a woman had held a ministerial post.
- She also earned the distinction of being the first and only women amongst 10 people elected to the first Lok Sabha as an independent candidate from Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency in India’s first general election in 1951.
(viii) Sarojini Naidu
- She was the first Indian woman to be president of the Indian National Congressand to be appointed as an Indian state governor.
- She is popularly called “the Nightingale of India”.
- She accompanied Gandhi to London for the inconclusive second session of the Round Table Conferencein 1931.
- Sarojini Naidu was also known for her literary prowess and in 1914 she was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
(ix) Sucheta Kriplani
- She is especially remembered for her role in the Quit India Movementof 1942.
- Kripalani also established the women’s wing of the Congress party in 1940.
- She was India’s first woman Chief Minister (Uttar Pradesh).
(x) Renuka Ray
- In 1934. as legal secretary of the AIWC, she submitted a document titled ‘Legal Disabilities of Women in India; A Plea for a Commission of Enquiry’.
- This articulated the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC)’s disappointment with the treatment of the Sharda Bill and their commitment to the legal review of the situation of women before the law in India.
(xi) Rajkumari Amrit Kaur
- She was India’s first Health Minister and she held that post for ten years and was Mahatma Gandhi’s secretary for 16 years.
- She was the founder of All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS).
- When she died in 1964, The New York Timescalled her “a princess in her nation’s service”.
(xii) Kamla Chaudhary
- Kamla Chaudhary represented the United Provinces at the assembly.
(xiii) Durgabai Deshmukh
- At twelve years of age, she participated in the Non-Co-operation Movementand along with Andhra Kesari T. Prakasam, she participated in the Salt Satyagraha movement in Madras city in May 1930.
- In 1936, she established the Andhra Mahila Sabha,which within a decade became a great institution of education and social welfare in the city of Madras.
- She also served as a Member of the Planning Commission.
(xiv) Begum Aizaz Rasul
- She was the only Muslim woman member of the Constituent Assembly.
(xv) Ammu Swaminathan
- She formed the Women’s India Associationin 1917 in Madras, along with Annie Besant, Margaret Cousins, Malathi Patwardhan, Mrs Dadabhoy and Mrs Ambujammal.
- She became a part of the Constituent Assemblyfrom the Madras Constituency in 1946.
2. Tenth Schedule of the Constitution for Defection (TH)
- Context: India’s first Member of Parliament to have been disqualified from the Lok Sabha has now been disqualified as an MLA in Mizoram.
- Mizoram Assembly Speaker, Lalrinliana Sailo, on Friday debarred Lalduhoma, a retired IPS officer who was in charge of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s security, from the 40-member House.
- The disqualification was on the ground that Mr. Lalduhoma had declared himself as a representative of the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) despite being elected as an independent candidate from the Serchhip constituency.
- The disqualification made Mr. Lalduhoma, 71, earn the dubious distinction of meeting the same fate in Parliament and an Assembly.
- In 1988, the former police officer became the first MP to have been disqualified under the Anti-Defection Law for giving up membership of the Congress (I).
- The anti-defection law, referred to as the Tenth Schedule, was added to the Constitution through the Fifty-Second (Amendment) Act, 1985, again amended in by the 91st amendment of the Constitution in 2003.
- The law applies to both Parliament and State Assemblies.
- A member incurs a disqualification under the defection law if:
- He voluntary gives up the membership of the political party on whose ticket he is elected to the House;
- He votes or abstains from voting in the House contrary to any direction given by his political; party;
- Any independently elected member joins any political party; and
- Any nominated member joins any political party after the expiry of six months.
- The disqualifications under the 10th schedule are decided by the Chairman in the case of Rajya Sabha/Legislative Council and Speaker in the case of Lok Sabha/Legislative Assembly (and not by the President or Governors).
- The decision of the Chairman/Speaker in this regard is subject to judicial review.
- The Constitution has limited the powers of the court to judicially review the Speaker’s order under the Tenth Schedule.
- An order of the Speaker under the Tenth Schedule could be subject to judicial review only on four grounds: mala fide, perversity, violation of the constitutional mandate and order passed in violation of natural justice – the Kihoto Hollohan case.
- Indian law allows a person to be sworn in as Minister and provides six months for the person to be elected to either of the Houses. However, “if MLAs are disqualified for defection, they cannot become Ministers till they are successfully elected as legislators.”
- In the light of the existing constitutional mandate, the Speaker is not empowered to disqualify any member till the end of the term. However, a member disqualified under Tenth Schedule cannot be appointed Minister or hold any remunerative political post till the date on which the term of his office as such member would expire or till the person is elected to either of the Houses, whichever is earlier.
- 91st amendment act, 2003 – Relates to the anti-defection laws and restricting the size of the council of ministers to aid and advice the President.
- 91st amendment act sates that the size of the council of ministers and in the respective state governments should not be more than 15% of the total members of lower house (i.e. 15% strength of Lok Sabha in the parliament and 15% strength of lower houses of respective states legislatures), the minimum strength in the case of small states (Sikkim, Mizoram, Goa) is being 12 due to lower strength of the Legislative assembly of that states, Sikkim – 32, Mizoram – 40, Goa – 40.
- 91st Amendment act of Indian constitution also state that person who is disqualified under anti-defection law (Schedule 10th of Indian constitution) shall not be appointed as a minister nor hold and remunerative political post from the period of disqualification.
Are there any exceptions under the law?
- Yes, legislators may change their party without the risk of disqualification in certain circumstances.
- The law allows a party to merge with or into another party provided that at least two-thirds of its legislators are in favour of the merger.
- In such a scenario, neither the members who decide to merge, nor the ones who stay with the original party will face disqualification.
- Various expert committees have recommended that rather than the Presiding Officer, the decision to disqualify a member should be made by the President (in case of MPs) or the Governor (in case of MLAs) on the advice of the Election Commission.
- This would be similar to the process followed for disqualification in case the person holds an office of profit (i.e. the person holds an office under the central or state government which carries a remuneration, and has not been excluded in a list made by the legislature).
Is there a time limit within which the Presiding Officer has to decide?
- The law does not specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea.
- Given that courts can intervene only after the Presiding Officer has decided on the matter, the petitioner seeking disqualification has no option but to wait for this decision to be made.
Article 190: Vacation of seats
- (1) If a person becomes member of both Houses of the legislature of a State, then he has to vacate his seat in one House or the other.
- (2) If a person becomes member of the legislatures of two or more States, then that persons’ seat in the Legislatures of all such States shall become vacant, unless he has previously resigned his seat in the Legislatures of all but one of the States.
- (3) If a member of a House of the Legislature of a State
- (a) becomes subject to any of the disqualifications mentioned in clause (1) or clause (2) of Article 191 (discussed ahead); or
- (b) his resignation is accepted by the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be:
- If from information received or otherwise and after making such inquiry as he thinks fit, the Speaker or the Chairman, as the case may be, is satisfied that such resignation is not voluntary or genuine, he shall not accept such resignation.
- (4) If for a period of sixty days a member of a House of the Legislature of a State is without permission of the House absent from all meetings thereof, the House may declare his seat vacant:
- Provided that in computing the said period of sixty days no account shall be taken of any period during which the House is prorogued or is adjourned for more than four consecutive days.
Clause (1) or clause (2) of Article 191 of Constitution of India “Disqualifications for membership”
- (1) A person shall be disqualified for being chosen as, and for being, a member of the Legislative Assembly or Legislative Council of a State-
- (a) if he holds any office of profit (being a Minister either for the Union or for such State is not office of profit).
- (b) if he is of unsound mind and stands so declared by a competent court;
- (c) if he is an undischarged insolvent;
- (d) if he is not a citizen of India, or has voluntarily acquired the citizenship of a foreign State, or is under any acknowledgement of allegiance or adherence to a foreign State;
- (e) if he is so disqualified by or under any law made by Parliament.
- (2) if he is so disqualified under the Tenth Schedule (anti-defection).
B) Economic Developments: India and World
3. GDP contracts 7.5% in second quarter (TH)
- Context: India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contracted 7.5% in the second quarter of 2020-21, following the record 23.9% decline recorded in the first quarter, as per estimates released by the National Statistical Office.
- The country has now entered a technical recession with two successive quarters of negative growth.
- Agriculture, which was the only sector to record growth between April and June this year, grew at the same pace of 3.4% in the second quarter.
Real Vs Nominal GDP
- If we use current prices of goods and services to calculate GDP, we get Nominal GDP.
- But, to get real GDP we use the prices in the base year. The base year for India is 2011-12.
- Real GDP is also known as GDP at constant prices.
- It is calculated to eliminate the effect of price rise in GDP.
- In short, Real GDP is Nominal GDP adjusted for inflation.
- Nominal GDP growth does not take inflation into account, and is thus higher than real GDP growth.
GDP Vs GVA
- Gross domestic product (GDP) is the monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period.
- GVA provides the rupee value for the amount of goods and services produced in an economy after deducting the cost of inputs and raw materials that have gone into the production of those goods and services.
- It also gives sector-specific picture like what is the growth in an area, industry or sector of an economy.
- At the macro level, it is the sum of a country’s GDP and net of subsidies and taxes in the economy.
- While GVA gives a picture of the state of economic activity from the producers’ side or supply side, the GDP model gives the picture from the consumers’ side or demand perspective.
- Gross value added = GDP + subsidies on products – taxes on products.
- The Reserve Bank has recently switched back to the gross domestic product (GDP)-based measure to offer its growth estimates from the gross value added (GVA) methodology, citing global best practices.
- The government had started analysing growth estimates using GVA methodology from January 2015 and had also changed the base year to 2018 from January.
- Globally, the performance of most economies is gauged in terms of gross domestic product (GDP).
- This is also the approach followed by multilateral institutions, international analysts and investors, and primarily they all stick to this norm because it facilitates easy cross-country comparisons.
- However, it is not gross domestic product (GDP) but the gross value added (GVA) methodology that helps in the supply side measure of economic activity.
- The share of various sectors in Gross Value Added (GVA) during last three years in descending order: Services > Industry > Agriculture, forestry & fishing > Manufacturing
GDP (Nominal) Vs GDP (PPP)
- GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is the total market value of all final goods and services produced in a country in a given period.
- Each country reports its data in its own currency.
- To compare the data, each country’s statistics must be converted into a common currency.
- The two most common methods to convert GDP into a common currency are nominal and purchasing power parity (PPP).
- Nominal GDP estimates are commonly used to determine the economic performance of a whole country or region, and to make international comparisons.
- It is the original concept of GDP.
- In Nominal method, market exchange rates are used for conversion.
- It does not take into account differences in the cost of living in different countries.
- Fluctuations in the exchange rates of the country’s currency may change a country’s ranking from one year to the next, even though they often make little or no difference to the standard of living of its population.
- PPP basis arguably more useful when comparing differences in living standards between nations.
- PPP is an exchange rate at which the currency of one country is converted into that of the second country in order to purchase the same volume of goods and services in both countries.
- If a hamburger is selling in London for £2 and in New York for $4, this would imply a PPP exchange rate of 1 pound to 2 U.S. dollars.
- PPP exchange rates are relatively stable over time.
- Drawbacks of PPP is that PPP is harder to measure than nominal.
- Out of 192 countries/economies, about 178 have higher GDP in PPP basis and 13 have higher in nominal.
- Nominal and PPP are identical in the US, because USD is used as the benchmark.
- 30 economies has higher PPP values by more than 3 times.
- South Sudan has highest difference between PPP and nominal GDP calculation. This value is lowest for Iceland (0.74).
- There is a large gap between nominal and PPP based GDP in emerging market and developing countries. But for advanced countries, difference is much closer.
- In GDP (PPP), India is the third largest economy after China and US and is followed by Japan, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Brazil, UK and France.
- In top 10, Eight countries are common in both methods. Others two Italy and Canada are in top 10 on nominal basis, while Russia and Indonesia are in top 10 on PPP basis.
- In the long run, the market exchange rates gradually converge to the PPP exchange rate. This is called the theory of purchasing power parity (PPP).
- Note: India ranks 141st in Nominal GDP per capita and 123rd in GDP per capita at PPP.
- GDP per capita is calculated by dividing the GDP by the total population of a country.
- It measures the average income of a country.
- It is used as an indicator of living standards.
Difference between GNP, GDP and GNI
- GNP and GDP both reflect the national output and income of an economy.
- The main difference is that GNP (Gross National Product) takes into account net income receipts from abroad.
- GNP is final value of all services and products produced by a country’s own residents regardless of their location (within or outside the country i.e. TCS in US).
- In GNP we do not consider production by a foreign entity in India but we do consider income earned by Indians living abroad.
Example of GNP
- If a Japanese multinational produces cars in the UK, this production will be counted towards UK GDP.
- However, if the Japanese firm sends £50m in profits back to shareholders in Japan, then this outflow of profit is subtracted from GNP.
Gross National Income
- GNI = value of goods and services produced by (residents + foreigners) + money came to India in the form of remittances or other – money going to foreign country in the form of remittances or other.
- GNI is almost equal to GDP when incomes from foreign are balanced by outgoings from our country.
- But in case of India, our GNI is much lower than GDP because our outgoings are more than receivables.
- GDP = Consumption + Investment + Government spending + Exports – Imports
- GNI = GDP + payments by foreign nationals into the country for such things as investments (interest and dividends), less similar payments paid out of the country.
- GNP = GDP + Net Income Receipts from assets abroad less income of foreign nationals within the country.
- GDP and GNI thus refer to economic income within the borders of the country, while GNP refers to economic output by the country’s residents.
What is the GDP deflator?
- The GDP deflator, also called implicit price deflator, is a measure of inflation.
- It is the ratio of the value of goods and services an economy produces in a particular year at current prices to that of prices that prevailed during the base year.
- This ratio helps show the extent to which the increase in gross domestic product has happened on account of higher prices rather than increase in output.
- Since the deflator covers the entire range of goods and services produced in the economy — as against the limited commodity baskets for the wholesale or consumer price indices — it is seen as a more comprehensive measure of inflation.
- GDP price deflator measures the difference between real GDP and nominal GDP.
- Nominal GDP differs from real GDP as the former doesn’t include inflation, while the latter does.
- As a result, nominal GDP will most often be higher than real GDP in an expanding economy.
- The formula to find the GDP price deflator:
- GDP price deflator = (nominal GDP ÷ real GDP) x 100
- GDP deflator is available only on a quarterly basis along with GDP estimates.
Gross fixed capital formation pg 10
- Gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) refers to the net increase in physical assets (investment minus disposals) within the measurement period.
- Physical assets: Plant, machinery, construction of roads, railways, private residential dwellings, and commercial and industrial buildings etc.
- It does not account for the consumption (depreciation) of fixed capital, and also does not include land purchases.
- It is essentially net investment or a proxy for investment activity in an economy.
- It is a component of the Expenditure method of calculating GDP.
- The gross capital formation in India is about 28.6% of the GDP.
- A greater part of this capital formation in case of India happens in the private sector and a smaller part happens in the public sector.
- In the public sector, a much smaller part happens in the government.
- The larger part happens by the public sector companies.
4. Fiscal deficit and other economy related terms (TH)
- Context: The Union Government’s fiscal deficit further widened to 120% of the annual budget estimate, at the end of October of the current fiscal.
- The deficit widened mainly due to poor revenue realisation.
- The lockdown imposed to curb spreading of coronavirus infections had significantly impacted business activities and in turn contributed to sluggish revenue realisation.
- Gross Fiscal Deficit is defined as the excess of total expenditure of the government over the total non-debt creating receipts.
- Net fiscal deficit can be arrived at by deducting net domestic lending from gross fiscal deficit.
- Revenue deficit arises when the government’s actual net receipts is lower than the projected receipts.
- Revenue deficit signifies that government’s own earning is insufficient to meet normal functioning of government departments and provision of services.
- An increase in the ratio of revenue deficit to gross fiscal deficit indicates an increase in the utilization of borrowed funds for revenue purposes.
- It indicates increase in liabilities of the Central Government without increase in the assets of that Government.
- The difference between fiscal deficit and revenue deficit is the government’s capital expenditure.
- Effective Revenue Deficit
- In the 2012-13 budget, the concept of effective revenue deficit was introduced that excluded grants for the creation of capital assets from conventional revenue deficit.
- Effective Revenue Deficit is the difference between revenue deficit and grants for creation of capital assets.
- Grants for creation of capital assets are defined as “the grants-in-aid given by the Central Government to the State Governments, constitutional authorities or bodies, autonomous bodies and other scheme implementing agencies for creation of capital assets which are owned by the said entities”.
- The concept of effective revenue deficit has been suggested by the Rangarajan Committee on Public Expenditure.
- It is aimed to deduct the money used out of borrowing to finance capital expenditure.
- The concept has been introduced to ascertain the actual deficit in the revenue account after adjusting for expenditure of capital nature.
- Focusing on this will help in reducing the consumptive component of revenue deficit and create space for increased capital spending.
- Trade deficit: A nation has a trade deficit if the total value of goods and services it imports is greater than the total value of those it exports.
- Primary Deficit: It is the difference between the current year’s fiscal deficit (total income – total expenditure of the government) and the interest paid on the borrowings of the previous year.
- Primary Deficit = Fiscal Deficit (Total expenditure – Total income of the government) – Interest payments (of previous borrowings).
- Fiscal deficit is also defined as the difference between the total expenditure of the government and its total income.
- What does Primary Deficit indicate? Primary deficit is measured to know the amount of borrowing that the government can utilize, excluding the interest payments.
- A decrease in primary deficit shows progress towards fiscal health.
- Note that the difference between the primary deficit and fiscal deficit reflects the amount of interest payment on public debt generated in the past.
- Hence, when the primary deficit is zero, the fiscal deficit becomes equal to the interest payment. This means that the government has resorted to borrowings just to pay off the interest payments. Further, nothing is added to the existing loan.
- Budget Deficit and Monetized Deficit are the deficits on the basis of financing.
- Fiscal Deficit, Primary Deficit, Revenue Deficit and Effective Revenue Deficit are the deficits on the basis of type of transactions.
- Factor income: It is determined by subtracting income made by citizens of a country on their foreign investments from income earned by foreigners on their investments within the country.
- Current/Financial transfers: They include interest earnings, foreign remittances, donations, aids and grants, official assistance, pensions etc.
- Current account deficit/balance: trade deficit + factor income + financial transfers OR
- CAD/CAB = (X−M) + (NY+NCT) where:
- X = Exports of goods and services
- M=Imports of goods and services
- NY=Net income abroad
- NCT=Net current transfers
- Balance of payments: The balance of payments is the sum of all transactions between a nation and all of its international trading partners.
- Fiscal expansion is generally defined as an increase in economic spending owing to actions taken by the government.
- Expansionary fiscal policy can also lead to inflation because of the higher demand in the economy.
- A general increase in overall spending can cause the cash flow leaving the country to increase as consumers and the government both purchase more. This increases the debit side of the balance of payments.
- Fiscal expansion generally worsens the Inflation and Balance of payments.
C) Science and Technology, Defence, Space
5. Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) (TH)
- Context: Acknowledging its contributions to the important work of exploring the universe through radio astronomy, the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) has been selected as a ‘Milestone’ facility by the U.S.-based Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), which is the world’s largest technical professional organisation dedicated to advancing technology in all areas related to electrical and electronics engineering.
- The IEEE Milestones programme honours significant technical achievements which have global or regional impact.
- This is only the third such IEEE ‘Milestone’ recognition for an Indian contribution.
- The previous two Indian IEEE Milestones were for the pioneering work done by Sir J.C. Bose to demonstrate the generation and reception of radio waves in 1895 (recognised in 2012), and for the Nobel Prize-winning (in 1930) ‘scattering of light’ phenomenon observed by Sir C.V. Raman in 1928.
- Considering the global impact of GMRT with users from over 40 countries and the fact that it was designed and built entirely in India, the IEEE’s India office and its Pune branch had initiated the proposal to nominate GMRT for this recognition.
- Note: GMRT has been comprehensively covered in 18th Oct file.
6. Explained: Blue tide spotted at Mumbai beaches (IE)
- Context: Bioluminescence or light-emitting tide made an appearance on Tuesday night on Juhu beach in Mumbai and other areas along the Maharashtra state’s coastline.
- The phenomenon is called ‘blue tide’, and appears when luminescent marine life make the sea appear a deep shade of blue.
- This happens when phytoplankton (microscopic marine plants), commonly known as dinoflagellates, produce light through chemical reactions in proteins.
- Waves disturb these unicellular microorganisms and make them release blue light.
What is Bioluminescence?
- Bioluminescence is the property of a living organism to produce and emit light.
- Animals, plants, fungi and bacteria show bioluminescence. A remarkable diversity of marine animals and microbes are able to produce their own light.
- It is found in many marine organisms such as bacteria, algae, jellyfish, worms, crustaceans, sea stars, fish and sharks.
- Luminescence is generally higher in deep-living and planktonic organisms than in shallow
Why do they glow?
- It is an antipredatory response.
- Bioluminescence is assumed to startle predators, causing them to hesitate, in a form of predator intimidation.
- Another explanation is that bioluminescence helps these organisms gather together and make colonies.
Are bioluminescent waves common in India?
- Bioluminescence has been an annual occurrence along the west coast since 2016 during the months of November and December.
- Recently, the ‘blue tide’ was witnessed along Dakshina Kannada-Udupi coast.
- While bioluminescence is not common in India, there are several tourist places across the
- world which are famous for the phenomenon.
- The Blue Grotto in Malta, Bioluminescent Bay in Puerto Rico, San Diego in California, Navarre Beach in Florida, and Toyama Bay in Japan.
Is the blue tide harmful?
- While smaller blooms may be harmless, slow-moving larger blooms may have an impact on deep-sea fishing.
- According to marine experts, the phenomenon is an indicator of climate change.
- Factors such as the pattern of the wind and the temperature of the ocean
- also determine the occurrence of bioluminescent waves.
- It is an ecological indicator of degraded water quality.
- The phytoplankton shows up where seawater has low dissolved oxygen and
- high presence of Nitrogen.
- Bioluminescence could also be caused by heavy rain, fertilizers run off, discharge of sewage into the ocean.
FLUORESCENCE VS. BIOLUMINESCENCE VS. BIOPHOSPHORESCENCE
- Fluorescence is the emission of electromagnetic radiation, usually visible light, caused by excitation of atoms in a material, which then re-emit almost immediately.
- It is a form of luminescence.
- In most cases, the emitted light has a longer wavelength, and therefore lower energy, than the absorbed radiation.
- Fluorescence occurs frequently in nature in some minerals and in various biological states in many branches of the animal kingdom.
- A fluorescent lightbulb is coated on the inside with a powder and contains a gas; electricity causes the gas to emit ultraviolet radiation, which then stimulates the tube coating to emit light.
- The pixels of a television or computer screen fluoresce when electrons from an electron gun strike them.
- The addition of a fluorescing agent with emissions in the blue region of the spectrum to detergents causes fabrics to appear whiter in sunlight.
- X-ray fluorescence is used to analyze minerals.
- Fluorescence is also a very important tool used in the biotechnology.
- Fluorescent molecules can be used directly or attached to other molecules to determine:
- the locations of certain structures within the cell,
- the presence of certain membrane constituents on the cell exterior (for the identification of cell type), or
- used by themselves to verify a certain activity within the cell (such as enzyme activity).
- When fluorescence occurs in a living organism, it is sometimes called biofluorescence.
- Bioluminescent means production of their own light through a series of chemical reactions or host bacteria that do.
- It’s a separate process from biofluorescence, in which blue light hits the surface of an animal and is reemitted as a different color, usually orange, red, or green.
- Fluorescence causes the light that is emitted to be a different color than the light that is absorbed.
- Stimulating light excites an electron, raising energy to an unstable level.
- This instability is unfavorable, so the energized electron is returned to a stable state almost as immediately as it becomes unstable.
- This return to stability corresponds with the release of excess energy in the form of fluorescence light.
- This emission of light is only observable when the stimulant light is still providing light to the organism/object and is typically yellow, pink, orange, red, green, or purple.
- Fluorescence is often confused with the different forms of biotic light, bioluminescence and biophosphorescence.
- Pumpkin toadlets that live in the Brazilian Atlantic forest are fluorescent.
- Bioluminescence differs from fluorescence in that it is the natural production of light by chemical reactions within an organism, whereas fluorescence is the absorption and re-emission of light from the environment.
- The phenomenon of bioluminescence occurs sporadically in a wide range of animals, from bacteria and fungi to insects, marine invertebrates, and fish, but it is not known to exist naturally in true plants or in amphibians, reptiles, birds, or mammals.
- Bioluminescence results from a chemical reaction in which the conversion of chemical energy to radiant energy is direct and virtually 100 percent efficient; i.e., very little heat is given off in the process.
- Glow of bacteria on decaying meat or fish,
- Shimmering radiance of protozoans in tropical seas
- Anglerfish (whose females sport a lure of glowing flesh that acts as bait for any prey close enough to be snatched) and flickering signals of fireflies.
- Both fluorescence and phosphorescence are spontaneous emissions of electromagnetic radiation.
- The difference is that the glow of fluorescence stops right after the source of excitatory radiation is switched off, whereas for phosphorescence, an afterglow with durations of fractions of a second up to hours can occur.
- Biophosphorescence is also similar to fluorescence in its requirement of light wavelengths as a provider of excitation energy.
- The difference here lies in the relative stability of the energized electron.
- Unlike with fluorescence, in phosphorescence the electron retains stability, emitting light that continues to “glow-in-the-dark” even after the stimulating light source has been removed.
- Glow-in-the-dark stickers are phosphorescent, but there are no truly phosphorescent animals known.
D) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
7. ‘Sea sparkle’ has affected marine food chain (TH)
- Context: The bloom of Noctiluca Scintillans, commonly known as “sea sparkle” that the Karnataka coast has been witnessing since about a month, has displaced microscopic algae called diatoms, which form the basis of the marine food chain.
- This has deprived food for the planktivorous fish.
- The toxic blooms of N. Scintillans were linked to massive fish and marine invertebrate kills.
- Though the species does not produce a toxin, it was found to accumulate toxic levels of ammonia, which is then excreted into the surrounding waters, possibly acting as the killing agent in blooms.
- The ammonia makes N. Scintillans unpalatable for most creatures. Only jellyfish and salps were known to prey on it.
- Scintillans grazes on other micro-organisms such as larvae, fish eggs, and diatoms.
- But the unicellular phytoplankton that live inside it can photosynthesise, turning sunlight into energy.
- They help their host cell survive even when food was scarce.
- Thus, N. Scintillans acts as both a plant and an animal.
- Plankton bloom was reported when the density of plankton would be more than 1,00,000 cells per m3.
- The bioluminescent Noctiluca Scintillans also brightened the sea water during night.
- Bioluminescence was the production and emission of light by a living organism and occurs due to a chemical reaction, involving a light-emitting molecule and an enzyme, called luciferin and luciferase.
E) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
8. Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) (PIB)
- Context: 8 Para athletes in four different sports included in TOPS scheme
- In order to improve India’s performance at Olympics and Paralympics, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports started the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) in September 2014; revamped in April 2018.
- The scheme has been extending all requisite support to probable athletes (not all athletes) identified for the Tokyo-2021, Paris-2024 and Los Angles-2028 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games including foreign training, monthly stipend etc.
- High priority category of sports discipline has been identified to put focus on and incentivize those sports disciplines played in the Olympics in which India has won medals in the last conducted Asian Games as well as Commonwealth Games or in which India has good chance of winning medals in the upcoming Olympics of 2024 (Paris) and 2028 (Los Angeles).
- Presently, nine sports disciplines, (i) Athletics, (ii) Badminton (iii) Hockey (iv) Shooting (v) Tennis (vi) Weightlifting (vii) Wrestling, (viii) Archery and (ix) Boxing have been categorised as ‘High Priority’.
- Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) covers the junior and sub-junior athletes also.
9. Explained: The legislation that makes Scotland the first country to make sanitary products free (IE)
- This week, the Scottish parliament passed a landmark legislation that has made period products such as sanitary pads and tampons free of cost to those people who need them.
- The bill is titled, “Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill” and was passed unanimously by the Scottish Parliament on November 24, making Scotland the first country to take such a step.
- The bill was introduced with the aim of tackling “period poverty”, which is when some people who need period products struggle to afford them.One of its central objectives is to “end the silence and stigma” that surrounds menstruation and also aims to remove “gendered barriers”.
- The bill aims to ensure that those who menstruate have “reasonably convenient” access to period products free of charge.
- One of its central objectives is to “end the silence and stigma” that surrounds menstruation and also aims to remove “gendered barriers”. The bill aims to ensure that those who menstruate have “reasonably convenient” access to period products free of charge.