28thFebruary,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date :28thFebruary,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project (TH, pg 15)
  • India’s Export of Fresh Fruits (PIB)
  • International Court of Justice (TH, pg 11)
  • National Science Day 2021 and Other important National Days (IE)
  • Fifth Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) (TH, pg 8)
  • Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) (TH, pg 15)
  • Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Project (TH, pg 15)

  • Context: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has protested against Canada’s decision to impose a digital services tax of 3% on large companies that sell various services in Canada.

Analysis

  • The issue of taxing large MNCs has always been a problem among many governments.
  • Many MNCs draw a large share of their revenue and profits from outside their home countries, yet they pay most of their taxes in their home country.
  • These include large technology companies such as Facebook, Apple, and Google which do business in developing countries like India and China but pay most taxes in the US or in tax shelters such as Ireland.
  • In a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in October 2021, the OECD/G20 Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project was agreed upon, wherein large MNCs will have to pay tax on a certain portion of their profits to the government of the foreign country where they do business.
  • To be particular, companies will have to allocate 25% of the residual profits, as profits earned in the foreign country and pay tax.
  • The countries also agreed to impose a minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15% on corporations with revenues and profits above a certain threshold level.
  • USTR has argued that Canada’s digital services tax goes against the spirit of the BEPS agreement.
  • Canada has contested that the digital services tax will not come into effect if the BEPS framework is implemented on time.
  1. India’s Export of Fresh Fruits (PIB)

  • Context:India’s export of fresh fruits has witnessed considerable growth.

Analysis

  • Fresh Grapes is the largest exported items among all fresh food category.
  • India’s major exporting destination of fresh fruits during 2020-21 were Bangladesh, Netherland, UAE, UK, Nepal etc. (in decreasing order of the value of the export)
  • The export of guavas from India sees a growth of 260% since 2013.

Agro-Climatic Requirements for Guavas

  • Guava is grown in both tropical and sub-tropical regions upto 1,500 m. above mean sea level.
  • It tolerates high temperatures and drought conditions prevalent in north India in summers.
  • However, it is susceptible to severe frost as it can kill the young plants.
  • An annual rainfall of about 100 cm. is sufficient during the rainy season (July-September).
  • Rainfall during the harvesting period deteriorates the quality of fruits.
  • Good quality guavas are produced in river basins.
  • The crop is sensitive to water-logging.
  1. International Court of Justice (TH, pg 11)

  • Context: Ukraine has lodged a complaint against Russia at the International Court of Justice in The Hague to get it to halt its invasion

Analysis

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations (UN).
  • It was established in June 1945 by the Charter of the United Nations.
  • The seat of the Court is at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • Of the six principal organs of the United Nations, it is the only one not located in New York (United States of America).
  • The main organs of the UN are the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council, the Trusteeship Council, the International Court of Justice, and the UN Secretariat.
  • All were established in 1945 when the UN was founded.
  • The Court has a dual role:
  • to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and
  • to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.
  • The Court is composed of 15 judges, who are elected for terms of office of nine years by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both bodies (UNSC and UNGA).
  • It is assisted by a Registry, its administrative organ.
  • Its official languages are English and French.
  • Judges are chosen on the basis of their qualifications, not their nationality, but no two judges can be from the same nationality.
  • The following are the qualifications of International Court of Justice (ICJ) judges:
  • A judge should have a high moral character.
  • A judge should fit to the qualifications of appointment of highest judicial officers as prescribed by their respective states or
  • A judge should be a jurisconsult of recognized competence in international law.
  • Effort is also taken to ensure that the principal legal systems of the world are reflected in the composition of the court.
  • Its judgments have binding force and are without appeal for the parties concerned.
  • In 2017, India’s nominee to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) Dalveer Bhandari was re-elected to the fifth and the last seat of the world court after Britain withdrew its candidate from the election. 
  • This was the first time since the ICJ was established in 1945 that there was no British judge in the ICJ.

Who may submit cases to the Court?

  • Only States are eligible to appear before the Court in contentious cases. At present, this basically means the 192 United Nations Member States.
  • The Court has no jurisdiction to deal with applications from individuals, non-governmental organizations, corporations or any other private entity. It cannot provide them with legal counselling or help them in their dealings with the authorities of any State whatever.
  • However, a State may take up the case of one of its nationals and invoke against another State the wrongs which its national claims to have suffered at the hands of the latter; the dispute then becomes one between States.
  • The Court can only hear a dispute when requested to do so by one or more States. It cannot deal with a dispute of its own motion. It is not permitted, under its Statute, to investigate and rule on acts of sovereign States as it chooses.

Are decisions of the Court binding?

  • Judgments delivered by the Court (or by one of its Chambers) in disputes between States are binding upon the parties concerned.
  • Judgments are final and without appeal.

What differentiates the International Court of Justice from the International Criminal Court and the ad hoc international criminal tribunals?

  • The International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity.
  • As it is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate proceedings.
  • This task is the preserve of national courts, the ad hoc criminal tribunals established by the United Nations and also of the International Criminal Court, set up under the Rome Statute.
  • The Court is not a supreme court to which national courts can turn; it does not act as a court of last resort for individuals. Nor is it an appeal court for any international tribunal. It can, however, rule on the validity of arbitral awards.
  1. National Science Day 2021 and Other important National Days (IE)

  • Context: National Science Day 2021 was observed on 28th February with the theme of’Integrated Approach in Science and Technology for a Sustainable Future‘.

Analysis

  • National Science Day is celebrated every year on 28th February to commemorate the announcement of the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’ by Sir C.V. Raman (and his student-collaborator K.S. Krishnan; Raman won solely; Krishnan didn’t share the award, although his name was given an honourable mention)in 1928 for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930 (Asia’s its first Nobel in the Sciences).
  • It was also the first Nobel in Physics for a non-white person, and for an Indian scientist.
  • Government of India designated 28 February as National Science Day (NSD) in 1986.
  • The first National Science Day was celebrated on February 28, 1987.
  • National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology (DST) acts as a nodal agency to support, catalyze and coordinate the celebration of the National Science Day.
  • DST also instituted National Awards for Science Popularization in 1987 to stimulate, encourage and recognize outstanding efforts in the area of science and technology communication and popularization as well as inculcating scientific temper among masses.
  • These awards are presented every year on National Science Day.

The Raman Effect

  • In 1921, C.V. Raman was on a trip to Europe when he noticed the striking blue colour of some icebergs and the Mediterranean Sea. He was inspired to want to understand the reason behind the phenomenon.
  • The Raman Effect is the process of scattering of light particles by molecules of a medium.
  • Scattering of light is the phenomenon in which light rays get deviated from its straight path on striking an obstacle like dust or gas molecules, water vapours etc.
  • The scattering occurs due to a change in the wavelength of light as it enters the medium.
  • When a beam of light travels through a dust-free, transparent chemical, a small fraction of the light emerges in directions other than where it should.
  • This means that light refracted from a body, like the Mediterranean Sea or an iceberg, can appear to be of a different colour.
  • This gave birth to the field of Raman spectroscopy, which has extensive applications around the globe, and across fields.

Applications of the ‘Raman Effect’

  • It can help in determining chemical bonding structures, characterise materials, determine temperature, find out crystalline orientation, identify pharmaceutical chemicals, discover counterfeit drugs, identify pigments in old paintings and historical documents, and detect explosives using lasers from a distance.

Scientific Temper and the Indian Constitution

  • The phrase scientific temper is mentioned in Part IVA in Article 51A of Indian Constitutionunder Fundamental Duties (FDs).
  • FDs were added by 42nd Constitutional Amendment Act in 1976 on the recommendation of SwaranSingh Committee.
  • Article 51A(h), “It shall be the duty of every citizen … to develop the scientific temper, humanism and the spirit of inquiry and reform.”
  • Jawaharlal Nehru coined the term ‘scientific temper’; he defines it as an attitude of logical and rational thinking.
  • In 1976, the Government of India reemphasised its commitment to cultivate scientific temper through a constitutional amendment (Article 51A), and setup a nodal agency called the National Council of Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC).
  • The National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC) is mandated to communicate Science and Technology to masses, stimulate scientific and technological temper and coordinate and orchestrate such efforts throughout the country.
  • National Children’s Science Congress is an opportunity for brilliant young scientists (10 -17 years of age group), started since 1993 to popularize the method of science.

UNESCO Kalinga Prize

  • The UNESCO Kalinga Prize for the Popularization of Science is an award given by UNESCO for exceptional skill in presenting scientific ideas to lay people.
  • It is awarded to persons who have had a distinguished career as writer, editor, lecturer, radio, television, or web programme director, or film producer in helping interpret science, research and technology to the public.
  • UNESCO Kalinga Prize winners know the potential power of science, technology, and research in improving public welfare, enriching the cultural heritage of nations and providing solutions to societal problems on the local, regional and global level.
  • Applicants do not need to have a science degree or to conduct research.
  • It was created in 1951, following a donation from Hon’ble Shri Biju Patnaik, Chief Minister of Orissa.
  • Till to date, more than sixty-five individuals, from around twenty-four countries have received this award. Many of whom have also been Nobel-Prize winners.

Other important National Days

National Statistics Day

  • It is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Prof. P C Mahalanobis, on 29th June, in recognition of his invaluable contribution in establishing the National Statistical System.
  • C. Mahalanobis devised the Mahalanobis distance and was instrumental in formulating India’s strategy for industrialization in the Second Five-Year Plan (1956–61).
  • In 1931 he founded the Indian Statistical Institute in Calcutta. In the next two decades he founded the National Sample Survey (1950) and the Central Statistical Organization (1951) to serve as statistical agencies for government data collection.
  • He served on the Planning Commission of India from 1955 to 1967, where he applied his mathematical reasoning to Indian industry.
  • Mahalanobis devised a measure of comparison between two data sets that is now known as the Mahalanobis distance.
  • The theme of Statistics Day, 2020 was selected as SDG- 3 (Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages) & SDG- 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls). 

National Education Day

  • The National Education Day (Rashtriya Shiksha Diwas, November 11) is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s First Education Minister Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

National Good Governance Day

  • Good governance is observed annually on December 25.
  • The day is also celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of India’s former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

National Teachers’ Day

  • In India, the Teachers’ Day is celebrated on 5th Septemberevery year, which is also the birthday of Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the first Vice-President of independent India and the second President of the country.
  • The World Teachers’ Day is celebrated on October 5.

National Unity Day

  • National Unity Day is celebrated on October 31 across the country to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and to recognise the contributions of the first Union Home Minister, who laid the firm foundations of the Indian police and gave it its identity, character and direction.
  1. Fifth Generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) (TH, pg 8)
  • India and France are close to concluding a deal, likely in the next couple of months, for the joint development of a 125KN engine for the indigenous fifth generation Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA) under development.
  1. Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) (TH, pg 15)

  • A number of people killed by jihadistsin the villages of Borno state in northeast Nigeria in four separate attacks. The villages are on the fringes of Sambisaforest, a major jihadist hideout.
  • The Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), who split from rival Boko Haram jihadists in 2016, has escalated attacks in recent weeks, despite ongoing military operations.

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