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Daily Current Affairs

23-October-2023

1. Canada’s actions are in violation of Vienna Convention, says Jaishankar.

Topic: GS2 – International relations

Context:

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar expressed concern over Canada’s inability to provide safety and security to Indian diplomats, considering it a violation of the most fundamental aspect of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations:

  • International treaty established in 1961.
  • Regulates diplomatic relations between countries.
  • Defines the privileges and immunities of diplomatic missions.
  • Ensures the safety and security of diplomats.
  • Addresses the inviolability of diplomatic premises.
  • Contains rules for diplomatic appointments and conduct.
  • Sets guidelines for diplomatic communication and functions.
  • Provides a framework for diplomatic immunity and protection.

Multiple-choice question:

Which article of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations primarily addresses the inviolability of diplomatic agents and their immunity from the jurisdiction of the receiving state?

Select the correct option from the following:

  1. Article 22
  2. Article 27
  3. Article 36
  4. Article 41

Answer:  Option B – Article 27.

Explanation:

  • Article 27 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations establishes the principle of the inviolability of diplomatic agents and their immunity from the jurisdiction of the receiving state. This means that diplomatic agents are exempt from the legal jurisdiction and civil/criminal processes of the host country, ensuring their safety and freedom to perform their diplomatic functions.
  • Article 22: Article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations addresses the premises of the mission, emphasizing that the receiving state must protect the mission’s premises from intrusion or damage and that the premises are
  • Article 36: Article 36 of the Vienna Convention covers the communication and contact between a diplomatic agent and their home country’s mission. It ensures the right to communicate with the sending state’s authorities.
  • Article 41: Article 41 of the Vienna Convention pertains to diplomatic agents’ duties to respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state. It specifies that diplomatic agents should not interfere in the internal affairs of the host country.

2. Air quality worsens, may stay ‘very poor’ for next three days

Topic: GS3 – air pollution

Context:

  • Delhi’s air quality slipped into the “very poor” category.
  • Central Pollution Control Board predicts it will remain so for the next three days.
  • Advisory issued for vulnerable groups like the elderly, children, and those with respiratory issues to stay indoors.
  • Average Air Quality Index (AQI) in Delhi dropped to 313 from 248 in one day.

Reasons for bad air quality in National Capital Region:

  • Industrial Emissions: High levels of industrial emissions from factories and manufacturing units contribute to air pollution.
  • Vehicular Pollution: Extensive use of vehicles, including diesel-fueled ones, leads to increased emissions of pollutants.
  • Construction Dust: Dust generated from ongoing construction activities adds to particulate matter in the air.
  • Agricultural Residue Burning: Farmers burning crop residues in neighboring states releases smoke and pollutants into the air.
  • Meteorological Factors: Weather conditions, such as low wind speed and temperature inversions, trap pollutants closer to the ground.
  • Household Pollution: Use of solid fuels for cooking and heating in some areas results in indoor and outdoor air pollution.
  • Waste Burning: The burning of municipal waste and garbage contributes to poor air quality.

Way forward:

  • Promote Sustainable Transportation: Encourage the use of public transport, electric vehicles, and cycling to reduce vehicular emissions.
  • Strict Emission Norms: Implement and enforce stringent emission standards for industries and vehicles to reduce pollution.
  • Green Initiatives: Increase green cover by planting trees and creating urban green spaces to absorb pollutants.
  • Waste Management: Implement efficient waste management practices, including reducing open waste burning and promoting recycling.
  • Agricultural Reforms: Encourage farmers to adopt alternative crop residue management methods instead of burning.
  • Air Quality Monitoring: Enhance air quality monitoring systems to provide real-time data for better decision-making.
  • Awareness and Education: Educate the public about the health risks of air pollution and the importance of clean air.
  • International Cooperation: Collaborate with neighboring states and countries to address cross-border pollution issues.

Question:  Critically analyze the factors contributing to the deteriorating air quality in the National Capital Region and propose effective strategies for sustainable air quality management.

Multiple-choice question: 

Which of the following factors contributes most significantly to the bad air quality in the National Capital Region (NCR)?

Select the correct option from the following:

  1. Excessive rainfall during the monsoon season.
  2. Stringent emission control measures.
  3. Crop residue burning in neighboring states.
  4. Widespread use of electric vehicles.

Answer:  Option C – Crop residue burning in neighboring states.

Explanation:

  • Crop residue burning, particularly in neighboring states like Punjab and Haryana, is a major contributor to the bad air quality in the NCR, especially during the post-monsoon season.
  • It releases harmful pollutants into the atmosphere, leading to increased pollution levels.

3. Months after community added to ST list, Himachal asks Delhi to define Hattees

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity

Context:

  • Confusion in Himachal Pradesh’s Tribal Development Department regarding the inclusion of the Hattee community in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list.
  • Uncertainty about whether people already classified as Scheduled Castes (SC) should be included as members of the Hattee community in the ST list.

Additional information on the news:

  • The State government has sought clarification from the Tribal Affairs Ministry in Delhi on the matter.
  • The confusion arises from interpreting the entry on the ST list, which doesn’t explicitly exclude SC communities.
  • Past observations suggest that Hattees may include individuals from SC communities, such as Koli, Badhai, Lohar, Dhaki, Dom, Chamar.
  • The Hattee community argued for ST status due to ethnic ties with the Jaunsar-Bawar region, declared as ST in Uttarakhand.

About Hattee community:

  • The Hattee community is located in the Trans-Giri area of Himachal Pradesh.
  • They were included in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) list of the state, with the Union government’s approval.
  • The Hattee community claims ethnic ties with the Jaunsar-Bawar region, which is recognized as ST in Uttarakhand.
  • Their inclusion in the ST list has caused confusion and controversy, as it is unclear whether individuals from communities already designated as Scheduled Castes (SC) should be considered Hattees.
  • The decision’s implications have raised concerns among SC and Gujjar communities in the region.

4. Tej now extremely severe cyclone over the Arabian Sea; yellow alert issued for eight districts in Kerala

Topic: GS1 – geography

Context:

  • Cyclone Tej intensified from a severe cyclone to an extremely severe cyclone over the Arabian Sea.
  • It is expected to cross the Yemen coast near Al Ghaidah as a very severe cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 125-135 kmph gusting to 150 kmph.
  • Kerala has been issued a yellow alert for eight districts from Kollam to Palakkad due to isolated heavy rainfall.

Classification of cyclones:

            Cyclones are classified into different categories based on their wind speed and intensity. The classifications may vary in different parts of the world, but here is a common classification used by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for cyclones in the Indian Ocean region:

  • Cyclonic Storm: At this stage, the system becomes a cyclonic storm with wind speeds of 34 to 47 knots (62 to 88 kmph). Cyclonic storms are named at this stage.
  • Severe Cyclonic Storm: This is a stronger cyclonic storm with wind speeds between 48 to 63 knots (89 to 117 kmph).
  • Very Severe Cyclonic Storm: A very severe cyclonic storm has even stronger wind speeds, ranging from 64 to 89 knots (118 to 165 kmph).
  • Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm: Cyclones with wind speeds between 90 to 119 knots (166 to 221 kmph) are classified as extremely severe cyclonic storms.
  • Super Cyclonic Storm: This is the highest category of cyclone with wind speeds exceeding 120 knots (222 kmph or more). Super cyclonic storms are extremely rare.

Multiple-choice question:

Which category of cyclone is characterized by maximum sustained wind speeds between 131-155 miles per hour and poses a significant threat to coastal regions?

Select the correct option from the following:

  1. Tropical Storm
  2. Severe Cyclonic Storm
  3. Very Severe Cyclonic Storm
  4. Super Cyclonic Storm

 

Answer:  Option C – Very Severe Cyclonic Storm

Explanation 

  • A Very Severe Cyclonic Storm has maximum sustained wind speeds between 131-155 miles per hour and is associated with a significant threat to coastal regions due to its intensity.

5. To curb evasion, EU report calls for 2% global wealth tax on billionaires

Topic: GS3 – economy

Context:

  • The European Union Tax Observatory has released the ‘Global Tax Evasion Report 2024’ highlighting tax evasion among billionaires.
  • The report calls for a global minimum tax on billionaires, equal to 2% of their wealth, to combat tax evasion.
  • This proposed tax would apply to less than 3,000 individuals and generate nearly $250 billion in revenue.

More on this news:

  • The report justifies the 2% tax rate by pointing out that billionaires’ wealth has grown at an average rate of 7% annually since 1995.
  • The report acknowledges the success of the automatic exchange of bank information in reducing offshore tax evasion.
  • Despite this success, offshore tax evasion continues due to non-compliance by some offshore financial institutions and wealthy individuals shifting assets to non-covered asset classes.
  • The report calls for an expansion of the automatic exchange of information to include a wider range of assets.
  • The global minimum tax of 15% on multinational corporations (MNCs) has not met revenue expectations due to emerging loopholes, including ‘greenwashing’ tax credits.
  • The report highlights aggressive tax competition with preferential tax regimes targeting wealthy foreign individuals in the EU and the UK, leading to negative spillover effects.

Multiple-choice question;

In the context of wealth tax, which of the following statements is true?

Select the correct option from the following:

  1. Wealth tax is levied on the total income of individuals and corporations.
  2. Wealth tax is applied uniformly to all forms of wealth, including real estate, financial assets, and personal possessions.
  3. Wealth tax is calculated based on the income generated by the wealth, excluding the principal amount.
  4. Many countries have abolished wealth tax due to concerns about economic efficiency, capital flight, and administrative complexities.

Answer:  Option D – Many countries have abolished wealth tax due to concerns about economic efficiency, capital flight, and administrative complexities.

Explanation:

  • Many countries have abolished wealth tax due to concerns about economic efficiency, capital flight, and administrative complexities.
  • Wealth tax is not applied uniformly to all forms of wealth, and it is not based on the income generated by the wealth.
  • Wealth tax aims to reduce wealth inequality rather than encourage the accumulation of wealth among high-income individuals.

6. Need to clear pending cases proactively, says top court

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • The Supreme Court of India has expressed concern over mounting pendency in courts, impacting the timely delivery of justice.
  • A Bench, headed by retiring Justice S.R. Bhat, emphasized the need for proactive measures to address the huge backlog of cases at all levels of the judicial system.
  • The court noted that approximately 6% of India’s population is involved in litigation, making the courts an essential institution in a nation governed by the rule of law.
  • The top court directed district and taluka-level courts to ensure the proper and time-bound execution of summons.

Reasons for high pendency of cases in Indian courts:

  • Shortage of Judges: Insufficient numbers of judges and judicial vacancies contribute to the delay.
  • Complex Legal Procedures: Lengthy and complicated legal processes can slow down case resolution.
  • Limited Infrastructure: Inadequate court infrastructure hinders the efficient functioning of courts.
  • Frequent Adjournments: Frequent requests for adjournments by lawyers prolong proceedings.
  • Lack of Modernization: Outdated technology and processes hinder case management.
  • Inadequate Support Staff: A shortage of court staff can impede administrative tasks.
  • Interference and Pressure: External influences and political pressures may affect the legal process.
  • Procedural Bottlenecks: Delays may occur due to various legal procedural bottlenecks.
  • Inefficient Case Management: Inefficient case assignment and management processes can lead to delays.
  • Appeals and Revisions: Multiple layers of appeals and revisions can extend case duration.
  • Limited Alternative Dispute Resolution: Insufficient promotion of ADR methods can result in more cases in courts.

Way forward:

  • Strengthen Judicial Infrastructure: Build more courtrooms and appoint more judges to handle cases efficiently.
  • Utilize Technology: Implement e-courts and digitize case records for faster proceedings.
  • Promote Mediation and ADR: Encourage alternative dispute resolution to resolve cases outside the formal court system.
  • Effective Case Management: Apply efficient case management techniques for quicker legal proceedings.
  • Establish Specialized Courts: Create specialized courts for specific case types to reduce the burden on regular courts.
  • Legal Reforms: Simplify and update laws and procedures to streamline the legal process.
  • Enhance Legal Aid Services: Ensure access to legal aid for disadvantaged litigants to prevent case backlog.
  • Introduce Fast-Track Courts: Prioritize cases with significant implications using fast-track courts.
  • Manage Judicial Workload: Equitably distribute cases among judges to prevent overburdening and delays.
  • Raise Public Awareness: Promote awareness about the benefits of settling disputes through mediation and ADR.
  • Limit Adjournments: Enforce stricter rules on granting adjournments to reduce delay tactics.
  • Clear Backlog: Conduct special drives to dispose of long-pending cases swiftly and efficiently.

Question: What are the challenges of high pendency in Indian courts and propose effective measures to expedite the judicial process. What role can technology and legal reforms play in addressing this issue?

7. Cyber insurance critical for small, medium enterprises

Topic: GS3 – cyber security

Context:

  • SMEs and MSMEs contribute over 28% to India’s GDP and are crucial for economic growth.
  • These enterprises face increasing cyber risks, including data breaches, malware attacks, and phishing.
  • India reports more cyberattacks than any other country, making cybersecurity a top priority.
  • Cyber insurance is essential for SMEs and MSMEs to protect against financial and operational losses.

What is Cyber insurance:

  • Cyber insurance provides financial protection against losses resulting from cyber risks and attacks.
  • It covers expenses related to data breaches, ransomware attacks, and other cyber incidents.
  • Business interruption coverage compensates for income lost during downtime caused by a cyber event.
  • Cyber insurance may also offer access to experts to manage and mitigate the impact of an incident.

Need for cyber insurance:

  • Rising cyber threats: The increasing frequency and sophistication of cyberattacks make cyber insurance crucial.
  • Data protection laws: Compliance with data protection regulations often requires businesses to have cyber insurance.
  • Financial protection: Cyber insurance provides a safety net against costly cyber incidents, minimizing financial losses.
  • Reputation management: It helps address intangible costs like reputation damage, client loss, and talent attraction.
  • Operational continuity: Business interruption coverage compensates for lost income during downtime caused by a cyber event.
  • Legal support: It covers legal expenses related to data breaches and cyber incidents.
  • Data restoration: Cyber insurance often addresses the costs of restoring lost or compromised data.

Question:  How does the increasing frequency and complexity of cyber threats impact the need for cyber insurance, and what are the essential reasons for businesses, especially SMEs and MSMEs, to consider investing in cyber insurance in the digital age?

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