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Prelims Booster

24th October – Prelims Booster

International Labour Organisation

After 35 years, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organisation, marking a new chapter in the 100 years of productive relationship between India and ILO.

About International Labour Organisation –

  • International Labour Organisation was established in the year 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations.
  • It became the first affiliated specialised agency of the United Nations in 1946.
  • Its headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Objectives – It promotes internationally recognised human and labour rights. It aims promote and realise standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment; enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and; strengthen tripartism and social dialogue.
  • It has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving peace among classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations.
  • Governing Body –
    • It is the executive council of the ILO.
    • It meets three times a year in Geneva.
    • It takes policy decisions of ILO and establishes the programme and the budget, which it then submits to the Conference for adoption.
    • The work of the Governing Body and the Office is aided by tripartite committees covering major industries.
    • It is also supported by committees of experts on such matters as vocational training, management development, occupational safety and health, industrial relations, workers’ education, and special problems of women and young workers.

Flash Flood Guidance Services

Ministry of Earth Sciences has dedicated Flash Flood Guidance services, first of its kind for South Asian countries namely India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

What are ‘flash floods’?

  • Flash floods are characterised by very fast rise and recession of flow of small volume and high discharge, which causes high damages because of suddenness. This occurs in hilly and not too hilly regions and sloping lands where heavy rainfall and thunderstorms or cloudbursts are common.
  • A flood caused by heavy or excessive rainfall in a short period of time, generally less than 6 hours. Flash floods are usually characterised by raging torrents after heavy rains that rip through river beds, urban streets, or mountain canyons sweeping everything before them. They can occur within minutes or a few hours of excessive rainfall.
  • It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm, hurricane, tropical storm, or meltwater from ice or snow flowing over ice sheets or snowfields.
  • Flash Floods can also occur due to Dam or Levee Breaks, and/or Mudslides (Debris Flow).
  • In areas on or near volcanoes, flash floods have also occurred after eruptions, when glaciers have been melted by the intense heat.
  • The intensity of the rainfall, the location and distribution of the rainfall, the land use and topography, vegetation types and growth/density, soil type, and soil water-content all determine just how quickly the Flash Flooding may occur, and influence where it may occur.

Details about the ‘Flash Flood Guidance System’ –

  • The Flash Flood Guidance is a robust system designed to provide the necessary information in real-time to support the development of warnings for flash floods about 6- 12 hours in advance at the watershed level with resolution of 4km x 4km for the Flash Flood prone South Asian countries viz. India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • The system has in-depth science, dynamics and diagnostics to provide guidance for the possible occurrences of flash floods at local level.
  • The model will provide forecasts by computing likelihood of rainfall and soil moisture levels to warn of possible floods. It will carry out forecasts by using combination of satellite mapping and ground-based observation.

International Snow Leopard Day 2020

October 23rd is celebrated as the International Snow Leopard Day. India is party to the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Programme since the year 2013.

About Snow Leopards –

  • They are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
  • They inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.
  • Their habitat extends through twelve countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. China contains as much as 60% of all snow leopard habitat areas.
  • In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas.
  • The snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. It is also protected by several national laws in its range countries.
  • Global Snow Leopard Forum, 2013 – 12 countries encompassing the snow leopard’s range (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). Bishkek Declaration was passed to protect the species and its environment.
  • Global Snow Leopard and Eco-System Protection Program – It is a joint initiative of range country governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector. Goal — secure the long-term survival of the snow leopard in its natural ecosystem.

INS Kavaratti

INS Kavaratti, the last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta class), by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, was formally inducted into the Navy recently at the Naval Dockyard in Eastern Naval Command.

About INS Kavaratti –

  • Kavaratti takes her name from erstwhile INS Kavaratti which was an Arnala class missile corvette.
  • The older Kavaratti distinguished herself by operating in support of was Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971.
  • INS Kavaratti (P31) is an anti-submarine warfare corvette of the Indian Navy built under Project 28.
  • It is the last of four Kamorta-class corvettes under various stages of induction with the Indian Navy.
  • The ship has up to 90% indigenous content using carbon composites for the superstructure is a commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding.
  • The ship, named after the capital of the Lakshadweep group of islands, has been constructed using high-grade DMR 249A steel produced in India.
  • Kavaratti is capable of fighting under nuclear, biological and chemical environments. It will be a frontline warship of the Indian Navy with advanced stealth features and a low radar signature.

Project 28 –

  • P 28 is a project under which four Anti Submarine Warships have to be built indigenously in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders And Engineers (GRSE) , Kolkata.
  • Project 28 was approved in 2003, with construction of the lead ship, INS Kamorta commencing on 12 August 2005.
  • Three of the four corvettes, INS Kamorta , INS Kadmatt and INS Kiltan were commissioned in 2014, 2016 and 2017 respectively.
  • Project 28’s objective was to enhance localisation and development of warship construction industry in India.

20th Amendment in Sri Lanka

The controversial 20th Amendment to Sri Lanka’s Constitution that envisages expansive powers and greater immunity for the Executive President was passed recently in Parliament with a two-thirds majority.

What are the 19th and 20th amendments?

  • The 19th Amendment was brought in by the previous Yahapalanya (Good Governance) government of the United National Front of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It rolled back the 18th amendment that had been brought in by the preceding President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
  • The 18th amendment had removed the two-term bar on running for office, and centralised more powers in the hands of the President.
  • One of the first acts of United National Front was to bring in the 19th amendment, which restored the two-term bar on running for the presidency that was contained in the 1978 constitution; laid down the minimum age of 35 years for a presidential candidate; and also barred dual citizens from the office.
  • It reduced the term of the presidency to five years from the six years laid down in the 1978 constitution.
  • The President also lost his power to sack the Prime Minister. It also placed a ceiling on the number of ministers and deputy ministers.
  • The 20th amendment Bill, which was gazetted recently, reverses almost everything in the 19th Amendment. It only retains from it the two-term bar on the presidency, and the five-year term.

Concerns –

The Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives has flagged the following concerns in the 20th Amendment Bill –

  • It seeks to remove the checks and balances on the executive presidency. In particular, it abolishes the binding limitations on presidential powers in relation to key appointments to independent institutions through the pluralistic and deliberative process of the Constitutional Council.
  • Its replacement, the Parliamentary Council, is a mere rubber stamp of the executive, with no genuine deliberative role envisaged for its members. It is a regression to what was in place under the Eighteenth Amendment, effectively providing sweeping powers to the President to appoint individuals to key institutions, and with it, politicising institutions that are meant to function independently of the political executive and for the benefit of citizens.
  • It has also removedthe opportunity for citizens to challenge the executive actions of the President through fundamental rights applications has been removed, suggesting that the President is above the law.
  • The checks on presidential power within the executive are abolished by the removal of the requirement of the Prime Minister’s advice for the appointment and dismissal of Cabinet and other Ministers. The appointment and particularly the dismissal of the Prime Minister are no longer dependent on the confidence of Parliament but at the discretion of the President.
  • Parliament is disempowered against the executive by the restoration of the President’s power to dissolve Parliament at will at any time after the first year of its term.

CPI-IW

The Labour and Employment Ministry has revised the base year of the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) from 2001 to 2016 to reflect the changing consumption pattern, giving more weightage to spending on health, education, recreation and other miscellaneous expenses, while reducing the weight of food and beverages.

The weight to food and beverage was reduced from 46.2% to 39%, while spending on housing increased from 15.2% to 17%.

What is Consumer Price Index?

Consumer Price Index or CPI is the measure of changes in the price level of a basket of consumer goods and services bought by households. CPI is a numerical estimation calculated using the rates of a sample of representative objects the prices of which are gathered periodically. Depending upon the socio-economic differentiations among consumers, India has four differing sets of CPI with some differentials in the basket of commodities allotted to them.

About CPI-IW –

The Consumer Price Index for the industrial workers (CPI-IW) has 260 items (plus the services) in its basket with 2001 (now revised to 2016) as the base year. Dearness Allowance is announced twice a year based on this index. Pay Commission recommends pay revisions based on CPI(IW). Labour Bureau compiles CPI-IW.

MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers’?

  1. It is compiled by the Labour Bureau.
  2. Dearness Allowance is announced twice a year based on this index.
  3. Recently, the base year for CPI-IW has been changed from 2001 to 2016.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above


Answer – D

Explanation – Consumer Price Index or CPI is the measure of changes in the price level of a basket of consumer goods and services bought by households. CPI is a numerical estimation calculated using the rates of a sample of representative objects the prices of which are gathered periodically. Depending upon the socio-economic differentiations among consumers, India has four differing sets of CPI with some differentials in the basket of commodities allotted to them. The Consumer Price Index for the industrial workers (CPI-IW) has 260 items (plus the services) in its basket with 2001 (now revised to 2016) as the base year. Dearness Allowance is announced twice a year based on this index. Pay Commission recommends pay revisions based on CPI(IW). Labour Bureau compiles CPI-IW. The Labour and Employment Ministry has revised the base year of the Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers (CPI-IW) from 2001 to 2016 to reflect the changing consumption pattern, giving more weightage to spending on health, education, recreation and other miscellaneous expenses, while reducing the weight of food and beverages. The weight to food and beverage was reduced from 46.2% to 39%, while spending on housing increased from 15.2% to 17%.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about ‘Project 28’ of shipbuilding?

  1. The project aimed to enhance localisation and development of warship construction industry in India.
  2. It is a project under which four anti-submarine warships have to be built indigenously in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
  3. The project remains incomplete until the induction of the last warship into the Indian Navy.
  4. It was approved in the year 2003.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1, 2 and 3 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4 only
  3. 1, 2 and 4 only
  4. All of the above

Answer – C

ExplanationProject 28 (P-28) is a project under which four Anti Submarine Warships have to be built indigenously in India by Garden Reach Shipbuilders And Engineers (GRSE) , Kolkata. Project 28 was approved in 2003, with construction of the lead ship, INS Kamorta commencing on 12 August 2005. Three of the four corvettes, INS Kamorta , INS Kadmatt and INS Kiltan were commissioned in 2014, 2016 and 2017 respectively. Project 28’s objective was to enhance localisation and development of warship construction industry in India. INS Kavaratti, the last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta class), by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata, was formally inducted into the Navy recently at the Naval Dockyard in Eastern Naval Command.

3. INS Kavaratti is a –

  1. Corvette
  2. Frigate
  3. Minesweeper
  4. Amphibious destroyer

Answer – A

Explanation – Kavaratti takes her name from erstwhile INS Kavaratti which was an Arnala class missile corvette. The older Kavaratti distinguished herself by operating in support of was Bangladesh’s liberation in 1971. INS Kavaratti (P31) is an anti-submarine warfare corvette of the Indian Navy built under Project 28. It is the last of four Kamorta-class corvettes under various stages of induction with the Indian Navy. The ship has up to 90% indigenous content using carbon composites for the superstructure is a commendable feat achieved in Indian shipbuilding. The ship, named after the capital of the Lakshadweep group of islands, has been constructed using high-grade DMR 249A steel produced in India. Kavaratti is capable of fighting under nuclear, biological and chemical environments. It will be a frontline warship of the Indian Navy with advanced stealth features and a low radar signature.

4. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about ‘Snow Leopards’?

  1. They inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevation from 3,000 to 4,500 metres in the northern range countries.
  2. Russia contains as much as 60% of all snow leopard habitat areas.
  3. Snow Leopard is listed as ‘critically endangered’ on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 2 only
  4. All of the above

Answer – A

Explanation – Snow Leopards are listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. They inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations. Their habitat extends through twelve countries – Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. China contains as much as 60% of all snow leopard habitat areas. In India, their geographical range encompasses a large part of the western Himalayas including the states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in the eastern Himalayas. The snow leopard, like all big cats, is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES), which makes trading of animal body parts (i.e., fur, bones and meat) illegal in signatory countries. It is also protected by several national laws in its range countries. Global Snow Leopard Forum, 2013 – 12 countries encompassing the snow leopard’s range (Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan). Bishkek Declaration was passed to protect the species and its environment. Global Snow Leopard and Eco-System Protection Program – It is a joint initiative of range country governments, international agencies, civil society, and the private sector. Goal — secure the long-term survival of the snow leopard in its natural ecosystem.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘International Labour Organisation’?

  1. It was established in the year 1946 as the specialised agency of the United Nations.
  2. Despite being instrumental in improving peace among classes, it has never been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize since its inception.
  3. India has recently assumed the chairmanship of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer – C

Explanation – International Labour Organisation was established in the year 1919 by the Treaty of Versailles as an affiliated agency of the League of Nations. It became the first affiliated specialised agency of the United Nations in 1946. Its headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. Objectives – It promotes internationally recognised human and labour rights. It aims promote and realise standards and fundamental principles and rights at work; create greater opportunities for women and men to secure decent employment; enhance the coverage and effectiveness of social protection for all, and; strengthen tripartism and social dialogue. It has received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1969 for improving peace among classes, pursuing decent work and justice for workers, and providing technical assistance to other developing nations. After 35 years, India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organisation, marking a new chapter in the 100 years of productive relationship between India and ILO.

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