Prelims Booster

31st July – Prelims Booster

New Supreme Court building of Mauritius

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Mauritius Mr Pravind Jugnauth have jointly inaugurated the new Supreme Court building in Mauritius through video conference.

In line with India’s vision of ‘SAGAR – Security and Growth for All in the Region’, the new Supreme Court building demonstrates India’s role as a reliable partner of Mauritius in the Indian Ocean region as also India’s steadfast commitment to strengthen the future-oriented partnership between the two countries

Details –

  • The building is the first India assisted infrastructure project within the capital city of Port Louis to be inaugurated after the Covid pandemic.
  • The landmark project has been completed with grant assistance of USD 28.12 million from the Government of India.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasised that India’s development cooperation does not come with any conditions, nor is it influenced by any political or commercial considerations. India’s core principle for development cooperation is respect for our partners and the central motivation is sharing of our development lessons.
  • Indian development cooperation as marked by the core values of ‘Respect’, ‘Diversity’, ‘Care for the Future’, and ‘Sustainable Development’.

About SAGAR Mission –

  • In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a visit to Mauritius outlined India’s SAGAR vision i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR).
  • It is an increasing recognition of the increasing importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation.
  • Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.
  • For this, India would cooperate on the exchange of information, coastal surveillance, building of infrastructure and strengthening their capabilities.
  • SAGAR provides a mechanism for India to expand strategic partnerships with other Indian Ocean Region littorals in Asia and Africa.
  • It indicates the leadership role and responsibilities India is ready to play in the region on a long-term basis in a transparent manner through its capacity building and capability enhancement programs.

About Indian Ocean Rim Association –

  • IORA was established in the year 1997 in Ebene Cyber City, Mauritius.
  • First established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched in 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the IORA for Regional Cooperation.
  • It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.

Lepchas

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has condoled the passing away of Folk musician and Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha who passed away at Kalimpong recently due to old age ailments.

About Lepcha tribe –

  • The Lepcha are also called the Rongkup meaning the children of God and the Rong.
  • Lepchas are among the indigenous peoples of Sikkim and number between 30,000 and 50,000.
  • Many Lepcha are also found in western and southwestern Bhutan, Tibet, Darjeeling, the Mechi Zone of eastern Nepal, and in the hills of West Bengal.
  • The Lepcha have their own language, also called Lepcha. It belongs to the Bodish–Himalayish group of Tibeto-Burman languages. The Lepcha write their language in their own script, called Róng or Lepcha script, which is derived from the Tibetan script.
  • Religion – Most Lepchas are Buddhist, a religion brought by the Bhutias from the north, although a large number of Lepchas have today adopted Christianity. According to the Nepal Census of 2001, out of the 3,660 Lepcha in Nepal, 88.80% were Buddhists and 7.62% were Hindus. Many Lepchas in the Hills of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are Christians.
  • Clothing – The traditional clothing for Lepcha women is the ankle-length dumbun, also called dumdyám or gādā (“female dress”). It is one large piece of smooth cotton or silk, usually of a solid colour. The traditional Lepcha clothing for men is the dumprá (“male dress”). It is a multicoloured, hand-woven cloth pinned at one shoulder and held in place by a waistband, usually worn over a white shirt and trousers.
  • Occupation – The Lepchas are mostly agriculturists. They grow oranges, rice, cardamoms, and other foods.
  • Art and Craft – The Lepchas are known for their unique weaving and basketry skills. They also have a rich tradition of dances, songs, and folktales. One popular instrument used by the Lepchas is a four-string lute that is played with a bow.
  • Marriage – The Lepchas are largely an endogamous community. They trace their descent patrillineally. The marriage is negotiated between the families of the bride and the groom.

Aerial Seeding

The Haryana Forest Department has started aerial seeding across the state on a pilot basis, with the drive touching the Aravalli region of Faridabad district.

What is aerial seeding?

Aerial seeding is a technique of plantation wherein seed balls – seeds covered with a mixture of clay, compost, char and other components – are sprayed on the ground using aerial devices, including planes, helicopters or drones.

How does this technique work?

  • Seeds balls or seed pellets are dispersed in a targeted area by the low-flying drones, falling to the ground with the help of the coating of clay, compost, char and other material, that provides the required weight for seeds to drop on a predetermined location rather than disperse in the wind.
  • These pellets will then sprout when there is enough rain, with the nutrients present within them helping in the initial growth.

Advantages –

  • Areas that are inaccessible, have steep slopes, are fragmented or disconnected with no forest routes, making conventional plantation difficult, can be targeted with aerial seeding.
  • Furthermore, the process of the seed’s germination and growth is such that it requires no attention after it is dispersed – the reason why seed pellets are known as the “fire and forget” way of plantation.
  • They eliminate the need for ploughing and digging holes in the soil and the seeds do not need to be planted, since they are already surrounded by soil, nutrients, and microorganisms. The clay shell of these pellets along with the other items in the mixture also protects them from birds, ants and rats.

NASA’s Perseverance

With each new generation of rovers, NASA has added new capabilities and a somewhat different instrument suite to answer important scientific questions. With the launch of Mars Perseverance, the fourth generation of Mars rovers, NASA will take forward this tradition.

What is unique about ‘Perseverance’?

  • First, it will carry a unique instrument, MOXIE or Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment: which for the first time will manufacture molecular oxygen on Mars using carbon dioxide from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere. There is the new push for ISRU at NASA: in NASA jargon, ISRU means In Situ Resource Utilisation: or the use of local resources to meet human needs or requirements of the spacecraft. Without ISRU, exploration of Mars in the future decades will be incredibly expensive and thereby impossible. If astronauts have to carry oxygen or water or rocket fuel for their journey for a two-year journey to Mars and back, the cost will be understandably excessive. If oxygen can be successfully extracted on Mars in some significant scale, this can have two direct advantages: first, the oxygen can be used for human visitors to Mars, and second, the oxygen can be used to manufacture rocket fuel for the return journey. Thus, if the technology demonstration is successful, it would be of great use for a future human mission to Mars.
  • Second, Perseverance will carry Ingenuity, the first ever helicopter to fly on Mars. This is the first time NASA will fly a helicopter on another planet or satellite. Like a drone on Earth, a Mars helicopter can help in rover drive planning and in fetching samples from locations that the rover cannot safely drive to. If this technology demonstration is successful, we will see a greater role for such helicopters in future missions.
  • Third, Perseverance is the planned first step to bring back rock samples from Mars for analysis in sophisticated laboratories on Earth: with the goal of looking for biosignatures: or signatures of present or past life. Perseverance will collect samples and a second rover mission will fly within a decade to help transport the rock samples back to Earth.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

The independent experts on the Human Rights Committee published a fresh interpretation of the right of peaceful assembly, offering comprehensive legal guidance about where and how it applies and also outlining government’s obligations.

Mandate of the committee –

The committee is tasked with monitoring how the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which under Article 21 guarantees the right to peaceful assembly.

What did the committee observe?

  • The committee observed that it is a “fundamental human right” for people to gather to celebrate or to air grievances, “in public and in private spaces, outdoors, indoors and online.”
  • Everyone, including children, foreign nationals, women, migrant workers, asylum seekers and refugees, can exercise the right of peaceful assembly.
  • Governments could not prohibit protests by making “generalised references to public order or public safety, or an unspecified risk of potential violence”.
  • In addition, Governments “cannot block internet networks or close down any website because of their roles in organising or soliciting a peaceful assembly”.
  • It also stressed the right of journalists and human rights observers to monitor and document any assembly, including violent and unlawful ones.

About ICCPR –

  • The ICCPR is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee.
  • The covenant commits (not legally binding) its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial.
  • The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • The Covenant was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1966 and came into force in 1976. As of December 2018, 172 countries have ratified the Covenant.

AIM iCREST

NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), has launched AIM iCREST – an Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.

What is AIM iCREST?

  • It has been designed to enable the incubation ecosystem and act as a growth hack for AIM’s Atal and Established incubators across the country.
  • Under the initiative, the AIM’s incubators are set to be upscaled and provided requisite support to foster the incubation enterprise economy, that will help them to significantly enhance their performance.
  • This will be complemented by providing training to entrepreneurs, through technology driven processes and platforms. The program aims at going beyond incubator capacity building.
  • AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation – organisations that can lend credible support and expertise in the entrepreneurship and innovation space.

About ‘Atal Innovation Mission’ –

  • AIM will be an Innovation Promotion Platform involving academics, entrepreneurs, and researchers drawing upon national and international experiences to foster a culture of innovation, R&D in India.
  • The platform will also promote a network of world-class innovation hubs and grand challenges for India.
  • Under this mission two major schemes were rolled out such as –
    • Atal Tinkering Labs
    • Atal Incubation Centres
  • Atal Tinkering Labs – ATLs are play workspaces fitted with state-of-the-art technologies like 3D printers, robotics, sensor technology kits, Internet of things (IoT), miniaturised electronics. The labs are designed to spur the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning. AIM will enhance the coverage of ATLs to over 98 per cent smart cities and 93 per cent districts.

Daily MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘SAGAR Mission’ of India? 1. It provides a mechanism for India to expand its strategic footprint with other Indian Ocean Region littorals in Asia and Africa. 2. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the year 2015 during his visit to the Maldives. 3. Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities.

Correct! Wrong!

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a visit to Mauritius outlined India’s SAGAR vision i.e. Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). It is an increasing recognition of the increasing importance of maritime security, maritime commons and cooperation. Through SAGAR, India seeks to deepen economic and security cooperation with its maritime neighbours and assist in building their maritime security capabilities. For this, India would cooperate on the exchange of information, coastal surveillance, building of infrastructure and strengthening their capabilities. SAGAR provides a mechanism for India to expand strategic partnerships with other Indian Ocean Region littorals in Asia and Africa. It indicates the leadership role and responsibilities India is ready to play in the region on a long-term basis in a transparent manner through its capacity building and capability enhancement programs.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Indian Ocean Rim Association’? 1. It was founded in the year 1982 as an intergovernmental organisation comprising five small island states in the Western Indian Ocean: the Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Reunion (a French department), and Seychelles. 2. India was granted the Observer Status in IORA in the March 2020 at the Commission’s 34th Council of Ministers. 3. In 2012, the IORA was one of the four regional organisations to launch the MASE Programme — the European Union-funded programme to promote Maritime Security in Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean.

Correct! Wrong!

All the above statements pertain to the Indian Ocean Commission. IORA was established in the year 1997 in Ebene Cyber City, Mauritius. First established as Indian Ocean Rim Initiative in Mauritius on March 1995 and formally launched in 1997 by the conclusion of a multilateral treaty known as the Charter of the IORA for Regional Cooperation. It is based on the principles of Open Regionalism for strengthening Economic Cooperation particularly on Trade Facilitation and Investment, Promotion as well as Social Development of the region.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct? 1. Lepchas are the indigenous people of Sikkim and are also found in western and southwestern Bhutan, Tibet, Darjeeling, Nepal and West Bengal. 2. Lepcha language has its own script known as Rong which is derived from the Tibetan script. 3. Most of the Lepchas are Hindus, however a large number of Lepchas have embraced Buddhism over the years.

Correct! Wrong!

The Lepcha are also called the Rongkup meaning the children of God and the Rong. Lepchas are among the indigenous peoples of Sikkim and number between 30,000 and 50,000. Many Lepcha are also found in western and southwestern Bhutan, Tibet, Darjeeling, the Mechi Zone of eastern Nepal, and in the hills of West Bengal. The Lepcha have their own language, also called Lepcha. It belongs to the Bodish–Himalayish group of Tibeto-Burman languages. The Lepcha write their language in their own script, called Róng or Lepcha script, which is derived from the Tibetan script. Religion - Most Lepchas are Buddhist, a religion brought by the Bhutias from the north, although a large number of Lepchas have today adopted Christianity. According to the Nepal Census of 2001, out of the 3,660 Lepcha in Nepal, 88.80% were Buddhists and 7.62% were Hindus. Many Lepchas in the Hills of Sikkim, Darjeeling and Kalimpong are Christians.

4. 'Aerial Seeding' is a process of -

Correct! Wrong!

Aerial seeding is a technique of plantation wherein seed balls – seeds covered with a mixture of clay, compost, char and other components – are sprayed on the ground using aerial devices, including planes, helicopters or drones. Seeds balls or seed pellets are dispersed in a targeted area by the low-flying drones, falling to the ground with the help of the coating of clay, compost, char and other material, that provides the required weight for seeds to drop on a predetermined location rather than disperse in the wind. These pellets will then sprout when there is enough rain, with the nutrients present within them helping in the initial growth.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about ‘International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights’? 1. It is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly to be monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. 2. It brings legally binding commitments upon its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals. 3. It is a part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights agenda.

Correct! Wrong!

The ICCPR is a multilateral treaty adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The ICCPR is monitored by the United Nations Human Rights Committee. The covenant commits (not legally binding) its parties to respect the civil and political rights of individuals, including the right to life, freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, electoral rights and rights to due process and a fair trial. The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Human Rights, along with the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The Covenant was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1966 and came into force in 1976. As of December 2018, 172 countries have ratified the Covenant.

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