Daily Current Affairs : 13th July

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. 301 Probe
  2. Index of Industrial Production
  3. Anorthosite & Lunar Terrain Test Facility
  4. International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)
  5. Private Members Bill

1 . 301 Probe


Context : The U.S. will consider a “301 investigation”, a probe employed as a precursor to tariffs and other trade measures against a country, against India if the trade issues between the two countries are not resolved quickly, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Jeffrey Gerrish

What is 301 Probe

  • 301 probe is a probe undetaken before implementing actions as per Section 301 of the Trade Act of the US
  • Under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974, the administration can take action, including tariffs, to counter another nation’s policies that restrict US commerce.
  • Trump has invoked that previously little-used provision to impose or threaten tariffs on virtually all goods imported from China

2 . Index of Industrial Production


Context : IIP dips to 3.1% in May on slowdown

About IIP

  • Index of Industrial Production (IIP) measures the quantum of changes in the industrial production in an economy and captures the general level of industrial activity in the country.
  • It is a composite indicator expressed in terms of an index number which measures the short term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to the base period.
  • The current base year for the IIP series in India is 2011-12. .
  • IIP is a short term indicator of industrial growth till the results from Annual Survey of Industries and National Accounts Statistics are available.
  • However, IIP is considered to be one of the lead indicators for short-term economic analysis because of its strong relationship with economic fluctuations in the rest of economy. Most of services, like transport, storage, communication, real estate, insurance and banking are industry dependent and are considerably influenced by industrial performance.
  • Index of Industrial Production is compiled and published every month by Central Statistics Office (CSO) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation with a time lag of six weeks from the reference month. i.e., at the time of release of IIP data, quick estimates for the relevant month along with revised and final indices of previous two months respectively, (on the basis of updated production data) are released.
  • The general scope of IIP, as recommended by United Nations Statistics Division includes Mining & Quarrying, Manufacturing, Electricity, Gas steam, Air conditioning supply, Water supply, Sewerage, Waste management and Remediation activities.
  • But, in India, due to constraints of data availability and other resources, the index is compiled using figures of mining, manufacturing and electricity sectors only.

Categorization of IIP

  • Sectoral classification
    • Industrial production for the purpose of IIP is divided into three sectors, i.e, Mining, Manufacturing and Electricity. In sectoral classification, relative weights of Manufacturing, Mining and Electricity are 75.5%, 14.2% and 10.3% respectively.
  • Use-based classification
    • Users also require the indices in respect of different use-based categories, i.e., basic goods, capital goods, intermediate goods, consumer durables and consumer nondurables. Recognizing the above requirements, compilation of use- based indices was started in the 1980-81 base series of IIP from the year 1990-91 onwards.
    • In “Use Base” classification, relative weights of Basic Goods, Capital Goods, intermediate goods and Consumer Goods are 45.68%, 8.83%, 15.68 and 29.81% respectively.

3 . Anorthosite & Lunar Terrain Test Facility


Context : Equipping the Lunar Terrain Test Facility and making it look and feel like being on the moon was the first challenge as it required lunar ‘soil with almost all its features and texture, lunar temperatures, low gravity and the same amount of sunlight as on the moon.

Background

  • Chandrayaan-2 rover will move on the lunar surface and will pick up soil or rock samples for in-situ chemical analysis.
  • In order to test the rover on ground, a Lunar Terrain Test Facility similar to lunar soil has been established in the centre.
  • The facility includes simulated lunar terrain, gravity simulation system and associated instrumentation for calibration and testing of rover mobility in lunar terrain

About Lunar Terrain

  • Regions of both the near side and far side of the Moon not covered by mare basalt are called highlands.
  • The highlands consist of the ancient lunar surface rock, anorthosite, and materials thrown out during the creation of the impact basins. Relatively young basins are shown in light colors; the oldest basins are in dark colors.
  • The ancient crust of the Moon is believed to have been composed of the rock, anorthosite, a calcium-rich white rock. This ancient crust has been smashed and redistributed by countless meteoric impacts. One explanation for the presence of anorthosite in the lunar crust is based on the assumption that the Moon was once molten. Plagioclase, a relatively light mineral, crystallized as the Moon cooled and solidified. This mineral floated toward the surface and formed anorthosite. Heavier minerals sank and produced the denser interior of the Moon.

About Anorthosite

  • Anorthosite is a phaneritic, intrusive igneous rock characterized by a predominance of plagioclase feldspar (90-100%), and a minimal mafic component (0-10%) Pyroxene, hornblende, ilmenite, magnetite, and olivine are the most common mafic minerals available in anorthosite rock.
  • Anorthosite is not a common rock type on Earth surface, however it covers larger area on Lunar crust. All anorthosites found on Earth consist of coarse crystals, but some samples of the rock taken from the Moon are finely crystalline. Most anorthosites formed during Precambrian times.
  • Anorthositic rocks on earth crust are mostly associated with Precambrian terrain, for example Adirondack Anorthosite Massifs in New York, Bushveld complex in South Africa, Stillwater complex in Montana, USA
  • Anthrocite Occurences in India
    • Chilka and Bolangir Complex Orissa
    • Chimalpahad complex in Andhra Pradesh
    • Oddanchatram, Sittampundi and Kadavur complex in Tamil Nadu

How ISRO created a Lunar Terrain

  • For recreating the terrain, an option was to import simulated lunar soil from the U.S. — at an exorbitant $150 a kg (the then prevailing price). The facility needed about 60-70 tonnes of soil.
    U.R. Rao Satellite Centre, or URSC (it was called the ISRO Satellite Centre or ISAC at the time) did buy a small amount of simulated lunar soil from the U.S., but soon decided to find its own solution at a lower cost.
  • Geologists of various national agencies had found that a few sites near Salem in Tamil Nadu had the ‘anorthosite’ rock that somewhat matches lunar soil in composition and features. The URSC’s lunar soil simulation studies team zeroed in on Sithampoondi and Kunnamalai villages for the soil.
  • Professional crushers broke down the rocks and soil to the micro grain sizes sought by the ISRO-led team. Transporters moved the tonnes of this ‘lunar earth’ to advanced satellite testing unit, ISITE all free of charge.

4 . International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID)


About ICSID

  • ICSID is the world’s leading institution devoted to international investment dispute settlement. It has extensive experience in this field, having administered the majority of all international investment cases. States have agreed on ICSID as a forum for investor-State dispute settlement in most international investment treaties and in numerous investment laws and contracts.
  • ICSID was established in 1966 by the Convention on the Settlement of Investment Disputes between States and Nationals of Other States. 
  • The ICSID Convention is a multilateral treaty formulated by the Executive Directors of the World Bank to further the Bank’s objective of promoting international investment

5 . Private Members Bill


Context : The Population Regulation Bill, 2019, introduced by Rakesh Sinha in the Upper House, suggests that people with more than two living children should be “disqualified” from being chosen as an MP, MLA or a member of any body of the local self government after the commencement of the Act.

About Private Members Bill

  • A Member of Parliament (MP) who is not a Minister in the Union Cabinet is called a Private Member. Bills introduced by such members are called Private Member’s Bills.
  • A Private Members Bill can be introduced in either the Lok Sabha or Rajya Sabha. Bills introduced by ministers are called Government Bills.
  • There are no restrictions as to what a Private Members Bill should be about. The scope of a Private Members Bill is same as that of a Government Bill. These bills can deal with any issue and can also be a Constitutional Amendment Bill.
  • Unlike a Government Bill, a Private Members Bill is not discussed by the Council of Ministers internally.
  • The member has to provide a one-month notice along with a copy of the ‘Statement of Object and Reasons’. Through the statement, the member is required to elaborate on the bill.
  • In case there are multiple Private Members Bill being proposed at the same time, a ballot system is used to determine the sequence of bills for introduction.
  • There is also a Parliamentary Committee on Private Member’s Bills and Resolutions that goes through all Private Members Bill . The committee classifies these Bills based on their urgency and importance, which in turn, determines which would be discussed first.
  • A successful passing of PMB is perceived by many as incompetence on part of the government and intrusion into the respective ministry’s domain.
  • Governments in the past have also at times cut short the path of PMBs. If such a bill is seen getting support in Parliament, the government requests the MP to withdraw it and promises to introduce it as a Government Bill instead. The member who had tabled The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was requested by the government to withdraw it.
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