Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- No Confidence Motion
- Standard Model of Particles
- Biodiversity Bill
- Himachal Floods
- Facts for Prelims
1 . No confidence Motion
Context: Opposition parties belonging to the Indian National Developmental, Inclusive Alliance, or INDIA, plan to move a no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government in the Lok Sabha to force the Prime Minister to speak on Manipur unrest.
- In a parliamentary democracy, a government can be in power only if it commands a majority in the directly elected House. Article 75(3) of Indian Constitution embodies this rule by specifying that the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha.
- For testing this collective responsibility, the rules of Lok Sabha provide a particular mechanism – a motion of no-confidence.
What is a No confidence motion?
- A no-confidence motion is a legislative resolution introduced in the Lok Sabha that allows the Opposition to challenge the government’s majority and ability to govern
- A no-confidence motion must be in writing and should be signed by all the members moving it.
- The motion must be submitted to the Speaker of the Lok Sabha on any day on which the House is sitting. For the motion to be granted, at least 50 members of the Lok Sabha should support the motion
- If the motion is accepted, then the party in power has to prove its majority in the House. The ruling party can remain in power when it shows its strength through a floor test in the House.
- According to Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Lok Sabha, there is no need for the Opposition to state the reason for requesting a no-confidence motion before the Lok Sabha adopts it.
- A no confidence motion can only be moved in the Lok Sabha
- Rule 198 of the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of the Lok Sabha states the procedure for moving a no-confidence motion in the Lok Sabha.
- According to Lok Sabha Rules 198(1)(b), the member has to give a written notice of the motion before 10 am to the Secretary-General.
- A minimum of 50 members in the House have to accept the motion and accordingly, the Speaker of the House will announce the date for discussion for the no-confidence motion. The Speaker may grant time for the discussion of the motion (under sub-rule (2) and (3) of Rule 198 of Lok Sabha Rules).
- The allotted date has to be within 10 days from the day the motion is accepted. Otherwise, the motion will fail and the members who moved the motion will be informed about it.
How is a no-confidence motion voted on?
- After the debate in the House, the Lok Sabha will vote on the no-confidence motion. The motion will be passed if it is supported by a majority of the members of the House. If a no-confidence motion is passed, the government must resign.
- However, if the government wins the vote on the no-confidence motion, the motion is defeated and the government remains in power.
How many no confidence motions have been moved in the past?
- It was during the third Lok Sabha in 1963 that the first motion of no confidence was moved by Acharya J B Kripalani against the government headed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. The debate on the motion lasted for 21 hours over four days, with 40 MPs participating.
- Since then, there have been 26 more no-confidence motions moved in the parliament (not counting the latest one), with the last one being in 2018, moved by the TRS against the previous Narendra Modi government.
- The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government lost the no-confidence motion by a margin of one vote (269–270) in April 1999.
2 . Standard Model of particles
Context: The Standard Model of particle physics predicts the existence of different particles; the last of them to be found was the Higgs boson, in 2012. But while the Model is incomplete, its zoo of particles and their combined interactions haven’t been able to explain many things about nature and the universe.
About standard model of particles
- The Standard Model of Particle Physics is scientists’ current best theory to describe the most basic building blocks of the universe.
- It explains how particles called quarks (which make up protons and neutrons) and leptons (which include electrons) make up all known matter.
- It also explains how force carrying particles, which belong to a broader group of bosons, influence the quarks and leptons.
- According to the model all ordinary matter, including every atom on the periodic table of elements, consists of only three types of matter particles: up and down quarks, which make up the protons and neutrons in the nucleus, and electrons that surround the nucleus.
- The complete Standard Model took a long time to build. Physicist J.J. Thomson discovered the electron in 1897, and scientists at the Large Hadron Collider found the final piece of the puzzle, the Higgs boson, in 2012.
- Fundamental forces- The Standard Model explains three of the four fundamental forces that govern the universe: electromagnetism, the strong force, and the weak force.
- Electromagnetism is carried by photons and involves the interaction of electric fields and magnetic fields.
- The strong force, which is carried by gluons, binds together atomic nuclei to make them stable.
- The weak force, carried by W and Z bosons, causes nuclear reactions that have powered Sun and other stars for billions of years.
- The fourth fundamental force is gravity, which is not adequately explained by the Standard Model.
What are the limitations in standard model of particle physics?
- Despite its success at explaining the universe, the Standard Model does have limits. For example, the Higgs boson gives mass to quarks, charged leptons (like electrons), and the W and Z bosons. However, we do not yet know whether the Higgs boson also gives mass to neutrinos.
- Also, physicists understand that about 95 percent of the universe is not made of ordinary matter. Instead, much of the universe consists of dark matter and dark energy that do not fit into the Standard Model.
- Matter and antimatter- The model predicts that when the universe was created, it should have had equal quantities of matter and antimatter – which is clearly not the case. The equal quantities of the two substances would have annihilated each other, releasing energy in the form of light, so the universe should have been full of light. The universe has large amounts of matter and no antimatter. This is one important line of inquiry in the quest to find a flaw in the Standard Model, an edge that is incomplete and could lead the way to a ‘new physics’ to resolve some or all these mysteries.
3 . Biodiversity Bill
Context: The Lok Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amid sloganeering by Opposition members demanding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi make a statement on the Manipur violence. The Bill aims to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
Background of the News
- The Lok Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021 to amend Biological Diversity Act of 2002.
What are the Key highlights of the Bill? –
- The Bill amends the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 to simplify compliance requirements for domestic companies.
- Users of codified traditional knowledge and AYUSH practitioners will be exempted from sharing benefits with local communities.
- The Bill removes research and bio-survey activities from the purview of benefit sharing requirements.
- Benefit sharing will be based on terms agreed between the user and the local management committee represented by the National Authority.
- The Bill decriminalises all offences under the Act.
- The Bill also amends the Act to include references to the Nagoya Protocol
What are the concern about the bill?
- The term codified traditional knowledge has not been defined. A broad interpretation might exempt all local traditional knowledge from benefit sharing requirements.
- The Bill removes the direct role of local communities in determining benefit sharing provisions.
- The Bill decriminalises offences under the Act and instead provides for a wide range of penalties. Further, the Bill empowers government officials to hold inquiries and determine penalties. It may be questioned whether it is appropriate to confer such discretion to government officials
- The amendments were made to “solely benefit” AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) firms and would pave the way for “bio piracy”.
About the Biodiversity Act 2002
- Biodiversity refers to the variety of life forms that exist on the planet. Human activities on the planet have created challenges for biodiversity such as loss of habitat, deterioration of ecological systems, and extinction or threat of extinction for species. There have also been concerns around bio-piracy which involves unauthorised appropriation of biological resources and related knowledge belonging to indigenous communities.
- United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)- A key multilateral treaty to address these concerns is the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) from the year 1992.
- It recognises sovereign rights over biological resources and permits countries to regulate access to these resources as per their national legislation.
- It recognises contributions of local and indigenous communities to conservation and sustainable use through traditional knowledge, practices, and innovations.
- It provides for equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of these resources with such people.
- India became a signatory to CBD in 1994.
- Under CBD, two protocols have been adopted:
- (i) Cartagena Protocol on biosafety (2003), and
- (ii) Nagoya Protocol on access and benefit sharing (2014).
- India ratified the Cartagena Protocol in 2003 and the Nagoya Protocol in 2014.5
- Biodiversity Act 2002- In light of India’s commitments under CBD, the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was passed by Parliament.
- The Act regulates access to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.
- It specifies distinct frameworks for regulating access by foreign and domestic entities.
- It sets up a three-tier structure for regulation:
- (i) National Biodiversity Authority at the national level,
- (ii) State Biodiversity Boards at the state level, and
- (iii) Biodiversity Management Committees at the local body level.
- The Act provides for sharing of benefits with conservers of biodiversity and holders and creators of associated knowledge.
- Benefits may be shared in various forms such as:
- (i) monetary compensation,
- (ii) sharing of intellectual property rights, or
- (iii) technology transfer.
4 . Himachal Floods
Context: Flash floods during this year’s monsoon season have caused unprecedented damage to both lives and assets in Himachal Pradesh.
What are the factors responsible for the flood in Himachal Pradesh?
- Climate change- The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) VI report has clearly stated that the Himalayas and coastal regions of India will be the hardest hit by climate change. In the Himalayas, there is a noticeable pattern of increased precipitation occurring in shorter periods of time.
- Anthropogenic factors– Although climate change is expected to have played a hand in causing the high precipitation leading to these flash floods, human induced disasters resulting from planned development have played a significant role in causing such colossal losses.
- Development induced disaster- The exploitation of natural resources, including forests, water, tourism, and cement production, became a major focus for development. This led to the rapid construction of hydropower projects, often causing damage to rivers and their ecosystems, widening of roads without proper geological and engineering assessments, expansion of cement plants altering land use patters, and a shift in agricultural practices to cash crop economies that affected the landscape and river systems.
- Hydropower projects- One of the main reasons for the devastating impact of floods in the region is the uncontrolled construction of these hydropower projects, which have essentially transformed mountain rivers into mere streams. The technology employed, known as “run of the river” dams, diverts water through tunnels burrowed into the mountains, and the excavated material (muck) is often disposed of along the riverbeds. During periods of higher precipitation or cloudbursts, the water returns to the river, carrying the dumped muck along with it. Moreover, long tunnels spanning 150 km have been planned or commissioned on the Sutlej river causing significant harm to the entire ecosystem.
- Tourism- The development-driven road expansion is aimed at promoting tourism and attracting a large number of visitors. The road-widening projects, often carried out by the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), involve transforming two-lane roads into four-lane roads and single lanes into two- lane roads. However, this has resulted in bypassing essential geological studies and mountain engineering skills. The mountains have been cut vertically, leading to massive landslides and damage to existing roads. The consequences of such road expansions are evident during even normal rainfall, as it leads to slips and slides, amplifying the magnitude of the destruction during heavy rain or floods.
- Change in crop pattern- A silent transformation is occurring in agriculture and horticulture patterns, leading to significant shift in both landholdings and produce. More farmers are now embracing a cash crop economy over traditional cereal farming. However, this shift has implications for the transportation of these crops to markets within a short timeframe owing to their perishable nature. In response to this need, roads are being constructed hastily without considering essential land cutting and gradient requirements. Modern excavators are employed in construction, but without creating proper drains or designated areas for dumping muck. Consequently, when it rains, the water finds its own path, carrying the dumped muck along with it and depositing it into the river ecosystem. As a result, even during normal rainfall, rivulets and rivers experience rapid swelling.
- A Commission of Inquiry must be instituted to bring the major stakeholders — the people — on board and discuss both the policy framework failures, as well as the peculiar aspects of the projects undertaken. A new architecture is required to empower local communities over their assets. The losses faced in the forms of culverts, village drains, small bridges, schools, other social infrastructure must be compensated; and this can be done if the assets are insured and the custodians are local communities. This will help to rebuild the assets quicker.
5 . Facts for Prelims
Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA)
- The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) was established in 1987 as an autonomous institution under the Department of Culture, and envisioned as a centre for research, academic pursuit and dissemination in the field of the arts.
- ‘The Arts’ as a wide spectrum, encompassing subjects from archaeology to dance and anthropology to the photographic art, enveloping them in a complementary and non-demarcated vision. In its functioning, the IGNCA has met its mandate and continues to work in this direction.
- The IGNCA has six functional units –
- Kalanidhi, the multi-form library; Kalakosa, devoted mainly to the study and publication of fundamental texts, predominantly in Sanskrit;
- Janapada Sampada, the division engaged in lifestyle studies;
- Kaladarsana, the executive unit which transforms researches and studies emanating from the IGNCA into visible forms through exhibitions;
- Cultural Informatics Lab, which applies technology tools for cultural preservation and propagation; and
- Sutradhara, the administrative section that acts as a spine supporting and coordinating all the activities. The Member Secretary is the Executive head of both academic and administrative divisions.
- The IGNCA has a Southern Regional Centre (SRC) headquartered in Bangalore.
- Its establishment in 2001 was aimed at intensifying the Centre’s studies on the southern region’s art and cultural heritage.
- Janjatiya Darpan is a unique gallery dedicated to tribal arts, culture and heroes. Gallery showcases common and connecting cultural traits of various tribal communities.
- The aim of this gallery is to provide a glimpse of rich art, culture and the contributions of tribal communities in building this nation.
- The gallery consists of different themes such as unsung Tribal Freedom Fighters, Traditional Natural Resource management practices like Halma, Dokra Art, Musical Instruments, Gunjala Gondi Script, Agricultural and Household implements, Bamboo Baskets, Textiles, Paintings such as Warli, Gondi and Mud Art, Scroll, Masks and Jewellery, Metal work, Weapons, Contemporary Photographs depicting the Tattoos, Diorama depicting an ecological setting and scepters.
- Galley is established by Rashtrapati Bhavan in collaboration with Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA).
Full Reserve Banking-
- Full-reserve banking, also known as 100% reserve banking, refers to a system of banking where banks are not allowed to lend out money that they receive from customers in the form of demand deposits.
- Demand deposits are deposits that customers can withdraw from the bank at any point in time without any prior notice. So, under full-reserve banking, banks are mandated to hold all money that they receive as demand deposits from customers in their vaults at all times.
- In this case, banks simply act as custodians to depositors’ money and may charge a fee from depositors for the service of safekeeping that they offer to the depositors.
- Under full-reserve banking, banks are expected to hold reserves backing 100% of their liabilities in the form of demand deposits. This is to ensure that banks can successfully meet redemption demands from depositors, and thus avoid a run on the bank even if all depositors someday decide to come asking for their money at the same time.
- Under a full-reserve banking system, banks can only lend money that they receive as time deposits from their customers. This arrangement gives banks the time to lend these deposits to borrowers at a certain interest rate, collect repayments from the borrowers, and finally repay depositors their money along with a certain amount of interest.