Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- UNSC Draft Resolution & Resolution 2462
- Magnetic field
- Money Bill
- Is Indian economy slowing down?
- Facts for Prelims – E-Bola, Malham Salt cave
1 . UNSC Draft Resolution& Resolution 2462
Context : The US on Wednesday circulated the draft resolution to the powerful 15-nation Council to blacklist Azhar and subject him to a travel ban, an assets freeze, and an arms embargo.United Nations Security Council also adopted Resolution 2462 in an effort to counter the financing of terrorism while avoiding unintended consequences for humanitarian activities in areas under the control of terrorist groups.
About Draft Resolution
- In a fresh move to list Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar as a global terrorist, the US, supported by France and the UK, has moved a draft resolution in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for discussions leading to a public vote.
- Traditionally, the UNSC delegates its authority to sanction terrorists to the sanctions committees. But, when a listing has been blocked for more than a decade, the UNSC can decide to discuss the issue in the council itself, and put it to public voting
- This is a legal path; when there is a roadblock at the sanctions committee, the Security council can discuss and vote,” the source said. “It is now on the country concerned to publicly veto the resolution, which it had been doing privately four times.
- At the sanctions committee, a listing proposal is moved through a 10-day no objection period, whereas the draft resolution does not have any time frame.
About the Resolution 2462
- The UN Security Council has adopted a resolution that calls upon countries to prevent and counter the financing of terrorism, especially in its new forms.
- Initiated by France, Resolution 2462 is intended to update existing resolutions and adapt them to new forms of financing of terrorism and new challenges in this field
- The resolution notes with concern that terrorists may abuse legitimate businesses and non-profit organisations for their activities, and make use of emerging payment methods, such as prepaid cards and mobile payments or virtual assets.
- It also expresses concern at the continuing use by terrorists and their supporters of information and communications technologies, in particular the internet, to facilitate terrorist acts, as well as inciting, recruiting, funding, or planning terrorist acts.
- Therefore, the resolution calls upon all countries to enhance the traceability and transparency of financial transactions, including assessing and addressing potential risks associated with virtual assets and as appropriate, the risks of new financial instruments, including but not limited to crowd-funding platforms.
- It also encourages member states to apply risk-based anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulations to virtual asset service providers, and to identify effective systems to conduct risk-based monitoring or supervision of virtual asset service providers.
- The resolution encourages competent national authorities, in particular financial intelligence units and intelligence services, to continue to establish effective partnerships with the private sector, including financial institutions, the Financial technology industry and internet and social media companies, in particular with regards to the evolution of trends, sources and methods of the financing of terrorism.
- Adopted in 2001 in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US, Resolution 1373 was the first comprehensive resolution imposing obligations on all states to respond to the global threat of terrorism.
- Resolution 2462 also affirms the Resolution 1373 and in particular its decisions that all countries shall prevent and suppress the financing of terrorist acts and refrain from providing any of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts.
2 . Magnetic field
Context : Scientists have long known that turtles, birds, honeybees and even bacteria can sense the earth’s magnetic field and use them for navigation. But this magneto-reception has hardly been tested in humans and many studies have been inconclusive. Now a team of researchers from California Institute of Technology, U.S. and the University of Tokyo has shown that humans do indeed unconsciously respond to the changes in the earth’s magnetic fields
About Magnetic Field
- Earth’s magnetic field, also known as the geomagnetic field, is the magnetic field that extends from the Earth’s interior to where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emanating from the Sun.
- Unlike a bar magnet, however, Earth’s magnetic field changes over time because it is generated by a geodynamo (in Earth’s case, the motion of molten iron alloys in its outer core).
- The North and South magnetic poles wander widely, but sufficiently slowly for ordinary compasses to remain useful for navigation.
- However, at irregular intervals averaging several hundred thousand years, the Earth’s field reverses and the North and South Magnetic Poles relatively abruptly switch places.
- These reversals of the geomagnetic poles leave a record in rocks that are of value to paleomagnetists in calculating geomagnetic fields in the past.
- Such information in turn is helpful in studying the motions of continents and ocean floors in the process of plate tectonics.
- Earth’s magnetic field is believed to be generated deep down in the Earth’s core.
- Right at the heart of the Earth is a solid inner core, two thirds of the size of the Moon and composed primarily of iron. At 5,700°C, this iron is as hot as the Sun’s surface, but the crushing pressure caused by gravity prevents it from becoming liquid.
- Surrounding this is the outer core, a 2,000 km thick layer of iron, nickel, and small quantities of other metals. Lower pressure than the inner core means the metal here is fluid.
- Differences in temperature, pressure and composition within the outer core cause convection currents in the molten metal as cool, dense matter sinks whilst warm, less dense matter rises. The Coriolis force, resulting from the Earth’s spin, also causes swirling whirlpools.
- This flow of liquid iron generates electric currents, which in turn produce magnetic fields. Charged metals passing through these fields go on to create electric currents of their own, and so the cycle continues. This self-sustaining loop is known as the geodynamo.
- The spiralling caused by the Coriolis force means that separate magnetic fields created are roughly aligned in the same direction, their combined effect adding up to produce one vast magnetic field engulfing the planet.
3 . Money Bill
Context : The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that Finance Bill of 2017 was certified as a Money Bill by the Speaker of the Lok Sabha and judicial review of that decision cannot be done.
About Money Bill and Financial Bill
- Under Article 110 (1) of the Constitution, a Bill is deemed to be a Money Bill if it contains only provisions on all or any of the following:
- imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax;
- regulation of borrowing by the government;
- custody of the Consolidated Fund or Contingency Fund of India, and payments into or withdrawals from these Funds;
- appropriation of moneys out of the Consolidated Fund of India;
- declaring of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of India or the increasing of the amount of any such expenditure;
- receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of India or the public account of India or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the accounts of the Union or of a State; or
- any matter incidental to any of the matters specified in (a) to (f).
- In a general sense, any Bill that relates to revenue or expenditure is a Financial Bill. A Money Bill is a specific kind of Financial Bill, defined very precisely: it must deal only with matters specified in Article 110 (1) (a) to (g).
- A Money Bill is certified by the Speaker as such — only those Financial Bills that carry the Speaker’s certification are Money Bills. Financial Bills that are not certified by the Speaker are of two kinds: Bills that contain any of the matters specified in Article 110, but do not contain only those matters [Article 117 (1)]; and ordinary Bills that contain provisions involving expenditure from the Consolidated Fund [Article 117 (3)].
Advantages of Moneybill over Financial Bill
- The procedure of introduction and passage of a Money Bill. Under Article 109 (1), such a Bill can be introduced only in Lok Sabha.
- Once passed by Lok Sabha, it goes to Rajya Sabha — along with the Speaker’s certificate that it is a Money Bill — for its recommendations.
- However, Rajya Sabha can neither reject nor amend it, and must return it within 14 days, after which Lok Sabha may accept or reject all or any of its recommendations.
- In either case, the Bill is deemed to have been passed by both Houses.
- Under Article 109 (5), if Rajya Sabha fails to return the Bill to Lok Sabha within 14 days, it is deemed to have been passed anyway.
- Non-Money Bills cannot become law unless agreed to by both Houses, and in case of a deadlock (if, for example, Rajya Sabha continues to block legislation indefinitely), the way out is a joint sitting of both Houses (Article 108). This question does not arise in the case of a Money Bill, since it does not go to a joint sitting, and Lok Sabha can override the wish of Rajya Sabha.
4 . Is Indian economy slowing down ?
What are the signs of economy slowing down ?
- After posting double-digit growth rates of about 14 per cent in passenger vehicle sales during April-June 2018, Maruti Suzuki, the largest carmaker, posted less than 2 per cent growth. Tractor sales for Mahindra, which has a 40 per cent plus market share, declined in December 2018, were flat in January this year and dropped in February too. Two-wheeler sales also reported lower sales.
- Signs of a consumption slowdown spreading to non-discretionary items such as food items. At the end of the day, India continues to be a consumption-led economy. Consumption expenditure contributes almost 56 per cent of the country’s GDP.
- Macro indicators – First, eight core segments — steel, cement, fertilisers, coal, electricity, crude oil, natural gas and refinery products, which together make up about 40 per cent of industrial production – grew at 1.8 per cent in January this year, compared with 2.8 per cent in the previous month.
- GDP growth rate in the first three quarters (April-June 2018, July-September 2018 and October-December 2018) of the current financial year ending March 2019, the Central Statistics Office estimates, was 8 per cent, 7 per cent and 6.6 per cent, respectively. This clearly shows a trend of sequential slowing down and these numbers corroborate the signals that have been visible on the ground.
Why is it slowing down?
- For instance, the demand for passenger vehicles slowed down during the second half (beginning September 2018) of this financial year because of many reasons — high interest rates, higher fuel prices and lack of credit. Many in the industry say consumers have only postponed the decision to purchase vehicles, suggesting that there is no permanent destruction of this demand.
- At a very broad level, demonetisation — a radical policy decision — and introduction of Goods and Services Tax — a structural reform — naturally had an adverse impact on the economy.
- With six public sector banks under the central bank’s prompt corrective action framework, and some others voluntarily having pressed the pause button on lending, retail and businesses found it quite difficult to access credit.
- Non-banking finance companies compensated for this till the middle of 2018, when a default by IL&FS plunged the NBFC segment into a liquidity crisis. All this while, interest rates continued to remain high.
- Poor bank credit, liquidity crisis and high interest rates all created a huge drag on the economy.
Effects of Slowdown
- A slowing economy affects income of people, and does not create jobs.
- In January this year, the government revised the growth forecast for 2017-18 to 7.2 per cent from the earlier estimate of 6.7 per cent. The government expects the economy to grow at 7 per cent in 2018-19, which is slower than 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.
5 . Facts for Prelims
- Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
- The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
- The first EVD outbreaks occurred in remote villages in Central Africa, near tropical rainforests. The 2014–2016 outbreak in West Africa involved major urban areas as well as rural ones.
- Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on applying a package of interventions, namely case management, infection prevention and control practices, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service, safe and dignified burials and social mobilisation.
- Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is as yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralize the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.
Malham Salt Cave
- An Israeli-led research team believes that Malham Cave in the Negev Desert is the longest salt cave in the world, measuring more than 6 miles (10 kilometers) in total length.
- Salt caves are rare geological features, and only a handful are larger than half a mile in length. They tend to exist in highly arid regions, like the area around the Dead Sea, which is located at the lowest point on Earth and is too salty to support animal life.
- The cave system was formed by water that dissolved the salt and other minerals deposited beneath the Earth’s surface and created channels. The process would have been at its most intense during the rare periods of heavy rainfall in the Mount Sodom area, which typically sees around just 50mm of rainfall a year.
- The solubility of salt means mineral erosion takes place much faster than in limestone caves, allowing caves and tunnels to be cut out at a geologically rapid rate.