Daily Current Affairs : 3rd and 4th June 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Liquid Mirror Telescope
  2. Direct 2 Mobile Technology
  3. Powers of Governor with regard to bills
  4. UAPA
  5. Eco – Sensitive Zone
  6. Public Interest Litigation
  7. Facts for Prelims

1 . Liquid Mirror Telescope

Context : In early 2022, India’s first liquid-mirror telescope, which will observe asteroids, supernovae, space debris and all other celestial objects from an altitude of 2,450 metres in the Himalayas, saw its first light as it peered into the zenith from the Devasthal observatory in Uttarakhand. Having entered the commissioning phase, it became the world’s first liquid-mirror telescope to be commissioned for astronomy. 

What is a liquid-mirror telescope?

  • The International Liquid-Mirror Telescope (ILMT) has been set up at the Devasthal Observatory campus owned by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital in Uttarakhand.
  • Located at 2,450 metres above mean sea level, there are two firsts with this — it’s the only one to have been developed for astronomy research and is also the only one of its kind to be operational anywhere in the world.
  • The handful of liquid-telescopes that were previously built either tracked satellites or were deployed for military purposes. ILMT will be the third telescope facility to come up at Devasthal — one of the world’s pristine sites for obtaining astronomical observations. With ILMT set to commence full-scale scientific operations in October this year, it will work along with the 3.6-metre Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT), the largest telescopes operating in India (of the 4-metre class). Also operating at the location is the 1.3-metre Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope (DFOT) inaugurated in 2010.

Difference between Liquid and Conventional Telescope

  • A conventional telescope is steered to point towards the celestial source of interest in the sky for observations.
  • The liquid-mirror telescopes, on the other hand, are stationary telescopes that image a strip of the sky which is at the zenith at a given point of time in the night.
  • A liquid-mirror telescope will survey and capture any and all possible celestial objects — from stars, galaxies, supernovae explosions, asteroids to space debris.
  • Conventional telescopes have highly polished glass mirrors — either single or a combination of curved ones — that are steered in a controlled fashion to focus onto the targetted celestial object on specific nights. The light is then reflected to create images.
  • As opposed to this, as is evident by the name, the liquid-telescope is made up of mirrors with a reflective liquid, in this case, mercury — a metal which has a high light-reflecting capacity. About 50 litres (equal to 700kgs) of mercury filled into a container will be rotated at a fixed constant speed along the vertical axis of the ILMT. During this process, the mercury will spread as a thin layer in the container forming a paraboloid-shaped reflecting surface which will now act as the mirror. Such a surface is ideal to collect and focus light. The mirror has a diameter of 4 metre.
  • Operational time : While conventional telescopes observe specific stellar sources for fixed hours as per the study requirement and time allotted by the respective telescope time allotment committee, ILMT will capture the sky’s images on all nights — between two successive twilights — for the next five years starting October 2022.
  • For protecting it from moisture during monsoon, the ILMT will remain shut for operations between June and August.

Which countries are involved in its development?

  • India, Belgium, Canada, Poland and Uzbekistan are the main countries who have collaborated to set up the ILMT.
  • The telescope was designed and built at the Advanced Mechanical and Optical Systems Corporation and the Centre Spatial de Liège in Belgium.
  • The funding, estimated to range between Rs 30 to Rs 40 crore, was jointly provided by Canada and Belgium.
  • The operations and up-keep of this telescope is to be done by India.
  • Along with ARIES, the other international institutes involved in the development process include the Institute of Astrophysics and Geophysics, Liège University, Belgium; the Canadian Astronomical Institutes from Vancouver, University of British Columbia; University of Montreal, University of Toronto, University of Victoria, York University, Laval University, Poznan Observatory, Poland; Ulugh Beg Astronomical Institute of Uzbek Academy of Sciences and the National University of Uzbekistan.

What is the data that will be generated and how will it be used?

  • It is estimated that the ILMT is capable of generating 10-15 GB/night. With ILMT set for operations every night during nine months a year for the next five years starting October 2022, there will be data generated in gigantic volumes.
  • According to international norms, the data generated by a new telescope facility will be cleaned, maintained and archived at either of the host/participating institutes, in this case, the AIRES. The norms also mandate that for an initial stipulated period, the data will be open only for researchers from these participating institutes. At a later stage, the data will be accessible to all global scientific communities.
  • In order to sieve, process and analyse the large datasets, the ILMT will deploy the latest computational tools, like Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and big data analytics.
  • Another advantage for having such large data sets is that the select data can be culled out as base data which can then be followed-up for further focused studies using spectrographs, near-Infrared spectrograph mounted on the in-house DOT.

2 . Direct to Mobile Technology

Context : The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) and India’s public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati are exploring the feasibility of a technology that allows to broadcast video and other forms of multimedia content directly to mobile phones, without needing an active internet connection. The technology, called ‘direct-to-mobile’ (D2M) broadcasting, promises to improve consumption of broadband and utilisation of spectrum.

What is direct-to-mobile broadcasting?

  • The technology is based on the convergence of broadband and broadcast, using which mobile phones can receive terrestrial digital TV.
  • It would be similar to how people listen to FM radio on their phones, where a receiver within the phone can tap into radio frequencies. Using D2M, multimedia content can also be beamed to phones directly.
  • The idea behind the technology is that it can possibly be used to directly broadcast content related to citizen-centric information and can be further used to counter fake news, issue emergency alerts and offer assistance in disaster management, among other things.
  • Apart from that, it can be used to broadcast live news, sports etc. on mobile phones. More so, the content should stream without any buffering whatsoever while not consuming any internet data.

What could be the consumer and business impact of this?

  • For consumers, a technology like this would mean that they would be able to access multimedia content from Video on Demand (VoD) or Over The Top (OTT) content platforms without having to exhaust their mobile data, and more importantly, at a nominal rate. The technology will also allow people from rural areas, with limited or no internet access, to watch video content.
  • For businesses, one of the key benefits of the technology is that it can enable telecom service providers to offload video traffic from their mobile network onto the broadcast network, thus helping them to decongest valuable mobile spectrum. This will also improve usage of mobile spectrum and free up bandwidth which will help reduce call drops, increase data speeds etc.

What is the government doing to facilitate D2M technology?

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has set up a committee to study the feasibility of a spectrum band for offering broadcast services directly to users’ smartphones
  • Band 526-582 MHz is envisaged to work in coordination with both mobile and broadcast services. DoT has set up a committee to study this band,. At the moment, this band is used by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting across the country for TV transmitters.
  • Public service broadcaster Prasar Bharati had last year announced a collaboration with IIT Kanpur to test the feasibility of the technology.

Possible challenges to the technology’s rollout?

  • While still at a nascent stage, Prasar Bharati’s CEO has said bringing key stakeholders like mobile operators onboard will be the “biggest challenge” in launching D2M technology on a wide scale. Information and Broadcasting Ministry Secretary Apurva Chandra said a mass roll out of the technology will entail changes in infrastructure and some regulatory changes.

3 . Powers of Governor with Regards to Bills

Context : With as many as 21 Bills adopted by the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly pending in the Raj Bhavan, Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday called on Governor R.N. Ravi and urged him to grant assent to the legislation so as “to uphold the spirit of the Constitution and the sentiments of the people of Tamil Nadu.”

Constitutional Provisions

 Article 200 deals with powers of the Governor with regard to assent given to bills passed by the State legislature 

  • Article 200 provides that when a Bill passed by the State Legislature, is presented to the Governor, the Governor shall declare—
    • (a) that he assents to the Bill; or
    • (b) that he withholds assent therefrom; or
    • (c) that he reserves the Bill for the President’s consideration; or
    • (d) the Governor may, as soon as possible, return the Bill (other than a Money Bill) with a message for re-consideration by the State Legislature. But, if the Bill is again passed by the Legislature with or without amendment, the Governor shall not withhold assent therefrom (First Proviso); or
    • (e) if in the opinion of the Governor, the Bill, if it became law, would so derogate from the powers of the High Court as to endanger its constitutional position, he shall not assent to but shall reserve it for the consideration of the President (Second Proviso).
  • If the Governor reserves a Bill for President’s consideration, the enactment of the Bill then depends on the assent or refusal of assent by the President.
  • In the case of a reserved Bill, the President shall, under Article 201—, either declare his assent or withhold his assent thereto. Instead of following either of these courses, the President may (if the Bill is not a Money Bill) direct the Governor to return the Bill together with a message to the State Legislature for reconsideration. The State Legislature shall then reconsider the Bill within 6 months of its receipt and, if it is again passed, it shall be presented again to the President for his consideration. In contrast with the power of the Governor regarding a reconsidered Bill, it is not obligatory for the President to give his assent to a reconsidered Bill.

State Bills reserved for President’s Consideration

  • State Bills reserved for Presidents’s consideration under the Constitution, may be classified as follows:—
  • Bills which must be reserved for President’s consideration In this category come Bills—
    • Which so derogate from the powers of the High Court, as to endanger the position which that Court is by this Constitution designed to fill (Second Proviso to Article 200);
    • Which relate to imposition of taxes on water or electricity in certain cases, and attract the provisions of Clause (2) of Article 288; and
    • Which fall within clause (4) (a) (ii) of Article 360, during a Financial Emergency.
  • Bills which may be reserved for President’s consideration and assent for specific purposes
    • To secure immunity from operation of Articles 14 and 19. These are Bills for—
      • Acquisition of estates, etc. [First Proviso to Article 31A(I)];
      • Giving effect to Directive Principles of State Policy (Proviso to Article 31C).
    • A Bill relating to a subject enumerated in the Concurrent List, to ensure operation of its provisions despite their repugnancy to a Union law or an existing law, by securing President’s assent in terms of Article 254(2).
    • Legislation imposing restrictions on trade and commerce requiring Presidential sanction under the
      • Proviso to Article 304(b) read with Article 255.
    • Bills which may not specifically fall under any of the above categories, yet may be reserved by the Governor for President’s consideration under Article 200.

4 . UAPA

Context : The Supreme Court’s freeze on sedition proceedings under the colonial Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code seems to have not yet made a ripple on the ground for persons who have also been charged under the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) of 1967 in the same case or separately.

About Unlawful Activities Prevention Act

  • UAPA law is aimed at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.
  • Its main objective was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
  • The National Integration Council appointed a Committee on National Integration and Regionalisation to look into, the aspect of putting reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • Pursuant to the acceptance of recommendations of the Committee, the Constitution (Sixteenth Amendment) Act, 1963 was enacted to impose, by law, reasonable restrictions in the interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India.
  • In order to implement the provisions of 1963 Act, the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Bill was introduced in the Parliament

Provisions and Amendments

  • Main objective of the original bill was to make powers available for dealing with activities directed against the integrity and sovereignty of India
  • In 2004, the government chose to strengthen The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. It was amended to overcome some of the difficulties in its enforcement and to update it in accordance with international commitments. By inserting specific chapters, the amendment criminalised the raising of funds for a terrorist act, holding of the proceeds of terrorism, membership of a terrorist organisation, support to a terrorist organisation, and the raising of funds for a terrorist organisation. It increased the time available to law-enforcement agencies to file a chargesheet to six months from three.
  • The law was amended in 2008 after the Mumbai attacks, and again in 2012. The definition of “terrorist act” was expanded to include offences that threaten economic security, counterfeiting Indian currency, and procurement of weapons, etc. Additional powers were granted to courts to provide for attachment or forfeiture of property equivalent to the value of the counterfeit Indian currency, or the proceeds of terrorism involved in the offence.
  • In 2019 Act was again amended to designate an individual as a “terrorist”

What is Unlawful Activity as per the Act

  • Section 2(o) of UAPA as it stands today, defines “unlawful activity”
  • Unlawful activity, in relation to an individual or association, means any action taken by such individual or association (whether by committing an act or by words, either spoken or written, or by signs or by visible representation or otherwise),—
    • which is intended, or supports any claim, to bring about, on any ground whatsoever, the cession of a part of the territory of India or the secession of a part of the territory of India from the Union, or which incites any individual or group of individuals to bring about such cession or secession; or
    • Which disclaims, questions, disrupts or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty and territorial integrity of India; or
    • Which causes or is intended to cause disaffection against India;

Who is designated as a Terrorist under the act

  • Section 15 defines a “terrorist act” as any act committed with intent to threaten or likely to threaten the unity, integrity, security, economic security, or sovereignty of India or with intent to strike terror or likely to strike terror in the people or any section of the people in India or in any foreign country.
  • Section 35 of UAPA: It seeks to empower the central government to designate an individual a “terrorist” if they are found committing, preparing for, promoting, or involved in an act of terror through a notification in the official gazette, and add his name to the schedule 4 0f theact.
    • The government is not required to give an individual an opportunity to be heard before such a designation.
    • At present, in line with the legal presumption of an individual being innocent until proven guilty, an individual who is convicted in a terror case is legally referred to as a terrorist, while those suspected of being involved in terrorist activities are referred to as terror accused. The act does not clarify the standard of proof required to establish that an individual is involved or is likely to be involved in terrorist activities.
  • Insertion to schedule of treaties: The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.  The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).  Act has added another treaty to the list- International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).

What happens when an individual is declared a terrorist?

  • The designation of an individual as a global terrorist by the United Nations is associated with sanctions including travel bans, freezing of assets and an embargo against procuring arms However UAPA act does not provide any such detail.
  • The act also does not require the filing of cases or arresting individuals while designating them as terrorists.
  • The act also seeks to give the central government the power to remove a name from the schedule when an individual makes an application. The procedure for such an application and the process of decision-making will also be decided by the central government.
  • If an application filed by an individual declared a terrorist is rejected by the government, the act gives him the right to seek a review within one month after the application is rejected.
  • Under the act, the central government will set up the review committee consisting of a chairperson (a retired or sitting judge of a High Court) and three other members. The review committee will be empowered to order the government to delete the name of the individual from the schedule that lists “terrorists”, if it considers the order to be flawed.
  • Apart from these two avenues, the individual can also move the courts challenging the government’s order.


  • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.  The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
  • Prior approval of Director General of Police: The investigating officer has to take prior permission of the Director General of Police of a state for conducting raids, and seizing properties that are suspected to be linked to terrorist activities.
  • Approval for seizure of property by NIA:  If the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property. 

Concerns about the Act

  • The new changes undermine human rights as the central government can brand a person a terrorist without an adjudication by the judiciary and such sweeping power in the hands of the central government is troublesome.
  • If an individual is wrongfully designated it could amount to social exclusion and deprivation of livelihood of the designated individual, which falls within the ambit of right to life and liberty under Art 21 of the Constitution.
  • The updated law though is not anti-federal but has enough teeth to violate the basic human rights of the citizens.

5 . Eco – Sensitive Zone

Context : The Supreme Court directed that every protected forest, national park and wildlife sanctuary across the country should have a mandatory eco-sensitive zone (ESZ) of a minimum one km starting from their demarcated boundaries.

About Eco-Sensitive Zone

  • Eco-Sensitive Zone means the fragile area that exists within 10 kilometres of protected areas like National Parks and Wildlife Sanctuaries.
  • The purpose of marking an Eco-Sensitive Zone is to create a kind of shock-absorber around the protected areas.
  • The Eco-Sensitive Zone around protected areas are declared by the Ministry of Environment Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India.
  • Commercial mining, stone quarrying, crushing units, setting up industries that cause pollution, establishment of hydro-electric projects, commercial use of firewood, solid waste disposal or wastewater disposal and many other activities are prohibited or banned around ESZ


  • Environment Ministry guidelines show that the purpose of declaring ESZs around national parks, forests and sanctuaries is to create some kind of a “shock absorber” for the protected areas.
  • These zones would act as a transition zone from areas of high protection to those involving lesser protection.

Details of the Verdict

  • A three-judge Bench of Justices highlighted how the nation’s natural resources have been for years ravaged by mining and other activities.
  • The judgment observed that the government should not confine its role to that of a “facilitator” of economic activities for the “immediate upliftment of the fortunes of the State”.
    • The State also has to act as a trustee for the benefit of the general public in relation to the natural resources so that sustainable development could be achieved in the long term.
    • “Such a role of the State is more relevant today, than, possibly, at any point of time in history with the threat of climate catastrophe resulting from global warming looming large
  • The judgment came on a petition instituted for the protection of forest lands in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu. Subsequently, the scope of that writ petition was enlarged by the court so as to protect such natural resources throughout the country.
  • In a series of directions, the court held that in case any national park or protected forest already has a buffer zone extending beyond one km, that would prevail. In case the question of the extent of buffer zone was pending a statutory decision, then the court’s direction to maintain the one-km safety zone would be applicable until a final decision is arrived. The court directed that “mining within the national parks and wildlife sanctuaries shall not be permitted”.

6 . Public Interest Litigation

Context : A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petitioner in the Supreme Court barely escaped having to pay ₹18 lakh for indulging in a “luxury litigation”.

About Public Interest Litigation

  • Public Interest Litigation (PIL), means a legal action initiated in a court of law for the enforcement of public interest or general interest in which the public or class of the community have pecuniary interest or some interest by which their legal rights or liabilities are affected.”
  • Public Interest Litigation’s explicit purpose is to alienate the suffering off all those who have borne the burnt of insensitive treatment at the hands of fellow human being. Transparency in public life & fair judicial action are the right answer to check increasing menace of violation of legal rights. Traditional rule was that the right to move the Supreme Court is only available to those whose fundamental rights are infringed.
  • PIL has not been defined in any Indian statute. However, Courts have interpreted and defined PIL. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has, in the case of Janata Dal v. H.S.Chaudhary, held that lexically, the expression ‘PIL’  means a legal action started in a court of law for the enforcement of public/general interest where the public or a particular class of the public some interest (including pecuniary interest) that affects their legal rights or liabilities.
  • PILs are considered to be the most effective as well as the most commonly used judicial tool to safeguard the environment due to their many advantages including but not limited to speedy results, nominal court fees, relaxed procedural rules and the wide variety of investigative techniques available to courts like special committees.

Who can file a PIL

  • Any individual or organisation can file a PIL either in his/her/their own standing i.e. to protect or enforce a right owed to him/her/them by the government or on behalf of a section of society who is disadvantaged or oppressed and is not able to enforce their own rights.
  • However, only a person acting in good faith and who has sufficient interest in the proceeding will have the locus standi to file a PIL.
  • A person who approaches the Hon’ble Court for personal gain, private profit, political or any oblique consideration will not be entertained. Suo moto cognizance may also be taken by the Court.

Legality of PIL

  • PILs are extensions of Writ Jurisdiction. Therefore, PILs may be filed either before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution or any High Court under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution.
  • However, even a simple letter or a postcard addressed to the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of a High Court may suffice. The court may then choose to take cognizance of the letter and convert it into a PIL.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Section 25 Company

  • As per the Companies Act, 1956, a Section 25 company — similar to what is defined under Section 8 under Companies Act, 2013 — is a not-for-profit charitable company formed with the sole object of “promoting commerce, art, science, religion, charity, or any other useful object, and intends to apply its profits, if any, or other income in promoting its objects, and to prohibit the payment of any dividend to its members”.
  • Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013 includes other objects such as sports, education, research, social welfare and protection of environment among others.
  • While it could be a public or a private company, a Section 25 company is prohibited from payment of any dividend to its members. Section 25 states that by its constitution the company is required/ intends to apply its profits, if any, or other income in promoting its objects and is prohibited from paying any dividend to its members.”
  • Experts say that most people looking to form a charitable entity go for forming a company under Section 25, now Section 8, rather than a Trust structure because most foreign donors like to contribute to a company rather than Trust because they are more transparent and provide more disclosures.
  • Tax experts say that if a company has to be converted into a not for profit company, they can’t be converted into a Trust, however, they can be converted into a Section 25/ Section 8 company.

Extended producer responsibility (EPR)

  • Extended producer responsibility (EPR) is an environmental protection strategy aimed at decreasing total environmental impact from a product and its packaging, by ensuring that the producers of the product take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products especially in the take-back, recycling, and final disposal of their products, including its packaging.

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