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Current Affairs 22nd March 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Governor Returning State Bills

Context: The Governor of Karnataka returned the amendments made to the Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments Act, 1997 and requested clarifications.

What were the Provisions In the Bill?

The Karnataka Hindu Religious Institutions and Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2024 proposed to:

  • Increase social security measures for temple caretakers (archakas) in Muzrai temples.
  • Develop C category temples (those with annual income less than ₹5 lakh) using funds from richer temples.

The Bill proposed a Common Pool Fund created from:

  • 10% of the gross income of temples with annual income exceeding ₹1 crore.
  • 5% of the gross income from temples with annual income exceeding ₹10 lakh.

The Governor raised concerns about the Bill

  • Whether the government planned similar legislation for other religious bodies.
  • Pending Supreme Court case on amendments to the Act passed earlier in 2011 and 2012.

Opposition’s Stance:

  • The BJP and Janata Dal (Secular) opposed the bill in the Legislative Council, arguing against the additional financial burden on richer temples.
  • They suggested that the government should use existing budget allocations for temple and archaka welfare instead of new levies.

Power of Governor Over The State Bill

Article 200 of the Indian Constitution

  • Governor’s Options Upon Receiving a Bill:
    • Grant assent to the Bill.
    • Withhold assent from the Bill.
    • Reserve the Bill for the President’s consideration.
    • Return the Bill (unless it is a Money Bill) to the legislature for reconsideration.
  • If the governor chooses to return the bill for reconsideration and the state legislature passes the bill again (with or without amendments), the governor is constitutionally bound to give assent to the bill.
  • For the reserved Bill for the President’s consideration, the President is not obligated to grant assent to a reconsidered Bill.

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Great Indian Bustard

Context: The Supreme Court constituted an expert committee to balance the conservation and protection of the endangered Great Indian Bustard bird population.

About Great Indian Bustard

Current Affairs 22nd March 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1


Context: The Environment Ministry has tightened regulations for labelling disposable plasticware as ‘biodegradable’, requiring them to leave no microplastics behind.

Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules, 2024

  • Definition and Standards: The 2024 amendment of the Plastic Waste Management (Amendment) Rules specifies biodegradable plastics must degrade biologically without producing microplastics.
  • Lack of Specific Testing Guidelines: The amendment lacks clear guidelines on chemical testing for microplastics’ absence or acceptable reduction levels.
  • Certification Hurdles: Firms face challenges obtaining ‘provisional certificates’ for biodegradable products due to the CPCB’s requirement of 90% degradation over two years.

About Bioplastics

  • Definition: Bioplastic is a type of plastic derived from renewable biomass sources such as maize, wheat, sugarcane, or other biological materials, rather than from petroleum.
  • Properties: Bioplastics are known for being biodegradable and compostable.
  • Production: They are produced by extracting sugar from plants (e.g., corn, sugarcane) to create polylactic acids (PLA) or by using polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) from microorganisms.
  • Uses: PLA plastics are often used in food packaging, while PHA is utilised in medical applications like sutures and cardiovascular patches.

Advantages Over Single-Use Plastics

  • Climate-Friendly Alternative: Bioplastics are seen as more environmentally friendly compared to petroleum-based plastics due to their plant-based origins.
  • Carbon Footprint: The production of bioplastics consumes carbon dioxide, which can offset the emissions released upon their decomposition, potentially leading to a net-zero greenhouse gas balance.
  • Environmental Impact: Unlike petroleum-based plastics, which contribute to fossil fuel depletion and CO2 emissions, bioplastics offer a climate-neutral solution.

Disadvantages of Bioplastics

  • Cropland Expansion: The demand for bioplastics may lead to an increase in global cropland area, which can elevate greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Deforestation: Large-scale bioplastic production could result in the conversion of forests into agricultural lands, reducing the carbon absorption capacity of these areas.
  • Food Scarcity: Utilising crops for bioplastic production instead of food could exacerbate food scarcity issues.
  • Composting Requirements: Bioplastics need industrial composting conditions to decompose effectively. Inadequate processing can lead to persistence in landfills or marine environments, similar to conventional plastics.
  • Economic and Environmental Feasibility: The establishment of industrial composting facilities for bioplastics might not be viable both economically and environmentally.

Arab League

Context: On the anniversary of the Arab League’s formation, Ambassador Yusuf Mohamed Abdulla Jameel praised India’s commitment to the Palestine issue, highlighting its support for a two-state solution and humanitarian assistance.

About the Arab League (League of Arab States)

  • Formation: Established in Cairo, Egypt on March 22, 1945.
  • Founding Members: Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Transjordan (now Jordan), Saudi Arabia, and Yemen.
  • Headquarters: Cairo, Egypt.
  • Objective: Promote cooperation and unity among member states, and coordinate policies for a shared benefit.
  • Members: Currently 22, including Palestine (recognized as independent by the League).
    • Observer States: India, Eritrea, Venezuela, Brazil, Armenia

Current Affairs 22nd March 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_5.1

  • Council: Highest decision-making body. Composed of representatives (usually foreign ministers or delegates) from each member state.
  • Decision Making: Majority vote, but resolutions aren’t mandatory for members. Each member has one vote, and decisions only bind those who voted in favour.

Examples and Case Studies For Value Addition

  • Ethics, Social Influence (GS 4): The Union Information & Broadcasting Ministry cautioned social influencers against promoting offshore online betting and gambling platforms.
    • Non-adherence to the advisory may result in the removal of posts and accounts.
    • The Ministry emphasised the negative financial and socio-economic effects on consumers, especially young people.
    • The Ministry has called for sensitisation campaigns to be conducted among platform users.

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