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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 25 May 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC 2023

Q) Recently seen in news, the term ‘Sengol’ is best related to which one of the following?

  1. A Mesolithic site
  2. A copper plate telling about land grants
  3. An historical scepter used during transfer of power
  4. A tax collected from fishermen community in Sangam age

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC – 24 May April 2023

Explanation:

  • Option (3) is correct: In the upcoming inauguration of the new Parliament building, a significant item called the ‘Sengol’ sceptre will be installed at a prominent spot. The ‘Sengol’ sceptre carries significant historical significance as it was gifted to Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s inaugural Prime Minister, representing the handover of authority from the British colonial rule. The idea of using the ‘Sengol’ sceptre for the symbolic transfer of power emerged when Lord Mountbatten, the then Viceroy of British India, inquired about a suitable symbol. Seeking advice from C Rajagopalachari, the last Governor-General of India, it was Rajaji who suggested the use of the ‘Sengol’ sceptre. Inspired by a similar ceremony in the Chola dynasty, where power was transferred between kings, Rajaji believed the ‘Sengol’ would be a fitting symbol for India.

Q) Consider the following statements about Small Modular Reactors (SMRs):

  1. Molten Salt SMRs generally use bromide as a coolant.
  2. SMRs can be easily deployed in remote areas in addition to existing power grids.
  3. Recently, a report on the role of small modular reactors in the energy transition was published by the NITI Aayog.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is incorrect: Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) can be traced back to 1940s-1950s when small capacity nuclear reactors of various designs were used for military purposes. As per the IAEA, the SMRs are advanced nuclear reactors with a power generation capacity ranging from less than 30MWe to 300+ MWe. Molten Salt Reactor SMRs are based on molten fluoride or chloride salt in the role of coolant.
  • Statement 2 is correct: SMRs incorporate advanced safety features to ensure the protection of the public and the environment. These features include passive cooling systems, advanced control mechanisms, and robust containment structures. Their smaller size and modular nature make them suitable for deployment in remote areas or as a supplement to existing power grids, enhancing grid resilience.
  • Statement 3 is correct: Recently, the NITI Aayog published a report titled ‘the role of small modular reactors in the energy transition’. The modular design of SMRs allows for standardized manufacturing processes, potentially reducing construction costs. SMRs offer the potential for decentralized power generation, allowing communities or industries to have their own local sources of electricity.

Q) With reference to District Courts, consider the following statements:

  1. The appointment of a district judge is made by the governor in consultation with the high court.
  2. The session court does not have the power to award a death sentence to an accused.
  3. An appeal against the decisions of the ‘small cause’ courts can be made before the high court.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct: Articles 233 to 237 in Part VI of the Indian Constitution regulate the organization of subordinate courts and ensure their independence from the executive. Appointment of District judges are made by the Governor in consultation with the high court. Qualification of District judges:
  • He should not already be in the service of the central or the state government
  • He should have been an advocate or a pleader for seven years
  • He should be recommended by the High Court for appointment.
  • Statements 2 and 3 are incorrect: Civil Courts deal with cases pertaining to disputes between two or more persons regarding property, divorce, contract, and breach of agreement or landlord-tenant disputes. The Court of the District Judge is the highest civil court in a district to deal with civil cases. Appeals against the decisions of this court may be heard by the High Court of the State. Family courts, which are equal to courts of sub judge, exclusively hear cases of family disputes, like divorce, custody of children, etc. Munsifs and small causes courts decide cases involving petty amounts. No appeal can be made against the decisions of the small causes courts. The Court of the Sessions Judge (known as Sessions Courts) is the highest court for criminal cases in a district. An accused can be awarded death sentence by the sessions court and can be hanged to death only after his sentence is confirmed by the High Court

Q) Consider the following statements about Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI):

  1. GANHRI is responsible for accrediting human rights institutions at national level.
  2. It is a specialized agency under the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
  3. It upholds ‘Paris Principles’ related to development of standards for human rights institutions across the world.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct but statement 2 is incorrect: Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) is constituted as a non-profit entity (under Swiss law) and Secretariat support is provided by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It coordinates the relationship between NHRIs and the UN human rights system. GANHRI is responsible for reviewing and accrediting National Human Rights Institutions in compliance with the Paris Principles every five years.
  • Statement 3 is correct: Paris Principles (1991) are a crucial step in development of standards for national human rights institutions across the world. Paris Principles set out six main criteria, these are, mandate and competence; autonomy from government; independence guaranteed by a statute or constitution; pluralism; adequate resources; and adequate powers of investigation.

Q) With reference to ‘offshore funds’, consider the following statements:

  1. These funds invest in the equities of foreign countries.
  2. The investors in these funds are not directly impacted by fluctuations in the currency.
  3. Recently, India-focused offshore funds experienced an increase in inflows of about 10 percent.

Which of the statements given above is/are not correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 2 and 3 only

Explanation:

  • Statement 1 is correct: Offshore funds invest in overseas and multinational companies. Offshore funds are mutual fund schemes that invest in overseas or international markets. They are also referred to as foreign funds or international funds. These schemes invest in equities of a foreign country or region, or fixed income securities of foreign countries. Indian investor can invest only in Indian rupees.
  • Statement 2 is incorrect: Due to fluctuations in the value of other markets’ currency against the Indian rupee, investors have to be face currency risks because any fluctuation will directly impact the Net Asset Value (NAV) of the fund.
  • Statement 3 is incorrect: India-focused offshore funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) witnessed a 9 per cent quarter-on-quarter decline in inflows to USD 803 million in the January-March 2023. Offshore mutual funds can give India further sectoral diversification. Investors enjoy direct access and exposure to international brands and businesses. As per mutual fund tax rules, foreign funds come under the debt category.

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