UPSC Prelims News of 3 March 2023
Spice Board of India
Context: Indian Spices Board recently declared it aim to achieve $10 billion in spice exports by 2030.
About Spice Board:
- Spices Board is the flagship organization for the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices.
- It is one of the five Commodity Boards functioning under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
- It is an autonomous body responsible for the export promotion of the 52 scheduled spices and development of Cardamom (Small & Large).
- The main functions of the Spices Board include:
- Research, Development and Regulation of domestic marketing of Small & Large Cardamom;
- Post-harvest improvement of all spices;
- Export promotion of all spices and assisting exporters in technology upgradation, quality management, brand promotion, research & product development;
- Development of spices in the North East;
- Regulation of quality of spices for exports through its quality evaluation services; etc.
- It was established by the Spices Board Act, 1986.
- Spices are aromatic flavourings from seeds, fruits, bark, rhizomes, and other plant parts that are used to season and preserve food, and as medicines, dyes, and perfumes.
- Spices have been highly valued as trade goods for thousands of years and they grow well India due to the varying climates (from tropical to subtropical to temperate).
- India is the world’s largest spice producer. It is also the largest consumer and exporter of spices.
- The largest spices-producing states in India are Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Assam, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
Context: In the recent hearing of the petitions, the CJI emphasised on the importance of the office of the whip in the legislature.
- In parliamentary parlance, a whip may refer to both a written order to members of a party in the House to abide by a certain direction, and to a designated official of the party who is authorised to issue such a direction.
- The term is derived from the old British practice of “whipping in” lawmakers to follow the party line.
- A whip may require that party members be present in the House for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.
- Status: The office of ‘whip’ is mentioned neither in the Constitution of India nor in the Rules of the House nor in a Parliamentary Statute. It is based on the conventions of the parliamentary government.
- In India, all parties can issue whips to their members.
- Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips -this member is called a chief whip, and he/ she is assisted by additional whips.
Types of Whip:
- A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
- A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
- A three-line whip is the strongest, employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.
- Implications of violation: Rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk.
- The anti-defection law allows the Speaker/ Chairperson to disqualify such a member; the only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.
- Non application: There are some cases such as Presidential elections where whips cannot direct a Member of Parliament (MP) or Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) on whom to vote.
Context: The Prime Minister will be inaugurating the Raisina Dialogue, India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-strategy.
About Raisina Dialogue:
- The Raisina Dialogue is India’s premier foreign policy conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
- The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics.
- The first session was held in 2016.
- It is organized on the lines of the Shangri La Dialogue which takes place annually in Singapore and is co-hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
- ORF is an independent think tank based in New Delhi with three centres in Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata.
- It seeks to lead and aid policy thinking towards building a strong and prosperous India in a fair and equitable world and helps discover and inform India’s choices. It carries Indian voices and ideas to forums shaping global debates.
- The name Raisina Hills comes from the place where India’s seat of power resides.
- The eighth edition of the Dialogue will be held from March 2-4.
Context: The SWAYATT initiative has been a huge success and has been commemorated by government e-Marketplace (GeM).
- SWAYATT is an initiative that aims to promote start-ups, women and youth advantage through e-Transactions on GeM.
- Start-ups, Women and Youth Advantage Through eTransactions (SWAYATT) on GeM was launched in 2019.
- Its objective was to promote inclusiveness of various categories of sellers and service providers on the portal, by facilitating training and registrations of specific category of manufacturers and sellers, develop women entrepreneurship and encourage participation of MSMEs and start-ups in public procurement.
- GeM is a section 8 company setup under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- Its purpose is to facilitate procurement of goods and services by Central Ministries, State Departments, PSEs and Autonomous Bodies.
- GeM is a completely paperless, cashless and system driven e-market place that reduces human interface in procurement of common use goods and services.
Context: Recently, Union Minister of Power and New & Renewable Energy launched the Star-rated appliances program and hailed the completion of a decade of PAT Scheme.
About PAT Scheme:
- ‘Perform, Achieve and Trade’ (PAT) Scheme is a flagship program under the National Mission for Enhanced Energy Efficiency (NMEEE).
- NMEEE is one of the eight national missions under the National Action Plan on Climate Change (NAPCC) launched by the Government of India in the year 2008.
- It is implemented by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) under the aegis of the Ministry of Power.
- The government shortlists industries and restricts the amount of energy they can consume and defines a time limit of three years by when this restriction should be met as part of PAT scheme.
- These three years of time are called one PAT cycle.
- PAT scheme aims at reducing Specific Energy Consumption (SEC). The Energy Savings Certificates (ESCerts) were introduced in India in 2011 under the PAT by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE).
Energy Savings Certificates (ESCerts)
- The excess energy savings are converted into tradable instruments called Energy Saving Certificates (ESCerts) that are traded at the Power Exchanges.
- Trading Platform: The two Power Exchanges, India Energy Exchange (IEX) and Power Exchange India Limited (PXIL) provide the trading platform for ESCerts.
- Those that overachieve their targets are issued energy savings certificates (ESCerts) that can be traded with industries that have not achieved their targets.
- Non-achievers have to buy the ESCerts after the three years for compliance.
- PAT scheme covered about 13 energy-intensive sectors.
- Sectors included are thermal power plants (TPP), cement, aluminium, iron and steel, pulp and paper, fertiliser, chlor-alkali, petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, distribution companies, railways, textile and commercial buildings (hotels and airports).
- BEE is a statutory body under the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
- It assists in developing policies and strategies with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy.
- BEE coordinates with designated consumers, designated agencies, and other organizations to identify and utilize the existing resources and infrastructure, in performing the functions assigned to it under the Energy Conservation Act.
Context: Recently, The Union Cabinet has approved procurement of 70 HTT-40 Basic Trainer Aircraft from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force.
- The HTT-40 is a turbo prop aircraft and is designed to have good low speed handling qualities and provide better training effectiveness.
- This fully aerobatic tandem seat turbo trainer has air-conditioned cockpit, modern avionics, hot re-fuelling, running change over and zero-zero ejection seats.
- The aircraft will meet the shortage of basic trainer aircraft of IAF for training of newly inducted pilots.
- The procurement will include associated equipment and training aids including simulators.
- Being an indigenous solution, the Aircraft is configurable for upgrades to incorporate the futuristic requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
- The HTT-40 contains approx. 56% indigenous content which will progressively increase to over 60% through indigenisation of major components and subsystems.
- The HAL would engage Indian private industry, including MSMEs, in its supply chain.
- The procurement has the potential to provide direct employment to approx. 1,500 personnel and indirect employment for up to 3,000 people spread over more than 100 MSMEs.
- The acquisition of the HTT-40 provides fillip to the Indian Aerospace Defence ecosystem and boosts efforts towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
Exercise SHINYUU MAITRI
Context: The Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in Exercise Shinyuu Maitri with the Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).
About Exercise Shinyuu Maitri:
- It is a bilateral military exercise between Indian Air Force (IAF) and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF).
- The exercise is being organized on the sidelines of the Indo-Japan Joint Army Exercise, Dharma Guardian.
- The IAF contingent is participating in Exercise Shinyuu Maitri 23 with one C-17 Globemaster III aircraft.
- The first phase of the exercise consists of discussions on transport operations and tactical manoeuvring, followed by the second phase of flying drills by IAF’s C-17 and JASDF C-2 transport aircraft.
- The exercise will enhance mutual understanding and interoperability between the two air forces.
Other Exercise between India and Japan
- Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) between Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and Indian Navy
- Japan-India Maritime Exercise (JIMEX)
- Malabar Exercise (India – US – Japan – Australia)
National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
Context: The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) recently celebrated its 18th Foundation Day.
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights was established in March 2007 under an Act of Parliament under the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005.
- Aim: The commission’s mandate is to ensure that all laws, policies, programs and administrative systems conform to the vision of the rights of the child as enunciated in the Constitution of India as well as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Definition of child: A child in its perspective is defined as a person falling in the age group of 0 to 18 years.
- Salary and allowances: The salary and allowances and other conditions of service of the Chairperson and Members, shall be determined by the Central Government.
- Composition: This commission has a chairperson and six members of which at least two should be women.
- They are appointed by the Central Government for 3 years.
- The maximum age for chairperson of the commission is 65 years and 60 years for members.