ASPIRANTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY – 7 FEB 2022

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  • Criminalization of Politics
  • Vande Bharat Trains
  • Delimitation Panel

GS Paper 3:

  • Green Bonds
  • Dholes
  • Artificial Neural Network (ANN)

GS Paper 2

Criminalization of Politics:

  • Why in News?

 According to data compiled by the Amicus Curiae, a total of 4,984 criminal cases involving legislators were pending in various courts across the country as of 1st December, 2021.

  • The Amicus Curiae was appointed by the Supreme Court for helping the court in setting up special courts to fast-track cases against MPs and MLAs.
  • This trend highlights the increasing instance of criminalization of politics
  • An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, and bearing on issues of the case.

What is Criminalization of Politics?

  • The criminalization of politics means the participation of criminals in politics which includes that criminals can contest in the elections and get elected as members of the Parliament and the State legislature.
  • It takes place primarily due to the nexus between politicians and criminals.

What are the Legal Aspects of Disqualification of Criminal Candidates?

  • In this regard, Indian Constitution does not specify as to what disqualifies a person from contesting elections for the Parliament, Legislative assembly or any other legislature.
  • The Representation of peoples act 1951 mentions the criteria for disqualifying a person for contesting an election of the legislature.
    • Section 8 of the act, i.e. disqualification on conviction for certain offences, according to which an individual punished with a jail term of more than two years cannot stand in an election for six years after the jail term has ended.
    • The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections therefore the disqualification of candidates with criminal cases depends on their conviction in these cases.

What are the Reasons for Criminalization of Politics?

  • Lack of Enforcement: Several laws and court judgments have not helped much, due to the lack of enforcement of laws and judgments.
  • Vested Interests: Publishing of the entire criminal history of candidates fielded by political parties may not be very effective, as a major chunk of voters tend to vote through a narrow prism of community interests like caste or religion.
  • Use of Muscle and Money Power: Candidates with serious records seem to do well despite their public image, largely due to their ability to finance their own elections and bring substantive resources to their respective parties.
    • Also, sometimes voters are left with no options, as all competing candidates have criminal records. 

What are the Effects of Criminalization of Politics?

  • Against the Principle of Free and Fair Election: It limits the choice of voters to elect a suitable candidate.
    • It is against the ethos of free and fair election which is the bedrock of a democracy.
  • Affecting Good Governance: The major problem is that the law-breakers become law-makers, this affects the efficacy of the democratic process in delivering good governance.
    • These unhealthy tendencies in the democratic system reflect a poor image of the nature of India’s state institutions and the quality of its elected representatives.
  • Affecting Integrity of Public Servants: It also leads to increased circulation of black money during and after elections, which in turn increases corruption in society and affects the working of public servants.
  • Causes Social Disharmony: It introduces a culture of violence in society and sets a bad precedent for the youth to follow and reduces people’s faith in democracy as a system of governance.

Way Forward

  • State Funding of Elections: Various committees (Dinesh Goswami, Inderjeet Committee) on the electoral reforms have recommended state funding of election which will curb use of black money to a large extent and thereby will have a significant impact on limiting criminalization of politics.
  • Strengthening Election Commission: Regulating the affairs of a political party is essential for a cleaner electoral process. Therefore, it is imperative to strengthen the Election commission of india
  • Vigilant Voters: Voters also need to be vigilant about misuse of money, gifts and other inducements during elections.
  • Proactive Role of Judiciary: Given the reluctance by the political parties to curb criminalisation of politics and its growing detrimental effects on Indian democracy, Indian courts must now seriously consider banning people accused with serious criminal charges from contesting election

Vande Bharat Trains:

Why in News?

In the union budget 2022-2023, the Finance Minister has proposed the development and manufacture of 400 new vande bharat trains in the next three years.

  • The 400 trains carry a potential investment of Rs 50,000 crore while the current Vande Bharats are being made at Rs 106 crore per train set of 16 cars, at 2018 pricing.
  • It comes in addition to the current plan — to be able to run 75 Vande Bharats across India by Independence Day in 2023.

What are Vande Bharat Trains?

  • It is an indigenously designed and manufactured semi high speed, self-propelled train that is touted as the next major leap for the Indian Railways in terms of speed and passenger convenience since the introduction of Rajdhani trains.
  • The first Vande Bharat was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, as part of the make in india programme at a cost of about Rs. 100 crore.
  • The Vande Bharat was India’s first attempt at adaptation of the train set technology compared with conventional systems of passenger coaches hauled by separate locomotives.
  • The train set configuration, though complex, is faster, easier to maintain, consumes less energy, and has greater flexibility in train operation.
  • Currently, two Vande Bharat Expresses are operational —one between New Delhi and Varanasi and the other from New Delhi to Katra.
  • The 400 new trains will have “better efficiency” and railways are looking at making several of these trainsets with aluminium instead of steel.
  • An aluminium body will make each trainset around 40-80 tonnes lighter than a current Vande Bharat and this will mean lower consumption of energy as well as better speed potential.

What are the Features of the Vande Bharat Trains?

  • These trains, dubbed as Train 18 during the development phase, operate without a locomotive and are based on a propulsion system called distributed traction power technology, by which each car of the train set is powered.
  • Its coaches incorporate passenger amenities including on-board WiFi entertainment, GPS-based passenger information system, CCTVs, automatic doors in all coaches, rotating chairs and bio-vacuum type toilets like in aircraft.
  • It can achieve a maximum speed of 160 kmph due to faster acceleration and deceleration, reducing journey time by 25% to 45%.
  • It also has an intelligent braking system with power regeneration for better energy efficiency thereby making it cost, energy and environment efficient.

What is the Significance?

  • The sheer manufacturing of 400 of these trainset equipment in three years will be additional employment generation to the tune of 10,000-15,000.
  • The pumping in around Rs 50,000 crore into the country’s rolling stock industry, will give a big boost in the sectors of component manufacturing, supplies etc.
  • It will also improve railway finances and operational efficiency.

Way Forward

  • Indian railways is moving towards a new era of travel experience with upgraded next-generation trains. At a time when low cost airlines and smooth road networks are offering stiff competition, the new trains can help railways retain traffic and even grow it.
  • Timely execution of the ambitious project and keeping in mind the demand for various classes of travel will go a long way in ensuring the success of the Vande Bharat project.

Delimitation Panel

Context:

The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation commission(headed by retired Supreme Court Judge Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai) has submitted its interim report. As per the report:

  • Of the 90 Assembly seats, 28 new Assembly constituencies have been reconfigured or renamed.
  • 19 Assembly segments have been deleted.
  • All the five Lok Sabha seats will be redrawn.
  • The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi constituency has been identified as the smallest of all with just 73,648 votes in the Jammu region.

 Delimitation exercise in J&K- a timeline:

  1. The first delimitation exercise, carving out 25 assembly constituencies in the then state, was carried out by a Delimitation Committee in 1951.
  2. The first full-fledged Delimitation Commission was formed in 1981 and it submitted its recommendations in 1995 on the basis of 1981 Census. Since then, there has been no delimitation.
  3. In 2020, the Delimitation Commission was constituted to carry out the exercise on the basis of 2011 Census, with a mandate to add seven more seats to the Union Territory’ and grant reservations to SC and ST communities.
  4. Now, the total number of seats in Jammu and Kashmir will be raised to 90 from the previous 83. This is apart from 24 seats which have been reserved for areas of PoK and have to be kept vacant in the Assembly.

 What is delimitation and why is it needed?

  • The Delimitation Commission for Jammu and Kashmir was constituted by the Centre on March 6 last year to redraw Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies of the union territory in accordance with the provisions of The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation act,2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002, passed by the Centre in August 2019 along with other J&K-specific Bills.

What is Delimitation?

          Delimitation literally means the process of fixing limits or boundaries of territorial constituencies in a state that has a legislative body.

Who carries out the exercise?

  • Delimitation is undertaken by a highly powerful commission. They are formally known as Delimitation Commision or Boundary Commission.
  • These bodies are so powerful that its orders have the force of law and they cannot be challenged before any court.

 Composition of the Commission:

  • According to the Delimitation Commission Act, 2002, the Delimitation Commission will have three members: a serving or retired judge of the Supreme Court as the chairperson, and the Chief Election Commissioner or Election Commissioner nominated by the CEC and the State Election Commissioner as ex-officio members.

 Constitutional Provisions:

  1. Under Article 82, the Parliament enacts a Delimitation Act after every Census.
  2. Under Article 170, States also get divided into territorial constituencies as per Delimitation Act after every Census.

GS Paper 3

Green Bonds:

Context:

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech announced that the government proposes to issue sovereign Green Bonds to mobilise resources for green infrastructure.

  • The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.
  • Now, the government has clarified that these rupee-denominated papers will have a long tenure to suit the requirement of green infrastructure projects. 

What Is Green Bonds

  • A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.
  • These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.​
  • Green bonds may come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors.
  • The Word bank is a major issuer of green bonds. It has issued 164 such bonds since 2008, worth a combined $14.4 billion. In 2020, the total issuance of green bonds was worth almost $270 billion, according to the Climate Bond Initiative

 How Does a Green Bond Work?

   Green bonds work just like any other corporate or government bond.

  • Borrowers issue these securities in order to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution.
  • Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make as the bond matures.
  • In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.

Green Bonds Vs Blue Bonds:

     Blue bonds are sustainability bonds to finance projects that protect the ocean and related ecosystems.

  • This can include projects to support sustainable fisheries, protection of coral reefs and other fragile ecosystems, or reducing pollution and acidification.
  • All blue bonds are green bonds, but not all green bonds are blue bonds.

 Green Bonds Vs Climate Bonds:

          “Green bonds” and “climate bonds” are sometimes used interchangeably, but some authorities use the latter term specifically for projects focusing on reducing carbon emissions or alleviating the effects of climate change.

Dholes:

Why in News?

    A new study has reported the presence of dholes or Asiatic wild dogs in the high mountains of Central Asia nearly 30 years after their presence was last recorded.

  • The animals have been discovered in the Bek-Tosot Conservancy in the Osh region of southern Kyrgyzstan, a few kilometres from the Tajik border. It lies in the Pamir mountain range of Xinjiang Autonomous Region, China.

What do we Know About Dholes?

  • About: Dhole (Cuon alpinus) is a wild carnivorous animal and is a member of the family Canidae and the class Mammalia.
    • They are also known as Asian wild dogs.
  • Habitat: 
    • Historically, dholes purportedly occurred throughout southern Russia, all across central Asia, south Asia and southeast Asia.
    • According to recent research and current distribution maps, they are restricted to south and southeast Asia, with the northernmost populations in China.
    • In India, they are found in three clusters across India namely the Western  and Eestern ghats central Indian landscape and North East india
    • Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh rank high in the conservation of the endangered dhole in India, According to study(2020).
  • Ecological role: Dholes play an important role as apex predators in forest ecosystems.

What is the Conservation Status of Dholes?

  • IUCN List of Threatened Species: Endangered
  • Convention on Internation Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora(CITES): Appendix II
  • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule II

Why is their Population Decreasing?

  • Ongoing habitat loss: Due to deforestation and fragmentation of forest corridors.
  • Depletion of prey base: Ungulates are the main prey of dholes whose population is rapidly decreasing due to excessive hunting and habitat loss.
  • Persecution due to livestock predation and disease transfer from domestic and feral dogs.

Artificial Neural Network (ANN):

Why in News?

      Recently, the global Artificial Neural Network (ANN) Market report was published.

  • It is an information bank that delivers comprehensive information about the market ranging from the establishment to the predictable growth trend.
  • As per the current report, ANN Market to Set Phenomenal Growth from 2021 to 2028.

What is an Artificial Neural Network?

  • It is a vital subset of machine learning that helps computer scientists in their work on complex tasks, such as, strategizing, making predictions, and recognizing trends.
  • It is a computational model that mimics the way nerve cells work in the human brain. It is designed to simulate the way the human brain analyzes and processes information.
  • It is not like other machine learning algorithms that crunch numbers or organise data, it is an algorithm that learns from experience and repeated tasks performed by its users.
  • It is also known as a Neural Network (NN). ANN is a computational model based on the functions and structure of biological neural networks.
  • Information that runs through the network affects the structure of the artificial neural network due to the fact that a neural network learns or changes based on the input and output.
  • NNs are fed massive volumes of data in the beginning phases. In most cases, training is done by providing input and informing the network about what should be the output.
  • Many smartphone makers, for example, have recently integrated facial recognition technology.

What are the Major Drivers of ANN Growth?

  • Rapid digitization is anticipated to boost the deployment of artificial neural network platforms. Furthermore, an extensively used application of artificial neural networks is in the field of predictive analytics.
  • Predicting consumer behaviour and sales forecasting are expected to drive the artificial neural network market during the forecast period.
  • ANN helps marketers predict the outcome of a campaign by recognizing the trends from previous marketing campaigns.
  • While neural networks have been available for a while, it is mainly the recent emergence of Big data that has made this technology extremely useful in the field of marketing.
  • Cloud computing also provided enormous computing resources that are needed for ANNs to “work through” massive volumes of data.

What are the Limitations of ANN?

  • One of the most significant technological hurdles is the time it takes to train networks, which frequently demand an acceptable level of computational power for even complex tasks.
  • The second factor to consider is that neural networks are computer systems in which the user categorises the trained data and gets responses. They have the ability to fine-tune the responses, but they do not have access to the specific decision-making process.

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