Daily Current Affairs – 12-07-2023

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    Extreme Rain Events in North India

    Syllabus: GS1/ Physical Geography

    News

    • Northern India is currently in the midst of an extremely wet phase of the monsoon due to extreme rain events.

    Background

    • India has received 26% more rainfall in July than expected and many North Indian states like  Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Ladakh witnessed unusual rain events.
    • According to India Meteorological Department (IMD) an extremely heavy rainfall event is one in which more than 205 mm of rainfall happens at any place within a 24-hour period. Hundreds of such events, at different locations in the country, are recorded during the monsoon season every year.

    Reasons for unusual rainfall

    • Warming of Arabian Sea: Excess rainfall over northwest India is consistent with the Arabian Sea having warmed by about 1.5 degrees Celsius since January.June contributes only about 15% of the rainfall to the seasonal total. The instabilities in the atmosphere that drive convection are not strong enough to drive large-scale rainfall during the pre-monsoon season.
    • Interaction between the monsoon winds and western disturbances: Rainfall in pre-monsoon was above normal due to a combination of the warm Arabian Sea and an unusually high number of western disturbances. As a result, soils were left moister than normal, which in turn affected the evolution of the monsoon. 
    • Warming of Atlantic Ocean: The Atlantic Ocean warming also tinkers with the monsoon. The entire Atlantic Ocean has been warmer than normal since March. 
    • Upper atmospheric circulation: The strongest winds that occur in the upper atmosphere can spontaneously break into clockwise and anticlockwise patterns, especially when they run into mountainous terrain, such as the Himalaya. Strong clockwise winds, with air flowing out from the center, in the upper atmosphere demand an anticlockwise circulation near the surface, in order to feed the upper-level outflow. Such a convergence near the surface can drive excess rainfall.
    • Unequal warming of Himalayas: some parts of the mountain chain are leading to rapid local warming.These irregular weather patterns during the monsoon superpose on these local features and result in cloudbursts, heavy rains and heat waves.
    • Climate change: With global warming, a warm and humid atmosphere acts like a steroid for the weather.The southwest monsoon carries additional moisture that evaporates due to the increased temperatures and causes intermittent short spells of heavy to extremely heavy rains in a few days.

    Impacts

    • The vulnerable sections are mostly prone to these extreme events which lead to loss of life and property.
    • These extreme rain events cause flash floods,cloudburst,urban flooding etc and hampers the communication and transportation system.

    Measure

    • Strengthening early warning systems by boosting communication channels and weather forecasting capabilities.
    • Investments in sturdy infrastructure that includes flood prevention techniques like building suitable drainage systems and river embankments, resilience against upcoming extreme weather events taking climate change into account.
    • Adopting sustainable urban planning and land use management practices, such as avoiding building in flood-prone regions and protecting natural drainage systems.

    Way Forward

    • The Indian subcontinent has many unique and surprising events which are not directly attributable to global warming. Only improved forecasts with sufficient granularity in space and time can reduce the element of surprise resulting from these weather monsters.

    Source:IE

    50th meeting of GST Council

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government Policies & Interventions; GS3/ Indian Economy & Related Issues

    In News

    • The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council, at its 50th meeting recently, reduced or clarified the tax rate on some items.

    Recommendations of 50th meeting of GST Council

    • Changes in GST Rates of Goods: 
      • Reduced Rates for Snack Pellets and Imitation Zari Thread: The Council has decided to reduce the GST rate on uncooked/unfried snack pellets to 5%. 
      • Exemptions for Medicines and Food for Special Medical Purposes: To support the treatment of rare diseases enlisted under the National Policy for Rare Diseases, 2021, the Council has exempted IGST on medicines and Food for Special Medical Purposes (FSMP) when imported for personal use.  IGST exemption is also granted for Dinutuximab (Quarziba) medicine when imported for personal use.
    • On Casinos, Race Courses and Online Gaming:
      • The council decided to impose 28% GST on the entire transaction value in the case of online gaming, horse racing and casinos.
    • Recommendations on Measures for Facilitation of Trade:
      • Establishment of GST Appellate Tribunal: To ensure the smooth functioning of the proposed GST Appellate Tribunal, the Council recommended the rules governing the appointment and conditions of the President and Members of the Tribunal. 
    • GST Network under ED:
      • Many States had raised concerns about bringing the GST Network under the purview of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), administered by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
    • Changes for SUV Vehicles:
      • Till now, for a vehicle to be categorised as SUV with higher compensation cess — four conditions had to be met. 
        • They had to be generally considered an SUV, 
        • Were longer than four metres, 
        • An engine of 1500 cc or more, and 
        • A ground clearance of 170 mm
      • The Council has decided to scrap the condition that the vehicle should be popularly seen as an SUV.
      • The council has clarified that the ground clearance of 170 mm should be of an unladen vehicle.

    GST Council

    • It is a Constitutional body under Article 279A, introduced by the Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016.
    • It is empowered to modify, reconcile or to procure any law or regulation based on the context of GST in India.
    • It is also considered as a federal body where both the centre and the states get due representation.
    • Functions: It makes recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to GST.
    • Composition
      • Chairperson: Union Finance Minister.
      • Members: Union State Minister of Revenue or Finance and Ministers in-charge of Finance or Taxation of all the States.
    • Every decision of the GST Council shall be taken at a meeting by a majority of not less than three-fourths of the weighted votes of the members present and voting, in accordance with the following principles, namely:
      • Vote of the Central Government shall have a weightage of one third of the total votes cast.
      • Votes of all the State Governments taken together shall have a weightage of two-thirds of the total votes cast, in that meeting.

    Goods and Service Tax (GST)

    • About:
      • Goods and Services Tax is an indirect tax used in India on the supply of goods and services.
      • It is a value-added tax levied on most goods and services sold for domestic consumption.
      • It was launched in India in 2017 as a comprehensive indirect tax for the entire country.
      • It is a comprehensive, multistage, destination-based tax– 
        • Comprehensive because it has subsumed almost all the indirect taxes except a few state taxes. 
      • It is paid by the consumers and is remitted to the government by the businesses selling the goods and services.
    • It is of three types i.e. 
      • CGST to be levied by the Centre, 
      • SGST to be levied by the States and 
      • IGST a tax levied on all Inter-State supplies of goods and/or services.  
        • All these taxes are levied at rates mutually agreed upon by the Centre and the States. 
    • Governance:
      • The GST Council headed by the Union Finance Minister is the governing and key decision-making body for GST. 

    Significance of GST:

    • Better Compliance: 
      • GST helped in achieving better tax compliance by subsuming multiple taxation and reduction in taxation burden in the last four years.
    • Automated tax ecosystem: 
      • It helped the country in transitioning to an automated indirect tax ecosystem. From electronic compliances, generation of e-invoices to tracking movement of goods through e-waybill – everything is now online
    • E-invoice & More Revenue: 
      • The E-invoicing system helped reduce fake invoicing. Use of technology with online bill generation has resulted in smoother consignment movement and much fewer disputes with officials. After the introduction of E-invoice, GST collections have risen steadily since November 2020, surpassing the Rs. 1 lakh crore mark on several occasions.
    • Logistical efficiency, production cost cut: 
      • Another major achievement of this regime is the fact that over 50% of logistics effort and time is saved since GST has ensured the removal of multiple checkpoints and permits at state border checkpoints. 
    • Lesser transaction costs: 
      • After the introduction of GST, there has been a significant reduction in transaction costs. This reduction has been a huge breakthrough in the interstate movement of products, allowing the country to boast of a single national unified market for businesses. 
    • Cooperative Federalism: 
      • The customs portals are linked with the GST portal for credit availing on imports constitution of the GST Council and ensuring Centre-State partnership in the decision-making process. It ensured cooperative federalism to be its major part.
    • Ease of doing business: 
      • India’s ease of doing business ranking has improved significantly in the last four years. Before GST was implemented, India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking was 130 in 2016. In 2020, India was ranked 63rd on the list.
    • More Freedom: 
      • Since the GST rate is the same across the country for a particular supply, traders and manufacturers in the organised sectors have gained more freedom to choose the best vendors, suppliers, and other stakeholders with better pricing, regardless of their location. 
    • Improved Competitiveness: 
      • GST has improved the competitiveness of domestic industries in the international market by removing hidden and embedded taxes. 

    Way ahead

    • In India, it has been a remarkable achievement and a unique experiment in cooperative federalism. 
    • It helped the country in transitioning to an automated indirect tax ecosystem.
    • GST gave a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government of India by making goods and services produced in India competitive in the National as well as International market. 

    Source: PIB

    Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2023

    Syllabus:GS3/Economy

    In News

    • Recently, the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2023 has been released.

    About the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)

    • It has been jointly published by the Human Development Report Office (HDRO) of the United Nations Development Programme and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford since 2010.
    • It tells about how prevalent poverty is in the world and provides insights into the lives of poor people, their deprivations and how intense their poverty is—to inform and accelerate efforts to end poverty in all its forms.
    • It compiles data from 110 developing countries covering 6.1 billion people, accounting for 92 percent of the population in developing countries. It offers a key perspective on SDG 1 i.e. to overcome the greatest global challenge: ending poverty in all its forms.

    What is Poverty?

    • Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living.
    • Poverty-stricken people and families might go without proper housing, clean water, healthy food, and medical attention.
    • Poverty is an individual concern as well as a broader social problem.
    • Welfare programs are used by governments to help alleviate poverty.
    • Poverty is the result of multiple factors, not simply income.

    Key Findings of the Index

    Who are the poorest?

    • 485 million poor people live in severe poverty across 110 countries, experiencing 50–100% of weighted deprivations. Over 18% people are estimated to live in acute multidimensional poverty.
    • 99 million poor people experience deprivations in all three dimensions (70–100% of weighted deprivations). 
    • 10 million of the 12 million poor people with the highest deprivation scores (90–100%) live in SubSaharan Africa.

    Which groups are the poorest?

    • Subnational regions are being left behind in two ways: where poverty is widespread, poverty is also most intense. 
    • Half of the 1.1 billion poor people (566 million) are children under 18 years of age. 
    • 84% of all poor people live in rural areas. Rural areas are poorer than urban areas in every world region.

    What deprivations do poor people experience?

    • 824–991 million out of the 1.1 billion poor people do not have adequate sanitation, housing or cooking fuel. 
    • 600 million poor people live with a person who is undernourished in their household. 
    • Gaps in years of schooling is a cross-regional issue: In all regions except Europe and Central Asia, around half of poor people do not have a single member of their household who has completed six years of schooling.

    How do monetary and multidimensional poverty compare?

    • In 42 of 61 countries more people live in multidimensional poverty, based on the global MPI, than in extreme monetary poverty, based on the World Bank’s $2.15 a day measure.

    How has poverty changed?

    • 72 of 81 countries, covering well over 5 billion people, experienced a significant absolute reduction in MPI value during at least one period. But nearly all data are from before the COVID-19 pandemic. 
    • 25 countries halved their global MPI value well within 15 years, showing that progress at scale is attainable. 
    • In 42 countries—over half of those covered—children are being left behind. 
    • In 15 countries the rate of poverty reduction was outpaced by population growth: The number of poor people increased despite poverty rates declining. 
    • Cambodia halved its MPI in 7.5 years (2014– 2021/2022), including COVID-19 pandemic years, despite increases in deprivations in school attendance.

    Indian Scenario

    • 25 countries, including India, successfully halved their global MPI values within 15 years, showing that rapid progress is attainable. 
      • These countries include Cambodia, China, Congo, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Morocco, Serbia and Vietnam.
    • 415 million poor people moved out of poverty from 2005-2006 to 2019-2021. 
    • Incidence fell from 55.1 percent to 16.4 percent. 
    • Deprivation in all indicators declined. 
      • People who are multidimensionally poor and deprived under the nutrition indicator in India declined from 44.3% in 2005-06 to 11.8% in 2019-21, and child mortality fell from 4.5% to 1.5%.
      • Depriviation of cooking fuel fell from 52.9% to 13.9% and those deprived of sanitation fell from 50.4% in 2005-2006 to 11.3% in 2019-2021.
      • In the drinking water indicator, the percentage of people who are multidimensionally poor and deprived fell from 16.4 to 2.7 during the period, electricity from 29 to 2.1 and housing from 44.9 to 13.6.
    • The poorest states and groups, including children and people in disadvantaged caste groups, had the fastest absolute progress.

    Initiatives by Government of India for Poverty Alleviation

    Multi-pronged strategies are being taken by the Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to address rural poverty.

    • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), 
    • Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), 
    • Deen Dayal Upadhyay – Gramin Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY), 
    • Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G), 
    • Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), 
    • Shyama Prasad Mukherjee National RuRBAN Mission (SPMRM) and National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), 
    • and programmes of Department of Land Resources, viz., Watershed Development Component of Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (WDC-PMKSY).
    • To support recovery from COVID induced poverty, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package was introduced in 2020 and extended in 2021. 
    • Other related schemes: 
      • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
      • Schemes for Financial Assistance
      • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
      • Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana
      • Integrated Rural Development Programme (IRDP)

    Source: TH

    Enforcement Directorate (ED) 

    Syllabus: GS3/ Security

    In News

    • The Supreme Court recently asked Enforcement Directorate (ED) Director Sanjay Kumar Mishra to quit four months before his third extension.

    More on News

    • The Supreme Court held that the back-to-back service extensions given to Mr. Mishra in 2021 and 2022 were illegal. 
    • But, it upheld statutory amendments which facilitated the tenures of Directors of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the ED to be extended gradually.

    About ED

    • The Directorate of Enforcement or the ED is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated with investigation of economic crimes and violations of foreign exchange laws. 
    • The origin of this Directorate goes back to 1st May, 1956, when an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed in the Department of Economic Affairs. There were 02 branches – at Bombay and Calcutta.
    • In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’, and another branch was opened at Madras.
    • In 1960, the administrative control of the Directorate was transferred from the Department of Economic Affairs to the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance, Government of India. 
    • The statutory functions of the Directorate include enforcement of following Acts:
      • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)
      • The Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA)
      • The Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 (FEOA)
      •  The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (FERA)
      •  Sponsoring agency under COFEPOSA 

    The 2021 Amendments

    • The Delhi Special Police Establishment (Amendment) Bill, 2021  and The Central Vigilance Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2021 amended the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946 and the Central Vigilance Commission Act, 2003, respectively.
      • The 1946 Act provides for the constitution of the Delhi Special Police Establishment for investigation of certain offences, as notified  and the 2003 Act provides for the constitution of a Central Vigilance Commission to conduct inquiries into offences alleged to have been committed under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988.
    • Extension of the Director’s term: Both CBI and ED chiefs have fixed tenures of two years. However, 2021 amendments allow them a maximum of three annual extensions. The amendments adds that the tenure of the Director may be extended by up to one year at a time, till the completion of five years from the initial appointment. Such extensions may be granted in public interest, on the recommendation of the Committee.

    Procedure to give extensions

    • Justice Gavai, who authored the judgment, reasoned that the extensions were not given at the “sweet will” of the government. Instead, the 2021 amendments require High Level Committees to recommend the officers for service extensions.
    • A five-member panel composed of the Central Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioners had to recommend if an ED Director was worthy of an extension in service. 
    • In case of the CBI Director, a High-Level Committee of the Prime Minister, Opposition Leader and the Chief Justice of India had to recommend.

    Source: TH

    Telangana Eunuchs Act  

    Syllabus: GS1/ Social Issue

    News

    The Telangana High Court recently in V. Vasanta Mogli vs. The State of Telangana struck down the Telangana Eunuchs Act of 1919.

    What has the Telangana High Court said?

    • The act was deemed violative of Article 14 (right to equality) and Article 21 (right to protection of life and personal liberty) and termed it “unconstitutional” and an intrusion into the private sphere of transgender people, “as well as an assault on their dignity”.
    • The court also found that the said Act is similar to Part II of the Criminal Tribes Act, 1871, which criminalised certain tribal groups. 

    What was the Telangana Eunuchs Act?

    • It defined “eunuchs” as “all persons of the male sex who admit to be impotent or who clearly appear to be impotent on medical inspection”.
    • As per the Act, all eunuchs were mandated to register with the authorities. This included information such as their places of residence, for they were “reasonably suspected of kidnapping or emasculating boys, or of committing unnatural offences or abetting… said offences.”

    About Transgenders

    • The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth.  It includes trans-men and trans-women, persons with intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons with socio-cultural identities, such as kinnar and hijra. 
    • In India, the trans population makes up a total of 4.88 lakh, as per the 2011 census.

    Challenges faced by Transgender Community

    • Discrimination and ostracisation: They face discrimination everywhere which severely affects their overall wellbeing. The NHRC report stated that 52 percent transgenders were harassed by their classmates and 15 percent by teachers, forcing them to discontinue their studies. 
    • Identity crisis: They are often forced to identify with a gender with which they are not associated at the workplace.
    • Social Stigma: They often face difficulty in property inheritance or child adoption. 
    • Unemployment: According to a study conducted by the National Human Rights Commission in 2018, 96 per cent transgenders are denied jobs and are forced to take low paying or undignified work for livelihood like badhais, sex work and begging.
    • Lack of public amenities: They face issues with the accessibility of public toilets and public spaces. They often face problems in prisons, hospitals and schools.

    Initiatives for Transgender Persons

    • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019: It aims to end discrimination against transgender persons in accessing education, employment and healthcare and recognise the right to self-perceived gender identity.
    • National Portal for Transgender Persons: It is a portal by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which assists persons of the transgender community in applying for a Certificate and Identity card digitally from anywhere in the country.
    • Garima Greh: The scheme aims to provide shelter to Transgender persons, with basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and recreational facilities.
    • Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020: It has been framed by the government to give effect to the provisions of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.
    • In 2021, Karnataka became the first Indian state to allocate 1 per cent reservation for jobs in public employment in favour of transgender persons.
    • Civil Society Initiatives
      • In 2017, Kerala’s Kochi Metro Rail Limited employed 23 transgender persons. 
      • In 2020, the Noida Metro Rail Corporation (NMRC), dedicated one of its stations to the trans community and renamed it Pride Station. Six members of the transgender community were recruited by the NMRC through contractors for services. 

    The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019

    Salient provisions:

    • Defines transgender person
    • Prohibition against discrimination: In relation to: Education, Employment, Healthcare, access to or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public, etc.
    • Right of residence:  Every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.  
    • Health care: The government must take steps to provide health facilities to transgender persons including separate HIV surveillance centres, and sex reassignment surgeries.  
    • Certificate of identity for a transgender person: A transgender person may make an application to the District Magistrate for a certificate of identity, indicating the gender as ‘transgender’.  
    • Welfare measures by the government: The Bill states that the relevant government will take measures to ensure the full inclusion and participation of transgender persons in society.  
    • Offences and penalties: Penalties vary between six months and two years, and a fine.
    • National Council for Transgender persons: The NCT will consist of:  Union Minister for Social Justice (Chairperson), Minister of State for Social Justice (Vice- Chairperson), Secretary of the Ministry of Social Justice, one representative from ministries including Health, Home Affairs, and Human Resources Development. Other members include representatives of the NITI Aayog, and the National Human Rights Commission. State governments will also be represented.  The Council will also consist of five members from the transgender community and five experts from non-governmental organisations.

    Shortcoming of the Act: 

    • The Act does not say anything about granting reservations to transgender persons.
    • There is a provision for penalising organised begging which is coercive in nature as many of the community members don’t have avenues for livelihood.
    • There is no provision penalising rape or sexual assault of transgender person.

    Related Supreme Court Judgements

    • The Supreme Court of India in its verdict of National Legal Services Authority vs. Union of India, recognised that transgender people are distinct from binary people and declared them as the third gender under the Indian Constitution.
    • On September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court scrapped Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalising homosexuality in the Navtej Johar case

    Way Ahead

    • Collaboration: The state along with civil society must ensure the effective functioning of the council with respect to identifying the challenges faced by the community and redressing it.
    • Social engineering: There is a need to sensitize the society that the community is a part of us and are co-equals.
    • Sensitising the law enforcement: There is also a need to sensitise the legal and law enforcement systems towards the challenges of the community.

    Source: IE

    Facts In News

    HAL’s regional office in Kuala Lumpur

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relation, GS3/ Defence

    In News

    • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL)’s Regional Office in Kuala Lumpur (Capital of Malaysia).

    About

    • The Regional Office will facilitate close defence industrial collaboration between India and Malaysia. 
    • It will also serve as a hub for the HAL’s engagement with the wider South-East Asian region and act as a window for other Indian Defense PSUs.

    Key Highlights of Recent Defence Minister visit

    • Malaysia is home to the second largest members of the Persons of Indian Origin and has a significant presence of the NRI community. 
    • The Defence Minister appreciated the rich legacy of Indian classical art tradition in Malaysia as witnessed in the presentations of Odissi dance as well as the Carnatic and Hindustani music performances by renowned Malaysian artists.
    • The Defence minister acknowledged the role of the Indian diaspora in the growth story of India. He encouraged them to work honestly for the shared prosperity of India and Malaysia, underlining the spirit of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’.
    • He also visited Ramakrishna Mission in Petaling Jaya and offered floral tribute to the statue of Swami Vivekananda which was unveiled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in November 2015.

    Source: ET

    Electoral Bonds

    Syllabus:GS2/Polity

    In News

    • Electoral bonds were the chief source of donations for political parties according to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms.

    What are Electoral bonds?

    • An electoral bond is like a promissory note that can be bought by any Indian citizen or company incorporated in India from select branches of State Bank of India. 
    • The citizen or corporate can then donate the same to any eligible political party of his/her choice. 
    • The bonds are similar to bank notes that are payable to the bearer on demand and are free of interest. An individual or party will be allowed to purchase these bonds digitally or through cheque.
    • Introduction: The electoral bonds were introduced with the Finance Bill (2017). In 2018 the government notified the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018.
      • Electoral bonds were being introduced to ensure that all the donations made to a party would be accounted for in the balance sheets without exposing the donor details to the public.
    • Mechanism: The bonds are issued in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 100,000 and Rs 1 crore. These will be available at some branches of SBI. 
      • The political party can encash the bonds through the party’s verified account. The electoral bond will be valid only for fifteen days.
      • The electoral bonds are available for purchase for 10 days at the beginning of every quarter. 
      • An additional period of 30 days shall be specified by the government in the year of Lok Sabha elections.
      • The electoral bonds will not bear the name of the donor. Thus, the political party will not be aware of the donor’s identity.
    • Eligibility: Any party that is registered under section 29A of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and has secured at least one percent of the votes polled in the most recent General elections or Assembly elections is eligible to receive electoral bonds. 
      • The party will be allotted a verified account by the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the electoral bond transactions can be made only through this account.
    • Taxation: The donations would be tax deductible. Hence, a donor will get a deduction and the recipient, or the political party, will get tax exemption, provided returns are filed by the political party.

    Source: TH

    Chandrayaan-2

    Syllabus: GS3/ Space

    In News

    • ISRO is going to launch Chandrayaan-3 to make a second attempt of soft landing on the Moon after Chandrayaan-2.

    Background

    • In July 2019 Chandrayaan-2 was launched with an orbiter, lander and rover to make a soft landing on the Moon.
    • However, ISRO lost contact with the spacecraft’s lander when it came just within 2 km of the lunar surface.

    Chandrayaan-2

    • Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) after Chandrayaan-1.
    • The Lander: It is named Vikram after the father of the Indian space programme, Vikram Sarabhai.
    • The Rover: The lander was planned to release a small robotic rover, named Pragyan to move around, feel and understand the lunar surface.
    • Objective: The mission was designed to explore the unexplored South Pole of the Moon and to expand the lunar scientific knowledge through detailed study of topography, seismography, surface chemical composition,composition of the tenuous lunar atmosphere etc.
    • The mission was launched on by rocket GSLV MkIII-M1. 

    Why did the lander fail to soft-land?

    • First there were five engines which were used to give the reduction of the velocity, which is called the retardation. These engines developed higher thrust than what was needed,which in turn, compromised the stability of the lander during the “camera coasting phase’’ for the soft landing.
    • Second, the craft had to make very fast turns. When it started to turn very fast, its ability to turn was limited by the software due to some error.
    • Third problem emerged when the lander, despite being close to the surface, increased its velocity .This partly happened because the landing spot was a small patch of 500 m x 500 m.
    • Hence due to the limited ability to handle parameter dispersion the mission couldn’t achieve its objectives. 

    Observation of Chandrayaan-2

    • Despite the lander’s crash the mission was successful in achieving its  90-95% objectives.The orbiter is safe in the intended orbit around the moon and its lifespan is almost seven years.
    • The Chandra’s Atmospheric Composition Explorer-2 (CHACE-2), a quadrupole mass spectrometer onboard Chandrayaan-2 mission, has observed the global distribution of Argon-40 in the tenuous lunar exosphere,
    • ISRO has mapped out the global distribution of sodium on the Moon’s surface using the CLASS instrument (Chandrayaan-2 large area soft X-ray spectrometer) carried by the Chandrayaan-2.

    Source: TH

    SCALP Missiles

    Syllabus:GS3/Defence

    In News

    • France will join Britain in supplying long-range SCALP missiles to Ukraine.

    What are SCALP Missiles?

    • It is an air-launched British-French missile known to UK forces as the “Storm Shadow”, manufactured by MBDA and used by France, Italy and the United Kingdom.
    • It is a fire and forget missile, programmed before launch. Once launched, the missile cannot be controlled, its target information changed or self-destructed. 
    • The missile follows a path semi-autonomously, on a low flight path guided by GPS and terrain matching to the area of the target.
      • The missile uses inertial navigation, GPS and terrain referencing to chart a low-altitude course to its target to avoid detection.
    • Close to the target, the missile bunts, climbing to an altitude intended to achieve the best probability of target identification and penetration.
    • It also uses an infrared camera to match images of the target to a stored picture to ensure a precision strike and minimal collateral damage.

    Source: News on air