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[Mission 2024] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 20 January 2024

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions ina your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 2:

  1. Competition Commission of India (CCI) Role

 

Content for Mains Enrichment(CME)

  1. Bamboo Composites

 

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Traditional buffalo fight (Moh-Juj)
  2. Guidelines for Coaching Centre
  3. Yellow Rust
  4. Use of INSAT Satellites to analyse Fog
  5. Nuclear Battery

 

Mapping:

  1. Chancay (Peru)

 


 

Competition Commission of India (CCI) Role

GS2/GS3 Paper 

 Syllabus: Role of statutory and non-statutory bodies

 

Source: IE

 Context: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) plays a crucial role in ensuring fair competition amidst India’s rapid technological and economic changes.

 

What is CCI?

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is a statutory and quasi-judicial body working under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. It was established under the Competition Act, 2002 for the administration, implementation and enforcement of the Act, and was duly constituted in March 2009.

 

Objectives:

  1. Ensure markets benefit consumers.
  2. Implement competition policies for efficient resource utilization.
  3. Foster fair and healthy competition for inclusive economic growth.
  4. Ensure alignment of sectoral regulatory laws with competition law.

 

Functions:

  1. Investigate negative effects on competition.
  2. Regulate mergers to prevent market capture.
  3. Eliminate anti-competitive practices and regulate combinations.
  4. Undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness, and provide training.
  5. Provide opinions on competition issues referred by statutory authorities.

  

The role of the competition commission to regulate and achieve the policy goals of competition

  • It guarantees that no enterprise abuses their ‘dominant position’ through the control of supply, manipulating purchase prices, or adopting practices that deny market access to other competing firms
    • For example – It imposed penalties on the BCCI for the abuse of dominant position. – CCI imposed a penalty of 522 million (US$7.6 million) on the BCCI in 2013 for misusing its dominant position.
  • Secure the interest of consumers and ensure that their welfare is not compromised.
    • For example –It played active role in preventing cartelization in the telecom sector. – CCI ordered a probe into the functioning of Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI)following a complaint filed by Reliance Jio against the cartelization by its rivals Bharti Airtel, Vodafone India and Idea cellular.
  • Ensures that foreign companies abide by the country’s competition laws.
    • For example – It ordered for an anti-trust probe against Google- for abusing its dominant position with Android to block market rivals.
  • Prevent cartelization
    • For example – It has prevented the cartelization of cement companies. CCI imposed a fine of 63.07 billion (US$910 million) on 11 cement companies for cartelisation in June 2012.
  • Undertake competition advocacy, create public awareness and impart training on competition issues.
  • Ensure smooth alignment of sectoral regulatory laws and competition laws.
  • It has ensured that there is proactive engagement with all stakeholders, including consumers, industry, government and international jurisdictions.

  • The recent The Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2022 and its increased efficiency – It has been introduced to improve regulatory set-up by increasing the CCI’s accountability, giving it flexibility and enforcement efficiency.
    • Key changes made in the bill
      • Increasing transparency and strengthening the accountability:
        • A board with part-time membersto supervise CCI activities.
        • CCI to mandatorily issue penalty guidelinesand give reasons in case of any divergence.
        • Enforcement efficiency
          • CCI could engage in structured negotiations with parties and arrive at mutually-workable solutions without having to go through lengthy formal proceedings.
        • Limitations:
          • The bill does little to address competition concerns in digital markets.
            • g., mergers concern in digital markets between entities that do not have significant assets or turnover, but are still very significant (such as Facebook-WhatsApp).
          • No effective clause for regulating anti-competitiveconduct by digital platform.

 For more on the bill: Click Here

 

Initiatives Taken by CCI to Address New-age Challenges:

InitiativesDescription
Streamlining ProcessesCCI has enhanced the efficiency of investigation and decision-making processes, resulting in reduced times for investigations and decisions, ultimately improving overall market efficiency.
Addressing Digital Economy ChallengesCCI is concentrating on scrutinizing practices such as predatory pricing and data monopolisation employed by tech giants in the digital economy to ensure fair competition and prevent market distortions.
Regulatory Framework EvolutionCCI is continuously updating its regulatory framework to remain robust and flexible, aligning with emerging market dynamics and preparing for potential future challenges.
International CooperationCCI actively collaborates with global entities, engaging in knowledge-sharing initiatives and working towards harmonizing regulations to ensure effective enforcement in the international context.

 

Conclusion

Competition commission of India should enhance its efforts and reach to the technological nuances of the new digital era and ensure whether these markets are being fairly, effectively, and transparently used for the benefit of consumers.

 

Insta Links:

Bamboo Composites

Content for Mains Enrichment(CME)

 

Source: PIB

 Context: During the India International Science Festival (IISF) 2023, Know-How Technology on “Bamboo Composites” was transferred.

What are Bamboo Composites?

Bamboo composites are industrial products developed using an environmentally friendly technique that involves processing bamboo, a natural and versatile resource.

Bamboo, declared as grass, matures in 3-4 years, making it a rapid and sustainable source. The technology involves cutting bamboo poles, splitting them, removing knots, treating them chemically for protection, converting them to fibrous form, and finally, creating composite materials through compaction under heat and pressure. These composites resemble teak wood, offering durability, dimensional stability, high strength, fire resistance, and a natural appearance. They can be used in various applications, including panel boards, beams, pillars, doors, and more.

Usage: Such examples can be used in Essay/Environment Questions to show sustainable solutions, which can also help improve the income of bamboo farmers.

Traditional buffalo fight (Moh-Juj)

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: HT

 Context: The Assam Government reinstated the traditional buffalo fight (Moh-Juj) after a nine-year hiatus, following a Supreme Court ban on similar events in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra.

The event, held in Ahotguri, Nagaon district, aimed to revive Assam’s cultural traditions. The Supreme Court had previously outlawed such events but, in May of the previous year, upheld amendments allowing traditional bull-fights in certain states.

 

About Moh-Juj

It was introduced by the 30th Ahom king Swargadeo Rudra Singha nearly 200 years ago and is celebrated as a sport in Ahatguri during Magh Bihu, a significant harvest festival in Assam held in January–February. The buffalo fight tournaments in Ahatguri have been a tradition since 1972. The event is part of the cultural celebration of Magh Bihu.

About the wild buffalo (Bubalus arnee)

It primarily inhabits alluvial grasslands, marshes, swamps, and river valleys. It is listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and included in Appendix III of CITES.

 

About Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (PCA) Act, 1960

An Act to prevent the infliction of unnecessary pain or suffering on animals and to amend the law relating to the prevention of cruelty to animals.

 Animal Welfare Board of India vs A Nagaraja, (2014) Case: The Supreme Court banned the use of bulls and bullocks in “entertainment activities” such as Jallikattu and bullock cart racing, among others. However, later jallikattu got an exemption from the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (1960).

Guidelines for Coaching Centre

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: Med

 

Context: The Ministry of Education has sent to states/UTs for consideration guidelines for coaching centres.

Education comes under Concurrent List status, with coaching institutes falling under state/UT jurisdiction.

 

Need for Guidelines:

Regulation is deemed necessary due to recent incidents, including fire-related deaths and suicides, coupled with concerns about methodologies and excessive fees. The aim is to address misleading ads under the Consumer Protection Act, offer career guidance, and psychological counseling, and align with the National Education Policy (2020) emphasizing formative assessment over summative assessment to discourage a ‘coaching culture.’

 

Key features of the Guidelines:

GuidelinesDetails
Definition of CoachingTuition, instructions, or guidance in any branch of learning to more than 50 students, excluding certain activities.
Definition of InstitutionSchool or any educational institution recognized or controlled by the State/UT Government.
Definition of TutorThe person guiding or training students in any coaching centre, including those providing specialized tuition.
Definition of UniversityUniversity established by or under a Central Act, a Provincial Act, or a State Act.
Registration of Coaching CenterPrior registration is required for maintaining a coaching centre. Existing centres must apply within three months.
For StatesStates/UTs were urged to Develop an Online Registration Portal for Coaching Centers
For Coaching Centers
Fee and InfrastructureCentres can charge fair fees, provide receipts, mention courses, and duration, and maintain basic infrastructure.
Fee Refund ClauseRefund the remaining fee within 10 days if a student leaves the course midway after paying the entire fee.
Basic Infrastructure and Study HoursAllocate a minimum of one square meter per student, comply with fire safety, and limit study hours.
Timetable of CoachingsClass schedules should not overlap with regular school hours.
Rest PeriodMandatory weekly offs for both students and tutors.
Class SizesMaintain sizes for a healthy teacher-student ratio.
Qualificaiton of tutorNo coaching centre shall engage tutors having less qualification than graduation.
Advertisement No coaching centre shall make misleading promises or guarantee of rank or good marks to parents/students for enrolling them in the coaching centre
Penalty for ViolationsFirst offence: ₹25,000; Second Offence: ₹1 lakh; Repeated Breaches: Revocation of Registration.
Mental Health of StudentsEstablish committees for complaint redressal, avoid undue pressure, and provide assistance to students in distress.
Other Remedial StepsRemedial classes, spaced-out curriculum, weekly offs, no tests/exams after weekly offs, festival leaves, limited daily class hours, appropriate timing, co-curricular activities, counselling sessions, and non-publication of assessment results.

Yellow Rust

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: BS

 

Context: The Indian Institute of Wheat and Barley Research (IIWBR) has urged wheat farmers to remain vigilant against yellow rust, a pest that historically appeared in some districts of Haryana during this period.

 

Yellow rust, a fungal disease, adversely impacts wheat crops by creating yellow stripes on leaves, hindering photosynthesis and causing grain size reduction. Typically prevalent in cool weather, especially in the northern hills and north-western plains zone, the recent combination of rain, temperature rise, and humidity creates favourable conditions for yellow rust development.

 

If yellow rust is observed, recommended measures include spraying fungicides such as Propiconazole or Tebuconazole to prevent further spread. The advisory emphasizes using an alternate fungicide if applied last year, especially during dry conditions.

Use of INSAT Satellites to analyse Fog

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  

Source: TH

 Context: Large parts of North India, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Haryana, Delhi, and Punjab, have been experiencing heavy fog since December 2023. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) utilizes satellite data, particularly from INSAT 3D and INSAT 3DR, to track and analyze the fog.

 

How Indian National Satellite (INSAT) System Help in Weather Analysis?

Key AspectsDescription
Advanced ImagingINSAT satellites like 3D and 3DR use RGB imagers for solar reflectance and brightness temperature analysis.
Strategic OrbitsGeostationary orbits of satellites like INSAT 3D and 3DR ensure continuous monitoring over India for real-time analysis.
Day and Night MonitoringEquipped with ‘day microphysics’ and ‘night microphysics,’ these satellites track weather changes around the clock.
Snow and Cloud DifferentiationThe satellites distinguish between snow and clouds based on reflectance in different spectral bands.
Enhanced PredictionsCombining day and night data facilitates tracking cyclone formation and predicting thunderstorms, improving early warnings.
Advanced RadiometersUpgraded radiometers in satellites like 3DR offer superior spatial resolution and functionality.
Atmospheric SoundersInstruments measure temperature, humidity, and water vapour, providing detailed atmospheric profiles for analysis.
Continual ImprovementEach new satellite in the INSAT series incorporates improved. The INSAT 3DS meteorological satellite, expected to launch in February 2024, will further enhance India’s weather monitoring capabilities.

 

How Satellites Analysis Color and Snow

Satellites, such as INSAT 3D, use RGB (Red, Green, Blue) imaging for colour determination based on solar reflectance and brightness temperature. This involves analyzing visible, shortwave infrared, and thermal infrared signals to represent green, red, and blue colours. The unique signature of snow, which reflects similarly to clouds in the visible spectrum but strongly absorbs shortwave infrared radiation, enables satellites to distinguish snow from clouds.

  

India has several weather satellites:

  1. Kalpana 1 (2002-2017): Geostationary orbit, equipped with early VHRR and data-relay transponder, deactivated in 2017 after 15 years.
  2. INSAT 3A (2003): Carried a three-channel VHRR for meteorological observations with different resolutions for visible, thermal infrared, and water vapour bands.
  3. INSAT 3D and 3DR: Geostationary orbits at 82 and 74 degrees east longitudes, featuring upgraded VHRRs for improved spatial resolution and functionality. They also carry atmospheric sounders for measuring temperature, humidity, and water vapour.
  4. Upcoming INSAT 3DS (Scheduled for February 2024): To be launched by the Indian Space Research Organisation using the GSLV Mk II launch vehicle. The “3DS” indicates it’s a subsequent iteration following the INSAT 3D and 3DR series.

Nuclear Battery

Facts for Prelims (FFP)

 

Source: DH

 Context: Chinese startup Betavolt has developed a “nuclear battery” that can produce power for 50 years without charge.

The battery, which is smaller than a coin, contains 63 nuclear isotopes and converts radioisotope energy into electrical energy. Betavolt claims it is the world’s first battery to achieve miniaturization of atomic energy production, challenging traditional notions of nuclear technology.

Such batteries use energy from the decay of a radioactive isotope (Like nickel-63) to generate electricity. Unlike nuclear reactors, they do not rely upon nuclear fission for power generation.

Application: The company plans to produce batteries with 1 watt of power by 2025 and sees applications in aerospace, AI equipment, medical devices, microprocessors, sensors, drones, and micro-robots. The nuclear battery is fire-resistant, jerk-proof, and operational in temperatures from -60°C to 120°C.

Chancay (Peru)

Mapping:

 

Source: TH

 Context: China is expanding its trade influence in South America with a new mega port project in the Peruvian town of Chancay.

The over $3 billion deep water port, majority-owned by Chinese state-owned firm Cosco Shipping, is set to start operations late this year. This port, part of China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, aims to enhance trade ties with South America by providing a direct gateway to the resource-rich region.

 

About Peru

It is a country in South America that’s home to a section of the Amazon rainforest and Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan city high in the Andes mountains. The region around Machu Picchu, including the Sacred Valley, Inca Trail and the colonial city of Cusco, is rich in archaeological sites. On Peru’s arid Pacific coast is Lima, the capital.

 

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