PRELIM SNIPPETS – January 11th 2022
Why in News?
- Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been appointed vice-President of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
- Patel will serve a three-year term as one of the multilateral development bank’s five vice-presidents.
- Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank headquartered in Beijing with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia and beyond.
- The Parties (57 founding members) to agreement comprise the Membership of the Bank. There are more than 100 members now.
- The bank started operation after the agreement entered into force on 25 December 2015, after ratifications were received from 10 member states holding a total number of 50% of the initial subscriptions of the Authorized Capital Stock.
- Aim: By investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors today, it aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future.
- Voting Rights: China is the largest shareholder with 26.61 % voting shares in the bank followed by India (7.6%), Russia (6.01%) and Germany (4.2 %).
- The regional members hold 75% of the total voting power in the Bank.
- Various organs of AIIB:
- Board of Governors: The Board of Governors consists of one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each member country. Governors and Alternate Governors serve at the pleasure of the Appointing Member.
- Board of Directors: Non-resident Board of Directors is responsible for the direction of the Bank’s general operations, exercising all powers delegated to it by the Board of Governors
- International Advisory Panel: The Bank has established an International Advisory Panel (IAP) to support the President and Senior Management on the Bank’s strategies and Policies as well as on General Operational Issues.
2. Red Sanders
Why in News?
- Red Sanders (Red Sandalwood) has fallen back into the ‘endangered’ category in the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List.
- The species, Pterocarpus santalinus, is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted Geographical Range in the Eastern Ghats.
- It is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh.
- It is mainly found in Chittoor, Kadapa, Nandhyal, Nellore, Prakasam districts of Andhra Pradesh.
- It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018 and has now joined the ‘endangered’ list once again in 2021.
- It is listed under Appendix II of CITES and is banned from international trade.
Status of Legal Protection in India:
- The Union Environment Ministry had decided to keep Red Sanders (red sandalwood) OUT of the Schedule VI of Wild Life Protection Act, 1972, arguing that this would discourage the cultivation of the rare plant species.
- Schedule VI regulates and restricts the cultivation, possession, and sale of a rare plant Species.
Significance of listing:
- It was a moment of celebration when the species was lifted off from the endangered Category for the first time since 1997.
- Over the last three generations, the species has experienced a population decline of 50-80 Percent.
- It is also scheduled in appendix II of the CITES and Wildlife Protection Act.
- Threats to this species:
- Red Sanders are known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, Particularly in China and Japan.
- They are used in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and Musical Instruments.
- Its popularity can be gauged from the fact that a tonne of Red Sanders costs anything between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore in the international market.
Red List Categories of IUCN:
- Species are classified by the IUCN Red List into nine groups specified through criteria such as rate of decline, population size, area of geographic distribution, and degree of population and Distribution Fragmentation. They are:
- Extinct (EX) – beyond reasonable doubt that the species is no longer extant.
- Extinct in the wild (EW) – survives only in captivity, cultivation and/or outside native Range, as presumed after Exhaustive Surveys.
- Critically endangered (CR) – in a particularly and extremely critical state.
- Endangered (EN) – very high risk of extinction in the wild, meets any of criteria A to E for Endangered.
- Vulnerable (VU) – meets one of the 5 red list criteria and thus considered to be at high risk of unnatural (human-caused) extinction without further human intervention.
- Near threatened (NT) – close to being at high risk of extinction in the near future.
- Least concern (LC) – unlikely to become extinct in the near future.
- Data deficient (DD)
3. National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS)
Why in News?
- Delhi and most of the other non-attainment cities under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) have shown only a marginal improvement, said a new analysis released.
- The NCAP was implemented across India in 2019 to reduce particulate matter levels in 132 cities by 20-30% in 2024.Cities are declared non-attainment if they consistently fail to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) over a five-year period.
What are NAAQ Standards?
- The mandate provided to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act empowers it to set standards for the quality of air.
- Hence the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards were notified in November 2009 by the CPCB.
- Prior to this, India had set Air Quality standards in 1994, and this was later revised in 1998.
- The 2009 standards further lowered the maximum permissible limits for pollutants and made the standards uniform across the nation.
- Earlier, less stringent standards were prescribed for industrial zones as compared to Residential Areas.
- Pollutants covered:
- Sulphur Dioxide (SO2)
- Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2),
- Particulate Matter (size less than 10 µm) or PM 10
- Particulate Matter (size less than 2.5 µm) or PM2.5
- Ozone (O3)
- Carbon Monoxide (CO)
- Ammonia (NH3)
- (Air Pollutants that most of us NEVER heard of:)
- Benzene (C6H6)
- Benzo(a)Pyrene (BaP)
- Nickel (Ni)
4. First Advance Estimates (FAE)
Why in News?
- Recently, the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the First Advance Estimates (FAE) for the current financial year (2021-22).
- According to MoSPI, India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by 9.2% in 2021-22.
- The FAE, first Introduced in 2016-17, are typically published at the end of the first week of January.
- They are the “first” official estimates of how GDP is expected to grow in that financial year.
- Apart from it, they are also the “advance” estimates because they are published long before the financial year (April to March) is over.
- The FAE Is published soon after the end of the third quarter or Q3 (October, November, December).
- However, they do not include the formal Q3 GDP data, which is published at the end of February as part of the Second Advance Estimates (SAE).
- The main significance of FAE lies in the fact that they are the GDP estimates that the Union Finance Ministry uses to decide the next financial year’s budget allocations.
- From the Budget-making perspective, it is important to estimate the nominal GDP — both absolute level and its growth rate.
- This will further help in calculating Real GDP and inflation.The difference between the real and nominal GDP shows the levels of inflation in the year.
5. Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
Why in News?
- Recently, former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Urjit Patel has been appointed vice-president of the Beijing-based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
- It Is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia.
- It aims to connect people, services and markets that over time will impact the lives of billions and build a better future by investing in sustainable infrastructure and other productive sectors.
- It Is established by the AIIB Articles of Agreement (entered into force December 2015) which is a multilateral treaty.
- It Is headquartered in Beijing (China) and began its operations in January 2016.
- The Board of Governors consists of one Governor and one Alternate Governor appointed by each member country. Governors and Alternate Governors serve at the pleasure of the Appointing Member.
- Non-resident Board of Directors is responsible for the direction of the Bank’s general operations, exercising all powers delegated to it by the Board of Governors.
- AIIB began operations in 2016 with 57 founding Members (37 regional and 20 non regional). By the end of 2020, it had 103 approved Members representing approximately 79% of the global population and 65% of global GDP.
- The Bank’s Accountability Framework is an innovative governance model that positions AIIB to embed a culture of accountability throughout the organization.
6.Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA)
Why in News?
- Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) missed the deadline of notifying rules under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA).
- Amidst the concerns related to CAA and for better clarity, the two parliamentary committees (committee on subordinate legislation) in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha had sought MHA to frame the rules that will govern the CAA.
- If the government does not make rules and regulations, a law or parts of it will not get implemented. The Benami Transactions Act of 1988 is an example of a complete law remaining unimplemented in the absence of regulations.
- The CAA provides citizenship on the basis of religion to six undocumented non-Muslim communities (Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians) from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before 31st December, 2014.
- It exempts the members of the six communities from any criminal case under the Foreigners Act, 1946 and the Passport Act, 1920.
- The two Acts specify punishment for entering the country illegally and staying here on expired visas and permits.
- : There are apprehensions that the CAA, followed by a country-wide compilation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC), will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their Citizenship.
- Issues in the North-East contradicts the Assam Accord of 1985, which states that illegal Migrants, Irrespective of religion, heading in from Bangladesh after 25th March, 1971, would be deported.
- There are an estimated 20 million illegal Bangladeshi migrants in Assam and they have inalienably altered the demography of the state, besides putting a severe strain on the state’s resources and economy.
- Critics argue that it is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution (which guarantees the right to equality and is applicable to both the citizens and foreigners) and the principle of Secularism enshrined in the Preamble of the constitution.