PRELIM SNIPPETS – January 28th 2022


Why in News?

  • The United States has recently unveiled the ambitious America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology, and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act, 2022, which proposes to open up new vistas for talented individuals from across the world with a new start-up visa.


  • It aims to make the supply chains stronger and reinvigorate the innovation engine of the country’s economy to outcompete China and the rest of the world for decades to come.
  • USD 52 billion to encourage semiconductor production in the US and USD 45 billion for grants and loans to improve supply chain resilience and manufacturing, among other programs.
  • Funding to address social and economic inequality, climate change and immigration. For example, it offers an exemption for STEM (science, technology, engineering or mathematics) PhDs from the green card limit and creates a new green card for entrepreneurs.
  • A Green Card holder (permanent resident) is someone who has been granted authorization to live and work in the United States on a permanent basis.
  • The bill issues USD 600 million a year to build manufacturing facilities to make the United States less dependent on solar components manufactured in Xinjiang, China.
  • It creates a new “W” classification of non-immigrants for entrepreneurs with an ownership interest in a start-up entity, essential employees of a start-up entity, and their spouses and children.
  • It would mean more opportunities in the US for Indian talent and skilled workers.
  • Every year, Indians and Indian companies corner the lion’s share of H-1B work permits issued that year. With this new category, Indian professionals will likely have a better shot at opportunities that the Act is likely to provide.

2. Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV)

Why in News?

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) chairman has recently mentioned the launch of an “SSLV-D1 Micro SAT in April 2022”.


  • The SSLV (Small Satellite Launch Vehicle) aims to cater to the market for the launch of small satellites into Earth’s low orbits that has emerged in recent years to cater to the needs of developing countries, universities for small satellites, and private corporations.
  • It is the smallest vehicle weighing only 110-tonne. It will take only 72 hours to integrate, unlike the 70 days taken now for a launch vehicle.
  • It can carry satellites weighing up to 500 kg to a low earth orbit while the tried and tested Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) can launch satellites weighing in the range of 1000 kg.
  • SSLV is a three-stage all solid vehicle and has a capability to launch up to 500 kg satellite mass into 500 km Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and 300 kg to Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).
  • It is perfectly suited for launching multiple microsatellites at a time and supports multiple orbital drop-offs.
  • The key features of SSLV are low cost, with low turn-around time, flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites, launch on demand feasibility, minimal launch Infrastructure Requirements, etc.
  • The Government has sanctioned a total cost of Rs. 169 Crores for the development project including the development & qualification of the vehicle systems and the flight demonstration through three development flights (SSLV-D1, SSLV-D2 & SSLV-D3).
  • ISRO’s new chairman Dr Somanath is credited with designing and developing the SSLV during his tenure as director of the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram since 2018.
  • The maiden flight of the SSLV was scheduled to launch in July 2019 but that has since been delayed due to setbacks from Covid-19 and other issues.
  • The development and manufacture of the SSLV are expected to create greater synergy between the space sector and private Indian industries – a key aim of the space ministry.
  • Indian industry has a consortium for the production of PSLV and should come together to produce the SSLV as well once it is tested.
  • One of the mandates of the newly-created ISRO commercial Arm, New Space India Limited (NSIL) is to mass-produce and manufacture the SSLV and the more powerful PSLV in partnership with the private sector in India through technology transfers.
  • Its aim is to use research and development carried out by ISRO over the years for commercial purposes through Indian industry partners.
  • Small satellite launches have so far depended on ‘piggy-back’ rides with big satellite launches on the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) — ISRO’s work-horse with more than 50 successful launches. As a result, small satellite launches have relied on ISRO finalising launch contracts for larger satellites.

3. Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021

Why in News?

  • The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2021 was recently released by Transparency International.


  • The CPI shows that control of corruption has stagnated or worsened in 86% of countries over the last decade.
  • Transparency International is an international non -governmental organisation founded in 1993 based in Berlin, Germany
  • Its non-profit purpose is to take action to combat global Corruption with civil societal anti-corruption measures and to prevent criminal activities arising from corruption.
  • Its most notable publications include the Global Corruption Barometer and the Corruption Perception Index.
  • The Index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople.
  • It relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
  • More than two-thirds of countries (68%) score below 50 and the average global score remains static at 43. Since 2012, 25 countries significantly improved their scores, but in the same period 23 countries significantly declined.
  • This year, the top countries are Denmark, Finland and New Zealand, each with a score of 88. Norway (85), Singapore (85), Sweden (85), Switzerland (84), the Netherlands (82), Luxembourg (81) and Germany (80) complete the top 10.
  • South Sudan (11), Syria (13) and Somalia (13) remain at the bottom of the index.
  • Countries experiencing armed conflict or authoritarianism tend to earn the lowest scores, including Venezuela (14), Afghanistan (16), North Korea (16), Yemen (16), Equatorial Guinea (17), Libya (17) and Turkmenistan (19).

4. Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), 2021

Why in News?

  • The 2021 Corruption Perception Index by Transparency International places India 85th on a list of 180 countries, one position above last year.

Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI):

  • The CPI is an index which ranks countries “by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.”
  • The CPI generally defines corruption as an “abuse of entrusted power for private gain”.
  • The index is published annually by the non-governmental organisation Transparency International since 1995.
  • The index ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector Corruption according to experts and business people.
  • It uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank CPI, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

What kind of corruption does the CPI measure?

  • The data sources used to compile the CPI specifically cover the following manifestations of public sector corruption:
  • Bribery
  • Diversion of public funds
  • Officials using their public office for private gain without facing consequences
  • Ability of governments to contain corruption in the public sector
  • Excessive red tape in the public sector which may increase opportunities for corruption
  • Nepotistic appointments in the civil service
  • Laws ensuring that public officials must disclose their finances and potential conflicts of interest
  • Legal protection for people who report cases of bribery and corruption
  • State capture by narrow vested interests
  • Access to information on public affairs/government activities
  • The CPI does NOT cover:
  • Citizens’ direct perceptions or experience of corruption
  • Tax fraud
  • Illicit financial flows
  • Enablers of corruption (lawyers, accountants, financial advisors etc)
  • Money-laundering
  • Private sector corruption
  • Informal economies and markets

Highlights of the 2021 Report:

  • The top-performing countries were Denmark, Finland and New Zealand — all having a corruption perceptions score of 88 — followed by Norway, Singapore and Sweden, all of them scoring 85.
  • In contrast, the worst-performing countries were South Sudan with a corruption perceptions score of 11, followed by Syria (13), Somalia (13, Venezuela (14) and Afghanistan (16).

India’s performance:

  • In 2021, India ranked 86th with the same CPI score of 40.
  • The report highlighted concerns over the risk to journalists and activists who have been victims of attacks by the police, political militants, criminal gangs and corrupt local officials.
  • Civil society organizations that speak up against the government have been targeted with security, defamation, sedition, hate speech and contempt-of-court charges, and with regulations on foreign funding.

5. Padma Awards

Why in News?

  • The central government has announced the names of Padma awardees for this year.

What are Padma awards?

  • The Padma awards are the highest civilian honor of India after the Bharat Ratna.
  • They are announced every year on the eve of Republic Day.
  • The awards are given in three categories:
  • Padma Vibhushan (for exceptional and distinguished service)
  • Padma Bhushan (distinguished service of higher order) and
  • Padma Shri (distinguished service)
  • The award seeks to recognize achievements in all fields of activities or disciplines where an element of public service is involved.

Who are the Awardees?

  • The awards are given in certain select categories which include Art, Social Work, Public Affairs, Science & Engineering, Trade & Industry, Medicine, Literature & Education, Civil Service and Sports.
  • Awards are also given for propagation of Indian culture, protection of human rights, wild life protection among others.
  • Its constitution
  • The PADMA Awards were instituted in 1954 along with Bharat Ratna.
  • At that time only Padma Vibhushan existed with three sub-categories – Pahela Varg, Dusra Varg and Tisra Varg.
  • These were subsequently renamed as Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri vide Presidential Notification issued on January 8, 1955.

Particulars of the Awards:

  • The awardees do not get any cash reward but a certificate signed by the President apart from a medallion which they can wear at public and government functions.
  • The awards are, however, not a conferment of title and the awardees are expected to not use them as prefix or suffix to their names.
  • A Padma awardee can be given a higher award only after five years of the conferment of the earlier award.

Terms of Awarding:

  • Not more than 120 awards can be given in a year but this does not include posthumous awards or awards given to NRIs and foreigners.
  • The award is normally not conferred posthumously.
  • However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously.

Who is Eligible for Padma Awards?

  • All persons without distinction of race, occupation, position or sex are eligible for these awards.
  • However, government servants including those working with PSUs, except doctors and scientists, are not eligible for these awards.
  • The award seeks to recognize works of distinction and is given for distinguished and exceptional achievements or service in all fields of activities and disciplines.
  • According to Padma awards selection criteria, the award is given for “special services” and not just for “long service”.
  • It should not be merely excellence in a particular field, but the criteria has to be ‘excellence plus’.

Who Nominates the Awardees?

  • Any citizen of India can nominate a potential recipient.
  • One can even nominate one’s own self. All nominations are to be done online where a form is to be filled along with details of the person or the organisation being nominated.
  • An 800-word essay detailing the work done by the potential awardee is also to be submitted for the nomination to be considered.
  • The government also writes to various state governments, governors, Union territories, central ministries and various departments to send nominations.

Who selects the Awardees?

  • All nominations received for Padma awards are placed before the Padma Awards Committee, which is constituted by the Prime Minister every year.
  • The Padma Awards Committee is headed by the Cabinet Secretary and includes Home Secretary, Secretary to the President and four to Six Eminent persons as Members.
  • The recommendations of the committee are submitted to the Prime Minister and the President of India for approval.
  • The antecedents of the selected awardees are verified using the services of central agencies to ensure nothing untoward has been reported or come on record about them.
  • A final list is then prepared and announced.

Is the Recipient’s Consent Sought?

  • There is no provision for seeking a written or formal consent of the recipient before the Announcement of the award.
  • However, before the Announcement, every recipient receives a call from the Ministry of Home Affairs Informing him or her about the selection.
  • In case the recipient expresses a desire to be excluded from the award list, the name is removed.
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