GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- A study conducted by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) could help understand how gravitational instabilities are connected to galaxy evolution.
About the Study
- The researchers investigated the stability levels of a sample of 175 galaxies taken from the SPARC database.
- The study tried to explore how gravitational instabilities are connected with star formation, gas fraction, timescale for growth of gravitational instabilities and finally, the observed morphology.
- They then compared the star formation rate, gas fraction, and timescale for the growth of gravitational instabilities of nearby galaxies and investigated the stability levels of a sample of 175 galaxies taken from the Spitzer Photometry and Accurate Rotation Curves (SPARC) database.
- This helped them trace the role of dark matter in regulating the stability levels of the galaxies and understand if stars and gas can self-regulate the stability levels.
- They found that spiral galaxies like the Milky Way exhibit a higher median star formation rate, lower stability, lower gas fraction, and a smaller timescale for the growth of gravitational instabilities.
Key findings of the study
- This indicates that gravitational instabilities in spirals rapidly convert a substantial amount of gas into stars, depleting the gas reservoirs.
- Comparing the stability levels in the nearby galaxies with those observed at high redshift, which are precursors to the galaxies in the local universe, could help understand how gravitational instabilities are connected to galaxy evolution.
GS PAPER – II
Why in news?
- A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud decided to examine if clockwork extensions granted to reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies were constitutionally valid.
- Originally, the Constituent Assembly had meant reservation for SC/STs only for a period of 10 years from the commencement of the Constitution in 1950.
- However, Article 334 of the Constitution, which dealt with the time period to cease reserving seats for SC/STs and Anglo-Indians, was amended multiple times over the decades. Article 334 of the Constitution was amended multiple times.
- The deadline to stop the reservation was extended by 10 years or so. Starting with the Constitution (8th Amendment) Act in 1969 and all the way up to the Constitution (104th Amendment) Act in 2019, the deadline was stretched over and over again.
The 104th Constitution Amendment
- The 104th Constitution Amendment in 2019 had extended reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Lok Sabha till 2030.
- The 2019 Act terminated the reservation for the Anglo-Indian community and fixed 2030 as the deadline to end the reservation for SC/STs in the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies.
- By 2030, the SC/ST communities would have enjoyed reservation for 80 years since the adoption of the Constitution.
- The Constitution Bench decided to examine whether Parliament can use its constituent power to repeatedly amend Article 334 merely in order to keep reservation of seats for the SC/ST communities in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies of the States alive.
- The court clarified that it would be examining the validity of the 104th Constitution Amendment Act of 2019 only to the extent of its application to the SC/ST communities, and would not go into the termination of quota for the Anglo-Indian community after 70 years of enjoying the benefit.
GS PAPER – III
Why in news?
- The Asian Development Bank (ADB) pared its forecast for India’s economic growth in the current fiscal year to 6.3%, from 6.4% estimated earlier, citing the impact of declining exports and erratic rainfall patterns that could hit farm output.
About ADB’s Forecast
- The ADB’s economists also raised their inflation forecast for the year to 5.5%, from 5% estimated in April, and retained their real GDP growth projection for 2024-25 at 6.7%, on expectations that private investment and industrial output would increase.
- Noting that the economy displayed robust growth of 7.8% in the first quarter of this fiscal year despite global uncertainties, the Bank said it expects growth to be propelled by “robust domestic consumption as consumer confidence improves, and by investment including large increases” in government capital expenditure through the rest of this fiscal and the next year.
- However, as slowing exports could foment headwinds for the economy, and erratic rainfall patterns are likely to undermine agricultural output, the growth forecast for this year is revised down marginally to 6.3%,” the Bank noted in its Asian Development Outlook update.
Reasons for the lowering of estimates
- Asian lender cites weak exports, erratic rains as reason; sees increase in private investment, industrial output helping lift growth to 6.7% next year
- Monsoon rainfall under the influence of a developing El Niño has led to erratic weather patterns, including flooding in certain regions and deficient rains, particularly in August.
- The erratic rainfall patterns have resulted in damage to the rice crop in particular and lower sowing for pulses in the kharif season.
- The bank had slashed its farm sector growth outlook for the year by almost one percentage point.
- The ADB was upbeat on investment prospects in the economy, despite a decline in net foreign direct investment flows in the first quarter to $5 billion from $13.4 billion last year.
GS PAPER: II
Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023
Why in the news?
The Indian government will soon set up the Data Protection Board (DPB), a key organization for grievance redressal under the Digital Personal Data Protection Act.
- The data protection board will be a key organization for enforcing the provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act. It will have the power to investigate data breaches, impose fines, and issue other directives to companies that violate the law.
About the Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023
- The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, of 2023 is a landmark legislation that seeks to protect the personal data of Indian citizens.
- Scope of the Bill: The Personal Data Protection Bill, India (the Bill) will apply to the processing of digital personal data within India where such data is collected online, or collected offline and is digitised. It will also apply to such processing outside India if it is for offering goods or services in India.
- Consent: Personal data may be processed only for a lawful purpose upon consent of an individual. Consent may not be required for specified legitimate uses such as the voluntary sharing of data by the individual and Processing by the State for permits, licenses, benefits, and services.
Obligations of Data Fiduciaries: Data fiduciaries will be obligated to:
- Maintain the accuracy of data
- Keep data secure
- Delete data once its purpose has been met
Rights of Individuals
The Bill grants certain rights to individuals including the right to:
- Obtain information about their personal data
- Seek correction and erasure of their personal data
- File grievances in case of violation of their privacy rights
Exemptions for Government Agencies
The central government may exempt government agencies from the application of provisions of the Bill in the interest of specified grounds such as:
- Security of the state
- Public order
- Prevention of offences
- The establishment of the data protection board is a significant step forward for data protection in India. It will provide individuals with a greater degree of control over their personal data and hold companies accountable for the way they handle it.
GS PAPER – III
Cruise ships banned in Madhya Pradesh by NGT
Why in news?
The NGT recently banned the operation of cruise ships in various water bodies of Madhya Pradesh as it violated environmental laws.
- NGT has observed that the water bodies are “for the benefit of the people” and the state is “under the obligation to protect” them.
What are the environmental concerns?
- The NGT expressed concern about the impact of cruise ships on water quality, noise pollution, and wildlife. It noted that the Bhopal Upper Lake is a source of drinking water for the city and that the cruise ships could pollute the water with oil, sewage, and solid waste.
- The NGT also noted that the lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including migratory birds, which could be disturbed by the noise and pollution caused by cruise ships.
- The National Green Tribunal (NGT) is a specialized body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, for the effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
- It is a one-stop shop for the speedy and effective disposal of environment-related complaints and disputes.
NGT Covers the following Acts:
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974;
- The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977;
- The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980;
- The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981;
- The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986;
- The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991;
- The Biological Diversity Act, 2002.
- The Tribunal has a presence in five zones- North, Central, East, South and West. The Principal Bench is situated in the North Zone, headquartered in Delhi.
The NGT ban has put a spanner on MP’s growing cruise ship tourism industry. However environmental protection is a priority of the state.
GS PAPER – II
42nd Constitutional Amendment: Mini Constitution
Why in news?
The leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha has claimed that the words “socialist” and “secular” were missing in the Preamble of the Constitution of India, the copies of which were given to MPs.
- These two words were originally not a part of the Preamble. They were added by The Constitution (42nd Amendment) Act, 1976 during the Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
About the 42nd Constitutional Amendment:
- The 42nd Amendment was passed during the Emergency, a period of authoritarian rule under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- It is also known as the “Mini-Constitution” because of the enormous number of amendments it has made to the Indian Constitution.
- Adding the words “socialist” and “secular” to the Preamble.
- Making it more difficult for the Supreme Court to strike down laws as unconstitutional.
- Giving the President more power to dismiss state governments.
- Made the president bound by the advice of the cabinet.
- Adding fundamental duties as a chapter IVA to the Constitution.
- Provided for administrative tribunals and tribunals for other matters (Added Part XIV A).
- Added three new Directive Principles: Equal justice and free legal aid, Participation of workers in the management of industries. and Protection of the environment, forests, and wildlife.
- Shifted five subjects from the State List to the Concurrent List: Education, Forests, Protection of wild animals and birds, Weights and measures
- Administration of justice, constitution, and organization of all courts except the Supreme Court and the high courts.
- Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies: Raised the tenure from 5 to 6 years. Did away with the requirement of quorum.
- Empowered Parliament to decide from time to time the rights and privileges of its members and committees.
- All-India Judicial Service: Provided for the creation of the All-India Judicial Service.
- Shortened the procedure for disciplinary action by taking away the right of a civil servant to make representation at the second stage after the inquiry (i.e., on the penalty proposed).
The 42nd Amendment was widely criticized by opponents of the Emergency. After the Emergency was lifted in 1977, the new Janata Party government passed the 43rd and 44th Amendments to repeal some of the changes made by the 42nd Amendment.