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03 February 2024 - Daily Current Affairs

UNESCO 1970 Convention

Recently, the pressure on European museums to return artefacts taken from Southeast Asia during colonial times is growing.

  • 1970 Convention – It refers to ‘Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property’.

1970 Convention defines ‘Cultural Property’ as ‘a property designated by countries having importance for archaeology, prehistory, history, literature, art or science’.
  • It is the principal legal source when a country makes a claim to have its possessions returned.

  • Launch – It came into force in 1972.

  • State Parties144, India ratified in 1977.

  • Objectives – To urge States Parties to take measures to prohibit, prevent the illicit trafficking and return the cultural property.

  • To provide a common framework for the States Parties on the measures and to safeguard the identity of peoples and promote peaceful societies.

  • PrinciplesPrevention, restitution and international cooperation.

UNESCO 1970 Convention is fully in line with the Sustainable Development Goals defined in the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
  • Limitations – It does not apply retrospectively, so it does not include the peak phase of colonialism.

  • Ownership approval – The requesting State Party shall furnish, at its expense, the documentation and other evidence necessary to establish its claim for recovery and return.

  • Significance of returning artefacts – It can provide significant soft-power benefits for European countries in their extension of influence in regions such as Southeast Asia.

Indian laws in Protection of Antiquities

  • Before IndependenceAntiquities (Export Control) Act of 1947 ensured that “no antiquity could be exported without license.”

  • After IndependenceAncient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act was enacted in 1958.

  • The Antiquities and Art Treasures Act was enacted in 1972 (AATA), implemented from April 1, 1976.

  • Item-67 of the Union List, Item-12 of the State List, and Item-40 of the Concurrent List of the Constitution deal with the country’s heritage.

2. Stingless Bees

In Peru, conservators try to save stingless bees to save Amazon forests.

  • Scientific name – Melipona eburnean.

  • Nativity – Amazon region.

Stingless bees
  • Pollinator – It pollinate much of the Amazon’s native flora, a creative way to fight deforestation.

  • Medicinal properties – It contains anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and other health-promoting properties.

  • It might be from the resin of Amazonian trees that the stingless bees are pollinating, which are used by different trees for protection when they have a wound.

Amazon is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world and is also known as Lungs of the Earth.
  • Popularity – It became a favoured ingredient in alternative treatments for upper respiratory infections during COVID-19.

  • Threats – Deforestation, use of pesticides, climate change and competition with the honey bee.

  • ChallengesStingless-bee honey isn’t considered honey under the law.

  • A traces of environmental pollutants are reported in the honey, likely a result of the bees pollinating within pesticide-doused lands.

3. Taj Trapezium Zone

Recently, the Supreme Court of India asked the Centrally Empowered Committee to find out an alternative solution to cutting down 3,874 trees for the construction of a road project in the Taj Trapezium Zone.

  • Taj Trapezium Zone (TTZ) – A defined area of 10,400 sq km around the Taj Mahal, named so, as is located around the Taj Mahal and is shaped like a trapezoid.

  • Aim To protect the monument from pollution.

  • Geographical spread – It spread over 5 districts in Uttar Pradesh and 1 district in Rajasthan.

  • Coverage – It comprises over 40 protected monuments including 3 World Heritage Sites the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpur Sikri.

Taj Trapezium Zone
  • Regulations – It bans on the use of coal/ coke in industries located in the TTZ and also mandates for switching over from coal/ coke to natural gas, and relocating them outside the TTZ or shutting down.

  • 4 Zones Red, Green, Orange and White are the zonal classification of categories of Industries.

  • Responsibility areas

  • Protecting Taj Mahal from damage via pollution

  • Control Pollution

  • Keep record of Taj Mahal pollution statistics

  • Study city pollution

4. On Healthcare Initiatives in the Budget – A rising tide lifts all boats

Source: This post on Healthcare Initiatives in the Budget has been created based on the article “A rising tide lifts all boats” published in “The Hindu” on 3rd February 2024.

UPSC Syllabus Topic: GS Paper 2 Social Justice – Issues relating to Health.

News: The article discusses the key healthcare initiatives in the Budget. It also highlights what more needs to be done in this sector.

What were the key healthcare initiatives in the Budget?

1) HPV Vaccination Drives: Promotion of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination among young girls, to prevent cervical cancer.

2) Maternal and child health care received a comprehensive focus.

3) Research and Technology: A corpus of ₹1 lakh crore for investing in research and technology has been set aside for the private sector. In health care, technology can boost access to quality care and overcome limitations such as the skewed doctor-patient ratio and reduce health-care costs.

4) Enhancing Connectivity: New corridors with railways along with more airports and air routes will help Indians in getting easier access to quality health care.

What more should be done in healthcare?

  1. Expand Initiatives: Similar steps (like the HPV vaccination drive) for several types of cancers and all non-communicable diseases should be taken.

  2. Increasing Allocation: There has been less than 2% budgetary allocation for health over the years. If this can be increased to 5%, remarkable strides can be made in achieving better outcomes.

  3. Preventive health checks: Incentivising individuals to undertake preventive health checks is important.

Question for practice:

What were the key healthcare initiatives in the Interim Budget 2024? What more steps should be taken in this sector to ensure sound public health?

5. Paytm Payments Bank

Source-This post on Paytm Payments Bank has been created based on the article “RBI places additional curbs on Paytm Payments Bank amid ‘persistent non-compliances’ published in “Business Today” on 31 January 2024.

Why in the news?

The Reserve Bank of India recently placed additional restrictions on Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) due to non-compliances of its directives.

About latest restriction on Paytm Payments Bank

1) They can not take fresh deposits and credit transactions across its services after 29 February.

2) They will not be allowed credit transactions, including via wallets.

3) Other banking services like fund transfers (irrespective of name and nature of services like AEPS, IMPS, etc.), will not be allowed after February 29.

About Payment Banks

Definition– It is like any other bank. However, it operates on a smaller scale without involving any credit risk. It was set up based on the recommendations of the Nachiket Mor Committee.

Objective: To advance financial inclusion by offering banking and financial services to the unbanked and underbanked areas.

Status-It is registered as a public limited company under the Companies Act 2013 and licensed under Section 22 of the Banking Regulation Act 1949.

Salient features of Payment Bank

1) They are differentiated, and not universal banks. 2) These operate on a smaller scale. 3) The minimum paid-up equity capital for payments banks shall be Rs. 100 crores. 4) The minimum initial contribution of the promoter to the Payment Bank to the paid-up equity capital shall be at least 40% for the first five years from the commencement of its business.

Banking operation that can be performed:

1) It can take deposits up to Rs. 2,00,000. It can accept demand deposits in the form of savings and current accounts. 2) The money received as deposits can be invested in secure government securities only in the form of Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR). 3) It can offer remittance services, mobile payments/transfers/purchases, and other banking services like ATM/debit cards, net banking, and third-party fund transfers.4) It can become a banking correspondent (BC) of another bank for credit and other services.

Restricted activities

1) It can not issue loans and credit cards. 2) It can not accept time deposits or NRI deposits. 3) It can not set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking financial activities.

Recently a scientist at Physics Research Laboratory (PRL), Ahmedabad have published a paper attributing dust from Mar’s two moon as the possible source of Zodiacal light.

About Zodical Light

It is sunlight scattered by interplanetary dust. This is visible from the earth as a faint, diffuse glow on completely dark nights. Interplanetary dust consists of cosmic dust (small particles floating in outer space) that pervades the space between planets in solar system.

It is present across the entire path of the ecliptic. This is the path along which the Sun moves in the sky over the course of a year.

NOTE-1) ‘AU’ stands for ‘astronomical unit’, which is the distance between the earth and the Sun.

2) Mars’s has two moons called Deimos and Phobos.

3)Stickney crater-This is a 10-km-wide crater in Phobos.

7. GHAR portal - Daily Current Affairs

Source-This post on GHAR portal has been created based on the article “GHAR (GO Home and Re-Unite) Portal for Restoration and Repatriation of Child launched by NCPCR” published in “PIB” on 2 February 2024.

Why in the news?

The Ministry of Women and Child Development developed the “Track Child Portal” to track missing and found children in all States/UT.

About GHAR(Go Home and Re-Unite) portal

Launched by: National Commission for Protection of Child Rights(NCPCR)

Objective:The GHAR portal has been developed to digitally monitor and track the restoration and repatriation of children as per the protocols under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.

Key Features: -

– Digital tracking and monitoring of children who are in the Juvenile Justice(JJ) system and have to be repatriated to another Country/State/District.

– Digital transfer of cases of children to the concerned Child Welfare Committees(CWCs) of the State. It will help in the speedy repatriation of children.

– CWCs and District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) will ensure proper restoration and rehabilitation of children by digitally monitoring the progress of the case of the child.

About Track child portlal

Launched by-The Ministry of Women and Child Development Portal.

Objective-It enables tracking of the missing and found children in all States/UTs.

Implemented by-It is implemented with support and involvement of various stakeholders namely Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Railways, State Governments/ UT Administrations, Child Welfare Committees, Juvenile Justice Boards, National Legal Services Authority, etc.

Key features

1)  The Track Child portal is integrated with the CCTNS or Crime and Criminal Tracking & Network Systems of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

2) This allows interoperability in terms of matching of F.I. Rs of missing children with database of TrackChild to trace and match missing children by the concerned State/UT police.

3) “Khoya-Paya”-It is one of the component of Track Child Portal. In this portal, any citizen can report for any missing or sighted children.

Thank you for reading UPSC Daily Current Affairs

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