Daily Current Affairs Date : 26thMarch,2022
(30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)
Covers 4 Most relevant Sources
- The Hindu
- Indian Express
- Lead Poisoning (DTE)
- India’s Military Satellites (IE)
- Minamata Convention (DTE)
- SC Deadlines for Ex Gratia Relief for Covid-19 (TH, pg 10)
- Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) (TH, pg 14)
- Major GI Tagged Chillies from Across India (PIB)
- Article 355 of the Constitution and Associated Provisions (TH, pg 12)
Lead Poisoning (DTE)
- Context: High levels of lead were found in the blood of thousands of children living around the Kabwe mine in Zambia, according to evidence submitted by human rights activists.
What is Lead?
- Lead is a metal that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust, but human activity — mining, burning fossil fuels and manufacturing — has caused it to become more widespread.
- Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust as a result of mining are common sources of lead poisoning.
- Lead was used in gasoline (leaded petrol/diesel) to increase its octane number as it helped in better burning of the fuel inside the engine. Only unleaded fuel is used these days.
- Lead is still used in batteries, wall paints, soldering, iron water pipes, pottery, roofing materials and some cosmetics (make up products) and canned foods.
Harmful effects of lead
- Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children.
- The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage can occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults.
Do you know?
- Both lead & zinc are found to occur together in ore along with other metals, such as, silver and cadmium.
- Zinc is a silvery blue-grey metal with a relatively low melting and boiling point.
- The largest single use of lead today is in the manufacture of lead acid storage batteries, while the single largest use for zinc is in the Galvanising Industry.
- In India, Rajasthan is endowed with the largest resources of lead-zinc ore amounting to (88.61%), followed by Andhra Pradesh (3.31%), Madhya Pradesh (2.16%), Bihar (1.67%) and Maharashtra (1.35%).
India’s Military Satellites (IE)
- Context: The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has cleared the path for procurement of a GSAT 7B satellite.
- GSAT 7 series satellites are advanced satellites developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to meet the communication needs of the Indian defence services.
- The GSAT 7 satellite was earlier launched in August 2013 and is placed in a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).
- This satellite is mainly used by the Indian Navy for its communication needs. The satellite has been named
- It helps the Navy to have a secure real time communication link between its land establishments, surface ships, submarines and aircraft.
- It will primarily fulfil the communication needs of the Army.
- The GSAT 7B will also help the Army enhance its surveillance in border areas.
- The GSAT 7A was launched in 2018, and has gone a long way in boosting the connectivity between the ground radar stations, airbases and the airborne early warning and control aircraft (AEW&C) of the IAF (Indian Air Force).
- It also helps in satellite-controlled operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which gives a great deal of reliability to the operations as compared to ground-controlled operations.
- GSAT 7C satellite is being planned for the IAF, and a proposal to this effect was cleared by the DAC in 2021.
- This satellite would facilitate real time communication with IAF’s software defined radio communication sets.
- It will increase the capability of the IAF to communicate beyond the line of sight in a secure mode.
What other kinds of military satellites does India have?
- An Electromagnetic Intelligence Gathering Satellite (EMISAT), developed by ISRO, was launched in April 2020.
- It has an Electronic Intelligence (ELINT) package called Kautilya, which allows the interception of ground-based radar and also carries out electronic surveillance across India.
- This satellite circles the globe pole-to-pole, and is helpful in gathering information from radars of countries that have borders with India.
- India’s RISAT 2BR1 is a synthetic aperture radar imaging satellite, which was launched in December 2019.
- It has the capability to operate in very high-resolution imaging modes of less than 0.5 metre resolution.
Minamata Convention (DTE)
- Context: Fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) was held in Bali, Indonesia in March 2022.
- At the meeting, COP-4 as well as the United Nations have introduced a global declaration that calls to tackle global illegal trade of mercury.
- The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
- This convention is named after the city in Japan that became the epicenter of the Minamatadisease, a neurological disease caused by severe mercury poisoning, in the 1950s.
- It is the world’s first legally binding treaty to phase out this highly toxic substance and India signed this Convention in 2014.
- The treaty sets a phase-out date of 2020 for a list of products and gives governments about 15 years to end all mercury mining.
- Major highlights of the Minamata Convention include
- ban on new mercury mines
- the phase-out of existing mines
- Reduction and elimination of mercury use in a number of products and processes
- Control mercury air emissions from coal-fired power plants, coal-fired industrial boilers, certain non-ferrous metals production operations, waste incineration and cement production.
- Adopting control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water
- Regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining.
- The Convention also deals with interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
- The Convention has set up a financial mechanism to support developing country Parties and Parties with economies in transition in implementing their obligations under the Convention.
What is Mercury?
- Mercury is a metal which is liquid at room temperature and is found in rocks in the earth’s crust, including in deposits of coal.
- In the general population, exposure to mercuric chloride can occur through the dermal route from the use of soaps and creams or topical antiseptics and disinfectants, religious practices which involve burning of agarbattis (incense sticks) and in herbal medicines.
- High levels of methylmercury in the bloodstream of babies developing in the womb and young children may harm their developing nervous systems, affecting their ability to think and learn. (Minamata Disease)
Mercury in Consumer Products
- Mercury is used in LCD screens and mobile phone displays.
- Mercury is used — usually in very small amounts as a preservative or antibacterial agent — in a number of over-the-counter and prescription pharmaceutical products.
- Fluorescent light bulbs, including compact fluorescents (CFLs)
- Thermostats and Barometers
- Amalgam in dental fillings
- Used as Thimerosal in vaccines
- Automotive switches
SC Deadlines for Ex Gratia Relief for Covid-19 (TH, pg 10)
- Context:The Supreme Court set an “outer time limit” for filing ex gratia claims — 60 more days for deaths before March 20, 2022, and 90 days from the date of death for future cases for Covid-19.
- It agreed with the Centre that claiming ex gratia could become an “endless” process and raise the spectre of fake claims if no time limit is fixed.
- On allegations of fake claims, the court pointed out that it is a punishable offence under Section 52 of the National Disaster Management Act, 2005.
- SC had earlier passed the order directing the Union of India/ National Disaster Management Authority/concerned States to provide Rs 50,000 — to be paid from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)— to each to every family which has lost a member to Covid-19 as ex gratia amount.
What is State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF)?
- It has been constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005. It is the primary fund available with State Governments for responses to notified disasters.
- The Central Government contributes 75% of SDRF allocation for general category States/UTs and 90% for special category States/UTs (NE States, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir).
- The annual Central contribution is released as per the recommendation of the Finance Commission.
- SDRF shall be used only for meeting the expenditure for providing immediate relief to the victims.
- Disaster (s) covered under SDRF: Cyclone, drought, earthquake, fire, flood, tsunami, hailstorm, landslide, avalanche, cloudburst, pest attack, frost and cold waves.
- The National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF), constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, supplements SDRF of a State, in case of a disaster of severe nature, provided adequate funds are not available in SDRF.
Do you know?
- Since March 24, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has been issuing orders and guidelines for the containment of Covid-19.
- Before the onset of the pandemic in March 2020, guidelines have also been issued under the law on the management of earthquakes, chemical disasters, droughts, hospital safety, urban flooding, etc.
- The MHA has been issuing directions to states through the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
- Under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), headed by the Prime Minister, has been constituted.
- A National Executive Committee, which has the Union Home Secretary and members from various ministries, assists the NDMA in its functioning.
- Section 10 of The Disaster Management Act empowers the National Executive Committee to lay down guidelines for or give directions to, the concerned Ministries or Departments of the Government of India, the State Governments and the State Authorities regarding measures to be taken by them in response to any threatening disaster situation or disaster.
What is ex-gratia?
- When something has been done ex gratia, it has been done voluntarily, out of kindness or grace.
- In law, an ex-gratia payment is a payment made without the state having any responsibility/liability to pay the amount to the beneficiary.
Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) (TH, pg 14)
- Context: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das recently inaugurated the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH) in Bengaluru.
- RBIH aims to create an ecosystem that focusses on promoting access to financial services and products for the low-income population in the country.
- The Reserve Bank Innovation Hub is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- It is set-up to promote and facilitate an environment that accelerates innovation across the financial sector.
- The hub will collaborate with financial sector institutions, policy bodies, the technology industry, and academic institutions and coordinate efforts for exchange of ideas and development of prototypes related to financial innovations.
Major GI Tagged Chillies from Across India (PIB)
- Context: Centre focuses on promoting exports of GI tagged niche agricultural products. Some of the shipments of GI products in 2021 included export of Naga Mircha (King Chilli) from Nagaland to UK.
- Naga Mircha has been considered as one of the world’s hottest chilli based on the SHUs (Scoville Heat Units).
- SHU measures pungency (spiciness or “heat”) of chilli peppers, and number of times capsaicin needs to be diluted by sugar-water.
- It is also used in chilli grenades to immobilize enemy during confrontations in peace time.
GI Tagged Chillies from Across India:
- Bhut Jolokia or Naga Mircha from Nagaland
- Guntur Sannam Chilli from Andhra Pradesh
- Byadagi Chilli from Karnataka
- Bhiwapur Chilli from Maharashtra
- Khola or Canacona Chilli from Goa
- Harmal Chilli from Goa
- Edayur Chilli from Kerala
- Hathei Chilli from Manipur
- Dalle Khursani from Sikkim and West Bengal.
Article 355 of the Constitution and Associated Provisions (TH, pg 12)
- Context:The law and order situation in West Bengal is completely broken and Article 355 should be invoked to ensure the State is governed as per the provisions of the Constitution, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said in a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind in the wake of Birbhum violence.
- Article 355 of the Constitution is one of the provisions which enable the Centre to exercise control over the state administration.
- Article 355 imposes two duties on the Centre:
- (a) to protect every state against external aggression and internal disturbance; and
- (b) to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Grounds of Imposition
- Article 355 imposes a duty on the Centre to ensure that the government of every state is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
- It is this duty in the performance of which the Centre takes over the government of a state under Article 356 in case of failure of constitutional machinery in state. This is popularly known as ‘President’s Rule’.
- It is also known as ‘State Emergency’ or ‘Constitutional Emergency’.
- The President’s Rule can be proclaimed under Article 356 on two grounds–one mentioned in Article 356 itself and another in Article 365:
- 1. Article 356 empowers the President to issue a proclamation, if he is satisfied that a situation has arisen in which the government of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Notably, the president can act either on a report of the governor of the state or otherwise too (i.e., even without the governor’s report).
- 2. Article 365 says that whenever a state fails to comply with or to give effect to any direction from the Centre, it will be lawful for the President to hold that a situation has arisen in which the government of the state cannot be carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.
Parliamentary Approval and Duration
- A proclamation imposing President’s Rule must be approved by both the Houses of Parliament within two months from the date of its issue.
- However, if the proclamation of President’s Rule is issued at a time when the Lok Sabha has been dissolved or the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of two months without approving the proclamation, then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha approves it in the meantime.
- If approved by both the Houses of Parliament, the President’s Rule continues for six months.
- It can be extended for a maximum period of three years with the approval of the Parliament, every six months.
- However, if the dissolution of the Lok Sabha takes place during the period of six months without approving the further continuation of the President’s Rule, then the proclamation survives until 30 days from the first sitting of the Lok Sabha after its reconstitution, provided the Rajya Sabha has in the meantime approved its continuance.
- Every resolution approving the proclamation of President’s Rule or its continuation can be passed by either House of Parliament only by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of that House present and voting.
- The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 introduced a new provision to put restraint on the power of Parliament to extend a proclamation of President’s Rule beyond one year.
- Thus, it provided that, beyond one year, the President’s Rule can be extended by six months at a time only when the following two conditions are fulfilled:
- 1. a proclamation of National Emergency should be in operation in the whole of India, or in the whole or any part of the state; and
- 2. the Election Commission must certify that the general elections to the legislative assembly of the concerned state cannot be held on account of difficulties.
- A proclamation of President’s Rule may be revoked by the President at any time by a subsequent proclamation. Such a proclamation does not require the parliamentary approval.
Consequences of President’s Rule
- The President acquires the following extraordinary powers when the President’s Rule is imposed in a state:
- 1. He can take up the functions of the state government and powers vested in the governor or any other executive authority in the state.
- 2. He can declare that the powers of the state legislature are to be exercised by the Parliament.
- 3. He can take all other necessary steps including the suspension of the constitutional provisions relating to anybody or authority in the state.
- Therefore, when the President’s Rule is imposed in a state, the President dismisses the state council of ministers headed by the chief minister.
- The state governor, on behalf of the President, carries on the state administration with the help of the chief secretary of the state or the advisors appointed by the President.
- This is the reason why a proclamation under Article 356 is popularly known as the imposition of ‘President’s Rule’ in a state.
- Further, the President either suspends or dissolves the state legislative assembly. The Parliament passes the state legislative bills and the state budget.
- When the state legislature is thus suspended or dissolved:
- 1. the Parliament can delegate the power to make laws for the state to the President or to any other authority specified by him in this regard,
- 2. the Parliament or in case of delegation, the President or any other specified authority can make laws conferring powers and imposing duties on the Centre or its officers and authorities,
- 3. the President can authorise, when the Lok Sabha is not in session, expenditure from the state consolidated fund pending its sanction by the Parliament, and
- 4. the President can promulgate, when the Parliament is not in session, ordinances for the governance of the state.
- A law made by the Parliament or President or any other specified authority continues to be operative even after the President’s Rule.
- This means that the period for which such a law remains in force is not coterminous with the duration of the proclamation.
- But it can be repealed or altered or re-enacted by the state legislature.
- It should be noted here that the President cannot assume to himself the powers vested in the concerned state high court or suspend the provisions of the Constitution relating to it.
- In other words, the constitutional position, status, powers and functions of the concerned state high court remain same even during the President’s Rule.