Daily Current Affairs 22

6th January 2021 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date : 6th January,2021

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint

Index

  • A) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments
  • Vigilant Citizen (cVIGIL) (PIB)
  • Language of the Judiciary (SC & HC) (TH, pg 8)
  • B) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity
  • APEDA and India’s Sweet Revolution (PIB)
  • 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (PIB)
  • In What Context the Term Aquamation was in News? (IE)
  • Why was Chilika Lake in News? (TH, pg 1)
  • C) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues
  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) (PIB)
  • One District One Product (ODOP) and PMFME Scheme(PIB)
  • 25th National Youth Festival(PIB)
  • Launch of Smart cities and Academia Towards Action & Research (SAAR) (PIB)

 

A) Polity, Bills, Acts and Judgments

  1. Vigilant Citizen (cVIGIL) (PIB)
  • Context:The Chief Election Commissioner while reviewing the poll preparedness for the forthcoming Assembly Elections in Manipurelaborated on ECI’s cVIGIL App mechanism for registering complaints for prompt redressal of MCC violations as also the toll-free number 1950.

Analysis

  • The Election Commission has launched a mobile app, called cVIGILfor citizens to report any violation of the model code of conduct and expenditure violations from the date of notifications for bye-election/ assembly/ parliamentary elections.
  • ‘cVIGIL’ stands for Vigilant Citizen and emphasizes the proactive and responsible role citizens can play in conduct of free and fair elections.
  • The app could be installed and used on any android (Jellybean and above)/iOS smartphone equipped with a camera,good internet connection and GPS access.
  • By using this app, citizens can immediately report on incidents of misconduct within minutes of having witnessed them and without having to rush to the office of the returning officer to lodge a complaint.
  • The vigilant citizen has to click a picture or record a video of up to two minutes duration of the scene of violations of the model code.
  • The photo or video is to be uploaded on the app.
  • The automated location mapping will be done by the app using the Geographical Information System.
  • A citizen can report many incidents in this manner and will get a unique id for each report for follow up updates.
  • The app user has the option of registering complaints anonymously through cVIGIL App.

The app has inbuilt features to prevent its misuse. Some of the important features are listed below:

  • cVIGIL application will be usableonly within geographical boundary of States where elections are being held.
  • The moment a citizen exits an election-bound State, the app will become inactive.
  • The uniqueness of the app is that it only allows Live Photo/ video with auto location capture from within the app to ensure digital evidence for flying squads to act upon in a time bound manner.
  • The cVIGIL user will get 5 minutes to report an incidence after having clicked a picture or a video.
  • The app will not allow uploading of the pre-recorded images/ videos, neither would it allow users to save photos/videos clicked from this app into the phone gallery directly.
  • To prevent misuse of the system and to avoid repetitive complaints from the same spot, the system forces time delay of 5 minutes between successive complaints by the same person.
  • The cVIGIL application must be used for lodging MCC violation related cases only.
  • District Controller has the option of dropping duplicate, frivolous, personal grievances and unrelated cases even before the cases are assigned to the field unit.

 

 

 

 

  1. Language of the Judiciary (SC & HC) (TH, pg 8)
  • Context: A Division Bench of the Gujarat High Court has asked a journalist facing contempt of court proceedings to speak only in English as that was the language in the higher judiciary.
  • The Bench also underlined that the Article 348 of the Constitution mandates that the language of the High Court would be English.

Analysis

  • As per Article 348 (1) of the Constitution of India, English is the official language for all the High Courts.
  • However as per Article 348(2), the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of President of India, can authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state in proceedings before its High Court.
  • This provision is not applicable with respect to the judgements, decrees and orders passed by the High Court.
  • In other words, the judgements, decrees and orders of the high court must continue to be in English only (until Parliament otherwise provides).
  • The constitutional provisions dealing with the language of the courts and legislation are as follows:
  • Until Parliament provides otherwise, the following are to be in the English language only:
  • (a) All proceedings in the Supreme Court and in every High Court.
  • (b) The authoritative texts of all bills, acts, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations and bye-laws at the Central and state levels.
  • Similarly, a state legislature can prescribe the use of any language (other than English) with respect to bills, acts, ordinances, orders, rules, regulations or bye-laws, but a translation of the same in the English language is to be published.

All About Official Languages Act, 1963

  • The Official Languages Act lays down that Hindi translation of acts, ordinances, orders, regulations and bye-laws published under the authority of the President are deemed to be authoritative texts.
  • Further, every bill introduced in the Parliament is to be accompanied by a Hindi translation. Similarly, there is to be a Hindi translation of state acts or ordinances in certain cases.
  • The act also enables the Governor of a state, with the previous consent of the President, to authorise the use of Hindi or any other official language of the state for judgements, decrees and orders passed by the high court of the state but they should be accompanied by an English translation.
  • However, the Parliament has not made any provision for the use of Hindi in the Supreme Court. Hence, the Supreme Court hears only those who petition or appeal in English.

 

B) Agriculture, Geography, Environment and Biodiversity

  1. APEDA and India’s Sweet Revolution (PIB)
  • Context: The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has been giving thrust on boosting exports through ensuring quality production and market expansion to newer countries to aide a ‘Sweet Revolution’ in India.

Analysis

  • At present, India’s natural honey exports are majorly dependent on one market – the United States, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of the exports.
  • China, Turkey, Canada, Argentina, Iran and USA are among the major honey-producing countries, accounting for 50% of total world production.
  • India ranks 8thand 9th in the world in honey producing and exporting countries respectively.
  • North East Region and Maharashtra are the key areas for natural honey production in the country.
  • The National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) for three years (2020-21 to 2022-23) was announced by the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare as part of the AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative in February 2021.
  • NBHM aims for the overall promotion & development of scientific beekeeping in the country to achieve the goal of Sweet Revolution’ which is being implemented through National Bee Board (NBB).

Innovations and Revolutions in Indian Agriculture

  • Green Revolution (Wheat and Rice)
  • White Revolution/Operation Flood (Milk)
  • Blue Revolution (Fisheries)
  • Red Revolution (Poultry Meat and Eggs)
  • Gene Revolution (Cotton)
  • Golden Revolution (Fruits and Vegetables)
  • Yellow Revolution (Oilseeds)
  • Brown Revolution (Leather / Cocoa / Non-Conventional Products)
  • Golden FiberRevolution (Jute)
  • Silver FiberRevolution (Cotton)
  • Round Revolution (Potato)
  • Grey Revolution (Fertilizers)
  • Pink Revolution (Onion / Prawn)
  • Silver Revolution (Eggs / Poultry)
  • Protein Revolution (Higher Production in Agriculture)
  • Evergreen Revolution (Overall Production in Agriculture)
  • Sweet Revolution (Honey)

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is a statutory bodyestablished under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to promote agricultural and processed food products exports.
  • The Authority replaced the Processed Food Export Promotion Council (PFEPC).

 

  1. 19th Meeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) (PIB)
  • Context: The 19thmeeting of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) was held under the chairmanship of Union Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change.

Analysis

  • The Minister informed that at present 14 Tiger Reserves have been accredited under CA|TS.
  • At the meeting the environment minister unveiled the Action Plan for introduction of Cheetah in India, that has become extinct in independent India.
  • The union minister also released a Water Atlas, mapping all the water bodies in the tiger bearing areas of India.

National Tiger Conservation Authority

  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, as amended in 2006.
  • The NTCA/Project Tiger also conducts the country level assessment of the status of tiger, co-predators, prey and habitat once in four years.

Objectives of the NTCA

  • Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance of its directives become legal.
  • Fostering accountability of Center-State in management of Tiger Reserves.
  • Providing for an oversight by Parliament.
  • Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tiger Reserves.

Power and Functions of the NTCA

  • to approve the tiger conservation plan prepared by the State Government;
  • disallow any ecologically unsustainable land use such as, mining, industry etc. within the tiger reserves;
  • lay down normative standards for tourism activities in the buffer and core area of tiger reserves;
  • provide for measures for addressing conflicts of men and wild animal;
  • ensure that the tiger reserves and areas linking one protected area or tiger reserve with another protected area or tiger reserve are not diverted for ecologically unsustainable uses, except in public interest and with the approval of the National Board for Wild Life and on the advice of the Tiger Conservation Authority;
  • ensure critical support including scientific, information technology and legal support for better implementation of the tiger conservation plan;
  • approve, co-ordinate research and monitoring on tiger, co-predators, prey habitat, related ecological and socio-economic parameters and their evaluation.

Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards 

  • The Conservation Assured | Tiger Standards (CA|TS) survey is the first and largest rapid assessment of site-based tiger conservation across Asia.
  • CA|TSis a set of criteria which allows tiger sites to check if their management will lead to successful tiger conservation.
  • It has been developed by World Wildlife Fund, working with protected area agencies in tiger range countries.
  • 13 tiger range countries (countries where tigers still roam free) are: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Nepal, Russia, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • CA|TS is a partnership between governments, NGOs and tiger conservation areas to define and implement these conservation standards.
  • Officially launched in 2013, CA|TS is an important part of Tx2, the global goal to double wild tiger numbers by the year 2022.
  • CA|TS is a voluntary scheme for any organisation involved in tiger conservation.
  • CA|TS is also linked to and partnered in the development of IUCN’s Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, an initiative to encourage, measure and share the success of conservation management.
  • The first species-specific CA standards are for the tiger (Panthera tigris).
  • It is not a new management effectiveness system or a ranking of tiger conservation areas; but rather provides the means to tell if a particular area attains the best practice standards needed to conserve tigers.
  • Tiger conservation areas taking part in the system will be recorded as either Registered(but standard not yet attained) or as Approved/Accredited(achieving the standards as verified through an assessment and independent review process).

CA|TS Approved Sites in the Past 

  • Chitwan National Park in Nepal, Lansdowne Forest Division in Garhwal,Uttarakhand,India, and Sikhote-Alin Nature Reserve in Russia.
  • The accreditation of Lansdowne Forest Division, Uttarakhand, in May 2017, the third CA|TS accredited site globally and the first in India, is significant since it is a crucial link between the Rajaji and Corbett tiger reserves.
  • The accreditation would remain valid for a period of three years, after which the state forest department will have to apply for its renewal.
  • India has the largest portfolio of CA|TS sites.
  • A total of 94 sites (up to January 2022) have been Registered under CA|TS.

14 Tiger Reserves received CA|TS accreditation in 2021

  • The list of 14 Tiger Reserves who received CA|TS accreditation is:
  • Manas, Assam
  • Kaziranga, Assam
  • Orang, Assam
  • Sundarbans, West Bengal
  • Valmiki, Bihar
  • Dudhwa, Uttar Pradesh
  • Panna, Madhya Pradesh
  • Kanha, Madhya Pradesh
  • Satpuda, Madhya Pradesh
  • Pench, Maharashtra
  • Anamalai, Tamil Nadu
  • Mudumalai, Tamil Nadu
  • Parambikulam, Kerala
  • Bandipur, Karnataka

 

  1. In What Context the Term Aquamation was in News? (IE)
  • Context: The body of Nobel Peace Prize winning Anglican archbishop and anti-apartheid campaigner Desmond Tutu (who died on Dec 26, 2021) underwent aquamation, a green alternative to traditional cremation methods, in Cape Town, South Africa.
  • He was awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 for his role as a unifying leader figure in the non-violent campaign to resolve the problem of apartheid in South Africa.”

Analysis

  • Aquamation, or alkaline hydrolysis, is a process in which the body of the deceased is immersed for a few hours in a mixture of water and a strong alkali in a pressurized metal cylinder and heated to around 150 degree centigrade.
  • The combination of gentle water flow, temperature and alkalinity accentuate (increase) the breakdown of the organic materials.
  • It is considered to be an environmentally friendly way to dispose of a body.
  • This process is also known as water cremation, green cremation or chemical cremation.
  • The process leaves behind bone fragments and a neutral liquid called effluent.
  • The decomposition that occurs in alkaline hydrolysis is the same as that which occurs during burial, just sped up dramatically by the chemicals.
  • The effluent is sterile, and contains salts, sugars, amino acids and peptides.
  • There is no tissue and no DNA left after the process completes.
  • This effluent is then discharged into nature.
  • The process is a greener alternative as it uses significantly less fuel and has an overall lower carbon footprint than cremation.

 

  1. Why was Chilika Lake in News? (TH, pg 1)
  • Context:Chilika Lake, the largest brackish water lake and wintering ground of birds in the Indian subcontinent, saw a million birds, including the uncommon Mongolian gull, visiting the waterbody this year.

Analysis

  • A total of 3,58,889 birds (97 species) were counted in Nalabana Bird Sanctuary within the Lake — a decrease by 65,899 from the previous year.
  • The decrease is attributed to high water level and presence of water in cultivated fields in adjoining areas. Water birds love to flock to large mudflats.
  • Among the three pintail species of ducks, the northern pintail, gadwall, Eurasian wigeon accounted for over one lakh in this year’s count.

Chilika Lake

  • Chilika is a shallow lagoon with estuarine character in Odisha.It is separated from the Bay of Bengal by a narrow spit.
  • A Lagoon is an area of relatively shallow, quiet water situated in a coastal environment and having access to the sea but separated from the open marine conditions by a barrier.
  • An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environments.
  • It is the largest brackish water lagoon in India.
  • Pulicat Lake is the second largest brackish water lake or lagoon in India, after Chilika Lake.
  • The Daya and Bhargavi rivers feed the lake except during the dry months from December to June, when saline ocean water enters through a small passage. Chilka was once a bay of the ocean until silted up by strong tides during the summer monsoon.
  • Seawater is Chilika’s lifeblood. Without a regular inflow, the lake ecosystem would decline.
  • It is the largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on the Indian sub-continent.
  • The endangered Irrawaddy dolphins are also found in the lake, which is the single largest habitat of this species in the world.
  • Researchers conducting a study in Odisha’s Chilika Lake have found the presence of a viable, breeding population of a fishing cat in the brackish water lagoon. It is a globally endangered species that is elusive and found in very few places in south and south-east Asia.
  • On account of its rich bio-diversity and ecological significance, Chilika was designated as the 1st “Ramsar Site” of India.
  • The Nalaban Island within the lagoon is notified as a Bird Sanctuary under Wildlife (Protection) Act.
  • The lake was included in the Montreux Record (threatened list) in 1993 due to change in its ecological character by Ramsar Convention but was later removed from it due to the successful restoration of the site.

Montreux Record under the Ramsar Convention

  • It is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • It is maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • The Montreux Record was established by Recommendations of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990).
  • Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.
  • Currently, two wetlands of India are in Montreux record viz. Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan and Loktak Lake, Manipur.

 

C) Schemes, Policies, Initiatives, Awards and Social Issues

  1. Atal Pension Yojana (APY) (PIB)
  • Context:Over 65 lakh enrolments in Atal Pension Yojana in Financial Year 2021-22 so far.

Analysis

  • APY, launched by the Centre in 2015, was aimed at providing financial security to people in the unorganised sector during their post-retirement life.
  • However, any citizen of India with a savings bank or post office account can invest in the APY.
  • The age of the subscriber should be 18-40 years.
  • Under the APY, guaranteed minimum pension of Rs. 1,000/-, 2,000/-, 3,000/-, 4,000 and 5,000/- per month will be given at the age of 60 years depending on the contributions by the subscribers.
  • The monthly contribution to APY is modest — from a low of ₹42 a month for an 18-year-old desiring a pension of ₹1,000, to a maximum of ₹1,454 a month for a 40-year-old seeking ₹5,000 as monthly payout.
  • APY is administered by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance.

Who can subscribe to APY?

  • Any Citizen of India can join APY scheme.
  • The following are the eligibility criteria:
  • The age of the subscriber should be between 18 – 40 years.
  • He / She should have a savings bank account/ open a savings bank account.
  • The prospective applicant should be in possession of mobile number and its details are to be furnished to the bank during registration.
  • The subscribers can opt to decrease or increase pension amount as per the available monthly pension amounts.
  • However, the switching option shall be provided once in year during the month of April.
  • The exit before age 60 would be permitted only in exceptional circumstances, i.e., in the event of the death of beneficiary or terminal disease.
  • APY caters to mainly those who are not part of any social security schemes and are not income tax payers.
  • All the registered subscribers under Swavalamban Yojana aged between 18-40 years will be automatically migrated to APY with an option to opt out.
  • The government has ‘co-contributed’ up to 50% of the premium for five years for those who joined the scheme between June 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 and were not beneficiaries of any social security schemes, besides not being income-tax payers.
  • In case of death of subscriber pension would be available to the spouse and on the death of both of them (subscriber and spouse), the pension corpus would be returned to his nominee.
  • On death of the subscriber before attaining 60, the spouse will be given the option either to withdraw fully or to continue paying premium for the balance period (original subscriber’s 60th birthday) and then avail of the pension benefit.
  • Contributions to APY are eligible for the same tax benefits that the National Pension System (NPS) enjoys.
  • However, the pension receivable is taxed as per the income tax slab of the subscribers.
  • The government guarantees returns under the APY at 8%, which is higher than the prevailing CPI inflation in recent years.
  • UTI, SBI and LIC manage the APY corpus and invest the APY corpus in equity, government securities and corporate debt instruments. 
  • The People First campaignis a series of campaigns conducted at various states across the country to increase APY outreach.
  • A similar scheme — the ‘Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan’ (PMSYM) — was announced in the Budget 2019 to provide an assured monthly pension of ₹3,000 only to workers in the unorganised sector who earn up to ₹15,000 per month.
  • The premium under the PMSYM is relatively lower than the APY’s.

 

  1. One District One Product (ODOP) and PMFME Scheme (PIB)
  • Context:Union Minister for Ministry of Food Processing Industries launched six, One District One Product (ODOP) brands under the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PMFME) Scheme.

Analysis

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has signed an agreement with NAFED for developing 10 brands of selected ODOPs under the branding and marketing component of the PMFME scheme.
  • Out of these, six brands namely Amrit Phal, Cori Gold, Kashmiri Mantra, Madhu Mantra, Somdana, and Whole Wheat Cookies of Dilli Bakes were launched.
Brand Product District
Amrit Phal Amla Juice Gurugram, Haryana
Cori Gold Coriander Powder Kota, Rajasthan
Madhu Mantra Honey Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh
Dilli Bakes Whole Wheat Cookies Delhi
Somdana Ragi, Millets Thane, Maharashtra
Kashmiri Mantra Spices/ Kashmiri Lal Mirch Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir

Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme

  • Launched under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, the Pradhan Mantri Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (PM-FME) Scheme is a centrally sponsored scheme aims to enhance the competitiveness of existing individual micro-enterprises in the unorganized segment of the food processing industry and promote formalization of the sector and provide support to Farmer Producer Organizations, Self Help Groups, and Producers Cooperatives along their entire value chain.
  • With an outlay of Rs. 10,000 crore over a period of five years from 2020-21 to 2024-25, the scheme envisions to directly assist the 2,00,000 micro food processing units for providing financial, technical, and business support for upgradation of existing micro food processing enterprises.
  • The schemebeing implemented by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI) is a landmark initiative under AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to support Micro Level Food Entrepreneurs, FPOs/SHGs/ Co- operatives.
  • The Scheme adopts One District One Product (ODOP) approachto reap the benefit of scale in terms of procurement of inputs, availing common services and marketing of products.
  • The State Government would identify the food product for a district, keeping in perspective the focus of the scheme on perishables.
  • The ODOP product could be a perishable Agri produce, cereal-based product, or a food product widely produced in a district and their allied sectors.
  • An illustrative list of such products includes mango, potato, litchi, tomato, tapioca, kinnu, bhujia, petha, papad, pickle, millet-based products, fisheries, poultry, meat as well as animal feed among others.
  • Besides, certain other traditional and innovative products including waste to wealth products could be supported under the Scheme.
  • For example, honey, minor forest products in tribal areas, traditional Indian herbal edible items like turmeric, amla, haldi, etc.
  • ODOP for the scheme will provide the framework for value chain development and alignment of support infrastructure.
  • More than one cluster of ODOP product may be there in a district or cluster of ODOP product may consist of more than one adjacent district.
  • The program has four major components:
  • Support to individual and groups of micro enterprises;
  • Branding and Marketing support;
  • Strengthening institutional support and
  • Setting up robust project management frameworks with Tribal Sub plan being one of the important elements.

9.25th National Youth Festival(PIB)

  • Context:Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sportsunveiled the Logo and Mascot of the 25th National Youth Festival to be held in Puducherry from 12th -16thJanuary 2022.

Analysis

  • The Minister also unveiled the tag-line of the National Youth Festival,ShakshamYuvaShashakthYuva meaning Capable Youth- Forceful Youth, Able Youth- Strong Youth.
  • National Youth Festival is organized by the Government of India every year in collaboration with one of the States from January 12th to 16th to commemorate the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda e. 12th January.
  • The basic objective of the NYF is to bring the youth of the country together in an attempt to showcase their talents in various activities to cover almost all socio-cultural aspects of life, providing an opportunity to amateur young artists to express themselves and interact with fellow artists and to further learn the new art forms from experts of various disciplines.

 

  1. Launch of Smart cities and Academia Towards Action & Research (SAAR) (PIB)
  • As part of the Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav (AKAM) celebrations across the country, the Smart Cities Mission, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has launched “Smart cities and Academia Towards Action & Research (SAAR)” program.
  • Under the program, 15 premier architecture & planning institutes of the country will be working with Smart Cities to document landmark projects undertaken by the Smart Cities Mission.