June 25, 2022

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE
An experimental Alzheimer’s drug – Crenezumab – aimed at slowing or preventing cognitive decline in people at risk of developing the disease early has failed in clinical trials, landing a blow to efforts aimed at finding a treatment to the neurodegenerative disease.

What is Alzheimer’s disease?

  • Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disorder that slowly robs people of their memory and thinking abilities.
  • Worldwide, it is the most common form of dementia or loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning – contributing 60%-70% cases, according to the WHO.
  • Progressive and irreversible, it usually begins with mild memory loss, and as symptoms grow severe, patients lose the ability to perform even simple tasks.
  • The disease was discovered after Dr Alios Alzheimer examined a memory-loss patient’s brain after her death in 1906 and found abnormal clumps (beta-amyloid plaque) and bundles of fibres (neurofibrillary tangles).
  • Pathology of the disease is deposition of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid in the brain. The plaque and tangles, along with loss of connections between the neurons to transmit messages inside the brain, are key markers of the disease.

What is the India scenario?

  • In India, only 1 in 10 people with dementia receive any diagnosis, treatment or care for the disease, according to the World Alzheimer’s Report, 2021.
  • An increasing prevalence of diabetes, hypertension, and obesity is expected to drive up the incidence of dementia in India in the coming decades.
  • According to the Global Burden of Disease study published this year in The Lancet, India could see a 197% jump in dementia, including Alzheimer’s, from 3.84 million cases in 2019 to 11.44 million cases by 2050.
Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

U.S. GUN SAFETY BILL
The United States Senate has passed a gun safety bill, the most significant action against rising gun violence in the country.

About:

  • The bill was passed on June 23, hours after the US Supreme Court ruled that Americans have a constitutional right to carry firearms in public for their safety and self-defence.
  • The bill will now be sent to the Democrat-dominated House of Representatives, where it is likely to sail through, after which it will be sent to US President Joe Biden for his approval.
  • The bill has been called the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. The bipartisan bill focuses on firearms and improving medical care in the US.
  • The bill seeks to ensure strict background checks for gun buyers, especially minors. The bill will also release funds for educational institutions, to expand their mental health resources and make schools safer.

Recent Killings

  • The bill was passed exactly a month after a mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where a gunman stormed an elementary school and killed 21 people, including 19 children.
  • The Uvalde incident came days after a racial shooting in a Buffalo supermarket in New York, where 10 black people were fatally shot.
Source : Indian Express
International

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

ECO-SENSITIVE ZONES
Farmers in Kerala continue to protest across several high ranges of the state against the Supreme Court’s recent order to establish 1-km Eco-Sensitive Zones around all protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks. The widespread unrest is borne out of the fear of farmers losing their livelihood.

About:

  • As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, land within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is to be notified as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).
  • While the 10-km rule is implemented as a general principle, the extent of its application can vary. Areas beyond 10-km can also be notified by the Union government as ESZs, if they hold larger ecologically important “sensitive corridors.

Activities allowed and prohibited

  • The ESZs are not meant to hamper the daily activities of people living in the vicinity, but are meant to guard the protected areas and “refine the environment around them”.
  • Guidelines list the activities prohibited in an ESZ, such as commercial mining, saw mills, commercial use of wood, etc., apart from regulated activities like felling of trees.
  • Lastly, there are permitted activities like ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, among others.

Why are Eco-Sensitive Zones created?

  • ESZs are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby.
  • Furthermore, these areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.
Source : Indian Express
Environment

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

INDIA-AFGHANISTAN RELATIONS
In a major step towards re-establishing its presence in Afghanistan, India sent a “technical team” of officials to be based in Kabul and reopened its Embassy.

About:

  • India also sent its first consignment of earthquake relief assistance to Afghanistan, where more than 1,000 Afghans have been killed in an earthquake outside the city of Khost. Paktika province in the south-east has been the most affected.
  • The move to reopen the embassy, 10 months after the government shut it down, marks a reversal of the government’s policy on engaging the Taliban.
  • The Indian Embassy will become the 15th mission to be open in Kabul with staff deployed there under the Taliban regime, along with Russia, China, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, European Union and four Central Asian states.
  • The opening of the embassy is a step towards working more closely with the Taliban regime, particularly as India worries about the impact of terrorist groups, drug trade and migration on the region. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

AMERICANS HAVE RIGHT TO CARRY GUNS IN PUBLIC
The Supreme Court said that Americans have a right to carry guns in public, a major expansion of gun rights.

About:

  • The Justices’ 6-3 decision follows a series of recent mass shootings in Texas, New York and California and is expected to ultimately allow more people to legally carry guns on the streets of the nation’s largest cities — including New York, Los Angeles and Boston — and elsewhere.
  • About a quarter of the U.S. population lives in states expected to be affected by the ruling, the high court’s first major gun decision in more than a decade.
  • In their decision, the Justices struck down a New York law requiring people to demonstrate a particular need for carrying a gun in order to get a license to carry one in public. The Justices said the requirement violates the Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms.”
  • Backers of New York’s law had argued that striking it down would ultimately lead to more guns on the streets and higher rates of violent crime.
  • The Supreme Court last issued a major gun decision in 2010. In that decision and a ruling from 2008 the Justices established a nationwide right to keep a gun at home for self-defense. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

TDS ON TRANSFER OF VIRTUAL DIGITAL ASSETS
The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) on June 22 issued detailed guidelines on the tax deducted at source (TDS) rule for virtual digital assets (VDAs) such as cryptocurrencies, and laid down the various scenarios under which tax would be applicable and on whom the onus of deduction would lie.

About:

  • The Finance Act, 2022 introduced Section 194S in The Income Tax Act, 1961, under which a TDS of 1 per cent will be levied on the transfer of VDAs effective July 1 if the value of transactions exceeds Rs 10,000 in a year.
  • In cases where the transfer of VDA takes place on or through an exchange, and the VDA being transferred is not owned by the exchange, tax may be deducted by the exchange making the payment to the seller.
  • However, when the payment between the seller and the exchange is being done through a broker, the responsibility to deduct tax shall be on both the exchange and the broker.
  • The CBDT has defined four primary VDAs — bitcoin, ether, USD Tether, and USD Coin — for the purpose of tax deduction on lesser known cryptocurrencies.
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

NATIONAL INVESTIGATION AGENCY (NIA)
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed former Punjab Director-General of Police (DGP) Dinkar Gupta the Director-General of the NIA.

About:

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is the primary counter-terrorist task force of India.
  • The agency is empowered to deal with the investigation of terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states under written proclamation from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008, which was passed after the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai.
  • Headquartered in New Delhi, the NIA has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur, Jammu, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Chennai and Imphal.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

MO BUS SERVICE
Mo Bus, the bus service of Odisha’s Capital Region Urban Transport (CRUT) authority, has been recognised by the United Nations as one of 10 global recipients of its annual Public Service Awards for 2022.

About:

  • The public transport service has been recognised for its role in “promoting gender-responsive public services to achieve the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals)”.
  • Mo Bus, the UN noted, has incorporated “real-time technologies like live tracking, travel planner and e-ticketing”, and an e-rickshaw system called ‘Mo E-Ride’ has been introduced as a last-mile feeder service.
  • The “impact” is that 57 per cent of the city’s commuters now use the Mo Bus, the UN said. Mo E-Ride is estimated to reduce pollution by 30-50 per cent. Also, 40 per cent of Mo Bus conductors are women and 100 percent of Mo E-Ride drivers are women, transgender people, and people from disadvantaged communities.
  • In 2019, the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs conferred a special award on CRUT, the Bhubaneswar City Bus Modernisation Project, popularly known as the Mo Bus service.

UN Public Service Award

  • The UN describes its Public Service Awards as the “most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service”. It is intended to reward “the creative achievements and contributions of public service institutions that lead to a more effective and responsive public administration in countries worldwide”.
  • The first Awards ceremony was held in 2003. 
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

NARCOTIC DRUGS AND PSYCHOTROPIC SUBSTANCES ACT, 1985
The government is considering transferring the administration of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 (NDPS Act) and Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PITNDPS) Act, 1988 from the finance ministry to Ministry of Home Affairs to bring all issues related to narcotics under one department.

About:

  • Currently, while the home ministry governs the Narcotics Control Bureau, the Department of Revenue (DoR) in the finance ministry administers the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act of 1985 and the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1988.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is a central law enforcement and intelligence agency that has been tasked with combating drug trafficking and the use of illegal substances under the provisions of the NDPS Act.
  • The NDPS Act, prohibits a person from the production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchase transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • The PITNDPS Act, 1988 provides for detention in certain cases for the purpose of preventing illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • The transfer was being considered under the Government of India (Allocation of Business) Rules, 1961. Transferring administration of the NDPS Act and PITNDPS to MHA will lead to a single command chain and unification of all matters related to narcotics.
Source : Economic Times
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 25, 2022

ONGC VIDESH ANNOUNCES NEW DISCOVERY IN COLOMBIA
ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), the wholly owned subsidiary and overseas arm of Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Ltd. (ONGC), the National Oil Company of India, has made an oil discovery in the recently drilled well, Urraca-IX, in CPO-5 block, Llanos Basin, Colombia.

About:

  • Well, Urraca-1X was spudded on 20th April 2022 and drilled to target depth (TD) of 10956 ft., encountering 17 ft thick oil-bearing sands at a depth from 10201ft -10218 ft.
  • ONGC Videsh has earlier discovered commercial oil in the Lower Sand pay in Mariposa and Indico fields in the block in 2017 and 2018 respectively, which are currently commercially producing @ 20,000 bbl oil per day.
  • Block CPO-5 was awarded to ONGC Videsh Limited in the 2008 bid round of Colombia. ONGC Videsh holds 70% participating interest (PI) in the block along with operatorship, remaining 30% is held by partner Geopark.
  • ONGC Videsh has a significant presence in oil & gas sector in Colombia, with three other exploratory blocks in the country and joint ownership of the oil producing company Mansarovar Energy Colombia Ltd (MECL). 
Source : LiveMint
Economy

June 24, 2022

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

GLISCHROPUS MEGHALAYANUS
Scientists from the Zoological Survey of India have discovered a new species of bamboo-dwelling bat in Ri Bhoi district of Meghalaya.

About:

  • The species, found near the forested patch of Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, has been named Glischropus meghalayanus. The present discovery is the first report of a thick-thumbed bat not only from India but also from South Asia.
  • Thick-thumbed bats of the genus Glischropus are currently composed of four recognised species from Southeast Asia. The newly discovered species is small in size and has a dark brown colour with sulphur yellow belly.
  • Bamboo-dwelling bats are a particular kind of bats living in the internodes of bamboos with specialised morphological characters that help them to adopt to the life inside a bamboo.
  • With this new discovery, the total number of bat species known from India stands at 131.
  • Meghalaya, a State with a small geographical area, harbours the highest bat diversity in the country with 67 species, which is about 51% of total bat species in the country.

Another species

  • From the same forested patches outside the Nongkhyllem Wildlife Sanctuary, scientist found another species of disk-footed bat Eudiscopus denticulus which was a new record in India.
Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

RESERVATION FOR AGNIVEERS
The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to reserve 10 per cent vacancies for recruitment in Central Armed Police Forces and Assam Rifles for Agniveers.

About:

  • Agniveers will also get ten per cent reservation in Defence Ministry's job vacancies.
  • Reservations for agniveers meeting requisite eligibility criteria will be implemented in the Indian Coast Guard and defence civilian posts, and all the 16 Defence Public Sector Undertakings. This reservation would be in addition to existing reservations for ex-servicemen.
  • The Ministry has also decided to give three years age relaxation beyond the prescribed upper age limit to Agniveers for recruitment in Central Armed Police Force and Assam Rifles.
  • For the first batch of Agniveer, the age relaxation will be for five years beyond the prescribed upper age limit.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

NEGOTIATIONS FOR INDIA-EU FREE TRADE AGREEMENT
In a joint event held at the Headquarters of the European Union (EU) at Brussels, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal, and Mr. Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of European Commission formally re-launched the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.

About:

  • Besides, negotiations were also launched for a stand-alone Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) and a Geographical Indicators (GIs) Agreement.
  • While the proposed IPA would provide a legal framework for cross-border investments to enhance the confidence of investors, the GI pact is expected to establish a transparent and predictable regulatory environment, to facilitate trade of GI products including handicrafts and agri-commodities.

Background

  • Last year, in the India and EU Leaders’ Meeting held in Porto on 8th May 2021, an agreement was reached for resuming negotiations for a balanced, ambitious, comprehensive and mutually beneficial FTA and starting fresh negotiations on the IPA and a separate agreement on GIs.
  • Both partners are now resuming the FTA talks after a gap of about nine years since the earlier negotiations were left off in 2013 due to difference in the scope and expectations from the deal.

Significance

  • This would be one of the most significant FTAs for India as EU is its second largest trading partner after the US.
  • The India-EU merchandise trade has registered an all-time high value of USD 116.36 Billion in 2021-22 with a year-on growth of 43.5%. India’s export to the EU jumped 57% in FY 2021-22 to $65 billion.  India has a surplus trade with EU.

Other FTAs

  • India earlier this year has concluded FTAs with Australia and the UAE in a record time.
  • The FTA talks with Canada and the UK are also underway.
Source : LiveMint
International

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

BALIKA PANCHAYAT
Gujarat becomes first State in the country to launch Balika Panchayat.

About:

  • The country’s first-ever girl Panchayat, “Balika Panchayat”, which was started in several villages of Gujarat’s Kutch district, aims to promote the social and political development of the girls and ensure their active participation of girls in politics.
  • This is a unique initiative of the Women and Child Development Welfare department of the Gujarat Government under the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ campaign.
  • It started in Kunaria, Maska, Motagua, and Vadsar villages of the Kutch district.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is also planning to begin the girl panchayat across the country.
  • “Balika Panchayat” is managed by people in the 11-21 age group and its main objective is to promote the social and political development of the girl child and to remove the evil practices from the society such as child marriage, and the dowry system. 
Source : All India Radio
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

PADMA BRIDGE PROJECT
The Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh has denied any foreign funding in the construction of the Padma Bridge project. It asserted that the ‘Padma multipurpose bridge has been entirely funded by the government of Bangladesh.’

About:

  • It said that some quarters are trying to portray that the bridge which is to be inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 25 June has been constructed with foreign funds and is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China.
  • The 6.15 kilometres long Padma Bridge is the largest bridge in Bangladesh. The bridge will help connect 19 south-western districts of Bangladesh with the rest of the country. 
Source : All India Radio
International

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

FUJIAN
In June 2022, China launched its third aircraft carrier named 'Fujian', the country's most advanced as well as the first "fully domestically built" naval vessel, as an aggressive Beijing sought to project its naval power in the strategic Indo-Pacific region.

About:

  • Fujian is the name of China's eastern coastal province of Fujian. Fujian, in the southeast, is the closest province to Taiwan, a self-ruling province that China says must be reunified with the mainland, even by force.
  • China's first aircraft carrier, the 'Liaoning', was a refit of the Soviet-era ship commissioned in 2012 followed by the indigenously built 2nd aircraft carrier 'Shandong' in 2019. Liaoning and Shandong are names of two provinces of China.
  • China plans to have around five aircraft carriers. The next aircraft carrier China plans to build is expected to be nuclear-powered.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

POST-MAURYAN SITE IN BARPALI
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has sought the intervention of the centre in regard to the excavation and preservation of a recently discovered post-Mauryan site in Barpali in Odisha.

About:

  • The 2000 year old post-Mauryan site which was discovered recently by the history department of the Sambalpur-based Gangadhar Meher University.
  • The site, spread over 17 hectares of land, has yielded numerous priceless artifacts and antiquities. Hence, the minister has urged the union culture ministry to direct the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) to take over the excavation work of the site for better exploration. 
Source : All India Radio
Culture

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

BLACK DEATH
In a study published in the journal Nature in June 2022, researchers have claimed that the Black Death — one of the deadliest epidemics in the history of humankind — originated in modern day northern Kyrgyzstan around 1338-1339 – nearly 7-8 years before it ravaged large parts of the world.

About:

  • What is it? The term Black Death refers to the bubonic plague that spread across Western Asia, Northern Africa, Middle East and Europe in 1346-53.
  • Cause: The Black Death was caused by bacterium Yersinia pestis and was spread by fleas that were carried by rodent hosts. The microorganism Y. pestis spread to human populations, who at some point transmitted it to others either through the vector of a human flea or directly through the respiratory system.
  • Symptoms: Researchers often described the buboes (hard, inflamed lymph nodes) as the distinguishing clinical feature. The onset of symptoms was followed by intense fever and vomiting of blood. After the initial infection, most victims died within 2-7 days.
  • Why was this plague called the Black Death? It is commonly believed that the term Black Death gets its name from the black marks that appeared on some of the plague victims’ bodies.

Social implications:

  • Around 60-65 per cent of Europe’s population or 52 million people died due to the plague.
  • A dramatic reduction in population was accompanied with huge economic and social changes in Europe. With a smaller labour force available, wages went up, leaving ordinary people with a higher economic surplus.
  • The Black Death also led to an increase in religious persecution of the Jews, who were blamed for spreading the contagion.
Source : Indian Express
Health

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

PM MODI IN KARNATAKA
Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the 8th International Yoga Day celebration by participating in a Mass Yoga Demonstration involving thousands of participants at Mysuru Palace Ground in Mysuru, Karnataka. The theme of International Day of Yoga is - Yoga for humanity”.

About:

  • He inaugurated the Centre for Brain Research and laid the foundation Stone for Bagchi Parthasarathy Multi-speciality Hospital at IISc Bengaluru.
  • During the Programme, the Prime Minister dedicated to the Nation, India’s first Air Conditioned Railway Station - Sir M Visvesvaraya Railway Station at Baiyappanahalli, which is developed on the lines of a modern airport at a total cost of around Rs 315 crore.
  • The Prime Minister also dedicated to the Nation the 100 percent electrification of the Konkan railway line (about 740 Kms) from Roha (Maharashtra) to Thokur (Karnataka) by flagging of Electric trains from Udupi, Madagaon and Ratnagiri.
  • The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the Coaching terminal for sub-urban traffic at Naganahalli Railway Station. The Coaching terminal will also have a MEMU shed and will decongest the existing Mysuru Yard.
  • He also dedicated to the nation the ‘Centre of Excellence for persons with communication disorders’ at the All India Institute of Speech and Hearing (AIISH). 
Source : PIB
Miscellaneous

Current Affairs
June 24, 2022

RADHA IYENGAR PLUMB
U.S. President Joe Biden has nominated security expert Radha Iyengar Plumb to the post of Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, the latest Indian-American to be named for a key position.

About:

  • Currently serving as the Chief of Staff to the Deputy Secretary of Defense, Ms. Plumb was nominated for the top Pentagon position in June 2022.
  • Prior to her appointment as Chief of Staff, Ms. Plumb was the Director of Research and Insights for Trust and Safety at Google, leading their cross-functional teams on business analytics, data science and technical research.
  • She has also previously served as the Global Head of Policy Analysis at Facebook, where she focused on high-risk/high-harm safety and critical international security issues.
Source : The Hindu
International

June 23, 2022

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

AVIATION TURBINE FUEL (ATF)
Oil marketing companies (OMCs) hiked Aviation Turbine Fuel (ATF) prices by 16.3% on June 16, taking jet fuel prices to a record high of Rs 1.41 lakh per kilolitre in Delhi.

About:

  • The record increase in ATF prices, combined with the depreciating rupee, is set to increase the cost of operations for airlines, which could lead to an increase in air fares by up to 15%.
  • The cost of ATF constitutes up to 50% of the cost of operations for airlines in India that are already struggling due to the high cost environment and lower fares in the country.
  • The airline industry had sought respite from high fuel prices through a cut in excise duty on ATF or by bringing jet fuel under GST, that would have brought down prices and also allowed airlines to claim input credit tax on the GST paid.
  • While bringing ATF under GST seems unlikely for now, the Aviation Ministry had requested the Finance Ministry to reduce excise duty on jet fuel by 2 percentage points to 9 per cent. The Finance Ministry, however, did not cut any taxes on ATF.

Do you know?

  • Jet fuel or aviation turbine fuel (ATF, also abbreviated avtur) is a type of aviation fuel designed for use in aircraft powered by gas-turbine engines. It is colorless to straw-colored in appearance. 
Source : Indian Express
Economy

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

RIGHT TO REPAIR
The U.S. state of New York recently passed the Fair Repair Act, which requires manufacturers to supply repair information, tools, and parts to independent repair shops and not just their own stores or partners.

About:

  • This provides consumers with the right to repair and refurbish their purchased goods. With access to relevant tools and repair manuals, independent repair shops will finally be able to compete with manufacturers.
  • The rationale behind the “right to repair” is that the individual who purchases a product must own it completely. This implies that apart from being able to use the product, consumers must be able to repair and modify the product the way they want to. 

Indian scenario

  • Monopoly on repair processes infringes the customer’s’ “right to choose” recognised by the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. Consumer disputes jurisprudence in the country has also partially acknowledged the right to repair.
  • In Shamsher Kataria v Honda Siel Cars India Ltd (2017), for instance, the Competition Commission of India ruled that restricting the access of independent automobile repair units to spare parts by way of an end-user license agreement was anti-competitive. 
Source : The Hindu
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

FORTIFIED RICE
Union Food and Public Distribution Secretary said that the Centre had started the second phase of distribution of fortified rice from April 1, 2022. A total of 90 districts have been covered, and the Centre is targeting 291 districts.

About:

  • The pet scheme of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, started in October 2021, aims to supply fortified rice to beneficiaries of the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman, or PM-POSHAN, scheme.
  • fortification means “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.
  • Various technologies are available to add micronutrients to regular rice, such as coating, dusting, and ‘extrusion’. ‘Extrusion’ involves the production of fortified rice kernels (FRKs) from a mixture using an ‘extruder’ machine. The fortified rice kernels are blended with regular rice to produce fortified rice.
  • Fortification of food is considered to be one of the most suitable methods to combat malnutrition. 
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

MIGRATION IN INDIA, 2020-2021
A report named ‘Migration in India 2020-21’ was released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).

About:

  • The ‘Migration in India’ report, which is based on first-time collection of additional data during the annual round of Periodic Labour Force Survey for July 2020-June 2021, separates the categories of ‘temporary visitors’ and ‘migrants’.
  • ‘Temporary Visitors’ have been defined as the ones who arrived in households after March 2020 and stayed continuously for a period of 15 days or more but less than 6 months.
  • ‘Migrants’ have been defined as those, for whom the last usual place of residence, any time in the past, is different from the present place of enumeration.

Key findings of the report

  • After the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, 0.7 per cent of India’s population was recorded as a ‘temporary visitor’ across households during the July 2020-June 2021 period.
  • Over 84 % of these 0.7 % ‘temporary visitors’ moved for reasons linked to the pandemic ranging from loss of job, closure of educational institutions and health related reasons.
  • The all-India migration rate was 28.9 per cent for July 2020-June 2021, with 26.5 per cent migration rate in rural areas and 34.9 per cent in urban areas.
  • Females recorded a higher share of migration rate of 47.9 per cent, with 48 per cent in rural areas and 47.8 per cent in urban areas. The migration rate for males was seen at 10.7 per cent, with 5.9 per cent in rural areas and 22.5 per cent in urban areas.
  • Among females, the highest level of migration rate was seen at 86.8 per cent for marriage, while 49.6 per cent of the males migrated due to employment related reasons. 
Source : Indian Express
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

SECTION 295A OF IPC
The debate surrounding the comments by BJP spokespersons Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal have put the spotlight on the law that deals with criticism of or insult to religion.

About:

  • India does not have a formal legal framework for dealing with hate speech. However, a cluster of provisions, loosely termed hate speech laws, are invoked. These are primarily laws to deal with offences against religions.
  • Provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), primarily Section 295A, define the contours of free speech and its limitations with respect to offences relating to religion.
  • Section 295A defines and prescribes a punishment for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs.
  • Section 295A is one of the key provisions in the IPC chapter to penalise religious offences.
  • The state often invokes Section 295A along with Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code, which penalises promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.

Rangila Rasool case

  • Section 295A was brought in 1927. The amendment was a fallout of an acquittal under Section 153A of the IPC by the Lahore High Court in 1927 in Rajpaul v Emperor, popularly known as the Rangila Rasool case.
  • Rangila Rasool was a tract — brought out by a Hindu publisher — that had made disparaging remarks about the Prophet’s private life. 
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

NORTHERN IRELAND PROTOCOL (NIP)
The Boris Johnson administration has come up with a new legislation, the Northern Ireland Protocol Bill, which would enable the U.K. to override provisions of the Brexit deal that concern trading arrangements in Northern Ireland — the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP).

Background:

  • Northern Ireland is the only part of the U.K. that shares a land border with the EU, as the Republic of Ireland (or Ireland) is an EU member-state.
  • As long as the U.K. was part of the EU, things were fine. But with Brexit, the U.K. exited the EU’s customs union. This created a problem whose solution needed two seemingly contradictory outcomes: preserving the sanctity of the EU’s single market, as well as that of the U.K.’s domestic market.

Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP):

  • NIP’s solution was to avoid a customs check at the actual customs border — on the island of Ireland, between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland — as this would have violated the 1998 Good Friday Agreement and risked instability in a region. It instead shifted the customs border to that between Northern Ireland and Britain, effectively at Britain’s ports.
  • As per the NIP, goods flowing into Northern Ireland would be checked at this ‘sea border’ before entering the island, and Northern Ireland would continue to follow EU rules in product standards.
  • The main irritant for the U.K. in the current version of the NIP was the creation of “unacceptable barriers” to trade within the U.K. internal market — between Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  • The European Union (EU) has said that the proposed law violates international law and has threatened to take legal action against the U.K. if it goes ahead with the legislation.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

INTER-STATE COUNCIL
In June 2022, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking that at least three meetings of the Inter-State Council should be held every year to “strengthen the spirit of cooperative federalism”.

About:

  • Inter-State Council is a mechanism that was constituted “to support Centre-State and Inter-State coordination and cooperation in India”. The Council is basically meant to serve as a forum for discussions among various governments.
  • The Inter-State Council was established under Article 263 of the Constitution, which states that the President may constitute such a body if a need is felt for it.
  • In 1988, the Sarkaria Commission suggested the Council should exist as a permanent body, and in 1990 it came into existence through a Presidential Order.
  • The main functions of the Council are inquiring into and advising on disputes between states, investigating and discussing subjects in which two states or states and the Union have a common interest, and making recommendations for the better coordination of policy and action.
  • The Prime Minister is the chairman of the Council, whose members include the Chief Ministers of all states and UTs with legislative assemblies, and Administrators of other UTs.
  • Six Ministers of Cabinet rank in the Centre’s Council of Ministers, nominated by the Prime Minister, are also its members.
  • Since its constitution in 1990, the body has met only 11 times, although its procedure states it should meet at least three times every year. That there has been no meeting since July 2016.

Reconstitution

  • The Council was reconstituted in May 2022. The body will now have 10 Union Ministers as permanent invitees, and the standing committee of the Council has been reconstituted with Home Minister Amit Shah as Chairman. 
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

INDIA-SRI LANKA ECONOMIC TIES
An Adani project in Sri Lanka is yet again at the centre of a controversy, after a top official of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) told a parliamentary panel that a renewable energy project in the island’s northern Mannar district was given to the Adani Group after PM Narendra Modi “pressured” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

About:

  • The energy project is the second major venture in Sri Lanka involving the Adani Group, after it bagged a strategic port terminal deal in Colombo.
  • The Group was brought in to execute the West Container Terminal project at the Colombo Port, with majority stakes, after Colombo unilaterally cancelled a trilateral agreement among the governments of Sri Lanka and India and Japan to jointly build the East Container Terminal at the same port.
  • The Adani Group, Sri Lankan Ministers have said, was the Indian government’s “nominee” in both cases, indicating there was no competitive bidding process.
  • Further, India is also executing hybrid energy projects in three islands off Jaffna Peninsula, after displacing a Chinese energy project. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

NEW NORMS FOR SENTENCE REMISSION
As part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, the Union Home Ministry issued a set of guidelines to the States and the Union Territories on the grant of special remission to prisoners.

About:

  • The special remission would be granted to a certain category of prisoners, and they would be released in three phases — August 15, 2022, January 26, 2023 and August 15, 2023.
  • The prisoners who would qualify for premature release are women and transgender convicts of ages 50 and above and male convicts of 60 and above who have completed 50% of their total sentence period without counting the period of general remission earned.
  • Among others eligible for remission are disabled convicts with 70% disability and more who have completed 50% of their total sentence period, convicted prisoners who have completed two-thirds (66%) of their total sentence and poor prisoners who have completed their sentence but are still in jail due to non-payment of fine imposed on them by waiving off the fine.
  • The Ministry said that persons who committed an offence at a young age (18-21) and with no other criminal involvement or case against them and who have completed 50% of their sentence period would also be eligible for the remission.
  • Persons convicted with death sentence, life imprisonment or persons convicted under the Terrorist and Disruptive (Prevention) Act, 1985, Prevention of Terrorist Act, 2002, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, Explosives Act, 1908, National Security Act, 1982, Official Secrets Act, 1923, and Anti-Hijacking Act, 2016, would not be eligible. 
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 23, 2022

SURROGATE ADVERTISING
A new set of guidelines by the government prohibit surrogate advertising. The move comes in the wake of controversy over a perfume ad which was slammed for promoting sexual violence against women.

About:

  • Notified by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, “Guidelines for Prevention of Misleading Advertisements and Endorsements for Misleading Advertisements, 2022” apply to ads across all media platforms including television, print and online.
  • The guidelines have imposed a complete ban on surrogate advertising.
  • Surrogate advertising is the strategy of advertising a product that cannot be advertised openly.
  • Advertisers instead create ads that help in building a brand, and often involve popular celebrities – all without naming the actual product that is being indirectly advertised.
  • In India, tobacco products and alcohol cannot be advertised openly under laws like the Cigarette and Other Tobacco Products Act, 2003, which bans all kinds of direct and indirect advertisements of tobacco products. 
Source : Indian Express
Polity & Governance

June 22, 2022

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

GREEN HYDROGEN
The Adani group said it had tied up with French energy major TotalEnergies SE to jointly create the ‘world’s largest green hydrogen ecosystem’ in Gujarat’s Kutch region.

About:

  • As part of the tie-up, TotalEnergies would acquire a 25% stake in Adani New Industries Ltd. (ANIL), a unit of Adani Enterprises Ltd. (AEL).
  • The joint venture aims to invest $50 billion over the next 10 years to set up the green hydrogen ecosystem. In the primary phase, ANIL will develop green hydrogen production capacity of 1 million tons per annum at Mundra before 2030.
  • Green hydrogen gas is produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen using an electrolyzer that may be powered by electricity generated from renewable energy sources.
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

RUSSIA BECOMES 2nd-BIGGEST OIL SUPPLIER TO INDIA
Russia has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become India's second-biggest supplier of oil behind Iraq as refiners snap up Russian crude available at a deep discount following the war in Ukraine, industry data showed.

About:

  • Indian refiners bought about 25 million barrels of Russian oil in May 2022, or more than 16% of all their oil imports.
  • Russian-origin crude hit 5% of India’s total seaborne imports in April for the first time, rising from under 1% throughout 2021 and Q1 2022. Iraq remained the top supplier to India in May and Saudi Arabia is now the third-biggest supplier.
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

UNEMPLOYMENT IN INDIA
The unemployment rate saw a decrease of 0.6% and fell to 4.2% in 2020-21, compared with 4.8% in 2019-20, according to the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) for 2020-21 released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.

About:

  • This means that only 4.2% of adults who looked for jobs could not get any work in rural and urban areas of the country in 2020-21.
  • Rural areas recorded an unemployment rate of 3.3% and urban areas 6.7%.
  • The Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR), the percentage of persons in the labour force (that is, working or seeking work or available for work) in the population, was 41.6% during 2020-21. It was 40.1% in the previous year.
  • The Worker Population Ratio (WPR) was 39.8%, an increase from 38.2% of the previous year. The WPR is defined as the percentage of employed persons in the population.
  • Migrants are defined in the survey as a household member whose last usual place of residence, at any time in the past, was different from the present place of enumeration. The migration rate, according to the survey, is 28.9%. The migration rate among women was 48% and 47.8% in rural and urban areas, respectively. 
Source : The Hindu
Economy

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

REUTERS INSTITUTE DIGITAL NEWS REPORT 2022
The 2022 Reuters Institute Digital News Report was released recently.

About:

  • This study, an annual one commissioned by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism, tracks how news is consumed in different countries.
  • This year’s report, the eleventh overall, is based on a survey conducted by YouGuv, a British market research and data analytics firm.

What are the major trends highlighted in the report?

  • It flags six major trends which could have wider socio-political implications.
  • Firstly, people are trusting news content less and less. The average level of trust in news, at 42%, was found to be lower than the previous year.
  • Second, consumption of traditional news media declined in nearly all the countries surveyed.
  • Third, the proportion of news consumers who say that they “avoid news” has risen sharply across countries, with the report describing the phenomenon as “selective avoidance”.
  • Fourth, despite small increases in the proportion of people willing to pay for online news (mostly in richer countries), the growth in digital subscriptions for news content seems to be leveling off.
  • Next, “the smartphone has become the dominant way in which most people first access news in the morning”.
  • Finally, news consumption is increasingly happening via social media platforms such as Facebook and TikTok rather than traditional media.

What does the report say about trends in India?

  • India is a strongly mobile-focussed market. 72% of the survey respondents accessed news through smartphones and 35% did so via computers.
  • Also, 84% of the Indian respondents sourced news online, 63% from social media, 59% from television, and 49% from print. YouTube (53%) and WhatsApp (51%) were the top social media platforms for sourcing news.
  • India registered a small increase in the level of trust, with 41% trusting news overall.
  • While legacy print brands and public broadcasters continued to have high trust levels , only a minority — 36% and 35% — felt that the media was free from undue political influence and from undue business influence respectively. 
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

DEMOLITION DRIVES VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW
In the context of the Uttar Pradesh government bulldozing ‘illegal properties’ of protestors who took to the streets to condemn the comments made by erstwhile BJP spokespersons, this article explains how arbitrary destruction and eviction of houses are against international laws.

About:

  • This idea of serving ‘justice’ through bulldozers emanated in Uttar Pradesh.
  • In the wake of protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 the Uttar Pradesh government passed orders to recover damages from those who were allegedly involved in destroying public property. This process has been further institutionalised through the enactment of the Uttar Pradesh Recovery of Damages to Public and Private Property Act, 2020.

Violation of Rights

  • Several commentators have already pointed out that the use of such brute state power violates various domestic and international legal provisions.
  • The right to housing is not only a fundamental right recognised under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution, it is also a well-documented right under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).
  • The right to property under Article 300A of Indian constitution is a human right, former Supreme Court judge Justice V. Gopala Gowda said.
  • Likewise, Article 11.1 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) recognises the right to adequate housing.
  • According to the UN Human Rights Office, an integral element of the right to adequate housing is ‘protection against forced evictions’.
Source : The Hindu
Polity & Governance

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

GLOBAL NUCLEAR ARSENALS
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) launched the findings of SIPRI Yearbook 2022.

Findings:

  • A key finding is that despite a marginal decrease in the number of nuclear warheads in 2021, nuclear arsenals are expected to grow over the coming decade.
  • Russia and the USA together possess over 90 per cent of all nuclear weapons.
  • India had 160 nuclear warheads as on January 2022 and it appears to be expanding its nuclear arsenal. While India’s nuclear stockpile increased from 156 in January 2021 to 160 in January 2022, Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile has remained at 165.
  • China is in the middle of a substantial expansion of its nuclear weapon arsenal, which satellite images indicate includes the construction of over 300 new missile silos. China had 350 nuclear warheads in January 2021 and 2022.
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

DRAFT NATIONAL POLICY ON PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PwD)
The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has invited public feedback on the new draft national policy on persons with disabilities (PwD), which proposes interventions in disability prevention, education, healthcare, social security and accessibility.

About:

  • The draft said the current national programme on prevention of disabilities run by the Health Ministry focused on “traditional causes”, but there were other causes of disability, such as malnourishment, medical negligence, socio-cultural factors and impairment caused by disasters.
  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act, 2016, also expanded the number of disabilities from seven to 21.
  • The policy said the States and Union Territories should add a provision on compliance with the RPD Act when granting permission or recognition to educational institutions. A module on disability should be included in MBBS and other medical courses.
  • To make vehicles more accessible, the policy said: “The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will issue necessary guidelines for making modification in the personal vehicles being used by persons with disabilities as per requirement.”
Source : The Hindu
Social Issues

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

BSF JURISDICTION LIMITS
A report that defines the extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) and its new logistical requirements in frontier States has been prepared and is soon expected to be submitted to the Union Home Ministry, officials said.

About:

  • While in Punjab, West Bengal and Assam, the BSF jurisdiction, from the border towards the hinterland, was enhanced from the earlier 15 km to 50 km, in Gujarat the same limit has been reduced from 80 km to 50 km, while in Rajasthan the limit has been kept unchanged at 50 km.
  • The Border Security Force (BSF) is India's border guarding organisation on its border with Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • It is one of the seven Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) of India, and was raised in the wake of the 1965. It comes under the Ministry of Home Affairs. 
Source : The Hindu
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

“EGG-IN-EGG” PHENOMENON IN DINOSAUR
A team of researchers from the University of Delhi has discovered a unique set of fossilised dinosaur eggs, with one egg nesting within the other.

About:

  • While eggs-within-eggs are a rare phenomenon, they are so far known to occur only in birds and never known in reptiles. Until this discovery, no egg-in-egg fossil egg was found in dinosaurs and other reptiles such as turtles, lizards and crocodiles.
  • The findings talk about the “egg-in-egg” phenomenon in a titanosaurid dinosaur egg found at Bagh in Madhya Pradesh’s Dhar district . The new discovery of an ovum-in-ovo egg, brings out newer connections between reptilian and avian evolution.
  • Dinosaurs of the Sauropod family were among the largest land animals that ever lived and widespread millions of years ago in the territory that is now India. Fossils of these animals have been found in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya.
  • The Upper Cretaceous Lameta Formation of Central India is long known for its dinosaur fossils (both skeletal and egg remains). 
Source : The Hindu
Environment

Current Affairs
June 22, 2022

NEW NORMS FOR CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS
The Government of India has tightened norms for endorsers, including celebrities and sportspersons, as they are now required to make material connection disclosures and undertake due diligence while doing advertisements.

About:

  • According to new guidelines released by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, endorsements must reflect the honest opinions, belief or experience of the endorsers.
  • The endorsers have to make material connection disclosures and failing to do so will attract penalty under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA).
  • Material disclosures mean any relationship that materially affects the weight or credibility of any endorsement which a reasonable consumer would not expect.
  • Violation of these guidelines will attract a penalty of ₹10 lakh for the first offence and ₹50 lakh for the subsequent offence, under the CPA.
  • The new guidelines “Prevention of misleading advertisements and necessary due diligence for endorsement of advertisements”, which came into effect in June 2022, have been issued to prevent misleading advertisements. 
Source : The Hindu
Economy
Load More...