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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

20 June 2022 – Current Affairs

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National Conference on Cyber Safety and National Security
Paper 3 – Internal Security
Why Should You Know?
• On June 20, 2022, a National Conference on Cyber Safety and National Security (Cyber Apradh Se Azadi – Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav) will be held at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi.
• The conference is being organized by Ministry of Home Affairs. The Union Minister for Home Affairs and Cooperation Shri Amit Shah will be the Chief Guest at the conference.
• The conference is part of the efforts to create mass awareness for prevention of cyber crimes in the country.
• It is noteworthy that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C), in the MHA in coordination with the Ministry of Culture, Government of India in the run up to this conference had also organized functions at 75 places in different States/Union Territories on Cyber Hygiene, Prevention of Cyber Crimes, Cyber Safety and National Security under the banner “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” from June 8 to 17.
• The Conference will also be attended by the Union Minister for Culture, Tourism and Development of North Eastern Region Shri G. Kishan Reddy, the Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Ajay Kumar Mishra and senior officials of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Culture, and from the States and Union Territories and representatives from various organisations amongst others.

About Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre –
• The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) is initiative under Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
• I4C is a government initiative to deal with cybercrime in India, in a coordinated and effective manner.
• The scheme was approved in October 2018 and It was inaugurated in New Delhi in January 2020 by Amit Shah, the Home Minister of India.
• In June 2020, on the recommendation of I4C, the Government of India banned 59 Chinese origin mobile apps

Objectives –
To act as a nodal point in the fight against cybercrime
• Identify the research problems/needs of Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs) and take up R&D activities in developing new technologies and forensic tools in collaboration with academia / research institutes within India and abroad
• To prevent misuse of cyber space for furthering the cause of extremist and terrorist groups
• Suggest amendments, if required, in cyber laws to keep pace with fast changing technologies and International cooperation.
• To coordinate all activities related to implementation of Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties (MLAT) with other countries related to cybercrimes in consultation with the concerned nodal authority in MHA


The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre has 7 components which are –

  1. National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal
  2. National Cyber Crime Training Centre
  3. Cyber Crime Ecosystem Management Unit
  4. National Cyber Crime Research and Innovation Centre
  5. Platform for Joint Cyber Crime Investigation Team
  6. National Cyber Crime Threat Analytics Unit (TAU)
  7. National Cyber Crime Forensic Laboratory (NCFL) Ecosystem

Historic torch relay for 44th Chess Olympiad
Paper 2 – Sports
Why Should You Know?
• On June 19, 2022 The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi launched the historic torch relay for the 44th Chess Olympiad at Indira Gandhi Stadium, New Delhi.
• FIDE President Arkady Dvorkovich handed over the torch to the Prime Minister, who in turn handed it over to Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand.
• This torch will be taken to 75 cities in a span of 40 days before the final culmination at Mahabalipuram near Chennai. At every location, chess grandmasters of the state will receive the torch.
• Prime Minister also made the Khelo Chess Ceremonial move followed by Ms Koneru Humpy making a move. Union Ministers Shri Anurag Singh Thakur and Shri Nisith Pramanik, Chess players and enthusiasts, Ambassadors, Chess Officials were among those present on the occasion.
• It is noteworthy that The 44th Chess Olympiad will be held in Chennai from 28thJuly to 10thAugust , 2022.

History –
• India, who made its debut at the event in 1956 Moscow (27th position), has a gold medal (joint winners with Russia in 2020) and two bronze medals (2021, 2014) from the Chess Olympiad.
• While the 2020 and 2021 editions were held virtually owing to the Covid 19 pandemic, the 2022 edition will be the first over-the-board Chess Olympiad being held since 2018 in Georgia.
• India is hosting the prestigious Chess Olympiad for the first time and in the process, Asia gets to host the event after a gap of 30 years.
• Philippines last hosted it from Asia in 1992.
• Being the host, India is set to field 20 players – their biggest ever contingent – at the 44th FIDE Chess Olympiad.
• India is entitled to field 2 teams each in the Open and Women’s category. Over 2000 participants will be representing at the event from 188 countries.

India-EU Free Trade Agreement negotiations
Paper 2 – International relations
Why Should You Know?
• After a 9-year lull India and the European Union (EU) have re-launched negotiations for free trade agreement (FTA).
• The negotiations were re-launched at an event held at the European Union headquarters in Brussels on June 17. India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, and Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission, formally re-launched the India-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations.
• Besides, negotiations were also launched for a stand-alone Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) and a Geographical Indicators (GIs) Agreement.
• The first round of India-EU free trade agreement negotiations is scheduled to begin in New Delhi on June 27.
• This would be one of the most significant FTAs for India as the EU is its second-largest trading partner after the US. The India-EU merchandise trade has registered an all-time high value of $116.36 billion in 2021-22 with a year-on-year growth of 43.5 per cent. India’s export to the EU jumped 57 per cent in FY 2021-22 to $65 billion. India has a surplus trade with the EU.
• It is noteworthy that during India-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.
• European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s visit to New Delhi in April 2022, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Europe accelerated the FTA discussions and helped in defining a clear roadmap for the negotiations.
• Considering that both partners have similar fundamental values and common interests and are two of the largest open market economies, the trade deal will help to diversify and secure the supply chains, boost economic opportunities for our businesses, and bring significant benefits to the people.
• Both sides are aiming for the trade negotiations to be broad-based, balanced, and comprehensive, based on the principles of fairness and reciprocity. There will also be discussions on resolving the Market Access Issues which are impeding the bilateral trade.
• 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 the trade of GI products including handicrafts and agri-commodities.
• Both parties are aiming to negotiate all three agreements in parallel and conclude them simultaneously. The first round of negotiations for all three agreements will be held from 27th June to 1st July 2022 in New Delhi.
• 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. The FTA negotiations are part of India’s broader strategy to forge balanced trade agreements with key economies and revamp existing trade pacts to improve trade and investment.

Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy Meets
PAPER 2 – International Relations
PAPER 3 – Environment
Why Should You Know?
• Recently Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy Meets held virtualy.
• The meeting was hosted by U.S. President Joseph Biden.
• The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav represented India at this virtual meeting.
• The MEF meeting was aimed at galvanising actions that are to strengthen energy security and tackle the climate crisis thereby building momentum for COP27.
• The meeting was attended by twenty three major economies across the world and the Secretary General of United Nations.
• The MEF leaders shared the initiatives being taken by them to deliver on their respective climate change commitments.
• Participants shared steps they are taking to strengthen their national climate efforts, and many joined the United States in initiatives to reduce methane emissions, speed the commercialization of critical technologies, put more zero-emission vehicles on the road, decarbonize ocean-based shipping, and increase fertilizer efficiency and alternatives.
• The initiatives will bolster energy security and food security, speed the clean energy transition, and accelerate efforts to tackle the climate crisis.
• Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, the European Commission, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and the U.N. Secretary-General participated in the virtual meeting.
• Shri Bhupender Yadav spoke about India’s continued commitment to contributing toward global collective action to combat climate change. He emphasised that India’s initiatives go beyond its borders, including the International Solar Alliance, and the Coalition for Disaster Resilience Infrastructure.

About MEF –
• The Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate (MEF) was launched on March 28, 2009.
• The MEF is intended to facilitate a candid dialogue among major developed and developing economies, help generate the political leadership necessary to achieve a successful outcome at the December UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, and advance the exploration of concrete initiatives and joint ventures that increase the supply of clean energy while cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
• The 17 major economies are: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
• Denmark, in its capacity as the President of the December 2009 Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the United Nations have also participated in this dialogue along with Observers.

Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor project
Paper 3- Infrastructure
Why Should You Know?
• On June 19, 2022 Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the main tunnel and five underpasses of the Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor Project in New Delhi.
• The Integrated Transit Corridor project is an integral part of the Pragati Maidan Redevelopment Project.
• The Prime Minister talked about the great benefits that will accrue from the integrated corridor in terms of saving of time and fuel, 55 lakh litre as per one estimate, and also decongestion of traffic leading to environmental dividend, equivalent to planting 5 lakh trees.

Details of the Project –
• The Pragati Maidan Integrated Transit Corridor project has been built at a cost of more than Rs. 920 crore, entirely funded by the Central Government.
• It is aimed to provide hassle free and smooth access to the new world class exhibition and convention centre being developed at Pragati Maidan, thereby facilitating easy participation of exhibitors and visitors in the programmes being held at Pragati Maidan.
• The impact of the project, however, will be much beyond Pragati Maidan as it will ensure hassle-free vehicular movement, helping save time and cost of commuters in a big way. It is part of the overarching vision of the government to ensure ease of living for people through transforming urban infrastructure.
• The main Tunnel connects Ring Road with India Gate via Purana Qila Road passing through Pragati Maidan. The six lane divided Tunnel has multiple purposes, including access to the huge basement parking of Pragati Maidan.
• A unique component of the Tunnel is that two cross tunnels below the main tunnel road have been constructed in order to facilitate movement of the traffic from either side of the parking lot.
• It is equipped with the latest global standard facilities for smooth movement of traffic such as smart fire management, modern ventilation and automated drainage, digitally controlled CCTV and Public Announcement system inside the Tunnel.
• This long-awaited Tunnel will serve as an alternative route to Bhairon Marg, which is running much beyond its carriage capacity and is expected to take more than half of the traffic load of Bhairon Marg.
• This long-awaited Tunnel will serve as an alternative route to Bhairon Marg, which is running much beyond its carrying capacity and is expected to take more than half of the traffic load of Bhairon Marg.
• Along with the tunnel, there will be six underpasses – four on Mathura Road, one on Bhairon Marg and one on the intersection of Ring Road and Bhairon Marg.

Operation Sankalp
Paper 2- International Issues
Why Should You Know?
• The Indian Navy has started Operation ‘Sankalp’ for the safe evacuation of ships passing through the Persian Gulf.
• In the backdrop of the deteriorating security situation in the Gulf region, post attacks on merchant ships in the Gulf of Oman in June 2019, Indian Navy had commenced Maritime Security Operations, code named ‘Op SANKALP’, in the Gulf Region on 19 June 2019 to ensure safe passage of Indian Flag Vessels transiting through the Strait of Hormuz.
• Indian Navy warships and aircraft were deployed to establish presence, provide a sense of reassurance to the Indian merchantmen, monitor the ongoing situation and respond to any emergent crises. One war ship is presently deployed for Operation SANKALP.
• Recently Indian Navy’s stealth Frigate, INS Talwar is presently deployed for Op Sankalp commemorating the 3rd continuous year of Indian Navy’s presence in the Gulf for protection of India’s Maritime Interests.
• It is noteworthy that in the year 2019, INS Chennai and INS Sunayna were deployed in the Gulf of Oman.
• This operation is being progressed in close coordination with all stakeholders including Ministry of Defence, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and DG, Shipping.
• Indian Navy continues to monitor the situation in the Gulf region and is maintaining presence in the region to ensure security of our sea borne trade and the safety of Indian Flag Merchant Vessels transiting through the region. The Indian Navy stands committed to protection of the nation’s Maritime Interests.

West Seti power project
Paper 2- International Relations
Why Should You Know?
• Recently The Government of Nepal has decided to hand over the contract of the 750-megawatt West Seti Hydropower Project and 308-megawatt SR6 Storage Hydroelectric Project to National Hydro Power Company Limited, India.
• The Nepal government said that the project has been in limbo for 29 years as it has not been able to formulate the modalities and investment structure. There is an obligation to meet the domestic demand by importing electricity from India when there is an energy crisis in winter. The Australian company Snowy Mountain Engineering Corporation (SMEC) did nothing but hold the West Seti hydropower project’s license for 17 years.
• The Nepal government then awarded the project to the Chinese company, China Three Gorges International Corporation (CTGI), but the Chinese company, too, did not build it. The government has not been able to move the project forward even though it was taken away from Three Gorges Company three years ago.
• Even though the government had showcased the project at the Nepal Investment Summit in March 2019, the foreign investment sources and structure could not be finalized for the construction of the project.
• Listed as a project of national pride, this project has been neglected for three decades. Earlier, the West Seti Hydropower Project was estimated to cost Rs 165 billion.

Handover to india –
• India’s National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) has already begun preliminary engagement of the site in far-western Nepal following Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Lumbini on May 16.
• in fact, the groundwork and informal discussion seem to have begun much earlier when Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba visited India in April. During a local bodies election campaign in early May, Deuba had declared that since India was Nepal’s power market and it had a policy of not buying power from China-executed projects, West Seti would be given to India.

India -Nepal power relation –
• Nepal is rich in power sources with around 6,000 rivers and an estimated potential for 83,000 MW.
• India has formally approached Nepal on many occasions, seeking preferential rights over Nepali waters should it match offers coming from elsewhere.
• India is viewed as a feasible market for Nepal, but there has been some uncertainty in Nepal over India’s inability to deliver projects on time. India has undertaken to harness or expressed intent to harness major rivers in the north.
• An ambitious Mahakali treaty was signed back in 1996, to produce 6,480 MW, but India has still not been able to come out with the Detailed project Report.
• The Upper Karnali project, for which the multinational GMR signed the contract, has not made any headway for years. Also, one reason SMEC had to wind up was its failure to enter into a power purchase agreement with India.
• What has helped build faith recently is India’s success in executing the 900-MW Arun Three project in eastern Nepal’s Sankhuwa Sabha, which is being executed by India’s Sutlej Vidhyut Nigam under a BOOT scheme, and whose foundation was laid in 2018 and which is set for completion by2023.
• During his first visit as PM to Nepal in 2014, Modi had said India must start executing its projects timely. The company executing Arun Three is also being awarded the 695-MW Arun Four project, followed by the decision to award West Seti to NHPC.
• Estimated to cost Nepali Rs 104 billion (Indian Rs 6,500 crore), the project is envisaged to provide Nepal 31.9% electricity free. Besides, locals affected by the project are being given a share of Nepali Rs 10 million plus 30 units of electricity per month free.
• It is noteworthy that Nepal’s Constitution has a provision under which any treaty or agreement with another country on natural resources will require Parliament’s ratification by at least a two-thirds majority. That will also mean homework will be required before any hydro project is signed and given for execution.
• Nepal has a massive power shortfall as it generates only around 900 MW against an installed capacity of nearly 2,000 MW. Although it is currently selling 364 MW power to India, it has over the years importing from India.

India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission meeting
Paper 2- International relations
Why Should You Know?
• On June 19, 2022 The seventh round of the India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission was held in New Delhi.
• It was co-chaired by External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and his Bangladesh counterpart Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen.
• The Ministers welcomed the further strengthening of bilateral ties with the unprecedented visits by both the President and the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh last year.
• The visits were made to commemorate three epochal events – the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the fiftieth anniversary of the independence of Bangladesh and the golden anniversary of India-Bangladesh diplomatic ties.
• The Ministers appreciated that the trust and mutual respect shared between the two countries has only strengthened in the last decade.
• A recent testimony of this was the launch of the trailer of ‘Mujib – making of a nation’ at the Cannes Film Festival in May this year. It was jointly produced biopic on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
• Noting that this was the first in-person JCC meeting convened since the onset of Covid pandemic, the two Ministers appreciated the efforts undertaken by both countries to jointly fight COVID.
• They expressed satisfaction that despite challenges posed by the pandemic, both countries have worked closer than ever before in every sector, from security and border management to mutually beneficial trade and investment flows.
• The two ministers agreed to work closely together to further deepen and strengthen cooperation in the areas of common rivers and water resources management, IT and cybersecurity, renewable energy, agriculture and food security, sustainable trade, climate change and disaster management.

Employees’ State Insurance Scheme will be implemented in the whole country
Paper 2 – Social justice
Why Should You Know?
• The central government has decided that the Employees’ State Insurance, ESI Scheme will be implemented in the entire country by the end of this year (2022).
• Presently, ESI Scheme is fully implemented in 443 districts and partially implemented in 153 districts, whereas 148 districts are not covered under ESI Scheme.
• The medical care services will be provided through establishing new Dispensary cum Branch Office, by tie-up with Hospitals of Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
• The decision has been taken during the 188th meeting of ESI Corporation under the Chairmanship of Labour and Employment Minister Bhupender Yadav on June 19,2022.
• ESI Corporation has decided to set up 23 new 100 bedded hospitals across the country. Besides these Hospitals, five doctors’ dispensaries at 62 places will also be opened. These hospitals and dispensaries will ensure the delivery of quality medical care service to the injured workers and their dependents.

What is Employees’ State Insurance Scheme ?
• The Employees’ State Insurance Scheme is an integrated measure of Social Insurance embodied in the Employees’ State Insurance Act and it is designed to accomplish the task of protecting ’employees’ as defined in the Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 against the impact of incidences of sickness, maternity, disablement and death due to employment injury and to provide medical care to insured persons and their families.
• The ESI Scheme applies to factories and other establishment’s viz. Road Transport, Hotels, Restaurants, Cinemas, Newspaper, Shops, and Educational/Medical Institutions wherein 10 or more persons are employed. However, in some States threshold limit for coverage of establishments is still 20.
• Employees of the aforesaid categories of factories and establishments, drawing wages upto Rs.15,000/- a month, are entitled to social security cover under the ESI Act.
• ESI Corporation has also decided to enhance wage ceiling for coverage of employees under the ESI Act from Rs.15,000/- to Rs.21,000/-.
• ESI Corporation has extended the benefits of the ESI Scheme to the workers deployed on the construction sites located in the implemented areas under ESI Scheme w.e.f. 1st August, 2015.

Contributions –
• The ESI Scheme is financed by contributions from employers and employees. The rate of contribution by employer is 4.75% of the wages payable to employees.
• The employees’ contribution is at the rate of 1.75% of the wages payable to an employee. Employees, earning less than Rs. 137/- a day as daily wages, are exempted from payment of their share of contribution.

History –
• ESIC scheme was inaugurated in Kanpur on 24th February 1952 (ESIC Day) by then Prime Minister Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru.
• The venue was the Brijender Swarup Park, Kanpur and Panditji addressed a 70,000 strong gathering in Hindi in the presence of Pt. Gobind Ballabh Pant, Chief Minister Uttar Pradesh, Babu Jagjivan Ram, Union Labour Minister, Raj Kumari Amrit Kaur, Union Health Minister, Sh.Chandrabhan Gupt, Union Food Minister and Dr.C.L.Katial, the first Director General of ESIC.
• ESIC scheme was simultaneously launched at Delhi as well and the initial coverage for both the centers was 1,20,000 employees. Our first Prime Minister was the first honorary insured person of the Scheme.
• It is noteworthy that the promulgation of Employees’ State Insurance Act, 1948 (ESI Act), by the Parliament was the first major legislation on social Security for workers in independent India. It was a time when the industry was still in a nascent stage and the country was heavily dependent on an assortment of imported goods from the developed or fast developing countries.

Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan will inform the youth about the features of Agneepath
Paper 3 – Security
Why Should You Know?
• Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS) will reach out to the youth across the country in a mission mode to highlight the salient features of the new transformative reform Agnipath Scheme and to popularize it among the youth.
• In this regard, a virtual meeting was held recently by the Secretary of Youth Affairs and Sport Ministry Sanjay Kumar with the Regional State Directors of NYKS to take necessary steps for outreach of the scheme.
• Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan will mobilize grassroots youth belonging to youth clubs and other allied parties besides its regional officers to spread awareness about the Agneepath programme.

About Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan –
• Nehru Yuva Kendras were established in the year 1972 with the objective of providing rural youth avenues to take part in the process of nation building as well providing opportunities for the development of their personality and skills.
• In the year 1987-88, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan(NYKS) was set up as an autonomous organization under the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, to oversee working of these Kendras.
• NYKS is the largest grassroots level youth organization; one of its kind in the world. It channelizes the power of youth on the principles of voluntarism, self-help and community participation.
• Over the years, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan has established a network of youth clubs in villages, where Nehru Yuva Kendras have been set up.
• NYKS has targeted to identify areas of harnessing youth power for development by forming Youth Clubs, which are village level voluntary action groups of youth at the grassroots level to involve them in nation building activities.
• The core strength of NYKS lies in its network of youth clubs. Youth Clubs are village based organizations working for community development and youth empowerment.
• The basic objective for creation of youth clubs is to render community support through developmental initiatives involving activities with particular focus on youth empowerment.
• The implementation of programmes and activities of youth clubs is based on local needs and requirements by mobilizing resources from various government departments and other agencies, which include both national, State level and multilateral institutions. The youth clubs and its member volunteers form the base of the NYKS’s vast national rural network.

Objectives –
Objectives of NYKS are two fold –

  1. To involve the rural youth in nation building activities.
  2. To develop such skills and values in them with which they become responsible and productive citizens of a modern, secular and technological nation.
    Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan has been working in various fronts of youth development with a variety of youth programmes of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and certain special programmes in coordination and cooperation of other ministries. Main focus has been on developing values of good citizenship, thinking and behaving in secular ways, skill development and helping youth to adopt a productive and organized behaviour.

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