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OJAANK IAS ACADEMY

22 June 2022 – Current Affairs

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Unrecognised political party

Paper 2 – Indian Constitution
Why Should You Know?
  • Recently, the Election Commission decided to remove from its register 111 political parties which were found to be “non-existent” during the verification exercise.
  • According to the commission, reports were received from chief electoral officers (CEOs) of states that during verification these “registered unrecognized political parties” were found to be “non-existent” or the department of posts could not distribute letters sent by the officials to their addresses.
  • The Commission then took the action and decided to withdraw the various benefits given to these parties under the Election Symbols Order (1968), including the allotment of a common symbol.
  • In a statement, the Election Commission said that any registered unrecognized political party (RUPP), if dissatisfied with the decision, can approach the ceo concerned within 30 days with all the evidence, year-wise annual audited accounts, expenditure reports and updated list of office bearers.
  • Earlier this month, the commission had removed 87 such political parties from its register, with commission sources sharing specific details of various parties that have violated laws and rules.
  • The Election Commission said that necessary legal and criminal action against the three such parties involved in serious financial irregularities has been intimated to the revenue department.
  • There are about 2,800 registered unrecognized political parties in India. The Commission has been pressurising the government to allow the cancellation of registration of various political parties, and on several occasions has written to the Law Ministry to amend the Election Act to empower it to cancel the registration so that it can ban parties indulging in financial and other irregularities.
The National Party –

If a registered party fulfils one of the following conditions, it is given national level recognition by the Election Commission of India :

  1. A registered party must have secured at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha in three different states.
  2. A party should have secured at least 6% of the votes in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections in 4 different States and secured at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha.
  3. Any party should be recognised as a State Party in at least four or more States.

State Parties –

Parties that have sufficient votes or seats in a state can be authorised by the Election Commission as a state party. The recognition as a state party in the state concerned may give the party the option of reserving a special election symbol. A party may be recognised in one or more states. In four states, a recognised party is automatically recognised as a national party. For state level recognition, the party registered with the Election Commission must fulfill one of the following conditions:

  1. A registered party must have secured at least 2% of the total seats in the Lok Sabha in three different states.
  2. A party should have secured at least 6% of the votes in the Lok Sabha or Assembly elections in 4 different States and secured at least 4 seats in the Lok Sabha.
  3. Any party should be recognised as a State Party in at least four or more States.

 

One Nation One Ration Card

Paper 2 – Governance
Why Should You Know?
  • Assam has become the 36th State/UT to implement One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC).
  • With this, the ONORC plan is successfully implemented in all the 36 states/UTs, making food security portable throughout the country.
  • During the last two years of COVID-19 pandemic, ONORC plan has significantly contributed in ensuring subsidized foodgrains to NFSA (National Food Security Act) beneficiaries, especially migrant beneficiaries.
  • This is one-of-its-kind Citizen Centric initiative in the country, which is swiftly implemented in a short-span of time covering about 80 Crore beneficiaries, after being initiated in August 2019.
  • The objective of this beneficiary centric high-impact program is to empower all NFSA beneficiaries to become AtmaNirbhar for their food security anywhere in the country, through portability of their existing ration cards enabling them to seamlessly lift their entitled subsidized foodgrains (in part or full) from any Fair Price Shop of their choice.
  • This also enables their family members to lift balance/required amount of foodgrains on the same ration card at their native/ any place from the FPS of their choice.
  • Since its inception in August 2019, about 71 Crore portable transactions (43.6 crore NFSA and 27.8 crore PM-GKAY transactions) have taken place under ONORC, delivering foodgrains equivalent to about Rs. 40,000 Crore in food subsidy through portability.
  • About 64 Crore portable transactions have been recorded during COVID-19 period itself (from April 2020 till date) delivering foodgrains equivalent to about Rs. 36,000 Crore in food subsidy through portability. Out of these 64 crore portable transactions, 27.8 crore portability transactions were recorded under PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana), which was announced in March 2020 for distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to NFSA beneficiaries to mitigate the Covid induced hardships.
  • Additionally, as a key indicator, presently a monthly average of about 3 Crore portable transactions are being recorded, delivering the subsidised NFSA and free PMGKAY foodgrains with anywhere flexibility to the beneficiaries.

MERA RATION mobile application –

  • Another dimension under ONORC plan is the ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application which has been rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan.
  • The mobile app is providing a host of useful real time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages. So far, the App has been downloaded more than 20 Lakh times from Google play store.

About One Nation One Ration Card programme –

  • The ONORC scheme is being implemented by the Department for the nation-wide portability of ration cards under National Food Security Act (NFSA). Through this all eligible ration card holders/beneficiaries covered under NFSA can access their entitlements from anywhere in the country.
  • Under this plan Beneficiaries can quote either their ration card number or the Aadhaar number to any Fair Price Shop’s dealer across the country. Anyone in the family, who have seeded Aadhaar in the ration card can undergo authentication and lift the ration. There is no need to share or carry the ration card or Aadhaar card with ration dealer to avail the benefit. Beneficiaries can undergo Aadhaar authentication by using their finger prints or iris based identification.
  • The One Nation One Ration Card facility was started as inter-State portability of ration cards in 4 States in August 2019.

Seismological observatory

Paper 1 – Geography
Paper 3 – Science and Tech
Why Should You Know?
  • On June 21, 2022 the Union science and technology minister Jitendra Singh inaugurated a seismological observatory in Udhampur, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The National Centre for Seismology (NCS) in the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has initiated several new measures to upgrade and strengthen the infrastructural facilities and provide better scientific inputs required for improving disaster mitigation and preparedness measures.
  • It has installed 152 permanent observatories throughout the country with and plans to install 100 more in the next five years.
  • Among other things, it has a precise mandate of collecting, collating and integrating various data sets to provide site-specific risk maps as per user needs.
  • It is part of an effort titled Seismic Microzonation, which aims to generate vital geotechnical and seismological parameters for developing earthquake risk resilient building design codes for structures and infrastructures. Specifically, it has initiated actions for the setting up of an earthquake early warning system (EEWS) on a pilot basis for a small area in the Himalayas.
Significance –
  • Jammu and Kashmir is the westernmost extension of the Himalayas. Udhampur district lies between the two major seismogenic faults, namely Main Frontal Thrust (MFT) and Main Boundary Thrust (MBT), which are among the potential factors for generating earthquakes in the JandK region.
  • The new seismological observatory will help further strengthen the region’s earthquake monitoring.
  • A few more observatories will follow it in the coming years to detect smaller earthquakes having magnitudes of even 2.5 on the Richter scale to reduce public panic due to micro and macro earthquakes.

India and Nepal Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting

PAPER 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
  • Recently 12th Joint Working Group (JWG) on Border Management between India and Nepal held on 15-16 June in New Delhi.
  • The Indian delegation was led by a joint secretary-level officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Nepali side was led by his counterpart.
  • India and Nepal discussed issues related to curbing trans-border criminal and terror activities and strengthening border infrastructure among others at the 12th meeting of their Joint Working Group (JWG).
  • The JWG reviewed the border district coordination committee meetings held earlier and the progress made on the signing of the mutual legal assistance treaty, extradition treaty and other outstanding MoUs to be inked between the two sides.
  • The group deliberated on issues related to trans-border criminal activities, strengthening of border infrastructure, empowerment and capacity building of various security-related institutions, and preventing or curbing terrorist and criminal activities amongst others, the statement said.
  • The two sides reviewed the decisions taken in the last JWG held on February 10 -11, 2015 in Pokhara, Nepal.
  • The Nepalese delegation extended an invitation to the Indian delegation for the next JWG to be held in Nepal next year.

 

 

Pradhan Mantri National Apprenticeship Mela

Paper 3- Economy
Why Should You Know?
  • On june 21, 2022 The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) organised the Pradhan Mantri National Apprenticeship Mela across 10 districts in the Odisha State to improve job prospects through skill training.
  • Opportunities for apprenticeship training in more than 500 trades across 36 sectors were offered to the participants.
  • Over 100 companies participated in the fair to provide employment opportunities to individuals who had 5th-12th-grade pass certificate, a skill training certificate, an ITI diploma or a graduate degree.
  • The aspiring apprentices were given several choices of trades, including locally relevant job roles such as welder, electrician, beautician, mechanic and more.
  • This program aims to encourage employers to hire apprentices from these targeted districts as and assist them in identifying the right job roles while building their potential through robust skill training.
  • Candidates will receive certificates recognised by the National Council for Vocational Education and Training, ensuring increased chances of employability.
About PM apprenticeship Mela –
  • The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship is set to organise the PM National Apprenticeship Mela every month from June onwards.
  • The primary purpose of ”mela” is to give the youth a platform to get on-ground training within corporations, which boosts their chance of employment.
  • Individuals having a 5th–12th grade pass certificate, a skill training certificate, an ITI Diploma, or a graduate degree were eligible to participate in the PM Apprenticeship Mela.

 

Khuvsgul Lake National Park

Paper 3- Biodiversity
Why Should You Know?
  • Recently Khuvsgul Lake National Park of Mongolia has been added to the World Network of Biosphere Reserves of UNESCO.
  • The decision of adding Khuvsgal Lake National Park to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves was made during the 34th session of the International Co-ordinating Council of the Man and Biosphere Programme taking place in Paris, France.
  • The primary aim of the Man and Biosphere Programme is to establish a scientific relationship between the people and their environments.
About the park –
  • Khuvsgul Lake National Park is located in the Northern Mongolian Province of Khuvsgul near the Russian border.
  • Lake Khuvsgul’s watershed is relatively small and it has only small tributaries. The lake is drained at the southern end by the Egiin Gol, which connects to the Selenge and ultimately flows into Lake Baikal.
  • Khuvsgul Lake in Mongolia holds nearly 70 per cent of the country’s freshwater or 0.4 percent of the world’s total. Khuvsgul Lake is 1,645 metres above the sea level, 136 km long and 262 metres deep.
  • Khuvsgul Lake is surrounded by several mountain ranges. The highest mountain is the Burenkhaan/Monkh Saridag, whose peak, north of the lake, lies exactly on the Russian-Mongolian border.

14th BRICS Summit

Paper 2- International Relations
Why Should You Know?
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the 14th BRICS Summit hosted by China on 23rd and 24th of this month.
  • The Summit will be held in virtual format under the theme of Foster High-quality BRICS Partnership, Usher in a New Era for Global Development.
  • External Affairs Ministry said, BRICS has become a platform for discussing and deliberating on issues of common concern for all developing countries.
  • During the 14th BRICS Summit, deliberations are expected to be held in areas like terrorism, trade, health, traditional medicine, environment, Science and Technology, innovation, agriculture, technical and vocational education and training and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises.
  • Discussions are also likely to be held on issues like reform of the multilateral system, combating COVID-19 pandemic and global economic recovery.
  • BRICS countries have regularly called for reform of the multilateral system in order to make it more representative and inclusive.
  • Prior to the Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also deliver a keynote speech virtually in the opening ceremony of the BRICS Business Forum today(22 june).
What is BRICS Group?
  • BRICS is an organization of five countries, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, whose purpose is to increase economic and other types of cooperation in these countries.
  • It was formed in 2006 and is headquartered in Shanghai.
  • Previously only Brazil, Russia, India and China were included and South Africa was included in 2010.
  • The top leaders of the BRICS countries and other ministerial conferences are held annually.
  • Since 2009, the governments of the BRICS states have met annually at formal summits. India hosted the most recent 13th BRICS summit on 9 September 2021 virtually.

 

Martand Sun Temple

Paper 1- Art and Culture
Why Should You Know?
  • The 8th International Day of Yoga was celebrated at Martand Sun Temple in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir under the leadership of Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharti Praveen Pawar.
  • Referring to the benefits of Yoga, the Union Minister said that Yoga brings people together through harmony and a sense of kindness and oneness. He said that yoga creates an atmosphere of happiness, health, peace and deep connection between one’s inner consciousness and the outside world.
  • Emphasizing on the imperative of everyone’s participation in Yoga, the Union Minister said that Yoga has mental, physical and spiritual aspects, which are essential for a healthy lifestyle and well-being of the society.
About Martand Sun Temple –
  • The Martand Sun Temple is a Hindu temple located near the city of Anantnag in the Kashmir Valley of Jammu and Kashmir (union territory), India.
  • It dates back to the eighth century AD and was dedicated to Surya, the chief solar deity in Hinduism; Surya is also known by the Sanskrit-language synonym Martand.
  • According to Kalhana, the Martand Sun Temple was commissioned by Lalitaditya Muktapida in the eighth century AD. And The temple was destroyed by Sikandar Shah Miri.
  • The Archaeological Survey of India has declared the Martand Sun Temple as a site of national importance in Jammu and Kashmir.The temple appears in the list of centrally protected monuments as Kartanda (Sun Temple).
  • The Martand temple was built on top of a plateau from where one can view whole of the Kashmir Valley.
  • From the ruins and related archaeological findings, it can be said it was an excellent specimen of Kashmiri architecture, which had blended the Gandharan, Gupta and Chinese forms of architecture.

 

Western Sahara dispute

Paper 2 – International Issues
Why Should You Know?
  • On June 8, Algeria announced that it was immediately suspending its 20-year-old treaty of “friendship, good neighbourliness, and co-operation” with Spain. The blow to the ties, which have proved mutually beneficial for both countries, came after Spain decided to shift its position on the Western Sahara dispute.
  • It was in 2002 that Madrid and Algiers had signed a deal to promote dialogue and co-operation on political, economic, financial, education and defence issues.
History –
  • The dispute started with colonisation of the region by Spain in 1884.
  • When Spain announced its withdrawal from Western Sahara in 1975, the region descended into a conflict between Mauritania, Morocco and the Polisario Front – with all three trying to control the region.
  • The Polisario Front declared the establishment of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in Western Sahara on the very day Spain left.
  • However, the SADR did not get Western recognition despite going on to become a member of the African Union.
  • The matter then came up before the International Court of Justice in 1975 itself, and the court decided neither Morocco nor Mauritania could claim sovereignty over Western Sahara. The ICJ called for decolonization of the region. Notwithstanding the ICJ’s decision, the Moroccan Sultan began the “Green March” towards Western Sahara causing an influx of thousands of Moroccans in the region.
  • The Polisario Front kept fighting both Morocco and Mauritania. The Front signed a ceasefire with Mauritania in 1979. The fighting with Morocco continued and finally ended when both Morocco and the Polisario Front agreed to a UN-proposed peace deal.
  • Post this 1991 Agreement, Morocco controls about 80 per cent of the Western Sahara, with the Polisario Front-led SADR operating primarily from the eastern flank of the region and from refugee camps in Algeria.
  • In 2007, the Moroccan government proposed limited autonomy under which the Sahrawis would be free to run their government, but under the shadow of overarching Moroccan sovereignty. The Polisario Front rejected it arguing that Morocco would continue to control key areas related to phosphate reserves and fisheries, defence, and foreign affairs.
  • The Front continues to push for complete independence with support from Algeria.
About Spain’s stance –
  • Spain’s official position for years has been to back a UN-sponsored referendum to settle the region’s decolonization.
  • A recent statement by Morocco’s royal palace, however, said: “Spain considers the autonomy initiative presented by Morocco in 2007 as the basis, the most serious, realistic and credible, for resolving the dispute.”
  • The Spanish Foreign Ministry confirmed the Moroccan announcement.
  • In the run up to this, the relationship between the two countries had hit a historic low after it was revealed that Brahim Ghali, the leader of the Polisario Front, was admitted to a hospital in Spain for Covid-19 treatment in 2021. He had after a month’s treatment moved to Algeria to continue his recovery.
  • But to pressurise Spain amid this diplomatic row, Morocco had reduced border controls to the Spanish city of Ceuta on the coast of North Africa causing about 10,000 immigrants to enter the country.
  • The shift in Spain’s stance is a likely bid to end for good its long-running dispute with Morocco.
Spain’s new stance mean for the region –
  • Given Spain’s standing as a former colonial power, the country has always been expected to maintain a semblance of neutrality on the matter.
  • However, Spain siding with Morocco publicly and expressing support for limited autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty has disrupted the delicate balance of power in the region.
  • Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has stated that Spain’s repositioning was “unjustifiable” and was “contributing directly to the degradation of the situation”.
  • Algeria has been a committed supporter of the Polisario Front, after it recognised the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic in 1976. Over 1.7 lakh Sahrawi refugees live in camps in Algeria’s Tindouf province after fleeing Moroccan violence.
What next?
  • Spain’s gas supply might be in jeopardy, given Algeria has been the country’s primary supplier of the same.
  • According to Al Jazeera, the current contract between Algeria and Spain regarding trade of natural gas supplies is long-term, but with the resource being pegged at a price far lower than the market price.
  • Given Spain’s inclination to help Morocco in boosting its gas supplies, Algerian authorities have threatened the Spanish government stating if gas from the country were to be diverted to a third destination, they would be suspended immediately.
  • On June 9, Algeria also decided to suspend foreign trade of goods and services with Spain, affecting all forms of trade apart from those pertaining to gas supplies.
  • Spain’s exports to Algeria include meat, metals and industrial chemicals. There are fears that the deadlock might cause a spike in inflation in Spain. The European Union has urged the Algerian government to “reverse their decision” and revoke the suspension of the cooperation treaty with Spain.

 

Research on climate change

Paper 3 – Environment
Why Should You Know?
  • The impact of climate change and greenhouse gas in the forest is being researched in Kanha National Park. The Centre for Tropical Forest Research (TFRI) has started this research. The scientists have  been given a part of 10 hectares within the national park for the study.
  • It may be mentioned that research is being conducted by The Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education, Dehradun at ten locations in the country. These include Kanha as well.
  • They will do research on everything from old trees to new plants and grasses in Kanha National Park to try to find out what kind of changes are taking place in nature.
  • While modern equipment has been installed several kilometres away in the forest of the National Park,  from time to time, the team of scientists is also studying from grass straws to bushes, tree plants, underground moisture and insects, spiders and fauna that are produced in it.
Tagging of plants –
  • The research has been initiated by TFRI in a ten hectare plot of Kanha. The plot is divided into ten different parts of one hectare each.
  • The stones have been planted so that the plot can be easily identified. More than five thousand plants have been tagged here so far. These range from grass straws to bushes.
  • How many leaves are there in tagged one-on-one tree plants and what changes are taking  place in them are being studied.
The first stage –
  • In the first phase of the research, information is being collected as to how and how much the resorption is taking place in the forests, as well as the status of the soil and the insects, moisture and other natural things that are produced in them, not only that, the data of various diseases, fungi and polynators of the tree plants being disturbed is being collected in the first phase.
  • It is worth mentioning that for the research, many devices like tree ring analyzer, tree gas analyzer, portable light-absorption system, weather station, ring to count the age of the tree, hypsometer to measure the length of the tree, antimeter to measure the height of the plot, optical densiometer for measuring canopy were installed here.   have been made
  • Thus , the base line data is being collected in the first phase. This research will continue for many years.
 About Kanha National Park –
  • Kanha Tiger Reserve, also known as Kanha National Park,  is one of the tiger reserves of India and is the largest national park in Madhya Pradesh located in the heart of India.
  • At present the Kanha region is divided into two sanctuaries, Hallon and Banjar.
  • Kanha National Park was created on  June 1, 1955 and the Kanha Tiger Reserve was created in 1973. Today it is spread over an area of 940 km, 2 km in two districts of Mandla and Balaghat respectively.
  • The park has significant populations of Royal Bengal Tiger, Indian leopards, sloth bears, bersingha and Indian wild dog.
  • The forest depicted in Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel The Jungle Book is based on forests including this reserve. It is the first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce the mascot, “Bhursingha the Barasingha”.

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