Ojaank IAS Academy




25 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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US announces 3 billion Dollars in military aid to Ukraine

Paper – 3 economy
Why Should You Know?
  • US President Joe Biden announced nearly 3 billion Dollars in military aid to Kyiv on Wednesday as Ukraine marked its independence day six months after Russia’s military operation in the country.
  • Biden said in a statement that, he is proud to announce the biggest tranche of security assistance to date, approximately 2.98 billion dollars of weapons and equipment to be provided through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.
Major Points
  • This will allow Ukraine to acquire air defense systems, artillery systems and munitions, counter-unmanned aerial systems, and radars to ensure it can continue to defend itself over the long term, he added.
  • The funds can be used for immediate war costs, including acquisitions of supplies and arms, and are separate from the Presidential Drawdown Authority (PDA), under which Biden has been able to order transfers of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine’s forces from existing US military stockpiles.
  • Biden said six months of relentless attacks have only strengthened Ukrainians’ pride in themselves, in their country, and in their thirty-one years of independence.

Afghan Women & Girls Facing Alarming Rollback on rights under Taliban: UN Official

Paper – 2 International Relation
Why Should You Know?
  • UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths called out the Taliban for reopening girls’ schools in a statement and said that the situation of Afghan women and girls is regressing.
  • Women and girls are facing alarming rollback on their rights, said Martin Griffiths in a statement.
  • Previously, Amnesty International has said that women and girls have been stripped of their rights and face a bleak future, according to local press.
Major Points
  • The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has drawn heavy criticism across the world for a decree banning girls from school above grade sixth.
  • It has been over 300 days since girls’ schools have been closed, Kabul’s officials have said that it depends upon the order of the leader of the Taliban.
  • A decision taken by the Taliban prevented girls from returning to secondary school which meant that a generation of girls will not complete their full 12 years of basic education.
  • At the same time, access to justice for victims of gender-based violence has been limited by the dissolution of dedicated reporting pathways, justice mechanisms and shelters.
  • Earlier, UN Rights Chief, Michele Bachelet also expressed concern over alleged Human Rights Violations and abuses against civilians in the northern provinces, including arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and torture, calling on all parties to the conflict to “observe restraint and to fully respect international human rights law”.
  •  Not only this, the lack of female healthcare workers has prevented the women from accessing basic medical facilities, and the international donors, who fund 90 per cent of health clinics, are hesitant to send money because of their fear of the funds being misused.
  • Around 80 per cent of women working in the media have lost their jobs, and almost 18 million women in the country are struggling for health, education and social rights.

Wheat Flour from export ban

Paper – 3  Indian economy
Why Should You Know?
  • Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the proposal for amendment of policy of exemption for Wheat Flour from export ban.
  • The approval will now allow to put a restriction on the export of Wheat Flour which will ensure a curb on rising prices of wheat flour and ensure food security of the most vulnerable sections of the society.
Major Points
  • Our correspondent reports that Russia and Ukraine are the major exporters of wheat accounting for around 1/4th of the global wheat trade.
  • The conflict between them led to the global wheat supply chain disruptions increasing demand of Indian wheat.
  • As a result, the price of wheat in domestic market showed an increase.
  • In order to ensure food security of 1.4 billion people of the country, decision was taken to put a prohibition on export of wheat in May this year.
  • However, due to prohibition on export of wheat, the demand for wheat flour has increased in foreign markets.
  • Its exports from India have registered a growth of 200 percent during April to July this year compared to the corresponding period last year.
  • The increased demand for wheat flour in international market led to significant price rise of wheat flour in the domestic market.

IAC Vikrant

Paper – 3 Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
  • Country’s first indigenously-built aircraft carrier (IAC) Vikrant is to be commissioned on September 2.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest at the commissioning of the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant in Kochi. Speaking to reporters in New Delhi, Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade said,  for the Vikrant, the equipment has been made in 18 states and union territories including places like Ambala, Daman, Kolkata, Jalandhar, Kota, Pune, and New Delhi.
Major Points
  • Vice Admiral Ghormade said indigenous Aircraft Carrier Vikrant has 2200 compartments including separate accommodation for women officers and female Agniveer sailors.
  • He said, with this India has joined the select club of nations including the US, UK, Russia, China, and France to design and manufacture aircraft carriers above 40,000 tonnes. The entire cabling of INS Vikrant around 2,500 km in length has been made in India, which is a big achievement.
  • Warship-grade steel has also been made in India with the help of Indian Navy, DRDO & SAIL. Vice Admiral said it can be later exported to other countries. 
  • He said, indigenisation is the way ahead for the country and expressed hope that research and development organisations to develop their own capabilities of High Altitude Long Endurance unmanned aerial vehicles.

SC : Rview petition on PMLA

Paper – 2 Indian Polity
Why Should You Know?
  • The Supreme Court today agreed to hear a petition seeking a review of its July 27 judgment that upheld the core amendments made to the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
  • The Apex Court issued notice to the Centre on a plea filed by Congress leader Karti Chidambaram seeking review of the ruling by a bench led by Justice Khanwilkar.
  • The Bench had upheld stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act in proceeds of crime, search and seizure, power of arrest, attachment of properties, and bail.
Major Points
  • Chief Justice N.V. Ramana today said that prima facie they think the PMLA verdict needs to be reviewed on two points, that is granting ECIR to accused and and reversing the presumption of innocence in granting bail.
  • Back in July, the Supreme Court had backed the Enforcement Directorate’s powers under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), saying Section 19 which deals with the power to arrest does not suffer from the “vice of arbitrariness”.
  • Over 240 petitions were filed against the amendments of PMLA act . The challengers claimed to violate personal liberty, procedures of law, and the constitutional mandate.

Edible oil

Paper – 3 Indian economy
Why Should You Know?
  • The Centre has advised the edible oil manufacturers, packers, and importers to declare net quantity in volume without temperature in addition to declaring the same in weight.
  • Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Ministry has advised the manufacturers, packers, and importers to correct their labeling of declaring net quantity in the units of volume without mentioning temperature.
Major Points
  • They have been asked to implement it by January next year.
  • The Ministry said the weight of edible oil is different at various temperatures.
  • Hence, to ensure that the consumer gets the correct quantity in the package, the manufacturers of edible oil have been advised to pack the products without mentioning temperature.
  • They have also been advised to ensure that the quantity declared on the package in volume and mass should be correct.
  • It is mandatory to declare the net quantity in terms of standard units of weight or measure under the Legal Metrology (Packaged Commodities) Rules, 2011.

8th India-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting

Paper – 2 International Relation
Why Should You Know?
  • External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar co-chaired the 8th India-Brazil Joint Commission Meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Carlos França in Brasilia.
Major Points
  • The comprehensive discussions covered trade and investments, petroleum, biofuels, edible oils and minerals, health, pharma, traditional medicine, Science and Technology, agriculture and livestock, space, defense, counter-terrorism, and consular domains.
  • After the meeting, agreements were signed in the fields of broadcasting and taxation. Both Ministers exchanged views on BRICS, IBSA, UN, G20, and the Ukraine conflict.
  • Dr. Jaishankar appreciated Government of Brazil for releasing a commemorative stamp marking the 75th anniversary of Indian independence Amrit Mahotsav.
About Brazil
  • Brazil is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3,300,000 sq mi) and with over 214 million people, Brazil is the world’s fifth-largest country by area and the seventh most populous.
  • Its capital is Brasília, and its most populous city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states and the Federal District.
  • It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world; as well as the most populous Roman Catholic-majority country.

Government to launch E-Passport in next 6 months

Paper – 2 International Relation & Polity
Why Should You Know?
  • Electronic-Passports will be rolled out by the end of this year or early next year. Secretary External Affairs, Dr. Ausaf Sayeed informed the media in Hyderabad.
  • He said an e-chip and a few more features will be added to the passport book which will provide security upgradation of the Indian passport and enable machine reading.
  • A team of officials led by the secretary is visiting Hyderabad as part of Videsh Sampark Outreach program and held a series of meetings with Telangana government.
  • Stating that the interests of diaspora are important, the secretary said several steps are being taken to facilitate Indian citizens who are migrating to work in other countries and providing legal support.
Major Points
  • He said 87 billion dollars have been remitted to India by diaspora last year, compared to the 83 billion dollars in the previous year.
  •  Dr. Sayeed also said efforts are being made to make immigration process easy through legal processes and increase training levels of those migrants.
  • He said all agents operating illegally will be eliminated. dr Sayeed said maximum number of Immigration clearances are being given in Telangana.
  • Referring to immigration processes, he said 15 more countries have been identified for singing Migration and Mobility Agreements while the agreement with 12 countries is currently in force.
  • He further said a conference with recruiting agents will be held tomorrow as part of MEA efforts legal protection of migrants.
  • Chief Passport Officer T Armstrong Changsan informed that Hyderabad passport office issued 4.28 lakh passports and extended over 16 thousand other services this year. 
  • Hyderabad Regional Passport Officer Balaiah informed that regional conference of RPOs of Telugu states has also been held.

Azadi Quest App

Paper – Paper 1 Indian Culture & History
Why Should You Know?
  • IndiaInformation and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur today launched the Azadi Quest, a series of online mobile games on the heroes and milestones of Indian freedom in New Delhi.
  • Azadi Quest is a set of online games designed for players of all ages for interactive learning with fun gameplay.
  • The Initiative is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call to ‘Engage, Entertain and Educate’ the people through toys and games.
Major Points
  • On the occasion, Publications Division and Zynga India have signed an  MoU to mark year-long partnership to commemorate ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ through series of mobile games.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr Thakur urged people to download Azadi Quest App as it will prove to be a very effective tool in spreading awareness on India’s freedom fighters.
  • He said, these are unique games, which will entertain people along with engaging and educating them. Mr Thakur said, more than 60 thousand programmes have been organised across the country under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • Speaking on the rising  Animation, Visual- effects, Gaming & Comics- AVGC sector, Mr Thakur said that it has been a continuous effort of his  to nurture this sector in India.
  •  In the past few years, India has risen to stand among the top 5 countries in the gaming sector. Mr Thakur said, gaming sector has grown by 28 per cent in 2021.
  • He said, the number of online gamers has increased to 40 crores last year and expected to touch 45 crore by 2023.
Other Points
  • The Minister further stated that these apps will bolster the capabilities of our AVGC sector and at the same time take our glorious history to the corners of the world.
  • Secretary, Information and Broadcasting Apurva Chandra said that these online games has been prepared to engage the youth in very interesting way so that they can learn and know about the history of India’s freedom struggle.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Kishore Kichli, Country Head of Zynga India said that this initiative is designed to engage players of all ages while harnessing the power of interactive entertainment as a teaching experience about this important era.
  • Our correspondent reports that Information and Broadcasting Ministry in collaboration with Zynga India has developed Azadi Quest online mobile games to highlight key milestones of India’s freedom struggle and encourage digital learning experience.
  • The games are now available in India and will be launched worldwide next month. The Azadi Quest games are available for Android and iOS devices in English and Hindi for the people of India.
  • The first game in the series is Azadi Quest: Match 3 Puzzle, a simple and easy-to-play casual game presenting the players with the colorful journey of India’s independence from 1857 to 1947.
  • As players progress through the gameplay, spread across 495 levels they can collect 75 trivia cards, each showcasing key moments in history. While Azadi Quest- Heroes of Bharat is about the heroes of India’s independence.

Sri Lanka ranks 5th among the 10 countries with highest food price inflation: World Bank 

Paper – 3 Economy
Major Points
  • Sri Lanka ranked 5th among the 10 countries with the highest food price inflation as per the latest World Bank assessment.
  • According to World Bank assessment, Lebanon, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, and Turkey ranked first in four countries.
  • The World Bank in a statement said that record high food prices have triggered a global crisis that will drive millions more into extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition.
  • The statement said, rising food prices have a greater impact on people in low- and middle-income countries since they spend a larger share of their income on food than people in high-income countries.
The World Bank
  • The World Bank is an international financial institution that provides loans and grants to the governments of low- and middle-income countries for the purpose of pursuing capital projects.
  • The World Bank is the collective name for the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and International Development Association (IDA), two of five international organizations owned by the World Bank Group.
  • It was established along with the International Monetary Fund at the 1944 Bretton Woods Conference. After a slow start, its first loan was to France in 1947.
  • In the 1970s, it focused on loans to developing world countries, shifting away from that mission in the 1980s.
  • For the last 30 years, it has included NGOs and environmental groups in its loan portfolio. Its loan strategy is influenced by the Millennium Development Goals as well as environmental and social safeguards.
  • The World Bank is run by a president and 25 executive directors, as well as 29 various vice presidents. IBRD and IDA have 189 and 174 member countries, respectively. The U.S., Japan, China, Germany and the U.K. have the most voting power.
  •  The bank aims loans at developing countries to help reduce poverty. The bank is engaged in several global partnerships and initiatives, and takes a role in working toward addressing climate change.
  • The World Bank operates a number of training wings and it works with the Clean Air Initiative and the UN Development Business. It works within the Open Data Initiative and hosts an Open Knowledge Repository.
  • The World Bank has been criticized as promoting inflation and harming economic development. The way it is governed has been criticized.
  •  There have been major protests against the bank. There has also been criticism of the bank’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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