15th April 2021 | UPSC Current Affairs
15th April Current Affairs MCQs
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: NITI Ayog has launched the Poshan Gyan.
About Poshan Gyan:
- It is a national digital repository on health and nutrition.
- NITI Ayog has launched this repository in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University.
- The repository was conceptualized as a resource, enabling the search of communication materials on 14 thematic areas of health and nutrition across diverse languages, media types, target audiences, and sources.
- The website provides an intuitive interface (multi-parametric search, multiple downloads at a point in time, easy sharing of materials via social media, and easy viewing on any type of smartphone).
Electronic Solution for Augmenting NaCSA farmers’ Trade-in Aquaculture (e-SANTA):
Relevance: Government schemes and Initiatives
Context: Ministry of Commerce and Industry has launched the e-SANTA.
- It is an electronic marketplace providing a platform to connect aqua farmers and buyers.
- It will enable the farmers to get a better price and the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers enhancing traceability, a key factor in international trade.
- It is a Digital Bridge to end the market divide and will act as an alternative marketing tool between farmers & buyers by eliminating middlemen.
- It will revolutionize traditional aqua farming by providing a cashless, contactless, and paperless electronic trade platform between farmers and exporters.
- The farmers have the freedom to list their products and quote their prices while the exporters have the freedom to list their requirements and also to choose the products based on their requirements such as desired size, location, harvest dates, etc.
- This enables the farmers and buyers to have greater control over the trade and enables them to make informed decisions.
- The platform provides a detailed specification of each product listing and it is backed by an end-to-end electronic payment system with NaCSA as an Escrow agent.
About National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA):
- NaCSA was established by Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in the year 2007.
- It is an outreach organization for uplifting the livelihood of small-scale shrimp farmers.
- MPEDA is a statutory body that was established in 1972 under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry for the promotion of the export of marine products from India.
National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC)
Context: NCDC has secured Euro 68.87 million (Rs 600 cr) loan from Deutsche Bank.
More on News:
- This is for the first time that one of the largest European banks in the world is lending to the NCDC.
- This reflecting the confidence of the global financial institution in the Indian development finance institution, particularly at a time when global economic turmoil created by the Covid-19 crisis has made lending a challenging proposition.
- It was established in
- It is a development finance statutory institution that works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
- It finances projects in the rural industrial cooperative sectors and for certain notified services in rural areas like water conservation, irrigation, and micro-irrigation, agri-insurance, agro-credit, rural sanitation, animal health, etc.
- It advanced loans and grants to State Governments for financing primary and secondary level cooperative societies and direct to the national level and other societies having objects extending beyond one State.
Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy
Relevance: Space Technology
Context: Scientists discovered the farthest Gamma-ray emitting active galaxy with narrow emission lines.
More on News:
- This active galaxy called the NLS1 galaxy, which is about 31 billion light-years away, opens up avenues to explore more such gamma-ray emitting galaxies that wait to meet us.
- This research has been conducted by Scientists from Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) in collaboration with researchers from other institutions, who studied around 25,000 luminous Active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Slogan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS).
- It is an autonomous institute working under the administrative control of the Department of Science and Technology.
- It is one of the leading research Institutes which specializes in observational Astronomy & Astrophysics and Atmospheric Sciences.
Jallainwala Bagh massacre
Context: Prime Minister paid tribute to the martyrs of the Jallainwala Bagh massacre.
About the Jallainwala Bagh massacre:
- The massacre of April 1919 wasn’t an isolated incident, rather an incident that happened with a multitude of factors working in the background.
- The Rowlatt Act (Black Act) was passed on March 10, 1919, authorizing the government to imprison or confine, without a trial, any person associated with seditious activities. This led to nationwide unrest.
- Gandhi initiated Satyagrahato protest against the Rowlatt Act.
- On April 7, 1919, Gandhi published an article called Satyagraha,describing ways to oppose the Rowlatt Act.
- Orders were issued to prohibit Gandhi from entering Punjaband to arrest him if he disobeyed the orders.
- Saifuddin Kitchlew and Dr. Satyapal, the two prominent leaders who were a symbol of Hindu-Muslim unity, organized a peaceful protest against the Rowlatt Act in Amritsar. As a result, both of them were arrested by the British government.
- On April 13, 1919, the public had gathered to celebrate Baisakhi in Jallainwala Bagh.
- When the news reached himBrigadier-General Dyer, headed to the Bagh with his troops.
- He entered the Bagh, deployed his troops, and ordered them to open fire without giving any warning. This incident has killed several hundred people and wounding many hundreds more.
- Rabindranath Tagore renounced his knighthood after this massacre.
- On October 14, 1919, the Disorders Inquiry Committeewas formed to inquire about the massacre. It later came to be known as the Hunter Commission.
Relevance: Art and Culture
Context: Prime Minister has conveyed his greetings on the occasion of Puthandu to Tamil sisters and brothers in Tamil Nadu and across the world.
- People from the Tamilian community across the world are celebrating the Puthandu festival, which marks the beginning of the Tamil New Year.
- Puthandu’s date is set with the solar cycle of the Hindu calendar as the first day of the Tamil month Chithirai, therefore it usually falls on around April 14 of every year on the Gregorian calendar.
Other Important Festivals and State in India:
- Bohag Bihu- Assam
- Vishu- Kerala
- MahaBishuba Pana Sankranti- Odisha
The model code of conduct (MCC)
Context: The Election Commission of India banned West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee from campaigning for 24 hours after finding her allegations against the Central forces and appeal to minority voters not to let their votes get divided to be violations of the model code of conduct.
More about Model code of conduct
- It is a set of guidelines laid down by the Election Commission to govern the conduct of political parties and candidates in the run-up to an election.
- The origins of the MCC lie in the Assembly elections of Kerala in 1960 when the State administration prepared a ‘Code of Conduct for political actors
- Subsequently, in the Lok Sabha elections in 1962, the ECI circulated the code to all recognized political parties and State governments.
- The MCC is not enforceable by law. However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
- It is intended to provide a level playing field for all political parties, to keep the campaign fair and healthy, avoid clashes and conflicts between parties, and ensure peace and order.
- Its main aim is to ensure that the ruling party, either at the Centre or in the states, does not misuse its official position to gain an unfair advantage in an election.
- The Model Code of Conduct comes into force the moment an election is announced and remains in force till the results are declared.
- It applies to all political parties, their candidates and polling agents, the government in power, and all government employees.
- The election commission has added Section 8 in the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) which says:
- The election manifesto should not contain anything against the ideals of the constitution and should be consistent with the spirit of the Model code of conduct.
- In the interest of transparency, level-playing field, and credibility of promises, it is expected that manifestos also reflect the rationale indicate the ways and means to meet the financial requirements.
- Trust of voters should be sought only on those promises which are possible to be fulfilled.
- In 2013, Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law, and Justice recommended that MCC should be made legally binding and made a part of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. This would enable Election Commission to take more stringent steps against violations of the Code.
Elections of Rajya Sabha
Context: The Election Commission announced that polls to three Rajya Sabha seats from Kerala.
More about Rajya Sabha Elections
- Article 80 of the Constitution lays down the maximum strength of Rajya Sabha as 250, out of which 12 members are nominated by the President and 238 are representatives of the States and the two Union Territories.
- The present strength of Rajya Sabha, however, is 245, out of which 233 are representatives of the States and Union territories of Delhi and Puducherry and 12 are nominated by the President.
- The members nominated by the President are persons having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art, and social service.
- The fourth Schedule of the Indian Constitution deals with the allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha.
- The Vice-President is the ex-officio chairperson of the Rajya Sabha. The Deputy Chairman, who is elected from amongst the house’s members, takes care of the day-to-day matters of the house in the absence of the Chairman.
- Process of election: Rajya Sabha members are elected indirectly by the people, that is, by the MLAs.
- Members of a state’s Legislative Assembly vote in the Rajya Sabha elections in proportional representation with the single transferable vote (STV) system. Each MLA’s vote is counted only once.
- To win a Rajya Sabha seat, a candidate should get the required number of votes. That number is found out using the below formula. Required vote = Total number of votes / (Number of Rajya Sabha seats + 1 ) + 1.
State Human Rights Commission (SHRC)
Context: The Telangana State Human Rights Commission (TSHRC) has issued a notice over a pothole after a citizen invoked the Right to Life guarantee under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
More about SHRC
- The Protection of Human Rights Act of 1993 provides for the creation of not only the National Human Rights Commission but also a State Human Rights Commission at the state level.
- A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of subjects mentioned in the State List (List-II) and the Concurrent List (List-III) of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.
- However, if any such case is already being inquired into by the National Human Rights Commission or any other Statutory Commission, then the State Human Rights Commission does not inquire into that case.
- The central government may confer upon the State Human Rights Commissions the functions relating to human rights being discharged by the union territories, except the union territory of Delhi.
- The functions relating to human rights in the case of the union territory of Delhi are to be dealt with by the National Human Rights Commission.
- The State Human Rights Commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairperson and two members.
- The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice or a Judge of a High Court and members should be a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge and a person having knowledge or practical experience concerning human rights.
- The chairperson and members are appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee consisting of the chief minister as its head, the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the state home minister, and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly.
- The chairperson and members hold office for a term of three years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. They are eligible for re-appointment. After their tenure, the chairperson and members are not eligible for further employment under a state government or the Central government.
- Functions of the Commission:
- To inquire into any violation of human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant, either Suo motu or on a petition presented to it or on an order of a court.
- To intervene in any proceeding involving an allegation of violation of human rights pending before a court.
- To visit jails and detention places to study the living conditions of inmates and make a recommendation thereon.
- To review the factors including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend remedial measures.
- The Protection of Human Rights Act (1993) also provides for the establishment of a Human Rights Court in every district for the speedy trial of violation of human rights.
- These courts can be set up by the state government only with the concurrence of the Chief Justice of the High Court of that state.
Raisina dialogue 2021
Relevance: Government initiatives
Context: Prime Minister to inaugurate 6th edition of Raisina dialogue through a video message. It will be held in virtual mode from April 13th to April 16th.
- The theme for 2021 is “#ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers, and Out of Control.”
- President of Rwanda Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of Denmark Mette Frederiksen will also join the inaugural session as Chief Guests.
- Five Key focus areas are:
- Whose Multilateralism? Reconstructing the UN and Beyond
- Securing and Diversifying Supply Chains
- Global ‘Public Bads’: Holding Actors and Nations to Account
- Infodemic: Navigating a ‘No-Truth’ World in the Age of Big Brother
- The Green Stimulus: Investing in Gender, Growth, and Development.
- It will have the participation of 150 speakers from 50 countries and multilateral organizations. More than 2000 attendees from over 80 countries.
About Raisina Dialogue:
- The Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi, India. Since its inception in 2016, the conference has emerged as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics.
- The conference is being hosted by the think tank Observer Research Foundation in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs.
- It invites leaders from politics, business, media, and civil society to hold discussions on the state of the world and explore opportunities for cooperation on several contemporary matters.
- Key objectives of Raisina dialogue:
- To explore future opportunities for Asian integration and further advancement of Asia’s integration with the world at large.
- The Raisina Dialogue also asserts the crucial role played by India in the Indian Ocean Region and how it can build a stable regional/ world order with its partners.
National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT)
Context: Due to a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases throughout the country, the National Company Law Tribunal has decided to take up regular hearings through Video Conference w.e.f. 12th April 2021 at all its Benches.
- The NCLT is a quasi-judicial body in India adjudicating issues concerning companies in the country.
- The tribunal was established under the Companies Act 2013 and was constituted on 1 June 2016 by the government of India.
- It is based on the recommendation of the V. Balakrishna Eradi committee on the law relating to insolvency and the winding up of companies.
- The NCLT bench is chaired by a Judicial member who is supposed to be a retired or a serving High Court Judge and a Technical member who must be from the Indian Corporate Law Service, ICLS Cadre.
- Decisions of the tribunal may be appealed to the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal, the decisions of which may further be appealed to the Supreme Court of India on a point of law. The Supreme Court of India has upheld the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code in its entirety.
- Selection of the members is done by a selection committee headed by the Secretary of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
- All proceedings under the Companies Act, including proceedings relating to
- The winding-up of companies shall be disposed of by the National Company Law Tribunal.
- It is the adjudicating authority for the insolvency resolution process of companies and limited liability partnerships under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Relevance: International Bodies
Context: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee of the International Monetary Fund.
More about the News
- The meeting was attended by Governors or Alternate Governors representing 190 member countries of the IMF.
- The discussions at the meeting were based on IMF Managing Director’s Global Policy Agenda titled – Bolstering the Recovery, Countering Divergence.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is a global development cooperative owned by 190 member countries. As the largest development bank in the world, it supports the World Bank Group’s mission by providing loans, guarantees, risk management products, and advisory services to middle-income and creditworthy low-income countries, as well as by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges.
More about IMF
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is an organization of 190 member countries, each of which has representation on the IMF’s executive board in proportion to its financial importance so that the most powerful countries in the global economy have the most voting power.
- The IMF, also known as the Fund, was conceived at a UN conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, in July 1944.
- Countries were not eligible for membership in the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) unless they were members of the IMF.
- IMF, as per the Bretton Woods agreement to encourage international financial cooperation, introduced a system of convertible currencies at fixed exchange rates and replaced gold with the U.S. dollar (gold at $35 per ounce) for official reserve.
- After the Bretton Woods system (system of fixed exchange rates) collapsed in 1971, the IMF has promoted the system of floating exchange rates.
- Countries are free to choose their exchange arrangement, meaning that market forces determine the value of currencies relative to one another. This system continues to be in place today.
- The Board of Governors is advised by two ministerial committees:
- International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC): IMFC has 24 members, drawn from the pool of 190 governors, and represents all member countries.
- Development Committee: It is a joint committee(25 members from the Board of Governors of IMF & World Bank), tasked with advising the Boards of Governors of the IMF and the World Bank on issues related to economic development in emerging markets and developing countries.
- Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) are the IMF’s unit of account and not a currency. The currency value of the SDR is determined by summing the values in U.S. dollars, based on market exchange rates, of an SDR basket of currencies
- SDR basket of currencies includes the U.S. dollar, Euro, Japanese yen, pound sterling, and the Chinese Renminbi.
- The SDR currency value is calculated and the valuation basket is reviewed and adjusted every five years.
- Quotas are denominated (expressed) in SDRs. SDRs represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.
- Members’ voting power is related directly to their quotas (the amount of money they contribute to the institution).
Right to Freedom of Religion
Context: Recently the Supreme Court said people are free to choose their religion while examining the petition.
Freedom of Conscience and Free Profession, Practice and Propagation of Religion
- Article 25 says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate religion. The implications of these are:
- Freedom of conscience: Inner freedom of an individual to mold his relation with God or Creatures in whatever way he desires.
- Right to profess Declaration of one’s religious beliefs and faith openly and freely.
- Right to practice Performance of religious worship, rituals, ceremonies, and exhibition of beliefs and ideas.
- Right to propagate: Transmission and dissemination of one’s religious beliefs to others or exposition of the tenets of one’s religion. But it does not include a right to convert another person to one’s religion. Forcible conversions impinge on the ‘freedom of conscience guaranteed to all persons alike.
Freedom to Manage Religious Affairs
- According to Article 26, every religious denomination or any of its section shall have the following rights:
- Right to establish and maintain institutions for religious and charitable purposes;
- Right to manage its affairs in matters of religion;
- Right to own and acquire movable and immovable property; and
- Right to administer such property in accordance with the law.
- Article 25 guarantees the rights of individuals, while Article 26 guarantees the rights of religious denominations or their sections. In other words, Article 26 protects collective freedom of religion.
Freedom from Taxation for Promotion of a Religion
- Article 27 lays down that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.
- In other words, the State should not spend the public money collected by way of tax for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion.
- This provision prohibits the State from favoring, patronizing, and supporting one religion over the other.
- This means that the taxes can be used for the promotion or maintenance of all religions.
- This provision prohibits the only levy of a tax and not a fee. This is because the purpose of a fee is to control the secular administration of religious institutions and not to promote or maintain the religion.
Freedom from Attending Religious Instruction
- Under Article 28, no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.
- However, this provision shall not apply to an educational institution administered by the State but established under any endowment or trust, requiring imparting of religious instruction in such institution.
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