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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 30th June 2021

  • IASbaba
  • June 30, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Persons with disabilities have right to reservation in promotion: Supreme Court

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Judiciary; Rights and duties

In news

  • SC ruled that a disabled person can avail the benefit of reservation for promotion even if he or she was recruited in the regular category or developed the disability after gaining employment.
  • The 1995 Act (Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995) does not make a distinction between a person who may have entered service on account of disability and a person who may have acquired disability after having entered the service. 
  • 1995 Act recognises the right to reservation in promotion 

The background of Reservation in promotion

  • In the Indira Sawhney case (1992), SC held that the reservation policy cannot be extended to promotions. 
  • However, the 77th Constitutional Amendment inserted clause 4A in article 16 and restored provision of reservations in promotions.
  • In Nagaraj judgement (2006), Court laid down three controlling conditions that the state must meet prior to granting SC/ST a reservation in promotion: 
    • state must show that backwardness of the class 
    • class is inadequately represented in position or service 
    • reservations are in the interest of Administrative efficiency 
  • In Jarnail Singh case (2018), it struck down the demonstration of backwardness provision from Nagaraj judgement.

Related articles:

Launch of Sugamya Bharat App

National Social Assistance Programme


Tenure of Attorney General of India extended

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – Indian Constitution 

In news

  • The central government has extended the term of K.K. Venugopal as Attorney General (AG) for one more year.
    • He had also received his first extension of term in 2020.
  • He would be in command of the government’s legal defence in several sensitive cases pending in the Supreme Court such as challenge to the abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act.

About Attorney General (AG)

  • The AG of India is a part of the Union Executive. 
  • S/He is the highest law officer in the country.
  • Article 76 of the Constitution provides for the office of AG of India.
  • Appointment and Eligibility:
    • AG is appointed by the President on the advice of the government.
    • S/he must be a person who is qualified to be appointed a judge of the Supreme Court, i.e. s/he must be a citizen of India and must have been a judge of some high court for five years or an advocate of some high court for ten years or an eminent jurist, in the opinion of the President.
  • Term of the Office: Not fixed by the Constitution.
  • Removal: Not stated in the Constitution. 
    • S/he holds office during the pleasure of the President 
  • Duties and Functions:
    • To give advice to the Government of India (GoI) upon such legal matters, which are referred to her/him by the President.
    • To perform such other duties of a legal character that are assigned to her/him by the President.
    • To appear on behalf of the GoI in all cases in the Supreme Court or in any case in any High Court in which the GoI is concerned.
    • To represent the GoI in any reference made by the President to the Supreme Court under Article 143 (Power of the President to consult the Supreme Court) of the Constitution.
    • To discharge the functions conferred on her/him by the Constitution or any other law.
  • Rights and Limitations:
    • S/he has the right to speak and to take part in the proceedings of both the Houses of Parliament or their joint sitting and any committee of the Parliament of which s/he may be named a member, but without a right to vote.
    • S/he enjoys all the privileges and immunities that are available to a member of Parliament.
    • S/he does not fall in the category of government servants. S/he is not debarred from private legal practice.
    • However, s/he should not advise or hold a brief against the GoI.
  • Solicitor General of India and Additional Solicitor General of India assist the AG in fulfillment of the official responsibilities.
  • Corresponding Office in the States: Advocate General (Article 165).

Interest Rates on Small Saving Schemes

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Economy

In news

About Small Saving Schemes/Instruments

  • They are the major source of household savings in India and comprises 12 instruments.
  • The depositors get an assured interest on their money.
  • Collections from all small savings instruments are credited to the National Small Savings Fund (NSSF).
  • Small savings have emerged as a key source of financing the government deficit.

Small savings instruments can be classified as

  • Postal Deposits comprising savings account, recurring deposits, time deposits of varying maturities and monthly income scheme.
  • Savings Certificates: National Small Savings Certificate (NSC) and Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP).
  • Social Security Schemes: Sukanya Samriddhi Scheme, Public Provident Fund (PPF) and Senior Citizens‘ Savings Scheme (SCSS).

Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary: Assam

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Environment

In news

  • Recently, the World Wide Fund for Nature-India (WWF) found a few tigers inhabiting the Barnadi Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam.
  • It is one of the smallest WS (Wildlife Sanctuary) of Assam

About the Sanctuary

  • It is located in northern Assam’s Baksa and Udalguri districts bordering Bhutan.
  • It is bordered by the Barnadi river and Nalapara river to the west and east respectively.
  • Barnadi was established specifically to protect the Pygmy Hog (Sus salvanius) and Hispid Hare (Caprolagus hispidus).
  • About 60% of the BWS is reported to be grassland, most of it is now grassy woodland.
  • The main Forest types: Tropical Moist Deciduous (northern edge of the Sanctuary) and mixed scrub and grassland (southern part).
  • Most of the natural vegetation has been replaced by commercial plantations of Bombax ceiba, Tectona grandis and Eucalyptus and by thatch grasses 

Other Protected Areas in Assam:


Exercise Sea Breeze

Part of: GS Prelims and GS II – International Relations

In news 

  • Ukraine and USA launched joint naval Exercise ‘Sea Breeze’ in the Black Sea to show Western cooperation with Ukraine as it faces off with Russia.
    • The exercise Sea Breeze has been held since 1997, involving NATO states and their allies.
    • This edition (2021) will be the largest In Exercise’s history that will involve some 5,000 military personnel from more than 30 countries.

Aim of the Exercise

  • Improving naval and land operations 
  • Improving cooperation among participating counties.
  • Sending a powerful message to maintain stability and peace in the region.

Significance of Black Sea for Russia

  • The unique geography of the Black Sea region provides several geopolitical advantages to Russia 
    • Russia has always wanted to control the region.
  • It is an important crossroads and strategic intersection for the entire region. 
  • Its Access greatly enhances the projection of power into several adjacent regions.
  • The region is an important transit corridor for goods and energy.
  • It is rich in cultural and ethnic diversity, and shares close historical ties with Russia.

About Black Sea

  • It is marginal sea of the Atlantic Ocean, located between Eastern Europe and Western Asia.
  • The bordering countries of Black Sea are: Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania.
  • It is the largest water body with a meromictic basin
    • It means the movement of water between the lower and upper layers of the sea is a rare phenomenon which is also responsible for its Anoxic Water (significant absence of oxygen in the water).

Pic courtesy: Wikipedia


Miscellaneous

Baihetan Dam

  • Recently, China has put into operation the Baihetan Dam, world’s Second Biggest Hydropower Dam.
    • The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydropower dam in the world and is also along China’s Yangtze River
  • It is on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze (the longest river in Asia).
  • It has been built with a total installed capacity of 16,000 megawatts.
  • It will eventually be able to generate enough electricity each day once to meet the power needs of 5,00,000 people for an entire year.
  • It is part of Chinese efforts to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity 
  • Concerns:
    • A huge dam could hold back the massive amount of silt carried by the river which could affect farming in the areas downstream.
    • India is also worried about the release of water during the monsoons
    • It could have disastrous consequences in the ecologically sensitive zone.
    • Huge displacement of hundreds of thousands of local communities

(Mains Focus)


ENVIRONMENT/ GOVERNANCE

Topic:

  • GS-3: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

US Heat Wave

Context: Recently, US Weather service has issued another excessive-heat warning for much of Washington state and North East.

  • In most parts of the country, temperatures must be above the historical average in an area for two or more days before the label “heat wave” is applied to a hot spell.
  • But the definition can vary by region; in the Northeast USA, it is defined as three straight days in the 90s or above.

What causes a heat wave?

  • Heat waves begin when high pressure in the atmosphere moves in and pushes warm air toward the ground. That air warms up further as it is compressed, and we begin to feel a lot hotter.
  • The high-pressure system pressing down on the ground expands vertically, forcing other weather systems to change course. It even minimizes wind and cloud cover, making the air more stifling. 
  • This is also why a heat wave parks itself over an area for several days or longer.

What is a heat dome?

  • As the ground warms, it loses moisture, which makes it easier to heat even more. And in the drought-ridden West USA, there is plenty of heat for the high-pressure system to trap.
  • As that trapped heat continues to warm, the system acts like a lid on a pot — earning the name “heat dome.” 
  • In the Pacific Northwest, the heat and the drought are working in concert, exacerbating the problem and causing temperature records to fall day after day.

Why is it hotter than normal in North America?

  • We have long known that the world has warmed by more than 1 degree Celsius (about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1900, and that the pace of warming has accelerated in recent decades. 
  • The warmer baseline contributes to extreme-weather events and helps make periods of extreme heat more frequent, longer and more intense.
  • Magnified effect of paved and concrete surfaces in urban areas and a lack of tree cover.
  • Urban heat island effects can make ambient temperatures feel 3 to 4 degrees more than what they are.

Health Impacts of Heat Waves

  • The health impacts of Heat Waves typically involve dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke.
  • It also causes heat cramps, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps and sweating.
  • The extreme temperatures and resultant atmospheric conditions adversely affect people living in these regions as they cause physiological stress, sometimes resulting in death.

Way Forward

  • While climate change does have a strong link with the occurrence of extreme weather events, it isn’t the cause for extreme weather events. Episodes of heat waves are growing more common as climate change intensifies. Therefore, the intensity and frequency of heatwaves can be reduced if the global community adopts and adheres to a lower emissions scenario in the future.

Connecting the dots:


RIGHTS/ GOVERNANCE/ ECONOMY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
  • GS-3: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources

Ration card reform

Context: Recently, the Supreme Court directed all states and Union Territories to implement the One Nation, One Ration Card (ONORC) system, which allows for inter- and intra-state portability, by July 31. 

Did You Know?

  • Portable welfare benefits mean that a citizen should be able to access welfare benefits irrespective of where she is in the country. 
  • In the case of food rations, the idea was first mooted by a Nandan Nilekani-led task force in 2011. 
  • 45.36 crore people or 37% of the population is that of migrant labourers.

What is One Nation One Ration Card?

  • The scheme seeks to provide portability of food security benefits all across the nation.
  • Families who have food security cards can buy subsidized food from any ration shop in the country. 
  • For instance, a migrant worker from, say, Basti district of Uttar Pradesh will be able to access PDS benefits in Mumbai, where he or she may have gone in search of work. While the person can buy foodgrains as per his or her entitlement under the NFSA at the place where he or she is based, members of his or her family can still go to their ration dealer back home.
  • Ration cards should be linked with Aadhar Number to avail this service. 
  • It was started in mid-2019 with pilot project in 4 states and was supposed to be rolled-out across country by June 2020 but got delayed due to Pandemic.

Taking States on board

  • To promote this reform in the archaic Public Distribution System (PDS), the government has provided incentives to states. 
  • The Centre had even set the implementation of ONORC as a precondition for additional borrowing by states during the Covid-19 pandemic last year. 
  • At least 17 states, which implemented the ONORC reform, were allowed to borrow an additional Rs 37,600 crores in 2020-21.

How does ONORC work?

  • ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS). 
  • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops. 
  • The system runs with the support of two portals —
    • Annavitran Portal– maintains a record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district
    • Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) – records the inter-state transactions.
  • When a ration card holder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real time with details on the Annavitaran portal. 
  • Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements. 

What factors led to the launch of ONORC?

  • Earlier, NFSA beneficiaries were not able to access their PDS benefits outside the jurisdiction of the specific fair price shop to which they have been assigned. 
  • The government envisioned the ONORC to give them access to benefits from any fair price shop. 
  • Full coverage will be possible after 100% Aadhaar seeding of ration cards has been achieved, and all fair price shops are covered by ePoS devices (there are currently 4.74 lakh devices installed across the country).
  • ONORC was launched in August, 2019. Work on ration card portability, however, had begun in April 2018 itself, with the launch of the IM-PDS. The idea was to reform the PDS, which has been historically marred by inefficiency and leakages.
  • ONORC was initially launched as an inter-state pilot. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of migrant workers to return to their villages last year, a need was felt to expedite the rollout.
  • As part of its Covid economic relief package, the government announced the national rollout of ONORC in all states and Union Territories by March 2021.

What has been the coverage so far?

  • Till date, 32 states and Union Territories have joined the ONORC, covering about 69 crore NFSA beneficiaries. Four states are yet to join the scheme — Assam, Chhattisgarh, Delhi and West Bengal.
  • According to the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, about 1.35 crore portability transactions every month are being recorded under ONORC on an average.
  • Almost 19.8 Crore portability transactions have been recorded during the COVID-19 period of April 2020 to May 2021 itsel
  • While inter-state ration card portability is available in 32 states, the number of such transactions is much lower than that of intra-district and inter-district transactions

Why have these four states not implemented it yet?

There are various reasons.

  •  For instance, Delhi is yet to start the use of ePoS in fair price shops, which is a prerequisite for the implementation of ONORC. 
  • In the case of West Bengal, the state government has demanded that the non-NFSA ration card holders — ration cards issued by the state government — should also be covered under the ONORC

Connecting the dots:


(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1 Which of the following Article deals with the office of AG of India?

  1. Article 67
  2. Article 76
  3. Article 86
  4. Article 96

Q.2 Which of the following is not associated with Reservation in promotion?

  1. Nagaraj judgement 
  2. Indira Sawhney case 
  3. Jarnail Singh case 
  4. Kesavananda Bharati 

Q.3 Abrogation of Article 370 led to which of the following?

  1. Fundamental duties were made enforceable
  2. Creation of Union Territories of jammu and kashmir and Ladakh
  3. Creation of state of Telangana
  4. Deletion of few languages from 8th Schedule

ANSWERS FOR 29th June 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 C

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