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Daily Current Affairs – 26th Dec. 2020

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 26th Dec. 2020. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

Governor not sending Bills for Presidential assent

Context:

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot has said the Amendment Bills passed in the State Assembly last month to counter the Centre’s farm laws were held up in Raj Bhavan, as the Governor was not sending them for Presidential assent.

  1. The Union government was not willing to accept that the Bills were in “public interest”, he said.

What does the Constitution of India say on Governor’s power to reserve bills for consideration of the President?

Article 200 of the Indian Constitution deals with the powers of the Governor with regard to assent given to bills passed by the State legislature and other powers of the Governor such as reserving the bill for the President’s consideration.

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According to Article 200, when a Bill, passed by the Legislature of a State, is presented to the Governor, he has four options:

  1. He assents to the Bill
  2. He withholds assent
  3. He reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President
  4. He returns the Bill to the Legislature for reconsideration.

Options before the President:

When a Bill is reserved by a Governor for the consideration of the President, the President shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent therefrom Provided that:

  1. Where the Bill is not a Money Bill, the President may direct the Governor to return the Bill to the House or, as the case may be, the Houses of the Legislature of the State together with such a message as is mentioned in the first proviso to article 200.
  2. When a Bill is so returned, the House or Houses shall reconsider it accordingly within a period of six months from the date of receipt of such message and, if it is again passed by the House or Houses with or without amendment, it shall be presented again to the President for his consideration.
  3. It is not mentioned in the constitution whether it is obligatory on the part of the President to give his assent to such a bill or not.

J&K Internet ban extended

Context:

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has extended the ban on 4G mobile Internet up to January 8, saying “the restrictions on the high-speed connectivity acted as an impediment to attempts” of the militants to disturb the District Development Council (DDC) polls.

Need for:

An order issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Home Department noted that there were credible inputs about the presence of a large number of militants trying to infiltrate from across the border.

Supreme Court’s ruling in 2020:

Supreme Court on May 11 refused to restore 4G internet in Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

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  1. But, the Court had ordered the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration to form a committee of Secretaries from MHA and J&K UT Admin to take a call after reviewing the ground security situation.
  2. The high-powered Committee headed by the MHA Secretary will also look into the contentions raised by various petitioners.

Important observations made and rationale behind this verdict:

  1. There is a need to ensure that national security and human rights are balanced. J&K UT has plunged into crisis, but at the same time there are concerns related to ongoing pandemic and hardships.
  2. The bench also referred to its earlier decision in the Anuradha Bhasin case (2020) wherein it ordered review of restrictions placed in J&K in the wake of abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Background- what’s the issue?

  1. In August 2019, the Central government had suspended all modes of communications in the wake of revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, granted under Article 370. Eventually, services were partially restored, with internet speed restricted to 2G.
  1. A plea was filed by ‘Foundation for Media Professionals’ for restoration of high-speed internet in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the Covid-19 situation.
  2. But, the administration opposed restoration of 4G services in the union territory. It justified its move in view of protecting the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

Criticisms against the internet shutdown:

  1. Restrictions have virtually abrogated the fundamental rights and paralyzed the lives of seven million people in the region.
  2. The shutdown of internet services have severe consequences on business, trade and heavily affect the common people in the region.

What procedure does the government follow to suspend Internet services?

The Information Technology Act, 2000the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1973 and the Telegraph Act, 1885 are the three laws that deal with suspension of Internet services.

But before 2017, Internet suspension orders were issued under section 144 of the CrPC.

  1. In 2017, the central government notified the Temporary Suspension of Telecom Services (Public Emergency or Public Service) Rules under the Telegraph Act to govern suspension of Internet.
  2. These Rules derive their powers from Section 5(2) of the Indian Telegraph Act, which talks about interception of messages in the “interests of the sovereignty and integrity of India”.

ENERGY

Russia backs increase in oil output by OPEC+ from Feb.

Context:

  • Oil prices are trading above $50 per barrel, after coming under pressure this week from concerns that new strain of the coronavirus will result in reduced fuel demand.

Details:

  • Russia expects to support an increase in oil production by the OPEC+ group, known as OPEC+, of another 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) from February at next month’s summit of the leading global oil producers.
  • In addition to the OPEC members, the following 10 additional oil-exporting countries, led by Russia, are grouped as OPEC+ cartel.
  • They aim to cooperate in fixing the global crude oil prices by agreeing to production quotas so that global production is below the global demand/consumption

Upscaling production:

  • News reports say that Moscow views an oil price between $45 and $55 per barrel as the optimum level to allow for recovery of its oil production, which has been significantly reduced as part of the OPEC+ supply deal.
  • Russia, other leading oil producers and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, a group known as OPEC+, agreed to scale back output to support the global oil market as the COVID-19 pandemic has weakened fuel demand.
  • Since the agreement on a record global supply cut in April when there was a lockdown, largely on a global scale stymying the economic activities. Thus, the OPEC+ had progressively reduced the cuts and now is expected in January to release an extra 5,00,000 bpd into the market.
  • The group is expected to hold its virtual summit soon to discuss the production plans.

SPACE

First set of data from Chandrayaan-2 released: ISRO

Context:

  • The Chandrayaan-2 mission was India’s first attempt to land on the lunar surface.
  • The first set of data from India’s second mission to the Moon, i.e, Chandrayaan-2 has been made open to the public by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

Details:

  • Chandrayaan-2 was launched on July 22, 2019, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Chandrayaan-2 mission brought together an Orbiter, Lander and Rover intending to explore south pole of the Moon. This is a unique mission which aims at studying not just one area of the Moon but all the areas combining the exosphere, the surface as well as the sub-surface of the moon in a single mission.
  • The orbiter which was injected into a lunar orbit carries eight experiments to address many open questions on lunar science.
  • The experiments have been going on well and the data relayed portray that the pre-launch promises will be met with.
  • In the period since the launch, payload teams tuned on-board systems for optimal instrument configurations, derived essential in-flight calibration data, revised/updated data processing steps/software and have started to publish early results, it said.

The prescribed format for data archiving.

  • The public release data are prepared in the standard, globally followed Planetary Data System 4 (PDS4) format for public release.
  • The Indian Space Science Data Centre (ISSDC) is the nodal centre of a planetary data archive for the planetary missions of the ISRO.
  • The Chandrayaan-2 data are required to be in the Planetary Data System-4 (PDS4) standard and required to be peer-reviewed scientifically and technically before acceptance as PDS archives and declared ready for sharing with the global scientific community and the general public.
  • This activity has been completed and hence the first set of data from the Chandrayaan-2 mission is now being released for the wider public use through the PRADAN portal hosted by the ISSDC.
  • The ISRO Science Data Archive (ISDA) currently holds data sets acquired by Chandrayaan-2 payloads from September-2019 to February-2020 from seven instruments.
  • ISRO has stated that the Data sets from the Imaging Infra-Red Spectrometer (IIRS) payload will be added to this shortly, adding that this release has Level-0 and Level-1 basic data sets prepared using Planetary Data System (PDS) version 4 standards.

Third mission underway

  • The ISRO had planned the landing on the South Pole of the lunar surface. However, the lander Vikram hard-landed last year.
  • Its orbiter, which is still in the lunar orbit, has a mission life of seven years.
  • The ISRO has been working on the third mission with rover and lander, but further details about its schedule have not been finalized.

ENVIRONMENT

Ladakh’s Tso Kar Wetland Complex now a Wetland of International Importance

Context:

  • India now has forty-two Ramsar sites with the addition of Ladakh’s Tso Kar wetland.

Details about the lake

  • The Tso Kar Basin is a high-altitude wetland complex, consisting of two principal waterbodies, Startsapuk Tso, a freshwater lake and Tso Kar itself, a hyper saline lake, situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh, India.
  • It is called Tso Kar, meaning white lake, because of the white salt efflorescence found on the margins due to the evaporation of highly saline water.

A major habitat of avian species.

  • The Tso Kar Basin is an A1 Category Important Bird Area (IBA) as per BirdLife International and a key staging site in the Central Asian Flyway.
  • A1 category under IBA suggests that the site is known or thought regularly to hold significant numbers of a globally threatened species.
  • The site is also one of the most important breeding areas of the Black-necked Crane (Grus nigricollis) in India.
  • This IBA is also the major breeding area for Great Crested Grebe (Podicepscristatus), Bar-headed Geese (Anserindicus), Ruddy Shelduck (Tadornaferruginea), Brown-headed Gull (Larusbrunnicephalus), Lesser Sand-Plover (Charadriusmongolus) and many other species.

Ramsar wetland convention

  • The aim of the Ramsar list is “to develop and maintain an international network of wetlands which are important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life through the maintenance of their ecosystem components, processes and benefits”.

Significance of wetland

  • Wetlands provide a wide range of important resources and ecosystem services such as food, water, fibre, groundwater recharge, water purification, flood moderation, erosion control and climate regulation.
  • They are, a major source of water and our main supply of freshwater comes from an array of wetlands which help soak rainfall and recharge groundwater.

HEALTH

Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY SEHAT

Context:

PM Modi to launch the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) SEHAT scheme for the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

About the Scheme:

  1. SEHAT scheme stands for Social, Endeavour for Health and Telemedicine, a health insurance scheme for the Union Territory.
  2. The Scheme provides free of cost insurance cover to all the residents of the UT of J&K.
  3. It provides financial cover up to Rs.5 Lakh per family on a floater basis to all residents of the UT of J&K.
  4. It provides for an operational extension of PM-JAY to 15 lakh (approximately) additional families.

About PM- JAY:

  1. The PM-JAY, world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the government, provides a cover of Rs 500,000 per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation across public and private empanelled hospitals in India.
  2. The benefit of Rs 5,00,000 is on a family floater basis, which means that it can be used by one or all members of the family.
  3. It covers medical procedures such as oncology, cardiology, nephrology etc and up to three days of pre-hospitalisation and 15 days post-hospitalisation expenses such as diagnostics and medicines are also included in the scheme.

DEFENCE

MISSION SAGAR III

Context:

  • Indian Naval Ship Kiltam reached the shores of Vietnamese city as a part of Mission Sagar-III.

Details:

  • Mission Sagar’ was India’s initiative to deliver Covid-19 related assistance to the countries in the Indian Ocean Littoral States

Mission Sagar-III

  • Mission Sagar-III is being undertaken in accordance with Prime Minister’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region)
  • The mission reiterates India’s position as a dependable partner, and the Indian Navy as the Preferred Security Partner and First Responder.
  • The Mission also highlights the importance accorded to ASEAN countries and further strengthens the existing bonds.

India-Vietnam bilateral relationship.

  • India and Vietnam have a civilizational relationship that is over two millenniums old.
  • The bilateral relations have grown stronger in recent times due to the vibrant economic engagement and growing convergence on issues of common interests.
  • The bilateral relations were elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2016.

Mission Sagar-I

  • Indian Naval Ship Kesari delivered food and humanitarian aid.
  • It reached out to five Indian Ocean countries– Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros and Seychelles

Mission Sagar-II

  • Indian Naval Ship Airavat as part of ‘Mission Sagar-II’, delivered food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea.
  • The Government of India is providing assistance to friendly foreign countries to overcome natural calamities and COVID-19 pandemic.

MISCELLANEOUS

‘BBX11’ gene

  1. It is a gene that facilitates in the greening of plants by playing a crucial role in regulating the levels of protochlorophyllide — an intermediate in the biosynthesis of the green pigment chlorophyll.
  2. Identified recently by Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER).

Maharashtra to setup International Sports University

  1. Cabinet has approved a draft bill for the constitution of an international sports university in the state.
  2. It will be setup in Pune.
  3. The university will offer various courses, including physical and sports education, sports science and sports medicine, sports technology, sports governance, sports management, sports media and communication, and sports coaching and training.

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