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Daily Current Affairs – 10th Feb. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 10th Feb. 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

‘Lokpal panel minutes need not be disclosed’

Context:

The Centre has refused to disclose the minutes of the Lokpal selection committee’s meetings. And its decision has now been upheld by the Central Information Commission (CIC).

Details:

  • A CIC hearing was held in January 2021, more than two years after the RTI query was filed.
  • The Department of Personnel and Training argued that “the confidentiality of the said record can be gauged by the fact that the averred minutes of the Selection Committee were received in a sealed cover.”
  • It invoked the exemption clause in Section 8(1)(e) of the RTI Act, claiming that the documents authored by third parties under reference are held in a fiduciary capacity by the Department of Personnel and Training.
  • Central Information Commissioner upheld the Centre’s stance, citing two Supreme Court cases related to a Lokpal search committee and the committees for selecting Information Commissioners.

Issue:

  • Right to Information (RTI) activists intend to appeal against the CIC’s order in court, pointing out the irony that the Lokpal itself is a body meant to augment transparency in governance.
  • The activist pointed out that there has been no prior judgment that the recommendations of public officials are fiduciary in nature.
  • It is argued that the larger public has a right to know about the basis on which their Lokpal or Lokayukta was selected.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

Poland pitches for PM’s visit to Warsaw

Context:

Poland is pitching for the Indian Prime Minister’s visit to Warsaw.

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Details:

  • India’s Prime Minister’s first trip abroad after the pandemic is scheduled for Bangladesh.
  • He has accepted invitations to Brussels for the European Union-India Summit and to Cornwall, United Kingdom to attend the G-7 grouping where India is a special invitee.
  • The top of the agenda for the Prime Minister’s visit this year will be to salvage free trade negotiations for the EU-India Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreement (BTIA).
    • The talks on BTIA were suspended in 2014 over a number of issues including market access for automobiles, dairy products, wines and the movement of professionals.
  • Poland is also negotiating with India for a travel bubble arrangement to resume direct flights which have been suspended for nearly a year due to COVID regulations.
    • The last visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Poland happened more than forty years ago.
    • The last visit of a Polish President to India happened more than 20 years ago.

Air Travel Bubble Agreement:

  • Air Bubble agreement is a term coined during COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It means that airlines of both countries in an arrangement will be permitted to fly passengers both ways.
  • Under this arrangement, a system is established between two nations that perceive each other to be safe and allow carriers of both the countries to fly passengers either way without any restrictions.

MISCELLANEOUS

Bengaluru scientists develop a new marigold variety

What’s in News?

A new variety of marigold has been developed by the scientists of the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR).

  • The new variety of marigold will fetch money even if they get spoilt as it can be used for extraction of crude carotene.
  • All marigolds have a carotene content of up to 1.4%.
    • However, the Arka Shubha variety of marigold has a carotene content of 2.8%, (highest content from a plant source).

Carotene:

  • Carotene is an orange or red plant pigment found in carrots and many other plant structures.
  • Carotene is necessary for the production of vitamin A in man.
  • Crude carotene is mainly used in the pharmaceutical sector.
  • There is always a high demand for carotene in the pharma sector.
  • Presently, India imports most of its carotene from China and other countries.

Sessa Orchid Sanctuary

  • Located in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • Notified in November 1989 under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • The Sanctuary is a natural home to more than 236 species of orchids, as well as a wealthy diversity of mushrooms and other medicinal plants.
  • It is the only one of its kind in the country, where these flowering plants grow wild.

Sadiya earthquake

  • Scientists have found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, documented by historians as Sadiya earthquake.
  • Sadiya earthquake is recorded to have caused massive destruction in the region and almost destroyed the town in 1697 CE.
  • This finding could contribute to a seismic hazard map of the eastern Himalaya, which can facilitate construction and planning in the region.

Shahtoot dam

Context:

Signing ceremony of MoU for the construction of the Lalandar “Shatoot” Dam in Afghanistan.

Key Points:

  • The project is a part of the New Development Partnership between India and Afghanistan.
  • The dam would come upon the Maidan river tributary of Kabul river.
  • This is the second major dam being built by India in Afghanistan, after the India – Afghanistan Friendship Dam [Salma Dam], which was inaugurated in June 2016.

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