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Daily Current Affairs – 11th Feb. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 11th Feb. 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

RS passes ports Bill despite opposition

Context:

The Rajya Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020. The bill will now go to the President of India for his assent.

Salient features of the Major Port Authorities Bill 2020:

  • The new Bill has proposed a simplified composition of the Board of Port Authority which will comprise 11 to 13 Members from the present 17 to 19 Members representing various interests.
  • The Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) has been redefined.
    • Port Authority has been given powers to fix tariff which will act as a reference tariff for purposes of bidding for PPP projects.
    • PPP operators will be free to fix tariff based on market conditions.
    • The Board of Port Authority has been delegated the power to fix the scale of rates for other port services and assets including land.
  • An Adjudicatory Board has been proposed to be created to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP for Major Ports.
  • The Board of each Major Port shall be entitled to create a specific master plan in respect of any development or infrastructure.
  • Provisions of CSR & development of infrastructure by Port Authority have been introduced.

Significance:

  • The bill aims to promote the expansion of port infrastructure and facilitate trade and commerce.
  • It aims at decentralizing decision making and to infuse professionalism in the governance of major ports.
  • It imparts faster and transparent decision making benefiting the stakeholders and better project execution capability.
  • It is aimed at reorienting the governance model in central ports to the landlord port model in line with the successful global practice.
    • This will also help in bringing transparency in operations of Major Ports.
    • This will empower the Major Ports to perform with greater efficiency on account of full autonomy in decision making and by modernizing the institutional framework of Major Ports.

BJP MP issues breach of privilege notice against Mahua Moitra

What’s in News?

Former Union Minister and BJP MP P.P. Chaudhary issued a breach of privilege notice against Trinamool Congress MP Mahua Moitra in the Lok Sabha.

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  • The breach of privilege notice was issued for her remarks against a former Chief Justice of India.
  • The question was whether the conduct of a judge can be discussed on the floor of the House or not.

Breach of Privilege:

  • When any person or authority disregards or attacks any of the rights, immunities and privileges, either of the Members individually or of the House in its collective capacity, the offence is called a breach of privileges and is punishable by the House.
  • Apart from breaches of specific privileges, actions in the form of offences against the House’s authority or dignity, such as disobedience to its legitimate orders or libels upon itself, its members or officers, are also punishable as contempt of the House.

Punishment for breach of privilege:

The House may impose one of the following punishments on a person found guilty of breach of privilege or contempt of the House:

  1. Admonition or reprimand
  2. Suspension from the House
  3. Expulsion from the House

The penal powers of the House for breach of privilege or contempt of the House are, however, exercised only in an extreme case where a deliberate attempt is made to bring the institution of Parliament into disrespect and undermine public confidence in and support of Parliament.

One Nation One Ration Card System Reform

Context:

Rajasthan becomes the 12th State to complete One Nation One Ration Card system reform.

Details:

  • Rajasthan has become the 12th State in the country to successfully undertake “One Nation One Ration Card system” reform stipulated by the Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance.
  • Thus, the State has become eligible to mobilise additional financial resources of Rs. 2,731 crore through Open Market Borrowings.
  • Rajasthan has now joined 11 other states namely, Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh, that have completed this reform.

Background:

  • One Nation One Ration Card System is an important citizen centric reform.
  • Its implementation ensures availability of ration to beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and other welfare schemes, especially the migrant workers and their families, at any Fair Price Shop (FPS) across the country.
  • The reform especially empowers the migratory population, mostly labourers, daily wagers, urban poor like rag pickers, street dwellers, temporary workers in organised and unorganised sectors, domestic workers, etc. who frequently change their place of dwelling to be self-reliant in food security.
  • The reform also enables the States in better targeting of beneficiaries, elimination of bogus/duplicate/ineligible card holders resulting in enhanced welfare and reduced leakage.
  • Further, to ensure seamless inter-state portability of a ration card, Aadhar seeding of all ration cards as well as biometric authentication of beneficiaries through automation of all Fair Price Shops (FPSs) with installation of electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices are essential.
  • To meet the challenges posed by the pandemic, GOI had enhanced the borrowing limit of the states by 2 percent of their GSDP.
  • Half of this special dispensation was linked to undertaking citizen-centric reforms by the states.
  • The four citizen-centric areas for reforms identified were:
    • Implementation of One Nation One Ration Card System (done by 12 states)
    • Ease of doing business reform (done by 12 states)
    • Urban Local body/utility reforms (done by 5 states)
    • Power sector reforms (done by 2 states)

DISASTER MANAGEMENT

Furnace oil from Titanium factory spills into sea

Context:

A glass furnace pipe of Travancore Titanium Products Ltd (TTP), a public sector unit making titanium dioxide, broke leading to a major oil spill into the sea and parts of coastal area in Thiruvananthapuram.

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Oil Spill:

The contamination of seawater due to an oil pour, as a result of an accident, human error, or natural calamity, is termed as an oil spill.

Details:

  • Roughly 5,000 litres of oil is spilt in the sea and coastal area.
  • It has contaminated the beach and coastal waters.
  • The thick oil has mixed with the sea sand and sedimented at the coast.

Threats:

  • An oil leak could have a prolonged impact on marine resources, and consequently, on the livelihood of the fishing community.
  • Tourism could also be affected.

Measures taken:

  • The leak has been promptly plugged.
  • An emergency clean-up was launched along the coast to mitigate the fallout of furnace oil leak.
  • Fishing activities along these regions are banned.
  • Sand sediments are being removed from the coast. The top soil along the affected stretch of coast would also be removed.
  • The Coast Guard is closely monitoring the situation using a ship and a Dornier aircraft.

How is oil spill controlled in general?

  • Skimmers: Once the oil is bounded by oil booms, it can be extracted or skimmed easily with the help of skimmers or oil scoops. These skimmers are fitted onto boats to remove the floating oil or greasy contaminants.
    • Booms are temporary floating barriers used to contain marine spills, protect the environment, and assist in recovery.
  • Sorbents: Materials that can absorb liquids are termed as sorbents. The use of sorbents is a natural process of oil clean-up. The most common types of sorbents are peat moss, vermiculite (straw), and hay.
  • In situ burning: is the process of burning spilled oil where it is on the ocean. Any burn operation includes careful air monitoring to ensure smoke or residue resulting from the burn do not adversely impact people or wildlife.
  • Dispersion: Chemical dispersion is achieved by applying chemicals designed to remove oil from the water surface by breaking the oil into small droplets.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

India is an important partner in the Indo-Pacific region, says U.S.

Context:

Describing India as one of the most important partners of the U.S. in the Indo-Pacific region, the Joe Biden administration said it welcomes India’s emergence as a leading global power.

Details:

  • The U.S has welcomed India joining the Security Council for a two-year term.
  • Both India and the U.S are looking forward to expanded regional cooperation, including through the Quad, and to address the challenges related to COVID-19 and climate change.
  • Also, both the countries have reaffirmed the strength of the U.S.-India partnership and discussed issues of mutual concern, including the situation in Myanmar.
  • The U.S state department spokesperson said, “the U.S remains India’s largest and most important trading partner, with the total bilateral trade increasing to $146 billion in 2019. U.S. companies are a large source of India’s foreign direct investment”.

MISCELLANEOUS

SC orders status quo on INS Viraat dismantling

What’s in News?

The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on the dismantling of the Navy’s decommissioned aircraft carrier, INS Viraat.

  • The 67-year-old ship served the Navy for about three decades.

Issue:

  • The warship is currently awaiting dismantling at the ship-breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat.
  • Envitech had earlier approached the Bombay High Court with a request to buy the decommissioned Viraat so that it could be converted into a maritime museum and a multifunctional adventure centre.
  • In the High Court, the Centre had said that the ship was sold to the Gujarat-based Shree Ram Group, a ship-breaking firm, which won the bid.
  • The petitioners have argued that Viraat should not be sold as scrap.

World Sustainable Development Summit 2021

Context:

PM inaugurates World Sustainable Development Summit 2021.

About the Summit:

  • The World Sustainable Development Summit (WSDS) is the annual flagship event of The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI).
  • Started in 2001, the Summit has become a focal point for leaders and stakeholders across the world to bridge thought and action for sustainable development.
  • The Summit series has emerged as the premier international event on sustainability which focusses on the global future, but with an eye on the actions in the developing world which could bend our common future.
  • The Summit series brings together governments, business leaders, academicians, climate scientists, youth, and the civil society in the fight against climate change.
  • The WSDS 2021 is being held online with the theme, “Redefining our common future: Safe and secure environment for all”.

About TERI:

  • TERI is a leading think tank dedicated to conducting research for the sustainable development of India and the Global South.
  • TERI was established in 1974 as an information Centre on energy issues. However, over the following decades, it made a mark as a research institute, whose policy and technology solutions transformed people’s lives and the environment.
  • It is located in New Delhi.

TROPEX 21

Context:

TROPEX 21 which commenced in January is underway.

About TROPEX:

  • TROPEX (Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise) is Indian Navy’s largest exercise.
  • It sees participation from all operational units of the Navy including ships, submarines, aircraft as well as units of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and the Coast Guard.
  • The exercise is being conducted over a vast geographical expanse in the Indian Ocean Region including its adjunct waters and is aimed at testing combat readiness of the Navy in a complex multi-dimensional scenario set in the context of the current geo strategic environment.
  • The Theatre Level exercise also aims to validate Navy’s offensive-defence capabilities, safeguard national interests in the maritime domain and promote stability and peace in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • The month-long drill will witness distinct phases that will also test the Navy’s transition from peace time to hostilities.
    • In the first phase, the Indian Navy had conducted coastal defence exercise ‘Sea Vigil’ along the entire coastline and Island territories of India.
    • Exercise Sea Vigil was followed by a large-scale Tri-Service joint amphibious exercise AMPHEX-21, which was conducted in the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands.
    • The latest phase was the ‘Weapon Workup Phase’ which saw multiple ‘on-target’ ordnance deliveries including missiles, torpedoes and rockets from frontline warships, aircraft and submarines. It demonstrated the lethal firepower of the Indian Navy and reaffirmed the Navy’s capability to carry out long range maritime strikes in the Indian Ocean Region.

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