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Daily Current Affairs – 27th Feb. 2021

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Daily Current Affairs

Given below are the daily current affairs for 27th Feb. 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.

POLITY AND GOVERNANCE

No postal ballots for NRIs this time: ECI

Context:

The Election Commission has said that postal ballots facility would not be extended to NRIs for the upcoming elections to the Assam, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Kerala and West Bengal Assemblies.

Background:

The Election Commission of India (ECI) had written to the Law Ministry on November 27, 2020 with the proposal of extending postal ballots to overseas electors.

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EC’s note was further referred to the Ministry of External Affairs. The MEA was of the opinion that a wider meeting of stakeholders should be held.

How the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System works?

  1. Under ETPBS, postal ballot is sent electronically to a service voter.
  2. The voter downloads it and uses a specific envelope to return it to the returning officer of his constituency.
  3. The postal ballot should reach the returning officer by 8 am on the day of the counting. Counting of votes begin with counting of postal ballots at 8 am.

Amendments:

To extend the voting facility to overseas voters, Government needs to only amend the Conduct of Election Rules 1961, and doesn’t require Parliament’s nod.

What is the current process of voting for Indian citizens living abroad?

  • Voting rights for NRIs were introduced only in 2011, through an amendment to the Representation of the People Act 1950.
  • An NRI can vote in the constituency in which her place of residence, as mentioned in the passport, is located.
  • She can only vote in person and will have to produce her passport in original at the polling station for establishing identity.

What is current strength of NRI voters?

According to a UN report of 2015, India’s diaspora population is the largest in the world at 16 million people.


ECONOMY

‘Domestic businesses need more govt. support’

Context:

Minister of External Affairs stressed the need for strong policies to foster and promote manufacturing in India and called for more governmental support for domestic businesses.

Details:

  • He stressed that it is the business of the government to support domestic businesses.
  • He pointed out that there existed a huge potential for manufacturing which had not been fostered by the right policies yet.
  • It was emphasised that lot more people-centric policies are needed at home.

Fifth Asia Economic Dialogue 2021:

  • Asia Economic Dialogue is a unique dialogue based in India where Asia gets together to talk trade, finance, and business opportunities.
  • It is the flagship geo economics conference of the MEA.
  • The Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) is jointly being convened by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and Pune International Centre (PIC).
  • The theme of the fifth edition of the AED, and the second one organised by PIC is “Post Covid-19 Global Trade and Finance Dynamics”.
  • The AED 2021 virtual conference will see participation from Foreign Ministers of Asian countries, senior government officials, officials from multilateral organisations and industry leaders.

India ‘out of recession’, GDP grows 0.4%

What’s in News?

As per the data from the National Statistical Office (NSO), India’s economy has resurfaced to growth territory in the third quarter of the fiscal year 2020-21, with a 0.4% rise in the GDP.

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  • As per revised data, GDP had shrunk in the first two quarters by 24.4% and 7.3% amid the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, marking a technical recession.
  • India’s farm sector remained resilient, with a 3.9% growth in Gross Value Added (GVA) to the economy in the third quarter, after recording a 3.3% and 3% rise in the first two quarters, respectively.
  • Services including trade, hotels, transport and communication remained in trouble, with GVA declining 7.7%.
  • The Finance Ministry said the resurgence in manufacturing and construction augured well for them to drive growth in FY22 and added that services, which account for more than 50% of India’s GVA and the biggest source for pushing consumption, had done remarkably better in Q3.

INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

India, China agree to establish new hotline

Why in News

Recently, India and China announced that both have agreed to establish a Hotline.

Key Points

  • Hotline:
    • The decision to install a Hotline between the two countries was taken over a telephonic meeting between India’s External Affairs Minister and China’s Foreign Affairs Minister.
      • Hotline is a direct telephone line in constant operational readiness so as to facilitate immediate communication.
    • The Hotline will be helpful in timely communication and exchange of views between the two countries.
  • India’s Stand:
    • Reiterated the ‘three mutuals’ (mutual respect, mutual sensitivity and mutual interests) as the approach to the relationship.
    • Disengagement, followed by de-escalation, will lead to peace along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), and eventually normalisation of ties.
  • China’s Stand:
    • The boundary situation should not be placed at the front and centre of the relationship, but instead at a “proper place” in overall ties.
    • The indication was the two sides should return to business as usual while the issue is dealt with.
  • Recent Developments:
    • May 2020: Chinese and Indian forces clashed at Nathu La, Sikkim (India).
      • After the Sikkim scuffles, tensions between the two countries rose in Ladakh, with a multi-place mobilization of troops.
    • June 2020: Indian and Chinese armies were engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh which became the heart of the recent LAC tensions.
    • June 2020: India banned 59 apps originating from China.
    • November 2020: India blocked 43 new mobile apps, mostly Chinese.
      • The ban has been enforced under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
    • February 2021: India and China decided to finally reach an agreement on disengagement at Pangong Lake.

Way Forward

  • It is imperative for the two sides to cherish the hard-won relaxation, and work together to consolidate the progress, keep up the consultation momentum, further ease the situation, and improve the border management and control mechanisms.
  • As two big emerging economies, China and India need to pursue development alongside each other, move forward in partnership instead of hindrance, and work together for shared progress rather than erecting walls against each other.
  • India and China also need to advance the boundary talks to build up mutual trust and realize peace and tranquility in the border areas.

India cannot abandon us, says Sri Lanka

Context:

Sri Lanka has sought India’s proactive support at the UN Human Rights Council, where a resolution on the country will be soon put to vote.

Details:

  • Pointing out that Sri Lanka would be very uncomfortable if countries in the region did not extend support in Geneva, the country’s Foreign Secretary expressed hope that India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh who are among members of the current Council will back Sri Lanka.
  • He expressed hope as the countries had similarities in battling COVID-19 and facing allegations of human rights violations.

Issue:

  • Tamil communities in the north and the eastern parts of Sri Lanka fear increasing abuses.
  • Tamil parties continue demanding full implementation of the 13th Amendment since the civil war ended in 2009.
  • Despite Tamil parties seeking greater power devolution within an undivided, indivisible Sri Lanka, their demands are viewed as leaning towards separatism.

Sri Lanka’s Dilemma:

  • The foreign secretary expressed concerns that while a developing country should be able to make decisions based on economics and needs, unfortunately, a country like Sri Lanka “is not free to make that decision”.
  • Sri Lanka’s foreign policy dilemma is that before making an economic decision, the strategic consideration of the powers in the Indian Ocean Region must be taken into account.
  • He asserted that they are determined to balance factors such as seeing how best it can maintain neutrality, maintaining friendly relations for economic purposes with all the countries, and keeping India’s strategic security concerns in mind.

India’s vote:

  • The appeal comes at a time when Indo-Lanka bilateral ties have come under strain, following a series of decisions taken by Colombo on development projects involving India and China.
  • It remains to be seen how India might vote on the Sri Lanka resolution.
  • The resolution draws from UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet’s damning report on Sri Lanka’s alarming path towards the recurrence of grave human rights violations.
    • Colombo has categorically rejected the report.

India and Pakistan agrees to observe “2003 Ceasefire agreement”

Context:

India and Pakistan have issued a joint statement to strictly observe the 2003 Ceasefire agreement along the Line of Control (LoC).

About the 2003 ceasefire agreement:

The ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2003, four years after the Kargil War.

On November 26, 2003 the ceasefire took effect along the entire stretch of the India-Pakistan frontier.

  • It facilitated the opening of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalkot routes, paving the way for bus and truck services linking the two Kashmirs for the first time in six decades and encouraging cross-LoC contacts, exchanges, travel, and trade.
  • The ceasefire also enabled India to complete the construction of a fence near the LoC to prevent Pakistan’s infiltration of terrorists into Kashmir, a project that it had begun a couple of decades earlier but had to suspend due to Pakistan’s artillery fire.

Will this ceasefire last?

This is not the first time that India and Pakistan have agreed to give peace a chance on the LoC to make the lives of civilians living along the line easy.

  • The 2003 ceasefire agreement remains a milestone as it brought peace along the LoC until 2006. Between 2003 and 2006, not a single bullet was fired by the jawans of India and Pakistan.
  • But since 2006, ceasefire violations became the norm with increasing frequency. Recent years have seen an increasing number of ceasefire violations despite an agreement reached in 2018 to adhere to the 2003 ceasefire agreement.

What’s the concern?

This puts a question mark on how long the fresh commitment to ceasefire along the LoC can hold especially with summers approaching. As a matter of annual routine, terror infiltration bids from Pakistan increase as summer begins in the Kashmir Valley. Melting of ice on the high mountains offers Pakistan an opportunity to foment terrorism in the Valley.


MISCELLANEOUS

INS Utkrosh

  • INS Utkrosh is an Indian naval air station under the joint-services Andaman and Nicobar Command of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • It is located near naval base INS Jarawa, on Port Blair in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • It is the first naval air station in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • It was transferred from the Directorate General of Civil Aviation to the Indian Navy in 1984.
  • It was initially commissioned as INS Jarawa II and in 1985, it was formally commissioned as INS Utkrosh.
  • This station operates the Do-228 maritime patrol aircraft and a SAR (Search & Rescue) flight of HAL Chetak helicopters. The station also handles courier flights from the mainland, and civil flights to and from Port Blair.
  • Its location makes it an important strategic station for protecting India’s maritime interests in the Bay of Bengal. It also serves as an important facility for undertaking humanitarian operations, such as disaster relief and evacuation of medical emergencies from the remote islands.

Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021

Context:

Union Minister inaugurates Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021.

About Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021:

  • The Saras Aajeevika Mela 2021 is being organised at Noida Haat by the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • More than 300 rural self-help groups and craftsman from 27 states are participating in the Mela.
  • Stalls showcasing regional cuisines and cultural performances are being organised at the Mela (fair).
  • During the Mela, workshops on product packaging and design, communication skills, social media publicity and Business 2 Business marketing will be organised to educate the rural self-help groups and craftsman.
  • Through participation in SARAS Aajeevika Mela, these rural SHG women get vital national level exposure to understand the demand and taste of urban customers.

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