Given below are the daily current affairs for 16th March 2021. You can take the daily current affairs quiz here for free.
- POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
- INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
Centre likely to allow residents to fill their NPR details online
What’s in News?
The Centre will allow residents to fill the National Population Register (NPR) form on their own, through the online mode, a month before the door-to-door enumeration by Census officials starts.
National Population Register
- National Population Register is a register of the usual residents of the country.
- NPR is different from both the decennial census and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
- The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.
- It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
- The decision exempts the state of Assam from NPR-2020.
- For the purpose of the NPR, a usual resident is defined as a person who has resided in a local area for six months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next six months or more.
- The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.
- It will be the next round of recording biometric and family tree details of Indian citizens.
- The NPR earlier collated in 2010 and 2015 has an electronic database of more than 119 crore residents.
- It is prepared at the local (village and sub-town), sub-district, district, state and national levels under provisions of the Citizenship Act, 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- The NPR’s link with the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), 2019, has been opposed by many states and civil society groups.
- The Citizenship Rules framed in the year 2003 say that the NPR is the first step towards the compilation of the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), or the NRC.
- The CAA passed by the Parliament in 2019, allows citizenship on the basis of religion to six undocumented communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, who entered India on or before December 31, 2014.
- Though the government has denied that the CAA and the NRC are linked, there are apprehensions that the CAA followed by a countrywide NRC, will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the proposed citizens’ register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship.
Centre reconstitutes panel on mythical Sarasvati river
The Centre has reconstituted an advisory committee to chalk out a plan for studying the mythical Sarasvati river, after the earlier panel’s term ended in 2019.
- The ASI had first set up the committee on December 28, 2017 for a period of two years.
- The committee would continue to be chaired by the Culture Minister.
- It includes officials from the Culture, Tourism, Water Resources, Environment and Forest, Housing and Urban Affairs Ministries; representatives of the Indian Space Research Organisation; officials from the governments of Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan; and an ASI official.
- There is a 27-member panel among the “non-official members”.
River Saraswati – the mystery
- Scientists, geologists as well as scholars have identified the Saraswati with many present-day defunct rivers.
- The river originated from the Har-Ki-Dun glacier in Garhwal (Uttarakhand).
- Saraswati river flowed through Haryana, Rajasthan and the northern part of Gujarat.
- According to experts who have studied the map of underground channels, it also flowed through Pakistan before meeting the Western Sea through Rann of Kutch and was approximately 4,000 km in length.
- The report by the panel said:
- The Himalayan-born Satluj “of the PAST”, which flowed through the channels of present-day Ghaggar-Patialiwali rivulets, represents the western branch of the ancient river.
- On the other hand, it said, Markanda and Sarsuti represented the western branch of Saraswati, known as Tons-Yamuna.
- The confluence of the branches was near Shatrana, 25 km south of Patiala. And suddenly, it flows crossing the desert (Rann of Kutch) and meets the gulf of the western sea.
China, N. Korea threats loom as Blinken, Austin head to Asia
Biden administration’s first Cabinet-level trip abroad as part of a larger effort to bolster U.S. influence in Asia.
- Threats from China and North Korea have a significant influence on the Biden administration’s trip that among other things, aims to calm concerns about America’s role in Asia.
- As part of that effort and to reduce the risks of escalation, efforts had been made to connect with the North Koreans since February 2021, including through what is known as the “New York channel.”
- However, there has been no response from North Korea.
- Consultations with North Korea’s neighbours, Japan, South Korea and China are all the more significant for America, as it has not received any response from the reclusive country.
- Biden has signalled his desire to return the Asia-Pacific to the top of the U.S. foreign policy agenda. This is in line with his broader diplomatic theme “America is back”.
- The new administration is trying to strengthen partnerships with the two key regional allies, Japan and South Korea.
- Relationships with both countries were transactional and often temperamental under the Trump administration.
- The U.S. and South Korean negotiators have overcome years of contentious discussions under Mr. Trump to reach a tentative deal on paying for the American troop presence in South Korea.
- Recently America took part in the Quad virtual leadership summit. It pledged to keep stability in the region at the core of its international initiatives.
Uzbek troops train on Sig Sauer rifles
What’s in News?
India-Uzbek joint exercise Dustlik-II commenced at Ranikhet (Uttarakhand).
- At Dustlik-II, Uzbek troops learnt the handling of SIG-716 assault rifles, recently inducted into service by the Army and also got orientation in slithering from helicopters for heli-borne operations in a counter-terrorist environment.
- It is named after Dustlik, a town in the Jizzakh region of Uzbekistan.
- This is the Second Edition of the annual bilateral joint exercise of both armies.
- The first edition was held in Uzbekistan in 2019.
- Uzbekistan is important to India for security and connectivity to the Central Asian region and Iran.
- Good relations with Uzbekistan is important for India’s security, connectivity and counter-terrorism efforts, in the backdrop of growing Chinese presence in the region.
Project RE-HAB (Reducing Elephant-Human Attacks using Bees)
- It is an initiative of the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
- It is a sub-mission under KVIC’s National Honey Mission.
- It intends to create “bee fences” to thwart elephant attacks in human habitations using honeybees.
- The pilot project has been launched in Kodagu, Karnataka.
- It entails installing bee boxes along the periphery of the forest and the villages with the belief that the elephants will not venture anywhere close to the bees and thus avoid transgressing into human landscape. This idea stems from the elephants’ proven fear of the bees.
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