Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 22nd September-2020

 

1)Neutrino Observatory in the country:

Union Minister said in Lok Sabha today that Government has a proposal to set up Neutrino Observatory in the country.

India based Neutrino observatory (INO) will observe neutrinos produced in the atmosphere of the Earth.

This observation will tell us more about the properties of neutrino particles, whose main source is the Sun and the Earth’s atmosphere.

The neutrino detector will be a magnetized iron calorimeter, which will be the heaviest one made by any country.

The site identified is in Bodi West Hills, in Theni district, Tamil Nadu.

About Indian Neutrino Observatory:

The India-based Neutrino Observatory (INO) Project is a multi-institutional effort aimed at building a world-class underground laboratory with a rock cover of approx. 1200 m for non-accelerator based high energy and nuclear physics research in India.

The project is jointly funded by Dept. of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Dept. of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India.

The project includes:

Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface in Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.

Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos.

The initial goal of INO is to study neutrinos. Neutrinos are fundamental particles belonging to the lepton family.

They come in three flavours, one associated with electrons and the others with their heavier cousins the muon and the Tau.

However recent experiments indicate that these charge-neutral fundamental particles, have finite but small mass which is unknown.

The project includes:

  • Construction of an underground laboratory and associated surface facilities at Bodi West hills of Theni District of Tamil Nadu.
  • Construction of an Iron Calorimeter (ICAL) detector for studying neutrinos,
  • Setting up of an Inter Institutional Centre for High Energy Physics (IICHEP) at Madurai, for the operation and maintenance of the underground laboratory, human resource development and detector R&D along with its applications.

The prime focus of this experiment is to explore the Earth’s matter effect by observing the energy and zenith angle dependence of the atmospheric neutrinos in the multi-GeV range.

 

 

2) Parliament must not abridge right of MPs:

Context: Rajya Sabha chairman’s refusal to conduct division of votes on two controversial pieces of legislation despite demands from members

  • The bill in question have been challenged on constitutional and practical grounds
  • The Rules of procedure regarding voting are unambiguous that is a voice vote is challenged.
  • Vote shall be taken by operating the Automatic vote recorder or by the members going into the lobbies
  • Even if a single member demands a division it is required to be carried out
  • Quite often a division of vote is demanded when the outcome is predictable in order to bring on record the positions of parties and members on a particular bill

Reason for not conducting voting:

  • Members were not demanding a division from their seats and the house was not in order is disingenuous
  • To begin with the disorder was triggered by the chairs refusal to order a division of vote
  • In any case regardless of which side has the majority procedure is sacrosanct and voting is the foremost tool of establishing parliamentary authority
  • It cannot be reduced to an act of benevolence why the chair of the executive

Parliament is a deliberative Forum and not a theatre for protest demonstration, the opposition should adhered to decorum while articulating its concerns.

The meaning of parliamentary discussions have become infrequent and the voice of opposition is often ignored

The denial of division of votes was a new low in parliamentary history

 

3) India-China conversations:

Context: The ground situation in Eastern Ladakh and China trying to change the status quo and take control of areas on South Bank of Pangong Tso

  • China was attempting to unilaterally change the status quo and India claims that while India wanted to peacefully resolve the ongoing military confrontation, it was prepared to deal with any situation
  • China immediately said that India is violating existing border agreements and alleging that India bore responsibility for recent situation

Outcomes from all meetings:

  • On the sidelines of Russia, India and China trilateral meeting in Moscow the Indian and Chinese ministers met to sort out matters
  • This situation called for a deep conversation between two sides at political level.
  • The 5 point consensus limited itself to urging the two sides to take guidance from the consensus of their leaders on developing India China relations not allowing differences to become disputes
  • Remaining points were confined to urging both sides abide by all the existing agreements and protocol on China India boundary and maintain peace and tranquility
  • And called for the continuous of meetings of the working mechanism for consultation and coordination on India China border Affairs.
  • But the major issue of restoring the status quo and maintenance of peace at the border were shelved
  • Neither the joint statement nor the respective notes issued subsequently, specifically or obliquely mentioned a return to the status quo or positions prior to the standoff

Confirmation of wide divergence in views existing between two sides were to be found in the contents of the separate notes circulated by the two sides following the meeting

China’s strategy:

  • China claimed that the Indian side does not considered relations to be dependent on the settlement of the boundary question
  • It is evident that for China despite all that has happened and the ongoing tensions it was business as usual ignoring the huge trust deficit that existed between two countries
  • For Sun Tzu, strategic positioning is critical to obtain a strategic advantage
  • All warfare according to Sun Tzu is based on deception and deceiving the opponent
  • While Kautilya emphasizes the significance of both power and morality, Sun Tzu seeks to subdue the enemy without fighting and restoring to attacking the enemy strategy as the best option
  • For generations China’s leaders have imbibed and adhered to Sun Tzu’s maxims
  • Driven by the notion of community with a shared future of mankind, Mr. Xi’s and Chinese intent today is to achieve great power status and still more to ensure acknowledgement of its status by other countries, unstated but obvious is that countries such as India should accommodate China’s rise and not pose a challenge to it
  • Increasing Resort to confrontational politics in substance as well as in style aggravates the situation further
    India’s strategy:
  • India needs a carefully drawn-up plan as also an effective strategy to Deny Beijing its immediate objectives, including its determination to establish regional dominance
  • India must be prepared militarily and otherwise to keep a check on China’s ambitions
  • India also needs to take care to see that China does not exploit the present pandemic to deepen its influence in India’s neighborhood as this is evident from the reports of China’s plans to provide access to China’s coronavirus vaccine to several countries of Asia and Africa

 

4) Right to protest- a fundamental right or not:

Context: People protested in Shan Bagh case, though the protest was peaceful, the way people gathered was causing traffic concerns and police has to step in to balancing the right to public movement and resolve traffic concerns.

  • The right to protest may be a manifestation of the right to freedom of assembly, right to freedom of association, and right to freedom of speech.
  • In a landmark judgment of the case of Maneka Gandhi VS Union of India the supreme court held that the freedom of speech and expression has no Geographic limitation and it carries with it the right of a citizen to gather information and to exchange thought with others not only in India but abroad also

But none of our fundamental right is absolute right

Clause 2 of article 19 of the Indian Constitution enables the legislature to impose certain restrictions on free speech under the following heads

  • Security of the state
  • Friendly relations with foreign States
  • Public order
  • Decency and morality
  • Contempt of court
  • Defamation
  • Incitement to an offence
  • Sovereignty and integrity of India

 

5) PM-AASHA Scheme:

Pradhan Mantri Annadata Aay SanraksHan Abhiyan’ (PM-AASHA) is an umbrella scheme to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) to farmers.

  • It comprises the erstwhile Price Support Scheme (PSS) with certain modifications and rolling out of new schemes of Price Deficiency Payment Scheme (PDPS) and pilot of Private Procurement and Stockist Scheme (PPSS).
  • Under PM-AASHA, States/UTs are offered to choose both PSS and PDPS in a given procurement season with respect to particular oilseeds crop for the entire State.
  • Pulses and Copra are procured under PSS.
  • Only one scheme i.e. PSS or PDPS may be made operational in one State with respect to one commodity.
  • Further, states have the option to roll out PPSS on pilot basis in district/selected APMCs of district involving the participation of private stockist for oilseeds.
  • Further, wheat paddy and coarse grains are procured under the existing schemes of Department of Food and Public Distribution and Cotton is procured under the existing schemes of Ministry of Textiles.
  • It is helping farmers in getting increased MSP which provides adequate returns over the cost of production

 

6) Cultivation of Oranges:

Major states involved in Orange production are Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented w.e.f. 2014-15, for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew and cocoa. All States and UTs are covered under MIDH.

The Mission envisages production and productivity improvement of horticulture crops including fruits and vegetables through various interventions.

Under MIDH, assistance is provided for activities such as production of planting material, vegetable seed production, coverage of area with improved cultivars, rejuvenation of senile orchards, protected cultivation, creation of water resources, adoption of Integrated Pest

Management (IPM), Integrated Nutrient Management (INM), organic farming, including insitu generation of organic inputs are taken up for development of fruits and vegetables.

Capacity buildings of farmers and technicians are also provided for adopting improved technologies.

 

7) Minimum Support Price Policy:

Government fixes Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for 22 mandated agricultural crops on the basis of the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs & Prices (CACP)

While recommending MSP, CACP considers various factors viz. cost of production, overall demand-supply situations of various crops in domestic and world markets, domestic and international prices, inter-crop price parity, terms of trade between agriculture and non-agriculture sector, likely effect of price policy on rest of economy and a minimum of 50 percent as the margin over cost of production.

The Union Budget for 2018-19 had announced the pre-determined principle to keep MSP at levels of one and half times of the cost of production.

  •  Accordingly, Government has increased the MSPs for all mandated Kharif, Rabi and other commercial crops with a return of atleast 50 per cent overall India weighted average cost of production for the agricultural year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
  • In line with the same principle, Government has recently (1st June 2020) announced the increase in MSP for all mandated kharif crops for marketing season 2020-21.
  • MSP is determined for the country as a whole and not region or state-specific.
  • The 22 mandated crops, for which MSP is being announced by the government for the last three years, include 14 Kharif crops viz. paddy (Common and Grade ‘A’), jowar (Hybrid and Maldandi varieties), bajra, maize, ragi, arhar, moong, urad, groundnut, soyabean, sunflower, sesamum, nigerseed, cotton (medium staple and long staple variety)
  • 6 Rabi crops viz. wheat, barley, gram, masur (lentil), rapeseed & mustard, safflower and two commercial crops viz. jute and copra (milling and ball copra).

In addition, MSP for toria and de-husked coconut are also fixed on the basis of MSPs of rapeseed & mustard and copra respectively.

 

8) Increasing Farmers’ Income:

The Government constituted an Inter-ministerial Committee in April, 2016 to examine issues relating to “Doubling of Farmers Income” and recommend strategies to achieve the same.

The Committee submitted its Report to the Government in September, 2018 containing the strategy for doubling of farmers’ income by the year 2022.

The DFI strategy as recommended by the Committee include seven sources of income growth

  • Improvement in crop productivity
  • Improvement in livestock productivity
  • Resource use efficiency or savings in the cost of production
  • Increase in the cropping intensity
  • Diversification towards high value crops
  • Improvement in real prices received by farmers
  • Shift from farm to non-farm occupations.

After acceptance of the DFI Committee recommendations, the Government has constituted an ‘Empowered Body’ to review and monitor the progress.

Agriculture being a State subject, the State Governments undertake implementation of programs/schemes for the development of the sector.

These schemes/ programs of the Government of India are meant for the welfare of farmers by increasing production, remunerative returns and income support to farmers.

Central Institute for Arid Horticulture (CIAH) under ICAR encourages planting of date palm in dry parts of the country where irrigation facilities are available for successful cultivation of date palm and impart training to farmers on production technologies of date palm, pollination and packaging etc. in selected districts of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana and Tamil Nadu.

 

9) Unchecked Digital media:

Context: Centre tells Supreme Court that the unchecked digital media are capable of spreading venomous hatred, terror and violence

The Centre said that it is need of the Hour that the court start first with web based digital media regulation

The web-based digital media includes-

  • Web magazines
  • Web based news channels
  • Web-based newspapers

 

10) Cyanobacteria:

Context: toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 elephants in Botswana

  • Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms in water and sometimes found in soil
  • Not all produce toxins but they are occurring frequently as climate change drives up Global temperatures
  • Some problems can harm people and animals
  • These bacteria prefer warmer temperatures
  • Southern Africa temperatures are rising at twice the Global average according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which allows the bacterial species to proliferate

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