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Daily Current Affairs 23rd September -2021

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 23rd September -2021

Daily Current Affairs 23rd September -2021

 

Topics

  • Govt amends ammonium nitrate rules
  • Breach of the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act
  • 45th GST Council Meeting
  • Lavender or Purple Revolution & Floriculture Mission
  • International Blue Flag Certification

 

 

1.Govt amends ammonium nitrate rules

#GS3-Government Policies &Interventions, DisasterManagement, Agricultural Pricing

 

Context

  • Recently, the government amended the rules for Ammonium Nitrate in order to reduce pilferage, introduce fire-fighting provisions, and improve how the chemical is handled and stored.
  • These rules have been modified as a result of the lessons learned from the Beirut Explosion in 2020. For six years, nearly 3,000 tonnes of ammonium nitrate were stored at Beirut’s port before being detonated in 2020, causing death and destruction.

In more detail:

About Ammonium Nitrate:

  • Ammonium Nitrate (NH4NO3) is a nitrogen-rich, white, crystalline chemical that is soluble in water.

Uses:

  • It is a common chemical component of agricultural fertilisers.
  • It is a component in the manufacture of anaesthetic gases and cold packs.
  • It is also a key component in the production of commercial explosives used in mining and construction.

As an Explosive:

  • It is the primary component of the explosive mixture known as ANFO- Ammonium Nitrate Fuel Oil.
  • Pure ammonium nitrate is not an explosive in and of itself. Ammonium nitrate requires a primary explosive or detonator, such as RDX or TNT, to be explosive.
  • The main explosive in many improvised explosive devices (IEDs) used by terrorists around the world is ANFO.
  • Ammonium nitrate in storage is a fire hazard and can explode in two ways.
  • It could come into contact with an explosive mixture.
  • Heat may be generated as a result of the oxidation process on a large scale, resulting in a fire and then an explosion. This appears to be the most likely cause of the incident at Beirut Port.

Concerning the New Rules:

  • Ammonium nitrate must be transferred to storage houses 500 metres beyond the port area, according to the rules.
  • The rules also allow for the auctioning of seized lots of ammonium nitrate to ensure safe and timely disposal, in addition to requiring that Ammonium Nitrate be imported only in bagged form.
  • The amendments include provisions for adequate fire-fighting facilities in storage and handling areas, as well as improvements to storage and handling area flooring.
  • This will reduce the handling of loose chemicals at the port, improving safety.

Regulations:

  • Global: According to the United Nations classification of dangerous goods, it has an oxidising content (Grade 5.1).
  • The United Nations Committee of Experts on the Transport of Dangerous Goods classifies dangerous goods into nine categories, such as explosive materials, flammable liquids, easily oxidising contents, and so on.

India:

  • The Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 govern the manufacture, conversion, bagging, import, export, transport, possession for sale or use of ammonium nitrate in India.
  • The Explosives Act of 1884 defines ammonium nitrate as a “compound with the formula NH4NO3 including any mixture or compound containing more than 45 percent ammonium nitrate by weight including emulsions, suspensions, melts, or gels but excluding emulsion or slurry explosives and non explosive emulsion matrix and fertilisers from which the ammonium nitrate cannot be separated.”
  • In India, it is illegal to store large amounts of ammonium nitrate in populated areas.
  • Under the Industrial Development and Regulation Act of 1951, an industrial licence is required for the manufacture of ammonium nitrate.
  • A licence under the Ammonium Nitrate Rules, 2012 is also required for any activity related to ammonium nitrate.

 

 

2.Breach of the Constitution and the Representation of People’s Act

#GS2-Salient features of the Representation of People’s Act.

 

Context:

  • The Delhi High Court has summoned the Centre, the Delhi government, and the Election Commission to respond to a petition seeking the Aam Aadmi Party’s de-recognition for organising a Ganesh Chaturthi event with public funds.

In more detail:

What exactly is the problem?

  • The petitioner has requested that the AAP be deregistered as a political party and that CM Arvind Kejriwal and other ministers be removed from constitutional office for alleged deliberate violations of the Constitution and the Representation of the People Act in the public interest.

Political party registration:

  • Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 governs the registration of political parties.
  • A party seeking registration with the Election Commission under the said Section must submit an application to the Commission within 30 days of its formation, in accordance with the guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Commission of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

To be eligible for membership in the ‘National Political Party of India:

  • It receives at least 6% of the valid votes cast in any four or more states in a general election to the House of Representatives or the State Legislative Assembly.
  • Furthermore, it obtains at least four seats in the House of People from any state or states.
  • It wins at least 2% of the seats in the House of the People (11 seats out of 543 in the current House), and these members are elected from at least three different states.

To be eligible for a ‘State Political Party,’ it must receive at least 6% of the valid votes cast in the State in a general election, either to the House of People or the Legislative Assembly of the State concerned.

  • Furthermore, it secures at least two seats in the State’s Legislative Assembly.
  • It wins at least 3% (3%) of the total number of seats in the State Legislative Assembly, or at least three seats in the Assembly, whichever is greater.

Benefits:

  • If a party is recognised as a State Party, it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to candidates set up by it in the State in which it is recognised, and if a party is recognised as a National Party, it is entitled to exclusive allotment of its reserved symbol to candidates set up by it across India.
  • Recognized State’ and National’ parties require only one proposer to file a nomination and are entitled to two sets of electoral rolls free of charge at the time of roll revision, and their candidates receive one copy of the electoral roll free of charge during General Elections.
  • During general elections, they also have access to broadcast/telecast facilities via Akashvani/Doordarshan.
  • Star campaigners’ travel expenses are not to be accounted for in the election expense accounts of their party’s candidates.

 

 

3.45th GST Council Meeting

# GS3-Government Policies &Interventions Growth&Development Constitutional Bodies

 

Context

  • Recently, the 45th Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council meeting was held.

In more detail:

Concessional GST Rates Extending:

  • The Council decided to extend the GST exemption for several drugs used in the treatment of Covid-19 until December 2021.
  • GST Collection by Food Delivery Apps:
  • Online food delivery aggregators like Swiggy and Zomato will now be required to pay GST, rather than the restaurant partners.
  • At the moment, online bills generated by food aggregators include a tax component.
  • The taxed amount is returned to the restaurant partners, who are then required to pay it to the government.

Petrol and diesel will not be subject to GST:

  • The council has decided not to subject petrol and diesel to GST. During the meeting, states vehemently opposed the inclusion of the fuels, citing concerns about revenue buoyancy.
  • If petrol and diesel are included in the GST regime, prices will become more uniform across all states because the different excise and VAT rates imposed by the Centre and the states will be eliminated.
  • This would significantly reduce diesel and gasoline prices, which have recently reached new highs.

GST on Fortified Rice Reduced:

  • It has been recommended that the GST rate on fortified rice kernels for schemes such as integrated child development schemes be reduced from 18% to 5%.

Rate Rationalisation to be Handled by a Group of State Ministers (GoM):

  • A Group of State Ministers (GoM) will be formed to handle rate rationalisation issues in order to correct the inverted duty structure and to take steps to increase revenues.
  • An inverted duty structure occurs when the taxes on output or final product are lower than the taxes on inputs, resulting in an inverse accumulation of input tax credit, which must be refunded in most cases.
  • ills, FASTAGs, compliances, technology, plugging of loopholes, composition schemes etc.
  • The inverted duty structure has resulted in a stream of revenue outflow for the government, prompting it to reconsider the duty structure.
  • Other GoMs will be formed to handle issues such as e-way bills, FASTAGs, compliances, technology, closing loopholes, composition schemes, and so on.

 

 

4.Lavender or Purple Revolution & Floriculture Mission

#GS3 and GS2-Government Policies &Interventions, AgriculturalMarketing, AgriculturalPricing, Agricultural Resources

 

Context

  • Recently, the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology proposed Integrated Aroma Dairy Entrepreneurship for Jammu and Kashmir in order to increase farmer income.
  • The Aroma Mission, also known as the “Lavender or Purple Revolution,” began in J&K and has transformed the lives of farmers who are now able to grow lavender, earn a profit, and improve their lives.
  • The floriculture mission had previously been launched in 21 states and union territories.

In more detail:

  • Aroma Mission: The mission of Aroma is to promote the cultivation of aromatic crops for essential oils, which are in high demand in the aroma industry.
  • To enable Indian farmers and the aroma industry to become global leaders in the production and export of menthol mint-inspired essential oils.
  • To provide significant benefits to farmers in terms of increased profits, waste land utilisation, and crop protection from wild and grazing animals.

Nodal Agencies:

  • CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), Lucknow, is the nodal laboratory.
  • CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT), Palampur; CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), Jammu, and others are among the laboratories involved.

Coverage:

  • The mission project’s scientific interventions provided guaranteed benefits to growers in Vidarbha, Bundelkhand, Gujarat, Marathwada, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and other states where farmers are exposed to frequent episodes of weather extremes and account for the highest number of suicides.
  • Lavender, damask rose, mushkbala, and other aromatic plants After the success of the first phase, CSIR-IIIM-Jammu announced the launch of Aroma Mission phase-II in February 2021.
  • It focuses on the formation of cooperatives for marketing, the promotion of cultivation and processing of high-value medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), the development of superior varieties and their agrotechnologies, the establishment of distillation units and processing facilities, the development of skill and entrepreneurship, value-addition and product development from MAPs.

Significance:

  • In addition to aligning with the government’s policy of doubling farm incomes by 2022, the mission provided employment to women farmers, thereby promoting inclusive growth.

Mission of Floriculture:

  • Floriculture is a branch of horticulture that deals with the cultivation, processing, and marketing of ornamental plants for landscaping small or large areas, as well as garden maintenance to make the surroundings appear aesthetically pleasing.

Objectives: To concentrate on commercial floral crops, seasonal/annual crops, wild ornaments, and flower crop cultivation for honey bee rearing.

Gladiolus, Canna, Carnation, Chrysanthemum, Gerbera, Lilium, Marigold, Rose, Tuberose, and other popular crops

Other implementing agencies involved in the project, in addition to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), are the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), APEDA and TRIFED Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC), Kannauj, and the Ministries of Commerce and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).

Floriculture Market:

  • In 2018, the Indian Floriculture market was valued at INR 157 billion. The floriculture market is expected to be worth INR 661 billion by 2026, with a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 19.2 percent between 2021 and 2026.

Significance:

  • Floriculture has the potential to employ a large number of people through nursery raising, floriculture farming, entrepreneurship development for nursery trade, value addition, and export.
  • Import Substitution: Despite having diverse agro-climatic and edaphic conditions (physical, chemical, and biological properties of soil) and a diverse plant diversity, India accounts for only 0.6 percent of the global floriculture market.
  • At least 1200 million USD worth of floriculture products are being imported by India every year from different countries.

 

5.International Blue Flag Certification:

#GS2

 

Context:

  • Two more Indian beaches have received the coveted International Blue Flag Certification: Kovalam in Tamil Nadu and Eden in Puducherry. There are now ten Blue Flag beaches in India.
  • This is yet another acknowledgement of India’s commitment to protecting and conserving pristine coastal and marine ecosystems through holistic resource management.
  • Last year, the Blue Flag certificate was awarded to eight nominated beaches in India.

These are:

  1. Shivrajpur-Gujarat.
  2. Ghoghla-Diu.
  3. Kasarkod -Karnataka.
  4. Padubidri-Karnataka.
  5. Kappad-Kerala.
  6. Rushikonda- Andhra Pradesh.
  7. Golden-Odisha.
  8. Radhanagar- Andaman and Nicobar.

What exactly is Blue Flag certification?

  • The Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label bestowed by the “Foundation for Environment Education in Denmark” based on 33 stringent criteria.
  • The Blue Flag Program for beaches and marinas is managed by the Foundation for Environmental Education, an international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation (FEE).
  • It began in France in 1985, has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and has been implemented in areas outside of Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined.
  • The presence of neat and clean beaches indicates that the coastal environment is in good health, and the Blue Flag certification is a global acknowledgement of India’s conservation and sustainable development efforts.
  • A waving “Blue Flag” is an indication of 100% compliance to these 33 stringent criteria and sound health of the beach.

What exactly is a ‘Blue Flag Beach’?

  • The ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an example of a ‘eco-tourism model.’
  • It distinguishes beaches by providing clean and sanitary bathing water, facilities/amenities, a safe and healthy environment, and long-term development of the area.

Daily Current Affairs 23rd September -2021

 

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