UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 24th February 2022
Topics for the day:
- Panel on AFSPA removal misses ‘45-day’ deadline
- Fourth phase of election in Uttar pradesh today
- Mid-day meals will resume after 100% attendance
- India sends first batch of aid to Afghanistan
- PM’s economic advisory council
- Scheme for COVID orphans extended
- China, Russia arming Myanmar junta
- Nepal will be the first foreign country to adopt India’s UPI system
Panel on AFSPA removal misses ‘45-day’ deadline
- A committee constituted by the Union Home Ministry in December to study the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, from Nagaland, slated to submit a report within 45 days is yet to conclude on it findings.
- The panel was formed in the wake of growing civilian anger against the botched ambush by an elite unit of the Army that led to the killing of 13 civilians in nagaland
More on AFSPA :
- The ASFPA is a parliamentary act that gives unfettered powers to the armed forces and the Central armed police forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law and arrest and search any premises without a warrant and with protection from prosecution and legal suits.
- The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising in the Naga Hills, followed by the insurgency in Assam.
- The Act was amended in 1972 and the powers to declare an area as “disturbed” were conferred concurrently upon the Central government along with the States
Current status of the act :
- Currently, the Union Home Ministry issues periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend AFSPA for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh
- While the notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments.
- Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the MHA from 1st April 2018.
- Jammu and Kashmir has a separate J&K Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990.
Problems surrounding the Act :
- The law empowers security personnel, down to non-commissioned officers, to use force and shoot “even to the causing of death” if they are convinced that it is necessary to do so for the “maintenance of public order”.
- It also grants soldiers executive powers to enter premises, search, and arrest without a warrant.
- The exercise of these extraordinary powers by armed forces has often led to allegations of fake encounters and other human rights violations by security forces in disturbed areas while questioning the indefinite imposition of AFSPA in certain states, such as Nagaland and J&K.
Fourth phase of election in Uttar pradesh today
- Fifty-nine Assembly constituencies spread over nine districts will vote in the fourth phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly election
Election machinery involved in conduct of elections :
Election commission of India
- Under Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the Election Commission of India is vested with the power of superintendence, direction and control of conducting the elections to the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies
- President of India appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO)
- Chief Electoral Officer of a state/UTis authorised to supervise the election work in the state/UT subject to the overall superintendence of ECI.
- Election Commission of India nominates or designates an Officer of the Government of the state / UT as the Chief Electoral Officer in consultation with that State Government
District Election Officer (DEO)
- Subject to the superintendence of the Chief Electoral Officer, the District Election Officer supervises the election work of a district
- Election Commission of India nominates or designates an officer of the state Government as the District Election Officer in consultation with the state government
Returning Officer (RO)
- The Returning Officer of a Parliamentary or assembly constituency is responsible for the conduct of elections in the Parliamentary or assembly constituency concerned.
- The Election Commission of India nominates or designates an officer of the Government as the Returning Officer for each of the assembly and parliamentary constituencies in consultation with the State Government
- Election Commission of India also appoints one or more Assistant Returning Officers for each of the assembly and Parliamentary constituencies to assist the Returning Officer
Electoral Registration Officer (ERO)
- The Electoral Registration Officer is responsible for the preparation of electoral rolls for a Parliamentary / assembly constituency
- ECI appoints the ERO
- The Presiding Officer with the assistance of polling officers conducts the poll at a polling station.
- The District Election Officer appoints the Presiding Officers and the Polling Officers. In the case of Union Territories, such appointments are made by the Returning Officers.
Mid-day meals will resume after 100% attendance
- Responding to criticism on not starting mid-day meals despite opening of schools a week ago, the Delhi government said that it has been distributing dry rations instead
- Earlier the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the Pradhan Mantri Poshan Shakti Nirman (PM POSHAN), a modified version of the existing National Scheme for Mid-Day Meal in Schools
What is mid-day meal scheme ?
- The Midday meal scheme (under the Ministry of Education) is a centrally sponsored scheme
- It is the world’s largest school meal programme aimed to attain the goal of universalization of primary education
- It provides cooked meals to every child within the age group of six to fourteen years studying in classes I to VIII who enrolls and attends the school
- If the Mid-Day Meal is not provided in school on any school day due to non-availability of food grains or any other reason, the State Government shall pay food security allowance by 15th of the succeeding month
- The State Steering-cum Monitoring Committee (SSMC) oversees the implementation of the scheme including establishment of a mechanism for maintenance of nutritional standards and quality of meals. While the School Management Committee (SMCs) play a vital role in the monitoring of MDMS.
- AGMARK quality items are procured, along with tasting of meals by two or three adult members of the school management committee.
- Cooked meal having nutritional standards of 450 calories and 12 gm of protein for primary (I-V class) and 700 calories and 20 gm protein for upper primary (VI-VIII class)
- All government and government aided schools, Madarsa and Maqtabs supported under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) would be covered under MDM.
- Under Scheme meals are to be served in the school premises only.
India sends first batch of aid to Afghanistan
- Foreign Secretary of india flagged off a convoy of 50 trucks carrying 2500 tonnes of wheat as humanitarian aid for Afghanistan at the India-Pakistan integrated checkpost (ICP)
More about the news :
- These 1,000 truckloads will head for Jalalabad(Afg).
- The wheat is expected to be sent across Afghanistan to help people deal with the crisis caused by food shortage and an economic collapse after the Taliban takeover of Kabul.
- The assistance was made “in response to appeals made by the United Nations for humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan”, according to the Ministry of External A!airs
- The trans-shipment of wheat, is taking place after being suspended for nearly three years since the Balakot strike and subsequent skirmishes.
- The wheat assistance will be delivered in multiple consignments and will be handed over to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) in Jalalabad, Afghanistan
- This marks an end to the delay in sending of the wheat which was approved over months ago.
Reasons for the delay :
- The consignment had been originally o!ered to the Taliban leadership in October 2021, but was held up due to objections from Pakistan.
- Finally when Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced he would allow the trans-shipment as an “exception” it was further delayed by punjab elections.
- It finally marks an end to months of bureaucratic wrangles between New Delhi and Islamabad.
- However Afghan trucks will ply the route, not Indian trucks, as per the Pakistani stipulations, and the drivers are given permits instead of visas by India
PM’s economic advisory council
- Finance Ministry’s Principal Economic Adviser Sanjeev Sanyal has been inducted into the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister as a full-time member
What is the PM’s EAC ?
- EAC-PM is a non-constitutional, non-statutory, independent body constituted to give advice on economic and related issues to the Government of India, specifically to the Prime Minister.
- The council serves to highlight key economic issues to the government of India from a neutral viewpoint.
- It addresses issues of macroeconomic importance and presents views thereon to the Prime Minister. These could be either suo-motu or on reference from the Prime Minister or anyone else.
- Its functions also include attending to any other task as may be desired by the Prime Minister from time to time.
- It advises the Prime Minister on economic issues like inflation, microfinance, and industrial output. For administrative, logistic, planning and budgeting purposes, the NITI Aayog serves as the Nodal Agency for the EAC-PM.
Scheme for COVID orphans extended :
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development said on Tuesday that the PM CARES scheme for children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic has been extended till February 28, 2022
More on PM-Cares scheme for children :
- The scheme covers all children who have lost
- both parents
- the lone surviving parent
- legal guardian or adoptive parent or parents due to COVID-19
- To avail the scheme, a child should not have turned 18 on the date of death of his or her parents
- The scheme provides gap funding for education and health and a monthly stipend from the age of 18 years, apart from a lump sum amount of ?10 lakh when a beneficiary turns 23 years old.
- The education expenses of younger children will be supported by way of admission to Kendriya Vidyalayas and private schools up to higher secondary level(till ages 18)
- These children will also be supported during their higher education through either a scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees or educational loans where the interest on the loan will be paid by the PM-CARES fund.
- All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh.
- The premium amount will be paid by PM-CARES till a child turns 18.
China, Russia arming Myanmar junta
- UN Security Council members China and Russia, as well as Serbia have continued supplying Myanmar’s junta with weapons used to attack civilians according to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in Myanmar.
More on the news
- UN Special Rapporteur on the rights situation in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, urged the Security Council to convene an emergency session “to debate and vote on a resolution to, at a minimum, ban those arms transfers.”
- According to him – UNSC members Russia and China continue to provide the Myanmar military with fighter jets, armoured vehicles, and in the case of Russia, the promise of further arms.
Nepal will be the first foreign country to adopt India’s UPI system
- The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has announced that the neighboring country of Nepal will be the first foreign country to adopt India’s UPI system.
What is the UPI system ?
- Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is an instant real-time payment system, allowing users to transfer money on a real-time basis, across multiple bank accounts without revealing details of one’s bank account to the other party.
- UPI is currently the biggest among the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) operated systems including National Automated Clearing House (NACH), Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS), Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS), RuPay etc.
- In Calendar Year 2021(jan-dec), UPI had processed more than 38 billion transactions, amounting to Rs 71.59 trillion Rs.
What is BHIM ?
- Bharat Interface for Money (BHIM) is India’s digital payment application (app) that works through UPI launched by GoI
- Developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
- It allows real time fund transfer of funds
- The BHIM app has three levels of authentication:
- Firstly the app binds with a device’s ID and mobile number which means the registered app can work only on the registered device and not any other device.
- Second a user needs to sync whichever bank account (UPI or non-UPI enabled) in order to the conduct transaction.
- Third, when a user sets up the app they are asked to create a pin which is needed to log into the app. The UPI pin, which a user creates with their bank account is needed to go through with the transaction.
UPSC Civil Services Daily Current Affairs 24th February 2022
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