- Consider the following pairs:
Places in News – Country
Port-au-Prince – Venezuela
Qala-i-Naw – Afghanistan
Which of the pair(s) given above is/are correctly matched?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
2) Consider the following statements with respective to Tele-Law programme
1. It was launched by the Ministry of Law and Justice in collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
2. It aims to address cases at the pre–litigation stage and free for those who are eligible for free legal Aid.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
a. 1 only
b. 2 only
c. Both 1 and 2
d. Neither 1 nor 2
3) Navegaon Nagzira Tiger Reserve is located in which of the following states?
a. Madhya Pradesh
c. West Bengal
Map of the Day
Prelims Specific News Items
1) The Supreme Court on June 29 pronounced its judgment in the migrant labourers case. The case was initiated last year after the national lockdown was announced on March 24.
Guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court :-
Two of the most important components to protect the migrants during this time were the food and travel arrangements insisted on by the court.
In the orders pronounced in May this year, it laid down that dry ration be provided to migrants who want to return to their homes.
Further, the court said that identity proof should not be insisted upon by the governments since the labourers might not be able to furnish it.
Secondly, the court called upon the State governments to arrange transportation for workers who need to return to their homes.
The Supreme Court fixed July 31 as the deadline for the States to implement the ‘One nation One Ration Card’ scheme.
Apart from dry ration, the top court also directed the State governments to run community kitchens for migrant workers.
In the order passed on June 29, the court affirmed the Right to Food under Article 21 of the Constitution.
In furtherance of this, the court asked the States to formulate their own schemes and issue food grains to migrants.
The top court recognised the need for direct cash benefit transfer to workers in the unorganised sector.
But it did not issue any guidelines for the same.
2)Anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’ :- An Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) institute has developed an anti-methanogenic feed supplement ‘Harit Dhara’.
Harit Dhara is prepared using condensed and hydrolysable tannin-rich plant-based sources abundantly available in the country.
It changes the composition of the volatile fatty acids that are the end-products of rumen fermentation (along with hydrogen and CO2).
It roughly costs Rs 6/kg and it is to be fed only to animals aged above three months having fully functional rumen.
When given to bovines and sheep, it not only cuts down their methane emissions by 17-20%.
It also results in higher milk production and body weight gain.
Why it is significant?
Belching cattle, buffaloes, sheep and goats in India emit an estimated 9.25 million tonnes (mt) to 14.2 mt of methane annually, out of a global total of 90 mt-plus from livestock.
And given methane’s global warming potential – 25 times of carbon dioxide (CO2) over 100 years, making it a more potent greenhouse gas – that’s cause for concern.
An average lactating cow or buffalo in India emits around 200 litres of methane per day, while it is 85-95 litres for young growing heifers and 20-25 litres for adult sheep.
Feeding Harit Dhara can reduce these by a fifth.
3)The UAE’s Hope spacecraft, which is orbiting Mars since February this year, has captured images of glowing atmospheric lights in the Red Planet’s night sky, known as discrete auroras.
What causes an Aurora on Earth?
Auroras are caused when charged particles ejected from the Sun’s surface — called the solar wind — enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
These particles are harmful, and our planet is protected by the geomagnetic field, which preserves life by shielding us from the solar wind.
However, at the north and south poles, some of these solar wind particles are able to continuously stream down, and interact with different gases in the atmosphere to cause a display of light in the night sky.
This display, known as an aurora, is seen from the Earth’s high latitude regions (called the auroral oval), and is active all year round.
So, how are Martian auroras different?
Unlike auroras on Earth, which are seen only near the north and south poles, discrete auroras on Mars are seen all around the planet at night time.
Unlike Earth, which has a strong magnetic field, the Martian magnetic field has largely died out.
This is because the molten iron at the interior of the planet– which produces magnetism– has cooled.
However, the Martian crust, which hardened billions of years ago when the magnetic field still existed, retains some magnetism.
So, in contrast with Earth, which acts like one single bar magnet, magnetism on Mars is unevenly distributed, with fields strewn across the planet and differing in direction and strength.
4)Hope Orbiter :-
The Hope Probe, the Arab world’s first mission to Mars, took off from Earth in July last year, and has been orbiting the Red Planet since February.
The primary objective of the mission is to study Martian weather dynamics.
By correlating the lower atmosphere and upper atmosphere conditions, the probe will look into how weather changes the escape of hydrogen and oxygen into space.
5) In a major boost to wheat exports, the first shipment of Geographical Indication (GI) certified Bhalia variety of wheat was exported today to Kenya and Sri Lanka from Gujarat.
Bhalia Wheat :-
The GI certified wheat has high protein content and is sweet in taste.
The crop is grown mostly across Bhal region of Gujarat which includes Ahmadabad, Anand, Kheda, Bhavanagar, Surendranagar, Bharuch districts.
The unique characteristic of the wheat variety is that grown in the rainfed condition without irrigation and cultivated in around two lakh hectares of agricultural land in Gujarat.
The Bhalia variety of wheat received GI certification in July, 2011.
The registered proprietor of GI certification is Anand Agricultural University, Gujarat.
6) The OIC — formerly Organisation of the Islamic Conference — is the world’s second-largest inter-governmental organisation after the UN, with a membership of 57 states.
The OIC’s stated objective is “to safeguard and protect the interests of the Muslim world in the spirit of promoting international peace and harmony among various people of the world”.
OIC has reserved membership for Muslim-majority countries. Russia, Thailand, and a couple of other small countries have Observer status.
India’s relationship with OIC :-
At the 45th session of the Foreign Ministers’ Summit in 2018, Bangladesh suggested that India, where more than 10% of the world’s Muslims live, should be given Observer status.
In 1969, India was dis-invited from the Conference of Islamic Countries in Rabat, Morocco at Pakistan’s behest.
Recent developments :-
In 2019, India made its maiden appearance at the OIC Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Abu Dhabi, as a “guest of honour”.
Then External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the Inaugural Plenary.
This first-time invitation was seen as a diplomatic victory for New Delhi, especially at a time of heightened tensions with Pakistan following the Pulwama attack.
Pakistan had opposed the invitation to Swaraj and it boycotted the plenary after the UAE turned down his demand to rescind the invitation.
7) Jovenel Moïse :- A group of 28 foreign mercenaries, including retired Colombian soldiers, assassinated Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse earlier this week.
Editorial of the Day
Civil society need to play role in strengthening of institutions :-
In the wake of the second wave of Covid, our failure as a country to hold our government accountable is evident. Civil society perhaps also needs to re-examine its role.
What constitutes civil society
- India’s civil society has many actors:
- Grassroots organisations that connect to the last mile and provide essential services.
- Think tanks and academic institutions that churn out new policy ideas and generate evidence.
- Advocacy organisations that amplify and build support for causes.
- Large impact funds and philanthropists who decide how these organisations get funded.
Challenges faced by civil society
- Government have significantly curtailed the kind of activities that civil society actors can engage in.
- Philanthropists and donor organisations often find themselves unable to support initiatives that strengthen India’s democracy and its accountability mechanisms, for fear of retribution.
- By ignoring the politics around policy and focussing disproportionately on technocratic solutions, civil society has also missed the wood for the trees.
How civil society can play role in reforms of democratic institutions
- In the absence of a strong push from civil society, our democratic institutions have no intrinsic incentive to reform.
- There is a need to re-examine parliamentary rules that are heavily tilted in favour of the sitting government, strengthen the judiciary, bolster federalism and the independent media, while creating transparency in decision making within the executive.
- Civil society has an important and irreplaceable role to play here.
- Civil society organisations too need to broaden their agenda to include issues that strengthen India’s institutions while collaborating to present a strong unified voice that demands more transparency and accountability in all areas and levels of policymaking.
- This involves taking more fights to the courts on transgressions by the government, building public opinion about expectations from a well-functioning democracy and creating tools and fora that help citizens engage with policymaking more readily.
To not see the strengthening of institutions and the deepening of checks and balances as important areas of work is our collective failure, one we must address immediately.
Editorial 02 : Need for coordinated database for tracking fugitives
India lacks a domestic tracking system for fugitives. That makes it easier for them to evade the criminal justice system.
Challenges at investigation and prosecution level
- Central agencies have developed reasonable expertise in investigation and prosecution because they are focussed only on investigation and prosecution work.
- On the other hand, State police forces (except specialised wings) are engaged in law-and-order work as well as investigations.
- The bulk of the investigation and prosecution work happens at police stations in the States.
- There is a tendency to close investigations once the accused have absconded.
- Some police stations do initiate proceedings for attachment of property and declaration of the accused as proclaimed offenders, but the number of cases where coordinated efforts are made to pursue fugitives – domestically or internationally – are hardly documented.
No system for tracking criminals domestically
- Through Interpol Notices and the sharing of immigration databases of different countries, there exists a system of tracking criminals worldwide.
- However, there is no coordinated system or database for tracking criminals or wanted persons domestically in India.
- In the absence of such a system, it is relatively easy for criminals from one police station/jurisdiction to melt into the population in any other area, almost undetected.
- The creation of a nationwide database of wanted persons, which could be accessible for police agencies, the public and others is needed.
- A nation-wide system of ‘Wanted Persons Notices’, similar to Interpol Notices, is required, to help track fugitives domestically.
- The Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems and the National Intelligence Grid are efforts in the right direction/
- Countries like the U.S. have functional inter-State extradition and fugitive tracking systems.
- India needs to set up such dedicated ‘fugitive tracking units’.
- There needs to be enhanced integration between immigration agencies, State police agencies, Interpol-New Delhi, the External Affairs Ministry and Home Ministry and central investigation agencies.
- Sharing India’s ‘wanted’ database or providing access to it to foreign embassies on a reciprocal basis or through treaties or arrangements would also be helpful.
- Signing of more bilateral and multilateral conventions on criminal matters would help plug legal infirmities.
- Signing bilateral agreements on cooperation in policing matters would also help.
- All relevant legal processes and requirements should be incorporated into one consolidated law on international cooperation.
- The entire gamut of activities pertaining to fugitives, from investigation to extradition, needs to be incorporated into a specialised set-up.
In the absence of a coordinated database, criminals can go undetected. What we need is a watertight system that would deter criminals from hoodwinking the law.