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The Hindu Newspaper 25/05/2020

  1. Madhuban Gajar”, often seen in the news recently is?
  • a.  A variety of Silk Saree from the state of Bihar
  • b.  A tribal folk dance prevalent in the State of Gujarat
  • c.  A bio-fortified carrot variety with high iron content
  • d.  A method of dance painting prevalent in the region of Western Himalayas

Answer : c

  • Madhuban Gajar is a biofortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat.
  • Shri VallabhaiVasrambhai Marvaniya was conferred with Padma Shri in the year 2019 for his extraordinary work.
  • The Madhuvan Gajar is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection method with higher β-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis and is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.

2)Consider the following statements with respect to Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

  1. Minor Forest Produce is defined as an all non-timber forest produce of plant origin.
  2. It includes fodder, leaves, gums, honey and even bamboo and canes.
  3. There is no Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minority Forest Produce (MFP).

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  • a.  1 only
  • b.  2 only
  • c.  1 and 2 only
  • d.  None

3)Consider the following statements with respect to Moon Agreement, 1979

  1. It bans all explorations and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states.
  2. United States of America (USA) signed and ratified the Agreement.

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

Moon Agreement (1979)

  • The treaty also known as ‘Agreement Governing the Activities of States on the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies’ bans all explorations and uses of celestial bodies without the approval or benefit of other states.
  • The Moon Treaty provides that the Moon and its natural resources are the common heritage of mankind and the harvesting of those resources is forbidden except through an international regime established to govern the exploitation of such resources when it becomes feasible to do so.
  • It covers all celestial bodies including orbits. Very few countries are signatories to it.

Map of the Day :- European Mountains

News :- INTERPOL :

  • The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) is an intergovernmental organization that helps coordinate the police force of 194 member countries.
  • Each of the member countries hosts an INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB). This connects their national law enforcement with other countries and with the General Secretariat.
  • The General Secretariat provides a range of expertise and services to the member countries.
  • It is headquartered in Lyon, France

Editorial of the Day :- Constitutional Crisis as Supreme Courts are not acting upon the PIL regarding the Migrant Workers.

No relief for workers:

  • Issue of Fundamental rights: 
  • Violation of Fundamental rights: In this lockdown, enough evidence points to violation of fundamental rights of vulnerable populations like migrant labourers.have been grossly violated.
  • Petitions not entertained: The Supreme Court has refused to admit many petitions or adjourn them. By effectively not granting any relief, the Court is denying citizens of the most fundamental right of access to justice, ensured under the Constitution.
  • The migrant labourers issue is inherently an inter-State issue: 
  • In lockdown, the Centre issued many directives but designated the States as the implementing authorities.
  • Lack of accountability: As it is an inter-state issue, they are shifting blames on each other. The questions like Who will guarantee safe transport for the return of migrant workers? When in quarantine, who will grant them a sustenance allowance, or look after their health issues etc. remain unanswered. Only the Supreme Court can enforce accountability of the Centre in these matters.

Grounds of Rejection of petitions by courts:

  • Matter of policy: The condition of migrant labourers is a matter of policy and thus, does not require judicial interference.
  • Government doing its duty: Governments already provide have already provided labourers with two square meals a day.
  • ‘How can such things be stopped’: Incidents like the horrific accident where migrant labourers sleeping on railway tracks were killed cannot be avoided.
  • ‘Merely’ on the basis of based on reports: Lawyers using it to approach the Court.

What court can do on question of policy and non-judicial interference:

  • Numerous judgments where it has laid out matters of policy: The Vishaka guidelines on sexual harassment in the workplace, the right to food and various environmental protection policies. In these cases, the Court formulated policies and asked the States to implement them.
  • Presumption by the Court that the government is the best judge of the situation: The Court seems to have forgotten that the Constitution does not fall silent in times of crises.
  • Monitoring state obligations: Nothing prevents the Court from monitoring the situation itself directly. It could easily direct bureaucrats to collect empirical data on the ground.

Observations regarding lack of compassion or judicial sensitivity in handling this situation:

  1. Discouraging petitioners from approaching courts:As the Court determines that it is the executive’s responsibility. Ordinarily, the Court would have at least nudged petitioners towards the High Courts, but here, even that choice is not available.
  2. Matter of how the Court is treating such public interest litigations: The concept of a PIL is to be non-adversarial but the Court is treating these as adversarial matters against the government. PILs, in fact, ought to be a collaborative effort between the court and all the parties where everyone comes together in seeking a resolution to the problem. SC studiously ignoring the real plight of millions of migrants who do not have either the money or the profile to compete for precious judicial time with other litigants.

Term: PIL: PILs are a specific instrument designed to ensure the protection of the rights of the poor, downtrodden and vulnerable and “any member of the public” can seek appropriate directions on their behalf.

Roles:

  • States: To ensure that adverse consequences of this pandemic are minimised.
  • Judiciary: The judiciary becomes the all-important watchdog in this situation to monitor a state’s duty that it is always bound by constitutional propriety and respects fundamental rights.

Role of High Courts as islands of rationality, courage and compassion:

  • At least four High Courts (Karnataka, Madras, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat) have started asking questions about migrant rights.
  • The Madras High Court has quashed criminal defamation cases against media houses stating that democracy cannot be throttled this way.

Way Forward 

The subject matter of migration is inherently an inter-State issue and not an intra-State one. The Supreme Court should not ignore migrant workers when they most needed protection.

Editorial 2 : Agricultural Problems and the Suggested Solutions:-

Major issues:

  1. APMC mandi– The mandi yards and mandi traders pose several hurdles for farmers which negatively impacts their farm income:
  2. Lack of mandi yardsand issue of accessibility– Currently regulated markets cover only 457 sq. km. There are more than 7,000 regulated markets and 20,000 rural markets when the need is at least twice these figures. Recommendations, thus, provide for that a regulated market available to farmers within a radius of 5 km (a corresponding market area of about 80 sq. km).
  3. Cartelization by mandi traders – APMC Act provides for open auctioning of farm produce so that better income through transparent method can be provided to farmers. However, traders in mandi yards form cartels and determine the prices in their own favor.
  4. High fees and red-tapism for entry in mandi– High fees is imposed on new players to restrict entry of new players and avoid competition in mandi yards.
  5. Lack of infrastructure investment– Most of the mandis lack infrastructure for weighing, sorting, grading and storage. This results in poor storage, food wastage, non-acceptance of perishables etc.

To deal effectively with the APMC malpractices, suggested solutions are:

a.Repealing APMC act– Bihar repealed its APMC act in 2006 to allow free market competition in marketing farm produce which usually takes care of demand and supply in market. This benefits both farmers as they produce as per demand and get competitive prices as well as consumers who get produce at affordable costs.

Counter-argument

  • Despite the abolition of APMC, there were no considerable investment by private sector to create private mandis or market.
  • Also, State’s revenue got affected as revenue from APMC was forgone due to which no considerable improvement in existing mandi’s could be made.
  • Unregulated Mandi’s – In absence of regulated mandi yards and private market, unregulated mandi’s came up which charged high fees from traders as well as farmers and lacked necessary infrastructure also.

b.Model APLM Act 2018 –  Basic features of Act are as following:

  • Farmer can sell produce to anyone including retailers and exporters.
  • Mandatory for traders to make payment same day otherwise seizure of the produce from trader.
  • Allowed PPP allowed in management and development of mandi.
  • Creation of a national market with provision for interstate trading license.
  • Cap on market fee – 2% for fruits and vegetables and 1% for grains.
  • Promotion of e-trading through e- National Agriculture Market.

c.Model Contract Farming Act 2016 – This Act has been enacted to integrate farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization. Salient features of the Act are:

  • The Act lays special emphasis on protecting the interests of the farmers, considering them as weaker of the two parties entering a contract.
  • In addition to contract farming, services contracts all along the value chain including pre-production, production and post-production have been included.
  • “Registering and Agreement Recording Committee” or an “Officer” for the purpose at district/block/ taluka level for online registration of sponsor and recording of agreement provided.
  • Contracted produce is to be covered under crop / livestock insurance in operation.
  • Contract framing to be outside the ambit of APMC Act.

Way forward – The structural issues and bottlenecks created by Covid lead lockdown has necessitated increased fiscal spending by government to improve agriculture growth and double farm income by 2022.

News:- Heatwave:-

Cyber Related Threats:-

  • Cerberus:It is a banking Trojan which is primarily used to steal financial data such as credit card numbers.
  • It uses a phishing method to send SMS to lure a user to download the link containing the malicious software.

Additional Facts:

  • Trojan horse: It is a malware that disguises itself as a normal file or program to trick users into downloading and installing malware.
  • Phishing: It is a method in which users are contacted by email, telephone or text message by posing as a legitimate institution to lure into providing sensitive data such as personal information, banking and credit card details.

News:- Andhra Pradesh launches ReStart Programme

Facts:

  • ReStart Programme has been launched by the Government of Andhra Pradesh to support the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise(MSME) sector.
  • Under the programme,
    • A Special Fund of Rs.200 crore has been set up to provide input capital loan to the firms at low interest rates.
    • Mandatory Purchasing by Government from MSMEs.
    • Power charges have been waived off for three months.

News:- Three new plant Species in Western Ghats

Facts:

  • Eugenia sphaerocarpa: It belongs to the Myrtaceae or Rose apple family.It was found in the Malabar wildlife sanctuary in Kerala.
  • Goniothalamus sericeus: It belongs to the Annonaceae family of custard apple.It has been found in the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.
  • Memecylon nervosum: It belongs to the Melastomataceae (Kayamboo or Kaasavu in local parlance) family.It was found at the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu.

Additional Facts:

  • Botanical Survey of India(BSI): Founded in 1890, it comes under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Purpose: Survey, research and conservation of plant resources, flora and endangered species of India including by collecting and maintaining germplasm and gene bank of endangered, patent and vulnerable plant species.

News: No Answers for 2 Major Questions for Somalia:

No answers yet for Somalia

2 major Questions:-

Somalia’s maritime dispute with Kenya will be deferred yet  again.  The public  health emergency also raises a question mark on the  general  elections scheduled for later this year, especially asthe nation seeks to restore universal suffrage after five decades.

1)Somalia and neighbouring Kenya have locked horns for over a decade on the  delimitation of the maritime boundary in the Indian Ocean.

2)The people of Somalia will, later this year, for the first time since the  1969 general elections, exercise their right to political participation under  universal suffrage and one person one vote law.

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