Daily Current Affairs - 13-02-2021

The Supreme Court of India in a recent judgement said that, the educated youngsters are showing a way forward to reduce caste and community tensions across India by involving into the Inter-caste marriage.

Background

Supreme court made this judgment in the backdrop of a case filed by a woman who tied the knot with a man against her family’s wishes. The investigating officer had directed her to leave her husband and be present at the police station. The investigating officer directed her to so following a complaint filed by her relatives.

What did the court say?

Special Marriages Act, 1954

This legislation is used to register the inter-religious and inter-caste marriages in the country. It includes all the marriages belonging to Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. The act also allows two individuals to solemnise their marriage by a civil contract.

The Insurance sector regulator Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDAI) has advised all the Insurance companies to issue digital insurance policies using the government’s Digilocker app.

Highlights

Digilocker Initiative

It is an initiative under the Digital India program. This programme is run by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY). Under this initiative, citizens can get the authentic documents or certificates in digital format. The certificates can be generated from original issuers of these certificates. The initiative was launched with the aim of eliminating or minimising the use of physical documents. It seeks to enhance the effectiveness of service delivery by making it hassle-free and citizens friendly.

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI)

It is an autonomous and statutory body in India. The body does the task of regulating and promoting the insurance and reinsurance industries. It was established by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority Act, 1999. It is headquartered in Hyderabad, Telangana. It is a 10-member body comprising of a chairman, five full-time members and four part-time members.

The second phase of Vigyan Jyoti programme was started on February 11, 221. It was started on the occasion of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Key Facts

Vigyan Jyoti programme

It is a new initiative that seeks to encourage girls to take interest in science and build career in this field. The programme was launched by the Department of Science & Technology (DST) in December 2019. It was launched with the objective of creating a level-playing field for the meritorious girls who wants to pursue STEM. The programme is currently running successfully in 50 Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNV).  In the year 2021-22 it will be expanded to 50 more JNVs. It addresses the underrepresentation of women in various areas of STEM. The programme at first cater to the girls at school level of Class IX to Class XII in order to encourage and empower them to pursue STEM courses.

The Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Raj Kumar Singh, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha on February 12, 2021 has said that the Government of India and the Government of Japan signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) in January, 2021 on training of the skilled workers.

Key facts

India-Japan Cooperation on Skill Transfer

The National e-governance plan in agriculture (NeGPA) is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme. The scheme was initially launched in the year 2010-11 in 7 States. Recently, this scheme was extended up to March 31, 2021.

Key Facts

Phase-II of the scheme

Under this phase, the funds were released to the States in order to carry out the activities such as,

  1. Site preparation of offices to install the hardware
  2. To establishment of computer training labs
  3. Procurement, installation and accounting of the system software.
  4. To back-up power arrangements.
  5. To set-up the State Project Management Unit (SPMUs) and
  6. To hire manpower on contractual basis
  7. Data Digitization Customization of applications as per the requirement in the State and UTs.

Recent Developments under the scheme

Unified Farmer Service Platform (UFSP)

UFSP is a combination of Core Infrastructure, Applications & tools and Data. The platform helps in seamless interoperability of various public and private IT systems in the agriculture domain. It acts as a central agency in the agri ecosystem such as UPI in the e Payments does. It also enables the Registration of Service Providers.

Recently, Rahul Gandhi led his party members and others for a 2-minute silence in the light of the death of farmers who lost their life in the ongoing protest by farmers against the firm laws. Following this, the BJP MP Sanjay Jaiswal and P.P Chaudhary alleged Rahul Gandhi with the claim that he has shown an unparliamentary behaviour and passed the breach of privilege motion against him.

What is Breach of Privilege?

Breach of Privilege means violation of any of the privileges of Members of Parliament (MPs). It includes any action that casts reflections on MPs, parliament or its committees. The actions include publishing any news items or  editorials; any statements made in newspaper or magazine or TV interviews or any statements made in public speeches by the MPs.

How Breach of Privilege is checked?

How the motion is scrutinized?

The Speaker or the Rajya Sabha chairperson at first do the scrutiny of any privilege motion. They can either decide on the privilege motion or refer it to privileges committee of Parliament for further considerations. In Lok Sabha, the privilege committee is nominated by the Speaker consisting of 15 members. While in Rajya Sabha, Chairperson nominates the privilege committee comprising of 10 members.

The SERB Women Excellence Award was announced on the occasion of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021.

Key Facts

Who Won the Award?

The for women scientists who were selected for the awards include:

  1. Shobhna KapoorShe is the Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. She is working in the area of Chemical Biology. She is an expert in ‘Host-Pathogen Interactions & Membrane Biology, Chemical Biology & Biophysics’.
  2. Antara Banerjee- She is the scientist in B National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Mumbai. She is an expert in Signal Transduction, Endocrinology and Biology of Reproduction.
  3. Sonu Gandhi- She is Scientist D from the National Institute of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad. She is from Bio nanotechnology area who focus on Nano sensors, Design and Fabrication of Label-free Biosensors.
  4. Ritu Gupta- she is an Assistant Professor in the Indian Institute of Technology Jodhpur, Rajasthan. She works on Nanotechnology and is expert in Materials Science, Health & energy, Nanodevices and Sensors.

About SERB Award

The SERB Women Excellence Award is given by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB). It is given in order to support the basic research in the frontier areas of science and engineering. This award was launched in 2013. It is a one-time award and is given to women scientists who are below 40 years of age. It is given to those women scientists who have received recognition from any of the National Academies like Young Scientist Medal, Young Associateship, etc.

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB)

It is a statutory body working under the Department of Science and Technology. It was established in 2009 by SERB ACT,2008. It is chaired by the Secretary of the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology. SERB was set up to promote the basic research in science and engineering. It also provides financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions, R&D laboratories etc for doing the research.

Indian Astronomers have detected one of the strongest optical flares in one of the oldest astronomical objects that is supermassive black hole or blazar called BL Lacertae.

Highlights

About Blazars

Blazars are the feeding supermassive black holes situated in the heart of distant galaxies. The blazars receive a lot of attention due to their complicated emission mechanism. They emit jets of charged particles. The jets travel equally at the speed of light. They are the one among the most luminous and energetic objects found in the Universe.

BL Lacertae blazar

BL Lacertae

It is a highly variable and extragalactic active galactic nucleus. It was first observed and discovered by Cuno Hoffmeister in the year 1929. It was earlier given a designation of a variable star in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, will visit Tamil Nadu and Kerala on February 14, 2021. He will inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for several key projects in both the states.

What key projects will be inaugurated?

The Prime Minister Modi will lay the foundation stone and inaugurate understated projects in both the states:

  1. Inauguration of 9 km long Chennai Metro Rail Phase-I extension at Tamil Nadu. It has been completed at a cost of Rs 3,770 crore. It will link North Chennai with Airport and Central Railway Station.
  2. Inauguration of fourth Railway line of 22.1 km in between the Chennai Beach and Attipattu. The cost of the project is over Rs 293 crore.
  3. Inauguration of Railway Electrification of single line section of 228 km route in between Villupuram, Cuddalore, Mayiladuthurai, Thanjavur and Mayiladuthurai.
  4. Foundation stone of the extension, renovation and modernization of the Grand Anicut Canal System that will be completed at the cost of Rs 2,640 crore.
  5. Foundation stone of the Discovery Campus of IIT Madras to be built at Thaiyur near Chennai with the estimate cost of Rs 1000 crore.
  6. Inauguration of the Propylene Derivative Petrochemical Project (PDPP) of BPCL in Kerala. It will produce Acrylic Acid, Acrylates and Oxo-Alcohol.
  7. Inauguration of the Ro-Ro Vessels at Willingdon Islands, Cochin.
  8. Inauguration of the International Cruise Terminal ‘Sagarika’ at Cochin Port.
  9. Inauguration of the Marine Engineering Training Institute, Vigyana Sagar, at Cochin Shipyard Ltd.
  10. Foundation stone for the Reconstruction of South Coal Berth at Cochin Port.

Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A)

During the visit, the prime minister will hand over the Arjun Main Battle Tank (MK-1A) to the Army in Chennai.  The MK-1A tank is indigenously designed, developed and manufactured by CVRDE, DRDO in collaboration with 15 academic institutions, eight labs and certain MSMEs.

The Lok Sabha gave has passed the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill 2021. The bill was passed on February 12, 2021 by voice vote.

Background

The Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad introduced the bill in the Lok Sabha on February 4, 2021. The provisions of the bill were, however, already into force through an ordinance that was promulgated on November 4th, 2020.

Highlights

The law minister highlighted that; India wants to be an excellent hub for the arbitration.  So, the government has passed the bill and is working in direction of making India a big hub for domestic and international arbitration.

Provisions of the Bill

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996

This act regulates the domestic arbitration in India. This act was amended in the year 2015. It’s another amendment was passed in Lok Sabha in August 2019.

Arbitration

It is a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). In this mechanism, the disputes are resolved outside the courts. The disputes are decided by one or more persons called the ‘arbitrators’. The arbitrators give the arbitration award which stands legally binding on both sides. The award is also enforceable in the courts. It is often used to resolve the commercial disputes particularly related to international commercial transactions.

The Union Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office and Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Dr. Jitendra Singh, stated on February 12, 2021 that the upper ceiling for family pension has been increased from Rs 45,000 to Rs 1,25,000 per month.

Highlights

Pay Commission

This commission is set up by Government of India. It is set up in order to provide recommendations with respect to the changes in salary structure of the employees. The 1st pay commission was set in the year 1947. Since then, seven pay commissions have been set up on a regular basis to review and recommend on the work and pay structure. It is headquartered in Delhi. The pay commission is given a time limit of 18 months after its constitution to make any recommendation.

7th Central Pay Commission

The 7th pay commission was set up in September 2013. The pay commission submitted its recommendations with its implementation effect from 1 January 2016. It was headed by Justice A.K Mathur.

An earthquake of magnitude 6.3 hit Tajikistan on February 12, 2020. The tremors were felt in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh. The seismology department at first gave the epicentre as Amritsar because of software error later confirmed epicentre as Tajikistan.

What is an Earthquake?

Shaking of the surface of the Earth because of a sudden release of energy in the lithosphere of earth is called as earthquake. It results into the formation of seismic waves. When the epicentre of the earthquakes is on surface, it results into shaking and displacing the ground. If the epicentre is located offshore, it results into the displacement of the seabed causing a tsunami.

How Earthquakes are caused?

Earthquakes are usually caused by rupture of geological faults. But it may also be caused due to volcanic activity, landslides, nuclear tests and mine blasts.

Hypocentre or focus

It is the point of initial rupture of an earthquake. In seismology, epicentre is synonym of the focus.

Epicentre

The point on the ground or surface directly above the hypocentre is called epicentre.

Types of Earthquake

  1. Fault Zones: Fault means a sharp breakage in the crustal rock. Through this fault, energy releases. As a result, the rocks along the fault starts moving in opposite directions. With time, the blocks get deformed and slide past each other abruptly. This in turn causes earthquake.
  2. Tectonic Earthquakes: This is the most common earthquake. When a large & thin plate of the Earth’s crust and upper mantle gets stuck while moving past each other, pressure builds up beneath the zone. When this pressure is released, earthquakes occur.
  3. Volcanic Earthquake: Special class of tectonic earthquake in the areas of active volcanoes are called as volcanic earthquakes. It occurs because of injection or withdrawal of magma beneath the Earth’s surface.
  4. Human Induced Earthquakes: Such earthquakes are caused as a result of intense mining activity, explosion of chemical or nuclear devices.

The World Radio Day (WRD) is being celebrated across the world on February 13, 2021. This year, the marks the 10th anniversary of the proclamation of the world radio day and more than 110 years of radio. The day will be observed under the theme, “New World, New Radio”. The theme highlights the services provided by the radio amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Highlights

Why this day is celebrated?

The UNESCO highlights that, the radio is a powerful medium to celebrate humanity. It constitutes a platform for democratic discourse. Radio is one of the most widely consumed medium in the world. It has the ability to reach to a wide audience. It also has the ability to shape the society’s experience of diversity.  Thus, to mark the significance of the Radio, World Radio Day is observed.

Background

The agenda of observing the World radio day was first put forward by a Spanish Radio Academy on September 20, 2010. Spain proposed that UNESCO Executive Board should include an agenda item to proclaim the day.  Following the request, UNESCO’s Executive Board added the agenda item in its provisional agenda to proclaim the day on September 29, 2011. Then it carried out a wide consultation in 2011 in which 91% people were in favour of the project. The move was also supported by Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU), Arab States Broadcasting Union (ASBU), Caribbean Broadcasting Union (CBU), African Union of Broadcasting (AUB), European Broadcasting Union (EBU), and the International Association of Broadcasting (IAB). Thus, the executive board recommended UNESCO to proclaim a World Radio Day at the 36th session.