Insights Daily Current Affairs, 26 January 2018
Topic: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.
Republic Day 2018
India is celebrating its 69th Republic Day this year. Republic day in India is celebrated every year on 26th of January to honour the Constitution of India as it came into force on the same day in the year 1950.
In a first, the Republic Day celebrations will have 10 chief guests. The heads the ASEAN leaders from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Brunei – will be hosted in this year’s celebrations. The significance of the ASEAN leaders attending the event is that ASEAN completes 50 years of formation and that India completes 25 years of its partnership with the grouping.
Why January 26th?
The Constitution came into effect on January 26, 1950, a date specially chosen to coincide with the anniversary of ‘Purna Swaraj Diwas’. January 26, 1930 was marked as ‘Purna Swaraj Diwas’, or the day the nation would attain complete freedom from its colonisers by the Congress.
The members of the drafting committee felt that the birth of the constitution should be observed on a day that held some significance in their fight for independence. When India was ultimately granted freedom by the British in 1947, but on August 15 and not January 26, the date was instead assigned to celebrating India’s Republic Day.
This was the day the Indian Independence Act was consequently repealed and India was established as a democratic republic, no longer a dominion of the British Crown.
Topic: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, powers, functions and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies.
National Voters Day
Context: The Election Commission of India celebrated the 8th National Voters Day on January 25th.
Theme: This year’s celebrations revolved around the theme ‘Accessible Elections’, which expressed ECI’s pursuit of working towards making the electoral process more inclusive and friendly for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
VoICE India: on the occasion, the President also inaugurated the first edition of VoICE India – a biannual magazine which brings forth best practices, innovations and knowledge derived from practical experience and success stories of the election machinery that exists in every corner of India.
National Voters’ Day:
National Voters’ Day or Rashtriya Matdata Diwas is celebrated on January 25 every year with an aim to encourage youngsters, who have reached the age of 18, to participate in the electoral process. The National Voters’ Day is celebrated at all polling stations across the country to mark the importance of voting.
The Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in the country and administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, state legislatures and the offices of the President and Vice President in India. It was on January 25, 1950 that the Election Commission of India was established.
Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
Context: The Government has announced the Prime Minister’s Shram Awards for the year 2016 to be awarded to 50 workers employed in the Departmental Undertakings & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central and State Governments and Private Sector Units employing 500 or more workers.
The awards are given in recognition of their distinguished performances, innovative abilities, outstanding contribution in the field of productivity and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind.
About Shram Awards:
The Prime Minister’s Shram Awards were instituted in 1985 by the Government of India. This national award is conferred on workers for outstanding contributions that improve productivity, innovation, and indigenization, resulting in saving foreign exchange. The award is also given for long-term exceptional dedicated work.
The objective of the Prime Ministers Shram Awards is to recognize the outstanding contributions made by workmen as defined in the Industrial Dispute Act, 1947 in organizations both in public and private sector and who have distinguished record of performance, devotion to duty of a high order, specific contribution in the field of productivity and proven innovative abilities among others.
There are four types of awards:
- Shram Ratna: Rs. Two lakhs and recognition of their contribution to their field (a Sanad).
- Shram Bhushan: RS. 100000 and a Sanad.
- Shram Vir / Shram Veerangana: RS. 60000 and a Sanad.
- Shram Devi / Shram Shree: RS. 40000 and a Sanad.
Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Context: Delhi declaration was adopted at the recently concluded ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit. ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit was held to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of sectoral dialogue between two sides.
Highlights of the Delhi declaration:
The Declaration supports a common approach to counter terrorism and sought a “comprehensive approach to combat terrorism through close cooperation by disrupting and countering terrorists, terrorist groups and networks, including by countering cross border movement of terrorists and foreign terrorist fighters and misuse of Internet including social media by terror entities.”
The declaration urges countries to strengthen cooperation and collaboration in combating other transnational crimes, including people smuggling, trafficking in persons, illicit drug trafficking, cybercrime, and piracy and armed robbery against ships.
The Delhi Declaration also reaffirmed “the importance of maintaining and promoting peace, stability, maritime safety and security, freedom of navigation and overflight in the region, and other lawful uses of the seas and unimpeded lawful maritime commerce and to promote peaceful resolutions of disputes, in accordance with UNCLO”.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, was established on 8 August 1967 in Bangkok, Thailand, with the signing of the ASEAN Declaration (Bangkok Declaration) by the Founding Fathers of ASEAN, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. At present there are 10 members namely, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam.
The motto of ASEAN is “One Vision, One Identity, One Community”.
Sources: the hindu.
Context: An MoU has been signed between National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation (NHIDCL) under the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, and M/S IL&FS Transportation Networks Ltd for construction of the Zojila Tunnel in Jammu & Kashmir.
About the Zojila pass tunnel:
What is it? It is a 14.2-km long tunnel project in Jammu and Kashmir to provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar, Kargil and Leh, which remains cut-off from the rest of India during winters due to heavy snowfall. “Zojila tunnel will be the longest bi-directional tunnel in Asia.
Implementation: The project will be implemented by the ministry of road transport and highways (MoRT&H) through the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
Benefits of the tunnel: The project would enhance the safety of travellers crossing Zojila Pass and reduce the travel time from 3.5 hours to 15 minutes. This pass is most strategic for the entire Kargil sector which has seen intrusion and war in the past. It will further increase the employment potential for the local labourers for the project activities.
Facts for Prelims: Zojila pass is situated at an altitude of 11,578 feet on Srinagar-Kargil-Leh National Highway which remains closed during winters (December to April) due to heavy snowfall and avalanches cutting off Leh-Ladakh region from Kashmir.
Topic: Awareness in space.
Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD)
Context: NASA’s Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) instrument was recently launched atop an Ariane 5 rocket.
About Global-Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD):
What is it? GOLD is essentially an imaging spectrograph. Spectrographs are scientific instruments that have been designed to break light down into its constituent wavelengths and to measure their intensity. By examining the data from such an instrument, scientists can determine a wide variety of characteristics, including a target’s composition and temperature. GOLD will be tasked with collecting far ultraviolet light data on Earth’s atmosphere.
Mission: To shed light on how the uppermost layers of Earth’s atmosphere can be affected by powerful space and Earth-based weather events.
Focus: GOLD will focus its attention on a relatively poorly-understood region of the upper atmosphere, where the charged particles of the ionosphere mingle with the diffuse neutral gasses that make up the thermosphere.
Earth’s atmosphere is a complex, multi-layered protective shell that envelopes our planet, and safeguards its inhabitants from dangerous space weather emanating largely from our Sun. This tenuous region of the atmosphere has been known to undergo swift and significant changes in less than an hour. These fluctuations can be driven by the constant interactions between the ionosphere and thermosphere, in conjunction with weather emanating from both Earth and space.
The complexity of these interactions makes it very difficult to predict when an atmospheric change in the ionosphere and thermosphere will occur, and this can be a serious problem for satellite communications. Disturbances in the ionosphere can interfere with, or even block signals being sent between Earth-based systems and orbital probes, potentially affecting cell-phone communications, and other vital services such as GPS, which is needed to safely navigate airplanes and ships.
Global Centre for Cybersecurity
Context: In a bid to safeguard the world from hackers and growing data breaches — especially from nation-states — the World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced a new Global Centre for Cybersecurity.
About the Global Centre for Cybersecurity:
The Global Centre for Cybersecurity will help build a safe and secure global cyberspace. The centre will be based in Geneva, Switzerland, and will function as an autonomous organization under the auspices of the World Economic Forum.
- The aim of the centre is to establish the first global platform for governments, businesses, experts and law enforcement agencies to collaborate on cybersecurity challenges.
- The centre will draw on the Forum’s government and industry support to work towards a more secure cyberspace through its established multistakeholder approach.
The centre will focus on the following aims:
- Consolidating existing cybersecurity initiatives of the World Economic Forum.
- Establishing an independent library of cyber best practices.
- Helping partners to enhance knowledge on cybersecurity.
- Working towards an appropriate and agile regulatory framework on cybersecurity.
- Serving as a laboratory and early-warning think tank for future cybersecurity scenarios.
As a truly borderless problem, cyber-attacks are surpassing the capacities and institutions that are currently dealing with this threat in an isolated manner. Only through collaboration, information exchange and common standards can the global community successfully counter organized digital crime.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
This year the President of India has approved conferment of 85 Padma Awards including two duo cases. The list comprises 3 Padma Vibhushan, 9 Padma Bhushan and 73 Padma Shri Awards.
About Padma Awards:
Padma Awards – one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. They were instituted in the year 1954. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz.- art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
- Padma Vibhushan is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service;( it is a second degree honour).
- Padma Bhushan is awarded for distinguished service of high order. (it is a third degree honour).
- Padma Shri is awarded for distinguished service in any field. (it is a fourth degree honour).
The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year. The award is normally not conferred posthumously. However, in highly deserving cases, the Government could consider giving an award posthumously if the demise of the person proposed to be honoured has been recent, say within a period of one year preceding the Republic Day on which it is proposed to announce the award.
First India-designed vaccine passes WHO test:
For the first time, the Rotavac, a vaccine conceived and developed from scratch in India, has been “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organisation. To be “pre-qualified” means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
The Rotavac vaccine is developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited. It has been included in India’s national immunisation programme. The Rotavac vaccine protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus.