Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2021
Current Affair 1:
Legislative History of National Awards in India
After independence from British Rule, titles were abolished by Article 18 of the Constitution of India, thereby prohibiting any title conferred by the state with 2 exceptions- 'military or academic'.
Once red Article 18:
If we go bit in History:
National Awards and Honours had been adopted even before the Constitution of India was formally drafted. On February 13, 1948, the Prime Minister's Committee on Honours and Awards was set up under the Chairmanship of the Constitutional Adviser to the Government of India, Sir B.N. Rau. Its purpose was to recommend the number and nature of civil and military awards; the machinery for making recommendations for the granting of these awards; the frequency with which they were to be awarded, etc.
Based on the report on March 9, the National Awards were formally instituted in January, 1954 by Presidential Notifications.
Constitutional Challenge in the Supreme Court of India
In 1995 the Challenge to the National Awards was heard by a constitution bench of 5 Judges of the Supreme Court of India in the case of Balaji Raghavan vs Union of India reported in 1996 (1) SCC 361.
The question formulated by the Court was "Whether the Awards, Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri (hereinafter called "The National Awards") are "Titles" within the meaning of Article 18(1) of the Constitution of India?"
The challenge to the National Awards was on 2 grounds: One, that Article 18 prohibits any title to be awarded by the State which bar would extend to National Awards and Two that there is a hierarchy of awards namely Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padam Shri etc. which creates inequality and hence violative of "Equality' guaranteed under Article 14 of the Constitution of India
The Supreme Court of India upheld the constitutional validity of the National Awards, and directed that a High-Level Committee be set up to fix guidelines for conferring the Awards. It was also observed by the Supreme Court that the Committee can take into account the experience over the years regarding National awards and how to prevent their misuse, suggesting restricting of the number of awards that may be granted.
A national level committee be appointed by the Prime Minister in consultation with the President of India and it may comprise other constitutional functionaries like Chief Justice of India, leader of Opposition. Also, at State Level it may be appointed by the Chief Minister in consultation with the Governor and such other persons deemed fit which shall recommend the names to the Central government Committee. The State Government Committee would only be a recommendatory body and the Central Government Committee would be the final authority which will confer the awards.
National Awards should be conferred on relevant considerations of Merit and Extraordinary Contributions in the field of Arts, Culture and Science because they encourage the citizens of India to excel in their respective fields. Persons involved in the conferring of awards should not be influenced by extraneous considerations like favour to political party in power or preference to a particular region, class or community. National Awards have the noble object of promoting excellence necessary for the nation building.
Current Affair 2:
Carbon dioxide is the most commonly produced greenhouse gas. Carbon sequestration is the process of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide. It is one method of reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with the goal of reducing global climate change.
Types of Carbon Sequestration
Biological Carbon Sequestration
This roughly is the storage of carbon dioxide in vegetation like grasslands and forests, as well as in soils and oceans.
In oceans: Naturally, oceans absorb about 25% of the carbon dioxide emitted through human activities each year. Colder and nutrient-rich parts of the ocean absorb more carbon dioxide than the warmer parts of the ocean. As such, the polar regions absorb more carbon dioxide and by 2100, most of the global oceans are expected to be made up of carbon dioxide, potentially altering the chemistry of the ocean, making it more acidic
In forests: plant-rich landscapes like forests, rangelands and grasslands absorb about 25% of the global carbon emissions. When the trees, branches and leaves die and fall to the ground, they release the carbon they had stored into the soil. Deforestation and wildfires continue to diminish forests as a carbon sink
In soils: carbon can be sequestered in soil by plants through photosynthesis. As such, agroecosystems degrade and deplete the soil organic carbon levels. Luckily, soil can also store carbon as carbonates, created over thousands of years when carbon dioxide dissolves in water and percolates the soil. The carbonates are inorganic and can store carbon for tens of thousands of years while soil organic matter stores carbon for a few decades.
In grasslands: grasslands and rangelands are more reliable areas of storing carbon than forests due to the rapid wildfires and deforestation affecting forests. Grasslands can sequester more carbon underground and when they burn, the carbon stays fixed in the roots and soil instead of in leaves and woody biomass.
Geological Carbon Sequestration
This is where carbon dioxide is stored in underground geologic formations, such as in rocks. Industrial sources of carbon dioxide such as steel or cement production companies or energy-related sources like power plants or natural gas processing facilities will release their carbon dioxide, which is then injected into porous rocks for long-term storage. Such carbon capture and storage allow the use of fossil fuels until a substitute energy source is introduced on a large scale
Technological Carbon Sequestration
This is a relatively new way of capturing and storing carbon dioxide and continues to be explored by scientists. The method uses innovative technologies, which means scientists are also looking into more ways of using carbon dioxide as a resource rather than removing it from the atmosphere and directing it elsewhere.
Graphene production: technology is being used to produce graphene from carbon dioxide as its raw material. Its production is limited to specific industries but if carbon can be used to make more of the product, it might be a viable resource and an effective solution in reducing carbon’s emissions from the atmosphere.
Engineered molecules: scientists are engineering molecules that can take new shapes by creating new compounds capable of singling out and capturing carbon dioxide from the air. These engineered molecules act as filters and only attract the element they are engineered to seek
The following can be the potential sites for carbon sequestration
- Abandoned and uneconomic coal seams
- Depleted oil and gas reservoirs
- Subterranean deep saline formations
Current Affair 3:
Urgent Need to Fight Legal Illiteracy
The notion of Legal literacy is based on the principle that every individual must be aware of their rights and obligations. The maxim 'ignorantia juris non-excusat,' or 'ignorance of the law is no excuse,' implies that the Court presumes that every party is aware of the law and hence cannot claim ignorance of the law as a defence to escape liability.
The COVID-19 pandemic has unveiled the ugly repercussions of legal illiteracy in India. Grave human rights violations that transpired during the pandemic could have been averted had India been more legally aware.
For instance, domestic violence complaints filed during the lockdown were at a 10 year high during 2020.
Legal Literacy in India
People living in a society are to a certain extent part of a social contract wherein they have surrendered some rights and agreed to certain obligations. In India, people simply don't know their rights and obligations ensuing from the social contract.
Around 35% of India's population has no formal education. Being unaware of the enforceability of human rights, people, especially women and children, do not report such crimes and the perpetrators go unpunished.
Reasons behind legal illiteracy
- preconceived notion that the law is innately complex and can only be understood by people belonging to the legal fraternity only, is a major impediment to legal literacy.
- Another reason is the legislature's lack of effort to make the language of laws more accessible to people.
Work done by the Government and NGOs
- Article 39A of the Constitution imposes upon the government the duty to ensure free legal aid to the poor as a part of the Directive Principles of State Policy.
- Articles 14 and 22(1) essentially promote social justice through the 'rule of law'.
- In 1980 under the guidance of Justice PN Bhagwati, the Committee for Implementing Legal Aid Schemes was constituted. Consequently, in 1995 the National Legal Services Authority was established.
- The authority has a hierarchical structure constituted at the national, state, and district levels. One of the major functions of these legal services authorities is organizing legal literacy and legal awareness programs in collaboration with NGOs.
- In 2005, National Legal Literacy Mission was launched with the motto 'from ignorance to legal empowerment,' to educate minority communities, especially women and children.
- The target group under the mission included all eligible individuals mentioned in Section 12 of the Legal Services Authority Act, 1987 which includes the most indigent, distraught, vulnerable, and victimized persons such as women and children belonging to SC, ST, OBC, minority communities or belonging to tribal areas, etc. The mission also aims at simplifying the language of the law.
- State Legal Services Authority across India have come up with various initiatives for the cause. The Himanchal Pradesh LSA has successfully included chapters in school books on rights and duties, the Chandigarh LSA regularly organizes street plays and workshops, the Delhi LSA has taken various initiatives such as radio programs, movie documentary and publishing advertisements in books and magazines, etc.
What more needs to be done:
- Initiatives by the government and workshops by NGOs have tried to orient citizens towards increased legal literacy but the data on their effectiveness is not optimistic. A policy initiative based on the principle of cooperative federalism should be taken to ensure that legal literacy campaigns are customized according the needs of each community.
- Legal literacy should start at the Zila panchayat level by inculcating simplified legal knowledge in adult literacy classes. Further, law as a subject should be introduced in elementary school education to educate young children on basic laws, rights, and duties with the medium of instruction being a vernacular language.
- It is also imperative to change things at a legislative level by doing away with unnecessary legalese and redundancy in acts and ordinances. Understanding laws must not be a difficult task to the very people who are governed by them.
- Lastly, the judiciary must also recognize its responsibility to make justice more accessible to everyone irrespective of their economic and social situation. Courts must avoid using complicated language in judicial pronouncements for the sake of clarity to the layperson.
Current Affair 4:
China’s Shenzhou-12 Manned Mission
Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship has successfully docked with China’s space station core module Tianhe and entered the orbital capsule.
Purpose of the Mission:
It will help test technologies related to long-term astronaut-stays and health care, the recycling and life support system, the supply of space materials, extravehicular activities and operations, and in-orbit maintenance.
Significance of the space station:
The low orbit space station would be the country’s eye from the sky, providing round the clock bird’s-eye view for its astronauts on the rest of the world.
It shall aid China’s aim to become a major space power by 2030.
Other space stations:
The only space station currently in orbit is the International Space Station (ISS). The ISS is backed by the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan and Canada.
So far, China has sent two previous space stations into orbit- the Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2 were trial stations. India is planning to launch its own space station by 2030.
Current Affair 5:
History and Constitutional Provisions of UPSC
First of all, we will see History of Commission. You will enjoy reading and very important for your Prelims Exam and Mains Exam.
- Civil Servants for the East India Company used to be nominated by the Directors of the Company and thereafter trained at Haileybury College in London and then sent to India. Following Lord Macaulay’s Report of the Select Committee of British Parliament, the concept of a merit based modern Civil Service in India was introduced in 1854.
- The Report recommended that patronage-based system of East India Company should be replaced by a permanent Civil Service based on a merit-based system with entry through competitive examinations.
- For this purpose, a Civil Service Commission was setup in 1854 in London and competitive examinations were started in 1855.
- Initially, the examinations for Indian Civil Service were conducted only in London. Maximum age was 23 years and minimum age was 18 years. The syllabus was designed such that European Classics had a predominant share of marks.
- All this made it difficult for Indian candidates. Nevertheless, in 1864, the first Indian, Shri Satyendra Nath Tagore brother of Shri Rabindranath Tagore succeeded. Three years later 4 other Indians succeeded.
- Throughout the next 50 years, Indians petitioned for simultaneous examinations to be held in India without success because the British Government did not want many Indians to succeed and enter the ICS.
- It was only after the First World War and the Montagu Chelmsford reforms that this was agreed to. From 1922 onwards the Indian Civil Service Examination began to be held in India also, first in Allahabad and later in Delhi with the setting up of the Federal Public Service Commission. The Examination in London continued to be conducted by the Civil Service Commission.
- Regarding Central Civil Services, the Civil Services in British India were classified as covenanted and uncovenanted services on the basis of the nature of work, pay-scales and appointing authority. In 1887, the Aitchinson Commission recommended the reorganization of the services on a new pattern and divided the services into three groups-Imperial, Provincial and Subordinate. The recruiting and controlling authority of Imperial services was the ‘Secretary of State’.
- With the passing of the Indian Act 1919, the Imperial Services headed by the Secretary of State for India, were split into two-All India Services and Central Services. The central services were concerned with matters under the direct control of the Central Government.
- The origin of the Public Service Commission in India is found in the First Dispatch of the Government of India on the Indian Constitutional Reforms on the 5th March, 1919 which referred to the need for setting up some permanent office charged with the regulation of service matters.
- Section 96(C) of the Act provided for the establishment in India of a Public Service Commission which should “discharge, in regard to recruitment and control of the Public Services in India, such functions as may be assigned thereto by rules made by the Secretary of State in Council”. No decision was taken on setting up of the body after passing of 1919 Act.
- The subject was then referred to the Royal Commission on the Superior Civil Services in India (also known as Lee Commission) which recommended that the statutory Public Service Commission contemplated by the Government of India Act, 1919 should be established without delay.
- Subsequent to the provisions of Section 96(C) of the Government of India Act, 1919 and the strong recommendations made by the Lee Commission in 1924 for the early establishment of a Public Service Commission, it was on October 1, 1926 that the Public Service Commission was set up in India for the first time.
- Further, the Government of India Act, 1935 envisaged a Public Service Commission for the Federation and a Provincial Public Service Commission for each Province or group of Provinces. Therefore, in terms of the provisions of the Government of India Act, 1935 and with its coming into effect on 1st April 1937, the Public Service Commission became the Federal Public Service Commission.
- With the inauguration of the Constitution of India in January 26, 1950, the Federal Public Service Commission came to be known as the Union Public Service Commission, and the Chairman and Members of the Federal Public Service Commission became Chairman and Members of the Union Public Service Commission by virtue of Clause (1) of Article 378 of the Constitution.
Constitutional Provisions: Don’t think, you are running out of time. The same thing you have to remember till end of your paper, so better you read in such a way, you never forget.
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