Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2020

Sep 28, 2020

Current Affair 1:
President of India’s election

Firs of all, Eligibility to be the President of India.

The following are the mandatory requirements for anyone to contest the election for the President of India.

  1. Must be a citizen of India
  2. Must have completed 35 years of age
  3. Must be eligible to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
  4. Must not hold any office of profit under the Government of India or the Government of any State or under any local government

Apart from the above conditions, the nomination paper of a candidate has to be signed by at least fifty (50) eligible voters as proposers and at least fifty (50) eligible voters as seconders. Here the voters are the MPs & MLAs and not citizens.

Electoral college:

Why we have chosen the President Election to explain?

The election process is slightly complex, and people find it difficult to understand the calculations behind the value of vote etc. Believe me, if you don’t read with full concentration, you will miss minute things. Why it is complex:

‘In any normal election, the value of the vote of every citizen is the same. His/her vote is counted as one vote. But in the Presidential election, the value of the MP vote is different from the value of an MLA vote. Not just that, the value of an MLA vote from one state differs from the value of the MLA vote of another state. The value of all the votes put together is the value of the voters for the election’. Its complex right? We will make it easy today.

How is the value of votes calculated?

The value of votes of electors (voters) is basically determined on the basis of population of the States. Since population figures are dynamic and keep changing every year, it has been decided through the 84th Constitutional Amendment, that until the population figures for the first census after 2026 are published (in other words, 2031 census), the population of the States for the purpose of this calculation will mean the population as per the 1971 census.

The Process for calculating the Value of MLA vote

The value of the vote of each MLA is calculated by dividing the population of the State as per 1971 Census, by the total number of elected members of the respective state assembly, and then to divide the quotient by 1000. Total Value of all members of each State Assembly is obtained by multiplying the number of seats in the Assembly by the number of votes for each member. Let us look at Telangana as an example.

Number of Assembly seats = 119

Population of Telangana as per 1971 Census = 1.57 crore

Value of vote of each MLA = 1.57 crores/119*1000 = 132

Total value of votes of all the state MLAs = 119*132 = 15,708

Similar process is followed for all the states. For the 2017 Presidential election, the total value of the MLA votes is 5,49,495. The value of an MLA vote in individual states is in the table below.

Now, The Process for calculating the Value of MP vote

The total value of votes of all the States is divided by the total number of elected members of Parliament (Lok Sabha 543+Rajya Sabha 233) to get the value of votes of each Member of Parliament or the MP. For 2017, this worked out to be 708. The value of a MP vote is substantially higher than the value of an MLA vote.

For example:

Total value of votes of all MLAs = 5, 49, 495 (see above chart)

Total number of MPs = 543 (LS) + 233 (RS) = 776

Value of the vote of each MP = 5, 49, 495/776 = 708

Total value of votes of all the MPs = 776*708 = 5,49, 408

Both the values (MP & MLA) are added to the total value of the votes for any Presidential Election. In 2017, this value was 10,98,903 (549408 for MP & 549495 for MLA). The total number of eligible voters in the 2017 election is 4896 (776 MPs & 4120 MLAs from states).

So, Total value of MLA votes in 2017 = 5, 49, 495

Total Value of MP votes in 2017 = 5, 49,408

Total value of votes for the Presidential elections in 2017 = 10,98,903

The Election Process

  1. A ballot paper is given to each voter with the names of the contesting candidates, green ballot paper for MPs & Pink ballot paper for MLAs.
  2. This election happens through the Single Transferable Vote (STV). 
  3. Hence each voter can mark as many preferences, as the number of candidates contesting the election. These preferences for the candidates are to be marked by the voter, by marking the figures 1,2,3, 4, 5 and so on, against the names of the candidates, in the order of preference.

Counting Process

  1. The winning candidate has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected, i.e., 50% of valid first preferential votes polled +1.
  2. To ascertain whether there is a winner after the first round of counting, the value of votes credited to each contesting candidate in the first round of counting is added up to determine the total value of valid votes polled at the election. This total value is divided by two and one is added to the quotient to determine the required quota for victory (50% +1). If any of the candidates receives the required number of votes in the first round, he is declared a winner.
  3. However, even after the first round of counting, no candidate secures the required quota of votes, then the counting proceeds through a process of elimination and exclusion, whereby the candidate credited with the lowest number of first preferential votes in the first round is excluded and all his ballot papers are distributed among the remaining candidates on the basis of the second preferences marked in such ballots.
  4. The value of such transferred ballot papers will be the same as the value at which the excluded candidate received them. The ballot papers on which second preference is not marked is treated as exhausted ballot papers and shall not be further counted, even if the third or subsequent preferences are marked. This process is continued until there is a clear winner with 50% +1.

Note: The provisions of the anti-defection law are not applicable to the Presidential election. Hence the voters can vote according to their conscience and are not bound by any party whips. The voting is also by secret ballot.

Current Affair 2:
Two Pune Research Institutes Are Building India’s First Optical Atomic Clocks

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Two Pune-based premier research institutes, the Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), have joined hands to build India’s first two optical atomic clocks.

The institutes will build one clock each, with help from the Government of India. If the project is successful, India will join a small global club of countries with the ability to build these ultra-precise timekeeping devices. According to the scientists involved, the clocks will only skip one second in more than 13.8 billion years, which is the approximate age of our universe.

Caesium atomic clocks

The world’s prevailing frequency standard for measuring time is derived from caesium atomic clocks. Here, caesium atoms are imparted energy – by different means in different designs – and forced to jump from one energy level to a slightly higher one, called the atom’s hyperfine ground states. Shortly after, the atom drops back to its previous state by emitting microwave radiation at 9,192,631,770 Hz.

‘Hz’ here is hertz, the SI unit of frequency, defined as ‘per second’. So, when a detector measures 9,192,631,770 waves – from crest to trough – of this microwave emission, coming from the caesium atoms, one second will have passed.

Optical atomic clocks are going to replace Caesium atomic clocks.

The clocks being built by IUCAA and IISER have the same underlying principle but use more advanced technologies. Indeed, optical atomic clocks are considered to be the next step in the evolution of atomic clocks and are likely to replace cesium atomic clocks as the world’s time standard in future. A glimpse of the underlying engineering shows us why.

  1. First, confining the atoms or ions is very difficult. To keep the clock precise, its operators need to ensure the atoms don’t combine to form molecules, bump into each other and/or don’t react with the container’s walls. So instead of confining them in material containers, the IUCAA and IISER teams are using optical and electromagnetic ‘traps’.
  2. Second, once the particles have been confined, they will be laser-cooled to nearly absolute zero (the coldest temperature possible, 0 K or -273.15º C). In their simplest form, laser-cooling techniques force atoms to lose their kinetic energy and come very nearly to a still. Since the temperature of a macroscopic body is nothing but the collective kinetic energy of its atoms, a container of nearly-still atoms is bound to feel very cold. And once more of the atoms’ kinetic energy has been removed, their quantum physical effects become more noticeable, allowing the clock to be more precise.

Don’t go in much deep now. Just be updated if any development takes place in this regard.

NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock

Launched in June 2019, NASA's Deep Space Atomic Clock is a critical step toward enabling spacecraft to safely navigate independently in deep space rather than rely on the time-consuming process of waiting to receive directions from Earth. The Deep Space Atomic Clock will enable a shift to a more efficient, flexible and scalable clock architecture that will benefit future navigation and radio science.

Current Affair 3:
Wastelands in India Report 2019

An important article under Environment section of “The Wire” Article appeared as:

The article was good but then we remembered one important report, which was published in 2019, “Wastelands in India Report 2019

This report was not released this month. It was released around November 2019. It is important. So, we are covering now.

In the report which are going to discuss below, you just need to find the following answers:

  1. Which department and organization has published report?
  2. Whether it is first time such report has been published?
  3. Has the total area under wastelands has increased or decreased?
  4. Which state has highest area under wastelands?

The current exercise of fifth cycle of wastelands mapping for the year 2015-16, synthesizes the catalytic role of remote sensing data for objective comparison of wastelands between 2008-09 and 2015-16.

Now the report is very big. But you have to remember only few important things. You have to directly go for results:

  1. The total wastelands area of the country was observed to be 5,57,665.51 sq. km. in 2015-16, while it was 5,66,070.36 sq. km. in 2008-09. This indicates a conversion of 8,404.86 sq. km. of different wastelands categories in the country to non-wastelands during 2008- 09 to 2015-16. See here, wastelands area has decreased.
  2. Comparison of wastelands statistics of all the states indicated a decrease in wastelands in 18 states and an increase in wastelands in 11 states of the country. A major positive change is observed in the state of Rajasthan with a conversion of 4,803.56 sq. km.
  3. Largest area under wasteland can be seen in Jammu and Kashmir
  4. A reduction in wastelands was observed in the category of ‘Land with Dense Scrub’ followed by ‘Snow/Glacial Cover’.
  5. Barren Rocky/Stony waste’ and ‘Land with Open Scrub’ followed by ‘Under-utilized/Degraded are the wastelands categories that indicated a marked increase from 2008-09 to 2015-16.
  6. An area of 1,20,849.00 sq. km. of Jammu & Kashmir was not mapped in the previous Wastelands Mapping cycles. In the current exercise, this area is also mapped. Due to this inclusion, Wastelands area has been revised from 75,435.77 sq. km. to 1,76,080.25 sq. km. for 2008-09. For the year 2015-16, Wastelands area is reported to be 1,75,697.01 sq. km. Hence, there is a net reduction of Wastelands by 383.24 sq. km. (0.17%) in Jammu & Kashmir state.

Current Affair 4:
Rare inscription unearthed in Andhra Pradesh's Kadapa district

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Place and name of chola Empire. Remember this only. Nothing is required.

A rare inscription dating back to the Renati Chola era has been unearthed in a remote village of Kadapa district that has kindled interest among the fraternity of archaeology and history.

The Telugu Cholas of Renadu (also called as Renati Cholas) ruled over Renadu region, the present day Kadapa district.

In July 2020, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had found the exact location of Renati Cholas’ capital in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. ASI deciphered two inscriptions of Renati Cholas belonging to the 7th century. The first inscription speaks of their capital Erikal in Kamalapuram region in Kadapa, while the other speaks about the battle of Renati Cholas and Banas.

Current Affair 5:
African Baobab Tree

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A recent study published in the journal Scientific Reports has found that the tree 'African Baobab' has 168 chromosomes. Previous studies estimated that the tree has between 96 and 166 chromosomes.

The African baobab tree (Adansonia digitata) is called the tree of life. Baobab trees can live for more than a thousand years and provide food, livestock fodder, medicinal compounds, and raw materials. Baobab trees are incredibly significant.

The researchers used fluorescent probes to see the genetic components of individual chromosomes within the cells -- which glow like jewels.

The analysis also revealed that the tree has a massive nucleolus organizer region (NOR). Relative to the main chromosome body, this region appears larger than that of any other plant species. During certain stages of the cell cycle, nucleoli form at the NORs. The nucleoli are essential for ribosome assembly and protein synthesis in eukaryotes and are an important feature that differentiates eukaryotes from prokaryotes.


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