News: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday barred DMK deputy general secretary A. Raja from campaigning for 48 hours and reprimanded him for violating the model code of conduct by making certain remarks against Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami.
About Model Code of Conduct:
The MCC is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections, to ensure free and fair elections. This is in keeping with Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives the Election Commission the power to supervise elections to the Parliament and state legislatures. The MCC is operational from the date that the election schedule is announced till the date that results are announced.
A form of the MCC was first introduced in the state assembly elections in Kerala in 1960. It was a set of instructions to political parties regarding election meetings, speeches, slogans, etc. In the 1962 general elections to the Lok Sabha, the MCC was circulated to recognised parties, and state governments sought feedback from the parties. The MCC was largely followed by all parties in the 1962 elections and continued to be followed in subsequent general elections. In 1979, the Election Commission added a section to regulate the ‘party in power’ and prevent it from gaining an unfair advantage at the time of elections. In 2013, the Supreme Court directed the Election Commission to include guidelines regarding election manifestos, which it had included in the MCC for the 2014 general elections.
The MCC contains eight provisions dealing with general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, party in power, and election manifestos. Major provisions of the MCC are outlined below:
General Conduct: Criticism of political parties must be limited to their policies and programmes, past record and work. Activities such as: (a) using caste and communal feelings to secure votes, (b) criticising candidates on the basis of unverified reports, (c) bribing or intimidation of voters, and (d) organising demonstrations or picketing outside houses of persons to protest against their opinions, are prohibited.
Meetings:Parties must inform the local police authorities of the venue and time of any meeting in time to enable the police to make adequate security arrangements.
Processions:If two or more candidates plan processions along the same route, organisers must establish contact in advance to ensure that the processions do not clash. Carrying and burning effigies representing members of other political parties is not allowed.
Polling day: All authorised party workers at polling booths should be given identity badges. These should not contain the party name, symbol or name of the candidate.
Polling booths: Only voters, and those with a valid pass from the Election Commission, will be allowed to enter polling booths.
Observers: The Election Commission will appoint observers to whom any candidates may report problems regarding the conduct of the election.
Party in power: The MCC incorporated certain restrictions in 1979, regulating the conduct of the party in power. Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same. The party must avoid advertising at the cost of the public exchequer or using official mass media for publicity on achievements to improve chances of victory in the elections. Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water, etc. Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces and rest houses and these must not be monopolised by the party in power.
Election manifestos: Added in 2013, these guidelines prohibit parties from making promises that exert an undue influence on voters, and suggest that manifestos also indicate the means to achieve promises.
MCC prohibits the issue of advertisement at the cost of public exchequer in newspapers/media during the election period. However, it observed that since the MCC comes into operation only from the date on which the Commission announces elections, the government can release advertisements prior to the announcement of elections.
The MCC is not enforceable by law. However, certain provisions of the MCC may be enforced through invoking corresponding provisions in other statutes such as the Indian Penal Code, 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Representation of the People Act, 1951.
2. DADASAHEB PHALKE AWARD
News: The Centre on Thursday announced the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Rajinikanth for his contribution as an actor, producer and screenwriter.
About Dadasaheb Phalke Award:
The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India’s highest award in cinema. It is presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
The recipient is honoured for their “outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema” and is selected by a committee consisting of eminent personalities from the Indian film industry.
Presented first in 1969, the award was introduced by the Government of India to commemorate Dadasaheb Phalke’s contribution to Indian cinema.
Phalke (1870–1944), who is popularly known as and often regarded as “the father of Indian cinema”, was an Indian filmmaker who directed India’s first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra (1913).
3. FACIAL RECOGNITION SYSTEM
News: An Uber driver, who went on a pilgrimage to Tirupati and returned with a tonsured head, claimed that he was locked out of the system, as a selfie he uploaded as part of the log-in process, was rejected by the company’s facial recognition app. The company has denied the claim. The issue created a flutter on social media, with organisations such as Internet Freedom Foundation voicing their support for the driver.
About Facial Recognition System:
A facial recognition system is a technology capable of matching a human face from a digital image or a video frame against a database of faces, typically employed to authenticate users through ID verification services, works by pinpointing and measuring facial features from a given image.
While initially a form of computer application, facial recognition systems have seen wider uses in recent times on smartphones and in other forms of technology, such as robotics.
Because computerized facial recognition involves the measurement of a human’s physiological characteristics facial recognition systems are categorised as biometrics.
Although the accuracy of facial recognition systems as a biometric technology is lower than iris recognition and fingerprint recognition, it is widely adopted due to its contactless process.
News: India on Thursday expressed commitment about taking the Bay of Bengal community to “new heights”. The statement was made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the ministerial meet of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), which was held virtually. The meeting drew participation from all the seven-member States, including Myanmar which is witnessing a large-scale crackdown against anti-military protesters.
About Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi – Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation:
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).
The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.
Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names.
The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
There are 14 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal:
Trade & Investment
Transport & Communication
Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime
Environment & Disaster Management
5. JOINT LOGISTICS HUB
News: As part of measures to boost tri-service integration and resource optimisation, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat on Thursday operationalised the third joint logistics node (JLN) in Mumbai.
About Joint Logistics Hub:
These JLNs will provide integrated logistics cover to the armed forces for their small arms ammunition, rations, fuel, general stores, civil hired transport, aviation clothing, spares and also engineering support in an effort to synergise their operational efforts.
The initiative would accrue advantages in terms of saving of manpower, economise utilisation of resources, besides financial savings.
Establishment and operationalisation of JLNs is a very important first step in the direction of logistics integration of our three Services. Acceptance of each other’s limitations and learning from each other’s strengths and best practices is essential to help improve the functioning and efficacy of these nodes.
The government sanction letter for the establishment of the JLNs in Mumbai, Guwahati and Port Blair.
The JLNs in Guwahati and Tri-Services, Andaman and Nicobar Command, Port Blair, were operationalised in January.
6. INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORT ASSOCIATION (IATA)
News: Willie Walsh, a former chief executive of International Airlines Group (IAG), has become the eighth director general of The International Air Transport Association (IATA), replacing incumbent Alexandre de Juniac.
About International Air Transport Association (IATA):
The International Air Transport Association is a trade association of the world’s airlines founded in 1945.
IATA has been described as a cartel since, in addition to setting technical standards for airlines, IATA also organized tariff conferences that served as a forum for price fixing.
Consisting in 2016 of 290 airlines, primarily major carriers, representing 117 countries, the IATA’s member airlines account for carrying approximately 82% of total available seat miles air traffic.
IATA supports airline activity and helps formulate industry policy and standards.
It is headquartered in Canada in the city of Montréal, with executive offices in Geneva, Switzerland.
IATA was formed in April 1945 in Havana, Cuba.
It is the successor to the International Air Traffic Association, which was formed in 1919 at The Hague, Netherlands.
At its founding, IATA consisted of 57 airlines from 31 countries.
7. FACTS FOR STATE SERVICES
Debt Bills of Scotland are known as: Kilts
Indian exporters and importers use the Suez channel for trade worth $200 billion annually with North America, South America and Europe.