geography

Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020

BRAHMAPUTRA AND ITS TRIBUTARIES

About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 30th June 2021

    1.    ONE NATION ONE RATION CARD

    • News: Court sets July 31 deadline, tells States to implement One Nation One Ration Card.
    • About One Nation One Ration Card:
      • The ONORC scheme is aimed at enabling migrant workers and their family members to buy subsidised ration from any fair price shop anywhere in the country under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
      • For instance, a migrant worker from, say, Basti district of Uttar Pradesh will be able to access PDS benefits in Mumbai, where he or she may have gone in search of work.
      • While the person can buy foodgrains as per his or her entitlement under the NFSA at the place where he or she is based, members of his or her family can still go to their ration dealer back home.
      • ONORC is based on technology that involves details of beneficiaries’ ration card, Aadhaar number, and electronic Points of Sale (ePoS).
      • The system identifies a beneficiary through biometric authentication on ePoS devices at fair price shops. The system runs with the support of two portals —Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) (impds.nic.in) and Annavitran (annavitran.nic.in), which host all the relevant data.
      • When a ration card holder goes to a fair price shop, he or she identifies himself or herself through biometric authentication on ePoS, which is matched real time with details on the Annavitaran portal. Once the ration card details are verified, the dealer hands out the beneficiary’s entitlements. While the Annavitaran portal maintains a record of intra-state transactions — inter-district and intra-district — the IM-PDS portal records the inter-state transactions.
      • Under the National Food Security Act, 2013, about 81 crore people are entitled to buy subsidised foodgrains — rice at Rs 3/kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg – from designated fair price shops. As on 28 June 2021, there are about 5.46 lakh fair price shops and 23.63 crore ration card holders across the country. Each NFSA ration card holder is assigned to a fair price shop near the place where his ration card is registered.
      • Earlier, NFSA beneficiaries were not able to access their PDS benefits outside the jurisdiction of the specific fair price shop to which they have been assigned. The government envisioned the ONORC to give them access to benefits from any fair price shop. Full coverage will be possible after 100% Aadhaar seeding of ration cards has been achieved, and all fair price shops are covered by ePoS devices (there are currently 4.74 lakh devices installed across the country).
      • ONORC was launched in August, 2019. Work on ration card portability, however, had begun in April 2018 itself, with the launch of the IM-PDS. The idea was to reform the PDS, which has been historically marred by inefficiency and leakages.
      • ONORC was initially launched as an inter-state pilot. However, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced thousands of migrant workers to return to their villages last year, a need was felt to expedite the rollout.

    2.    NATIONAL INVESTIGATING AGENCY (NIA)

    • News: The National Investigation Agency on Tuesday took over the probe into the drone attack inside the IAF station in Jammu early on Sunday.
    • About National Investigating Agency (NIA):
      • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is India’s counter-terrorist task force.
      • The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
      • The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008, which was passed after the deadly 26/11 terror attack in Mumbai. Such an attack clearly surfaced the failure of intelligence and ability to track such activities by existing agencies in India, hence the government of India realized the need of a specific body to deal with terror related activities in India, thereby establishing the NIA.
      • Headquartered in New Delhi, the NIA has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur and Jammu.
      • It maintains NIA Most Wanted list.
    • About NATGRID:
      • The National Intelligence Grid or NATGRID is the integrated intelligence master database structure for counter-terrorism purpose connecting databases of various core security agencies under Government of India collecting comprehensive patterns procured from 21 different organizations that can be readily accessed by security agencies round the clock.
      • NATGRID came into existence after the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
      • NATGRID is an intelligence sharing network that collates data from the standalone databases of the various agencies and ministries of the Indian government.
      • It is a counter terrorism measure that collects and collates a host of information from government databases including tax and bank account details, credit/debit card transactions, visa and immigration records and itineraries of rail and air travel.
      • It will also have access to the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems, a database that links crime information, including First Information Reports, across 14,000 police stations in India.
      • This combined data will be made available to 11 central agencies, which are: Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), Intelligence Bureau (IB), National Investigation Agency (NIA), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Directorate General of GST Intelligence.

    3.    PRIVILEGE MOTION

    • News: Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, who chairs the Parliamentary Standing Committee on science and technology, moved a privilege motion against news channel Times Now for “falsified and mischievous” reporting of the proceedings of the panel’s meeting.
    • About the Privilege Motion:
      • Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.
      • When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament.
      • A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.
      • Parliamentary privileges are certain rights and immunities enjoyed by members of Parliament, individually and collectively, so that they can “effectively discharge their functions”.
      • When any of these rights and immunities are disregarded, the offence is called a breach of privilege and is punishable under law of Parliament. A notice is moved in the form of a motion by any member of either House against those being held guilty of breach of privilege. Each House also claims the right to punish as contempt actions which, while not breach of any specific privilege, are offences against its authority and dignity.
      • The Speaker/RS chairperson is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion. The Speaker/Chair can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament. If the Speaker/Chair gives consent under Rule 222, the member concerned is given an opportunity to make a short statement.
      • In the Lok Sabha, the Speaker nominates a committee of privileges consisting of 15 members as per respective party strengths. A report is then presented to the House for its consideration. The Speaker may permit a half-hour debate while considering the report.
      • The Speaker may then pass final orders or direct that the report be tabled before the House. A resolution may then be moved relating to the breach of privilege that has to be unanimously passed. Currently, Congress member P C Chacko is the chairperson of the privileges committee.
      • In the Rajya Sabha, the deputy chairperson heads the committee of privileges, that consists of 10 members.

    4.    ETHIOPIA

    • News: Tigrayan forces made further gains against Ethiopian government troops and their allies on Tuesday, with a spokesman reporting they were in full control of the regional capital, residents said Eritrean forces had left.

    5.    ISRAEL OPENS EMBASY IN UAE

    • News: Israel’s new Foreign Minister inaugurated the country’s Embassy in the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday and offered an olive branch to other former adversaries, saying: “We’re here to stay.”
    • Map of UAE:

    6.    INDIA’S STRATEGIC OIL RESERVES

    • News: Stressing that inflation was a major challenge for the economy, Mr. Pradhan said India had already, over the last few months, exhausted the strategic petroleum reserves it had built up last year by taking advantage of lower oil prices.
    • About India’s Strategic Oil Reserve:
      • Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL) is an Indian company responsible for maintaining the country’s strategic petroleum reserves. ISPRL is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB), which functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
      • Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL), a Government of India Special Purpose Vehicle, has established Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) facilities with total capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at 3 locations, namely (i) Vishakhapatnam, (ii) Mangaluru and (iii) Padur. As per the consumption pattern of 2019-20, the total capacity is estimated to provide for about 9.5 days of crude oil requirement.
      • In addition, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) in the country have storage facilities for crude oil and petroleum products for 64.5 days, thus the current total national capacity for storage of crude oil and petroleum products currently is 74 days.
      • Taking advantage of low crude oil prices in April/May 2020, the Strategic Petroleum Reserves have been filled to full capacity, leading to notional savings of approximately INR 5000 crore.
      • Under Phase II of the SPR Programme, the Government has given ‘in principle’ approval in June 2018 for establishing two additional SPR facilities with total storage capacity of 6.5 MMT at two locations namely (i) Chandikhol in Odisha (4 MMT) and (ii) Padur in Karnataka (2.5 MMT). As per the consumption pattern of 2019-20, 6.5 MMT SPR capacity is estimated to provide for about additional 12 days of India’s crude oil requirement.