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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 12th January 2022

Today Current Affairs: 12th January 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

 

Punjab Lok Congress Has Received Its Party Symbol – Hockey Stick And Ball

Former Punjab CM Amarinder Singh’s newly formed party Punjab Lok Congress has received its party symbol – Hockey stick and ball

As per the guidelines, to get a symbol allotted:

  • A party/candidate has to provide a list of three symbols from the EC’s free symbols list at the time of filing nomination papers.
  • Among them, one symbol is allotted to the party/candidate on a first-come-first-serve basis.
  • When a recognised political party splits, the Election Commission takes the decision on assigning the symbol.

Powers of Election Commission:

  • The Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968 empowers the EC to recognise political parties and allot symbols.
  • Under Paragraph 15 of the Order, it can decide disputes among rival groups or sections of a recognised political party staking claim to its name and symbol.
  • The EC is also the only authority to decide issues on a dispute or a merger. The Supreme Court upheld its validity in Sadiq Ali and another vs. ECI in 1971.
  • As per the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) (Amendment) Order, 2017, party symbols are either:
    • Reserved: Eight national parties and 64 state parties across the country have “reserved” symbols.
    • Free: The Election Commission also has a pool of nearly 200 “free” symbols that are allotted to the thousands of unrecognised regional parties that pop up before elections.

National Atlas And Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO):

Visually challenged students from all over the country will have the access soon to Braille Maps designed and developed using Digital Embossing Technology, enabling them for ease of use, user friendly, better feeling and durable in terms of quality.

  • The digital embossing technology is a technology which eliminates the need for printing plates, moulds, chemicals, and solvents, emitting no pollutants or waste and reduces overall energy usage.
  • This innovative technology has been introduced, designed and implemented first time in India by National Atlas & Thematic Mapping Organisation (NATMO) functioning as the Attached Office of the Department of Science & Technology.
  • The maps produced using this technology is not only useful for high-speed production of the maps but can also produce Braille Maps that can be used by more people for years together.
  • NATMO started the journey in the year 1997, however, it has become popularized with the publication of Braille Atlas for Visually Impaired (India), edition 2017 in English Braille Script which received a huge response from the visually impaired community.
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi conferred National Award on “Science & Technology Intervention for Physically Challenged” to NATMO for this publication which was officially released on 10th February 2017 at New Delhi.

The 79th Golden Globe Awards:

The 79th Golden Globe Awards honored the best in film and American television of 2021, as chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). The ceremony took place on January 9, 2022.

  • While the Power Of The Dog movie won the two biggest awards, one of Best Film in Drama category and another of Best Director honoured upon Jane Campion.
  • Will Smith took home his first Golden Globe of Best Film Actor for his movie King Richard. Nicole Kidman won her fifth Golden Globe for Best Film Actress for Being The Ricardos.
  • West Side Story directed by Steven Spielberg won major awards that included Best Film in Comedy/Musical segment, Best Film Actress for Rachel Zegler and Best Supporting Actress for Ariana DeBose. Andrew Garfield won Best Film Actor award in comedy/musical segment for Tick, Tick… BOOM!.

Aung San Suu Kyi:

A court in military-ruled Myanmar sentenced ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi to four years in jail on charges including possession of unlicensed walkie-talkies.

  • The latest sentencing in legal proceedings that rights groups have criticised as a “farce and a courtroom circus” means she faces a six-year jail term after two convictions last month.
  • Nobel laureate Suu Kyi, 76, is on trial in nearly a dozen cases that carry combined maximum sentences of more than 100 years in prison. She denies all charges.
  • Myanmar has been in turmoil since the coup against Ms. Suu Kyi’s democratically elected government led to widespread protests and signalled the end of 10 years of tentative political reforms that followed decades of strict military rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi:

  • Aung San Suu Kyi (born 1945) is a Burmese politician, diplomat, author, and a 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate who served as State Counsellor of Myanmar (equivalent to a prime minister) and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2016 to 2021.
  • She has served as the chairperson of the National League for Democracy (NLD) since 2011.
  • Suu Kyi, whose party had won the November 2020 Myanmar general election, was arrested on 1 February 2021 following a coup d’état that returned the Military leaders to power.

Judges Recusal:

Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna of the Supreme Court recused themselves from hearing a dispute among the States of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on the allocation of the Krishna river water.

  • When there is a conflict of interest, a judge can withdraw from hearing a case to prevent creating a perception that she carried a bias while deciding the case.
  • The conflict of interest can be in many ways — from holding shares in a company that is a litigant to having a prior or personal association with a party involved in the case.
  • Another instance for recusal is when an appeal is filed in the Supreme Court against a judgement of a High Court that may have been delivered by the SC judge when she was in the HC.
  • The practice stems from the cardinal principle of due process of law that nobody can be a judge in her own case.
  • Since there are no formal rules governing the process, it is often left to individual judges to record reasons for recusal.
  • Some judges disclose the reasons in open court; in some cases, the reasons are apparent.
  • The decision to recuse generally comes from the judge herself as it rests on the conscience and discretion of the judge to disclose any potential conflict of interest.
  • In some circumstances, lawyers or parties in the case bring it up before the judge.
  • If a judge recuses, the case is listed before the Chief Justice for allotment to a fresh Bench

Second Round Of The Quarterly Employment Survey (QES):

Union Labour and Employment Ministry released July-Sept. 2021 employment figures under the second round of the Quarterly Employment Survey (QES).

  • Nine sectors that account for about 85% of total employment in establishments with 10 or more workers hired two lakh more people in July-September 2021 compared to April-June 2021,
  • The estimated total employment in the nine selected sectors from the second round of QES (July-September, 2021) came out as 3.10 crore approximately, which is 2 lakh higher than the estimated employment (3.08 crore) from the first round of QES (April 1, 2021).
  • The report covers manufacturing, construction, trade, transport, education, health, accommodation and restaurants, IT/BPOs and financial services sectors.
  • The second QES report that covered 11,503 establishments said nearly 90% of the establishments had less than 100 workers, while 30% of the IT/BPO establishments had at least 100 workers.
  • The overall percentage of female workers stood at 32.1%, higher than 29.3% reported during the first round of QES.
  • Regular workers constitute 87% of the estimated workforce in the nine selected sectors, with only 2% being casual workers.
  • However, in the construction sector, 20% of the workers were contractual and 6.4% were casual workers.
  • It also said 5.6% of the total establishments had reported vacancies, a total of 4.3 lakh.
  • While most of the vacancies (65.8%) were for unspecified reasons, 23% were due to resignation and 11.7% due to retirement of employees.

Red Sanders:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) recently categorised the Red Sanders (or Red Sandalwood) again into the ‘endangered’ category in its Red List.

  • It was classified as ‘near threatened’ in 2018.
  • The species, Pterocarpus santalinus, is an Indian endemic tree species, with a restricted geographical range in the Eastern Ghats.
  • The species is endemic to a distinct tract of forests in Andhra Pradesh.
  • Red Sanders usually grow in the rocky, degraded and fallow lands with Red Soil and hot and dry climate.

Threats:

  • Illicit felling for smuggling, forest fires, cattle grazing and other anthropogenic threats.
  • Red Sanders, known for their rich hue and therapeutic properties, are high in demand across Asia, particularly in China and Japan, for use in cosmetics and medicinal products as well as for making furniture, woodcraft and musical instruments.

Protection Status:

  • IUCN Red List: Endangered.
  • CITES: Appendix II
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972: Schedule II

Indigenous Aircraft Carrier:

The Indigenous Aircraft Carrier (IAC) 1, which will be called INS Vikrant once it enters service with the Indian Navy, began another set of sea trials.

  • INS Vikrant is the largest and most complex warship to be built in India.

About Aircraft Carrier:

  • An aircraft carrier is “a large ship that carries military aircraft and has a long, flat surface where they take off and land.”
  • These floating air bases are equipped with a full-length flight deck capable of carrying, arming, deploying and recovering aircraft.
  • They act as command and control of a naval fleet in times of war and peace.
  • A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together making the group.
  • During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single task force known as Kido Butai.
  • This task force was used during the Pearl Harbour Attack.

Aircraft Carrier in India:

  • INS Vikrant (decommissioned): Beginning with INS Vikrant which served India from 1961 to 1997.
  • India acquired the Vikrant from the United Kingdom in 1961, and the carrier played a stellar role in the 1971 war with Pakistan that led to the birth of Bangladesh.
  • In 2014, INS Vikrant, was broken down in Mumbai.
  • INS Viraat (decommissioned): INS Vikrant was followed by the Centaur-class carrier HMS (Her Majesty’s Ship) Hermes, which was rechristened in India as INS Viraat and served in the Indian Navy from 1987 to 2016.
  • INS Vikramaditya: It is the Indian Navy’s largest aircraft carrier and warship converted from the Russian Navy’s decommissioned Admiral Gorshkov/Baku.
  • INS Vikramaditya is a modified Kiev-class aircraft carrier that was commissioned into service in November 2013.
  • INS Vikrant: In order to commemorate the legacy of INS Vikrant (decommissioned), the First IAC will be named as INS Vikrant.
  • It is built at Cochin Shipyard Limited.
  • It is currently undergoing sea trials and is likely to be commissioned in 2023.
  • Its construction propelled India into a select group of countries having capabilities to build state-of-the-art aircraft carriers.
  • Operational Modalities: According to the Indian Navy, the warship will operate MiG-29K fighter jets, Kamov-31 helicopters, MH-60R multi-role helicopters and the indigenously manufactured Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH).

IndiaSkills 2021:

IndiaSkills 2021 Nationals, the country’s biggest skill competition, concluded recently.

  • It is designed to demonstrate the highest standards of skilling and offers a platform to young people to showcase their talent at national and international levels.
  • IndiaSkills Competition is held every two years with the support of state governments and industry.
  • It has the potential to reach grassroot level and make an impact.

Participants:

  • 30 states and Union Territories (UTs) participated in the competition and showcased their skills in 54 skills, including seven new-age ones, in 2021.
  • Skill areas include beauty therapy, cyber security, floristry, robot system integration, cloud computing, water technology, painting and decorating, health and social care, among others.

Nodal Agency:

  • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), working under the guidance of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE).
  • NSDC has been leading India’s participation at the WorldSkills International competitions since 2011.

Performance of the States:

  • Odisha topped the chart followed by Maharashtra and Kerala.
  • The winners of IndiaSkills 2021 Nationals will get a chance to represent the country at WorldSkills International Competition to be held in Shanghai, China in October 2022.

Developing Country Tag To China: WTO

China got the ‘developing country’ status at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

  • It has become a contentious issue with a number of countries raising concerns against the decision.
  • Earlier in 2019, the South Korean Government decided not to seek any special treatment as a developing country from future negotiations at the WTO.
  • The WTO has not defined ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries and therefore member countries are free to announce whether they are ‘developed’ or ‘developing’.
  • However, other members can challenge the decision of a member to make use of provisions available to developing countries.
  • The WTO lacks a proper definition of a developing nation although two-thirds of its 164 members classify themselves as developing.
  • As WTO members can declare themselves developing nations, this provides an advantage to nations like China to expand their dominance in global trade even while classifying themselves as developing and thereby obtaining Special and Differentiated Treatment (S&DT).
  • Given the rise in China’s per capita income to become an upper middle-income country according to the World Bank and the country’s alleged use of unfair trade practises, a number of nations have called on China to either refrain from seeking benefits available to developing countries or forgo its classification as a developing country altogether.
  • Some of China’s unfair trade practises include referential treatment for state enterprises, data restrictions and inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights.
  • Prima facie, it does appear anomalous that the world’s second-largest economy—which accounted for a quarter of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in 2021—considers itself as the largest developing country.

Least Developed Country’ (LDC) Status:

Concerns have been raised at the World Trade Organization (WTO) over the ‘least developed country’ (LDC) status, with Bangladesh potentially losing this tag after surpassing India in terms of GDP per capita.

  • The WTO recognises LDCs relying on a classification by the UN based on a criteria that is reviewed every three years.
  • LDCs are often exempted from certain provisions of WTO pacts.
  • Bangladesh, currently classified as an LDC, receives zero duty, zero quota access for almost all exports to the EU.
  • It is, however, set to graduate from the LDC status in 2026 as its per capita GDP has risen sharply surpassing that of India in FY21.

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