Today Current Affairs: 19th June 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
What are Mangroves?
The Odisha government has proposed to raise mangrove and casuarinas plantations in the coastal belt.
- Previously, the mangroves served as a natural barrier to cyclonic winds in Bhitarkanika National Park during Cyclone Yaas.
- Odisha is vulnerable to various natural disasters like cyclones, floods, hailstorms, drought due to its unique geo-climatic condition.
- Mangroves occur worldwide in the tropics and subtropics, mainly between latitudes 30° N and 30° S, with the greatest mangrove area with 5° of the equator.
- A mangrove is a shrub or small tree that grows in coastal saline or brackish water.
- Mangroves are salt-tolerant trees, also called halophytes, and are adapted to live in harsh coastal conditions.
- They contain a complex salt filtration system and complex root system to cope with saltwater immersion and wave action.
- They have blind roots which are called These roots help these trees to respire in anaerobic soils.
- The seeds of Mangrove Forests trees germinate in the trees themselves before falling – This is called the Viviparity mode of reproduction.
Children and Digital Dumpsites report:
The new report, titled Children and Digital Dumpsites, was recently released by the WHO.
- More than 18 million children and adolescents working at e-waste dumpsites in low- and middle-income countries are potentially at the risk of severe health hazards.
- They face risk due to discarded electronic devices or e-waste being dumped from high-income countries.
- e-waste contains over 1,000 precious metals and other substances like gold, copper, mercury, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
- The processing is done in low-income countries, which do not have proper safeguarding regulations and which makes the process even more dangerous.
- Children are especially preferred at these dumpsites because of their small and dexterous hands.
- Several women, including expectant mothers, also work there. Processing e-waste exposes them as well as their children to these toxins, which can lead to premature births and stillbirth.
- The hazardous impact of working at such sites is also experienced by families and communities that reside in the vicinity of these e-waste dumpsites.
The Ministry of Culture on 18th June had organized a program to observe the Flag Satyagraha in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.
- The Flag Satyagraha movement by the freedom fighters shook the British government and it infused a new life into the freedom movement.
- Also called the Jhanda Satyagraha, it was held in Jabalpur and Nagpur in 1923.
- The news of flag hoisting in Jabalpur spread like fire in the country and after flags were hoisted at several places across the country.
- It is a campaign of peaceful civil disobedience that focused on exercising the right and freedom to hoist the nationalist flag and challenge the legitimacy of the British Rule in India through the defiance of laws prohibiting the hoisting of nationalist flags and restricting civil freedoms.
IN-EUNAVFOR Joint Naval Exercise:
The maiden Indian Navy – European Union Naval Force (IN-EUNAVFOR) Exercise is being conducted in the Gulf Of Aden.
- Participants: Along with the Indian Navy, other naval forces are from Italy, Spain, and France.
- The naval exercise included advanced air defense and anti-submarine exercises, tactical maneuvers, Search & Rescue, and other maritime security operations.
- Aim: To enhance and hone their war-fighting skills and their ability as an integrated force to promote peace, security, and stability in the maritime domain.
Antonio Guterres: 2nd Term UN Secretary-General:
The United Nations General Assembly appointed Antonio Guterres as the ninth UN Secretary General (UNSG) for a second term beginning 1st January, 2022 and ending on 31st 2026.
- India had expressed its support for the re-election of Guterres as UN Chief.
About Antonio Guterres:
- Guterres took oath of office on 1st January, 2017 and his first term ends on 31st December 2021.
- Guterres served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for a decade from June 2005 to December 2015.
- He was the former Prime minister of Portugal.
Illegal Cultivation Of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton:
The illegal cultivation of Herbicide Tolerant (HT) Bt cotton has seen a huge jump as the sale of illegal seed packets has more than doubled from 30 lakh in 2020 to 75 lakh in 2021.
- Bt cotton is the only transgenic crop that has been approved by the Centre for commercial cultivation in India.
- It has been genetically modified (GM) to produce an insecticide to combat the cotton bollworm, a common pest.
Herbicide Tolerant Bt (HTBt) Cotton:
- The HTBt cotton variant adds another layer of modification, making the plant resistant to the herbicide glyphosate, but has not been approved by regulators.
- Fears include glyphosate having a carcinogenic effect, as well as the unchecked spread of herbicide resistance to nearby plants through pollination, creating a variety of superweeds.
Need for Using HTBt Cotton:
- Saves Cost: There is a shortage of the labour needed to do at least two rounds of weeding for Bt cotton.
- With HTBt, simply one round of glyphosate spraying is needed with no weeding. It saves Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 8,000 per acre for farmers.
- Support of Scientists: Scientists are also in favour of this crop, and even the World Health Organization (WHO) has said it does not cause cancer.
- But the government has still withheld approval for HTBt.
Issues Emanating from Illegal Sale of HTBt Cotton:
- As it is not approved by the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), the illegal sale takes place in Indian markets.
- Farmers are at risk with such illegal cotton seed sale as there is no accountability of the quality of seed, it pollutes the environment, the industry is losing legitimate seed sale and the government also loses revenue in terms of tax collection.
- It will not only decimate small cotton seed companies but also threatens the entire legal cotton seed market in India.
Integrated triservice theatre commands.:
A high-level committee has been formed for the consultations on the creation of integrated triservice theatre commands.
- The committee will examine all issues and find a way forward before a formal note on their creation is sent to the Cabinet Committee on Security.
- The move was necessitated due to some aspects like bringing in paramilitary forces (which is under Home Ministry) under the purview of the theatre commands and financial implications that may arise in the process of integration.
- The proposed Air Defence Command plans to integrate all air assets of the armed forces while the Maritime Theatre Command plans to bring in all assets of Navy, Coast Guard as well as coastal formations of Army and Air Force under one umbrella.
- On land, the Army’s Northern Command and Western Command would be converted into 2-5 theatre commands.
Integrated Theatre Command:
- An integrated theatre command envisages a unified command of the three Services, under a single commander, for geographical theatres (areas) that are of strategic and security concern.
- The commander of such a force will be able to bear all resources at his disposal — from the Army, the Indian Air Force, and the Navy — with seamless efficacy.
- The integrated theatre commander will not be answerable to individual Services.
- Integration and jointness of the three forces will avoid duplication of resources. The resources available under each service will be available to other services too.
- The Shekatkar committee (in 2015) had recommended the creation of 3 integrated theatre commands — northern for the China border, western for the Pakistan border, and southern for the maritime role.
The West Bengal Chief Minister has filed an election petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the Assembly election result of the Nandigram constituency.
- The Election Commission’s role ends with the declaration of results, after that, an election petition is the only legal remedy available to a voter or a candidate who believes there has been malpractice in an election.
- Such a person can challenge the result through an election petition submitted to the High Court of the state in which the constituency is located.
- Such a petition has to be filed within 45 days from the date of the poll results; nothing is entertained by courts after that.
- Although the Representative of the People Act (RP Act) of 1951 suggests that the High Court should try to conclude the trial within six months, it usually drags on for much longer, even years.
Grounds on which Election Petition be Filed (Section 100 of the RP Act):
- On the day of the election, the winning candidate was not qualified to contest.
- The winning candidate, his poll agent, or any other person with the consent of the winning candidate has indulged in corrupt practice.
- Improper acceptance of the nomination of the winning candidate or improper rejection of a nomination.
- Malpractice in the counting process, which includes improper reception, refusal or rejection of any vote, or the reception of any vote which is void.
- Non-compliance with the provisions of the Constitution or the RP Act or any rules or orders made u
Rising Sea Levels:
A study has projected that sea levels will rise around Lakshadweep Islands due to the impact of global warming.
- It will affect airport and residential areas that are quite close to the present coastline.
India’s smallest Union Territory, Lakshadweep is an archipelago consisting of 36 islands with an area of 32 sq km.
- SLR is an increase in the level of the world’s oceans due to the effects of climate change, especially global warming, induced by three primary factors: Thermal Expansion, Melting Glaciers, and Loss of Greenland and Antarctica’s ice sheets.
- Sea level is primarily measured using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters.
- The global sea level has been rising over the past century, and the rate has accelerated in recent decades. The average global sea level has risen 8.9 inches between 1880 and 2015. That’s much faster than in the previous 2,700 years.
- Also, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released ‘The Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate’ in 2019 which underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers, and ice-deposits on land and sea.
- SLR is not uniform across the world. Regional SLR may be higher or lower than Global SLR due to subsidence, upstream flood control, erosion, regional ocean currents, variations in land height, and compressive weight of Ice Age glaciers.
General Elections 2019 – An Atlas:
Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey released ‘General Elections 2019 – An Atlas’ on June 15, 2021.
- 17th General Elections conducted in 2019 were the largest democratic exercise in human history which witnessed the participation of 61.468 crore voters at 10.378 lakh polling stations spread over 32 lakh square kilometer territory of India.
- In the 23 States and UTs women voting percentage was more than the male voting percentage
- The 2019 General Elections witnessed the lowest gender gap in the history of Indian elections.
- The Elector Gender Ratio which has shown a positive trend since 1971 was 926 in the 2019 General Elections.
- The Election Commission of India set up over 10 lakh polling stations in General Elections 2019 with the lowest number of electors per polling station (365) in Arunachal Pradesh.
- The overall polling percentage in the last parliamentary election, including postal ballots, was 67.4%, which is the highest ever turnout in a Lok Sabha poll.
Helpline 155260: For Preventing financial loss due to cyber fraud.:
To provide a safe and secure digital payments eco-system, the Union Home Ministry has operationalized the national Helpline 155260 and Reporting Platform for preventing financial loss due to cyber fraud.
- The National Helpline and Reporting Platform provides a mechanism for persons cheated in cyber frauds to report such cases to prevent loss of their hard-earned money
- As of now, the Helpline covers seven States and Union Territories (Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand, and Uttar Pradesh) covering more than 35 percent of the country’s population.
PUC (Pollution under Control) Certificate:
Ministry of Road Transport & Highways Notifies Common Format for Issuance of PUC (Pollution under Control) Certificate Across the Country, under Central Motor Vehicle Rules 1989.
- Introduction of uniform Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUC) format across the country and linking the PUC database with the National Register.
- The concept of Rejection slip is being introduced for the first time. This document can be shown at the service centre for getting the vehicle serviced or can be used, in case the PUCC centre device is not working properly when tested at another centre.
- There will be confidentiality of information viz. (i) Vehicle owner’s mobile number, name and address (ii) engine number and the chassis number (only the last four digits to be visible, the other digits shall be masked)
- The owner’s mobile number has been made mandatory, on which an SMS alert will be sent for validation and fee.
- Enforcement would be IT-enabled and would help in better control over polluting vehicles.
- The QR code shall be printed on the form. It will contain complete information about the PUC Centre.
Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum:
Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Extends Validity of Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum from 31st March, 2021 to 31st December, 2021.
- The Ministry for MSME in September 2015 notified Udyog Aadhaar to ensure ease of registration and wider coverage of MSMEs to avail the benefits under various Schemes of Central/ State governments.
- Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum (UAM) can be filled online on the portal created by Ministry of MSME.
- UAM is a one-page registration form which constitutes a self-declaration format under which the MSME will self-certify its existence, bank account details, promoter/owner’s Aadhaar details and other minimum information required.
- There shall be no fee for filing the Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum. On submission of the form, Udyog Aadhaar Acknowledgement shall be generated and mailed to the email address provided in the Udyog Aadhaar Memorandum which shall contain unique Udyog Aadhaar Number (UAN).
Second National Sickle Cell Conclave on ‘Sickle Cell Disease:
The Minister of Tribal Affairs inaugurated the Second National Sickle Cell Conclave on ‘Sickle Cell Disease’. The Conclave is being held to mark the World Sickle Cell Day observed on 19th June 2021 every year.
- It is characterized by a modification in the shape of the red blood cell from a smooth, donut-shaped into a crescent or half-moon shape.
- These cells lack plasticity and can block small blood vessels, impairing blood flow. This condition leads to shortened red blood cell survival, and subsequent anaemia, often called sickle-cell anaemia.
- This leads to chronic acute pain syndromes, severe bacterial infections, and necrosis (tissue death). Anaemia is a medical condition in which the red blood cell count or hemoglobin is less than normal.
- Symptoms of anemia include Fatigue, Shortness of breath, Hair loss, etc.
- Treatment: It can be managed by simple procedures including:
- High fluid intake
- Healthy diet
- Folic acid/Iron supplementation
- Pain medication
- Vaccination and antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of infections
- A number of other therapeutic measures.
- Sickle cell disease (SCD), which is the most prevalent inherited blood disorder, is widespread amongst many tribal population groups in India
The disease in India is prevalent predominantly in Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, western Odisha, eastern Gujarat and in pockets of the Nilgiri Hills in north Tamil Nadu and Kerala.