Today Current Affairs: 23rd February 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Who Was Gangubai Kathiawadi?
A film starring actor Alia Bhatt is facing legal trouble after individuals claiming to be family members of the main protagonist, Gangubai Kathiawadi, have objected to her portrayal in the film.
- Gangubai Kathiawadi Known for One of Mumbai’s well-known and influential brothel owners in the 50s and 60s. She also fought for the welfare and rights of sex workers.
- She is said to have been sold to a brothel owner by her husband.
- She gradually ended up operating her own brothel.
- She is known to also have lobbied for the rights of commercial sex workers.
- Gangubai, apparently, lobbied with politicians on this issue.
Movie based on her life being opposed:
- Her adopted children have objected to her portrayal in the film and sought a stay on its release.
- The petitioners have said that the movie shows her as a ‘prostitute’ and a ‘mafia queen’.
- It claims that after the release of the film’s trailer, the women members of his family who live in the redlight areas of Kamathipura have been a victim of objectionable and abusive comments by men, affecting their reputation.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an election speech in Uttar Pradesh, appeared to suggest a connection between the 2008 Ahmedabad blasts and the Samajwadi Party due to its election symbol, the bicycle.
- Bicycles were first used as carriers of bombs in the 2006 Malegaon blasts.
- The perpetrators of the blast strapped two bombs on different bicycles and placed them in the town.
- Around the world terrorist groups have long used bicycles to plant bombs.
- They are easy and cheap to procure anywhere in the world, and increase the impact of the blast by adding jagged metal splinters to the shrapnel from the explosion.
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.
- 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.
Financial Action Task Force:
Pakistan’s efforts to investigate and prosecute leaders of UN-designated terror groups in order to counter terror financing will be assessed during the ongoing meetings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in Paris.
- The multilateral financial watchdog will announce whether Pakistan is to be retained in the grey list, or the list of countries under increased monitoring.
- Experts believe Pakistan is set to be retained in the grey list and that there is little likelihood of the country being included in the “black list”, which would entail harsh economic sanctions and greater scrutiny of financial transactions.
- Only North Korea and Iran are currently included in the black list.
- Pakistan was put on the grey list by the Paris-based FATF in June 2018, and the country has been struggling to come out of it.
- It has now completed 26 of the 27 action items given to it in 2018.
- The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 on the initiative of the G7.
- It is a “policy-making body” which works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in various areas.
- The FATF Secretariat is housed at the OECD headquarters in Paris.
- Initially it was established to examine and develop measures to combat money laundering.
- In October 2001, the FATF expanded its mandate to incorporate efforts to combat terrorist financing, in addition to money laundering.
- In April 2012, it added efforts to counter the financing of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
- The FATF currently comprises 37 member jurisdictions and 2 regional organisations, representing most major financial centres in all parts of the globe.
- It also has observers and associate members.
Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.
Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
NASA’s Perseverance Rover:
Nasa’s Perseverance rover has completed a full Earth year on Mars after its successful landing on February 19, 2021.
- During this period on the Red Planet, the rover has:
- Collected the first rock cores from another planet.
- Served as a base station for Ingenuity helicopter.
- Extracted oxygen from thin Martian air.
- It broke a record for the most distance driven by a rover on Mars in a single day by travelling almost 320 meters on February 14.
- Tested the first prototype oxygen generator on the Red Planet, called MOXIE (Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment).
- NASA’s Perseverance rover is exploring the Jezero Crater on Mars and attempting to collect its first rock samples.
- It was launched in 2020 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V.
- It carried a unique instrument, MOXIE or Mars Oxygen ISRU Experiment: which for the first time manufactured molecular oxygen on Mars using carbon dioxide from the carbon-dioxide-rich atmosphere (ISRU means In Situ Resource Utilization: or the use of local resources to meet human needs or requirements of the spacecraft).
- It carried Ingenuity, the first ever helicopter to fly on Mars.
- It is the planned first step to bring back rock samples from Mars for analysis in sophisticated laboratories on Earth: with the goal of looking for biosignatures: or signatures of present or past life.
Academic Bank Of Credit:
The Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) is expected to be implemented from this academic year.
- However, this scheme has many pros and cons and there are issues which still need to be addressed before it gets implemented.
- ABC will affect organised, systematic learning: Students may find it difficult to change colleges from different universities.
- The university or the college a student studies in also makes a difference in terms of the name and quality of education provided.
- Impact on remote institutions: Only the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) graded institutions can join the Academic Bank of Credit.
- It may push the already remote institutions to become more marginalized.
- There can be conflict of interests between different states governed by different political parties in restructuring their policies to enable ABC.
- Providing additional seats to students under ABC in premier institutes which already have high demand would incur additional costs for institutions.
- Academic Bank of Credit (ABC), proposed under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, was unveiled in July 2021.
- Set-up by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
- Under the ABC, students will be given multiple entry and exit options.
- This enables students to leave a degree or course and get a corresponding certification and rejoin studies after a certain time and be able to start from where they had left.
- It will also provide students with the flexibility to move between institutes while pursuing one degree or leave a course.
- ABC will keep records of the academic credits of a student.
- It will not accept any credit course document directly from the students for any course they might be pursuing, but only from higher education institutes, who will have to make deposits in students’ accounts.
- ABC will help in credit verification, credit accumulation, credit transfer and redemption of students, and promotion of the students.
Permanent Indus Commission:
A 10-member Indian delegation will visit Pakistan for the annual meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission from March 1-3.
- Under the Indus Water Treaty, it is mandatory to hold a meeting at least once every year ending March 31
- In a first since the signing of the Indus Water Treaty between the two countries, three female officers will also be part of the Indian delegation, which will be advising the Indian Commissioner on various issues during the meeting.
- Pakistan’s objections on Indian hydroelectric projects namely Pakal Dul (1,000 MW), Lower Kalnai (48 MW) and Kiru (624 MW) in Chenab basin in Jammu and Kashmir and few small hydroelectric projects in Ladakh are likely to be on the agenda for discussion.
Indus Water Treaty:
- It is a Water-Distribution Treaty, signed in Karachi on 1960, between India (Pm Jawaharlal Nehru) and Pakistan (President Ayub Khan), brokered by the World Bank.
- Under the provisions of the Indus Waters Treaty, signed between India and Pakistan in 1960, all the waters of the eastern rivers — the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi — amounting to around 33 MAF (million acre-feet) annually is allocated to India for unrestricted use.
- The waters of western rivers — Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab — amounting to around 135 MAF annually are largely for Pakistan.
- Under the Treaty, India has been given the right to generate hydroelectricity through a run of the river projects on the western rivers subject to specific criteria for design and operation.
- It also gives the right to Pakistan to raise concerns on the design of Indian hydroelectric projects on western rivers.
Permanent Indus Commission:
- The Permanent Indus Commission is a bilateral commission of officials from India and Pakistan, created to implement and manage goals of the Indus Waters Treaty, 1960.
- The Commission according to the treaty must meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan.
Astronomical observations suggest that a significant part of the universe is made up of dark matter which interacts with the rest of the universe only through the gravitational pull.
- Many large lab experiments have tried to detect elementary particles that could be candidates for dark matter. However, such dark matter particles have not been detected until now.
- The researchers use the non-observation of the lensing signatures to assess what fraction of the dark matter could be made of black holes. Gravitational lensing is useful to cosmologists because it is directly sensitive to the amount and distribution of dark matter.
- Gravitational lensing is an effect of Einstein’s theory of general relativity – simply put, mass bends light.
- The gravitational field of a massive object will extend far into space, and cause light rays passing close to that object (and thus through its gravitational field) to be bent and refocused somewhere else.
- The more massive the object, the stronger its gravitational field and hence the greater the bending of light rays – just like using denser materials to make optical lenses results in a greater amount of refraction.
- Dark Energy is a hypothetical form of energy that exerts a negative, repulsive pressure, behaving like the opposite of gravity.
- It is causing the rate of expansion of our universe to accelerate over time, rather than to slow down.
Rise Of Insurgency In Manipur:
The Centre Government has announced that it is ready to hold dialogue with insurgency groups in Manipur to bring lasting peace to the region.
- The emergence of insurgency in Manipur dates back to 1964 with the formation of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF), which still remains one of the most formidable militant outfits.
- The rise of separatist insurgency in Manipur mainly attributed to perceived discontent over alleged “forced” merger of Manipur with the Union of India and the subsequent delay in granting it full-fledged statehood.
- While the erstwhile Kingdom of Manipur was merged with India on 15th October, 1949, it became a state only in 1972.
- The later years saw a slew of militant outfits being formed, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP), and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), among others.
- These valley-based outfits have been demanding an independent Manipur.
- The Naga movement in neighbouring Nagaland spilled over into Manipur’s hill districts with the NSCN-IM controlling most of it while pressing for “Nagalim” (Greater Nagaland), which is perceived in the valley as a “threat” to Manipur’s “territorial integrity”.
- While the hills account for nine-tenths of Manipur’s geographical area, they are sparsely populated, with most of the state’s population concentrated in the valley.
- The Meitei community forms a majority in Imphal valley, while the surrounding hill districts are inhabited by Nagas and Kukis.
- In the early 1990s, the ethnic clashes between Nagas and Kukis led to the formation of several Kuki insurgent groups, which have now scaled down their demand from a separate Kuki state to a Territorial Council.
- The further continuance of insurgency led to the formation of smaller outfits like the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), People’s United Liberation Front (PULF) and other splinter groups.
India-France External Affairs Ministers Meet:
The External Affairs Minister of India held talks with his French counterpart.
- The two leaders discussed several regional and global issues including the India-EU relationship, Afghanistan situation, Indo-Pacific Strategy, South China Sea Dispute, Iran nuclear deal and the Ukraine crisis.
- The two Ministers agreed to jointly launch the Indo-French call for an Indo-Pacific Parks Partnership.
- This partnership aims to build capacities in the Indo-Pacific region, in terms of sustainable management of protected areas, by gathering and sharing the experiences and expertise that exist in the region among key Indo-Pacific public & private natural park managers.
- India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance: Both sides also adopted the “India-France Roadmap on the Blue Economy and Ocean Governance”.
- The roadmap aims to enhance partnership in the field of blue economy by way of institutional, economic, infrastructural and scientific cooperation.
- They also agreed to intensify India-E.U. ties under the French Presidency, and the need to begin negotiations on the Free Trade and Investment Agreements and implement the India-E.U. Connectivity Partnership.
- They also agreed to coordinate in the United Nations Security Council on issues of mutual concern.
- Both Ministers agreed to further deepen the Strategic Partnership, particularly in the areas of trade and investments, defence and security, health, education, research and innovation, energy and climate change.
- Agreed to soon conclude a Joint Declaration of Intent in the Area of Sports, aimed at further facilitating people-to-people contact.
- Strengthening the long-standing cooperation on public administration and administrative reforms between the relevant authorities.
Awareness Campaign To Manage Fires In Similipal Biosphere Reserve ,Odisha:
The Forest Administration and SHGs (Self Help Groups) have started an awareness Campaign to manage fires in Similipal Biosphere Reserve this year.
- Earlier, scientists unravelled the mystery behind Odisha’s ‘Black Tigers’ in Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR).
- Similipal derives its name from ‘Simul’ (silk cotton) tree.
- It was formally designated a tiger reserve in 1956 and brought under Project Tiger in the year 1973.
- It was declared a biosphere reserve by the Government of India in June, 1994.
- It has been part of the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserve since 2009.
- It is part of the Similipal-Kuldiha-Hadgarh Elephant Reserve popularly known as Mayurbhanj Elephant Reserve.
- It is prone to forest fires. In 2021, the Simlipal saw a major fire between February-end and early March.
- It is situated in the northern part of Odisha’s Mayurbhanj district. Geographically, it lies in the eastern end of the eastern ghat.
- The biosphere spread over 4,374 sq. km. has 845 sq. km. of core forest (tiger reserve), 2,129 sq km buffer area and 1,400 sq km of transition space.
- Similipal has 1,076 flowering species and 96 species of orchids.
- It boasts of having tropical semi-evergreen forests, tropical moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous hill forests.
- Two tribes, the Erenga Kharias and the Mankirdias, inhabit the reserve’s forests and practise traditional agricultural activities.
- Similipal is home to a wide range of wild animals including tigers and elephants, besides 304 species of birds, 20 species of amphibians and 62 species of reptiles.
Delimitation Commission: Jammu and Kashmir:
The Delimitation Commission, set up to redraw the Assembly constituencies of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given two more months to complete the exercise, a notification from the Union Law Ministry said.
- The extension will further delay an announcement to hold elections in J&K that is now a Union Territory but with a provision for a legislature.
- The commission came into being by virtue of Section 3 of the Delimitation Act 2002, an Act of Parliament, under the provisions of Part V of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
- It is redrawing boundaries of seven additional seats for the 83-member Assembly.
- The term of the panel, headed by former Supreme Court judge, Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai (retired), was coming to end on March 6.
- While Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra and the Election Commissioner of J&K are ex-officio members of the Commission, all the five Lok Sabha members from the Union Territory are its associate members.