Today Current Affairs: 7th February 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
What Is The Common Electoral Roll?
The Law and Justice Minister told the Rajya Sabha that the Centre was not planning on amending the Representation of the People Act, 1951 to enable a common electoral roll and simultaneous elections to all electoral bodies in the country.
- Under the Common Electoral Roll, only one voter list will be used for Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha and other elections.
Types of Electoral Rolls in India Currently:
- Some state laws allow the SEC (State Election Commission) to borrow and use the Election Commission of India’s voter’s rolls for the local body elections.
- In others, the state commission uses the EC’s voters list as the basis for the preparation and revision of rolls for municipality and panchayat elections.
- Few states have their own electoral rolls and do not adopt EC’s roll for local body polls like those of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Assam, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- The distinction stems from the fact that the supervision and conduct of elections in our country are entrusted with two constitutional authorities — the Election Commission (EC) of India and the State Election Commissions (SECs).
- Election Commission (EC) of India: It was set up in 1950, the EC is charged with the responsibility of conducting polls to:
- the offices of the President and Vice-President of India,
- to Parliament, the state assemblies and the legislative councils.
- State Election Commissions (SECs): The SECs, on the other hand, supervise municipal and panchayat elections.
- They are free to prepare their own electoral rolls for local body elections, and this exercise does not have to be coordinated with the EC.
Statue Of Equality:
The Prime Minister will inaugurate the Statue of Equality, a statue of Ramanujacharya, on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Telangana.
- India is celebrating his 1,000th birth anniversary as the ‘Festival of Equality’, upholding the view that the world is one family, ‘vasudhaiva kutumbakam’,”
- It is a 216-feet tall statue, which is made of ‘panchaloha’, a combination of five metals: gold, silver, copper, brass, and zync.
- It is among one of the tallest metallic statues in sitting position in the world.
- The statue is mounted on a 54-feet high base building named ‘Bhadra Vedi’. It has floors devoted for a vedic digital library and research center, ancient Indian texts, a theater, an educational gallery detailing many works of Sri Ramanujacharya.
- Born in 1017 in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu, Ramanujacharya is revered as a Vedic philosopher and social reformer.
- He was named Lakshmana at the time of his birth. He was also referred to as Ilaya Perumal which means the radiant one.
- He traveled across India, advocating equality and social justice.
- He revived the Bhakti movement, and his preachings inspired other Bhakti schools of thought. He is considered to be the inspiration for poets like Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramdas, Thyagaraja, Kabir, and Meerabai.
- He is famous as the chief proponent of Vishishtadvaita subschool of Vedānta.
- VishishtAdvaita (literally “Advaita with uniqueness; qualifications”) is a non-dualistic school of Vedanta philosophy.
- It is non-dualism of the qualified whole, in which Brahman alone is seen as the Supreme Reality, but is characterized by multiplicity.
- He went on to write nine scriptures known as the navaratnas, and composed numerous commentaries on Vedic scriptures.
- Ramanuja’s most important writings include his commentary on the Vedanta Sutras (the Sri Bhasya, or “True Commentary”), and his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita (the Gitabhasya, or “Commentary on the Gita”).
- His other writings include the Vedartha Samgraha (“Summary of the Meaning of the Veda”), the Vedantasara (“Essence of Vedanta”), and Vedantadipa (“Lamp of Vedanta”).
- He has also stressed the need of being in tune with nature and not to over-exploit.
- Ramanuja was an advocate of social equality among all sections of people centuries ago, and encouraged temples to open their doors to everyone irrespective of caste or position in society at a time when people of many castes were forbidden from entering them.
- He took education to those who were deprived of it. His greatest contribution is the propagation of the concept of “vasudhaiva kutumbakam”, which translates as “all the universe is one family”.
- He traveled across India for several decades, propagating his ideas of social equality and universal brotherhood from temple podiums.
- He embraced the socially marginalized and condemned, and asked royal courts to treat them as equals.
- He spoke of universal salvation through devotion to God, compassion, humility, equality, and mutual respect, which is known as Sri Vaishnavam Sampradaya.
- Ramanujacharya liberated millions from social, cultural, gender, educational, and economic discrimination with the foundational conviction that every human is equal regardless of nationality, gender, race, caste, or creed.
Motion Of Thanks:
Amendments to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s Address were proposed .
- The amendment proposal mentioned the government’s alleged use of Pegasus spyware and its handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Article 87 provides for the special address by the President.
- The article provides that at the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year, the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons.
- Such an Address is called ‘special address’, and it is also an annual feature.
- This Address has to be to both Houses of Parliament assembled together.
- The Motion of Thanks must be passed in the House. Otherwise, it amounts to the defeat of the government.
- It is one of the ways through which the Lok Sabha can also express a lack of confidence in the government.
- The other ways are:
- Rejection of a money bill.
- Passing a censure motion or an adjournment motion.
- The defeat of the government on a vital issue.
- Passing a cut motion.
Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana:
The Government has clarified that Aadhaar of Husbands is not mandatory under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, PMMVY, to facilitate the inclusion of single mothers and abandoned mothers.
- It is a maternity benefit programme being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
- It is a centrally sponsored scheme being executed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
- Cash benefits are provided to pregnant women in their bank account directly to meet enhanced nutritional needs and partially compensate for wage loss.
- Implementation of the scheme is closely monitored by the central and state governments through the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana – Common Application Software (PMMVY-CAS).
- PMMVY-CAS is a web based software application that enables tracking the status of each beneficiary under the scheme, resulting in expedited, accountable and better grievance redressal.
- All Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers (PW&LM), excluding those who are in regular employment with the Central Government or the State Governments or PSUs or those who are in receipt of similar benefits under any law for the time being in force.
- All eligible Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers who have their pregnancy on or after 1st January 2017 for the first child in the family.
- Beneficiaries receive a cash benefit of Rs. 5,000 in three installments on fulfilling the following conditions:
- Early registration of pregnancy
- Ante-natal check-up
- Registration of the birth of the child and completion of the first cycle of vaccination for the first living child of the family.
- The eligible beneficiaries also receive cash incentive under Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY). Thus, on an average, a woman gets Rs. 6,000.
Promoting Blue Economy:
The union minister of science and technology and earth science said that the Blue Economy is the sixth dimension of Government of India’s Vision of New India by 2030.
- A Draft Policy document on Blue Economy has been prepared by the Ministry Of Earth Sciences taking into consideration the reports of the expert working groups which emphasizes holistic development and growth of India’s Blue Economy.
- The concept was introduced by Gunter Pauli in his 2010 book- “The Blue Economy: 10 years, 100 innovations, 100 million jobs”.
- It is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health.
- It advocates the greening of ocean development strategies for higher productivity and conservation of ocean’s health.
- Blue Economy emphasizes on integration of development of the ocean economy with social inclusion, environmental sustainability, combined with innovative business models.
- It encompasses–
- Renewable Energy: Sustainable marine energy can play a vital role in social and economic development.
- Fisheries: Sustainable fisheries can generate more revenue, more fish and help restore fish stocks.
- Maritime Transport: Over 80% of international goods traded are transported by sea.
- Tourism: Ocean and coastal tourism can bring jobs and economic growth.
- Climate Change: Oceans are an important carbon sink (blue carbon) and help mitigate climate change.
- Waste Management: Better waste management on land can help oceans recover.
Chauri Chaura Incident:
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has remembered the heroes of our freedom struggle on completion of hundred years of Chauri Chaura incident.
- The Chauri Chaura incident took place on 4 February 1922 at Chauri Chaura in the Gorakhpur district of the United Provinces (modern-day Uttar Pradesh) in British India, when a large group of protesters participating in the non-cooperation movement, were fired upon by the police.
- In retaliation the demonstrators attacked and set fire to a police station, killing all of its occupants.
- Mahatma Gandhi, who was strictly against violence, halted the non-cooperation movement on the national level on 12 February 1922, as a direct result of this incident.
Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship 2022:
The Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India under its “Waste to Wealth” Mission announced the “Swachhta Saarthi Fellowship 2022” to empower young innovators who are engaged in community work of waste management, waste awareness campaigns, waste surveys etc. as Swachhta Saarthis.
- The fellowship was launched in 2021 to recognize students, community workers/self-help groups, and municipal/sanitary workers who are engaged in tackling the enormous challenge of waste management, scientifically and sustainably.
- The three categories of awards under the fellowships are as below:
- Category-A – Open to School students from 9th to 12th standards engaged in waste management community work. An amount of Rs. 500/- per month would be given as fellowship for a period of 1 year.
- Category-B – Open to College students (UG, PG, Research students) engaged in waste management community work. An amount of Rs. 1,000/- per month would be given as fellowship for a period of 1 year.
- Category-C – SHGs or sanitary workers. A maximum of 2 citizens from the same SHG can apply an amount of Rs. 2,000/- per month would be given as fellowship for a period of 1 year.
- The Waste to Wealth Mission is one of the nine national missions of the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)
- The Mission is spearheaded by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (PSA) to the Government of India.
Freedom Of Religion:
After six students were banned from entering a college in Karnataka’s Udupi district for wearing a hijab last month, the row over whether educational institutions can impose a strict dress code that could interfere with rights of students has spilled to other colleges in the state. The issue throws up legal questions on reading the freedom of religion.
- Article 25(1) of the Constitution guarantees the “freedom of conscience and the right freely to profess, practise and propagate religion”.
- It is a right that guarantees a negative liberty — which means that the state shall ensure that there is no interference or obstacle to exercise this freedom.
- However, like all fundamental rights, the state can restrict the right for grounds of public order, decency, morality, health and other state interests.
- Over the years, the Supreme Court has evolved a practical test of sorts to determine what religious practices can be constitutionally protected and what can be ignored.
- In 1954, the Supreme Court held in the Shirur Mutt case that the term “religion” will cover all rituals and practices “integral” to a religion. The test to determine what is integral is termed the “essential religious practices” test.
US President Joe Biden on February 2, 2022 signed into law a bill titled, “Ghost Army Congressional Gold Medal Act”, essentially providing recognition to the ‘Ghost Army’, a tactical deception unit deployed by the US during World War II.
- In 1944, this unit was tasked with a mission to put on a show for the German troops in an attempt to deceive them and manipulate their decisions.
- Their deception tactics involved using inflatable dummy tanks, personeel, trucks and sound effects. The heaviest weapon in their possession was a 0.50 caliber machine gun.
- Seventy-seven years since this mission was undertaken, there are just nine surviving veterans of the Ghost Army scattered across the US.
- The existence of the ‘Ghost Army’ was unknown for about 50 years after it was formed in January 1944. The unit had a “strange mission”, to keep enemy troops in the dark about the number and location of American troops.
- Its existence was declassified in 1996.
- The Congressional Gold Medal is the Congress’s highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions.
- The first recipients of the medal were participants of the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War.
North Korea Missile Test:
North Korea has conducted its biggest missile launch since 2017. North Korea has claimed the missile which it test fired recently is extremely powerful and can travel hundreds of miles, It also has the ability to strike the US Northern Pacific command Guam.
- The test was an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM), which would be the biggest missile tested since November 2017.
- The missile reached an altitude of 2,000km and flew for 30 minutes to a distance of 800km. Finally, it landed in the Sea of Japan.
- North Korea has conducted a record number of seven missile launches in the month of January 2022 alone – which was strongly condemned by the US, South Korea, Japan, and other nations.
- The UN prohibits North Korea from ballistic and nuclear weapons tests, and has imposed strict sanctions, but the East Asian state regularly defies the ban.
- Guam is an organized, unincorporated territory of the United States in the Micronesia subregion of the western Pacific Ocean.
- In Oceania, it is the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands and the largest island in Micronesia.
- Guam’s capital is Hagåtña.
- People born on Guam are American citizens but have no vote in the United States presidential elections.
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will make its third venture to the Moon through the Chandrayaan-3 mission in August this year.
- This was stated by Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh in a written reply to Lok Sabha.
- Chandrayaan-3 is a planned third lunar exploration mission by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- Following Chandrayaan-2, where a last-minute glitch in the soft landing guidance software led to the failure of the lander’s soft landing attempt after a successful orbital insertion, another lunar mission for demonstrating soft landing was proposed.
- Chandrayaan-3 will be a mission repeat of Chandrayaan-2 but will only include a lander and rover similar to that of Chandrayaan-2. It will not have an orbiter.
- The spacecraft is planned to be launched in August 2022.
- This year is expected to be quite busy for ISRO as major projects such as Gaganyaan and Aditya solar mission are also in the pipeline.
- ISRO will conduct 19 missions till December this year.
Diplomatic Boycott Of The Beijing Winter Olympics:
India announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which get underway recently.
- By doing so, India has joined a growing list of countries that will not send government delegations to the Chinese capital for the Winter Olympics.
- In December, the United States had announced a diplomatic boycott of the event.
- The United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and the Netherlands, among others, followed the US’s lead and made a similar decision.
- The Winter Games have been dogged by controversies, ranging from the diplomatic boycotts to the safety of one of China’s top players and concerns over the privacy of the visiting athletes.
- Diplomatic boycott simply means these countries will not send official government delegations to Beijing during the Games.
- Given the scale of the Olympics, high-ranking officials from a country’s government often travel to the Olympics. These officials are often labeled as the ‘VIP visitors’.
- It doesn’t. Athletes and officials from all countries will continue to take part in the Winter Olympics in Beijing unhindered.
- A diplomatic boycott is a token protest that has no impact on the sporting spectacle.
- So far, no athlete has withdrawn from the Beijing Games, and India will continue to be represented by just one athlete, alpine skier Arif Khan.
Definition Under State Of Forest Report:
Minister of Environment, Forest & Climate Change informed Rajya Sabha about the Definition under State of Forest Report.
- As per decision 19/Conference of Parties (CP) 9-Kyoto Protocol, the forest can be defined by any country depending upon the capacities and capabilities of the country as follows:-
- Forest is defined structurally on the basis of
- Crown cover percentage: Tree crown cover- 10 to 30% (India 10%)
- Minimum area of stand: area between 0.05 and 1 hectare (India 1.0 hectare) and
- Minimum height of trees: Potential to reach a minimum height at maturity in situ of 2 to 5 m (India 2m)
- India’s definition of forest has been taken on the basis of above three criteria only and very well accepted by United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for their reporting/communications.
- The forest cover is defined as ‘all land, more than one hectare in area, with a tree canopy density of more than 10 percent irrespective of ownership and legal status. Such land may not necessarily be a recorded forest area. It also includes orchards, bamboo and palm’.
- The definition of forest cover has clearly been defined in all the India State of Forest Report (ISFR) and in all the International communications of India.
- In ISFR 2021 recently published by the Ministry on 13th January, 2022, the forest cover figures are divided as ‘Inside Recorded Forest Area’ and ‘Outside Recorded Forest Area’.
- At present, there is no plan to change the definition of forest cover and very dense forest. The definition of forest cover in ISFR represents true picture as described.
National Adaptation Fund For Climate Change (NAFCC):
The National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) was established to support adaptation activities in the States and Union Territories (UTs) of India that are vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change.
- NAFCC is implemented in project mode and till date, 30 projects are sanctioned in 27 States and UTs.
- The NAFCC projects implemented in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh include activities relating to coastal areas and these projects are –
- Promotion of integrated farming system of Kaipad in coastal wetlands of North Kerala
- Management and rehabilitation of coastal habitats and biodiversity for climate Change Adaptation and Sustainable Livelihood in Gulf of Mannar, Tamil Nadu and
- Climate Resilient interventions in Dairy Sector in coastal and Arid areas in Andhra Pradesh.
- Till date, a sum of Rs. 6,35,68,108/- has been released to the State of Andhra Pradesh under NAFCC.
- The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has demarcated the Hazard Line for the entire mainland coast of India under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.
- Further, Coastal Regulation Zone Notification 2019 has been notified to conserve and protect the unique environment of coastal stretches and marine areas to promote sustainable development.
International Space Station (ISS):
NASA has announced that the International Space Station (ISS) will cease operations in 2031, after which it will fall out of orbit and plunge into the waters of the South Pacific Ocean.
- According to NASA’s budget estimates, the ISS’ re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere will take place in January 2031.
- Mission control will first lower its altitude, before the spacecraft begins its descent into the “South Pacific Oceanic Uninhabited Area (SPOUA),” in an area known as Point Nemo.
- Point Nemo has grown to become a sort of space cemetery, where decommissioned space debris is often brought to rest. Located about 2,700 km away from any land, it is named after a character in Jules Verne’s novel “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
- Several landmark firsts were recorded onboard the ISS in the last two decades.
- For instance, in 2018, NASA’s Cold Atom Lab became the first facility to produce the fifth state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate, in space.
- In 2016, a NASA astronaut was able to sequence DNA in space for the first time.