Today Current Affairs: 8th February 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Lata Mangeshkar, affectionately called a “Nightingale of India”, passes away at 92. The Rajya Sabha will be adjourned for an hour on Monday morning in honour of the singer who was a member of the House from 1999 to 2005.
- Lata Mangeshkar (born as Hema Mangeshkar; 28 September 1929 – 6 February 2022) was an Indian playback singer and occasional music composer.
- She is widely considered as one of the greatest and most influential singers in India.
- Her contribution to Indian music industry in a career spanning seven decades gained her honorific titles such as the Nightingale of India, Voice of the Millennium and Queen of Melody.
- She recorded songs in over thirty-six Indian languages and a few foreign languages, though primarily in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi.
- She was the recipient of three National Film Awards.
- In 1987 the Dadasaheb Phalke Award was bestowed on her by the Government of India.
- In 2001, in recognition of her contributions to the nation, she was awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour and is only the second female singer, after M. S. Subbulakshmi, to receive this honour.
- France conferred on her its highest civilian award, Officer of the National Order of the Legion of Honour, in 2007.
Centrally Protected Monuments :Site-Specific Limits
The 100-metre radius around Centrally protected monuments where construction is prohibited could be replaced with site-specific limits to be decided by an expert committee, as the Union Culture Ministry was working on amendments to the relevant Act.
- The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (AMASR) Act, 1958, was amended in 2010 to declare the 100-metre radius of protected monuments as prohibited areas and the next 300-metre radius as regulated areas.
- However, according to Ministry officials as well as a recent Parliamentary Standing Committee report, there was no specific reason for the 100-metre and 300-metre limits.
- The proposed amendment would change Section 20A of the Act, which refers to the prohibited area, to rationalise the prohibited and regulated areas. Expert monument committees would decide the prohibited area around a monument.
- These areas could be as wide as 500 metres for some sites like the Taj Mahal.
- The amendment would also enable the ASI to act against encroachment by holding the relevant authorities liable in case of illegal buildings at a protected site, the official said.
- This would be similar to the enforcement powers under the Indian Forest Act.
Under-19 World Cup:
India won a record-extending fifth Under-19 World Cup title, beating England by four wickets in the final.
- The 2022 ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup was an international limited-overs cricket tournament that was held in the West Indies in January and February 2022 with sixteen teams taking part.
- It was the fourteenth edition of the Under-19 Cricket World Cup, and the first that was held in the West Indies.
- The ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup is an international cricket tournament organised by the International Cricket Council (ICC) contested by national under-19 teams. it was first contested in 1988 as the Youth World Cup.
- India have won the World Cup on a record five occasions, while Australia have won three times.
Post Devolution Revenue Deficit (PDRD) Grant:
Ministry of Finance has released the monthly Post Devolution Revenue Deficit (PDRD) Grant of 9, 871 crore rupees to 17 States.
- This was the 11th installment of the PDRD grant released to the States.
- Ministry of Finance said that the grants are released to the States as per the recommendations of the 15th Finance Commission to meet the gap in Revenue Accounts of the States post-devolution.
- The Commission has recommended PDRD grants to 17 States and the same being released in equal monthly installments.
- The Fifteenth Finance Commission has recommended a total Post Devolution Revenue Deficit Grant of 1,18,452 crore rupees to 17 States in the financial year 2021-22.
Motion Of Thanks:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will reply to the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in the Lok Sabha in the ongoing Budget Session of Parliament on February 7, 2022.
- The Budget Session had begun with the President Ram Nath Kovind’s address to both Houses of Parliament assembled together at Central Hall on 31st of January.
- The debate on the motion of thanks on the President’s address began on 2nd of February in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
- Under Article 87 of the constitution, President of India specially addresses both Houses of Parliament together at the beginning of the first session of each year.
- The discussion on the Address is initiated by a Motion of Thanks.
- Motion of Thanks is moved by a member and seconded by another member. Members who have to move and second the Motion are from the ruling party.
- The notice of such a Motion is received through the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs.
- The Chairman allots time for the discussion of the Address under article 87(2) in consultation with the Leader of the House.
- At the end of the discussion, the Prime Minister replies to the debate.
- Thereafter, the amendments are disposed, and then the Motion of Thanks is put to vote in the House.
- If any of the amendments is accepted then the Motion of Thanks is adopted in the amended form.
Sachindra Nath Sanyal : 80th Death Anniversary
The Nation is remembering Revolutionary Sachindra Nath Sanyal on his 80th death anniversary.
- He was the founder of the Hindustan Republican Association also known as Hindustan Socialist Republican Association.
- It was created to carry out armed resistance against the British Empire in India.
- Sachindra Nath Sanyal was a mentor for revolutionaries like Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.
- He along with Rashbehari Bose attacked Viceroy Hardinge and injured him while he was entering new capital of Delhi.
- Sanyal was closely involved in the plans for the Ghadar Conspiracy. He was sentenced to life for his involvement in the conspiracy and was imprisoned at Cellular Jail.
- He was also jailed by the British for his involvement in Kakori Conspiracy.
- Sachindra Nath Sanyal passed away in Gorakhpur Jail on 7th February 1942.
Second Phase Of CPEC:
Pakistan signed a new agreement with China to begin the second phase of the USD 60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
- Earlier, Pakistan had discussed Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project.
- The second phase primarily revolves around Special Economic Zones (SEZs) development and industrialisation.
- CPEC is a 3,000-km long route of infrastructure projects connecting China’s northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and the Gwadar Port in the western province of Balochistan in Pakistan.
- It is a bilateral project between Pakistan and China, intended to promote connectivity across Pakistan with a network of highways, railways, and pipelines accompanied by energy, industrial, and other infrastructure development projects.
- It will pave the way for China to access the Middle East and Africa from Gwadar Port, enabling China to access the Indian Ocean and in return China will support development projects in Pakistan to overcome the latter’s energy crises and stabilising its faltering economy.
- CPEC is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
- The BRI, launched in 2013, aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes.
- India has been severely critical of the CPEC, as it passes through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which is a disputed territory between India and Pakistan.
- India has also protested to China over the CPEC as it is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- India is a member of the Quad (India, the US, Australia and Japan) which can provide realistic alternatives for countries looking for infrastructure and be an alternative to China. The member countries of the Quad have come up with some alternatives.
Interim Report Of J&K Delimitation Commission:
In its interim report, the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Delimitation Commission has proposed significant changes to the electoral map of J&K.
- The delimitation exercise had started in June 2021 in the state.
- The erstwhile J&K State had an 87-member assembly, with 37 constituencies in the Jammu region and 46 in the Kashmir division and four in Ladakh. Besides, 24 seats are reserved and vacant for Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).
- J&K lost its special status and was divided into two Union Territories (J&K and Ladakh) after the abrogation of its special status under Article 370, on 5th August, 2019.
Major Recommendations of J&K Delimitation Commission:
- The Commission has, as per the mandate granted under the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, added seven assembly constituencies to J&K, increasing its strength from 87 to 90.
- The interim report proposes an increase of six seats for the Jammu province, taking the number of constituencies to 43, and an increase of one seat in the Kashmir province, taking the seat strength to 47, almost bringing the two regions at par with each other.
- The Commission has suggested redrawing of boundaries of most of the Assembly segments in J&K. It has named and reconfigured 28 new constituencies and deleted 19 assembly segments.
- The Commission has proposed to reserve seven seats for Scheduled Castes (SCs) Hindus that mainly populate the Samba-Kathua-Jammu-Udhampur belt and nine seats for Scheduled Tribes (STs) which will help Gujjar and Bakerwals, mostly non-Kashmiri speaking Muslims inhabiting the Rajouri-Poonch belt in the Jammu province.
- The Commission has proposed reframing of Lok Sabha constituencies, with J&K having five parliamentary constituencies, which included three seats from Kashmir and two from Jammu.
- It has proposed a Lok Sabha seat, disjointed geographically, by merging three districts of south Kashmir and two districts of Rajouri and Poonch in the Pir Panjal valley. It will be named Anantnag-Rajouri seat.
Criminalisation Of Politics: Amicus Curiae Report
According to data compiled by the Amicus Curiae, a total of 4,984 criminal cases involving legislators were pending in various courts across the country as of 1st December, 2021.
- The Amicus Curiae was appointed by the Supreme Court for helping the court in setting up special courts to fast-track cases against MPs and MLAs.
- This trend highlights the increasing instance of criminalization of politics.
- An amicus curiae (literally, “friend of the court”) is someone who is not a party to a case and may or may not have been solicited by a party and who assists a court by offering information, expertise, and bearing on issues of the case.
- The criminalization of politics means the participation of criminals in politics which includes that criminals can contest in the elections and get elected as members of the Parliament and the State legislature.
- It takes place primarily due to the nexus between politicians and criminals.
- In this regard, Indian Constitution does not specify as to what disqualifies a person from contesting elections for the Parliament, Legislative assembly or any other legislature.
- The Representation of Peoples Act 1951 mentions the criteria for disqualifying a person for contesting an election of the legislature.
- Section 8 of the act, i.e. disqualification on conviction for certain offences, according to which an individual punished with a jail term of more than two years cannot stand in an election for six years after the jail term has ended.
- The law does not bar individuals who have criminal cases pending against them from contesting elections therefore the disqualification of candidates with criminal cases depends on their conviction in these cases.
Indian Footwear And Leather Development Programme (IFLDP):
Indian Footwear and Leather Development Programme (IFLDP) has been approved for continuation from 2021-22 with an approved financial outlay of Rs. 1700 crore.
- IFLDP has been approved by the Union Cabinet as continuation of the erstwhile IFLADP (Indian Footwear Leather and Accessories Development Programme) till 31st March 2026 or till further review, whichever is earlier.
- The IFLADP was announced with an expenditure of Rs. 2,600 crore for three financial years – 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- IFLDP Scheme is a Central Sector Scheme, which aims at development of infrastructure for the leather sector, address environmental concerns specific to the leather sector, facilitate additional investments, employment generation and increase in production.
- Sub-schemes approved under the programme include:
- Sustainable technology and environmental promotion; Integrated Development of Leather Sector (IDLS); establishment of institutional facilities; Mega Leather Footwear and Accessories Cluster Development; brand promotion; and development of design studios.
- Development of design studios (proposed outlay Rs 100 crore) is a new sub-scheme and it would promote marketing/export linkages, facilitate buyer- seller meets, display designs to international buyers and work as interface for the trade fairs.
- The programme has a direct benefit towards quality employment generation especially for women, skill development, decent work, making the industry more environment friendly and prompting a sustainable production system.
- The leather clusters located in different parts of the country have accrued benefit in terms of reduction of poverty, gender equality, sector specific skill/education, etc., thus touching many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
- Other National Development Plans (NDPs) such as economic growth, generation of employment, good health and well-being, infrastructure development, affordable and clean energy and other environmental benefits are well-served by the IFLAD Programme.
- Most of the NDPs align with the SDGs.
Artificial Neural Network (ANN):
The global Artificial Neural Network (ANN) Market report was published.
- It is an information bank that delivers comprehensive information about the market ranging from the establishment to the predictable growth trend.
- As per the current report, ANN Market to Set Phenomenal Growth from 2021 to 2028.
- Artificial Neural Network is a vital subset of machine learning that helps computer scientists in their work on complex tasks, such as, strategizing, making predictions, and recognizing trends.
- It is a computational model that mimics the way nerve cells work in the human brain. It is designed to simulate the way the human brain analyzes and processes information.
- It is not like other machine learning algorithms that crunch numbers or organise data, it is an algorithm that learns from experience and repeated tasks performed by its users.
- It is also known as a Neural Network (NN). ANN is a computational model based on the functions and structure of biological neural networks.
- Information that runs through the network affects the structure of the artificial neural network due to the fact that a neural network learns or changes based on the input and output.
- NNs are fed massive volumes of data in the beginning phases. In most cases, training is done by providing input and informing the network about what should be the output.
- Many smartphone makers, for example, have recently integrated facial recognition technology.
Vande Bharat Trains:
In the Union Budget for 2022-2023, the Finance Minister has proposed the development and manufacture of 400 new Vande Bharat trains in the next three years.
- The 400 trains carry a potential investment of Rs 50,000 crore while the current Vande Bharats are being made at Rs 106 crore per train set of 16 cars, at 2018 pricing.
- It comes in addition to the current plan — to be able to run 75 Vande Bharats across India by Independence Day in 2023.
- Vande Bharat Trains is an indigenously designed and manufactured semi high speed, self-propelled train that is touted as the next major leap for the Indian Railways in terms of speed and passenger convenience since the introduction of Rajdhani trains.
- The first Vande Bharat was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF), Chennai, as part of the ‘Make in India’ programme, at a cost of about Rs. 100 crore.
- The Vande Bharat was India’s first attempt at adaptation of the train set technology compared with conventional systems of passenger coaches hauled by separate locomotives.
- The train set configuration, though complex, is faster, easier to maintain, consumes less energy, and has greater flexibility in train operation.
- Currently, two Vande Bharat Expresses are operational —one between New Delhi and Varanasi and the other from New Delhi to Katra.
- The 400 new trains will have “better efficiency” and railways are looking at making several of these trainsets with aluminium instead of steel.
- An aluminium body will make each trainset around 40-80 tonnes lighter than a current Vande Bharat and this will mean lower consumption of energy as well as better speed potential.
- These trains, dubbed as Train 18 during the development phase, operate without a locomotive and are based on a propulsion system called distributed traction power technology, by which each car of the train set is powered.
- Its coaches incorporate passenger amenities including on-board WiFi entertainment, GPS-based passenger information system, CCTVs, automatic doors in all coaches, rotating chairs and bio-vacuum type toilets like in aircraft.
- It can achieve a maximum speed of 160 kmph due to faster acceleration and deceleration, reducing journey time by 25% to 45%.
- It also has an intelligent braking system with power regeneration for better energy efficiency thereby making it cost, energy and environment efficient.
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 that is implemented in all the districts of the country in accordance with the provision of the National Food Security Act, 2013.
- The direct benefit cash transfer is to help expectant mothers meet enhanced nutritional requirements as well as to partially compensate them for wage loss during their pregnancy.
- The scheme was announced on December 31, 2016. It is being implemented in all districts of the country with effect from 1st January, 2017.
- 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 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.
Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK):
The people of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) have condemned Pakistan for observing February 5 as Kashmir Solidarity Day and on the contrary marked it as “Fraud Day”.
- Several protest rallies are held across PoK in areas like Bagh, Mong and Hajira where the people lambasted Islamabad for its double standards on Kashmir (The region does not have proper healthcare and educational facilities compared to Islamabad).
- PoK is called “Azad Jammu & Kashmir” (“AJK” in short).
- It came into being after the 1949 ceasefire between India and Pakistan.
- It comprises the parts of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir that were occupied by the Pakistani forces.
- Pakistan’s constitutional position on PoK is that it is not a part of the country, but the “liberated” part of Kashmir.
- However, Article 257 of Pakistan’s Constitution says: “When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and the State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.”
- The constitution of Pakistan lists the country’s four provinces — Punjab, Sind, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
- For all practical purposes, PoK is run by the Pakistan government through the all-powerful Kashmir Council, a nominated 14-member body headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
- The Assembly has a five-year term. The legislators elect a “prime minister” and a “president” for the territory.
- While PoK is ostensibly an autonomous, self-governing territory, the Pakistan Army is the final arbiter on all matters Kashmir.
- The fact that PoK is an integral part of India has been our consistent policy ever since 1947.
- India has also made clear to the world that any issue related to PoK is the internal matter of India.
- Please note that Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) is part of the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, while Gilgit-Baltistan is in the UT of Ladakh in the fresh maps released by the government.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her Budget speech announced that the government proposes to issue sovereign green bonds to mobilise resources for green infrastructure.
- The proceeds will be deployed in public sector projects which help in reducing the carbon intensity of the economy.
- Now, the government has clarified that these rupee-denominated papers will have a long tenure to suit the requirement of green infrastructure projects.
- A green bond is a type of fixed-income instrument that is specifically earmarked to raise money for climate and environmental projects.
- These bonds are typically asset-linked and backed by the issuing entity’s balance sheet, so they usually carry the same credit rating as their issuers’ other debt obligations.
- Green bonds may come with tax incentives to enhance their attractiveness to investors.
- The World Bank is a major issuer of green bonds.
- It has issued 164 such bonds since 2008, worth a combined $14.4 billion. In 2020, the total issuance of green bonds was worth almost $270 billion, according to the Climate Bond Initiative.
- Green bonds work just like any other corporate or government bond.
- Borrowers issue these securities in order to secure financing for projects that will have a positive environmental impact, such as ecosystem restoration or reducing pollution.
- Investors who purchase these bonds can expect to make as the bond matures.
- In addition, there are often tax benefits for investing in green bonds.
Aravalli Biodiversity Park:
On World Wetlands Day, that is, on February 2, the Aravalli Biodiversity Park (Gurugram) was announced as the first Other Effective Area – based Conservation Measures site, OECM site.
- The OECM tag is provided by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. According to IUCN, the OECM sites are not protected but are rich in biodiversity.
- The OECM areas were defined at the Convention on Biological Diversity that was held in 2018.
- The OECM tag does not bring any legal, financial or management implications, but designates the area as a biodiversity hotspot on the international map.
- Other effective area-based conservation measures(OECMS) is a conservation designation for areas that are achieving the effective in-situ conservation of biodiversity outside of protected areas.
- The Aravalli Biodiversity Park is spread across 390 acres and has semi-arid vegetation, with around 300 native plants, 101,000 trees, 43,000 shrubs, and several species of birds.
- The Aravallis, one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, are considered the green lungs of Delhi-NCR, a crucial water recharge zone for the region.
- They also support rich fauna, including leopards, sambhar, fox, jackals and palm civets among others.