Wednesday, 3rd May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day

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Geo-politics in India’s west - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Current Affairs

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Freedom of Religion - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Model Code of Conduct - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Flash Floods in Horns of Africa

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Supreme Court Can Grant Divorce via Article 142

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Twenty Point Programme (TPP): Government Shines On 11 Parameters

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India’s First Undersea Tunnels

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Laundromat countries - Edukemy Current Affairs

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European Union Fit For 55 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Tea Plantation in India - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Uzbekistan - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Blue washing - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Editorial of the day

Geo-politics in India’s west - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: foreign policy challenges for Pakistan – India, US, China, Russia, Pakistan and Middle East;

Context: Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s visit to India this week is a first by its foreign minister to India in more than a decade. It can act as a bridge between the two nations only if Pakistan takes its time and space to get its domestic act together and rebuild a foreign policy consensus.

Decoding the editorial: Geo-political issues for Pakistan

India

  • There is vocal opposition in Islamabad to Bilawal’s visit to India for the deliberations of a multilateral organisation, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is led by Pakistan’s close partner China.
  • Former army chief, General Qamar Jawed Bajwa
    • Senior media figures have accused him of making major “compromises” with India on Kashmir when he attempted to engage and reduce tensions with India.
    • February 2019: Heightened tensions followed the Pulwama terror attack and Balakot bombing by India’s Air Force and the Pakistani riposte.
    • August 2019: India’s constitutional changes in Kashmir saw Pakistan go ballistic. It cut down ties with India and insisted that Delhi must roll back the Kashmir changes before it could resume the dialogue.

    • February 2021: The broad contours of his approach were in the public domain after Delhi and Islamabad announced a ceasefire agreement.
      • The ceasefire agreement was a product of back-channel talks between the Indian national security adviser Ajit Doval and Bajwa.
      • The ceasefire was to be followed by several confidence-building measures to relax tensions between the two countries.
      • One idea was to resume overland trade between the two countries.
      • This was overruled by the then Pakistan Prime Minister. Otherwise, the ceasefire could have begun another round of Pakistan’s bilateral engagement with India.

US, China, and Russia

  • It has been a struggle for Pakistan to find a sustainable approach to engagement with these major powers that are at odds with each other.
  • Pakistan under Prime Minister Imran Khan
    • Anti-American posturing saw the deterioration of ties with Washington.
    • Visibility in Moscow on the day Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine outraged Europe and the US.

Afghanistan and middle east

  • Islamabad is also facing new challenges in Afghanistan and is struggling to cope with the shifting geopolitical dynamic in the Middle East.
  • Pakistan sought to align with Turkey as it sought to wrest the leadership of the Islamic world from Saudi Arabia and picked quarrels with the United Arab Emirates.
  • Today, Turkey is normalising ties with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, while Pakistan finds itself marginalised in the Middle East.

The Army of Pakistan unleashed over the last five decades evils like addiction to jihad, empowerment of religious extremism at home, and letting the Kashmir rhetoric overwhelm pragmatic considerations. Still, one priority for India must be to sustain the valuable backchannel to the army leadership in Rawalpindi. Weakened though it is, the Pakistan Army remains the only credible interlocutor for India in the near term.

 

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/c-raja-mohan-writes-india-bilawal-bhuttos-diplomatic-challenges-8587933/

Keywords: GS-Paper 2: India and its Neighbourhood
Daily Current Affairs

Freedom of Religion - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: While responding to a petition filed in the Supreme Court (SC), seeking an NIA/CBI investigation into the “root cause” of the death of a 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu, the Tamil Nadu government said that the acts of missionaries to spread Christianity by themselves cannot be seen as illegal.

Background:

  • A 17-year-old girl in Thanjavur died by suicide last year. Accusations were made regarding conversion attempt by the school management leading to her suicide.
  • A petition was filed by a local leader seeking justice for the girl and investigating conversion attempts by Christian missionary-run schools. The petition argued that forcible or deceitful conversion was a violation of fundamental rights.

About Freedom of Religion:

  • According to the Constitution of India, every individual has a fundamental right to freedom of religion. It conceives freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
  • An opportunity is also provided by this right to spread it among everyone without any fear of government intervention.
  • India being home to people following different religions and having different faiths such as Hinduism, Jainism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, and Christianity. Thus it becomes necessary to protect and secure rights regarding the faith of each and every religion.

Constitutional provisions to safeguard freedom of religion:

  • Preamble: Preamble of the constitution states that India is a secular country which means that equal protection is to be provided by the state to all religion and allows principled state intervention in all religions.
  • Article 25: It says that all persons are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice and propagate religion. It covers not only religious beliefs (doctrines) but also religious practices (rituals). However, these rights are subject to public order, morality, health and other provisions relating to fundamental rights.
  • Article 26: It states that every religious denomination has the freedom to manage their religious affairs such as establish and maintain institutions for religious purposes, own and acquire movable and immovable property etc.
  • Article 27: It states that no person shall be compelled to pay any taxes for the promotion or maintenance of any particular religion or religious denomination.
  • Article 28: It states that no religious instruction shall be provided in any educational institution wholly maintained out of State funds.

Judicial Pronouncements on the Freedom of Religion:

  • Rev Stanislaus Vs Madhya Pradesh, 1977: The SC concluded that the right to propagate does not include the right to convert.
  • Lily Thomas and Sarla Mudgal cases: The SC, in both the cases has confirmed that religious conversions carried out without a bona fide belief and for the sole purpose of deriving some legal benefit do not hold water.
  • Salamat Ansari-Priyanka Kharwar case of Allahabad High Court 2020: The right to choose a partner or live with a person of choice was part of a citizen’s fundamental right to life and liberty.
  • Hadiya Case: In this case SC pronounced that neither state nor the law can dictate a choice of partners or limit the free ability of every person to decide on these matters.

 

Source: 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/acts-of-missionaries-to-spread-christianity-by-themselves-cannot-be-seen-as-illegal-tn-government-tells-sc/article66799152.ece

Keywords: GS-2 Indian Constitution and significant provisions, fundamental rights, Secularism
Daily Current Affairs

Model Code of Conduct - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, Congress approached the Election Commission to bar Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from campaigning for the May 10 Assembly polls in Karnataka for their alleged statements against the minority community.

Origin of Model Code of Conduct

  • The origin of the Model Code of Conduct lies in the Assembly elections of Kerala in 1960, when the State administration prepared a ‘Code of Conduct’ for political actors.
  • Subsequently, in the Lok Sabha elections in 1962, the ECI circulated the code to all recognized political parties and State governments, and it was wholeheartedly followed.
  • It was in 1991 after repeated flouting of the election norms and continued corruption, the EC decided to enforce the MCC more strictly.

About

  • The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued by the Election Commission to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections.
  • It helps Election Commission in keeping with the mandate it has been given under Article 324 of the Constitution, which gives it the power to supervise and conduct free and fair elections to the Parliament and State Legislatures.
  • The Model Code of Conduct is operational from the date on which the election schedule is announced until the date of the result announcement.

Legal Backing of Model Code of Conduct

  • While the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) lacks legal backing, its enforcement by the Election Commission (EC) has led to its increased significance over the past decade.
  • Certain provisions of the MCC can be enforced by utilizing corresponding provisions in other statutes like the Indian Penal Code (IPC) of 1860, Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) of 1973, and the Representation of the People Act (RPA) of 1951.
  • In 2013, the Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievances, Law, and Justice recommended the inclusion of the MCC as a legally binding component of the RPA 1951.
  • However, the ECI opposes the idea of making it legally binding. The ECI argues that elections need to be completed within a relatively short timeframe of approximately 45 days, while judicial proceedings typically take longer. Hence, making the MCC enforceable by law is considered impractical.

Rules in MCC for Parties and Candidates

  • General Conduct: Political parties and candidates should maintain high standards of conduct and refrain from activities that may create tensions or divisions among different communities or groups.
  • Campaigning: The MCC emphasizes the importance of maintaining a peaceful campaign environment. It prohibits speeches, appeals, or any other forms of communication that incite violence or promote hatred based on religion, caste, community, or language.
  • Use of Public Property: Political parties and candidates should not misuse public facilities, such as government vehicles, premises, or officials, for campaign purposes. The MCC prohibits the use of public funds or resources to gain an unfair advantage.
  • Bribery and Corruption: Candidates and political parties are prohibited from bribing voters, using illegal means to influence voters, or engaging in any corrupt practices. Distributing gifts, cash, or any other inducements to voters is strictly prohibited.
  • Polling Stations: The MCC ensures that political parties and candidates respect the sanctity of polling stations. They should not disturb the peaceful conduct of voting, intimidate voters, or indulge in any kind of electoral malpractice.
  • Polling Day: Only voters and those with a valid pass from the EC are allowed to enter polling booths. All authorized party workers at polling booths should be given suitable badges or identity cards.
  • Party Symbols and Propaganda: The MCC regulates the use of party symbols and propaganda materials. It prohibits defacement of public property with posters, banners, or graffiti. Additionally, it emphasizes the need for transparency in financial disclosures related to election expenses.
  • Media Coverage: The MCC encourages fair and balanced media coverage during elections. It urges political parties and candidates to avoid making false or defamatory statements against opponents and to cooperate with the media for providing accurate and responsible coverage.
  • Opinion poll and advertisements: The regulation of opinion polls and exit polls during the period notified by the ECI. The prohibition of advertisements in print media on polling day and one day prior to it unless the contents are pre-certified by screening committees. The restriction on government advertisements featuring political functionaries during the election period.
  • Election Manifestos: Manifestos shall not be released during the prohibitory period, as prescribed under Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act 1951, for single or multi-phase elections.

 

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/bar-amit-shah-yogi-adityanath-from-campaigning-in-karnataka-congress-to-ec/article66789614.ece

 

Keywords: GS-1 Indian Polity and Constitution
Daily Current Affairs

Flash Floods in Horns of Africa


In News: Flash Floods hit Horn of Africa after six seasons of failed rains

About Flash flood in Africa:

  • A flash flood is a sudden and rapid flooding caused by heavy rainfall or other events that cause water to accumulate rapidly in an area.
  • Flash floods have recently hit Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Tanzania, and other parts of the Horn of Africa causing significant damage to property, loss of lives and livelihoods, and disruptions of health services.
  • The heavy rainfall comes after six consecutive seasons of failed rains and is predicted to be disastrous, and will exacerbate the disease burden across the eastern Africa region.
  • Hunger-plagued eastern Africa region may suffer a significant blow since the long rains season is a crucial period for its agricultural sector.

Major Affected areas:

  • Several regions in Kenya are affected with over 5,000 families been displaced, and 12 people have died in northern Kenya.
  • In Ethiopia excessive rainfall in the last three weeks, resulting in casualties, crop damage, and property destruction.
  • Several regions in Somalia have been receiving moderate rains with the heaviest rainfall recorded in Gedo and Bay regions.
  • In Tanzania, agricultural fields with crops ranging from rice, cassava, sorghum, cashews, coconuts, and legumes were washed away.

 

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/world/drought-to-deluge-horn-of-africa-experiencing-floods-after-six-seasons-of-failed-rains-89038

 

Keywords: GS-I: Geography: Natural disasters, Flash floods
Daily Current Affairs

Supreme Court Can Grant Divorce via Article 142


In News: Supreme Court rules it can issue Divorce Decree under Article 142

About Supreme Court’s ruling:

  • Divorce is a lengthy process in India, due to a backlog of cases before family courts and in this regard, Supreme Court has decided to issue decrees for dissolving marriages directly under Article 142.
  • As per directives,
    • SCI can now exercise plenary power to grant a decree of divorce to dissolve a marriage.
    • It can waive the mandatory six-month waiting period for divorce under The Hindu Marriage Act (HMA), 1955
    • It can pass such a decree under Article 142 to dissolve marriages on grounds of irretrievable breakdown even if one of the parties is not willing.

Article 142:

  • It grants sweeping powers to SCI to pass orders for complete justice however, the decision to exercise the power under Article 142 must be based on considerations of fundamental general and specific public policy.

Divorce Under the Hindu Marriage Act

  • Divorce by mutual consent is available under Section 13B of the HMA and can be moved only after one year of marriage
  • HMA also allows waiver of the six-month waiting period through an exemption application filed before the family court.
  • Section 14 of the HMA allows a divorce petition sooner in case of “exceptional hardship to the petitioner or of exceptional depravity on the part of the respondent”
  • A cooling period of six months from the date of filing of the divorce petition should be enforced where there is a chance of reconciliation.
  • If there is no possibility of reconciliation, it would be meaningless to prolong the agony of the parties to the marriage.

 

https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-law/supreme-court-divorce-explained-ruling-8585167/

 

Keywords: GS-I& II:Society, Governance
Daily Current Affairs

Twenty Point Programme (TPP): Government Shines On 11 Parameters


In News: Government shines on 11 parameters under its Twenty Point Programme(TPP)

About 20-Point Programme:

  • The Twenty Point Programme (TPP) is a government initiative first launched in 1975 to eradicate poverty and improve the quality of life of the poor and underprivileged people in India.
  • It covers various socio-economic aspects like poverty, employment, education, housing, health, agriculture, land reforms, irrigation, drinking water, environment, e-Governance, etc.
  • As per Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), TPP covers 66 items, out of which 25 are monitored on a monthly basis, while the remaining items are monitored annually.

Good Performance

  • The government achieved more than 90% completion in six parameters and 80-90% in five parameters.
  • The government averaged 88% completion of targets under different food security
  • It achieved 99% of the target in electricity supply and energized 0.51 million pump sets, against the target of 0.34 million during the period.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), 82% of the targeted 4 million houses were constructed during April-December 2022.

Poor Performance

  • The performance in three of the 14 parameters was "poor" or below 80% target, including the area covered under plantation and construction of roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).
  • Under the PMGSY, only 53% of the targeted 35,385 km of roads were constructed during April-December 2022.
  • 15 of the 32 states/UTs had a completion rate less than 40% in the case of PMGSY, while only two - Uttar Pradesh and Odisha - had achieved 90% or more.

 

https://m.economictimes.com/news/economy/indicators/twenty-point-programme-government-shines-on-11-parameters/articleshow/99917664.cms

 

Keywords: GS-3 Economic development
Daily Current Affairs

India’s First Undersea Tunnels


Why in news? Down under in Mumbai, India’s 1st undersea tunnels to open in November.

About

  • It is a 07-kilometer-long tunnel being built in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • The tunnels are part of the Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) being built by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).
  • Mumbai Coastal Road Project is the 10.58-kilometre Mumbai Coastal Road Project (MCRP) connects Marine Drive to the Bandra-Worli Sea Link and during peak hours.
  • The project is expected to reduce the 45-minute commute from Girgaon to Worli to just 10 minutes.
  • The project also highlights the usage of India’s largest-ever tunnel boring machine (TBM) called Mavala. This machine weighs over 1,700 tonnes and stands about 12 meters tall.

https://indianexpress.com/article/cities/mumbai/down-under-in-mumbai-indias-1st-undersea-tunnels-to-open-in-nov-8586289/

 

Keywords: GS-3 Infrastructure Development
Daily Current Affairs

Laundromat countries - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? India leads ‘Laundromat’ countries buying Russian crude and selling oil products to Europe.

About

  • “Laundromat” countries are countries that buy Russian oil and sell processed products to European countries, thus sidestepping European sanctions against Russian Oil.
  • The five countries (India, China, Turkey, UAE and Singapore) are identified as ‘laundromats’ for Western countries by the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA).
  • The five countries are responsible for 70 percent of Russia's crude oil exports.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-leads-laundromat-countries-buying-russian-crude-and-selling-oil-products-to-europe-report/article66800618.ece

 

Keywords: GS-2 International Relation
Daily Current Affairs

European Union Fit For 55 - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? The European climate law makes reaching the EU’s climate goal of reducing EU emissions by at least 55% by 2030 a legal obligation.

About

  • The Fit for 55 package is a collection of proposals aimed at updating and enhancing existing EU legislation while introducing new initiatives to align EU policies with the climate objectives agreed upon by the Council and the European Parliament.
  • It includes a range of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across various sectors.

The goal of the Fit for 55 package

  • The main objective of the Fit for 55 package is to align EU legislation with the EU’s objective of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030.
  • This ambitious goal is in line with the Paris Agreement’s long-term target of limiting global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Component of Fit for 55 Package

  • The EU emissions trading system
  • Social Climate Fund
  • The carbon border adjustment mechanism
  • The effort sharing regulation
  • The land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF) regulation
  • New rules on methane emissions reduction in the energy sector
  • The ReFuelEU Aviation proposal

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/green-deal/fit-for-55-the-eu-plan-for-a-green-transition

 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Tea Plantation in India - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? FSSAI notifies residue cap for five pesticides in tea plantation

About

  • Tea originated in northeast India, north Myanmar and southwest China, but the exact place where the plant first grew is not known. There is evidence that tea was consumed in China 5,000 years ago.
  • India is the second-largest producer of tea globa The northern part of India is the biggest producer at about 83% of the country's annual tea production in 2021-22 with the majority of the production coming from Assam followed by West Bengal.
  • The Assam valley and Cachar are the two tea producing regions in Assam. In West Bengal, Dooars, Terai and Darjeeling are the three major tea producer regions.
  • The southern part of India produces about 17% of the country's total production with the major producing states being Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.

Condition for Growth

  • Climate: Tea is a tropical and sub-tropical plant and grows well in hot and humid climates.
  • Temperature: The ideal temperature for its growth is 20°-30°C and temperatures above 35°C and below 10°C are harmful for the bush.
  • Rainfall: It requires 150-300 cm annual rainfall which should be well distributed throughout the year.
  • Soil: The most suitable soil for tea cultivation is slightly acidic soil (without calcium) with porous sub-soil which permits a free percolation of water.

https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/fssai-notifies-mrls-for-five-pesticides-for-tea-123050100733_1.html

 

Keywords: GS-1 Agriculture
Daily Current Affairs

Uzbekistan - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? Uzbekistan holds referendum on new Constitution that puts human rights at the forefront.

About

  • Uzbekistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia.
  • Uzbekistan is bordered by Kazakhstan to the northwest and north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east and southeast, Afghanistan to the south, and Turkmenistan to the southwest.
  • It lies mainly between two major rivers, the Syr Darya (ancient Jaxartes River) to the northeast and the Amu Darya (ancient Oxus River) to the southwest, though they only partly form its boundaries.
  • Khiva City in Uzbekistan is the UNESCO World Heritage site.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/uzbekistan-holds-referendum-on-new-constitution/article66793499.ece

 

Keywords: GS-1 Location in News
Daily Current Affairs

Blue washing - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in news? A new research has highlighted how corporate capture of global food governance is increasingly taking place in more visible ways.

About

  • Blue washing is term used to describe deceptive marketing that overstates a company’s commitment to responsible social practices.
  • It can be used interchangeably with the term greenwashing but has a greater focus on economic and community factors. Alternatively, it could be phrased as a way that companies hide the social damage that their policies have caused.
  • Active disinformation is a tool that companies use to make their goods or services more attractive to their consumers and shareholders.

https://www.downtoearth.org.in/news/agriculture/bluewashing-report-flags-how-corporates-have-wormed-their-way-into-global-food-governance-89004

 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Agriculture
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