Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 7 Apr, 2021

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MoU on “Blockchain-based Traceability Interface” for Indian Spices

What is the News?

Spices Board India and UNDPs India’s Accelerator Lab signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU). The MoU aims to build a blockchain-based traceability interface for Indian spices. It will enhance transparency in the supply chain and trade.

About blockchain-based traceability interface:

  • Blockchain-based traceability interface will be integrated with the e-Spice Bazaar portal. The portal was developed by Spices Board India for connecting spices farmers with markets.
  • Significance:
    • It will bring ease and transparency in data management across a complex network. This network includes farmers, distributors, processors, retailers, regulators, and consumers thus simplifying the supply chain.
    • It will also allow farmers and other stakeholders to access the information. This makes the entire supply chain more efficient and equitable.

What is Blockchain Technology?

  • A blockchain is a distributed ledger of information. It replicates across various nodes on a “peer-to-peer” network (P2P Network).
  • The data exists on multiple computers at the same time. It constantly grows as new sets of recordings or blocks add to it in a decentralization manner.
  • All transactions on a standard Blockchain are verified and signed with cryptography to ensure security and anonymity.
    • Cryptography: It is the process of converting ordinary plain text into unintelligible text and vice-versa.
    • The intended person can encrypt the coded message and use them.
  • The ledger can record many transactions such as monetary transactions, property transfer, and even ballot storage.

About Spices Board India:

  • Spices Board is one of the five Commodity Boards functioning under the Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • Purpose: It is an autonomous body responsible for the export promotion of the 52 scheduled spices and development of Cardamom (Small & Large).
  • Functions: The main functions of the Spices Board are,
    • Research, Development, and Regulation of domestic marketing of Small & Large Cardamom;
    • Post-harvest improvement of all spices;
    • Export promotion of all spices. Further, it will assist the exporters in technology up-gradation, quality management, brand promotion, research & product development;
    • Development of spices in the North East;
    • Regulation of quality of spices for exports through its quality evaluation services; etc.

About UNDP Accelerator Lab:

  • Accelerator Lab is an innovative initiative by the UNDP, Qatar Government and the Federal Republic of Germany. It aims to find 21st-century solutions to today’s complex new challenges.
  • Purpose: These labs seek to identify grassroots solutions together with local actors. Further, they will validate their potential to accelerate further developments.
  • UNDP Accelerator Lab in India has been launched by UNDP in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission.

Source: PIB

PMAY– Gramin achieved 92% target in 1st Phase

What is the News?

PMAY – Gramin (Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana- Gramin) achieves 92% of its target under the 1st phase (i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19).

Target under PMAY – Gramin:

  • PMAY-G scheme aims to construct 2.95 crore houses with all basic amenities by the year 2021-22.
    • However, the number of beneficiaries reduced from 2.95 crores to 2.14 crore. It was after 81 lakh were found ineligible as per Socio-Economic Caste Census(SECC) -2011.
  • 1st Phase Target: A target of 1 crore houses was set for completion in the 1st phase of the scheme i.e. from 2016-17 to 2018-19. 92% of the target completion has been achieved.

Expenditure on PMAY-Gramin:

  • In the financial year 2020-21, the highest ever money allotted since the launch of the PMAY(G) scheme.
  • Further, expenditure incurred by states also seen an unprecedented increase in the current fiscal. This is also the highest expenditure since the launch of the rural housing scheme.

About PMAY- Gramin:

  • Launched by: Ministry of Rural Development in 2016
  • Aim: The aim is to provide a pucca house with basic amenities to all rural families. The scheme aims to achieve this by the end of March 2022. People who are homeless or living in kutcha or old houses are eligible for benefits.
  • Beneficiaries: Beneficiaries under the scheme are identified as per the housing deprivation parameters and exclusion criteria prescribed under Socio-Economic Caste Census(SECC) 2011. Gram Sabha verifies these eligible beneficiaries.

Click Here to Read more about PMAY-G

 Source: PIB

Justice N.V. Ramana – the next “Chief Justice of India(CJI)”

What is the News?

The President of India appointed Justice N.V. Ramana as the next Chief Justice of India.

Appointment of CJI and other Judges:

The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the other judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of India under Article 124(2) of the Constitution.

Constitution on appointment of CJI:

  • The Constitution of India does not have any specific provision for criteria and procedure for appointing the CJI.
  • Article 124(1) and the 2008 amendment of the Indian Constitution states that there shall be a Supreme Court of India consisting of a Chief Justice of India and no. of judges as prescribed by Parliament.
  • Initially, the prescribed no. of judges was 7 excluding CJI. Now the no. is 34 judges including the CJI.
  • The closest mention is in Article 126. It deals with the appointment of an acting CJI.

Convention for appointment of CJI

  • When the incumbent CJI retires (all Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65), the senior-most judge in the SC becomes the CJI.
  • Seniority is not defined by age but by the number of years an individual has served as a judge of the apex court.

Read moreAppointment of CJI

Salary and Allowance of CJI and other Judges:

  • The Constitution of India given the power to the Parliament to decide the salaries, allowances, privileges, leave and pension of the judges. This includes both the Judges and CJI of the Supreme Court.
  • However, his terms and conditions cannot alter to their disadvantage after they get appointed. It can be altered only when there is a financial emergency.

Administrative Powers of CJI:

  • Chief Justice of India is the “first among equals” in the Supreme Court. He has the “exclusive prerogative” to allocate cases and constitute Benches. Hence, he is known as the master of the roster.
  • The Chief Justice decides the number of judges that will hear a case. Thus, he can influence the judgement by simply choosing judges favouring a particular outcome.
    • CJI can exercise such administrative powers without collegium consensus. Further, he/she cannot state any reasons for such change.
  • Appointment of court officials and general and miscellaneous matters relating to the supervision and functioning of the Supreme Court.

Click Here to Read about Procedure for Removal of CJI and other Judges

 Source: The Hindu

Government Releases Data on “FDI Inflows in India 2020-21”

What is the News?

The Government releases data regarding the Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) inflows in India from April to January 2021.

FDI inflows in India from April 2020 to January 2021:

  • India attracted a total FDI inflow of US$ 72.12 billion from April to January 2021.
    • Significance: It is the highest ever for the first ten months of a financial year. Further, it is 15% higher than the similar FDI inflow of 2019-20 (US$ 62.72 billion).
  • Top Investor Countries: Singapore is the top FDI investor followed by the USA and UAE.
  • Sectors: Computer Software & Hardware emerges as the top sector with 45.81% of the total FDI equity inflow. This is followed by Construction (Infrastructure) Activities (13.37%) and Services Sector (7.80%) respectively.

About Foreign Direct Investment(FDI):

  • FDI is the category of international investment. It reflects the objective of obtaining a lasting interest from a resident entity in one economy to an enterprise in another economy.
  • The lasting interest implies the existence of a long-term relationship between the direct investor and the enterprise. This has a significant degree of influence on the management of the enterprise.

Components: FDI consists of three components:

  • Equity capital: It is the FDI purchase of shares of an enterprise in a country other than its own.
  • Reinvested earnings: It comprises the direct investors’ share (in proportion to direct equity participation) of earnings not distributed. Such retained profits by affiliates are reinvested.
    Note: The earnings of the share are distributed to the investor in the form of dividends by affiliates, or earnings not remitted.
  • Intra-company loans or intra-company debt transactions: It refers to short- or long-term borrowing and lending of funds between direct investors (or enterprises) and affiliate enterprises.

Source: PIB

“Culex or Common House Mosquitoes” Reappears in Delhi

What is the News?

With the change in season and rise in temperature, culex or common house mosquitoes have made a reappearance across Delhi.

About Culex or Common House Mosquitoes:

  • Culex is a genus of mosquitoes. They are carriers of some serious diseases. They can fly up to a distance of 1-1.5 km.
  • Diseases: Culex mosquitoes serve as a vector of one or more serious diseases. Such as the West Nile virus, Japanese Encephalitis or St. Louis encephalitis, Cat Que Virus (CQV), filariasis and avian malaria.
  • Presence of Culex Mosquitoes: They are present in hot and humid regions throughout the globe. They are not found in extreme northern latitudes.
  • Ideal Temperature: The ideal condition for Culex mosquitoes to breed is between 10 degrees Celsius and 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Breeding Ground: They breed in dirty, stagnant water and preferred oviposition habitats. Like rainwater barrels, catch basins, and septic tanks are rich in organic material.
    Oviposition: It is the method of expulsion of the egg from the oviduct to the external environment

How is the Government responding? The Government has taken several initiatives to control Culex Mosquitoes such as:

  • Putting mosquito larvicidal oil-coated blocks in the breeding grounds. This will create a layer that the mosquitoes cannot evade.
  • Underground Insecticide fogging is also being done to paralyse the mosquitoes.
  • Sprays and medicines are being put inside the drains as a preventive measure.
  • Visiting homes to inspect coolers, tanks surroundings. This is done to remove stagnant water or other favourable breeding ground in their surroundings.

Source: Indian Express

ARIES Tracked “Supernova explosion” in Wolf–Rayet stars

What is the News?

Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences(ARIES) tracks a rare supernova explosion. They traced the supernova explosion to one of the hottest kinds of stars called Wolf–Rayet stars or WR stars.

ARIES is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology.

About the Supernova Explosion

  • Astronomers studied the supernovae explosion called SN 2015dj. The explosion happened in the galaxy NGC 7371 in 2015.
  • The ARIES calculated the mass of the star collapsed to form the supernovae.
  • Based on that, they have found that the original star was a combination of two stars. One of them is a massive WR star. The other one is a star much less in mass than the Sun.

About Wolf–Rayet stars:

  • Wolf–Rayet stars are highly luminous objects. The surface temperature of WR stars is a thousand times more than the Sun.
  • They are massive stars. Further, they have completely lost their outer hydrogen. So the WR stares fusing helium or heavier elements in the core.
  • The study of certain types of massive luminous supernovae explosion can help probe these stars that remain a mystery for scientists.

What is Supernova?

  • Supernovae(SNe) are highly energetic explosions in the Universe releasing an enormous amount of energy.
  • Long-term monitoring of these explosions helps us understand the nature of the exploding star as well as the explosion properties. It can also help calculate the number of massive stars.
  • A supernova is the explosion of a star. It is the largest explosion that takes place in space. Supernovas are often seen in other galaxies. But supernovas are difficult to see in our own Milky Way galaxy because dust blocks our view. Further, a supernova happens where there is a change in the core or center of a star.

Source: PIB

Delhi CM to represent Delhi at “World Cities Cultural Forum”

What is the News?

Delhi CM will represent Delhi and India at the World Cities Cultural Forum.

About World Cities Cultural Forum:

  • The World Cities Culture Forum was established in London in 2012. Eight cities are its member(London, New York City, Tokyo, Shanghai, Paris, Istanbul, Sydney and Johannesburg).
  • Organized by: It is an initiative of the Mayor of London. It is organised and coordinated by BOP Consulting, a specialist consulting firm.
  • Purpose: The forum provides a way for policymakers to share research and intelligence. Further, they can explore the vital role of culture in their future prosperity.
  • Participating Cities: The forum now has 43 participating member cities. Delhi is invited this year, but it is not a part of member cities.

World Cities Culture Summit:

  • Each year, members of the World Cities Culture Forum meet at the World Cities Culture Summit.
  • The summit is hosted on a rotating basis by member cities. It is attended by Deputy Mayors for Culture and Heads of Culture from the member cities.
  • The theme for 2021: The Future of Culture.

Publications by Forum:

  • World Cities Culture report: It is published by the forum every three years. It contains data and details on innovative projects from cities across the world. The last report was published in 2018.
    • Delhi will now also be part of the World Cities Culture Report.
  • World Cities Culture Finance Report: It is the first comparative analysis of culture financing in world cities. It was first published in 2017 and is updated on an annual basis.

Source: The Hindu


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