ASPIRANTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY – 14 FEB 2022

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

  • Sri Madhvacharya
  • Geomagnetic Storm

GS Paper 2:

  • Geomagnetic Storm
  • Free Legal Aid

GS Paper 3:

  • Misuse of Prevention of Money Laundering Act
  • India and WFP Supply Wheat to Afghanistan
  • Koalos as endangered species:Australia

GS PAPER - 1

Sri Madhvacharya:

Context:

         The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi recently paid his obeisances to Sri Madhvacharya on the occasion of Madhva Navami. 

About Sri Madhvacharya:

        Shri Madhvacharya was born near Udupi. He was born in 1238, on the auspicious day of Vijayadashami, and he was named Vasudeva.

  • He was the third of the trinity of philosophers who influenced Indian thoughts after the ages of the Vedas and Puranas (the other two being Shankaracharya and Ramanujacharya).
  • He propounded the philosophy of Dwaita or Dualism.
  • It was Achyutapreksha who gave him the title ‘Madhva’ by which he was more famously known.
  • Literary works: He wrote various texts that detailed his philosophy which he called Tattvavada, or as it is more popularly known, Dvaita. Some of his works were the Gita Bhashya, Brahma Sutra Bhashya, Anu Bhashya, Karma Nirnaya, and Vishnu Tattva Nirnaya.

 

About Dvaita philosophy:

  • The basic tenet of Dvaita philosophy is the refutation of the Mayavada of Sri Shankara. Dvaitha emphasizes that the world is real and not just an illusion.
  • The soul is bound to this world through ignorance.
  • The way for the soul to release itself from this bondage is to seek the grace of Sri Hari.
  • To reach Sri Hari, one has to practice Bhakthi, there is no other way.
  • To practice Bhakthi, one needs to meditate.
  • To meditate, one needs to clear the mind and attain detachment by studying the sacred texts

Geomagnetic Storm:

Context:

         Recently, Elon Musk’s Starlink has lost 40 satellites that were caught in a geomagnetic storm a day after they were launched.

  • However, these satellites have not created any space debris as the satellites were designed to burn up on reentry into the Earth’s atmosphere.

What are Geomagnetic Storms?

               Geomagnetic storms are caused when events such as solar flares can send higher than normal levels of radiation towards Earth. This radiation interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field causing a geomagnetic storm.

Causes:

        The disturbance that drives the magnetic storm may be a solar coronal mass ejection (CME) or (much less severely) a co-rotating interaction region (CIR), a high-speed stream of solar wind originating from a coronal hole.

Effects of Geomagnetic storms:

  • Effects from the geomagnetic storm can range from the appearance of auroras or the northern and southern lights to disruptions in communications systems due to high radiation. This would make it difficult to communicate with others on Earth.

Classification of Geomagnetic storms:

        Geomagnetic storms are classified according to a scale that measures the effect that storms will have.

  • At its safest level, a G1 storm affects power grids by causing weak fluctuations, minor impacts on satellite operations, and causes the northern and southern lights to occur.
  • At its most extreme, G5, there would be voltage control problems with some grid system collapses or blackouts, radio waves wouldn’t be able to travel for one to two days, low-frequency radio would be out for hours, and the auroras would be able to be seen at lower latitudes than usual

GS PAPER - 2

Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:

Context:

        The National Health Authority has announced the integration of its flagship Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission with the Aarogya Setu app, allowing users to create the 14-digit unique Ayushman Bharat Health Account numbers from the app.

 About the Mission:

          The Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will provide a digital health ID to the people who will hold their health records.

Features of the Mission:

  1. It is a digital health ecosystem under which every Indian citizen will now have unique health IDs, digitised health records with identifiers for doctors and health facilities.
  2. The scheme will come under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
  3. It comprises six key building blocks — HealthID, DigiDoctor, Health Facility Registry, Personal Health Records, e-Pharmacy and Telemedicine.
  4. The National Health Authority has been given the mandate to design, build, roll-out and implement the mission in the country.
  5. The core building blocks of the mission is that the health ID, DigiDoctor and Health Facility Registry shall be owned, operated and maintained by the Government of India.
  6. Private stakeholders will have an equal opportunity to integrate and create their own products for the market. The core activities and verifications, however, remain with the government.
  7. Under the Mission, every Indian will get a Health ID card that will store all medical details of the person including prescriptions, treatment, diagnostic reports and discharge summaries.

  1. Health ID is a randomly generated 14 digit number used for the purposes of uniquely identifying persons, authenticating them, and threading their health records (only with their informed consent) across multiple systems and stakeholders.
  2. The citizens will be able to give their doctors and health providers one-time access to this data during visits to the hospital for consultation.

 What was the need for this mission?

       The mission aims to liberate citizens from the challenges of finding the right doctors, seeking appointment, payment of consultation fee, making several rounds of hospitals for prescription sheets, among several others and will empower people to make an informed decision to avail the best possible healthcare.

Free Legal Aid:

Why in News?

           Recently, the Ministry of Law and Justice informed Lok Sabha about the Pan India Legal Awareness and Outreach Campaign, which was launched in October 2021 on the occasion of National Legal Service Day (NLSD). The NLSD is celebrated on 9th November every year to spread awareness for ensuring reasonable fair and justice procedure for all citizens.

What is NLSD and Related Constitutional Provisions?

  • About:
    • NLSD was first started by the supreme court of India in 1995 to provide help and support to poor and weaker sections of the society.
    • Free legal services are provided in matters before Civil, Criminal and Revenue Courts, Tribunals or any other authority exercising judicial or quasi judicial functions.
    • It is observed to make the citizens of the country aware of the various provisions under the Legal Services Authorities Act and the rights of the litigants. On this day, each jurisdiction organizes legal aid camps, Lok adalats, and legal aid programmes.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides that State shall secure that the operation of the legal system promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity, and shall in particular, provide free legal aid, by suitable legislation or schemes or in any other way, to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disability.
    • Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before law and a legal system which promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.

What are the Objectives of Legal Service Authorities?

  • Provide free legal aid and advice.
  • Spread legal awareness.
  • Organize lok adalats
  • Promote settlements of disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Mechanisms. Various kinds of ADR mechanisms are Arbitration, Conciliation, Judicial settlement including settlement through Lok Adalat, or Mediation.
  • Provide compensation to victims of crime.

What are the Institutions for providing Free Legal Services?

  • National Level:
    • National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). It was constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987. The Chief Justice of India is the Patron-in-Chief.
  • State Level:
    • State Legal Services Authority. It is headed by the Chief Justice of the State High Court who is its Patron-in-Chief.
  • District Level:
    • District Legal Services Authority. The District Judge of the District is its ex-officio Chairman.
  • Taluka/Sub-Division Level:
    • Taluka/Sub-Divisional Legal Services Committee. It is headed by a senior Civil Judge.
  • High Court: High Court Legal Services Committee
  • Supreme Court: Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.

Who is Eligible for Getting Free Legal Services?

  • Women and children
  • Members of SC/ST
  • Industrial workmen
  • Victims of mass disaster, violence, flood, drought, earthquake, industrial disaster.
  • Disabled persons
  • Persons in custody
  • Those persons who have annual income of less than the amount prescribed by the respective State Government, if the case is before any court other than the Supreme Court, and less than Rs. 5 Lakhs, if the case is before the Supreme Court.
  • Victims of Trafficking in Human beings or begar.

GS PAPER - 3

Misuse of Prevention of Money Laundering Act:

Why in News?

         The Supreme Court (SC) is examining allegations of rampant misuse of Prevention of Money Laundering Act 2002 (PMLA) by the government and the Enforcement Directorate (ED).

What are the Major Allegations?

  • Being Used for Ordinary Crimes:
    • PMLA is pulled into the investigation of even “ordinary” crimes and assets of genuine victims have been attached.
    • PMLA was enacted in response to India’s global commitment (including the Vienna Convention) to combat the menace of money laundering. Instead, rights have been “cribbed, cabined and confined”.
    • PMLA was a comprehensive penal statute to counter the threat of money laundering, specifically stemming from trade in narcotics.
    • Currently, the offences in the schedule of the Act are extremely overbroad, and in several cases, have absolutely no relation to either narcotics or organised crime.
  • Lack of Transparency and Clarity:
    • Even the Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) – an equivalent of the FIR – is considered an “internal document” and not given to the accused.
    • The ED treats itself as an exception to these principles and practises [of criminal procedure law] and chooses to register an ECIR on its own whims and fancies on its own file.
    • There is also a lack of clarity about ED’s selection of cases to investigate. The initiation of an investigation by the ED has consequences which have the potential of curtailing the liberty of an individual.

What is the Prevention of Money Laundering Act?

  • It forms the core of the legal framework put in place by India to combat Money Laundering.
  • The provisions of this act are applicable to all financial institutions, banks (Including RBI), mutual funds, insurance companies, and their financial intermediaries.
  • PMLA (Amendment) Act, 2012:
    • Adds the concept of ‘reporting entity’ which would include a banking company, financial institution, intermediary etc.
    • PMLA, 2002levied a fine up to Rs 5 lakh, but the amendment act has removed this upper limit.
    • It has provided for provisional attachment and confiscation of property of any person involved in such activities.

What is Money Laundering?

  • About:
    • Money laundering is the process of making large amounts of money generated by criminal activity, such as drug trafficking or terrorist funding, appear to have come from a legitimate source.
    • Criminal activities like illegal arms sales, smuggling, drug trafficking and prostitution rings, insider trading, bribery and computer fraud schemes produce large profits.
    • Thereby it creates the incentive for money launderers to “legitimise” the ill-gotten gains through money laundering.
    • The money generated is called ‘dirty money‘ and money laundering is the process of conversion of ‘dirty money’, to make it appear as ‘legitimate’ money.
  • Process of Money Laundering:
    • Money laundering is a three-stage process :
      • Placement: The first stage is when the crime money is injected into the formal financial system.
      • Layering: In the second stage, money injected into the system is layered and spread over various transactions with a view to obfuscate the tainted origin of the money.
      • Integration: In the third and the final stage, money enters the financial system in such a way that original association with the crime is sought to be wiped out and the money can then be used by the offender as clean money.
    • Some of the Common Methods of Money Laundering:
      • Bulk Cash Smuggling, Cash Intensive Businesses, Trade-based laundering, Shell companies and trusts, Round-tripping, Bank Capture, Gambling, Real Estate, Black Salaries, Fictional Loans, Hawala, False invoicing.

What is the Enforcement Directorate?

  • Directorate of Enforcement is a specialised financial investigation agency under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance..
  • On 1st May 1956, an ‘Enforcement Unit’ was formed, in the Department of Economic Affairs, for handling Exchange Control Laws violations under Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947.
  • In the year 1957, this Unit was renamed as ‘Enforcement Directorate’.
  • ED enforces the following laws:
    • Foreign Exchange Management Act,1999 (FEMA)
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA)

India and WFP Supply Wheat to Afghanistan:

Why in News?

            Recently, India signed an agreement with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) for the distribution of 50,000 MT of wheat that it has committed to sending to Afghanistan as part of a humanitarian assistance.

  • Earlier, the Delhi Regional Security Dialogue on Afghanistan was held. The meeting called for “urgent humanitarian assistance” to the Afghan people and urged close cooperation and consultation among the regional countries over the Afghan scenario.
  • In 2020, India sent more than 20 tonnes of medicines, other equipment and transported 75,000 tonnes of wheat to Afghanistan to address the Covid-19 challenge.

What is the Wheat Agreement About?

  • The wheat will be taken through Pakistan to the Afghan border crossing and handed over to WFP officials in Kandahar beginning February 2022.
  • Iran has also offered to facilitate some of the wheat through Chabahar port and then on to Afghanistan’s border via Zahedan.

What is the Major Concern in Fulfilling the Agreement?

  • The route via Pakistan, which has been closed for all exports from India since 2019, and opened only as an exception, is likely to require several weeks for the transport of the current consignment, as infrastructure and labour required to load and reload the wheat has to be organised.
  • Pakistan had shut down all trade with India to protest the government’s changes in Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370 in August 2019. Subsequently, the Pakistan government had allowed Afghan exports to India to pass through the Wagah border, making an exception also for medicines from India during the pandemic.
  • India has also flown several consignments of medicines and medical equipment to hospitals in Afghanistan on board flights.

What is the United Nations World Food Programme?

  • About:
  • The World Food Programme (WFP) is the leading humanitarian organisation saving lives and changing lives, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience.
  • It was founded in 1961 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) with its headquarters in Rome, Italy.
  • It is also a member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Group (UNSDG), a coalition of UN agencies and organisations aimed at fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The WFP assists 88 countries, and has assisted 97 million people (in 2019) which is the largest number since 2012.
  • The WFP has been awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace 2020 for its efforts to combat hunger, bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and preventing the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict.
  • Major Objectives:
    • To end hunger by protecting access to food.
    • Improving nutrition and achieving food security.
    • Supporting the SDG implementation and partnering for its results.
    • To focus on emergency assistance as well as rehabilitation and development aid.
  • Major Reports:
  • Global Report on Food Crisis.

What is the Relation of WFP with India?

  • Background: WFP has been working in India since 1963, with work transitioning from food distribution to technical assistance since the country achieved self-sufficiency in cereal production.
  • The areas in which WFP mainly assists in India are:
    • Transforming the targeted public distribution system: WFP is working to improve the efficiency, accountability and transparency of India’s own subsidised food distribution system, which brings supplies of wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene oil to around 800 million poor people across the country.
    • Fortification of government distributed food: To boost the nutritional value of the Government’s Midday Meal school feeding programme, WFP is pioneering the multi-micronutrient fortification of school meals.
    • The pilot project saw rice fortified with iron, which was distributed in a single district, resulting in a 20% drop in anaemia.
    • It has also helped tackle malnutrition by fortifying food given to babies and young children in Kerala State.
    • Mapping and monitoring of food insecurity: WFP has used Vulnerability Analysis and Mapping softwares to identify India’s most food insecure areas, which allows policy and relief work to be targeted appropriately.
    • WFP is also supporting the government’s Poverty and Human Development Monitoring Agency in establishing a State-level Food Security Analysis Unit, working towards the goal of achieving Zero Hunger.
  • Strategy Plan for India: According to the country strategy plan for India (2019 – 2023), WFP aims to:
    • Enable the most vulnerable people of India to meet their minimum food and nutrition requirements throughout the year.
    • Enable people with a high risk of malnutrition, especially women, children and adolescent girls, to have improved nutrition by 2025.

Koalos as endangered species: Australia:

  • Why in News?

      Recently, Australia has officially classified koalas as ‘endangered’.

Why classified as Endangered and its Significance?

  • Classification as Endangered:
    • Australia’s Koala population has been on the road to extinction for over two decades now. The number of Koalas in NSW (New South Wales) declined by between 33% and 61% since 2001.
    • But despite several demands by animal rights groups and conservationists, the government has been accused of doing little to protect the species. Koalas were classified as “vulnerable” only in 2012.
    • During the catastrophic 2019 bushfires in Australia, now known as the ‘Black Summer’, an estimated 60,000 koalas were impacted, with vast swathes of their habitat being blackened and rendered unliveable.
    • Another major threat is the spread of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease known to cause blindness and cysts in the koalas reproductive tract.
  • Significance:
    • The Endangered status of the koala means they and their forest homes should be provided with greater protection under Australia’s national environmental law.

What are the Key Things about Koalas?

  • About: Koala is (Phascolarctos cinereus) an arboreal (lives in trees) marsupial.
  • A marsupial is born in a very incomplete state. They are minute, hairless and with hind limbs only partially formed. Around 2/3rd of them live in Australia. The other third live mostly in South America.
  • Instead of the placenta, the mother’s milk nourishes the young and allows it to grow and develop.
  • They share a number of characteristics with wombats, who are their closest living relatives, including a backward-facing pouch.

 Habitat:

  • The typical habitat for Koalas is open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. In terms of societal behavior, Koalas are asocial animals and typically emotional bonding is seen only between mothers and dependent offspring.
  • They are endemic to Australia.
  • Due to the low nutrient levels of the Eucalyptus leaves they feed on, the koala can sleep up to 18 hours each day.
  • IUCN Status:
  • Vulnerable

Threats:

 Habitat destruction, climate change & severe weather (Droughts, extreme temperatures). 

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