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Thursday, May 19, 2022





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Daily Current Affairs, 19th May 2022



1)  World AIDS Vaccine Day Or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day 2022

•World AIDS Vaccine Day is also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day (HVAD) is annually observed across the globe on the 18th of May to create awareness and provide information about Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and its immunisation.

•The observance of this day is led by the National Institutes of Health(NIH) – National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), United States of America. The Red Ribbon is an internationally recognized symbol of AIDS awareness. It is worn in support of people living with HIV and in remembrance of those who have died.

2)  Panel of PM’s Office recommends urban job guarantee scheme

•The Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) has recommended that the government implement a guaranteed employment programme for the unemployed in cities and implement a universal basic income (UBI) scheme to eliminate income gaps. Citing the country’s uneven income distribution, the report also advocated raising the minimum wage and increasing government investment on the social sector to make vulnerable groups more resilient to shocks and prevent them from falling into poverty.

3)  After Pakistan shot SAARC in 2016, India will go bilateral

•The future of SAARC seems bleak, with Sri Lanka, Pakistan, and Nepal in economic limbo, and Afghanistan under Islamist Taliban control. This leaves India with little choice but to engage in bilateral engagement with its neighbours in order to protect its national security. Ironically, the Taliban in Afghanistan are currently embroiled in a simmering war with their tutor, the Pakistan Army, which refuses to recognise the Durand Line, which splits the Pashtun tribe between the two countries.

4)  Centre announces formation of Cotton Council of India

•The Union Government has announced the formation of the Cotton Council of India under the Chairmanship of renowned veteran cotton man Suresh Bhai Kotak. The Council will have representation from Textiles, Agriculture, Commerce, and Finance Ministries along with Cotton Corporation of India and Cotton Research Institute. Mr Goyal also appealed to the spinning and trading community to ensure a hassle-free supply of cotton and yarn first to the domestic industry.

•The government is committed to protecting the interests of cotton farmers, spinners, and weavers, the Minister assured to actively consider the demand of the spinning sector for exemption from import duty on those import contracts in which bills of loading are issued up to September 30, 2022, to overcome the current cotton shortage and logistic issues.

5)  Rajnath Singh launches India-made warships, INS Surat and INS Udaygiri

•Defence minister Rajnath Singh has launched two made-in-India warships INS ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai. This is the first time that the two indigenously built warships have been launched together, the Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL). Both warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL, Mumbai.

6)  WCR develops battery-operated dual-mode locomotive ‘Navdoot’

•West Central Railway has developed a battery-operated dual-mode locomotive named Navdoot. This engine runs on both modes i.e. battery and electricity. Currently, it is being used during the shunting of trains at Jabalpur, Mudwara, and other stations on a trial basis. This Dual Mode Locomotive has also received the Best Innovation Award from the Railway Board. Railways will save 1000 litres of diesel every day with this new locomotive. After clearing all the trials, it will be used more widely.

7)  Supreme Court has ordered the release of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination suspect

•The Supreme Court used Article 142 of the Constitution to grant AG Perarivalan, a convict in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, extraordinary powers to “do complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.” Perarivalan was released free by a bench of justices led by L.N. Rao and B.R. Gavai, who took into account his lengthy incarceration.

•Perarivalan spent 29 of his 32 years in prison in solitary confinement until being granted bail by the Supreme Court in March 2022. He spent 16 years on execution row before the court remitted his sentence to life imprisonment in 2014. The court further noted that Perarivalan had filed his clemency plea under Article 161 with the Tamil Nadu Governor in 2015, and that the state cabinet had instructed the state’s chief executive to accept it in September 2018.

8)  BSE named Ex RBI Deputy Governor SS Mundra as Chairman

•Leading stock exchange BSE Limited announced that it has approved the appointment of SS Mundra, Public Interest Director as the Chairman of the board of directors of the company. Mundra will replace Justice Vikramajit Sen who is the current chairman. Mundra was appointed as Public Interest Director at BSE in January 2018. He retired as Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of India on 30th July 2017.

•Prior to that, the last position held by him was as Chairman and Managing Director of Bank of Baroda from where he superannuated in July 2014. However, the appointment is subject to approval by market regulator SEBI. The experience gained in guiding these entities has bestowed him with wide leadership skills and keen insights in best practices in Corporate Governance.

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The HINDU Notes – 19th May 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ Perarivalan, Rajiv Gandhi case convict, released by Supreme Court citing extraordinary powers

The Supreme Court used Article 142 of the Constitution that grants it extraordinary powers to do complete justice, to release Perarivalan, a Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict, lodged in prison for over 30 years.

•The Supreme Court on Wednesday invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution and ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

•A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, in its judgment, took into consideration Perarivalan’s long incarceration for over 30 years to order his release. Perarivalan is currently on bail. His death penalty had earlier been committed to life sentence for murder. Terrorism charges were earlier withdrawn.

•The court held that the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers’ advice on September 9, 2018 to pardon Perarivalan was binding on the Governor under Article 161 (Governor’s power of clemency) of the Constitution.

•It said the long delay and the Governor’s reluctance to take a call on the pardon plea has compelled the court to employ its constitutional powers under Article 142 to do justice to Perarivalan.

•The court dismissed the Centre’s argument that the President exclusively, and not the Governor, had the power to grant pardon in a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, saying this contention would render Article 161 a “dead-letter” and create an extraordinary situation whereby pardons granted by Governors in murder cases for the past 70 years would be rendered invalid

•Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, for Tamil Nadu, had argued that the prospect of the court waiting for the President’s decision on the mercy plea, as put forward by the Centre, was “completely absurd”. Mr. Dwivedi, along with Tamil Nadu Additional Advocate General Amit Anand Tiwari and advocate Joseph Aristotle, had said federalism would go for a toss if that was allowed by the court.

•The court protected federalism by holding that States had the power to advice and aid the Governor in case of pleas of pardon under Article 161 made by convicts in murder cases.

•In the long years of litigation, the Centre, had initially assured the Supreme Court that the Governor would take a call on Perarivalan’s pardon plea, only to suddenly change tack in November 2020 to say that it was the President, under advice of the Centre, who was authorised to decide the plea.

•The Centre had banked on a Constitution Bench judgment in Union of India versus V. Sriharan in December 2015, to argue that Section 432(7)(a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC) gave primacy to the Union and not the States when the case was tried under a law to which the executive power of the Union extended to.

•An affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs last year had submitted that the President of India was the “appropriate competent authority” to deal with Perarivalan’s request for freedom.

•The Ministry’s short affidavit had said “His Excellency the Governor of Tamil Nadu considered all the facts on record and after perusal of the relevant documents, recorded that the Honourable President of India is the appropriate competent authority to deal with the request for remittance vide his order dated January 25, 2021. The proposal received by the Central government will be processed in accordance with law”.

•However, Perarivalan’s lawyers, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan and Prabu Ramasubramanian, used the same Sriharan judgment of the court to counter that the power of State or Central governments to remit sentences under Section 432 Cr.PC and the clemency power of the President or the Governor could not be equated with each other.

•“Section 432 was a creature of the Code (Cr.PC). Articles 72 (power of President to grant pardon) or 161, on the other hand, was a high prerogative vested by the Constitution in the highest functionaries of the Union and the States,” Mr. Sankaranarayanan had argued.

•The constitutional power of pardon of the President or Governor was “untouchable and unapproachable and cannot suffer the vicissitudes of simple legislative processes”, Mr. Sankaranarayanan had explained from the Sriharan judgment.

•He had argued that the convict was free to choose either the Governor or the President to apply for pardon.

•The Centre had also highlighted that the case against Perarivalan concerned the assassination of none other than a former Prime Minister. Forty-three other people had sustained serious injuries in the bomb explosion at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991.

•But Perarivalan had contended that his role in the crime extended to supplying two nine-volt batteries without the knowledge of what it was going to be used for. He said his confession under the lapsed TADA to a police officer was not valid evidence.

•He said he was a “19-year-old boy when his mother handed him over to the CBI... and now has lost all his prime youth in prison, that too, in death row under solitary confinement for more than 16 years”. He said his “aged mother and father were waiting for their only son to join them at least in the last years of their life”.

•Earlier, Perarivalan had sought an order from the Supreme Court to stay his life sentence till the CBI-led multidisciplinary authority’s inconclusive probe into the larger conspiracy behind the assassination was completed.

•He had described his case as “unique” and had related the harsh circumstances under which he had pursued an education in prison. He had said his health had taken a severe beating from the effects of “death row syndrome”.

๐Ÿ“ฐ Ethanol blend in petrol to be raised to 20% in 3 years

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Vajiram and Ravi Prelims 2022 Test 16 with Solutions PDF [FLT 6]


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Vajiram and Ravi Prelims 2022 Test 15 with Solutions PDF [FLT 5]


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Wednesday, May 18, 2022




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Daily Current Affairs, 18th May 2022



1)  International Museum Day 2022 Observed on 18th May

•International Museum Day (IMD) is celebrated every year on 18 May. This day is observed to highlight the importance of museums in any culture. Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.

•International Museum Day is celebrated with the aim of educating the public about museums and the challenges they face. Every year the International Council of Museums (ICOM) comes up with a specific Theme and all activities revolve around the particular topic. A museum is a place that displays collections of documents and historical artefacts of all different kinds from cultures, societies, and nature around the world.

2)  Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the Shilanyas ceremony

•On the invitation of Nepal’s Prime Minister, Shri Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi conducted an official visit to Lumbini, Nepal, coinciding with the auspicious event of Vaishakha Buddha Purnima. This was Shri Narendra Modi’s fifth visit to Nepal as Prime Minister, and his first to Lumbini.

3)  PM Modi unveils India’s first 5G test bed, estimated to be worth Rs 220 crore

•Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched India’s first 5G testbed, allowing startups and industry players to test and certify their technologies domestically and lessen reliance on foreign facilities. The testbed was built at a cost of approximately Rs 220 crore. The Prime Minister said the 5G testbed is a significant step toward self-reliance in the direction of critical and modern technologies while speaking at the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s silver jubilee celebrations.

4)  Ramgarh Vishdhari notified as India’s 52nd tiger reserve

•Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Bhupender Yadav has announced that Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve in Rajasthan has been notified as Rajasthan’s 4th and the 52nd tiger reserve of India. It will help to conserve biodiversity and bring ecotourism and development to the area. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had given in-principle approval to make Ramgarh Vishdhari Wildlife Sanctuary and adjoining areas as tiger reserves on July 5 last year.

•Wild animals like Indian wolf, leopard, striped hyena, sloth bear, golden jackal, chinkara, nilgai and fox can be seen in the Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve. According to the “Status of Tigers in India” report released in 2019, there are 2,967 tigers in 20 states across the country.

5)  Somalia elects Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as new president

•Somali legislators have elected former leader Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as the country’s next president, following a long-overdue election in the troubled Horn of Africa nation. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who served as Somalia’s president between 2012 and 2017, won the contest in the capital, Mogadishu, amid a security lockdown imposed by authorities to prevent deadly rebel attacks. He defeated Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed (also known as Farmajo).

•The presidential elections committee said in a statement that Mohamud collected 214 votes against 110 casts in favour of incumbent president Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo in a final third round. The 66-year-old Mohamud is the leader of the Union for Peace and Development Party, which commands a majority of seats in both legislative chambers.

6)  Dr Kamal Bawa Elected to US’ National Academy of Sciences

•The chief of Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Dr Kamal Bawa has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences. The election is the reaffirmation of our important work on the ecology, conservation, and management of tropical forests that are declining all over the world but are critical to humanity’s well-being. He is also an elected fellow of the Royal Society (London) and the American Philosophical Society.

•Dr Bawa had brought together a few scientists from India’s leading institutions to develop the National Mission on Biodiversity and Human Wellbeing under the banner of the Biodiversity Collaborative which got the backing of the office of the principal scientific adviser to the Government of India and is currently funded by the Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.

7)  Sky Bridge 721: World’s longest suspension bridge, been opened in Czech Republic

•The world’s largest suspension bridge has opened to travellers in the Czech Republic. The bridge, which had been under construction for nearly two years, was officially opened. Sky Bridge 721 is the name given to it. The promenade promises both beautiful views of the cloud-shrouded Jesenky mountains and an exhilarating, but slightly dangerous experience.

8)  S N Subrahmanyan: Appointed as MD and CEO of Larsen & Toubro

•S.N. Subrahmanyan, the current deputy managing director and president of Larsen and Toubro Ltd (L&T), has been named managing director and chief executive officer, marking the first change of guard at the top of India’s largest engineering and construction corporation in 18 years. S.N. Subramanyam will replace A.M. Naik as the CEO of the company.

9)  Sunil Arora, India’s former Chief EC, has been named Chairman of Gram Unnati

•Sunil Arora, the former chief election commissioner, has been named as the new non-executive chairman of Gram Unnati’s board. Arora is a retired civil servant (IAS) with over 36 years of experience. He has worked as the secretary of two important ministries, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship.

10)  Emmanuel Macron names Elisabeth Borne as France’s new prime minister

•Elisabeth Borne was appointed France’s new Prime Minister to become the second woman to hold the post in the country. She has served as Labor Minister in Macron’s previous government since 2020. Borne is the second woman to hold the position after Edith Cresson, who was Prime Minister from 1991-to 1992 under Socialist President Francois Mitterrand.

•Borne, succeeds Jean Castex, whose resignation was expected after President Emmanuel Macron’s reelection last month. Macron and Borne are expected to appoint the full government in the coming days. Macron is expected to name a new prime minister shortly. French media say Labor Minister Elisabeth Borne is the favourite for the job. In France, it’s common for presidents to have more than one prime minister during their terms.

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IAS PARLIAMENT Government Schemes 2022 PDF


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The HINDU Notes – 18th May 2022



๐Ÿ“ฐ Boon to ban: How the wheat export story changed in two months

What were the reasons for this sudden decision by the Government?

•The story so far: On May 13, the government effectively banned the export of wheat.

What happened?

•On March 25, to a supplementary question raised by Congress leader Anand Sharma in the Rajya Sabha regarding improving wheat exports, given that Russia and Ukraine the two large exporters of the commodity were in the middle of a war, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal answered that Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants the flavour of India’s wheat to capture the entire world’s taste buds.

•The Minister said that “we are working on the track of increasing our wheat exports to the current importers. Agriculture Ministry is in dialogue with various countries for the process to be speeded up and expedited so that newer markets for wheat can be sought.”

•The efforts to increase wheat exports continued even as recently as May 12 when the Centre decided to send trade delegations to Morocco, Tunisia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey, Algeria and Lebanon to “explore possibilities of boosting wheat exports,” a PIB press release said.

•However, food security campaigners had insisted on a cautious approach from the start.

•Their reasons were two-fold. They argued that ensuring the stability of prices in India and the availability of grain for internal consumption should be the top two priorities for the Indian government than increasing exports. The increase in exports should not be done at the cost of domestic consumption, especially with the recent expansion of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana(PMGKAY) program, they cautioned.

Why were wheat exports banned?

•Eventually, the food security experts’ warnings came true.

•On May 4, the government revised down its wheat production estimates from 111.32 million tonnes (MT) to 105 MT for the crop year ending June. According to the Press Trust of India, 18 MT of wheat were procured till May 14 of the ongoing 2022-23 marketing year, much less than the 36.7 MT in the year-ago period.

•So, the decrease in production estimates and a considerable fall in wheat procurement raised concerns that domestic consumption may get impacted. Moreover, the local prices started to rise. In March, the wholesale inflation of wheat crossed the 14% mark, though it eased a bit to about 10% in April.

•In April, retail inflation of wheat flour accelerated to 9.59% from an already higher 7.77% in March. As of May 17, the average retail price of wheat flour was ₹33.05 per kg. The maximum price had touched ₹59/kg.

•Both these factors forced the government to ban wheat exports on May 13, two days after the decision to send delegates to nine countries to explore the option of enhancing exports was taken. The Centre relaxed its export ban order on Tuesday by allowing consignments that were registered in the Customs Department’s systems and handed over for examination on or prior to May 13. They have also allowed a consignment headed for Egypt.

What led to the decrease in production?

•The extreme temperatures recorded in March and April, across north India, were the reason behind the sudden turnaround of the government.

•For instance, across Punjab, between April 8 and 14, the maximum temperature was over 6°C higher than the usual, compared to the long period average. The actual maximum temperatures have been consistently hovering over the 40°C mark across the State in April. The extreme heat led to a marked decrease in wheat yields across north India. For instance, in Punjab, crop cutting experiments showed that the wheat productivity was below 18 quintals per acre this year, down from the average yield of 19.7 quintals per acre last year.

•Hence, the wheat arrivals in Punjab’s mandis were 20% lower in the first twenty days of the 2022 season compared to the same period in 2021. In the first twenty days, 73 lakh metric tonnes of wheat had reached the mandis in 2022, compared to the 92.4 lakh recorded in 2021.

๐Ÿ“ฐ A concerted effort in re-imagining museums

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