Daily Current Affairs for 17th May 2021

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Why in News

The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is creating a virtual museum space through its online summer programme NAIMISHA 2021.

Key Points

  • This unique art fiesta will provide a platform to create and engage with the arts.
  • The current duration of the programme is 17th May to 13th June 2021.
  • Workshops have been designed on painting, sculpture, print making and videography and puppeteering and other related arts.
  • The NGMA NAIMISHA portal will also stream a curated film festival for the participants from NGMA’s private collection.
  • A session on storytelling and performances will be held every Friday.
  • The exhibition of selected artworks from NAIMISHA 2021 will be displayed on NGMA’s website and SO-HAM the cultural media platform of NGMA.


  • It is an initiative to provide a chance to its participants to create and learn from practicing artists without compromising their health.
  • The idea behind designing and delivering online interactive programmes is to provide a creative outlet to children, and indeed all interested adults.
  • Previously, it was conducted on 8th June to 3rd July 2020.

National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA)

  • The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • The main museum at Jaipur House in New Delhi was established on 29 March 1954.
  • Its collection of more than 1700 works by 2000 plus artists includes artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists.
  • Some of the oldest works preserved here date back to 1857.

National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC)

Why in News

The Cabinet Secretary chaired a meeting of the National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC) in view of the Cyclonic Storm Tauktae in the Arabian Sea.

Key Points

  • The meeting was held through video conferencing with Chief Secretaries of the States of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu as well as Advisors to the Administrators of the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
  • Preparatory arrangements to restore power, telecom and other important services should be ensured.
  • The Cabinet Secretary also emphasised that all steps should also be taken to avoid disruption of functioning of hospitals and Covid Care Centres and maintenance of regular supply of oxygen to them.
  • The Cabinet Secretary directed the concerned agencies to work in close co-ordination and extend all requisite assistance to the State Administrations.
  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) informed that they have deployed/made available 79 teams in the affected states and 22 additional teams have also been kept in readiness.

About Cyclone Tauktae

  • The extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm Tauktae is a currently active and strengthening tropical cyclone threatening the state of Gujarat, Karnataka, Goa and Maharashtra.
  • It is the second depression and first extremely severe cyclonic storm of the 2021 North Indian Ocean cyclone season.
  • It originated from a tropical disturbance which was first monitored by the Indian Meteorological Department on 13th May.
  • The disturbance drifted eastward and organized into a deep depression by May 14.
  • And now, Tauktae intensified into an Extremely Severe Cyclonic Storm.
  • It brought heavy rainfall and flash floods to areas along the coast of Kerala and on Lakshadweep. There have been reports of heavy rain in the state of Goa as well.

Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO)

  • MJO is a wave type of propagation west to east across the globe which causes cloudiness and changes in wind direction.
  • The Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) is characterised by a band of rain clouds moving across the tropics, depending on their location they can assist cyclone build up.

About Cyclone

  • Cyclones are caused by atmospheric disturbances around a low-pressure area distinguished by swift and often destructive air circulation.
  • It usually accompanied by violent storms and bad weather.
  • The air rotates inward in an anticlockwise direction in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise direction in the Southern hemisphere.
  • Cyclones are classified as:
  • Extra tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called wave cyclone or mid-latitude cyclone, a type of storm system formed in middle or high latitudes, in regions of large horizontal temperature variations called frontal zones.
  • Extratropical cyclones present a contrast to the more violent cyclones or hurricanes of the tropics, which form in regions of relatively uniform temperatures.
  • Tropical cyclones:
  • It is also called typhoon or hurricane, an intense circular storm that originates over warm tropical oceans.
  • It is characterized by low atmospheric pressure, high winds, and heavy rain.
  • In extreme cases winds may exceed 240 km (150 miles) per hour, and gusts may surpass 320 km (200 miles) per hour.

Formation of Cyclone

  • Tropical cyclones are formed over warm ocean water near the equator.
  • Warm moist air near the surface of the ocean rises upwards.
  • It creates a low-pressure area near the surface which results in the movement of cooler air from surrounding areas into the low-pressure area.
  • Now even this cool air becomes warm and moist and rises up and this cycle keeps continuing.
  • The warm moist air which rises up, cools the water in the air, resulting in the formation of clouds.
  • This whole system of clouds and winds spins and grows and entire cycle continues resulting in a cyclone.
  • When the winds reach a speed of 63 mph then it is called a tropical storm and when the winds reach a speed of 119 kmph it is called a tropical cyclone or hurricane.

Naming of Cyclone

  • In 2000, a group of nations called WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) was formed.
  • It comprised Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Myanmar, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
  • They decided to start naming cyclones in the region.
  • The WMO/ESCAP expanded to include five more countries in 2018 — Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.


Rice and Wheat Export in India

Why in News

In last fiscal in March 31, 2021, the export of Rica and Wheat recorded high hit i.e., the sum-up of 92 million tonnes (mt).

Key Points

  • It included 60.32 mt under the National Food Security Act and other regular welfare schemes, 31.52 mt under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), Atmanirbhar Bharat Package (for returning migrant labourers) and assorted programmes launched in the wake of the Covid-19-induced lockdown.
  • The total grain channeled through the public distribution system (PDS) in 2020-21 was, in other words, nearly 50% higher than in normal years.
  • The data of 2020-21 also saw exports of 19.81 mt.
  • While rice exports were an all-time-high, 13.09 mt non-basmati and 4.63 mt and the 2.09 mt for wheat was also the highest since 2014-15.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

  • It is a food security welfare scheme operated by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • It was implemented in March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in India.
  • It aims to feed the poorest citizens of India by providing grain through the Public Distribution System, to all the priority households.
  • Under PMGKAY, government provides 5 kg of rice per person and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card.
  • The scale of this welfare scheme makes it the largest food security program in the world.

National Food Security Act

  • It was enacted in 2013 by an Act of the Parliament.
  • The National Food Security Act 2013 aims to provide subsidized food grains to the needy one.
  • It includes the Midday Meal Scheme, Integrated Child Development Services scheme and the Public Distribution System.
  • The act also recognizes maternity entitlements.
  • The Midday Meal Scheme and the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme are universal in nature whereas the PDS will reach about two-thirds of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas).

India in Wheat Export

  • India’s wheat exports are likely to treble in the current financial year.

  • India’s wheat export in last fiscal was at 5.95 lakh tonnes.
  • India ranks among the top 10 exporters of agricultural products in the world.
  • According to the WTO’s World Trade Statistical Review 2020, the country’s share in global agricultural exports increased from 1.1% in 2000 to 2.2% in 2017, but fell to 2.1% in 2019.
  • While the US witnessed a decline in its share of global agricultural exports from 13% in 2000 to 9.3% in 2019.
  • According to the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), during April-October 2020, India’s exports of top three Agri-commodities, basmati rice, non-basmati rice and buffalo meat, grew by 9%, 104.4% and 10.5%, respectively, compared to 2019.

Way Forward

  • With international prices continuing to rule high and India is allocating an extra 5 kg of free grain to NFSA beneficiaries for May and June, on the same pattern as PMGKAY in 2020, the prospects for exports look good in the coming months too.
  • In contrast to the 1943 famines, this is unlikely to lead to any food scarcity or spiraling prices back home.

National Tribunals Commission

Why in News

The Centre has abolished several appellate tribunals and authorities and transferred their jurisdiction to other existing judicial bodies through the Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021.

Key Points

  • Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021 has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
  • Despite the Supreme Court’s direction in Rojer Mathew Vs. South Indian Bank (2019), no judicial impact assessment was conducted prior to abolishing the tribunals through this Ordinance.

Tribunals Reforms (Rationalisation and Conditions of Service) Ordinance 2021

  • The Ordinance has incorporated the suggestions made in Madras Bar Association v. Union of India (2020) on the composition of a search­cum­selection committee and its role in disciplinary proceedings.
  • It has also fixed 4-years term for chairperson and members of Tribunalsnotwithstanding anything contained in any judgment, order, or decree of any court” by blatantly disregarding the court’s direction for fixing a 5-year term.
  • The Centre is yet to constitute a National Tribunals Commission (NTC).

National Tribunals Commission (NTC)

  • National Tribunals Commission (NTC) is an independent umbrella body to supervise the functioning of tribunals, appointment of and disciplinary proceedings against members, and to take care of administrative and infrastructural needs of the tribunals.
  • The idea of an NTC was first mooted in L. Chandra Kumar v. Union of India (1997), but it is still not seen the light of day.
  • Initiating dialogue and promoting awareness about the NTC is vital for overcoming the government’s inertia in establishing such a body.
  • Developing an independent oversight body for accountable governance requires a legal framework that protects its independence and impartiality.

Need of the National Tribunals Commission (NTC)

  • Where the institutional design is not properly conceived, partisan interests can twist the law to serve political or private interests.
  • In India, executive interference in the functioning of tribunal is often seen in matters of
  • Appointment and removal of tribunal members,
  • Of provision of finances, infrastructure, personnel and other resources required for day to ­day functioning of the tribunals.
  • Therefore, the NTC must be established vide a constitutional amendment or be backed by a statute that guarantees it functional, operational and financial dependence.
  • The main reasons behind the establishment of the NTC is the need for an authority to support uniform administration across all tribunals.
  • It also paves the way for the separation of the administrative and judicial functions carried out by various tribunals.
  • It will allow to scale up its services and provide requisite administrative support to all tribunals across the country.

Administrative work of NTC

  • The NTC would ideally take on some duties relating to administration and oversight.
  • It could set performance standards for the efficiency of tribunals and their own administrative processes.
  • Importantly, it could function as an independent recruitment body to develop and operationalise the procedure for disciplinary proceedings and appointment of tribunal members.
  • Administrative roles of the NTC include providing support services to tribunal members, litigants, and their lawyers.


  • Tribunal is the quasi-judicial body that were added in the Constitution by the 42nd Amendment Act, 1976 under Part XIV-A.
  • It constitutes only two articles, 323-A and 323-B.
  • Article 323-A deals with Administrative Tribunals whereas article 323-B deals with tribunals for other matters.
  • Tribunals are not courts of normal jurisdiction, but they have very specific and predefined work area.
  • It includes the employees of any local or other authority within the territory of India or under the control of the Government of India or of a corporation owned or controlled by the Government.

Israel-Palestine Crisis

Why in News

UN Secretary General pleaded for an immediate end to the deadly violence, warning that the fighting could plunge the region into an “uncountable security and humanitarian crisis”.

Key Points

  • The heaviest fighting in years sparked by unrest in Jerusalem, saw the rivals again trade heavy fire with the death toll rising to 192 in the crowded coastal enclave of Gaza since the fight begun.
  • Israel told the UNSC that the violence was premeditated by Hamas, urging condemnation of the militants during the UNSC session.

Israeli-Palestine Clashes

  • Old City of Jerusalem is the home to major religious sites sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims and the emotional epicenter of the Middle East conflict.
  • It has been the scene of violent confrontations between Jews and Arabs for 100 years and remains one of the most bitterly contested cities on earth.
  • The latest clashes began a month ago with an Israeli move to block some Palestinian gatherings around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in the Old City at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
  • After those restrictions eased, tensions over a plan to evict dozens of Palestinians from an east Jerusalem neighborhood continued to fuel confrontations.
  • On 10th May 2021, stun grenades echoed across a holy hilltop compound, and hundreds of Palestinians were hurt in clashes between stone-throwing protesters and police firing tear gas and rubber bullets.


  • Israel views Jerusalem as its “unified, eternal” capital.
  • It had captured east Jerusalem, which includes the Old City, in the 1967 Mideast war, along with the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Palestinians want those territories for their future state, with east Jerusalem serving as their eventual capital.
  • But Israel annexed the eastern part of the city in a move not recognized internationally.
  • The fate of east Jerusalem has been one of the thorniest issues in the peace process, which ground to a halt more than a decade ago.
  • Israelis were set to mark Jerusalem Day on 10th May, a national holiday celebrating the annexation.
  • In past years, thousands of Israelis, mainly religious nationalists, have marched through the Old City, including the densely populated Muslim Quarter, in a display considered provocative by many Palestinians.
  • In recent days, hardline Israelis have staged other events in east Jerusalem, leading to scattered, violent altercations with Palestinians.

Al-Aqsa Mosque: the holy hilltop

  • The mosque is the third-holiest site in Islam and sits on a sprawling plateau that is also home to the iconic golden Dome of the Rock.
  • Muslims refer to the compound as the Noble Sanctuary.

  • The walled plateau is also the holiest site for Jews, who refer to it as the Temple Mount, because it was the location of biblical temples.
  • Romans destroyed the Second Temple in 70 A.D., with only the Western Wall remaining. The mosques were built centuries later.
  • The site is open to tourists during certain times but only Muslims are allowed to pray there. The Western Wall is the holiest site where Jews can pray.

United Nation Security Council

  • The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN).
  • Five other principal organs are: The General Assembly, the Trusteeship Council, the Economic and Social Council, the International Court of Justice, and the Secretariat.
  • It was established under the UN Charter in 1945 with its headquartered at New York.
  • Its principal objective is to maintain international peace and security.
  • The UNSC consist 15 members in which 5 of them are permanent.
  • The five permanent members are: The United States, the Russian Federation, France, China and the United Kingdom.
  • The ten elected or non-permanent members have a tenure of two years.
  • At present, the non-permanent members are Estonia, India, Ireland, Kenya, Mexico, Niger, Norway, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Tunisia and Vietnam and they have no rights of veto.

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