GS PAPER II NEWS

Attorney General of India

Why in News

The Vice President paid rich tributes to former Attorney General, Shri Soli Sorabjee, who passed away today due to Covid on 30th April 2020.

Shri Soli Sorabjee

  • Shri Soli Sorabjee was a legal giant of India.
  • He was like an encyclopedia on all matters of law and jurisprudence.
  • He was also a champion of human rights and brought international repute to India with his work.
  • He was a man of impeccable integrity and honesty and he had always held him in high esteem.
  • The Vice President of India stated that aid the country had lost an eminent legal luminary in his death, creating an irreplaceable void in the field of judiciary.

Attorney General of India


  • The Attorney General of India is the Indian government’s chief legal advisor, and is primary lawyer in the Supreme Court of India.
  • According to the Article 76 of the Indian Constitution, the Attorney General of India is the highest law officer of India.
  • As a chief legal advisor to the government of India, he advises the union government on all legal matters.
  • With the enforcement of the Constitution of India in 1950, Article 76 instituted in Part V of the Indian Constitution.
  • M.C. Setalvad appointed as the first ever Attorney General of Independent India in 1950.

Appointment of Attorney General

  • The President of India appoints the Attorney General of India.
  • The eligibility for the Attorney General of India is:
  • He should be an Indian Citizen
  • He must have either completed 5 years in High Court of any Indian state as a judge or 10 years in High Court as an advocate.
  • He may be an eminent jurist too, in the eye of the President.

Tenure of Attorney General of India

  • There is no fixed term for the Attorney General of India.
  • The Constitution doesn’t mention the specified tenure of Attorney General. as well as the procedure and ground of his removal.
  • Removal of Attorney General done by the following procedure:
  • He can be removed by the President at any time,
  • He can quit by submitting his resignation only to the President,
  • Since he is appointed by the President on the advice of the Council of Ministers, conventionally he is removed when the council is dissolved or replaced.

Function of Attorney General of India

  • He gives advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, which are referred or assigned to him by the president.
  • He performs such other duties of a legal character that are referred or assigned to him by the president.
  • He discharges the functions conferred on him by or under the Constitution or any other law.
  • In the performance of his official duties,
  • He appears on behalf of the government of India in all the cases in Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
  • He appears on behalf of the government of India in any reference made by the president to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the constitution.
  • He appears on behalf of the government of India in any case in a high court in which the Government of India is concerned, if Government of India requires so.

GS PAPER III

Cosmic rays propagating through Milky Way

Why in News

Over the years astronomers have observed an excess of antimatter counterpart of the electron or positrons having an energy of more than 10 giga-electron volts, or 10 GeV.

Key Points

  • High energy particles are generally lower in number in the cosmic universe.
  • But the excess number of high energy particles of the antimatter counterpart of the electrons, called positrons have intrigued scientists for long.

Positron Excess

  • Over the years astronomers have observed an excess of antimatter counterpart of the electron or positrons having energy of more than 10 giga-electron-volts, or 10 GeV.
  • For an estimate, this is the energy of a positively charged electron accelerated across a 10,000,000,000-volt battery! Positrons with energy more than 300 GeV, however, are lower in comparison to what astronomers expect.
  • This behavior of positrons between 10 and 300 GeV is what astronomers call the ‘positron excess’.

Highlights

  • Researchers from the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru, have resolved the mystery in a new study published in the Journal of High Energy Astrophysics.
  • Their proposal is simple –– cosmic rays while propagating through the Milky Way galaxy interact with matter producing other cosmic rays, primarily electrons and positrons.
  • The authors Agnibha De Sarkar, Sayan Biswas and Nayantara Gupta argue that these new cosmic rays are the origin of the ‘positron excess’ phenomenon.

Milky Way

  • The Milky Way consists of giant clouds of molecular hydrogen.
  • They are the seats of the formation of new stars and can be as massive as 10 million times the Sun’s mass.
  • They can extend up to 600 light-years, the distance that would take light 600 years to travel.

Cosmic Rays

  • Cosmic rays, produced in supernovae explosions propagate through these clouds before they reach the Earth.
  • Cosmic rays interact with molecular hydrogen and can give rise to other cosmic rays.
  • As they propagate through these clouds, they decay from their original forms and intermix, lose their energy by energizing the clouds, and may also get re-energized.
  • The researchers from RRI studied all these astrophysical processes via a code they set up on the computer, using a publicly available code.
  • The code considers 1638 molecular hydrogen clouds in the Milky Way that other astronomers have observed across different wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • The combined catalogue consists of ten molecular clouds in the immediate neighborhood of our Sun.
  • These galactic clouds provide the astronomers a crucial input –– the number of giga-electron-volt cosmic rays.
  • These help them determine the excess number of positrons that reach the Earth.
  • The computer code the researchers used, by taking into account the exact number of nearby galactic molecular clouds, was successfully able to reproduce the observed number of positrons at giga-electron-volt energies.
  • Not only the positron excess, the computer code accurately reproduces the spectra of protons, antiprotons, boron, carbon, and all other components of cosmic rays.

Conclusion

  • Nevertheless, the researchers considered simple geometrical structures of the molecular clouds, whereas real molecular clouds have complex geometries.
  • They plan to address these shortcomings in their future work.
  • Along with a more realistic environment inside the molecular clouds, they plan to include more cosmic ray data from other satellites to establish our idea beyond any doubt.

GS PAPER III

National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2021

Why in News

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare inaugurated ‘The National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign-2021’ on 30th April, 2021.

Key Points

  • The conference was organized virtually to interact with the States on challenges & strategies for effective crop management during ensuing Kharif season.
  • During the conference, discussion was held to review and assess the preparedness for management of Kharif crops and ensuring availability of seeds, pesticides, fertilizers, machinery and their prepositioning at Block levels.
  • Discussion also took place on:
  • Preparedness for drought like situation if it occurs in any district,
  • Integrated nutrient management and integrated pest management,
  • Crop diversification and increasing farmer’s Income;
  • Focused strategy for production of oilseeds and pulses;
  • Marketing of Rabi crops and procurement at MSP,
  • Action plan and advisory/guidelines for agriculture management in the wake of COVID pandemic.
  • Farmers appreciated for the record production of food grains (303.34 million tons), which is over 1.96% higher than the previous year’s output (297.50 Million Tonnes).
  • They also announced the setting of higher production targets of food grains from 301.92 to 307 million tonnes for the year 2021-22 in comparison to production targets for previous corresponding year 2020-21.
  • The pulses and oilseed production are 24.42 & 37.3 million tonnes, respectively.
  • Higher production targets for pulses and oilseeds are the necessity of the nation to reduce our dependency on import and to achieve the dream of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • Agriculture and allied sectors registered a continuous growth in GDP contribution. The share of agriculture in GDP increased from 17.8% in 2019-20 to 19.9% in 2020-21 as per Economic Survey 2020-21.
  • The government decided to distribute seed mini-kits for kharif crops with the active involvement of State Agriculture Department.

Kharif Crops

  • Kharif crops, are the autumn crops that are cultivated and harvested in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh during the Indian subcontinent’s monsoon season, which lasts from June to November depending on the area.
  • Kharif crops are usually sown at the beginning of the first rains during the advent of the south-west monsoon season, and harvested at the end of monsoon season (October-November).
  • Rice, maize, and cotton are some of the major Kharif crops in India.
  • These crops are dependent on the quantity of rainwater as well as its timing.

Difference between Kharif and Rabi Crops

  • Kharif crops are the autumn crops whereas Rabi crops are the winter crops.
  • Kharif crops are mainly grown during the monsoon or rainy season (June to October) whereas the Rabi crops are mainly grown in the winter season (October or November).
  • Kharif crops depend on the rainfall patterns whereas Rabi crops are not affected by the rainfall.
  • Major Kharif crops are rice, maize, cotton, jowar, bajra etc. and major Rabi crops are wheat, gram, peas, barley etc.
  • Kharif crops requires a lot of water and hot weather to grow whereas Rabi crops require warm climate for seed germination and cold climate for the growth of crops.
  • Flowering in Kharif crops requires shorter day length whereas in Rabi crops flowering requires longer day length.

GS PAPER III

Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)

Why in News

The Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH) has finalized and recommended quality standards for four spices; cloves, oregano, basil, and ginger, during its fifth session held virtually from 20th -29th April 2021.

Key Points

  • These standards will shortly join the ranks of the other four standards adopted earlier, to form a body of reference for world spice trade and for member countries to align their national regulations.
  • The committee also took up the following new work items:
  • To develop Codex standards for small cardamom and turmeric, and
  • To develop the first group standard for spices that fall under the class ‘dried fruits and berries’.
  • This grouping approach, on a large scale enough to meet the demands for spices and herbs, will be a pioneering effort by this committee that might result in considerably reducing the time required for finalizing the standards of individual spices.
  • India blazed a new trial for technical conferences under Codex with this virtual session, as this was the first ever Codex Commodity Committee meeting held virtually.
  • Spices Board India is very happy that the latest session has brought in an unprecedented success by finalizing standards for 4 more spices.
  • Also, the present session of CCSCH witnessed the highest participation ever with 275 participants from 65 member countries, one member organization (European Union) and 11 international observer organizations.’

Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)

  • The CCSCH was established in 2013 with support of more than a hundred countries.
  • India as the host country and Spices Board as the Secretariat for organizing the sessions of the committee.
  • Since its inception, the Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs has been successful in developing harmonized global Codex standards for spices and herbs.
  • It comes under

Objective of Codex Committee on Spices and Culinary Herbs (CCSCH)

  • Its objective is to develop and expand worldwide standards for spices and culinary herbs, and
  • To consult with other international organizations in the standards development process.

Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC)

  • The Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) was set up in 1963.
  • It is an intergovernmental body established jointly by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • It was set-up within the framework of the Joint Food Standards Programme to protect the health of consumers and ensure fair practices in the food trade.
  • The Commission currently has 189 members, consisting of 188 member countries and one member organization (The European Union).

GS PAPER III

Index of eight core industries

Why in News

The Office of the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade released Index of Eight Core Industries for the Month of March, 2021.

Key Points

  • The combined Index of Eight Core Industries stood at 143.1 in March, 2021, which increased by 6.8% as compared to the Index of March, 2020.
  • Its cumulative growth during April to March, 2020-21 has been (-) 7.0%.
  • Final growth rate of Index of Eight Core Industries for December 2020 is revised to 0.4% from its provisional level (-) 1.3%.

Highlights of Index of Eight Core Industries of March 2021

Products Status from March 2020 to 2021 Cumulative Index during April-March 2020-21
Coal production declined by 21.9% declined by 4.8%
Crude Oil production declined by 3.1% declined by 5.2%
Natural Gas production increased by 12.3% declined by 8.2%
Petroleum Refinery production declined by 0.7% declined by 11.2%
Fertilizer’s production declined by 5.0% increased by 1.8%
Steel production increased by 23.0% declined by 9.5%
Cement production increased by 32.5% declined by 11.9%
Electricity generation increased by 21.6% declined by 0.6%

Eight Core Industries

  • Eight Core Industries of India comprises 40.27% of the weight of items included Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Refinery Products, Fertilizers, Steel, Cement and Electricity.
  • They are called Core industries because they impact an Economy of nation in massive way.

Index of Eight Core Industries

  • It is the index of the production of ‘Core industries of Economy’.
  • It is published monthly by the Economic Adviser, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade.
  • The base-year of ICI has been revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12.
  • This index is calculated by the Laspeyre’s Formula of weighted Arithmetic Mean of quantity relatives.