Daily GS Mains Notes or Mains Content Enrichment for Civil Services
Mizoram quake zone caught between two geological faults
Why in news
A geologist stated that Mizoram’s zone of earthquakes is caught between two subterranean faults.
- Mizoram experienced at least eight moderate earthquakes between June 21 and July 9, 2020. The tremors ranged from 4.2 to 5.5 on the Richter scale.
- The epicentre of most of these quakes was beneath Champhai district bordering Myanmar, including the last one of magnitude 4.3 and about 10 kilometres deep. A few were beneath the adjoining Saitual and Serchhip districts.
- According to the geologist, this will happen in that location of Mizoram because it is caught between two geological faults i.e, the Churachandpur Mao Fault and the Mat Fault.
- The Churachandpur Mao Fault is named after two places in Manipur and runs north-south into Myanmar along the border of Champhai.
- The Mat Fault runs northwest-southeast across Mizoram, beneath the river Mat near Serchhip. There are several shallower transverse or minor faults in between these two major faults that are deeper.
- Faults are discontinuities or cracks that are the result of differential motion within the earth’s crust. It is a fracture or zone of fractures between two blocks of rock.
- Faults allow the blocks to move relative to each other. This movement may occur rapidly, in the form of an earthquake. Vertical or lateral slippage of the crust along the faults causes an earthquake.
Category: POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
Disabled are entitled to same benefits of SC/ST quota: SC
Why in news
According to the recent decision of the Supreme Court, persons with disabilities are entitled to the same benefits of SC/ST quota.
Supreme Court Judgement:
- The Supreme Court, in a significant decision, confirmed that persons with disabilities are also socially backward and entitled to the same benefits of relaxation as Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe candidates in public employment and education.
- A three-judge Bench led by Justice Rohinton Nariman upheld a 2012 judgment of the Delhi High Court in Anamol Bhandari (minor) through his father/Natural Guardian v. Delhi Technological University.
- “In Anamol Bhandari, the High Court has correctly held that people suffering from disabilities are also socially backward, and are therefore, at the very least, entitled to the same benefits as given to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe candidates,” the Supreme Court held in the judgment.
Powers of Election Commission to Delay Polls
Why in News
Recently, various political parties have voiced their concerns over holding elections in Bihar amid Covid-19 pandemic and asked to postpone the same.
Election Commission Mandate:
- The Election Commission (EC) of India is mandated under law to hold elections at any time within six months before the five-year term of the Lok Sabha or Legislative Assembly expires.
- The polls are timed in a way that the new Assembly or Lok Sabha is in place on the day of the dissolution of the outgoing House.
- The six months is the constitutionally defined limit between two sessions of the House/Assembly (Article 85(1) and Article 174(1) of the Constitution, respectively).
Postponement of Election:
- An election once called usually proceeds as per schedule. However, in some exceptional cases, the process can be postponed or even scrapped after its announcement under extraordinary circumstances.
- Under Section 153 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, read with Article 324 of the Constitution of India, the EC can extend the time for completing an election, but such extension: Should not go beyond the six months. Should not go beyond the date of the normal dissolution of the Lok Sabha or the Assembly.
Grounds for Election Postponement:
- Article 172(1) states that, in case of a state of Emergency, an election can be postponed for one year at a time in addition to a period of six months after the Emergency is lifted.
- There is no specific legal provision that specifies the circumstances under which elections can be deferred in non-Emergency situations.
- However, law and order, natural calamities like earthquakes and floods, or any other compelling circumstances which are beyond EC’s control can be the grounds for extension.
Legal Issues Involved:
- Powers under Section 153 can be exercised only after an election schedule has been notified. If the EC wants to postpone Bihar elections, it will have to be done through its extraordinary powers under Article 324.
- Under Article 324 the EC will have to inform the government of its inability to hold polls on time.
- The government can decide the future course — to impose President’s Rule or allow the incumbent Chief Minister to continue for six more
Category: INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
China, Iran close to reaching trade and military partnership
Why in news
Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors.
- The partnership would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects.
- In exchange, China would receive a regular and heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years.
- The proposed agreement also describes deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades.
- It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing — all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.”
- The partnership undercuts U.S. efforts to isolate the Tehran government because of its nuclear and military ambitions.
- It represents a major blow to the Trump administration’s aggressive policy toward Iran since abandoning the nuclear deal reached in 2015 (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
- Renewed U.S. sanctions, including the threat to cut off access to the international banking system for any company that does business in Iran, have succeeded in suffocating the Iranian economy by scaring away badly needed foreign trade and investment.
- But Tehran’s desperation has pushed it into the arms of China, which has the technology and appetite for oil that Iran needs.
Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy
Why in news
The Punjab government relaxed sowing schedules for the current year, and many farmers chose Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique instead of traditional transplanting.
Benefits of Direct Seeding of Rice (DSR) technique:
- According to the farmers and agricultural experts, large scale use of DSR technique to plant paddy could solve the staggering problem of stubble burning.
- Saves labour costs involved in sowing and transplant. Less water consumption for irrigation.
- Most importantly, it results in very little post-harvest stubble.
- Stubble burning is a key cause of air pollution across the northern region. The DSR crop gets mature 7-10 days faster than with transplantation.
- A short window of 20-25 days is the key reason for stubble burning.
NATGRID gets access to data from 14,000 police stations
Why in news
The National Intelligence Grid has signed a MoU with the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.
- First conceptualised in 2009, NATGRID seeks to become the one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access databases related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details of a suspect on a “secured platform”.
- The data will be procured by NATGRID from 21 organisations such as telecom, tax records, bank, immigration, etc. NATGRID will act as a link between intelligence and investigation agencies. The project aims to go live by December 31, 2020.
- The MoU will give NATGRID access to the Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems database, a platform that links around 14,000 police stations.
- At present, security agencies directly contact an airline or a telephone company if they are on a suspect’s trail. The data is shared through international servers. The NATGRID will ensure that such information is shared through a secure platform.
- Once NATGRID is operational, all agencies will have to route their requests through the secured platform. However, the State police will not be part of NATGRID and they could directly contact the airlines or railways for information.