20th April Current Affairs
April 20, 2021
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April 22, 2021
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21st April Current Affairs

Skymet forecasts a ‘healthy normal’ monsoon

Skymet (a private weather forecast company) Weather report:

The monsoon is likely to be 103% of the long period average (LPA) this year. The LPA refers to the average all-India monsoon rainfall of 88 cm, which is a 50-year mean.

The odds of an El Nino, characterised by a heating of the equatorial central Pacific over half a degree, are low this year. Currently, the Pacific is in a [converse] La Nina mode.

The plains of North India, along with a few parts of northeast India, are at risk of being rain deficient through the season.

The Indian Ocean Dipole, characterised by a temperature gradient in the western and eastern Indian Ocean, is expected to be slightly on the negative. A positive dipole usually aids the monsoon.

The monsoon in 2019 and 2020 was only the third time in a century of back-to-back years of above normal rainfall (rainfall that is 5% above normal, or 105%) during the season in India.

What is Indian Ocean Dipole?

It is an atmosphere-ocean coupled phenomenon in the tropical Indian Ocean (like the El Nino is in the tropical Pacific), characterised by a difference in sea-surface temperatures.

Key features:

IOD is the difference between the temperature of eastern (Bay of Bengal) and the western Indian Ocean (Arabian Sea).

This temperature difference results into pressure difference which results in flowing of winds between eastern and western parts of Indian Ocean.

A ‘positive IOD’ — or simply ‘IOD’ — is associated with cooler than normal sea-surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean and warmer than normal sea-surface temperatures in the western tropical Indian Ocean.

The opposite phenomenon is called a ‘negative IOD’, and is characterised by warmer than normal SSTs in the eastern equatorial Indian Ocean and cooler than normal SSTs in the western tropical Indian Ocean.

Impacts:

Studies have shown that a positive IOD year sees more than normal rainfall over central India.

A negative IOD complements El NiNo leading to severe drought.

At the same time, Positive IOD results in more cyclones than usual in Arabian Sea.

Negative IOD results in stronger than usual cyclogenesis (Formation of Tropical Cyclones) in Bay of Bengal. Cyclogenesis in Arabian Sea is suppressed during this time.

Chief Election Commissioner

In News:

Sushil Chandra has assumed charge as the 24th chief election commissioner of India.

About Election commission of India:

The constitution under article 324 provides for an Election Commission for the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for the conduct of elections to parliament, state legislatures and to the offices of president and vice president.

Composition Election commission of India:

The constitution provides for the following provisions in relation to the composition of the election commission:

The election commission shall consist of the Chief Election Commissioner and a such number of other election commissioners, if any, as the president may from time to time fix.

The appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners shall be made by the president.

When any other election commissioner is so appointed the chief election commissioner shall act as the chairman of the election commission.

The president may also appoint after consultation with the election commission such regional commissioners as he may consider necessary to assist the election commission.

The conditions of service and tenure of office of the election commissioners and the regional commissioners shall be such as the President may by rule determine.

CEC vs ECs:

Though the Chief Election Commissioner is the chairman of the election commission, however, his powers are equal to the other election commissioners. All the matters in the commission are decided by the majority amongst its members. The Chief Election Commissioner and the two other election commissioners receive equal salary, allowances and other benefits.

Tenure:

The Chief Election Commissioner and other election commissioners hold office for 6 years or till they attain the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. They can resign at any time by addressing their resignation to the president.

Removal:

They can resign anytime or can also be removed before the expiry of their term.

The Chief Election Commissioner can be removed from his office in the same manner and on same grounds as a judge of the Supreme Court.

Chandigarh drafts cycling policy

In News:

Chandigarh’s recently released first-of-its-kind draft cycling policy.

It is for the first time that a city has drafted a cycling policy in India. The policy has been drafted by the Chandigarh Smart City Limited.

Highlights of the Draft:

Safe refuge points equipped with panic buttons for women cyclists.

Parking space with roof outside offices.

Half-a-day earned leave for every seven days cycled to work.

Monetary incentive for a particular distance traveled.

Increase in non-motorized transport lanes to reduce fear of accidents.

Each government office/private bodies of all types must have a separate policy to encourage commuting to work by cycle.

To enhance safety, safe refuge points for women and persons with disabilities should be created by introducing 24X7 CCTV surveillance and panic buttons.

Need for a policy:

‘Cycling Policy’ can be a powerful tool for the government to encourage cycling in the city. It is environmentally friendly, clean and sustainable mode of transport. It has potential to be an alternative to cars for short distance travel in urban areas. Therefore, the urban transport policy must consider cycling in an integrated context with other urban travel and land use policies.

Benefits of cycling:

Free of emissions and noise.

Cost effective– as it can be purchased and maintained for a modest price and is also energy efficient.

Low space requirements, and thus, cycling paths and parking facilities for the same can be developed at lower costs than required for cars.

Register of Indigenous Inhabitants of Nagaland (RIIN)

In News:

The Nagaland government has reportedly been trying to revive the RIIN exercise.

What is RIIN?

Launched in July 2019.

The objective is to prevent outsiders from obtaining fake indigenous certificates for seeking jobs and benefits of government schemes.

The RIIN will be the master list of all indigenous inhabitants of the state.

The RIIN list will be based on “an extensive survey”.

It will involve official records of indigenous residents from rural and (urban) wards and would be prepared under the supervision of the district administration.

What’s the concern?

Locals are apprehensive of “dreadful consequences” if the “advocates of RIIN” implement the identification process with December 1, 1963 – the day Nagaland attained statehood – as the cut-off date for determining the “permanent residents” of the State. This date is likely to exclude Nagas who have come from beyond the boundaries of Nagaland.

They also fear that the non-indigenous Nagas could be treated as “illegal immigrants” and their lands and property confiscated.