21 June Current Affairs
June 21, 2021
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June 23, 2021
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22nd June Current Affairs

Summer solstice

In News:

June 21- this day is referred to as the summer solstice, the longest day of the summer season. It occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Cancer.

What causes this?

Solstice means “sun stands still” in Latin.

Solstice is an astronomical event, caused by Earth’s tilt on its axis and its motion in orbit around the sun.

At the June solstice, Earth is positioned in its orbit so that our world’s North Pole is leaning most toward the sun.

As seen from Earth, the sun is directly overhead at noon 23 1/2 degrees north of the equator, at an imaginary line encircling the globe known as the Tropic of Cancer – named after the constellation Cancer the Crab. This is as far north as the sun ever gets.

Implications:

All locations north of the equator have days longer than 12 hours at the June solstice. Meanwhile, all locations south of the equator have days shorter than 12 hours.

This day is characterised by a greater amount of energy received from the sun. According to NASA, the amount of incoming energy the Earth received from the sun on this day is 30 per cent higher at the North Pole than at the Equator.

What is the winter solstice?

21st December or the Winter Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.

It is the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and is also known as the ‘first day of winter’ in the Northern Hemisphere as well as ‘Hiemal solstice or Hibernal solstice’.

During this, countries in the Northern Hemisphere are farthest from the Sun and the Sun shines overhead on the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5° south).

Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS)

In News:

A 50 kWp Solar roof top was recently inaugurated in Solan, Himachal Pradesh under the Integrated power development scheme of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.

Details:

The project further reinforces the ‘Go Green’ Initiative of the government envisaged in the Urban Distribution scheme of the government of India.

About IPDS:

Power Finance Corporation(PFC) is the Nodal agency for implementation of the scheme.

Launched in 2014 by Ministry of Power with the objectives of:

  • Strengthening of sub-transmission and distribution network in the urban areas.
  • Metering of distribution transformers /feeders / consumers in the urban areas.
  • IT enablement of distribution sector and strengthening of distribution network under R-APDRP.

Significance of the scheme:

The scheme will help in reduction in AT&C losses; establishment of IT enabled energy accounting / auditing system, improvement in billed energy based on metered consumption and improvement in collection efficiency.

Restructured Accelerated Power Development and Reforms Programme (R-APDRP):

Launched in July 2008 with focus on establishment of base line data, fixation of accountability, reduction of AT&C losses upto 15% level through strengthening & up-gradation of Sub Transmission and Distribution network and adoption of Information Technology during XI Plan.

Ebola Outbreak

In News:

An Ebola outbreak in Guinea that started in February, infecting 16 people and killing 12, has been declared over by WHO.

Background:

The Ebola outbreak in 2014-2016 killed 11,300 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In May 2021, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) officially declared the end of the 12th Ebola outbreak.

About Ebola:

Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

Transmission: The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.

The average EVD case fatality rate is around 50%. Case fatality rates have varied from 25% to 90% in past outbreaks.

Prevention: Community engagement is key to successfully controlling outbreaks. Good outbreak control relies on case management, surveillance and contact tracing, a good laboratory service and social mobilisation.

Treatment: Early supportive care with rehydration, symptomatic treatment improves survival. There is yet no licensed treatment proven to neutralise the virus but a range of blood, immunological and drug therapies are under development.

India abstains from voting on UN’s Myanmar resolution

In News:

India recently abstained from voting on the United Nations General Assembly‘s (UNGA’s) resolution for an arms embargo against Myanmar.

Details:

119 countries voted ‘yes’, Belarus voted ‘no’ and 36 countries abstained, including Myanmar’s neighbors China and India, along with Russia.

Reasons behind India’s move:

India said its views were not reflected in the draft resolution before the Assembly passed it.

India also said it does not believe that the tabling of this resolution for adoption at this juncture, is “conducive to aiding the country’s joint efforts towards strengthening the democratic process in Myanmar.”

About the UN Resolution:

The UN’s resolution demonstrated widespread global opposition to the Myanmar military and demanded that the country’s democratic transition be restored.

The resolution called upon the Myanmar armed forces to respect the people’s will as freely expressed by results of the general election of November 8, 2020.

India is supporting ASEAN initiative on Myanmar and the ‘Five-Point Consensus’:

It includes:

  • Immediate cessation of violence.
  • Dialogue among all stakeholders in Myanmar for a peaceful solution.
  • The appointment of a special Asean envoy to facilitate mediation.
  • Aid to Myanmar.
  • A visit to the country by the envoy.

Why should India be concerned about the situation in Myanmar?

For India, the stakes are high as instability within Myanmar has grave implications for the Northeast.

There are reports of guerrilla groups in Myanmar reviving their activities and any breakdown of law and order will allow militant groups in the Northeast to take advantage of the situation.

What’s happening in Myanmar?

The elected leaders of Myanmar were overthrown on February 1 this year in a coup by the army, which accused Aung Sang Suu Kyi’s ruling party of cheating in the November elections. The army’s allegation has been rejected by the previous election commission and international monitors.

What lies ahead for India?

India’s reaction is likely to be different this time. India does care about democracy in Myanmar, but that’s a luxury it knows it will not be able to afford for the time being. Why? Because,

India’s security relationship with the Myanmar military has become extremely close, and it would be difficult to “burn bridges” with them given their assistance in securing the North East frontiers from insurgent groups.

Changed image of Ms. Suu Kyi herself: Her image as a democracy icon and Nobel peace laureate has been damaged by her time in office, where she failed to push back the military, and even defended the Army’s pogrom against Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2015.

Benefits for China: A harsh reaction from India, on the lines of that from the U.S., which has threatened action against those responsible for the “coup” unless they revoke the military’s takeover, would only benefit China.

Apart from strategic concerns, India has cultivated several infrastructure and development projects with Myanmar, which it sees as the “gateway to the East” and ASEAN countries (For example: India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway and the Kaladan multi-modal transit transport network, as well as a plan for a Special Economic Zone at the Sittwe deep-water port).

Besides, India still hopes to help resolve the issue of Rohingya refugees that fled to Bangladesh, while some still live in India, and will want to continue to engage the Myanmar government on that.

Myanmar’s military Constitution:

It was the military that drafted the 2008 Constitution, and put it to a questionable referendum in April that year.

The Constitution was the military’s “roadmap to democracy”, which it had been forced to adopt under increasing pressure from the west.

It was also due to its own realisation that opening up Myanmar to the outside world was now no longer an option but a dire economic necessity.

But the military made sure to safeguard in the Constitution its own role and supremacy in national affairs.

Under its provisions, the military reserves for itself 25 per cent of seats in both Houses of Parliament, to which it appoints serving military officials.

Also, a political party which is a proxy for the military contests elections.