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Summer Solstice

Paper: General Studies 1

Topic: Salient features of world’s physical geography.

Why in the news?

June 21 is the day of the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere.

What is the summer solstice?

  • The summer solstice (or estival solstice), also known as midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun.
  • It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere (Northern and Southern). For Northern Hemisphere, it happens on June 21 and for the Southern Hemisphere it occurs on 21 December.
  • For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight. Within the Arctic circle (for the northern hemisphere) or Antarctic circle (for the southern hemisphere), there is continuous daylight around the summer solstice.
  • On the summer solstice, Earth’s maximum axial tilt toward the Sun is 23.44°.
  • The solstice coincides with the apparent position of the Sun over the Tropic of Cancer/Capricorn and is marked by the maximum daylight.
  • After the summer solstice the length of the days begins reducing as one moves towards the winter solstice with minimum daylight on the Winter solstice.

President’s address to joint sitting of the Houses of the Parliament

Paper : General Studies 2

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges

Why in the news?

President of India addressed the joint sitting of both Houses of the Parliament outlining the policies of the Government and the steps that the newly elected government will take in the policy domain.

Why was this so?

According to Article 87(1) in The Constitution Of India 1949 :

(1) At the commencement of the first session after each general election to the House of the People and at the commencement of the first session of each year the President shall address both Houses of Parliament assembled together and inform Parliament of the causes of its summons


National Human Rights Commission

Paper : General Studies 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in the news?

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notices to Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry and all States and Union Territories over what it termed was the deplorable public health infrastructure in the country after taking suo moto cognizance of the media reports on recent deaths across the country.

What is the NHRC?

  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is a Statutory public body constituted on 12 October 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Ordinance of 28 September 1993.
  • It was given a statutory basis by the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 (TPHRA).The NHRC is the National Human Rights Commission of India, responsible for the protection and promotion of human rights, defined by the Act as “Rights Relating To Life, liberty, equality and dignity of the individual guaranteed by the Constitution or embodied in the International Covenants”.


What is the Composition of the NHRC?

The NHRC consists of:

  • A Chairperson, should be retired [Chief Justice of India]
  • One member who is, or has been, a Judge of the Supreme Court of India
  • One member who is, or has been, the Chief Justice of a High Court
  • Two members to be appointed from among persons having knowledge of, or practical experience in, matters relating to human rights
  • In addition, the Chairpersons of four National Commissions (Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Women and Minorities) serve as ex officio members.

The sitting Judge of the Supreme Court or sitting Chief Justice of any High Court can be appointed only after consultation with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


What are the functions of the NHRC?

The Protection of Human Rights Act mandates the NHRC to perform the following functions:

  • proactively or reactively inquire into violations of government of India human rights or negligence in the prevention of such violation by a public servant
  • by leave of the court, to intervene in court proceedings relating to human rights
  • make recommendations about granting relief to the victims and their families.
  • review the safeguards provided by or under the Constitution or any law for the time being in force for the protection of human rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation
  • review the factors, including acts of terrorism that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and recommend appropriate remedial measures
  • to study treaties and other international instruments on human rights and make recommendations for their effective implementation
  • undertake and promote research in the field of human rights
  • engage in human rights education among various sections of society and promote awareness of the safeguards available for the protection of these rights through publications, the media, seminars and other available means
  • encourage the efforts of NGOs and institutions congress to working in the field of human rights.
  • such other functions as it may consider it necessary for the protection of human rights.
  • requisitioning any public record or copy thereof from any court or office.


National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB)

Paper : General Studies 2

Topic: Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in the news?

  • The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB), India’s national accreditation body, secured international equivalence for its accreditation programme for personnel certification bodies in the annual meeting of the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation in Singapore today.
  • NABCB signed the Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) of the Asia Pacific Accreditation Cooperation (APAC) for its accreditation programme based on international standard, ISO/IEC 17024.
  • ISO/IEC 17024: Conformity assessment – General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons specifies criteria for the operation of a Personnel Certification Bodies (also known as a certification body for persons).
  • The standard includes requirements for the development and maintenance of the certification schemes for persons upon which the certification is based.


What will be the impact?

  • With the above recognition, NABCB hopes to facilitate export of Indian services and skills into the world market by attesting that persons are certified following international standards by the certifying bodies.
  • Personnel Certification would support many professionals in India, especially thosewho do not have formal education or certificate programme. Any person carrying ISO/IEC 17024 certificate with NABCB logo will be recognized internationally.
  • It can also be used by regulators for establishing confidence in certified personnel for different activities.


What is the NABCB?

NABCB, a constituent Board of Quality Council of India, an autonomous body attached to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, is responsible for accreditation of certification/inspection bodies as per applicable international standards under an international system of equivalence.


Integrated Grievance Cell & Call Center of Department of Pensions

Paper : General Studies 2

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States

Why in the news?

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurated the Integrated Grievance Cell & Call Center for Pensioners set up by the Department of Pension and Pensioners Welfare, here today.
  • The Center has been launched for Central Government pensioners at Janpath Bhawan, in New Delhi.
  • In addition to resolving grievances of the pensioners, it will help in value addition to the whole process, as the pensioners will gradually provide inputs and suggestions in the form of feedback that will help the Department in the long run.
  • This centre will also act as pressure on the departments to resolve the problems of the elderly pensioners


Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Why in the news?

SEBI has decided to review the current framework of margins on derivatives due to cost of trading being pushed up.


What is the Securities and Exchange Board of India?

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers on 30 January 1992 through the SEBI Act, 1992

For the discharge of its functions efficiently, SEBI has been vested with the following powers:

  • to approve by−laws of Securities exchanges.
  • to require the Securities exchange to amend their by−laws.
  • inspect the books of accounts and call for periodical returns from recognized Securities exchanges.
  • inspect the books of accounts of financial intermediaries.
  • compel certain companies to list their shares in one or more Securities exchanges.
  • registration of Brokers and sub-brokers


Operation Sankalp

Paper : General Studies 3

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Why in the news?

  • Indian Navy has deployed, in the Gulf of Oman, to reassure Indian Flagged Vessels operating/ transiting through Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman following the maritime security incidents in the region.
  • IN Ships Chennai and Sunayna have been deployed in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf to undertake Maritime Security operations. In addition, aerial surveillance by IN aircraft is also being undertaken in the area.
  • The Information Fusion Centre – Indian Ocean Region which was launched by the IN in December 2018 at Gurugram, is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region.


What are the maritime security incidents that have raised concern?

  • On May 12, four ships, including three oil tankers, were damaged in mysterious “sabotage attacks” off the United Arab Emirates. The US has alleged that the attacks were carried out by Iran.
  • Iran shot down a US spy drone yesterday, that it alleged was flying over Iran airspace.
  • Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf are the source regions for nearly 40% of the world’s energy needs and a majority of India’s needs.


P 75(I)

Paper : General Studies 3

Topic: indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Why in the news?

  • Government has issued the Expression of Interest(s) for shortlisting of potential Indian Strategic Partners (SPs) for “Construction of six Conventional Submarines” for P-75(I) Project of the Indian Navy on 20 Jun 19.
  • The project cost is about Rs 45,000 Crores. This is the second project being undertaken under the latest Strategic Partnership (SP) Model, with the first being the procurement of 111 Naval Utility Helicopters (NUH).
  • The SPs in collaboration with OEMs have been mandated to set up dedicated manufacturing lines for these submarines in India and make India the global hub for submarine design and production.
  • All six submarines under this project will be built in India by the selected Indian Strategic Partner in collaboration with the selected OEM. In addition, Indian Navy would have the option to manufacture six more submarines under the project.
  • The project would not only aid in boosting the core submarine/ ship building industry but would also greatly enhance manufacturing/ industrial sector, especially the MSMEs by development of an industrial eco-system for manufacture of associated spares/ systems/ equipment related to submarines.
  • The overall aim would be to progressively build indigenous capabilities in the private sector to design, develop and manufacture complex weapon systems for the future needs of the Armed Forces. This will be an important step towards meeting broader national objectives, encouraging self reliance and aligning the defence sector with the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government.


National Investigation Agency

Paper: General Studies 3

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Why in the news?

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted raids at 12 locations in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh in connection with the smuggling of prohibited weapons from the Central Ordnance Depot in Jabalpur.

What is the National Investigation Agency?

  • NIA is the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency in India established under the NIA Act, 2008
  • NIA was created after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks as need for a central agency to combat terrorism was realised. The conviction rate of this anti-terrorism agency is currently 95 per cent as it has managed to convict 167 accused in the 185 cases registered by it since its inception.
  • Various Special Courts have been notified by the Central Government of India for trial of the cases registered at various police stations of NIA under Section 11 and 22 of the NIA Act 2008. Any question as to the jurisdiction of these courts is decided by the Central Government. These are presided over by a judge appointed by the Central Government on the recommendation of the Chief Justice of the High Court with jurisdiction in that region.
  • Supreme Court of India has also been empowered to transfer the cases from one special court to any other special court within or outside the state if the same is in the interest of justice in light of the prevailing circumstances in any particular state. The NIA Special Courts are empowered with all powers of the court of sessions under Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 for trial of any offense.


Prelims Specific

  • 21 June is also celebrated world over as the International Yoga Day
  • Rx: Keep it Simple is the WHO prescription to combat growing menace of antibiotic abuse and burgeoning resistance worldwide.
  • Washi paper – An ultra-thin paper from Japan that also has the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage tag and is used all around the house for many uses.
  • India’s first solar cruise vessel to launched in Kochi, Kerala by December.