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Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 March 2018

Insights Daily Current Affairs, 24 March 2018


Paper 2:

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.


Rajya Sabha elections

Context: Elections for 25 Rajya Sabha seats were held recently.


What is the strength of the House?

The Strength of Rajya Sabha is maximum 250 out of which 238 are state and UT representative and 12 are nominated by the President. At Present, Rajya Sabha has 245 member out of which 229 are representative and rest nominated


What is the qualification of an RS member?

He must be a citizen of India and must not be less than 30 years of age. He must possess qualifications as may be prescribed under any law made by Parliament.


Who can vote to elect Rajya Sabha member?

Elected representatives of state legislatures vote in elections to the Upper House.


Rajya Sabha election process:

Members of state assemblies elect Rajya Sabha members by a process of indirect voting in what is called proportional representation with a single transferable vote. Each voter ranks his preference, and if the first candidate on the list has enough votes to win or no chance of winning, the vote is transferred to the next choice and so on.


Tenure of Rajya Sabha members:

Rajya Sabha members are elected for a six-year term. One-third of the members of the Upper House of parliament retire after every two years.


What’s important?

For Prelims: Rajya Sabha election procedure.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Parliament and State Legislatures – structure, functioning, conduct of business, powers & privileges and issues arising out of these.




Context: The Delhi High Court has quashed a notification issued by President Ram Nath Kovind disqualifying 20 AAP MLAs for holding offices of profit as Parliamentary Secretaries.

The court has reinstated all 20 MLAs, holding that the opinion of the Election Commission of India to the President to disqualify the legislators was “vitiated and bad in law for failure to comply with the principles of natural justice”.


Why was the notification quashed by the court?

The High Court noted that the Election Commission failed to give oral hearing and opportunity to address arguments on merits to the AAP MLAs before arriving at its opinion that they held ‘office of profit’.


What next?

The court has asked the Election Commission to first decide the “all important and seminal issue; what is meant by the expression ‘office of profit held under the government’.” Then, “re-examine the factual matrix to decide whether the petitioners (MLAs) had incurred disqualification on appointment as Parliamentary Secretaries, without being influenced by the earlier order or observations on the said aspect in this order”.


What’s the issue?

The Delhi government, led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, appointed the parliamentary secretaries attached to government ministries after coming to power in March 2015. The Election Commission had recommended that 20 MLAs of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi be disqualified as they held offices of profit while being legislators.


What is an ‘office of profit’?

If an MLA or an MP holds a government office and receives benefits from it, then that office is termed as an “office of profit”. A person will be disqualified if he holds an office of profit under the central or state government, other than an office declared not to disqualify its holder by a law passed by Parliament or state legislature.


What are the basic criteria to disqualify an MP or MLA?

Basic disqualification criteria for an MP are laid down in Article 102 of the Constitution, and for an MLA in Article 191. They can be disqualified for: a) Holding an office of profit under government of India or state government; b) Being of unsound mind; c) Being an undischarged insolvent; d) Not being an Indian citizen or for acquiring citizenship of another country.


What is the underlying principle for including ‘office of profit’ as criterion for disqualification?

Makers of the Constitution wanted that legislators should not feel obligated to the Executive in any way, which could influence them while discharging legislative functions. In other words, an MP or MLA should be free to carry out her duties without any kind of governmental pressure.


What’s important?

For Prelims: What is office of profit and provisions concerned.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


KISS to host ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’

Context: Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), Bhubaneswar, in partnership with British Council, India, is hosting the ‘Commonwealth Big Lunch’. KISS is the only organisation from Asia to be selected by British Council to host the Commonwealth Big Lunch.

What is it? British Council is celebrating 70 years of inception in Commonwealth countries. On this occasion, it has organised a mega lunch. The initiative launched by UK PM Theresa May. The motto of the programme is to encourage people to get together to celebrate their Commonwealth connections through food.


The Commonwealth:

The Commonwealth is a voluntary association of 53 independent and equal sovereign states. It was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949, which established the member states as “free and equal”.

  • The Commonwealth operates by intergovernmental consensus of the member states, organised through the Commonwealth Secretariat and non-governmental organisations, organised through the Commonwealth Foundation.
  • The Commonwealth is home to 2.4 billion people and includes both advanced economies and developing countries. Thirty of our members are small states, many of which are island nations.
  • Member countries are supported by a network of more than 80 intergovernmental, civil society, cultural and professional organisations.
  • The last country to join the Commonwealth was Rwanda in 2009.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: The Commonwealth Big Lunch, Commonwealth of nations.
  • For Mains: Commonwealth and its significance.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Cuvette Centrale region

What is it? It is the world’s largest tropical peatlands in Congo Basin.

Why in news? To protect the Cuvette Centrale region in the Congo Basin from unregulated land use and prevent its drainage and degradation, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Congo and Indonesia have jointly signed the Brazzaville declaration that promotes better management and conservation of this globally important carbon store.

Global peatland initiative: The declaration was signed on the sidelines of the Third Partners Meeting of the Global Peatlands Initiative, taking place in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

What are peatlands? Peatlands are wetlands that contain a mixture of decomposed organic material, partially submerged in a layer of water, lacking oxygen. The complex biodiversity of the peatlands means they are home to a variety of species, but their high carbon content makes them uniquely vulnerable to incineration if they are drained.


About the Global Peatlands Initiative:

The Global Peatlands Initiative is an effort by leading experts and institutions to save peatlands as the world’s largest terrestrial organic carbon stock and to prevent it being emitted into the atmosphere.


Sources: ET.


Paper 3:

Topic: Awareness in space.



Context: A recent report has confirmed that the launch of Chandrayaan-2, India’s second mission to the moon will be in October this year.


About Chandrayaan-2:

Chandrayaan-2 includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface. It is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. It consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration.

  • The Orbiter spacecraft when launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface — all three sending data and pictures to Earth.
  • It is planned to be launched as a composite stack into the earth parking orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km by GSLV-Mk II.


Sources: the hindu.

Topic: Conservation.


Earth Hour 2018

Context: Earth Hour is being observed on March 24 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Earth Hour is also a “part and parcel” of the “Green Good Deeds” movement, in which every individual ought to take small, voluntary green actions to protect and conserve the environment and the earth.


“Give Up to Give Back”:

On the occasion of Earth Hour, the World Wide Fund India has made a strong pitch for “Give Up to Give Back”.

The “Give Up to Give Back” initiative to inspire organisations, institutions and individuals to make the choice to curb some habits, practices and lifestyles that burden our lives and the environment. It includes taking steps like giving up single-use plastics, giving up fossil fuels, giving up lonely car rides for your employees, give up e-waste.


What is Earth Hour?

Dating back to 2007, Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund that promotes conservation and sustainable energy. During this time, civilians are encouraged to switch off their lights for one hour to help reduce the effect of global warming and raise awareness for climate change and wildlife conservation.



It was famously started as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia in 2007. Since then it has grown to engage more than 7000 cities and towns worldwide. Today, Earth Hour engages a massive mainstream community on a broad range of environmental issues. The one-hour event continues to remain the key driver of the now larger movement.


What’s the difference between Earth Hour and Earth Day?

Whereas Earth Hour stands as a climate change initiative where people reduce their electricity usage, Earth Day (April 22) celebrates our natural environment by inspiring people to plant trees, recycle regularly and keep the planet tidy.


Why do we need earth hour?

Global warming and climate change have dominated the scientific discourse in the past more than one decade. With ever rising population of the world, the climate change has put the humankind at a great risk along with other species.

  • Global warming, rising levels of pollution due to ever increasing industrialisation, declining forest cover and rising sea levels are some of the dangers that drastically affect the workings of life on the earth.
  • Though the largest polluters are big industries, the WWF tries to make the masses more and more aware about the impending dangers of adverse climate so that they could put pressure on the respective governments to frame environment-friendly policies and laws.
  • With Earth Hour, the WWF aims to engage people across the globe to adopt more sustainable lifestyle. Turning off lights for an hour is just an annual reminder that if the world does not mend its ways, it will be heading to a dark age, literally.


What’s important?

  • For Prelims: Earth hour, Earth day and give up to give back.
  • For Mains: Climate change and its effects.


Sources: the hindu.



Facts for Prelims:



What is it? NAIPUNYA RATHAM or World on Wheels is a multi-utility vehicle which aims to bring technology to the remote corners.

Where? It was launched recently in Andhra Pradesh.

Why? As part of the Smart village Smart Ward Programme, the Naipunya Rathaams will facilitate and look to improve digital literacy, digital skills and create an awareness on various government schemes that are underway in the new state of Andhra Pradesh.


World’s longest sandstone cave discovered in Meghalaya:

Context: Meghalaya is now also home to the longest sandstone cave in the world at 24,583m.

Key facts:

  • The cave system has fossils of dinosaurs, especially the Mosasaurus, a giant reptile that lived 66-76 million years ago.
  • The cave is Meghalaya is 6,000m longer than the current listed sandstone cave in the world, Cueva El Samán, (18,200m) in Venezuela.


World Tuberculosis Day 2018:

Context: Observed on March 24 every year, World Tuberculosis Day is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of TB and efforts to eliminate the disease. World TB Day commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr. Robert Koch announced his discovery of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.

Significance: According to WHO, World TB Day provides a platform for affected persons and communities, civil society organizations, health-care providers, policy makers, development partners and others to advocate, discuss and plan further collaboration to fulfil the promise of reaching all people with quality TB prevention and care services, as well as enabling TB prevention through multisectoral development efforts.

The theme of World TB Day 2018 – “Wanted: Leaders for a TB-free world”.

Key facts:

  • Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) that most often affect the lungs. Tuberculosis is curable and preventable.
  • TB is spread from person to person through the air. When people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit, they propel the TB germs into the air. A person needs to inhale only a few of these germs to become infected.
  • Ending the TB epidemic by 2030 is among the health targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.