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Current Affairs 25 November 2023

  1. Governor cannot indefinitely sit on Bills
  2. Aditya-L1 solar probe
  3. Narendra Modi becomes first Prime Minister to fly LCA Tejas 
  4. Koala corridors
  5. Mysterious pneumonia outbreak in China


Context:

The Supreme Court held that a Governor cannot indefinitely sit on Bills. It held that the Governor cannot withhold consent in case the House repassed the Bill with or without amendments.

Relevance:

GS-2: Constitutional Bodies, Role of Governor

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. The Recent Case of Bills in Tamil Nadu
  3. Powers of the governors over the state bills

Key Points:

  • The judgement was in response to a petition filed by Punjab against its Governor Banwarilal Purohit for not responding to a bill passed by the State Legislature.
  • It held that in case of withholding assent, the Governor should return the Bill as soon as possible to the House with a message assigning reasons for his lack of consent.
  • The same was reiterated recently by the top court to Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Khan to hold Governors responsible for acting within the four corners of the State Legislature without flexing a non-existent veto power over Bills presented to them for assent.
  • Kerala said the Governor was trying to “defeat the rights of the people” of the State by indefinitely sitting on crucial Bills, especially those addressing post-COVID public health concerns.
  • The State said the arbitrary show of lack of urgency by the Governor violated the fundamental right to life of the people of Kerala.

The Recent Case of Bills in Tamil Nadu:

  • The Bills in question primarily aim to transfer the power of appointing Vice-Chancellors of universities from the Governor to the State government.
  • There is no valid reason for the Governor to disapprove of these Bills, except for a vested interest in retaining the powers vested in the capacity of the Chancellor.
  • The rejection of these Bills seems to be a contentious reaction following the Supreme Court’s justified comments on Governors delaying the assent to pending Bills.
  • In response, the DMK government promptly convened a special session of the Assembly and reapproved the same Bills.
  • This raises the question of whether the government believed the Governor was obligated to grant assent if the Bills were reconsidered and passed again by the House.

Powers of the governors over the state bills:

  • Article 200. Assent to Bills : When a Bill has been passed by the Legislative Assembly of a State or, in the case of a State having a Legislative Council, has been passed by both Houses of the Legislature of the State, it shall be presented to the Governor and the Governor shall declare either that he assents to the Bill or that he withholds assent therefrom or that he reserves the Bill for the consideration of the President.
  • Return for Reconsideration: The Governor shall reserve for the consideration of the President. Any Bill which in the opinion of the Governor would, if it became law, so when violates the Constitution or the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), or when it jeopardizes the authority of the state high court.
  • Withhold  Assent: Even so, an option, this is not commonly exercised by the governors as it can seen as showing favouritism 

Power of the Governor with respect to Money Bills:

  • Every money bill, after it is passed by the state legislature (unicameral or bicameral), is presented to the governor for his assent. 
  • He has three alternatives:
    • He may give his assent to the bill, the bill then becomes an act. 
    • He may withhold his assent to the bill, the bill then ends and does not become an act. 
    • He may reserve the bill for the consideration of the president. 
  • Thus, the Governor cannot return a money bill for the reconsideration of the state legislature. Normally, the Governor gives his assent to a money bill as it is introduced in the state legislature with his previous permission.
  • When the Governor reserves a money bill for the consideration of the President, he will not have any further role in the enactment of the bill. If the President gives his assent to the bill, it becomes an Act.
    • This means that the assent of the Governor is no longer required.

-Source: the Hindu



Context:

As per the latest repost from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) , the Aditya-L1 solar probe is expected to enter into orbit around Lagrangian point L1 on January 7.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Aditya-L1
  2. What is Lagrange Point 1?

About Aditya-L1

  • Aditya-L1 is India’s first solar mission to study the Sun designed and to be built in collaboration between the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various Indian research institutes.
  • It is planned to be launched on the PSLV-C57 and it is now planned to be a comprehensive solar and space environment observatory to be placed at the Lagrangian point L1.
  • The Aditya-L1 mission will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1 point, which is about 1.5 million km from Earth.
  • Aditya-L1 will be able to provide observations of Sun’s photosphere, chromosphere and corona.
  • Aditya L1 will be ISRO’s 2nd space-based astronomy mission after AstroSat, which was launched in 2015.

Objectives of Aditya-1

  • One of the major unsolved issues in the field of solar physics is that the upper atmosphere of the Sun is 1,000,000 K (1,000,000 °C) hot whereas the lower atmosphere is just 6,000 K (5,730 °C).
  • In addition, it is not understood how exactly the Sun’s radiation affects the dynamics of the Earth’s atmosphere on shorter as well as on longer time scale.
  • The mission will obtain near simultaneous images of the different layers of the Sun’s atmosphere, which reveal the ways in which the energy may be channeled and transferred from one layer to another.
  • Thus, the Aditya-L1 mission will enable a comprehensive understanding of the dynamical processes of the Sun and address some of the outstanding problems in solar physics and heliophysics.
  • Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (like the Sun and the Earth) produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
  • L1 refers to Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of 5 points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system – which is about 1.5 million km from Earth, or about 1/100th of the way to the Sun.
  • A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
  • The L1 point is home to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO), an international collaboration project of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

What is Lagrange Point 1?

 

  • Lagrange Points, named after Italian-French mathematician Josephy-Louis Lagrange, are positions in space where the gravitational forces of a two-body system (like the Sun and the Earth) produce enhanced regions of attraction and repulsion.
  • L1 refers to Lagrangian/Lagrange Point 1, one of 5 points in the orbital plane of the Earth-Sun system – which is about 1.5 million km from Earth, or about 1/100th of the way to the Sun.
  • A Satellite placed in the halo orbit around the Lagrangian point 1 (L1) has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
  • The L1 point is home to the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory Satellite (SOHO), an international collaboration project of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA).

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi co-piloted a trainer version of the indigenous light combat aircraft (LCA) Tejas. He was accompanied by an Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot as the aircraft took off from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) Airport) in Bengaluru.

This significantly bolsters India’s indigenous capabilities and creates a sense of pride and optimism about the Nation’s potential.

Relevance:

GS-III Internal Security, Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas
  2. Some of the Fighter Aircraft

About Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas:

  • LCA Tejas is a single-engine multirole light combat aircraft.
  • It replaced the aging Mig 21 fighter planes.
  • It is the second supersonic fighter jet that was developed by HAL (the first one being HAL HF-24 Marut).
  • Bodies involved: Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), the autonomous society of DRDO is the design agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) as the manufacturer
  • It is the lightest and smallest multirole supersonic fighter aircraft in its class.
  • It can attend the maximum speed of Mach 1.8.
  • It is designed to carry a range of air-to-air, air-to-surface, precision-guided and standoff weaponry.
  • It is a single pilot aircraft that has a maximum takeoff weight of 13,300 kg.
  • It has a general range of 850 km and a combat range of 500 km.

Some of the Fighter Aircraft:

Apache Helicopter

  • Eight US made Apache AH-64E stealth attack helicopters, has been inducted into IAF.
  • The IAF has signed a contract with ‘The Boeing’ and the US government for 22 Apache attack helicopters.
  • Apache is the most advanced multi-role heavy attack helicopter in the world.
  • It’s modern capabilities includes, fire-and-forget, anti-tank missiles, air-to-air missiles, rockets, and other ammunition.
  • Apaches has their ability to operate at much higher altitudes, unlike the aging Russian Mi-24/Mi-35 attack helicopters.
  • It also has modern electronic warfare capabilities to provide versatility in network-centric aerial warfare.
  • It is day/night, all weather capable, and have high agility and survivability against battle damage.
  • These are easily maintainable even in field conditions, and are capable of prolonged operations in tropical and desert regions.

MiG-21 Fighter Jets

  • MiG is a product of Soviet Union which entered in to the service in 1959.
  • India inducted the MiG-21 in 1963 and got full technology transfer and rights to license-build the aircraft in the country.
  • It is the first supersonic fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force.
  • Russia stopped producing the aircraft in 1985, while India continued operating the upgraded variants.
  • In the upcoming India-Russia Bilateral summit, India is likely to gift 3 MiG fighter jets to Russia.
  • MiG-21 fighter jets will be phased out of service by 2021-22.
  • Tejas, an indigeneous fighter aircraft will replace the ageing MiG-21.

Sukhoi Su-30MKI

  • The first indigenously overhauled Sukhoi Su-30MKI supersonic aircraft was recently handed over to the Indian Air Force.
  • During the overhaul, the aircraft was stripped completely and rebuilt from scratch, replacing certain worn out parts/components.
  • The aircraft was overhauled in country’s only fighter aircraft repair depot “Ojhar” in Maharashtra.
  • Sukhoi Aircraft was developed by Russia. The license for building it was given to Indian Air Force in the past 2 decades.
  • It is twin-finned, twin-jet multi-role aircraft capable of attaining speeds of Mach 2 at high altitudes.
  • It can carry guns, missiles, bombs, rockets and other weaponry.

Kamov Ka-226T

  • Russia plans to deliver 10 Kamov Ka-226T military helicopters to India in a first tranche as part of a $1-billion deal, signed in Indo-Russia Summit in Moscow, 2015.
  • The Kamov 226T is a light weight, twin-engine multi-role chopper offers services for both military and civilian purposes.
  • It will replace India’s ageing fleet of Cheetah and Chetak.
  • The military version is capable of working in extreme and difficult weather conditions such as hot climate, marine areas and high mountains.
  • The helicopter has a maximum speed of 250 km/hour and maximum takeoff weight is 3,600 kg.

-Source: the Hindu



Context:

Planting ‘koala corridors’ to save Australia’s endangered marsupial.

Relevance:

GS III- Environment

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. Australia’s Koala population
  3. Why did the Australian government finally declare Koalas endangered?

Key points:

  • Bangalow Koalas, an environmental charity has planted over 336,000 trees contributing to koala conservation and boosting the local ecosystem. The group, which relies on community volunteers, aims to plant 500,000 trees by 2025.
  • The vast networks of vegetation are a lifeline for koalas and numerous other species like the endangered glossy black cockatoo, gliders, possums, and wallabies.
  • They provide safe passage across the koala’s increasingly fragmented habitat, increasing genetic diversity and protecting the animals from human threats.

Australia’s Koala population

  • According to fossil records, Koala species have inhabited parts of Australia for at least 25 million years, a WWF report states.
    •  But today, only one species remains — the Phascolarctos cinereus.
  • They are found in the wild in the southeast and eastern sides of Australia — in coastal Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia and Victoria.
  • Since Europeans first settled in the region, the Koala population has faced widespread habitat loss, particularly due to agriculture and the construction of urban settlements.
  • They survive on a strict diet of up to a kilogram of eucalyptus leaves every day.
  • Due to the low nutritional value of these leaves, koalas tend to sleep for extended periods, often up to 18 hours a day, to conserve energy.

Why did the Australian government finally declare Koalas endangered?

  • Australia’s Koala population has been on the road to extinction for over two decades now.
  • During the catastrophic 2019 bushfires in Australia, now known as the ‘Black Summer’, an estimated 60,000 koalas were impacted, with vast swathes of their habitat being blackened and rendered unliveable.
  • More than 12 million acres of land were destroyed across New South Wales alone.
  • Another major threat is the spread of chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease known to cause blindness and cysts in the koalas reproductive tract.
  • In 2020, a parliamentary inquiry in NSW found that Koalas would be extinct in the state by 2050 unless the government took urgent action.
  • Late last month, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that the government will be spending a record $35 million over the next four years towards the conservation and recovery of the koala population.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

China is seeing a spike in respiratory illnesses as it enters its first full winter season after lifting Covid-19 restrictions last December. The Health Ministry stated that India is closely monitoring outbreak of H9N2.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Points
  2. About Avian Influenza Virus (H9N2)

Key Points

  • The statement from the Ministry comes following reports indicating clustering of cases of respiratory illness in children in northern China for which World Health Organisation (WHO) has also issued a statement.
  • There has been a spike in reported incidents of clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children. Children being mostly affected, the elderly and pregnant women may also be vulnerable.
  • There is a need for strengthening surveillance among human, animal husbandry and wildlife sectors and improving coordination.
  • The overall risk assessment by WHO indicates a low probability of human to human spread and low case fatality rate among human cases of H9N2 reported to WHO so far.
  • India is embarking on a One Health approach to adopt a holistic and integrated roadmap towards addressing such public health issues.

About Avian Influenza Virus (H9N2)

  • H9N2 is a subtype of the species Influenza A virus, which causes human influenza as well as bird flu.
  • The H9N2 subtype was isolated for the first time in Wisconsin, US in 1966 from turkey flocks.
  • It is the most common subtype of influenza viruses in Chinese chickens and thus causes great economic loss for the poultry industry, even under the long-term vaccination program.
  • H9N2 viruses could potentially play a major role in the emergence of the next influenza pandemic.

Transmission:

  • The H9N2 influenza virus can be transmitted by air droplet, dust, feed, or water.
  • Chickens usually seemed to be healthy after the infection but some of them do show depression and ruffled feathers.

Symptoms:

  • According to the World Health Organisation, exposure to the avian influenza virus can lead to infections ranging from mild, flu-like symptoms or eye inflammation to severe, acute respiratory disease or death.

-Source: The Indian Express, The Hindu

 


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