- PM greets Civil Servants on Civil Services Day
- Vice President’s Message on eve of World Earth Day
- G-20 Extraordinary Agriculture Ministers Meeting
PM GREETS CIVIL SERVANTS ON CIVIL SERVICES DAY
Focus: GS-II Governance, Prelims
Why in news?
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has greeted Civil Servants and their families and paid tributes to Sardar Patel on Civil Services Day- 21st April 2020.
Civil Services Day
- Every year, India celebrates Civil Service Day on April 21.
- The main aim of celebrating the day is to motivate the efforts and works of civil servants.
- It is celebrated as an occasion for the civil servants to rededicate themselves to the causes of citizens and renew their commitments to public service and excellence in work.
- On this day, the Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Administration are presented.
- These awards bring together civil servants to connect with each other and learn the good practices being implemented across the nation in the field of public grievance.
- The function is organised by the Department of the Administrative Reforms and Public grievances (DARPG) and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions.
- This annual fair award ceremony is a platform for Civil Servants to connect with each other and exchange their ideas.
Why April 21?
- April 21 is chosen as this was the day when Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first home minister of Independent India, addressed the probationers of Administrative Services Officers in 1947 at Metcalf House, Delhi.
- Since 2006, April 21 is celebrated as the Civil Services Day by the Government of India.
- The role of civil servants is not often acknowledged but they are the ones who keep working in the background to ensure smooth functioning of the public administration.
- As rightfully described by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel himself, civil servants are the “Steel Frame of India”.
A little insight into Civil Services
- As we know that Civil Service is the service which is responsible for the public administration of the government of the country. It does not include legislative, judiciary and military personnel.
- Civil service members do not take any pledge to any political ruling party but are the executioners of the policies of the ruling political party.
- Every year, the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) conducts the civil services examination for lakhs of aspirants who want to serve their nation.
- Civil Service word date back to the British time when British East India Company civilian staffs involved in administrative jobs and were known as ‘Public Servants’.
- Its foundation has been laid by Warren Hastings
- Further reforms were done by Charles Cornwallis who was known as the “Father of Civil Services in India”.
- Civil Service in India consists of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and comprehensive list of All India Services and Central Services Group A and Group B.
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
- Vallabhbhai Jhaverbhai Patel (31 October 1875 – 15 December 1950), popularly known as Sardar Patel, was an Indian politician.
- He was the first Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister of Independent India.
- He played an important role in the integration of many Indian princely states to make an Indian federation.
- He took charge of the task to forge a united India from over 560 semi-autonomous princely states and British-era colonial provinces.
- Using frank diplomacy backed with the option (and the use) of military action, Patel’s leadership enabled the accession of almost every princely state.
- Hence, he is recognized as the real unifier of India.
- He is also remembered as the ‘Patron saint of India’s civil servants’ as he established the modern all-India services system. He is also hailed as the Iron Man of India.
Statue of Unity
- The Statue of Unity which is built in honour of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel is dedicated to the nation.
- The Statue of Unity is the tallest statue in the world at 182 metres.
- It is located on the Sadhu Bet island on the Narmada river, which flows between the Satpura and the Vindhya mountain ranges.
VICE PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE ON EVE OF WORLD EARTH DAY
Focus: GS-II Environment and Ecology, Prelims
Why in news?
In a message on the eve of World Earth Day, The Vice President has called upon all citizens to collectively strive for building a greener and cleaner planet saying environmental protection is a pious civic duty of all.
Earth Day 2020
- Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 of every year.
- April 22, 2020 will mark 50 years of Earth Day.
- Earth Day was a unified response to an environment in crisis — oil spills, smog, rivers so polluted they literally caught fire.
History of Earth Day and what it is now
- On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans — 10% of the U.S. population at the time — took to the streets, college campuses and hundreds of cities to protest environmental ignorance and demand a new way forward for our planet.
- The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event.
- Earth Day led to passage of landmark environmental laws in the United States, including the Clean Air, Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts.
- Many countries soon adopted similar laws, and in 2016, the United Nations chose Earth Day as the day to sign the Paris Climate Agreement into force.
- The maiden Earth Day was observed on April 22, 1970.
- Earth Day is now a global event each year; it is the largest civic-focused day of action in the world.
- It is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network.
- Earth Day Network is a non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington DC, whose mission is to diversify, educate and activate the environmental movement worldwide.
What is the theme for Earth Day 2020?
- The theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. The enormous challenge — but also the vast opportunities — of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
- Climate change represents the biggest challenge to the future of humanity and the life-support systems that make our world habitable.
Is it Different from Earth Hour? Yes!
- World Wide Fund for Nature’s (WWF) Earth Hour is an annual global celebration that began in 2007.
- Earth Hour is a celebration in which people switch off their lights for one hour to show they care about the future of our planet.
- Recently Earth Hour was observed on 29th March and It is held every year on the last Saturday of March.
- It encourages people from more than 180 countries to switch off the lights from 8.30 pm to 9.30 pm as per their local time.
G-20 EXTRAORDINARY AGRICULTURE MINISTERS MEETING
Focus: GS-II International Relations, Prelims
Why in news?
- Union Agriculture Minister participated in an Extraordinary virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture Ministers on 21st April 2020 to address the issue of COVID-19 impacts on food security, safety and nutrition.
- The decision of Government of India to exempt all agriculture operations during lockdown period and ensuring continued availability of essential agriculture produce and supply, while adhering to protocol of social distancing, health and hygiene – was highlighted.
- The G-20 Agriculture Ministers virtual meeting was organized through video conferencing by the Saudi Presidency to deliberate on the ways and means of ensuring continuity of food supply value chain including livelihood of farmers.
- It was attended by Agriculture Ministers of all G-20 members, some guest countries and International organizations.
Introduction to G20
- The G20 (or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for the governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
- Founded in 1999 with the aim to discuss policy pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, the G20 has expanded its agenda since 2008 and heads of government or heads of state, as well as finance ministers and foreign ministers, have periodically conferred at summits ever since.
- It seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.
How important is G20?
- Collectively, the G20 economies account for around 90% of the gross world product (GWP), 80% of world trade (or, if excluding EU intra-trade, 75%), two-thirds of the world population, and approximately half of the world land area.
- Because the G-20 is a forum, its agreements or decisions have no legal impact, but they do influence countries’ policies and global cooperation.
- The G20 invites its members, invited countries, international partner organizations and affinity groups to dialogue and build consensus to promote public policies that solve the challenges facing humanity.
Members of G20
- Membership of the G20 consists of 19 individual countries plus the European Union.
- The EU is represented by the European Commission and by the European Central Bank.
As of 2017 there are 20 members of the group:
- The European Union,
- Saudi Arabia,
- South Africa,
- South Korea,
- The United Kingdom, and
- The United States.
Spain is a permanent guest invitee.
Structure and Functioning of G20
- The G20 Presidency rotates annually according to a system that ensures a regional balance over time.
- For the selection of presidency, the 19 countries are divided into 5 groups, each having no more than 4 countries. The presidency rotates between each group. Every year the G20 selects a country from another group to be president.
- India is in Group 2 which also has Russia, South Africa, and Turkey.
- The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat or Headquarters. Instead, the G20 president is responsible for bringing together the G20 agenda in consultation with other members and in response to developments in the global economy.
- TROIKA: Every year when a new country takes on the presidency (in this case Argentina 2018), it works hand in hand with the previous presidency (Germany, 2017) and the next presidency (Japan, 2019) and this is collectively known as TROIKA. This ensures continuity and consistency of the group’s agenda.
Note: Not to be confused with G20 Developing Nations
- The G20 developing nations (and, occasionally, the G21, G23 or G20+) is a bloc of developing nations established on 20 August 2003.
- Distinct and separate from the G20 major economies, the group emerged at the 5th Ministerial WTO conference, held in Cancún, Mexico, from 10 September to 14 September 2003.
- The group accounted for 60% of the world’s population, 70% of its farmers and 26% of world’s agricultural exports.