Current Affairs Mar 3


Registration of Political Parties

  • Registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
  • As per existing guidelines, the applicant association is, inter-alia, asked to publish proposed Name of party in two national daily news papers and two local daily newspapers, on two days for submitting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within 30 days from such publication. Notice so published is also displayed on the website of the Commission.




What is it?

  • Ex Desert Flag is an annual multi-national large force employment warfare exercise hosted by the United Arab Emirates Air Force.
  • The Indian Air Force is participating for the first time in Exercise Desert Flag-VI along with air forces of United Arab Emirates, United States of America, France, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Bahrain.
  • The exercise is scheduled from 03 Mar 21 to 27 Mar 21 at Al-Dhafra airbase, UAE.
  • The IAF is participating with six Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 tanker aircraft.
  • C-17 Globemaster will provide support for induction/ de-induction of the IAF contingent.
  • Su-30 MKI aircraft will undertake long range ferry, routing direct from India to the exercise area with aerial refueling support from IL-78 tanker aircraft.
  • The aim of the exercise is to provide operational exposure to the participating forces while training them to undertake simulated air combat operations in a controlled environment.
  • The participating forces will get an opportunity to enhance their operational capabilities along with mutual exchange of best practices.


Central Revenues Control Laboratory

Why in News?

  • Central Revenues Control Laboratory (CRCL), New Delhi, under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs, was recognized as a Regional Customs Laboratory (RCL) of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) for Asia-Pacific Region.


  • Established in 1939, CRCL is the headquarters of 14 Revenue Laboratories, including 2 laboratories working at Government Opium & Alkaloid Works, Ghazipur & Neemuch.
  • These laboratories have been upgraded extensively in past 3 years.
  • With the introduction of instrument based testing, Revenue Laboratories are, now, facilitating faster clearances, without compromising on law enforcement, and thereby playing a vital role in trade facilitation.
  • With its recognition as RCL, CRCL joins a select group of Customs Laboratories in the region like those in Japan & Korea.


Better Than Cash Alliance

  • The Government of India, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and UN-based Better Than Cash Alliance hosted Merchant Digitization Summit 2021: Towards AatmaNirbhar (Self Reliance) Bharat with special focus on Himalayan Regions, North East Regions and Aspirational Districts of India.
  • The Summit brought together leaders from the public and private sectors for the Responsible Merchant Digitization Summit to accelerate responsible digitization of merchants in India’s North-Eastern and Himalayan regions, and Aspirational districts.
  • Empowering women merchants who play critical roles in their communities is one of the priorities to help achieve the mission of Digital India.
  • This Summit is part of the series of Learning Exchange amongst all States and Union Territories under which DEA had also co-organized the webinar titled “Unlocking the value of Fintech in promoting Digital Payments’ on December 9, 2020.


Atal Innovation Mission Partners with MathWorks

Why in News?

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog partners with MathWorks-the developer of mathematical computing software for scientists and engineers to strengthen the Deep-tech startup ecosystem of India.

Under this partnership,

  • Startups supported by AIM, will get access to steps of the art MathWorks tools (including MATLAB and Simulink), engineering support, online trainings, access to MATLAB community, and opportunities for developing awareness of the startup products through their domestic and global reach.
  • The benefits are aimed at fostering innovation and accelerating product development at these early-stage companies.

About MathWorks

  • MathWorks is the leading developer of mathematical computing software.
  • Engineers and scientists worldwide rely on these product families to accelerate the pace of discovery, innovation, and development in automotive, aerospace, electronics, renewable energy, financial services, biotech, and other industries.
  • MathWorks supports over 3,000 startups and 300 Accelerators worldwide.


 Mullaperiyar Dam Safety

Why in News?

  • Recently, Tamil Nadu had filed an affidavit assuring that the dam was safe hydrologically and protected from earthquakes.
  • Countering Kerala’s allegations of non-cooperation and lack of concern, Tamil Nadu accused its neighbour State of adopting an “obstructionist attitude”.
  • Tamil Nadu, in fact, said the installation of instruments to protect the dam structure and warn about dangers to the Earth Dam and the Baby Dam has been hanging in limbo since 2015.
  • This was solely because the Kerala Forest Department has refused permission to cut 23 trees.
  • In January, Kerala had accused Tamil Nadu of adopting an “obsolete” gate operation schedule, dating back to 1939, at the dam.
  • In its affidavit, Kerala had in turn informed the court of Central Water Commission (CWC) inspection report which said that 70% of the installed instruments for monitoring the safety and health of the dam were not working properly.
  • It said Tamil Nadu was yet to install the two seismoaccelerographs recommended to monitor tremors.

Himalayan Serrow

Why in News?

  • A Himalayan mammal, somewhere between a goat and an antelope, has been confirmed as the newest creature to be spotted in Assam.
  • A couple of nature guides had spotted the Himalayan serow, a goat-antelope, in the Manas Tiger Reserve on December 3.
  • The animal — a high-altitude dweller usually found 2,000-4,000 metres above sea level — was seen being chased by wild dogs.
  • Confirmed as the Himalayan serow, spotted close to the border with Bhutan in Manas’s Bansbari Mathanguri forest.
  • Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
  • The black-necked crane was also recently sighted in Manas
  • In February, birders had sighted the colourful Mandarin duck in the Maguri-Motapung wetland near eastern Assam’s DibruSaikhowa National Park.


Path to Peace in Ethiopia

  • The breakdown in the already strained relations between the federal government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF)’s leaders in Tigray has resulted in the national crisis.
  • In 2018, anti-government protests by the marginalised Oromo population forced the TPLF to step down, resulting in the election of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his subsequent crackdown on Tigrayan politicians for corruption and human rights abuses.
  • Internal conflict in Ethiopia has resulted in the death of 52,000 people and the displacement of over 2 million, over 60,000 of whom have taken refuge in Sudan’s eastern border.
  • This has triggered an influx of Sudanese and Eritrean military personnel near Ethiopia’s northern frontier.
  • The complex process of developing a post-conflict reconstruction framework requires a comprehensive analysis, one that compels immediate coordination between the federal, regional and local governments, independent and partial adjudicators, civil society and victims’ and community groups.


Recalibrating Relation with EU

  • India has an untapped export potential of $39.9 billion in the EU and Western Europe.
  • The top products with export potential include apparel, gems and jewellery, chemicals, machinery, automobile, pharmaceuticals and plastic.
  • India benefits from tariff preferences under the EU’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) for several of these products.
  • In fact, India is among the major beneficiaries of the EU’s GSP, with exports under the GSP valued at nearly $19.4 billion in 2019.
  • There are several products where India has export potential in the EU, but these have “graduated” or are at the brink of “graduation” under EU GSP.
  • Product graduation applies when average imports of a product from a beneficiary country exceed 17.5% of EU-GSP imports of the same product from all beneficiary countries over three years.
  • India’s exports of products such as textiles, inorganic and organic chemicals, gems and jewellery, iron, steel and their articles, base metals and automotives are already out of the ambit of EU-GSP benefits.
  • There is also a likelihood of losing EU-GSP benefits in other categories such as apparel, rubber, electronic items, sports goods and toys due to product graduation.
  • India’s competitors in apparel exports such as Bangladesh would continue to receive tariff benefits in the EU under Everything but Arms Initiative.
  • Another competitor, Vietnam, concluded a free trade agreement (FTA) with the EU in 2019
  • India’s negotiation for a Broad-based Trade and Investment Agreement, which commenced in 2007, is yet to materialise due to lack of concurrence in areas like automotives and dairy and marine products.
  • Further, there should also be provisions for aspects such as investment and non-tariff measures (NTMs). China has already negotiated a comprehensive agreement on investment.
  • India also needs to negotiate on investment-related aspects with the EU to enhance bilateral investments and foster stronger value chains, especially in technology-intensive sectors in which the EU has a comparative advantage.
  • As far as NTMs are concerned, India faces as many as 414 NTMs in the EU, in a wide array of sector.


Phase Out Coal Use By 2030

  • N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on wealthy nations to end coal use by 2030 so the world can meet its goals to curb global warming, urging G7 nations to make that commitment before or at a leaders’ summit in June.

He Said

  • Emissions-cutting pledges by governments fell far short of what is needed to limit climate heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
  • But if immediate action were taken to end use of what he called the dirtiest, most polluting and increasingly costly fossil fuel in power generation, “then we have a fighting chance to succeed”.
  • Phasing out coal from the electricity sector is the single most important step to get in line with the 1.5-degree goal.
  • Scientists estimate that coal use in electric power generation must fall by 80% below 2010 levels by 2030 to meet the 1.5C warming limit, which is the more ambitious goal set by more than 190 nations in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
  • All 37 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) – a group of mainly high-income nations – should promise to stop using coal by 2030, and the rest should do so by 2040.

Powering Past Coal Alliance

  • It was formed by Canada and Britain in 2017 to bring together governments and business to accelerate the phase-out of “unabated” coal power, where there is no technology in place to remove carbon emissions.
  • It now has more than 120 members, with 10 new ones joining recently, including Hungary, Uruguay, the Japanese city of Kyoto, and utilities National Grid of Britain and Ontario Power Generation of Canada, as well as pension providers.
  • The alliance said in a statement that progress on phasing out coal had sped up across OECD and European Union member states, with over 55% of operating coal plant capacity retired since 2010 or scheduled to retire by 2030.


Blockchain transaction tested in space

Why in News?

  • JP Morgan has successfully tested a blockchain transaction in space using Danish space firm GomSpace’s satellites.
  • It is the world’s first bank-led tokenised value transfer in space, executed via smart contracts on a blockchain network, established between satellites orbiting the earth.
  • The transaction was executed between two GOMX-4 satellites in the low Earth orbit (LEO), which validated the approach towards a decentralised network where communication with the earth is not necessary.


  • This breakthrough opens the door to a potential peer-to-peer satellite marketplace in the long term, allowing data transfers between satellites against payment, as private companies prepare to launch their own constellations.


  • Blockchain is a distributed ledger that records data in individual blocks which are linked to one another using cryptography, making it very difficult to tamper with the data in one block without altering all the following blocks.
  • The technology can have various applications such as driving cryptocurrency transactions, and was used by Satoshi Nakamoto to create Bitcoin.


Consensus on TRIPS Waiver Proposal

Why in News?

  • India has urged WTO members to reach consensus on a proposal on waiver of certain provisions in a multilateral agreement on intellectual property to deal with COVID-19 crisis, stating that one cannot continue to engage in endless discussions when millions of lives are lost to the pandemic.
  • In October 2020, India and South Africa submitted a proposal suggesting a waiver for all WTO members on the implementation, application and enforcement of certain provisions of the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of COVID-19.


  • The agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or TRIPS came into effect in January 1995.
  • It is a multilateral agreement on intellectual property (IP) rights such as copyright, industrial designs, patents and protection of undisclosed information or trade secrets.
  • It has been estimated that the global economy stands to lose as much as $9.2 trillion if the international community fails to ensure developing economy access to COVID-19 vaccines.
  • The U.N. Secretary General, in his recent press briefing noted that the progress on vaccinations has been wildly uneven and unfair, and that more than 130 countries have not received a single dose.


Every 4th person to suffer hearing loss by 2050

  • One in every four individuals, or around 2.5 billion people, across the world will experience mild-to-profound hearing loss by 2050, said World Health Organization (WHO) in a new report.
  • It is estimated that at least 700 million people will suffer from disabling hearing loss and require ear and hearing care.
  • WHO defines disabling hearing loss as greater than 40 decibels (dB) loss in adults and greater than 30 dB in children.
  • Exposure to excessive noise, was cited by the first World Report on Hearing as one of the reasons for the disability.
  • Genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs and ageing are the other factors mentioned by WHO.
  • Auditory disabilities are often not taken seriously by people and WHO has observed a knowledge gap regarding prevention and treatment of such diseases in medical professionals.

The report said:

  • “Among low-income countries, about 78 per cent have fewer than one ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist per million population; 93 per cent have fewer than one audiologist per million; only 17 per cent have one or more speech therapist per million; and 50 per cent have one o r more teacher for the deaf per million.”