Daily Current Affairs : 1/2/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Polar Vortex
  2. Joint Sitting of Parliament
  3. Mission buniyaad

1 . Polar Vortex

Context : A record-breaking cold wave has swept through the US Midwest, with 22 states hitting sub-zero temperatures. Among cities, Chicago dropped to a low of -30°C, slightly above the city’s lowest-ever reading of -32°C from January 1985. Minneapolis recorded 32°C and Sioux Falls (South Dakota) -31°C. The extreme cold has been caused by a blast of Arctic air, which in turn is a result of what is known as a “polar vortex” event.

What is a polar vortex?

  • The polar vortex is a large area of low pressure and cold air surrounding both of the Earth’s poles. It always exists near the poles, but weakens in summer and strengthens in winter.
  • The term “vortex” refers to the counter-clockwise flow of air that helps keep the colder air near the Poles.
  • Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream
  • This occurs fairly regularly during wintertime and is often associated with large outbreaks of Arctic air in the United States.

So, when does the polar vortex cause extreme cold?

  • In winter, the polar vortex sometimes becomes less stable and expands. “Many times during winter in the northern hemisphere, the [north] polar vortex will expand, sending cold air southward with the jet stream,” NOAA explains.
  • This is called a polar vortex event, defined by NOAA’s SciJinks as the “breaking off” of a part of the vortex. “Normally, when the vortex is strong and healthy, it helps keep a current of air known as the jet stream traveling around the globe in a pretty circular path.
  • This current keeps the cold air up north and the warm air down south,” NOAA says. “But without that strong low-pressure system, the jet stream doesn’t have much to keep it in line. It becomes wavy and rambling. Put a couple of areas of high-pressure systems in its way, and all of a sudden you have a river of cold air being pushed down south along with the rest of the polar vortex system.”

2 . Joint Sitting of Parliament

Context : The Budget Session of Parliament commenced on Thursday with the President’s address. 

About the President’s address

  • The President’s address to the joint sitting of Parliament at the beginning of the Budget Session every year is a Constitutional requirement.
  • Article 87(1) says: 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.
  • Originally, the Constitution required the President to address both Houses of Parliament at the commencement of “every session”. This requirement was changed by the First Amendment to the Constitution

Article 108 – Joint Sitting in case of Deadlock between two houses

When can a joint Sitting take place

  • If after a Bill has been passed by one House and transmitted to the other House
  1. the Bill is rejected by the other House; or
  2. the Houses have finally disagreed as to the amendments to be made in the Bill;
  3. more than six months elapse from the date of the reception of the Bill by the other House without the Bill being passed by it
  • the President may, unless the Bill has lapsed by reason of a dissolution of the House of the People, notify to the Houses by message if they are sitting or by public notification if they are not sitting, his intention to summon them to meet in a joint sitting for the purpose of deliberating and voting on the Bill: Provided that nothing in this clause shall apply to a Money Bill

Must Read – Article 108 of the Constitution of India from Laxmikanth

3 . Mission Buniyaad

Context : After learning interventions over the course of 2018, the number of children between classes III-V in Delhi government schools who can do division at their grade level has seen a jump of nearly 35 percentage points, while the same increased by over 20 percentage points for children between classes VI-VIII. Reading ability of children in both age categories also saw a jump of 20 percentage points.

About Mission Buniyaad

  • Mission Buniyaad was launched in Delhi government and MCD schools with the stated aim that “there should be no child in any class who cannot read his/her textbook or solve basic numericals in Maths”.
  • The goal was to strengthen foundational learning at the primary level, after it was found that a very low number of children who join government schools at Class VI could read their textbooks — the numbers stood at 25% in 2016; 32% in 2017; and 29% in 2018
  • The main component of the programme was the “summer camp”, which was held during the vacation between May and July. Following this, students who were still behind continued to be mentored and monitored through monthly assessments.

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