Daily Current Affairs : 26th and 27th January 2022

Daly Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Civilian Awards
  2. Gallantry Awards
  3. Environment Impact Assessment
  4. Integrity Pact
  5. Chakma-Hajong issue
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . Civilian Awards

Context : General Bipin Rawat, India’s first Chief of Defence Staff who died in an air crash recently, and former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who headed the State during Babri Masjid demolition, were selected for Padma Vibushan posthumously on the eve of Republic Day. Padma Vibhushan, part of the Padma series, is the second highest civilian award.

Other Recipients

  • Congress leader and former Chief Minister of J&K Ghulam Nabi Azad and former West Bengal CM Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee were awarded with Padma Bhushan.
  • Bharat Biotech’s Suchitra and Krishna Ella, Serum Institute of India’s Cyrus Poonawalla were accorded with Padma Bhushan along with Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons.
  • Olympian Neeraj Chopra, gold medallist at 2021 Tokyo paralympics Avani Lakhera and singer Sonu Nigam were given Padma Shri.
  • Satya Narayana Nadella, Chairman and CEO of Microsoft Corporation, Sundararajan Pichai, CEO, Google and Alphabet were accorded with Padma Bhushan. Punjabi singer Gurmeet Bawa was given Padma Bhushan posthumously.
  • Former Union Home Secretary and Comptroller General of India Rajiv Mehrishi was also conferred with Padma Bhushan.
  • Guruprasad Mohapatra, former AAI chairman and DPIIT secretary, was selected for Padma Shri posthumously. Radheyshyam Khemka, president of Gita Press, has been named for Padma Vibhushan posthumously.
  • This year the President has approved the conferment of 128 Padma Awards comprising four Padma Vibhushan, 17 Padma Bhushan and 107 Padma Shri Awards. As many as 34 awardees are women.

About Padma awards

  • Padma Awards were instituted in the year 1954. Except for brief interruptions during the years 1977 to 1980 and 1993 to 1997, these awards have been announced every year on Republic Day. The award is given in three categories, viz. Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, in the decreasing order of importance.
  • Padma Vibhushan for “exceptional and distinguished service”. Padma Vibhushan is the second-highest civilian award in India.
  • Padma Bhushan for “distinguished service of a high order”. Padma Bhushan is the third-highest civilian award in India .
  • Padma Shri is awarded for “distinguished service”. Padma Shri is the fourth-highest civilian award in India.
  • Bharat Ratna is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. Instituted in 1954, the award is conferred “in recognition of exceptional service/performance of the highest order”, without distinction of race, occupation, position, or sex

Details of the Award

  • The decoration comprises a sanad (Certificate) issued under the hand and seal of the President and a Medallion.
  • The recipients are also given a replica of the medallion, which they can wear during any ceremonial/State functions etc., if they desire.

2 . Gallantry Awards

Context : Olympics gold medallist Subedar Neeraj Chopra was named for the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) on the eve of Republic Day, while six Army personnel, five of them posthumously, have been selected for the Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry award, by the President and Supreme Commander of the Indian armed forces, Ram Nath Kovind.

Wartime gallantry awards

  • Param Vir Chakra — Highest military award, equivalent to the Victoria Cross (which was replaced once India gained its independence).
  • Maha Vir Chakra – Maha Vir Chakra is the second highest military decoration in India and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in the air.
  • Vir Chakra – Third in precedence in the awards for wartime gallantry.

Peacetime gallantry awards

  • Ashok Chakra Award – An Indian military decoration awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Param Vir Chakra.
  • Kirti Chakra – Second in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.
  • Shaurya Chakra – Third in order of precedence of peacetime gallantry awards.

3 . Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)

Context : The details of the recently released draft environment impact assessment (EIA) report for the mega development project in the Great Nicobar Island have raised serious questions related to submission of incorrect or incomplete information, scientific inaccuracy and failure to follow appropriate procedure. A public hearing to discuss the report has been scheduled for Thursday at Campbell Bay, the administrative headquarters.

About Environmental impact assessment (EIA)
  • Environmental impact assessment (EIA) was developed as a tool to minimize negative impact of human activities on the environment.
  • The purpose is to:
    • Assess the impact of a proposed activity on the environment before making the decision on whether to carry it out
    • Develop and assess measures to avoid or minimize those impacts if it is decided to carry out the activity.
  • UNEP defines Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) as “a tool used to identify the environmental, social and economic impacts of a project prior to decision-making. It aims to predict environmental impacts at an early stage in project planning and design, find ways and means to reduce adverse impacts, shape projects to suit the local environment and present the predictions and options to decision-makers.”
  • On 27 January 1994, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MEF), Government of India, under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, promulgated an EIA notification making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernisation of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification. Since then there have been 12 amendments made in the EIA notification of 1994. 

The EIA process

The eight steps of the EIA process are presented in brief below:

  • Screening: First stage of EIA, which determines whether the proposed project, requires an EIA and if it does, then the level of assessment required.
  • Scoping: This stage identifies the key issues and impacts that should be further investigated. This stage also defines the boundary and time limit of the study.
  • Impact analysis: This stage of EIA identifies and predicts the likely environmental and social impact of the proposed project and evaluates the significance.
  • Mitigation: This step in EIA recommends the actions to reduce and avoid the potential adverse environmental consequences of development activities.
  • Reporting: This stage presents the result of EIA in a form of a report to the decision-making body and other interested parties.
  • Review of EIA: It examines the adequacy and effectiveness of the EIA report and provides the information necessary for decision-making.
  • Decision-making: It decides whether the project is rejected, approved or needs further change.
  • Post monitoring: This stage comes into play once the project is commissioned. It checks to ensure that the impacts of the project do not exceed the legal standards and implementation of the mitigation measures are in the manner as described in the EIA report.

4 . Integrity Pact

Context : The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has again modified the criteria for the nomination of Independent External Monitors (IEM) in government bodies, months after it had issued a revised standard operating procedure for adoption and implementation of the ‘Integrity Pact’ clause, which is meant to prevent corruption in public procurement.


  • In June 2021, the Commission had issued the revised guidelines. Following feedback and suggestions from the Chief Vigilance Officers and other individuals, the CVC decided to modify the criteria.
  • The zone of consideration now includes officers who have held the post of Additional Secretary to the Government of India; were in equivalent or higher pay scale at the time of retirement, whether at the Centre or in any State; and those who were Chairman-cum-Managing Directors (CMD) of Schedule ‘A’ public sector enterprises or were equivalent/higher to Additional Secretary to the Central government at the time of retirement.
  • CMDs/MDs and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of public sector banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions at the time of retirement and officers of the armed forces who were in a pay scale equivalent to or higher than that of Additional Secretary at the time of retirement, are also eligible.

Integrity Pact of vigilance

  • An Integrity Pact is a tool developed by Transparency International back in the 1990s as a method for preventing corruption in public contracting.
  • It is essentially a document signed between a contracting authority, bidders and an independent monitor. Legally binding, it commits all parties to comply with anti-corruption best practice and allows the monitor to make sure this happens.
  • Monitors follow the whole procurement process – from design to implementation. They commit to maximum transparency and all monitoring reports and results are made available to the public on an ongoing basis.

Integrity External Monitors (IEMs)

  • IEM’s are a third person who monitors the process and commitments made. They independently and objectively review the documents to determine if the parties have complied with their obligations under the pact.
  • They may submit a report to the chief executive of the organisation concerned or directly to the CVO and the CVC, if they find serious irregularities attracting the Prevention of Corruption Act provisions.

5 . Chakma- Hajong issue

Context : The north-eastern States have had a history of being paranoid about outsiders outnumbering the indigenous communities and taking their land, resources and jobs. The threat from “non-locals” in a specific area has also been perceived to be from communities indigenous elsewhere in the region. In Arunachal Pradesh, the Chakma and Hajong people are feeling the heat since the State government decided to conduct a special census in December 2021. 

Who are the Chakmas and Hajongs?

  • Mizoram and Tripura have a sizeable population of the Buddhist Chakmas while the Hindu Hajongs mostly inhabit the Garo Hills of Meghalaya and adjoining areas of Assam.
  • The Chakmas and Hajongs of Arunachal Pradesh are migrants from the Chittagong Hill Tracts of erstwhile East Pakistan, now Bangladesh. Displaced by the Kaptai dam on the Karnaphuli River in the 1960s, they sought asylum in India and were settled in relief camps in the southern and south-eastern parts of Arunachal Pradesh from 1964 to 1969.
  • A majority of them live in the Changlang district of the State today. 

Why was a special census of the two communities planned in Changlang? 

  • On November 26, 2021, a letter was issued to the officials in Miao, Bordumsa, Kharsang and Diyun circles of the Changlang district for a “special census” to be conducted in all the Chakma- and Hajong-inhabited areas from December 11 to 31.
  • Chakma organisations said the census was nothing but racial profiling of the two communities because of their ethnic origin and violated Article 14 of the Indian Constitution and Article 1 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, ratified by India.
  • The census plan was dropped after the Chakma Development Foundation of India petitioned the Prime Minister’s Office and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat.
  • Changlang Deputy Commissioner Devansh Yadav reacted by saying an “unnecessary controversy” was being created when similar exercises happened in 2010 and 2015.
  • Later, Chief Minister Pema Khandu said his Government was serious about resolving the protracted issue and will rehabilitate the Chakma-Hajongs in other States. The Union Minister for Law and Justice made a similar statement. 

Can the Chakma-Hajongs be relocated outside Arunachal Pradesh?

  • Organisations such as the All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union say the Centre did not consult the local communities before settling the Chakma-Hajongs and that the State has been carrying their “burden” for too long.
  • Members of the two communities have allegedly been victims of hate crime, police atrocities and denial of rights and beneficiary programmes.
  • Based on a complaint lodged with the National Human Rights Commission, the Supreme Court had in January 1996 prohibited any move to evict or expel the Chakma-Hajongs and directed the Central and State governments to process their citizenship.
  • The Supreme Court pronounced a similar judgment in September 2015 after a Chakma organisation sought implementation of the 1996 order. It was also pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh cannot expect other States to share its burden of migrants. 

What is the citizenship status of the Chakma-Hajongs in Arunachal Pradesh? 

  • Members of the two communities had been settled in Arunachal Pradesh six decades ago with a rehabilitation plan, allotted land and provided with financial aid depending on the size of their families.
  • Although local tribes claim the population of the migrants has increased alarmingly, the 2011 census says there are 47,471 Chakmas and Hajongs in the State.
  • According to the New Delhi-based Chakma Development Foundation of India, the migrants are about 65,000 today and 60,500 of them are citizens by birth under Section 3 of the Citizenship Act, 1955, after having been born before July 1, 1987, or as descendants of those who were born before this date.
  • The applications of the remaining 4,500 surviving migrants following the 1996 Supreme Court order have not been processed to date.
  • Organisations of the migrants said the Citizenship (Amendment) Act of 2019, which amended two sections of the 1955 Act, has nothing to do with the Chakma-Hajongs since they were permanently settled by the Union of India in the 1960s.
  • Since 95% of the migrants were born in the North-East Frontier Agency or Arunachal Pradesh, the Inner Line Permit mandatory under the Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation of 1873, for outsiders seeking to visit the State, also does not apply to them. They say the solution to the decades-old issue lies in the State respecting the rule of law and the judgments of the Supreme Court. There has to be an end to politicians and political aspirants deriving mileage from the Chakma-Hajong issue, they say.

6 . Facts for Prelims

Transparency International Corruption Index

  • Transparency International ranked India at 85 among 180 countries in its Corruption Perception Index report released
  • The index, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and business people, uses a scale of 0 to 100 to rank Corruption Perception Index (CPI), where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean. Transparency International gave India a CPI score of 40.
  • “The case of India is particularly worrying. While the country’s score has remained stagnant over the past decade, some of the mechanisms that could help reign in corruption are weakening. There are concerns over the country’s democratic status, as fundamental freedoms and institutional checks and balances decay,” the report said.
  • In 2021, India ranked 86th with the same CPI score of 40. The report highlighted concerns over the risk to journalists and activists who have been “victims of attacks by the police, political militants, criminal gangs and corrupt local officials.” “Civil society organisations that speak up against the government have been targeted with security, defamation, sedition, hate speech and contempt-of-court charges, and with regulations on foreign funding,” the report said.

Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR)

  • The Directorate is responsible for carrying out investigations and recommending, where required, under the Customs Tariff Act, the amount of anti-dumping duty/countervailing duty on the identified articles as would be adequate to remove injury to the domestic industry.

 bioRxiv preprint server

  • bioRxiv is an open access preprint repository for the biological sciences co-founded by John Inglis and Richard Sever in November 2013. It is hosted by the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. As preprints, papers hosted on bioRxiv are not peer-reviewed, but undergo basic screening and checked against plagiarism

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