Daily Current Affairs – 05-08-2023

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    Money Bills vs Finance Bills

    Syllabus: GS2/Polity and Governance

    In Context

    • Recently, the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said that the Digital Personal Data Protection (DPDP) Bill is a Finance Bill and not a Money bill.
      • It was reported that the Bill was being introduced under Article 117 of the Constitution, which deals with special provisions for Finance Bills.

    What is the Finance Bill?

    • Any Bill can be considered as a Finance Bill that relates to revenue or expenditure. More specifically, Article 117 of the Constitution deals with the special provisions relating to Financial Bills.
    • Article 117 (1) indicates that a Bill that makes provision for any of the matters specified in clauses (a) to (f) of Article 110 (1) can be introduced or moved only on the President’s recommendation and cannot be introduced in the Rajya Sabha.
      • Examples of this first category of Financial Bill are Money Bill and other Financial Bills originating solely in the Lok Sabha.
      • The second category of Finance Bill is dealt with under Article 117 (3) of the Constitution, which is more like Ordinary Bill.

    What is a Money Bill?

    • A Money Bill is a specific type of Finance Bill, that must deal only with matters specified in Article 110 (1) (a) to (g). It is a Financial Bill that is certified by the Speaker.
    • Article 110 defines a “Money Bill” as one containing provisions dealing with taxes, regulation of the government’s borrowing of money, and expenditure or receipt of money from the Consolidated Fund of India.
    • The President’s recommendation is needed to introduce the Money Bill in Lok Sabha. It can be introduced only by a Minister.
    • The Lok Sabha has the right to reject the Rajya Sabha’s recommendations when it comes to Money Bills.

    Prerequisites for any Financial Bill to become a Money Bill

    • It must only be introduced in the Lok Sabha and not the Rajya Sabha.
    • It can only be introduced on the President’s recommendation.

    How is the Money Bill passed?

    • Money Bill can originate only in the Lok Sabha, and after being passed, it was sent to the Rajya Sabha for its recommendations.
    • Within 14 days, the Rajya Sabha must submit the Bill back to the Lok Sabha with its non-binding recommendations. If the Lok Sabha rejects the recommendations, the Bill is deemed to have passed by both Houses in the form in which it was passed by the Lok Sabha without the recommendations of the Rajya Sabha.
    • Even if the Rajya Sabha doesn’t respond with its recommendations within 14 days, the bill seems to be passed. 
    • There is no provision for a joint sitting for differences over a Money Bill.
    • Thus, when it comes to Money Bills, the Rajya Sabha only has a recommendatory role and is somehow restricted.

    How is the Ordinary Bill passed?

    • It still requires the agreement of both Houses of Parliament to ensure their passage. It can very well be rejected or amended by the Rajya Sabha, unlike Money Bill.
    • The President can summon a joint sitting of both Houses to resolve differences over a deadlock in passing an Ordinary Bill.

    What is the Supreme Court’s view?

    • Over the last few years, the government has introduced multiple legislations through the Money Bill route, the most notable of which are the Aadhaar Act, 2016, and the Finance Act, 2017.
    • In November 2019, a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by the (then) Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, struck down amendments to the Finance Act, 2017 which was passed as a Money Bill, altering the structure and functioning of various tribunals, and ruled that the amendments were “contrary to the principles envisaged in the Constitution as interpreted by this Court”.
    • Incidentally, CJI Chandrachud had been the lone dissenter in the Aadhaar ruling of 2018, criticising the government for passing the Aadhaar Act as a Money bill while calling it a “fraud on the Constitution”.

    IE

     

    Minimum Age to Contest Polls 

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity

    News 

    • A Parliamentary Standing Committee recently recommended reducing the age for contesting Lok Sabha and Assembly elections to 18 years.

    Present Scenario

    • At present, the minimum age for a person to contest various elections is as follows:
      • President and Vice President of India: Article 58 of the Constitution for President Of India and Article 66 for the Vice President Of India says no person shall be eligible for election unless he is a citizen of India and has completed the age of 35 Years.
      • Lok Sabha and Legislative Assembly polls:  Article 84 of Constitution of India provides that the minimum age for becoming a candidate for Lok Sabha election shall be 25 years. Similar provision exists for a candidate to the Legislative Assemblies vide Article 173 (b).
      • Rajya Sabha or the State Legislative Council: Article 84 of Constitution of India provides that the minimum age for becoming a candidate for Lok Sabha election shall be 30 years. Similar provision exists for a candidate to the Legislative Councils vide Article 173 (b). 
      • Member of Panchayats and Municipality: Article 243 provides that the minimum age to contest elections is 21 years. 

    Arguments in Favour of Lowering the Age 

    • The Standing Committee on Personnel, Public Grievance, Law and Justice held that young individuals can be “reliable and responsible” political participants.
    • Since 18 is the minimum voting age in India, the same age limit should be applied to contesting elections.
    • Global practices: In countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia, the minimum age for candidacy in national elections is 18 years. 
    • The Standing Committee also said that the viewpoint for reducing the age was reinforced by a vast amount of evidence, such as, the increasing political consciousness among young people, and the advantages of youth representation. 

    Arguments Against of Lowering the Age 

    • The Election Commission of India said it was “unrealistic” to expect 18-year-olds to possess the necessary “experience and maturity” for being Members of Parliament and State legislative bodies.

    Way Ahead: 

    • Considering the huge demographic dividend that India has with the largest population of youth in the world, India needs to change its electoral policies with the changing time.
    • However, a thorough study needs to be conducted before reaching any conclusion on reducing the age for contesting elections in India. 

    Source: TH

    Gyanvapi Mosque Dispute 

    Syllabus :GS :Polity and Governance 

    In News

    The Supreme Court  refused to stop the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) from continuing with their “scientific investigation” of the Gyanvapi mosque premises at Varanasi.

    • The Allahabad High Court had given its nod for the ASI to go ahead with the survey ordered by the Varanasi District Judge.

    About the Gyanvapi mosque 

    • The Gyanvapi mosque is located near the iconic Kashi Vishwanath temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi.
    • Some believe that the Kashi Vishwanath temple has gone through multiple reconstructions, with an older version of the temple where the Gyanvapi Mosque stands today. 
    • Some historians believe that Mughal ruler Aurangzeb built the Gyanvapi mosque in the 17th century by demolishing the temple.

    Dispute 

    • The Gyanvapi mosque-Kashi Vishwanath dispute first reached the courts in 1991, when a petition sought the removal of the mosque from the site and the transfer of possession of the land to the Hindu community.
    • The petitioners, which included the Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Trust, claimed that Maharaja Vikramaditya had built the temple more than 2,000 years ago and that the mosque was only constructed in 1664 after Mughal ruler Aurangzeb ordered the demolition of the temple.
      • The petitioners alleged that the Gyanvapi mosque was built on a portion of the land using the ruins of the temple, saying that remains of the old temple could still be seen adjacent to the mosque.
    • The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, however, contends that the Places of Worship Act is not applicable to the Gyanvapi issue, as there was no change to the religious structure since 1947, and that Hindus have always been performing puja at the site.

    Arguments of managing committee of the mosque

    • In 1998, the managing committee of the mosque filed an application before the court, demanding the dismissal of the Trust’s petition. 
    • The committee also expressed to the Court that the temple and mosque had co-existed for a long time and that both the communities had been offering prayers in their respective shrines without any hindrance.
      • The Court stayed the proceedings and the legal battle remained dormant for more than 20 years before it was revived in 2019.
    • The ASI survey had been ordered when there were still “serious doubts” about the maintainability of the suit filed by four Hindu women seeking a declaration of their right to worship their deities at the premises of the mosque.
    •  It is argued that the 1991 Act prohibited any attempts to convert the religious character of a place of worship as it had existed on the day of Independence.
      • The survey was a breach of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991, which was enacted to guard fraternity and secularism through protection of the religious character of religious places.

    What is the Places of Worship Act, 1991?

    • In the wake of the Ram Mandir movement in Ayodhya, the P.V. The Narasimha Rao-led government enacted the Places of Worship Act in September 1991.
    • Introduced to preserve communal harmony, the Act stated that the religious character of places of worship shall be maintained as it existed on August 15, 1947. 
      • The law kept the disputed structure at Ayodhya out of its ambit, largely because it was already a subject of litigation.
    • This Act was intended to pre-empt new claims by any group about the past status of any place of worship and attempts to reclaim the structures or the land on which they stood.
    • Section 4 of the Act provided that all pending cases related to claims over places of worship would come to an end, and no further proceedings could be filed.
    • Exempted Sites 
      • Certain sites were exempted from the purview of this section, including ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains that are covered by the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. 
      • It would also not apply to any suit that was settled before the 1991 Act came into force.

    Supreme Court’s Recent Observations 

    • It asked the expert body to stick true to its assurance to use only “non-invasive methodology” throughout its survey. 
      • The survey, meant to determine whether the 17th century mosque had been constructed over a pre-existing Hindu temple
    • There should not be any excavation in the premises nor any damage caused to any wall or structure.

    Source:TH

    Privilege Motion and Committee of Privileges in Parliament

     

    Syllabus: GS2/ Indian Polity

    Context

    • Recently, Rajya Sabha Chairman Jagdeep Dhankar has referred complaints against some MPs to the Privileges Committee.

    About

    • The Chairman of Rajya Sabha has referred the matter under Rule 203 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Council of States to the Committee of Privileges for examination, investigation and report.
      • Rule 203 of Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business: The Chairman can refer any question of privilege to the Committee of Privileges for examination and investigation.

    What is Parliamentary Privilege?

    • Parliament, as an institution, and its members, in an individual capacity, enjoy certain rights and immunities which enable them to perform their parliamentary duties “efficiently and effectively” without any hindrance.
    • Articles 105 and 194 of the Constitution deal with these powers, privileges and immunities.

    What is the process to raise a question of privilege?

    • Parliament is the sole authority to ascertain if there has been a breach of privilege or contempt of the House— no court is entrusted with this power.
    • A member of the House can raise a question involving a breach of privilege with the consent of the presiding officer.
      • If the presiding officer gives consent and comes to a decision or refers it to the Committee of Privilegesa 10 member panel in the Rajya Sabha and a 15-member panel in the Lok Sabha.
      • The Presiding officer is also empowered to refer, suo-motu, any question of privilege to the Committee for examination, investigation and report.

    What is a privilege motion?

    • If there is a belief that such a privilege has been breached, a motion can be raised by any member. It can be admitted by the Chairman. They can then refer it to the Privileges Committee.
      • The Chairman can, from time to time, nominate the Privileges Committee, consisting of ten members, with a Chairman appointed by the Rajya Sabha Chairman.
    • The right to raise a question of privilege is based on satisfying two conditions, namely:
      • The question shall be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence, and
      • The matter requires the intervention of the Council.
    • Similar provisions exist in Lok Sabha with the Speaker having the power to make such decisions. The Speaker/Rajya Sabha Chairman is the first level of scrutiny of a privilege motion. Therefore, the Speaker/Chairman can decide on the privilege motion himself or herself or refer it to the privileges committee of Parliament.

    Role of Privileges Committee

    • The mandate of the committee is to examine such cases and “make such recommendations as it may deem fit”.
    • It has to then make a report and if the Council has not fixed any time for its presentation, the report shall be presented within one month of the date on which reference to the Committee was made.
    • A motion has to be passed for the consideration of the report and amendments can be suggested.

    Are privilege notices rejected often?

    • A large number of notices are rejected, with penal action recommended in only a few cases.
    • The most significant case was in 1978 when Indira Gandhi, who had just won the Lok Sabha elections from Chikmagalur, was expelled from the House. Then the Home Minister moved a resolution of breach of privilege against Gandhi following observations made by the Justice Shah Commission, which probed excesses during the Emergency.

    IE

     

    Jharkhands Anti Cheating Bill

    Syllabus: GS2/ Governance, Government policies & 

    News

    • The Jharkhand Legislative Assembly recently passed the Jharkhand Competitive Examination (Measure for Control and Prevention of Unfair Means in Recruitment) Bill, 2023, 

     

    About the Bill

    • It aims to crack down on use of unfair means and irregularities in examinations and plug incidents of question paper ‘leaks’.
    • The Bill says that an examinee, who is caught cheating or making another examinee cheat, could be sentenced for a period of up to three years in jail as well as be charged with a fine. 
    • For second-time offenders, the jail term could go up to seven years.
    • Imprisonment:  Most notably, the Bill proposes imprisonment of up to life, and a fine of up to Rs 10 crore for wrongdoers involved in the examination process — such as those involved in printing question papers and employees of examination authorities.
    • Search and Seizure: If the Deputy Commissioner has reasons to believe that any person is involved in the unfair means, then the DC may appoint an officer to search any place, box, locker, safe etc. 
    • Arrest: Bill says, if the police officer authorised under the Act has the material in possession, and there is a reason to believe that any person is guilty of offence, then the person will be arrested.

    Other states to have passed similar laws

    • Uttarakhand brought in a similar law through an ordinance in this year, and Rajasthan brought in such a law last year. 
    • In case of Jharkhand, the jail time for the second-time offender examinees is seven years, while in Uttarakhand it is 10 years and in case of Rajasthan there seems to be no clarity.

    Concerns raised

    • The provisions of this Bill are considered more powerful than laws like Prevention of Sedition, POCSO, SC ST Atrocity Acts.
    • A 10-year ban on candidates, registering FIRs without preliminary investigation, and arrest without investigation  is considered as too harsh. 

    Way Ahead

    • Incidents of question paper leaks badly affect the society and the consciousness of students preparing for competitive exams for recruitment.
    • Hence, there is a need to make legal provisions to impose stricter penalties to prevent these incidents.

    Source: IE

    Trachoma

    Syllabus: GS-3 Science and Technology, Health

    In News

    • The World Health Organization (WHO) recently announced that Iraq has now eliminated trachoma.

    About:

    • What is Trachoma? Trachoma is a disease of the eye. It is a neglected tropical disease.

    • Cause: Chlamydia trachomatis is the bacterium that causes trachoma. 
    • Transmission: The infection is transmitted by direct or indirect transfer of eye and nose discharges of infected people, particularly young children who harbour the principal reservoir of infection. These discharges can be spread by particular species of flies.
    • Impact/Symptoms: Trachoma is the most common infectious cause of blindness in the world. The eyelashes are being pushed inward into the eye over time as a result. Consequently, it gets rubbed against the eyeball with each blink. Trichiasis is the name of this severe kind of trachoma. 
    • Prevention and Treatment (SAFE Strategy by WHO): They are easy to treat. Elimination programmes in endemic countries are being implemented using the WHO-recommended SAFE strategy. This consists of:
      • Surgery to treat the blinding stage (trachomatous trichiasis),  
      • Antibiotics to clear the infection, particularly the antibiotic azithromycin, 
      • Facial cleanliness and 
      • Environmental improvement, particularly improving access to water and sanitation.

    Prevalence / Elimination by Iraq 

    • Iraq has now joined 17 other countries to eliminate trachoma. Additionally, Iraq  is the 50th to receive recognition from the UN office for health for eradicating at least one neglected tropical illness internationally.
    • Other countries that have eliminated Trachoma are: Benin, Cambodia, China, Gambia, Ghana, Iran, Laos , Malawi, Mali, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Togo and Vanuatu.
    • Africa is the most affected continent. The disease is still known to be endemic in six countries of the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Region. Although. There has been progress in the number of people in the region requiring antibiotic treatment for ‘trachoma elimination purposes’, which has fallen from 39 million in 2013 to 6.9 million in April 2023.
    • The disease thrives especially in crowded living conditions where there are shortages of water, inadequate sanitation and where numerous eye-seeking flies are present. 

    Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)

    • Meaning: According to WHO, Neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) are a diverse group of 20 conditions (as of January 2023) that are mainly prevalent in tropical areas (esp. in low-income populations in developing nations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas). 
    • Why is it called neglected? They are ‘neglected’ because the global health agenda hardly mentions them. NTDs are virtually completely disregarded by international financing organizations.
    • List of NTDs: Buruli ulcer; Chagas disease; dengue and chikungunya; dracunculiasis; echinococcosis; foodborne trematodiases; human African trypanosomiasis; leishmaniasis; leprosy; lymphatic filariasis; mycetoma, chromoblastomycosis and other deep mycoses; onchocerciasis; rabies; scabies and other ectoparasitoses; schistosomiasis; soil-transmitted helminthiases; snakebite envenoming; taeniasis/cysticercosis; trachoma; and yaws.
    • WHO’s agenda: The overarching 2030 global targets are:
      • reduce by 90% the number of people requiring treatment for NTDs
      • reduce by 75% the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) related to NTDs
      • eliminate at least one NTD from 100 countries
      • eradicate two diseases (dracunculiasis and yaws) globally

    Source: TH

     

    Inter-Services Organisation (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023

    Syllabus: GS2/ Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Arising out of their Design & Implementation.

    In News

    •  The Lok Sabha recently passed the Inter-Services Organisation (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023.

    More about the Bill

    • The Inter-Services Organisation (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023 seeks to empower Commander-in-Chief and Officer-in Command of Inter-Services Organisations (ISOs) with all disciplinary and administrative powers in respect of the personnel serving in or attached to such organisations, a Defence Ministry statement noted.
    • As stated by the ministry, the ‘ISO Bill-2023’ is essentially an ‘enabling Act’ and it does not propose any change in the existing Service Acts/Rules/Regulations which are time-tested and have withstood judicial scrutiny over the last six decades or more. 
    • The Bill would also pave the way for much greater integration and jointness amongst the three Services.

    Integrated Theatre Command (Theaterisation)

    • The idea of Theatre Command was suggested in the reports of the military reforms committee – under Lt General (retd.) DB Shekatkar.
    • It recommended the creation of 3 integrated theatre commands
      • Northern for the China border, 
      • Western for the Pakistan border and 
      • Southern for the maritime role.
    • It enables the pooling of resources of all three services under a single commander, towards securing a particular geographical area.
    • A theatre will be identified on the basis of its sharing of a contiguous geographical boundary with a competing entity or an adversary. 
      • The geographical area must also include adjoining seas and space that may be essential for manoeuvre of own forces to address the threatening entity/adversary and also its geographically contiguous collaborators.
    • The commander of a Theatre Command will not be answerable to individual Service in particular and will have all resources from the Tri-Services at his disposal.
      • The integrated theatre commander will be free to train, equip and exercise his command to make it a cohesive fighting force capable of achieving designated goals.
      • The commander will have all the logistic resources required to support his operations at his disposal.

    Advantages

    • Equipment can be procured, maintained and pre-positioned for quick mobilisation and apt application during the envisaged, short-duration, high-intensity war.
    • The allocation of military hardware, in terms of weapon systems, command, control and communication equipment and combat support elements will be theatre specific and result in optimisation of the resources.
    • Unified command of the three Services under one designated commander will allow for prompt and precise decision making and will remove unnecessary tri-services one-man-up ships.
    • Hence, it goes without saying, that the theatre commands will afford better coordination, intelligence sharing, apt advice and seamless conduct of operations in a given theatre of operation.

    Challenges

    • At the strategic and tactical levels there could be some challenges, like the distribution of certain specialised resources which are held in limited numbers, e.g. multi-role combat aircraft, command, control and communication equipment, early warning assets, etc.
    • Division of such meagre resources will reduce combat efficiency at the point of decision. 
      • Alternately, these resources will have to be replicated for each theatre command. The cost of the same will be prohibitive, especially when the country is going through trying economic times.
    • Besides, interoperability of troops and equipment from dormant sectors to the active areas during war will be difficult and less effective because they would have been trained and equipped specifically to their primary sector of responsibility.
    • Another serious challenge that could be faced is that the concept of a theatre command may promote a sense of “fighting battles, rather than fighting a war”, which in turn may reduce our ability to either win a battle or the war.

    Current Command Structure in India

    • The current structure of the armed forces includes 17 different commands
      • The Army and Airforce have 7 Commands each and 3 commands are headed by the Navy. 
      • Under the Army, the commands are the Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western, Central, Southwestern, Central and Maintenance and Training. 
      • The Navy is divided into Western, Eastern and Southern commands. 
    • Each command is headed by a 4-star rank military officer.
    • India only has two tri-service commands. The first one is known as the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) and was created in 2001. It is led by service chiefs on a rotational basis. 
    • The second is a functional command (not overseeing a particular geographical location) called the Strategic Forces Command established in 2006.

    Source: TH

     

    Facts In News

    Voyager Mission 

    Syllabus: GS3/Space

    News

    • The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently lost communication with Earth’s longest-running space probe, Voyager 2

    About Voyager 1 and 2

    • Launched in 1977, Voyager 2 is the second spacecraft to enter interstellar space(the region that lies outside the impact of our Sun’s constant flow of material and magnetic field). 
    • The first was Voyager 1, sent to space about two weeks after Voyager 2 ( Voyager 1 was launched after Voyager 2).
    • The most interesting discoveries made by Voyager 1 included the finding that Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, was geologically active.
    • Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 discovered three new moons of Jupiter: Thebe, Metis and Adrastea.

    Source: IE

    Perucetus colossus (Ancient Peruvian whale)

    Syllabus: GS-3/Environment, Species in News

    Context 

    • Researchers have identified a gigantic species of extinct whale  that may have been heavier than any other creature on Earth.

    About Perucetus colossus

    • The Perucetus colossus — meaning the colossal whale from Peru —was almost twice that of the largest blue whale and more than three times that estimated for Argentinosaurus, one of the largest dinosaurs ever found.
    • Its diet may have consisted of scavenging food or eating up tons of krill and other tiny sea creatures in the water.
    • The density of the bones indicates that the whale may have been usually present in shallow, coastal waters like dugongs and manatees (known as Sirenians).
      • Dugong (Dugong dugon) also called as ‘Sea Cow’ is one of the four surviving species in the Order Sirenia and it is the only existing species of herbivorous mammal that lives exclusively in the sea including in India. 
      • Dugongs are protected in India and occur in Gulf of Mannar, PalkBay, Gulf of Kutch and Andaman and Nicobar islands. 

    Source: IE

     

    Rajmargyatra

    Syllabus:GS2/Governance

    News

    • Recently ‘Rajmargyatra,’ a unified mobile application was launched to provide comprehensive information for national highway users.

    About

    • It aims to create a seamless, user-friendly experience for highway users, fostering a safer and more enjoyable journey on Indian National Highways.
    • The app was launched by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI).

    Key Features of ‘Rajmargyatra’ App

    • Comprehensive Highway Information:It provides real-time weather conditions, timely broadcast notifications, and access to details about nearby toll plazas, petrol pumps, hospitals, hotels, and other essential services that ensure a seamless and safe journey on National Highways.
    • Hassle-Free Complaint Redressal: The app comes with an inbuilt complaint redressal and escalation mechanism. Users can easily report highway-related issues, attaching geo-tagged videos or photos for better clarity. The registered complaints will be handled in a time-bound manner, with system-generated escalations to higher authorities in case of any delays.
    • Seamless FASTag Services: ‘Rajmargyatra’ integrates its services with various bank portals, making it convenient for users to recharge their FASTags, avail monthly passes, and access other FASTag-related banking services – all within a single platform.
    • Over-speeding notifications and voice-assistance to encourage responsible and safe driving behavior.

    Source:PIB

    Study in India Portal

    Syllabus: GS2/Education

    News

    • Recently, the Study in India(SII) Portal was launched to re-establishing India as a global hub of education.

    About

    • Study in India Portal is a dedicated website that will provide comprehensive information about the Indian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). 
    • The website will illustrate academic programs i.e. undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG), Doctoral level programs as well as courses in Indian Knowledge System like Yoga, Ayurveda, classical arts etc. 
    • The website-portal will present information about the academic facilities, research support, and related information.The website will have the provision for students to apply in more than one institute/course of their choice. 
    • The portal will provide an integrated one-stop solution for student registration and visa application process.

    Significance

    • Portal will help in making India a preferred destination for higher education.
    • SII will establish a strong international footprint of brand ‘India’ in the education sphere.
    • The presence of international students will also benefit the domestic students by connecting them more closely to the globalizing world and preparing them better from the global workplace.

    Source:PIB

    Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve

    Syllabus :GS 3/Environment 

    In News

    • It has been observed that Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve is almost 63% short of staff.

    About Manas National Park and Tiger Reserve

    • It is situated in Assam.
    • It is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
    • It is one of the first reserves included in the tiger reserve network under project tiger in 1973. 
    • It was declared as a National park in 1990. 
    • Manas river flows through the park with a unique blending of dense jungles and grass-land.
    • Biodiversity:  Manas National park is located at Himalayan foothills where it has a unique biodiversity and scenic landscapes.
      • It  harbours the largest number of protected species of India including tiger, leopard, civet, elephants, buffalo, pygmy hog, golden langur, Assam roofed turtle, and the Bengal florican. 
    • UNESCO’s world heritage Site : It is included as a site of international importance under UNESCO’s world heritage convention as well as Biosphere Reserve . 

    Source:TH

    Solnhofia parsonsi

    Syllabus: GS3/ Species in News

    In News

    • Scientists recently uncovered a 150-million-year-old fossil of Solnhofia parsonsi

    About Solnhofia parsonsi

    • It is a marine turtle with shorter limbs that lived approximately 150 million years ago during the Jurassic period.
    • It lived in a network of coastal reefs and lagoons, which were abundant in diverse coastal ecosystems.
    • It had a massive head and swam through a shallow, tropical sea in what is now Europe. 

    Source: NYT