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Current Affairs – 29 January 2021

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Basmati Rice


  1. Pakistan got the Geographical Indicator (GI) tag for its Basmati, which will a local registry for the particular strain of rice and making a case in the international market.


  1. Pakistan fought a case in the 27-member European Union against India’s move to get Basmati rice registered as its product.
  2. Laws require that before applying for registration of any product in the international market it has to be protected under the geographical indication laws of that country.
  3. A GI tag is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess origin-based qualities and reputation in the region. GI tag would strengthen Pakistan’s case in the EU.
  4. The issue of protecting Basmati rice as a product of Pakistan came to the forefront after India submitted an application to the European Union claiming sole ownership of the commodity in September last year.
  5. In its application, India claimed that “Basmati” is special long grain aromatic rice grown and produced in a particular geographical region of the subcontinent.
  6. After highlighting the brief history of Basmati rice, India also claimed that the region is a part of northern India, below the foothills of the Himalayas forming part of the Indo-Gangetic plain.
  7. The Indian claim to the EU was challenged in December and the main argument by Pakistan was that Basmati rice was a joint product of India and Pakistan.
  8. Pakistan exported 500,000-700,000 tonnes of Basmati rice annually to different parts of the world out of which 200,000 tonnes to 250,000 tonnes is being shipped to EU countries.


India Justice Report 2020


  1. Recently, India Justice Report 2020 has been released. The report was an initiative of Tata Trusts, along with the Centre for Social Justice, Common Cause, CHRI, DAKSH and TISS-Prayas and Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.


  1. At 25.3 per cent, Bihar leads the list of 25 states for employing most women in its police force, according to the second annual survey on police, prisons, judiciary and legal aid.
  2. The state finished ahead of Himachal Pradesh (19.2%) and Tamil Nadu (18.5%).
  3. However, although it is the only state to have more than 20 per cent women in the police force, women account for only 6.1 per cent in the officer category. Tamil Naduhas the highest percentage of women police officers (24.8%) , followed by Mizoram (20.1%).
  4. On diversity, Karnataka is the only state to meet its quotas for SC, ST and OBC in both officer cadre and constabulary, Chhattisgarh being the only other state that meets the diversity requirements for constabulary.
  5. The lack of representation of women as judges in high courts is telling. Sikkim tops the list with 33.3 per cent women – Sikkim High Court has just three judges.
  6. Only 29 per cent judges in HCs across the country are women, but no state except Sikkim has over 20 per cent women judges.
  7. Andhra Pradesh tops the list with 19 per cent, followed by Punjab and Haryana, where the common HC for the two states has 18.2 per cent women judges.
  8. Four states — Bihar, Uttarakhand, Tripura and Meghalaya — have no woman judge in its high courts.
  9. Despite the low figures, women’s representation has marginally increased in police, prisons and the judiciary.
  10. Women account for 10 per cent of all police personnel, up from 7 per cent in January 2017; 13 per cent prison staff (10% in December 2016); 29.3% of judges (26.5% in 2017-18).
  11. Overall, Maharashtra retained the top spot on delivery of justice to people among 18 large and mid-sized states, followed by Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Punjab and Kerala.
  12. An overwhelming two-thirds of all prisoners are undertrials awaiting a conviction.


  1. The report analysed expenditure, vacancies, representation of women and members of SC, ST and Other Backward Classes, across 18 large and mid-sized states with a population of over 1 crore and eight smaller states.


Collegium recommendations


  1. The Supreme Court expressed its concerns over the government delaying action on the recommendations of the Collegium to fill up vacancies in the High Courts


  1. System of appointment and transfer of judges that has evolved through judgments of the SC, and not by an Act of Parliament or by a provision of the Constitution
  2. The SC collegium Composition: Head- CJI and other four senior most judges of the court.
  3. HC collegium Composition: Head- Chief Justice and four other senior most judges of that court.
  4. Names recommended for appointment by a HC collegium reaches the government only after approval by the CJI and the SC collegium.


International Energy Agency


  1. India has signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with the International Energy Agency (IEA) to strengthen cooperation in global energy security, stability and sustainability. This agreement aims to promote and encourage strategic and technical cooperation in the energy sector.


  1. Established in 1974 as per framework of the OECD, IEA is an autonomous intergovernmental


  1. To ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its  member countries and beyond.
  2. Its mission is guided by four main areas of focus: energy security, economic development, environmental awareness and engagement worldwide

Headquarters (Secretariat):

  1. Paris, France.

Roles and functions:

  1. Established in the wake of the 1973-1974 oil crisis, to help its members respond to major oil supply disruptions, a role it continues to fulfil today.
  2. IEA’s mandate has expanded over time to include tracking and analyzing global key energy trends, promoting sound energy policy, and fostering multinational energy technology cooperation.

Composition and eligibility:

  1. It has 30 members at present. IEA family also includes eight association countries. 
  2. A candidate country must be a member country of the OECD. But all OECD members are not IEA members.


START treaty


  1. Russia approved the extension of the New START treaty for five years.


  1. Treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation
  2. Last remaining nuclear Russia-USA arms control treaty which is about to expire in February 2021.
  3. AIM: Further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms (nuclear warheads deployed by Strategic Nuclear Delivery Vehicles (‘SNDVs’)).




  1. Recently, the Indian Prime Minister chaired the 35th edition of Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation (PRAGATI).
  2. Ten projects including Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana were taken for review involving a total investment of Rs. 54,675 crore.


  1. PRAGATI is the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based multimodal platform, involving Central and State governments.
  2. Launched in 2015
  3. WHO DESIGNED? Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) team with the help of the National Informatics Center (NIC)
  4. It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  5. It enables the PM to discuss the issues with the concerned central and state officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground-level situation.
Significance Concerns
Promotes cooperative federalism Concentration of power in the extra-constitutional office of PMO.
Innovative project in e-governance and good governance The direct interaction of the PM with the state secretaries without involving the political executives of the states is undermining the state political executive.
Robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders


Kanha tiger reserve


  1. In the buffer zone of Kanha tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh, a tigress was found dead.

About Kanha National Park

  1. Nestled in the Maikal range of Satpuras in Madhya Pradesh.
  2. Was declared a reserve forest in 1879 and revalued as a wildlife sanctuary in 1933. Its position was further upgraded to a national park in 1955.
  3. Spread across the area of 940 sq km in the Maikal chain of hills. By bringing up the buffer and core zone all together, the Kanha Tiger Reserve has the total area of 1945 sq km.
  4. Source of inspiration for Rudyard Kipling, a famous writer for his “The Jungle Book”.
  5. TRIBES:It was originally a part of the Gondwanas or the “land of the Gonds”. The forest of the Reserve was inhibited by two indigenous tribes of Central India, the Gonds and the Baigas.


  1. Traditionally known as Dolhorina which is similar to the English name (Swamp Deer).
  2. This species is being recognized as the sub- Himalayan terai of North India, the hard ground Barasingha is an exclusive graminivorous deer species that totally depends on grasses and grasslands and shows a preference for aquatic plants.
  3. THREATS: Hunting, poaching and diversion of the long grassland to agriculture in Central India


Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant


  1. Statue of BHARAT RATNA PANDIT GOVIND BALLABH PANT at Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi was unveiled.


  1. Born on 10 September 1887 at Almora in Uttarakhand
  2. He established an organisation called Prem Sabha in Kashipur that started working towards several reforms.
  3. He also saved a school from shutting down due to non-payment of taxes to the British government.
Before independence After independence
  1. In December 1921, he was elected to the Legislative Assembly of the United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, which he later renamed Uttar Pradesh.
  2. He was elected as a candidate of the Swaraj Party from Nainital.
  3. In the 1937 provincial elections held under the Government of India Act, 1935, he was appointed premier. He served the post till 1939, when all Congress ministers resigned after the British committed India to the Second World War of its own accord.
  4. In the United Provinces election in 1946, he was once again appointed the premier.
  1. First Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.
  2. He served as India’s home minister from 1955 to 1961. It was during his tenure that states were reorganised on linguistic lines.








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