Prime Minister Narendra Modi has greeted people on the occasion of Ashadhi Bij, the Kutch New Year.
What is ‘Ashadhi Bij’?
- Ashadi Beej or Ashadhi Bij is observed on the second day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing phase of moon in Ashada month.
- Region – It is the Kutchi New Year. This Hindu New Year is observed in the Kutch region in Gujarat.
- Celebrations – Ashadi Beej is mostly a traditional affair and is a celebration of rains. During Ashadhi-beej, farmers check the moisture in the atmosphere to help predict which crop would do best in coming monsoon.
Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee on his Punya Tithi.
About Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee –
- Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was born in a Bengali family in 1901. His father Ashutosh Mukherjee was a judge of the Calcutta High Court.
- He started his initial education in Bhawanipur’s Mitra Institution in 1906. He passed his matriculation exam and was admitted to Presidency College. He stood seventeenth in the Inter-Arts Examination in 1916 and graduated in English, securing the first position in first class in 1921. He lost his father in 1924, the same year he enrolled as an advocate in Calcutta High Court.
- At the age of 33, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee became the youngest vice-chancellor of Calcutta University in 1934.
- During Mukherjee’s term as Vice-Chancellor, Rabindranath Tagore delivered the university convocation address in Bengali for the first time, and the Indian vernacular was introduced as a subject for the highest examination.
- Mukherjee demanded the partition of Bengal in 1946 to prevent the inclusion of its Hindu-majority areas in a Muslim-dominated East Pakistan. A meeting held by the Mahasabha on April 15, 1947, in Tarakeswar, authorised him to take steps for ensuring partition of Bengal.
- In May 1947, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee wrote a letter to Lord Mountbatten telling him that Bengal must be partitioned even if India was not. He also opposed a failed bid for a united but independent Bengal made in 1947 by Sarat Bose, the brother of Subhas Chandra Bose, and Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy, a Bengali Muslim politician.
- After he left the Indian National Congress due to difference of opinion with the then-Prime Minister Dr Jawaharlal Nehru on Jammu and Kashmir issues, he co- founded Janata Party in the year 1977-1979, which later on became the Bharatiya Janata Party.
- Shyama Prasad Mukherjee died after 40 days of being arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir State police for entering the state without permit. He passed away in jail under mysterious circumstances.
Government e-Marketplace (GeM), a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry,has made it mandatory for sellers to enter the Country of Origin while registering all new products on GeM. GeM has taken this significant step to promote ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
What has been introduced?
- Further, sellers, who had already uploaded their products before the introduction of this new feature on GeM, are being reminded regularly to update the Country of Origin, with a warning that their products shall be removed from GeM if they fail to update the same.
- GeM has also enabled a provision for indication of the percentage of local content in products. With this new feature, now, the Country of Origin as well as the local content percentage are visible in the marketplace for all items. More importantly, the ‘Make in India’ filter has now been enabled on the portal.
- Buyers can choose to buy only those products that meet the minimum 50% local content criteria. In case of Bids, Buyers can now reserve any bid for Class I Local suppliers (Local Content > 50%).
- For those Bids below INR 200 crore, only Class I and Class II Local Suppliers (Local content > 50% and > 20% respectively) are eligible to bid, with Class I supplier getting purchase preference. Some Snapshots of the Local Content Features on the GeM Portal are shown in Annexure.
What is GeM?
- Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a one stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs.
- GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
- It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.
- All Central government and State Government Ministries/Departments including its attached/subordinate offices, Central and State autonomous bodies, Central and State Public Sector Units and local bodies etc. are authorised to make procurement through GeM portal.
Benefits of GeM –
Benefits of GeM to the Government, Sellers and the Indian industry and economy
- Transparency – GeM eliminates human interface in vendor registration, order placement and payment processing, to a great extent. Being an open platform, GeM offers no entry barriers to bonafide suppliers who wish to do business with the Government. At every step, SMS and e-Mail notifications are sent to both buyer, his/her head of organisation, paying authorities as well as sellers.
- Efficiency – Direct purchase on GeM can be done in a matter of minutes and the entire process in online, end to end integrated and with online tools for assessing price reasonability. For procurements of higher value, the bidding/RA facility on GeM is among the most transparent and efficient, in comparison to e-procurement systems in vogue within the Government sector. For creating a bid/RA, the buyer does not need to create his/her own technical specifications as they have been standardised on GeM. These would make GeM an extremely powerful tool in the hands of Government organisations to plan and procure.
- Secure and safe – GeM is a completely secure platform and all the documents on GeM are e-Signed at various stages by the buyers and sellers. The antecedents of the suppliers are verified online and automatically through MCA21, Aadhar and PAN databases. In addition, SEBI empaneled credit rating agencies are also being used for conducting third-party assessment of suppliers. This would further strengthen due diligence about the veracity of suppliers wanting to do business on GeM.For high value bids/RA on GeM, an e-Bank Guarantee is also being introduced.
- Savings to the Government – The transparency, efficiency and ease of use of the GeM portal has resulted in a substantial reduction in prices on GeM, in comparison to the tender, Rate Contract and direct purchase rates.
Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has launched an initiative ‘YUKTI 2.0’ to help systematically assimilate technologies having commercial potential and information related to incubated startups in our higher education institutions.
What is it?
- It’s a unique portal and dashboard to monitor and record the efforts and initiatives of MHRD.
- The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.
- It will cover the various initiatives and efforts of the institutions in academics, research especially related to CoVID, social initiatives by institutions and the measures taken for the betterment of the total wellbeing of the students.
- The portal will cover both qualitative and quantitative parameters for effective delivery of services to the academic community at large.
- It will also provide a platform to various institutions to share their strategies for various challenges which are there because of the unprecedented situation of COVID-19 and other future initiatives.
What is its objective?
- It will also provide inputs for better planning and will enable MHRD to monitor effectively its activities for coming six months.
- The portal will also establish a two-way communication channel between the Ministry of HRD and the institutions so that the Ministry can provide the necessary support system to the institutions.
- This portal will help in critical issues related to student promotion policies, placements related challenges and physical and mental well-being of students in these challenging times.
- The web platform Yukti will epitomise its name and prove to be a great enabler in taking the research to the ultimate stakeholders, the citizens of our country.
About YUKTI 2.0 –
- The portal intends to cover the different dimensions of COVID-19 challenges in a very holistic and comprehensive way.
- Through this portal, the Ministry of Human Resource Development will endeavour to ensure that students, teachers and researchers in higher educational institutions are getting appropriate support to meet the requirements needed to advance their technologies and innovations.
- YUKTI 2.0 is logical extension of earlier version of ‘YUKTI’, an initiative of MHRD, to identify ideas relevant in COVID pandemic.
- YUKTI 2.0 needs to emerge as Market place for connecting innovators with investors, so that innovative technologies can be taken forward for commercialisation.
As the second round of talks at the Corps Commander-level were held recently to resolve differences on the disputed India-China boundary, there were reports of a Chinese troop build-up at Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
Peace talks –
- The talks are aimed at reducing tensions, continuing the disengagement agreed earlier and restoring the status quo ante prior to May 5 along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). On June 6, both sides mutually identified five locations of conflict — Patrolling Point (PP) 14, 15, 17A, North bank of Pangong Tso and Chushul.
- Though tensions escalated at Galwan recently, the Pangong Tso area remains the most contentious issue. According to satellite images, China, which has moved up to Finger 4 since the beginning of the stand-off in May, has now undertaken a major build-up between Finger 4 and Finger 8 and also on the ridge lines overlooking Finger 4.
- India holds the mountain spurs till Finger 4, while its claim is till Finger 8. Defence sources had stated that Pangong Tso would take time to resolve and would be taken up at the Corps Commander level.
About Pangong Tso –
- In the Ladakhi language, Pangong means extensive concavity, and Tso is lake in Tibetan.
- Pangong Tso is a long narrow, deep, endorheic (landlocked) lake situated at a height of more than 14,000 ft in the Ladakh Himalayas.
- The western end of Pangong Tso lies 54 km to the southeast of Leh.
- The 135 km-long lake sprawls over 604 sq km in the shape of a boomerang, and is 6 km wide at its broadest point.
- It extends from India to the Tibetan Autonomous Region, China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies within the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
- The brackish water lake freezes over in winter (despite being saline in nature), and becomes ideal for ice skating and polo.
- It is not a part of the Indus river basin.
- The legendary 19th century Dogra general Zorawar Singh is said to have trained his soldiers and horses on the frozen Pangong lake before invading Tibet.
A local council of Ishigaki city in southern Japan voted to rename an area, including islands disputed with China and Taiwan, as ‘Tonoshiro Senkaku’ from the earlier name of ‘Tonoshiro’.
What is ‘Senkaku Islands’?
- The Senkaku Islands are located in the East China Sea between Japan, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of China (Taiwan). The archipelago contains five uninhabited islands and three barren rocks, ranging in size from 800 m2 to 4.32 km2.
- They are eight uninhabited islands and rocks in question lie in the East China Sea. They have a total area of about 7 sq km and lie northeast of Taiwan
- Taiwan, Japan and China claim ownership of these islands.
- They matter because they are close to strategically important shipping lanes, offer rich fishing grounds and are thought to contain oil deposits.
- Right now, the islands are controlled by Japan.
China votes to join Arms Trade Treaty
China’s top legislative body has voted in favour of the country’s bid to join the UN-sponsored Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which seeks to regulate international trade in conventional military equipment.
The decision by lawmakers at the legislative session of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee was announced on 20 June. It is possible that China could secure its ascension to the ATT in a few months. The ATT is scheduled to hold its sixth annual conference in Geneva in August. The ATT said recently it is determining the format of the event, given restrictions related to Covid-19.
About the treaty –
- The ATT was established in December 2014.
- Key principles of membership include self-defence rights, the intent to settle disputes through peaceful means, to refrain from issuing threats or use of force against the territorial integrity of any country, and to respect human rights.
- The treaty has a global membership of 106 countries, with Namibia the most recent to join in April.
- Major military exporters including France, Germany, Israel, Spain, and the United Kingdom are members of the treaty, although in July 2019 the United States officially informed the UN that it planned to withdraw from the accord.