Prelims Booster

4th May – Prelims Booster

One Nation One Ration Card Scheme

Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution has approved the integration of 5 States and Union Territories, – Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu – with the National Cluster under the “One Nation One Ration Card” plan.

Twelve States are already onboard the National Cluster, namely – Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura.

About ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme –

  • It will allow portability of food security benefits will be available across the country from 1st July, 2020. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice and wheat from any ration shop in the country.
  • The scheme is all about inter-state portability of ration cards. It enables the beneficiaries who are taking food grains under the Public Distribution System (PDS) to access the same benefits if they happen to migrate from one part of the country to the other, in a seamless fashion.
  • This scheme of inter state portability is a logical progression to the next level of enabling seamless public services under the PDS, throughout the country.
  • The government is going to launch the scheme on a pilot basis in August by having four states in two clusters namely Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Legislative Councils

Election Commission has reviewed the matter concerning feasibility of conduct of biennial election for the 9 vacant seats of the MLC by MLAs in the state of Maharashtra.

Constitutional Provisions –

  • As per Article 169, the Parliament can abolish a legislative council (where it already exists) or create it (where it does not exist) by a simple majority, that is, a majority of the members of each House present and voting, if the legislative assembly of the concerned state, by a special majority, passes a resolution to that effect.
  • Under Article 171 of the Constitution, the Legislative Council of a state shall not have more than one-third of the total strength of the State Assembly, and not less than 40 members.
  • Six States having a Legislative Council – Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, Karnataka.

How are members of the Council elected?

  • 1/3rd of members are elected by members of the Assembly on proportional representation basis.
  • 1/3rd by electorates consisting of members of municipalities, district boards and other local authorities in the state.
  • 1/12th by an electorate consisting of teachers.
  • 1/12th by registered graduates.
  • The remaining members are nominated by the Governor from among those who have distinguished themselves in literature, science, art, the cooperative movement, and social service.

Thrissur Pooram

For the first time since its inception, Thrissur Pooram will be observed within the temple premises, that too with participation of just five people each.

In the wake of lockdown in connection with COVID-19, the organisers decided to cancel all celebrations.

About Thrissur Pooram –

  • Thrissur Pooram is a seven-day festival which is celebrated on the day when the star sign ”Pooram” occurs in the Malayalam month of ”medam”.
  • It has a tradition of more than 200 years. This spectacular event was the brainchild of Raja Rama Verma, famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790-1805).
  • The main temples in Thrissur such as the Paramekkavu Devi temple and the Thiruvambadi Sri Krishna temple have to pay their obeisance to Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the famed Vadakunnathan temple.
  • The two aforementioned temples oppose each other during the celebrations and their ”elephant teams” compete with one another on the sixth day through the elephant procession, fire works and overall cultural representation.

BCG Vaccine

World Health Organisation has highlight a few critical issues over the use of BCG vaccine for COVID-19. They underscore the importance of randomised controlled trials of the vaccine to understand its safety and efficacy before using it on healthcare workers.

What is BCG vaccine?

  • BCG vaccine provides immunity or protection against tuberculosis (TB).
  • The vaccine may be given to persons at high risk of developing TB.
  • It is also used to treat bladder tumours or bladder cancer.
  • India having a universal BCG policy in place since the year 1968 and relatively fewer deaths as a proportion of confirmed coronavirus infections.

Relationship with COVID-19 –

  • The BCG vaccine contains a live but weakened strain of tuberculosis bacteria that provokes the body to develop antibodies to attack TB bacteria.
  • This is called an adaptive immune response, because the body develops a defence against a specific disease-causing microorganism, or pathogen, after encountering it.
  • Most vaccines create an adaptive immune response to a single pathogen.

Kashmir Saffron

Kashmir saffron, which is cultivated and harvested in the Karewa (highlands) of Jammu and Kashmir, has been given the Geographical Indication (GI) tag by the Geographical Indications Registry.

About Kashmir Saffron –

  • Kashmir saffron is renowned globally as a spice.
  • It rejuvenates health and is used in cosmetics and for medicinal purposes.
  • It has been associated with traditional Kashmiri cuisine and represents the rich cultural heritage of the region.
  • The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron are its longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing, and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).
  • It is the only saffron in the world grown at an altitude of 1,600 m to 1,800 m AMSL (above mean sea level), which adds to its uniqueness and differentiates it from other saffron varieties available the world over.
  • The saffron available in Kashmir is of three types — ‘Lachha Saffron’, with stigmas just separated from the flowers and dried without further processing; ‘Mongra Saffron’, in which stigmas are detached from the flower, dried in the sun and processed traditionally; and ‘Guchhi Saffron’, which is the same as Lachha, except that the latter’s dried stigmas are packed loosely in air-tight containers while the former has stigmas joined together in a bundle tied with a cloth thread.
  • Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around 1st Century BCE. In ancient Sanskrit literature, saffron is referred to as ‘bahukam’.

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