27, May 2017

1.Indo-Thailand Siam Bharat 17: HADR

Source: PIB

Indo-Thailand Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Table Top Exercise 2017 is in progress at Chiang Mai, Thailand from 22 May to 26 May 17 between the Indian Air Force and Royal Thailand Air Force (RTAF).

The eleven member IAF contingent is led by Group Captain Sucharu Rai VM. This is second such exercise to be conducted between the two Air Forces.


  • The aim of the bilateral exercise is to evolve SOPs for planning and executing relief missions during unforeseen natural calamities like Tsunami, earthquakes, cyclones, floods etc.
  • The objective is to enhance interoperability between both the Air Forces, while conducting combined air operations triggered by a crisis.
  • The exercise would assist in laying down procedures and establish decision support system at various stages of relief operations.

2.National Award for Social Understanding and Upliftment of Weaker Sections

Source: PIB

The President of India Shri Pranab Mukharjee presented the “Dr. Ambedkar National Award for Social Understanding and up-liftment of Weaker Sections for the year 2011, 2012 and 2014” at a function.

The function was organized by The Ambedkar’s Foundation under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Key facts:

  • The award was instituted by the Government of India in the year 1992 and is given for outstanding contribution to the promotion of Social Understanding and for the upliftment of the Weaker sections in India.
  • One Award each year is presented to individuals or organizations and is presented jointly or shared by more than one recipient or organization as may be considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in the year.
  • As per the Code of Procedure of the National Award, one Award each year is presented to individuals or organizations. The Award is presented jointly or shared by more than one recipient or organization as may be considered by the Jury to be equally deserving of recognition in the year. The award consists of a citation and Rs. 10.00 lakh as cash prize.

3.New curbs on cattle slaughter

Source: The Hindu

In a surprise gazette notification, the environment ministry has banned cattle slaughter and introduced restrictions on the sale of cattle to prevent their killing.

  • A gazette notification, titled Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Regulation of Livestock Markets) Rules, 2017 by the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change states that no one can bring cattle to an animal market unless he or she has furnished a written declaration that the cattle will not be sold for the purpose of slaughter.
  • Further, upon sale of cattle, the animal market committee will take an “undertaking” that the animals are for agricultural purposes and not for slaughter.


  • The Rule applies to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Cattle cannot be brought to an animal market for sale for slaughter.
  • Animal Market consists of: Marketplaces where animals are brought from other places for sale or auction. It includes animal fairs, or areas adjoining a market or a slaughterhouse.
  • Cattle as defined: A bovine animal including bulls, bullocks, cows, buffalos, steers, heifers and calves and includes camels.
  • All existing animal markets will have to be registered within three months with the District Animal Market Monitoring Committee by making an application to the Committee.
  • Cruel and harmful practices have been prohibited for animals including, painting of horns, ear cutting buffaloes, making animals lay on hard ground without proper bedding.
  • Purchaser of cattle cannot sell animal for slaughter or sacrifice the animal for religious purposes.
  • The rule mandates the appointment of Veterinary inspectors who shall screen the animals before they enter the market. The inspector shall also check whether animals are being transported in trucks which are authorised by law to carry animals.
  • The new rules apply only to animal markets and not to individual cattle buying and selling by people.

Significance of this move:

  • Farmers will also be affected as they will be deprived of the compensation they get from selling aged or non-milch cattle. Farmers may now have to spend on feeding their aged cattle or the animals will have to be abandoned.

For years, the Supreme Court has struggled for consistency in its judicial pronouncements regarding cattle, leaving it ultimately to the Centre and States to devise an appropriate policy. While Supreme Court banned the bull-running sport jallikattu as cruel, it refused to intervene with States to frame a uniform policy on cattle slaughter. Neither did the court deem it fit to examine a plea to ban animal sacrifices for religious purposes.

4.This is how the President of India is elected

Source: Indian Express

As Pranab Mukherjee nears the end of his five-year presidential term, the Opposition parties are yet to prop up a consensus candidate while the government, too, is in consultations within its party and allies on a probable nominee.

  • As hectic parleys continue on presidential candidates, it is pertinent to know that the election of the President of India is not a simple and direct one.
  • The President cannot be elected by the people of the state themselves. If the case was such, the President could claim direct power of the people since they voted for her. In 1848, Louis Napolean, who was elected as head of state by a direct vote of the people, overthrew the French republic and claimed he was the emperor since he had been directly elected. Keeping this incident in mind, the President of India is elected indirectly.

But what does indirect mean?

  • The President of India is elected by an electoral college.
  • This college comprises the elected representatives of the government that form the government after being elected in the state assembly and national elections. The citizens of the country directly elect these representatives.
  • It is these elected representatives who then vote for the President, in theory representing the people who would ideally vote for the President. Nominated members of state assemblies and the two Houses are not allowed to participate in the presidential election as they have been nominated by the President herself. Issuing whips to garner votes for a particular candidate is also prohibited.

All MPs and MLAs have a certain number of votes

  • However, a lengthy calculation designates the value of votes of every elected MLA and MP. For the MLA, the number is decided by the total population of the state divided by the number of elected members to the legislative assembly, further divided by 1000. The population data is taken from the 1971 census. This census will be used until 2026.
  • For example, the total population of Madhya Pradesh in 1971 was 30,017,180. The total number of elected members of the legislative assembly is 230. So the value of vote of an MLA will be:
  • The value of the vote of an MP is decided by dividing the total value of votes of all MLAs of the whole country, divided by the total number of elected MPs in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.
  • The total value of the state vote is calculated by multiplying the value of vote of one MLA with the total number of elected MLAs.

How do these MLAs and MPs vote?

  • Unlike a traditional ballot, where the voter casts one vote only for her selected candidate, a presidential election ballot does not follow this system. What it follows is the Single Transferable Vote system. According to this, each voter marks out her preference for the presidential candidate.
  • If there are five candidates for example, the voter will give five preferences. It is mandatory to give a first preference as the vote will be declared invalid in its absence. However, if the voter doesn’t give other preferences, the vote will be considered valid.

Vote Quota

  • The vote quota has come about as a result of Proportional Representation which ensures equal representation to all groups. Simply casting votes or indicating preference is not enough as the person with the most number of votes or first preference does not win the presidential election. The total number of valid votes decide how many votes will a candidate need in order to be declared winner. This number is divided by two and added to one to form the benchmark of winning. For example, if there are 50,000 valid votes, then the candidate would require (50,000/2)+1, which is equal to 25,001 votes.
  • Should any candidate fail to reach the vote quota, the candidate with the minimum number of votes is eliminated and her votes are transferred to the other candidates on the basis of the second preference. If the vote quota is achieved, a winner emerges but if it doesn’t, the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated again and others get her votes on the basis of the third preference.

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