How do we elect our President ?

Who can be President? He should be a citizen of India. He must have completed the age of 35 years He must be qualified to become a Lok Sabha member. He should not hold any office of profit under Union or state government. The eligible candidate must be subscribed by at least 50 electors as proposers and 50 electors as seconders. Each candidate has to make a security deposit of Rs.15,000 in the Reserve Bank of India. The security deposit is liable to be forfeited in case the candidate fails to secure one-sixth of the votes polled. How does the Election Work? By the system of proportional representation, MP s and MLAs have votes equal to the average number of people they represent. Since MPs represent the whole country they have more votes, and MLAs have fewer votes as they represent only the people in their states. MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have 708 votes each. Compared to this, MLAs have about 100 or 200 votes, depending on the size of their states. MLAs from Uttar Pradesh have the largest value of votes at 208 and the value of votes of Sikkim is 7. The population of the States for the purposes of calculation of the value of votes for the Presidential Election is based on the 1971-census. Who Elects the President? The citizens of India elect the president indirectly. A president is elected by an electoral college, which is made of: Elected members of parliament (MPs from Lok Sabha as well as Rajya Sabha). Elected members of State legislative members, including that of NCT of Delhi and Pondicherry Who cannot vote? Nominated members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha cannot participate in the election of President. Members of legislative councils in the states where there are bicameral legislatures (two Legislatures) cannot participate in the election of President. Process of Election The election commission conducts the presidential election. By convention, the Secretary General, Lok Sabha and the Secretary General, Rajya Sabha is appointed as the Returning Officer by rotation. The value of votes is predetermined as discussed earlier. The MPs and MLA cast vote on the ballot paper / machine by marking their preference to the candidates. Each voter can provide an order of preferences for the post in the ballot paper. How is it different from Regular Elections? Indirect- The president is not directly elected by the people but by the members who represent them. Proportional- To ensure uniformity of representation of different states and equality between the Union and the states, the constitution provides for an election based on proportional representation. Interesting Facts The Election Commission prints the ballot papers in two colours- in green for use of Members of Parliament and in pink for use by the Members of the State Legislative Assemblies. The ballot papers are printed with two columns- the first column containing the names of the candidates and the second column for marking preferences by the elector for each such candidate. The ballot papers are printed in Hindi and English for use by MPs and in English and the official language(s) of the State for use by the MLAs of the State concerned. Once all the votes have been cast, the total valid votes are multiplied by the value of each vote and that total is credited to the candidate with the total value of votes secured by them. The winning candidate has to secure the required quota of votes to be declared elected, i.e., 50% of valid votes polled +1. If there is a dispute All doubts or disputes arising out of the election of the president are decided by the Supreme Court which is the only authority to try an election petition regarding President’s election. The president is elected for a term of 5 years. He may terminate his own term by writing a resignation addressed to Vice President. He can be removed from the office ONLY by impeachment. He is eligible to re-elect for the same office for unlimited times.

The bridge that links Galaxies

What is it? For the first time, scientists have detected evidence of a magnetic field that's associated with the vast intergalactic 'bridge' that links our two nearest galactic neighbors. This bridge is known as Magellanic Bridge What is so cool about it? The bridge is a huge stream of neutral gas and has some known stars in it. It stretches some 75,000 light-years between our two neighboring galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds (LMC and SMC). Why did it take so long to find it? The reason we've struggled to study this structure in the past is the fact that these types of cosmic magnetic fields can only be observed indirectly through their effect on other structures in space. How was it discovered? Radio signals from distant galaxies were used to pick up the magnetic field associated with the Magellanic Bridge. When these radio signals pass through a magnetic field, that plane is rotated, allowing astronomers to the measure the strength and polarity (direction) of the field. How did it come to be? Two of the leading options are that the magnetic field was generated from within the bridge after the structure formed, or it may have been 'ripped' from the dwarf galaxies and merged to form the bridge. Grazpp the Fact LMC and SMC are 160,000 and 200,000 light-years from Earth respectively-visible in the southern night sky. Most of space is made up of different magnetic fields - entire galaxies and even faint delicate threads joining galaxies are magnetic Understanding how LMC, SMC evolve may help us understand how our Milky Way Galaxy will evolve.


BSES Bharat stage emission standards (BSES) are emission standards instituted by the Government of India to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engines and Spark-ignition engines equipment, including motor vehicles. The standards and the timeline for implementation are set by the Central Pollution Control Board under the Ministry of Environment & Forests and climate change. BS III and BS IV are two different set of pollution norms imposed on Indian automobiles. INTRODUCTION OF BS III First BS-III rule was introduced in 2005 and was implemented in 15 cities overall and by 2010 the nationwide implementation of BS-III vehicles was completed. TRANSITION TO BS IV BS-IV for 13 metro cities was introduced in April 2010 and the nationwide implementation was completed with Supreme Court banning the sale of all BS-III vehicles starting April 1, 2017. HOW IS BS III DIFFERENT FROM BS IV? BS IV norms stipulate only 50 parts per million sulphur compared with up to 350 parts per million under BS III. Also, hydrocarbon, nitrogen oxide, and particulate matter emissions are lower under BS IV. BS-IV vehicles are much less polluting than BS-III. There is 80 per cent reduction in particulate emissions than the latter. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT? Globally, air pollution is estimated to cause more than 4.2 million early deaths—of these, 1.1 million deaths occur in India alone. Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution. WHO’S RESISTING? Automobile companies, ably represented by their association Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers has asked for an extension. WHY? The automobile industry will suffer a loss of 25000 crores as they have piled an unsold inventory of automobiles with BS III engine. WHAT’S THE VERDICT?   The apex court has said that manufacturers were aware of the deadline and health of the public are more important than the sale of existing inventory.


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WHAT ARE GM CROPS? When a gene from one organism is purposely moved to improve or change another organism in a laboratory, the result is a genetically modified organism (GMO). There are different ways of moving genes to produce desirable traits. When this is done to produce food crops we obtain genetically modified crops. SO, IS INDIA READY FOR ITS FIRST GM CROP? The biotech regulator, Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) has given clearance to the commercial cultivation of GM mustard in the country. The commercial cultivation of the GM seed can begin once the regulator's clearance gets the nod from Union Environment Minister, Anil Dave. WHO IS BEHIND GM MUSTARD? The GM mustard was developed by Delhi University’s Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants (CGMCP) under the leadership of Deepak Pental, a former vice-chancellor of the university and a known genetic scientist. WHO’S RESISTING? The decision of the GEAC was, however, vehemently opposed by environmentalists, anti-GM groups and even the RSS-linked economic policy think-tank Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM). WHY? According to them allowing transgenic mustard will open the flood gates for dozens of other similar crops and jeopardise farmer livelihoods. Also, chemical usage in farming subsequently results in higher toxic residues in food. This fatally affects the consumers. ARE THERE ANY OTHER GM PLANTS? Apart from an unsuccessful venture with Bt Brinjal, the only other crop that the Indian Government permitted was GM cotton

Why do some seas fall while other rises?

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What’s new? Global warming causes the sea level to rise every year. But researchers studying the seas around India have noted a paradox. From 1993 to 2003 the North Indian Ocean (NIO) sea level fell even when the global temperature soared. After which in 2004, sea levels began an unprecedented, accelerated spike till 2014. The scientist says this decadal swing is a phenomenon unique to the NIO as they have never been observed in either the Pacific or Atlantic oceans. In spite of the rapid, rise in temperatures, there are assumptions that the coming decades will see another fall in sea levels. More details please? Mr. Ravichandran, the lead author of National centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, and his colleagues relied on satellite observations and a global network of floats, which log temperature and salinity, to arrive at their findings. According to this the NIO went down about 0.3 mm a year and from 2004 gained about 6 mm annually. When temperature and sea level trends in the NIO were mathematically separated out from the other oceans, the fall was even more dramatic: nearly 3 mm per year and the Arabian Sea cooling off rapidly at 4 mm per year. What causes the fall? Sea levels rises, when atmospheric heat causes water to expand and because of phenomenon like melting of ice sheets and glaciers. In the case of NIO, 70% of its warming could be explained by expansion. The NIO, Unlike the Pacific and Atlantic, is hemmed by the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and part of the Indian Ocean on all sides except for an outlet on the southern side. This influenced the rate at which heat was absorbed and flushed out from within. The change in the direction of wind flows, which welled warm water on the Indian Ocean surface also probably influenced sea level patterns. The wind flows changes directions every decade. Do all scientists believe this to be true? A Previous study that measured ocean heights based on traditional tide gauges found that NIO, like the rest of the world’s seas was continuously rising between 1993 and 200. But Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports concluded that unabated greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere would cause oceans to rise every year. But there would also be years during which some seas could register a fall.

Stingless bees to the rescue

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What is new? Kerala will host an Indo-Australian collaborative research project on deploying stingless bee, Tetragonula iridipennis, as alternative pollinators to increase the agricultural yield of fruits and vegetables. The $7 million project will be carried out by Western Sydney University, Australia, Indian Council of Agriculture Research and the honeybee research centre at the Kerala Agricultural University's Vellayani campus.     Why is this important? Leading pollination scientists are looking for alternative pollinators to traditional honey bees (Apis genus), which had for ages served as world's leading pollinators, responsible for over one-third of the global food supply. A change was necessitated as the population of honey bees were plummeting in many parts of the world     What are the chances of success? AICRP's study had found that there was 20-25% yield increase in cucumber and bitter gourd when stingless bees acted as pollinators. Stingless bees have increased effectiveness as pollinators since they can enter smaller flowers. studies by KAU had found that stingless bees visit 142 crops, including fruits and vegetables like drumstick, cardamom, cashew etc.     What caused the damage? Colony collapse disorder (CCD) as a result of climate change and the widespread use of popular neonicotinoid pesticides have caused enormous numbers of the bees around the world to die, imperiling the world's food supply. CCD has wiped off a substantial chunk of honey bee colonies in Europe and America.     Something about the new breed Found around the world, the stingless honey bee's Tetragonula variant, native to the southwest Indian state of Kerala, is smaller than the traditional honey bee (Apis genus) known to Westerners. Stingless bees have increased effectiveness as pollinators since they can enter smaller flowers     Why Kerala of all the places? Kerala was selected due to a thriving stingless beekeeping sector with over 20,000 farmers engaged in the field. Stingless beekeeping has witnessed increased interest in the state over the decade after KAU and ICAR developed appropriate technologies to domesticate, hive and standardize the management of bees under former KAU dean S Devanesan.

Grazpp Celebrates World Water Day

  A case study done in India and three other countries says there will be no drinking water by 2040 if consumption of water continues at the current pace. There is a lot of wastage of usable water. We lose 65% rainwater as it runoff into the sea. The leakage and inefficiencies in the water system waste nearly 50% of usable water. 90 % of waste water discharged in rivers fails to meet environmental norms.   What are we doing to preserve water? The UN declared 22 March as International World Water Day in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. Many of the water conservation project taken up around the world include: Rain water harvesting to recharge ground water. Recycling of wastewater through purification at a water treatment plant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that metering of water alone can reduce consumption by 20 to 40 percent.   How is it in India?   As per the Ministry of Water Resources, India has 18% of world's population but has only 4% of total usable water resources. In India, agriculture sector is the biggest user of water followed by domestic sector and industrial sector. Indian agriculture is heavily dependent on the climate of India: a favourable southwest summer monsoon is critical in securing water for irrigating Indian crops. In some parts of India, the failure of the monsoons result in water shortages, resulting in below-average crop yields especially in southern and eastern Maharashtra, northern Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Gujarat etc   Anything for those at home? • Low-flush toilets and composting       toilets: These have a dramatic             impact in the developed world, as       conventional Western toilets use         large volumes of water • Low flow taps in wash basins. • Low-flow shower heads sometimes    called energy-efficient shower            heads as they also use less energy. Grazpp The Fact The trending theme of World Water Day for this year is “Why waste water?”

Whats so special about honey ?

The only food item which never rots Honey has been called the only food that truly lasts forever. How natural honey is made? The extracted nectar from flowers mixes with enzymes inside the bees. It will change the nectar’s composition and breaks it down into simple sugars that are deposited into honeycombs. Fanning action from the bees’ wings and the enzymes from their stomachs creates honey, a liquid that is both highly acidic and low in moisture why honey never rots? A slew of factors—its acidity, its lack of water and the presence of hydrogen peroxide work in perfect harmony, allowing honey to last long. If the heated and strained honey is sealed properly, moisture cannot be absorbed, and the honey will last forever. How is honey graded? Honey is graded by colour by comparing with clear, golden amber honey often available at a higher retail price. Honey flavor will vary based on the types of flower from which the nectar was harvested.   Health benefits of honey Honey is a blend of sugar, trace enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and amino acids that have antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties. Honey works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough medications, to soothe a cough. Honey is used as an ingredient in the medicines of sleeping difficulties. The possible health benefits of consuming honey have been documented in early Greek, Roman, Vedic, and Islamic texts and the healing qualities of honey were referred to by philosophers and scientists all the way back to ancient times, such as Aristotle (384 - 322 BC) and Aristoxenus (320 BC). Interesting facts The oldest jar of the sweet honey ever found is believed to be 5500 years old. Modern archeologists, excavating ancient Egyptian tombs, have often found something unexpected amongst the tombs’ artifacts: pots of honey, above five thousand years old, and yet still preserved.

New form of Hydrogen discovered

What is Hydrogen? Hydrogen is a chemical element with the symbol H and atomic number ‘1’ with just one proton and one electron. We’re all pretty well acquainted with hydrogen that makes up 75 % of all the mass in the Universe, and more than 90 % of all the atoms   Unsolved mystery of Hydrogen Physicists confirmed the existence of hydrogen ion clusters some 40 years ago, and while a negative counterpart to these clusters boasting large numbers of atoms were theorised, no one could figure out how to create one.   Who found the new form of Hydrogen? A team of physicists led by Michael Renzler from the University of Innsbruck in Austria have just created a never-before-seen form of hydrogen - negatively charged hydrogen clusters. Discovery They injected cold liquid helium droplets with hydrogen (H2) molecules.         This caused the mixture to form clusters with a neutral charge. These H2-infused droplets to an electron beam, and that caused some of the hydrogen molecules to ionise, and be flung out into the surrounding vacuum as negatively charged hydrogen ions. Soon, nearby hydrogen molecules started clustering around the negatively charged ions, and the researchers discovered that these newly formed groups could boast a few, or many molecules each. Process These negatively charged hydrogen clusters existed only for an incredibly fleeting moment - several microseconds (1 microsecond = 0.000001 seconds).But that was enough time for the team to determine their geometric structures. The researchers found that the clusters only had odd atom numbers, ranging from n= 5 to n = 129. The most stable clusters had a central, negatively charged H−ion core sounded by shells that were completely filled up by hydrogen molecules. Finally The odd values implied that the clusters were a combination of several H2 molecules and a single H−ion core, held together through an induced dipole attraction The most commonly recorded clusters had the atomic numbers n = 25, n = 65, and n = 89. Now that we know that negatively charged hydrogen clusters aren't impossible, and what their most common and stable form could be, it could make it easier to identify them in nature for the time.

The future of clean energy explained

What do you know? Molten Salt Reactors (MSRs) are nuclear reactors that use a fluid fuel in the form of very hot fluoride or chloride salt instead of the solid fuel used in most reactors. Since the fuel salt is liquid, it can be both the fuel (producing the heat) and the coolant (transporting the heat to the power plant). Kirk Sorenson who worked as a NASA engineer n the 2000s was tasked to find a way on how to power a station on the moon. He found that MSRs were the best solution. He also realized that MSRs are a great solution on earth. His tireless advocacy for MSRs has generated much interest. Today, they supply about20% of America's energy.   How is it better? Nuclear energy unlocks a truly incredible source of carbon-free fuel. They're dense, reliable, emit no carbon, and - contrary to bitter popular sentiment - are among the safest energy sources on earth. They don’t melt down like conventional reactors because they are molten by design. An MSR cannot be overheated. It can power whole civilizations, and produce waste streams that are trivial compared to the waste produced by fossil fuel combustion. It can "burn" with far greater efficiency than any power technology in existence. Nuclear power's 2016 levelised costs make it about twice as cheap as natural gas plants. MSRs Replaces fossil fuels where wind and solar are problematic and can also replace fossil fuels for high heat industrial processes such as water desalinization and the production of cement and aluminum   When was it first used? Under the supervision of Alvin Weinberg in the 1960s, Oak Ridge National Laboratory built an experimental MSR that ran successfully for four years. MSRs were first developed in the U.S. in the 1950s during the cold war for use in a nuclear-powered aircraft bomber (the idea being that the bomber could remain in the air indefinitely). Though a small experimental reactor ran successfully, the program was canceled when it became clear that in-air refueling of bombers was viable. So what's new? There is ongoing work in MSRs around the world. The Europeans are working on MOSART, the Japanese have FUJI, and the Americans are focused on the FHR. China now spends more than $US350 million a year developing its variation of the Cold War-era design. Ratan Kumar Sinha, Chairman of Atomic Energy Commission of India, in 2013 announced India’s participation in investigating Molten Salt Reactor (MSR) technology. We have molten salt loops operational at BARC. Entrepreneurs such as Sorensen are also working tirelessly to revive and modernize the technology.

What do you know about Oscar Awards?

The origin of the name oscar When MGM director Cedric Gibbons designed the award what he had in mind was a knight gripping a sword while standing on a film reel. But when Academy Award librarian and future Director of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, Margaret Herrick first saw the statue in 1931, she said that it looked like her Uncle Oscar. The columnist Sidney Skolsky who was there when Herrick said this later on popularized it saying “Employees have affectionately dubbed their famous statuette ‘Oscar.’” Care for a little history? Each February, the entertainment community and film fans around the world turn their attention to the Academy Awards or more popularly known as the Oscar awards that honor the outstanding works produced by United States film industry. The Academy Awards ceremony is the oldest entertainment awards ceremony. The ceremony with its various category awards was first presented on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. It was the first broadcast on radio in 1930 and televised for the first time in 1953. won the first Best Actor for his performances in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. He was awarded the prize prior to the ceremony, as he had to return to Europe before the function, making him the first Academy Award winner in history How much does it cost? The Oscar A      The Oscar Award depicts a knight rendered in Art Deco style holding a crusader's sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes. The five spokes represent the original branches of the Academy: Actors, Writers, Directors, Producers, and Technicians. The academy award is Cast in liquid bronze and electroplated in 24-karat gold. Yet surprisingly the gold statuette Whish is considered to be the highest industry accolade, costs only £321 ($400). This is around 26700 rupees. So What was new this year?         The 2017Oscars would go down in history as one of the most dramatic series of the Academy Awards Show. Ms. Faye Dunaway, who was handed with the wrong envelope by a PwC member, announced “La La Land” as the best picture winner, which was apparently not the case. There was a televised scene of confusion, disbelief, and astonishment when the producer of La La Land Jordan Horowitz corrected the mistake and announced “I'm sorry, there's a mistake. 'Moonlight,' you guys won best picture."

Bitcoins in news for an interesting reason

What are we looking at right now? Bitcoin, a form of digital currency, created and held electronically. A payment system that nobody controls. They’re produced not in any institutions but by people using computers, all around the world. It is described as the first decentralized digital currency. Whose crazy idea was this? Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and a payment system invented by an unidentified programmer, or group of programmers, under the name of Satoshi Nakamoto. Bitcoin was introduced on 31 October 2008 to a cryptography mailing list and released as open-source software in 2009. There has been various claims and speculation concerning the identity of Nakamoto, none of which are confirmed. So why the big fuss now? The web-based currency that has been declared to be a dead system jumped to a three-year high of $1,219.24 with the start of 2017. The Financial experts have on many occasion criticized it as too volatile, risky and in some cases a scam So how does it work?   Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. IT is transferred person to person via The INTERNET. It is kept in a digital wallet on the user’s computer or mobile devices. Once a Bitcoin wallet has been installed on the computer or mobile phone, it will generate first Bitcoin address and you can create more whenever you need one. BITCOIN network is secured by individuals called miners. After the transactions are verified they are recorded in a public ledger called blockchain. One more thing. A Bitcoin address is a single-use token. Like e-mail addresses, you can send bitcoins to a person by sending bitcoins to one of their addresses. However, unlike e-mail addresses, people have many different Bitcoin addresses and a unique address should be used for each transaction. Are the cops gonna catch me if I use this? Countries around the world have a wide-ranging view of the digital currency bitcoin. Western superpowers like the United States and the United Kingdom have shown a positive attitude towards the new technology. Countries like Canada and Australia are still deliberating on what to do about Bitcoin, legally. Others have already made their decision against digital currency as a whole, and bitcoin, in particular. In India, RBI is against legalizing the use of bitcoin as of now. They are currently examining the risks associated with its usage

In 100 Years coral reefs will disappear !

What is a coral reef?   Coral reefs are colourful underwater forests which teem with life and act as a natural protective barrier for coastal regions. What is the importance of coral reefs? In coral reefs around the world, thousands of marine species find food and shelter, which in turn support economically valuable recreational and commercial fishing. Coral reefs also form a breakwater for adjacent coasts, providing natural protection from storm surges. They are the rain forests of the sea.Coral reefs are hotspots for the tourism industry, which thrive on providing visitors with unforgettable scuba diving and snorkelling experiences. Why are coral reefs dying? In one year alone, 16 percent of the world's coral reefs were wiped out. A sea temperature change of a mere one degree Celsius would yield similar losses. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the water cause additional damage to corals, leaving them defenceless against storm damage and erosion. What we can do to conserve coral reef? Never anchor on a reef. Volunteer with organisations working to clean up local waterways. The health of all waterways-rivers, lakes and bays-ultimately affects the ocean. Slow global warming by conserving energy, which includes using energy-efficient lighting and appliances and using mass transportation whenever possible. To help draw attention to the problem, NWF has launched a public awareness campaign targeted at divers and snorkelers to arm them with information about how they can help protect coral and minimise global warming's impact