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Why in news?

In view of the current elections, the Commission has given one time relaxation and has reduced the notice period from 30 days to 7 days for the registration of political parties who have published their public notice by 10th March, 2019.


  • For the purpose of registration of a political party, the association or body is required to make an application to the Election Commission of India giving therein full particulars required under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and additional particulars required under the Registration of Political Parties (Furnishing of Additional Particulars) Order, 1992, separately.
  • A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to submit an application to the
  • Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation in prescribed format.
  • Within 2 weeks of receipt of your duly completed application you will receive an acknowledgement of your application from the Election Commission guiding you on future course of action.
  • The Commission has from time to time prescribed additional particulars to be furnished by applicant parties.
  • The Commission has further reviewed the system and process of registration of political parties, and has prescribed certain new guidelines, conditions and particulars.
  • One of the salient features in the new guidelines is that after submitting the applications to the Commission, the applicant party is required to get an advertisement published in two National and two Local Dailies giving the name and address of the party, and its main office bearers.
  • This is so that if anyone has any objection to the Party being registered, they can place their objections before the Commission.

 Government Interventions

  1. Padma Awards

Why in News?

President of India presents Padma Awards.

List of Highest Civilian Awards of India

  • Civilian awards of India are conferred to common man for showing distinguished work in their field of work.
  • Various decorations come under civilian awards of India – Bharat Ratna, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
  • ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service;
  • ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and
  • ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field.
  • The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
  • These awards are conferred by the President of India at ceremonial functions which are held at Rashtrapati Bhawan usually around March/ April every year.
  • The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz. - art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
  • All of these awards were started from year 1954.
  • All of these medals are produced at Indian Government Mint of Kolkata.

Bharat Ratna: Highest Civilian Award of India

  • Bharat Ratna is considered as the highest civilian award.
  • These awards are conferred for achievements in the field of Science, Arts, Literature and Public services.
  • Later amendment was done in year 2013 in eligibility criteria and sports category was also included.
  • The award is in the form of Peepal leaf.
  • It is of toned bronze.
  • It is embossed with a replica of Sun, below which the words “Bharat Ratna” are embossed in Devnagri script.
  • On the reverse are state emblem and the state motto (Satyameva Jayte), also in Devnagri script.
  • The emblem, the sun and the rim are of platinum.
  • The inscriptions are in burnished bronze.
  • First three recipients are C. Rajagopalachari, Dr S Radhakrishnan, Dr C V Raman (in 1954).
  • Two foreign nationals have been awarded so far: Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan and Nelson

Padma Vibhushan: Second Highest Civilian Award of India

  • The award is given for exceptional and distinguished services in any field like Science, arts, public service including the services rendered by government employees.
  • The decoration is circular in design, with a geometric pattern superimposed on the circle.
  • There is lotus flower embossed on the circular space.
  • The word “Padma” is embossed in Devnagri script above the word “Vibhushan” which comes below the lotus flower.
  • On the reverse are the state emblem and motto Satya Meva Jayte inscribed in Devnagri script.
  • It is of toned bronze.
  • The inscription “Padma Vibhushan”, geometric pattern and the border around periphery are in burnished bronze.
  • All embossing on either side of decoration is in white gold.

Padma Bhushan: Third Highest Civilian Award of India

  • The award is given for distinguished service of a high order in any field including services rendered by government employees.
  • It has the same design as the “Padma Vibhushan”.
  • On the obverse the word “Padma” appears above the word “Vibhushan” which comes below the lotus flower.
  • The inscription “Padma Bhushan” on the obverse, the geometric pattern on either side and the border around the periphery are in burnished bronze.
  • All embossing either side of the decoration is in standard gold.

Padma Shri: Fourth Highest Civilian Award of India

  • The award is given for distinguished services in any field including the services rendered by government employees.
  • The name of the decoration is embossed in Devnagri script with the word “Padma” above the word “Shri” which comes below the lotus flower on the obverse.
  • The inscription “Padma Shri” on the obverse, the geometric pattern on either side and the border around the periphery are in burnished bronze.
  • All embossing on either side of decoration is in stainless steel.

World Affairs

International Education Strategy

Why in news?

Indian students are set to benefit from the new “International Education Strategy” launched by the UK government.

About the strategy

  • It is an improved post-study visa
  • The strategy is aimed at increasing the total number of international students from around the world choosing to study in the UK higher education system from the current level of 460,000 to 600,000 each year by 2030.
  • Indian students account for a major chunk of applicants from outside the European Union (EU) after China.
  • The new strategy, set to be rolled out, will offer undergraduate and Masters’ students the chance to stay in the UK to look for work for six months after graduating.
  • Besides, PhD students will be able to stay in the UK for up to a year to find work after graduating and will also have three months before graduating during which they can find work and change from a study visa to a work visa.
  • Additionally, international graduates will be given two years after graduating during which they can apply to switch their UK study visa to a UK work visa from outside the UK.
  • The new strategy sets its focus on not only retaining existing strong markets such as Europe, but raising the profile of the education sector in global markets such as Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  • As part of the strategy, the government will also appoint a new “International Education Champion” in charge of boosting overseas activity and striking key partnerships.


Iron ore imports

Why in news?

India's imports of mineral rose a whopping 157 per cent during April-December 2018 mainly due to higher logistics costs for sourcing it domestically and lower import duties.

About the news

  • India is the fourth largest producer of iron ore.
  • Australia's share was highest at 57 per cent of India’s total imports.
  • The other countries from which India imports iron ore and its shares are South Africa (19 per cent), Brazil (15 per cent) and Bahrain (5 per cent).
  • Surge in imports can be attributed to
  • Varying ore grades in multiple iron ore producing states
  • Price differences
  • High Logistics cost
  • Low import duty of 2.5 per cent

India’s exports

  • India's exports declined 32 per cent between April 2018 and January 2019.
  • China was the principal iron ore importer from India with 74 per cent share followed by Japan, South Korea, Oman and Malaysia.
  • Export duty in India for iron ore is high at 30 per cent currently.

Current Affair Capsules

Vaquita marina
  • A vaquita marina, a critically endangered porpoise was found dead in a fish net off the coast of Mexico.
  • The vaquita, the world’s smallest porpoise and also a marine aquatic mammal, has been nearly wiped out by fishing nets, which are used to fish for another species, the also endangered totoaba fish, which is about the same size.


  • It is a programme launched by private companies like Tata Trusts, Sight and Life, CSRBOX, CII and WeCan joining hands with Unicef and Nasscom Foundation to eradicate malnutrition and stunting and positively impact the nutritional and health status of India.
  • NITI Aayog said only nine per cent of children in the age group 6 to 24 months receive adequate nutrition in India and urged the private sector to take up experimental projects and come up with packages and solutions for nutritious food.

Map Aided Programme

  • second largest district in area & the lowest population density-- Western Ghats of Kerala
  • Eravikulam National Park and Anamudi Shola National Park  and Pampadum Shola National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park
  • Mullaperiyar dam & Marayoor Jaggery(GI tag)
  • Idukki -- first district in India to have high speed Rural Broadband Network. i.e. National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN)

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)-(2012)

  1. The basic aim of Lead Bank Scheme is that
  • big banks should try to open offices in each district
  • there should be stiff competition among the various nationalized banks
  • individual banks should adopt particular districts for intensive development
  • all the banks should make intensive efforts to mobilize deposits