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Current Affair – June 24

Ranked Choice Voting

  • Ranked choice voting made its debut in New York City’s mayoral primary in one of the most high-profile tests yet for a system gaining use in pockets across the US.
  • The system is based on a simple premise: Democracy works better if people aren’t forced to make an all-or-nothing choice with their vote.

· Rather than pick just one candidate, voters get to rank several in order of preference. Even if a voter’s top choice doesn’t have enough support to win, their rankings of other candidates still play a role in determining the victor.

  • But the system is more complex than a traditional election, making it tough to forecast a winner. It could take longer to get results.

How does ranked choice voting work?

  • In New York City’s version, voters get to rank up to five candidates, from first to last, on their ballot.

· If one candidate is the first choice of a majority of voters — more than 50% — that person wins the race outright, just like in a traditional election.

  • If nobody hits that threshold, ranked choice analysis is done. Vote tabulation is done in rounds. In each round, the candidate in last place is eliminated. Votes cast ranking that candidate first are then redistributed to those voters’ second choices.

· That process repeats until there are only two candidates left. The one with the most votes wins


  • One benefit of the system is that nobody “wastes” their vote by picking an unpopular candidate as their first choice.

·  You can rank someone you like No. 1, even if you suspect that candidate doesn’t stand a chance. If that person is eliminated, you still get a say in who wins the race based on your other rankings.   It’s tough for someone to get elected without broad support. In a

traditional election, it’s possible for someone with fringe political views to win in a crowded field of candidates, even if they are deeply disliked by a majority of voters.


  • The system is tough to grasp. It requires voters to do a lot more research.
  • It also makes races less predictable.
  • Transparency and trust are also potential problems. Ordinarily, candidates, the public and news organizations can see votes coming in, precinct by precinct, and know exactly who is leading and where their support is coming from.
  • Under the modern ranked choice system, the process of redistributing votes is done by computer. Outside groups will have a harder time evaluating whether the software sorted the ranked votes accurately.
  • There may be instances where candidates who seem to have a comfortable lead in first-place votes on election night lose because relatively few voters rank them as their second or third choice.
  • That could lead to people questioning the results.You can rank someone you like No. 1, even if you suspect that candidate doesn’t stand a chance. If that person is eliminated, you still get a say in who wins the race based on your other rankings.

You can rank someone you like No. 1, even if you suspect that candidate doesn’t stand a chance. If that person is eliminated, you still get a say in who wins the race based on your other rankings.

Source: Indian Express

Enforcement Directorate

  • The Enforcement Directorate has transferred assets worth ₹8,441.5 crore to public sector banks that suffered losses to the tune of ₹22,585.83 crore due to frauds committed allegedly by businessmen Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi. All three accused had fled overseas.

· Based on the cases registered by the Central Bureau of Investigation, the ED had taken up a money laundering probe that helped unearth a complex web of domestic and international transactions and stashing of assets abroad by the accused persons and their associates.

  • They had used dummy entities controlled by them for rotation and siphoning of the funds provided by the banks. As part of the investigation, the ED took steps to attach or seize assets worth ₹18,170.02 crore.

About Enforcement Directorate

  • Directorate of Enforcement is a Multi Disciplinary Organization mandated with the task of enforcing the provisions of two special fiscal laws – Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999 (FEMA) and Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA).
  • Besides directly recruiting personnel, the Directorate also draws officers from different Investigating Agencies, viz., Customs & Central Excise, Income Tax, Police, etc. on deputation.

· Organisational Setup:

  • The Directorate of Enforcement, with its Headquarters at New Delhi is headed by the Director of Enforcement.

o There are five Regional offices at Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Delhi headed by Special Directors of Enforcement.

Main functions of ED

  • Investigate contraventions of the provisions of Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999(FEMA). Contraventions of FEMA are dealt with by way of adjudication by designated authorities of ED and penalties upto three times the sum involved can be imposed.
    • Investigate offences of money laundering under the provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002(PMLA) which came into force with effect from 1.7.2005 and to take actions of attachment and confiscation of property if the same is determined to be proceeds of crime derived from a Scheduled Offence under PMLA, and to prosecute the persons involved in the offence of money laundering.
    • Adjudicate Show Cause Notices issued under the repealed Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1973 (FERA) up to 31.5.2002 for the alleged contraventions of the Act which may result in imposition of penalties. Pursue prosecutions launched under FERA in the concerned courts.
    • Processing cases of fugitive/s from India under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018. The objective of this Act is to provided for measures to deter fugitive economic offenders from evading the process of law in India by staying outside the jurisdiction of Indian Courts and to preserve the sanctity of the rule of law in India.
    • Sponsor cases of preventive detention under Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act, 1974(COFEPOSA) in regard to contraventions of FEMA.
    • Render cooperation to foreign countries in matters relating to money laundering and restitution of assets under the provisions of PMLA and to seek cooperation in such matters.
Source: The Hindu

India’s first Maritime Arbitration Centre

  • The Gujarat Maritime University signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Financial Services Centers Authority in GIFT City to promote the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC).

· This will be the first centre of its kind in the country that will manage arbitration and mediation proceedings with disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector.

Where is the GIMAC being set up?

  • The GIMAC will be part of a maritime cluster that the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is setting up in GIFT City at Gandhi nagar. The Maritime Board has rented about 10,000 square feet at GIFT House which is part of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) area with the clearance from the development commissioner.
  • The centre is expected to be ready by the end of August.

Need for the centre

Globally, London is the preferred centre for arbitration for the maritime and shipping sector.  

There are over 35 arbitration centers in India. However, none of them exclusively deals with the maritime sector.

  • The arbitration involving Indian players is now heard at the Singapore Arbitration Centre. The idea is to create a world-class arbitration centre focused on maritime and shipping disputes that can help resolve commercial and financial conflicts between entities having operations in India.
  • The maritime cluster consisting of ship leasing and brokering services is being set up with the intention of drawing back all the maritime and shipping business which is located offshore like Dubai and Singapore.
  • Arbitration is an add-on maritime service.
  • Ship owners belong to a different country and the person leasing the ship is from another country. Any dispute arising between them can be resolved within this centre.
Source: Indian Express

Study on ‘Grey matter loss in brain’

  • A study that scanned brain images from a group of volunteers to compare changes before and after COVID19.
  • The study compared brain imaging scans sourced as part of the U.K. Biobank initiative that prior to the pandemic had collected a large set of brain scan images from over 40,000 volunteers over 45. From these, 394, who had tested positive for the virus and 388 who had not (and used as comparator controls), and who had appeared for follow up brain imaging, were studied to tease out how parts of their brains had changed.
  • The study is yet to be peer-reviewed.

Findings of the study

  • The loss of smell and taste associated with coronavirus infection is writ large in the brain.

· The study was able to paint a picture of a distinct loss of grey matter, in regions of the brain associated with smell and taste in those who had tested positive for the coronavirus compared to those who hadn’t.

  • The grey matter loss might represent a more deleterious impact of COVID19, or be due to risk factors (as hospitalized patients were older, had higher Body Mass Index and blood pressure, and higher risk of diabetes), or an interaction of both.

· The loss of grey matter in memory related regions of the brain may in turn in crease the risk of these patients of developing dementia in the longer term.


Going ahead, data from this set that could establish if over time the grey matter loss reversed, stayed stable or further deteriorated could provide “very strong clues” to not only the mechanism (causing the loss) but the potential significance of these findings.

Source: The Hindu

External Affairs Minister at the Qatar Economic Forum

  • The External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar was speaking at the Qatar Economic Forum. His views are as follow:
  • About close up deployments: Dr. Jaishankar said – Continuing “close up deployments” and questions about whether China would “live up to its written commitments” on not deploying a large number of forces were two issues at the heart of the recent tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • About the role the Quad in India’s response to the border situation: Mr. Jaishankar said, “I think when it comes to Quad and the India-China border issue, we’re talking apples and oranges. I’m not quite sure I’d really see a tight connection.”

While the Quad had “come together on a common agenda” that included maritime security, connectivity and even

working on vaccines, the border issue, he said, “has pre existed upon, in many ways, it’s a challenge, a problem, which is quite independent of the Quad”.

  • There were “two big issues”. “One of course is that the close up deployments still continues, especially in Ladakh. The issue there is whether China will live up to the written commitments which are made about both countries not de- ploying a large armed force at the border. And the larger issue really, whether we can build this relationship on the basis of mutual sensitivity, mutual respect and mutual interest. So I do see why you’re interested in both the issues, but I would urge you to look at them, somewhat independent of each other,

China stand

In Beijing, China’s Foreign Ministry said that China’s military deployment along the western section of the China India border is a normal defense arrangement.” It was “aimed at preventing and responding to encroachment and threat on China’s territory by relevant country”.

Source: The Hindu