Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS): Under the OMSS, the FCI from time to time sells surplus food grains from the central pool, especially wheat and rice in the open market to traders, bulk consumers, retail chains, etc., at predetermined prices. The FCI does this through e-auctions where open market bidders can buy specified quantities. States are also allowed to procure food grains through the OMSS without participating in the auctions, for their needs. This will be beyond what they get from the central pool to distribute to NFSA (National Food Security Act) beneficiaries.
The OMSS aims to enhance the supply of food grains (ensuring food security) during the lean season and thereby moderate the open market prices (controlling inflation), especially in deficit regions. In this year’s OMMS, a total quantity of 33.7 LMT wheat was offloaded and the price of wheat came down by 19%.
Important Judgements w.r.t. appointment/removal of Council of Ministers:
- Shamsher Singh & Anr vs State Of Punjab (1974) – The Supreme Court held that the President and Governor shall exercise their formal constitutional powers only upon and by the advice of their Ministers except in a few well-known exceptional situations. The Court also added that even in case the Prime Minister/Chief Minister ceases to command a majority in the House OR the government loses the majority but refuses to quit office OR for “the dissolution of the House where an appeal to the country is necessitous” – The Head of the State (President/Governor) should avoid getting involved in politics and must be advised by his Prime Minister (Chief Minister) who will eventually take the responsibility for the step.
- Nabam Rebia, Etc. vs Deputy Speaker And Ors (2016) – The Supreme Court cited the observations of B R Ambedkar – “The Governor under the Constitution has no function which he can discharge by himself; no functions at all. While he has no functions, he has certain duties to perform, and I think the House will do well to bear in mind this distinction.”
Gravitational Waves: Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity. Einstein’s mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects would disrupt space-time in such a way that waves of undulating space-time would propagate in all directions away from the source. These massive objects include things like neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other. These cosmic ripples would travel at the speed of light, carrying with them information about their origins, as well as clues to the nature of gravity itself. The strongest gravitational waves are produced by cataclysmic events such as colliding black holes, supernovae (massive stars exploding at the end of their lifetimes), and colliding neutron stars. They are incredibly weak and difficult to detect because they interact very weakly with matter. However, extremely sensitive instruments called interferometers have been developed to detect these waves.
The most famous example is the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO), which made the first direct detection of gravitational waves in 2015.