Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 20th September-2020

 

1)Adjournment motion:

Context: recently and adjournment motion notice was moved in Lok Sabha

Adjournment motion:

  • Adjournment motion was introduced only in the Lok Sabha to draw the attention of the house to a definite matter of urgent public importance
  • It involves an element of censure against the government, therefore Rajya Sabha is not permitted to make use of this device
  • It is regarded as an extra-ordinary device as it interacts the normal business of the house
  • It needs the support of 50 members to be admitted
  • The discussion on this motion should last for not less than 2 hours and 30 minutes

However, right to move a motion for an adjournment of the business of the house is subject to the following restrictions: it should

  • Raise a matter which is definite, factual, urgent and of public importance
  • It should not cover more than 1 matter
  • Be restricted to a specific matter of recent occurrence
  • Not raise a question of privilege
  • Not review discussion on a matter that has been discussed in the same session
  • Not deal with any matter that is under adjudication of court
  • Not raise any questions that can be raised on a distinct motion

 

2) AICTE-SPICES:

Context: Education minister has launched the AICTE-SPICES (Scheme for Promoting interests, Creativity, and Ethics among Students)

About AICTE-SPICES:

  • To promote healthy co-curricular activity among the students
  • The scheme provides financial support to Institutions for developing students club for all round development by promoting their interests, creativity and ethics
  • AICTE approved with minimum 5 years of existence
  • Only one proposal per institute for club
  • Institute may choose its best performing club for applying under the scheme for the grant

 

3) Sankalp Parva:

Context: Ministry of Culture celebrated Sankalp Parva during 28th June – 12th July, 2020 by planting saplings of 5 trees identified as herbal heritage

  • Ministry of Culture initiated a drive of Sankalp Parva with objective to create clean/ healthy environment in the country.

The Ministry recommended to plant saplings of five trees

  • Bargad
  • Awla
  • Peepal
  • Ashok
  • Bel

These were identified as herbal heritage of the country.

  • Ministry requested all its Attached, Subordinate offices and Autonomous Organizations to plant saplings in its office premises/ campus or at the surroundings wherever possible.
  • No separate fund was allocated towards the drive by the Ministry

 

4) Indian Cultural Portal:

  • The Indian Culture Portal promotes and showcases both the tangible and intangible cultural heritage of India
  • Through various categories mentioned above which include manuscripts, museum artefacts, paintings, archival photographs, food and culture, musical instruments of India, archival documents, social practices, rituals, and festivals, Oral traditions and expressions and rare books, etc. These details are provided for every region of India and from Indus Valley Civilization to the present.
  • The Indian Culture Portal is currently available in two languages i.e. Hindi and English

 

5) Indigenous Production of Defence Equipment:

The Government has taken the following policy initiatives to promote ‘Make in India’ in defence sector:

  • A new category of capital procurement ‘Buy {Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed, Developed and Manufactured)}’ has been introduced in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016
  • To promote indigenous design and development of defence equipment. It has been accorded top most priority for procurement of capital equipment.

The ‘Make’ Procedure of capital procurement has been simplified. There is a provision for funding of 90% of development cost by the Government to Indian industry under Make-I category. In addition, there are specific reservations for msmes under the ‘Make’ procedure.

Make – 2 category:

  • Separate procedure for ‘Make-II’ category (Industry funded) has been notified under DPP to encourage indigenous development and manufacture of defence equipment.
  • Number of industry friendly provisions such as relaxation of eligibility criterion, minimal documentation, provision for considering proposals suggested by industry/individual etc. Have been introduced in this procedure.

Innovations for Defence Excellence (idex)

  • An innovation ecosystem for Defence titled Innovations for Defence Excellence (idex) has been launched in April, 2018.
  • Idex is aimed at creation of an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including msmes, Start-ups, Individual Innovators, R&D institutes and Academia and provide them grants/funding and other support to carry out R&D which has potential for future adoption for Indian defence and aerospace needs.
  • Under the idex scheme, a maximum of Rs 1.5 crore funding is available to a participant for development of a prototype.
  • IDEX envisages to engage with existing Defence Innovation Hubs (defence related MSME clusters) and create new hubs where innovators can get information about needs and feedback from the services directly and create solutions for India’s major defence platforms.
  • 9 Institutions have been identified and are working as partner incubators to support activities under idex.
    More than 700 start-ups participated in 18 problem statements pertaining to National Defence requirements, launched under 3 rounds of Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC).

Government has notified the ‘Strategic Partnership (SP)’ Model in May, 2017, which envisages establishment of long-term strategic partnerships with Indian entities through a transparent and competitive process, wherein they would tie up with global Original Equipment Manufacturers (oems) to seek technology transfers to set up domestic manufacturing infrastructure and supply chains.

Government has notified a ‘Policy for indigenization of components and spares used in Defence Platforms’ in March, 2019 with the objective to create an industry ecosystem which is able to indigenize the imported components (including alloys & special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platform manufactured in India.

An Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on “Mutual Cooperation in Joint Manufacturing of Spares

Components, Aggregates and other material related to Russian/Soviet Origin Arms and Defence Equipment” was signed during the 20th India-Russia Bilateral Summit in September, 2019.

The objective of the IGA is to enhance the After Sales Support and operational availability of Russian origin equipment currently in service in Indian Armed Forces by organizing production of spares and components in the territory of India by Indian Industry by way of creation of Joint Ventures/Partnership with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (oems) under the framework of the “Make in India” initiative.

  • In February, 2018, Government decided to establish two defence industrial corridors to serve as an engine of economic development and growth of defence industrial base in the country.
  • They span across Chennai, Hosur, Coimbatore, Salem and Tiruchirappalli in Tamil Nadu and across Aligarh, Agra, Jhansi, Kanpur, Chitrakoot and Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

Offset guidelines have been made flexible by allowing change of Indian Offset Partners (iops) and offset components, even in signed contracts. Foreign Original Equipment Manufacturers (oems) are now allowed to provide the details of iops and products after signing of contracts.

In order to bring more transparency and efficiency into the Offset discharge process, “Offset portal” has been created in May, 2019.

Defence Investor Cell has been created in February, 2018 in the Ministry to provide all necessary information including addressing queries related to investment opportunities, procedures and regulatory requirements for investment in the sector.

The initial validity of the Industrial Licence granted under the IDR Act has been increased from 03 years to 15 years with a provision to further extend it by 03 years on a case-to-case basis.

Under the latest Public Procurement Order 2017, Department of Defence Production has notified list of 24 items for which there is local capacity and competition and procurement of these items shall be done from local suppliers only irrespective of the purchase value.

An indigenization portal namely SRIJAN has been launched on Services with an industry interface to provide development support to msmes/Startups/Industry for import substitution

 

6) ICT grand challenge:

Ministry of Electronics and information technology MEITY in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission NJJM, department of drinking water and sanitation, Ministry Of Jal Shakti has launched ICT Information Communication Technology Grand challenge

  • The ICT grand challenge is for development of Smart Water Supply Measurement and Monitoring system to be deployed at the village level
  • The ICT Grand challenge will invite proposals from Indian tech startups, micro small medium enterprises, and Indian companies for the solution
  • The challenge is supported by Centre for Development of Advanced computing (C-DAC), Meity startup hub and software technology parks of India STPI
  • The Grand challenge aims to make use of the internet of things (IOT) Technology to create a smart rural water supply ecosystem it will provide support at ideation stage, prototype development stage and deployment stage
  • The pilot project will be conducted at hundred villages. Incubation and marketing support will be provided by MEITY and Jal Jeevan Mission JJM, the approved solution will be listed in in the government e-Marketplace portal
  • Each winner will get a prize amount of rupees 50 lakh and two runner ups will be provided a prize amount of rupees 20 lakh each and funding will be provided for four teams at the project deployment stage.

 

7) Epidemic Diseases Amendment Bill, 2020:

Context: Sabha has passed the Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on September 19, 2020.

  • It amends the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
  • Now it will include protections for healthcare service personnel who are combating the epidemic diseases.
  • This makes harm, injury, hurt or danger to the life of any healthcare service personnel, a cognizable and non-bailable offence.
  • The bill also expands the powers of the central government to prevent the spread of such diseases.
  • In such cases, there is a provision of imprisonment from three months to five years and a fine between 50 thousand rupees to two lakh rupee.

Key Provisions of the Bill

The Bill defines healthcare service personnel as the persons who are at risk of contracting the epidemic disease while being on duty related to the epidemic.

As per the bill, the healthcare services personnel include-

  • Public and clinical healthcare providers including doctors and nurses.
  • Person who are empowered to take preventable measures against the outbreak of the disease.
  • Any persons designated as such by the state government.

The bill defines the ‘act of violence’ committed against a healthcare service personnel as:

  • Harassment over living or working conditions,
  • Harm, injury, hurt, or danger to their life
  • Obstruction made in the discharge of duties
  • Loss or damage to the property or documents of the healthcare service personnel.

Punishment for act of violence:

  • Persons who have committed the offences will have to pay compensation to the healthcare service personnel.
  • Cases registered under the Bill will be investigated by a police officer above the rank of Inspector.
  • The investigation must be completed within 30 days from the date of First Information Report (FIR)
  • The inquiry or trial should be concluded within one year.

It gives the central government power to regulate:

  • Inspection of any ship or vessel leaving or arriving at any port.
  • Detention of any person intending to travel from the port during any outbreak.

Thus, the legislation aims to create an environment of zero tolerance towards violence against healthcare service personnel.

 

8) Measures to increase the production of ethanol for blending:

National Biofuel Policy -2018 envisages an indicative target of 20% blending of ethanol in petrol to be achieved by 2030.

  • The ethanol blending depends on the availability of ethanol which further depends on availability of raw material for ethanol production viz, sugarcane, damaged food-grains unfit for human consumption, etc.

The important measures taken to increase the production of ethanol for blending include:

  • Encouraging production of ethanol from sugarcane juice and sugar/sugar syrup.
  • Fixing remunerative ex-mill price of ethanol from various feed stocks.
  • Extending interest subvention to distilleries.
  • Amendment to Industries (Development & Regulation) Act, 1951, for free movement of denatured ethanol for Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme.
  • Reduction in Goods & Service Tax on ethanol meant for EBP Programme from 18% to 5%.
  • Extension of EBP Programme to whole of India except island uts of Andaman Nicobar and Lakshadweep with effect from 01.04.2019.
  • Enhancing ethanol storage at Oil Marketing Companies locations,
  • Formulating an “Ethanol Procurement Policy on a long term basis under Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) Programme”.

 

9) India’s first CRISPR COVID-19 test-Feluda:

This test uses an indigenously developed CRISPR technology for the detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-cov-2 virus that causes COVID-19 disease

  • Launched by Tata Group
  • The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) on Saturday gave approval for the commercial launch of India’s first Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) coronavirus test ‘Feluda’
  • Developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology).
  • This test uses an indigenously developed, cutting-edge CRISPR technology for detection of the genomic sequence of SARS-cov-2 virus.
  • CRISPR is a genome-editing technology to diagnosing diseases.
  • The test meets high-quality benchmarks with 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity for detecting the novel coronavirus.
  • The Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19
  • The test achieves accuracy levels of traditional RT-PCR tests, with quicker turnaround time, less expensive equipment, and better ease of use.
  • Moreover, CRISPR is a futuristic technology that can also be configured for detection of multiple other pathogens in the future.
  • This marks a significant achievement for the Indian scientific community, moving from research and development to a high-accuracy, scalable and reliable test in less than 100 days
  • The test will help the nation ramp up Covid-19 testing quickly and economically, with a ‘Made in India’ product that is safe, reliable, affordable, and accessible.
  • The approval for the Tata CRISPR test for COVID-19 will give a boost to the country’s efforts in fighting the global pandemic.
  • The commercialization of the Tata CRISPR test reflects the tremendous R&D talent in the country, which can collaborate to transform India’s contributions to the global healthcare and scientific research world

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