Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs of 23rd September-2020

 

1)Indian Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe):

The Government has launched the Indian Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) to promote private investment and innovation in the space sector.

To promote private investment and innovation in the space sector

IN-SPACe will facilitate and support the Private Sector in the following ways:

  • Provide technical support
  • Share cash intensive facilities
  • Allow to establish temporary facilities in DOS premises
  • Allow to bid for requirements coming from NSIL
  • Partner in science and space exploration missions

IN-SPACe is the Institutional and Regulatory mechanism established by Government to facilitate greater private participation. Financial provisions are not covered under this mechanism.

Private players can participate in:

  • Building satellites
  • Building launch vehicles
  • Carry out launches
  • Develop Applications & provide space based services

 

2) UDAN:

Airports Authority of India, the Implementing Agency has finalized the awarding of 78 routes identified in first phase of round 4.0 of Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) to the Selected Airline Operators (SAOs).

The broad Salient features of the Scheme:

Demand driven:

  • The Scheme is market driven where airline operators assess demand on routes and bid for it through a transparent bidding mechanism.

Affordability:

  • Make air travel affordable for the general public.
  • Hence airfare on certain number of seats in an aircraft are capped.
  • The airfare is indexed to change in CPI-IW, US-INR exchange rate, and ATF prices.

Viability Gap Funding (VGF):

  • VGF support is a monetary assistance that is provided by MoCA to the airline operator to enable them to successfully run the routes.
  • VGF support is market determined, though a competitive bidding mechanism where the airline operators bid for the route in the form of VGF per seat.
  • Separate table of VGF cap per seat is provided for different types of aircraft. VGF per seat is also indexed to change in CPI-IW, US-INR exchange rate, and ATF prices.

Minimum performance level:

  • The airline operators are required to conform to certain specification for operating routes under the Scheme. Some of them are:
  • Providing 50% of the RCS Flight Capacity as RCS seats, with minimum of 9 and maximum of 40 RCS seats in an aircraft.
  • The number of RCS flights to be operated in a week shall be minimum of 3; and a maximum of 7.
  • For operation in Priority Area(s) the maximum number of RCS flight allowed in a week is relaxed to 14.
  • The operator is obligated to operate at least 70 % the total scheduled flight in a period of one year.

Exclusivity of operation:

  • The airline operators are provided exclusivity to operate the RCS route for the period of three years.

Tenure of the Scheme:

  • The scheme to be applicable for a period of 10 year, subjected to periodic review.
  • VGF support for the RCS route is available for a period of three years only.

Type of aircraft / helicopter:

  • The Scheme allows operation through various type of aircrafts including sea planes and helicopters.
    Two heliports- Geleki & Misa & two water aerodromes- Kavaratti & Minicoy have been identified for operation of RCS flights under RCS-UDAN 4.0.

 

3) Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

This bill will create a positive environment not only for farmers but also for consumers and investors

  • The provisions to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
  • The bill aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations.
  • The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector.
  • It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain.
  • The Government, while liberalizing the regulatory environment, has also ensured that interests of consumers are safeguarded.
  • It has been provided in the Amendment, that in situations such as war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity, such agricultural foodstuff can be regulated.
  • He said this amendment will create a positive environment not only for farmers but also for consumers and investors and will definitely make our country self-reliant.
  • He said that this amendment will strengthen the overall supply chain mechanism of the agriculture sector.
  • This amendment will also help to achieve the government’s promise to double the farmer’s income by promoting investment in this sector and promote ease of doing business.

Background:

  • While India has become surplus in most Agri-commodities, farmers have been unable to get better prices due to lack of investment in cold storage, warehouses, processing and export as the entrepreneurial spirit gets dampened due to Essential Commodities Act.
  • Farmers suffer huge losses when there are bumper harvests, especially of perishable commodities.

 

4) Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 today:

The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was passed in Lok Sabha on 20th March 2020.

  • The Bill will declare 5 IIITs in Public-Private Partnership mode at Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala & Raichur as Institutions of National Importance
  • This grants them statutory status along with the already existing 15 IIITs under the IIIT (PPP) Act, 2017, the Minister said.
  • Bill will encourage IIITs to promote the study of information and technology in the country through their innovative and quality methods.
  • The bill, 2020 will entitle the institutions to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (http://B.Tech) or Master of Technology (http://M.Tech) or PhD degree as issued by a University or Institution of National Importance.
  • The Bill will also enable the Institutes to attract enough students required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of Information Technology.

 

5) Saving Rhino Population:

India has been successfully saving its Rhinos and the country is one of the best places for them.

  • Speaking on the population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros which reached to the brink of extinction by the end of the 20th century with fewer than 200 animals in wild,
  • Timely efforts and stringent protection and management of the Governments of India and the State Governments have revived the population of Rhinos in the country
  • Today, approximately 75% of the entire population of Greater One-horned Rhinoceros now occurs in India in the three States viz, Assam, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • Census of Rhinoceros is undertaken at the State-level by the respective State Governments periodically.
  • The World Rhino Day is celebrated every year on 22nd September to emphasize the importance of conservation of Rhinoceros species and its habitats.
  • Efforts are currently ongoing in the country to protect the existing rhino population and also to increase the distribution of the species through the Indian Rhino Vision (IRV) 2020 programme.
  • Success was achieved in restocking the rhino population in the World Heritage Site Manas National Park recently through wild to wild translocations.
  • One-horned Rhinoceros is also one of the 21 species identified for Recovery programme for critically endangered species by the Ministry.

National Conservation Strategy for the Indian One-Horned Rhinoceros

  • With the goal to repopulate Rhinoceros population in those areas also which used to hold the Rhinoceros earlier by augmenting the existing conservation efforts and strengthening them through scientific and administrative measures.
  • The Ministry and the State Forest Departments of the Assam, Uttar Pradesh &West Bengal with support from other organizations are taking appropriate steps in accordance with the “New Delhi Declaration” which was signed after the 2nd Asian Rhino range States

Conservation meeting held on 26th-28th February, 2019 at MoEF&CC, New Delhi wherein representatives from Bhutan, Indonesia, Malaysia and Nepal attended the meeting besides India.

  • Initiatives have been undertaken by the State Governments such as West Bengal and Bihar are also working for the reintroduction of the Rhinoceros in the areas which used to hold the Rhino populations till a few decades back

 

6) People’s movement:

The People’s movement a platform representing various politicians, religious and social organizations campaigning for including Ladakh in sixth schedule as Ladakh autonomous Hill Development Council

What is sixth schedule?

  • Sixth schedule comprises of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram according to article 244 of the Indian Constitution
  • It seeks to safeguard the rights of the tribal population through the formation of autonomous district Council
  • Autonomous district Council (ADCs) our bodies representing a district which constitution has given various degrees of autonomy within the state legislature
  • ADCs are empowered with civil and judicial powers

 

7) Global child mortality:

Global under 5 mortality dropped from 93 deaths per 1000 live births to 38 death in 2019

  • Neonatal mortality reduced from 36.6 deaths per 1000 to 17.5 deaths
  • The rate of decline in neonatal mortality has been slower than that of under-five mortality
  • There are wide geographical disparities with Africa and South Asia bearing a greater share of the burden
  • More than 80% of under five deaths occurred in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia in 2019
  • In India under five mortality stood at 34.3 deaths per 1000 live births
  • Nigeria has the highest under five mortality rate
  • Studies show that this rapid improvement could slow down due to Service disruptions related to covid-19
  • The lancet estimates that the number of under-five child deaths will increase by 2.5 lakh to 11.5 lakh in 118 low-income and middle-income countries if disruptions continue for 6 months

 

8) Jammu and Kashmir official languages bill:

  • Loksabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir official languages Bill 2020
  • The bill seeks to include Kashmiri, Dogri and Hindi as the official languages in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir
  • Earlier only English and Urdu where the official languages in the former state

 

9) Labour reforms bills:

Context: Lok Sabha passed three labour bills are:

  • The Industrial Relations code 2020
  • The occupational safety, health and working conditions code 2020
  • Code of Social Security 2020

Bill talks about:

  • Firms with up to 300 workers can remove staff without government nod
  • Social Security cover to include unorganized workers
  • Code on occupational safety provides for conducting a study on interstate migrant workers
  • Double covers 9 principal branches of social security namely medical care, sickness, unemployment, old age, employment injury, family, maternity, invalidity and survivors benefits

 

10) Abu Dhabi Abolishes permit system for alcohol:

  • Capital has abolished the permit system for alcohol
  • Residents and tourists are now having the right to buy it in authorized stores

 

11) India Maldives cargo ferry service:

  • The first ever cargo ferry service between India and Maldives was jointly launched
  • Will connect Tuticorin and Cochin ports in India with Kulhudhuhfushi and Male ports in Maldives
  • This provides connectivity between India and Maldives on a predictable and affordable bases

 

12) Medicanes:

  • Extra tropical Storms in the Mediterranean Sea are called Medicanes or Mediterranean hurricanes
  • Study says Medicals could become more frequent due to human induced climate change
  • A medicane named lanos rose made landfall along the coast of Greece and cause heavy rainfall and flooding

 

13) Komodo dragon:

  • Komodo dragon are the largest and heaviest lizards on the earth
  • Komodo National Park UNESCO World Heritage site situated in Indonesia and is the only Habitat for this lizard species

 

Business advisory committee:

The business advisory committee of Parliament meet to discuss the legislative business and other issues related to the ongoing monsoon session

Business Advisory Committee:

The business advisory committee of the Lok Sabha is constituted at the commencement of New Lok Sabha after the general elections and thereafter from time to time

The business advisory committee was constituted for the first time in 1952

Members:

  • It consists of 15 members including the speaker who is ex-officio chairperson of the committee
  • The members of the committee are nominated by the speaker

Functions:

  • To recommend the time that should be allotted for the discussion of the state or stages of government bills and other business
  • The committee on its own initiative may also recommend to the government to bring forward particular subject for discussion in the house and recommend allocation of time for such discussions
  • The decisions reached by the committee are always unanimous in character and representatives of the collective view of the house

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