Current Affairs - PIB News
Ambedkar Social Innovation & Incubation Mission (ASIIM)
The Union Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched the “Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission (ASIIM)” to promote innovation and enterprise among SC students studying in higher educational institutions.
The ASIIM initiative will be implemented by the Venture Capital Fund for SCs (VCF-SCs) that has been created to provide concessional finance to the entities of the SC entrepreneurs.
Objectives of ASIIM
- To promote entrepreneurship among the SC Youth with special preference to Divyangs.
- To support (1,000) innovative ideas till 2024 through a synergetic work with the Technology Business Incubators (TBIs) set up by Department of Science and Technology.
- To support, promote, hand-hold the start-up ideas till they reach commercial stage by providing liberal equity support.
- To incentivise students with innovative mind-set to take to entrepreneurship with confidence.
Rules For Protection Of Good Samaritans
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has published the rules for the protection of Good Samaritans on 29th September 2020.
- Good Samaritan shall be treated respectfully without any discrimination on the grounds of religion, nationality, caste or sex.
- No police officer or any other person shall compel a Good Samaritan to disclose his/her name, identity, address or any such other personal details. However, he may voluntarily choose to disclose the same.
- Every public and private hospital shall publish a charter in Hindi, English and vernacular language, at the entrance or other conspicuous location, and on their website, stating the rights of Good Samaritans under the Act and the rules made thereunder.
- If a person has voluntarily agreed to become a witness in the case in which he has acted as a Good Samaritan, he shall be examined in accordance with the provisions of this rule, for which detailed guidelines and process has been mentioned in the rules.
Section 134A of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019
- The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act, 2019, inserted a new section 134A, viz. "Protection of good Samaritans" which provides that a Good Samaritan shall not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of the victim of an accident involving a motor vehicle, where such injury or death resulted from the Good Samaritan's negligence in acting or failing to act while rendering emergency medical or non-medical care or assistance and that the Central Government may by rules provide for the procedure for questioning or examination of the Good Samaritan, disclosure of personal information of the Good Samaritan and such other related matters.
Tribes India E-Marketplace’:Largest Market Of Tribal Products
- The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched India’s largest handicraft and organic products marketplace, Tribes India E-Marketplace (market.tribesindia.com) on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti(October 2, 2020).
- TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs will showcase the produce and handicrafts of tribal enterprises from across the country and help them market their produce/ products directly, is also a major leap towards the digitisation of tribal commerce.
Decade Of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030)
On International Day for Older Persons (1st October, 2020) that was observed under the theme “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”, the Union Health Ministry has launched Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030), a campaign aimed at mainstreaming issues related to the elderly and for deliberating upon ways to ensure better and effective delivery of services to them.
- Under this campaign many activities will be undertaken throughout the year, aimed at mainstreaming issues related to elderly and to deliberate upon ways to ensure better and effective delivery of services, making full use of convergence mechanisms.
- According to Population Census 2011, there are nearly 104 million elderly persons in India. It has increased from 5.5% in 1951 to 8.6% in 2011. And projected a rise upto 19% in 2050.
Some Recent initiatives towards Elders
- LASI: The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare launched the Longitudinal Ageing Study in India (LASI) that will provide scientifically validated data on various issues of the elderly.
- The Pradhan MantriVaya Vandana Yojana: To provide social security during old age.
- Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY): Under this scheme, aids and assistive living devices are provided to senior citizens belonging to BPL category who suffer from age-related disabilities.
- Integrated Programme for Older Persons (IPOP): To improve the quality of life of older persons by providing basic amenities.
- Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (IGNOAPS): Under this scheme, financial assistance is provided to person of 60 years and above and belonging to family living below poverty line.
- Varishtha Pension BimaYojana (VPBY): It is a social security schemes for senior citizens intended to give an assured minimum pension on a guaranteed minimum return on the subscription amount.
Some Important Bills, Passed By Houses Of Parliament In Monsson Session 2020
The Monsoon Session, 2020 of Parliament which commenced on 14th September, 2020 was scheduled to culminate on 1st October, 2020 but due to COVID-19 pandemic risks after transaction of essential business Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha were adjourned sine-die on 23rd September, 2020 yielding 10 sittings spread over 10 days.
- 27 Bills were passed by both the Houses of Parliament which is best ever rate of passage of Bills per day i.e. 2.7 Bills.
- All the 11 Ordinances which were promulgated during inter session were replaced by Acts of Parliament during the Monsoon Session, 2020.
- The Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 provides for the creation of an ecosystem where the farmers and traders enjoy the freedom of choice relating to sale and purchase of farmers’ produce which facilitates remunerative prices through competitive alternative trading channels; to promote efficient, transparent and barrier-free inter-State and intra-State trade and commerce of farmers’ produce outside the physical premises of markets or deemed markets notified under various State agricultural produce market legislations; and to provide a facilitative framework for electronic trading.
- The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Prices Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 provides for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, exporters or large retailers for farm services and sale of future farming produce at a mutually agreed remunerative price framework in a fair and transparent manner.
- The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will boost immediate investment in Agriculture sector, increase competition and enhance farmers' income.
- The National Forensic Sciences University Bill, 2020 provides to establish and declare an institution to be known as the National Forensic Sciences University as an institution of national importance to facilitate and promote studies and research and to achieve excellence in the field of forensic science in conjunction with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas and technology and other related fields.
- The Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 proposes to establish the Rashtriya Raksha University and to declare it as an institution of national importance and to provide for its incorporation; University is proposed to be a multi-disciplinary University to create new knowledge through research and collaboration with different stakeholders and help to fulfil the need for a pool of trained professionals with specialised knowledge and new skill sets in various wings of policing, the criminal justice system and correctional administration. The University will have linkage with world class universities in other countries, which will be need based, for the purpose of exchange of contemporary research, academic collaboration, course design, technical know-how and training and skill development.
LABOUR SECTOR REFORMS
- Three landmark Labour sector reform Bills were passed during the current session.
- The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code Bill, 2020 provides to amalgamate, simplify and rationalise the relevant provisions the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment.
- The Code on Social Security Bill, 2020 provides to amend and consolidate the laws relating to social security with the goal to extend social security to all employees and workers either in the organised or unorganised or any other sectors.
- The Industrial Relations Code Bill, 2020 provides to consolidate and amend the laws relating to Trade Unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishment or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes
COVID-19 RELATED LEGISLATIONS
- Some Ordinances were promulgated to mitigate the effects arising out of Covid-19 pandemic though legislative means.
- The Salary, Allowance and Pensions of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 reduces the salary payable to Members of Parliament by 30% for a period of one year commencing 01.04.2020.
- The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill, 2020 reduces the sumptuary allowance payable to each Minister by thirty per cent for a period of one year commencing from the 1.4.2020.
- The Epidemic Diseases (Amendment) Bill, 2020 intends to curb unprecedented acts of violence, including physical and mental harassment and damage to property during COVID-19 pandemic, and provides protection to healthcare service personnel.
- The Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Bill, 2020 provides to temporarily suspend initiation of corporate insolvency resolution process under the Code, initially for a period of six months or such further period, not exceeding one year from 25th March, 2020, to provide relief to companies affected by COVID-19 to recover from the financial stress without facing immediate threat of being pushed to insolvency proceedings.
- The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 proposes to merge three Ayurveda institutes namely (i) the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, (ii) Shree GulabkunverbaAyurvedMahavidyalaya, Jamnagar, and, (iii) the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar into one institution by the name of Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda. The Bill declares the Institute to be an institution of National Importance.
- The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020 will repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (i) availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine, (ii) adoption of the latest medical research by medical professionals of Indian System of Medicine, (iii) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (iv) an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
- The National Commission for Homeopathy Bill, 2020 will repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973 and provide for a medical education system which ensures: (i) availability of adequate and high quality homoeopathic medical professionals, (ii) adoption of the latest medical research by homoeopathic medical professionals, (iii) periodic assessment of medical institutions, and (iv) an effective grievance redressal mechanism.
ECONOMIC SECTOR/EASE OF DOING BUSINESS MEASURES
- Some important legislations to address the economic requirements of the country were passed during the current session.
- The Banking Regulation (Amendment)Bill, 2020 proposes to expand RBI’s regulatory control over co-operative banks in terms of management, capital, audit and liquidation so as to provide for better management and proper regulation of co-operative banks and to ensure that the affairs of the co-operative banks are conducted in a manner that protects the interests of the depositors, by increasing professionalism, enabling access to capital, improving governance and ensuring sound banking through the Reserve Bank of India.
- The Companies (Amendment) Bill, 2020 proposes to decriminalise minor procedural or technical lapses under the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013, into civil wrong; and considering the overall pendency of the courts, remove criminality in case of defaults, which can be determined objectively and which otherwise lack any element of fraud or do not involve larger public interest. In addition, to provide greater ease of living to corporates.
- The Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 facilitates to ensure financial stability and promote competitiveness in Indian financial markets by providing enforceability of bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts.
- The Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 provides for relaxation of certain provisions of the specified Acts relating to direct taxes, indirect taxes and prohibition of Benami property transactions.
Nrityanjali – An Online Film Festival On Indian Classical Dance And Maestros
‘Nrityanjali’, an online film festival on Indian Classical Dance and Maestros is scheduled to be showcased from 23rd to 25th September, 2020.
- The first part of ‘Nrityanjali’ will showcase 10 films on the life and works of India’s leading classical dancers.
- It is an initiative of Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
Films/Documentaries to be showcased based on Noted Dancers
- “Sitara Devi”: A film on doyen of Kathak Dance, hailed as the Queen of Kathak by Rabindranath Tagore.
- “Yamini Krishnamurthy”: A film on the leading Bharat Natyam exponent who also excels in Odissi and Kuchipudi.
- “Raja-Radha”: A biographical film on the well-known Kuchipudi dancer-couple Raja and Radha Reddy, who gave new dimension to the traditional Kuchipudi.
- “Guru Amubi Singh”: A film on the grand patriarch of Manipuri dance -MaisnamAmubi Singh.
- “A Luminous Jewel –Pt. BirjuMaharaj”: A film that comprehensively depicts the life and art of PanditBirjuMaharaj, one of the greatest exponents of Kathak.
- “KalamandalamGopi”:It is on the art and life of eminent Kathakali artist, KalamandalamGopi.
- “Padma”: A biopic on the acclaimed Bharatanatyam dancer Dr. Padma Subramanyam.
- “Kanak Rele”: A biographical on the classical dance exponent-choreographer, Dr. Kanak Rele, who is internationally known as an exponent of MohiniAttam.
- “Sonal”: A biopic that documents the glorious career of eminent danseuse SonalMansingh, as a Bharatanatyam and Odissi dancer-choreographer and as one who is equally adept in other dance forms like Kuchipudi and Chhau.
- “Dreamer - Swapna Sundari”: A biographical film on SwapnaSundari, an exponent of Kuchipudi and Bharatanatyam.
Classical Dances of India
- Indian Classical Dance is an umbrella under which various performing arts whose theory and practice can be traced to the Sanskrit text, Natya-Shastra, the foundational treatise by Bharata Muni.
- The SangeetNatakAkademi currently confers classical status on eight Indian classical dance styles: Bharatanatyam (Tamil Nadu), Kathak (North, West and Central India), Kathakali (Kerala), Kuchipudi (Andhra Pradesh), Odissi (Odisha), Manipuri (Manipur), Mohiniyattam (Kerala), and Sattriya (Assam).
Krishna-Godavari (KG) Basin: An Excellent Source Of Methane Hydrate
The Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin holds a massive reserve of methane hydrate and a rich source of cleaner natural gas, claims a study by the Pune-based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) of the Science & Technology Ministry.
What are Methane Hydrates?
- Methane hydrate also called ‘Fire Ice’ is a crystalline solid that consists of a methane molecule surrounded by a cage of interlocking water molecules. Methane hydrate is an "ice" that only occurs naturally in subsurface deposits where temperature and pressure conditions are favourable for its formation.
How Methane Hydratesareformed?
- Methane hydrate is formed when hydrogen-bonded water and methane gas come into contact at high pressures and low temperatures in oceans.
Where Methane Hydrates are found?
- They are found primarily on the edge of continental shelves where the seabed drops sharply away into the deep ocean floor.
Other areas where Methane Hydrate were found in India
- They are also found near the coast of Andaman and Mahanadi.
KG Basin has Maximum Diversity
- This study using molecular and culturing techniques revealed maximum methanogenic diversity in the KG basin, which is one of the prominent reasons to confirm it to be the extreme source of biogenic methane in comparison to the Andaman and Mahanadi basins.
What are Methanogens?
- Methanogens are microorganisms that produce methane as a metabolic byproduct in hypoxic conditions.
Despite huge potential, why extraction is a challenge?
- Quite apart from reaching them at the bottom of deep ocean shelves, not to mention operating at low temperatures and extremely high pressure, there is the potentially serious issue of destabilising the seabed, which can lead to submarine landslides.
- A greater potential threat is methane escape. Extracting the gas from a localised area of hydrates does not present too many difficulties, but preventing the breakdown of hydrates and subsequent release of methane in surrounding structures is more difficult.
- And escaping methane has serious consequences for global warming - recent studies suggest the gas is 30 times more damaging than CO2.
- These technical challenges are the reason why, as yet, there is no commercial-scale production of methane hydrate anywhere in the world. But a number of countries are getting close.
CSCAF 2.0 And ‘Streets For People Challenge’ Launched
- The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has launched the Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework (CSCAF) 2.0, along with the ‘Streets for People Challenge’ under the Smart Cities Mission.
- The objective of CSCAF is to provide a clear roadmap for cities towards combating Climate Change while planning and implementing their actions, including investments.
- In the last decade, an increasing frequency of cyclones, floods, heat waves, water scarcity and drought-like conditions have had adverse impacts on many of our cities. Such extreme events and risks cause loss of life as well as impact the economic growth. In this context, CSCAF initiative intends to inculcate a climate-sensitive approach to urban planning and development in India.
- The framework has 28 indicators across five categories namely; (i) Energy and Green Buildings, (ii) Urban Planning, Green Cover & Biodiversity, (iii) Mobility and Air Quality, (iv) Water Management and (v) Waste Management.
- The Climate Centre for Cities under National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) is supporting MoHUA in implementation of CSCAF.
Streets for People Challenge
- The Streets for People Challenge is the response to the need for making our cities more walkable and pedestrian friendly.
- The interventions can include inter alia creating pedestrian-friendly streets in high footfall areas, re-imagining under-flyover spaces, re-vitalizing dead neighbourhood spaces, and creating walking links through parks and institutional areas.
- Fit India Mission, under Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, along with the India program of the Institute for Transport Development and Policy (ITDP) have partnered with the Smart Cities Mission to support the challenge.
India Post Launched ‘Five Star Villages’ Scheme
The Department of Posts has launched a scheme called Five Star Villages, to ensure universal coverage of flagship postal schemes in rural areas of the country.
- The scheme is being launched on pilot basis in Maharashtra; based on the experience here, it will be implemented nation-wide.
- The scheme seeks to bridge the gaps in public awareness and reach of postal products and services, especially in interior villages.
- All postal products and services will be made available and marketed and publicized at village level, under the Five Star Villages scheme. Branch offices will function as one-stop shop to cater all post office - related needs of villagers.
The schemes covered under the Five Star scheme include:
- Savings Bank accounts, Recurrent Deposit Accounts, NSC / KVP certificates,
- Sukanya Samridhi Accounts/ PPF Accounts,
- Funded Post Office Savings Account linked India Post Payments Bank Accounts,
- Postal Life Insurance Policy/Rural Postal Life Insurance Policy and
- Pradhan Mantri Suraksha BimaYojana Account / Pradhan Mantri Jeevan JyotiBimaYojana Account.
Star Rating of Villages
- If a village attains universal coverage for four schemes from the above list, then that village gets four-star status; if a village completes three schemes, then that village get three-star status and so on.
Scheme Implementation Team
- The scheme will be implemented by a team of five GraminDakSevaks who will be assigned a village for marketing of all products, savings and insurance schemes of the Department of Posts. This team will be headed by the Branch Post Master of the concerned Branch Office.
- Mail overseer will keep personal watch on progress of team on daily basis. The teams will be led and monitored by concerned Divisional Head, Assistant Superintendents Posts and Inspector Posts.
- The team of Gramin Dak Sevaks will conduct door-to-door awareness campaign on all schemes, covering all eligible villagers. Wide publicity will be given by displaying the information on notice board of Branch Office. Prominent places of targeted villages like Panchayat Offices, schools, village dispensaries, bus depots, and markets will also be used for advertising and pamphlets will be distributed. Small melas will be organized, considering COVID-19 safety guidelines.
Training and Monitoring
- Required training and infrastructure, covering all schemes, would be provided to all branch offices in identified villages. The scheme progress and target achievement will be closely monitored at Circle, Regional and Divisional levels. Monthly progress will be reviewed by the Chief Post Master General.
Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) In Electricity
- On 1st September the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy launched pan-India Green Term Ahead Market (GTAM) in electricity.
- It will accelerate renewable penetration pan-India also compliment Government of India’s target of 175 GW RE Capacity by 2022.
Benefits of this Initiative
- The introduction of GTAM platform would lessen the burden on RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own Renewable Purchase Obligations (RPO).
- This would promote RE merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.
- GTAM platform will lead to increase in number of participants in renewable energy
- It will benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement. It will also benefit RE sellers by providing access to pan- India market.
Mechanism of GTAM
- Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers, there will not be any difficulty in accounting for RPO.
- GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO & Non-Solar RPO as RPO targets are also segregated.
- Further, within the two segments GTAM contracts will have Green Intraday, Day Ahead Contingency, Daily and Weekly Contracts
- Green Intraday Contract & Day Ahead Contingency Contract – Bidding will take place on a 15-minute time-block wise MW basis.
- Daily & Weekly Contracts – Bidding will take place on MWh basis. Both buyers and sellers can submit the bid, however the seller will provide profile in terms of 15-minute time block wise quantity (MW) along with the price (Rs/MWh). After the contract gets executed scheduling will take place as per the profile. In case of multiple buyers, the profile will get allocated on a pro-rata basis.
- Price discovery will take place on a continuous basis i.e. price time priority basis. Subsequently, looking at the market conditions open auction can be introduced for daily & weekly contracts.
- Energy scheduled through GTAM contract shall be considered as deemed RPO compliance of the buyer.