News: June 16, 2020

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/11

Civil Aviation

Acts

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The Bill converts three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into statutory bodies under the Act.  These three authorities are:
    1. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) - DGCA carries out safety oversight and regulatory functions 
      • For regulatory functions, DGCA co-ordinates with the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
    2. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) - BCAS carries out regulatory oversight functions related to civil aviation security
    3. Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB) - AAIB to carry out investigations related to aircraft accidents and incidents
  • Each of these bodies will be headed by a Director General who will be appointed by the centre.  

Drones

  • As per DGCA requirements, drone pilot training organisations must have at least three serviceable remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) of one type at any given time. RPAs are drones that can be flown beyond the visual line of sight. Once an institution fulfils these requirements, the DGCA will approve them as an  Remote pilot training organisations (RPTOs), initially for a period of five years
  • Students will be awarded course completion certificates on clearing the exam with a minimum of 70% marks.

draft Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) Rules, 2020

  • Unmanned Aircraft (UA) classified based upon the Maximum All-Up-Weight (including payload) of the UA: Nano- (250g), micro (upto 2kg), small (upto 25kg), medium (upto 150kg), large (more than 150kg)
  • No UAS or part or component thereof shall be imported or manufactured in India unless Certificate of Manufacture is obtained
  • All flights of an unmanned aircraft need permission through online platform
  • No person other than a ‗Qualified Remote Pilot‘ under these rules shall operate a UAS in India except the Nano class of UA.
  • An imagery may be captured by an unmanned aircraft except in the non permissible area
  • No Unmanned Aircraft shall carry or drop any payload, unless as specified by the Director-General.
  • Third party insurance compulsory for all UAs

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • DGCA to decide about middle seat occupancy
    • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has brought out a draft circular that proposes to allow interested organisations under the Central and State governments. Currently only few organisations are permitted to operate as RPTOs with primary focus on training fixed wing aircrafts pilots. Now, entities selected by the DGCA will be able to train drone pilots and grant commercial pilots licences and private pilot licences.
    • Food delivery apps seeking permissions for drone delivery
  • Aug, 20
    • Directorate General of Civil Aviation allows operations to resume in Karipur airport, Kerala after crash

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/11

COVID Control

Drugs

  • Dexamethasone
    • Is an anti-inflammatory drug, and has gained traction for its success against corona virus
    • UK's 'RECOVERY Trial' study showed success with low doses of Dexamethasone to target lung inflammation
    • As per Clinical Management Protocol, it can be used as an alternative to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases.
    • Dexamethasone is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    • Anti-malarial drug, which was seen as part of preventive treatment against COVID
      • WHO in June said HCQ shows very limited success in reducing mortality rate of COVID patients. Following this, India lifted all bans on its export.
    • Cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use
  • Methylprednisolone - anti-inflammatory drug used in COVID-19 treatment
  • Favipiravir
    • Sold under brand FabiFflu, is an anti-viral drug for COVID-19 patients from age group 18-75 with mild to moderate symptoms
    • Originally developed to treat influenza
  • Itolizumab 
    • From biocon, approved by ICMR for patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress
    • Normally used to cure skin ailment psoriasis
  • Remdesivir
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use for patients in moderate stage requiring oxygen support
    • As part of the agreements, the drugmakers will receive technology transfer of the manufacturing process for Remdesivir, and get to set their own prices for the generic product they produce.
    • The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 or until an alternative is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
  • Tocilizumab
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate disease with progressively increasing oxygen requirements and in mechanically ventilated patients not improving despite use of steroids
    • Thwarts pro-inflammatory cytokines released by immune system
  • Covaxin
    • Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) has permitted phase-I and II of human clinical trials of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR-National Institute of Virology
    • It is an inactivated vaccine, wherein a dead virus is injected into the body to generate an antibody response
  • Sputnik V
    • The vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector which normally causes respiratory viral infections. Vectors are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell.
    • The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
    • Sputnik V uses two vaccines using two different vectors, the second vaccination takes place in 21 days for long lasting immunity

Initiatives

  • Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19
    • By Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and diarrhoea. They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia)
    • Risk factors - For ages more than 60 years, and in those with underlying non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, etc.
    • Treatment
      • Mild COVID-19 cases - may be given symptomatic treatment such as antipyretic (Paracetamol) for fever and pain.
      • Moderate COVID019 cases - patients will be isolated in Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) or District hospital or Medical College hospitals.
      • Severe - Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may be considered for any of those having high risk features for severe disease
  • Policy Responses to COVID19: Policy tracker by International Monetary Fund, summarizes the key economic responses, governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (CESI)
    • By Columbia University and World Bank, the index standardises the economic responses taken by governments, thus allowing use to study cross-country differences in policies
    • The two main components of index are: fiscal stimulus package (as a percentage of GDP) and the interest rate cut by the monetary policy authority 

Terminology

  • Pre-symptomatic spread - Pre-symptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who don't look or feel sick, but will eventually get symptoms later. 
  • Asymptomatic spread  - Asymptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and will never get symptoms from their infection.
  • Spike protein / S protein - A protein that protrudes from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus that attaches it to human enzyme ACE2 receptor, after which the virus enters the cell and makes multiple copies of itself.

Tests

  • Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay antibody test (ELISA)
    • developed by National Institute of Virology in Pune along with Zydus Cadila. 
    • The blood sample is placed inside the small wells of an ELISA plate. These plates are coated with the antigen or the inactivated form of the virus. If the blood contains antibodies, it binds to the antigen and a substrate solution is added to the well. The reaction usually produces a colour change, thus detecting antibodies.
    • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys - which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection, and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT)
    • Approved by ICMR. RADT checks for antigen production from a nasal swab.
      • An antigen means any toxin in the body which produces an immune response.
    • It takes about 30 minutes to give result. However rapid test has been found to have a higher chance of false negatives.
  • Real Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
    • Real time RT–PCR is one of the most precise (and expensive) laboratory methods for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
    • Cleared by ICMR, it takes about 1 day to get result
    • Once the swab is taken, RT–PCR checks for virus's RNA
    • RT–PCR cannot be used for detecting past infections, only for active infections.
  • TrueNat
    • Commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV 
    • Cleared by ICMR, it works on same principle of RT-PCR. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs
    • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes.

A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys

Treatment

  • Convalescent plasma therapy
    • Convalescent plasma therapy is a passive immunisation process. It is simply the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies from immune survivors of infectious diseases to the affected individuals
    • As per protocol by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , Convalescent plasma therapy may be considered for patients with moderate illness with no improvement in condition despite the use of steroids.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SARS-COVID 2, COVID-19
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • Russian vaccine clears first phase clinical trial.
    • ICMR cautions itolizumab, tocilizumab over claims of significantly reducing mortality rates
    • A new research shows spike protein changing its shape to hairpin form after attaching to ACE2 receptors
  • Aug, 20
    • Russia registers first COVID-19 vaccine

 

News: 3/11

Nuclear Energy

Treaties

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) serves as the world’s foremost intergovernmental forum for scientific and technical cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy. It is also known as Atoms for Peace and Development organisation

  • Established in 1957 as an autonomous international organization within United Nation
  • Under IAES, every non-nuclear-weapon State undertakes the obligation for comprehensive safeguards
  • IAEA General Conference is held annually. The conference elects a President and members of General Committee at the beginning of each annual session.
  • It also serves as a multilateral channel for transferring peaceful applications of nuclear technology
  • IAEA is not a party to the NPT but is entrusted with a key verification role under it. Under the NPT, the IAEA has a specific role as the international safeguards inspectorate.

Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)

  • Signed in 2015, between Iran, P5 nations, Germany and European Union to check Iran's nuclear us by passing UN Resolution 2231
  • IAEA to get access to all of Iran's nuclear facilities

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • IAEA expresses concerns over Iran blocking nuclear activity inspection
  • July, 20
    • Delay in Chabahar port and India US Iran relations.

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/11

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

  • Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), is an autonomous body under Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • CSIR was constituted in 1942 under the provision of the Registration of Societies Act
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering and information technology

National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI)

  • It was established in Nagpur in 1958 with focus on water supply, sewage disposal,communicable diseases and to some extent on industrial pollution and occupational diseases

North East Institute of Science and Technology (CSIR-NEIST)

  • It was established in 1961 as one of the multidisciplinary laboratories of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research(CSIR) under its Chemical Science Group of laboratories

[In news]

  • CSIR-NEIST to study reported tremors in Assam's Baghjan area
  • CSIR-NEERI Researching Lonar lake pink coloration

Sub: Geography
Topic: Environment
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/11

Environmental Bodies In India

Acts

Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)

  • EPA was introduced as an umbrella legislation that provides a holistic framework for the protection and improvement to the environment.
  • Environment Protection Act, 1986 was passed and enacted under Article 253 of constitution
  • It clearly defined the term ‘environment’ as a reference for all undertakings that were concerned with the environment 
  • EPA allowed for formulation of guidelines for the management of hazardous substances and national environmental standards.

Environmental impact assessment (EIA)

Environmental impact assessment is a planning process to predict, assess, and mitigate the potential impacts of project development on the biophysical and human environment. In 1994, the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF), under the Environmental (Protection) Act 1986, promulgated EIA notification, making Environmental Clearance (EC) mandatory for expansion or modernization of any activity or for setting up new projects listed in Schedule 1 of the notification. An EIA notification is issued under Section 3 of the Environment Protection Act.

draft Environment Impact Assessment Notification, 2020

Released by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), EIA Notification 2020 is to replace and supersede EIA Notification 2006.

  • Categorization of projects and activities: All projects are divided into three categories
    • Category ‘A’: Category ‘A’ projects, including expansion and modernization shall require prior Environment Clearance from the Ministry
    • Category ‘B1’: Category ‘B1’ projects, including expansion and modernization of existing projects, excluding those near sensitive or protected zones (Polluted areas, protected areas, inter state boundaries, etc), shall require prior Environment Clearance from State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) or Union Territory Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (UTEIAA)
    • Category ‘B2’: Category ‘B2’ projects that are required to be placed before Appraisal Committee as specified in the Schedule, shall require prior Environment Clearance from SEIAA or UTEIAA. Such projects shall not require any Scoping
  • Linear projects such as roads and pipelines in border areas (100km from boundary) will not require any public hearing
  • All inland waterways projects and expansion/widening of national highways will be exempted from public clearance.
  • Post-facto clearance: Starting a project before obtaining environmental approvals will no longer be a violation, and it can be regularised post-facto. 
  • Reduces public consultation hearings to a maximum of 40 days, and reduces response submission during public hearing to 20 days
  • For environment assessment, baseline data will be collected once (twice for river valley projects)
  • Section 14 provides exemption from public consultation, also limiting the scope of public involvement to the districts concerned, in the case of national parks and sanctuaries where pipeline infrastructure will pass.
  • Section 26 provides a list of projects that would not attract environmental clearance or permission, including coal mining and seismic surveys for oil, methane and shale gas on some lands

Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974

To provide for prevention, control and abatement of water pollution and the maintenance or restoration of the wholesomeness of water. The Act provides for constitution of central and State Boards for preventing water pollution

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • CPCB is a statutory organisation, constituted in 1974, under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974. 
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests of the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986. 
  • CPCB is under mandate - to promote cleanliness of streams and wells in different areas of the States by prevention, control and abatement of water pollution; and to improve the quality of air and to prevent, control or abate air pollution.
  • Recent Initiatives
    • CPCB will classify railway stations under the red, orange and green categories based on the quantity of waste water generated.

Bodies

National Green Tribunal (NGT)

  • National Green Tribunal was set under National Green Tribunal Act 2010, for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources
  • NGT is guided by principles of natural justice. NGT is vested with the powers of a civil court under the Code of Civil Procedure for discharging its functions. NGT does not have suo moto power to take a case.
  • NGT has original jurisdiction over all civil cases involving a substantial question relating to environment 
    • Substantial questions are those which affect the community at large, and not just individuals or groups of individuals.
  • NGT consist of both judicial and expert members. Judicial members must have been judges of the Supreme Court or High Courts. Chairperson should either be a judge of Supreme Court or Chief Justice of High Court
  • NGT has the power to hear all civil cases relating to environmental issues and questions that are linked to the implementation of laws listed in Schedule I of the NGT Act. These are:
    1. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974
    2. The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Cess Act, 1977
    3. The Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980
    4. The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981
    5. The Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 (EPA)
    6. The Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991
    7. The Biological Diversity Act, 2002

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • EPA, TERI - Baghjan oil field fire in Tinsukia district, Assam
    • NGT imposes fine on Karnataka government over pollution in Kithiganahalli Lake
    • NGT imposes fine on LG chem for Visakhapatnam gas leak
  • July, 20
    • Parliamentary panel to discuss draft EIA
  • Aug, 20
    • NGT orders OIL to disburse compensation ranging from ₹2.5 lakh to ₹25 lakh to those affected by the oil well blowout in Assam’s Tinsukia

Sub: Politics
Topic: Governance Policies and Welfare schemes
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 6/11

Northern States Policies And Schemes In Focus

Chhattisgarh

  • Godhan Nyay Yojana: To protect crops from open grazing, prevent straying of animals on roads, procuring cow dung for composting and eco friendly activities

Delhi

  • Electric Vehicle Policy:
    • To boost the city’s economy, reduce pollution levels and generate employment in the transport sector. It also includes incentives for the purchase of electric vehicles.
    • To seek rapid adoption of Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) so that they contribute to 25% of all new vehicle registrations by 2024
    • A State EV Fund’, to be created which will be funded through the air ambience fund, levy of additional taxes, cess on inefficient or polluting vehicles
    • Shall remain valid for a period of three years i.e. till 2023

Haryana

  • Parivar Pehchan Patra - PPP is an e-governance initiative that will enable the citizens to get the benefit of various Centre and State government schemes at their door-step in a fair and transparent manner. a separate Citizen Resources Information Department (CRID) has been established to give further momentum to the PPP programme.

Jammu and Kashmir

  • Jammu and Kashmir Grant Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules
    • Individuals who have resided in J&K for 15 years or have studied for seven years or appeared in examinations for class 10th or 12th can be eligible for the grant of a domicile certificate.
    • The eligibility also extends to West Pakistan refugees registered as migrants under the erstwhile state’s Relief and Rehabilitation Commission.
    • Tehsildar  (Executive Magistrate) can issue domicile certificate in most cases, and Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner can issue certificattes for migrants. 

Madhya Pradesh

  • Satna-Bansagar Multi-Village Rural Water Supply Scheme: To bring treated water from the Bansagar Dam on the Son river to 1,019 villages in six blocks of the districts

Maharashtra

  • Magnetic Maharashtra 2.0 - To draw investment to state
  • BMC-Mpower 1on1 - 24x7 helpline to address mental health concerns of citizens in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic
  • Chhatrapati Shahu Maharaj Research Training and Human Development Institute (SARTHI) - Non-Profit government company for research, policy advocacy, and training for socio-economic and education development of Maratha and Kunbi community

Punjab

  • Digital Punjab - To create a single interface for all grievances with government

Rajasthan

  • Indira Rasoi Yojana - for providing nutritious food to the poor and needy twice a day at concessional rates

[In News: Latest]

  • July, 20
    • Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Thursday announced a financial aid of ₹8 crore to SARTHI
  • Aug, 20
    • Haryana to link welfare schemes through ‘Parivar Pehchan Patra’
    • Delhi government launches Electric Vehicle Policy

Sub: Society
Topic: Social Welfare Children and Women
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 7/11

Women Related Acts And Bodies

Acts

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

  • Provides for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners.
  • Pregnancy may be terminated within 12 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner of abnormality in baby or risk to mother, and within 20 weeks with the opinion of two registered medical practitioner
  • Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020
    • Pregnancy may be terminated within 20 weeks with the opinion of a registered medical practitioner, and within 24 weeks with the opinion of two registered medical practitioner
    • A medical board may breach upper limit in case of diagnosis of substantial foetal abnormalities

Bodies

National Commission for Women (NCW)

  • NCW is an autonomous body under Ministry of Women and Child Development 
  • Statutory body constituted in 1992 under the National Commission for Women Act,1990
  • NCW is composed of a Chairperson, five members, and a Member-Secretary appointed by Centre

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NCW registered a spike of 2.5 times in domestic violence complaints since the lockdown
  • July, 20
    • Delhi High Court on 14th July allowed a woman’s plea seeking termination of her over 23-week pregnancy

Sub: Society
Topic: Farming Sector
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 8/11

Schemes facilitating farm produce

Acts

Agricultural Produce and Livestock Marketing (Promotion & Facilitation) Act, 2017 (APLM Act)

APL Act was introduced to provide single market within a state, private wholesale markets, direct sale by farmers to bulk buyers, and promotion of electronic trading. As agriculture is a state subject, states are free to adopt entire or parts of Model Act

  • The draft law proposes to cap market fees and commission charges payable by a farmer after bringing produce to a wholesale market, and help create a national market with provisions for an inter-state trading licence.
  • Traders will be able to transact in all markets within a state by paying a single fee and sell perishables such as fruits and vegetables outside existing mandis
  • Existing market committees will help develop marketing facilities. All regulatory powers will lie with the office of the director of agricultural marketing in the state, who will also issue licenses to traders and new private players.

Model Contract Farming Act, 2018

Also called, State/UT Agricultural Produce and Livestock Contract Farming and Services (Promotion & Facilitation) Act 2018, the Act aims for integration of farmers with bulk purchasers including exporters, agro- industries etc. for better price realization.

The Act has been prepared by Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare for circulation to the States for its adoption. It is a promotional and facilitative Act and not regulatory in its structure. Key features are:

  • Contracted produce is to be covered under crop / livestock insurance in operation.
  • Contract framing to be outside the ambit of APMC Act.
  • No right, title of interest of the land shall vest in the sponsor.
  • FPO/FPC can be a contracting party if so authorized by the farmers.
  • Contract Farming Facilitation Group (CFFG) for promoting contract farming and services at village / panchayat level 

Essential Commodities Act, 1955

  • For the control of the production, supply and distribution of, and trade and commerce, in certain commodities.
  • Essential commodities are commodities which are defined in the Schedule, and Centre has the authority to add or remove items from Schedule
  • At present, the “Schedule” contains 9 commodities `— drugs; fertilisers, whether inorganic, organic or mixed; foodstuffs, including edible oils; hank yarn made wholly from cotton; petroleum and petroleum products; raw jute and jute textiles; seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables, seeds of cattle fodder, jute seed, cotton seed; face masks; and hand sanitisers.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020

The ordinance has been passed to liberalise the regulatory system. Amendments have been proposed to remove commodities such as cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of regulated essential commodities. This move is expected to attract private investments.

  • The Ordinance provides that the central government may regulate the supply of certain food items including cereals, pulses, potato, onions, edible oilseeds, and oils, only under extraordinary circumstances.  These include: (i) war, (ii) famine, (iii) extraordinary price rise and (iv) natural calamity of grave nature.
  • Any action on imposing stock limits will be based on the price rise. The Ordinance requires that imposition of any stock limit on certain specified items must be based on price rise.  A stock limit may be imposed only if there is: (i) 100% increase in retail price of horticultural produce; and (ii) 50% increase in the retail price of non-perishable agricultural food item
  • The provisions of the Ordinance regarding the regulation of food items and the imposition of stock limits will not apply to any government order relating to the Public Distribution System

Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance, 2020

  • It seeks to provide for intra-state and inter-state trade of farmers’ produce outside state APMC. The Ordinance will prevail over state APMC Acts.
  • However, to trade in scheduled farmers’ produce (agricultural produce specified and regulated under state APMC Acts), an entity must be either:
    • a farmer producer organisation or agricultural cooperative society
    • a person having PAN card or any other document notified by the central government.
  • A person in contravention will be subject to a penalty between Rs 25,000 and five lakh rupees.
  • The Ordinance permits the electronic trading of farmers’ produce in the specified trade area. The following entities may establish and operate such platforms:
    • companies, partnership firms, or registered societies, having permanent account number under the Income Tax Act or any other document notified by the central government, and
    • farmer producer organisation or agricultural cooperative society. 
  • A person transacting with a farmer will be required to make payments to the farmer on the same day, or within three working days in certain conditions, for any transaction of scheduled farmers’ produce.
  • The Ordinance prohibits state governments from levying any market fee, cess or levy on farmers, traders, and electronic trading platforms for any trade under the Ordinance. 
  • The parties involved in a trade-related dispute may apply to the Sub-Divisional Magistrate for relief through conciliation.

Bodies

Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC)

Agriculture is a state subject under Seventh Schedule, so agriculture markets are generally established and regulated by state governments. While intra-state trades fall under the jurisdiction of state governments, inter-state trading comes under Central or Federal Government (including intra-state trading in a few commodities like raw jute, cotton, etc.)

  • APMC is a statutory market committee constituted by a State Governments in respect of trade in certain notified agricultural or horticultural or livestock products  under the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act issued by that state government
  • Responsibilities
    • It ensures transparency in pricing system and transactions taking place in market area
    • To ensure payment for agricultural produce sold by farmers on the same day
    • To publicize data on arrivals and rates of agricultural produce brought into the market area for sale

electronic National Agriculture Market (e-NAM)

  • e-NAM was launched in 2016 by Ministry of Agriculture
  • National Agriculture Market (eNAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal which networks the existing APMC mandis to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.

Initiatives

Pradhan Mantri KIsan SAmman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)

Launched in 2018  with an aim to provide income support to all land holding eligible farmer families. The scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.

  • Under the PM-KISAN scheme, all landholding farmers' families shall be provided the financial benefit of Rs. 6000 per annum per family payable in three equal installments of Rs. 2000 each, every four months.
  • All land holding eligible farmer families, irrespective of the size of land holdings (subject to the prevalent exclusion criteria), can avail benefits under scheme. Following categories of beneficiaries shall not be eligible:
    • All Institutional Land holders
    • Farmer families in which one or more of its members belong to following categories 
      • All Persons who paid Income Tax in last assessment year
      • Former and present holders of constitutional posts 
      • All serving or retired officers and employees of Central/ State Government Ministries 
      • All retired pensioners whose monthly pension is Rs.10,000 or more (excluding Multi Tasking Staff / Class IV/Group D employees) 
      • Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Lawyers, Chartered Accountants, and Architects registered with Professional bodies 
  • States to prepare database of eligible beneficiary landholder farmer families in the villages 
  •  It is a Central Sector scheme with 100% funding from Government of India, and funds are directly transferred into the bank accounts

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund 

  • Agriculture Infrastructure Fund is a medium - long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
  • The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years).
  • Financing facility  scheme: New Central Sector Scheme of financing facility launched under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund of Rs. 1 Lakh Crore. The scheme will support farmers, Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society  (PACS), Farmers Production Organisations (FPO), Agri-entrepreneurs, etc. in building community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure. These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage, and increase processing and value addition.

 

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • Punjab has sought reconsideration of the three ordinances - for permitting trade in agricultural produce outside the physical boundaries of the set-up of the agricultural market under APMC Act, easing of restrictions under the Essential Commodities Act, and facilitating contract farming.
    • The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance to amend The Essential Commodities Act, 1955
    • Protest against Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Ordinance
  • Aug, 20
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi launches financing facility under Agriculture Infrastructure Fund, and released the sixth instalment of funds under the PM-KISAN scheme

Sub: History
Topic: Art & Culture Performing Arts
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 9/11

Performing Arts In Focus

Puppetry

  • Thorpaavai koothu - Shadow puppetry art from Tamil Nadu
  • Marapaavai koothu - String puppetry art from Tamil Nadu

Theatre

Theatres of South India

  • Theru koothu
    • Street theatre in Tamil Nadu. The stories are derived from the Puranas, the Mahabharata, and the Ramayana. Songs predominate, while much of the dialogue is improvised. 
    • 11 types of koothu are mentioned in Silappadikkaram, but Therukoothu has remained the only total theatre with the actor having to sing, dance, speak and perform rituals.
  • Yakshagana theatre
    • It originated in the royals courts of the Vijaynagar empire and was performed by a particular community known as Jakkula Varu. 
    • It is stil prevalent in the regions of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Originally, it was largely a descriptive dance-drama enacted by a single artist. Later forms adopted further variations and became a typical dance drama.
    • Popular Yakshagana Plays Garudachalam by Obayya Mantri, Krishna-Hiramani by Srinddha and Sugriva Vijayam by Rudra Kavi.
    • Some of the popular variants of Yakshagana are Lalita in Maharashtra, Bhavai in Gujarat, Talamaddale in Karnataka and Kerala, and Gandharva Gana in Nepal.
    • Tala-maddale
      • Tala-Maddale is an ancient form of performance dialogue or debate performance
      • Unlike the Yakshagana performance, in the conventional ‘talamaddale,’ the artists sit across in a place without any costumes and engage in testing their oratory skills based on the episode chosen.
      • If music is common for both Yakshagana performance and ‘talamaddale’, the latter has only spoken word without any dance or costumes.
      • Hence it is an art form minus dance, costumes and stage conventions.

[In News]

  • The traditional art of ‘talamaddale’, a variant of Yakshagana theatre, too has gone virtual in times of COVID-19.
  • Koothu goes virtual

Sub: Society
Topic: Social Welfare SC, ST and Backward Classes
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 10/11

Tribal upliftment initiatives

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Federation of India [TRIFED]

  • TRIFED administered by Ministry of Tribal Affairs, has its key objectives of market developer and service provider. TRIFED is the only body of the Government of India at the national level engaged in marketing development of tribal products including art & craft items.
  • It was established in August 1987 under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act.
  •  Initiatives
    • Tribes India - TRIFED owned shops for marketing tribal products
    • Aadi Mahotsav and Tribal Artisan Melas (TAMs) - for showcasing tribal crafts

Van Dhan Yojana

  • Launched in 2018 by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and TRIFED, it seeks to improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products.
  • At unit level, aggregation of produce would be done by Self Help Groups having about 30 members each forming Van Dhan Vikas ‘Samuh’.
  •  cluster of ten such SHGs within the same village shall form a 'Van Dhan Vikas Kendra'. 
  • The establishment of "Van Dhan Vikas Kendra" is for providing skill upgradation and capacity building training and setting up of primary processing and value addition facility. 

Tribes in focus

  • Assam
    • Bodo, Misings, Deoris, Rabhas, Sonowal-Kacharis, Tiwas
  • Kerala
    • Cholanaikar 
  • Odisha
    • Santhal, Zuang, Sawara, Karia, Khond,
  • Tripura
    • Bru/Reang 

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Assamese language made compulsory in all schools, both public and private, including the Kendriya Vidyalayas, from Classes I to X.

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution Constitutional and Statutory bodies
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 11/11

Human Rights

Human Rights Commission

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) 

  • Established in 1993, NHRC is a statutory body created under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • Composition
    • The commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairman and four members appointed by President, based on a six member committee headed by Prime Minister.
    • The chairman should be a retired chief justice of India. The members should be serving or retired judges of the Supreme Court, a serving or retired chief justice of a high court and two persons having knowledge or practical experience with respect to human rights.
    • They can be removed by President on grounds defined in Act, but for grounds on proven misbehavior, President has to refer to Supreme Court.
    • The commission also has four ex-officio members - the chairmen of the National Commission for Minorities, the National Commission for SCs, the National Commission for STs, and the National Commission for Women
  • NHRC has suo moto power to inquire into any case of human rights violation by a public servant. The case can only be taken by Commission within one year from date on which alleged violation occurred.
  • Statistics
    • Since 2017, NHRC has received 5300 complains of custodial death

State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) 

  • Established in 1993, SHRC is a statutory body created under Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • Composition
    • The commission is a multi-member body consisting of a chairman and two members
    • They are appointed by the Governor on the recommendations of a committee consisting of the chief minister as its head, the speaker of the Legislative Assembly, the state home minister and the leader of the opposition in the Legislative Assembly. In the case of a state having Legislative Council, the chairman of the Council and the leader of the opposition in the Council would also be the members of the committee.
    • The chairperson should be a retired Chief Justice of a High Court and members should be a serving or retired judge of a High Court or a District Judge in the state with a minimum of seven years experience as District Judge
      • A sitting judge of a High Court or a sitting District Judge can be appointed only after consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court of the concerned state.
    • They hold office for a term of five years or until they attain the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier. After their tenure, the chairperson and members are not eligible for further employment under a state government or the Central government.
    • They can be removed by President (not Governor) on grounds defined in Act, but for grounds on proven misbehavior, President has to refer to Supreme Court.
    • Their remuneration is determined by state governments
  • Inquiry
    • A State Human Rights Commission can inquire into violation of human rights only in respect of subjects mentioned in the State List and the Concurrent List of the Seventh Schedule
    • State Human Rights Commission does not inquire into cases already being inquired by National Human Rights Commission or any other Statutory Commission
    • The Commission is vested with the power to regulate its own procedure. It has all the powers of a civil court and its proceedings have a judicial character. It may call for information or report from the state government
    • SHRC has suo moto power to inquire into any case of human rights violation by a public servant. The case can only be taken by Commission within one year from date on which alleged violation occurred.
    • Functions of SHRC are mainly recommendatory in nature. It has no power to punish the violators of human rights, nor to award any relief including monetary relief to the victim. Further its recommendations are non binding on State.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NHRC issued notice to IRDA over high premiums for medical policies for healthcare workers during COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu SHRC looking into alleged thrashing in custody.
  • July, 20
    • Custodial death - Law requires prosecution to prove that the police caused the death.

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