11th Dec, 2020

Foundation stone laid for New Parliament Building

Indian Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of the New Parliament Building recently.

The new parliament building is a part of ₹ 20,000 crore Central Vista project.

The four-story building will be triangular and its interiors will have three national symbols – the lotus, the peacock and the banyan tree – as its themes.

The parliament building will be ready in 2022.

The old Parliament building will be turned into a museum.

The new Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha halls will have increased seating capacities.

In addition, seating in the Lok Sabha hall can be expanded to 1,272 to host joint sessions.

Dholpur stone will be the primary construction material and red granite may replace red sandstone in some interior sections.

The building will be equipped with modern audio-visual communication systems. 

It will also be fully wheelchair- and disabled-access friendly.

Bills proposing death penalty for rape approved by Maharashtra cabinet

In order to curb crimes against women and children in Maharashtra, the state cabinet approved two draft bills that propose death penalty for cases of rape, acid attack and child abuse.

The two interconnected bills are the Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law (Maharashtra Amendment) Act 2020 and the Special Court and Machinery for Implementation of Maharashtra Shakti Criminal Law 2020.

These bills are part of Shakti Act.

They seek to amend relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Criminal Procedural Code (CrPC) and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The bills also have provisions to increase the quantum of punishment, including life term, cover new categories of crimes, and propose a mechanism for speedy trials.

The media is not allowed to report the name of a rape victim. 

The proposed Acts will provide similar protection to victims of molestation and even acid attack.

The draft bills propose to amend IPC Section 376 (rape) to increase the quantum of punishment to life term or death penalty in heinous cases where there’s adequate conclusive evidence or exemplary punishment is warranted.

Karnataka’s New Anti-Cow Slaughter Bill

Karnataka passed the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill (2020) in the Assembly.

The Bill envisages a ban on all forms of cattle slaughter and stringent punishment for offenders.

‘Beef’ is defined as the flesh of cattle in any form.

The word ‘cattle’ is defined as “cow, calf of a cow and bull, bullock, and he or she buffalo below the age of 13 years”.

The Bill also terms shelters established for the protection and preservation of cattle registered with the Department of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries as ‘gau shalas’.

Police officers ranked sub-inspector and above or a competent authority will have the power to search premises and seize cattle and materials used or intended to use to commit the offence.

Cow slaughter is termed as a cognizable offence in the bill.

Violators can attract 3 to 7 years of imprisonment. 

While a penalty between Rs 50,000 and Rs 5 lakh can be levied for the first offence, second and subsequent offences can attract penalties ranging between Rs 1 lakh and Rs 10 lakh.

New species of Indian Muraingrasses spotted by scientists in Goa

A new species of Indian Muraingrasses (Genus Ischaemum) have been spotted by scientists in Goa in the Western Ghats.

It is known for their ecological and economic importance, such as fodder.

The discovered novel species was named Ischaemumjanarthanamii from plateaus of Western Ghats of Goa.

It was named so in honour of Prof. M. K. Janarthanam, Professor of Botany, Goa University, for his contribution to the Indian grass taxonomy and documentation of the floristic diversity of Goa state.

It grows on low altitude lateritic plateaus in the outskirts of Bhagwan Mahavir National Park, Goa. 

The species has adapted to survive harsh conditions, low nutrient availability, and blossoms every monsoon.

Globally 85 species are known from Ischaemum, of which 61 species are exclusively found in India. 

The Western Ghats have 40 species with the highest concentration of the genus.

India attends ADMM-PLUS Meeting virtually

Indian Defence Minister recently attended the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus organized online at Hanoi, Vietnam that marked the 10th anniversary of ADMM Plus.

ASEAN Defense Minister’s Meeting-Plus (ADMM-Plus)

ADMM-Plus is the only official framework of Defense Minister’s meetings in the Asia-Pacific Region. 

It is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

Members: The ADMM-Plus comprises the ten ASEAN countries as well as Australia, China, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.

Established in: 2010.

BSNL announces Satellite-Based Narrow Band-IoT

BSNL, in partnership with Skylotech India, announced a breakthrough in satellite-based NB-IoT (Narrow Band-Internet of Things).

This is indigenously developed by Skylo.

It will connect with BSNLs satellite- ground infrastructure and provide PAN-India coverage, including Indian seas.

The coverage will be so vast that it will not leave any dark patch within the boundary of India.

This is the world’s first satellite-based NB-IoT network.

This new technology supports India’s plan of bringing indigenous IoT connectivity to India’s core sectors.

This technology has already been tested successfully in Indian Railways, fishing vessels, and enabling connected vehicles across India.

A small, smart, incredibly rugged box, the Skylo ‘User Terminal’ interfaces with sensors and transmits data to the Skylo Network and into people’s hands.

New ‘Policy on School Bag 2020’ by the Ministry of Education 

According to the new Policy on School Bag, School bags should not be more than 10% of the body weight of students across classes I to X and there should be no homework till class II.

The new Policy also recommends that the weight of the bag needs to be monitored on a regular basis in schools.

They should be light-weight with two padded and adjustable straps that can squarely fit on both shoulders and no wheeled carriers should be allowed.

The policy even recommends that the weight of each textbook may come printed on them by the publishers.

The recommendations have been arrived based on various surveys and studies conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT).

The ‘Policy also recommended good quality mid-day meal and potable water to all the students so that they need not carry lunch boxes or water bottles.

The policy said there should be no bags in pre-primary. 

Public Wi-Fi Networks

The government has given its approval for setting up of Public Wi-Fi Networks by Public Data Office Aggregators (PDOAs) to provide public Wi-Fi service through Public Data Offices (PDOs) spread across the country to accelerate proliferation of Broadband Internet services through Public Wi-Fi network.

This Public Wi-Fi Access Network Interface will be known as PM-WANI.

PM-WANI eco-system will be operated by different players:

  • Public Data Office (PDO): It will establish, maintain, and operate only WANI compliant Wi-Fi Access Points and deliver broadband services to subscribers.
  • Public Data Office Aggregator (PDOA): It will be an aggregator of PDOs and perform the functions relating to Authorization and Accounting.
  • App Provider: It will develop an App to register users and discover WANI compliant Wi-Fi hotspots in the nearby area and display the same within the App for accessing the internet service.
  • Central Registry: It will maintain the details of App Providers, PDOAs, and PDOs. The Central Registry will be maintained by C-DoT.

No registration would be required for PDOs.

PDOAs and App Providers will get themselves registered with DoT through online registration portal (SARALSANCHAR) of DoT, without paying any registration fee.

There shall be no license fee for providing Broadband Internet through these public Wi-Fi networks.

The proposal will promote the growth of Public Wi-Fi Networks in the country.

It will help in proliferation of Broadband Internet, enhancement of income and employment and empowerment of people.

Human Rights Day

Human Rights Day was celebrated by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

It is celebrated on the 10th December every year to commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

The Declaration recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of mankind are the foundation of justice, freedom and peace in the world.

2020 Theme: Recover Better – Stand Up for Human Rights.

National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC)

Since its inception on the 12th October, 1993, the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) has endeavoured to promote a culture of human rights.

The NHRC is a recommendatory body as per the Protection of Human Rights Act passed by Parliament.