CURRENT AFFAIRS


18th Sep, 2020

 

India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA)

India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment, DCOC/JA, as an Observer.

Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment

DCOC/JA is a grouping on maritime matters comprising 18 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East Coast of Africa and Island countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

The DCOC was established in January 2009.

Aim: Repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.

Japan, Norway, the UK and the US are also the Observers to the DCOC/JA.


 

Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020

Recently, Indian Parliament has passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill, 2020 in the Rajya Sabha approving it. The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

It seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934.

It has provisions to convert three existing bodies under the Ministry of Civil Aviation into statutory bodies. 

These three authorities are –

(1) Directorate General of Civil Aviation;

(2) the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security;

(3) Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau.

Under the bill, each of these bodies will be headed by a Director General who will be appointed by the centre.

The Bill raises the maximum limit on fines from 10 lakh rupees to one crore rupees.

These fines are related to carrying arms, explosives and other dangerous goods aboard aircraft and constructing building or structures within the specified radius around an aerodrome reference point.


 

Draft Of Electricity (Rights Of Consumers) Rules, 2020

The Central Power Ministry has drafted rules recently which provide for Rights of Electricity Consumers for the first time.

Draft Rules have been circulated by Ministry of Power on 9th of September for seeking comments and suggestions of consumers up to 30th September.

According to the draft, State Electricity Regulatory Commissions (SERCs) will fix average number and duration of outages per Electricity consumer per year for DISCOMs.

Only two documents will be required for connection up to load of 10 KW and no estimation of demand charges will be required for loads up to 150 KW to expedite giving connection.

There will be a time period of not more than seven days in metro cities, 15 days in other municipal areas and 30 days in rural areas, to provide new connection and modify existing connection.

There will be option to pay bills in cash, cheque, debit cards and net banking.

Bills of Rs. 1,000 or more have to be paid online.


 

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020

 

Lok Sabha passed the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020. 

The Bill will replace the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Ordinance which was promulgated in June, 2020.

The Bill seeks to amend the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

It empowers the central government in terms of production, supply, distribution, trade, and commerce of certain commodities under extraordinary circumstances.

The Central government will be able to designate certain commodities including food items, fertilizers, and petroleum products as essential commodities.

The Bill empowers the central government to regulate the stock of an essential commodity that a person can hold.

The extraordinary circumstances include war, famine, extraordinary price rise and natural calamity of grave nature.

The provisions of the bill 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 or the Targeted Public Distribution System.


 

Salary, Allowances And Pension Of Members Of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Lok Sabha unanimously passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

The Bill will replace the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance which was promulgated in April, 2020.

The Bill seeks to reduce the salaries of MPs and the sumptuary allowance of Ministers by 30%. 

It also seeks to reduce the constituency allowance and office expenses allowance of MPs.

The Bill makes these changes effective for a period of one year, effective from 1st April, 2020.

The Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954 provides for the salary, allowances and pension of Members of Parliament.

Article 106: The members of either House of Parliament shall be entitled to receive such salaries and allowances as may from time to time be determined by Parliament by law.


 

Institute Of Teaching And Research In Ayurveda Bill 2020

The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020 has been passed by Rajya Sabha.

The Bill has been passed in Lok Sabha.

This paves the way to establish a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic institution called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar, Gujarat.

It will also be conferred with the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to it.

ITRA will be the first institution with INI status in the AYUSH Sector.

The ITRA is sought to be established by conglomerating the presently existing Ayurveda institutes at Gujarat Ayurved University campus Jamnagar. 


 

India-Japan Logistics Agreement

Recently Logistics Agreement was signed between India and Japan.

It is aimed at greater maritime cooperation.

It can upgrade India-Japan naval exercises.

It establishes the enabling framework for closer cooperation between the armed forces of both countries in reciprocal provision of supplies and services.

It will also enhance the interoperability, assistance in maintaining regional security and further increase the bilateral defence engagements.

It will remain in force for 10 years and will be automatically extended for periods of 10 years unless one of the parties decides to end it.


 

Low Ozone Over Brahmaputra River Valley observed

Recently, scientists at the Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Nainital, have evaluated the near surface ozone in the Brahmaputra River Valley (BRV).

They assessed seasonal characteristics of ozone to identify the emission source of ozone and its precursors, especially methane (CH4) and non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs).

Scientists have found relatively low concentration of ozone over BRV (Guwahati – Assam) compared to the other urban locations in India.

The pattern of ozone concentrations in the BRV indicated that it was strongly influenced by local oxides of nitrogen (NOx) sources with an adjacent national highway being the likely major source.

High ozone winter concentrations were observed. 

This could be due to local biomass burning providing reactive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that contributed to ozone formation.

In the pre-monsoon season, an impact of solar radiation (SR) on the photochemical formation of O3 was observed.


 

Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme

Women Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) stepped up as effective frontline responders during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Start-Up Village Entrepreneurship Programme (SVEP) 

SVEP is a sub-scheme of the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM).

Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development.

Implemented: 2016.

It has extended business support services and capital infusion to 153 blocks of 23 states as of August 2020.

Partner: Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India (EDII), Ahmedabad. 

Aim: 

(1) Support the rural poor to come out of poverty;

(2) Support the people to set up enterprises and provide support until the enterprises stabilize;

(3) Providing self-employment opportunities with financial assistance and training 

It addresses three major pillars of rural start-ups namely finances, incubation and skill ecosystems.


 

Indian Brain Templates developed at NIMHANS

A team of neuroscientists from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) has developed Indian Brain Templates (IBT) and a brain atlas. 

Neuroscientists studied over 500 brain scans of Indian patients to develop five sets of Indian

Brain Templates (IBT) and a brain atlas.

IBT provides a scale that will measure an Indian Brain. 

Brain Atlas has been developed for five age groups covering late childhood to late adulthood (six to 60 years).

These new population and age-specific Indian brain templates will allow more reliable tracking of brain development and ageing.

They will provide more precise reference maps for areas of interest in individual patients with neurological disorders like strokes, brain tumours, and dementia.

These will also help pool information more usefully in group studies of the human brain and psychological functions. 

These will aid in understanding of psychiatric illnesses like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, substance dependence, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.

Brain Template is a gross representation from various brain images to understand brain functionality in diseased conditions. 

The Montreal Neurological Index (MNI) template that India currently uses is based on Caucasian brains, which are different from Asian brains.


 

Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems: DPIIT

The Results of the 2nd edition of Ranking of States on Support to Startup Ecosystems were released recently. 

Ministry: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

DPIIT has recently released the Ease of Doing Business Rankings of the States-2019 based on the State Business Reform Action Plan.

Objective: To foster competitiveness, mutual learning and propel States and Union Territories (UTs) to work proactively towards uplifting the startup ecosystem.

Framework: The 2019 Ranking Framework has seven broad reform areas consisting of 30 action points – institutional support, easing compliances, relaxation in public procurement norms, incubation support, seed funding support, venture funding support, and awareness and outreach.

Participation: 22 States and 3 Union Territories.

2 Categories of States and UTs: (1) Category Y: All UTs except Delhi and all States in North East India except Assam; (2) Category X: All other States and UT of Delhi.

Best Performers: (1) Gujarat; (2) Karnataka; (3) Kerala. 

Lowest performance: (1) Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. 

Best performer in Category Y: Andaman & Nicobar Islands 

Worst performer in Category Y: Sikkim


 

Monsoon Session of Parliament Begins

Recently, the monsoon session of Parliament began 

However, the government has suspended Question Hour and Zero Hour for the session.

Terminologies related to Parliament session

The President of India is empowered to summon each House of Parliament from time to time.

The maximum gap between two sessions of Parliament cannot be more than six months. 

There are usually three sessions in a year:

(1) Budget Session (February to May);

(2) Monsoon Session (July to September);

(3) Winter Session (November to December).

Recess: The period between the prorogation of a House and its reassembly.

Adjournment: It suspends the work in a sitting for a specified time, which may be hours, days or weeks.

Adjournment sine die: It means terminating a sitting of Parliament for an indefinite period.

The power of adjournment as well as adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer (Speaker or Chairman) of the House.

Prorogation: The President issues a notification for prorogation of the session after the business of a session is completed and the presiding officer declares the House adjourned sine die.

The President can also prorogue the House while in session.

Dissolution: Only the Lok Sabha is subject to dissolution. Dissolution ends the life of the existing House. A new House is constituted after general elections are held.

The President is empowered to dissolve the Lok Sabha.


 






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