26th Sep, 2020


States advised to stamp International Convention of Road Traffic

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has advised the States and Union Territory administrations to stamp International Convention of Road Traffic of 19th September 1949 on the first page of International Driving Permit, IDP issued by them.

Many countries ask for the validation of IDP in accordance with the International Convention of Road Traffic of 19th September 1949. 

The Convention on Road Traffic is commonly known as the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. 

It is an international treaty promoting the development and safety of international road traffic by establishing certain uniform rules among the contracting parties.

The convention addresses minimum mechanical and safety equipment needed to be on board. 

It defines an identification mark to identify the origin of the vehicle.

The Convention was prepared and opened for signature by the United Nations Conference on Road and Motor Transport held at Geneva from 23 August to 19 September 1949. It came into force on 26 March 1952.


IFSCA Committee Report on Development of International Retail Business

The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) Expert Committee on international retail business development has submitted its interim report.

Aim of the Committee: To suggest how to develop international retail business in International

Financial Services Centre (IFSC).

The committee suggests that the IFSC can aim at:  

Becoming a gateway to India growth story for international investors and business 

Providing Indian diaspora and individuals from Asia and Africa with a comprehensive range of financial services from the IFSC

Serving domestic residents availing liberalized remittance scheme.

The Government of India had constituted the IFSCA with Shri I. Srinivas as its Chairperson. 

Objective: To develop and regulate the financial services market in the IFSC in India; (2) To make GIFT City a global hub for international financial services on the lines of London, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. 

Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) City 

It is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River. 

It is India’s first operational smart city and international financial services centre. 

It was promoted by the Government of Gujarat as a Greenfield project.


Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed

The Lok Sabha passed the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 recently. 

Rajya Sabha has already passed it. 

The Bill amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973. 

It replaces the Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated in April 2020.

The Act sets up the Central Council of Homoeopathy which regulates homoeopathic education and practice.

The period for the supersession of the Central Council has been increased from two years to three years.


Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 passed

The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020. 

Rajya Sabha has already passed it. 

The Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill amends the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.

It provides for the constitution of a Central Council which regulates the education and practice of the Indian medicine system including Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy.

It replaces the Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 which was promulgated in April 2020. 

The council will be reconstituted within one year. 

In the interim period, the Central Government will constitute a Board of Governors, which will exercise the powers of the Central Council. 

The board will consist of up to ten members.


Direct Cargo Ferry Service Between India & Maldives launched

Direct cargo ferry service between India and Maldives was recently e-launched. 

Ministry: Indian Ministry of Shipping and Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation of Maldives 

Operated by: The Shipping Corporation of India

During its maiden voyage, a vessel from Tuticorin to Kochi on September 21, 2020, from where it will proceed to Kulhudhuffushi port in North Maldives and then to Male port.

This ferry service shall run twice a month. 

It will provide a cost effective direct and alternate means of transportation of goods between India and Maldives.

It will further enhance people-to-people contact and boost bilateral trade.


Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs)

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has identified the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) and The

New India Assurance Co. as Domestic Systemically Important Insurers (D-SIIs) for 2020-21.

The three public sector insurers shall raise the level of corporate governance, identify all relevant risks and promote a sound risk management culture.

As D-SIIs, they will also be subjected to enhanced regulatory supervision.

D-SIIs shall be listed on an annual basis.

Size in terms of total revenue, including premium underwritten and the value of assets under management are among the parameters on which the insurers are identified. 

D-SIIs refer to insurers of such size, market importance and domestic and global interconnectedness whose distress or failure would cause a significant dislocation in the domestic financial system.

Their continued functioning is critical for the uninterrupted availability of insurance services to the national economy.

D-SIIs are perceived as insurers that are too big or too important to fail. Such a perception and the expectation of government support may amplify risk taking, reduce market discipline, create competitive distortions and increase the possibility of distress in future.


Electric buses under FAME scheme sanctioned

In a big push towards electric mobility, the Government has sanctioned 670 Electric buses in various states. 

States: Maharashtra, Goa, Gujarat and Chandigarh and 241 Charging Stations in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gujarat and Port Blair under Phase-II of FAME India Scheme.

The FAME (Faster Adoption and Manufacture of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles) 

Launched by: The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises in 2015 

Objective: To incentivize the production and promotion of eco-friendly vehicles including electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles

Two phases of the schemePhase I: started in 2015 and was completed on March 31st, 2019;

(2) Phase II: started from April 1st, 2019, will be completed by March 31st, 2022.


FAME II Key Features 

It proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport.

It seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.

It envisages the holistic growth of EV industry, including providing for charging infrastructure, research and development of EV technologies and push towards greater indigenization. 

The outlay of ₹10,000 crore has been made for three years till 2022 for FAME 2 scheme.  

There is also provision for setting up of charging stations for electric vehicles in India.

The plug-in hybrid vehicles and those with a sizeable lithium-ion battery and electric motor will also be included in the scheme.

FAME 2 will offer incentives to manufacturers, who invest in developing electric vehicles and its components.

Eligibility to get incentive: Only buses priced up to ₹2 crore, strong and plug-in hybrids under₹15 lakh, three-wheelers under ₹5 lakh and two-wheelers under ₹1.5 lakh.


National Medical Commission (NMC) constituted

The National Medical Commission (NMC), along with four Autonomous Boards was recently constituted.

The old institution of the Medical Council of India (MCI) stands abolished.

Along with NMC, the four Autonomous Boards of UG and PG Medical Education Boards, Medical Assessment and Rating Board, and Ethics and Medical Registration Board have also been constituted.

The Regulator is now ‘selected’ on merits, as opposed to an ‘elected’ Regulator.

Dr S C Sharma (retd. Prof, ENT, AIIMS, Delhi) has been selected as the Chairperson for a period of three years. 

Besides the Chairperson, NMC will have 10 ex-officio members.


New ‘sonification’ project unveiled by NASA

The NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Center (CXC) has unveiled a new ‘sonification’ project that transforms data from astronomical images into audio.

Data Sonification

It refers to the use of sound values to represent real data.

It is the auditory version of data visualisation.

In NASA’s Chandra (sonification) project, for instance, data is represented using a number of musical notes.

The birth of a star, a cloud of dust or even a black hole can be ‘heard’ as a high- or low-pitched sound.

Chandra X-ray Project

The Chandra X-ray Observatory was launched by Space Shuttle Columbia in 1999.

It is part of NASA’s fleet of “Great Observatories”.

X-ray universe: It refers to the universe as observed with telescopes designed to detect X-rays. 

X-rays are produced in the cosmos when matter is heated to millions of degrees. 

Such temperatures occur where high magnetic fields, or extreme gravity, or explosive forces exist in space.

The telescope is named after the Nobel Prize-winning Indian astrophysicist Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar.


SAARC and CICA Meetings held

Recently, the Foreign Ministers’ meetings of the SAARC and the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) took place in a virtual manner.

India called the SAARC countries to collectively resolve to defeat the scourge of terrorism, including the forces that nurture, support and encourage an environment of terror and conflict.

Pakistan also made a detailed statement on the resolution of “long-standing disputes”

All SAARC nations built a common stand on the need to cooperate in battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)

It is a multi-national forum for enhancing cooperation towards promoting peace, security and stability in Asia.

The First Ministerial Meeting of CICA took place in September, 1999.

It consists of 27 member nations from Asia including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, India etc. 

Japan, Indonesia, USA etc. are some of its Observer Nations.

Republic of Tajikistan is the CICA Chairman for the period 2018-2020.


JIMEX 2020

The 4th edition of India – Japan Maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX, will be held in North Arabian Sea from 26 to 28 September 2020.

It is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF)

JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with special focus on maritime security cooperation.

Centre For Disability Sports

Centre for Disability Sports was recently inaugurated at Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.

Organized by: DEPwD, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

At present no training facilities are available in the country for sports person with disabilities.

It will provide facilities of international standards to sportspersons with disabilities to compete at international level.

The Centre will be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

Governing Body under the Chairpersonship of Secretary, DEPwD has been constituted.