Factly articles for 12th August 2020

15 min read

1.Russia announces world’s first COVID-19 vaccine “Sputnik V”

News: Russian has launched the world’s first coronavirus vaccine named ‘Sputnik V’.

Facts:

  • Sputnik V: The vaccine has been developed by Gamaleya Research Institute and the Russian defence ministry.
  • How does it work? The vaccine is based on the DNA of a SARS-CoV-2 type adenovirus, a common cold virus.The vaccine uses the weakened virus to deliver small parts of a pathogen and stimulate an immune response.

2.Webinar on the occasion of the World Biofuel day

News: A webinar on the occasion of the World Biofuel day was organized by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas with the theme “Biofuels towards Atmanirbhar Bharat”.

Facts:

  • World Biofuel Day: It is observed every year on 10th August to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels.
    • It has been celebrated by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas since 2015.
  • Biofuel: These are liquid/ solid or gaseous fuels produced from biomass resources. They are used in place of, or in addition to, diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary, portable and other applications.
  • Classification of Biofuels:
    • First generation biofuels: It refers to the fuels that have been derived from sources like starch, sugar, animal fats and vegetable oil.
    • Second generation biofuels – These are produced from non-food crops, such as cellulosic biofuels and waste biomass (stalks of wheat and corn, and wood). Examples include advanced biofuels like biohydrogen, biomethanol.
    • Third generation biofuels – These are produced from specially engineered energy crops such as algae.
    • Fourth-Generation Biofuels: It uses genetically modified (GM) algae to enhance biofuel production.

Initiatives launched for Promoting Biofuels:

  • National Policy on Biofuels,2018:
  • Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana: It was launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide financial support to Integrated Bio-Ethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass & other renewable feedstock.
  • Sustainable Alternative towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) scheme: It was launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to promote Compressed Biogas as an alternative, green transport fuel by establishing 5000 Compressed Biogas(CBG) plants across the country by 2023.

3.Union Agriculture Minister launches ‘Krishi Megh’

News: The Union Agriculture Minister has launched the Krishi Megh (National Agricultural Research and Education System – Cloud Infrastructure and Services).

Facts:

  • Krishi Megh: It is a data recovery centre setup to protect the data of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR).
  • Location: The centre has been set up at National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), Hyderabad.
  • Significance: The centre was set up under the National Agricultural Higher Education Project(NAHEP).

Additional Facts:

  • NAHEP: It is a Government of India-World Bank funded project that aims to attract talent and strengthen higher agricultural education in the country by supporting agricultural universities and ICAR in providing more relevant and quality education to Agricultural University students.
  • ICAR: It is an autonomous organisation under the Department of Agricultural Research and Education (DARE), Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.Union Minister of Agriculture serves as its president.

4.Geothermal springs in Himalayas release large amount of carbon dioxide: Study

News: Scientists of the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology(WIHG) have recently conducted a study on Geothermal springs in the Himalayas.

Facts:

  • Geothermal Springs or Hot Springs: It is a spring produced by the emergence of geothermally heated groundwater that rises from the Earth’s crust.

Key Takeaways from the Study:

  • Geothermal Springs in Himalayas: The Himalayas host hundreds of geothermal springs as they cover about 10,000 square kms in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas in Uttarakhand.
  • Release of CO2: These geothermal springs release a huge amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which are sourced from metamorphic decarbonation of carbonate rocks present deep in the Himalayan core along with magmatism and oxidation of graphite.
    • Most of the geothermal water is dominated by evaporation followed by weathering of silicate rocks.
  • Affects: Carbon outflux from Earth’s interior to the exosphere through volcanic eruptions, fault zones and geothermal springs contribute to the global carbon cycle that affects short and long term climate of the Earth.
    • Hence,their role needs to be considered while estimating emissions to the carbon cycle and thereby to global warming.

5.Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0

News: Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) in collaboration with Dell Technologies has launched Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0(SEP 2.0) for young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs(ATLs).

Facts:

  • Student Entrepreneurship Programme(SEP): It aims to serve as a catalyst and help accelerate the entrepreneurial journey of the young innovators in creating a new innovative India.SEP 1.0 was launched in January 2019.
  • SEP 2.0: It will allow student innovators to work closely with Dell volunteers.They will receive mentor support; prototyping and testing support; end-user feedback; intellectual property registration, processes, manufacturing support as well as the launch support of the product in the market.

Additional Facts:

  • Atal innovation mission(AIM): It was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by creating institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs(ATL): They have been established under the Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) with an aim to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing among others.
    • Financial Support: AIM will provide grant-in-aid of Rs. 20 Lakh to each school that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
    • Eligibility: Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society to set up ATL.

6.Explained: What is Clause 6 of Assam Accord?

News: The All Assam Students’ Union(AASU) which was a part of the Centre’s high-level committee on Clause 6 of Assam Accord has released the confidential report.

Facts:

  • Assam Accord: It was a Memorandum of Settlement(MoS) signed between representatives of the Government of India and the leaders of the Assam Movement in 1985.The Accord has set March 24,1971 as the cutoff for the recognition as citizens.
  • Clause 6 of the Assam Accord: It provides that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
    • Committee: In 2019, Government of India had constituted a high-level panel to suggest ways to implement Clause 6 of the 1985 Assam Accord.It was headed by former Gauhati high court judge Justice Biplab Kumar Sarma.

Key Recommendations of the Committee:

  • The committee has proposed that the following be considered Assamese people for the purpose of Clause 6:
    • Assamese community, residing in the Territory of Assam on or before January 1,1951 or
    • Any indigenous tribal community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1,1951 or
    • Any other indigenous community of Assam residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1,1951 or
    • All other citizens of India residing in the territory of Assam on or before January 1,1951 and
    • Descendants of the above categories.
  • The committee has also proposed 80 to 100% reservation in the parliamentary seats of Assam, Assembly seats and local body seats be reserved for the Assamese people.
  • Land rights with restrictions imposed on transferring land by any means to persons other than Assamese people among other recommendations.

7.Swachh Bharat Mission Academy

News: Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched the Swachh Bharat Mission Academy during the week long “GandagiMuktBharat” Campaign.

Facts:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission Academy is a phone-based academy having IVR based free mobile online learning course.
  •  The training course contains a 60 minutes module spanning various topics under ODF-S and Solid Waste Management.
  • The SBM Academy course has four chapters, each with four audio lessons and a multiple-choice quiz at the end of the chapter. At present the course is available only in Hindi.

Additional Facts:

  • Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin): It aims to improve the levels of cleanliness in rural areas through Solid and Liquid Waste Management activities and making villages Open Defecation Free (ODF) and clean. It is implemented by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Jal Shakti Ministry.

8.Daughters have equal birthright to inherit property: Supreme Court

News: The Supreme Court held that daughters, like sons, have an equal birthright to inherit joint Hindu family property.

Facts:

  • The Court ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
  •  The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 gave Hindu women the right to be coparceners or joint legal heirs in the same way a male heir does.

Additional facts:

Hindu Succession Act, 1956

  • The Mitakshara school of Hindu law codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed succession and inheritance of property but only recognised males as legal heirs.
  • In 2005, the law was amended and women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition