Factly articles for 15th August 2020

17 min read

1.Defence Minister launches Indigenisation portal SRIJAN

News: Union Defence minister has launched Department of Defence Production portal named SRIJAN.

Facts:

  • SRIJAN Portal: It is an online portal that aims to promote indigenisation of defence items production by providing information about defence equipment and items that are being imported so that the Indian industry can design, develop and manufacture them domestically as per its capability.

Additional Facts:

  • Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX): It was launched in 2018 to create an ecosystem to foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups among others.
    • Implementation: It is being implemented by Defence Innovation Organisation(DIO).

2.Explained: How severe was the Mauritius oil spill?

News: A Japanese ship struck a coral reef off Mauritius spilling about 1,000 tonnes of fuel oil and triggering a state of environmental emergency.This oil spill took place near Blue Bay Marine Park Reserve, a wetland of international importance.

Facts:

  • Oil Spill: It is the contamination of seawater due to an oil pour as a result of an accident or human error.
  • How dangerous are oil spills?
    • As oil is less dense than salt water, it floats and forms a thin film on the surface.The floating oil sticks to the fur and feathers of marine mammals and birds eliminating their insulating and water-repelling properties and exposing them to the cold.
    • The marine creatures can also be poisoned by swallowing the oil residue.
  • How are oil spills cleaned? There are a few ways to clean up oil spills including:
    • Skimming: It involves removing oil from the sea surface before it is able to reach the sensitive areas along the coastline.
    • In situ burning: It means burning a particular patch of oil after it has concentrated in one area.
    • Releasing chemical dispersants helps break down oil into smaller droplets, making it easier for microbes to consume, and further break it down into less harmful compounds.
    • Natural actions in aquatic environments such as weathering, evaporation,biodegradation and oxidation can also help reduce the severity of an oil spill and accelerate the recovery of an affected area.

3.Ice stupas help ghost villages of Ladakh become habitable again

News: Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with the Himalayan Institute of Alternatives, Ladakh (HIAL) is implementing the ‘Rehabilitation of Abandoned Villages through Ice Stupas’ project in Ladakh to make the villages habitable again as people are migrating due to water scarcity.

Facts:

  • Ice Stupas: It is a form of glacier grafting technique that creates artificial glaciers, used for storing winter water (which otherwise would go unused) in the form of conical shaped ice heaps.
  • Significance: During summer when water is scarce, the Ice Stupa melts to increase water supply for crops.
  • Who invented it? Ice Stupa was invented by engineer, innovator and education reformist Sonam Wangchuk who is the founder-director of the NGO Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh(SECMOL).

4.State of Organic farming in India

Facts:

  • Organic Farming: It is a method of farming which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones) and relies upon crop rotations, animal manures, off-farm organic waste and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection.
  • Organic Farming in India:
    • India ranks first in number of organic farmers and ninth in terms of area under organic farming.
    • Sikkim became the first State in the world to become fully organic and other States including Tripura and Uttarakhand have set similar targets.
    • North East India has traditionally been organic and the consumption of chemicals is far less than the rest of the country.
    • The major organic exports from India have been flax seeds, sesame, soybean, tea, medicinal plants, rice and pulses.

Initiatives to Promote Organic Farming:

  • Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY): It was launched in 2015 with the aim to support and promote organic farming which in turn results in improvement of soil health.
  • Participatory Guarantee System(PGS): It is a process of certifying organic products which ensures that their production takes place in accordance with laid-down quality standards.
  • Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North East Region (MOVCD-NER): It is a Central Sector Scheme which aims at development of organic value chains in the North East Region of India
    • Coverage: It is implemented in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura.
  • Jaivik Kheti portal: It is a one stop solution for facilitating organic farmers to sell their organic produce and promoting organic farming and its benefits.This portal caters various stakeholders like local groups, individual farmers, buyers and input suppliers.

5.Union Tribal Minister to launch SWASTHYA Portal

News: Union Tribal Affairs Minister will e-launch Swasthya Portal.

Facts:

  • Swasthya Portal: It is a first of its kind comprehensive platform that aims to provide health and nutrition related information of the tribal population of India.
  • Managed by: The Portal will be managed by the Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Knowledge Management in Health and Nutrition established by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in collaboration with Piramal Swasthya Management and Research Institute.

6.Arunachal groups push for 6th Schedule status

News: The revival of the demand for two autonomous councils in Arunachal Pradesh has led to the call for bringing the entire Arunachal Pradesh under the ambit of the 6th Schedule or Article 371 (A) of the Constitution.Currently, Arunachal Pradesh is under 5th Schedule.

Facts:

  • Sixth Schedule: It consists of provisions for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram, according to Article 244 of the Indian Constitution.It was passed by the constituent Assembly in 1949.
  • The schedule also seeks to safeguard the rights of tribal populations through the formation of Autonomous District Councils (ADC).

Autonomous Districts: These are administrative bodies constituted in accordance to Sixth Schedule, Article 244 (2) & Article 275(1) of the Indian Constitution.

  • There are 10 autonomous districts – three in Assam, Meghalaya and Mizoram and one in Tripura.
  • Composition: Each autonomous district has a district council consisting of 30 members, of whom four are nominated by the governor and the remaining 26 are elected on the basis of adult franchise.
  • Term: The elected members hold office for a term of five years (unless the council is dissolved earlier) and nominated members hold office during the pleasure of the governor.
  • Regional Council: Each autonomous region also has a separate regional council.
  • Powers:
    • Can constitute village courts within their jurisdiction to hear trial of cases involving the tribes
    • Governors of states that fall under the Sixth Schedule specify the jurisdiction of high courts for each of these cases.
    • Empowered to make legislative laws on matters like land, forests, fisheries, social security, entertainment, public health, etc. with due approval from the governor
    • Acts passed by Parliament and state legislatures may or may not be levied in these regions unless the President and the governor gives approval.

Additional Facts:

  • Article 371-A: Parliament cannot legislate in the matter relating to religious/social practices of Nagas, Naga customary law, and procedure, transfer of land & resources unless the state Assembly decides to do so.
  • Fifth Schedule: It deals with the administration and control of Scheduled Areas as well as of Scheduled Tribes residing in any State other than the States of Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.

7.NITI Aayog and NASSCOM launch ‘ATL AI Step Up Module’ for students

News: Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) in collaboration with NASSCOM has launched the ‘ATL AI Step Up Module’ to school students nationwide.

Facts:

  • ATL AI Step up Module: It is a comprehensive set of learning it yourself Advanced modules to those who wish to expand their knowledge base after becoming familiar with the basics of the Artificial Intelligence(AI) through the AI base module.

Additional Facts:

  • AI-based Module:It is an artificial intelligence module launched by Atal Innovation Mission in collaboration with NASSCOM for school students to leverage the full potential of AIM’s Atal Tinkering Lab(ATL) and empower them to innovate and create valuable solutions benefiting societies at large.
  • Atal innovation mission(AIM): It was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.It also seeks to create institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.
  • Artificial Intelligence: It is the ability to imitate humans (such as using language/speech, vision/image recognition, making predictions, learning, problem-solving, ability to move and manipulate objects on their own)

8.India extends USD 1 million assistance to CARICOM

News: India has extended USD 1 million assistance to Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Countries.

Facts:

  • CARICOM Community: It was formed in 1973 as a grouping of twenty countries: fifteen Member States and five Associate Members.
  • Objective: To promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.
  • Members: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.
  • Headquarters: Georgetown, Guyana.
  • Significance: CARICOM is an official United Nations Observer.

9.Price Monitoring and Resource Unit set up in Karnataka under the aegis NPPA

News: A Price Monitoring and Resource Unit(PMRU) has been set up in Karnataka under the aegis of National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA), Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

Facts:

  • PMRU: It is a registered society which functions under the direct control and supervision of State Drug Controllers.
  • Functions:
    • To assist NPPA in monitoring prices of drugs, ensuring availability of drugs and raising consumer awareness.
    • To act as collaborating partners of NPPA with information gathering mechanisms at the grass-roots level.
    • To render necessary technical assistance to both the NPPA and the respective State Drug Controllers of States/ Union Territories.
  • Composition: The Board of Governors of PMRU includes the representatives from Central Government and State Government concerned and other stakeholders.

Additional Facts:

  • Note: NPPA under its Central Sector Scheme “Consumer Awareness, Publicity and Price Monitoring(CAPPM)” has set up PMRUs in 12 States/ UTs.The expenses of the PMRUs are borne by NPPA under the Scheme.
  • NPPA: It is an independent body set up in 1997 under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
    • Mandate: To fix/revise controlled bulk drugs prices and formulations, enforce prices and availability of medicines under the Drug(Price Control) order, 2013.