Factly articles for 15th September 2020

12 min read

1.India has been elected as a member of UN’s Commission on Status of Women

News: India has been elected as the member of the Commission on Status of Women(CSW) for four years from 2021-2025.

Facts:

  • Commission on the Status of Women(CSW or UNCSW): It was established in 1946.It is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council(ECOSOC), one of the main UN organs within the United Nations.
  • Purpose: It is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
  • Headquarters: New York, USA.

Additional Facts:

  • UN Women: It was established in 2010.It is the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

2.Explained: In India-China standoff in Ladakh, why Chushul sector is critical

News: The Chushul sub-sector has come into focus due to the standoff between the Indian and Chinese troops.

Facts:

  • Chushul Sub-Sector: It lies south of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh. It comprises high, broken mountains and heights of Thatung, Black Top, Helmet Top, Gurung Hill, and Magger Hill besides passes such as Rezang La and Rechin La, the Spanggur Gap and the Chushul valley.
  • Importance of Chushul to India: Chushul enjoys strategic and tactical importance because of its location and terrain which make it a centre for logistics deployment.
    • The sector has plains that are a couple of kilometres wide where mechanised forces including tanks can be deployed.Its airstrip and connectivity by road to Leh add to its operational advantages.
  • Importance of Chushul to China: Simply put, Chushul is the gateway to Leh. If China enters Chushul, it can launch its operations for Leh.

3.Committee to study ancient Indian culture

News: Ministry of Culture has set up an expert committee for conducting holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture.

Facts:

  • About the Committee: The committee is chaired by K.N. Dikshit (Chairman of Indian Archaeological Society, New Delhi and former Joint Director General, Archaeological Survey of India) and other members.
  • Mandate: To conduct holistic study of origin and evolution of Indian culture since 12000 years before to present and its interface with other cultures of the world.

4.Krishna-Godavari(KG) basin, an excellent source of fuel methane

News: According to a study by the Pune-based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) of the Science & Technology Ministry, Krishna-Godavari(KG) basin holds a massive reserve of methane hydrate and a rich source of cleaner natural gas.

Facts:

  • Methane: It is a clean and economical fuel and is a major constituent of natural gas.Compared to other hydrocarbon fuels, methane produces less carbon dioxide for each unit of heat released.
  • Methane Hydrate: It is a solid clathrate compound in which a large amount of methane is trapped within a crystal structure of water forming a solid similar to ice.
  • How Methane Hydrates are formed? It is formed when hydrogen bonded water and methane gas come into contact at high pressures and low temperatures in oceans.
  • Significance of Methane Hydrate: It is estimated that one cubic meter of methane hydrate contains 160-180 cubic meters of methane.Hence, even the lowest estimate of methane present in the methane hydrates in the KG Basin is twice that of all fossil fuel reserves available worldwide.

5.India welcomes U.S.-Maldives defence agreement

News: U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) and the Maldives Ministry of Defence

has signed the “Framework for a Defence and Security Relationship” agreement.

Facts:

  • About the agreement: It is a military agreement that talks about maintaining peace and security in the Indian Ocean and promoting a rules-based order that promotes stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The agreement also involves basic cooperation between the U.S. and Maldivian navies and mandates that the two sides schedule their first Defence and Security Dialogue mechanism talks.

6.Explainer: What is hybrid warfare?

News: A report in The Indian Express has suggested that China may be employing hybrid warfare strategy to gain an edge against India.

Facts:

  • Hybrid Warfare: It is a military strategy which employs political warfare and blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare with other influencing methods such as fake news, diplomacy, lawfare and foreign electoral intervention.

7.Government introduces three agricultural reform Bills in Lok Sabha

News: Government of India has introduced three bills in Lok Sabha which are aimed at transformation of agriculture in the country and raising farmers income.

Facts:

Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Ordinance,2020:

  • Aim: 
    • Farming agreement: It provides for a national framework on farming agreements that protects and empowers farmers to engage with agri-business firms, processors, wholesalers, among others for farm services and sale of future farming produce.
    • Dispute Settlement: A farming agreement must also provide for a conciliation board as well as a conciliation process for settlement of disputes.

Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020:

  • Aim:
    • Essential Commodities: It seeks to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities.
    • Significance: This will remove fear of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations and will also help in attracting private sector/foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector.

Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020:

  • Aim: 
    • Trade of farmers produce: It opens up agricultural marketing outside the notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) for farmers and also removes barriers to inter-State trade.
    • Electronic Trading: It seeks to permit the electronic trading of farmers produced in the specified trade area.  

8.Hindi Diwas 

News: Hindi Diwas is celebrated every year on 14th September. It marks the day when in 1949, that the constituent assembly adopted Hindi written in Devanagari as the official language of India.

9.e-Gopala App

News: Prime Minister has launched e-Gopala App. It is a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers.

10.Potential sign of alien life detected on inhospitable Venus

News: Scientist have discovered a gas called phosphine in Venus’s atmosphere that indicates microbes may inhabit the planet.

Facts:

Phosphine:

  • It is a colourless and smelly gas.
  • It is known to be produced only through biological process, and not through any naturally occurring chemical process. It can also be the produced in the underbelly of volcanoes or meteorite activity.

Venus:

  • Venus is closest planet to Earth. It is the second planet from the sun.
  • It is similar in structure but slightly smaller than Earth.
  • Venus is wrapped in a thick, toxic atmosphere that traps in heat. Surface temperatures is 880 degrees Fahrenheit (471 degrees Celsius).

11.Pesticides Management Bill, 2020 will hurt farmers’ livelihood, say experts

News: The Pesticides Management Bill (PMB), 2020 was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in March 2020.

Facts:

  • It seeks to replace the Insecticides Act, 1968.

Aim: To protect the interest of farmers and ensure they get safe and effective pesticides.

Key Features:

  • Farmers would be empowered to get all information regarding the available pesticides, their strength, weaknesses, and risks from the dealers
  • Any person who wants to import, manufacture, or export pesticides would have to register under the new bill and provide all details regarding expected performance, efficacy, safety, usage instructions
  • Provision to provide compensation if there is any farm loss because of low quality or spurious pesticides
  •  All the information regarding the available pesticides would be available in the public domain, in all languages in digital format.

Additional Information

  • The Insecticides Act, 1968 currently governs the registration, manufacturing, export, sale and use of pesticides in India.