Factly articles for 17th September 2020

18 min read

1.India joins Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment as Observer

News: India has joined the Djibouti Code of Conduct/ Jeddah Amendment (DCOC/JA) as Observer.

Facts:

  • Djibouti Code of Conduct(DCOC): It was established in 2009.It is a grouping on maritime matters aimed at repression of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the Western Indian Ocean Region, the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.
  • Members: It comprises 18 member states adjoining the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, the East Coast of Africa and Island countries in the Indian Ocean Region.
  • Observer States: India has joined Japan, Norway, the UK and the US as Observers to the DCOC/JA.

2.Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program

News: Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation and Coral Reef program has been launched at G20 Environment Ministers Meet.

Facts:

  • Global Initiative to reduce Land Degradation: It aims to strengthen the implementation of existing frameworks to prevent, halt and reverse land degradation within G20 member states and globally taking into account possible implications on the achievement of other SDGs.
  • Global Coral Reef R&D Accelerator Platform: It is an innovative action-oriented initiative aimed at creating a global research and development(R&D) program to advance research, innovation and capacity building in all facets of coral reef conservation.

Additional Facts:

  • Land Degradation: It is any reduction or loss in the biological or economic productive capacity of the land resource base.
  • Corals: They are small (0.25-12 inches), soft-bodied marine organisms. They live in colonies called reefs that they build using a limestone skeleton(calicle) lying at their base.
  • G20: It is an international group initially founded in 1999 after the Asian financial crisis as a forum for finance ministers and central bank governors of 19 countries and the European Union.

3.Explained: What is Solar Cycle 25, announced by NASA and NOAA scientists recently?

News: Scientists from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) have announced their predictions about the new solar cycle called Solar Cycle 25 which they believe has begun.

Facts:

  • What is Solar Cycle: It is the cycle that the Sun’s magnetic field goes through approximately every 11 years.
    • Solar Minimum: It is the beginning of a solar cycle or when the Sun has the least sunspots.
    • Solar Maximum: It is the middle of the solar cycle or when the Sun has the most sunspots.
  • Why do scientists track solar activity? Scientists track solar activity because it can have effects on Earth.For example,when charged particles from coronal mass ejections(CMEs) reach areas near the Earth, they can trigger intense lightning in the skies referred to as auroras.
    • This can interfere with the power grids which can cause electricity shortages and power outages.
  • How do scientists track solar activity? Scientists track a solar cycle by using sunspots, which are the dark blotches on the Sun that are associated with solar activity.

Additional Facts:

  • Sunspots: It is an area on the Sun that appears dark on the surface and is relatively cooler than the surrounding parts.
    • Significance: These spots some as large as 50,000 km in diameter are the visible markers of the Sun’s magnetic field which forms a blanket that protects the solar system from harmful cosmic radiation.
  • Solar Flares: When a Sunspot reaches up to 50,000 km in diameter it may release a huge amount of energy that can lead to solar flares.

4.Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation(ITEC) Programme

News: The 56th foundation day of Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme is being celebrated.

Facts:

  • ITEC Programme: It was instituted in 1964 as a bilateral assistance programme run by the Government of India.
  • Purpose: It is a demand-driven, response-oriented programme that focuses on addressing the needs of developing countries through innovative technological cooperation between India and the partnering nation.
  • Administered by: Ministry of External Affairs and is fully funded by the Government of India.
  • Coverage: The programme covers around 158 countries across Asia, Africa, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, and several Pacific and Caribbean nations.

5.Israel, UAE and Bahrain sign Abraham Accord

News: Israel Prime Minister and foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have signed the historic Abraham Accord which is the first Arab-Israeli peace deal in 26 years.

Facts:

  • What does Abraham Accord say? As per the accord, the UAE and Bahrain will establish embassies, exchange ambassadors, cooperate and work together with Israel across a range of sectors including tourism, trade, healthcare and security.
  • Previous agreements: Earlier, there were only two peace deals signed between Israel and the Arab States in more than a quarter of a century: a) Egypt was the first Arab State to sign a peace deal with Israel in 1979 b) Jordan had signed a peace pact in 1994.

6.Explained: What is UP’s new Special Security Force?

News: Uttar Pradesh(UP) has announced the formation of the Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force(UPSSF).

Facts:

  • Uttar Pradesh Special Security Force(UPSSF): It is envisaged as having high-level professional skills which would reduce the burden on the Provincial Armed Constabulary(PAC) which will now focus on law and order.
  • Purpose: It will be tasked to protect courts, airports, administrative buildings, metros, banks, among other government offices.
  • Composition: It will be led by an Additional Director General-level officer followed by an Inspector General, Deputy Inspector General, Commandant and Deputy Commandant.
  • Powers:
    • Any member of the force may without any order from a Magistrate and without a warrant arrest any person who voluntarily causes hurt or a person against whom there is a reasonable suspicion or any person who attempts to commit a cognizable offence.
    • The force will also have the right to remove trespassers on the premises under its protection.
    • No suit or prosecution shall lie against any officer or member of the force or against any person acting under the order or the direction of any officer or member of the force for anything which is done or intended to be done in good faith.

7.Rajya Sabha passes Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill

News: Rajya Sabha has passed the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020.

Facts:

Key Provisions of the bill:

  • Merger: The bill aims to merge three institutes into one integrated centre which will be called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda which will be based in Jamnagar, Gujarat.It will be the first Ayurveda institution to be given the status of institution of national importance.
  • Objective of Institute:  The Institute will: a) develop patterns of teaching in medical education in Ayurveda and pharmacy b) bring together educational facilities for training of personnel in all branches of Ayurveda among others.
  • Composition of Institute: The Institute will consist of 15 members.  These include:
    • Minister of AYUSH
    • Secretary and technical head of Ayurveda, Ministry of AYUSH,
    • Secretary, department of health, government of Gujarat
    • Director of the Institute
    • Director-General, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda
    • three experts in Ayurveda with expertise in education, industry and research and
    • three Members of Parliament.
  • Functions of Institute: The functions of the Institute will include: a) provide for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Ayurveda (including pharmacy) b) prescribe courses and curricula for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Ayurveda among others.
  • Funds of Institute:  The institute will receive funds from the central government and other sources.The accounts of the Institute will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

8.Parliament passes the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill 2020

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

Facts:

  • The bill seeks to establish a state-of-the-art Ayurvedic institution called the Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (ITRA) at Jamnagar, Gujarat. The bill also seeks to confer the status of Institution of National Importance (INI) to it.
  • ITRA will be the first institution with INI status in the AYUSH Sector. It will enable the institution to be independent and innovative in the matter deciding course content and pedagogy.

9.Explained: Why is India amending its aircraft law?

News: The Rajya Sabha has passed the Aircraft (Amendment) Bill 2020

Facts:

  • It seeks to amend the Aircraft Act, 1934 which regulates the manufacture, possession, use, operation, sale, import and export of civil aircrafts, and licensing of aerodromes. 

Key Features:

  • It provides statutory status to 3 bodies under ministry of civil Aviation. These include:
    • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA)
    • Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS)
    • Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau (AAIB). 
  • The bill adds air navigation services to the list for which the central government can make rules. The other matters include registration of aircraft, regulating air transport services, and prohibition of flight over any specified area.

Additional Information:

  1. Directorate General of Civil Aviation: It is the regulatory body in the field of Civil Aviation, primarily dealing with safety issues. It is responsible for regulation of air transport services and for enforcement of civil air regulations, air safety, and airworthiness standards.
  2. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security: It lays down standards and measures with respect to security of civil flights at international and domestic airports in India.
  3. Aircraft Accidents Investigation Bureau: It is responsible for classification of “Safety Occurrences” involving aircraft operating in the Indian Airspace into Accidents, Serious Incidents and Incidents.

10.Lok Sabha passes Bill to bring cooperative banks under RBI supervision

News: The Lok Sabha has passed Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Facts:

  • The Bill proposes amendments to the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
  • It aims to bring cooperative banks under the supervision of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The Banking Regulation Act does not apply to certain co-operative societies such as primary agricultural credit societies and co-operative land mortgage banks.  The Bill amends this to state that the Act will not apply to: (i) primary agricultural credit societies and (ii) co-operative societies whose principal business is long term financing for agricultural development.
  • The Bill allows RBI to initiate a scheme for reconstruction or amalgamation without imposing a moratorium.
  • The Bill provides that a co-operative bank may issue equity, preference, or special shares on face value or at a premium to its members or to any other person residing within its area of operation.

Additional Information:

Co-operative Banks: These are financial entities established on a co-operative basis and belonging to their members. This means that the customers of a co-operative bank are also its owners.

11.Govt sets up group under cyber security head to probe China Watching

News: The government has set up an expert committee under the National Cyber Security Coordinator. The committee will evaluate the implications of the digital surveillance by Data Information Technology Co. Limited and assess any violations of law and submit its recommendations within thirty days.