Factly articles for 19th September 2020

18 min read

1.Grand ICT Challenge under Jal Jeevan Mission

News: Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology(MeitY) in partnership with National Jal Jeevan Mission(NJJM) has developed a ‘Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system’ via an ICT Grand Challenge.

Facts:

  • Aim: To conduct an ICT Grand Challenge which will bring innovative, modular and cost effective solutions to develop a “Smart water supply measurement and monitoring system” to be deployed at the village / semi-rural / semi-urban levels.The system would collect and facilitate centralised monitoring of data.

Additional Facts:

  • Jal Jeevan Mission: It aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
    • The mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.

2.Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) Policy in Defence Sector

News: Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade(DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry has issued the revised Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Policy in Defence Sector.

Facts:

  • Present Position:
      Sector/Activity     % of Equity/ FDI Cap      Entry Route
Defence Industry subject to Industrial license under the Industries(Development & Regulation) Act,1951 and Manufacturing of small arms and ammunition under the Arms Act, 1959            100%Automatic up to 49%. Government route beyond 49% wherever it is likely toresult in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded.
  • Revised Position:
      Sector/Activity     % of Equity/ FDI Cap      Entry Route
Defence Industry subject to Industrial license under the Industries(Development & Regulation) Act,1951 and Manufacturing of small arms and ammunition under the Arms Act, 1959            100%Automatic up to 74%. Government route beyond 74% wherever it is likely to result in access to modern technology or for other reasons to be recorded

Other Conditions:

  • Fresh Licensees: FDI up to 74% under automatic route shall be permitted for companies seeking new industrial licenses.
  • Existing Licensees: Infusion of fresh foreign investment up to 49% in a company not seeking industrial license will require mandatory submission of a declaration with the Ministry of Defence in case change in equity/shareholding pattern or transfer of stake by existing investor to new foreign investor for FDI up to 49% within 30 days of such change.
    • Proposals for raising FDI beyond 49% from such companies will require Government approval.
  • License: Licence applications will be considered by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade,Ministry of Commerce & Industry in consultation with the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of External Affairs.
  • Security Clearance: Foreign investment in the sector is subject to security clearance by the Ministry of Home Affairs and as per guidelines of the Ministry of Defence on grounds of National Security and Government reserves the right to review any foreign investment in the Defence Sector that affects or may affect national security.

3.India has Air Bubble Agreements with 10 Countries

News: India has entered into Air Bubble agreements with 10 countries viz. USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Maldives, UAE, Qatar, Afghanistan and Bahrain.

Facts:

  • Air Bubble:These are temporary agreements between two countries aimed at restarting commercial passenger services when regular international flights are suspended as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • They are reciprocal in nature i.e. airlines from both countries enjoy similar benefits.

4.IBSA grouping issue joint statement calling for UNSC reforms

News: External Affairs Minister of India has chaired the India-Brazil-South Africa(IBSA) Foreign Ministers meet.

Facts:

  • The countries called for accelerated and comprehensive reforms of the United Nations Security Council(UNSC).
  • They also agreed to extend their support to African Union in accordance with the Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte Declaration.
    • Ezulwini Consensus and Sirte declaration: It was adopted by the African Union in 2003 to call for at least 2 permanent and 5 to 2 non-permanent UNSC seats to be given to African countries at UNSC.

Additional Facts:

  • IBSA: It is a unique Forum that brings together India, Brazil and South Africa.The grouping was formalized and named the IBSA Dialogue Forum when the Foreign Ministers of the three countries met in Brasilia in 2003 and issued the Brasilia Declaration.
  • Cooperation in IBSA is on three fronts: 
    • Forum for consultation and coordination on global and regional political issues.
    • Trilateral collaboration on concrete areas/projects, through fourteen working groups and six People-to-People Forums for the common benefit of three countries and
    • Assisting other developing countries by taking up projects in the latter through IBSA Fund.
      • IBSA Fund: It was established in 2004 and became operational in 2006 to support projects on a demand driven basis through partnerships with local governments, national institutions and implementing partners.

5.In a first, eight Indian beaches recommended for ‘Blue Flag’ eco-label

News: Union Environment Ministry has announced that the Indian Government has recommended eight Indian beaches for the “Blue Flag” certification.

Facts:

  • The eight beaches are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman & Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri beach in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden beach of Odisha and Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar.

Additional Facts:

  • Blue Flag certification: It is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina or sustainable boating tourism operator and serves as an eco-label.
  • Who gives the certification? The certification programme is run by international, non-governmental, non-profit organisation FEE (the Foundation for Environmental Education) based in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • Origin: The programme was started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987 and in areas outside Europe since 2001.
  • Criteria: The certification is based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads (i) Environmental Education and Information (ii) Bathing Water Quality, (iii) Environment Management and Conservation and (iv) Safety and Services in the beaches.
  • Country with highest Blue Flag Certification: Spain has the highest number of Blue Flag beaches followed by Greece and France.

6.VAIBHAV Summit to be held from Oct. 2

News: The Department of Science and Technology and Defence Research and Development organization will organize Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (Vaibhav) Summit from October 2nd.

Facts:

  • Aim: developing mechanisms for involving Indian Diaspora working in top universities and R&D organisations across the world, to further enhance the knowledge-base of Indian Research and Academic Institutions.
  • Key areas of discussion: artificial intelligence, quantum technologies, machine learning, electronics, semiconductor technologies, photonics, data science, and aerospace technologies among others.

7.U.S. keen on finalising Geo-Spatial cooperation at 2+2 dialogue in October

News: India and USA are likely to sign Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) at the 2+2 dialogue in October.

Facts:

  • BECA is one of the four foundational agreements that underpin deepening defence cooperation between India and USA.
  • Aim: The agreement aims to facilitate exchange of geospatial information between India and United States for military and civilian use.
  • Significance: It will enable India to use US geospatial maps to enhance military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons such as cruise and ballistic missiles.

Additional Information:

Previously Signed Foundational Agreements:

  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement: It gives access, to both countries, to designated military facilities on either side for the purpose of refuelling and replenishment.
  • Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement: It is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). It allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is.
  • Industrial Security Annex (ISA) and General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA): ISA to the India-U.S. General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) provides a framework for exchange and protection of classified military information between the U.S. and Indian defence industries. Previously under GSOMIA, such information is exchanged between the Government authorities of the two countries but not between private parties.

8.Pakistan to make Gilgit-Baltistan a full-fledged province: report

News: Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province.

Facts:

  • Gilgit Baltistan: It is a region administered by Pakistan as an administrative territory. It borders Azad Kashmir to the south, Afghanistan to the north, China to the east and India to the southeast. The region is considered as one of the two parts of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). The other one is Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK).
  • Background: It was handed over to Pakistan in 1947 by the British army officer of the rank of Colonel who imprisoned Maharaja Hari Singh’s governor in the region and handed over the area for accession to Pakistan.
  • Significance: It has a strategic location as it provides land access to China, contains vast reservoirs of fresh water and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) passes through it.

9.RS passes Bills for councils of homoeopathy, Indian medicine

News: The Rajya Sabha has passed Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020

Facts:

Homoeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • It amends the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.  The Act sets up the Central Council of Homoeopathy which regulates homoeopathic education and practice.
  • The bill seeks to extend the tenure of the council by two years.

Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill, 2020

  • The Bill amends the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.   The Act provides for the constitution of a Central Council which regulates the education and practice of the Indian Medicine system (includes Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy).
  • The Bill seeks a year’s time to reconstitute the central council, and provides for a board of directors in the interim for Indian medicine systems.

10.Glacier retreat in Himalayas to cause water crisis: study

News: A study commissioned by the Observer Research Foundation, has found that the retreat of glaciers in the Himalayan Hindu Kush region is affecting the surface water and groundwater availability in the region.

Facts:

Himalayan Hindu Kush region

  • It is famously known as the earth’s “third pole” as it forms the largest area of permanent ice cover outside of the North and South Poles.
  • It spans Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.