Factly articles for 21st September 2020

12 min read

1.Bill to amend FCRA is an attempt by government to target critics: Oppn

News: Foreign Contribution Regulation (Amendment) Bill 2020 was introduced in the Lok Sabha.

Facts:

  • The Bill amends the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010.

Key provisions:

  • Include public servants in the prohibited category for accepting foreign contribution: FCRA 2010 prohibits certain persons to accept any foreign contribution.  These include: election candidates, editor or publisher of a newspaper, judges, government servants, members of any legislature, and political parties. The Bill adds public servants to this list.
  • Transfer of foreign contribution: Under the Act, foreign contribution cannot be transferred to any other person unless such person is also registered to accept foreign contribution. The Bill amends this to prohibit the transfer of foreign contribution to any other person.  
  • Aadhaar for registration: The Act states that a person may accept foreign contribution if they have obtained a certificate of registration from central government or obtained prior permission from the government to accept foreign contribution. The bill makes Aadhaar mandatory for registration.
  • Restriction in utilisation of foreign contribution: The Bill gives government powers to stop utilisation of foreign funds by an organisation through a “summary enquiry”.
  • Reduction in use of foreign contribution for administrative purposes: The bill decreases administrative expenses through foreign funds by an organisation to 20% from 50% earlier.

Additional Information:

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010: It regulates the acceptance and utilisation of foreign contribution by individuals, associations and companies.

2.Roles, limitations of Select Committees and other parliamentary panels

News: In the current Lok Sabha, 17 Bills have been referred to committees.

Facts:

  • Parliamentary Committees: They are established to study and deal with various matters that cannot be directly handled by the legislature due to their volume.
  • Constitutional Provision: Indian Constitution mentions two kinds of parliamentary committees under Article 118 (1) of the constitution-
    • Standing Committees
    • Ad Hoc Committees
  • Classification of committees in Parliament on basis of their work, their membership and the length of their tenure:
  • Departmentally related Standing Committees:
    • These are committees that examine bills, budgets and policies of ministries
    • There are 24 such committees and between them, they focus on the working of different ministries.
    • Each committee has 31 MPs, 21 from Lok Sabha and 10 from Rajya Sabha.
    • They have a tenure of one year, then they are reconstituted and their work continues throughout the term of a Lok Sabha.
    • Ministers are not members; key committees like those related to Finance, Defence, Home etc are usually chaired by Opposition MPs.
  • Joint Parliamentary Committees (JPC): They are constituted for a specific purpose, with MPs from both Houses.
  • Select Committee: They are formed for examining a particular Bill and its membership is limited to MPs from one House. Example: In 2019, Rajya Sabha referred the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 to a Select Committee of 23 of its MPs from different parties.
  • When does a committee examine a Bill? A bill can reach a committee for examination in three ways:
  • When the minister piloting the Bill recommends to the House that his Bill be examined by a Select Committee of the House or a joint committee of both Houses.
  • If the minister makes no such motion, it is up to the presiding officer of the House to decide whether to send a Bill to a departmentally related Standing Committee.
  • A Bill passed by one House can be sent by the other House to its Select Committee.
  • Result of sending a bill to a Committee:
    • The committee undertakes a detailed examination of the Bill. It invites comments and suggestions from experts, stakeholders and citizens. It then provides a report recommending measures to strengthen the bill.
    • The report of the committee is of a recommendatory nature.

3.An ancient temple’s transition over years of neglect

News: Kakati Devi temple has been converted into an abode of local Goddess ‘Balusulamma’ (Goddess Durga).

Facts:

  • The temple was built by emperor Ganapati Deva, ruler of Kakatiya dynasty in 13th Century. Ganapati Deva is the first king who introduced the worship of Kakati Devi into the coastal region of Andhra and outside the dominions of his kingdom.
  • The temple is located in Dharanikota near present Andhra Pradesh capital Amaravathi.
  • Features of Kakati Devi idol: Seated in Padmasanam with eight hands and possesses eight different special attributes never found in the contemporary shrines of the Kakatiya period.

Additional Information:

Kakatiya dynasty: Kakatiya dynasty (1163–1323) was a South Indian dynasty whose capital was Orugallu (Warangal). The Kakatiya rulers traced their ancestry to a legendary chief named Durjaya.

4.Business Advisory Committee of Parliament meets to discuss legislative business and ongoing Monsoon Session related issues

News: The Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of Parliament met to discuss the legislative business and other issues related to the ongoing Monsoon Session.

Facts:

  • Background: The Business Advisory Committee of the Lok Sabha is constituted at the commencement of new Lok Sabha after the general elections and thereafter from time to time. The Business Advisory Committee was constituted for the first time in 1952.
  • Members: It consists of 15 members including the Speaker who is the ex-officio Chairperson of the Committee. The members of the Committee are nominated by the Speaker.
  • Functions: To recommend the time that should be allocated for the discussion of the stage or stages of Government Bills and other business.

5.India’s first CRISPR Covid-19 test, developed by the Tata Group and CSIR-IGIB, approved for use in India

News: The Tata CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) test, powered by CSIR-IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology) FELUDA, received regulatory approvals from the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for commercial launch.

Facts:

  • FELUDA is the acronym for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay. It is a low cost paper strip test which can detect the presence of coronavirus within an hour.
  • It uses indigenously developed CRISPR gene-editing technology to identify and target the genetic material of SARS-CoV2.

Additional Information:

CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats)

  • It is a gene editing technology. It can detect specific sequences of DNA within a gene and uses an enzyme functioning as molecular scissors to snip it.
  • It is used in correcting genetic defects and treating and preventing the spread of diseases.

6.Lok Sabha passes several bills including National Forensic Science University Bill 2020

News: The Lok Sabha has passed National Forensic Science University Bill 2020, Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020 and Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020.

Facts:

National Forensic Science University Bill, 2020:

  • It establishes National Forensic Science University as an institute of national importance.
  • The proposed university would facilitate and promote studies and research and help achieve excellence in the field of forensic science along with applied behavioural science studies, law, criminology and other allied areas.

Rashtriya Raksha University Bill, 2020:

  • It seeks to provide for the establishment of the Rashtriya Raksha University, Gujarat.
  • Key objectives of the University:
    • providing dynamic and high standards of learning and research,
    • providing a working environment dedicated to advancing research, education and training in the domain of policing.

Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020: It seeks to provide a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts which are over the counter derivatives contracts.