Factly articles for 27th July 2020

13 min read

1.Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules Comes Into Force

News: Government has notified Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020.

Facts:

  • Aim: To prevent unfair trade practices in e-commerce, direct selling and also to protect the interest and rights of consumers.
  • Rules: The rules will be applicable to all electronic retailers (e-tailers) registered in India or abroad but offering goods and services to Indian consumers.

Key Provisions of the Rules:

  • Unfair Trade Practices: The rules empower the central government to act against unfair trade practices in e-commerce and direct selling.
  • Grievance officer: Marketplaces as well as sellers would be required to have grievance officers who have to respond in a time-bound manner.
  • Consumer Complaint: The companies need to acknowledge the receipt of any consumer complaint within 48 hours and redress the complaint within one month from the date of receipt of the complaint.
  • Manipulation of Price: The E-commerce companies are not allowed to manipulate the price of goods and services offered on their platforms to gain unreasonable profit and to discriminate between consumers.
  • Country of Origin: E-commerce companies are required to mention the ‘expiry date’ of goods offered for sale and ‘country of origin’ for enabling the consumer to make an informed decision at the pre-purchase.
  • False Reviews: The rules do not permit any inventory e-commerce entity to falsely represent itself as a consumer and post reviews about goods and services or misrepresent the quality or the features of any goods and services.

2.TRIFED signs MoU with IIT Delhi under govt’s ‘Unnat Bharat Abhiyan’

News: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India(TRIFED) has entered into a partnership with IIT Delhi under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan(UBA).

This will allow Tribal entrepreneurs under the Van Dhan programme to get access to the expertise of the entire network of academic and research institutions under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan(UBA).

Facts:

  • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan: It was launched in 2014 by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD).
    • Unnat Bharat Abhiyan 2.0 is the upgraded version of the scheme.It is extended to all educational institutes but the Participating institutes are selected based on the fulfillment of certain criteria.
  • Aim: To link the Higher Education Institutions with a set of at least 5 villages so that these institutions can contribute to the economic and social betterment of these village communities using their knowledge base.
  • Coordinating Institute: IIT Delhi has been designated to function as the National Coordinating Institute for this programme.

Additional Facts:

  • Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana(PMVDY): It is a Market Linked Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Program launched in 2018 by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • Aim: To improve tribal incomes through value addition of tribal products and the economic development of tribals by helping them in optimum utilisation of natural resources.
    • Under the scheme, Van Dhan Vikas Kendras are set up to cater to 10 tribal Self Help Groups(SHG).These SHGs are trained and provided with working capital to add value to the products.The SHGs then market their products within and outside the States.
  • Implementation: The scheme is implemented through the Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level.TRIFED acts as the Nodal Agency at the National Level.

3.NASA to launch ASTHROS Mission to stratosphere

News: NASA has announced the launch of ASTHROS mission from Antarctica in 2023.

Facts:

  • ASTHROS stands for Astrophysics Stratospheric Telescope for High Spectral Resolution Observations at Submillimeter-wavelengths.
  • Aim: To send a telescope aboard a balloon of the size of a football stadium into the stratosphere to observe wavelengths of light invisible from the Earth.
  • Significance: The mission will help in trying to find answers about formation of giant stars in the galaxy.

Additional Facts:

  • Stratosphere: It is a layer of Earth’s atmosphere that is located above the troposphere and below the mesosphere.The ozone layer which absorbs and scatters the solar ultraviolet radiation is in this layer.

4.81 stressed housing projects approved under Special Window fund

News: Union Finance Minister has approved 81 projects under the Special Window for Affordable and Mid Income Housing(SWAMIH) fund.

Facts:

  • SWAMIH Investment Fund: It has been formed in 2019 to complete construction of stalled, RERA-registered affordable and mid-income category housing projects which are stuck due to paucity of funds.
  • Fund: The fund has a target corpus of Rs 12,500 crore with a greenshoe option of Rs 12,500 crore.
  • Investment manager: The Investment Manager of the Fund is SBICAP, a wholly-owned subsidiary of State Bank of India.
  • Sponsor: The sponsor of the Fund is the Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India.

Additional Facts:

  • Green Shoe Option: It is an over-allotment option which grants the underwriter of a public offer the right to sell investors more shares than initially planned by the issuer when the demand for security issue proves higher than expected.

5.HRD Ministry creates committee to develop India as educational hub

Facts: Ministry of Human Resource and Development(HRD) has set up a committee headed by UGC Chairman DP Singh to:

  • Prepare guidelines to ensure more students ‘Stay in India and Study in India.
  • Increase intake in top universities and start multi disciplinary and innovative programmes such as online lectures by eminent faculties abroad and joint degree programmes.
  • Establish links between academia and industry and allow lateral entry to Indian higher education institutions.

6.Space startup develops India’s first in-orbit space debris monitoring, tracking system

News: Digiantra Research and Technology(DRT), a space tech startup has developed India’s first In-orbit Space Debris Monitoring and tracking system based on the LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) technology.

Facts:

  • Purpose: To provide real-time earth coverage by deploying a constellation of cost-efficient nanosatellites in LEO(Low Earth Orbit) and a space-based air surveillance payload for accurate tracking of both aircraft and space objects.

Additional Facts:

  • LIDAR: It is a remote sensing method that uses light in the form of a pulsed laser to measure ranges (variable distances) to the Earth.
    • These light pulses combined with data recorded by the airborne system generate precise, three-dimensional information about the shape of the Earth and its surface characteristics.

7.200 investment proposals from China wait for security clearance by Home Ministry

News: About 200 investment proposals from China are awaiting security clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) after new rules were notified in April.

Facts:

  • In April 2020, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) notified amendment to the existing consolidated FDI policy. It aimed at restricting opportunistic takeovers or acquisition of Indian companies from neighboring nations.
  • The amendment made prior government approval mandatory for foreign direct investments from countries which share a land border with India.
  • Previously, only investments from Pakistan and Bangladesh faced such restrictions.  Further, prior government approval or security clearance from MHA was required for investments in critical sectors such as defense, media, telecommunication, satellites, private security agencies, civil aviation and mining.

8.Kashmir saffron now has GI certificate

News: The government has issued certification of geographical indication (GI) for saffron grown in Kashmir Valley.

Facts:

  • Kashmir saffron is the only saffron in the world that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 meters. This adds to its unique characteristics like longer and thicket stigma, natural deep-red colour, high aroma, bitter flavour,  high quality colour strength, flavour and bitterness.
  • Production: There has been a steep decline in production by around 65%, from 16 metric tonnes to 5.6 metric tonnes, in 2018.

Additional facts:

Geographical Indication Tag:

  • It is a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act,1999 provides registration and also protection of GI goods in India.
  • The act is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and trademarks under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Recent GI Tags: Green and White Tea- Darjeeling, Srivilliputhur palkova – Tamil Nadu, Dindigul lock- Tamil Nadu, Kandangi saree- Tamil Nadu, Tirur Vettila- Kerala, Tawlhlohpuan – Mizoram, Mizo Puanchei – Mizoram, Palani panchamirtham- Tamil Nadu, Kandhamal Haldi – Odisha among others.