Factly articles for 28th August 2020

15 min read

1.Just 24% of Indian households have internet to access e-education: UNICEF

News: United Nations Children’s Fund(UNICEF) has released a report titled “Remote Learning Reachability report”.

Facts:

  • Purpose: The report outlines the limitations to remote learning and exposes deep inequalities in access.

Key Takeaways:

  • At least a third of the world’s schoolchildren which works to around 463 million could not access remote learning since schools have been shut down because of Covid-19.
  • In India, at least 1.5 million schools are closed because of the pandemic, which is affecting 286 million students from pre-primary to secondary levels of which 49% are girls.

Additional Facts:

  • Reimagine Campaign: It is a global campaign launched by UNICEF to prevent the COVID-19 pandemic from becoming a lasting crisis for children especially the most vulnerable children such as those affected by poverty, exclusion or family violence.
  • UNICEF: It is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.
    • Origin: It is the successor of the International Children’s Emergency Fund(ICEF) created in 1946.
    • Headquarters: New York City, US.

2.Five members of Great Andaman tribe test positive

News: Survival International has called for urgent action following reports that at least five members of the Great Andamanese tribe have tested positive for Covid-19.

Facts:

  • Great Andamanese: They are an indigenous people of the Great Andaman archipelago in the Andaman Islands.They are classified as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group(PVTG).
  • Language: They speak Jeru dialect among themselves and their number stands at just 74.
  • PVTGs in Andaman: The five PVTGS residing in Andamans are Great Andamanese, Jarwas, Onges, Shompens and North Sentinelese.

Additional Facts:

  • Survival International: It is a human rights organisation formed in 1969 that campaigns for the rights of indigenous and/or tribal peoples and uncontacted peoples.
  • Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs): It is a government of India classification created with the purpose of enabling improvement in the conditions of certain communities with particularly low development indices.
    • Criteria for identification of PVTGs: a) Pre-agricultural level of technology b) Low level of literacy c) Economic backwardness and d) declining or stagnant population.
    • 75 tribal groups have been categorized as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups(PVTGs).They reside in 18 States and Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Island.

3.National GIS-Enabled Land Bank System Launched

News: Union Commerce and Industry Minister has launched the ‘National GIS-enabled Land Bank’ system.

Facts:

  • National GIS (Geographic Information System) enabled land bank system: The system aims to help investors to get real-time information about the availability of industrial land and resources.
  • The system has been developed by integrating the Industrial Information System(IIS).
    • IIS portal is a GIS-enabled database of industrial areas/clusters across the states.

Additional Facts:

  • GIS: It is a computer system for capturing, storing, checking, and displaying data related to positions on Earth’s surface.GIS can show many different kinds of data on one map such as streets, buildings, and vegetation.This enables people to more easily see, analyze and understand patterns and relationships.

4.Explained: Contingency Fund of the Reserve Bank of India(RBI)

News: The Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has retained a whopping amount of Rs 73,615 crore within the RBI by transferring it to the Contingency Fund(CF) of the central bank.

Facts:

  • How much has RBI transferred to the Government? The RBI has approved the transfer of Rs 57,128 crore as surplus or dividend to the Central government for the accounting year 2019-20.
  • How was this transferred? This was transferred as per the economic capital framework(ECF) adopted by the RBI board in 2019.
    • As per Section 47 of the RBI Act, profits or surplus of the RBI are to be transferred to the government after making various contingency provisions, public policy mandates of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.

RBI’s risk provision accounts: The RBI’s main risk provision accounts are-:

  • Contingency Fund(CF): This is a specific provision meant for meeting unexpected and unforeseen contingencies including:
    • Depreciation in the value of securities,
    • Risks arising out of monetary/exchange rate policy operations,
    • Systemic risks and any risk arising on account of the special responsibilities enjoined upon the Reserve Bank.
  • Currency and Gold Revaluation Account(CGRA): It is maintained by the Reserve Bank to take care of currency risk, interest rate risk and movement in gold prices.
    • CGRA provides a buffer against exchange rate/ gold price fluctuations.It can come under pressure if there is an appreciation of the rupee vis-à-vis major currencies or a fall in the price of gold.
  • Investment Revaluation Account Foreign Securities(IRA-FS): The unrealized gains or losses on revaluation in foreign dated securities are recorded in the IRA-FS account.
  • Investment Revaluation Account-Rupee Securities(IRA-RS): The unrealized gains or losses on revaluation is accounted for in Investment Revaluation Account-Rupee Securities(IRA-RS).

5.Union Minister initiates Mansar Lake Rejuvenation Project

News: The Union Minister initiated the Mansar Lake Rejuvenation Project by holding a high level meeting to discuss the DPR(Detailed Project Report).

Facts:

  • Manser Development plan: It is a comprehensive plan for development and upgradation of Mansar Lake and surrounding areas.
    • Aim: To holistically develop the sacred Lake of Manser as the second biggest tourist destination in Jammu region and also to preserve the lake, its ecology and heritage.

Additional Facts:

  • Mansar Lake: It is situated 62 km from Jammu.It is a lake fringed by forest-covered hills.Surinsar-Mansar Lakes were designated as Ramsar Convention in November 2005.

6.Centre gives two options to States on GST compensation

News: Finance Minister has chaired the 41st GST Council meet.The council discussed states compensation and revenue losses.

Facts:

  • Union Finance Minister has placed before the GST Council two options for borrowing by states to meet the shortfall in GST revenues pegged at Rs 2.3 lakh crore in the current fiscal.The two options are:
    • First Option: A special window can be provided to the states in consultation with the RBI at a reasonable interest rate for borrowing of Rs 97,000 crore.The amount can be repaid after five years from collection of cess.
    • Second Option: The states can borrow the entire Rs 2.35 lakh crore shortfall under the special window.

Additional Facts:

  • Goods & Services Tax(GST) Council: It is a constitutional body for making recommendations to the Union and State Government on issues related to Goods and Service Tax.
    • As per Article 279A(1) of the constitution, the GST Council was constituted by the President.
    • Composition: The council consists of the following members: a) The Union Finance Minister is the Chairperson b) The Union Minister of State in-charge of Revenue of finance and c) The Minister In-charge of finance or taxation or any other Minister nominated by each State Government.
  • GST Compensation Cess: It was introduced as relief for States for the loss of revenues arising from the implementation of GST for the period of first five years of GST implementation .It is levied on products considered to be ‘sin’ or luxury goods.
  • National Anti-profiteering Authority(NAA): It was established under section 171 of the Central Goods and Services Tax Act, 2017 to monitor and to oversee whether the reduction or benefit of input tax credit is reaching the recipient by way of appropriate reduction in prices.

7.UMANG app services to be available via CSCs

News: The National e-Governance Division(NeGD) has signed an MOU with CSC (Common Service Center) e Governance Services India Limited to facilitate delivery of UMANG services at CSCs.

Facts:

  • Unified Mobile Application for New-Age Governance(UMANG) app: It is the common unified platform launched in 2017 for delivery of services of various Government Departments through the mobile platform
    • Developed by: It has been developed by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY) and National e-Governance Division(NeGD).

Additional Facts:

  • Common Service Centers(CSCs): They were set up under the CSC Scheme of the Ministry of Electronics & IT(MeitY) to serve as the access points for delivery of essential public utility services, social welfare schemes, healthcare, financial among others in rural and remote areas of the country.
    • CSC e-Governance Services India Limited: It is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up by the Ministry of Electronics & IT under the Companies Act,1956 to oversee implementation of the CSC scheme.

8.DST encourages research on Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage(CCUS)

News: Department of Science & Technology(DST) has invited proposals from Indian researchers in the area of Carbon Capture, Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) under Accelerating CCUS Technologies(ACT) initiative.

Facts:

  • Accelerating CCUS Technologies(ACT): It is an initiative of 16 countries, regions and provinces to fund research and innovation projects that can lead to safe and cost-effective CCUS technology as a tool to combat global warming.
  • CCUS: It is a process that involves capture of carbon dioxide(CO2) from fuel combustion or industrial processes, the transport of this CO2 via ship or pipeline and either use it as a resource to create valuable products or store it underground in geological formations so that it will not enter the atmosphere.
  • CCUS is also one of the identified innovation challenges in the Mission Innovation(MI) Programme.
    • Mission Innovation: It is a global initiative of 24 countries and the European Union to accelerate the global clean energy innovation.
    • Department of Science & Technology(DST), Government of India is an active partner of this initiative.