Factly articles for 29th June 2020

11 min read

1.World Bank’s STARS to improve school education in six States

News: The World Bank has approved an assistance of $500 million under ‘Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States Program(STARS)’ for India.


  • Aim: To improve quality and governance of school education in six Indian states.
  • Coverage: Six states included in the project are Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Rajasthan.
  • Implementation: The project will be implemented through the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, the flagship scheme of India.
  • Features of the programme:
    • Focusing directly on the delivery of education services at the state, district and sub district levels by providing customized local-level solutions towards school improvement.
    • Addressing demands from stakeholders especially parents for greater accountability and inclusion.
    • Equipping teachers to manage this transformation by recognizing that teachers are central to achieving better learning outcomes.

Additional Facts:

  • Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme launched as an integrated scheme for school education extending from pre-school to class XII to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education at all levels of school education.
    • It subsumes the three Schemes of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Teacher Education(TE).

2.Explained: Anthropause, the period UK researchers are set to study

News: Researchers are set to study the term anthropause to refer to the Covid-19 induced lockdown period and they will study its impact on other species.


  • Anthropause: It refers specifically to a considerable global slowdown of modern human activities notably travel due to the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
  • What is the research about? The researchers will study the impact of Covid-19 induced lockdown on other species as studying this period will provide valuable insights into the relationship between human-wildlife interactions in the 21st century.

Additional Facts:

  • COVID-19 Bio-Logging Initiative: It is an international consortium that will investigate animals’ movements, behaviour and stress levels before, during and after COVID-19 lockdown using data collected with tracking devices on animals called bio-loggers.

3.Governing Council Meeting of National Productivity Council (NPC)

News: The 49th Governing Council Meeting of National Productivity Council (NPC) was held through video conferencing.


  • National Productivity Council(NPC): It is an autonomous body established in 1958 under Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry.
  • Aim: To promote innovation – led productivity in a sustained manner in all spheres of national economy.
  • President: Union Minister for Commerce and Industry is the President and Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) is its Chairman
  • Significance: It is a constituent of the Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organisation (APO) of which the Government of India is a founding member.

Additional Facts:

  • APO: It is an intergovernmental organization established in 1961 to increase productivity in the Asia-Pacific region through mutual cooperation.

4.Govt to scrap bulk data sharing policy over privacy, misuse concerns

News:The Government of India has decided to scrap a year-old Bulk data sharing policy.


  • Bulk Data Sharing Policy: It was introduced by the Government of India in 2019.
  • What was the policy? Under this, the government could share and sell vehicle details of registered vehicles and driving licences to the automobile industry to help in service improvements and wider benefits to citizens and government.
  • Concerns: However, the government has now decided to scrap the policy following concerns over privacy and misuse of personal data

5.ASEAN states warn of S. China Sea tensions

News: The 36th Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) Summit was held via video conference.


  • Chaired by: The Summit was chaired by Vietnam which is holding the chairmanship of ASEAN currently.
  • Theme: “Cohesive and Responsive ASEAN”
  • ASEAN Covid-19 response fund: The fund was established with a reserve for medical supplies to meet urgent needs during epidemics.

Additional Facts:

  • ASEAN: It is a regional grouping which was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
  • Members: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, The Philippines, Vietnam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Brunei, and Laos.
  • Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia.
  • Chairmanship: It rotates annually based on the alphabetical order of the English names of Member States.

6.Government launches 7.15% floating rate bonds

News: Union Finance Ministry has launched Floating Rate Savings Bonds 2020 (Taxable) in place of 7.75 percent Savings (Taxable) Bonds,2018 which was discontinued for subscription.


                 Item                 Details
             Scheme nameFloating Rate Savings Bonds, 2020 (Taxable)
             IssuanceTo be issued by Reserve Bank India on behalf of the Government of India.
             Eligibility for investmentOpen to investment by individuals (including Joint Holdings) and Hindu Undivided Families.NRIs are not eligible for making investments in these Bonds.
            Minimum and Maximum LimitThere will be no maximum limit for investment in the bonds. The minimum investment starts from Rs 1,000 and in multiples of Rs 1,000, thereof.
           Tenure of the BondsThe bonds shall be repayable on the expiration of seven years from the date of issue. Premature redemption shall be allowed for specified categories of senior citizens
           Interest Rate( Floating)The interest rate of the bond would be reset half yearly starting with Jan 1st, 2021 and thereafter every July 1st and Jan 1st. The coupon rate for the first coupon period payable on January 1, 2021 is fixed at 7.15%.
          Tax TreatmentInterest on the Bonds will be taxable under the Income-tax Act, 1961as amended from time to time and as applicable according to the relevant tax status of the Bonds holder.
         Tradability /AdvancesThe Bonds shall not be tradable in the secondary market and shall not be eligible as collateral for loans from banks, financial Institutions and Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) etc.