Factly articles for 2nd July 2020

12 min read

1.‘Accelerate Vigyan’ to strengthen scientific research mechanism

News: Science and Engineering Research Board(SERB) has launched a new scheme called ‘Accelerate Vigyan’(AV).

Facts:

  • Aim: To give more thrust on encouraging high-end scientific research and preparing scientific manpower which can lead to research careers and knowledge-based economy.
  • Components: The scheme has two components ABHYAAS and SAMMOHAN.
  • Mission ABHYAAS: It is an attempt to boost Research & Development in the country by enabling and grooming potential PG / PhD level students by developing dedicated research skills in selected areas through high-end workshops and research internships.
    • The mission has two sub components: High-end workshops (‘KARYASHALA’) and research internships (‘VRITIKA’).
  • Mission SAMMOHAN: It aims to encourage, aggregate and consolidate all scientific interactions in the country under one common roof.
    • The mission has two sub components: Sayonjika is an open-ended programme to catalogue capacity building activities in science and technology supported by all government funding agencies in the country and Sangoshthi is designed to facilitate the scientific community to establish an interaction with other individuals and research groups to enhance knowledge exchange.

2.India designates nine individuals linked to Khalistani groups as terrorists

News: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declared nine wanted men as designated terrorists under the amended Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act(UAPA),2019.

Facts:

  • Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act 2019: The act amends the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 which aims to curb certain unlawful activities including terrorist activities and related matters, carried out by individuals and associations in India and abroad.
             UAPA 1967 Act        UAPA 2019 Act
Who may commit terrorism:Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it: (i) commits or participates in acts of terrorism, (ii) prepares for terrorism, (iii) promotes terrorism, or (iv) is otherwise involved in terrorism.The act additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
Approval for seizure of property by NIA:Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.The act empowers the Director-General, National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is being investigated by the agency
Investigation by NIA:Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.The act additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
Insertion to schedule of treaties:The act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.The Schedule lists nine treatiesThe act added the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005) to the Schedule

3.Clean Energy Can Support India’s Economic Recovery post-Covid-19

News: NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute(RMI) has released a report titled “Towards a Clean Energy Economy: Post-Covid-19 Opportunities for India’s Energy and Mobility Sectors”.

Facts:

  • Aim: To highlight emerging challenges and opportunities for India’s transition to clean mobility and power systems in the context of Covid-19.

Additional Facts:

  • National Institution for Transforming India(NITI Aayog): It was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet in 2015. 
  • Purpose: It is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India providing both directional and policy inputs.It also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre and States.
  • Chairperson: Prime Minister of India.
  • Vice-Chairperson: Appointed by the Prime Minister.
  • Ex-officio members: Defence Minister, the Home Minister, the Finance Minister and the Agriculture Minister.
  • Special Invitees: Minister of Road, Transport and Highways, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Minister of Railways and Minister of Statistics.
  • Governing Council: It is chaired by the Prime Minister comprising Chief Ministers of all States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories(UTs).

4.Committee for reform in criminal law

Facts: Union Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA) has constituted a 5 member committee to recommend criminal law reforms for India.The Committee is being chaired by Professor Ranbir Singh.

5.Ministry reconstitutes Central Zoo Authority

News: Union Environment Ministry has reconstituted the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to include an expert from the School of Planning and Architecture,Delhi, and a molecular biologist.

Facts:

  • Central Zoo Authority: It is a statutory body established in1992 under the Wildlife Protection Act,1972.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change
  • Objective: To regulate zoos across the country and to lay down guidelines under which animals may be transferred among zoos nationally and internationally.
  • Composition: It is chaired by the Union Environment Minister with 10 members and member secretary.

6.RBI announces special liquidity scheme for NBFCs and HFCs through SPV

News: Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has operationalised the Rs 30,000 crore special liquidity scheme for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and Housing finance companies(HFCs).

Facts:

  • Aim: To improve the liquidity position of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies(HFCs).
  • Under the scheme, a Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) in the form of SLS Trust is being set up by SBI Capital Markets Limited(SBICAP) to manage a Stressed Asset Fund(SAF).
  • RBI will provide funds for the Scheme by subscribing to government guaranteed special securities issued by the Trust.
  • The Government of India will provide an unconditional guarantee to the special securities issued by the Trust.

Eligibility Conditions for NBFCs/HFCs to avail this scheme:

  • All investment grade RBI-registered NBFCs excluding Core Investment Companies(CICs) and NHB-registered HFCs are eligible.
  • Capital adequacy ratio(CAR) of NBFCs/HFCs should not be below the regulatory minimum, i.e 15% and 12% respectively as on March 31, 2019.
  • Net non-performing assets should not be more than 6% as on March 31, 2019.
  • They should have made profits in at least one of the last two financial years.
  • They should not have been reported under SMA-1 or SMA-2 category by any bank for their borrowings during the last one year prior to August 1, 2018

7.UN rolls out COVID-19 communication tool in Africa

News: United Nations Economic Commission for Africa(UNECA) has launched COVID-19 communication tool in Africa named Africa Communication and Information Platform(ACIP) for Health and Economic Action.

Facts:

  • ACIP: It is a mobile-based tool to support the country’s assigned National COVID-19 Taskforce to enhance its ability to implement necessary responses and to direct resources to mitigate and suppress the impact of COVID-19.

Additional Facts:

  • UNECA: It was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN’s five regional commissions.
  • Mandate: To promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration and promote international cooperation for Africa’s development.
  • Members: It has 54 member states corresponding to the 54 member states of the United Nations that lie within the continent of Africa or in oceans nearby the continent.