Factly articles for October16th,2020

  1. India contributes 1 million dollars to UNRWA for Palestine Refugees

News: India has contributed one million dollars to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency(UNRWA) for Palestine Refugees.


  • UNRWA: It was established as a subsidiary organ of the United Nations General Assembly in 1949 and became operational in 1950.
  • Aim: To provide assistance and protection for registered Palestine refugees to help them achieve their full potential in human development.
  • Who are Palestinian refugees? The operational definition of Palestine refugees is people whose normal place of residence was Palestine between 1946 and 1948 and who lost both their homes and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 Arab- Israeli conflict.
  • Areas of Operation: The aid is provided in five areas of operation namely Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank including East Jerusalem.The aid for Palestinian refugees outside these five areas is provided by UNHCR.
  • Funding: It is funded almost entirely by voluntary contributions from UN Member States. It also receives some funding from the Regular Budget of the United Nations which is used mostly for international staffing costs.
  • Significance: It is the only UN agency dedicated to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict.

2. Union Minister launches second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna”

News: Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare launched the second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” for the underprivileged Thalassemic patients.


  • Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna: It was launched in 2017 with the aim to provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor.
  • Funded by: The scheme is a Coal India CSR funded Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation(HSCT) program.
  • Beneficiary: The initiative aims to provide financial assistance to a total of 200 patients by providing a package cost not exceeding Rs. 10 lakhs per HSCT.

Additional Facts:

  • Thalassemia: It is a chronic and genetic blood disorder due to which a patient’s body cannot make enough hemoglobin leading to anemia.This disease is passed from parents to children through genes and people suffering from it require blood transfusions to survive.
  • Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation(HSCT): It is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood.
    • It may be autologous (the patient’s own stem cells are used), allogeneic (the stem cells come from a donor) or syngeneic (from an identical twin).
    • It is most often performed for patients with certain cancers of the blood, thalassemia or bone marrow such as multiple myeloma or leukemia.

3. India re-elected as president of International Solar Alliance

News: India and France were re-elected as president and co-president at the third assembly session of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for a term of two years.


Key Highlights from the Summit:

  • CSCA: The assembly approved the initiative of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalizing ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action(CSCA).
  • Visvesvaraya award: The assembly conferred the Visvesvaraya award which recognizes the countries with maximum floating solar capacity in each of the four regions of ISA.The awards went to Japan for the Asia Pacific region and the Netherlands for Europe and Others region.
  • ISA CARES: In the wake of the global pandemic, ISA had set up ISA CARES, an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in the healthcare sector in ISA Member countries.The initiative aims to solarize one primary health sector in each district of the target Member countries.
  • Solar Risk Mitigation Initiative: It is an initiative of World Bank in partnership with ISA, Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA).It aims to support countries in developing sustainable solar programs that will attract private investments and so reduce reliance on public finances.
  • STAR-C (Solar Technology Application Resource-Center): It is an initiative of ISA with the aim of building a network of technical training and research centers in order to promote knowledge dissemination and capacity-building with regards to solar energy and infrastructure projects.

Additional Facts:

  • International Solar Alliance(ISA): It is a treaty-based international intergovernmental organization jointly launched by India and France on the side-lines of the COP 21 to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in 2015.
    • Aim: To work for efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

4. Explained: What is New Shephard, the rocket system built by Blue Origin?

News: New Shephard, a rocket system has successfully completed its seventh test launch after it took off from a test facility in Texas,US.


  • New Shephard: It is a rocket system meant to offer flights to space over 100 km above the Earth and accommodation for payloads.
    • Essentially, it has been designed to take astronauts and research payloads past the Karman line – the internationally recognised boundary of space.
  • Built by: The system is built by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space company called Blue Origin.

5. State of Climate Services 2020 Report

News: United Nations(UN) World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released a report titled “State of Climate Services 2020 Report: Move from Early Warnings to Early Action”.


  • About the report: It identifies where and how governments can invest in effective early warning systems that strengthen countries resilience to multiple weather, climate and water-related hazards and provides successful examples.

Key Highlights from the report:

  • Impact of Disasters: Over the past 50 years, disasters attributed to weather, climate and water-related hazards have claimed over 2 million lives and cost the world economy $3.6 trillion.By 2030, this number could increase by almost 50% at a cost of around $20 billion a year.
  • Reasons for Disasters: Between 1970 and 2019, 79% of disasters worldwide involved weather, water, and climate-related hazards.Over the last 10 years (2010-2019), the percentage of disasters associated with weather, climate and water related events increased by 9% compared to the previous decade.

Additional Facts:

  • WMO: It is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation on atmospheric science, climatology, hydrology and geophysics.
    • Headquarters: Geneva,Switzerland.
    • Reports: State of Climate report, Greenhouse Gas Bulletin report among others.

6. Centre gives in, says will borrow to make up for states’ GST shortfall

News: The Central government has decided to borrow up to Rs 1.1 lakh crore on behalf of the states to meet the shortfall of Goods and Services Tax(GST) compensation.


  • Borrowing Mechanism: Under the Special Window, the estimated shortfall of Rs 1.1 lakh crore will be borrowed by Centre in appropriate tranches.The amount so borrowed will be passed on to the States as a back-to-back loan in lieu of GST Compensation Cess releases.
  • Will the borrowing impact the fiscal deficit of the Centre? The borrowing will not have any impact on the fiscal deficit of the Centre as the amounts will be reflected as the capital receipts of the States and as part of the financing of its respective fiscal deficits.
  • Significance: The Centre borrowing on behalf of states is likely to ensure that a single rate of borrowing is charged and this would also be easy to administer.

Additional Facts:

  • GST Compensation Cess: Under the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017, states are guaranteed compensation for loss of revenue on account of implementation of GST for a transition period of five years between 2017 and 2022.At present, the cess is levied on products considered to be ‘sin’ or luxury goods.

7. Kalam Program for IP Literacy and Awareness Education campaign

News: Ministry of Education launched the ‘KAPILA’ Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign on the 89th birth anniversary of former President and Scientist Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.


  • KAPILA: Under this campaign, students pursuing education in higher educational institutions will get information about the correct system of application process for patenting their invention.
  • Intellectual Property Literacy Week: The week of October 15th to 23rd as ‘Intellectual Property Literacy Week’. Online awareness will be created about the system and the importance of the process of applying for a patent.

Additional Information:

Institution Innovation Council: Established by Ministry of Education, it aims to systematically foster the culture of Innovation amongst all Higher Education Institutions (HEIs).

8. Ayurveda Day


  • The Ayurveda Day is being observed every year from 2016, on the day of Dhanwantri Jayanti. This year it falls on 13th November 2020.
  • Objective:
    • to focus on strengths of Ayurveda and its unique treatment principles,
    • to work towards reducing the burden of disease and related mortality by utilising the potential of Ayurveda,
    • to tap into the potential of Ayurveda to contribute towards National Health Policy and National Health programmes
  • Ayurveda Day 2020 Theme: ‘Ayurveda for Covid-19′.

9. In India, air pollution and high blood pressure among top 5 risk factors for deaths in 2019: Lancet

News: Lancet published Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study.


Key Takeaways:

  • Top five risk factors for death in India: air pollution (contributing to an estimated 1.67 million deaths), high blood pressure (1.47 million), tobacco use (1.23 million), poor diet (1.18 million), and high blood sugar (1.12 million).
  • Total Disease Burden: 58% of the total disease burden is due to non-communicable diseases (NCD) — up from 29% in 1990
  • Non-communicable Cause of Death: The leading non-communicable cause of death in India in 2019 was ischemic heart disease with 1.52 million deaths, followed by chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke and diabetes.
  • leading risk factor for total health loss in India: child and maternal malnutrition while the second leading risk factor was air pollution.
  • Life Expectancy: 70.8 years in 2019 — ranging from 77.3 years in Kerala to 66.9 years in UP.

10. Supreme Court: Woman has right of residence in ‘shared household’ of in-laws

News: The Supreme court has ruled that a woman is entitled to claim right to residence in a “shared household” where she has been living with her husband even if the said premises belongs to his relatives.


The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005:

  • It is a civil law that provides protection from domestic violence to women and children in a shared household. It recognizes domestic violence as a human rights violation.
  • Domestic violence case can be filed against both male and female relatives of the husband or the male partner.
  • Under the provisions of the Act, women can seek protection against domestic violence, financial compensation, the right to live in their shared household, and they can get maintenance from their abuser in case they are living apart.