Sabha passes Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill
- The Lok Sabha has passed the Surrogacy
(Regulation) Bill, 2019. The bill aims to regulate the practice and
process of surrogacy in India.
- The objectives of the bill are to: a)
ensure effective regulation of surrogacy, b) prohibit commercial surrogacy
and c) allow ethical altruistic surrogacy to the needy infertile Indian
couples on fulfilment of conditions.
- It defines surrogacy as a practice where a
woman gives birth to a child for an eligible couple and agrees to hand
over the child to them after the birth.
- It allows altruistic surrogacy. Altruistic
surrogacy involves an arrangement where the couple does not pay the
surrogate mother any compensation other than the medical and insurance
expenses related to the pregnancy.
- The bill prohibits commercial surrogacy
which includes compensation (in cash or kind) paid to the surrogate
mother, which exceeds the reasonable medical expenses associated with the
- The bill mentions that the couple
intending to commission a surrogacy arrangement must be a close relative
of the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother has to married with a child
of her own, in the age bracket of 25 to 35 years old, and should not have
been a surrogate mother before.
- Further, the couple should be Indian
citizens who have been married for at least five years and are in the age
group of 23-50 years (female partner) and 26-55 years (male partner). They
also need secure a medical certificate stating that either or both
partners are infertile
- The couple also should not have any
surviving child (whether biological, adopted or surrogate), except if the
surviving child is mentally or physically challenged or suffers from a
- The bill states any child born out of a
surrogacy procedure shall be the biological child of the intending couple.
Also, the child will be entitled to all rights and privileges that are
available to a natural child
- The Bill proposes to regulate surrogacy in
India by establishing a National Surrogacy Board at the central level and
state surrogacy boards and appropriate authorities in the state and Union
Sabha passes transgender protection Bill
- The Lok Sabha has passed the Transgender
Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019.
- The Bill aims at the social, economic and
educational empowerment of transgender persons.
- Under the bill, transgender persons are
defined as those “whose gender does not match the gender assigned to that
person at birth and includes trans-men or trans-women, persons with
intersex variations, gender-queers, and persons having socio-cultural
- According to the bill, a person would have
the right to choose to be identified as a man, woman or transgender,
irrespective of sex reassignment surgery and hormonal therapy.
- It also requires transgender persons to go
through a district magistrate and district screening committee to get
certified as a transperson.
- It also states that the government,
through an insurance scheme, will cover medical expenses for sex
reassignment surgery, hormonal therapy, laser therapy or any such health
related expenses of transgender persons
- The Bill prohibits any person or
establishment from discriminating against a transgender person in any way.
- It has also proposed establishing a
National Council for Transgender persons. The Council would advise the
central government on related policies and legislation and also act as a
centre for grievance redressal.
Mercury may contain more water ice than thought
- According to a new analysis of data from
NASA’s LRO and MESSENGER spacecraft, Earth’s Moon and Mercury (the closest
planet to Sun) may contain significantly more water ice than previously
- The potential ice deposits are found in
craters near the poles of Moon and Mercury. The poles of Mercury and the
Moon are among the coldest places in the solar system.
- Unlike Earth, the spin axes of Mercury and
the Moon are oriented such that, in their polar regions, the Sun never
rises high above the horizon.
- Consequently, polar topographic
depressions, such as impact craters (formed when meteoroids or comets
impact the surface) remain permanently shadowed
- Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) is a
NASA robotic spacecraft which orbits the Moon in an eccentric polar
- MESSENGER – the Mercury Surface, Space
Environment, Geochemistry and Ranging spacecraft is NASA robotic
spacecraft that orbited Mercury from 2011 to 2015. It is the first
spacecraft to orbit Mercury.
against lynching, honour killing passed
- The Rajasthan Assembly has passed
Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill, 2019, and the Rajasthan
Prohibition of Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in
the Name of Honour and Tradition Bill, 2019.
- Rajasthan Protection from Lynching Bill,
2019 defines lynching as an act of violence, whether spontaneous or
planned, by a mob on the grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of
birth, language, dietary practices, sexual orientation, political
affiliation and ethnicity.
- It provides for life imprisonment and a
fine of up to Rs 5 lakh to convicts in cases of mob lynching involving the
- It also provides for appointment of a
nodal officer of the rank of Inspector-General of Police to prevent
lynchings and establishment of relief camps in safe zones for the victims.
- The Supreme Court in 2018 in the case of
Tehseen S. Poonawalla vs. Union of India had recommended the central
government to enact a legislation to create a separate offence for
- The Rajasthan Prohibition of Interference
with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances in the Name of Honour and
Tradition Bill, 2019 provides for death penalty or life sentence and fine
up to ₹5 lakh for killing a couple or either of them in the name of family
- Article 371 of the Indian Constitution grants
some temporary, transition and special provisions to some states in India.
- Article 371 provides special powers to the
governors of Gujarat and Maharashtra to create independent development
boards in regions such as Vidarbha, Marathwada, Kutch etc.
- Article 371 (A) states that laws enacted
by Parliament will not apply to Nagaland in respect to religious or social
practices of the Nagas, its customary laws, and procedures, administration
of civil and criminal justice involving decisions according to Naga customary
laws and ownership and transfer of land and its resources. The Central
laws in relation to these matters can apply only if the Legislative
Council agrees to it by passing a resolution.
- Article 371 (B) provides that to give
autonomy and voice to tribes, the President can provide for the
constitution and functions of a committee of Legislative Assembly of the
state consisting of members elected from the tribal areas of Assam.
Article 371 (C) is for Manipur. It is similar to that of 371 (B)
- Article 371 (D) and (E) provides for
special provisions for Andhra Pradesh. It states that the President can
provide equal opportunities for the local populace in public education and
- Articles 371 (F), talk about special
provisions with respect to Sikkim. It states that that the Legislative
Assembly shall consist of not less than 30 members. In order to reflect
the diversity of different groups in Sikkim, seats in the assembly are
provided to people of these different sections. Article 371 (G) for Mizoram
is similar to that of Article 371 (A) for Nagaland
- 371 (H) talks about special provisions for
Arunachal Pradesh. Its states that the governor has special powers on the
state’s law and order situation and can overrule the chief minister’s
decision on the basis of this provision.
- Article 371 (I) deals with special
provisions for Goa. Article 371 (J) grants special status to six backward
districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region
unveils draft e-com norms
- The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has
introduced the draft e-commerce guidelines for consumer protection.
- The proposed rules are aimed at curbing
the sale of counterfeit goods, streamlining returns and refunds and
delineating the liabilities of sellers and online marketplaces.
- The rules provides that every e-commerce
entity needs to publish the name and contact details of the grievance
officer on their website along with the mechanism by which users can lodge
- The rules mandates that e-commerce
companies needs to ensure that the data collection,storage and usage
comply with provisions of the Information Technology (Amendment) Act,2008.
- The rules also reiterates that e-commerce
entities will not be allowed to influence prices of products sold on their
websites directly or indirectly, which has already been a part of FDI
rules for e-commerce.
- The guidelines also put the onus on
marketplaces to do their own due diligence when customers complain about
receiving counterfeit products, and they may need to take down such
- The rules proposed to make it mandatory
for firms to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return,
refund, exchange, warranty ,delivery,mode of payments and grievance
redressal mechanism to enable consumers to make informed decisions.
gets first 3-D traffic signal
- Mohali traffic police have launched the
3-D Smart Traffic Signal.The launch of the 3-D technique is first of its
kind in the country.
- The wireless system called ‘Intelights’
has been installed at the traffic signals.It will regulate with a smart
bird’s eye view wireless sensor system.
- The system proposes a 360-degree solution
to curb the rising problem of traffic congestion.One of the major reasons
for traffic congestion is the inefficient working of traffic signal timers
installed at intersections.
- Presently,the timers of traffic lights
display a preset value which leads to waste of time.
- To tackle this issue,the system proposes
an Intelligent Traffic Timer Control which uses dynamic signal control
technology to adjust the timers of red,yellow and green lights according
to the traffic density at an intersection.
- The system also uses existing CCTV cameras
to gather live traffic video feed and automatically evaluates the traffic
density using Artificial Intelligence and sets the signal timers
Minister inaugurates TechEx – a technology exhibition
- Union Human Resource Development Minister
has inaugurated theTechEx – technology exhibition at IIT Delhi.
- TechEx was organized to demonstrate
products and prototypes developed under the two flagship schemes of the
Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD) namely IMPRINT and UAY.
- IMPacting Research,INnovation and
is a pan-IIT and IISc joint collaboration.The scheme was launched in 2015.
- The scheme aims to provide solutions to
the most relevant engineering challenges by translating knowledge into
viable technology in 10 selected technology domains.The projects are
funded jointly by MHRD and the participating Ministry in the ratio of
- The 10 selected domains are (a)health care
(b)energy (c)sustainable habitat (d)nano-technology hardware (e)water
resources and river systems (f)advanced materials (g)Information and
Communication Technology (h)manufacturing (I)security and defence and (j)
environmental science and climate change.
- Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) was launched in 2015.The scheme aims
to promote innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of
the industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian
- UAY projects are funded jointly by
MHRD,participating Ministries and the Industry in the ratio of 50:25:25.
KABIL set up to
ensure supply of critical Minerals to Indian domestic market
- A joint venture company Khanij Bidesh
India limited(KABIL) has been set up with the participation of three
Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).
- These CPSEs are National Aluminium Company
Ltd.(NALCO), Hindustan Copper Ltd.(HCL) and Mineral Exploration Company
- The objective of the company is to ensure
a consistent supply of critical and strategic minerals to Indian domestic
- The company would also ensure mineral
security of the nation as it would help in realizing the overall objective
of import substitution.
- The KABIL would also carry out
identification, acquisition, exploration, development, mining and
processing of strategic minerals overseas for commercial use and meeting
country’s requirement of these minerals.
- The company will also help in building
partnerships with other mineral rich countries like Australia and those in
Africa and South America, where Indian expertise in exploration and
mineral processing will be mutually beneficial bringing about new economic
States designates China a “currency manipulator”
- The US has officially designated China as
a currency manipulator.This decision was taken after China’s central bank
allowed the yuan to weaken in retaliation for new US tariffs.
- A weaker yuan makes Chinese exports more
competitive or cheaper to buy with foreign currencies.
- The US Treasury department defines
currency manipulation as when countries deliberately influence the
exchange rate between their currency and the US dollar to gain unfair
competitive advantage in international trade.
- The US has said that it will now engage
with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to eliminate the unfair
competitive advantage created by China’s latest actions.
- It’s the first time that the US has
labeled a country a manipulator since the 1990s when China was also the
target.Officially,the designation requires the US government to seek
negotiations with the government accused of manipulation.
- However,the US and China have been locked
in a trade war since 2018 that has spilled into areas such as technology
and now currency.
for more Supreme Court judges gets Lok Sabha nod
- The Lok Sabha has passed the Supreme Court
(Number of Judges) Amendment Bill,2019.
- The bill seeks to increase the number of
Supreme Court judges in the country’s apex court from the present 30 to
- This bill was introduced after Chief
Justice of India had written to Prime Minister to increase the number of
judges in the top court.
- CJI had written that due to paucity of
judges,the required number of Constitution Benches to decide important
cases involving questions of law were not being formed.
- The strength of the Supreme Court is fixed
by law made by the Parliament as per Article 124(1) of the Constitution of
India.Therefore, the strength can be increased by way of parliamentary
- The Supreme Court (Number of Judges)
Act,1956 originally provided for a maximum of 11 judges.The act was last
amended in 2009 to increase the judges strength from 25 to 30 excluding
ensure authenticity, APIs of drugs may soon get track-and-trace codes
- Drugs Technical Advisory Board(DTAB) has
recommended to the government to make it mandatory for companies to
include codes to track-and-trace APIs to ensure authenticity of drugs
manufactured in India.
- This move will potentially be the first
step by the government to pinpoint the origin and movement of drugs
manufactured here and ensure their authenticity.
- Active pharmaceutical ingredients or APIs
can be defined as the chemicals used to manufacture pharmaceutical drugs.
- The active ingredient(AI) is the substance
or substances that are biologically active within the drug and is the
specific component responsible for the desired effect it has on the
individual taking it.
- India is currently dependent on China for
imports of APIs to make certain essential medicines with around 75% of
these ingredients imported from the country in 2016-17.
- DTAB is highest statutory decision-making
body on technical matters related to drugs in the country.It was
constituted as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act,1940.It is part of Central
Drugs Standard Control Organization(CDSCO) in the Ministry of Health and
J&K bifurcation, hill parties want Darjeeling to be Union territory
- The Centre has revoked provisions of
Article 370 which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.It has also
proposed bifurcation of the state into two Union territories Jammu and
Kashmir and Ladakh.
- This has led to the demand from Darjeeling
which has asked for a separate Union territory with a legislature.
- Darjeeling is a picturesque hill town and
the area is ethnically dominated by Gorkhas.The place is also inhabited by
the Lepchas,Sherpas,Bhutias among others.
- Several political parties have over the
years promised the people of the hills a separate state and implementation
of the sixth schedule which grants more autonomy to a region.
- The demand for a separate state was first
made in the 1980s with the Gorkha National Liberation Front(GNLF)
launching a violent agitation in 1986.
- The movement culminated in the formation
of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council in 1988 following the intervention
of the then Prime minister and West Bengal chief minister.
- The separate statehood demand gained
momentum yet again in 2007 after the formation of the Gorkha Janmukti
Morcha(GJM) under the leadership of Bimal Gurung.
- However,after the ruling government
changed in West Bengal,the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration(GTA) was
formed.But peace was short-lived in the area as GTA led an agitation in
support of the statehood demand accusing the West Bengal government of
trying to wipe out Gorkha identity.
set to frame rules for ride-hailing firms
- The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019
has created a new category of cab aggregators by addressing some of these
- The bill recognizes and defines
aggregators as digital intermediaries or marketplaces which can be used by
passengers to connect with a driver for transportation.
- The central government will soon meet all
stakeholders in the industry and frame a broad set of rules on
- The rules will govern taxi aggregators
such as Uber and Ola.It will address issues such as types of permissible
vehicles and safety of women passengers.
- The rules will also clarify whether such
vehicles will be owned by the driver or the aggregator and specify their
- The rules may cover surge pricing which
kicks in at times of high demand or low cab availability.Aggregators may
find it difficult to raise prices exorbitantly through surcharges during
peak hours or in times of adversity such as a transport strike or heavy
- The rules will also clarify whether the
aggregator or the driver will be held responsible in case of an
accident,crime or any other incident during the ride.
loses its special status, divided into two UTs
- President of India has promulgated the
Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order,2019.
- The order effectively abrogates the
special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the provision of
Article 370 whereby provisions of the Constitution which were applicable
to other states were not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- The Presidential Order has extended all
provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir.This order will
also supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir)
- Further,Article 35A also ceases to exist
on effective abrogation of special status.The reason being that this was
inserted through a presidential proclamation of 1954 drawing powers from
- A separate Bill called the Jammu and
Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 was also introduced to bifurcate the
State into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir(with
legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).
- Article 370 is a temporary provision
granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 specifies that a) except for
Defence,Foreign Affairs,Finance and Communications the Indian Parliament
needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws b)
the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State and c) No
preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
- Article 35-A was incorporated in the Constitution
in 1954 through Presidential order.It gives the Jammu and Kashmir
Legislature a complete freedom to decide,who are all ‘Permanent Residents’
of the State.
- Article 35-A provides them(a) special
rights and privileges in public sector jobs (b) acquisition of property in
the State and (c)scholarships as well as public aid and welfare.
joins U.S. to ensure safety of vessels in Gulf
- The UK will join a US-led taskforce to
protect merchant ships travelling in the Gulf.
- This move comes amid growing tensions
between the two countries and Iran over the shipping route in the Strait
- This decision was taken after Iran had
seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.UK has accused Iran
for an act of state piracy.
- However,Iranian officials had said that
the oil tanker was seized in response to Britain’s role in seizing an
Iranian oil tanker off the coast of Gibraltar.
- The tensions in the gulf region had
started after US has re-imposed and latterly tightened its own sanctions
on Iran after withdrawing from a 2015 Iran nuclear deal to limit Iran’s
- However,the UK has said that it’s decision
to join the US-led mission will not change its commitment to the Iran
nuclear deal and that the UK government was working to de-escalate the
situation in the Gulf.
- The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping
route linking Middle East oil producers to markets in Asia, Europe, North
America and beyond.It has been at the heart of regional tensions for
Affairs Minister Jaishankar to visit China ahead of Modi-Xi summit
- India’s External Affairs Minister will be
visiting China ahead of the second informal summit between Indian Prime
Minister and Chinese President in India in October,2019.
- The minister will hold talks with his
Chinese counterpart on bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual
- The foreign minister will also co-chair
the second meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism(HLM) on
cultural and people to people exchanges.
- The HLM was established during the first
informal summit in Wuhan in April 2018.
- HLM aims to reflect the desire on both
sides to build greater synergies in the people-to-people ties between the
two countries through enhanced exchanges in areas such as tourism, art,
films, media, culture and sports.
- The first informal summit between India
and China was held in April last year in Wuhan,China after bilateral ties
came under severe strain following a Doklam standoff.