9 PM Current Affairs Brief – July 19, 2019

Karnataka crisis: What’s a ‘whip’, and what does it do?

  1. A whip in parliamentary parlance is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way. In India all parties can issue a whip to their members.
  2. Parties appoint a senior member from among their House contingents to issue whips — this member is called a Chief Whip. The Chief Whip is assisted by additional Whips.
  3. There are three kinds of whips- a) one line whip, b) two line whip and c) three line whip.
  4. A one-line whip, underlined once, is usually issued to inform party members of a vote, and allows them to abstain in case they decide not to follow the party line.
  5. A two-line whip directs them to be present during the vote.
  6. A three-line whip is employed on important occasions such as the second reading of a Bill or a no-confidence motion, and places an obligation on members to toe the party line.
  7. In India, rebelling against a three-line whip can put a lawmaker’s membership of the House at risk
  8. The anti-defection law, 1985, contained in the 10th Schedule of the Constitution allows the Speaker to disqualify such a member. The only exception is when more than a third of legislators vote against a directive, effectively splitting the party.

Gender neutral POSCO bill introduced in RS

  1. The government has introduced Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha. The bill seeks to amend POSCO Act, 2012.
  2. The amendment bill provides for gender neutral application of stringent punishment, including death penalty, for aggravated penetrative sexual assault of both girl and boy below 16 years of age.
  3. For the first time, the bill carries a definition of child pornography and provide for levy of fines and imprisonment of up to 5years to curb child pornography.
  4. Amendments are also proposed to protect children from sexual offences in times of natural calamities.
  5. The POCSO Act, 2012 was enacted to protect the children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography. The Act defines a child as any person below eighteen years of age.

Child labour in film, TV comes under scanner

  1. The Union Labour and Employment Ministry has expressed concern over violations of child labour rules in film and television industry.
  2. It has also urged the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to ensure strict compliance by the industry with the norms on working conditions for children. Further, it has said that mandatory disclaimers should be presented when children appear on screen.
  3. Child Labour is prohibited in India under the Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 (amended in 2016) and Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017.
  4. Under the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Rules, 2017, child artistes are supposed to work for a maximum of five hours a day and not more than three hours without rest.
  5. The rules also require permission from the District Magistrate and an undertaking by the producer. It also states that one person each should be deployed for ensuring the safety and security of a maximum of five children
  6. It also states that children should not be away from schooling for more than 27 days. Further the rule mandates 20% of their income to be deposited in a fixed deposit in their name
  7. The Rules further mentions that if a child was involved in filming, the film should include a disclaimer saying that all measures were taken to ensure that no abuse, neglect or exploitation of the child took place during shooting.

INS Sagardhwani Flagged Off for ‘Sagar Maitri’

  1. Marine Acoustic Research Ship, INS Sagardhwani, has set sail for a scientific venture called Sagar Maitri (Marine & Allied Interdisciplinary Training and Research Initiative) Mission- 2
  2. The ship’s mission has been conceptualised by Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO). It is in consonance with the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Safety and Growth of All in the Region’ (SAGAR)
  3. SAGAR seeks to promote closer cooperation in socio-economic aspects, as well as greater scientific interaction, especially in ocean research in underwater acoustics, among Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries.
  4. The prime objectives of the SAGAR MAITRI mission-2 are a) data collection from the entire North Indian Ocean, focusing on the Andaman Sea and adjoining seas and b) establishing long term collaboration with eight IOR countries in the field of ‘Ocean Research and Development’.
  5. The first Sagar Maitri mission was held in April 2019 when INS Sagardhwani visited Myanmar.
  6. INS Sagardhwani is an indigenously built ship commissioned in 1994.
  7. It is owned by Naval Physical & Oceanographic Laboratory (NPOL) – a R&D establishment of the DRDO. 

CMs’ panel mulls move to tie State farm reforms to funds

  1. The Central government had set up a high powered committee of seven chief ministers led by Maharashtra’s CM as its convenor. The panel has discussed various measures to transform Indian agriculture and raise farmers’ income.
  2. The panel has said since agriculture is a State subject, all the States must be brought on board for time-bound reforms in the agriculture sector.
  3. The panel has discussed various measures such as (a) scrapping of the Essential Commodities Act for the food sector (b) Review of agriculture subsidies (c) Dismantling of market monopolies and (d) Steps to increase private investment.
  4. Further, they have also discussed ways to ensure fair prices and end manipulative monopolies in the local markets and also to remove the obstacles in the implementation of the digital e-NAM system.
  5. The panel also considered the need for better coordination between the Agriculture and Commerce Ministries to ensure a dynamic pricing policy based on global market trends for major agricultural commodities.
  6. The panel has also stressed on the need to digitise the entire agricultural process from sowing and marketing to using drones and satellites for crop surveillance. It also called for bringing down the cost of institutional credit available for farming.

Upliftment of Women of Backward Communities

  1. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment has informed the Parliament about the women specific schemes under National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation(NBCFDC),
  2. The minister informed that NBCFDC runs two women specific schemes for women whose annual family income is less than Rs.3 lakh per annum.
  3. The schemes are Mahila Samridhi Yojana which provides microfinance to women entrepreneurs of Backward Classes and 
  4. New Swarnima Scheme for Women which provides term loan to inculcate the spirit of self-dependence among the women of Backward Classes.
  5. NBCFDC was incorporated in 1992 as a non profit company under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India.
  6. It aims to improve and develop the economic activities for the members of Backward Classes who are living below the poverty line.

India draws new ‘red lines’ for talks on Afghan peace process

  1. India has shared a table with the Taliban for the first time in November, 2018.India has now spelt out its three new red lines on the peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan.
  2. The first is that all initiatives and processes must include all sections of the Afghan society including the legitimately elected government. This is important as the Afghan government was often side-lined by international interlocutors when they engaged with the Taliban. 
  3. The second is that any process should respect the constitutional legacy and political mandate. This means that the achievement of establishing democratic processes and human rights including women’s rights should be respected.
  4. The third is that any process should not lead to any ungoverned spaces where terrorists and their proxies can relocate. This is crucial for India as it points out the threat from terrorist groups including the Haqqani network, Al Qaeda must not be allowed to operate from Afghanistan.
  5. Experts have said that these new red lines are seen to be more realistic and in sync with the current situation. India now needs to be more articulate about this and proactive diplomatically so that it can be part of the regional initiatives on Afghanistan.
  6. Earlier, India had said that it is for the elected government of Afghanistan to draw the red lines or lay down terms and conditions for negotiating with the Taliban.
  7. The Afghan government had stated that the Taliban must accept the Afghan Constitution, renounce violence and sever all ties with al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations.

Transmission sector needs ₹5 lakh crore investment for future needs

  1. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has said that India’s vision of a 5 trillion-dollar economy will require an estimated investment of Rs 5 lakh crore in the transmission sector over the next few years.
  2. CII said that India will be consuming 1.8 trillion units by 2025 as India’s growth trajectory accelerates and this requires large investments in the transmission sector particularly at the state level. 
  3. CII has recommended the separation of the Central Transmission Utility from the Power Grid Corporation of India since the set up is currently creating a conflict of interest between the two.
  4. CII also highlighted the fact that current guidelines for the construction of transmission lines as laid out by the Central Electricity Authority did not leave enough scope for adopting new technologies. This increases the capital expenditure and the per unit tariff.
  5. CII has also recommend (a)upgrading capacities within existing infrastructure (b)redefining the scope of planning for the centre which should be based on the capacity of the transmission line instead of the geography where the same is located and (c)need to bring in competition and move away from the cost-plus approach or regulated tariff mechanisms.
  6. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is a business association in India. It is a non-government, not-for-profit, industry-led and industry managed organization.

Ethanol biorefinery to come up in Vidarbha

  1. Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) will set up Maharashtra’s first ever ethanol biorefinery in Vidarbha’s Bhandara district. The plant will manufacture ethanol from rice straw. 
  2. The Government of India is encouraging production of Second Generation (2G) Ethanol from agricultural residues to provide additional sources of  remuneration to farmers.
  3. The Bio-Refineries will also contribute to a cleaner environment due to usage of waste rice straw for Ethanol production thereby reducing waste straw burning in fields. Blending of ethanol in petrol will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions as compared to fossil fuels.
  4. This will also boost the infrastructural development in the area and overall improvement in livelihood of people. Further, blending of ethanol enhances self-sufficiency of the country by reducing oil imports thereby saving foreign exchange.
  5. The National Policy on Biofuels, 2018 aims to increase the percentage of ethanol in petrol and diesel. Currently, it is at nearly 2% in petrol, while in diesel, biofuel is less than 0.1%.An indicative target of 20% of ethanol in petrol and 5% of biodiesel in diesel is also proposed by 2030.

G7 urges strict Libra regime, eyes minimum tax

  1. G7 Countries has said that digital currencies such as Facebook Libra raise serious concerns and must be regulated as tightly as possible to ensure they do not upset the world’s financial system.
  2. Recently, Facebook had decided to launch a crypto currency called Libra. The currency is designed not to be a speculative asset like Bitcoin but a form of digital money backed by a reserve of assets.
  3. The G7 Countries has also opposed the idea that companies could have the same privilege as nations in creating means of payment but without the control and obligations that go with it.
  4. The countries has also said that Facebook’s ambitions for a digital currency might not only weaken their control over monetary and banking policies but also pose security risks.
  5. The G7 also agreed that large tech companies such as Google, Amazon ,Facebook or Apple can be taxed in the countries in which they make money even without being physically present there.
  6. The Group of 7(G7) is a group consisting of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, United Kingdom and the United States. The European Union is also represented within the G7.
  7. These countries are the seven major advanced economies as reported by the International Monetary Fund. The G7 is actually an informal grouping whose summits typically focus on large issues of global economy and governance.
  8. Crypto currency is a digital currency. It uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units and verify the transfer of assets. E.g. Bitcoins, ethereum etc.

SEBI opposes Centre’s proposal to transfer surplus money to CFI

  1. Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) has written to the government seeking a review of the Budget proposal that mandates transferring 75% of the market regulator’s surplus funds to the central government
  2. SEBI said that the proposal would result in compromising its autonomy and its ability to function effectively towards the progress and development of the Indian securities market.
  3. The Finance Bill,2019 has proposed a 75% cash transfer from the Sebi’s general fund to the Central government after creating a ‘reserve fund’ of the annual surplus. The transfer is proposed to take place after SEBI incurs all expenses mandated under the law establishing it.
  4. The Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI) is the regulator for the securities market in India. It was established in 1988 and given statutory powers in 1992 through the SEBI Act,1992.

WHO declares ebola outbreak in Congo a global health emergency

  1. The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the Ebola crisis in the Democratic Republic of Congo a public health emergency of international concern.
  2. Public health emergency is defined as an extraordinary event that is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and it requires a coordinated international response.
  3. The public emergency announcement is the highest level of alarm that is only raised during the gravest of outbreak.
  4. Ebola virus disease (EVD) formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe often fatal illness in humans. The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  5. Ebola initially causes sudden fever, intense weakness, muscle pain and a sore throat. It progresses to vomiting, diarrhoea and both internal and external bleeding. Patients tend to die from dehydration and multiple organ failure.

Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga Project

  1. Union Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas has informed the Rajya Sabha that Government has taken various policy initiatives to increase the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas.
  2. Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga project aims to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi and later to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
  3. The government estimates that around 5 lakh gas cylinders will be sent at rural areas annually.
  4. According to GAIL, with the Urja Ganga project,20 lakh households will get PNG connections. The project is said to be a major step towards collective growth and development of the Eastern region of India.
  5. GAIL has built a network of trunk pipelines covering the length of around 11,000 km. With Urja Ganga project, this number will further increase by 2540 km.

Cabinet nod to 2,880MW hydel project in Dibang

  1. Union Cabinet has approved the Dibang Multipurpose Project (MPP) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  2. Dibang Multipurpose Project is envisaged as a storage-based hydro-electric project with flood moderation as the key objective.
  3. The construction of project shall prevent the sizeable downstream area from floods.
  4. This is the largest ever hydro-electric projects to be constructed in India. The dam is 278 metres high and will be the highest dam in India once completed.
  5. Further, this project is located on river Dibang in Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh.

Zakir Hussain,Sonal Mansingh selected as 2018 Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows

  1. Recently, the General Council of the Sangeet Natak Akademi has announced its awards in the field of performing arts for the year 2018.
  2. The Akademi has selected table maestro Zakir Hussain, classical dancer Sonal Mansingh, dancer Jatin Goswami and scientist K Kalyanasundaram Pillai as Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellows.
  3. The Sangeet Natak Akademi is India’s national academy for music, dance and drama.
  4. It was created by a resolution of the then Ministry of Education, Government of India in 1952 with Dr P.V. Rajamannar as its first Chairman.
  5. It is presently an Autonomous Body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and is fully funded by the Government for implementation of its schemes and programmes.
  6. The Akademi is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of institutions and projects of national importance in the field of performing arts.
  7. The awards given by Akademi are: Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships (Akademi Ratna), Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) and Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar.

Aadhaar can take you places,but not to Nepal

  1. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) has ruled that Aadhaar cannot be construed as any other ID issued by the Government of India for travelling to a country.
  2. This ruling came after complaint was filed seeking compensation from an airline for refusing to accept Aadhaar card as a valid document for travel to Nepal.
  3. The NCDRC is a quasi-judicial commission in India which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986.Its head office is in New Delhi. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India.   
  4. The Aadhaar number is a verifiable twelve-digit unique identity number issued by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) to the residents of India. It is linked with the resident’s demographic and biometric information.

Ujjawala Scheme

  1. The Ujjawala scheme is the Comprehensive Scheme for Prevention of Trafficking and Rescue, Rehabilitation and Re-integration of Victims of Trafficking for Commercial Sexual Exploitation.
  2. The scheme is run by Ministry of Women and Child Development. It was launched in 2007.
  3. The scheme aims at preventing trafficking of women and children for commercial sexual exploitation, facilitate rescue of victims from the place of their exploitation and provide both immediate and long-term rehabilitation to the victims.
  4. The scheme also seeks to facilitate reintegration of the victims into the family and society at large.
  5. Further the scheme also seeks to facilitate repatriation of cross-border victims to their country of origin.
  6. The Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act, 1956 (amended in 1986) is the primary legislation for the prevention of human trafficking and sexual exploitation for women and girls. Further, Section 370 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) defines trafficking and penalizes offenders.
  7. Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill, 2018 was passed in Lok Sabha in 2018. It creates a law for investigation of all types of trafficking, and rescue, protection and rehabilitation of trafficked victims. 
  8. Article 23 of the Indian Constitution prohibits trafficking in human beings and forms of forced labour.

MoU Signed between Ministry of Health and Ministry of AYUSH for ‘Tuberculosis Free India’ initiative

  1. Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have signed MoU to establish inter-sectorial convergence to eliminate tuberculosis in India by 2025.
  2. The collaboration aims at development of linkages and integration of TB care services within the infrastructure and institutional network of AYUSH
  3. The Indian government has had put forward National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination, 2017-2025. The plan is a framework to provide guidance for the activities of various stakeholders to reduce the burden of TB mortality and morbidity.
  4. In 2018, the government launched the TB Free India campaign to take activities under NSP for TB Elimination. The campaign seeks to eliminate TB in India by 2025- 5 years ahead of the Sustainable Development Targets (SDG 3.3) which sets the goal to 2030.
  5. TB is an infectious airborne bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

7,000 species added to IUCN ‘Red List’

  1. International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has updated its Red List. The list has assessed the extinction risk of almost 106,000 species.
  2. 27% of the assessed species are threatened and at a risk of extinction. More than 7,000 species from around the world were added to the endangered category of the Red List in the latest update.
  3. According to IUCN, Wedgefishes and giant guitarfishes, known collectively as Rhino Rays are now the most imperilled marine fish families on Earth.
  4. Further, seven species of primate are closer to extinction on the new list, including the Roloway Monkey of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
  5. The Red List, produced by the IUCN, is the most authoritative assessment of the status of species.
  6. There are 9 categories in the Red List: a) Extinct, b) Extinct in the Wild, c) Critically Endangered, d) Endangered, e) Vulnerable, f) Near Threatened, g) Least Concern, h) Data Deficient and i) Not Evaluated.
  7. Among the categories, Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN) and Vulnerable (VU) species are considered to be threatened with extinction
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