9 PM Current Affairs Brief – March 5th, 2020

National Security Day (Pointly)

News: National Security Day is celebrated every year on 4th March

Facts:

  • It marks the day when the National Security Council was established in 1998.

National Security Council (NSC):

  • It is a three-tiered organization that oversees political, economic, energy and security issues of strategic concern. It comprises the Strategic Policy Group, the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and a secretariat from the Joint Intelligence Committee. Members of NSAB are usually senior retired officials, civilian as well as military, academics and distinguished members of civil society drawn from and having expertise in Internal and External Security, Foreign Affairs, Defence, Science & Technology and Economic Affairs.
  • NSC operates within the executive office of the Prime Minister of India.
  • The National Security Advisor presides over the NSC

Centre working on exclusive body for river-linking projects

News:The Central government is working on the establishment of National Interlinking of Rivers Authority (NIRA).

Facts:

Functions of NIRA

  • It will take up both interState and intraState river interlinking projects. 
  • It will also make arrangements for generating up funds, internally and externally.

Additional Information:

National River Linking Project (NRLP):

  • The National River Linking Project (NRLP) formally known as the National Perspective Plan, aims to link Indian rivers by a network of  reservoirs and canals.
  • The main objective is to transfer water from water ‘surplus’ basins where there is flooding to water ‘deficit’ basins where there is drought/scarcity.
  • It was prepared by the then Ministry of Irrigation in August 1980.
  • The NRLP is managed by National Water Development Agency (NWDA), under the Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • It proposes to 30 links to connect 37 rivers across India. It has two components:
    • Himalayan Rivers Development Component:  under it, 14 links have been identified.
    • Peninsular Rivers Development Component or the Southern Water Grid: It includes 16 links that propose to connect the rivers of South India.
  • Four priority links under Peninsular Rivers Component have been identified:
    •  Ken-Betwa link project:
    • Damanganga-Pinjal link project,
    • Par-Tapi-Narmada link project
    • Mahanadi Godavari link project

Near-extinct hard ground swamp deer see revival in Kanha

News: The population of Hard ground swamp deer (Barasingha) has increased to 800 in the Kanha National park and Tiger Reserve.

Facts:

Barasingha:

  • It is the state animal of Madhya Pradesh
  • IUCN Status: Vulnerable

Kanha National park and Tiger Reserve

  • It is located on the Maikal range of the Satpura hills, and is spread over Mandla and Balaghat districts of Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is first tiger reserve in India to officially introduce a mascot, Bhoorsingh the Barasingha

Additional Information:

  • There are three subspecies of swamp deer found in the Indian Subcontinent:
    •  The western swamp deer found in Nepal, 
    • southern swamp deer found in central and north India 
    • eastern swamp deer found in the Kaziranga and Dudhwa National Parks.

Tribal affairs ministry constitutes committee on CFR guidelines under FRA

News: The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has constituted a committee to examine and recommend Community Forest Resources (CFR Guideline) under the Forest Rights Act, 2006 (FRA)

Facts:

Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006

  • It seeks to recognize forest rights of Scheduled Tribes and other traditional forest dwellers who have been occupying and are dependent on the forest land for generations.
  • It envisions the forest rights committee of a village as the central unit in managing forest resources.
  • Rights recognised under FRA:
  1. Community Rights or rights over common property resources of the communities in addition to their individual rights,
  2.  right of ownership, access to collect, use, and dispose of minor forest produce,
  3. Rights in and over disputed land Rights of settlement and conversion of all forest villages, old habitation, un-surveyed villages and other villages in forests into revenue villages, 
  4. right to protect, regenerate or conserve or manage any community forest resource which the communities have been traditionally protecting and conserving for sustainable use, 
  5. right to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or displacement from forest land, 
  6. Right to intellectual property and traditional knowledge related to biodiversity and cultural diversity.

What next for virtual currency?

News: The Supreme Court has set aside the 2018 circular of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on virtual currencies on grounds of proportionality.

Facts:

Virtual Currencies:

  • Virtual currency is a digitally tradable form of value, which can be used as a medium of exchange or acts as a store of value or a unit of account.
  • Cryptocurrency is a specific type of virtual currency, which is decentralised and protected by cryptographic encryption techniques. Example: Bitcoins, Ethereum, Ripple, Petro (by Venezuela govt) and Alber (By UAE and Saudi Arabia) .
  • Blockchain Technology: A Blockchain is a digital, immutable, distributed ledger that chronologically records transactions in near real time. It is managed by a cluster of computers not owned by any single entity; therefore, it is decentralized.

Legal Status of Virtual Currencies in India:

  • It does not have the status of a legal tender.
  • In 2018, RBI prohibited banks and entities regulated by it from providing services in relation to virtual currencies to ensure that the banking system was not compromised by payment systems which showed extreme `volatility”.

Supreme Court Judgement on Virtual Currency- Key takeaways

  • Held that despite the fact that virtual currencies are not recognised as legal tender, they are very much capable of performing some of the functions of actual and real currency.
  • RBI 2018 directive failed on the five-prong test to check proportionality — 
    • Direct and immediate impact upon fundamental rights (Article 19(1)(g), which states that all citizens of the country will have the right to practise any profession, or carry on any occupation or trade and business)
    • The larger public interest sought to be ensured; 
    • Necessity to restrict citizens’ freedom; 
    • Inherent harmful nature of the act prohibited or its capacity to be harmful to the general public; 
    • The possibility of achieving the same object by imposing a less drastic restraint.

HC:Sukhna lake of Chandigarh is legal entity

News:The Punjab and Haryana High Court has declared Sukhna Lake legal entity and has ordered demolition of legal/unauthorised constructions in its catchment area.

Facts:

Key takeaways from the Judgement:

  • Sukhna Lake will now be a legal entity for its survival, preservation and conservation.
  • The court also declared all citizens of Chandigarh as loco parentis (in the place of a parent) to save the lake from extinction.
  • The court also invoked the Polluter pays principle by saying that the States should have taken precautionary measures to save the catchment of Sukhna lake.

About Sukhna Lake:

  • Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh is a reservoir at the foothills (Shivalik hills) of the Himalayas.
  • This lake was created in 1958 by Le Corbusier and the Chief Engineer P L Verma by damming the Sukhna Choe, a seasonal stream coming down from the Shivalik Hills.
  • The lake is a sanctuary for many exotic migratory birds like the Siberian duck, storks and cranes during the winter months.
  • The lake has been declared as a protected national wetland by the Government of India.

About Living Entity:

  • A legal entity means an entity which acts like a natural person but only through a designated person whose acts are processed within the ambit of law.

About Polluter Pays Principle:

  • The principle is enacted to make the party responsible for producing pollution responsible for paying for the damage done to the natural environment.
  • In international environmental law it is mentioned under the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development of 1992.

Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme(IDSP)

News:The Government of India is tracing the people who have come in contact with the Coronavirus patients through it’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme(IDSP).

Facts:

About IDSP:

  • Launched in 2004 by the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs with the assistance of the World Bank.

Objective:

  • To strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based IT enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends and to detect and respond to outbreaks in early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Team(RRTs).

Components of the programme:

  • Integrates and decentralises surveillance activities through establishment of surveillance units at Centre, State and District level.
  • Trains state surveillance officers, district surveillance officers, RRTs and other medical and paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance as part of human resource development.
  • Uses Information Communication Technology for collection, collation, compilation, analysis and dissemination of data.
  • Strengthens public health laboratories.
  • Undertakes inter-sectoral coordination for zoonotic diseases.

Govt approves amendments to Companies Act

News:The Union Cabinet has approved the Companies (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019.

Facts:

Key Provisions of the Bill:

  • It amends the Companies Act to enable listing of Indian firms on foreign stock exchanges.
  • It decriminalises several existing compoundable offences under the companies Act,2013 to promote ease of doing business.
  • It ensures that companies which have an obligation to spend Rs. 50 lakh per annum or less on corporate social responsibility(CSR) are no longer required to have a CSR committee. 
  • Companies which spend over the obligated 2% on CSR in a particular year can carry it forward as credit for fulfilment of CSR obligations for the next few years as well.

Additional information:

Companies Act,2013:

  • The Companies Act 2013 is an Act of the Parliament of India on Indian company law.Company means a company incorporated under this Act or under any previous Company Law.
  • The law regulates incorporation of a company, responsibilities of a company, directors and dissolution of a company.

About CSR:

  • Corporate social responsibility (CSR) was initiated through the Companies Act, 2013.
  • The act mandates companies and government organisations with a) turnover of Rs1,000 crore or more b) net worth exceeding Rs 500crore or c) having more than Rs 5 crore in net profits to spend 2% of average net profit of the preceding three years on CSR.

IIT-Bombay, Delhi break into top 50 in QS world university rankings

News:The Quacquarelli Symonds(QS) has released the QS World University rankings by Subject,2020.

Facts:

About the QS Rankings:

  • QS University Ranking is an annual publication by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
  • The universities were ranked based on the parameters such as Academic reputation, Employer reputation, Citation per faculty Faculty-Student ratio and International students.

Key takeaways from the rankings:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology is the World’s best performing Institution followed by Harvard University and University of Oxford.

Indian Universities Subject wise ranking:

  • Engineering and a Technology: IIT Bombay moved up to rank 44 from last year’s rank 53 while IIT Delhi moved to rank 47 this year from 61 last year.
  • Arts and Humanities: Jawaharlal Nehru University ranked at the 162nd position while Delhi University ranked at 231.
  • Life and sciences: AIIMS has been ranked 231 in this category.
  • Business and management:Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore were ranked in the 51-100 band.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Côte d’ivoire for cooperation in the field of Health

News:The Union Cabinet has approved an MoU between India and the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire on Cooperation in the field of Health.

Facts:

About Côte d’Ivoire:

  • Côte d’Ivoire or Ivory Coast is located on the south coast of West Africa.
  • It’s political capital is Yamoussoukro while its economic capital and largest city is the port city of Abidjan.The official language of the republic is French.
  • It borders Guinea and Liberia to the west, Burkina Faso and Mali to the north, Ghana to the east and the Gulf of Guinea (Atlantic Ocean) to the south.

India and Côte d’Ivoire Relations:

  • India and Côte d’Ivoire have traditionally enjoyed cordial and friendly relations.
  • India established its Embassy in Abidjan in 1979 while Côte d’Ivoire opened its Resident Mission in New Delhi in September 2004.
  • India is also facilitating the development of an IT-cum-Technology Park in Abidjan, named after Mahatma Gandhi.

Additional information:

About Techno-Economic Approach for Africa–India Movement(TEAM–9):

  • India launched the TEAM-9 initiative in 2004 with eight energy- and resource-rich West African countries including Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali, Guinea-Bissau, Ghana, and Burkina Faso.
  • It aims to engage the underdeveloped yet resource-wealthy countries of West Africa which require both low-cost technology and investment to develop their infrastructure.

Explained: What is ‘mac-binding’, the condition specified for using the Internet in J&K

News:Recently,the use of social media was allowed in Jammu and Kashmir with a condition that Internet connectivity will be made available with mac-binding.

Facts:

About MAC and IP address:

  • Media Access Control Address(MAC) and Internet Protocol Address(IP) are the addresses that uniquely define a device and a connection in a network.
  • The main difference between MAC and IP address is that MAC is a hardware identification number that is unique to every device.On the other hand,IP address is assigned to every device while accessing the Internet.

About Mac-binding:

  • Mac-binding necessarily means binding together the MAC and IP addresses so that all requests from IP address are served only by the computer having that particular MAC address.
  • In effect, it means that if the IP address or the MAC address changes, the device can no longer access the Internet.
  • Further,monitoring authorities can also trace the specific system from which a particular online activity was carried out.

Luxembourg becomes first country to make public transport free

News:Luxembourg has announced to make all forms of public transport free starting March 2020.

Facts:

About:

  • The decision was taken to reduce the traffic congestion and in turn reduce Emissions.
  • Under this,all forms of Public transport will be free which will be funded by the taxpayers.This will help low earners save money and burden is shouldered by the better off population.

Additional information:

Similar Initiatives in India:

  • In 2019,the Government of Delhi had started a similar initiative when it announced free bus rides for women.
  • The initiative has boosted women ridership but it has financially drained the Delhi Transport Corporation(DTC).

Central Government rolls out LLP settlement scheme

News:The Centre has introduced a new scheme named LLP Settlement Scheme 2020.

Facts:

About the Scheme:

  • It aims to help non-compliant Limited Liability Partnership(LLP) firms turn compliant and enable ease of doing business for such entities.
  • Under the Scheme,the Government provides a one-time relaxation in additional fee to the defaulting LLPs by allowing filing of pending documents and help them serve as a compliant LLP in future.

About Limited Liability Partnership(LLP):

  • LLP is an alternative corporate business form that gives the benefits of limited liability of a company and the flexibility of a partnership.
  • They are governed under the limited liability partnership act of 2008 with the Corporate Affairs Ministry implementing the Act.

Difference between LLP vs Traditional partnership firm:

  • Under a traditional partnership firm, every partner is liable jointly with all the other partners and also severally for all acts of the firm done while he is a partner.
  • Under LLP structure, liability of the partner is limited to his agreed contribution.Thus,individual partners are shielded from joint liability created by another partner’s wrongful acts or misconduct.

Difference between LLP vs a Company:

  • The internal governance structure of a company is regulated under the Companies Act, 1956 whereas for an LLP it would be by a contractual agreement between partners.
  • The management-ownership divide inherent in a company is not there in a limited liability partnership.
  • LLP has more flexibility and lesser compliance requirements as compared to a company.

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