Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 16 Apr, 2021

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Government inaugurates “The Hydrogen Economy – New Delhi Dialogue 2021”

What is the News?

The Union Minister inaugurated The Hydrogen Economy – New Delhi Dialogue 2021.

About Hydrogen Economy – New Delhi Dialogue 2021:

  • New Delhi Dialogue 2021 is organized by The Energy Forum(TEF), an independent think tank in India in collaboration with the Federation of Indian Petroleum Industry(FIPI). FIPI is under the patronage of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • Aim: The dialogue aims to discuss emerging hydrogen ecosystems and exploring opportunities for collaboration, cooperation and coalition.
  • The dialogue will comprise a High-level Ministerial Session followed by Panel Discussions by eminent policymakers. The dialogue focus on policy roadmaps and mapping the demand and supply of Hydrogen.

About National Hydrogen Energy Mission:

  • The Union Budget for 2021-22 has announced a National Hydrogen Energy Mission(NHM). The mission will draw a road map for using hydrogen as an energy source.
  • The mission will focus on the generation of hydrogen from green power resources.

Click Here to Read about Hydrogen as a Fuel

 Source: PIB


“ITCN Training Programme” Launched 

What is the News?

National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA) in partnership with Bernard van Leer Foundation(BvLF) has launched the “Infant Toddler and Caregiver-friendly Neighbourhoods (ITCN) Training and Capacity Building Programme”.

About the ITCN Programme:

  • The ITCN Programme is designed to build capacities of city officials and young professionals for developing neighbourhoods within Indian cities that are friendly to young children and families.

Key Features of the ITCN Programme:

  • Under the programme, city officials and young professionals will get skills through certified training and capacity building modules.
  • The training is proposed to deliver through well-structured training modules. These modules are provided online through the National Urban Learning Platform (NULP).

About National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA):

  • National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA) was established in 1976. It is a premier institute of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs,
  • Purpose: It aims to bridge the gap between research and practice on issues related to urbanization. Further, it suggests ways and mechanisms to address urban challenges in the country.
  • Significance: The institute has utilized its competencies in research, knowledge management, policy advocacy and capacity building to address urban challenges. Further, NIUA continuously strives to develop sustainable, inclusive and productive urban ecosystems in the country.

About National Urban Learning Platform(NULP):

  • National Urban Learning Platform (NULP) is an initiative of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs and National Institute of Urban Affairs(NIUA).
  • Aim: The platform aims to empower India’s urban functionaries, administrators, elected representatives, civil society, industry actors and other ecosystem players. The NULP also aims to empower them to build smart, inclusive, sustainable and resilient cities.

Source: PIB


Electronic nose to detect “Hydrogen Sulphide” from Sewers

What is the News?

Scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences(CeNS), Bangalore have developed Electronic Nose to detect Hydrogen Sulphide from swamps and sewers. CeNS is an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology

About Hydrogen Sulphide:

  • Hydrogen Sulphide is the chemical compound with the formula H2S. It is a colourless chalcogen hydride gas. It is with the characteristic foul odour of rotten eggs. (Chacogen –  chalcogens are the chemical elements in group 16 of the periodic table).
  • Hydrogen Sulphide is slightly denser than air. It is also poisonous, corrosive and flammable.

How is Hydrogen Sulphide produced?

  • Hydrogen sulfide is often produced from the microbial breakdown of organic matter in the absence of oxygen gas, such as in swamps and sewers. This process is commonly known as anaerobic digestion.
  • It occurs naturally in crude oil, natural gas, and hot springs.
  • H2S also occurs in volcanic gases, natural gas and in some sources of well water.
  • The human body also produces small amounts of H2S and uses it as a signalling molecule.

Impact of Hydrogen Sulphide on Health:

  • The health effects of hydrogen sulphide depend on how much H2S a person inhales and for how long.
  • Exposure to Hydrogen Sulphide include headaches, memory loss, and problems with the cardiovascular system.
  • However, many effects are seen even at low concentrations. Effects range from mild, headaches or eye irritation to very serious, unconsciousness and death.

Source: PIB


Government to Decide on Collegium Recommendations for HC judges

What is the News?

The Supreme Court Collegium recommended Judges for the appointment in the High Courts. But it is pending for more than 6 months. So, the Union government recently decided to consider the SC recommendations within three months.

What was the case?

  • The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance on the matter relating to numerous vacancies in 25 high courts across India.
  • According to the Ministry of Law, over 38%(more than 400) of sanctioned posts of judges are lying vacant across all the high courts in the country.
  • Furthermore, the SC collegium cleared several names for the appointment to various high courts. But the law ministry is yet to announce the names.

What has the Supreme Court said on this matter?

  • The Supreme Court asked the Attorney General to make a statement about the timeline within which the Centre will decide the collegium proposals.

What has the Centre replied?

  1. The Central Government blamed the High Courts for the vacancies. The government mentioned that the High Courts are expected to send the recommendations 6 months prior to the occurrence of vacancies. But, that is not happening.
  2. On this, the Supreme Court held that there are two timelines.
    • One for the government and another for the HCs. The Chief Justice will deal with the High Court timelines.
    • But the government also has to provide its own timeline.
  3. Then the Attorney General said that the Central Government will follow the timelines prescribed in the Memorandum of Procedure(MoP) to appoint judges to high courts.
    • The memorandum of Procedure(MoP) does not insist on a deadline, but it only mentions that the process should be completed within a reasonable time.

Source: The Hindu


RBI sets up “Regulations Review Authority 2.0”

What is the News?

Recently the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) announced the setting up of a new Regulations Review Authority(RRA 2.0).

About Regulations Review Authority(RRA):

  • RBI earlier set up the first RRA for a period of one year from April 1, 1999. This is for reviewing the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from the public, banks and financial institutions.

About Regulations Review Authority(RRA 2.0):

  • Regulations Review Authority(RRA 2.0) will streamline the regulatory instructions, reduce the compliance burden of the entities under regulations. The RRA 2.0 will achieve this by simplifying procedures and reduce reporting requirements wherever possible.
  • Headed by: M Rajeshwar Rao, Deputy Governor of RBI has appointed as the head of the Regulations Review Authority 2.0.
  • Duration: The authority will be set up for a period of one year from May 1. But, RBI can extend its tenure.

Terms of Reference of RRA 2.0: The terms of reference of RRA 2.0 include:

  • Making regulatory and supervisory instructions more effective by removing redundancies and duplications.
  • To obtain feedback from regulated entities on simplification of procedures and enhancement of ease of compliance.
  • RRA will reduce the compliance burden on regulated entities by streamlining the reporting mechanism; revoking obsolete instructions if necessary.
  • To examine and suggest the changes required in the dissemination process of RBI circulars/ instructions.
  • To engage internally as well as externally with all regulated entities and other stakeholders to facilitate the process.

Source: The Hindu


UNFPA Releases “State of World Population Report 2021”

What is the News?

The United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA) has released its flagship report “State of World Population Report 2021” titled ‘My Body is My Own’.

About State of World Population Report 2021:

  • The State of World Population is an annual report published by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).
  • Focus of the Report: Bodily autonomy is the first time the focus of the report. Bodily autonomy defined as the power and agency to make choices about your body without fear of violence or having someone else decide for you.
  • Examples of Violation of Bodily Autonomy: Some examples of violation of bodily autonomy include:
    • child marriage
    • female genital mutilation
    • lack of contraceptive choices leading to unplanned pregnancy,
    • unwanted sex exchanged for a home and food
    • when people with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities cannot walk down a street without fear of assault or humiliation.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Nearly half the women from 57 developing countries do not have the right to make decisions regarding their bodies. Decisions including using contraception, seeking healthcare, or even on their sexuality.
  • Choices over Health Care: Only 55% of women are fully empowered to make choices over health care, contraception, and the ability to say yes or no to sex.
  • Maternity Care: Only 71% of countries guarantee access to overall maternity care
  • Access to Contraception: Only 75% of countries legally ensure full, equal access to contraception.
  • Sexual health: Only about 80% of countries have laws supporting sexual health and well-being.
  • Sexuality Education: Only about 56% of countries have laws and policies supporting comprehensive sexuality education.

India’s National Family Health Survey(NFHS) Report: According to NFHS-4 Report(2015-2016):

  • Decisions on Healthcare: Only about 12% of currently married women (15-49 years of age) independently make decisions about their own healthcare. While 63% decide in consultation with their spouse.
    • For a quarter of women (23%), it is the spouse that mainly takes decisions about healthcare.
  • Use of Contraception: Only 8% of currently married women (15-49 years) take decisions on the use of contraception independently. While 83% decide jointly with their spouse.
  • Information on Contraception: Information provided to women about the use of contraception is also limited. Only 47% of women using a contraceptive were informed about the side effects of the method. Further, only 54% of women were provided information about other contraceptives.

About United Nations Population Fund(UNFPA):

  • UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency. It aims to deliver a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.
  • Headquarters: New York, United States.

 Source: The Hindu

“MANAS App” – A Mental-Health Digital platform

What is the News?

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India has virtually launched the “MANAS” App.

About MANAS App:

  • MANAS stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System. It is a comprehensive, scalable and national digital wellbeing platform developed to promote the mental well-being of Indian citizens.
  • Nodal Agency: Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
  • Developed by: National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (NIMHANS) Bengaluru, Armed Forces Medical College(AFMC), Pune, and Centre for Development of Advanced Computing(C-DAC) Bengaluru.
  • Key Features:
    • The platform integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries.
    • The application can be used for a person’s overall wellbeing and is supported by tele-consultation, especially for mental health-related problems.
    • There will also be health tracking and all data records will be maintained. It will help users during future consultations.
  • Significance: The platform was endorsed as a national program by the Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

About Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser(PSA):

  • Setup in: Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) was set up in 1999 by the Cabinet Secretariat. It is currently a Secretary level position.
  • Mandate: It is the chief advisor to the government on matters related to scientific policy. The policies focus on critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors.

About PM-STIAC:

  • PM-STIAC is an overarching council. The Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) is the chairman of the council.
  • Functions: The council perform functions such as,
    • Assess the status of specific S&T domains
    • Comprehend challenges in S&T domains
    • Formulates immediate, mid, and long term interventions and
    • presents a roadmap to the Prime Minister.

Source: PIB

Buddhist Remains From a Millennium ago in Jharkhand

What is the News?

Earlier this year, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) had discovered Buddhist Remains from Hazaribagh’s Sadar block located at the eastern side of Jharkhand’s Sitagarha hills.

What did the Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) discover? ASI had discovered the remains of a Buddhist monastery along with some Shaivite remains which includes:

  • Four Statues of Taras, the “saviouresses” of the Thunderbolt Vehicle, displaying the Varada mudra(gesture of hand showing dispensing of boons).
  • Six statues of the Buddha in Bhumisparsha Mudra [gesture of hand showing five fingers of right hand towards the earth symbolising the Buddha’s enlightenment].
  • Remnants of a statue of the Shaivite goddess Maheswari, with a coiled crown and chakra appear to suggest a degree of cultural assimilation at the site.

Earlier Discoveries at this Site:

  • The first archaeological discoveries on this site were made in 1992. A painted grey ware (PGW) pottery, a votive stupa, a black basalt apsara torso, and an “eight-petalled astadala lotus” inscribed on the stone were discovered.
  • It was estimated that these antiquities of Buddhism were from 300 BC from the period of the Palas (8th to 12th centuries AD) and the Sena (11th-12th centuries).

Significance of these discoveries:

  • These findings are significant since the monastery is on the old route to Varanasi, 10 km from Sarnath where the Buddha gave his first sermon.
  • Further, the presence of statues of the deity Tara shows the possible proliferation of Vajrayana form of Buddhism in this region.
    • Vajrayana is a form of Tantric Buddhism which flourished in India from the 6th to 11th century.

Source: Indian Express

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