Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 17 June, 2021

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“OFB Corporatisation” Approved by Cabinet

What is the News? The Union Government has approved a plan for Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) Corporatisation.

About Ordnance Factory Board(OFB):

  • Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) is an umbrella body of 41 Ordnance Factories.
  • Origin: In 1775, British authorities accepted the establishment of the Board of Ordnance in Fort William, Kolkata. This marked the official beginning of the Army Ordnance in India.
  • Nodal Ministry: It is currently a subordinate office of the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
  • Mandate: It provides a major chunk of the weapon, ammunition, and supplies for Indian armed forces, paramilitary forces, and police forces.
  • Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
Corporatisation of OFB (Ordnance Factory Board):
  • Ordnance Factory Board(OFB) will be dissolved. It will be replaced by seven new Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). Each undertaking will have a specific manufacturing role.
  • The 41 factories under the OFB will be subsumed under one or the other of the seven new companies. These all will be 100% government-owned public sector undertakings(PSU).
  • There would be no change in the service conditions of the OFB employees.
    • All OFB employees (Group A, B, and C) from different production units will be transferred to the corporate entities on deemed deputation for an initial period of two years.

Significance of Corporatization of OFBs: The restructuring of OFBs is aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  • Making it a productive and profitable asset;
  • deepen specialisation in the product range;
  • enhance competitiveness;
  • improve quality and cost-efficiency
  • overcome various shortcomings in the existing system and provide these companies opportunities in the market, including exports
  • Provide more autonomy, as well as improve accountability and efficiency.

Source: The Hindu

Read Also :-Center is primed to amend Factories Law


“Gold hallmarking” Becomes Mandatory

What is the News? 

The government has announced the phased implementation of mandatory Gold Hallmarking of Jewelry, with effect from June 16, 2021.

What is gold Hallmarking?

  • The Bureau of Indian Standard (BIS) operates the gold and silver hallmarking scheme in India. It defines hallmarking as the accurate determination and official recording of the proportion of a precious metal(gold) in an article(Jewelry).
  • Hence, this means that it will guarantee the purity or fineness of precious metal articles.

Which metals are covered under the scheme?

  • The Government of India has notified two categories under the purview of hallmarking—gold jewelry and gold artifacts and silver jewelry and silver artifacts.
  • Therefore, hallmarking in India is available for the jewelry of only two metals—gold and silver.

Which metals have been exempted from hallmarking?

  • Export and re-import of jewelry as per Trade Policy of Government.
  • Jewelry for international exhibitions and government-approved B2B domestic exhibitions.
  • Watches, fountain pens, and special types of jewelry such as Kundan, Polki, and Jadau.

What was the need of making Gold Hallmarking mandatory?

  • India is the biggest consumer of gold. However, the level of hallmarked jewelry is very low in the country. At present, only 30% of Indian gold jewelry is hallmarked.
  • This is due to the non-availability of sufficient assaying and hallmarking centers (A&HC) responsible for a low level of hallmarked jewelry. Hence, Gold Hallmarking has been made mandatory.

Phase wise implementation:

  • In the first phase, gold hallmarking will be available only in 256 districts.
  • Jewelers having an annual turnover above Rs 40 lakh will come under its purview.
  • Moreover, there will be no penalty imposed till August 2021.

Source: Indian Express


UNESCO Science Report Finds India’s investment in Research Unsatisfactory

What is the News? 

The UNESCO Science Report(USR) has been released.

About UNESCO Science Report(USR):

  • UNESCO Science Report is a global monitoring report. It is published every five years by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization(UNESCO).
  • Objective: The report monitors trends in science governance worldwide to identify which development path countries are following.
  • Latest Report: The latest edition was published with the title ‘The race against time for smarter development’. The report has an exclusive chapter on India.

UNESCO Science Report(USR) on India:

 India’s Investment in Research:

  • India’s investment in research and development(R&D) remains unsatisfactory.
  • The gross domestic expenditure on research(GERD) has been stagnant at 0.7% of the GDP for years. However, in absolute terms, the research expenditure has increased.
  • India also has one of the lowest GERD/GDP ratios among the BRICS nations.
  • Target: The Science and Technology Policy of 2003 fixed the threshold of devoting 2% of GDP to research and development (R&D) by 2007.
    • However, the target has not been achieved and is being extended again and again.

Density of Scientists and Engineers:

  • In 1990, the density of scientists/engineers engaged in R&D in India per 10,000 of the labour force stood at 10.
  • This has now marginally increased to just 11 in 2018. This is too low when compared to 50 in China, 130 in Japan, and 180 in South Korea.

R&D by Government and Private Sector:

  • Research and Development(R&D) in the government sector has been declining steadily since 2015.
  • On the other hand, the share of private business enterprises in R&D has increased to 42%.
  • Moreover, investment in R&D by foreign multinationals is on the rise. Ir accounts for as much as 16% of private-sector investment in R&D in 2019.

Scientific Publications:

  • There has been an increase in scientific publications by Indian researchers on cutting-edge technologies. Total publications have risen from 80,458 in 2011 to 1.61 lakh in 2019.
  • However, patenting by domestic corporations, research institutes, universities, and individuals remain low in India.

Recommendations:

  • The report underscores the need for ‘policy bridges’ for developing a more effective interaction between foreign and local research firms.
  • The report has also called for improved linkages between the start-up ecosystem and manufacturers. It will push technological development in sectors where India enjoys a global presence.

Source: The Hindu


“Safe Harbour Protection” for Twitter Withdrawn

What is the News? 

According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MeitY), Twitter has failed to comply with the Information Technology (IT) Rules, 2021. This means the “Safe Harbour” Protection under Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act is withdrawn for Twitter.

What is “Safe Harbour” Protection under Section 79  of IT Act?

  • Section 79 of the Information Technology (IT) Act provides for the Safe Harbour protection to social media giants.
  • It says that any intermediary shall not be held legally or otherwise liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available on its platform.
  • However, the intermediary should not involve any way in initiating the transmission of the message in question, select the receiver of the transmitted message, and do not modify any information of the transmission.
  • This means that as long as a platform acts just as the messenger carrying a message from point A to point B, it will be safe from any legal prosecution due to the transmission of a message. However, it should be without any interference with its content in any manner,

How the removal of Safe Harbour Protection impacts Twitter?

  • It opens up the platform to the possibility of any type of legal action which was not possible before, as a publisher of content.
  • This means that Twitter will be accountable if someone’s content on Twitter leads to some form of violence or violates any Indian law.
  • Then not only the person that has put out the tweet but also Twitter will be legally liable for the content as it no longer has the protection.

Source: Indian Express


Great Power Summit Held Between US and Russian President

What is the News?

U.S President and Russian President have concluded their Great Power summit meeting in Geneva, Switzerland.

Key Discussions during the summit:

  • Return of Ambassadors: The US and Russia will return their Ambassadors to their posts in a bid to lower tensions.
    • Russia’s Ambassador to the US was recalled when the US President described the Russian President as a killer.
  • Nuclear Arms Control: The two countries have agreed to begin negotiations on nuclear talks. It is to potentially replace the New START treaty after it expires in 2026.
  • Prisoners Swap: The countries discussed a potential prisoner swap. But no agreement was reached.
  • Cyber Attacks: Russia has denied the accusations of cyberattacks from Russia on US critical infrastructure. He instead blamed that most cyber-attacks in Russia originated from the US.
  • Human Rights: The US has called out Russia on Human Rights issues. The US raised the issue of jailed opposition leaders in Russia and about his condition.

About New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty):

  • New START Treaty is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation. It was signed in 2010.
    • The treaty had replaced the 1991 START I treaty which expired in 2009.
  • Purpose: The treaty limits the US and Russia to possess a maximum of 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, well below Cold War caps.
  • Duration of the Treaty: The duration of the treaty is ten years and can be extended for a period of no more than five years at a time.
    • The treaty was to expire in 2021. But it has been extended for five more years, i.e till February 2026.

Source: The Hindu


“ELDERLINE” is providing assistance to thousands of elderly persons

What is the News?

The Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment has said that the Elderline is providing assistance to thousands of elderly persons. This was said on the occasion of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

Read Also :-Increasing old age population of India

About ELDERLINE:

  • ELDERLINE was launched by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Purpose: It is a toll-free helpline number(Toll-Free Number-14567) for elderly persons. It aims to help elderly persons by extending emotional care, health and legal assistance through dedicated call centres.
  • Coverage: The helpline has already been made operational in 5 major states (Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka). In Telangana, this facility has been working for more than a year.
  • Organisations Involved: The helpline has been operationalised with the assistance of Tata Trusts and the NSE foundation.
  • Significance: The helpline is functioning in a decentralised manner. It has state-wise call centres and central monitoring and knowledge evaluation.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day:

  • World Elder Abuse Awareness Day(WEAAD) is observed each year on June 15th.
  • It was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2011 following a request by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA).
  • Theme: “Access to Justice”.

Source: PIB


China successfully launched “Shenzhou-12” manned spaceship

What is the News?

China has launched the Long March 2F rocket transporting the Shenzhou-12 or Divine Vessel.

About Shenzhou-12 or Divine Vessel:
  • Shenzhou-12 is a manned mission. It is the third of the 11 missions that needed to complete China’s first Permanent space station, named Tiangong Space Station. Among these missions, four will be manned missions.
  • Working:
    • Shenzhou-12 is made up of three sections—an orbiter module, a return module and a propelling module.
    • It will carry three astronauts to the orbiting Tianhe core module. The astronauts will test the module’s technologies, including its life-support system.
    • Moreover, the men will also be monitored for how they fare in space physically and psychologically for an extended period of time.
  • Significance: Shenzhou-12 is China’s seventh manned mission to space and the first during the construction of China’s space station.
    • It is also the first in nearly five years after China’s manned mission in 2016.
About Tiangong Space Station:
  • Tiangong is a planned Chinese Permanent space station to be placed in Low Earth orbit.
  • The operations of the station will be controlled by the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center in China.
  • Significance: The Space Station roughly will be one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station.

Source: Indian Express


 

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