Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 3 June, 2021

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Cabinet Approves Model Tenancy Act

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the Model Tenancy Act for circulation to all States / Union Territories. States can either enact fresh tenancy legislation or amend existing rental laws.

Note: Model acts are not binding on states. They merely suggest provisions that either can be accepted as it is by states or with modification. States may also completely ignore these acts. Furthermore, Land is a state subject and only states can legislate to regulate the housing market.

About Model Tenancy Act:

 Aim of the Act:

  • To create a vibrant, sustainable, and inclusive rental housing market in the country.
  • It will address the issue of homelessness by creating adequate rental housing stock for all the income groups. It aims towards the goal of housing for all by 2022.
  • Lastly, it will institutionalize rental housing by gradually shifting it towards the formal market.

Coverage:

  • The Act will apply to premises rented for residential, commercial, or educational use but not for industrial use. It also won’t cover hotels, lodging, etc.
  • This model law will be applied prospectively and will not affect existing tenancies.

Key Features of the Model Tenancy Act:

 Rent Authority:

  • The Act requires establishing rent authorities in every district to regulate renting of premises. Authority will protect the interests of landlords and tenants.
  • The proposed authority will also provide a speedy adjudication mechanism for the resolution of disputes.

Security Deposit:

  • The act puts a cap on the amount of security deposit. It will be a maximum of two months of rent in case of residential premises and six months in case of non-residential premises.
  • Currently, this amount differs from one city to another. For instance, in Delhi, the deposit is usually two-three times the monthly rent, but in Mumbai and Bengaluru, it can be over six times the monthly rent.

Increase in Rent:

  • The rent can be revised according to the terms and conditions mentioned in the agreement.
  • If there is no such agreement, the landowner will have to give a notice in writing to the tenant, three months before the due date of revised rent.

Vacating Rental Premises:

  • The act has provided a mechanism for vacating the premises. It says that if a landlord has fulfilled all the conditions stated in the rent agreement – giving notice, etc., then the tenant has to vacate the premises.
  • If the tenant fails to vacate the premises on the expiration of the period of tenancy or termination of tenancy, then the landlord is entitled to double the monthly rent for two months and four times after that.

Entering of Rental Premises:

  • Every landlord or the property manager may enter the rented premises in certain conditions. Like he/she needs to serve a notice, in writing or through electronic mode, to the tenant at least twenty-four hours before the time of entry.

Source: PIB


NASA New Venus Missions

What is the News?

NASA has announced two new Venus Missions. It will examine the planet’s atmosphere and geological features.

NASA is awarding approximately $500 million permission for development. The missions will be launched between 2028 and 2030.

Which are those two new Venus Missions? 

Davinci+ Venus Mission:

  • Davinci+ stands for Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging.
  • Aim: The mission will measure the planet’s atmosphere to gain insight into how it formed and evolved. It will also aim to determine whether Venus ever had an ocean and was possibly habitable.
  • Significance: This would be the first U.S.-led mission to Venus’ atmosphere since 1978. The results from the mission could reshape our understanding of terrestrial planet formation in our solar system and beyond.

VERITAS Mission:

  • VERITAS stands for Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy.
  • Aim: The mission will map the planet’s surface to understand its geologic history and investigate how it developed so differently than Earth.
  • The mission will use a form of radar to chart surface elevations and discover whether volcanoes and earthquakes are still happening.

Previous Venus Missions:

  • The US and the former Soviet Union sent multiple spacecraft to Venus in the early days of space exploration.
  • NASA’s Mariner 2 performed the first successful flyby to Venus in 1962.
  • Then the Soviets’ Venera 7 made the first successful landing on Venus in 1970.
  • In 1989, NASA used a space shuttle to send its Magellan spacecraft into orbit around Venus.
  • In 2006, the European Space Agency put a spacecraft around Venus.

Note: Shukrayaan-1 is a proposed mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to Venus. It aims to study the surface and atmosphere of Venus. It is expected to be launched in 2023.

Source: Indian Express


“Oil Spill” at Sri Lanka’s Coast

What is the News?

Sri Lanka is preparing for a major oil spill. A burnt-out container ship is sinking outside Colombo’s harbor with nearly 350 tonnes of oil in its fuel tanks. This ship was burning for last 13 days causing Sri Lanka’s worst maritime environmental disaster.

What is an Oil Spill?

  • Oil Spill is the contamination of seawater due to an oil pour as a result of an accident or human error.
  • Oil spills into oceans most often are caused by accidents involving tankers, barges, pipelines, refineries, drilling rigs and storage facilities.

Impact of Oil Spill:

Environmental Impact of Oil Spill:

  • Oil spills affect marine life by exposing them to harsh elements and destroying their sources of food and habitat.
  • Oil coating on feathers destroys bird’s abilities like waterproofing and insulation. It also decreases the water repellency of birds feathers, without which they lose their ability to repel cold water.
  • Both birds and mammals can die from hypothermia as a result of oil spills.
  • Birds can also die of overheating as they are not able to lose body heat due to oil coating.
  • Ingested oil can be toxic to affected animals, and damage their habitat and reproductive rate.

Economic Impacts of Oil Spill:

  • It can result in less tourism and commerce on beaches and populated shorelines.
  • The power plants and other utilities that depend on drawing or discharging seawater are severely affected by oil spills.
  • Major oil spills are frequently followed by the immediate suspension of commercial fishing.

Human Impact of Oil Spill:

  • The effects of oil spill on marine life can in turn adversely affect humans. For instance, the contamination of local ecosystems can impact communities that rely on marine ecosystems to survive.
  • Water supplies in surrounding areas are at risk of contamination from oil spills.
  • Fishermen and local ship workers can lose their sources of income. Because now health problems will be associated with exposure to oil such as respiratory damage, decreased immunity, and increased cancer risk.

How are oil spills cleaned? There are a few ways to clean up oil spills including:

  • Skimming: It involves removing oil from the sea surface before it is able to reach the sensitive areas along the coastline.
  • In situ burning: It means burning a particular patch of oil after it has concentrated in one area.
  • Releasing chemical dispersants helps break down oil into smaller droplets. It makes it easier for microbes to consume, and further break it down into less harmful compounds.
  • Natural actions in aquatic environments such as weathering, evaporation, biodegradation and oxidation can also help reduce the severity of an oil spill. It also accelerates the recovery of an affected area.
  • Sorbents: Various sorbents (e.g., straw, volcanic ash, and shavings of polyester-derived plastic) that absorb the oil from the water are used.
  • Dispersing agents: These are chemicals that contain surfactants or compounds that act to break liquid substances such as oil into small droplets. They accelerate its natural dispersion into the sea.
  • Biological agents: Nutrients, enzymes, or microorganisms such as Alcanivorax bacteria or Methylocella silvestris that increase the rate at which natural biodegradation of oil occurs are added.

Source: The Hindu


What is “XraySetu” Service?

What is the News?

The government has launched XraySetu service for rapid screening of COVID 19. with the help of Chest X-ray interpretation over WhatsApp for doctors who have access to X-ray machines.

About XraySetu Service:

  • XraySetu is an Artificial Intelligence(AI) driven Xray interpretation platform.
  • Purpose: It has been developed to identify COVID-19 positive patients even from low-resolution Chest X-Ray images sent over WhatsApp.
  • Developed by: ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) in collaboration with Bangalore-based HealthTech startup Niramai and Indian Institute of Science(IISc).

How does XraySetu work?

  • A doctor takes a phone picture of the Chest X-Ray of a suspected patient.
  • Then the doctor sends the X-Ray pic over to a Whatsapp number of XraySetu via chatbot.
  • At XraySetu end, image review is done for anonymization, and then it is sent to the XraySetu AI service.
  • XraySetu AI Service then analyses the X-ray using specialized machine learning and deep learning algorithms built for detecting unique Covid features in the lungs.
  • After analysing, a full report with a probability of COVID, pneumonia, markings on the lung image is automatically generated.
  • The doctor then receives the report from the same WhatsApp number on his phone. The doctor then reads the report and appropriately advises the patient.

About ARTPARK:

  • ARTPARK (AI & Robotics Technology Park) is a not-for-profit foundation. It was established by the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, with support from the Department of Science & Technology(DST).
  • Purpose: To promote technology innovation missions in AI (Artificial Intelligence) and Robotics. These missions should have a societal impact in sectors such as healthcare, education, mobility, infrastructure, agriculture, retail, and cyber-security.
  • Nodal Mission: The park was established under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS).

 Source: PIB


“Merchandise Exports” in May surge 67% to $32.21 billion

What is the News?

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has released the preliminary data on the Merchandise exports in May 2021.

What are the key findings from the data?

Merchandise Exports:

  • India’s merchandise exports are estimated at around $32.21 billion in May 2021. This is 67.39% higher when compared to May 2020.
    • The large rise can be attributed to a weak base due to the disruption caused by a nationwide lockdown in 2020.
  • However, comparisons with May 2019 also showed exports have grown by 7.9%, indicating a real recovery in the export sector.
  • The growth in exports was primarily due to a rise in demand for engineering goods, petroleum products, gems and jewelry, pharmaceuticals, and iron ore.

Merchandise Imports:

  • India’s merchandise imports are estimated at $38.53 billion in May 2021. This is 68.6% higher when compared with May 2020.
  • However, the imports were 17.5% lower when compared to May 2019.

Trade Deficit:

  • India’s trade deficit has decreased to an eight-month low. It is at $6.3 billion in May 2021 when compared to $15.1 billion in April.
  • This is due to State-level restrictions that widened over May and curbed domestic demand for both gold and oil.

Way Forward:

Source: The Hindu


IFFCO launches world’s first “Nano Liquid Urea”

What is the News?

Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited(IFFCO) has launched the world’s first Nano Urea Liquid

What is Nano Liquid Urea?

  • Nano Urea Liquid is a nutrient to provide nitrogen to plants as an alternative to conventional urea.
  • Developed by: Nano Urea Liquid has been developed indigenously through proprietary technology at IFFCO”s Nano Biotechnology Research Centre(NBRC) in Gujarat.
  • Efficacy Trials: IFFCO had conducted around 11,000 farmer field trials (FFT’s) on more than 94 crops across India to test the efficacy of nano urea. The trials had shown an average 8% increase in yield.

What are the benefits of Nano Liquid Urea?

  • Firstly, Nano Liquid Urea can curtail the requirement of urea by at least 50%. This will in turn reduce India’s dependence on urea imports.
    • During 2019-20, the production of urea was 244.55 LMT. On the other hand, the consumption volume of urea was 336 lakh metric tonnes. This leaves a gap of over 91 LMT. India imported 91.99 LMT urea fertiliser in 2019-20 to fill this gap.
  • Secondly, nano urea liquid is significant as its use by farmers will boost balanced nutrition programs by reducing the excess use of Urea application in the soil. This will help make the crops stronger, healthier and protect them from the lodging effect.
  • Thirdly, the conventional urea is 30-40% effective in delivering nitrogen to plants while the effectiveness of the Nano Urea Liquid is over 80%.
  • Fourthly, the Nano Urea Liquid will be cost-effective as it will be cheaper. This will help in increasing farmers’ income.
  • Lastly, Nano Urea Liquid will have a positive impact on the
    • Quality of underground water
    • Reduction in global warming with an impact on climate change and
    • Sustainable development.

Source: Indian Express


Govt to Divide “MGNREGA Wages” into SC/ST/Others Categories

What is the News?

The Central Government has issued an advisory to all states to divide the wage payments under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme. The MGNREGA Wages will be divided into separate categories for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and others from the Financial Year 2021-22.

Current Method of Wage Payment under MGNREGA:

  • The existing system does not divide the wages under the MGNREGA scheme into separate categories. This means there is no category wise provision of wage payment.
  • However, the Ministry of Rural Development maintains separate data on the number of SC/ST/women employed under the scheme.

Possible Reasons for this move by Government:

  • According to experts, the possible reason why the government might be dividing MGNREGA payments category wise would be to know the exclusive allocation made for SC/ST groups.

Concerns:

  • This move will complicate the payment system under MGNREGA more rather than simplifying it.
  • Moreover, the experts fear that this move is meant to reduce funding under the Scheme.

About MGNREGA:

  • MGNREGA is an employment guarantee act. It was introduced in 2005 through the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act,2005.
  • Under the scheme, every rural household whose adult member volunteers to do unskilled manual work is entitled to get at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year.
  • Implementation: Ministry of Rural Development(MRD) in association with state governments monitors the implementation of the scheme.
  • Features of the act:
    • Demand-driven scheme: Worker to be hired when he demands and not when the Government wants it.
    • Gram Panchayat is mandated to provide employment within 15 days of work application, failing which the worker is entitled to unemployment allowance.
    • Payment of wages within 15 days of competition of work, failing which worker is entitled to delay compensation of 0.05%/ day of wages earned.

Source: The Hindu


“China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Dialogue”

What is the News?

The Fourth China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Dialogue will be held virtually this year. The foreign ministers of each country will attend the meet.

About China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Dialogue:

  • The China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Dialogue mechanism was set up in 2017 at the initiative of China.
  • Purpose: The dialogue is aimed at reinforcing trilateral cooperation between three countries in politics, economics and security.

Focus of the Fourth Trilateral Dialogue:

  • The Fourth Trilateral dialogue will discuss topics related to the current peace and reconciliation process in Afghanistan, security cooperation and counterterrorism measures.
  • It would also address new uncertainties in China in the wake of the unilateral withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces at a critical stage of the reconciliation process.
    • The US has already withdrawn 30-40% of troops from Afghanistan. The complete withdrawal will take place by September 2021.

Afghanistan on this Trilateral Dialogue:

  • Afghanistan has appreciated China’s offer to facilitate Afghan peace talks in the future.
  • However, it has called on India and China to work together for the Afghanistan peace process despite their other bilateral problems.

Note: China also convenes a quadrilateral dialogue with the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Nepal and Pakistan. The recent such meet was held in August 2020.

Source: The Hindu


 

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