Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | 9 Apr, 2021

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Odisha Government Proposes “Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve”

What is the news?

The Odisha government submits a proposal to establish the Mahendragiri biosphere reserve. It is the 2nd biosphere reserve in the state and situated in the southern part of the state at Mahendragiri hill ecosystem.

Note: Similipal Biosphere Reserve was Odisha’s first such reserve and was notified in 1996.

About Mahendragiri Biosphere Reserve

  • Mahendragiri is a hill mountain located in Odisha. The area of the proposed Biosphere Reserve is spread over Gajapati and Ganjam districts in the Eastern Ghats.
  • Transitional Zone: The hill ecosystem acts as a transitional zone between the flora and fauna of southern India and the Himalayas. Consequently, the region is an ecological estuary of genetic diversity
  • Mythological Significance: Centre has included Mahendragiri in the Ramayana Circuit. The hilltop has ancient temples of Kunti, Yudhistir, Bhima, Arjuna, Nakul and Sahadev of the Mahabharata.
  • Besides, the hill has water streams and the origin of the Mahendratanaya River.
  • Vegetation: The vegetation of the Mahendragiri hill complex are basically of four types – Sal forests, mixed forests, grassland, and scrubs.
  • Tribe: Some of the major tribes that inhabit Mahendragiri are the Soura tribe, a particularly vulnerable tribal group, also the Kandha tribe.
  • Flora: Mahendragiri accounts for 40% of the reported flora of Odisha. 29-nine of the 41 species of threatened medicinal plants of Odisha are found in the proposed biosphere reserve area.
  • Fauna: The Indian elephant is the most important animal of Mahendragiri. The other wild animals include the tiger, leopard, hyena, wild bear, deer, antelope, peacock, snake.
  • Besides, it is home to 165 species of birds, 23 species of snakes, 15 species of amphibians, three species of turtles, and 19 lizards.

Click Here to Read about Biosphere Reserves

Source: Down To Earth


IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021 Allows “Pre-Pack Insolvency Resolution”

What is the news? 

President of India promulgates the IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021. It allows the use of Pre-Pack insolvency resolution.

About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021:

  • IBC Amendment Ordinance 2021 amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
  • The Amendment allows the use of Pre-Packaged insolvency resolution as an alternative resolution mechanism for MSMEs. The threshold limit to trigger the Pre-Packaged insolvency resolution is between Rs 10 lakh to 1 Crore.

What is Pre-Pack insolvency resolution?

  • A pre-pack resolution is a form of restructuring that allows creditors and debtors to work on an informal plan and then submit it for approval.
  • Under this system, financial creditors will agree to the terms of a potential investor. Further, they will seek approval of the resolution plan from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • However, the resolution plan cannot be submitted directly to NCLT. It requires approval of a minimum of 66% of financial creditors that are unrelated to the corporate debtor before submission of a resolution plan.
  • Further, NCLTs also require to consider any application for a pre-pack insolvency proceeding before considering a Corporate Insolvency Resolution Process(CIRP).
    • CIRP is the process of resolving corporate insolvency according to the provisions of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.

Benefits of Pre-Packs over CIRP:

Quicker Resolution:

  • One of the key criticisms of the CIRP is the time taken for resolution. At the end of December 2020, over 86% of the ongoing insolvency resolution proceedings crossed the 270-day threshold.
  • In contrast, the pre-pack resolution process is limited to a maximum of 120 days. Further, only 90 days are available to the stakeholders to bring the resolution plan to the NCLT.

Management Control:

  • Another key difference between pre-packs and CIRP is that the existing management retains control in the case of pre-packs. Whereas a resolution professional takes control of the debtor as a representative of financial creditors in the case of CIRP.

Source: Indian Express


TRIFED launches “Sankalp se Siddhi”- Village and Digital Connect Drive

What is the News?

Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India(TRIFED) launches “Sankalp se Siddhi” – A Village and Digital Connect Drive.

About Sankalp Se Siddhi Initiative:

  • The Sankalp Se Siddhi Initiative aims to activate the Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) in the villages.

Key Features of the Initiative:

  • Under the initiative, 150 teams (10 in each region from TRIFED and State Implementation Agencies/Mentoring Agencies/Partners) will be visiting ten villages each. Thus,100 villages in each region and 1500 villages in the country will be covered in 100 days.
  • The visiting teams will identify locations and shortlist potential Van Dhan Vikas Kendras for clustering as TRIFOOD and SFURTI units as larger enterprises.
  • The teams will also identify tribal artisans and other groups. It is to empanel them as suppliers so that they can have access to larger markets through the Tribes India network – both physical outlets and TribesIndia.com.

About Van Dhan Yojana:

  • Van Dhan Yojana was launched in 2018. It is a programme for value addition, branding & marketing of Minor Forest Produces. For that, Van Dhan Kendras are set up for the creation of sustainable livelihoods for the forest-based tribes.
  • Implementation: Ministry of Tribal Affairs as Nodal Department at the Central Level. TRIFED acts as the Nodal Agency at the National Level.

About Trifood Project:

  • The Trifood Project is an initiative of the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in association with the Ministry of Food Processing(MoFPI).
  • Aim: To enhance the income of tribals through better utilization of and value addition to the collected Minor Forest Produce(MFP).
  • Implementation: Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India(TRIFED).

About SFURTI:

  • Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) is a scheme of the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises(MSME).
  • Under the initiative, financial support is being provided for setting up traditional industries clusters viz. Khadi, Coir & Village industries clusters.

About TRIFED:

  • TRIFED was established in 1987 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Tribal affairs.
  • Aim: It aims to provide a good price to the products made or collected from the forest by the tribal people.

Source: AIR


CSIR-CMERI develops “Oxygen Enrichment Unit” 

What is the News?

Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute(CMERI) develops an oxygen enrichment unit(OEU) that could provide crucial support to COVID-19 patients.

CMERI is an apex R&D institute for mechanical engineering that functions under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR). It is located in West Bengal.

What is the Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU)?

  • An oxygen enrichment unit is a device that concentrates the oxygen from the surrounding air. For that, it selectively removes nitrogen to supply oxygen-enriched air.
  • The concentrated Oxygen is delivered to the patients having respiratory diseases through an oxygen mask or nasal cannula.
  • Uses:
    • The device is useful in remote places, homes, or hospital-like facilities for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD), chronic hypoxemia, and pulmonary edema.
    • It may also be used as an adjunct treatment for severe sleep apnea (in conjunction with a continuous positive airway pressure unit).

About Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU) developed by CMERI:

  • The Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU) of CMERI is indigenous.
  • Principle: The unit works on the principle of pressure swing adsorption (PSA). It utilizes zeolite columns to selectively remove nitrogen from air under certain pressure thereby increasing the oxygen concentration.

Benefits of this Oxygen Enrichment Unit(OEU):

  • This unit is capable of delivering up to 30 Litres Per Minute(LPM) Oxygen enriched air,  which is absent in the other commercially available units.
  • The available Oxygen Enrichment Units generally work till 8000 ft from sea level. However, this unit can work up to the altitude of 14000 ft. Thus, it is very handy for usage in the high-altitude terrain battlefield in contingencies.
  • Further, this unit will help in High Flow Oxygen Therapy. This therapy is a better method in the treatment and management of COVID-19 patients.
    • High-flow oxygen therapy is a form of respiratory support in the hospital.  In this therapy, the oxygen in conjunction with the compressed air and humidification travels at a higher rate of flow compared to normal methods.

Source: PIB


Government notifies “Copyright (Amendment) Rules 2021” 

What is the News?

The Government of India notifies Copyright (Amendment) Rules,2021.

About Copyright (Amendment) Rules,2021:

  • In India, the copyright regime is governed by the Copyright Act, 1957 and the Copyright Rules, 2013. The Copyright Rules, 2013 were last amended in the year 2016.
  • It aims at adopting electronic means as a primary mode of communication and working in the Copyright Office. It is to match with the technological advancement in the digital era.
  • Objective of the amendments: Further, It will bring the existing rules in parity with other relevant legislations.

Key Provisions of the Amendments:

  • Publication of Copyrights Journal: Amendment eliminates the requirement of publication of a copyrights journal in the Official Gazette. The said journal would be available at the website of the Copyright Office.
  • Annual Transparency Report: The copyright societies will require making an Annual Transparency Report public, for each financial year.
  • Merging of Boards: The amendments harmonised the Copyright Rules with the provisions of Finance Act, 2017 whereby the Copyright Board has been merged with Appellate Board.
  • Registration of Software Works: The compliance requirements for registration of software works have been largely reduced. Now the applicant has the liberty to file the first 10 and last 10 pages of source code or the entire source code if less than 20 pages.
  • Registration as Copyright Society: The time limit for the response to an application for registration as a copyright society is now 180 days. Now the Central government can examine the application more comprehensively.

Source: PIB


“Chilika Lake” was a part of the Bay of Bengal: Study

What is the News?

According to a study by the National Institute of Oceanography(NIO), Chilika lake was once a part of the Bay of Bengal.

About Chilika Lake:

  • Chilika Lake is Asia’s largest brackish water lake located in the State of Odisha. A narrow spit separates it from the Bay of Bengal.

Click Here to Read more about Chilika Lake

 Evidence that Chilika Lake was once a part of Bay of Bengal:

  • Archeological Studies: The marine archaeological studies clearly show that the Chilika once was a safe harbour for cargo ships going to Southeast Asia and other parts of the world.
  • Palur Port: Greek geographer Claudius Ptolemy(150 CE) described Palur as an important port of Kalinga and referred to it as ‘Paloura’. This port was situated close to Chilika lake from where ships used to sail directly to Southeast Asia.
  • Stone anchors and hero stones (memorial stones commemorating ancient heroes) from Manikapatna, Palur and the adjoining onshore regions of the Chilika lake also suggest the same.
  • Chinese pilgrim Xuanzang (7th century CE) recorded ‘Che-li-ta-lo-Ching’ as a flourishing port. This port was located at Chhatargarh on the banks of the Chilika.
  • The Brahmanda Purana (10th century CE approximately) says the Chilika was an important centre of trade and commerce with ships sailing to Java, Malaya and Ceylon.

Then how did Chilika Lake get separated from the Bay of Bengal?

  • The process of the formation of the Chilika began around 20,000 years ago.
  • India’s peninsular river Mahanadi carried a heavy load of silt and dumped part of it at its delta. As the sediment-laden river met the Bay of Bengal, sandbars were formed near its mouth.
  • It created a backflow of the seawater into the sluggish fresh water at the estuary. It resulted in the huge brackish water Chilika Lake.

Note: Some studies also reveal that some tectonic movements saperated Chilika lake from the Bay of Bengal. It was due to the creation of a barrier split near Palur around 4,000 years ago.

Source: Down To Earth


“PLI Scheme” for white goods and solar photovoltaic modules

What is the News?

The Union Cabinet approves two PLI schemes for white goods (air-conditioners and LED lights) and high-efficiency solar photovoltaic modules.

About Production Linked Incentive Scheme(PLI):

  • The Production-Linked Incentive(PLI) scheme was launched by the Government of India in March 2020.
  • Aim: To make manufacturing in India globally competitive, by removing sectoral disabilities, creating economies of scale, and ensuring efficiencies.
  • Under the scheme, companies are offered incentives on incremental sales from products manufactured in India over the base year.

PLI Scheme For White Goods:

  • PLI Scheme for White Goods shall provide an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales of goods manufactured in India. The scheme is for a period of five years for the manufacturers of Air Conditioners and LED Lights.
  • Eligibility:
    • Selection of companies under the scheme aims to incentivize the manufacturing of components or sub-assemblies in India. Mere assembly of finished goods shall not qualify for incentives.
    • Incentives shall be open to companies making both brownfield or green field Investments.
  • Significance: The scheme is estimated to lead to an incremental investment of ₹7,920 crore over five years. It will lead to production worth ₹1.68 lakh crore as well as lead to 4 lakh jobs.

PLI Scheme for High-Efficiency Solar PV (Photovoltaic) Modules:

  • Background: Solar capacity addition presently depends largely upon imported solar PV cells and modules. The domestic manufacturing industry has limited operational capacities of solar PV cells and modules.
    • Hence, this scheme is expected to reduce import dependence in a strategic sector like electricity.
  • Under the scheme, Solar PV manufacturers will be selected through a transparent competitive bidding process.
  • The incentives will be disbursed for 5 years post commissioning of solar PV manufacturing plants on sales of high efficiency solar PV modules.
  • A Manufacturer will get reward for higher efficiencies of solar PV modules and also for sourcing their material from the domestic market. Thus, the PLI amount will increase with increased module efficiency and increased local value addition.
  • Significance: The scheme may lead to 10,000 MW of additional capacity of solar PV plants and investment of around ₹17,200 crores in solar PV manufacturing projects. It would also lead to direct employment of 30,000 people and indirect jobs to 1.2 lakh.

Source: The Hindu

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