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Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Feb 20, 2021

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List of Today’s Factly Articles

  1. Prime Minister launches “Mahabahu-Brahmaputra Programme” in Assam
  2. Govt releases new “Public Sector Enterprise Policy”
  3. Elephants died of Haemorrhagic Septicaemia(HS) in Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary
  4. Labour Ministry launches Software Applications for five All India Surveys
  5. What is “Extinction Rebellion”?
  6. Indian IT workers to benefit from “U.S. immigration Act”
  7. Sri Lanka looking for Indian Support ahead “46th Session of UNHRC”

Prime Minister launches “Mahabahu-Brahmaputra Programme” in Assam

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has launched multiple initiatives in Assam. It includes the Mahabahu-Brahmaputra Programme and the 2 bridges across the Brahmaputra.

Mahabahu-Brahmaputra Programme:

  • Aim: It will provide seamless connectivity to the Eastern parts of India. It includes various development activities for the people living around River Brahmaputra and River Barak.

Key Initiatives launched under the Mahabahu-Brahmaputra programme:

  • Ro-pax Vessel Services: These are water transport services. It launched between Neemati Ghat (Jorhat) and Majuli island, North Guwahati and South Guwahati as well as Dhubri and Hatsingimari. The benefits of this service include a reduction in travel time, vehicular emission and traffic on the road.
  • Inland Water Transport(IWT) Terminal: It will be built at Jogighopa in Assam. The terminal will help in reducing the traffic on the Siliguri Corridor towards Kolkata and Haldia. It will facilitate the uninterrupted movement of cargo to the various North-Eastern States like Meghalaya and Tripura and to Bhutan and Bangladesh as well.
  • Launch of E-Portals: E-Portals are launched to promote ease of doing business:
    • Car-D (Cargo Data) portal: It will collate cargo and cruise data on a real-time basis.
    • PANI (Portal for Asset and Navigation Information): It will act as a one-stop solution for providing information about river navigation and infrastructure.

Dhubri – Phulbari Bridge

  • It is a proposed bridge over the Brahmaputra River. It will connect Assam’s Dhubri with Meghalaya’s Phulbari.
  • The bridge is planned to be completed by 2026–27. It would be India’s longest bridge over water, which is more than 19 km.

Majuli Bridge:

  • The Bridge will connect Jorhat to Majuli (Nemati ghat to Kamlabari ghat). The total length of this bridge is 6.8 Km.
  • This bridge will provide connectivity to Majuli Island. This island is the cultural capital and cradle of Assamese civilization for the past 500 years.

Majuli Island:

  • It is the world’s largest river island located in the Brahmaputra River, Assam. In 2016, it became the first island to be made a district in India.
  • The island is formed by the River Subansiri in the north and River Brahmaputra in the south.
  • The island is the nerve centre of neo-Vaishnavite culture. It has many ‘Sattras’ (religious and cultural institutions).
  • The tribal communities living on the island include the Misings, the Deoris, and the Sonowal Kacharis.

Source: Indian Express 


Govt releases new “Public Sector Enterprise Policy”

What is the news?

The Government of India has released a new ‘Public Sector Enterprise Policy’.

About ‘Public Sector Enterprise Policy’:

The policy classifies public sector commercial enterprises into the strategic and non-strategic sector:

Strategic Sector: There would be a maximum of four public sector companies in strategic sectors. State-owned firms in other segments would be privatized eventually.

The following 4 sectors are covered under strategic sectors:

  1. Atomic energy, Space and Defence
  2. Transport and Telecommunications
  3. Power, Petroleum, Coal, and other minerals
  4. Banking, Insurance, and financial services

Non- Strategic Sector: CPSEs of this sector shall be privatized or closed, if privatization is not possible.

Exceptions: The policy would not be applied on:

  • Public sector classes like major port trusts, the Airport Authority of India, and undertakings in security printing and minting.
  • Public sector entities such as not-for-profit companies or CPSEs providing support to vulnerable groups.

Process of Privatisation:

  • NITI Aayog will recommend PSUs for retention in strategic sectors and that should be considered for privatization, merger, or closure.
  • The Core Group of Secretaries on Divestment(CGD) headed by the cabinet secretary will consider these recommendations.
  • Final approval will be provided by the Alternative Mechanism. This mechanism consists of the Finance minister, Ministers for Administrative reforms, and the Minister for roads, transport, and highways.
  • Further, the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM),  can also approach the Cabinet for strategic disinvestment of a specific PSE from time-to-time. DIPAM manages government equity in public sector companies.

Source: The Hindu


Elephants died of Haemorrhagic Septicaemia(HS) in Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

What is the News?

6 elephants died of Haemorrhagic Septicaemia(HS) in Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is located in Odisha’s Kalahandi district.

Haemorrhagic septicaemia(HS)

  • It is a contagious bacterial disease caused by the bacteria Pasteurella multocida.
  • In this disease, the respiratory tract and lungs of the animals are affected, leading to severe pneumonia.
  • Vulnerable Group: It commonly affects cattle and water buffaloes. The Mortality rate is high in infected animals. There are no reported cases of human infection.
  • Transmission: The disease is spread through direct contact with infected animals, through ingestion or inhalation of the bacteria among others.
  • Symptoms: Primary symptoms include swishing tails, undigested food in faeces, and reduced milk yield.
  • Distribution: The disease occurs mostly in South and Southeast Asia, the Middle East, and most of Africa. In Asia, this disease outbreak is concentrated mostly in areas with climatic conditions typical of monsoon (high humidity and high temperatures).
  • Treatment: Treatment is usually effective in the early stage only when fever sets in.

Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary

  • It is a wildlife sanctuary located in the Kalahandi district in Odisha. The sanctuary is famous for the lush green dry deciduous forest.
  • Fauna: The sanctuary is home to a plethora of wildlife animals such as leopard, gaur, sambar, nilgai, barking deer, mouse deer, soft claws ottawa and a wide variety of birds.
  • Flora: The sanctuary consists of flora like Sal, Bija, Asan, Harida, Amala, Bahada, and Bamboo and varieties of medicinal plants.
  • Waterfalls: There are several small and big waterfalls inside the sanctuary like Phurlijharan, Ghusrigudi, Dumnijhola, Kamalajharan, Koyirupa, Kuang, and Raja Rani.

Source: Indian Express


Labour Ministry launches Software Applications for five All India Surveys

What is the news?

Union Minister for Labour has launched Software Applications and instruction manuals with questionnaires for five All India Surveys. The Labour Bureau is conducting these surveys. The Bureau is an attached office of the Ministry of Labour & Employment.

About All India Surveys?

The five All India Surveys, which are being undertaken by the Labour Bureau are:

  1. All India Survey on Domestic Workers(DW): It aims to estimate the proportion of DW in the workforce in major states and all over India. It will also analyse the Industry-wise percentage distribution of these DWs / households.
  2. All India Survey on Migrant workers: It aims to estimate the number of migrant workers in India. It will also collect information on their living conditions, working conditions and other socio-economic conditions.
  3. All India survey on employment generated by Professionals: Its main objectives are essentially two-fold:
    1. To estimate the total number of active professionals in the country.
    2. To capture the employment generated by these professionals.
  4. All-India Quarterly Establishment based Employment Survey: It aims to fill the data gap, related to the employment numbers, exists in the unorganized sector. It will also include establishments with less than 10 workers.
  5. All India survey on employment generated in Transport Sector: It aims to assess the employment generated in the Transport Sector in India.

Significance of Survey

  1. It will be for the first time that the Bureau will use AI based technology intervention.
  2. The infrastructure will consist of real-time reporting and monitoring with advance dashboards, command and control centre.
  3. IT interventions will reduce the completion time of the survey by 30-40%.

Note: Besides these surveys, Labour Bureau is known for compilation and generation of vital statistics like the

  • Consumer Price Index for Industrial Workers(CPI-IW) (Base year of the index is 2016).
  • Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers (CPI-AL/RL)

Source: PIB


What is “Extinction Rebellion”?

What is the News?

Delhi Police have named environmental activists Disha Ravi, Nikita Jacob, and Shantanu Muluk, in its report. These activists were volunteers of the “Extinction Rebellion” movement. It seeks to call attention to the climate change emergency.

Extinction Rebellion

  • It was launched in the United Kingdom in 2018 as a response to a report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Purpose: The movement describes itself as a decentralized, international, and politically non-partisan movement. It uses non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.
  • Logo: The logo of the movement is an ‘X’ with the top and bottom cross. It resembles an hourglass which stands for a warning that time is running out for many species. The extinction(X) hourglass is placed within a circle that represents the planet Earth.
  • Core Demands: The group has three core demands: The Government should “Tell the Truth”, “Act Now” and “Go Beyond Politics”. By that, it confronts the climate and ecological emergency that the world is facing.

 Source: Indian Express


Indian IT workers to benefit from “U.S. immigration Act”

What is the News?

The United States(US) administration has introduced the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 in Congress. If passed, this act will benefit thousands of Indian IT professionals in America.

Key Provisions of the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021

  • It proposes to eliminate the per-country cap for employment-based green cards.
  • It proposes a pathway to citizenship to 11 million undocumented workers.
  • Furthermore, it proposes to increase the annual limit of Employment-based green cards limit from 140,000 per year to 170,000 per year.
  • It provides work authorization for dependents of H-1B foreign workers.

Beneficiaries of the act:

  • The Proposed act would give citizenship to millions of foreign nationals. Undocumented workers and migrants will benefit from this bill.
  • Those waiting for a green card for more than 10 years would get the legal permanent residency immediately. It is because they would be exempted from the visa cap.
  • Thousands of Indian IT professionals are waiting for green cards. They are likely to be the biggest beneficiaries of the bill.

What is a Green card and H1B Visa?

  • Green Card: It is an identification card. It gives the status of a permanent resident along with legal rights to work in the USA.
  • H-1B visa: It is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers on the basis of theoretical or technical expertise. Dependents of H-1B visa holders get H-4 visas.

Source: The Hindu


Sri Lanka looking for Indian Support ahead “46th Session of UNHRC”

What is the News?

46th session of the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) will start next week. Sri Lanka has officially sought India’s support for its nation’s rights and accountability record.

About past UNHRC resolution

  • In 2015, UNHRC had adopted a resolution on accountability for the alleged human rights violations during the Sri Lankan civil war.
  • The resolution was adopted against the accusation of killing at least 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan army. This 37-year guerrilla war ended in May 2009.
  • The resolution had called upon Sri Lanka to establish a credible judicial process. This process requires the participation of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers and authorised prosecutors and investigators to look into the alleged rights abuses.
  • However, the current Sri Lankan government has officially withdrawn from the resolution.

Present Status:

  • During the 46th UNHRC session in Geneva, Sri Lanka’s record in human rights and related accountability will be probed.
  • It is expected that a tougher resolution will be passed. This resolution may call for action against Sri Lanka.

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

  • The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Aim: To promote and protect human rights around the globe. Apart from that, the UNHRC also investigates alleged human rights violations in countries.
  • Members: The council has 47 members elected for a 3-year term.
  • Meeting: The members meet around three times a year to debate human rights issues.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Resolutions: The UNHRC resolutions are not legally binding but carry moral significance.

Click Here to Read more about UNHRC

 Source: The Hindu

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