Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 18, 2021

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Health Minister Appointed as Chairman of “Stop TB Partnership Board”

What is the News?

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare appointed as the Chairman of the Stop TB Partnership Board. The Minister will serve a 3-year term commencing July 2021.

About Stop TB Partnership:

  • Stop TB Partnership was established in the Year 2000.
  • Aim: Its aim is to eliminate tuberculosis as a public health problem.
  • Significance: It is a unique international body as it aligns countries all over the world in the fight against TB.
  • Amsterdam Declaration: In 2000, Stop TB Partnership gave a call for collaborative action from ministerial delegations of 20 countries with the highest burden of TB.
  • Partner organizations: It has 1500 partner organizations. It includes international, non-governmental, and governmental organizations and patient groups.
  • Secretariat: Geneva, Switzerland.

India’s Initiatives against Tuberculosis:

  • India has committed to eliminating TB in the country by 2025, five years ahead of the global deadline of 2030.
  • National Strategic Plan (NSP) for TB Elimination (2017-2025): It is a framework to provide guidance for the activities of various stakeholders to reduce the burden of TB mortality and morbidity. It aims to work towards the elimination of TB in India by 2025.
  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana: It is a direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme to provide nutritional support to TB patients.
  • TB Harega Desh Jeetega’ Campaign: The campaign aims to improve and expand the reach of Tuberculosis care services across the country by 2022.

 Source: PIB

India-Bangladesh meeting under “Joint Rivers Commission framework”

What is the News?

India-Bangladesh Water Resources Secretary-level meeting held under the Joint Rivers Commission framework. The meeting took place in New Delhi.

What are the key takeaways from the meeting?

  • India and Bangladesh share 54 common rivers. It directly impacts the livelihood of people in the two countries.
  • Hence, both the countries agreed to expand cooperation on water resources-related issues. It includes a framework for sharing river waters.
  • For this, a Joint Technical Working Group will be set up to provide inputs on the cooperation.

About Joint Rivers Commission Framework

  • Joint River Commission is a bilateral working group between India and Bangladesh. It was constituted under the Indo-Bangla Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Peace, signed in 1972.
  • Purpose: It was established with a view of maintaining communication for maximising the benefits from common river systems.
  • Headed by: The commission is headed by Water Resources Ministers of both countries.

Teesta Water Dispute:

  • Teesta River is a tributary of the Brahmaputra (known as Jamuna in Bangladesh). It is flowing through India and Bangladesh.
  • Origin: The river rises in the eastern Himalayas. It further flows through the Indian states of Sikkim and West Bengal to Bangladesh and enters the Bay of Bengal.
  • The Teesta water dispute is the most contentious issue between India and Bangladesh.
    • However, the Teesta river water sharing agreement has not been signed due to opposition from West Bengal. (River is a State subject)

Source: Indian Express

SERB launched “SERB-PRISM Portal”

What is the news?

The Science and Engineering Board(SERB) launched a portal called “SERB – PRoject Information System & Management(SERB-PRISM Portal)”.

About the SERB-PRISM Portal:

  • The portal aims to provide information regarding all projects sanctioned by SERB from 2011 onwards. The information includes funding details, status, research summary, and project output details such as publications and patents.
  • Further, The SERB-PRISM Portal also has search facilities to enable retrieval of information about projects.

Significance of the SERB-PRISM Portal:

  • The portal is expected to work as a comprehensive tool to help produce stronger scientist-scientist and science-society connections.
  • Apart from that, the SERB-PRISM Portal will also help researchers to look at various important things. It includes research trends, learning about cutting-edge science, locating critical equipment in their vicinity, and helping seek collaborations across disciplines.

About Science and Engineering Board(SERB):

  • Nodal Ministry: SERB is a statutory body established in 2009. It functions under the Department of Science and Technology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Chaired by: It is chaired by the Secretary to the Government of India in the Department of Science and Technology. Further, it has other senior government officials and eminent scientists as members.
  • Mandate: It was set up for promoting basic research in science and engineering. The SERB also provides financial assistance to scientists, academic institutions, Research and Development laboratories, industrial concerns, and other agencies for such research.Implementation of “National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project(NCRMP)”

Source: Down To Earth

Implementation of “National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project(NCRMP)”

What is the News?

The government of India has informed Lok Sabha about the implementation of the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project(NCRMP).

About National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project(NCRMP):

  • It was launched by the Ministry of Home Affairs with the support of the World Bank. It addresses the cyclone risks in the country.
  • Aim: To undertake suitable structural and non-structural measures to mitigate the effects of cyclones in the coastal states and UTs of India.
  • Objectives:
    • Improving early warning dissemination systems
    • Enhancing the capacity of local communities to respond to disasters
    • Improving access to emergency shelter, evacuation, and protection against wind storms, flooding, and storm surge in high areas
    • Strengthening Disaster Risk Management(DRM) capacity at central, state, and local levels.
  • Implementation: National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) in coordination with participating State Governments and the National Institute for Disaster Management (NIDM).
  • Coverage: The Project has identified 13 cyclone-prone States and Union Territories(UTs) with varying levels of vulnerability. These States/UT have further been classified into two categories:
    • Category I: Higher vulnerability States namely Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal.
    • Category II: Lower vulnerability States i.e. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Goa, Pondicherry, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu, Andaman, and the Nicobar Islands.

Source: PIB

SC sought Centre’s response in “ration cards cancellation” case

What is the news?

The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to respond to a plea related to the cancellation of over three crore ration cards for not linking them to Aadhaar.

What is the case?

  • A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court by the mother of an 11-year-old. The child died in 2017 allegedly after the ration card of her family was cancelled for not being linked to Aadhaar.
  • The Supreme Court sought responses from the Centre on such allegations. During that time, the Centre had denied the allegations and said that the cancelled cards were bogus.

What did the Supreme Court say?

  • The Supreme Court said that it was a very serious matter if the Centre had really cancelled around three crore ration cards of tribal and poor people, solely because they could not be biometrically linked with Aadhaar.
  • Hence, the Supreme Court has said that it will hear the matter and has asked the Centre to respond in four weeks.
  • SC also sought a report on the implementation of the grievances redressal mechanism. It is contained in Sections 14, 15 and 16 of the National Food Security Act, 2013

What are Ration Cards?

  • Ration card is an official document issued by state governments in India to households. The Household should be eligible to purchase subsidized food grain under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). They also serve as a common form of identification for many Indians.

Types of Ration Cards:

  • Under the NFSA, all state governments have to identify eligible households under the Public Distribution System and provide them with ration cards. There are two types of ration cards under NFSA:
    • Priority Household(PHH) ration card: It is issued to households that meet the eligibility criteria set by their state government. Each priority household is entitled to 5 kilograms of food grain per member per month.
    • Antyodaya Anna Yojana(AAY) ration card: It is issued to the poorest of poor households. Each AAY household is entitled to 35 kilograms of food grain per month.

Source: The Hindu

“Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation” closed permanently 

What is the News?

Union Cabinet has approved the closure of loss-making Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Ltd(HHEC).

About Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation of India Ltd(HHEC):

  • It is a central public sector undertaking (CPSE) established in 1958 under the administrative control of the Ministry of Textiles.

Mandate/Objectives of the Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation:

  • To undertake exports of handicrafts, handlooms products, khadi and products of village industries from India.
  • The HHEC undertake special promotional measures in countries. Especially in countries that the import potential is not fully realized for Indian handicrafts products, khadi and products of village industries.
  • To trade in and carry on business in goods of any nature where the HHEC can trade conveniently and profitably.

Why is the government closing Handicrafts and Handlooms Export Corporation?

  • HHEC has been incurring losses since the financial year 2015-16. Further, the HHEC is not earning sufficient income to meet its running expenses. There is also very little scope for its revival, necessitating the closure of the company.
  • Further, the decision to close HHEC is in line with the government’s strategic disinvestment policy. Under the policy, the government aimed to disinvest completely in non-strategic sectors. The HHEC falls under the non-strategic sector.

About Public Sector Enterprise Policy:

The government of India has released a New ‘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 such as atomic energy, space, defence, power, coal, telecom, banking among others.
  • Non- Strategic Sector: The central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) of this sector shall be privatized or closed, if privatization is not possible.

Click Here to Read Further about Public Sector Enterprise Policy

Source: Business Today

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