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

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“Pew Research study” Reports increasing Poverty in India

What is the News?

A recent Pew research study report reveals increasing poverty in India. As per the report, the pandemic has pushed approximately 3.2 crore Indians out of the middle class.

Who has released the report?

  • Released by: The US-based Pew Research Center.
  • It uses World Bank projections of economic growth to estimate the impact of COVID-19 on incomes.
  • The report divides the population of a country into five groups, on the basis of the daily earning of an individual:
    1. Poor: $2 or less daily
    2. Low income: $2.01-$10
    3. Middle income: $10.01-$20
    4. Upper middle income: $20.01-$50 and
    5. High income: more than $50.

Key findings of the report related to India:

  • Middle Income Group: The number of Indians in the middle-income group has reduced by 3.2 crores due to the 2020s pandemic-driven recession.
  • Poor People: The number of Poor people in India increased by 7.5 crores. This accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty.
    • Hence, the number of poor in India is projected to have reached 134 million (13.4 crores). It is more than double the 59 million (5.9 crores) expected prior to the recession.
  • Richer Population: The richer population who earn more than ₹1,500 a day also fell almost 30% to 1.8 crore people.

Other key Findings:

  • The number of ‘global poor’ is estimated to have increased to 803 million in 2020. It is a significant increase from 672 million, the pre-pandemic prediction.
  • South Asia saw the greatest reduction in the middle class and the largest ‘expansion’ in poverty in 2020. This could be attributed to South Asia experiencing a sharp decrease in economic growth during the pandemic.
  • However, China managed to avoid a contraction although growth slowed. Further, the Chinese incomes remained relatively stable with just a 2% drop in the middle-class population.

Source: The Hindu

EU unveiled a ‘Digital Green Certificate’

What is the news?

The European Commission has unveiled a “digital green certificate” for the European Union(EU) Citizens.

About Digital Green Certificate:

  • Digital Green Certificate is a type of vaccine passport. It will be available to the citizens who are Covid-19 vaccinated or tested negative against Covid-19. It is also available to the persons recovered from Covid-19.
  • Once, the Digital Green Certificate is issued, they can travel freely within the European Union(EU) bloc.
  • Features: The Digital Green certificate will be in digital or paper format with a QR code. The certificates will be provided free of charge.
  • Issuance of Certificate: The certificate can be issued by authorities, including hospitals, testing centres and health authorities.
  • Who can use it? All EU citizens or third-country nationals who are legally staying in the EU. These persons will be exempted from movement restrictions due to COVID-19.

About Vaccine Passports:

  • A vaccine passport is an e-certificate that stores and records the Covid-19 test status. It can be kept in a smartphone app or in other digital formats.
  • It is supposed to function as proof that the holder has been vaccinated against Covid-19 and safe to travel.

Source: Indian Express

What is “CAATSA” or Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act?

What is the News?

Ever since India has formally signed up for the S-400 purchase with Russia in 2018, it has been under the threat of US sanctions. Especially under the US’s Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

 About CAATSA:

  • Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act(CAATSA) is a US federal law enacted in 2017. It imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia.
  • Purpose: The CAATSA Act empowers the US President to impose sanctions against certain countries. The sanctions are imposed on countries that engage in a significant transaction with the Russian defence and intelligence sectors.
  • The “ultimate goal” of CAATSA “is to prevent revenue to the Russian Government.

 What type of sanctions will be imposed under the CAATSA act?

  • Prohibition on loans to the sanctioned country
  • Prohibition of Export-Import bank assistance for exports to sanctioned persons
  • Prohibition on procurement by the US Government to procure goods or services from the sanctioned persons
  • Denial of visas to persons closely associated with the sanctioned persons

Exemptions: The US President could waive off the sanctions if:

  • A Country is taking steps to reduce its dealings in terms of Russian weapons purchases or
  • A Country has better cooperation with the US on other security matters that are critical to the US strategic interests or
  • If the Russian weapons to the country do not significantly increase the risk to United States defence systems and operational capabilities.

Source: The Hindu

Deadly drug-resistant superbug “Candida Auris or C.Auris” found in Andamans

What is the News?

Candida Auris (deadly hospital pathogen) identified for the first time in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

About Candida Auris:

  • Candida Auris or C.auris is a multidrug-resistant fungus. It presents a serious global threat to human health.

Origin of Candida Auris:

  • Candida Auris was first identified in 2009 in a patient in Japan. The fungus emerged in more than 40 countries across five continents in the last decade.
  • The fungus is mostly found in tropical marshes and marine environments, outside hospital environments.
  • However, It is an emerging pathogen, thus very little is known about the Candida Auris so far.

Symptoms of C.Auris:

  • C.Auris infections can show no symptoms before turning into a fever and chills. These symptoms don’t go away despite the use of medicines and can lead to death.
  • C.auris survives on the skin before entering the body through wounds. Once in the bloodstream, it causes severe illness and can lead to death.

Why is C.Auris considered harmful? C.Auris is considered dangerous because of three reasons:

  • C.Auris is often multidrug-resistant. It means that it is resistant to multiple antifungal drugs commonly used to treat Candida infections.
  • C.Auris can survive and persist within the hospital environment for prolonged periods. It is capable to survive on dry environmental surfaces for prolonged periods. It means that it is well adapted to survival outside human host settings as well.
  • C.Auris is difficult to identify with standard laboratory methods, and it can be misidentified in labs without specific technology. Misidentification may lead to inappropriate management.

Vulnerable Population:

  • C.Auris can be deadly for immunocompromised patients. The incidence of deaths from this fungal infection is high in countries such as the US and the UK, but its prevalence is less in Indian hospitals.


  • Most C. auris infections are treatable with a class of antifungal drugs called echinocandins. However, some C. auris infections have been resistant to antifungal medications making them more difficult to treat.

Source: Indian Express

“Tiger Reserves” in India

What is the News?

Six tigers are unaccounted for in the Ranthambore tiger reserves in Rajasthan, since March 2020. But State officials are not willing to label them as missing. NTCA has constituted a committee in this regard.

About Tiger Reserves:

  • Tiger Reserves are protected areas that aim at conserving the habitat to ensure a viable population of the tigers along with their prey base in their habitat.
  • Declared by: Tigers Reserves are declared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority via Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act,2006 under Project Tiger.
    • Project Tiger: It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Government of India launched in 1973. It aims for in-situ conservation of wild tigers in designated tiger reserves.
  • Proposal for tiger reserves: To declare an area as Tiger Reserve, the state governments can forward their proposals to NTCA. The Central Government via NTCA may also advise the state governments to forward a proposal for creation of Tiger Reserves.
  • Tigers Reserves in India: There are 51 tigers reserves in India. These are governed by Project Tiger which is administered by the National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA).
    • Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka is the first tiger reserve in India
    • Srivilliputhur- Megamalai Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu is the 51st Tiger Reserve in India.
  • Largest Tiger Reserve: Nagarjunsagar-Srisailam Tiger Reserve located in Andhra Pradesh is the largest tiger reserve in India.
  • Tiger Reserve with the Highest Tiger counts: Corbett Tiger Reserve in Uttarakhand has the highest number of tigers. This is followed by Nagarhole tiger reserve(Karnataka) and Bandipur Tiger Reserve(Karnataka).

About National Tiger Conservation Authority(NTCA):

  • NTCA is a statutory body under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. It was constituted under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • It was established in 2005 following the recommendations of the Tiger Task Force.
  • Objectives of National Tiger Conservation Authority:
    • Providing statutory authority to Project Tiger so that compliance with its directives becomes legal.
    • Fostering accountability of Center-State in the management of Tiger Reserves by providing a basis for MoU with States within our federal structure.
    • Providing for oversight by Parliament.
    • Addressing livelihood interests of local people in areas surrounding Tigers Reserves.

Source: The Hindu

“US India Artificial Intelligence(USIAI) Initiative” launched

What is the News?

Indo-U.S Science and Technology Forum(IUSSTF) launched the US India Artificial Intelligence(USIAI) Initiative.

About US India Artificial Intelligence(USIAI) Initiative:

  • The initiative will serve as a platform for India and the United States(US) to cooperate on Artificial Intelligence(AI).

Goals of US India Artificial Intelligence(USIAI) Initiative:

  • To strengthen US-India strategic partnership by focusing on AI cooperation in critical areas and priority areas of both countries.
  • To identify opportunities for bilateral AI R&D collaboration;
  • To share ideas for developing an AI Workforce;
  • To recommend modes and mechanisms for catalyzing partnerships.

About Indo-U.S Science and Technology Forum(IUSSTF)

  • Established in: It was established in 2000. It is an autonomous bilateral organization jointly funded by both the Governments of India and the United States of America.
  • Aim: To promote Science, Technology, Engineering, and Innovation through interaction among government, academia, and industry.
  • Nodal Department: The Department of Science & Technology, Governments of India is the nodal department for IUSSTF in India. Similarly, the U.S. Department of States is the nodal department in the US.

Source: PIB

Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill, 2021

What is the News?

Lok Sabha passes the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Amendment Bill,2021. The Bill seeks to amend the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. This act regulates the mining sector in India.

What are the key provisions of the Bill?

  1. Removes distinction between captive and non-captive mines
    • The Act empowered the central government to reserve any mine (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) for particular end-use. Such mines are known as captive mines.
    • The Bill removes the distinction between captive and non-captive mines. It provides that no mine will be reserved for particular end-use. All mines will now be able to sell their extra minerals.
  2. Sale of minerals by captive mines: The Bill provides that captive mines (other than atomic minerals) may sell up to 50% of their annual mineral production in the open market after meeting their own needs.
  3. National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET): The bill provides for the constitution of a Statutory body named the National Mineral Exploration Trust (NMET). It will see the functioning of the mining sector.
  4. National Mineral Index(NMI): The bill proposes to introduce an index-based mechanism by developing a National Mineral Index(NMI). It will be used for various statutory payments and for future auctions.
  5. Transfer of statutory clearances: Presently, upon expiry of mining lease and transfer of the lease to a new lessee, the statutory clearances issued to the previous lessee are transferred for a period of two years. The new lessee needs to obtain fresh clearances within the two years.
    • The Bill changes this provision. It makes the transferred statutory clearances valid throughout the lease period of the new lessee.
  6. Inclusion of Private Sector: The bill allows the participation of private players in mining operations with enhanced technology.
  7. Auction by the central government in certain cases: The Bill provides that if the State Government is not able to complete the auction process within a specified time, the Central Government may take over and conduct such an auction.
  8. Allocation of mines with expired leases: The Bill says that mines (other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) whose lease has expired, may be allocated to a government company in certain cases.

Significance of this bill:

  • Brings True Potential of Mining Sector: India’s mining sector has the same potential as South Africa and Australia. However, India still needs to import minerals like gold and coal. This bill will bring out the true potential of the mining sector.
  • Increased Mining Contribution to GDP: Mining sector right now contributes 1.75% to the country’s GDP. The proposed reforms will raise the contribution to 2.5% as it seeks to make many mines available for auctions by resolving legacy issues.

Source: The Hindu

Validity of “State’s resolution against Central laws”

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has found no harm in State Legislative Assemblies passing resolutions against Central laws. It was seen in the cases of the Citizenship Amendment Act or the new farm laws.

What was the case?

  • Several State Assemblies passed resolutions against the Citizenship Amendment Act and the farm laws. A petition was filed in the Supreme Court challenging the legislative competencies of States passing resolutions against Central laws. Especially when such laws fall under the Union List of the Seventh Schedule.
  • The petitioner argued that the States cannot make laws on the subjects in the Union List. So the State Assemblies should not give an opinion on the merits or limitations of central law.

Supreme Court observations on State’s resolutions against Central laws

  • The Supreme Court has said that states passing resolutions against Central laws was not disobeying any law. This was only a matter of expressing States opinions.
  • The states also have the right to express their opinions. The resolutions do not mean that they are asking people to disobey the law.

About Seventh Schedule:

  • The seventh Schedule under Article 246 of the constitution deals with the division of powers between the union and the states. It contains three lists-
    • Union List: It contains the subjects on which Parliament may make laws
    • State List: It contains the subjects on which state legislatures may make laws.
    • Concurrent List: It contains subjects in which both Parliament and state legislatures have jurisdiction. However, the Constitution provides federal supremacy to Parliament on concurrent list items in case of a conflict. (Unless the State law gets the assent of the President, the Central law will prevail if there is a conflict between the Central law and the State law.)

Source: The Hindu


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