Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 24, 2021

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What is the “Ken-Betwa Link Project”?

What is the News?

Chief Ministers of Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh signed a memorandum of agreement to implement the Ken Betwa Link Project(KBLP).

About Ken-Betwa Link Project:

  • Ken-Betwa Link Project is the first project under the National Perspective Plan for the interlinking of rivers.
  • Under this project, water from the Ken River will be transferred to the Betwa river. Both these rivers are tributaries of the river Yamuna.
  • This project will spread across the districts of MP and UP i.e. Tikamgarh, Panna and Chhatarpur districts of MP and in UP; Jhansi, Banda, Lalitpur and Mahoba districts.

Source: Indian Express

Phases under the Project: The Ken-Betwa Link Project has two phases.

  1. Under Phase-I,  Daudhan dam complex and Ken-Betwa link canal and Powerhouses — will be completed.
  2. Under Phase-II, three components — Lower Orr dam, Bina complex project, and Kotha barrage — will be constructed.

Benefits of the Ken-Betwa Project:

  • Helps Drought Prone Region of UP: The project will be of immense benefit to the water-starved region of Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Provides Irrigation: The project is expected to provide
    1. Annual irrigation for 10.62 lakh hectares area.
    2. Drinking water supply to about 62 lakh people,
    3. 103 MW of hydropower.


  • Biodiversity Concerns: The project is expected to affect the Panna Tiger Reserve. Out of the 6,017 ha of forest area coming under the Daudhan dam of Ken Betwa Link Project, 4,206 ha of the area lies within the core tiger habitat of Panna Tiger Reserve.

About National River Linking Project(NRLP):

  • National River Linking Project (NRLP) also known as the National Perspective Plan aims to link Indian rivers by a network of reservoirs and canals.
  • Objective: The main objective is to transfer water from water ‘surplus’ basins suffering from floods to water ‘deficit’ basins suffering from drought/scarcity.
  • Prepared by: The then Ministry of Irrigation prepared this plan in August 1980.
  • Managed by: The NRLP is managed by National Water Development Agency (NWDA) under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
  • Components: The plan proposes 30 river links to connect 37 rivers across India under two components:
    • Himalayan Rivers Development Component: Under this, 14 river links have been identified.
    • Peninsular Rivers Development Component or the Southern Water Grid: It includes 16 river links. Ken Betwa Link Project is one among them.

Source: Indian Express

Madras High Court on Use of Public Funds for Campaigns

What is the News?

The Madras High Court has asked the ECI (Election Commission of India) to ensure that public funds are not for campaign purposes.

What was the case before Madras High Court?

  • A political party filed the PIL in Madras High Court. It seeks a direction to ECI to prohibit ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, and all others holding public office from campaigning on behalf of their party’s candidates.
  • The petitioner alleged that these people end up misusing their public office during elections. It becomes a disadvantage for the other candidates in the fray.

Key Observations made by the Court:

  • ECI has sufficient authority to put in place checks and balances. It can allow Ministers to enjoy their official status and simultaneously can prevent them from spending government funds for campaigning or election purposes.
  • However, security concerns for higher officials like Chief Ministers and those holding Cabinet positions at the Centre shall also be considered.
  • But the EC can still put some guidelines in place in addition to the existing guidelines. It is indicated in the model code to ensure government funds are not used for campaigning purposes, which is a usual exercise at present.

What is the Model Code of Conduct(MCC)?

  • Model Code of Conduct(MCC) is a set of guidelines. It is issued by the Election Commission(EC) to regulate political parties and candidates prior to elections.
  • The MCC becomes operational from the date of the announcement of the election schedule until the date of the result.

MCC guidelines on Party in Power: The MCC incorporated certain restrictions in 1979, regulating the conduct of the party in power.

  • Ministers must not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same. However, the ECI has exempted the Prime Minister from this MCC provision related to the combining of an official visit with an electioneering visit.
  • The party must avoid advertising at the cost of the public exchequer. Also, official mass media shall not be used for publicity of achievements in the elections.
  • Ministers and other authorities must not announce any financial grants, or promise any construction of roads, provision of drinking water among others.
  • Other parties must be allowed to use public spaces and rest houses and these must not be monopolised by the party in power.

Source: The Hindu

What is “Parosmia”?

What is the News?

The most common symptoms of Covid-19 are anosmia and ageusia. However, several people are also experiencing parosmia. It is characterized by a change in perception of odours.

Anosmia: It is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. This loss may be temporary or permanent.

Ageusia: It is a condition, characterized by a complete loss of taste function of the tongue.

About Parosmia:

  • Parosmia is a medical term. It describes a condition in which affected individuals experience distortions in the sense of smell.
  • A person with parosmia is able to detect certain odours. But they might experience the smell of certain things as different and often unpleasant. For example, coffee may smell like burnt toast.
  • Causes: Parosmia is typically experienced by those people who are recovering their sense of smell following a loss from a virus or an injury.
  • Is Parosmia Harmful? Parosmia is a temporary condition and is not harmful in itself.

Source: Indian Express

Supreme Court Orders Waiver Of Compound Interest For All Borrowers

What is the News?

The Supreme Court has directed banks and financial institutions to refund compound interest collected on EMI (Equated Monthly installments) for loans. Refunds will be calculated for the period of the moratorium from March 1,2020 to August 31, 2020.

Note: Simple interest is calculated on the principal, or original, amount of a loan. On the other hand, compound interest is calculated on the principal amount plus accumulated interest of previous periods. Thus, it can be regarded as “interest on interest”.

RBI Loan Moratorium Scheme:

  • In March 2020, the RBI announced a loan moratorium scheme. It directed lending institutions to grant temporary relief to borrowers in payment of instalments of term loans. Initially, the period between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2020 was included. Later, the moratorium was extended till 31 August.
  • Categories: The loan moratorium scheme was limited to eight categories only: MSME (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises), Education, Housing, Consumer durable, Credit card, Automobile, Personal and Consumption.
  • Loan Amount: The aggregate outstanding loan was to be Rs. 2 crores or less to be eligible for the scheme.

What was the petition filed before the Supreme Court?

  • A petition was filed in the Supreme Court regarding the charging of compound interest by banks. The amount was not paid by borrowers after availing of the loan moratorium scheme of RBI from March 1 to August 31.
  • Further, the petitioners were also seeking an extension of the loan moratorium and other reliefs in view of the coronavirus pandemic.

Key Takeaways from the Supreme Court Verdict:

  • There will be no compound interest during the loan moratorium period irrespective of the loan amount. Any such amount collected shall be refunded.
  • If the refund is not possible, the compound interest collected shall be adjusted in the next installment payable.
  • The court provided relief to banks. It removed its nearly six-month bar on the banks from declaring accounts of borrowers as non-performing assets(NPAs).
  • Further, the Court has declined to extend the six-month loan repayment moratorium. It said the power to take such a decision lay with the government and Reserve Bank of India(RBI).

Source: The Hindu

POWERGRID Launches E-Tendering Portal “PRANIT”

What is the News?

Power Grid Corporation of India Limited(POWERGRID) launched a portal named “PRANIT”.

About PRANIT Portal:

  • PRANIT is an e-Tendering Portal. It aims to make the tendering process more transparent through less paperwork and ease of operation.
  • Significance: The portal is certified by Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification Directorate(STQC), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.


  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited(POWERGRID) is a central public sector unit and a Maharatna company. The Ministry of Power owns this CPSU.
  • Objective: It is engaged mainly in the Transmission of Power. It transmits about 50% of the total power generated in India on its transmission network.
  • Headquarters: Gurugram, India.

Source: PIB

India abstains in the “UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka”

What is the News?

India has abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC).

About UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka:

  • The 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) adopted a resolution titled “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”.
  • The resolution said that the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has deteriorated under the current administration. Further, the resolution also mentions that the rights defenders and ethnic and religious minorities are facing problems.
  • Further, the UNHRC resolution provides the UNHRC chief mandate to collect and preserve evidence of crimes related to Sri Lanka’s civil war. The Civil War ended in 2009 with the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels.

Was the Resolution adopted or rejected?

  • The UNHRC resolution was adopted after 22 states of the 47-member Council voted in its favor.
  • Eleven countries including Bangladesh, China, and Pakistan voted against the resolution. On the other hand, 14 countries, including India, Indonesia, Japan, and Nepal abstained.

Sri Lanka’s Reaction:

  • Sri Lanka rejected the UNHRC resolution. It said that the resolution cannot be implemented without the consent and acceptance of the country concerned.


  • The UNHRC is a United Nations body established in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
  • Read more about UNHRC

Source: The Hindu

“Permanent Indus Commission” Meeting held after 2 Years

What is the News?

The PIC (Permanent Indus Commission) of India and Pakistan meet held after two years in New Delhi. PIC aims to resolve outstanding issues under the Indus Water Treaty.

About PIC (Permanent Indus Commission)

Indus Water Treaty signed between India and Pakistan in 1960. The Commission was created to implement and manage the goals of the 1960 Treaty.

PIC needs to meet regularly at least once a year, alternately in India and Pakistan. It requires the appointment of one commissioner each from both India and Pakistan.

Click Here to Read About Permanent Indus Water Commission

About 116th PIC meeting

Pakistan’s Objections on India’s two Hydropower Projects: Pakistan raised objections to the design of two hydropower projects on the Chenab river namely:

  • Pakal Dul Hydro Electric Project(1,000 MW): India is building the project on river Marusudar, a tributary of the Chenab. The project is located in Kishtwar district of J&K.
  • Lower Kalnai Hydro Electric Project: India is developing it on the River Chenab.

Sharing of Flood Forecasting Data under Indus Water Treaty:

  • India and Pakistan have also discussed sharing flood data with the view of the forthcoming flood season.
  • In 1989, India and Pakistan signed an agreement to share the data. Under the agreement, India is required to share hydrological flood data with Pakistan during the flood season.

Note: Since 2019, India has cleared several hydropower projects on the Indus River. These are,

  • Darbuk Shyok, Shankoo, Nimu Chilling, Rongdo, Ratan Nag are in Leh
  • Mangdum Sangra, Kargil Hunderman and Tamasha are Kargil.

Click Here to Read about Indus Water Treaty

 Source: Indian Express

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