Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 3, 2021

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“Sansad TV”: A merger of the LSTV and the RSTV

What is the News?

The government of India has announced the merger of the Lok Sabha TV and the Rajya Sabha TV. The channels from now on will be known as Sansad TV.

About the Lok Sabha TV(LSTV):

  • The Lok Sabha TV has been in operation since 2006. It was the first Parliamentary channel of India.
  • The LSTV was the brainchild of Former Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee. He brought the idea of a 24×7 Parliamentary Channel with the objective to familiarise citizens with the functioning of Parliament.

Note: Before the LSTV started functioning as a channel, few selected parliamentary proceedings had been televised since 1989. However, after 2006 a separate dedicated channel was set up for the Lok Sabha.

About the Rajya Sabha TV(RSTV):

  • The RSTV was launched in 2011. It will telecast the live proceedings of the Rajya Sabha. It also brings analyses of parliamentary affairs and provides a platform for knowledge-based programmes.
  • The budget of the RSTV is bigger than that of the LSTV. The Union Budget allocates funds for the running of channels. The RSTV also employs more people than the LSTV.

Merger of the Lok Sabha TV and the Rajya Sabha TV:

  • In 2019, a committee was set up under former Prasar Bharati Chairman Surya Prakash to look into the merger of two channels.
  • The merger is being done to avoid duplicity of efforts, resources. Further, establishing Sansad TV will also reduce the financial burden.

Recommendations of the Surya Prakash panel:

  • The committee has suggested that a merged Sansad TV should have two separate channels— Sansad 1 and Sansad 2.
  • One channel will telecast the live proceedings of the Lok Sabha. On the other hand, the other channel will telecast the live proceedings of the Rajya Sabha.
  • When Parliament is not in session, the first channel can air Hindi content and the second channel can air English content. This will result in better branding and increased viewership of Sansad TV.

Source: The Hindu 

Sri Lanka approved the “West Container Terminal” proposal

What is the News?

The Sri Lankan Cabinet has approved a proposal to develop Colombo Port’s West Container Terminal(WCT) under a joint venture with India and Japan.

Note: This proposal comes after Sri Lanka had pulled out of the 2019 tripartite agreement with India and Japan to develop the East Container Terminal(ECT).

About the West Container Terminal(WCT) Project:

  • Location: The West Container Terminal(WCT) is strategically located next to a Chinese-run Colombo International Container Terminal(CICT).
  • Model: The terminal will be developed on a Build, Operate and Transfer(BOT) model for a period of 35 years.
  • Investors: For the project, Sri Lanka has asked India and Japan to nominate the investors. But neither India nor Japan has officially commented on the offer.
    • Earlier, India had approved Adani Ports to invest in the ECT project. However, Japan is yet to name an investor.
  • Stakes in WCT: India and Japan will have an 85% stake in the West Container Terminal. It is similar to the terms set for the Colombo International Container Terminal(CICT) where China holds an 85% stake.
    • Moreover, India and Japan stake in the WCT is better than the earlier deal on the ECT – where they had a 49% stake.

Source: The Hindu

“Himalayan serow” spotted in the Manas Tiger Reserve, Assam

What is the News?

Himalayan Serow has been spotted in the Manas Tiger Reserve in Assam.

 About Himalayan Serow:

  • Himalayan serow is a subspecies of the mainland serow. It resembles a cross between a goat, a donkey, a cow, and a pig.
  • Species: There are several species of serows in the world. All of them are found in Asia. However, the Himalayan serow is restricted to the Himalayan region.
  • Habitat: They are found at high altitudes between 2,000 metres and 4,000 metres. They are known to be found in the eastern, central and western Himalayas but not in the Trans Himalayan region.
  • Diet: Himalayan serows are herbivores animals.
  • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • The Wildlife Protection Act,1972: Schedule I.

Significance of the sighting of Himalayan Serow:

  • Himalayan serow has been spotted for the first time in the Manas tiger reserve or anywhere else in Assam. However, this does not mean the animal never visited Assam forests before.
    • The sightings of these rare animals and birds are due to better access to remote parts of the protected area.
    • The other rare animals and birds sighted recently in Manas National Park were,

Manas National Park:

  • Manas national park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a Project Tiger reserve, an elephant reserve and a biosphere reserve.
  • Location: It is located in the Himalayan foothills in Assam. It is contiguous with the Royal Manas National Park in Bhutan.
  • Origin of Name: The name of the park is originated from the Manas River.
  • Significance: The park is known for its rare and endangered endemic wildlife such as the Assam roofed turtle, hispid hare, golden langur and pygmy hog. It is also famous for its population of wild water buffalo.
  • Human History: Pagrang is the only forest village located in the core of the Manas national park. Apart from this village 56 more villages surround the park. Many more fringe villages are directly or indirectly dependent on the park.
  • River: The Manas river flows through the west of the park. Manas is a major tributary of Brahmaputra river. The river is named after the serpent goddess Manasa

Source: The Hindu

PM inaugurated ‘Maritime India Summit 2021’

What is the News?

The Prime Minister has inaugurated the Second edition of the”Maritime India Summit 2021′.

About the Maritime India Summit 2021:

  • Organised by: Maritime India Summit is being organised by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways. The FICCI will act as the Industry Partner in this summit.
  • Partner Country: Denmark is the partner country for the Maritime India Summit.
  • Objective: To visualise a roadmap for India’s maritime sector for the next decade. Further, the summit will aid India to become the forefront of the global maritime sector.
  • Significance: Eminent persons from several countries are attending the summit. There is also potential business opportunities and investments in the maritime domain due to the summit.

Initiatives launched at the Maritime India Summit:

  • E-Book of Maritime Vision Policy 2030: It aims to make the Indian maritime industry at par with the top global benchmarks in the next 10 years.
  • Sagar-Manthan: Mercantile Marine Domain Awareness Centre (MMDAC): It is an information system for enhancing maritime safety, search and rescue capabilities, security and marine environment protection.

Click Here to Read about Sagarmala Initiative

 Source: The Hindu

Possible evidence of China’s “Cyber Warfare” against India 

What is the News?

A recent report has claimed that Chinese hackers had targeted Indians and Indian based companies. These cyber-attacks have raised concerns over whether China is engaged in cyber warfare with India.

What is Cyber Warfare?

Cyber Warfare refers to the use of digital attacks (like computer viruses and hacking) by one country to disrupt the computers or information networks of another country.

Possible evidences of China’s cyber warfare:

  1.  Surveillance of Indian Individuals:
    • A China-based technology company, Zhenhua Data Information Technology was monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals. These individuals include politicians, judges, industrialists, bureaucrats among others.
    • Its aim was to collect information about relevant people and track research papers, articles, patents, and their recruitment positions.
  2. ShadowPad Malware:
    • In February 2021, a US-based cyber company had published a report about the Chinese group called Red Echo. The report mentioned that Red Echo was using malware called ShadowPad to target India’s power sector.
    • The Ministry of Power has also confirmed the attempts of this ShadowPad malware in the power sector.
    • However, there was no data breach/data loss had been detected so far. Further, the government has also taken action against the threats observed.
  3. Stone Panda:
    • A US-based cyber group has informed about a Chinese hacking group Stone Panda. They informed that the Stone Panda is targeting the IT infrastructure of Bharat Biotech and the Serum Institute of India(SII).
    • These companies have developed Covaxin and Covishield. These vaccines are currently being used in the national vaccination campaign against COVID-19.

Reasons for cyber-attacks:

All these surveillance and hacking attempts could be happening for several reasons. Such as,

  • Border clashes between India and China: As bilateral tensions continue to rise, cyber-attacks are expected to increase in India.
  • Long Term Strategy of China: These cyber-attacks could also be an attempt by China to test and lay the grounds for further operations in future. Sometimes these offensive operations are carried out to distract India and China might be focussing on other cyber activities.
  • Competition: The motivation behind Stone Panda’s attack was to extract the companies intellectual property. Further by extracting them, China can gain a competitive advantage over Indian pharmaceutical companies.

Source: The Indian Express

LinkedIn released the “Opportunity Index 2021”

What is the News?

LinkedIn has released the Opportunity Index,2021. The index focuses on the manner in which women perceive their employment opportunities. Further, the opportunity index also focuses on how the gender gap is slowing down the career progress for working women.

About the Opportunity Index 2021:

  • The LinkedIn Opportunity Index research was conducted by market research firm GfK.
  • The countries that were included in the index include Australia, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.
  • For India, the index highlighted the difference in understanding regarding the available opportunities for men and women.

Key Findings of the Opportunity Index:

  1. Impact of Pandemic on Women: 9 in 10 or 89% of women were negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  2. Promotions for Women: As many as 85% of women in India have missed out a promotion or other work offers because of their gender. This is significantly higher than the regional average of 60% in the Asia Pacific.
  3. Other Challenges faced by Indian women:
    • Fewer opportunities and lower pay structure than men
    • Lack of Time and family responsibilities.
    • Lack of guidance through networks.
    • Workplace discrimination because of household responsibilities
    • Companies ‘favourable bias’ towards men.

What needs to be done?

  • The government have to provide greater flexibility to women in order to increase female participation in the workforce.
  • Part-Time Flexible Schedules and Maternity leaves can improve women participation in the workforce.
  • There should be new opportunities for women to upskill and learn the labour market skills. It can help organisations attract, hire and retain more female talent.

Source: Business Today

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