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Factly :-News Articles For UPSC Prelims | Mar 31, 2021

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Union Minister inaugurates Event for “DSIR-PRISM Scheme”

What is the News?

Union Minister for Science & Technology inaugurates the Event for Publicity of the PRISM (Promoting Innovations in Individuals, Startups, and MSMEs) scheme.

About PRISM Scheme:

  • Nodal Ministry: PRISM is an initiative of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research(DSIR), Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Aim: To help an individual innovator to become a successful technopreneur. It promotes, supports, and funds implementable and commercially viable innovations created for society.
  • Who is eligible? Under the initiative, an innovator of Indian nationality – student, professional and common citizen is eligible.
  • Features:  Eligible candidates are provided with technical, strategic, and financial assistance by DSIR-PRISM. Assistance is provided on the stages like idea development, prototype development, and pilot scaling and patenting.
  • Sectors Covered: The proposals under the scheme will be accepted for the following sectors:
    • Green technology
    • Clean energy
    • Industrially utilizable smart materials
    • Waste to Wealth
    • Affordable Healthcare
    • Water & Sewage Management and
    • any other technology or knowledge-intensive area.
  • Financial Assistance: The grant under the scheme is given in two phases:
    1. Phase I:
      • Category-I: For proof of concept/prototype/models, a grant amount of around Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs.
      • Category-II: For fabrication of working model/ process know-how/ testing, a grant amount of around Rs. 2 lakhs to Rs. 20 lakhs.
    2. Phase II: For Enterprise incubation, a grant amount of a maximum of around Rs.50 lakhs.

Source: PIB


Foreign Minister attends “Heart of Asia” Ministerial Conference

What is the News?

India’s Foreign Minister is attending the 9th ministerial conference of the Heart of Asia – Istanbul Process (HoA-IP) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

 About Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process:

  • Heart of Asia Istanbul Process is a regional initiative of Afghanistan and the Republic of Turkey. It was launched in November 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey.
  • Aim: The process aims to promote economic and political cooperation for Afghanistan peace through dialogue and confidence-building measures (CBMs).
  • Composition: The platform comprises 15 participating countries, 17 supporting countries, and 12 supporting regional and international organizations.
    • India is one of the participating countries.
    • Other participating countries are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates
  • Pillars: The Heart of Asia-Istanbul Process is based on three pillars:
    • Political Consultations to resolve disputes in the region and Afghanistan.
    • Implementation of the Confidence Building Measures(CBMs) and
    • Cooperation with Regional Organizations.
  • De facto Secretariat: The Directorate-General for Regional Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan.
  • Has India ever hosted the conference: India co-hosted the 6th Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference in Amritsar, Punjab in 2016.

Source: AIR


US “2020 Human Rights Report” flags curbs on Indian media

What is the News?

The US State Department released the “2020 Human Rights Report” also known as “2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices”.

About 2020 Human Rights Report:

  • The Human Rights Report is an annual report.  Each year the US State Department submits it to the US Congress.
  • The report is retrospective and contains a country-wise discussion on the state of human rights.
  • The Report is based on the rights listed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Key Findings of the report Related to India:

  • Human Rights Issues in India: India has several human rights issues including:
    • Unlawful and arbitrary killings;
    • Restrictions on freedom of expression and the press including violence, threats of violence, or unjustified arrests or prosecutions against journalists;
    • Restrictions on political participation;
    • Widespread corruption at all levels in the government;
    • Tolerance of violations of religious freedom
    • Crimes involving violence and discrimination targeting members of minority groups including women based on religious affiliation or social status.
  • Requests for Data from Social Media Companies: The government’s requests for user data from Internet companies increased dramatically. In 2019, the Government made 49,382 user data requests from Facebook, a 32% increase from 2018. Over the same period, Google requests increased by 69% while Twitter requests saw a 68% increase.
  • Improvement in Situation in J&K: The report noted that there was an improvement in the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The government is taking steps to restore normalcy in J&K by gradually lifting some security and communications restrictions.

Source: The Hindu


Indo-US Joint Military “Exercise Vajra Prahar” conducted

What is the News?

The 11th edition of Indo-US Joint Special Forces Exercise Vajra Prahar 2021 is complete. The exercise conducted at Special Forces Training School located at Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.

About Exercise Vajra Prahar:

  • Exercise Vajra Prahar is a Special Forces joint military training exercise. It takes place alternately in India and the US since 2010.
  • Aim: The exercise enables sharing of best practices and experience in areas such as joint mission planning capabilities and operational tactics.

Other Bilateral Exercises between India and US:

  • Yudh Abhyas- It is a joint military exercise between India and the US.
  • Tiger Triumph- It is a tri-service military exercise between India and the US.

 What are Special Forces?

  • Special Forces of India refer to those Special forces units that are specifically organised, trained, and equipped to conduct and support special operations.
  • The three branches of the Indian Armed Forces have separate special forces units namely:
    • Para SF: Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) is the special force of the Indian Army. This unit formed in 1966 in the aftermath of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war.
    • MARCOS: Marine Commando Force also called MARCOS established in 1987. It is the special forces unit of the Indian Navy.
    • Garud Commando Force: It was established in 2004. They are the special forces of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Note: There are other special forces that are out of military control. They operate under civilian organizations such as the Home ministry’s National Security Guard.

Source: PIB


SC Issues Directions for “Accident Information Report”

What is the News?

The Supreme Court issues directions to police, Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals(MACTs), and insurance companies regarding accident information reports. The aim of the directions is to make the compensation process to victims more smooth and claimant-friendly.

What was the case?

  • The Insurance company Bajaj Allianz filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The petition raised the issue of the difficulty of accident victims, waiting for years for compensation.
  • Bajaj Allianz said that the police take months to even file an accident report for submission before the Motor Accidents Claims Tribunals(MACTs). This is the norm in many parts of the country,

What did the Supreme Court say?

The Supreme Court issued directions to prevent delays in the disbursement of compensations to victims. The police, motor accident claims tribunals and insurers across the country have to uniformly practice these directions:

  • Firstly, Accident Information Report: The jurisdictional police station shall report the accident under Section 159 of the Motor Vehicle Act. Further, the police need to send the report of the accident to the tribunal and insurer within the first 48 hours.
  • Secondly, Detailed Accident Report: Police shall collect the documents relevant to the accident. This includes documents for computation of compensation and verification of the information and documents. This report shall be emailed to the tribunal and the insurer within three months.
  • Thirdly, the tribunal shall issue summons along with the Report or the application for compensation to the insurer by email.
  • Fourthly, the insurer shall email their offer for settlement/response to the Report to the tribunal.
  • Fifthly, after passing the award, the tribunal shall email an authenticated copy of the award to the insurer.
  • Sixthly, the insurer shall satisfy the award by depositing the awarded amount into a bank account maintained by the tribunal by RTGS or NEFT.

Further, the Supreme Court has also ordered the Centre to launch a national online platform. The platform could be operated and accessed across the country for submission of accident reports, claims and responses to claims. This would end the distress felt by victims during accidents that happened in places other than their native State.

Source: The Hindu


Global Wind Report 2021

What is the News?

The Global Wind Energy Council(GWEC) has released the Global Wind Report,2021.

About Global Wind Report:

  • The Global Wind Report highlights the role of wind power on the road to net zero emissions.

Key Findings of the report:

  • Wind Energy: The world’s capacity to generate electricity from wind jumped 53% in 2020.A total 93 gigawatts (GW) capacity was installed in the year.
    • However, this growth is not sufficient for the world to reach a ‘net zero’ emission status by 2050.The world needs to install a minimum of 180 GW of new wind energy capacity every year.
  • Current Global Wind Energy Capacity: At present, the world has a total wind energy capacity of 743 GW.This has helped avoid an annual CO2 emission of over 1.1 billion tonnes which is equivalent to the volume of carbon South America emits in a year.
  • China and the United States accounted for 75% of the new installations and over half the world’s wind power capacity.

India’s Wind Power Capacity:

  • Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years.
  • As of February 2021, India’s total installed wind power capacity was 38GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world.

About Global Wind Energy Council(GWEC):

  • The Global Wind Energy Council(GEWC) was established in 2005 to provide a credible and representative forum for the entire wind energy sector at an international level.
  • Aim: It’s mission is to ensure that wind power is established as one of the world’s leading energy sources, providing substantial environmental and economic benefits.
  • Headquarters: Brussels,Belgium.

Source: Down To Earth


Education Minister inaugurates “Ānandam” – The Center for Happiness in IIM Jammu

What is the News?

Union Minister of Education inaugurates “Ānandam: The Center for Happiness” at Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Jammu.

About Anandam: The Centre of Happiness:

  • The Centre for Happiness-Anandam established with the aim to help reduce the mental pressure of students and faculty. They undergo stress due to deadlines, coursework, and teaching load.
  • Origin of Name: The Center for Happiness acquires name ‘Ānandam’ from Indian wisdom tradition. There the state of pure consciousness is anandam. Thus, it doesn’t only aim for happiness but also on knowing the truth, doing good, and enjoying the beauty around.
  • Categories: The Centre has five broad categories — counseling, holistic wellness, elective courses on happiness development, research and leadership, faculty development.
  • At the center, students and teachers will participate in regular physical exercises. Moreover, they will be able to practice breathing exercises such as prāṇāyāma and mindfulness and practice meditation and contemplation.

Additional Facts:

What is Gross National Happiness(GNH)?

  • Gross national happiness(GNH) is a term coined by the Fourth King of Bhutan, Jigme Singye Wangchuck in the 1970s.
  • GNH measures economic and moral progress as an alternative to gross domestic product measurement in Bhutan.
  • The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress. Thus, it gives equal importance to non-economic aspects of well being.
  • In 2012, for the first time, the World Happiness Report was released by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network based on Gross Happiness Index at global level.

What is Happiness Curriculum?

  • The Happiness curriculum launched by the Delhi government in 2018.
  • The curriculum aims at increasing mental health awareness among school children from classes nursery to eighth in all government schools.
  • Under the curriculum, students will attend Happiness Classes. In these classes, students participate in exercises such as storytelling, meditation, and question and answer sessions.

Source: PIB

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