Polity & Governance
- VP urges parties to include code of conduct for MPs and MLAs
Government Schemes & Policies
- Registration opens for PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana
Issues related to Health & Education
- India cricketers to be now tested by National Anti-Doping Agency
- Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine by September
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- World Biofuel Day to be observed on 10th August 2019
Science & Technology
- Minister of State for Heavy Industries Addresses 3rd International Electric Vehicle Conclave
Key Facts for Prelims
- MSDE announces fourth edition of National Entrepreneurship Awards, 2019
- Gogabeel is Bihar’s first community reserve
- Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Punjab sets record in footfall
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Polity & Governance
VP urges parties to include code of conduct for MPs and MLAs
The Vice President of India and the Chairman Venkaiah Naidu has called upon all political parties to incorporate a code of conduct for people’s representatives, including MPs and MLAs, in their election manifestos.
- A code for Union ministers was adopted in 1964, and state governments also adopted it.
- A conference of Chief Justices in 1999 resolved to adopt a code of conduct for judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts.
Code in Rajya Sabha
- The First Report of the Ethics Committee was adopted in 1999.
- The Fourth Report was adopted by Rajya Sabha in 2005 and a 14-point Code of Conduct for members of the House was formed.
Major provisions of the 14-point code are:
- If Members find that there is a conflict between their personal interests and the public trust which they hold, they should resolve such a conflict in a manner that their private interests are subordinated to the duty of their public office.
- Members should not always see that their private financial interests and those of the members of their immediate family do not come in conflict with the public interest and if any such conflict ever arises, they should try to resolve such a conflict in a manner that the public interest is not jeopardised.
- Members should never expect or accept any fee or benefit for a vote given or not given by them on the floor of the House, for introducing a Bill, for moving a resolution or desisting from moving a resolution, putting a question or participating in the deliberations of the House or a Parliamentary Committee.
- It mandated to maintain ‘Register of Member’s Interests’ in such form as may be determined by the Ethics Committee which shall be available to members for inspection on request.
Code in Lok Sabha
- The first Ethics Committee in Lok Sabha was constituted in May 2000.
- The Report of the Ethics Committee, with regard to amendments to the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha, was presented in 2014.
- Its recommendations were included in the report of the Rules Committee of Lok Sabha tabled in Lok Sabha in August 2015.
- It said that the Ethics Committee will formulate a Code of Conduct for Members and suggest amendments or additions to the Code of Conduct from time to time.
Code of conduct in other countries
- The Canada has a ‘Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner’ code with powers to examine violations of the Conflict of Interest Code at the request of another Member or by Resolution of the House or on his own initiative.
- Germany has had a Code of Conduct for members of the Bundestag since 1972.
- The US has had a Code since 1968.
- Pakistan has a Code of Conduct for members of the Senate.
Need for Code of Conduct for Politicians
- The politicians representing their constituencies in the Parliament have several times brought ill-repute to the institution with their incivility.
- Creating ruckus in the Parliament, making unacceptable remarks and disrupting the House proceedings are some of the major allegations they face.
- Tenure of some of the politicians is also fraught with severe charges of impropriety.
- Although the Parliament Speaker cannot penalize the members on grounds of misconduct, under Rule 374 A of the “Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha”, the Speaker can suspend members creating disorder in the House.
- However, the feasibility of the provision has been questioned and the experts consider that this rule is against the spirit of the Constitution.
- It has been long since a parliamentary panel had recommended a 14-point code of conduct that somewhat outlines what’s expected from the politicians.
- It’s time that such recommendations are tabled in the Parliament and all its clauses are scrutinized under the aegis of a standing committee.
- Only after a rigorous debate in both the Houses of Parliament, should the bill be passed and made into a law, which will be binding on all the politicians irrespective of their seniority and party affiliation.
Government Schemes & Policies
Registration opens for PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana
Appealing farmers across the country to join the old age pension Scheme, the union minister for Agriculture & Farmers Welfare said that the scheme has been envisioned with an aim to improve the life of small and marginal farmers of the country.
About Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan-Dhan Yojana (PM-KMY)
- It is a is a Central Sector Scheme, administered by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare in partnership with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
- It is an old age pension scheme for all land holding Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs) in the country.
- It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme.
Salient features of Scheme:
- A monthly pension of 3000 after the age of 60 years. (The spouse is also eligible to get a separate pension of Rs.3000 upon making separate contributions to the Fund.)
- The farmers will have to make a monthly contribution of Rs.55 to Rs.200, depending on their age of entry, in the Pension Fund till they reach 60 years.
- The Central Government will also make an equal contribution of the same amount in the pension fund.
- The Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) will be the Pension Fund Manager and responsible for Pension pay out.
- In case of death of the farmer before retirement date, the spouse may continue in the scheme by paying the remaining contributions till the remaining age of the deceased farmer.
- If the farmer dies after the retirement date, the spouse will receive 50% of the pension as Family Pension. After the death of both the farmer and the spouse, the accumulated corpus shall be credited back to the Pension Fund.
- The beneficiaries may opt voluntarily to exit the Scheme after a minimum period of 5 years of regular contributions.
- The farmers, who are also beneficiaries of PM-Kisan Scheme, will have the option to allow their contribution debited from the benefit of that Scheme directly.
- All Small and Marginal Farmers (SMFs) in all States and Union Territories.
- Age of 18 years and above and upto the age of 40 years
Issues related to Health & Education
India cricketers to be now tested by National Anti-Doping Agency
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) will now come under the ambit of the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) which means India’s cricketers will now be tested by NADA.
- Until now, cricket was the only sport in India that was not under the ambit of the NADA. Hence, BCCI outsourced the doping tests to Sweden’s International Doping Tests and Management (IDTM).
- IDTM collected samples, which would be tested at the National Dope Test Laboratory (New Delhi) and then the BCCI would handle the result management process itself.
- However, their handling of a recent case involving an Indian batsman, who was suspended for eight months for failing a dope test, was criticised by experts.
- The government, too, had highlighted flaws in the BCCI’s mechanisms, the opaqueness in their procedures.
- From now onwards, Indian cricketers will be tested according to laws dictated by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which are adopted by the NADA and even the International Cricket Council (ICC).
- National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) was set up in 2005 to implement anti-doping rules as per World Anti-Doping code (WADA), regulate dope control programme, to promote education and research and creating awareness about doping and its ill effects.
What is Doping?
Doping is defined by WADA as the occurrence of one or more of the following anti-doping rule violations mentioned in the WADA/NADA Code.
- Presence of a prohibited substance or its metabolites or markers in an athlete’s sample.
- Use or attempted use by an athlete of a prohibited substance or a prohibited method.
- Refusing to submit to sample collection after being notified.
- Failure to provide whereabouts information or being unavailable for doping control.
- Tampering with any part of the doping control process.
- Administering to administer a prohibited substance or method to an athlete.
- Prohibited Association
Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE)
- Athletes may have illnesses or conditions that require them to take a particular medication or undergo certain procedures.
- In such instances, they may be granted a TUE, which gives them permission to take a substance or use a method. The TUE enables the Athlete to take the necessary medication while competing in sport Events, without resulting in a doping offence.
Prohibited Substances and Methods
- The World Anti-Doping Agency annually updates the List of Prohibited Substances and Methods.
- The list is the International Standard defining what is prohibited in-competition and out-of-competition.
- The list also indicates whether particular substances are banned in particular sports.
- Anabolic agents
- Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances, and Mimetics
- Beta-2 Agonists
- Hormone and Metabolic Modulators
- Diuretics and Masking Agents
- Manipulation of Blood and Blood Components
- Chemical and Physical Manipulation
- Gene and Cell Doping
About World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA):
- WADA was established in 1999 as an international independent agency.
- The First World Conference on Doping in Sport held, in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 1999, produced the Lausanne Declaration on Doping in Sport.
- Pursuant to the terms of the Lausanne Declaration, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established in 1999.
- WADA was set up as a foundation under the initiative of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
- The International Convention against Doping in Sport (2005) is a multilateral UNESCO treaty by which countries agree to adopt national measures to prevent and eliminate drug doping in sport.
- Until now, India was the only ICC member not to abide by the WADA rules. That was seen as among the key reasons for cricket not being considered for the Olympics.
Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine by September
The Health Ministry has decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September, 2019.
- Diarrhoea was one of the biggest killers in children and Rotavirus was one of the most common causes of severe diarrhoea in children less than 2 years of age.
Rotavirus in India:
- In India, every year, 37 out of every 1,000 children born dies at the age of 5 due to diarrhoeal deaths as one of the major reasons.
- Out of all the causes of diarrhoea, Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhoea in children less than 5 years of age.
- It is estimated that Rotavirus cause 8,72,000 hospitalisations; 32,70,000 outpatient visits and estimated 78,000 deaths annually in India.
- Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in India in 2016 in a phased manner, beginning with 4 States initially and later expanded to 7 more States.
- Currently, it is available in 28 States/Union Territories and is expected to be available in all 36 States/Union Territories by September 2019.
- Rotavirusis the most common cause of severe vomiting and diarrhoea among infants and young children less than five years of age.
- Nearly every child in the world has been infected with rotavirus at least once by the age of five.
- There are eight species of this virus, referred to as A, B, C, D, E, F, G and H. Rotavirus A, the most common species, causes more than 90% of rotavirus infections in humans.
- The virus is transmitted by the faecal-oral route. It infects and damages the cells that line the small intestine and causes gastroenteritis (which is often called “stomach flu” despite having no relation to influenza).
- Rotavirus diarrhoea can be prevented through vaccination.
- Four rotavirus vaccines: Rotarix, RotaTeq, Rotavac and RotaSiil are available internationally and WHO prequalified.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
World Biofuel Day to be observed on 10th August 2019
World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August to create awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlight the various efforts made by Government in the biofuel sector.
- The theme of the World Biofuel Day 2019 is “Production of Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil (UCO)”.
Why August 10?
- On this day in 1893, Sir Rudolph Diesel (inventor of the diesel engine) for the first time successfully ran mechanical engine with Peanut Oil.
- His research experiment had predicted that vegetable oil is going to replace the fossil fuels in the next century to fuel different mechanical engines.
Thus, to mark this extraordinary achievement, World Biofuel Day is observed every year on 10th August.
- Biofuels are liquid or gaseous fuels produced from biomass resources and used in place of, or in addition to, diesel, petrol or other fossil fuels for transport, stationary, portable and other applications.
- Biofuel can be produced from any carbon source that can be replenished rapidly, such as plants.
- Cost: Biofuels prices have been falling and have the potential to be significantly less expensive than gasoline and other fossil fuels.
- Source material: Whereas oil is a limited resource that comes from specific materials, biofuels can be manufactured from a wide range of materials including crop waste, manure, and other byproducts.
- Renewability: biofuels are much more easily renewable as new crops are grown and waste material is collected.
- Security: Biofuels can be produced locally, which decreases the nation’s dependence upon foreign energy.
- Lower carbon emissions: When biofuels are burned, they produce significantly less carbon output and fewer toxins, making them a safer alternative to preserve atmospheric quality and lower air pollution.
- Energy output: Biofuels have a lower energy output than traditional fuels and therefore require greater quantities to be consumed in order to produce the same energy level.
- Production carbon emissions: while they are cleaner to burn, some studies suggest that the process to produce the biofuel has hefty carbon emissions. In addition, cutting forests to grow crops for biofuels adds to carbon emissions.
- High cost: To refine biofuels to more efficient energy outputs, a high initial investment is often required, making its production currently more expensive than other fuels.
- Food prices: As demand for food crops such as corn grows for biofuel production, it raises prices for necessary staple food crops.
- Food shortages: There is concern that using valuable cropland to grow fuel crops could have an impact on the cost of food and could possibly lead to food shortages.
- Water use: Massive quantities of water are required for proper irrigation of biofuel crops as well as to manufacture the fuel, which could strain local and regional water resources.
About Used Cooking Oil (UCO)
- In India, the same cooking oil is used for repeated frying which adversely affects the health due to formation of polar compounds during frying. These polar compounds are associated with diseases such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, liver diseases among others.
- UCO is either not discarded at all or disposed off in an environmentally hazardous manner choking drains and sewerage systems. The National Policy on Biofuels 2018, envisages production of biofuel from UCO.
- At present, approximately 850 crore litres of (HSD) is consumed on a monthly basis in India. The National Policy on Biofuels – 2018 envisages a target of 5% blending of Biodiesel in HSD by 2030.
- In order to achieve the blending target, 500 crore litres of Biodiesel is required in a year. In India, approximately, 2700 crore litres of Cooking Oil is used out of which 140 Crore UCO can be collected from Bulk Consumers such as hotels for conversion giving 110 crore litres of Biodiesel in one year.
- Presently there is no established collection chain for UCO. Thus, there is a huge opportunity in production of biodiesel from UCO.
- RUCO (Repurpose Used Cooking Oil) is an initiative of The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) to enable collection and conversion of used cooking oil to biodiesel.
- Rudolf Christian Karl Diesel invented the Diesel engine. He designed an engine based on the Carnot cycle.
Science & Technology
Minister of State for Heavy Industries Addresses 3rd International Electric Vehicle Conclave
The Minister of State for Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises inaugurated the 3rd International Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave at the International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in Manesar, Gurugram
About the Electric Vehicle (EV) Conclave
- It is organized by International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) in association with India Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) since 2017.
- Owing to the growth of electric mobility and in order to meet the demands of the automotive sector, the EV Conclave is organized with a focus on new trends and challenges in the field of electric mobility.
Highlights of the speech of the Minster of Heavy Industry
- Electric Mobility Mission will be implemented in phases based on feedback from the auto industry.
- 3 lakh electric vehicles have already been sold under the FAME India Scheme.
- Provision of Rs. 10,000 crore have been made for electric mobility in the Union Budget of 2019-20.
Inauguration of new facilities
- The minister inaugurated various new facilities including Photometry Lab for General Lighting and Power Train Engine Test Cell (ETC)- Expansion.
- In the expansion of the Photometry Lab for general lighting, various performance and safety testing facilities like mirror Goniometer (an instrument for the precise measurement of angles, especially one used to measure the angles between the faces of crystals) were inaugurated.
About ICAT Manesar:
- International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) Manesar is a division of NATRIP Implementation Society (NATIS) under the Department of Heavy Industries, India.
- It provides services for testing, validation, design and homologation of all categories of vehicles.
- It assists the automotive industry in adopting cutting edge technologies in vehicle evaluation and component development to ensure reliability, durability and compliance to the current and future regulations.
About National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP):
- NATRiP aims at creating core global competencies in Automotive sector in India.
- It facilitate seamless integration of Indian Automotive industry with the world as also to position the country prominently on the global automotive map.
Key Facts for Prelims
MSDE announces fourth edition of National Entrepreneurship Awards, 2019
The fourth edition of the National Entrepreneurship Awards, to encourage outstanding Indian Entrepreneurs and to catalyse a cultural shift in youth for entrepreneurship by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) has opened for nominations.
About NEA 2019
- The National Entrepreneurship Awards (NEA 2019) is the 4th edition in the NEA series.
- Indian Institute of Technology (Madras, Delhi, Guwahati, Kanpur), IRMA, NABARD, National Innovation Foundation, National Small Industries Corporation, National Institute IAEM, Rural Development and Self-employment and Training Institute, TISS, Xavier’s School of Management are the organisations supporting the implementation of NEA 2019.
About National Entrepreneurship Awards
- The National Entrepreneurship Awards have been instituted by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MoSDE) in 2016 to encourage a culture of entrepreneurship across the country.
- The objective of these awards is to recognize the businesses, not only to improve their marketability, but also address discontinuity towards better business systems and enhanced products/services with the help of a prize money.
- There are two types of award category: Enterprise awards and Ecosystem Builder awards.
- Must be under the age of 40 years
- They must be first-generation entrepreneurs
- The nominee (entrepreneur) must hold 51% or more equity and ownership of the business
- Women entrants must individually or collectively own 75% or more of the enterprise
Gogabeel is Bihar’s first community reserve
- Gogabeel is an ox-bow lake in Katihar district of Bihar.
- It has been declared as the Bihar’s first ‘Community Reserve’. It has both Community Reserve and Conservation Reserve.
- Gogabeel is formed from the flow of the rivers Mahananda and Kankhar in the north and the Ganga in the south and east. It is the fifteenth Protected Area (PA) in Bihar.
- More than 90 bird species have been recorded from this site, of which, about 30 are migratory.
- Among the threatened species, the Lesser Adjutant Stork is listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN while the Black Necked Stork, White Ibis and White-eyed Pochard are ‘Near Threatened’.
- Other species reported from this site include Black Ibis, Ashy Swallow Shrike, Jungle Babbler, Bank Myna, Red Munia, Northern Lapwing and Spotbill Duck.
- Gogabeel was initially notified as a ‘Closed Area’ by the Bihar in 1990 for five year.
- This status was extended till 2000. After the amendment of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, in 2002, the provision of ‘Closed Area’ was omitted and it disappeared from the list of the Bihar government’s PAs, having no legal status.
- In 2004, Gogabeel, including the neighbouring Baghar Beel and Baldia Chaur, were given the status of an Important Bird Area of India (IBA) by the Indian Bird Conservation Network (IBCN). In 2017, IBCN again declared Gogabeel as an IBA.
Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Punjab sets record in footfall
The Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Punjab’s Anandpur Sahib town is all set to find a place in the Asia Book of Records for becoming the most visited museum in the Indian sub-continent on a single day.
Record breaking footfall
- On March 20, Virasat-e-Khalsa museum became the most visited museum in India on a single day, recording its name in Asia book of records.
- Earlier, Virasat-e-Khalsa made it to Limca Book of Records in the February 2019 edition and India Book of Records.
About Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum
- Virasat-e-Khalsa Museum, earlier known as Khalsa Heritage Complex, was built to commemorate the rich history and culture of Punjab and Sikhism.
- It was inaugurated in November 2011.
- It has been conferred an award by the Punjab Energy Development Agency in a State-level energy conservation competition, for cutting down electricity consumption.
- It was built to commemorate the Tercentenary year of the Birth of the Khalsa community.