Current Affairs Analysis

12th August 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

Giant Asian honey bees; Daughters have equal birthright to property; Hindu Succession Act, 1956; Krishi Megh; National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP); Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0; Atal Innovation Mission (AIM); Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL); Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY); Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020; Report on Business Responsibility Reporting; Montreal Convention (1999); Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museums; Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited; Sputnik V; etc.
By IASToppers
August 12, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Daughters have an equal birthright to inherit property: SC

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Krishi Megh
  • Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Inpatient care utilisation under PMJAY hit by lockdown
  • Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020

Economy

  • Report on Business Responsibility Reporting
  • International Financial Corporation

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Air pollution killing giant Asian honey bees
  • Why Air India Express is liable to pay to each victim of Kozhikode crash?

Art & Culture

  • Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museums

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited
  • Sputnik V

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Polity & Governance

Daughters have an equal birthright to inherit property: SC

The Supreme Court recently held that daughters, like sons, have an equal birthright to inherit joint Hindu family property.

Major Highlights:

  • The amended Hindu Succession Act, 1956 which gives daughters equal rights to ancestral property, will have a retrospective effect.
  • A three-judge Bench ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
  • The substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confers the status of coparcener to a daughter born before or after the amendment in the same manner as a son.
  • Coparcener is a person who has a birthright to parental property.

What is the 2005 law?

  • The Mitakshara school of Hindu law codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed succession and inheritance of property but only recognised males as legal heirs.
  • The law applied to everyone who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.
  • Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj are also considered Hindus for the purposes of this law.
  • In a Hindu Undivided Family, several legal heirs through generations can exist jointly.
  • Women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition arising from 2005.
  • Section 6 of the Act was amended in 2005 to make a daughter a coparcener by birth in her own right in the same manner as the son.
  • The law also gave the daughter the same rights and liabilities as the son.
  • The law applies to ancestral property and to intestate succession in personal property.

Overrules 2015 decision:

  • In Prakash v Phulwati (2015) case, a two-judge Bench held that the benefit of the 2005 amendment could be granted only to living daughters of living coparceners as on September 9, 2005 (the date when the amendment came into force).
  • The current ruling is that the right to coparcenary of a daughter is by birth, it is not necessary that the father should be alive as on September 9, 2005.
  • The court has thus overruled an earlier 2015 decision.
[Ref: The Hindu; Indian Express]

Government Schemes & Policies

Krishi Megh

Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare virtually launched Krishi Megh along with KVC ALUNET (Krishi Vishwavidyalaya Chhatr Alumni Network) and Online Accreditation System for Higher Agricultural Educational Institutions (HEI).

About Krishi Megh:

  • Krishi Megh is the National Agricultural Research & Education System -Cloud Infrastructure and Services.
  • Aim: To protect the precious data of the government’s premier research body Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
  • It has been set up at National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM) in Hyderabad.

Key Features:

  • Krishi Megh has been set up under the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP), funded by both the government and World Bank.
  • The data recovery centre at NAARM is synchronized with the data centre at the main data centre of the ICAR is at Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) Delhi.
  • Built to mitigate the risk, enhance the quality, availability and accessibility of e-governance, research, extension and education in field of agriculture in India.
  • Cater the need to save and preserve the important research-based data in a prompt digitised form to enable its access anywhere in any corner of the country and the world
  • It is a step forward towards digital agriculture of New India.

National Agricultural Higher Education Project:

  • National Agricultural Higher Education Project is designed for strengthening the national agricultural education system in the country.
  • The initiative was launched Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in January 2019.
  • It aims to bring a major transformation in the agricultural education system.
  • A 1100 crores project NAHEP is funded by the Indian Government and the World Bank on a 50:50 basis.

Objective:

  • To provide more relevant and high-quality education to the agricultural university students in tune with New Education Policy – 2020.

Project Beneficiaries:

 [Ref: PIB]

Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog, in collaboration with Dell Technologies launched Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0 for young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs.

Aim:

  • To expand the vision of technology for social good and encourage budding entrepreneurs.

Major Highlights:

  • SEP 2.0 will allow student innovators to work closely with Dell volunteers.
  • The emerging technologies will be leveraged to empower students to craft their own experiences and enable them to develop an innovative mindset.
  • They will receive:
    • Mentor support
    • Prototyping and testing support
    • End-user feedback
    • Intellectual property registration
    • Patenting of ideas, processes, and products
    • Manufacturing support
    • Launch support of the product.

Atal Innovation Mission:

  • AIM is among one of the flagship initiatives of NITI aayog to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the country to set up the Atal Tinkering Labs across the country.

Aim:

  • To create over a million neoteric innovators and potential job creators of the country.
  • To give a substantial boost to the innovation ecosystem and to catalyse the entrepreneurial spirit in the country.

Objective:

  • To provide an innovation promotion platform involving academics, researchers and entrepreneurs, drawing upon national and international experiences.
  • To foster a culture of innovation in India.

Functions:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

Atal Tinkering Labs:

  • Atal Innovation Mission is establishing Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.
  • Vision: To cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators.
  • Objective: The objective of this scheme is to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.
  • Financial Support: AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakhs for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
  • Eligibility: Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society can set up ATL.
[Ref: PIB]

Issues related to Health & Education

Inpatient care utilisation under PMJAY hit by lockdown

The nationwide lockdown had a significant negative impact on inpatient care utilisation under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

Major Highlights:

  • The claim volumes under PMJAY fell by over 50%, with wide variation across the States and procedure types.
  • The steepest decline (over 75%) was registered in Assam, followed by Maharashtra and Bihar.
  • Much smaller declines (about 25% or less) were observed in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Kerala.
  • Among the particular concern were significant declines in admissions for child delivery and oncology.
  • The utilisation of neo-natal packages declined by 24 % during lockdown, with a slight shift from public to private hospitals for neo-natal care.
  • There was also a sharp fall in cardiovascular surgeries.
  • Planned surgeries such as cataract operations and joint replacements suffered a decline of over 90%, while hemodialysis declined by only 20%.
  • The demographic groups, women, younger and older populations (under 20 and over 60) reduced their utilisation by more than men, young adults or the middle-aged.

Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana:

  • PMJAY is the world’s largest health insurance/assurance scheme fully financed by the government targeting more than 50 crore beneficiaries.
  • Launched in September 2018, this scheme was earlier known as National Health Protection Scheme (NHPS).
  • It is essentially a health insurance scheme to cater to the poor, lower sections of society and the vulnerable population.
  • The scheme offers financial protection in case of hospitalisation due to medical emergencies.

Key Features of PM-JAY:

  • Provides cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization across public and private empaneled hospitals in India.
  • Provides cashless access to health care services for the beneficiary at the point of service (hospitals).
  • Covers up to 3 days of pre-hospitalization and 15 days’ post-hospitalization expenses such as diagnostics and medicines.
  • Benefits of the scheme are portable across the country i.e. beneficiary can visit any empaneled public or private hospital for cashless treatment.

Eligibility:

  • Families are identified by the government on the basis of deprivation and occupational criteria using the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 both in rural and urban areas.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020

In continuation of educational reforms by the National Education Policy 2020, the Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020 were launched recently.

Architectural Education:

  • Under the Architects Act, 1972, the Council of Architecture is required to prescribe the Minimum Standards of Architectural Education for imparting 5-year undergraduate degree course in Architecture (i.e. Bachelor of Architecture degree course).
  • It shall monitor the compliance of the same by the approved Architectural Institutions all over the country for award of recognized qualifications under the Act.

Council of Architecture:

  • The Council of Architecture (COA) is constituted under the Architects Act, 1972.
  • The Act provides for registration of Architects, standards of education, recognized qualifications and standards of practice to be complied by the practicing architects.
  • CoA has the responsibility to regulate the education and practice of profession throughout India besides maintaining the register of architects.
  • Any person desirous of carrying on the profession of Architect must have registered himself with Council of Architecture.
  • If any person falsely claims to be registered or misuses title and style of architect, such acts tantamount to committing of a criminal offence, punishable under section 36 or 37 (2) of the Architects Act, 1972.

New Provisions:

  • The Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations (MSAR), 2020 are being revised after 37 years (last done in 1983).
  • Undergraduate architecture students could soon have the option to exit the 5-year degree programme after three years with a basic degree.
  • CoA is considering the possibility of a professional qualifying exam for architecture to license practitioners.
  • The universities could choose what to call the 3-year degree — a Bachelors in Draftsmanship, Building Science, or Architectural Science etc.
  • CoA is planning to conduct an exit examination to decide whether these three-year degree holders can practise as professional architects.
  • MSAR 2020 wants to include more hands-on training in the 8th and 9th semesters of the B.Arch. programme.
  • Apprenticeship-based learning will be encouraged, along with a practice-oriented, industry-led approach.
[Ref: The Hindu; CoA]

Economy

Report on Business Responsibility Reporting

The Ministry of Corporate Affairs recently released the Report of the Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting.

Major Highlights:

  • MCA will work closely with capital markets regulator SEBI for implementation of Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) framework in the country.
  • Indian companies are aspiring to have a global foothold and thus they cannot ignore the emerging trend of Corporate Governance i.e. Responsible Business.
  • MCA had constituted a Committee on Business Responsibility Reporting to develop new BRR formats for listed and unlisted companies.
  • Due to increasing trends of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing, demand for non-financial reporting is also growing.
  • In this respect the BRSR framework will set the stage for sustainable investing.
  • Theinformation captured through BRSR filings be used to develop a Business Responsibility-Sustainability Index for companies.
[Ref: PIB; Hindu Businessline]

International Financial Corporation

International Financial Corporation has invested $10 million in Hyderabad-based Endiya Fund II.

About International Financial Corporation:

  • It is an international financial institution that offers investment, advisory, and asset-management services to encourage private-sector development in less developed countries.
  • It was established in 1956 as the private sector arm of World Bank Group and is headquartered in Washington, D.C., United States.
  • It is a global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector in developing countries.

Functions:

  • Provides debt, equity investments and advisory services.
  • Helps companies face their risk exposures, refrains from participating in management capacity.
  • Offers advice to companies on making decisions, evaluating their impact on the environment and society, and being responsible.
  • Advises governments on building infrastructure and partnerships to further support private sector development.
[Ref: Financial Express]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Air pollution killing giant Asian honey bees

According to quantitative analysis on impacts of air pollution on insects by the National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bengaluru, the giant Asian honey bee is falling prey to air pollution.

  • Apis dorsata produces more than 80% of India’s honey.

Giant Asian honey bee:

  • Apis dorsata is giant honey bee native to South and Southeast Asia.
  • They are typically around 17–20 mm long.
  • Known for their aggressive defense strategies and vicious behavior when disturbed.
  • Though not domesticated, the indigenous peoples have traditionally used this species as a source of honey and beeswax, a practice known as honey hunting.

Concerns:

  • India is the world’s largest fruit producer, second-largest vegetable producer as well as the second-most populous country.
  • The wild pollinator is an important contributor to India’s food security and ecosystems.
  • 80% of all flowering plants rely on animal pollination, maximum of which would disappear without insect pollinators like honey bees.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

Why Air India Express is liable to pay to each victim of Kozhikode crash?

As per the charter of passenger rights by Central Government the Air India Express plane crash at Kozhikode could make the airline liable to pay compensation of Rs 1.19 crore per passenger in case of death or bodily injury.

How is this amount calculated?

  • As per the charter of passenger rights for air travelers, the compensation is calculated based on payment of damages of up to 1,13,100 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) or around Rs 1.19 crore, for international flights.
  • The limits of liability during international flights for airlines have been defined under The Carriage By Air (Amendment) Act of 2016, based on India’s adoption of Montreal Convention in 2009, which unifies rules governing compensation to passengers globally.

Provisions in India:

  • For domestic carriage within India, the government applied a modified version of the Montreal Convention with regard to compensation.
  • As per a January 17, 2014 notification by the Ministry of Civil Aviation, for death or bodily injury during domestic flights, airlines are liable to pay up to Rs 20 lakh per passenger.
  • In case of death inside an aircraft due to natural cases, airlines are not liable to pay any compensation on both international and domestic flights.

Montreal Convention (1999):

  • The Montreal Convention is a multilateral treaty adopted by a diplomatic meeting of International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states in 1999.
  • The convention establishes airline liability in the case of injury, death or delay to passengers.
  • It includes liability in cases of damage or loss or delay of baggage and cargo.
  • It is mandated that limits of liability of the air carriers should be reviewed every five years.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Art & Culture

Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museums

The Ministry of Tribal Affairs is setting up Tribal Freedom Fighters’ Museums to give due Recognition to Sacrifices and Contribution to Country’s Freedom Struggle by the Tribal People.

Key Features:

  • All the museums will have strong usage of technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), 3D/7D holographic projections etc.
  • These museums will trace history of the tribal people in hills and forests who fought for their rights and protection of their biological and cultural diversity.
  • It will combine ex situ display with in situ conservation and regeneration initiatives. These will be museums, objects as well as ideas.
[Ref: PIB]

Key Facts for Prelims

Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited

  • Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) was incorporated on 15th June, 2016 as a joint venture company by Coal India Limited (CIL), NTPC Limited (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as the lead promoters.
  • Fertilizer Corporation of India Limited (FCIL) and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HFCL) are the other two partners.
  • Through HURL, GoI is reviving three closed urea plants of FCIL and HFCL at Gorakhpur, Sindri and Barauni, each having annual capacity of 12.7 Lakh MT.
  • Urea is the most important nitrogenous fertiliser in the country because of its high Nitrogen content (46%N).
  • Besides its use in the crops, it is used as a cattle feed supplement to replace a part of protein requirements.
[Ref: PIB]

Sputnik V

  • Russia becomes the first in the world to register a vaccine dubbed ‘Sputnik V’ against the novel coronavirus.
  • The viral vector vaccine, has been developed by the Gamaleya Microbiology Research Centre.
  • Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has accepted Russia’s offer of its COVID-19 vaccine, volunteering to be the first person to get the shot.
  • With almost 900,000 coronavirus infections, Russia is reported to have the world’s fourth-highest COVID-19 caseload.
[Ref: Times Now]

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