70 Days WAR Plan

Day#11 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

T.S.R. committee on education; Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013; The Yogyakarta Principles; Horizon 2020; National Student Startup Policy; Startup Academia Alliance programme; Ratan Watal Committee; Drone Regulations 1.0; Wildlife genetic resource banking; Anupam Verma Committee
By IT's Core Team
April 01, 2019



Anupam Verma Committee was constituted for review of which product?

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  • Anupam Verma Committee was constituted for technical review of 66 pesticides.

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Anupam Verma committee

In 2013, the Anupam Verma Committee was set up to review the continued use of 66 pesticides that have been barred/restricted for use in farming in other countries.

  • The Expert Committee, recommended 18 pesticides to be banned, 27 pesticides to be reviewed in 2018 after completion of certain technical studies and 6 pesticides to be phased out by 2020.
  • It also recommended reviewing 27 more pesticides, but with fresh data on toxicity to be provided by their manufacturers.
  • These pesticides include mancozeb and monocrotophos, which state governments have also attempted to ban.
  • The six pesticides suggested for phasing out by 2020 are: alachor, dichorvos, phorate, phosphamidon, triazophos and trichlorfon.
  • The Verma panel did not review the use of endosulfan, as it is being examined by the Supreme Court.
  • Following the panel recommendations, the Registration Committee (RC) of the Central Insecticides Board, at a special meeting held in December 2015, has suggested that “each pesticide should be reviewed in 10-year intervals after registration”.

Implementation of the recommendations:

As per the recommendations of the Anupam Verma Committee the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare has issued the Pesticides (Prohibition) Order, 2018, banning 18 pesticides.

  • Of these 18, 12 pesticides have been banned from immediate effect (from August 9, 2018) and ban on another six will be implemented from December 31, 2020.
  • The ban applies to registration, import, manufacture, formulation, transport, sale and use of all these pesticides.
  • Of the 18 pesticides, the registration, manufacture, import, sale and use of 11 stand banned with immediate effect while six will be phased out by December 2020.
  • One, the herbicide trifularin, has also been immediately banned except for use in wheat, the Verma committee had recommended a complete ban on trifularin.

Key Facts:

  • The ban by centre of the pesticides do not include monocrotophos and mancozeb, both of which were implicated in the deaths of dozens of cotton farmers in Central India last year.
  • Nor do they include DDT, commonly sprayed by civic administrations as a mosquito repellent and used in farming, even though a committee set up under agricultural scientist Anupam Verma to review toxic pesticides had recommended banning it.



What is Wildlife genetic resource banking?

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  • Wildlife genetic resource banking(GRB) is the systematic collection and preservation of tissues, sperm, eggs and embryos, genetic material (DNA/RNA).

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National Wildlife Genetic Resource bank has been started with the initiative of the revival and conservation of endangered and to-be extinct species in the near future.

  • This facility would also facilitate exchange of genetic material between Indian zoos for maintaining genetic diversity and conservation management made accessible to scientists and wildlife managers for implementing conservation programmes.
  • The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) is the only institute in the country working towards conservation of endangered wildlife using modern biotechnologies to save endangered wildlife species of India.
  • “CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing endangered blackbuck, spotted deer and Nicobar pigeons.



As per the ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’, are there any restrictions in flying drones?

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  • As per the ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’, drones will only be allowed to fly during the day time and within the “visual line of sight”.
  • The regulation defines areas around airports, near international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi, State Secretariat Complex in state capitals, strategic locations and vital military installations as no drone zones. Drones can also not fly near “permanent or temporary Prohibited, Restricted and Danger Areas” and eco-sensitive zones.
  • Lastly, as per the regulation, drones cannot be operated from a moving vehicle or aircraft.

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Flying drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) is legal from December 1 when Director General of Civil Aviation’s (DGCA) new drone policy will come into effect.

  • The new policy called ‘Drone Regulations 1.0’ classifies a remotely piloted aircraft and delineates how they can be flown and sets the restrictions under which they will operate.

Definition of drones?

  • Ministry of Civil Aviation has defined drones as a technology platform that has wide-ranging application from photography to agriculture, from infrastructure asset management to insurance.
  • Drones range in size from very small and those that can carry multiple-kilograms of payload.

The DGCA has defined five different categories of drones:

  • Nano: Less than or equal to 250 grams
  • Micro: From 250 grams to 2kg
  • Small: From 2kg to 25kg
  • Medium: From 25kg to 150kg
  • Large: Greater than 150kg

Except Nano drones, the rest would have to be registered and issued an unique identification number (UIN).

What is Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP)?

UAOP is a permit required by the owners of the drones to fly them. It can be obtained from the Director General of Civil Aviation. However, in the following cases this permit isn’t required.

  • Nano drones operating below 50 feet in uncontrolled airspace.
  • Micro drones operating below 200 feet in uncontrolled airspace – but will need to inform local police 24 hours prior.
  • Drones owned and operated by National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO), Aviation Research Centre and Central Intelligence Agencies but only after intimating local police.
  • These UAOPs are not transferrable and shall be applicable for not more than five years.

How will the drones be operated?

  • To begin with, all drone operations will have to be approved by Digital Sky Platform.
  • The Digital Sky Platform is a unique unmanned traffic management (UTM) system which is expected to facilitate registration and licensing of drones and operators in addition to giving instant (online) clearances to operators for every flight.



The 11-member Ratan Watal Committee was constituted by which ministry?

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  • It was 11-member committee notified in August 2016 by the Finance Ministry.

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About the committee:

  • It was tasked to review existing payment systems in the country and recommend appropriate measures for encouraging Digital Payments.
  • It was having representatives from Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), tax department and various industry bodies in the payments space.

Important recommendations of the committee:

  • The Committee has recommended medium term strategy for accelerating growth of Digital Payments in India. The strategy must be backed with regulatory regime which is conducive to bridging the Digital divide by promoting competition, interoperability and open access in payments.
  • It also recommends inclusion of financially and socially excluded groups and assimilation of emerging technologies in the market.
  • It calls for need of safeguarding security of Digital Transactions and providing level playing to all stakeholders and new players who will enter this new transaction space.
  • It has suggested inter-operability of payments system between banks and non-banks, up-gradation of digital payment infrastructure and institutions.
  • It also recommends a framework to reward innovations for leading efforts in enabling digital payments.
  • Greater use of Aadhaar and mobile numbers for making digital payments as easy as cash. Called for inter-operable payments between bank and non-banks as well as within non-banks.
  • Proposed to make regulation of payments independent from the function of central banking to give the entire digital payments boost.
  • Give Board for Regulation and Supervision of Payment and Settlement Systems (BPSS) independent statutory status within overall structure of RBI.
  • Called for amendments to the Payments and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 to provide BPSS explicit mandate for competition and innovation, consumer protection, open access and interoperability, regulations on systemic risks and data protection.
  • Operations of payment systems like National Electronic Fund Transafer (NEFT) and Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) can be outsourced after a cost benefit analysis.



What is Startup Academia Alliance programme?

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Solution & Enrich Your Learning:

 Startup Academia Alliance programme:

  • It is a unique mentorship opportunity between academic scholars and startups working in similar domains, to fulfill the Indian Government’s mission to promote the spirit of entrepreneurship in the country.
  • It aims to reduce the gap between scientific research and its industrial applications in order to increase the efficacy of these technologies and widen their impact.
  • The first phase of Startup Academia Alliance will be implemented in partnership with Regional Centre for Biotechnology, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), Council on Energy, Environment and Water, and TERI School of Advanced Studies.
  • Renowned scholars from these institutes, from fields including renewable energy, biotechnology, healthcare and life sciences were taken on board to provide mentorship and guidance to the startups working in relevant areas.



National Student Startup Policy is formulated by which premier institute of India?

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  • The National Student Startup Policy, formulated by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) was launched in the year 2016.

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National Student Startup Policy (NSSP)

  • NSSP aims to create 100,000 technology based student start-ups and a million employment opportunities within the next 10 years.
  • Formulated by AICTE, the policy would outline roles of the AICTE, academic institutions, and TBI (Technology Business Incubators) in creating student entrepreneurs aims to identify the potential of students and transform them into start-up entrepreneurs.
  • This policy is intended to guide AICTE approved institutions when implementing the government’s ‘Start-up India’ initiative.
  • The policy plans on achieving this by developing an ideal entrepreneurial ecosystem and promoting strong inter-institutional partnerships among technical institutions.
  • To bolster the start-up eco-system in India, the government has also proposed to introduce start-up fests at national and international levels.
  • It has made a provision in its National Start-up Policy to set up a fund with an initial corpus of R2,500 crore and a total corpus of R10,000 crore over a period of four years (i.e. R2,500 crore per year).
  • The Fund will be about the nature of start-up for the funds, which means that it will not invest directly into the start-ups, but shall participate in the capital of SEBI registered venture funds. AICTE can facilitate its institutions to connect, network and use funds which apparently support campus start-ups.



Under the Horizon 2020, the European Union (EU) and India’s Department of Biotechnology are working in partnership to develop which vaccine?

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  • Under the Horizon 2020, the European Union (EU) and India’s Department of Biotechnology are working in partnership to develop a Next Generation Influenza Vaccine to Protect Citizens Worldwide.

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What is Horizon 2020?

Horizon 2020 is the EU’s funding programme for research and innovation for the period 2014-2020 with a budget of almost €80 billion for the entire period. It funds research in all areas of science and innovation through three pillars:

  • Excellent Science;
  • Competitive Industries, and
  • Tackling Global Societal Challenges.

Other details of Horizon 2020:

  • Its goal is to ensure Europe produces world-class science, removes barriers to innovation and makes it easier for the public and private sectors to work together in delivering innovation.
  • Horizon 2020 is open to everyone, with a simple structure that reduces red tape and time so participants can focus on what is really important.

India and Horizon 2020:

  • In August 2018, the European Union (EU) and India announced that they will engage together on research and innovation to develop a Next Generation Influenza Vaccine to Protect Citizens Worldwide.
  • Both the EU and the Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India, have committed EUR 15 million each to fund this joint call. The EU is funding this call under its programmer for research and innovation ‘Horizon 2020’ (2014-2020).



‘Yogyakarta Principles’ sometimes appeared in news. What are the Yogyakarta Principles?

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  • The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.

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What are the Yogyakarta Principles?

  • The Yogyakarta Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply.
  • They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birth right.

Why are they needed?

  • Key human rights mechanisms of the United Nations have affirmed States’ obligation to ensure effective protection of all persons from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • However, the international response has been fragmented and inconsistent, creating the need for a consistent understanding of the comprehensive regime of international human rights law and its application to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • The Yogyakarta Principles do this.

How did the Principles come about?

The Principles were developed and unanimously adopted by a distinguished group of human rights experts, from diverse regions and backgrounds, including judges, academics, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Procedures, members of treaty bodies, NGOs and others.

  • A key event in the development of the Principles was an international seminar of many of these legal experts that took place in Yogyakarta, Indonesia at Gadjah Mada University from 6 to 9 November 2006.
  • That seminar clarified the nature, scope and implementation of States’ human rights obligations in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity under existing human rights treaties and law.

What do they cover?

The Yogyakarta Principles address the broad range of human rights standards and their application to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

  • These include extrajudicial executions, violence and torture, access to justice, privacy, non-discrimination, rights to freedom of expression and assembly, employment, health, education, immigration and refugee issues, public participation, and a variety of other rights.

How can these rights be implemented?

The Principles affirm the primary obligation of States to implement human rights. Each Principle is accompanied by detailed recommendations to States.

  • The Principles also emphasise, however, that all actors have responsibilities to promote and protect human rights.
  • Additional recommendations are therefore addressed to the UN human rights system, national human rights institutions, the media, non-governmental organisations, and others.



The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 upholds which fundamental rights of working women?

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  • The Act upholds women’s fundamental rights to equality, right to live with dignity and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business which includes a right to a safe working environment, free from sexual harassment as provided under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian Constitution.

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About the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013:

The Protection of Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, focuses on prevention of sexual harassment at workplace and provides a redressal mechanism.

  • The Act upholds women’s fundamental rights to equality, right to live with dignity and right to practice any profession or to carry on any occupation, trade or business which includes a right to a safe working environment, free from sexual harassment as provided under Article 19 (1) (g) of the Indian Constitution.
  • In order to further mainstream the issue and to help organizations to standardize their response mechanisms, Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD), Government of India has recently published a Handbook on the Act. The booklet has been sent to all Central Government Ministries/Departments, State Governments and Business Chambers for use as ready reckoner.
  • The Ministries/ Departments in Government of India have been advised by WCD Ministry to ensure the compliance of the Act. Trade chambers have also been requested to ensure effective implementation of the Act amongst their members in private sector entities.
  • The above mentioned Act covers all women, irrespective of their age or employment status and protect them against sexual harassment at all workplaces both in public and private sector, whether organized or unorganized. The domestic workers are also included under the ambit of the Act.
  • The Act defines “sexual harassment at the workplace” in a comprehensive manner and casts an obligation upon all the organizations (whether private or public sector) having 10 or more workers to constitute Internal Complaints Committee (ICC) for receiving complaints of sexual harassment. A complaint of sexual harassment can be filed within a time limit of 3 months which can be extended in certain situations.
  • Employers are required to organize workshops and awareness programmes at regular intervals for sensitizing the employees about the legislation and display notices regarding the constitution of Internal Committee and penal consequences of sexual harassment etc.
  • Section 26(1) of the Act states that an employer will be liable to a fine of Rs 50,000 in case of violation of his duties under the Act and in case of subsequent violation, the amount of fine will be doubled together with penalty in the form of cancellation of his licence or withdrawal or non-renewal of the registration required for carrying out his activity.
  • Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013



What are the recommendations of the T.S.R. committee on education?

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TSR Subramanian Committee Report on Education:

  • The T.S.R. Subramanian committee was constituted under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in October,2015 and it submitted its report in May 2016.
  • The committee was entrusted with preparing a new education policy for India.

Recommendations of the report:

  • An Indian Education Service (IES) should be established as an all India service with officers being on permanent settlement to the state governments but with the cadre controlling authority vesting with the Human Resource Development (HRD) ministry.
  • The outlay on education should be raised to at least 6% of GDP without further loss of time.
  • There should be minimum eligibility condition with 50% marks at graduate level for entry to existing B.Ed courses. Teacher Entrance Tests (TET) should be made compulsory for recruitment of all teachers. The Centre and states should jointly lay down norms and standards for TET.
  • Compulsory licensing or certification for teachers in government and private schools should be made mandatory, with provision for renewal every 10 years based on independent external testing.
  • Pre-school education for children in the age group of 4 to 5 years should be declared as a right and a programme for it implemented immediately.
  • The no detention policy must be continued for young children until completion of class V when the child will be 11 years old. At the upper primary stage, the system of detention shall be restored subject to the provision of remedial coaching and at least two extra chances being offered to prove his capability to move to a higher class
  • On-demand board exams should be introduced to offer flexibility and reduce year end stress of students and parents. A National Level Test open to every student who has completed class XII from any School Board should be designed.
  • The mid-day meal (MDM) program should now be extended to cover students of secondary schools. This is necessary as levels of malnutrition and anaemia continue to be high among adolescents.
  • UGC Act must be allowed to lapse once a separate law is created for the management of higher education. The University Grants Commission (UGC) needs to be made leaner and thinner and given the role of disbursal of scholarships and fellowships.
  • Top 200 foreign universities should be allowed to open campuses in India and give the same degree which is acceptable in the home country of the said university.
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