Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - November 13, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

PSLV-C49/EOS-01 Mission

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Context
  • PSLV successfully launches EOS-01 and nine customer satellites from Sriharikota.
  • PSLV-C49 is the 2nd flight of PSLV in ‘DL’ configuration (with 2 solid strap-on motors).
  • It is the fifty-first flight of PSLV-C49, previously called RISAT-2BR2.

About EOS-01 mission

  • EOS-01 is an earth observation satellite, intended for applications in agriculture, forestry and disaster management support.
  • EOS-01 carried X-band synthetic-aperture radar.
  • ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru assumed control of the satellite.
  • The nine customer satellites from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA (4) were launched under a commercial arrangement with New Space India Limited (NSIL).

Source: The Hindu.

Stanford List of Top Scientists: IIT Guwahati's 22 Researchers featured in World's Top 2% Scientists List

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.


Context

  • As per the latest update, 22 faculty members and researchers from IIT Guwahati have featured in the list of top 2% of World’s scientists in a list published by Stanford University.
  • The unique distinction has put Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati on the research map of the world.

Background

  • The list consisting of 22 researchers from IIT Guwahati was published by the world-renowned University in the PLOS journal.
  • The complete list consists of over 1, 00,000 Scientists in its report, which includes 22 researchers from the Guwahati based technology schools.

Highlights

  • The List of Scientists published by Stanford University consists of over 1,00,000 researchers, all of whom have published research manuscripts, which in-turn have accelerated progress in their respective fields and influenced productivity of other researchers as well.
  • The report was prepared by Prof. John P A Loannidis of Stanford University and his team.
  • As per the official statement issued by IIT Guwahati, the list of researchers from the institute is led by Professor T G Sitharam, Director, IIT Guwahati.
  • A total of 22 researchers and faculty members have been ranked by PLOS Journal for their publications citations for 2019 and their lifetime contribution to their fields of research.
  • The IIT Guwahati faculty members featured in the list are from various scientific fields -- the Departments of civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Physics, Chemical Engineering, Biosciences and Bioengineering, Chemistry, Electrical and Electronics.

Source: Indian Express.

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Himachal Pradesh’s law against religious conversion

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Communalism, Secularism, Regionalism.


Context

  • Haryana government is considering a law against forced religious conversions and has sought information about such a law already in force in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The state had already enacted a law in 2007 which prohibited conversion from one religion to another by force or fraud.

Background

  • Last year it introduced a more stringent version of the legislation.
  • There was a rise in conversions by fraudulent means and unless checked well in time.
  • Such practice may erode the confidence and mutual trust between the different ethnic and religious groups in the state.

About the law

  • According to the Act, “no person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any other person from one religion to another by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, inducement or by any fraudulent means or by marriage; nor shall any person abet or conspire such conversion”.
  • The Act does not cover a person re-converting to his “parent religion”.
  • It further says that any marriage done for the sole purpose of religion conversion may be declared null and void by a court on a petition by either party.

Source: Indian Express.

Other Service Providers (OSP)

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures.


Context

Recently Department of Telecom eased rules for other service providers (OSP) in the business process outsourcing (BPO) and information technology-enabled services (ITes).

About OSPs
  • OSPs refer to firms providing services likevoice based and data based outsourcing and other services popularly known as BPOs. 
  • Companies or firms which provide secondary or tertiary services such as telemarketing, telebanking or telemedicine for various companies, banks or hospital chains, respectively.

Highlights

  • No registration certificate will be required for OSP centres in India.
  • For the OSPs the collection, conversion, carriage and exchange of the PSTN/PLMN/ISDN traffic over the Virtual Private network (NPLC, MPLS VPN) interconnecting the different OSP Centres is permissible.
  • The International OSPs are allowed to carry the aggregated switched voice traffic from their POP in a foreign country to their OSP centre in India over leased line/MPLS VPN.
  • Interconnectivity of two or more Domestic OSP Centres of the same Company or group of companies is permitted. Similarly, interconnectivity among International OSP Centres is permitted.
  • Interconnection of Remote Agent to the OSP centre/resources is permitted.
  • An OSP having multiple centres may obtain internet connection at a centralised location and this internet can be accessed from other OSP centres using leased circuits/ MPLS VPN.
  • NO Bank Guarantee whatsoever will be required for any facility or dispensation under these Guidelines.
  • The concept of Work-From-Home/ Work-From-Anywhere shall be treated as Extended Agent Position/ Remote Agent of the OSP.
  • Interconnectivity between OSP centres belonging to different OSP companies shall be permitted.
  • Bypass of licensed International Long Distance Operator (ILDO) and National Long Distance Operator (NLDO) jurisdiction should not take place.

Source: Indian Express.

Indian diplomat elected to UN Advisory Committee On Administrative And Budgetary Questions (ACABQ)

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • Recently, Indian diplomat Vidisha Maitra was elected to the UN Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ). 
  • ACABQ is a subsidiary organ of the UN General Assembly.

Background

  • The UN General Assembly appoints members of the Advisory Committee.
  • Members are selected on the basis of broad geographical representation, personal qualifications and experience.
  • The Fifth Committee of the General Assembly, which deals with administrative and budgetary issues, made the recommendation 
  • She has been elected for a three-year term beginning January 1, 2021.
  • India was also elected recently to the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term beginning January 2021.

Highlights

  • ACABQ consists of 16 members appointed by the Assembly in their individual capacity.
  • ACABQ ensures that fund contributions to the UN system are put to good effect and that mandates are properly funded.
  • Functions: (1) To examine and report on the budget submitted by the Secretary-General to the General Assembly; (2) To advise the General Assembly concerning any administrative and budgetary matters referred to it.

Source: The Hindu.

Claims through Affidavit Form no longer required now under Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana of ESIC

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


Context

Ministry of Labour and Employment in a statement said that submitting claims through Affidavit Form is now no longer required under Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana (ABVKY) of Employees' State Insurance Corporation- ESIC. 

Background

  • The Ministry said, while analysing the response of the beneficiaries to the Scheme under relaxed conditions, it was found that the condition of submitting the claim in Affidavit Form is causing inconvenience to the claimants.
  • It said, considering the difficulties faced by the beneficiaries, it has now been decided that the claimant who has submitted the claim under Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana online and uploaded the scanned copies of the required documents need not submit the physical claim.

Highlights

  • The Ministry said, if the documents are not uploaded at the time of online filing of the claim, claimant will submit the printout of the claim duly signed along with the required documents.
  • It said, condition for submitting the claim in Affidavit Form has been dispensed with.
  • The ESI Corporation in its meeting held in August this year had extended the Atal Beemit Vyakti Kalyan Yojana’ from 1st of July, 2020 to 30th June,2021.

Source: AIR News.

UAE legal reforms relating to personal freedoms

Focus: GS2.                                

Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India's interests.


Context

  • The United Arab Emirates announced a slew of legal reforms relating to personal freedoms that seek to move the country away from its hardline interpretation of Islamic law.
  • The overhaul includes changes in laws related to honour killings, alcohol restrictions, cohabitation of unmarried couples, divorce and succession.

Highlights

  • Honour killings: Previously, under “honour crimes”, male relatives could evade prosecution or get lighter sentences for assaulting women who purportedly brought “dishonour” to the family by acts such as disobeying religious scriptures or promiscuity. Such incidents would now be treated as similar to any other assault.
  • Harassment of Women: There would be stricter punishments for men who subject women to harassment, including stalking and street harassment. The rape of a minor or someone “with limited mental capacity” will be punished with execution.
  • Consumption of alcohol: Drinking alcohol has been decriminalised for those above 21 years of age, and penalties for possessing or selling alcoholic beverages without an alcohol licence in authorised areas have been removed.
  • Unmarried couples living together: Cohabitation of unmarried couples” has been made legal for the first time. Previously, it was illegal for an unmarried couple, or even unrelated flatmates, to share a home in the UAE.
  • Divorce: For couples who were married in their home country but want to get a divorce in the UAE, laws of the country where the marriage took place would apply.
  • Suicide: The reforms decriminalise suicide and attempted suicide. Previously, a person who survived a suicide attempt could be prosecuted. However, this offence has now been removed and the courts and police are supposed to provide mental health support to vulnerable people.

Source: Indian Express.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following sentences wrt Sichuan-Tibet Railway:
  • The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway line into Tibet after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway project.
  • It will go through the southeast of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, one of the world’s most geologically active areas.
  • Linzhi, also known as Nyingchi, is located close to the Assam.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: A

  • Linzhi, also known as Nyingchi, is located close to the Arunachal Pradesh border.

  1. Sagarmala Project is an initiative of which of the following Ministry?

     A.Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways
     B. Ministry of Railways
     C. Ministry of Civil Aviation
     D. Ministry of Social Justice

Solution: A

 

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