Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - September 25, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Labour Bills passed amid boycott

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Parliament on Wednesday passed the three labour code bills – the Occupational Safety, Health And Working Conditions Code, 2020; the Industrial Relations Code, 2020; and the Code on Social Security, 2020 – merging 24 central labour laws in a major boost to labour reforms. 
  • The National Democratic Alliance government has now merged 29 central laws into four codes.
  • In August 2019, Parliament had passed the first of the codes, the Wage Code.

Background

  • The Industrial Relations Code, 2020, bring new rules for hiring and firing of labour in mid-sized and large industries, making retrenchment easier.
  • This effectively brings the “north American hire-and-fire model to the Indian hinterland economy in the hope that businesses recoup and add more jobs on a net basis,”.

Salient Features

  • The reforms allow industries flexibility in hiring and retrenchment.
  • They will make industrial strikes more difficult by clamping new conditions and also expand the social security net for both formal and informal workers.
  • Under the Industrial Relation Code, the government has allowed companies with up to 300 workers to fire workers or shut plants without the prior approval of the government.
  • Hitherto, prior approval had been required.
  • Firms with more than 300 workers need to still apply for approval. However, if the authorities do not respond to their request, the retrenchment proposal will be deemed to be approved.
  • Earlier labour laws required a 30- to 90-day notice period before retrenching “workmen”, which is a class of mainly shop floor workers.
  • In the case of manufacturing units, plantations, and mines with 100 or more workmen, lay-offs also required government approval.
  • To be sure, 90% of India’s workforce, which is employed in the informal sector, won’t be affected by these changes.

Source: Hindustan Times.

Parliament passes IIIT amendment bill, giving national importance tag to five new institutes

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Parliament passed a bill to declare five newly established Indian Institutes of Information Technology (IIITs) as institutions of national importance.
  • The five new IIITs set up under the Public Private Partnership mode are in -- Surat, Bhopal, Bhagalpur, Agartala, and Raichur.

Background

  • The Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 has already been passed by Lok Sabha in the previous session on March 20, 2020.
  • The bill was introduced in the upper house by Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank.

Highlights

  • The education minister said that there are 25 IIITs in the country out of which 5 are purely run by the central government and 15 operate under public private partnership (PPP) mode.
  • These 5 IIITs along with 15 other IIITs, which are also built on public private partnership (PPP) mode will now be able to use the nomenclature of Bachelor of Technology (BTech) or Master of Technology (MTech) or PhD degree.
  • It will also enable the institutes to attract enough students required to develop a strong research base in the country in the field of information technology.
  • The bill amends the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Act, 2014 and the Indian Institutes of Information Technology (Public-Private Partnership) Act, 2017.
  • Currently, these institutes are registered as Societies under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and do not have the power to grant degrees or diplomas.
  • On being declared institutions of national importance, the five institutes will be granted the power to grant degrees.

Source: PIB.

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Rajya Sabha Passes Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Rajya Sabha passed the Rashtriya Raksha University Bill 2020, which seeks to establish Rashtriya Raksha University as an institution of national importance by upgrading Raksha Shakti University, Gandhinagar.
  • The Bill has already been passed by the Lok Sabha.

Highlights

  • The Rashtriya Raksha University is proposed to be a multi-disciplinary university to create new knowledge through research and collaboration with different stakeholders and help to fulfill the need for a pool of trained professionals with specialized knowledge and new skill sets in various wings of policing, the criminal justice system and correctional administration.
  • The university will have linkage with world-class universities in other countries for exchange of contemporary research, academic collaboration, course design, technical know-how, training and skill development.
  • It will be multi-disciplinary and will create new knowledge through research and collaboration with different stakeholders.

Source: PIB.

President Ram Nath Kovind confers NSS Awards for 2018-19

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


Context

  • President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the National Service Scheme Awards for the year 2018-19 through virtual mode.
  • The NSS Award for the year 2018-19 was presented to 42 awardees in three different categories like University, NSS Units and their Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers.
  • Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju attended the ceremony from Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi.

Highlights

  • NSS is a Central Sector Scheme which was launched in the year 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service.
  • The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • The NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities.
  • Such issues include literacy and education, health, family welfare and nutrition, environment conservation, social service programmes, rescue and relief during calamities.

Source: AIR News.

India conducts successful flight test of ABHYAS from Odisha test range

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.


Context

  • India successfully conducted the flight test of ABHYAS - High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) vehicles from a test range in Odisha, defence sources said.
  • The trial, carried out by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur near here, was tracked by various radars and electro-optic systems, the sources said.

Highlights

  • ABHYAS has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO.
  • The air vehicle is launched using twin under slung boosters.
  • It is powered by a small gas turbine engine and has an Inertial Navigation System (INS) along with a Flight Control Computer (FCC) for guidance and control.
  • The vehicle has been programmed for fully autonomous flight. The check out of the vehicle is done using laptop- based Ground Control Station (GCS), a defence statement said.
  • During the test campaign, the user requirement of 5 km flying altitude, vehicle speed of 0.5 mach, endurance of 30 minutes and 2g turn capability of the test vehicle were successfully achieved, it said.

Source: AIR News.

Lok Sabha passes the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.


Context

  • Lok Sabha passed the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020.
  • The Bill seeks to provide for regulation, operation and planning of major ports in the country and provide greater autonomy to these ports. 
  • It seeks to replace the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963.

Background

  • The legislation provides for the creation of a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port. 
  • These Boards will replace the existing Port Trusts.

Highlights

  • The Bill will apply to the major ports of Chennai, Cochin, Jawaharlal Nehru Port, Kandla, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Paradip, V.O. Chidambaranar, and Vishakhapatnam.
  • Under the 1963 Act, all major ports are managed by the respective Board of Port Trusts that have members appointed by the central government.  
  • The Bill provides for the creation of a Board of Major Port Authority for each major port.  These Boards will replace the existing Port Trusts.  
  • The Board will comprise of a Chairperson and a deputy Chairperson, both of whom will be appointed by the central government on the recommendation of a selection committee.  
  • Further, it will include one member each from (i) the respective state governments, (ii) the Railways Ministry, (iii) the Defence Ministry, and (iv) the Customs Department.
  • The Board will also include two to four independent members, and two members representing the interests of the employees of the Major Port Authority.  
  • The Bill allows the Board to use its property, assets and funds as deemed fit for the development of the major port.  
  • The Board can also make rules on: (i) declaring availability of port assets for port related activities and services, (ii) developing infrastructure facilities such as setting up new ports, jetties, and (iii) providing exemption or remission from payment of any charges on any goods or vessels.

Source: AIR News.

Kritagya AgTech Hackathon

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

In order to promote potential technology solutions for enhancing farm mechanization with special emphasis on women friendly equipment’s, a hackathon named “KRITAGYA” has been planned by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) under National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP).

Background

  • This event will give an opportunity to the students / faculties / entrepreneurs / innovators and others.
  • The event will showcase innovative approaches & technology solutions to promote farm mechanization (FM) in India.

Highlights

  • Such initiatives under NAHEP along with Agricultural Engineering, Division of ICAR .
  • Hence will also boost employability and entrepreneurial drive in FM sector.
  • Participating students can collaborate with local start-ups, students from technology institutes including IlTs and NITs etc.
  • The group size must not exceed of 4 members.
  • The event provides a platform to showcase and recognize an innovative and disruptive farm mechanization solution.
  • Students / faculties / innovators from any university / technical institution across the country.
  • The theme is to promote ‘Women Friendly Farm Machinery & Equipment‘.

Source: AIR News.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Laser Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) :
  1. Laser guided ATGMs lock and track the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision hit accuracy.
  2. The missile employs a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles.
  3. It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from gun of MBT Arjun.

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: D

  1. PASSEXs are regularly conducted by

      A. International Maritime Organisation
      B. China
      C. India
      D. Russia

Solution: C

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