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20th February – Prelims Booster

Pakistan to remain in terror financing watchdog’s ‘Grey List’

The International Co-operation Review Group (ICRG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has recommended that Pakistan be retained on the ‘Grey List’, given its failure to completely implement the 27point action plan to check terror financing.

Financial Action Task Force –

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • As of 2020, FATF membership consists of thirty-seven member jurisdictions. India is one of the members.
  • The FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets three times per year.

Other information –

FATF has two lists –

  • Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Karbis against ST status for hill Bodos

An Assam-based insurgent group of Karbis, which signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre, has demanded that the Bodos in the hill areas not be given the Scheduled Tribe status as it will affect the “identity of the Karbis”.

Details –

  • The Home Ministry, the Assam government and Bodo groups signed the pact on January 27 to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD), spread over Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri districts.
  • Under the agreement, the Bodos in the hills will be given the Scheduled Hill Tribe status and villages dominated by the Bodos outside the BTAD will be included and those with non-Bodos excluded after the areas are redrawn.
  • The Bodos, an ethnic group in Assam, had been demanding a separate State since 1972, and are recognised as a Scheduled Tribe (Plain).

Who are Bodos?

  • Bodos are the single largest community among the notified Scheduled Tribes in Assam. Part of the larger umbrella of Bodo-Kachari, the Bodos constitute about 5-6% of Assam’s population.
  • They are a part of the greater Bodo-Kachari family of ethnolinguistic groups and are spread across northeastern India.

Who are Karbis?

  • Karbis belong to the Mongoloid group and linguistically they belong to the Tibeto-Burman group.
  • The original home of the various people speaking Tibeto-Burman languages was in western China near the Yang-Tee-Kiang and the Howang-ho rivers and from these places they went down the courses of the Brahmaputra, the Chindwin and the Irrawaddy and entered India and Burma.
  • The Karbis, along with others entered Assam from Central Asia in one of the waves of migration.
  • The great artist-scholar Bishnu Prasad Rabha refer to them as the Columbus of Assam.

Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020

The Union Cabinet has approved a historic Bill for the welfare of Women in the Country – the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020.

Features –

  • The National Board (envisaged under the Bill) shall lay down code of conduct to be observed by persons working at clinics, to set the minimum standards of physical infrastructure, laboratory and diagnostic equipment and expert manpower to be employed by clinics and banks.
  • The States and Union Territories shall constitute the State Boards and State Authorities within three months of the notification by the Central Government.
  • The State Board shall have the responsibility to follow the policies and plans laid by the National Board for clinics and Banks in the State. 
  • The Bill also provides for National Registry and Registration Authority to maintain a Central database and assist the National Board in its functioning.
  • The Bill also proposes for a stringent punishment for those practising sex selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies/rackets/organisations for such unlawful practices.

Benefits –

The major benefit of the Act would be that it will regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured/confident of the ethical practices in ARTs.

Background –

  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. India has one of the highest growths in the ART centres and the number of ART cycles performed every year.
  • Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), including In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), has given hope to a multitude of persons suffering from infertility, but also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues.
  • India has become one of the major centres of this global fertility industry, with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity.
  • Clinics in India offer nearly all the ART services—gamete donation, intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF, ICSI, PGD and gestational surrogacy. However, in spite of so much activity in India, there is yet no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.

Technology Group

The Union Cabinet has approved the Constitution of an empowered “Technology Group”.

Details –

  • Cabinet has approved constitution of a 12-Member Technology Group with the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India as its Chair.
  • This Group is mandated to render timely policy advice on latest technologies; mapping of technology and technology products; commercialisation of dual use technologies developed in national laboratories and government R&D organisations; developing an indigenisation road map for selected key technologies; and selection of appropriate R&D programs leading to technology development.

Mandate of the group –

The Technology Group will :-

  • render the best possible advice on technology to be developed for a technology supplier and the technology procurement strategy;
  • develop in-house expertise in aspects of policy and use of emerging technologies; and
  • ensure sustainability of public sector technology developed/being developed at PSUs, national labs and research organisations.

22nd Law Commission constituted

Union Cabinet has approved Twenty-second Law Commission of India for a period of three years from the date of publication of the Order of Constitution in the Official Gazette.

Mandate of the Commission –

The Law Commission of India shall, inter-alia,: –

  • identify laws which are no longer needed or relevant and can be immediately repealed;
  • examine the existing laws in the light of Directive Principles of State Policy and suggest ways of improvement and reform and also suggest such legislations as might be necessary to implement the Directive Principles and to attain the objectives set out in the Preamble of the Constitution;
  • consider and convey to the Government its views on any subject relating to law and judicial administration that may be specifically referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs);
  • Consider the requests for providing research to any foreign countries as may be referred to it by the Government through Ministry of Law and Justice (Department of Legal Affairs);
  • take all such measures as may be necessary to harness law and the legal process in the service of the poor;
  • revise the Central Acts of general importance so as to simplify them and remove anomalies, ambiguities and inequities.

Background –

  • The Law Commission of India is a non-statutory body constituted by the Government of India from time to time.
  • The Commission was originally constituted in 1955 and is re-constituted every three years. The tenure of twenty-first Law Commission of India was upto 31st August, 2018.
  • The various Law Commission have been able to make important contribution towards the progressive development and codification of Law of the country. The Law Commission has so far submitted 277 reports.

22nd Law Commission –

The 22nd Law Commission will be constituted for a period of three years from the date of publication of its order in the Official Gazette. It will consist of:

  • a full-time Chairperson;
  • four full-time Members (including Member-Secretary)
  • Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs as ex-officio Member;
  • Secretary, Legislative Department as ex officio Member; and
  • not more than five part-time Members.

Revamped Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana

The Union Cabinet has approved revamping of “Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY)” and “Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS)” to address the existing challenges in implementation of Crop Insurance Schemes.

Major changes – 

  • Allocation of business to Insurance Companies to be done for three years (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS).
  • Flexibility to States/UTs to implement the Scheme with option to select any or many of additional risk covers/features like prevented sowing, localised calamity, mid-season adversity, and post-harvest losses. Further, States/UT can offer specific single peril risk/insurance covers, like hailstorm etc, under PMFBY even with or without opting for base cover (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS).
  • Enrolment under the Scheme to be made voluntary for all farmers (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS).
  • Central Share in Premium Subsidy to be increased to 90% for North Eastern States from the existing sharing pattern of 50:50 (Both PMFBY/RWBCIS).

About Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana –

  • The PMFBY replaces the erstwhile two schemes National Agricultural Insurance Scheme as well as the Modified NAIS.
  • It aims to provide insurance coverage and financial support to the farmers in the event of failure of any of the notified crop as a result of natural calamities, pests & diseases.
  • There is a uniform premium of only 2% to be paid by farmers for all Kharif crops and 1.5% for all Rabi crops.
  • In case of annual commercial and horticultural crops, the premium to be paid by farmers will be only 5%.
  • The premium rates to be paid by farmers are very low and balance premium will be paid by the Government to provide full insured amount to the farmers against crop loss on account of natural calamities.
  • There is no upper limit on Government subsidy. Even if balance premium is 90%, it will be borne by the Government.

Daily MCQs

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