4th February – Prelims Booster

Study on bats and bat-hunters of Nagaland comes under scanner

The report of a government inquiry into a study conducted in Nagaland by researchers from the US, China and India on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola was submitted to the Health Ministry.


  • The study is being conducted as two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases, and it was funded by the US Department of Defence’s Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA).
  • The study states that the researchers found “the presence of filovirus (e.g. ebolavirus) reactive antibodies in both human and bat populations in Northeast India, a region with no historical record of Ebola virus disease.”

What does the study say?

  • The study found the presence of filovirus-reactive antibodies in human and bat populations in northeast India.
  • Bats often carry Ebola, rabies, marburg and the SARS coronavirus.
  • The study suggested that bats in South Asia act as a reservoir host of a diverse range of filoviruses.

Centre rejects advice on special grants for States

The Centre has rejected the 15th Finance Commission’s recommendations to give special grants worth Rs 6,764 crore to States in 2020-21 to ensure that they do not receive less than the previous year’s allocation.

Types of Grants in the Constitution –

Statutory Grants –

  • Article 275 makes provisions for statutory grants to needy states {not every state}. These are charged on Consolidated Fund of India.
  • Such grants also include specific grants for promoting the welfare of the scheduled tribes in a state or for raising the level of administration of the scheduled areas in a state including the State of Assam.
  • The bases of these grants are recommendations of finance commission.

Discretionary Grants

  • Under article 282, both centre and states are able to make any grants for public purpose even if they are not within their legislative competence.
  • Since such grants are discretionary, there are no obligations to make such grants.
  • During the planning commission era, these discretionary grants were in fact bigger than statutory grants and that is why planning commission had assumed very important role.

Other Grants –

For initial 10 years, constitution had made special grants for Assam, Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal for promotion and protection of jute industry.

What is Special Category Status?

  • The Constitution does not include any provision for categorisation of any State in India as a Special Category Status (SCS) State.
  • Recognising the fact that some regions in the country were historically disadvantaged in contrast to others, the SCS was introduced by Fifth Finance Commission in 1969. It provides for additional Central assistance and tax concessions.
  • The National Development Council granted this status based on a number of features including hilly and difficult terrain, presence of sizeable tribal population, strategic location along international borders, economic and infrastructural backwardness etc.

National Technical Textiles Mission

The Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman, has announced a proposal to set up a National Technical Textiles Mission with a four-year implementation period from 2020-21 to 2023-24 at an estimated outlay of Rs. 1480 crore to position India as a global leader in Technical Textiles.

What are technical textiles?

  • Technical textiles are material and products manufactured primarily for their technical properties and functional requirements rather than for aesthetic characteristics.
  • The scope of use of technical textiles encompasses a wide range of applications such as agro-textiles, medical textiles, geo-textiles, protection-textiles, industrial-textiles, sports-textiles and many other usages.
  • Use of technical textiles have benefits of increased productivity in agriculture, horticulture and aquaculture fields, better protection of military, para-military, police and security forces, stronger and sturdier transportation infrastructure for highways, railways, ports and airports and in improving hygiene and healthcare of general public.

Daily MCQs

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