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Daily Current Affairs : 20-Feb-2020

Major Topics Covered :


2. Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020

3. India shifts towards clean diesel

4. Tirur Vittla

5.Cabinet approves Phase II of Swachh Bharat Mission

6. Union Cabinet approves Revamping of PM Fasal Bima Yojana and RWBCIS schemes to address challenges


Why in news ?

• On February 19, 2020, the Agricultural Minister Narendra Singh Tomar announced that Government of India is to launch “TILHAN MISSION” to boost the oil seed production. The announcement was made at an occasion of Soil Health Card Day. Soil Health Card Day was celebrated all over India on February 19, 2020.

Important facts

• Government of India is to increase oil seed production in order to make the country self-reliant in oil seed production. The Minister also announced that GoI is to create 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations all over the country. In order to support this, the GoI is to provide Rs 6,000 rupees.

Current Oil Seed Scenario in India

• India is the fourth largest vegetable oil economy in the world after USA, China and Brazil. Today, the oil seeds account for 13% of cropped area in the country.

The National Mission on Oil Seeds and Oil Palm was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer Welfare. The scheme was to be implemented for 5 years between 2014-15 and 2018-19.

2. Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill, 2020

Why in News?

The Union Cabinet has approved the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Regulation Bill, 2020 to monitor medical procedures used to assist people to achieve pregnancy.

• The Bill will regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology services in the country. Consequently, infertile couples will be more ensured/confident of the ethical practices in ARTs.

Key Features of the Bill

Safe ART

• The bill makes provisions for safe and ethical practice of assisted

reproductive technology services in the country. o The Bill will ensure confidentiality of intending couples and protect the rights

of the child born through ART.

Pre-Genetic Implantation Testing Mandatory: The test allows doctors to test embryos for any possible abnormal chromosomes before they are transferred to the uterus. This is to avoid any genetic diseases in the population born through these technologies.

A National Board which will lay down a code of conduct to be observed by those operating ART clinics.

o The Board will also formulate minimum standards for laboratory and

diagnostic equipment and practices to be followed by human resources employed by clinics and banks.

ART Bank means an organization that is set up to supply sperm/semen, oocytes/oocyte donor and surrogate mothers to Assisted Reproductive Technology clinics or the patients.

Regulatory Boards at State Level

o The States and Union Territories will have to form State Boards and State

authorities within three months of the notification of the proposed legislation. o 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.

A national registry and registration authority, which will maintain a database to assist the national Board to perform its functions.


o The Bill proposes for a stringent punishment for those practising sex

selection, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies/rackets/organisations for such unlawful practices. o The bill has a provision that those involved in trafficking and sale of embryos will be fined Rs 10 lakh at first instance and in second instance the person could be imprisoned for up to 12 years.

Need for the Bill

Exponential Growth: Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years. India is among countries that have seen the highest growth in the number of ART centres and ART cycles performed every year.

o Clinics in India offer nearly all the ART services—gamete donation,

IntraUterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), IntraCytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) and gestational surrogacy.

India has become one of the major centres of the global fertility industry (ART), with reproductive medical tourism becoming a significant activity. This has also introduced a plethora of legal, ethical and social issues; yet, there is no standardisation of protocols and reporting is still very inadequate.

• The select committee of the Parliament that examined the Surrogacy Regulation Bill, 2019 has said that it would be prudent to bring the ART Bill before the Surrogacy Bill, 2019, to establish a regulatory mechanism for ART clinics.

o The ART Regulation Bill is supposed to be more overarching and the first step to regulate the sector. Without registration and a proper database of medical

institutions and clinics providing such services, it is impossible to regulate services like surrogacy and abortion (Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill, 2020).

• It needs to be noted that all the three Bills are designed around protecting

and recognizing women’s reproductive rights.

3. India shifts towards clean diesel

Why in news?

• From April 1, 2020, India will shift to Euro-VI emission compliant from Euro-IV grades that is being followed now. This means that India will shift towards more clean form of fuel.

Important points?

• As India shifts to Euro VI grades, it will join select league of nations using pure and clean fuel. These fuels contain just 10 parts per million of Sulphur. The Sulphur emissions are the main reasons that choke pollution in major cities. With Indian Oil Corporations and all other leading refineries already adopting BS-VI petrol and diesel, India is already on track in implementing clean fuel in the country.

BS VI Emission Norms

  • According to the United Nations, 9 out of 10 people on the planet are now breathing polluted air. This has led to a growing global health crisis, causing about 7 million deaths per year, as per the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • Due to their use, hazardous pollutants in the air are increasing leading to health ailments like Asthma, Bronchitis, heart diseases and even cancer.

  • Over the years, the government has taken various initiatives to address the issues related to air pollution such as the National Clean Air Program, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana and the Bharat Stage-VI (BS-VI) emission norms.