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Daily Current Affairs : 22-Nov-2019

Major Topics Covered :

  1. COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF SPACE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

  2. MISSION INDRADHANUSH (IMI) 2.0

  3. THE CHIT FUNDS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

  4. QUID PRO QUO

  5. HIMAYAT MISSION

  6. PATENT PROSECUTION HIGHWAY PROGRAMME

  7. CABINET APPROVES EXTENSION OF PHARMACEUTICALS PURCHASE POLICY

  8. STRATEGIC DISINVESTMENT

  9. PREPARATIONS FOR CHANDRAYAAN-3 MISSION


COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION OF SPACE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

Part of GS-3 S&T


Why in news?

A new company by name, “New Space India Limited (NSIL)”, has been incorporated on 6thMarch 2019, as a wholly owned Government of India Undertaking / Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE), under the administrative control of Department of Space (DOS) to commercially exploit the research and development work of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).


Highlights:

  • With the activity plan and the mandate set for NSIL, Indian industries are likely to see a major spur in their growth in the space sector.

  • This initiative would further enable scaling up the manufacturing and production base in Indian industries towards meeting the growing needs of Indian space programme and exploiting the opportunities available in the global space market. Mandate of NSIL includes viz.

  • Small Satellite technology transfer to industry wherein NSIL will obtain license from DOS/ISRO and sub-license it to industries;

  • Manufacture of Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) in collaboration with Private Sector;

  • Productionisation of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) through Indian Industry;

  • Productionisation and marketing of Space based services, including launch and application;

  • Transfer of technology developed by ISRO Centres and constituent institutions of DOS; and

  • Marketing of spin-off technologies and products, both in India and abroad and

  • Any other subject which Government of India deems fit.

  • All the involved technologies related to ISRO’s small satellite and its sub-systems that could be transferred to Indian industries for productionisation which eventually would cater to national demand as well as commercial needs of domestic and global market.

  • This activity is also likely to give rise to several spin-off technologies that could be marketed nationally and globally.

  • Through the sale of products related to small satellite, sub-system technology and the spin off products in domestic and global market, foreign exchange revenue will be generated.



Source: PIB

MISSION INDRADHANUSH (IMI) 2.0

Part of GS- Health


Why in news?

Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan reviewed the preparedness within States for roll out of Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0 in States from 2nd December 2019.


Highlights:

  • Now the government is poised to launch Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 2.0 between December 2019 – March 2020 to deliver a program that is informed by the lessons learnt from the previous phases, and seeks to escalate efforts to achieve the goal of attaining a 90% national immunization coverage across India.

  • The program will be delivered in 272 districts of 27 states and 652 blocks of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar among hard-to-reach and tribal populations.

Several ministries, including the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs, among others, will come together to make the mission a resounding success and support the central government in ensuring the benefits of vaccines reach the last mile. The salient features of IMI 2.0 are:

  • Immunization activity will be in four rounds over 7 working days excluding the RI days, Sundays and holidays.

  • Enhanced immunization session with flexible timing, mobile session and mobilization by other departments.

  • Enhanced focus on left outs, dropouts, and resistant families and hard to reach areas.

  • Focus on urban, underserved population and tribal areas.

  • Inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination.

  • Enhance political, administrative and financial commitment, through advocacy.

  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush immunization drive, consisting of 4 rounds of immunization will be conducted in the selected districts and urban cities between Dec 2019 - March 2020.


Source: PIB


THE CHIT FUNDS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2019

Part of GS-3 Economy


Why in news?

The Chit Funds (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 5, 2019. The Bill seeks to amend the Chit Funds Act, 1982.


Highlights:

The 1982 Act regulates chit funds, and prohibits a fund from being created without the prior sanction of the state government.


Under a chit fund, people agree to pay a certain amount from time to time into a fund. Periodically, one of the subscribers is chosen by drawing a chit to receive the prize amount from the fund.


Names for a chit fund: The Act specifies various names which may be used to refer to a chit fund. These include chit, chit fund, and kuri. The Bill additionally inserts ‘fraternity fund’ and ‘rotating savings and credit institution’ to this list.


  • Substitution of terms: The Act defines certain terms in relation to chit funds. It defines:

  • ‘chit amount’ as the sum of subscriptions payable by all the subscribers of a chit;

  • ‘dividend’ as the share of the subscriber in the amount kept apart for running the chit; and

  • ‘prize amount’ as the difference between chit amount and the amount kept apart for running the chit.

  • The Bill changes the names of these terms to ‘gross chit amount’, ‘share of discount’ and ‘net chit amount’, respectively.

Presence of subscribers through video-conferencing: The Act specifies that a chit will be drawn in the presence of at least two subscribers. The Bill seeks to allow these subscribers to join via video-conferencing.


Foreman’s commission: Under the Act, the ‘foreman’ is responsible for managing the chit fund. He is entitled to a maximum commission of 5% of the chit amount. The Bill seeks to increase the commission to 7%. Further, the Bill allows the foreman a right to lien against the credit balance from subscribers.


Aggregate amount of chits: Under the Act, chits may be conducted by firms, associations or individuals. The Act specifies the maximum amount of chit funds which may be collected. These limits are:

  • One lakh rupee for chits conducted by individuals, and for every individual in a firm or association with less than four partners, and

  • Six lakh rupees for firms with four or more partners. The Bill increases these limits to three lakh rupees and 18 lakh rupees, respectively.

  • Application of the Act: Currently, the Act does not apply to:

  • Any chit started before it was enacted, and

  • Any chit (or multiple chits being managed by the same foreman) where the amount is less than Rs 100.

  • The Bill removes the limit of Rs 100, and allows the state governments to specify the base amount over which the provisions of the Act will apply.



Source: PRS

QUID PRO QUO

Part of GS-2 Polity and Governance


Why in news?

As the dramatic proceedings to impeach President Donald Trump unfold in the United States Congress, one expression that has been heard over and over again is “quid pro quo” -- something that the President and his supporters have insisted cannot be established in his dealings with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, thus absolving him of blame.


Highlights:


Quid pro quo is a Latin expression which means “something given or received for something else”.


In the 1500s in England, it was often used in the sense of apothecaries substituting one medicine for the other, by accident or design. It has also been part of trade lexicon as a term for the barter system.


In legal terminology, Quid pro quo is now used to imply a mutually beneficial deal between two parties. In political contexts, like the one involving Trump currently, it is often seen as an essential requirement to suggest or establish corruption, wrongdoing, or impropriety.


The expression is frequently used in India as well. Most recently, Rahul Gandhi alleged ahead of the Lok Sabha elections that rules were bent to get the offset contract of the Rafale jet deal for Anil Ambani — the BJP’s defence then was that the government had no say in the choice of offset partner, and no quid pro quo could thus be made out.



Source: Indian Express

HIMAYAT MISSION

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

The Jammu and Kashmir administration are working on effective implementation of Himayat Mission.


  • Highlights:

  • Himayat is a placement linked skill training programme for unemployed youth of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • This initiative of Ministry of Rural Development, Govt. of India is being implemented by the Himayat Mission Management Unit, J&K State Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKSRLM), Govt of J&K within the state.

  • Himayat is under implementation in the State since 2011.

  • The Programme was recommended by Dr. C. Rangarajan Committee report which was submitted to the Prime Minister in 2011.

  • Under it, Youth are provided free skill training training for a duration of 3 to 12 months, in a range of skills for which there is good market demand. At the end of the training, the youth are assured of a job and there is one-year post-placement tracking to see how they are faring.



Source: AIR

PATENT PROSECUTION HIGHWAY PROGRAMME

Part of GS-3 Economy


Why in news?

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for adoption of Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) programme by the Indian Patent Office (IPO) under the Controller General of Patents, Designs & Trade Marks, India (CGPDTM) with patent offices of various other interest countries or regions.


Highlights:

  • programme will initially commence between Japan Patent Office (JPO) and Indian Patent Office on pilot basis for a period of three years only.

  • Under this Pilot programme, Indian Patent Office may receive patent applicationsand certain specified technical fields only, namely, Electrical, Electronics, Computer Science, Information Technology, Physics, Civil, Mechanical, Textiles, Automobiles and Metallurgy while JPO may receive applications in all fields of technology.

  • PPH programme would lead to the following benefits for the Indian IP office:

  • Reduction in time to dispose patent applications.

  • Reduction in pendency of patent applications.

  • Improvement in quality of search and examination of patent applications.

  • An opportunity for Indian inventors including MSMEs and Start-ups of India to get accelerated examination of their patent applications in Japan.

  • The ambit of the programme may be extended in future, as decided by the Commerce & Industry Minister. The patent offices will frame their own guidelines for implementation of the programme.



Source: PIB

CABINET APPROVES EXTENSION OF PHARMACEUTICALS PURCHASE POLICY

Part of GS- Health


Why in news?

The Union Cabinet on 20th November,2019 approved the extension of Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP) for pharmaceutical Central Public Sector Undertakings (CPSUs) till their closure or strategic disinvestment.


Highlights:

Major Impact

Extension/renewal of the policy would help the pharma CPSUs in optimum utilization of their existing facilities, enable them to generate revenues to pay salaries to their employees, help them in keeping the costly, sophisticated machinery in running condition resulting in higher return at the time of disposal in case of CPSUs under closure and better valuation in case of CPSUs under disinvestment.


Background

  • Pharmaceuticals Purchase Policy (PPP) was approved by the Cabinet on 30.10.2013 for a period of five years in respect of 103 medicines manufactured by pharma CPSUs and their subsidiaries.

  • The policy is applicable to purchases by Central/ State Government departments and their Public Sector Undertakings etc.

  • The pricing of the products is done by National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).

  • The procuring entity can purchase from Pharma CPSUs and their subsidiaries subject to their meeting Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) norms as per Schedule ‘M’ of the Drugs & Cosmetic Rules. The term of the policy expired on 09.12.2018.

  • Meanwhile, Cabinet decided on 28.12.2016 to close Indian Drugs and Pharmaceutical Limited (IDPL) & Rajasthan Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited (RDPL) and strategically sell Hindustan Antibiotics Limited (HAL) & Bengal Chemicals and Pharmaceutical Limited (BCPL), after meeting their liabilities from proceeds of sale of their surplus land to government agencies.

  • Subsequently, Cabinet has modified its decision on 17.07.2019 permitting to sell surplus land as per revised Department of Public Enterprises guidelines dated 14.06.2018.

  • Separately, Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decided on 01.11.2017 for disinvestment of 100% GOI equity in the fifth pharma CPSU, namely Karnataka Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Limited (KAPL).



Source: PMINDIA

STRATEGIC DISINVESTMENT

Part of GS- 3 Economy


Why in news?

The government kicked off a blockbuster disinvestment plan, lining up the sale of five public sector units (PSUs), including majority stakes in bluechip oil company Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) and Shipping Corporation of India. Also on sale will be a 31% stake in Container Corporation of India (Concor) along with management control.


Highlights:

  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL): Government will sell its entire 53.29% stake in BPCL. However, BPCL’s 61.65% share in Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) will be retained and will be transferred to a public sector company operating in the oil and gas space.

  • Shipping Corporation of India Ltd. (SCI): The government will sell its entire 63.75% stake in the SCI and will cede management control.

  • Container Corporation of India Ltd. (CONCOR): Government will sell its 30.8% stake in the CONCOR and hand over management control.

  • Tehri Hydro Development Corporation India Limited (THDCIL): The government will sell its entire 74.23% stake in THDCIL to NTPC Ltd. and also cede control.

  • North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPCO): The government will sell its entire 100% stake in the NEEPCO to NTPC Ltd. and also cede control.



Source: Economics Times

PREPARATIONS FOR CHANDRAYAAN-3 MISSION

Part of GS-3 S&T


Why in news?

ISRO has drawn out a roadmap of lunar exploration missions to master the technologies required.


Highlights:

  • This roadmap has been presented to the space commission. Based on the final analysis and recommendations of the expert committee, work on future lunar missions is progressing.

  • The expert committee has analysed the flight data and extensive simulations were carried out to re-construct the flight behaviour. The recommendations of the expert committee will be implemented in future lunar missions.


Source: PIB

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