- Cabinet Approves Bill to Regulate Surrogacy
- In Rakhigarhi, anxiety trumps history
- ISRO to launch GISAT-1 on March 5
- J&K ‘was, is and shall forever’ remain its integral part: India tells Pakistan at UNHRC meeting
- NIA Conducts Fresh Searches in Pulwama
- Virus cases emerging faster globally: WHO
- Sri Lanka notifies UN about rights resolution withdrawal
- Cabinet gives clearance for Technical Textiles Mission
CABINET APPROVES BILL TO REGULATE SURROGACY
Focus: GS-II Governance, Prelims
Why in news?
- The Union Cabinet on 26th February 2020 approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, allowing a “willing” woman to be a surrogate mother and proposing that the Bill would benefit widows and divorced women besides infertile Indian couples.
- The Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill after incorporating the recommendations of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee.
- The proposed insurance cover for a surrogate mother has now been increased to 36 months from 16 months earlier.
What is Surrogacy?
- Surrogacy is an arrangement, often supported by a legal agreement, whereby a woman (the surrogate mother) agrees to bear a child for another person or persons, who will become the child’s parent(s) after birth.
- People may seek a surrogacy arrangement when pregnancy is medically impossible, when pregnancy risks are too dangerous for the intended mother, or when a single man or a male couple wish to have a child.
Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 was introduced by the Minister of Health and Family Welfare in Lok Sabha on July 15, 2019.
- The Bill defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
Regulation of surrogacy:
- The Bill prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.
- Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
- Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
- Purposes for which surrogacy
- for intending couples who suffer from proven infertility
- not for commercial purposes
- not for producing children for sale, prostitution or other forms of exploitation
- for any condition or disease specified through regulations.
- The intending couple should have a ‘certificate of essentiality’ and a ‘certificate of eligibility’ issued by the appropriate authority.
Focus: GS-I History, Prelims
Why in news?
- Looking at the mounds at the Harappan site of Rakhigarhi, where locals dry cow dung cakes and dump garbage, there is little to show the thousands of years of history beneath.
- But the Centre is moving ahead with its plan to develop the site as a tourist hub and setting up a museum.
- This has got residents in two villages in Haryana’s Hisar district — Rakhi Khas and Rakhi Shahpur — known as Rakhigarhi worried about the rehabilitation of homes around mound number four and five.
- The focus is – Dholavira changed history, Rakhigarhi is changing history for the second time and People in Delhi will have to visit Rakhigarhi for tourism.
- The ASI has been able to get under its control just 83.5 acres of the 350-hectare site that spans 11 mounds, after first taking over the site in 1996, due to encroachments and pending court cases.
- If encroachments are removed, the cow dung on the mounds will also shift
- About 5% of the site had been excavated so far by the ASI and Deccan College, Pune.
- Among the findings, which indicate both early and mature Harappan phases, were a 4,600-year-old female skeleton, fortification and bricks.
- Rakhigarhi, Rakhi Garhi (Rakhi Shahpur + Rakhi Khas), is a village in Hisar District in the state of Haryana in India, situated 150 kilometers to the northwest of Delhi.
- It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.
- Later, it was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.
- The site is located in the Sarasvati river plain, some 27 km from the seasonal Ghaggar river.
- The size and uniqueness of Rakhigarhi has drawn much attention of archaeologists all over the world.
- It is nearer to Delhi than other major sites, indicating the spread of the Indus Valley Civilization east across North India.
- In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund, declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.
- There are many other important archaeological sites in this area, in the old river valley to the east of the Ghaggar Plain. Among them are Kalibangan, Kunal, Haryana, Balu, Haryana, Bhirrana, and Banawali.
What is the relevance of Harappa in today’s world?
- Harappan civilisation is amongst the first major urban civilisation that stretched over an area of 1.5 million square kilometres (the size of a modest sized modern country).
- It was highly standardised architecture, art and utilitarian items.
- It traded over an even larger area, getting raw material and exporting (to region where its standardisation rules did not apply) finished products, traders and some of its habits to different regions.
- The occurrence of the first civilization from which the emergence of the city and urbanism can be understood
- Their expertise in town planning, water management and harvesting systems as well as drainage mechanism is unparalleled.
- They had public and private wells at most of their sites and their houses were often equipped with bathing areas and toilets.
- They were also technologically very advanced in pyrotechnics and metallurgy.
- Their craftsmanship is evident in their beads, jewelry, pottery, seals as well as other artifacts made of metals and their alloys.
- Their trade networks were also quite widespread.
- They had standardized weights and measures.
- They often used standardized bricks in their architecture.
- Recent research has suggested that Harappan people were probably the first ones to introduce silk and lost-wax casting techniques.
- No large-scale weapons have been discovered from the Harappan sites which also suggests that they did not indulge in warfare.
- It post-dated the great cultures of Mesopotamia and was contemporaneous to Sumerian cultures.
- However, it received a lot of ideas also from Central Asia and in many ways, it collected the finest of ideas and technologies.
- Among other things, the Harappan civilization provides important insights into the relationship between civilizational collapse, violence, and disease.
- Global bodies and governmental organizations seeking to make predictions about global warming in the contemporary context have essentialized the relationship between climate change, environmental migration, and violence.
- In that sense it is relevant and important.
ISRO TO LAUNCH GISAT-1 ON MARCH 5
Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Prelims
Why in news?
GISAT-1, the country’s first earth imaging satellite in a geostationary orbit, will be launched in the evening of March 5 from the Sriharikota launch centre.
Medium-lift GSLV launcher numbered F10 would orbit the 2,275-kg spacecraft.
- Operating from its geostationary orbit [at around 36,000 km from earth] GISAT-1 will facilitate almost realtime observation of the Indian subcontinent under cloud-free conditions and at frequent intervals
- It will be the 14th flight of the GSLV.
- A 4-metre diameter ‘ogive’ shaped payload fairing is being flown for the first time in this flight. (An ogive (/ˈoʊdʒaɪv/ OH-jyve) is the roundly tapered end of a two-dimensional or three-dimensional object.)
What is GISAT?
- (GISAT) Geo Imaging Satellite – The state-of-the-art earth observation satellite will operate from a geostationary orbit or a fixed spot and provide near to real-time observation data on the Indian subcontinent at frequent intervals under cloud-free conditions.
- GISAT-1 is the first of two earth observation satellites planned for launch. GISAT-2 will be launched soon as well.
- ISRO is planning the launch of 10 more satellites which would boost space and border surveillance, and crack down on terrorist infiltration.
- The geo imaging satellite will be launched by the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F10). This is the fourteenth flight of the GSLV.
What is GSLV?
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV), is an expendable launch system operated by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
- GSLV was used in thirteen launches from 2001 to 2018, with more launches planned.
- Even though GSLV Mk III shares the name, it is an entirely different launcher.
What is a Geostationary Orbit, and what the other types of Orbits?
- A geostationary orbit, often referred to as a GEO orbit, circles the Earth above the equator from west to east at a height of 36 000 km. As it follows the Earth’s rotation, which takes 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds, satellites in a GEO orbit appear to be ‘stationary’ over a fixed position. Their speed is about 3 km per second.
- As satellites in geostationary orbit continuously cover a large portion of the Earth, this makes it an ideal orbit for telecommunications or for monitoring continent-wide weather patterns and environmental conditions. It also decreases costs as ground stations do not need to track the satellite. A constellation of three equally spaced satellites can provide full coverage of the Earth, except for the polar regions.
Geostationary transfer orbit
- This is an elliptical Earth orbit used to transfer a spacecraft from a low altitude orbit or flight trajectory to geostationary orbit. The apogee is at 36 000 km. When a spacecraft reaches this point, its apogee kick motor is fired to inject it into geostationary orbit.
Low Earth orbits
- A low Earth orbit is normally at an altitude of less than 1000 km and could be as low as 160 km above the Earth. Satellites in this circular orbit travel at a speed of around 7.8 km per second. At this speed, a satellite takes approximately 90 minutes to circle the Earth.
- In general, these orbits are used for remote sensing, military purposes and for human spaceflight as they offer close proximity to the Earth’s surface for imaging and the short orbital periods allow for rapid revisits. The International Space Station is in low Earth orbit.
Medium low Earth orbit
- This orbit takes place at an altitude of around 1000 km and is particularly suited for constellations of satellites mainly used for telecommunications. A satellite in this orbit travels at approximately 7.3 km per second.
- As the name suggests, polar orbits pass over the Earth’s polar regions from north to south. The orbital track of the satellite does not have to cross the poles exactly for an orbit to be called polar, an orbit which passes within 20 to 30 degrees of the poles is still classed as a polar orbit.
- These orbits mainly take place at low altitudes of between 200 to 1000 km. Satellites in polar orbit look down on the Earth’s entire surface and can pass over the North and South Poles several times a day.
- Polar orbits are used for reconnaissance and Earth observation. If a satellite is in polar orbit at an altitude of 800 km, it will be travelling at a speed of approximately 7.5 km per second.
Sun synchronous orbits
- These are polar orbits which are synchronous with the Sun. A satellite in a sun synchronous orbit would usually be at an altitude of between 600 to 800 km. Generally these orbits are used for Earth observation, solar study, weather forecasting and reconnaissance, as ground observation is improved if the surface is always illuminated by the Sun at the same angle when viewed from the satellite.
Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
Jammu and Kashmir will remain an integral part of India for ever, and the world should act against countries that shelter terrorists, India told the Human Rights Council on 26th February 2020, speaking at the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council.
- The transformative changes wrought by our Parliament last August were meant to strengthen the integration of the State, including to give fullest play to representative government from the grassroots level upward.
- As a nation that has suffered for decades from cross-border terrorism, India calls for decisive action against those who direct, control, fund, abet or shelter terrorists.
What is UNHRC?
- The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe. Not to be confused with United Nations Human Rights Committee
- It has the ability to discuss all thematic human rights issues and situations that require its attention throughout the year.
- It meets at the UN Office at Geneva.
Focus: GS-III Internal Security, Prelims
Why in news?
- Several teams of the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on 26th February 2020 conducted multiple searches in the Kashmir Valley targeting the Jaish-e-Mohammed ( JeM) and its supporters.
- Searches were conducted at- at least five locations in a fresh clampdown against the militant outfit.
- JeM Commander Zahid Ahmed Wani’s House Raided.
- The brother of the active ‘commander’, Shoaib Ahmed Wani, was arrested in connection with the Nagrota toll plaza attack in Jammu on January 31
What is NIA?
- The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is a state agency established by the Indian Government to combat terror in India.
- It acts as the Central Counter Terrorism Law Enforcement Agency.
- The agency is empowered to deal with terror related crimes across states without special permission from the states.
- The Agency came into existence with the enactment of the National Investigation Agency Act 2008 by the Parliament of India on 31 December 2008.
- Headquartered in New Delhi, the NIA has branches in Hyderabad, Guwahati, Kochi, Lucknow, Mumbai, Kolkata, Raipur and Jammu.
- It maintains NIA Most Wanted list.
What is NIA (Amendment) Bill?
- The NIA (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the parliament on 17 July 2019.
- The Bill aims to give more teeth to the investigating powers of the NIA.
- It empowers the NIA to probe terror attacks targeting Indians and Indian interests abroad.
- The amended legislation, which aims to primarily empower the anti-terror agency to investigate scheduled offences such as human trafficking; circulation of fake currency; manufacture and sale of prohibited arms; and cyber-terrorism, was passed with a majority of 278 votes in favour and six against in the Lok Sabha.
- It was also passed in the Rajya Sabha after those opposed to it staged a walkout.
- This amendment will now also allow NIA to investigate the Sri Lanka Easter Bombings.
Pulwama in the Past
- After 14 February 2019, when Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) suicide bomber attacked CRPF convoy in Pulwama, killing 40 CRPF soldiers, tensions between India and Pakistan escalated.
- Later on February 26 Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out counter-terror operation (Balakot Air Strike), hitting what it claimed was a JeM training camp in Balakot, deep inside Pakistan on 26 February 2019.
- Then on 27 February the PAF retaliated and in an aerial combat between India and Pakistan, India lost its MiG-21 Bison aircraft and its pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who allegedly shot down PAF’s F-16 fighter aircraft was captured by Pakistan. He was later released and handed over to India on March 1.
- Pulwama is a city and a notified area council in Pulwama district, in India’s northern union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
- It is almost 25 km (16 mi) from the summer capital of Srinagar. Pulwama is often called the “Anand of Kashmir” (the joy, the delight), but also the “Dudha-Kul of Kashmir” (the milk) on account of its high milk production.
Focus: GS-III Science and Technology, Prelims
Why in news?
- There are now more new cases of COVID-19 reported each day outside China than inside the hardest-hit country, the World Health Organization said on 26th February 2020.
- Governments worldwide are scrambling to prevent the spread of the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) after a surge of infections in Italy, Iran and South Korea.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) is a specialised agency of the United Nations that is concerned with world public health.
- It was established on 7 April 1948, and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The WHO is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
- Its predecessor, the Health Organisation, was an agency of the League of Nations.
- The WHO constitution was signed by 61 countries (all 51 member countries and 10 others) on 22 July 1946
- The WHO is responsible for the World Health Report, the worldwide World Health Survey, and World Health Day.
What is Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic?
Endemic: a disease that exists permanently in a particular region or population. Malaria is a constant worry in parts of Africa.
Epidemic: An outbreak of disease that attacks many peoples at about the same time and may spread through one or several communities.
Pandemic: When an epidemic spreads throughout the world.
Sporadic: Refers to a disease that occurs infrequently and irregularly.
Focus: GS-II International Relations
Why in news?
Sri Lanka on 27th February formally notified the UN Human Right Council that it was withdrawing from the UN resolution on post-war accountability and reconciliation – statement at the High-Level Segment at the ongoing UNHRC session.
History of Sri Lanka’s UNHRC Resolution
- In 2015, six years after Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war ended, the UNHRC adopted a consensus resolution, asking Colombo to probe allegations of large-scale rights abuses.
- The resolution, which Sri Lanka co-sponsored, was at that time widely seen as a bold commitment to Sri Lankans and the international community.
- Amid Tamil leaders’ growing concern over the pace at which Colombo implemented the resolution, Sri Lanka in 2017 sought an extension for two more years to fulfil its commitments.
- In 2019 the Council approved giving another two years for Sri Lanka to take forward a credible probe into the alleged rights violations.
Focus: GS-II Governance, GS-III Industry and Infrastructure, Science and Technology, Prelims
Why in news?
The government will soon kick-start the process of revamping the nearly 20-year old Information Technology Act, 2000, with an aim to bring it in tune with the technological advancements with a focus on stronger framework to deal with cybercrimes.
An expert committee will be set up with members from the government as well as the industry for discussion on the new IT Act.
Why is the Change Needed?
- The IT Act is now 20 years old, and during this time, the IT ecosystem has developed beyond recognition.
- New technology has become very pronounced, the whole ecosystem of consumers has changed vastly and so have the challenges.
- One of the major challenges was the scale of users that consume technology.
- Today, in India, technology has become the centre of digital payment and delivery of services such as GST and UPI. This also raises the question of misuse of technology.
- The vastness of these platforms was not even contemplated when the IT Act came into being
Background: What is the IT Act?
- May 2000 saw the rise of IT Bill, it received assent of President in August 2000 and became an Act.
- Cyber laws are contained under the IT Act, 2000.
- The Aim of the Act was to provide legal infrastructure for e-commerce in India.
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 also aims to provide for the legal framework so that legal sanctity is accorded to all electronic records and other activities carried out by electronic means. The Act states that unless otherwise agreed, an acceptance of contract may be expressed by electronic means of communication and the same shall have legal validity and enforceability.
Amendment to the IT Act
- The Information Technology (Amendment) Act, 2008 – An act to amend the IT Act 2000 received the assent of the President on 5th February 2009.
- It dealt with various changes
- Data Protection –with no specific reference to Data Protection in 2000 Act, the ITA 2008 introduced two sections addressing Data Protection, Section 43A (Compensation for failure to protect data), and Section 72A (Punishment for disclosure of information in breach of lawful contract.
- Information Preservation – Section 67C refers to the Preservation and Retention of Information by Intermediaries. According to Central Government, any intermediary who intentionally or knowingly contravenes the provisions shall be punished with an imprisonment for a term which may extend to 3 years and shall not be liable to fine.
- Section 69 gives power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information through any computer source.
- Section 69B authorizes to monitor and collect traffic data or information through any computer resource for Cyber security.
Focus: GS-III Indian Economy and Economic Development, Industry and Infrastructure
Why in news?
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.
The aim is to position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.
- The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have FOUR COMPONENTS, a release said.
- FIRST component will focus on
research and development and innovation and the research will be at both,
fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile
textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.
- Research activities will also focus on development of indigenous machinery and process equipment.
- SECOND component will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles.
- THIRD component will focus on
export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach
from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crore by 2021-2022 and ensure 10%
average growth every year till the Mission ends.
- An export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up.
- FOURTH (last) component will
be on education, training and skill development.
- The Mission will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.
- The Indian technical textiles segment is estimated at $16 billion which is approximately 6% of the $250 billion global technical textiles market.
- The penetration level of technical textiles in India varies between 5% and 10% against the level of 30% to 70% in developed countries.
- The Mission will aim at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.
Basic Information about textile Industry in India
- The domestic textiles and apparel industry contributes 2.3% to India’s GDP and accounts for 13% of industrial production, and 12% of the country’s export earnings.
- The textiles and apparel industry in India is the second-largest employer in the country providing employment to 45 million people.
Government Initiatives to Promote the Textile Industry
- The Indian government has come up with a number of export promotion policies for the textiles sector.
- It has also allowed 100 per cent FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.
Initiatives taken by Government of India are:
- The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has revised rates for incentives under the Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) for two subsectors of Textiles Industry – Readymade garments and Made ups – from 2 per cent to 4 per cent.
- As of August 2018, the Government of India has increased the basic custom duty to 20 per cent from 10 per cent on 501 textile products, to boost Make in India and indigenous production.
- The Government of India announced a Special Package to boost exports by US$ 31 billion, create one crore job opportunity and attract investments worth Rs 80,000 crore (US$ 11.93 billion) during 2018-2020. As of August 2018, it generated additional investments worth Rs 25,345 crore (US$ 3.78 billion) and exports worth Rs 57.28 billion (US$ 854.42 million).
- The Government of India has taken several measures including Amended Technology Up-gradation Fund Scheme (A-TUFS), scheme is estimated to create employment for 35 lakh people and enable investments worth Rs 95,000 crore (US$ 14.17 billion) by 2022.
- Integrated Wool Development Programme (IWDP) approved by Government of India to provide support to the wool sector starting from wool rearer to end consumer which aims to enhance the quality and increase the production during 2017-18 and 2019-20.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), Government of India has approved a new skill development scheme named ‘Scheme for Capacity Building in Textile Sector (SCBTS)’ with an outlay of Rs 1,300 crore (US$ 202.9 million) from 2017-18 to 2019-20. As of August 2019, 16 states have signed pacts with the Ministry of Textiles to partner with it for skilling about four lakh workers under the scheme.