Daily Current Affairs and General Studies
General Studies- II- Welfare Schemes for Vulnerable Sections of the population by the Centre and States and the Performance of these Schemes; Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions and Bodies constituted for the Protection and Betterment of these Vulnerable Sections.
1. Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020
The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, has been approved by the Union Cabinet, and the bill incorporated the recommendations of a Rajya Sabha Select Committee.
- The bill would be beneficial for widows and divorced women, along with infertile couples.
- The bill seeks to ban commercial surrogacy and allow altruistic surrogacy.
- Only Indian couples can opt for surrogacy in India.
- The bill allows a “willing” woman to be a surrogate mother rather than the close relative of the intended couple.
- The 23-member select committee of Rajya Sabha had proposed 15 major changes, including removal of the definition of “infertility” as the ability to conceive after 5 years of unprotected intercourse,which is too long for a couple to wait for a child.
- The insurance cover for a surrogate mother has been increased from 16 months to 36 months.
- The bill proposes to set up a National Surrogacy Board, State Surrogacy Boards in the States, and appropriate authorities in UTs to regulate surrogacy.
- The Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 defines surrogacy as the practice in which a woman will give birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to give the child after the birth to the couple.
- Altruistic Surrogacy is the practice in which no monetary compensation will be provided to the surrogate mother apart from the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy, while commercial surrogacy involves monetary compensation.
Additional related news
- The Union Cabinet has also approved amendments to the National Institutes of Food Technology, Entrepreneurship and Management Bill 2019, which will provide the status of Institution of National Importance to the National Institutes of Food Technology located at Kundli in Haryana and Thanjavur in Tamil Nadu.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved setting up of National Technical Textiles Mission, which was also mentioned in the Budget speech 2020-21.
General Studies-I- Population and Associated Issues
2. 2021 Census with NPR updation
The preparations are underway for the commencement of Census 2021 after April 1, 2020.
- The office of the Director of Census Operations completed the training for master trainers, and training for the district-level staff will start from the first week of March.
- The National Population Register (NPR) will be updated simultaneously along with census enumeration.
- The senior officials have clarified that there is no need for submission of any document for the NPR.
- The 2021 Census will be done in two phases- Housing Census-April to September 2020 and Population Enumeration- 9 Feb to 28 Feb 2021 with a reference date of March 1, 2021, while for the snow-bound areas the reference date will be October 1, 2020.
National Population Register (NPR):
- It is the process of collecting the demographic details (Name, sex, date of birth, marital status, place of birth, etc.) and biometrics of all the usual residents of the country.
- Usual resident means the person who has resided in a local area for the last 6 months or more, or the person intended to live in that area for the next 6 months.
- It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
- The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India carry out the updation process of NPR.
- It is different from NRC, as no proof of citizenship is required. It was first conducted in 2010 and later updated in 2015.
- NPR will not be conducted in Assam as the state has already gone through the NRC process.
Census of India:
- The census in India is conducted every ten years and is the single largest source of statistical information on various attributes of people.
- The first Census of Independent India was conducted in 1951 while the organized Census in India was conducted in 1881.
- The Office of the Registrar General and Census Commissioner under the Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible for the conduction of the Census.
- NPR is different from Census as it contains only the demographic details of the population while the Census contains demographic details along with economic activity, literacy, household amenities, migration, etc.
General Studies-II- Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
3. 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council
India told the Human Rights Council that Jammu and Kashmir would remain an integral part of India forever during the 43rd session of the UNHRC being held in Geneva.
- India has called for decisive action against those who direct, control abet, or shelter terrorists.
- VikasSwarup, Secretary of the Ministry of External Affairs, said that terrorism is the most pernicious violation of the Right to Life.
- The government of Sri Lanka has formally informed the UNHRC regarding its decision to withdraw from co-sponsoring the UNHRC resolution 30/1 on war crimes.
- Resolution 30/1 aims at promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka.
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC):
- It is an inter-governmental body with 47 member states responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights across the world.
- It was created by the UNGA on 15 March 2006, and it replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
- The members of the council are elected by the UNGA members through a direct and secret ballot.
- The members serve for a period of three years and are not re-elected after serving two consecutive terms.
- The Bureau of Council comprises of 5 people- a President and 4 Vice-Presidents (representing the five regional groups).
General Studies-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation
4. Clause 6 of Assam Accord
Three main communities in Assam have raised concerns on the recommendations made by the high-powered committee on Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
- The high-powered committee headed by the retired judge Biplab Kumar Sharma has submitted its report to the CM of Assam.
- The three communities viz. Miyas (Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking Muslims), the Bengali Hindus and the Gurkhas that are perceived to be migrants in Assam are concerned over the recommendation to make 1951 as the base year for defining Assam’s indigenous people.
- Assam Accord was a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) signed in 1985 among the Assam government, Union of India, All Assam Student Union (AASU), All Assam GanaSangramParishad (AAGSP).
- Clause 6 of the accord aims to safeguard the cultural, social, linguistic identity of the Assamese people. The clause also ascertains who fits in the definition of an ‘Assamese’.
General Studies-II: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-technology, Bio-technology and issues relating to Intellectual Property Rights.
5. InSight Mars Mission
NASA published six papers to reveal a planet alive with quakes, dust devils and strange magnetic pulses.
- The Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), the ultra-sensitive seismometer, recorded the readings that depicted more trembling in Mars. It found more than 450 seismic signals and the majority are believed to be quakes.
- The InSight is equipped with a magnetometer and has detected magnetic signals. At a Martian site called Homestead hollow, the magnetic signals are 10 times stronger than what was predicted earlier.
- The weather sensors of the InSight detected thousands of passing whirlwinds, called dust devils when they pick up grit and become visible.
- The two radios of InSight are equipped for regularly sending and receiving data and for measuring “wobble” of Mars as it spins. The second radio (X-band radio), also known as Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), can reveal whether the planet’s core is solid or liquid.
- InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program. It is being supported by various European partners like German Aerospace Centre, France Space Agency, etc.
- InSight is the first mission of NASA, which is dedicated to look deep beneath the Martian surface. It is equipped with a seismometer, weather sensors, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe to record the planet’s temperature.
General Studies-III: Science and Technology- Developments and their Applications and Effects in Everyday Life.
6. What is Henneguya Salminicola?
A non-oxygen breathing animal Henneguya Salminicola has been discovered by the researchers at Tel Aviv University.
- The discovery has changed the assumption that all animals use aerobic respiration and also challenged the evolution in organisms that the organisms become more complex as they evolve.
- HenneguyaSalminicola is a fewer than 10 celled microscopic parasite that lives in the salmon muscle.
- The researchers found that as the organism evolved, it sheds breathing and stop consuming oxygen for producing energy; this means it lives on anaerobic respiration.
- The organism was discovered by accident while assembling its genome sequencing. It does not have a mitochondrial genome.
- Non-animal organisms like Fungi and Amoebas that are found in anaerobic environments lost the ability to breathe over time, and now such characteristics are found inanimals also.
- Aerobic Respiration: A chemical reaction through which an organism takes in oxygen and release CO2, and the energy is transferred to cells which can be used for different purposes.
- Anaerobic Respiration: A chemical reaction through which cells get energy without using oxygen.
- Mitochondria: Powerhouse of the Cell- A cell organelle that captures oxygen to make energy.
Q1. What is Assam Accord? Why is there so much debate over Clause 6 of the Assam Accord?
Q2. Discuss the concerns raised over the provisions of Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019?