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10th July Current Affairs

National Security Act (NSA), 1980

In News:

Former civil servants have demanded an end to the misuse of the National Security Act terming it a draconian preventive detention law.

About the National Security Act (NSA):

The NSA is a preventive detention law.

Preventive Detention involves the detainment (containment) of a person in order to keep him/her from committing future crimes and/or from escaping future prosecution.

Article 22 (3) (b) of the Constitution allows for preventive detention and restriction on personal liberty for reasons of state security and public order.

Article 22(4) states that:

No law providing for preventive detention shall authorise the detention of a person for a longer period than three months unless:

An Advisory Board reports sufficient cause for extended detention.

The 44th Amendment Act of 1978 has reduced the period of detention without obtaining the opinion of an advisory board from three to two months. However, this provision has not yet been brought into force, hence, the original period of three months still continues.

Period of Confinement:

The maximum period for which one may be detained is 12 months. But the term can be extended if the government finds fresh evidence.

A person can be held for 10 days without being told the charges against them. The person can appeal before a high court advisory board but will not be allowed a lawyer during the trial.

Concerns associated with the misuse of this law:

Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution says an arrested person cannot be denied the right to consult, and to be defended by, a legal practitioner of his choice.

According to Section 50 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CRPC), any person arrested has to be informed of the grounds of arrest and has the right to bail.

However, under National Security Act, none of these rights are available to the person detained. The government holds the right to conceal information which it considers to be against public interest to disclose.

Agriculture Infrastructure Fund

In News:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval to the various modifications in Central Sector Scheme of Financing Facility under ‘Agriculture Infrastructure Fund’.

Latest modifications:

Eligibility has now been extended to State Agencies/APMCs, National & State Federations of Cooperatives, Federations of Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Federations of Self Help Groups (SHGs).

For APMCs, interest subvention for a loan upto Rs. 2 crore will be provided for each project of different infrastructure types e.g. cold storage, sorting, grading and assaying units, silos, et within the same market yard.

The power has been delegated to Minister of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare to make necessary changes with regard to addition or deletion of beneficiary.

The period of financial facility has been extended from 4 to 6 years upto 2025-26 and overall period of the scheme has been extended from 10 to 13 upto 2032-33.

About the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund:

It is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.

Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum and credit guarantee coverage under CGTMSE for loans up to Rs. 2 Crores.

Eligible beneficiaries include:

Farmers, Marketing Cooperative Societies, Joint Liability Groups (JLG), Multipurpose Cooperative Societies, Agri-entrepreneurs, Start-ups, and Central/State agency or Local Body sponsored Public-Private Partnership Projects.

Interest subvention:

All loans under this financing facility will have interest subvention of 3% per annum up to a limit of Rs. 2 crore. This subvention will be available for a maximum period of seven years.

Credit guarantee:

Credit guarantee coverage will be available for eligible borrowers from this financing facility under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for a loan up to Rs. 2 crore.

The fee for this coverage will be paid by the Government.

In case of FPOs the credit guarantee may be availed from the facility created under FPO promotion scheme of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DACFW).

Management of the fund:

It will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform.

The National, State and District level Monitoring Committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feed-back.

Authorised Economic Operators Programme

In News:

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs (CBIC) has inaugurated the online filing of Authorised Economic Operators (AEO).

Details:

The new version (V 2.0) of the web application is designed to ensure continuous real-time and digital monitoring of physically filed applications for timely intervention and expedience.

Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) Programme:

AEO is a programme under the aegis of the World Customs Organization (WCO) SAFE Framework of Standards to secure and facilitate Global Trade.

The programme aims to enhance international supply chain security and facilitate movement of legitimate goods.

AEO is a voluntary compliance programme.

How it works?

Under this programme, an entity engaged in international trade is approved by Customs as compliant with supply chain security standards and granted AEO status & certain benefits.

Benefits of AEO status include expedited clearance times, fewer examinations, improved security and communication between supply chain partners.

SAFE Framework:

In June 2005 the WCO Council adopted the Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade (SAFE Framework) that would act as a deterrent to international terrorism, to secure revenue collections and to promote trade facilitation worldwide.

It prescribes baseline standards that have been tested and are working well around the globe.

Latest findings by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft

In News:

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has made the following discoveries in the moons of Saturn by flying through their plumes:

Titan has methane in its atmosphere.

Enceladus has a liquid ocean with erupting plumes of gas and water.

Researchers have concluded that there may be unknown methane-producing processes on Enceladus that await discovery.

Methane-producing organisms on Earth:

Most of the methane on Earth has a biological origin. Microorganisms called methanogens are capable of generating methane as a metabolic byproduct. They do not require oxygen to live and are widely distributed in nature.

Methanogens are found in swamps, dead organic matter, and even in the human gut. They are known to survive in high temperatures and simulation studies have shown that they can live in Martian conditions.

How else can methane be produced on Enceladus?

Methane could be formed by the chemical breakdown of organic matter present in Enceladus’ core.

Hydrothermal processes could help the formation of carbon dioxide and methane.

About Cassini Mission:

  • Launched in 1997.
  • The mission is a cooperation between NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency.
  • This was the first landing ever accomplished in the outer Solar System.
  • Cassini is the fourth space probe to visit Saturn and the first to enter orbit.
  • Its design includes a Saturn orbiter and a lander for the moon Titan. The lander, called Huygens, landed on Titan in 2005.

Objectives of the mission:

  • Determine the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the rings of Saturn.
  • Determine the composition of the satellite surfaces and the geological history of each object.
  • Determine the nature and origin of the dark material on Iapetus’s leading hemisphere.
  • Measure the three-dimensional structure and dynamic behavior of the magnetosphere.
  • Study the dynamic behavior of Saturn’s atmosphere at cloud level.
  • Study the time variability of Titan’s clouds and hazes.
  • Characterize Titan’s surface on a regional scale.