14 March Current Affairs
March 14, 2020
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March 17, 2020
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16 March Current Affairs

35th Inception Day Of NCRB

In News:

Recently, on the occasion of 35th Inception Day of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Crime Multi Agency Centre and National Cybercrime Training Centre has been launched.

Key Points:

Crime Multi-Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) has been launched for sharing the information on heinous crime and other issues related to inter-state coordination.

National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC) has been launched for professional quality eLearning services on cyber crime investigation on large scale to police officers, judges, prosecutors and other stakeholders.

Few important initiatives/roles of NCRB:

Coordination and networking among the police stations and police offices across India.

National Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) provides a huge database of fingerprints helping in solving crimes faster. It is a network based pan India system for recording and sharing of fingerprints of criminals in various crimes

Important publications including ‘Crime in India’, ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India’, ‘Prison Statistics India’ and ‘FingerPrint in India’ is released by NCRB.

It organised CCTNS Hackathon & Cyber Challenge 2020 which helped in gathering innovative ideas for improving CCTNS.

Bear and Bull Markets

In News:

Recently, the many Indian indices including NSE Nifty index have entered into ‘bear market’ territory in the backdrop of the declaration of the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Bear Market:

A bear market refers to the market where share prices are continuously declining.

Its downward trend makes investors believe that the trend will continue, which, in turn, perpetuates the downward spiral.

It is considered riskier to invest in a bear market, as many equities lose value. Thus, most investors withdraw their money from the markets.

During a bear market, the economy slows down and unemployment rises as companies begin laying off workers.

Bull Market:

A bull market refers to a market that experiences a sustained increase in market share prices.

It ensures investors that the uptrend will continue over the long term.

It signifies that the country’s economy is strong and employment levels are high.

Sericulture in India

In News:

Cocoon production in Karnataka has picked up to meet the growing demand for indigenous silk.

Silk imports from China have been badly hit on account of Coronavirus.

Key Points:

Sericulture:

It is an agro-based industry.

It involves rearing of silkworms for the production of raw silk, which is the yarn obtained out of cocoons spun by certain species of insects.

The major activities of sericulture comprise of food-plant cultivation to feed the silkworms which spin silk cocoons and reeling the cocoons for unwinding the silk filament for value-added benefits such as processing and weaving.

Domesticated silkworm (Bombyx mori) are raised for the purpose of sericulture.

The Government of India has allocated ₹2161.68 crores for three years i.e. 2017-2020 to its Central Sector Scheme ‘Silk Samagra’ for the development of sericulture in the country.

Silk Production in India:

There are five major types of silk of commercial importance, obtained from different species of silkworms. These are Mulberry, Oak Tasar & Tropical Tasar, Muga and Eri.

Except for mulberry, other non-mulberry varieties of silks are wild silks, known as vanya silks.

India has the unique distinction of producing all these commercial varieties of silk.

South India is the leading silk producing area of the country and is also known for its famous silk weaving enclaves like Kancheepuram, Dharmavaram, Arni, etc.

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020

In News:

Recently, the Parliament has passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020.

Details:

The Bill replaces the ordinance for amendment of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 (MMDR Act) and the Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015 (CMSP Act) which was promulgated on 11th January 2020.

The Bill is expected to open a new era in Indian coal & mining sector especially to promote Ease of Doing Business.

Key Points:

  1. a) Removal of restriction on end-use of coal:

Currently, companies acquiring Schedule II and Schedule III coal mines through auctions can use the coal produced only for specified end-uses such as power generation and steel production.

The Bill removes this restriction on the use of coal mined by such companies. And thus companies will be allowed to carry on coal mining operation for own consumption, sale or for any other purposes, as may be specified by the central government.

  1. b) Eligibility for auction of coal and lignite blocks:

The Bill clarifies that the companies need not possess any prior coal mining experience in India in order to participate in the auction of coal and lignite blocks.

  1. c) Composite license for prospecting and mining:

The Bill adds a new type of license, called prospecting license-cum-mining lease. It will be a composite license providing for both prospecting and mining activities.

Currently, separate licenses are provided for prospecting and mining of coal and lignite, called prospecting license, and mining lease, respectively. Prospecting includes exploring, locating, or finding mineral deposit.

  1. d) Advance action for auction:

The Bill provides that state governments can take advance action for auction of a mining lease before its expiry.

Under the MMDR Act, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) are auctioned on the expiry of the lease period.

  1. e) Transfer of statutory clearances to new bidders:

The Bill provides that the various approvals, licenses, and clearances given to the previous lessee will be extended to the successful bidder for a period of two years.

During this period, the new lessee will be allowed to continue mining operations. However, the new lessee must obtain all the required clearances within this two-year period.

Currently, upon expiry, mining leases for specified minerals (minerals other than coal, lignite, and atomic minerals) can be transferred to new persons through auction. This new lessee is required to obtain statutory clearances before starting mining operations

  1. f) Prior approval from the central government:

The Bill provides that prior approval of the central government will not be required by the state government in granting licenses for coal and lignite, in certain cases.

These include cases where the allocation has been done by the central government, and the mining block has been reserved to conserve a mineral.

Under the MMDR Act, state governments require prior approval of the central government for granting reconnaissance permit, prospecting license, or mining lease for coal and lignite.

Foreigners Tribunals

In News:

Amnesty International has raised allegations over the functioning of the Foreigners Tribunals (FTs) in Assam.

Key Points:

In a report titled ‘Designed to Exclude’, Amnesty International has asserted that the Supreme Court and Gauhati High Court had enabled the FTs to create a statelessness crisis in Assam.

There appear to be aberrations in some cases to the policy of assessing the performance of a FT member.

The organization has observed that the FTs that determined the paramount right to citizenship in Assam were often dismissive, used derogatory language, controlled their own procedures and applied them in arbitrary ways.

It has also called for a review of the existing legislative regime governing the determination of nationality in India.

Foreigners Tribunals in Assam:

The tribunals are quasi-judicial bodies, to determine if a person staying illegally is a “foreigner” or not.

Every individual, whose name does not figure in the final National Register of Citizens (NRC), can represent his/her case in front of the appellate authority i.e. Foreigners Tribunals (FT).

Assam has set up FTs, specifically to handle the cases of 19.06 lakh people left out of the updated NRC.

Under the provisions of Foreigners Act 1946 and Foreigners (Tribunals) Order 1964, only Foreigners Tribunals are empowered to declare a person as a foreigner.

The Assam Police Border Organisation, a wing of the State police tasked with detecting foreigners, readies the cases for the tribunals to decide who is a foreigner and who is not.

Foreigners Tribunal Member:

Each FT member is appointed under the Foreigners Tribunal Act, 1941, and Foreigners Tribunal Order, 1984, as per the guidelines issued by the government from time to time.

A member can be a retired judicial officer of the Assam Judicial Service, a retired civil servant not below the rank of secretary and additional secretary with judicial experience, or a practising advocate not below the age of 35 years and with at least seven years of practice.

A member is also required to have a fair knowledge of the official languages of Assam (Assamese, Bengali, Bodo and English) as well as be conversant with the historical background to the foreigners’ issue.

Nuclear Power Plants in India

In News:

Recently, the government provided details related to various nuclear power plants in the country.

Details:

Presently, India has 22 operating nuclear power reactors, with an installed capacity of 6780 MegaWatt electric (MWe). Among these eighteen reactors are Pressurised Heavy Water Reactors (PHWRs) and four are Light Water Reactors (LWRs).

The nuclear energy programme in India was launched around the time of independence under the leadership of Homi J Bhabha.

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR) is being implemented by the Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Limited (BHAVINI), a wholly owned Enterprise of the Government of India under the administrative control of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE).

Pressurized Heavy Water Reactor:

PHWR is a nuclear power reactor, commonly using unenriched natural uranium as its fuel. It uses heavy water (Deuterium oxide D2O) as its coolant and moderator.

The heavy water coolant is kept under pressure, allowing it to be heated to higher temperatures without boiling, much as in a typical pressurized water reactor.

While heavy water is significantly more expensive than ordinary light water, it yields greatly enhanced neutron economy, allowing the reactor to operate without fuel enrichment facilities.

Light Water Reactor:

The light water reactor is a type of thermal- neutron reactor that utilizes normal water as opposed to heavy water.

It is fuelled by Low Enriched Uranium.

It uses water as both a coolant method and a neutron moderator.

It produces heat by controlled nuclear fission.

Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor:

A breeder reactor is a nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it consumes. These are designed to extend the nuclear fuel supply for electric power generation.

Breeder reactors achieve this because their neutron economy is high enough to create more fissile fuel than they use, by irradiation of a fertile material, such as Uranium-238 or Thorium-232 that is loaded into the reactor along with fissile fuel.

PFBR is a 500 MWe fast breeder nuclear reactor presently being constructed at the Madras Atomic Power Station in Kalpakkam (Tamil Nadu).

It is fuelled by Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel.

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