16th December Current Affairs
December 16, 2020
18 December Current Affairs
December 18, 2020
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17th December Current Affairs

ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus (ADMM-Plus)

In News:

The 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting (ADMM) Plus was held virtually recently.

About ADMM- Plus:

Consistent with the ADMM guiding principles of open and outward looking, the 2nd ADMM in Singapore in 2007 adopted the Concept Paper to establish the ADMM-Plus.

The ADMM-Plus is a platform for ASEAN and its eight Dialogue Partners to strengthen security and defence cooperation for peace, stability, and development in the region.

Eight Dialogue Partners are Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia and the USA (collectively referred to as the “Plus Countries”).

Agreed five areas of practical cooperation under this mechanism are:

Maritime security, counter-terrorism, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, peacekeeping operations and military medicine.

In 2013, a new priority area of humanitarian mine action was agreed.

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY)

In News:

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY) to boost employment in formal sector and incentivize creation of new employment opportunities during the Covid recovery phase under Atmanirbhar Bharat Package 3.0.

About the Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana (ABRY):

Under this, Government of India will provide subsidy for two years in respect of new employees engaged on or after 1st October, 2020 and up to 30th June, 2021.

Government will pay both 12% employees’ contribution and 12% employers’ contribution i.e. 24% of wages towards EPF in respect of new employees in establishments employing upto 1000 employees for two years.

Government will pay only employees’ share of EPF contribution i.e. 12% of wages in respect of new employees in establishments employing more than 1000 employee for two years.

Eligibility:

An employee drawing monthly wage of less than Rs. 15000/- who was not working in any establishment registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) before 1st October, 2020 and did not have a Universal Account Number or EPF Member account number prior to 1st October 2020 will be eligible for the benefit.

Any EPF member possessing Universal Account Number (UAN) drawing monthly wage of less than Rs 15000 who made exit from employment during Covid pandemic from March 1, 2020, to September 30, 2020, and did not join employment in any EPF covered establishment up to September 30 will also be eligible to avail benefit.

Quantum key distribution (QKD)

In News:

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully demonstrated communication between its two labs using Quantum Key Distribution technology.

Details:

The Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and The Research Centre Imarat (RCI) were the two labs that participated in this demonstration.

What you need to know about this technology?

Typical encryption relies on traditional mathematics and while for now it is more or less adequate and safe from hacking, the development of quantum computing threatens that.

Quantum computing refers to a new era of faster and more powerful computers, and the theory goes that they would be able to break current levels of encryption.

QKD works by using photons — the particles which transmit light — to transfer data.

QKD allows two distant users, who do not share a long secret key initially, to produce a common, random string of secret bits, called a secret key.

Using the one-time pad encryption this key is proven to be secure to encrypt and decrypt a message, which can then be transmitted over a standard communication channel.

Significance of this technology:

The encryption is “unbreakable” and that’s mainly because of the way data is carried via the photon. A photon cannot be perfectly copied and any attempt to measure it will disturb it. This means that a person trying to intercept the data will leave a trace.

The implications could be huge for cybersecurity, making businesses safer, but also making it more difficult for governments to hack into communication.

New Parliament building

In News:

Foundation stone of the new Parliament building.

Details:

This took place nearly a hundred years after the foundation for the existing Parliament was laid by Duke of Connaught on February 12, 1921.

Key Points:

It is expected that the structure would be completed by 2022, coinciding with 75 years of India’s independence.

The theme of the new building would celebrate the cultural diversity of the country.

It would also incorporate regional arts and crafts. Artisans and sculptures from across the country would be employed the complete the new structure making it a symbol of Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India).

In September this year, Tata Projects Limited won the bid to construct the new parliament building at cost of Rs 861.90 crore.

The new building will be constructed close to the existing one under the Central Vista redevelopment project.

What is Central Vista project that Supreme Court has halted?

It is a grand redevelopment project for building what will be the power corridor of India, having a new Parliament building, a common central secretariat and revamped three-km-long Rajpath, from the Rashtrapati Bhavan to the India Gate.

The Supreme Court warned the government not to carry out any work on the Central Vista project until it decides on a bunch of 10 petitions challenging the mega redevelopment plan.

What’s in France’s draft law against ‘Islamism?

In News:

The French cabinet presented a draft law that targets “radical Islamism” although the word “Islamist” is not part of the text.

Reason behind the draft:

The Bill comes in the wake of a series of terror attacks in recent years.

Although in the pipeline for some time, it is being seen as a response to the October beheading of schoolteacher Samuel Paty.

What does the proposed law aim to do?

It envisages a range of measures; including school education reforms to ensure Muslim children do not drop out, stricter controls on mosques and preachers, and rules against hate campaigns online.

After enforcement of the law:

Once the law comes into force, French mosques could see increased surveillance of their activities, such as financing.

The government would be able to exercise supervision over the training of imams, and have greater powers to shut down places of worship receiving public subsidies if they go against “republican principles” such as gender equality.

There is already a ban on state employees displaying religious symbols that are “conspicuous”, such as the crucifix or hijab. This ban would now be extended beyond government bodies to any sub-contracted public service.