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3 July Current Affairs

National Register of Citizens

In News:

The Supreme Court has extended by a month its June 30 deadline for the publication of the final draft of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Background:

The first draft of the NRC, which was released in January, listed only 1.9 crore people as citizens out of the 3.9 crore people who had filed the NRC application.

The updated NRC will count only those as Assam citizens who can prove their residency on or before March 21, 1971. This means that all those not included in the list run the risk of being rendered illegal immigrants.

About National Register of Citizens (NRC):

The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam. It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.

Why the NRC is being updated in Assam?

NRC updation basically means the process of enlisting the names of those persons (or their descendants) whose names appear in any of the Electoral Rolls up to 1971, 1951 NRC or any of the admissible documents stipulated.

Way ahead:

The need of the hour therefore is for the Union Government to allay apprehensions presently in the minds of the people of Assam and take steps to contain any adverse fallout after the publication of the final draft of the NRC. At the same time, it also needs to spell out what it intends to do with the persons whose names do not figure in the final NRC.

Facts for Prelims:

Assam, which has faced influx of people from Bangladesh for over many years now, is the only state having an NRC.

The NRC will be updated as per the provisions of The Citizenship Act, 1955 and The Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

Source: The Hindu

Census of India

In News:

According to an amended rule notified by the Registrar-General of India (RGI), the data collected during the 2021 Census will be stored electronically, the first time since the decennial exercise was conducted in 1951 in Independent India.

Census of India:

  • The decennial Census of India has been conducted 15 times, As of 2011. While it has been conducted every 10 years, beginning in 1872, the first complete census was taken in the year 1881.
  • Post 1949, it has been conducted by the Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India under the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India.
  • All the census since 1951 are conducted under 1948 Census of India Act.

Facts for Prelims:

  • The celebrated ‘Arthashastr’ by ‘Kautilya’ written in the 3rd Century BC prescribed the collection of population statistics as a measure of state policy for taxation. It contained a detailed description of methods of conducting population, economic and agricultural censuses.
  • During the regime of the Mughal king Akbar, the administrative report ‘Ain-e-Akbari’ included comprehensive data pertaining to population, industry, wealth and many other characteristics.
  • The Delimitation/reservation of Constituencies– Parliamentary/Assembly/Panchayats and other Local Bodies is also done on the basis of the demographic data thrown up by the Census.

Source: The Hindu

Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)

In News:

Election Commission of India has launched a dedicated portal for the ECI’s ‘Systematic Voters Education and Electoral Participation’ (SVEEP).

Details:

SVEEP is a programme of multi interventions through different modes and media designed to educate citizens, electors and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes.

SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.

Now it includes enhanced interaction with the citizens through social media, online contests and voters’ festivals; awareness about new initiatives of linking EPIC with AADHAAR and National Voters’ Service Portal and a regularised yearly plan of activities.

In addition to target groups of women, youth, urban voters and the marginalized sections, the inclusion of groups like service voters, NRIs, persons with disabilities, prospective voters/ students is of primary focus.

Source: The Hindu

Nipah virus

In News:

Kozhikode and Malappuram districts have been declared free of Nipah virus by the Kerala government. No fresh cases have been reported after June 1 in these districts.

About Nipah Virus:

According to WHO, the Nipah virus infection is a newly emerging zoonosis, that is, a disease transmitted from animals to humans. The virus belongs to a new genus termed Henipavirus (subfamily Paramyxovirinae).

The natural host of the virus are fruit bats belonging to the family Pteropodidae. In 2004, humans were affected after eating the date palm contaminated by infected fruit bats. Pigs can also act as intermediate hosts.

When was it first reported?

It was first identified in 1998 at Kampung Sungai Nipah village, Malaysia. The virus is named after this village.

Symptoms in humans:

The symptoms of Nipah are similar to that of influenza: fever, muscle pain, and respiratory problems. Inflammation of the brain can also cause disorientation. Late onset of Encephalitis can also occur. Sometimes a person can have an asymptomatic infection, and be a carrier of Nipah and not show any symptoms.

Are there any vaccines?

Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.

According to WHO, ribavarin can reduce the symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and convulsions associated with the disease. Individuals infected need to be hospitalised and isolated. Special care should be taken to prevent human-to-human transmission. Surveillance systems should be established to detect the virus quickly and to initiate appropriate control measures.

Source: The Hindu

Asia Pacific Trade Agreement​

In News:

India has agreed to provide tariff concessions on 3,142 products to Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) members. These duty concessions will be more for least developed countries (LDCs) and less for developing nations.

About APTA:

The Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), previously named the Bangkok Agreement, was signed in 1975 as an initiative of ESCAP.

The six member countries are Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, Korea and Sri Lanka.

Being the oldest preferential trade agreement among developing countries in Asia-Pacific, APTA aims to promote economic development through the adoption of mutually beneficial trade liberalization measures that will contribute to intra-regional trade expansion and provides for economic integration through coverage of merchandise goods, services, investment and trade facilitation.

Significance of APTA:

Open to all developing member countries, APTA is a truly region-wide trade agreement spanning East and South Asia, with potential to expand to other sub-regions, including Central Asia and the Pacific.

APTA is the first plurilateral agreement among the developing countries in the region to adopt common operational procedures for certification and verification of the origin of goods and it has the longest effective implementation period amongst the trade agreements in the entire Asia-Pacific.

Notably, APTA is the only operational trade agreement linking China and India, two of the fastest growing markets in the world, and other major markets such as the Republic of Korea.

Source: The Hindu

Intellectual Property Appellate Board

In News:

The Union Ministry of Finance has amended Intellectual Property rules to revoke the power vested with Customs authorities to seize imported products based on complaints of patent infringement.

Background:

On June 22, the Ministry made two amendments to the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Rules, 2007.

Firstly, the Intellectual Property Rights (Imported Goods) Enforcement Amendment Rules, 2018, omits all reference to the Patents Act, 1970.

Another amendment incorporates further conditions that oblige the right-holder to notify the Commissioner of Customs of any amendment, cancellation, suspension or reaction that concern Intellectual Property rights, and require the Customs authorities to accordingly amend, suspend or cancel the corresponding protection provided by them.

It permitted the Customs authorities to cancel his patent from its records based on the order passed by the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB).

What is Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB)?

It was constituted on September 15, 2003 by the Indian Government to hear and resolve the appeals against the decisions of the registrar under the Indian Trademarks Act, 1999 and the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.

Since April 2, 2007, IPAB has been authorized to hear and adjudicate upon the appeals from most of the decisions, orders or directions made by the Patent Controller under the Patents Act. Therefore, all pending appeals of Indian High Courts under the Patents Act were transferred to IPAB.

Organization of an IPAB Bench: Each Bench of the IPAB includes a Judicial Member and a Technical Member. The qualifications for appointment as a technical member of the IPAB are mentioned in The Trade Marks Act and the Patents Act.

Jurisdiction: Appeals from the decision of the Controller to the IPAB must be made within three months from the date of the decision/ order or direction, according to the, or within such further time as the IPAB permits, with the appropriate fees. An extension is available for filing the appeal by way of a Condonation of Delay (COD) petition.

Source: The Hindu

Kudankulam power plant

In News:

The Supreme Court has granted the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd. (NPCIL) an extension of time till April 30, 2022, to build an Away From Reactor (AFR) facility to store spent nuclear fuel from the Kudankulam power plant.

Background:

The AFR facility was supposed to be built in five years, but this had not been done. In 2013, the court granted five years to NPCIL, till July 2018, to build the storage unit.

About Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant:

  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is situated in Koodankulam in the Tirunelveli district of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
  • It is the single largest nuclear power station in India.
  • The reactors are pressurised water reactor of Russian design.
  • KKNPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity.

What are Pressurized water reactors (PWRs)?

They are one of three types of light water reactor (LWR), the other types being boiling water reactors (BWRs) and supercritical water reactors (SCWRs). In a PWR, the primary coolant (water) is pumped under high pressure to the reactor core where it is heated by the energy released by the fission of atoms. The heated water then flows to a steam generator where it transfers its thermal energy to a secondary system where steam is generated and flows to turbines which, in turn, spin an electric generator. In contrast to a boiling water reactor, pressure in the primary coolant loop prevents the water from boiling within the reactor. All LWRs use ordinary water as both coolant and neutron moderator.

Source: The Hindu

Affordable Housing Fund

  • Government has announced a dedicated affordable housing fund under the National Housing Bank (NHB) to boost demand and supply of low-cost homes.
  • It will receive fund from priority sector lending shortfall and fully serviced bonds authorised by the Government of India.
  • It will be used to construct one crore households in the rural areas Pradhanmantri Awas Yojana.
  • National Housing Bank Act is being amended to transfer its equity from the Reserve Bank of India to the
  • In last year’s Budget, the government had announced infrastructure status to affordable housing.
  • NOTE: Ministry of Urban Development has been merged with Ministry of Housing. The new Ministry is named as Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • All the schemes under Ministry of Urban development has been subsumed under Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Zero Hunger Programme

  • On the occasion of world food day (October 16), three districts in India will initiate India’s ambitious ‘Zero Hunger’ programme through interventions in farm sector.
  • The three districts are Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Koraput in Odisha and Thane in Maharashtra.
  • It is a dedicated farm-based programme in sync with India’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end hunger by 2030.
  • It will be initiated by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC).
  • These three districts would act as a model of an integrated approach adopting suitable agricultural/horticultural practices.
  • The programme consists of organisations of farming system for nutrition, setting up genetic gardens and initiation of „Zero Hunger‟ training.
  • A genetic garden for biofortified plants/crops contains the germplasm of naturally biofortified crops or such crops through plant breeding.
  • It has plants and crops that help supplement micro-nutrient deficiencies, including iron, iodine, vitamin A and zinc among others.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyan

  • The programme is under the Ministry of Human Resource and Development.
  • It aimed at providing rural India with professional resource support from institutes of higher education to address the development challenges through appropriate technologies.
  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) along with the Ministries of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj has agreed to link all Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) with rural development processes under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan (UBA).
  • It is an attempt to bring about substantial improvements in the formulation and delivery of developmental schemes in the rural areas.
  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi has been designated as the Coordinating In