Today Current Affairs: 2nd August 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3):
Information regarding India’s participation in the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) was recently given in Parliament by the Government.
- It was jointly organised by Iceland and Japan and is the first Ministerial meeting held in Asia.
- The theme for this year is ‘Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic’.
- The first two meetings—ASM1 and ASM2—were held in the USA in 2016 and Germany in 2018, respectively.
- The meetings are designed to provide opportunities to various stakeholders to enhance collective understanding of the Arctic region, emphasize and engage in constant monitoring, and strengthen observations.
- Arctic warming and its ice melt are global concerns as they play a pivotal role in regulating climate, sea levels, and maintaining biodiversity. Moreover, there is growing evidence of connection between the Arctic and the Indian Ocean (which modulates the Indian monsoon).
- Hence, improving the understanding of physical processes and quantifying the impact of Arctic ice melt on the Indian summer monsoon is very important.
- India’s engagement with the Arctic dates back to 1920 with the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in Paris.
- Since July 2008, India has had a permanent research station in the Arctic called Himadri at NyAlesund, Svalbard Area in Norway.
- It has also deployed a multi-sensor moored observatory called IndARC in the Kongsfjorden fjord since July 2014.
The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill:
New Zealand has introduced legislation seeking to ban conversion therapy, which refers to the practice of trying to “cure” people of their sexuality, gender expression, or LGBTQI identity.
- The Conversion Practices Prohibition Legislation Bill aims at preventing any harm caused by conversion therapy and promote healthy discussions on gender and sexuality. The bill also provides for civil redress.
- The bill proposes to make an offence to perform conversion therapy on children, youngsters under the age of 18 or anyone with impaired decision-making capacity. The punishment for the offence will be up to three years of imprisonment.
- Under the bill, it is also an offence to make anyone go through conversion therapy, irrespective of their age, and cause them serious harm. The punishment of this offence will be up to five years of imprisonment. Although, the bill is unclear on what “serious harm” means.
- The Human Rights Commission would play a significant role in educating about conversion practices and in help survivors access any support that they need.
- New Zealand is not the first country to impose a ban on conversion therapy practices.
- Other countries that have, over the years, imposed a ban on such practices are Germany, Malta, Ecuador, Brazil and Taiwan. Germany passed a ban on advertising and the practice of conversion therapy in minors, in May last year.
- Other than these countries, 20 states in the US and a few cities in the US, Canada, Australia and Spain have banned the practice.
The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2021:
The General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Amendment Bill 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- The Bill will amend the General Insurance Business (Nationalisation) Act, 1972. The Bill proposes three amendments.
- The first aims to omit the proviso to Section 10B of the Act so as to remove the requirement that the Central government holds not less than 51 per cent of the equity capital in a specified insurer.
- The second amendment is to insert a new Section 24B, providing for cessation of application of the Act to such a specified insurer from the date on which the Centre ceases to have control over it.
- And, the third amendment is also to insert a new Section 31A, making a director, who is not a whole-time director, liable only for acts of omission or commission committed with his knowledge and connivance by the insurer.
- Although the Bill has a provision that will allow the government to bring down its shareholding below 51 per cent, Sitharaman clarified that this is not a Bill for privatisation.
- As on date, there are four public sector general insurance companies — National Insurance Company Limited, New India Assurance Company Limited, Oriental Insurance Company Limited, and United India Insurance Company Limited.
- It is not yet known in one the government will lower its shareholding.
The Commission For Air Quality Management In National Capital Region And Adjoining Areas Bill 2021:
The Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Bill 2021 was introduced in the Lok Sabha by Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
- The bill aims for the constitution of a commission for better coordination, research, identification and resolution of problems related to air quality in the national capital region and adjoining areas.
- The commission shall consist of a full-time chairperson having experience of not less than 15 years in the field of environment protection and pollution control or having administrative experience of not less than 25 years.
- The chairperson or a member, other than an ex officio member, shall hold office for a term of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office or until he attains the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier, and shall be eligible for re-appointment.
- Adjoining areas refers to Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan where any source of pollution may cause adverse impact on air quality in the NCR.
- Once passed, the bill will replace an ordinance issued in the recent past.
- According to the new Bill, “the commission may impose and collect environmental compensation from farmers causing air pollution by stubble burning, at such rate and in such manner, as may be prescribed”.
Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana:
The government has said that under the schemes implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) at least 30 percent of the expenditure allocated for agricultural schemes is being incurred for women to bring them into mainstream agriculture. This mainly includes Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana.
- Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana was started in 2011.
- The “Mahila Kisan Sashaktikaran Pariyojana” (MKSP) is a sub component of the Deendayal Antodaya Yojana-NRLM (DAY-NRLM).
- It seeks to improve the present status of women in Agriculture, and to enhance the opportunities available to empower her.
- MKSP recognizes the identity of “Mahila” as “Kisan” and strives to build the capacity of women in the domain of agro-ecologically sustainable practices.
- Upto 60% (90% for North Eastern States) of the funding support for such projects is provided by the government.
Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) Programme:
Two more commercial-cum-strategic facilities at Chandikhol and Padur of 6.5 MM storage capacity to be established under phase-2 of SPR Programme.
- Under Phase I of strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) programme, Government of India, through its Special Purpose Vehicle, Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve Limited (ISPRL), has established petroleum storage facilities with total capacity of 5.33 Million Metric Tonnes (MMT) at 3 locations, namely (i) Vishakhapatnam (ii) Mangaluru and (iii) Padur.
- Strategic petroleum reserves are huge stockpiles of crude oil to deal with any crude oil-related crisis like the risk of supply disruption from natural disasters, war or other calamities.
- The petroleum reserves are strategic in nature and the crude oil stored in these reserves will be used during an oil shortage event, as and when declared so by the Government of India.
- The construction of the Strategic Crude Oil Storage facilities is being managed by Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Limited (ISPRL), a Special Purpose Vehicle, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Oil Industry Development Board (OIDB) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas.