Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 September 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 04 September 2020


RTI reveals no earnings to CSIR labs from technology transfer 

  • Some labs of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) — India’s premier laboratory research network — have earned no money from technology transfer since at least 2015, according to data by the Council accessed by The Hindu via the Right to Information Act.
  • Of the 38 labs of the CSIR, 11 responded with information to The Hindu’s queries, posed in February, on the number of technologies developed, numbers licensed and the money earned from technology transfer since 2015. Some said they were unable to respond because of COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Five of the labs that responded said they had received “no royalty from technologies commercialised 2015-2020”. These were the CSIR-IMTECH (Institute of Microbial Technology), Chandigarh; CSIR-AMPRI (Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute), Bhopal; CSIR-IIP (Indian Institute of Petroleum), Dehradun; CSIR-Fourth Paradigm, Bengaluru; CSIR-CBRI (Central Building Research Institute), Roorkee.
  • The CSIR’s revenue isn’t from technology transfer alone but also from providing consultancy services and the RTI response didn’t include such revenues.
  • Not all research labs of the CSIR are for technology development and several have a mandate of developing technologies for poorer sections of society, according to a CSIR official.

UN experts flag concern on EIA notification

  • A group of Special Rapporteurs to the United Nations has written to the Centre expressing concern over the proposed Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020 and sought the government’s response on how the provisions of the notification were consonant with India’s “obligations under international law”.
  • In their letter, the five experts say the proposed notification appeared to have clauses that obstructed people’s rights to a safe, clean and healthy environment.
  • These were the clauses that exempted several large industries and projects from public consultation — as part of the environment impact assessment process — and the rapporteurs argued that the exemptions were unwarranted, particularly when there was a serious gas leak from (LG Polymers) chemical plant in Visakhapatnam on May 12.



Supreme court asks banks to maintain status quo interms of declaration of NPA’s

  • The Supreme Court on Thursday directed banks that loan accounts in the clear till the expiry of the moratorium on August 31 should not be declared as non-performing assets (NPAs) till further orders.
  • The order was passed amid apprehensions raised by individual borrowers and representatives of various commercial sectors on whether their loans would be declared NPAs on September 1, the day after the expiry of the moratorium.
  • The court is examining the question whether compound interest (interest on interest) should be charged on loans deferred during the moratorium period. The Bench is also examining the powers of the Centre and the National Disaster Management Authority to provide relief to borrowers, reeling under the financial effects of the pandemic.
  • Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre and RBI, submitted that the impact of the pandemic was varied for each sector. Some like pharma have fared well during the lockdown.
  • “The idea of moratorium was to defer repayment to ease the burden caused by COVID-19 and lockdown so that businesses can manage working capital. The idea was not to waive interest,” Mr. Mehta said.
  • Moratorium was to help those in distress and not meant as an opportunity for those already defaulting in their loan payments.
  • Instead of loan waiver, steps were being taken to revive the various sectors, he submitted. Loan accounts became NPAs only if payments were not made for 90 days. The moratorium period was excluded from 90 days. “Accounts do not become NPAs on September 1,” he assured the court.

Govt launches immunity boosting products under PMBJP

  • Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister D V SadanandaGowda today launched eight immunity boosting products under PradhanMantriBhartiyaJanaushadhiPriyojana for sale through JanaushadhiKendras across country.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gowda informed that the launch of new nutraceuticals is significant in view of the Corona-19 pandemic. These products will help in boosting immunity of the people. He said that products are comparable in quality and are cheaper by over 26 per cent than the market price.


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India calls for protection of foreign students and stranded seafarers at G20 meet

  • India has called upon Governments around the world to ensure that interests of foreign students are protected and movement of stranded seafarers back to their home country facilitated.  
  • Participating in the G20 Foreign Ministers’ Extraordinary virtual Meeting, External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar also proposed development of voluntary ‘G20 Principles on Coordinated Cross-Border Movement of People’ in the backdrop of Covid-19.
  • These principles are based on three elements. Standardisation of testing procedures and universal acceptability of test results, Standardisation of ‘Quarantine procedures’ and Standardisation of ‘movement and transit’ protocols.
  • He also highlighted the steps taken by India in the wake of the pandemic. This virtual meeting was convened in the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
  • Dr.Jaishankar apprised the G20 Foreign Ministers about the steps taken by India including Vande Bharat Mission and creation of ‘travel bubbles’ for the welfare and protection of foreign citizens stranded here as well as its own citizens abroad. The meeting was convened by the current G20 Chair, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al-Saud, chaired the meeting.
  • The discussions centred on strengthening international cooperation across borders in the wake of COVID-19 crisis. The Ministers also exchanged national experiences and lessons learned from the cross-border management measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemics.

MEA asserts digital companies should abide by government rules

  • India has said it remains open and continues to welcome FDI in the country including in the area of internet technology but companies must operate in accordance with the regulatory framework of government.
  • Responding to a query on banning of mobile apps, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson AnuragSrivastava said India has one of the most open regimes for FDI in the world and this includes for internet companies as well as digital technology companies.
  • He said digital technology companies while operating in India have the responsibility to abide by the rules and regulations issued by the concerned Ministries and departments of the government.



Researchers at IISC develops low cost printing technique

  • The researchers at the Centre for Nano Science and Engineering in the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Science have developed a low cost, on demand printing technique. This new technique replaces the nozzles of an inkjet printer with a mesh covered chemically treated nano wires that repel water.
  • Because of the short contact time of the impacting droplet with the mesh, the chances of clogging the pore are minimised. The mesh can also be easily cleaned and reused. 
  • This is useful for 3D printing of living cells, ceramic materials, electronic circuits and machine components.The Associate Professor in the Centre for Nano Science, ProsenjitSen says that the new technique reduces the operational cost of the printer. 



P. Iniyan wins the 48th annual world open chess tournament

  • India’s GM P. Iniyan won the 48th annual world open chess tournament (online) recently. Usually held in Philadelphia, the USA, the tournament was conducted online following classical time control.
  • In a strong field that had 31 GMs, Iniyan scored 7.5 points from nine games. Iniyan and SananSjugirov (Russia) were tied on points but the former won on better tie-break.


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