Gist of The Hindu: January 2021

Gist of The Hindu: JANUARY 2021


Mission COVID Suraksha

  • The Government of India (GOI) has announced the third stimulus package of Rs. 900 Crore for the Mission COVID Suraksha- The Indian COVID-19 Vaccine Development Mission.
  • This grant will be provided to the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for Research & Development of Indian COVID-19 vaccines.


  • The COVID-19 Vaccine development Mission with end-to-end focus from preclinical development through clinical development and manufacturing and regulatory facilitation for deployment, would consolidate all available and funded resources towards an accelerated product development. 
  • This will help accelerate development of approx. 5-6 vaccine candidates and ensure that these are brought closer to licensure and introduction in market for consideration of regulatory authorities for introduction in public health systems, to combat further spread of COVID infection.

Key objectives of the fund:

  • It will be accelerating pre-clinical and clinical development; 
  • To licensure of COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are currently in clinical stages or ready to enter clinical stage of development, 
  • To establishing clinical trial sites, and 
  • To strengthening the existing immunoassay laboratories, central laboratories and suitable facilities for animal studies, production facilities and other testing facilities to support COVID-19 vaccine development. 

Way ahead:

  • It will be supporting development of common harmonized protocols, trainings, data management systems, regulatory submissions, internal and external quality management systems and accreditations.   
  • Capabilities for process development, cell line development and manufacturing of GMP batches for animal toxicology studies and clinical trials will also be supported under the Mission. 
  • A key element will be development of suitable Target Product Profile so that vaccines being introduced through the mission have preferred characteristics applicable for India.

​​​​​​​Model Tenancy Act, 2020

  • The Model Tenancy Act, 2020 aims to bridge the trust deficit between tenants and landlords by clearly delineating their obligations. To ensure speedy redressal of disputes, it also proposes to establish Rent Court and Rent Tribunal to hear appeals for matters connected to rental housing. 
  • Ultimately, the creation of rental housing stock will help students, working professionals and the migrant population (especially in COVID-19-like exigencies) to find accommodation. Once implemented in all fairness, will benefit one and all. 

Why India Needs Rental Legislation?

  • Paradoxically, even while there is acute housing shortage in India, the vacancy levels of homes have been on the rise. 
  • According to the National Census, vacant houses comprised around 12% of the total share of the urban housing stock. 
  • These vacant homes in urban areas could clearly feed the rental market across the country, but various factors have created roadblocks. These include:

1.    Lack of a sound rental policy 

2.    Low rental yield accrued from residential properties – averaging not more than 3% in major cities

3.    Lack of demand in far-flung areas due to connectivity and physical infrastructure issues.

4.    COVID-19 saw lakhs of migrant workers return to their hometowns. The key reason for their return was the non-availability of affordable accommodation in cities amidst almost zero income.

Salient Features of the Model Tenancy Act, 2020:

  • The government has proposed guidelines that enforce rental contracts and protect the rights of landlords as well as tenants. As per the draft Model Tenancy Act, 2020, the government has laid down various proposals. Some notable features include:
  • After commencement of the Act, all premises (residential or commercial) shall be rented only after a written agreement on mutually agreed terms.
  • The Act will provide for a fast-track quasi-judicial mechanism for adjudication of disputes.
  • Security deposit has been capped to a maximum of two months’ rent in case of residential property, and in the case of non-residential property it shall be as per the terms of tenancy agreement subject to a maximum of six-months’ rent.
  • Security deposit to be refunded by the landlord at the time of taking over vacant possession of the premises, after making due deductions, if any.
  • The landlord is entitled to get a compensation of double of the monthly rent for two months and four times of the monthly rent thereafter if a tenant does not vacate the premises after tenancy has been terminated by order, notice or as per agreement.
  • If the term of the tenancy ends at the time when locality (where rented premises is situated) experiences any force majeure event, the landlord shall allow the tenant to continue possession of premises for one month from the cessation of such force majeure event on the same terms of prevailing tenancy agreement.
  • The tenant cannot sublet a part of or the whole property or carry out any structural change without execution of supplementary agreement between landlord and tenant.
  • The proposed rent authority must be informed about the rental agreement within two months of its signing. 
  • An officer of the rank of deputy collector or higher will act as rent authority to adjudicate any issue arising out of a rental disagreement.
  • Additional Collector or Additional District Magistrate or an officer of equivalent rank shall be the Rent Court for the purposes of this Act, within his jurisdiction. District Judge or Additional District Judge to be appointed as Rent Tribunal in each district. 

Core sector industries

  • Output at India’s eight core sectors shrank 2.5% in October.
  • Eight core sector industries are (in the order of weightage from highest to lowest): Refinery Products,Electricity, Steel, Coal, Crude Oil, Natural Gas, Cement, Fertilizers.
  • Since these eight industries are the essential basic and/or intermediate ingredient in functioning of the broader economy, mapping their health provides a fundamental understanding of state of the economy.

World  AIDS Day

  • The theme of World AIDS Day, to be observed on December 1 is ‘Ending the HIV/AIDS epidemic: resilience and impact.’
  • The method to achieve this by 2030 is to ensure life-saving antiretroviral therapy reaches all those who are infected and that all persons living with HIV know their status. 
  • It aims to ensure that those on ART are viral suppressed so that infection is negligible. The aim is to make U=U or undetectable = Untransmittable a reality.
  • Experts treating HIV/AIDS are worried that the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the World Health Organisation’s target to improve the life of people living with HIV (PLHIV). 
  • The target date to ensure that 90% of the PLHIV are reached by 2020 has been delayed.
  • The aim of the WHOwas to ensure that 90% of PLHIV know their status, 90% of them are on life-saving antiretroviral therapy (ART) and 90% of those on ART are virally suppressed, before the end of 2020. 
  • By 2030, it aimed to make accessible ART to every PLHIV, which in turn reduces the viral load in their blood to undetectable levels. This would result in making negligible their risk of transmitting the HIV.



  • ArtificialIntelligence and Robotics TechnologiesPark (ARTPARK) was recently set up in Bengaluru.
  • It is a unique not-for-profit foundation established by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru with support from Al Foundry in a public-private model.
  • It aims to leverage Al and Robotics to bring a better quality of life by lowering the cost of living with Al androbotics, and improving access to Al awareness, education and enablement.
  • It receives seed funding from the Department of Science and Technology under the National Mission onInter-disciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems.

World Test Championship format needs a review

  • The ICC recently introduced points system that ranks teams on percentage of points (PCT) instead of the overall points earned, after several series/matches could not take place due to Covid pandemic around the world.
  • ICC chairman has said his personal view is that once the WTC is completed the ICC could go back to the drawing board and review its structure taking everything into consideration.
  • The Anil Kumble-headed ICC Cricket Committee proposed the switch to PCT before the ICC Board approved it on November 20.

Government constitutes national panel to drive Paris Agreement goals

  • Through a gazette notification the Government of India has constituted the Apex Committee for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (AIPA) November 27, 2020.
  • AIPA has been constituted with the purpose of “ensuring a coordinated response on climate change matters that protects the country’s interests and ensures that India is on track towards meeting its climate change obligations under the Paris Agreement including its submitted Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)”.

Key highlights:

  • NDCs are the accounts of the voluntary efforts to be made by countries that are a part of the Paris Agreement, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate the impacts of anthropogenic climate change.The three quantitative goals in the Indian NDCs are:
  • A 33-35 per cent reduction in the gross domestic product emissions intensity by 2030 from 2005 levels.
  • A 40 per cent share of non-fossil fuel-based electricity by 2030.
  • Creating a carbon sink of 2.5-3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide through afforestation programmes.
  • Apart from these, there are five other non-quantitative goals in the Indian NDCs.
  • The NDCs are to be implemented in the post-2020 period. India had submitted its NDCs in 2015. Now, the AIPA, with its 17 members, has the responsibility of formulating policies and programmes for implementing them.
  • The committee will have the secretary, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) as the chairperson and the additional secretary, MoEFCC as the vice chairperson, according to the notification.
  • The AIPA also has the responsibility of regularly communicating and reporting the NDCs to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It will also define the responsibilities of the government ministries that would be crucial in achieving the country’s climate change mitigation and adaptation goals and submit a report every six months.
  • The AIPA will also act as a national authority for the regulation of carbon markets in India under the Article 6.2, Article 6.4 and Article 6.8 of the Paris Agreement.


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Courtesy: The Hindu