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Current Affairs > English > 2019-01-09 > Editorial



The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill - 2019


The Lok Sabha passed The DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill - 2019.



The Bill has been formulated recognizing the need for regulation of the use and application of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology, for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.

The purpose of this Bill is to expand the application of DNA-based forensic technologies to support and strengthen the justice delivery system of the country.

By providing for the mandatory accreditation and regulation of DNA laboratories, the Bill seeks to ensure that with the proposed expanded use of this technology in this country, there is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable, and furthermore that the data remain protected from misuse or abuse in terms of the privacy rights of our citizens.


The key components of this Bill include:

         Establishment of a DNA Regulatory Board;

         Accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing, analysing, etc.;

         Establishment of the National and Regional DNA Data Banks.

This will aid in scientific up-gradation and streamlining of the DNA testing activities in the country with appropriate inputs from the DNA Regulatory Board which would be set up for the purpose.

The Bill will add value in empowering the criminal justice delivery system by enabling the application of DNA evidence, which is considered the gold standard in crime investigations.


Key words: DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill , Crime Investigation







The Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019


Why in News

The Lok Sabha passed the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019, allowing 10% quota in employment and education for the general category candidates who belong to the economically weaker sections.


The 10% reservation will be over and above the 50% stipulated by the Supreme Court and is expected to benefit a huge section of upper castes, including Brahmins, Rajputs (Thakurs), Jats, Marathas and Bhumihars and trading castes such as Kapus and Kammas.

         The economically deprived among the poor in the other religions will also benefit.


Who will the new 10% quota apply to?

         To all those who are not covered in existing quotas and have a family income below Rs 8 lakh a year or agricultural land below 5 acres.

         Those who have a house above 1,000 square feet or a 100-yard plot or above in a notified municipal area or a 200-yard plot or above in a non-notified municipal area are not eligible.


Key words: Reservation, EWS, 124th Constitution Amendment Bill



Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme



Why in News

Tardy implementation of projects under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) between, 2008-2017 led to an almost threefold jump in the cost of these projects to Rs1.20 lakh crore, according to a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).



From 2008-2017, of the 201 major and medium projects approved, only 62 were completed. Of the 11,291 minor irrigation schemes sanctioned, only 8,014 were completed.

         As a result, only about 35% of Indias irrigation potential was utilised.

         Of the 118 major projects surveyed by the CAG, 105 suffered from a time overrun with some projects being delayed by more than 18 years.

The audit of the AIBP revealed lacunae in the planning, implementation and monitoring of the programme.

         Projects and schemes were included under AIBP in violation of the programmes guidelines, resulting in irregular release of Rs 3,718.71 crore.

         There were also deficiencies in the preparation and processing of Detailed Project Reports such as inadequate surveys, inaccurate assessment of water availability, Irrigation Potential and Command Area and the lack of activity-wise construction plans.

Financial irregularities

The CAG also pointed out financial irregularities such as diversion of funds amounting to Rs 1,578.55 crore, parking of funds totalling Rs1,112.56 crore and fictitious and fraudulent expenditure of Rs 7.58 crore.

         There were also instances of short/non-realisation of revenue amounting to Rs 1,251.39 crore.

         The monitoring by Central and State agencies was lax. There were shortfalls in number of monitoring visits by Central Water Commission (CWC) and reports were not prepared in all projects evaluated.

         Further, compliance to issues highlighted in the CWC reports were also pending.


Key Words: Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, CAG, Irregularities





Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019


Why in News

The Lok Sabha passed the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, that seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.



         Home Minister said the six communities Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan faced discrimination and religious persecution and they have no place to go, except India.

         The proposed amendment will make these persecuted migrants eligible to apply for citizenship. Citizenship will be given to them only after due scrutiny and recommendation of district authorities and the State Government.




However, there has been a strong resistance to the Bill in Assam and other northeastern States who fear it would pave the way for granting citizenship mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, who came after March 1971, in violation of the 1985 Assam Accord.

Key words: Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019



Committee on Digital Payments

Why in news?

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has set up a five-member committee headed by Infosys chairman Nandan Nilekani to suggest a strategy for deepening of digital payments in the country.

The committee will submit its report within 90 days from its first meeting.

Terms of reference

The panel will review the existing status of digitisation of payments in the country, identify the current gaps in the ecosystem, and suggest ways to bridge them.

The panel will also suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments and provide a roadmap for increasing customer confidence while accessing financial services through digital modes.

Other members of the committee are H.R. Khan, former deputy governor, RBI, Kishor Sansi, former MD & CEO Vijaya Bank, Aruna Sharma, former secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Steel, and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad.

Keywords: Nandan Nilekani, RBI panel, H.R. Khan, Kishor Sansi, Aruna Sharma, Sanjay Jain.


Science and Tech

HD 21749b

Why in news?

NASAs latest planet-hunting probe has discovered a new world outside our solar system, orbiting a dwarf star 53 light years away.

         The planet is named HD 21749b.

         This is the third new planet confirmed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) since its launch in April last year.

         The planet HD 21749b, orbits a bright, nearby dwarf star about 53 light years away, in the constellation Reticulum.

         It appears to have the longest orbital period of the three planets so far identified by TESS.

         HD 21749b journeys around its star in a relatively leisurely 36 days, compared to the two other planets Pi Mensae b, a super-Earth with a 6.3-day orbit, and LHS 3844b, a rocky world that speeds around its star in just 11 hours.

         Its the coolest small planet that we know of around a star this bright. Coolest because it orbits farther from its star, and is therefore cooler.

         The planet is about three times the size of the earth, which puts it in the category of a sub-Neptune.

         However, it is unlikely that the planet is rocky and therefore habitable; its more likely made of gas, of a kind that is much denser than the atmospheres of either Neptune or Uranus.

Keywords: HD 21749b, Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), NASA, Pi Mensae b, super-Earth, LHS 3844b.




Sita Rama Lift Irrigation Project


Why in News

Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change has granted environmental clearance (EC) to the project.

Further, Implementation of environmental management plan (EMP) with Rs 1,159 crore by making necessary budgetary allocation has also been stipulated by the MoEF in its environmental clearance.




         The project is proposed to utilise 70 tmc ft by lifting it from Godavari river from the upstream of the existing Dummugudem anicut for irrigating nearly 2.73 lakh hectares, including 1.33 lakh hectares of new ayacut and stabilisation of 1.40 lakh acres of existing tail-end ayacut of other projects in Bhadradri-Kothagudem, Khammam and Mahabubabad districts.

         It is expected to benefit 180 villages in the three districts both by meeting irrigation and drinking water needs of about 58.18 lakh population.

         It would also supplement water to some existing and proposed minor lift irrigation schemes, besides minor irrigation tanks en route.

The estimated cost of the project is Rs 13,385 crore and the government has plans to complete it in three years.

         Total land requirement for the project is about 8,477 hectares, including 1,531 hectares forest, 4,818 hectares private and 2,128 hectares government land.

         The area of submergence would be about 1,930 hectares and about 9,700 families in 157 villages are expected to affected with the project.

         The project does not involves construction of any dam or barrage but a head regulator would be constructed in the upstream of Dummugudem anicut to draw water required.

         It would also involve construction of lined canal for about 372 km length and four pump-house along with delivery cisterns.




Sita Rama project

Sita Rama project is the outcome of integration and redesigning of two lift irrigation schemes proposed in the past in combined Andhra Pradesh Rajivsagar Dummugudem and Indirasagar Rudramakota.

         Redesigning of the previous proposals was necessitated as the location of their head works have become part of Andhra Pradesh after bifurcation of the State in 2014 and the entire ayacut lying in Telangana.

         Besides, there were environmental bottlenecks as one of the main canals was supposed to pass through a wildlife sanctuary and it was near impossible to get the clearance.


Key words: Sita Rama Lift Irrigation Project, Godavari, Telangana