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Evening News Digest,5 July 2018

Cabinet approves accession to WIPO Copyright Treaty, 1996

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal submitted by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry regarding accession to the WIPO Copyright Treaty and WIPO Performers and Phonograms Treaty which extends coverage of copyright to the internet and digital environment.
  • The approval is a step towards the objective laid in the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Policy adopted by the Government on 12thMay 2016 which aims to get value for IPRs through commercialization by providing guidance and support to EPR owners about commercial opportunities of e-commerce through Internet and mobile platforms.

What is WIPO?

The WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) is a special agreement under the Berne Convention that deals with the protection of works and the rights of their authors in the digital environment

  • WIPO Copyright Treaty came in force on March 6, 2002 and has been adopted by 96 contracting parties till date and is A Special agreement under Berne Convention (for protection of literary and artistic works). It has provisions to extend the protection of copyrights contained therein to the digital environment. Further it recognises the rights specific to digital environment, of making work available, to address "on-demand" and other interactive modes of access,
  • Benefits:
  • To enable creative right-holders enjoy the fruit of their labour, through international copyright system that can be used to secure a return on the investment made in producing and distributing creative works
  • To facilitate international protection of domestic rights holder by providing them level-playing field in other countries as India already extends protection to foreign works through the International Copyright order and these treaties will enable Indian right holders to get reciprocal protection abroad.
  • Both the treaties provide framework for creators and right owners to use technical tools to protect their works and safeguard information about their use i.e. Protection of Technological Protection Measures (TPMs) and Rights Management Information (RMI).



Agartala Airport to  be renamed as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport


  • The Union Cabinet decided to name the Agartala airport in Tripura after Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore, the erstwhile ruler of the state.
  • The airport was constructed in 1942 on the land donated by the maharaja.
  • A meeting of the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, gave its approval to rename the Agartala Airport as Maharaja Bir Bikram Manikya Kishore Airport, Agartala.
  • The maharaja, who ascended the throne of the erstwhile Tripura princely state in 1923.The airport is the second busiest airport in the north east and provides crucial air connectivity to Tripura.


Extension of Recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks Scheme upto 2019-20


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the extension of the scheme of recapitalization of Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) for the next three years i.e. upto 2019-20.This will enable the RRBs to maintain the minimum prescribed Capital to Risk Weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9 per cent.


  • A strong capital structure and minimum required level of CRAR will ensure financial stability of RRBs which will enable them to play a greater role in financial inclusion and meeting the credit requirements of rural areas.


  • There are 56 RRBs functioning in the country. As on 31st March, 2017(Prov.), the total credit given by RRBs is Rs.2,28,599 crores.
  • The identification of RRBs requiring recapitalization and the amount of capital to be provided, will be decided in consultation with NABARD.
  • RRBs were set up with the objective to provide credit and other facilities, especially to the small and marginal farmers, agricultural labourers, artisans and small entrepreneurs in rural areas for development of agriculture, trade, commerce, industry and other productive activities.
  • RRBs are jointly owned by Government of India, the concerned State Government and Sponsor Banks with the issued capital shared in the proportion of 50%, 15% and 35% respectively.


DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018


  • Cabinet has approved DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018. The primary intended purpose of the Bill is for expanding 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 the proposed expanded use of this technology in the country.
  • There is also the assurance that the DNA test results are reliable and the data remains protected. The Bill's provision will enable cross matching between persons who have been reported missing and unidentified dead bodies found in various parts of the country.
  • Cabinet has also approved umbrella schemes for Relief and Rehabilitation of Migrants and Repatriates.
  • Cabinet has given its approval for continuation of eight existing schemes of Home Ministry up to March 2020 for relief and rehabilitation of migrants and repatriates.



Higher Education to get boost with RISE by 2022


  • Cabinet approves Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Higher Education (RISE) by 2022   Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) scope expanded to meet the rising financial requirements of educational infrastructure in the country.
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for expanding the scope of Higher Education Financing Agency (HEFA) by enhancing its capital base to Rs. 10,000 crore and tasking it to mobilise Rs. 1,00,000 crore for Revitalizing Infrastructure and Systems in Education (RISE) by 2022.
  • In order to expand this facility to all institutions, especially to the institutions set up after 2014, Central Universities which have very little internal resources, and the school education/health education infrastructure like AllMSs, Kendriya Vidyalayas, the CCEA has approved the following five windows for financing under HEFA and the modalities of repaying the Principal portion of the fund (interest continues to be serviced through Government grants in all these cases):
  • Technical Institutions more than  10 years old:  Repay the whole Principal Portion from the internally generated budgetary resources.
  • Technical Institutions started between 2008 and 2014: Repay 25% of the principal portion from internal resources, and receive grant for the balance of the Principal portion.
  • HEFA has been set up on 31st  May 2017 by the Central Government as a Non ­Profit, Non Banking Financing Company (NBFC) for mobilising extra-budgetary resources for building crucial infrastructure in the higher educational institutions under Central Govt.
  • In the existing arrangement, the entire principle portion is repaid by the institution over ten years, and the interest portion is serviced by the Government by providing additional grants to the institution.



MSP for Kharif Crops for 2018-19 Season approved


  • The government hiked the minimum support price for paddy by a record Rs 200 per quintal that will cost the exchequer over Rs 15,000 crore, and help fulfil its poll promise to give farmers 50 percent more rate than their cost of production.
  • The decision, taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, comes less than a year before next general election.
  • The previous highest hike in paddy MSP was Rs 170 a quintal in the 2012-13 the election year of UPA-II. In the last four years, the NDA government has raised the paddy MSP between Rs 50-80 per quintal.
  • Briefing about the CCEA decision, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the cabinet has approved the MSP of 14 kharif (summer-sown) crops for the 2018-19 season.
  • The government's price advisory body CACP(Commission on agriculture cost and pricing) has calculated production cost of paddy at Rs 1,166 per quintal and the government has raised the MSP of paddy (common grade) by Rs 200 to Rs 1,750 per quintal for 2018-19 season.



ECI to Issue Electoral Photo Identity Cards with Braille Features


  • EC to issue braille voter ID cards to visually challenged voters
  • An alternative to Braille that both visually challenged, sighted can read
  • Odisha government prints Braille calendar
  • High cost of braille books a dampener for TN students
  • Election Commission to be more active on FB, YouTube



Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System launched


  • Union Minister of Coal, Railways, Finance & Corporate Affairs, Shri Piyush Goyal launched the Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and Mobile Application ‘Khan Prahari’ developed by CMPDI, Ranchi a Subsidiary of CIL and Bhaskarcharya Institute of Space Application and Geo-informatics (BISAG) at a ceremony at, New Delhi.
  • Illegal coal mining not only causes a loss to the nation’s resources but is also harmful to the environment.
  • It is understood that coal is a main source of livelihood for many poor families residing in coal belts, but their sustenance should not be totally dependent on illegal coal mining.
  • It is not only about saving national resources but also about improving the quality of life of those people.
  • The Minister said that Ministry of Coal has taken a major initiative in this direction by developing a Web GIS application called ‘Coal Mine Surveillance & Management System (CMSMS) and a mobile app called ‘Khan Prahari’.
  • The Minister also said that this was a step towards utilizing space science as envisioned by Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi for peaceful activities. The Minister further stated that the launch of the Coal Mine Surveillance Management System and “Khan Prahari” on Swami Vivekananda’s death anniversary is a fitting tribute to him because Swamiji stood for highest levels of integrity.



Sports Authority of India set to be renamed as Sports India


  • More than 34 years after coming into existence, the Sports Authority of India is set to be renamed as Sports India.
  • Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore announced after the sports body's governing body meeting in New Delhi.
  • The sports body, established in 1984, organised its 50th General Body meeting, where it was also decided that coaches will be given a say in decision making and the food expenses for  athletes will also be increased.


Uttarakhand HC declares animals to be ‘legal persons’


  • In a unique ruling, the Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of a "legal person or entity" to animals in the state, saying "they have a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person".
  • A division bench of Justices Rajiv Sharma and Lokpal Singh bestowed the unique status on the animal kingdom while issuing a series of directions to prevent cruelty against animals.
  • The entire animal kingdom, including avian and aquatic ones, are declared as legal entities having a distinct persona with corresponding rights, duties and liabilities of a living person.
  • The Uttarakahnd High Court in the past had given a similar right to river Ganga when it ordered that the river is a human entity and will enjoy all corresponding rights.
  • Later, the order was however set aside by the Supreme Court after the Uttarakhand government challenged the order arguing that the order will open floodgates of litigation against its officials
  • In its order, the high court said that all citizens throughout the state of Uttarakhand are hereby declared persons in loco parentis (someone who is given the legal responsibility to carry out some responsibilities of a parent) as the human face for the welfare/protection of animals.
  • The court also declared all Uttarakhand natives as the guardians of animals and endowed them with the duty to ensure their welfare and protection.


ISRO to test its astronaut escape feature

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has scheduled a ‘pad abort test’ of an experimental space crew capsule as an important cog of its plan to send Indians to space one day.
  • The launch pad abort test, or PAT, involves aborting a space capsule at launch to save the inmates. It is slated at ISRO’s Sriharikota launch venue, the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), in coastal A.P.
  • Space Application Centre, Ahmedabad(SAC) has provided devices that enable satellite communication and navigation of this flight.
  • ISRO Chairman K.Sivan has been overseeing the preparations.
  • The priority of all space agencies in a human space mission is the safe return of its astronauts. With the pad abort test, ISRO aims to prove its technology that will safely parachute future astronauts down in case their space vehicle develops snags while taking off.
  • First milestone
  • ISRO describes PAT as the first milestone in qualifying its crew escape system in an emergency.
  • The test is also one of the many main and supporting technologies that the space agency is developing ahead of its ambitious Human Space Flight Programme (HSP).
  • According to information put together from multiple sources, a roughly 3,770-kg trial crew module, aided by four solid-fuelled rockets built around it, will be flown up to a distance of 2.4 km. On firing, the module will be jettisoned and demonstrate a safe descent with the help of parachutes — all this in around three minutes.


IIT Roorkee develops technology for railway track health monitoring


  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee, have developed computer vision approach for the monitoring of railway tracks using drones and satellite data.
  • The aim of the project is to provide some automated techniques for track inspection, which is carried out manually at present.
  • The track-monitoring task involves inspection of various railroad components such as loose rail fasteners, defect in clips and switches, broken and misplaced crossings, cracks in various components of track and gauge measurement between the rails.
  • In the newly developed technology titled “Railtel”, the inspection of rail tracks will be done by applying image processing and computer vision techniques on drone images.

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