Current Affairs 25th july 2019


Current Affairs 25th july 2019

Current Affairs 25th july 2019 talks about lok sabha passing UAPA amendment bill 2019, water conservation plan by environment ministry, tiangong-2, dracena cambodiana. Current Affairs 25th july 2019.

Lok Sabha passes UAPA bill 2019:-

Lok Sabha on Wednesday has passed an Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act) Amendment bill 2019 amidst strong protests and a walkout by opposition parties like Congress, TMC & DMK. The Bill has been passed with 287 votes in favor and 8 against it. The bill with its amendments to give more bite to anti-terror provisions.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention Act), 1967:-

As per the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967, the government can notify organizations as terrorist organizations by including them in the First Schedule. Under the Act, the central government may designate an organization as a terrorist organization if it:
(i) commits or participates in acts of terrorism
(ii) prepares for terrorism
(iii) promotes terrorism
(iv) is otherwise involved in terrorism.

Under the existing Act, the investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director-General of Police (DGP) to seize properties that bear any connection to terrorism.

Under the existing Act, it provides for investigation of cases to be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above

What are the Amendments in the UAPA Amendment bill?

The amendment seeks to empower Centre to designate individuals as terrorists if they are involved in committing or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares, promotes or is otherwise involved in terrorism. It proposes to add 'Fourth Schedule' to the principal Act which will include the names of individuals designated as individuals.

The Bill also paves the way for the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to seize property as part of investigations into terror cases, adding that “if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director-General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property"

The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.

NGT is likely to put Water Conservation Fee on Residential Complex, Industry:-

Amid growing concerns over excessive exploitation of groundwater, the Union environment ministry has endorsed suggestions on levying ‘water conservation fee’ on industries and infrastructure projects, including residential and commercial complexes, and brought agriculture sector for the first time under the ambit of regulations for groundwater use in the country.

The ministry has submitted its report, comprising 45-point decadal action plans for the next 50 years and several short-term suggestions to the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

National Green Tribunal which may next month take its call on larger issues of groundwater conservation and regulation while hearing a petition. The ministry submitted the report on the NGT’s direction. Once the NGT takes its final call, Central Ground Water Board will come out with a quantum of a fee and even consider the concept of ‘water credit’ — credit earned by user agencies from water conservation measures.

Action Plan for the next 50 years for Water Conservation
Action Plan for the next 50 years for Water Conservation
What does the report suggest?

  • The Money deposited as ‘water conservation fees’ may be used for groundwater recharging projects as identified by the Central Ground Water Authority or state government. 
  • The fees may be deposited in the central depository account and maintained by the Centre for releasing to the states. 
  • The ministry, however, made it clear that the extraction of groundwater in the over-exploited blocks would be considered “only for drinking water purposes and only for important social infrastructure activities” (like hospitals and schools) with suitable restrictions.
  • Besides industries and infrastructure projects, mining agencies and packaged drinking water plants will also come under the ambit of conservation fees.

Dracaena cambodiana: India’s first dragon blood-oozing tree:-

Assam has added to India’s botanical wealth a plant that yields dragon’s blood — a bright red resin used since ancient times as a medicine, body oil, varnish, incense, and dye.

Dracaena cambodiana:-
  • A group of researchers has discovered Dracaena cambodiana, a dragon tree species in the Dongka Sarpo area of West Karbi Anglong, Assam.
  • This is for the first time that a dragon tree species has been reported from India.
  • In India, the Dracaena genus belonging to the family Asparagaceae is represented by nine species and two varieties in the Himalayan region, the northeast and Andaman and the Nicobar Islands but Dracaena cambodiana is the only true dragon tree species.
  • The Dracaena seeds are usually dispersed by birds. But due to the large fruit size, only a few species of birds are able to swallow the fruits, thus limiting the scope of its nature conservation.
  • Recent overexploitation to meet the increasing demand for the dragon’s blood has resulted in the rapid depletion of the plant.

Uses:-
  • Dracaena cambodiana is an important medicinal plant as well as an ornamental tree.
  • It is a major source of dragon’s blood, a precious traditional medicine in China.
  • Several antifungal and antibacterial compounds, antioxidants, flavonoids, etc., have been extracted from various parts of the plant.

Tiangong-2:-

News:-
  • Tiangong-2 was a manned Chinese space station that was destroyed upon its controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere over the Pacific Ocean on July 19.
  • Tiangong-2 was retired from service after it had completed its experiments in space.

Tiangong-2 :-
  • Tiangong means “Heavenly Palace”. It was 10.4 meters long and 3.35 meters wide at its widest point and weighed 8.6 metric tonnes.
  • It was launched on September 15, 2016, and, in late 2016, hosted two Chinese astronauts for 30 days in what was China’s longest manned space mission so far.
  • The recently decommissioned space lab followed the Tiangong-1, China’s first space station, which crashed into the southern Pacific Ocean on April 1, 2018 after Chinese scientists lost control of the spacecraft.
  • China had launched Tiangong-1 in 2011 as a proof-of-concept of technologies for future stations. The lab was visited by two teams of Chinese astronauts for 11 days and 13 days respectively.


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