Current based PRELIMS QUESTION 22 June 2020

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1. COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force  headed by
(a) Prime Minister
(b) Union Health Minister
(c) Union Finance Minister
(d) NITI Aayog CEO
Answer-c
Explanation
COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force
To deal with the economic challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Modi announced the creation of ‘COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force’ to be headed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
The Task Force will consult stakeholders, take feedback, on the basis of which decisions will be taken to meet the challenges.
The Task Force will also ensure implementation of the decisions taken to meet these challenges.
https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1607248

2. Consider the following statements regarding the Institute of Teaching & Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020.
1. The Bill seeks to merge three Ayurveda institutes into one institution by the name of Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda and to declare it as an institution of national importance.
2. The Bill provides that the Institute will consist of 15 members.
3. The accounts of the Institute will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation
The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020
The Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of State for AYUSH, Mr. Shripad Yesso Naik, on February 10, 2020.
The Bill seeks to merge three Ayurveda institutes into one institution by the name of Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda. The Bill declares the Institute to be an institution of National Importance.


Merger: The existing institutes which will be merged into the Institute are: (i) the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, (ii) Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurved Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar, and, (iii) the Indian Institute of Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical Sciences, Jamnagar. The proposed Institute will be situated in the campus of Gujarat Ayurved University, Jamnagar.
Objective of Institute: The Bill states that the object of the Institute will be to: (i) develop patterns of teaching in medical education in Ayurveda and pharmacy, (ii) bring together educational facilities for training of personnel in all branches of Ayurveda, (iii) attain self-sufficiency in postgraduate education to meet the need for specialists and medical teachers in Ayurveda, and (iv) make an in-depth study and research in the field of Ayurveda.
Composition of Institute: The Bill provides that the Institute will consist of 15 members. These include: (i) the Minister of AYUSH, (ii) Secretary and technical head of Ayurveda, Ministry of AYUSH, (iii) Secretary, department of health, government of Gujarat, (iv) the Director of the Institute, (v) Director-General, Central Council for Research in Ayurveda, (vi) three experts in Ayurveda with expertise in education, industry and research, and (vii) three Members of Parliament. The Director of the Institute of Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar will be appointed as the first Director of the Institute. Further, the Bill states that there will be a Governing Body of the Institute, which will exercise powers and such functions of the Institute, as specified.
Functions of Institute: The functions of the Institute will include: (i) provide for undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in Ayurveda (including pharmacy), (ii) prescribe courses and curricula for both undergraduate and postgraduate studies in Ayurveda, (iii) provide facilities for research in the various branches of Ayurveda, (iv) hold examinations and grant degrees, diplomas and other distinctions and titles in education in Ayurveda and pharmacy, and (v) maintain well-equipped colleges and hospitals for Ayurveda supporting staffs such as nurses and pharmacists.
Funds of Institute: The Bill requires the Institute to maintain a fund for meeting its expenses. It will be credited with funds received from the central government and other sources, including fees and other charges. The accounts of the Institute will be audited by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
https://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/institute-teaching-and-research-ayurveda-bill-2020

3. Consider the following statements regarding the Dam Safety Bill, 2019.
1. The Bill provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified dams across the country.
2. It constitutes two national bodies i.e. the National Committee on Dam Safety and the National Dam Safety Authority.
3. An offence under the Bill can lead to imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation
The Dam Safety Bill, 2019
Highlights of the Bill
The Bill provides for the surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of all specified dams across the country. These are dams with height more than 15 metres, or height between 10 metres to 15 metres with certain design and structural conditions.
It constitutes two national bodies: the National Committee on Dam Safety, whose functions include evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety standards; and the National Dam Safety Authority, whose functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, providing technical assistance to State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), and resolving matters between SDSOs of states or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state.
It also constitutes two state bodies: State Committee on Dam Safety, and State Dam Safety Organisation. These bodies will be responsible for the surveillance, inspection, and monitoring the operation and maintenance of dams within their jurisdiction.
Functions of the national bodies and the State Committees on Dam Safety have been provided in Schedules to the Bill. These Schedules can be amended by a government notification.
An offence under the Bill can lead to imprisonment of up to two years, or a fine, or both.
Key Issues and Analysis
The Bill applies to all specified dams in the country. This includes dams built on both inter and intra state rivers. As per the Constitution, states can make laws on water including water storage and water power. However, Parliament may regulate and develop inter-state river valleys if it deems it necessary in public interest. The question is whether Parliament has the jurisdiction to regulate dams on rivers flowing entirely within a state.
The functions of the National Committee on Dam Safety, the National Dam Safety Authority, and the State Committee on Dam Safety are listed in Schedules to the Bill. These Schedules can be amended by the government through a notification. The question is whether core functions of authorities should be amended through a notification or whether such amendments should be passed by Parliament.
Dams are artificial barriers on rivers which store water and help in irrigation, power generation, flood moderation, and water supply. In India, dams higher than 15 m or between 10 m and 15 m height that fulfil certain additional design conditions are called large dams. As on June 2019, India has 5,745 large dams (includes dams under construction). Of these, 5,675 large dams are operated by states, 40 by central public sector undertakings, and five by private agencies. Over 75% of these dams are more than 20 years old and about 220 dams are more than 100 years old. Most of these large dams are in Maharashtra (2394), Madhya Pradesh (906), and Gujarat (632).
As a large amount of water may be stored in a dam’s reservoir, its failure can cause large scale damage to life and property. Therefore, monitoring dam safety is essential. The Central Dam Safety Organisation, under the Central Water Commission (CWC), provides technical assistance to dam owners, and maintains data on dams. The National Committee on Dam Safety devises dam safety policies and regulations. Currently, 18 states and four dam owning organisations have their own Dam Safety Organisations. CWC provides that each dam owner should carry out pre and post monsoon inspections (covering site conditions, dam operations) every year. However, as per a CAG report on flood forecasting, from 2008 to 2016, of the 17 states studied, only two had carried out such inspections.

A CWC Committee on Dam Safety (1986) had recommended unified safety procedures for all dams and suggested a legislative framework for dam safety. In 2007, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal passed resolutions requesting Parliament to make a law on dam safety. Consequently, the Dam Safety Bill, 2010 was introduced in Lok Sabha under Article 252 (which allows Parliament to make laws on state subjects which will apply to those states that pass a resolution requiring such law).[9] The 2010 Bill lapsed with the dissolution of the 15th Lok Sabha. The Dam Safety Bill, 2019 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 29, 2019, and passed by Lok Sabha on August 2, 2019.
Key Features
The Bill applies to all specified dams in the country. These are dams with: (i) height more than 15 metres, or (ii) height between 10 metres to 15 metres and satisfying certain additional design conditions such as, reservoir capacity of at least one million cubic meter, and length of top of the dam at least 500 metres.
Obligation of dam owners
Dam owners will be responsible for the safe construction, operation, maintenance and supervision of a dam. They must provide a dam safety unit in each dam. This unit will inspect the dams: (i) before and after monsoon season, and (ii) during and after every earthquake, flood, calamity, or any sign of distress. Functions of dam owners include: (i) preparing an emergency action plan, (ii) carrying out risk assessment studies at specified regular intervals, and (iii) preparing a comprehensive dam safety evaluation through a panel of experts.
Dam safety authorities and delegated legislation
The Bill provides for dam safety regulatory and monitoring authorities at the national and state level. The functions of the national bodies and the State Committees on Dam Safety have been provided in Schedules to the Bill. The central government can amend these Schedules through a notification.
At the national level, it constitutes (i) the National Committee on Dam Safety, whose functions include evolving policies and recommending regulations regarding dam safety, and (ii) the National Dam Safety Authority, whose functions include implementing policies of the National Committee, and resolving matters between State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), or between a SDSO and any dam owner in that state. The central government may notify the qualifications, and functions of the officers of the National Dam Safety Authority.
At the state level, it constitutes the (i) State Dam Safety Organisations (SDSOs), whose functions include keeping perpetual surveillance, inspecting, and monitoring dams, and (ii) State Committee on Dam Safety which will supervise state dam rehabilitation programs, review the work of the SDSO, and review the progress on measures recommended in relation to dam safety, among others. State governments may notify the qualifications, and functions of officers of the State Dam Safety Organisations. They may also notify dam safety measures to be undertaken by owners of non-specified dams.
Offences and penalties
Anyone obstructing a person in the discharge of his functions under the Bill or refusing to comply with directions may be imprisoned for a year. In case of loss of life, the person may be imprisoned for two years.
https://prsindia.org/billtrack/dam-safety-bill-2019

4. Consider the following statements regarding the Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
1. The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, with regard to cooperative banks.
2. The Bill provides that a cooperative bank may issue equity shares, preference shares, or special shares on face value or at a premium to its members or to any other person residing within its area of operation.
3. The Bill states that no person will be entitled to demand payment towards surrender of shares issued to him by a co-operative bank.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-d
Explanation-
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020
The Banking Regulation (Amendment) Bill, 2020 was introduced in Lok Sabha by the Minister of Finance, Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, on March 3, 2020.
The Bill seeks to amend the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, with regard to cooperative banks. The Act regulates the functioning of banks and provides details on various aspects such as licensing, management, and operations of banks.
Exclusions: The Act does not apply to certain cooperative societies. These are: (i) primary agricultural credit societies, (ii) cooperative land mortgage banks, and (iii) any other cooperative societies (except those specified in the Act).
The Bill amends this provision to state that the Act will not apply to: (i) primary agricultural credit societies, and (ii) cooperative societies whose principal business is long term financing for agricultural development. Further, these societies must not: (i) use the words ‘bank’, ‘banker’ or ‘banking’ in their name or in connection with their business, and (ii) act as an entity that clears cheques.
Issuance of shares and securities by cooperative banks: The Bill provides that a cooperative bank may issue equity shares, preference shares, or special shares on face value or at a premium to its members or to any other person residing within its area of operation. Further, it may issue unsecured debentures or bonds or similar securities with maturity of ten or more years to such persons. Such issuance will be subject to the prior approval of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), and any other conditions as may be specified by RBI.
The Bill states that no person will be entitled to demand payment towards surrender of shares issued to him by a co-operative bank. Further a co-operative bank cannot withdraw or reduce its share capital, except as specified by the RBI.
Supersession of Board of Directors: The Act states that RBI may supersede the Board of Directors of a multi-state cooperative bank for up to five years under certain conditions. These conditions include cases where it is in the public interest for RBI to supersede the Board, and to protect depositors.
The Bill adds that in case of a co-operative bank registered with the Registrar of Co-operative Societies of a state, the RBI will supersede the Board of Directors after consultation with the concerned state government, and within such period as specified by it.
Power to exempt cooperative banks: The Bill states that RBI may exempt a cooperative bank or a class of cooperative banks from certain provisions of the Act through notification. These provisions relate to restrictions of certain types of employment, qualifications of the Board of Directors and, appointment of a chairman. The time period and conditions for the exemption will also be specified by the RBI.
Certain provisions omitted: The Bill seeks to omit certain provisions from the Act. Some of these provisions are listed below:
The Act restricts cooperative banks from making loans or advances on the security of its own shares. Further, it prohibits the grant of unsecured loans or advances to its directors, and to private companies where the bank’s directors or chairman is an interested party. The Act also specifies conditions when unsecured loans or advances may be granted and specifies the manner in which the loans may be reported to RBI. The Bill omits this provision from the Act.
The Act states that cooperative banks cannot open a new place of business or change the location of the bank outside of the city, town or village in which it is currently located without permission from RBI. The Bill omits this provision.
The Act requires a scheduled cooperative bank to maintain assets with a value not exceeding 40% of the it’s total demand and time liabilities, within India. The Bill omits this provision.
https://www.prsindia.org/billtrack/banking-regulation-amendment-bill-2020

5. Consider the following statements regarding the NEGEV NG7 SF LMGs.
1. This missile was developed by China
2. This Light Machine Gun is an advanced compact and lightweight machine gun in caliber 7.62X51mm.
3. This is extremely reliable under adverse environmental conditions such as mud, dirt, sand, rain and snow.
Which of the following statements is/are correct?
(a) 2 and 3 only
(b) 1 and 2 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3
Answer-A
Explanation-
The NEGEV NG7 SF
Ministry of Defence has signed Rs. 880 crore contracts for Light Machine Guns (LMG) with Israeli firm. The Acquisition Wing of Ministry of Defence has signed the capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries for procurement of 16,479 LMGs at a cost of Rs 880 crore. The contracted Negev 7.62X51 mm LMG is a combat proven weapon and currently used by several countries around the globe. This LMG will greatly enhance the lethality and range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon. This critically needed weapon will provide much needed combat power to the Armed Forces.
The NEGEV NG7 SF Light Machine Gun is an advanced compact and lightweight machine gun in caliber 7.62X51mm that has been deployed in conflict zones around the world.
Battle proven by the IDF as well as multiple militaries and LE agencies in countries across the globe, the NG7 SF is extremely reliable under adverse environmental conditions such as mud, dirt, sand, rain and snow. This is the finest, lightest, most reliable LMG in the world!
Main features of the NG7 LMG SF:
Unique semi-auto firing mode that enables accurate and controlled fire for CQB plus full-auto capability for maximum fire power.
Gas regulator for rate of fire adjustment.
Cold hammer forged CrMoV chrome lined quick change barrel.
Uses standard NATO magazines, drum and belt-fed.
Incorporates four safety mechanisms that minimize the chances of uncontrolled fire.
Adjustable tritium sights are standard.
Included 45 degree assault handle allows for exceptional control while firing with a belt fed drum or magazine.
Extremely robust steel folding bi-pod.
Side-folding buttstock on both NG7 models with adjustable length and adjustable comb on the NG7 LMF SF.
Picatinny top rail welded to the receiver, not the loading gate, provides continuous and repeatable “Zero” with your choice of optics.
Quick dismantling in the field for routine maintenance.
True OTB (over-the-beach) capability.
https://defenceforumindia.com/forum/threads/indian-armys-new-7-62×51-mm-iwi-negev-lmg.82008/