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 The Uttar Pradesh government has given its approval to the Ground Water Act-2020. The Ground Water Act-2020 has been approved with an objective of improving the falling groundwater level in the state. In order to achieve this aim, the state cabinet chaired by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved the Ground Water Act-2020.
After the implementation of the Ground Water Act-2020:
  • An online registration facility will be available for the registration process.
  • It will become mandatory to register before the installation of the submersible pumps.
  • No fees will be taken from the domestic users as well as the farmers.
  • Rainwater harvesting system will become mandatory in all private and government schools and colleges.
  • Registration will become mandatory for boring companies along with the information update in every three months.
Punishments for the the violators:
  • If a person is caught for the first time while polluting the groundwater level, then there will be a provision of punishment from 6 months up to 1 year along with the penalty of Rs 2 lakhs to Rs 5 lakhs.
  • If a person is caught for the second time then there will be a penalty of Rs 5 lakhs to Rs 10 lakhs along with a punishment ranging from 2 years to 5 years.
  • If a person is caught for the third time then the person will face punishment from 5 years to 7 years along with penalty ranging from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs.

  National Productivity Day is observed on 12 February annually. The day is celebrated by the National Productivity Council (NPC) to promote productivity culture in India. National Productivity Council (NPC) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry Government of India is a premier institution for propagating productivity movement in India. NPC works for providing solutions towards accelerating productivity, enhancing competitiveness, increasing productivity. The seven days period from 12th February to 18th February 2020 as “Productivity Week” throughout the country.

  The World Unani Day is celebrated globally on 11th February every year. The World Unani Day is celebrated globally to spread awareness about health care delivery with the help of Unani system of medicine through its preventive and curative philosophy. The World Unani Day also marks the birth anniversary of great Unani scholar Hakim Ajmal Khan. Hakim Ajmal Khan who was one of the founders of the Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi, was an eminent Indian Unani physician. He was a versatile genius, a great scholar, a social reformer, a noted freedom fighter, a Unani medical educationist and founder of scientific research in Unani System of Medicine.

  The first ‘Jerusalem-Mumbai Festival’ will be held in the Mumbai, Maharashtra. This festival is organised to showcase the special links between the two cities and to promote ties between India and Israel. Famous Israeli cinema, The Mossad, will be screened at the festival in the presence of the movie director Alon Gur Arye. The two-day festival will promote artistic cooperation in the fields of culture, such as culinary art, music and dance. The event is also an opportunity to promote collaborations between Jerusalem and Maharashtra in the cultural domain and will serve as another milestone in the growing partnership between the two countries.

  The Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) has organized the workshop on “Van Dhan and Entrepreneurship Development” under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs in New Delhi. The workshop on “Van Dhan and Entrepreneurship Development” was inaugurated by Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda. During the workshop, the Tribal Minister stressed upon the Pradhan Mantri Van Dhan Yojana (PMVDY) which aims to use the tribals’ traditional knowledge and skills along with add branding, packaging and marketing skills to optimize their income through a market led enterprise model by setting up of Van Dhan Kendras (VDVKs). It is an initiative which targets the livelihood generation for tribals by harnessing the wealth of the forest i.e. Van Dhan.

  India to include the Asian Elephant and the Great Indian Bustard in the list of species that merit heightened conservation measures. The list will be debated at the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) of the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an environment treaty under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Along with these, seven species that include Dugong, Whale Shark, Marine Turtle (two species), have been identified for preparation of Conservation and Recovery Action Plan. The COP is scheduled to be organised from February 17 to 22 in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. here are 130 parties to the convention and India has been a member since 1983.

 On February 12, 2020 the Union Cabinet approved the protocol to amend the DTAA (Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement) that was signed between India and Sri Lanka. The DTAA with respect to prevention of fiscal evasion is to be amended.
  • Highlights
Under the amendment, an anti-abuse provision is to be included. Also, the amendment will include Principle Purpose Test. This will help in curbing strategies that exploit gaps in tax rules.
  • Significance
Both Indian and Sri Lanka are members of major multilateral organizations such as OECD, G20, BEPS. Therefore, it is essential for both the countries to implement standards based on Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty related measures.
  • Why Principle Purpose Test?
India is a signatory of MLI, whereas Sri Lanka is not. Therefore, it is essential for the countries to insert Principle Purpose Test to meet the minimum standards
  • What is MLI?
In 2016, around 100 countries signed Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty. The treaty includes features that help to prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting. This is called Multilateral Instrument or MLI. If a country has signed MLI along with India, it is not important to include Principle Purpose Test in the DTAA. As Sri Lanka is not a signatory, DTAA has been included.

 The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) of the United Nations works to address hunger and poverty in developing countries. The 43rd session of the governing council of IFAD was held at Rome between February 11, 2020 and February 12, 2020. It was announced at the council meet that with the current progress rate, it is not possible to achieve United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 2030.
  • Highlights
The Council met at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) of United Nations in Rome. The UN believes that the SDG Goal can be achieved only after a decade, that is by 2040. This is mainly because of lack of funds. In 2015 the world leaders under the SDG aimed to eliminated hunger by 2030. Also, they estimated that it can be achieved at a cost of 115 billion USD. However, today, they are in need of more investment to achieve the target.
  • IFAD
IFAD is an agency of United Nations that addresses hunger and poverty in rural areas all over the world. It was established at the World Food Conference in 1974.

  The scientists in UK have tested a new Corona Virus vaccine. The Shanghai University of China has also extracted a vaccine to treat the virus and has injected in to a mice recently. The World Health Organization has also announced that the vaccine will be ready in 18 months. WHO recently named the virus as COVID-19.
  • Highlights
On February 10, 2020, WHO announced that the death toll of the corona virus has reached 1,000 and 99% of the deaths were from China. There are more than 43,000 cases in China currently.
  • About Corona Virus
The Corona Viruses are divided into 4 genera namely alpha, beta, gamma and delta. They are zoonotic. This means they can spread between animals and humans. Out of these, gamma and delta corona viruses generally infect birds. Alpha and Beta viruses reside in mammals. Viruses are capable of infecting all forms of life. It includes plants, other micro organisms including bacteria, single celled organisms called archaea. The first virus was identified by Dmitri Ivanovsky in 1892. He described it as a non-bacterial pathogen.

  Ahead of the Conservation of Migratory Species Conference of Parties-13 (CMS COP-13), the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has introduced a draft Visionary Perspective Plan (2020-2030) to conserve ecosystems, habitats, avian diversity and landscapes in the country.
Visionary Perspective Plan (2020-2030)
  • According to the draft, there are 1,317 bird species in India. Out of these 72 are endemic, 100 are threatened, 17 are critically endangered, 63 are vulnerable and 20 are endangered. Around 270 species of avifauna fall under “rare” category. It includes pheasants, hornbills, bustards, storks and cranes.
  • The birds are prone to extinction mainly due to poaching, fragmentation of ecosystem, habitat loss and epidemics. The draft also says that stray dog population has increased due to catastrophic decline in population of vultures.
  • The draft says that around 219 bird bio-diversity areas are under severe anthropogenic pressure.
  • The draft also says that 2,01,503 wetlands spread across 2.25 hectares in India are under stress. This is mainly due to agricultural run-offs and urbanization.


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