Daily Current Affairs for 5th Aug 2023

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Important for

Prelims Exam: Delimitation commission

Mains Exam: Delimitation commission, Art 370 abrogation

Why in news?

  • Since the abrogation of Article 370, the union territory has witnessed many challenges ranging from political discord to challenges in district council elections all have increased the already chaotic situation in the valley.

About District Council elections

  • DDCs (district development councils) in J&K were earlier called District Planning and Development Boards, with members who were nominated by the state government.
  • DDCs work at the district level to formulate periodic and annual plans for development works
  • The additional district development commissioner is the chief executive officer of the DDC.

Delimitation Commission

  • The Centre constituted a three-member Delimitation Commission headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice Ranjana Desai on March 6, 2020 to carve out 90 Assembly constituencies, including reserved ones for SCs and STs.
  • In its final report in 2022, the commission increased the number of Assembly seats in Jammu division from 37 to 43 and in Kashmir from 46 to 47.
  • It also recommended reservation of 9 constituencies for STs, 6 for SCs, and a provision for nomination of two Kashmiri Hindus and a displaced person from PoK.



The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

Important for

Prelims Exam: The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

Mains Exam: NA

Why in news?

  • The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 27, 2023.

Highlights of the bill

  • The Bill amends the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 2002.
  • The Act categorises offshore mining-related activities into: (i) reconnaissance, which involves a preliminary survey to locate mineral resources, (ii) exploration, which includes exploring, proving, or locating mineral deposits, and (iii) production, the commercial activity of the extraction of minerals.
  • The Bill introduces a composite licence for granting rights for exploration as well as production.
  • Under composite licence it is required to complete exploration within three years. This may be extended by two years upon application by the licensee.
  • Under the Act, a production lease is granted for a period of up to 30 years. It may be further renewed for up to 20 years. The Bill instead provides that a production lease, as well as a production lease under a composite licence, will be valid for 50 years.
  • The Act allows the government to reserve offshore areas that are not held under any operating right.
  • In case of atomic minerals, exploration, production, and composite licenses will be granted only to the government or government companies.




Why in News?

  • In line with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s vision of re-establishing India as a global hub of education, Union Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship Minister Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Union External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar jointly launched Study in India Portal in New Delhi.

About the SII portal

  • Study in India Portal is a dedicated website that will provide comprehensive information about the Indian Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). SII Portal is a one-stop platform that will simplify international students’ academic journey in India.
  • The website will illustrate academic programs covering but not limited to undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG), Doctoral level programs as well as courses in Indian Knowledge System like Yoga, Ayurveda, classical arts etc.
  • The website-portal will present information about the academic facilities, research support, and related information.
  • The new website will now have the provision for students to apply in more than one institute/course of their choice.
  • The new portal will provide an integrated one-stop solution for student registration and visa application process.
  • It is going to be a pivotal step in making India a preferred destination for higher education.SII will establish a strong international footprint of brand ‘India’ in the education sphere.

Study in India (SII) Programme: Key features

  • Study in India is a flagship program of the Government of India, under the aegis of the Ministry of Education (MoE). The Study in India programme aims to increase the number of international students in India.
  • The program also envisions promoting India as the preferred study destination, providing affordable and quality education comparable with global standards thereby contributing to improving the overall quality improvement in higher education.
  • The Study in India programme offers a streamlined and well-organized application process for international students seeking higher education opportunities in Indian Higher Education Institutes.
  • From registration to visa approval, the online platform simplifies the entire journey, enabling students to choose their desired courses, receive institute offer letters, and successfully pursue their academic dreams in India.
  • The Study in India programme involves partnership with educational institutes fulfilling one of the following criteria:
  1. National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)ranking (<=100)
  2. National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) accreditation score (>=3.01)
  3. Institutes of National Importance (INI)
  • This ensures premier institutions being the partner to enrolling international students coming to study in India.




Why in news?

  • Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh introduced a Bill to establish the Anusandhan National Research Foundation in the Lok Sabha.

About NRF

  • NRF is an apex body to provide high-level strategic direction of scientific research in the country as per recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP), at a total estimated cost of Rs. 50,000 crores during five years (2023-28).
  • The bill will also repeal the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) established by an act of Parliament in 2008 and subsume it into NRF which has an expanded mandate and covers activities over and above the activities of SERB.

Role of NRF

  • NRF will provide high level strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of natural sciences including mathematical sciences, engineering and technology, environmental and earth sciences, health and agriculture.
  • It will also promote scientific and technological interfaces of humanities and social sciences to promote, monitor and provide support as required for such research.
  • It will seed, grow and promote Research and Development (R&D) and foster a culture of research and innovation throughout India’s universities, colleges, research institutions, and R&D laboratories.
  • NRF will forge collaborations among the industry, academia, and government departments and research institutions, and create an interface mechanism for participation and contribution of industries and State governments
  • It will focus on creating a policy framework and putting in place regulatory processes that can encourage collaboration and increased spending by the industry on R&D.

Regulatory Mechanism

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) will be the administrative Department of NRF which will be governed by a Governing Board consisting of eminent researchers and professionals across disciplines.
  • Prime Minister will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of Science & Technology & Union Minister of Education will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents.
  • NRF’s functioning will be governed by an Executive Council chaired by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

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