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In News:

The Union Cabinet approved the revamp of the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and the Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme at its meeting recently.

In brief:

  • There are two significant steps were taken on the meeting:
  • First step Centre has almost halved its contribution to its own flagship crop insurance schemes, slashing its share of the premium subsidy from the current 50% to just 25% in irrigated areas and 30% for unirrigated areas from the kharif season of 2020.
  • Farmers pay a fixed share of the premium: 2% of the sum insured for Kharif crops, 1.5% for rabi crops and 5% for cash crops.Currently, the Centre and State split the balance of the premium equally.
  • However, the revamp now reduces the burden on the Centre and increases the share of States.
  • The Centre would launch an awareness campaign to encourage farmers to voluntarily sign up for crop insurance policies
  • Second step crop insurance schemes made voluntary for farmers. Now, there is a choice to continue with the existing crop insurance scheme or to take new ones. Earlier Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana was mandatory.

About Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme:

  • The RWBCIS was launched on 18th February 2016.
  • It aims to mitigate the hardship of the insured farmers against the likelihood of
    financial loss on account of anticipated crop loss resulting from adverse
    weather conditions relating to rainfall, temperature, wind, humidity etc.
  • All standard Claims are processed and paid within 45 days from the end of the
    risk period. The scheme is being administered by Ministry of Agriculture.
  • Coverage of Crops under (RWBCIS):
    • Food Crops (Cereals, Millets and Pulses).
    • Oilseeds.
    • Commercial / Horticultural crops.
  • Weather Perils to be Covered under (RWBCIS)
  • Rainfall – Deficit Rainfall, Excess rainfall, Unseasonal Rainfall, Rainy days,
    Dry-spell.
  • Temperature– High temperature (heat), Low temperature.
  • Relative Humidity
  • Wind Speed
  • A combination of the above
  • Hailstorm, cloud-burst may also be covered as Add-on/Index-Plus products for those farmers who have already taken normal coverage under RWBCIS.

Centre To Form New Law Panel

In News:

The Union Cabinet gave its approval to set up the 22nd Law Commission.

In Brief:

  • The new panel, will have a three-year term. chairperson, four full-time members, Law and Legislative Secretaries in the Law Ministry will be ex-officio members of the commission.
  • A retired Supreme Court judge or Chief Justice of a High Court will head the commission

About law commission:

  • The law commission Advises the government on complex legal issues.
  • The term of the previous law panel ended last August.
  • It shall undertake studies research for bringing reforms to justice delivery systems for elimination of delay in procedures, speedy disposal cases, reduction in cost of litigation.
  • Originally formed in 1955, the commission is reconstituted every three years and so far, 277 reports have been submitted to the government.
  • Previous Law Commission, under Justice B.S. Chauhan (retd.), supported simultaneous elections.
  • Law Commission of India is neither a constitutional body nor a statutory body, it is an executive body established by an order of the Government of India.
  • The Commission is established for a fixed tenure and works as an advisory body to the Ministry of Law and Justice

ART Bill Proposes National Registry Of Clinics

In News:

The Union Cabinet recently cleared the Assisted Reproductive Technology Regulation Bill 2020

In Brief:

  • The Bill also provides for National Registry and Registration Authority to maintain a Central database and assist the National Board in its functioning.
  • The Bill also proposes for a stringent punishment for those practising sex selections, sale of human embryos or gametes, running agencies/rackets/organizations for such unlawful practices.
  • Benefits of the Act:
  • It will regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology services in the country.
  • Infertile couples will be more ensured/confident of the ethical practices in ARTs.
  • The need to regulate the Assisted Reproductive Technology Services is mainly to protect the affected Women and the Children from exploitation.
  • The oocyte donor needs to be supported by an insurance cover, protected from multiple embryo implantation and children born through Assisted reproductive technology should be provided all rights equivalent to a Biological Children.
  • The cryopreservation of sperm, oocytes and embryo by the ART Banks needs to be regulated and the bill intends to make Pre-Genetic Implantation Testing mandatory for the benefit of the child born through assisted reproductive technology.

About ART:

  • Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is used to treat infertility.
  • It includes fertility treatments that handle both a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm.
  • It works by removing eggs from a woman’s body. The eggs are then mixed with sperm to make embryos.The embryos are then put back in the woman’s body.
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most common and effective type of ART

Empowered Group To Fix Tech Woes

In News:

The Union Cabinet has approved the setting up of an empowered technology group to help address issues such as “sub-optimal industrial development”.

In brief:

  • The group, whose members names have not been disclosed, is expected to develop in-house expertise in aspects of policy and use of emerging technologies, and ensure sustainability of technology being developed at public sector organisations.
  • The government said the group would work to ensure that India had an updated map of technology and technology products available and being developed; develop an “indigenisation road map” for selected key technologies; encourage Union Ministries and departments and State governments to develop in-house expertise in policy; and use aspects of emerging technologies.
  • The group will also facilitate cross-sector collaborations and research alliances with universities and private companies and formulate “standards and a common vocabulary” to screen proposals for research and development.

Copter Deal Okayed Ahead Of Trump Trip

In News:

Ahead of US President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit here, the Cabinet Committee on Security approved a government-to-government deal to procure a batch of 24 MH-60 Romeo helicopters from the US at a cost of $2.6 billion.

In Brief:

  • The bilateral agreement to seal the deal is expected to be signed after Prime Minister talks with US President Donald Trump on February 25.
  • The US approved the sale of the helicopters to India in April last year. The helicopters are expected to boost the Indian Navy’s anti-surface and anti- submarine warfare operations.
  • The chopper is designed to hunt down submarines. The fleet would replace ageing British-made Sea King helicopters.