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  • InSight Mission has detected over 450 “marsquakes” on the red planet most of which were magnitude 3 to 4.
  • But even the strongest of the quakes would not affect anyone on the surface of the planet, unlike strong quakes on Earth.
  • No quakes of moment magnitudeexceeding M w = 4 have been observed.
  • Mars doesn’t have tectonic planets like Earth does, so its quakes are produced through other processes, including volcanic activity, landslides and internal cooling. They are more intense than quakes on the moon but less intense than earthquakes.

About InSight mission:

  • InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is a Mars landerdesigned to study in-depth the “inner space” of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.
  • It landed on Elysium Planitia, a plain near the Martian equator. NASA had found its exact landing location using a powerful camera onboard HiRISE.
  • The mission will also determine the rate of Martian tectonic activity and meteorite impacts.
  • The InSight lander carried two complementary engineering cameras that help with navigation and hazard avoidance.
  • It may provide answers for key questions about the early formation of rocky planets in our inner solar system – Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars.

Cabinet Approves Surrogacy Bill

In News:

The Union Cabinet approved the changes introduced to the Surrogacy (Regulation) bill, 2019 on February 26, 2020.

In Brief:

  • The changes were introduced by the 23-member select committee of Rajya Sabha.
  • The amended bill is reformed version of the draft legislation which was passed by Lok Sabha in August 2019 but its provisions, including that only a close relative of a couple can be a surrogate mother, had invited criticism.

Changes in the bill:

  • The bill is aimed at banning commercial surrogacy and allowing altruistic surrogacy.
  • In place of “close relative”, the bill has now proposed that the surrogate mother should be “willing” woman.
  • The select committee had recommended that not only close relatives but any woman, whether she is a widow or divorcee, who is “willing” should be allowed to act as a surrogate mother.
  • The bill proposes that only Indian couples, with both partners being of Indian origins, can opt for surrogacy in the country.
  • The Insurance cover of the surrogate mother which was proposed for 16 months would be increased to 36 months.
  • The bill also proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Board and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories respectively.
  • While commercial surrogacy will be prohibited including sale and purchase of human embryo and gametes, ethical surrogacy to lndian married couples, Indian-origin married couples and Indian single woman (only widow or divorcee between the age of 35 and 45 years) will be allowed on fulfilment of certain conditions.

Centre Revamp The IT Act

In News:

The government will soon start the process of revamping the nearly 20-year old Information Technology Act, 2000.

In Brief:

  • It aim to bring it in tune with the technological advancements with a focus on stronger framework to deal with cybercrimes.
  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 currently defines and determines issues of cyber crime, data privacy, e-commerce and all rights and obligations of parties coming under the Act.
  • The Act, framed 20 years ago, is not equipped to deal with the problems like hacking, spying, online bullying, phishing.
  • The proposed act for protecting data privacy is at the stage of a Bill, called ‘The Personal Data Protection Bill, 2018’, and is currently in the hands of Joint Parliamentary Committee.

3 Communities Wary Of Clause 6 In 1985 Assam Accord

In News:

Three major communities, perceived to be migrants in Assam, have expressed concern over the recommendations of the high-powered committee on the implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985.

In Brief:

  • These communities are the Bengal-origin or Bengali-speaking Muslims referred to as Miyas, Bengali Hindus and Gurkhas.
  • A 13-member panel set up to study the implementation of the Assam Accord’s Clause 6, which relates to the protection of the Assamese identity, recently submitted its report.
  • Implementation of this clause would lead to exclusion of these communities from the list of indigenous communities. More than 80% of these have been living in Assam for centuries.

What is clause 6?

  • Clause 6 envisages constitutional, legislative and administrative measures to safeguard, protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
  • It also seeks to ascertain who fits into the definition of an Assamese.

Cabinet Approves Clearance For Technical Textiles Mission

In News:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at an total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.

In Brief:

  • Aim: To Position the country as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.
  • The Mission will be implemented for four years from 2020-2021 and will have four components, a release said.
  • The first component : will focus on research and development and innovation and will have an outlay of ₹1,000 crore.
  • The research will be at both, fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles. Research activities will also focus on development of indigenous machinery and process equipment.
  • The second component : will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles.
  • The Mission will aim at taking domestic market size to $40 billion to $50 billion by 2024.
  • The third component: will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crore by 2021-2022 and ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends. An export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up. The last component will be on education, training and skill development. The Mission will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.

Rakhigarhi

  • It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE
  • It was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.
  • The site is located in the Sarasvati River plain.
  • It encompasses a set of seven mounds.
  • In January 2014, the discovery of additional mounds resulted in it becoming the largest Indus Valley Civilization site, overtaking Mohenjodaro (300 Hectares) by almost 50 hectares, resulting in almost 350 hectares.
  • In 2012, the Global Heritage Fund, declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.