AFPA

Ayurveda Day 2020

Ayurveda day has been celebrated on the day of Dhanwantri Jayanti on 13th November 2020. It is a global initiative for the preservation and promotion of the health science of Ayurveda on the theme of “Ayurveda for COVID-19”. PM Modi has dedicated 2 national premium Ayurveda institutes to the country through a virtual platform-Institute of Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Jamnagar, the first institute in the AYUSH sector having the INI status is now with the status of an Institution of National Importance (INI) and the National Institute of Ayurveda, a pioneer in research activities, Jaipur is considered to be the university.

Aim:

It aims to promote the Sustainable Development Goal 3 of the United Nations to ensure healthy lives for all ages.

Background:

The national Ayurveda day was first celebrated in India on 28th October 2016. The launching was a global initiative by the India Foundation Centre for public diplomacy and soft power. It was celebrated on 25th October in 2019.

Dhanvantari Jayanti:

Dhanvantari was considered as the God of Ayurvedic Medicine in the form of Lord Vishnu.

Other Notices:

The National Sowa-Rigpa Institute for research work is under development.

WHO is going to set up a Global Centre for Traditional Medicine in India. It will support the WHO’s strategy 2014-2023.

 

 

T S Tirumurti addressing the 44th annual meeting of the G-77 Foreign Ministers and China

About the meeting:

Ambassador TS Tirumurti, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations addressed the 44th annual meeting of the G-77 foreign ministers and China on November 12, 2020. The title of the meeting was “Global Response to the covid-19 pandemic and obstacle it poses to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals”.

Highlights of the meeting:

During the meeting, Tirumurti emphasized India’s commitment to sustainable recovery from the covid-19 pandemic based on the principles of mutual respect and national ownership by working with its partners from the Global South.

India is working for more than 150 countries by supplying urgent health and medical supplies. Also, it has pledged 15 million dollars for the vaccine alliance, GAVI. It is also operationalized the covid-19 emergency fund on its neighbours.

There was the call for some reform of the UN Security Council.

India’s contributions to the developing countries:

Some meetings-India Pacific Islands Summit, India-CARICOM Leaders Meeting, India-Africa Forum Summits, and India-ASEAN Summits have bolstered India’s bonding with its fellow developing countries.

Furthermore, India visited developed countries to ask them to undertake activities that strengthen “Convention-Plus” actions. For example, India pledged 1.7 billion dollars for the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure and Solar Energy Projects. 

What is the Group of 77 (G77)?

G-77 was established in 1964. Its chairmanship is at Guyana and the headquarters at New York and the USA. It is a coalition of 134 developing countries. Its focus is to promote the collective economic interests of the countries of the South.

 

 

12 schemes announced under detailed Atmanirbhar package 3.0 worth Rs 2,65,080 crore: Nirmala Sitharaman

Ministry of Finance, Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the “Atmanirbhar Package 3.0” covering 12 schemes during the press conference.

It aims to boost economic growth. On November 12, 2020, the central government has provided Rs 29,87,641 crore as an economic stimulus amid covid-19.

Schemes:-

1) Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana:

There has been an announcement of a new scheme of automobile Bharat rojgar Yojana to incentivize job creation.

2) Launching of ECLGS 2.0:

The government has launched an ECLGS 2.0 for 26 sectors available till March 31, 2021. It has a 5 year repayment period and a 1 -year moratorium period. It is to help the entities sustain employment and benefit of the MSME sector.

3) Rs 1,45980 crore to Atmanirbhar  manufacturing by PLI for 10 key sectors:

PLI Scheme worth Rs 1,45980 crore is added for 10 key sectors approved by the Union Cabinet.

4) Additional fund of Rs 18,000 core for PMAY-Urban:

The Finance Ministry has announced Rs 18,000 crore additional fund for Prime Minister Awas Yojana-Urban to help 1200000 houses to start and 18 lakh houses to complete.

5) Government relaxing rules on Performance Security on Contracts and EMD:

 The Central Government has relaxed the regulations on Earnest Money Deposit (EMD) and performance security on government tenders to boost the construction and infrastructure of development projects.

6) Income tax relief for developers and homebuyers to boost the real estate demand:

The Central Government decided to increase the difference between agreement value and circle rate from 10 % to 20% till June 30, 2020.

7) Rs 6,000 core in NIIF debt platform to increase infra funding:

The government infuses Rs 6000 crore in National Investment and Infrastructure Fund debt platform.

8) Rs 65,000 cr fertilizer subsidy for farmers.

9) Rs 10000 crores to boost rural employment:

Rs 10,000 crore as an additional outlay will be provided for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Yojana.

10) RS 3000 cr to EXIM Bank for LoC under IDEAS.

11) Rs 10,200 cr towards capital and industrial expenditure.

12) Rs 900 crore grant for covid-19 vaccine research:

FinMin has announced Rs 900 crore to the Department of Biotechnology for covid Suraksha Mission.

 

 

Participation of Narendra Modi in 17th ASEAN Indian Summit 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the virtual 17th ASEAN-India Summit 2020 on November 12. Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc invited him.

About Summit and Highlights:

The Summit focuses on discussing regional and international issues of common interest including the South China Sea and terrorism. Another highlight of the Summit is that India announced the contribution of US dollar 1 million to the covid-19 ASEAN Response Fund.

Narendra Modi recalled India’s offer of US dollar 1 million LOC to support ASEAN connectivity. The leaders in the meeting welcomed the adoption of the new ASEAN-India Plan of Action for 2021-2025.

A-G’s consent for initiation of ‘Contempt of Court’ proceedings

Kunal Kamra, a stand-up comic, would face contempt for the court proceedings for his tweets regarding the judgment of the Supreme Court to give interim bail to Arnab Goswami.

The Contempt of the Court:

As per the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, contempt of court may be either civil contempt or criminal contempt.

Civil contempt implies willfully violation of any decision, decree, warrant, writ or other proceedings of a judge, or willful violation of an undertaking granted to a court of law.

Criminal contempt, but at the other side, is drawn by the publication (whether it be by speech, spoken or written, or through signs, or evident representations, thereof of any subject, or by any act of some sort which:

  1. scandalises or threatens to offend, or decreases or tends to undermine the jurisdiction of any court; or
  2. Prejudices, which interferes or threatens to interfere with the proper operation of any legal proceeding;
  3. Disrupts or threatens to intervene with or hinders or tends to impede, the operation of justice in every other way.
  4. In 2006, the Govt. adopted an amendment that also offers “truth” as defence, given that it is real and in the public interest.

 

 

India-ASEAN’s trade expansion

India and ASEAN nations have said they will discuss opportunities to expand trade amongst them amid India’s withdrawal from the 15-nations Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Deal.

More of the news:

The Indian PM has asked for an “early analysis” of the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITGA) as well as “underlined the significance of diversification and stability of distribution networks for post-COVID economic recovery.”

  • It also reported a $1 million donation to the ASEAN COVID-19 Recovery Fund.
  • India’s Prime Minister also said that speeding up all kinds of communication initiatives between India and ASEAN-physical, economic, social, digital, financial, maritime-is India’s top priority.

Background:

India has agreed not to enter the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement, noting that it has not offered any ‘credible guarantee on market access including non-tariff barriers’ for India. The RCEP Free Trade Agreement is set to be concluded on 15th November among China, Australia, South Korea, Japan as well as 10 Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) nations.

ASEAN:

ASEAN is India’s 4th-largest trading partner with around $86.9 billion in trade among India and the 10 ASEAN nations:

It contains Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand as well as Vietnam.

However, analysts have cautioned that trade between RCEP nations would assume primacy once the FTA is implemented, which could impact trade relations with other nations, including India.

 

 

A Lookdown on what is Sino-British Joint Declaration

Britain accused China of violating its international treaty commitments after four pro-democracy members had been removed from the Hong Kong legislature on safety grounds.

Britain said that the current rules for disqualifying elected assembly members were a direct violation of the legally enforceable Sino-British Joint Declaration.”

What is this?

This is an agreement negotiated between the United Kingdom and China in 1984 to resolve the future of Hong Kong.

The 2 governments decided that China must retake control of Hong Kong, which was seized by Britain during the Opium War of 1840, on 1 July 1997.

The declaration was eventually deposited with the United Nations.

What are the key aspects of the Joint Declaration?

It notes that China’s basic Hong Kong policies “will remain unchanged for 50 years,” such as the guarantee that the region will maintain a high degree of autonomy.

It also notes that the legal and judiciary structure of Hong Kong will remain unchanged for 50 years after 1997.

It proposed that Britain would have been responsible for the administration of Hong Kong until 1997 and that the Chinese Government would comply.

Is the joint statement still valid now that Beijing is ruling Hong Kong?

After the handover in 1997, the high degree of autonomy that Beijing agreed to give to Hong Kong has been a thorny problem.

The problem was intensified in June 2014 when the Council of State published a White Paper saying that Beijing had “comprehensive authority” over Hong Kong.

Today, China claims that the declaration was “now invalid and protected only the time from the signing in 1984 to the handover in 1997.”

Although the United Kingdom insists that the deal remains in force and that it was a legally binding contract that would be complied with.

 

 

North Korea calls IAEA ‘a marionette’

North Korea accused the IAEA of being a puppet of hostile countries after a recent study said that North Korea’s nuclear weapons violated international law.

Thoughts by North Korea:

The IAEA is nothing more than a propaganda instrument of Western countries.

It was a puppet dancing to the music of hostile powers” toward North Korea.

What’s the matter?

Since abandoning the Non-Proliferation Pact in 2003, Pyongyang eventually established a nuclear reserve and has since tested several nuclear weapons.

Moreover, the IAEA inspectors have not been permitted to enter the country for more than a decade.

Thus, the IAEA has recently noted that Pyongyang’s weapons programme is “deeply regrettable” and also that the nation’s nuclear practices “remain a cause for significant concern.”

Background:

North Korea is commonly thought to have continued to build its arsenal—which it believes wants to defend itself from US invasion—through negotiations.

Relating to the IAEA:

Formed in 1957 as the world body “Atoms for Peace” inside the families of the United Nations.

References to both the General Assembly of the United Nations as well as the Security Council.

Headquarters, Vienna, Austria.

Works:

Act with its Member States and various allies around the world to facilitate the clean, sustainable and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

It aims to encourage the peaceful use of nuclear technology and to prohibit its use for any military reason, including nuclear weapons.

 

 

The Annual Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Progress Report

The 11th Annual Progress Study on Pneumonia and Diarrhoea was issued by the International Vaccines Access Center on 12th November 2020 on the celebration of World Pneumonia Day. As per the report, India has made substantial strides with vaccine coverage to reduce diarrhoea and pneumonia.

Main findings of this study:

As per the study, India has made a global goal of 90% coverage of three out of 5 vaccines. These vaccines are DPT Vaccine, including Measles, PCV, Rotavirus as well as Haemophilus Influenza Type B vaccines. DPT is the Diphtheria, Pertussis and Tetanus vaccination. PCV would be a Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine.

The study also indicates that India has achieved the 100-day unparalleled national scale-up of Rotavirus vaccine. This would help cover 26 million kids born with rotavirus diarrhoea.

 

Apophis reaching Earth in 2068:

Asteroid Apophis may have reached the Planet in 2068 due to a mechanism called the Yarkovsky effect.

Eventually, this impact increased the flow of the asteroid and also modified its course.

As asteroid Apophis, which will also be incredibly close to Earth on April 13, 2029, deviates from its actual orbit and could crash into Earth in 2068, according to recent estimates by astronomers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Significant additions to value:

As per a recent study, the sun will heat an asteroid in a non-uniform fashion, allowing space rock to radiate heat energy asymmetrically.

This will trigger a thrust or a slight movement in a certain direction, often shifting the course of the asteroid.

This phenomenon is known as the Yarkovsky acceleration.

Before the discovery of the impact of Yarkovsky, the probability of a collision was unlikely.

Detecting this effect, operating on Apophis, implies that the 2068 influence possibility remains probable.

Operation Green Scheme- The Need of the Hour

Under Operation Green Scheme TOP to Complete, 50 per cent of transport subsidies are now being made accessible for air transport to any position in India for 41 notified fruit as well as vegetables from the North Eastern as well as the Himalayan States.

Main take-offs:

Airlines will grant transport subsidies directly to the provider by charging just 50 per cent of the real negotiated freight charges and will demand the remainder of 50 per cent from MoFPI as subsidies.

The scheme was approved and the new Scheme Specifications were notified in November 2020.

Both shipments of notified fruit and vegetables, irrespective of quantity and price, will be liable for 50 per cent of freight subsidies.

Eligible airports: all airports in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim (Bagdogra) and Tripura from the North-East and Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh between the Hilly States.

 

 

GST Compensation for the States

After Pondicherry, Congress-ruled Rajasthan last week has become the new opposition-ruled government to ask for a special borrowing window to address its reimbursement deficit under the Goods and Services Tax (GST). Other dissident states—Kerala, Punjab, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand—have yet to enter any of the central government’s borrowing options to address the reimbursement shortfall in the current FY.

The central govt has attempted to be as cooperative as possible, so the states, as well as the centre, must work closely. Borrowing was rendered quite easy. States are not encumbered; the interest rate is minimal.

What’s the exclusive borrowing window?

The Ministry of Finance said that the Center will borrow from the sector and then serve as an agent to facilitate back-to-back loans to pay the GST pay-out deficit of Rs 1.1 lakh crore to state govt. This arrangement will not be reflected in the Centre’s fiscal deficit and will serve as capital receipts for state govt.

Kerala, Punjab as well as Chhattisgarh have agreed on further clarity and a non-binding borrowing system and inclusion of the balance-of-payment shortfall above the existing borrowing of Rs 1.10 lakh crore under the back-to-back lending mechanism.

 

 

2020 Myanmar Election: Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party wins the majority

About Elections:

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) Party won the 2020 Myanmar elections with a majority of seats of 346 out of 664 in the parliament.

Such a number is enough to form the next government. And Aung San Suu Kyi will be this state counsellor for the second term.

This time is the Second Free elections in Myanmar since 2011.

Key points:

NLD has secured more than half of the Parliament. 

Union Solidarity and Development Party, the Military-aligned opposition party has won mere 25 seats in the elections.

Aung San Suu Kyi:

Aung San Suu Kyi is the first state counsellor of Myanmar. She has a vital role in the transition from military Junta to democracy. She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her struggle in human rights and democracy.

 

 

Approval of the creation of first-ever National Database of Unorganised Labour by Finance Ministry

The Ministry of Finance has approved the creation of the first-ever “National Database of Unorganised Workers” on November 10, 2020.

Common Service Centre (CSC) can be used in this process.

Benefits of this database:

It will benefit migrant workers and employers. The database can help in providing welfare schemes and also supportive in the implementation of social security initiatives by the government.  There can also be the tracking of movement of labour.

 

 

Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana, EPFO incentive for newly employed people

 About:

During the covid-19 recovery phase, Atmanirbhar Bharat Rojgar Yojana scheme is applicable from October 1, 2020, to incentivize the creation of new employment opportunities. It is for the benefit of any new employee who joins employment in Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) and who are having monthly wages less than Rs 15,000 per month. It also refers to those who left their job between March 1 and September 30, 2020, and have been employed after October 1, 2020.

The scheme is operational till June 30, 2021.

Eligibility criteria for the establishments to get benefits:

Entities that are with more than 50 employees should have added a minimum of 5 new employees. Organizations with the same should have at least 2 new employees. And the entities that are registered with EPFO should have added new employees in September 2020.

Subsidy Support from Central Government:

Employers with 1000 employees can get employees’ EPF contribution of only 12% from the central government.

About EPFO:

The Central Provident Fund Commissioner of EPFO is Sunil Barthwal. Its headquarter is in Delhi.