AFPA

India might be facing technical recession: RBI

RBI estimates that India’s economy will decline by 8.6% in the 2nd quarter (July, August, and September) of the current FY.

History:

The Q2 contraction is critical since it indicates India joining the “technical recession” in the 1st half of 2020-21, for the very 1st time in its history.

Details:

If the gross production of goods and services rises from 1 quarter (or month) to another the economy is considered to be in an expansionary period. However, when GDP contracts from quarter to quarter, the economy is considered to be in a recessionary period. Together all these two stages establish what is known as the “economic cycle” of every economy. The concept of a recession is not widely agreed. There is no difference between the time during which the economy can contract before announcing a recession. Commentators also consider that a contraction is in progress because actual GDP has fallen for at least two successive quarters. That’s how actual quarterly GDP has grown to be recognised as an indicator of economic growth and a benchmark for “scientific recession” Usually, recessions continue for a couple of years. When they go on for years, they are alluded to as “depressions.”

Slowdown:

Economic slowing happens when the annual growth of the economy’s GDP decreases from the previous time. The economic crisis is a normal part of the market cycle.

Recession:

The recession seems to be a macro-economic concept that refers to a substantial decrease in general economic activity in a given region. It was traditionally regarded as two successive quarters of economic recession. Recessions are marked by a rash of market failures and also bank failures, poor or negative performance growth and increased unemployment.

Depression:

Depression is a significant and persistent decline in economic growth. Depression is generally characterised as a severe recession that extends 3 or more years or results in a decrease of at least 10% in the actual gross domestic product (GDP) in a specific year. Depression is generally less frequent than moderate recessions and continues to be followed by high unemployment and low inflation.

 

 

Social Security Code Rules seeks Feedback

The Ministry of Labor and Jobs requested input from stakeholders on the draft regulations under the Social Security Code of 2020.

Feedback must be issued within 45 days of 13th November 2020.

The Ministry of Labor and Work of the Union informed the draft regulations under the Social Security Code of 2020 on 13th November 2020 to the involved parties, accepting objections and recommendations, if any.

Need for the draft regulations:

The draft regulations allow for the operationalization of clauses of the Social Security Code 2020 on the Employers’ Provident Fund Association (EPFO), the Employees’ State Insurance Agency (ESIC), gratuity, maternity care, social security and termination for construction and other construction jobs, social security for unorganised workers, including gig workers and network workers.

The draft regulations also allow for Aadhaar-based registration, namely self-registration by disorganised employees, gig workers as well as platform workers on the website of the Central Government.

The Act of the Social Security Code, 2020:

Social security funding for unorganised employees, gig workers including platform workers: it aims to enable the centre to set up a social security fund to provide social security for unorganised workers, platform workers including gig workers or some other class of workers.

Public Social Security for gig employees and platform workers: It proposes to put the unorganised market, gig workers and platform workers under social security programmes, including life and medical insurance, dental and maternity coverage, including funds and skills improvements.

It proposes the development of a National Social Security Board which will prescribe appropriate schemes for the various parts of unorganised employees in the industry.

 

 

Leonid Meteor Shower reaches its peak in India

The Leonid Meteor Showers will be maximum in India between November 17th, 2020 and November 18th, 2020. These showers are scheduled for the year 2020 around 6th November and 30th November.

What’s the Leonid Showers?

The Leonids are heading out of the Tempel-Tuttle comet. The comet would take 33 years to finish a trip around the sun. The Leonid meteor shower is vivid and flies at a rate of 71 km/ps. About 10 to 15 meteors are predicted to be seen each hour this year. Leonid showers have massive meteors relative to normal meteors.

Meteor showers become probably called for the star they’re coming from. Leonids derive from the Leo constellation.

What’s the shower of a meteor?

When the World revolves across the sun, it moves through great interstellar garbage. That debris is the remains of comets. Comets are frigid bits of matter. It causes the filthy ice and rock tracks that remain after the comets have gone. As the planet moves through these remains, they operate upon its earth’s gravity, and several continue to sink to the earth’s surface. When they plummet, they catch fire because of the pressure of the earth’s atmosphere. The remains of this fireball are meteor storms.

Several meteor showers have been taking place during the year. According to NASA, there are more than 30 meteor showers every year. The Perseid Meteor shower takes place every year in August.

 

 

Shri YK Sinha- The new CIC

Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha has been appointed CIC. Before his appointment, he had served as Information Commissioner (IC) at the CIC since 1st January 2019.

Central Commission for Information:

  • The RTI Act 2005 provision for the creation of a CIC and a State Information Commission in every State.
  • The CIC was established in 2005 under the Law on the Right to Information, 2005.
  • The law of the Commission needs to extend to all main public bodies.
  • The CIC shall have the CIC of such figures of Central Information Commissioners (ICs) not surpassing 10 as may be considered necessary.

Eligibility:

  • Members should be distinguished persons in public discourse with immense knowledge in the fields of law, science as well as technology, social services, management, journalism, including mass media or administration as well as governance.
  • The CIC or IC must therefore not become an MP or perhaps an MLA or keep some other office of profit or from any political group or any trade or activity.
  • Before entering his office, the CIC or the IC shall make and sign before the President or any other person designated by him during that name.
  • The representatives of the Commission shall be selected by a committee consisting of the Prime Minister (as Chair), as well as the Opposition leader (LOP) in Lok Sabha as well as the Minister of the Union selected by the Prime Minister.
  • The CIC or even the IC could, at any moment, by writing to the President under his arm, step down from his office.

Disqualification:

  • The CIC or even the IC might well be kicked out of office mostly by the order issued on the floor of proven misbehaviour or lack of ability after the Supreme Court based on a matter referred to it by the President, has indicated that he/she must be erased on the grounds set out above.
  • The President can still withdraw them from office if the individual is found to be insolvent, guilty of such offences, etc.

Activists against the plan of the extension of Dehradun airport

Environmental groups and local people in Uttarakhand are opposed to cutting down trees for the Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport expansion scheme. National groups, too have plunged into a dispute.

The Ministry of Ecology, Forestry and Climate Change of the Union requested the state govt to discuss the idea of purchasing a new area of land for an extension so that the plants could be saved.

Out of the 9,745 trees planned to be removed, 3,405 are Khair, including 2,444 are Sheesham, as well as1,234 are teak, 1,121 are kanju, including 549 are jhingan as well as 120 are Gulmohar. A govt official stated that most of these trees may not have very dense trunks.

What’s the plan to extend the airport?

The Uttarakhand Civil Aviation Development Authority has recommended the extension of Jolly Grant airport in Dehradun with such a view to improving it to meet global standards.

Critical features have included the growth of the airport as well as the parking space, the construction of a new ATC tower as well as more than increasing the distance of the runway first from current 1.7 km to 3.5 km.

 

 

MoHFW’s 3-month scheme to reduce childhood pneumonia deaths

In comparison, India has seen a greater reduction in the discount on infant mortality (71 p.c.) relative to the globally discount of 59 p.c. around 1990-2017.

The MoHFW initiated a 3-month marketing campaign for awareness-raising technologies and early detection in childhood pneumonia, encouraging caregivers across the country to develop vital signs at earlier stages and to initiate urgent care-seeking with accredited providers.

The programme aims to decrease pneumonia fatalities from less than 5 pneumonia fatalities per 1000 live births to less than 3 deaths by 2025 through the rapid SAANS (Social Intervention and Recognition to Neutralize Pneumonia Successfully) program.

SAANS Initiative:

  1. It is intended to promote action to minimise infant pneumonia deaths. The SAANS initiative involves a 3-tiered strategy:
  2. National Childhood Pneumonia Control Recommendations for the prevention and management of infant pneumonia;
  3. Skill development and training of service providers in the diagnosis and standardised treatment of pneumonia;
  4. A 3600 SAANS engagement initiative to raise understanding of childhood pneumonia among families and parents to cause behavioural improvement and enhance care-seeking.

The goals of the SAANS campaign:

  1. Through SAANS, the govt plans to reduce pneumonia-related deaths by 2025 to fewer than 3 fatalities out of 1,000 live births.
  2. The Health Initiative will unite people to shield children from pneumonia and educate health workers and other partners to provide priority disease prevention care.
  3. A child suffering through pneumonia may be handled with a pre-referral dosage of antibiotic amoxicillin by ASHA nurses.
  4. Within SAANS, health and fitness centres may use a pulse oximeter to diagnose low oxygen levels throughout the kid’s blood and if possible, to manage the child by using oxygen cylinders.
  5. A public awareness drive will also be initiated on successful strategies for the prevention of pneumonia, like breastfeeding, age-appropriate supplemental feeding, immunisation, healthy air quality, etc.

 

 

International Day of Tolerance: 2020

The United Nations honours “International Day of Tolerance” each year on 16th November. The UN can strengthen tolerance by cultivating shared trust between cultures and peoples.

History of the Universal Day of Tolerance:

In 1994, UNESCO celebrated the 125th anniversary of the founding of Mahatma Gandhi, opening the way for the declaration by the United Nations of 16 November as the Universal Day of Tolerance. This day is a tribute to the ideals of the Mahatma of tolerance, non-violence and dignity. The UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Award for the promotion of peace and non-violence awards important efforts in the fields of science, literature, culture or communication aimed at fostering a spirit of tolerance and non-violence. The award is given every 2 years on the Universal Day of Peace, 16 November.

 

 

The National Press Day 2020

The National Press Day is held every year on 16th November to commemorate the independent and accountable press in India. On this day, the Indian Press Council began working as a moral watchdog to ensure that the press holds high standards and is not limited by any sort of control or threat. It also commemorates the day when the Indian Press Council begins to work.

Global Press Day History:

In 1956, the First Press Commission decided to set up a Press Council to protect the freedom of the press in India. The Press Council was founded in India on 4 July 1966. It came into operation on 16 November 1966. Every year, thus, 16 November is celebrated as the National Press Day.

About the Indian Press Council:

The Press Council of India was established in 1966 under the Press Council Act of 1978. It exercises control over the tools of the State in its responsibility to uphold the freedom of the press. It means that no external issue is influenced by the Indian press.

 

 

8th BRICS STI Ministerial Meeting Held

Recently, the 8th Conference of Research, Technology and Innovation (STI) Ministers of the BRICS Community held a virtual meeting.

Main highlights of this meeting:

The conference was hosted by the Russian Ministry of Research and Higher Education, with the Russian Federation chairing the 12th BRICS Conference.

At the conference, the BRICS STI Declaration of 2020 was adopted unanimously.

During the conference, BRICS representatives applauded India’s ‘SERB–POWER’ (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Study) scheme to promote and fund young and eminent women researchers to conduct research and development activities in the science and engineering frontiers.

Brief BRICS Note:

BRICS is the term for the alliance of five main developing economies: Brazil, Russia, India, China as well as South Africa (Joined in 2010).

 

 

First-ever vaccine listed under WHO for emergency use

WHO has established an emergency usage of nOPV2 vaccine (Bio Farma, Indonesia) to resolve increasing cases of polio-derived vaccine strain in a no. of African and Eastern Mediterranean nations. The nations in the Western Pacific as well as Southern East Asia areas of the WHO are often impacted by such outbreaks. The emergency usage list, or EUL, is unique in the world for a vaccine which continues down the way for the growth classification of COVID-19 vaccines.

 

 

DIPAM’s MoU with World Bank

The DIPAM signed an understanding with the World Bank on 16th Nov 2020. Under the deal, the World Bank should be to offer expert advice to DIPAM for the payments of reserves.

DIPAM is required to promote the monetization of non-core govt properties under the tactical disinvestment or closure of INR 100 crores and above. DIPAM has a structure for the monetization of non-core properties.

The World Bank Advisory Project, approved by the Finance Minister, is aimed at evaluating the monetization of public assets in India and benchmarking its structural and business models against international best practises, as well as promoting the development of organisational guidance and capacity building for their execution.

About the World Bank:

The World Bank is a multinational body devoted to providing funding, guidance and research to developed nations to promote their economic development. The bank functions mainly as an agency that aims to combat poverty by providing financial support to middle-and low-income nations.

The Headquarters is in Washington D.C., USA.

 

The United Arab Emirates to extend “golden” visa’s eligibility criteria

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) will extend its “golden” visa system.

Background:

In 2018, UAE announced a long term visa. In 2019, it started granting 5 to 10-year renewable visas to specific people like entrepreneurs, foreign investors, scientists, chief executives, and outstanding students.

The “Golden Card” Permanent Residency Scheme:

The United Arab Emirates launched the “Golden Card” Permanent Residency Scheme to attract wealthy identities. The scheme includes the general investors granted with the 10-year permanent residency visa, Real Estate investors eligible for a five-year visa, talented professionals, entrepreneurs, and innovators eligible for a 10-year visa, and outstanding students permitted for 5-year permanent residency visas.

Birth anniversary of Birsa Munda

Birth anniversary of Birsa Munda is celebrated on November 15. The state of Jharkhand was created on his birth anniversary in honour of his impact on the national movement.

About Birsa Munda:

Birsa Munda was a tribal freedom fighter from the Munda tribe and a folk Hero. He is known as “Dharti Abba”. He was the centre of the Millenarian movement aroused in Bihar and Jharkhand in the 19th century under the British colonisation.

Achievements:

Birsa initiated a movement called “The Great Tumult”. His efforts against discrimination and exploitation led to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act passed in 1908 against the British government. The act was about restricting the activity of passing the tribal people’s land to non-tribals.

The faith of Birsait:

Birsa intended to reform the tribal society so he emphasized the importance of prayer having faith in God, staying away from alcohol, and observing a code of conduct. Thus, he started the faith of “Birsait”.

 

 

2018 report covering the “Vital statistics of India based on the Civil Registration System”

The 2018 report has been published recently by the Registrar-General of India.

About the report:

The report highlights the sex ratios of different states in the country.

Findings:

  1. The best Sex Ratio: Arunachal Pradesh with 1084
  2. Worst: Manipur (757)
  3. Arunachal Pradesh is followed by Nagaland, Mizoram, Kerala, and Karnataka.
  4. The number was increased to 2.33 crore in 2018 from 2021 crore in 2017.
  5. Jammu and Kashmir recorded the sex ratio of 952, Delhi 929, and Haryana 914.

Government’s action:

Government’s schemes include Rashtriya Mahila Kosh, Girl Child Protection Scheme, Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, and Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandhana Yojana.

Challenges:

Not enough qualified staff, lack of awareness, not sufficient resources, limited infrastructure, and insufficient understanding of laws and procedures.

Suggestions for improvement:

  1. Free and compulsory education of girls
  2. Favourable schemes for the parents having no sons
  3. Implementation of the laws that ban foeticide
  4. Job reservations for women
  5. Changing the mindset of the society
  6. Supporting infrastructure and training.

 

 

Addition of Sur Sarovar in UP and Lonar lake in Maharashtra to Ramsar Sites

Union Minister for Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Prakash Ambedkar announced the addition of Sur Sarovar and Lonar lake to Ramsar Sites on November 15 2020. These two wetlands of Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have been included in the “List of Wetlands of International Importance”.

Highlights:

Sur Sarovar is recorded as the 2440th site and Lonar Lake as the 2441st site. In India, they are 40th and 41st Ramsar Sites respectively. Now, the total number of Ramsar Sites in India is 41, the highest in South Asia.

About Sur Sarovar:

Sur Sarovar covers 431 hectares of area. It is a human-made reservoir. It is an important and rich ecosystem. It provides safety to the threatened creatures.

About Lonar Lake:

Lonar Lake covers the 427 hectares of area in the state of Maharashtra. It is high in alkalinity and salinity. It inhabits 160 species of birds, 12 species of mammals, and 46 species of reptiles.

 

 

MNRE expanding the scope of PM-KUSUM  scheme for more solar energy generation in the farm sector

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended Guidelines for Pradhanmantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthaan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) scheme. The amendment is to encourage more solar energy generation in the farm sector.

About the scheme:

MNRE launched the PM-KUSUM scheme for the installation of solar pumps and other power plants in India. The initiative is to double the farmer’s income by 2022. The scheme includes 3 components.

Amendments for Component A:

Solar Power Plants are allowed to be installed on pasture and marshy land. States will allow solar power projects smaller than 500 KW so that small farmers can participate. Moreover, there will be no penalty on RPG for the shortfall in solar power generation from CUF.

Amendments for Component B:

MNRE will retain 33% of eligible service charge.  

Amendments for Component C:

Farmers will receive solar panels that can be used to sell the surplus solar power.

 

 

Mega trade bloc RCEP takes off

On the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Summit, the ceremony of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was held recently.

About RCEP:

RCEP comprises 15 countries led by China. It is expected to boost commerce among the countries.

Objectives:

It covers intellectual property. It reduces costs and time for companies by letting them export a product anywhere within the block. It promotes investments too.

Importance:

It sets new trade rules for the areas but does not include the United States.

Withdrawal of India:

India raised alarm about market issues.

It withdrew last year over the concerns about cheap Chinese material.