CURRENT AFFAIRS 12-01-2022
Daily Current Affairs – Topics
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2022
- Guidelines for Universal Accessibility
- No complete ban on cannabis
- China a ‘developing’ country at WTO
1.Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2022
- Every year on January 9th, PravasiBharatiya Divas (PBD) commemorates the contribution of the Overseas Indian community to India’s development.
In depth information
- The 9th of January was chosen to commemorate PBD since it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, India’s greatest Pravasi, returned from South Africa, led India’s freedom war, and forever changed the lives of Indians.
- This day was established in 2003, however it was updated in 2015 and agreed to be observed every two years. During the gap, it was then a theme-based conference that was held every year.
- Every two years, the PBD Convention is held.
- The 16th PBD Convention was held virtually in New Delhi in the year 2021. “Contributing to Atmanirbhar Bharat” was the subject.
- The Government also bestows the PravasiBharatiya Samman Award on this day.
- It is the highest honour bestowed upon a Non-Resident Indian, a Person of Indian Origin; or an organisation or institution founded and run by Non-Resident Indians or Persons of Indian Origin, who have made significant contributions to a better understanding of India abroad, and who have demonstrated tangible support for India’s causes and concerns.
- This day is crucial because it provides a common platform for the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and the local people.
- The conferences are extremely beneficial in facilitating networking among the overseas Indian population residing in various areas of the world, as well as allowing them to share their expertise in many disciplines.
2.Guidelines for Universal Accessibility
#GS2-Disability, Government Policies
- The new Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021 were recently announced by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD).
In depth information
- From the design strategy to the implementation, the new rules call for modifications.
- Apart from that, the new universal accessibility criteria include a wide range of characteristics of the built environment.
- The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had already released draught recommendations for new accessibility criteria in 2021.
Concerning the New Guidelines:
- The standards are an update to the 2016 Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for People with Disabilities and the Elderly.
- The rules were formerly focused on providing a barrier-free workplace, but we are now focusing on universal accessibility.
- The degree to which the environment, products, and services are accessible to people with disabilities is referred to as universal accessibility.
- The endeavour to remove physical barriers from the “built environment” for people with impairments is referred to as barrier-free design.
- The rules are intended not only for people with disabilities (PwD), but also for individuals participating in planning projects ranging from government facility construction to city master planning.
- Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs is the nodal ministry (MoHUA).
Disabled People’s Constitutional and Legal Framework:
- Article 14:
- Within the territory of India, the state shall not deny any person equality before the law or equal protection under the law.
- In this regard, in the view of the Constitution, Persons with Disabilities should have equivalent and equal rights.
- UN Convention the Right of Persons with Disabilities:
- The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2007, is a signatory to India.
- The Convention recognises accessibility as a human right and requires signatories to take reasonable steps to ensure that people with disabilities can access their facilities.
- Accessible India Campaign:
- The ‘Accessible India Campaign,’ also known as the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, aims to provide universal access and equitable opportunities for development to people with disabilities.
- The initiative aims to make significant changes to infrastructure, information, and communication systems in order to improve accessibility.
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:
- The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, was enacted by the Indian government, and it is the most comprehensive piece of legislation relating to people with disabilities.
- The Act establishes the roles of the federal and state governments in providing services to people with disabilities.
- The Act also advocates for the creation of a barrier-free environment by eliminating all forms of discrimination against people with disabilities so that they can benefit from the same development opportunities as everyone else.
3.No complete ban on cannabis
#GS2 Government Policies
- The use of cannabis is not completely prohibited in the country because its medical and scientific applications are permitted by law, according to the Centre, which told the Delhi High Court that the plea seeking to legalise its use for a variety of reasons, including medicinal purposes, should be heard as soon as possible.
In depth information
- The petitioner is requesting that the central government issue regulations allowing and regulating the use of cannabis, particularly for therapeutic purposes.
- Cannabis usage was greater than the national average in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim, Chhattisgarh, and Delhi.
- State governments have been given the authority to allow, control, and regulate the cultivation of any cannabis plant, as well as the production, manufacture, possession, transportation, interstate import and export, sale, purchase, consumption, and use of cannabis for medical, scientific, and industrial purposes.
- State governments have the authority to provide licences for cannabis growing for industrial and scientific reasons.
- According to a poll conducted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, cannabis and opioids are the second and third most often used substances in India after alcohol, with one out of every eleven cannabis users suffering from cannabis dependence at the national level.
- Cannabinoids aren’t the first line of defence:
- Cautioned about the high risk of cannabis being diverted for non-medical purposes.
- The NDPS Act does not regulate bhang, which is a cannabis edible preparation.
- It Has the Potential to Affect Your Mental Health:
- Marijuana does not provide a pleasant experience for everyone. It can make you feel worried, fearful, terrified, or paranoid. Marijuana use may increase your risk of developing clinical depression or exacerbate the symptoms of any mental illnesses you already have.
- It Has the Potential to Harm Your Brain:
- Marijuana might make it difficult to concentrate, learn, and remember information. This appears to be a temporary impact that lasts for at least 24 hours after you quit smoking.
- Marijuana smoke can irritate and inflame your lungs, causing them to suffer. You may have the same lung issues as someone who smokes cigarettes if you use it on a regular basis.
- Mothers who use weed while pregnant are more likely to give birth to underweight or preterm babies.
- Between 1000 and 2000 BC, Aryan migrants most likely brought the plant to India. In the Vedas, it is revered as a sacred plant and regarded as a source of joy. Shiva, the Hindu god, is known as the Lord of Bhang.
- Cannabis and Covid-19:
- There have been claims that cannabinoids have helped to mitigate the effects of Covid-19.
- The petition has challenged aspects of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act) that restrict the use of cannabis, claiming that the drug has therapeutic and industrial uses.
- The NDPS Act does not outright ban cannabis, but it can be used for medical, scientific, industrial, and horticultural reasons with the proper approvals from state governments.
- There was a clear separation between the three parts of the cannabis plant, namely the fibre, flower, and seed, under the NDPS Act, and all of them and their derivatives were not treated equally.
- The current legal structure governing cannabis use does not contradict Articles 14 (right to equality), 19(1) (g) [freedom of trade], 21 (right to life), or other fundamental rights protected by the Constitution, according to the federal government.
- Not harmful:
- There isn’t a single document that proves cannabis is dangerous to people, and it’s worth noting that cannabis use is allowed in a number of other countries.
- Overall advantages:
- Legalizing marijuana could, among other things, assist to create jobs, reduce stress, boost human concentration, alleviate medical problems, and give stable agricultural earnings.
- Cannabis is an important part of the country’s cultural fabric, and its criminalization causes unnecessary harassment and shame.
- The government stands to gain:
- Given India’s cannabis production capacity, the government stands to gain in terms of tax revenue.
- According to a report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, India contributed for 6% of global cannabis herb seizures in 2016 and even larger amounts in 2017, a 20% rise over 2016.
a path forward
- Legalizing marijuana can help reduce addicted behaviour by removing the stigma associated with it.
- There is yet to be a scientific study that convincingly proves that legalising cannabis results in a healthier relationship with drugs and substance abuse.
4.China a ‘developing’ country at WTO
#GS3- Indian Economy & Related Issues
- China’s designation as a ‘developing country’ at the World Trade Organization (WTO) has become a sensitive topic, with a number of countries concerned that the upper-middle-income country is benefiting from WTO principles that are intended for impoverished countries.
In depth information
- Determining what constitutes a country’s ‘Development’
- There are no classifications of “developed” or “developing” countries in the World Trade Organization.
- In the WTO, developing countries are labelled on the basis of self-selection, albeit this is not always acknowledged by all WTO bodies.
- The WTO, on the other hand, acknowledges countries that have been recognised as least-developed countries (LDCs) by the United Nations.
The Advantages of the ‘Developing Country’ Label
- Special and differential treatment:
- ‘Special and differentiated treatment’ (S&DT) provisions in many WTO agreements allow developing nations special privileges.
- Other countries can also grant preferential treatment as a result of the classification.
- Longer timelines for agreements:
- The WTO can award developing countries longer timeframes for implementing agreements, as well as promises to increase their trading possibilities.
Why are some people opposed to China being categorised as a “developing country”?
- Member nations are free to declare whether they are ‘developed’ or ‘developing’ because the WTO has not defined ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries.
- According to the World Bank, China’s per capita income has increased to the point where it is now classified as an upper-middle-income country.
- As well as the country’s alleged use of unfair trade practises such as preferential treatment for state-owned firms, data limitations, and a lack of intellectual property enforcement.
- Several countries have urged China to either forego obtaining benefits given to poor countries or to drop its status as a developing country entirely.
- Leadership: One method for China to demonstrate leadership would be to refrain from demanding benefits in ongoing discussions that would be appropriate for a developing country.
- China’s entitlement to special and differential treatment had been advocated by Australia as well. According to the World Bank, China’s per capita income was $10,435 in 2020, while India’s was $1,928.
China’s reaction and the consequences of losing this status
- China’s position:
- While China has always claimed to be the “world’s largest developing economy,” it has recently signalled that it may be willing to forsake many of the advantages of being a developing country.
- Cutting fishing subsidies:
- In negotiations aimed at cutting fishing subsidies to reduce overfishing, governments may opt out of all exemptions granted to developing countries.
- Changes in China’s position as a “developed country” would have an impact on future agreement discussions.
Classification of LDCs
- The World Trade Organization recognises LDCs based on a UN classification based on criteria that are reviewed every three years.
- LDCs are frequently exempted from some WTO pact provisions: Bangladesh, which is now categorised as an LDC, has zero duty and zero quota access to the EU for nearly all exports.
- It is, nevertheless, on track to depart from LDC designation in 2026, with its per capita GDP exceeding that of India in FY21.
- Early classification:
- The WTO must classify a developing country as soon as possible so that only such countries can claim S&DT.
- Due to their rapid economic success, the US has demanded that China and India willingly give up S&DT privileges.
- China and India have not bowed to such pressure.
- National interests:
- Adopt a method in which each nation, in consideration of its own national interests, develops withdrawal strategies in order to collect S&DT benefits and, eventually, to be removed from the list of developing countries.
- Another concept is ‘graduation,’ in which member countries are not classified as developing countries until they achieve certain objective requirements.
#GS 2 Health
- According to a Lancet analysis, the incidence of dementia cases in India is anticipated to nearly treble by 2050.
In depth information
- From 57 million cases in 2019, the caseload is expected to nearly treble to 153 million in 2050.
- North Africa and the Middle East are expected to see the greatest increase in cases (367%), followed by eastern Sub-Saharan Africa (357 per cent).
- Population growth and population ageing will be the primary drivers of this increase.
- It’s a condition in which cognitive function deteriorates beyond what would be expected as a result of biological ageing.
- Although dementia primarily affects the elderly, it is not a natural part of the ageing process.
- More than 55 million individuals worldwide suffer from dementia, with roughly 10 million new cases diagnosed each year.
- Dementia is caused by a range of diseases and disorders that damage the brain either directly or indirectly.
- Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60 to 70% of all cases.
- Memory, cognition, orientation, comprehension, computation, learning capacity, language, and judgement are all affected.
- The state of consciousness is unaffected.
- In terms of direct medical and social care expenditures, as well as the costs of informal care, it has substantial social and economic ramifications.
- Dementia is frequently misunderstood and stigmatised, leading in delays in diagnosis and treatment.
Treatment and assistance:
- There is no cure for dementia at this time.
- Anti-dementia drugs and disease-modifying therapies currently on the market have limited efficacy and are mostly labelled for Alzheimer’s disease, however a slew of new treatments are in various stages of clinical testing.
Response from the World Health Organization:
- Dementia is a public health issue according to the WHO.
- The Global Action Plan on the Public Health Response to Dementia 2017-2025 was approved by the World Health Assembly in May 2017.
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