Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 16th October -2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 16-10-2021

                                                                                                  

 

Topics                                                                                                                                                   

  • Silicosis
  • RTI and its Backlogs
  • Guidelines for central bank digital currencies by G7
  • Vayalar Ramavarma Award for Benyamin
  • The laser-based clad coating technology (LCCT)

 

1. Silicosis

#GS2-Health, Government Policies & Interventions

Context

  • Thousands of Indian miners, construction workers, and factory workers are dying silently as a result of dust exposure. Silicosis is a better term for this.
  • Silicosis is an occupational disease or hazard caused by exposure to dust. It’s an incurable disease that can leave you unable for the rest of your life.
  • However, available management mechanisms and technology can completely prevent it.

 In depth information

Mining Safety and Silicosis

  • It is a lung illness that develops over time as a result of long-term inhalation of silica. Silicosis is one of the most common work-related ailments in the world.
  • Silicosis is more common in miners who are exposed to crystalline silica dust, which turns quarrying and mining settlements into “widow villages.”
  • Shortness of breath, cough, fever, and bluish skin are all symptoms of silicosis.
  • Silicosis is an incurable disease that can lead to permanent physical impairment.
  • It has also been recorded in people who have had non-occupational exposure to silica dust from both industrial and non-industrial sources.
  • Large amounts of free silica may go unnoticed since it is odourless, non-irritant, and has no immediate health effects, but long-term exposure is linked to pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, pulmonary tuberculosis, and other lung diseases.
  • Diagnosis is challenging because determining whether a person has tuberculosis or silicosis is difficult.
  • More than 10 million workers in India are at danger of silicosis, which is classified as an occupational disease under the Factories Act and Employees Compensation Act, which requires employers to compensate afflicted individuals.

The Government’s Initiatives

  • Silicosis is a notified disease under the Mines Act of 1952 and the Factories Act of 1956. (1948).
  • The Indian Factory Act of 1948 stipulates a properly-ventilated working environment, as well as regulations for dust protection, overcrowding reduction, and basic occupational health care.
  • Silicosis Portal: The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment sponsored a “silicosis portal.”
  • Self-Registration: A system of worker self-registration, diagnosis by district-level pneumoconiosis boards, and compensation through mine owners’ contributions to the District Mineral Foundation Trust (DMFT) funds.
  • OSHWC 2020 (Occupational Safety, Health, and Working Conditions Code):
  • The code makes it mandatory for all businesses to give free annual health checkups in accordance with government regulations.

Associated Obstacles

  • Low rates of silicosis notice:
  • The mining industry has a low rate of silicosis notification. The majority of the time, silicosis is mistaken for tuberculosis.
  • Inhuman Cycle:
  • The current system is structured to eat workers in the mining industry, compensate them minimally, and replace them with more capable workers.
  • OSHWC Code loopholes:
  • The code imposes no responsibility on the mine owner to provide any type of rehabilitation, such as alternate employment in the mine or payment of a disability allowance/lump sum compensation for a worker who is physically unfit.
  • Funds That Are Underutilized:
  • The DMFT funds are both underutilised and used on ad hoc basis.

Conclusion

  • Even yet, without a record of worker-employer identification, this planning will be incomplete. The authorities and their willingness to execute the law in this regard, as well as an increasing demand among workers for their rights, are ultimately responsible for a systematic identification.

 

2. RTI and its Backlogs

#GS2- Government Policies & Interventions

 Context

  • According to the report Performance of Information Commissions in India, 2021, there were over 2.55 lakh appeals and complaints pending with 26 information commissions on June 30, 2021.

Important Findings

  The Problem of Pendency:

  • The study emphasises the delays in case disposition caused by a lack of people and ineffective procedures.
  • Twelve State Information Commissions plus the Central Information Commission (CIC) would need at least a year to resolve their appeals based on their current strength.
  • The time it takes for a central information commission (CIC) appeal/complaint to be resolved is expected to be one year and eleven months.

Penalties have been imposed:

  • The commissions did not impose sanctions in nearly 95% of the situations where they may have been.
  • According to a review of the transparency watchdogs’ operations, 21 of the country’s 29 commissions did not hold a single hearing throughout the first three rounds of the national lockdown implemented in 2020.

Positions Available:

  • In states and at the federal level, 6 out of 165 Chief Information Commissioner and Information Commissioner positions are empty.
  • For the past 18 months, the State Information Commission in states like Jharkhand has been utterly extinct.
  • Meghalaya and Tripura’s commissioners have been defunct for seven and three months, respectively, while at least three other commissions are without a head.

Other issues to consider:

  • Appointment of former bureaucrats as commissioners, public information officers’ nonchalant attitude while rejecting RTI applications, and RTI e-filing are still uncommon in states.

Right to Information

  • Article 19 (1) of the Indian Constitution recognises the right to information as a basic right.
  • The Supreme Court held in the Raj Narain vs. State of Uttar Pradesh case in 1976 that the freedom to information is a fundamental right under Article 19.
  • People are the masters in Indian democracy, according to the Supreme Court, and they have the right to know how the government operates.
  • As a result, in 2005, the government established the Right to Information Act, which establishes a mechanism for exercising this Fundamental Right.

In 2005 ,Right to Information Act (RTI)

  • An Act to establish a practical right to information regime for citizens to gain access to information under the authority of public authorities.
  • It took the place of the previous Freedom of Information Act of 2002.
  • How Does the Right to Information Act Work?
  • The RTI Act of 2005 established a three-tier structure for enforcing the right to information.

Next Steps

  • Filling vacancies in information commissioners will go a long way toward reducing RTI backlogs.
  • Constitutional Status for CIC and ICs: The constitutional status will provide RTI and CIC with the necessary sovereign backing to operate independently.
  • Awareness Campaigns: Any empowerment or transparency campaign would be incomplete without the participation of stakeholders, which may be secured by mobilising NGOs and citizens.
  • Protection for RTI Activists: There have been incidences of RTI activists being attacked, and they, too, should be given adequate protection for reporting corruption.

 

3.Guidelines for central bank digital currencies by G7

#GS3-Awareness in technology.

 Context:

  • Guidelines for central bank digital currencies have been established by G7 finance leaders.

The following are the rules:

  • A central bank’s digital currency must “support and do no harm” to the bank’s capacity to fulfil its monetary and financial stability mandate, as well as meet stringent regulations.
  • Currencies must be issued in a fashion that respects central bank rules and adheres to strict privacy, transparency, and accountability standards for the security of user data.
  • Any central bank digital currency (CBDC) should be based on long-standing public pledges to openness, the rule of law, and prudent economic management.

What is the National Digital Currency, or CBDC?

  • The digital equivalent of a country’s fiat currency is known as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) or national digital currency. The central bank issues electronic tokens instead of producing paper cash or minting coins. This token’s value is supported by the government’s complete faith and credit.

 What role does CBDC play in the Indian context?

  • In a country, ‘fit-for-purpose’ money is utilised for social benefits and other focused payments. In such circumstances, the central bank can pay pre-programmed CBDC to the authorised beneficiaries, which can only be used for a certain purpose.
  • CBDCs could be used to make cross-border payments more quickly. Collaboration among the world’s major economies, including India, might aid in the development of the essential infrastructure and arrangements for CBDC transmission and conversion.
  • Payment instruments could be made available for CBDC-based payment transactions. Furthermore, a CBDC’s universal access features could include the ability to make payments offline.
  • Instant lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India can be possible with the help of CBDC.

CBDC is required:

  • An official digital currency would lower the cost of currency management while allowing real-time payments to be made without the need for interbank settlement.
  • Another advantage of CBDC is that, to the degree that huge amounts of cash can be replaced by CBDC, the cost of printing, transporting, and storing paper money can be significantly decreased.
  • Because it would be a central bank liability transferred from one person to another, there would be no requirement for inter-bank settlement.

The challenges of implementing a national digital currency are as follows:

  • Cybersecurity threat possible.
  • The population is digitally illiterate.
  • Regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, and other issues are all exacerbated by the introduction of digital currency.
  • Threat to Privacy: A digital currency must collect certain fundamental information about a person in order for that person to confirm that he is the digital currency’s owner.

 

4.Vayalar RamavarmaAward for Benyamin

#GS1-Literature

 Context

  • For his novel “Manthalirile 20 Communist Varshangal,” well-known Malayalam writer Benyamin recently won the 45th VayalarRamavarma Memorial Literary Award.

In depth information

  • He is best known for award-winning novels such as ‘Aadujeevitham’ (Goat Days) and ‘MullappooNiramullaPakalukal’ (Jasmine Days) and short stories. He portrays the residents of Manthalir village and how the heady mix of politics and religion impacts their daily struggles for survival in this essentially bucolic setting.
  • A panel comprised of writers K. R. Meera, George Onakkoor, and C. Unnikrishnan chose the work for the 2021 edition of the prestigious prize.

About Award

  • It was established in 1977 by the VayalarRamavarma Memorial Trust to honour the best literary work in Malayalam.
  • The prize is named after the renowned poet and lyricist.
  • It comes with a?1 lakh purse, a bronze figurine sculpted by KanayiKunhiraman, and a citation.

 

5.The laser-based clad coating technology (LCCT)

#GS3- Science & Technology

 Context

  • Indian scientists recently developed a novel laser-based clad coating technique (LCCT) that improves boiler part protection in thermal power plants.

In depth information

What is Laser Cladding and How Does It Work?

  • Laser cladding, also known as laser metal deposition, is a method of depositing one material onto another’s surface.
  • Laser cladding is a process that includes delivering a stream of metallic powder or wire into a melt pool created by a laser beam as it scans across the target surface, creating a layer of the desired material.

Significance

  • When compared to conventional surface technologies, it can extend the life of boiler parts by 2- 3 times.
  • This method has been discovered to be useful for any technical application requiring high temperature erosive and corrosive environments, not just boiler parts in thermal power plants.

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