Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 1st November – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 01-11-2021

                                                                                                  

  

Topics                                                                                                                                                    

  • Suicides of agricultural labourers rise by 18%: NCRB
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)
  • Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)
  • Mission “Samudrayan”
  • Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)

 

1.Suicides of agricultural labourers rise by 18%: NCRB

#GS3-Agriculture related issues.

 Context:

A report on suicides among farm workers has been produced by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

In depth information

 In the year 2020, farmers will commit suicide.

  • In total, 10,677 farm workers committed suicide in 2020, somewhat more than the 10,281 who committed suicide in 2019.
  • They accounted for 7% of all suicides in the United States.
  • In 2020, 5,098 agricultural labourers committed suicide, an increase of 18% from the 4,324 who committed suicide the previous year.
  • The majority of individuals who died did so because their principal source of income and job was in agriculture or horticulture.
  • Suicides decreased by 3.7 percent among farmers who cultivate their own land, with or without the assistance of other labourers.
  • Suicides among tenant farmers cultivating leased property have decreased by 23%, from 828 to 639.

Various states’ performance:

  • Maharashtra continues to be the worst-affected state, with 4,006 suicides in the agricultural sector, including a 15% increase in farmworker suicides.
  • Karnataka (2016), Andhra Pradesh (889), and Madhya Pradesh are among the other states having a bad track record (735).
  • In 2020, the number of farmworker suicides in Karnataka increased by 43 percent.
  • Andhra Pradesh was one of the few states to see an improvement, with 14 percent fewer suicides in the agricultural sector.

Agriculture’s problems include:

  • Despite record production of some major agricultural products and an increase in exports, India’s farm sector faces some underlying challenges, including low crop yields, monsoon dependency, a low share of exports in global markets, a lag in farm mechanisation, the burden of loans, and farmer suicides. All of this adds to the already-struggled industry’s burden, limiting its expansion.

Suicides among farmers are caused by a variety of factors.

  • There is no consensus on the major causes, but studies reveal that suicide victims are driven by a variety of factors, the most common of which is the inability to repay loans.
  • The following are some of the suicide causes that account for at least a percentage of all suicide deaths:
  • The most significant increases were in poverty and unemployment.
  • Then there’s drug or alcohol addiction, disease, and family issues.
  • Although there has been a rise in student suicides, it is more likely that this is due to longer-term issues (such as incapacity to continue school) rather than tests.

Challenges to come:

  • Irrigation reaches less than half of India’s total farmland, a situation that has remained largely unchanged over the last decade, and more than 60% of our farmers are vulnerable to rainfall irregularities.
  • Rain-fed farming yields are typically half of what irrigated farmland yields.
  • Though India’s fertiliser use has caught up to that of the rest of the world, this is neither efficient nor environmentally sustainable. Both of these factors increase the expense of farming.
  • After an early surge during the Green Revolution, research on high-yielding crops has plateaued, forcing farmers to rely on patented seeds to squeeze more out of their meagre acreage.
  • Initiatives like the eNAM are assisting in the direct integration of farmers’ produce with the market, although eliminating the role of intermediaries is still a work in progress.

Way forward

  • Policy management that is proactive: It can optimise the benefits for all stakeholders, including those who are left out.
  • Mental Health Helpline: Raising Mental Health Awareness.
  • Raising the MSP in accordance with the recommendations of the MS Swaminathan Committee.
  • Farming Value Chains Should Be Improved: In order to get higher pricing, agriculture should build a value chain that includes farming, wholesaling, warehousing, logistics, processing, and retailing.
  • Direct Benefit Transfers: Direct benefit transfers are the most effective and least distortive means to support farmers.
  • Loan waivers aren’t a cure-all:
  • What’s evident is that loan forgiveness isn’t the panacea that politicians portray it to be.
  • Those wishing to assist India’s farmers should work considerably harder to determine what they truly require.

 

2.Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA)

#GS2 – Policies and interventions

 Context

  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme has a negative net balance of Rs. 8,686 crore, according to its own financial statement.

In depth information

The Centre’s flagship rural employment scheme has ran out of money halfway through the fiscal year, and supplemental budgetary allocations will not be able to save it till the new Parliamentary session begins in a month.

  • The budget for the scheme in 2021-22 was set at just Rs. 73,000 crore.
  • The central government claimed that the statewide lockdown had ended and that supplemental financial allocations would be available if funds ran out.
  • However, the overall expenditure, including payments due, had already surpassed Rs. 79,810 crore as of October 29.
  • Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal are the worst-performing states, with a negative net balance in 21 of them.

What is MGNREGA, or the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act?

  • In 2005, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) was enacted.
  • The goal is to increase people’s livelihood security in rural areas.
  • It is a countrywide programme that guarantees any rural household that requests it 100 days of wage employment each year.
  • Its goal is to ensure the ‘Right to Work.’
  • Every enrolled household gets a Job Card (JC) to keep track of the job they’ve done.
  • The gramme panchayat is in charge of implementing the scheme.
  • Unemployment benefits will be paid to job seekers if they do not find work within 15 days of receiving their application.
  • Employment must be available within 5 kilometres of an applicant’s home.
  • MGNREGA employment is a legislative requirement.

Challenges

  • Low Wage Rate:
  • As a result of this, workers have lost interest, allowing contractors and intermediaries to gain control.
  • Inadequate Budget Allocation:
  • Due to a lack of sanctions from the federal government, money have dried up in many states, causing work to be hampered during peak season.
  • Payment Delays:
  • Despite Supreme Court judgments, numerous initiatives, and other government orders, no measures for calculating complete salary delays and compensating workers have been developed.
  • Corruption and irregularities:
  • When compared to the actual funds allotted for welfare systems, the funds that reach the beneficiaries are quite small.
  • Discrimination:
  • Discrimination against women and persons from backward groups is recorded often in different regions of the country, with a large number of occurrences going unreported.
  • Non-payment of Unemployment Allowance:
  • The number of unemployment allowances recorded in the Management Information System is extremely high.
  • Lack of Awareness:
  • People, particularly women, are unaware of the plan and its provisions, resulting in ill-informed decisions or incapacity to take use of the scheme’s benefits.
  • Insufficient Infrastructure Development:
  • Poor quality assets are the result of poor supervision and a lack of timely resources.
  • Non-Purposive Spending:
  • While MGNREGA has boosted the earning power of rural people, the workers’ spending patterns are important because they rarely save any of their salaries.

Suggestions

  • It is necessary to conduct social audits in accordance with the guidelines, as well as to effectively administer the delay compensation system.
  • The compensation clause in the system requires agencies responsible for the delay to pay 0.05 percent of salary per day after the muster roll is closed.
  • Women’s and backward-class participation must be encouraged by boosting awareness and making it more inclusive.
  • People should also be made aware of the need to eliminate discrimination against them.
  • The reasons for inefficient use of finances should be investigated, and efforts done to remedy them. Actions should also be taken against officers who are discovered to have misappropriated monies.
  • Villages must also be allowed to take management of their own water security, despite the fact that many villages’ catchment regions are on Forest Department-controlled and-owned territory.
  • National Level Monitors (NLMs) should be monitored more frequently, and States should take appropriate action in response to their suggestions.
  • The Ministry of Rural Development uses NLMs to monitor MGNREGA on a regular and exceptional basis, as well as to investigate complaints about misappropriation of money and other issues.

 

3.Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV)

#GS2 – Health

 Context

  • As part of the ‘Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav,’ the Union Health Minister announced a statewide extension of the Pneumococcal 13-valent Conjugate Vaccine (PCV) under the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP).

In details

  • PCV would be available for general usage for the first time in the country.
  • Pneumonia was the main cause of death among children under the age of five in both India and the rest of the world.

Pneumonia Information

  • Pneumonia can be caused by a variety of species, including bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
  • The most common cause of severe pneumonia in children is pneumococcus pneumonia.
  • In India, pneumonia is responsible for about 16% of all child mortality.
  • The nationwide implementation of PCV will cut child mortality by around 60%. Symptoms of pneumonia include: Chest pain when you breathe or cough, changes in mental awareness, phlegm-producing cough, fatigue, fever, chills, and other symptoms may occur.
  • Antibiotics, antivirals, and antifungal medicines are among the treatments available.
  • Pneumonia can be prevented with a healthy diet, good hygiene, and vaccines.

India’s Pneumonia Situation

  • According to UNICEF, pneumococcal illness kills over one lakh children under the age of five in India every year. In India, pneumonia is responsible for about 16% of all child mortality.
  • Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Jharkhand were the top five contributors to India’s pneumococcal pneumonia burden in terms of cases and deaths.
  • The most common cause of severe pneumonia in children is pneumococcus pneumonia.

Initiatives to Combat Pneumonia

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF have collaborated on the Global Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea (GAPPD) to expedite illness prevention and control.
  • IAPPD (Integrated Action Plan for Pneumonia and Diarrhoea Prevention and Control): It was established in 2014 to coordinate efforts to reduce diarrhoea and pneumonia in children under the age of five.
  • The Global Forum on Childhood Pneumonia is a collaboration between nine premier health and children’s organisations, including UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Gavi.
  • SAANS (Social Awareness and Actions to Successfully Neutralize Pneumonia) Initiative: It aims to minimise pneumonia-related child mortality, which accounts for about 15% of all fatalities among children under the age of five each year.

Pneumonia vs Pneumococcal pneumonia

  • Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs.
  • Pneumococcal pneumonia is a type of pneumonia that starts in the upper respiratory tract and spreads to the blood, lungs, middle ear, and nerve system.
  • Pneumococcal disease refers to any infection caused by Streptococcus pneumoniae or pneumococcus bacteria.
  • Pneumococcus is carried by the majority of people in their nose and throat, where it causes no symptoms.

 

4.Mission “Samudrayan”

#GS3- Defence

 Context

  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh recently launched India’s first manned ocean mission, “Samudrayan,” in Chennai.

In depth information

  • With the start of this Unique Ocean Mission, India joins an elite group of countries that have such undersea vehicles for carrying out subsea missions, including the United States, Russia, Japan, France, and China.
  • A new chapter begins with an examination of ocean resources for drinking water, clean energy, and the blue economy.
  • Project Ocean’s climate change advice services are focused on the following areas.
  • Vehicles that operate in the water
  • Technologies related to underwater robotics
  • Exploitation of polymetallic nodules in deep sea mining

The following are some of the manned submersibles’ essential subsystems:

  • Human support and safety system in enclosed space, low density buoyancy modules, Ballast and Trim System Pressure compensated batteries and propulsion system, control and communication systems, and Launching and Recovery System Matsya 6000
  • The Samudrayan initiative’s deepwater manned submersible is the Matsya 6000.
  • It can carry three people in a titanium alloy personnel sphere with a 2.1-meter diameter enclosed compartment and a 12-hour endurance and an additional 96-hour endurance in an emergency situation.
  • The preliminary design of the manned submersible MATSYA 6000 has been finished, and work on the vehicle has begun, with ISRO, IITM, and DRDO all contributing to the development.
  • By the second quarter of 2024, the MATSYA 6000 will be ready for trials.

Significance:

  • The mission boosts scientific capacity, and this niche technology will help the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) conduct deep ocean exploration for non-living resources like polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydrothermal sulphides, and cobalt crusts, which are found at depths of 1000 to 5500 metres.
  • Metallurgy, energy storage, underwater navigation, and manufacturing facilities are all improving, allowing for the development of more efficient, reliable, and safe manned submersibles.

 

5.Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)

#GS3- Indian Economy & Related Issues

 Context

  • Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) recently sold Rs 5,143 crore worth of stock.

In depth information

  • It is made up of securities and other financial assets held by foreign investors.
  • Stocks, ADRs, GDRs, bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds are all examples of FPI holdings.
  • It does not provide the investor actual ownership of a company’s assets and, depending on market volatility, is relatively liquid.
  • FPI is one of the most frequent ways to participate in an overseas economy, alongside foreign direct investment (FDI).
  • For most economies, FDI and FPI are both important sources of funding.

What is the difference between FPIs and FDIs?

  • A foreign direct investment (FDI) is a financial investment made by a company or individual from one country into a company in another one.
  • Investing in securities and other financial assets issued by another country is referred to as foreign portfolio investment (FPI).
  • Both types of foreign investment are important for global trade and development, but FDI is sometimes regarded as the preferred route because it is less volatile.

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