Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 5th November – 2021

CURRENT AFFAIRS 05-11-2021

                                                                                                  

  

Topics                                                                                                                    

  • Covaxin–WHO nod for emergency use:
  • The 5G: Challenges
  • The Infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs)
  • The Kameng river
  • The Coffee

 

 

1. Covaxin–WHO nod for emergency use:

#GS2-Issues related to Health.

 Context:

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has given Bharat Biotech’s Covexin vaccine pre-qualification, or Emergency Use Listing (EUL).

In depth information

  • The WHO’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG), an impartial advisory council, has given its approval.
  • The permission was supposed to come last month, but the WHO postponed it because it needed more information from Bharat Biotech before doing a final risk-benefit analysis.
  • AstraZeneca’s Covishield, Moderna’s mRNA-1273, Sinopharm’s BBIBP-CorV, Sinovac’s CoronaVac, Pfizer/Comirnaty, BioNTech’s and Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine have all been authorised by the WHO for emergency use.

What exactly is Covaxin?

  • Covaxin is a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine that was developed in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology in Pune.
  • It has been given EUL for use in people aged 18 and up, in two doses separated by four weeks.
  • It’s been designed to withstand shipment and long-term storage at temperatures ranging from 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
  • It’s also designed to follow a multi-dose vial policy, eliminating open vial waste and saving procurement agencies and governments money.

 What exactly does this approval imply?

  • It has been given EUL for use in people aged 18 and up, in two doses separated by four weeks.
  • However, there is no recommendation for use in children, and the data available for use in pregnant women is insufficient to establish safety or efficacy.
  • The action is anticipated to make overseas travel easier for Indians who have chosen the vaccination, but experts stress other countries must first pass Covaxin through their regulatory processes.

What is the definition of emergency usage approval?

  • The EUL is a requirement for the COVAX vaccine supply effort, and it helps countries to expedite their own regulatory approval for COVID-19 vaccine import and administration.
  • It is a risk-based system for evaluating and listing unlicensed vaccines, medicines, and in vitro diagnostics with the goal of ensuring that these items are available to persons affected by a public health emergency as quickly as possible.

The following requirements must be completed in order to be considered:

  • The disease for which the product is intended is serious or life-threatening, has the potential to cause an outbreak, epidemic, or pandemic, and it is reasonable to consider the product for an EUL assessment, e.g., there are no licenced products for the indication or for a critical subpopulation, and there are no licenced products for the indication or for a critical subpopulation (e.g., children).
  • Existing drugs haven’t been able to completely eradicate the disease or prevent outbreaks (in the case of vaccines and medicines).
  • In the case of pharmaceuticals and vaccines, the product is prepared in accordance with current Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), while IVDs are manufactured under a functional Quality Management System (QMS).
  • Once the product is licenced, the applicant agrees to finish product development (validation and verification in the case of IVDs) and apply for WHO prequalification.

 

2. The 5G: Challenges

#GS3-Science and Technology, #GS2-Government policies and interventions for development.

 Context

  • Commercial 5G networks are estimated to reach 12 percent of the world’s mobile connections (1.1 billion) and generate revenues of up to US$1.3 trillion for operators by 2025.

In depth information

What is 5G technology, and how does it work?

  • The fifth generation (or 5G) of long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks is the most recent upgrade. It operates in three bands: low, mid, and high frequency spectrums, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.
  • In the low band spectrum, the highest speed is 100mbps. While the low band spectrum can be used and deployed for cell phone users who do not have specific needs for very high-speed internet, it may not be ideal for specialised needs of the industry.
  • In comparison to the low band, the mid-band spectrum delivers faster speeds. However, it has limits in terms of signal penetration and coverage area.
  • The high-band spectrum has the fastest speed of all three bands, but it also has the smallest coverage and signal penetration strength.

Advantages

  • 5G promises to give various advantages over today’s 4G networks throughout industries, from the public sector to business and beyond. The Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data, for example, require greater processing speed than 4G can provide.
  • Users can stay connected with 5G even if they are on a network with thousands of other devices fighting for bandwidth.
  • Smart metres and sensors, among other things, could help 5G save money on issues like water supply and infrastructure.
  • With the introduction of 5G technology, the barriers to filmmaking—large teams, expensive equipment, and large budgets—would be removed.
  • Remote collaboration applications like as Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality could be made available, accessible, and affordable with a 5G connection.
  • The concept of a ghost kitchen—chef-led facilities that operate just for online ordering and delivery—could become a reality thanks to 5G.

Challenges

  • India’s telecom market has been strained in recent months as a result of fierce competition sparked by Jio’s arrival.
  • Furthermore, the Supreme Court of India’s judgement on AGR dues totaling more than 90,000 crore has aggravated telecom businesses’ financial situation.
  • From approximately 15 carriers a few years ago, the number of telecom operators has shrunk to just a few.
  • The massive expenditure necessary in the deployment of fibre connections for 5G may contribute to Telecom companies’ concerns in this situation.

Suggestions

  • Identification of basic ingredients: India’s initial focus will be on identifying end users and populations to be covered, identifying cities for 5G implementation, and developing a 5G investment model.
  • Using market mechanisms such as enabling, simulating, auctioning, insuring competition, and operating marketplaces to provide a fair playing field.
  • TRAI should establish a watertight spectrum road map with a predictable renewal mechanism to compensate for the significant expenditure necessary for deployment and to ensure coverage.
  • Spectrum Sharing: Global trials suggest that harmonisation of 5G spectrum bands, price, and spectrum sharing are crucial issues for 5G rollout. In this light, it is necessary to encourage the sharing of available spectrum.
  • Government Financial Incentive: Given the high cost of deploying a 5G network, both the federal and state governments should explore policies that encourage fibre investment, attract investment through public-private partnerships, and facilitate investment funds with low interest rates.
  • Along with these regulatory measures, allowing 100 percent foreign direct investment in the telecom sector through the automatic route bodes well for the sector’s ability to attract investment.
  • Conscious of the Digital Divide: 5G’s negative consequences are widening the ‘digital divide.’ As a result, government policy should also focus on providing inexpensive coverage through bandwidth synchronisation.

 

Because India has already experienced a digital revolution, even in the most remote locations, thanks to cost-effective 4G technology, the introduction of 5G technology can help to improve this sector while also assisting India’s ambition of becoming a manufacturing and innovation centre.

 

3.The Infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs)

#GS3-Investment models.

 Context:

  • The Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT) of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will include two anchor investors: the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, each with a 25% share.
  • Furthermore, NHAI would keep a minimum of 15% of the shares and sell the balance to local institutional investors.

In depth information

  • The InvIT will begin with a portfolio of five operational toll roads totaling 390 kilometres, with more roads scheduled to be added in the future.
  • Infrastructure investment trusts (InvITs) are trusts that invest in infrastructure.
  • They are similar to mutual funds in that they aggregate money from many types of investors and invest it in completed, revenue-producing infrastructure projects, providing profits for the investor.
  • The Sebi (Infrastructure Investment Trusts) Regulations, 2014 and the Indian Trust Act, 1882 govern them.

 Structure of InvITs:

  • A trustee, sponsor(s), investment manager, and project manager are all involved.
  • A Trustee (certified by Sebi) is in charge of inspecting an InvIT’s performance.
  • The promoters of the company that established the InvIT are known as the sponsor(s).
  • The investment manager is responsible for overseeing the InvIT’s assets and investments.
  • The project manager is in charge of the project’s execution.

The following are the main characteristics of InvITs:

  • A mandatory distribution of 90% of net distributable cash flows to unit holders, a leverage cap of 70% on net asset value, and a limit on exposure to assets under construction are also part of the deal (for publicly placed InvITs).
  • The InvIT’s sponsor is in charge of establishing the InvIT and appointing the trustee.
  • The sponsor should own at least 15% of the units issued by the InvIT, with a three-year lock-in term from the date of issuance.

What is the benefit to the investor?

  • InvITs allow investors to purchase a tiny share of the fund’s units based on their risk tolerance.
  • The risks are considerably controlled because such trusts are largely comprised of finished and functioning projects with positive cash flow.
  • Unitholders also benefit from tax advantages, such as dividend income exemption and no capital gains tax if units are held for more than three years.

How would it benefit the NHAI?

  • The offering will allow NHAI to monetize its finished National Highways with at least a one-year toll collection track record.
  • This will assist the corporation in raising funding for additional road construction across the country.

 

4. The Kameng river

#GS1-Geography part

 Context:

  • According to studies, landslides induced by a 3.4 magnitude earthquake near the Chinese border resulted in mass fish deaths in the Kameng river in Arunachal Pradesh.

In depth information

  • Several tonnes of mud and debris were spilled into the river by the landslides, significantly restricting the flow of water.
  • Because of the extreme turbidity, the river turned black, resulting in little dissolved oxygen, which killed the fish.

The Kameng River is a river in China.

  • It is a tributary of the Brahmaputra River on the right bank.
  • It rises in the eastern Himalayan district of Tawang. It divides the Arunachal Pradesh districts of East Kameng and West Kameng.
  • It runs through the Sonitpur district of Assam before joining the Brahmaputra at Tezpur.
  • The Kameng River is divided into two sections: the west, which includes the Akka hills and is home to the Akka tribes, and the east, which includes the Dafla hills and is home to the Daphla tribe.
  • Near the Kameng river are the Kaziranga National Park and the Pakkhui Wildlife Sanctuary.

 

5. The Coffee

#GS3- Indian Economy,Major Crops of India

 Context

  • The pricing difference between Robusta coffee on the international market and in India has become a major source of concern for South Indian growers.

In depth information

  • Coffee prices in India are primarily determined by foreign markets, particularly the London market.
  • In the worldwide market, the price of Robusta coffee increased by around $70 per tonne, but the increase had not yet been reflected in the Indian market.
  • Some international purchasers’ ‘pricing cartelization,’ according to trade sources, is the most likely cause of the gap.
  • In addition, the number of purchasers in India had been relatively low because the harvesting season would not begin until the end of December.
  • In India, coffee is traditionally grown in the Western Ghats, which stretch over Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. Coffee production is also rapidly expanding in nontraditional areas of AP and Odisha, as well as the North Eastern states.
  • Coffee is primarily an export crop, with 65 percent to 70 percent of coffee produced in the country being exported and the remainder eaten domestically.
  • In India, the two primary coffee kinds, Arabica and Robusta, are grown.
  • Arabica coffee is moderate, but because the beans are more aromatic, it has a higher market value than Robusta beans. Robusta, on the other hand, has higher strength and is thus employed in a variety of blends.
  • Arabica is planted at a higher elevation than Robusta. For Arabica, a mild and equable climate with temperatures ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius is ideal, while for Robusta, a hot and humid climate with temperatures ranging from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius is ideal. Arabica requires more attention and nurturing and is better suited to large farms, but Robusta can be grown on any size farm.
  • Arabica is harvested from November to January, whereas Robusta is harvested from December to February.
  • Arabica is more susceptible to pests and diseases like White Stem Borer and leaf rust than Robusta and requires more shade.

Statistics on production:

  • The two most common coffee kinds grown in India are Arabica (which covers 49 percent of the land) and Robusta (which covers 51 percent of the land).
  • The state of Karnataka is the leading producer (about 70 percent of total coffee production and 60 percent of the area under coffee in India).
  • Supporting schemes include: To stimulate exports, the Centre recently extended the RoDTEP (Refund of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products) scheme to the coffee industry.

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